' Burning question. Canon USA Inc. of Lake Success, N.Y., recalled 60,000 fax-copiers after five of them caught fire. Dell Computer Corp. recalled a notebook PC battery that might overheat and ignite if overcharged. And recently, a fire gutted PC maker Acer Inc.'s high-rise headquarters in Taipei, Taiwan. Is that what 'hot product' means in today's high-technology and communications market?

' Oh, baby. Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, Calif., offers a free domain name for babies born there through the end of this year, arranged with domain name provider Namezero.com. Parents also get free e-mail accounts. They start 'em young in Silicon Valley.

' Spam I. Hormel Foods, maker of Spam the food, said it doesn't object to the use of the word 'spam' to mean annoying commercial e-mail or consider the term trademark infringement. Hormel also said it opposes spamming, noting that it has been a victim of the practice.

' Spam II. Scotland Yard will spam stolen mobile phones with messages saying that the phone is stolen and should be turned in to the police. This is not an appeal to conscience; phones will get so many messages they will be unusable. Amsterdam police reportedly cut mobile phone theft in half this way.

' Countermeasures. A Rutgers University professor discovered that half the high school student respondents in a survey had used the Internet to plagiarize. Teachers are striking back with search programs. Whereas some Web sites now offer term papers, other sites, such as www.turnitin.com, compare papers to what's out on the Web to find plagiarists. O brave new world! Send your old term papers to [email protected].


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