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Apple cuts costs, while the price of spam rockets

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I don't want to crow, Ian Sutherland McCook - all right I do! - about blindly accepting things, especially prices, just because they emanate from Apple. The company has slashed prices for its iPods while fixing the iPod Mini battery life and its USB charging, which previously had been 'features'. It has also cut the price of the 1GB Mini and some of its peripheral upgrade prices. This is not just another manifestation of the beneficence of the godlings at Apple but a commercial response to criticisms of overcharging by people like you and the press. Devotees who slept in the street for the opening of the London Apple store might now ask for refunds.

If you ever wondered why people distribute spam, here's why. In one US case a spammer was said to have sent out a million spam emails a day.

What a lot of effort, you think? And expense - around £25,000 per month.

What made it all worthwhile is the fact that of the million people sent spam, around 17,000 actually bought something - providing the spammers with something like £400,000 a month.

All this was aided by the vast majority of computer-users, private and business, who don't clean their computers - and don't install firewalls, which will tell you when spyware tries to spread spam.

If the exotic spam in The Architects' Journal office is anything to go by, the £400,000 went mostly on subscriptions to 'ahem' sites or those flogging little blue pills. Makes you think of selling the practice to the senior staff and setting up an enterprise providing pleasures other than architecture to a waiting world. Almost.

The bad news for errant spouses is a new tracking device from the combined might of Durham University, QinetiQ and Global Point Technologies. It is only a couple of inches square on a circuit board and has an inbuilt antenna. It reports location and movement. Drop it into a vehicle, package or, hmmm, handbag and watch where it goes on your GPS handheld.

sutherland. lyall@btinternet. com

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