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Code Rush: The Inside Story of Netscape

Today we take great web browsers for granted -- there are several free and open options, and they all seem to work pretty well. But a decade ago, we were still used to paying cash money for new browser releases, and Netscape was doing battle with Microsoft in the courts as well as con users' desktops. In the rush to ship new and better products, and change the browser marketplace, Netscape was about to do something radical: go open source.

Netscape was also about to merge with AOL -- not exactly an awesome chapter in corporate history -- but one that makes for some great TV. Code Rush is a documentary filmed in 1998 at that crucial moment in Netscape history (and by extension, web history), and Andy Baio has posted the hard-to-find film online. If you're a certain kind of nerd (one who's into software, web/computer history, or PBS documentaries in general), you'll love this:

See more information from Baio, including a torrent of the high-quality version and information on various interviews in the program.

Related viewing: Baio also recently posted The Machine That Changed the World, a general history of computing. Also, yesterday Microsoft's Internet Explorer team sent the Mozilla team a cake to celebrate the Firefox 3 launch (read the link for what they did in 1997 to celebrate their Internet Explorer 4.0 launch...).

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Getting Calls From Your Own Phone Number? Don't Answer!
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There’s a new phone scam that could affect you, according to Washington’s KIRO 7 News. In addition to keeping your eyes open for calls that come from area codes like 473 or involve people claiming to be Equifax representatives, you now have to watch out for your own phone number.

Scammers are manipulating your phone’s caller ID to make it look like you’re getting a call from your own phone number, then posing as someone from a wireless carrier like AT&T or Verizon. They tell whoever answers the phone that their account has been flagged for security reasons, then ask for the last four digits of that person’s Social Security number. The FCC has been aware of these scams for at least two years, but they seem to be ramping up once again.

In general, you shouldn’t give out any part of your Social Security number over the phone on an incoming call. If you’re suspicious, you can always call your carrier back using the official customer service phone number on their website or on your bill. But it’s best not to pick up at all. If you receive a call from your own number, don’t answer or press any buttons. Instead, file a complaint with the FCC.

[h/t KIRO 7 News]

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Samsung’s Star Wars Vacuums Offer Everything You Want in a Droid
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Samsung

Hate housecleaning but love Star Wars? Samsung’s got the solution. In anticipation of December’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the newest film in the Star Wars saga, Samsung has transformed a limited number of its VR7000 POWERbot robot vacuum cleaners into two familiar faces from George Lucas’s legendary space opera: a Stormtrooper and Darth Vader (which comes with Wi-Fi connectivity and a remote control).

In order to create a unique device that would truly thrill Star Wars aficionados, Samsung consulted with fans of the film throughout each stage of the process. The result is a pair of custom-crafted robo-vacuums that fill your home with the sounds of a galaxy far, far away as they clean (when you turn Darth Vader on, for example, you'll hear his iconic breathing).

“We are very pleased to be part of the excitement leading up to the release of The Last Jedi and to be launching our limited edition POWERbot in partnership with Star Wars fans,” B.S. Suh, Samsung’s executive vice president, said in a press statement. “From its industry-leading suction power, slim design, and smart features, to the wonderful character-themed voice feedback and sound effects, we are confident the Star Wars limited edition of the VR7000 will be a big hit.”

Be warned that this kind of power suction doesn’t come cheap: while the Stormtrooper POWERbot will set you back $696, the Darth Vader vacuum retails for $798. Who knew the Dark Side was so sparkling clean?


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