Microsoft Issues Monthly Security Patches 

If you woke up this morning and noticed that your PC had rebooted overnight, don't be alarmed or at least any more alarmed than usual. A Windows reboot was part of the plan as Microsoft issued patches for 10 security fixes yesterday, three of which are critical. The fixes shipped to customers via Automatic Updates and Windows Update as part of Microsoft's monthly security fix release.

The critical patches issued yesterday are for Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) and affect various versions of Windows. Microsoft also issued important patches for Microsoft Outlook Express Outlook Web Access (OWA) for Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5, Web Client Service, and Windows Step-by-Step Interactive Training Patches for ISA Server 2000, Microsoft Agent and Telnet Client were rated moderate.

Additionally, Microsoft reissued three previous patches to fix problems with the original fixes. For more information about Microsoft's security patches, visit the Microsoft Security Web site. 

Napster Snags Cell Phone Delivery Deal 

Online music service Napster has signed a deal with Ericsson, the world's largest cell phone maker, to develop a version of the Napster service that can deliver songs to cell phones. The two companies expect mobile carriers to begin offering Napster branded phones worldwide by the end of the year.

"It is increasingly likely the mobile handset will be the portable music device of the future," a Napster spokesperson said. Many analysts agree. Although most users today enjoy digital music on PCs and portable MP3 players, such as Apple Computer's iPod, the cell phone market is increasingly seen as the future of PDAs, consumer grade digital cameras, and MP3 players. And because cell phones already include pervasive wireless features, they're a natural for acquiring digital content and don't require a PC or complicated desktop software.

Ericsson will offer the Napster cell phone service to mobile carriers in the same way that existing services such as text messaging and voice mail are offered today. Unlike Apple's deal with Motorola last year which paved the way for Apple iTunes Music Store customers to transfer their music to certain cell phones, the Napster Ericsson deal has the potential to affect a wide range of mobile carriers and thus a much wider range of users worldwide.

The Ericsson deal isn't Napster's first foray into the cell phone market. Last month, Napster launched a service called Napstertones that provides more than 100,000 cell phone ring tones directly to handsets Napstertones interestingly cost 2 to 3 or two to three times, the cost of full length songs sold through the regular Napster service.