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Illustration by Emilio Rivera III

Cutting Edge

FLASH: New Bug Battle-front
When a virus appeared on cellphones in Spain earlier this year, users everywhere felt a sense of panic. But where there are viruses, there are usually virus-busters close behind. McAfee is the first in the mobile arena. It has come up with bug repellent made especially for so-called smart cellphones — Web-enabled handsets that also act as personal digital assistants. The program, called VirusScan Wireless for Mobile, scours the device's files looking for malicious code. The software can be updated automatically through the phone's Internet connection. It will be available soon for the Nokia Communicator, the Ericsson R380 and the Handspring VisorPhone.

GAMES; Dotcom Fortunes at the Roll of the Dice

In an age when kids run companies and venture capital disappears like Monopoly money, it's easy to see the similarities between boardrooms and board games. Now Hasbro has made it official. The company has created an Internet version of the classic Monopoly board game. Boardwalk and Park Place are out, Yahoo! and eBay are in. Properties cost millions instead of hundreds. And the old pewter shoe has been replaced by techie game pieces like a Web page, an "E-Mail Just In" icon and a computer monitor. The object of the game, however, remains the same: bankrupt your opponent. With the amount of Netrepreneurs doing that in the real world though, the game could be out of date soon.

COMPUTING: Pentium 4 Fails Cubicle Crowd
Intel's new Pentium 4 processor is the stuff of techno-lust. With clock speeds of 1.4 GHz and 1.5 GHz — compared to the 1 GHz Pentium III — it may seem alluring to speed freaks. Dell and IBM are already selling PCs with the chip for around $2,000. Don't be fooled by the numbers alone, though. The Pentium 4 is intended for heavy multimedia users, meaning it delivers better graphics, voice and streaming video performance. It does so in part by anticipating what bits of data will be needed next by a user. But when it comes to less glamorous applications like word-processing and spread-sheets, there's not much to get excited about. Office applications only run about 10% faster than with the Pentium III. Paper pushers have not been forgotten though. A 1.13 GHz Pentium III is due out in a few months, and it should work better with basic applications.

E-MAIL: Hotmail Heats Up in Asia
The world's most popular free e-mail service is making a grab for users in the region. Hotmail is now available in traditional and simplified Chinese, as well as Korean. With the new language editions, Hotmail hopes to appeal to the 37 million people online in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Korea. Microsoft, which owns Hotmail, is also offering a new version of MSN Messenger Service that allows instant messaging directly from the Hotmail account. Better yet, it includes free PC-to-phone calls to the U.S.

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