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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Researchers find new way to share

From wire reports

Researchers at Penn State and other universities have developed a tool to more easily share or search for large academic files — using the principles most associated with trading music and movies illegally.

But unlike the free “peer-to-peer” file-sharing systems that have drawn complaints and lawsuits from the entertainment industry, people who allow data to be exchanged over LionShare can place limits on who can view specific files.

“It all comes down to how people share content and what restrictions they put on the content that they share,” said Mike Halm, director of LionShare at Penn State, which started the project.

The secure, private network is meant for faculty, researchers and students to trade photos, research, class materials and other types of information that may be not be easily accessible through current technology.

What are they searching for?

In the decade since the Web’s emergence, what have been people been looking for online?

According to Lycos Inc., which offered one of the Web’s earliest search engines, we’ve put this vast, powerful, revolutionary new communications medium to work in service of information about … Pamela Anderson.

The pinup actress topped the list of Lycos’ 50 most popular search terms from September 1995 through last Saturday.

The rest of the top 10 has a few more wholesome subjects. Dragonball was No. 2, followed by Pokemon, Britney Spears, World Wrestling Entertainment, tattoos, Las Vegas, the NFL, the Sept. 11 attacks and Christmas.

There’s a caveat: When Lycos tabulates its 50 top search terms every week, it excludes queries specifically for sex and other “prurient” terms, according to spokeswoman Kathy O’Reilly.

But there’s no denying that Anderson’s presence atop the list was driven by Web users eager to see her homemade sex video with Tommy Lee several years ago, O’Reilly acknowledged. “She’s just the patron saint of the Web,” O’Reilly said.

OK, but what other things do Lycos users want to watch? Well, the most searched-for TV show is “The Simpsons.” The most looked-up movie: “Star Wars.”

Opera Software broadens

Opera Software ASA is now giving away its Web browser and removing ads in an effort to broaden its user base and capture revenues by referring traffic to search engines and e-commerce sites.

Before the availability of Opera version 8.5 this week, users who downloaded the browser had to either pay $39 or view ads while browsing. Its competitors, including Microsoft Corp.’s Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s Firefox, carried no such requirement.

Christen Krogh, Opera’s vice president of engineering, insisted the move was not prompted by the success of Firefox, whose rapid growth in usage has threatened to push Internet Explorer’s market share below 90 percent for the first time in years.

In addition to getting revenue from fees and ads, Opera’s browser also had revenue-sharing agreements with other sites, primarily Google Inc., for directing traffic through the browser’s built-in search box.

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