Federal Triangle

Microsoft's virus alert

Your office, no doubt, felt at least some effect from the latest round of worms and viruses that have been snaking their way through cyberspace recently.

Microsoft Corp. officials have come up with a way to fight those viruses. Is it patching their industry-standard Outlook e-mail system? Well, to some degree. But they are also handing out posters.

"Educate your students, faculty and staff on the simple steps they can take to protect their PCs," reads the company's Web site. Download the posters from Microsoft's site, or place an order and the company will send you a three-poster kit — a maximum of 75 posters — free of charge.

But late last week the site announced that it had been shut down for maintenance purposes. Perhaps the site got wormed?

Going up!

The LiftPort Group, in Bremerton, Wash., says that a 62,000-mile commercial space elevator could be operational by 2018.

LiftPort officials propose that a space elevator, constructed from a carbon nanotube composite ribbon anchored to a sea platform, could transport cargo and ultimately humans to the moon, Mars and beyond. Robotic lifters attached to the ribbon would carry cargo such as satellites and solar-powered panels far into space.

"We see the space elevator as an important infrastructure element for the expansion of commerce and human travel into space," said Michael Laine, LiftPort's president.

Company officials said such an elevator would reduce launch costs for a savings of up to $20,000 per pound. The company plans two major tests of robotic lifters this year, including one using a high-altitude balloon.

Help wanted

If you're a civilian willing to rough it, USAJobs may have just the thing for you. Officials are linking the government's job Web site with the Defense Department's recruitment site ,Support our Friends in Iraq and Afghanistan (known as SOFIA), for jobs in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Prospective applicants must be willing to live under field conditions. An aptitude for languages and prior military experience are helpful but not required.

Visit www.usajobs.opm.gov for more information.

ComNet goers brave the weather — not

The halls of the Washington, D.C., Convention Center were hushed early in the ComNet telecommunication trade show, which ran late last month. First, snow almost brought the city to a halt. Then, the federal government shut down early, leaving vendors at their display booths, apparently outnumbering attendees.

Although the weather relented later in the week, vendors acknowledged that the small turnout was a challenge for them. "It is quiet," said Richard Rauch, president of Apcon Inc., which makes network-switching technology. "But we've had some people wander by, and it only takes a couple of leads."

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