advertising information

CNN.com
 MAIN PAGE
 WORLD
 ASIANOW
 U.S.
 LOCAL
 POLITICS
 WEATHER
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 TECHNOLOGY
   computing
   personal technology
   space
 NATURE
 ENTERTAINMENT
 BOOKS
 TRAVEL
 FOOD
 HEALTH
 STYLE
 IN-DEPTH

 custom news
 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

  CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites
 TIME INC. SITES:
 MORE SERVICES:
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines
 pointcast
 pagenet

 DISCUSSION:
 message boards
 chat
 feedback

 SITE GUIDES:
 help
 contents
 search

 FASTER ACCESS:
 europe
 japan

 WEB SERVICES:
COMPUTING

Star Wars trailer a threat to your network?

April 12, 1999
Web posted at: 11:10 a.m. EDT (1510 GMT)

by Paul McNamara

From...
Network World Fusion
starwars

INTERACTIVE

Have you downloaded the new Star Wars trailer on your computer at work?

Yes No
View Results


 RELATED VIDEO
   Download the 11Mb trailer
   from LucasFilms/Apple

  

(IDG) -- As if that gyrating dancing baby and a steady stream of holiday e-cards weren't enough, network professionals have another potential problem on their hands in the form of downloadable movie trailers forStar Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace.

Forget the title: There's nothing phantom about this menace. The film won't be in theaters until next month, but variations of the trailers are already circulating via e-mail attachments. Weighing in at an eye-popping 11 to 25 megabytes, these two-and-half-minute QuickTime clips will chew up more bandwidth and disk space than a nursery full of dancing babies (2 megabytes per baby).

The official trailers are available at www.starwars.com, and rogue versions dot the Internet like so many Ewoks. According to the Apple Web site, which has permission to carry the trailers, more than six million copies have been downloaded.

While a random survey of e-mail administrators turned up no Star Wars-related service disruptions, a few have powered up their lightsabers to meet this foe head on.

"I'm a Star Wars junkie, and I know the number of science fiction fans we have here," says Julian Smith, vice president of IS at Thompson & Co., a Memphis advertising agency. "I knew this would be a problem, just like I knew everyone would try to download Internet Explorer 5.0 when it was released."

Smith posted a copy of the trailer on his company's intranet and let internal Star Wars fans know where to go to get their fix, thus "eliminating a waste of precious bandwidth."

MORE COMPUTING INTELLIGENCE
  IDG.net home page
  Network World Fusion home page
  Free Network World Fusion newsletters
  Stopping the next Melissa
 Reviews & in-depth info at IDG.net
    Ho-ho-holiday headache
  Server-clogging attachments
 
  Questions about computers? Let IDG.net's editors help you
  Search IDG.net in 12 languages
 News Radio
  Fusion audio primers
  Computerworld Minute
   

One e-mail outsourcing company, AllegroNet of Dayton, Ohio, has seen an increasing number of trailers snagged by its MailZone filtering and virus-detection service. "We're talking about a huge file here," says AllegroNet executive Richard Bliss. "It's like a pig going through a boa constrictor." MailZone was born in January as a countermeasure to similarly frivolous .avi and .exe files that had plagued AllegroNet customers during the holidays. Bliss reports that his customer base has grown from 200 to 800 companies in just three months.

There is clearly a heightened sense of awareness among IT professionals to these types of resource-sapping files. A Star Wars trailer "has already spread here," says David Byrkit, e-mail administrator at ITT Avionics in Clifton, N.J.

"With single-instance message store [on a Microsoft Exchange Server], mailbox limits and a good amount of horsepower, I'm not too concerned about it," Byrkit says. "It will probably increase our help desk calls for people who aren't used to exceeding their mailbox limit."

A certain battle-weariness has set in among those charged with keeping the e-mail flowing smoothly.

"We've seen gluts of this type of stuff before, mainly from our student population," says Travis Berkley, supervisor of LAN support services at the University of Kansas. "We got bitten only one time with a huge file blocking things up because we were low on disk space."

Berkley sees a solution in newer e-mail servers that allow administrators to nip these abuses in the bud.

"Many Simple Mail Transfer Protocol servers are now letting you limit the size of inbound messages, and some -- such as [Novell's] GroupWise -- let you limit it for certain users or groups of users," he says. "So target your 'problem children' and leave the legitimate users free and clear."

Some administrators, however, say they don't have the option of setting maximum file sizes for anyone.

"Due to the nature of our business [real estate investment], we can't limit the size of attachments," says Jim Santiago, assistant vice president of IS at AEW Capital Management in Boston. "The only thing we can do is to send reminders telling employees not to abuse the e-mail system."

The movie trailers may be a nuisance, but it could be worse. What happens, for example, if the sequel to this story turns out to be Star Wars Meets Melissa? "We all saw what happened with the Melissa situation," says Mike Dunn, e-mail administrator at Boston University. "If a monster file such as Star Wars had been attached, it would have complicated matters significantly.


RELATED STORIES:
Protect yourself from the next Melissa
April 5, 1999
Ex-TV execs and animators turn to the Web
April 6, 1999
Opinion: Don't be a slowpoke!
March 26, 1999

RELATED IDG.net STORIES:
Dancing Baby not cool with everyone
Network World 6-16-97
Server-clogging Christmas e-mail attachments
11-16-98
Ho-ho-holiday headache
Network World 11-23-98
Stopping the next Melissa
Network World 4-5-99

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.


RELATED SITES:
Star Wars trailers
www.starwars.com

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

 LATEST HEADLINES:
SEARCH CNN.com
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.