Europe in Brief

ICT roundup from the Continent

Germans Stressed

Germans are known to be hard-nosed and hard-working people, but apparently they too are not immune to the much feared New Economy Depression Syndrome (NEDS), a form of work-related stress that is caused by information overload and continuous interruption.

Many Germans complain about stress, caused by the use of email and mobile phones, according to research by Ears & Eyes. Often people have to wade through dozens of e-mail messages, while their mobile phone keeps ringing.

Ears & Eyes interviewed 1362 German men en women between 20 and 42 years old. No fewer than 71 per cent of the women and 65 per cent of men say they feel stressed. Only six per cent of the women and only three percent reported to problems with information overload. To compensate for the anxiety, the Germans like to take long holidays, or spend more time with their relatives.

No Free ADSL for Dutch schools

Dutch KPN Telecom is not allowed to offer ADSL free of charge to more than 10,000 Dutch schools, a judge ruled Wednesday. KPN wanted all Dutch schools to sign up for ADSL internet access through its subsidiary Xs4all for three years at no cost, a spectacular €75 million promotion deal. Telecom watchdog OPTA and the Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) had no objections, and naturally, schools were jubilant.

Competitors nl.tree and Easynet did object to this offer, saying that the it would hurt their business, and the Dutch court agreed. nl.tree currently runs Kennisnet which links 11,000 educational institutes via the World Wide Web. KPN responded that it will appeal to the court ruling.

Why your car needs to speak Esperanto

German car makers have proposed a standard for the use of digital data in onboard computers, according to the German magazine Wirtschaftswoche. The idea is that cars can exchange information about road conditions, congestion and mechanical problems while on the road. 'There is no benefit if BMW only speaks BMW and Mercedes only understands Mercedes,' Reinhold Eberhard of DaimleyCrystels told Wirtschaftswoche.

In the future, cars would be able to exchange information about aquaplaning, oil spills or failing airbags wirelessly within a range of 600 metres.

Young Norwegians: hackers in the making?

Norway is well on its way to raising Europe's most fanatic hackers. A new survey indicates that one of five young people in Norway knows somebody who has tried hacking, using the Internet, Norwegian television reports.

Some 14 per cent of those questioned believe there is nothing wrong with hacking into computer networks. TV2.no cited one adolescent that touched a computer for the first time at the age of three and believes that the possibilities of hacking are endless.

The Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning (DSB) says that it is important to know what people think about hacking and that wrong attitudes ‘must be controlled’.

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