Cisco, Darwin, Saddam and giant Bosnian pyramids

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Cisco gets into spam

Christmas came late for Cisco this year which announced this week it’s fifth largest ever acquisition. The networking giant has noticed the amount of spam its routers are sending on and is paying $830m for anti-spam firm IronPort Systems. The seven year old company made sales of $25m for the quarter so Cisco is paying quite a price for its first entry into the junk mail market. More here.

CeBIT shrinking

Any footsore attendees of CeBIT, the enormous German trade show won’t be too sorry to hear that this year's exhibition is shrinking by 15 per cent. The show has a twenty year history but expects a €6m loss this year.Why CeBIT’s getting smaller

Ofcom and Saddam

The footage of Saddam Hussein’s execution continues to cause trouble this week. Ofcom has promised to investigate how television channels used the footage taken by mobile phone. Even Tony Blair didn’t like it. Of course it’s not the first time anyone has put something nasty on YouTube – there is plenty of extraordinary footage from Iraq and Afghanistan. But you normally have to look quite hard for it. For whatever reason this time you didn’t. Here is our opinion piece on the mess. And here are some of your responses to that piece.

FBI went after “It’s a Wonderful Life”

On a lighter note…It might be a Christmas institution, especially in the US, but seasonal weepy It’s a Wonderful Life was considered dangerous propaganda by FBI officials in the 1940s. The triumph of the common man, and the portrayal of businessman Mr Potter did not impress the commie-seeking spooks. Capra classic is “commie propaganda”

Ofcom kills Cats

Fortunately we don’t often have to write about Andrew Lloyd Webber or even think of him at all. But we did this week. The good Lord has got involved over the allocation of radio spectrum which Ofcom is threatening to auction off. He reckons this could be the “end of the musical”. And this is a bad thing. How do you solve a problem like spectrum allocation?

Telly goes online

This week saw a flurry of announcements from broadcasters getting into video on demand and offering their content online. Channel 4’s video vending machine is here and Sky’s equivalent is here. Just as interesting, we reckon, will be the offerings from companies not tied to an individual broadcaster. The Venice Project is from the guys who brought us Skype. But what is their service going to do to ISP restrictions?

Google automates rejection

Google has developed an algorithm to sort through, and reject, job applicants. Candidates get a score from 0 to 100. And people say Human Resources departments are full of robots Google’s HR robot In other Google news the company is extending its trial selling newspaper ads. The move into the real world has been deemed a success Google moves to paper.

Bendy displays get legs

Roll-up computer screens are a story that usually get written in August but never seem any closer to actually arriving. But that changed this week. Plastic Logic, a University of Cambridge spin-off, has raised $100m to build a factory to make the things. Hermann Hauser’s pet project

Darwin Awards

The only real reason to return to work after Christmas is the annual announcement of the Darwin Award winners. The gong goes to people whose stupidity has removed them from the gene pool. Competion was so fierce that the Brazilian man who tried to dismantle a rocket-propelled grenade by driving his truck over it was only a runner-up. This being ineffective he then took a sledgehammer to the missile. This worked, in the sense that it exploded and killed him. So how dumb was the actual winner?

Dutch police make largest ever cash seizure

A suspected 419 scammer was caught at Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport with €1.2m in his pocket – the largest ever seizure by Dutch police. And presumably also the world’s largest pockets. The Nigerian gent is suspected of involvement in a major 419 scam that has already relieved German businesses of some €4m. More here.

Microsoft + Novell good news for Linux?

Well it might sound naïve but Peter Dawes-Huish is CEO of LinuxIT Europe should know. Here’s why he thinks it's good news

And finally…

For those of you who weren’t reading the site over Christmas – we know who you are – a summary of summary pieces.Here’s what happened in space in 2006. Back on earth the year just gone saw the effective end of mobile operators

Astroturfing, photoblogging and photoblagging

We’ve an interesting piece from a photojournalist about why the anti-copyright brigade are playing into the hands of big, old, media. Who is the internet empowering? And it might not have launched yet but there’s been more than enough speculation on its imminent arrival. So why is Apple’s iPhone bound to fail and fail badly? While we’re on upcoming releases Here is an analysis of some of the digital rights management nasties that come with Vista

And if last year was the year the Tories finally discovered the internet, here’s a look at the old school roots of Tory telly on the net.

Ancient pyramids discovered in Bosnia

Are there really giant pyramids in Bosnia bigger than those in Egypt? If so it would turn what is known of our early history on its head. This story looks at the evidence, which is startling, and talks to John Parker Professor of botany at St Catherine’s College, Cambridge.

That’s it for this week. Have a very happy 2007.

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