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3GSM madness

Once again, the Reg team has been hard at work serving up a banquet of tasty news from all corners of the world. Much of the focus this week was on the mobile convention 3GSM in Barcelona.

While fighting for a place in the news there, T-Mobile announced to the world that VoIP would not affect its revenues, but would have a bigger effect on fixed line services.

T-Mobile also halved charges for business customers who transmit data over its mobile networks in some countries. Sending and receiving data over a T-Mobile network will now cost £3 per megabyte of data transmitted instead of £7.50, the firm said in a statement.

Motorola is trialling the use of wind and solar powered generators as an alternative to diesel power for remote GSM cell sites. MTC Namibia will run the alternative power system between April 2007 and July 2007 in what's promoted as the first-ever trial of the technology on a live network.

Meanwhile, Vodafone chief Arun Sarin said mobile carriers risk being leapfrogged by new entrants unless they speed up the development of technologies such as mobile payments.

"It takes us too long to deliver a new service," he said. "We have been talking about things like mobile payments for years...it's time to start delivering,"

And in brief: Mobile games developer Glu has signed a deal with Codemasters to get its games onto mobile phones. Warner Music Group is set to deliver music content to mobiles in Europe and Asia in a deal with Norwegian mobile operator Telenor. And Slingbox is reported to be unfazed by traditional broadcasters moving into video-on-demand because it offers a more personalised experience.

Smoking can cause serious damage to your company

Smokers could now be lambasted with blame for allowing criminals into company buildings, an IT security company has suggested. In a recent social engineering test undertaken by UK-based NTA Monitor, one of its staff accessed a building through a back door that was left open for smokers. Once inside, they gained access to the corporate network – a bit like in the Robert Redford movie, Sneakers.

Sacked employee gets $4.7m for probing bad guys

A US security analyst, who was fired in 2005 for attempting to stop such hacking antics, was this week awarded a large sum of cash by a jury after his firing was deemed "malicious, willful, reckless, wanton, fraudulent or in bad faith".

Turkish hacker focuses on Kiwis

The Turkish hacker iskorpitx has attacked websites of almost 600 Kiwi businesses and 300 international sites hosted by the same US-based web server.

Vodafone owned ISP ihug was the worst hit, though several other ISPs are also thought to have been involved.

"Hope for blind," delegates told...

A new electronic implant which restores visual capabilities in blind people holds "untold promise" , delegates at a San Francisco meeting were told, as the technology behind the device is taken to the next level. Apparently, advances have been made in technology that allowed a man, blind for 50 years, to regain some eyesight in 2005.

Reg readers get road rage over Blair's pricing plans

Readers have inundated El Reg with their thoughts on Tony Blair's plans to introduce a new road-charging scheme.

Blair apparently plans to put further strain on Number 10's creaking IT infrastructure, by emailing everyone who's signed the infamous petition against road charging to tell them more about the government plans.

More than 1.4 million Brits have signed the online petition so far, with the servers handling the petition site buckling under the strain.

Copyright cops come onto force

While the government struggles to fight violent crime and manage its overcrowded prisons, it is reassuring to know it is to hire 4,500 people to police copyright infringement. The move comes as the Department of Trade and Industry passes responsibility for copyright enforcement to Trading Standards Officers.

Trade and Industry Minister Malcolm Wicks said: "This will mean more surprise raids at markets and boot sales, more intelligence, more prosecutions, and more criminals locked up."

Nationwide Building Society slapped with £980,000 fine

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has fined the Nationwide Building Society almost £1m for the loss of a laptop which contained "confidential customer data" on 11 million customers.

The laptop was nicked from the home of an employee, and although he reported the theft, he apparently failed to tell employers what was on the machine until after a three-week holiday.

Hoorah for Microsoft fixing its own mistakes

Microsoft has distributed software patches for 12 vulnerabilities - six of them classed as critical.

None of these were for the new OS Vista, which only hit consumers at the end of last month. Give it time though....

IBM to eat up more companies…

IBM shows no signs of slowing its acquisition strategy. Last year the company spent $3.6bn on adding 12 companies, or just their assets, to its $18bn middleware business.

Big Blue software head Steve Mills said the company would give a repeat performance in 2007.

Fujitsu exec slams NHS project

The multi-billion pound NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT) is in danger of failing, lacks the leadership required to stop it drifting off course, and is in danger of morphing into "a camel", according to a senior figure in one of the main contractors implementing the project, a senior healthcare consultant at Fujitsu has said.

Cockfighting mags taken off Amazon shelf

Amazon.com has been issued with a lawsuit demanding that it remove cockfighting magazines and dog-fighting videos, Computerworld reports.

The Humane Society of the United States filed the complaint in Superior Court of the District of Columbia with concerns over "The Underground Pitbull Breeders Association, StreetHeatDVD.com, and the publishers of The Gamecock and The Feathered Warrior.

Grand designs for cow pat

And finally, researchers at Michigan State University have come up with a new way to dispose of cow manure - use it to build with.

Farmers in the US are currently under pressure to find new ways of getting rid of cow pat. It can cost $200 a year to process the production of a single cow, so some farmers are facing a very big bill every year.

The academics now say sterilised cow manure could replace sawdust in fibreboard. Which makes a change from seeing companies built on corporate bull....

On which note, have a great weekend, and see you same time next week.®

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