Software Assurance doesn't reassure, and don't mention the iPhone

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Mighty Reading UK's best city

It might not really be a city, but a recent survey puts Royal Reading as the "top-performing" place in the UK for employment, population growth, and skills. The town is home to many tech companies including Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, and Oracle.

Google grabs another

Google spotted a tiny area of the tech world which it isn't in this week. So it spent $625m buying Postini to improve its email security and archiving. The company said the buy would help improve the attractiveness of its online applications for corporate clients. Will it be enough to push Google Aps onto corporate desktops?

One third of the world's internet users are in Asia, but that's an area where Google is struggling. Comscore's first detailed look at the region reckons the company trails both Microsoft and Yahoo! in many countries - maybe it should buy someone.

Intel buys into virtualisation

Talking of buys, Intel is investing $219m in VMware - giving it a 2.5 per cent stake in the firm which is due to float soon. For its money, Intel also gets a seat on the board and the hope it can improve co-operation between VMware's products and its chips.

Is it goodbye for Britain's PC makers

Evesham Technology is just about the last of the old school British computer makers, and it confirmed this week that it is for sale. Time UK is rumoured to be one of the likely buyers, which hasn't gone down too well with Reg readers - check out the comments for more.

Gambling man won't bet on freedom

The man behind Neteller - the online payment service targeted by US authorities as part of their crackdown on online gambling - has copped a plea. The case is controversial because it doesn't seem to be based on offences committed under US law in the US. But Stephen Lawrence has weighed the odds and pleaded guilty to conspiracy and promoting illegal gambling.

Plug and play phishing arrives

Many hackers are less technical geniuses than people who can find, download, and execute programmes which have been written by other people. And now phishers are getting into the game too. This week saw the first "plug and play" phishing kit - a folder of applications which lets almost anyone launch an attack.

Microsoft cure is worse than the illness

This week saw Patch Tuesday, Microsoft's monthly security update. It included three critical updates and we've all had drummed into us how important it is to install those, right?

Unfortunately, the update did more harm than good upsetting email, contacts, and third party applications. In the words of the SANS Institute, one of the patches results in "various things going haywire".

How to measure web success

This week saw the opening salvoes in what we think will be a long debate - how do you measure a website's success? Traditionally it was all about page views, but Neilsen Netratings reckons time spent on a website might be a better metric. Time or clicks more important?

Blade creator speaks

Talking of multimedia, we've got a nice audio interview with Chris Hipp, the man behind the blade architecture for servers. He talks about the early days of the technology as well as what he makes of the market today.

Computacenter down in the dumps

Computacenter looked like it was doing a good job of turning its busines back around, but its latest trading update disappointed the City. The reseller made little progress in the first half of the year and expects operating profit to be the same as last year's. Some chinks of light though - business in Germany and France is better.

Dell reinvents

Talking of trouble, Dell is in the midst of reinventing itself and we've got some analysis on how the process is going and how the ultimate box shifter can turn itself into a services company.

Dell also announced its move into the small business market with a new brand called Vostro and bundles of services.

Users not assured by Software Assurance

Microsoft's enterprise customers were told Software Assurance would be both better and cheaper. But it's renewal time for the three year contracts now and many customers are getting cold feet. Research from Forrester advises customers to think long and hard before signing on the dotted line.

Ballmer bigs up the middle of the road

Microsoft's Steve Ballmer is not one to dodge a row. But he's walking a delicate path over how far Microsoft believes we're moving to a world of software as a service. On one hand he's calling for partners to get out there and sell hosted services like email security. On the other he's insisting the rich, fat Windows desktop will remain. More musings on the middle way here.

Data protection not nearly good enough

The man in charge of UK data protection said companies are doing a rubbish job of protecting customer data. He reckons if things don't improve his quango should get the right to audit companies it suspects of failing to look after customer information.

British computing museum opens its doors

Bletchley Park, home to the code breaking machines which were our first computers, is to become a museum of British computing. A re-built Colossus will be star of the show.

BBC upsets everyone

The BBC has not had a good week. Paying a fine for defrauding viewers of Blue Peter was bad, telling lies about the Queen was foolish, but annoying Linux and Mac fans? Are they crazy? The Beeb's often promised media player is about to hit the streets, but will only work on Windows machines. Many people regard this as wrong and the BBC Trust will meet next week to hear complaints.

Oracle updates

Database administrators will be aware that what Oracle does the rest of the market tends to follow. This week it announced 11g, an update to its core database product. Lots of new features, 400 it claims, including better data backup.

My Gran's better than your Gran

I suspect many people reading this will at some point have helped out aged family members get onto the internet. But we learnt that the world's fastest internet connection is not owned by a sweaty-palmed Linux geek, but a 75-year-old Swedish granny.

Sibritt Löthberg from Karlstad Sweden has a 40 Gb/s connection, thanks to her son who works for Cisco.

Badgers, customer service, and the bloody iPhone

An interesting week for customer service. Rufus, the man from Gadspot who told a customer where to go, has left the company.

Maybe he should call Sprint-Nextel, which had a look through its call centre logs to find 1,000 customers who make the most complaints and told them to find another phone provider. Dont call us, and we won't call you.

Keeping it brief on the iPhone: love it, hate it, or blend it.

British troops in Basra have denied using killer attack badgers to menace the local population. Local residents report a surge in their numbers after a raid by British forces. More on the cow-eating monster here.

And finally, a small but perfectly formed Flame of the Week. ®

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