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Rings around the world

Everyone was hung-up on mobile phone action this week, and not all of it was i-shaped. In fact, in some quarters, the Apple-flavoured letter was altogether dropped.

O2 said it was serving notice on its i-mode service less than two years after it brought the Japanese mobile web technology to Europe, declaring it had been part of the "evolution" of mobile internet technology rather then the "end point".

Meanwhile, e-commerce giants such as eBay and lastminute.com have been failing to strike gold with customers keen to buy goods and services through their handsets, according to a new study carried out by the Strategy Analytics Wireless Media Lab.

It found mobile offerings paled in comparison to their fixed internet sites, with the lack of payment facilities being a major bugbear for users. Amazon and iTunes, however, came up trumps with the most sought-after mobile e-commerce sites.

A'roaming no more

In a surprise move, the EU said the anti-trust roaming case it had built up over several years against O2 and fellow mobile phone mammoths Vodafone and T-Mobile was officially closed with no action being brought against the firms.

Brussels said it was satisfied that its new legislation to cap roaming charges effectively drew a line under the matter.

British mobile phone users are a habitual bunch, apparently, with a quarter of us taking calls while on the loo.

Smartphone users were said to be twice as likely to answer the device and the, er, call of nature, at the same time.

But for one renegade Aussie man, it was time to take a stand against telcos everywhere with a little bit of help from a tank.

Wise guys batten down the hatches with patches

Detecting fraud was a preoccupation of Oracle's this week. The database firm acquired Bharosa software for an undisclosed sum, which could help Oracle customers comply with security conditions mandated under US regulation.

It also released a shed-load of summer patches. The updates cover various flaws in products including Oracle Database, Application Server, and E-Business Suite, among others. Some of the patches cover flaws in multiple products.

The firm told users to apply the fixes (45 in total, with one expected patch still missing in action) as soon as possible.

There were also security-threat claims this week from an anonymous author, going by the name of Infosec Sellout, who said he was paid to create a worm (Rape-OSX) targeting Mac OS X systems.

El Reg security correspondent John Leyden said that although low-threat malware aimed at the Apple operating system was unusual, it was far from unprecedented. But, Mac users everywhere could breathe a sigh of relief with it looking more and more likely to have been a work of mischief rather than mayhem.

US military base plans for Iraq could be easily accessed by trawling un-indexed FTP servers, we learned.

Firefox, meanwhile, released version 2.0.0.5 of its increasingly-popular browser, providing a fix to a high-profile bug involving launching Firefox from Internet Explorer.

A financial flood

It was that time of the quarter this week, with vendors spewing out results like a cracked dam in the North of England.

Google disappointed analysts by not turning over all the money in the universe. Instead, it had to settle for a measly 58 per cent jump in revenues to $3.9bn, and profits of $925m.

Microsoft watchers, meanwhile, were disavowed of the notion that the Wow is now, with Vista making really not much difference to its latest figures. More here.

Intel came in a the high end of expectations, though this wasn't enough to impress Wall Street, with analysts fretting over its gross margins.

AMD confirmed expectations with another loss.

IBM delivered solid results, selling lots of stuff, and making lots of profits, but chose to single out its software business for praise.

Other reportees included Seagate, eBay, Citrix, Logica and Vodafone.

Flaming heck

Burning issue of the week came from Emily Turner's first person account of her MacBook's MagSafe cable catching fire and leaving a burn on her arm.

Waiting on Apple to provide a repair turned the freelance journalist into a "broken woman", apparently. And it got you all furiously debating the story. Check out the reader comments for more.

But scoring some potentially juicy points for Mr Jobs, IDC revealed this week that Apple had reclaimed the coveted number three spot in the US PC market.

However, it was recalls-aplenty at Toshiba, which admitted that it continued to have an unwanted smoking habit with some of its laptop batteries in Japan.

Microsoft opens ads patent Windows, shuts mouth on big-bang launch

Microsoft looked to be threatening the anonymity of the PC with its decision to file a patent that could breathe life into Bill Gates' and Ray Ozzie's Frankenstein-like Windows Live "vision", unveiled in November 2005, for putting annoying, in-your-face internet adverts inside your most important Windows applications.

Over in Microsoft development territory, meanwhile, the firm has been backing off from next February's big-bang major launch. No one seems to know quite when to expect SQL Server 2008 to land, but a vague, sometime-after-February-date has been touted. The conclusion: Big-bang will not be so much about product availability, but more a shock and awe marketing ploy from the software behemoth.

Swinging into action

Big storage news of the week came courtesy of EMC, which announced upgrades for the Symmetrix, Celerra, Centera, and Clariion product lines, as well as offering a new entry-level file management application.

Elsewhere, NEC and Status cosied up for a fault-tolerant threesome.

Intel took a step closer to its 45nm Penryn processor architecture.

Investing in investigations

North Wales Police are going all-IP with a new network that'll put unified communications - including videoconferencing and IP telephony - into all 75 of its cop shops.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said it has created its own IT forensic team in the hope of being more cost-effective.

Send Brits into space, say MPs

MPs have called on the government to give the lead to the UK's space industry and expand its vision to include funding launches and even manned spaceflight.

How's about them organic apples

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey ate organic humble pie on Tuesday, as he apologised to shareholders for making anonymous posts about his company on Yahoo!'s financial message board.

Mackey's life as a troll began in 1999 when he started posting on the financial message board as "rahodeb" — an anagram of the name of his wife, Deborah. Rahodeb quickly became an outspoken regular on the board, praising and defending Whole Foods with the equally enthusiastic virulence used to attack and shame the company's competitors and nay-sayers.

The SEC is now investigating Mackey's shameless self-promotion tactics.

Working nine-to-five, what a way to make a killing

UK firms remain clueless over the liability for staff internet use, according to yet another study on electronic communications used in the office.

Meanwhile, a German man has been reduced to doing what everyone always threatens to do when they've simply had enough of typing relentlessly away at their computer. That's right, sling the bloody thing out the window.

It's not the only sympathy we've seen expressed for a German this week. Who can forget the mammary-entranced bus driver who asked a woman to move to the back of the bus because, he explained, the distraction of looking at her ample cleavage could cause an accident. How very health and safety conscious of him.

Which leaves us wishing you, beloved readers, a very safe, trance-free weekend. Same time next week.®

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