10th > January > 1999 Archive

The Register breaking news

Opinion: Win98 in the all-together…

It is now abundantly clear that it’s easy to disconnect Internet Explorer from Win98. (Story: Windows faster without IE4...) That’s doubly interesting because of Microsoft’s claims in the US courts that separating IE from the OS shell is difficult. (Our extensive coverage: Microsoft on trial) It turns out that it’s not in the slightest bit difficult. So shouldn’t that be taken into consideration in the current trial? Our readers tell us that the same thing’s entirely possible with Windows NT as well. Isn’t it time for Microsoft to come clean on this one? ®
Mike Magee, 10 Jan 1999

Philips Semi in singles-bar shocker

A throwaway line in yesterday’s magazine section of The Manchester Guardian has revealed that Philips' famous R&D unit has not ceased nor has it desisted from its wacky ideas. The newspaper reports that Philips has developed a chip which you can wear about your person, which can communicate with other people wearing similar semiconductors. According to the report, the technology will allow unattached people to find partners with similar interests without going through the usual tiresome rituals. Of course, we agree that this technology has potential. For example, it will also allow you to avoid people who you’re unlikely to get on with. These could include people wearing semiconductors in their earrings or other piercings. Nine years ago, boffins at Philips R&D centre in The Netherlands showed journalists a design they had for a computer built into a necktie. And three Comdex/Falls ago, IBM CEO Lou Gerstner said that technology built into your shoes would allow you to exchange essential information when you shook hands with someone. Recently, we reported that this particular technology only worked when the contact was more intimate than a hand-shake. ®
Mike Magee, 10 Jan 1999

Compaq unable to deck Alpha platform

Information from the Gartner Group seen by The Register has suggested that companies investing in the Alpha platform running on Windows NT are betting on a "high risk" strategy over the 36 months. That is because Compaq could deck the Alpha platform, according to current thinking at Gartner. If Gartner's predicitions are true, that will cause dismay at Microsoft, which is pinning its hopes on the Alpha 64 architecture, while uncertain of the future of the Merced platform. Digital/Unix, soon to be renamed, only represents a "moderate risk" over the same period. The uncertainty appears to be due to the Thoughts of Compaq Chairman Eckhard Pfeiffer, thinks the market research company. Last week, we reported that by the end of this year, high end Alpha machines will cost around the same price as current, high end processors from Intel to be released February end. The market research company appears to think that Pfeiffer is mulling over how long his company can keep the Alpha platform alive. But other considerations which could dash these predictions include the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has placed the Alpha architecture firmly under its wing. We are given to understand by sources close to the FTC that Intel cannot be allowed to have a monopoly on high end processors, now, or in the future. Towards the end of this year, The Register understands that high speeds in the Alpha roadmap will mean a switch to a slot strategy. Compaq, with Alpha, has a number of partners in this strategy as reported here and elsewhere. Seems like the Sundance strategy still has something of a life... ®
A staffer, 10 Jan 1999