30th > December > 1999 Archive
It must be a little worrying for any of Intel's 68,000 or so employees worldwide when one of the local bosses stands up and tells a journalist what a great employer it is. Excuse our cynicism, but generally this seems to happen just before a big company gives bad news to its employees. Yesterday's edition of the Malaysia Star featured an interview with Intel local boss Wong Siew Hai, saying that his company has sent 1,000 people abroad to re-train over recent years, mostly engineers. And even operators are getting sent abroad, the local boss says. The newspaper quotes him as saying: "Right now we want to consolidate ourselves" and that operators were being given "megatronic" training. Intel in Malaysia is the largest user of freight, he added. Intel is such a great place to work that people stay there for as long as 25 years, he said. This news might be of interest to regular Intel Irritant Ken Hamidi, who has just posted a piece about, yes you guessed it, disgruntled Merced employees at his Face Intel agitprop site. According to one of the latest postings there, Intel attempts to make sure that when there are married couples working at the same fab, they work on different shifts. Although that decision seems like common sense, people wearing the infamous Bunny Suits would have a hell of a job getting up to any hanky panky. Thus, in our estimation, there would be very little danger of any stray human particulates contaminating those shiny silicon wafers and affecting yields. ® * Tomorrow, Old Mother Chipton, who forecast that the end of the world would occur in the year 1999, will give her forecasts for chip technology in the year 2000...
Cutlery-bender Uri Geller (53) is up in arms at Nintendo about two "Un-Geller" Pokemon trading cards. Yesterday's Guardian UK daily newspaper reported that Geller is considering sueing Nintendo because of the likenesses on the cards, one of which portrays a "good" Un-Geller and the other a "bad" Un-Geller. The newspaper reported that Geller is likely to seek £60 million in damages for using his image without permission. The trading cards, which are highly popular with children, sell for as much as £15 here. Geller, who was in Tokyo last week, is reported to have said that he was startled when he was mobbed by kids thrusting Un-Geller cards at him and asking him to put his moniker on them. The image on the Un-Geller Pokemon cards shows a monster carrying two spoons in his hands. In the West, one of the Pokemon characters is called Alakazam, and is only called Un-Geller in Japan. The other character, Cadabra over here, also holds spoons in his hands. ® The Guardian
DVD industry attempts to block the distribution of DeCSS at least until 14 January 2000, the controversial DVD file decryption software, failed yesterday. Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge William Efving threw out a request for a temporary order to force 72 Web sites to cease offering the software for download. The request was made on Monday by the DVD Copy Control Association (DCCA) on behalf of the movie industry, hardware manufacturers and technology licensing bodies like itself. Efving did not give his reasons for refusing the DCCA request. ®
The Nasdaq composite index closed above 4,000 points yesterday, only months after amazing analysts by breaking 3,000. This is the result of unprecedented investor optimism over technology stocks, many of which have risen by more than 500 percent this year alone.
Online toy mega-merchant eToys conceded that popular support for the Swiss art group etoy encouraged it to offer a settlement to an old domain-name contest. The company offered to withdraw its suit if etoy withdraws its counter suit. eToys reportedly offered the Swiss artistes as much as US $1 million for the right to their domain name, etoy.com, but was spurned.
The Nigerian government on Wednesday authorised its state-run telephone company to disconnect private carriers which it deemed ill prepared to face the Y2K rollover. The company, Nitel, promptly responded by cutting off something like 20,000 private lines. "This is necessary in order to protect the integrity of the national network and avoid disruption of services," Nitel explained in a prepared statement. One private company representative called the statement "nonsense". "All Nitel's facilities nation-wide are Y2K compliant and will not experience any disruption to telecommunications services during the transition from this to the next Millennium," Nitel claimed. The government strategy may prove be a double-edged sword. Nitel will have no scapegoat if things should go awry on 1 January. A bit risky, but we admire the confidence with which the company has isolated itself as the only possible cause of any telephone stuff-ups that might occur. We hope it all works out; though if it doesn't, perhaps one benefit will be an acceleration of Nitel's long-promised privatisation. ®
A three-day mass hack attack on the Vatican Web site over Christmas failed to breach the defences of the online wing of the Roman Catholic Church. But the site nearly buckled under the barrage. Crackers attempted to replace itineraries for pilgrims posted on the site with pornography and blasphemy, The Guardian reports. It gets worse: the attackers "wanted to plant bugs that would block pages and crash the site". That sounds like eternal hellfire and damnation to us. Following the crack, The Vatican has recruited a former hacker to help shore up its Web security. ® www.vatican.va
VIA, the Taiwanese chip firm led by devout Christian Wen Chi Chen, is sponsoring the new www.worldpray.com Web site.