Only one month after it changed prices on its low-end Celeron processors, Intel last night made further price cuts on the family. The prices, which are for its .25 micron Celeron product line, are for units in prices of 1000, and show that the 533MHz Celeron it introduced earlier on in the month, is now the highest priced part. But at $167, it also demonstrates that Intel will shortly supersede its .25 micron Celeron family with the newer, Coppermine processors, which use .18 micron technology. The $167 figure is the so-called "sweet spot" for Celerons Over the course of the last nine months, as Intel introduced faster versions of the low-end part, lower processor speeds have just shuffled quietly off its price list. The last price cuts Intel made on the Celerons was on the 12th of December, shown below in brackets. The new 533MHz Celeron is $167, the 500MHz chip is $143 ($128), the 466MHz unit is $94 ($89) and the 433MHz Celeron $73 ($69). The next price cuts we can expect to see from Intel are, according to our information, on the 23rd of January next and on its desktop Pentium III processor range. During Q1 of this year, Intel is widely expected to introduce its Coppermine Celeron III family. The 533MHz Celeron is likely to be one of the last of the products that uses the .25 micron core. AMD will also cut prices on its Athlon family on that date, as revealed here earlier. ®
Reports on an Internet mailing list have suggested that despite Compaq's decision to pull the plug on NT and Win64 for the Alpha chip last year, it could rise from its marchitectural ashes. The Big Q's up and coming Wildfire platform could be the first beneficiary of such a move. The editor of the Sysinternals mailing list, Mark Russinovich, has posted information in his latest newsletter that suggests Dave Cutler, poached by Microsoft from DEC to develop NT, was still working on the Alpha platform to develop Neptune, the successor to Win2k, at the end of last year. According to Russinovich, he met Cutler in November. He says in his newsletter: "In November the kernel team was already working hard on the successor to Win2k (known internally as NT 6, or Neptune). "Dave was working on touching-up the installation for the 64-bit version of Win2k....As of November the kernel team was still doing 64-bit work on Alphas because Intel had only recently begun to produce samples of Merced processors and there was only one on campus." Terry Shannon, ardent DEC and Compaq watcher, said that it is not beyond the realms of possibility that NT for the Alpha might rise, phoenix-like, from its ashes. After we passed on the information we had received to him, he said in the latest edition of his newsletter, Shannon knows Compaq: "Microsoft continues to rely on Alpha as a Win64 development platform, and it would not be beyond the realm of possibility for Microsoft and Compaq to revive the program if sufficient customer demand existed for a true enterprise-class Windows 2000 solution on Wildfire systems." ® * In other news from SKC, Shannon reports that Compaq has Itanium-Merced machines up and running in its labs and will be one of the first to ship such products later in the year. He also reports that Compaq is set to drastically prune its PC line. See also Is MS lobbying for more Merced Win64 help Compaq responds to Register Alpha NT stories
A chip conference held in California at the end of this month is expected to reveal details of Transmeta's long awaited Crusoe offering, the organisers have said. And the Platform Technology and Strategy Conference will also roll out execs from AMD who are expected to give further details of their plans for the 64-bit microprocessor currently codenamed "Sledgehammer". According to the organisers, the conference will also reveal details of the DDR (double data rate) memory standard, which Intel is expected to formally support for over the next week or so. AMD is also likely to announce how it will use DDR memory in its future products. Transmeta is expected to announce more details of both the processor, the platform it will use and benchmarking tests it has devised. Via, in collaboration with S3, is also expected to announce details of the products that will come from their joint venture. For more details of the conference, which starts on the 26th of January, go here. ®
Chip giant Intel has clarified its position on the PC COM direct sales site in Singapore. The company, this morning, admitted that the domain name was owned by Intel, as first revealed here at the end of last week, but was set up in collaboration with a group of Singapore resellers. A representative said: "This is an Intel website. It's a showcase site we set up after being approached by channel partners in Singapore who wanted to get online." The representative said that the resellers had the interest, but not the ability, to set up such a site themselves, so Intel, on this occasion had helped out the group of channel partners. Resellers participating in the scheme had to be based in Singapore, and the site was intended specifically for the Singapore market, he said. Intel has no immediate plans, however, to roll out similar sites in other geographies, he added. "This site was setup by Intel as part of our channel programs in Singapore, the addition of the WEB capability (thus far not done anywhere else) was due to channel partner feedback, that is, wanting to get on the WEB but not having resources/ability. "While this site was established because of local channel requests, we will continue to work our established channel programs worldwide whilst evaluating local requests," he added. Over the last weekend, we conclusively showed that the site was Intel-based, with a link to it from the chip giant's own home page. (See story below) ® See also Intel site seems to sell PCs direct
The much hyped wireless application protocol (WAP) has been described as irrelevant and unsuitable to the PDA market, by the leading handheld device vendor. A senior executive of Palm Computing told The Register that WAP was all well and good, but as it had been developed for mobile phones, it was unlikely to find success in the PDA arena. Jean Baptiste Piacengino, Product Line Manager for GSM Products at Palm Computing said: "Demand for sure, but will it deliver on the promises? WAP was exclusively developed for phones and non-computer devices. Web clipping is far better designed for products like the Palm. We are not sure that WAP would work on PDAs." While Palm is still a member of the WAP forum, it has no plans to put WAP on a PDA. But this view not is not shared by everyone the phone camp. Colin Ellis, senior product manager for Ericsson said: "WAP devices are flexible enough for many different screen sizes. It will be application dependent." The larger screens and keyboards that populate PDAs lend themselves more readily to applications such as reading and writing emails. However, Ericsson does not believe that WAP will impact directly on the PDA market. Piacengino said: "AU Systems (the creators of the platform for PDAs) have a lot of experience with Ericsson and whilst doubling up on the platform it is down to the user experience more than the browser and the right connectivity services. It is not just a browser for the benefits of data access. People don't just care about technology they care about how quick they can access it." Future developments in the WAP market this year will see the development of secure transactions to boost ecommerce for mobile devices. Ellis said: "There has been a real growth in the ecommerce marketplace and e-shopping is accelerating. People will start using mobile devices not for grocery shopping but, for instance, if they are looking for a book say on Amazon.com. They could do that from a mobile." ®
The case of the hardcore porn site allegedly abusing the trademark of a popular teenage girl e-zine has taken a new twist after it was discovered that the offending site was sold to a Florida-based company a month ago.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has bought its second chip maker in as many weeks. The foundry has announced a share swap which will see it merge with rival Worldwide Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (WSMC). The deal, to be finalised on 30 June, will see one TSMC share exchanged for every two WSMC shares, and will be worth around NT$17 billion (US$550.5 million). The company will trade as TSMC. WSMC is currently Taiwan's third biggest semiconductor foundry, with an eight-inch fab using 0.25 micron and 0.18 micron process technologies. Production from a second eight-inch WSMC wafer fab is due to kick off in March. The move follows TMSC's merger with Acer's chip arm, Taiwan Semiconductor-Acer Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp (TASMC), on 29 December. The two mergers are expected to swell TSMC's capacity to a throbbing 3.4 million eight-inch wafers in 2000, from its current 2.8 million. TSMC chairman Morris Chang was reported to have said his company's appetite for buyouts was unsated. "I cannot comment on individual cases, but we don't overlook any opportunities for mergers or alliances," he told Reuters. ® Related stories TSMC Acer to boost output by 40pc Acer Semi to merge with TSMC?
Azlan has cemented a deal to buy a Belgian Microsoft training business for £1.86 million cash. The networking distributor will make an initial payment of £1 million for Flexcom, with the remainder paid over two years subject to performance of the company. Flexcom, which also distributes press publications for Microsoft and claims to be Belgium's biggest testing centre for Sylvan and Vue, will be merged into Azlan's existing training business. The division aims to be the country's biggest Microsoft technical training company, also offering courses in Cisco, Novell and Lotus. The deal gives Azlan's training arm 189 training rooms at 29 sites in 10 European countries. ® Related stories: Azlan takes Sylvan test Azlan recovers its roar Azlan plays ecommerce card
ITM Communications has signed a deal with the NUS to gain exclusive access to three million students in the lucrative youth market. The company was formed two and a half years ago from mostly media professionals and produces a lifestyle magazine for graduates and undergraduates on CD-ROM and the Internet. It provides careers information and a database of 350 blue chip employers as well as promoting products from a client base. The idea behind the site is to provide students with a site they will return to for information. Ian Rose, CEO of ITM Communications, said: "We don't want to push careers down the throats of students. They can get company videos, application forms and even apply online. We're not a head hunter for businesses." ITM Communications will work with the NUS to sponsor staff in training and marketing and work on other initiatives worth millions of pounds. Rose continued: "I would like to say how pleased we are. It is an important contract to ourselves. The user base are students and the site will benefit both the NUS and students. We are not a business with 20 legs. It is our sole business to provide quality content to university students so we have to get it right." Andrew Pakes, President of the National Union, of Students was unavailable for comment, but said in a statement: "NUS has always looked to ensure that students are offered access to the best services available. We are confident that ITM have a clear commitment to providing students with superior advice and services. We are delighted to be working with them." ®
A British TV company is attempting to mimic the efforts of DotComguy by getting someone to survive for a week just using the Internet to obtain food and clothing. Unfortunately, technical difficulties with the site's Web cam this morning meant that many viewers were unable to see how GMTV's resident Internet expert, Sally Eden, was surviving in the "e-cave". The e-cave, which is, in fact, just a house, is equipped with just the basics -- a bed, a bathroom and an Internet-ready PC. For everything else -- food, drink, clothes and entertainment -- she'll be relying on the Wibbly Wobbly Web. The experiment started today and her progress can be followed here. Eden will be getting advice from Mitch Maddox -- aka DotComGuy -- on how to make it through the week. DCG himself can be found here. "It's something everyone is interested in," said a spokeswoman for GMTV. "We wanted to see if we could do it [get someone to survive just by using the Net] in the UK," she said. It should be an interesting week. So far Eden has only been able to buy chocolates and flowers. ®
America Online is expected to announce a merger with Time Warner today, a move wqhich will create a media colossus with turnover of $30 billion and a market cap of around $247bn (£153bn).
A Russian computer enthusiast claims to have exploited a security flaw in ICVerify, the popular billing software for online credit-card transactions marketed by Cybercash, Inc. And in so doing he has culled a spectacular total of over 300,000 working accounts, the New York Times reports. The intruder allegedly obtained customer account details from CD Universe, an online music merchant, by exploiting a security weakness in the ICVerify software which the company uses. He then approached CD Universe with a proposal to destroy the stolen data in exchange for US $100,000. The company declined the offer, and the extortionist replied by distributing some 25,000 working account numbers on a Web site from Christmas day, though the site has recently been shut down. We will post further details of this rather intriguing and potentially embarrassing story as they become available. ®
Compel is forking out up to £10.5 million for Pangaea Ltd, a UK Web design and Internet services company. Guilford-based Pangaea is being kept as a stand-alone business within the Compel group, but was this morning renamed Compelreach. Pangaea's clients include Benetton F1, HSBC and Yellow pages. The company made a pre-tax profit of £572,000 for the year ended 30 September 1999, on sales of £1.3 million, and has net assets of £381,000. Initial consideration for the buyout is £2.5 million – consisting of £1.75 million cash and £750,000 million in Compel shares. The maximum spend will be £10.5 million, depending on Compelreach's performance, Compel said. In a trading update, Compel said its own financial performance was in line with expectations. "Early indications suggest that companies are passing through the year 2000 date change without serious incident," it stated. "This lends weight to Compel's strong belief that a marked upturn in expenditure levels will begin in the first half of 2000. "Compel remains very positive about its market." This came three months after the company issued a profit warning for its financial year ending June 2000, where it blamed Y2K for its woes. ® Related stories: Compel declares record profits Compel rings the changes with new division
Use an ear-piece and put it in a bag, make shorter calls or use a landline. These are some of the lessons on how to use a mobile phone that children as young as five will be taught in the classroom. After the Christmas mobile phone boom, 300,000 of them will appear in the classroom prompting concerns about kiddie callers' health. Organisations claim that microwaves from mobiles could affect behaviour or even cause cancer or leukaemia. Edinburgh City Council is taking "precautionary" measures by asking schools to teach children the dangers of mobile phones and how to use them safely. While mobiles are banned in the classroom, "You would have to be burying your head in the sand if you weren't recognising young people have mobile phones in growing numbers," Edinburgh councillor Brian Fallon told The Times: Many parents have bought phones for their children as a safety measure. Leaflets are likely to be distributed to parents and information will be passed to head teachers and staff. ® See also: Follow this link for more mobile phone health scare stuff
Site News Register stickers are now available at Copyleft, the world's finest purveyor of geek chic. Copyleft also makes our T-shirts and baseball caps, and damn fine they are too. Simon Ruperto wins a Register baseball cap for sending us the first email about our merchandise. "Not really sure who I'm supposed to direct this email at," Simon says, "but I just received my "The Register" t-shirt. And I have to say its very high quality and looks great, with a really cool looking vulture on the front, can't wait for you to offer a sweater". Well thank-you, Simon. We've no immediate plans to run to sweaters, but watch this space (and Copyleft) for polo shirts. Don't forget, $2 from every T-shirt and baseball purchase goes to an open source project of Copyleft's choice, and $3 comes our way.®
Site News Hurrah! Now that the first Register t-shirts have shipped across the world, it seems like an appropriate time to tell you all some more about Copyleft, the New Jersey-based designer of geek chic and partner of the Register, London-based supplier of geek cheek. So here's a Q&A with Tedd Blood, co-founder of Copyleft. Tell us about Copyleft - we like the sort of profit tagline- Copyleft actually began as a nonprofit project. It was part of In Limine, the same organization that created the Bazaar. Due to annoying US tax laws related to nonprofits selling stuff, it was easier for us to create a for profit company and give away money. There are other companies that use this model, most notably Paul Newman's company, Newman's Own. The motivation to give money back to the projects and the free software community comes from working within the community for a while and knowing how it works. Free software is all about giving back and it's a principle that Copyleft has been built upon. In addition, as a for profit, we've been able to get the capital from investors that made growth possible. Whose idea was it to form Copyleft? Steve Blood came up with the idea. Originally, when it was still a non-profit project it was called Xunilung. Xunilung appeared briefly at Linux Expo '98, before it was changed to Copyleft. It was actually on the car ride home from Durham that I convinced him that despite how clever a name Xunilung was (gnu/linux backwards) it wasn't good to have a name that people could not say, spell, or remember. Copyleft was born in the summer of of 1998. We needed some money, so, Steve and I raised our first round of micro-seed capital (with 2 more rounds to follow) and geared up for operation. Neil Blaney (the guy who mails people) came on board having never before used Linux and read O'Reilly books for a few months straight before building the entire site. Our official online launch came on November 11, 1998 How many are you? 2.5 - we've run on a small budget for the last 14 months. We are presently closing another round of financing and expect to have enough capital in 2000 to bring on some of the cool people we want to hire and do a lot more of the fun stuff we've been waiting to do. Of course, our commitment to supporting the community will not change. How many t shirts do you make/sell each month? I don't have exact numbers on t-shirts, but we just recently shipped out our 10,000th order. We also sell plenty of books, stickers, hats and a surprising number of those highly addictive penguin mints. Are you a web-only retailer/manufacturer? Yup. We don't even have a phone number. :). We are thinking about doing a catalog though, because we've had a number of people express interest in our products, despite never having heard about free software and who don't have access to the Web.>/b> When do you IPO? :). More and more people are asking us this. An IPO is an exciting prospect, but you end up losing some freedom as a company. Copyleft has always been a fun, low stress place to work (unlike a number of public Internet companies where my friends work). I suppose if we could ensure that the important aspects of Copyleft wouldn't change, and we could raise capital to allow us to do more cool stuff, we'd consider doing an IPO. When? That's hard to say, but if we do it'd probably be in the next year or two. Anything else you'd care to share with us? Mostly, we'd just like to thank everybody. Copyleft has thousands of customers and hundreds of supporters, without whom we'd be nowhere. We've worked hard to make people happy and to create a community-conscious business. The main thing we look forward to, is doing more cool stuff for people and projects. If anyone out there has ideas or suggestions for us, please don't hesitate to send us an email.
Virgin Net claims to have repelled advances from an eager suitor who attempted to hack into its network.
A teenager who appeared before magistrates in Northamptonshire charged with a number of Net-related offences has opted to be tried at crown court. Christopher Buckley, 18, from Oundle, Northamptonshire, was released on bail by magistrates on Friday. The case was adjourned until 18 February. It's charged that Buckley used a BT freephone 0800 number to access the Net without authorisation or permission. He's also been charged with posting material on newsgroups that may have caused "an annoyance" and for using profanities. All three charges are being brought under Section 1 of the Computer Misuse Act 1990 and Section 42 of the Telecommunications Act 1984. ® Related Stories: 0800 court case adjourned... Student charged with unlawful 0800 use
HRH the Queen is hoping to make a quick buck from the dot.com frenzy by investing £100,000 in a UK web company. Her Majesty instructed the stockbroker to the Privy Purse to buy shares in the Millennium Mapping Company - the outfit putting together an online aerial photo of the UK. Her holding represents around five per cent of the Hampshire-based business, and makes her one of 41 major shareholders. These include former brewing magnate Sam Whitbread, and Tristram Cary and Joe Studholme – who founded the company last February, today's Sun newspaper reported. A Buckingham Palace representative refused to confirm whether the deal was a one-off, but it is believed to be the first time the Royals have dipped into their fortune for a business venture. The Queen decided to make the investment after the company made her its figurehead. Staunch monarchists that they are, the makers of the Millennium Map had decided to dedicate their site to the Queen. But today the company refused to comment on its regal shareholder. "It's great," grinned one representative. "But we can't comment on investors. If the Queen wants to say anything about it, that's her decision." Unfortunately, Her Majesty declined to give The Register an exclusive interview regarding her views on the Web. But investment analysts were reported to be applauding her nose for business. "The prices of Internet firms are soaring. I would expect this mapping firm to go public, and with Internet start-ups the sky's the limit," said one senior advisor with bankers HSBC. From tomorrow, The Register will be dedicating itself to The Sultan of Brunei. ® Related Stories: Hi-tech loses favour with HRH
Reports that TDK is considering canning its range of PC modem cards this year are categorically untrue, the European MD said today. At the end of last week, an executive from a TDK competitor, who wished to remain unnamed, suggested that the firm was contemplating leaving that market. Keith Marsen, MD of TDK Systems Europe, vigorously denied these reports. But he did acknowledge that his company, in common with other firms which sell PC modem cards, is looking to expand the business in other directions. Some large businesses, he said, were still insisting that its employees use PC cards, and some switched off the internal modems that many notebooks now incorporate. TDK, in common with its competitors, us supplying so called "soft modem" solutions for the modem market, but would continue to develop and sell PC cards for the local area network (LAN), GSM and ISDN businesses. Marsden said that these three markets were still buoyant, and were not affected by the low margins and technical changes which had affected the PC Card modem market. Further, he said, TDK will introduce Bluetooth PC Cards during the course of this year, and this technology promised to be a lucrative and big-growing market. ®
Updated Taiwanese chipset manufacturer and Intel microprocessor rival Via claimed today that it has started volume shipments of its Apollo KX-133 chipset to 20 of its motherboard customers. But PC manufacturers which use the Via chipset said today that the earliest they could expect to receive the KX-133 in mobos was likely to mid-February, contradicting the firm's claims. Via, which is currently snarled in litigation with Intel over alleged patent infringements, did not name the companies when it issued a statement first thing UK time this morning, but said it had opened a special KX-133 zone at its web site. The KX-133 chipset is an Athlon chipset which the company claims supports AGP 4x and PC-133, and allows builds of lean, mean motherboards. The chipset is being built by its fab partner, TSMC, the biggest semiconductor firm on the island of Taiwan. It uses a .35 micron three metal layer process and costs $34 when bought in large quantities, said Via. One PC manufacturer who declined to be named, suggested that there was not one motherboard vendor who actually has samples ready to ship, leading us to believe that Via is not immune from the type of problems that affect Intel and other semiconductor manufacturers. The homepage for Via can be found here. At press time this morning, the so-called "KX-133 Zone" was not up and running, but a representative said it would be there in an hour or so. ®
The US Supreme Court has refused to entertain Microsoft's appeal of a US appellate court ruling on a class-action suit which makes temporary and contract workers eligible to buy discounted shares through the company's employee stock purchase scheme. Originally, a US district court had limited eligibility to a handful of workers, but the appellate court ruled that any temporary or contract employee who had worked at least twenty hours per week for at least five months in any year since 1987 should be eligible to participate in the company's shares purchase scheme, which offers a fifteen per cent discount. The appeals court left Microsoft with the burden of proof over which workers could be excluded from the class, with the result that many thousands are expected to qualify. In its request to be heard, Microsoft claimed to be swamped with claims from temporary and contract workers seeking compensation. The Court, apparently, was unmoved. The decision will undoubtedly expose to similar liability a large number of companies that hire temporary employees and independent contractors, a common practice in the US usually undertaken as a means of escaping such routine obligations as job security and fringe benefits. The Supreme Court rejected an earlier appeal from Microsoft regarding this same case in 1998. The nine Justices on Monday rejected Microsoft's latest request unanimously, and without comment. ®
Competition The Register is pleased to announce the competition of the year, nay the millennium, when that starts. Wondering what you will wear to the next fancy dress party, or just want to be noticed around town? Want to impress your partner? Well, we have the answer..... Following our story Seven alternative uses for an Intel Bunny Suit, Intel has generously donated a Genuine Gold* Bunny Suit, which we will give to the winner of the competition. We emphasise that this bunny suit is not one of the real suits used in Intel fabrication plants world-wide, but like the ones used in its successful BunnyPeople™ ad campaign which ran on TV and in other media for several years. The kit includes a gold suit, gold helmet with a black visor, gloves and boot covers. There's only one size of suit available (adult), so if it doesn't fit your build, sorry. The Register will cover the costs of shipping the suit worldwide, and will also offer six runner up prizes of Register baseball caps, just like those shown here. All you need to do to win this absolutely fab prize is to complete the following four questions correctly, and give a witty answer to question number 5. 1. What is Moore's Law? 2. What year was the first Intel x.86 processor introduced? 3. How many transistors are there in the latest Intel Pentium(®) lll Processor ? 4. What completes this Register tagline: "The only good endian is...."? (you can find it in our archive) Show some initiative for question no.5 5. Complete the following tie-breaker sentence in no more than 10 words: "I am gagging for an Intel Bunny Suit because..." Entry is strictly limited to one entry per person, and the decision of the judges is final. The closing date for the competition is 31 January 2000. Entries are welcome from all our readers worldwide. Entries from employees of Intel or its affiliates, or employees of The Register or its affiliates are not eligible. But the competition is open to all other readers. To avoid congestion on our own Register email system, we've set up a shell account. Please email your answers to email@example.com. * It's not real Gold!