AT&T portal Excite@Home has been threatened with banishment from Usenet's vast labyrinth of newsgroups on allegations of massive spamming. Usenet issued an ultimatum and deadline of 18 January if the objectionable practice is not brought under control. A mis-communication between the protagonists appears to have enlarged the drama and brought both parties to the brink, though a late email exchange between Usenet users and @Home indicates that the two sides are now working together in something like a state of cautious cooperation. Excite@Home's excuse was novel to say the least. Incorrectly configured proxy software on computers belonging to @Home subscribers permitted them to be used as relay points for malicious, outside spammers, @Home Network Policy Manager David Jackson explained. In an eleventh-hour appeal for a stay of execution, @Home posted an explanation on Usenet, and proposed "stepping up our involvement and taking more aggressive action by performing frequent network wide scans of our customer base to target proxy servers." "Once these customers are identified, we are suspending their news service immediately. Re-enabling will not occur until we are assured that their machines are secure. We feel that this proactive effort will dramatically decrease the amount of extraneous news traffic originating from home.com," the company said. "With these new tactics in place, we are asking for an extension to our USENET access beyond the 18th of January and we are confident that the USENET community will see positive news statistics coming in the next few days," @Home predicted. Unfortunately, as luck would have it, @Home "failed to take into account the moderation process used in three of the four groups where the response was posted. The result of this is, the response did not appear on any properly configured NNTP (Net News Transfer Protocol) server," Usenet user David Ritz revealed. This then led to a dialogue in which the Usenet groups appear to have conceded a bit more time for @Home to sort out its subscribers' proxy settings. "I'm going to make a request that they receive some additional time to be able to make the sweeping changes needed to really put a stangle on spam originated through their network, Usenet's Ritz told The Register. "@Home's acknowledging the problem is the first step toward their becoming good Usenet neighbours again," he added. As always, we will update the story with grave diligence as more facts become available. ® Link to Usenet FAQ What is Usenet?
A report in US technology title Electronic Buyers' News said that Rambus has offered mammoth Korean memory combination Hyundai 30,000 of its shares at the knockdown price of ten bucks each if it steps up its production of its memory for the marketplace. Hyundai, which was forced to merge with LG Semicon by the South Korean government last year, already has options to buy 25,000 Rambus shares at $10. There is a condition, and that is that Hyundai churn out ten million additional memory chips for the Rambus platform, formerly called Direct Rambus. That suggests that the ...err... incentive is intended to give Rambus technology a leg-up. Rambus' intention is clear. The price of RIMMs for PCs is still way higher than many people are expected to pay, and it must get the price down if it is to achieve significant market share, particularly given the widespread interest and low cost of double data rate (DDR) synchronous memory and PC-133 synchronous memory. In the next 10 days, Intel is expected to sample its Solano II chipset, which will include support for PC-133 memory, after it was forced to accede that was what its customers, the PC vendors wanted, in autumn last year. Samsung, another massive Korean memory combine, also has options to buy one million shares that it cannot yet exercise, EBN reports. However, whether Hyundai will take the Rambus bait is unclear, given the fact that share prices can go up as well as down. The Rambus share price, in particular, has demonstrated the Marjorie Daw seesaw effect over the last 52 weeks. The RMBS share price closed at $89 5/8 last Friday, but has seen a 52 week high of $117 1/2 and a 52 week low of $51 1/2. So the question here is how much it costs Hyundai to produce and sell the memories for the Rambus RIMMs. Is it worth taking a punt on the share price staying high, Rambus doing well, and Hyundai raking it in? And how well will Rambus do, considering that both AMD and Intel now have SDRAM strategies? Rambus will next report quarterly earnings on the 18 January. The EBN story can be found here. ®
A number of PC products have, as usual, made their debut in the Akihabara area of Tokyo, a good while before we will see them in either Tottenham Court Road or NYC. According to the latest, Japanese report, from Akihabara PC hotline, motherboards have started to appear to support the Via Samuel processor, while sales of the Via Cyrix socket 7 MIIv and MIIv mobile parts have already started. And, as revealed here last week, there is a sample of an Intel i840 third party board made by Supermicro being shown, which will support the 800MHz Xeon in its familiar Slot Two configuration. The long-awaited ATI Rage Fury Max has also made its appearance, priced at between Y35,000 and Y40,000. (One US dollar = Y106). A K7 mobo from Asus which was the subject of a disappearing act last year, has also made its appearance in its retail packaging. And the Intel .25 Celeron 533MHz is also now available in Akihabara, Pricewatch Japan reports. The complete report (in Japanese but with some pictures), can be found here. ® UK's premier tech street goes to seed