6th > March > 2000 Archive

The Register breaking news

Hardware Roundup Soyo wanna mobo?

We're avoiding the temptation to link to countless reviews of 1GHz microprocessors this morning -- goodness knows there are enough of them. Instead, some more tranquilising news from around the hardware sites. At Hard OCP, there's a photograph of the X-Station. Well, it may not be Microsoft's X-Station, but it's definitely an X-Station of some kind... And Kyle, at the same site, has a review of some Soyo gear which is well worth a look. The 6VBA-133 features on his site. Here at Sharky Extreme, there's a review of some speakers from Video Logic. A review here at Anandtech of a Shuttle mobo using Via's Apollo Pro 133A chipset. ® 2 March 2000 Over at JC's pages there are some juicy bits and pieces about AMD's Itanium killer -- codenamed Sledgehammer. JC comments that the information comes from sources which are usually reliable. Fame at last for The Register, Dr Tom, Kyle Bennett of rocking HardOCP and Dr Ro-Ro of CeBIT. Over at Detonate, there's a 10 frame strip about the problems besetting online journalists at SnoBIT last week. Dr Tom looks like Dr Tom but Mad Mike Magee wishes he looked as young as this geezer in the strip, even though the words put into his mouth have more than a ring of truth about them... At Anandtech there's an in-depth piece about the marchitecture and architecture of Willamette (pronounced Wlamette in the US). At Ars Technica, there's a link to an interesting fact sheet on Intel's views about Web Appliances, which will run some flavour or other of the Linux operating system. ® 1 March 2000 Both AMD Zone and JC are reporting that the K6-2+ has mysteriously arisen from its canning and will intro in two weeks. We had the same information from the same source as these two sites. But it's all a bit strange, because we're sure that nice Steve Lapinski on the AMD stand at CeBIT said something to the contrary... More AMD news. Anandtech rolled round the mighty Halles at CeBIT and took a look at 20 different mobos for the Athlon. A new (to us) site to look at. PC Extremist has some AMD pricing up. German site Tech Channel is reporting that Sony is doing a worldwide recall of batteries for digicams, camcorders and the like. Tom's Hardware Guide has some interesting info on how to revive your old slocket cards to take Intel's famous flip chip technology. Firing Squad, which we haven't visited for a while, sorry lads, has a piece about Undercover Athlon mobos. ® 29 February 2000 A lengthy piece by Van Smith at Tom's Hardware Pages has outlined Intel's roadmap and at the same time made comments about the direction it is going compared to AMD. Much of the information here is tabulated, and as with our own Intel roadmap piece, shows prices for microprocessors up until the middle of the year. Van seems to think that Intel's finally lost it, and certainly AMD prices, which are now expected to be released today, will certainly jolt Chipzilla's composure. Jon Hou, over at Fullon3D has an interview with the Via folk, who make some comments about Willamette there. And Chris Pittman, at Doc Hardware" has a piece about Creative's WebCam3, where he puts it through its paces. After, in their own words, managing to get their hands on a Rambus RIMM, Hardware One has posted here a review of AOpen's AX6C i820 Camino motherboard. We missed this yesterday, but JC's pages had some interesting info on future Intel processors. It's not on the front page any more, but dig a little. And, as he points out, all Intel roadmaps did show the 866MHz, 850MHz roadmap as happening at the end of February. So what has caused Intel to change its mind? AMD? ® 28 February 2000 At Aces Hardware, there's an interesting SnoBIT report from Johan. He got Intel to contradict itself by saying there were no 3GHz ALUs in the Willamette, thus effectively thickening the plot. He also visited AMD and Via, like ourselves and got some snaps, unlike ourselves. He was also shown some AMD stuff, like ourselves, and presumably got the fisticuffs key-ring, like ourselves. And Tom's Hardware also has a report on the appalling conditions at SnoBIT and also some pix of the Thunderbird baby. Meanwhile, the lads and lasses over at c't have some more useful information including word that AMD will, just like Intel, go socket and slot (hammer and tongs) with future K7s. You can read our own CeBIT coverage here. Now Tweak 3D has updated its extensive guide to tweaking those pesky mobos and those even more pesky BIOSes. At Hard OCP there's information about an intriguing bit of widgetry-pokery called the Golden Orb, which you clamp onto your old Socket 370 part. An interesting piece over at Anandtech about the Via implementation of Apollo chipsets in motherboards. The site looks at 12 different boards, and suggests that it is very important to know how each performs. (This, incidentally, is probably nothing to do with yield problems which we have reported earlier -- we are still hearing complaints from PC vendors about similar difficulties with the KX133).®
Team Register, 06 Mar 2000
The Register breaking news

AMD suffers Gigglehurts hype attack

You've got to giggle at the press release AMD put out signalling its PR triumph over the dark forces of Intel's massive PR department, if only for the level of hyperbole it reaches in places. Before we start on that deliciousness however, let's get the nuts and bolts out of the way. AMD is shipping 1GHz Athlons, and Gateway and Compaq are shipping systems using the said beasts. It has also started selling 950MHz and 900MHz of Athlons. Prices for the 1GHz are $1,300/1000, for the 950 $1000/1000, and for the 900/$900. (We refuse to print the draper's disease prices which have 999 on the end, in the UK that's the number for the emergency services). There are conference calls galore during the day, and we will return to the subject soon enough. AMD has also placed benchmarketing figures on its site which you can find there. We also expect some kind of response from Lurkzilla. Right. Back to the Gigglehurts. Someone has placed this in Jerry Sanders III mouth: " Just as the achievement of Chuck Yeager signaled the beginning of a new era in aviation, the 1GHz processor ushers in a new era of information technology. AMD plans to lead in the gigahertz era." Over here, there's a page about Chuck and his plane Glamorous Glennis, but the comparison between breaking the sound barrier and hitting the 1GHz mark is completely spurious. A processor running at 999MHz is "slower" than one running 1001MHz, but there's no essential barrier that's been broken, unless it be one of marchitecture. And in the crazy world of press releases, and in the even crazier world of share trading, let us assure you, that has amazing significance. The spinners in the press release scale even greater heights in their search for the right metaphor, with Neil "Moon" Armstrong, Roger "Four Minutes" Bannister and Edmund "Everest" Hillary all dragged in to underline the importance of this announcement. Both Gateway and Compaq suits are also dragged in to say their piece about the world shattering significance of the fast chip. Funny, though, we don't remember this level of hype when the x.86 first reached a staggering 10MHz or even an even more epoch breaking 100MHz... Let us not detract from the true glory of AMD's achievement, however. There will be glum, gloom and despondency in Intel's marchitecture labs, because the spinners there have been soundly trashed at the game they started. And, more seriously, and as we have pointed out many times in the last year and a half, AMD is denting Intel's image by being able to supply its Athlons. ® Some important March 6ths in history (source here) 1604 Coronation of Sweden's Charles IX (wrong calendar however) 1836 Battle of the Alamo in Sam Antonio, miles away from Dan Francisco 1896 Horseless carriage appears in Detroit 1899 Aspirin patented 1930 Clarence Birdseye goes into business 1947 Kiki Dee born 1974 Italian loses $1,920,000 in roulette in Monte Carlo 1978 Hustler publisher shot 1992 Computer users brace themselves for Michelangelo virus 1997 Queen Elizabeth II launches Royal Web Site See also AMD likely to beat Intel to 1GHz punch AMD puts Intel on 1GHz ropes Intel to dribble out 1GHz Cumine this month Intel brings Pentium III launch forward (the Tweedledee-Tweedledum story)
Mike Magee, 06 Mar 2000
The Register breaking news

Compaq may avoid multi-$ hit with Presario patch

In a move which may avoid it having to pay swingeing damages over a law suit which cost Toshiba $1.2 billion last year, Compaq told nearly two million users of a software patch which fixes a glitch in a disk controller system. The Wayne Reaud law firm filed class action cases against Compaq, Packard Bell, HP and e-Machines on November 1st last year, after settling with Toshiba, which apparently did not want to get involved in legal wrangling. Now, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Compaq will tell 1.7 million users of Presarios that they can fix the problem, which relates to a glitch in the disk controller and which stops people downloading to floppy disks while multitasking. It is offering a software patch for 26 Presario machines on its support forum. We couldn't track the patch when we ventured into Compaq's rather labyrinthine support forum. The report added that Compaq discovered the software fix when testing PCs in preparation for a legal battle with Reaud. No-one from Compaq was available for comment at press time. ® See also Compaq to introduce new desktop boxes
Mike Magee, 06 Mar 2000
The Register breaking news

Web site league tables for UK, France and Germany

Here's NetValue's rankings for the top ten Web sites for UK, France and Germany in January. France 1 - Wanadoo 2 - Yahoo 3 - MSN 4 - Grolier Interactive 5 - Ibazar Group 6 - Multimania 7 - Voila 8 - Groupe Libertysurf 9 - AOL 10 - Microsoft UK 1 - MSN 2 - Yahoo 3 - Freeserve (.co.uk) 4 - AOL 5 - Microsoft 6 - Lycos 7 - Excite 8 - BBC (.co.uk) 9 - Virgin 10 - LineOne Germany 1 - T Online 2 - Yahoo 3 - AOL 4 - MSN 5 - Lycos 6 - Gmx (.de) 7 - Microsoft 8 - Ebay (.de) 9 - Netscape 10 - Comdirect.de 2000/01 Reach ranking (Percentage of Users) France Wanadoo - 53.1% Yahoo - 52.8% Voila - 44.3% MSN - 36.7% Multimania - 36.3% Microsoft - 33.7% Grolier Interactive - 33.3% Ibazar Group - 31.0% Groupe Libertysurf - 30.9% Lycos - 25.6% UK Yahoo - 54. % MSN - 51.2% Microsoft - 42.6% Freeserve (.co.uk) - 38.1% Lycos - 28.3% AOL - 27.3% Excite - 24.9% Demon - 24.9% Tripod - 20.8% Altavista - 20.5% Germany T Online - 63.7 % Yahoo - 49.2 % MSN - 37.4 % Lycos - 35.8% AOL - 30.9 % Microsoft - 29.4% Netscape - 19.6% Altavista - 18.6% Tripod - 17.5% Fireball (.de)- 16.5%
Team Register, 06 Mar 2000
The Register breaking news

Carole Vorderman up for sale on eBay

One of Britain's favourite TV presenters has been put up for sale on eBay. Bidders looking to purchase their own Countdown countess have until tomorrow to buy the limited edition Carole Vorderman. The ad reads: "1 Original, Shrinkwrapped Carol Vorderman. Mint Quality. "Only 200 ever made (The Other 199 are now presenting TV Shows), this is an ultra-rare Collectible that should never be removed from the packaging." You too can bid for Calculatin' Carol here. The auction closes tomorrow but Ms Vorderman has already passed her reserve price and received a bid of £250. Earlier this year Ms Vorderman shut down her own Web site because it was attracting lewd and irreverent comments. ®
Tim Richardson, 06 Mar 2000
The Register breaking news

Sicilian couple win £270k from Net gambling…

A Sicilian couple 'won' £270,000 from betting on an online lottery -- using stolen credit cards. Apart from the fact that the money wasn't theirs to spend in the first place, the odds don't look particularly healthy. Electronic systems expert Guiseppe Rossi, 34, and Sandra Elazar, 33, spent £500,000 on their gambling spree. Winnings were laundered through several bank accounts, some overseas. They also did their bit for e-commerce retailing, ordering clothes watches and thousands of books which were, curiously, mainly German novels. The couple are accused of hacking into computers to gain credit card numbers. And they have been charged with the illegal use of credit cards. Most were issued by two American banks: Chase Manhattan and Citibank Universal MC Card. Rossi and Elazar's gambling spree torpedoed the online lottery service. It was forced to shut down, after a "banking service became suspicious about the large volumes of bets being placed", Metro reports. ®
Drew Cullen, 06 Mar 2000
The Register breaking news

Japanese firm offers 50,000 free Dreamcasts

The so-called 'Free PC Revolution' may have been quelled at the first shot, but a Japanese company is hoping that it may fare rather better if it gives away 50,000 Sega Dreamcast consoles. The scheme, run by Japan's J-Data Co., follows the free-PC pattern pretty closely. In order to receive a gratis Dreamcast, punters will have to cough up a Y3000 ($28.05) membership fee and a Y2480 ($23.18) monthly charge for one year's subscription to Japanese ISP Momotaro Internet, according to a report on the Nikkei newswire. Subscribers' contracts can't be cancelled during the first year, which J-Data said was an advantage over free-PC deals, which typically tied subscribers into a given ISP for three years. True, but then PCs cost rather more than Dreamcasts. Financially, J-Data reckons it will make enough out of its cut of Momotaro's subscription fees and through online sales made via an e-commerce operation it intends to launch and market heavily to all those folk with free Dreamcasts. Advertising is probably part of the revenue mix, too. ® Would-be Dreamcast owners can sign up at Free-DC.com
Tony Smith, 06 Mar 2000
The Register breaking news

Ex-Bay City Roller found with kiddie porn

A former member of 70s teenie-pop band The Bay City Rollers has pleaded guilty to charges of possessing child pornography in his home. Derek Longmuir, 48, once the drummer with the pop group and now a nurse, also admitted downloading four indecent images from the Internet. He said he did this only out of curiousity, while taking a break from studying for his degree. Longmuir denies being a paedophile. His lawyer said he was storing "the pornography for a friend who had bought it in Portugal and left it with Longmuir when he returned to the United States", according to The Guardian. He pleaded guilty to the charges, because he was aware of the indecent nature of the material when he was storing it. Police raided Longmuir's home in September 1998, following a tip-off. There they found dozens of videos and a computer containing more than 100 images of child pornography. Sentencing has been deferred until 24 March pending psychiatric and other reports. Longmuir has been released on bail. ® Related Story Singer Gary Glitter jailed for kiddie Net porn
Drew Cullen, 06 Mar 2000
The Register breaking news

Sony sells 980,000 PlayStation 2 consoles in two days

An unsurprisingly chuffed Sony this morning announced it sold 980,000 PlayStation 2s in Japan over the weekend - just 20,000 units shy of its one million-machine target. What's 20,000 units among friends? Quite a lot really, especially when a good proportion of the total number of machines sold hasn't actually shipped yet. Sony was forced to admit that while it took 380,000 orders over the Net, only 120,000 customers - less than one third of the total -received their console. The reason: we're ten days behind schedule on production, Sony confessed to Reuters, thanks to a shortage of memory cards. Still, like movie opening weekend numbers, the initial sales of the PlayStation 2 are less important than the console's performance over the coming months. Sony is now predicting it will have shipped 1.4 million PlayStation 2s by the end of March, down on its original prediction of 1.5 million. Given the high level of as yet unfulfilled orders, Sony is going to have to work very hard to catch up. However, Sony presumably believes it is still on course to ship six million consoles between the start of April and the end of the year. ®
Tony Smith, 06 Mar 2000
The Register breaking news

It's first come, first served: AltaVista

AltaVista UK has warned that its new unmetered ISP will be rolled out first come, first served, leaving many people potentially disappointed. There's every prospect that AltaVista could be responsible for an undignified scramble for unmetered access in much the same way that embarrassed Screaming.net, CallNet0800, Telewest, et al. Andy Mitchell, MD of AltaVista UK ,told The Register this morning that people would have to expect that the service would be in high demand and that not everyone would be enrolled from day one. "There will be people who can't register for the service," he said. "The only way you can manage and launch the service is to restrict the numbers of people signing up," he said. It's understood that people will register by handing over their credit card details online. They will know there and then whether their application has been successful. Mitchell said he didn't want to see a repeat of the "several false starts" that have dogged the launch of similar services in Britain. He also said that AltaVista had yet to sign up with a telco to provide the infrastructure for the service. The company is currently in discussion with three telcos, he said, but wouldn't say which ones. So, before Net users in Britain do themselves a mischief by getting worked up into an absolute frenzy, let's just take a cold, hard look at what's on offer as of today. AltaVista has no telco backbone and no ISP in Britain. It will manage registration for the service ruthlessly. It will happen some time within the next couple of months. Clear enough? ® Related stories: Alta Vista UK to launch free everything ISP
Tim Richardson, 06 Mar 2000
The Register breaking news

Dell in ding dong over cybersquatting

PC giant Dell is suing 23 people for alleged cybersquatting after a series of domains using the word Dell were registered. The action has been taken against 17 companies and six individuals, according to a report in the Austin Business Journal, who have registered names such as Dellbackup.com, Dellsolutions.com and Dellparts.com. Fifteen of those accused are based in the US, along with two in Taiwan, two in Korea, one in Canada, one in China, one in Chile and one in the UK. Around 30 Dell-like names are at the centre of the row, with less than a third actually being used. Dell is arguing that this is a clear example of cybersquatting – registering a domain akin to a registered trademark with no intention of actually using it. The PC vendor wants all the sites shut down and the URLs handed over. Quoted in the Austin Business Journal, Dell representative, Adrianne MacPherson, said: "First and foremost, we want them to cease using the Dell name. The whole purpose of the suit is just to protect our intellectual property in order to eliminate any kind of consumer confusion resulting from Dell being in the domain names." The case was filed in the U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas, in Austin on 11 February. ® Related stories: Warner threatens Harry Potter fan sites Teen mag porn squat row blows up US outlaws cybersquatting
Sean Fleming, 06 Mar 2000
The Register breaking news

Name change for Cisco distie RBR

RBR Networks has changed its name to Comstor and laid out its Web plans for the next twelve months. The UK distributor today switched its branding to cash in on the Comstor name – the existing US Cisco distribution business of parent company Datatec. The move is the first part of Datatec's plan to bring all its Cisco distributors under the Comstor umbrella. The Cirencester-based outfit, bought by South African Datatec in September 1998, said it planned to keep its Cisco-only distribution policy. The company also outlined its e-commerce offering for the channel. From today, resellers will be able to use Cisco's configuration facility, Network Product Market for Resellers (NPMR), as part of the distributor's Web site (www.comstor.co.uk). Cisco wants 15 per cent of Comstor's UK sales to be online within the year. Comstor claims over 70 per cent of the Cisco distribution market in the UK, with 800 resellers. ® Related stories: RBR wins Cisco academic channel rights RBR Networks bouncing following increase in turnover Datatec buys US Cisco disti How much is a Cisco distribution franchise worth?
Linda Harrison, 06 Mar 2000
The Register breaking news

AMD US lags behind Euro Athlon demand

That was the quickest conference call we ever had. After a 15 minute wait, Steve Lapinski, who heads up Athlon product marketing at AMD, was there, ready and waiting, to take calls from the world press but almost as soon as we got one in, and before we could get another one in, the call went off air. Our question to Lapinski, who we bumped against in CeBIT a couple of weeks back, was about its market share in the high performance (Athlon) desktop market in the first quarter of this year, and whether it could sustain that demand. You will remember that we had reports from channel and OEM partners (in Europe) saying that it had significantly increased its share. Lapinski said that estimates from Mercury Research, a US marketing company, was that AMD held between two to five per cent of the high performance desktop marketplace in the first three months of this year. "We see no problem meeting demands for our customer requirements," he added. That will be fulfilled by both Fabs 25 and 30, he said. These figures vary greatly from Europe, where, we understand, the market share is just over eight per cent in the high performance (Athlon) segment. And AMD estimates it holds around 32 per cent of the value segment -- essentially K6-2s. In fact, sources said that Gateway in the UK will be the first to be able to sell 1GHz Athlons, although that remained unconfirmed at press time. Lapinski also confirmed that the entire production of its Athlon 1GHz processor during March will go to Gateway and Compaq during this month. AMD plans to ship 1GHz processors to all of its other OEMs and partners in April. AMD's share price rose to over $47 shortly after the opening of trading on Wall Street. ® See also AMD puts Intel on 1GHz ropes AMD Athlon stormed during Q1 -- channel
Mike Magee, 06 Mar 2000
The Register breaking news

Man banned from flogging BBC domains

The BBC has won a High Court injunction blocking any attempt by a British man to sell the domains bbc1.com and bbc2.com. The action was taken on the basis of "trademark infringement, passing off and breach of contract", according to a statement issued on Friday. In other words, the BBC reckons registered owner Stephen Taylor of Codsall, Staffordshire was cybersquatting. The Beeb also issued a claim for Taylor to hand over the domains and pay legal costs. The BBC added that the injunction barred Taylor from transferring the names to any third party, and ordered him to disclose the names of any third party to whom he had transferred them before the injunction, if indeed he had. According to a BBC statement, Taylor's solicitor confirmed he still owns the names and does not intend to defend the action. BBC director of corporate affairs, Colin Browne, said: "This demonstrates very clearly that we will take decisive action to stop people who try to exploit for their own advantage domain names which reflect brands belonging to the BBC and the licence fee payer." Taylor was not available for comment this morning. No one at the BBC was available to say by press time whether Taylor had tried to get the BBC to cough up a load of cash in return for the domains. Nor was any one available to say how negotiations were progressing over the domain bbc.org, currently owned a small Canadian computer club. ® Related stories: BBC demands URL from Canadian IT club
Tim Richardson, 06 Mar 2000
The Register breaking news

Cash Register: 22-29 Feb 2000

29 Feb 2000 Lycos comes to US market with free Net access
Team Register, 06 Mar 2000
The Register breaking news

Ingram Micro names new chief

Ingram Micro has named its replacement for CEO Jerre Stead. Kent Foster, 56, today joined the distributor after quitting as president of telecomms company GTE Corp. Foster has a wide array of business interests – he also sits on the boards of Campbell Soup, New York Life Insurance and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. "The company has a great group of leaders on board, and I am eager to work as part of this team of seasoned professionals to build upon the strategies and services that have been established," he said. "Our objective will be to develop the opportunities and changes required in this rapid-fire industry to take this company to the next level." Stead, who announced plans to quit last September following an Ingram profit warning, will stay chairman of the board until the company's shareowner meeting in May. ® Related stories: Stead walks the plank following Ingram profit warning Ingram profits slip in face of record sales
Linda Harrison, 06 Mar 2000
The Register breaking news

Lastminute: the backlash begins

City bookies may be squabbling about how much Lastminute will be worth after its the first day of trading (more than double the IPO price, they agree). But the Sunday papers are decidedly sniffy about the post IPO prospects of Lastminute.com. The Financial Mail on Sunday advises its readers to avoid the share offering. The Sunday Times ungallantly describes Lastminute's Martha Lane Fox as the "Sophie Mirman of our era". (Mirman was the founder of Sock Shop, a supersoaraway retail stock of the 1980s that overreached itself and had to call in the receivers). Meanwhile, The Sunday Express has written a huge piece on Lastminute, based around some well-publicised research on online travel agencies in Europe, from MMXI Europe. Lastminute is still number one, but the competition is catching up fast, it reports. ®
Drew Cullen, 06 Mar 2000
The Register breaking news

Linuxcare significantly downgrades IPO expectations

Linux services company Linuxcare has massively downgraded its IPO expectations - or so its latest filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission would seem to suggest. The company's previous filing, which simply registered its intention to go public, set its IPO-derived fund-raising target at $92 million. But a follow-up filing made last week noted that Linuxcare expects to raise just $56.6 million. Preliminary filings contain an estimate of the funds to be raised through an IPO to allow the SEC to determine the level of the fees the would-be IPO-er must cough up to go public. However, such estimates are usually lower than later target, not higher. And the first filing doesn't have to indicate how many shares the company will offer. This time, Linuxcare said it will offer 4.5 million shares, but it's not known whether that marks a reduction in the amount of stock to put up for sale - hence the lower proceeds - or whether the company expects to make less money per share. When they go on sale, Linuxcare's shares will be priced between $13 and $15 apiece. Linuxcare's previous filing noted revenues of $518,111 and losses of $10.6 million for the time between its formation in January 1999 to 30 September 1999. By the end of the year, revenues had risen to $1.5 million, and the loss to $21.3 million, according to the latest filing. Linuxcare plans to spend its $56.6 million on a mix of sales and marketing efforts, and equipment. It also plans to spend around $65 million on acquisitions, so that plus its already escalating losses means the company isn't going to make any money until 2002 at the earliest. Fingers crossed, that is. Linuxcare's business is founded on major service providers outsourcing their Linux support. If the demand for Linux support continues to grow - as it shows every sign of doing - that's good news for Linuxcare. Unless, of course, said service providers decide they're better off fielding their own, in-house expertise. Over half of Linuxcare's revenue last year came from just three companies: Sun (26 per cent), Motorola (18 per cent) and SGI (11 per cent). If just one of them drops the company, Linuxcare is going to have problems. ® Related Stories Linuxcare challenges MS to open Windows source Linuxcare opens support services for customer rebranding Linuxcare expands globally through $32.5m investment
Tony Smith, 06 Mar 2000
The Register breaking news

French ban email

The French have unveiled plans to stop the tainting of their tongue by banning email. Politicians who once tried to make phrases like le weekend and le sandwich as unsavoury as frogs legs are at it again. This time they want to force the French civil service to stop using cyber-Anglicisms. Email will be replaced for bureaucrats by courrier electronique (electronic letter), while a start-up will be known officially as a jeune pousse (young plant). Other English language terms deemed too dangerous are stock option, which will become une option sur titre, and media magnet, un aimant des medias. But the changes, which follow similar attempts by the government to curtail the use of English in modern French speak, seem doomed by the government's own admission, today's Times reported. "The State can't impose terms on other people," admitted Jean Saint-Geours, head of the ministry of finance's terminology committee. "But it is desirable that the whole country should talk the same language." It seemed to slip his mind that the whole world should be speaking the same Oueb language. ® Related stories: French language discovers email
Linda Harrison, 06 Mar 2000
The Register breaking news

Profit jumps at Morse

Morse Holdings saw profits jump 27 per cent for the six months ended 31 December 1999. The reseller recorded profit before tax and goodwill at £14.5 million, compared to £11.4 million the previous year. Sales rose 41 per cent to £203.1 million. The Middlesex-based company said trading had started well for 2000. ® Related stories: Morse profits leap like a salmon Morse hit by dodgy spelling Morse puts IPO on back burner
Linda Harrison, 06 Mar 2000
The Register breaking news

Schools inspector slams mobiles & the Net

Chris Woodhead has called for mobile phones to be banned from the classroom. The Chief Inspector of Schools yesterday described mobiles as a "menace" and said he would not allow them if he was a teacher. "I think the mobile phone is extremely disruptive and if I was still teaching and there were mobiles that ever rang in my classroom, I would want to know why," he said. "They've got an essential place in modern society but in the wrong place – restaurants and schools – they are a menace." Woodhead went on to say that much of Britain's youth were wasting their time surfing the Net, today's Metro newspaper reported. "They are doing what we used to do in the library – just copying out slabs of material without thinking about it." ® Related stories: Kids taught to use mobile phones Mobile phones are akin to cyanide, says academic
Linda Harrison, 06 Mar 2000
The Register breaking news

London Police in URL ownership row

The Metropolitan Police Service -- London's police force -- is said to be taking action against a cybersquatter. Around 20 different names based around Metropolitan Police have been registered by Redwood Wilson, IT manager with an accountancy firm. The Met is concerned that Redwood's sites are attracting communication from people looking for the force's official site, which can be found at www.met.police.uk. Emails relating to investigations as well as from people asking for information about joining the Met are among those said to have been sent to Wilson by mistake. Wilson claims he is not a cybersquatter and says he is simply in the habit of registering domain names which he then sells on at a profit. According to the FT, Wilson wants "at least £1,500 to cover his registration costs to gain ownership of the names." Nice to know the police, already strapped for cash and lacking in manpower, are having their time taken up by such important and weighty matters. Wilson contacted the police via email to ask if the Met was interested in buying them. Not surprisingly, he received a terse reply threatening him with court action. The FT said that Wilson was ready to battle with the Met, but that the police had now said legal action was not on the cards. ® Related story Man banned from flogging BBC domains
Sean Fleming, 06 Mar 2000
The Register breaking news

Novell to get 10 per cent of MS-Caldera settlement?

Novell is to receive around 10 per cent of the Caldera v Microsoft settlement - enough to add perhaps $25 to $30 million of sunshine to the quarter, but not enough to get out the bathing togs. It will be interesting to see if Novell identifies the payment which would then give confirmation of the precise settlement amount, or buries it in its revenue. The SEC has been stricter recently in requiring the identification of revenue from lines of business, as well as from extraordinary items (Cisco recently had to resubmit its accounts appropriately broken down). Ironically, Novell would have received more had it not had to renegotiate its arrangement with Caldera for an unrelated reason. As a consequence of the settlement, Caldera Inc shareholders are receiving a handy dividend of $11 per share in cash, with an option to have $7 in cash and 1.5 shares of Lineo. Since it is believed that they only paid 15 cents/share, they have done rather well. The unrewarded heroes are the Brits who developed DR-DOS, the subject of the MS v Caldera case, in the first place - originally in Hungerford, Hampshire, and then in Andover where Roger Gross ran the Caldera thin client operation that became Lineo - but they are now dispersed following the closure of the UK operation last year, with just the remnant of a reunion website from last September marking their passage. When Sun, Novell, Citrix, SCO and others invested in Caldera Systems last year, Intel was notably absent - in order not to upset its Wintel partner of course - but there's nothing to stop it trying to do so now, especially with Caldera Systems' IPO expected to be priced this month. ®
Graham Lea, 06 Mar 2000
The Register breaking news

Lineo pitches Linux-based CE clone at MS OEMs

Lineo, the successor company to Caldera Thin Clients, is developing a Linux-based CE clone at its new research facility, cheekily set up earlier this year in Seattle. The product, Lineo Embedix PDA, is scheduled to ship in Q1 2001. Embedix PDA will include a CE-compatible layer on top of Embedix Linux, allowing CE applications to be ported easily to the platform. So long as this works, it'll provide Lineo's OEMs with a fairly simple route to applications, because, as Lineo CEO Bryan Sparks says, although CE hasn't been a raging success, quite a few companies have developed applications for it. Sparks also reckons that Embedix Linux (try saying that when you're drunk - the name's obviously Utah-inspired) will be "a more stable, lower cost embedded OS base for PDAs and other devices running Windows CE applications," and that CE OEMs will be tempted to defect. Embedix PDA is based on Willows technology. This was originally a Ray Noorda-funded start up that didn't get anywhere with the original licensees (Award and QNX), so it was made open source under a GPL. Now here's the cunning part: Noorda wasn't keen on selling the Willows technology rights to Caldera Thin Clients, since it would have had to borrow his money to do this, so Lineo apparently negotiated the rights to the prior version, so that it owns that intellectual property. Originally, the CE clone might have been developed on top of Sparks alma mater, DR-DOS, but it will now be done with Linux of course. ®
Graham Lea, 06 Mar 2000
The Register breaking news

Congressional study rejects Clinton's IT security Czar, FIDNET

The President's scheme to bolster US government computer security by appointing an information security Czar, and developing an automated monitoring system to expand intrusion detection known as FIDNET, is misguided, General Accounting Office (GAO) Government and Defence Information Systems Director Jack Brock told Congress last week. "The specific criticism we have of the President's plan is that it focuses so much on intrusion detection you begin to get the impression that it was the primary means they have of improving the federal government's computer security programme," Brock said in testimony before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. The GAO is an investigative body which reviews and audits the federal bureaucracy on behalf of Congress. It recently looked into computer and information security procedures in numerous government bureaus. The investigation revealed widespread security failures, most of which derive from poor management. One doesn't find an agency with good information management and bad security, just as one never sees an agency with poor management and good security, Brock observed. Allowing the Clinton Administration to address computer security as an individual element of federal information management would be a mistake, he insisted. Intrusion detection alone will do nothing to prevent data security being compromised in the first place. A far more holistic approach is needed, Brock believes. "One agency that we've gone to at [the Environmental Protection Agency] did a pretty good job of reporting and recording intrusions; but they did a very bad job of doing anything to prevent those intrusions, or analyzing those intrusions to take corrective action," Brock recalled. In spite of the GAO's wisdom, the President last week ordered a review of every federal agency to determine their vulnerability to cyber attack, which will be administered by White House Chief of Staff John Podesta. The prevention of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks "to make sure that federal computers cannot be used by outsiders to attack others" would be a priority, Clinton said. The Clinton Administration appears to be indulging federal law enforcement agencies which prefer an emphasis on intrusion detection and response, simply because it assures them an increasingly prominent role in national cyber security matters. Obviously, if intrusion prevention were to improve dramatically, the Department of Justice (DoJ), the FBI, and the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) would have less justification to muck about in cyberspace. This would result in some reduction of bargaining power to attract federal funds for cyber crime initiatives, to obtain expanded powers of surveillance on line, and to reduce opportunities for Netizens to surf the Web in complete anonymity, all of which are among the DoJ's highest priorities right now. The Register foresees little trouble for the DoJ in realising its ambitions, however. Having observed the pace of common-sense innovation among US government bureaus for several years now, we make it a safe bet that a significant erosion of on-line privacy and liberties will have taken place long before Uncle Sam stops making network intrusions a matter of child's play. ®
Thomas C Greene, 06 Mar 2000