17th > April > 2000 Archive

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Pixelon.com founder confesses he is fugitive embezzler

The founder of Net start-up Pixelon.com is actually a fugitive embezzler living under a false name and a wanted man in the state of Virginia. Michael Adam Fenne raised $35 million from private investors to start the online broadcast network last year. California-based Pixelon's launch party in October cost $12 million, and included a rare set from aged rockers The Who. But it turns out that Fenne was born David Stanley, the son of a Baptist preacher in south-west Tennessee and a convicted embezzler on the run from the law. In 1989 he pleaded guilty to 55 counts of fraud, allegedly swindling elderly victims in Virginia and Tennessee out of around $1.25 million. He vanished seven years later before repaying all the money he owed and has been on Virginia's most wanted list for the last four years. Last Wednesday Stanley turned himself in to US authorities after being unable to dodge his past any longer, the Associated Press reported. Fearful that Virginia State Police had tracked him to his new home in San Bernardino, California, the 39-year-old returned to Virginia and confessed all at the Wise county jail. "He just came in and said he wanted to get this thing settled up," said Wise County Sheriff R D Oakes. "He seems like a real jovial type person. He don't seem to be too upset". Stanley, ousted from Pixelon in November after a difference of opinion over the direction of the company, last week persuaded a judge to grant him access to the Internet. He wants to liquidate his assets in California and start repaying his remaining debts – estimated at between $300,000 and $160,000. Pixelon officials were stunned when told of their former colleague's criminal background. "It's just absolutely shocking to everybody here," said a representative. "We'll be conducting an investigation into exactly who this person is." Robert Feldman, Pixelon chief technology officer, said the investors in his company should not feel defrauded. "Whatever happened in the past isn't my business, and for the duration that Michael – I have to call him Michael – was here the company was run properly," he said. "The investors bought on for the technology... Once Michael departed and we were able to kind of redirect our focus to being a technology company and an enabler of technologies, we're doing great." Feldman added officials have ordered a special audit at the company, but did not suspect Stanley of embezzling from Pixelon. ®
The Register breaking news

World+Dog waits for Nasdaq opening

Crash Register The whole world and its doggie are waiting to see what will happen on Nasdaq when the stock market opens any minute or hour or so now, but the fall out on Friday had all the signs of a panic run. That generated column inches that possibly reached to the Moon over the weekend but the indiscriminate rush to get out of high tech stocks covers a multitude of different firms and all with their own agenda. Let's look at the stocks and firms we normally cover and see what the realities as opposed to the fantasies might be. We'll update this story after the market shuts this evening. CPQ Compaq's share price fell by $1.625 on Friday to close at $25. That means that we've nearly lost our bet with Terry Shannon of Shannon knows Compaq. We thought the shares would rise steadily steeply to coincide with the introduction of its Wildfire technology in May. It's still undervalued in our opinion. AMD It didn't fare too badly in Friday's fallout, falling by $5 to close at $66. It's still doing considerably better than the $16 it bumbled along for months last year. INTC Intel fell by $10.625 to close at $110.5. Not bad, Chipzilla, not bad. Its Q results are out tomorrow and, let's face it, as the British Prime Minister Tony Blair says too much, it's a good long term bet. It's already said its going to be a building blocks Internet style firm, de-emphasising its microprocessor role. How can it lose in the long run? RMBS Cough. Rambus fell to $156.25 on Friday, a drop of over $46. But it, more than many other tech stocks, fell steeply over the week. So will it reach $500 now, as Morgan Stanley forecast a week or two back. Not on your nellie. SUNW Sun Microsystems only closed slightly down at $76.5. But then it had posted a 94 profit boost on sales of its non-Intel servers the day before. It's selling oodles of them. So, we'll see whether the Nasdaq turns into a Nosedive later in the day, or whether some investors realise that all of the above, essentially infrastructure companies, are going to do OK in the end... ®
The Register breaking news

See marchers get beaten up on the Web!

If you were horrified at the images of baton-wielding police kicking the living daylights out of anti-capitalism protestors in Washington, DC over the weekend, then you'd better give ProtestCam.com a miss. Activists have two cameras overlooking the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund buildings in Washington, DC providing a snapshot of events on the ground. Thankfully, they're too far away to show any real detail and protestors would have to storm the precincts immediately around the building to get in the frame. And after watching the scenes on TV at the weekend, it's unlikely that the well-tooled and heavily armoured thick blue line would stand for such nonsense. That said, it's well worth looking at the site just to see that spring has arrived along the tree-lined Pennsylvania Avenue. Interestingly, ProtestCam.com is hosted by the Guest Choice Network - a coalition of more than 30,000 restaurant and tavern operators working together to protect the public's right to a full menu of dining choices through "education, training and public outreach". Bet DC's eateries are doing a storming trade in lentil stew and tofu burgers. ®
The Register breaking news

Hackers: cyber saviours or snake-oil salesmen?

Surrounded by sycophantic applause and loud guffaws at weak jokes, a strange, nervous twitch started to develop. Similar to entering the Blue Oyster bar*, the Hackers Forum was not the kind of place an old-style, cynical hack is welcome. Up on stage at London's Olympia is "one of the strongest line-ups of hacking experts ever assembled in the UK". In the audience, a mixture of geeks, hacker wannabes and security firm employees. Hackers have moved from being cyber-terrorists and malicious intruders to modern saviours, knights of the e-table. As long as he doesn't approve of the actual attacks, a hacker is a cult hero. Hackers are the little men fighting back, two fingers up to multi-national corporations - vive la revolution! And being British, we buy into this underdog culture. They're raising the security barrier, showing how huge firms just throw money at the net without understanding it, they bring down porn sites when the authorities are helpless to intervene. As one speaker quips: "We should be making 'Thank a hacker' bumper stickers" (much laughter). We're all very cosy. Typical "questions" are: "I'd just like to say that I think your program is amazing"; "Why don't people understand what you're trying to do?". All that's missing is some US-style whooping. When someone interrupted the party to ask how they justify their hacking software - free and used by hundreds of bored teenagers everywhere - he is arrogantly interrupted: "They're called 'script kiddies'." "I don't give a 4xxx what you call them, I want to know how you justify your actions" - that, at least, was what he wanted to say but he'd never have made it out of the door alive. The reality is, no matter what they say, media-friendly hackers and those evil-nasty hackers wot do the damage are the same breed. They learn the same skills in the same places, even if they are not driven by exactly the same passions. That one goes in front of an audience and says it is for the hacked company's own benefit is irrelevant. In its way, hacking is the equivalent of graffiti artists in the 80s. At first, graffiti was a manifestation of bored youth, then a cult activity. Condemned, it reached the media, which then turned such artists into celebrities and sparked off a million other graffiti sprayers. It became an art form and virtual social acceptance was assured. This is where we are with hacking. With any luck, it will go the same way as graffiti - the main players will fade, its impact will be put into perspective and it will become nothing more than an irritation. That said, it was difficult to hide a smirk when the workings of two of the latest and greatest pieces of anti-hacking software (as explained to The Reg by the companies' VPs at a trade show) were torn to pieces by a hacker - within seconds. ® * Blue Oyster bar - Leather-based gay bar from the Police Academy series. A running gag was that people would enter a non-descript backdoor to hide and then find themselves among a mass of gay bikers who proceeded to dance the Tango with them.
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Saudi authorities shut down women's cybercafé

Officials in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, have shut down a women's cybercafé after finding it a threat to morals. According to a report filed in court, the Internet establishment served "immoral purposes" in the Muslim holy city. "What was found was against our religion and traditions," said Yussuf Matter of the civil rights department, the Guardian reports. Earlier this year, authorities in Shanghai closed 127 cybercafes because they were unable to censor material being viewed and sent. ® Related StoriesChina shuts down Internet cafes Beijing issues cybercafe porn guidelines
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QNX opens Neutrino RTOS source code

In a bid to boost its profile in the emerging 'e-device' arena, real-time operating system supplier QNX is going open source - sort of. QNX calls its take on open source, 'accessible source'. As yet, the precise terms of the licensing agreement have yet to be finalised, but the scheme broadly mirrors Sun's Java Public Source licence. So, source code will be made available to anyone who wants it, and developers will only pay if they take products based on QNX technology to market. Again, that's sort of. Not all of QNX's Neutrino OS will be opened up in this way. Neutrino's boot code, Web browser, media players, driver toolkits and other OS utilities like the Photon microGUI will be opened for public inspection, but its microkernel and core OS modules will remain proprietary. QNX's reasoning here is that it needs to show clearly to licensees that it retains full control of the core IP - as Greg Bergsma, VP of QNX's US operations, put it, licensees building products based on QNX don't want to be forced to release their own code to the open source community, as they are under the GNU Public Licence. Neutrino also contains some third-party code that QNX couldn't open up if it wanted to, but let's be honest here, it's also as much about protecting QNX's licensing revenue stream. In that respect it's no different from, say, Apple's decision to open source the core technology of MacOS X, but retain its GUI and other services in the proprietary space. Like Apple, QNX has largely been forced to embrace - albeit cautiously - the open source community because of Linux. QNX has some clear and strong advantages over the open source OS in the embedded space, but Linux's free availability is clearly going to have an impact on QNX's business. QNX's tactic, like Apple's, is to protect its core technologies by becoming sufficiently open to attract developers who like the flexibility of the open source model but need a more structured development environment than the chaotic Linux world provides. And since QNX uses the same APIs as Linux, such as Posix and X Windows, it hopes to encourage developers who have experience with the open source OS to shift over to Neutrino. Then there's competition with other RTOS vendors. QNX reckons it's number two in the market, behind WinRiver, but with 200-odd vendors in the field, even WinRiver's marketshare is just 10-15 per cent of the market. QNX's play for dominance centres on making its technology more accessible than its rivals', and in the Linux era, that means opening portions of the code. It also means free downloads of the full Neutrino environment and development tools - or the QNX Realtime Platform, as it's now being called. The QNX Realtime Platform is due to be launched mid-May at the QNX 2000 show. Attendees will get a copy, but everyone else will have to wait until mid-summer for the public download site. ®
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SMEs to get the Net knowledge

BDO Stoy Hayward is running a series of roadshows aimed at boosting the use of the Internet among the UK's small/medium sized businesses. The events will take place across the country, including Birmingham, Nottingham, Glasgow, Belfast, Sheffield and London. According to BDO's National eBusiness Manager, Jonathon Corkey, this is an area of huge potential growth. "Most growing businesses could be more competitive if they applied eBusiness thinking to the way they work. Electronic commerce should be seen as just another way of improving business efficiency." ®
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InterQuad gets Nokia WAP exclusive

InterQuad has been signed up to distribute Nokia's WAP server solutions products. The move is a first for Nokia in the UK. Part of InterQuad's remit will be to boost the demand for WAP products through the reseller channel. InterQuad's general manager of distribution, Sean Fane, said: "WAP provides an open technology platform for offering new and innovative services to the consumer market. enterprises will see increased employee productivity and improved business performance through mobile access to corporate intranets and extranets." ®
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Blair wires up poor, huddled masses

The Government is to chuck £10 million at a scheme to wire-up deprived areas in England. Housing estates, tower blocks and rural areas will be earmarked for the digital investment providing their own "community Web" with access to government, job, health and education services. So far, no areas have been selected to take part in the pilot. Neither do those behind the project know how it will be rolled out. Apparently, that's why it's a pilot scheme. Apparently. According to Government spinsters, the initiative would help "enhance their (those people who live in these deprived areas) lives using new technology." The pilots will be up and running from the end of 2001. Elsewhere, CallNet has struck a deal with the Trades Union Congress (TUC) to offer fixed line telephone services and totally free Net access to its eight million members through Union Energy -- a company formed by the TUC. Last month the TUC issued a report urging employers to do more to get workers online. ® Related Story TUC wants Internet at work for all
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PlayStation 2 exports to be restricted – again

Exports of Sony's PlayStation 2 console have been officially restricted by Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), the Sunday Telegraph reported this weekend. Not that Sony gives a hoot. With plans for the US and European PlayStation 2 roll-outs well in advance, the last thing the company is keen to encourage is shipments of Japanese consoles to either territory. MITI's problem with the PlayStation 2 is that its graphics chip is sufficiently powerful to control missiles equipped with terrain reading navigation systems. To prevent the console falling into the hands of Saddam, Qaddafi et al, MITI has said that no one can take more than two PlayStation 2s out of Japan. Register readers with very long memories indeed will recall similar concerns being raised over Sir Clive Sinclair's ZX-81. The fear then was that the sneaky Sovs would try to buy heaps of ZX-81s for their Zilog Z80-A CPUs and might 1KB RAM to upgrade their nuclear missile guidance systems. To the suggestion that Sony might like to limit the power of its console to prevent such a ZX-81 style misuse, a company spokesman said today: "We need PlayStation2 to remain competitive for the next five years and given the rapid developments in technology, we could not afford to compromise." You don't say... What we say is that this is all clearly a Sony publicity stunt, not dissimilar to Apple's Power Mac G4 ad campaign that said that the box, with its 1Gflop performance and consequent 'supercomputer' status, was now considered a weapon by the US government. Well, if you hit someone over the head with it, we suppose it is, but the dear old G4 is really no more dangerous than a cruise missile equipped with a PlayStation 2 (and, presumably, terrain maps cribbed from Ridge Racer 4). It's noteworthy that the Japanese government has already said that exporting the PlayStation 2 might be illegal, since its Memory Card contains sufficiently powerful encryption technology. You'll notice that when this far less sexy story broke, Sony barely raised a whisper. It's not clear whether the current restriction is also a result of the MC issue or whether it' separate. ® Related Story Unauthorised PlayStation 2 exports illegal
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Wide Open News TurboLinux CEO Follows Amazon's Lead

TurboLinux CEO Cliff Miller, a renegade even inside the renegade open source industry, is never afraid to speak his mind. And the fact that TurboLinux remains a private company with no announced plans for an IPO gives him greater freedom to lose money in the pursuit of market expansion. Time will determine whether he's smart and gutsy or whether he's just nuts. The TurboLinux strategy, he said Wednesday, "is the Amazon business strategy: Spread far and wide -- and figure out how to make money later." And, he added, speaking to the Chinese American Professionals Association in Palo Alto, "All Linux companies are doing this to some extent." Maybe yes, maybe no. But even if profit-making isn't yet central to Miller's business strategy, he's taking the "spread far and wide" approach seriously. If his views on profits come from Amazon, he's taking distribution cues from America Online, handing out, he claims, hundreds of thousands of TurboLinux CDs in places like China and then watching bootlegged versions turn up on the streets. "We want people to copy Linux," he said, to gain critical mass and then sell into government and OEM accounts. "They make take awhile, but they'll eventually pay you." While market share statistics are widely debated, there's no question that Turbo is a Linux powerhouse in Asia. And to Miller, China specifically lends itself to Linux proliferation. Since China's installed base of legacy systems is small, users can "leapfrog over this inferior technology," in a thinly veiled reference to Microsoft. But even in Japan, where Microsoft and Apple are both very strong, Miller expects Linux to eventually explode. The Japanese computer market is not loaded with early adopters, but once something catches on, it spreads fast, according to Miller, and he expects Linux to boom in Japan in the next couple years. He's waiting for what he calls Linux's "Janet Jackson moment." Apple's popularity surged, he said, after the singer promoted the Mac on a Japanese tour. Meantime, Miller is pursuing a strategy anathema to many Linux distributors: not just a tolerance of proprietary software, but a full embrace. TurboLinux unabashedly sells Linux versions that include proprietary components, such as clustering software or an Oracle database. TurboLinux deemphasizes the service and support business that is considered a central strategy by many major Linux distributors, including Wide Open News owner Red Hat. "Service is intangible. And it's not really catching on in Asia," claimed Miller, who is facing increasing competition in Asia from other Linux companies. "We're a software company that sells software." ® Wide Open News is a partner of The Register.
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Via reckons it will triple revenues this year

Taiwanese chip vendor Via bullishly announced today that its revenues should exceed $1 billion this year, leaving the company with ten per cent of the global microprocessor market in the process. Last year Via notched up sales worth $380 million, which means it's predicting a growth rate of over 215 per cent. Key to making that happen is flogging plenty of Cyrix processors - Via reckons it will make around $455 million selling 13 million CPUs, ten per cent of the 130 million PCs expected to be built this year. Sales of other chips - primarily graphics products acquired through its takeover of S3's chip business - should net it $773 million. Add those figures together and you get a over the $1 billion Via is expecting. ®
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Dotcom genocide in Wall St. Week of the Lemmings

Terrified US investors bailed out of dotcom and other New Economy issues en masse last week to yield the NASDAQ's largest historical point loss and a severe contraction on the Dow. By week's end brokers began making an inevitable move towards margin calls, thereby twisting the knife and sending all but the bottom feeders into a selling frenzy, and so sapping the unknown precious bodily fluids upon which virtual companies with virtual assets are nourished. Late in the week, bargain hunters began gathering up the desiccated husks, giving them a quick boost and then selling for penny-ante profits, further eroding market confidence. But on Friday -- the 88th anniversary of the Titanic's plunge to frigid depths, we note -- as the dreaded margin calls came in to force the injured to sell again, even the most opportunistic parasites sat dejected on the sidelines, unwilling to buy as shares in all sectors suffered from the momentum of cowardice. The NASDAQ slid 258 on Monday, 132 on Tuesday, 286 on Wednesday, 92 on Thursday, and 355 on Friday for a 25 percent loss on the week. The Dow tanked as well, finishing down 804 for its worst historical weekly point loss. European markets have shown some resilience today in anticipation of Black Monday on Wall street, but Asia was not so lucky. The Nikkei Stock Average fell 1,426.04 to 19,008.64 for a loss of seven percent. Hong Kong and Singapore fell by more than eight percent, and South Korea a whopping eleven-plus percent on huge volumes. Worse will follow if Wall Street's losses resume later in the week, as they are expected to do, with a punishing round of margin calls in the offing. Many factors brought on the selling frenzy: US Justice Department triumphalism in the Microsoft case generated fears of increased government intervention in matters virtual and financial; bad news about the core rate of inflation, which rose faster than it had in five months, prompted fears of an impending an larger-than-expected interest rate hike; and a Friday speech by US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warning that banks should gird themselves for a public show of solvency rattled the already twitchy herd. But the most vicious market dynamic has tormented margin investors, many of whom were forced to sell against their will and better judgment to keep up with the calls that started coming in on Friday. Of course it's too late to sell; in this market, selling can only result in unrecoverable losses. Those unwise enough to buy on margin and unfortunate enough to get calls this week will also be forced to make the sacrifice, and at the worst possible moment. In previous coverage The Register dared to question financial demigod Alan Greenspan's judgment that margin buying was in no way a threat to share values. Normally, we love to say we told you so; but our personal portfolio and sole ticket to Bourgeois respectability tanked so badly last week that, sadly, we're in no mood to perform our smug little dance of self-justification. ® Related Coverage NASDAQ, Dow show ugly trend towards speculation MS ruling knocks stuffing out of Wall Street Tales from the Bubble Economy Greenspan flinches, NYSE tanks Wall Street runs hot on interest-rate fears Tech stocks take a battering MS, Intel to drive Dow Jones stock index Media Y2k frenzy may trash economy - Greenspan Soft landing ahead for AOL when Web stock bubble bursts Microsoft share price "surprisingly high" warns Gates Web stock boom will end tears
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Iomega profits way up – hurrah!

Troubled storage company Iomega saw a major hike in profits for its first quarter of fiscal 2000, making the period the second most profitable in Iomega's 20-year history. Falling sales, however, mean the company can't afford to assume its problems are over. For the three months to 26 March, Iomega recorded profits of $31.7 million. Add in a hefty one-off piece of fund management - the company shuffled $20.1 million out of its 'money for the taxman' pile - and earnings reach $51.8 million or 19 cents a share - rather more than the four cents a share Wall Street was expecting. That compares to the $569,000 it made in the same period, last year, and the $21.4 million it made in the previous quarter, Q4 1999. It all sounds very healthy, but the Iomega's profitability, like that of the previous quarter, came from reduced operating costs exceeding declines in sales of Iomega's main product lines - and there's no sign the downward trend is changing. Q1 2000 saw 800,000 fewer Zip disk shipments than Q1 1999, and Zip drive sales were down by 500,000 units. It sold 43,000 fewer Jaz drives, though Jaz disk sales were up by 21,000 units. Overall, Q1 revenue reached $344.9 million, a fall of $41.3 million, or 10.7 per cent, from Q1 1999's $386.2 million. Iomega has since launched a major, "multi-million dollar" ad campaign to promote its Zip drive, but since the bulk of the sales shortfall is down to OEMs declining to buy the device, perhaps Iomega is looking in the wrong direction. ®
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Microsoft mole spills beans on weenies

A mole working at Microsoft in Redmond has described in detail the process that culminated in a FrontPage security bug that unfolded its wings and started occupying hectares of column inches last week. The source, who asked that he not be named for fear of losing his livelihood, said that the bug, which includes language demeaning to male Netscape engineers, said that rather than it being a so-called "back door" which can be used to bring down Web servers, it is actually a security bug. He said: "The person attempting access would already have to have Author permission to the FrontPage web, and then they could only gain access to ASP (and Global.asa) pages. Plus, they would have to know the name and exact location of the file they were attempting to gain improper access to." The DLL which is at the core of the problem, DVWSSR.DLL, is old code, he added. "In fact, it is over three years old, and was written back at the height of the so-called 'Browser Wars'. "We wanted to research the issue fully and guarantee the fixes, then write a KB, which has to be reviewed and sent to Legal. That is a bloody paperwork trail. According to the KB I was proofing, there are a few fixes. "You can either delete the file from the root web and all sub-webs, upgrade to FP 2000 extensions, or upgrade to W2/IIS 5," he said. "The file's functionality is to provide Link View in, if I remember correctly, Visual Interdev 1.0. If you're willing to lose that one feature, kill the file. Else just upgrade to the new extensions. "As for us taking it seriously, Hell Yes we do! First off, it was damned stupid and bloody irresponsible. It also is a severe violation of Corporate Policy. I wouldn't be surprised if someone does lose their job over it - if they're still with Microsoft - and personally I hope they're canned". ® Related Story Weenie jibe in FrontPage leaves MS web servers wide open
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Intel CuMine supply problems a twisted, complex tale

Analysis On Friday, we reported that a large number of manufacturers have been told there will be continuing shortages of Coppermines until June. Intel has 70,000 employees working for it worldwide and a large number of fabrication plants, R&D centres, as well as a large headcount of admin, sales and marketing staff. It's little wonder, therefore, that from time to time things go awry. We'd dearly love to see Intel's supplier list but suspect that getting those details are even harder than finding out its roadmap for the next six months. Which lucky vendor, for example, supplies Intel with its soap, flannels and bog rolls? Who makes its bunny suits? Any of these factors going terribly wrong could all have an effect on Intel's ability to supply enough microprocessors for the market. Rather more seriously, Intel has been engaged in the last twelve months in a massive transition from its current .25 micron technology to .18 micron process technology. At the same time, it decided at some point last year to ditch its Slot One (SECC2) packaging and move to a flip-chip (FC-PGA) socket 370 model. This change (and we're just guessing here) presumably happened simultaneously with its move to .18µ process and was, is, compounded by a number of other issues. In February this year, thanks to a piece in Electronic Buyers' News, we learnt that Kyocera, one of the world's largest suppliers of ceramic packaging, had declined to do business with Intel because it felt the fractions of a penny it was getting was just not worth the hassle. There are also shortages on crystals and other components which go to make up microprocessors. Sumitomo had taken a similar stand with Intel a few weeks earlier. Although we asked Intel and Kyocera at the time about this problem, the firm declined to comment on these issues. Intel's problems, aside from its own move to a different packaging and process, also found itself in something of a learning curve on the flip chip process. Although the idea has been around for many years, pioneered by the likes of IBM and Digital, this, as far as we are aware, is the first time Intel had extensively committed to this type of packaging. Then there are the marchitecture issues, and in some ways these have put more pressure on Intel than any amount of problems with suppliers and technology. It was clear, around August or September last year, that AMD, far from making a hash with its Athlon microprocessor, was actually executing on its plans pretty well. Before then, Intel had made all of the running and in fact the Coppermine processors it launched on 25 October 25 last year were originally slated for the end of the year. That announcement had all the symptoms of a panic move by a panicked management, and Intel's rush to get 800MHz, then 1000MHz Coppermines out of the door also gave the strong impression to the outside world that this was a rush job. Given these problems, the difficulties Intel has had with the i820 Camino and other of its chipsets are just a sideshow. What is totally extraordinary to outsiders like ourselves is that a series of problems, some of which were outside Intel's control and some of which were definitely the firm's fault, have opened a wide window of opportunity which AMD looks like it will use to the full. Distributors and smaller system builders were the first to feel the Intel pinch, and while they were suffering, AMD was schmoozing with the channel like never before. That pattern is continuing, it appears. The PC builders who alerted us to the latest shortage of Coppermine processors have customers and need to fulfil orders. Some, in fact quite a large percentage, of those customers, are Intel loyalists and simply do not want to use AMD chips. Dell has always been regarded with deep suspicion by a cross section of the PC industry - not just the channel but also IBM, Compaq and the like. If Dell is continuing to get the lion's share of Intel's output of microprocessors, that will antagonise these firms ever the more and likely throw them further into the arms of Jerry Sanders' AMD and its performing Athlon. Intel's results are out tomorrow evening and will bear closer scrutiny than ever. ® Related Stories Disaster hits Intel Coppermine supplies Caminogate: Will the horror never end? Links EBN's story on substrate shortages EBN's story on other shortages
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Pro-Napster hackers hit Metallica

Hell hath no fury than a Napster fan spurned, it seems. Hot on the heels of Metallica's major legal action against the developer of the MP3 track finder, the band's Web site was hacked over the weekend. A Napster buff sneaked onto the the rockers' server and replaced the site's minimalist www.metallica.com homepage with the equally minimalist 'LEAVE NAPSTER ALONE'. The site was soon back to normal, but the hack's effects can be viewed over at Attrition.org's site. But will the purveyors of some of music's more aggressive tunes hear the hacker's plaintive song? We suspect not. ® Related Story Metallica sues Napster
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Irish curse engine puts acid tongue on the Web

Web-headed linguists at Jefferson City, Missouri's Lincoln University have developed an Irish-language curse engine (An tInneal Mallachtaí) for those who wish to spew invective with a minimal risk of being understood anywhere outside of British gaols. Drop-down lists of prospective subjects, verbs and objects in English allow one to concoct novel Irish curses from a three-part menu. Naturally, we were unable to resist mucking about with it, and below offer for our readers' entertainment a few that we generated: May a pitiless bureaucrat gnaw at your investment portfolio. Go gcreime maorlathaí míthrócaireach do chuid infheistíochtaí. May Monica Lewinsky lick your hard disk. Go lí Monica Lewinsky do dhiosca crua. May a pack of drunken Fomorians satirize your manly part. Go n-aora scata Fomhórach ólta do bhall fearga. We think we'll mutter them just audibly next chance we get to pass through Heathrow Immigration from Belfast wearing our favourite bulky trench coat and Tricolour scarf with Starry Plough enrichments. ®