The first notebooks using AMD mobile Duron microprocessors were released today: an NEC range, one of which uses a 700MHz chip. These products are somewhat delayed. Last July we saw an AMD roadmap which suggested the firm had targeted Q4 for an entire range of products (see AMD confirms Corvette plans). And AMD said that it is also able to provide mobile Durons in volume at 600MHz from today. The Japanese notebooks, called the Lavie U line, are aimed at the consumer market but there is no indiciation as to when such machines will be available in the US or Europe. The products start shipping on 25 January, and AMD has given itself a little bit of leeway by saying other "seventh generation" machines using mobile chips will appear in the first half of this year. The chip uses the current Duron core, but at a lower voltage than for desktops (that's good) and consumes slightly less power - the 600MHz and 700MHz chips cost $75 and $123 when you buy a thousand of them. AMD announces its quarterly results later this week. Only a complete dyed-in-the-wool cynic would suggest the two events could be possibly related. ® Related Stories AMD denies limiting mobile Duron family AMD notebooks face uphill struggle
Intel is Sun's enemy, and therefore AMD is Sun's friend. Can life be that simple? In the computer industry, we're very much afraid the answer is 'yes'. Compaq is Dell's enemy, and Intel is Dell's friend, so the Big Q has always been prepared to give AMD microprocessors a try. 3Com is Intel's enemy because of the network interface card (NIC) marketshare nightmare of a few years back, so AMD is 3Com's friend. Examples of this type of behaviour in the still rather immature PC industry are legion. According to EBNS, there does seem to be a grain of truth in this theory of alliances, particularly in the case of AMD and Sun. A piece written last week suggests that Sun Microsystems will include an Athlon processor in its Cobalt Internet server appliance. Course, we know that Sun is definitely Microsoft's enemy, and probably felt sympathetic to AMD when it decided to use an Intel processor in its eventually up-and-coming Xbox. And last August, as we reported here, Sun endorsed AMD's Hammer technology for its Solaris operating system. Intel does not like Sun Microsystems and went out of its way to isolate the firm and Solaris from its own Itanium-IA64 project this time last year. The Cobalt line is a uni-processor system, and AMD is still struggling to make fast chipsets that support dual configurations for its Athlon microprocessors. It needs to do that to make any kind of dent at one level of the corporate market. We do hear that, so far, AMD has failed to make little headway in corporate accounts here in Europe - except for one particular niche - the education market. Here, people are really constrained by cost and Athlons, Durons and the rest are highly attractive. ® Related Link Sun's Cobalt may help AMD etc. Related Stories AMD confirms enterprise push Sun helps AMD to hammer Intel Cobalt drops MIPS for x86 in next-gen server appliance
In January 2000 drugs company Procter & Gamble announced its intention to set up a Web site for British teenagers. At the time we attacked the "sheer awfulness of the undertaking" of P&G's attempt to turn this country's youth into dutiful consumers (see Procter & Gamble grabs Net teenagers for life). So it's with great pleasure that we read the P&G portal - called with resounding contempt for its audience Swizzle.com (swizzle is inter alia an old-fashioned English-English slang word meaning to cheat) - is shutting down. Swizzle.com, co-run by Excite UK, only launched in June. What can we say, but: "Hurrah for British teenagers!" ®
Site NewsSite News Last week, The Register's servers dished out 3,428,699 pages to readers (and plenty more to robots and spiders). This was a record week for us and included our new record day on Friday, when we served 642,381 pages. And that's without the aid of downloads, product reviews, message boards, job boards, a white label auction service, or database strings to ensure the front page can't be recalled from local cache. In the 30 days to 6 January, The Register had 1.1 million readers, another new record for us. Clearly, many of you are new to our publication. Welcome. ®
CPRM for HDs may be kicked into touch Old Andrew Orlowski's turning up the heat on CPRM. Kevin Macken votes for a boycott: CPRM in any implementation is intolerable for the consumer and 4C knows it. So how do you get consumers to accept it on removable media. Try to get it put on hard drives and then compromise to removable media "which IBM and Intel have insisted all along is what they wanted to achieve." to quote your article. Bait and switch, pure and simple. Microdrive was looking real juicy to me as its price falls. But I plan to boycott anything that has CPRM. I hope you will join me in getting the word out. Boycott CPRM enabled media! Up yours, Hollywood! And Derek advises vigilance: I don't understand why this new stance is a good thing? Removing fixed media drives from the CPRM spec is all well and good, but also removing the disable/enable command from removable media drives is very bad. While CPRM on hard drives would have been horrendous and could have possibly prevented the use of any open source OSs due to licensing requirements, CPRM on removable media drives could still have the same effect, just not as severe, as it would prevent use of removable media on open source OSs. I don't know about you, but I would be pretty upset if I couldn't use a whole class of devices on Linux because of licensing reasons. Even for those running only Windows OSs, removing the enable/disable command for removable media is a problem. If I don't want to participate in the music rental or other similar markets, I should be able to disable CPRM. Because it acts as a unique identifier, and it would have to have APIs that supported its retrieval, all sorts of software could abuse this ability in order to track users (just think what banner ads using Java could do if Java supported getting that ID). Please don't let down you guard. Your vigilance is much appreciated.
BT has launched an ad campaign slagging off mobile phones and suggesting that the Great British Public goes back to using pay phones. No, honestly, it has. Unsurprisingly, BT informs those that ask that the rocketing use of mobiles has slashed income from public call boxes. "Slashed" is the right word because we suspect one reason people prefer using a mobile is that they don't need to stand in a puddle of urine while making calls. Mobiles being mobile is also an advantage. "Mobile phones may be getting lighter, but they can still be heavy on the pocket." So say the new ads. And they're right. Perhaps this is why BT doubled the minimum charge of public call boxes a couple of months ago from 10p to 20p - to try to keep it in line with mobiles. We can see the campaign being a great success. It will only be a matter of weeks before people decide that rather than check on their friend's whereabouts while sitting in the pub, they will down their pint, go outside, walk up and down various roads til they find a phone box. Then they'll walk up and down until they find one that works. Then they'll lose 30p because they only have a 50p in their pocket and call their mate on his mobile, now sitting in the pub. Folk have already pointed out the possible conflict of interests here. What with BT also owning the number two UK mobile company, BT Cellnet. But then as anyone that knows BT will tell you, the different elements of the company have never had any effect on each other, so why should they now? We're all for anti-mobile advertising. In fact, the sooner BT launches a "Health warning: Mobiles cause brain tumours" ad, the better. Regarding this, the latest study into mobiles and cancer (Germany) says - yes, they do. So that means the next one has to be a "no". ®
'Pimpshiz', the hacker who sprayed pro-Napster messages on hundreds of Web sites last year, may have been caught. US police raided the home of a 17-year-old last month after being tipped off by the FBI, a fact they confirmed to CNet late last week. There's certainly no doubt that Pimpshiz broke into and deface a host of big-name Web sites last year. But whether the target of the police action is the hacker in question isn't known for sure. The police seized a stack of computer equipment which is now being investigated by the FBI, who hope to find proof that the lad is indeed Pimpshiz. The police are also hoping to learn whether the boy also illegally obtained others' credit card details, which could lead to more serious charges than the hacking rap. The teenager himself admitted to the newswire that he is 'Pimpshiz', but it appears he has yet to be charged by police with the site defacement, the credit card thing or both. According to the local DA's office, no decision has yet be taken as to whether charges will be proferred. Related Stories Napster fan hacks 50 more sites Pro-Napster hacker claims 60 site scalps
ICANN has neatly sidestepped scrutiny from its newly elected at-large board members in authorising a payment approaching half a million dollar dollars to its law firm. ICANN is deeply in debt to the firm, Jones Day Reavis and Pogue, which could pull the plug on the quango if it called in the debts. The payment of $465,553.67 was made by the six-man Executive Committee of ICANN, at a meeting that excluded at-large board members including Auerbach and Mueller-Maguhn. It's the first time such a payment has been approved without the full board present, suggests TBTF's Ted Byfield in his Roving Reporter column. Jones Day has performed ICANN's legal duties since partner Joe Sims befriended Jon Postel, head of ICANN's predecessor IANA, and the law firms' Louis Touton subsequently became ICANN's general counsel. The firm's continuing role has been widely criticised, and in his manifesto at-large rep Karl Auerbach wrote:- "The firm has no special credentials to offer to ICANN. And its services have been, to my mind, extremely expensive, not simply in terms of dollars but also in terms of the alienation that has been created between ICANN and the public." The payment, which covers the work of three Jones Day lawyers, including Sims, in the gTLD hearings last Fall, was unearthed by ICANN-watching weblog, ICANN Blog. As Byfield notes, ICANN has netted pocketed $2.2 million from global Top Level Domain applicants; what ICANN has done with the balance, it has yet to reveal. ® Related Stories ICANN rulings lands Big Biz with $75k yearly fees Country code chiefs, registrars mull ICANN breakaway J'accuse: ICANN's 'Government sponsored extortion' unconstitutional
Focus on FabsFocus on Fabs Some time back, and after we'd visited AMD's Fab 30 plant in Dresden, we learnt that a few PC manufacturers and distributors were calling the wafer factory the Deathstar. This is because at the time they were so thoroughly fed up with Intel launching CuMine (Coppermine) technology that they couldn't source, that they wanted the brooding picture of Fab 30 to remind Chipzilla that the game was now a little bit evened up. AMD has had so many questions to answer about Fab 30, that it has produced a FAQ on the subject. There's one thing about AMD Dresden that we must never forget, and that is the Dresden Loan Agreements, which involves infamous "revolving lines of credit". Although AMD has executed practically faultlessly on its strategy mostly, it has to be said, to Atiq Raza, Vin Dham, and Dana Krelle -- ex-Inteleers who are now ex-AMDers -- it is in terrible hock because building state of the art fabs is an expensive business. As Jerry Sanders III once memorably observed: "Only real men have fabs" - a rather derogatory reference to good ol' Cyrix as was. But to be a real man you need loads of money, and if you don't have this in the bank like wot Intel has, you need to borrow it. Whether Sanders also uttered the equally memorable phrase "Only real men have huge debts", history does not record. But the debt factor, and the way AMD has clawed its way into the desktop market with its Athlon processors, has given rise to endless speculation that 1) AMD is ripe for takeover (usually IBM), and 2) is about to enter into a strategic relationship with another big chip firm. Over the last two weeks, we've heard that the next fab it builds in 2004 will be a joint venture between it and TSMC, UMC, and Mitsubishi. Tight-lipped spoon doctors say they can't possibly comment on any of this - but if any such deal is in the offing, expect it round about the time shareholders need an extra boost. Dresden used to be part of East Germany, and was famous long before the RAF's 'Bomber' Harris unleashed a firestorm in the Second World War which US serviceman Kurt Vonnegut witnessed and wrote up in Slaughterhouse Five. 135,000 citizens of Dresden died in that holocaust, and the raid also destroyed a German city which was considered one of the most beautiful in Europe. When we visited Dresden some time back, we noted that Soviet and East German propaganda that the entire city had been rebuilt in its pristine state was a Big Fib. There's still a lot of reconstruction to do and you still see street names such as Karl Marx Strasse. But AMD's Fab 30 is a sign that a new Dresden is now underway. Just a way away from AMD's site is an Infineon fabrication plant which makes 12-inch wafers, and these, and other developments, are providing an impetus to scientific and technical employment in the area. AMD is, believe it or believe it not, in some ways more paranoid than Intel, and would not allow us anywhere near its cleanroom. But inside there and in the design centre closeby, there are copper whoppers and other high speed technologies being developed in spades. And while paranoia is part of the semiconductor industry's culture, AMD is, at least, a little more open about the capacity (if not yields) of its factories. The AMD site has chapter and verse about capacities. ® Focus on Fabs Series Intel Ireland full of crack, booze Leixlip Fab NSA runs best fab in world Secret Stuff Intel's 12-incher starts to throb Chandler AZ See Also AMD takeover rumour rolls again AMD Dresden ships two million Athlons AMD's Sanders rants up the river AMD still fab despite analyst downgrade AMD exploring Dresden fab extension History of the Decline and Fall of the Intel empire Motorola mulls over AMD Dresden stake AMD needs cash for the Dresden money pit AMD uses Intel Inside top Fab sandpit AMD and its Dresden Sandpit Part 1 AMD and its Dresden Sandpit Part II
VIA today began shipping its high-bandwidth, 266MHz DDR SDRAM and Athlon-supporting two-chip chipset, the Apollo KT266. Demo'd at Comdex last November, the KT266 supports AMD's Socket A chip interface, connecting the processor to the rest of the world via a 266MHz frontside bus. The chipset supports up to 266MHz DDR (Double Data Rate) SDRAM on the memory side for a maximum data throughput rate of 2.1GBps, but will also work with PC-133 SDRAM. It can cope with 4GB of RAM, according to VIA's press release, but only 2GB if the company's Web site is to be believed. Go figure... The board also features VIA's V-Link Hub Architecture, which ups bandwidth between North Bridge and South Bridge to 266MBps, which doubles the throughput if the PCI bus, VIA claimed. For internal peripherals, the KT266 supports the 100MBps ATA-100 spec. - external devices can be connected through any of six USB ports. Graphics support comes in the form of AGP 4x, and networking buffs will by unsurprised by the 10/100 Ethernet support but like the KT266's HomePNA port. The chipset also boasts a six-channel audio subsystem. Notebook vendors will be able to use KT266 for Mobile Athlon-based machines since the new chipset also works with AMD's PowerNow power-saving technology. Available now, the KT266 is fabbed at 0.25 micron. It costs $34 a pop in batches of 1000. VIA reckons the "world's leading motherboard manufacturers" are already building mobos based on the new chipset. ®
Click here to meet previous guests of Vulture Central. The Register: Sofa, So Good... ®
The FBI has gone into a back-slapping frenzy over what it claims was a conspiracy to "bring down the Internet" on New Year's Eve. It gets better. This vast, evil conspiracy was being run by kids - crazed teenage hackers no less. The FBI tells us it saved the world by seizing "floppy disks, CD-ROMs and other related equipment". No one in the US has been arrested but some Israeli youngsters have been nabbed for questioning. And you know how hard it is to get arrested in Israel. Even better, the FBI didn't find out about this evil plan until they were emailed by someone that runs Internet chat rooms. Even more incredible, one 16-year-old who wrote about taking down the Web on New Year's Eve admitted he was just trying to impress his mates. But this didn't stop the FBI from raiding his mum's house. The beautiful irony is that the FBI, by trying to show how clued up it is about the Internet, has made itself look stupid and ignorant. Raiding children's homes because of some silly boasts in a chatroom. Christ, we knew the FBI was paranoid, but this is ridiculous. You'll note as well that the FBI has failed to explain even for one second quite how you bring down the Internet by using some script kiddie code. The thing's patently ludicrous. Dear oh dear. ®
Channel FlannelChannel Flannel Intel has shut down its first and now almost certainly only Internet café. Situated in Malaysia, the store was intended to be a pilot for a chain extending through Asia, according to ZDNET. The chip giant said the store closed following accelerating Internet access in Malaysia. Staying in Malaysia, Dell is to open a second assembly plant in the country, doubling capacity over the next three years from one million to two million units a year. The headcount will jump from 1600 to 2200. And while we're on the subject of Dell, the PC maker has taken an undisclosed equity stake in Partminer, an online component sourcing business. Dell will sell surplus inventory (hey, isn't Dell supposed to be strictly build to order?) through Partminer, and will use the firm to source hard-to-get components. Partminer will also build a marketplace for Dell's internal use, which should be up and running in three months or so. Westcon, the networking distribution subsidiary of South African-owned Datatec, has filed registration for IPO documents with Nasdaq. Last year, Datatec pulled the IPO for Logical, its networking reseller arm. Westcon has distribution ops all over the world, but is particularly big in the US and the UK. Syntegra, BT's computer services business, has bought a German firm, EDM, for an undisclosed sum. Based in Dortmund, EDM has an 'excellent reputation in the field of Internet content management' and it has developed 'particular expertise in the insurance and energy industries'. EDM changes its name to Syntegra with immediate effect. ITNET today confirmed that it has received official notice of termination for its revenue and benefits service contract with Hackney Council. It anticipates the handover of what has been a disastrously-run contract will take place fairly quickly and smoothly. The news from ITNET is a little belated - on Thursday 11 January, Northgate Information Solutions said it had been awarded the contract to run Hackney's systems. ITNET says it was informed by Hackney of its dismissal on 12 January. ®
Sony will increase PlayStation 2 production 100 per cent over the next three months in a desperate bid to catch up with the extravagant predictions it made at the console's debut. At least, that's what the company told Bloomberg today. A year ago, the consumer electronics giant bullishly claimed it would have shipped ten million consoles by 31 March 2001, coincidentally (ahem...) the day on which its fiscal year ends. That's a target the company is very keen to meet, given just how much it has hyped the console's success. So far, Sony claims to have has shipped five million PlayStation 2s around the world. This despite the massive reductions the company made in shipments to various territories. The US, for example, was due to receive one million units, only to find that figure cut to 500,000 a month before the console's 26 October debut. By then, Europe had not only had its allocation cut, but its launch date had also been put back a month. In the event, Europe's allocation was cut further. Only Australia seems to have sufficient consoles, with pre-Christmas reports from a variety of sources claiming stores had plenty for everyone. Assuming Sony's shipment figures, if accurate - Sony's pre-Christmas shipment predictions have already been questioned by analysts - still leave the company having to churn out five million consoles by fiscal year end. Not bloomin' likely, reckon Japanese analysts. "It's difficult for Sony to double output right now," Takashi Oka, an analyst at Tsubasa Research Institute, told Bloomberg. "Sony's making just one million units a month right now and needs time to tool up for the extra production." That's rather less than the 1.4 million units a month run rate Sony's prediction of ten million PlayStation 2s shipped was based upon. ® Related Stories Sony admits some PlayStation 2s 'not up to standard' Sony behind PlayStation production problems Sony way off target on PS2 shipments We won't cut Euro PlayStation 2 allocation - Sony Sony slashes US PlayStation 2 allocation to 500k units
Since our story about lone crusader Mike Ashworth posting the contact details of Laurence Horgan, former head of titsup.com ISP IG Click - only to be threatened with the Human Rights Act - we have had some interesting correspondence. Even though Mr Horgan seems to think that Mike is to blame for allowing disgruntled ex-customers to make their feelings felt on his home phone number, it would seem that legally Mr Horgan hasn't got a leg to stand on. The Human Rights Act cannot be used against individuals (only public or official bodies) and so the lawyer's letter sent to Mr Ashworth - forcing him to remove Mr Horgan home details - isn't worth the paper it's written on. As Mike himself points out, if Mr Horgan has chosen not to go ex-directory, even though he's the director of a number of companies, then he is asking for trouble. It is also unreasonable to blame Mr Ashworth for other people's behaviour. If Mr Horgan is concerned about abusive phone calls, he should do what everyone would have to do - contact the relevant people within BT and let them deal with it. Mr Ashworth told us today that he is talking to human rights group Liberty this evening regarding the legal complaint. It seems unlikely that it will insist Mr Ashworth remove the details or that hundreds of former IG Click customers will see their money. ® Related Story Head of titsup ISP hounded by angry customers
Episode 2Episode 2 BOFH 2001: Episode 2 "I just can't believe it!" some mindless feeb from Marketing gasps disgustedly as he surveys the innards of the disk drive The PFY's showing him. "Dead?" "As the Bay City Rollers," The PFY nods sagely. "But... How?" I can't help myself, I have to help the grief process along a little: "Well, to put it simply, your disk spins down over the holidays, gets cold, and when you come back from your break, it's dead and gone. You know, like pets you forget to feed." "So what should I have done?" "Fed them of course. No wonder your pets died." "I haven't got any pets!" he snaps, irritated. "No wonder!" The PFY adds. "No, I meant what should I have done with my machine?" "Well I always leave my machine on and running - 24 hours a day, seven days a week." "I see. Well, I suppose I may do that once you've got a new disk for my machine and sorted it all out and things." "I'm afraid you can't do that." "Why, is it because I'm not one of you computing types?" "No, it's because you've ticked the Win ME box on the configuration options for the new drive. You'll be lucky to stay up till morning tea time." "B-but ME's stable..." "Isn't that what they said about San Francisco?" "Well what do you suggest?" I look around furtively, unable to stop myself. The PFY adds to the effect by taking the phone off the hook, closing the blinds quietly and getting in on the 'furtive looks' act as well. "You want a real operating system?" "What do you mean 'real'?" "I mean so advanced it's spelt ADvanced. So advanced that the word processing package won't even try and correct the two leading capitals in ADvanced like Word does (until you're forced to beat your machine to death with your rubbish bin, that is)." He's interested now. I know it; he knows it - he just can't help himself. "What's it called?" he asks shyly, totally drawn in by the look-around-furtively game, and I just know that if I was that way inclined I could almost suggest a camping trip about now. Hook, line and sinker, in other words. It's sad really. "Woah, just hold on a minute there!" The PFY blusters, taking hold of the wheel in a manner that'd have Jeremy Clarkson reaching for his tissues (tearfully, and not for some other reason which would spoil the upholstery). "We can't just give you this OS. I mean how do we know it's right for you?" "I... Well I suppose you don't... But what's it got that I'd want?" "WHAT'S IT GOT!?! ADvanced Graphical Interface, true multitasking - not that imitation stuff you get elsewhere! Games, Manuals - it's got the lot!" "Well, I spose I'll give it a go..." "Give it a go?" The PFY laughs mirthlessly. "This isn't an Operating System you have a quick bash at and just throw away! This is a life experience. Once you've tried it you'll never be the same again!" "It's true," I concur. "And it comes with built-in full-licence application windowing support." "Full-license application windowing support?" "Yes, FLAWS for short." "Like faults," he chuckles. "Faults?" The PFY asks, pretending to be blind to the obvious and faking stupidity so well he could mark MCSE papers. "FLAWS - faults," our user explains. "OH!" The PFY gasps. "I see! I'd never have thought of that! That's really quite good!" Our user bristles happily under the praise while I make a mental note to ask the PFY to give his nasal passages a good wipe with toilet paper later on... "Well, you've convinced me. I shall try it! What do I have to do?" "Well, it'll cost you 20 quid for a start." "Twenty quid!?! But it's a work machine! Work should be paying for it!" "Yes, it should," I concur. "Only they don't want to. They don't want the package getting out. So while it's one of the options on your configuration form - you have to actually pay for it." "Well what does 20 quid get me?" "Manuals, installation media, the works. Once we've installed it on your machine, of course." "It's not pirated is it?" "Pirated?" The PFY sighs. "No, not at all. Look - genuine install media." He holds up a large shrink-wrapped bundle of disks and documents. "That does seem like good value for money!" "You betcha..." "So what do I have to do?" "Well, change your OS choice on the configuration sheet, tick the box there to say you're aware that it has FLAWS, and we'll do the rest." "Oh, so the operating system's called..." "DON'T SAY IT!" the PFY interjects hurriedly, then catches himself. "If you say it, they'll all want it. And we've only got one copy left!" "Really? One copy? Could I get one for home?" The PFY and I exchange what would pass for meaningful glances in some other world where we weren't complete bastards, while our client has a brainwave. "Actually, I've just had a thought. You could install it on my manager's machine instead - he's away till next week! That'd be a nice surprise." At least he's half right.. "Well I suppose we could," The PFY murmers slowly. "But who'd pay for..." "I'll pay!" "Ok, well just give him the money and fill out another install form." Two OS/2 installs and one hour later... "You've got to take if off my machine!" our user begs. "PLEASE!" "Why?" "It's terrible. It crashes all the time. You said it would change my life!" "It will. Just wait till your manager gets in next week!" "YOU'VE GOT TO TAKE IT OFF!" "I'd like to, but I can't. See we only deal in system recovery. Kit has to be broken before we'd do a reinstall." >CRASH!< >CRASH!< >CRASH!< "I think my machine's broken!" "Of course it is. And your boss'?" >CRASH!< >CRASH!< >CRASH!< I wait until the PFY gives me the thumbs up on the CCTV recording, then continue. "Now the only other thing is who you're going to transfer the licences to?" "Transfer licences?" "Yes. You have to transfer your licence to someone else so the OS becomes theirs, and then we can give you a new OS for your machine. Otherwise we have to reinstall the same OS on your machine." "But no one'll want this!!!" "That's correct. However, for a small rental fee of 20 quid we'll permit you to use our rubber panelbeating hammer which leaves almost no marks on a hard drive when you hit it repeatedly - opening up another potential customer for an operating system 'upgrade'." "And for 30 quid," The PFY shouts over my shoulder, "we'll tell you who borrowed it last night when your hard drive 'failed'." You've got to love the support experience... ® BOFH 2K+1: The whole shebang The Compleat BOFH Archives 95-99 BOFH is copyright © 1995-2001, Simon Travaglia. Don't mess with his rights.
Hardware RoundupHardware Roundup Insane Hardware has pictures and specifications of Tualatin, Intel's 200Mhz FSB PIII. It's based on the i830, and uses DDR. What are you waiting for? Click here for the skinny, and if you're worried about the thing overheating, fear not: here's a link to Tualatin's very own Fire Department. Hardware Unlimited has found a problem with a look at the D-Link DMP-CD100, CD player that plays MP3s you've burned onto data CD-Rs. Unlike the Philips player, it doesn't do shock protection when playing data files. So keep it very, very steady... OC Workbench has another KT133A mobo, and this one does RAID too. The crazy hombres have also been overclocking the Abit KT133A that HardOCP goosed last week. How far did they get? Find out here. Meanwhile BX Boards turns up a surprise with a new IWill board: which it reckons is the first production DDR mobo. Want to upgrade that PII 200 to something more speedier? HEXUS.net shows how you can bring it kicking and screaming into the er, late 90s, with a Celeron upgrade. Find out more here. Lordkolya tells us that the new update of the very interesting ZZZ Online has details of a digital frying pan, a credit-card-sized camera, and what could be the biggest truck in the world. He's right! It's enormous! On the other hand we reckon that given the thermal properties of Intel's Itanic processor, it's really a working prototype for the first mobile IA-64 notebook... Speaking of high temperatures, you'll be wondering where Lucy is. She's gone home, having caught the cold that I brought back to the London office with me from San Narcisco, so wish her a speedy recovery, boys and girls. ® But if you wanted to read the collected works of Lucy's HWRoundups then click here.
They started coming in on Friday. Then kept on coming on Saturday and Sunday and yet more have arrived this morning. Look, we were trying to ignore this Ginger fiasco that has turned the IT press into a bunch of gibbering school kids, but it's an unwritten rule at Vulture Central that when more than 200 emails arrive saying the same thing, you write a story on it. And so, this is what Ginger is reckoned to be. Some wobbly bird on what looks like an old-fashioned carpet sweeper. But the wrong way round. No doubt the inspiration came from childhood memories where every item of household equipment is turned into a transportation device - as long as you can stand on it without falling off. Basically, it's a scooter, following the recent trend for everyone to get those little metal things, but it's stable so you won't kill yourself. The thought process behind the belief that this is what Ginger is fairly logical: The inventor, Dean Kamen, mostly invents stuff in the medical arena. He has invented a fancy balancing wheelchair. He has also worked on an external combustion engine. Combine the two. Kamen's company is called Deka and this scooter thing has been patented by that company not too long ago. Oh, and it has been referred to as "IT" - which was what presumably sent the IT press into their mouth-frothing madness. As one reader suggested IT = Individual Transport? So click here for the Deka version or here for the United States patent office version. Then go through the pages if you want to know more. This is the abstract for the invention: "The invention provides, in a preferred embodiment, a vehicle for transporting a human subject over ground having a surface that may be irregular. This embodiment has a support for supporting the subject. A ground-contacting module, movably attached to the support, serves to suspend the subject in the support over the surface. The orientation of the ground-contacting module defines fore-aft and lateral planes intersecting one another at a vertical. "The support and the ground-contacting module are components of an assembly. A motorized drive, mounted to the assembly and coupled to the ground-contacting module, causes locomotion of the assembly and the subject therewith over the surface. Finally, the embodiment has a control loop, in which the motorized drive is included, for dynamically enhancing stability in the fore-aft plane by operation of the motorized drive in connection with the ground-contacting module." Alternatively, you could go to other news sites if you'd like to read some panting, baseless beliefs over what it will do. ® Related Links Ginger in all its glory (Deka) Ginger, the patent office version Related Stories Ginger nuts told to back off We know what Ginger is
When the Feds lack evidence sufficient to hustle a judge into issuing a warrant to examine a computer's contents, they often politely ask the owner or someone who shares it if they might just have a quick peek at the contents of its HD. Incredibly, a significant number of people foolishly cooperate, and so reveal enough evidence for the nosey buggers to bring to a judge and get the desired warrant. So Lesson One of the US Department of Justice's latest how-to publication, "Searching and Seizing Computers and Obtaining Electronic Evidence in Criminal Investigations", is 'Just Say No'. Not that it always works. Your idiot roommate, parent or spouse, if s/he shares your computer, can give the Feds permission to search it. The way to defeat that is to encrypt any file you'd prefer agents of Uncle Sam not see. This puts your data in a category similar to the contents of a locked box to which your housemates haven't got a key. They are assumed not to have authority to open it, and obviously not to have the authority to let anyone else do so either. Another risky practice is leaving potentially incriminating data unencrypted on a disk when the box is sent to a repairman. Here the repair flake may not authorise the Feds to search your box; the law assumes you have a reasonable expectation of privacy from government snooping when you surrender property for the limited purpose of getting it fixed. Ah, but nothing can stop the ten-thumbed technician from doing his own, private search of the machine, and alerting the Feds to your collection of bestiality pics. In that case, the coppers are authorised to recapitulate the private search, and if that bit of cherry picking should turn up enough evidence to get a warrant, you're stuffed (not to mention keenly embarrassed). "The fact that a private person has uncovered evidence of a crime on another person's computer does not permit agents to search the entire computer. Instead, the private search permits the agents to view the evidence that the private search revealed, and, if necessary, to use that evidence as a basis for procuring a warrant to search the rest of the computer," the manual explains. And in some instances the Feds can lie to you, or anyone else in control of your machine, and still conduct a legal search with consent. One William Roberts last year was told by agents at an airport that they were searching for "currency" and "high technology or other data" that could not be exported legally. Of course what they were really looking for was just what they found; the large collection of kiddie porn Roberts had on his laptop machine. Poor Roberts imagined that by consenting to let the Feds look for something he knew he didn't have, the rest of his data would be protected by Constitutional requirements of specificity in searches. Little did he know that while en route to France he and his possessions occupied a Constitutional nether-world. He was being treated to a so-called 'border search', in which the Feds enjoy grossly expanded powers. And there is the growing trend towards executing 'no-knock' searches of computers, which the DoJ thinks is a splendid practice. "Agents may need to conduct no-knock searches in computer crime cases because technically adept suspects may 'hot wire' their computers in an effort to destroy evidence. For example, technically adept computer hackers have been known to use 'hot keys,' computer programs that destroy evidence when a special button is pressed. If agents knock at the door to announce their search, the suspect can simply press the button and activate the program to destroy the evidence," the DoJ warns. Here again, as in all the previous cases, there's only one reliable way to protect your privacy: encryption. Use it. ® Related Story Hollywood, software groups push DoJ copyright busts
Tiny Computers has given Andrew Walwyn, ex-MD of mobile phone retailer DX Communications, the job of MD. Walwyn is going to take over from Jon Gilbert-Harris who's been with Tiny since 1981. Gilbert-Harris is staying on with Tiny to do some strategy stuff, but is also going to spend the next six months handing over to his successor. Though his background is in the mobile phone biz Walwyn said he was taken on for his retail skills. He doesn't foresee Tiny going straight into the mobile phone market like rival Time with its TimeTalk outlets. He thought Time hadn't made a total success of the business and felt there was a lot of competition in the phone market. "If we are going to go into it we've got to be special," he said. Walwyn said he would announce what new products Tiny will start selling within the next six weeks. ® Related Story BBC Watchdog wards off PC helpline gagging bid
Apple has officially marked the current iMac line for termination after announcing $200 rebates on the two top models last week. The rebates aren't signs in themselves that the current iMacs will soon be replaced by new versions. More likely they are designed to shift as much unsold stock as possible before the new machines are announced. However, at the time the rebates emerged we heard from a CircuitCity source who claimed that the current iMac product codes had been removed from their inventory - a sign that kit has reached the end of its sales life. Today, that source's claim was confirmed by MacCentral moles at "two national retailers". They also claimed that faster iMacs, equipped with CD-RW drives, will be announced soon. As we noted previously, we had hoped Apple CEO Steve Jobs would have announced the new iMacs at MacWorld Expo last week, alongside the very consumer-oriented software tools he unveiled, iTunes and iDVD. Certainly, it looked like that was the plan, and the move was delayed simply to allow more time for Apple and its resellers to sell off more of the current models (see Was Apple going to launch iMacs with CD-RW?). Hence the $200 rebate on iMac DV+ and iMac DV SE models. ® Related Link MacCentral's story can be found here Related Stories Was Apple going to launch iMacs with CD-RW? Apple's digital dreams waft past consumers
Stopping kids from playing video games makes them nicer people, according to a US study out today. The research from Stanford University suggests that aggressive behaviour can be reversed by cutting the time children spend playing video games or watching TV. Third and fourth grade children (with an average age of nine) were plucked from two schools in San Jose for the research. A group of 105 pupils from one school were asked how much time they spent watching TV, videos and playing video games; and were asked to abstain for ten days, then watch no more than seven hours a week. At the outset they watched an average of around 15.5 hours TV per week, five hours of videos, and spent three hours playing video games. They received lessons on reducing time spent on these activities, and had their TVs hooked up to a device at home to stop them exceeding the limits. Researchers also followed 120 pupils at the other school, who were a control group and did not change their habits. Seven months later, the kids in the first group had cut TV watching to nine hours, videos to 3.5 hours, and video game use by half to 1.5 hours. The content of the games and programs was, unfortunately, not assessed, but researchers reckoned there would be a fair amount of carnage involved. The study found that aggressive incidents by the children in the school playground decreased by around 25 per cent in the first group. The research appears in the January edition of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, and a summary of the report can be found here. The average child sees an estimated 200,000 violent acts on TV by the time they reach 18-years-old. ® Related Stories Computer games cripple kiddies Kmart limits sale of violent computer games Video games to blame for everything Quake developer not responsible for school killings - judge Ban Quake, Home Office adviser demands Bigger tits for Lara Croft
Book ClubBook Club Spare a thought for veteran New Yorker columnist Ken Auletta. He endured the longeurs of the Microsoft antitrust trial for over eighteen months, and although his thoughtful and well-written observations on the case have been sped into print as quickly as the publishing process could allow, much of it feels familiar if not already stale. Since the trial opened, we've had the frothy Hello!-style Plot To Get Bill Gates, John Heilemann's 48,000 word epic in November's Wired, which gave us a lot of new background on how Microsoft's Silicon Valley antagonists poked the government into action, and Vanity Fair's David Boies profile. But in his World War 3.0: Microsoft and its Enemies, published today (Random House, US; Profile UK) Auletta does nudge a couple of areas into the public record. Which is what interests us, as you'd expect. Book of Revelations The sauciest - taking up less than half a page of the book - is the revelation already serialised in The Guardian and summarised here: which is where Sony CEO blows away business protocol and reveals what he really thinks of the beast of Redmond. And it isn't flattering. Less glamorously, Auletta who had access to the leading players throughout, sheds some light on how close Microsoft came to settling the case, after many months of stroppy intransigence, before Jackson offered his Conclusions of Law. Eighteen drafts of a Posner-mediated draft were circulated between Klein and Gates, with Gates willing to sacrifice some of his most strongly-defended "principles" to avoid a break-up judgement. In the penultimate fourteen page final draft - Draft 18 - Justice had agreed to two clauses that were incredibly attractive to Microsoft. One, as part of the settlement, the DoJ would vacate Judge Jackson's Findings of Fact - where he established that Microsoft was a monopoly. The other imposed a new consent decree lasting only another five years. Since the IBM trial imposed a much-longer consent decree, and Microsoft had already been deemed to break its existing decree, this looks pretty indulgent. Regardless of what a Bush-led Department of Justice may now do with the case, the Findings of Fact are unlikely to be withdrawn. A judge needs to be found to be either insane or corrupt for this to happen, and although Microsoft may think Penfield Jackson qualifies on both counts, the idea isn't going to find much traction outside Seattle. So leaving the Findings of Fact on the record exposes Microsoft to years of potential private actions, and with AOL's Steve Case explicitly raising the possibility, such actions are likely to find backers with deep pockets. The agreement included other areas that not surprisingly, Microsoft felt it could live with: ceding some modest editorial control over the boot-up screen to OEMs; a promise not to reliate against OEMs; and instead of the neutrally-run compliance lab, an internal Microsoft antitrust compliance officer. Yes, you read that last bit correctly: and isn't that worthy of a sitcom in its own right? The Compliance Officer... Perhaps its no wonder that the States attorney generals, who were jointly pursuing the action, felt left in the cold by the mediation process, and torpedoed the settlement. Leaving Posner and Microsoft furious: the former called them "assholes". Start choppin' That Gates sobered up with the guillotine finally in view doesn't leave Auletta any less astonished at his earlier behaviour. And its this truculent, adolescent view of government regulation that the author blames for getting Microsoft into such difficulty. As he points out, there was little reason other than Gates' pride to explain why the case reached trial at all. By contrast. Chipzilla had agreed to mend some practices in a detailed agreement with the FTC, which undoubtedly had some compliancy costs: but the costs have surely proved lower than fighting a full-blown antitrust trial, and less damaging than having its executives' emails hung out to dry. Then, once Microsoft reached the trial, Auletta notes, the company was confident it could fight a case in which the government couldn't find a single OEM to testify, downplayed its stronger pricing cards, and which in its splashier moments relied on circumstantial evidence and "hearsay". But the hearsay triumphed because Microsoft witnesses were not deemed credible. And the most incredible of all, was Gates himself. Microsoft counsel Neukom now acknowledges Boies brilliance in launching the Gates video deposition on the prosecution's first day, and returning to it, in the manner of drip-torture, whenever he could. Here's an exchange (actually cited by Heilemann, but not Auletta):- Handing Gates an email he'd written, Boies offhandedly remarked that at the top of the message Gates had typed: Importance: High. "No," said Gates curtly. "No?" "No, I didn't type that." "Then who did?" "A computer." Earlier Gates said he swore that he hadn't been concerned by Netscape - despite so many emails to the contrary. Taking its cure from Gates, Microsoft looked like it was passing the time on the way to the Appeals Court, and bit by bit, made enough holes in its own hull to sink its legal defence. Intriguingly Auletta finds Boies as disingenuous as Gates in their post-trial interviews:- "...somebody says I don't have good memory about things," Gates tells the author, "That is an unbelievable lie! There is not part of that deposition where in any way, in any time, I show anything but the most excellent memory." Rrright. And Auletta subtly juxtaposes alongside Boies: "This is not a trail about Bill Gates..." So Auletta leaves the reader to answer the question whether Gates was, as he puts it, "the crazed uncle in the cellar" who refused to take good legal advice, or whether he was knowingly engaging in brinksmanship. There's are other subtle personality observations that Auletta doesn't scream attention to, but are sweetly ironic. Who, without knowing Neukom, would have expected him to be the very model of an NPR listener? A lover of jazz and Shakespeare, and a pro bono lawyer in liberal left cases, Neukom found himself following a strategy of rigid, uber-rational pedantry that echoed the style of his charmless boss. By contrast the Boies household contains "almost no fiction", Auletta observes, detailing his stash of expensive rare wines with great deliberation. In Vanity Fair's profile, Boies is described as shallow in private as he appears on a first impression. But it was the charming Boies of course, who prevailed, making a more rational case than Neukom. We could have done with more, much more of this kind of stuff : observations that are usually indulgences for historians, and not for deadline-bound journalists. For example, the Microsoft trial divided libertarian opinion - undoubtedly the dominant ideology of the technology community in the United States - with Scott McNealy (perhaps not surprisingly) joined by Bork and (lately) Starr as opponents of big government, who felt that Microsoft needed to be tamed. By contrast, Reagan-appointee Jackson notes:- "People talk about knee-jerk liberals. Well, there's a faction of the conservative movement in this country that is equally knee-jerk .... [Microsoft] broke the law". Superbad Errors and omissions are surprisingly few. Sure there's a mention of HMTL [sic], but WW3 has been well proofed. Auletta only makes one modest misjudgement: while acknowledging the significance of the Symbian memos (released in May, and instrumental in persuading Klein that a structural remedy was unavoidable), the author takes Gates' paranoia at face value:- "[Nokia's] protocol is proprietary on the server side which is clever... the objects and pages that will be sent to other phones.... If they are going to try and block this then they are sort of declaring war on us ever doing an intelligent phone." As we pointed out when this memo was disinterred this is a major technical misreading: it isn't how phones work (sure, Nokia keeps its air interfaces proprietary, but not the objects or pages), and isn't how Nokia's business model works either. Judging by your mail, these memos still raise astonishment whenever we link to them, largely because Gates says he sees a monopoly as a means to an end: exploiting a captive market. But as we like to say round here at The Register: to understand the past, you've first got to understand the future... ®
Princeton University computer science professor Edward Felten, who has claimed to have helped crack the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) watermark challenge, now says he's withholding the details of his accomplishment on advice of legal counsel fearing he could open himself to prosecution under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the New York Times reports. As we reported over a month ago, Felten and his colleagues say they stripped the watermark without degrading sound quality, but declined to participate fully in the SDMI challenge because the terms of further participation would have prevented his team from publishing their results. But now he says lawyers are advising that, non-disclosure agreement or not, the controversial DMCA may make a criminal of him if he publishes the technical details. There's no question that the entertainment industry crafted the DMCA in hopes of suppressing all efforts to circumvent its lousy protection schemes, even at the cost of an intolerable stifling of academic research and publishing freedoms. That much we always assumed; but we had hoped to see academia show enough spine to resist such intimidation. If the entertainment industry can shut down the free exchange of ideas within the academic world, then surely there's no safe harbour left to any of us. ® Related Story Uni team claims SDMI cracked, and 'inherently vulnerable'
Intel has agreed to buy PC card maker Xircom for $748 million cash. Intel said the deal, which prices California-based Xircom at $25 per share, would help add to its line-up of products for wireless computing. In addition, chip giant Intel will assume all existing vested and unvested employee options. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the first quarter of this year, and Xircom will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intel. Chipzilla was already an investor in the company. "Xircom's strengths in small-form-factor design combined with our silicon expertise will allow us to provide customers with new and innovative solutions for linking mobile computing devices to corporate wired and wireless networks," said Mark Christensen, VP and general manager of Intel's Network Communications group. Xircom has 1900 staff worldwide. ® Related Stories 3Com ends patent talks with Xircom 3Com sues Xircom in modem patent clash Xircom to take WinCE to enterprise
US ISP Bazillion.com has shut up shop after running out of funds. The Seattle-based venture, which offered a DSL service across most of the US, sacked most of its 100 staff on Thursday, sources told The Register. And the 5000 customers, who paid a monthly fee of around $40 each for the high-speed Net access, found out about the move just days before the service was shut off. Today the Web site link was dead and office phones unanswered. "As you may know there have been significant problems in the DSL and ISP marketplaces which have been well publicized," punters were told. "Additionally, the financial markets [sic] support of new competing telecommunications companies has become much tighter over the past six months." Bazillion users were urged to contact covad.net or speakeasy.net to get connected via another ISP. "I wish they could have given users a little more warning. I need to find a new ISP, so I'm going to be without Internet access for as long as it takes whoever I choose to hook it up. That could take a month or two," said David Jacobs, one disgruntled ex-Bazillion user. The company's CEO was Jamie Howard, former president and CEO of excite@home's European broadband venture, @Home Benelux. Todd Achilles, former Bazillion network director, said he found the way company heads handled the shutdown "extremely disappointing". "It was a conscious decision to leave the message to the customers to the last minute," he said. He went on to say that Bazillion's collapse was typical of what was going on in the DSL market - that there were too many links in the chain, and the only outfits making money out of the service were the local phone companies. They take their cut before the DSL "resellers", such as covad.net, and ISPs like Bazillion, can charge for their services. Bazillion could not be contacted today for comment. ® Related Stories Excite@home thwarts Usenet death penalty Excite cans Chello deal IC24 terminates 'free' Net access offer 2001: The year when broadband takes off ISP sues BT for £37m Another ISP pulls the plug
The Register is pleased to re-release a plug-in connecting our story search system into Sherlock, the MacOS' own search technology. Re-release? Well, we've a small confession to make. We produce the first version of the plug-in over a year ago. It was popular. It was very popular. But we left it alone, and after last summer's redesign, it broke. Since then we've received a number of emails asking when we'd fix the code. Some even asked - their senders having missed version 1.0 presumably - whether we supported Sherlock at all. We do, and we're pleased to make it available once more. It's been completely updated to integrate with the site more efficiently, to provide more information and to support Sherlock 2, released with MacOS 9. To use the plug-in, download it by clicking on the link below. Depending on how your browser is set up, you may need to decode the BinHex 4.0 archive the plug-in is stored in. Locate the 'reg.src' file in your downloads folder and drag it onto your System Folder, which must be closed. The MacOS will place the file in the correct location, and next time you're connected to the Net, fire up Sherlock and use it to search The Register's story archive. Sherlock 2 users will find the plug-in listed in the News channel. The plug-in requires (obviously) Sherlock, which has shipped with all versions of the MacOS from 8.5 onwards. It also works with MacOS X Public Beta. It doesn't work with Windows, but if there's a Linux application that can read and use Sherlock plug-ins, we'd like to hear about it. The plug-in is currently at version 2.0.1. Notification of future versions will be posted here, and Sherlock itself should warn you of updates too. Download Click here to download the Register plug-in 2.0.1. Enjoy! ® Legal Stuff The Register's Sherlock plug-in is provided free of charge, as is and without warranty. Readers who download and install this software do so entirely at their own risk. It has been tested on a number of MacOS systems, but we can't guarantee it will work on yours. No support is offered with this product. Anyone who is able to access the source code within the plug-in is welcome to do so, but we're not responsible for the effects of such inquisitiveness.