19th > March > 2001 Archive

DVD descrambler encoded in ‘illegal’ prime number

The Pythagoreans were reputed, whether rightly or wrongly, to be a shamanistic cult which jealously guarded the higher mysteries of mathematical knowledge to maintain social power and political influence in their day. Of course they weren't as advanced as we are; so we have every confidence that the liberal spirit of scientific inquiry to which our technology establishment nobly aspires will prevail over puling self-interest in the case of a remarkably large prime number used to encode the infamous, and illegal, DeCSS utility with which DVD encryption can be defeated (and the entire entertainment industry annihilated, we're warned). Mathematician Phil Carmody worked it out, and in so doing discovered a prime number over one thousand digits in length, which qualifies it as a worthy object of inquiry in and of itself. The question, of course, is whether an interesting number is illegal merely because it can be used to encode a contraband program. We don't know, but imagine the entertainment industry will regard it as knowledge far too dangerous for the general run of mankind to be trusted with. So much for the Enlightenment. ® The possibly illegal number 4856507896573978293098418946942861377074420873513579240196520736 6869851340104723744696879743992611751097377770102744752804905883 1384037549709987909653955227011712157025974666993240226834596619 6060348517424977358468518855674570257125474999648219418465571008 4119086259716947970799152004866709975923596061320725973797993618 8606316914473588300245336972781813914797955513399949394882899846 9178361001825978901031601961835034344895687053845208538045842415 6548248893338047475871128339598968522325446084089711197712769412 0795862440547161321005006459820176961771809478113622002723448272 2493232595472346880029277764979061481298404283457201463489685471 6908235473783566197218622496943162271666393905543024156473292485 5248991225739466548627140482117138124388217717602984125524464744 5055834628144883356319027253195904392838737640739168912579240550 1562088978716337599910788708490815909754801928576845198859630532 3823490558092032999603234471140776019847163531161713078576084862 2363702835701049612595681846785965333100770179916146744725492728 3348691600064758591746278121269007351830924153010630289329566584 3662000800476778967984382090797619859493646309380586336721469695 9750279687712057249966669805614533820741203159337703099491527469 1835659376210222006812679827344576093802030447912277498091795593 8387121000588766689258448700470772552497060444652127130404321182 610103591186476662963858495087448497373476861420880529443 Related Links A perl script for extracting the goodies, by Jamie McCarthy Extra details from Phil Carmody Thanks to Dave Touretzky for bringing this to our attention
Thomas C Greene, 19 Mar 2001

Micron subpoenas Intel in Rambus suit

HWRoundupHWRoundup While yours truly was ducking from buckets of vitriol being flung by irate Ramboid shareholders, young JC spotted on the Rambus Site that Micron, which also has litigation with Rambus, has issued a subpoena "on custodian of records of Intel Corporation". That happened last week. --------------------cut here------------------- Benchmarks for multi-processing 760 boards which got disappeared after we referred to them, are displayed on Ace's Hardware. Note, according to AMD sources we have, there are gazillions of these boards out and about right now. --------------------cut here------------------- The Ferrari of Sound is roaring away at Anandtech. This particular noisy beast is VideoLogic's DigiTheatre. The Boy Anand also has a weekly mofo-CPU roundup up... --------------------cut here------------------- Someone has shot an iMac plumb through the forehead and the evidence is at HardOCP. --------------------cut here------------------- Chris Tom of AMD Zone and Socket A has posted a review of the FIC AD11 760 board, alone in having clock multiplier settings he says. --------------------cut here------------------- There's 21 pages about Radeon here at Fullon 3D. We repeat, irrespective of this -- rumours that ATI could be an Intel target are sweeping the PC nation. You know what INTC gets like with anything grafficky. --------------------cut here------------------- Our friends at Chip Geek take a look at micron technology and what's happening in the future. *® And that's your lot for today. But if you haven't had enough, get over to the Archives for recent points on your wibbly dial
Mike Magee, 19 Mar 2001

Intel beats AMD to 1GHz mobile

As exclusively predicted here in July last year, Intel duly introduced its 1GHz mobile Pentium III, a 0.18 micron number which a rack of tier-one vendors rushed to support. The chip, which uses Speedstep technology, will appear in 20 notebooks from the likes of Dell, Gateway, HP, Compaq and so forth. This may well be a tough act for rival AMD to follow, in the short term, that is. At the same time, and again as predicted here last year, Chipzilla launched a 900MHz PIII mobile processor and a 750MHz Celeron mobile. Intel said the 1GHz PIII is "50 times" faster than the first mobile chip it introduced, and runs at 1.35 volts. If only the operating system was 50 times faster - but then Intel doesn't make that bit. Again, as revealed here, Intel is supplying boxed versions of its PIII to its system integrator customers. This move is long overdue, and was first promised by the mobile division at the firm quite some moons back. Intel agrees with our pricing for the parts. The 1GHz and 900MHz chips cost $722 and $562, while the Celeron mobile only costs $170. You have to buy a thousand of each of these parts to get those prices. PC manufacturers have been readying themselves for these introductions for some months now, meaning that if you keep your eyes skinned, you'll see some relative bargains. Although the mobile Pentium III roadmap at .18 micron has a little way to go, Intel's big move later this year will be to intro its Tualatin .13 micron technology into the mobile market. Now it's AMD's turn to see if it can leapfrog Intel on the mobile front - as we pointed out towards the end of last year - this is much harder in the notebook market than on the desktop. ® See Also Intel notebooks to top 1GHz Intel cranks up mobile CPU to 1GHz Intel's notebook prices, strategy for 2001 Intel boxes clever on mobiles, desktop chipsets Pentium 4 notebooks on way Notebook price wars to flare up in 2001 AMD blows Intel into the mobile weeds Intel mobile plans for next nine months unfold
Mike Magee, 19 Mar 2001

Palm launches m500, 505

Palm today unveiled its latest high-end PDAs, the m500 and m505, in the run-up to CeBit, as expected thanks to leaks from the company earlier this year. The new machines, the successors to the Palm V family, herald not only true support for USB, but the first use in a Palm of the Secure Digital Card expansion system and the arrival of PalmOS 4.0, which was also expected to arrive this week. Both machines sport 8MB of memory, 0.5in-thick slimline Palm V-style cases, built-in rechargeable Lithium Polymer batteries, a vibrating alarm, and Palm's new Universal Connector to hook them up to modems and HotSync cradles. The m500 and m505 both ship with USB cradles, answering users' oft-made requests for an easier, cheaper USB solution than having to plug a ridiculously expensive USB adaptor onto the old cradle's serial connector. The colour model supports 16-bit colour, enabled by PalmOS 4.0. The new version of the operating system also soups up the PDA's security and extends its agenda alarm options. It also supports the new expansion slots and connectors. Presumably there are various tweaks and bug-fixes in there too, but from the way Palm describes it, PalmOS 4.0 sounds more like a minor upgrade than the major leap forward. As yet, the software hasn't been made available for previous Palm devices. Customers who've only just forked out for PalmOS 3.5 won't be too happy if they have to do so again for the latest upgrade, particularly given its apparently minor nature. Actually, since most of its new features seem hardware specific - 16-bit colour, vibrating alarms, etc. - there probably won't be much need to upgrade in any case. And when Palm has to tout bundling its Wireless Internet Kit as a key OS feature, you know there's not an awful lot to the upgrade. To enable connections to the outside world, Palm has released a landline 56kbps modem that clips onto the new machines' Universal Connector. Palm also announced the availability of five SD card add-ins: a 16MB memory expansion module, a games pack, and US, Europe and Asia-Pacific city guides from Lonely Plant. Palm said that a back-up module and a dictionary/thesaurus pack will be available soon. In the US, the price of the m500 will be $399, $449 for the m505. In the UK, the m500 will be £329 (available May) while the m505 cost £399, but won't be available until June. ® Related Stories NCR slaps patent suit on Palm, Handspring Colour Palm V spec. leaks Colour Palm V debuts on Web
Tony Smith, 19 Mar 2001

Evesham rolls 1.33GHz Athlon out door

UK PC manufacturer Evesham confirmed today that it is ready to ship a 1.33GHz AMD Athlon machine that uses double data rate (DDR) memory. There's no Palomino core yet, as far as we can tell. The indications are end users will have to wait a while for that. That follows an eagle-eyed Reg reader spotting a review of the machine in the May issue of UK magazine PC Pro, an advance copy of which he received through the post. He said: "This has a full review of a 1.33GHZ Athlon DDR based system (from Evesham) showing some absolutely storming benchmark results. And this appears to be ahead of any such review by the Internet hardware fraternity. The results posted by PC Pro would suggest more than just a speed grade increase - is this the first look at the Palomino core?" An Evesham representative commented: "AMD are happy with the review success we have had on this product and will continue to work with us to build on this successful relationship." So if the 1.3GHz and 1.33GHz machines aren't out yet, they will be, soon enough. Last week, an AMD representative told The Register that his firm had secured 65 per cent of consumer market share in the UK. ®
Mike Magee, 19 Mar 2001

Email is ‘third revolutionary step in human communication’

Email, or communication using Internet technology, is the third revolutionary step in mankind's ability to communicate, the first two being learning how to speak and how to write, a leading authority in linguistics claims. Speaking today on Radio 4's Start the Week, Prof. David Crystal, argued that email is unique in that it is a "framing" language. People can take the third paragraph of an email, copy paste and respond to that. They can take the fifth paragraph and do the same. This flexibility (and presumably speed is an essential aspect) has not been possible before, he argues. In another example, David points out that a chatroom enables 30 or so to communicate at the same time. This would be impossible in any previous form of communication (although people often try it in pubs). Not only that but the non-linearity (ie hyperlinks) of the Internet has and will continue to affect not only language but also art and design and culture in general. Crystal has just written a book called Netspeak and is giving a talk on the subject at the Royal Society of Arts this Friday. He is the author The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language and numerous other books on language. ®
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Mar 2001
DVD it in many colours

How to get back your nicked mobile

The Metropolitan Police has launched a new radio campaign aimed at tackling the huge increase in mobile theft in London. Last year, 10,000 mobiles were stolen and two-thirds of those were nicked or robbed from kids. The Met has clearly decided its advice to avoid using the mobile in public is unlikely to find many converts so has gone for a more practical approach.* This consists of writing down your phone's unique IMEI number (International Mobile Equipment Identity) and giving it to police if it's nicked. Then, if they pick it up, they'll know where to send it. You get your IMEI by tapping "*,#,0,6,#" into your mobile. This will give you a 15-digit number. The first two refer to your country, the first six are known as the Type Approval Code. Then the seventh and eighth digits give who manufactured the phone (for example, 10 and 20 are Nokia). The next six are your phone's serial number and the last digit is just an "additional number". It is debatable whether this is likely to affect the level of mobile crime. And we would ask who would want back their mobile six months later it was stolen, but just one look about these days shows people getting strangely attached to their phones. It's not just downloaded ring tones but also hundreds of ridiculous features (remind yourself of something in two hours' time!). Mobile bores are a new aspect of modern life, see them in a pub close to you now. ® * This gem of common-sense comes from the Met's own guidelines. To protect your phone: Do not carry them openly (keep it in your pocket or handbag). Avoid using your phone in crowded spaces. Do not leave your phone unattended, keep it with you. Be aware of the area you are in and the people around you. Use your phone security lock code or pin number. Property mark your phone with your post code and door number. Record your phone's IMEI number If your phone is stolen or lost report it to police immediately. Inform your service provider. ®
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Mar 2001

SiS touts transition DIMMs

Taiwan's Silicon Integrated Systems has launched its SDRAM-to-DDR transition memory scheme, designed to work with the Tualatin-supporting SiS635T chipset and its Athlon equivalent, the SiS735. The memory technology, SDR/DDR Share Mode, is based on 184-pin DIMMs capable of holding PC-133 SDRAM or DDR memory. The DDR DIMM spec. is based on a 184-pin module. Regular SDRAM uses 168-pin modules. Clearly there's an incompatibility. SiS believes the industry should move to 184-pin Share Mode DIMMs. Motherboard makers would use only DDR slots, knowing that 184-pin PC-133 SDRAMs can be used too. The alternative would be to force mobo makers to design and implement either slots capable of working with both kinds of memory - or shipping boards with banks of SDRAM and DDR slots. SiS' SDR/DDR Share Mode supporters Apacer (part of Acer Labs) and TwinMOS reckon that it will be easy for other DIMM makers to transfer 168-pin DIMM production to the 184-pin spec. "The 184-pin SDR DIMM is the JEDEC industry standard for memory chips," said a TwinMOS representative. "It is very easy for memory module makers to put into production." How many will do so remains to be seen, however. At this stage, DDR and SDRAM are targeted at different sectors of the PC market, so it's questionable how much need there is and will be for transition products. SiS' argument is that "the high price sensitivity of the PC market makes integration [between old and new memory technologies] inevitable". But the bottom line is that consumers will need to buy new memory, whether it's 184-pin SDRAM DIMMs to use until DDR becomes a necessary upgrade, or, by buying a DDR-based mobo, 184-pin DDR DIMMs to replace 168-pin modules. Either way, the punter pays out as they always have had to (SIMMs to DIMMs, PC-100 to PC-133, etc). The advantage here is for mobo makers who can make one board fit multiple price points, but they'll only be tempted to do so if they can sell them, ie. if there's enough 184-pin SDRAM DIMMs out there for consumers and PC makers to be able to use to build complete systems. ® Related Stories SiS, VIA and Acer intro Tualatin chipsets Intel deems SiS worthy of P4 chipset licence SiS licenses IBM 'design and process' patents
Tony Smith, 19 Mar 2001

Future in red, not dead

Bath-based publisher Future Network has reported pre-tax losses of £59.3m for the year 2000, up from just £3.5m in 1999. The company was hammered by a slump in computer games magazine market and a downturn in online and new media advertising. It forecasts hefty losses for the first half of 2001. In February, Future announced its plans to slash 350 jobs and close 20 magazines. The axed titles accounted for £18 million in turnover and losses of £14.7 million in 2000. Future's big plan to sort out its finances is to sell Internet business mag Business 2.0. Future says the titles revenues were up 341% in 2000 from 1999, but Q4 had been very tough. The large percentage growth suggests sales haven't been very high at all, and the downturn in new media advertising will have been a good hard kick in the nads for the magazine. Circulation of the twice monthly grew to 350,000. The company had sales of £254 million in 2000, up 28.6 per cent on 1999's £197.5 million. Future is still dependent on the fortunes of games market, currently in the doldrums because of the late arrival of Sony's PS2 - 35 per cent of its revenues still come from that sector. ® Related Stories Future slashes 90 jobs in UK Games mags in difficulty
Robert Blincoe, 19 Mar 2001

BT board in ‘debt crisis talks’

BT has called an emergency board meeting to discuss ways of reducing its lumbering £30 billion debt, according to the Sunday Times. The meeting has been called following last week's tech shares crash. BT had hoped that a partial float of BT Wireless (as well as selling off non-core assets and floating part of Yell) would yield £10 billion and reduce its debt to a more acceptable level. The Sunday Times appears to have an unusually well-placed source for its BT story, judging from the precision with which it forecasts the outcome of Tuesday's board meeting. The board will vote to abandon the float of BT Wireless. Instead it will recommend a massive £5 billion new share issue. This move, it claims, will cause the departure of CEO Peter Bonfield - who is most to blame for BT's apparent inability to see how the telecoms market is developing. The paper also claims that new FD Phillip Hampton is after a complete demerger of BT Wireless, rather than a partial flotation, and wants to get rid of BT's 20 per cent holding in Japan Telecom. Incredibly, the paper reckons that chairman Sir Iain Vallance is expected to survive any shake-up. In most analyst and press speculation to date, the assumption is has always been that it is Vallance's head on the chopping block, while Bonfield gets the reprieve. But back to the most black and white world of BT's press office. The company will not comment on whether board meetings are happening or not. It denies that the BT Wireless float is off - it will go on as scheduled before the end of the financial year. No comment of whether Bonfield is liable to leave the company. There is no firm plan to ditch BT's holding in Japan Telecom - it is currently "happy with the 20 per cent holding". As for the £5 billion share issue, this is "rumour and speculation". BT, as ever, will "look at all the options". Incidentally, the FT reported the same story today. It looks like it was a simple rewrite of the Sunday Times piece though, so we're still only getting the story from one side. ®
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Mar 2001

Intel cans second fab expansion

Intel has suspended its second fab upgrade in a week. Having put a $2 billion expansion of its Leixlip, Ireland fab on hold until 2003, Chipzilla has canned a $500 million upgrade programme at its Hudson, Massachusetts plant, aka Fab 17. Two parallel upgrades, costing $1 billion, at the same fab will continue. They will allow the plant to increase 0.18 micron production and introduce 0.13 micron production. ® Related Story Intel delays $2bn Irish fab upgrade
Tony Smith, 19 Mar 2001

AOL UK delivers racial slur by post

AOL UK has sent out one of its flat rate Internet access CDs addressed to 'Mr Jungle Bunny'. The recipient, Peter Alleyne, is black. According to Matt Peacock, AOL's PR boss, the address must have been collected automatically, and it believes that someone who knew Alleyne created an account using the racist term of abuse and Peter Alleyne's address, The Sun reports. AOL's screening software usually removes "malicious pranks" but the company had not come across the racist epithet before, Peacock said. We're waiting for AOL to let us know what software it uses. Peter Alleyne has already got Net access so he doesn't need the disc. ® Related Story AOL dodges child porn lawsuit
Robert Blincoe, 19 Mar 2001

ALi ships Tualatin-supporting chipset

Acer Labs (ALi) today took the wraps off what it reckons in the world's first Pentium III chipset capable of supporting both SDRAM and DDR memory. Actually that's probably not a first, so ALi qualifies the claim by saying it's the first to do the SDR/DDR thing and support "future Pentium III" processor's - the 0.13 micron Tualatin, in other words - and come in notebook and desktop configurations. The Aladdin Pro 5T sports a memory controller capable of flipping between regular SDRAM and DDR SDRAM. The chipsets supports both 100MHz and 133MHz frontside bus speeds. ALi has also thrown in the usual AGP 4x and PCI slot (six in this case) support. The chipset is aimed at both desktop and notebook PC vendors. It comprises a single Northbridge part, the M1651T, and separate Southbridge units, depending on the type of machine the chipset will be incorporated into. The M1535+ part is for notebooks, the M1535D+ for desktops. Tualatin is due early Q3, as the 0.13 micron version of the PIII, so it's no surprise that the Aladdin Pro 5T chipset, is set to ship in volume by the end of Q2. It's sampling now. Acer's announcement follows a similar one from SiS, which unveiled its SiS635T, supporting DDR and PC-133 SDRAM, and just PC-133, respectively. Intel itself will be supporting Tualatin with a B-step upgrade to its 815 family of PIII and Celeron chipsets. ® Related Story SiS, VIA and Acer intro Tualatin chipsets
Tony Smith, 19 Mar 2001

Intel's McKinley gets Rambus support

Sources close to Intel's plans in Israel told The Register today that the 870 chipset which will support the IA-64 McKinley platform, will have a Rambus interface. That will come as a boost for the memory IP firm, which last week saw its share price plummet as a result of pre-trial decisions made in a Virginian court. According to the sources, the Dell Corporation is already committed to producing a McKinley board using the Rambus interface, and, just in case customers have any doubt about the performance of RDRAM, the chipset will also support a Rambus to DDR translator. Meanwhile, the R-Shasta project, first reported here many months back, which uses a Broadcom Serverworks chipset for the 32-bit Foster Intel processor with four way support, is also close to completion, the same sources add. The R-Shasta will support four way interleaved DDR memory and include a PCI-X bus. Validation of the chipset is practically complete. That is good news for Intel. Roadmaps seen by The Register indicated a late Q1/Q2 launch for Foster servers. While Q2 now looks more likely, it shows the project is still on time. ®
Mike Magee, 19 Mar 2001

Major UK software pirates found guilty

The National Crime Squad and Microsoft have secured guilty verdicts on a London-based four man software counterfeit crew. The gang recorded profits in excess of £1.5 million. Three of the four men are awaiting sentencing next month after being found guilty by an Old Bailey Jury on Friday. The fourth jumped bail and legged it back to his home in Pakistan. They had been brought to trial three months ago. The business was run out of an East London accountancy firm. The team was led by Sikander Qureshi, aged 55, from Stanmore. He was convicted of conspiracy to defraud alongside Shaheen Parveen, aged 42, from Kingsbury and Zafar Ahmed, aged 40, from East Ham. Parveen's brother, Babar Manzoor, aged 25, high tailed it back to Pakistan. According to the Sunday Times Parveen and Ahmed, who both refused to give evidence, said they'd been working for a Chinese man, Mr Wong, and didn't know they were doing anything wrong. The gang was first arrested at the end of 1998. When they got bailed they moved their operation but police shut them down again and grabbed more evidence. They were first caught after Customs officers at Heathrow got a lucky break and intercepted a package full of fake MS software, sent from a business address in Thailand to Qureshi's accountancy firm in Shoreditch High Street, London. The parcel was sent to Qureshi but when it arrived Hackney trading standards team swooped and grabbed more software, and a shrink-wrapping machine. The National Crime Squad joined in the investigation and caught the team on CCTV camera visiting their lock-up. Bank records suggest the gang made more than £1.5 million in profits. Only £80,000 was recovered. Qureshi and Parveen had been held in custody after breaking bail restrictions. Police caught them hiding in a wardrobe at Parveen's house. Qureshi claimed in court that he was a good pal of Benazir Bhutto's husband Asif Ali Zardari. His wife appears on the Asian TV station ZTV. ® Related Link Sunday Times story Related Stories Dealers charged with pirate supply to 23 police forces Dealers still selling Office 97 better make sure it's legit
Robert Blincoe, 19 Mar 2001

Intel to delay Israeli fab plan?

Intel's planned new plant in Kiryat Gat, Israel may be the next victim of its fab expansion slowdown, according to a local government source cited by business paper the Globes. Intel last week confirmed that it had put construction plans on hold in Ireland and Massachusetts. The unnamed Israeli local government source may be second-guessing Intel, rather than having any insider knowledge, judging from his or her comments to the Globes. "Intel explained to us that the Kiryat Gat plant was scheduled to be set up after the Irish plant. Following the suspension of Intel's plant in Ireland, we're expecting our plant to be suspended too. It's not as certain as it used to be." That "suspension" was last week's decision to delay the $2 billion expansion of Chipzilla's Leixlip, Ireland plant, aka Fab 24, until 2003. On Friday, Intel also said it would drop a $500 million expansion plan at Fab 17 in Hudson, Massachusetts. A "senior" source within Israel's Ministry of Industry and Trade told the Globes: "In view of reduced demand, it doesn't look as if Intel is in a hurry to set up the plan in Kiryat Gat." This source alleges Intel had signed the agreement to build the plant as much to ensure it retained its right to local tax breaks as to create a new fab for itself. "Under the agreement, even after plans are submitted in two months, the company has two years to start setting up the plant," the source claimed. Terry Shannon, editor of Shannon Knows Compaq, writes It was just three months ago that Chipzilla announced a $1bn investment in the Commonwealth of Taxachusetts. Included in this was a $750M upgrade of the former DEC Fab-6 foundry in Hudson, MA. Changing its mind last week, Chipzilla put the Fab-6 expansion on indefinite hold. In Hudson, construction workers have already begun laying the foundation for the 50,000-square-foot structure, known as Mod 4 in Chipzilla-speak. Intel spokesman Patrick Ward said that once this work is complete, the site will be mothballed until the economy picks up. "It really depends on business conditions," he said. ® Related Stories Intel delays $2bn Irish fab upgrade Intel cans second fab expansion
Tony Smith, 19 Mar 2001

World's fastest ever CD-RW drives!

Yamaha has unveiled the world's fastest-ever CD-R and RW drives - the CRW2200 series - offering 20 times writing, 10 times rewriting and 40 times reading and ripping. It didn't actually unveil it - that's just cliched journalese - but it is 14 per cent faster than its previous series (the 2100). And, of course, it will be out on display at CeBIT this week. There will be five models in the series, the first (2200E) available soon after the show ends on 28 March. These are: CRW2200E (internal ATAPI), CRW2200S (internal SCSI-3), CRW2200SX (external SCSI-3), CRW2100IX (external IEEE1394), and CRW2200UX (external USB2.0). Yamaha seems rather pleased with itself over the drives, offering "greater recording stability, efficiency and ease of use" and using words like "excellent" and "superb" in its press release. All drives are based on the 2100s and come with Yamaha's SafeBurn system (good, backup memory system for recording). They will all have a big 8Mb buffer memory to help reach the faster speeds. The general manager for these things, Masami Takeuchi made a point of saying "we have not compromised quality for speed", although when it says the latest drives have "retained many" of the 2100's features, the obvious questions is: which haven't they retained and why? As an indication of the speed: ripping a 74-minute CD will now take around about three minutes. More details will come out of the CeBIT experience. ®
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Mar 2001

Watch someone die online!

An American magician claims he will broadcast a person dying online next week. Self-proclaimed "Master Magician and Paranormalist" Jim Callahan is urging surfers to log onto his site on March 27 to watch the free "Dying Cam" event - part of a freaky Carnival of Wonders series. No details are available as to who this soon-to-be departed person is, how or where they will die, or why they would want to meet their maker in front of a bunch of gawping strangers. But what is clear is Callahan's motivation - publicity. "Log on here and watch a person dying live on your computer," his site beckons. "Witness for yourself the most outrageous promotion of a entertainer (sic) ever!" But not everyone shares Callahan's enthusiasm. Last week the cyber-sorcerer was forced to remove the site's bulletin board when "religious zealots" started repeatedly posting messages on it. "What they don't realize is that this is just the beginning," Callahan says. "I am making a statement with this presentation. If people don't like it they don't have to log on but they will regret it later. They will be missing an event." The virtual death will be broadcast as "The Edge Exhibit" on Jimclass.com. ® Related Stories You've got mail: I'm going to kill myself My Internet love is a corpse-hoarding granny Korean due do each other in after suicide site meet
Linda Harrison, 19 Mar 2001

Pittsburgh to get Apple store in ‘two months’

Apple is looking for retail sites in Pittsburgh in order to open "three or four" stores in the area, according to the guy who is finding the locations on the company's behalf. "We've been looking for the appropriate locations," claimed one Herky Pollock, executive VP at CB Richard Ellis/Pittsburgh, cited by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The search has gone on for the last couple of months. According to Pollock, Apple wants to open up to four stores in the Pittsburgh area, all between 5000sq ft and 6000sq ft. Target retails zones include Shadyside, and the North and South Hills, he said. The first stores will open in the next two months, Pollock claimed, with other sites following elsewhere in Western Pennsylvania by the end of the year. "[Apple] is not entirely satisfied with the way its product is currently merchandised in other mass market retailers," said Pollock. "Apple is obviously trying to grow its market share. By allowing consumers to come in and test their merchandise, it will create an opportunity to show how Apple differentiates itself from other PCs in the marketplace. "It is not entirely satisfied with the way its product is currently merchandised in other mass market retailers," he added. Not that the others are too happy about the move. One told the paper: "That's a typical Apple move. They do everything they can to screw up the dealers." The Pittsburgh stores join a chain stretching across the US, from Palo Alto, Glendale and (it's believed) San Francisco in California to New York City, taking in Seattle, Chicago, Austin, Cambridge and lesser known sites like Littleton, Colorado on the way. ® Related Stories The Pittsburgh Business Times story (requires registration) Related Stories Apple loses retail partner Works starts on Apple's Palo Alto store Two more sites join Apple retail chain Chicago to host fourth Apple retail outlet
Tony Smith, 19 Mar 2001

Palm damns NCR patent suit as baseless

Palm has responded to NCR's patent infringement claims with a firm 'it's a load of old bollocks'. Not that the company's General Counsel, Stephen Yu, put it in quite those terms, but that's what his legalspeak adds up to. "Palm will defend itself vigorously," he said, following co-defender Handspring's statement last week that NCR has no case and it will fight the suit. NCR alleges that PDA products from both Palm and Handspring violate patents covering a "credit card-sized... portable personal terminal" that syncs up with other machines to conduct "a wide variety of financial, shopping and other transactions". That sounds close of Palm CEO Carl Yankowski's vision of the Palm PDA as a universal electronic wallet. There are a few other circumstantial similarities, but beyond that it's hard to what NCR's beef is about. Certainly its 1987 patents post-date the electronic organiser, which dates back to Psion's Organiser in the mid-80s. Then again, it's may simply be the transactional aspect - in this case, e-commerce and digital cash - that NCR is chasing, sensing this will soon be big business for the likes of Palm. After all, a product can infringe a patent - and note that we're not saying that Palm has violated NCR's intellectual property rights - even if the concept it copies is only a minor part of its functionality. ® Related Story NCR slaps patent suit on Palm, Handspring Palm to cash in on pay-by-PDA plan Palm launches m500, 505
Tony Smith, 19 Mar 2001

Real sues Lockstream over trade secrets

Real Networks is suing a former employee alleging theft of source code, according to court filings seen by the Seattle Times. Lockstream hired Chad Storey, a team leader at Real, late last year. By doing so, alleges Real, Storey broke an agreement not to work for a competitor for twelve months after leaving Real. Lockstream maintains that had been working on similar technology long before hiring Storey. Real has already won a restraining order against Storey and Lockstream, preventing the latter from destroying code Storey worked on, the Seattle Times reports. A Lockstream spokesman confirmed that Lockstream had been working on the disputed technology prior to Storey's arrival, but couldn't comment on specifics. ®
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Mar 2001

Dow Jones Average collapses to 0.20

Reader Toby Doig nearly had a heart attack this morning when he visited Datek to check out his share portfolio and found that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) had taken the full brunt of the stock market wobble and slumped just over 10,000 points to stand at 0.20 (down 99.999 per cent, roughly). Fortunately for Toby and budding Gordon Geckos everywhere, the DJIA hadn't gone the toilet but clearly there had been a terrible computing error someone along the line. Surprisingly, no one seems too keen on telling us where. Once Toby has caught his heart with his left hand as it shot out his chest, he screen-grabbed the page and set it over to us. And here she is (beautifully sliced). ®
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Mar 2001

Websites forced to identify forum posters

UK Websites and ISPs could now be forced to disclose the details of anonymous forum posters, following a High Court ruling involving Totalise, the ISP, and investor sites Motley Fool UK and Interactive Investor International. In a judgment from February, but appearing only now in the law reports, Totalise successfully obtained the identity of Zeddust, a poster of defamatory statement on the discussion boards of both sites. Zeddust began posting his stuff on Motley Fool's site. Totalise's solicitors complained. Motley Fool removed Zeddust then banned him. Totalise demanded that Motley Fool reveal Zeddust's identity, a step too for for the Website, which refused. Zeddust popped up again, this time on III's forum. And again Totalise sought the identity of the poster; III removed the posting but refused to name the author. The court ruled that the Websites couldn't protect the identity of the forum posters, in the way that a newspaper can protect its sources, as no editorial control of the forums was exercised: ie. the Websites did not get the protection of section 10 of the Contempt of Court Act which says: "No court may require a person to disclose ...the source of information contained in a publication for which he is responsible, unless it be established to the satisfaction of the court that disclosure is necessary in the interests of justice or national security or for the prevention of disorder or crime." Justice Robert Owen ruled "disclosure was necessary in the interests of justice." So, as NeedTo Know, the estimable newsletter, points out: we now have the situation where UK sites can be sued for libel because they are publishers (the Laurence Godfrey/Demon case), and where they must reveal details of anonymous posters because they're not publishers. And isn't Totalise, as an ISP, shooting itself in the foot with this action? The ruling, according to Dai Davis, a consultant lawyer at UK legal firm Nabarro & Nathanson, is an application of old laws. As regards copping to a charge of libel due to the acts of your users, there is good news on the horizon for ISPs/Websites. The government's e-commerce directive, required to be made law by 17 January 2002, will allow the defence that you can host information, as long as you didn't know it was illegal. You'd still have to grass up whoever made the posting, though. The only way round that is not knowing who's posting to your site. "If you don't know, you can't be made to say," Davis says. ® Related Links The Times law report NeedTo Know Related Stories The ISP liability Demon invoked again UK Court rules on ISP liability Demon libel loss could cripple Internet free speech
Robert Blincoe, 19 Mar 2001

AMD PowerNow! wins EPA gong

AMD has been patted on the back by the US Environmental Protection Agency for its efforts to promote energy-saving technologies. In particular, the EPA likes AMD's PowerNow! power-preservation system, due to debut real soon now in Chimpzilla's Palomino-based Mobile Athlon, and its AMD-760 chipset, which hooks the CPU into the rest of the system. "These and other leading edge technologies are helping the environment by reducing the electricity needed to power the end product, thereby reducing power plant emissions and air pollution-securing a place for AMD as a frontrunner in designing energy efficient enabling technology," says the EPA's Craig Hershberg. AMD's reward for all this eco-friendliness is an Energy Star Certificate of Recognition for Technical Innovation. The reason the 760 was given the EPA thumbs-up was its support for DDR SDRAM. According to the EPA pronouncement: "Manufacturers of DDR memory have reported reduced power consumption of nearly 50 per cent compared to Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory (SDRAM) technology." So presumably every other vendor who offers a DDR-supporting chipset will win an Energy Star gong in due course. Now we've no doubt that AMD's PowerNow!, Flash and other technologies help cut power consumption and thus do their little bit to solve California's power problems... sorry, reduce electricity demand, cut emissions, etc. but it's a tad rich given how power-hogging Athlon implementations have been and how un-green the production of chips is. It's also ironic that Chimpzilla wins an award for its eco-friendly chip technologies when the real motivation was to compete with Intel, which in turn is trying to compete with Transmeta. ®
Tony Smith, 19 Mar 2001

Warner Bros scraps Harry Potter legal actions

Warner Brothers appears to have extended the olive branch to the operators of all Harry Potter fan sites, following its decision to withdraw from legal action against 15-year-old Claire says it regrets "any misunderstandings resulting from Warner Bros.' recent actions". In recent months, fan sites which incorporated the name Harry Potter into their URL have received a standard legal letter insisting they hand over their domain names to the corporation. Warner Brothers, the owner of film and merchandising rights to the Harry Potter books, at first claimed the sites were infringing its trademark but has subsequently recognised that the sites do not infringe its own rules on trademarks and has rescinded the legal threats. The Claire Field case, and a number of others, have received significant press attention in the run-up to the Harry Potter film - to which Warner Brothers has the rights. The news that legal action will be stopped has been received from a large number of those sites - and the letters have been greeted with enthusiasm by Webmasters who contacted us. (But we have been unable so far to get official confirmation from Warner Brothers that all sites have received such notice.) Warner Brothers has set up a Harry Potter team for dealing with all queries and inquiries dealing with the Harry Potter film and related-matters. The multi-billion corporation has also set up a Harry Potter Web ring, inviting fan sites to join. Individuals writing to Warner Brothers over the saga have been receiving the same letter. It reads: ® "Thank you for your message regarding Harry Potter fan sites. We appreciate your concerns about the many wonderful sites run by Harry Potter fans, and we regret any misunderstandings resulting from Warner Bros.' recent actions. "We want to assure you that at no time has Warner Bros. proposed or threatened to take over or shut down any fan sites. Also, no legal action to take over or shut down sites has been or will be taken against webmasters who are determined to be enthusiastic fans who simply want to pay homage to Harry Potter. To protect supporters of Harry Potter, though, Warner Bros. has pursued and will continue to pursue sites that contain inappropriate content (such as obscene pictures) or are mostly commercial in nature, but only after a careful review of the site. We are committed to producing a quality entertainment experience for all fans of Harry Potter. As part of this commitment, we have recently started building the "Official Harry Potter Webmaster Community". Webmasters who join will receive early news about the upcoming Harry Potter movie, as well as special graphics and content that can be posted to their fan sites. Also, HarryPotter.com will feature fan sites from the Official Harry Potter Webmaster Community on a regular basis. If you or someone you know might be interested in this program, please visit: http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com/webring/webmasterprog.html. Thanks again for your feedback and if we can be of any further assistance, please let us know. Sincerely, The Harry Potter Team" ® Related Story Claire Field wins Harry Potter Web site case The Harry Potter debacle
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Mar 2001

OnStream runs out of steam

Storage outfit OnStream has shut its doors and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. According to a recorded message on the privately owned Colorado and Dutch-based outfit's switchboard today, "OnStream has ceased operations. No further calls will be accepted". OnStream's product line manager Scott McClure confirmed the company had stopped trading on Friday, filing for Chapter 7 for all of its business units, Macintouch.com reports. "Thank you for the information and support you have passed on our products, and to the customers who bought this ground breaking technology," McClure added. OnStream, a spin-off from Philips Electronics in Eindhoven, had 350 staff. ® Related Link Macintouch Related Story Former Philip’s division debuts digital tape back-up drive
Linda Harrison, 19 Mar 2001

Hong Kong ISPs slam encryption demands

ISPs have warned Hong Kong officials that their plans to crack cybercrime will harm the country's reputation. The Hong Kong Internet Service Providers Association (HKISPA) has voiced concerns about proposals to give law enforcers access to encryption keys. "We have to be very careful of controlling or even taking away the right of using encryption," the organisation told the South China Morning Post. "This will seriously damage the reputation of a democracy government, which Hong Kong is trying hard to achieve." It is also worried about a proposal to force ISPs to store records of their users, including email account details and Web pages accessed, for up to six months. The concerns are similar to those raised last year over the UK's government's Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Bill, which tried to force surfers to hand over encryption keys or passwords. HKISPA has asked for judicial scrutiny if law enforcers are to be given access to encryption keys. ® Related Link South China Morning Post site Related Stories Blair gets RIP thanks to a few sleepy MPs ISPs fly to continent to escape RIP RIP will turn Britain into police state - Clinton Web guru
Linda Harrison, 19 Mar 2001

Pay-to-Play: Microsoft erects .NET tollgate

Some of Microsoft's .NET vaporware precipitated today, in the form of a HailStorm. HailStorm is the first piece of .NET to be pushed into public view, and at last we can see how some of the loose ends around .NET and Microsoft's Great Plains purchase are beginning to come together. The services are slated to go live in beta form late this year, with operational roll-out in 2002. But almost unnoticed in the rush to discuss the usage (or abusage) of SOAP, XML and other technology specs is the more significant story. Microsoft promises to make Hailstorm a "business center", piped through the Passport hub. In other words, it's pay-to-play. Or as Microsoft's Hailstorm white paper explains:- "Microsoft will operate the HailStorm services as a business. HailStorm services will have real operational costs, and rather than risk compromising the user-centric model by having someone such as advertisers pay for these services, the people receiving the value - the end users - will be the primary source of revenue. " That's richly ironic, as Microsoft has spent much of the past twenty years - quite justifiably - as positioning itself the good guys against such vertically integrated suppliers as IBM, eager to ply you with a lethal cocktail of their own brand hardware, software, services and - if they'd buttered up your CFO - financing too. The horizontal model has been encouraged by investors and VCs of course, because the promise was that new markets would be created and flourish. That was the conventional wisdom until the end of the last decade, when even Microsoft's erstwhile most vigorous defenders (the WSJ, for example) came to accept that the company was snuffing out as many business opportunities as it was creating. That's putting kindly. Well now the wheel's turned full circle. Take this, for example:- "Service operators will also have a certificate-based license relationship with Microsoft allowing them to use HailStorm services, which will make it possible to ensure that no service using HailStorm is abusive of the resources involved, affecting other users of the services. That certificate will make it possible to filter abusers of the system." In another era, Microsoft might have been expected to sell these as 'building blocks' for a new tier of service provider companies and certification authorities. But not any more. Trading in its image of bug-eyed strangler for the new one of benevolent guardian of the oxygen tent is going to be quite a challenge, and this is how Microsoft will attempt it:- X-Ray Specs Hailstorm is a web-friendly variant on the ancient middleware ploy of leveraging back end data stores while trying to minimize the amount of new code that needs to be re-written. One example cited - of a telco offering users personalized phone services - comes straight from the CORBA marketing handbook of a decade ago. And SOAP as much an escape raft for Microsoft COM developers as it is a bold new way of computer interoperability. Hailstorm specs define a namespace for the basics - including contacts, document storage, location and notifications - with the notifications being the element that's obliged to pass through Microsoft's own servers. Doesn't that mean your business communications are reliant on the uptime and availability of Microsoft's servers? Oh yes it does, and Microsoft saw this one coming:- "Microsoft has lots of experience, both good and bad, operating some of the largest sites on the Internet, including Hotmail, MSN, Microsoft.com, and Passport," it says ... and promises substantial investment to upgrade these server farms. Sun's Scott McNealy has already promised to make much of Microsoft's recently-acquired taste for vertical integration, but he can hardly have started to mine this for comic potential. As for the standards war - that's almost secondary. Microsoft says no MS-Run Time is required to use HailStorm, nor any Microsoft development tools, although that of course is dependent on third-party vendors producing implementations of BizTalk on non-Microsoft platforms. BizTalk server produces code that conforms to Microsoft's schema, rather than the W3C XSD schema standard, although a command line tool to convert Microsoft schema to W3C schema is provided ... hidden away in a sub-directory on the CD labeled "Clip Art". (We made that last part up, but you get the general picture). ® Related Link Microsoft's HailStorm White Paper Related Stories MS blames lowly techie for Web blackout MS to announce Linux.NET MS swipes old (51) OS/2 guru to head .NET server sales IBM/Sun/Bea standards group takes on MS SOAP Sun wastes bullets on .NET in shooting spree
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Mar 2001

Microsoft nein danke: snoop scares dog US IT in Europe

IDG's Berlin bureau today secured a denial of Der Spiegel's 'Bundeswehr to ban Microsoft software' story. But actually, it looks to us like one of those denials - the ones that deny something slightly but materially different, while tacitly confirming the original story. And a closer examination of the role of Buckley, Colorado, does kind of suggest the Germans have a point. The Spiegel report, according to a German Defence Ministry spokesman, "is wrong." The Ministry has "a general licence contract" (presumably of the enterprise variety) with Microsoft, and that remains in force. So the German defence forces will continue to buy Microsoft software, as normal. But, ahem, the Spiegel report didn't say they wouldn't, actually. He went on to tell IDG that the German federal IT security agency, Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (BSI), was being consulted about the implementation of various security measures, but he declined to specify what they are. So, it would appear Germany is concerned about the security of its software systems, and is looking around for alternatives. If there are major contracts up for negotiation in this area it would be surprising if the two companies named by Spiegel, Siemens and Deutsche Telekom, weren't strong contenders, not would it be ludicrous to surmise that the reputations of US suppliers might get non-attributably blackened during the bidding process. On the other hand, it would be difficult to imagine a German Defence Ministry spokesman saying flat out: "That's right, we're dumping Microsoft software because the US government is using it to snoop on us." The claim that the US National Security Agency (NSA) has access to Microsoft source code does seem to have been bandied about too, and the NSAKEY 'back door' claim may have done service. Neither of these is directly relevant or important, but the (almost certainly correct) general European perception that US IT companies are too damn close to the NSA, and the US government is too damn cavalier about privacy, are. A Microsoft EMEA spokeswoman covered this for IDG in a positively world-weary tone. There are no back doors in Microsoft products, she said, adding that the old NSAKEY story kept coming back around every two or three months. "We are used to answering these questions." But she did say that Microsoft is talking to the French government (the other major European 'most likely to' when it comes to ditching Microsoft software) about granting it access to source code. Pause for thought there, team. Microsoft has been bashing the source code access drum for all it's worth for some months now, already gives numbers of its major customers 'look but not touch' access, and is now apparently willing to give the French access - also, presumably, on the basis that they can look, but have to ask Redmond for modifications. Under those circumstances is it in the slightest bit credible that the NSA doesn't have source access? (Which is meaningless, yes, we know that) One of the more plausible explanations of the NSAKEY incident, by the way, is that it was inserted by Microsoft at the NSA's behest so that the NSA could change secret US government CSP verification keys without having to go to Microsoft each time for a signature for the update. Perfectly reasonable in some lights, but the sort of buddies relationship other security services might look askance at. You don't even have to be the French security service, which a few years back was embarrasingly spotted spying on US IT execs on behalf of French IT companies, to be pretty convinced that when push comes to shove, US IT companies will strive to be special friends with the US government and US security agencies. This is perfectly plausible, even without statements from the likes of Congressman Curt Weldon (quoted here, a year ago, link below) that the then deputy secretary of defense John Hamre had briefed him that "in discussions with people like Bill Gates and Gerstner from IBM that there would be... an unstated ability to get access to systems if we needed it." It's perfectly rational for non-US security agencies to suspect US IT companies of being overly friendly with the US agencies, and those of our American readers who have difficulty grasping that might care to try to imagine the reverse. What if, say, France Telecom was lead supplier of videoconferencing technology to the Pentagon? Cast your mind back to France Telecom's and Deutsche Telekom's involvement with Sprint. Which leads us neatly on to Buckley. Spiegel cited the role of a major satellite ground station in Buckley, Colorado as being why the German foreign service was revising its videoconferencing plans. The magazine quoted a source as saying that by going through Buckley they might as well hold their video conferences in Langley. The Denver Business Journal comes up with some useful information on the upgraded Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colorado Springs. It gathers information from a fleet of satellites that intercept communications and monitor radar signals, its ostensible role being one of military monitoring (unimportant stuff like missile launches, that kind of crap). But, says the Journal, intelligence experts "are relatively certain that the covered dishes monitor several key communications spy satellites operated by the National Reconnaissance Office or NRO. "Colorado is a hub for the nation's intelligence-gathering mission. It supports thousands of federal and private-sector jobs and likely brings billions of dollars quietly into the state each year." Well if you were the German foreign ministry considering whacking your discussions around the globe via satellite, you might be a tad concerned about that, mightn't you? According to our very own Duncan Campbell, who we regret is taken slightly less seriously by The Register than by, say, the European Parliament, "it is becoming common for the U.S. to intersperse radomes for Star Wars purposes and intelligence purposes, as it is doing at Pine Gap in Australia and Menwith Hill in England. This way, local parliamentarians in England and Australia can be kept away from these bases so that they can't observe Star Wars upgrades." His point (he was speaking on a visit to Buckley) was that this is what's being done there too. Buckley probably does scoop communications traffic as well as waiting for the missile launches that never come, but even if it doesn't, something else does - on behalf of the US government. This is neither disgraceful nor surprising, because any other government would do it if they could. We believe our very own government has a nasty tendency to find itself on the non-European side of this particular pallisade, and we also have some recollection of Siemens being in some way involved in contracting for, er, Echelon. But that's another story, and if true, no doubt another department of the spotless German giant. So to sum up, we've got in one corner a superpower with the means to snoop on the communications traffic of its allies, and the allies who're sure it does. We've got a bunch of IT companies who would surely do their government's bidding the moment the password "national security" is uttered, and we've got deep European suspicions of this being a two-way buddies street. For example, US agencies have been accused of tipping off US companies when European companies have allegedly (probably/certainly, actually) used bribes to gain contracts. Forget the rights and wrongs, life's too short. The bottom line is that there exists a climate of suspicion, and that as all of the data goes onto the wires or into the air, there is as inevitability to the move away from US suppliers for government and security purposes. There's a commercial reason for the non-US suppliers to bash the tub like crazy, too, we don't deny that... ® Related stories: German armed forces ban MS software, citing NSA snooping The Register explains why the NSAKEY was a crypto own-goal Congressman blurts about security-friendly Gates and Gerstner Our initial take on the NSAKEY stuff Globenet's view on Buckley The Business Journal on Buckley Reality check on the NSAKEY stuff (but we knew that) (Thanks to all the readers for your input)
John Lettice, 19 Mar 2001

Website names sleepy Yorks town as tops for cottaging

Residents of a sleepy Yorkshire town are upset after their local toilets were named on a Website as a prime spot for gay sex. The public loos in Riverside Gardens, Ilkley, were described as a daytime cruising place for "mature guys" on a Website that lists the world's top cottaging locations, The Wharfedale Observer reports. The site, which the newspaper said it would not name "for decency reasons", lets surfers arrange meetings and ask for recommendations on the best places to go for casual outdoor sex. Ilkley got its mention on the site after an anonymous user asked if anyone knew of any cruising areas in the area. Two days later the response came back: "Ilkley toilets (down by the riverside) are still active!!!!! Mostly mature guys (by that I mean over 35). I have only been during the day so not sure about nights." But anyone thinking of visiting Ilkley's facilities for this purpose should not expect a warm Yorkshire welcome from the locals. Local policeman PC Peter Stone commented: "It's very easy to say they just want locking up and the key throwing away." "But we have to look at a variety of ways of trying to police this particular issue". ® Related Link Wharfedale Observer article Related Stories Gay London vicar blackmailed by online friend From e-by-gum to e-business
Linda Harrison, 19 Mar 2001

TechWeb = TechLoser

CMP Media is turn flagship IT site, TechWeb, into a shell for its offline publications. The monster IT publisher said today that TechWeb would "migrate to align with the BTG's integrated media brands", resulting in 33 jobs "impacted". CMP will create much of Techweb's content through its magazines - and the site itself will showcase articles from titles within its Business Technology Group, such as InformationWeek, Internet Week and Network Computing, on the Web. "In retail and other areas of e-commerce, the notion of a pure-play Internet model has already given way to an integrated model - that's the whole clicks-and-bricks story," said BTG president Adam Marder. In other words, TechWeb ain't working, and CMP ain't fixing it. News sites such as Byte.com are to be merged into the Business Technology Group's Software Development Media Group (so that's "Byte.com, a CMP BTG SGMG publication"?), and WebTools becomes part of the Internet & Mobile Group. Meanwhile, other sites "that don't tightly align with the BTG's business technology focus" - such as Winmag.com and Techshopper.com - "will likely be divested." CMP's move to turn its main IT Website into a portal for offline brands is uncannily similar to last month's decision by Dutch publisher VNU, to downplay tragically unread VNUNet in favour of its own print rags. ® Related Stories VNUNet online experiment fails VNU pays $4m for CMP UK and France
Linda Harrison, 19 Mar 2001