15th > June > 2001 Archive

Gates, Ballmer do Office-XP photo spreads

Exclusive:Exclusive: We've obtained copies of two mildly humorous posters used at Beast Central to whip up enthusiasm for Office-XP among the teeming MicroSerfs, which, we're told, are intended exclusively for internal circulation. We knew you'd be itching to see them. Ballmer showing off his alpha-manly dome to advantage: And Gates with a cat-digesting-the-budgie grin:
Thomas C Greene, 15 Jun 2001

Iomart £700k grant safe

Scottish broadband provider Iomart looks set to hang on to £700,000 worth of public money it received from a local enterprise group - for the time being at least. The cash - given in two grants - was made by Western Isles Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) in Scotland to attract the "new economy" company to the region. However, with the recent news that iomart is to shed 50 jobs doubts had been expressed as to whether it had met its obligations under the terms of the grant. In a short statement, HIE said it was monitoring the situation but hoped that more jobs would be created in the future The statement said: "We are in discussions with iomart concerning their ongoing obligations to the HIE network. "However the financial assistance they have received is discretionary and if they develop a business plan that sustains any reduced level of employment, and gives us the confidence that job numbers will climb again in future, then we would be likely to work alongside the company to help them through this period without invoking our rights to reclaim the public sector investment," it said. A report in a Scottish newspaper likened working conditions at Iomart to a "sweatshop". ® Related Story Iomart tainted by 'sweatshop' allegations
Tim Richardson, 15 Jun 2001

ORBS is reborn

Anti-spam company ORBS has been reborn, at least that what Paul Cummins reckons with his new ORBS UK site. Paul is one of several people that have vowed to revive the controversial anti-spam company after its sudden demise under Alan Brown after some legal wrangling. The difference is that Paul has actually done something about it and is running the show from the most recent ORBS database he can get his hands on. Ironically, at the moment, the two companies that presided over the death of ORBS' second incarnation, Xtra and Actrix are still listed on the list. It was these two companies that took ORBS to court and a New Zealand ruled that they had wrongly been placed on the list. The accusation is that the owner of ORBS, Alan Brown, listed the companies as part of a personal vendetta. Paul Cummins has been in touch regarding his new site and had this to say: "Well, ORBS UK is now listing several thousand hosts, and received 13 submissions today. Alan Brown has asked ORBS UK not to use the ORBS name, but not given any reason why, nor has he replied to ORBS UK offer to buy ORBS in total from him. ORBS UK has the support from the anti-spam community, and is working. Alan said that if that happened, the new service would be successful. I wonder if it's just sour grapes on his part." We'll follow the story up when things become clearer. No sign yet of Michael Rawls' ORBS alternative. ® Related Link ORBS UK Related Stories ORBS to be reborn? Not bloody likely, says Alan Brown ORBS' death: Alan Brown replies ORBS is dead. Again
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Jun 2001

Mondus springs back to life

Mondus, the much-hyped SME B2B exchange, is up and running today, emerging from a week of site maintenance purdah. This will please sellers who pay Mondus a subscription fee. But closing the site for so long prompts the question: how much business is this exchange actually doing? Busy companies do not tend to close their doors for a week, do they? Mondus is famous because: It was set up by two Rhodes scholars from Oxford University, who won a £1 million worth of funding from 3i in a Sunday Times-sponsored competition The company was named the third most important privately-owned e-business in Europe, in the Sunday Times' wildly inaccurate e-league table. SEAT Pagine Galle, the Italian directories company, invested $150m in the company -$100m to develop the site and $50m in shares. Considering the market this is a huge sum. Mondus operates in France, Germany, the UK and Italy. ®
Drew Cullen, 15 Jun 2001

Euro PC makers hit attractive price points – Intel

European PC prices are hitting the point "where it becomes attractive for customers to buy", according to Intel Europe boss Stacy Smith. PC maker prices have reached this point in UK, France, and Germany, he says, in an interview with Bloomberg. As Smith points out, component prices have fallen significantly in recent months - although the weakness of the euro, and more recently the pound, against the dollar, in which component prices are calculated worldwide, is a complicating factor. Also, PC sales in Europe are not falling - unlike the US. Smith is unwilling to guess whether Europe will follow the example of the US. However, his remarks on attractive consumer price points sound upbeat to us. ®
Drew Cullen, 15 Jun 2001

ItsGoodToGive in £9.99 Net access deal

A charity-giving ISP is offering 24/7 unmetered Net access for just £9.99 a month - believed to be the cheapest deal so far in the UK. ItsGoodToGive.co.uk also says that it will donate £2 of the subscription fee each month to charity. The price undercuts the UK's biggest French-owned ISP, Freeserve, by £3 a month - and AOL UK and BT by £5 a month. The offering is based on the wholesale unmetered Net access product, FRIACO, which caps the costs of Internet calls. However, John Ager, executive chairman of Its Good To Give Ltd, refused to say how he could offer such a low price for the service. He also declined to say which telco was supporting the service. Playing his cards close to his chest he said: "I'm not giving away how we do it." Instead, he said that overheads were minimal and he had no marketing costs. Many customers were referred to him by charities including Arthritis Care, British Heart Foundation and the Children's Society. Ager's reluctance to say how he is able to offer such a low price may make some Net users wary of signing up - regardless of the good cause. In a statement, Ager said: "We are offering this price because we can afford to do so, even with the additional donation to our charity partners. There is no need for us to charge over the odds just because this is what our competitors are doing." "We are aware that many ISP's have run into difficulties in the past with unmetered access services and we have watched and learned from their mistakes. "Some people may write us off as a small minnow in a large pond, but we are ready and able to take on the bigger and more established Internet Service Providers. "Where we have an advantage is that we are prepared to deliver a price that our users want, not just what they might tolerate," he said. ItsGoodToGive.co.uk has 10,000 subscriptions available initially. ®
Tim Richardson, 15 Jun 2001

Palm offers ‘65 PDAs for the price of 50’ deal

Palm unveiled its latest inventory-clearing scheme yesterday: a 'buy shedloads and get some free' promotion geared toward the PDA pioneer's corporate customers. Surprise, surprise, the deal only applies to Palm's older models: the Vx, VIIx, IIIc, m100 and m105 - the slick new m50x family is not included. Interested parties need to call up their local Palm dealer - so far the offer is only available in the US and Canada - between 2 July and 31 July. Buyers have to take 50 PDAs, submit their sales receipt to Palm which will then mail out 15 Vx, VIIx or IIIc machines, or ten m100 or m105s. Naturally, the deal does not apply to resellers keen to get some extra stock gratis. Palm says it will send out the freebie PDAs in "four to six weeks", which essentially means that if you buy your 50 machines in July, you'll get the free ones in August - all of which will be included in Palm's first quarter, fiscal 2002 results, of course. Oh, and if you only want ten Vxs, a second offer will ensure you get $500 back if you also buy ten Palm foldable keyboards. Again, the offer only applies to US and Candian buyers, but this time you have until 30 October, and you have to wait six to eight weeks for your cheque. Handy that: claim now, and Palm doesn't have to pay you back until Q2. ® Related Stories Palm begins great PDA giveaway in Orange County Palm brings cheaper PDAs to European developers Palm cuts developer PDA prices by up to 40% Related Links Palm's enterprise PDA offer and keyboard promo
Tony Smith, 15 Jun 2001

Sony launches eVilla Be appliance

Sony has finally launched its eVilla information appliance after a couple of delays. It represents Be Inc's penultimate throw of the dice - with the cash running perilously dry for the world's longest-running and best-loved software startup. The eVilla is based on BeIA running on NatSemi's low-power Geode platform, the Cyrix chip of yore, which can be obtained with clock frequencies up to 333MHz or as low as 200MHz. Sony has chosen the 266MHz model. The eVilla uses a 110W power supply, as opposed to the 400W+ supplies required for Pentium 4 or Athlons. More significantly, NatSemi's site claims this particular Geode consumes uses 5W at most, and 1.4W when browsing in idle mode. The machine supports Epson and HP USB printers, uses the Opera 4.0 browser, and plays back Flash and Real Media. There's 16MB of CF for storing bookmarks, cookies and scratch files, in addition to the 24MB of DRAM and a Sony Memory Stick slot. Sony has shunned the trend towards flat panel LCDs - at least for now. The 15in CRT displays at 1024x800. The eVilla is only being sold with an Earthlink dial-up contract right now, but Sony has said a broadband version is being prepped for a Fall launch. Despite the dire prospects for information appliances (3Com and Gateway scrapped plans of their own) Be Inc still has another reference platform called HARP, pitched as an integrated digital audio hub, a kind of MP3 player on steroids. ® Related Stories Be signs Sony Be plucks HARP to target hi-fi world
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Jun 2001

Acer eyes Rambus chipset market

Acer Labs has formed an R&D team to produce Rambus-based chipsets and has already begun consulting mobo makers about what they would like to see in the company's RDRAM products. So claim sources cited by DigiTimes. Acer Labs is one of the few companies to have a licence from Rambus to develop RDRAM-based chipsets. Does the world need another Rambus chipset though? Certainly Intel's Pentium 4 price cuts have led to an increase in demand for Rambus-based motherboards, but since that market is well catered for by Intel's 850 chipset, and with SDR and DDR SDRAM chipsets coming for the P4, demand for RDRAM chipsets seems unlikely to grow significantly. Until the P4 price cuts started to bite, Taiwan's mobo makers were putting the development RDRAM-based boards on hold, to focus on P4/PC-133 boards based on Intel's 845 chipset (aka Brookdale). So will anyone actually want an Acer Labs RDRAM chipset? Presumably that's the first question the R&D team will try and answer. So too will how it can differentiate its product from Intel's chipset. A low-end chipset seems unlikely. DigiTimes notes that Taiwanese mobo makers don't expect RDRAM prices to get anywhere near those of PC-133 SDRAM before Q3 2002, at which point there will still be a 15 per cent difference between them. By then, Intel will have not only shipped the DDR version of the 845 but may also have launched Tulloch, the follow-up to the 850. Tulloch is expected to require far less complex (four layers as opposed to six) mobos that the 850, which will certainly win it strong support among motherboard makers. Tulloch is said to contain a single RDRAM channel, compared to the 850's two. Again, that suggests a focus on getting the price down and pushing RDRAM down into the mainstream. That said, we've also heard it too will provide a dual-channel memory bus (for 1066MHz RDRAM), so the jury's clearly still out on this one. ® Related Stories Rambus plots fivefold expansion in RDRAM bandwidth Pentium 4 price cuts fuel RDRAM mobo demand surge Mobo makers to follow P4 price cuts with cheaper boards Mobo makers turn backs on Rambus development Related Link DigiTimes: ALi sets up RDRAM chipset research team
Tony Smith, 15 Jun 2001

NewMedia Spark buys GlobalNetFinancial

VC firm NewMedia Spark is to buy online finance company GlobalNet Financial. It doesn't want it for its sites, however, which are likely to be shut down if the deal goes ahead. Instead, it's after its stakes in other companies, which mesh nicely with NewMedia's aims - including a nine per cent share in itself. But in a classic piece of old-skool dotcom madness, NewMedia Spark has also just announced huge pre-tax losses - thanks to the failure of a large number of its online investments. It made a profit of £2.8 million last year. This year it lost £46.3 million. Only a third of its investments are profitable and a fifth have been shut down and written off - to the tune of £73.7 million. NewMedia still has £76.6 million in the bank however, some of which it will use to grab GlobalNet. GlobalNet has just £7 million left from its IPO fund of £55 million. GlobalNet hasn't had an easy time of it recently. Following a very successful start - selling financial information to a huge number of portals (its best-known offspring UK-iNvest.com provides Freeserve's financial content) - it has suffered a failed merger with Telescan and shell shock from the dotcom burst bubble [now how do you get shell shock from a bubble? - Ed]. So short of cash is GlobalNet that it has decided to sue Tiscali/World Online claiming that the company misled it with dodgy stats and it wished it had put the £10 million its after somewhere else. It does however owns some lovely stakes in Internet companies that haven't floated yet. That and 24 per cent of EO, a company whch offers online IPOs. NewMedia Spark already has 10 per cent of EO, so it's edging towards a majority shareholding. GlobalNet also has a joint stake with Freeserve in online share software company Stock Academy. It doesn't take a genius to work out how these stakes could be usefully tied together. ® Related Stories World Online/Tiscali sued for £10m Globalnet Financial/ Telescan merger collapses
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Jun 2001

More Net-speak enters Oxford English Dictionary

More language from Internet culture is to enter the Oxford English Dictionary - but only on its online version because a new printed version is not due for another 10 years. A whole raft of new words are going in from modern culture, but the IT and Net-based ones include: .com, FAQ, HTTP, HTML, homepage, information superhighway, MP3, search engine, spam, smiley face, smail mail, WAP and Y2K. Now hang on here a minute. We did the same story in August last year - new OED words. You're not telling us that HTML wasn't in there before. Well, looking back, no it wasn't. Last time the words included e-commerce, cybersquatting, dot-com, e-tailer, WAP phones, webcam and - get this - XML. So there we have it, XML gets in before HTML. E-tailer is there before homepage. Cybersquatting was going on before the information superhighway or search engines even existed (actually we like to think info superhighway was left out on taste considerations). WAP phones have now been reduced to plain old WAP. Not that we expect the word to survive much longer in anything but a Sinclair C5 context. And so to non-IT words. Well, Homer Simpson exclamation Doh! is in there. "Mullet" - probably in deference to the mullet man that John Prescott thumped during the election campaign. "Docusoap" (ugh), "euro", "road rage" etc etc. It goes on. If you wish to search the online OED though, you'll need to stump up £350 + VAT for a year's subscription. This seems a real shame to us. Why is the OED charging so much? At £350, it won't have many takers, but if it charged say £50, thousands upon thousands of people all over the world would take it up. The OED may have incorporated Internet words but clearly it hasn't got its head round the Net's potential. ® Related Link The OED Related Story Net speak makes Oxford English Dictionary
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Jun 2001

Acer own label sales flatter than pancake

Acer Group has slashed sales forecasts for own-brand sales. The PC maker reckons it will now only get 80-90 per cent of its previously projected target of $3.4 billion for the year. Acer is also "considering lowering its earnings goal, which has been projected at US$11 million", Asiabiztechreports. The company's profit targets were decidedly modest before. What will they be now? Acer says it is partly to blame: the company has been slow in reacting to market conditions in North and South America. Of course, the market conditions are not its fault. On the bright side, OEM orders and sales are increasing. On this evidence, the company thinks the world economy will bottom out at the beginning of Q3. ®
Drew Cullen, 15 Jun 2001

Intel stalks system builders

How times have changed. NOt so long ago Intel's account managers were considered an arrogant bunch, who wouldn't give the time of day to second and third-tier UK system builders. It's different now: One UK player says that he's called every day by Intel and gets an unannounced visit once a week. This isn't a scary on-the-spot inspection kind of visit; it's a matey-get together-to make-sure-everything's-running-smoothly call. Intel's doing all it can to help. Our UK source is happy with this (well, he prefers it to the service he used to get). And in a role reversal, AMD account managers are getting a bit complacent, our system builder reports. Apparently they're not quite the-eager-to-please-team of old. A bit of success is going to their head? ® Related Story Euro PC makers hit attractive price points - Intel
Robert Blincoe, 15 Jun 2001

Infobank retrenches – again

Infobank, the UK company soon to be known as Izodia, is cutting costs again. The e-commerce software maker is shrinking Nordic activities to reselling its core InTrade product. Absalution will no longer be sold, but functionality will be incorporated into Intrade, the company said in a statement made at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) today. Two offices in the Nordic region are to be shut, resulting in the losses of an unspecified number of jobs. The cuts follow an early round at the beginning of the year which saw "the re-alignment of South Africa, the absorption of the Proactive Solutions consultancy and the closure of the EPL integration services business in the United States". The company says its three key issues are "cost reduction, product development and sales". The spending cuts and cumulative headcount reduction of 40 per cent will reduce the loss-making company's cash burn by £15m a year. This will align expenses much more closely with anticipated revenues. On the product development side, Infobank is trumpeting a favourable report on InTrade from the Butler Group, a UK analyst firm. This upgrade was released in January and is with several customers for development. The company also announced two new customers were won this week (but not their names). The combined value of the deals is £1 million-plus. ®
Drew Cullen, 15 Jun 2001

ICANN Whois survey is biased – Froomkin

Michael Froomkin, professor of law at the University of Miami, founder of ICANN Watch and leading authority on ICANN, has been in touch to disagree with our piece on the organisation's new Whois review. ICANN has published a survey asking anyone to give their views on the domain name address book. We concluded that the survey was surprisingly impartial, although the uses ICANN will no doubt put it to are not likely to be so. Michael was having none of it. This is his assessment: "You missed the boat on this: This survey is very badly designed, and has several signs of bias. Here are just some examples: Question 9 is a loaded question: the opposite of essential is not valueless but 'unnecessary'. In asking the question the way you do you leave no space for those who believe information may have 'value' but still not be appropriate to be published. Almost any information has value. The question is whether the value exceeds the privacy cost. This entire survey is designed to minimise the chances that this view could be expressed. Who is going to say that the name of the registrant is 'valueless' - that does not mean, however, that it is either 'essential' or 'desirable'. This is, I repeat, a very biased an inappropriate question. Question 5 leaves out the possibility that what one wants is a technical contact to reach about problems e.g. spam, rather than the spammer. The entire survey minimises the use of 'whois' for IP numbers, focussing on domain names. Question 17 gives multiple choice options for the status quo, and the extension of the status quo, but not for the obvious choice of *increasing* privacy. That requires survey respondents to type text of their own in a box. Again, the bias is against making it easy for people to express pro-privacy views - yet it could hardly be a surprise that this is the main issue with the bulk access provisions of the contract. Question 19 does not say whether the option of third-party registration would (a) be costly and (b) without prejudice to any legal rights. More importantly, the survey fails to ask if people want an 'unlisted' registration (disclose but don't publish) as exists for telephone registrations in many countries." So there you have it. ® Related Links The ICANN Whois survey ICANN Watch
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Jun 2001

Net just a minority pursuit

The Internet is merely a minority pursuit in the global scheme of things, according to the latest batch of research from Ipsos-Reid. It found that less than one in ten people (400 million) used the Net out of a global population of six billion. Even in "developed" Net nations a third of people said they were uninterested in the Net. Ipsos-Reid spoke to people in 30 countries. Four out of ten people said they had no need for the Net. A third of those questions said they didn't have a computer and a quarter of those quizzed said they had no interest. Other reasons for not getting online included cost and lack of time. Brian Cruikshank, a senior vice president with Ipsos-Reid, said: "In the developed world, a substantial number of people who could very easily go online have decided not to. "They see no compelling reason to be on the Web. The hype and the promise of the Internet clearly hasn't impressed them - not yet, at least. "For others in nascent, less developed markets, the cost of accessing the Internet competes with the cost for basic necessities and access availability is very limited outside of urban areas," he said. Ipsos-Reid found that 98 per cent of respondents owned a TV, 51 per cent owned a cell phone, 48 per cent owned a home computer, but only 36 per cent had home Net access. ®
Tim Richardson, 15 Jun 2001

Ten Pin Massively Multiplaying Bowling

Lanarena has scored a sponsorship deal with ELSA, which will see the German firm's GLADIAC graphics cards power 200 PCs in six UK bowling alleys. It's a nice deal for Lanarena - but we're not so sure what's in it for ELSA branding. Elsa thinks that players will want the same kind of rig for home as they play in the Lanarena. But unlike peripatetic LAN parties run by, say Multiplay, Lanarena punters don't bring their own PCs to play. They may not even have their own PCs at home. And their decision to play computer games in Megabowl bowling centres suggest that they are not hardcore hardware-crunching afficionados. Not that Lanarena is suggesting this: the company aims to "attract the mass audience for gaming by setting up large open and welcoming venues with a pub-like atmosphere". Dominic Mulroy, Lanarena MD and chairman of the Virtual Gamers Association (VGA), said the company attracts a "cross section of the public and encourage clubs and associations to come and form teams. We are taking gaming out of the cellar and into the mainstream". Lanarena aims to open another 14 gaming centres in the UK, helped, no doubt by AMD and Elsa. ®
Drew Cullen, 15 Jun 2001

Surf Control filters channel for 40 squealer dealers

SurfControl, the net filtering company, is half way towards its target of recruiting 40 UK resellers for its new three-tier accreditation programme. The company say it's "avoided going through distribution to avoid flooding the market, keep margins high and to help create real business opportunities for our partners". Surfcontrol is a useful component in a networking security portfolio sale, the company reckons. The company also owns Cyber Patrol, targeted at the retail market, but embedded in several third-party corporate products. The Register was placed - briefly - on Cyber Patrol's banned list earlier this year. But we are included on Surf Control's list of approved sites for corporate filtering. So that's all right then. ®
Drew Cullen, 15 Jun 2001

VIA C4 to hit 2GHz during 2H 2002

VIA will take its x86-compatible processor line to 2GHz and beyond during the second half of 2002 with Esther (the latest of its biblically inspired codenames), the second chip to sport the C4 brand. Little is known about the newest addition to VIA's roadmap, but VIA Hardware has been able to glean the following information: Esther's core is called the C5Y and that it will be a 0.1 micron part. Esther will be the successor to the already-roadmapped Nehemiah, aka the C5X, or the VIA C4, to give it its new official name. Nehemiah will be fabbed at 0.13 micron and debut during Q4. It will ship at 1.2GHz. The C4's is based on a new core based around a 17-stage instruction pipeline, an increase on the C3's 12-stage pipeline, done to achieve the higher clock speed. As we've reported before, the C4 will contain 128KB of L1 cache and 256KB of L2. More importantly, it will add two SIMD units compatible with Intel's SSE instructions. That's apparently part of VIA's plan to shift its processors up a gear to make them fit more closely with the PC as digital entertainment centre concept that world+dog is espousing right now. It will also soup up its multimedia performance. In the meantime, VIA's next C3, aka the C5C, aka Samuel 3, aka Ezra, is due to ship next quarter at 900MHz, eventually reaching 1.1GHz. Like the current C3, it will contain 128KB of L1 cache and 64KB of L2. It's a 0.13 micron part. ® Related Stories VIA C3 roadmap extended to 1.2GHz+ VIA confirms March launch for Samuel 2 Related Link VIA Hardware: Visit to VIA
Tony Smith, 15 Jun 2001

We love Doubleclick because…

CompetitionCompetition It's been a tough week for Doubleclick, bless 'em. Our beloved readers have let rip on the subject of cookies, and have left the ad-trafficking giant a sobbing mess. Well, someone out there must love Doubleclick. And if you do, you could win a dartboard by expressing that love. That's right - in celebration of the fact that we use Doubleclick Dart for our own ads, we are giving away four dart boards complete with a set of darts. This is your real pukka darts board, mind you, as seen on TV and everything. Where, you were wondering, did we obtain these amazing items? Well, they come courtesy of Hotbot, a Terra Lycos concern. Why they decided to send them to us we have no idea whatsoever. But we're glad they did. All you have to do is complete the following sentence: "I love Doubleclick because...", in 20 words or less. Email your suggestions to us here. Mark the subject of your email 'Hotbot'. The competition ends on Friday 22 June at 5.00pm BST. Best four entries get the goodies. So it's unsheath yer arrows and up to the oche. Keep 'em clean and make 'em funny. ®
Lester Haines, 15 Jun 2001

Nortel axes 10,000 more jobs

Nortel Networks is to cull 10,000 jobs by the end of September, it announced today. The massive job cuts are on top of the 20,000 losses announced in April and appeasr to show there is no end in sight as the sector cntinues to suffer. The cuts are part of a massive restructuring exercise blamed on "significant adjustment" in the global telecoms market. It seems companies are continuing to cut back on the Net-enabling equipment. Nortel claims that the cuts will save the company $875 (before tax) a quarter - $3.5 billion a year. The company also announced today that it had secured an additional $2 billion in funding. It also intends to suspend share dividends to help stem the cash haemmorage in the hope of saving more cash. In a statement, the said it expects to generate a net loss of $1.5 billion in Q2 on revenues of $4.5 billion. "Combining the operations outlook for the quarter and the impact of the alignment plan, the company expects a net loss of approximately US$19.2 billion in the second quarter," the company said. John Roth, president and CEO, said: "Led by the United States, the global telecom industry is undergoing a significant adjustment. "After several years of capital expansion exceeding the pace of business performance, the capital markets have significantly reduced the flow of funds to service providers. "In response, service providers have made driving return on invested capital their primary focus. Consequently, new capital expenditures are being curtailed as service providers look to drive further efficiencies from the investments they have already made. "As a result, we are seeing a very significant reduction in equipment purchases in the second quarter of 2001 compared to the first quarter of 2001 and the second quarter of 2000," he said. ®
Tim Richardson, 15 Jun 2001

EC DVD probe beano

EC investigates Euro DVD high pricing Is rip-off Britain about to benefit from the EC DVD price probe? Of course it is, says Mike Smith: Tsk, tsk. Fancy saying that the EC probe will go nowhere. Nothing could be further from the truth! What will happen of course, is that a team of EC investigators will be sent over to America pronto on a fact-finding tour. Given that their carefully contructed assessments of the DVD market will show that DVD sales rise over the summer, they will have to spend the summer in the more prominent retail centres - Miami, New York, Long Beach, LA, San Francisco etc - buying large quantities of newly-released DVDs and comparing their prices to those on this side of the pond. They will of course then have to ensure that there are no quality factors which could influence a pricing differential, so they will have to spend long hard hours watching the DVDs on a range of players, ranging from laptops to home theatre systems. It will be very important to ensure that seasonal variations aren't affecting the prices, so the poor hard-worked investigators will have to spend at least a year examining the longer-term price fluctuations. They will be unlikely to find any, but it's important for EU consumer confidence that the investigation is carried out. They will have to spend quality time freeloading some corporate hospitality from the media companies. Naturally, Time Warner and company will be keen to reassure our brave EC champions that there is no cartel and the higher prices are caused by shipping costs/ overhead in collecting royalties / the banana dispute / our reluctance to fully support Star Wars / Northern Ireland (delete as applicable). This will of course be a consultative process, which is likely to run on for about 18 months or so. The final conclusion will of course be that everything's hunky-dory, and it's all our fault for not being Yanks. We can probably expect a report full of whitewash about two years from now. By which time DVD writers should become affordable, in fact. We know what will happen then - and serve the thieving gits right. Indeed. Several Vulture Central hacks have offered their services to the EC. We've heard that DVD prices in the Seychelles need close scrutiny...
Lester Haines, 15 Jun 2001

FOTW Lester the Canadian Molester

Incredibly, some Canadians took offence at Lester's story on Tuesday Martians invade Canada. It was something to do with the line "Scientists have chosen a location for the trials largely devoid of atmosphere or intelligent life - Canada." Despite telling everyone about their sense of humour, some maple-leaf monkeys put down their clubs, left the coastline and fired off emails expressing their displeasure. We've whittled down the invective to just four; hence we have the rare occasion of several flames of the week. The best we feel though was this one (concise, abusive, grammatically challenged, irrational - oh and we love the fact that Neil unnecessarily put his name at the end): Is this what you call reporting? It's ignorant wanks like you that is what keeps web journalism behind print. A pissed-off Canadian, Neil Next one: funny or disturbing? Ah, lester the molester, be nice or I will beat you with a seal pup. Randall This one's a gem. Racist, abusive, from the East Coast Music Association. Excuse me? No intelligent life in Canada? No atmosphere? Were you on drugs when you wrote that? Is that why I know of a half dozen ex-Brits who came to Canada for schooling and have been dodging immigration ever since? Either way, your ignorance is inexcusable and quite offensive. You might want to have yourself checked for Mad Cow... Your brain doesn't seem to be functioning properly. East Coast Music Association And finally, the kind of person that you always sit next to at dinner parties: How Pulitzer-ish of you to cleverly add humour and mock to your article by putting a pun on your Commonwealth brethren. Lacking in atmosphere and intelligent life, chortle, chortle, Canada! You may as well add lacking in sense of humour so the literary awards people can accurately add accuracy to your award for; "Wry coverage of something that isn't supposed to be funny as told by someone who isn't funny". Next time might I suggest your humour be directed to non-insulting a people and a place that many consider: a. home; b. a beautiful country; and c. full of intelligent life. I trust you don't get Diabetes in your old age, as insulin was probably developed by morons here...I'd call you on the telephone, but since that too was invented by a Canadian, I dare say it probably can't handle dialing someone with a different country code. What idiot invented that system? No wonder we built the CanadArm for your inspiring outer-space - no atmosphere, so we know what the arm should do! Someone call...never mind. I'll make you a deal - I'll stop reading your writing if you stop insulting my home. Yours, Rob Sadly, Rob walked right into it. The deal struck was that he would stop reading and Lester would continue insulting his home whenever the need struck him. After all, how would Rob know? ®
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Jun 2001

Pirates ahoy!

Music CD piracy grew 25% in 2000 Graeme Nattress has some pertinent points to make regarding music piracy: It's all rubbish though, isn't it?? How do you measure piracy?? There's going to be a lot of guessing in that figure. As for the internet being 100% piracy - I've downloaded countless mp3s - all to listen to music that I own (sometimes 2 or 3 times over) that I have at home in England in vinyl and CD, and want to listen to here in Canada without the expense of shipping my collection over the sea. The bigger issue is that we've all paid again and again for the same music, when all we should be buying is one "Licence to listen" and multiple copies of the media. If my computer cd for a program breaks, I can just get a new copy of the media, and not have to pay for the licence again. Just try doing that if you scratch your vinyl or CD. That's where the real piracy comes in.... Nicely put. Is there anyone in the music industry who'd like to reply?
Lester Haines, 15 Jun 2001

Reg English stoned to death

HP ad blamed for Birmingham rock throwers Kit Powell's been at the dictionary again: At the risk of being mocked as a little-Englisher, could I please ask you to consider using British, rather than US, English? A rock is something on which you found churches and ships wreck. What you throw at trams is a stone. This is, I expect, another US usage arising from their prudishness (that brought us "rooster" instead of "cock"), so that they use "rock" and "pit" instead of "stone", which (as the OED entry below points out) has more than one meaning: 11. a. A testicle: chiefly in pl. Obs. exc. in vulgar use. (See also BALLOCK-stone.) 1154 O.E. Chron. an. 1124 ad fin., Six men spilde of here æon & of here stanes. 1387 TREVISA Higden (Rolls) IV. 289 e rotynge of his priue stones. a1450 Knt. de la Tour 71 They toke a knyff, and cutte awey the monkes stones. 1542 BOORDE Dyetary xviii. (1870) 277 The stones of a cockrell, & the stones of other beestes that hath not done theyr kynde, be nutrytyue. 1617 MORYSON Itin. I. 163 The Toscanes hold Rammes stones fried for a great daintie. 1668 CULPEPER & COLE Barthol. Anat. Introd., The action of the Liver is blood-making, of the Stones, Seed-making. 1713 J. WARDER True Amazons 10 In the very shape of the Stones of a Lamb. (I am glad to say that I haven't see "Rammes stones fried" on the menu of any of the trattorie that I frequent, though I suppose that a larger Italian vocabulary than I possess might be needed to spot them between the penne all'arrabbiata and the torta della nonna. The memory lingers with me still of ordering stufato di asinello on the basis that any old stew was all right, and being told on its arrival, when I asked what the meat was, "Ees leetle donkey". And I couldn't get the damned tune out of my head for days.) Well done Kit - you rock.
Lester Haines, 15 Jun 2001

VIA preps August launch for Pentium 4 DDR chipset

VIA will launch its Pentium 4-oriented DDR SDRAM-based chipset, the P4X266, in August and is busy signing up mobo makers in time for the big day. The Taiwanese chip maker officially announced the product earlier this month. VIA wants to ensure it's ahead of other Taiwanese chip makers who have been granted P4 licences by Intel. Intel-backed chipset vendors SIS and Acer Labs are known to be working on P4 DDR chipsets, but they are not expected to ship them in volume until Q4. Intel's own DDR chipset, a version of its 845 product (aka Brookdale) is due to ship early 2002. Intel may yet try to scupper VIA's plan, claiming its rival hasn't the right to use its technology. VIA contends that it does, thanks to licences it acquired through its takeover of S3's graphics chip operation. ®
Tony Smith, 15 Jun 2001

USB 2.0 takes some flak

VIA CEO wants USB 2.0 killed off Russell is not a man to mince words. At least, not on the subject of USB 2.0: USB 2.0 is more garbage on top of garbage, and it's limited by _physical_ constraints to half a gigabit - piss in comparision to the 1394 ceiling. I'm a USB firmware engineer, and frankly I think the whole technology is a pile of shit. It's unreliable, slow, and frought with a myriad of different ways of doing the same thing. Fortunately for me, it's expensive to maintain due to its complexity. But I try to be an ethical man, and that's why I'm so pleased that you've shared Via's negative viewpoint with the world. Keep up the 2.0-bashing. Intel can fuck themselves. They're just jealous that Apple and AMD have better busses. So, we gather that you're not much impressed. Can we quote you on that?
Lester Haines, 15 Jun 2001

Doubleclick unleashes forces of darkness

WinXP IE6 spells death for Doubleclick - and a boost for MSN? IE6 will not monster our cookies, says Doubleclick Mention the word Doubleclick, and you're likely to arouse some strong feelings. Brian Uecker is typical of the large number of readers who wrote in this week on this subject: It just keeps getting better. First Lettice's multi-part series of special pleading for Doubleclick, which culminated today in an embarrassingly weepy apologia for the marketing company/Internet parasite. He even uses the phrase "paid their debt to society", thereby absolving them of criticism (apparently) while he sets off on a clueless, uninformed, and obviously prejudiced rant against MS for doing something he only THINKS it might be doing. And his views on Microsoft pushing stronger privacy are nicely twisted so that no matter what the company does, it's just EVIL. (There's no point complaining to Lettice about this as he now claims that he killfiles anyone who writes in with criticism of his articles - nice.) Now this article, which starts out as something of a reversal then goes on to say how bloody unfair it is that Doubleclick has to answer for its invasive tactics in a court of law. You say the depth of hatred towards Doubleclick "astonishes" you - this from a rag that trashes Microsoft every chance it gets and unfailingly refuses to issue retractions when it gets things wrong. Come off it. You may be in bed with Doubleclick, but your readership isn't. Maybe it's time to ask yourself if you are really looking at the matter objectively. That depth of hatred didn't come from nowhere, and not everyone's memory operates on Internet time. Gee, it was only last year they tried to take over the world, well that was a long time ago, wasn't it? Also, your final statement is disingenuous in the extreme. Most people don't mind accepting cookies that come from the same domain. It's the third party ones that this is about, remember? I know these articles take a long time to write, but please try not to lose the plot between the first and last paragraphs. Brian, the fact that this letter has been printed is proof that we do not bin criticism. John Lettice certainly does not 'killfile' such attacks. He gets his secretary to do it for him usually. But we digress. Jason Bassford is unhappy about the 'Big Brother' aspect to this saga: Re: "If you want to avoid signing in each time, or want some degree of personalisation, you will have to accept a cookie on your PC. Is that really so difficult?" Yes. (Well, not technically, but morally.) I refuse to have any of my activities monitored for whatever reason, under the guise that it's for my own good. It's not. It's for the good of the advertising companies who want to make money. Maybe capitalism's the right idea, but I'm not going to take part in somebody else's scheme. (Unless, say, they want to kick back a certain small percentage of their profits into my pockets. Maybe then I'd be willing to put up with their tracking my personal habits.) I don't use IE because I don't buy into Microsoft telling me how and where I should browse - I just don't like Big Brother. I have my browser prompt me if I want to accept a cookie from each new site I visit. I always say no, and tell it to remember. I'm not accepting any cookies from anyone. The only exception is some search engine sites where I've wanted to set preferences (then turned cookies off again once I already had the one I wanted), and sites where I do online shopping and have to have them in order to add items into my virtual basket. (Although I normally delete all cookies after such transactions.) And if signing in is the only alternative to cookies, I'd be more than happy to turn to that method. Frank Romano, on the other hand, reckons that there is a simple solution to the whole issue: Love your piece on Doubleclick and it's problems. I agree, if you don't want the cookies then don't accept them. If you can't view the sight because you didn't accept the cookie them stop your whining. Just delete your temp-internet files every couple of days. If you want to ensure that you're not being tagged install "Ad-aware". At least you can get rid of spy ware you're not aware is there. Have a great day :-) Thanks, we will. Finally, we have Adrian Stere with some sound advice for Doubleclick haters everywhere: Nice piece on Doubleclick. I'm glad to see them get what anyone who violates other people's privacy deserves. But, despite the tone of the previous sentence, I don't hate them. In fact, I don't really care much about their tracking business, since I block all doubleclick traffic at the firewall and browse with cookies off. And I would suggest to all Doubleclick haters to do the same, instead of filling up your mailbag with pointless hate mail. :-)
Lester Haines, 15 Jun 2001

Readers' Letters Doubleclick is agent of Satan

WinXP IE6 spells death for Doubleclick - and a boost for MSN? IE6 will not monster our cookies, says Doubleclick Doubleclick fails in California privacy challenge It seems that the international cookie conspiracy brigade didn't much like John Lettice and Drew Cullen's recent Doubleclick articles. 'Kb' puts it thus: I appreciate biz is biz and I understand why sites use cookies, however, as a 12 year veteran of the Internet, your defense of Doubleclick is astonishing and gratuitous. As a, soon to be, permanently departed reader of The Register, I suggest you change your motto to "kissing the ass that feed it." Even a cursory glance at John's original piece would demonstrate what his opinion of Doubleclick is. For the record, our relationship with Doubleclick is a classic supplier/customer type thing. That is, we are the customer and Doubleclick is the supplier, i.e. we pay them. Accordingly, we write what we like on our site and Doubleclick handles the ads. End of story. So, your suggested motto has the wrong company kissing the wrong ass. Pity - we quite liked it. But then again, you wouldn't be around to see it anyway. Bye now. If, on the other hand, you find yourself actually quite fond of Doubleclick, why not express your love and win a dart board. Yes, that's right - try our competition here There is more reader feedback on the Doubleclick controversy here Best of the rest Doubleclick unleashes forces of darkness Cookies are the devil's imps USB 2.0 takes some flak The whole thing is 'a pile of shit' Reg English stoned to death And kicked in the 'nads to boot Pirates ahoy! Reader keelhauls illicit CD figures EC DVD probe beano Nothing more than an extended jolly?
Lester Haines, 15 Jun 2001

Admen prepare to blitz cellphones

The advertising industry will shortly reveal how it's going to bombard cellphone and PDA users with commercials The Wireless Advertising Association convenes in downtown San Francisco on 26 June to unveil its technical infrastructure for beaming promotional material to handhelds and phones. The body has already produced metrics and definitions for adverts to GSM phones. The WAA will extend this to encompass a technical and privacy framework for marketeers at the meet in ten days. Phones are the last remaining communication medium not to be polluted with unsolicited advertising. But a burgeoning industry is arising to fill that gap, promising "targeted" advertising based on users' call histories. A good example is Add2Phone's SMASH server, which says it uses both "push" and "pull" technology monitoring and profiling to make the unwanted ads slightly less unwanted. WAA also claims to take privacy seriously. However phone spam could rapidly become a serious nuisance even without the adoption of sophisticated profiling software and a privacy advisories from the self-regulating ad industry. SMS spam is easy enough to do, from open web to SMS gateways, and IM services such as ICQ offering IM-to-SMS service. And users share more than a bit of culpability. A UK-based SMS spammer recently boasted to us he'd got a 40 per cent response rate from a broadcast SMS spam. So if you don't want SMS to become a nuisance, don't reply to it. Now one of the reasons we hear cited for the success of DoCoMo's iMode system in Japan is the ease with which it allows service providers to bill customers. The micro payment gets added to the user's monthly bill, the network takes a cut, and everyone's happy. These services tend to be advertised through conventional media, leaving the airwaves uncluttered. The example of the US, where a continuous stream of television advertisements is briefly interrupted by "programs" for several seconds an hour, shows what can happen when customers relax an attitude of zero-tolerance. ® Related Link Wireless Advertising Association
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Jun 2001

Apple kills Cube?

So farewell then, Apple's Cube. Almost gone, and probably soon forgotten. It didn't even make its first birthday. Certainly various Web sites are reporting that resellers from around the world have said Cubes are in very short supply pending the machine's removal from Apple's product line. The ill-fated box was unveiled last July at Macworld Expo New York. Touted as a compact, noiseless designer computer, the Cube proved too pricey for most Mac fans, and some rather poor plastic moulding that made the Cube's translucent case look like it was cracking up didn't help either. Hardware problems - most notably a heat-sensitive on-off switch that could power up or shut down the system on warm days - plagued the machine from the start. The Cube's much-touted near-silent, fan-free operation proved to be untrue for anyone who bought the version with an ATI Radeon graphics card, which included... er... a fan. Sales proved way below Apple's expectations, and the company has been trying to sell off its remaining stocks ever since it effectively admitted the Cube was a flop last autumn. It's a shame really. We're quite fond of the Cube. Two Reg staffers even bought some, though since both have had problems with hardware failures, we're not entirely sure they don't regret their purchases. Hardware trouble aside, the Cube was a neat piece of design, compact yet accessible, and probably the least computer-looking computer we've ever seen. ® The Cube: A Life in Stories Apple abandons Cube? Apple cuts cost of Cube - again Apple to fall into the red with $225m loss Apple marketing chief quits Apple's switch glitch: Cube affected too Cube Clones Continue Apple's Cube-for-Cash deal comes to Britain Apple offers cash for Cubes Apple sales chief quits Apple denies Cube is cracking Apple Q4 earnings to take a kicking Apple unveils Power Mac Cube Apple Cubed (pre-release stories)
Tony Smith, 15 Jun 2001

Oki C9200

ReviewReview When we reviewed Oki's C7200N colour network printer in April it excelled in our tests, striking the ideal balance between print quality, speed and low running costs. But while the C7200N is aimed at small workgroups, the C9200 is Oki's high-end network printer, with a high price to match. With 128MB of RAM as standard and A3 printing, the Oki is well equipped to cope with the most demanding office environments. Like other Oki network printers, it also uses an efficient printing method called single-pass technology, which generates greater print speeds than standard carousel-based printers. At 600x600dpi (dots per inch), the Oki managed to output 21ppm (pages per minute) in monochrome and 17ppm in colour – impressive figures that barely drop when you bump up the resolution. Print quality was crisp and bright, but colour presentations were slightly faded in comparison with some of its rivals. The maximum resolution of 600x1200dpi also looks distinctly ordinary when you consider that the Xerox Phaser 750P offers true 1200dpi for half the price. But what you're paying for here is speed and efficiency. The hefty price tag is also offset by cheap running costs: one colour page costs 1.13p and a mono page costs 0.49p. However, despite being aimed at a corporate network this model doesn't come with a network card as standard. To get one of these you have to opt for the C9200N or the DN, which also comes with a duplex unit. At £4399, the C9200 is squarely aimed at the high-end business user. Print quality is impressive, if not outstanding, and some of the specifications are unremarkable. But this is a very fast printer able to cope with heavy workloads. ® Info Price: £4399 Contact: 01753 819 819 Website: www.oki.co.uk Specs Quoted Print Speed: 12 ppm colour Maximum resolution: 600x1200dpi Dimensions: 666x590x463mm Weight: 72.0kg Toner life: 15,000; max A3 RAM: 128MB Input/output tray: 500-sheet This review is taken from the July 2001 issue. All details correct at time of publication. Copyright © 2001, IDG. All rights reserved.
PC Advisor, 15 Jun 2001

Iomart director has links with grant-giving agency

A director of Scottish broadband outfit Iomart, is also a director of the regional development agency that granted £700,000 financial aid to the company. Neil Finlayson is Technical Director at Iomart. He is also a board member of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, which made two grants totalling more than £700,000 to the company in 1999 and 2000. Finlayson was a director at Iomart and HIE when the grants were made, a spokesman for HIE confirmed today. The HIE spokesman said: "There is no conflict of interest in Mr Finlayson's position as a director of iomart and HIE. "He was not involved in any of the decision-making regarding the grant," the spokesman said. No one from Iomart was available for comment by press time. ® Related Stories Iomart £700k grant safe Iomart tainted by 'sweatshop' allegations
Tim Richardson, 15 Jun 2001

Burnley FC doesn't need Time Computers' cash

Burnley Football Club has got itself a sponsor. This is good news because it played the entire 2000/01 season without a major sponsor because it wouldn't put Time Computers' logo on its famous claret and blue strip. This wasn't down to any ethical reasons, the club just didn't like the green logo of Burnley based Time. The two parties didn't see eye-to-eye over money either. In a statement announcing the new sponsor, Burnley FC said it took the stance to play a season without a major sponsor "to wait for the most appropriate deal to enhance the successful Burnley brand." In the end Burnley played 10 games with the clubs URL, www.burnleyfootballclub.com, on its strip to boost traffic to the site. The club, which finished in seventh place in the first division this season, is now sponsored by another computer reseller. Lanway Corporate Business Systems is paying a six-figure sum over two years for the deal. If you want to wear the Burnley shirt adorned by the Lanway crest, it'll cost you from £31.99 to £39.99. But the strip sounds very stylish. The press release says: "The new home shirt has a modern feel with the traditional claret and blue styling. The shirt features a popular crew neck in blue with claret trim, and, for the first time, the shirt incorporates a breathable mesh panels to eliminate perspiration to the body and performing enhanced fabric for rapid moisture transfer giving quick dry comfort and soft feel finish. The shorts are white with claret trim and to complement the kit white socks will feature with claret and blue trim" Time went on to sponsor Blackburn Rovers in the 2000/01 season. Blackburn, a bitter rival of Burnley, got promoted to the Premiership which means Time will get better exposure for its sponsorship, but its going to cost it a lot more. We understand sponsorship of first division clubs costs around £250,000 a season rising to £500,000 in the case of better-supported clubs, such as Blackburn. This figure skyrockets when a team reaches the top flight. Ipswich, which after promotion only last season has booked its place in Europe next year, has just signed a £7 million three-year deal with new technology firm TXU Energi. ® Related Links www.burnleyfootballclub.com Lanway's home page Related Stories Extra-Time money for promoted Blackburn? Time Computers maverick staff site is here
Robert Blincoe, 15 Jun 2001

Plane crash kills reseller managers

Synergon, a leading Hungarian system integrator, confirmed that a number of its managers were on a light plane, which crashed yesterday, killing six passengers. "Synergon will try to ensure the smooth running of the company," the company said in a email, Bloomberg reports. Synergon is listed on the Hungarian stock market and is a reseller for Microsoft, Cisco, HP Openview, SAP, Peregrine etc. In recent months it has moved set up shop in Poland and the Czech Republic. ®
Drew Cullen, 15 Jun 2001

Cube8 forms ‘commercial relationship’ with the teenage dotcom millionaire

Internet incubator Cube8 has formed a "commercial relationship" with CyberBritain - the portal run by "teenage dotcom millionaire" Ben Cohen, who is no longer a millionaire. Ben Cohen is famous for his JewishWeb site which was valued at £5 million during the heady days of dotcom but was ultimately shut down by a competitor. He was also the focus of a BBC documentary Trouble at the Top. The deal will see Cube8 supremo and friend of The Reg Steve Masters take on a co-CEO role with Cohen and CyberBritain rent out offices in Cube8's London HQ. No money has changed hands, but Steve has this jargon to tell us: "We announced a strategy last year to develop a division parallel to our investment arm that would leverage our incubation portfolio to drive direct revenues into our business. This is a tangible example of that." Or, slightly more clearly: "We are hoping to gain more benefits from this relationship than consultancy fees. The commercial relationships we're forming in the CyberBritain group will benefit the other companies in our portfolio." Cube8 explains it was the first company to licence CyberBritain's search technology, called Hermia in March last year. Critics have pointed out the similarity between Hermia and the Open Directory Project run by Netscape. CyberBritain has also been attacked by the Jewish community due to its porn search element - its most profitable part - and claimed page impressions for the portal have also come under scrutiny. CyberBritain has signed a deal with Affinity, which looks after the interests of 150 ISPs, and Cube8 offspring ISP BlueCarrots. It claims to be in the black. CyberBritain chairman Gerry Defries said in the press release: "I'm delighted with this arrangement because CyberBritain was at the point where it had lots of potential deals on the table and it needed to focus on an effective course. Now we not only have an experienced player on board, but we also have potential relationships with another 16 companies under one roof." We understand that Ben's experience with the dotcom collapse has left him calmer and less explosive than he once was. He has retained the services of three teenage friends, none of whom could be called brats. ® Related Stories Teenage dotcom millionaire has trouble on TV Fishy porn search engine launched by teenage dotcom millionaire The teenage dotcom millionaire and his ever increasing page impressions Teenage dotcom millionaire: Reg gets facts wrong Teenage dot com sensation sweeps Mystery Awards Online Jewish bun-fight erupts Jewish Web site values teen entrepreneur at millions
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Jun 2001

Intel to cut Mobile Celeron prices this weekend

Intel is expected to start charging less for certain Mobile Celeron processors on Monday. As we wrote last month, this coming Sunday, 17 June, will see Intel slice the price of its 800MHz Mobile Celeron from its launch price of $170 to $107, a cut of 37 per cent. The part was introduced on 27 May - just three weeks ago. We also expect the prices of the 750MHz and 700MHz Mobile Celerons to fall too. Later this month, Intel will cut the price of the 1GHz Mobile Pentium III to $401 from $637. This cut paves the way for the introduction of faster, 0.13 micron Mobile PIIIs (aka Tualatin) next month. 1.13GHz and 1.06GHz Mobile Tualatin PIIIs will ship at $637 and $508, respectively. ® Related Stories Intel Tualatin to replace Coppermine, fast Intel unwraps very-low-voltage mobile CPUs Intel slices up to 38% off PIII, Celeron prices Intel pegs 27 May for Pentium III, Celeron price cuts
Tony Smith, 15 Jun 2001

This is how to pass-off a cancer-reducing mobile add-on

Nokia, Motorola and Ericsson have apparently been patenting "radiation-reducing devices" for their phones but swear this is nothing to do with the alleged link between mobiles and cancer. No, after two days thought, they reckon the devices are to improve the phone's efficiency and so make batteries last longer. We thought this was a rubbish excuse and so we asked readers if they could come up with any better. These are just some of them (thanks to all those that contributed). ® To reduce signal interference caused by solar flares To prevent harmful interference with other devices in close proximity The Microsoft way works well, usually. This was designed in anticipation of features we are currently developing. Maybe it's to stop electrical activity in the brain from affecting the delicate circuitry of the mobile phone? It is obvious that the "cancer" shields were actually invented to add weight to phones in order that they would be more effective when used as ballast in hot air balloons. It reduces the annoying "clicking" interference on near by speakers? They are to prevent people, on the other side of your head, snooping your mobile phone transmissions. The shields being developed are not meant to protect the person holding the phone, because the radiation poses no threat to them. The risk is that the radiation might bounce off our brain and go right back into the phone. This could cause various dire situations, the most prominent of which is that the phone itself might get cancer, hampering reception quality. Instead of putting up a million and one 3G towers at a cost that makes our national debt look insignificant, they get the handset manufacturers to work out a way to get the phones to pump out 6 times the normal power, but only into a narrow beam. That way they can get away with less towers, but still manage the coverage. The patented shields protect the phones from harmful brain-wave radiation which can interfere with communication and may even cause long-term damage to the phone's delicate chips. So far studies are inconclusive, but who needs science to make a buck off a schmuck (or pound or whatever you people use)? By reducing electromagnetic emissions from cellphones, any particular cellphone will not require as much signal strength in order to make a connection. For example, in order to maintain a conversation in a noisy room, you have to talk loud. In a quieter room, murmurs are all that's required. They're security features. The emissions from phones fluctuate as you send and receive messages, and so snooping governments, industrial spies and others could pick up these waves to deduce what you are saying and hearing. If they're standing almost on top of you. Which they might be. It's a big risk, but we've got it covered. They reduce the chance of alien abduction. Greys can home in on these emissions like a beacon, in order to abduct you. Just like they can't home in on the actual call signal - oh no, they certainly can't do that. For some reason. It improves a phone's efficiency by keeping the user alive longer to actually use the phone...[Phones don't cause cancer, unprofitable WAP applications do.] Related Story Q: How do you pass off a cancer-reducing mobile add-on?
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Jun 2001

Notebooks will make up 25% of PC market in 2005

Notebooks will account for 25 per cent of all PCs sold by 2005, due to falling prices and the slowdown of the desktop PC market. In 2001, notebooks will account for 19.9 per cent of 2001 PC shipments, up from 18.3 per cent of the market in 2000 according to research firm DisplaySearch. The analysts expect shipments of TFT LCD notebook modules to rise by 25 per cent in 2001, with old-skool STN LCD sales falling by 83 per cent. DisplaySearch expects STN LCD technology to disappear from the notebook market this year. Only 240,000 STN LCDs shipped in Q1 2001. The number of notebooks shipping with TFT LCDs is predicted to rise from 91 per cent in 2000 to 99 per cent in 2001. The average sales price (ASP) for notebook panels fell by $71 in Q1 2001, down to levels last seen in Q1 1999 when panel sizes were smaller and STN LCDs were a much larger percentage of the total sales. The Q1 2001 ASP dropped to $277 after peaking in Q1 2000 at $463, a swing of $186/panel in a single year. DisplaySearch says ASPs are expected to drop below $200 in Q3 2001 before starting to increase as TFT LCD demand begins to catch up with supply. Size matters DisplaySearch reports that only shipments of 15-inch and larger panels grew sequentially from Q4 2000 to Q1 2001. On an annualised basis, 14.1-inch and 15-inch TFT LCD shipment volumes grew by 47 per cent and 63 per cent respectively, while all other panel sizes lost ground. The trend to larger panel sizes in notebooks is put down to a move to replace desktop systems with notebooks - especially as a 15-inch TFT LCD gives you as much viewable screen as a 17-inch CRT display. Children of the resolution By resolution, shipments of XGA (1024×768) notebook modules rose from 76.7 per cent to 79.3 per cent of the market - up to more than 4.4 million units. But SVGA (800×600) shipments fell from 33.9 per cent in Q1 2000 to 14.7 per cent in Q1 2001. SXGA+ (1400×1050) represented 4.6 per cent of all panel shipments in Q1 2001; and UXGA (1600×1200) shipments grew to 15 per cent of the 15-inch notebook PC market. Big brand boogie Samsung had 24.1 per cent of the market for branded notebook panels in Q1 2001, down slightly from 24.8 per cent in Q4 2000, but still the leader. LG.Philips is number two, increasing its share from 12.5 per cent to 14.7 per cent. Hitachi, IBM, and Toshiba bring up positions three, four and five respectively. In Q1 2001 Sony led the marked for notebooks with displays less than 12.1-inches, Compaq held the 12.1-inch and 13.3-inch sectors, and Dell triumphed at the big display, 14.1-inch and 15-inch, end. ® Related Link Display Search press release
Robert Blincoe, 15 Jun 2001

US Senator's wife pleads to e-mail dirty tricks

Former US Senator Rod Grams' (Republican, Minnesota) wife, Christine Gunhus, has pleaded no contest to charges of sending pseudonymous e-mail nastygrams maligning her husband's Democratic rival, Mike Ciresi, in flagrant violation of Minnesota election regulations, Washington correspondent Declan McCullagh reports via his Cluebot Web site. Ciresi lost the primary, but Grams lost the general election and failed to regain his Senate seat. The technologically semi-literate Gunhus apparently believed that sending her messages as 'Katie Stevens' from a Hotmail account (kylomb@hotmail.com) would cover her tracks. How surprised she must have been to learn that prosecutors had not the slightest trouble tracing the originating IP back to a machine at her residence, and verifying that the account's chief user dialed in from a phone also located there. Gunhus' electronic trail of breadcrumbs extended even further, just in case the police were asleep at the switch. "The e-mail attacks included Microsoft Word attachments, which a Ciresi aide investigated. The aide found that Word listed the document authors as Grams staffers including -- you guessed it -- Christine Gunhus," McCullagh says. The charge to which Gunhus has pleaded carries a possible 90-day jail sentence and a fine of $210 to $700, but prosecutors have agreed not to seek jail time in the case. ®
Thomas C Greene, 15 Jun 2001

US Rep threatens FBI budget over Carnivore

US Representative and House Majority Leader Richard Armey (Republican, Texas) has steadily denounced the FBI's packet-sniffing apparatus known as Carnivore since it was first unveiled by a proud Reno DoJ a year ago. But now, bolstered by a recent US Supreme Court decision which affirms in no uncertain terms the right of privacy in the home, Armey is playing hardball, making it clear that he's prepared to use the Congressional grip on funds allocated to the Federal Bureaucracy against the Department of Justice if Carnivore isn't de-fanged and brought to heel. The two chief problems with Carnivore are that it enables the Feds to monitor and record packet traffic other than that associated with the subject; and that it contains inadequate auditing mechanisms to ensure that over-zealous operators who peek at data they're not authorized to see can be caught in the act, as we explained here. This week Armey sent a letter to US Attorney General John Ashcroft, urging him to re-consider Carnivore in light of the Supreme Court's ban on certain types of high-tech surveillance. "It is reasonable....to ask whether the Internet surveillance system formerly known as "Carnivore"....undermines the minimum expectation that individuals have that their personal electronic communications will not be examined by law enforcement devices unless a specific court warrant has been issued," Armey says. He also perceives the Reno-DoJ's soothing technical review of Carnivore to be a whitewash: "Your predecessor, Attorney General Janet Reno, reluctantly undertook a review of Carnivore last year in an attempt to address these concerns. That review, however, seemed to raise more questions about the system than it answered. The review team ultimately selected was found to have clear political ties to the Clinton Administration." This is nothing unusual for Armey, who has openly loathed Carnivore from day one. What's new is the possibility of jamming up the DoJ's budget, a move we attribute to confidence based on the Supremes' strong words in defense of privacy. "If necessary he would consider using Congress's power of the purse to pull the plug on Carnivore," Armey aide Richard Diamond is quoted by Reuters as saying. The Congressman may be preaching to the choir here, as Ashcroft gained a reputation as a privacy fundamentalist during his tenure in the US Senate on behalf of Missouri. Then again, being Attorney General may bring 'new perspectives' on privacy, and Ashcroft has yet to signal whether or not the job is affecting his judgment in that realm. Armey plays on that reputation subtly as he challenges Ashcroft to do the right thing: "Because I am confident that you will take a much more constructive approach to this issue, I wanted to share my privacy concern with you directly. I believe the FBI is making a good-faith effort to fight crime in the most efficient way possible. But I also believe the Founders quite clearly decided to sacrifice that kind of efficiency for the sake of protecting citizens from the danger of an overly intrusive government," he says. Readers wishing to encourage Representative Armey in fighting the good fight may send a memo to this e-mail address. ®
Thomas C Greene, 15 Jun 2001

Solar Sunrise hacker ‘Analyzer’ escapes jail

The hacker known as 'The Analyzer' was sentenced Thursday in Israel to six months of community service for a series of intrusions into US Defense Department computers that triggered America's first full-blown infowar false alarm. Ehud Tenenbaum, 22, also received one year of probation and a two-year suspended prison sentence that can be enforced if he commits another computer crime within three years. Additionally, the hacker was fined about $18,000. Prosecutors had requested jail time. Tenenbaum, now CTO at computer security consultancy 2XS, could not be reached for comment, but in an interview last January said he was hoping for probation. Thursday's sentencing puts a banal capstone on a case that once commanded headlines. In February, 1998, dozens of unclassified Pentagon systems were suffering what then-US Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre insisted was "the most organized and systematic attack to date" on US military systems. The attacks exploited a well-known vulnerability in the Solaris operating system for which a patch had been available for months, but they came at a time of heightened tension in the Persian Gulf. Hamre and other officials became convinced they were witnessing a sophisticated Iraqi 'information warfare' attacked aimed at disrupting troop deployment in the Middle East. A joint task force was hastily assembled from agents of the FBI, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, NASA, the US Department of Justice, the Defense Information Systems Agency, the NSA, and the CIA. The investigation, code-named "Solar Sunrise," eventually snared two California teenagers and Tenenbaum, but no Iraqi infowarriors. The California teens received probation for their role in the drama. After a brief stint in the military, Tenenbaum was indicted under Israeli computer crime law in February 1999. In a plea agreement reached in December of last year, he admitted to cracking US and Israeli computers, and plead guilty to conspiracy, wrongful infiltration of computerized material, disruption of computer use and destroying evidence. Tenenbaum's sentence will have him working full time for six months of unpaid community service, such as in a hospital or a school, beginning in July. Boaz Guttman, the former lead Israeli investigator in the case, says the hacker got off easy. "He caused huge damage in the US, and tomorrow this criminal will be in the local papers as a hero," says Guttman, now a computer law professor at Ruppin Academic Center. "In the United States, they say we are a state of hackers." © 2001 SecurityFocus.com, all rights reserved.
Kevin Poulsen, 15 Jun 2001