1st > November > 2001 Archive

Quantum 1: Imation 1

Imation has secured the right to make and sell its Black Watch cartridges, while Quantum has won the right to make Imation pay royalties, following a tussle in the courts. Both companies claim victory. Imation's official line reads: "The Court sided with Imation that we are entitled to be in the digital linear tape market by denying Quantum's bid to exclude us. Customers and the marketplace won a victory today, along with Imation ... In addition, the Court's requirement that Imation pay the 30 per cent royalty during the interim is recognition of Quantum's dependence on their unusually high royalty structure." Quantum begs to differ: "The Court has issued a Notice of Ruling stating that it will grant a preliminary injunction requiring Imation to pay Quantum royalties for the use of Quantum's trade secrets ... This preliminary injunction vindicates Quantum's position." On October 26, the California Superior Court denied Quantum's bid to block Imation from manufacturing and selling Black Watch cartridges. At the start of the month Imation (a large maker of storage media) had slapped a lawsuit against Quantum (a large maker of storage devices) for violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act. In turn, Quantum filed a court order to stop Imation from selling its unqualified tape media for use in DLTtape drives. The suit charged Imation with "extreme and pervasive" misappropriation of trade secrets, deceptive and misleading advertising, and unfair business practises. Imation had announced its alternative tape media - Black Watch - for use on DLTtape drives, but without the necessary Quantum certification. Its press release at the time made much mention of how the product is "Imation-Certified" and how it offers a "reliable alternative to Quantum-qualified DLTtape brands." Imation says it will continue pursuing its federal anti-trust suit against Quantum. ® Related Links Quantum's version of the truth Imation's version of the truth
James Watson, 01 Nov 2001

Alcatel guillotines 10,000 jobs

Alcatel is to can 10,000 more workers after reporting another set of disappointing results. The telecoms equipment supplier made a third quarter net loss of E558m on sales of E5,613m (£3,500m), down 18 per cent on the 6,806 million Euro (£4,242m) it booked for the same period last year. Weak sales in the US and a decline in Alcatel's handset and submarine businesses were blamed for the losses. Optical networking and data switching were bright spots. Looking ahead, Alcatel predicts its European business will slow down and is restructuring and slashing jobs so that it can operate profitably on sales of E5 billion (£3.12 billion) per quarter. Alcatel is to cut its European workforce by 10,000, reducing costs by 20 per cent. This is in addition to the previously announced cuts of 23,000 jobs worldwide. Alcatel predicts Q4 operating losses will be comparable to those of this quarter, and expects to make net loss for the full yeare of E5bn (£3.12 billion). ® External links Alcatel - 2001 Third Quarter Results
John Leyden, 01 Nov 2001

Creditors OK $7bn Hynix rescue plan

Debt-laden chip maker Hynix's rescue plan will go ahead as planned after the company's creditors agreed after weeks of haggling to extend its credit line, postpone payment on some existing loans and convert other debt to equity. So what will happen now? First, six major Hynix creditors, including the Korea Exchange Bank, will lend the company a further one trillion won ($776 million). They will also increase the previously agreed debt-for-equity swap by one trillion won to four trillion won. Repayment will be extended on another four trillion won of debt. The scheme to provide Hynix with further credit proved to be the major stumbling block in negotiations between creditors and a failure to reach an agreement had threatened to derail the process. No consensus was reached yesterday, but a proposal by KEB that would allow creditors to swap debt for bonds was passed. So eight creditors, including Kookmin Bank, will exchange their debt for bonds based on Hynix's liquidation value. That price will be collected next month. The returns won't be as high, but at least Kookmin and co. will have ended their exposure to Hynix's woes. Which, despite the latest cash injection, will continue. The company is moving to sell off assets in order to balance its books - indeed, the loan agreed yesterday is dependent on Hynix generating at least 2.6 trillion won through a restructuring and asset-sale programme - but its debt remains a heavy burden. It can't look to the market for much succour - DRAM prices remain depressed, and a recent slight rise is no basis to assume the worst is over or that recovery is in sight. With market research organisation Gartner predicting a 67 per cent fall in sales this year and a 19 per cent fall during 2002, the situation is going to get a lot worse for Hynix. Japanese memory makers NEC, Hitachi, Toshiba and Matsushita have complained about Hynix and Samsung selling DRAM in Japan at below cost price, and Micron is considering making a similar complaint in the US. Micron is also contemplating charging the Korean government - many of Hynix's chief creditors are part-owned by the Korean state - with aiding Hynix beyond the limits of both fiscal prudence and World Trade Organisation regulations. ® Related Stories Hynix creditors meet to break bailout deadlock Matsushita, Hitachi back NEC ,Toshiba DRAM dumping charge Hynix bail-out plan sets Micron a-grumbling
Tony Smith, 01 Nov 2001

No chip sales boom 'til 2003, says market researcher

Market researcher Gartner Dataquest has followed up last month's dismal forecast for the world's memory manufacturers with a marginally more optimistic outlook for the semiconductor business as a whole. Maybe we should say 'less pessimistic' rather than 'more optimistic', since Gartner is predicting growth of just three per cent next year, netting chip makers total sales of $152 billion. This after sales fell 35 per cent this year to $147 billion. The prognosis for 2003 is much better, with sales rising 30 per cent, Gartner Dataquest reckons. Driving that growth will be recovered demand not only for PCs but for mobile devices, along with communications and networking infrastructure products, on the back of the roll-out of third generation cellular networks. It was the drop in demand for mobile products that fuelled the decline in the communications market, which, in turn, tipped the chip business into recession in the first place. So it's ironic that that very sector will lead the chip market's recovery. Eventually, at any rate. Gartner Dataquest's figures suggest that, for most companies, 2002 isn't going to be any better than 2001, and that we're not going to see any significant upturn in the PC and PDA markets. "The slowdown in capital expenditure in 2001 will likely spill over into 2002, resulting in supply-side tightness in 2003, when a stronger demand side is expected to have returned to the market,'' said Richard Gordon, principal analyst for Gartner Dataquest's worldwide semiconductor group. "Improvements in the macroeconomic environment will likely fuel a PC replacement cycle and a recovery in the wired communications sector,'' he added. "In addition, the roll-out of 2.5 generation and 3G cellular will be well under way in the 2003 timeframe, boosting demand for silicon-rich handsets.'' ® Related Stories World chip sales down 32% during 2001 DRAM market to shrink 19% next year - Gartner
Tony Smith, 01 Nov 2001

Dan wins PC Which? Hunt

Dan is the number one PC brand that customers would recommend to their friends, and Time is bottom of the list, according to the latest Which? survey. The consumer watchdog polled customer brand perception, reliability, quality of service and more in its November issue, and came up with the best and worst brands of the year. Responding to the query, "Would you recommend your brand?", Dan, Apple and Dell led the field, while the tail-enders included Dixons Group stalwarts Packard Bell, Advent and Time. Under brand reliability Compaq, IBM and Apple ruled the roost, while Tiny, Fujitsu-Siemens and Time lagged behind. Dan came up trumps in quality of service as well, along with IBM and Evesham. Not faring so well was Advent, Mesh and Time. Dan also won the 'speed of answering' poll. Another question posed, "How easy was it to set up?", put Apple in pole place. But companies dealing with high street first-time buyers, such as the Dixons' chains, Time and Tiny, always fare badly in these kind of surveys. If you're PC literate, you don't tend to buy from them. If you don't know what you're doing with your computer, your view of your PC supplier can be a bit jaundiced. The results of the survey, completed in May and June, were compiled from over 7600 respondents. Here are some more results: Would you recommend your brand? Dan - 83% Apple - 79% Dell - 71% Evesham - 63% Gateway - 56% * IBM - 55% Viglen - 51% Fujitsu-Siemens - 48% Mesh - 46% Compaq - 43% Hewlett Packard - 40% Tiny - 28% Packard Bell - 26% Advent - 25% Time - 14% * Gateway has since exited the market. How reliable is your brand? Compaq - 89% IBM - 89% Apple - 86% Dell - 86% Gateway - 83% Packard Bell - 83% Dan - 80% Evesham - 80% Hewlett Packard - 80% Mesh - 79% Tiny - 77% Fujitsu-Siemens - 75% Time - 72%
James Watson, 01 Nov 2001

SirCam haunts dim-witted users

SirCam is still the most infectious computer virus on the Internet. Four months after it was first released it continues to haunt users. The privacy-threatening, bandwidth-stealing worm headed the monthly chart of virus reports compiled by antivirus vendor Sophos and accounted for 21.7 per cent of calls to its support centre in October. It was followed by Nimda-A (17.8 per cent), September's chart topper, and the Magistr-B (16.1 per cent). Statistics on viruses blocked by MessageLabs, a managed service provider that scans its users email for malicious code, tell a similar story. During the last four weeks MessageLabs blocked 69,738 emails containing SirCam, down on 143,949 stopped during September. Magistr-A, with 17,202 infection bearing emails stopped, was a long way back in second place. There was concern during this month that SirCam had the potential to wipe infected users hard discs (something that failed to happen thanks to lame coding). If this doesn't persuade people to get disinfected, what will? Only the replacement of infected PCs or enforced disconnection from the Internet by their ISPs will curtail the spread in the case of some lunk heads. ® Top ten viruses reported to Sophos in October Sircam Nimda-A Magistr-B Magistr-A Hybris-B Kakworm Sadmind (Unix worm) Apology-B Verona-B Haptime-A External links Latest monthly stats from MessageLabs Related Stories SirCam blitz is damp squib Thousands of idiots still infected by SirCam SirCam virus hogs connections with spam Firms hit in Nimda mutant outbreak Nimda worms its way to top of September virus chart Nimda worm tails off Magistr continues three month reign as top virus Users haven't learned any lessons from the Love Bug Rise in viruses within emails outpacing growth of email
John Leyden, 01 Nov 2001

Dell sees high single-digit PC growth

PC sales percentage growth rates will be in the high single digits over the next four to five years, according to Michael Dell. The Dell Computer CEO, who also thinks the last quarter of this year will be "pretty good", was addressing investors at the Prudential Securities technology conference when he made his market predictions. PC sales for Western Europe dropped 12 per cent in the third quarter (they were down 15.5 per cent in the UK), but Dell grew its share to 10.4 per cent, citing the usual 'price cuts and direct sales' motivation. It was the only manufacturer in the top five to record an increase for the quarter. At the investor conference Dell also said that he thinks the industry will see more consolidation like the merger of Hewlett-Packard and Compaq. At the start of October Microsoft predicted a return to 10 per cent PC sales growth rates. ® Related Stories PC sales down 12% in Western Europe MS forecasts double-digit PC growth br>
Robert Blincoe, 01 Nov 2001

Micron demands WTO declare Hynix rescue actionable

Micron will seek the US government's help in blocking rival memory maker Hynix's $7 billion rescue plan, the company confirmed yesterday. The memory maker said it will ask the US' representative at the World Trade Organisation and the US Treasury Department to file a complaint with the WTO. That filing will claim that the Hynix bailout amounts to unwarranted state aid and a violation of WTO regulations. Essentially, the WTO maintains that governments should not subsidise businesses if that aid adversely affects overseas companies from competing with the subsidised business, either within its own national market or through exports. The WTO defines such an "actioable" subsidy as "a financial contribution by a government (or any public body within the territory of a member [state]) which confers a benefit". It's up to complainants to show that a subsidy has an adverse effect on competition. If they do so successfully, the WTO can demand the subsidy be rescinded or that its "adverse effects be removed". Failure to do so grants the complainant the right to impose import restrictions on the subsidised company's products. Hynix would arguably be unable to continue trading without the rescue plan, and with the memory market in such a dire state, extra tariffs on its exports would reduce even further what little money is coming into the company. Micron has been arguing for some time now that as many of Hynix's creditors, such as the Korea Exchange Bank and the Korea Development Bank, are largely owned by the Korean state, their efforts to keep the debt-laden memory maker afloat are tantamount to government subsidy, contrary to WTO rules. "These banks can make improper financial restructuring of Hynix because they have the government money behind them," claimed Micron's government affairs manager, Amy Kleiner, according to an EBN report. The report also says that, at a meeting of the WTO's committee on government subsidies held yesterday in Geneva, objections were raised to the rescue plan by US, EU, Singaporean and Japanese delegates. Last week, NEC, Hitachi, Toshiba and Matsushita asked the Japanese government to investigate their allegations that Hynix (and Samsung) had been dumping DRAM onto the Japanese market. Selling product below cost price in order to gain market advantage is illegal. The four companies' complaint may now be extended to include Hynix's rescue plan. That scheme, agreed at a creditors meeting yesterday, will see Hynix offered further loans to the tune of one trillion won ($776 million). The creditors will also increase the previously agreed debt-for-equity swap by one trillion won to four trillion won. Repayment will be extended on another four trillion won of debt. ® Related Stories Creditors OK $7bn Hynix rescue plan Matsushita, Hitachi back NEC ,Toshiba DRAM dumping charge Hynix bail-out plan sets Micron a-grumbling
Tony Smith, 01 Nov 2001

Mideast ‘cyberwar’ veteran indicted

The Turbaned Chupacabra may rest snug in his Afghan cave, and the House of Saud may be paying generous protection money to Al Qaeda behind our backs; Anthrax may spread through the postal system and India may attack in Kashmir while the US Secretary of State stands on Pakistani soil, but the FBI has struck a solid blow for Democracy and Freedom by persuading a federal grand jury to indict celebrity hacktivist DoctorNuker. The Pakistan Hackerz Club founder, who attacked an influential Jewish lobbying group -- the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) -- with a hacked homepage featuring links to enormously disturbing photos of Israeli aggression against Palestinians, has finally been identified, the FBI claims. He is, we're told, one Misbah Khan of Karachi. And if he ever presents himself at a US border or is extradited, he faces up to fifteen years in stir for defacing AIPAC and illegally obtaining credit-card information from its network. Sounds like a pretty hefty financial burden on the taxpayer for a relatively minor infraction to us, but what do we know. And we're not entirely confident he's really been identified. During a conversation with the good Doctor several months ago, we developed the distinct impression that he's rather adept at concealing his comings and goings on the Net. However, "computer hackers often leave behind a more elaborate trail of evidence than they realize, and we will follow that trail no matter where in the world it leads," FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Lynne Hunt explained in an FBI press release. We will see. We half expect some poor bugger whose dialup account has been hacked to get hauled down to the local police precinct in his stead. There's been scant good news in this whole anti-terror affair, so the FBI is naturally desperate for any little law-and-order straw it can grasp. We just wonder if they're grasping anything here at all. ® Related Story Celebrity hacktivist joins the Mid-East cyber-war
Thomas C Greene, 01 Nov 2001

MS antitrust deal close – WinXP, bundling to emerge unscathed?

Microsoft and the DoJ seem close to cutting a deal, and from the sound of the terms leaking from the settlement talks, the Beast stands a good chance of emerging relatively unscathed. That is, if the States attorneys general can be persuaded to go along with it. It's possible that the full deal being proposed is tougher than the elements that have got out imply, but from what we know so far it seems likely that the actual toughness of the settlement will depend on interpretation, and how rigorously it's enforced. After the DoJ effectively fell asleep during the negotiation of the last deal, Microsoft was able to insert wording that later allowed it to get away with bundling IE, and it's perfectly possible that something similar is happening again today. The terms themselves seem to have leaked after being presented at a meeting between the DoJ and the attorneys general yesterday. They take the form of a five year consent decree with a possible two year extension if Microsoft is deemed to have violated the terms, and there is to be an independent three person panel of experts to monitor enforcement. But it is the nature of the decree's content that is important, rather than the headline 'five year sentence.' Microsoft appears to have conceded on differential pricing and restrictive contracts, so depending on how this is implemented it ought to be more difficult for the company to make it financially attractive for its special friends in the PC business to do its bidding. But although this might have been helpful a few years back when there was some sort of competition, Microsoft position is now so dominant that it's doubtful that this concession will make the slightest difference. And if the campaign against "naked PCs" being waged under the anti-piracy banner continues, it will still be extremely difficult to buy PCs that don't come with Microsoft software on them, and the 'Redmond tax' will therefore still be levied on practically everything that goes out the door. Set against this apparently now minor concession, Microsoft seems to have successfully moved XP out of the firing line. Its integration of IE and Windows Media Player into the OS does not seem to have been objected to. Future integration will also be possible for the company, but this could be muted a little by Microsoft having to offer PC companies the ability to choose a version of the product that doesn't have these new products built in. The most obvious thing about this part of the deal is how fuzzy it is; if the leaks are correct that XP is unscathed, then Microsoft can happily continue its current incursions into the digital media market unchallenged. And although being forced not to impose 100 per cent integration in its future excursions into bundling may well be helpful in the future, XP already is the mother of all bundles - there's quite enough in there to keep Microsoft busy for a couple more years. The final part of the deal to have made it into the public domain concerns access to Microsoft code. Rather than going for any of the more drastic solutions such as forcing Microsoft to license Windows or to make source code public, the DoJ appears to be settling for a much more limited option. Qualified personnel from software and hardware companies would be allowed to inspect Microsoft code in some form of secure facility - you may well wonder what the blazes that's supposed to mean. It's not as yet clear who would be deemed to be qualified, and who would have the final say-so on their access. Nor is it obvious that this kind of arrangement differs massively from the existing source access deals Microsoft has with some of its major customers, and some hardware suppliers. We can be pretty sure that Sun, which most certainly could not achieve such access at the moment, will be in there inspecting, shouting and screaming if this part of the deal goes ahead, but we can't be entirely sure how helpful these insepction rights will be, if at all. So is that it? Maybe, maybe not. From what we know so far, the deal looks to have the potential to be spectacularly toothless; if there's something else yet to be disclosed that could change this, it'll have to be big. It also seems highly unlikely that the States, who've adopted a more hawkish attitude than the DoJ, will accept it. So it looks close, but maybe not as close as it looks... ®
John Lettice, 01 Nov 2001

VIA sales are flat in October

VIA sales rose 17.1 per cent month-on-month during October to NT$3.042 billion ($88 million), the company reported today. However, that still leaves the company's year-on-year growth effectively flat. During October 2000, VIA recorded sales of NT$3.033 billion, making for a rise of less then a fifth of one per cent. For the year to date, VIA said it has sold NT$29.292 billion worth of chips, 13 per cent up on the NT$25.914 it recorded this time last year. ® Related Stories VIA Q3 income dips deeper than analysts forecast VIA chipper about mobo market moves
Tony Smith, 01 Nov 2001

UKBetting buys Sportal for £1

Online sports portal Sportal has been sold for just £1 to online bookie UKbetting.com. The troubled dotcom (and dot co.uk) admitted last week that it had hit a "challenging time". Most of the remaining 130 staff - down from 340 in its heyday - are expected to lose their jobs. Sportal put itself up for sale in September, reporting that "around a dozen" companies had been in touch over buying its European Web site operations, WAP serivce and technology platform - but not its brand name or URLs. Just over a month later though and UKBetting - also owners of Totalbet.com and Sportinglife.com - pays £190,000 for the technology and an arbitrary £1 for the brand names and URLs. Totalbet.com is not buying the Sportal assets; so the company formerly known as Sportal can continue to operate as a content provider for other Web sites. It is unlikely to do so for the company which now owns Sportal. Sportal was once valued at $170 million, spent millions on promoting itself and struck deals with Juventus and Bayern Munich. However, this year, 45 staff were cut in two steps. In August it got £8m in extra funding to keep it afloat and claimed that would see it through to "early 2002". The sale of the brand name is also an interesting reversal of fortune when not so long ago sports portals were buying bookmakers in order to have some kind of income. An indication of Sportal's new owners can be seen on the Web site - UKBetting has very quickly coded in a new section in its main menu - a white on red banner saying "Betting" with the text "bet with UKbetting.com on all the latest sporting events". All other banners are black on orange. Fare ye well Sportal. ® Related Stories Sportal hit by 'challenging time' Sportal's Euro ops up for grabs
Kieren McCarthy, 01 Nov 2001

Salmon Days takes the shirt off Ted Baker's back

SalmonDays, the wannabe cult comedy streaming vidstrip, has sold out - to Ted Baker, the super-hip British fashion emporium. Ted Baker is sponsoring the first episode of Salmon Days, already seen by 40,000 people. Terms are undisclosed, but rest assured the cast will be better dressed in the next fun-filled, action-packed episode. Ted Baker shares something in common with Salmon Days - it does not currently take online orders from the US. Brits - boys and girls - can check out Ted Baker's superfine schmutter here. And what opportunities are there for The Register to flog Ted Baker's exceedingly fine shirts to the tech masses? Nothing to report yet, but we're working on it. ® Related Links About Ted Baker. Salmon Days Web site Salmon Days - what's it all about and how is The Reg involved?.
Drew Cullen, 01 Nov 2001

Netcraft Web Server Survey – October 2001

Top Developers Developer Sept '01 Share Oct '01 Share Change Apache 19279109 59.51 18851352 56.89 -2.62 Microsoft 8895343 27.46 9607363 28.99 1.53 iPlanet 1319271 4.07 1278720 3.86 -0.21 Zeus 783261 2.42 775438 2.34 -0.08 Active Sites Developer Sept '01 Share Oct '01 Share Change Apache 7924169 60.86 7781145 61.36 0.50 Microsoft 3905978 30.00 3612310 28.49 -1.51 iPlanet 268063 2.06 249418 1.97 -0.09 Zeus 166077 1.28 171023 1.35 0.07 Around the Net The number of Apache sites found by this month's survey actually fell in absolute numbers as well as percentages, primarily as a result a routing problem in Germany causing around a 5-10 per cent reduction in sites responding in that country, and more significant losses of mass shared hosting sites at Exodus, KPNQwest and Bell South. Emphasizing the hard times in the mass hosting industry, Microsoft's significant loss of active sites is primarily attributable to an adjustment of the business model at a large hoster of free shared sites, homestead.com, which this month revoked access to many of their users free sites until they pay. Microsoft-IIS competitive upgrades Over the last two months most of the vendors in the Web server marketplace have run competitive upgrade initiatives aimed at Microsoft-IIS. Iplanet is offering a reduced price for sites transitioning to Netscape-Enterprise, and also including a free copy of the ChiliSoft ASP implementation to assist people migrating ASP applications. Chilisoft competitor Halcyon Software has a similar program, with its marketing material making an interesting point that major Microsoft partners IBM has a policy forbidding the use of Microsoft-IIS on Internet-facing networks. This is demonstrably true with only three out of several hundred IBM sites running Microsoft-IIS, and, as the Halcyon material describes, these are the sites responsible for IBM's entries in the defacement archives. Zeus has announced a new version of their server with a comprehensive set of new facilities, and some strong statements on Zeus' security track record. Zeus strategy includes one of 'embrace and extend' with Microsoft-IIS, by promoting the use of Zeus as a secure reverse proxy sitting in front of existing Microsoft-IIS deployments. This could find favour with busy Microsoft-IIS sites as they can continue to develop their site in exactly the same way as before, and view the Zeus server as a blackbox in front of the existing server, providing caching and url filtering. Oracle will now support its version of Apache across all platforms, including Win32. However, this move may be as much aimed at IBM, who also provide Apache in conjunction with their WebSphere application server, as against Microsoft. It is interesting to be able to report on how some of the competitive offers are faring. During the last month, some 1506 Microsoft-IIS sites have moved to Zeus, and 1719 are now running Netscape-Enterprise. Ironically, the lion's share of the 131,417 sites which have moved from Microsoft-IIS, have moved to Apache which has no explicit campaign to encourage Microsoft-IIS sites to transition to the server, though at least 4500 of these are running on Cobalt servers, traditionally a close competitor for Microsoft in the dedicated server market. Some sites that have made the move include fatbrain.com, auctions.zdnet.com, electronics.cnet.com and www.nba.com, while Halcyonsoft have taken their own advice and switched www.halcyonsoft.com to Win32 Apache. Web Server Security Our new table of vulnerabilities in SSL sites tested by us attracted a lot of comment last month. One request was that we should show more clearly the percentages of sites allowing execution of commands on the server, rather than just showing statistics for individual vulnerabilities, as these would be inflated by a given site being concurrently vulnerable to multiple exploits. This is set out in the table below. The number of sites found to be vulnerable by our tests peaked at over 60 per cent in June, and shows how ripe the internet was for Code Red. The significant fall since shows the combined impact of Code Red, and Microsoft's first cumulative security patch. One would expect that Microsoft is delighted at the success of the cumulative patch, but disappointed that a significant minority of the Microsoft-IIS community is still very exposed and some one in ten sites providing e-commerce and encrypted transactions have backdoors in place to allow external attackers to monitor the systems, and have commands executed on the machines. Vulnerable Microsoft-IIS SSL Sites Statistics Vulnerability May Jun July Aug Sept Oct Admin pages accessible 23.08% 35.71% 11.76% 10.26% 17.14% 24.69% Cross-site scripting 73.08% 57.14% 36.47% 19.23% 22.86% 13.58% URL decode bugs 34.62% 42.86% 32.94% 16.67% 17.14% 12.35% Sample pages, scripts 15.38% 28.57% 14.12% 16.67% 17.14% 25.93% Server paths revealed 36.54% 50.00% 22.94% 6.41% 8.57% 9.88% Viewing script source 25.00% 21.43% 11.18% 3.85% 11.47% 4.94% WebDAV configuration 30.77% 50.00% 47.65% 43.59% 37.14% 34.57% IIS .printer overflow 23.08% 21.43% 10.00% 2.56% 2.86% 1.23% Code Red 0.00% 14.29% 34.71% 2.00% 0.00% 2.47% root.exe installed 5.77% 7.14% 10.00% 12.82% 8.57% 11.11% Internet Research from Netcraft Netcraft does commercial internet research projects. These include custom cuts on the Web Server Survey data, hosting industry analysis, corporate use of internet technology and bespoke projects. All of the data is gathered through network exploration, not teleresearch. Network Security Testing from Netcraft Netcraft provides automated network security testing of customer networks and consultancy audits of ecommerce sites, Clients include IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Deloitte & Touche, Energis, Britannic Assurance, Guardian Royal Exchange, Lloyds of London, Laura Ashley, etc.
Our correspondent, 01 Nov 2001

HP has high price hi-fi

Hewlett Packard has gone hi-fi, and is shipping a device which stores up to 750 CDs, and plays Internet radio and streaming video (powered by RealPlayer and RealJukebox software). The digital entertainment de100c looks a lot like a large set-top box and is essentially an Internet-connected 40GB hard drive with a CD writer and some custom features. All for a whopping $999. The primary input is a recordable CD drive which enables users to convert their CD audio to MP3 for playback, or burn the MP3s to CD. It connects to the Net either through broadband or dial-up (using your existing account) and it has a USB port on the front for sharing data with other devices like an MP3 player. There's also a remote control. So, let's add it all up: you can download music and streaming video; rip music from CD or burn new CDs; and transfer music to other devices via USB. HP hopes that gizmo-mad consumers will go in their droves for the Christmas rush. There are no plans yet to bring the device to Europe. And when and if the HP/Compaq merger goes through, it can replace Compaq's almost identical device - just with a 20GB drive and no recordable CD - that sells for an identical price. ® Related Stories Apple iPod Redux Related Links HP Digital Entertainment de100c Product Info HP's Press Release
James Watson, 01 Nov 2001

Ex-Buddhist monk to reclaim hacking from s'kiddiots

Socially dysfunctional teenagers, disgruntled employees and even the Russian Mafia have brought the word 'hacker' into disrepute but the application of Buddhism can help turn things around. That's the view of ex-Buddhist monk turned chief executive of security startup White Hat Technologies, Thubten Comerford. "The media has turned `hacker' into a negative word," Comerford told his local paper The Denver Business Journal. "Calling all those people who cause problems `hackers' is a misnomer - we're actually the good guys." Comerford has half a point here. Cracker, rather than hacker, is the proper term for those who break into computers and disrupt systems. However English is a language defined by its usage (unlike French), so we reckon Comerford's attempt to reclaim the word won't get very far. White Hat Technologies was created by Comerford after he heard about the case of infamous Welsh hacker, Curador (aka Rapheal Gray), who caused chaos by setting up a Web site containing credit card details obtained from insecure sites. Comerford set up White Hat Technologies to channel the talent and interest of technically skilled youngsters towards testing the security of networks, rather than criminal activity. Good, but what we hear you say, has Buddhism got to do with 'hacking'? Comerford is keen to enlighten us. Running his penetration testing business is more about turning a profit - there's also a spiritual element. "There's a commitment to benefit all beings, for Buddhists. It's important to me that this company provides a beneficial service. We're not selling something that will cause damage; we help companies be more successful," Comerford told the The Denver Business Journal. "That way, we avoid generating any negative karma," he added. What next, Feng Shui phreaking? ® Related Stories 'Bill Gates' hacker escapes jail Cracker in 'credit card Viagra sting on Gates' Welsh hacker pleads guilty to deception and theft Taleban can't hack - UK govt
John Leyden, 01 Nov 2001

Infineon wants a DRAM foursome

Infineon is in talks with three Taiwanese DRAM producers about a possible merger that could lead to the group holding a 20 per cent share of the market. The German chipmaker, controlled by Siemens, is talking to Mosel Vitelic, Winbond and Nanya about the possibility of a joint venture in memory chips. Ulrich Schumacher, Infineon's CE, says the four companies would have a combined market share of 20 per cent, with his portion contributing about 11 per cent. This would create the industry's largest DRAM producer. Infineon has been on the verge of a merger deal with Toshiba, but, as the FT reports, those discussions may be dented by Toshiba's need for an overhaul in its DRAM unit, which could cost up to $500 million. This is not something Infineon will want to get involed with, it's in a cash crunch itself. Analysts at UBS Warburg estimate it could lose around $1 billion on DRAM over the coming 15 months. These aren't good times for any memory players. Debt-laden chip maker Hynix has just had its rescue plan approved after the company's creditors agreed to extend its credit line, postpone payment on some existing loans and convert other debt to equity. With market research organisation Gartner predicting a 67 per cent fall in sales this year and a 19 per cent fall during 2002, the situation is going to get a lot worse for Hynix, in turn making recovery more difficult for other producers. Japanese memory makers NEC, Hitachi, Toshiba and Matsushita have already complained about Hynix and Samsung selling DRAM in Japan at below cost price, and Micron is considering making a similar complaint in the US. ® Related Stories No chip sales boom 'til 2003, says market researcher Chip sales to fall 67 per cent fall this year - Gartner
James Watson, 01 Nov 2001
SGI logo hardware close-up

EMC: Eating Shark Fin Soup

InterviewInterview The last twelve months have seen a range of accusations laid at EMC's door. The competition says that EMC has lost its edge, that it's slipping and that it needs to change if it is going to fend off their products. EMC says that this couldn't be further from the truth. Mark Fredrickson, EMC VP of communications and Ken Steinhardt, the director of technology analysis, explained to IT-Analysis.com the real picture – minus the competition's spin. So tell us what's being going on at EMC, there seems to have been a few problems. The global economy is the best place to start I think when it comes to explaining our position right now. If you look back over the past few years we benefited enormously. It seemed that everything that happened, Y2K, Dot Com, all ended up paying enormous dividends to EMC and as a result we and our stock price soared. Now though we are dealing with a tech slump, a slowing economy, terrorism, war and unfavorable comparisons by financial analysts. That's the problem. There are no fundamental issues at play with our technologies our strategies or anything like that. EMC is exactly the same as every other tech company that benefited in the same way as us over the past few years. We have to take some seriously deserved credit for creating this storage industry as a standalone entity. We continue to win a lot more deals than we lose. We continue to see a lot more deals going through on head-to-heads with IBM and HDS than they make out. And in that respect we are very happy indeed. The problem is that there simply isn't the volume of deals out there that there used to be. So how bad is it exactly? Most of what we have encountered is that people are holding projects; they aren't canceling projects and we aren't losing contracts. It's just slowed down. We are, however, continuing to trounce the competition on an awful lot of contracts. So how come HDS is suddenly creeping into the frame – and how come IBM is experiencing storage revenues beyond its expectations? One of the natural tendencies with this market is that people will try new technologies. They get caught up in marketing and sales hype and they will dip their toe in the water. But the effect of these two competitors is nominal. We are replacing them all over the world. We've just replaced 60Tb of HDS equipment with 200TB of EMC solutions at Qwest, for instance. They had tried HDS after a successful sales pitch but it had to come back to EMC; we were the only ones capable of managing their requirements. Same with Edward James in the US. It set corporate records for due diligence after a note from its CEO and as a result it thoroughly evaluated IBM, HDS and EMC. We won the deal though. Same with Orange - we've just put in 250TB of EMC kit, that's an enormous amount, an enormous deal and an incredibly important decision for Orange. But, once again, we were the only ones that could serve their needs. So what went wrong at Wal Mart? That's a very interesting question. If you throw this supposed win under scrutiny you will see that it is not quite what IBM might like you to believe. Sure, IBM put some storage solutions in there but it was a bundle. IBM wrapped the storage up as part of a mainframe deal and the fact is that we still have an enormous presence at Wal Mart. Far greater than IBM even with this deal. All new capacity at Wal Mart is EMC - we have 170 TB at Wal Mart and there's probably more to come, we work very closely. So it was just IBM's spin machine going into over-drive? Quite possibly. IBM has a wonderful marketing machine and I have to admit they did an excellent job of spinning that story. However, it could be a bad move. Now the world knows the truth behind that story and IBM is left wishing it had chosen another 'massive deal'. The problem is it doesn't have any. IBM should have known it would get found out eventually. I imagine you read the recent interview with Dietmar Wendt from IBM? I did indeed and once again they were highlighting deals and contracts that weren't theirs. Daimler Chrysler has 98 per cent of its US data on EMC machines. Not the other way round as IBM suggested. After we read that interview we sat down with them and laughed about it, neither EMC nor Daimler Chrysler could find any IBM storage solutions anywhere in its operations. It's funny, but if you look at the contracts IBM has been shouting about they're both ours and worse than that, we've won awards from both of these customers this year. But surely the competition is making a mark on EMC? We do have what you might call reasonable competition nowadays certainly but that's only because previously there wasn't any. The phenomenon that you're seeing though isn't anything to do with the competition as such, it's about competitive balance in the data centre more than anything else. Organisations can for the first time buy competitors kit and evaluate it and that's all they are doing –they are evaluating with small scale implementations and leaving the real work to EMC. They certainly aren't replacing EMC solutions. Next time you're in Boston you could come to my office. I have a collection that would interest you. I don't know if you are aware that when IBM sells its Shark solution it sends out a plastic Shark Fin with it as a marketing gimmick. Over the past few months our customers have been handing these over to us as we go and replace the Shark with our solutions. Like I said, it's quite a collection. What about the claims of mistreating your resellers? It's inevitable that you get claims like that. A reseller strategy is a very complex thing and it continuously evolves, which means some resellers won't make the grade. But I think you've just got to look at the Dell deal that we did to see how well our reseller relationships are going. I have a feeling that Dell has probably done its homework. Doesn't that deal throw a cloud over the whole reseller strategy though? I know some resellers are very concerned that you will offer Dell cheap price kit whilst they pay the full amount. Is that likely? One of the big things that we have been trying to establish is finding people that can shift our Clariion range and that will be a big factor. However, as for the pricing, we will make sure that there is a level playing field. And what about pricing for your customers. EMC has been accused of being very expensive in the past - is that going to change? There's no question that previously there was no other product around that could possibly match what we offered and we were simply supplying the demand for those kind of solutions. We don't just sell boxes though. We set about improving businesses. People that buy EMC buy a wealth of experience and talent – they buy real business value from us. That's why we have perhaps been perceived as expensive. Now though we are responding to IT budgets and our customers are very happy indeed. The competition has claimed that our customers are unhappy with us but that simply isn't true. We don't take examples in isolation, especially when they are being made by competitors; we run quarterly customer satisfaction surveys and last quarter they were up. Our customer satisfaction ratings are superb and that's what we rely on to find out how happy our customers are and how we can serve them better. So are the fractions in the storage industry just another marketing war? I think it's probably something like that, but we don't want to play that game. EMC is a serious company with serious solutions and we, unlike the competition, can substantiate our claims. The customers that use EMC solutions know that they get serious quality from us, and that's quality technology, quality support and quality solutions. There do seem to a be a lot of reports coming from financial analysts that suggest you are losing your competitive edge. That's a fair point but I would be inclined to say what do financial analysts know about technology? Some people have also speculated that the financial analysts are just looking for the potential in HDS's IPO. That might have something to do with the bad reports. I seem to recall questions being asked about your architecture too. Is it as good as the competitions? If there is one thing that I am sure about it's our architecture. It is a fantastic architecture that will survive for years. We have a great architecture with great technologies that are being improved everyday. We pour millions into our R&D and that ensures that our architecture will be around for decades. There are very few companies that can claim to have an enduring architecture but that is something we most definitely have. If you look at IBM for instance, it has had to stop and start new architectures regularly over the years – you should draw your own conclusions from that. So if everything is so rosy, what happened? If it appears that we were caught out in some way it's down to two factors. Firstly we thought that storage would do better this year than it has but that was down to the signals we were receiving and we, like much of the industry, followed those signals. The other reason for perhaps appearing as if we were caught out is that we don't listen to the competition, we listen to our customers. That is genuinely what we focus on, everything else is just noise. And we saw that our customers were happy. Does this mean that the strategies you've employed recently, cost cutting and such like, will see you well prepared for a bounce back when the economic recovery starts? Our strategy has always been to prepare for the fog to lift so that we can get running again. That's why we didn't cut costs quite as dramatically as some of the financial analysts would have liked. But, and I know this sounds corny, we did have to right-size the company for the climate. And that did have some effect on morale as you would expect. But since the recent announcements, Dell and our new storage management tools, everyone is pretty happy again. They see where we are going and EMC is firing on all cylinders. I had a phone call from Dick Egan recently, one of the founders of EMC, and he said he was so impressed with what we were doing, he said we were gonna fly when the economy bounces back. And he's right. © IT-Analysis.com. All rights reserved.
IT-Analysis, 01 Nov 2001

Nokia knocks Palm off Euro PDA biz top slot

Nokia dominated the European market for PDAs and data-enabled smartphones during the third quarter, outselling both Palm and Compaq by a hefty margin and almost doubling its sales year on year. But, according to the latest figures from market researcher Canalys, the market as a whole shrank by 16 per cent on Q3 2000. This confirms Gartner Dataquest's numbers which show consumers and enterprise buyers holding off from purchasing during the quarter. Still, the first nine months of 2001 showed growth over the same period last year of 33 per cent. Canalys' numbers put Nokia's marketshare at 28.3 per cent, thanks to the 152,335 Communicator 9210s it sold during the period. Palm came second with 20.2 per cent (108,445 units). Compaq's 66,925 shipments gave it a 12.4 per cent share. Casio and Handspring came fourth and fifth, respectively, with 11.4 per cent and 7.7 per cent of the market (61,550 and 41,450 units, respectively). Nokia's success more than balanced Psion's collapse, which saw sales fall from Q3 2000's 100,710 units (15.6 per cent marketshare) to 16,190 this past quarter (three per cent). It also pushed Symbian to the top of the platform chart. Symbian's OS was used in 34 per cent of the PDAs and smartphones shipped last quarter, compared to Palm OS' 29.9 per cent, and Windows CE's 20.8 per cent. According to Canalys, Nokia will maintain its position at the top of the chart during Q4. In the UK at least, Nokia has done much more to promote the 9210 than Palm, Compaq or any of its other PDA rivals, and this has clearly had an effect on sales. Existing and would-be PocketPC users, on the other hand, appear to have held back from buying new machines until the arrival last month of PocketPC 2002. Canalys reckons that many Palm fans are waiting for the company's next-generation ARM-based models rather than upgrading to the members of the current line-up. Nokia's links to cellular network providers is also important to its success. "It has great relationships with the mobile network operators and access to vast numbers of phone sales outlets across Europe, not to mention the corporate phone channels. Businesses are buying these devices as well as consumers," said Canalys senior analyst Chris Jones. "The 9210 represents a tiny fraction of Nokia's overall phone sales in the quarter, but it does show the potential for smart phones and the pressure handheld vendors will be under as other devices are launched," he added. This should be some consolation to Handspring, which attacks the smartphone market next year with its Treo family. ® Related Stories Euro PDA sales fell 34.5% in Q3 Palm still very strong in US retail arena
Tony Smith, 01 Nov 2001

BBC replies to Tweenies DVD/XP problem

Following our story last week about the BBC's Tweenies DVD not working with XP, the media organisation has kindly supplied us with the following statement. "All BBC Worldwide DVD Videos are authored according to the official DVD Forum specifications. We test all of our releases internally on a limited number of DVD players and also on PC and Mac. In addition to this, our discs are verified by the studios who produce them with us, and are also tested externally by an independent DVD Forum-approved Verification Lab. Whilst we are happy to work with hardware providers to find solutions to compatibility issues that arise from time to time - usually when new equipment is released onto the market - responsibility for ensuring that DVD hardware conforms to DVD Forum specifications rests with hardware manufacturers, and not BBC Worldwide. "BBC Multimedia (part of BBC Worldwide) produces PC CD-ROMs and console games/titles (PlayStation, Game Boy, etc). BBC Multimedia received the final version of Windows XP just over two weeks ago and therefore testing of our products has been carried out only on beta versions of Windows XP to date. During the course of this testing BBC Multimedia has not found any major problems operating on Windows XP with any of our titles. "The statement on The Register on 26 October is therefore untrue - BBC Multimedia has tested all new titles and they have proved compatible with beta versions of Windows XP. We do not provide technical support, however, because at the time of production Windows XP was in no way a finished product and was going through constant changes. We continue to test our products on the latest operating systems like XP and do work with Microsoft if we find any major problems. In such cases it is Microsoft who ensure backward compatibility - Microsoft also have great incentive to retain the software users who are using their existing operating systems. I am glad to say that all BBC Multimedia titles currently in production will be fully compatible with Windows XP." Backwards Compatible We based our original story on the following email from BBC Multimedia to a Reg reader apologising for the fact that the Tweenies DVD doesn't work with WinXP: "BBC Multimedia titles have not been designed for use with Windows XP, and are therefore not currently supported. As Windows XP was not available when the game was designed and tested we were unable to foresee what problems might occur with the new operating system. It is difficult to diagnose your problem as the game is not supported on Windows XP and a final version of Windows XP has not yet been released to the shops. At the moment there are no plans to bring out an updated version or a downloadable patch." But this is semantic quibbling. The BBC has tested all new titles and they work with Windows XP. And all new copies of old titles will work with WinXP. Hurrah! Unfortunately this does not help people who want to run BBC Multimedia CDs bought before last week's WinXP launch on WinXP PCs. But that's up to Microsoft to resolve, right? In the meantime, if you've got a PC-running WinXP and you want to buy one of BBC Multimedia's very fine products, make sure with your retailer that it is a new title, or a new pressing. Old BBC Multimedia stock is still working its way through retailer shelves. ® Related Story Tweenies can't sing and dance on WinXP
Kieren McCarthy, 01 Nov 2001

Powerpuff Girls catch FunLove Virus

Warner Bros has recalled a virus-infected DVD featuring hot new cartoon stars, the Powerpuff Girls. The disc is called Meet the Beat Alls and contains the FunLove Virus. Once installed onto a PC the virus attempts to infect files held on the local hard drive as well as network directories. So how did FunLove end up on the Powerpuff Girls DVD in the first place? The most likely explanation is that the machine of one of the developers who worked on the disc was infected by the virus, a ccording Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos Anti-Virus. As a result, either a screensaver or an executable file of the DVD became infected with FunLove, allowing the infection to spread. The FunLove virus stopped production at Dell for two days in November 1999 Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft have also fallen victim to the virus. Even though it is easy to protect against and is not particularly damaging, FunLove is tricky to root out if infection takes hold. Once a network is infected, FunLove can automatically spread between all connected PCs. It also allows all users unrestricted file access. Warner Bros has recalled all versions of the DVD in countries where it is distributed, which doesn't include the UK (even though the Powerpuff Girls appear on Saturday morning TV here). Anybody who has bought the DVD is advised to return it. ® External links Write up on FunLove by Sophos The Powerpuff girls Related Stories Tweenies can't sing and dance on WinXP WinXP on the wall, who's the most incompatible of them all? Fun Loving Criminals torpedo Dell factory HP distributes virus infected drivers Microsoft security fixes infected with FunLove virus
John Leyden, 01 Nov 2001

Wear your Computing degree

If you're thinking of going (back) to university, not because you want an extra qualification but because you miss all the free time, cheap beer and young women, you could do worse than go to The Graz University of Technology in Austria and study its new degree in Wearable Computing. You won't believe this, but the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate programmes are the first of their kind in the world. They are a by-product of the first university-sponsored conference on wearable computers. And adding extra credibility, the course is closely tied in with corporate sponsor Xybernaut. Xybernaut is "the leading provider of wearable/mobile computing hardware". So what the hell is "wearable computing"? Well, you know, computing devices that you can wear. And stuff. Anyway, it's not a complete holiday (sadly) as you will be expected to learn (and be tested on) various subjects including computation, communications, signal and video processing, project and change management and man-machine interface (as well as maths, physics and electronics of course). "The TUG has historically maintained an outstanding reputation for recognizing major industry trends," said the senior VP of Corporate Research and Development at Xybernaut Dr. Edwin Vogt. Professor Reinhold Weiss of Graz University called it "a bold step". Graz was the first ever university to give a doctorate in technical sciences. Or maybe the first in Austria. ®
Kieren McCarthy, 01 Nov 2001

Computer dealers charged in £100m money laundering case

Five computer component dealers, and three others, are to appear in court charged with laundering £100 million for criminals around the world. Customs officers arrested the eight and seized £200,000 during searches of businesses and homes on Tuesday 30 October. The charges follow an investigation by Customs into London businesses believed to be laundering money under the cover of a computer firm and the Hawalla informal banking system. Both are thought to have used electronic transfers to move money around the world. Of the five computer industry people, three are directors of Tai Computers Ltd, a computer hardware company based at Minerva Business Centre, London NW10; one is the director of Cybocity PLC, a computer chip company; and the last is an employee of Cybocity. All eight, seven men and one woman, have been charged with money laundering offences under the Drugs Trafficking Act 1994 and the Criminal Justice Act 1988. They expected at Horseferry Road Magistrates Court today, Thursday 1 November. Customs stresses that the investigation is related to the proceeds of crime and drugs, and not terrorist funds. ® The charged are: Ketan Thakrar, director of Cybocity PLC, Marlborough House, 159 High Street, Harrow. Residing at Waverley Road, Rayners Lane, Middlesex Maryam Mahdavi-Rad, an employee of Cybocity, residing at Ludlow Way, Hampstead Garden Suburb, Hampstead, N2 Kaushik Tailor, director of Tai Computers Ltd, Minerva Business Centre, Minerva Road NW10, residing at Lynbridge Gardens, Palmers Green, N13 Rajesh Tailor, director of Tai Computers, residing at Lynton Road, Harrow, HA2 Rajnikant Tailor, director of Tai Computers, residing at Arbour Close, Luton, Beds, LU13 Javad Ghotbi-Ravandi, a money-broker and director of Rvandi Trade and Finance Co Ltd based at 24 North Audley Street, London, and residing at Buttermere Court, Boundary Road, St Johns Wood, NW8 Gholam Ali Sacki, employee of Rvandi Trade and Finance Co Ltd, residing at Evesham Road London, N11 Hooshang Lanjani Abbaspour of Ludlow Way, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London N2 Update Mr. Ravandi and Mr. Sacki were acquitted of all charges of money laundering at Harrow Crown Court in November 2003. The five computer dealers pleaded guilty to conducting missing trader VAT fraud. Ms Mahdavi-Rad was acquitted on all charges.
Team Register, 01 Nov 2001

Culture jammers spoof WTO web site

The World Trade Organisation is fuming over a spoof Web site which copies the WTO's design but subverts the text to support the aims of anti-global protesters. The Web site, at www.gatt.org (referring to the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs, WTO's predecessor), has been up and running since September. The site is owned by Prince & Associates in Washington (according to the whois) with the somewhat dodgy editorial contact of jonathan@killyourtv.com. Reuters reckons it is owned by RTMark, a Net community whose aim is to "support the sabotage (informative alteration) of corporate products, from dolls and children's learning tools to electronic action games, by channelling funds from investors to workers for specific projects grouped into 'mutual funds'." Its site is at www.rtmark.com. In other words, www.gatt.org is a classic example of culture-jamming, the playful anti-capitalist tool of choice made famous by Naomi Klein through her book No Logo. Real WTO v. Surreal WTO The real WTO site - www.wto.org - has posted the following headline on its site : "Fake WTO website www.gatt.org deceitful and a nuisance to serious users". Click this and you get this message: "The use of WTO designs, logos and materials is strictly unauthorized. Worse, some pages on the fake website could cause unsuspecting visitors to reveal their email addresses and other information to the site's operators. The fake site could also be picked up by search engines, a nuisance for serious users looking for genuine information." Looks like the real WTO is unamused, especially since the surreal WTO Web site is a pretty professional job and subtle-ish in its criticism of WTO. It also tackles nasty subjects like IBM/Nazis, AIDS drugs and suspicious business habits. In an excellent article we've found on Infotoday.com titled Better Read That Again: Web Hoaxes and Misinformation, the author claims that a significant number who viewed the site believed it to be the real WTO site. The WTO has been a target for the modern army of anti-globalisation protestors, mostly famously in Seattle. A new WTO meet is to take place in Qatar in the Persian Gulf. According to the surreal WTO site, no-one wanted to host the event and Qatar is not renowned for the gentle way it deals with protestors. ® Related Links www.gatt.org www.wto.org Infotoday article on Web hoaxes
Kieren McCarthy, 01 Nov 2001

Dotcom Telegraph folds into main paper

The technology supplement of the Daily Telegraph will be folded into the main paper after its last publication next Thursday, November 8. Three full-time staff of Dotcom Telegraph are to be transferred to the City desk of the main paper. They will also contribute to two pages of the main newspaper alloted to IT and technology news every Tuesday. Dotcom Telegraph was launched 18 months ago at the height of the dotcom boom but the downturn of the IT and high-tech sectors means there is too little advertising revenue to sustain it as a standalone section. In May, The Times closed its Interface tech section, citing similar reasons. And in September, The Sunday Times folded its Doors consumer tech supplement into its Culture section ® Related Stories The Times closes Interface tech section The Times they are a chargin' Haymarket suspends the net
John Leyden, 01 Nov 2001

Berners-Lee slams ‘blatant’ MS browser tactics

Tim Berners-Lee, The father of the World Wide Web and director of the W3C standards organisation, has attacked Microsoft over last week's blocking of people with non-MS browsers from using its MSN.com site. In an email interview with CNET, Berners-Lee said: "Obviously this was a blatant attempt to use the leverage of some content to produce domination at the software layer." He continued: "I have fought since the beginning of the Web for its openness: that anyone can read Web pages with any software running on any hardware. This is what makes the Web itself. This is the environment into which so many people have invested so much energy and creativity. When I see any Web site claim to be only readable using particular hardware or software, I cringe - they are pining for the bad old days when each piece of information needed a different program to access it." Microsoft was widely criticised last week when users of other browsers including Opera, Mozilla and some versions of Netscape were unable to access the redesigned MSN.com site. They were given an error warning and advised to "upgrade" to Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Microsoft initially blamed other browsers for their failure to comply with W3C standards - which really got people's backs up. Within hours MSN started working again with the other browsers and Microsoft changed its explanation. It was now "an error" and the company "took immediate steps to correct that mistake". Berners-Lee is not impressed: "Control over a person's desktop and their browser is control over their whole Net-mediated perception of the world out there," he wrote. "It is very powerful." CNET quotes several people touting alternative browsers who say that traffic and downloads from their sites have rocketed in recent days. You can read the full story here. Related Stories Opera and Mozilla get MSN support New look MSN turns away non-MS lovers
Kieren McCarthy, 01 Nov 2001

All quiet on the Western Europe PC front

PC shipments in Western Europe fell 11 per cent in Q3. according to Gartner Dataquest. Last month, IDC reported a Q3 decline of 12 per cent for the same region. Leading international brands were burned most badly, with Compaq, IBM and Fujitsu Siemens all reporting double digit declines for the quarter. Dell was the only company to buck the trend, gaining 5.6 per cent. PC shipments for the entire EMEA region showed a six per cent year on year decline against the same period last year. According to Gartner most of the leading brands losing market share, the difficult conditions have favoured some of the smaller PC vendors. Analyst Brian Gammage commented that, "Good logistics and the ability to respond quickly are currently the keys to success in the PC market, which means you don't need to be big to win business." ® EMEA Personal Computer Shipment Estimates for 3Q01 (thousands of units) Company 3Q01 Shipments 3Q01 Market Share (%) 3Q00 Shipments 3Q00 Market Share (%) Growth (%) Compaq 990 11.4 1,220 13.2 -18.8 Dell 749 8.6 709 7.7 5.6 Fujitsu Siemens 638 7.4 838 9.1 -23.9 Hewlett Packard 623 6.8 621 7.0 -0.3 IBM 462 5.3 663 7.2 -30.4 Others 5,200 60.0 5,157 56.0 0.8 Total Market 8,661 100.0 9,212 100.0 -6.0 Related Story PC sales down 12% in Western Europe
James Watson, 01 Nov 2001

September semicon sales fall 2.5% on August

Chip sales fell 2.5 per cent in September when compared to August's figure - the opposite of what many market players and watchers had expected. September is traditionally the key sales period during the third quarter, with sales surpassing those of August and July. Most observers were anticipating a slight rise through September. But whether it was the impact of the events of 11 September or the real state of the world chip market that caused sales to fall to $10.22 billion from August's $10.48 billion, the Semiconductor Industry Association reported today. And September's sales were down 44.6 per cent on the same month last year, it added. The SIA put a brave face on the news, pointing out that the decline wasn't as steep as that between August and July. True, 2.5 per cent is less than 3.5 per cent, but not much. And the July-August dip was broadly expected - unlike the August-September fall. North America and Japan saw the biggest month-on-month falls, down 6.4 per cent and 6.3 per cent, respectively. Sales to the Asia-Pacific region slid 2.6 per cent. Europe experienced only a 0.7 per cent decline. Compared to September 2000, sales in the Europe were down 41.7 per cent, in North America 58.6 per cent, 30.9 per cent in Asia-Pacific and down 42.7 per cent in Japan. ® Related Stories No chip sales boom 'til 2003, says market researcher World chip sales down 32% during 2001 DRAM market to shrink 19% next year - Gartner
Tony Smith, 01 Nov 2001

‘DeCSS’ DVD descrambler ruled legal

The Copy Control Association (CCA), which was granted a preliminary injunction against Andrew Bunner and other Webmasters, was handed its head in a California appellate court Thursday. The trial court had granted the injunction against publishing Jon Johansen's DeCSS DVD descrambler, but Brunner appealed on First Amendment free-speech grounds. The CCA scoffed at the notion, claiming that the source code has a mere practical function and no expressive content. The court saw it differently: "Like the CSS decryption software, DeCSS is a writing composed of computer source code which describes an alternative method of decrypting CSS-encrypted DVDs. Regardless of who authored the program, DeCSS is a written expression of the author's ideas and information about decryption of DVDs without CSS. If the source code were compiled to create object code, we would agree that the resulting composition of zeroes and ones would not convey ideas. "That the source code is capable of such compilation, however, does not destroy the expressive nature of the source code itself. Thus, we conclude that the trial court's preliminary injunction barring Bunner from disclosing DeCSS can fairly be characterized as a prohibition of pure speech." And this, the court reminds us, is presumed unconstitutional unless proven otherwise, and of course the CCA offered no such proof: "Prior restraints on pure speech are highly disfavored and presumptively unconstitutional. (Hurvitz v. Hoefflin (2000) 84 Cal.App.4th 1232, 1241.) 'In the case of a prior restraint on pure speech, the hurdle is substantially higher [than for an ordinary preliminary injunction]: publication must threaten an interest more fundamental than the First Amendment itself. Indeed, the [US] Supreme Court has never upheld a prior restraint, even faced with the competing interest of national security or the Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial.'" The conclusion was self-evident: "We hold only that a preliminary injunction cannot be used to restrict Bunner from disclosing DeCSS. The order granting a preliminary injunction is reversed." And then, for a final twist of the knife, "Defendant Andrew Bunner shall recover his appellate costs." Well done. Now break out those old Copyleft t-shirts and celebrate. ® Related Links Full text .PDF Full text .DOC
Thomas C Greene, 01 Nov 2001