6th > November > 2002 Archive

ISP data metering: a warning from Australia

LetterLetter A warning from Australia:- I read on the Register a while back that some UK ISP's were looking at Data use limits. Don't let it happen, and if it does happen, this is what you are in for, overcharging by way of "excess usage charge" in most case's here in Australia every extra Megabyte = AU$0.15, not much after all it's only AU 15 cents? What happens to your monthly limit of only 3000mb when a new or inexperienced user decides to download a few game demos, some music, play online for a few hours? The usage bill on the 3000mb capped plan blows out to 5000mb (and higher of course), and in the next bill the AU$99.00, 3000mb "plan" has a extra AU$300 "pay up or else" charge, so the total bill for a 5000mb monthly use = AU$399.00 (GBP 142.63) Telstra customers in Australia have to budget downloads as if they were gold. Enter the "Telstra usage meter", a device invented by Beelzebub (no one else could have pulled this off). This meter must account for half the mental health problems in Australia, when Telstra introduced "capped" download plans the Usage Meter was a online check to view your downloads. The only trouble is it just plain doesn't work, Telstra customers have numerous problems with this tool of Lucifer's creation... 1. The Meter is always 48hrs BEHIND the actual time. 2. Telstra has a "free" sites area, where you are not charged for some downloads, online gaming (of Telstra's choice, a "we think this is what you need" service), in the past it has charged customers this "free" use, then denied anything was wrong with it, help desk (hell desk), staff have a common line to tell customers, "The usage meter is 100% accurate, so you will have to pay." 3. At the end of the month when you check your 48hr lagged usage, and then try to estimate the downloads that are missing, not counting any "free" downloads (if they counted them), you may be able to get that new 50mb operating system update without paying $7.50 to Telstra. 4. While it is a hassle to budget downloads as outlined in item 3, it gets worse, Telstra's Usage meter can't handle the strain of it's Cable, Satelite and ADSL customers checking their useage and the system crashes 3 days, (and in ALL peak time use) before the end of the month. 5-10 minutes and 10 attemps are common place IF your lucky enough to get on at all. (There is a joke/rumour that the evil device is actualy a collection of 3 X 486 dx4 100 servers). 5. As mentioned before, anytime customers feel Telstra have got the total wrong, they get the "We have tested the meter and it is 100% accurate, so pay up", or when you complain that the meter is not working (no access or it has not updated for the last 10 days) the customers are told "seems to be OK, must be at "your end". To cap it off Telstra recently sent out 3 emails... The first tells of a "network configeration" problem, and the meter had reported low readings (not counted downloads), and customers won't be charged for the sudden jump in extra megabytes. The second backs up the first, outlining the problem, then goes on to tell customers that if they go onto a higher (more costly - higher download) plan, they will not be charged for the overuse. The third email is similar but tells customers of a bigger problem, the meter has been reporting low for a "few months" and like the second email "encourages" customers to move to a higher plan. They have admitted the meter has problems...and the fix is get on to a higher plan or we will charge you for overuse. Telstra expect us to believe that this meter is always only faulty one way and has never overcharged anyone, without offering any proof of exact dates or who checked / fixed this system. The local petrol station couldn't get away with this, but with the support of a out-dated Telecommunications act (courtesy of Sen "Luddite" Alston ), our consumer watch dog ACCC has their hands tied. Yes I can see it now, just like UK residents hunger for some Australian TV shows, a capped broadband service with this great meter will be very popular. You may read more here and here Kim Porter. ®
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Nov 2002

Judge CKK for Supreme Court!

Seattlement LettersSeattlement Letters Some letters prompted by our coverage of the decision by Judge Consonant-Klatter to uphold the DoJ-Microsoft deal. Judge backs MS-DoJ deal, Microsoft now in the clear? MS settlement rotten with loopholes Oops! Court posted MS verdict almost two hours early How did Microsoft end up policing Microsoft? In victory, Microsoft morphs into IBM, and loses it 'You're still guilty,' judge in Sun et al antitrust case tells MS I think Judge KK was selected to return a verdict. The fix was in, thus no reason for the Judge to strain herself with any great exertion. There was, and will be no direct bribery; rather the people who gave Judge KK the case with be promoted, and Judge KK will be promoted, and the money involved in this purchase will be at such a remove that it cannot be traced back to the "donor". I'd say the question is more like "how long before judge Kollar-Kotelly turns into Supreme Court Judge Kollar-Kotelly"? After all one favour deserves another in the good old honest world of corporate capitalist politics. Julian Pilfold-Bagwell Far from being meaningless busy work the decision in this level of detail imho was designed to do one thing -- make it impossible to mount an appeal on a legal basis. So far the reaction of the States seems to be leaning that way as well. Not only did she dismiss the arguments she humiliated the States in the process. Bryan McCormick Andrew, I'm scared. I'm scared out of my pants. Although American laws don't effect us Brazilians I was hoping for some kind of choke hold on Microsoft or, in the very least, an opening of APIs to level the battlefield Andre Kajita I lived through the 1984 breakup of AT&T and worked at Bellcore, which operated under court-ordered self-policed restrictions on its practices. The training sessions for managers opened and closed with the statement that "You personally can go to jail for violating these rules." Once the message that the judge can send members of the MS board to jail for contempt for failing to enforce the settlement sinks in, I think the decision to make MS police itself may be an effective one. Michael E. Cain These readers makes the case, now repeated far and wide, that the conclusion in the civil case was intended to create a remedy that encourage competition, rather than punish the defendant. I think that you are misled by your desire to see MS punished. A civil case is not about punishment, it's about _remedy_. Punishment is meted out in criminal cases, where the standard of evidence is higher; I don't think that the DoJ could have gotten a conviction had it been required to prove its case "beyond reasonable doubt". A remedy in a civil case, OTOH, is supposed to achieve its goal (that is, remedying a justified grievance) with a minimum of pain for everyone involved, _including_ the accused party. That also implies that only existing misdeeds can be remedied; forward-looking remedies are not in the cards. You also mention how the provisions of the settlement would deny a fair hearing to, say, start-ups. The fix for that is simple: Loser-pays. Plus it would also put those disgusting ambulance-chasers in their place. Cheers, Felix Casza Are you aware that the proceeding was limited to determining and ordering a remedy rather than punishment? Are you aware that, without a criminal proceeding, punishment was not even an option? Given your pretense to respect for "the American constitution", I would expect you to understand these facts. If you followed the trial, you would have observed that Microsoft (through its witnesses) entered significant hard evidence and analysis to the effect that the consequences of their illegal behavior were of little moment. You would have further observed that the Plaintiffs produced nothing in the way of rebuttal to counter that evidence. So your baseless claim that "the Judge is deciding the legality of the punishment" and your shock that the judge decided "to give up any notion of dispensing justice" are way off base. You insinuation about her having been bought is a vicious and morally indefensible libel. -Larry Brasfield Mercer Island, WA I'm not sure what "…of little moment" means, on which your defense of the Seattlement rests. My litmus test of how seriously the Judge took the case is the composition, function and scope of the Technical Committee. The AntiTrust action only arose because the earlier Consent Decree, agreed on in 1994 and ratified the following year, was treated contemptuously by Microsoft. I have often called the proposed settlement a "fake settlement". And, it was. Now we have a "fake decision" to back it up. Forcing Microsoft to distribute a bare bones OS (which was about the best solution that the alt camp could have expected) would have dented the ability of Linux to satisfy that segment of the market. And, that segment is huge indeed. Any one part of that market is not very large, but Linux (unlike Microsoft) is well suited to plaster a number of OS distributions well suited for just about every nook and cranny out there. And, best Microsoft on quality and price in each one them. Lewis A. Mettler, Esq. I would have been surprised if the Judge actually did her job and put something better forward. It's weird to see that 95% of the IT business is experiencing Stockholm Syndrome. MS has part of IT by its balls and is squeezing it. Most would not accept it from a car, house or news paper but America is screaming: Common, Squeeze harder!!! Sven Busselot Since you've been writing about the Microsoft debacle^H^H^H^H^Hcision, have you given any thought to the timing of the decision's release? Not so much the two-hour head start MS got on the rest of the market, but rather the choice of release date. Do you think it might be significant that the most important antitrust decision in decades - one that would very likely move the stock markets higher if decided for MS - gets released on the Friday before the closely fought US midterm elections? Dominate the weekend headlines, and bump the markets up just before election day? Bruce McDiffett? I applaud the members of the Reg who took the time to dig into the ubiquitous legalize of the Settlement without committing suicide. This goes to show one tried and true tenant of a national legal system, which is that obfuscation of the law works very well for whichever party is in power and therefore is endorsed by just about everyone. Arthur Barlow Is there, in fact, anything that would prevent Microsoft from using the committee as a washing machine for anything they don't want to ever enter a court of law? Just carbon-copy all internal documents to the committee, and they become inadmissable. Or would that be stretching it even more than MS could manage? Jason Blalock I don't live in USA and with luck never will. It used to amaze me how Americans think they are free because they are protected by the constitution. After reciting their pledge of allegence since kindergarten I guess the logical and analytical part of the brain gets supressed. Watch enough Coke ads and you might start believeing "Coke is life" instead of being caffiene, sugar and carbon dioxide - all poisons. To many times I have seen this blindlness in Americans: "We are free, the constitution protects us.". When their freedoms are violated, they largely ignore it because they can't comprehend that this could be happening to them. Charles Manning New Zealand It is true that unfettered capitalism is a bad thing for a society. The US was never intended to be a democracy. Education in the US is among the worst in the world but our children feel the best about the education they receive. Our government runs on fictitious "surpluses" and the value of our money is dependent on interest rates and the stock market. The government, all three branches, consistently launches programs and engages in practices for which it has no Constitutional authority. In the future, please limit your comments to the matter at hand (like the ridiculous ruling in the Microsoft case) rather than making political statements advocating the institution of socialist practices in the United States. David Cooney You ask, "How did we get here?" Simple: America has the best government money can buy and the Bush administration, in particular, is very easily bought. Microsoft contributed millions of dollars in cash and services to the Bush coup d'etat, er, sorry, "election campaign" and is now getting what it paid for. Simple, eh? Bill Meahan This case I think was more about politics than anything. Clinton's Justice Department clearly was going to show Gates and Co. what is was like to find oneself on one's knees in the Oval Office. Bush's Justice Department, rife with the Good Ol' Boy predilection, favors making deals behind the church house during Sunday service with money, moonshine and sly winks, while babies and their mothers pray for peace. Not that I necessarily favored all that might have happened with William Jefferson Clinton's "Who's Your Daddy" approach. But Bush's "We're on the market for a Sugar Daddy" mantra leaves a bad taste period. You're spot on in regards to long term competition. Due to the lock that the American leviathans have on the American tech sector anybody that even wants to attempt to dominate MS would be forced to wage their war in developing markets around the world and not here. Where 20th century Justice has yet to catch up to the 21st. century realities, China and India are shaping their countries' educational, industrial, and economic growth around long term technological goals and there will be dividends to bear. Also, with a lot of the proposed legislation that I've seen from various countries around the world created literally with MS in mind and then other US companies as an afterthough, some fledgling tech companies might need to incorporate abroad just to have the kind of protections that small businesses should have here. [Funny that you draw the analogy to the cell phone industry because I, born and raised in Los Angeles have grown tired and aghast at the state of cell phone tech, or the lack thereof in my city. Late 2000 I used to go to Nokia's International site almost weekly to see what I might be getting, praying that something would trickle to the sad and barren NokiaUSA site. Why oh why can't I get some of the beautiful phones being sold in Africa, Asia, and Europe that do so many magical things.] Michael De Bose ®
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Nov 2002

Cisco, Cap Gemini design enterprise security benchmarks

Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and Cisco Systems Inc will next week launch a jointly developed security indexing service that aims to establish a process that will help companies to balance their security budgets against the level of security risk, effectively framing IT security policies in a commercial setting. The companies will position the Adaptive Security Index (ASI) service as an essential first step towards benchmarking the enterprise security regime. The index draws on the findings of a recent poll of 270 companies in North America and Europe that has helped to highlight existing security capabilities and recommend appropriate guidelines. Some 75% of all companies surveyed accept that they do not have complete alignment between their IT and business goals and their security efforts. The companies say ASI is a starting point to determining what needs to be done to ensure the correct balance between security, expenditure and return on investment. ASI promotes the use of risk management techniques to gauge the level of risk associated with aspects such as the loss of image through web defacement, loss of income through downtime or denial of service attack, or the loss of credibility through the theft or misuse of confidential customer data. It also targets an appreciation of security governance and use of an appropriate and relevant level of security management. Consulting services provided by CGEY will draw on its IAF integrated architecture framework for enterprise security to set the context and requirements of the security infrastructure to be recommended. Cisco would then help implement it for the network. © ComputerWire
ComputerWire, 06 Nov 2002

Nokia, Trend Micro plan enterprise anti-virus device

Nokia Internet Communications Inc has added Trend Micro Inc to its roster of companies that provide software for it to use in its range of internet traffic management appliances, representing Nokia's first foray into tackling viruses and malicious mobile code. While the Nokia Message Protector SC6600 is designed to provide virus protection, the companies are pushing it as a broader-based device, which includes spam and other exploit filtering, because of its configurable policy engine. "Now we're into the content management space," said Nokia's VP of product management Dan MacDonald. Nokia has experienced success selling appliances based on software from Check Point Software Technologies Ltd, F5 Networks Inc and Internet Security Systems Inc in the firewall, traffic management and IDS markets. MacDonald identified Symantec Corp as a primary competitor, although Symantec's appliances also combine firewall and IDS functionality. He said all that functionality sitting in one place "just isn't practical" the way most networks are configured. That said, the companies are planning to add features including FTP, HTTP and instant messaging scanning to future versions of the device, MacDonald said. That move would arguably put the company up against the likes of Websense Inc and SurfControl Plc. The value proposition of the device, which is updated with new threat definitions from Trend automatically, is to reduce deployment and maintenance time and costs. However, using the appliance for the non-virus features will be more time-consuming. Spam filters would have to be written manually (or bought from third parties), for example. © Computerwire
ComputerWire, 06 Nov 2002

WorldCom to restate more than $9bn

Beleaguered carrier WorldCom Inc confirmed yesterday that restatements of its earlier accounts are likely to top $9bn. The admission came as the US Securities and Exchange Commission expanded its civil complaint against the carrier, which is currently in Chapter 11. The SEC is adding claims that WorldCom violated antifraud provisions of the securities act of 1933 "in connection with several securities offerings during the fraud," and that it "violated the internal controls and books and records provision" of the securities act of 1934. The SEC said that the amended complaint broadened its charges against the company to allege WorldCom had misled investors from "at least as early as 1999," and that during that period WorldCom has acknowledged it overstated its accounts by approximately $9bn. The amended complaint has been filed with WorldCom's consent. WorldCom first admitted in June that it had overstated its accounts to the tune of $3.8bn. It went into chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July, and later admitted further mis-statements of $3.8bn. Yesterday, Clinton, Mississippi-based WorldCom admitted that further restatements were likely. It said that in settlement discussions with the SEC it had advised the agency that "based on very preliminary reviews of past accounting, it expects an additional restatement of earnings, which when added to WorldCom's past restatements, could total in excess of $9bn." In its statement yesterday, WorldCom insisted that the restatements of past accounting had no impact on its ability to serve customers or to emerge from bankruptcy protection, which it expects to happen in the middle of next year. The SEC's action came a day after the bankruptcy examiner appointed by the courts, former US attorney general Dick Thornburgh, delivered his initial report into the fall of WorldCom. In the report Thornburgh said he and his team believed the investigation would reveal "improper and unsupported adjustments that go beyond the more than $7bn in adjustments already restated by the company." © Computerwire
ComputerWire, 06 Nov 2002

Court date set for COLT liquidation tussle

Colt Telecom Group Plc faces a three-day hearing at the London High Court in December when a hedge fund takes legal action to try to push the pan-European carrier into liquidation. Highberry Ltd, which is part of New York-based Elliott Associates, claims that Colt will not have the funds necessary to repay or refinance around 1bn pounds ($1.5bn) in bonds due between 2005 and 2009. The claim is vigorously denied by Colt, which says it has cash reserves of 1bn pounds ($1.5bn). Highberry wants to force Colt into administration, the UK equivalent of Chapter 11 protection in the US. As a bondholder, it would benefit from a debt-for-equity swap that would be an inevitable consequence of administration. After a preliminary hearing yesterday, the High Court said it would schedule three days for the hearing, between December 2 and December 24. This is remarkably speedy in a UK court system that has become renowned for lengthy delays, but a judge granted Colt's request for the hearing to be held as soon as possible because of the sensitivity of the case for the company. The very fact that it faces action has already weakened Colt's share price. The case will be watched with particular interest because if Highberry is successful, it will prompt copycat actions against other companies with high debt burdens. © Computerwire
ComputerWire, 06 Nov 2002

NEC unveils fault-tolerant Linux server

NEC Corp has announced the European release of its first fault-tolerant Linux server, the Express5800/320La, which has been developed in conjunction with fault tolerant server specialist Stratus Technologies Inc. Tokyo, Japan-based NEC's two-way Intel Corp processor-based dual redundancy server uses the same hardware architecture as Stratus's ftServer and its own Express5800 Windows fault-tolerant servers. The architecture enables all processing and I/O commands to run on redundant components in lockstep with fault-tolerant failover in the case of module failure. The product's Linux operating system is based on Red Hat Inc's Linux 7.1 but features "significant changes" to the kernel, device drivers, storage management and memory management to enable it to support the fault tolerant features. NEC's UK business development director, Paul Evans, stated that the modifications made to the Linux operating system would be released to the open source community via NEC's involvement in the OSDL Open Source Development Lab. The development of Linux for the fault-tolerant architecture was begun by Maynard, Massachusetts-based Stratus well over a year ago, but was completed by NEC, according to Evans, in the company's US and Tokyo labs. Recently Stratus stated that it did not believe that Linux was ready for fault-tolerant computing, but Evans said that NEC had released the product in response to customer demand from Unix and Linux users for cheaper fault-tolerant hardware. Evans said that NEC has calculated that the server is up to 80% less expensive than proprietary Unix fault tolerant hardware, which is usually pitched at the high end of the market. While the first Linux Express5800 is a low-end server, it is the first in a series of releases, said Evans. At just 17,299 pounds ($27,079), the product is around 7% cheaper than NEC's equivalent Windows 2000 basic server, said Evans, although he stated that the real cost savings are made in the applications and services deployed on top of the server, especially in comparison with clustered architectures, which require specialized applications and services. Also scheduled for imminent release in the US and Asia, the Express5800/320La is one of two versions of the product due from Stratus OEMs. In September Stratus's director of product and technology EMEA, David Chalmers, said that one of the OEMs is an existing partner and one is not, and would be unlikely to admit that its developments were based on Stratus technology. With long-term Stratus partner NEC the first out of the door with its Linux fault-tolerant server, keep your eyes peeled another vendor with a similar product. While the vendor may be unlikely to admit it, the chances are that if it's a dual-redundancy fault-tolerant server running on Intel hardware, the design originated with Stratus and NEC. © Computerwire
ComputerWire, 06 Nov 2002

Brocade buys Rhapsody, braves OEM wrath

Brocade Communications Systems Inc has decided that it is better to arm itself for the forthcoming battle with Cisco Systems Inc than to worry about making its OEM partners unhappy, and has spent around $175m in a share-swap acquisition of smart-switch start-up Rhapsody Networks Inc, Tim Stammers writes. Unlike the SAN switches currently sold by Brocade, the devices being developed by Rhapsody are part of a new breed of switch which can act as a platform for storage management applications. Rhapsody has already signed deals which will see its hardware run applications such as Veritas Software Corp's Volume Manager, and virtualization software from both StoreAge Networking Technologies Ltd and FalconStor Software Inc. The move will bring Brocade into even more intense competition with Cisco next year, when the networking giant enters the storage networking market in earnest by shipping the first of a new range of Fibre Channel and iSCSI switches. Cisco's marketing muscle and reputation will make it a very serious competitor in the storage networking market. With even high-end storage hardware being commoditized, disk array makers are stepping up their software efforts in order to shore up eroding profit margins. A move by customers towards smart network devices would reduce customers' reliance on that software which array makers supply to run on their hardware. Although Brocade is preparing to sell its products directly, a huge proportion of its current revenue comes via re-badged devices sold by array makers such as EMC Corp. Brocade executives made several well-rehearsed references to this issue during the conference call held yesterday to announce the purchase of Rhapsody. "We wouldn't have proceeded with this plan unless we had received very positive encouragement from our OEM partners," said Greg Reyes, Brocade CEO. Cisco's first real assault on the storage network market which will begin this quarter and gather pace next year will also involve intelligent switches that will threaten array-makers software revenues. "That's why Brocade had to take this step, because OEM makers are looking for a trusted partner," Reyes said. He did not explain why OEMs should trust Brocade but not Cisco, but he labored the point. "We're committed to being the trusted OEM provider of fabric application platforms," he also said during the call. Cisco's forthcoming mid-range and high-end SAN switches will be the first from the supplier that will be able to be configured purely as Fibre Channel devices, and unlike its current iSCSI to Fibre Channel bridges, will be able to sport very large numbers of ports. Among the first applications which will be hosted by these devices will almost certainly be Veritas' Volume Manager. Cisco was named as one of the first members of the program Veritas announced last year to see its software ported to smart switches and other devices. Rhapsody was founded in 2000, and has around 110 employees. It will be operated as a separate unit of Brocade until it has completed "Mission One" - the shipping of its first product, prototypes of which have been delivered to OEMs. Brocade estimated that the first applications based on these platforms will be available from OEMs by the end of next year. Rhapsody's technology is based on a different ASIC to that used by Brocade. Brocade - of course - insisted that this will represent no integration problems for itself or for its customers, and said that the API to Rhapsody's product will remain unchanged. © Computerwire
ComputerWire, 06 Nov 2002

A kinder, gentler Perens is going Global now

One thing you have to admire about Bruce Perens: he has lots of ideas and he's not afraid to implement them. Before the door was fully closed behind him at HP, he started Sincere Choice to counter Microsoft's "Software Choice" initiative. Now he's heading up a new non-profit: the Global Technology Policy Institute. GTPI is acting as an umbrella for Sincere Choice and other Perens initiatives like the Royalty-Free Standards project and the Computer Customer Representation project. More than that, it is a covering for Perens himself, who would like to maintain his status as an Open Source evangelist. Sounds easy. But these things do take money. So GTPI is soliciting donations from individuals and corporations. "For the past two years, my efforts on behalf the free software community have been graciously supported by the Hewlett Packard company, and to a lesser extent out of my own pocket. Now I need to find another funding source that will allow me to continue to devote half of my time to representing the Free Software community, while remaining free from a corporate agenda that would dilute my message," he writes at the GTPI website. At the end of October he was in Copenhagen performing some of those efforts on behalf of Free Software, with GTPI funds helping out. "I got reimbursed for my travel and lodging, and my time came out of my pocket except for a little from GTPI." He was there to speak at a conference on the use of Open Source by the Danish government. "We filled the room with 300-plus people, many of them government officials and civil servants and corporate executives." Perens says that the message was well-received by attendees, but the Danish press wasn't too hip. Another admirable quality belonging to Perens: he isn't afraid to tell it like it is. One of the FAQs for the GTPI: "Isn't Bruce Perens famous for forming organizations and later on walking off of them in a huff?" Perens admits he used to be that, referring to his well-publicized resignation from the Open Source Initiative, a group he founded with Eric Raymond, the other evangelist. Back then, Perens said that Open Source had overshadowed the Free Software Foundation's efforts. He said that Open Source had de-emphasized the importance of the freedoms involved in Free Software. Today he seems to use the two terms interchangeably, though officially he points out the philosophical differences between the two camps. "I maintain that Open Source and Free Software licensing are the same," says Perens. "What is different is the way in which we approach people - the Open Source campaign does it from a more pragmatic dollars and cents standpoint, which plays well to business, and the Free Software campaign accentuates the freedoms that actually make it possible to make those dollars and cents. That plays better to programmers than business. "My intent in forming OSI was that it would be a gentle introduction to Stallman's philosophy. That the two movements have diverged is more an issue of the personalities involved than it is a real schism. "Now that RMS is letting Brad (Kuhn, executive director of the Free Software Foundation) transition into leading FSF and Eric Raymond is getting less of the limelight than he used to, I think this argument is becoming less important. I use Free Software and Open Source pretty much interchangeably, sometimes to the chagrine of both sides, but its working." So what about the "walking off in a huff" stuff? Perens says he's not like that anymore. "I haven't quit anything, or blown up at someone on the net, for years. Being a dad is part of the reason - I have a little more perspective and balance in my life," he says. "Free Software is an important part of my life, but not the only important thing. When it's the only important thing in your life, it's difficult to be level-headed about it." That's why he wants to make sure people know that his termination from HP was handled amicably. "I didn't want people to think I'd thrown a hissy-fit about it. I still talke with folks at HP almost daily, and hope to collaborate with them on many projects in the future." Speaking of HP, some say that Perens' association with that company could have stunted his ability to loudly proclaim the Open Source gospel, but Perens disagrees. "No, HP was cool with whatever I had to say while I was there. That was our contract, that I would not toe the company line and that it would be well known that I did not necessarily speak for them. "There was a problem," he says, "in that every week some manager would write Martin Fink (general manager for HP's Linux Systems Division) and copy a few presidents or VPs, and the mail would be entitled 'What is Bruce Doing To Us Now.' Martin would handle this. When Martin switched to another job because of the merger, there was nobody left to be my apologist within the company and my position became untenable." He says that HP has some potential replacements for him on the inside of the company. "Bdale, Jeremey Allison, David Mosberger. But I don't think they want someone as political as I was." Perens says for the GTPI, he wants to be sure he hooks up with people "who will concentrate on the job and are mature enough to avoid infighting. Everybody knows about the various Free Software organizations that are mired by internal politics." So, who would he choose to work with him? "Bdale Garbee of Debian comes to mind," he says. "He and I have been working together for a long time. But Bdale has the same problem as a lot of folks - too little time, and too many people wanting him to sit on boards. Pretty much all the people perceived as leaders in the Free Software world have that problem. "Who do I get along with? Pretty much everybody... oh, leave out two folks I shouldn't mention, but you can guess. I even get along with the difficult ones likeRMS. He and I understand where our differences are, and have no problem working together." Perens says he's had offers for real jobs. "Someone asked me cold to be CEO of a going concern. It wasn't quite where I wanted to go. I have had teaching offers as far as away as Norway, and as close as Oakland. "But I'm more of a visiting lecturer than a full-time teacher. I have established a relationship with two colleges, and I think one may give me a nice title and some prestige but not much money. I will probably consult for most of my income." Perens is soliciting donations for the GTPI project. If you're interested, you can make a donation at http://techp.org/Information/donate.html.
Tina Gasperson, 06 Nov 2002

'No more music CDs without copy protection,' claims BMG unit

Faced with adverse publicity to copy protection on CDs, a year ago Bertelsmann Music Group bravely gave in and promised to replace a clutch of Natalie Imbruglia CDs which were protected by Midbar's Cactus Data Shield. But a year is a long time, BMG is at it again, this time apparently set on applying copy protection to all its music products. Not, of course, that this should be surprising. The music companies are absolutely intent on copy-proofing their products, and although they'll maybe retreat a little when irate consumers pelt them with ordure, they'll be right back just as soon as the heat dies down. And here's how this process is working in BMG's case. A few weeks ago reader Simon Barber accidentally bought a copy of Paradise Lost's Symbol of Life with Cactus Data Shield on it. The CD was marked with the Compact Disc logo (although Philips, custodian of this standard, has objected to its use on copy-protected CDs) and also had a small print 'health warning' claiming the CD conformed to the Red Book standard and was playable on standard home CD players. Being a troublemaker Simon didn't try to get his money back from the retailer but attacked BMG directly. BMG's first line of defence on copy protection is here, where you'll find explanations, self justifications and a mail form for all European territories. The UK version (and indeed the French – that'll annoy them) says “BMG too sees itself obliged to protect future releases by implementing a copy control system” and “BMG will be using copy control technology for digital media as has been used for a long time with comparable media such as computer software, video games and DVDs.” This is a clear commitment to 100 per cent copy protection, and once implemented will no doubt ease the workload of the various 'corrupt CD' identification sites considerably. Ah, but what if you have a problem playing the CD? “If you can't play the BMG product on your player please contact your dealer or the responsible person at BMG under (email address of the responsible person).” We're sure it makes more sense in German. If you fill in the form and send it off to who knows where, this is what you get from the BMG Kopierschutz Team (typos left in): “we are sorry you have troubles with our copy protection technology. The copy protection reacts on the special new technology that is build in in burners. Unfortunately htis technics was built in many new CD players, even if they can't copy a cd. “The copy protection yet does not recognize wheather that burner technics is build in a cd player or in a burner. That's why the cd playern might not play a copy protected CD. Since burner technics are also built in car radios, this may be the reason, why you can't listen to a copyprotected cd in your car. “As far as we were adviced, our copy protection is according to the Red Book Standart as well as all labelling on the cd. “A standart home CD player is one that has no burner technics built in. Our Cds play on all Cd players without burner technics. “There will be no cd manufactured without copyprotection any more.” Kind of makes you wish you hadn't asked, doesn't it? Our intrepid investigator, for the record, had asked about the use of the Compact Disc logo, and for information about where he could obtain “a disc that actually adheres to the Red Book standard.” Picking apart the response, it would seem that the boys in Kopierschutz hold that there's no labelling problem, that it's all the fault of the dummies who build the audio units, that the CD is fully Red Book compliant, and that you can't get one without copy protection. Indeed, in that last sentence they're claiming you won't be able to get anything without copy protection. This is not strictly true – yet. We're told the US version of Symbol of Life will be out, without protection, in a couple of weeks, so the correct answer Kopierschutz neglected to give is, take the dodgy one back to the shop then buy the US version. But you can understand their difficulties. If BMG is seen as experimenting on Europeans while leaving truculent Americans for another day, it might be subject to a certain amount of adverse publicity, and sales of the local market products might just collapse. Cactus Data Shield producer Midbar, incidentally, announced this week that it was merging with Macrovision, which also said it was acquiring the copy protection assets of TTR Technologies, which developed SafeAudio. So there's a trend towards consolidation in the protection racket. If you've read the BMG information page on copy protection, you'll have noted that the company is evaluating schemes with Sonopress. Sonopress publishes a handy comparison of these technologies here. Sonopress is a division of Bertelsmann Arvato AG. Related links: Campaign for Digital Rights Fat Chuck's Corrupt CD list
John Lettice, 06 Nov 2002

Carphone Warehouse buys Opal Telecom

The Carphone Warehouse is to offer fixed-line telco services to its high street customers following its acquisition of Opal Telecom. The deal will cost The Carphone Warehouse £65m in shares and cash with the option of a further £18m possibly being payable over the next two years. For The Carphone Warehouse, the deal offers the chance to build a fixed-line telephony business that, if successful, would generate recurring and regular revenue. Recent changes in the Carrier Pre-Select (CPS) market has made it easier for customers to switch operators while maintaining their BT line. The acquisition of Opal gives The Carphone Warehouse with the opportunity to offer domestic fixed line voice services through its existing network of shops. CPS allows consumers to have their calls automatically carried by the phone company of their choice using their BT line without the need to dial extra digits or the need for an autodialler box. Opal was founded in 1995 and has operations in Warrington, London and the West Midlands. It offers fixed-line voice services primarily to the corporate and small and medium sized enterprise (SME) market in the UK. It has 20,000 corporate customers and currently bills over 200 million switched minutes per month. For the year ended 31 December 2001, Opal had a pre-tax profit before interest, tax and exceptionals of £3.2m. It made a pre-tax loss (after exceptional items) of £4.5m and net liabilities of £10.7m. Revenue for the year ended 31 December 2001 was £92.3m. In a statement Hans Snook, Chairman of The Carphone Warehouse, said: "The acquisition is a logical evolution of The Carphone Warehouse's strategy and enables us to bring Opal's services to the wide retail market as well as reinforcing their strength with corporate customers." New of today's acquisition coincided with the publication of The Carphone Warehouse's interim results. The company reported a pre-tax profit of £12m for the six months to the end of September, up from £9.6m in the same period last year. Turnover for H1 was £861.2m, up from £539.6m last year. By mid morning shares in The Carphone Warehouse had fallen 10 per cent (9.25p) to 87.75p. ®
Tim Richardson, 06 Nov 2002

Wine bores discover physics

When irrationality abounds, what can we turn to but science? The Bogadanov Brother's faux physics breakthrough - detailed here last week - may have proved too hot a potato for the New York Times science editor to pursue, but this minor but sensational story is now gaining some traction with mainstream media. Or at least one reporter, who was brave enough to step on ground where Einstein's biographer dared to tread. The Bog.Bros are two French TV presenters who have gained PhDs in theoretical physics and successfully published academic papers in the rigorously peer-reviewed scientific journals. Alerted to what looked, walked and quacked like a hoax, last week we posed the question "is this nonsense?" and, we've watched fascinated as the story has unfolded. Or, more accurately, has failed to unfold. But now the tedious tweedy lit aggregator Arts and Letters Daily - a kind of after hours smoking club for people who haven't yet discovered the oxygen that's Robot Wisdom - kindly linked to our story in its "Note Bene" sidebar (there's a lot of Latin sprinkled around this site, you see, for added gravitas), an emboldened reporter is on the case. In his terrific investigative report reporter Richard Monastersky adds much valuable material to the public record, citing some damning critiques of the physics establishment's methodologies. "They're sort of stringing together plausible-sounding sentences that add up to nothing," reports John Baez, who brought the Bog.Bros. to the world's attention in a Usenet newsgroup. (Ah, well this much we can relate to, with our years of experience dealing with computer marketing representatives, speaking gwana-gwana [scroll to end if you're new to The Register's argot.]) MIT's Frank Wilczek, the editor of Annals of Physics, which published one of the Bog.Bros.' papers, agrees the peer-review system is "ass backwards". Well, OK - that has a very specific meaning in the bathhouses of my adopted home town, but what can the rest of us deduce from it? Bogodynamics This story is fascinating because it raises a couple of questions. Firstly, are there so few qualified physics scientists dealing in this abstract realm that a false claim can't be quickly nailed? And secondly, are there so few mediators - science editors, and the like - who can offer a qualified opinion on the value of this science before the idea passes into popular acceptance? You've seen how lazy evolutionary psychologists ("we once lived in caves, we raped… we must rape now - it's in our genes!") have perverted Darwinism into a hack pseudoscience fit only for Oprah prime-time TV. See Alas Poor Darwin for the most succinct refutation of this. But we digress only a little. Almost all of the debunking in the Bog.Bros. case has come from Usenet posters and experts working independently - Dr Arkadiusz Jadczyk (no enthusiastic amateur) has been adding comments each day on his webpage. The traditional intermediaries have remained silent. In the case of the Bog.Bros., the New York Times looked, and ducked - but if science is to maintain its cherished status against an Internet-full of gibberish and irrationality it needs defenders made of sterner stuff. Now what this and the Sokhal case both have in common isn't abstract: both are questioning whether we are entitled to say that there's an objective reality. This is a useful construct we can all understand. When, say, you're high and off you're tits on Ya-Ba and about to jump from a fourteenth floor window, for example. I appreciated the value of objective reality just the other day at the dry cleaners: I was charged only once for cleaning my suit, which was a relief, as I'd budgeted for paying in 25 parallel universes. The most disturbing quote in Monastersky's report is the following:- "In hindsight, the weakness is that there were no real experts" on the committee, says Mr. Verbaarschot. "Maybe there are no real experts in what they are doing. What they are doing is so far out of the mainstream." Irrationality abounds, and you physicists must start making sense.® Related Stories Physics hoaxers discover Quantum Bogosity Bogdanov brothers deny bogosity
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Nov 2002

S Korea to invest $11bn on broadband

South Korea is to spend a whopping $11bn on bringing a 1Mbps broadband service to every household in the country by 2005. South Korea is already the world's leading broadband nation by a mile. This latest commitment to invest in fast Net access will ensure that South Korea remains head and shoulders above its nearest rivals for many years to come. The investment will come from KT Corp, South Korea's largest telecoms company, and other ISPs. The Government will also make available loans to help fund the investment. South Korea already has the highest broadband penetration in the world with more than six in ten of households (9.2m) connected to a broadband service at the end of June 2002. Last month, a UK Government-backed report tried to understand why South Korea has made such a success of broadband. One of the key findings was that the South Korean Government realises that to benefit from the economic and social benefits of broadband, there needs to be investment. That is why it has pumped in $1.5bn to help construct a high capacity infrastructure supplemented by a further $1bn through soft loans. It also made available more than $700m to fund R&D, provided subsidies for low-income households to purchase PCs and ensured that there was free IT training for those who wanted it. The UK Government, on the other hand, has so far only committed £30m to broadband and ruled out any tax breaks that might assist in the roll out of broadband networks. ® Related Story S Korea broadband in league of its own
Tim Richardson, 06 Nov 2002

Megabeam rolls out Euro WLAN network

Megabeam, the pan-European wireless Internet service provider, has set the pricing for its WLAN hotspot service for the first time. Subscriptions bought directly will start at €7.5 for two hours' access. Twenty-four hour access will cost € 30 (approx. £19). As you can see from the pricing, Megabeam is targeting the business traveller only. Megabeam is offering introductory pricing on all other subscription packages (which come without roaming charges) purchased until March 31, 2003. Seven-day and monthly subscriptions carry a 25 per cent discount and are available for € 48.75 (approx. £31) and € 86.25 respectively. Customers buying annual packages (costing €1020) will receive two years for the price of one, and have the opportunity to secure an additional 10 per cent discount for full payment in advance. The company's resellers will publish their own prices. Megabeam is building a network of 802.11b WLAN hotspots around Europe and aims to sell wholesale to system integrators, fixed line telcos and mobile operators. The company is also marketing its services direct to corporates, where it argues subscribing to its wireless LAN services provides remote cheaper access than GPRS or hotel dial up charges for businessmen on the move. Megabeam already has hotspots in Brussels airport, Milan Linate and Rome Fiumicino airports and has locations live in key business centres across Europe, including London, Munich, Zurich and Amsterdam. The service will soon be live at hundreds of European sites including London City airport and ten other major airports, business hotels, key railway stations and conference centres. Megabeam has also secured a non-exclusive deal to provide its service at 15 major UK railway stations. The service is live at Paddington with a roll-out to other rail hubs across the UK scheduled for the end of the year. In a move that extends the property portfolio of its wireless LAN hotspots, Megabeam yesterday announced a deal with the Queens Moat House chain to install and operate WLAN hotspots at 27 hotels throughout the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. The service is available to business travellers with wireless Internet enabled laptop computer or PDA. For security reasons, Megabeam advises companies to set up corporate access through its network through VPN clients installed on these devices. European 3G operators are poised to offer wireless LAN services to businesses at a way of educating road warriors about the benefits of high-speed access on the move. That's the view of Ryan Jarvis, chief executive of Megabeam, who sees WLANs as a complementary technology to 3G. "Wireless LANs will be a bridgehead for 3G operators, helping to educate people of the benefits of broadband wireless access and solving immediate business needs. It's highly likely mobile phone companies will offer wireless LANs, prior to encouraging users to migrate to 3G when it becomes available," he told us. According to Jarvis, telco interest in WLAN services will help the market fragmenting, as it has in the States. He reckons retail-only players, particularly those targeting consumers (an unproven proposition, in his opinion), will have a hard time in Europe because they'll face high customer acquisition costs and competition from national telco players with "deeper pockets". Headquartered in London, Megabeam also has offices in Rome, Munich, Paris and The Hague. The company is small (just 22 employees), but it has big backers, including Intel and Toshiba(access to Megabeam services is bundled with its laptops) ® Related Stories Paying for 802.11 by Mobile Phone Wireless LAN platform for UK rail passengers Cisco to roll out airport WLAN hotspots in Europe
John Leyden, 06 Nov 2002

BT and Microsoft attempt to dominate UK broadband

BT (the UK's dominant telco) has teamed up with Microsoft (the world's dominant software company) in a bid, no doubt, to dominate the UK's broadband sector. Obviously, they don't say that in a statement released today. Instead they say the alliance is part of a strategic collaboration to bring "dynamic broadband applications" to home and business users. Although no specific details were released today, the company's said that they would be putting their best development teams to work in "inventing and revolutionising" communications over broadband. Some of the broadband applications due to be developed centre on multi-media home computing, increasing the productivity and flexibility of large organisations and a new generation of mobile computing. In a statement Ben Verwaayen, chief exec of BT Group, said: "Make no mistake, this alliance is not window dressing. Our relationship with Microsoft in Europe is moving on to an unprecedented and exciting level that will bring real benefits for the customers of both companies. "BT has accelerated on all fronts during the past year to make broadband available to more customers across the UK. Now we want to do all we can to make broadband as attractive as possible to potential customers, residential and business, by giving them the compelling applications that will deliver a superb online experience that meets their needs and aspirations." However, the alliance between the two giants has been lambasted by AOL UK. While it warns of the dangers that face consumers if BT and Microsoft dominate the broadband marketplace, it also claims there is little new in today's announcement. "Is it ever good for consumers when two monopolies get together?" said a senior spokesman. But he also said BT and Microsoft had announced a number of strategic alliances in the past, none of which seemed to do very well. Critics fear that if BT's broadband strategy remains unchecked it will dominate the sector in the UK. ® Related Stories UK 'sleepwalking towards broadband monopoly' BT will 'dominate DSL segment'
Tim Richardson, 06 Nov 2002

Dell PDAs to hit the market in two weeks

Dell says it will begin selling handheld devices in mid-November, as long-time PDA makers like Palm and HP wait for the onslaught. The official unveiling of the company's line of PDAs (personal digital assistants) will come at the Comdex event in Las Vegas on 18 November. Dell said it will begin taking orders from the launch date for its Axim X5 handheld devices, which run on Microsoft's Pocket PC operating system. Dell has not released a full set of specifications for the new Pocket PCs, but early reports say the high-end Axim X5 will sell for around USD299 and will have a 400MHz Intel StrongArm processor with 64MB of SDRAM. The lower-end unit will go for about USD199 and it comes loaded with a 300MHz StrongArm processor and 32MB of RAM. Both models have Compact Flash 2 and Secure Digital expansion slots, through which extra memory or wireless connectivity can be added. Dell has also said that in a year's time it hopes to roll out Pocket PCs that will come with integrated Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity. The news was widely expected, and it comes after Dell announced plans to introduce its own line of printers manufactured by Lexmark, to the dismay of printing giant Hewlett-Packard. As with the printer announcement, Dell's move into the PDA segment could threaten the market position of the industry's leaders, namely Palm and HP. Dell currently sells PDAs made by Palm, Sony, NEC and Casio. According to the most recent figures from research company IDC, covering the three-month period to June 2002, Palm remains the number one PDA maker globally, controlling about a third of the market. Its operating system, Palm OS, is even more dominant with an almost three-quarters share of the market. The number two device maker is HP, following its merger with Compaq, with an almost 17 percent market share. Experts are now saying that Dell's well-documented ability to produce, distribute and market products at low prices could cut into the dominance of Palm. "They are really going to shake up the industry," said Andy Brown, IDC's EMEA research manager for mobile computing. "It's going to be really interesting to see what happens." Brown said that Dell's commoditised approach to selling products, and the incredibly low prices that come with that approach, will be closely watched by other vendors. He predicted that the company would target business users primarily and that a launch in Europe would probably not come until next year. "They are coming in at that really sweet spot in terms of pricing -- somewhere between $199 and $299," Brown added. "But they are not the only ones doing this. With low cost of memory and relatively low cost of screens, lots of new manufacturers in Asia are starting to pop up... These low-cost devices are likely to spur the market," he said. According to IDC figures, worldwide handheld device shipments declined 9.3 percent from 2.89 million units in Q2 2001 to 2.62 million units in Q2 2002. Brown warned, however, that Dell's main roadblock in its PDA ambitions could come from the fact that it has no bricks-and-mortar retail operations, where the bulk of consumer and business PDA purchases are made. He also questioned whether the company would be able to provide warranty and business support for the PDAs it sells, since it lacks this physical presence. © ENN
ElectricNews.net, 06 Nov 2002

Tablet PCs go niche in 2003 – Gartner

Tomorrow, November 7, is as you all know Tablet PC Launch Day. We can expect a raft of form factors and price points from the serried ranks of notebook makers and rebadgers. But it's going to be a while, at least a year, probably a wee while longer, before the Microsoft-inspired devices hit the mass market. According to those number-crunchers at Gartner Dataquest, Tablet PCs will account for just 1.2 per cent of all worldwide notebook shipments in 2003 - equivalent to 423,000 units. "Initial interest could cause an early spike in purchasing that will eventually level out," says Leslie Fiering, vice president for Gartner Dataquest. "Outside of the vertical industries, only the bravest will implement Tablet PCs widely toward the end of 2003." In other words, Tablet PCs will first of all mop up in industries which already use pen-based tablet-style PCs. This is possibly the first time in history - and almost certainly the last - that traffic wardens are volunteered for a brigade of technology early adopters. But why will initial take-up (beyond the verticals) be so sluggish? Spreading the quotes around, Gartner has the answer, citing "a lack of application support, clumsy hardware designs and a price premium will be barriers for most users," through the mouth of Ken Dulaney, Gartner veep. Also Gartner anticipates a six-nine month evaluation period for Tablet PCs, even with companies already using pen-based computing devices. And then what? The future for Tablet PCs is rosy, according to Gartner, which forecasts a sales ramp all the way to 2007, when "at least 35 percent of all notebooks sold will have screen digitizers with a convertible or separable keyboard design". ®
Drew Cullen, 06 Nov 2002

Three held in Ericsson spy riddle

Police in Sweden has detained three people on suspicion of spying against mobile phone giant Ericsson. The three individuals - described as either employees or former employees - are suspected to have handed over top secret information to a foreign power. In a statement Henry Sténson, Senior Vice President, Communications, at Ericsson said: "With regard to the investigation, we cannot disclose what kind of information that has been handed over. "Our opinion today is that the damages are limited. Thanks to the timely handling, the deliveries were stopped. Besides, the three individuals did not hold any key positions," he said. ®
Tim Richardson, 06 Nov 2002

Gartner slams 3G navel gazing

The mobile industry is forgetting consumers in its obsession with debts, doubts and delays surrounding third generation mobile phones. Adam Daum, VP and Chief Analyst at GartnerG2 (Gartner's research arm), said "the industry has been too obsessed with 3G technology to the detriment of the needs of consumers. "The vast majority of consumers don't know what their phones are capable of today, let alone what 3G is and why they should have it. It does not matter how good 3G is if nobody knows or understands what they can do with it." Daum, who was speaking at Gartner/IT Expo this week, also criticised the industry for failing to create a "vibrant market" for mobile data services. The mobile industry for failing to explain what 3G will deliver. This will make it harder to persuade people to upgrade their mobile phones to 3G next year, he said. Gartner urges companies not to wait for 3G, but to start delivering services with existing technologies. Daum made his comments during the Gartner Symposium/Itxpo conference taking place in Cannes, France this week. According to Gartner research, 62 per cent of all adults across major European countries now use a mobile phone. Four in ten (41 per cent) use SMS, compared to 30 per cent who use the Internet. Last year, 28 per cent used SMS compared to 29 per cent who used the Internet. Used responsibly, SMS can therefore become a powerful marketing tool, Gartner reckons. From the consumers' perspective, we wonder if more commercial SMS messages would be a good thing. Also its worth pointing out that more people may be reached by marketing messages sent by mobile phones, but email is easier and much, much cheaper. ®
John Leyden, 06 Nov 2002

Gang of Four set W-CDMA royalty cap

It's taken months around the negotiating table, but today four leading mobile phone firms agreed to reduce royalties for W-CDMA patents, ensuring that payments comprise no more than five per cent of equipment costs. The Gang of Four - Nokia, Ericsson, Siemens and NTT Docomo - want mobile phone networks to choose W-CDMA technologies for their 3G networks, in preference to Qualcomm's competing cdma2000. Qualcomm is strong in North America and Korea, while the Gang of Four have Europe pretty much sewn up. The rest of the world is to play for. Qualcomm is historically notorious for usurious royalty fees, but this does not appear to apply, so far as cdma2000 is concerned - with the company setting royalty rates at 5-6 per cent of equipment costs. However, the W-CDMA standard, drawn from multiple patent holders, could have seen royalty payments account for up to 20 per cent of equipment costs, according to PA Consulting. So today's announcement should be seen more as a game of catch-up than of leapfrog. It can also be seen as a triumph of diplomacy for Nokia, which kicked off the move for flat-rate royalties in May this year. The W-CDMA Gang of Four hold a 'significant number' of relevant patents, but it's unclear if it can bypass Qualcomm IP altogether. But they say that essential patent holders, Fujitsu, Matsushita Communication Industrial (Panasonic), Mitsubishi Electric, NEC and Sony have "also expressed their willingness to co-operate with ... arrangements" to keep collective royalty payments at five per cent of equipment costs. Early indications are that the total royalty levy will come in under this target. ® Related stories Nokia pushes for flat-rate WCDMA royalties Patent fees weigh down 3G uptake
Drew Cullen, 06 Nov 2002

Privacy self-defence packages go down a bundle

A combined security package from Anonymizer and UK firm ArticSoftUsers gives users the chance to surf the Web anonymously and protect confidential data from prying eyes with. Anonymizer enables individuals surf the Internet in complete privacy, keeping personal information away from spammers. It keeps the visitor invisible from the Web site and online advertisers and prevents harmful web bugs or malicious code and scripts running on a surfer's PC. ArticSoft's FileAssurity lets individuals store and share files, folders and emails securely using encryption technology. This minimises the risk of interception or tampering, according to ArticSoft. FileAssurity also allows files to be securely wiped from a user's PC. The combined package cost $35, or 50 per cent cheaper than the cost of buying both software packages separately. The companies are promoting ease of use as a differentiator between their combined offering and other privacy protection products on the market. ®
John Leyden, 06 Nov 2002