29th > April > 2003 Archive

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EMC to roll out Windows-based storage system

EMC Corp. has given in and decided to start shipping Windows-based network attached storage (NAS) systems alongside its own Celerra hardware. The NetWin 200 system will start shipping in the third quarter, starting at $50,000. Even with this price-tag, the box fits into the low end of EMC's NAS line. The higher end Celerra systems serve as NAS gateways to EMC's Clariion and Symmetrix products and start close to $167,000. By contrast, the NetWin 200 puts a server with Windows SAK(server appliance kit) in front of one of EMC's Clariion CX systems. The NetWin 200 product can be managed from Windows or EMC's ControlCenter software. It's only taken Microsoft a few years to pry its way into the NAS market. Market leader Network Appliance continues to go the non-Windows route, but the biggest hardware vendors have sided with Redmond. EMC joins HP, Dell, IBM and Iomega as Windows SAK vendors. Outside of hardware, Microsoft and EMC have worked together for some time on software engineering efforts. The companies are rumored to have interesting projects underway involving tie ins between EMC's software and Microsoft's upcoming Windows Future Storage (WinFS) file system that will sit at the heart of future versions of Windows and SQL Server. The vendors solidified their commitment publicly on Monday, as EMC also announced it will integrate Microsoft's storage APIs into its own platforms. This will give Windows users the ability to have more sophisticated management controls of EMC hardware, and will give EMC ControlCenter users deeper access into the Windows-powered kit. EMC has also signed an agreement under Microsoft's Communication Protocol Licensing Program (MCPP) to ensure protocol interoperability between EMC's NAS systems and Windows-based PCs, the vendors said. The deal shows that EMC needs help stretching down to the low end of the storage market, and, in particular, could use a boost for its flagging NAS business, which showed a double-digit drop in revenue year-on-year. ® Related Stories EMC back in the black EMC grabs Astrum Software EMC chief cashes in on losses EMC and Hitachi kiss and tell
Ashlee Vance, 29 Apr 2003

RIAA's Rosen ‘writing Iraq copyright laws’

Chief executive for the Recording Industry Association of America, Hilary Rosen, is helping draft copyright legislation for the New Iraq, according to investigative journalist Gregory Palast. "Who's really going to win this war? It looks like Madonna," Palast told Democracy Now radio. "Where before, they feared Saddam Hussein, now they have to fear Sony Records will chop off their hands if they bootleg a Madonna album." Under Iraqi copyright legislation, passed by The Revolution Leadership Council in 1971, a copyright lapses 25 years after the death of the author, but no more then fifty years after the publication of the work. It's shorter for private works, and there are several public interest exemptions. We wonder which member of The Revolution Leadership Council penned this, or whether someone wrote it for them, but the real author of this enlightened document ought to step forward. Maybe they could help liberate the USA - which extended copyright to seventy years after the author's death - from Hollywood. (Do we sense a campaign coming on?) But if true, and Palast has a good record for trade politics, Rosen's dash for Baghdad isn't hard to explain. Iraq does not have a reciprocal copyright agreement with the United States, which means that US works are not protected. Hilary will almost certainly be setting to work on the current law's Article 13:- "The author may not prevent a person making one copy of a published work for his own use." And she will want to stiffen the penalties for infringement:- one hundred dinars, or three hundred for repeat offenders. Maybe she will shoot for something closer to the $97 trillion the RIAA has claimed as damages from the file-sharing students back in the Homeland. With the effective collapse of the UN's food program, it's nice to see Rosen's humanitarian impulses remain untarnished by war. A month ago Congressman Darrell Issa (R., San Diego) introduced a bill ensuring that Qualcomm, based in his congressional district, be given a foothold in the New Iraq. Europe and the Middle East use the global GSM standard. ® Related Stories Iraq's mobile network - Qualcomm to follow the tanks? A small correction by Congressman Issa... Judge backs P2P file traders Verizon loses RIAA piracy case Music Pigopolists aim snouts at finance capital DoJ supports RIAA in Verizon P2P privacy scuffle RIAA attacks the future of America RIAA chief invokes Martin Luther King in pigopoly defense RIAA website now hidden in plain sight
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Apr 2003

Time to challenge airline paranoia on wireless

OpinionOpinion There's no way an airline "cabin crew" member can be expected to know whether your PDA has a phone built into it, or whether your laptop computer has WiFi permanently on. Nor can they tell whether the wireless circuit is switched off. So, are we about to see a blanket ban on smartphones, and on notebook computers, in the air? And if so, what can we do about it? The time really has come to challenge the myths of airline dangers, and settle, once and for all, what they are. Can a mobile phone really cause a fly-by-wire computer-controlled aircraft to fall out of the sky? And if I switch on a Centrino-based PC, or a Pocket PC Phone edition, am I risking my life and those of my fellow passengers? Frankly, I doubt it. I doubt it for the very simple reason that if it were possible, it would already have happened. The only example I know where a plane crashed while people were using their phones, was the fourth plane on 9/11; where the use of mobile phones very nearly saved all their lives, when they checked with family and discovered what was going on. It wasn't the phone that caused that crash. I think we all know this. For example, when was the last time you flew, and did NOT hear someone's cellphone ringing in their bag in the overhead lockers? Come to that, if the broadcasts from GSM phones are so destructive, why is it that airline staff can't even detect whether your phone is actually switched on or off? The fact is that almost every flight into every European airport these days, takes off and lands automatically, with at least one phone "live" on board. That doesn't prove it's safe; there may be, conceivably, a combination of circumstances where certain failsafe devices are disabled, and the operation of a GSM radio, searching for a new cell, might be the last straw - but isn't it getting spookily unlikely, after all these years? My friend Tim, who has worked in air traffic control, assures me that it is now commonplace for controllers talking a plane down to hear the background "biddy-bip, biddy-bip" of a phone logging onto a cell, as the pilot's own phone gets switched on. If the phone menace has been over-stated - and I think it definitely has been - what about the threat of WiFi? Is it reasonable to ask: why have people like myself been working on international flights for the last two years, with WiFi switched on, without anybody noticing? Some publicity has been given to experiments with wireless networking on board aircraft. Tests have been done with standard WiFi, and with alternative systems; but the fear of some professional pilots is that one day, a laptop computer with a working 802.11 radio will interfere with the flight electronics, and one of them will be blamed for not banning them. And some pilots are lobbying to have all computers banned from the cabin. Not just to have them switched off during take-off and landing, as they are today, but consigned to the hold. If this is necessary, then I'm all for it, myself; but surely, the evidence is that it isn't necessary? Risk assessment is not a simple matter. You don't do ANYTHING on an aircraft which might endanger the passengers; but the question of "does this endanger passengers?" isn't answered by "if there is a way someone can imagine it being dangerous, it must be banned!" Instead, someone ought to make it their business to discover just what the danger is, and assess the risk. Right now, all the data I have says WiFi doesn't harm a plane. All the data I have says that nobody on the plane can even tell if my phone is on or off, and nobody has yet been able to tell if my WiFi is on or off, either. And the plane flies on. Let's see data, not unreasoning fears - and let's assess that data reasonably. Oh, and I have been on planes where not just one or two phones have worked. I flew to Italy, a couple of years ago, on a plane chartered by a mobile phone maker. We made calls, all of us, all the way across Europe. I dare say that this annoyed one or two mobile phone providers; but the plan didn't hiccup. When airline staff have evidence that wireless on an aircraft is dangerous, then let them produce equipment that can detect that danger. If someone accidentally switches on a dangerous wireless device, I want the aircrew to know immediately, and locate the device instantly, and turn it off or isolate it without hesitation. If they can't detect it, why should I believe the plane can? ©
Guy Kewney, 29 Apr 2003

Get your Face off My Pitch

A court in Hamburg has ruled that EA's FIFA World Cup 2002 title must be removed from sale in Germany because it features the name and likeness of German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn without permission. A decision on compensation for Kahn will now follow, and may cost Electronic Arts millions of euro. FIFA World Cup 2002 sold 180,000 copies in Germany according to official figures from market research firm Media Control, which the prosecution claims represents real overall sales of up to 300,000 copies - about €15 million worth of sales, a figure which they are demanding be taken into account in deciding any compensation. "For the first time we have an answer to the crucial question - can one represent personalities in videogames without their consent? Now the legal situation is clear," lawyer Matthias Prinz told CNN.de(translated from German). The decision may open the floodgates for other claims by sports personalities in Germany, and it's not clear what its impact will be on future releases of EA FIFA titles in the territory. EA possesses an FIFPro license for its football titles, as well as an exclusive deal with the German Bundesleague which permits them to use character likenesses and names. It remains to be seen whether the Kahn ruling will undermine the validity of that license, forcing EA to seek individual permission from players before using them in its games in Germany. If so, it seems likely that EA will seek to recoup damages from FIFA, and possibly from the Bundesleague. © gamesindustry.biz
gamesindustry.biz, 29 Apr 2003

Linus Torvalds blesses DRM, and nothing happens

Last week Linus Torvalds said share denial technology, or DRM (Digital Rights Management) is OK. He did so on a linux kernel mailing list and so anticipating the reaction, with the Subject line: Flame Linus to a crisp!, he wrote: "I'm going to just hunker down for some really impressive extended flaming, and my asbestos underwear is firmly in place, and extremely uncomfortable." Continuing the dramatic costume theme, Linux IDE subsystem guy Andre Hedrick entered, first warning, with a gothic flourish, that: "Like fire, control DRM/CPRM and you receive benefits. Let it run wild and you will be burned." Before leaving us with this reminder: "PS: If this turns into a flame fest, the absolute seriousness of this issue will be lost. I have rented a blowtorch and flamethrower, and [am] prepared to destroy people who attempt to make this messy. One of the last things I will do before stepping to the side, will be to resolve this issue in a constructive way. So if it turns nasty, I am here for the long haul." So we were in for a reet, really good game of Dungeons and Dragons. An epic battle. Only, it didn't happen. Linus added: "The technology itself is pretty neutral, and I'm personally pretty optimistic." He regretted the demands, but weighed up the responsibilities and concluded: "Unfortunate? Yes. maybe my moral sense is lacking, but I just can't see myself saying 'no, you can't use Linux for [encoding satellite TV streams]'". Torvalds reminded us that it isn't the duty of open source software to protect open hardware - ie, the x86 platform, which is where most Linux users are today. This subsequent bit from Linus is important: "But such a 'make the machines be something the _users_ can trust' is 100% indistinguishable from a technical standpoint from something where you "make the machine something that Disney Corp can trust". There is _zero_ technical difference. It's only a matter of intent - and even the intent will be a matter of interpretation." Which is correct, but where this leaves the GPL after all this has eventually been decided someplace else, at some point, is more than collateral damage. Hedrick didn't throw down any more bolts of lightning, and they all wandered off and starting about strange things like 'how does this affect Quake?', which is a barmy thing to be talking about at such a historic moment. Before Larry McVoy stepped in again to tell us how great his Bitkeeper software is. Again. "The rockets go up - who cares where they come down?" Which does sound like what we heard from the TCPA lot, who were sensitive to echoes of Tom Lehrer's famous disclaimer for the rocket scientist: "Who cares where they come down, that's not my department, says Werner von Braun." TCPA folks adopt the argument that it's "technology neutral" and honest guv, don't ask us about the morality of all this, we only work here. The issue that brought this to the fore has been the embedded Linux contingent, who have been caught playing fast and loose with the GPL before, but who do stand a good chance of working Linux into entertainment playback devices or gateways, such as set top boxes and handhelds. These guys are working for pretty reactionary companies, and with things getting tough, these companies are looking to get something for nothing, as they do in tough times. So they might want to pull stunts such as "can we use free Linux in our boxes to carry encrypted content and violate the GPL without anyone noticing?" It's only a couple of months since Transmeta itself incorporated DRM support into its processors, so we were wondering how long it would be before Linus Made A Statement. And now we have A Statement. Linus says he has faith that the public won't buy crappy DRM services which restrict their rights, such as the service Steve Jobs launched on Monday for his Apple computers. Just as dongles failed, DRM media and systems will fail, he said, because no one will buy them. (We remember hearing the same sort of argument from the EFF at about the time that CPRM on ATA, and copy-protected CDs were being introduced.) So - why is it so quiet in here, we asked Alan Cox. Cox told us that one way or another, this was an issue that would be decided in court. "Really the question is 'can you use GPL'd code in a signed system'. The answer is a legal not a technical one and nobody can change that. It may be that future GPL versions take a clearer line on it (as GPLv2 did with patents) but for current code the situation is simply 'Ask your lawyer'." Yes, but what happens then? Andre Hedrick, who has not let us down yet, asks: "How they do they deal with digital signing a kernel for use in an embedded environment - violating the GPL - without imposing restrictions on the GPL?" "DRM is a media lock; interfaces aren't copyrightable - so the GPL won't help you there." And if it comes to a lawsuit, who gets it in the ass? "Is Linux a sum of its parts, or are its parts separate?" In other words, who gets sued, and what are the implications? These are pretty big questions, and no one seems to be asking them. The important thing to remember is that the GPL is a social construct, rather than a legal construct, which has never been tested in court. Its authority derives from consensus, not from the random fancies of a Judge. Throwing the GPL to the legal system now does seem to expose the Movement to an enormous amount of risk. Are we all aware that this is happening, and do we all appreciate the risk involved? Larry McVoy did have a nice summary which, although he may have been talking about patent implications, resonates here: Me: Action A is leading to reaction B which you don't want. You: Action A is perfectly legal, etc., etc. Me: It's not about whether it is legal or not, it's about reaction B. You: Action A is perfectly legal, etc., etc. Me: Reaction B is what you don't want, it's behaviour A which is the cause. You: Action A is perfectly legal, etc., etc. Me: You keep missing the point about the reaction B. You: Action A is perfectly legal, etc., etc. Me: Err, umm, how many times do I have to tell you it is the reaction that is what you want to avoid? You: Action A is perfectly legal, etc., etc. Me: Sigh. Next in this series: Steve Jobs blesses DRM, and nothing happens. ® Related Story Of TCPA, Palladium and Werner von Braun .
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Apr 2003

Court rejects malicious emailer's Papal bull

A man accused of sending malicious emails has landed himself in a whole further heap of trouble by invoking no less than His Holiness the Pope as a character witness, the Telegraph reports. Julian Evans, 28, of Monmouth, south Wales, found himself hauled before Merthyr Tydfil magistrates on a charge of sending abusive messages to the local T-Mobile call centre after the firm refused him a job. A pretty minor offence, some T-Mobile users might claim, but Evans obviously believed the beak intended to hand down some hard time. In a desperate bid for leniency, Evans produced the following character reference: My dear friends in Christ, I regret that we have been unable to protect the Church from this scandal in the case of Julian Evans. We are obliged to support Julian Evans and we have done throughout these troubled times. Julian has given an immense amount of spiritual, human and social good for the welfare of the Church and humanity. Yours in Christ, Pope John Paul. Sadly, this brilliant plan fell apart when the Crown Prosecution Service revealed that Evans had bought the fake commendation on the internet for £50. He now faces sentencing for both sending malicious emails and perverting the course of justice. He will attend court next month to discover his fate. ® Bootnote This tremendous tale of electronic abuse and Pope-impersonating Welshman got the old cogs whirring down at Reg merchandising tentacle Cash'n'Carrion. From 1 May, our e-shop will be offering skiving employees a range of plausible written excuses as to why they were unable to attend work at the required hour on a Monday morning. These will include: "Please do not sack Dave for missing three days. I can confirm that he was playing a pivotal role in the Northern Ireland Peace Process. Yours, T. Blair, Prime Minister, Britain", and "Steve will be unable to attend his annual appraisal since we need him to help us out looking for Weapons of Mass Destruction. Thanks, D. Rumsfeld, USA." Prices will start at £30.
Lester Haines, 29 Apr 2003

Orange gets new COO

Sanjiv Ahuja, 46, has been named as the new COO of Orange Group replacing co-founder, Graham Howe, who said earlier this year that he planned to step aside. Before this Sanjiv was president of Telcordia Technologies (formerly Bellcore) after a stint as CEO of California-based Comstellar Technologies. He began his career at IBM in 1979 as a software engineer rising up through the ranks and eventually becoming responsible for IBM's distributed network and systems business. In a statement Sanjiv said: "I am excited about joining the Orange team at this juncture of its growth. At Orange we have an unprecedented opportunity to leverage our vast technical resources, market position and brand to transform ourselves into one integrated company providing world-class solutions to our customers." With management speak like this no wonder the guy's done so well. ®
Tim Richardson, 29 Apr 2003

BTo ‘levels playing field’ for Sat bandwidth hogs

BT Openworld is getting heavy with its broadband satellite punters after bandwidth "hogs" ignored calls to ease up on the service. It claims that a small number of its 2,000 or so punters are using 40 per cent of the bandwidth available. So, from May 1 (Thursday) BT Openworld is introducing a "Fair Share Policy" which it claims will help all its punters "receive a fair share of available bandwidth" while "improving overall service quality". In an email to customers BT Openworld explained that punters will still be able to use as much bandwidth as they need. "However, if the bandwidth becomes crowded, customers who have used large amounts [of bandwidth] in the past will temporarily be subject to lower speeds. This is, in essence, levelling the playing field so that we can offer everyone a reliable quality of service," it said. Anyone exceeding BT Openworld's quotas (up to two gigabytes a week uploading and downloading) for a month will be contacted by the ISP to "discuss ways to change their usage patterns". Ooooo-errr. BT Openworld insists that the new measures will only hit "a very small number of users" who use large amounts of bandwidth on a regular basis. Everyone else won't notice a difference - who knows, they might even notice an improvement. In February, BT Openworld threatened around 40 of its broadband satellite customers warning them it might have to cap their service if they continue to hog bandwidth. The ISP warned that it would have to start imposing bandwidth limitations on heavy users' accounts at peak hours so that all our customers have a fair share of bandwidth. ® Related Stories BTo gets tough with Sat bandwidth hogs - again BTo gets tough with Sat bandwidth hogs
Tim Richardson, 29 Apr 2003

Comical Ali resurfaces

You just can't keep a good man (or joke) down. Contrary to unconfirmed reports of his suicide, former Iraqi information minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf has resurfaced as a Microsoft spokesman. At least that's what the cheeky chaps behind TheInformationMinister.com would have us believe. Fans of Comical Ali's inventive line of invective will be pleased to note he's handled the move from Baghdad to Redmond with aplomb. Even though al-Sahaf was an apologist for a murderous regime, his star-quality shines through. "Windows has no bugs. None! None I tell you! We will be shipping product soon," Comical Ali pronounces in the well-executed Flash animation. "Linux is a lie. It is used by no one! It has no market penetration! None I tell you now," he continues in the mock-up Redmond via Baghdad broadcast. "We are secure now. We have always been secure! Praise Allah!" A role in Redmond has previously been touted for MSS (There are no bugs in our software! Never, I tell you.) at the original WeLoveTheIraqiInformationMinister.com site. However TheInformationMinister.com takes one things further by clever use of b3ta.com-style animation. Nice work, fellas. The latest Iraqi information minister homage site is a low bandwidth affair ("I now inform you that our bandwidth bill is too far from reality. Please visit our sponsors"). So by bringing the site the attention of a wider public we've probably flattened it. We suggest you try again at the weekend when the owners might have sorted out some proper bandwidth. Surely there's a university server somewhere that can host this fine piece of work? ® Related Stories Why we love the Iraqi information minister Sunderland FC and the Iraqi minister of information External Links Profile of al-Sahaf, by CNN
John Leyden, 29 Apr 2003

Ericsson to cut another 14,000 jobs

Swedish communications giant Ericsson revealed sweeping new job cuts on Tuesday after seeing its sales tumble 30 percent during the quarter. The company said it cut 3,700 people during the past quarter and that it would now accelerate this restructuring program. Another 9,000 jobs are set to go by the end of this year, followed by the elimination of a further 5,000 positions by the end of 2003, bringing Ericsson's headcount to just 47,000, its lowest in more than a decade. The accelerated cost cutting plan will add SEK11 billion (EUR1.2 billion) to the company's restructuring charges. The restructuring announcement was made as part of the company's first quarter results: its net loss totalled SEK4.3 billion (EUR470 million) and net sales during the period fell 30 percent to SEK25.9 billion. These figures were slightly better than analysts had expected, but the sweeping cost cuts took the market by surprise: although further reductions had been expected, analysts believed these might have been delayed for some weeks, as Ericsson's new CEO Carl-Henric Svanberg has been in the job for less than a month. Svanberg said in a statement that he was determined to bring the company to profitability this year, excluding the extra restructuring charges for the cuts announced on Tuesday. He said the new cuts were unavoidable given the weaker than expected short term demand. "We are heading in the right direction, but a lot more can be done to simplify our way of working and further reduce costs," he said. "... I want us to be able to generate profit even if sales remain at current levels." During the first quarter, orders were also down, falling 35 percent over the year-earlier period to SEK27.1 billion. The company also took a hit during the quarter after it lost a patent infringement suit with InterDigital Communications Corporation. Ericsson and its mobile phone joint venture Sony Ericsson will now pay USD34 million to InterDigital as part of the settlement, followed by annual payments of USD6 million until 2006. Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, which shipped 5.4 million units during the quarter, saw sales plummet 35 percent over the previous quarter to EUR805 million, due to weaker volumes and price pressure. Looking at the industry as a whole, Ericsson said it believes that 430 million mobile phones will be shipped this year, but as mobile operators are more cautious than ever about investing, Ericsson said it believes the mobile systems market could fall by more than 10 percent this year. Despite the grim outlook from Ericsson, investors approved of the bold cost cutting actions at the company, and its shares were up more than 10 percent to SEK8.8 in Stockholm in early trading. © ENN
ElectricNews.net, 29 Apr 2003

On the IBM ThinkPad G40

You may have thought they mean roughly the same, but IBM's announcement of its new G-series ThinkPad amplifies where the differences may lay, and what this may mean as the unwired worlds of mobile and wireless network technologies converge. The new IBM ThinkPad G40s will incorporate dual band 802.11a/b on certain models, so that makes them wireless right? Yes of course, but despite IBMs talk of the mobile worker, and not sacrificing power for portability, these new laptops weigh in at around 3.5 kilos, so mobility is heavily dependent on upper body strength. To be fair, the new machines are desktop specification, with the top of the range powered by a 3.0 GHz Intel Pentium 4, up to 15" screen, and full connectivity via integrated Ethernet, modem, a floppy drive, an optical drive and two universal serial bus (USB) ports. IBM admits that the laptops will probably be used more often tethered to AC mains power than by battery, although the battery life is a respectable maximum of three and a half hours - that's one per kilo! The G40 also has a scarily Big Brother single button access to Big Blue, but this is part of a raft of services aimed at making the G40 easier to manage and deploy in a corporate environment. So wireless, yes. Powerful, yes. Manageable, yes, but mobile? No. The G40 will make many users and administrators of corporate networks very happy, and will allow them the odd migration home for the summer evening email on the patio, or occasionally from desk to desk. It's a well-equipped office computer, but the addition of wireless seems more for trend and fashion than immediate need on such a high spec machine. Being Mobile. Being Wireless. MIT's Nicholas Negroponte sums up the wireless world of Wi-Fi, as 'nomadic'. The G40, whilst a powerful desktop replacement, it is not the best tool for a nomadic professional working in coffee shops, hotels and airports. If we ignore the underlying network technologies of wireless Wi-Fi and mobile 3G, the key differences are usage patterns, which are unlikely to change even if the networks converge. So, independent of network technology we can define 3 categories of unwired usage: Mobile. No time or attention to absorb or use information from a high bandwidth network link, so you use a simple one-handed device, whilst moving and avoiding collisions with people and objects - perhaps it's just a phone? Nomadic. Carry your lightweight technology tools from place to place, but only use them when you arrive. Then you give them your full attention. Perhaps both hands and both eyes, and if you plan to be a nomadic user of the new G40, both arms. Nomadic users could be called Road Warriors, but they're more likely to be Coffee Quaffers, or Lounge Lifers. Migrant. Working in a flexible office environment, and occasionally from home - this is the ideal user for the IBM G40. The harder choice is which is the right tool for the nomadic professionals - laptops or something lighter? © IT-Analysis.com
IT-Analysis, 29 Apr 2003

Education faces BB challenge

Getting schools and local educational authorities (LEAs) to embrace broadband remains a "challenge". So says Keith Todd, chairman of the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) which yesterday published a report into the opportunities and barriers to the use of broadband in education. The report follows a pledge last November by prime minister Tony Blair to fund the provision of broadband to every school in the UK by 2006. At the time Mr Blair said that IT was essential to the future of the UK economy and that as part of that, all schools needed to be wired up for high-speed net access. However, the government's advisory group has identified a number of obstacles it warns could hamper the take-up and effective use of broadband in schools. Uppermost is the question of funding and the difficulties faced by Local Authorities and LEAs to get hold of cash. It was noted that although funding was available for broadband projects from a number of different sources, often it was fragmented and controlled at different levels of government. This fragmentation makes it harder to pool money to fund projects. And while the BSG acknowledges that Government is already doing much to make funding issues easier, it recommends that guidelines should be drawn up to help organisations pull together different funding resources to support new broadband projects. But chucking money at broadband isn't enough. The BSG accepts that it is on a lost cause unless teachers and administrators accept that broadband has a place in the classroom and the running of schools. Said the report: "Although there are many within the education sector who are supportive of the government’s commitment to broadband in education, others remain unconvinced about the benefits that broadband can deliver." That's why it insists that those involved need to be educated and "motivated" themselves about the benefits of broadband. Said Mr Todd in a statement: "The education sector is not yet fully exploiting the potential of ICT. "The introduction of broadband in particular, represents a challenge to traditional methods of teaching, learning and administration and therefore needs to be accompanied by effective change management processes to ensure that educational organisations are compelled to use broadband." Details of the report can be found here. ® Related Story Edubroadband, edubroadband, edubroadband
Tim Richardson, 29 Apr 2003

Infineon wants to leave Germany

Infineon Technologies will cut 900 jobs in the next few months, as the company mulls a possible exit from Germany. Europe's second biggest chipmaker today announced the layoffs and kicked off a larger scale cost-cutting program designed to save the company $551 million. This move comes as Infineon looks to move its headquarters from Germany to possible sites in Asia, the U.S. and elsewhere in Europe. "We have the feeling that there are probably more stable locations than the one we are currently in," Infineon Chief Executive Ulrich Schumacher said during a news conference. The company may make its decision after its fiscal year ends in September. Some companies are concerned about the cost of doing business in Germany and are looking to lower benefits for the unemployed and to make it easier to dismiss workers. Infineon, like many chip makers, has suffered from the broad slump in technology spending and last week posted a net loss of 328 million euros in its first quarter. The job cuts will affect workers at Infineon's secure mobile solutions unit in Sweden. ® Related Stories Europe slaps 33% duty on Hynix DRAM imports Infineon turns to Chinese fab
Ashlee Vance, 29 Apr 2003

UK.biz getting on top of serious security risks

Corporate organisations are beginning to address major security flaws within their networks at the same time as failing to address medium or lower risk issues. Security testing firm NTA Monitor found a third of the 600 corporate networks it tested last year had ten or more security flaws. These companies are exposed to "considerable risk of malicious attack", NTA Monitor believes, even though firms are beginning to get on top of the most serious security risks. NTA Monitor found that high risk vulnerabilities had decreased from 19 per cent in 2001 to six per cent last year. The company defines a high-risk vulnerabilities as flaws serious enough to allow a cracker to "access and take control of computer systems". But medium profile vulnerabilities (which permit either disruption for external users or unauthorised access for internal users) were found in 73 per cent of tests and low profile vulnerabilities were found in every test NTA Monitor conducted. "A third of companies we examined were guilty of bad security housekeeping, with unacceptably high levels of basic flaws found," said Roy Hills, technical director, NTA Monitor. "Although corporates are clearly prioritising security vulnerabilities and addressing high profile issues this is at the expense of a much larger number of lower profile vulnerabilities which are being ignored." "The net result is that corporate networks remain exposed to external attack," he added. Kevin Foster, marketing director at NTA Monitor, told us that the survey presenta a mixed picture of corporate progress in making systems more secure. High risk vulnerabilities are down even though the number of flaws NTA Monitor discovers is actually increasing. "It seems that companies don't have the time to address medium risk vulnerabilities and seem to have accepted the presence of lower risk flaws on their network," Foster told us. Overall server related vulnerabilities were the only area to show a systematic fall in security issues during the five years of the NTA Monitor Security Audit. Server vulnerabilities were spotted in 73 per cent of security audits last year, down from 86 per cent in 2001 and 88 per cent in 2000. NTA Monitor believes this reflects the increased level of management attention given to Web sites. Router, firewall and visible systems, the other key three areas of security testing examined by NTA Monitor, have all remained at an unreasonably high number of identified vulnerabilities over the last two years. According to NTA Monitor this is because these systems are typically installed using a standardised configuration, biased more towards functionality and up time than security. This was a particular problem where services had been configured by ISPs using a standard template. Another major cause of vulnerabilities in these areas was that companies neglected to remove development environments or configurations, unwittingly exposing systems that were not intended to be visible. NTA Monitor's Fifth Annual Security Audit, published at the beginning of this week's Infosecurity show, examined data from over 600 Regular Monitor network perimeter security tests carried out by the company during 2002. ®
John Leyden, 29 Apr 2003

Mobiles hail London cabs

Mobile phone users in London should soon be able to hail the capital's black cabs simply by using their mobile phones. The location-based service comes from an outfit called Zingo, which, incidentally is owned by MBH, the company that makes London's taxis. Anyhow, Zingo uses mobile technology to put passengers directly in contact with black cab drivers in their area that are free for a fare. When a punter calls Zingo from their mobile, location-based technology pinpoints where they are. At the same time, global positioning satellites identify Zingo taxis in the area that are free. Then, punters are automatically connected to an available cab driver in their area before the prospective passenger tells the cabbie exactly where they are. Bingo. The charge for the Zingo service is £1.60 a throw, which is added to punters' fare. The service goes live next week with 500 of London's 20,000 black cabs fitted with the technology. Some 3,000 cabs should have the gear by the end of the year. The service is available to customers of Vodafone, T-Mobile and O2. Talks with Orange and 3 are still ongoing although the negotiations are described as "positive". Other UK cities including, Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow are said to be interested in the technology. Plus, Zingo is also getting some interest from cities in the US, Europe and Asia. ®
Tim Richardson, 29 Apr 2003

Steve Jobs blesses DRM, and nothing happens

Apple expanded its retail presence yesterday, right into the guts of your computer, in a move variously hailed as "revolutionary" (Wininformant), "unique" (The New York Times) and "we're impressed" (Forbes). Only the FT seemed to strike a more realistic note: "Apple music service plays by industry rules," and only today do the bugnotes begin to appear. Alongside 'Rip, Mix and Burn' are the following warnings: For example, Purchased Music Does Not Play [Apple KnowledgeBase article 93035] and About Authorization and Deauthorization [KB article 93014]... "You should deauthorize your computer before you sell or give it away"... and How to Backup Purchased Songs [KB article 93033], which warns us: "If your hard disk becomes damaged or you lose any of the music you've purchased, you'll have to reimport all your songs and buy any purchased music again to rebuild your library." And remember: "Initializing the drive will not deauthorize the computer. If you will be initializing the drive, deauthorize the computer first, then initialize the drive." Huh? Well, it's not like we didn't... warn you. So DRM has happened, and no one seems to mind very much. Effigies of Hilary Rosen (Al Gore's friend) are not being burned in the streets, an angry mob is not besieging Apple HQ in Cupertino and the world looks very much like it did on Sunday. Only we now have an extra way to obtain a small selection of music we have already heard. As we reported yesterday, Apple's music service allows for some very limited free use - while your computer is alive. It wouldn't be so bad if Steve's New Store didn't resemble - in the words of one reader and Mac user - "the bookstand at an airport. As shops go it's not very good. A real airport bookstand would have gum and cigarettes too". For as we also reported, large chunks of the major label back catalogs are missing, leaving a fat-free selection of popular tunes. The record labels are not run by music lovers - you've probably noticed this already - and often sit upon vaults of great artistic treasures. Which are not represented here. And some labels are conspicuous by their absence (or only a token presence). EMI, for example: owner of the Blue Note, Parlophone, Chrysalis and Virgin catalogs. The store's 'Staff Picks' also draw from a very limited commercial catalog. We suspect if Apple Staff were really allowed to give us their Picks they would be much more interesting. Apple Staff we know thrill and amaze in this respect. The Fleetwood Mac offerings (greets, Mick) give you the gentler 70s and 80s elpees but not the ballsy blues incarnation, and certainly nothing by Fleetwood Mac co-founder Peter Green, who wrote Black Magic Woman and whose The End of the Game is one of the most astonishing and beautiful records ever made. That's quite an omission. When in 1984 Steve Jobs lured Pepsi CEO John Sculley with the words "Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want to change the world?", who would have thought that Steve Jobs would end up selling sugared water himself? ® Related Story Linus Torvalds blesses DRM, and nothing happens
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Apr 2003

The Whole Knuth, and nothing but the Knuth

LettersLetters Our examination of the language culture at Intel Why Intel doesn't write stuff down begat this correction, and some great responses from Register readers. Here' s one of great economy:- Hardware Engineers (sub-category semi-conductor) industry type: Capital Intensive ethos: "Measure Twice, Cut Once" motivation: "spins" are expensive- get it right buddy Software Developers (sub-category applications) industry type: Labor Intensive ethos: "Release Early, Release Often" motivation: keep the treadmill rolling Analysis of "Hardware, software? It's the same thing - with different interfaces." in general = wrong. It's a culture thing rather than incompetence. But then if you read "Inside Intel" you will see they go for talented hires. Also there is a selection effect to make the grade, trusting a million dollar tape out to someone. Developers inhabit a continuum from just below real Software Engineers (those that have read Knuth and understood him) down to the burger flippers coding in VB to a spec someone else wrote. They are the post modern agricultural laborers AND THEY KNOW THIS really. Ouch. You make your point very well - thanks. One example of Intel's linguistic precision comes from a former inmate, who must remain anonymous, of course:- We were instructed to always use the term "market segment share" rather than "market share" when talking to other companies, to avoid any sense that we were putting pressure on someone by claiming to dominate the market (apparently, Intel was only dominating "market segments"). Instructions like these were given to people at every level of the organization, down to the lowliest engineer. A fascinating detail. "I have worked for sw firms that were equally as judicious (thogh not as ruthless) as Intel and have known hw firms as sloppy' as M$. Its the leaders(founders) personalities that count, I think,"writes one employee of a large systems company. Wol Youngman asks if linguistics unites hackish types, as the crème do not throw their words around lightly. Perhaps to some extent, but I think it's broader than that. Alpha geeks tend to be very good at a few things. Say an instrument or a craft or studying a foreign language. So rather than a language per se, I think excellent engineers need to delve into a system to understand how it is defined, which you must do, for example, when you play an instrument very well. Every system has its parameters and ontologies. Finally, more letters on a variety of topics will follow. But thank you for your audio files. We asked what a wooden nose growing might sound like, and you have contributed some splendid entries. We shall post the winners (and the Rich Multimedia clips) very soon. Thanks, all. I'll sort out a suitable prize. ®
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Apr 2003
SGI logo hardware close-up

HP to bring 64-bit Windows XP to Itanic

Itanic releases have poured out of the HP and Microsoft vaults at a steady clip of late. Last week, the two companies joined to set a record on a transaction performance benchmark with a Madison-based Superdome server running Windows Server 2003. Just weeks before that, Microsoft said it had prepped 64-bit Windows XP for Itanic. HP has now followed in kind. The grizzled Itanium engineers at HP have prepped Windows XP 64-bit Edition Version 2003 for a pair of the company's workstations. In mid-May, HP will start shipping the Microsoft operating system with the single processor zx2000 and the dual processor zx6000 workstations, the company said today. Both systems run on second generation McKinley chips. The new OS will join Linux and HP-UX as options on HP's workstations. Itanic workstations have been around since the chip first crawled out of its hole in 2001. The systems are key to the software porting that must be done to move onto Itanic's EPIC instruction set. HP's engineers stay busier than most, as they try to shift software off of Alpha, PA-RISC and Xeon chips onto Itanium. The workstations are also popular in the technical computing market where Itanic has enjoyed some success. Users should appreciate the larger memory support and higher floating point performance with the 64-bit version of XP. ® Related Stories Exclusive: IBM's Itanic 2 servers Tanglewood to run 10x faster than Madison Windows on Itanic Tanglewood: the next Itanium revealed HP talks scalable for Itanium 2 chipset, dualie module
Ashlee Vance, 29 Apr 2003