28th > November > 2003 Archive

ATI commits to desktop, mobile Athlon 64 chipsets

ATI President and COO Dave Orton has said the company is "committed" to offering a version of its chipset technology for the Athlon 64 processor - just don't expect it any time soon. Interviewed by Firing Squad, Orton said: "We are committed to developing K8 core-logic, though it probably won't be in the next six months." Orton also confirmed that ATI will be "working on both desktop and notebook chipsets". Orton promised to offer PCI Express versions of the company's Pentium 4 chipsets. PCI Express isn't expected to come to market before Q2 2004, which is interestingly coincident with the rough Athlon 64 chipsets Orton offers. That suggests ATI may be waiting for PCI Express before moving into the Athlon 64 chipset market. "Even though K8 features an integrated memory controller, the architecture creates a different set of opportunities to differentiate," said Orton, which points to a focus on graphics, the graphics bus and the South Bridge. Speaking of South Bridge parts, Orton confessed that problems getting the Radeon IGP 9100 out on time lay with that part of the chipset: "RS300 is highly anticipated, but we've encountered some delays getting our USB 2.0 qualification, which is why the chipset is only now seeing availability." The 9100 was launched last June with a projected summer release timeframe. ® Related Stories ATI upgrades P4 bus licence ATI launches Radeon IGP 9100 chipsets
Tony Smith, 28 Nov 2003

Insurer taps voice analysis tech to detect fraud

Online insurer Esure is to use technology that recognises when a speaker is under stress in a bid to detect fraud. The company hopes using voice risk analysis (VRA) technology will speed genuine claims, cut fraud and make its claims process more efficient. Reducing fraud will help keep premiums down for the honest majority, esure says. VRA - which identifies micro changes in the voice that can occur when a speaker is showing higher levels of stress - will be used by esure from 4 December. The company is keen to emphasise that the technology is a "stress detector" not a lie detector. When a speaker experiences stress when answering a question or recounting an exaggerated or false statement, the frequency of their voice changes, according to studies originally conducted in Israel. It is this factor that VRA registers and assesses. The system compares responses to particular questions with baseline responses, answers to simple questions that can only be answered truthfully. Esure pledges that it will never treat VRA analysis as "evidence" of potential fraud. In cases where high levels of risk are registered, the system only be used as a "flag" to trigger further investigation of any potentially suspicious elements within the claim. Where no problems are detected, the technology will be used to 'fast-track' claims. The six month pilot for the VRA system - which was developed and marketed by Digilog - will initially be used to analyse higher risk claims, such as unrecovered thefts and write-off car claims. Over time, the role of the technology will likely be expanded to cover accidents and home insurance claims. Esure is confident the system can deal with people with accents or stutters. Gordon Hannah, Esure's Head of Claims, said: "Voice Risk Analysis cannot disadvantage a genuine claimant, it will only ever speed up their claim. It will, however, provide an indicator of potentially fraudulent claims and can help direct the search for concrete evidence of fraud. If none is found, the claim will be paid as with any other. "This system is not intrusive. Claimants will be told clearly that their call is being recorded and analysed. We believe the honest majority is fed up with funding the cost of fraud so it is essential that esure works to identify and act against potential fraud," she added. Esure is soliciting feedback over its plans from UK civil liberties and consumer groups. It expressed confidence that it can reassure them about any concerns they might have about unwarranted intrusion or error (false positives) the system might produce. ® Related Stories It's curtains for voice recognition, says survey AT&T lets phone fraud victims off the hook Whistleblowers wanted for Insurance fraud site
John Leyden, 28 Nov 2003

Reseller touts home WLAN pack with easy to use security

UK reseller Dabs has launched a Wi-Fi offering that it claims will deliver a fully secure environment yet retain plug-and-play access to home WLANs. Dabs is essentially bundling services provided by hotspot aggregator MyZones with Netgear's ME103 ProSafe Wireless Access Point and the vendor's MA111 Wireless USB Adaptor for £99 excluding sales tax. Essentially, MyZones allows you to manage your WLAN's security through its web page - or in this case, a Dabs-branded one. The Wi-Fi hardware is preconfigured to operate with MyZones. Dabs' service encompasses the three services offered by MyZones: one for home networks, another to allow different households to share a broadband connection and a third which lets users operate their WLANs as public hotspots. We should point out here that the latter two may infringe the terms and conditions of your broadband access package, many of which do not permit sharing connections across multiple sites. Dabs' service is subscription based: the bundle includes the cost of operating the service for the first year. Dabs didn't say how much it will cost beyond that 12-month period, by MyZones charges a fiver a month. In addition to taking the burden of setting up a secure wireless network off your hands, the subscription fee includes a "seven days a week, 8am to 12pm" telephone tech support reached via a 50p a minute premium rate line. You also get access to other MyZones affiliated public hotspot network, GlobalZone, should you be in the area. Extra usage fees apply, buy no details appeared to be forthcoming from MyZones' web site. ® Related Products Get all your WiFi kit from the The Reg wireless store
Tony Smith, 28 Nov 2003

NTL dangles content as sweetener for punters

NTL is offering cut-price broadband content in a bid to entice its Net punters to sign up to faster broadband services. Even though NTL insists its 150Kbps service is broadband, it seems it's just not "broadband enough" to handle this content. "In theory they [150K customers] would be able to sign up to this service," admits an NTL spokeswoman. But it would be much better with NTL's 600K and 1Mb service, admits the cableco. So, NTL hopes its dial-up and 150k punters will upgrade to faster, more expensive services. Its "Broadband Plus" package - which it describes as a "premium broadband content bundle"- is designed just for NTL punters. Available from next week and costing £3.99 a month, the cableco reckons this will "help boost broadband sales to the mass market". The package includes material from the BBC, MTV as well as games. NTL reckons that if punters had to buy this stuff separately it would set them back around £30 a month. In a statement, the company said: "NTL will use Broadband Plus as an acquisition tool to attract new customers as well as encourage existing 150K broadband and dial-up customers to upgrade to its higher speed broadband services." Punters signing up before 1 March 2004 will get Broadband Plus free for the first three months. ®
Tim Richardson, 28 Nov 2003

Tspeak buys Another.com

Skipton-based Tspeak UK Ltd has acquired email services company, Another.com, for an undisclosed sum. And to be honest, that really is about the long and short of it. Except to say that Tspeak - which offers a range of telecoms services such discount phone calls, broadband and Web hosting - will now be able to offer specialised email services as well. For its part, Another.com has more than 12,000 punters each forking out £23.95 a year for their own email addy. The acquisition means that Tspeak now had more than 18,000 punters. ®
Tim Richardson, 28 Nov 2003

Gigabyte combines Wi-FI, USB Flash drive

Gigabyte has a novel idea for fans of go-anywhere computing: a USB Flash drive that features a built-in Wi-Fi adaptor. The GN-WLBZ201 offers 128MB of Flash storage accessible using any OS that supports USB storage devices. The device sports a fold-up antenna module with activity lights. Unhooked from a notebook or desktop, the device's cap fits over the USB connector and provides a clip ready to be inserted into an self-respecting geek's front shirt pocket. The device ships with a Windows 2000/XP software access point, allowing other devices to connect to the Net via the host PC. As yet, neither 802.11g nor WPA are supported - the GN-WLBZ201 only supports 64- and 128-bit WEP. And for those of you who don't need the Flash drive, Gigabyte is offering a WLAN-only version, the GN-WLBZ101. Pricing and availability was not disclosed. ® Related Products Buy your WiFi kit from the The Reg wireless store
Tony Smith, 28 Nov 2003

Wanadoo UK in AnyTime promo

Wanadoo's UK ISP, Freeserve, has begun pushing its unmetered dial-up service to cash in on this busy Christmas period. Punters signing up for Freeserve AnyTime can get it for half price - £7.49 a month - for the first three months. After that, the price reverts back to the usual price of £14.99 a month. The half-price offer runs until 31 January 2004. Separately, research from ISP Virgin.net has revealed that among UK Net users, punters in Swansea spend the most time online. According to its research, people in Swansea spend more than 66 hours online a month. Next up is Reading and Guildford (62 hours a month). What we're supposed to read into this is anyone's guess. ®
Tim Richardson, 28 Nov 2003

Go-ahead US companies fail to prioritise security

Nearly half of America's fastest growing companies suffered an information security breach over the last two years, despite beefed-up precautions since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
John Leyden, 28 Nov 2003

BT to upgrade 21 exchanges for ADSL

Another 21 exchanges are to be converted to ADSL after local communities managed to secure enough demand for BT to sit up and take notice. All the exchanges listed below should be converted to broadband during February next year as part of BT's broadband registration scheme. MINEHEAD, Somerset BLEWBURY, Oxfordshire ILMINSTER, Somerset EGREMONT, Cumbria WANBOROUGH, Wiltshire BAMPTON CASTLE, Oxfordshire GLASGOW PROVANMILL, Strathclyde BALDOCK, Hertfordshire HECKINGTON, Lincolnshire CARDIGAN, Dyfed BRYNMAWR, Gwent SOULBURY, Buckinghamshire HECKFIELD, Hampshire FONTMELL MAGNA, Dorset SHIPDHAM, Norfolk FARNSFIELD, Nottinghamshire GREAT BARTON, Suffolk BURFORD, Oxfordshire ECKINGTON, Hereford & Worcester EDINGWORTH, Somerset MELTHAM, West Yorkshire ®
Tim Richardson, 28 Nov 2003

Xbox makes gains as Japanese price cut bites

Microsoft's Xbox has had its most successful week to date this year in Japan, capturing almost seven per cent market share following a price cut to the hardware and the launch of a Project Gotham Racing 2 bundle deal. Although that market share still represents well under 8000 units sold in total, it's still a massive gain for the console - which generally languishes at under one per cent market share in this territory. The price cut which caused the boost was a drop from ¥16,800 (€129) to ¥14,800 (€113). Sales were undoubtedly assisted by the new ¥19,800 (€152) PGR2 bundle - which also incorporates a copy of Halo, two control pads, a DVD kit and two months free subscription to Xbox Live - although PGR2 itself failed to chart in the software top ten. That top ten was dominated by two new releases, with Bandai's PS2 title Neon Genesis Evangelion 2 - based on the massively popular mid-1990s anime series - at number one, and Nintendo's Pokemon Colosseum, described as the company's first fully 3D Pokemon console RPG, at number two. Both titles sold over 100,000 units in their debut weekend. Four other new releases also make it into the top ten ranking, with Nintendo's Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (GBA) at number three and Sega's Let's Make A Pro Baseball Team! 2003 at number four. The entry at number nine will be familiar to most readers, being SCEE Team Soho's hit title from last Christmas, The Getaway - now being released in Japan by Capcom, which also had success with its Japanese release of Grand Theft Auto III recently. At number ten in this chart this week is Xenosaga Episode 1 Reloaded: Der Wille zur Macht, a re-release of Monolith's acclaimed Xenosaga Episode 1 role-playing game. The relaunch of the first episode of the game includes updated content and a number of gameplay tweaks, and precedes the arrival of Episode II of the series next year. Aside from Microsoft's success in the hardware stakes, the hardware sales chart is largely unchanged from last week, with the PlayStation 2 continuing to hold around 50 per cent market share following a recent price cut. The GBA comes in second with just under 25 per cent share, while the GameCube continues to perform healthily with 18.21 per cent market share. ® Copyright © 2003, GamesIndustry.biz
gamesindustry.biz, 28 Nov 2003

‘Yoof’ spurns new mobile technology

Recent consumer research in the UK has found that young people are surprisingly sceptical about some emerging technologies, especially in the mobile space. It found that whilst 96 per cent of 15- to 24-year-olds now have a mobile phone, only six per cent have a 3G phone. What's more, 79 per cent neither own nor intend to own a 3G phone within the next 12 months. The research was carried out by the ROAR consortium, which has four members: TV channel Channel Four, EMAP Advertising, the Guardian and Observer newspapers, and OMD UK. The group specialises in providing continuous research into the lives of 15- to 24-year-olds. Young people, it concluded, had seen the success and failure of specific products but did not believe they had seen a major step forward that has worked in recent years. Three of the major technology releases of recent times - WAP, MMS and 3G - were launched before they could be used optimally, respondents said. "Everything is hyped and that makes it seem old, but nothing seems to work yet. You hear about it but can't do it properly," said one youngster. The report found that there had been a 90 per cent increase year-on-year of young people who strongly disagree with the statement, "I'm usually the first to get new technology." This figure was up from nine per cent in 2002 to 19 per cent in 2003. Young people surveyed said that R&D departments, rather than introducing technology for its own sake, should focus on introducing technology products that solve a problem and make life easier. One example of a company getting it right, the survey found, was Apple, with the introduction of its iPod music player. Brands such as Sony and Nokia also emerged with favourable feedback from the survey. The research poured some particularly cold water on 3G, with many respondents sceptical about the new services it promises to offer. Video calling received a lukewarm welcome, with some young people finding it an awkward experience compared to voice calls or text messaging. "My brother-in-law has 3 already, so I was video calling him, and it is funny we get on really well normally, but those calls felt a bit awkward," said one respondent. The report concluded that most 15-year-olds to 24-year-olds felt that the ability to use the visual aspect of the video calling and messaging can be both unnecessary and unwelcome. They felt more pressurised to tell the truth and worried about their appearance. Part of the research involved issuing 3G handsets to a sample group. It found that while most 15-year-olds to 24-year-olds were initially impressed by some of the media content found on the 3 network, they tended to be less enamoured by the end of the trial. Copyright © 2003, ENN
ElectricNews.net, 28 Nov 2003

UK.gov plans satellite tracking of asylum seekers

UK asylum seekers are to be electronically tagged as part of plans to introduce tougher immigration controls announced by the Home Office yesterday. The government is putting forward electronic tagging as an alternative to detention for those unable to offer suitable sureties in immigration control cases. Enabling powers to introduce tagging or tracking are to be included in the forthcoming Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc) Bill. The Home Office said that "electronic monitoring will allow the release on bail or temporary release of people... who would otherwise have been detained", such as individuals whose asylum applications have been rejected. The tag itself might feature satellite technology to monitor the soon-to-be-deported. Home Secretary David Blunkett said tracking of asylum seekers by satellite could be introduced within a year to 18 months. Plans to equip asylum seekers with the kind of technology that has previously been reserved for criminals have thus far been overshadowed by proposals to stop the benefits of asylum-seeking families who refuse offers of "voluntary" removal from the UK. By stopping the benefits of families when their asylum applications are rejected, the proposals open the way to take children from affected families into care. Opposition politicians and civil liberties groups have criticised this aspect of the government’s plans as contrary to existing childcare laws. The Bill, which is designed to prevent organised criminals from abusing the immigration and asylum system and to streamline the appeals and removals process in asylum cases, is explained in greater depth here. ® Related Stories Want to visit Britain? Join the fingerprint queue Draft ID card bill makes it to Queen's speech Mission impossible? Blunkett's big biometric ID adventure Number plate recognition poised for national UK rollout UK Home Office unit looking at electronic offender tagging
John Leyden, 28 Nov 2003

Sony Ericsson GC79 WLAN + GPRS card

Reg ReviewReg Review Sony Ericsson isn't the first to market with a PC Card that allows a notebook to connect to the Internet across a cellular network, but its GC79 has the novelty of also providing an 802.11b adaptor in the same card. The idea is simple: wherever you are, you can access the Internet wirelessly. When you're in range of a hotspot, public or private, and you can connect at up to 11Mbps. If you're out in the field, you can still make a wireless connection, this time using a GPRS or a slower GSM dial-up link. We occasionally go online using a GPRS connection courtesy of our trusty Nokia 6310i, using Bluetooth to get phone communicating with computer. It's not particularly fast, but it works. Intensive surfing isn't a good idea, but checking the odd web site and keeping email flowing is fine. The GC79 offers the same kind of connection, but without the hassle of setting up Bluetooth and with the bonus of providing phone functionality on the notebook. Set up Getting up GC79 up and running was a doddle. Your network SIM card slips easily into a slot in the GC79, which itself goes into a spare PC Card bay. Chuck in the CD, install the drivers and the GC79 Manager utility, and you're ready to go. Activating the Wi-Fi component brings up the usual list of available access points. We selected our own, and were immediately able to launch Internet Explorer and start visiting web sites. Unwilling to go out into the wind and the rain of a soggy November day in London, we simulated being out of range of our Wi-Fi base-station by disabling the WLAN radio using GC79 Manager. Sony Ericsson's Connection wizard helps you set up a direct-data GPRS or GSM/HSCSD dial-up link. The wizard has connection data for most of Europe's key cellular networks' GPRS systems, plus a number from the US, Australia and other locations around the world. Just choose your network and the wizard automatically fills in the details listed in the next few screens: Access Point Name, username and password are all pre-programmed. Or you can enter new ones, if your mobile phone network isn't listed. An Advanced button allows you to enter, if necessary, fixed IP and DNS addresses, enable data compression, and tinker with the quality of service settings, if you know how many octets you want each second. If your SIM isn't GPRS enabled, or you want a third, back-up connection option, you can enter your ISP's dial-up details. The GC79 contains a tri-band radio, so you should be able to connecting around the globe, coverage and roaming enablement permitting. When you're through, you select your named connection from GC Manager's pop up menu and click the Connect button. After a few seconds of network initialisation, you have a GPRS link and you can surf the Internet slowly but serviceably. Windows XP reports a connection speed of 53.6Kbps, but since it reports the WLAN connection as 11Mbps, the real GPRS data rate is likely to be rather less than that. The software counts data volumes in and out - useful information since GPRS services are invariably charged on a per byte basis. Fall-back connectivity We then switched the Wi-Fi adaptor back on. After a moment or two, it detected our access point once again and opened a connection. Windows XP is smart enough to utilise the faster of the two connections, and since GPRS is billed according to the volume of data you send and receive rather than the duration of the connection, it's no problem to leave it up and running. To simulate roaming we again disabled the Wi-Fi adaptor, and Windows went straight over to the active GPRS link. We didn't even have to relaunch our browser. Downloads won't survive across the break, but if you're in the middle of reading a web page, all you'll notice is the change of speed when you call up the next one. Alas, the card won't initialise a GPRS connection if the Wi-Fi link drops - you'll have to connect manually. However, the card can be set to connect at startup so it's always there if you need it. If you don't want to use your own phone's SIM - you still want to make voice calls, presumably - a low-end contract phone is an inexpensive way of getting an account for the card. Why a second phone? The CG79 Manager software won't let you make voice calls. It will, however, allow you to divert voice calls to your mobile operator's answerphone service, or to another phone. Likewise, data and fax calls can be diverted, or picked up by the PC. Sending faxes is just a matter of changing Windows XP's Fax settings to use the GC79 rather than the notebook's built-in modem, if it has one. You can send and receive SMS text messages, too. In fact, the GC79 just about has all the telephone features you'd expect from a business-oriented mobile handset - except voice. Like other GPRS or Wi-Fi PC Cards, the GC79 sports a small, fixed antenna module. Some users may be disappointed by the lack of an activity LED. The module has a lower profile than other Wi-Fi cards we've seen, but doesn't hug the side of the notebook as much as its picture might suggest, certainly not when plugged into our Acer Travelmate 661LMi test machine. That said, it is small enough for your laptop to fit into a typical carry case without you having to remove the card. Verdict Sony Ericsson's GC79 is a solid solution for notebook users who need to stay connection on the road. It's a nice look product. It works, and it works well. But... it's expensive and it's integrated Wi-Fi functionality is increasingly unnecessary. If your notebook has Wi-Fi built in - and many do - the GC79 is a non-starter. If you don't need Wi-Fi, standalone GPRS cards - such as Sony Ericsson's own GC75 - are cheaper. Bluetooth adaptors are even less expensive. Connecting using a Bluetooth-equipped computer to a mobile phone isn't entirely straightforward, but it's not that difficult and it saves having to swap out a SIM from handset to GPRS card. And, like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth integration is increasingly becoming a standard component in new laptops. If you don't yet have Wi-Fi, a standalone 802.11b card will be very much less expensive than a GC79, leaving you effectively paying a heavy premium for the GPRS functionality. If you do need both, Nokia's D211 Wi-Fi/GPRS card is cheaper than the Sony Ericsson product. It's antenna module is slightly bigger, but you can save around £65 if you're willing to put up with having to take it out every time you pack your notebook away. That's looking at SIM-free price - with a mobile connection contract you can probably pick the GC79 for a lot less. We've seen prices as low as 30 quid, but then we've also seen the D211 offered bundled free with a connection contract. But we would pay the extra £30 just to get a card that can stay installed in the laptop. If you need widely available connectivity, you don't have Wi-Fi, and you're willing to fund a separate phone account, the GC79 is worth your consideration. ® Sony Ericsson GC79 GPRS/Wireless LAN PC Card Rating 75% Pros — Integrates GPRS with Wi-Fi — Antenna small enough for you to keep the card in your notebook — Good connection management software Cons — Windows only — No voice telephony support — Expensive without a contract Price £250 (SIM-free) More info The Sony Ericsson web site Buy the Sony Ericsson GC79 or the Nokia D211 from The Reg Mobile Store Recent reviews Dell Axim x3i Wi-Fi Pocket PC Elonex eXentia Media Center PC Rock Pegasus CTS notebook PalmOne Treo 600 smartphone Rio Chiba 256MB MP3 player
Tony Smith, 28 Nov 2003

MS takes $1.1bn ‘hostage’ to freeze Lindows out of California case

Microsoft is holding up compensation claims from a quarter of million Californians in order to punish Lindows.com, and to coerce the class action plaintiffs "into siding with Microsoft against its Lindows competitor," according to a court filing seen by The Register. The document, filed on 21st November by Townsend and Townsend and Crew, lead counsel for the Californian class action consumers, points out that none of the claims being held up was actually filed via Lindows.com, yet Microsoft has held them "hostage" for over two months. Microsoft settled the class action with a $1.1 billion settlement at the beginning of this year, with these funds to be disbursed in the form of vouchers to qualifying claimants. Microsoft gets to keep a third of all money unclaimed, while the remainder will go to California schools for the purchase of IT. Quite a bit of that money will end up going back to Microsoft as well, so even without squirming and foot-dragging from The Beast we are not going to be talking about $1.1 billion really - but squirming and foot-dragging there is. If we just take the 250,000 claims filed so far and guesstimate an average claim value of $200 (which we think is on the generous side), then you get a total of $50 million, which barely scratches the total settlement size. Lindows' MSFreePC.com might, by collecting claims, have the capability to increase this total, but Microsoft is objecting to its intervention, and in doing so is road-blocking the entire process. According to a declaration also filed by Townsend on the 21st, during meetings between the parties "the claims Administrator requested that the parties discuss and adopt rules pertaining to the processing of claims. Microsoft refused. At a meeting held on October 15, 2003, Microsoft's counsel Robert Traylor-Manning indicated 'that there may otherwise be concessions he could make, but that with that issue outstanding [Lindows] he could not make them' and that 'therefore, he recommended that the group not discuss claims processing.'" And "Microsoft refused to have any discussion with Lindows." The main Townsend filing is particularly instructive in that it has been made on behalf on consumers, not on behalf of Lindows, yet it comes firmly down on Lindows' side. Plaintiffs "have no interest whatsoever in helping Lindows or harming it... Although plaintiffs expressed some initial concerns with the Lindows web site, we are now satisfied with Lindows' explanation of its procedures and believe that it fully comports with the express terms of the Settlement Agreement." In response to MSFReePC.com Microsoft earlier this month asked the judge to reject all settlement claims submitted with digital signatures, but the Townsend filing says that this motion "is based solely upon Microsoft's rank speculation about the process that will be used for submitting these consumer claims for approval by their duly appointed attorney-in-fact and chosen software vendor, Lindows.com." It argues that applicants using the Lindows process are giving Lindows a power of attorney to act on their behalf, that the certification process for these is identical to that used by the 'official' Californian web claims process, that there's nothing in the settlement that says claims can't be filed electronically, and that it may well be the case that Lindows will, perfectly legally, manually sign the combined claims on the claimants' behalf. "Microsoft complains that it did not agree to conduct the transaction by electronic means" but, says the filing tartly: "That argument fails for two reasons: First, Microsoft's agreement is not required and, second, Microsoft actually has agreed to the preparation of claim forms by electronic means." Microsoft's actions, it says, are nothing less than an attempt to "stifle the legitimate participation of one of its competitors in the settlement process" and the company "asks the Court to assist in its efforts to harm a business rival who is risking large sums of money in an effort to implement the express terms of the settlement." The settlement agreement rules "cannot be used by Microsoft to complicate or discourage claims, and they must not discourage legitimate Microsoft competitors from promoting the settlement, distributing claim forms or otherwise participating in the settlement process as expressly contemplated by the Settlement Agreement." If they're accepted the Lindows claims are unlikely to make a significant difference to the take-up of the process, and to get this into perspective you should note that Townsend claims 14 million class members. Barely a week seems to pass these days without Microsoft settling yet another class action with yet another US state, but in all probability its actual payouts so far consist almost entirely of lawyers' bills. Microsoft is not exactly short of money so won't miss the odd billion promised in exchange for continued innocence (see Microsoft redefines 'guilt'), but if it contrives never to hand most of it over anyway, and/or gets most of it straight back, then there won't be that much to miss, will there? Related story: Get overcharged by MS, win a free PC, says Lindows.com
John Lettice, 28 Nov 2003

Swen fends off Mimail to top viral charts

The Swen virus beat off a strong challenge from various Mimail virus variants to retain its position at the top of the viral charts this month. Message filtering firm MessageLabs blocked more than 567,000 Swen-infected emails this month. Durnaru-A was the second most prevalent nuisance with just under 386,000 sightings over the last four weeks while the undead Sobig-F worm put in approximately 265,000 appearances. Sobig F reached number three MessageLabs November Top 10, despite having a built-in expiry date of September 10. Incorrectly set clocks on some infected computers explain why the virus is continuing to circulate. Overall, one in 97 email MessageLabs scanned were contaminated with viral infections. Just over half (55.1 per cent) of the emails scanned by MessageLabs’ anti-spam service this month turned out to be junk mail. November 2003 saw the arrival of two variants of the Mimail virus, both of which attempted to trick PayPal users into giving out sensitive account information. The two viruses illustrate the growing trend among virus writers of using malicious code not just for mischief but for malicious gain, according to MessageLabs. The viruses Mimail-E and Mimail- appeared at the seventh and eight positions in MessageLabs November charts with just over 100,000 appearances apiece. Records of the subject of calls received by AV firm Sophos paint a slightly different picture of the viral landscape. Around a third of support calls (32.6 per cent) logged by Sophos in November involved the Sober virus. Calls about Mimail virus variants collectively accounted for 28 per cent of the calls fielded by Sophos over the last four weeks. ® November 2003 Virus Chart, by MessageLabs Swen-A Durnaru-A Sobig-F Mimail-C Klez-H Mimail-A Mimail-E Mimail-J Sobig-A Yaha-P Related stories Nasty worm poses as MS security update (Swen) Sober email worm gives Windows users the DTs New worm scams PayPal punters Sobig-F is fastest growing virus ever - official
John Leyden, 28 Nov 2003

Samsung says it will overtake Nokia

Samsung's CEO, Lee Kunhee, claims his company will be the world's largest mobile phone supplier by 2010, overtaking Nokia. Kunhee said that Samsung will outperform its own sales targets this year by 2.5m units and will generate $25bn a year from handsets by 2010. The company believes it can take advantage of close relationships with operators in the most advanced mobile markets, including its own South Korea, and of the backlash of some large operators, notably Vodafone, against the dominance of Nokia. Vodafone is to work with Samsung and Sharp for its 3G launch. Samsung's market share has risen from 9.8 per cent last year to 11.2 per cent for the first nine months of 2003, but this is still well behind Nokia's 34 per cent, which it aims to boost to 40 per cent in the next few months on the back of a raft of new launches. © Copyright 2003 Wireless Watch Wireless Watch is published by Rethink Research, a London-based IT publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter delivers in-depth analysis and market research of mobile and wireless for business. Subscription details are here. Related Products Purchase Samsung products from The Reg mobile store Purchase Nokia products from The Reg mobile store
Wireless Watch, 28 Nov 2003

RIM faces fresh lawsuit

Faced with an ongoing patent battle in the US that threatens to place injunctions on its products, RIM is focusing heavily on Europe and has launched a tri-band full color BlackBerry PDA this week – only to find itself attacked by another intellectual property lawsuit, this time from a Luxembourg-based company. RIM and T-Mobile USA have been sued in Delaware by InPro II Licensing, a Luxembourg-based licensing firm, which claims that the companies are infringing its patents and is calling for damages "in no event less than a reasonable royalty". RIM - which is appealing against an injunction granted to US intellectual property company NTP that could potentially ban it from selling its products – has filed a suit in federal court in Dallas asking for a ruling that the InPro patents are invalid. It said in a statement this week that InPro had shown "threatening and grasping behaviour". All the legal uncertainties surrounding RIM add to the problems facing all PDA makers in a declining market. One of the company's weaknesses has always been its lack of success in Europe, which it is aiming to reverse next year. © Copyright 2003 Wireless Watch Wireless Watch is published by Rethink Research, a London-based IT publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter delivers in-depth analysis and market research of mobile and wireless for business. Subscription details are here.
Wireless Watch, 28 Nov 2003