17th > December > 2003 Archive

Server vendors unite for the common good

In a rare showing of unity, all of the major server players have come together to support the creation of a new interface standard for managing hardware. Intel, Dell, HP and IBM stole top billing in an announcement from the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF), touting the new CIM (Common Information Model) specification for servers. Other vendors such as Sun Microsystems, AMD, Oracle and Microsoft also chipped in their names for the program. Collectively, the companies make up what the DMTF is calling the Server Management Working Group. The basic tenets of the server collective are modeled on a similar push already underway in the storage industry to develop a shared set of interfaces for management software. Where the storage vendors have the Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S), the server vendors will create their own version of CIM. With any luck, the program will benefit end users in the long run. A management standard would help ensure customers don't get locked in to IBM's On Demand Computing model, HP's Adaptive Enterprise or Sun's N1 technology, for example. Ideally, a shared interface would let various vendors create software that can plug into these larger management lines. But don't get your hopes up for any quick fix. The server working group won't hold its first meeting until Dec. 17, and their plan to create a version of the CIM specification by July 1 of next year seems rather optimistic. The vendors, however, do have an idea of where they want to go. The first point of attack will be to create a common Command Line Interface (CLI) for both local and remote hardware management. "The group will also further evolve CIM to cover the latest server system topologies, such as blades and virtualized server systems," they said in a statement. "Realized through protocols, the specifications will deliver a lightweight, human-oriented CLI that can be mapped to CIM and driven by scripts." There is little other information on the planned work at this point and time, but we'll keep you posted as things develop - if they develop. The storage vendors have been plodding along with this idea for quite awhile and are only now starting to come out with a fair amount of SMI-S product. It's hard to say how long it will take the server vendors to come around, but in the long run this step was both inevitable and in the customers' best interests. ®
Ashlee Vance, 17 Dec 2003

Sun settles with the Feds on China server sales

Sun Microsystems will cough up $291,000 to settle charges brought by the U.S. Commerce Department for the sale of rogue servers to China and Egypt. The main system of ill repute is a 14-processor E5000 server shipped off to China in 1997. Sun papers said the box was heading for the Automated Systems Ltd. Warehouse in Hong Kong, but the Feds found the server at the Changsha Institute of Science and Technology in mainland China. This institute happens to dabble in some military research, which put Sun in violation of a rigorous set of export restrictions that require a license for certain high-powered computer sales. Similar charges followed for sending gear to a military customer in Egypt and shipping computer upgrades to Colombia and Venezuela. Sun settled the charges without admitting or denying the charges - a favorite practice of big business. The whole affair does not come as much of shock. Sun has been updating investors of progress in the matter via SEC filings over the past two years. Sun HQ will pay $269,000, while its Hong Kong-based subsidiaries Sun Microsystems China Ltd. and Sun Microsystems California Ltd. will each shell out $11,000. ®
Ashlee Vance, 17 Dec 2003

Credit cards: a contactless future

The contactless credit cards currently being trialed in the US offer numerous advantages such as speed and security. Despite this, a lack of common standards for the new RFID cards and the current roll out of chip cards under EMV standards means that it will take some years before they become mainstream. The contactless cards that American Express and MasterCard have been trialing differ from traditional magnetic strip cards as they have chips imbued with radio-frequency identification, or RFID. The new cards only have to be held near a special reader in order to function and cardholders don't have to remove the card from their wallets. The main advantages of such a system are speed and security. Both the American Express and MasterCard trials have met with some success. American Express' Express Pay has been trialed on numerous occasions in Phoenix, and has recently been expanded to the New York Ferry terminals for the Hudson River, while MasterCard's PayPass is set to be rolled out across the US in 2004, initially focusing on fast food outlets and other similar places where people are in a hurry. Despite the success of these pilots and the advantages that contactless cards offer, it is unlikely that they will become mainstream in the near future. One major reason is the lack of common standards in place; at present the card schemes are using their own technology. If contactless cards are ever to become a mass payment system, the card schemes need to work together to create common standards. Contactless cards will also initially struggle because much of the card world (the US aside) is focusing on the transfer to chip cards under EMV standards. In Europe and some other countries the transfer process is already underway. Indeed, much of Europe aims to have EMV fully in place by 2005, although this deadline is likely to be difficult to meet. Ultimately the point remains that with card issuers, schemes and retailers in much of the world focusing on EMV standardized chip cards, there is little room for the development of contactless credit cards at the present time. Contactless credit cards may be the future for the payment card industry, but it appears that they are for the longer-term future.
Datamonitor, 17 Dec 2003

Check Point strengthens perimeter with Zone Labs

Check Point Technologies acquisition of Zone Labs for $205 million will provide it with the means to beef up its offerings in endpoint security and SSL VPNs, areas where its rivals have been making strides recently. It will also give Check Point a sizable consumer business for the first time, with the ZoneAlarm product helping to increase brand awareness. Check Point Software Technologies will pay $113 million cash and $92 million worth of shares for Zone Labs in a deal that is expected to close in Q1 2004. Check Point CEO Gil Schwed has said that Zone will be operated as a separate division and will keep its brand. Zone is perhaps best known for its free and paid-for versions of ZoneAlarm, personal firewall software, which it offers to consumers and businesses. But recently it has been heavily touting its Integrity enterprise endpoint security system. Integrity allows companies to enforce security policies such as patch level and anti-virus signature status on desktops across their network. Through integration with network devices, desktops can be blocked or quarantined if they are not policy compliant. Mr Schwed says that this complements SecureClient, Check Point's virtual private network software, which often includes a network firewall component. The firewall component is the only major area of overlap. The deal will aid Check Point in its strategy of expanding beyond its historical strength in perimeter security, where it dominated the stateful inspection firewall market but has recently seen its growth stall as rivals grow. Zone has been partnering heavily with providers of SSL VPNs, including some companies that Check Point competes with, including NetScreen Technologies (due to its acquisition of Neoteris) and Aventail. SSL VPNs allow remote users to access corporate resources using SSL as the secure transport protocol, negating the need for IPSec client software. Integration with endpoint security software gives companies more confidence the access point is also secure. Check Point hopes its new Zone division will experience 50% revenue growth in 2004, to $42 million from the $28 million it is expected to record in 2003. The deal will also mean that Check Point will have a sizeable consumer business for the first time. Check Point intends to keep offering the free ZoneAlarm product, as it creates brand awareness and acts as a good testing ground for new technologies. Source: Computerwire/Datamonitor Related Research Enterprise Security Product Markets
Datamonitor, 17 Dec 2003

Police crack down on mobile phone thefts

Mobile phone thieves are to be targeted in nation-wide scheme to crack down on street crime. Police have the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit (NMPCU) to target thieves and dealers who ship high-value phones overseas. Half of all street crime involves the theft of a mobile phone, and almost one third of these crimes involves the theft of just a mobile, police say. Working with officers throughout the country as well experts from the industry, the NMPCU is to tackle all levels of crime involving phones - from those that steal, handle the gear to those that reprogramme phones and then ship them overseas. Said Home Office minister Hazel Blears: "Street crime has fallen considerably, but mobile phone theft continues to fuel street robberies in our towns and cities. "The Government is already working hard with the police and industry to tackle this problem. We helped set up the database of lost and stolen phones, are working with police and the industry on the Immobilise campaign against mobile theft, and have introduced tough legislation to combat mobile phone re-programmers which has penalties of up to five years in jail. "The National Mobile Phone Crime Unit is the next step in our fight against this crime. It will lead the fight against mobile phone crime by providing specialist advice and intelligence to police forces across the country." ®
Tim Richardson, 17 Dec 2003

SiS ships mobile Athlon XP chipset

SiS yesterday unveiled the mobile incarnation of its SiS741 integrated chipset for the AMD Athlon XP. The SiSM741 supports a 333MHz frontside bus and DDR SDRAM clocked at up to 400MHz. The integrated DirectX 7 graphics core - SiS' Real 256E - utilises a portion of the main memory as video RAM, communicating at the memory's own speed rather than that standard AGP 8x connection rate. It can support display resolutions of up to 1920 x 1600. The chipset's South Bridge is SiS' SiS963, which provides Serial ATA, ATA-133, six USB 2.0 ports, 5.1-channel surround sound, a 56Kbps modem and 10/100Mbps Ethernet. SiS is also touting its SiS162 WLAN chipset with the part in a bid to appeal system builders keen to target the Wi-Fi market. Either way, SiS expects notebooks based on the SiSM741 to appear next quarter. ®
Tony Smith, 17 Dec 2003

Evesham Voyager 64 Athlon 64 notebook

ReviewReview There's something very special about this notebook from Evesham. Something that makes this particular machine different from any other notebook that has found its way into our offices. But looking at it you wouldn't be able to see what's so special because, in this case at least, it's what's inside that counts, writes Riyad Emeran. Beating at the heart of the Voyager 64 is an AMD Athlon 64 3200+. Now I've seen a lot of machines with AMD's new 64-bit processor inside, but they've all been desktops. This is the first notebook computer I've seen with an Athlon 64 inside it, and it brings with it a new age of mobile computing, the 64-bit age. Of course there's more to a notebook computer than the processor alone, and it has to be said that Evesham has put together a formidable package in the form of the Voyager 64. Backing up the Athlon 64 CPU is 512MB of RAM and a capacious 60GB hard disk. Graphics are very well taken care of by an ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 chipset. This is the pinnacle of notebook graphics chips and should mean that you can use the Voyager 64 to play modern 3D games. For a user that's decided on a desktop replacement notebook as their only computer, the ability to use it for leisure as well as work will be a welcome feature. The screen is a good example, offering a rich and vibrant image. The viewing angle is pretty good, which will please anyone that has to give presentations on a notebook. The screen measures 15.1in diagonally and sports a native resolution of 1400 x 1050. The combination of screen size and resolution was perfect for me and I used the Voyager 64 for hours without the slightest hint of eyestrain or headache. The keyboard is a strange looking beast. Although it's black in colour, the keys themselves are translucent and it's possible to see through the larger ones. I have to say that I'm not a fan of the way the keyboard looks, but I am definitely a fan of the way it performs. Maybe it's to do with the large dimensions of the chassis, but the amount of travel you get when striking each key is amazing, and the break is solid. I just found myself typing faster on this notebook than I have on any I've tested in recent months. If you're looking for a desktop replacement that you'll be typing long documents on, the keyboard on the Voyager 64 is reason enough to put it on your shortlist. Not only does the keyboard perform well, but the Return, Backspace and both Shift keys are of significantly increased size. The cursor pad is in the correct configuration and is set apart from the rest of the keyboard. If the Fn key and the Ctrl key swapped places, the Voyager 64 would have the perfect keyboard layout. The other half of the input device complement is the touchpad. This is set far enough below the Spacebar to avoid any accidental activation while typing. The touchpad is oval in shape and black, while a large silver frame surrounds it. Below the touchpad are two buttons that emulate the left and right mouse buttons. Pressing either of these buttons results in a very loud click which you'll find either reassuring or annoying. Between the selector buttons is a four-way rocker for scrolling pages both horizontally and vertically. Although the chassis of the Voyager 64 is large I found it very ergonomic to work with and suffered none of the typing problems that I encountered when using the Acer Aspire 2003WLMi. If there is one criticism, it's that the right hand side of the wrist rest gets very warm with prolonged use. Evesham has pushed the boat out with the optical drive. For a start it's a slot loader, which may not be physically superior to a tray loading drive, but it's much cooler feeding CDs into your notebook this way. This drive will write CD-R and CD-RW discs, which is pretty much standard these days. But it's also a DVD writer and will happily burn DVD-R and DVD-RW discs as well. But wait, it doesn't end there. Being a Panasonic unit, this drive will also read and write DVD-RAM discs, which gives you the ability to use double sided 9.4GB discs with random read/write access. A DVD-RAM disc acts more or less like a removable hard disk and is ideal for secure, removable data storage. The front of the chassis is well featured. Here you'll find headphone and mic sockets along with an analogue volume wheel. There's also a FireWire port, an infrared port and a memory card reader that accepts SD/MMC, SmartMedia and Memory Stick. The left side of the case is taken up by the massive battery pack and a large exhaust vent area. The right hand side features the aforementioned optical drive along with a 10/100Mbps Ethernet port, a modem socket, a Type II PC Card slot and two USB 2.0 ports. At the rear is a parallel port, a D-SUB connector, an S-Video socket and two more USB 2.0 ports. Above the keyboard is a long silver ridge with a large power button at the right end. On either side of this ridge are speakers covered in metal mesh. Considering the size of the speaker covers I expected big things from the built-in sound, but my expectations were unfounded. It would appear that only the speaker covers are large and that the actual speakers are tiny, since the sound quality is tinny and poor when playing back music. The Voyager 64 comes loaded with Windows XP Home. You also get a copy of Microsoft Works 7.0 for office productivity, Pinnacle Studio 8SE for video editing, B's Recorder Gold for optical disc burning, and WinDVD 4 for watching movies. Performance-wise the Voyager 64 is fast, but not as fast as I was expecting it to be. The SYSmark 2002 score of 214 makes it the second fastest notebook we've seen, but to be honest I didn't expect it to be lagging 23 points behind the Fujitsu-Seimens Amilo D8830. That's not to say that the Voyager 64 isn't a fast notebook - it most definitely is - I just expected it to be a faster notebook. However, what really surprised me was the battery life. Usually with a big desktop replacement machine, the battery life will be pretty poor. But running Mobile Mark resulted in a battery life just four minutes short of three hours. The Voyager 64 also turned in a 3DMark 2001 SE score of 10,044 which again is pretty impressive for a mobile platform. Of course this is due to the ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 chipset. If you're thinking of using the Voyager 64 as a 'carry everywhere' type of notebook, don't. With a weight of 3.6kg, you wouldn't want to be lugging it around with you unless you had to and the dimensions of 33.2 x 28.5 x 4.1cm don't make it easy to slip unobtrusively into a bag either. That said, as a desktop replacement solution, the Voyager 64 excels. And if you do want to use it on the move, the battery life is more than acceptable for a notebook this large and powerful. The only thing really missing from the Voyager 64 is wireless connectivity, but then I expect a machine like this to be carried from home to office and back again, and the chances are it will be plugged into a wired network in both places. The final factor to consider is price, and like any new technology, Athlon 64 chips don't come cheap, so I was expecting something a little scary as far as the price goes. I was, however, surprised once more when Evesham informed me that the price for the Voyager 64 was only £1399 including VAT. Considering that you've got cutting edge technology surrounded by a feature rich package, with a price like that the Voyager 64 is a bit of a bargain. Verdict The first AMD Athlon 64 notebook we've seen is something of a hit. The performance wasn't quite as breathtaking as I'd hoped but the overall package offers great features and good value for money. Evesham Voyager 64 Rating 80% Price £1399 including VAT More info The Evesham Voyager 64 web site Related Reviews Acer TravelMate 661LMi Sony Vaio PCG-Z1RMP Rock Pegasus CTS Visit The Reg's Review Channel for more hardware coverage
Trusted Reviews, 17 Dec 2003

Commission agrees US access to EU citizen personal data

The European Commission has struck a deal with the US Department of Homeland Security allowing the handing over of data on EU citizens travelling to the US by airlines. The US currently requires access to airlines' Passenger Name Record (PNR) data, while EU privacy law forbids its transfer to the US. After some amendments which the Commission describes as concessions, however, the US' proposed treatment of this data has been deemed sufficient to rate an "adequacy" finding, and thus passes muster in the Commission's view. According to Frits Bolkestein, the Commission rep who presented the proposals to the European Parliament Committees on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights yesterday evening, the hard-wrung concessions are as follows. The amount of data to be transferred has been reduced to 34 elements, compared to the 39 that a recent European Parliament report felt "excessive." The US will not however require airlines "to collect any data where any of these 34 elements would be empty" (no, we're not altogether sure how that works either), so Bolkestein reckons it will come down to 10-15 in practice. Bolkestein also claims that the retention period has been cut from a laughable 50 years (laughable at both ends, as the more recent US demand was seven) to 3.5 years. This compares with an EU regulation of 72 hours for access, with archiving allowable for up to three years. Significantly, Bolkestein tells us the 3.5 years covers the lifespan of the current agreement, i.e. the Commission has got the US to agree not to hold onto data after the agreement expires. Does this still hold good if (when) the agreement is renewed? One wonders. Concession three is that the deal will not cover the US Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-Screening System (CAPPS II), which will "only" be considered in a forthcoming round of discussions, and in any event won't be dealt with until such time as Congress has stopped being worried about the system. So actually this concession only counts as a concession if the Commission has stopped the US experimenting on foreigners. Which we suppose it might have. Alongside these we have "stronger guarantees with respect to overall US compliance," annual joint reviews, and a US acceptance that EU data protection authorities amy represent EU citizens seeking redress. The US Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection will not bulk share data with other agencies, and the US has agreed to delete combatting serious domestic crime from its list of uses for the data. This does not however meet the EU objective of restricting the use of data to fighting terrorism. As the DHS says: "PNR data is used by CBP strictly for purposes of preventing and combating: 1) terrorism and related crimes; 2) other serious crimes, including organized crime, that are transnational in nature; and 3) flight from warrants or custody for the crimes described above." That would seem to leave adequate scope for mission-creep. In addition to considering Bolkestein's presentation, which can be found here, European Parliamentarians would do well to consider the DHS' analysis of the deal it's clinched. Note that it claims Bolkestein "has committed to proceed with rapid negotiations with a goal of establishing a legal framework for TSA use of PNR data for CAPPS II." This isn't particularly out of line with what Bolkestein's been saying, of course. He and the Commission have a multilateral system for PNR use on their wishlist, and will be in there CAPPS-profiling with the best of them, given the chance. The European Parliament and European Data Commissioners didn't like the US requirements earlier this year, so should now be considering what it might be about the new 'renegotiated' requirements that might make them acceptable. ® Related stories: EU rattles sabres over US use of airline passenger data
John Lettice, 17 Dec 2003

TwinMOS offers USB Wi-Fi adaptor

Taiwainese memory specialist TwinMOS is hopping onto the USB Flash Drive/WLAN adaptor combo bandwagon with a curvy, blue entry into the market. It is also offering a version that provides just plug-and-play USB Wi-Fi, without the Flash drive component. The combo unit, dubbed the B241, contains 128MB of Flash storage space accessed via a USB 1.1 connector. Alongside the Flash memory, inside the unit, is an 802.11b 11Mbps Wi-Fi adaptor designed for worldwide usage. Its antenna clips against the side of the unit and pivots out at the top of the device. The B241 can operate as a WLAN adaptor independently of the Flash drive - handy, perhaps, if your OS doesn't support USB Mass Storage devices. The B240 has to work that way because it doesn't contain any Flash storage. Like the Flash-equipped version, it supports WEP 64-bit and 128-bit security, but not WPA. TwinMOS' entry into the Flash/Wi-Fi combo market follows recent product announcements from Gigabyte and a number of other Far Eastern manufacturers. ® Related Stories Wi-Fi/Flash combo drives proliferate Gigabyte combines Wi-FI, USB Flash drive
Tony Smith, 17 Dec 2003

Those JenniCam competition results in full

We would never have guessed that the vast sunlit lagoon of artistic talent which previously lay undiscovered in the vastness of the Reg readership contained such a rich poetic ecosystem. In fact, so great was the response to our JenniCam poetry competition, that it has taken our highly-educated and erudite panel of experts three days to trawl through the pondweed in search of the prize koi carp beneath. To recap, we asked you to write a haiku or limerick lamenting the demise of JenniCam. The prize on offer was one of our My job went to India and all I got was this lousy t-shirt range. In the end, we decided to offer seven prizes - one each of the aforementioned shirts for the best haiku and best limerick, and five runners-up trophies of a black register minilogo or Register London t-shirt. You see, that's how much we care. What we evidently don't care about is historical accuracy, as Rob Hague noted: Jenni broadcasts her life for the kicks, Still pictures and jittery flicks, But Tim Berners-Lee, Would be surprised to see, A website in 1986. That's right - the original compo stated that JenniCam had been running since 1986, and not 1996 which is in fact the case. This outrage prompted one reader to ask: "Don't you have a bloody subeditor down there at Vulture Central, for God's sake?" Of course we do. Dates may not be his strong point, but he's as sharp as a razor when it comes to speling. Right, on with the competition. For the record, a haiku is composed of 17 syllables, arranged in 5-7-5 syllable groups. Keith Watson, take note: An empty window more naked than the girl who was. Farewell JenniCam Also requiring some extra time at the abacus is Jasmine Strong, who, despite beginning her email "mr. lester sir" (always a good move), needs to take the pruning knife to this effort: The leaves turn brown again Jenni has another income now, Horniness remains. Flattery will always gain you Brownie points, even if your maths is shot to pieces. Begging will get you nowhere, as Dave Appleby is about to find out: Jenni some ogled you. Big bosses at Pay Pal say That website must close Go on I gotta win. I WORK IN A CALL CENTER!!!! No chance. Never mind, though: we calculate that if you put aside 30 per cent of your wages every week for a year, you'll have just about scraped enough together to buy a shirt for yourself. Keep up the good work. Now, you're always going to get those entries which ignore the rules altogether. In this case, Paul Owen has decided that a JenniCam eulogy is better framed within the structure of a nursery rhyme: Jenni had a little cam, It fleeced the public's dough. Everywhere that Jenni went, The cam was sure to go. Actually, we're being a little unfair here, since one of the runners-up also chose to flaunt the guidelines. This is not, however, carte blanche for future competitions. You have been warned. Honourable mentions must now go to a selection of noteworthy compositions. Puneet Kishor can take a bow for this, frankly puzzling, piece of madness: JenniCam made the immature pant But I have a different slant for JenniCam's end doesn't portend her end For Jenni can what JenniCam can't Readers will be wondering when we're going to address the burning issue which got the plug pulled on JenniCam in the first place - nudity. Take it away Jolyon: A window opens, A life's displayed in snatches; Not the snatch you want. Raj Mathur has had an attack of the melodramatics: Evening shadows fall Heart! betray me not again! Will I see a tit? Think you blew it in the last line there, Raj. Joe Kwak is similarly bereft at the thought of the sun setting on Jenni's jubs. His last line is, nevertheless, one full of hope and the possibility of resurrection: Boobies are gone, boo This winter is sad, but now Google knows archives Of course, it wasn't just Jenni's chest which made her such a web celebrity, as Nigel Poll is happy to point out: An American teen called Jenni Had boobs seen on national telly A very nice pair But flashing some hair Was obviously one pube too many And the girl didn't stop at full frontal, either. Jen Phillips and Rich Bone are not afraid to tackle the sensitive ablutions issue: There once was a woman on line Who had dared to show her behind She then took a pee, And asked for her fee, But PayPal politely declined. There once was a thing called a Jennicam, That was visited daily by many man, They wanted to see, How much she could pee, But PayPal decreed it a fanny cam. Line/behind? Jennicam/many man? Nay, nay and thrice nay, we say. Averting our gaze for a moment from Jenny's ample charms, here's Ralph Corrigan firmly pointing the finger at JenniCam's executioners. Jenny's cam has to go on the lam And Paypal will give not a damn For another endeavour That's shut down forever And sent to the slaughter like lamb Finally, and before we announce the runners-up, a special mention goes out to Tony Howat whose scandalous piece of doggerel explicitly addressed the sticky likelihood of adolescent masturbatory activity while enjoying Jenni's bathtime and nocturnal activities. Suffice it to say we cannot publish it in a family periodical such as this, but readers can fill in the blanks if we tell them that the first and third lines end in "ranks" and "muck" respectively, and that the final words of the second and fourth lines rhyme with these, respectively. And the runners-up are... We begin the countdown to glory with our five worthy silver medal winners. Each of these has secured a black register minilogo or Register London t-shirt. Cary S mourns the passing of both JenniCam and his callcentre job: Jenni salves my wounds My job went to India Now, not even this Is there something missing here? Perhaps "...can make me feel better about myself when I'm queuing at the dole office." Then again, maybe the last line perfectly expresses the sense of loss and the tragic reality of a promising career brutally relocated abroad. Hmmm. Enough poetry, on with the nonsense. Hats off to Jay Chandler and this witty pair of limericks: For years we have watched her undress But this joy has turned into a mess. The off button goes click 'cuz Paypal sucks... lemons. You may publish my email address. An applet which through Java was brewed Let us watch Jenni prance in the nude For seven years long, And unless I'm quite wrong You expected this line to be lewd. Nicely done. For lewd last lines, let's bring out "neonknecht": There was young lady called Jenni Who lived many miles from Kilkenny One day she was told That PayPal don't hold With clients who display their punani Atrocious rhyme, yet breathtaking in its sheer bravado. Is "punani", we wonder, the X-rated equivalent of "orange"? Roger Wareham avoided such pitfalls with the highly effective: Shed a tear for the passing of jennicam It was always much more than just any cam But the people who hosted it Finally toasted it When it turned into spendingapennycam Good stuff indeed. And our last runner-up is Norman Madden. True, he broke the rules with his entry, but we think readers will agree that it's a pretty neat piece of work nonetheless: Ah, look at all the lonely people Ah, look at all the lonely people Jennifer Rigley shows off her life in the frame that a webcam can send. Life is a stream. Watches her webcam, opens her place with a lock like a knock on her door. What is it for? (Chorus) All the lonely people Why do they all click here. All the lonely people Why do they all click here. Faraway crazies watching the words of a woman that no one will hear. No one comes near. Look at her working. Darning her socks in the light when there's nobody there. What does she care .? (Repeat chorus) Jennifer's webcam died on the net and was buried 'long side her domain. PayPal's to blame. Paypal and crazies digging up dirt on her cam just to save. It was the cam's grave. (Repeat chorus) A round of applause is in order, methinks, and if that's the case, then nothing less than a standing ovation will suffice for our... Magnificent winners In the end it was a tough call, but we must now ask Douglas Long up to the podium for his acceptance speech. A worthy winner for the inspired use of punctuation in these two haiku: Jennicam is dead good. For so many reasons voyeurs sob. goodbye. Jennicam is dead. Good for so many reasons. Voyeurs sob goodbye. Superb. And would Scott Pedigo please now join us on the stage to collect his shirt for this admirable tell-it-like-it-is limerick - a fitting tribute to JenniCam, we hope you'll agree: We wanted to see Jenni's muff But PayPal's now said that's enough So no view of the rug 'Cause they've pulled the plug Fuck PayPal, they can get stuffed Absolutely. The usual congratulations go out to our winners, commiserations to the losers, and a big thanks to all those who entered. We never knew you had it in you. ®
Lester Haines, 17 Dec 2003

Ofcom broadband review ‘says nothing new’ – Energis

Yesterday's news that Ofcom, the new communications regulator, is looking to squeeze BT's wholesale prices for broadband has met a mixed reaction from the industry. AOL UK welcomed moves that could lead to increased competition in the UK's wholesale ADSL market, claiming it was a "significant step forward for broadband in the UK". A spokesman for the ISP said: "If the proposal were adopted, it would provide better transparency, regulatory certainty and hopefully increased efficiency in the provision of wholesale broadband services. This would lead to wider choice, product innovation and possibly lower prices and greater availability for consumers." However, AOL warned those involved not to get bogged down in the consultation process but to work towards a "prompt outcome". John Pluthero, former boss of Freeserve and now chief exec of Energis, struck a more sceptical tone. "The market review says nothing new - as ever it's jam tomorrow," he said. "Four years on there is still no broadband revolution - instead we have one supplier, one product and one price. Tomorrow never comes - the broadband revolution is on hold until further notice." Tiscali UK's chief exec, Mary Turner, was equally dismissive, saying that any move to increase wholesale broadband was welcomed, but "so far there is no substance - just intention". Instead, she called for activation and migration charges to be slashed to reflect the true cost of these processes, rather something imposed by BT. ® Related Story UK needs greater wholesale broadband competition
Tim Richardson, 17 Dec 2003

So when are you going to launch a mobile Reg?

Site NewsSite News At long last, The Register has a mobile phone/PDA version for you to play with. It's subscription-only - a whopping £10 a year. The Register Mobile is not just a slimmed-down version of Fat Reg. There's reader customisation and a better search engine, for starters. You can check it out for free. The Register Mobile launches commercially on January 26. But it is live already. So until Jan 25, access is FOC. Post-launch, we shall offer try-before-you-buy two-week trials to all potential subscribers, so you will know what you are getting. Wanna know more? Then check out the sales blurb here. Convinced already? Here is the sign-up page. Aim your feedback here. ®
Drew Cullen, 17 Dec 2003

Sun and UC Berkeley are about to BOINC

Sun Microsystems and the University of California, Berkeley are ready to take their search for extraterrestrial life to a new level. They're getting ready to BOINC. In keeping with its long-standing commitment to Berkeley, Sun is donating a fleet of servers to power the next generation of the SETI@home project - the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing or BOINC. The BOINC software is currently in beta and promises to give SETI@home users far more options in their shared computing efforts when the first version of the code is released early next year. SETI@home has linked millions of computers in the hunt for aliens, but with BOINC users will be able to divvy up their compute power among several projects at one time, including cancer research and climate modeling. For its part, Sun is donating some of its midrange Solaris servers and some workstations. In addition, the SETI@home crew is dabbling with Sun's JXTA peer-to-peer protocols for future versions of BOINC. "The big new development is that we are trying to generalize distributed computing," said Dan Wertheimer, director of the SETI program at Berkeley. "Users will be able to set say 20 percent of their spare CPU power to work on global warming and then 30 percent for drug research and so on. We are trying to make a way for more scientists to make use of these volunteers and volunteer computers." The SETI@home project has done the most to promote the idea of distributed computing. With the computer power of over 5 million volunteers, SETI@home becomes one of the largest computers in the world. Some companies have piggybacked on this idea by creating their own distributed computing programs for conducting research, while others have tried to use distributed computing internally to churn through large jobs. While workers are at home sleeping, their computers are humming along. Researchers from around the world are trying to have their particular tasks built into BOINC. An Oxford team working on global warming is visiting the Berkeley labs this week. So how successful has the SETI program been? "We haven't bagged any aliens yet," Wertheimer said. "But I'm still optimistic in the long run. Earthlings are just learning how to do this." More powerful computers and a growing number of SETI volunteers are helping the researchers scan more and more "channels" looking for signals from aliens. BOINC will hopefully attract more people to the distributed computing idea and push the research even further. With the new software, researchers will start examining black holes, pulsars and a host of other space phenomenon. You can join the El Reg SETI@home team here or do some cancer fighting over here. We'll be sure to get BOINCing as soon as the code had a public release. You can also BOINC yourself here. ®
Ashlee Vance, 17 Dec 2003

IBM picks up a Green Pasture

IBM has added another small software maker to its arsenal, picking up Green Pasture Software for an undisclosed sum. Based in Oregon, Green Pasture makes document management software that lets user edit and manage files at the same time. The software tracks who has edited a particular document and what changes were made. Customers can use the code to work on spreadsheets, multimedia files and CAD (computer aided design) references. IBM plans to add the company to tis Enterprise Content Management business. The Green Pasture products will be available right away from IBM. This buy adds to a growing list of small acquisitions made by IBM in the content management space. In Nov. of 2002, IBM scooped up Tarian's records management software and in July of this year, IBM nabbed Aptrix's Web content management software. Green Pasture has a fairly impressive customer list, including DuPont, El Paso Energy, Kraft Foods and Shell. The customer base is largely dominated by energy and oil companies. ®
Ashlee Vance, 17 Dec 2003

SCO shies from French Linux invasion

The SCO Group has pulled back on its plans for a French Linux invasion. Earlier this week, an alert Reg reader noticed that SCO was listed as an exhibitor at the Linux Solutions conference to be held in Paris from February 3 to 5. On Monday, we checked under the letter T on the exhibitor list, and sure enough The SCO Group appeared. By Tuesday morning, however, any reference to SCO had disappeared. So we went to the source to find out what had happened. "I spoke with one of our representatives in France to confirm that we will not be attending the Linux Solutions Conference in Paris next year," said SCO spokesman Marc Modersitzki. "We did not pull out of the conference. We simply never registered." Conference officials have a different interpretation of the affair. "(A) few month ago, SCO planned to exhibit at SL 2004," said Sacha Dunas, who is coordinating exhibitor planning for the conference. "Their strategy about (the) exhibition (has) changed. They decided to cancel their participation as exhibitor and as speaker." There seems to be a bit of confusion. It's too bad that SCO won't be showing up. Platinum sponsor IBM would surely have welcomed the company with open arms. Mr. Stallman might have had a few words for SCO as well. As an aside, the reader who sent the original link said the conference floor plan had the SCO booth wedged in between IBM and Red Hat. It's probably best that this did not end up happening. We doubt there would be enough room for all the lawyers. ®
Ashlee Vance, 17 Dec 2003