19th > May > 2004 Archive

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Acer Aspire 1355XC budget notebook

Review It wasn't so long ago that the PC industry made a big fuss about sub-£1000 desktops, machines deemed to be affordable without too much compromise. More recently, we hit the sub-£1000 laptop market, and again these machines were deemed "affordable" yet powerful. But £1000, or even close to that figure, is still a lot of money for the average person to spend on a computer. In real terms, you can pay less for a second-hand car. Thankfully, for those on a tighter budget, desktop bundles are now regularly advertised for less than £500, and laptops are feeling the squeeze too, even if the quality of many of these machines has left a lot to be desired. But is the situation improving? Based on our testing of the Acer Aspire 1355XC, which is available for just under £600, it most certainly is, writes Gordon Kelly.
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Marconi back in the black

Telco equipment maker Marconi has posted its first quarterly profit for three years. The company is bouncing back after watching its share price collapse and restructuring to pay off £4bn in debts.
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Baltimore directors face second coup

Baltimore Technologies is having more trouble with its revolting shareholders. One of the largest shareholders in the e-security-turned-cash-shell company is calling for an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to sack the entire board of directors.
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AOL UK in sub £20 broadband offer

AOL UK has joined the scrum of ISPs offering cut-price entry-level broadband.
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AT&T back on the mobile road

AT&T has done a deal to get back into the mobile phone business by piggy-backing on Sprint's network. The five-year agreement will mark AT&T's first foray into mobiles since it spun off AT&T Wireless in 2001. Financial terms were not revealed. It will offer mobile services and branded handsets.

IBM dishes out Power tools for Linux

Programmers and software developers are, like the rest of us, creatures of habit and limited by the comfort zones of our own areas of expertise. IBM may want Linux enthusiasts, snobs, and zealots to give Linux on Power a whirl, but just saying that they should doesn't really accomplish much...
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EU software patents: how the vote was won

The European Directive on software patents was voted through last night by the slimmest of margins. Crucially, Germany switched its position at the last moment and voted to support the directive, despite its previous vehement opposition.
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Logica warns on wireless profits

LogicaCMG warned yesterday that its wireless division was likely to see sales fall 10 per cent in the first half of this year and institutional investors warned the management that their days were numbered.
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ID card backlash: is the poll tax effect kicking in?

UK public support for ID cards is declining, while opposition is hardening, and a surprising number - perhaps five million - would be prepared to take to the streets in opposition, according to a new opinion poll released today. The results, although they still show 61 per cent in support of the scheme, show committed opposition in sufficient numbers for poll tax-style disruption to be a very real possibility.
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IBM to fab next-gen VIA CPU

VIA will use IBM's 300mm East Fishkill wafer fab - the foundry already used to punch out CPUs for Apple and Nvidia, and soon Microsoft and Sony - to produce the next generation of its x86 processor family. The company will utilise Big Blue's 90nm silicon-on-insulator, low-k dielectric process.
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Powergen awarded whistleblower's domain

Powergen has won a domain name dispute against a critic who has become a thorn in its side since he highlighted a serious breach in consumer security at the utility more than three years ago. A WIPO panel has decided to transfer ownership of the domain PoWergen.tv from John Chamberlain to the utility. Chamberlain told El Reg he had no plans to appeal the decision. "Looks like I've lost my domain name powergen.tv," he conceded.
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BEA posts mixed quarter

BEA Systems revealed good news and bad news for the first quarter ended 30 April 2004. It made a pre-tax profit of $39.1m on sales of $262.2m - up 11 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.
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UK DSL coverage reaches 90%

Nine out of ten UK homes and businesses can now get DSL broadband, according to the UK's dominant fixed line telco. Confirmation that BT has hit its "significant milestone on the way to universal broadband availability" comes a day before the company publishes its latest round of financial figures.
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CSC secures $110m in UK contracts

CSC has announced a bunch of UK contracts that will bring in $110m. The IT services company has signed up Allders department stores, DIY chain Homebase, cigarette-maker Gallaher and brewery Whitbread.
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AMD preps revitalised value CPU line

AMD's current public - due for an update, the company admits - lists the Duron line but notes that its survival into 2005 depends upon the 'requirements of the market'.
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Fur flies in animal rights domain dispute

The US Arbitration Forum has ruled that consumers are able to distinguish between a fur retailer and an anti-fur protest site. This rather common-sense ruling clears up a legal scuffle over ownership and content of www.neimancarcass.com.

My chip is bigger than yours

It was five years ago today... These days, if your laptop doesn't boast Centrino processor, DVD player, 256GB RAM, Bluetooth, metallic paint finish, alloys, tints and go-faster stripes, then you're likely to be laughed out of your local Wi-Fi hotspot by a howling mob of besuited execs sporting the latest in titanium-clad mobile offices. Today's blast from the past demonstrates the lengths to which, in 1999, our German cousins would go in order to avoid inadequacy in the GHz department:
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'Large spam attack' hits BT Yahoo! email

BT has blamed a "large spam attack" over the weekend for delays to its email service.According to a recorded customer info message this morning: "BT Yahoo! customers may be experiencing a delay in receiving email."
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HP preps 4 July iPaq launch

HP will apparently launch a raft on new iPaq PDAs on 4 July. With a nod toward PalmOne's Zire and Tungsten lines, three of the new machines will be aimed at the consumer multimedia market and the fourth will target the iPaq's traditional executive customer base.
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Russia's first operator-brand mobile

Europe in Brief Russia's number one mobile operator MTS last week unveiled Russia's first own-brand cell phone. The sleek S-680, which sports the MTS-GSM logo, was launched at the Svyaz telecoms exhibition.
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Barcelona nightclub chips customers

A tongue-in-cheek Register story has backfired after a corporation took up a possible application we sought to poke gentle fun at.
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MS' anti-virus bounty success

Opinion When Microsoft first announced its "bounty" program late last year, many security experts condemned the initiative as a mere publicity stunt: a marketing tactic designed to distract gullible users from the "real issue" with Microsoft products.
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US engineers perfect butt-kicking machine

A US engineering firm, Leavitt & Associates Engineers, has applied to patent a "Manually Self-Operated Butt-Kicking Machine". In simple terms, this is a chair with a hole in the seat combined with a kicking foot, all operated by the seat's occupant. It allows the operator to administer a "butt-kicking", should he or she feel it is appropriate.
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EU patent law dies, software law lives

The push to unify Europe's patent laws collapsed on Tuesday, washing years of work and compromise down the drain. The proposed directive, a hotly-debated matter in recent months, sought to reduce the costs involved in the patent process and to unify Europe's disparate patent laws into a single code. The proposed law was a central plank in the Lisbon Agenda, which aims to make Europe the most competitive economic zone in the world by 2010.

IBM locks in VMware through 2007

Shocking as it may seem, IBM and EMC have agreed on a three-year technology sharing pact. Well, not exactly.

House of the future to feature talking mirror

Researchers from management consultants Accenture are focussing their powerful brains on what technology the house of the future will contain. They believe that ageing populations in the western world will have an increasing need for houses that can keep an eye on their inhabitants. Technology could also monitor the health of older people and help them stay in touch with their friends and relatives.
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Napster to announce 'partnership' with NTL

Napster is to announce a tie-in with UK cableco NTL, a well-placed industry source claims. The arrangement could be made public this week, possibly as early as tomorrow when Napster will reveal the precise date for its UK launch.
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Utah sees first spyware case

Overstock.com is set to become the first company to take action under Utah's new anti-spyware law. The company has filed a complaint against online retailer SmartBargains in the third district court in Salt Lake City. Utah's spyware law, the world's first, only made the statute book on 3 May. Utah is the only state with current spyware legislation, although California and Iowa are considering their own versions of the law.
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NTL email suffers 'complex failure'

NTL says it has no idea when it will resolve a problem that has left many of its punters unable to send email. The problem - which began yesterday - means that many of NTL's customers are experiencing problems sending email after the service was hit by the intermittent glitch.
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Intel-backed Wi-Fi network calls it quits

Wi-Fi hotspot wholesaler Cometa Networks has confirmed that it is to shut down its network - less than 18 months after its launch.
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ESPN faces baseball score theft rap

Sports score service ESPN has been accused of stealing minor league baseball stats from smaller rival the Sports Network in a lawsuit filed this week.
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Online church smites sinners

Online chapel the Church of Fools, stay with us here, has been forced to excommunicate some members of its congregation.
server room

RLX tempts yet another investor

Blade server maker RLX Technologies defied the skeptics this week by securing millions more in funding.
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DVD streamers deploy royalty-dodging ruse

Dutch company Dvdstream claims it can deliver movies to customer's TV sets digitally without having to pay additional performance rights.
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Inkra preaches consolidation to UK

Network security firm Inkra Networks has opened up shop in the UK. The company's technology consolidates and virtualises network security functions (Virtual Private Network, firewall, intrusion detection and load balancing) onto a single device, called a Virtual Service Switch.
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SBC workers use four-day weekend to taunt management

Close to 100,000 SBC employees plan show their displeasure with the trend of sending telco jobs overseas by going on strike this week.

Brocade narrows loss, whacks workers

Brocade staffers helped the company narrow its second quarter loss and were rewarded for their efforts with a round of layoffs.