Red Hat made solid strides over the past year, posting a boost in revenue and income for its first quarter. Red Hat reported total Q1 revenue of $41.6m - a 53 percent rise over the same quarter last year. Net income surged as well, increasing 603 percent to $10.7m. Red Hat managed to pump out $30.1m in cash during the quarter, ending the period with cash and investments totaling $964m. "Red Hat continued to show consistent execution in the first quarter of fiscal 2005, as evidenced by a strong sequential growth in subscription volumes, gross margins, and operating margins", stated Kevin Thompson, Red Hat's CFO. "Cash flow from operations once again remained strong, representing 72% of total revenues in the quarter". Red Hat's shares plummeted earlier this week when Thompson surprised investors by saying he would leave the company. The CFO has agreed to stay on until a replacement is found. Looking back at the first quarter, Red Hat saw operating system subscriptions hit 98,000 - a 13 percent sequential increase. Investors again sent Red Hat's shares lower on the financial news as they expected higher revenue totals. In the after-hours markets, Red Hat dropped close to 10 percent, at the time of this report, to $22.39. It started the week at $26 per share. ® Related stories Microsoft delivers 'the Facts' about Linux Microsoft delivers 'the Facts' about Linux Bigmouth McBride turned us off SCO, says investor Red Hat powers ahead of Novell?
Wanadoo UK has been told to ensure that sponsored links from its search engine are "clearly identified in future" so as not to mislead punters. The ruling by the ASA, the UK's advertising watchdog, follows a complaint against Freeserve (the ISP has since been rebranded as Wanadoo) which alleged that the summary of its search results did not make clear that the results were sponsored links. Instead, the complaint claimed that the results were ranked according to the amount of money sponsors paid, not according to their relevance to the search term. Wanadoo denied that its site was misleading or that its search results were less relevant because they showed sponsored links first. It added that all sponsored links were clearly identified as being delivered by Overture, which provided the online advertising services. But in a ruling yesterday, the ASA dismissed Wanadoo's claims after deciding that "consumers could be misled" by the inclusion of these sponsored links. Andrew Ellam, the head of Web design firm 2-Minute-Website.com, and the man who made the complaint, is delighted at the stand taken by the ASA. Following his success, he's lodged a further 12 complaints against other search engines which, he believes, are also misleading customers. Said Mr Ellam: "I contacted the ASA on behalf of all our small business clients". Since they pay less than a hundred pounds to get their website, they can't afford to spend hundreds on advertising - and they shouldn't have to. "Consumers are likely to be fooled into thinking these adverts are unbiased search results, and small businesses who should appear in the listings are suffering". "We've contacted the ASA about a number of other UK search engines and we've asked them to issue UK guidelines to correspond with those in the US, where the Federal Trade Commission ensures search sites make 'clear and conspicuous disclosure' when advertisers have paid to appear in their results." Separately, Wanadoo UK has confirmed that it is re-jigging its business "in a way which will enable us to stay ahead of the market, and continue to thrive in a fast moving competitive environment". The ISP said: "We are integrating the Portal and Internet Access sides of our business in three newly created departments, each led by a newly appointed Board member." ® Related stories Consumers don't trust paid-for search Google back in court over Adwords Search drives US online ad sales Freeserve strikes ad blow against AOL, Tiscali
Police in the US and Europe could soon be testing a stun gun capable of delivering 50,000 volts to its target without using wires. The gun, developed by XADS for the US Marine Corps as a crowd control device, has concerned human rights groups because of its potential for indiscriminate use. Furthermore, according to a report in the forthcoming edition of New Scientist, no independent safety testing has been carried out. Conventional stun guns - the best known of which is the Taser - work by firing darts into the target. The darts trail wires connected to the gun by which the electric shock is delivered. However, its use is limited to single targets at very close range. It is also highly controversial: 40 people have died following shocks from a Taser, although in every case the death has been attributable to other factors, including alcohol or drug use. The new device works very differently: it fires a stream of plasma, or ionised gas, at its target. This provides a conductive channel for the electricity. Early versions have a limited range - just 3 metres - but because of the way it works, it will be possible to sweep the beam across multiple targets. "We will be able to fire a stream of electricity like water out of a hose at one or many targets in a single sweep," said XADS president Peter Bitar. The method by which the charge is delivered may be different to existing stun guns, but the same safety concerns remain. Amnesty International is worried that the stun guns could "inflict pain and other suffering on innocent bystanders". Robin Coupland of the Red Cross told New Scientist that the stun guns could easily become instruments of torture. Given humanity's astonishing ingenuity in that field, that seems almost inevitable. XADS has plans for a more advanced version that will have a range of around 100m. This will use high powered lasers to ionise the air itself, creating the conduit for the current flow. To do this, the company says, the laser pulse can be very brief but must be very intense. They plan to use a UV laser to fire a 5-joule pulse lasting less than half a picosecond. The plasma conduits this creates can be sustained, researchers say, if the laser is fired repeatedly, every few milliseconds. In an interview with a local Indiana publication, Inside Indiana Business, Bitar added that the device would give the military, police forces, or private security companies "enormous flexibility". The US Marine Corps Systems Command acknowledged the device was probably first seen on Star Trek, adding that this was the "closest thing there is to bringing that fiction to reality". ® Related stories Illegal stun guns sold on eBay UK Buy Kirk's chair on eBay Boffins make real-life tractor beam How Cyberpunk lit influenced technology
Vinod Khosla, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems who wrote its first business plan, and one of the pivotal figures in Silicon Valley capital, has warned that nanotech frauds are on their way. The first IPO in the much-touted sector will shortly take place, with the flotation of Nanosys, a Silicon Valley company which has gained over $50m in capital and filed over 200 patents, as premature. For Khosla it's a problem that he can't evaluate what it's actually selling. "When people start investing in a technology as opposed to investing in an application [and] when people start hyping a technology, you're sure to have bad things happen," said Khosla. He said the sector would "almost certainly" create a bubble. "And whether they are doing it knowingly or unknowingly, there is a reasonably high likelihood that they will defraud the public market," he said, referring to Nanosys. It's not that he thinks that nanotech is bogus. Far from it: he's invested in two firms and regards nanotechnology breakthroughs in computer memory and batteries as inevitable in the next few years. But he doesn't think companies should go to market without a product and he's dubious that old companies have been able to repackage themselves as fresh nanotech startups. Nanosys itself has licensing agreements with Intel and Matsushita (Panasonic) to exploit its portfolio. Nanosys' CEO Larry Bock has a slash-and-burn reputation with startups: of twelve biotechnology companies he took public in 2001, four have gone bust and the not one of the remaining eight is making money yet. ® A partner at Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers, Khosla has invested in optical networking and silicon companies in recent years. You can find an account of his early years at Sun here - it's worth a hundred airport kiosk business paperbacks.® Related stories SIA wants more money for nano-electronics World safe from nanobot 'grey goo' Europe slips behind on nano technology Researchers build nano 'trees' The fastest nanotube in the west
Reg Kit WatchReg Kit Watch Acer has updated its PocketPC family with a model it has already dubbed the "wireless wonder", launching the device in Taiwan today. The hyperbole isn't entirely warranted, however: while the new n30 brings Bluetooth to the line-up, it's missing the Wi-Fi and GPRS connectivity you might expect such a named device to carry. Acer currently only offers one Wi-Fi PDA, the n20w, in certain territories in the Asia-Pacific region. The n30 is driven by a Samsung S3C2410 CPU clocked to 266MHz. It contains 64MB of SDRAM and 32MB of Flash ROM. The screen is the usual 3.5in 240 x 320 display, and the device runs the first edition of Windows Mobile 2003. Acer's new model is a compact 11.8 x 7.1 x 1.3cm and weighs 130g, so it's both slimmer and lighter than its n10 predecessor. It provides a single SD IO/MMC slot for expansion, though the n10 offers a CompactFlash connector, one of the reasons for its bigger bulk. Inside the n30 is a 1000mAh rechargeable battery. The n30 is expected to retail for around $280 in the US and is already available in the UK for around £180. ® Related stories FCC posts GSM, Wi-Fi iPaq specs HP preps 4 July iPaq launch Bluetooth group preps 2.1Mbps spec 'Official' Pocket Loox 700 Wi-Fi PDA pic appears on web Dell readies 624MHz Wi-Fi PocketPC Navman preps PocketPC with GPS PDA makers unveil Wi-Fi, GPRS PDAs Asus adds Wi-Fi to MyPal PDA family Orange launches own-brand wireless PDA Related reviews Medion MDPPC250 PocketPC GPS Bundle Evesham integrated GPS PocketPC Bsquare Power Handheld
Although common in Japan and parts of Europe, lock down CDs have finally landed with a splash in the United States. Bertelsmann Music Group's fourteenth CD to feature the customer-unfriendly measure, Velvet Revolver's Contraband (no, this isn't Spinal Tap, although the group contains lots of old lags) has reached No.1 in the US chart. Lucky duckies who buy the CD will discover that BMG has used MediaMax copy protection from SunComm, which prevents Windows PCs from ripping the Guns N'Roses supergroup. To sweeten the pill, the CD includes with DRM-enabled Windows Media Player versions of the files. However, if it works, this excludes Macintosh owners from doing anything with the CD (although we're yet to find a copy protected CD that the Mac can't unbork). Prior to the release of Contraband last month, said that less than half of one per cent of borked-CD buyers, or 100 out of two million, have rung up its hotline. So far. SunComm and rival MacroVision are planning CDs which allow a limited number of burns to a PC. ® Related stories Biometric DRM is 'empowering' says iVue maker Copy protection to extend to multiple but limited burns EMI admits CD copy protection compatibility problems Copy-crippled CDs launch in UK, baffling Auntie Beeb
Intel has notified system builders that it is discontinuing its 3.06GHz Pentium 4 chip. The part, which operates across the ageing 533MHz frontside bus and is based on Intel's 130nm 'Northwood' core, will be phased out through the rest of the year, with the chip giant finally refusing to take orders for the part on 15 October and suspending all shipments by 16 December (for chips sold in batches) and 15 January 2005 (for boxed parts). Intel said the move had been made because of "market demand" for faster CPUs, and indeed the announcement comes just days before the anticipated launch of a 3.6GHz P4. That said, Intel does appear to be offering the 2.8GHz version of the 533MH FSB-supporting Northwood P4s. Intel also said this week it was discontinuing its old PXA210 ARM-based processor, though with such a focus on the XScale PXA255 and the recently released PXA270 - aka 'Bulverde' - it will come as a surprise to many that the 210 was still available. ® Related stories Intel to EOL Mobile P4 in Q1 2005 Intel 'delays' Centrino 2 chipset Desktop Dothans 'will not replace Prescott' Intel preps P4 core update
Intel only began shipping 90nm Mobile Pentium 4 processors at the start of June, but it has already signalled its intention to upgrade the parts' core. Like the desktop 'Prescott' CPUs, the mobile versions are due to move from the current, 'D-0' core stepping to a new one, 'E-0', later this year. Intel will begin sampling E-0 MP4s in July ahead of their introduction on 1 October. The change will require a BIOS update, according to documentation seen by The Register. But "no significant changes are expected in electrical and thermal specifications relative to the D-0 stepping", the document claims. The new version of the core will "incorporate power optimizations to enable speed enhancements", the documentation reveals. There is no indication that the chips will be granted 64-bit EM64T support. The chips in line for the upgrade are the three MP4s launched on 2 June: the 518, 532 and 538, clocked at 2.8, 3.0 and 3.2GHz, respectively. All three contain 1MB of L2 cache, and provide HyperThreading support, SSE 3 and SpeedStep power-conservation technology. ® Related stories Intel ships mobile Prescott P4s Intel preps P4 core update Intel to EOL Mobile P4 in Q1 2005 Intel EOLs 3.06GHz Pentium 4 Intel 'delays' Centrino 2 chipset
Some 500 NTL broadband tech support staff at the cableco's call centre in Swansea are to be shunted to IBM as part of an outsourcing deal between the two companies. Workers at NTL's broadband technical support team will make the move in September under TUPE (Transfer of Undertaking - Protection of Employment) rules. While some workers will be end up working for IBM, others will only make it as far as employment agency Manpower. Although tech support staff will be moved to IBM and Manpower, they will continue to be based in the same building in Swansea. "We do not anticipate that there will be any compulsory redundancies as a result of today's announcement," said NTL. Plans to increase the number of jobs (handling general or fault-related calls from residential customers) at the Swansea call centre by almost 400 over the next couple of months remain unaffected by the outsourcing decision. Said NTL exec Peter Wilcock: "Achieving customer service excellence is vital to NTL and we believe that by outsourcing this specialist function to IBM we will be better placed to meet the needs of our broadband customers." In April, NTL announced plans to shed 1,500 workers and reduce the number of call centres from 13 to just three. ® Related stories NTL axes 1500 jobs Union blasts NTL job cuts 60 face axe at Dixons call centre Union moots strike over Swansea e-gov plan
Intel's much-vaunted software-based Wi-Fi access point technology, once touted as a key feature of the upcoming 'Grantsdale' and 'Alderwood' Pentium 4 chipsets, will not be available when products are formally announced this weekend. What's missing, Intel officials admit, are the add-in cards needed to equip mobos based on the new chipsets with Wi-Fi. "We're announcing the technology [on] Monday and providing availability later throughout the year," Intel spokesman Dan Snyder said, eWeek's Mark Hachman reports. Said daughtercard only contains the Wi-Fi radio - the control circuitry is incorporated into the ICH6W South Bridge that's a part of both Grantsdale and Alderwood. The upshot is that add-in card and South Bridge are inextricably linked. So to offer Wi-Fi with a Grantsdale machine lacking the Intel daughterboard, system builders will need to add a complete third-party Wi-Fi adaptor card. No third-party Wi-Fi radio currently available can work with ICH6W's wireless components, Snyder said. Intel's daughtercards will ramp during the third and fourth quarters, he added. Grantsdale and Alderwood will sell as the i915 and i925 series, respectively. The chipsets will be formally launched this weekend, along with their 775-pin CPU connection socket and six Pentium 4 processors capable of being installed in it. The P4 520, 530, 540, 550 and 560 will be clocked at 2.8, 3.0, 3.2, 3.4 and 3.6GHz, respectively. All will support an 800MHz frontside bus and HyperThreading, and include 1MB of L2 cache. Intel will also offer a 775-pin version of its 3.4GHz P4 Extreme Edition. Most are 775-pin re-tools of existing 478-pin CPUs; only the 3.6GHz P4 is a truly new chip. ® Related stories Makers tout i925, i915-based mobos ahead of Intel launch Intel grabs 21 June for Grantsdale launch Intel to launch 3.6GHz P4 in June Intel preps P4 core update Intel ships mobile Prescott P4s Intel bins 'Extreme' graphics name Intel completes hi-def audio spec Grantsdale DX9 support limited to pixel shader only Intel moots Centrino-style home PC platform Intel to integrate Wi-Fi into next P4 chipset Nvidia, Intel target corporates with multi-screen rigs
It was five years ago today...It was five years ago today... Something a little off-the-wall to end the week: an uncomfortable encounter between chipcos at a Vulture Central anniversary bash at our old stomping ground in London's Maddox Street. Those of you who were lucky enough - if lucky is the word - to visit our extensive suite of luxury premises in Mayfair will remember that the place was dangerously close to a kebab shop and three pubs. Which would explain the hilarious morning-after byline on this little piece of history: AMD and Intel meet in lavatory By Cy Berspace Published Friday 18th June 1999 16:34 GMT It was our first year anniversary party last night. Don't ask most of us why, we're actually five years old in August, and we moved into Maddox Street in March last year. But a party's a party. Sure enough, folks from AMD and Intel tipped up but try as we might, we couldn't get them to stand together in a photograph. Imagine our surprise, then, when a Reg staffer found himself between two suits, one from AMD and one from Intel, in the lavatory at Cy in Maddox Street. Our staffer said he said: "Why don't you two just shake hands?" Trouble is, the hands were otherwise occupied... We should point out for the record that said hands were otherwise occupied in "watering the plants". Any other interpretation of the phrase may result in litigation. ®
Nokia is once again a member of the WiMAX Forum, having quit the organisation just over a month ago. It's reason for returning to the fold? Everyone else is getting involved, so Nokia feels it has to play too. Nokia's move to leave the Forum, made in early May, was something of a U-turn in its own right. As one of the Forum's founding members, Nokia has long promoted WiMAX with much enthusiasm. Intel's arrival and high-profile promotion of the technology seems to have been accompanied by a toning down of Nokia's own support. At last it said it would not renew its membership, preferring instead to focus on 802.11 and 3G rather than 802.16. A unnamed Forum member cited by Techworld claimed that Nokia had effectively been a silent partner for some time, and only left when it did because its membership subscription had naturally run its course. Nokia's second U-turn, revealed earlier this week at the company's Connections conference, comes without a comparable shift of strategy. It still believes its short-term goals are best served though Wi-Fi and 3G, but it now accepts it can't ignore WiMAX given the support the technology is getting from other major telecoms industry players. "The decision [to quit the Forum] was perhaps made too much on a practical basis rather than with regard to what the rest of the world is doing," Nokia's networking group general manager Sari Baldauf told reporters this week. The company also pointed to the momentum building behind the mobile version of the standard, 802.16e, but that remains a longer-term technology. ® Related stories Nokia quits WiMAX Forum Proxim, Intel to develop WiMax reference kit Wireline operators flock to WiMAX BT joins WiMAX standards group Navini comes in from the cold Intel recruits Alcatel to co-develop WiMAX kit
Cash'n'CarrionCash'n'Carrion A breathless Cash'n'Carrion operative armed with laser pointer and Powerpoint presentation has just emerged from the joss-stick fuelled haze at our Merseyside warehousing facility to declare that the paradigm-busting Strategy Boutique t-shirt is back in stock in all sizes from medium to XXL: Magnificent. Here's how our own marketing Soviet describe this essential apparel: Thinking of re-energising your company's brand frontage? Then don't be seen dead at the joss-stick-scented rebranding power brunch without our official Strategy Boutique t-shirt. More than 3,000 hours of whalesong-driven Powerpoint presentations are behind The Strategy Boutique's inspirational slogan alone: "Moving forward in pushing back the envelope of the corporate paradigm". But for your £12.76 (£14.99 inc VAT) you also get the Boutique's hypnotic mantra: "Thrust", "Synergy", "Evolution", "Profit" and the promise that it will deliver "Innovative e-solutions to the sound of whalesong". So, click here to reveal how you too can redirect your core business mission statement into project-critical client service penetration. Let the vital energy flow. ® Why this t-shirt is necessary to fight the international Strategy Boutique menace Capgemini succumbs to rebranding madness Taiwan hit by sudden outbreak of rebranding madness Welsh dragon struck by rebranding madness Terrifying outbreak of rebranding madness in France Whalesong-driven rebranding madness spreads to Spain Deloitte Consulting fires up the whalesong and joss sticks
French consumer group, UFC, is claiming victory for ordinary Net users after AOL France was fined €30,000 (£20,000) by a French court yesterday over allegations that parts of the ISP's contract were unfair. UFC and its magazine Que Choisir had questioned the legality of more than 38 clauses in AOL France's contracts, including its own service responsibility, per-minute billing and restrictive contract terms. Yesterday, a French court found that 21 clauses were "abusive" and 11 "illegal", according to a report by AFP. As well as the fine, AOL France was ordered to publish the court's verdict on its website and in three newspapers. It must also email its punters with news, reported the news agency. AOL France said it planned to appeal the decision insisting that half the clauses cited in the case no longer appear in its contract. And it warned that the decision would "impact the entire industry, since other market players are the object of similar complaints". ® Related stories AOL warns of falling revs as punters flee service AOL France to challenge Wanadoo over predatory pricing AOL UK ticked off for 'exaggerated' ad claim
LettersLetters We think we touched a nerve with one of the pieces we dug up from the vault this week. The implication that the whole Y2K thing was a storm in a teacup did not sit well with some of the heroes who saved us from The Bug. "As history records, or at least the history as recorded by the one person who was still sober on the fateful night, absolutely nothing happened. Mankind emerged blinking into the light of the new millennium without beholding a vista of total devastation. One thing had changed, however: somewhere on a beach in Barbados, the CEO of a Y2K compliance company and his VP in charge of scaremongering were toasting their good work in a solid-gold jacuzzi into which the words "A fool and his money are soon parted" had been lovingly engraved." At the risk of being FoTW I think this is a tad unfair. Although there were people who did nicely out of scaring people about Y2K the fact that very little failed at the millennium shows the success of those of us who worked bloody hard to make sure it wasn't a problem. I was Technical Director of a vertical market software house in those days and I started planning for Y2K compliance in about 1995 and my programmers spent a *lot* of man hours changing our data structures and code over the last couple of years before the millennium to ensure we were compliant. We finally achieved compliance in summer 1999 so our software coped admirably with Y2K, but it would have fallen over rather badly if we had not done the work beforehand. -- Regards Paul Oldham On your "5 years ago today" story, mocking the Y2K doom-mongers for predicting disasters that never happened - I did Y2K work back in 1999. The reason there were no major disasters was that I, and the thousands like me, worked our arses off. Would we have been given the time and resources if people had said, "it probably won't be that big a deal"? I think not. Yours, Dave Hemming ex-COBOL programmer Hi Guys , I really enjoy your site, the articles are well written and light and airy, I rarely feel the need to whine about anything you have written, I even own hacker hat, polo shirt and mug.... but (bet you didn't know that was coming). I grow garlic in my garden to keep elephants away, I have never seen an elephant in my garden, see how well it works? Y2K was different, systems would have failed, serious problems with major financial systems would have caused significant losses, things would have stopped working. Many people put a lot of hard work into fixing and testing systems before problems occurred, nothing happened, but this was in no small part because of the effort that people put in to make sure nothing happened. OK so a few people took advantage of the scaremongering, but it doesn't mean that it was a waste of time. But of course, things did actually happen, no planes dropped out of the sky but issues still occurred, minor ones, like the 105 year old that got the call-up to go to primary school. The planes won't drop out of the sky until the 4byte rollover in 2038, I'll be retired by then but perhaps I'll come out of retirement to do some expensive consulting on the 4br bug ;-) Mikey Two words for you, regarding millennium cash-ins: travel agents. That's all we are saying. Also this week, NASA suggested that British strawberries might get to go to Mars. We immediately set about trying to work out how we could disguise ourselves as summer fruits, to blag a place on the mission. Other people had more realistic thoughts about it: Hi Lucy, "NASA scientists are keen to use an English breed because it will be more accustomed to low light levels than those from California or Florida." ah - that'll be all those clouds, I suppose; here in Norway, the strawberries get plenty of sunlight during their ripening season, due to days being longer further North. That effect should also apply for the UK variety relative to Californian and Floridian - they may have more intense sun-shine, but it's for a briefer period each day. > the fruit has already been nicknamed the 'Marsberry'. it's perhaps worth noting that the Norse word for strawberry is Jordbaer, literally "Earth berry", so that's a very apt nickname :^) Eddy. This week, a US appeals court ruled that DirecTV "cannot sue individuals for merely possessing technology useful for illegally intercepting the company's satellite signal". Well DirecTV's campaign of bullying purchasers of smart card technology is finally beginning to unravel. It is long past time in this subscribers opinion. I am a DirecTV stockholder, and pay close to $100.00 USD per month for the service. I am all for going after actual pirates. Yet I am furious that DirecTV would engage in a campaign that looks (to me) like a shakedown. I have always thought that harassing and threatening your customers is a shoddy way of doing business and shows a complete lack of basic business knowledge. It is strip-mining plain and simple, and the act of a management that has no long term vision or plan. Not a comforting thought for a DTV stockholder. Clearly, engineering a robust defense against signal piracy is preferable to flooding the court system with frivolous lawsuits and tormenting your clients. Get with it DirecTV! So now DirecTV states that they will 'investigate claims of innocence!' What gonads they have! Unless their lawyers have purchased their diplomas from some internet mill, they ought to know that in a criminal case in the USA, a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Claims of innocence indeed! The burden of proof is on DirecTV. Now that the court has ruled that mere possession of smart card technology does not justify the filing of civil lawsuits against suspected pirates, DirecTV will have to do its homework before it can hope to win lawsuits claiming piracy. This is how it should have been all along. Security researchers and other users of smart card technology need not fear the jack-booted thugs from DirecTV any more. Now if I could just get DirecTV to drop all of those shopping and pay per view channels and put that bandwidth to use improving their signal quality which suffers horribly from compression artifacts when viewed on a large screen TV. It is a dream I have. Steve Lubman The flip side, of course, of huge NHS investment in IT is that hospitals and the like are stuffed full of nice, fenceable, computer equipment, just waiting to be nicked. This week, it was the turn of the pathology department at The Royal Shrewsbury in Shropshire: Lucy; This happens very frequently all over. The first time I happened to run ac cross this problem was in Buenos Aires in 1989. Company's first customer in that year was a branch office of a Brazilian bank where we had to specify the expansion of the network. During this job one fine day a guy came in told the security guards he was from maintenance and removed the server 'for maintenance'. They let him walk away happily through the front door with all the financial records the Argentina branch office had (and the server, of course). I'm sure there are many, many more cases like this all over. Miguel As you might imagine, this is not the first such theft from a hospital. I work for the xxxxxx Hospital in xxxxx and we lost a similar number of systems a couple of years ago. This is a sad world and it has a number of bad people in it. The event I mention occured in an area that is open to the public during the day but it is locked at night. The theives had to bash open a fairly substantial door to get in. They neatly disconnected everything and left little mess (other than the door). The reason I am writing is to express my unhappiness at the fact that in Shrewsbury the computers seem to have contained confidential data. Please feel free to mention to your readers the benefits of computer networking. Workstations should not contain data. They are for applications. All data should be on servers in really well locked down areas. Ours have cameras, motion sensors swipe card access and so on. Nothing's foolproof but we do try. When our machines 'walked' we were able to say that none of them contained anything more confidential than document templates and the contents of browser caches. We were able to pull some old machines out of cupboards and everything was running witching a few hours. It was running a bit slower though... Scott So, in 7 years time - or whenever - these PC's would have contained "patient data" including (presumably) ID card identifiers etc ... So a nice case of (easy) stolen identities. (Nice to see the NHS knows what backup is though!) Its going to take a fair bit of work to secure these "ID systems" isn't it!? One more thing to add to the list of "Change Procedures": "No patient data should remain on an unsecured system for longer than the period of time it takes the operator to process/use/view that information. Neither should such information be stored (other than in temporary memory) on any such unsecured machine - Any such temporary storage must also be automatically erased once the machine has been inactive for a period of 5 minutes." Has .gov budgeted for this revamp of all NHS/Police/Social Services systems in their cost calculations? Thin Client IS the way forward - Someone send a Post-It to Home Secretary Blunkwit mentioning the need to investigate this "cost issue". Andy Harrison I will never understand how people who are charged with storing sensitive confidential information don't seem to understand the most basic principles of security. Confidential information should only be stored on computers in a locked room. Desktop and laptop computers should never have any files with confidential information stored locally. People in positions of responsibility seem to take the attitude that they won't be the victim of any problems that will compromise the sensitive data that they store on machines that are out in the open and are accessible by the janitor or people who wander into an area when nobody else is around. It's long past time that people lose their jobs over these kinds of incidents. These so called responsible people never suffer any consequences in these situations. Kevin McDonald The US government relented (slightly) on its request that we handover voodoo representations of ourselves for them to stick pins in if we are bad while visiting the US. Well, it has extended the deadline for the biometric passports, anway. And we were making it up about the Voodoo dolls too. When, oh when, are the members of our governments going to wake up and realise that my passport already contains biometric data - it's a picture of my face. Cheers Steve Foster If the US want biometric data on passports, why not give them some? As far as I understand, they did not ask for a specific kind, did they? I could imagine, for instance, a sealed drop of the ID holder's urine planted into the passport or a scratch-and-sniff panel of their body odour. Something that is definitly biometric data, obviously silly and possibly a little gross to the poor person who has to evaluate it but not to the passport's wielder. I can even imagine some of the bigger privacy advocation groups paying for it. After all, if our big brother overseas says so, we little old countries have to obey, don't we? Your sincerely (more or less, as far as this issue is concerned) Sabine Miehlbradt We like the way your mind works, Sabine. An excellent level of silliness. And, let's end on a light note. The mysterious case of the BBC fridge delivery mix-up. Hi There, Fantastic, certainly made my day brighter. Maybe the beeb could do a show called 'When deliveries go wrong'. Cheers Rob Hi Lester, Perhaps it wasn't a mistake but a tape for David Attenborough's series Life in the Freezer programme :-) en Haiku: Might it not have been A good idea for Beth et al To obscure numbers? Now, before we get lots of emails about this one, we understand that, technically, a Haiku should have 17 syllables, divided into five, seven and five. No one needs to write in and explain this to us. Also, we are aware that in fact these 17 syllables are not supposed to be English syllables, but Japanese onji, which are not quite equivalent, and that the 17 thing is more of a guideline than an actual rule, anyway. Sort of like the rules of Parlez, but with less piracy. OK? Oh, I hate to do this with a really good story, but I'm not into software forensics for nothing ... If you actually look into the .mp3 file, you will find references to the creator of the file, possibly one Steve Cripps, possibly at a company called Wise Buddha. More importantly, you find references to a creation date of July 2000 ... Well, as Lester himself said: Blast! Still, let's not let a few minor details get in the way of a good story, eh? ®
The following strange missive has just been forwarded to us by reader Webb Morris, who wonders is it a legit appeal or some form of scam? Whatever the truth, it's an entertaining tale of a handsome young Italian with few prospects, sclerotic parents and ambitions to live in the US. Nothing fancy, mind - Florida, Beverley Hills of Hawaii will do. And as for the perfect "sugarmamma" to finance this modest lifestyle, well, Lucky Luciano reckons she can be "eterosexual or bisexual and I'm also avaible for an eventual overweight woman". Note, however, that "false women, men, or gay men" need not apply for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: From: "Luciano Vitali"
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 2004 15.47.41 +0200
Subject lady read my letter please
This is a special letter for ladies only. This means that if you are a man or a minor,it's not for you.
I'm an Italian guy,I live in Italy and my name is Luciano. I'm writing to you because maybe you can help me.
Here in Italy I don't have a good future because there's the recession,the down swing causated by our new money,the euro and also causated by our government that is not able to give a higher salary to the people: now our salaries value the half and the prices of the things are almost the double.Here in Italy my life is in danger because is getting always more difficult to survive, there's no job and it's also a big problem to live with sclerotic parents that are only able to scream and argue all the time. I also have a little brother affected by a rare deasise.
I'm here because I'm looking for a sugarmamma in USA ,I need to go away from here as I cannot have help from my parents and later I could also find something to do like job I mean. I have been to Florida once because I had a girlfriend but she left me because "unfortunately" she found another man when i came back to Italy for health reasons. I want to come back to USA because here there's no future for me and I'm looking for a wealthy lady who lives in the famous "treasure coast",I mean north east Broward County or east Palm Beach county but I would go also to Hawaii or Southern California.......(Beverly Hills,Santa Barbara,Malibu',Montecito,Bel Air..etc).
Sorry, I'm poor and I can come there only if I find a wealthy woman,only a rich can help me.
I'm in love with Florida because I Like warm places,palm trees ,nature,calm and I would be Interested in Delray Beach, Boca Raton,Palm Beach, Golden Beach,Highlands Beach, Lauderdale by the sea,Admirals Cove, Manalapan,Coral Springs,Jensen Beach, Boynton Beach, Deepwater, Hutchinson Island or Jupiter but like I said above,I could be interested in Hawaii or Southern California too.
Considering that I like the mature women, I'd love to find a lady of 45-55yo age range. I'd love to find a gentle lady who lives in a Spanish,French,Roman or European style swimming pool house near the sea (as i like to swim) or intracoastal (if she lives in Florida I mean). I seek a lady without young or old children,a no smoker lady who could be widowed,separated,single or divorced and could take care of me.
With this I'm not saying that I want a millionaires,if there's one that's ok but I just seek a rich woman and I think that she would be happy with me. I'd like an American lady or also a latin or oriental/asian lady.
I seek a woman that figures out of the years,looks young and feels young : it's not a problem if she's not beautiful because she should be beautiful inside and most of all , she should desire a younger soulmate.
It's not a problem if she is eterosexual or bisexual and I'm also avaible for an eventual overweight woman.
I have long brown hair,brown eyes,my weight is 65 kilos(145 lbs) and my height is about 1.80 metres(5.11)...
I'm no smoker /drinker and I'm very good looking.
If you could be the kind of woman I'm looking for, write me soon please!!!!!!
I'm here because I need help and I'm not a joke because it wouldn't have sense.
Thank you very much for reading my letter and I hope to find the woman I'm looking for.
ps: false women,men,or gay men don't bother me.
Luciano Vitali- Italy.
Well, we cannot possibly imagine why our Florida-based female readers who live in Spanish, French, Roman or European style swimming pool houses near the sea are still reading this. Get to it!
Lottery scams new flavour of the month
What do you get if you cross a 419er with 3000 oxen?
Is this the worst scam email of all time?
Scientists working on Fermilab's SELEX experiment have found a odd new sub-atomic particle in the 'heavy-light' meson family. The researchers are intrigued because the meson lives longer than it should, weighs more than it should, and decays into unexpected particles. Typically, the heavier the meson, the faster it decays. However, this meson - a combination of a strange quark and a charm antiquark - is the heaviest meson ever observed in this family, yet it lasts three times as long as its lighter relatives. Fermilab's Peter Cooper said this kind of contradiction is "just not supposed to happen. If this meson played by the normal rules of the strong interaction," Cooper said, "it should fall apart quickly and we never would have seen it." The lifetime of a typical meson is so short, they almost don't exist at all: about 10-24 seconds, or the time it would take light to cross a proton. This makes them tricky to locate. In fact, these mesons have only just been identified after extended analysis of data from an experiment that ended in 1997. A meson is made up of a quark and an antiquark, held together by the strong force. The family name, 'heavy-light', refers to the fact that these mesons are made up of a massive quark and a relatively light quark. Relative to one another, the heavy quark sits still and researchers need only track the motion of the lighter companion. This makes them relatively easy to study, and an ideal place for scientists to investigate the strong force. This is the force that keeps atomic nuclei from flying apart. It also controls the decay rates of particles, which are generally fairly predictable, the researchers say. This result implies other undiscovered decay patterns lurking in nuclei. If that isn't weird enough, when it finally does decay, it does so strangely. Researchers found that the meson decayed into an eta particle six times more often than theory predicts. Scientists were expecting it to decay into a K-meson. The scientists think the results indicate that a new (as in, new to science) dynamical aspect of the strong force is at work. Fermilab's James Russ says this is like watching someone pour water into a bucket with a small hole and a large hole in the bottom: "For some reason, the water is pouring out the small hole six times faster than it's coming out of the large one. Something unusual must be going on inside the bucket." ® Related stories US boffins charged with parity violations CERN celebrates 50th birthday The truth about tritium
Fewer people in the UK are using directory enquiries (DQ) since the old "192" service was deregulated and opened up to competition last August. While three in five punters said their use of DQ services has remained unchanged, a quarter said they didn't use the service as often as they use to. One in ten said they no longer used the service at all. According to research published today by industry regulator Ofcom, half of consumers who have given DQ services the elbow said they were put off by "perceptions" of higher costs and iffy service. Instead, these people have opted to use phone books or the Net to look-up numbers. The findings, contained in Ofcom's latest investigation of the UK's DQ sector, support other industry stats which show that people simply aren't making the same amount of calls as they use to. Despite this, the research found that the information being dished out by DQ operators is getting better and that competition is beginning - only beginning, mind - to drive down prices. For instance, 87 per cent of all numbers requested were accurate and 99 per cent of all calls were answered first time. But while half of those services tested charged less than 40p for the call (that's what BT's 192 DQ service used to cost) half were more expensive. Keen to keep an eye on the fledgling sector, Ofcom said: "There is evidence that many consumers remain unsure about some aspects of the new market. Although it is likely that public understanding will continue to grow as the market matures, Ofcom will continue to monitor development closely." ® Related stories UK's 118 DQ services get better The Number & BT in DQ supremacy spat David Bedford upstages 118 Runners relaunch BT in 118 500 price hike
A story in today's Daily Telegraph (registration required) leads us to suspect that roving gangs of Chinese mainland blaggers may be operating in the Wakefield area. Our report yesterday into the daring snatch of PCs from crime-busting tech expo Asia Securitex 2004 in Hong Kong came just a few days after "thieves broke into Business Homes' new business park in Wakefield and stole the 60 cameras and sensors that made up its 'state of the art security system'." What is especially satisfying about this audacious coup is that the two of the business park's residents are HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and HM Prisons Service. Director Simon Houlston, who presumably had not yet really got to grips with the reality that his entire surveillance set-up had been well and truly knicked, told the Telegraph: "This was a seriously sophisticated system. There are cameras hooked up to a central office in Blackburn. If the men watching the screens see a burglar they send a message out on loudspeakers to the office warning them to leave." In this case, however, the "seriously sophisticated system" failed when the light-fingered ne'er-do-wells simply ignored the message and pilfered the kit regardless. In fact, the only effect of the amplified deterrent was to convince an old lady next door that she had heard the voice of God "telling her, in a strong Lancashire accent, to leave the vicinity as soon as possible". ® Bootnote Thanks to reader Clinton for fingering this gem. Related stories Thieves lift PCs from security show Nine PCs stolen from NHS hospital Muggers refuse to nick crap mobile phone
Europe and the US clashed head-on over how to tackle xenophobic material found online, with the European tendency towards tough regulations at odds with US constitutional protection of free speech. After a two-day conference in Paris this week, the group of international delegates failed to reach the strong consensus people had been hoping for. Instead, they called for greater co-operation between governments and industry to fight the material. The news comes in the same week as reports that the number websites promoting hate and violence has risen nearly 300 per cent since 2000. European officials argued that online publishing of racist, anti-semitic and xenophobic materials should be made illegal. This would send a message that the dissemination of hate on the internet would not be tolerated, they said. However, according to the International Herald Tribune, the US delegates disagreed. Stephan Minikes, US ambassador to the OSCE said that suppressing views was not the correct way forward. "Rather than fear the purveyors of hate, let us confront them in the marketplace of free ideas," he said. Instead, the US delegates proposed further investigation into how effective banning such material would be. With the Net being the kind of place it is, it is doubtful that legislation would be able to stop the publication of racist or xenophobic material. Those looking for a positive sign in the deadlock consoled themselves with the thought that the issue was now at least on the global agenda. ® Related stories German hate mail spam attack stuns experts Hate websites continue to flourish ISPA: users should report dodgy content...
BT is set to cut the cost of its broadband ADSL products in the next few weeks in response to ever-increasing competition from rival ISPs. Exactly how much BT intends to lop off the cost of its packages remains to be seen. But industry sources claim the price cut is on its way and could be made within the next fortnight - just four months after it first unveiled its sub £20 a month service. Snag is, since BT launched its "Basic" service at the beginning of March the cost of ADSL had continued to tumble. UK punters can now pick up entry-level ADSL broadband from around £15 a month with large ISPs, such as Wanadoo, offering high speed Net access for £17.99 a month. This makes the price of BT's own entry-level product - at £19.99 a month - look rather expensive. Recently, the he UK's dominant fixed line telco - which has the largest slice of the UK's retail ADSL market - has launched a number of promos to try and boost demand. As well a discounting its service by £80 and offering free flights, it's also paying punters who recommend others to take-up the service. This, the telco said, was "a sign of a competitive marketplace". ® Related stories BT punts another broadband promo Eclipse unveils flexible, boostable broadband Nildram to offer PAYG broadband AOL UK in sub £20 broadband offer BT in broadband free flight promo PlusNet offers 'full-fat' broadband PlusNet cuts price of entry-level DSL Freeserve morphs into Wanadoo BT touts £20 capped broadband Rival ISPs rubbish BT Broadband Basic
Intel has done something truly daft, and built a laptop into a surfboard. The "Oh, now you can really surf the Web" kind of gags are just too tempting in this case, so we thought we'd steer clear of them and focus on the kit. As well as a tablet PC, the 9ft Wi-Fi longboard also has built in solar panels and a video camera. The tablet has a wireless chip, a 1.7Ghz processor and a 80Gb hard drive. It is protected from the sea by a specially designed waterproof casing made of a tough but lightweight tray with a silicone seal, a crystal PVC cover and an aluminium gasket, The BBC reports. Intel says that even though it is all a bit of a giggle, it has tried to incorporate the computer into the board without messing with the ride. Pro surfer Duncan Scott is set to try it out - via a hotspot on the beach - at the GoldCoast Oceanfest at Croyde beach in North Devon this weekend. Gives you something to do while waiting for your set wave, we suppose. ® Related link Pictures and the full BBC story are here, to prove we're not making this nonsense up. Related stories Penguins come to Wimbledon Rawhide gets taste of the Wi-Fi cowboy Wi-Fi yak farmers liberated by Net
The drunken brawl in the UK's "Big Brother" house - which ended with security guards being rushed in to break up the scrap - has created a stampede of interest among viewers eager to know more about the on-screen aggro. As a result, the Big Brother website has, for the first time, made it into the top 20 most visited sites. Said Web monitors Hitwise: "Following the recent outbreak of violence in the early hours of Thursday morning which led to security guards intervening and the show being taken off air, the website became the 17th most visited website in the UK; the highest position achieved for the website last year was number 34." It's the first time in the show's five-year history that security has needed to be called to the house. Police have since launched an investigation into the incident. ® Related stories Italian stud seeks US sugarmamma We salute Web antidote to 'Big Brother'
A nanoscale drug-delivery system is being tested at Singapore General Hospital. The technology is being used to help treat cancer by carrying the treatment directly to the tumour site. The device, developed by biotech company pSivida, is based on a material they call BioSilicon. This is cheap, safe and biodegradable, the firm says. As spokesman for QinetiQ, one of pSivida's investment partners, said that the new material was highly adaptable and had broad applications. "Silicon, when reduced to the nanoscale (less than one thousand millionth of a metre) becomes biodegradable and dissolves into the body as silicic acid," he explained. The key to its function is the porous nature of silicon at such small scales, the BBC reports. Gaps, typically around 10 atoms across, can be filled with various substances including drugs, peptides, proteins and genes. The difference between this and other time-release medication, the researchers say, is that the release rate can be controlled thanks to silicon's conductivity. So far the lab trials have been going well, the company says, and the testing on liver tumour patients should provide results by the Autumn of this year. ® Related stories Nine PCs stolen from NHS hospital Scientists go quantum dotty over night vision UK chemists detect air fingerprints
Let music be the food of love. Last weekend some scoundrel abruptly yanked the chain on 3,000 web logs without giving the authors any notice, or chance to save their work. Was this the action of a vandal, or a hacker, or some shadowy, self-loathing nihilist with some statement to make against society? No, in this case, the trail led back to the very man who had hosted these pages, a person who amazingly, the web loggers had trusted to keep their most personal thoughts safe for five years. Only he left clues: much like the Unabomber, or the British Angry Brigade or the Italian RAF of the 1970s, he'd left an incriminating communiqué - a bizarre, rambling nine minute audio tape justifying his actions. He'd made the mistake of posting it on the Internet - where it was eventually found this week. The man, an eccentric but wealthy former software developer who, we discover, has been harbored by Harvard University's Berkman Law School for the past year, recorded this communiqué on Sunday. Criminal psychologists may be poring over the tape for years, looking for clues as to his motivation. But perhaps the answer is very simple. Just as each man, according to Oscar Wilde, is compelled to destroy the thing he most loves, the hoster decided to send eight thousand blog-years of creativity down the plug hole. As the man, one David Winer saw it, in his own strange mind: he created it, so he only he had the power to destroy it. Yet this is a story with a twist in its tale. Out of this dark pathology comes light. Creative people have turned the man's angry, self-justifying rant into art. It's already spawned two dancefloor gems which you can find at waxy.org. Several phrases in the original communiqué begged to be sampled. "My feeling is that people generally don't read essays," said the veteran essay writer in the tape, who's been posting them far and wide under the title "DaveNet" for a decade. This forms the hook for Dan Dickinson's very catchy I'm Sorry (Dave Winer Mix), which mashes the beats of Benny Benassi. The refrain of "this is not a company, it's a person" (Winer retains ownership of the company, Userland Inc, that was hosting the weblogs) is highlighted on Matteo Canale's This is Not a Morning Coffee Note (Deep House Mix) (although it sounds more industrial than deep house to your reporter. Then again, who are we to say?) "Formats and protocols are a deadly combination for me," says Winer in another sample, and many will agree. In the tape, the Userland owner says he has no plans to host websites ever again - although this is probably a moot point, as no one will ever trust him to host websites again. Significant questions remain, however - it's more than simply another failure of the social care system. How could he be holed up at an Ivy League University, passing himself off as a figure of importance in the software community? Research shows that the character not only didn't invent even what he claims to have invented - they're the typical tall tables of a paranoid fabulist - but he was shunned by much of the community that he desperately wanted to use them. In many ways it's the familiar story of the sad outsider, desperately seeking acceptance. It's just as well that the blogicidal maniac didn't make an audio file of his posting about having "childlike sex". Or people would think he was really strange. ® Related stories Harvard man loses 3,000 weblogs One blogger is worth ten votes - Harvard man Webloggers deal Harvard blog-bores a black eye
It could have been the constant engine room clang or maybe the ominous ice triangles bobbing up and down off in the distance. It's hard to say exactly what made it happen, but Parametric Technology Corp. (PTC) got nervous. The software maker has abandoned the Itanic and leapt for a lifeboat marked Xeon Extender. "PTC will no longer be supporting the Intel Itanium systems for Pro/ENGINEER, Pro/INTRALINK and Windchill, effective June 1st, 2004," the company said in a statement. "With this decertification of the Intel Itanium and PTC's plans to support the next generation Xeon better aligns us with the growing customer demand for supporting an architecture that will operate in 32-bit and 64-bit modes with improved performance, memory allocation and lower total cost of ownership." Throughout Itanium's tedious existence, attracting ISVs to the chip's EPIC instruction set has been a major problem for Intel. After many years hawking Itanic, Intel did, however, finally manage to assemble an impressive stable of software makers. But one must wonder if PTC's move signals the start of an Itanium fallout as ISVs decide against feeding an ever-deepening money pit and focus on the healthy Xeon market instead. While not a household name, PTC does make software used by Boeing, Rolex, Audi, Nike, Braun, Maytag and Itanium sellers HP and Dell. The company is a large CAD software maker that just reported $165m in second quarter revenue. It's more or less exactly the type of high-end software maker Intel hoped to see on Itanic. But instead, PTC has decided to focus on Intel's x86-64-bit Xeon processor. The company made this particular move due in large part to partner HP's leanings to 64-bit x86 chips such as Opteron and Xeon Extender. "HP feels that this new technology is a complement to existing Intel processor family," PTC said. "As a benefit, customers will receive systems that will expand with their growing demand for more memory when dealing with large datasets, by enabling users to move to a 64-bit environment on the same hardware. Not only will they experience greater memory allocation, but also enhanced performance and overall cost of ownership will be drastically improved." Intel must be pained to see PTC give Itanium the finger, but must be made even angrier by PTC's decision to blur the line between Itanic and the upcoming 64-bit Xeon. This wasn't supposed to happen - remember? Different markets. Different focus. Not competing. But here is PTC citing Itanium's biggest fan - HP - as the reason for its move away from Itanium. If that's not trouble on a deserted tropical island (The Itanic equivalent of paradise), we don't know what is. What are PTC's Itanium customers to do now? Well, PTC has an e-mail address - listed in the statement - standing by. "PTC intends to work with you to help facilitate transitional issues that may arise." That's comforting. ® Related stories What 2007 means to your data center HP gets vague about Opteron and Itanium blades IBM breathes life into Itanium ecosystem