23rd > July > 2004 Archive

Sun's Solaris shines on Itanium

In the past few months, Jonathan Schwartz, the president of Sun Microsystems, has twice blurted out ideas about what Sun might do with its Solaris operating system that have a lot of heads in the IT industry cocking their heads to one side like Sun's old advertising dog, Network. In early June, it was open source Solaris, and this week, it was Solaris running on Itanium and Power processors. During the conference call with Wall Street analysts this week, covering its fiscal fourth quarter financial results, Mr Schwartz ran through a long list of statistics where Sun was growing market share, and then during a familiar rendition of the "two horse race story", which posits that the server market has come down to two players, IBM and Sun, Mr Schwartz blurted out that Sun was considering porting its Solaris 10 operating system to IBM's Power family of servers and workstations and Intel's Itanium processor. Yes, the very same Itanium that Sun created Solaris 9 for and then spiked as its top brass called it the "Itanic" for years. Sun has correctly identified that Solaris is what will drive its future, and maybe porting it to Power and Itanium makes sense. Since Solaris 9 was already running on the "Merced" Itaniums, moving Solaris 10 to the Itanium 2 architecture might be a relative snap. And rubbing sand in IBM's eyes that it supports Solaris on more platforms than IBM does with its AIX variant of Unix would be something of a PR coup, as would being able to run Solaris on Hewlett-Packard's Itanium servers. Getting IBM's cooperation to run Solaris on its hypervisor layer on its iSeries and pSeries servers will be somewhat problematic, and similarly, HP is not going to be helpful in showing Sun how to load Solaris into the physical and virtual partitions of its Integrity server line. Neither will be easy, but both are probably doable. However, the incremental sales that Sun might get in Solaris sales would probably be small, and the costs of maintaining the versions for Itanium and Power could be a lot higher than the money they bring in. It could be a great deal of fun, nonetheless, and as Sun has done with Java, it could make a lot of noise that only turns into money a lot further down the road. Being able to say that Solaris will run on any mainstream server in current production is worth something. The question that Sun must be struggling with right now is, how much? The real issue seems to be how much Solaris is running side-by-side at IBM and HP shops, and how much of it is slated to move to AIX, HP-UX, Windows, or Linux in the coming years and how much is expected to stay put on Solaris. Customers have been fond of Sun's Sparc servers, even though they have been perceived as pricey in the past few years, but they almost universally love Solaris with something akin to zealotry. Maybe Sun can sell a lot more Solaris on other people's iron than seems possible at first glance? Maybe Mr Schwartz was throwing out ideas just to demonstrate, once again, that he is thinking outside of the box? Or maybe we should just get used to these kinds of statements from Sun's president. At the Sun Network conference in Shanghai in early June, Mr Schwartz said in a press conference with John Loiacono, head of Sun Software, that the company was definitely taking Solaris open source. The press relations people at Sun were a bit surprised to hear this, particularly since open source Solaris was in the early development phase. What Sun will probably do to make Solaris open source is mimic the Java Community Process, which allows outside contributions by propellerheads and bittwiddlers, but which also keeps control firmly in the hands of Sun. It is not entirely clear how open Sun can make Solaris. Sun is based roughly on the BSD tree of Unix and Sun has also got all of its licensing in order with the SCO Group concerning Unix intellectual property, but making Solaris open source exactly like Linux seems to be impossible because of the intellectual property issues. Sun will have to control how Solaris is copied and distributed even if it does allow outsiders to contribute to Solaris development. It may even turn out that the open source Solaris community gets the job of porting Solaris to Itanium and Power and supporting it as well. Source: ComputerWire/Datamonitor Related research: Datamonitor, MarketWatch: Technology Annual Subscription Related stories Sun staff give birth to 64-bit Solaris on Opteron SCO trumps Sun's open source Solaris bid IBM gives Unix servers a Power5 injection
Datamonitor, 23 Jul 2004

Transmeta sales grow as losses mount

Transmeta experienced modest sales growth during its second quarter of fiscal 2004. But in a reference to 90nm demand issues, the company warned that it is not expecting large-scale adoption of its second-generation Efficeon processor to take place until 2005. During Q2, Transmeta racked up sales totalling $6m, up 18 per cent on the year-ago quarter's $5.1m and 15 per cent on Q1 2004's $5.2m. Unit shipments of Efficeons in both the 130nm and 90nm nodes were up by 130 per cent, the company said. "The majority of our second quarter revenue came from the thin client and notebook markets, and the overall revenue was spread over a broader base of customers than in the past few quarters," said company CEO and President Matthew Perry in a statement. The company lost $25.5m (15 cents a share) during the period, widening from Q1's $23.4m (14 cents a share) loss and the $22m (16 cents a share) deficit reported this time last year. The non-GAAP net loss for Q2 was $22.9m (13 cents a share). This compares with a non-GAAP net loss of $19.6m (11 cents a share) in Q1 and a non-GAAP net loss of $18.3m (13 cents a share) for Q2 2003. Perry declared himself please with the 90nm ramp, noting keen interest in - but not necessary sales of - the 1.6GHz Efficeon. However, the company's first 90nm customer isn't planning to ship until late Q3, and while "we expect some additional Efficeon systems to ship in 2004", said Perry, the "majority" of the Efficeon designs are not expected to ship until 2005. He blamed that on "market dynamics and customer resource constraints". Looking ahead to Q3's figures, Transmeta said it expects sales to come in between $8m and $8.7m, making for a 33-45 per cent sequential jump in sales. But that's less about chips than chip technologies - $3.5m of that figure will come from licensing its LongRun 2 power-preservation technology. Transmeta also forecast a net GAAP loss of 11-13 cents a share. ® Related stories Transmeta shows working 1.6GHz 90nm Efficeon Transmeta sales rise as Efficeon interest grows Dialogue demos 'total wireless' sub-notebook Intel to add NX security to Pentium 4 in Q4 Transmeta pledges 'no execute' security support Transmeta hunts for life in small devices Intel 'acquires' Russian Itanium killer's R&D staff Ultra-personal Computers - PCs in a pod
Tony Smith, 23 Jul 2004

US and Europe embrace the digital home

The US is the largest and most competitive digital TV market in the world today, with more than 45 million digital households at the end of 2003. However, Datamonitor analyst James Healey says that by 2006 Europe will represent a larger digital TV market than the US, with some 63 million digital households. Following disappointing levels of digital TV growth in Europe, subscriber growth has renewed with vigour. This viewer enthusiasm for all broadcast modes looks set to continue throughout the decade. Datamonitor forecasts that by 2008, 59 per cent of European households will have made the transition to digital TV compared with 21 per cent at the end of 2003. In contrast, the US will reach 52 per cent by the end of 2008, almost 60 million households. The UK is the most highly penetrated digital TV market in the world. At the end of 2003, over 50 per cent of UK households were receiving digital services. The UK will continue to represent the largest digital terrestrial TV (DTT) market due to the continuing success of Freeview. Satellite broadcaster BskyB also announced it is to launch a new service offering up to 200 digital TV and radio channels without subscription later this year. The faster uptake of digital TV in Europe will be driven primarily by the demand for DTT. In terms of total digital TV households in 2008, Germany will lead with just over 21 million (56 per cent penetration), followed by the UK with 20.6 million (82 per cent penetration, remaining the highest in the world), France with 12 million (54 per cent penetration) and Italy with 11.7 million (58 per cent penetration). The American market, by size, had the most digital TV households, with more than 43 million at the end of 2003 compared to 31 million in Europe. The intense competition for subscribers between the cable and satellite operators will continue to be the driver for the US market. Due to the already high penetration of multi-channel homes in the US (some 80 per cent receive analogue or digital cable or satellite TV), DTT is unlikely to become a significant market. On both sides of the Atlantic, cable, satellite and terrestrial TV operators will seek to differentiate their services through technology. In the US, high definition TV (HDTV), video-on-demand (VOD) and personal video recorders (PVRs) are expected to be the weapons of choice. The cable operators will try to offer a superior service by offering all three technologies, while the satellite operators will focus on HDTV and PVRs. In Europe, VOD is not likely to be a driving force due to the poor cable infrastructure and lack of investment in new equipment, nor is HDTV due to the high price points of the necessary consumer equipment. Instead, PVRs will become more prevalent. Internet Protocol TV (IPTV), which has recently experienced a spate of launches in Europe such as MaLigne tv in France and Imagenio in Spain, could yet rise to become a measurable competitor to the three traditional broadcast mediums. To date, these IPTV services are typically offering VOD and some content from the local pay-TV operator over a DSL line. Although an interesting alternative, pricing and content will limit demand in the near-term. Source: ComputerWire/Datamonitor Related research: Datamonitor, MarketWatch: Technology Annual Subscription Related stories Sendo X: phone meets PDA, MP3 player, light sabre Digital home group touts convergence spec Belgacom to launch DSL interactive TV Intel pours VC cash into Digital Home
Datamonitor, 23 Jul 2004

Europe: we will buy your PDAs

Europe's demand for PDAs and smart phones continued unabated through the second quarter of 2004, figures from market watcher IDC show. The company's numbers cover Western Europe - as opposed to Europe East and West, plus the Middle East and Africa, the zone covered by fellow researcher Canalys' figures released earlier this week - show mobile device shipments grew 20 per cent year on year to just under 1.78m units. That's 20 per cent up on Q2 2003, but just 7.8 per cent on Q1's tally of 1.65m units. IDC attributes the year-on-year growth to a mix of handset upgrades and consumer PDA sales in the retail sector. HP's surge past PalmOne into second place on IDC's list of the top ten mobile device vendors is, the researcher says, a sign of increased interest among the business community in mobile devices. So too are improved shipment figures - up 260 per cent year on year - from RIM, though the Blackberry make failed to make IDC's top ten, beaten out by Medion and its hugely successful budget PocketPC GPS combos. Medion made solid in-roads into the Netherlands and the UK during the quarter from its native Germany. "HP is the only vendor to record continued success outside the low-cost 'in-car' navigation market," said senior IDC analyst Tim Mui. HP's "strong retail presence and reputation as the only handheld vendor that can deliver a serious enterprise offering" is leaving its competitors only able to improve market share by competing on price, he added. That price factor explains why the big-brand likes of PalmOne, Toshiba and Sony experienced poor quarterly growth, but lesser known names like Acer fared rather better. ® Q2 Western European Mobile Device Shipments Type Q2 2004 Unit Shipments Q2 2003 Unit Shipments Growth Q2 04/Q2 03 PDAs 689,980 540,895 28% Smartphones and voice-enables PDAs 1,089,610 940,360 16% Total Devices 1,779,590* 1,481,255 20%  * Shipments up 8% sequentially from 1,656,705 units in Q1 Related stories HP extends PDA lead RIM makes mobile gains while Palm, Sony and Dell falter PalmOne, HP slog it out over Euro sales PDA, smartphone sales rocket in Europe Smartphones outsell PDAs 2:1 HP knocked Palm off top Euro PDA sales slot during Q3 Related reviews Medion MDPPC250 PocketPC GPS Bundle Evesham integrated GPS PocketPC Bsquare Power Handheld Siemens SX1 smart phone Nokia 6600 smart phone Nokia 6820 messaging phone PalmOne Zire 31 PalmOne Zire 72
Tony Smith, 23 Jul 2004

Porn filters ineffective against Tribbles

LettersLetters This Friday's post bag was bulging with comments about the number of child porn sites blocked by BT's new CleanFeed filter, ISPA's subsequent call for clarification, and BT's response. For anyone just back from an extended holiday in Cuba, the only way you could have missed this one, this is the story that BT kicked off by reporting that in the last three weeks, it has blocked nearly a quarter of a million attempts to access child porn. As always with statistical stories, the devil is in the details: Hi 250,000 web accesses in 3 weeks? Ok, but how many of those were unique accesses? BT must have the means to track how many unique MAC addresses accessed the website since the above statistics mean BS if they are not related to unique accesses. Some child porn sicko could just as well ahve been pressing the refresh button on his IE browser 250,000 times in 3 weeks to make up the stats you so proudly display. Please supply your readers with the full numbers and proper explanations on what those numbers mean as I'm sure we're interested to hear the truth about how many of these sad sickos are really out there! BT saying 250,000 hits in 3 weeks don't mean anything unless they are proper unique hits / accesses from unique systems [hence, not re-ocurring] Thanks, Marco HI Tim, I saw this reported in several places as a dreadful indication of the scale of the problem. However I wonder how many of these attempts are real attempts to access child porn and how many are people recieving emails 'advertising' these sites which have embeded pictures? anyway keep up the good work on the regiseter, it's always a pleasure to read. Piers These figures are interesting but does the filter stop people who use web based proxy pages like www.proxyweb.net If it doesn't then its a pointless feature. Regards Bryn This next note demonstrates exactly why stats and figures need to be treated with caution, and in context. and without making assumptions... Wow - what an attitude! "The UK's ISP trade body, ISPA, said the Cleanfeed solution would "only prevent 'casual' browsing of known websites...It will not hinder organised distribution of such images. It will not prevent access to new websites offering illegal content, nor will it prevent children being abused."" This sounds like they are saying "So why should we bother doing anything?" 250,000 attempted visits is a long way from "casual browsing" (yes I know what **they** meany by "'casual' browsing"!). I am sure it is not one little greasy slimeball in Grimsby trying to make all those hits on child porn. More likely it is tens of thousands of individuals looking for something to leer at. If we assume that it was 'only' 20,000 individuals, all attempting 12 or so times to access smut, that represents 1% of BT's subscribers! If we assume there is a 50-50 split between male and female subscribers, and we assume it is mainly men who are hunting filth, that means as many as 2% of the male population in the UK ... OK I know that is a lot of assumption, but I am shocked! Who were you sitting next to on the way to work this morning? :-/ Steve I'm baffled, all this spouting about statistics and the ISPA and BT and CleanFeed and hits and visits If cleanfeed has a list of 'KP' [kiddie porn], that it is blocking, then how come the target sites haven't just been shutdown, it's illegal. The Americans have demonstratwd that they can prosecute their law in any country on the planet (DeCSS and DVD Jon and the DMCA anyone?), and it's illegal in the USA, so why isn't it just shutdown? Or conversely, look at the problem th other way up, if CleanFeed has list of KP, why doesn't it run a massive DOS attack against it till it goes offline, what's the hoster going to do? sue them? Def: "Yessir your honour, my five gigabytes of hardcore underage KP was unavailble for several days, damaging my business and reputation.", Jdge: "Yes, about your business and reputation..." Instead we get spin, lies, statistics and censorship (what's in the CleanFeed list that you can't see anymore?) Why doesnt' anybody actually try and engage the problem ? Alan Regarding BT's "response" to the query about the "child porn" stats, I believe they are making the sensationalist comments purely for publicity. They mention "blocks" without actually mentioning what is registering as a "block" - is it page impressions or is it blocked objects? Bear in mind that simply accessing one page of The Reg for example will generate several lines in a log as things like advertising banners and graphics are accessed. I manage several web proxies as part of my BOFH type job, and have been involved in several abuse cases resulting in disciplinary action for the person concerned for inappropriate web access, and the first thing you have to bear in mind is that a few minutes web surfing of sites that are high on graphic content will generate lots of log entries. Also bear in mind that a pornographic HTML email with links to external content will generate accesses to the web without the user doing anything apart from trying to delete their junk mail. When coupled with a filtering proxy, to the untrained eye a proxy report could look as though the person had been blocked for example 50 times or so, when in actual fact they may simply be checking their mail. Consider also that people who go looking for porn on the net do so relentlessly, particularly adolescent males. Something I see a lot of is attempts to access porn over our networks; often I will remote control the viewing PC to see just what is going on - to see if they obviously know what they are doing or is it accidental with hundreds of popups, and what methods are they using to find this material. I've sat on several occasions and observed sessions lasting around an hour feeding the sites being accessed by the individual involved into our proxy filters on the fly, and observed how they have reacted - when they cant access a site any more they simply go elsewhere. One guy I've seen logs for would spend entire working days surfing porn. (He's sacked now). Were I to count "blocks" he alone probably clocked up around half a million over the space of two weeks. I was pleased to see ISPA's request to have the stats independantly analysed, but I do not believe BT will cooperate in this matter as they will be exposed for the frauds that they are and they know it. Next of course we will have the invariable calls to control the web as the UK slowly turns into China. Fitz Sticking with the seedy theme, we also reported this week that a well rounded villain had got his come uppance, as spammer, pornographer and all-round-menace-to-digital-society John Lamb, was jailed for his piratical activities. But did we miss a couple of things off his CV? That's odd - I thought we'd recently been led to believe that he was also one of the al-Qaida Provos and a illegal drugs seller as well. Ah well, I suppose that means you can't believe everything you read in the press .... [why can't we just spell it "Kaida" and be done with all these Qs ??] Mike That is true, Mike. You can't. "Evidence was found of one order for a computer program valued at approximately £12,000 being sold for just ten pounds." Do me a favour. 12K for software? What was it? (software cost, not the consultants that you'd have to pay to install it) Alan Whatever it was, we think it must have been diamond encrusted. High-tech bling, y'know? Meanwhile, across the pond, Napster and the RIAA are gaining ground in their quest to lease music to students. This first response really qualifies as a flame, but we've already run two flames this week, and couldn't really justify a third. in regards to your article titled "Napster gags university over RIAA's Student tax" there are some point you might want to consider before you pulitzer prize winning ambition comes back to haunt you. The reason that napster is brokering such huge deals with universities is to obviously curb illegal downloading of music on campus's (which is where most of the lega cases are ending these days) but there is NO, and i repeat NO "hundredes of millions of dollars" being shelled out by universities otherwise these universities wouldnt make any deals. I mean seriously, do you like printing whatever you see fit or do you actually call these people to find out some facts. Might do you some good in teh future if you want to get that pulitzer. By the way, i know this because i work for one of these universities and know the deals firsthand. So check around some next time. John Scott Smith John, as we understand it, Ashlee eats Pulitzer prizes for breakfast. I liked your portrayal of the RIAA as a criminal organisation selling protection to American universities. If your story is accurate, and I expect that it is, then the behavior of the RIAA described in the story is nothing more than extortion. I'm not a lawyer but I play one when I'm feeling romantic so I should know about this sort of thing. First, these universities are nothing more than an ISP for their students. The issue of ISP liability for content transmitted over their lines was settled almost ten years ago. The ISPs are considered common carriers, like the telephone company. Therefore the ISP is not liable if pirated or otherwise illegal content is transmitted over their network. The same thing applies to the so-called Wi-Fi hotspots springing up all over the place here in the U.S. Next, charging the students a fee for the university to enjoy protection from lawsuits from the RIAA suggests to me that students that don't want to download music from the Internet should be able to 'opt out' of the fee. For instance, I'm 46 years old and I don't download music over the Internet. If I returned to college as a full time day student then I shouldn't have to pay a RIAA/Napster fee. Lastly, the fact that the students are paying some kind of a fee for this RIAA/Napster approval to download music and then only get a license to use the downloaded software while they are students is rubbing salt into the wound. That's just plain unfair. Corporations are getting away with this stuff because the university administrators are too gutless to fight for their legal rights. The RIAA is essentially conscripting the universities to be their collection agents forcing students to pay something whether they engage in music downloading or not. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Kevin Lastly, we come to a very few of the zillions of mails we recieved about the Star Trek flat that went on sale for a million squids. No more comment needed from us: Re: Star trek Flat
Lucy Sherriff, 23 Jul 2004

VoIP must pay its dues - Senate

Internet Phone providers won't escape the social obligations imposed on other telephony companies, after all. An amendment to the proposed 'Regulatory Freedom Act' by the Senate commerce committee gives states the right to impose the same levies on new providers to fund emergency services and access-for-all that established telcos must pay. Backed by Microsoft and Intel, the VoIP companies had lobbied hard to ensure that they escaped such dues. They also failed to convince the committee that they should get something for nothing. The VoIP providers piggy back onto an infrastructure that has already been paid for by the circuit-switched telco dinosaurs, who are understandably miffed, and the committee agreed that they should compensate the infrastructure providers. The bill itself was introduced by Republican Senator John Sununu to outlaw state levies on new Net phone services, and the commerce committee broadly agreed. However committee members weren't convinced by the argument that the propeller-head start-ups don't face the same social obligations. The bill ensures that they break down the Universal Access charges on VoIP bills just like traditional telephony providers do. US phone customers are already nickel-and-dimed by a long list of surcharges and tariffs, and the Bill as it stands ensures that cash-strapped States and Districts don't dip into this new source for additional revenue. However, simply because the underlying technology changes, the social obligations (emergency services, universal access) don't go away. ® Related stories US punters face higher phone charges Verizon launches VoiceWing Net phones Telecom future to look a lot like the past - study VoIP hackers gut Caller ID
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Jul 2004

UK govt IT an 'appalling waste' of public money

An all-party committee of MPs yesterday attacked the government's record on public sector IT projects, and said Whitehall was hiding "an appalling waste" of public money behind a "cloak of commercial confidentiality". The work and pensions committee was especially critical of the Child Support Agency's (CSA) telephone and computer system, which it described as "over spec, over-budget and over due". It called for a thorough analysis of the installation of the system, so that the same mistakes would not be made again. EDS, the company responsible for the CSA system, has been at the heart of several high-profile government computer contracts, and the resulting publicity has rarely been good. In April, it was revealed that staff at the agency had resorted to using pocket calculators to work out what payments were due, because the system had failed so comprehensively. A spokesman for the company denied the project was over budget, although The Guardian reports that costs have risen from £400m to £456m. Committee chairman Liberal Democrat MP Sir Archy Kirkwood, said that there is a desperate need for greater transparency. "Government has produced a mountain of guidance to encourage successful IT projects but there's no way for parliament or the public to know whether it's being followed - until the IT fails and then it's too late," he said. We have not yet been able to speak to Mr. Kirkwood about his report as he has been busy with constituency work. Watch this space for more information. ® Related stories EDS wins $1.1bn gig with BoA NHS squares EDS over nixed email deal UK gov holds EDS to account over crap CSA system
Lucy Sherriff, 23 Jul 2004

Dangers snags Sharp for Hiptop

Palo Alto-based smartphone start-up Danger has signed Sharp to manufacture its second-generation Hiptop. Danger currently employs contract manufacturers in Thailand, and the deal should ease supply problems. T-Mobile, an investor in the company, sells the Hiptop as the Sidekick in the United States. Manufacturer Sharp will be given instructions that look something like this:   Danger brought the Sidekick to market two years ago, shunning the Symbian and Microsoft behemoths and proving that mobile data could be made to be fast and friendly. The company bet on excellent human interface design - unlike Symbian and Microsoft, the Hiptop doesn't look like a desktop UI transplanted to a handheld - a clean, simple hardware interface, and a proprietary compression that speeds up data transfers between client and server all helped put most of the Hiptop's rivals to shame. The revamped Hiptop, expected by Christmas, is sleeker and more usable as a phone. Danger demonstrated it at the GSM trade show in February, but Danger CEO Hank 'Notphoto' Nothhaft forbade us, or any of the press, from taking photographs. So forgive us, once again, for the sketch. ® Related stories Danger's new gizmo exclusive, er, sketch E-Plus to bring Danger Hiptop to Europe Danger Inc snags all-you-can-eat deal for Hiptop debut
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Jul 2004

Google contextual ads: working for humanity

Letters specialLetters special This is a one off. A Friday special, prompted by a couple of delightful examples of how one can use Google's contextualised advertising to brighten one's day. Regular readers will remember the rumour causing panic in Lagos, spiritual (and fiscal) home of 419 scams, that picking up the phone is potentially fatal. As Lester says, we've lost original email, so have to apologise to the reader who alerted us, but basically, as soon as the Nigerian killer number piece came up, every 419 story had ads offering cheap calls to Nigeria. Perhaps a helping hand in the war against 419ers? This week's Flame of the Week column also had a beauty: We must be clear about this: we view Google as offering a useful service to humanity here, despite the occasional unfortunate juxtaposition of content and ads. Also, this is not a request for screengrabs. So don't send 'em in. Eyethangew. ®
Lucy Sherriff, 23 Jul 2004

Euro notebook sales slowdown signals end of boom

Notebook sales in Europe's seven biggest economies are slowing, figures from market watcher Context reveal. Each month this year saw successively lower growth over the same month in 2003. So while February 2004's sales to end users made by resellers were up 42.2 per cent on February 2003's figure, by May this year, the year-on-year growth rate had fallen to 17.5 per cent. According to Context, the figures for March and April were 30 per cent and 20.3 per cent respectively. January 2004 saw sales up 37.3 per cent on the same period last year. The company said that preliminary data suggested than June 2004's channel notebook sales to end users will be only 9.9 per cent up on June 2003's sales. The figures don't include Dell and other direct suppliers. Context's numbers suggest that the massive boom in notebook sales seen over the last year or so is coming to an end. March 2003 saw the launch of Intel's heavily promoted Centrino mobile platform. If the chip giant's monster advertising campaign is, as many observers believe, a major contributor to notebook sales, it would seem that the company's decision to delay the launch of the second generation of the platform to early 2005 may come too late. Originally scheduled for an autumn 2004 release 'Centrino 2' could have provided a shot in the arm for the notebook market, if Context's figures are to be taken at face value. However, it's worth bearing in mind that price-cutting has seen something of a resurgence in the European desktop market during Q2, in both consumer and corporate sectors. Prices are falling in the notebook sector, too, but according to Context the rate of decline is slowing. Market watcher IDC this week also noted that notebook year-on-year growth slowed between Q1 and Q2. ® Related stories Europe boosts global PC sales in Q2 Intel 'delays' Centrino 2 chipset to Q1 2005 AMD loses Euro mobile market share to Celeron Notebook sales keep Apple steady Big names dominated UK channel in May Q2 European Notebook Market Share Rank Vendor Q2 2004 Share Q2 2003 Share 1 HP 20.5% 24.0% 2 Acer 20.9% 17.4% 3 Toshiba 15.9% 16.1% 4 Fujitsu-Siemens 7.1% 5.2% 5 IBM 6.3% 5.4% 6 Sony 4.4% 4.3% 7 Packard-Bell 2.9% 1.0% 8 Apple 2.3% 2.0%
Tony Smith, 23 Jul 2004

Police to retain DNA records of cleared suspects

Police will be able to keep DNA and fingerprint records of innocent people on file indefinitely following a landmark legal ruling yesterday. The House of Lords, the highest court in England and Wales, upheld earlier rulings by the High Court and Court of Appeal against two people who wanted their records destroyed by South Yorkshire Police after separate criminal investigations against them were dropped. Five law lords unanimously ruled that the need to solve crimes outweighed civil liberties concerns. The law was changed in 2001 to allow police to keep samples from suspects for use in "crime prevention or investigation". In his judgement, Lord Brown argued that the cause of human rights would be better served by expanding police databases rather than deleting records. He dismissed human rights objections raised by the appealants as "threadbare" and said the only logical reason for objecting to samples being kept by the police was that it would make it easier for authorities to arrest someone if they ever offended in future. "The larger the database, the less call there will be to round up the usual suspects. Indeed, those amongst the usual suspects who are innocent will at once be exonerated," Lord Brown said, The Daily Telegraph reports. Lord Steyn, who gave the leading judgment in the appeal, backed this view. He said police should be able to take advantage of modern technology which "enables the guilty to be detected and the innocent to be rapidly eliminated from inquiries". The landmark ruling affects individuals who have been arrested and charged with a crime but not convicted of an offence. Law Lords made the ruling in considering the appeal of an 11 year-old Sheffield boy suspected of attempted robbery in 2001 and Michael Marper, 41, also from Sheffield, charged with harassing his partner. Marper's other half withdrew her complaint after the couple were reconciled and the case was dropped. Law Lords rejected arguments that South Yorkshire Police's actions in keeping sample after the two cases were dropped contravened either the individual’s right to a private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights or the right not to be discriminated against under Article 14 of the same convention. Solicitor for the appellants, Peter Mahy, said his clients may challenge the Law Lords' ruling in the European Court of Human Rights. ® Related stories Tag, track, watch, analyse - UK goes mad on crime and terror IT Techno cops needed to catch cyber criminals Blunkett FBI apology for Madrid bomb fingerprint fiasco Fingerprints as ID - good, bad, ugly? Excel ate my DNA
John Leyden, 23 Jul 2004

Gateway loss balloons to $339m

Gateway's acquisition of eMachines once again hammered the parent's finances, widening its Q2 loss by a hefty margin. During the quarter, Gateway achieved $838m in revenue, up just four per cent on the year-ago quarter's $800m, a four per cent fall from Q1's total, and well below the company's forecast of $860-880m. CEO Wayne Inouye blamed the failure to meet its revenue expectations on logistical problems and a desire to book some sales as Q3 gains. The upshot was a delay in delivering $26m worth of PCs until the current quarter, which would have only just brought the company into its anticipated Q2 revenue range. In June the company upped its revenue forecast from $798m to the $860-880m range on the back of stronger-than-expected sales. It should have stuck to its guns. Q2 was the first quarter in which eMachines' sales were added to Gateway's books. The decline shows they are not yet compensating for the sales lost as a result of Gateway's decision to close its chain of stores. However, unit shipments were up 32 per cent sequentially and 62 per cent year on year. Gateway's net loss for the period totalled $339m, 364 per cent higher than Q2 2003's $73m loss, and 97 per cent up on the $172m it lost during Q1 2004. A big chunk of the Q2 2004's figure came from the $290m acquisition of eMachines and the cost of the store closures and associated lay-offs. Looking ahead, CFO Rod Sherwood said he expects to record a Q3 revenue between $900m and $950m. PC sales are expected to rise when Gateway kit goes on sale in US chain Best Buy over the coming months alongside eMachines-branded products. The pricing of the two lines is designed to complement each other. Inouye said he wants to return the company's focus to the PC market, and will ease itself away from the consumer electronics kit that has enamoured it of late. However, having reduced the company's headcount to 3400 at the end of Q2, Gatway chiefs plan to lay off a more than 1400 more staffers during Q3, and again that's going to hit the bottom line in the short term. Further on, the company wants to get back into the black and will do so sometime in 2005, Sherwood said. ® Related stories Gateway optimistic for quarter Gateway loss widens as patent lawsuit fund grows Gateway axes 2,500 jobs, closes US stores Gateway waves goodbye to another 2,000 Gateway to buy eMachines Gateway reports HP to ITC HP sues Gateway over patents Intergraph and Gateway kiss and make up
Tony Smith, 23 Jul 2004

Novell eyes lean, mean Linux

Novell is developing a slimmed-down version of SuSE Linux especially designed to desktop enterprise deployments easier to support. SuSE Linux 9.1 Professional, the latest version of the desktop OS, comes with 3,000 packages and seven web browsers, according to Novell. Steve Brown, Novell’s European VP, said there was a danger of the OS becoming too "top heavy". In response, Novell is working a version of SuSE Linux occupying a smaller footprint and supporting only one Web browser. This approach would make it easier to roll out standardised Linux deployments across an enterprise. With a simpler, less diverse set-up companies would benefit from a lower variety of support questions, or so the idea goes. Brian Green, Novell’s director of Linux marketing, said the software would include Ximian Desktop and support for a browser than supported IE6 extensions, making it possible to access IE-only websites. Green wouldn’t be drawn on what browser would be included but a Mozilla-based web browser would be our guess. Novell outlined its plans during a roundtable on Linux in the enterprise which included participants from Novell, IBM, analyst Ovum and Nick Leake, director of technology operations and infrastructure at broadcaster ITV, in London earlier this week. Leake spoke about the value of standardisation in reducing support costs. ITV is moving some of its Tru64 on Alpha applications onto Linux servers, saving itself an unspecified amount. But ITV wants to retain its investment in Microsoft licenses so a move to Linux on the desktop is unlikely for at least five years. At that point ITV may replace standard PC with blade PCs. ® Related stories Novell announces SuSE Linux 9.1 Novell marries SuSE to Ximian desktop Resellers question Linux on the desktop Red Hat hits the desktop
John Leyden, 23 Jul 2004

Introducing the iPod London toilet guide

London-based iPod users, sensitive souls that they are, can now avoid the horror of unkempt public toilets, thanks to pPod (yes, pPod), a directory of reviewed public conveniences designed especially for the trendy music player. Developed by digital media firm Nykris for reasons probably best known to themselves, pPod is a multimedia toilet guide that combines written reviews and hilariously appropriate sound tracks (Handel's Water Music, for instance) to help people find the "loveliest" facility in their vicinity. Just what the world was waiting for. The company sent its fearless staff to 114 central London toilets to collect their data. You will be delighted to know that the nicest loo in central London is in Hyde Park. At the other end of the loveliness spectrum were the bogs in Piccadilly Circus tube station which, when the reviewer visited, were not even open. (That bad, eh? - Ed) Philip Read, Nykris' MD, told The BBC that the pPod was designed to make use of underexploited features of the iPod, such as text. And pPod is just a start. Read went on to say that other applications are in the pipeline: "We're currently exploring other iPod-based services that could be developed, including an interactive audio guide to gigs and clubs - something that we think could be particularly attractive to iPod fans," he told the Beeb. We humbly suggest that before he begins work on any other projects, he should with all haste, create a blacklist of killer cyberloos. The world will be a safer place. If you have a pPod shaped hole in your life, and a third generation or higher iPod, point your browser here and get downloading. Once it is on your PC or Mac, bung it on your iPod and start looking through the listings. Let us know how you get on. ® Related stories Killer cyber appliances: Satan implicated Killer cyberloo kidnaps kiddie Aussies triumph with online dunny map Talking toilets - whatever next?
Lucy Sherriff, 23 Jul 2004

Japan ponders Wi-Fi tax

Japan's Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry is considering taxing Wi-Fi devices, sources within the government department have claimed. Legislation to impose fees for making use of the 2.4GHz spectrum will be put before the Japanese parliament next year, the sources told The Japan Times this week. It's viewed as impractical to seek payment from existing users, so the Ministry appears to be thinking of adding a the licence fee to the cost of new equipment. The Ministry believes that since other wireless device manufacturers and, in turn, their users pay for spectrum licences, so should Wi-Fi equipment makers. What, it asks, is so special about the 2.4GHz band? Well, for a start, few if any other bands are subject to interference from microwave ovens, so presumably the Ministry will also take those. And Japan hasn't exactly gone Wi-Fi crazy in the way that other nations have. Japan's public hotspot infrastructure, for example, is less widespread than in the US or the UK. That's largely because Japanese consumers have been able to access the Internet at high speeds using their mobile phones. Japan has a mobile phone population of almost 82m people, around 16.5m of which provide high-speed Internet access. That said, both the upcoming Nintendo DS and Sony PlayStation Portable will use Wi-Fi for Internet access, and Japanese consumer electronics companies are pushing WLAN technology as a way of connecting an array of entertainment systems within the home. ® Related stories CE firms drawn to magnets for wireless MP3 players Toshiba touts Qosmio notebook as media centre Wi-Fi Alliance acts on dodgy wireless kit Intel 'delays' Centrino 2 chipset to Q1 2005 Sony to expose PSP insides at September show UK firm offers to double Wi-Fi range for a tenner Deutsche Telekom to unite 'half the world's Wi-Fi hotspots' Intel: WiMAX in notebooks by 2006 Orange France preps big Wi-Fi push World warms to municipal Wi-Fi
Tony Smith, 23 Jul 2004

Do you play air guitar to MegaDeth?

PollPoll We were rather concerned at our beloved readers' response to the Training Camps's recent informal survey into the musical preferences of various IT trades according to the contents of their iPods. Many of you wrote in to protest in the strongest possible terms that the remit of the survey - and indeed the number of participants - were simply too limited to accurately reflect the true state of play(lists). Accordingly, we have cobbled together the Mother of all Music Polls. Here's how it works: you must select the job title which most closely reflects your position. You must then select just ONE artist from the genres on offer. Not one from each genre, just one overall fave. You then hit submit. We collate the data and report back next week on whether or not it is true that all developers play air guitar to Megadeth. But before you rush excitedly to the poll, let's get a few things straight. Certain genres and many artists are not represented in our poll. This is due entirely to our personal prejudice/ignorance/indifference. For example, we can't be bothered with 1940s swing bands and what we know about Mongolian throat singing can be written on the back of a very small yak. So, what we don't want to see are whining emails containing lines such as "I can't BELIEVE that you left out Romanian gypsy ballads" or "since you call Britney Spears a pop artist it's clear that you know nothing about music, you jackass". You get the idea. If you can't find your particluar favourite artist, then pick another. After all, it's not a matter of life or death. Well, not quite: Your Job Title :- Sales Training Sysadmin Software developer Webmaster CIO/IT director Network manager IT manager Telecoms jockey Hardware engineer IT hack Engineer Security Database administrator Project manager Strategy Boutique (Ad Sales/Marketing/PR) Reseller/distie/channel-type Callcentre thingummybob Student Academic Other Fave Artist/Band :- Classical Bach Bartók Beethoven Berlioz Brahms Benjamin Britten Chopin Debussy Dvorák Elgar Philip Glass Handel Haydn Holst Mahler Mendelssohn Mozart Prokofiev Purcell Rachmaninov Ravel Schoenberg Schubert Schumann Shostakovich Sibelius Stravinsky Tchaikovsky Dame Kiri Te Kanawa Michael Tippett Vivaldi Wagner Easy Listening Cliff Richard John Barry Nat 'King' Cole Julio Iglesias Tom Jones Dean Martin Frank Sinatra The Andrews Sisters Electropop/experimental Captain Beefheart Brian Eno John Cage Kraftwerk Gary Numan Portishead The Smurfs Folk/Country Billy Bragg Johnny Cash Dolly Parton Emmylou Harris Carl Perkins Emmitt Miller Faron Young Patsy Cline Lyle Lovett Woodie Guthrie Tammy Wynette Merle Haggard Janis Joplin Waylon Jennings Lefty Frizzell Webb Pierce Alison Krauss Kenny Rogers Glen Campbell Loretta Lynn Wille Nelson Jazz Thelonious Monk Chet Baker Art Pepper Sonny Rollins Art Tatum Dexter Gordon Billie Holiday Coleman Hawkins Charles Mingus Dizzy Gillespie Duke Ellington Ella Fitzgerald Art Blakey Eric Dolphy Ornette Coleman Louis Armstrong Count Basie Herbie Hancock Miles Davis Gil Scott-Heron John Coltrane Jamie Cullum Charlie Parker Nina Simone Sarah Vaughan Heavy Metal Black Sabbath Deep Purple Led Zeppelin Rainbow Van Halen Def Leppard Metallica Iron Maiden AC/DC Slayer Judas Priest Motley Crue Megadeth Motorhead Twisted Sister 60s Pop Buddy Holly The Beach Boys The Beatles The Bee Gees Easybeats Dave Clark 5 Gerry & The Pacemakers Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas Herman's Hermit's Hollies Manfred Mann Moody Blues 70s Pop Paul Simon Bee Gees Rod Stewart Andy Gibb Chic Gilbert O' Sullivan Simon and Garfunkle Abba Jackson 5 Wings Donna Summer Carole King The Osmonds Joni Mitchell Nilsson Don McLean Serge Gainsbourg Cat Stevens 80s Pop Michael Jackson Madonna Cyndi Lauper Donna Summer Olivia Newton-John Enya Captain & Tennille Bonnie Tyler Daryl Hall & John Oates Tina Turner Culture Club Wham! Eurythmics Men at Work Phil Collins The Bangles Bette Midler Vangelis Sheena Easton 90s-present Pop Kylie Monogue George Michael Take That Robbie Williams Boyzone Whitney Houston Mariah Carey Celine Dion Seal Janet Jackson Natalie Imbruglia Bryan Adams Backstreet Boys David Gray Dido Will Young Justin Timberlake Christina Aguilera Britney Spears Sophie Ellis Bextor Shania Twain Punk/New Wave Magazine Public Image Ltd Gang of Four Richard Hell and the Voidoids Adverts Elvis Costello XTC Sex Pistols Clash Damned Dead Kennedys X-ray Spex 999 Sham 69 The Fall Public Image Pogues Ramones Devo Buzzcocks Stiff Little Fingers Anti nowhere League Angelic Upstarts Killing Joke Husker Du Rezillos Ruts Rap Busta Rhymes E.L.E AZ Ghostface Killah Snoop Doggy Dogg Raekwon Dr. Dre Eminem NWA Run DMC Beastie Boys Public Enemy Kid Rock Soul/R'n'B/Blues/Funk KC & The Sunshine Band Kool & The Gang James Brown Marvin Gaye Al Green Stevie Wonder Roberta Flack Chuck Berry Ray Charles Nat 'King' Cole Aretha Franklin Isaac Hayes Nina Simone Luther Vandross Barry White Chuck Berry Elvis Presley Diana Ross Gladys Knight & The Pips Tavares Smokey Robinson The Pointer Sisters Reggae/Ska Bob Marley Steel Pulse Prince Buster The Specials Madness Lee Perry Burning Spear Eddy Grant Peter Tosh Burning Spear Culture Black Uhuru Mighty Diamonds Third World Jimmy Cliff Gregory Isaacs Bunny Wailer Junior Murvin Linton Kwesi Johnson 60s Rock Kinks Rolling Stones Pink Floyd Doors Small Faces Troggs Who Yardbirds Jethro Tull Cream Fleetwood Mac Status Quo Jimi Hendrix Genesis 70s Rock Queen Kiss Sweet Patti Smith Van Morrison Chicago Lynyrd Skynyrd B52s Brian Eno Neil Young Iggy Pop Led Zeppelin Roxy Music David Bowie Blondie John Lennon Fleetwood Mac T-Rex Can Velvet Underground Bob Dylan Alice Cooper 80s Rock Pretenders Supertramp Cars Talking Heads Sonic Youth Pixies R.E.M The Smiths Tom Waits Joy Division Prince & the Revolution U2 Jesus & Mary Chain Gang of Four Stone Roses Guns N' Roses King Crimson The Police Billy Joel Eagles Dire Straits ZZ-Top 90s-present Rock Alanis Morisette Blur Pulp Radiohead Manic Street Preachers Oasis Nirvana PJ Harvey Bjork My Bloody Valentine Beck Smashing Pumpkins Weezer The Jesus Lizard Primal Scream Cocteau Twins The Verve Travis Suede Red Hot Chili Peppers Paul Weller Wheatus Busted Sweet Coldplay The Darkness Unpleasant Canadian Pomp Rock Rush Heart This poll is now closed. The results can be found here.
Lester Haines, 23 Jul 2004

Iomega drops 'Son of Clik' as losses swell

Iomega is to ditch its consumer-oriented 1.5GB micro removable drive system, DCT, and focus on business products in a bid to recover from its financial woes, the storage company said this week. It also posted a widening $19.8m (38 cents a share) loss on sales totalling $77.6m for its second fiscal quarter, which ended on 17 June 2004. Those figures mark a fall in revenue of 23 per cent on the year-ago quarter, when it lost $4.4m (nine cents a share). Gross margin from 34.1 per cent in Q2 2003 to 19 per cent in Q2 2004. Iomega's operating loss of the period was $16.1m, up from Q2 2003's $1.4m operating loss. The company's DCT (Digital Capture Technology) was launch exactly a year ago, but while some big names - Fujifilm, Citizen and Texas Instruments - agreed to evaluate the system, few went on to buy it. Iomega envisaged DCT as an alternative to Flash-based memory cards, seeing a role for the format in digital cameras and camcorders. As we noted at the time, DCT was essentially a second generation of Iomega's ill-fated Clik! drive, which likewise failed to set consumer electronics companies alight. Similarly, Zip never won the backing of CE vendors that it had gained from PC manufacturers. CE companies seem wedded to solid-state storage, and if they do move away from that kind of technology, it's likely to be to the increasingly capacious, ever-shrinking hard drives of the kind found in Apple's iPod and Sony's upcoming HDD Walkman. On a 'three strikes and your out', Iomega will drop DCT and hopefully its attempts to win CE plaudits. Instead, it will focus on its REV system, a removable hard drive technology pitched at back-up applications for businesses both big and small. It will also focus on its NAS products. The latter saw year on year revenue growth of 344 per cent to $4m in Q2 2004. REV yielded $7.5m in Q2 sales. "Our primary goals for the second half of 2004 are to aggressively ramp REV product sales, and to define a corporate strategy with the goal of returning the company to profitability," said Iomega CEO Werner Heid. ® Related stories Iomega dresses up NAS device Iomega ships 160GB back-up hard drive Iomega ships 35GB 'son of Jaz' Iomega revs removable HDD challenge to tape Iomega to re-enter removable hard drive biz Iomega touts 1.5GB micro drive as Flash killer Iomega cash pile looks tempting takeover target
Tony Smith, 23 Jul 2004

Trojan poses as bin Laden suicide pics

Virus writers are trying to trick users into opening a Trojan horse on their PC by passing malicious code off as a "suicide photographs" of Osama bin Laden. At a result, Usenet newsgroups are overflowing with bogus messages claiming that journalists found the terrorist leader's hanged body earlier this week. The messages direct users to a website where a file can be downloaded, purporting to contain photographs but in reality containing the Hackarmy Trojan horse. Hackarmy gives virus writers control over infected machines. The Trojan has been around for some months so users with up-to-date AV software should be protected. Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at AV firm Sophos, said: "It looks like virus writers are trying to give it a new breath of life by targeting Usenet." ® Related stories CoolWebSearch is winning Trojan war Backdoor program gets backdoored Virus writers deploy bulk mail software Zombie PCs spew out 80% of spam
John Leyden, 23 Jul 2004

Giant waves spotted from space

New analysis of satellite images has proven the existence of rogue waves: massive surges of water rising more than 25 metres above the ocean. Scientists are now starting to understand the factors that combine to produce such huge waves, long dismissed as myths. The MaxWave project, was initiated by the European Union in 2000 specifically to identify, understand and model the waves. The European Space Agency (ESA) allocated two of its weather satellites - ERS-1 and 2 - to see how frequently the waves occur: statistical analysis suggested that such waves should only show up once every 10,000 years. ERS1 and ERS2 both have a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) as their main instrument. This collects what the ESA calls "imagettes" of the ocean surface, taking five-by-ten kilometre snapshots every 200m. Scientists use these images to produce ocean-wave spectra from which they can identify anomalous waves. Sailors have long reported sightings of these waves, but reports had mainly been dismissed either as exaggeration or outright fibs. However, in the last 20 years, more than 200 supercarriers have been lost at sea with eyewitness reports suggesting rogue waves were responsible. As more ships and rigs survived encounters with the massive waves, scientists decided to investigate. The list of encounters the ESA cites is impressive. On 1 January 1995 the Draupner oil rig in the North Sea was hit by a wave whose height was measured by an onboard laser device at 26 metres, with the highest waves around it reaching 12 metres. Then, in early 2001, two cruising vessels - the Bremen and the Caledonian Star - had their bridge windows smashed by 30-metre rogue waves in the South Atlantic. The project ran for three years, collecting radar images of the ocean's surface. Over 30,000 images were collected, approximately a three-week period, around the time of the Bremen and Caledonian Star's encounters. Ten rogue waves were identified in these pictures. The ESA says that the results of the research will have implications for ship and platform design. ® Related stories Satellites to benefit from exploding eggshells Satellites get smart US and EU kiss and make up over Galileo
Lucy Sherriff, 23 Jul 2004

Cassini eyeballs Saturnian lightning storms

The Cassini spacecraft, now in orbit around Saturn, has spotted lightning in the gas giant's atmosphere, something that has never been directly observed before. The spacecraft's radio and plasma wave science instrument picked up radio emisions from storms on the planet The BBC reports. The results will help observers on Earth learn more about the Saturnian atmosphere and weather. "We have observed several storms and used direction finding to detect their origin with good radio wave resolution," said mission scientist Phillippe Zarka. "This is good confirmation that what we have is lightning from Saturn's atmosphere." Now, the scientists will probe Titan for similar phenomena. ®
Lucy Sherriff, 23 Jul 2004

Wiki-fiddlers defend Clever Big Book

LettersLetters Wiki-fiddlers* may be accused of many things, but having a robust sense of humor is not one of them. In the week that colleague Ashlee Vance pointed out a few failings in the archive that isn't an archive, we took a pop at the encyclopedia that isn't an encyclopedia. Our jibe that the Wikipedia is the world's most useless encyclopedia drew precisely two angry responses. But both illustrate the condition perfectly. Writes " Fennec Foxen" - What's with the jab at Wikipedia? "most useless"? Hmm. Let's check this detractor of Wikipedia out. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Register says: "The Register's articles frequently have an opinionated tone. Comment pieces are carried along with the news. The site gets frequent accusations of bias, which are printed in the "Flame of the Week" articles. As well as carrying its own content, licensed articles from other sites are included." Okay, you insensitive clod (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insensitive_clod), I'll give you a flame. Maybe it will be the flame of the week. The flame of the wiki, even. Buckminster Fuller is "a plug for Eric "AI" Drexler", you say? Ok, let's go look at the article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckminster_Fuller. In my Most Incredibly Scientific Scan, that page takes up four screens, with a little extra for navigation and disclaimers. I see the following text on Fuller (reproduced here courtesy of the GFDL with direct-linkbacks as a compliance option): Fuller originated concepts explained in more accessible terms by K. Eric Drexler (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K._Eric_Drexler) e.g. anticipatory design became design ahead: "The use of known principles of science and engineering to design systems that can only be built with tools not yet available; this permits faster exploitation of the abilities of new tools." [1] ([1] is a link to http://www.foresight.org/EOC/EOC_Glossary.html). This paragraph is not even very close to the top. Yet the article is categorically a "plug"? Sure. You go on thinking that, and The Register is a plug for The Inquirer because it of the nine-word mention therein. Can I glance at your front page and call it a plug for IBM? It's certainly got more mention there than Drexler has at his article. Well, as someone put it to me on the #wikipedia IRC channel: TheRegister isn't always, mmm, objective and, uh, thoroughly researched. So if you would, please, listen, pal: I don't care much what you think about Fuller and his shiny domes or his "woolly LSD-influenced" fan club. But for a site which Alexa ranks as the #621 site on the entire internet, I'd think you could show a little more respect. (Compare The Register, with a mere #2,675). There's more information than you can shake a stick at, useful and otherwise, and while it may lack a thorough academically-certified peer review, I think it's safe to say that it's a few dozen times more useful than you or your little buzzard could ever hope to be, the Bastard Operator from Hell section notwithstanding. You certainly can't begin to think you have a neutral point of view, and there's assuredly no way for anyone to correct the errors and misrepresentations your site puts out. But please, go on, and insult Wikipedia and the wiki process and the contributors. We don't mind. I think we can handle the criticism. It's not like anyone who reads your site can believe ANY of your appraisals are unbiased. As a matter of fact, if you insult it more, maybe you can better convince people of its worth. And reader "Yossarian4010" is even angrier. Wikipedia "is the world's most useless online text"? Fuck you. (If you don't like the Buckminster Fuller article, correct it.) I'd be more critical of Wikipedia if all you "mainstream" guys weren't so full of shit. What's worse: A few mistakes or lies in Wikipedia, where everybody's looking out for them, or a few mistakes or lies in http://www.theregister.co.uk/, where you "journalists" do all our thinking for us? Grr! There's nothing wrong with Wikipedia that isn't summed up by the fiddlers' problematic war cry of "if you don't like it, fix it!" It's really rather like being urged to liven up a boring stranger's very poorly-attended party by showing up. Of course it would make it more interesting. But why should anyone bother? There may be a good reason no one shows up in the first place. Make no mistake, the small coterie of self-selecting wiki fiddlers have done a fine job of producing a hyperlinked encyclopedia that appeals to um, wiki fiddlers. Yards of text are devoted to things that interest, mostly, people who like to write online encyclopedias. It's very much a religious belief, the notion that good stuff will spontaneously "emerge". But what you end up with is a hypertexted junk where Eric Drexler gatecrashes the Buckminster Fuller section and where the entry for "memes" is as long as the entry for Immanuel Kant. (Needless to say, there's no entry for Mary Midgley. We could go on, but you get the general idea). There's also the specific problem typified by the entry for El Reg which Mr Fox cites. (Quite apart from failing to understand that great institution, FoTW, which began by honoring the most libellous letter of the week). The Reg may merit many criticisms but failing to maintain "an objective viewpoint" is one we rarely hear. So many diverse and contradictory opinions are hosted here than you couldn't reasonably hold them all at once (without being the reincarnation of Gengis Khan, perhaps.) So the entry was clearly written by someone who doesn't enjoy newspapers, and in common with many techno-utopians, has a fear of contradictory opinions that resembles a misophobic's fear of leaving the oxygen tent. That's a pity. So we wish them luck with the "emergent" project, and excuse us while we consult a real encyclopedia. There will be a few in your local library, and you can even find them online. ® Bootnote: The reader-suggested term 'wiki-fiddler' was originally much ruder. But somehow we think the term 'wiki-wanker' gives the misleading impression that a wiki is necessary to enjoy the harmless pastime of onanism. Related stories Buckminster Fuller on stamp duty Archive.org suffers Fahrenheit 911 memory loss Google - the only archive we'll ever need?
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Jul 2004

Spam poetry: transcending the junk mail paradigm

It's taken a while, but we have sifted through the flotsam and jetsam which washes every day through inboxes world-wide and found the precious pieces of amber which lie hidden within. Yes indeed, it's time to hand out some Reg goodies for contributions to what we have called "Spam Poetry" - those bursts of random, spam-filter-busting language which somehow transcend their mundane purpose and burst into the golden light of literary glory. Of course, we didn't invent the idea of Spam Poetry, nor discover its delights for the first time. We're obliged to all those correspondents who wrote to us indicating the veritable Web cornucopia of such material and are pleased to note that spammers have unwittingly contributed so much to humanity. Nonetheless, we're here to further celebrate the genre. Each and every piece of Spam Poetry featured here secures the contributor a not-available-in-the-shops Reg lapel pin courtesy of Cash'n'Carrion. There are no overall winners, we're just going to go with the flow. Enjoy. First up, we have what we've entitled the "Pedigree Dog" genre. This encompasses random and fairly meanless collections of words which have a certain euphony. The concept will be familiar to owners of pedigree dogs who insist on giving their pooches ridiculous monikers: Pax Britannica General Belgrano and Joanna Lumley Celebrity Haircut are just two of the more noteworthy examples. Try this, from Simon Kember: lemuel babylonian folksong clockwatcher You get the idea. More: amphioxis nymphomania fluency bootlegged croix (eric) synchronous weatherstripping motorola placenta (Mark Harrop) improvident lutanist fluorine isfahan Contextual balletic songful conservator Typesetting banal wilful degree (Chris Fryer) topsy altimeter afro cocktail (John Gregor) annex spayed dolomitic ductwork (Nate K. McVaugh) pyrophosphate melodious ponchartrain pussy (Peter Stone) stag scenario calcium fuselage Beetle aldehyde maiden wipe (Nicholas Fisher) amply calm durkin Jehovah (Martin Ward) orgiastic tuna cartilage hardscrabble linoleum (Ross Orr) And our favourite: Translucent gibbon rucksack bonanza (Chris Murray) Marvellous. There are neologisms to be had from spam, too. Here are four nice examples from Ann Barcomb: peppermintequinox crotchetybegging candlelightoptometrist icicletrumpery God alone knows what crotchetybegging is - perhaps it's got something to with one of the stories trumpeted in our next category, entitled "Leader Writing Made Easy". Trainee journalists take note: A curved coloring book makes baby Jesus cry (Stephen Jones) Girl scout negotiates a prenuptial agreement with fruit cake (Phil Bailey) Electrocardiograph sunbeam wastrel beset eyelid (User Los) Salesmen cognate gallstone (Ralf Stephan) Hydrogen atom living with necromancer (Peter Stone) Only you can archive nitrogen (Steven Hedges) Dilettantes remain burly (Mark Tomlinson) Oslo actinide besotted zombie (Simon Kember) Brusque Whitehall collarbone damp (Jack Miller) Pine cone living with wheelbarrow feels nagging remorse (Groc) Fetishist beyond fruit cake and eggplant from chestnut are what made America great! (Dermot Murphy) A variation on that last one crops up again later, so keep your eyes peeled. Now, sometimes you get the feeling that your spam is trying to deliver some form of profound message, or perhaps a warning. Reader Stuart Allen called this "Fortune Cookie" spam, and who are we to disagree?: Honest and hard-working policemen are usually gunned down a day or two before retirement time. After a number of injections my jaw got number. You don't even wait for the water to boil anymore. Here's another, from James Paterson: If you get it overnight, you can lose it just as quick When Mumma dead family done. Take heed of reconciled enemies and of meat twice boiled Absolutely. Solid advice. It's pretty rare, but "Strategy Boutique" spam will be familiar to anyone who's ever read the results of a particularly over-excited technical brainstorming session: guidance NET nearly mailing based indicate Sender systems One management guidance doesn't translate Document respect display performing interpretation: source operationally preferences defined languages Alternate these employ by review It tag time non-proprietary know has found subtle think interpretation: important numbering Thanks to Ken Hill for that gem. We'll probably see it for sale as part of a £3,000 white paper before long. Onwards. You want flow of conciousness? You want profound insights? Look no further than our this selection of the truly profound - "Spam Prose" to truly tickle the intellect. First up we have this from Karl Pearson: Most piroshki believe that living with hydrogen atom admonish defined by inferiority complex.When you see alchemist defined by bartender, it means that wheelbarrow toward leaves.widows remain curmudgeonly.Dorothy, although somewhat soothed by industrial complex defined by and behind toothache. It's that hydrogen atom again. Good to see widows are still curmedgeonly, though. More, from Jim Maciejewski: it took a lot of special effects work every day to get located north of Manhattan. Hellboy ready for his close-up. We got the inside story from the controlled environment. What came next? Flamethrowers, of course. planes. See also How Cell Phones Work. Senator Chuck Hagel "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai" show. Flamethrowers? Of course. And we'd pay $10 to Senator Chuck Hagel's show "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai". Harold Tessmann III's run back into that pesky necromancer: Where we can hesitantly give lectures on morality to our necromancer. Class action suit of polar bear gets stinking drunk, and freight train over avocado pit self-flagellates; however, pocket living with cargo bay host..for tabloid teach dolphin beyond. Burglar for oil filter find subtle faults with garbage can of burglar. When particle accelerator beyond cup is South American, insurance agent for steam engine boogie inside ribbon. It's getting worse. Must be the LSD and Bolivian marching powder kicking in, as Simon O'Hare can prove: And eat the dark side of her dolphin.mastadon about fire hydrant ceases to exist, and maestro over hibernates; however, cloud formation behind submarine give a pink slip to..Any bodice ripper can seek for nation, but it takes a real blood clot to behind wheelbarrow. Therese, the friend of Therese and takes a coffee break with reactor living with turn signal. All a bit too Naked Lunch, that one. Peter Bennett notes that he is pleased that Stephen has found succour from a tomato: cigar about pork chop earns frequent flier miles, and inside football team self-flagellates; however, ball bearing from make a truce with..But they need to remember how usually behind briar patch daydreams.Where we can thoroughly learn a hard lesson from our fetishist. Stephen, although somewhat soothed by tomato related to girl scout and from rattlesnake. So, what was it that made America great? Graham Mann has another answer to this question: defined by power drill leaves, because dahlia inside earring cook cheese grits for behind tomato. grain of sand of blithe spirit sweeps the floor, because short order cook over know omphalos living with taxidermist. gonad for, from stalactite, and umbrella living with parking lot are what made America great! Right, got it. Chris Coates wants to tell us something about mirrors: Most mirrors believe that tuba player from mirror learn a hard lesson from omphalos beyond. When earring related to is hypnotic, inside gonad dance with ballerina from industrial complex. around asteroid is tattered. Indeed, around corporation cook cheese grits for pit viper near. Gonad dance with ballerina? Nasty. We need a beer after that. Calum Sharp can deliver: But they need to remember how wisely from bottle of beer ceases to exist. When behind oil filter prays, from chess board takes a coffee break. And reach an understanding with the dark side of her cowboy. Indeed, cough syrup about reach an understanding with polar bear related to. He called her Ursula (or was it Ursula?). No idea. Maybe Nick Godfrey can shed some light on the matter: When you see wheelbarrow for, it means that steam engine inside beams with joy. Most taxidermists believe that near toothpick recognize omphalos around polar bear. football team around insurance agent gets stinking drunk, and boy of flies into a rage; however, ski lodge around tea party boogie.. living with football team is self-loathing. He called her Sonja (or was it Sonja?). Where we can accidentally bestow great honor upon our food stamp. Hold on a minute... Was it Ursula or Sonja?. No matter, we have more weighty considerations to ponder, courtesy of Andrew Maguire: When hole puncher beyond toothpick rejoices, plaintiff toward fairy dies. sheriff can be kind to about bonbon. But they need to remember how wisely satellite beyond feels nagging remorse. So the satellite is feeling remorse, too - just like the pine cone. Blimey. Let's conclude this prosefest with this lovely example from Ben Murphy: Something to think about: The mauve aardvark writes succulently, lightly. Upon neat cheerleaders, return not yet reconcile uniquely And what is a woman, but a scary loaf? A clump speculates, stepping esoterically to a likeable leader, Nectar had a hanger, which was not at all a shirt. Acorn had a book, which was not at all a stomach. Alas, the object has transmutated quite darkly, cleaning An acorn dives, catching messily to a crummy person, Hole had a shadow, which was not at all a flower. Sparks like cheeses catch positively to port, making In cups, the picnic will peel, laugh not The bouncy creep laughs openly, angrily. "And what is a woman, but a scary loaf?" Truly outstanding. Shakespeare himself would have been proud of that one. Penultimately, we tackle what can be called "Spam Poetry" proper. Its a thought-provoking melange of the profound and the melancholy - challenging material to be sure. We start with an offering from Jasmine Strong. Jasmine is an old mate of El Reg, having previously failed in spectacular fashion to keep her haikus to 17 syllables: unseen and unnoticed you unwittingly spoke visions passed before uttering preposterous things the most terrible The most terrible what? Don't keep us in suspense.... These two related offerings, from Steve Hallsted and Owen Cunningham, on the other hand, are a bit less truncated, but no less surreal: Mine white mobile phone is angry or maybe our purple smart kitchen smiles. Her expensive hairy printer smells. His stupid glasses stares. Our green sofa sleeps. Our silver underwares smiles. Our children red ram stands-still. Their golden boat is on fire and his brothers well-crafted ram fidgeting. His stupid tall exam book arrives. Their white tv prepare for fight. Her hairy white fancy bra prepare for fight and their red cat is thinking. His brothers bluish purple tv calculates and perhaps our children smart book sleeps. Our bluish cat arrives or a given shining table calms-down. A odd shaped little soda stinks. Smiling silver underwear? A lovely thought. As is a bouncing turkey: When you see over gypsy, it means that of diskette hibernates. When briar patch toward ribbon is self-loathing, about turkey bounce plaintiff of. Thanks to Jon Winter for that. If you like your poetry short and sweet and not to any point whatsoever, try this from Nora Miller: albrecht scarecrow civet pact candle yep sobriquet Yep. Like it. Like this too, from Ian Naylor. He notes that any poem with this first line is a sure-fire winner: Evening, landlord :) Labor is the beginning, the middle, and the end of art. Friends applaud, the comedy is over. Searching for pill in internet? feudists embusk Embusk they may well do, but do they concord, asks Andy Furnish?: concord,and he could,concord,and he could,concord,and he could.concord,and he could,concord,and he could. Crikey. Our penultimate offering is this beautiful effort sent by Benjamin Johnstone-Anderson: turning softly, springtime, nothingness, cat is on fire Think about it. But not too hard. And finally, proof that the ghost in the machine may really be talking to us comes from this extract from an email header submitted by Patrick: X-Authentication-Warning: anatole freeing X-Mailer: hypoactive celery Enough said. ® Bootnote Thanks to all of those many readers who submitted stuff, and thanks to Chris Allen and Dave Chamberlin who were the original inspiration for this compendium of spam madness.
Lester Haines, 23 Jul 2004

The Internet - cheap at twice the price

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has just finished its bi-annual five-day meeting in Kuala Lumpur and it's feeling pretty good about itself. What in retrospect may be seen as the organisation's most vital period has gone off without hardly a hitch. Its head, Dr Paul Twomey was already calling the "best ever" ICANN meeting at the Friday close press conference. ICANN meetings have always promised thunder and lightning yet provided sparks, but there was a big difference this time that everyone had noticed - it had actually achieved something. There was of course Board approval of the contentious budget for next year, which will see the cost of running the Internet miraculously double over night. It was an achievement that ICANN managed to get very worried registrars back onside by making minor alterations to the charging scheme. But the proof will be in the pudding - will companies actually cough up what ICANN has awarded itself? However, what marks out this ICANN meeting was the lack of bile. People discussed matters and got a few answers (even Milton Mueller was pleasantly surprised). Broad agreement was reached. Technical issues went through with a sense of a job well done. ICANN did seek to catch the limelight a little with the "news" that IPv6 had been added to the Internet. IPv6 is a change to the basic Internet infrastructure that will allow millions more devices to attach to it. It is essential if the Net is to continue to grow and it is far more of a challenge for those actually running the domains than ICANN, but nevertheless, here was an example of the Internet overseeing body aiding and overseeing - almost as if the past six years had never happened. There was a day-long, and it would seem extremely productive, conference on Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) - the introduction of foreign characters into the Internet so different languages can be properly represented. Paul Twomey made a point of highlighting a report on the difficulties in introducing IDNs produced by the Japanese and Chinese contingents saying if was of the "very best examples of technical work and co-ordination" that ICANN had ever seen. Here, it seemed, was a man that was genuinely interested in the world outside the US (and English-speaking nations). Not many have seen that in an ICANN staffer before. He went further and said how pleased he was that a representative body of Africa had come together and was seeking to become part of the organisation. Even when this reporter rained on the parade and asked what ICANN was doing to encourage more countries to join its Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) to give it more an air of legitimacy, Twomey was understanding. Getting the world's countries on board was a "key process" and the "continuation of a troubled journey" but countries would join when they were ready and that he looked forward to a truly global ICANN. Even the events that would have normally caused disquiet - Board decisions made on ICANN-commissioned reports - were accepted calmly. Normally, ICANN either embraces a report that says what the Board wants to hear and dismisses anything that it doesn't. This time, the report on VeriSign's hijacking of .com and .net domains (SiteFinder); the WIPO report on why big companies should be given priority over individuals on the Internet; and the OECD report that suggested future top-level domains should be auctioned and not subject to ICANN's opaque decision-making were all dealt with fairly. Even the UN Working Group that is looking at Internet governance and may yet still decide to effectively write ICANN out of the history books when it reports next year was dealt with something akin to respect. The Board "acknowledges the value of the provision to the UN Working Group as well as participants in the WSIS process". And it will help in whatever way it can. You almost believe it. Enter dinosaur Vint All this co-ordination and agreement appeared to be too much for ICANN chairman Vint Cerf however. As an ICANN old head, Vint clearly pined for the old days when everyone would complain about injustices and the ICANN Board would get to say "tough" and do whatever it liked. On the first day of the meeting, an op-ed written by him appeared on eWeek that appeared to follow the very finest traditions of Old ICANN. Namely that it was so full of nonsense that you have to wonder whether it was an elaborate spoof, or had woken up in a parallel universe. But in place of Old ICANN's approach - which was to say what it wanted you to believe so many times and without any regard to what had just happened that you started to doubt your own ears - New ICANN appears to be genuinely listening and interested in reaching workable compromises. You could almost hear Twomey's eyes roll to the back of his head when Vint Cerf was asked what ICANN would do if people just refused to pay what it was demanding in the new double-budget. "If we have unco-operative elements, I think would should bring back the practice of public flogging to make them more co-operative," he said, not even half-joking. Perhaps they keep him on board just to demonstrate how different ICANN really is these days. He may be the "Father of the Internet" but Dad has started to get a bit embarrassing. So, ICANN has fought off an attack by the people that provide it with most of its current power and money - the registrars - by including some of the changes they asked for. It has got the ccNSO up and running to some degree, and will no doubt be hoping to sign up more at a joint meeting with the ITU tomorrow (Twomey claimed that "three or four" countries had approached him to say they were going to join up to the support organisation). And it can claim to have held a meeting with a genuine international flavour that possibly for the first time counted the world outside the US as equally valid. Twomey summed up with a point that may yet see him pull off a persuasive coup of magnificent proportions: "When Jon Postel was running the Internet, he could do most things with a handshake or a phonecall. Now there are billions of users and we need to have pieces of paper." He was answering a question about the hated ICANN contracts of old that try to make the rest of the world beholden to ICANN. But what he really did was make afresh the argument for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Related stories ICANN crunch meeting begins DNS changes to take minutes (instead of hours) How the world is learning to love ICANN Europe sticks up two fingers at ICANN budget ICANN grows up at last
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Jul 2004

Chicago's emergency call center suffers heat exhaustion

Chicago's 911 emergency call center was sent into a state of disarray Thursday after a power outage knocked the center offline. An extremely hot power source is apparently to blame for the 911 shutdown. The faulty power source forced city officials to pull the plug on their communications center and reroute all calls to the 311 number usually reserved for non-emergency problems. During the switch, a number of calls were lost and after the switch too few 311 operators were around to handle the 18,000 emergency calls placed every day. "There are fewer call takers at 311 than at 911, and for that reason the calls queued up and there was a delay there while the phone was ringing," Ron Huberman, the new director of the 911 center, told the Chicago Sun-Times. "Within an hour window, we fully staffed the 311 center with call takers and dispatchers from the 911 center." Officials claim this was the first major crisis for the 911 call center, which cost close to $217m and has been operating since 1995. The problem occurred before an evening thunder storm hit Chicago, so it is not thought to be weather related. The city eventually had the 911 system up and running again on backup power generators and expected to have the standard power supplies back in action later today. The website for the Chicago Emergency Communication Center says the building "has been designed to minimize stress on the dispatchers and supervisors who work there. The Center provides a comfortable, high security, stress mitigating work environment, with ergonomic furniture and computer equipment, open spaces and natural light, and separate break and workout rooms." We're sure the workout rooms came in handy yesterday as operators looked for something to do. ® Related stories The dot-com revival begins in the Midwest US telecomms research in disarray - official Internet inventor Vint Cerf vows to network chickens
Ashlee Vance, 23 Jul 2004

Amazon misses Q2 numbers

Amazon.com has reported profits and upped its forecasts but still failed to meet expectations for its second quarter - just like eBay and Yahoo! For the three months to the end of June, the dotbomb survior had net income of $76.5m, or $0.18 a share, compared with a loss of $43.3m, or $0.11 a share, a year earlier. The figures missed Thomson First Call estimates by a penny, and the results would have been about $0.02 lower were it not for beneficial exchange rates from Amazon's non-US businesses. Q2 Revenue was up by about a quarter over a year ago to $1.39bn, although if the impact of the weak dollar is factored out, revenue would have risen by about 22 per cent. As with its reported earnings, revenue met Amazon's own forecasts but missed Wall Street expectations of $1.44bn. Like other dotcoms, Amazon is in the unenviable position of having to surpass its own forecasts in order to justify its relatively high stock price. In failing to do so, the firm's shares took a dive in after-hours trading on Thursday night, declining 4.8 per cent to $43.62 after rising in regular Nasdaq trading on the day by $1.06 to $45.82. Amazon executives in a Thursday conference call said that comparisons to year-ago figures were somewhat unfair, since the company did not have an item like "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" to sell to customers in the recently ended quarter. Amazon sold 1.4 million copies of that title in the second quarter of last year. North American revenue from its core items - books, music and videos - slowed, with sales rising only nine per cent to $542m, a sign that business is maturing after several quarters of double-digit growth. Overseas was better, with sales of core goods up 36 per cent to $496m, although in the first quarter the growth figure was 62 per cent. Analysts were also worried about the fall in Amazon's gross margins, to 24.6 per cent from 24.9 per cent, a decline that was attributed mainly to Amazon's free shipping policy. "Worldwide adoption of our everyday free shipping reached another record high point this quarter," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. "While free shipping is expensive for the company, it saves our customers tens of millions of dollars each quarter, and we plan to keep it in place indefinitely." Amazon expects full year revenue of between $6.63bn and $6.93bn, compared with its previous forecast of between $6.45bn and $6.85bn. © ENN Related stories Amazon bids adieu to French jobs Amazon goes to court to fire Toysrus.com Amazon axes 20 UK jobs, claim insiders
ElectricNews.net, 23 Jul 2004