24th > December > 2004 Archive
Chip manufacturer AMD can no longer claim in a Dutch advertising campaign that users of its Athlon 64 processors don't have to worry about viruses. AMD is currently the only company offering what is calls Enhanced Virus Protection Technology on desktop and notebook PCs, but the Dutch advertising board, Reclamecode Commissie, says AMD's adverts are misleading. Because the technology only works with Windows XP Service Pack 2, protection is limited. The core of AMD's Enhanced Virus Protection is the so-called 'no-execute' (NX) technology, which can be used to prevent malware from executing out of memory reserved for data. It helps to block buffer overflow attacks. ® Related stories Intel 3.8GHz P4 570J slips out Intel delays Xeon E-0 core update to 29 October Intel ships 'execute disable' Pentium 4s Transmeta ships 90nm Efficeon WinXP SP2 = security placebo? Corporates can delay XP SP2 auto-update Intel 'Nocona' Xeon to get 'no execute' support Intel to add NX security to Pentium 4 in Q4 Transmeta pledges 'no execute' security support
2005 will be a year of enormous turbulence for the high-tech sector, IDC says. "Beneath the surface of an almost boringly moderate growth rate of six per cent, 2005 will be a year of enormous turbulence in the IT market with lots of consolidation and realignment in many sectors," commented Frank Gens, senior vice president of research at IDC. Indeed, the prognostication seems to be coming true already, with companies like Oracle, Symantec EMC and Lenovo involved in mergers worth billions of dollars in the dying days of 2004. In its outlook for 2005, IDC notes that the six per cent growth willl keep IT suppliers under pressure to control costs. The research firm bases its assumptions on improving IT growth in the US and modest improvement in Western Europe. In emerging IT economies in Central and Eastern Europe, China and India, growth will be stronger, but in Japan and Latin America demand for IT-related products and services will be tepid. "Of these assumptions, European recovery has the greatest downside risk," IDC noted. On the hardware side, the market for servers and storage devices will be affected by increased price pressure, and the semiconductor industry will experience a correction in the first half of the year, IDC said. In terms of infrastructure software, vendors like IBM, HP, Sun and EMC will continue to buy up companies, large and small, to fill out their software portfolios, the research firm added. Meanwhile, independent infrastructure software players like Microsoft, CA and Novell will also engage in mergers, acquisitions, and alliances to boost their business software portfolios. "The interesting question is: Are these two communities - that have depended on each other for success - headed for a showdown?" asked Gens. "And will Dell, which has stayed largely out of the software game, be forced to follow IBM, HP and the others?" He thinks Microsoft may look to make an "audacious" acquisition in 2005, following its failure to take over SAP in 2004, a buy that could have given it more clout in the application software market. According to IDC, during the coming year, the top application vendors - such as SAP, Oracle and PeopleSoft, and middleware vendors like IBM and BEA - will aim to define their own products as the "killer application platforms." As for consumer technology in '05, IDC forecasts that handheld game consoles, hard-disk drive MP3 players, and digital cameras will lead the market and that broadband adoption will also make further gains as price points fall further. Similarly, Voice over IP (VoIP) will hit the mainstream consumer market during the year as telecoms continue to battle for dominance. Importantly, consumers in many markets will see the introduction of the ultimate telecoms package, with broadband internet, fixed-line services, cable TV and wireless services all rolled into one package. © ENN Related stories Symantec buys Veritas for $13.5bn stock Oracle finally has its prize IBM sells PC biz to China
What do the following have in common? Oracle and Microsoft but not IBM? PeopleSoft and SAP but not Siebel? SAS but not Teradata? Business Objects and Crystal but not Cognos or ReportNet, and Hyperion but not Brio? Applix and QlikTech but not Temtec? Microstrategy and ProClarity but not Actuate? Spotfire and Arcplan but not Hummingbird? Now, these are not separate questions. So, to summarise: what do Oracle, SAP, PeopleSoft, SAS, Microsoft, Business Objects, Crystal, Hyperion, Applix, QlikTech, Microstrategy, ProClarity, Spotfire and Arcplan all have in common that the others (any others) do not? 1. If you have managed to come up with some extremely convoluted, specialised definition that exactly includes these vendors and nobody else then congratulations, you're a better man than I am, Gunga Din, but no points I'm afraid. 2. If you have given up in despair and concluded that there is no conceivable relationship that exactly defines these vendors then - well done, only 5 points but you are absolutely correct – there is no conceivable way that this is a sensible list. 3. For 10 points you must have cheated or you are an avid fan of Gartner Magic Quadrants since these vendors represent the suppliers that appear on the "Gartner Business Intelligence Platform Magic Quadrant" as of April 2004. Now, in the days when I was a salesman I was taught never to slag off the competition; but this is ridiculous. Cognos isn't a BI platform? Actuate isn't? And some of these others are? And how do you justify comparing Applix with SAS? That's nuts. Of course, to an extent, that is the beauty of the Magic Quadrant: everyone gets to be a winner. If you are a leader or a visionary, that's great. If you are a challenger then, by definition, you also have the ability to execute. The only potential losers are those that can't execute and have breadth of capability ("completeness of vision") either – by rights you would say that anything falling into the last category was absolutely hopeless – but, oh no, they are "niche" players, regardless of whether that is how they see themselves or not. I mean, let's be clear here: Applix and QlikTech are labelled niche players in this quadrant but Spotfire (which historically has been much more focused on niche markets that than these two – it's changing now, but that's a different story) is not. The Magic Quadrant is a great marketing tool: it makes everyone look like a winner. While this suggests that it actually has very little intrinsic value, the fundamental problem is that it does not compare apples with apples and, worse, it leaves out some of the apples altogether. This prompts another question for our Christmas Quiz: how many users actually pay attention to Magic Quadrants like this, when it is patently obvious that major vendors have been omitted? And if customers can see through it, then of what value is it? Answers on a postcard please. © IT-Analysis.com Related stories Enterprise software faces 50 per cent price hike Can the new Symantec make merging look easy? How MS will end the Dell - Intel love-in
Gizmondo is expected to announce the exact timing of its eponymous handheld games console's US launch next month, most likely at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show. So far, all the company will say is that the device will launch in the US in the late Q1 2005 timeframe - around the time Sony is expected to begin shipping its PlayStation Portable in the territory. Gizmondo's presence at CES comes courtesy of Microsoft, which will be allocating a small part of its booth to the fledgling console company. The software giant recently committed itself to porting over a handful of games to the console, which is conveniently based on Windows CE .NET. Gizmondo - the device - was launched in the UK on 29 October. While the hardware is impressive, its software catalogue leaves a lot to be desired. The company's web site currently lists just four released game titles, with eight more on the 'coming soon' list. To that we can add three definites from Microsoft and probably two more from the same company. The console's mobile messaging facilities and GPS technology do provide buyers something to use it for while they await further games releases, but let's be honest here, no matter how much the company spends on marketing - it's currently running occasional TV ads and is opening a shop in central London - knowledgeable gamers are going to want to see a solid list of games before shelling out. Doubly so with the very appealing PSP and Nintendo DS just around the corner. And the DS is already on sale in the US, of course. Gizmondo - the company - may well have a business model that doesn't require it to sell sufficient units to get it alongside the Nintendos and Sonys of this world. It wouldn't even surprise us if it wasn't hoping Microsoft will snap it up and rebrand it as Xbox Portable... ® Related stories Gizmondo creator touts smart phone scheme Gizmondo grabs troubled UK games maker Gizmondo UK debut set for 29 October Gizmondo fishes for game coders with cash fund fly Gizmondo pushes Button after Jordan F1 deal deflates Gametrac morphs into, er, Gizmondo
Those readers currently facing the prospect of a long Xmas Eve car journey to see loved ones - or simply to find a pub which does not have Slade's Merry Christmas on the jukebox - might be interested in a jam-busting initiative from Orange and Trafficmaster. The two companies have teamed up to offer drivers CCTV images of the road ahead, beamed direct to their mobe from a network of live cameras across the UK. Orange's head of 3G, Max Taylor, said: "With millions of vehicles on the roads trying to get home on Christmas Eve and with reports of possible snow showers, traffic flows are going to be extremely congested; we hope the TrafficTV service will help to ease people's journey home to loved ones safely this Christmas." Bless. Of course, this being a press release we're quoting here, there has to be some good, solid advice attached to enlighten the unwary traveller. In this case, Trafficmaster recommends that you should: If at all possible make your journey home before Christmas Eve Start your journey as early as possible; roads will be clearer in the morning Get the map out and check the possible routes you can take before you leave Check traffic reports before you start your journey and if you have the means during your journey using services like TrafficTV to avoid running into heavy traffic Terrific. We entirely agree that starting your journey as early as possible will help avoid the Yule stampede. Try August - since that's when Xmas kicks off in Britain now. That way, if you're attempting to navigate the M25 between junctions 18 and 21 you should arrive in good time for New Year's Eve. We conclude this plug for TrafficTV by noting that the live CCTV footage is available only to 3G users. Those still living in the Stone Age of GPRS can access "traffic reports, stills and video clips". We add the interesting footnote that we have heard it by the way that the technology can - with a bit of tweaking - be used to pinpoint upcoming Gatsos, thereby allowing time-pressed execs to drive with impunity at 120mph between speed cameras. Now that's what we call a real timesaver. Happy Xmas. ® Related stories Speeding motorist says aliens to blame Chicago looks to ogle its own with snoop network The smart road that spies on you - but it doesn't really... When is a speed camera not a speed camera?
Long-term readers will remember well the case of the American college student who rattled her tin online to raise cash for a bigger pair of jubs. Successfully, as it turns out, and now a US couple has adopted the web begging process in an attempt to finance the construction of a real-life Hobbit Hole. We'll cut to the chase on this one, since we don't reckon El Reg fans need an explanation as to what a modern-day Hobbit Hole might look like. Here are the pertinent bits of the website's Q&A section: What is the point of this website? We hope to build a Hobbit Hole. Yes, we mean a subterranean dwelling as described above. No, it will not be in Middle Earth, and no, we are not (completely) insane. We are actually quite serious about doing this. How is this website supposed to accomplish that? Partially by focusing our efforts, documenting our progress, and (hopefully) partially by accepting donations from others who would like to see this become a reality. If a girl was able to attract enough donations online to enhance her bustline, then hopefully enough people are also interested in seeing a Hobbit Hole become a reality. So what inspired this project? As you have probably detected by now, my wife and I are huge fans of the The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings series, and other books about the fantastic realm of Middle Earth created by J. R. R. Tolkien. We are approaching our six month anniversary and have lived thus far in an apartment. Our landlord is wonderful and must have come straight from Heaven, so no complaints there. Then why do you want to move out? Because our next-door neighbors on both sides came straight from Hell. They have this little girl that runs around incessantly, sounding like a 3 year old Goliath training for the Olympics. We are also quite familiar with their musical tastes, as we can hear each piece quite distinctly, especially in the early hours of each Saturday and Sunday morning. Even coffee begins to lose its flavor on five hours sleep after awhile. The silence, seclusion, and privacy of a Hobbit Hole would be a true dream come true. Are you die-hard environmentalists? No, not really. I mean we don't like polluting and we think recycling is a good idea, but those aren't the main reasons behind this project. We just want a unique home straight out one of our favorite fiction fantasy worlds, to be our retreat from the outside world. We're actually quite huge geeks and fans of technology. Between the two of us we have 2 Sony Clie PDA's, 2 Desktop computers, 3 Laptop computers, and about a dozen video game systems. Broadband Internet access will be a must, as will Digital Satellite HDTV, so we can continue to enjoy Buffy, Charmed, The Daily Show, and our DVD collection. If you want to know more about us, you can bore yourself with our livejournals, mine and my wife's. And what will I get out of this? The satisfaction of helping someone with a crazy dream? If you want something more tangible, then rest assured I'll definitely keep this site updated with news on our progress and eventual pictures. Maybe I'll even end up giving tours of the Hobbit Hole if several people's donations stand out above the rest. I can't give tours to thousands of people, but if you donate a grand as opposed to donating five bucks, such a request wouldn't be out of line. Enough. Try this for size: I'm a forty-four year old journalist and my neighbours annoy me. I like buildings in the style of Catalan architect Gaudi so I'd like you to give me money to construct a scaled-down replica of Barcelona's Sagrada Familia cathedral. If you give me enough money, I might let you in for five minutes to grab a few pictures. If you donate just ten bucks, I'm afraid you'll just have to imagine what it's like to live in such a structure. But you will at least have the satisfaction of having allowed me to escape my nightmarish existence. In summary, here's a bit of fundraising advice for our wannabe Hobbits: sell the Clies, the three laptops, one of the desktops and all of the video game systems. Then use the money raised to finance said Hobbit Hole. It's a start. Working will also help generate more funds. A mortgage will cover the rest. Happy Xmas. Related stories College girl's breasts get $4,500 lift College girl's breasts provoke stiff competition Woman's breasts swell online charity coffers
An Aberdeen man has won more than £10k in compensation from vacuum cleaner outfit Dyson after one of the manufacturer's machines attempted to total the 59-year-old, the Scotsman reports. Norman Grant told Aberdeen Sheriff Court how on 3 March 2002, as he was trying to tackle "high cobwebs" at his home, the hose extension "suddenly knocked him down his stairs". Grant suffered wrist and head injuries in the incident, exact details of which are not forthcoming. Grant came face-to-face with the homicidal machine for a second time when he went to court to plead for damages. In the event, he settled for a unnamed sum understood to be in excess of £10,000. A Dyson spokeswoman noted: "This was a peculiar and isolated incident. Generali, the insurance company, handled the case." Dyson may believe that this is a "peculiar and isolated" case of spontaneous and murderous machine intelligence, but we at El Reg know better. Readers are advised to keep all electrical domestic appliances under lock and key this Xmas, lest they take advantage of the drunken Yule debauch to launch a concerted and co-ordinated attack on humanity. Be safe out there. ® Bootnote An Xmas ta very much to Mark Wylie for monitoring the killer hoover situation. The Rise of the Machines™ Car self-destructs in assassination bid The rise of the rat-brain controlled android Japanese unveil trumpet-playing robot Boffins unleash robotic cockroach Ukrainian teen fights the Rise of the Machines Man in satanic Renault terror ordeal Killer cyberappliances: Satan implicated US develops motorised robobollard Killer cyberloo kidnaps kiddie A robot in every home by 2010 Cyberappliances attack Italian village Fire-breathing buses threaten London Cyberloo blast rocks Stoke-on-Trent Spanish cyberkiosks claim second victim Cyberkiosk assaults Spanish teenager Hi-tech toilet caught on camera Hi-tech toilet swallows woman
Califoria-based biotech firm Genetic Savings & Clone (GSC) has made its first sale: a cloned male kitten, for $50,000. Little Nicky, bought by a Texas woman identified only as 'Julie' because of fears that she would be targeted by anti-cloning groups, is genetically identical to the owner's previous cat, 'Nicky', a 17-year-old Maine Coone which died in September. The kitten is reported to resemble the previous cat in appearance, temperament and behaviour. The Humane Society and other pet advocacy groups say pet cloning is wasteful, given the 3m to 4m pets destroyed every year in animal shelters in the US. GSC says that cat clones would only be for relatively few pet owners, and would thus have little effect on the number of adoptions. There are concerns that cloned animals may not live as long as ordinary animals and may have more health problems. Dolly the sheep, the most famous cloned animal, lived for only six years - half the 11-12 years normal life expectancy for a sheep - and suffered from arthritis. It is not known if these problems were a direct result of the cloning process, or were merely coincidental. In order to clone a pet, GSC requires customers to send in a tissue sample to a 'Petbank'. The firm has five other cat-cloning deals in the works. In 2001, GSC produced the first cloned cat, CC, which stands for Carbon Copy. CC's stripes differed from the original, but GSC's techniques have improved since then. GSC was co-founded by billionaire John Sperling, who hopes to clone his dog Missy. The company plans to offer dog cloning in 2005. Dog clones are harder to produce than cat clones, as dogs ovulate eggs too immature to clone, so these must be aged in a lab, a difficult process. ® Related stories California backs stem cell research Annan lines up against US-inspired human cloning ban UN to debate embryo cloning
2004 in review2004 in review It wasn't quite the 'Year of Digital Music', but 2004 certainly paved the way for 2005 to take that title.