14th > March > 2005 Archive

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IBM to sell Lenovo kit by year-end

Lenovo kit will be available for sale from IBM by the end of the year. The Chinese computer maker intends to sell its consumer products through IBM's corporate sales network. The news follows approval from US regulators of Lenovo's $1.25bn purchase of IBM's PC business. There were security concerns because IBM supplies so many US government and security agencies. The takeover was investigated by the US Treasury's Committee on Foreign Investment. Lenovo will move staff from IBM to its own dedicated site and will give up access to IBM's list of government clients, according to reports. There were fears that the Committee would insist on further restrictions. Lenovo's main challenge now is to hold on to customers. A survey of 4,000 existing customers found 90 per cent in favour of the deal. The firm will focus on laptops where margins remain stronger. Lenovo, formerly known as Legend Group, employs 9,000 people and turned over $2.97bn(HK$23.2bn) in 2004. More on Lenovo's website here.® Related stories Spy fears spook IBM-Lenovo deal IBM-Lenovo deal to face US govt. probe IBM's Mr Thinkpad on life before Lenovo
John Oates, 14 Mar 2005
channel

Apple utility 'confirms' dual-core PowerPC chip

Tantalising evidence of upcoming Macs based on the rumoured G5-class dual-core PowerPC 970MP - aka 'Antares' - has surfaced in the latest iteration of Apple's developer tools. MONster, a utility included with Apple's Computer Hardware Understanding Developer (CHUD) kit, contains a direct reference to a "YPPC 970MP" buried within its binary code. MONster is used to track how a CPU processes code, the better to pinpoint performance issues caused by the iteration of code and processor. According to an Everything Apple report, using the grep utility to search the version of MONster in CHUD 4.1.0 for the phrase "970MP" yields the following: "MONster.nib/keyedobjects.nib:879:71755:YPPC 970MP". IBM's development of the 970MP first emerged in July 2004. The chip is believed to contain two PowerPC 970 cores each with its own Velocity Engine SIMD unit and 1MB of L2 cache, up from the current 970FX's 512KB, but still without L3 cache support. The 970FX is used by Apple in the Power Mac G5 and iMac G5 desktops and its Xserve G5 server. The 970MP will clock initially at 3GHz with a 1GHz frontside bus, and feature an updated version of the 970FX's PowerTune power management system, which was designed to synchronise across processors, which suits it well to dual-core CPUs. The 13.23 x 11.63mm part is not expected to be pin-compatible with existing 970 and 970FX chips. More recently, it has emerged that the 970MP will launch alongside the 970GX - a single-core version of the processor. A mention of the as-yet-unannounced 970GX recently appeared on IBM's website, although the company was quick to remove it and claim that it was all a mistake. The company has not publicly confirmed the 970GX or the 970MP. ® Related stories IBM, Sony to detail 'Cell' PS3 CPU February 2005 Dual-core IBM PowerPC 'to ship in single-core form' Freescale to detail dual-core PowerPC G4 IBM 'readying dual-core G5'
Tony Smith, 14 Mar 2005
channel

Microsoft settles Burst.com lawsuit

Microsoft is paying streaming media company Burst.com $60m to settle an ongoing patent lawsuit. The payment represents a one-off license fee for Microsoft to use the technology in its own products but "does not include sub-licensing". Burst filed a suit against Microsoft in June 2002 claiming its "Corona" product: "Uses technologies and trade secrets misappropriated from Burst.com". Burst.com's chief executive Richard Lang said the firm would use the cash to pay its lawyers' bills. Once the attorneys are paid off the money will be spent in three ways. Firstly $2.8m will be set aside to cover current and long-term liabilities and outstanding debts. Secondly the firm will set up a fund for ongoing legal action against patent infringers and thirdly burst.com will pay out a cash dividend to shareholders. The firm promised to publish final details of the settlement and Microsoft's patent license on its website when available. More details on burst.com's website here.® Related stories How key Microsoft legal emails 'autodestruct' Silicon Valley staff 'gloomiest' in US Microsoft settles six more suits
John Oates, 14 Mar 2005
For Sale sign detail

Intel nears India fab decision - report

Intel is close to coming to a decision on whether to establish a chip fab in India, the country's IT minister said last week. Intel's evaluation is "in the final stages", Dayanidhi Maran, India's minister for information technology and communications, said in a discussion about Western companies establishing facilities in India, according to a United News of India report published this past Friday He also referred to plans drawn up by Nokia, Ericsson and LG, . Intel already has a strong hardware and software engineering presence in India which is host to the chip maker's India Design Center, its largest non-manufacturing site outside the US. Its operation is focused on Bangalore, but it maintains sales offices in Pune, Mumbai, New Delhi, Chandigarh, Kolkatta and Chennai - the latter often mentioned in the past as a likely location of an Intel India fab, though the chip maker has always denied it. Intel is certainly considering such a move. In November 2004, CEO Craig Barrett said: "India is one of several countries that we are currently evaluating from a manufacturing perspective. We are not ready to announce a location for our next manufacturing plant at this time. India is one of the several competitors." At the time, the chip maker was investing an extra $40m over the next two years to expand its campus in Bangalore. The completed building will provide work space for 1,200 people. It currently employs 800. According to Maran, Nokia is planning to establish a handset factory in India, and has now drawn up a shortlist of possible locations. LG, likewise, is planning to make mobile phones in the country. ® Related stories Outsourcing more expensive than in-house service New Intel Irish plants 'under threat' Intel ups Indian investment Intel CEO touts 'much improved' H1 '05 growth Intel admits Itanium pains, plots server future Intel 'acquires' Russian Itanium killer's R&D staff New Xeon unearthed as Intel's first all-India chip
Tony Smith, 14 Mar 2005
globalisation

The Eclipse conundrum

CommentComment Eclipse, as a development platform, is taking the Java development world by storm and is likely to prove the IDE (integrated development environment) of choice for that community for some time to come or, at least, until something better comes along. However, Eclipse provides a conundrum for CIOs and managers of IT development teams. The reason for this is that Eclipse guarantees interoperability between the different plug-ins that are available, and provides a common (up to a point) look and feel. Let's take this another step: Eclipse means that you can take any of, say, 15 different coding environments and plug them into Eclipse and they will all work not just with the other development tools that you use, but also with all of the other coding environments. In other words, it would be perfectly feasible to have a development team, each of whom used a different coding environment. Indeed, there would be nothing to stop any individual using multiple coding environments, perhaps because he or she preferred this tool for web applications, and that one for building web services, and a third for something else. Now consider this proliferation from a management perspective. Is this a dream or a nightmare? Before we even attempt to think about this, there are some constraining factors we should consider. For example, you could just as easily have multiple requirements management products or multiple software configuration management solutions. However, if you did this, then how would you keep track of which tools were being used to manage which projects? You would need another super-management tool to manage the management tools – and, of course, you could have multiples of these - which would mean that you would need super-super-management - and so on - which is clearly daft. So, we must logically have some control over which management tools we use. Another consideration is one of support. If you want to have formal support from a supplier, together with things like indemnification, then you are obviously going to need to limit the tools you use for cost reasons, though this does not, of course, prevent you from using other, unsupported software. A possible counter-consideration is training. One can imagine a new development team being put together, in a few years time, made up of developers from a variety of different backgrounds. Each of these people is likely to be familiar with a particular toolset - why bother to retrain them, with all the costs and time involved in that process – why not just let them use what they want to? On the other hand, there is another downside to the open-for-everything approach: developers like to play with the latest tools, and job adverts require up-to-date skills, so there is a danger that developers will use any open-handed policy more to increase their value in the job market than to do the job in hand. So, you can see the issues involved and you can probably think of even further ramifications (it certainly has some for vendors). Unfortunately, I cannot say that I have any solutions to recommend and in any case, they will probably vary from company to company. But a clear Eclipse (and, indeed, Open Source) policy is going to be needed by any organisation pursuing this development route. Related stories
Philip Howard, 14 Mar 2005
arrow pointing up

VIA unveils first two-way Mini-ITX mobo

VIA has introduced what it claims is the world's first Mini-ITX motherboard capable of hosting more than one CPU. The board, the EPIA DP-310, sports two VIA 1GHz Eden N processors. The chip is typically aimed at embedded applications, but VIA said it sees the DP-310 finding a home in server appliances, NAS units and high-density servers. The Eden N consumes 7W of power at 1GHz, thanks to its PowerSaver 3.0 power management system, VIA said. Like other latest-generation VIA x86 chips, it also features PadLock, the chip maker's hardware security engine. Both components make the Eden N particularly suitable for server roles, VIA claimed. The DP-130 uses VIA's CN400 chipset, which is generally pitched at more multimedia-oriented applications than you'd expect on a server. It offers VIA's Vinyl six-channel audio sub-system, AGP 8x for external graphics and a integrated UniChrome Pro graphics core, MPEG 2 and 4 acceleration with motion compensation, and support for two monitors, including DVI, LVDS, TV and CRT. The CN400's North Bridge chip can connect to 4GB of DDR SDRAM, clocked at 266, 333 or 400MHz, but the DP-130 provides just two SO-DIMM slots for a maximum of 2GB. It also provides two Serial ATA ports, parallel ATA-133 support, and four USB 2.0 ports. The mobo also incorporates Gigabit Ethernet - another first for the Mini-ITX world, apparently - and twin 10/100Mbps Ethernet ports courtesy of the CN400. The Mini-ITX's small 17 x 17cm size means two DP-130s can be combined in a single 1U rack-mount unit, said VIA, yielding two two-way x86 servers in the space of one. Fit them into a 42U rack, and you have 168 processors which together draw only 2.5kW of power - rather less than rigs built out of rival chip makers' products. ® Related stories VIA unveils ultra-compact media chip VIA announces 64-bit x86 processor VIA's 90nm CPU to be branded C7 IBM to fab next-gen VIA CPU VIA takes Eden CPU to 1GHz
Tony Smith, 14 Mar 2005

No verdict yet in Ebbers fraud trial

The jury in the Bernie Ebbers fraud trial have spent six days weighing up the evidence against the former WorldCom boss but still haven't managed to agree on a verdict. Ebbers is charged with masterminding the $11bn (£5.8bn) accounting fraud that felled telecoms giant WorldCom in 2002. He denies the allegations insisting he had no knowledge of the financial trickery. He also testified that he didn't have the financial know-how to pull off such a complex fraud. The Government's star witness, former CFO Scott Sullivan, has already pleaded guilty to his part in the fraud. But under oath he said he took his lead from Ebbers. On Friday, the jury of seven women and five men called for a flipchart, some marker pens and a copy of Cynthia Copper's evidence. Cooper, reports Reuters, was the company's former VP of audit and the person who first uncovered the book fiddling. The jury returns Monday to continue its deliberations. ® Related stories Ebbers jury weighs up evidence Ebbers denies knowledge of WorldCom fraud Sullivan tells of WorldCom fraud fears Ebbers 'drove Worldcom fraud' - Sullivan
Tim Richardson, 14 Mar 2005
cloud

AMD tweaks mobile chip roadmap

AMD has tweaked its public roadmap to take into account the recently launched Turion 64 mobile processors. It's a little odd, it has to be said, to have a public roadmap that includes past product - surely a roadmap should solely point ahead, to future releases? AMD still lists all its H2 2004 releases, even though we're now well into H1 2005. AMD's roadmap has listed 'Lancaster', a low-voltage, 90nm Mobile Athlon 64 chip, for some time, putting its release some time in the first half of this year. The latest roadmap revision drops the codename and lists the part as Turion 64. Still to come before the end of Q2 2005 are 'Newark', the standard 90nm Mobile Athlon 64 part, which will succeed the current, 130nm version. Likewise, 'Georgetown' is the H1 2005 90nm successor to the current line up of 130nm Mobile Sempron processors. Georgetown will be superseded by 'Albany', the second-generation 90nm Mobile Sempron, in H2, a six-month period which should also see the release of 'Roma', the second-generation 90nm low-voltage Mobile Sempron. AMD has not publicly announced any updates to the Turion 64 family or the Mobile Athlon 64 line from H2 onwards. Unofficially, 'Taylor' will be a dual-core chip with support for DDR 2 SDRAM, as will be 'Trinidad'. The two chips are expected to be offered under the Turion 64 and Mobile Athlon 64 brands, respectively. ® Related stories AMD 'Athlon 64 4200+' benchmarks surface VIA unveils Turion chipset AMD unveils next-gen 90nm Opterons AMD's 2006 roadmap - details emerge AMD to gain market share in 2005
Tony Smith, 14 Mar 2005

Chaos as 'tagging for terror' system hits glitches

'Tagging for terror' under the new Prevention of Terrorism Act got off to an inauspicious start over the weekend, with one control order detainee left without money, food or phone for 17 hours, police being forced to break down the door of one flat, and detainees claiming to be baffled by what their control orders allowed them to do, and who they were allowed to see. As well they might. If they want to arrange to meet someone for a cup of coffee, they have to secure the permission of their handlers. But, apparently, if while out on the street (they're allowed out, subject to curfew) they bump into the very same person they'd have to have permission to have a coffee with, then they can go and have a coffee with them. Without permission. Got that? Over the weekend the phone number intended to allow detainees to contact the Home Office didn't work, so the detainee with no food couldn't actually tell anybody, despite his allegedly being under close surveillance. The biggest irony of the whole situation is that police sources are reportedly suggesting that the detainees may ultimately need to be given new identities. The identities of three, Abu Qatada, Djamel Ajouaou and Abu Rideh, are already in the public domain, but the Home Office has prohibited publication of any information that might lead to the identification of the others. Information published by the Appeals Tribunal and various leaks from the security services however mean that it's not massively difficult to figure out who they probably are. Nor is it likely that their neighbours will fail to notice the comings and goings associated with an intensive tagging and monitoring regime. So there's a certain logic to fixing them up with new identities in the event of their ever being completely freed - after all, they haven't been charged with anything, so would have to be viewed as innocent; they and their families would have to be protected accordingly. Naturally a Home Office that keeps telling us how important false ID is to terrorists might have a few problems allowing this to happen, but if it ever does let them go, and hasn't contrived to bundle them off to cells in their home countries, the amount it will have to spend on their protection will likely present a few problems too. The glitches surrounding the tagging suggest that the Home Office dream of "prisons without bars" bears little relation to the reality. Detainees have been fitted with tags by Premier Monitoring Services, one of the Home Office's tagging partners, but it appears that a simple home detention tag is being used, rather than a more sophisticated one that would allow monitoring outside the home. One of the detainees has been granted permission to use his garden provided it is within range of the monitoring device, which implies a simple home-installed system backed up by landline. These have been used fairly commonly in the UK for low risk offenders for some years, so their operation really ought to be well understood. The difficulties the detainees face in determining what they can and cannot do also provides clear evidence of a system being developed on the march, off the top of various heads in the Home Office and security services. The possible restrictions listed in the PTA are sufficiently wide to make any kind of life virtually impossible, which means the handlers probably have to interpret their way through the restrictions in order to allow the detainees some level of functionality. Obviously, embarrassing mistakes will happen here, so what chance is there of extending the system to the "hundreds" of suspects Tony Blair talks about? There will also be problems associated with the necessary presumption that the current subjects, and future subjects held on a similar basis, will wish to subvert the system. As The Register has argued in the past, what success tagging regimes have had has been dependent on a willingness on the part of the subject to co-operate. Tagging under such circumstances provides a simple mechanism for restricting the behaviour of individuals who probably do not wish to commit further offences, and will therefore behave themselves. Extending tagging to terror suspects, terror sympathisers or, say, the UK's top 5,000 criminals takes us into different territory - an intent to subvert must be presumed, and therefore the technology must be more robust, and the monitoring far better and more intensive. So you could maybe say that tagging works best on people who present no threat, and is impractical on any substantial scale as a weapon against those who do pose a threat. We trust the Home Office will figure this out soon without wasting too much money. Nor is the surveillance of the current subjects necessarily all it's cracked up to be. The detainees are being allowed one fixed landline, and a computer with no Internet capability, but they and their families are banned from having mobile phones, fax machines, pagers or any other communications device. These restrictions have been imposed in order to allow the security services to monitor all calls, and while it would be foolish to conclude that the security services therefore were not able to monitor mobile calls and Internet communication, it possibly suggests that they're not absolutely confident of their abilities in the field. For some years now The Register has been of the opinion that Government incompetence was one of the UK's most important safeguards against totalitarianism, and we are therefore more than a little comforted by unfolding events. ® Related Stories: UK tagging for 'terror plotters' goes live on freed suspects The Independent on tagging chaos Details of tagging restrictions - Guardian
John Lettice, 14 Mar 2005

BACS migration - who cares?

AnalysisAnalysis There are over 30,000 organisations in the UK who depend on a direct connection to BACS for making electronic payments, with many more accessing BACS through a bureau provider. According to a study just completed by Quocirca, about 90 per cent of these use BACS to get salary payments into their employees' bank accounts at the end of every month, with half of them also dependent on BACS to pay their suppliers. The actual network itself that runs all of this is BACSTEL, which is owned and operated by a consortium of financial institutions known as VOCA. BACSTEL has been running for years and is now quite long in the tooth so, not surprisingly, VOCA decided a while ago that it needed to modernise it to deliver better security, reliability, manageability and performance, both for itself and its customers. The new all-IP based version of BACTEL, creatively named BACSTEL-IP, is now fully up and running in parallel with the old BACSTEL system. As at January 2005, our research indicated that six per cent of "direct submitters", i.e. those whose systems connect directly to BACS, had migrated across to the new network, with a further 19 per cent having migrations in progress. Why are these numbers relevant? Well, because VOCA has declared that the old BACSTEL network will be switched off at the end of 2005 and the message to those who have not migrated by this point will be "Tough!". Now you could argue that this is an unfair position for VOCA to take, but it has to be said that it and the BACS supplier community as a whole, which includes the banks and solution providers who deliver the systems that hook organisations up, have been telling people for a long time now that this is coming. Indeed 95 per cent of those we spoke with in the research are aware of the need to migrate. The fact that only a quarter tell us they have acted is therefore a bit worrying, especially considering that migration typically depends on resource being available from solution providers such as Bottomline Technologies, Albany and InterSoftware, and that there is a finite limit on the amount of resource to go round. The danger is, that too many will leave it to the last minute then find that they cannot secure the migration support they need at the time they need it. Of course there are a lot of good intentions out there with many saying they will be getting onto it in the coming months, but migration costs money and what we are told about budget allocation doesn’t tally with those intentions. When someone tells you they will be migrating within three months but later says they have not yet allocated the budget, we have to have to figure that at least a proportion of these fall into the "wishful thinkers" category. Having said this, it tends to be the Bean Counters in charge of managing BACS systems. In about 45 per cent of cases, it is the Financial Controller or Accounts Payable Manager with the Financial Director taking direct charge in another quarter of cases. We could therefore speculate that they would be quite relaxed about finding a budget pot to dip into at the right time. But Bean Counters in charge of what is essentially an IT system migration process? If you are reading this and are a little spooked by that concept and want to make sure that your first salary payment of 2006 actual makes it into your bank account, you might want to consider wandering up to Accounts and nonchalantly asking a few questions. Register readers can request a free copy of the report "BACSTEL-IP – Steady Progress or Wishful Thinking" here. Copyright © 2005, Related stories Small.biz loses rag with late payers Late payments are putting your wages at risk Barclays BACS system crashes
Quocirca, 14 Mar 2005
cloud

Supermarkets next in line for phishing attacks

Online retailers are likely to become the next target of 'phishing' scams, UK police warned last weekend. Scam emails that form the basis of phishing attacks attempt to trick users into handing over their account details and passwords. First seen in the UK approximately 18 months ago, phishing emails are becoming increasingly sophisticated, directing users to bogus websites which accurately reproduce the look and feel of legitimate sites. Up till now online banking websites or auction sites such as eBay have been the main target but the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit warns online retailers that they need to be on their guard, the Mail on Sunday reports. Tony Neate, the unit's industry liaison officer, said: "We have warned all the big retailers that we consider them to be the next targets and are helping them to secure their sites against the attacks we think are coming. We are working with the online retailers, but are also working to educate their customers and make them aware of the problems." Online grocer Ocado and other retailers, including Tesco and Sainsbury, have been exchanging information through the Interactive Media Retailer Group in order to co-ordinate the development of anti-fraud strategies, learning from the experiences of the banking industry. Online banking fraud losses reached £12m in 2004, according to figures from banking industry association APACS released last week. The banking industry blames these losses on either straightforward phishing scams or the use of Trojans to capture security credentials through keystroke logging, a tactic which allows fraudsters to subsequently raid online banking accounts. ® Related stories Big guns back UK IT security drive Four charged in landmark UK phishing case UK banks launch anti-phishing website UK card fraud hits £505m
John Leyden, 14 Mar 2005

SCO settles boardroom dispute with Canopy

SCO has welcomed news that a case involving three board members of its onetime biggest shareholder, Canopy Group, has been settled. Brent Christensen, Darcy Mott and Ralph Yarro were seeking $100m and their old jobs back - they were sacked in December last year. They claimed this was the result of a boardroom coup and did not reflect the feelings of Ray Noorda - who founded Novell and venture capital group Canopy. Canopy counter-sued the three accusing them of receiving $20m as a result of "self-dealing and wasteful transactions." In a statement the firm said: "SCO is pleased that the final settlement between The Canopy Group and its former management has removed any uncertainty regarding The SCO Group and SCO shares that Canopy has owned. As SCO's largest shareholder, we look forward to Ralph Yarro's continued leadership and guidance as chairman of the SCO board." Both sides accused the other of taking advantage of Noorda's failing health and memory. Noorda suffers from Alzheimer's disease. Under the settlement, Yarro stays on as SCO chairman and receives all Canopy's SCO shares as part of the settlement. Mott also stays on the board, and all three receive a financial settlement. SCO is famous, or infamous, for starting legal action claiming Linux infringes some of its own Unix IP. ® Related stories SCO parent sued by former execs Novell torpedoes SCO's Unix IP claim MS blesses SCO, licenses Unix
John Oates, 14 Mar 2005

ID scheme to die in pre-election cull?

A further signal that the Government was prepared to write off the ID Card Bill and blame the opposition was provided this morning by former Home Secretary David Blunkett, who told Radio 4's Today programme this morning that he hoped the House of Lords wouldn't block the establishment of the Serious Organised Crime Agency "as they appear to be going to block ID cards." Blunkett is not of course Home Secretary, but he's still a key ally of Tony Blair, still has a very expensive house, and is likely to return to office after the election, on the completion of his period of rehabilitation. So this particular aside is likely to have derived from inside knowledge of how Labour intends to play the election. Assuming this goes ahead in May, the Government will need to cut deals with the opposition in order to deal any legislation pending. The ID Cards Bill was - until last week's flurry over the Prevention of Terrorism Act - the most obviously controversial, but the SOCA Bill could also present serious problems. Its central objective is to establish the 'British FBI', but it also substantially increases police powers of arrest and includes the proposed 'religious hatred' offence. Blunkett's words appear to indicate that the Government is prepared to sacrifice ID cards, and bring in a new Bill after the election, in order to get SOCA through. Both Bills would face difficulties going through normal Lords procedure in the time available before the election, and the Tories would find it difficult, considering their heavy misgivings about the current ID Cards Bill, to support it going through unchanged and unexamined on Parliament's dissolution. Killing two Bills however might look bad for them in the election campaign, so Labour probably calculates that the Tories can be forced to nod through SOCA, then be blamed for spiking ID cards. Blunkett's rehabilitation campaign, incidentally, proceeds apace. He's been doing the rounds of the newspapers portraying himself as the victim of press intrusion into his private life, and discoursing on identity and being proud to be English. This is perhaps an appropriate time to remind ourselves who it was who used his public office for his private convenience, and who was dragging private lives into matters on the day he resigned. ® Related Stories: Tory group report attacks ID scheme as a con trick Clarke takes charge of Blunkett's Fear Agenda ID checks could have stopped cockler deaths, says Blunkett
John Lettice, 14 Mar 2005

RIM signs IM pacts

Research in Motion today put in place a pair of partnerships to boost the use of instant messaging on its Blackberry platform. The Canadian company signed deals with Yahoo! and AOL to bring their respective IM clients to the Blackberry. The mobile email specialist has also inked a deal to incorporate its software on future handsets from Taiwanese Windows Mobile-based smart phone developer HTC. In addition to AIM support, RIM said it will also bring AOL ICQ services to Blackberry, and improve links between the platform's email system and AOL Mail. RIM already has a partnership with Yahoo! to deliver optimised content to the Blackberry. That's now extended to Yahoo! Messenger which, like AOL Instant Messenger, will appear on the Blackberry fully-branded. RIM said it will also enhance its support for Yahoo! Mail too, soon. The agreements strengthen Blackberry's repertoire of communications media, particularly as IM becomes more commonplace among business users as well as consumers, and could accelerate IM's usage in the mobile communications arena as an alternative to SMS, one with better support for other, non-mobile devices too. Usage of either IM client will be conditional on the backing of the networks, as will pricing. AIM will only be available through "AOL authorised" networks, for example; RIM and Yahoo! said they would both work to help carriers bring YM services to customers. YM will be pre-installed on Blackberry devices "in the coming months", RIM said. Separately, RIM said HTC will bundle Blackberry Connect on the handset maker's devices, in particular those with integrated keyboards, the currently shipping 'Blue Angel' and the upcoming 'Universal'. However, HTC said the deal will "quickly expand" to its other Windows Mobile smart phones too. Blackberry Connect delivers the Blackberry handheld's push email and PIM services on other devices. Making such services accessible to non-Blackberry owners is a tricky strategy for RIM, given that more than 70 per cent of its revenues come from hardware sales. Siemens recently began shipping its SK65 handset which relies on Blackberry Connect. ® Related stories Vodafone preps 3G, Wi-Fi palmtop smart phone Orange next-gen smart phone details leak Orange preps latest own-brand smart phones T-Mobile unveils Sidekick-styled 3G device RIM rejects NTP patent win RIM revenues rise RIM infringed NTP patents, appeal court rules Siemens touts Blackberry-based business phone Related reviews Nokia 9300 Communicator HTC 'Magician' PocketPC phone HTC 'Blue Angel' Wi-Fi PocketPC phone
Tony Smith, 14 Mar 2005

Broadband top of Tories' IT election agenda

The Conservative Party would do more to exploit IT and digital technology in the UK if elected at the next general election, which is expected as early as May. In particular, broadband would top the agenda and the Tories would work to ensure that the UK had a network capable of delivering "interactive video for all" by 2020. Unveiling its "Action Plan" at the weekend, a Tory think tank led by Shadow IT Minister Michael Fabricant MP and European Technology Spokesman Malcolm Harbour MEP said: "An incoming Conservative Government must..lift the UK significantly upwards from its middle rank position among developed countries in exploiting digital technology." The pre-election report by the Conservative Technology Forum also reckons that police need more specialist resources to help deal with computer crime. It's also called for the creation of a central unit to deal with paedophiles. In a statement Tory Michael Fabricant said: "This Action Plan offers practical policies which an incoming Conservative administration must seriously consider. This shows our joined up approach to policy making and our determination to move the UK to the front rank of digital economies." Whatever. Last month, the Government was tickled pink that it had hit one of its key broadband targets. In February 2001 the UK Government said it wanted the UK to have the most "extensive and competitive broadband" market among leading industrial nations by 2005. Official stats from researchers Ovum found that while the UK is top of the class for broadband "extensiveness" it still has some way to go before it can be classed as a truly competitive broadband nation. On the issue of competitiveness, the UK is still playing catch-up behind Japan and Canada. Undeterred, eminister Mike O'Brien said: "The UK now has the most extensive broadband market in the G7. We said we wanted the UK to be the best place in the world for e-business and, with broadband now available to 96 per cent of households and more than six million people already subscribing, this is fast becoming a reality." ® Related stories PC tax could replace TV licence G7 broadband target eludes UK Govt Blair's broadband scheme canned 'Sophisticated' UK sprints ahead in ICT race
Tim Richardson, 14 Mar 2005
channel

Profits jump at Fayrewood

Fayrewood, the pan-European distie, proclaimed record results for 2004, with group sales advancing 17 per cent to £507m (2003: £434m) and profits before tax jumping 27 per cent to £16.3m (2003: £12.8m). The revenue increase for the 12 months ended 31 December 2004 represents an even bigger leap in trading volumes and market share, according to the company, which notes "continuing general product price deflation for the ranges we distribute". Fayrewood has two business arms: Computerlinks, a wholesaler of IT security products, which is quoted separately on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and which has offices in several European countries; and Niche Distribution, a collection of IT wholesalers in France, the UK and Spain. The company expects to match analyst forecasts of seven per cent growth for the European IT market this year, and to do slightly better in the security market "where ComputerLinks is the European market leader". Also, it expects to win more market share this year, and it remains on the prowl for acquisition opportunities. Last year Fayrewood introduced into Spain its own budget range of consumer electronics, manufactured in the Far East, called Redbell. The company claims strong sales in Q4 last year and will now promote the brand, through a wholly-owned Irish subsidiary, into France and the UK, too. ® Related links Fayrewood2004 results (pdf) ComputerLinks 2004 results Related stories Tech Data Q4 profits jump on tax settlement Magirus buys Exello Bell swings into full year profit Northamber doubles interim profit
Team Register, 14 Mar 2005

Fire-breathing bus attacks South London

Hysterical Londoners were last week subjected to a further terrifying ordeal after another Satanic bendy bus caught fire prompting immediate evacuation of the murderous vehicle. We say terrifying not because the incident was in any way life-threatening, but because the attack was timed to cause maximum emotional distress - the articulated single-decker was at the time in New Cross, which means that the victims were obliged to spend longer in the sun-kissed South London paradise than absolutely necessary. Nasty. Regular readers will recall that three bendy buses last year spontaneously combusted, provoking a temporary withdrawal of the entire fleet. The cause was later attributed to "a hose used in the bus engines", as the BBC rather vaguely puts it. The suicidal omnibus (route 436, bus enthusiasts will be interested to note) has been "taken to a garage for inspection". We have no doubt that bendy bus champion "Red" Ken Livingstone will be waiting to once again cover up the real reason for the outrage and silence any witnesses in the traditional manner - by offering them a lifelong exemption from congestion charges and a family pass for the London Eye. We take this opportunity to once again warn readers about the bendy bus menace and to demand the immediate redeployment of Routemasters across the capital. ® The Rise of the Machines™ Dyson unleashes self-replicating hoover Battling teen crushes roboarm menace French join motorised Lizard Alliance Lizard Army develops copulating robot We are Zogg: The Cuddly Menace Lizard Army invades Alaska London menaced by flaming DVD players Killer hoover attacks Scotsman 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
Lester Haines, 14 Mar 2005

New Yorker punts haunted Nintendo NES

A New York eBayer is offering gaming enthusiasts the chance to acquire a vintage Nintendo NES with an unusual mod - it's possessed by the spirits of the undead who who use it as a portal with which to communicate with the other side. Or so the vendor claims. Rest assured, though, it's not a malevolent possession which will end with peoples' heads swivelling around, screaming priests jumping out of first-floor windows and your house and all its contents being sucked down into Hell - rather a low-key sort of visitation which manifests itself through voices and the occassional interruption of a game. Read on: There is a local thrift store here in Brooklyn, NYC, that I've been doing business with for some years now. About a month and a half ago I made one of my visits to the shop and found this '80s Nintendo System. When I purchased this Unit I asked the owner of the shop about who brought the System in, and what he actually told me was that a gentleman had donated it that same morning and said "It was just sitting in his attic", and according to him, it supposedly belonged to his son who passed away years ago. I brought this System home, and on the first night of playing, about 10 minutes into the game, I began hearing sounds similar to human voices, mumbling to the background music of the television. Naturally I thought it may have been static or something to that effect, or maybe it somehow interfered with a truck driver's CB Radio System, so I didn't pay much attention to it. But it continued through-out the entire time I was playing, stop for a minute or two, then start again. It got to the point where I went really close to the TV, I paused the game to try to hear it a little better, but then it would get silent. When I would unpause it, there it would go again. I know it sounded like there was a conversation going on but I couldn't make out any of the words. To my knowledge, there is no technical problem with any vintage Nintendo Gaming System that causes any of these 'symptoms'. Since owning this System, I've experienced hearing sounds of mumbling and laughing in the background music of different games (all sounding Exactly the same and all on numerous occasions). On 3 separate occasions I've had the game 'Pause' by itself, without having my finger anywhere near the 'Start' button of the controller, and the really suspicious thing about it was the fact the timing of the Pause always happened to be during an intense moment of a game, as if the intentions were made for me to lose. I even tried different controllers, which I've sold on eBay, thinking it may have been some type of controller glitch with the originals... and yet still have the same exact things happen. Every time I power this unit on is like getting ready for something new to happen. And not only with me. I've invited close friends and family members over, and some but not all have witnessed something strange happen, like the one time the 'Arrow icon' on the Main Options screen of a game actually moved down to 2 Player Mode, all while the controller was out of my hand. Yup, gone are the days when contact with the spirit world involved a glass, a Ouija board and a candlelit Victorian drawing room. Now when your dear departed wants to touch base they simply notify you by switching to two-player mode and away you go. The haunted NES is currently standing at $72 with a couple of days left to run on the auction. ® Bootnote Ta very much to Ghostbuster NMH for contacting the spirit world, and then us. Related stories Stripper flogs breast implant on eBay Middle Earth for sale on eBay eBayers go mental for Burberry-clad Chavmobile
Lester Haines, 14 Mar 2005

Motorola smart phones to bundle navigation app

Motorola is to bundle GPS navigation software and hardware with the European versions of its A780 and MPx220 smart phones. Both handsets will include navigation specialist ALK Technologies' CoPilot Live software and Navteq street and places-of-interest maps for European countries on a suitable memory card. The Linux-based A780 contains its own GPS receiver hardware, while the Windows Mobile-based MPx220 will require a separate Bluetooth-enabled GPS receiver. CoPilot Live uses maps and GPS location data to calculate multi-stage routes, displaying turn-by-turn directions on screen and speaking them out loud for safety. The software also plugs into ALK's GPRS-based tracking system, which allows third-parties to find out precisely where the user is and how long he or she will take to arrive at their destination. The product can also quickly plot a new course on the back of up-to-the-minute traffic news, or to take the user around a jam. GPS navigation has proved something of a boom market in Europe, growing sales in the otherwise declining PDA market as a variety of vendors have bundled low-cost handhelds, GPS receivers and navigation software that together cost far less than dedicated GPS systems. David Quin, ALK's UK maketing chief, said the Motorola deal was "an important step on the road to mass-market adoption of GPS navigation". ALK has been active in the market for some time, developing navigation software for PocketPCs. Last September, it introduced the software to Windows smart phones. The release of the A780 version marks the software's Linux debut. The Motorola deal follows a similar agreement reached recently with T-Mobile, which said it will bundle CoPilot Live with its SDA and MDA Compact smart phones. Again, both handsets use Bluetooth to communicate with a separate GPS receiver. T-Mobile said it would also offer CoPilot Live separately to existing SDA and MDA users. Motorola's handsets and GPS bundles will be available from "select" mobile operators throughout Europe. Pricing and availability will be determined by the carriers themselves. ® Related stories Gizmondo to ship 19 March Auto makers to create car-to-car WLAN by 2006 Galileo launches will go ahead MS smart phones gain in-car nav kit Related reviews ALK CoPilot Smartphone Navman PiN GPS PocketPC Evesham integrated GPS PocketPC
Tony Smith, 14 Mar 2005

'Star Wars' vet appointed NASA head

President Bush last week named former NASA chief engineer Michael Griffin as the Administration's new head. The veteran of the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization - responsible for the "Star Wars" missile defence programme - has proved a popular choice to succeed acting director Fred Gregory, Reuters reports. Gregory has been at the helm since former director Sean O'Keefe quit his post in February. Griffin is currently head of the space department at the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University. His CV includes a spell as NASA's chief engineer and a stint as deputy for technology at the SDIO. Later he was president of the CIA's private venture capital arm, In-Q-Tel. The nomination has attracted broad political support. Maryland Democratic senator Barbara Mikulski said Griffin has "the right combination of experience in industry, academia and government service". US House of Representatives Science Committee head Sherwood Boehlert, a New York Republican, agreed: "He has broad expertise, knows NASA inside and out, and is an imaginative and creative thinker and leader. We look very forward to working with Dr. Griffin at this critical time for NASA." The critical time for NASA will come on 15 May - the intended date for the return to flight of its space shuttle programme. The launch of Discovery will hopefully lay to rest any doubts about the programme's viability following the Columbia disaster. ® Related stories NASA bumps return to flight Congress names new NASA chief Bush bins Hubble fix
Lester Haines, 14 Mar 2005
globalisation

Spyware Assassin censured for 'bogus' claims

A firm accused of scaring punters into buying ineffective protection against spyware has been ordered to curtail its deceptive marketing claims by a US District court. The Federal Trade Commission is looking to extend this temporary injunction against Spyware Assassin into a permanent ban. The US consumer watchdog is also seeking compensation for consumers from MaxTheater, the firm behind Spyware Assassin, and Thomas L. Delanoy, its principal. In papers filed with the US District Court for the Eastern District of Washington in Spokane, the FTC alleges that Spyware Assassin and its affiliates used websites, email, banner ads, and pop-ups to drive consumers to the Spyware Assassin website. Thereafter consumers were exposed to a series of dire warnings designed to induce people into running a "free spyware detection scan" which allegedly "detected" spyware even on clean machines. Frightened punters were then invited to shell out $29.95 for a package called Spyware Assassin which promised to "remove all spyware programs and files" and "prevent any future breaches". According to the FTC, the "anti-spyware" software is vapourware which failed to "remove all or substantially all spyware", contrary to the defendants' claims. ® Related stories 'Spamford' Wallace agrees to stop spyware assault FTC punishes porn dialler firm US moves towards anti-spyware law Alternative browser spyware infects IE
John Leyden, 14 Mar 2005
channel

IBM buys Ascential

IBM is paying over one billion dollars for data specialist Ascential Software Corp. Readers with long memories may recall that Ascential was born out of IBM's acquisition of Informix back in 2001. IBM will pay $1.1bn for Ascential, or $18.50 per share, substantially more than the $15.85 Ascential shares closed at on Friday. Ascential Software helps big companies deal with integrating and managing large amounts of information. Ascential will operate as a business unit within the Information Management division, headed by Janet Perna. Ascential's products will be included with IBM's other Information Management and Software Group offerings. Analyst house IDC predicts worldwide spending on data integration to increase from $9.3bn in 2003 to $13.6bn in 2008. Ascential saw turnover increase 46 per cent in 2004 to $272m. The deal is subject to the usual regulator and shareholder approval but should close in the second quarter 2005. IBM bought Informix's database business in February 2001 for $1bn in cash but did not take on Ascential. ® Related stories Why IBM needs ETL PeopleSoft switches from Informatica to Ascential IBM buys Informix for $1bn
John Oates, 14 Mar 2005

Sony preps PS2 mod chip legal fight

Sony has hinted that it is preparing a fresh legal challenge to the legality of PlayStation 2 modification chips in Australia should a High Court case brought by a PS2 mod chip seller go against it. Speaking in Sydney last week, Sony Computer Entertainment Australia (SCEA) MD Micheal Ephraim said the company's lawyers were gearing up to bring the matter before the court once again, Australian IT reports. The High Court is expected to rule this month on mod chip maker Eddy Stevens' appeal against a July 2003 Federal Court verdict that his products violate Australia's copyright laws. That ruling was, in turn, the result of Sony's appeal against a lower court judgement that selling mod chips was not necessarily an infringement of copyright. Sony lost that case because it had failed to show that the PS2 security system was a "technological protection measure" as defined by the 2000 Digital Agenda Amendments to Australia's Copyright Act. It was also argued that Sony's restrictions on the use of PS2 games bought overseas amounted to an artificial trade barrier. Stevens' High Court strategy will focus on showing that mod chips have legitimate uses as well as illegal ones and so should be allowed to be sold, just as, say, blank CDs and DVD recorders are even though they too may be used to infringe copyright. SCEA did not say how it will tackle mod chips should the Stevens appeal go against it, but it's clear that it will not going to accept defeat. Its case is likely to centre on changes made to Australia's copyright regime enacted as a consequence of the Free Trade Agreement signed last year by Australia and the US. ® Related stories Hackers sued for tinkering with Xbox games Oz mod-chip seller to take Sony to High Court Spanish judge rules X-Box mods 'legal' Italian court rules mod chips legal Sony wins Aussie mod- chip sales ban US mod chip retailer jailed and fined Ballmer baulks at Oz Xbox chippers charter Oz court backs Sony PS mod chips
Tony Smith, 14 Mar 2005
channel

Dell: Say your prayers

Authorities in Nashville, Tennessee are investigating allegations that 30 Muslim workers were unfairly dimissed from a Dell factory in the city. The workers were allegedly dismissed for refusing to skip prayers. According to reports the night-shift workers were called to a 1.00am meeting in the canteen and told they could no longer leave the assembly line for sunset prayers. Muslims must pray five times a day but timings are flexible except for prayers at sunset, which must be performed within a half-hour window. The 30, all Somalis working in the packing department, decided they could not compromise on their evening prayer time, AP reports. Nashville's Metro Human Relations Commission confirmed to The Reg that it had received complaints. Kelvin Jones, executive director at Metro Human Relations Commission, said: "We have responsibility for receiving and investigating complaints. We are currently following up an enquiry but this is not a full inquiry yet. However we do expect it to lead to a complaint against Spherion (Dell's employment agency) and Dell." Jones told The Reg he had had two short conversations with Dell - one locally and one with headquarters in Austin, Texas. A message was left by someone at Spherion too, he said. Jones said he hopes to sort out the problem by reconciliation. Dell Europe refused to answer specific questions but emailed us the following statement: "Dell values diversity in all areas, including religious belief, and it is the company's practice to accommodate religious beliefs. In fact, our practice of accommodation often exceeds what's required by law. "Further to this, Dell enjoys a strong reputation within the Muslim community as an accommodating place to work. Dell has well-established, effective processes for employees to raise issues with their manager or with Human Resources. Dell also has an 'open door' policy in which employees can meet with plant executives to raise relevant issues. We're working to and are confident we will be able to appropriately resolve this issue. " ® Related stories Foreigners gain thousands of jobs on Dell US staff Dell rejects idea of AMD defection Dell 'bait and switch' alleged
John Oates, 14 Mar 2005

Seagate 5GB USB 2.0 Pocket Hard Drive

ReviewReview With USB Flash drives growing in capacity and falling in price, it's a brave move on Seagate's part to release its 5GB USB 2.0 Pocket Hard Drive. It's certainly not be a revolutionary product, but while Flash drives are hovering around the 2GB mark, having 5GB of storage in your pocket can't be a bad thing, writes Lars-Goran Nilsson. The PHD is round - an unusual shape for a device of this type - but it fits very comfortably in the palm of your hand and is more aesthetically pleasing than the more usual rectangular casings. The box is constructed from two separate parts, one silver and one black. The silver part has two rubber feet to give it stability when it's sitting on your desk or PC. The contrasting black part rotates to reveal the integrated USB connector, complete with a 13cm cable. Since the drive is bus-powered, the built-in cable not only means you don't need to take a separate one with you, but you don't need a power adaptor either. Still, 13cm is a bit short and I would have liked to have seen a longer cable for users whose USB ports are at the back of a machine tucked underneath a desk. At least USB extension cables are easy to find, and adding a longer cable would also have added size to the drive. The PHD's size and ease of connectivity are shared with USB Flash drives, of course. What sets the Seagate product apart is the excellent, easy to use software that it's supplied with. The PHD toolkit clearly displays how much free space is left on the disk. It allows you to make the drive bootable, and you can also repartition the disk here, although any data resident at the time will be lost. It's possible to password-protect the drive to keep sensitive data safe from prying eyes, but you have to create a secure partition first. There is also a write protection option, so you can make sure you don't delete important files by mistake. The software's help section contains a link to the PDF manual that resides on the disk, a web link for software updates and a link to Seagate's support website. To test the pocket drive I copied a single 699MB file as well as 696MB of MP3 files to and from the drive. Writing the single 699MB file took 1m 41s, while reading it back took 1m 27s. Writing the 696MB of MP3 files took 2m 26s, while reading the data back took 1m 34s. It goes to show that the read speed is a lot faster than the write speed, which is typical for a hard drive. When it comes to price the PHD really starts to look attractive compared to Flash-based alternatives. With a street price of £94, it's a real bargain - you'd probably only get 2GB of Flash storage for this price. Of course you could go for an external 2.5in hard disk and get masses of storage space, but it wouldn't be as portable, and would be far more power hungry when being used with a notebook. Verdict The Seagate Pocket Hard Drive is a great little device. It may not be as small as some USB flash drives, but it's very capacious and represents great value for money. Seagate Pocket Hard Drive   Rating 80%   Price £94   More info The Seagate site Recent Reviews Nokia 9300 Communicator Apple 15in PowerBook G4 Olympus Camedia C-370 Zoom Belkin Wireless Pre-N Router Sony Vaio VGN-FS115B 'Sonoma' notebook Bose SoundDock iPod speakers Firebox VoIP Cyberphone IBM ThinkPad T42p mobile workstation
Trusted Reviews, 14 Mar 2005

CWU hits out at T-Mobile

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) is stepping up the pressure on T-Mobile UK accusing the mobile operator of making it harder for employees to earn sales bonuses. The union reports that staff working in T-Mobile shops have had their sales targets raised making it even harder for workers to earn their "well-deserved bonus". Elsewhere, the CWU - which is not recognised by T-Mobile - claims the mobile outfit has refused to discuss the 800 job losses announced last month. The union has also alleged that T-Mobile has used "heavy-handed security" to prevent union officials from handing out leaflets to workers. In an outspoken attack CWU organiser Nick Childs said: "As usual it will be the ordinary hard working members and their families who'll suffer from these cuts not the senior executives who will be given golden goodbyes and who'll move on to high paid jobs elsewhere. For many of our members it will be hard to find alternative work." No one at T-Mobile was available for comment at the time of writing. ® Related stories T-Mobile to axe 800 UK jobs BT workers' union rejects 'derisory' pay offer C&W axes 480 more jobs
Tim Richardson, 14 Mar 2005
homeless man with sign

CyberGuard snags anti-spam outfit Zix for $3.6m

Security firm CyberGuard has bought the anti-spam, anti-virus and URL filtering business of Zix Corporation for $3.6m in cash. The deal - announced Monday, 14 March and approved by the boards of directors of the two companies - will see Zix's Web Inspector and Message Inspector products moved over to CyberGuard's portfolio. The acquisition will give CyberGuard the opportunity to sell its Webwasher products to Zix's 1,600 enterprise customers and gives it a stronger presence in North America. CyberGuard, which is based in Boca Raton, Florida (AKA the world capital of spam), expects the deal to add to its earnings beginning in the quarter starting 1 April 2005. ® Related stories CyberGuard bids for Secure Computing Microsoft bolsters email security with Sybari acquisition MCI nabs NetSec for $105m BeCrypt acquires Data Sentry from Serco
John Leyden, 14 Mar 2005
fingers pointing at man

Intel extends Wireless MMX

Intel has updated its Wireless MMX mobile multimedia technology, paving the way for a revision of its XScale PXA ARM-based processor family. Today, Intel unveiled Wireless MMX 2, a series of 64-bit SIMD (Single Instruction, Multiple Data) instructions not unlike the SSE extensions developed for its desktop processors. Essentially, they're designed to apply programs to data streams, such as 3D imagery, video and audio. Intel is pitching the technology at handset makers looking to create ever more feature-rich devices - typically through enhanced media handling. The chip maker launched Wireless MMX a year ago, bringing the MMX multimedia-oriented instruction set over from the x86 world to its ARM CPUs, along with a number of unique ARM-only instructions and the integer instructions from the SSE set. Intel said Wireless MMX 2 will be available in "future Intel XScale technology-based platforms", but provided no roadmap for their arrival. At Intel Developer Forum (IDF) earlier this month, there was little to indicate an upcoming revision of the PXA27x series - the mobility roadmap the company presented at the show suggested no major change to the processor family for some time. ® Related stories Intel launches Bulverde, Marathon Intel adds Wireless MMX support to XScale tools Intel chief touts mobile 3D chip, ignores next-gen XScale Intel preps 'Xbox in a phone' XScale chip
Tony Smith, 14 Mar 2005

Swedish ISP raid prompts backlash

A raid by Swedish authorities last week against Bahnhof, Sweden's oldest and largest ISP, has been hailed by Hollywood as a major blow against movie piracy. But questions have been raised about whether the 10 March raid, orchestrated by Swedish anti-piracy organisation Antipiratbyrån, and involving the seizure of data involving thousands of users, might have violated the country's strict data privacy laws. The raid against the Stockholm offices of Bahnhof involved the seizure of four servers holding 23 terabytes of data. Reuters reports the servers housed 1,800 movie files, 5,000 software application files and 450,000 digital audio files. Reuters, liberally quoted a Motion Picture Ass. of America (MPAA) spokesman who described Bahnhof as a "haven for high-level internet piracy for years" and home of "some of the biggest and fastest servers in Europe". Bahnhof said that it does not condone illegal file sharing. The ISP has reportedly suspended two staffers, suspected of hosting vast quantities on warez on its systems without management permission, pending further inquiries. Bahnhof has issued a statement (in Swedish) expressing concerns that data involving as many as 20,000 users was seized during the raid. The raid against Bahnhof is not the first anti-piracy bust in the country but it's reportedly the first to take place without any advance notice. Reg readers inform us that the Swedish Data Inspection Board is to investigate alleged collection and computation of personal data conducted by the Swedish antipiracy office in connection with the Bahnhof raid. This remains unconfirmed since we were unable to reach anyone at the board for comment. Bahnhof chief exec Jon Karlung is yet to respond to Reg requests for an interview that might clarify the current state of play. ® Related stories BPI nails 'music pirates' MPAA closes Loki Dutch eDonkey site owners released SuprNova.org ends, not with a bang but a whimper The BitTorrent P2P file-sharing system RIAA sues 754 more P2Pers Dutch raid eDonkey sites, seize servers Finnish police raid BitTorrent site
John Leyden, 14 Mar 2005
channel

Debian drops mainframe, Sparc development

The Debian GNU/Linux project has proposed axing the number of computer architectures for which it actively develops, with Sparc and IBM's S/390 amongst the casualties. Debian release manager Steve Langasek made the announcement on a mailing list last night. "This will drastically reduce the architecture coordination required in testing, giving us a more limber release process and (it is hoped) a much shorter release cycle on the order of 12-18 months," wrote Langasek. The four architectures to survive are Intel x86, AMD64, PowerPC and … IA-64. Itanic? The latter seems a fortunate candidate for survival: Microsoft recently dropped Windows XP for IA-64, and hardware vendors including IBM and HP have axed IA-64 systems from key product lines. Perhaps the recent surge in sales can explain it: Dell shipped 1,371 Itanium servers last year and in 2004, between 26,005 and 33,623 Itanic servers left the dock, depending on whose numbers you believe. "The reality is that keeping eleven architectures in a releasable state has been a major source of work for the release team, the d-i team, and the kernel team over the past year; not to mention the time spent by the DSA/buildd admins and the security team. It's also not clear how much benefit there is from doing stable releases for all of these architectures, because they aren't necessarily useful to the communities surrounding those ports," explained Langasek. Ports released include SPARC, ARM, MIPS, PA-RISC and S/390. The platforms may be supported in some form, but will no longer be included as part of Debian's famously exhaustive development process. Sun is listed as a Debian development partner; and the chip on which Sun is now betting the farm, Niagara, was developed by Les Kohn's team at Afara using Debian. Debian's Steve McIntyre tells us,"What has been posted so far is just a proposal to the Debian developers, not a concrete plan. Judging from the amount of debate on various mailing lists and IRC channels all day since Steve posted the proposal, there will probably be substantial changes before anything is put into place."® Related stories Check your sums, Debian advises developers after breach The rise of the $99 consumer Linux distribution Darwinists don their Finking caps Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 released Debian boost as Sun buys SPARC edge start-up
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Mar 2005

Nokia sued over 'exploding phone'

A Thai man who had his right leg and five toes on this left foot amputated after his mobile phone exploded is suing Nokia for Bt1m (£13,650) in damages. Prasit Sriseeluang, 50 - who had his handset tucked in his shirt pocket at the time of the accident - was working near a high-voltage power pole when his phone rang. The handset then exploded, causing serious injuries to the welder. Public prosecutors are suing Nokia Thailand for damages, claiming that the phone had defective parts, reports Thai newspaper The Nation. Nokia Thailand has denied that the handset was faulty. The Finnish mobile phone giant has been plagued by a string of reports of exploding handsets but is adamant that each of the cases was down to counterfeit batteries. In December Nokia began applying a holographic sticker to its mobile phone batteries to prevent fake power packs being inadvertently purchased as the real thing. A senior exec said the authentication programme "directly attack[ed] the counterfeiters who manufacture potentially unsafe batteries". ® Related stories Nokia hologram to expose fake, unsafe batteries Nokia batteries not safe either - Belgian watchdog Nokia phone explodes in Finland Another Nokia phone explodes Nokia phone explodes - again Woman burned by exploding cellphone HK customs seize £600k fake mobile phone kit Apple recalls 15in PowerBook batteries Dell issues adaptor electric shock warning Kyocera recalls exploding PalmOS phone battery Compaq recalls fiery laptop adapters
Tim Richardson, 14 Mar 2005

Reg 'invests' Dell stories - reader

FoTWFoTW Dell is the sweetest rose in Texas - although not all of its fans remember its glorious Linux days. Article: - Regular register reporter proven an xxxxx. Ashlee Vance article -Foreigners gain thousands of jobs on Dell US staff Dell tells the world its learning from mistakes sending support to India and repatriating some jobs to the States. In 20 years Dell has built a business employing 55200 people and is continuing to grow, Unfortunately Vances biased reporting style fails to advise that Dells competitors are exporting jobs at a faster rate than Dell itself. Carly exported more jobs than McDonalds exported burgers. Mr Vance fails to realise that Dell is still the darling of the stock market. An entrepreneurial success story and not some two bit hack trying to invest a story in 5 minutes. Where is the depth of understanding? Microsoft's Sun server fetish revealed It turns out that Microsoft has just acquired lots of SUN kit. Did Microsoft actually pay for the kit? We doubt it. So its free and Sun are trying to survive. Hmmm still looking for the story. All manufacturers buy / evaluate other technology. This is the biggest open secret in the world. Really great helping that MS guy out like that. If you had a hand in getting that guy fired, then you deserve the same. "Michael Dell must be outraged to be omitted from such an orgy of sly-winking hardware fetishism. How many times has he come to Microsoft's aid, easing Redmond's Linux pain by easing Dell out of its Linux commitment? Dell and Microsoft have always been the two popular kids trying to knock the dorks at Sun from the playground. Instead, Sun gets to take it on the rim. Revolting." Dells investment in Red Hat, what was that all about???? What does "easing Dell out of its Linux commitment" mean? Have you personally given Dell a target on Linux, or are you talking crap again Vance?? Explain it in real English. Is there a moral to this story? Well, yes. Vance is biased; read the articles written by Vance on HP bad news delivered far less scathingly than whenever Dell is mentioned. Vance should be employed at the National Enquirer. -- Didn't even give his name. Tsk, tsk. For the curious, Dell's Linux past isn't as rosy as investments in Red Hat, Eazel and the like would have you believe. Most notably, Dell took all of six months to switch from being the world's largest desktop Linux backer to eliminating desktop Linux from its product line. For some wonderful historical flames, have a gander here. ®
Ashlee Vance, 14 Mar 2005