19th > April > 2005 Archive

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Game Group takeover talks end

Game Group, the UK computer games retailer, yesterday said takeover talks with a mystery suitor had ended. Shares slumped by a quarter on the news. Shareholder speculation about a bid flushed out a statement by Game Group on 31 confirming talks. The company refused to say who and why, but unnamed sources quoted by Reuters, say there is a "connection between the collapse of talks and the $1.44bn acquisition of Electronics Boutique by its bigger US rival GameStop Corp", announced yesterday. In a statement today, Game Group said it expects challenging 2005, thanks to price deflation. But March was good, with like-for-sales up eight per cent on last year. For the full year, the retailer pulled in pre-tax profits of £31.9m. ® Related news Game for a takeover? Game loses EB royalty case
Team Register, 19 Apr 2005
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Microsoft overcharging case thrown out of court

A Californian judge has thrown out a class action suit brought against Microsoft. A group of public bodies in the state were seeking compensation for being overcharged for Windows software. The judge ruled that some of the claims were invalid because they happened too long ago and some were invalid because the plaintiffs are public bodies. In 2003 Microsoft paid $1.1bn to settle a long-running class-action case. This compensated consumers and businesses in California with vouchers which could be traded for computer products. The agreement specifically excluded government bodies. Microsoft welcomed the news. But the judge ruled that the plaintiffs can amend their complaints because they accuse Microsoft of anti-competitive behaviour since the original settlement. San Francisco council, one of five cities and counties taking part, told CNET it will talk to the other plaintiffs but it expects to press on with its case. ® Related stories Pulp Fiction writer sues Microsoft over virtual yoga MS has Media Player - less Windows, just in case... Judge waves through MS $1.1bn California settlement
John Oates, 19 Apr 2005
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Microsoft UK hires director of customer & partner experience

Microsoft has promoted Alison Dodd to be director of customer and partner experience. Dodd, an Australian, will "focus on understanding the needs and feedback of customers and partners across Microsoft". Which kinda makes sense, given her job title. You can read more about her here. ®
Team Register, 19 Apr 2005
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CA boss admits long road to recovery

John Swainson, chief exec of CA, has admitted it will take the company four years to regain customers' trust after clearing up its accounting scandals. Swainson told the FT: "We have a long slog ahead of us." But he said the company should have its new structure in place within 18 months. He also said CA was planning more acquisitions before the end of the year and would continue to buy a couple of companies per year. Earlier this month CA spent $350m on network management firm Concord. In October last year it paid out $430m for security firm Netegrity. In September 2004 Sanjay Kumar, ex-boss of CA, was charged with fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of justice over a $2.2bn hole in the firm's accounts. CA has until 2006 to comply with changes required by US regulators. Better financial controls and management changes to go with a divisional structure. CA is changing from being a provider of general enterprise software to a security services and systems management specialist. Swainson has spent the early part of this year talking to customers and CA staff.® Related stories CA taps Concord for network management push CA reorganisation puts emphasis on security Novell man reappears at CA
John Oates, 19 Apr 2005
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TI meets lowered Q1 forecast

Texas Instruments yesterday posted Q1 FY2005 results in line with the revised forecast it issued last month. For the three months to 31 March 2005, the company reported revenues of $2.97bn, down 5.7 per cent on the previous quarter's $3.15bn but up fractionally on the year-ago quarter's $2.94bn. Net income for the period totalled $411m (24 cents a share), a drop of 16 per cent on Q4 FY2004's income, $490m (28 cents a share), but up 12 per cent on the $367m (21 cents a share) posted this time last year. Previously pegged at $2.90-3.14bn, TI revised Q1's expected revenue downward to $2.91-3.03bn in March. It said earnings would range from 22 to 24 cents a share, down from its earlier forecast of 22-26 cents a share. Then, the company blamed the need to revise the forecasts on declining sales of its DLP (Digital Light Processing) products. It also said yesterday sales of wireless chip products had fallen too. However, TI noted that demand for its "standard" semiconductor products was growing, a sign that the industry-wide inventory correction of H2 2004 was now over. "The market environment is improving," said Rich Templeton, TI's president and chief executive, in a statement. The chip maker's gross margins were up 2.6 percentage points to 44.9 per cent, it said, while operating margin increased 1.3 percentage points to 16.7 per cent. Inventory levels were down. ® Related stories TI cuts Q1 sales forecast TI licences PowerVR phone graphics core TI delivers on single-chip promise TI Q4 earnings slide as sales fall TI narrows Q4 forecasts
Tony Smith, 19 Apr 2005

Celtic boss leaves rant on wrong phone

Celtic chairman Brian Quinn has been forced to publicly apologise after leaving an angry voicemail message on the wrong phone during an ongoing row with manager Martin O'Neill. Quinn risked inflaming a dispute with O'Neill over player's wages after leaving his rant on a mobile belonging to 18-year-old Kayley Elkington from the Midlands, instead of a PR minion. The fracas kicked off after O'Neill publicly questioned Quinn's assertion in a radio interview that Scots club Celtic spent £40m on wages - more than all but five English Premiership teams. O'Neill's doubts over these claims provoked the following rant: I'm trying to head off yet another storm created by our esteemed manager. I'm not going to be branded a public liar by Martin O'Neill or anyone else so you are going to have to use your skills to defuse this thing Young Kayley was understandably perplexed to receive this message but her family saw the significance of the misdirected message and sold a story to The Sun. The coverage prompted a shamefaced apology from the Hoops boss. "When you reach my age, it is perhaps advisable to steer clear of newfangled devices like mobile phones," Quinn said, football365 reports. "I have had a chat with Martin and I will take him through the salary bill with the help of a bottle of wine and my abacus." O'Neill said he found the whole incident amusing. ® Related stories FIFA to trial micro-chipped football 3 ties up Sky Sports content deal Claire Swires MK II: Man suspended over sex boast email Microsoft launches self-destructing email (false)
John Leyden, 19 Apr 2005
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ATI to update AMD, Intel chipsets 'in June'

ATI will ship its next-generation AMD and Intel-oriented chipsets before the end of the quarter, according to the latest claims coming out of Taiwan. The new parts, codenamed RS482 and RC410, targeting AMD and Intel processors respectively, will debut in June, bringing support for HD audio in the South Bridge, Taiwanese mobo-maker sources suggest, according to a DigiTimes report. Both are believed to be 110nm die-shrinks of the existing RS480 and RC400 chipsets, respectively. Like those parts they feature ATI's RV370 integrated graphics engine. The chipsets may also support ATI's bridgeless answer to Nvidia's SLi, allowing two graphics engines to co-operatively render 3D images. Both chipsets will certainly support PCI Express. Even if the RS482 and/or the RC410 don't support multi-rendering, ATI's RD400 chipset will. This part is targeted at Intel's dual-core Pentium Extreme Edition part, which begin shipping yesterday, and will go head-to-head with Nvidia's nForce 4 SLi Intel Edition chipset. It's being claimed by some that the ATI part will ship with a ULi South Bridge which will add HD audio and six-port Serial ATA RAID to the North Bridge's 1066MHz frontside bus and dual-channel 667MHz DDR 2 SDRAM support. It looks like the RD400 will be launched this quarter, possibly next month, though some reports suggest it won't ship until Q3. An AMD-oriented version, the RD580, is apparently scheduled to ship soon after. ® Related stories Nvidia ships nForce for Intel ATI to announce R520 'in June' Ex-ATI CEO insider trading hearing postponed ATI settles financial misconduct claims ATI posts 'strong' Q2 sales gains ATI announces phone video chip ATI ships AGP-edition X850 XT graphics chip
Tony Smith, 19 Apr 2005
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Computacenter signs up for BladeLogic

BladeLogic has signed up Computacenter to resell and install its data automation software throughout Europe. Computacenter says the BladeLogic software will help clients reduce operational costs significantly and increase efficiencies in their data centre operations. Press release? Here. ® Related stories Computacenter wins £8m Highways Agency deal 'What does HP do?' asks Europe's biggest dealer
Team Register, 19 Apr 2005

Scientists brew up 'missing link' isotope

Scientists at Michigan State University have succeeded in recreating an isotope of nickel they say is a "missing link" in the process by which precious metals are formed in supernovae. German and US boffins working at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) fired atoms of a stable isotpe of krypton at a beryllium plate. In the process, they were able to create 11 nickel-78 (Ni-78) atoms - a highly unstable isotope consisting of 28 protons and 50 neutrons - and determine its life at just 110 milliseconds. Ni-78 does not exist in nature, SpaceDaily.com reports, but the NSCL team says it must have existed as a key step in the "progressive decay of isotopes [resulting] in the synthesis of precious metals in exploding stars". Hendrik Schatz, an associate professor of physics at the NSCL, explained: "Every gold atom you find in the gold on your ring, every one of those atoms has gone through such a process. We've now seen a link in the chain - one that controlled everything." The NSCL team is also fired up about Ni-78's "doubly magic" properties, ie, "the number of protons and number of neutrons are in a subatomically tidy package that makes it easier to study". Doctoral student Paul Hosmer clarified: "It's like studying a bunch of cats and dogs. The groups are a lot easier to keep track of if they're in a pen. That, basically, is what being doubly magic is - an isotope with the protons and neutrons in defined pens. The 28 protons and 50 neutrons are more stable and less reactive when they're penned up." Professor Schatz will present the NSCL findings at an American Physical Society meeting in Tampa, Florida, on Sunday. ® Related stories Physicists freeze light, propose optical CPUs The truth about tritium Air is heavier than we thought, admit scientists
Lester Haines, 19 Apr 2005
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AMD dual-core Opteron pricing slips out

AMD's dual-core Opteron processors, due to be launched on Thursday, will cost more than their single-core equivalents. So claim Taiwanese motherboard maker sources cited by DigiTimes. It's no great surprise, perhaps, given the greater performance the dualies offer. According to said report, the bottom-of-the-range four-way dualie, the Opteron 865, will cost $1,514, as much as the top-of-the-range single-core Opteron, the 852. Each line of dualie Opteron is said to each ship at three clock speeds, 1.8GHz, 2GHz and 2.2GHz, which puts them below many single-core Opterons in terms of clock frequency. Clock speed isn't the only factor in processor performance, of course which is why the dualies' model numbers are higher. Those three clock speeds yield model numbers of x65, x70 and x75, respectively, with the x replaced by 1, 2 or 8, as per the usual one-way, two-way and four-way plus scheme adopted by AMD two years ago. AMD's approach is interesting, and commendable. Rather than shout "dual core!" at every turn, it's simply relying on ever-higher model numbers to indicate higher performance. That's as it should be. It doesn't, after all, matter whether a system's CPU has one core, two or more, as long as you know you've got the best-performing processor currently available. That said, if AMD's plan to ship dualie Athlon 64s as 64-X2s is correct, then it clearly believes, like Intel, that consumers are less able to understand this fact than enterprise buyers and professional users. ® Related stories Intel launches dual-core Pentium Extreme Edition AMD dual-core desktops to be branded 'X2' AMD to 'cut' Socket 754 Sempron prices AMD expands Mobile Athlon 64 line-up Memory woes color AMD's Q1 red AMD's depressing Flash biz set for IPO Intel offers $10,000 for safe return of missing Moore's Law
Tony Smith, 19 Apr 2005
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Adobe and Macromedia: bad news for online tools

CommentComment In the early 90s I attended a Seybold-sponsored debate between Adobe co-founder John Warnock and Yuri Rubinsky, principal of SGML and HTML tools company SoftQuad. Acrobat and its associated Portable Document Format (PDF) had recently been launched and were still little known or understood. The good-natured Rubinsky argued convincingly that structured information - then SGML, now XML - was the way forward, and that Adobe's unstructured PDFs were a dead end. Well, Rubinsky was proved right. But Adobe's great insight was recognising the importance of the facsimile, and the volume of unstructured digital documents we would need to share (including legacy digital and analogue documents). Seeing how long the road was before the dead end was reached may be the last great insight that fine company. In the mid-90s, the point at which it became impossible for the software industry to ignore the internet, Adobe purchased Ceneca for its pioneering WYSIWYG HTML-editing PageMill software. Around the same time Macromedia purchased FutureSplash and re-named it Flash. PageMill is a footnote in the history of web tools. Flash is becoming a more compelling story of digital interfaces, and one in which Adobe, despite its vector-graphics heritage, has barely a chapter. Some years later Adobe purchased GoLive, the German web-site-editing-and-management software outfit. Macromedia acquired web backend tools company Allaire and integrated it with its GoLive equivalent, Dreamweaver. Today GoLive is an also-ran next to current category leader Dreamweaver. Adobe continues to add features to its flagship Acrobat product, while failing to address basic failings such as the inability to copy continuous text from even single-column PDFs. Meanwhile its codebase has become so bloated most Macintosh users who want to open a PDF before lunchtime switched to Apple's Preview as their viewer of choice. Adobe's other successes are in the traditional publishing and time-based media arena, with its Photoshop and Illustrator packages, Premiere and After Effects motion applications, and its InDesign page-makeup tool. The latter has finally sunk Quark XPress, a product of one of the few companies that 'got' the Internet less than Adobe. This points to Adobe's Achilles Heel. It grew out of research on page description languages, by Warnock and colalborator Charles Geschke at Xerox PARC, that became PostScript. Creating tools to manipulate these 'visual objects'is where its energy and investment still go - and will continue to go while the publishers and others that buy its products fail to develop Internet-driven business and production models. Macromedia's history is in interactive and CD-ROM tools. The customers for these tools moved almost wholly to the Web, ridding of Macromedia of legacy product categories to support. The acquisition of the much smaller Macromedia won't tip the balance of Adobe's activity to the web, and it is likely to put a brake on Macromedia's innovative and energetic development around Dreamweaver and Flash. This trend will be reinforced by the conservative dictates of the corporate market Adobe is increasingly embracing. Most mergers and acquisitions are about cost-cutting, and many are a sign of the failure of the acquirer to develop products and services that can compete with those of the acquiree. Despite Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen's statement that the acquisition "is not a consolidation play", this is the certainly the case with its take-over of Macromedia. Dreamweaver won't suffer as badly from the poor parenting as PageMill and GoLive experienced, but neither is it likely to flourish, and that is bad news for online development and collaboration. Yuri Rubinsky is still right. Perhaps he didn't appreciate how long it would take industry and government to really 'get' the digital and networked information and collaboration. Sadly he is no longer with us. But I have no doubt he is turning in his grave. ® Nico Macdonald has been writing about design for the web since 1995. He is the author of What is Web Design? (RotoVision, 2003) ISBN 2-88046-686-5 Related stories Macromedia to merge with Adobe Adobe opens source code kimono The value of PC real estate: Adobe and Macromedia sweat the assets
Nico Macdonald, 19 Apr 2005
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Sober worm shakes Windows security

A new variant of the Sober email worm series is spreading rapidly across the net. Like previous variants, Sober-N spreads as an infected ZIP attachment to messages written in either German or English. Infected emails pose as a message from a net user who claims to have received the intended victim's email in error in a bid to fool users into opening an attachment containing malicious code. The worm composes messages with subject lines such as "I've_got your EMail on my_account!" and "FwD: Ich bin's nochmal" with attachments such as your_text.zip (weighing in at 73KB). Sober-N only infects Windows machines. More than 86,700 emails containing the new Sober-N were sent to UK businesses since the early hours of Tuesday morning, according to email security company BlackSpider Technologies. Most anti-virus vendors rate Sober as a medium-risk worm. Sober-N is the fourteenth incarnation of a worm first seen in October 2003. Standard defence precautions against viral attacks apply in defending against Sober-N: corporates should consider blocking executables at the gateway and update anti-virus signature definition files to detect the virus. Home users should also update anti-virus tools and resist the temptation to open suspicious-looking emails. ® Related stories Sober worm speaks with forked tongue Beware sober worm bearing gifts Sober email worm gives Windows users the DTs FBI issues Sober notice over Windows worm The strange decline of computer worms (perhaps we spoke too soon)
John Leyden, 19 Apr 2005

Gizmondo to offer diskless 'PVR'

Handheld games console maker Gizmondo is apparently planning to offer a pocket MPEG 4 recorder in a bid to make it easier for owners to get video content onto their gadgets. The Register can reveal that the unit is the same Taiwan-made module recently launched by MP3 player vendor Neuros in the US. The box can take SD and CompactFlash cards - there's no hard disk, alas - on which it will dump video in real time. The unit can connect to any video source that has composite video and stereo audio RCA jacks, though the encoded audio is limited to mono. The picture quality isn't great, but it's eminently watchable on a small screen like the Gizmondo's. The unit offers a range of video encoding rates to allow you to balance quality against storage capacity. The MPEG 4 video files are written to Windows' .ASF format, which makes them a natural choice for the Windows CE-based Gizmondo. The 140g, 11.8 x 8.7 x 1.8cm recorder also has a USB 2.0 port, and can double up as a memory card reader at the flick of a switch. Look out for The Register's full review of the device later today. ® Related stories Gizmondo unveils 'adverts-for-consoles' scheme Gizmondo wins major UK retail backers Gizmondo store shuffles to London's Regent Street Neuros to open source MP3 player blueprints Related reviews Gizmondo handheld games console Neuros II 20GB HDD music player
Tony Smith, 19 Apr 2005
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Microsoft stripping Windows for thin clients

Microsoft is readying two stripped-down versions of Windows for thin client computers. The idea is that people will use the new versions to resurrect older PCs, according to reports. The software is apparently based on XP and aims to give the benefits of thin client computing along with Microsoft management tools. The two "Server Centric Computing Clients" are named Eiger and Monch. Eiger is the simpler product while Monch includes security features. Thin clients are typically used to reduce computing costs where users have limited tasks to carry out on their PCs. The skinny versions of XP are for corporates and organisations using a thin client/server architecture. They are not similar to the thinned down versions of XP available for consumers in Brazil, Thailand and India. More details on Steven Bink's blog here.® Related stories Wyse changes ownership, appoints new boss The post-PC era is upon us Open Source ready for prime time in UK.gov, says OGC
John Oates, 19 Apr 2005

Romanian hides stolen mobe in vagina

A couple of years ago we reported on the Jamaican mobile phone thief who got herself into a bit of a sticky situation in Negril when "a cellular phone which was stolen from a female shopper was found after it rang from within another shopper's vagina". Yup, the criminal mastermind had "tamponed" the phone but a quick call to the number and her cover was blown. Cue a humiliating public extraction of said phone by furious owner who declared: "Mi nuh wan' dat deh phone fi use again, mi would dash it weh." Quite so. You'd think that this cautionary tale would be enough to deter even the most desperate mobe-lifter, but they obviously don't read Jamaica's Western Mirror in Romania, because light-fingered Ruxandra Gardian has been snared by the same "let's dial the number and see where she's stashed it" ploy. Gardian was fingered by a restaurant customer who said he saw her steal the phone from another diner, FemaleFirst reports. Police quizzed the 34-year-old without success and were about to let her go when some bright spark suggested they call the mobe. "On dialling the number they heard a sound coming from under Gardian's clothes and took her to police headquarters to be strip-searched," the report continues. You know the rest. Suffice it to say that a shaken officer Aurel Popescu commented: "I've seen a lot in my time as a policeman but never anything like this." The phone's owner has refused to take the device back, declaring it was "damaged beyond repair and he would be filing an insurance claim". That should make entertaining reading and will doubtless reach the finals of the "Top Ten Mobile Phone Insurance Claims" awards for 2005. In the meantime, we'd like to make a simple suggestion to would-be female mobe-snatchers who intend to make good their escape with a 3G device concealed in their reproductive tract: stick it on vibrate or turn the bloody thing off. ® Related stories Stolen mobile rings in body cavity This phone is stolen Police offer stolen mobe insurance fraud amnesty
Lester Haines, 19 Apr 2005

Happy = healthy: official

It may seem pretty obvious, but scientists have confirmed that happy, smiley people are generally healthier and less at risk from dropping down dead than their miserable counterparts. This, as New Scientist reports, is because those with a spring in their step have "healthier levels of key body chemicals" which may cut the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Researchers at University College London probed 216 middle-aged men and women as part of an ongoing "Whitehall II" study of civil servants*. The group was wired up with heart rate and blood pressure monitors which automatically collected data at 33 points during the day. They were later asked how happy they felt during the last five minutes and at the 33 key points. Furthermore, the guinea pigs volunteered saliva samples eight times during a working day - to gauge their cortisol levels - and were on one occasion subjected to a "mildly stressful" task while researchers monitored their biological response. And just to make sure the whole thing was properly balanced, the UCL squad factored in socioeconomic position, age and gender. The upshot of the whole process was that happy punters have less stress hormone cortisol - linked to hypertension and diabetes. Team member and clinical psychologist, Jane Wardle, said: "The happier you were, the lower your cortisol levels during the day. For men, but not for women, the happier you were the lower your average heart rate was." What's more, "the individuals who said they were happy nearly every time they were asked had lower levels of a blood protein called fibrinogen following the stressful task." Fibrinogen makes your blood "sticky" and is part of the clotting process, although high levels can presage future heart problems. Wardle concluded: "This study showed that whether people are happy or less happy in their everyday lives appears to have important effects on the markers of biological function known to be associated with disease. Perhaps laughter is the best medicine." Which is very good news for those irrepressibly cheerful workmates who spend all their time cracking jokes around the water cooler, and a dire warning for those who spend the entire day scowling behind their desks. ® * Yes, we know - a happy civil servant? Derisive emails to UCL, please. Related stories Beer not fattening: official Vampires live longer: official Beer fights cancer: official
Lester Haines, 19 Apr 2005
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Opera Software ships version 8 of its browser

Opera Software moved back into the limelight today with the release of the final version of Opera 8 for Windows and Linux, and a beta of 8 for Mac also available. Version 8 is described by Opera as a substantial upgrade, with quite a bit of tidying of the UI and menu structure, voice control, extra security features and improvements to graphics and page sizing. Speaking to The Register last week Opera engineering VP Kristen Krogh conceded that Microsoft's troubles with IE had benefited the new kid on the block, Firefox, substantially. Opera's status as the long-standing competitor, meanwhile, has arguably counted against it; it has a mature product, it's been around as a competitor to IE for years, so what's new? Although Opera is characteristically keen on talking about security, and has added a security information field that makes the security level of the sites you're browsing more obviously visible, one of the more striking features of the new version is the browser's display capabilities. Small screen rendering, Extensible Rendering Architecture (ERA) and Scalable Vector Graphics together give you an impressive amount of flexibility in terms of screen size, the amount of information you can have in front of you at once, and the way you order that information. So although superficially some of this might seem to be most useful for non-desktop platforms, it potentially lets you do a lot of things with a browser on a desktop that you might not have thought of before. Or alternatively, it makes it a lot easier for Opera itself to produce implementations for mobile phones, set-top boxes and consumer electronics devices in general. Opera has been highly active in these areas for several years now, so although most of the coverage tends to be of desktop browsers, in reality the company has quite a few other 'secret weapons' and might not have quite so much riding on the desktop as people think. Along with the UI clean-up Opera has added quite a few small but useful features, and moved various menu items around. The close page button, for example, has now moved to the tab of the page, while a trashcan keeps a list of closed pages and blocked pop ups, and a view button shows and hides controls. The built-in RSS reader is no longer categorised as mail (we don't know about you lot, but The Register had conceptual problems with the previous approach), while the mail client itself is largely hidden until you create an account. Opera remains free in ad-sponsored mode, or is $39 for ad-free; the company doesn't see either the ads or the charge as being a serious disadvantage, and as, according to Krogh, the revenues are quite healthy, there are no plans to change. There's a more detailed features list of Opera 8 here, and downloads are available here, although this morning the site appeared to be suffering from heavy demand. Form an orderly queue there... ®
John Lettice, 19 Apr 2005

Sony PSP UK release slips to August?

Amazon.co.uk still lists the UK debut of the Sony PlayStation as 24 June 2005, but that date was called into question today. If High Street retailer Dixons' PSP pre-order service is anything to go by, the eagerly anticipated handheld console will not appear here until August. The Dixons service, launched today, is offering up to two PSPs per person for £179 a pop. The pre-order page on the company's web site lists 1 August 2005 as the "estimated" release date. The PSP was originally to have made its European debut in March, though the release was put back to allow Sony to increase the number of consoles it had allocated to the US launch, which took place on 24 March. By then, Sony had already admitted that the European release date had slipped, though at the time, it said the delay was more a matter of "a few months rather than a few weeks". The day before, Amazon.co.uk had update its PSP ETA to June, having already moved it from March to April. Dixons' date suggests the wait will be even longer, right out into Q3. High Street games retailer GAME recently said in its latest financial outlook that it expects the PSP to appear in the second half of the year. And "publishing sources" cited by GamesIndustry.biz have also claimed Sony is pondering an August release. Sony Computer Entertainment Europe was unavailable for comment. ® Related stories Sony sells 600,000 US PSPs in first week Sony confirms Euro PSP slippage Sony PSP Euro debut delayed? Sony PSP to ship in UK on 29 April - Amazon Related review Sony PlayStation Portable PSP-1000
Tony Smith, 19 Apr 2005
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Unholy trio menace Firefox

The Mozilla Foundation has released updated versions of its popular Firefox (version 1.0.3) and Mozilla (version 1.7.7) web browsers to correct a number of recently discovered security flaws. The updates fix a trio of critical vulnerabilities, two of which have become the subject of proof-of-concept hacker exploits. A bug that allows hackers to inject JavaScript code in link tags supporting "favicons" and a Mozilla-specific flaw which allows the execution of arbitrary code remotely via the Firefox side bar both pose a severe risk after they were recently coded up in script-kiddie friendly exploits. A third critical security bug - affecting versions of the browsers prior to Firefox 1.0.3 and Mozilla 1.7.7 - involves privilege escalation via DOM (Document Object Model) property overrides. Firefox 1.0.3 and Mozilla 1.7.7 also addresses six lesser security risks as described by Secunia here. Users of the popular browsers are strongly urged to apply the appropriate update. ® Related stories Firefox dusted down with security upgrade Browser bugs sprout eternal Drive-by Trojans exploit browser flaws
John Leyden, 19 Apr 2005
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Academics call for UWB licensing

Leading academics and researchers have called for the licensing of Ultra Wide Band (UWB) to be given the green light as soon as possible, warning that the UK could miss out on huge economic gains if it continues to drag its feet. Speaking at the Open Future of Wireless conference at the University of Cambridge today, Professor Andy Hopper, the head of the university's computer lab, launched into a scathing attack on business and regulators for failing to reach an agreement on exactly how the radio spectrum should be licensed. "Big companies want to draw it out for as long as possible so that small companies fall by the wayside. Smaller companies get funded on the assumption that standards will be introduced or that Ofcom will support them, But that seems a little problematic at the moment," he said. He pointed out that Cambridge has a license to use UWB in its computer lab, and that over the last 15 years, researchers at the university have developed technology that has been authorised and can be sold in the US, but can't be used commercially in the UK. "This is work that has been pioneered here," he railed. David Cleevely, chair of the Communications Innovation Institute, and the IEE representative in charge of UWB, told The Register: "There are cross people in two camps - those who want to use and sell UWB technology, and those who are dreadfully worried that UWB will create an enormous amount of radio pollution." He argued that the economic benefit of allowing ultra-wide-band could far outweigh any economic harm it might cause, for example, to mobile operators. "Ofcom has conducted a study - looked at how much it would cost operators to compensate for the pollution caused by UWB. They came up with a mask that means the cost is almost unmeasurably low." He added that it would be tough to meet the requirements of the mask, but said that he thinks it is doable. "Think of it in terms of pollution: you can buy the right to pollute. We can do the same with UWB. In 10-15 years it will be worth billions to the UK economy. With that kind of money we could put a radio telescope on the far side of the moon." There are two paths for the future of spectrum regulation, Cleevely concluded, before apologising for imminent evangelism. "The first is that we assume that we have the technology that we need, assign property rights and treat the spectrum purely as a set of frequencies. But that would lock us into a way of doing business for the next 100 years. "The alternative is that we think laterally, like the developers of the early net. We could open up possibilities we haven't even dreamed of," he said. ® Related stories UWB approved, standard imminent One man and his dog and his laptop Intel vs Motorola
Lucy Sherriff, 19 Apr 2005

Motorola confirms MPx cull

Motorola has knocked its MPx Windows Mobile-based handset on the head, a company spokesman has confirmed. Reports published last week that the company had cancelled orders with its Asian manufacturing partners suggested that the MPx wasn't long for this world, but there was the possibility that Motorola would produce the device itself. However, a company spokesman last night told website PhoneScoop that the MPx was indeed effectively dead. The handset had been made available in limited quantities in a number of Asian markets, but its broader availability will now not extend beyond enterprise-oriented market trials, the spokesman said. The MPx was launched in February 2004. The dual-hinged clamshell design contained a 2.8in 320 x 240 touch-sensitive display, stylus, QWERTY micro-keyboard and a Wi-Fi adaptor. The screen could be opened in either portrait or landscape orientation. In March, the MPx was upgraded to Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition, at which point Motorola said the phone would ship in the second half of the year. The following October, the Wi-Fi Alliance said it had certified the MPx for 802.11 interoperability. ® Related stories T-Mobile unveils Sidekick-styled 3G device Wi-Fi trade body approves first WLAN mobile phones Can a phone have too many hinges? Motorola debuts Wi-Fi smart phone
Tony Smith, 19 Apr 2005
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UK's tax computers go back to the future

Britain's Inland Revenue has a remarkable number of powers but until this week no-one suspected they included time-travel. The organisation's struggling computer system, this time failing to deal with the sudden rush of end-of-year employee pay and tax details, has started sending out automated reminders asking for employers' annual returns for the year 2019/2020 by 19 May or risk facing a £3,000 fine. We know that the Revenue is keen to get as much money out of business as quickly as possible but asking for the tax on your business 15 years in advance is pushing things a little. This latest computer cock-up comes soon after the collapse of its PAYE site earlier this month. Larger companies have to file employee details online by 19 May and smaller companies are given a £250 tax rebate as an incentive to do so. But from the start of April, companies attempting to file online were asked to try again later. Other companies appeared to have successfully filed their returns but received no notification, causing many to worry that it didn't go through, putting them in line for hefty fines. Many therefore re-filed and many more tried to access the Revenue's secure mailbox to find if their return had been accepted. The increased demand knocked the service over, and the secure mailbox has been down for two weeks. This week it will open only between 2pm and midnight on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday because "demand... is very high". The system meltdown also appears to have affected the Revenue's previous computer headache with self-assessment return filing. We have had several reports of people receiving a number of unprompted letters from the Inland Revenue, each time with a widely different account balance. To make matters worse, the Revenue was warned about its system's weaknesses before problems started appearing. The Business Application Software Developers Association (Basda) warned the Revenue over a month ago that PAYE online filing was going to hit it even worse than self-assessment thanks to sheer volume. Test transactions sent by accounting software manufacturers through a Revenue testing system worked but when it came to sending dummy returns to the real system through the Government Gateway, problems started appearing. The link between the gateway and the Revenue's own computers is believed to be fragile and behind the frequent losses of service. Nonetheless, the Inland Revenue assured us that there were "no immediate problems". A series of real-world examples we gave were most likely "blips" and "nothing widespread" we were told. The Inland Revenue does rigorous testing on its systems. And it is "not aware of any major problem across the board". It soon will be if companies are asked to pay fines for filings that the Revenue's own computer system rejected. ® Related stories Government IT contracts can make you cry: official MI5's computers will be over budget and under-powered Computacenter wins £8m Highways Agency deal
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Apr 2005
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Big boys turn backs on offshoring

Many of the world's largest organisations are turning their backs on outsourcing and one in four are actively bringing services back in-house. A survey from Deloitte Consulting reveals that 70 per cent of respondents have had significant negative experiences with outsourced projects. Just under half, 44 per cent, did not see outsourcing contracts achieving significant cost savings. In fact 57 per cent of respondents said they had had to pay for services they believed were included in the cost of the original contract. Almost half of those questioned said hidden costs were the most common problem with outsourced contracts. As a result of these disappointments more than half of those surveyed have moved from long-term contracts (of about ten years) to shorter contracts of less than five years. Ken Landis, senior strategy prinicipal at Deloitte, said the survey revealed the fundamental difference between outsourcing the making of a product and outsourcing an actual service that has to be delivered every day. Firms found that outsourcing contracts can add complexity and increase the burden and workload for managment. The survey was carried out using face-to-face interviews with senior executives representing 25 big companies - nearly half are within the Fortune500, a quarter are privately held or public sector bodies. The average participant had annual turnover of $50bn. ® Related stories Swansea IT workers lose outsourcing fight Indian call centre staff nicked for fraud Bomb scare targets Indian software firms Outsourcing more expensive than in-house service
John Oates, 19 Apr 2005

Brits have bought 5.26 million music downloads this year

More than five and a quarter million songs have been downloaded from legal online music services in the UK so far this year, it emerged this week. The announcement follows the launch this weekend of the first official singles chart that combines sales of both physical media and downloads. At a stroke, the move almost doubled the number of singles on the official weekly tally, confirming that downloads have become as important as CDs. At least 383,000 downloads were sold last week, just under the 393,000 physical units. How many single-track downloads are being counted as singles isn't clear, but physical sales of a specific single record are likely to outweigh downloads of the same track for some time yet. Between 1 January and 16 April, some 5,263,995 tracks were downloaded from UK music providers, more than the number sold in the whole of 2004. That said, for five months last year Apple's iTunes Music store wasn't operating in the UK. ITMS is believed to account for between 70 and 80 per cent of UK download sales, depending on who you ask. Chart complaint That's annoyed the UK's independent music sector, which despite fighting hard to win concessions from Apple, which launched ITMS last year with no content from independent labels, still feels under-represented by the company. Sector insiders say that's just because Apple can't add tracks any faster than it's doing so, such is volume of new and old material it's digitising in order to sell. But it nonetheless means indies aren't getting a fair crack at the chart whip as a result. Indeed, last week, the Association of Independent Music (AIM) said it was asking the Office of Fair Trading to back its request to suspend the launch of the combined singles chart. AIM said the move to bring the download chart and the main singles chart together was premature, given the nascent nature of the UK download market. The British Phonographic Institute played down AIM's fears this week, claiming that the combined chart "shows that independent UK labels have been quick to take advantage of the download opportunity" leading to a "strong performance in this debut chart". But the fact remains, establishing such a broad series of digital partnerships with all the music providers out there is rather more complex than getting CDs into shops. A indie label might have a single distribution deal and be sure that any record store, large or small, that wants to stock its CDs can get hold of them to do so. That isn't the case in the digital arena. Signing with, say, MusicNet will get a label's tracks into HMV's upcoming download store, but not into iTunes or Napster. Major labels face the same problem, but are larger and better equipped to establish those business relationships from the outset. In the week-ago pre-release combined chart, independent acts took under 13 per cent of physical and download single sales, compared to 21 per cent of physical sales alone. Of all the independent singles sold, only 16 per cent were purchased as downloads, compared to 33 per cent in the case of the majors. All things being equal, the combined chart should show a comparable major-to-indie sales ratio as the physical chart does, AIM believes. ® Related stories Eight convicted in Denmark's biggest piracy case Apple iTunes sales tally passes 350 million Apple Japan 'will' open Music Store - chief Major labels sell off MusicNet Indies plan assault on UK singles chart New wave of lawsuits to hit 'illegal song-swappers' HMV swaps digital music partners
Tony Smith, 19 Apr 2005
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Fujitsu Siemens unveils PRIMEQUEST

Some companies have a knack for generating headlines, whilst others go about their business with an astonishing lack of noise but with an abundance of quality. Over the years, Fujitsu Siemens has quietly managed to build itself a reputation for constructing excellent Enterprise servers, particularly with the PRIMEPOWER Sparc64 systems and, to a slightly lesser degree, its PRIMERGY X-Architecture machines. However, whilst building robust enterprise class servers is all well and good, there are times when shouting about what you have can undoubtedly deliver benefit. The launch this month of a new server line, PRIMEQUEST, gives Fujitsu Siemens a well-deserved opportunity to step into the limelight. The new PRIMEQUEST servers have been designed with the goal of hosting Linux and Windows environments that require data centre class availability, good performance and scalability coupled with great flexibility and optimal resource usage. The servers boast a Fujitsu developed chipset built around Itanium 2 (Madison) processors. The two servers currently on offer, the PRIMEQUEST 440 and 480, can respectively house up to 16 or 32 CPUs. It is expected that a 64 way machine will be made available next year and the company states that it has no plans to introduce anything smaller than a 16 way machine in the series. The Fujitsu developed chipsets include the System Mirror and Flexible I/O (FIO) technologies. System Mirror allows memory modules and crossbar interconnects to isolate errors without halting the system, whilst FIO makes it possible to match I/O resources with processing requirements to ensure that performance requirements are met with no service interruption. It is clear that Fujitsu Siemens has brought significant elements of its carefully garnered Mainframe and Data Centre experience to the development of these servers. Automation, virtualisation and integration are cornerstone features within the platform. It must be kept in mind that PRIMEQUEST has been designed specifically to house Windows and Linux and to make these environments part of the company's Dynamic Data Center initiative. Fujitsu Siemens expects that large-scale database systems and online transaction processing environments will form a major opportunity for the new line. The PRIMEQUEST architecture's ability to support up to 8 highly available, independent and hardware isolated partitions within a single system also makes the server attractive to organisations seeking to consolidate onto fewer systems. The PRIMEQUEST line rounds out Fujitsu Siemens offerings and gives the company a strong range of servers that span low-end Windows and Linux machines, highly available and robust Windows and Linux platforms and enterprise class Unix (Solaris) offerings. Fujitsu Siemens has been too quiet for too long. It is now time for the company to market its offerings far more aggressively than it has in the past. The Hosting of Enterprise class Linux and Windows is a good excuse to start shouting. The other server vendors are sure to have taken note of the continuing strengthening of these platforms. Copyright © 2005, IT-Director.com Related stories Fujitsu, FSC debuts ESPRIMO PC brand Fujitsu Siemens bullish on '05 Fujitsu Siemens puts resellers through accreditation mill
Tony Lock, 19 Apr 2005

Teenagers want computer security lessons

High-school students have a message for their parents: Trust us with technology. Security and privacy? We have it covered. A panel of teenagers speaking at the Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference told attendees on Friday that they are far more in tune with technology than their parents and have come to understand the issues of security and privacy on the internet largely without any guidance from educators or their parents. "We don't go over internet security, we don't go after 'Watch out for that, because your identity can be stolen,'" said Elizabeth, a 16-year-old junior at Seattle Prepatory School. "I don't know that a school should be giving courses in computer ethics, but they should talk about computer security. If you are going to have a computer in the classroom, talk to kids about - hey, you might see an adult site, that there are internet predators out there, they exist, you kids need to be careful - you know, give them the basic education." The panel of five teenagers described the benefits of growing up in the internet Age as well as how they deal with the dangers. Because the teenagers are all minors, their last names will not be used. The group said that they had to learn about many of the pitfalls on the internet on their own. Parents and schools tended not to know how to address the subject of security and privacy on the internet. "Every kid, when they reach a certain age, have The Talk with their parents," said Steven, a 16-year-old junior at Sammanish High School. "We need to have the same sort of discussion in terms of privacy. The majority of teenagers know about the sexual diseases out there because of this conversation that they have with their parents or because of they have the talk in the school in sex ed. I think (security) needs to be addressed the same as well." A major problem for the kids is that they are, in general, far ahead of their parents in terms of internet usage. The teenagers blogged regularly, used instant messaging to keep up with their friends, and were usually able to circumvent any computer security measures at school, they said. "I think it is hard for the parents and educators because we are moving at a different pace than they are... no offense," said Elizabeth. "It feels like we are done and on to the next thing by the time other people are aware of it." Yet, the teenagers also admitted that the group of five and their friends were more savvy than many other students. For example, some students at their schools blogged under their real names and included many real life details, which the panel of teenagers believed was a danger. "If you want to give out you first name, then go ahead, nobody is going to stop you," Cathy, a 17-year-old senior from Bellevue High School, said on the topic of the students' concerns about sexual predators. "But you should know that there are so-and-so types of people out there." The teenagers had mixed opinions on how much should be taught at school regarding internet safety. Some believed that ethics in the digital world should be a required topic, while others thought that only basic safety should be taught. However, they did agree that parents and schools should be talking about the internet with their kids far sooner than they do today - by the age of 10 at the latest, they said. However, when parents' fear for their children's safety turns into what the teenagers see as violations of privacy, then it is definitely not cool, they said. "My mom has blocked the TV, the computer and I'm not allowed to listen to a lot of radio stations right now," said Elizabeth. "It is a very bizarre experience for me. I really feel like she doesn't trust me anymore. She hasn't demanded my password, but I know that she knows it, and I'm pretty sure she has gone onto my computer." Other panellists saw such tactics as easily circumvented security measures. Some suggested they would have an e-mail that the parents would not know about in order to protect their own privacy. "My parents wanted to check my computer, so I stopped using that computer," said Morgan, a 17-year-old senior at Mountlake Terrace High School. "I use the computers at school. There are things that they don't need to know." Such opinions and view points should be kept in mind by parents, as they try to protect their children from digital dangers, said one privacy expert. "In general, society does not pay enough attention to what young people think, particularly in policy questions involving students and schools," said Kevin Bankson, an attorney and fellow with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a moderator at the panel. The general feeling among the teenagers, however, was that parents should talk about the issues with their kids. "The most important thing is don't talk down to us," said Morgan. "For the most part, we are not dumb." Copyright © 2005, Related stories George Bush fears email privacy breach IT industry told to 'cough up' by child campaigners New UK agency to target net paedophiles
Robert Lemos, 19 Apr 2005

Bruce Willis still on Armageddon alert

After dismally failing to deliver the much-anticipated apocalypse provoked by the impact of a giant meteorite/asteroid/comet upon our fragile sphere, scientists have decided to "tone down" the wording of the original ten-step Torino Scale - designed to assign a appropriate threat level to any approaching galactic body of death. The moves comes amid concerns that old-school phrases such as "A collision capable of causing a global climatic catastrophe [which might] occur once per 100,000 years, or less often" could have an unerving effect on the public. The author of the new wording is MIT planetary science prof Richard Binzel, who says: "This has been an ongoing effort to try to come up with reasonable ways to communicate discoveries when we find an object that's going to pass close to the Earth." So, how is this Torino Scale maximum threat now rendered so that screaming people do not flee cities like headless chickens at its utterance? Well, rather marvellously, we don't think Bruce Willis need step down from his highest state of alert just yet, because it has become: A collision is certain, capable of causing global climatic catastrophe that may threaten the future of civilization as we know it, whether impacting land or ocean. Such events occur on average once per 100,000 years, or less often. In summary: whereas previously we had to concern ourselves only with a global climatic catastrophe, we must now consider the possibility that this will be coupled to the collapse of civilisation as we know it. Well, that's put our minds at rest, make no mistake. To be fair, though, a level 4 threat goes from: A close encounter, with 1% or greater chance of a collision capable of causing regional devastation. To: A close encounter, meriting attention by astronomers. Current calculations give a 1% or greater chance of collision capable of regional devastation. Most likely, new telescopic observations will lead to re-assignment to Level 0. Attention by public and by public officials is merited if the encounter is less than a decade away. That's more like it. Ok, Bruce, you can take off the space suit and grab yourself a beer... ® Related links Old school Torino Scale. New, panic-free Torino Scale. Related stories Brits scan skies for impact threats Asteroid apocalypse: the online guide Opportunity sniffs out meteorite on Mars
Lester Haines, 19 Apr 2005
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London's NHS IT boss suspended

The boss of London's NHS IT programme has been suspended from his job while an investigation into "certain allegations" is carried out. David Kwo, chief information officer and regional implementation director for the NHS Connecting for Health London cluster, was suspended last Thursday. He will remain at home until the investigation has been completed. In the meantime, Martyn Forrest, regional implementation director for the North East cluster, will be acting regional implementation director for London. A statement from NHS Connecting for Health said: "David Kwo, regional implementation director for the NHS Connecting for Health London cluster, was suspended from duty on Thursday, 14 April to enable an investigation into certain allegations that have been received. He will remain suspended until such time as the investigation has been completed. The suspension is not a judgement but a precautionary measure to ensure that an appropriate and fair investigation can take place, the statement said.® Related stories NHS squeezes Accenture margins Gov.uk backs open source drive NHS chief cans patient control over health record access DoH broadens technology choice for GPs
John Oates, 19 Apr 2005

Neuros MPEG 4 Recorder

ReviewReview I was so disappointed when I first tried Neuros' MPEG 4 Recorder (NMR). I knew this amazingly compact PVR's size came at the cost of a hard drive, dropped in favour of memory cards, but I figured I could easily copy the files to a computer for archiving.
Tony Smith, 19 Apr 2005
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Green Power! WEEE-compliant PSUs

FSP Group is prepping for the EU's upcoming recycling regime, with Green Power. The Taiwanese vendor says the power supply unit is lighter and more energy-efficient than traditional rivals and it is low on hazardous substances. The internal lay-out has been redesigned and use of lighter higher-end components has enabled the company to strip 600g off the weight of the PSU. This will be good for shipping export bills. The pitch for Green Power is that it will help customers conform with The ROHS Directive (Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment) effective from 1 July 2006, and with the WEEE Directive. Now for some spec: Efficiency rate exceeds 85% at full load and has a standby power consumption of less than 1W. Noise level at full load is less than 30 dBA Meets the latest Intel ATX 12V v2.0 specifications, has a 6-pin PCIe connector, native S-ATA connectors in addition to a 20+4 pin connector. FSP UK. ®
Team Register, 19 Apr 2005
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Webroot Software looks to CA for UK channel manager

Webroot, the anti-spyware software firm, has hired a Computer Associates staffer as its first UK channel manager. Step forward Rachel Taylor, who specialised in channel relationships during her seven years at CA, most recently as distribution account manager. Taylor has ambitious goals for her new employer. Webroot already has a "well-established brand name and reputation as the leading anti-spyware vendor amongst end-users," she says. "I intend to build on this to establish Webroot as the anti-spyware vendor of choice for the UK reseller community and to drive sales of Spy Sweeper Enterprise into the corporate and government sectors." ® Webroot UK
Team Register, 19 Apr 2005

ARM ups profits

Chipmaker ARM Holdings has rustled up a profit for the quarter, thanks in part at least to Apple's iPod. For the first quarter, ended 31 March 2005, ARM brought in revenues of £55m, an increase of 23 per cent on the same period last year. ARM's intellectual property is included on chips used in Apple's iPod. Income before tax was £12.5m including £6m in acquisition costs and £3m in stock option expenses. Last year it made £9.4m. In August last year ARM bought Artisan which licenses physical component designs to chip manufacturers. Observers at the time feared ARM had paid too much for the firm. Warren East, ARM's chief executive said the quarter saw the first examples of ARM licensees also taking Artisan's physical IP. Despite foreseeing a flatter market overall ARM continues to predict annual growth of 20 per cent in dollar terms. ARM employs 1,179 full time employees. More details available on ARM's website here® Related stories Shares fall on Arm takeover ARM Q2 profits swell ARM expects flat revenue to continue
John Oates, 19 Apr 2005
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Cisco goes virtual with monster router

Cisco Tuesday announced the introduction of a new series of routers, the XR 12000, geared towards helping service providers deliver more secure, reliable and faster services to their customers. The monster routers run Cisco IOS XR, a specialised flavour of Cisco's core internetworking operating system, which brings virtualisation features to high-end networking kit. The technology allows telcos to configure a single XR 12000 router into separate physical and logical routing domains. The XR 12000 is designed to scale from 2.5Gbps to 10Gbps per slot. Service providers and research network users such as BellSouth Corporation, DFN (Germany's national research and education network) and China's Education and Research Network (CERNET) are evaluating the product. Cisco is pitching the kit to next step up for the 25,000 users of its 12000 router. The Cisco XR 12000 Series is expected to be available in June 2005, with basic configurations starting at $45,500. Upgrades from Cisco 12000 routers start at $12,500. ® Related stories Cisco unveils monster router Cisco and Fujitsu pool R&D for big routers, switches Cisco beefs up high-end routers HP lifts the kimono on secure router
John Leyden, 19 Apr 2005

Right of Reply: LexisNexis

It's official: ChoicePoint, LexisNexis rooted many times Washington Correspondent Thomas Greene's recent story, "It's official: ChoicePoint, LexisNexis rooted many times" (April 13, 2005) alleges that LexisNexis "covered up" previous database breaches because there was as yet no law requiring that individuals be notified. The story contains a number of substantial inaccuracies and Mr. Greene's interpretation of the events seem designed to imply something sinister was afoot, rather than report the facts. These facts are reflected in the written and oral testimony before U.S. Senate hearing mentioned in the story and contained in a public statement by Reed Elsevier, which is the parent company of LexisNexis and publicly listed. It's appropriate to set the record straight so that anyone who read the information in your report knows the truth. First, "a cover up" cannot occur if a company is unaware of the very incidents it is alleged to have covered up. Nor is there a "cover up"; if the incidents discovered are announced publicly and voluntarily within a matter of weeks of identifying and confirming the events occurred. On March 9, 2005, Reed Elsevier, announced that a review of our recently acquired Seisint unit revealed in February 2005 (not February 2004 as reported by Mr. Greene) some incidents of potentially fraudulent access to information about U.S. individuals. In response, LexisNexis notified approximately 30,000 individuals in March 2005 that their information may have been fraudulently accessed and the company is providing them with services, at no charge to them, to monitor for and prevent identity theft. Also on March 9, Reed Elsevier publicly indicated LexisNexis was going to continue its review "to determine the extent of any other incidents" in Seisint business. On April 11, LexisNexis and Reed Elsevier issued a statement that it had completed its review of search activity going back to January 2003. It had found that unauthorized persons, primarily using IDs and passwords of legitimate Seisint customers, may have acquired personal-identifying information of 280,000 individuals in the U.S. in other incidents over the prior two years. LexisNexis has begun notifying these individuals. In my testimony I acknowledged some of these incidents pre-dated the California statute (which went into effect July 2003) reported in the story. Therefore, the information that Mr. Greene believes was "covered up" by LexisNexis at some point in the distant past was not in fact known by LexisNexis until the review of the last several weeks. LexisNexis acquired Seisint in September 2004. Finally, Mr. Greene writes, "Unfortunately, when no California residents are affected by such an incident, the public has no guarantee that the truth will emerge." However, the record should reflect that LexisNexis indicated in March 2005 that we would notify individuals in all U.S. states even though there are no statutes requiring this. It's difficult to see how Mr. Greene's interpretation of these events could possibly be correct or how he got so many things so wrong in his story. In fact, his false characterization of LexisNexis as dishonest is libelous per se. Finally, let me add that though we have only recently purchased Seisint, as its new owners, we accept that it is our responsibility to address any questions about its security. We are doing so swiftly and decisively to prevent any future incidents. The Register observes the Press Complaints Commission Code of Practice. If you want an opportunity for reply to inaccuracies, please contact Drew Cullen
Kurt Sanford, 19 Apr 2005

UK court orders ISPs to unmask 33 filesharers

A British judge today ordered five ISPs to name another 33 music file sharers. The individuals concerned had uploaded more than 72,000 music files to the internet, according to a statement by the BPI (British Phonographic Industry), which sought the court order as part of its broader legal offensive against illegal downloading on P2P networks. The ISPs concerned have two weeks to give the UK record companies' trade association the names and addresses of the file sharers. The case brings the number of people in the UK to face legal action for illegal file sharing up to 90. These people will face claims for compensation and the legal costs in pursuing them, the BPI warns. BPI General Counsel Geoff Taylor said: "This court order should remind every user of a peer-to-peer file sharing service in Britain that they are not anonymous. These 33 people will now face paying thousands of pounds in compensation. We are continuing to collect evidence every day against people who are still uploading music illegally, despite all the warnings we have given. If you want to avoid the risk of court action, stop file sharing and buy music legally." Today more details of the 31 people subject to the BPI's last round of writs in March 2005 also emerged. Around a third of these defendants are thought to be parents whose accounts have been used to upload music illegally by their children. Eleven of the 31 are from London and the South East. Another file sharer hails from Norfolk while five are from the West Country. Two of the file sharers live in the Midlands, with five from the Yorkshire and the North West. Two of the file sharers are from Northern Ireland, three from Scotland and two from Wales. Stat attack A new study commissioned by the BPI shows the supposed extent of the damage that illegal file sharing is doing to the UK recording industry. A two-year study, carried out by research group TNS, on the effect of illegal file sharing on consumer spending in the UK found the downloaders spent a £654m less on recorded music over the last two years than otherwise be the case. TNS estimates that downloaders' spend on recorded music was around £730m in 2002. Had their habits reflected overall market trends, spending would have increased to £767m in 2003 and declined slightly to £745m in 2004. However, downloaders' spend actually declined by 33 per cent over 2003 and a further 24.5 per cent in 2004 - a spending shortfall of £654m over two years. TNS data shows that 18 per cent of the UK population aged 12-74 are downloading music from the internet, most doing so illegally from file sharing networks. The failure to differentiate legal and illegally downloading in these figures is a major shortcoming and provides ammunitition for critics who would say it illustrates the musics industry's ongoing inability to understand alternative sales channel. Nonetheless, the BPI reckons its efforts are turning the tide against illegal file sharing. Of those not downloading, 84.3 per cent said they "would not consider" file sharing illegally. One in seven (15 per cent) of illegal downloaders said they will start to pay for downloads, but 34 per cent are undecided and 51 per cent said they will continue to file share. ® Related stories BPI nails 'music pirates' Identify file-sharers, judge tells UK ISPs RIAA targets 963 alleged file-traders Spanish MP3 site owner to pay RIAA $10m Music sales rise despite RIAA's best efforts
John Leyden, 19 Apr 2005
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EMC delivers again with strong Q1

EMC secured double-digit revenue growth in its first quarter on the back of strong software sales and well above average hardware shipments. The storage giant, which has been on a two-year long software acquisition spree, has outpaced rivals with steady gains. The first quarter was no exception to this trend with EMC reporting revenue of $2.24bn - 20 per cent higher than the $1.87bn reported in the same period one year ago. Net income surged to $270m, which marks 93 per cent growth over the $140m in 2004. "EMC delivered its seventh quarter in a row of double-digit revenue growth, once again extending one of the strongest and steadiest growth stories in the tech industry today," said EMC's CEO, Joe Tucci. "Solid execution and the investments we have made to broaden our product and market reach played major roles in our ability to successfully navigate through a difficult first quarter." EMC's results were a welcome respite for the battered hardware sector. IBM last week reported poor mainframe and storage sales as part of a very disappointing first quarter. Sun Microsystems did no better during its third quarter, posting a loss in the period on lower sales. EMC, by contrast, has boosted software sales by a large margin while keeping hardware shipments steady. It has made flashy acquisitions of companies such as Legato and VMware to bolster the software unit. EMC's hardware revenue rose 15 per cent year-over-year to $1.03bn. The Clariion, Celerra and Centera systems had the strongest growth, EMC said. Software licenses and maintenance revenue jumped 26 per cent to $832m. Software now accounts for 37 per cent of EMC's total revenue. Tucci set a goal quite awhile back to have software account for 50 per cent of revenue. EMC's services business grew 26 per cent as well to $375m. In the second quarter, EMC is looking for revenue between $2.33bn and $2.36bn. ® Related stories EMC wags new NAS giant at rivals NetApp and IBM IBM hands over NAS duties to NetApp in mega storage tie-up IBM sells storage software to partner Cisco
Ashlee Vance, 19 Apr 2005

Reg NewsAlerts delivered to your desktop

Site newsSite news Today we launch Reg NewsAlerts, a small free desktop application that pops up from the start bar with our latest news as it breaks. You may be familiar with the technology already - our partner Skinkers also supplies all the software for BBC Online's news alerts.
Team Register, 19 Apr 2005
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Intel rides mobile express to strong Q1

Intel rumbled to a strong first quarter, posting a surge in revenue on higher than expected mobile processor sales, the company said today. Intel flashed investors with first quarter revenue of $9.4bn - a 17 per cent rise year-over-year. This revenue total came in at the high-end of Intel's mid-quarter forecast delivered in March. Net income surged as well, hitting $2.2bn. That figure was 25 per cent higher than the $1.7bn posted in the same period last year. Earnings per share came in at 34 cents, which was also an improvement over last Q1's 26 cents per share. "The first quarter was a solid start for the year," said Intel's CFO Andy Bryant during a conference call with analysts. Intel posted year-on-year revenue gains in all of its major businesses, including chips, flash memory and chipsets and motherboards. It emphasized both laptop processor sales and cell phone processor sales as being very strong in the quarter. The company benefitted from manufacturing efficiency and a subsequent boost in gross margins. The first quarter's gross margin percentage came in at 59.3 per cent - well above the forecasted 57 per cent. Chip sales hit $6.9bn up from $6.2bn in the same period last year. Flash sales rose to $578m from $417m last year, and chipset and motherboard sales rose to $2.0bn from $1.5bn last year. Overall, Intel's results surpassed those of rival AMD, which reported its first quarter figures last week. Both companies noted strong processor sales. AMD, however, saw a huge drop in its flash memory business, while Intel increased sales. Intel boss Paul Otellini wasn't shy about rubbing in the AMD drubbing. "I think the numbers speak for themselves (regarding) the market dynamics between the two companies," he said. Adding later, that customers are will to "pay a premium for Intel products." Otellini's aggressive comments followed an analyst's question about AMD's apparent technology lead over its longtime rival. AMD this week will roll out the first mainstream dual-core x86 server processor some 8 months before Intel is expected to have comparable product. Analysts were pleased to hear Intel's positive take on the worldwide economy after IBM last week sparked concerns that tech spending had fallen off in March. "We saw nothing that was noteworthy through any of the first quarter," Bryant said. "It is basically business as usual in a pretty good environment." The only real dose of bad news for Intel during the first quarter came from the Americas region where revenue fell to $1.97bn from $2.16bn the year earlier. By contrast, revenue in Asia surged to $4.40bn from $3.28bn and revenue in Europe rose to $2.11bn from $1.93bn. Intel expects second quarter revenue to come in between $8.6bn and $9.2bn. ® Related stories AMD dual-core Opteron pricing slips out Intel launches WiMAX chip Intel launches dual-core Pentium Extreme Edition
Ashlee Vance, 19 Apr 2005