20th > July > 2005 Archive

Intel overcomes 'weak' line-up during Q2

Intel proved once again that it's more regular than a Metamucil salesman by knocking out a solid second quarter. Intel watched Q2 revenue jump 15 per cent to $9.2bn - a company record for the period. Net income surged as well to $2bn - a 16 per cent year-over-year increase. As has been the case of late, strong mobile processor sales did much of the hard work for Intel. "Momentum from the first half appears to be continuing as we enter the third quarter," said ebullient CFO Andy Bryant, during a conference call. Intel made large gains in Asia during the quarter with revenue jumping 28 per cent year-over-year. European revenue also surged nine per cent, while sales in the US dropped five per cent. The presence of AMD was felt in the period with Intel's Digital Enterprise Group (DEG) processor revenue falling to $4.60bn from $4.68bn one year earlier. Intel admitted that its server processor line-up was not what it should be. AMD managed to beat Intel to market with a 64-bit x86 processor and now has a dual-core server chip first. The technology lead let AMD secure customers such as HP, IBM and Sun Microsystems, while Dell remains loyal to Mother Intel. "We had a fairly weak product line in 2004," said CEO Paul Otellini. "I think we have done a good job of holding our business through a difficult competitive climate." That rare admission of defeat comes as Intel faces an antitrust lawsuit from AMD, alleging that Intel used unfair sales tactics to keep its business. "Intel competes aggressively and fairly around the world," Otellini said. "This formula has led to Intel's success and will not change." Intel enjoyed a rise in motherboard and chipset revenue and a major jump in mobile processor revenue. Flash memory sales, however, fell. Third quarter revenue should come in between $9.6bn and $10.2bn, Intel said. ® Related stories Apple bounces back into US PC vendor top four DoD picks Opteron as weapon of mass simulation Intel slaps 'wide load' tag on new Itanium EC raids Dell in Intel anti-trust probe Oracle processor core pricing a comedy of fractions Date set for Intel's response to AMD antitrust claims
Ashlee Vance, 20 Jul 2005
channel

HP and Sony battle for domination of digital entertainment

TechScapeTechScape Our story begins like this: Sony’s product design and innovation credentials are unsurpassed. The Walkman changed our lives and how we listen to music. The Trinitron color TV became a status symbol in our living rooms, the Sony logo was omnipresent on our jogging suits and cars and the VAIO laptops went head-to-head with Apple’s for the trendy business and consumer set.
Bill Robinson, 20 Jul 2005

OnAir plans 'quiet times' of no voice calls in aircraft

Following surveys - showing that airline passengers are nervous about the nuisance value of inflight phone calls by their neighbours - OnAir has revealed that its in-plane technology will be able to limit passengers to text-only for "quiet times" during flight. The company is also on course, it says, for a full launch in European flying aircraft in the middle of 2006. The revelation came in the announcement of a deal with Siemens to provide the essential "picocell" GSM transceivers for inflight telephony which OnAir is now offering not just to its own (Airbus is a partner in OnAir) aircraft builder, but also to Boeing. In last week's PR announcement George Cooper, OnAir CEO, said: “This is a significant milestone. Siemens brings huge expertise to this ground-breaking business enterprise. We are very pleased that such a strong player in the telecom industry is taking on a critical role in making the OnAir vision happen.” OnAir in-seat SMS and mail services are already available on Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Eva Airways, Iberia, KLM, Lauda Italy, Malaysian Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Pakistan International Airlines, Qantas and Virgin Atlantic. The new voice features will be "voluntary" in the sense that the existing equipment will be upgraded to carry GSM phone calls - but only when aircrew permit. "The aircraft crew will have access to a dedicated control panel for switching the system into the selected service mode (e.g. text-only) and monitoring the system status. This will ensure that 'quiet' times are respected in the cabin," said the announcement. OnAir is jointly owned by SITA INC (information Networking Computing) and Airbus. The full OnAir service portfolio will allow airline passengers to use their personal devices, such as mobile phones, PDAs and laptops, to communicate in a variety of ways during flights: to make and receive phone calls, send and receive text messages, read and send e-mails, access corporate networks, browse the internet or chat over the internet. However, if this service is going to include WiFi access (as Connexion by Boeing already offers) then OnAir isn't saying much about that. © NewsWireless.Net Related stories Airbus to enable in-flight mobile phoning in 2006 EC backs inflight mobile calls Airline passengers love inflight SMS, hate voice calls Mobile plane ban protects us from terrorists - FBI UK boffin demos plane-based broadband
Team Register, 20 Jul 2005
globalisation

Oracle taken to task for time to fix vulnerabilities

Claiming that Oracle has failed to fix six vulnerabilities despite having more than 650 days to issue a patch, researchers at security firm Red Database Security published details of the flaws on Tuesday. The flaws vary in severity with three of the six classified by the firm as high risk, potentially allowing a remote attacker to compromise a server or overwrite files, according to advisories released by Red Database. "Oracle's behavior (in) not fixing critical security bugs for a long time - over 650 days - is not acceptable for their customers," Alexander Kornbrust, CEO and principal researcher with the Neunkircher, Germany-based consultancy, said in the prologue to each advisory. "Oracle put their customers in danger - at least one critical vulnerability can be abused (by) any attacker via the Internet." The public release of the advisories - along with instructions outlining techniques to exploit all but one of the flaws - marks the latest incident between independent security researchers and software companies, two groups frequently at odds over when, or even if, to disclose vulnerabilities. In April, a showdown between database maker Sybase and flaw finders ended when the company allowed vulnerability researchers to release details of several flaws that had already been patched. At the CanSecWest conference in May, Microsoft presented details of how the company deals with flaws in an attempt to gain sympathy from independent security researchers. In this case, Oracle did not address the criticism nor the flaws directly, but instead commented on how the information about the unpatched vulnerabilities was released. "We believe the most effective way to protect customers is to avoid disclosing or publicizing vulnerabilities before a patch or workaround has been developed," the company said in a statement. "We are disappointed when any details of Oracle product security vulnerabilities are released to the public before patches can be made available." Red Database Security told Oracle of the flaws between July and September of 2003, according to the security firm's advisories. The company communicated with Oracle about the issues and, three months ago, gave the database maker until the July quarterly patch to fix the issues. Oracle moved to a quarterly patch cycle almost a year ago and, in its July update, did not fix any of the vulnerabilities about which the security company had warned, according to Red Database. "I decided to publish these vulnerabilities because it is possible to mitigate the risk of these vulnerabilities by using the workarounds provided in the advisories," Red Database's Kornbrust said in the explanation introducing each flaw report. The reports were posted to the company's Web site, to the Full-Disclosure mailing list, and to the BugTraq mailing list, which is operated by SecurityFocus. The high-severity flaws occur in the Oracle Forms and Oracle Reports components included in various versions of Oracle's Application Server and could allow an attacker to execute program code. Another flaw, also in Oracle Reports, could allow an attacker to overwrite files on the targeted server. The three remaining flaws are of lesser severity, according to Red Database. Considering that at least one issues could be used to compromise Oracle databases remotely, the time taken to patch the issue is extreme, said Steve Manzuik, security product manager for security software maker eEye Digital Security. "I have never seen any take this long," Manzuik said. "It is odd to go that long. In this case, I think something fell through the cracks. There may have been a miscommunication somewhere." eEye also keeps track of the length of time it takes for a vendor to respond to its own flaw reports. The longest time any software maker has taken in about 370 days, Manzuik said. Oracle restated its commitment to security in its statement. "Security is a matter we take seriously at Oracle and our first priority is meeting customer needs and reducing their risk," the company said. "When software flaws are discovered, Oracle responds as quickly as possible to help protect information secured by customers in Oracle-based information systems." Some researchers have argued that the increasing sophistication of binary analysis tools may make the disclosure debate a moot issue. Yet, disclosure of vulnerability information before a patch is available can have real financial consequences for a company. A recent academic paper statistically linked flaw disclosure and a drop in the affected software company's stock price. The drop averaged 0.63 per cent, but in cases when a patch is not available, the average stock price dropped 1.5 per cent. Oracle's stock price edged up 0.3 per cent on Tuesday, but fell 0.6 per cent in after-hours trading. Copyright © 2005, Related stories Oracle snaps up security firm Oracle moves to quarterly patch cycle Oracle's first monthly patch batch fails to placate critics
Robert Lemos, 20 Jul 2005

Bulldog thumped for misleading boxing ad

Bulldog - the broadband company owned by telecoms giant Cable & Wireless that is facing growing discontent among customers - has received yet another bloody nose from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). This time the ad watchdog ruled that the ISP failed to reveal service restrictions for its broadband service when it ran a radio ad featuring a make-believe boxing match. A voiceover announced: "In the red corner we have standard broadband and in the blue corner we have Bulldog 4 Meg heavyweight broadband. Seconds out, round one." A second voice said: "Heavyweight Bulldog is straight in there, no waiting around. Standard Broadband doesn't stand a chance." A listened complained that the £10.50 a month service was limited to only eight hours online time (after which you had to buy additional time online) and believed this should have been made clear in the ad. The ASA agreed. "Although we recognised that the advertisement did not imply it was an unlimited service, we considered a time-based limitation of only eight hours online usage a month, plus the additional charges of £1.50 per hour after the initial eight hours, were significant conditions which should have been made clear in the advertisement. "We further believed it was unfair to compare the advertisers' 4 Meg broadband service to other standard broadband services without stating those conditions," said the ASA today.® Related stories Bulldog faces Ofcom complaints Bulldog removes 'best broadband provider' claim from website ISPA wins assurances from Bulldog ISPA contacts Bulldog over spike in customer complaints Bulldog fingered for misleading radio ad
Tim Richardson, 20 Jul 2005

Google finds sense of humo(u)r on surface of Moon

Space aficionados will know that today marks the anniversary of the first manned Moon landing on 20 July 1969. To celebrate this fact, Google has knocked up a quick Moon map showing the landing sites of all six US jaunts. In the process, Google has discovered something approaching a sense of humour. Click here and then zoom right in for the full picture. That's right: it's humour Jim, but not as we know it. Or at least not as we know it over here in Blighty, and for this reason we are stripping Google of a vowel and downgrading its effort to humor. Nice try, though. ® One the other hand... Thanks to all those readers who have written in to ask that we reinstate the Google "u" in honour of this far better effort. You can decide for yourselves. Related stories Google tracks Hitler to San Diego Google spots Jesus in Peruvian sand dune Google conquers planet Earth
Lester Haines, 20 Jul 2005
channel

Freescale grows Q2 earnings on flat sales

Freescale, the company still making G4-class PowerPC processors for Apple's notebook line-up, saw a big jump in income during its second fiscal quarter, despite an only marginal increase in sales, the firm said yesterday. Sales totalled $1.47bn, up 2.1 per cent from $1.44bn in Q1 FY2005 and up just under a single percentage point from Q2 FY2004's $1.46bn. Net income was $122m (29 cents a share), rather better than the $85m (20 cents a share) Freescale reported for the previous quarter and the year-ago quarter's $43m (15 cents a share) income. Then again, Q2 was hit by a $5m expense relating to Freescale's split from Motorola, compared to $39m a year ago and $18m in the previous quarter. Gross margins for the quarter were calculated to be 41.6 per cent, Freescale said. Drilling down, the company's Network and Computing Systems business yielded $387m worth of sales, up 10.9 per cent sequentially but down 2.8 per cent year on year. The division's earnings contribution was up 32.4 per cent sequentially and year on year to $94m, Freescale said. The company's Transportation and Standard Products operation contributed $667m to the quarter's sales and $87m in earnings. Wireless and Mobile Solutions added $401m and $5m, respectively, to those figures - the division's earnings were well down on the previous quarter, but nonetheless an improvement on the year-ago quarter's $43m loss. Other operations together lost $47m during Q2 FY2005. Looking ahead, Freescale said it's anticipating Q3 to yield sales of between $1.38bn and $1.47bn, flat or down on the current quarter but consistent with seasonal sales patterns. Gross margins will match Q2's figure, it forecast. ® Related stories Apple profits, revenue up again IBM to Apple: eat these chips Widescreen iBook rumours gain weight Apple shifts to Intel: what is all the fuss about? Apple in 'talks with Intel' World chip sales continue to rise Freescale earnings grow post-restructure
Tony Smith, 20 Jul 2005
fingers pointing at man

Home delivery is the deal-breaker in ecommerce

The biggest challenge to ecommerce is delivery, according to Britain's ecommerce trade body, which is launching a new trust mark scheme to encourage merchants and transporters to give consumers more options. The Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) says very few e-tailers are getting it right. The consumers don't buy because they don't know when goods will arrive; and the merchants don't offer flexible delivery times because the transporters charge more for these services than consumers will pay. James Roper, CEO of IMRG, is out to fix the problem. "Twenty per cent of deliveries of items that don't fit through a letter box fail first time because there's nobody home," he told OUT-LAW. He puts the average cost of a failed delivery – including frustrating calls to rearrange delivery, drivers taking goods away and returning another day, and customers abandoning the merchant – at £100. For the past eight years, the IMRG has tried to bring transporters and merchants together to solve the problem with a trust mark scheme, to be known as Internet Delivery Is Safe. Arcadia, Comet, Dabs.com, Kelkoo and Screwfix are on board, together with transporters including Royal Mail, DHL, Lynx and Parcelforce. The IMRG's primary aim is to get rid of avoidable waste. According to Roper, 80 per cent of sites ask no questions about delivery and offer no options. His colleague on the project, Colum Joyce, formerly DHL's Global e-Commerce Strategy Manager, describes home delivery as "the sleeping policeman on the information superhighway." Their first target is for websites to start telling users more about the delivery services already in place. Even if delivery will be Monday-to-Friday, nine-to-five, Roper wants websites to communicate this to their customers. "Just tell people what you will do," he says. Further improvements, he believes, will be iterative developments. The draft IMRG Delivery Charter, the cornerstone of the trust mark scheme, is currently in Version 0.2. It covers more than just telling customers what you do. It is a sub-set and extension of the better-known ISIS Code of Practice for e-Commerce, an existing merchant verification scheme that is visible on many sites in the form of a blue badge with the words "Internet Shopping Is Safe" and a picture of a credit card secured by a padlock. The aim of the Delivery Charter and the Internet Delivery Is Safe scheme is to protect the public and to support merchants and transporters. Some of the draft Charter's points address availability: if goods are out of stock, remove them from the website, unless that would be inconsistent with what the customer expects (e.g. if the goods were also shown in a print catalogue) – in which case the goods should be clearly marked on the website as unavailable. It also addresses data flows, from consumer to merchant, from merchant to transporter, and from transporter to consumer. The merchant's or transporter's data protection and security policies must be available for review from any data collection interface screen, it says, and all data should be retained for a minimum of one year. It lists important features of the fulfilment contract that should be negotiated between the merchant and transporter – including the agreed timings for delivery, the required labelling, format and placement on items for delivery, and the guarantees and warranties. It also sets out minimum information on delivery progress, to be provided or to be available for viewing from the transporter to the merchant and consumer, including the transporter's name and the dates and times of pick up and delivery by the transporter. The IMRG's objectives are to reduce the rate of first-time failures by 50 per cent within a year of the scheme's operation. This, he says, would save £2.5 bn. The first applications of the new scheme should become visible on participating sites from September, according to Roper, just in time for this year's Christmas shopping. See: ISIS Copyright © 2005, OUT-LAW.com OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons. Related stories PC World offers instore collection for web buys Wobbly shopping carts blight UK e-commerce
Team Register, 20 Jul 2005

Intel ups capex as India plant talks 'wobble'

Intel yesterday raised its forecast 2005 capital expenditure by $100m more than it had been expected to. The figure is, by an interesting coincidence, exactly what the chip giant is reported to have demanded from the Indian government if it's to build a chip testing plant in the sub-continent. Intel's India plant has been on the cards for some time, but according to a report in Indian financial newspaper the Business Standard yesterday, the $700m facility's future is in doubt. Citing government sources, the paper claims Intel is asking India to fork out $100m up front - a payment the nation appears unwilling to make. Intel is also negotiating for tax-beaks and other incentives, all of which are part and parcel of major plant plans. In March 2005, Dayanidhi Maran, India's minister for information technology and communications, claimed Intel was close to a decision on siting the facility in India. The country has been on Intel's list of possible plant sites for some time, as former CEO Craig Barrett admitted in November 2004. The chip giant already has a number of software development and R&D facilities in the sub-continent. Maran subsequently said he had convinced Intel to set up the testing plant in India, though Intel denied any decision had yet been made. Whatever, as it reported its second-quarter financials, Intel last night said it was upping 2005's capex from $5.4bn to $5.9bn. An increase had been on the cards, but earlier indications pointed to a $5.8bn spending target, $100m less than the figure reported. ® Related stories Intel overcomes 'weak' line-up during Q2 Intel slaps 'wide load' tag on new Itanium Date set for Intel's response to AMD antitrust claims Intel nears India fab decision - report Intel ups Indian investment
Tony Smith, 20 Jul 2005

UK regulator wants powers to stop the spammers

The Office of the Information Commissioner (ICO), enforcer of the UK's main anti-spam laws, has received around 600 spam complaints in the past 12 months. But it has taken no legal action, in part because its powers are inadequate and impractical. OUT-LAW spoke to Caroline Monk, Casework and Advice Manager with the ICO, following the publication of Information Commissioner Richard Thomas's annual report this week. The report shows that Mr Thomas's team successfully prosecuted 12 cases in the year ended 31st March 2005, though none of them involved spammers. All of these cases were under the Data Protection Act and concerned either failures to notify the ICO of data processing (a basic requirement that affects most organisations), or unlawful obtaining of personal data without the consent of the data controller (cases that tended to involve dishonesty, not ignorance or carelessness). Most sentences were fines – ranging from £70 to £1,600. Three sentences were conditional discharges – two of 12 months, one of 18 months. Nobody faced legal action for other matters within the remit of the ICO, such as failing to display a data protection notice, using cookies on a website without notifying users, or sending spam in breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. But that is not to say that no action was taken. The number of enquiries about websites is quite low and, of those received, cookie enquiries appear to outnumber other website data protection and privacy issues. Figures are not available, but Ms Monk said that online matters were mostly requests for compliance advice from organisations, rather than user complaints. A few complaints have been made over missing privacy notices and missing information about cookies; but Ms Monk said they tend to be easily dealt with, by approaching the website operator. Amends tend to be made in response to such approaches. As long as a website explains its use of cookies in its privacy policy and how to control them, and as long as that privacy policy is easily located, the ICO will be satisfied. "You shouldn't have to dig to find out about cookies on a website," said Ms Monk. (For more on cookie compliance, see OUT-LAW's sister site, AboutCookies.org). Ms Monk said that roughly 50% of the spam complaints received by the ICO were outside the scope of the Regulations. The Regulations came into force on 11th December 2003 – meaning this is the first annual report to cover a full year of their operation. By comparison, data protection legislation in the UK is 21 years old. Most email to corporate email accounts will not fall foul of the law, nor will email that is sent where there is an existing customer relationship. Overseas senders – responsible for most spam – also escape the ICO's attention, as do those who simply cannot be identified from the offending email. Ms Monk said there were "less than 600" spam complaints in total. So only around 300 complaints were made that Ms Monk's team could actually deal with. They are not ignored, however. Most of them concern reputable companies that made an innocent mistake, such as failing to action an unsubscribe request. The ICO will write to these organisations. "We do get a very high success rate with these companies suppressing the email address when we approach them," she said. And it seems that further action is seldom necessary. But clearly some complaints target less scrupulous email marketing activities – and these organisations tend to ignore the warning letters. This is where the ICO wants greater powers of enforcement. The ICO cannot fine a spammer; it cannot even stop a spammer effectively. Ms Monk said: "The powers we've got are not appropriate for the nature of the Regulations. We have to supply a preliminary Enforcement Notice before we can issue a formal Enforcement Notice. That Enforcement Notice can be appealed. It costs nothing to appeal the Notice and most of them are appealed. At that point, our action is suspended for an Information Tribunal to be convened." Ms Monk described a case she handled where enforcement action was taken against a company that was sending unsolicited faxes. "We waited nearly a year just for the tribunal to be convened," she said. In the meantime, the company was able to continue its unlawful activities. She explained that the ICO had lobbied the Department of Trade and Industry for more immediate powers. "We want something like the Stop Now Orders," she said. Consumer protection bodies like the Office of Fair Trading already have the power to apply to the civil courts for Stop Now Orders that can be used to force an unscrupulous trade to cease trading immediately. Failure to comply with a Stop Now Order is treated as a contempt of court and is punishable by an unlimited fine or imprisonment. But the ICO does not share these powers. The ICO also wants better information gathering powers, like those enjoyed by Ofcom, which would help to identify the company behind spam email. "We can approach an ISP and ask for the identity of a sender. Under the Data Protection Act, they are allowed to tell us; but they are not compelled to do so," Ms Monk explained. The ICO issued only three Enforcement Notices this year, all of which concerned irregular police activities. In dealing with spam, there were no Enforcement Notices or even preliminary Notices. Ms Monk admitted the reason for this is that they have to be realistic in deciding what to do about a complaint against an uncooperative spammer. She said that the number of complaints received represents a tiny proportion of the total volume of spam that lands in our inboxes; and those complaints that are not resolved informally represent an even smaller proportion. Factoring this together with the limited enforcement powers means that it is very difficult to be able to take effective action. "The powers are appropriate for the Data Protection Act," she said. "They are not appropriate for the Regulations." It is not the first time the ICO has said this. In last year's annual report, Richard Thomas wrote, on the subject of spam: "…our existing powers are inappropriate. They do not allow us to take decisive action against those who continue to send unsolicited marketing material." He noted at the time, July 2004, that the DTI was reviewing these powers, "to explore the possibility of providing us with some form of injunctive power which will enable us to take swift effective action." But it seems that nothing has changed. The ICO's lack of powers is believed to be among the reasons for the European Commission considering European court action against the UK Government (see: UK's Data Protection Act might not meet European Union standards, OUT-LAW News, 19/05/2004). Meantime, the ICO has made its own internal changes. A major re-structuring has taken place, largely attributable to the massively increased workload of the ICO as a result of the Freedom of Information Act coming into force in January. It is reflected in the report's statistics: there were 11,664 cases received in 2003/2004, and 19,460 cases received in 2004/2005. The new structure includes a new 20-person Regulatory Action Division that is charged with investigations and enforcement. Until now, the ICO has only been reactive. Assistant Commissioner David Smith told OUT-LAW that the new Division "will allow us to go out and make checks for compliance, not just act on complaints." He added that it will help to bring important cases to a successful conclusion more quickly. But for as long as the ICO's powers remain unchanged, these cases seem unlikely to trouble the spammers. See: Information Commissioner's Report, July 2005 (64-page / 1.1MB PDF) See also: Information Commissioner publishes annual report, OUT-LAW News, 14/07/2004 © Pinsent Masons 2000 - 2005 Related stories Malware maelstrom menaces UK Hackers attack Mozilla site to spread spam Zombie bots fuel spyware boom VXers release 'London bombing' Trojan Trojan downloader spam poses as admin email China signs anti-spam pact
OUT-LAW.COM, 20 Jul 2005

Like MUF diving? Call Clearswift

Let's face it, most IT conferences are dull affairs where jaded suits slump despairingly over briefing notes in front of worthy but dull Powerpoint-driven presentations concerning the likely Indonesian market for desktop Linux during Q2 2017 before dragging themselves towards the free bar with the vain hope that they won't run into Bob from DynoSoftInc who will bang on for three hours about his company's killer app for highlighting Excel spreadsheet cells with animated Crazy Frog motifs. Thank God then for Clearswift, whose 2005 MIMEsweeper User Forum beano at the London Aquarium promises to end with a bang. The shindig is flagged as an event "essential for any MIMEsweeper user, and for those responsible for their organisation's email and web security". Yeah right. Let's see what's really on offer... Well, the MUF begins to hot up at 9.30am with "Thoughts from the MUF Chairman", which should be enlightening, and proceeds via "The hidden backdoor threat to your system" and "Technical hints & tips" to the aquatic climax of the event - diving at MUF. We kid you not. Let's face it, this is an opportunity not to be missed. Full details on MUF diving are available here. Phwoooooar! ® Related stories Scientists see women's brains switch off during sex Virus writers have girlfriends - official Sex and Trade
Lester Haines, 20 Jul 2005
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Intel preps Pentium D core update

Intel is to upgrade the cores incorporated into its 'Smithfield' dual-core processors in October, The Register has learned. The chip maker will offer samples of the updated Pentium Extreme Edition 840 chip and the Pentium D 820, 830 and 840 processors on 5 August, Intel documents reveal, ahead of commercial product availability on 21 October. The update will see the introduction of a new core, B-0 - the current 'stepping' is A-0 - which will be accompanied by a change in CPUID code from F44 to F47. The update notification doesn't detail the improvements the B-0 core will bring over the A-0 core, but Intel's most recent Pentium D specification update lists 52 bugs in the A-0 core, of which just seven are marked for a possible fix in a future core stepping. Some or all of these will undoubtedly be resolved by the B-0 core. Planned fixes include preventing crashes when programmers attempt to switch the dual-core chip into what appears to the operating system to be a single-core part. Other planned fixes centre on the CPUs' support for Intel's EM64T 64-bit addressing system. Intel isn't expected to extend the PD or PEE chip lines until early next year when it debuts the 65nm incarnations of the chips, together codenamed 'Presler'. Presler will also add support for Intel's Virtualisation Technology, it is believed. ® Related stories Intel overcomes 'weak' line-up during Q2 Intel slaps 'wide load' tag on new Itanium Intel readies mainstream discrete dual-core chipset Intel and Dell thrilled to join the dual-core server chip era Intel to add VT to P4 in Q4 AMD to drive dual-core downmarket Intel ships 64-bit, 1MB L2 Pentium 4s Intel preps 'low-end dual-core chipset'
Tony Smith, 20 Jul 2005

Become a full-blown Linux god

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Team Register, 20 Jul 2005

R&D and skills crisis looms for Europe

Europe is facing a crisis in science and technology according to two new reports. The European Commission says its figures show a continuing decline in the amount European firms are increasing their spending on R&D. It warns that if the trend is not reversed, Europe will miss its target of boosting R&D spend to three per cent of GDP by 2010, and that this represents a "major threat" to Europe's knowledge economy. Figures for 2005 show that R&D intensity, as the EC calls it, is close to stagnation. Although the amount invested in R&D as a percentage of GDP is still growing, the growth rate has been falling since 2000, and only rose by 0.2 per cent last year. Currently, Europe spends an average on 1.93 per cent of its GDP on research and development - much less than the US and Japan, who spend 2.59 per cent and 3.15 per cent respectively. Even China is likely to pull ahead of Europe. Although it only invests 1.31 per cent in R&D at the moment, its spend has been growing at around 10 per cent per year, since 1997, putting it on track to reach 2.2 per cent investment by 2010. The EC points to a slow down in business investment in R&D as being behind the poor figures, although it conceded that an increase in the amount governments are pumping into the sector has compensated slightly. Meanwhile, analysts at research house, Forrester, warn that Europe is also facing a looming IT skills crisis. It says that by 2006, companies will not need technicians, so much as more business-focused IT managers. The shift will be driven by an increase in outsourcing of routine tech activities. Forrester argues that although the Education system should be able to develop the courses that will produce these more corporate-than-BOFH IT types, it will not happen fast enough to meet the demands of businesses in the region. ® Related stories Gates: You just can't get the staff European governments cautious on IT spend Public beats private for IT pay rises
Lucy Sherriff, 20 Jul 2005

Google Maps offers justice

We knew that Google Maps does more than just directions - in the last few days it also found not only Jesus but Hitler too. But it has also brought justice to one lucky man who used the website to convice a judge to let him off a driving offence. In January of this year Edwin Soto was charged with running a red light. His case came up nearly six months later and he was facing $200 in fines and points on his license. The police officer who charged him gave evidence first and described how he was turning off a one-way street when the offence occurred. Sotu says he had to prove he was on a two-way street but had no way to do it. Luckily, or strangely, he claims he had taken his laptop to the stand with him and booted it up. Even more luckily he managed to find a shaky Wi-Fi network - and wasn't charged with a further offence of bandwidth banditry. Soto logged onto Google Maps and showed the judge that the street in question was a two-way street. The judge took a little convincing but eventually dismissed the charges. More details on Gear Live here® Related stories Google finds sense of humo(u)r on surface of Moon Search Wars - the Empire strikes back Google tracks Hitler to San Diego Google spots Jesus in Peruvian sand dune
John Oates, 20 Jul 2005

Hack attack left 'sexual grunts' on doctors' answering service

A businessman allegedly hacked into a doctors' answering service run by a competitor so that patients heard either a busy signal or sexual grunts when they tried to leave a message, according to a criminal complaint. Gerald Martin, 37, of Pawling in New York State, is also accused of making crank calls to his rival's staff, sending a moving truck to its headquarters and mailing forged papers to discredit its financial standing during a sustained campaign to put Statcomm Medical Communications out of business. Stuart Hayman, president of the Westchester County Medical Society, said Martin's alleged interference "could have prevented thousands of patients from reaching their physicians in emergency situations". District Attorney Jeanine Pirro cited the case of a Californian patient who had to be rushed to hospital for emergency treatment after being left unable to reach a doctor by phone because of the alleged tampering. Martin interfered with "the sacrosanct ability of a patient to call a doctor," Pirro said, AP reports. Martin, vice president of Emergency Response Answering Service, founded the company after leaving Statcomm of White Plains on bad terms. According to a criminal complaint, Martin "interfered with the ability of Statcomm to conduct business" for three days last November after hacking into its systems. Martin is charged with "computer tampering and possession of a forged instrument", AP reports. If convicted he faces between two and seven years imprisonment. Martin is yet to respond to the charges. ® Related stories Hacking: the must-have business tool Feds bust DDoS 'Mafia' Duo charged over DDoS for hire scam Senior Republican charged in phone jamming plot
John Leyden, 20 Jul 2005

Bulldog intros 'major' measures to combat complaints

Bulldog has introduced what it describes as "a major package of measures" to help cope with complaints about its internet and phone service. The broadband ISP - owned by UK telco Cable & Wireless (C&W) - has been under fire for its poor customer service with punters up in arms at being left without phone and broadband. The frustration is compounded because of the difficulty contacting customer service. Now, though, Bulldog says that it's responded to the "demands of its growing customer base" by opening two new call centres last week. It plans to and double the number of customer service staff by the end of the month. It is also working with BT "to improve the provisioning process which causes delays and errors in connections driving most complaints". The local loop unbundling (LLU) operator also announced it had launched "a new online provisioning tracking system giving customers complete visibility and tracking of their order" as well as "new billing and customer order provisioning systems". The result of all these measures is that punters will see a "marked improvement [in customer service] by the end of the month," a spokeswoman told The Register. Which is just as well, for if Bulldog fails to remedy the situation swiftly it could lead to a formal investigation by telecoms regulator. For like The Register, Ofcom has been receiving complaints about Bulldog from unhappy punters. Complaints like this one: "My supposedly 8 meg Bulldog line was activated two weeks ago. Since then I have been unable to receive incoming calls and my DSL line keeps losing sync. After numerous calls to Bulldog support after one week my telephone was repaired, however my DSL line is unusable. Trying to contact Bulldog is a nightmare. They say they will call you back but don't, leaving you in the same place as you started - ie no service." A spokesman for parent company C&W shrugged off the problems that have dogged its retail ISP: "Although vocal, the number of customer complaints remain a small proportion of Bulldog's customer base. Bulldog undertakes regular customer satisfaction [surveys] and satisfaction rates are rising steadily. "Bulldog's priority is to lead in both innovation and customer service and its management is striving towards that amid huge interest in its products. Where there are instances where service levels have fallen below the standards our customers expect, we offer our apologies," he said. ® Related stories Bulldog thumped for misleading boxing ad Bulldog faces Ofcom complaints Bulldog removes 'best broadband provider' claim from website ISPA wins assurances from Bulldog ISPA contacts Bulldog over spike in customer complaints Bulldog fingered for misleading radio ad
Tim Richardson, 20 Jul 2005

Shuttle: no launch this week, engineers still baffled

NASA says the Shuttle Discovery will not launch before 26 July, as the space agency's engineers continue their investigation into the misbehaving fuel gauge that grounded the Shuttle again, last week. The return to flight was cancelled after a liquid hydrogen low-level fuel sensor circuit failed a routine pre-launch test. It showed a fuel tank to be nearly empty, when in fact it was nearly full. This could cause the engines to cut out at the wrong point of the Shuttle's ascent, mission controllers explained, which could be catastrophic. Engineers are still working through trouble-shooting routines, NASA says, and have yet to identify the cause of the failure. However, mission managers are still working to get Discovery off the ground within the current launch window, which closes on 31 July. If the remaining tests, which should be completed today, are inconclusive, NASA says it might just reload the fuel tanks and see if the sensor circuit works. This could be run as another test, or as a prelude to a launch. ® Related stories Shuttle grounded Return to flight: the countdown begins Russia and Europe tout new space plane
Lucy Sherriff, 20 Jul 2005

UK workers still circulating lewd and racist email

UK workers are continuing to abuse corporate email systems even though sending inappropriate emails is bad for their employer's reputation and potentially puts their own job at risk. A third (34 per cent) of 2,000 UK office workers quizzed in a YouGov survey have been sent sexually explicit or racist material by colleagues. Meanwhile 140 of those quizzed (or seven per cent) admitted emailing company-confidential information outside their organisation. Security firm Clearswift, which sponsored the survey, said that the survey showed that making sure outgoing email complied with email security policies ought to be as high a priority as fending off inbound computer virus and worms. Technical controls from the likes of Clearswift can sort the wheat from the chaff, an increasing corporate priority. After all it'd be a shame if invites mentioning the aquatic climax of Clearswift's forthcoming user conference - diving at MUF - got mislaid in the post. But we digress. Respondents to the YouGov survey were divided on whether companies had the right to monitor their emails. Four in 10 (39 per cent) felt it was perfectly reasonable, while 29 per cent felt that they should be seen as private correspondence. Only one in ten of those quizzed said their organisation had terminated an employee's contract for sending inappropriate emails. ® Related survey US firms grapple with workplace IT abuse Privacy in the workplace is a 'myth' Business PCs riddled with porn Anti-spam success drives malware authors downmarket Like MUF diving? Call Clearswift
John Leyden, 20 Jul 2005

'Alien greeting' harbours Windows malware

A message purporting to come from an alien is in reality, you've guessed it, the latest Windows PC-infecting computer virus. The Sundor-A worm displays a picture of an alien with the following message: "I'm the alien. Have a happy week. I liked your computer" upon infection. If you open an infected Word document you get the pox. Sundor-A then goes about deleting programs and documents from the infected computer's hard drive and disabling security software, potentially leaving compromised PCs open to further attack. Sundor-A relies on someone to deliberately send infected files to prospective victims. It doesn't mass-mail itself, a factor that has limited the spread of the malware. "In many ways it's an old school virus. We don't see anything like as many Word viruses as we did back in the mid-late 1990s, and its graphical payload seems like the behaviour of older 'classic' viruses too. It is possible that some users may believe that it is a joke program sent from a friend rather than something deliberately malicious," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at anti-virus firm Sophos. Sundor-A is a low risk virus but Windows users would still be well advised to keep their anti-virus protection up-to-date and to practice safe computing, such as by avoiding the temptation to open suspicious-looking emails. You know it makes sense. ® Related stories Area 51 'hacker' charges dropped Romanian villagers flee disco-dancing aliens Methane on Mars: aliens - or farts in a jacuzzi? SETI has not found ET: official
John Leyden, 20 Jul 2005

No2ID restocks Clarke-busting t-shirt

Cash'n'CarrionCash'n'Carrion Anti-ID card campaigning outfit No2ID recently reached its goal of getting 10,000 patriots to sign a pledge promising that they will refuse to register for ID cards in the now seemingly inevitable event that home secretary Charles Clarkes will bulldoze legislation through parliament in the wake of the London terror attacks. Good show. No2ID has also been busy on the apparel front, and we have just taken delivery of fresh stocks of the tasty NO2ID t-shirt. Yes comrades, you can now walk it, er, looking like you talk it for a modest £11.05 (£12.98 inc VAT). The NO2ID is available in any colour you like as long as it's black, and comes in a tyranny-busting range of sizes including yer bog standard unisex t-shirt shape from small to XXL, and women's fit in small, medium and XL. We know that lots you have been waiting for this restock, so we reckon you'd better get in there quick before this lot fly off the shelves. ®
Cash'n'Carrion, 20 Jul 2005

Bubbly O2 reduces churn

O2 is managing to hang on to its punters and stop them ditching the cellco for a rival. "The initiatives introduced to reduce churn [such as more competitive deals for punters] are demonstrating encouraging progress in both the pre-pay and contract markets," said O2 in a statement today. News that O2 is managing to cut churn in the UK comes as it announced that it managed to add another 232,000 new punters in the three months to June, increasing the total number of UK punters to 14.6m - up 8 per cent on last year. Even though numbers are increasing, the average amount each punter is spending (ARPU) in the UK is falling, down £2 on the previous quarter. Despite this service revenue in the UK grew 3 per cent year-on-year. Overall, O2 - which also operates in Germany and Ireland - added 646,000 customers in the first quarter taking the total number of punters to 24.6m. Said O2 chief exec Peter Erskine: "All our mobile businesses have delivered another good quarter, driven by the continued growth of the customer base. "The initial impact of our initiatives to reduce UK churn is encouraging, with short-term churn metrics improving for both our contract and pre-pay customer bases." Yesterday, Virgin Mobile reported that it "continues to grow strongly and thrive" as it saw the number of users increase 21 per cent over the last year to 4.1m. ® Related stories Growth slows as Virgin Mobile 'thrives' O2 wins £390m ambulance deal O2 workers set to strike over pay O2 sponsors white elephant O2 trials mobile TV
Tim Richardson, 20 Jul 2005

Harry Potter hit by pesky pirates

The latest Harry Potter tome was not released as an ebook because of fears over piracy - a plan as cunning as any of Baldrick's. Unfortunately some committed fans/pesky pirates immediately scanned the book on its release last weekend and used optical recognition software to digitise the text. Copies were then proof-read, not very well from the bits we've seen, before being released. Who'd have thought it? Podcasts, or audio versions, are also available. A spokesman for JK Rowling's literary agents Christoper Little told us by email: "I am sure there are many reasons why people turn to pirate copies. However, in other walks of life most people accept if something is not legitimately available then they can't have it." The spokesman would not be drawn as to whether the lack of an official ebook had an impact on dodgy downloads. He also said: "Our aim is to protect our clients' rights but also (and this is key here to us) the innocent fans (many of whom may be young kids) who might stumble upon a file believing it to be genuine and perhaps official only to find that it contains or inappropriate material or a virus etc etc." The spokesman noted that "most, if not all, kids authors haven't yet licensed ebook rights." The book has broken publishing records across the globe: in the US it sold a staggering 6.9m copies in 24 hours and in South Africa it sold over 40,000 copies in a day or 40 times the usual weekly total for a bestseller. In the UK we bought over two million copies. More details on this ebook blog TeleRead here.® Related stories Watching us through the Sorting Door JK Rowling warns of Harry Potter phishing scam Harry Potter IP claim pinned down on the beaches
John Oates, 20 Jul 2005

Antarcticans to live in blue, ski-mounted, caterpillar

A British consortium, comprising Engineers Faber Maunsell and Hugh Broughton Architects, has won a contract to build Halley VI, the new British Antarctic Survey base following an international competition. The base is to be built on a constantly moving shelf of ice, and without intervention, the existing base, Halley V, will most likely end its life drifting out to sea on an iceberg. To prevent Halley VI suffering a similar fate, it will be built on skis, so it can be moved. It will also be raised above the snow on stilts, as Halley V is, to keep it above the annual accumulation of snow - usually around five feet. Previous bases have slowly been buried and crushed under the weight of years and years of snowfall. Relocating the base will mean the building must be lowered to ground level, so it can be shoved along with a bulldozer. The new base design has two main platforms, each with six interconnected modules. It will generate more of its energy renewably, and should handle waste disposal better than its predecessor. It will also, according to reports, look a bit like a giant blue caterpillar. It has been designed to be as flexible as possible, since it will the base of British scientific operation in Antarctica for 20 years after it has been built. "One doesn't know what the scientific drivers will be in 20 years' time, what kind of science will need to be done," Hugh Broughton told the BBC. "Global warming will presumably play a huge part; but basically the building needs to be flexible. In our design, labs can be converted to bedrooms and bedrooms to labs according to the need." Construction work on the base, which will house up to 60 people during the Antarctic summer, should begin in 18 months' time. The work is expected to be completed in December 2008. ® Related stories Huge iceberg menaces Antarctica Giant iceberg slams into glacial tongue Global warming cleared on ice shelf collapse rap
Lucy Sherriff, 20 Jul 2005
channel

Security deal for Northamber

God box maker Astaro has done a distribution deal with Northamber. God boxes are also known, less snappily, as unified threat management appliances. They're firewalls, VPNs, intrusion protection, anti-virus and spam filters and content checkers all in one. Astaro's channel manager Andre Scheffknecht said: "There has been great interest in our solutions in the UK from SMEs, but, with a one-tier indirect model, we simply didn’t have the capacity to respond." Northamber said it had already received calls from interested resellers. IDC predicts the market for God boxes will grow at 80 per cent a year from 2003 to 2008.® Related stories Exabyte buddies up to Northamber Northamber doubles interim profit Cost cuts bear fruit for Northamber
John Oates, 20 Jul 2005

Palm LifeDrive Mobile Manager

ReviewReview So what exactly is a Mobile Manager? To Palm, it's an entirely new category of portable device, but it's hard to conclude that it's anything more than a PDA with more storage. Palm needs to create a new device type, of course. Despite more than half a decade of Palm trying to convince consumers that a PDA is more than an electronic organiser, that's still how most people view them. And if you're going to put a hard drive into a PDA, you may as well try and make it sound like something new, something special. But the fact remains: the LifeDrive is a Tungsten T5 with a greater, 4GB storage capacity.
Tony Smith, 20 Jul 2005

Crazy Frog battered in net orgy of violence

We're going to cut to the chase on this one. Do you fancy taking a baseball bat to Crazy Frog in a mindless orgy of violence? Yes? Well, you're in luck. Here's what the frog-battering wag down at Something Wrong - motto: "Someone has way too much time on their hands and I think it's you" - has to say about his Flashtastic online beat-'em-up: I could sit and write a couple of paragraphs to explain this one but I thought a little diagram/equation would get the idea across that much better: Yup, it all makes perfect sense. Click here to batter the frog. ® Related stories Regulators try to squash Crazy Frog Aussies deploy toad-blasting audio killing machine No cool ringtone, no style, says survey
Lester Haines, 20 Jul 2005
fingers pointing at man

Redundant EDSers threaten legal action

Workers at EDS's Livingston facility have known for some months that they were losing their jobs but that didn't stop a "near riot" breaking out when they were told the terms and conditions of their redundancy. A source told El Reg that EDS staff received their redundancy quotations on Friday and feelings ran so high that security staff evacuated and closed the building to safeguard managers. The problem centres on different payments offered to standard EDS staff and ex-civil servants employed by EDS on TUPE conditions. EDS standard staff can expect payments of between £12,000 and £16,000 for 16 years service. But staff employed under TUPE could expect a payment of £90,000 for the same period. Our mole at the West Lothian building told El Reg: "We together with our union reps intend taking EDS to court for some parity on these unfair equations, failing that we intend to raise a civil court action against them. We don't expect nor want the full £90k plus our Ex-civil servants colleagues benefit from but just some parity with shift disturbance bonuses etc, which would barely amount to £3-5k per head." The mole described the existing offer as "insulting and embarrassing". EDS said in a statement: "On Wednesday May 11th 2005 an announcement was made regarding the proposed closure of the Livingston print centre. Following this announcement, an extensive consultation with employees, their trade union and other representatives has now been completed. "Individual redundancy packages will vary depending upon the specific circumstances of the employee concerned. "We appreciate this closure is disappointing for those involved, and our ongoing priority is to support all employees and their families following this announcement." EDS did not comment on whether there had indeed been a "near riot" at the Livingstone site. Jim Hanson, a national officer in the commerce sector of the Professional and Commercial Services Union, said: "It is true that there is a wide disparity - partly due to the work of public sector unions in the first place." He said the union had not been approached about legal action but would consider it.® Related stories British government lost 150 PCs this year UK Inland Revenue may sue EDS EDS UK cuts jobs Government IT contracts can make you cry: official
John Oates, 20 Jul 2005

Brits want to vote online, dammit

Cisco reckons that online voting is the way to get people to take part in elections. Survey firm YouGov, quizzed 2,136 UK adults about their voting habits, on Cisco's behalf. They found that 66 per cent of those who didn't vote in the last election reckoned they'd be more likely to join in on polling day if they could vote online. The survey found that older non voters are more easily enticed to the democracy game: 74 per cent of non-voters over 50 said they would be more likely to vote if they could do so online. This fell to 65 per cent among the non-voting 18-29 year-old age group. However, it is well known that people are more likely to plan to vote than they are to actually get to the voting booth on polling day. Could we all be similarly unjustified in our optimism that we'd vote if we could use a web browser? Some think so: in March this year at a roundtable discussing the question of electronic voting, Ruth Turner, director of research firm Vision 21, noted that although technology has the potential to ramp up voting turnover, "there is always a gap between intent and action, particularly with younger voters". Cisco's survey also probed the level of online interaction people had with the government, both local and central. Almost one in 10 reported paying council tax online, and just under a quarter said they'd used an NHS website to check health-related information. However, we are not sure how well we trust the respondents. A whopping 16 per cent reported emailing their MP - a similar survey in March this year revealed that just one per cent of the population has done so. Further, 81 per cent of them reckoned they voted in the last election. The voter turn-out in the 2005 election was, in fact, a rather paltry 61 per cent, according to the British Council. This is the second lowest turnout since 1959, beaten only by the 59.4 per cent who bothered to vote in 2001. Still, we don't suppose Cisco minds too much, since the survey is being wheeled out to support the launch of "Connected Government in the UK". This is a series of essays about how technology is affecting government, written by "senior political figures around the world" according to the press release. Let's hope the essays are a little more thoughtful than the research. ® Related stories Estonian prez ices internet voting plan Brits voice fraud fears over high-tech voting Politics needs a technology injection
Lucy Sherriff, 20 Jul 2005

Kodak culls 10,000 more jobs

Kodak is axing a further 10,000 workers as it continues to refocus its business to cope in the digital world. The job cuts announced today are on top of the 15,000 job cuts announced in January 2004 when the company announced its original restructuring plans. The camera company blamed a "faster-than-expected decline in consumer film sales" and consumers' shift in demand for digital cameras for the job losses. All the jobs cuts - expected to total between 22,500 and 25,000 - are due to be completed by the middle of 2007. "As sales of our traditional consumer products and services decline faster than anticipated, we are moving more aggressively to reduce cost," said Antonio Perez, chief exec of Eastman Kodak Company. Despite the decline he said the firms digital business "continues to make significant progress growing the sales and earnings". Publishing Q2 results today Kodak racked up losses of $146m against revenues of $3.7bn. ® Related stories Kodak axes 180 UK jobs Kodak lets Carp loose, hooks new CEO Digital camera market 'running out of steam' Digital camera sales slow O2 and Kodak team for online piccies Digital cameras redesign the photographic process Kodak blames digital cameras for jobs cull
Tim Richardson, 20 Jul 2005

Spam king surrenders his ignoble crown

Scott Richter - the self-styled Spam King1 - has been dropped from an authorative list of known spammers after cleaning up his act. Richter and his OptInRealBig option were a fixture in Spamhaus's Register of Known Spam Operations (ROKSO) for years. Only hard-core spammers who become the subject of repeated complaints feature on the list. Presence in the rogues gallery makes it difficult to obtain internet service from ethical suppliers and problematic to register domain names. Only those who refrain from sending bulk unsolicited email for six months are eligible for removal from ROKSO. Since the beginning of this year, Richter switched to a confirmed opt-in mailing list business model that contrasts with his previous business activities. Richter was sued by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and brought to the brink of bankruptcy by Microsoft over allegations the he used a network of 500 compromised computers to send millions of junk emails to hapless Hotmail users. Richter denied any such wrongdoing in settling the NY lawsuit last July but he was forced to agree to stop sending deceptive emails and generally abide by the US's CAN SPAM Act. Richter claims to be a reformed character. That's as maybe but Spamhaus director Steve Linford confirmed that Richter has kept his nose clean over the last six months and thus earned his removal from ROKSO on Tuesday (19 July). "Richter stopped spamming many months ago. We checked with other anti-spam organisations and they confirmed this. We've seen a massive drop in overall spam levels since Richter quit spamming," Linford told El Reg. Richter and OptInRealBig were fixtures in the top 10 of ROKSO for years. Linford reckons Richter made millions from spamming over the years but this has been offset by legal costs. "Richter is still in bulk mailing but he has adopted a confirmed opt-in model," he said. Richter's name can be easily added back onto ROKSO if he goes back on his promises to "play nice" but Spamhaus has rarely had to inflict this sanction. The idea of ROKSO is to encourage reform and the total number of entries of the list has been stable at around 200 for some time. The apparent redemption of one of the net's worst spammers has been precipitated by intense legal pressure as well as the effort of anti-spam activists like Spamhaus. Richter has yet to agree a settlement with Microsoft and OptInRealBig's financial position remains perilous. "I'm confident, hopeful, we can make it through bankruptcy," Richter told Computer Business Review. "It's great to see that legislation is having some effect, but one spammer going straight isn't going to have too much impact on our inboxes," said Alyn Hockey, director of research at anti-spam firm Clearswift. "We'd obviously be delighted if his peers followed suit, but I can't see it happening. There'll always be others more than willing to pick up his mantle." ® 1 Spam King Scott Richter's plans to launch a global clothing line under the "Spam King" and "SK" brands were blocked by a lawsuit from meat conglomerate Hormel, makers of the nourishing real deal, last year. Related stories 'Spam King' gets restraining order against SpamCop 'Spam King' Richter get legal roasting Spam King dodges $20m big stick Lawsuits drive 'Spam King' Richter to bankruptcy
John Leyden, 20 Jul 2005

Firefox's Greasemonkey slippery on security

A severe security hole in Firefox's Greasemonkey extension has been uncovered that exposes any file on a user's local hard drive to a hacker. The vulnerability affects PCs and Macs and means a hacker does not need to know an exact file name before diving into a system. According to one online posting, typing something such as "file:///c:/" will return a parseable directory listing. Macs can be hacked in a similar way. Mark Pilgrim, a coder and author writing about Greasemoney, told a Greasemonkey mailing list: "This particular exploit is much, much worse than I thought. GM_xmlhttpRequest can successfully "GET" any world readable file on your local computer. "And because GM_xmlhttpRequest can use POST as well as GET, an attacker can quietly send this information anywhere in the world," Pilgrim warned. Greasemonkey enables developers to add DHTML to a web page, in order to change that page's behavior. Users have been advised to either completely un-install the Greasemonkey extension or downgrade to Greasemonkey to 0.3.5 - a "neutered" version that lacks the APIs making Greasemonkey scripts more powerful than regular HTML. A fix is in development and expected to take a few days, according to Greaseblog - the Greasemonkey blog® Related stories Hackers attack Mozilla site to spread spam Firefox update completes busy patching day Firefox spoof bug returns from the dead
Gavin Clarke, 20 Jul 2005
Broken CD with wrench

Fans petition to open source OS/2

Die-hard OS/2 supporters are calling for IBM to release the source code of the venerable operating system so that it might prosper after it's put out to pasture. Earlier this month, IBM reaffirmed its decision to cease marketing OS/2 at the end of next year. Free - but not paid - support of OS/2 from IBM will also cease at the end of 2006. The announcement comes as no particular surprise. OS/2 never made it on the desktop, in large part because of Microsoft's exclusionary tactics, and has been relegated to a role in the embedded networking systems market for some time. Its niche spot in ATMs means it continues to be used by a number of banks. Also German vendor Serenity Systems continues to provide extended support for server managed workstations, called eComStation, based on OS/2. OS/2's small, but enthusiastic support community, are in no mood to take things lying down. More than 10,000 people have signed a petition on community site OS/2 World urging IBM to make OS/2, or at least part of its components, open source. IBM has been a long-term supporter of Linux, and it might prefer customers to migrate. The petition argues that releasing OS/2 would make this process easier as well as benefiting customers that want to stick with the platform. OS/2 was forged in a joint development project between IBM and Microsoft with contributions from other third-party developers such as Corel. The petitioners acknowledge the third-party work poses an obstacle to releasing OS/2 source code. "We know that IBM faces a problem of making OS/2 Open Source because of the private sources from third party companies. What we ask of IBM is to release as much of the source as possible and list the OS/2 components that need an Open Source replacement," the petition argues. The petition is yet to be filed and is open to further signups here. IBM's stance on the issue remains unclear. ® Related stories OS/2: dead again Microsoft uses $850m to kiss and make up with IBM Sun can't afford to market Linux desktop
John Leyden, 20 Jul 2005
channel

Onshore coders' salaries rise along with Offshore fears

So much for US legislators' concerns about the damaging impact of outsourcing on domestic tech-workers' employment and pay prospects. IT workers are experiencing a minor uptick in their salaries as employers slowly realize that sending jobs to low-wage economies creates more difficulties than it solves. That's according to two separate surveys, which appear to back the thinking among certain analysts that companies should adopt a "selective" approach to outsourcing. That approach means retaining onshore those positions that require specialized knowledge of new technologies or processes that are unique to your company and sending overseas less specialized skills, like code crunching. A new Foote Partners survey has found that, overall, salaries grew between 3.8 percent and 1.3 per cent respectively for certified and non-certified individuals in the fields of application development, databases, enterprise software, networking and systems administration during the first six months of 2005. Salaries increased 4.9 per cent and 3 per cent, respectively, for the 12 months to July 1. For non-certified staff, operating systems led the field, growing 8.2 per cent during the first six months, while knowledge of web technologies was top in the certified staff category, with salaries growing 3.8 per cent. The increases follow a decline in pay of between 7 and 10 per cent 18 months ago, in networking, databases and application development, according to Foote. "The pendulum has swung to the other side as companies have become more aware of the difficulties in doing off-shoring successfully and achieving anticipated cost savings," Foote co-founder David Foote said in a statement. Foote surveyed 50,000 IT professionals. The Foote survey follows the US Bureau of Labor Statistics report last week of a 7.5 per cent year-on-year increase in "computer and mathematical" occupations - a category that includes programmers - to 3.2m. The Bureau pointed to increased demand for high-end programmers in new technology areas like web services and wireless. Foote continued that, after an initial rush to send work overseas, employers have become more selective and risk averse when deciding which work they can afford to offshore and which must remain under their control. "[Employers] are demanding more industry-specific experience to go with tech skills mastery. They're also searching for workers with... specific experience within a particular industry now that money is once again flowing to innovation and new products and services that will ensure their competitiveness," according to Foote. Shame the phenomenon isn’t being experienced in telephone support.® Related stories R&D and skills crisis looms for Europe Dell: why Customer Care had to die Offshoring jobs threat 'exaggerated' - WTO India call centre staff in sex romp shocker Indian call centre security breach: man admits guilt More outsourcing = more unhappiness
Gavin Clarke, 20 Jul 2005

Cingular's indigestion could be worse

The cost of swallowing AT&T Wireless dulled the results of the United States' largest mobile network Cingular. Profits fell to $147m for 2Q FY2005, a loss of $93m over the first six months of this year. Revenue for the quarter was $8.61bn. Merger costs were $204m in the period. But at least the indigestion doesn't signal food poisoning. Cingular spent $41bn on a company in turmoil. AT&T Wireless rarely managed to turn a profit, and its final months as an independent company were marred by subscribers fleeing for other providers after it botched number portability. This chaos doesn't appear to have infected Cingular, as there were no nasty surprises in the subscriber numbers. Cingular added 1.1m net subscribers, monthly churn is 2.2 per cent - down for the third quarter running - and ARPUs (Average Revenue Per User) fell slightly to $50.75. Almost all of the 4.4m new subscribers bought postpaid contracts. 7 per cent of the subscriber base switched from TDMA to GSM in the quarter, leaving 22 per cent yet to switch, although GSM carried nine out of every ten minutes of calls on the combined network. AT&T's TDMA users have been a focus for rival carriers as Cingular has upgraded the network to the global standard, which required new handsets. Cingular has barely begun to integrate the infrastructure of the two companies, admitted Cingular CEO Stan Sigman, which is where the real savings - and risks, too will be found. ® Related stories Who wants a piece of T-Mobile? Cingular posts Q4 loss Cingular lays off 7,000
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Jul 2005
channel

IBM preps big iron fiesta

IBM will try to breath life into its languishing mainframe business during an event next week, if its CFO and marketing material are to be believed. Big Blue's CFO Mark Loughridge used an earnings conference call this week to declare "the end of what has been a long (zSeries) product cycle" with new gear being displayed next week and delivered in September. In addition, IBM's public relations staff have sent press an invitation to a July 26 event in New York that will provide a "glimpse at the future of computing systems technology." Or in this case the reworking of computing's past. Some analysts speculate IBM will show a refreshed high-end system with 30 to 40 per cent better performance than the z990 and more scale. The current box allows customers to use 32 processors for data crunching and 16 for system tasks. The upgraded box could let customers tap as many as 38 chips for processing. IBM should put out a real refresh with a whole new mainframe line in 2007. IBM is also expected to wrap the mainframe box with new software and storage gear, billing the dinosaur as a solid choice to anchor any modern data center. Software updates could include Version 1.7 of z/OS, which IBM has planned for September, and even COBOL developer tools. IBM has a teleconference planned on July 26 to cover WebSphere Developer for zSeries, WebShpere Studio Asset Analyzer, Asset Transformation Workbench, File Manager, Fault Analyzer and Debug Tool Suite. Another teleconference is planned to go over "the latest systems technologies across servers, storage and networking; how new mainframe capabilities will help enable you to manage workloads, security and resiliency across the infrastructure; and how the mainframe can help you integrate data, transactions and applications across the infrastructure." A struggling mainframe business has weighed on IBM's last two quarters. This week, IBM revealed that mainframe sales fell 24 per cent during the second quarter - a drop that hurt Global Services as well. ZSeries sales fell 16 per cent in the first quarter, prompting IBM to initiate a staggering round of layoffs. The Register discovered that numerous UK mainframe support staff lost their jobs as a result of these actions and that IBM offshored the work to South Africa. IBM frequently blames slow mainframe upgrade cycles for bad quarters. In 2003, it fingered missing encryption software for a slump in mainframe sales and consequently a drop in overall hardware revenue. Now it has whined about worker costs and a reluctance to buy older systems. You can expect IBM to do its usual routine with the new mainframe and pitch the box as being "as modern as ever" and "the real answer for a hetrogenous data center." The old beasts, however, must compete against ever-improving Unix, Linux and Windows gear, and IBM's mainframe sales over two years indicate that it's a struggle. ® Related stories IBM evens the keel in Q2 HDS intros midsize storage controller IBM UK mainframe workers train their South African replacements Hitachi caught swapping APIs with IBM . . . again IBM unleashes Jurassic predator on Japan IBM's T-REX mainframe just got bigger IBM keeps the AIX flag flying
Ashlee Vance, 20 Jul 2005
channel

MS buys FrontBridge, buys into Finjan

Microsoft dug deeper into computer security on Wednesday, purchasing FrontBridge Technologies to help customers reach regulatory compliance, while also signing an investment and patent licensing deal with Finjan Software. The FrontBridge acquisition will see Microsoft deliver a set of services to enforce compliance through archiving of e-mail and ensure system availability by blocking spam and viruses. Financial terms of the deal were not released. Microsoft said it would use FrontBridge to target compliance with Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). FrontBridge provides archival, retrieval and reporting services for e-mail and instant messaging (IM), protection using multilayer filtering and encryption, and high availability and redundancy through a network of eight FrontBridge datacenters. FrontBridge has 3,100 customers, including AT&T, IBM, NEC and Sprint. The deal appears to support Microsoft's move into services, and on Wednesday the company outlined areas where partners could serve customers in the small and medium business (SMB) market. Microsoft said FrontBridge provides a "great opportunity" for managed e-mail archiving, spam filtering, virus scanning, e-mail recovery, policy enforcement and disaster recovery services for customers unable to provide such services internally on Microsoft Exchange Server environments. The FrontBridge acquisition follows Microsoft's Sybari Software purchase in February. Microsoft said that by owning FrontBridge and Sybari, customers now have the choice between hosted or on-site anti-virus and anti-spam software. Separately, Microsoft has signed a non-exclusive worldwide agreement to license patents for computer security technologies with Finjan. Under the deal, Microsoft is also taking a minority equity stake in Finjan. Financial terms of the deal were not revealed, although Microsoft is licensing a broad range of patents. Finjan said it was "very pleased" to be working with Microsoft, while Microsoft said Finjan has done some "interesting" product innovation in the security space.® Related stories MS axes Unix anti-virus sales after bagging Sybari Microsoft bolsters email security with Sybari acquisition Frontbridge buys archiving firm MessageRite Managed email filtering market hots up MailFrontier expands into Europe
Gavin Clarke, 20 Jul 2005