27th > January > 2006 Archive

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Xbox dearth takes edge off Microsoft's record quarter

A shortage of components for the Xbox 360 took some of the shine off Microsoft's record second-quarter business results.
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Canadian music giant funds battle against RIAA

Canada's biggest record label, publisher and management company is helping out a family sued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)for copyright infringement.
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Cingular applies to patent smileys :@

Cingular, the United States' largest mobile phone network this week applied to patent emoticons, better known as smileys.
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Fishing for POI

Have you ever needed to create a Microsoft Excel or Word file from Java? If you have, did you try to do it from scratch yourself? If you were working with Excel, did you end up creating comma-separated data in a file (CSV files)?
John Hunt, 27 2006
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Wanadoo faces ad slap over 8MB service

Wanadoo UK is facing a slap from the advertising watchdog over ads for its 8MB broadband service.

HTC Q4 sales, income rocket

Taiwan's HTC saw sales leapt 66.2 per cent sequentially during the fourth quarter of FY2005, according to the PDA-phone maker's provisional, unaudited financial results.

AMD quad-cores to use DDR 2-oriented Socket F interconnect

AMD's quad-core server processors, due to be demonstrated later this year, will be based on the chip maker's upcoming Socket F infrastructure.
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Google cache not a breach of copyright

A US district court has ruled that Google’s cache feature, which allows users to access snapshots of web pages taken when they were viewed by Google robots, does not breach copyright in those web pages. The ruling could help its Google Print dispute.
Western Digital Scorpio 120GB HDD

Western Digital ships 500GB desktop hard drive

Western Digital (WD) has upped the capacity of its Caviar Serial ATA desktop hard drive range to 500GB, pitching not only the part's storage but also its low power consumption and low operational noise level - features it also highlighted for its new 120GB Scorpio 2.5in notebook drive.

Researchers say rootkits are headed for BIOS

Insider attacks and industrial espionage could become more stealthy by hiding malicious code in the core system functions available in a motherboard's flash memory, researchers said on Wednesday at the Black Hat Federal conference.
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Insurance underwriter trips over accident claim forms

An insurance underwriter who tripped over a stack of accident claim forms at work has won compensation for the "pain and loss of earnings" caused by the incident, the BBC reports.
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Malaysians seek jungle Big Foot

The Malaysians have confirmed they will mount a dedicated expedition to track down the legendary local "Big Foot" - 3m-tall "King Kongs" covered in black fur and known as Hantu Jarang Gigi, or "ghosts with widely-spaced teeth", as the BBC puts it.
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Jobs axed at Telstra Europe

Telstra Europe axed 19 of its staff earlier this week, sources have told The Register.

Sony's Stringer kills (robot) dog

Sony has killed off its Aibo robo-doggie, the consumer electronics giant reported yesterday. The computerised canine was one of many victims of the company's attempt to get back into profitability.
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BOFH: Automated attendant abuse

Episode 4 "Uh... " the Boss says, sneaking into Mission Control "...there's been a complaint."
Intel Presler and Prescott

Intel Core Duo: no balls, just bumps, says analyst

It's official: Intel's latest 65nm dual-core desktop chip, 'Presler', shipping as the Pentium D 9xx series, has no balls. Neither, it seems, has 'Yonah', the chip giant's 65nm dual-core mobile part aka Core Duo.
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Google pulls 'we don't censor' statement

Updated Google's support centre has pulled an answer to the topical question "Does Google censor search results?" Since the answer clearly stated the company "does not censor results for any search term", and given the company's recent foray into the lucrative Chinese search engine market, it seems fair that the internet monolith would probably want to review that particular stance and relegate the offending item to cache.

ChoicePoint fined $15m over data security breach

Data broker ChoicePoint was yesterday fined $15m over a data security breach that led to at least 800 cases of identity theft. ChoicePoint agreed to pay $10m in civil penalties (a record fine) and $5m to compensate consumers as part of a settlement with US consumer watchdog the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It also agreed to maintain a revamped security program, featuring regular third-party security audits until 2026, and promised to ensure it provides consumer reports only to legitimate businesses for lawful purposes.
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BT's VoIP service goes titsup

BT is keeping its fingers crossed that its Broadband Voice VoIP service is working again after its went titsup earlier this week.
T-Mobile US' MDA and SDA smart phones

UK file-sharers told to pay more than £20,000

The English High Court has ordered two men to pay a combined £6,500 in damages after deciding they illegally distributed music through P2P file-sharing networks.
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Framework Design Guidelines

Book review While Framework Design Guidelines: Conventions, Idioms and Patterns for Reusable.NET Libraries hardly rolls off the tongue, it has the obvious virtue of faithfully describing the contents. And while the subject of coding and design guidelines might not get the juices running in the same way as a tome on the latest scripting language or a fancy new web technology, it’s also true that a solid grasp of the subject is likely to be of more long term value to a developer.
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Aramiska pulls plug on sat broadband service

Satellite broadband firm Aramiska is pulling the plug on its service today leaving businesses in rural parts of the UK without high speed internet services.

HP confirms iPaq hw6900 series

HP has tacitly admitted it has plans to ship the rumoured iPaq hw6900 Mobile Messenger PDA phone family by posting a document on its website that declares the devices conform to a variety of European Union and other regulations.
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UK immigration intros compulsory tags for asylum cases

The UK Immigration Service is now imposing electronic tagging without the subject's consent in a range of immigration cases, including asylum seekers, overstayers and illegal workers, following a rule change last year. The National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns (NCADC) reports that it has been contacted recently by a number of asylum seekers who were fitted with ankle bracelet tags after visiting the Immigration & Nationality Directorate's offices at Lunar House, Croydon to claim asylum.

FujiFilm FinePix F11 Zoom digital compact camera

Review FujiFilm's F11 Zoom steps into the company's line-up alongside the F10, its predecessor. It addresses a few issues with the F10 that were not exactly problems, more just missing features, such as a manual shooting control. So, the camera boasts more or less the same design and control layout of the F10 but with a smorgasbord of options...
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97% of readers say surveys are rubbish

Letters Surveys - where would we be without them? A lot better off, many of you reckon, but more of that a bit later. First up, a couple of fun-sized snippets from the mailbag, starting with two more missives on Thomas C. Greene and his Steve Gibson bashing, as previously discussed in letters:
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Seven cough to copying Star Wars DVD

The loan of an illicitly obtained pre-release copy of Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith has left seven friends each facing up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $100,000 (£56,000). Albert Valente, 28, took a copy of the final Star Wars film from the Los Angeles post-production facility where he worked last May, a week before its theatrical release.
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Auction planned for 1,000 patents

An estimated 1,000 patents spanning software, hardware and networking are destined to be sold to the highest bidder in San Francisco by a merchant bank this spring.
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Authorities search German anti-piracy group

German authorities searched the offices of the German Federation Against Copyright Theft (GVU) this week following a world-wide series of raids on warez operations.
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Government outlaws Photoshopped passport pics

Since the UK Passport Service started to go digital last year, some applicants have run into a little Rise of the Machines-related trouble. Maybe your skin's the wrong colour (which takes you back, but they don't mean it in the old sense), or your baby's too shiny, or for some reason won't look straight at the camera.

UK goes into reverse on VAT fraud fight

The UK government plans to overhaul the VAT regime in an attempt to clamp down on missing trader scams which are costing it over £1bn per year.
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Astronauts turn spacesuit into satellite

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station will next week chuck an empty spacesuit out of the airlock and thereby create the world's first "SuitSat".
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Norway accuses iTunes of consumer-rights violations

The Consumer Council of Norway (CCN) has accused Apple's iTunes Music Store operation of violating the country's Marketing Control Act, and it has asked Norway's consumer ombudsman to intervene on behalf of digital music buyers.

Kama Sutra wipeout

Windows users are been urged to make sure their systems are clean from an email worm which is programmed to overwrite user's files on 3 February. Blackworm (AKA Nyxem, MyWife or Tearec) has infected more than 300,000 systems worldwide, based on analysis of logs from counter web sites used by the worm.
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Lara Croft, Ally McBeal or Missus Beaton?

Do-gooding social engineers have bungled an attempt to get more women into sci/tech industries with a TV soap that depicts them making a success of careers traditionally pursued by men.

Los Angeles sues Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas makers

Los Angeles has taken the makers of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas to task over the game's infamous but now deleted "hot coffee" sex scenes.
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CBN steps in as Aramiska crashes

Dozens of community broadband networks and hundreds of businesses are busy looking for new broadband providers today following the shock announcement that Aramiska is pulling the plug on its satellite service - effective, today.
fingers pointing at man

Insight holding out

Insight Enterprises, the IT mail-order giant, has reported a decline in year on year earnings of 64 per cent.

Police collar AOL phishing suspect

A California man who allegedly duped AOL users into handing over credit card details to a fraudulent website has been arrested in the US. Police charged Jeffrey Brett Goodin, 46, of Azusa, with wire fraud and other charges over allegations he masterminded an aggressive phishing scam.
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Cingular emoticon grab not so serious :-) say experts

Letters Cingular's attempt to patent emoticons isn't as bad as it sounds, expert readers. European patent attorney John Cooper writes:
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Verizon numbers show some fiber

As expected, Verizon edged even closer to cellular leader Cingular in the quarter ending December 31. Verizon added 2 million net mobile subscribers, 200,000 more than Cingular, bringing the total to 51.3 million. That's an addition of 7.5 million over the year, 17.5 per cent up.
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Cellcos and senate vs social engineering

New legislation proposed by Senator Chuck Schumer (D, NY) and backed by heavyweights from both major parties, seeks to criminalize both the practitioners and the dupes of "social engineering".