13th > February > 2006 Archive
British police have fingered some suspected scoundrels and nonces with a shared police database system, the Home Office said at the official launch of the system today. The IMPACT Nominal Index, which resulted from Sir Michael Bichard's investigation into failure of police to prevent the murders of Soham schoolgirls Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells, has been running in pilot since December. A government statement said they had found leads in the search of an armed robber. A man suspected of assaulting a 15-year-old girl in one region was found in another region's database to have been linked to an identical case. They also found a man who had been acquitted of assaulting his girlfriend's eight-year-old daughter had been linked to similar cases in five other regions. The system is said to make it less likely that criminals will escape detection by merely moving across police force boundaries. The system is being trialled by child abuse investigators in 43 police forces before being implemented more widely. ®
AOL has become the latest operator in the UK to offer video on demand (VoD) with the launch of an online movie rental service. Open to all broadband users and not just AOL subscribers, the AOL Film Downloads service is provided by DVD rental outfit LOVEFiLM. Available from today, AOL is tapping into the library of films from Time Warner, including Harry Potter and Batman. Prices start at £2.99 a movie, although they are only available to view for up to 24 hours. AOL UK chief exec Karen Thomson said in a statement: "AOL Film Downloads gives broadband users an on-demand option for their home entertainment, delivering the latest films directly into their homes for a reasonable price." Last month, pay TV outfit Sky unveiled its VoD service. In the three weeks since its launch more than 52,000 people have signed up to "Sky by broadband" and some 70,000 movies have been downloaded. Elsewhere, BT is on course to unveil its internet TV service during the summer and recently signed kids favourite Bob the Builder to boost its content. ®
Music royalty traders being investigated by EC anti-trust authorities said they fail to understand why the European Commission had launched proceedings against them, and hope to reach an agreement without resorting to the law courts. The EC and the Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), which manages the sale of broadcast copyright licences through a network of societies, have spent the last two years trying to agree how licences for the broadcast of music over the internet, satellite and cable should be sold. It now appears that a legal ruling may be the only way for the two parties to reach a compromise. The EC backed up its claim that CISAC unlawfully restricts the sale of copyright licenses by launching proceedings against the confederation. The EC position is nothing new to CISAC, but legal director David Uwemedino said he would seek clarification of the officials' complaints. He insisted model contracts CISAC gave to associated national copyright traders had already been changed in 1996 to deal with one of the issues raised by the EC. But the issue of "territoriality was something on which it simply disagreed with the EC, which would rather call it the use of unfair territorial restrictions". CISAC's statement said a compromise should still be reached. There was already an ongoing debate that resulted in regular adaptation of their licensing framework, it said. ®
A Vietnamese grapefruit seller has been refused the domain name www.buoi.com.vn because "the word for grapefruit, buoi, without a proper tone marking can be misunderstood", as Thai Huu Ly, of the Vietnam Internet Network Information Centre, put it to AFP. Depending on how it's pronounced, buoi can indeed mean grapefruit - but also penis - hence the authorities' reticence in the matter. Vietnamese state TV reported on Friday that as well as a dislike for buoi, the powers that be also have little appetite for lon which, according to how you put it, means either "pigs" or "vagina". Reuters adds that a "gender activist" who punted for sex.com.vn also met with failure, because pornography is banned in Vietnam. Whether said activist sports a buoi or a lon is not noted. ®
Virgin Mobile looks set to be the first cellco to sign up to a nationwide TV service, according to a report by the Financial Times. The pink paper reports that the tie-up is due to be announced tomorrow at the 3GSM trade show in Barcelona and will provide punters with at least five TV channels and a number of radio stations. BT Wholesale began trials of its Movio mobile service (formerly known as LiveTime) with Virgin Mobile last year. Four weeks ago, BT announced the trials had been a success saying the results were "extremely positive", and demonstrate there is "clear consumer demand for broadcast digital TV and radio to mobile phones". At the time, BT Movio head Emma Lloyd said: "It is clear from the very positive feedback we have had from the pilot that BT Movio will be in high demand from mobile users and operators alike. We are in commercial discussions with mobile operators about launching a consumer service after the launch of the wholesale service later this year." Now it seems that those discussions have resulted in Virgin Mobile - which is still in talks to be acquired by cableco NTL for £920m - becoming the first operator to sign up to the Movio service, which uses the Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) network to broadcast pictures to handsets. Separately, BT has announced a content deal with TV production company Endemol - makers of Big Brother - for its digital TV service due to be unveiled later this year. The tie-up builds on the content deals already announced with names such as BBC Worldwide, Paramount and Warner Music Group. BT's internet TV service will give viewers access to digital-terrestrial channels through the aerial, while programmes and movies can be downloaded "on demand" via a broadband connection. ®
CommentComment As a practitioner of agile principles, I value communication and feedback. Indeed, I insist on regular feedback and, if it's not forthcoming, will go in search of it. I've worked with a few teams over the years and one of the first things I always try to introduce is a Kanban system, Kanban being the Japanese word for 'sign' or 'placard'.
Intel is set to ship its 'Woodcrest' processor, the first 65nm Xeon chip to be based on the chip giant's next-generation architecture, will ship at 2.93GHz and boast a 1333MHz frontside bus, a purported copy of the company's server roadmap posted on a Chinese-language website claims.
CommentComment Know the law before you accuse “34 per cent of top UK companies” of breaking it. Recent research, reported by the BBC, FT and others, suggested that our corporate tycoons are flouting the law on email marketing. But the data management company behind the research got the law wrong. The company's press release said the EU Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications "demands that companies only send unsolicited messages via email to non-customers if they have actively opted-in to receiving them". Not exactly. The relevant bit of the directive talks about the need for prior consent, not opt-in. There is a difference. Most people think of opt-in as ticking a box, but that is just one way of getting prior consent. The press release continued: "The legislation makes it crystal clear that simply offering someone the opportunity to opt-out of receiving unsolicited emails (or indeed pre-ticking an opt-in box) does not comply with the directive." No it doesn't. The directive says no such thing. Even prior consent is not always necessary for email marketing. If you're emailing existing customers to promote similar products to those they bought before, and these are people whose contact details you obtained when selling or negotiating a sale, prior consent is not needed - provided you identify your company, give an opt-out on collection of the email address and include an unsubscribe option with each email sent. If cold-calling by email, prior consent is needed from the recipient before sending unsolicited email marketing to individuals (unless emailing them at a company address), but you can get prior consent in a number of ways - as the Information Commissioner explains in his guidance (see page 5 of this 44-page/817KB PDF). One of them is an opt-in box, but it's not the only way. Another legitimate approach is to say: "By signing up for our newsletter/buying this product/entering this prize draw, you consent to receiving our email marketing. If you don't want it, check this box." So an opt-out box is still allowed provided you also make it clear when you collect the email address that it may be used for marketing and draft your data protection notice as a consent statement. Consent can be obtained by clicking a button, sending an email or subscribing to a service. You just need some form of positive action by the individual, they must understand that they are consenting and they must understand to what they are consenting. Opt-in boxes are my own preference when I visit other websites and it's our approach on OUT-LAW.COM; they're just not compulsory. Our site used to have an opt-out box. We switched, but not because of the law. We switched because we learned about usability, because we learned that users scan web pages instead of reading them and, however obvious we make an opt-out box, some people won't see it. So I do agree with the recommendation about switching to opt-in, and the researchers are not alone in misunderstanding this law. But how many "top UK companies" break the email marketing law? We still don't know. Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.
Steve Fossett has broken the world record for the longest uninterrupted flight – but a last minute electrical failure meant he had to make an emergency landing. Virgin GlobalFlyer touched down in Bournemouth - better known for its many retirees and nursing homes - just after 1700 GMT on Saturday. He was forced to make the mayday call having covered 26,389.3 miles in 76 hours and 45 minutes. The world's press were assembled at Kent International Airport at Manston, hoping to broadcast the adventurer's triumph live. After a medical check-up, Fossett was flown there to greet them in his own enigmatically monickered 'Citation X' private jet with sponsor and friend Richard Branson. GlobalFlyer's on-board generator failed over Ireland, soon after Fossett had passed the existing marker of 24,987 miles, set in 1986 by Dick Rutan and Jeanna Yeager. He realised he would not make it to Kent as he was beginning his 40,000ft descent. Having to land with near-zero visibility and bursting two tyres on landing, Fossett told reporters: "It was a difficult flight. I was lucky to make it to the end." Earlier fuel worries were almost borne out too, with GlobalFlyer landing with just 200lbs of the more than 18,000lbs it began with. Branson joked: "We told him he had to land alive. If he didn't land alive he wouldn't get the record." The record bid was beset with difficulties since take-off on Wednesday. Four percent of GlobalFlyer's fuel payload was vented during the ascent, and uncontrollable cabin temperatures caused a temporary instrument failure. Extreme turbulence over India almost caused him to bail out. After days without sleep and a diet of nothing but milkshakes, Fossett quaffed champagne and told reporters he now plans to get some rest. It's thought that after inspection GlobalFlyer will find a final resting place at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.®
Be - the broadband ISP that advertises speeds of up to 24Mb - is expanding its network. The ISP is investing in local loop unbundling (LLU) and has already installed its kit in 60 BT telephone exchanges in London to provide services direct to end users. It reckons that by May a further 90-odd exchanges will be unbundled taking the total number of LLU sites to 156, with Birmingham and Manchester the first areas outside of London to get the Be treatment. "Since we broke the broadband speed record last year we have been focused on developing the best products we can and now we want to bring that innovation to much more of the UK," Be managing director Dana Pressman said in a statement. However the LLU operator, which has so far secured £24.5m in investment, is still refusing to say how many users it's signed up. Elsewhere, Cable & Wireless has a fortnight to decide the future of its established LLU operator Bulldog. The telco is due to publish its new broadband strategy at the end of the month amid speculation that even though Bulldog has more than 80,000 punters, it will step back from retail broadband and become a wholesale provider of LLU services instead. ®
File-sharing software that installs adware, websites that attempt to compromise a visitor's computer, and free downloads that install a host of other unwanted software - the web has become a confusing and sometimes dangerous place for the average home user. A group of graduates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) aim to change that by crawling the web with hundreds, and soon thousands, of virtual computers that detect which websites attempt to download software to a visitor's computer and whether giving out an e-mail address during registration can lead to an avalanche of spam. The goal is to create a service that lets the average internet user know what a website actually does with any information collected or what a download will do to a computer, Tom Pinckney, vice president of engineering and co-founder of the start-up SiteAdvisor, said during a presentation at the CodeCon conference here. "We put a robot 'you' in first, and then you can see if it comes out with a bunch of arrows stuck in it," Pinckney said. "By using virtual yous, we end up measuring behaviors in a more holistic approach - creating a list of sites that are good and a list of sites that have dubious behaviour." The service builds on research into data collected through legions of computers that automatically browse the internet, downloading free programs and filling out forms. Microsoft has used such client-side honeypots, which the software giant's researchers call honeymonkeys, to browse the riskier side of the web for servers that use zero-day exploits against visitors. The University of Washington used similar techniques to survey the web and find that one in 20 executables on the internet contain spyware. SiteAdvisor wanted to take the model further and so created virtual computers that acted as if they were the most permissive users - downloading any offered program and entering in uniquely identifiable email addresses into any forms. The result is that the service can keep track of the consequences of visiting a site and giving that site information. So far, the company's browsing automatons - virtual Windows machines running on Linux computers - have browsed more than 1.6m websites. The company intends to offer a free service to consumers and charge for a premium version of the service to make money. Internet users can use the service like a Zagat's or Consumer Reports for the web, Pinckney said, learning what will happen if they visit a site, install a program, give away an email address or agree to a massive end-user license agreement (EULA). "If your car had an EULA 20 pages long that allowed the manufacturer to wallpaper your house in Exxon ads, would you go for that?" he asked. "That is what these sites are trying to do to our computers." SiteAdvisor offers extensions for both Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox, putting the information easily visible in Google and adding an additional menu, where users can get more information about a particular site, in the address bar. The technology to automate browsing the web and downloading tools does not always work, Pinckney said. In some cases, a human has to decide what is a good application and what is malicious code. "We looked for the cheapest artificial intelligence to survey the questionable cases, and (the solution) ended up being hiring a bunch of guys in India," Pinckney said. In the end, the research has also allowed the company to define the connections between malicious parts of the web, what Pinckney called the "malweb". Under the entry for a particular website, SiteAdvisor displays those links colour-coding them to indicate the severity of the satellite sites' dubious practices: red representing a site with questionable practices and green for legitimate sites. While many groups will try to game the system and detect SiteAdvisor's web crawling automatons, good sites should be able to profit from getting a good rating. A service that lets the user instill more trust in certain sites could increase traffic to legitimate sites, Pinckney said. "Because there are some bad screensaver sites out there, no one is downloading free screensavers anymore," he said. "This could help the good sites." The company is currently previewing its service and plans to roll out the full version soon. This article originally appeared in Security Focus. Copyright © 2006, SecurityFocus
If you sell your iPod and don't remove your music first, you could find yourself with the Recording Industry Ass. of America (RIAA) breathing down your back. The organisation last week told sellers in the US that doing so is a clear violation of copyright law and warned them that it's sniffing out for infringers.
The US Department of Homeland Security has conducted a wargame to test how the country's key IT infrastructure would stand up to a coordinated attack. The week-long operation 'Cyber Storm' ended on Friday and involved 115 federal agencies, banks, power companies and IT firms. The results will now be analysed by government security experts, with a full report due by summer. The Associated Press reports that Department of Homeland Security undersecretary George W. Foresman compared his agency's role during any online attack to an orchestra conductor, coordinating responses from law enforcement, intelligence agencies, the military and private firms. Foresman said the goal is a “symphony of preparedness” against cyberterrorism. The exercise had no effect on the real internet, but instead simulated an attack on the power grid in 10 states, and isolated systems at Cisco, Verisgn, and Microsoft. An earlier exercise called 'Livewire' concluded there were serious unknowns as to the role government would play in an attack.®
Claims that Apple is preparing an iPod-branded video player were strengthened late last week when it emerged the company has filed a patent application for exactly the kind of virtual clickwheel technology the new device has been said to sport.
StobStob Letters We received a shed load of emails in response to our jibes at the BBC's Bitesize website for GCSE sufferers. Many came forward to explain the site's use of the term 'ICT' instead of the more usual 'IT'. Andrew Field, Head of ICT at a secondary school in Cambridgeshire, writes
The Pope moved to soothe the increasingly fractious science versus religion rumpus on Friday, saying the two are compatible in the Christian faith. His Holiness told the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican: “The Church joyfully accepts the real conquests of human knowledge.” The 78-year-old German-born Pontiff said an understanding of science should help believers understand “the mysteries of life on Earth”, while helping them to see "the logic of faith in God". His comments come in time for yesterday's 197th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. The event has been marked with talks and debates including Reverend Michael Dowd's speech at the University of Tennessee entitled, “Why Jesus loves Darwin and you could too”. Sermons supporting Darwin's work were given in moderate churches across America, and natural selection was taught in Sunday schools. 'Evolution Sunday' organiser and biology professor Michael Zimmerman told the Denver Post: “Those very shrill, shrieking voices of the Christian fundamentalists we hear so often are not speaking for all Christians.” Responding, Robert Crowther of intelligent design lobby group the Discovery Institute shrieked: "We think it's hypocritical and essentially a PR stunt to get attention for an idea that is clearly losing favour with the public." The recent Dover, Pennsylvania, trial over whether intelligent design should be taught alongside evolution in science classes found in favour of the esteemed naturalist, but does not seem to have cooled the debate. ®
Another batch of figures has been published bigging up online shopping. Despite security fears, UK shoppers splashed out a record £8.2bn in online shopping in 2005, according to a report by retail analysts Verdict. And with e-shopping within touching distance of the £9.4bn spent in UK department stores last year, analysts say retailers must take e-commerce seriously. The research revealed e-spending was up almost 30 per cent on last year - outstripping overall retail spending almost 20 times over - and that one in four people in the UK shopped online during 2005. Last month, research posted by the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) found that online Christmas shopping was up almost 50 per cent, with punters splashing out £5bn in the 10 weeks to Christmas, compared to £3.33bn during the same period last year. IMRG said Christmas sales capped off yet another good 12 months for online sales describing 2005 as a "year of remarkable dynamic growth for UK online shopping". ®
3GSM3GSM Microsoft will next month allow handset vendors and mobile phone networks to offer customers Direct Push Technology - its answer to Research in Motion's Blackberry push email system. DPT will be delivered through a Messaging and Security Feature Pack update to its Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system, plus a Service Pack for its Exchange Server 2003 code.
3GSM3GSM O2 is extending its partnership with music label Universal. O2 punters will now get access to 100,000 tracks from Universal's catalogue. They can buy ringtones, video tones, or full length video or sound tracks. The deal comes a week after O2 announced a tie-up with Virgin radio to produce 'Visual Radio'. Users with radio handsets will get extra information and graphics synchronised to Virgin's radio content. Users will get a playlist showing the current song, as well as the chance to enter competitions and interact. Extra services like music gossip, news, weather, and traffic information will be added over time. ®
3GSM3GSM Fujitsu Siemens today launched its Pocket Loox T series 3G-based PDA phones, as anticipated, and pledged to ship the 802.11g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0 and GPS-equipped handsets - one with a two megapixel camera, the other without - next July. The T810 and T830 - the one with the camera - will both ship with Microsoft's Push Direct Technology push email system
Quocirca's changing channelsQuocirca's changing channels Research conducted by Quocirca in 2005 showed the majority of UK enterprises still pay for software upfront either as perpetual licences or renewable on an annual or bi-annual basis. The same research also showed that more than half would like to see the way they pay for software changed to a monthly subscription. What the customer wants, the customer should get, but this leaves a problem for vendors and resellers who need money in the bank to pay the bills. Two initiatives launched in January this year will make it easier to make a transition in the way software is both delivered and paid for: the salesforce.com AppExchange, and new financing portal smartfundit.com. The AppExchange opens up the salesforce.com platform to any independent software vendor (ISV) who wants to make their application available as a hosted service. Software as a service (SaaS) is the ultimate expression of the monthly subscription model. The rate at which salesforce.com is signing up partners for the AppExchange suggests there are going to be lot more applications available as hosted services in the near future; it includes more traditional software companies, like Business Objects and Adobe, who would never have been associated with SaaS a few years ago. What has this got to do with resellers? Salesforce.com is currently just providing a platform, not a route to market, so if an ISV currently works with the channel, there is no reason why it should not continue to do so if it adds a SaaS capability into the mix. And anyway, if salesforce.com does start helping its AppExchange partners to market, it looks like it might be ending its standoff with the channel: it has recently appointed a senior vice president for Channels and Alliances. Many vendors have been busy announcing hosted versions of their own applications, but the salesforce.com initiative is the first in the industry to make a generic hosting platform available for any ISV, small or large. Good news for end users then, with plenty more applications available as a monthly subscription, but what about the cash in the bank? This is where the second initiative comes in. There is nothing new about the idea behind smartfundit.com, a portal backed by Corporate Computer Licencing (CCL), which has been around for 14 years or so. CCL’s model is simple: the cost of a software deal is agreed, the upfront amount paid to the ISV, and CCL charges the end user on a monthly basis over an agreed period of time. The ISV has the cash in the bank and the end user has their desired option of paying on a monthly basis. The launch of the smartfundit.com portal just makes the model more accessible. The range of finance partners is far wider than that offered by individual vendors so the best price can be found for a particular deal online. What’s more, it is open to resellers and vendors alike. Smartfundit.com is not aimed exclusively at SaaS type deals; for example it could be used to fund an on-premise installation by a reseller of SAP on a Microsoft platform. However, it fits well with ISVs and resellers whose customers are looking to transition to SaaS. Cynicism about the SaaS model has been rife, and conservatism is justified. The use of on-premise software licences still predominates. But many, not least salesforce.com, are predicting an inflection point. In its 2005 research, Quocirca asked respondents how they expected to be paying for software in 2015, almost 50 per cent said as an on-demand service, 40 per cent didn’t know, and less than 10 per cent said it would be unchanged. So, it looks like there will be an inflection point, and these recent initiatives should help bring the date it happens forward. Bob Tarzey is a service director at Quocirca focussed on the route to market for IT products and services in Europe. Quocirca (www.quocirca.com) is a UK based perceptional research and analysis firm with a focus on the European market. Copyright © 2006,
3GSM3GSM HP today unveiled its latest iPaq Mobile Messenger handset, finally taking the wraps off a device it has been inadvertently mentioning on its website for some time. However, the members of the hw6900 series look a little under-specced compared to Fujitsu Siemens' latest competitor product.
3GSM3GSM Outgoing Nokia chief Jorma Ollila compared the challenge posed by IP telephony to the shift from analog to digital today. It was just this transition that saw Nokia usurp Motorola's dominant position in 1G analog mobile handsets - and it's been top dog ever since. Nokia announced a new UMA handset that conforms to the industry specification for handover between unlicensed WLAN and Bluetooth spectrum, and the 2G and 3G cellular networks.
3GSM3GSM Sony Ericsson today took a swipe at Motorola's popular, ultra-low end C115 handset and Nokia's 1100 with a no-frills dual-band GSM handset of its own. It also launched a low-end, "affordable" candybar phone for the 3G market.
3GSM3GSM Lawful interception firm SS8 Networks is using the 3GSM show to set out its stall in Europe. The firm, which makes middleware that helps service providers manage the collection of data from wiretaps across multiple voice and data connections, also announced a resale agreement with Pen-Link, a firm whose software allows law enforcement agencies to make sense out of the data SS8 collects. SS8 Networks' Xcipio products allow carriers to meet regulatory requirements for supporting law enforcement agencies. Wiretapping is much in the news, particularly in the US, with controversy over the Bush administration’s practice of authorising wiretops without warrants as part of its counter-terrorism efforts. The investigation of other forms of criminal activity also involve wiretapping. SS8 chief executive Dennis Haar explained that monitored communication involves not only regular calls, but push to talk communications, multimedia messaging and wireless email. It’s this diversity of communication protocols across different network types – rather than the war on terror – that’s driving the growth in SS8’s lawful interception business. "Network complexity is driving our business," Haar said. "Wiretapping involves more than just putting a couple of clips across a line. It’s very software intensive. The technology can do a lot and you won’t hear clicks on the line.” Tap dance Miscreants are always trying to stay one step ahead of law enforcement agencies. The ability to tap Push to Talk connections, for example, only came after the technology was introduced in the US. The need to manage wiretaps of Push to Talk connection drove demand for SS8’s technology in North America. The battleground has now moved over to VoIP services. “The widespread use of VoIP services such as Skype creates interesting challenges for law enforcement agencies. Potentially, it could drive whether services are legal or not in particular countries, or how they are delivered,” Haar said. The number of warrants issued in the US that authorise law enforcement agencies is in the thousands. Authorisation for police to obtain call records but not to look at the content of communications is far more common. Spooky Haar said warrants are tightly controlled, but he concedes that practices such as warrantless wiretapping in the US, to say nothing of signals intelligence agencies such as the NSA, mean this is only part of the picture. "Service providers have a process for dealing for warrants. What carriers do outside of lawful interception has nothing to do with SS8," he said. Haar condemned the recently exposed US firms who sell call records to private detectives. “This information exists within network devices and in billing systems. I’m shocked that data brokers are able to sell it,” he said. SS8, which started off the signaling software business before branching out into wiretapping, competes with Israeli firm Verint. Lucent and Nortel bundle SS8's software. Although SS8 is looking to expand its business into both the Europe and Asia Pacific regions, Haar said it was a "long way" from doing anything in China.®
3GSM3GSM British teenagers are the world’s worst when it comes to misusing their mobile phones. Almost half of UK teens admit to texting mates while they’re at school while only 30 per cent of German kids admit to doing the same. US and UK teens spend the same amount of time on their mobiles as they spend doing homework while German teens claim to spend 70 minutes more on homework than on their phones. German teens spend as much time on their phones as doing physical exercise but British teens spend an extra hour on their phones instead of exercising. Acecomm director of product management and architecture Jonjie Sena said: “One of our respondents said he can text friends without taking the phone out of his pocket so teachers have no idea what is going on. Parents need to be able to control this.” Acecomm’s service Parent Patrol allows parents to restrict what their child can do with a mobile. The European service was launched today at the 3GSM conference in Barcelona. It has been operating since late last year in the US. You can set times, like school hours or after midnight, when phone use is restricted. You can limit the number of text messages or voice minutes that can be used in a set period – the worst offender revealed in the survey was a child that sent over 1,000 messages in one month. Data can also be restricted. There is an ‘always allow’ list of numbers which can always be called even if limits have been exceeded. There’s a ‘never allow’ list of permanently blocked numbers. Acecomm works with two undisclosed partners which certify websites. You can choose what content to block based on simple categories. Merseyside council Knowsley called for a total ban on mobiles in primary schools and restrictions in secondary schools last month. Acecomm will soon offer a similar service for control of enterprise mobile phone use. Sena believes such a system needs to be network-based rather than buying a special child's handset with controls built-in. The survey questioned 1,000 people aged between 13 and 18 in the US and the same number in the UK and Germany. It was carried out in November and December of last year. ® More details here.
TV Licensing, the outfit that collects the fee that funds the UK's BBC, is mulling plans that would force retailers to pass on details of people who buy mobile phones, The Times reports. As more and more video content becomes available on cellphones, it seems the body that administers the TV licence wants to make sure no tax dodgers slip through the net. That's because if you watch live TV on a mobile phone, then you need to be covered by a valid licence. Since the vast majority of people are already covered by their existing licence, it's not an issue for most. But, there is a small proportion of people who aren't covered by a TV licence and officials are concerned they are viewing live TV on their mobiles, which is why it's considering plans to monitor mobile usage. A spokesperson for TV Licensing told the Reg: "If a customer currently has no licence they will need to obtain one to watch live programmes on their PC or mobile. Any device used to watch or record TV programmes as they are being broadcast or otherwise distributed must be covered by a valid licence. This is the case whether you are watching or receiving a programme via a PCTV, mobile phone, PDA or any other device. "A valid licence entitles the licence holder and anyone who lives with them to watch live television on any device at that address and on any device powered solely by its internal batteries away from home." Anyone caught without a valid TV licence - which costs £126.50 a year - faces a fine of up to £1,000. Although TV Licensing has collared people watching TV via their PCs, it's not thought a mobile phone user has been nabbed as yet. Earlier today, El Reg reported that Virgin Mobile looks set to launch its mobile TV service in the summer following a deal with BT. ®
Europeans will never do as much online dating as Americans, even as their internet use ramps up to trans-Atlantic levels. This is the conclusion of Jupiter Research analyst Nate Elliot on the publication of his Valentine's report, "Online Dating in Europe: 2006". And the reason? US dating sites find it easy to get "economies of scale", though not as you would expect from the consolidation of corporate departments like finance and HR, but from the consolidation of people who want a date. This theory has come from the same land that gave us both Fordism and online dating, a juxtaposition that will not be lost on European daters, particularly in southern countries infamous for starting a "slow movement" in reaction to the obsessive clock-watching of the Yank system of production (Ford), cooking (McDonalds), eating (drive-thru) and everything else (is there a drive-thru dating service yet?). It is quite clearly nonsense. Indeed, some will say that online dating will always be more popular in the US because left pondian girls are less discriminating or simply desperate. But we will hear this out. Elliot's theory is based on the web-head version of critical mass: get enough people subscribed to a community site and it supports itself. Elliot, a New Yorker living in London for a year, has theorised that Europeans will never do as much dating as Americans because language differences prevent dating sites working across borders. Boys in Berlin, say, won't be interested in dating girls from Gravesend because they don't speak the same language. So boys in Berlin will use local websites and girls in Gravesend will stick to their own as well. But neither of their sites will be particularly attractive because they will have too few people on, which means a small selection of potential dates. European sites will, therefore, never reach critical mass. The US, Elliot reckons, has a population of 300m people who all speak the same language, so subscribers to dating websites are spoilt for choice - despite most of them living too far apart for convenience dating.. So far, so good. But Jupiter's analysis has been built like a house of cards on the shaky foundations provided by some market share estimates and interviews with experts wheeled out by the dating sites themselves. Sociology, or "human mores", has informed Elliot's thinking, but he refuses to detail how. He does say dating sites in southern European countries will never be as busy as those in Northern European countries. Because hot blooded Italians and Spaniards don't need any help with their romancing perhaps? Unlike us sun-starved, socially-retarded North Europeans. So the British and Germans account for 55 per cent of European online dating (excluding central and eastern countries). With the French, they total 70 per cent. It would be interesting to know whether the French component consists mainly of uptight Celts and Normans in the north. Otherwise, these trends are easy to understand. The Germans have inherited a filthy Saxon culture and no more need be said about them. British reserve, combined with an unhealthy cultural infringement from the US can only lead to more production line romance. European spending on online dating is growing faster than in the US, says Elliot. But at $494m, the Yank dating business is almost double that on the other side of the Atlantic and will always be bigger. Is it something in their jeans? Sadly, Elliot won't be drawn on Americans' promiscuity: "I don't have any data on that."
3GSM3GSM Still seeking a new CEO after the abrupt departure of Chris Gilbert a week ago, IP Wireless has announced the first of its global partners to trial its next generation of wireless broadband - Sprint Nextel. The new technology will be tested as part of the ongoing UMTS TD-CDMA trial in the Washington DC area that was announced in June 2005. It is part of what the 3G world has been working towards as part of its Long Term Evolution (LTE) defined by the 3GPP organisation. However, it's not likely to please those operators who have already informed shareholders of plans to go for HSDPA for high speed packet data. IP Wireless reckons its technology is considerably cheaper. "The next generation of UMTS TD-CDMA technology is designed to offer operators a progression to the LTE standard currently being defined by 3GPP as the evolution for both WCDMA and TD-CDMA for deployment by GSM operators most likely in the 2.5GHz extension bands in Europe and Asia," according to today's announcement at 3GSM. "Having a common platform with Europe and Asia in the 2.5GHz band would bring a number of benefits," Sprint Nextel chief technology officer Barry West said. "The potential of IPWireless's solution to deliver a viable path to the Long Term Evolution of UMTS is relevant to our analysis of candidate technologies." Only a month ago, IP Wireless revealed that upgrading base stations using its technology (for mobile TV) could save $10,000 per base station, compared with HSDPA. This new LTE technology offers operators the same dilemma; to go for HSDPA, and then go for IP Wireless as well, or pull back on current plans for upgrading standard WCDMA base stations and endure the scepticism of the investor community. The official announcement says: "IPWireless LTE Progression Platform is based on an evolution of the 3GPP TD-CDMA standard. The platform supports Antenna Multiplexing, which significantly increases overall performance throughout the cell through multiple antennas in both the base station and devices. The platform also includes Intercell Interference Mitigation that dramatically improves cell edge performance as well as the average sector capacity. The platform supports the seamless transition between paired and unpaired spectrum bands, which has been identified by operators globally as an essential requirement for LTE. This means that a user could move between a network deployed in unpaired spectrum in one city and a network deployed in paired spectrum in another." Copyright © Newswireless.net
3GSM3GSM Verisign, which bought Jamba, the company behind the Crazy Frog, has bought Austrian service provider 3united Mobile Solutions for E55m. Speaking at the 3GSM conference, Verisign vice president Vernon Irvin said the purchase would bolster Verisign’s ability to offer white label products to companies that want to offer better mobile marketing. Irvin told The Reg 3united would help ‘Madison Avenue’ firms improve their mobile offerings. He said the company had proved its success by providing infrastructure for programmes like Ultimate Hustler, and said the company would also help Verisign in Eastern Europe. 3united has relationships with Polish and Austrian telcos as well as with SingTel(Singapore) and Malaysia's Maxis. 3united is privately owned and has offices in Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and the US. Rainmaker Capital advised the firm on the takeover.®
3GSM3GSM With Nokia and Sony Ericsson about to launch single-core, single-chip phones using a real-time OS, Microsoft embarked on its catch-up strategy today. It's a pressing issue for manufacturers, as a single core smartphone platform allows the OEM to cut the cost of materials considerably, or cram more features on for the same BoM cost, or both. But a single core smartphone only works with a Real-Time Operating System (RTOS) that's capable of running the CDMA or GSM signalling stacks, and that's something Microsoft doesn't have. Microsoft's phones need a baseband processor running the GSM stack, and a separate application processor core running Windows Mobile OS.
Heat issues getting you down? Could your server room use a web serving boost? Sun Microsystems feels your pain. The server maker has plans to offer the Linux set a bit of Niagara Viagra. Sun's engineers have been beavering away on a hypervisor layer that sits on the company's UltraSPARC T1 - aka Niagara - processor and allows operating systems such as Linux and BSD to run on the chip. More impressively, perhaps, Sun plans to merge its own hypervisor work with the open source Xen code. Quite some time ago, Sun's software team began hammering away on something called "Project Q." This was an effort to run multiple operating systems in different partitions on the same server. The work done by the Project Q team first appeared on Sun's UltraSPARC T1 chip - only Sun didn't talk a whole lot about it. As the OpenSPARC group explains it, "Sun's UltraSPARC T1 processor has been designed to incorporate hypervisor technology in order to present a virtualized machine environment to any guest operating system running upon it. The resulting software model for a guest operating system is referred to as the 'sun4v' architecture. "This virtual machine environment is implemented with a thin layer of firmware software (the 'UltraSPARC Hypervisor') coupled with hardware extensions providing protection. The UltraSPARC Hypervisor not only provides system services required by the operating system, but it also enables the separation of platform resources into self-contained partitions (logical domains) each capable of supporting an independent operating system image." For some reason, the hypervisor technology has been largely ignored by the press and analysts. In a rare move, Sun has chosen not to hype it up either. This could be because the likes of Red Hat and SuSE have shied from porting their versions of Linux over to UltraSPARC. There doesn't seem to be much motivation from the main Linux vendors to help Sun out with any non-x86 efforts. Although, we suspect this chap might be more open to the idea. Another reason for ignoring the hypervisor might be because developers would see it as yet another virtualization platform to support, and who needs that. There's already VMware, Xen, Microsoft and a host of smaller players dabbling in the server slicing market. Sun's move to merge its own technology with Xen would lessen these concerns. In fact, Xen and XenSource could open up a nice, unique market on Sun's UltraSPARC T1 chip. The multicore dynamo promises to reduce power consumption in data centers and is said to be top notch at the web and application serving tasks which are in Linux's wheelhouse. It would be silly to expect a bustling Linux on UltraSPARC T1 industry appear overnight. Sun has tried and failed at plenty of similar software gambits over the years. Heck, it has even tried and failed and tried again with Solaris x86 and that sits pretty close to home. Still, there's something appealing about running a couple copies of Linux across one of the UltraSPARC T1-based boxes and seeing what happens. If the system cranks out web pages at a record clip, Sun's customers will be thrilled, and Dell's customers will wonder where the company has been hiding its own Viagra. ®
Stripped of her position atop the technology world, Carly Fiorina has morphed into a humbler, gentler globe-trotting celebrity speaker. Or so the Mercury News would have us believe.