3rd > March > 2006 Archive

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The big DRM mistake

Comment Digital Rights Managements hurts paying customers, destroys Fair Use rights, renders customers' investments worthless, and can always be defeated. Why are consumers and publishers being forced to use DRM?

Euro unions eye Indian closed shop

A delegation of European unions will tour Indian call centres next week to investigate an industry scheme to register the country's call centre employees in a biometric database.

HP and Oracle committed to Itanic

Intel pulled in top executives from Hewlett Packard and Oracle on Wednesday to pledge undying commitment to Itanic despite having "screwed" HP over use of its newest version of the chip in the latest Integrity servers.

Microsoft lashes out at EU 'conspiracy'

With decision day about a penalty fine looming, Microsoft has accused the European Union of ganging up with its rivals against it.

Next-gen video iPod to launch 'March/April'

Apple's upcoming video-oriented iPod will sport a 4in widescreen display, with the height of the landscape-oriented unit comparable to existing iPods' widths, presumably to allow it to use Apple's 'universal' dock.
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World chips sales beat seasonal downturn

Global chip sales totalled $19.66bn in January, the US-based Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) said last night. The figure's seven per cent up on January 2005's $18.38bn total, but 1.5 per cent down on the $19.95bn sales recorded for December 2005, though a month-on-month decline is a traditional feature of the market at this time of year.
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Office formats alliance opens for business

Microsoft Office is facing an organized challenge from an alliance of government bodies and IT vendors that are promoting OpenDocument Format (ODF).
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Homeland Security report tracks down rogue open source code

The authors of a US government-sponsored report claim to have delivered the first reliable guide into judging the safety and reliability of open source software.
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Meet Mickey and Daffy: Pluto's new moons

Letters It's Friday, so we'll kick off this round up of the very best our bulging mailbag has to offer with a bit of light relief, viz: names for Pluto's new moons:

XGI turns away from desktop graphics - report

Graphics chip maker XGI has said it is to move away from desktop products and focus instead on embedded and server applications. The statement, made yesterday, came amid claims the company was about to be bought by ATI, and follows 3Dlabs decision to focus on embedded and mobile phone graphics chips.
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How the digital revolution screwed songwriters. Twice.

DMF This may not be news to most of you, but in light of DiMA's Jonathan Potter blaming music publishers for the sorry state of digital downloads, it's a topical reminder.

Nvidia posts H.264 HD video decode tool

Nvidia has posted software that allows certain GeForce graphics chips to decode video encoded using H.264 format. But it wants up to $49.95 for the Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center plug-in.
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UK monolingualism spurs Amazon shift to Ireland

Amazon has decided to relocate its customer service centre to Cork in a bid to take advantage of stronger language skills in Ireland. The workforce in perennial joke-butt Slough doesn't have the necessary polyglotism required to deal with calls from all over Europe, it says.

'Keylogger text' spooks Symantec

Script kiddies have latched onto a minor glitch in Symantec security software to boot users off Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels. Typing “startkeylogger” or “stopkeylogger” in an IRC channel results in the involuntary logoff of users of Norton Firewall and Norton Internet Security suites, The Washington Post reports.
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European Digital Library is go

More than 6m books and other culturally significant works are to go online via the European Digital Library over the next five years.
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BOFH: A change in tone

Episode 9 Episode 9 "Is it a full moon?" I ask the PFY disgustedly as I put the phone down for the third time this morning. "Could be," the PFY says, deleting a swathe of jobs from the helpdesk system.
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Telescopes: 'worthless'

A top Cambridge astronomer has warned that star-gazing will be impossible by the middle of this century. Professor Gerry Gilmore said ground-based telescopes would be "worthless" if cheap air travel continues to boom and climate change increases cloud cover as predicted.
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DoJ 'to probe music download pricing'

US Department of Justice investigators have begun to probe major music labels' download pricing policies, sources close to the world's four biggest recording companies told Billboard magazine.

Intel to unveil ultra-mobile PC on 7 March

Intel appears to be preparing to launch is ultra-mobile PC on 7 March, if the umpc.com website is anything to go by. The date is just two days before the deadline set by Microsoft's Origami Project website for more information about the Windows XP-based consumer-friendly tablet PC.
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Schmidt says Google could hit a hundred billion

Google promised Wall St the world yesterday, as it sought to steady nervy analysts who have wiped billions of its stock value in recent weeks.
Joe Fay, 03 2006
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Dotcom contract 'undermines' ICANN's integrity

The new dotcom contract undermines ICANN's integrity and "poses unacceptable risks to the values that underly ICANN's mission", one of the internet watchdog's own board members said.

Korea may probe Samsung, Hynix price-fix claims

The South Korean government may be about to investigate claims that local memory makers Samsung and Hynix conspired to fix memory prices, a senior official from the nation's Fair Trade Commission has suggested.
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Ofcom publishes media literacy audit

Ofcom has published the results of a survey assessing the extent of media literacy in the UK. It finds that media platforms are seen mainly in 'traditional' terms, with little widespread recognition of their wider digital functions.
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Oscars in HD?

Geek TV And the Oscar for best HD movie line-up goes to... Sky, which has now secured a batch of Disney films to add to its various HD channels. But you know how Oscar-winning movies often aren't out in the UK for ages after the red carpet has been mothballed? Well, in tribute to the Oscars, Sky is making us wait before we can see the films as the gods of HDTV intended. And wait.
New Intel logos

Intel cuts Q1 sales forecast

Intel has warned that its first-quarter sales will not meet its expectations, thanks not only to demand proving less substantial than the chip giant had anticipated, but - AMD watchers will love this - a "slight market segment share loss".

US Robotics flies in Skype-branded speakerphone

Yes, it looks like something that landed near Roswell, but this Skype-certified speakerphone will land in the UK later this month, its manufacturer, US Robotics, said this week. Officially dubbed the USR9610, the £50 gadget connects to a host PC's USB port and then via the VoIP network to callers around the globe.
'ard Reg, 03 2006
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US jury convicts animal rights extremists

A federal jury has found six animal rights protestors guilty of using their website to incite attacks on the operations of animal testing company Huntingdon Life Sciences. They face jail time of up to 23 years and hefty fines.
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Permanent Pat Act a done deal as Senate caves

The US Senate has approved a new version of the so-called "Patriot" Act at last, by a vote of 89-10. After months of stalling and pointless posturing that made two temporary extensions of the previous version necessary, Senators knuckled down and gave the Bush Administration what it has been asking for all along.
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Science reporting in sensationalism shocker!

A Blairite thinktank has criticised the media's treatment of science stories. The Daily Mail came in for particular bashing for its whipping-up of the MMR controversy.

PCs not dull, admits Apple UK

Apple UK doesn't believe PCs are as naff as its Stateside parent company does. Don't believe us? Just take a look at the company's TV adverts for Intel-based Macs. In the original, US-oriented ad, Apple takes a dig at "dull" PCs, but in the version cleared for UK audiences the d-word is peculiarly absent.
DVD it in many colours

SGI kicks off new era by firing 12% of its staff

SGI's new CEO has wasted no time performing a major shakeup at the server company. Moves announced today include substantial layoffs, executive departures and SGI's plans to tweak its server business.
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Mexicans are not smart or fragrant enough to defeat the Asian peril

Stern response Last week, I wrote about the need for the likes of Wal-Mart and Dell to set up engineering and computer science training centers in Mexico. This proposal - which is the only way the US can defeat the growing Asian peril - has been well received.
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RIM puts $613m settlement in motion

CrackBerry users will not have to face the pains of messaging withdrawal thanks to a $613m settlement between Research in Motion (RIM) and NTP.