10th > April > 2006 Archive

UK SMEs clueless about VoIP

Three quarters of managers in UK small businesses (SMEs) haven't the foggiest idea about VoIP, according to research from internet telephony outfit Inclarity. A survey of 500 SME execs found that only one in eight firms are using the net to make phone calls which helps them save money on telecoms and IT costs. At the same time, a whopping 76 per cent of those quizzed said they have "limited or no understanding at all of VoIP". "SMEs can't possibly be equipped to drive more efficient operations without fully understanding the technology options available to them," said Inclarity COO Paul Anthony Beaumont. "It would be like cutting bread with a spoon." [Oi, don't knock it 'till you've tried it, Ed] While VoIP outfit Inclarity clearly has an interest in promoting internet telephony, not everyone is convinced. According to the results of a Network Instruments survey, half of IT experts were concerned about the "robustness and reliability of VoIP as a technology for serious business use". ®
Tim Richardson, 10 Apr 2006

IDC forecasts internet video surge

The US is on the verge of a boom in internet video services, fuelled by an increase in the amount of premium content made available online, according to a new report from IDC. The analysts predict that the services will generate over $1.7bn in revenue by 2010. According to IDC, the market for internet video services began its dramatic acceleration in 2005 as content owners, once unwilling to offer their products online, started to experiment with digital distribution as a way to complement and enhance their existing business models and to stem illegal P2P file-sharing and piracy. It highlights the television networks' decision to offer episodes from new shows as well as old as significant in sparking interest in internet video. Television content is expected to be an integral component to revenue growth throughout the forecast period. "The internet video market has huge upside. With that upside, however, comes the risk to content owners of cannibalising existing revenue streams," IDC associate research analyst Josh Martin said. "In order to properly take advantage of this emerging market, content owners to aggregators to consumer electronics manufacturers must understand the challenges the market faces and how to overcome them." Key drivers for the adoption of internet video include the expansion of premium content offerings online and the emergence of home networking solutions that allow consumers to more easily view internet content on their televisions. As services become increasingly common, content owners will leverage internet video to complement their existing revenue streams and to generate additional revenue from archived content and new content created specifically for the service, according to IDC. The firm expects that content owners will migrate toward three basic service types. Advertising-based services will remain the dominant type of internet video service, although its share of total market revenue will decline as a la carte services, buoyed by consumer familiarity with iTunes, grow dramatically over the next two to three years. Subscription-based services, on the other hand, will experience steady growth throughout the forecast period, enhanced somewhat by the emergence of home networking solutions that make subscriptions more appealing to consumers. But the firm warns that in order to sustain the momentum gathered in 2005 and maximise opportunities for success, content owners and service providers will need to overcome several important problems, including licensing issues, inadequate video search, competitive challenges, and the issue of how to move content beyond the PC. IDC believes companies involved from the creation to distribution of content will have to partner with others across the value chain to create appealing, flexible services that will evolve into viable businesses. Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.
OUT-LAW.COM, 10 Apr 2006

Info commissioner issues guidance on database trading

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published a guidance note advising businesses on how to comply with the Data Protection Act when buying and selling databases containing customers' confidential information. The guidance is intended for use only when a database is sold because a business is insolvent, closing down, or being sold. In these circumstances the Data Protection Act does not prevent the sale of a database containing the details of individual customers, providing certain requirements are met. The requirements: The seller must make it clear that the buyer can only use the data for the purposes for which it was originally collected. The database should therefore only be sold to a business that will make the same or similar use of it. The buyer must obtain the consent of the individuals referred to on the database if it wishes to use the data for a new purpose. The buyer should tell the individuals referred to on the database about the change of ownership. The buyer can only use the database for unsolicited marketing if the individuals referred to in it have agreed to receive such marketing, or receipt of such marketing is "likely to be within their reasonable expectations". Where this is the case the buyer can only market products and services similar to those that have been advertised through the database before. The buyer must delete any unnecessary personal information held on the database. The guidance does not cover the buying and selling of confidential information in other circumstances, where consent will usually be required. "It is important that businesses buying or selling customer databases are aware of their data protection obligations," ICO senior guidance and promotion manager Dave Evans said. "This good practice note will help businesses understand what they need to do to ensure that personal information on the databases is sufficiently protected." See: the guidance note (2 page/34KB PDF) Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.
OUT-LAW.COM, 10 Apr 2006

Anticipation grows for Carphone 'free' broadband offer

The Carphone Warehouse is expected to confirm plans to offer cut price broadband when it publishes its trading update tomorrow. Speculation surfaced two weeks ago that the retailer-cum-telco - which is investing megabucks in local loop unbundling (LLU) - was mulling the idea of "free" or cheap broadband. Weekend press reports have been able to add a little more detail to these earlier reports suggesting that the firm could be prepared to offer broadband for free for a couple of months and then charge just £4.99 a month after that. Of course, this is unlikely to be a standalone price and would most likely be bundled with Carphone's TalkTalk fixed line service. Furthermore, it's not exactly clear what broadband service would be on offer for this price and what strings would be attached. Industry insiders have warned punters not to be sucked in by the hype surrounding what Carphone might, or might not, announce. On occasions such as these they're always ready to dust off that well-worn phrase about there being "no such thing as a free lunch" and want to see the detail of any announcement before making any further comment. Another insider said any move to offer "free" broadband was simply not sustainable. If it was, "we'd all be doing it", he said. In recent weeks, however, both pay TV outfit Sky, which owns LLU operator EasyNet, and BT have been linked to stories about "free" broadband, prompting some industry watchers to suggest that a broadband price war could be around the corner. ®
Tim Richardson, 10 Apr 2006

Google buys Orion algorithm

Google has bought an algorithm from an Israeli student studying in Australia. The search giant hasn't commented on the story, but it appears that Ori Allon has left the University of New South Wales to go and work for Google. The algorithm, a set of rules used by search engines to produce relevant results, is called Orion. The Sydney Morning Herald confirmed Allon started work at Google's Mountain View headquarters six weeks ago. The university was in negotiations with Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! to sell the technology. Twenty-six year old Allon expects to finish the algorithm within 18 months. Because Allon created the algorithm as part of his postgrad course, the university keeps some of the ownership rights. More from SMH and ZDNet Australia. ®
John Oates, 10 Apr 2006

Uranus has a dusty blue ring

Scientists have found that a new ring of debris found orbiting Uranus is blue. The ring has a small moon in it called Mab, thought to be the source of the particles, and is “strikingly similar” to Saturn's outer ring. The American team, reporting in Science, say only the smallest particles lost by Mab during meteor impacts are not reclaimed by its gravity. The unusual blue colour is caused by their tiny size reflecting only the blue end of the visible spectrum in a effect similar to that which makes the sky blue. Team leader Professor Imke de Pater from the University of California said: “The blue colour says that this ring is predominantly submicron-sized material, much smaller than the material in most other rings, which appear red." The ring was discovered in December using the Hubble Space Telescope. Previous studies of Uranus' rings missed it because they used infra-red radiation. ®
Christopher Williams, 10 Apr 2006

AMD raises Athlon 64 prices

AMD appears to be playing down the availability of its Opteron 1xx series, at least for now. The chip maker today unveiled Opteron price adjustments which relegate the 1xx CPUs' presence on its public price list to mere 'call for details' status. Today also saw the debut of Opteron x56 two-way and four-way server chips, as forecast, while AMD raised the prices of its Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 X2 processor lines slightly.
Tony Smith, 10 Apr 2006

Council website usage on the up

A survey of local authority websites across the UK shows that for 2005, visits rose by 40 per cent compared with the same period the previous year. The survey is the third of its kind and shows that take-up is on an upward trend ahead of the national drive to boost greater awareness of government websites. Socitm Insight, the research arm of the society for ICT professionals in local public services, produced the report as part of its Website Take-Up Service and is based on 7,667 surveys of over 2.1m unique visitors covering a sample of 46 UK council websites. It found that there were 11.4m visitors to council websites, representing around 15 per cent of the UK population. Of those who visited, nearly four-in-five found what they were looking for and were satisfied with their experience. Moreover, three-quarters of respondents said they are likely to return to the website they visited. The most popular reason to visit a council website was to view job vacancies, with 14 per cent of people doing so. However, this is becoming less so as the sites are starting to increase their usage, with enquiries on library services (eight per cent), planning applications (five per cent) and leisure facilities (five per cent) growing. According to Socitm Insight programme manager Martin Greenwood, it is more important than ever for councils to get to grips with who is using their sites, for what purposes, and how they find the experience. "The government's advertising campaign which breaks in May will have a significant impact given that usage of council websites is already on a sharp upward curve," he says. "What will be important is for councils to maintain the levels of satisfaction we are seeing and the surveys available through the Website Take up Service are an important contributor to that end." Building usage of council websites: summary of findings from the Socitm Insight website take-up service Issue 3 is now available as a pdf to Socitm Insight subscribers. The 16pp printed version, available from early April, costs £25 to non-subscribers (£20 to Socitm members) from www.socitm.gov.uk. Copyright © eGov monitor Weekly eGov monitor Weekly is a free e-newsletter covering developments in UK eGovernment and public sector IT over the last seven days. To register go here.
eGov Monitor Weekly, 10 Apr 2006

Telstra sale decided this month

Australia is to decide later this month whether or not to sell its remaining stake in national telco Telstra. Finance minister Nick Michin is travelling to meet European and Japanese investors after Easter. The Australian government owns 51.8 per cent of Telstra and Michin will gauge investors' appetite for the shares. A government spokesman confirmed the tour was going ahead but would not confirm details. Michin is expected to brief cabinet members later this month. Telstra shares are trading at an all-time low because of worries on regulation and price setting for rural access. In other news, US trade representatives have complained about Telstra's proposal to set a national average price - Aussie regulators want four different price bands based on geography. More from The Australian here. ®
John Oates, 10 Apr 2006

iMac boots Windows Vista, survives to tell tale

Windows Vista has been booted on an iMac, according to a poster on the OSx86 Project forum yesterday. Previous attempts to install and run Vista - currently available in pre-release form - have been unsuccessful.
Tony Smith, 10 Apr 2006

Publican receives £600k BT phone bill

BT claims human error was to blame after a publican from West Sussex received a phone bill for an eye-watering £616,776. Jack Harding, who runs The Olive Branch pub near Arundel, usually forks out around £100 a month for his BT phone bill. But he needed a stiff drink after he opened his bill to find he owed more than £600,000, reports The Sun. A BT spokesman told the paper: "A member of staff filled in the wrong details in the wrong box." Hr Harding's bill should have been just £92. ®
Tim Richardson, 10 Apr 2006

Ex-Gizmondo exec arrested in California

Malibu police arrested former Gizmondo executive Stefan Eriksson this weekend almost two months after his $1m red Ferrari Enzo was totalled in a smash on the Pacific Coast Highway. Two other sportscars, including a second black Enzo, were taken from his home and impounded.
Tony Smith, 10 Apr 2006

BT inks rock concert TV deal

BT isn't due to unveil its much hyped TV service until autumn, but it's still managing to string out a series of announcements about content deals. Still, it beats contemplating what might happen if Carphone really does kick off a broadband price war. So far, BT's signed up kids' favourites Bob the Builder and Pingu to help plug its BT Vision service, along with the National Geographic Channel, BBC Worldwide, Paramount and Warner Music Group. Now it's hooking up with music outfits i-concerts and Eagle Rock to offer more than 500 concerts and performances by artists such as Franz Ferdinand, Keane, Alice Cooper, and The Who. BT Television Services chief exec Dan Marks said: "BT Vision will offer a comprehensive music service with programming to suit all tastes and all available on demand. These important deals will allow us to bring concerts that would otherwise be very difficult - or impossible - to find on broadcast television to a wide audience on attractive terms and with high quality picture and sound." Of course, had BT's head of entertainment Andrew Burke not left the company recently, it might have been his name in the press release announcing how happy the telco is to have signed up this latest batch of content providers. Burke left recently amid speculation of a rift over the direction of BT's TV service and reports that it is suffering technical issues, something BT has denied. ®
Tim Richardson, 10 Apr 2006

O2 unveils Wi-Fi smart phone

UK mobile phone network O2 has formally launched its XDA IQ smart phone, as exclusively revealed by Reg Hardware last month. The IQ incorporates a quad-band (850/900/1800/1900MHz) GSM/GPRS radio with EDGE support. The phone also has Bluetooth 1.2 and 802.11b Wi-Fi wireless connectivity on board.
Tony Smith, 10 Apr 2006

Heads spy on teachers

Teachers are preparing to protest against surveillance cameras and microphones that are being installed in classrooms across the UK. Surveillance firm Classwatch has installed more than 50 CCTV systems with microphones across the UK, said the Times Educational Supplement on Friday. Draconian headteachers, who have had teachers watched through two-way mirrors as well, grade teachers according to their performance under observation. Occasional observation is necessary to ensure lessons meet quality targets set centrally by the Department for Education and Skills. But the TES reported on Friday that teachers were being "observed to death", that surveillance was being used as a punishment, that schools were installing CCTV cameras with microphones into classrooms, and that teachers were wilting under the all-seeing Great Eye of Sauron. Class observation was supposed to help teachers improve standards, but it appears to have morphed into surveillance. Britain's biggest teachers' union, The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, has proposed a conference motion (pdf: item 96) to use "all means necessary" to stop what it called "yet another example of management bullying". The union also disliked the short notice some teachers have been given about the installation of surveillance devices. A partial copy of the TES story can be found here. ®
Mark Ballard, 10 Apr 2006

Nintendo vs Sony

Who exactly is winning the handheld wars? Sony says it is, and Nintendo says it is. Sony says the PSP is selling faster, from launch, than the PSOne or PS2. The PSP is selling neck-and-neck in the US and Europe with Nintendo's DS. In Japan, however, the DS is clearly trouncing the PSP. Whatever the reality is of who is edging out who, Sony's learning some tough lessons in the handheld market. For the first time in a while it isn't a clear market leader. And, worse, not only are the fanboys not with Sony, but key software corporations aren't either.
Games Digest, 10 Apr 2006

ATI SB600 South Bridge to debut in May

ATI will unveil its long-awaited SB600 South Bridge chip next month, a senior company executive has revealed. The product is set to help the company limit its dependency on its South Bridge-chip partner ULi, now owned by ATI's arch-rival, Nvidia.
Tony Smith, 10 Apr 2006

Science lines creationism up for a chinning

Tomorrow evening sees a high-profile counter-punch by the Royal Society against creationists. Leading genetics professor Steve Jones will deliver an unambiguous defence of Darwin's theory, “Why Creationism is Wrong and Evolution is Right” at the learned society's London HQ. Prof Jones has written several popular science books about evolution, including the re-telling of The Origin of the Species, Almost Like a Whale. For those who can't make it down, or get turned away by the bouncers, the Royal Society's web chief has contacted The Reg with news that the event will be webcast live. See here for details. For the super-organised, there's a calendar reminder here too. If you can't manage that either, The Reg will be there on your behalf. The lecture is set to be accompanied by a broader media offensive. The Royal Society's Fellows will throw their combined brain-weight behind a stout point-by-point rejection of creationism's tenets. The intervention comes in response to creationism creeping onto the educational agenda in the UK. Let the bun fight commence. ®
Christopher Williams, 10 Apr 2006
fingers pointing at man

Sudoku used as bait for adware download

It's common practice for hackers to attempt to trick users into visiting maliciously constructed websites by offering either warez or smut. These pages are designed to exploit various software vulnerabilities in order to install malware onto victims' machines.
John Leyden, 10 Apr 2006

Her Maj sent first email in 1976

The Queen sent her first email in 1976, Her Maj's official website has revealed. Details on the historic moment - forming one of "80 facts about the Queen", celebrating Liz II's forthcoming achievement of octogenarianism - are not highly illuminating. Suffice it to say, one's first royal email was issued from "an army base". Other insights include the fact that the Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have sent about 37,500 Christmas cards during The Queen's reign. Furthermore, Her Maj has worked her way through around 30 corgis since 1944 and she still officially "owns the sturgeons, whales and dolphins in the waters around the UK". ®
Lester Haines, 10 Apr 2006

Transmeta begins second year working for Sony

Transmeta is once again working for Sony and Microsoft. The processor power-reduction technology specialist said it would once again provide design and engineering services to Sony, which licensed Transmeta's LongRun 2 anti-leakage process in January 2005, leading to a two-year services deal being signed in March 2005.
Tony Smith, 10 Apr 2006

Faults system blamed for Wanadoo LLU woes

Wanadoo UK's faults system is being blamed for leaving some of its customers without broadband for weeks on end. The ISP is currently moving thousands of users to its local loop unbundling (LLU) network, but it admits some migrations are not going ahead as planned. As a result, Wanadoo customers report being left without broadband for weeks on end with the ISP's customer support services failing to provide any meaningful help. Now, sources have told El Reg that the problem is due to Wanadoo's fault diagnosis system, which is supposed to keep track of problems when cutomers are moved to the new LLU network. Insiders say software errors are causing customer reports to get "stuck" in the system. The problem is made worse because these faults are piling up, making a massive backlog that Wanadoo is struggling to clear. Some customers have complained they have been without broadband for almost three months while still paying for the service. When asked to comment, a spokeswoman for Wanadoo dodged questions about the ISP's faults system. Instead she told us: "As we have said before, LLU is a very complex technology and a number of things can go wrong - so if a very large number of customers are being migrated, a very few might experience problems. The fact remains that the very vast majority of Wanadoo LLU customers have not had any issues at all." Despite Wanadoo's spin, this has failed to prevent punters from taking direct action to air their grievances. Last week, Kevin Ellis from London launched an online forum - Wanadoo Problems - to highlight the plight of broadband users left in the dark by the ISP. Kevin has been without broadband now for eight weeks and has spent around £35 on calls to Wanadoo's helpline trying and get his broadband reactivated. "I despair with them," he told us. "I've been told one thing and then another. They're not helping customers in the slightest. It's cost me a fortune in calls to support." ®
Tim Richardson, 10 Apr 2006
channel

Horizon buys SAP house

Horizon Technology has bought fellow Irish outfit Enterprise Process Consulting (EPC), a SAP consulting firm. The hybrid distribution and services firm will pay €2m upfront and make performance payments of up to €1.5m to be made over two years. EPC does SAP consulting for the pharmaceutical and public sectors in Ireland. Horizon has an Irish enterprise application and consulting interest in the same sectors. Both firms also have an interest in mobility. ®
Team Register, 10 Apr 2006

Granny floors intruder with TV karate moves

We've said it before and we'll say it again: what on Earth is happening to the world's pensioners? Time was, your dear old grandpa would be sitting in a fireside chair, dispensing wisdom and Werther's Originals in equal measure while wrapped in a tartan travelling rug, faithful Labrador asleep at his beslippered feet. Not any more. Regular readers will recall the recent cases of the 75-year-old Russian who stumbled onto the set of a porn flick and quickly shot his way to screen rumpy-pumpy superstardom, and the "72-year old cross-dresser... charged with public indecency after being caught pleasuring himself in a library". And let's not forget the the 70-year-old Italian strumpet caught trying to have sex with a 59-year-old car driver while he negotiated a Milanese highway. Over in Lithuania, meanwhile, battling old timers prefer to burn off their excess energy by giving burglars' testicles a good seeing to - and we don't mean in the prosecution of a blue rinse smut flick, either. Ditto Romania, where a 75-year-old woman recently floored an intruder with some sharp karate moves she picked up on a TV self defence show. According to Ananova, Anica D from the village of Popeni in Vaslui county woke up to find her self being assaulted by the night-time ne'er-do-well. She shouted for help, but none was forthcoming. Accordingly, she "immobilised" the assailant and then called in the authorities, Romanian paper Ziarul reports. The 30 year old miscreant has been charged with burglary and attempted rape, although it's clear he can count himself lucky to escape with his vitals intact. ®
Lester Haines, 10 Apr 2006

MoD opens doors on counter-terrorism lab

The UK government has opened the doors on its new Counter-Terrorism Science and Technology Centre. The MOD said it would provide a “one-stop shop” for technical responses to attacks. It will be staffed by experts from government, academia and industry. Centre director, civil servant Ken Brigden said: "[It] will be staffed by the very best...with cutting edge expertise in chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive threats. Terrorist threats evolve rapidly, so the centre will respond, not just to current threats but also anticipate threats as they emerge and develop." Defence secretary John Reid said the Porton Down centre would be a “world-class hub” for counter-terrorism. Its role will be two-fold. Workers at the centre do frontline research for the MOD into useful technologies for prevention, such as ground penetrating radar, explosives detection, and forensics for the aftermath of an attack. It'll also be commissioned by other departments to prepare reports they can use to inform their own anti-terrorist strategies. A spokesman said the centre's role would "underpin" efforts to counter terrorists. ®
Christopher Williams, 10 Apr 2006
For Sale sign detail

Red Hat buys JBoss

Linux distributor Red Hat has bought open source middleware firm JBoss for $350m. The price includes $70m which is subject to performance targets. Sixty per cent of the price will be paid in Red Hat shares and the rest in cash. The press release says JBoss has modelled its business on Red Hat's subscription model as well as sharing its committment to open source software. JBoss has been at the centre of rumours of an imminent sale for some months. Oracle was one rumoured suitor. JBoss CEO Marc Fleury said: "By joining forces with Red Hat, we expect to be able to provide enterprises with the largest offering of open source solutions, a global services network staffed by technology experts, and a large and vibrant eco-system of certified products and services." The takeover is subject to the usual conditions, but is expected to close in the first fiscal quarter ending May 2006. It should have no effect on Red Hat's earnings and cash flow for the year. Red Hat believes the deal will accelerate the move towards service-oriented architecture. Visit Red Hat for the whole press release here. ®
John Oates, 10 Apr 2006

Orange SPV M600 PDA phone

ReviewReview I’m going to go out on a limb here: the SPV M600 from Orange is the best Windows Mobile smart phone I have ever used. It’s not perfect - that would be an overstatement - but if you’re after a smart phone with PDA functionality, the SPV M600 is the one to get. It’s way ahead of Orange's SPV M500 when it comes to functionality, and the upgrade to Windows Mobile 5 has made a huge improvement too...
Lars-Göran Nilsson, 10 Apr 2006

Terminator 4 is go - with or without Arnie

The producer of Terminator 4 - slated to begin production in Australia next year - has said the project will certainly go ahead, whether Arnold Schwarzenegger can make a cameo appearance or not. According to UK tabloid the Mirror, Andy Vajna said: "We would like Arnie as a cameo. We want to go on with the Terminator and turn it into a real sci-fi picture - there is a very interesting role for Arnold if he wants it. But I'm not sure where he is with his politics - we'll see." Quite how the Terminator franchise's latest outing will succeed without Arnie remains to be seen. Writers John Brancato and Michael Ferris have already knocked together a screenplay for the fourth outing and Vajna confirmed: "We have the script ready and we are now looking for a director and figuring out what the next step is." ®
Lester Haines, 10 Apr 2006
arrow pointing up

Hidden warranties in open source software

Companies using open source software may have more rights than they think. Distributors rarely include warranties in open source licences - but English law might decide otherwise, according to a technology lawyer in Leeds. Michael Peeters, a partner at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind OUT-LAW.COM, says warranties as to the performance and even the title to the software could be implied into open source licences by a British court. "The problem is that these licences have never been tested in court in the UK," he said. "And the first judge to examine an open source licence could take exception to its provisions. If he thinks that, say, the General Public Licence should give users more rights, he'll simply imply them." Peeters will be speaking this month at a free one hour seminar on the commercial and legal issues of open source software that takes place in London, Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Book a free place here. Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.
OUT-LAW.COM, 10 Apr 2006

Air France says 'oui' to in-flight text messaging

Air France is to allow passengers to use their mobile phones once airborne on certain flights, though only for text messaging and data applications, the airline announced last week - voice calls will be interdit for the time being.
Tony Smith, 10 Apr 2006

Man clobbered with £126 trillion phone bill

Publican Jack Harding got the shock of his life when he received his monthly phone bill from BT demanding more than £616,000. But if you think that's bad, spare a thought for Yahaya Wahab, a 63-year-old meat importer from Malaysia. He's just been sent a bill for 806 trillion Ringgit - about £126 trillion. According to Malaysia's New Straits Times, he's been given 10 days to cough up or face legal action. He told the paper: "If the company wants to seek legal action as mentioned in the letter, I'm ready to face it. In fact, I can't wait to face it." ®
Tim Richardson, 10 Apr 2006
arrow pointing up

HSBC joins Morse's mobile ATM network

Consulting, technology and support company Morse has told the Stock Exchange that HSBC and First Direct are the first banks to join the firm's mobile ATM network MoniLink. The service, due to go live later this year, will let customers use mobile phones to access bank services. The company said it was pleased HSBC had joined up, but it hopes many banks will sign up to the service. Read the whole statement on Morse's website here. ®
John Oates, 10 Apr 2006

Band hope ringtone will get them to Number One

Mobile music might mean irritating ringtones to you, but an Italian band is hoping a deal with mobile network 3 will be enough to get them into the charts. Planet Funk are releasing their single "Stop Me" exclusively for 3's UK customers to download. The song is out 8 May and 3 is setting up a marketing campaign, a microsite, and space on its portal to promote the song. It will also be available as a free "dial tune" - what you hear when you phone someone on the 3 network. Gnarls Barclay recently got to number one on the strength of downloads alone, well, downloads and a couple of months free promotion on BBC Radio One. 3 claimed responsibility for one in five of those downloads. According to this story, Barclay sold 31,000 copies of his download single, so 3 won't have to convince a very high percentage of its 3.5m customers to buy the single to make it a Number One. Press release from 3 is here. The band have a Flash-heavy website available here. ®
John Oates, 10 Apr 2006

Logitech unrolls cylindrical iPod-friendly speaker unit

Logitech will next month fill out its iPod-oriented portable speaker line-up with a mid-range set designed to provide up to ten hours' playing time using four AA batteries, though it's bundled with an AC adaptor for on-shelf playback too.
Tony Smith, 10 Apr 2006
8

Databases in academia

Last week I was at Cambridge, learning what Henslow taught Darwin (Kohn, Murrell, Parker and Whitehorn, Nature, vol. 436, 4 August 2005, p643 – available online if you subscribe/register). Henslow, elected Professor of Botany at Cambridge in 1825, was a careful scientist, the first university lecturer to illustrate his lectures (yes, even before PowerPoint), and a creationist who investigated the variation within species in order to show that species were created as fundamentally stable things that just varied widely in response to conditions.
David Norfolk, 10 Apr 2006
arrow pointing up

CSC UK bodycount to hit 1200

Following Computer Science Corporations's (CSC) announcement last week that it would be slashing 5,000 jobs, mainly in Europe, a Reg reader has forwarded us a company email that went round on Friday. Take it away Keith Wilman... Dear Colleague Following my meeting with staff representatives yesterday, I can now confirm that we shall be looking to reduce our staff numbers in the UK by up to 1200 and in order to achieve this I have agreed a UK wide voluntary redundancy programme to commence immediately. The areas from which volunteers will be invited are: GIS, GTS, C&SI, Account Management and our support functions - F&A, Marketing and HR. This reduction is intended to help us get into better shape to meet our business challenges going forward. We shall work with staff representatives over the coming months to review the success of this programme and I shall continue to ensure that everyone is informed of progress. Each business area will communicate separately to their staff within the next few days, giving full details of the application process. Keith Wilman President & CEO CSC Northern Region So that's 1,200 of the 5,000 to go in the UK. Our suspicious correspondent noted that a few days prior to the cuts, CSC announced 5,000 jobs being created in India. He said: “Whilst I will congratulate our Indian colleagues on their hard work and economic success, it doesn't make worrying about your own job any easier.” CSC declined to comment on the figures, or what would happen if 1,200 volunteers could not be found. ®
Christopher Williams, 10 Apr 2006
1

Fear sells. Read the report

Infosec blogInfosec blog The Infosecurity Europe show is almost upon us again. I've personally attended the show every year since 1997, man and boy, making this year's event my tenth attendance. Over the years the dress code has changed from jeans and t-shirt to business suits and the agenda has shifted towards the business impact of information security breaches (e.g. keynotes this year such as Security Compliance from Conglomerate to SME). New concerns - such as the security impact of VoIP technology - are emerging but hardy perennials, such as the cost of computer virus infection, remain consistent themes.
John Leyden, 10 Apr 2006
cloud

IBM bakes security into chips

In briefIn brief IBM has developed a technology - dubbed Secure Blue - that's designed to increase the security of consumer products, medical devices, defence systems and digital media. The technology protects the confidentiality and integrity of data on a device using encryption. IBM plans to license the technology, which is optimised for low-cost, relatively low performance electronic devices such as mobile phones and PDAs as well as helping to manufacture devices featuring the technology on behalf of clients. Secure Blue is a security architecture that can be built into a microprocessor providing "capabilities that have not been previously available in embedded processor products", according to IBM. The hardware-based technology is designed to protect the security of chips as well as the security of an entire microprocessor-based device. IBM says its hardware-based technology provides stronger defences against reverse-engineering and tampering than is possible using software techniques. "Cryptography-based protection against unauthorised access is a security feature normally reserved for high-end computers, making it difficult for hackers to break into or corrupt electronic systems. By providing the overlaying 'on chip' security layer, 'Secure Blue' removes a major barrier to the widespread use of crypto-based strong protection," IBM said. ®
John Leyden, 10 Apr 2006
graph up

'Red Hat wraps Linux in sh*t,' says new exec

With the sale of his company JBoss to Red Hat, Marc Fleury will be going to work for an open source pretender that has never done much in the way of innovation. Or, at least that's what Fleury used to think. An archived blog post from September of 2004 reveals Fleury's candid opinion of Red Hat. You will, however, struggle to find Fleury's writings as Red Hat and JBoss have tried to erase the comments from the internet's memory. Luckily, we're here to help with a cached image. "Today RH *IS* a proprietary vendor," Fleury wrote. "Their whole business is around proprietary wrappers to Open Source Linux to drive the subscription business. "RH is a packager, it doesn't create JACK, it doesn't create Linux, it wraps it up in proprietary shit. And no the contributions that they make don't really count. Linus Torvalds creates Linux." Tell us how you really feel, Marc. "But what really gets me, is this: Our own talks with RH broke down, RH is NOT IN THE BUSINESS OF PAYING OPEN SOURCE DEVELOPERS. We are, that is why we created JBoss inc. RH wanted to keep the services revenues all to themselves. That is the dirty little secret, so for them to come out and claim they are the open source when we know the reality is distasteful." Fleury seems to have gotten past these issues and has accepted Red Hat's $350m bid for JBoss. When the deal closes, Fleury will report to Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik. "The union of these two companies will demonstrate the benefits of a pure open source play," Fleury said in a statement today, countering past contentions that Red Hat is a shit-wrapping "open source wannabee" and "open source girly man". Neither Red Hat nor JBoss has returned our calls seeking comment. This author noticed the missing text. You can catch the original post here and the missing text here. One blog post that is still hanging around is this rather nonsensical item from Fleury's wife. Surely the Red Hat lawyers could have saved us from that too? ®
Ashlee Vance, 10 Apr 2006