28th > December > 2006 Archive
2006 in review 2006 saw the death of the UK mobile network operator. The wireless industry seemed to realise that it had come of age and it was time to get serious with a round of consolidations and expansions which turned mere operators into "communications companies" able to operate over any kind of connectivity.
Comment It's called a confidence game. Why? Because you give me your confidence? No. Because I give you mine, House of Games
The US Securities and Exchange Commission put a suspected Russian brokerage-account thief's money on ice last week, after he allegedly used illicit access to people's online portfolios to drive up stock prices.
Villain of the Year Everyone All of the operators, for their rip-off roaming data charges. For much of the past decade, operators have made excessive profits from voice calls between networks, and from roaming calls in Europe. Roaming voice is now cheaper, but roaming data users can expect to pay a pound for a typical page ( …
TomTom, the Dutch maker of GPS navigation devices, says it has emerged victorious in the latest round of the acrimonious patent dispute with Garmin, its American rival. Or did it? Garmin says it is the winner.
Intel will formally launch its already announced four-core Core 2 Quad processor at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in less than two week's time, it has been claimed.
Comment According to recent headlines, Sony is somehow going to challenge Apple iTunes with a film download service straight for the PSP. Instead those headlines should have asked why it has taken so long.
Episode 44 Episode 44 Ah, the strange twists of fate which conspire both for and against us. Against us when I believed that my trusty co-worker would treat me with the respect I deserved from my years at the coal face of IT and cut me a little slack when it came to me stealing his Christmas presents. And locking me in a lift. And for …
Has the HD DVD next-generation optical disc format's anti-rip technology been cracked? That's certainly what's being claimed by a programmer going by the name muslix64 who has posted a Java-based app he maintains will free the video on a disc from its encryption shackles.
Book review Like SQL and XML, regular expressions are an essential tool in every developers’ toolbox. Processing text, which is pretty much what most programs do when you think about it, is so central a concern that even without regular expressions most developers quickly build up a library of functions and idioms for text matching, replacement, parsing, token extraction etc.
An Indian chess player has been banned from competing for 10 years after seeking the assistance of a computer via a bluetooth headset.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will declare today that meat from cloned animals is safe to eat.
Review Elgato's made-for-Mac EyeTV Hybrid analogue and digital TV tuner is an impressive add-on for a media centre, but it runs into trouble when you take it out on the road. The UK's terrestrially transmitted Freeview digital network isn't broadcast as powerfully as it could or should be, and the Hybrid's tiny antenna has a job picking it up. Not one to ignore an opportunity, Elgato's come up with a solution: the EyeTV Diversity, a digital-only USB dongle with two aerials...
Europe's "Convection Rotation and planetary Transits" (COROT) satellite yesterday successfully blasted off from Baikonur in Kazakhstan on its mission to seek out strange new exoplanets and "probe the mysteries of stellar interiors".
The press attaché of a Montana Congressman has been left red faced after "hackers" he was trying to hire to change his lowly college grades published his email exchanges instead.
Apple's chief executive Steve Jobs was given share options on the basis of falsified documents which claimed to show the board of directors had approved the stock grant, the FT has claimed.
Mathematicians have proposed improvements to cloaking technology to hide objects which emit their own electromagnetic radiation.
Never look a gift horse in the mouth, especially if there are many of them running in parallel…
Comment The internet has always offered a stage for dramatic reinvention. Corporate lobbyists have found it a suitable theatre for AstroTurfing, given the willingness of a net audience to suspend its disbelief. Now, internet television lets professional politicians play the role of citizen-reporter.
Hackers have posted an exploit which might be used by local users to gain admin privileges on Windows boxes, including machines running Vista. However the bug is not as serious as it might be because initial analysis suggests it can only be exploited locally and not remotely across the internet.
Chemical Alley How easy was it to buy an eye-popping 3,081 vials of research botulinum toxin, the deadly neurotoxin produced by Clostridium botulinum, always found on jihadist terror wish lists? Very easy in 2003 - unlike so many other things alleged to be simple to do by designated evil-doers in the war on terror. Two Arizona scammers in pursuit of profit in the anti-aging industry found it elementary to order the most poisonous substance known fresh from List Labs in Campbell, CA, a purifier of biochemicals and toxins used in counter-terror research.
Analysis So have fun fighting the battle against CPRM and alike but please do not be surprised when you fail, after all the war has been lost, long live the new world order: proprietary devices, proprietary interfaces, copy protection, limited functionality, and prepare you credit card accounts for all those monthly rental and service charges you will be paying for every "computer controller consumer electronics device" you use.