CES 2007 Samsung will in March ship its next attempt to out-Nano the iPod Nano, a Nano-wide 7mm-thick music player sporting a 1.8in OLED screen. It's clearly got LG's Chocolate phone in its sights too: Samsung's K3 has blue-backlit touch-sensitive controls.
CES 2007 Sony will bring its Flash-based Vaio UX ultra-mobile PC (UMPC) out of Japan next month when it ships the UX Premium Micro PC in the US. Premium by name, premium by nature - the handheld wireless computer will retail for a whopping $2,500.
CES 2007 Samsung has announced the second generation of its Blu-ray Disc player, this one designed to convert 1080i content to 1080p, add 7.1-channel audio and to support remote device control across HDMI links.
CommentComment Has Linden Labs gone mad and started attacking the very journos who satisfy its dependence on hype? A couple of recent headlines would suggest so, but readers needn't be alarmed. The ZDNet headline got it a bit wrong: "Virtual land owner challenges press freedom in Second Life", suggesting that freedom of the press to operate or publish within the virtual world is being restricted. It's not. Slashdot got it more wrong: "Second Life mogul challenges press freedom", implying that the Lindens have gone off the rails and started biting the hand that feeds them. They're not. What actually happened is this: When CNET decided recently to interview SL character and imaginary landlady Anshe Chung (Ailin Graef in meatspace), someone thought it would be enormously funny to enhance the audience's experience with a barrage of flying pink penises. And indeed it was funny, illustrating exactly how seriously Sadville ought to be taken. But the humouristically-challenged Graef didn't quite see the joke. Instead of working with the penises, or off them - perhaps using them as an illustration of just how much control SL permits - she huffed off to another virtual space to continue the interview, only to be set upon again by the intruding appendages. Screen shots and even video clips of the virtual press conference surfaced on the internet, as, inevitably, they would. But Graef's determination to be taken seriously has given her the bizarre notion that online images of an open press conference might possibly be suppressed with help from the dreaded Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Or at least with help from the widespread fear of it. And so, according to ZDNet, Graef has threatened websites hosting fond memories of her penis encounter with some very unpleasant DMCA action. Of course this is utter rubbish; when one volunteers to become a "newsmaker", one inevitably "solicits fame at the hazard of disgrace", as Samuel Johnson once wrote. Furthermore, images and video of open, public events fall under fair use, although ZDNet reports that YouTube has removed at least one clip of the incident to avoid being bothered by frivolous DMCA lawsuits. Still, there are other clips on YouTube right now, and even if these, too, should be removed promptly, still others will be popping up on the web whack-a-mole-wise for weeks to come. Because Graef has attempted to suppress what she considers unflattering news, she has ensured its future popularity. She could have laughed it off during the virtual news conference and after, and few of us would have given it a second thought. But with this ham-fisted move, she's just made herself a minor celebrity - surrounded by flying pink wangs. ® Related link Reg reader Josh offers us this NSFW link to screenies and the video via Something Awful.
ReviewReview At the beginning of November Intel launched its four-core Core 2 Extreme QX6700 processor, where the Q, of course, stands for 'quad'. This Extreme processor has an unlocked multiplier so we reviewers can have fun experimenting with a £650 piece of silicon while the buying public regards Extreme products as a technological showcase and waits for the mainstream versions to arrive...
Almost no-one disagrees with the idea of testing, writes David Norfolk. but many people fail to follow an uncompromising test-centric process. Recently, I had the chance to ask Richard Collins, Development Strategist at a specialist software vendor, why he believes that test-driven development is the way to build better software. Interestingly, most of Richard's ideas probably feature in Comp Sci courses, or did when I did one, which isn't to say Comp Sci grads remember those parts. However, it is good to have it confirmed that "good practice" isn't just dull theory used to pass exams, but actually helps to keep a real software company in business.
CES 2007 High-end multi-room digital audio player maker Sonos today added support for Microsoft's Plays for Sure DRM-protected music technology to its hardware via a system software update.
Online shopping in Ireland is a woman's world according to a new study by researchers from Dublin City University (DCU). The survey, conducted by Dr Regina Connolly and Dr Sarah Ingle of DCU, asked users of online retailer Buy4Now about their shopping habits and found that 70 per cent of users were women aged between 30 and 50. "It is quite unusual compared to the US and UK," said Dr Connolly. "There are more women than ever before in the workplace and more of them are technically proficient." She said it was difficult to say why so few men use the service, but that grocery shopping, which Dr Connolly said is predominantly done by women, may be a factor as Superquinn is an anchor tenant with Buy4Now. The survey received 359 responses from users of 14 vendors on Buy4Now. It found that 76 per cent of respondents have third level qualifications but that only 17 per cent of these had studied any kind of computer science based course. "It's not just people with a background in technology shopping online," said Dr Connolly. The most common qualifications were in business courses, which accounted for 29 per cent, while 17 per cent had humanities qualifications, she explained. The survey found that 15 per cent of shoppers buy products online at least once a week, with 29 per cent doing so on a monthly basis and 27 per cent shopping online once every two or three months. The most popular products bought online are CDs and DVDs, which account for 27 per cent of sales. These are followed by airline tickets at 24 percent and groceries at 14 per cent. Dr Connolly said these trends were in line with other countries such as the US or Britain. When Irish shoppers spend online they tend to spend considerable amounts, with 47 per cent of respondents saying they typically spend between €50 and €149 each time they go online. Another 14 per cent said they spend over €250 each time they shop online with just 21 per cent spending under €50 per purchase. The study found that efficiency, fulfilment and system availability were the three most important factors for consumers. Dr Connolly said consumers wanted a service that was easy to access, delivered goods quickly and didn't crash. The survey found the greatest discrepancy between the views of online vendors and shoppers was in the area of privacy, which Dr Connolly said "tends to be glossed over by vendors." She said retailers were providing adequate measures to protect privacy but need to highlight the measures more in order to reassure consumers. Copyright © 2007, ENN
The rulebook used in most disputes over .uk domain names is out of date, according to Nominet, the .uk domain name registry. Its suggestions for revision include the introduction of a financial deterrent against cybersquatting. A person wishing to complain about another party's ownership of a domain name has a choice between suing in court and following Nominet's Dispute Resolution Service (DRS). Court actions can be slow and expensive, though successful litigants can win damages and sometimes their legal costs from the losing party. Lawsuits are generally based on the laws of "passing off" and trade marks. In contrast, Nominet's Dispute Resolution Service is a more popular forum that follows its own rulebook, the DRS Policy & Procedure. (It is similar but not identical to ICANN's Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, or UDRP, the rulebook followed in disputes over .com, .net, .org and many other domains. UDRP disputes are handled by any of four approved providers, the best known of which is the World Intellectual Property Organisation.) In a .uk domain name dispute, a form can be completed at Nominet's site to make a complaint. Nominet says it receives about 90 such complaints a month. Nominet sends the form to the registrant of the name in dispute. If a response is made, a mediation process begins. Parties agree to settle their disputes at this stage in 60 per cent of cases, according to Nominet, which does not charge for the process. If the case fails to settle at mitigation or if no response is made to the complaint, the complainant can pay £750 to bring the case before an appointed expert who will consider the arguments and issue a binding decision. The losing party has a right to appeal and nothing stops either party taking the matter before a court. An expert cannot award damages or demand that a cybersquatter pays the cost of a successful complaint. In a consultation that opened on 17th November and ends on 16th February 2007, Nominet suggests changing its current Policy. Under the Policy, a name will be transferred if a Complainant shows rights in a name or mark that is identical or similar to the domain name and shows that the domain name, in the hands of the Respondent, is an "abusive registration". There is no suggestion to change that test, but the Policy's guidance that follows is up for review. The consultation suggests changing the Policy to make clear that evidence of reselling a domain name or pay-per-click revenue on the website of a disputed domain is not necessarily evidence of abusive registration. Nor is ownership of a large portfolio of domain names; and nor is evidence of reselling domain names. It also includes options for changing the fee structure and introducing a system where the losing party pays for the decision. That could deter cybersquatting – where a domain name is registered for profit, in many cases through the display of ads. At present there is little deterrent for would-be cybersquatters because a trade mark owner is more likely to approach Nominet than a court. There are no suggestions for how such a change would be enforced against a losing party. Nominet says it will analyse the results of the consultation – which are being made available on its site as they come in – and it will then propose a revised policy and procedure. Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons. Related links The consultation OUT-LAW's guide to Domain name disputes
Those readers who need a new set of wheels but are short of cash should pop down to UK electronics outft Maplin and try this search which makes you an offer you certainly can't refuse: Crikey. As our informant Mat Moore put it: "I'll take 10!!!" ®
We Brits are an unfriendly bunch, and no mistake. While visiting aliens who touch down in the US of A might be greeted by hysterical crowds of skywatchers bearing "Welcome to our planet" banners, any extraterrestrial sweeping the skies above the UK is likely to get an eyeful of this: This 40m greeting can be found to the north of Edinburgh. Given that Britain already boasts a farmer's huge arse and the now-famous 40m Yorkshire profanity, ET and his mates should be left in no doubt that we are not in the mood for close encounters of any kind whatsoever. ® Bootnote Thanks to Edinburgh local Simon Buch for the tip-off.
Users of the popular alternative office suites, OpenOffice and StarOffice, need to upgrade following the discovery of a trio of potentially serious security bugs.
67CES 20067 Bill Gates opened the Consumer Electronics Show by talking up the consumer attraction of Vista - something he hasn't done since last year's Consumer Electronics Show.
After listening to the marketing puff for the new operating system the audience even got a product demo from a marketing bod.
Pretty well every banknote in the UK shows traces of cocaine, forensic scientists have claimed. According to a report in the Sunday Telegraph, 99.9 per cent of the two billion notes currently in circulation have come into contact with Bolivian marching powder. Bristol-based company Mass Spec Analytical tested over "1,500 £10 and £20 notes withdrawn from banks in nine separate rural and urban locations". The company also found traces of ecstasy, heroin and cannabis, but "at far lower levels because the substances break down more quickly". Lead researcher Dr James Carter explained: "Once cocaine is fixed on to a note it tends not to come off. The cocaine particles become caught up in the fibres of each banknote." The Telegraph fingers plummeting coke prices for the shock findings, coupled to "its image as a celebrity drug". The paper says: "Traditionally associated with high earners, it has become popular among clubbers and even schoolchildren." The Spanish too, have a growing penchant for nose ajax. According to a recent report in El Mundo, a lab which tested 100 notes "collected in gyms, supermarkets and pharmacies across Spain" found cocaine on 94 per cent of the currency. Since Spain has a tad over one billion banknotes in circulation, this means that 142 million have been used "directly to snort the drug", as the BBC puts it. El Mundo estimates Spain has 475,000 regular users of charlie. A 2003 survey in Germany found similar results to the Spanish probe. ®
It's a well-known fact that to successfully blend into an alien environment you have to adopt local customs. In the case of Newcastle, for example, this might involve downing 20 Bacardi Breezers in a nightclub and then fighting the police at 3am. When it comes to Paris, however, you just need to be bloody rude. Of course, Parisians have spent centuries perfecting their rudeness, so it's not something the average Brit can pick up without some training. Cue C'est So Paris, an initiative from the Ile-de-France regional committee of tourism offering rookies some essential pointers in Gallic petulance: Mais oui. Under the heading "Cop the Parisian Attitude", the website illustrates just how it's done over the water. Other non-verbal classics include the "Camembert" ("A rude way to tell someone to shut their mouth. Not to be used in polite company"), "La Moue" (the timeless French pout used "to convey just about any negative emotion") and the "Ras le Boul", designed to show that you're "sick and tired and have had it up to here with something (or someone)". Yup, that just about covers it. The site is linked to an ad campaign aimed at showing Brits that Paris "isn't a stuffy museum city, but that it is a vibrant destination brimming with exiting events that are worth visiting regularly". Which is true, as the 2005 riots prove. Just add a quick Gallic Shrug to your arsenal of rude gestures, down 20 Bacardi Breezers and get stuck into some hot Paris suburb action. Magnifique. ®
Phoenix IT Group has appointed Jeremy Stafford as Chief Operating Officer. He will take up his position and join the Phoenix board by 1 July 2007.
Phishing fraudsters are targeting UK taxpayers in the latest attempt to dupe the gullible into handing over sensitive financial details.
Site offerSite offer Reg merchandising tentacle Cash'n'Carrion is clearing its shelves in anticipation of some new, exciting products for 2007 and has accordingly slashed prices on a range of existing stock. Yes indeed, for a limited period you can bag yourself a Hacker polo shirt for just £9.99, a BOFH t-shirt for a mere £4.99 and any of our splendid mugs for the same, get-it-while-you-can price. That's just a selection of what's on offer, so mosey on down to Cash'n'Carrion and grab a bargain. ®
The American Dialect Society (ADS) has voted "plutoed" its 2006 word of the year. The verb, meaning " to demote or devalue someone or something", beat "climate canary" (an organism or species whose poor health or declining numbers hint at a larger environmental catastrophe on the horizon) in a run-off vote to secure the crown, although the latter did win the "most useful" word category. Other contenders for the word of the year included "murse" (man’s purse), "flog" ("a blog that flacks product") and "YouTube" (verb meaning "to use the YouTube website or to have a video of one's self be posted on the site"). YouTube was, however, the runaway winner of the "Most Likely to Succeed" category. Other delights on offer include the "Most Outrageous" laureate "Cambodian accessory", ie, "Angelina Jolie's adopted child who is Cambodian", "Fed-Ex" (nickname for K-Fed, a.k.a Kevin Federline, soon-to-be ex-husband of Britney Spears) and "macaca moment" ("an ethnic or racial gaffe caught on video"). The 2006 awards are the 17th announced by the 117-year-old ADS. The organisation includes "linguists, lexicographers, etymologists, grammarians, historians, researchers, writers, authors, editors, professors, university students, and independent scholars". ®
A version of Scalextrix has been developed with the slot cars controlled by shouting down a VoIP line. The game is the brain child of developer Christopher Paretti. The volume of a voice signal is processed and hooked up to act as the equivalent of squeezing the trigger on the perennial children's favourite. The subtlety of the manual version's control system is not lost though; Paretti suggests steady chanting may be better than intermittent barking down the phone. Chris explains the more technical aspects of his innovation thus: The project takes advantage of Asterisk, the open source PBX, to take in the phone data and spit that out to a Java based soft phone. This soft phone takes in a SIP stream which I then take amplitude data from. I use that data, scale it a bit an send it serially to an Arduino board. The ciruit itself is quite simple. It uses a transistor to send voltage to the track (12v DC), and I use the incoming serial data to PWM...this allowing for a difference in speed. So there you go. Chris' site with accompanying wholesome family fun pictorial accompaniment is here. Parents can look forward to damaged ear drums next Christmas it seems. ®
The Security Service MI5 will announce tomorrow that subscribers to its website can sign up for email notification of changes to the current threat level. A spokeswoman for the Home Office said: "There will be two electronic lists, one for people interested in updates to the threat level and one for changes and updates to the website. This aims to improve public understanding of the service's work and to offer faster information about threat levels." Anyone can sign up to the lists. There are five levels of threat: low, moderate, substantial, severe and critical. The level is set by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre made up of representatives of 11 government departments but run by MI5. The level is currently "severe", Home Secretary John Reid said in early December that the chances of attack over Christmas was "highly likely" There's more on how scared you should be here but sensitive readers should be warned the page contains a picture of John Reid. The site also puts to rest the myth that MI5 only recruits people who are shorter than 5'11". In fact only mobile surveillance staff have to be shorter than 5'11". More myths laid to rest here.®
An advisor to Becta, the education technology quango, has complained to the European Commission about its procurement process for firms to provide online learning platforms and content to British schools.
Gaffe-prone ISP PlusNet has done it again - email services disappeared on Friday and customers are still struggling to get missing messages back. The most recent problems began on Friday and they're not fixed yet. But at least the company hasn't actually deleted any emails this time - it just can't deliver them. We received emails from several disgruntled PlusNet customers. One business user, who asked to stay anonymous, told the Reg: "2 weeks ago they had to delete millions of emails just to clear the queues on their mail servers. Last week everything that was sent between 10 and 3 in the afternoon on Friday (iirc) was lost. I am still picking up the pieces in my office this morning - who sent us emails and got 550s back? How do we know? Is this worth what we pay per month?" We asked PlusNet to comment on these problems and on the claim that they removed one of their central pipes back in July. PlusNet sent us the following statement: "Bounced email Problem: Problem with email configuration occurred on Friday at 11:15, problem fixed by 15:30 for 90% of customers and remaining done by 16.30. This followed a restore from back-up. Customers were informed of the problem and the subsequent resolution via our website service status tool http://usertools.plus.net/status/archive/1168015185.htm PlusNet would like to apologise for the inconvenience that this has caused. Central pipe segments: In July we disabled two 155Mbps BT Central segments after migrating around 20,000 customers to Tiscali's wholesale LLU network which corresponds to a similar amount of bandwidth."®
CES 2007 TDK today demo'd what it's calling 'Mini Blu-ray Discs' - single-layer recordable and re-writeable discs that are 8cm in diameter and capable of holding 16.5GB of data. The company also launched inkjet-printable standard-size BD-R media.
Google, Apple and Napster are being sued over their online video businesses by a company that stopped offering internet video years ago. Intertainer holds a patent that it says is being infringed by some of the tech world's biggest names. The company now only consists of two people, according to press reports, but it will seek to assert its patent rights in a Texas court after filing an action on 29 December. It had applied for a patent covering internet video distribution, and that was awarded in 2005. Intertainer was founded in 1996 to distribute films over the internet and won investment from Sony, Microsoft and Intel. It stopped that business in 2002. The company holds nine patents, and the current action is based on US patent number 6,925,469, which covers the distribution and management of digital media files. Intertainer is seeking an injunction and unspecified damages from the three companies and it is thought likely that it will pursue further suits if this one is successful. Intertainer founder Jonathan Taplin told the New York Times that the company would now begin a patent licensing business. "Intertainer was the leader of the idea of entertainment on demand over internet platforms before Google was even thought up," he said. The choice of a Texas court is likely to have been influenced by the reputation that some Texas courts have for handing out patent-related judgments favourable to patent holders. Intertainer did not file the application for the patent in question until 2001, five years after the company was founded and after some companies were already offering video and audio material for download. That delay in filing could complicate the company's claims. Google owns YouTube, which leads the world in internet video. The site offers short clips of often amateur-produced content for viewing on computers and was bought by Google for shares worth $1.65bn last autumn. Apple owns and operates iTunes, the world's biggest legal music download service which is also moving into the business of selling video downloads. Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.
Microsoft has scaled back the number of patches it plans to release on Tuesday as part of its regular monthly security updates cycle. Instead of releasing eight patches (as previously planned) Redmond will only release four.
CES 2007 Intel today rolled out a pair of four-core Xeon server chips for single-socket systems. The two CPUs, the Xeon X3210 and X3220, are effectively Core 2 Quads rebranded. Both combine two dual-core processors in a single chip package.
RZSLRZSL Ukrainian emergency workers saved a drunken swimmer in the Black Sea from an attack by a pod of killer dolphins who were trying to drown him. The man was reportedly "heavily under the influence of alcohol" at the time. He had braved the near-freezing dolphin-infested waters in the belief they would be good for his health. That's his story and he's sticking to it. The man was some 30m from the shore when observers noticed his distress as he was harried by a feeding group. asyl Tenishchev, a spokesman at the Ukrainian Emergency Situations Ministry, said: "If our guys had not been there, the victim surely would have been drowned. The dolphins probably were feeding on fish by cornering schools against the pier and the breakwater, and they saw the man as competition." Happily, the unfortunate vodka fan escaped the ordeal unharmed, unlike the New Zealand woman who was struck by a 300kg leaping cetacean on a pleasure cruise in the days after Christmas. According to Sydney's Daily Telegraph, she remains in intensive care in Auckland. The latest dolphin outrage is classic Black Sea dolphin behaviour according to Interfax, the Russian news agency. The mammals "lack the reputation of friendliness and love of humans enjoyed by dolphins in wealthy nations". Ukrainian animal misadventures have earned their inclusion in the RZSL before. Last June, a man entered the lion enclosure at Kiev zoo proclaiming "God will save me, if he exists". He was promptly savaged. ® Bootnote Dyakooyu to our Eastern European drunken swimming correspondent Matt for the heads-up.
CES 2007 Accessory maker Belkin today unveiled what it claimed is the first four-channel audio mixer and recorder for Apple's fifth-generation iPod. It also introduced a Bluetooth music streaming kit for the iconic digital music player.
ColumnColumn Ringtones are a huge business. According to Jupiter Research, ringtones generated $6.6bn dollars in global revenue in 2006. They are also one of the most contested areas of the music business with a fierce battle being fought between major record labels and music publishers. The labels have argued for years that music publishers charge too much money for the use of their songs, and in some cases arbitrarily deny consent altogether.
CES 2007 Matrox will this quarter ship the DualHead2Go Digital Edition, an enhanced version of its notebook-oriented multi-monitor driver dongle which now sports a pair of DVI digital monitor connectors in place of the original version's VGA outputs.
CES 2007 Slingbox maker Sling Media today unveiled a box that takes a TV pictures sent out over a network by Sling's signature device and displays it on a TV. SlingCatcher will also show internet-hosted content on a telly without the need for a computer in between.
UpdatedUpdated Microsoft's MSN Messenger service doesn't want you talking dirty - and its definition of dirty talk is quite peculiar. If you send an instant message containing the word "scroogle.org" via the Microsoft service, the message never arrives. The sender doesn't know it was discarded, and the recipient has no indication that it was ever sent, as the original message remains in the chat window and history. Scroogle.org is Daniel Brandt's Google scraping proxy. Scroogle scrapes Google's website to return its search results without ads - bypassing the Google cookie, and protecting the user's privacy, because Google is unable to match the searches to any other information- such as your IP address or your GMail account. Scroogle putters along, makes around 50,000 scrapes per day, without being sued. As Google has failed to challenge the legality of the service, it's an odd choice of domain for Microsoft to ban. Or perhaps Microsoft thinks it's protecting us from filth - the company has made strange and arbitrary decisions before. In 2002, it prevented Reg reader James Woodcock from signing up for its Passport authentication system, telling him that "Your lastname contains a word that has been reserved or is prohibited for .NET Passport registration." His alternative choice, "Harold Wanker", was happily accepted, while another reader, Dr. Mark Stitson found his name was failed the filth test. Internet filters have a less than noble history when it comes to blocking innocent sites, as the Horniman Museum discovered a couple of years ago. So perhaps "scroogle" refers to some bizarre sexual practice, or, in some arcane vernacular, is a term for the human genitalia. But if that's true, it hasn't shown up in Roger's Profanisaurus [probably NSFW], which we regard as the definitive resource in these matters. We contacted Microsoft for an explanation on Friday, but they haven't returned our call. Brandt hadn't heard of the block, but he also declined to comment. Have readers discovered any apparently innocuous trigger words? Let us know. ® UpdateThanks to the Gaim project's Stu Tomlinson for explaining the cause of the mystery: If you try to send a message containing any of the words' ".pif", ".scr", "download.php" or "gallery.php" the message will be silently discarded. The official client from Microsoft will provide no indication to either the sender or recipient that the message didn't go through. So "Scroogle.org" goes through fine. Gaim detects this and tells you the message wasn't delivered. Can't Microsoft tell if a .scr is a .scr or not? "Pah. What a pants regex!" says Alain Moran, summing it up nicely. Chalk another triumph up to genius censorware...
CES 2007 SanDisk today introduced its take on Microsoft's Zune music player: a compact Flash-based unit with a 2.2in LCD and Wi-Fi. Called the Sansa Connect, the player is ready to receive internet radio and connect to Plays for Sure music download stores over the air.
NCR has kicked out one of its "pillars" by setting its Teradata division free as a separate company.