23rd > April > 2007 Archive

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Salesforce.com opens back office door

Salesforce.com is decoupling its signature CRM service from the hosted platform, taking it into ERP territory by running more of its customers' businesses.
Gavin Clarke, 23 Apr 2007

Implementing platform independent data with SDO

Hands onHands on In my last column, we looked at the concepts behind SDO or Service Data Objects. SDO is a language independent format for representing data. It is built around the concept of a DataGraph of DataObjects. The DataObjects hold both the actual data being represented and metadata that describes that data. As such, it represents self-describing, platform independent, data. It also represents a separation between the data (in the DataGraph) and the logic that is applied to that data (within an application that uses the SDO).
John Hunt, 23 Apr 2007
9

Dell: vertical lines, what vertical lines?

Dell seems to have got its sizeable knickers in a twist over where it stands with the recent heavily bemoaned vertical line problem affecting several of its notebook models.
Kelly Fiveash, 23 Apr 2007
channel
2

Corporate Web 2.0 limited by IT resources

Companies that want to exploit the emerging Web 2.0 phenomenon could be held back by a lack of developer resources says a survey sponsored by search software developer Fast.
Phil Manchester, 23 Apr 2007

Internet gambling crackdown hits Taiwan

House of CardsHouse of Cards Authorities in Taiwan on Wednesday busted the largest internet gambling ring yet on the not-quite-a-nation island. Although more attention recently has been focused on the efforts of authorities on the mainland to stem a variety of internet-related social maladies, the bust, reported by English daily the China Post, involved 120 arresting officers and biannual revenues of NT$1.5bn (US$45m). The discovery of the ring was a fluke - investigators were initially looking into an illegal labour racket when they discovered two of the suspects involved in the internet gambling operation. The two suspects, both police officers in Taipei County, allegedly received regular bribes and sex services through the gambling organisation as protection payoffs. The enterprising operators offered everything from an underground futures market to gambling on Major League Baseball games, as well as lotteries in Hong Kong and Taiwan. No word on what the payouts were to the offending officers, but we're willing to bet they'll be partaking of sexual services of a different sort in the near future. ®
Burke Hansen, 23 Apr 2007

China arrests Betex executives

House of CardsHouse of Cards In a cryptic press release issued Wednesday, China-facing Betex reported that two of its senior staff in Beijing had been arrested and another was a fugitive in Jilin province. The company suspended trading in its shares on the AIM market in response to the uncertainty. Betex, which develops mah jong software and operates lotteries on the mainland and a website oriented toward wagering on Asian football, said it believed the arrests were related to the individual actions of the men, rather than the legality of its software. Betex suspended sales of its software in China until further notice. Betex did state that "the company is working with its legal advisers to obtain information regarding the status of the investigation and is assisting the authorities wherever possible". In light of China's recent moves against internet gaming of all sorts, Betex's rush to gain a foothold in the potentially enormous Chinese market might turn out to be a bit premature. It certainly must seem so for the executives, whether they are on the run or wallowing apparently incommunicado in a Chinese jail. ®
Burke Hansen, 23 Apr 2007
3

Are vendors looking after the BI needs of small biz?

Reg reader workshopReg reader workshop There has been a heated debate going over here on the relative merits of mainframe architectures versus massively parallel Intel/AMD based platforms for large scale data warehousing and other requirements. So far, the mainframe camp seems to be winning this one, so if you are a fan of MPP, get yourself over there and have your say. In the meantime, this debate is pretty much irrelevant if you are a small business or a department in a large enterprise that needs to pull information together from various sources into a modest sized warehouse or data mart for business intelligence (BI) purposes.
Dale Vile, 23 Apr 2007
5

NASA gunman: police blame work grudge

A NASA employee who killed a colleague, took another hostage and then turned his gun on himself, was lashing out at the man he thought was responsible for his poor work review, police investigators have said. William Phillips, 60, took a revolver to work with him at the Johnson Space Centre on Friday. He then barricaded himself in communications building 44, an area that houses tracking systems for the space shuttle. Police say that he taped colleague Fran Crenshaw to a chair. He then confronted fellow civil servant David Beverly, 62, about a poor performance review. Police say Beverly tried to calm his attacker, but Phillips shot him twice before turning the gun on himself. He bought the gun used in the shootings on the same day as he printed off a copy of his appraisal, police said. Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt told reporters: "The suspect blamed Mr Beverly for being responsible for his negative job-performance situation." The police added that Crenshaw, who was slightly injured during her ordeal, provided a calming influence and prevented a bad situation from becoming even worse. NASA says it is reviewing its security procedures. ®
Lucy Sherriff, 23 Apr 2007
4

Barclays' chip and PIN readers will work for other banks

Barclays Bank is introducing a handheld chip and PIN card reader for the home in an escalation of its online banking security. Other chip and PIN cards will work with the Barclays device, not just cards issued by Barclays. Barclays has designed its system in accordance with standards issued by payment association APACS. Barclays says it will be the first deployment of its kind in the UK for personal banking customers. By conforming to the APACS standard the reader can be used as part of any system also using those standards. Not all chip and PIN cards conform to the standard at present. In July the bank will begin sending half a million card readers to its home users. It is not charging customers for the devices, which it is calling PINsentry. They will be compulsory for those who wish to transfer money to third party bank accounts. "The remaining customers will not need PINsentry at this stage – it will only be needed by those who use online banking to set up payments out of their account to a new third party for the first time," said a Barclays statement. "Customers who simply wish to use online banking to view their accounts and pay bills or established payees will be able to continue to use online banking as normal without the need for PINsentry." A Barclays spokeseman told OUT-LAW that the card readers, manufactured by Dutch security specialist Gemalto, will be sent to other customers who request one, even if they do not transfer money to third party bank accounts. First transactions to third party accounts are being targeted for extra security because that is the outlet for any stolen money should a thief break into someone's online bank account. When a customer inserts a card into the PINsentry reader and enters the correct PIN, the device will generate an eight digit number. That number must be typed in to the bank's website. For security, the card reader will not connect to a computer. For visually-impaired users, a larger card reader will be available that includes a loud speaker and a headphone jack. PINsentry users will be asked to enter the eight digit number at login, even just to view account details. This means that to access their account details at work, customers must carry the readers with them. Upon instructing a transfer to a third party account for the first time, the user will be asked to generate another number and enter that number too. Barclays' approach addresses the threat of a "man-in-the-middle" attack. In such attacks an email purporting to come from Barclays is sent to a customer, encouraging that person to visit the fraudster's website, which will be a copy of Barclays' genuine site. The customer might enter a number generated by PINsentry upon request and the fraudster – i.e. the man in the middle – immediately keys that number into the genuine site. This lets the attacker view the victim's account balance. But money transfers are impossible unless, in the same visitor session, the attacker obtains another PINsentry-generated number. Asking for a second PINsentry number is more likely to raise the account holder's suspicions. The Barclays spokesman confirmed that the device would be compatible with other systems, including other banking systems. "It is future proof. It is ready for use in other systems," he said. "It is also ready for other kinds of security, so it has other buttons on it that are not used just now but can be used for things like challenge and response security." Four customers of Dutch bank ANB AMRO lost money in man-in-the-middle attacks, it emerged earlier this week. The bank uses a two-factor authentication system but its number-generating fobs were required at the point of login only. The bank compensated its consumers for undisclosed losses. APACS also confirmed that the Barclays device will be usable by security systems other than Barclays'. "The reasoning behind that is because research into the card market shows that we have on average four cards each, and in a few years' time we don't want a situation where we have four different card readers and we have to work out which one to use," APACS spokesman Mark Bowman said. "Any reader can read any card," said Bowman of readers that follow the APACS standards. "It is mix and match." The system is expected to be adopted by some retailers as well as by other banks as online payment firms look to make systems ever more secure. Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.
OUT-LAW.COM, 23 Apr 2007
Google
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If Google kills penguins, is it doing evil?

CommentComment Killing penguins might be evil. I'm not 100 per cent sure. I've never thrown one to a killer whale and then decided how I felt about it. Google might want to buy some penguins and start chucking. The company needs to confront how it feels about penguin murder. And you need to decide if Google should keep you up-to-date on its possible penguin killing.
Ashlee Vance, 23 Apr 2007
8

Liverpool uncages pigeon-busting 'robofalcons'

Liverpool council has taken drastic measures to drive pigeons from the city's centre - computer-controlled "robofalcons" whose predator-mimicking wing flapping and squawking it hopes will persuade the flying rats to make themselves scarce. Liverpool currently wastes the equivalent of "88 man hours a day cleaning droppings from streets and buildings at a cost of £160,000 a year", Reuters explains. Its pigeons gorge on fast food detritus while "flying at people and leaving droppings everywhere", the council said. Accordingly, the powers that be have installed a flock of "Robops" (Robotic Birds of Prey) which "look, move and sound like a peregrine falcon". The manufacturer's blurb explains: "While humans can easily tell it's made of fibreglass and has electronics inside, wild birds, while very intelligent, do not have this level of understanding. To them Robop represents a real and present danger." The council's Environmental Health manager Andy Hull explained that the scheme was "an attempt to improve the health of the pigeons, as their current diet is unhealthy and dangerous". It's hoped the robofalcons will persuade the pigeons to relocate to the city's parks and green spaces. No chance, reckons Emma Haskell, director of PiCAS UK, the "leading independent advisory body on the issue of bird control in Britain". She said her organisation's studies on mechanical deterrents found them to be "completely ineffective". She elaborated: "We believe that this is a complete waste of time...and a waste of money. Pigeons are a highly intelligent bird and they soon realise that these mechanical things are not a threat. "The robotic hawks are almost laughable as a method of control and the cost associated with buying and installing the product...simply cannot be justified." In case you're wondering, Robops go out at a cool £1,850 a pop, excluding VAT. ®
Lester Haines, 23 Apr 2007

Samsung adopts latest 3D chip stack tech

First IBM, then Intel, now Samsung. The South Korean chip maker today said it too was going to implement the 'Through Silicon Via' (TSV) technique to allow it to stack layers of chip dice more efficiently.
Tony Smith, 23 Apr 2007
22

Milton Keynes: world centre of porn and sex

It's official: Milton Keynes is the world's centre of pornography and sex, according to Google Trends. In fact, the UK completely dominates the global porn/sex rankings, holding the top five positions: Milton Keynes, United Kingdom Sheffield, United Kingdom Birmingham, United Kingdom Edinburgh, United Kingdom Manchester, United Kingdom Dublin, Ireland Auckland, New Zealand Melbourne, Australia Irvine, CA, USA Sydney, Australia It's a pretty poor showing by Dublin, it must be said, which might explain why the city still tops the international loneliness index, almost a year after we first reported on Dubliners' misery. Mind you, Brentford seems to have cheered up a bit. In May last year, it ranked 8th in the slough of despond league table, but has now dropped out of the rankings. Readers are invited to speculate what exactly has provoked this remarkable improvement. ® Bootnote Thanks to Steve Durbin for this shocking tip-off.
Lester Haines, 23 Apr 2007
13

O2 offers incentives to end phone upgrade insanity

UK mobile phone network O2 is to pay customers not to upgrade their handsets - a move that turns the usual approach to phone sales on its head - all in the name of going green.
Tony Smith, 23 Apr 2007
1

UK and US agree plan for joint space missions

The UK and the US have signed a memorandum of understanding that paves the way for closer collaboration on missions to explore our solar system, including robotic exploration of the moon and trials of technology that could one day be sent to Mars. The deal was reached in Washington last Friday, after a series of meetings between officials. It will give NASA wider access to the UK's expertise in robotic and small satellite technologies, and could mean UK participation in manned lunar missions. Science and innovation minister Malcolm Wicks said: "During my recent meeting with Nasa's administrator Dr Michael Griffin, I was keen for the USA and UK to co-operate on exactly this sort of exciting endeavour." Griffin recently suggested that the "level of participation would go so far as to include astronauts". Up until now, the government has argued that robotic exploration is more financially efficient, and more useful for furthering scientific understanding of the universe, than manned exploration could ever be. If this is a step towards sending UK astronauts to the moon, it is a major departure from traditional British space policy, and suggests that the new minister for science is keen to make his mark on the next great space race. The next few years will see a flurry of missions to the moon. As well as visits from NASA, and UK designed craft, the moon can expect to be visited by at least robotic representatives from India, China and Japan. ®
Lucy Sherriff, 23 Apr 2007
4

Europe makes 'progress' on police data protection

The European Council has swept aside widespread reservations about its proposals for a police data protection law. The German Presidency of the European Union claimed in a statement last week that its revised proposal for data protection in the third pillar had been so well received by other member states that it might even make "significant progress" on the measure by the end of its tenure in July. The Presidency has refused to publish its revised draft proposal. It is a controversial measure that would give European police forces powers to share data about criminals and suspected criminals. But the parts of the proposal designed to make sure police data gathering respects the fundamental rights of citizens might have been significantly watered down. Writing for campaign group Statewatch this week, Professor Steven Peers of the University of Essex Human Rights Centre said the original proposal had very low standards of data protection. The new draft was even weaker. The Presidency said council members had 250 reservations about the old proposal. Three quarters of those had been silenced by the new draft. It did not mention the reservations of the European Parliament, which is keen to temper the hawkish temperament of the council and recently noted how Europe was faithfully replicating the US's post-9/11 approach to home security, even though the US was now starting to wonder whether its infamous Patriot Act had intruded too far on the rights of its citizens. That is partly because the Parliament has virtually no say in how the law is introduced. According to Professor Peers, who has seen the draft agreement, it ignored 60 amendments proposed by the Parliament. Franco Frattini, European commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security, told a press conference about the council meeting last week: "After strengthening the security related elements of our European common space...the time has come to strike the right balance between more security...and more protection of basic rights of people involved in proceedings." Peers, however, gave a long list of ways in which the proposal dropped long established standards of data protection. Data no longer had to be processed "fairly and lawfully". It did not have to be collected "only for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes". Concern about the accuracy of police data had been neglected, with a distinction between facts and "mere" intelligence being dropped. Another proposal to assign different levels of data protection to different categories of people, such as convicts, suspects and victims, had also been dropped. This idea had previously been applauded by the European Data Protection Supervisor. There is also no mention of what protections should be applied to data held about people whose sentences have been spent. That's quite a balancing act. ®
Mark Ballard, 23 Apr 2007
3

Online impersonations: no validation required

Back when I lived in the Silicon Valley, there was an ongoing employment scam. Prospective employees would show up with perfect resumes and immediately get hired. It would not take long before it was clear that these people did not have the experience stated on their resumes. Within six months they would be fired.
Neal Krawetz, 23 Apr 2007
1

RIM rolls out 'virtual' BlackBerry for Windows Mobile 6

Research in Motion (RIM) has said a new version of its BlackBerry Connect software will soon allow "select" Windows Mobile 6-based handsets to connect to its push email network as if they were BlackBerries.
Tony Smith, 23 Apr 2007
4

A Mac gets whacked, a second survives

Shane Macaulay strode into the conference hall at the CanSecWest conference on Friday afternoon, balancing a MacBook Pro on his palm and making a beeline for the table displaying two more of the silver laptops.
Robert Lemos, 23 Apr 2007
1

Greece and William Hill get ready to rumble, as gambling arrests continue

House of CardsHouse of Cards Precedent be damned. That apparently is the approach Greece is taking to recent developments in EU case law covering the cross border provision of gambling services. Not to be dissuaded by recent European Court of Justice (ECJ) rulings, Greece this week arrested nine people in conjunction with internet gambling operations run out of internet cafes in Arta. Three internet cafe owners, who had installed the gambling software of an unnamed UK bookmaker on the computers in the cafes, as well as six of their customers, were arrested in the raids. Maybe not coincidentally, the arrests followed an announcement by British bookmaker William Hill that it had filed for gaming licences in Greece and was planning to challenge the decisions in the ECJ if the Greek government refused to grant the licenses. The recent ECJ ruling in the Placanica case stated pretty emphatically that criminal penalties would almost never be considered appropriate in situations involving licensing restrictions. The landmark case laid out a proportionality requirement for national governments to follow when restricting gambling services in the name of public welfare. In light of that ruling, it seems odd that Greece would take such a drastic step. Greece is one of several European Union countries that maintain a national gambling monopoly, and the ECJ has held that member states may retain gambling monopolies if it serves the public good of reducing the social ills associated with gambling. However, most of the national monopolies are significant and growing sources of revenue for the national governments involved, which is of course at odds with the social goal of reducing gambling opportunities. As the president of OPAP, the Greek monopolist, noted tellingly, "The only company with the right to operate betting in Greece is OPAP. Some people are getting rich while the Greek state hemorrhages." That was the gist of the problem with Italy in Placanica, and could well be the problem with Greece's monopoly, OPAP, which has seen strong revenue growth in the last year. Is Greece serious about reducing problem gambling, or just serious about preserving its national monopoly? This gambit by William Hill, the second largest bookmaker in the UK, could well force Greece's hand and provide one more nail in the coffin to protectionist gaming policies. Let the games begin. ® Burke Hansen, attorney at large, heads a San Francisco law office
Burke Hansen, 23 Apr 2007

iPod add-on draws out dock connector

Got to take your iPod out of its case before you can dock it? Then accessory maker SendStation's Dock Extender may be just what you need. It does exactly what it says it does.
Tony Smith, 23 Apr 2007
46

Wipe your arse less, suggests Sheryl Crow

Eco-friendly chanteuse Sheryl Crow - who's just completed a US "Stop Global Warming College Tour" with "environmental activist" Laurie David - has formulated a cunning plan to save the planet: use less toilet paper and dispense with the services of paper napkins. Crow's mission during her 11-stop campaign was "to persuade students to help combat the world's environmental problems", the BBC notes. Her illuminating blog reveals she "spent the better part of this tour trying to come up with easy ways for us all to become a part of the solution to global warming". And here's the upshot of that contemplation: "I propose a limitation be put on how many sqares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting. Now, I don't want to rob any law-abiding American of his or her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where two to three could be required." Furthermore, Crow also fancies the idea of "not using paper napkins, which happen to be made from virgin wood and represent the height of wastefullness". To prove she walks it like she talks it, Crow has designed what she calls her "dining sleeve" - a detachable contrivance which offers the user "the convenience of wiping his mouth on his sleeve rather than throwing out yet another barely used paper product". Readers inspired by Crow's significant reduction in her carbon footprint are directed to her store, where the merchandise on offer includes a full range of CDs - presumably made from recycled bog roll and algae-derived bioplastic. ®
Lester Haines, 23 Apr 2007
Windows Vista teaser
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Program Names govern admin rights in Vista

Developers have discovered that the name given to a Vista executable affects whether or not it will require admin rights to run. Security experts said the feature might seem odd, but helps to catch out spyware.
John Leyden, 23 Apr 2007
33

Google snubs St George - again

Google has once again snubbed England's dragon-slaying patron saint, despite our threat back in 2005 to take our porn search queries elsewhere. Indeed, while El Reg today proudly celebrates this most English of days, Google remains resolutely St George-free. We were going to email the search monolith to request the usual half-baked excuses, but decided instead to fuel up our impressive collection of Spitfires and Hurricanes for a low-level strafing run on the Googleplex. While we apologise in advance to Google for any inconvenience this may cause, we hereby give warning that if next year we don't see a bloke-with-a-lance-slaying-a-dragon masthead, we'll send in our ultimate deterrent: a cybernetic army of tap-dancing Heather Mills-McCartneys. Consider yourselves duly warned. ®
Lester Haines, 23 Apr 2007
3

Royal Society calls for UK space agency

The Royal Society has called for a new UK space agency to be established to replace the British National Space Centre (BNSC). It says the BNSC has neither the authority nor the funding to represent the UK's space scientists on a national level. Royal Society president Martin Rees said: "A UK Space Agency would have the authority to implement a national space strategy and raise the profile of scientists and industries working in the space sector. It would essentially provide a 'one stop shop' for UK space science activities." The Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) is the largest funder of space science in the UK. It has just been merged into the new Science and Technology Facilities Council, and Rees argues that this gives the government the perfect opportunity to rethink the way it funds space science. Rees said a dedicated UK space agency would also be able to raise the UK's profile in the international space community. "No European country can afford to go it alone," Rees said. "Collaboration is a cost effective means for the UK – which currently constitutes a small but specialist component of the global space community – to be involved in high-profile projects." But the Royal Society argues that the UK is losing out on the international stage to countries with properly funded national space agencies, which fight harder for their national best interests. The Royal Society also attacked the UK's relatively small role in European space efforts. The UK contributes just seven per cent of the European Space Agency's (ESA) budget. France chips in 25 per cent, and Germany 20 per cent. The scathing attack on the BNSC was issued under embargo late last week, just days ahead of the government's announcement of a new deal between the BNSC and NASA. The two organisations signed a memorandum of understanding on Friday to increase collaboration on exploration of our solar system, that could even lead to UK astronauts being sent to the moon. A spokeswoman for the Royal Society said she thought it was unlikely to alter the organisation's position. "This is just a one off deal. I can't see how it would drastically change anything," she told us. Indeed, the Royal Society's policy group said it welcomed the move as a "step in the right direction", but added that it remained convinced that "future partnerships would be better served by a well coordinated, high profile UK space agency –  to match NASA –  rather than a loose partnership of nine government departments and research councils which currently makes up the BNSC." The BNSC issued a statement in its defence, saying: "The BNSC combines the best points of, on one side, a space agency which offers a holistic focus across various space activities and, on the other, a fully devolved arrangement which gives strategic ownership to the lead department. "Of course, no organisational form is permanent, and the government remains open to ideas to improve the current arrangements." ®
Lucy Sherriff, 23 Apr 2007
2

Gordon Ramsay mashes up small businesses for BT

BT has fingered marathon-running potty mouth Gordon "b*llocks, a*se, sh*t" Ramsay as the ideal Michelin-starred gourmet to extol the virtues of social networking to Britain's small business owners. The tediously sweary gastronome will front a TV advertising campaign in which he'll endure a series of gut-busting computer-related scrapes, all aimed at convincing small businesses to stick to what they do best, and pay BT to do their IT. In one promo, Ramsay struggles to set up his computer, while his kitchen catches fire in the background. The groundbreaking marketing move comes ahead of the launch later this week of BT's business to business social networking platform Tradespace. It's live now in trial form. BT's hoping to charge some users £15 per month for extra services, like Skype-style click-to-call. As with any social networking venture, Tradespace's success is entirely dependent on the users it manages to attract. BT says the plan is for small businesses to have a go-to "showcase" for their own products and services, and the products and services they need. IBM and Cisco have latterly made moves in business social networking, but are aiming their guns at bigger corporates with white label platforms. And they don't have a craggy chef on board. ®
Christopher Williams, 23 Apr 2007
6

Captain Cyborg invades Second Life

Kevin Warwick - aka Captain Cyborg - will this afternoon be entertaining the crowds on Second Life's Uvvy Island with a chat on the benefits of linking your brain to "that of an intelligent machine network" entitled "Upgrading Humans: Why not?" The appearance has been organised by the "Second Life Chapter of the World Transhumanist Association", and our Kev will ponder some of the "technical difficulties" associated with the technology and will "also consider some of the ethical and social questions that arise from this exciting area of research". The good captain's choice of avatar is not noted, but we have no doubt he will select an imposing Robocop-style outfit capable of repelling even the most concerted flying penis attack. ®
Lester Haines, 23 Apr 2007

IT staff set for chop in Barclays-ABN Amro merger

The proposed £45.6bn merger of Barclays and ABN Amro banks will result in at least 23,000 job cuts, with the IT departments looking most vulnerable.
Mark Ballard, 23 Apr 2007
13

BA edits Branson from Casino Royale

Virgin supremo Richard Branson is "somehow missing" from the version of Casino Royale shown on British Airways flights, the Telegraph reports. In the full-fat film, a short cameo shows the multi-trillionaire "passing through a security arch at Miami airport". This proved too much for BA's in-flight entertainment team, which "vets films on grounds of taste and suitability before allowing them to be shown", and Branson duly hit the cutting room floor. A BA spokesman confirmed that changes had been made to the film, and rather marvellously explained: "All films are screened...we want to ensure they contain no material that might upset our customers." This is not the first time Virgin has fallen foul of the BA censors, the Telegraph notes. Scenes from The Wedding Date shot in Virgin's premium cabin were also removed "before it was deemed suitable for BA passengers". ®
Lester Haines, 23 Apr 2007

LG displays TV-PC monitor combo

Is it a monitor? Is it a TV? LG's new Flatron M8W display family appears to be both. The 19in, 20in and 22in screens incorporate not only PC-friendly DVI connectors but also TV tuners for your televisual enjoyment.
Tony Smith, 23 Apr 2007
28

Teachers demand Wi-Fi health investigation

A teacher's union has written to the education secretary to demand an immediate investigation into the possible health effects of Wi-Fi networks.
Lucy Sherriff, 23 Apr 2007
4

Hunters bag one of last Amur leopards

Hunters in Russia's Far East have killed one of just seven female Amur leopards remaining in the wild, the WWF has announced. The wild Amur leopard population is estimated to be down to 25 to 34 individuals, with more males than females because "cats tend to breed males when under stress", Reuters explains. At least 100 individuals are necessary to ensure the species' survival. A local wildlife watchdog learned of the death through an anonymous tip-off. State wildlife officers later found the animal, which was killed 15 or 16 April . The WWF said: "A hunter shot the leopard through the tail bone. It tumbled over and was then beaten over the head with a heavy object." Pavel Fomenko, WWF's biodiversity coordinator in Russia's Far East, said in a statement: "Leopard murder can only be provoked by cowardice or stupidity, in this case most likely by both." Environmentalists have lobbied the Russian government for "tighter controls on its national parks in the Far East to crack down on leopard hunting". They also want to see protection of the animal's environment, threatened by human development. In contrast to the Amur leopard's dire situation, the Amur tiger has clawed its way back from the brink of extinction. In the 1940s, there were an estimated 40 or so individuals roaming their native Siberia - a number now boosted to a healthier 480 to 520. ®
Lester Haines, 23 Apr 2007
Recycle sign
7

UK bank switches off to go green

Online banking firm First Direct has lopped 147 tonnes off its annual carbon emissions thanks to software that automatically switches off its host computer every night. The firm reckons the move will also save it around £24,000 on its electricity bill now that the software has been deployed across two of its UK sites.
Lucy Sherriff, 23 Apr 2007

Sony shrinks UK PSP price

Sony will knock £20 off the price of the PSP on 4 May, reducing the handheld games console's price from £150 to £130.
Tony Smith, 23 Apr 2007
62

Sinclair ZX Spectrum: 25 today

Clive Sinclair's ZX Spectrum is a quarter of a century old today. The machine that really launched the UK IT industry hit the streets of a depressed Britain on 23 April, 1982.
Christopher Williams, 23 Apr 2007
arrow pointing up
3

The Cloud descends over City

Hotspot aggregator The Cloud has today launched complete coverage of the Square Mile, and to celebrate it is providing access free for the next month to anyone who asks.
Bill Ray, 23 Apr 2007
1

Commodore prices up games machines

Commodore Gaming - the latest reviver of ye olde Commodore brand - has priced up its high-end Wintel gaming systems, pledging to "redefine the line between gaming and reality" - whatever that means - for up to £2899 inc. VAT.
Tony Smith, 23 Apr 2007
graph up

IP networks create pain

CA World 2007:CA World 2007: Increasing demands on IP networks mean IT managers are finding them increasingly difficult to manage and run. Businesses find it hard to get quick access to information on network problems, what impact they are having and how to fix them.
John Oates, 23 Apr 2007

CA boss says strategy on track

CA World 2007:CA World 2007: Delivering the opening speech at CA World 2007 chief executive John Swainson thanked customers for their loyalty and support and laid out a six- point plan for the future. The elephant in the room of the company's ongoing legal and accounting problems was addressed obliquely; otherwise the 6,000 attendees heard the strategy of “Enterprise IT Management” laid out 18 months ago is on track and winning customers.
John Oates, 23 Apr 2007
fingers pointing at man

CA shakes up European channel

CA World 2007:CA World 2007: CA, previously known as Computer Associates, wants thirty per cent of new business to come from indirect partners and it will both weed out existing European partners and recruit new resellers.
John Oates, 23 Apr 2007

AMD: very hush hush

Reporter's notebookReporter's notebook AMD is bigging up its latest graphic card offerings in Tunis, but sadly we cannot reveal any of this until 14 May. What does this leave in terms of what we can report?
Kelly Fiveash, 23 Apr 2007

HP pitches Acer another sueball

Hewlett-Packard has filed yet another lawsuit with Taiwan-based PC maker Acer, alleging more patent shenanigans. Last month, HP slapped Acer and with a lawsuit regarding infringement of five patents used in HP notebooks, desktops and media center systems. Now HP's open palm has moved inversely for a litigation backhand smack of five more infringements for good measure.
Austin Modine, 23 Apr 2007
Linux

IBM Powerizes Linux on Intel apps

IBM has announced a beta version of a Linux environment that allows applications developed on Intel boxes to run on Power processor-based servers. The technology – catchily titled the IBM System p Application Virtual Environment (System p AVE) – is designed to allow thousands of x86 Linux applications to run without modification on the System p hardware. p AVE creates a virtual x86 environment and file structure, and executes x86 Linux applications by dynamically translating and mapping x86 instructions and system calls to Power kit.
John Leyden, 23 Apr 2007

Ex-editor decries article suggesting he kept child porn

The former editor for the Santa Barbara News-Press is threatening legal action after the paper published a story suggesting he kept child pornography on his work computer. The furor over Sunday's non-bylined story is the latest salvo in a long and acrimonious battle that has raged between the paper's outspoken publisher and current and former editorial employees that has brought charges of unethical behavior. At issue, according to a story in the Santa Barbara Independent, is 15,000 images of child and adult pornography found on a computer that had been used by ex-editor Jerry Roberts and an unspecified number of his predecessors. The G4 Mac was purchased secondhand, and there were no time stamps on any of the deleted images. Prosecutors had declined to bring charges in the case because there was no way to determine who downloaded them. So the News-Press decided to conduct its own investigation - though the term witch hunt may be more fitting given the questionable article that publicized the probe. In addition to singling out Roberts, rather than referring to every person who had access to the machine, the unnamed reporter or reporters who penned the article also failed to contact Roberts for comment, according to the Independent. Roberts vehemently denies having anything to do with the images and has threatened the paper's publisher, Ampersand Publishing, which is solely controlled by Wendy P. McCaw. Roberts intends to demand a retraction and plans to sue if he doesn't get it. The article reporting the investigation by the News-Press was based on court documents the paper's attorneys filed requesting access to the confiscated hard drive. While US libel law makes it hard to sue for articles that cite public documents, Roberts said he believed he would be able to proceed because the publishers acted with malice by publishing allegations they knew to be untrue and for failing to allow him to comment for the story. Indeed, it doesn't take a vivid imagination to hypothesize the story was generated more as retribution than a fearless search for the truth. Roberts's resignation last July over what he described as McCaw's improper meddling in newsroom decisions touched off a highly public debate that has resulted in the resignation of several other editors. Current and past employees remain estranged from management over their vote last fall to unionize. At one point, McCaw threatened legal action against local merchants for hanging signs sympathetic to the union efforts and a journalist for writing an unfavorable article about her in the American Journalism Review. The ex-wife of cellphone entrepreneur Craig McCaw, Wendy McCaw bought the News-Press from the New York Times in 2000. The National Labor Relations Board has said it plans to prosecute News-Press management for unfairly firing eight reporters, according to news reports. Sunday's article claimed Roberts refused to cooperate with police investigating the images. In fact, Roberts took and passed a polygraph test and answered investigators' questions via his lawyer while he was in the midst of being treated for cancer. A March 2 letter written by district attorney prosecutor said there was no basis for filing charges. "At the present time there is insufficient evidence to warrant bringing charges against any individual," the letter stated. A former systems director for the paper agreed, arguing the drive containing the images could have been used by former employees years before Roberts. The director was so disturbed over the incident that he resigned. News-Press officials referred calls seeking comment to outside attorney Barry Cappello. A spokeswoman said Cappello had no immediate comment. The News-Press article isn't available online except for those with a paid subscription. ®
Dan Goodin, 23 Apr 2007
Dollar

Cordys scores $80m for US roll-out

Jan Baan's latest company, Cordys, has scored $80m from the VC house Argonaut to build itself a US sales empire. Cordys, Dutch-owned - just like Baan (the software company) was - has been around in Europe since 2001 and in the US since last year. It is a combatant in the BPMS or Business Process Management Suite market, an emerging sector that should be worth $1bn worldwide by the end of the year and $2.6bn by 2011, according to Gartner. The analyst firm names Cordys as one of five BPMS companies to watch in 2007, but some rivals such as IBM and Tibco, are much, much bigger.
Drew Cullen, 23 Apr 2007
EU flag
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Microsoft to EC: define 'unreasonable'

Microsoft just barely beat the clock today, responding to the European Commission's allegations it overcharges rivals for licensing its Work Group Server technology.
Austin Modine, 23 Apr 2007
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AMD's CEO doesn't have Intel to kick around anymore

CommentComment After hearing about AMD's first quarter bloodbath, Carly Fiorina and Kevin Rollins must wonder what's wrong with Wall Street. No analyst has yet to place the call for Hector Ruiz's head. AMD's Q1 blows away anything faced by HP ex Fiorina or Dell ex Rollins. The chipmaker lost $611m as processor sales collapsed by 38 per cent. To offset this dysfunction, AMD will ignite an “asset light” strategy that obviously includes lots of buzzwords, a reduction in staff and more dependence on chip fabbing partners such as IBM and Charter.
Ashlee Vance, 23 Apr 2007
homeless man with sign

CA bigs up service quality management

CA World 2007:CA World 2007: CA’s integration of Wily is bearing fruit - three integrated products will be available from this summer and the department has gained 150 new customers and increased headcount by 81 per cent.
John Oates, 23 Apr 2007
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AMD tells Wall Street: 'Will dance for cash'

Cash-starved AMD put out its hat on Monday, offering up to $2.2bn in convertible notes to help it raise money.
Ashlee Vance, 23 Apr 2007