9th > July > 2007 Archive

22

Boeing rolls out 787 Dreamliner

Boeing yesterday rolled out its "technologically advanced and environmentally progressive" 787 Dreamliner - heralded as "the world's first mostly composite commercial airplane". Roughly 15,000 invitees made their way to Boeing's final assembly facility in Everett, Washington, to get a first look at the new "green" aircraft, designed to use "20 per cent less fuel per passenger than similarly sized airplanes, produce fewer carbon emissions, and...have quieter takeoffs and landings". Scott Carson, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO, enthused: "This has been a wonderful and exciting day to celebrate this breakthrough airplane with our customers, employees, supplier partners and our communities. We are gratified that the 787 has been so strongly validated in the marketplace by our customers. Their response is proof that the Dreamliner will bring real value to our airline customers, passengers and the global air transportation system." Mike Bair, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president/general manager of the 787 program, contributed to the love-in with: "Our journey began some six years ago when we knew we were on the cusp of delivering valuable technologies that would make an economic difference to our airline customers. In our business, that happens every 15 or so years, so we have to get it right. I am so proud of the men and women of Boeing and of our partner employees in the 70 companies that have brought this airplane to the passengers of the world." The first flight of the 787 is expected late August or September, with six examples taking part in the subsequent test programme. Boeing hopes the Dreamliner will make its inaugural commercial trip with All Nippon Airlines in May 2008. The Dreamliner's green credentials are based on various technological advances, Boeing claims. Its "unmatched fuel efficiency", ("20 per cent less fuel for comparable missions than today's similarly sized airplane"), is achieved partly by advances in engine technology, which contribute an eight per cent saving. Composite materials - representing "as much as 50 percent of the primary structure" - and structural innovations also do their bit. For example, Boeing cites a "one-piece fuselage section" which eliminates "1,500 aluminum sheets and 40,000 - 50,000 fasteners". The airline business seems to have warmed to the Dreamliner and its "hug-the-planet" specs. Boeing has 677 advance orders for the 787 from 47 airlines. This adds up to "more than $110bn at current list prices", prompting Boeing to declare the aircraft "the most successful commercial airplane launch in history". ® Bootnote For the planespotters among you, here's Boeing's rundown on the 787's capabilities: The 787-8 Dreamliner will carry 210 - 250 passengers on routes of 7,650 to 8,200 nautical miles (14,200 to 15,200 kilometers), while the 787-9 Dreamliner will carry 250 - 290 passengers on routes of 8,000 to 8,500 nautical miles (14,800 to 15,750 kilometers). A third 787 family member, the 787-3 Dreamliner, will accommodate 290 - 330 passengers and be optimized for routes of 2,500 to 3,050 nautical miles (4,600 to 5,650 kilometers).
Lester Haines, 09 Jul 2007

NASA delays Dawn again

BriefBrief Dawn, NASA's mission to the asteroids, has been postponed again - this time until September. Mission managers had hoped to launch on Monday, but the final decision to delay was taken on Saturday. Bad weather and fears of lightning strikes meant that the mission, which was originally set to launch on July 4, was postponed a couple of times last week, with engineers hopeful that things would come together on the Sunday. But late on Friday, NASA said difficulties with a downrange telemetry aircraft and the lack of an available tracking ship mean the launch could not take place before July 9. Having missed this deadline, NASA said the remaining launch windows in July are too narrow, while an August launch could have interfered with the start of the Phoenix Mars lander mission. Dawn is set to explore the asteroid belt, particularly two of the largest bodies, Vesta and Ceres. NASA says it wants to study the asteroid belt to help understand the processes that went on as our solar system formed. ®
Lucy Sherriff, 09 Jul 2007
34

Bretons turn on Britons

If Jamie Oliver or Rick Stein were thinking of exporting their talents to Brittany, they might want to rethink their culinary imperialism plan. According to the Telegraph, it's not just the Cornish who have taken exception to "incomers" forcing up house prices and alienating the locals - Breton "extremists" have a similarly incendiary attitude to unwelcome outsiders, as Linsey Widd and hubby Darren can attest. The Widds apparently spent three months with the 26th Artillery Regiment in Iraq* before relocating to the village of Callac in western Brittany to open a restaurant. Unfortunately, they received a rather warmer welcome than they were expecting when they were "woken in the night by smoke and fumes and found their car on fire in front of the restaurant". Fire services attended the scene, but were too late to prevent the vehicle rolling down the hill into another car, which duly exploded. The blaze had been started using a rag stuffed into the car's fuel cap, and "if confirmed as an attack by Breton extremists...would be the third in north-western Brittany in 10 days". Linsey Widd, 24, from Scarborough, said: "What shocked us was that there was no warning. We love it here. Callac is a quiet village with quite a large population of English. We bought a property that was previously a TV repair shop and turned it into a restaurant. "We called it Le Rendezvous and took care to write all the signs in French. We had the usual bureaucratic problems setting up the business when we first came just over a year ago but the local people were very friendly. We have French and English customers coming into the restaurant to eat and drink." Local property prices have rocketed by 300 per cent since Brits began their invasion, the Telegraph notes. ® Bootnote *You can save your wisecracks about it probably being safer to open a restaurant in Baghdad.
Lester Haines, 09 Jul 2007
Flag United States
1

US claims top spam spot

The US was top of the spam charts for the month of June, according to new e-mail security statistics from IE Internet.
Emmet Ryan, 09 Jul 2007
Pacman

Computershare acquires Datacare

Australian firm Computershare has purchased Monaghan-based software business Datacare for €12m. The deal was announced on Thursday. Datacare was set up in Ireland in 1983 and currently has 63 employees in five countries. The firm provides entity management software to over 500 clients worldwide.
Emmet Ryan, 09 Jul 2007
14

Reading: UK's epicentre of va-va-voom

It's official: Reading is the UK's "top performing" city based on "employment, population growth and skills", closely followed by Bristol, Southampton, Cambridge and York. That's according to a report by the Centre for Cities tentacle of the ippr which has concluded that " that unemployment and disadvantage in England is primarily an urban phenomenon but shows that it is distributed unevenly". The places demonstrating more than their fair share of unemployment and disadvantage are Newcastle, Sunderland, Birmingham, Middlesbrough and Liverpool. Centre for Cities big cheese Dermot Finch explained: "We have 'two-track' cities in England. Over the past decade, some have done a lot better than others. Cities like Cambridge and Reading have performed very well, but others like Newcastle and Middlesborough are lagging behind. "Over the next decade, successful cities like Bristol and York will need to maintain their competitive edge and deal with challenges such as congestion, house price inflation and skills shortages. Meanwhile, lagging cities like Sunderland and Liverpool are struggling to catch up and will need to focus on expanding their business and employment base. "Cities matter. They are the national economy. But the urban renaissance is unfinished business. There's a lot more work to do over next decade, to ensure that all our cities succeed." Well, we went and did a bit of research of our own, just to see if Reading is indeed the UK's epicentre of va-va-voom. Using the invariably accurate Google Trends facility, we found that the city still retained some of its past legacy, ranking 9th for prostitution and 8th for crack cocaine. Among indicators that Reading might be on the up-and-up, Reading is dissapointingly not ranked at all for champagne, Ferraris or money laundering. However, it does show promise elsewhere, meriting 9th place for yachts and an impressive 5th for private jets. ®
Lester Haines, 09 Jul 2007
10

Men jailed for inciting terrorism on the internet

Three men have been jailed for their use of the internet to incite terrorism. The three were convicted after entering a late change of plea to 'guilty' earlier this week. Younes Tsouli, Waseem Mughal and Tariq Al-Daour were convicted at Woolwich Crown Court and have been sentenced to a combined 24 years in prison in a trial which began in April. The three men initially pleaded 'not guilty' but changed that plea two months into their court case. It is illegal to operate websites inciting terrorism under the Terrorism Act. That law extends to websites hosted abroad. The three men pleaded guilty to inciting another person to commit an act of terrorism wholly or partly outside the UK which would, if committed in England and Wales, constitute murder. Tsouli hosted a chat site dedicated to holy war to which a message was posted which purported to be from a group of 45 doctors who wanted to use car bombs and grenades to launch attacks in the US. Tsouli was jailed for 10 years and the judge Justice Openshaw recommended that he be deported to his native Morocco once he had served his sentence. The three admitted to defrauding banks and credit card companies, and Al-Daour was also involved in a £1.8m fraud. From the United Arab Emirates but living in Bayswater, Al-Daour was jailed for six and a half years. Mughal was British and was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in jail. The three men used websites to incite other Muslims to wage war on non-believers. The three believed in a global conspiracy to wipe out Islam and had links to al Qaeda in Iraq, the court heard. They are the first people to be convicted in the UK of incitement to murder over the internet. EU Justice, Freedom and Security Commissioner Franco Frattini said this week that he wants to criminalise other kinds of internet publishing. He said that he wants to make it illegal to post instructions on how to make a bomb on the internet. "I would propose the incrimination of dissemination of information of bomb making and explosives," he told journalists last week. "I think it's simply not possible to make people free to instruct other people on the internet on how to make a bomb." "That is nothing to do with the freedom of expression, you can imagine, and my proposal will be to criminalise actions and instructions to make a bomb. It's too frequent, it's too often, unfortunately, we discover websites that contain complete instructions to home made bombs," he said. The proposal is likely to anger civil rights campaigners who could argue that the plan is a limit to freedom of speech. Frattini said that such actions would be policed only with the help of the internet industry. "The idea is to contact as many providers as possible to get their cooperation and to start closing websites and of course continuously checking the web," he said. Frattini said that his plan would be amongst anti-terrorism proposals to be published in autumn. Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.
OUT-LAW.COM, 09 Jul 2007
11

Bletchley Park scientist dies in car crash

Bletchley Park code-breaker Professor Donald Michie, 84, and his ex-wife, geneticist Dame Anne McLaren, 80, were killed in a car crash this Saturday. Their son, Jonathan, told Reuters that his parents were travelling from Cambridge to London on the M11, when their car left the road and hit a tree. No other cars are reported to have been involved in the accident. Both were extremely eminent scientists: Dame Anne was the first female officer of the Royal Society, a fellow of King's College and Christ College, Cambridge, and a member of the Warnock Commission, an ethical advisory board on the use of genetics. Her ex-husband Professor Michie was an artificial intelligence researcher who had worked with Alan Turing at Bletchley Park during the second world war. Martin Rees, president of the Royal Society, said that Dame Anne's death was a "great tragedy and a loss to science... She was both idealistic and effective, and her loss will be deeply felt not only by her fellow researchers, but far more widely." It was at Bletchley Park that Professor Michie developed an interest in machine intelligence, but it was an interest it would take him some time to revive. After the war he went to Oxford to study medicine, going on to obtain a D Phil in Mammalian Genetics. He worked in Zoology, briefly alongside Dame Anne at UCL, until the mid 1960s, when he returned to his programming roots and set up the Experimental Programming Unit, at the University of Edinburgh. There he later founded the Department of Machine Intelligence and Perception. Professor Michie's work at Bletchley Park contributed to cracking Tunny, a German teleprinter cipher implemented by the Lorenz machine. The code breakers never saw a Lorenz machine until after the war, but they had been decoding its messages for two and a half years. The Lorenz machine took a stream on input and obscured it using the Vernam system. This took a plain text message and added an set of obscuring characters to it, producing the cipher text. The same set of characters could then be added back to the cipher text and would reveal the original message. The original German plan was to use characters from a one-time pad to encipher the plain text, but this proved operationally difficult to manage. As a result, the obscuring text was provided by a pseudo-random number generator. The pseudo in the random was the chink in the armour that allowed the team at Bletchley to break the cipher. According to Jonathan Michie, at the time of his death, his father had been preparing to give a lecture on the history of machine intelligence to the University of Edinburgh. The couple worked together at University College London during the 1950s. They were married in 1952 and had three children before divorcing in 1959. Despite the breakdown of their marriage, they remained close and still shared a house in Camden, North London. Professor Michie also leaves another child from an earlier marriage. ®
Lucy Sherriff, 09 Jul 2007
2

AMD chops desktop processor prices

AMD today took the axe to its desktop processor price list, knocking up to almost 30 per cent off what it charges for its gaming, mainstream and budget CPUs, as expected. Still, an much-anticipated move to drop single-core chips from the line-up did not take place.
Tony Smith, 09 Jul 2007
Sony PlayStation 3
6

Official: Sony to bring 80GB PS3 to USA

Sony has left its US-based PlayStation 3 fans drooling after announcing that it will release an 80GB version of the console this August. But non-US gamers were left playing the waiting game as the company also announced that the majority of new PS3 games and a $100 (£50) price cut for its 60GB version will initially only be available in the US.
James Sherwood, 09 Jul 2007

AMD acknowledges top-end Turion

Hidden among AMD's big desktop processor price cuts, was the arrival on the chip maker's public price list of a new mobile CPU: the Turion 64 X2 TL-66.
Tony Smith, 09 Jul 2007
15

And the winner is...the laptop!

Reg Technology PanelReg Technology Panel You’re out and about, and you know you’ll need to hook back to the office to pick up that important email or access that corporate system – so what do you want to take, a notebook or a handheld device? To our surprise, according to over 1,000 of you, compared to mobile access via a handheld device, remote notebook access was twice as likely to be broadly relevant across the workforce. The distinction is less profound in the smallest of companies, but of course this means that it is even greater for larger organisations.
Jon Collins, 09 Jul 2007
24

eBay chokes on iPhones

Some were boasting from their camps outside Apple stores before the iPhone rush began, of how much money they would make on eBay auctions; and apparently, at least one optimist let it be known that $2,000 would be needed to buy a $600 iPhone. According to Katie Hafner, stringer for the New York Times, "Thousands of listings showed up on eBay and Craigslist, with prices of $1,000 for the 8-gigabyte phone, a $400 markup." Hafner found some asking even more; "As it became clear that supply was meeting demand, they found themselves stuck. Few of the phones have sold for more than $700, which after sales tax, is not a remarkable profit margin." Word in the channel suggests that the "million sold" announcement is close. There are a million handsets on their way to stores, or maybe even bought, said one insider this weekend, "but there are still problems getting them home, and registering them on the network." Stocks have been reaching the stores, reported Phil Lattimore, and shortages even in Texas and California should ease this week. Up till the 5th, Engadget was still reporting "sold out" signs at all stores except Tigard, Oregon or Pittsburgh PA, but the next day, news emerged of substantial new shipments. The real figures for sales so far vary widely. Financial analysts (normally with good access to channel figures) were still saying "500,000 to 700,000 sold" Thursday, but by Friday, there were reports "leaked from ATT Mobility" saying that the network "has fulfilled over 1 million iPhone activations since the device was launched in the US on June 29th. "This news comes from a full-time staffer in ATT Mobilty’s Commerce Group who chose to remain anonymous," said one of the new iPhone web sites, "WaitingForiPhone" Copyright © Newswireless.net
Guy Kewney, 09 Jul 2007

Low-power AMD 'RD790' said to support 'triple CrossFire'

AMD's RD790 chipset will support three-way graphics card co-operative rendering, it has been claimed. The allegation matches details of the chipset's capabilities that leaked out in March this year.
Tony Smith, 09 Jul 2007
18

Sweden may block Pirate Bay over child porn

Swedish police say they may put the world's largest torrent tracker, The Pirate Bay, on its porn filter blacklist after complaints about child porn being traded on the site. If Pirate Bay is placed on the list, anyone trying to access the site from Sweden through ISP's such as Telia, Tele2 and Bredbandsbolaget will be redirected to a police site. Stefan Kronkvist, head of the National Criminal Investigation Department's IT department, says the site will be placed on the National Police Board's blacklist if the material is still there this week. The Pirate Bay condemned the police threat as "an ignorant abuse". "The whole idea of police threatening to censor us seems to be moral panic from high up within the ranks of Swedish politics," Brokep from The Pirate Bay writes on his blog. "To make things perfectly clear - we don’t host any content. And I have never seen child porn on The Bay. Our moderators work on all the reports we receive from the public and they contact ECPAT or other organizations if they found suspicious stuff." Founder Fredrik Neij tols Swedish site The Local that he hasn't been contacted by the police at all. "The first thing they should have done was to tell us that there was child pornography, so that we could check it out and if necessary remove the links to the files." Rick Falkvinge of the Swedish Pirate Party says the decision undermines the legitimacy of the child porn filter, which is not intended for subjective use by government officials to close down undesirable sites.®
Jan Libbenga, 09 Jul 2007
14

Leaping sturgeon menace 'Swanee'

Boaters on Florida's Suwannee ("Swanee") river have come under increasing risk of leaping sturgeon attack during the last 18 months as low water levels continue to provoke serious collisions between the "armoured fish" and unwary humans, the Telegraph reports. Florida police say that this year has been "particularly bloody", with five victims to date including 50-year-old Sharon Touchton who was piloting a jetski when she impacted with a sturgeon, suffering skull fractures under her eyes, losing a finger and a tooth and almost biting off her own tongue in the process. The Gulf sturgeon in question, which can reach eight feet in length and boast "sharp, bony plates that can cut flesh like knives", are not aggressive by nature, scientists claim, but the boffins are unable to offer an explanation for their acrobatics. The sturgeon menace has been compounded by the aforementioned low water levels as boats and fish have to share increasingly restricted patches of river. Sturgeon strikes were previously uncommon, but ten people were injured last year. This 2007 tally of casualties so far includes the unfortunate Touchton, plus 32-year-old Tara Spears "knocked unconscious and taken to the hospital" following a piscine impact, and six-year-old Taylor Lane Owen who suffered a broken leg when a sturgeon jumped onto the boat he was sharing with 20-year-old Kelly Clafin. Major Bruce Hamlin, regional commander for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) North Central Region, told the local NewsHerald.com: "The documented strikes for 2006 resulted in the worst year on record, with eight people directly hit by sturgeon and two injured when they swerved to avoid a jumping fish and hit a bridge piling. "However, the numbers for 2007 show a trend that could top 2006. At this point last year, there were three documented strikes, with three injuries. People need to be cautious when on the Suwannee. I cannot emphasize that enough." Some boat owners have suggested the sturgeon, which in spring migrate from the Gulf of Mexico to the Suwannee to spawn, might be "removed" to contain the threat, but although they were once exploited for their caviar and meat, they are now a protected, endangered species. ®
Lester Haines, 09 Jul 2007
SAP
3

SAP upgrades foil buffer overflow flaws

Security researchers have discovered a slew of vulnerabilities in enterprise software packages from SAP that create a means for hackers inject malware onto or crash vulnerable systems. The vulnerabilities involve two ActiveX controls buffer overflow in EnjoySAP GUI and separate buffer overflow flaws in SAP's Message Server and SAP DB Web Server. Another bug leads to denial of service risks for firm's running SAP Web Application Server. Fortunately all four sets of flaws, each discovered by Mark Litchfield of NGSSoftware, can be addressed by updating to the latest versions of SAP's software. ®
John Leyden, 09 Jul 2007
18

UK going to hell on hardware, eco group warns

Turn off your telly, shut down your PC and dim down those lights, because if you don't, by 2020, 45 per cent of the UK's electricity will be gobbled up to feed the nation's love of gadgets, according to a report from British NGO the Energy Saving Trust (EST).
James Sherwood, 09 Jul 2007
31

(Un)lucky UCLA student cops Paris's old mobile number

A UCLA student has had the good fortune (or the misfortune, depending on how you view it) to acquire Paris Hilton's old mobile phone number - and has accordingly received a flood of SMSes and calls directed at the highly-talented former jailbird. San Francisco gal Shira Barlow got a new phone and number after dropping her old mobile down a toilet, Yahoo! explains. What she didn't know, though, was that she now had Ms Hilton's recycled number, but was soon set straight when she was besieged by "wrong-number calls" and text messages "mostly between 2 and 4am on weekends". The action hotted up as Hilton's birthday on 17 February approached, with one caller demanding: "Oh my God. Where's the party?" A male admirer apparently "purred" in a foreign accent: "Baby girl, how are you?" The mood changed as Hilton's spell in chokey began, when "messages about parties were replaced by dozens expressing condolences". Barlow explained: "People were scared for her." While traffic understandably dropped while Hilton languished in the slammer, her release provoked renewed activity. One message improbably declared: "It's disgusting how they treated you in there, but once again you have showed the world that you can do anything." Barlow said she had "resisted the temptation" to pose as Hilton to get into swanky jet-parties, indulge in drunk-driving, get jailed and appear in amateur grumble flicks, but says she'll plans to "keep the number because...it has been a greater source of amusement than a hassle". ®
Lester Haines, 09 Jul 2007
2

Interpol chief slams UK on terror database cooperation

The boss of Interpol has slammed Britain's procedures for monitoring suspected international terrorists. In a newspaper interview at the weekend, secretary general Ronald Noble charged that UK authorities do not check immigrants against Interpol's database of 11,000 suspects. He told The Sunday Telegraph: "The UK Government really needs to catch up and realise that unless it consults global databases for passports, names and photographs then it risks letting dangerous people roam free." According to to the BBC, the Home Office insists border officials are "aware" of the list. Interpol's figures record about 50 immigration checks against its list per month, compared to 700,000 by French authorities. The UK does not share its own watch-list through Interpol. British security services rely mostly on country-by-country bilateral intelligence agreements, rather than international databases. "The guys detained last week could be wanted, arrested or convicted anywhere in the world and the UK would not know," Noble said, referring to the suspects in the failed car bombings in London and Glasgow. Noble's comments to the press come on the back of his open letter last week, which he used to question the emphasis on baggage checks at airports. He noted: "Few, if any, of the thousands of non-nationals arrested and jailed worldwide have their fingerprints checked against global databases to ascertain their true identity or to verify if they are wanted or known by other countries. "But try to carry a bottle of spring water onto a plane and you will be stopped in your tracks."®
Christopher Williams, 09 Jul 2007
5

Imagination licenses PowerVR, won't say who to

Imagination Technologies, the UK technology company behind the PowerVR line of mobile-friendly graphics cores, last week announced its next-gen chip design has been licensed by... er... someone.
Tony Smith, 09 Jul 2007
Warning: uneven road
50

Geek Squader gets fruity with customer porn

Best Buy Geek Squad workers are a caring, sharing, diligent bunch. In fact some Geek Squaders are so meticulous they will even take a backup of your nudie photos and MP3s while repairing your home PC, without being asked.
Kelly Fiveash, 09 Jul 2007
2

Remember the ‘Service’ in SOA

There is, of course, no widely agreed definition of Service Oriented Architecture – I know this to be true because I read it on the Web. However most people might agree, if they happened to be chilled out and mellow at the time, that, as my Web source (Wikipedia as it happens) continues “Service-orientation describes an architecture that uses loosely coupled services to support the requirements of business processes and users.” So as developers, we have to remember that we are pulling services together not just for the fun of it but to support the requirements of the business process and the users. It appears to be easy to lose sight of this in the cut and thrust of the web. As you will probably have already guessed, this article was promoted by an excellent example where sight of this ideal appears to have been lost already.
Mark Whitehorn, 09 Jul 2007
1

2in-thick aluminium iMacs to ship in August?

Apple's anticipated aluminium iMac will be a mere 2in thick when it hits the shops in August, it has been claimed.
Tony Smith, 09 Jul 2007
11

BBC stumbles on email list

The BBC has suspended its London Travel email list after mistakes were made which led anyone trying to unsubscribe from the service sending their email address to everyone on the list. The service was reactivated last week but has now been suspended. Annoyed subscribers found they were receiving all unsubscribe requests. The BBC sent us the following statement: "On 4th July the previously suspended BBC London Travel newsletter was re-activated and an email sent to its original recipient list. The email was distributed to advise on the reactivation of the service but also offered recipients the option to unsubscribe." "A human error occurred which led to users email addresses being revealed to the distribution list when individuals opted to stop the service. It also resulted in members of the list receiving unwanted emails from those that hit unsubscribe. The service has now been completely suspended and the BBC, its technology partner Siemens and Red Bee Media are currently re-evaluating activation processes to ensure that this does not happen again."
John Oates, 09 Jul 2007
18

Postmaster kills off 'free for life' webmail

Postmaster will shutter its free webmail service from the middle of next month because it has been unable to win enough advertising revenue. The service, which launched in 1996 and was Europe's first free webmail offering, used to be advertised as "free for life" by former owner Bibliotech. From August 14 users will have to pay £14.99 per year to maintain their accounts. Tim Conroy, MD of Spider Networks, which now operates the service, said the decision had to be made on purely economic grounds. He said: "Advertising revenues have plummeted. One or two advertisers promised the world and didn't deliver." The firm is pitching its new paid-for Postmaster as faster and more reliable. Spider Networks expects to lose many of Postmaster's tens of thousands of users of the free services before the 60 day notice period is up. Conroy said his technical team are examining if it's feasible to offer an IMAP server to ease migration of email archives to new providers. Angry punters have attacked the decision in Postmaster's customer forums. "I would love to be able to continue to support people for free...if I can persuade some customers to stay and pay it makes more sense for me to use the infrastructure for different things," Conroy said. Spider Networks is pushing into education network provision. Offering ad-supported webmail is now a game for the likes of Google and Yahoo!, he added.®
Christopher Williams, 09 Jul 2007
24

Is your phone free?

The OpenMoko project has debuted what could be the ultimate geek handset: a Linux-based mobile phone, complete with an open-source operating system and application suite.
Bill Ray, 09 Jul 2007
6

Warrantless wiretap opponents lose brace of court cases

Opponents of the Bush administration's controversial warrantless wiretapping program have suffered a pair of defeats in their efforts to rein in the scheme. In a 2-1 decision, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals last week dismissed a legal challenge to the warrantless surveillance program brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The action was filed by the ACLU on behalf of journalists, lawyers and academics who say the spectre of Big Brother peering over their shoulder is impeding their ability to do their jobs. The plaintiffs said their concerns were well founded but the Wisconsin appeal court dismissed the case because none of the plaintiffs knew for sure whether or not their communications had been placed under surveillance. The ACLU said it was disappointed by the ruling which "insulates the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance activities from judicial review and deprives Americans of any ability to challenge the illegal surveillance of their telephone calls and e-mails". The organisation said it was reviewing its legal options following the ruling, including the possibility of taking its challenge to the US Supreme Court. In a separate ruling, also delivered on Friday, a California appeal court ruled federal agents are entitled to monitor the web sites a suspect visits or the email addresses he exchanges messages with. The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco compared surveillance of internet activities to "pen register" devices, which were used to track the phone numbers suspects called rather than monitor the content of a conversations. Such devices were ruled legal by the Supreme Court in 1979, which ruled that numbers transmitted electronically between a suspect and a phone company do not enjoy any expectations of privacy. Searches on suspects' surfing activities are no more intrusive than obtaining a list of phone numbers dialed or examining the outside of a mailed package, Judge Raymond Fisher said in the 3-0 ruling. The court made the ruling in considering a drug case referred to it by a lower court in the San Diego area. Dennis Alba was jailed for 30 years after he was convicted of running a lab manufacturing Ecstasy. Part of the evidence against him came from monitoring his activities on the net. He challenged the legality of this evidence gathering on appeal, an application the appeal judges rejected in confirming his earlier sentence, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The practice of so-called warrantless wiretapping came to light after the New York Times reported in December 2005 that the president had authorised the National Security Agency (NSA), the US government's signals intelligence agency, to intercept communications inside the US as part of the "War on Terror". The ACLU's action is only one of several lawsuits launched in the wake of reports that AT&T and other telcos turned phone records over to the NSA without judicial authorisation. The NSA's "massive and illegal program" to wiretap and data-mine Americans' communications remains the subject of an ongoing lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and numerous others.®
John Leyden, 09 Jul 2007
14

ICT cast down into the eternal fires of hell

Poll resultPoll result It's official: the term ICT has joined mobe and lappy in the eternal fires of lexicographical hell after 1,396 of you (57 per cent of the vote) demanded its immediate consignment to the dustbin of history. A mere 295 (12 per cent) said nay, while the remaining 31 per cent (772) also called for proscription, while taking the chance to request more top-notch stories on Paris Hilton. Well, you're in luck. Don't ask us how we did it, but we finally managed to find something on the highly-talented heiress with a legitimate ICT angle - the shock news that some poor UCLA student has inherited Hilton's old mobile number. Regarding ICT, we gather the ruling has caused a bit of a rumpus with El Reg's research boys - whose penchant for a good TLA is witnessed by the fact that they reacted to the news with a flabbergasted WTF? followed by OMG! and an exasperated FMS... No matter, because the people - who evidently prefer no C in their IT - have spoken. ®
Lester Haines, 09 Jul 2007
Google
6

Google bags hosted security firm Postini for $625m

UpdatedUpdated Google has announced a plan to acquire on-demand web security firm Postini for $625m cash. The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close by end of the third quarter 2007, after which Postini will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Google.
John Leyden, 09 Jul 2007
6150_sm

i-mate unwraps Ultimate smartphone series

Windows Mobile smartphone seller i-mate has unveiled a five-strong collection of mobile devices, dubbed simply Ultimate.
James Sherwood, 09 Jul 2007
21

Chinese netizens prevent 800-cat stir-fry

Chinese animal lovers saved more than 800 cats from ending up on dinner plates after answering an internet call to intercept a cargo of live feline delicacies, Reuters reports. Animal rights activist Huo Puyang posted a message online that her daughter had stumbled across two trucks packed with cats in a Shanghai parking lot. While one truck made good its escape, Huo called for an instant mobilisation to prevent the remaining vehicle's cargo ending up in Guangdong, where some locals apparently "pride themselves as gourmets who will eat anything that flies, crawls or swims". Thirty activists duly answered the call, and Huo called in the cops who hauled driver and truck to the police station. Huo recalled: "It was a cruel sight ... Pregnant cats and kittens were packed into the boxes. Many cats had died and smelled. Some were trampled to death. Others bit each other." However, the police said there was no evidence to show the cats were stolen, and suggested the moggie sympathisers cut a deal for their purchase. The truck driver demanded 14 yuan (91 pence) a pop, but after "hours of haggling", the rescuers stumped up over 10,000 yuan (650 quid, by our reckoning) for for a total 840 cats. Huo is now making a further appeal - for cash to pay maintain her purchases. "We have a difficult task. The cost of feeding them pales compared to medical fees, vaccines and sterilisation," she admitted. ®
Lester Haines, 09 Jul 2007
11

Sony's 80GB PS3 pic points to rumble-ready controller

Sony's announcement that it is to release an 80GB PS3 in the US next month has sparked fresh rumours that it intends to incorporate a rumble feature into its SixAxis wireless game controller.
James Sherwood, 09 Jul 2007
10

US court spanks porn company over credit card copyright suit

Perfect10 is at it again. The litigious porn purveyors have drawn yet another copyright decision out of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, this time concerning the liability of payment processors who provide services to infringing websites. After two recent, high-profile decisions that had mixed results for the dedicated guardians of nudie picture copyrights, Perfect10 last week was resoundingly defeated in this case. The 9th Circuit panel, albeit with one judge dissenting, agreed with the lower court that Perfect10 had failed to make its case against major credit card companies. And that's a decision that should benefit many e-commerce sites, as we shall see. Perfect10, which touts its products as featuring "tasteful copyrighted images of the world's most beautiful natural models," sued Visa, MasterCard and others after sending repeated notices that some of the websites receiving credit card processing services from the financial institutions contained stolen Perfect10 images. In addition to federal copyright and trademark infringement claims, Perfect10 filed a mess of state law claims against the defendants - also to no avail. The court dismissed Perfect10's contributory copyright claim after determining that the credit card companies had neither materially contributed to nor induced the infringing behavior. Since, the court argued, Visa and MasterCard did not use their payment processing systems to locate, transmit, alter or display copyrighted works, they did not contribute to the infringement. The dissenting judge vigorously disagreed with the majority on this point, claiming that the credit card companies facilitated the infringement by allowing the infringing sites to make a profit off of the activity. The majority responded by pointing out that the infringement could occur - say, via an ad supported model - regardless of whether Visa and MasterCard made it easier for the sites to collect money for it. At issue, according to the majority, was the unlicensed use of Perfect10's images, not the system of payment. In addition, contrary to Perfect10's legal arguments, the defendants never took any affirmative steps to steer cardholders towards infringement, such as distributing ads promoting their cards as an effective way to infringe copyright. (One copy of Playboy? $6. A girl-on-girl DVD? $20. Cheap, stolen porn? Priceless.) Now, a legal development that swings in favor of credit card companies will not usually warm the hearts of many consumers, pornographers or journalists. But, as the majority points out in its decision, this ruling has broader implications for general e-commerce that most people who conduct any sort of business online will probably celebrate. After all, if the case had gone against the credit card companies, how long would it have been before rival websites began sending infringement notices to Visa and MasterCard in order to drive their competition out of business? Or would the payment processors have simply pulled back from enabling online transactions for fear of somehow incurring copyright liability? Either way, a decision for Perfect10 would probably have had an extensive chilling effect on e-commerce. The court didn't feel that putting electronic payment processors - the economic lifeblood of the Internet - in the cross hairs would fit the US Congress' stated purpose of encouraging e-commerce, a sentiment which pervades the opinion and makes it fairly apparent that Perfect10 never had a shred of a chance on this one. Don't feel too bad for Perfect10, though. The company received better results from its two earlier 9th Circuit rulings, and it still might force Google to change the way it indexes information and delivers search results. The company may leave its mark on the Internet, yet. ®
Kevin Fayle, 09 Jul 2007
1

Telnic.org in limbo

ICANN San Juan 2007ICANN San Juan 2007 A novel and convenient service on the board for years at ICANN has hit a snag, apparently. The UK-based .tel service - which stores personal information on DNS itself rather than a web page - received an unfortunate notice from the UK Information Commissioner (IC). The concept behind the service is somewhat analogous to a stripped down web page, but it only stores the personal data the registrant chooses to keep up for public view. This differs from the "whois" database, inasmuch as it preserves registrant control over personal data. The basic idea is quite clever: one can maintain, in real time, contact information of one's own choosing for quick access by others with Blackberries or similar smart phones. My potential page, burkehansen.tel, for example, could be either a quick business or personal reference contact page. Well, the "whois" database dispute will have none of that. The notice from the IC informed the company that, under the data protection laws of the UK, it could not require customers to reveal information in the "whois" database. That in turn would prevent them from utilizing ICANN-accredited registrars, all of which are contractually obliged to provide and publicize "whois" information. Why would they fight over providing personal information for a service whose sole purpose is to publicize personal information, you ask? It's all about control. The service will not necessarily require users to provide the same information required by "whois", though it makes the usual allowances for law enforcement. Registrants, therefore, could theoretically publish some personal information on their .tel site and still be out of compliance with their "whois" requirements. Telnic's representative at the Intellectual Property Constituency (IPC) meeting referred to a somewhat murky, tiered publication service, and the proposal was greeted with considerable derision by the ever-vigilant trademark enforcement crowd. The dispute with the trademark attorneys, as always, concerns money - namely the trademark lobby doesn't want to pay a fee for every records search it conducts. The trademark lobby gives no quarter on these matters, and although it's a simple contact information service - hard to imagine how serious trademark diminution happens with nothing but email addresses and phone numbers - said lobby is ready to kick the service to the curb, regardless of the seemingly inconsequential damages at stake. El Reg tried to contact Telnic for technical clarification, but as of time of writing we had not received a response. We'll keep everyone posted. ® Burke Hansen, attorney at large, heads a San Francisco law office
Burke Hansen, 09 Jul 2007
Gavel
7

Dodgy anti-virus update bunfight goes to court

Chinese anti-virus firm Rising Tech has hit back at claims by larger Russian rival Kaspersky that it engaged in anti-competitive practices. In response to a 2 July lawsuit, Rising Tech says that Kaspersky made "six serious mistakes" involving anti-virus definition files over the last two weeks, Interfax reports.
John Leyden, 09 Jul 2007
2

Google an Asian also-ran

Google may be the most popular web destination in North America. It may be tops in Europe. It may be on its way to conquering the universe. But it's a step behind in Asia. Internet research firm comScore has released its first "comprehensive" study of the Asia-Pacific region, detailing Internet usage in ten of the region's largest countries, and Google trails the competition in all ten. "We all know that the Asia-Pacific region is large and that Internet usage is growing rapidly," said Bob Ivins, executive vice president of comScore. "What is fascinating about this study is that it allows us to compare Internet usage across countries using a consistent measurement methodology and to then determine where PC-based Internet engagement is most developed." According to the study, which accounts for one-third of the world's Internet users, Yahoo!'s sites are the region's most popular, grabbing the top spot in Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan. Meanwhile, Microsoft domains are the most visited in Australia, China, and New Zealand, with the Seoul-based NHN Corporation taking top honors in South Korea. "Yahoo! has always had a very strong presence in Asia, particularly in Japan and Korea," Ivins told The Register. Trailing Microsoft as well as Yahoo!, Google's sites are the region's third most popular. The Mountain View, California-based outfit takes the second spot in Australia, India, Malaysia, and New Zealand, and the third spot in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan. But in China and South Korea - which boast two of region's largest Internet populations - it doesn't even crack the top three. And this includes hits on YouTube, the video sharing site recently purchased by Google. All that said, comScore still ranks Google-run sites as the most popular worldwide. In May, the study says, the Asia-Pacific region included nearly 284 million Internet users aged 15 or older. That represents a third of the worldwide Internet population - though each user spends a little less time on the Net than others around globe. In Asia-Pacific, according to comScore, the average user is online 20.2 hours each month, viewing 2,171 pages. The global averages are 25.2 hours and 2,519 pages a month. The survey shows that China has the region's largest number of Internet users: 91.5 million. But that accounts for only 9 per cent of the country's overall population. South Korea boasts the highest Internet usage rate at 65 per cent, followed by Australia (62 per cent), New Zealand (60 per cent), and Hong Kong (59 per cent). India brings up the rear at 3 per cent. Japan (53 million) and South Korea (26.3 million) have the region's second and third largest online populations. Together, China, Japan, and South Korea account for 60 percent of all Asia-Pacific Internet users.®
Cade Metz, 09 Jul 2007

Commvault storage suite gets souped

Commvault Systems is rolling out a major product overhaul and re-branding of its storage software. The product revamp includes improved performance, new security tools, de-duplication technology, and new search capabilities and indexing for better access to data.
Austin Modine, 09 Jul 2007
2

Intel codifies VMware lust with $219m investment

Reinforcing its status as the software darling of the moment, VMware has secured a whopping $219m investment from Intel. Intel will pay $23 per share for close to 10 million shares in the virtualization software maker, giving it a 2.5 per cent stake in all the outstanding common stock. In addition, Intel's deep pockets have purchased a board seat at VMware. This deal comes as VMware, an EMC subsidiary, approaches an IPO (initial public offering).
Ashlee Vance, 09 Jul 2007
66

Apple emasculates the iPhone

CommentComment Within hours of last week's iPhone debut, hackers were dissecting it. Their goal: unlock capabilities Apple preferred customers not have. As a result, it's now possible to activate the device without entering into a two-year contract, and it's only a matter of time until you can run third-party apps.
Dan Goodin, 09 Jul 2007
9

Microsoft points robots toward point upgrade

Microsoft today further sealed the fate of mankind, effectively hurling open the gates that so precariously protect our species from an unending flood of mechanical horrors bent on the annihilation of flesh with the announcement of version 1.5 of its Robotics Studio development kit.
Austin Modine, 09 Jul 2007
Gavel
3

Google pressed to reveal AdWords secrets

Google may turn over information about third-party keyword purchases after being subpoenaed by a recreational flooring company. Santa Clara University law professor and tech law blogger Eric Goldman alerted readers to the subpoena in a recent blog post last week, warning that this sort of legal action could give businesses access to private information about the advertising habits of competitors.
Cade Metz, 09 Jul 2007
2

ICANN: 'The rum made us do it'

Hack's NotebookHack's Notebook The ICANN event ritual we most enjoy here at El Reg is the final press conference, in which leaders Paul Twomey and Vint Cerf field questions from assorted hacks about the week's events. With that press conference - and the ICANN San Juan meeting itself - now a week behind us, we thought the time was right to offer a final tip of the cap to the latest ICANN extravaganza. To wit: ICANN is becoming a truly global organization, albeit one with occasionally uncomfortable ties to the US government - at least for those in the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The internationalization of domain names (IDNs), as well as a general expansion of the generic top level domain (gTLD) space, offer the potential for a truly international internet, one neither constrained by the English language nor the limits of the Latin script itself. Although the issue has proved more challenging than it initially seemed - some characters in different scripts are overly similar - and the IDNs won't be here for probably another year, the light finally is at the end of the tunnel. There is a more pressing technical issue at hand: the fact that the current internet protocol (IPv4) will run out of addresses, oh, say in four years or so. The next protocol, IPv6 - which will provide trillions upon trillions of internet addresses - is not yet ready for prime time, and there is no firm timetable for when it will be. Then there are the social events. Your correspondent regrettably missed the salsa party due to deadline constraints [Yeah right - Ed], but those who went apparently had a grand time - which means that this correspondent is one that still hasn't learned to salsa. A hotel room, a laptop and a bottle of El Barrilito [We thought so - Ed] rounded out my night. ICANN's half-hearted stabs at lunch were a disappointment. Let's see...ICANN-approved nachos the first day...fried breaded Puerto Rican balls with thousand island dressing day two...well, I give up. To the pool bar at the Caribe Hilton it is, which made up for the lunches, and then some. Hansen hard at work The final day's press conference always has a certain urgency to it, as everyone is looking to wrap up the week. Everyone is ready to roll up the carpets and head home. A certain slackening of protocol ensues. ICANN President and CEO Paul Twomey noted how much more productive and low-key the proceedings had been than those in Lisbon. Could it be the rum, he and Vint posited? That was certainly part of it - someone even thought to include a small bottle of local favorite Don Q in the welcoming schwag bag. Buen provecho. ® Burke Hansen, attorney at large, heads a San Francisco law office
Burke Hansen, 09 Jul 2007