While The Register is proud to be the premiere source of Google Maps foibles, contextual minge misuse and divine cumulus formations, we truly relish news of the utmost weight and consequence. It's our solemn vow to shed light on an industry renowned for meaningless fluff and slight-of-hand concocted to confuse and distract its customers.
With the iPhone not even fully digested by the gadget market's unquenchable pie-hole, many are already eagerly eying what Apple will serve up for its next course.
Sun Microsystems in the next few days plans to issue an update that plugs a serious security hole in the most recent version of its Java Runtime Environment, more than a week after providing a fix for the same vulnerability in an earlier version of the program. The lag has prompted a prominent security researcher to lambaste the effectiveness of the company's security team.
One-time FPGA wunderkind DRC Computer has taken its sweet time bringing product to market. The start-up just this week released a proper production version of its Opteron-socket ready FGPA, although the hardware remains aimed at yesteryear's Opteron-based servers.
The Neteller prosecutions blew open recently with the announcement by the US Attorney's office that founder Stephen Lawrence has agreed to a plea deal, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release, involving "one count of conspiracy to use the wires to transmit in interstate and foreign commerce bets and wagering information; to conduct illegal gambling businesses; to engage in international financial transactions for the purpose of promoting illegal gambling; and to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business." So, uh, just where is America, again? The case is noteworthy in that none of the defendants were American, and none of the payments were processed on American soil - at least not those mentioned in the press release. Indeed , the only Americans involved were happy Neteller customers, and the case spotlights the expansive view of American personal jurisdiction over the internet taken by the DOJ. Of course, these guys were dumb enough to be hanging out on American soil, so it's no surprise they got nicked, but clearly anyone heavily involved in the internet gambling business would be wise to avoid even flying over American airspace. The immediate loser in this deal is the other founder, John Lefebrve, the hippie guitar-strumming former Neteller President who got snatched off the beach in Malibu (also famous as the money behind dubious smear site DeSmogBlog). Generally in these situations the first one to turn state's evidence gets the better deal, and since he's the only other one being charged, well, do the math. The more significant issue is just how much these guys know about the rest of the payment processing industry, which is probably quite a lot. The payment processing industry has been the seedy underbelly of the industry for some time, and Uncle Sam would desperately like to get his meaty paws on some more of the players in this shady business. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) - which is about to go into effect - specifically targets this part of the online gambling world, and its role as lifeline to the larger online gambling industry means that the wrath of Uncle Hypocrite will rain down on it for some time to come. This correspondent had hoped that the Neteller fellows would fight to the end, if for no other reason than existing American law needs some clarity on internet gambling, and the only way for that to happen is through the appellate process. Of course, that's easy advice to give when you're not staring down the barrel of dozens of conspiracy counts and hundreds of potential years in federal prison. And so, a toast: here's to taking one for the team, John Lefebvre.® Burke Hansen, attorney at large, heads a San Francisco law office
Evesham Technology looks set to be on the brink of a buy-out, with TimeUK rumoured to be the strongest candidate to takeover the firm. As we exclusively revealed a few weeks ago, Evesham's owner and chairman Richard Austin confirmed to El Reg that the UK computer vendor was in talks with several interested parties.
The Financial Services Authority is replacing its hotchpotch of IT systems with a single mandatory electronic reporting (MER) system. The £6.5m contract, which has been awarded to Capgemini UK, is aimed at improving efficiency at the Financial Services Authority (FSA) by substantially reducing paperwork and clerical processing.
Government needs to make privacy and data protection principles a core component of its IT specifications, according to the assistant information commissioner.
NASA is packing its things and getting ready for an ice-hunting trip to Mars. The space agency says it is preparing for the August 3 launch of the Phoenix lander, the first NASA mission specifically designed to touch and analyse water on the midget planet. The aim is to discover whether or not there are areas on the Martian surface that could, even now, harbour Martian microbes. The plan is for Phoenix to land on a region of Mars with plenty surface ice: the northern, arctic plains. Once there it will dig down into the icy soil and look for signs that liquid water once flowed. The other main objectives of the mission are to determine if arctic soil could support life and to study the weather at a Martian pole. "Phoenix has been designed to examine the history of the ice by measuring how liquid water has modified the chemistry and mineralogy of the soil," said Peter Smith, the Phoenix principal investigator at the University of Arizona. "In addition, our instruments can assess whether this polar environment is a habitable zone for primitive microbes. To complete the scientific characterisation of the site, Phoenix will monitor polar weather and the interaction of the atmosphere with the surface." NASA says it expects the ice layer to begin just inches below the soil. Once Phoenix has unfurled its 18 foot wide solar panels, it will start to dig down using its robotic arm. The arms is tipped with a camera and a conductivity probe to examine the surface before samples are collected and lifted to the lander's two analysis instruments. At least one sample will be heated to check for volatiles such as water and organic molecules. The second instrument will examine the chemistry of the soil. "Our 'follow the water' strategy for exploring Mars has yielded a string of dramatic discoveries in recent years about the history of water on a planet where similarities with Earth were much greater in the past than they are today," said Doug McCuistion, director of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA's HQ in Washington. "Phoenix will complement our exploration of Mars by being our first attempt to actually touch and analyse Martian water water in the form of buried ice." The timing of the launch is critical, because it determines the landing zone on Mars, and the best route to the planet. NASA has a three week launch window, opening on August 3, in which to get the lander into space on a trajectory that will hit the target. Each day of the two weeks has two possible launch times, separated by between 36 and 42 minutes. Earth has a tighter orbit than Mars, and so once every 26 months or so it "laps" the smaller planet, passing a point of closest approach known as opposition. The best time to launch a mission to the Red Planet is a few months ahead of opposition, NASA explains, so that the amount of fuel required is minimised, and journey time is kept manageably short. The next opposition is of December 18 2007. If Phoenix makes its launch window it will travel to Mars via the most direct route possible, and make its landing between May 25 and June 5 2008. ®
Blyk; the virtual mobile operator launching later this year with free calls and messaging, has revealed that mobile classifieds will make up a significant part of their income. Mobile Entertainment reports comments from Jonathan MacDonald, sales director of Blyk: "There’s so much talk about mobile advertising, but it’s easy to overlook the potential of user-generated ads. Our system makes it easy for individuals to define and send ads to other users. I think they will – in big numbers." The idea is that punters will be able to select a demographic, and geography, then send an SMS advert out to all the Blyk customers who fit the bill: for which they will be charged an appropriate amount. One of the challenges facing any advertising-supported service is that the demographic most interested in free stuff is rarely of interest to advertisers: anyone trying to save a few quid in call charges is unlikely to be in the market for a new car or designer clothes, so by focusing on classified advertisements Blyk might be on to something. In April Blyk announced that Orange would be their carrier for their UK launch: they're still planning on a mid-2007 launch, which by our reckoning gives them until the end of the month.
Sharp will leap into the next-gen optical disc player arena this coming autumn with a machine it claims is ready play Blu-ray Discs within seconds of the media tray closing.
In decades gone by, the humble mouse was nothing more than a roughly palm-shaped plastic complement to your computer. But now's become a statement of your eco-consciousness, courtesy of the bamboo mouse.
Cities can apply for a free ".mobi" top level domain, assuming they're prepared to spend €2K a year promoting their site, and the domain name. DotMobi manages the ".mobi" top level domain where content built for mobile phones can be hosted; and the organisation provides various tools for verifying and testing content to ensure it's suitable for mobile-phone viewing. Their problem is that specialist-mobile web sites are under attack from three sides: mobile phones are getting much better at displaying proper HTML, operators such as Vodafone are optimising proper HTML for mobile-phone use, and users are starting to realise that HTML isn't the best use of a mobile phone screen anyway. DotMobi announced back in May they had 500,000 domains registered, though a quick trawl through the registering companies reveals a suspicious number in Russia, and/or hosted from Gmail addresses, which suggests a bit of domain-name speculation is going on. Increasing the visibility of the ".mobi" domain is essential if it's going to have any success at all, so giving domains away to cities in exchange for some mutual promotion makes sense, assuming cities feel the need for their own mobile domain.
Software development costs could be increased by a new approach to security research. Swiss software security specialist WSLabi says the results of security research are falling into the wrong hands and has launched an online 'secrets' exchange to solve the problem. Herman Zampariolo, CEO of WSLabi, said: "The world is creating an incredible amount of software and firmware and a lot of it is not secure. We decided to set up an exchange portal to sell security research to ensure researchers get properly rewarded for their work and, at the same time, hackers can't easily get hold of it."
Open sourcerers at Samba have signed up to GPLv3 for all future releases of the Samba software suite, describing the new licence as "better [suited to] the needs of Free Software in the 21st century".
Taser, the stun gun company, has announced a shotgun cartridge which fires a wireless electric shock round to knock down a person up to 65 feet away.
Australian gaming behemoth Tabcorp achieved a milestone of sorts last week with its announcement that it had for the first time surpassed Aus $1bn in annual internet revenues, Casinocitytimes.com has reported. The figure constituted a 23 per cent increase over the previous fiscal year.
If the last batch of rumours turn out to be true, and O2 is planning to stock the iPhone, then they'll have to do something about their on-line billing system; it can't be accessed by most Apple Mac users at all.
The BlackBerry range has taken a step closer towards bringing Wi-Fi on board following claims that Research in Motion (RIM) has gained the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) approval to include the connectivity feature in its handsets.
For most businesses, large or small, the most common approach to providing content management is to use a shared F: drive across the network. This is despite the fact that there are many content management tools available on the market. One of the reasons, according to John Newton, chief technology officer of Alfresco, is the fact that ECMs (Enterprise Content Management systems) are geared to a `top-down’ approach that requires the whole enterprise to be covered by the system. In addition, they are often too complex and built on proprietary technology that has to be learned by IT support staff and users. “Compared to that, the shared F: drive appears a much simpler solution,” he said.
Cybercriminals have created a "Plug and Play" phishing kit that dramatically increases the speed with which servers can be attacked. The toolkit - contained in a single file - makes it possible for even technically-illiterate would-be fraudsters to create phishing sites on a compromised server within the the blink of an eye (or two seconds, to be more exact).
Hot on the heels of Sony's recent $100 60GB PS3 price drop, gamers and industry analysts the world over are predicting that Microsoft will soon announce a cheaper Xbox 360.
Interview:Interview: 3Com's proposal to spin off TippingPoint, the security appliance vendor, is part of the company's plan to win back its position as the networking industry's number two, says Mike Ansley, the veep in charge of 3Com's EMEA operations.
You know how it goes with credit cards: first you get the basic model then, if you spend enough, you get the gold card. Well, Samsung's doing the same with its credit card-sized phone, the P310, soon to be offered in an 18 carat gold casing.
Two Texans have been charged with securities fraud and money laundering offences over a pump-and-dump email stock scam. The case follows an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) into the illegal use of pump-and-dump junk mails to promote the sale of at least 13 low-value stocks between May 2005 and December 2006.
The yardstick for how the popularity of websites is measured has changed, as analytics firms scramble to reflect how pages are now frequently updated piecemeal and "live" by the host, rather than loaded wholesale by users.
Meat CastMeat Cast It is with great pleasure that we welcome you to a new age - the age of Semi-Coherent Computing. The audio selection below marks the first in what will hopefully be a long line of hardware-themed broadcasts. We'll be using Semi-Coherent Computing to explore the current state of data center affairs, cutting edge technology and good, old fashioned hardware history. Anyone with suggestions on topics they'd like to see covered or people they'd like to hear interviewed should send e-mail to hardware (at) theregister.com. This first show - code-named 'Too Hipp to Burn' - has us talking to Chris Hipp, co-founder and CTO of blade server pioneer RLX Technologies. Hipp knows his blades, servers and microprocessors, having worked at RLX and Orion Multisystems in addition to working with numerous hardware start-ups. In this 30 minute show, Hipp and your reporter cover the major blade players and the state of the blade market. We also touch on some supercomputing items, blade PCs and the semi-coherent nature of reality. Anyone who wants to consider themselves up to speed in the blade game will need to listen to this show. Seriously. Enjoy. Semi-Coherent Computing — Episode One Special thanks go out to legend in the making Todd Phelps for letting us use his song "You Can Call Me Daddy Tonight." You'll find Phelps's web site here and his MySpace page here. Do yourself a favor and click.®
Computacenter said it has been hit by a "disappointing" trading performance for the first half (H1) of 2007. The IT reseller, the largest of its kind in the UK, said that its product and services infrastructures failed to deliver and showed no sign of improvement on 2006 figures.
Printer maker Brother unveiled a veritable shopful of products today in London, including a selection of colour laser and inkjets, and both single-function and all-in-ones devices.
Here's some good news for the gym monsters among you: women are "predisposed to prefer muscularity in men", according to researchers at UCLA. The team's report, published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, suggests "muscles in men are akin to elaborate tail feathers in male peacocks" which "attract females looking for a virile mate", as Reuters puts it. However, this animal magnetism is most effective on females looking for a quick roll in the hay, since they will tend to opt for a "regular man" when it comes to long-term relationships. Study author David Frederick explained: "On the one hand, it makes them [muscular blokes] more sexy to women. On the other hand, it makes women more suspicious about their romantic intentions." The researchers quizzed 99 male undergraduates on their sexual histories and found that the muscular examples were "twice as likely to have had more than three sex partners than less-built types". They also presented 141college women with "six standardized silhouettes of men ranging from brawny to slender" with most selecting a "toned man who was more likely to commit over a muscle-bound man they perceived as more volatile, aggressive and dominant". The upshot of all this is, according to Frederick, that while previous studies showed "concluded a man's desirability was influenced more by his earning potential and commitment", his report demonstrates that physical attraction is key. The findings will comes as a shock to those Chinese women who recently voted Bill Gates as second choice to father their babies. The Redmond multitrillionaire is not noted for his Baywatch-style sixpack stomach and rippling biceps. ®
If only Pitman's typing training courses provided its pupils with one of these puppies: a Japanese-made USB lamp that shines with varying intensity and hue... according to how fast your fingers are cruising over your keys.
Devon and Cornwall police today confirmed they'd arrested a man in connenction with the Cornwall National Liberation Army (CNLA) threats against celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Rick Stein and their Cornwall-based restaurant ventures, news agencies report.
Mobile workshopMobile workshop Our recent wireless workshop has demonstrated yet again that the genuine experts in any area are the people out there doing it for real. Indeed, we saw a number of examples of pragmatic “non trendy” opinions coming back from experienced Reg Readers that don’t necessarily tally with some of the more idealistic views we often hear from the pundits and the press (Reg journalists excluded, of course).
ReviewReview After years of flogging the Razr to death, and some very uninspired siblings, Motorola finally has something interesting to offer for the more demanding end of the market. The Z8, announced in May and available in the UK this week, is a well-designed capable media phone. But the Z8 is a rare thing in this day and age: a product the manufacturer actually cares about.
If you thought servers were nothing more than monstrous machines housed within cold corporate data centres, think again. Living Control has taken the wraps off Studio6, a prototype multi-room media server capable of pumping HD signals and music around the home.
A Texan former porn star has been slapped with a lawsuit for "stealing" a former classmate's name as her "nom de sex", the Houston Chronicle reports. Laura Madden, 25, "made a name for herself" in grumble flicks, the paper notes, but that name was in fact "Syvette Wimberly", which happens to be the title of a 25-year-old lass who shared a class with Madden at Kingwood High School. According to the lawsuit, filed last month in Harris County against and Madden and Vivid Entertainment Group, Wimberly has suffered "humiliation, embarrassment, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, mental anguish and anxiety", and is accordingly seeking damages and a cease and desist on the use of her name. Wimberly's attorney, Caj Boatright*, said his client came to him "because she was tired of getting phone calls and e-mails from friends and acquaintances asking about her new and unconventional career". He explained: "The purpose of the lawsuit is to get her to stop using this name. We're not out looking for millions of dollars. She felt disappointed and didn't understand why [Madden] would do this. She wondered why she wouldn't use Syvette and some other last name." Madden's attorney, Kent Schaffer, insisted his client "did not choose the name to cause a problem for Wimberly or to get back at her for some old grievance, but simply because she liked the sound of it". He offered: "There is no bad blood between them. Laura never meant to harm this other girl. Anyone who knows [Wimberly] knows she is not the actress. Nobody thinks that the girl in the movies is the Syvette Wimberly who they grew up with in Kingwood." Mark Kernes, legal editor for Adult Video News, predicted the legal action was doomed to failure, elaborating: "I don't ever remember hearing of a decision where a court said you can't use this name because it belongs to someone else. I don't think that would happen, though I admit this is somewhat of an unusual name." In any case, Schaffer said Madden no longer indulges in video sex for money. "She has no connection to the adult entertainment business in any way, shape or form and has started her life over. She thought that was pretty much behind her. Then this lawsuit pops up," he clarified. Schaffer concluded: "They'll never get a penny from her. She doesn't have any money, for one thing, but even if she did this suit will never hold up in court. I'm not aware of any court that has upheld such a lawsuit. If I use your name to defraud somebody, that's different. If I use it to obtain a loan or get a credit card, that's different. "The real Syvette Wimberly is going to have more unwanted attention as a result of this lawsuit than she ever would have before. Now it's certainly local news, state news and maybe even in some places national news. This will be a boost for the film company. Other than that, everybody loses." During her short-lived porn career, Madden, aka Wimberly, appeared in Irresistibly Delicious, Innocence and Dominance and other titles "inappropriate for mention in a family newspaper", as the Houston Chronicle puts it. ® Bootnote *We reckon Caj Boatright wouldn't make a bad porn moniker. Hmmm...
Dell is sending a big love letter to the little people today as it looks to expand its customer base beyond price-chiselling mega corporations with a collection of hardware and services aimed at smaller companies.
Two long-running patent disputes came to an end today with Ericsson and Samsung agreeing to license each other's technology, while Seven agreed to pay Visto for use of its intellectual property. Visto and Seven Networks have been at each other's throats for three years now over Visto's patents on e-mail push, but Seven is now saying it recognises the validity of Visto's patents and will pay to license them. Meanwhile Ericsson and Samsung, who have been busy suing each other over various GSM technologies across various countries, have also made up and agreed to drop all the suits and cross-license their technologies. Visto still has to get Microsoft and RIM to recognise the validity of its claims - cases are proceeding against the two and it seems unlikely either company is going to give up easily. All this means less money for patent lawyers, but Qualcomm and Nokia will no-doubt be able to keep them busy if necessary.®
Cisco, EMC, and Microsoft are joining forces to help the US government build a secure IT system for agencies to manage and share data. The tech trio are calling their collaboration "Secure Information Sharing Architecture" (SISA). Their purpose is to ensure that only authorized personnel have access to specific government information while at the same time easing the management load.
Microsoft has hit back at criticism that its Software Assurance maintenance contracts offer poor value for money and may be dropped by many enterprise customers. A recent survey, based on interview with 63 enterprise customers of the program by Forrester Research, revealed that many are thinking twice about renewing their subscriptions. Software Assurance, introduced in 2001, is an optional supplement to volume license agreements, offering large firms guaranteed upgrade rights for specified products over a three-year contract. Annual costs are 29 per cent of the license fee for desktop products, and 25 per cent of the license fee for server products.
Tivo and Amazon have finally gotten it right. Starting today, TiVo DVR users can download movies from Amazon's Unbox service straight from their television sets - without help from a PC.
It's true. Google can help with anything. Minutes before they opened several locked safes at a "family fun center" in Colorado Springs, a team of masked bandits sat down at a nearby PC and Googled "safe-cracking." "They brought up a site called 'How to Open Safes,'" Colorado Springs detective Chuck Ackerman told The Register.
It's upgrade time for VMware's Lab Manager package. The soon-to-IPO company this week pumped out Version 2.5 of its test and development product. The new code includes support for more storage systems, more OSes and more automation. It's a more story likely to please companies struggling with a mess of hardware in their test and dev setups.
WPCWPC Microsoft has promised "big dog" products and R&D spend next year, to defend its partner turf and go head-to-head against competitors new and old. Woof! Opening the company's annual Worldwide Partner Conference chief operating officer Kevin Turner announced Feb. 27, 2008, would herald the biggest single day of launches in Microsoft's history (at least since the last, biggest single one-day release of Windows Vista and Office 2007 on January 30) with Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, and Visual Studio 2008.
IBM is introducing new products to its virtual tape line for mainframe customers and enhancements to its virtual tape engine billed as low-power "green" alternatives for midrange and large businesses.
Former MCI and Compaq chief Michael Capellas has been tapped as CEO of credit card transaction processor First Data Corp. after the the company is acquired by affiliates of a private equity firm. The seasoned company head and golden parachute collector will succeed Henry Duques, who has been chairman and CEO of First Data since November 2005. Durques had previously announced his intentions to retire within two years in late 2005. Private investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. announced in April its intentions to buy First Data for $27bn. KKR had offered $34 per share for First Data, which was a premium of about 26 per cent over the company's closing price the day before the acquisition was announced. First Data stock sold for $32.93 in trading Tuesday. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of the third quarter of 2007, which is when Capellas will take the reins. First Data said Capellas will be working closely with their management team prior to the buy-out's completion. Capellas made his way up the executive ladder in various technology companies before landing a gig as CEO at Compaq. After Compaq was borged by HP, Capella became president of the combined company for a few months before splitting to head MCI. When MCI joined with Verizonn, Capellas left the CEO post yet again and joined investment firm Silver Lake Partners as a senior advisor. Will he stay at First Data? It's hard to tell with a ramblin' man like Capellas. Denver-based First Data was formed in 1971, and became publicly traded in 1992 when it was spun off by American Express. The company says it serves over 5 million merchant locations and 1,900 credit card issuers and their customers. ®
WPCWPC Steve Ballmer has promised Microsoft will take the lead in online software and services through a middle-of-the-road approach, while talking swipes at technology luddites and evangelical extremists. In the strongest endorsement to date by the business side of Microsoft for chief software architect Ray Ozzie's idea of "software plus service", Ballmer tried to offset partner doubts in moving to online offerings and over the maturity of patchy offerings like Office Live.
Good news for smartphone users. Bad news for the big name wireless carriers. FCC chairman Kevin Martin has released suggested rules for an upcoming radio-spectrum auction that would allow consumers to attach any device and any application to U.S. broadband wireless networks - without approval from the likes of AT&T and Verizon Wireless. With TV stations leaving the "700-MHz wireless band" in favor of digital transmission, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is set to auction off the vacated spectrum in early 2008, and Martin hopes to treat part of the spectrum like the anything-goes wired Internet, USA Today reports. "Whoever wins this spectrum has to provide...truly open broadband network - one that will open the door to a lot of innovative services for consumers," Martin told the paper. Speaking with The Register, an FCC official said that Martin was correctly quoted in the USA Today story and confirmed that the chairman has released draft rules for the auction that would create 22MHz of "open-access" spectrum. "The chairman has proposed conditions that would apply to the winner of one large piece of spectrum in the upcoming auction," the official explained. "And those conditions are that the winner must build a network that allows consumers to attach any device or run any applications they chose - provided they don't interfere with the next - even if the device is not supported by that particular carrier." The rules must be approved by the other four FCC commissioners. A vote "could happen later this summer," the official says. "The idea behind the chairman's proposals is that they will help increase broadband deployment and keep America competitive with the rest of the world," the official continued. "They will allow U.S consumers to use wireless broadband in much the same way they use wireline or cable networks." Several big-name high-tech companies have been lobbying the FCC to apply open-access rules to at least part of the 700-MHz band, including Google, Yahoo!, Skype, and Intel. Citing "a person familiar with the company's thinking," Dow Jones Newswires reports that Google is actually considering a bid for the spectrum. Meanwhile, Martin's move poses a threat to current wireless providers like AT&T and Verizon Wireless, who clearly prefer having a bit more control over the broadband wireless spectrum. During a Senate hearing in June, Dick Lynch, Verizon Wireless executive vice president and chief technical officer, openly opposed open-access rules. "The auction needs to make the spectrum available in ways that will promote, not cripple, broadband," he said. "The commission should set auction rules that allow for full and fair competition by qualified bidders, without artificial and unwarranted constraints." Chairman Martin's draft rules apply open-access restrictions to a pair of 11MHz bands. The auction covers 60MHz of spectrum in total.®