19th > September > 2007 Archive

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XtremeData volunteers to serve as Intel's FPGA busboy

IDFIDF Co-processor specialist XtremeData has revealed a first quarter ship date for a new FPGA that will tap into the front side bus of Intel's Xeon chips. XtremeData stands as one of the initial companies to take Intel up on its open FSB offer. Intel first discussed plans to bring partners to the FSB last year. The chipmaker tapped FPGA makers Xilinx and Altera as its partners in this effort to build co-processor accelerators.
Ashlee Vance, 19 Sep 2007

USB set to go to 3 for HD

IDFIDF The brains behind USB are to take the peripheral interconnect technology into the HD era with a new version, 3.0, due to be completed by the middle of 2008.
Tony Smith, 19 Sep 2007
MS Windows Vista logo
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Doomwatchers sound Windows and IE vuln alarm

Security researchers are warning of a newly discovered vulnerability in Windows operating systems that makes applications susceptible to remote attack if they rely on widely used application programming interfaces. It is one of at least three PC-based security flaws to be published in four days. The vulnerability resides in two locations in the Microsoft Class Foundation, a sprawling set of code that software developers can call on to make applications do everything from displaying certain types of graphics to performing searches. Two libraries responsible for searches across the file system, MFC42 and MFC71, are susceptible to a buffer overflow attack if an overly long argument is passed to an affected function.
Dan Goodin, 19 Sep 2007
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Intel chief waves wafer full of 'world's first' 32nm chips

IDFIDF Intel has proclaimed its 32nm process "on track" for the delivery of processors fabbed using the process in late 2009. As proof, it showed off a 300mm wafer comprising 32nm memory cells - the world's first 32nm chips, it claimed.
Tony Smith, 19 Sep 2007
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Brother unveils 'fastest' laser printer

Brother claims that its latest office-grade printer is the fastest in the west... er... in its class. The DCP-9045CDN is a beast of a machine and has several key features built into its frame to make the chore of refilling the printer tray slightly more fun.
James Sherwood, 19 Sep 2007
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Business Nokia makes an entrance

Nokia has launched a mobile phone for business users who never have enough time on their hands. The E51 handset sports most standard multimedia capabilities, but also includes dedicated short-cut buttons for key functions and connects up to corporate telephone networks.
James Sherwood, 19 Sep 2007
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Turkey stuffs YouTube (again)

A Turkish court has banned YouTube access after someone complained that the world's most popular video sharer was hosting clips that insulted the country's founding father. And, yes, you've heard all this before. In response to a Turkish resident who stumbled onto YouTube videos badmouthing not only Mustafa Kemal Ataturk but President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the national army, the court has ordered the Turkish Telecommunications Board to block access to the entire site, The AFP reports. Much the same thing happened this past March, when a court order forced the country's largest telecommunications provider, Turk Telekom, to put the kibosh on YouTube access. That ban lasted but two days. Turk Telecom removed a video that insulted Ataturk, whose memory is protected by Turkish law, and access to the site was soon restored. But just six months later, another blackout seems imminent. YouTube didn't respond to our request for comment, but the Google-owned company told the Anatolia news agency that is was "ready to cooperate with Turkish authorities to resolve the dispute". We'll see about that. ®
Cade Metz, 19 Sep 2007
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Benioff launches pre-emptive A1S strike

DreamforceDreamforce Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com's chief executive, today poured scorn on SAP for its temerity in planning on-demand business applications. At no time did he mention the company by name, but everyone recognised his target when he referred to software firms using dated architectures and hoodwinking customers.
Gavin Clarke, 19 Sep 2007
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Intel slobbers over flash-based server storage

IDFIDF Intel plans to shakeup the storage market in 2008 with the introduction of solid-state disks designed for data center hardware. SVP Pat Gelsinger revealed Intel's ambitions during a speech today here at the Intel Developer Forum. Ever excitable, Gelsinger gushed over the possibility of planting NAND flash memory-based drives in servers. Such gear should provide a solid performance boost for pulling information off disk, while lowering power consumption compared to spinning media.
Ashlee Vance, 19 Sep 2007
Microsoft
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Microsoft vs EC round-up

Monday saw the long-awaited verdict to Microsoft's appeal of European anti-trust action. On all major points Microsoft lost its appeal, although the commission's imposition of a monitoring trustee has been overturned. It's not necessarily the end of the road - if Microsoft can find a legal basis it could appeal to the final European court, the Court of Justice. On this page you can see all our coverage of the Court of First Instance verdict.
Team Register, 19 Sep 2007
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Fresh Xeon to rough up twittering Opteron

IDFIDF Intel has given up on anything resembling restraint with its latest round of AMD bashing. During the Intel Developer Forum, executives pounded away on AMD's new four-core Opteron (Barcelona) chip. Intel plans to beat Barcelona on every benchmark with the release of its four-core Xeon (Harpertown) in the fourth quarter. And by "every benchmark," Intel means every benchmark, including AMD's stronghold with floating point-heavy measurements.
Ashlee Vance, 19 Sep 2007
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Maddy: TV torture for the ADD generation

ColumnColumn Following the first Gulf War of 1991, the French social theorist Jean Baudrillard made the famous statement that "the Gulf War did not take place". It was seized on by academics, journalists, and pub intellectuals in the English-speaking world as a prime example of the absurdity and irresponsibility of French philosophy. When he died earlier this year, it was this bizarre comment of his that the obituary-writers fixated on. What did Baudrillard mean by it?
William Davies, 19 Sep 2007
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New competition minister makes broadband rallying cry

Competitiveness minister Stephen Timms has called for a road map to push forward the UK's move to super fast broadband. In his first major speech as competitiveness minister, Stephen Timms said the UK is in urgent need of setting out a clear route for its move to super fast broadband and warned that other countries are already ahead of the UK. Timms was speaking at the launch of a new work programme of the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) - the government's advisory group on broadband. He also announced a high-level summit on the need for public sector intervention in broadband deployment. In response, chair of the BSG, Kip Meek, called on the government to set a target to benchmark the UK's broadband infrastructure against its key economic competitors. Next generation broadband will involve the delivery of services capable of providing more than 20Mbps downstream, which would be sufficient to support services such as multiple HDTV feeds, broadband internet and voice services. The new technology would also enable faster upstream access to support more peer-to-peer applications and interactive and user generated services. Timms commented: "When I became e-commerce minister five years ago, the UK was neck and neck with Croatia on broadband availability and use. "Together, thanks in no small measure to the work of the BSG, we fixed that problem and put Britain in a leading position. However, today we face a new challenge. Other countries are starting to invest in new, fibre based infrastructure, delivering considerably higher bandwidth than is available in the UK today." Timms said it was a priority to have in place a high performance telecommunications infrastructure in every part of the country, so the UK could compete on a global scale. He said the summit, which he will chair later this year, would consider the circumstances that could lead to public sector intervention, and the form and level of intervention this might take place. "I want it to be an open exchange, to bring together key people from government, from Ofcom, and from industry. It is essential that the UK undertakes timely deployment of technology - we can't lag behind." Meek added: "We're not looking to government for all of the solutions, but we are looking for ministerial leadership. Communications infrastructure is a key enabler of competitiveness." In April 2007, the BSG published its Pipe Dreams report, which called for a mix of investment incentives and competition policies to enable a market-led transition to next generation broadband. Its new work programme aims to push through the report's nine recommendations, including working with local and central public bodies. This article was originally published at Kablenet. Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.
Kablenet, 19 Sep 2007
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Ethics body calls for DNA safeguards

An independent medical body has warned that more controls are needed to protect the innocent against unjustified DNA profiling. The Nuffield Council on Bioethics, which examines ethical issues raised by new developments in medicine, has sounded the warning in a new report titled The forensic use of bioinformation: ethical issues. Among a series of recommendations aimed at protecting the freedoms of innocent people, the council says the police should only be allowed to keep the DNA of people who are convicted of a crime. Currently, the police can permanently store the samples of people who have been arrested on the National DNA Database (NDNAD) regardless of whether they are later found to be innocent. The exceptions, says the council, should be people charged with serious violent or sexual offences, whose DNA could be kept for up to five years even if they are not convicted. The government has consulted on plans to allow police to take and store DNA from those arrested for non-recordable offences, such as littering and minor traffic offences. The report urges these proposals to be dropped. "After careful consideration, we do not think that this is justified at the current time," said Professor Sir Bob Hepple QC, chair of the council. "We would like to see the police put more resources into the collection of DNA from crime scenes, rather than from individuals suspected of minor offences." High Court judge Lord Justice Sedley recently called for the DNA of every UK citizen and foreign visitor to be entered on the database. He suggested that it is currently an imperfect mechanism and open to problems of discrimination. But the council believes that this would only have a small impact on public safety and would not justify the intrusion on privacy. The retention of around 750,000 under-18s on the database is also a matter of controversy, as the United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child gives children special protection under the legal system, including opportunities for rehabilitation. Speaking to GC News, Jackie Worrall, director of policy and public affairs at criminal justice charity Nacro, said that the retention of DNA under such instances could undermine the potential to rehabilitate. She said: "A significant number of offenders who are young would want to put their offending past behind them." The report recommends the removal of children's DNA from the database, if requested, unless a very serious offence has been committed. The council also calls for controls to prevent ethnic inferences from being routinely sought, and for legal professionals to gain a minimum understanding of statistics with regard to DNA evidence in court. Regulation of forensic databases should also be enshrined in law, while an independent tribunal should be set up to oversee requests by individuals to remove their DNA from the database. Commenting on the report, Liberal Democrat shadow home secretary Nick Clegg MP said: "The retention of the DNA of thousands of innocent British citizens is an outrage and must stop. It blurs the fundamental distinction between innocence and guilt upon which our whole criminal justice system depends." The DNA debate has caught the attention of other civil liberties groups in recent weeks, with human rights lobbyists Liberty calling for similar safeguards in a report on privacy published last week. This article was originally published at Kablenet. Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.
Kablenet, 19 Sep 2007
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Irish firm launches 'global' mobile phone

Irish start-up firm Cubic Telecom has launched what it claims is the first "truly global" mobile phone at a major industry exhibition in California. The Cubic Mobile phone was launched Monday at the prestigious TechCrunch 40 trade show in San Francisco, where Cubic was the only Irish exhibitor of the 40 companies in attendance. The new phone is a dual-band GSM/Wi-Fi device that includes several features the company says will help reduce the cost of long-distance calling. It uses the "MAXroam" SIM card, claimed to be the world's first universal SIM card, which offers favourable country-to-country phone rates anywhere in the world. Cubic says the card is the result of years of negotiations with GSM carriers around the world. The phone also offers full PBX functionality, allowing users to create up to 50 permanent local phone numbers for themselves. Cubic is also offering free Voice over IP (VoIP) calls within its network. "We are living in a world where more and more people need to make phone calls across borders and while travelling. Our mantra is 'all global calls should be local calls', and we have built a product that can do that," Cubic CEO and co-founder Pat Phelan said in a statement. Cubic says the new phone is aimed at three key sectors of the mobile market: Emigres who buy pre-paid calling cards to call friends and family overseas, travellers looking to reduce the costs associated with roaming, and globally distributed teams from commercial, not-for-profit or governmental organisations. Two versions of the handset will be available from 1 October: A basic version priced at €99.95 and a Windows Mobile version selling for €159.95. Both devices come with the MAXroam SIM card pre-installed. The card can also be purchased separately for use in any unlocked GSM phone, priced at €29.99. The launch of the Cubic Mobile comes after the company secured €5m of funding for the development of new products in August of this year. Cubic has offices in Canada and Portugal as well as headquarters in Cork and offers its services in 160 countries. The firm currently employs 10 people worldwide but says it is aiming to double its headcount by the end of the year. © 2007 ENN
Stephen Errity, 19 Sep 2007
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New GPS sats to lack Selective Availability

The US military announced yesterday that it will no longer procure Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites with the capability for worldwide civil sat nav degradation. In a release dated yesterday, the Pentagon confirmed that "this capability, known as Selective Availability (SA), will no longer be present in the next generation of GPS satellites". Until 2000, the accuracy of the GPS civil signal was reduced using SA, so that a normal sat nav receiver would be accurate to only 100 metres or so. There was and remains a separate military signal, encrypted so only those with appropriate keys - such as the US forces and their allies - can use it. Despite SA, many civil users were able to achieve excellent accuracy using a technique known as Differential GPS, in which a ground station at a known location would calculate the SA error and transmit corrections to a mobile civil receiver in real time. SA was switched off in 2000 on the orders of President Clinton, but it remained an option. In the years since, the US government has sought to assure civil GPS users that SA would never be used again, but its presence has remained a concern. Now it has been confirmed that the next generation of satellites will not have SA built in. According to the Pentagon: "While this action will not materially improve the performance of the system, it does reflect the United States' strong commitment to users by reinforcing that this global utility can be counted on to support peaceful civil applications around the globe." This announcement may reassure users somewhat, but the GPS civil signal still isn't a given. America will retain the option to degrade or deny it altogether over limited areas, and this was always much more likely to happen than the relatively blunt instrument of degrading performance worldwide. The European Commission is just about to make its case for pushing ahead with the proposed new Galileo Euro sat nav constellation. One might speculate that the timing of this American announcement isn't a coincidence. ®
Lewis Page, 19 Sep 2007
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New York Times and Murdoch gunning for more clicks

The trend towards coughing up free online news continued apace yesterday following the New York Times's decision to drop charges on its website. Rupert Murdoch also waded into the debate, perhaps looking to grab a few column inches and clicks for the Wall Street Journal which will fall into the News Corp boss's lap once his $5bn takeover of Dow Jones has completed. The Times said it had changed its stance from offering an online subscription-based news service to allowing readers access to its entire website from today after spotting an opportunity to raise revenue through advertising. The newspaper said that its paid-for website, which launched two years ago, had drawn 227,000 paying subscribers at an annual cost of $49.95 that pulled in $10m a year in revenue. However, compared to the growth of online advertising, the Times senior VP and general manager of the site Vivian L. Schiller said "our projections for growth on that paid subscriber base were low". The newspaper added that many readers had linked to the site via search engines such as Google and Yahoo! but had then been blocked from gaining further access by the "pay wall". Explaining the rationale behind its decision, the Times also quoted figures from media watcher Nielsen/NetRatings which reckoned the newspaper has 13 million unique visitors each month. According to the Financial Times, whose own online offering charges readers wanting access to select material on its website, Murdoch said that dropping charges on the WSJ site was "right on the front burner" of his plans for the online edition. The media tycoon added that while cutting out its subscription service could see a short-term revenue loss of about $30m, he reckoned that opening up the WSJ site by using the online advertising business model would generate a much larger readership. Um, perhaps he's been reading El Reg. ®
Kelly Fiveash, 19 Sep 2007
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Bioethics group raises DNA database concerns

AnalysisAnalysis The Nuffield Council on Bioethics has condemned the retention of "innocent" DNA on the National Database as unjustifed and unethical with "overtones of a police state".
Amber Marks, 19 Sep 2007
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Time Warner mulls flogging AOL US dial-up biz (again)

The boss of media omnicorp Time Warner said yesterday he is considering selling off the AOL dial-up business Stateside. It's not the first time the idea has been floated, and chief exec Richard Parsons told the Goldman Communacopia* conference the firm would be taking an especially hard look at it over the next 12 to 18 months, Reuters reports.
Christopher Williams, 19 Sep 2007
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Battling iPod docks take to the battlefield

If you don’t have a docking station for your iPod, then you may be depriving it of a decent place to work, charge and play. But which model should you choose? Is it best to shell out for a top of the line one? Or are all versions pretty much the same? Are those with built in speakers best? Or should you opt for one that connects into your stereo?
James Sherwood, 19 Sep 2007
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The iPhone arrives, but is O2 being taken for a ride?

AnalysisAnalysis Yesterday Apple announced that O2 would have the exclusive rights to their iPhone in the UK, with punters paying £279 for the phone and signing up to an 18-month contract.
Bill Ray, 19 Sep 2007
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Nobel-winning boffin slams ISS, manned spaceflight

A Nobel laureate physicist has poured scorn on human space exploration, saying "the whole manned spaceflight programme, which is so enormously expensive, has produced nothing of scientific value". Professor Steven Weinberg of the University of Texas at Austin, co-recipient of the 1979 Nobel Prize for Physics, was speaking at a workshop in Baltimore. His remarks were reported by Space.com. Weinberg had especially harsh words for the International Space Station (ISS), saying that it was "an orbital turkey... No important science has come out of it. I could almost say no science has come out of it". The irascible particle physicist went on to slam astronauts in general. "Human beings don't serve any useful function in space," he said. "They radiate heat, they're very expensive to keep alive, and unlike robotic missions they have a natural desire to come back, so that anything involving human beings is enormously expensive." He criticised astronauts for mindlessly playing golf in space while hardworking, relatively cheap robot Mars rovers brought home the scientific bacon. Unsurprisingly for a particles boffin, the testy prof felt that the billions poured into manned orbiting turkeys would have been better spent on a really big atom-smasher. According to Space.com, Weinberg is still cheesed off about the 1993 cancellation of the Superconducting Super Collider, a monstrous particle-punishing magnetic carousel which was to have been built in his own Texas backyard. Apparently, Congress decided to spend the cash on the ISS instead. "Coming from Texas, that memory is really a burning one," said the embittered scientist. He added that NASA should prioritise unmanned scientific missions such as those listed under the agency's "Beyond Einstein" push rather than funnelling cash into an Apollo-style crash effort to put astronaut boots on Mars. "NASA's budget is increasing," said Weinberg grimly, "with the increase being driven by what I see on the part of the president and the administrators of NASA as an infantile fixation on putting people into space, which has little or no scientific value". Even as he spoke, NASA confirmed his worst fears by announcing that applications are now being taken for a new intake of astronauts, to commence training in 2009. The agency has not run a space-ace intake class since 2004, when it signed on 11 astro-rookies. Wannabe astronauts who are undeterred by Weinberg's scorn will need a bachelor's degree in engineering, science, or maths and at least three years' experience. Historically, this has usually meant a career as a military fast-jet test pilot or an academic scientist or engineer; but nowadays NASA wants to recruit teacher astronauts too, and classroom coalface time can count. Here at the Reg, we don't quite know what to think. The idea of manned spaceflight is frankly more appealing than just sitting here on Earth looking at the rest of the universe until the end of the world, maybe sending out robots now and again. On the other hand we're not terribly impressed with the idea of chemical rockets as the only propulsion technology for the foreseeable future, which is mainly what NASA plans on. Maybe if the boffins got loads of cash for atom-smashers, deep space Einsteinian-physics-bender probes, etc, they might finally come up with hyperspace drives or antigravity or something. Then there could be a proper space exploration effort. It could be worth playing the long game. Still, we here at Vulture Central come from a country that hardly puts any money at all into space projects, scientifically valuable or not. So we probably don't get a vote. More from Space.com here. ®
Lewis Page, 19 Sep 2007
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LG unwraps HD DVD and Blu-ray combi drive PC

LG has announced a desktop PC that supports both high definition (HD) formats. The LX97WH has been unveiled in Korea and packs a combi drive allowing users to read discs in both the HD DVD and Blu-ray format.
James Sherwood, 19 Sep 2007
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easyJet's cheapo astroturfing campaign downs charity servers

easyJet has quickly apologised to a charity that makes it easier for people to contact their MP, after the airline overloaded servers by ignoring anti-spam guidelines.
Christopher Williams, 19 Sep 2007

How to create a sensible telephone strategy

Mobile ClinicMobile Clinic In this our penultimate mobile clinic piece, The Register's group of experts return to provide their opinions on your questions. This week the team are tackling how to best create a sensible telephone strategy, and as usual you can have your say via our comments section at the bottom of the article.
Team Register, 19 Sep 2007
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Lenovo debuts world's highest res 22in monitor

It seems a little extraordinary, but until now we've been living in a world without any 1920 x 1200 resolution 22in desktop monitors. Thankfully, Lenovo has come to the rescue with the L220x to do just that and more, including full 1080p HD support.
James Sherwood, 19 Sep 2007
5

Doggers dogged over the dog and bone

A text alert service for doggers has been fined £20,000 by regulator ICSTIS for breaches of the premium-rate code, including signing up punters without their knowledge and failing to respond to "stop" messages. The "Dogger" service was run by Zamano Ltd and provided vital information for those wanting to watch, or be watched, having sex in public places. But punters only found out they'd been signed up to the service when they received a reverse-charged SMS, at £1.50, letting them know where they should be to get in on the action. Zamano argued it had taken on the service from another provider, and claimed to have sent out notifications (free) to all customers on the database. However, as it couldn't provide any call records, ICSTIS dismissed the argument. Zamano was cleared of providing inappropriate information to minors as it was operating an "adult" short code (starting 89) and, perversely, was cleared of failing to provide contact information as that only applies to promotions, and a service which signs people up without their knowledge needs little promotion. Register readers hoping to avail themselves of dogging alerts will be disappointed to hear the service was terminated before ICSTIS got involved, but Zamano still has to cough up the cash to compensate aggrieved non-doggers who received messages. ®
Bill Ray, 19 Sep 2007
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Internet gambling apparently no problem after all

The UK National Centre for Social Research today released the long awaited results of the UK Gambling Prevalence Survey 2007 and, contrary to hysterical media speculation, there has been no significant change in UK gambling habits since the last survey in 1999. Many had speculated that the prevalence of internet gambling since the last survey would lead to changes in problem gambling rates and attitudes toward gambling as a leisure activity. In fact, the report notes, only six per cent of all Brits gambled online at all last year, and the percentage of the population considered to be "problem gamblers" remains unchanged since 1999 at either 0.5 per cent or 0.6 per cent, depending on the metrics used. This suggests the ease of access to gambling on the internet has had no effect on the gambling habits of UK residents. In descending order, the most popular forms of gambling in the UK went as follows: 1. The National Lottery Draw (57%) 2. Scratchcards (20%) 3. Betting on horse races (17%), and 4. Playing slot machines (14%) There was only a slight uptick - from 46 per cent to 48 per cent - in the percentage of the population that gambled at all between 1999 and 2007 (that figure excludes those who played the lottery - the true percentage who gambled is considerably higher). The government, via the lottery, proved once again to be the biggest gambling pusher of all. Overall, Brits viewed gambling as something of a sin, but still considered it to be an activity that consenting adults should be allowed to enjoy. The complete report can be found here. ® Burke Hansen, attorney at large, heads a San Francisco law office
Burke Hansen, 19 Sep 2007
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Hypersonic plane project confirmed by DARPA

The US Air Force (USAF) has inked a deal with DARPA* - the famously luncheoning-elsewhere Pentagon boffinry outfit - to collaborate on a "combined cycle hypersonic vehicle that could take off and land like a plane", according to reports.
Lewis Page, 19 Sep 2007

First Intel quad-core mobile CPU due Q3 08

IDFIDF Intel's first four-core processors for notebooks will debut in Q3 2008, it has been claimed. That narrows the release window down from the previous forecast: sometime in the second half of the year.
Tony Smith, 19 Sep 2007
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T-Mobile wins iPhone for Germany

T-Mobile has won exclusive rights to sell the Apple iPhone in Germany. The Deutsche Telekom-owned subsidiary will launch the handset on 9 November, the same day that hordes of Brits are expected to flock to Carphone Warehouse, Apple or O2 UK stores for their Jesus phones.
James Sherwood, 19 Sep 2007
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German web host to go carbon neutral

Web hosting firm Strato has pulled on its hemp-woven strides and made an ambitious proclamation that it will be completely carbon-free by January 2008.
Kelly Fiveash, 19 Sep 2007
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Ever wanted to see the game from the football's PoV?

If you’ve ever been frustrated enough to consider throwing your digicam across the room, then you’ll be pleased to know that you now can. A designer has created a concept camera that’s actually designed to be used while being flung around, suspended or even kicked.
James Sherwood, 19 Sep 2007
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Brussels deploys Galileo rescue plan

The European Union (EU) central bureaucracy has today announced its plan to save Galileo, the troubled European sat nav project. Brussels officials believe that no additional taxpayer cash would be required on top of existing EU plans, saying that funds could be reassigned from other areas. According to AP, Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot told an EU Parliamentary committee that "Galileo is a strategic project for the EU. We don't want to depend on the GPS signal, as the United States can step in at any time for military reasons". It's generally thought that an additional €2.4bn must be found for Galileo's construction, after it became clear earlier this year that private funding would not be forthcoming. Barrot reportedly proposed that most of the money, €2.2bn, could be transferred from an unspent agriculture budget. The remaining €200m could be found from funds previously earmarked for research and EU administration. The unspecified costs of maintaining and running the satellites would still - according to Barrot - be met by private industry, who would recoup their expenses by charging for added-value Galileo services. It appears the commissioners may be shifting to an overtly military-strategic stance on Galileo. As originally proposed, Galileo was to be entirely civil and safety-architecture in nature, and as such would not be designed for intentional removal/degradation of service. This was seen as a big selling point over the civil signal of the existing US military GPS, which may be degraded or removed in a given area at the discretion of the Americans. AP quotes Barrot today, however, as saying that "the debate still needs to be open" on the military aspects of Galileo. ®
Lewis Page, 19 Sep 2007
Warning Go
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Google says go-go-Gadget Ads

Google is rolling out yet another way of pumping advertising onto the web with Gadget Ads, and this time it reckons it can trick you into thinking it's real "content", whatever that is.
Christopher Williams, 19 Sep 2007
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IBM hopes open office is Symphony to your key-tapping fingers

IBM has joined the growing group of tech companies punting alternatives to Microsoft's omnipresent Office suite. Its new Lotus Symphony package, which launched yesterday, includes word processing, spreadsheet and presentation programs and is available free of charge to Windows and Linux users.
Kelly Fiveash, 19 Sep 2007

Intel pledges ultra-low power web gadget chip - again

IDFIDF Intel today re-iterated its plan to squeeze an entire handheld web tablet's system chippery into a single slab of silicon, but it make a fresh pledge: to cut the chip's idle power consumption to a tenth of what it expects next year's multi-chip platform to use.
Tony Smith, 19 Sep 2007

Nvidia readies SLI for Intel's X38?

IDFIDF Intel will formally launch its awaited gaming-oriented chipset, the X38, on 10 October, the chip maker said yesterday after touting the product's overclocking credentials. It also hinted Nvidia may enable SLI on the chipset.
Tony Smith, 19 Sep 2007
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787 unsafe, claims former Boeing engineer

A former Boeing engineer claims the 787 Dreamliner is unsafe, and that in the event of a crash its innovative composite material fuselage would "shatter too easily and burn with toxic fumes", the Seattle Times reports. Vince Weldon was sacked in July 2006 from his post as senior aerospace engineer at Boeing's Phantom Works research unit for "disputed reasons". He argues that "without years of further research, Boeing shouldn't build the Dreamliner and that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) shouldn't certify the jet to fly". Weldon's allegations are detailed in a letter to the FAA, which claims: The brittleness of the plastic material from which the 787 fuselage is built would create a more severe impact shock to passengers than an aluminum plane, which absorbs impact in a crash by crumpling. A crash also could shatter the plastic fuselage, creating a hole that would allow smoke and toxic fumes to fill the passenger cabin. After such a crash landing, the composite plastic material burning in a jet-fuel fire would create "highly toxic smoke and tiny inhalable carbon slivers" that "would likely seriously incapacitate or kill passengers". The recently conducted crashworthiness tests — in which Boeing dropped partial fuselage sections from a height of about 15 feet at a test site in Mesa, Ariz. — are inadequate and do not match the stringency of comparable tests conducted on a 737 fuselage section in 2000. The conductive metal mesh embedded in the 787's fuselage surface to conduct away lightning is too light and vulnerable to hail damage, and is little better than a "Band-Aid." In a "whistle-blower complaint" filed with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Weldon claimed that his firing was "retaliation for raising concerns throughout the last two years of his employment about the crashworthiness of the 787". Boeing, however, told the OSHA he was "dismissed for threatening a supervisor, specifically for stating he wanted to hang the African-American executive 'on a meat hook' and that he 'wouldn't mind' seeing a noose around the executive's neck", the Seattle Times reports. OSHA dismissed Weldon's claim, denying him whistle-blower status "largely on the grounds that Boeing's 787 design does not violate any FAA regulations or standards". FAA spokesman Mike Fergus confirmed earlier this week the 787 will "not be certified unless it meets all the FAA's criteria, including a specific requirement that Boeing prove passengers will have at least as good a chance of surviving a crash landing as they would in current metal airliners". A Boeing spokeswoman assured the Seattle Times: "We have to demonstrate [to the FAA] comparable crashworthiness to today's airplanes. We are doing that." She elaborated that recent crash tests were "successful but are only the beginning of a process that relies on computer modeling to cover every possible crash scenario". The tests also demonstrated that "shards of composite material released in a crash are not a shape that is easily inhaled", and that "the smoke produced by composites in a jet-fuel fire is no more toxic than the smoke from the crash of an aluminum plane". Finally, she confirmed the Dreamliner's lightning protection "will meet FAA requirements". Weldon's serious allegations come as Boeing is struggling to keep the Dreamliner to its original launch schedule. It planned the aircraft's maiden flight for August, now put back to mid-November to mid-December due to a "critical shortage of aerospace fasteners to hold the airplane together", as the Wall Street Journal explains. Company execs have, nonetheless, declared Boeing will deliver the first example in May 2008, despite industry pundits and "a number of the plane's suppliers" describing this feat as "the aerospace equivalent of hitting a hole in one on a golf course". Indeed, if the 787 took to the air in mid-November, Boeing would have just six months to complete the flight test and certification program - compared to 11 months for the 777. Boeing has secured 684 Dreamliner orders from 47 customers. All-Nippon Airways will be the first to get its hands on the controls, and is reportedly pretty relaxed about any potential delivery delay since it will deploy the airliner to replace its 767 fleet, and can continue to operate the latter were it necessary. ® Further info For the planespotters among you, here are some vital stats from Boeing: 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). In addition to bringing big-jet ranges to mid-size airplanes, the 787 will provide airlines with unmatched fuel efficiency, resulting in exceptional environmental performance. The airplane will use 20 percent less fuel for comparable missions than today's similarly sized airplane. It will also travel at speeds similar to today's fastest wide bodies, Mach 0.85. Airlines will enjoy more cargo revenue capacity.
Lester Haines, 19 Sep 2007
13

Smiley celebrates 25th birthday

The "digital smiley" - a cunning series of keystrokes which gave rise to the ubiquitous emoticon - is today celebrating its 25th birthday. That's according to Carnegie Mellon University professor Scott E. Fahlman, who says that at 11:44 am on 19 September 1982, during an electronic bulletin board discussion about "the limits of online humor and how to denote comments meant to be taken lightly", he made the following fateful suggestion: "I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: :-). Read it sideways." Fahlman explained: "I've never seen any hard evidence that the :-) sequence was in use before my original post, and I've never run into anyone who actually claims to have invented it before I did. But it's always possible that someone else had the same idea — it's a simple and obvious idea, after all." He added in a university statement: "It has been fascinating to watch this phenomenon grow from a little message I tossed off in 10 minutes to something that has spread all around the world. I sometimes wonder how many millions of people have typed these characters, and how many have turned their heads to one side to view a smiley, in the 25 years since this all started." ®
Lester Haines, 19 Sep 2007
28

Microsoft counters VMware insanity with optimistic frown

AnalysisAnalysis I used to enjoy covering VMware. In the good old days, CEO Diane Greene would stop by the office to chat about everything, including point upgrades to ESX Server, GSX Server - remember that - or Workstation. She never tried to oversell the products. She embraced a humble, intelligent approach to discussing VMware's products and plans.
Ashlee Vance, 19 Sep 2007
channel
12

Web host breach may have exposed passwords for 6,000 clients

Layered Technologies has been targeted by malicious hackers who may have stolen passwords and other personal details on as many as 6,000 of its clients, the Texas-based web host provider warned. It is advising customers to change login credentials for all host details submitted in the past two years.
Dan Goodin, 19 Sep 2007
30

ICANN dukes it out with the USSR in cold war rematch smackdown

The Internet Corporation for the Assignment of Names and Numbers - that's ICANN to you, Boris - has had enough, and decided to stick it to those godless pinko commie automatons once and for all, nukes be damned. For those readers who thought the cold war had vanished in rhetorical smoke years ago, Reuters has news for you. ICANN, the group that manages the technical underpinnings of the internet, has decided to jettison once and for all the .su country code domain originally assigned to the Soviet Union. ISO 3166-1 - it only sounds like a poisonous radioactive isotope - is the master list of of country- level codes compiled back in 1990, when the net was being run by the Information Sciences Institute (ISI) at the University of Southern California. Unfortunately for the master list, historical events rather quickly rendered the .su top level domain superfluous. But the virtual Soviets soldiered on, unmoved by the events on the ground (the most committed of all, no doubt) and the already irrelevant little code persisted, like one of those laws that gets passed and just stays on the books through sheer legislative indifference. Anyway, it's a pain to change a domain. "In 1992 it (.su) was taken off the ISO list and since that day it has been at odds with the ISO standard," Kim Davies from ICANN told Reuters. "Our primary aim is to maintain the stability of the internet." Ah, but once again, events on the ground failed the master plan. Those who had their .su domains saw no reason to give them up, and merrily went about their business. Right now there are about 10,000 web addresses registered to .su, and 1,500 were added this year as the domain has developed something of a cult following in the old country. Of course, it wouldn't be the first time that a chunk of the internet has gotten the boot. Yugoslavia (.yu) only recently got chucked off the island, much as Czechoslavakia (.cs) and Zaire (.zr) did years ago. The UK has always been a troublemaker for the ISO 3166-1, what with the Brits thumbing their noses at the officially approved .gb for the sake of .uk and all. Take that, ICANN, and like it. And yet, somehow, the net rolls on. It's all enough to make one wonder if Karl Auerbach doesn't have a point about ICANN restricting itself to a very narrow mandate, like a plumber fixing an occasional leak and then courteously exiting the house. Why not just make sure all the domains work together, rather than trying to organize everything in ways that make sense to ICANN? One of ICANN's more recent obsessions is organizing top level domains by subject area, which is all well and good for those that want to be a part of those domains, but what's wrong with people holding on to .su, even if only for sentimental reasons? Is it the fact that it only has two letters, like the other country codes, but no longer is? So what? What about the inconvenience to those that already paid into ICANN's previously approved system and bought .su domains, only to find out a year later that it's no longer the preferred code and they need to go shop somewhere else? Let the godless commie holdouts have their little scrap of the internet. For old time's sake.® Burke Hansen, attorney at large, heads a San Francisco law office
Burke Hansen, 19 Sep 2007
7

NASA trolls web for wannabe astronauts

In its search for new astronauts, NASA has turned to the web. For the first time in almost thirty years, the cash-strapped, Google-loving bureaucrats are looking for men and women to ride into space on a U.S. craft other than the Shuttle - so they've posted a notice to Usajobs.com, "your one-stop source for federal jobs and employment information". If you'd like to apply, simply visit the site and search on "astronaut". "NASA, the world's leader in space and aeronautics is always seeking outstanding scientists, engineers, and other talented professionals to carry forward the great discovery process that its mission demands," reads the job summary. "Creativity. Ambition. Teamwork. A sense of daring. And a probing mind. That's what it takes to join NASA, one of the best places to work in the Federal Government." But that's not all it takes. Applicants must also prove U.S. citizenship and submit to a drug test - which could rule out a majority of El Reg staff members, readers, and their immediate families. The upside is that the job has a promotion potential of "15", and NASA offers "excellent benefit programs and competitive salaries". Can you say "$59,493 to $130,257 a year"? Ten to fifteen positions need filling. The chosen few will join NASA's International Space Station (ISS) Program, which should prove to be an exciting work environment. "Astronauts are involved in all aspects of assembly and on-orbit operations of the ISS," Usajobs continues. "This includes extravehicular activities (EVA), robotics operations using the remote manipulator system, experiment operations, and onboard maintenance tasks." But don't expect a walk in the park. The position calls for hard work and "extensive travel". The site continues: "Long-duration missions aboard the ISS generally last from 3 to 6 months. Training for long duration missions is very arduous and takes approximately 2 to 3 years. This training requires extensive travel, including long periods away in other countries training with our international partners." Ar first, a NASA spokeswoman told us, astronaut recruits will visit the space station on Russian Soyez capsules, but NASA's brand new Orion moonship is due by 2015. Talk about a job perk. Some new recruits could actually set foot on the moon. NASA plans to return mankind to the lunar surface by 2020, and if you stick it out that long, you'll have a mighty fine pension. Other perks could include drunken space flight, kidnapping, and pamper-wearing. ®
Cade Metz, 19 Sep 2007

Sorting through Intel's SoC drawer

IDFIDF Intel launched its first foray into the world of system-on-a-chip (SoC) products for consumer electronics kit in April this year. Then, at its Spring IDF conference, it launched the CE2110, an ARM-based CPU with a built-in graphics engine, memory controller and more.
Tony Smith, 19 Sep 2007
14

Argos admits selling Halo 3 early

Argos has admitted breaking the official release date for Halo 3. The UK high street retailer coughed to the goof after lucky gamers reported getting their mitts on copies of the game before the scheduled release date next week.
James Sherwood, 19 Sep 2007
hands waving dollar bills in the air
2

Supermicro debuts super quiet server blade

IDFIDF Supermicro is showing off a new ultra quiet and low energy server blade at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco this week. Uncharacteristically lacking a "super" prefix in its name, the OfficeBlade is designed for offices, departmental computing and — we venture this category is a bit more narrow — personal supercomputing applications.
Austin Modine, 19 Sep 2007

Yes! It's the Intel 'Penryn' codename decoder

IDFIDF Intel's 45nm 'Penryn' processor comes in many forms, all derived from this tweaked version of the chip giant's Core 2 microarchitecture and targeting different segments of the market. Here's our guide to the many personalities of Penryn and their codenames.
Tony Smith, 19 Sep 2007
5

TerraTec Noxon 2 net radio and iPod dock

ReviewReview No sooner does DAB establish itself as the radio format of the future, than internet radio begins tapping it on the shoulder and trying to muscle its way past.
Lewis Caliburn, 19 Sep 2007
Maxtor
21

Kaspersky: Maxtor markets password-pilfering Dutch disk drives

Security mavens from Kaspersky say they have discovered a nasty virus that came pre-installed on Maxtor external hard drives sold in the Netherlands.
Dan Goodin, 19 Sep 2007