26th > September > 2007 Archive
Red Hat posted today a sharp rise in earnings during its fiscal second quarter, spurred by (you guessed it) an increase in Linux sales. For the quarter ended August 31, Red Hat lists revenue of $127.3m, up 28 per cent from $99.7m during the same period last year. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had expected earnings of about $125m in revenue.
Project management specialist Trilog Group has jumped into the Software as a Service (SaaS) market with its established ProjExec package.
This story was updated on 28th September to report that the vulnerability has been patched. Yesterday, we reported on an unholy trinity of Google vulnerabilities that put emails, private photos and website security at risk. Today came word of a new weakness that makes it easy for bad guys to silently put a backdoor in Gmail accounts.
Dublin-based firm Adwalker has been granted a US patent for its wearable interactive digital media platform. "We have always been aggressive on the IP (Intellectual Property) front," Adwalker spokesman Simon Crisp told ENN. "The wearable media market in the US is growing all the time, so there's real value in securing the IP, both from a commercial and protection point of view." In a statement, Adwalker's chief operating officer Keith Jordan commented: "The grant of this patent in the world's largest, fastest growing and most competitive marketplace for wearable media is significant. The board is actively pursuing ways to use the company's intellectual property in a range of markets across a number of countries." At the end of August, the company reported a €3.2m loss for the year ending February 2007. The loss was attributed primarily to the firm's policy of aggressive expansion and investment in the US, UK and Ireland that saw turnover for the same year increase 155 per cent, and the signing of contracts with clients such as IBM, Heineken, Castrol, Waitrose and BT. The company also has a co-marketing agreement with music download service eMusic. At the time of the August announcement, Adwalker also said it was undertaking specific campaigns to sign up consumer trial lists on behalf of two "well known" music and DVD film rental companies in the UK and expected that this campaign would generate "significant" revenues in the last quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2008. In May of this year, Adwalker announced that it was in talks with a major corporation to conduct a pilot of an interactive fixed screen digital network, with a view to rolling out a network of interactive screens across Europe. An unnamed source has since confirmed to ENN that the company in question is Unilever, with the pilot screens currently being deployed next to ice-cream displays in a nationwide convenience store chain. Adwalker's wearable platform is also gaining some high-profile attention; it was featured in an episode of Donald Trump's TV programme The Apprentice in March of this year. Headquartered in Dublin, Adwalker is listed on London's Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and has offices there and in New York. © 2007 ENN
Fraudsters have begun garnishing phishing emails with claims that punters need to respond in order to enrol in the Verified by Visa programme.
Pity if you will poor old Vanessa Hudgens, star of Disney's High School Musical, who recently got some unwanted exposure when a snap of her striking a birthday-suit strumpet pose for the titillation of squeeze Zac Efron spilled onto the internet, with predictable results. The offending photo, far too explicit for a family publication such as this, reportedly nearly cost the girl her job. Happily, Disney had an attack of good sense and decided she would not have to walk the plank for strutting her stuff in what was, after all, a private image. That should have been an end to it, but Hudgens now has to explain just how further photographs of her engaging in a further series of outrages - including mock lesbian-kissing her chums, giving the camera the finger, and pulling up her skirt to reveal her underwear - came to entertain the unwashed cybermasses. The poses in question, which The Register has seen but considers far too tame for an adult publication such as this, are hardly in Paris Hilton's league. We'd suggest that if the material did indeed show Ms Hudgens orally pleasuring Efron while Lindsay Lohan rakes out lines of Bolivian marching powder between Tara Reid's substantial Bulgarian airbags, the media might have some justification for its enthusiastic interest in the matter. In conclusion, El Reg is imposing a site-wide Vanessa Hudgens embargo until such time as she indulges in some proper internet pornography, attacks her assistant with a PDA, or is jailed for drunk-driving. Thank you. ®
Despite the sort of marketing hype usually extended only to film releases and console-style early opening hours, the Halo 3 UK launch was notable for the absence of gamers and large piles of unsold copies.
Reader PollReader Poll Machine-to-Machine (M2M) wireless communications, which enables applications such as remote measurement, monitoring and management, is a fairly niche topic. Yet, responses to a recent Reg reader panel survey indicated it's becoming more and more widespread. Seven per cent of respondents rated M2M's importance as 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 5, and this percentage rose to more than 20 per cent when we looked ahead two years.
Acer will stick with its policy of pushing up average selling prices for its hardware, despite failing to put a floor under prices so far this year.
Vodafone's billing system continues to throw out random invoices, while denying customers access to their online billing. What is more, even the simple matter of issuing paper-based bills has become impossible as the firm's contractor, Amdocs, continues to struggle to implement a working billing system. Voda coughed to billing problems earlier this month, though it was coy on where responsibility for the problems lay. The company has three major outsourcing partners, IBM, EDS and Amdocs. It now appears that Amdocs is responsible for a much-heralded replacement billing system for the UK, originally intended for launch over the May bank holiday earlier this year. While the problem seems to lie with Amdocs, the exact nature of the problem - or problems - is not clear. Meanwhile, the word from Vodafone's headquarters in Newbury is that since becoming IT director in July Phil Jordan has been busy winding up IT projects in an attempt to impose some coherence on the telco's IT contract strategy. The cull has seen fellow contractor EDS left with no projects at all. Despite signing up to run 60 per cent of Vodafone's projects in the UK, the company has had little more than housekeeping to do, leaving its engineers sitting around doing nothing all day. All large telecommunications companies are taking a long, hard look at their billing systems, which generally resemble a Salvador Dalí rendition of spaghetti junction, if they are documented well enough to allow visualisation. Amdocs was unavailable to comment. Vodafone wasn't available to update us on its progress, but the message is loud and clear. If you're a Vodafone customer, read your bills carefully. ®
ReviewReview Lacking additional boxes, dangling wires or ear-dragging weights, Motorola's S9 is what a set of Bluetooth headphones ought to be - as long as your head is the right shape for them.
VoIP provider Vonage has lost another patent battle, this time with Sprint Nextel, which owns six infringed patents and stands to gain almost $70m in a court-ordered payout. The case was lodged by Sprint back in 2005, but Vonage has been arguing that the patents should never have been approved, and that Vonage technololgy is completely different - arguments which failed to convince the Kansas jury. Instead, Vonage has been ordered to pay five per cent of its revenue during the infringing period, calculated as $69.5m. Vonage will appeal the case, adding to its considerable legal casebook. The firm's chief legal officer said: "Vonage has already demonstrated that it can keep its focus on customers and on its core business while managing ongoing litigation." We hope its engineers are equally good at maintaining service while making changes, as the company has promised to find ways to work around the Sprint Nextel patents, while still implementing the changes necessary to side-step Verizon's patents. Vonage shares dived 33 per cent on the news, and it's news the company could do without at a time of declining customer growth and increasing churn. Vonage may have been the vanguard of consumer VoIP services, but with the incumbents cutting prices and even offering VoIP services, it has become more difficult for the company to differentiate its service. Vonage still has considerable cash reserves, enough to fund an appeal or two, but even they won't last forever. ®
Halo 3 has only been out for a few hours in the UK, but there's already a problem. The Limited Edition box-set has been added to Microsoft's Disc Replacement Program (DRP) list because of possible scratches to the disc's surface.
Ofcom has blown the horn on the long march towards a modern internet infrastructure for the UK. Today marks the start of its powwow on who should pay for the next generation telecoms network that regulators and government believe is essential to our economic and social future. A consultation document (pdf) released by the watchdog calls for opinions from all shades of industry and the public on how regulations should be rejigged to foster fibre rollout. The process is aimed at helping Blighty compete with the 50 and 100Mbit/s downloads enjoyed by business and consumers in South Korea, parts of the US, and forward-thinking regions of the EU. The 115-page consultation document boils down to five questions: When do you consider it would be timely and efficient for next generation access investment to take place in the UK? Do you agree with the principles outlined for regulating next generation access? How should Ofcom reflect risk in regulated access terms? Do you agree with the need for both passive and active access remedies to promote competition? Do you consider there to be a role of direct regulatory or public policy intervention to create artificial incentives for earlier investment in next generation access? Ofcom chief Ed Richards said: "Investment in next generation access will represent a substantial commercial risk and the market should decide where and when it will be made. We want to ensure there are no barriers to investment." BT has led cries that the UK regulatory framework discourages replacing the copper last mile of its network with new fibre. It has pointed to a deal between Deutsche Telekom and the German government which tried to give the telco exclusive rights to subsidised superfast infrastructure. BT says it does not advocate such a bargain here, and it anyway attracted strong criticism from the European Commission. Regulator BNetzA has since intervened to open the market. Richards continued: "But we also want to ensure that the benefits of competition which consumers have enjoyed with current generation broadband can also be achieved as we move to higher speed next generation access." EU regulators have lauded the move to open up UK broadband with the creation of BT Wholesale and LLU market early in the decade as an example for other nations to follow. Some next generation network advocates worry that it now means it is not worth anybody's while to spend the billions needed to dig up roads for fibre. The unspoken aim for Ofcom is to design a new scheme that will draw as much cash from broadband providers as possible. It's conceivable that taxpayers will bear some cost, as competitiveness minister Stephen Timms signalled last week, but in the run up to the Ofcom consultation, BT softened its rhetoric on investment. There's everything to play for. The consultation closes 5 December. There's details of how to respond here. ®
Streaming music wirelessly to a speaker is about to become a whole lot cheaper, accessories maker Gear4 has claimed. It said the price of the soon-to-be-released Street Party Blu flat-panel speaker will significantly undercut its rivals.
Toshiba has lifted the lid on two laptops, full to bursting with performance and gadgetry. Part of the Satellite range, the X205-SLi1 and X205-SLi3 are pitched at the avid PC gamer - with extra features to ensure mobility and connectivity.
BT is crowing for the second time in two weeks about how its products have been security certified by GCHQ, the government's main listening station. Snag is, they've been certified for "restricted" communications, which are only slightly more secure - in military terms - than shouting in a crowded pub.
Ofcom has fined GMTV £2m for failing to check up on its service provider, Opera Telecom, and thus allowing the public to get ripped off by an early winner selection scandal. There's no suggestion that GMTV asked Opera to break the rules, or had much of an idea what was going on. Where dubious behaviour was suspected it was immediately stopped, and Opera had assured GMTV that everything was above board. As a premium-rate provider Opera is regulated by ICSTIS, which on Monday issued a maximum fine of £250,000 to the firm for its part in the business. Leaving everything in the hands of the service provider is not acceptable, according to Ofcom, which said in its ruling (pdf): The committee was particularly concerned by the [GMTV]’s admission that despite the considerable financial importance of these competitions to GMTV (representing as they did 35-40 per cent of its annual profit), there was no audit of Opera’s processes and procedures by GMTV’s management or its board... It did not take adequate account of the possibility that Opera, as a third party, might fail to act in an appropriate manner when taking such substantial sums of money from GMTV’s audience. Since the details became public, GMTV has been trying to make amends. Its MD and head of competitions have taken a bullet, it's offering refunds to 25 million entries and promoting them daily on TV, and holding 150 free prize draws for those who entered the original competitions but couldn't have won. It is also throwing quarter of a million to Childline for good measure. The Ofcom committee noted all this, and said the fine would have been a lot more without GMTV's efforts - but it still wants its £2m, and details of the ruling to be broadcast three times on GMTV. ®
A French man has won a lawsuit against computer maker Acer over a laptop he bought that came pre-loaded with Microsoft's Windows XP and other applications he didn't want.
DARPA, the Pentagon research bureau which likes to put the battiness back into battle-boffinry, is pressing ahead with its robot dog/packmule/mini-Imperial-Walker programme. Partly-functional "BigDog" petrol-engined droid packmules have already been developed, but it seems the machines' controlling software isn't really up to dealing with rugged terrain. Control software is one of the big problems in getting robots to match humans at tasks like climbing up mountains, marching over uneven ground, etc. You can build structures and actuators as strong and flexible as human limbs; you can generate as much power as the human body by using a fairly small petrol engine. But the damn machine still struggles to do what humans and/or animals can, because its software doesn't know how to handle its limbs and integrate what it does with what it sees. Robotics researchers have struggled thus far to decide which software approaches work best. This has been at least in part because typically any given programme will use its own unique hardware, and someone else's code will have limited applicability. DARPA is now looking to change all that - at least somewhat - by funding six different software teams to work on a common robot platform, the LittleDog. The LittleDog testbed was developed by Boston Dynamics, maker of the existing BigDog. It uses external motion-capture kit to monitor its own limb movements for now, but future versions will have internal feedback. As you can see, the tiny K-9 isn't exactly greased lightning yet, but it's coming along. It actually reminds us more of an insect, somehow. Max Lungarella, a robotics boffin at the University of Zurich, gave his thoughts on the DARPA LittleDog approach to NewScientist. "What is really interesting about the whole project is the idea of a common research platform," he said. "A lot of research in robotics is done on platforms built ad-hoc." DARPA's six software groups are at universities in America, including the usual suspects: MIT, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, etc. Each group sends in its latest code monthly to DARPA, which uses it to control a LittleDog of its own across increasingly tough terrain. In this way, the Pentagon war-nerds can objectively assess which approaches are most effective, by trialling the six different controlling personalities of their robot dog against each other. NewScientist reports that most of the groups have now moved away from stable walking, in which the LittleDog keeps three feet on the ground, to "dynamic" motion more like that which animals and people use. According to Jerry Pratt of the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) in Florida, "walking becomes more like controlled falling". For now, each university team has a duplicate of the test terrain used by the DARPA LittleDog. But next year the diminutive dog-droids will need to tackle previously unknown courses, identifying footholds and planning routes. DARPA will announce the winning team next year, and presumably will seek to use the knowledge gained in BigDog or similar future programmes. ®
Don’t let the marketing speak throw you. T-Mobile claims the new MDA Vario III handset has a tilting screen, but in reality the feature is much more mundane and ordinary than the PR fluff makes it sound.
AMD has rolled out a new graphics card to fill a gap beneath its current top-of-the-line ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT.
Mobile ClinicMobile Clinic In our final mobile clinic, The Register's resident experts return to provide their opinions on the questions you've raised. Question 1: "Argggghhhh. [My biggest problem is] managing the users who keep losing their damned handsets packed full of sensitive email addresses, emails etc. We talk a lot about technology, but aren't the users often the weakest link? What tips do the experts have for dealing with this?"
A network glitch left Vodafone UK customers travelling abroad without data and voice connectivity this morning. The mobile operator said the problem has been resolved, and that a third-party carrier was responsible for the down time. The problems weren't universal, but they were global and hit a lot of roaming users. Reg readers from as far afield as South Africa and Moscow complained of being unable to get connections, and incoming calls have been receiving an unobtainable signal rather than being diverted to voice mail. Vodafone first told us the problem was limited to Europe, but then coughed to the scale when it was pointed out that Moscow isn't in Europe. Whether the snafu is linked to the firm's ongoing billing problems is unclear, though the company has admitted its new billing system has cut off customers and refused connections in the past. ®
A senior Iraqi government official has said that water treatment plants are critically short of chlorine gas which they need to purify public water supplies. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that supplies of the gas are being held up due to fears it might be used as a chemical weapon, and adds that chlorine is vitally necessary to control an ongoing cholera outbreak in Iraq. A recent report in the New York Times quoted Dr Ryadh Abdul Ameer, director of the Basra health ministry. “We are suffering from a shortage of chlorine, which is sometimes zero,” he said. “Chlorine is essential to disinfect the water.” Iraq is believed to be suffering from a cholera outbreak at present, with tens of thousands of people falling ill in the relatively peaceful Kurdish northern regions. There are only a few confirmed cases in Baghdad and points south thus far, but cholera is often reported as nonspecific diarrhoea by embarrassed public-health authorities. One of the ways in which cholera is most easily prevented is treatment of water supplies using chlorine. Unfortunately, there have been several bombing attacks in Iraq where chlorine gas cylinders were included in explosive devices. Chlorine must be delivered in vast quantities to confined spaces if it is to be of any practical use as a poison gas, being dangerous only in quite high concentrations. Normally the extra fragmentation from the gas cylinders would be far more significant in terms of casualties than the presence of the chemical. One might as well restrict supplies of welding oxygen, or petrol, or scrap iron for that matter. All would usually be of more use to insurgent bomb makers. (Trust us on this one: your correspondent was until 2004 a British forces bomb-disposal officer, one of relatively few to have dealt with real chemical weapons.) Nonetheless, the usual exaggerated hysteria surrounding chemical weaponry seems to have had its effect. AP reports that the WHO's Iraq representative, Dr Naeema al-Gasseer, says that as of last week 100,000 tons of chlorine were being held up at Iraq's Jordanian border because of fears the chemical could be used in explosives. Dr al-Gasseer urged authorities to release it for use in decontaminating water supplies. Tragic stuff; ignorant chemical-weapons hysteria seems to be leading to a genuine, deadly outbreak of disease. Not to mention getting the war approved in the first place.®
IBM's Italian workforce is set to strike in Second Life tomorrow (27 September). Organised by the UNI union, staff aim to hit the company’s virtual islands, as well as putting real life protesters on picket line duty outside its Italian facilities.
A Microsoft manager has confirmed the existence of a serious bug that could give programmers and number crunchers a failing grade when relying on the latest version of Excel to do basic arithmetic.
Microsoft's security practices seem to be rubbing off on Sun Microsystems as the company is changing the way it updates and secures Java. Sun will synchronize releases of critical security updates to current and legacy version of Java Standard Edition (Java SE) and has promised to provide a system of alerts on upcoming patches.
The fresh Xeon-based servers from Sun mark the company’s most muscular play to date in the x86 realm. The four-socket 2U X4450, in particular, has Sun pushing the equivalent of a midrange SMP down into the heart of the so-called “commodity” market. This move plays well with Sun’s historic strengths in the SMP (symmetric multi-processing) arena and supports Sun’s “R&D will win” mantra.
An investigation by Connecticut's Attorney General over bait-and-switch charges has gotten electronics megalith Best Buy to budge over its allegedly deceptive "secret website." An inch, at least. The company has expanded the disclaimer on in-store kiosks to tell customers that similar interfaces may be deceiving.
Chinese officials have admitted that the Three Gorges Dam across the Yangtze River will, in the absence of urgent preventative action, provoke an ecological and environmental "catastrophe", the Times reports. The shock confession confirms what opponents of the £13bn project have always maintained, and officials have now conceded that the massive structure is responsible for a "litany of threats to the environment", including "conflicts over land shortages, ecological deterioration as a result of irrational development and, especially, erosion and landslides on steep hills around the dam". The erosion menace poses the most serious threat to those living close to the lake behind the dam. While 1.3m people were relocated to enable its creation, hundreds of thousands more may have to join the exodus or face possible "geological disasters" along the shore. One official explained that "the shore of the reservoir had collapsed in 91 places and a total of 36km had already caved in". Such landslides have produced waves up to 50m tall which then slam into the shore wreaking further havoc. In July, the Times notes, "a mountain along a tributary collapsed, dragging 13 farmers to their deaths and drowning 11 fishermen in a two-storey-high wave". Geological instability isn't the only unforeseen negative effect of the Three Gorges. Downstream of the dam, locals have been battling two billion rats forced into farmland by rising water levels after the dam authority released a large amount of Yangtze River water "to control flooding in the face of the annual rainy season". Given the clear and mounting evidence that the project is on the verge of going seriously titsup, an official statement on Xinhua news agency admitted: “There exist many ecological and environmental problems concerning the Three Gorges Dam. If no preventive measures are taken, the project could lead to catastrophe.” Wang Xiaofeng, the director of the administrative office in charge of building the dam, confessed: “We absolutely cannot relax our guard against ecological and environmental security problems sparked by the Three Gorges project. We cannot win passing economic prosperity at the cost of the environment.” Environmental activist Dai Qing told the Times: “We have never stopped talking about the problems but our voice was too weak. The system does not listen to the voices of civic activists or dissidents. But now, at last, they are starting to hear. "The Government knows it has made a mistake. Now they are afraid that the environmental catastrophe that they cannot prevent will spark civil unrest. So they want to go public before the troubles start.” ®
The European Commission has admitted the new euro coin - designed to sport a revised map showing the expanded happy band of brothers - is "not exactly the one the commission has proposed" after the powers that be decided to omit Turkey from the monetary celebration of the EU. According to EUobserver, the Commission's plan was to "change the map of Europe currently seen on the ten-cent to two-euro coins into a larger one going east to the Caspian Sea and including Turkey". However, while the final result includes Belarus and parts of Russia, poor old Turkey is conspicuous by its absence. Unsurprisingly, some have suggested the move is politically motivated, given various existing members' reluctance to admit Turkey to full EU membership. The most vociferous among these is France, which is actively opposed to the islamic nation hooking up with its western neighbours. Italian Liberal MEPs Marco Cappato and Marco Pannella declared in a statement: "The council [the member states' body] has deliberately and secretly wiped Turkey from the new face of the euro. Dictatorships, such as Belarus do figure on the new euro coins' map, but not a democratic country like Turkey with whom accession talks are ongoing." The commission said it was "pointless" to comment on the controversy, with spokeswoman Amelia Torres offering: "The idea was to have a new design that would be a more stylised design, rather than a true geographical representation of Europe, which admittedly is more difficult to represent on such a small surface." Whether the Turkey outrage is motivated by politics or technical considerations, it's pretty well a moot point. The coins are already in circulation in Slovenia - which joined the 13-nation euro zone last January - and other members who need to mint new coinage have already adopted the revised look. ®
A lot of PC makers are riding the going green pony pretty hard these days, but the folks at Dell — you've got to give them credit — are making a show out of boiling the poor thing down to eco-friendly glue. Nary a week goes by without Dell reminding us how they intend to sponge off our ravaged Earth Mother. Don't get the wrong impression — nature is wicked rad and all that. And at least Dell has come a long ways from the days using prison labor to scrap their toxic waste. But give our inbox a break.
Users running Sun Microsystems' Solaris operating system are getting something a little extra thrown into their contracts: developer support. Sun is wrapping extended support for its Solaris Express Developer Edition, previously only available to application developers, into existing and new Solaris customers' contracts without charging extra, the company said.
The long-running, occasionally tragicomic trade dispute between America and tiny Antigua at the WTO over the cross-border provision of gambling services has sputtered into the settlement phase, according to CasinoGamblingWeb.
The powers that be have moved with snail-like speed to address the rather embarrassing issue of Hitler's San Diego bunker, spotted by El Reg readers back in 2005: The offending structure can be found at Bougainville Road, US Navy Exchange, San Diego. The conspiracy theorists among you will doubtless hear the distant sound of black helicopters when we reveal that the Navy has only now admitted it "noted the buildings' shape after the groundbreaking in 1967 but decided against changing it at the time because it wasn't obvious from the ground". Hmmm. Once satellite images had fingered where the Führer ended up after the Third Reich went titsup, the pressure on the Navy to act steadily mounted. Among the heavyweight support for the building's denazification was Dave vonKleist, host of Missouri-based radio-talk show The Power Hour who told the LA Times he "wrote to military officials calling for action". Well, it seems to have worked, since the Navy will spend up to $600k to "change the walkways, landscaping and rooftop solar panels of the four L-shaped barracks". Scott Sutherland, deputy public affairs officer for Navy Region Southwest, confirmed: "We don't want to be associated with something as symbolic and hateful as a swastika." Quite right too; in which case, when it's finished remodelling Hitler's San Diego pad, the Navy might want to think about shifting a couple of runways down at Denver International Airport:
Hugo Chavez has slammed Venezuelans' growing penchant for celebrating their daughters' coming-of-age by stumping up for breast implants, Reuters reports. The prez's countrymen/women have apparently developed quite a taste for western-style consumerism, and in particular coughing thousands of dollars for Bulgarian airbags which they flaunt with unashamed pride as twin examples of their affluence. What's particularly offended Chavez, however, is that Venezuelans come of age at 15, which means thousands of señoritas queuing up to go under the knife before they've even grown out of their Barbies. Chavez thundered on his weekly TV show: "Now some people think, 'My daughter's turning 15, let's give her breast enlargements.' That's horrible. It's the ultimate degeneration." And speaking of Barbie, Chavez also had a pop at "Western-imposed consumerist icons such as Barbie dolls". Chavez hopes that Venezuelans will repent their spendthrift ways and has "told his supporters to give away any extra goods they do not need, urging them to leave out in town squares items such as fans or refrigerators". Some hope, we reckon, although we think we may have found a solution to the implant outrage. Were Chavez - who recently announced the country would shift its time zone by half an hour, apparently just to piss off the US - simply to declare that all Venezuelan females become 18 on their 15th birthday, he might find the whole thing less morally repugnant. ®
The US Supreme Court will review a patent dispute between LG Electronics and a group of Taiwanese computer makers over whether various degrees of separation can exhaust licensing terms.