4th > October > 2007 Archive

Linux
8

ARM finds friends for mobile Linux

ARM today flexed its mobile muscle by revealing a fairly broad coalition focused on developing a version of Linux well-suited for future smart phones. The chip designer has teamed with Marvell, MontaVista, Movial, Mozilla, Samsung and TI in an effort to help Linux make headway on mobile systems. The companies intend to craft an open source operating system, development package and a browser. Such software could run on just about anything from a phone to ultra-mobile PCs or what these companies call “connected mobile computing” devices.
Ashlee Vance, 04 Oct 2007
Microsoft .NET logo
23

Microsoft targets developers with 'open' license

Microsoft is continuing its hesitant slide towards open source by releasing .NET code under a look-but-don't touch license. The company said Wednesday it plans to offer source code for .NET Base Class Libraries, ASP.NET, Windows Forms, ADO.NET, XML and WPF in the .NET Framework 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008 due later this year.
Gavin Clarke, 04 Oct 2007
6

IBM and HP objects of x86 server customer desire

Customers still have a crush on IBM and Hewlett-Packard as x86 server vendors while Sun Microsystems and Dell continue to receive lukewarm satisfaction, according to a new survey. The latest "Vendor Faceoff" study of enterprise x86 customers by Gabriel Consulting Group (GCG) shows IBM holding a narrow lead over HP in favored technology while HP takes top marks in customer support and product quality.
Austin Modine, 04 Oct 2007
Juketower_SM

Singing in the shower goes high-tech

Everyone enjoys a singsong in the shower, so it makes sense to have your favourite tunes to hand. Thankfully, Japan's Noritz Electronics Technology has created a futuristic-looking MP3 player, dubbed the Juketower, which promises to provide audio entertainment during your daily scrub.
James Sherwood, 04 Oct 2007
clock teaser

Mtas put on hold until 2009

The centralised computer system intended to handle the recruitment of junior doctors will not be used next year. Recruitment to specialist training posts in England will instead be handled using the best elements of paper based, local processes adopted before the introduction of the Medical Training Application Service (Mtas).
Kablenet, 04 Oct 2007
Key end
22

Will Bungie jump from Microsoft?

Could one of the games industry's most effective partnerships be about to do a Disney/Pixar and split? Rumours are blazing online that Microsoft and Bungie Studios are about to call it a day after the final game in the Halo trilogy has finally hit the shelves. The games developer was bought by Microsoft before the first Halo game was released, ensuring that the popular title stayed exclusive to the Xbox console.
Ciara O'Brien, 04 Oct 2007
9

Harvard boffins brew up chilli-based anaesthetic

American boffins reckon an anaesthetic based on chilli peppers could allow patients to undergo operations while fully conscious. Sadly, the research doesn't mean that steaming curry or spicy kebab you wolf down after ten pints of lager will dull the inevitable headache the next day. Rather, Harvard Medical School's Professor Bruce Bean (we all know beans and chillis go well together) and Clifford Woolf used capsaicin, the active ingredient in the fiery fruit pods, in combination with QX-314, a "normally inactive" ingredient of lidocaine. Put really simply, QX-314 can't normally penetrate cells, making it pretty useless as an anaesthetic. However, the capsaicin opens a gate on pain-transmitting neurons, allowing the QX-314 to enter the cell and switch it off. However, other neurons remain unaffected, side-stepping the side-effects of other anaesthetics, ranging from local paralysis to loss of consciousness. The possibilities are intriguing. For example, an anaesthetic based on the new mix could mean you could get dental work done and walk out of the surgery without leaving a trail of spittle behind you. Woolf and Bean have even postulated that they could adapt their findings to produce a compound to deaden itches. Woolf and Bean's research will go a long towards restoring the reputation of the chilli. On Monday, the pungent pods were in danger of being classed as a weapon of mass destruction, or certainly mass distraction, after London cops shut down Soho after the aroma of a Thai chef's chilli sauce was mistaken for a chemical attack. ®
Joe Fay, 04 Oct 2007

German watchdog opposes Google purchase of DoubleClick

The proposed $3.1bn merger of search giant Google and online advertising company DoubleClick would lead to "a massive violation of data privacy rights", a German privacy watchdog has warned. The Data Protection Commissioner of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein Thilo Weichert has written to Europe's Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes expressing his view that the merger would allow the combined company unprecedented access to personal data about users. "At present we have to assume that in the event of a takeover of DoubleClick the databases of that company will be integrated into those of Google, with the result that fundamental provisions of the European Data Protection Directive will be violated," he said, according to Germany's Heise Online. Wiechert said access to the combined database would give the company access to highly detailed personal information. "Such an approach contradicts fundamental data privacy principles of the European Union: limited specific use, transparency, the right to object, the protection of sensitive data and the right to having data deleted," he wrote. Google is already under fire in Europe over its use of identifying information linking users to their internet searches. When it offered to delete these after 18 to 24 months earlier this year, the fact the data had been kept indefinitely caused outrage among users and privacy regulators. Google is facing competition hurdles in Europe and the US over its proposed acquisition of DoubleClick. Google's dominance in internet search combined with DoubleClick's position as a leading advertising firm have led to concerns about privacy and about competition issues. Google appeared before a Senate hearing in the US last week to argue that the deal would not create an internet advertising monopoly. A complaint has also been filed with Kroes by the European Consumers' Organisation (BEUC). "We fear that Google will vertically-leverage (bundle/tie) its keyword search dominance with DoubleClick's leadership in online banner/video display advertising, and with its Google-YouTube dominance in video search," said that complaint. "This vertical combination could give Google-DoubleClick clear dominance on the overall market for advertisements provided to third-party websites. Google alone currently holds a 90 per cent share of the search market in Germany, nearly a 75 per cent in the UK, around 82 per cent share in France and 90 per cent in Spain. "Never before has one single company had the market and technological power to collect and exploit so much information about what a user does on the Internet," said the complaint. "With DoubleClick's cookie-tracking technologies, and Google's ever-increasing breadth of online services (from mail and messaging, to mapping, electronic payment, office applications, user-generated video and blogging spaces, and so on), a particular user’s online activities will be trackable by a single entity on a much more continuous and universal level than ever before." The BEUC said that this gathering of data was "in clear violation of users' privacy rights". Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.
OUT-LAW.COM, 04 Oct 2007
15

Teeny tiny ozone hole for 2007

In 2006, the ozone layer took a real beating, and a hole formed that was of truly epic proportions. It was a record-breaking hole, caused by some 40 million tonnes of the protective layer going AWOL. After that, the hole recorded in 2007 is something of a flop. Weather conditions conspired to keep us and our cancer-prone skin safe, seeing off just 27.7 million tonnes of ozone and exposing an area of 24.7 million square kilometres to the full* wrath of the sun. The loss of ozone is calculated by combining the area of the hole with the depth of the ozone layer. The depth is measured in Dobson units, which describes the thickness of the layer directly over the location being measured. It gets classed as a hole when the thickness falls below 220 Dobson units. But keep the champagne on ice. Scientists are not sure that they can conclude much at all from the size of this year's hole. Local weather conditions are hugely important in determining how much ozone is lost during the polar spring, when the layer naturally thins anyway. "Although the hole is somewhat smaller than usual, we cannot conclude from this that the ozone layer is recovering already," noted Ronald van der A, a senior project scientist at Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute (KNMI). KNMI uses data from Envisat's Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Chartography (SCIAMACHY) instrument to generate daily global ozone analyses and nine-day ozone forecasts. "This year's ozone hole was less centred on the South Pole as in other years, which allowed it to mix with warmer air, reducing the growth of the hole because ozone is depleted at temperatures less than -78 degrees Celsius," he added. The conditions for the hole are set up during the Antarctic winter. In this cold season, a weather pattern known as the polar vortex keeps the atmospheric mass above the Antarctic continent isolated from exchanges with warmer mid-latitude air. This keeps the air mass above the continent cold, and in the cold and dark, clouds that contain chlorine (much of it originating from man-made pollutants like chlorofluorocarbons) can form in the polar stratosphere. Once the spring returns, this chlorine disrupts the ozone layer causing the ozone to unravel like a sock in urgent need of darning. ® *Alright, fuller.
Lucy Sherriff, 04 Oct 2007
23

Fifty years since Sputnik

Fifty years ago today the space age was truly born, as Sputnik sent back its first signals from orbit. Half a century ago, the Soviets launched what would be our first artificial satellite, and set in motion a revolution of technology. Without Sputnik, Earth orbit would be a much quieter place, and life on Earth would be unrecognisable. Satellite technology is now integral to our lives. It carries the TV news we watch when we wake up in the morning, provides data for weather forecasters, carries phone calls, and even gets us to work, thanks to GPS. Satellites also handle data for our banks, processing credit card transactions. We are utterly dependent on the orbiting bodies. "The civilisation we live in today is as different from the one that we lived in the mid-1950s as the mid-1950s were from the American revolution," American University public policy professor Howard McCurdy told the Associated Press. "It's hard to imagine these things happening without space. I guess I could have a computer, but I wouldn't be able to get on the internet." Sputnik also triggered the space race of the 1960s, culminating in the Moon landing. It seems appropriate, in a sort of poetic way, that as Sputnik's half century rolls around we're all heading to the Moon again. Either poetic, or hopelessly depressing that in 50 years, humanity hasn't managed to move on very much at all, for all the little gizmos we have. ®
Lucy Sherriff, 04 Oct 2007
11

China Mobile connects top of the world

China Mobile has asked Huawei, wannabe owners of 3Com, to install a GSM base station 6,500 metres up Mount Everest. This will create a cell which will cover the main route to the summit. It won't be the first time a call has been made from the summit - back in May a base station was established with line of sight to the peak, allowing Rob Baber to call his family from the top (largely to tell them how cold it was up there, something they surely could have guessed). The new solar-powered base station will cover the whole route up and down, which is generally more dangerous than hanging around at the top. The idea is to provide connectivity for climbers, and (most importantly) for the 2008 Olympic Torch Relay Team, to make the ascent safer. Quite how being able to tell someone you're dying or stranded (or, realistically, both) isn't clear; Everest is too high for helicopters, so unless the weather is good you're only going to be saying goodbye, and one would hope that in good weather your problems wouldn't be so serious. ®
Bill Ray, 04 Oct 2007
23

Late, fast and pricey: O2 broadband is go

O2 has released details of its imminent broadband service after packages and pricing were leaked on the internet. The official launch is set for 15 October, but O2 has confirmed Thinkbroadband.com's report yesterday that it'll offer its mobile punters up to 20Mbit/s access for £15 per month. A spokesman said the firm had dialed down the theoretical maximum 24Mbit/s its kit is capable of because of the risk of "over-promising" given the demand it is anticipating. The mid-range will run to £10 per month for up to 16Mbit/s, while the cheapest up to 8Mbit/s service will cost £7.50 per month. Usage on all packages will be "unlimited", with no set upper download limit, but with a fair usage policy. There'll be free 24-hour tech support in UK call centres. A £10 premium will be charged on all packages for non-bundled and pay-as-you-go customers, and line rental and voice calls aren't included, so households will have to pay another provider on top. BT's cheapest line rental offer is £10.50 per month. At launch, O2's LLU ADSL2+ network will reach only half the population, mostly in urban areas. Be Unlimited, the ISP O2 bought last year for £50m to get into the broadband game, will continue to run as a separate ISP in parallel. It makes it unnecessary for pay-as-you-go and non-O2 customers to pay the premium. Be's own 8Mbit/s package is £14 per month compared to £17.50 for the O2 equivalent, for example. O2 has set itself the thoroughly unambitious public goal of one million broadband users by 2010 - just 5.6 per cent of its 17.8 million-strong mobile base. Since launching last year, Sky Broadband has grown to 716,000 lines on the back of eight million TV subscribers. O2 says it's got no plans to follow BT and Tiscali into the IPTV field. O2 has also eschewed the "free" model favoured by Orange's volatile broadband service, claiming its ponderous entry into the market (delayed several times) indicates a thoughtful approach that will ensure a smooth rollout. It'll be the first major player to make a commercial offering of ADSL2+, so only time can tell. O2 will judge its success many monthly mobile customers it helps retain. ®
Christopher Williams, 04 Oct 2007
iLuv_SM

iLuv rolls out iPod-enabled portable DVD player

UpdatedUpdated iLuv has put its heart and soul into mobile movie watching with a portable viewer that also integrates an iPod docking station.
James Sherwood, 04 Oct 2007
35

Apple TV 160GB media player

ReviewReview Over the past couple of years we've tried at least four different media extenders from Buffalo, D-Link and Pinnacle in an attempt to send AVI movie files from a PC to a TV. The PC is in a home office box, and the TV is in the living room, and all we want to do is watch recorded American TV shows on the big screen.
Leo Waldock, 04 Oct 2007
padlock
37

UK start-up tackles PIN fraud with patterns

We all know that the weakest link in almost any security system is the user. We puny humans are prone to errors, and so we tend to write down complicated passwords, or choose ones which are stupidly easy to guess.
Lucy Sherriff, 04 Oct 2007
Apple Quicktime 75
8

Apple patches Windows QuickTime bug

Windows users of QuickTime, Apple's popular media player software, need to apply an update following the discovery of a serious security bug. The vulnerability allows hackers to inject malicious code onto vulnerable systems providing users are tricked into opening a maliciously-constructed QTL (QuickTime Link) file. These files could be hosted on websites and disguised as links to movie clips or smut.
John Leyden, 04 Oct 2007
Mastercard logo
4

MasterCard caught with pants down twice

Cash credit giant MasterCard has had a week racked with technical problems.
Kelly Fiveash, 04 Oct 2007
13

MIT touts new mind-to-machine algorithm

Boffins at MIT are getting ever closer to a direct mind-to-machine link that would translate a person's thoughts into instructions for a machine. The university is developing the technology so a paralysed person might be able to operate a prosthetic purely by using their mind. There are lots of teams working in similar areas. The notion that brain activity should be monitored and used to derive a person's intentions is not new. But MIT says its algorithm will work with all the rest of the research that has already been done, rather than adding a new technique to the pile. Lakshminarayan "Ram" Srinivasan, lead author of a paper on the subject, said: "The work represents an important advance in our understanding of how to construct algorithms in neural prosthetic devices for people who cannot move to act or speak...we don't need to reinvent a new paradigm for each modality or brain region." The graphical model being developed by the MIT researchers would work regardless of which measurement technique is used, he explained. That being said, there is still work to do before we get to the stage of "thinking" our cars, or entrusting the flying of planes to a brain-to-machine link. "Translating an algorithm into a fully functioning clinical device will require a great deal of work, but also represents an intriguing road of scientific and engineering development for the years to come," MIT said. More here. ®
Lucy Sherriff, 04 Oct 2007
Euricase_SM
10

Popping the question the 21st century way

Gone are the days of candle-lit dinners, Eiffel Tower proposals, and sinking to one's knee. American manufacturer Euri has created the ultimate timesaver for loved-up businessmen. Just pop an engagement ring into the Euricase, record a video, and let a built-in LCD screen do the hard work without you.
James Sherwood, 04 Oct 2007
Mortar board
49

Schools chief pushes Big Brother out of dinner line

The government has told head teachers to lighten up after one British school told children in the dinner queue that if they didn't give their fingerprints they wouldn't get any food.
Mark Ballard, 04 Oct 2007

Microsoft's OS won't die while Palm's doesn't want to be born

It's still a while until Halloween, but the undead walk among us and some of them are getting a new lease of life. Windows XP has been given an extra five months of sales life, until the end of June 2008, after the relative failure of its successor Vista to excite the masses into parting with large amounts of cash for another Microsoft operating system.
Billy MacInnes, 04 Oct 2007
31

BT aims to make UK a Wi-Fi kibbutz

BT unveiled ambitious plans today to create the world's most extensive Wi-Fi network by persuading consumers to share access to their home router. It's part of a move by the national telco to head off the rise of 3G mobile internet on the cheap via a Home Hub firmware update. BT's three million Total Broadband customers will be asked to join a community developed by BT and FON, the wireless firm run by Argentinian billionaire Martin Varsavsky. Membership will grant users access to BT Openzone hotspots, the 190,000 hotspots FON claims worldwide, and internet connections owned by other members for no extra charge. If another of the 500,000 international "Foneros" accesses your Home Hub, they'll be allocated 512Kbit/s of downstream bandwidth. Any data the guest downloads won't count towards the owner's usage allowance. If, in turn, a Total Broadband punter uses FON out and about, it'll be recorded on their account. BT says it'll know who carried out any illegal activity and that access to the network will be secure. BT's consumer chief Gavin Patterson said: "We have built a public Wi-Fi network and 12 Wireless Cities already, but today we are saying to customers, let's build a Wi-Fi community together, which covers everywhere and serves everyone." It's the biggest ever deal for Madrid-based FON, which has been strongest in the Spanish, Japanese, and French markets. BT will have observed with interest as municipal Wi-Fi hit the buffers Stateside, and making its customers foot the bill for better coverage makes corporate sense. How FON's quid pro quo will go down with BT's customers is a different matter. It's not an original idea, as we noted at last year's 3GSM conference in Barcelona. Joltage, a similar bandwidth-sharing utopia, lasted only a year. However, as part of its arrangement with FON, BT has joined fellow comms big-hitters Google and Skype (the eBay-owned VoIPsters playing with a smaller bat these days) in investing in the firm, and taken a seat on the board. The brass tacks of the buy-in are being kept secret, but BT will be feeding some to FON. Varsavky wrote: "It was amazing and refreshing to see how agile a telco giant could be in working with an innovative concept like the BT FON Community." "Agile" BT's annual profits of £2.4bn make a gamble like FON a bet worth making. BT's information page is here. Martin Varsavsky's musings on the deal are on his website here. There's a glitzy party at the Tate Modern tonight to kick off the marketing push for what amounts to a hi-tech kibbutz. It's a strange world we live in these days. ®
Christopher Williams, 04 Oct 2007
54

You want to learn about Ubuntu?

Ubuntu is the free Linux-based operating system designed with frequent updating in mind. Released in October 2004, it has evolved into one of the best-known branches of the Debian tree and offers a strong focus on usability and easy installation, whether it be on a laptop, desktop or server machine.
Register Books, 04 Oct 2007
Sage
1

Sage partners worry about falling into Line

Sage has sought to assure its channel partners following concerns about the software accounting firm's decision to quietly give its MMS application for SMEs a makeover by dropping the name and integrating it into the Line 200 suite.
Kelly Fiveash, 04 Oct 2007
1

O2 lurches into MySpace

O2 is offering customers access to their MySpace accounts, only eight months after Vodafone announced its exclusive with the Murdoch-owned portal. O2 is suspending data charges for November and December, after which the mobile operator suggests you take advantage of its "unlimited" data tariffs. Vodafone users have been able to access the mobile version of MySpace since March, and in the USA free access to MySpace Mobile (supported through advertising) was announced last month, though AT&T users still have the option of paying a couple of dollars a month to avoid that. Using desktop-style MySpace pages pushes mobile browsing to its limits - navigating through graphic-laden trivia is hard enough on a desktop and few handheld devices can even attempt it - so MySpace Mobile offers a simpler interface. Mobile access to social networking is being touted as the application that will drive mobile data usage to the levels needed to pay off those 3G licences, though with various third parties offering applications that interface with MySpace, while bypassing the advertising, popularity may not transfer into profitability. ®
Bill Ray, 04 Oct 2007
26

'It's Britney, bitch' riding high again

Oh, Britney would you look at that, a ray of sunshine has finally hit your otherwise beleaguered pop career. She may be in an ugly custody battle for her children with her ex-squeeze K-Fed, but Britney Spears was yesterday given something to smile about as her new single Gimme More topped the digital songs charts. Yep, that's right pop pickers: US fans bumped the troubled, sometime itchy-scalped, no-knickers flashing star to the top spot by downloading her new tune 179,000 times, according to Reuters. And she's sitting, er, proudly on top of teen rapper Soulja Boy, whose song Crank That had dominated the number one spot in the digital charts for the past 12 weeks. We at Vulture Central have no idea what Gimme More is alluding to, but it's certainly fair to say that her army of bleached-blond, squeaking teenage boy fans have at least given her what she really, really wants. So, before all you cynics out there start suggesting that a zombie network is in fact responsible for favourably plumping Brit's musical assets, it might be worth noting that she also shot to number three in the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. This makes for her highest ranking since her debut ...Baby One More Time. Take that, naysayers. ® Still need convincing? Enjoy our Brit's multifarious talents here:
Kelly Fiveash, 04 Oct 2007
12

Police cuff 77 in fake cheque crackdown

More than $2.1bn in counterfeit cheques destined for the US have been seized and 77 arrests made in Netherlands, Nigeria and Canada as part of an international crackdown on cheque fraud scams.
John Leyden, 04 Oct 2007
Tree_SM

Nintendo leads DS gamers up the garden path

Nintendo could be barking up the wrong tree with this one, but it’s trying to brand itself as an eco-friendly computer games company nonetheless. The company’s released a game for the DS handheld console that urges gamers to play with flowers and break-dance.
James Sherwood, 04 Oct 2007
13

Manchester Uni wins radio telescope HQ

The University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics has been chosen as the headquarters for the next generation radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The SKA project, with a budget of €1.5bn, involves astronomers and engineers in 17 countries. It will be comprised of thousands of small antennae deployed over an area of thousands of kilometres, making the name somewhat misleading. The 'scope will take in the sights of the universe, helping astronomers to explore dark energy, peer into the dim past of the universe and see the earliest stars and galaxies. It will provide a test bed for Einstein's theories, and for astronomers wanting to study the evolution of the universe and the life therein. The university issued a statement detailing the plan of action for the new array. The scope will also study pulsars, to look for the effects of gravitational waves produced by merging blackholes; it will map the magnetic fields of distant and ancient galaxies. "If there are extra-terrestrial intelligences out there in the Milky Way with transmitters similar to our own airport or ionospheric radars, the SKA will detect them," it said. "This powerful new telescope will greatly extend our knowledge of the universe," explained Professor Richard Schilizzi, international SKA director. "Not only will it improve our understanding of objects ranging from black holes to the earliest stars and galaxies, but it is also bound to discover as yet unknown phenomena." The announcement coincides with the 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik, and the 50th anniversary of the completion of the Giant Radio Telescope at Lovell. It is especially fitting since the first task the Lovell scope undertook was to track Sputnik's delivering rocket as it powered the first satellite into space. ®
Lucy Sherriff, 04 Oct 2007

Intel shares drop on price war warning

Shares in a number of leading chip makers have slumped after Morgan Stanley warned investors about a possible price war in the sector. Intel shares fell by $0.57 or 2.2 per cent to $25.81 in US trading on Wednesday following the publication of a Morgan Stanley report from analyst Mark Lipacis advised investors to sell stock in both Intel and its main competitor Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).
Charlie Taylor, 04 Oct 2007
10

S60 users go Wiiiiiii

Just when you think you've got a phone that does everything, someone comes along and adds a feature you never even knew you needed. Anyone playing games on an S60 phone is no doubt crying out for a Wii Remote connection, while DoCoMo is adding a heart rate monitor and breath analyser to its latest handset, Reuters reports. The Wii connection comes courtesy of a group of programmers at the University of Applied Sciences in Hagenberg, Austria, who skipped lightly over the question of "why" and created a freeware motorcycle racing game, controlled using a Wii Remote connected to the phone over Bluetooth. They're giving away the source code too, for anyone who can think of any possible use for such a creation. Meanwhile, DoCoMo admits it is targeting the "...fat-fighting middle-aged businessmen and young women on diets" demographic with its fitness phone. The user keys in their weight, age, and food consumption. The handset uses a pedometer to measure the amount of exercise they get, and is equipped with a heart rate monitor and breath sampler so it can reliably inform the user they should be more active and eat more healthily. Of course, if they're playing a motorcycle racing game on a phone balanced on one hand, while controlling said game with twists of the other wrist, then perhaps they'd be getting all the exercise they need. ®
Bill Ray, 04 Oct 2007
9

Scientist punts anti-snoring pillow

A German boffin has invented a computerised pillow which he claims will put a stop to snoring. Inventor Daryoush Bazargani said the pillow works by shifting the head's sleeping position until the unpleasant nasal growling stops, according to Reuters. Self-proclaimed snorer Bazargani, who is a computer science professor at the University of Rostock, displayed a prototype of his pillow at a health conference in Germany yesterday. He said: "The pillow is attached to a computer, which is the size of a book, rests on a bedside table, and analyses snoring noises. "The computer then reduces or enlarges air compartments within the pillow to facilitate nasal airflow to minimise snoring as the user shifts during sleep." The scientist reckons several US firms are interested in his pillow, which can also be used for massages. No word, however, on whether it also provides insomniacs with digital counting sheep to help rock them off to sleep. ®
Kelly Fiveash, 04 Oct 2007
Flag Israel
44

Israel suspected of 'hacking' Syrian air defences

Questions are mounting over how Israeli planes were able to sneak past Syria's defences and bomb a "strategic target" in the country last month. Israeli F-15s and F-16s bombed a military construction site on 6 September. Earlier reports of the attack were confirmed this week when Israeli Army radio said Israeli planes had attacked a military target "deep inside Syria", quoting the military censor.
John Leyden, 04 Oct 2007
17

Australian court rings to the sound of satisfaction

A visitor to Australia's Ipswich Magistrates court was seen desperately scrabbling for his phone as it moaned in satisfaction on receipt of a call, according to reports from Ananova. The tone apparently expressed its unmitigated pleasure for more than 20 seconds, surely long enough for any woman, though perhaps not long enough to get to the phone. Lawyers and other visitors tried to keep a straight face and the magistrate, one Roger Stark, gamely tried to ignore the interruption. According to reports the chap was lucky to avoid a contempt charge, which could have cost him six months in chokey, though spending the rest of his life explaining why he was sent down would probably be worse than the jail time itself. ®
Bill Ray, 04 Oct 2007
eBay teaser 75
7

eBay boots off Skype rival

eBay, still smarting from Monday's $1.43bn admission of Skype's failure, last night deleted auctions that carried click-to-call buttons for VoIP rival Jajah. Jajah released its embeddable buttons last week, and decided to take the provocative step of promoting a special version for eBay auctions. Businessweek claimed there had been a deal between the two to approve the buttons, but no such talks occurred.
Christopher Williams, 04 Oct 2007
3

Universal goes online to win HD DVD votes

Universal has announced a series of new interactive features for HD DVDs. It claims the new internet infrastructure allows users to take advantage of web-enabled HD DVD players, and sounds strikingly similar to the BD Live facility for Blu-ray.
James Sherwood, 04 Oct 2007
channel
33

Portrait of an (alleged) cyber bully as a young man

Late in the evening of February 13, Paul and Robin Laudanski were planning the following day's Valentine's celebration when they received word that CastleCops, the volunteer security website they run, was under assault.
Dan Goodin, 04 Oct 2007
SGI logo hardware close-up

EMC buys into online backup via Berkeley Data Systems

Storage giant EMC branched further into the security market with the acquisition of on-line backup firm Berkeley Data Systems. Financial terms of the deal, officially announced Thursday, were undisclosed but a suggested price tag of $76m was cited when rumors of the pending union first surfaced a fortnight ago. Privately-held Berkeley markets the Mozy line of online backup and recovery services. Mozy allows subscribers to backup important files on their laptop, PC or remote office server over the internet to remote servers maintained by Berkeley. Subscribers pay from $4.95 a month for the facility, which includes a private key encryption option. EMC, which said it would continue to develop the services and market them under the Mozy brand, added the deal would not affect its revenues or profit this year. The Berkeley-acquisition continues a run of security software and services purchases for the infrastructure giant. In June 2006, EMC paid $2.1bn for RSA, later admitting a rival bid has pushed it into paying too much for the market leader in two-factor authentication. A year later it bought Verid, which makes authentication middleware that works with RSA's systems, for an undisclosed amount. ®
John Leyden, 04 Oct 2007
3

IBM attacks HP's dwarf blade with muffler

IBM has joined HP in the race to flog short, stumpy blade servers at small- to medium-sized businesses. Well, in actual fact, IBM has been flogging for several months. Back in June, Big Blue revealed plans for its BladeCenter S chassis. The S is for "smaller firms," and the product delivers on the moniker by plugging into standard 110 volt outlets (220v available as well). In addition, the S system chassis holds only 6 blade server instead of IBM's usual 14 servers with the extra space filled by lots of storage - a must for the SMB set.
Ashlee Vance, 04 Oct 2007
Flag Australia
14

Oz watchdog sticks to its Google-attacking guns

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has dropped its legal action against two Google subsidiaries, but the protector of the Aussie people vows to continue its fight against the search giant's Mountain View mother ship.
Cade Metz, 04 Oct 2007
22

Ubuntu chief bids for prima-donna status

Radio RegRadio Reg I'd like to live in a tub of cream cheese icing. Sadly, that's not an option for me. It is, however, an option for Canonical/Ubuntu head Mark Shuttleworth. The open source advocate has plenty of cash - enough cash to build a breathing apparatus and waste removal system for a man-sized icing pool. I bring up the icing for no reason. I bring up Mark Shuttleworth because he's the star of Open Season Episode 4. Dave Rosenberg, Matt Asay and I reached Mark at Canonical's UK office for an hour-long chat covering all sorts of open source software topics and issues. Many of you will care little to know that my Dell laptop with Ubuntu has arrived and is working okay. The system suffers from an insanely hyperactive touchpad. It's a real pain, and I hope some of you are working on fixing this problem because I have no idea how to fix it. You'll find notes on this topic and all the rest in the show rundown. As always, please send any feedback to software at theregister.com. In the meantime, enjoy. Open Season - Episode 4 The faithful can grab the Ogg Vorbis file here, and those plagued by low-bandwidth can catch a smaller, crappier quality show here. You can subscribe to the show on iTunes here or grab the Arse feed here. Shuttleman Show Notes I finally receive my Dell Ubuntu laptop It's great except for the batshit crazy mouse that fires up applications and browser windows if you look at it wrong Apple worshipper Wall Mossface found the same thing Still, Compiz is outstanding and puts Ubuntu's GUI ahead of Vista and Mac OS X Mark calls for this R&D work to "turn into something that makes people more productive Is a great Linux desktop possible? - Collective shrug Although, it is time for the open source crowd to reinvest in web apps OpenOffice is "a bit of a tragedy at the moment," says Mark OpenOffice debacle has strained the relationship between Sun and Novell Building Better Code Modularity is key to open source success Muleforge runs builds for you Ubuntu has up to 100 people with committ access - Mark sees them as concentric rings Oracle and Cannocial - we were close to certifying, says Mark Oracle will fork or buy Red Hat Larry is cute and quaint Dell's IdeaStorm site drove Ubuntu adoption but did nothing for the touchpad Porn diversity aided by crappy touchpad Let's get JEOSed Back to the Weirdness Mark says, "Virtualization is the dog's bollocks. Can I have a spanking?" Ubuntu and XenSource at peace again Microsoft vs. EU matters Ahhh, Samba What happens when the crisis hits Google? Can I drink beer for a living? Thanks for your ears. ®
Ashlee Vance, 04 Oct 2007
Dollar
7

Gartner: no relief for data center costs

The future holds no comfort for data centers aching over energy consumption and floor space, predicts Gartner. By 2011, more than 70 per cent of US enterprise data centers will face "significant disruptions" related to an apex of these mounting woes, the technology research firm says.
Austin Modine, 04 Oct 2007
Sun
1

Sun hypes new hypervisor and virtualization console

Prowling the x86 server warpath, Sun today revealed its roadmap of products set to bring the company fully into the virtualization brouhaha. The server maker's new xVM virtualization platform will span across its server, storage, and networking product lines. The first offering will be comprised of a hypervisor and management software set to be released next year. Sun laid down the roadmap basics at a press meeting in San Francisco.
Austin Modine, 04 Oct 2007
65

Facebook 'friend request' lands UK man in jail

A man who joined Facebook to look at his friend's wedding pics, was sent to jail after the site automatically sent a "friend request" message to his estranged wife. Dillon Osborn, of Newport Pagnell Bucks, had been told by magistrates to stay away from his wife, Claire Tarbox, after bombarding her with phone calls and text messages, the Daily Telegraph reports. A judge ordered him to spend ten days in prison for breaking his bail conditions. Osborn, 37, served seven days, getting out a little early after a plea from his solicitor. Osborn told the Telegraph. that Facebook's sign-in procedure had confused him. I certainly hadn’t intended to contact my wife... I didn’t even know she had a Facebook account. To be honest, I don’t think the judge understood how it works either. People on Facebook should be careful - this could easily happen to someone else.” ® Telegraph story.
Drew Cullen, 04 Oct 2007
geeko opensuse chameleon logo
19

OpenSUSE 10.3 opens for business

Another day, another Linux distro point revision. Honours this time go to OpenSUSE, available now in version 10.3 for free download at www.opensuse.org. You can also buy this open source operating system, which is based on Linux kernel 2.6.22, from some retailers and at shopnovell.com for $59.95 in real money. Or, rather, you can place your pre-order. Flash the cash, and you will at some undetermined but real soon time get a boxed version, a manual and 90 days installation support thrown in.
Drew Cullen, 04 Oct 2007
11

And now for something completely different: Good news on spam

In the ever-escalating world of cyber insecurity, it's rare to find good news. And yet the Security and Exchange Commission on Thursday did just that as it reviewed data showing stock-touting junk mail has dropped significantly since a tough anti-spam campaign kicked off in March.
Dan Goodin, 04 Oct 2007