10th > October > 2007 Archive

Warning Go
17

100Gbps Internet2 is ready

New improvements to the high speed Internet2 network infrastructure are completed and primed with 100Gbps capacity for US research and education communities.
Austin Modine, 10 Oct 2007
Iphone
58

Apple sued over i-Bricks

Apple's breaking of iPhones that had been hacked is now the subject of a lawsuit, which claims the controversial tactic violates California laws governing antitrust and fair business practices.
Dan Goodin, 10 Oct 2007
95

Only Sky can save digital TV

CommentComment Even at the second time of asking, digital TV has been a commercial flop. That's not surprising when taxpayer-subsidised broadcasters are given valuable spectrum. It's time Ofcom admitted this and gave Sky the chance to revitalise the market.
Keith McMahon, 10 Oct 2007
itil service design
3

Service Design - ITIL v3

Book reviewBook review We recently reviewed Service Strategy, the first book in the latest refresh of ITIL – the IT Infrastructure Library. This time, we are looking at Service Design, the next book, which starts to look at the practicalities of integrating IT into the business. Note: not "aligning IT with the business" any more. The world has moved on.
David Norfolk, 10 Oct 2007
plaster_75
2

Word vuln stars in Patch Tuesday litter

Microsoft delivered six patches on Tuesday - four critical - as part of its regular Patch Tuesday update cycle. High on the critical list are patches for Outlook Express and Windows Mail, which cover flaws in the handling of malformed NNTP (Network News Transfer Protocol) responses, and a cumulative update for Internet Explorer 7.
John Leyden, 10 Oct 2007
Google
18

Google nabs patent for Sun's Project Blackbox?

Google now owns a patent for data centers stuffed into shipping containers. You know, data centers like Sun's Project Blackbox. The Mountain View outfit first filed for this "Modular Data Center" patent in December 2003, and today it was rubber stamped by the US Patent Office.
Cade Metz, 10 Oct 2007
9

Burmese cops in UN hard drive snatch kerfuffle

Reports suggest that the Burmese military government has attempted to seize computer hard drives from UN offices in an attempt to root out pro-democracy activists. According to the Times, Burmese police and diplomats entered UN agency premises at the Traders Hotel in Rangoon on Friday and demanded the hard drives from computers there. Officials made similar approaches to the Japan International Cooperation Agency - a Japanese government aid organisation - at the Sakura Tower. The demands were rebuffed, and the local authorities departed. However, UN staffers in Rangoon were sufficiently worried about a return in force that they spent much of the weekend deleting files. It is thought the Burmese government suspects foreign diplomats and aid workers of providing communications to the outside world for local dissidents. The government has made strenuous efforts in recent weeks to prevent any news leaking out about pro-democracy protests and the resulting crackdown, even going so far as to cut off the country's main internet links 12 days ago. However, various foreign organisations in Burma have access to satellite communications which are not under government control, and it is understood that the military oligarchy suspects these have occasionally been placed at the protesters' disposal. The Times quotes an unidentified Western diplomat in Rangoon: "It's part of this systematic, repressive response to the demonstrations. "We've seen them focus on people who directly participated in the demonstrations by picking them up through the videos. Then they've arrested people with cameras containing images of the demos. And now they're trying to track down the means that were used to send them out." When refusing the officials' demands, UN staffers suggested that an official request for information be submitted by the Burmese government. It appears that such a request has now been made, but it asks only to see the licences for the UN's satellite equipment. It now appears to be the official diplomatic position that no demand was ever made for UN hard drives, only for details of satcomms gear. Similarly, no UN staff have provided communications to Burmese dissenters. "All they asked was to see the permits for the [satellite telephones]," the UN's Burma co-ordinator told the Times, though this was apparently at odds with what other UN personnel had said. "We told them that we will provide them through the appropriate channels." More from the Times here. ®
Lewis Page, 10 Oct 2007
5

MPs praise e-passport roll out

MPs say project management of the first electronic passport has been an outstanding success. The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) has been praised for its management of the introduction of the first type of e-passport, which contains an electronic chip storing biographical data and a digital facial image of the holder. MPs on the public accounts committee said it was an "excellent example of successful project management and procurement" and urged the Office of Government Commerce to spread the lessons learned from the project across government. But successful roll out of the second generation e-passport in two years will need a reconsideration of costs and the preparation of contingency plans, says the committee's report. The e-passport is the first official British paper document to incorporate an electronic chip and includes security features which make it hard to forge and prevent unauthorised reading of the chip. By September 2006 the IPS had reached 100 per cent production of the new e-passport, ahead of the deadline for staying within the US visa waiver programme. The agency used an exemption from procurement rules to amend its existing contract for passport production, rather than holding a competition. However, warning of the challenge ahead, committee chair Edward Leigh said: "The introduction from 2009 of second generation e-passports, digitally storing holders' fingerprints as well as their photographs, will present an even more demanding implementation challenge. "The best manufacturer's warranty which the IPS could get for the electronic chip embedded in the passport was for only two years, even though passports are valid for 10 years. "The prospect of e-passport failures contributing to yet further delays at border controls is not an enticing one." The report also recommends that the IPS eliminates areas of overlap between the e-passport and the national identity card scheme. The Home Office must explain why citizens need an identity card as well as an e-passport, it says. Philippe Martin, senior analyst at Kable, said: "There's a distinct possibility that the cost of the e-passport could rise again, as the government seeks to pass on the additional costs of the second generation passport to the citizen. "But on top of this, citizens will also have to pay for an identity card. This begs the questions, how far will public tolerance stretch in having to foot the bill for these innovations? Is this just another form of indirect taxation?" 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, 10 Oct 2007
15

Google's 'Gphone' said to be mobile OS

New reports suggest search giant Google is believed to be working on a mobile operating system and not a handset device as previously speculated.
Stephen Errity, 10 Oct 2007
thumbs up teaser 75
2

IT spending to top $3 trillion in 2007

Global spending on IT is set to reach $3.1 trillion this year, according to the latest research from analysts at Gartner. The figure represents an eight per cent increase from the previous year, while spending for 2008 is forecast to grow 5.5 per cent, reaching a total of $3.3 trillion.
Stephen Errity, 10 Oct 2007

Nvidia brings forward G92 launch?

Nvidia's G92 graphics chip, originally scheduled for a 12 November launch, will now appear on 29 October, Far Eastern moles have claimed.
Tony Smith, 10 Oct 2007
14

New web accessibility guidelines will be ignored, says critic

New guidelines on web accessibility are nearing completion after years of delay, according to the body behind them. But outspoken critic Joe Clark says the guidelines will be ignored when they are published. The first version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 1.0) were published first in 1999 by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). No final update has been published in the intervening eight years, but the W3C has told OUT-LAW Radio that a final draft will be ready in a few months, and the finalised version 2.0 of the guidelines is expected in 2008. "I expect that another last call working draft will come out in the coming months then how long it progresses after that really depends on the community," said Shawn Henry, outreach co-ordinator with the W3C body behind the guidelines, the Web Accessibility Initiative. "I hope we're close and I hope that the community realises that. I think there is a very real possibility that this is it and we'll be able to move forward from here." Henry said after the release of the last call working draft, the final WCAG processes could take just a few months. "I think there is a good chance it will be published in 2008," she said. The delay has partly been caused by the processes used to produce WCAG. Henry said its producers have to respond in some way to every comment or criticism made about the guidelines through its formal processes. "With each working draft we typically get hundreds of comments, so it's really impossible to say when it will be done because it depends on how many comments we get each time." One of WCAG's fiercest critics, though, said the guidelines could face a stiff challenge when they are published because the web world has moved on since the first version was published. "WCAG 2 will have a more limited audience. There are competing standards," said Joe Clark, a web accessibility consultant who criticised earlier drafts of WCAG 2. "There is the revamp of the Section 508 [of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973] regs, there is the European standard for accessibility, and there is the Japanese standard nobody ever talks about." Henry said the W3C was working closely with these other standards bodies to ensure that all of the new standards work with WCAG. "I think it is likely that there will be greater harmonisation with those standards and WCAG 2.0." She added that these other standards are still being developed. Clark also said the popularity of interactivity in websites that has gone under the banner Web 2.0 has also had its effect on the world of standards. He said these more complex sites demand better computer code, which in itself is more accessible. "All the cool kids already know about web accessibility and they just automatically make reasonably or very accessible websites as a matter of course," said Clark. "They never look at WCAG anything, they never look at any of the guidelines. We are living really in a post-guideline era. All the standardistas already know what they have to do, and some trivial or even some significant rewording of WCAG is never going to affect them because they are never going to crack these things open." Despite the criticisms it has faced over the long delay and complicated language of earlier drafts, Henry said the passing years have seen the internet has become a place that is more accessible to people with disabilities. "Basic awareness is hugely different over the last 10 years," she said. "But there is still a long way to go." Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.
OUT-LAW.COM, 10 Oct 2007
15

Orange puts plum back in mouth

Less than a month since changing its voice menus to something more "matey", Orange has called Ruth back into the recording studio to up the tone a little, and give customers a better class of voice menu. Our report on the last change promoted a deluge of comments which could be divided into two distinct camps: those who felt that Orange should be concentrating on its network rather than mucking about with girly voices, and those who felt that if the company was going to make a change then something a little less estuary would be better received. It seems the latter camp has won the day, with Ruth just back from her two-day elocution course and a new set of prompts now intermingled with the old, and the older. Orange confirmed the change, but wouldn't be drawn on what prompted it. So it's down to El Reg to reluctantly take the credit for raising the tone of mobile telephony and keeping it a bastion of good diction. ®
Bill Ray, 10 Oct 2007
Blu-ray_SM
7

Sony off-shoot unveils 'cheaper' Blu-ray drive for laptops

UpdatedUpdated Optiarc, the optical drive joint venture between Sony and NEC, has taken the wraps off its first Blu-ray Disc playback drive for laptops, claiming the machine will allow notebook makers to equip mid-range models with the next-gen disc format.
Tony Smith, 10 Oct 2007
7

AMD updates Phenom timetable

How is AMD's Phenom processor roll-out shaping up? According to the latest roadmap leak, expect three of the CPUs to appear this year, all of them in the 9000 series. Gamer-oriented FX parts won't debut until next year.
Tony Smith, 10 Oct 2007
54

ISP bosses told to get real on broadband speeds

Ofcom's independent consumer quango has called on ISP bosses to ensure people feel less cheated by the broadband packages they advertise. Dissent has been mounting over "up to" advertising of broadband speeds. For most consumers, an "up to 8Mbit/s" line will crawl to about half that speed because of contention, poor quality wiring and distance from the telephone exchange. In her letter to the chief execs of the six most popular ISPs, Ofcom Consumer Panel chairman Colette Bowe wrote: "We are of course aware of the technical reasons for the 'up to' terminology that you use. "I would however like to have your views about how these technical issues might be better addressed in terms of giving clearer information to potential customers." The Consumer Panel acts as an advisor to Ofcom's regulators. It has no powers of its own, but acts as a "consumer conscience" for the watchdog, which can opt to follow its advice or ignore it. Consumer confidence in internet providers has taken a battering as margins and therefore customer service have been squeezed. The ISP trade association ISPA will be discussing dissatisfaction with fair usage policies and bandwidth at its conference at the end of this month. Despite its toothlessness, the Ofcom Consumer Panel has asked the ISPs to consider some specific changes they could make to improve the reputation of the industry. Bowe has suggested the bigwigs agree to advise prospective customers their likely speed on their individual line. They should also extend the cooling-off period, and change contracts so people can switch ISP if the quality of their connection is too poor, she wrote. Ofcom proper is currently consulting on how best to fund a modern internet infrastructure for the UK. Replacing the dodgy copper and aluminium last mile - which encourages ISPs to use weasel words in their marketing - with fibre-optics will cost billions. New cabling would make it easier to guarantee speeds by removing the distance and poor quality wiring factors, but may not solve the contention issue, as many Virgin Media customers can attest today. Few in future would notice the difference between 100Mbit/s and 50Mbit/s, however. ®
Christopher Williams, 10 Oct 2007
Warning: biohazard
6

Security researchers plot revamped anti-virus tests

Security researchers are close to formulating plans to overhaul anti-virus testing amid growing concerns that current tests can be misleading.
John Leyden, 10 Oct 2007
Wii_Fit_SM
10

Nintendo limbers up for Wii Fit

Nintendo is on a mission to get Wii owners working up even more of sweat. The company's announced plans to launch its anticipated Wii Fit home fitness game in Japan later this year.
James Sherwood, 10 Oct 2007
email symbol
3

Email evidence jacks up litigation costs

Confusion over the handling of emails and other electronic documents for use as critical evidence in big litigation cases is costing the legal profession millions of pounds, a new survey has found.
Kelly Fiveash, 10 Oct 2007
25

Jihadi-sniffers blame White House for leaking secrets

An American company dedicated to monitoring al-Qaeda internet activities says that leaks from the US government have destroyed web-snooping capabilities painstakingly built up over years.
Lewis Page, 10 Oct 2007
4

Carphone bets on iPhone peripherals and free laptops

Carphone's Q3 07 results show a steady growth in both mobile and fixed-line customers, according to a trading statement issued by the firm. Carphone added 89,000 broadband customers, taking its total to 2.5 million, though less than 500,000 of those are unbundled. Over the last three months another 500 exchanges have been unbundled, taking the total to 2,212, which should increase that proportion. Mobile's up to 2.8 million punters, with 1.6 million of those pre-pay, a rise of 19.2 per cent on last year. Considering the fiercely competitive UK market, it's impressive enough to be increasing the customer base, even if the bulk of that is (lower profit) pre-pay connections. The company has managed to increase both its broadband and mobile subscriptions, though not as quickly as it had hoped. The rate of expansion is down on last year as the telecommunications market has got more competitive, but while most operators are focusing on making more money on the subscribers they have, Carphone Warehouse is still adding to those numbers. The free laptop offer, available to customers taking out a long-term broadband subscription on AOL, is expected to add another 250,000 customers by year end, based on figures since the promotion was launched in September. On the iPhone, which the company will start selling for O2 on 9 November, Carphone's CFO Roger Taylor admitted it's not making the margin it'd like, but intends to make money on the peripherals. The firm is also hoping that those seeking an iPhone might be tempted into other purchases. ®
Bill Ray, 10 Oct 2007
27

Catholic dating sites exchange rings

Catholics around the world and the next will be pleased to know that two of the US' top Catholic dating sites have come together in the unity of an acquisition. Yes, Catholic Match has thrown its loving arms around rival site CatholicDaters.com, meaning that single Catholics now have a single site through which to get to know one another well enough to reveal their confirmation names. According to a press release on the Catholic PRWire, Brian Barcaro, a Catholic Match co-founder said: "It became clear after some initial discussion, that an acquisition made sense not only for both companies but for their customers as well." Andrew Weyrich, CatholicDaters.com founder added: "I have enjoyed serving our customers and growing our service the past five years but this is a great opportunity for our customers and the entire Catholic community." Well, those that are single and not under holy orders. It appears the two sites should complement one another perfectly. Catholic match's sign-up procedure appears to have been adopted from the Spanish Inquisition, with candidates asked to state their positions on transubstantiation, papal infallibility, contraception and pre-marital sex, among others. To be fair, taking issue with papal dogma doesn't seem to disqualify you from membership, though we can't help thinking that allowing potential candidates for the priesthood to signup will only cause trouble in the long-run. CatholicDaters.com seems slightly more liberal in its outlook, though including a lifetime membership option in its price list does seem to be pushing it, given Rome's position on divorce. It may or may not be significant that the merger was announced on 9 October, the feast day of St Denis, patron saint of France, and who after being decapitated on Montmartre calmly carried his head to a village northeast of the city. Perhaps he should also be the patron saint of HR managers. ®
Joe Fay, 10 Oct 2007
60

Terminator will be back in 2009

Shooting will begin in 2008 on Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins, which promises to "reinvent the cyborg saga with a storyline to be told over a three-pic span". Production company Halcyon is keen to stress that the movie will indeed be a "reinvention", as executive producer Moritz Borman told Variety: "The third film was really the conclusion of what happened in the 'now'. You will find the most-loved characters, but the intention here is to present a fresh new world and have this be the first of a trilogy." Halcyon co-CEO Derek Anderson teased: "This is set in the future, in a full-scale war between Skynet and humankind." Terminator 3 writers John Brancato and Michael Ferris have already completed the Terminator Salvation screenplay, and Charlie's Angels director McG is hotly tipped to take the helm. The film is slated for a summer 2009 release. Regarding the possible participation of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Borman said: "We've left it open for him to maybe do a cameo. He has an important job, as we know, and the final decision will be based on his desire and availability, along with what the director wants." ®
Lester Haines, 10 Oct 2007

BT Tradespace drags small biz kicking and screaming onto Web 2.0

BT says 21,000 small businesses have signed up for its Tradespace website and ecommerce platform since it launched in April. Tradespace boss Ivan Croxford said members are finding that the sites were indexing well in Google, but would not give The Reg any traffic figures for entries in its Web 2.0 Phonebook. "It's early days," he said. "How good the site is is up to them." All the Tradespace sites we've viewed look a lot like a slightly chaotic Wordpress blog. Tradespace offers businesses with between one and 10 employees an online presence without the expense of professional web design or hassle of setting up ecommerce. It allows up to five free product listings, and customers can buy using Paypal, which BT adds a five per cent charge to for itself. Business who pay a £15 per month subscription get unlimited product listings and a smaller levy creamed off their sales, eBay-style. BT is trying hard to push the networking features of Tradespace. While the value of a company blog to your local scrapyard may be questionable, Croxford reckons a lot of the early use has been by businesses contacting each other through the site. The next stage of the project is to start punting it more to consumers, as well as recruiting more companies. The next big update, towards the end of this month, will allow visitors to create a profile so they can ask businesses and other consumers questions, form groups around particular interests, and review products. BT is calling the experiment "social commerce". ®
Christopher Williams, 10 Oct 2007

Has-beens jump on free downloads bandwagon

Past-it pop stars are tripping over their Zimmer frames in the rush to give away their music for nowt. Oasis and Jamiroquai are considering making their next LPs available as a free internet download, according to reports. Proving they can be as derivative with their marketing as they are with their music, both the Mancunian Dad-rockers and the tedious chicken-in-a-basket jazz-funk noodlers are considering aping Radiohead's gimmick. Radiohead is giving away its album in digital format, ahead of an $80 coffee table release of the CD. Like Radiohead, both acts are currently out of contract with a major label. Prince was on a single album deal when he made his latest album available as a newspaper cover mount recently. All these acts have something else in common: artistically and commercially, they all peaked several years ago. Another blast from the past, Nine Inch Nails, parted company with its record label this week hinting at "a direct relationship with the audience" for the future. So how long does a novelty remain a novelty, when everyone's doing it? Meanwhile, Radiohead's first LP for four years In Rainbows is available for free today. Thoughtfully, the right-on geezers have set a mandatory 45p donation to the hard-pressed finance industry - which should go some way to making up for yesterday's modest tax squeeze on the City. Stick it to the man, guys! Er,... unless it's a credit card company man. ®
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Oct 2007

Foxconn readies its first Intel X38 mobo

Foxconn has become one of the first mobo makers to formally announce a board based on Intel's high-end X38 chipset, complete with support for AMD's CrossFire multi-GPU technology.
Tony Smith, 10 Oct 2007
Samsung_UMPC_SM
1

Samsung specs up updated UMPC phone

Samsung has unfolded the specs of its second-generation fold-open UMPC-like phone - or should that be 'phone-like UMPC'?
James Sherwood, 10 Oct 2007
11

MSI lets slip AMD 790FX mobo

Motherboard maker MSI has pipped its rivals to the post and unveiled its first chipset based on AMD's as yet unannounced 790FX chipset - better known as the RD790.
Tony Smith, 10 Oct 2007

World's dumbest file-sharer mulls appeal

Ironically-named P2P user Jammie Thomas, who was fined $220,000 for copyright infringement in a case brought by the RIAA last week, wants to appeal the Minnesota jury's verdict. The lady is certainly unlucky. But is she ill-advised by her attorney Brian Toder - or is she just incredibly stupid? You decide: Jammie Thomas had used one hard drive for her Kazaa file sharing... then sent a different one to the plaintiffs. Amazingly, they noticed. Doh! Thomas's attorney claimed that her account might have been hijacked by a Wi-Fi hacker hovering outside her window. The plaintiffs had little trouble disproving this: she wasn't using Wi-Fi. Doh! Jammie Thomas carefully covered her tracks - by using the same login name for Kazaa that she uses for all her email, online shopping, and MySpace account. Doh! The blue-collar jury in Duluth wasn't impressed by the dissembling, and a juror told WiReD that the fine they imposed reflected her dishonest defence. "Her defense sucked... I don't know what the f*ck she was thinking, to tell you the truth," said 38-year-old steel worker Michael Hegg. "She should have settled out of court for a few thousand dollars. Spoofing? We're thinking, 'Oh my God, you got to be kidding'." As if Thomas hasn't had enough bad legal advice already - now the preppie lawyers at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) want to "help out". The EFF reckons that making files available isn't "making available" if er... no one downloads them. And they reckon that the copyright act only applies to physical objects. That's genius! 1983 sure is shaping up to be an interesting year... An appeal fund has been set up for Ms Thomas, but perhaps a nomination for the Darwin Awards might be more appropriate? The RIAA wants to put the fear of prosecution into internet users - but millions of P2Pers are cheerfully carrying on downloading today, knowing that their chances of being caught for copyright infringement are negligible. What a pity that a few retarded bloggers want to connive with the RIAA in this ridiculous pantomime. The two sides really do deserve each other. ®
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Oct 2007
18

Beijing's Olympian censorship machine laid bare

A democracy activist working undercover at a Chinese internet company has exposed how the Beijing government is strangling online dissent ahead of next year's Olympics. In an investigation released today by press freedom group Reporters Without Borders, "Mr Tao", a technician at an undisclosed firm, reveals details of recently-developed mechanisms for silencing opposition to the regime. "Prior to 2005, the Beijing authorities had not really organised an internet control system," writes Tao. Now there are at least five federal bodies whose job it is to distribute propaganda online, monitor websites, control internet companies, and clamp down on transgressors. Today's report highlights how the State apparatus responded to reports by China Business News in 2006 that Foxconn, the iPod-manufacturing giant, was mistreating its workers. In September, Apple leant on Foxconn to call off its witch hunt for the two journalists involved. At the same time, according to Mr Tao, Chinese website owners got a text message ordering them not to report the case. It said: "Do not disseminate reports about the Foxconn case so that it is not exploited by those who want independence to advance their cause." One directive, dated 30 May 2006, said: "Regarding the death of a radio presenter while she was at the deputy mayor's home, do not disseminate any reports, do not send any new articles, withdraw those that have already been posted on the site." In May and June 2006 a total of 74 directives were sent out by the Beijing Internet Information Administrative Bureau, the most active of the censorship departments. Its procedures have been sharpened this year so demands are prioritised in three categories with fines for failure to obey on time. The most urgent must be acted on within five minutes. The bureau bans news ahead of time, orders takedowns, and demands publication of propaganda by major internet companies including Yahoo! China and Baidu, the world's second-biggest search engine after Google. Internet firms are taken on propaganda away days to encourage self-censorship. There are between 400 and 500 banned keywords which companies self-censor behind the Great Firewall. All references to the date of the Tiananmen Square massacre - June 4 1989 - are taboo, for example. Reporters Without Borders, working with the Chinese Human Rights Defenders, said: "This system of censorship is unparalleled anywhere in the world and is an insult to the spirit of online freedom. "With less than a year to go before the Beijing Olympics, there is an urgent need for the government to stop blocking thousands of websites, censoring online news, and imprisoning internet activists." Mr Tao gives Chinese web users tips on how to avoid Big Brother online, including using proxies and anonymising services such as Tor. By using the latest internet communication tools before the regime becomes aware of them, dissenters may be able to stay one step ahead of Beijing's big red pen. The full report, entitled Journey to the heart of internet censorship, is here (pdf). ®
Christopher Williams, 10 Oct 2007
Apple
8

Apple prepares iPhone WebApp catalogue

Apple is about to launch a consolidation portal hosting WebApps for its glorified slates, the iPhone and iTouch, whilst developing proper applications with Electronic Arts and others. WebApps are web pages using AJAX as an application environment: for the moment they have to be re-downloaded each time you want to use them, but the catalogue about to be launched by Apple will include Remote Buddy (for remote controlling your Mac), Solitaire and a Nutrition Database as well as a WebApp launcher called iHome.
Bill Ray, 10 Oct 2007
62

Fairly realistic flying car offered for 2009 delivery

One of our favourite notions here at Vulture Central is that of the flying car. Ideally this would be a true sci-fi-style job, backed up by an equally puissant automated air-traffic infrastructure. In such a machine you could simply jump into your car outside your house, quietly lift off vertically, fly somewhere even in bad visibility and congested airspace, and set down again equally vertically. Then you could drive/taxi your astounding hover vehicle into the garage, underground carpark or wherever - or simply park it on the street.
Lewis Page, 10 Oct 2007
BT

BT puckers up for Frenchie IT outfit

BT's French love affair continued apace today with the announcement that it is in talks to acquire a majority stake in Paris-based IT consulting firm Net2S SA.
Kelly Fiveash, 10 Oct 2007
14

Plods-turned-gumshoes jailed for hacking operation

Two ex-policemen were jailed today for running a private detective agency that tapped phonelines and hacked computers during its investigations. Former Met officers Jeremy Young, 40, from Ilford in Essex, and Scott Gelsthorpe, 33, from Kettering, got 27 months and 24 months respectively at Southwark Crown Court today. Their agency was part of a national network of gumshoes with police connections that saw three more former officers jailed today. Young and Gelsthorpe started Active Investigation Services (AIS) in 1999 when Young was on sick leave from the force in Stoke Newington. The pair offered to bug cars and break into networks on behalf of clients and to steal medical records, bank details and phone records. Gelsthorpe and Young hired a US-based hacker to use Trojan attacks against their victims, who included Jimmy Choo shoe boss Tamara Mellon. Police say AIS could have netted Young and Gelsthorpe millions, but the exact haul is still being investigated. The racket was eventually noticed by chance by BT. The telco's own investigators filmed an AIS employee tampering with telephone lines and then contacted the Met. The police investigation into AIS then uncovered a broader abuse of police information. John Matthews, 60, of Stafford, was a serving officer who illegally accessed the Police National Computer on AIS' behalf. He was jailed for 14 months. Anthony Wood, 65, also from Stafford, received ten months' jailtime. Gary Flanagan, 43, of Newcastle-under-Lyme, got a three-month term. Both were former colleagues of Matthews' who were running a separate private detective agency in Stoke-on-Trent. Gordon Bucher, 53, a private investigater from Hereford, who acted as a middle man between AIS and Matthews got two months' imprisonment. The sentences were the result of a huge inquiry led by the Met's Anti-Corruption Command. A total of 27 people were arrested and so far 15 have been convicted. Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland commented: "It is very disappointing when you have police officers acting in this fashion whether they are serving or ex-police officers. "This case involved a national network of private investigators in London, Hereford and Staffordshire with police connections which is a concern." ®
Christopher Williams, 10 Oct 2007
channel
42

Hey car thief! Gonna shut you down

General Motors is prepping a carjack buster that gradually slows stolen cars to a halt by turning down engine power. The technology, dubbed Stolen Vehicle Slowdown, can allow General Motors' OnStar advisors, working with law enforcement officers, to send a signal to a stolen vehicle that reduces engine power. When police reach the car and judge it can be safely stopped without causing an obstruction, they can ask OnStar officials to switch the engine off.
John Leyden, 10 Oct 2007
Microsoft excel teaser
11

Future of computing safe, thanks to Excel patch

Microsoft has released a fix for a curious flaw that threatened to confound engineers who use the latest version of Excel.
Dan Goodin, 10 Oct 2007
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Blinkx targets money-hungry video sharers

Blinkx wants your help as it works to generate some cold hard cash from the worldwide obsession with online video. And it's willing to slip you a cut. Today, the Anglo-American video search engine unveiled a widget that lets you slap text ads on videos embedded into your website or blog, and when you do so, you get 50 per cent of the profits. "If you're already putting videos onto your site or whatever else, it's an integral, totally-codeless way to generate revenue," CEO Suranga Chandratillake told The Reg. Of course, you may have little interest in generating revenue from embedded videos. You may prefer to keep them ad-free. The widget is based on the company's AdHoc platform, which analyzes video content in an effort to place relevant ads. Blinkx has used the technology on its own site since June, and now it's giving end users a crack. To use the widget, you'll have to set up an account with Blinkx as well as PayPal. PayPal is how you get your cut. With those two accounts in place, you can shuttle embedded video code from sites like YouTube and MySpace into the widget, and it will spit out new code that includes an ad. "It gathers information about the video itself and finds ads to match,' Chandratillake explained. Slap the new code onto your site, and you've got a new revenue stream. Each time someone clicks on the ad, a Blinkx partner forks over some dough, and you get half. Revenue will vary from ad to ad. "We use different ad networks, and different networks pay different amounts. So anything from one cent per click to five or 10 dollars." When Blinkx showed us the widget in action, ads were laid across the top of video, but at some point, you'll have the option of placing them just above or beside the image. "Our tests have shown that you get more clicks with [overlays]," Chandratillake said, "so we're going to suggest that people who want to generate lots of revenue they should place the ads in the video." So it all depends on how greedy you are. ®
Cade Metz, 10 Oct 2007

The truth about virtualization

Reg Tech PanelReg Tech Panel Virtualization is one of the hottest buzzwords in the industry. To many, it is a word that is synonymous with the use of VMware for server partitioning. While this is understandable given that it’s where most newcomers have got their feet wet, there is a lot more to virtualization than this, and as many old-timers will tell you, it ain’t a new concept at all.
Team Register, 10 Oct 2007
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Mandriva Linux 2008 is out and about

Mandriva has released the latest version of its desktop Linux operating system, which can be downloaded free on its website and public mirror servers. Mandriva Linux 2008 has a new base system built on version 2.6.22.9 of the Linux kernel, which adds some features such as fair scheduling support (distributes CPU usage amongst users).
Austin Modine, 10 Oct 2007
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Dell boots disks and fires up streamed PCs

Forget thin clients and blade PCs. Dell will do the virtual desktop thing in its own, less than radical way. Dell today announced a streamed desktop package that will allow customers to manage up to 100 PCs from a single server. As you might expect, Dell will rely on Citrix's Provisioning Server for Desktops software to send copies of an operating system out from the data center to PCs. By controlling PCs from the server room, Dell thinks customers can cut down on their security risks and management costs - a familiar refrain for anyone familiar with the server-based PC model.
Ashlee Vance, 10 Oct 2007
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Reg Dev plunges into Gapingvoid

Anyone still working in app dev who was around before BritPop will remember the debate on how the likes of Object Orientation and Corba were going to revolutionize distributed computing and the way we interact with systems. If so, you should be heaving a "here-we-go-again" type sigh faced with today's wave of euphoria for Service Oriented Architectures (SOAs) and mashups.
Gapingvoid, 10 Oct 2007
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Quantum sues Riverbed over de-dupe patent

Still fresh from acquiring a patent agreement from Data Domain by threatening legal action, Quantum is turning its eyes to another rival in the de-duplication market. Quantum said today it is suing Riverbed Technology on claims it is violating its intellectual property.
Austin Modine, 10 Oct 2007
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Curl mounts Silverlight and AIR challenge

Curl, the rich programming language specialist back from obscurity, is turning to open source to gain a foothold in rich internet applications (RIA). The company, founded on MIT research and that burned through its cash during the last internet bubble leading to a $1.5m acquisition, has said it plans to open source the Curl libraries and web kit within weeks, and to integrate its run-time with Eclipse.
Paula Rooney, 10 Oct 2007
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Virgin Galactic: Flights 'still a few years away'

Virgin Galactic, Sir Richard Branson's planned "space tourism" operation, has admitted that it is "still a few years away from operations". The company's COO has suggested that work is at a standstill pending the outcome of health-and-safety investigations into the fatal explosion earlier this year at the Mojave facilities of Scaled Composites, where Branson's rocketships are being developed. Luxury vomit-comets, grounded perhaps for years. Virgin Galactic was formed in the wake of Scaled Composites' 2004 Ansari X-Prize triumph, when its privately-developed SpaceShipOne suborbital rocketplane was first to achieve the X-Prize goals. SpaceShipOne was funded by Microsoft founder Paul Allen, and subsequently Richard Branson stepped in with £60m to order a fleet of five scaled-up SpaceShip Two passenger craft and a brace of White Knight Two launch platforms. The SpaceShip Twos, like their forerunner, will not be able to achieve orbit. However, they will be able to carry their wealthy thrillseeker passengers on brief ballistic arcs outside the Earth's atmosphere, during which they will experience weightlessness and dazzling views. The first hundred tickets - at $200k each - sold fast, and flights were planned to commence in 2008. The New Mexico state government also has coughed up $31m to build a new desert spaceport, designed by Norman Foster, from which the Virgin Galactic fleet will operate. But it now appears that things have ground to a halt, Alex Tai, Galactic COO, revealed as he addressed the Royal Aeronautical Society last week on the occasion of Sputnik's 50th anniversary.* Speaking of the fatcats-in-space plans, he referred to the Mojave explosion, saying: "We are waiting for the [accident investigation] report. We are still a few years away from operations," Flight International reports. Apparently, work on SpaceShip Two is on hold. However, Tai said that a nifty simulator with "stunning visuals" is on offer to console Sigourney Weaver and other wealthy customers who have reserved seats, and who - it now appears - may have to wait until next decade for their zero-gee joyride. ® *Sputnik actually did reach Earth orbit.
Lewis Page, 10 Oct 2007
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This emergency alert has been cancelled by Hotmail

Yesterday's story showing evidence that Microsoft has placed Draconian caps on the number of Hotmail recipients who can receive an email prompted a message from reader Jeff Willis. He says Hotmail routinely blocks mass emails his company, MIS Sciences Corporation, sends on behalf of universities and government agencies.
Dan Goodin, 10 Oct 2007
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History dictates future of virtualization

First, a bit of history. In the early 1970s, IBM had two separate operating system development teams competing for the future of the mainframe. The establishment - represented by MVS - offered continuity from the age of the 360. Another group of trendy virtual machine enthusiasts were quietly working on VM/370 - an exciting route away from the unwieldy monolith that MVS had become. The VM team even had stylish enamel button badges made with the legend "VM Bigot".
Phil Manchester, 10 Oct 2007
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3Com sues 3Com over 3Com buyout

The $2.2bn sale of networking gear vendor 3Com has already hit litigious waters, courtesy its own shareholders.
Austin Modine, 10 Oct 2007
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Ohio docks official one week's holiday for data breach

Ohio's Department of Administrative Services says it's learned its lesson following the pilfering of a tape that contained personal data belonging to more than 130,000 people. And to prove it the agency is docking a whole week's holiday time from the man who failed to ensure the security of the information.
Dan Goodin, 10 Oct 2007
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Panasas decides to redefine RAID

It's too much to demand that any vendor try and make RAID storage exciting. Our hats, however, go off to Panasas for trying. The company this week started hyping its Tiered Parity Architecture (TPA) – technology that serves as an extension to RAID. Panasas CTO Garth Gibson, one of the inventors of RAID back at Berkeley, is once again behind this advance, which once again helps customers route around disk errors.
Ashlee Vance, 10 Oct 2007