I have never felt comfortable using Microsoft’s Project Server despite using it for many software projects. I don't think Project Server is suited for software development, but is more a general purpose project management tool.
A Sony executive has left PS3 fans all a-quiver after promising to release a firmware update "soon" that will improve the console’s support for Blu-ray Disc interactivity features.
Payments processing body SWIFT will stop processing European banking transactions in the US in 2009. It is planning a restructuring of its network and the building of a new operations centre in Switzerland.
Intel has demo'd the 45nm quad-core mobile processor it's planning to release next year. The chip maker claimed it was on track to bring the part to market in H2 2008 - in Q3, to be precise, though that's not a timeframe Intel has yet made public.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has authorised a ban on toys and child products containing "more than a trace amount" of plastic-softening phthalates, AP reports. The proscription, which comes into force at the start of 2009, marks California as the first state to move against phthalates which are "widely used in baby bottles, soft baby books, teething rings, plastic bath ducks and other toys", according to the bill's author, democrat Assemblywoman Fiona Ma of San Francisco. Ma told AP: "I think parents will be comforted that when they buy one of these chewy products it will be safe." The use of phthalates is a controversial topic. Back in 2006, we reported on a Greenpeace Netherlands warning that popular sex toys, including "dildos, vibrators and butt plugs" may contain high levels of the chemicals. The organisation warned: "Remember, these are chemicals which do not easily biodegrade and can be dangerous - even in small amounts." The Phthalates Information Centre Europe disagreed, citing "EU Risk Assessments" of five commonly-used phthalates which noted that diisononyl phthalate (DINP) and diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP) show "no risks to human health or the environment for any current use". Dibutyl phthalate (DBP), though, did demonstrate "some potential risk to plants in the vicinity of processing sites and possibly to workers through inhalation", while the risk assessments for butylbenzyl phthalate (BBP) and DEHP remained open as "scientific data is still being considered". Back in September 2004, the EU Competitiveness Council voted for a permanent ban - which came into force in January 2006 - on DEHP, DBP and BBP for use in all PVC toys, and also banned DINP, DIDP, and di-n-octyl phthalate (DNOP) "from toys and child care items that children can put in the mouth". As we noted at the time, the EU Risk Assessment for DINP and DIDP (published April 2006) "added weight to industry suspicions that environmental pressure groups have for political reasons exaggerated the risks posed by phthalates". Whatever the actual risk posed by phthalates, the campaign to see the back of them is evidently gaining momentum. According to AP, Maryland, New York and Oregon are also mulling bills that would ban phthalates in "certain products". ®
ColumnColumn Call me sensitive if you must, but when someone starts talking about wireless and keeps using the word "radiation" I tend to suspect an agenda.
Hitachi has developed a hard drive read/write head that's half the size of the units found in today's top-of-the-line HDDs - a crucial step, it claimed, to delivering a 4TB desktop drive, albeit not until 2009 at the earliest.
Google has updated its desktop for fanboys* Linux with the beta launch of version 1.1. Now you can search and launch applications, and search within Microsoft Office documents. The team at Google has also upgraded the image search so better quality thumbnails are returned and more image formats are supported.
Sexagenarian Brit thespo Sir Ian McKellen has expressed hopes that he will reprise his role of Gandalf in Lord of the Rings prequel The Hobbit, saying he'd be "very pleased" to get the hat and beard out of mothballs. McKellen, 68, told Reuters: "If I am still functioning and working well, it is very likely I would be asked to do it," adding: "I am glad to read that it is looking more and more likely. I would be disappointed if they didn't want to have the original Gandalf." Any doubt surrounding the casting of Gandalf is because Peter Jackson will not direct The Hobbit due to a legal bust-up with studio New Line. However, McKellen reportedly said: "When Peter announced he had withdrawn from The Hobbit, he sent me an email saying: 'Because I am not going to do it, it doesn't mean you have to do the same.'" As to when The Hobbit might hit the big screen, no schedule has been announced and Jackson's replacement is unknown. ®
Airbus this morning delivered its first A380 to Singapore Airlines ahead of the aircraft's maiden commercial flight on 25 October. The long-awaited hand over took place at the Airbus Delivery Centre in Toulouse. Airbus president and CEO Tom Enders told the 500-odd people at today's ceremony: "This is a landmark day for all those who worked so hard over the years to make it happen. It is also a tribute to all the engineers and workers who developed the A380, as well as all our customers who selected this magnificent and highly efficient jetliner. We appreciate the confidence they have shown in Airbus and for staying with us through troubled times." The A380 programme has been beset by delays provoked mainly by wiring problems, prompting several airlines to express their disquiet and threaten to reconsider their orders. Airbus's woes earlier this year led to a major restructuring plan aimed at cutting costs and shedding 10,000 jobs. Soon after, the company posted its first ever loss, directly fingering the A380 debacle as the cause. Rival Boeing, meanwhile, has its own troubles with the 787 Dreamliner. It recently delayed delivery of the first example, shortly after claiming All-Nippon Airways would be able to get its hands on the controls by May 2008. The Airbus A380 has now attracted 165 firm orders and 24 commitments from 16 customers including Qantas (20), Virgin Atlantic (6), and Emirates (the biggest order of 47). British Airways is "committed" to 12, while Spain's Grupo Marsans last week signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" to buy a substantial 61 Airbus aircraft, including four A380s. ®
A dinosaur skull has been unearthed in Japan. The 85-million year-old fossil is one of the oldest finds of its kind in the country, per Reuters. The skull was found in southwestern Japan back in 2004, on a mountain in the town of Mifune. An spokesperson for the Mifune dinosaur museum said that the skull belonged to a herbivore known as a hadrosaurid, or duck-billed dinosaur. The duck-billed dinosaurs grew to between seven and eight metres tall, but looked a little like giant platypuses with their duck-like heads. They were extremely common in the Cretaceous period, and were split into crested and non-crested types. The Reuters report makes no mention of whether or not the skull had a crest. Since the discovery, by an amateur fossil hunter, the skull has been carefully cleaned to allow for identification. Experts say it is the first hadrosaurid skull to be found in Japan, but is the second duck-billed dino to make the news in recent weeks. Earlier this month, paleontologists in Utah announced the discovery of a new species, the Gryposaurus monumentensis, a menace to plants throughout the late Cretaceous.®
A pair of US men were each jailed for more than five years on Friday for their part in a long-running pornographic spam business that racked up revenues of more than $1m.
The 8GB version of Nokia's N95 3G phone - sorry, "multimedia computer" - has begun making its way out of the Finnish phone giant's factories and onto store shelves, the company claimed today.
British fans of Nintendo Wii and Star Wars will get a first glimpse of the Wii Remote as a Light Sabre at a gaming festival being held later this month.
Like many Reg Hardware readers, I have an 802.11g Wi-Fi network at home. But there are places where it just doesn't reach. Has anyone got a good suggestion as to what I can do about it?
British businesses have joined forces in an attempt to convince the government to rethink its decision to reform capital gains tax (CGT). In his first Pre-Budget Report (PBR) last week, chancellor Alistair Darling said he would dump taper relief on CGT replacing it with a single 18 per cent tax rate from April next year.
On 15 September, UK redtop The Sun caused a bit of a rumpus by announcing that display team the Red Arrows had been banned from "performing at the 2012 London Olympics as they are too BRITISH" (tabloid outrage caps, nothing to do with us). The "barmy organisers" apparently claimed the RAF's finest "might offend other nations" - an assertion which prompted one flyboy to declare: "We have been simply blown away by this decision. For years we have talked about performing a display at the Olympic Games and how magnificent it would be. It never crossed our mind we would be banned from the event." The only problem with this splendid story was that it was a load of old cobblers. The powers that be moved with lightning speed to quash the rumour. Red Arrows spokeswoman Rachel Huxford clarified: "We have had no discussions about the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics whatsoever. We are still planning our 2008 season at this stage and that is a long way off. We understand that no decision has yet been made about the ceremony. We performed when London won its Olympic bid in 2005 after we received a standard request from the Olympic organisers." Well, we spotted this piece of silliness at the time, but thought nothing more of it. What had escaped our notice, though, was how the might of The Sun could mobilise no less than 165,000 people to sign a petition "to Allow the Red Arrows to Fly at the 2012 Olympics". Despite the facts, people were apparently still expressing their discontent on 27 September, when Her Maj's Gov was obliged to counter with: "This allegation is not true. The Government has not banned the Red Arrows from the London 2012 Olympic Games. The organising committee of London 2012 will decide what to include in the Opening Ceremony and other celebrations - but with almost five years to go, decisions are yet to be made on what these will look like." Rather agreeably, for those among you who think this is a cover-up and that the government will replace the Red Arrows with a rainbow squadron of mixed races and faiths flying carbon-neutral paper aircraft, the petition is still open. Democracy 2.0? We love it. ®
Microsoft's "Keep IT Real" campaign targeting resellers of illegally copied software has claimed several more scalps. Nine staff at Wendy Fair Markets Ltd, which operated Bovingdon Market in Hertfordshire, have been convicted of distributing unauthorised goods following several years of investigation by Trading Standards.
ReviewReview Rock has a reputation for punching out high-performance laptops, and it's latest line, the flagship 17in desktop-replacment X770 series, has a spec that suggests it's no slouch either.
Veteran rock outfit Led Zeppelin has announced it'll make its catalogue available on 13 November from "all online music retailers", Reuters reports. Guitarist Jimmy Page said in a statement: "We are pleased that the complete Led Zeppelin catalogue will now be available digitally. The addition of the digital option will better enable fans to obtain their music in whichever manner they prefer." As well as punting existing material on the net, Zep will also release Mothership, a "two-CD collection spanning the group's 12-year career", plus a remixed version of 1973's The Song Remains the Same. And if that's not enough, the band is "teaming up with mobile provider Verizon Wireless to provide ring tones and full song downloads" for true disciples. Led Zeppelin is, of course, due to appear for a one-off gig on 26 November at London's O2 Arena. The gig has caused a few problems for promotor Harvey Goldsmith, with tickets popping up on eBay contrary to the "you bought it, only you can use it" rule. ®
Among university roboticists, the scenario of humans having sex with robots is normally seen as inevitable. Further support for this (the assessment of robotics boffins' worldview, not the likelihood of mechanised jigjig going mainstream) appeared last week, as a PhD thesis on the subject was defended at Maastricht University.
Oscar Wilde has secured top spot in a poll to discover Britain's top wit - pipping Spike Milligan into an honourable second place. Wilde saw off tough competition from a field which also included Winston Churchill, Jeremy Clarkson, Brian Clough, and Stephen Fry in the top 10 of the Dave poll. Dave is, in case you're wondering, an absurdly-titled UKTV channel aimed at young chaps, 3,000 of who decided that classic Wilde lines such as "I can resist everything except temptation", "Work is the curse of the drinking classes" and final words "Either those curtains go or I do" were enough to award him the crown. Spike Milligan was celebrated for quips including his gravestone's inscription reading "I told you I was ill" and "How long was I in the army? Five foot eleven". Stephen Fry rated third, and will be long remembered for "I don't need you to remind me of my age. I have a bladder to do that for me" and, ahem, "Many people would no more think of entering journalism than the sewage business - which at least does us all some good". The only controversial entry in the top ten was Liam Gallagher (at 10th), whose main contribution to the art was his observation that Victoria Beckham "can't even chew gum and walk in a straight line, let alone write a book". Here's the full list of glory, with appropriate quote: Oscar Wilde: "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilisation in between." Spike Milligan: "A sure cure for seasickness is to sit under a tree." Stephen Fry: "It is a cliché that most clichés are true, but then like most clichés, that cliché is untrue." Jeremy Clarkson (on the Maserati Quattroporte): "In a list of the five most rubbish things in the world, I'd have America's foreign policy at five. AIDS at four. Iran's nuclear programme at three. Gordon Brown at two and Maserati's gearbox at number one. It is that bad." Sir Winston Churchill: "Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put." Paul Merton: "I'm always amazed to hear of air crash victims so badly mutilated that they have to be identified by their dental records. What I can't understand is, if they don't know who you are, how do they know who your dentist is?" Noel Coward: "I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me." William Shakespeare: "Being born is like being kidnapped. And then sold into slavery." Brian Clough: "I wouldn't say I was the best manager in the business, but I was in the top one." Liam Gallagher: "I suppose I do get sad, but not for too long. I just look in the mirror and go, 'What a f***ing good-looking f*** you are.' And then I brighten up." In case you're wondering, the top-placed female was dear old Maggie in 12th position. As the Iron Lady once said: "I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end." ®
Researchers at MIT say they know what the near-Earth asteroid Apophis is made of, information that could be vital if we need to divert or pulverise the space-rock in 2036. By analysing its spectrum and comparing it with meteorites that have already landed on Earth, the team has "nailed" its composition, says Richard Binzel, professor of planetary sciences in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences (EAPS). Apophis is a 270-metre-wide chunk of debris left over from the solar system's heady days of planet formation. In 2029 it will pass within 22,000 miles of Earth, well inside the lunar orbit, and edging close to some of our satellites. In 2036, it'll pass the Earth again, and there is a very tiny (one in 45,000) chance that the earlier encounter will have knocked it onto a collision course. So, to be fully prepared for this potentially planet-smashing encounter, MIT unleashed its finest asteroid analysers to find out exactly what it is that probably won't crash into us in 29 years' time. The info could also be useful for any other possible mission to the asteroid, the boffins say. "Basic characterisation is the first line of defence," Binzel said. "We've got to know the enemy." Even though the chances of it hitting us are remote, the damage a head-on collision with Apophis could do makes it worth thinking about. A 270-metre asteroid could devastate a region the size of France, or create huge, coast-engulfing tsunamis. So Binzel and his team turned the IT Magellan telescope in Chile and NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility in Hawaii towards Apophis, and set about analysing the results. Happily, enough meteorites have fallen on Earth that the team was able to find a near-exact match. Their work suggests that Apophis is a rare type, known as LL chondrite. Just seven per cent of the space rocks that land on Earth are a match to this pyroxene and olivine-rich rock, the team says. "The beauty of having found a meteorite match for Apophis is that because we have laboratory measurements for the density and strength of these meteorites, we can infer many of the same properties for the asteroid Apophis itself," Binzel said. Knowing the asteroid's composition will help those preparing planetary defence to choose the best method from the array of sci-fi options, such as lasers, nukes or space tugboats, to manoeuvre it out of harm's way. ®
Intel has revealed details of technologies it’s developing to help reduce notebooks’ internal temperatures and make them resistant to accidental spillages.
Microsoft has yet to confirm the existence of a new basic Xbox 360 model, the Arcade edition, despite pictures of the model’s packaging appearing online.
IT distie Bell Micro has kicked off a new security training scheme for its channel partners. The Security Sales Academy will take place at its Chessington World of Adventures site and will be punted to small to medium sized (SMB) and enterprise businesses in an attempt at raising the G-force skill level among sales staff.
DivX has teamed up with D-Link to incorporate its DivX Connected HD digital media platform onto the Wi-Fi firm's DSM-330 network box, giving users access to PC-based DivX content via their TV.
Cybercriminals are attempting to tarnish the reputation of a website designed to fight online money transfer frauds and other scams. UK hosts Fasthosts unwittingly played into their hands by temporarily suspending Bobbear.co.uk over the weekend in response to fraudulent emails.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) is to spend £250,000 on a two year research project to quantify everyday exposure to electromagnetic fields from Wi-Fi. The agency reckons this will give it some ammunition to reassure people that their kids are safe if their school chooses to use a wireless internet connection.
Blighty's dark Orwellian future may have been put on hold, as news breaks that the Brown government has abandoned road-pricing plans in their current various forms. The city government of London, meanwhile, under the direction of roguish cheeky-chappie Mayor Ken Livingstone, continues to charge ahead with technology-based traffic control solutions.
I have a hi-fi system and I want to transfer my vinyl LPs to CD. I could buy an Ion USB turntable, of course - but could I use my existing turntable somehow?
EU competition regulators are preparing new rules that will aim to rein in the incumbent operators it says are stymying internet uptake and creating a two-speed Europe. In a statement, commissioner Viviane Reding said an unacceptable gap had developed between highly competitive broadband markets like the UK and those in newer member states. She said: "The gap between the strongest and weakest performers in Europe is growing. Europe must act now to get its broadband house in order." She made the comments as the EU released a report on broadband penetration. It ranks Denmark top, with high speed access in 37.2 per cent of homes. High prices and poor availability mean Bulgaria and Romania limp online with just 5.7 and 6.6 per cent take-up respectively. DSL technologies make up the majority of the EU broadband base, but fibre-optics and wireless are catching up, and are now used by 17.7 million, compared to 72.5 million for DSL. Reding said her department will make proposals on November 13 to close the gap by increasing competition. Reforms will be aimed at tackling "regulatory weakness". She's a particular fan of the action taken by Ofcom to create BT Openreach, which must offer equal access to its competitors. As we noted last week, however, one knock-on effect of the fierce competition has been rapid consolidation, cutting consumer choice. The statement and a link to the full report are here. In other news today, France's domestic competition watchdog slapped France Telecom - which owns Orange - with a €45m fine. It's been punished for a 2001 complaint by rival Club Internet that it was abusing its dominance of the Gallic broadband market. France Telecom didn't contest the fine and said its monopolistic days are behind it. ®
Motorola has taken a 50 per cent stake in UIQ, the phone user interface company spun out of Symbian last year. Moto takes a 50 per stake with Sony Ericsson, which took UIQ off Symbian's hands last year, the other half. "The intention is not to run it as a 50-50 joint venture," said outbound Sony Ericsson boss Miles Flint today. A bullish UIQ said today it will also seek further partners. The company has grown from 142 staff in February to over 350 today, with new offices in Budapest and London. UIQ is a bit more than just a pen UI these days - it's evolved into a "one handed" penless UI that offers a strong competitor to Nokia. Motorola's Alain Mutricy, senior VP of platform technology, said: "We will not be replacing our other platforms... We will add UIQ into our portfolio into specific strategic segments - particularly multimedia - and geographical areas." Today's news also consummates an on-off relationship that's lasted most of the noughties. Motorola and Sony Ericsson came close to announcing a joint venture in 2002, we revealed exclusively at the time, but the plan was abandoned as Motorola went gung-ho for Linux. That proved to be a fruitless and frustrating wrong turn for the American company, so here it is. We asked why the not-joint venture was considered a good idea today, but not quite in 2002. They didn't really answer the question. UIQ sprung from the Mobile Communications Applications research lab at the old Ericsson, and the lab became part of Symbian in 1998, a few months after Symbian itself came together. Motorola was one of the first to develop a phone based on UIQ, in the now notorious "Odin" project, a joint venture with Psion. See UI wars ‘tore Symbian apart’ – Nokia - our retrospective from 2004. Motorola subsequently developed some of the first 3G handsets using UIQ for Hutchison, in 2003, but abandoned its Symbian stake the following year. The company returned to the platform with its Z8 phone this year. We can safely assume many more will follow. "Nothing here is confrontational or attacking," said Flint. Right. ®
3's widely-trailed collaboration with Skype will be a new handset that will launch in the run-up to Christmas, sources say. The operator already offers access to free Skype calling through an application for its X-Series phones. However, the new product will see much tighter integration with the eBay-owned VoIP software. The current implementation fudges slightly by using the voice channel to connect to the phone mast before the network converts the call to a true VoIP. The X-Series launched at the tail end of 2006. It was the first mobile broadband package to offer fixed line-style pricing. It has failed to jumpstart mass market mobile internet in the way it was hoped to. 3 still hasn't officially confirmed the partnership, which has been the worst-kept secret in the mobile industry. A spokesman said: "The move marks a radical step forward in operator thinking and will mobilise internet calls for a mass market. It will also close the gap between internet communications and mobile calling and is something you won't see from any other operator." ®
Hacking pranksters have caused a rumpus in Finland by posting the account and login details of thousands online.
The Eclipse Foundation says building rich internet applications (RIA) just got easier with the release today of its much-anticipated Rich Ajax Platform (RAP 1.0) toolkit. The toolkit enables developers to build RIAs using a combination of Java, Ajax and the OSGi standard within the Eclipse framework.
SNWSNW EMC is teaching NetWorker, its long-in-tooth flagship backup and recovery application some new tricks in time for Storage Networking World in Texas. The company is integrating de-duplication and continuous data protection (CDP) technology into the software via the new kids on EMC's lineup, Avamar and RecoverPoint software.
America Online is slashing another 2,000 jobs worldwide - about 20 per cent of its workforce - as it continues to morph from online service provider to a company hoping to make its money from web sites you can advertise on. The cuts were announced via an internal memo from CEO Randy Falco, The Associated Press reports. "This realignment will allow us to increase investment in high-growth areas of the company – as an example, we added hundreds of people this year through acquisitions – while scaling back in areas with less growth potential or those that aren’t core to our business," the memo said. The company cut 5,000 jobs little more than a year ago, when it first announced plans to move away from life as a subscription-based ISP. The latest round of cuts will begin tomorrow and continue over "the next couple months." About 1,200 of the cuts will come in the US, including 750 in northern Virginia. Last year, AOL announced plans to move its headquarters from Virginia to New York City, center of the US advertising world. ®
Now that PHP is taking that big step from popular webhead scripter to serious enterprise tech, PHP coders need to add a new word to their vocabularies: methodology. Of course, there’s no quicker way to send cowboy coders stampeding for the hills than to say that word. (“Process” would do it, too, and there would be screaming.) But Eddo Rotman says the change doesn’t have to hurt - much. His solution: agile development methodologies.
Creators of the Storm Worm Trojan have introduced a change to their malware that could help administrators trying to fortify their ISPs and networks against the prolific pest. PCs infected by Storm in the past week or so use a 40-byte key to encrypt traffic sent through Overnet, a peer-to-peer protocol that helps individual bots connect to other infected machines, according to Joe Stewart, a senior researcher with SecureWorks, a provider of security services and software.
Police who unmasked a suspected pedophile and posted his picture online have identified the man and say he is at large somewhere in Thailand thanks to an international campaign that yielded tips from more than 350 people. A photo taken by Thai immigration authorities The man, whom Interpol declined to publicly identify for "investigative reasons," was photographed by security cameras at the Bangkok airport last week. He had been working as a teacher of English at a school in South Korea but was forced to flee shortly after the international police organization issued a public appeal for help in tracking him down. Police say they have determined the man's name, nationality, date of birth, passport number and current and previous work places. Codenamed "Vico," the man was allegedly shown in 200 online photographs in which he sexually assaults 12 young boys in Vietnam and Cambodia. The face in the photos had been digitally altered so it couldn't be identified. When Interpol figured out a way to largely restore the original image, they published the photo of the man on their website and asked for help in identifying the suspect. More than 350 people responded to last week's appeal, Interpol said. The suspect was identified from information provided by five people on three continents. Interpol said it was the first time it had made a worldwide appeal to the public to track down a suspect. The images show a white male with a receding hairline who is occasionally bespectacled. Police are continuing to investigate Vico. "We must once again enlist the public's support, this time to pinpoint Vico's current location," Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said in a statement. Anyone with information about the suspect can contact Interpol here. ®
The US Supreme Court has refused to dismiss a lawsuit that accuses Microsoft and Best Buy of behaving like gangsters. No, this isn't the case where the Best Buy lawyer admitted to cooking court documents. But you're close. There are two suits that accuse Microsoft and Best Buy of behaving like gangsters - one in federal court and one in state court - and both were brought by the same legal team.
SNWSNW Several storage vendors plan to dive into 8 Gbit/s Fibre Channel gear in 2008, but it looks like Brocade will be first in the pool. The company announced that 8 Gbit/s blades for its 48000 Director have already shipped to OEMs for evaluation and will be available early next year. Brocade revealed the move today at Storage Networking World in Dallas.