12th > December > 2008 Archive

Apple updates MacBooks

If you - like many other owners of Apple's new MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air - have experienced random flakiness from your pricey new toy, Apple is offering some help.

2008's top three radios

Kit of the Year The great DAB debate rages, but there's no doubt digital radios make great presents for regular listeners still tuning in to old trannies. Ahem. And these new fangled ones do FM and internet radio too.
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IWF rethinks its role

Anger at aborted attempts by net censor, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) to block material hosted on Wikipedia earlier this week may lead to radical changes in the way the organisation works - it has already changed the way the organisation is perceived.
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Seagate slashes bare drive warranties

Seagate is cutting the warranty period of its bare drives.
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Google removes Chrome beta wrapping

Google has brought Chrome out of beta just three months after it released the open source browser that currently only plays nice with Windows.
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Germany tests tadpole airship

Vid A German-American company has successfully tested a prototype unmanned airship of weird and wonderful design. The so-called "Stratellite" craft is composed of gas-filled segments linked in a chain, so it can flex and bend with the wind.

Nokia readies HSDPA dongle for laptops

Nokia will ship a USB HSDPA 3G dongle early next year in a bid to grab a share of the growing laptop-oriented mobile broadband business.

T-Mobile socks it to O2 over BlackBerry launch

In a move that will make O2 see red, rival operator T-Mobile has released the BlackBerry Curve 8900 earlier and at a potentially lower price than its rival.
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Application platforms: different stuff, same story?

When it comes to IT, the build versus buy argument is part and parcel of the industry. We know from the last Barometer study that custom application software development is just as important for many of you as packaged application software.

Addonics to strike big with matchbox NAS kit?

Want a really cheap way to build your own NAS rig? Enter Addonics' NAS Adapter, a $55 (£37/€42) dongle that connects any USB hard drive to your network.

La Cie's quiet fans

External storage supplier La Cie has found a way to quieten its external drives by adding staggered notches to the trailing edges of the fan blades. How does that work?
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Dell battles HP to trash Mother Earth

Aboxalypse now HP's ongoing bid to trash Mother Earth by putting small things in really big boxes and, if possible, strapping those to a pallet continues apace, as witnessed by NZ-based Eugene Chan, who recently made the mistake of ordering a licence key from the world's biggest consumer of cardboard:
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Public support for ID cards dips to 55 per cent

Update The latest Home Office poll on public attitudes to the planned National ID card indicates that support for the scheme has eroded slightly, with the proportion of those in favour down from 60 to 55 per cent.
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Top UK cybercop dreams of PC breathalysers

A breathalyser-style tool for PCs capable of spotting potentially illegal activity is needed in order to address a mounting computer forensics workload. However experts in the field warn that such a device, desirable though it might be, could be difficult to develop in a reliable form.
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Doctor Who heads iPlayer hit list

The fourth Series of Doctor Who has topped the Beeb's iPlayer hit list, proving the most-watched programme since the service launched on Xmas day last year, according to Broadcast.
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FSF throws sueball at Cisco

A group of open source advocates is suing tech giant Cisco for alleged violation of the General Public Licence (GPL).
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Vote now for your worst net neologism

Reader poll It's the traditional ta very much to all of you who responded to our call for nominations for the worst net neologism - Mephistophelean vocab so hideous in countenance that it must be viewed only as a reflection in a bronze shield lest the reader be turned immediately to stone.

The key to safe driving?

Drivers talking or texting while speeding down the motorway could soon become a thing of the past, because a car key’s been developed to render the user’s phone useless when the motor's running.

LG KF300 budget clamshell phone

Review So what if you’re after a phone that doesn’t have an eight-megapixel camera, smartphone functionality or touchscreen tech? LG’s been busy of late speccing up and serving out a pick-and-mix of eye-catching and - occasionally - innovative mobiles, but they're not for everyone.
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BOFH: Blackmail and fine wine

Episode 40 Episode 40
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Staff get the chop at London's web 2.0 poster child

CBS has layed off about 20 per cent of staff at music site Last.fm, the poster child for would-be web 2.0 millionaires in the UK.
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Music copyright extension - strings attached

Culture Minister Andy Burnham gave clear backing to extending the copyright term for sound recordings yesterday - but called on the music business to make sure it benefits musicians, not industry fatcats.
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Closing the gap between development and operations

A few years ago, when I still had what could loosely be classed in this industry as a ‘proper’ job, I happened to be sitting in a meeting – the purpose of which was to plan the deployment of a new application. And things were not going well.
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Mixed reviews for semen-based recipe book

NSFW The chaps out there who were wondering just how to give the missus a special treat this Xmas might consider a tasty alternative to taking her up the Oxo Tower - a glossy book of semen-based recipes:
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Boeing sets (another) date for first Dreamliner flight

Boeing yesterday announced that the first flight of its 787 Dreamliner will now take place in the second quarter of 2009 ahead of a first delivery in Q1 2010.

Nintendo whacked with $5m Wii strap lawsuit

Nintendo has been hit with yet another Wii-related lawsuit. This time, it’s a $5m (£3.3m/€3.7m) action filed by a US mother who claims that the console’s Remote strap design is faulty and dangerous.

Mercedes reveals plug-in, fuel-cell concept cars

'Leccy Tech Mercedes will unveil three electric concept cars at the Detroit Motor Show in January.
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Contractors and managers hit in Alcatel-Lucent layoffs

Recently-installed Alcatel-Lucent boss Ben Verwaayen has wasted little time in swinging the axe - today the firm said 1,000 managers and 5,000 contractors are for the chop.
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Daft list names Firefox, Adobe and VMWare as top threats

Vulnerable applications that fail to lend themselves to updating through corporate tools are creating a security gap, according to a ludicrous list from whitelisting firm Bit9.

Grove: Intel should make electric car batteries

Intel's former chairman and chief executive officer, Andy Grove, is, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal today, bending the ear of the current top brass at the chip company to make batteries for electric powered cars.
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Any clouds in your sky?

When the BBC features a cloud computing piece on its news bulletin (28 October), you know the hype is beginning to bite. But does the idea have substance or was Microsoft's Azure announcement just a handy lead-in to the weather on a slow news day?

Man trademarks ;-) emoticon

A Russian businessman has trademarked the combination of semicolon, dash and bracket that make up a winking face 'emoticon' in texts and emails.
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Orchestral Star Wars spectacle to debut in London

Those of you who like your Star Wars films condensed into a two-hour compilation* and projected large to an 86-piece orchestral backing are in luck - that's exactly what Star Wars: A Musical Journey will offer when it debuts on 10 April next year at London's O2 arena.
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Welsh Tories ask taxpayers to pick up iPod tab

Taxpayers will be baying for blood today after the Welsh assembly published a list of its members' expenses which included two claims for iPods.
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BT offers £15,000 to catch London exchange burglary gang

BT is offering a reward of £15,000 to anyone with information on a burglary at an exchange in Stepney, East London that took down phone and internet communications for homes and businesses.
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Aussie boffins use sarcasm to investigate brain illness

Australian scientists studying illnesses of the brain believe that an inability to detect when someone is being sarcastic is a symptom of dementia.
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'Facebook for Kids' slammed by security researchers

Updated A new social network website claiming to be a "Facebook for Kids" is riddled with security shortcomings, security researchers at Cambridge University have warned. The site - School Together Now - said that it took security seriously and promised to review the findings of the Cambridge researchers.
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O2 flunks Litmus test

UK operator O2 has just launched its latest attempt to create a mobile developer's community, ticking all the Web 2.0 boxes - just as the rest of the industry seems to be moving on.
Bill Ray, 12 2008
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IE zero day bites broader group of users

Researchers are warning that the unpatched security vulnerability in Microsoft's Internet Explorer affects more versions of the browser than previously thought, and that steps users must take to prevent exploitation are harder than first published.
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Brazilian hackers blamed for aiding Amazon deforestation

Malicious hackers have been charged with all manner of misdeeds, from mounting the biggest military hack ever to sending Viagra to Bill Gates to crashing sewerage systems. On Friday, Greenpeace accused cybercrooks of conspiring to allow actions that threaten the balance of nature by helping to destroy the Amazon rainforest.
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Google cranks up the Consensus Engine

Google this week admitted that its staff will pick and choose what appears in its search results. It's a historic statement - and nobody has yet grasped its significance.

Nintendo sells metric %#@&-load of Wiis in November

Nintendo sold a staggering number of video game consoles in November, moving more than 2m Wiis in the US alone and smashing sales records for a non-December month... twice.

Lenovo touchscreen talker leaked online

A picture of Lenovo’s first foray into the mobile phone market has been leaked online.

Amazon caught in cloud container craze?

The word on the street is that James Hamilton - one of the chief nerds that has helped Microsoft plan its containerized data center strategy for its forthcoming Azure compute cloud - is leaving to take a job at Amazon.

Wisemen bring Jesus Phone (free) cut-and-paste

How-to Thanks to a new, free, web-based service launched today, you can now cut and paste text snippets between Safari and Mail on your iPhone.
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McCain campaign sells unwiped Blackberry for $20

A Blackberry containing sensitive information belonging to the now-defunct presidential campaign of John McCain has made its way into the hands of a Fox 5 reporter, who was able to purchase the unwiped device for a mere $20.