Original URL: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/04/27/week_summ_27_april/

Spectrums and Sea Harriers: ah, those were the days

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By John Oates

Posted in Business, 27th April 2007 12:32 GMT

Betting on a gambling ban

The controversy over online gambling just won't go away. This week saw Greece ignoring recent European legal decisions and arresting three internet cafe owners who allowed gambling on their machines. Six customers were also arrested. Meanwhile in the US, congressman Barney Frank is set to introduce legislation which, if passed, would make online gambling legal again before the law banning it comes into effect. Which would at least keep the World Trade Organisation happy. The WTO, which has already told the US its ban is illegal, is still confident an agreement will be reached.

Germany backs police data sharing

Germany is claiming its proposals for inter-European police data sharing have been so well received by other member states that they might just pass by the end of July. Despite the apparent welcome, it seems the proposals have rather watered down the original protections. Betting on quick European action is usually a mistake so we'll see how this one develops.

Barclays and ABN eye smaller IT department

If Barclays succeeds in its attempted take-over of Dutch bank ABN then IT is likely to absorb a fair percentage of the predicted 23,000 job cuts. The bank's headquarters may well up sticks to Amsterdam with more jobs headed offshore.

Kids are revolting

Kids' bad behaviour in school has been blamed on everything from the food they eat to the games they play. But the Professional Association of Teachers reckons it's found another culprit - Wi-Fi networks. They've written to the education secretary saying they're worried the networks are making teachers ill and students misbehave. Tinfoil hats all round we say.

Your first computer

Last Monday was the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Sinclair Spectrum. Upgrading to a computer with a keyboard which worked was a big step for many a schoolboy or schoolgirl geek. The story sparked a heated debate in Reader Comments - is Starquake, Elite or Jet Set Willy the best game? The final word will probably go to the (at least) two readers claiming their Spectrums are still working perfectly.

Cloud over the City

Don't tell the teachers, but the City of London this week turned on a free Wi-Fi network. Admittedly its only free for the first month...but we've already seen street sweepers lugging their laptops into work so they can check their email while having a break. Interestingly enough, the month-long trial is being sponsored by Nokia. More on the Wi-Fi cloud.

MS and EC still a long way from loving

Another deadline in the Microsoft European Commission row - and the software giant just made it in time. The two are now deciding what represents a "reasonable" charge for access to Redmond's server APIs with Microsoft opting for an informal chat rather than an actual hearing. Ominously, Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes also said this week that some form of forced restructuring might be the only way to get Microsoft to do what the court has ordered.

Another phone-in suspended

GMTV is the latest broadcaster to suspend a phone-in competition amidst allegations that it illegally gouged as much as £40m out of punters over the last four years. A shortlist of winners was chosen some 45 minutes before the phonelines closed. Part of the trouble is how dependent programme makers have become on the extra revenue - the quizzes were bringing in £45,000 a day and the clampdown will leave a large hole in someone's budget.

Triple play providers lose regulator

For those struggling to get decent service out of the one of the new breed of triple play broadband, mobile and TV providers, regulator ISPA has long been a friend. If negotiations totally broke down the regulator offered a way to get problems resolved. Except ISPA has decided it's had enough of regulating dull old internet access. A Reg reader called Max was told ISPA could not help him with his problems with Orange because it was a "free" service. Readers with an idea of what ISPA should do instead should email us at the usual address. What's spooky is that Orange apparently remains a member of ISPA...quite why we're not sure.

Google vs. Daily Telegraph

The venerable Daily Telegraph has made a decent fist of putting itself online although we still mourn the passing of its old moniker of Electronic Telegraph. But it spent last week engaging in a bit of sabre rattling against the likes of upstart Google for "using our content for free". Google's position remains that it will delist content if owners ask it to - something that would likely hit the Telegraph's page impressions hard.

Dell's flashy laptops

Dell is punting its first hard disc-free laptops. It is still an expensive option to choose Flash memory rather than a disk but they use less power and are less prone to breakage if dropped.

Secondhand Sun boxes anyone?

A group of Sun resellers has made a complaint to the Office of Fair Trading that Sun is acting unfairly over secondhand sales of its boxes. The Association of Service and Computer Dealers International alleges Sun is now refusing to provide a provenance for secondhand servers - effectively crushing the market for them.

Security round-up

This week saw a whole bunch of security stories thanks to the Infosec show. Websense bought Surf Control, and we've got an interview with alleged Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon, and an interview with the creators of the Vista Vbootkit. Finally there's a warning on hackers using USB keys to spread malware.

Something for the weekend

It wasn't just the Spectrum providing Falklands-era memories this week. A gent from Somerset has provided this week's favourite "funny thing I bought on eBay" story. Neil Banwell has stumped up £10,000 for a Sea Harrier which in May 1982 was dropping cluster bombs on Port Stanley. He's currently looking for a secondhand engine if anyone can help him out.

That's your lot for this week, thanks for reading and have a very pleasant weekend.®