Original URL: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/06/01/reg_weekly_1june/

Dell cuts, Google hits the street and robot-moths are go

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By John Oates

Posted in Business, 1st June 2007 13:11 GMT

Dell cuts to save

Dell has laid off a whole bunch of staff in an effort to cut costs and get its business back on track. The company is moving away from its "direct sales only" mantra in order to fight back against HP. One in ten jobs are to go.

Patently absurd

A group of small British businesses are taking action to change the way British software patents are enforced. They reckon the way current patents are enforced by the Patent Office conflicts with European law.

What's happening with iSoft?

iSoft is a vital part of the world's largest government IT project, the National Programme for IT (NPfIT). Things were looking up for the company when Aussie health provider IBA said it would step in to provide the cash to save the company. But contractor CSC put a block on the deal. At time of writing it looks like it might all end up in court. Will iSoft be saved?

Bulldog loses 100,000 customer records

ISP Bulldog is blaming an ex-employee for pinching its database of customers. The ex-staffer in question went on a business trip to Pakistan and didn't return. Bulldog has issued an injunction against her, but that's not going to do much to restrict what she's accused of doing. Bulldog has told customers to beware of strange phone calls.

Google probed for privacy

Talking of data protection and privacy, Google is facing action from regulators in both Europe and the US over its policies.

If this wasn't bad enough, the search giant also announced the arrival of street level photographs in its maps application. No privacy problems here - unless of course you're sunbathing when the Google van passes by.

More Googling

A busy week for the search behemoth. Google Earth appears to have unearthed evidence of where the Sudanese janjaweed are getting their weapons. US authorities named a specific Sudanese company they suspect of illegal gun-running. The evidence? A picture of a crashed aircraft on Google Earth.

Back in the office, Google also announced availability of its bundle of offline applications. Dubbed Google Gears, the news is seen by some as another frontal attack on Microsoft.

Tiscali evades email questions

Tiscali has apparently found itself blacklisted by some spam spotting outfits for failing to properly secure its servers. The schoolboy error, which meant subscribers' emails were simply deleted, was made worse by the company not informing customers. Clearly telling people to use a free webmail provider is not the greatest marketing message, but it's better than facing hordes of angry customers.

After a week the company removed its head from the sand and coughed to the problem. It hopes to fix the situation within ten days.

Adios, adios, and goodbye

Three major departures this week. Logica boss Martin Read left his post, a decision he hopes will steady a not-so-steady ship. Read's retirement was brought forward, we're told, to end "unsettling speculation".

Also picking up a gold watch this week is John Clare who's been boss of DSG, the company formerly known as Dixons, and parent of PC World, for 13 years.

And finally, the CTO of Yahoo! said goodbye to the firm this week, though he didn't get much of a send-off from observers.

VoIP gets serious

The world's favourite start-up, well this week's anyway, is Jajah - the VoIP company with friends in high places. It emerged this week that the company's mystery investor is no less than Deutsche Telekom.

Energy saving, money wasting

Electricity use and cooling are hot topics for IT directors. So a broad welcome for Westminster council's decision to trial energy saving street lamps. The only trouble is how long the return on investment takes. Initial reports that it would take 1,450 years for the council to see a saving proved incorrect. In fact, the council should see a return in just 750 years. Try selling that to your FD.

Darpa gets dafter

The world as seen by US defence institutions is weird and wonderful at the best of times. But they've excelled themselves this week. First up, the Department of Homeland Security has hired a bunch of sci-fi writers to act as consultants. It might sound daft, but there's a bit of a track record for science fiction informing and moulding real world research.

If you thought that was bizarre, you might want to skip the next one. DARPA (the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency) reckons it's found the next animal to help the US government defend itself and attack others - the humble moth. The project is not just a (crack)pipe dream. The white coats are intent on growing moths around "micro-mechanical mechanisms" which will allow them to control the creatures and send them into likely looking caves to search for Osama bin Laden, presumably. Watch this space for al-Quaeda supporting candles.

Know a good sales person?

Excuse the self-serving link, but the Reg is looking for two sales people to join the team. If you know someone who can keep advertisers happy without annoying our readers, send them this link.

Talking of self-serving links...

While we're doing the news about us, ex-Reg staffer Kieren McCarthy's book Sex.com is out this week. Old time Reg readers will remember this long-running saga which has now been compressed into a hardback tome. Read the review here.

Dr When?

It's not confirmed yet, but it's in the Sun, which is nearly the same thing. Word is that Dr Who is facing the axe after the fourth series. Producer Russel T Davies is apparently feeling the strain of 16 hour days. Surely another producer could be found? Reg readers aren't happy - the story has garnered a whole bunch of comments. ®