Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/16/weekend_16nov/
Strange industry movements as some get on their bikes
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It was a week of strange movements in the industry.
Also seeking opportunities in the big room are some 600 Capgemini staff currently working for Her Majesty's Inland Revenue. The outsourcing company is looking to lose some 20 per cent of staff working at the Rev. It is calling for volunteers, but compulsory redundancies are predicted.
Big week for big iron
Lots of server news this week. Sun was first with new blade servers, a bloody huge switch and, finally, its StorageTek system. Ashlee's got all the details here.
Also seen in the wild this week after years of promises, Sun got its Solaris operating system running on Dell boxes.
HP blades shrink
Not wanting to miss out, HP this week announced its Shorty blade system in a cluster.
Rackspace was not having such a good week. The managed hosting company suffered problems with its power supply. Things were looking like getting back to normal when a truck driver crashed into a telegraph pole which was sent flying into a transformer.
Microsoft licenses are twice nice
Microsoft is changing the way it deals with licenses for secondhand machines. Resellers can sign up to become accredited sellers of refurbished kit and get access to slightly cheaper MS licenses.
Cambridge needs students
Cambridge profs were this week bewailing the lack of applicants for computing courses. It's not for nerds, the begowned ones insisted. So who is getting into Cambridge?
Silicon Fen struggling with Web 2.0
It's not just students Cambridge is short of - cash is hard to come by too. The alleged centre of UK IT excellence has struggled to keep its share of new investment money. The problem is the Fens are better known for "hard" skills - like chip design rather than this airy-fairy web-enabled social networking stuff. The "soft" innovation cash has been going to London instead.
Fears were raised last week that this Sunday would be the day of cyber-jihad with mass attacks against various imperialist websites. To find out why it didn't happen, go here.
No2ID says show us the money
The main pressure group opposing British government plans for compulsory ID cards is calling in the cash. In 2005, No2ID collected signatures of those who would refuse to sign up for a card and would pay £10 for a defence fund. Well, the time has come to pay up.
More legal misery
In more legal news, this week saw one of the first attempted prosecutions under RIPA. An animal rights activist has been told she must hand over encryption keys to files on her computer which the police wish to read.
Refusal is likely to earn her a two year sentence, but the woman claims she has no idea what the files are or what any password might be.
Subs off for WSJ
Remember the old argument about paying for news on the internet? It looks more likely that the poster child for paid-for subscriptions, the Wall Street Journal, will ditch subscriptions in favour of chasing more advertising dollars.
Almost owner Rupert Murdoch has been making noises in support of the change, and this week the WSJ opened itself up to the Digg network.
Money for nothing and Wi-Fi for free
Liberating a bit of wireless internet access might seem like a victimless crime. Well it is, isn't it? A survey this week revealed that more than half of people have nicked a bit of bandwidth. And we thought it was just us...
Doctors face fines for lost laptops
The problem of people losing laptops and other devices stuffed with private data isn't getting any better. Information Commissioner Richard Thomas has a cunning plan - if a doctor loses a laptop full of patient data he or she should be fined £5,000. Thomas told the Lords he supported fines for careless data losses.
Brown talks terror toot
The week saw Gordon Brown talking up his terror tactics, or rather his counter-terror tactics. Passenger screening will be introduced to UK railway stations as well as massive spending on teching up UK borders.
Brown also said he was talking to UK ISPs about getting bad things off the internet. Still not quite clear how he's going to do this - sounds to us like a job that should be outsourced to China.
Colossus vs PC challenge
Colossus is the mammoth machine built to help Allied forces crack German codes during World War II. It has recently been restored for the National Museum of Computing in Bletchley Park.
This week, the lorry-sized machine went head to head with modern PCs to see which could first decrypt an old, coded German transmission. PCs won, with an amateur German cryptographer deciphering the most difficult of three messages sent in less than two hours with specialist software he had written.
Microsoft goes for clusters
One of the last Microsoft-free areas of modern computing looks set to fall. Cluster computing has long been a blind spot for Redmond - it just doesn't get taken seriously by the boys in white coats.
But things could change with the software giant bringing out a performance cluster operating system early next year, in beta, called HPC Server 2008. This has long been a Linux and Unix closed shop, so a little competition could be interesting.
And it goes for Sage too
Talking of Microsoft getting into new markets, this week saw the launch of its accounts package for small and medium businesses, aimed squarely at Geordie rival Sage.
In order to build market share Microsoft will give the basic software away - for now at least. Anyone thinks this looks like a strategy it's tried in other markets?
Arctic warming caused by salt?
Nothing riles our lovely readers like a global warming story. This week's favourite is from NASA. A new study reckons that recent changes to the Arctic climate - warmer oceans and melting ice - could have more to do with ocean current changes than global warming. It's all about "Arctic Oscillation" and its impact on seawater's salinity, apparently.
Ellison on Red Hat
Remember last year when Larry Ellison announced Oracle's Unbreakable Linux Network and promised it was a Red Hat killer? Well this year it's still going to kill Red Hat.
Ellison also spent much of his keynote Q&A fighting confusion over Fusion and discontent with Oracle's prices.
Security? We've heard of it
A survey this week found almost half a million databases on the internet have no firewall protection. Open databases are not just Microsoft's.
Ad server DoubleClick was caught distributing dodgy ads.
And Apple patches 54 security bugs, some of them rather nasty.
But it's not all bad news. The great British public are getting more savvy when it comes to data protection.
Which is more than Blair does
VeriSign cutting jobs in refocus
VeriSign is halving its workforce in an effort to refocus the company. It wants to go back to its roots running the dot-com and dot-net domain registries and protecting online transactions. So much for the crazy bloody frog and other mobile content providers VeriSign's bought in the last few years.
But any soldier will tell you retreating is harder than attacking, and slimming down a company in the name of focus can be just as tricky - it's hard to focus when you're always going to leaving parties.
Glasgow belongs to me
As you head into the weekend, spare a thought for the anonymous Glaswegian suffering a six month hangover. He reported to the Southern General Hospital complaining of headaches and vision problems afer a wee bender of 60 pints.
Outrage this week over the Scottish bloke caught shagging a bike. Not so much outrage at his offence, but more the sentence - three years' probation and stuck on the Sex Offenders Register. We were more outraged at the flood of puns this unleashed - calling him a pedalphile was bad enough... ®