Friday, August 04, 2006

Sun layoffs continue ... French iPod law takes effect ... Philips sells chips for $10.6B

Today's IT News Audio Update
Cisco firewall exploit surfaces at Black Hat ... Phillips sells chip unit for €8.3 billion ... U.S. FCC won't squelch broadband over power lines


News: Sun layoffs continue as part of restructuring
News: French copyright law takes effect, to industry dismay
News: Philips sells chips for $10.6 billion as industry consolidates
News: Serious flaw puts Xerox printers at risk
Opinion: Acer's 20-inch Notebook Offers Integrators a Unique Opportunity
Podcast: Today's IT news audio update
ITwhirled: A new month, a new T-shirt drawing. Enter now!


Sun layoffs continue as part of restructuring
Sun Microsystems Inc. laid off workers in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia on Friday as part of belt tightening that is expected to claim up to 5,000 jobs at the beleaguered company.

French copyright law takes effect, to industry dismay
Software publishers and Socialist Party members are among the groups unhappy with the new French copyright law that took effect Friday. French Net surfers could now go to prison for downloading copyright music files without authorization, while companies such as Apple Computer Inc., which make or use DRM (digital rights management) technology to protect music downloads, may have to provide details of the system to their competitors in the interests of interoperability.

Philips sells chips for $10.6 billion as industry consolidates
Europe's third largest chip maker will sell its semiconductor unit to a group of private investment firms in a deal worth €8.3 billion (US$10.6 billion), increasing the pace of consolidation in the industry.

Serious flaw puts Xerox printers at risk
Xerox Corp. is scrambling to update a security patch following the disclosure of a major security flaw in its WorkCenter multifunction printers.

Unpatched flaw revealed in Cisco firewall
Cisco Systems Inc. just can't seem to make it through the Black Hat USA conference unscathed. On Wednesday a security researcher showed how an unpatched vulnerability in the company's PIX firewall appliances could allow outside attackers to gain access to corporate networks.

Apple's options woes deepen
Apple Computer Inc. has found more problems with its accounting for stock options grants and now says it is likely to restate some past financial results.

Microsoft heads for another big Patch Tuesday
August will be another substantial patch month for Microsoft Corp., with the vendor releasing 12 security bulletins next Tuesday to fix holes in both its Windows OS and the Office productivity suite.

AOL to slash up to 5,000 jobs worldwide
AOL LLC will slash up to 5,000 jobs worldwide, or just over a quarter of its workforce, as the struggling unit of Time Warner Inc. restructures in an effort to bring in more revenue.

U.S. gov't files to block AT&T wiretapping suit again
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a new motion to dismiss a lawsuit over AT&T Inc.'s alleged participation in a government-sponsored wiretapping program.

Wall Street Beat: Rambus dives, AMD thrives
While analysts cheered a comeback Thursday in the tech-strong NASDAQ composite index -- pointing to Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) as one of the winners leading the charge -- Rambus Inc. continued to take punishment from investors for a finding from the U.S. fair trade regulator that the memory chip maker had played anything but fair.


Acer's 20-inch Notebook Offers Integrators a Unique Opportunity
By Joel Shore

It's not often that I write a column about a single hardware product, but Acer's new laptop PC is like no other computer. So here I go...

Read the full article here


Chinese to join Americans in post-death manned space program
Space Services Inc. is a Texas-based company that will shoot a small portion of your cremated remains into space, for the right price. Now, the company is looking to expand into the world's most populous market, taking advantage of the interest generated by China's manned space program.

A new month, a new T-shirt drawing. Enter now!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

MSN Spaces 'Live' upgrade beset with problems ... IBM to acquire MRO Software

Today's IT News Audio Update
IBM to buy MRO, sell with Tivoli ... Consumer watchdogs displeased with Apple's iTunes posture ... Lenovo blames losses on supply chain problems


News: Microsoft MSN Spaces 'Live' upgrade beset with problems
News: IBM to acquire MRO Software for $740 million
News: MacBook hit with wireless hack
News: Apple fails to meet Norwegian iTunes demands
Opinion: Disposable Spyware Cleaners
ITwhirled: I, for one, welcome our French robot overlords


Microsoft MSN Spaces 'Live' upgrade beset with problems
Microsoft began rolling out the "next generation" version of its blogging and social networking service, dubbed Windows Live Spaces, on Tuesday night, but things got quite bumpy along the way. For more than 12 hours, pages loaded extremely slowly at best, and at worst they didn't render properly at all, according to a message posted late Wednesday by Microsoft on the official MSN Spaces blog.

IBM to acquire MRO Software for $740 million
IBM Corp. agreed to buy MRO Software Inc. for about $740 million in a move to bolster its software and services offerings, the Armonk, New York, company said Thursday.

MacBook hit with wireless hack
Security researchers David Maynor and Jon Ellch performed a digital drive-by Wednesday at the Black Hat USA conference. Their target: an Apple Computer Inc. MacBook.

Apple fails to meet Norwegian iTunes demands
Norwegian consumer authorities are not pleased with the reply from Apple Computer Inc. about demands that the company change some of its iTunes Music Store policies.

Gateway uses latest Intel chip in new desktop
Gateway Inc. will use the new "Conroe" Core 2 Duo chip from Intel Corp. to power a PC that users can configure as either a high-end desktop or a workstation, the company said Thursday.

AOL freebies won't guarantee success
As AOL LLC tears down the few remaining walls that once enclosed its proprietary online service, some question whether it will be able to thrive as a business driven mostly by online advertising.

Deutsche Telekom launches converged cell-Wi-Fi service
German telecommunications service provider Deutsche Telekom AG launched on Thursday a bundled service that combines mobile phone and Wi-Fi telephony services, targeting customers who seek attractive fees and greater mobility.


Disposable Spyware Cleaners
By James Gaskin

I've often wondered why spyware and virus programmers were so much more clever than mainstream programmers. After all, they write small, tight code that invisibly traverses the Internet and private networks. They find computers matching certain security parameters and install magically onto systems without disturbing the operating system, applications, or user. Compare this to Microsoft's automatic updates and Windows Genuine Advantage software accusing legal systems of running pirated software up to 20 percent of the time.

Read the full article here


I, for one, welcome our French robot overlords
Tired of being pushed around, the French are building an army of Linux-powered robots. Well, maybe "army" is the wrong word, but they are disconcertingly advanced-looking.

A great geek T-shirt could be yours. Learn how!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

AOL confirms shift to free services ... FTC says Rambus crafted monopoly illegally

Today's IT News Audio Update
AOL confirms shift to free services ... FTC finds Rambus crafted monopoly illegally ... IBM buys Webify for SOA


FTC says Rambus acted unlawfully
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday unanimously decided that Rambus Inc. unlawfully created a monopoly for certain technologies used in the DRAM (dynamic RAM) memory chip standard.

IBM makes third SOA buy with Webify purchase
IBM Corp. has made its third purchase in the SOA (service-oriented architecture) technology space, buying Webify Solutions Inc., the company announced Wednesday.

AOL makes software free to boost ad revenue
In a move to increase its online advertising revenue, AOL LLC said Wednesday it will make a range of its software and services free for broadband users.

Man charged with soliciting minor through MySpace
A 26-year-old man from Somers, Connecticut, faces up to 30 years in prison for allegedly having sexual relations with a 15-year-old girl he met through, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said late Tuesday.

SAP to invest $1 billion in India
SAP AG is to invest $1 billion in India over the next five years, Henning Kagermann, the company's chief executive officer told reporters in Delhi on Wednesday.

Microsoft shuffles more Windows executives
Microsoft Corp. continues to make executive changes in the division that oversees Windows. On Tuesday the company added one executive to its Platforms and Services Division and announced that three will leave the group once Windows Vista is released to manufacturing.


This week's problem: Baskets With Apples (Level 1)

We have some baskets containing apples, and we would like to perform thefollowing procedure in a way that maximizes the number of remainingapples. First, we discard some (or none) of the baskets completely.Then, if the remaining baskets do not all contain the same number ofapples, we remove excess apples from the baskets until they do.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Storage Tip: When Is a Disaster Not a Disaster?
By David Hill, Mesabi Group

Distinguishing between a disaster and a non-disaster is easy. Anything that requires you to transfer access to using storage at a remote site is a disaster. Anything else is an operational problem. Making that distinction is important because the resources -- both in terms of equipment and personnel -- that you bring to bear on resolving the problem are different. Don't use a hammer when a screwdriver will do and vice versa.

Read the full article here
Restaurants, roller coasters and randomly failing web applications
By Sean McGrath

You arrive at a downtown restaurant that does not take reservations. Straight ahead, a member of staff is standing behind a podium making notes on a booking sheet. To the left, happy diners who got there before you did, munch through their meals. To the right, prospective diners who also got there before you did, sit at the bar sipping cocktails, waiting for their table to be called. The member of staff behind the podium orchestrates the whole show. Her job is to keep the restaurant operating at maximum throughput without overloading it. To do this she juggles a variety of information in real time. Sizes of parties awaiting tables. Expected availability of free tables, time of day (lunch has a very different dynamic to dinner) and so on. You ask her the question she gets asked umpteen times a day -- How long is the wait? "About 30 minutes", she replies.

Read the full article here
Apple responds to Nordic iTunes criticism ... GE dumped from UK's health IT overhaul

Daily IT News Audio Update
Apple responds to Scandinavian iTunes criticism ... GE dumped from UK's health IT overhaul ... Boston to build WiFi net


McAfee to issue patch on Wednesday for vulnerability
McAfee Inc. will issue a patch on Wednesday for a vulnerability affecting its SecurityCenter application, a security software management tool.

Apple responds to Nordic iTunes complaints
Apple Computer Inc. has replied to criticism of its iTunes digital rights management policy, meeting a deadline set by consumer agencies in Scandinavia, an advisor at Norway's Consumer Council said on Tuesday.

Palm sees trouble ahead for Palm OS
Palm Inc.'s plans for future products could be affected by delays in development of a new version of the Palm OS software, the company warned in a regulatory filing.

Data center failure pinches UK health service
Technicians continued working Tuesday to restore a computerized patient administration system for 80 medical facilities in northwest England that failed Sunday during upgrades to the National Health Service's IT systems.

IT and telecommunications on collision course, says IDC
The merger of IT and telecommunications continues apace — if IDC's latest research is anything to go by.

Via execs acquitted in industrial espionage case
An industrial espionage case against two top executives and an engineer from Via Technologies Inc. ended Monday after judges in Taiwan found the defendants not guilty.

Apple joins new OpenGL standards group
Apple, Dell, and Google and others have joined the Khronos Group, an organization working to define open-standards for the authoring and acceleration of dynamic media on multiple platforms, including computers and mobile phones.


I, for one, welcome our French robot overlords
Tired of being pushed around, the French are building an army of Linux-powered robots. Well, maybe "army" is the wrong word, but they are disconcertingly advanced-looking.

A new month, a new T-shirt drawing. Enter now!

Monday, July 31, 2006

Windows Tip: Using Remote Assistance in the Enterprise
By Mitch Tulloch

Have you ever been asked a computer question from a friend or family member who is located miles away? Wouldn’t it be great if you could see what they were trying to describe to you and show them how to fix the problem remotely? Remote Assistance, a feature of Windows XP, is a great idea for troubleshooting issues that are hard to explain or which require a complicated series of steps to fix.

Read the full article here
Microsoft files more docs to avoid further E.U. fines ... Linksys small-business Wi-Fi grows up

Today's IT News Audio Update
Microsoft files docs with EC to stave off increased fine ... Linksys brings WiFi gear with management tools to SMBs ... IBM plans more AMD-based servers


Microsoft files more papers to avoid further E.U. fines
Microsoft Corp. has filed another batch of technical information with the European Commission, in an effort to avoid an increase in fines resulting from a 2004 antitrust ruling against the company, a Commission spokeswoman said Monday.

Linksys small-business Wi-Fi grows up
Small businesses will get some of the wireless LAN bells and whistles enterprises already have as Cisco Systems' Linksys division expands its product lineup on Monday.

Sandisk to acquire M-Systems for $1.6 billion
SanDisk Corp. will acquire competing flash memory developer M-Systems Flash Disk Pioneers Ltd. for $1.6 billion, the two companies said late Sunday.

Investments in analytical tools pay off, Accenture says
Enterprises are increasingly investing in analytics technologies, such as customer relationship management, data warehousing and business intelligence software, and investments in these technologies are paying off, according to new market research released Monday by Accenture Ltd.

CA gains new CFO, won't comment on layoff rumors
Troubled software vendor CA Inc. announced the appointment of a new chief financial officer (CFO) Friday, while declining to comment on rumors of potential layoffs.

Microsoft to charge for Office 2007 beta 2
Microsoft Corp. Friday said that next week it will begin charging $1.50 for users to download a copy of the Office 2007 beta 2.

Microsoft recalls Small Business Server 2003 R2
Microsoft Corp. has recalled an updated version of Small Business Server because of a glitch discovered during a regular software production audit, the company said Friday.

Click-fraud settlement good for Google
Google Inc.'s settlement of a class-action lawsuit this week goes a long way toward protecting the company from litigation related to click fraud, a problem some say could cripple Google's business.

IBM to expand line of AMD-based servers
In an effort to compete with Sun Microsystems Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp. is expected to announce Tuesday it will expand its line of servers powered by chips from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD).


Blogging about blogs, blog-mocking division
Most blogs tend to be commentary about other things, rather than original research. And most blogs tend to be pretty dismal, just because most of the creative output of humanity is pretty dismal. Thus, AwfulBlogs is a natural progression in the blogging world. AwfulBlogs finds blogs that are dumb and boring and then mercilessly mocks them. Victims include blogs about UFOs, homeschooling, and the egregious "Merchant Account Blog."