Posts

Showing posts from August, 2004
Making Microsoft a niche player Novell engineer and manager Allison Singh recently predicted in an Africa-based tectonic magazine article that Windows will become a niche operating system, replaced by Linux as the new standard. A gestalt of recent trends, events, and stories should tell you that this prediction is right on the money. A gestalt, by the way, is a perception or conclusion that goes beyond the sum of its parts. Here are three of the many parts that comprise the gestalt.  [via NewsForge]
Bioterrorism  In an article in WIRED called Insanely Destructive Devices, Larry Lessig discusses one of the greatest of possible techno-disasters, a terrorist-engendered smallpox epidemic. What gives it a technological dimension is that experiments have shown that genetic alteration of the smallpox virus, utilizing biotechnological techniques and equipment that are inexpensive and widely available, including in Third World countries, could make the "juiced up" virus not only more lethal than "ordinary smallpox" (which kills a "mere" 30 percent of its victims) but also, and more important, impervious to smallpox vaccines (and there is no cure for smallpox). Smallpox is highly contagious and because its initial symptoms are not distinctive, the disease could spread so far, for example by aerosolizers placed in major airports around the world, before it was discovered that quarantining would be instituted too late to be effective, even if health workers and …
Longhorn Cuts: The Morning After The meaning of Microsoft's Longhorn cuts, announced Friday, is just starting to sink in on Monday. Longhorn evangelist Robert Scoble has some good links and interesting observations on what led up to Microsoft's ultimate decision to ax WinFS and port Avalon to older versions of Windows. [via Microsoft Watch ]
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The Passion

I watched Mel Gibson's film of "The Passion of Christ" last night. I had a number of preconceptions about it which were soon dismissed. My own view, is that it's an inspired piece of direction for which Gibson deserves universal recognition.



The film has been accused of portraying "gratuitous violence" but given the times, it's quite possible that his representation of the last hours of Jesus was as close to the historical experience of a condemned man as the camera would allow.

As a Catholic and student of the times, I accept that this is of course an "official" Gospel version of the story and I was impressed by the portrayal of Pontius Pilate, a man with a well-worn history of brutality, whose actions appear politically correct for the Gospel writer's Roman audience of the times, bearing in mind the persecution of Nero that would follow the first Christians.

Anyone who considers themselves a Christian, devout or lapsed, should…
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The Three Degrees

I have, it appears, access to a network of 535,500 “Trusted Professionals” of which 157 are “trusted friends and colleagues” and 129,600 can be reached through friends-of-friends, equal to three degrees of separation.

I’m writing of course about “LinkedIn”, an idea I criticised on the BBC almost exactly a year ago and which today I’ve come to value as a rather clever way of extending and maintaining my personal network of contacts.

Does the Webcam work?

LinkedIn does of course depend on sociologist Stanley Milgram’s Law, the so-called six degrees of separation which, as proved in one television documentary last year, can connect a secretary from London with a nomadic Yak herder in Mongolia through a series of introductions through a network of friends and contacts. Presented another way, let’s say you wanted to deliver a letter to Osama Bin Laden. The odds are that it would only have to pass through the hands of six people before it found him somewhere on the border be…
IT myths keep coming This week I get the columnist's equivalent of a free ride. I snag the byline; InfoWorld's readers supply the content. By way of explanation, two weeks back, I wrote about "The Six Great Myths of IT" and asked for your input on any myths we might have missed. The request struck a chord and I was deluged with suggestions. Herewith, a few of the best. [via InfoWorld: Security]
No WinFS for Longhorn Microsoft did, indeed, cut WinFS from Longhorn (both client and server). At least Avalon is still in there. [via Microsoft Watch ]
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Allchin Defends Longhorn Decision to Microsoft Employees So what's Microsoft telling its own employees about its recent moves to cut Longhorn features in order to ship the product by 2006? Read Longhorn head-honcho Allchin's memo here. [via eWEEK Technology News]


Microsoft lays out Windows timing Microsoft vows to release the next version of Windows by the end of 2006 - but without some key components. [via BBC News | Technology]
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Achtung Panzer

I've been at the "Military Odyssey" show at the Kent fairground today and had to keep my jaw from bouncing along the ground at times.



Not only were there re-enactments of military scenes from every era of history, with the enthusiasts all mingling together; SS Panzer Grenadiers chatting with Cavaliers but there were enough military vehicles to start a small invasion and sufficient lethal weaponry to give the Police sleepless nights.

I stumbled across a recoiless Mowbat 120mm anti-tank gun that I was trained on almost thirty years ago when the cold war was at its height. The life expectancy of a gunner was estimated at the time to be about three rounds before a Russian tank spotted the jet of flame that came out of the back of the gun and so I'm glad I never shot one in anger.



What did rather worry me was the free availability of "deactivated" weapons and very convincing replicas, particularly the BB type. You could buy an Uzi or AK47 - deactiv…
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Keep it Clean

It’s a pretty impressive statistic by any measure of data collection. Two million pages, not quite a terabyte but certainly up there in the gigabyte awards and one wonders how much the advanced storage technology supporting it might be costing the taxpayer.



I’m writing of course about the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) and not sadly on the administration of benefit records and other necessary public duties but on the accumulation of pornography. If you happen to dig back far enough into some of my earlier columns, then you will find me speculating that public sector and university IT might have a second and sinister hidden function, which frequently includes the serving of inappropriate material, such as pornography and images of child abuse.

On this occasion, more than two hundred civil servants have been disciplined for downloading pornographic images at work as part of an eight-month investigation which monitored the computer use of 140,000 staff at the DWP.

T…
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More on EU Jet

My next-door neighbour

According to EU Jet Managing Director, Mike Halper, "EU Jet now has over 10,000 unique visitors a day to its Website, which is more hits than Aer Lingus, Singapore Airlines, Iberia and numerous other airlines receive in the UK market."

"On the 1st September EU Jet's first four services to Amsterdam, Dublin, Nice and Girona are all in excess of 80% load factors, the first flight to Murcia on Saturday the 4th of September has 107 people booked and 67 on the return (despite it being the first inbound....). As far out as next February some of the popular ski destinations like Salzburg and Geneva have flights 80% full."




"In the next few days senior managers in every major company in Kent and Shannon will receive a letter from EUjet containing a paper aeroplane urging them to support the services from their local airports. At the same time 2million people in Manchester, Dublin, Edinburgh and Glasgow will get an email from EUje…
The Power of Data Appliances The network is the computer was originally coined to suggest that computers connected by a network make a much more powerful solution. But, nowadays it has another connotation as more and more intelligence is being put into network appliances. [via IT-Director.com]
Windows Security Center Hole in SP2 Discovered The Windows Security Center dashboard in Windows XP Service Pack 2 can be spoofed so that it reports misleading system-security information or even lets a malicious program watch for an opportunity to do damage to a user's system. [via Microsoft Watch ]
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Sheep pine for absent friends: official Family snaps help relieve ovine 'separation anxiety' "Same concept applies to Dogs too" [via The Register]


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Two Million Pages of Porn

Including images of child abuse



Civil servants in net porn probe More than 200 staff at the Department of Work and Pensions have been disciplined for downloading porn at work. - Nothing better to do then? - [via BBC News Technology
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Hacked-off

I’m singularly hacked-off today. No, it’s not about the call I had from The Halifax Bank surveying my opinion on the quality of their customer services. Would I recommend the Halifax to a friend? Not on your life, given the record of ineptitude I’ve experienced this year.

What really annoyed me today was a minor emergency involving my aircraft. I was due to have lunch this afternoon with Peter Hayes, the VP of Government Business for Microsoft and had planned to fly to White Waltham, near Reading, to meet him.

Fly EU Jet from Manston from September 1st

About thirty seconds after taking-off from the runway, a latch on the engine inspection hatch on my front cowling, failed and the slipstream swiftly found its way underneath the cover, breaking the second latch and forcing the hatch open to twist and bank against my windscreen, which was a little unnerving as it hid my view of the world outside. After another thirty seconds or so of flight, it twisted and tore itself off the a…
Microsoft Slammed over Misleading Windows Linux Claims

Compared a mainframe to a dual 900MHz Xeon kit

The UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a series of public complaints over an advert in a magazine comparing the cost of Linux versus Microsoft Windows.

An advert it ran compared the two operating systems to each other, but Windows was running on a measly dual 900MHz Xeon configuration, while Linux was running on a z900 IBM mainframe.

The advert appeared in an IT magazine and was headed: "Weighing the cost of Linux vs Windows? Let's review the facts".

The Inquirer
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iPass Now Wired in to Boeing

Having watched iPass like a hawk recently, it's stock plummeting to $4.70 from a high of $26 a year ago, I think that we're seeing the first signs of a recovery as it crawks back to $6.20. The deals with Boeing and Fujitsu, may be enough to rebuild the market confidence that was lost through the correction in last quarter's accounts, which saw it collapse from $10.60 almost overnight.

If I pass management can "Get its act together", after last quarter's foolish mistakes, there's no reason why it can't show a strong recovery in a growing and potentially lucrative market where it holds pole position. Wired Magazine appears to agree, in principle at least. (I should add that I hold no iPass shares but have been offering advice on the company)



Wired Magazine Report

Business travelers will be able to surf the web securely on long-distance flights by combining services from Boeing and iPass, the companies plan to announce on Monday…
More Confused than Usual

The scam below almost caught me this morning. Suspicious to the point of being paranoid, having received what looked like an email from eBay, telling me my account had been used for fraud, I went to the URL to have a look. Ten seconds later I was convinced that it was a scam so I closed my browser but not only are such emails common, they are increasingly sophisticated and plausible enough to stimulate a reaction from even the super suspicious among us! eBay Fraud Investigation Fraud Investigation ! Fraud. Without limiting any other remedies, eBay may suspend or terminate your account if we suspect that you (by conviction, settlement, insurance or escrow investigation, or otherwise) have engaged in fraudulent activity in connection with the Site. [via Scam Alert Service]
Meet the Peeping Tom worm Spy on the wire - If you have a Webcam attached to your PC be afraid - Very afraid! - [via The Register]
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Newham Chooses Windows

Reactions, including my own, from the egov monitor eGov monitor Feature- Newham Council & Microsoft Reactions to Newham council's rejection of Open Source in favour of a Microsoft solution.



The London Borough made public last week its move to opt for the Redmond giant's proprietary software amid accusations - which are vehemently denied - that it dabbled with open source software (OSS) to negotiate a better deal. A significant factor in Newham's decision was a third-party study, which evaluated the costs, risk profiles and business benefits of a Microsoft solution against an open source alternative, funded by Microsoft and which ultimately favoured the proprietary route.


The scalability myth
At one time or another, nearly every kind of information technology has been judged and found wanting. The failures are often summed up in that most damning of epithets: "It doesn't scale." The reason, of course, is that at one time or another, for one reason or another, every kind of information technology has failed to scale.

Unfortunately for the victims tarred with that brush, scalability is a wildly imprecise term. Applications may be expected to scale up to massive server farms or scale down to handsets. And size is only one axis of scalability. Others include bandwidth, transactional intensity, service availability, transitivity of trust, query performance, and the human comprehensibility of source code or end-user information display. [via Jon's Radio]
You have nothing to fear from Office 2003 SP1 It feels like Jaws. You've downloaded another service pack from somewhere deep in Washington state. You wiped the sweat off your brow, calmed your breathing, and -- with a trembling index finger -- hit the Install button. That installation progression bar is sliding across the screen like the slowly extending finger of destiny sealing your fate. Oh yes and the Jaws music is playing in the background. [via InfoWorld: Security]
Next Up On the Microsoft Security Front? Windows XP Service Pack 2 has shipped. But Microsoft still the team has a lots of new security products and services on its plate for fiscal 2005 and beyond. [via Microsoft Watch ]
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No Questions Asked

Of late, I’ve been writing about identity, what it is, what it’s not and why even the promise of identity cards, biometric or otherwise may prove only that you are what a series of easily forged documents say you are and if you happen to find yourself on the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list because some muddled typist in an outsourced data-processing operation, two continents away, can’t spell your middle name, before entering it into the passport database, then tough luck.




The fight against money laundering has assumed the properties of farce and has, as a consequence, allowed a series of dangerously intrusive measures to enter our lives through the back door of regulatory expedience. This summer has seen me compelled to present my nine-year old daughter, in person, to the Halifax Bank, to “prove” that she is the owner of her savings account and almost two months of paperwork, attempting to open a Building Society account for subscriptions to The Conservative Techn…
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Hello Sailor

Back to Le Touquet with Bob yesterday to collect his eleven-year old daughter, Phoebe and her friend from a week's stay in France. From the start, the weather looked decidedly "iffy" with the remnants of the previous night's thunderstorms dropping heavy rain in the morning with accompanying strong winds.



Finding a short gap between the gusts, we rolled-off towards Dover, a great opportunity to test my instrument skills before my two-yearly IMC exam next Tuesday. To the South were thick lumps of dark grey cloud, which forced me down over the English Channel to fifteen hundred feet to avoid as many of them as possible and maintain what little good visibility there was among the dark cauliflower clouds.

Out over the sea, the wind appeared to be blowing the green waves backward, with glimpses of ferries and container ships being battered in the Channel. The wind in fact was so strong that I had to steer twenty degrees to the right of my course, just to stay o…
UK government to extend 3-year contract with Microsoft  In a deal that appears to buck the growing trend among governments to adopt open-source alternatives, the U.K.'s Office of Government Commerce (OGC) is negotiating a renewal of a three-year agreement with Microsoft Corp. [via InfoWorld]
The First Rule Of The Olympics: You Can't Talk About The Olympics We've already talked about how the Olympics forced certain radio stations to pull their internet streams because they weren't approved for internet broadcasts of the Olympics, and now comes the news that no athletes participating in the games are allowed to talk about their experiences on websites. Considering the number of empty seats (and the weak television coverage), giving the games a more personal feel, letting the athletes talk for themselves (rather than those sappy profiles on TV) would help people to connect more with the games. That, though, would involve remembering that the games are actually about what happens in the events, and not how much the Olympics can squeeze out of sponsors. Haven't they figured out yet, that if no one cares about the games, no one will want to sponsor the Olympics any more? As for those who dare to disobey and actually talk about their experiences online? The Olymp…
Microsoft pays dear for insults through ignorance Online: Insensitive computer programmers have cost Microsoft hundreds of millions of dollars in lost business and led employees to be arrested by offended governments. [via Guardian Unlimited]
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Unisys Suddenly Loves Linux: Should Linux Users Return that Love? Unisys has been one of Microsoft's staunchest allies for puttings Windows on mainframe class machines. Now, Unisys is deploying Linux as well. What gives? [via eWEEK Linux]

"The fact that it has been a Windows-only system until recently may be part of the reason the ES7000 has sold so poorly."



Unisys has long been the main booster -- possibly the only one besides Microsoft -- of Windows as a mainframe operating system. Now Unisys says it loves Linux -- but still claims to be a staunch Microsoft partner -- and it seems like most of its contributions to the Linux kernel are only useful to Unisys customers. And then there's the specter of the Unisys GIF patents (now expired), and how the company used them as weapons against free and open source software projects only a few years ago. In light of all this, should we welcome Unisys as a "member of the Linux community" with open arms, or maintain a …
Linux Skills in High Demand as IT Jobs Pick Up Linux skills are a hot commodity today. [via eWEEK Linux]
Storm Center's Worm Forecast
Yesterday, CNET News.com posted a story (here) about the amount of time a worm would take to infect an unpatched computer after it connects to the Internet. The analysis, provided by the SANs Institute's Storm Center, clocks survival time at just 20 minutes, according to CNET News.com.
This morning, I checked the Storm Center site, where the time between attacks is listed at 16 minutes. I won't quibble over four minutes. Whether 16 or 20 minutes, new users wouldn't have enough time to download sufficient patches, including Windows XP Service Pack 2, to protect against Internet worms, assuming the Storm Center estimates are correct.
The Storm Center provides a handy guideline, "Windows XP: Surviving the First Day" (here), for setting up an unpatched computer. Basically, the process sidesteps Microsoft's setup procedure, which creates an Internet connection and activates the software, so that the use can enable Windows XP's bui…
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The Thin Red Line

Or even the last Jack Straw?

Following-on the heels of a warning from Richard Thomas, the UK's Information Commissioner, Britain is at risk “sleepwalking into a surveillance society”, the BBC were, last week, showing how a ‘Black Box’ in your car may be the future of motor insurance, an experiment from Norwich Union which is giving cause for concern.



Presently, we are surrounded by spyware which is increasingly attached to anything capable of passing an electric current. It’s rife on the Internet and Personal Computers, a breakthrough in lens technology will soon make digital cameras as pervasive as cheap calculators and your mobile phone is constantly reporting your position.

Only last summer a service provider demonstrated to me how good location-based technology is and how useful it can be. In a boardroom with a large screen display on the wall, he told me he would show me where his girlfriend was at that moment. He typed in her mobile telephone number into the…
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Al-Qaeda & Cyberterrorism

The Internet has emerged as the general "domain" of al-Qaeda



Transnational terrorists not only study the nuances of the globalized environment, but are busy finding ways to exploit it to promote their own highly dangerous objectives. The most recent example is al-Qaeda's mastery of cyberspace to plan future terrorist attacks. That organization's involvement in cyberterrorism revolves around the use of cyberspace not as a weapon, but as a tool. Its increasingly deft use of the Internet is making it hard for law-enforcement organizations to tackle al-Qaeda effectively.

The Agonist
Life Span of a Phishing Site Averages 54 Hours The average phishing web site is online for about 54 hours, but some have been able to remain online for two weeks or more before being shut down or abandoned. [via Netcraft]
Porn spam increases by 350 percent ZDNet [via Moreover - ZDNet]
Pornographic e-mails have shot up by almost 350 percent in July over June, according to security solutions provider Clearswift's latest spam index.
The company's June index revealed pornographic e-mails comprised only 4.8 percent of all spam for the  month. However, pornographic e-mails made up 17.2 percent of all spam in July.
Daft & Dafter

NHS patients will need three separate identity cards to demonstrate their entitlement to free care and navigate the health service, according to plans by the Department of Health published yesterday.

The proposals include a European health insurance card to replace the E111 form, which entitles UK residents to free or reduced-cost emergency treatment when travelling in Europe

SocietyGuardian.co.uk %7C Health %7C NHS patients will need three cards
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No Turning Back

It was only last week, that I read a piece by a US columnist, in which he declared that Microsoft’s Word, the software that is, had passed its sell-by-date and that the world deserved something rather better to type its thoughts on over the next decade.

"Trust me, the chances of yours critical apps being broken are only this big"

I didn’t think too much more about it until Sunday night, the time when I normally write my midweek ‘Thought for the Day’. My own copy of Windows XP on my laptop has been very flaky over the last six months or so; cumulative patch fatigue I suspect and normally requires a reboot at least once a day as applications, normally starting with Word or Outlook, ‘Hang’ one after the other, for no visible reason.

This time, it was Outlook which stubbornly refused to respond and when I finally managed to shut it down with the Windows Task Manager, I was directed to the Microsoft update site where a message told me that the latest Service Pack f…
Some Microsoft, Third-Party Apps Balking at SP2 Some FTP clients, Web servers, remote-desktop, systems-management and security products are running into Windows XP Service Pack 2 compatibility problems. In order to try to head off support calls, Microsoft has published a list of about 50 applications that require tweaks in order to work properly with its latest Windows update. - Read this first - [via Microsoft Watch ]
Cheat on me and the sex vid goes live Revenge is a dish best served online - [via The Register]
Concerns over key Windows update Some users are reporting problems when installing a major security update for Windows XP. [via BBC News ]
Watchdog attacks ID card scheme Proposals for identity cards and a population register are opposed by Britain's information watchdog. Not just me then? [via BBC News ]
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Dreaming Spires

A first visit to Cambridge, to refuel yesterday, in between banners at Great Yarmouth and a 50th birthday message over a pub in a village near Milton Keynes. The latter put us on a tight schedule to find our way home again to Kent, as we needed to be back before darkness descended completely.

Somewhere near Milton Keynes

As it was, we recovered the last Airads banner from a tiny grass strip called ‘The Deene’ just before eight o’clock. With a little extra throttle, and a transit through Luton’s airspace towards Southend, found a rapidly disappearing Maypole at 8:40 PM. In fact, the light was going so quickly that coming in over Herne Bay, I tentatively pointed the aircraft nose at the field before the landing strip in the distance, before Bob, with better eyes than me, suggested that I might want to try the correct option a quarter of a mile further on. I blamed this on my corrected eyesight and wearing bi-focals after dark but it illustrates how quickly even familiar c…
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Very funny..! How young Dubya Bush Got (and Lost) His Wings in the US National Guard

The most powerful man in the world and quite possibly its worst pilot.


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Take a Deep Breath

The CBI’s expression of support for national identity cards may be enough encouragement to breathe more life into another muddled and potentially expensive IT disaster.



Deputy Director General, John Cridland is quite right to express concern that the absence of a national scheme makes the UK more vulnerable to criminals and terrorists but the Home Office, which plans to introduce biometric cards by 2007 and make them compulsory by 2013, needs very little encouragement in its blundering attempts to drive through a solution that all civil-libertarians, many MPs and most technologists, doubt can actually deliver the economic and security benefits that Home Secretary, David Blunkett imagines.

Where Cridland goes wrong in my view, is by say saying, "ID cards could improve security and make access to public services more efficient. Companies want ID cards to be a universal identity-authentication system.” Most of us would like to see world peace and a cure for cancer …
Al-Qaeda computer geek nearly overthrew USUpdate A close shave, the Bushies claim [via The Register]
Microsoft plans cut-price Windows Microsoft is to launch a low-cost version of its Windows XP program to try to halt the rise of rival Linux software. Boy with finger in proverbial dyke! [via BBC News ]
Government pays for online search The UK government launches its first ever search engine marketing campaign to attract more visits to its website. "Maybe it should be called "Search me Gov?" [via BBC News ]
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The Twenty Minuters

Just home from a day’s banner towing around the West Country with Captain Bob and I see that the edit fairy has been playing with my Computer Weekly column today, the one about Unisys bending to the inevitable with Linux on the ES7000. If you compare this with the original on this site, you’ll spot the differences, as quite obviously, the editor wanted me to appear a little more controversial than I had intended.



So, what was a tongue-in-cheek reference to a conversation that took place five years ago is transformed into an aggressively sounding put-down. I don’t mind editing as everything I write is open to improvement but I object to editing for effect.

Anyway, a pretty miserable day around the country, except here on the North Kent coast it appears. At one point, I found myself clawing through the big cauliflower Nimbus clouds above the Solent, before making the day’s first stop at Dunkeswell.

While we were laying out one of the banners, a parachute drop took pla…
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The War on Cyberterror The nation's defenses need a major rethink. Here are four ways we must protect the electronic frontier. By Bruce Sterling from Wired magazine. [via Wired News]


Munich Reconsiders Linux Migration Concerns about software patents cause the City of Munich to reconsider its planned migration to Linux of 14,000 desktop computers.Microsoft performs little dance of joy! [via eWEEK Linux]
IBM Not Threatened by Sun's Novell Gambit IBM officials scoffed at Sun Microsystems intimations last week that it would buy Novell Inc., calling the rhetoric nothing more than an attempt to disrupt IBM and its customers.[via eWEEK Linux]
XP SP2: It's Out, After All At last: Windows XP Service Pack 2 RTMs (releases to manufacturing). It's downloadable for Microsoft Developer Network subscribers now. But don't expect to see it at retail until this fall. [via Microsoft Watch ]
Pupils taught to speak 'properly' Schools in England are to be sent guidance on how to teach "standard" speaking skills. "A bit piggin late init mate" [via BBC News ]
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Stormy Weather

“You’ll have to find it yourself”, says I , referring to the number of Google searches pinging this website for the name of the Website I refer to in my Computer Weekly column today. To be perfectly honest, it’s not worth a visit unless you want to feel sick and ashamed of yourself and the human race and the depths we are prepared to plunge to in the name of so-called entertainment.

My wife just reminded me “There’s a ton of rain on its way”, a change from yesterday when I was frying on the hammock in the garden. To be fair, I’m rather glad of the poor weather today, although the humidity is a pain. Without it, I would have been tempted to leave my study for the sunshine and would not have managed to have run-up the first part of a very long and “exciting” PowerPoint presentation on NHS IT and procurement for Dublin in September.

On Saturday, I took my daughter, Charlotte, over to Le Touquet and the Aqualud water park for the day. I wonder how many children it can take b…
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Pushing Tin

Once upon a time, I interviewed the Unisys Managing Director, Brian Hadfield for Computer Weekly and asked him if there ever might be a time when Unisys would consider a Linux alternative to Windows on its flagship ES7000 SMP Servers. At the time I received a reply that still reminds me of a classic Jack Nicholson quip, “I’d rather stick needles in my eyes” and left, with a strong impression, confirmed by Brian that, “Unisys has bet the farm on Windows.”



When I read, this month, that Unisys had announced support for Linux, a smile crossed my face. After all, like the announcement that NASA is to use one of the world’s biggest Linux-based supercomputers, a 1000 GB, 20* 512 processor system to help revive its shuttle missions after the 2003 Columbia disaster and rumours, that
Sun Microsystems will be soon be revealing a Linux port of their Sun Ray Server it’s only more evidence that Linux is increasingly finding a comfortable niche at the higher-end of computing, where only t…
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Key metrics on computer crime and security Every year for the past nine years, the Computer Security Institute and the FBI undertake a computer crime and security survey among companies and institutions in the US. [via IT-Director.com]
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Phishing Attacks Using Banner Ads to Spread Malware In a troubling development, phishing scams have recently demonstrated the ability to install keylogging trojans via banner ads. [via Netcraft]
XP SP2: Not So Fast We're hearing Microsoft has discovered some last-minute issues in its Windows XP Service Pack 2 bits. Release to manufacturing is still imminent. It's just not likely to be today. [via Microsoft Watch]
Sun Rays For LinuxAccording to an eweek story Sun Microsystems will be debuting a Linux port of their Sun Ray Server at Linux World this week. This would allow Sun Ray thin clients to be run off of a SuSE or Red Hat box, where you previously needed a Solaris-SPARC setup to do that."
Nasa powers up supercomputer US space agency Nasa gets the world's biggest Linux-based supercomputer to aid research and missions. Best place for Linux then, in space? [via BBC News]
Terror fight turns to technology There is a growing consensus that technology could help the US intel services better share data.I rather doubt it given their track record to date! [via BBC News ]
Labour’s job cuts fraud

New hiring spree makes a nonsense of Brown’s cuts pledge, says Shadow Chancellor, Oliver Letwin.

The Government has embarked on a summer jobs hiring spree – despite Gordon Brown’s pledge to cutback on civil service jobs.

In the four weeks since the Chancellor announced plans to slash more than 100,000 bureaucratic posts, nearly 1,000 public sector jobs - with salaries adding up to £36 million – have been advertised.

These include 830 posts advertised in the Guardian newspaper’s Society section, plus another 158 in other national newspapers.

Included are jobs like a “liveability manager” at Havant Council on a salary of more than £45,000, and an “integrated enforcement co-ordinator” at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister earning £33,642 a year.

One of posts is a regional “performance manager and risk officer” for the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health – which ministers announced in July would be scrapped. Others include an “improving wor…
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The Terror Web

Lawrence Wright has a superb article in the New Yorker detailing the size and extent of Al Qaeda and related terror networks.

The Internet document suggested that a new intelligence was at work, a rationality not seen in Al Qaeda documents before. The Mujahideen Services Center, whatever that was, appeared to operate as a kind of Islamist think tank. “The person who put together those chapters had a clear strategic vision, realistic and well thought out,” Amirah says. He told Hegghammer, “This is political science applied to jihad.”



Although the document was posted on the Internet in December, 2003, the authors note that a draft had been written in September. In October, assassins shot a Spanish military attaché in Iraq, José Antonio Bernal Gómez, near his residence; in November, seven Spanish intelligence agents were ambushed and murdered south of Baghdad. Photographs of the killers standing on the agents’ bodies circulated on Islamist Web sites. Another Internet docume…
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The World Turned Upside Down

Earlier this summer, during a Westminster debate on Internet content, a consequence of rising concern over the availability of violent pornography and the murder of Jane Longhurst, Conservative MP, Tim Loughton, gave direct mention to a US-based website, hiding behind First Amendment rights to freedom of speech. This offers nothing less than a global digital catalogue of atrocity with no image too tasteless or extreme for its webmasters, who have twisted the democratic principles of free speech to a point that would be quite unrecognisable by the founding fathers of the American constitution.



Since that debate, the manner in which the Internet has been leveraged to display politically motivated content has also changed in a graphic and unpleasant manner which hasn’t been witnessed since the end of public executions as a form of mass entertainment. Last week and suspecting the worst, I revisited the web site in question and wasn’t surprised to see that the r…
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Forever Wendy

Don’t say it with flowers, use a banner!

Twelve flights on Wednesday with Captain Bob and the Airads Cessna 172 culminated with a grand finale, a banner tow around the town of Kidwelly in Wales, bearing the message, ‘Wendy, I love you forever.’

"So how do you spell Kidwelly"

The day had started early in Kent, with a refuelling stop at Headcorn, before taking in ‘Glorious’ Goodwood, Compton Abbas, Dunkeswell, Pembury, Swansea and then home again to Maypole, just as the dark and the sea mist were descending. In between, the Airads aircraft took in Weymouth, Bognor Regis and it felt, much of the South coast on one of the warmest days of the year, which made towing a banner in the thin air a challenge, as the engine strained to keep the Cessna 172 at height at very low speeds.

Going up... just!

Having never visited Goodwood before, one of the first things I noticed beyond the race track around the airfield perimeter, was a second motor-racing track, with Porsches ha…