Digit LIVE news - Wireless USB creeps nearer

Digit LIVE news - Wireless USB creeps nearer

Wireless USB, which will work at 480Mbps using short-range ultra-wide band (UWB) radio has been specified by a group led by Intel, and has its standards published online.

Wisair has produced a device which plugs a dongle into the PC and has a hub that connects wirelessly to the dongle, in future there wont be a need for dongles at all and USB devices with have the UWB technology built-into the devices themselves and PC manafactures will put the UWB technology into the PCs or motherboards.

This all assumes UWB gets regulatory approval, and though the UK (Ofcom) has put forward a spec for UWB, it differs from the US version. It also needs to go through the EU approvals process so it's an EU harmonised standard, which could take a while.

Digit LIVE news - IE gains Firefox RSS icon, loses Mac version

Digit LIVE news - IE gains Firefox RSS icon, loses Mac version

Microsoft is jumping on the open source bandwagon, well maybe not, they're just using the orange Firefox icon to show RSS feeds, though MS do point out they have exchanged technology with the Mozilla lot in the past and will no doubt in the future.

They've also announce dthe dealth-bell for IE on Mac and recommend users upgrade to newer browsers such as Safari.

Digit LIVE news - Opera Mini browser quietly released

Digit LIVE news - Opera Mini browser quietly released

Opera have released a "mini browser" for mobile phones, it's only 100K in size and runs as a Java application.

It works on any Java enabled phone and communicates with servers run by Opera which strip out and compress content making it suitable for the browser real-estate.

Though meant to be launched next year, Opera have made the browser available for download now.

Digit LIVE news - Sony, BSkyB jointly promote HDTV

Digit LIVE news - Sony, BSkyB jointly promote HDTV

Sony and BSkyB promoting HDTV, nothing really exciting there (apart from the actual service when it launches next year).

BSkyB have already announced a deal with Thomson to manufacture the set-top box, so things may actually happen.

Now NTL has acquired Telewest it will be interesting to see if Telewest's HDTV service launches or they have to wait until NTL can catch-up with their network.

Digit LIVE news - Orange to launch Wi-Fi in UK

Digit LIVE news - Orange to launch Wi-Fi in UK

Orange launched a WiFo hotspot service, catching up with the other operators who have already launched in the UK.

They are not installing their own hotspots, but have just done a roaming deal with Openzone and others including Accor Hotels (provided by Orange France). Users have to send a text to the service and they'll be sent back a username and password which is valid for 24 hours (it also triggers the billing, which is £6.50 per hour).

Orange will launch combined 3G/GPRS and WiFi tarrifs in January known as Business Everywhere. Though not many details are available, one can guess this is part of the fixed mobile convergence strategy as all of France Telecomms non fixed business moves under the Orange brand (i.e. Wanadoo).


Department of Trade and Industry - Consultation

The DTI is holding a consultation on whether to use fixed penalties for infractions of the Wireless Telegraohy Act 1949.

The act covers broadcasting and receiving of radio waves and equipment.

Currently anyone transmitting (or receiving) in the UK needs a license, though some bands are license exempt (which means as long as you stick to the license published by Ofcom, you don't need a specific license).

Though serious offenders will still be prosecuted, this allows enforcement officers to give spot fines for things like transmitting using excess power (or using high gain attenae) in the 2.4GHz band. Previously most of these infractions have been ignored as it is too expensive to prosecute.

Though some people may see this as an extra tax, it may actually give Ofcom some teeth to stop offenders where in the past they haven't had the will or the resources to do so, which may be a good thing in the long term as spectrum is very crowded and this possibly will allow better management.

The consultation closes on 31st March 2006.


TomTom GO 700

The TomTom GO 700 us the top model from TomTom with complete maps of UK and Western Europe installed on a hard disk internally.

It's a neat unit, the navigation is very precise and worked flawlessly it even picked up a private road which was "unnamed" but once down the road it's possible to set a mark there, so you can get back to it.

The Speed Camera database is an optional extra for about £40 per year - but worthwhile, TomTom keep it up to date.

There are other TomTom PLUS services such as weather (at your destination) and traffic conditions. These can both be downloaded in real-time using Bluetooth through your mobile phone (data charges may apply). If the route you've planned happens to hit the road conditions, the GO will navigate another route to avoid them.

It's a slight pain fitting the system to the car and dangling wires out the cigarette lighter, but it all worked very well and the built-in aerial picked up the satellites with ease. Unfortunately it is worth removing all the bits when you leave the car, as they've become a target for thieves.

When the permanent docking station arrives that should makes things easier.

Carphone Wares buys Onetel and Tele2

Yesterday Carphone Warehouse (CPW) agreed a deal with Centrica to purchase Onetel, they also bought the business (UK and Ireland) of Tele2.

This gives CPW around 2.4m carrier pre-select (CPS) customers making them the 3rd largest residential voice carrier in the UK (BT is largest with about 15m, followed by NTL with about 4m).

The acquisitions makes senses considering the CPW are moving into the Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) market which is all about economies of scale and having large ammounts of customers per unbundled exchange. Having a greater number of customers means that there are more likely to be some on any given exchange. CPW have stated they want to go into 1,000 exchanges in the UK.

CPW will offer combined broadband, voice and mobile which should allow them to be very competetive and in future if they can find a content provider they'll be sure to offer a broadband TV service too.

Centrica will continue to push CPW (TalkTalk) services to their own customers for 3 years.

The big losers in this are BT who gain to lose even more residential customers to TalkTalk, and probably business customers too as TalkTalk Business is now being offered.

However it's also the current providers of services to Onetel and Tele2 as CPW migrate all their services on to their own infrastructure.


Ofcom Website | Statement and notification extending the charge controls

Ofcom Website | Statement and notification extending the charge controls

Ofcom have extended the wholesale rate mobile operators can charge for temrination until March 07. O2 and Vodafone are set at 5.63ppm and Orange and T-Mobile at 6.51ppm.

Though this is good news, the rates are still high compared to retail deals that end-users can get directly from the operators themselves, it's one of the only industries where wholesale rates are higher than retail.


Ofcom Website | Award of Available Spectrum - 1785 - 1805MHz

Ofcom Website | Award of Available Spectrum - 1785 - 1805MHz

Ofcom in association with ComReg (the Irish regulator) are proposing to make available a 20MHz piece of spectrum in the 1785 - 1805 MHz range. There will be one license awarded in Ireland and one in Northern Ireland. The consultation closes on March 2nd 2006.

There will be a sealed bid approach with Ireland's being offered first and shortly after Northern Ireland. Reserve price is 150,000 Euros and £50,000 respectively. The NI license will be fully tradable as soon as it's been won.

The spectrum may be used for any purpose, but must meet the radiated power and spectral masks defined by the regulators. Max radiated power (EIRP) is 56dBm per MHz so larger channels means higer power (i.e. if the spectrum is broken down to 1MHz channels then the max EIRP is 56dBm, while one 20MHz channel would allow 1120dBm).

Allows for reasonable links for short-distance mulitple channels or longer distances with smaller number of channels.


Intel calls for IEEE to drop UWB - Network IT Week

Intel calls for IEEE to drop UWB - Network IT Week

Intel is trying to get the IEEE (a US based International standards body) to adopt their UWM standard known as WiMedia rather than the current approach which uses Direct Sequence-UWB.

UWB is suited for short-range wire replacement services allowing for data rates in the order of 500Mb/s, it does this by splitting the data up and encoding it on a large range of frequencies. As the power of the transmissions is so low, other non-UWB equipment just hears it as background noise and if there is interference on various frequencies the UWB kit will just ignore it as it can just re-constitute the data from other frequencies.

There has already been arguments in the UWB group with the Multi-Band OFDM Alliance (MBOA) giving up as using their technology as the basis for UWB.

Intel obviously have a vested interest in people using their technology, but they potentially may just be causing delays in what promises to revolutionise how devices "talk" to each other.

3G may beat WiMax to the punch - Network IT Week

3G may beat WiMax to the punch - Network IT Week

Though the mobile version of WiMAX has now been ratfied (802.16e) it will be a while before manufacturers have silicon supporting in, though companies like Intel have said they will produce chips next year - integrated on to laptop motherboards.

Unfortunately even though the standard may now be real and mobile WiMAX may become a reality in terms of hardware, there's still the question of what spectrum is available for people to use.

In the UK the only possible spectrum that could be used (currently) is 5.8GHz in Band B which will give limited bandwidth.

Even the licensed operators who have spectrum available in 3.4 and 3.5GHz are NOT (currently) allowed to offer mobile services over it and they can only offer permanent fixed links.

It wont be the technology that slows WiMAX but the regulatory hurdles.


Microsoft and MCI jump on VoIP bandwagon - Network IT Week

Microsoft and MCI jump on VoIP bandwagon - Network IT Week

Microsoft and MCI have joined forces to offer a VoIP service to compete with Skype and such like.

Currently in beta and only available to US customers it's part of a new version of Messenger, Microsoft's IM client.

Users will be able to dial 220 countries, with prices starting at $.023 (at current rates, that's about 1.5p) per minute to the US, Canada, UK and Western Europe which is cheaper than Skype.

This is the start of a trend which is sounding the death-knoll for per minute charging, any Telco relying on voice minutes has a short lifetime to look forward to.


RIM faces uncertain future - vnunet.com

RIM faces uncertain future - vnunet.com

A judge has ruled that RIM's patent agreement with NTP Software is invalid, which could mean they are forced to stop sales of Blackberries at least in the US which accounts for two-thrids of their sales.

Shares of RIM were suspended on NASDAQ.

RIM are by far the dominant player in the "push Email" market, and this could allow others to get a foot-hold, but they are so far ahead it would still be difficult. It does give others the opportunity to get new customers who may be thinking that RIM have a difficult future, especially companies like Microsoft who have push-Email client in Windows Mobile 5 (and Exchange 2003 SP2) and Nokia who've embedded at least one client in their Series 60 phones.

Digit LIVE news - First Adobe and Macromedia bundles debut

Digit LIVE news - First Adobe and Macromedia bundles debut

The first fruits of Adobe's Macromedia takeover have just been announced, the new Design bundle which really just Creative Suite 2 and Flash 8, and the Web bundle which includes the full Macromedia Studio 8 set. Design bundles costs £1,175 +VAT and Web bundle £1,409 +VAT.

However the web bundle contains a lot of overlap as it has two web authoring packages (GoLive and Dreamweaver) and two web image packages (Imageready and FireWorks). It will take a while for Adobe to consolidate them as they're not allowed to work on that until the merger has fully completed. It's likely Adobe will utilise Dreamweaver as the basis for things going forward as that's definately the market leader.

They are expected to launch a video bundle next year, which will contain Flash, but no mention of what else.

Digit LIVE news - Panasonic adds dual-layer to Blu-ray

Digit LIVE news - Panasonic adds dual-layer to Blu-ray:

Panasonic Disc Manufacturing of America has added the ability to produce dual-layer Blu-ray Discs to a test production line the company is operating at its factory in California, Panasonic said this week.

Single layer BluRay disks have a capacity of 25GB and dual disks will store 50GB, current dual layer DVD's store 8.5GB.

Unfortunately the format wars are still in full swing with no winner yet, BluRay or HD-DVD.

HD-DVD is based on the current DVD format but supports 15GB per layer. HD-DVD is currently winning on the "good yield" rating with good yields approaching 90% while BluRay only manages 80%.

Players based on these formats aren't expected until next year.


Digit LIVE news - New .eu domain 'as important as .com'

Digit LIVE news - New .eu domain 'as important as .com'

The .eu domain opens for business this week but only for EU trademark holders and public bodies. In February registered companies (with office in EU) can apply, and in April anyone (in the EU) can apply.

EURid are the registry for .eu registations, though many existing registrars will becomes EURid regisitrars as well.

There is expected to be a large take-up of .eu registrations, though it's unlikely to get to the size of .com.

ICANN (who oversee the DNS systems) dropped plans for the .xxx top level domain (which would have been used for sex sites) last week.

Digit LIVE news - RealNetworks opens Rhapsody for Mac

Digit LIVE news - RealNetworks opens Rhapsody for Mac

Well Real aren't completely opening Rhapsody to Linux and Mac users, only the new website which gives access to streaming music. Download will still only be available to Windows users through the Rhapsody client which uses Real's DRM technology.

Real haven't when or even if they'll produce Mac/Linux clients for the DRM system, so it's just access to streaming content for the foreseable future.


Ofcom Website | Local loop unbundling: setting the fully unbundled rental charge ceiling and minor amendment to SMP conditions FA6 and FB6

Ofcom Website | Local loop unbundling: setting the fully unbundled rental charge ceiling and minor amendment to SMP conditions FA6 and FB6

Ofcom has capped BT's charges for a fully unbundled line to £81.69 from Jan 1st 2006. This puts it in line with WLR (wholesale line rental) charges.

This should stimulate LLU operators to offer a fully unbundled service (rather than the shared metallic path option whereby BT retain the voice element). BT will no longer have the opportunity to geta b lue-bill through the door and market their services to customers.

Microsoft launches anti-virus service - IT Week

Microsoft launches anti-virus service - IT Week

The other security companies must be worried about their future. Microsoft has announced Windows One Care Live Security beta which supports anti-virus and anti-spyware offerings, firewall, remote back-up etc.

It's currently free, but there's likely to be a charge later.

It's all part of their Live offering which centrally hosts MS services, including Office offerings and Communications options.

The service is currently only for consumers, but an enterprise version is expected later.

Skype adds video with Skype 2.0 - IT Week

Skype adds video with Skype 2.0 - IT Week

Skype has released Skype v2 (beta) which introduces video capability as well as supporting moods and indicating the time zone of the person you're trying to call.

Though video calling can be useful, mainly it's a gimmick and uses more bandwidth.

If they're using the same P2P methods for video as well as audio, then anyone on non-NATed connections will get even more of their bandwidth used as they become a super-node for other users who are NAT'ed or behind agressive firewalls.

Gmail adds virus scanning - IT Week

Gmail adds virus scanning - IT Week

Google Mail now check for infected attachments and stop people downloading them if it cant remove them (as well as checking outgoing attachments too).

Though Email is an important part of an office environment it's not the only part. Google have done a deal with Sun and point users at OpenOffice for an alternative to Microsoft products. However they surely must be looking at offering a hosted version of the suite.

In the past Sun has shown hosted versions of StarOffice, which utilise computing power in the browser much like Google do with Google Earth and other AJAX applications, but they also had versions which just used the browser as a rendering engine suitable for PDAs etc.

The software looked the same whatever platform it ran on and though files could be stored locally, they were best placed on the server (that run the application).

It wouldn't be suprising if Sun re-vitalised those efforts which would allow Google to offer a fully hosted Office environment.


Digit LIVE news - Sky reports mobile TV success

Digit LIVE news - Sky reports mobile TV success

TV on your mobile phone? It seems it's taking off. Sky have done a deal with Vodafone so customers can access Sky content through their !Live service.

Currently it's free, which is probably why so many people are using it, however when Vodafone charge £5 per month per Sky package (there's 3 of them), then things might change.

Digit LIVE news - Sony updates PSP, adds RSS support

Digit LIVE news - Sony updates PSP, adds RSS support

Adding RSS feeds allows the PSP to be used to subscribe to news feeds/blogs and such like. This is another step in making the PSP the portable media hub of choice.

When the Xbox 360 is launched tomorrow with PSP support they'll make a great combination.


Ofcom Website | European experts back a more flexible approach to spectrum management

Ofcom Website | European experts back a more flexible approach to spectrum management

The European Union's expert group on spectrum - the Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) - adopted an Opinion calling for a more flexible approach to spectrum management on 23 November.

This is a good decision and should speed up the way spectrum can be allocated across Europe and allow new and innovative services to be launched including mobile, broadcasting, fixed wireless and other electronic comms services.

3 no longer considered to have SMP

In 2004 Ofcom ruled that 3 the UK mobile 3G network (Hutchison 3G UK Limited) had SMP or significant market power. SMP means Ofcom can regulate the company and put conditions on it's operation and even make it offer services to 3rd parties (BT have to and have a wholesale and retail operation).

3 appealed the decision and today CAT (Competition Appeal Tribunal) ruled that this was not the case. It is the first time a UK operator has successfully appealed an SMP ruling.

This shouldn't affect things for customers, but should mean 3 can concentrate on services rather than worrying about having to appease the regulator and even opening up its network to other operators.


Digit LIVE news - Tivo to bring TV to iPod and PSP

Digit LIVE news - Tivo to bring TV to iPod and PSP

Tivo are planning to extend their Tivo ToGo service (which already supports watching TV on your PC that's been stored on the Tivo) to the portable media players including the video iPod and PSP.

They'll watermark the content with the Tivo subscriber details so that illegally distributed content can be traced to the originating system but the studios with be watching them intently and if Tivo get things wrong, they're sure to be lawsuits.

Tivo are set to test the service in the next few weeks and make it available to all users early next year.

Digit LIVE news - Microsoft 'losing money on Xbox 360'

Digit LIVE news - Microsoft 'losing money on Xbox 360'

The cost of an Xbox core is thought to be around $310 while it's selling for $299.99 (in the US) and the Xbox 360 Premium costs around $525 while it sells for $399.99, Microsoft have denied the losses saying they make a (small) ammount per sale.

Even if they do make a loss on the consoles themselves, games are very high margin as the actual sale consists of DVD dupplication, a manual and packaging. Even after software development costs have been taken out, the games soon pay for themselves (and make huge profits for popular games).

Though Sony have dominated the console market in recent years, the Xbox 360 is a truely powerful machine which is much easier to program than the PS3. Taking advantage of the PS3 Cell multi-core processor will be very difficult.

MS are trying to be at least somewhat open with the 360 and want it to be the media hub in the house and if they get that right they have got the chance really make a difference.

Ofcom Website | Auction of spectrum 1781.7-1785 MHz paired with 1876.7-1880 MHz - Information memorandum

Ofcom Website | Auction of spectrum 1781.7-1785 MHz paired with 1876.7-1880 MHz - Information memorandum

Ofcom has released the final documents for the auction of what was known as the GSM guard-bands. There will be anywhere between 7 and 12 depending on how the auction goes.

Though only allowing 16 channels of GSM voice, they can actually be used for anything as long as the radio equipment meets the Ofcom output regulations, so they could be used for wireless broadband.

Ofcom have even made provision for upping the power levels for specific sites (they state areas such as tunnels, basements and airports) [with the agreement of other licensees] which might give a clue to who will bid for some of the licenses.

If a licensee rolls out a GSM service, they'll have to get some kind of roaming or issue their own phones/SIMs which might not prove cost-effective, though for areas where current GSM service is not available they could target specific niche markets.

AMD chips may soon power Dell PCs - IT Week

AMD chips may soon power Dell PCs - IT Week

Dell has been an Intel advocate for a long time, even in the face of cheaper processors from AMD, now that seems to be about to change.

Romours abound that Dell is looking a AMD chips for (consumer) workstations as they offer a better bang for the buck which might increase Dell's weakening profit margins. AMD also have a very good reputation especially for x64 bit chips and now with x2 dual core chips.


UK wholesale broadband prices slashed - Network IT Week

UK wholesale broadband prices slashed - Network IT Week

BT have dropped the connection charge for fully unbundled LLU lines by 40% (from £168.38 to £99.95 ex VAT), this is in-line with wholesale line rental charges BT announced a while back.

This should give a boost for operators wishing to offer full telephony products, rather than leaving BT with the telephony service and just offering Internet (and services over the Internet i.e. VoIP).

If operators do take over the line, then BT don't have to opportunity to get a "blue-bill" in the door and market to the customer. The operator can offer their own flexible tephony services.

Currently Bulldog are really the only ones offering this service.

Global telcos losing billions to fraud - Network IT Week

Global telcos losing billions to fraud - Network IT Week

Revenue assurance is a big problem for telecom operators, fraud plays a big part (as does just plain non-payment by customers), but there are other reasons.

When operators exchange traffic (usually with SS7 interconnects) what one operator thinks they've sent and what the other operator think they've received (or vice versa) rarely agree. Switches may "lose" data records, or records are mispriced (telcoms switches produce what's called CDRs or call data records).

Mediation systems have to be built which analyse the CDRs and then price them accordingly. It's easy to leak revenue in the mediation process.

In order to ensure SS7 traffic is billed correctly complicated equipment needs to be installed into the links to "snoop" call traffic and then this data can be compared to what the switch thinks has gone through. This gets extremely difficult when operators are exchaning traffic with multiple other operators using different ones for different routes. If an operators switches traffic to the wrong one, the costs can rapidly mean they are losing money.

Currently most traditional operators still use SS7 and though complicated it's relatively easy to track what's going on. With new age entrants on the scene and traditional operators moving to what's known as "softswitches" the traffic is moving from legacy telco connecitons to all IP connections. This will give much greater flexibility, but in the short-term at least is likely to cause more revenue leackage until the tools are developed to track IP calls and interconnects.


Demand for mesh networks poised to rocket - Network IT Week

Demand for mesh networks poised to rocket - Network IT Week

Wireless MESH is probably the future, however it's extremely difficult to get right. If you can control the mesh then there's a chance that you can get it to work efficiently, however things tend to go horribly wrong when they get too big or allow "random" nodes to join.

In a mesh where you have n nodes (assuming a complete mesh i.e. each node connected to all others) the number of links is n(n-1)/2 i.e. for 4 nodes that's 6 links while 10 nodes is 45 links, 100 nodes is 4950 links etc. How you get data from a node to another requires routing tables to hold info on how the nodes are connected and this is where systems rapidly become unmanagable. Generally each node in the network needs to hold a complete routing table.

There are tricks to reduce the routing tables and only having certain nodes holding more info, but that's where clever design comes in.

If Cisco can crack this, the market could be huge.

Nokia to buy Intellisync - Network IT Week

Nokia to buy Intellisync - Network IT Week

Nokia is getting serious about "push Email". Though it already has relationships with Microsoft and RIM (makers of the Blackberry), the Intellisync purchase will give Nokia direct access to their own Email/Calendaring push tye service.

Most phones sold are Nokias and if they can embed the software in forthcoming products, they have a real chance of breaking the stranglehold that RIM/Blackberry currently have in the market.

Microsoft's Windows Mobile 5 will support similar features with the recent Exchange service pack, but they still account for a small proportion of the smartphone market.

Ofcom ponders future of analogue TV spectrum - Network IT Week

Ofcom ponders future of analogue TV spectrum - Network IT Week

The analogue spectrum could be a valuable commodity. As it's "low" frequency it wont be able to sustain huge data rates, however it can still carry multi-megabits per second which means it could be used for wireless broadband. As it's lower frequency it also has very good propogation characteristics and penetrates buildings well (which microwave i.e. >GHz fequencies don't).

A US company xG Technologies have developed a new form of radio modulation which could be ideal for these bands. They use 6KHz carriers and say they can encode 1bit/cycle which is very efficient. If the technology actually works it could be a breakthrough allowing very advanced wireless broadband which would cause little or no interference with other users of neighbouring spectrum. This technology would also work well in the GSM guardbands which Ofcom have opened bidding.

Digit LIVE news - Microsoft turning to an all 64-bit world

Digit LIVE news - Microsoft turning to an all 64-bit world

Microsoft is going 64bit. Not really a suprise, they already have server versions that only support 64bit archtiechtures, now various applications are going that route too.

Linux has already supported 64bit archtechtures for a while, and 32bit apps should run fine on a 64bit environment, now Microsoft are following suite, but making the apps 64bit too.

64bits mean more memory support and faster loading as instead of loading 32bits at a time, 64bits are which is twice the speed for no CPU speed increase.

In a couple of years you'll not be able to buy a PC that isn't 64bit so it makes sense.


Digit Online news - Sony withdraws copy-protected CDs

Digit Online news - Sony withdraws copy-protected CDs

After two weeks of relentless criticism over its XCP copy protection software, Sony BMG Music Entertainment is pulling CDs that contain the software from store shelves. The company is also planning to offer customers a way to exchange CDs that contain the flawed copy-protection software.

It's also come to light that the software that Sony released to make the copy protection software visible may cause further security breaches in Windows as the ActiveX is flawed.

Microsoft has also announced that it's next version of its Malicious Software Removal Tool will remove Sony's copy protection system from Windows.

This is an example of how Digital Rights MAnagement can completely alienate users, it also shows how dumb it can be. Anyone seriously wanting to copy the CD's can just put them into an Apple Mac or Linux based system.

Digit Online news - LaCie updates LCD monitor line

Digit Online news - LaCie updates LCD monitor line

LaCie has announced two LCD displays for creative professionals. The 19-inch 119 LCD Monitor and the 20-inch 120 LCD Monitor will replace the popular photon19vision and photon20visionII models.

The monitors tend not to be the cheapest in the market, but have a very good reputation within graphics/print environments as they have accurate colour matches and what you see on the screen is what you'll get when printing.

Digit Online news - Autodesk updates Cleaner for new formats

Digit Online news - Autodesk updates Cleaner for new formats

Many thought cleaner was dead, Autodesk released a new version soon after purchasing the product, but nothing new for a while.

Cleaner is well regarded in the industry for efficiently converting media between different formats i.e. AVI's to Real or WMV or many combinations. The upgrade supports many of the latest formats.

Encoding or transcoding can be extremely CPU intensive without dedicated hardware help, but Cleaner does a good job and is multi-threading under XP so can use real or virtual multiple processors.

Both Mac and PC products cost £435 or £90 for an upgrade from the last version.


UK Online offers 22Mb broadband - IT Week

UK Online offers 22Mb broadband - IT Week

Oddly ADSL2+ seems to be going through a reverse hype process and peopel are saying it's not going to deliver high speeds to most people. That may be partially true, but in urban areas where people are within 1.5Km of the exchange they should get 20Mb/s+ speeds which is enough for HDTV etc.

Most poeple do seem to be ignoring QoS though, as having 20Mb/s downstream and 1.3Mb/s upstream is still useless for VoIP unless some of that bandwidth can be guaranteed so the voice traffic doesn't get mixed in with everything else. Using traditional codecs and then packetising them uses more bandwidth than over traditional telephony links. VoIP bandwidth can be squeezed to much lower levels, but then the calls are not what's called toll-grade.

Broadband providers moving into VoIP are going to need to look long and hard how they actually implement services such that they are competetive (in terms of call quality) with existing analogue lines.

Digit Online news - New Motorola Razr phone features iTunes

Digit Online news - New Motorola Razr phone features iTunes

The Motorola Razr is popular due to it's thin design and good looks. Now it's being updated. It will have a 1.23 megapixel camera with digital zoon, video and full-screen viewfinder, mini USB stereo headset, Bluetooth and MicroSD memory card. It will also have iTunes built in. Since people will want to use the music capabilities in places where you cant use a phone (airplanes) that feature has been added too.

It will be known as the Razr V3i.

Now if only Motorola could improve their menu systems to be like Nokia's, everyone would be happy.

Digit Online news - Pixar sells 125,000 movies via iTunes

Digit Online news - Pixar sells 125,000 movies via iTunes

Pixar's CEO is Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO is Steve Jobs, hmm not really a suprise Pixar's content is on iTunes. It is maybe a suprise that 125,000 Pixar movies have been sold and shows that people will watch movies on their iPods. Each video costs $1.99 (in the US) or £1.89 in the UK which (assuming US pricing) is around $250,000 revenue. Apple have said they have sold 1m movies in 20 days.

Digit Online news - Disney buys European mobile game content

Digit Online news - Disney buys European mobile game content

Mobile is a huge growth area and Disney are trying to capitalise on this. They generate content and have now bought into the games arena specifically for mobile. They want the youth mobile market.

Google are also heavily moving into the mobile space, but they seem to be aiming as the entry point to the lnternet, so you'll be able to look for something, plan a route there and of course get target Google ads.

Digit Online news - PSP versus iPod: What's better for video?

Digit Online news - PSP versus iPod: What's better for video?

In my view the PSP wins hands down in terms of quality and viewability with it's bigger widescreen. There are lots of utilities to convert movies to the PSP format (including Nullriver's PSPWare and now even Sony#s PSP Media Manager).

However the iPod is a much smaller device and fits in your pocket easily.

Whereas the (current) iPod is a music player that can do video the PSP is a media center that can play games (and do well both). The PSP is limited that currently converting media to PSP format it has to fit in their quirky structures and you're limited to 2GB as that's how big a Memory Stick Due PRO goes. That will hold maybe 4 movies in reasonably high quality. The iPod of course can handle complete TV series with its 30 or 60GB's of disk.


Ofcom Website | Ofcom tackles illegal broadcasting

Ofcom Website | Ofcom tackles illegal broadcasting: "Ofcom tackles illegal broadcasting

Ofcom announced the results of an operation to take off air illegal broadcasters operating in Greater London. The operation began on the morning of Saturday 29 October to deal with the large number of London pirate radio stations that illegally broadcast over the FM radio band without a licence under Section 1 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949.

The operation has led to:
* 53 illegal broadcasters' radio transmitters seized;
* 17 transmitters and aerials disabled;
* 43 mobile and land line telephone numbers linked to illegal broadcasting operations gathered for further Ofcom investigation to trace the subscribers; and
* 9 letters of warning sent to night clubs that have advertised events on illegal radio stations.

The operation which took place between 25th October and 1st November involved 18 Ofcom field operations staff and 32 Metropolitan Police officers.

Ofcom have reports that the raids have caused 44 illegal stations to go off air.

Though Ofcom is mandated to persue pirate radio stations under it's obligations of the Communications Act, the reasoning is potentially suspect saying they finance serious crime including drugs and weapons (and these were found at some locations).

Though use of weapons is not particularly nice, the pirate radio stations tend to fight other pirates for advertising revenue and they're more likely to be used in this role than any other.

Pirates can provide access to musical tastes that commercial stations don't provide, though Ofcom do have to ensure pirates don't interfere with commercial stations and other licensed users of the spectrum.


Telecity acquires Redbus

Actually 3i who own Telecity aquired Redbus for 23p a share a 16.5% premium on the closing price valuing Redbus at £58.9m, a far cry from what Redbus was valued in the dotcom boom. This puts Redbus' share price at 23 times their EBITDA.

Telecity were running out of space and rather than building new facilities, just buy the competetion's space by buying them.

This is further evidence that the Internet/Telecoms market is still in majr consolidation mode which will continue for quite some time until there are a few big players left who can genuinely compete with each other.


Telecoms industry in a poor state still

O2 is going to Telefonica, OneTel is up for sale (it seems Centrica who have been faffing around for the last few years have made a decision to actually sell them) the asking price seems to be £350m, but Carphone Warehouse who may have been approached as a buyer rejected it as much too high. Carphone Warehouse have now decided to go into LLU (local loop unbundling), though a good move, it's further emphasises the need for a shared infrastructure to compete with BT's 21CN.

Tele2 are pulling out of the UK too.

Who's next?

BBC NEWS | Business | Telefonica buys UK's O2 for �18bn

BBC NEWS | Business | Telefonica buys UK's O2 for �18bn

Telefonica has offered £17.7bn ($31.6bn) which works out at 200 pence per share, a 22% premium on Friday's closing price of 164.25p.

Since BT demerged O2 theyhave been looking for a buyer. Since Telelonica has no infrastructure or competing services in the UK this is a good match for both, but another example of consolidation which is the industry norm now.


Ofcom Website | Ofcom consults on Home Office proposals for a single non-emergency number

Ofcom Website | Ofcom consults on Home Office proposals for a single non-emergency number

The Home Office have asked Ofcom to allocate 101 for a UK national non Emergency number i.e. for calls relating to anti-social behaviour or minor criminal activity that isn't an emergency.

Ofcom is holding a consultation with stake-holders.


Ofcom Website | Award of available spectrum: 412-414 MHz paired with 422-424 MHz

Ofcom Website | Award of available spectrum: 412-414 MHz paired with 422-424 MHz

Though this is low end spectrum it has good properties for building penetration etc. Basestations can transmit at 50W per 25KHz, up to a maximum of 400W in total. Mobile transmitters are limited to 10W.

This is a single national license, though there are military users (it seems radars, especially Flyingdales) and it's up to the licensee to avoid interfering with them.

It's a single round sealed bid auction, with offers in excess of £50,000.


Digit Online news - Apple hints at big launch next week

Digit Online news - Apple hints at big launch next week

On Wednesday (12th Oct) Apple are unveiling something new. Apple do not pre-release anything so everyone's guessing at the moment, but the rumour mill suspects a video capabable iPod.

It's known Apple has been talking to the movie studios about putting video content on the iTunes store and they already have music videos. Video on iTunes plus a player will give Apple a major headstart over its competitors.

They may also announce video capabilities to iPods with photo capability.

They might also be announing the availability of the Intel version of Macs.



| OfcomWatch |

And again on Ofcomwatch ...

BT OpenReach - LLU Smoke and Mirrors? - Digital-Lifestyles.info

BT OpenReach - LLU Smoke and Mirrors? - Digital-Lifestyles.info

An article I wrote about BT Openreach.

BBC NEWS | Business | NTL seals $6bn Telewest takeover

BBC NEWS | Business | NTL seals $6bn Telewest takeover: "NTL seals $6bn Telewest takeover

NTL and Telewest plan to take on BSkyB in the UK Britain's biggest cable company NTL is to take over rival operator Telewest for about $6bn (£3.4bn). "

This has been on the cards for a long-time and now it's happening. There are still going to be major hurdles that the combined company is going to have to overcome. Integration is not going to be easy.

One of the biggest issues may be that the combined company could be seen to have SMP (significant market power) which means they'd be regulated in the same light as BT - which they obviously don't want (it also means they'd have to provide 3rd party access to their network). Their argument will be that they are competing with BT and therefore they don't have SMP, but in terms of an access medium (i.e. cable) they will.

If Ofcom force NTeLewest to open their network, it will add costs, which they wont want and may still scupper the deal.


cheap flights from UK to Europe and America | bmi

cheap flights from UK to Europe and America | bmi

My BMI Diamond card ran out recently, I was a silver cardholder and I was just under the points requirement (well a couple of flights). I had booked a business flight, which was delayed and travelled after the end of the points period.

However BMI retained my membership level and the points went on to this year's credit.

No fuss, no argument, very impressive.

When I used to use BA, I ended the year ONE flight short and they dropped my member level.

I'll be continuing to use BMI and StarAlliance, I generally cant fault them.


THUS to buy Your Comms?

Another THUS potential acquisition? They are rumoured to have offered £150m for Your Comms and wont budge, while they actually want around £200m.

THUS will have to borrow the money to buy Your Comms (or extend their existing loans), they'll also needs funds to integrate and merge product lines etc.

Your Comms might bring some added value in billing platforms (consumer voice) etc.


Digit Online news - O2 launches I-mode service in UK

Digit Online news - O2 launches I-mode service in UK

I-mode in UK at last. O2 will run an "enterainment" portal, but as i-mode uses a variant of HTML, content owners can easily customise their sites to make them i-mode compliant.

In Japan i-mode succeeded due to the ease of producing content, and the revenue share the operators offered (i.e. they took a small transaction charge rather than the European model which they either try and take the content outright or only pay a small proportion of revenue), which direction will O2 take?

If O2 get it right and content owners can easily charge for content and get paid a reasonable rate it just might succeed.

Digit Online news - Olympus adds 8mp E-system SLR

Digit Online news - Olympus adds 8mp E-system SLR

Olympus has launched an 8mp digital SLR with a full frame transfer CCD which is larger than most. It doesn't say whether it's 35mm film size or just larger than standard CCD's which are about equivalent to APS film size (therefore on most lenses suffering a 1.6x magnification).

The lens is vibrated 35,000 times per second which is done to reduce dust and image noise.

A new range of lenses acompanies the camera.


In-flight mobile calls to start next year - Network IT Week

In-flight mobile calls to start next year - Network IT Week

Phones on flights? Airlines have been against this for years, well actually they haven't, the mobile phone companies have.

Mobile phone networks are designed such that hand-offs between cells work at speeds of less than around 70mph (normal maximum driving speeds). When in a plane, especially coming in to land, a mobile phone may be "visible" to hundreds of cell sites, and the signal will hand off to non-adjacent cells. Normally while driving a phone will nicely travel between sites in a nice orderly manner so the network doesn't have to do a large ammount of processiing to switch traffic around.

When planes land they are in close proximity to cell sites (many airports have sites on the grounds itself), these pump out signals of much higher power than any phone and don't interfere with aircraft systems.


Carphone Warehouse expected to put an offer in for One.tel

Carphone Warehouse (owners of the TalkTalk service and Opal Telecom) are expected to put in an offer for One.tel (the telecoms arm of Centrica).

Carphone Warehouse already have a large consumer customer base and One.tel could strengthen this as well as giving them a better footing in the business arena.

This is just more consilidation in the telecoms space which will continue for a while in a very competetive market.

BBC NEWS | UK | Demon founder escapes jail term

BBC NEWS | UK | Demon founder escapes jail term
Well it's not quite as simple as it makes out.

Cliff Stanford changed his plea due to the Judges interpretation of a section of the RIP Act. If he pleased innocent then the case would have lasted quite a few weeks and cost a lot more than GBP 7500 court costs (and the judge is likely to have imposed a heavier sentance), there were two days of pre-hearing involving the interpretation of the RIP Act.

Mr Stanford will appeal the interpretation, and if he wins that, the sentance is over-turned ...

Digit Online news - Microsoft unveils Xbox 360 TGS lineup

Digit Online news - Microsoft unveils Xbox 360 TGS lineup:
The list isn't definative, but games that will be ready for launch: -

"Bomberman - Act Zero (Hudson Soft)
Call of Duty 2 (Activision)
Dead Rising (Capcom)
Dynasty Warriors 5 Special (Koei)
Everyparty (Microsoft Game Studios)
Far East of Eden - Ziria (Hudson Soft)
Frame City Killer (Namco)
Gears of War (Microsoft Game Studios)
Kameo: Elements of Power (Microsoft Game Studios)
Mobile Suit Gundam (tentative title) (Bandai)
Need for Speed Most Wanted (Electronic Arts)
NINETY-NINE NIGHTS (Microsoft Game Studios)
The Outfit (THQ)
Project Gotham Racing 3 (Microsoft Game Studios)
Resident Evil 5 (Capcom)
Ridge Racer 6 (Namco)
Rumble Roses XX (tentative title) (Konami)
Shutoku Battle (tentative title) (Genki)
Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega)
Saint's Row (THQ)
Test Drive Unlimited (Atari)
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (Ubisoft Entertainment)
World Air Force (tentative title) (Taito)
Wrestle Kingdom (Yuke's) "

Announced launch date is Dec 2nd.


Demon founder pleads guilty to email charges - ZDNet UK News

Demon founder pleads guilty to email charges - ZDNet UK News

It seems Cliff Stanford and George Liddel have pleaded guilty to intercepting Emails under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA).

This may be one of the first cases of its kind. More as it comes out.


Cliff Stanford trial starts today | This is Money

This has been on-going for a while. Charges of blackmail were dropped, but the case for intercepting/diverting mail is going ahead.

Mr Standford went to Southwark Crown Court yesterday, but as yet no details.

If there is a successful prosecution under the RIP Act (RIPA) it will probably be one of the first of its kind.


France Telecom to blow �1bn on LLU | The Register

1bn Euros sounds a lot and it is, but in terms of local loop unbundling it can go very quickly.

Assuming a good proportion of that will go to the UK, it still costs around £100,000 to unbundle an exchange (including backhaul and all the associated expenses), so a £1m will get you into 10. There are economies of scale, but it's an expensive business.

Then there's AOL, Bulldog, Be and everyone else going into some or all of those exchanges ...


Ofcom Website | UWB: Input Document to CEPT

Ofcom today have published their recommendations for UWB to CEPT (the European organisation that deals with harmonized radio standards).

UWB operates in the 3.1-10.6GHz band allowing high data transfer rates for short range transmission. It can be used as a wires replacement service to connect devices together. It is disruptive to WiFi and Bluetooth.

Ofcom will recommend that CEPT should produce a European harmonised specification but it must used controls to reduce interference to existing bands especially in 3.1 - 4.2Ghz by using detect and avoidance technologies. UWB should also use transmit power control to limit interference to other UWB systems.

Ofcom also recommend the European Commission should conduct a review 3 years after the introduction of UWB to assess the levels of spectrum noise and potential interference.

If UWB does get the go ahead, it will allow the distribution of HDTV etc in the house as it offers data rates in excess of 100Mb/s and is highly resilient to interference.

OneTel could be flogged | The Register

This rumour has been in the works for a long time.

Centrica like any owner of a telco, would be silly not to look at selling it, however there's a big difference between being open to offers and actively selling.

One.tel have a large number of customers (mainly residential) but are now actively moving into the business markets. They've also got a warchest of about £500m to expand by acquistion. Centrica wouldn't make the cash available if they were instantly going to sell them.


Atom Chip Corporation

If this really exists it looks like a nice new chip (I guess with x86 emulation).

CPU 6.8GHz (with 256MB of on chip RAM).
Main memory 1TB
Storage 2TB.

The Atomchip uses some kind of optical memory, which is non-volatile and very fast. No price quoted, but if it's cheap it does look like the future of computing.

Ofcom Website | Local loop unbundling: setting the fully unbundled rental charge ceiling and minor amendment to SMP conditions FA6 and FB6

Ofcom have released a consultation re the rate BT can set for fully unbundling a line (in the Local Loop Unbundling/LLU) process. They had already set a ceiling for shared metallic path, whereby BT keep the voice aspects and the LLU operators just offers broadband.

The price they are recommending is £81.85 for the fully unbundled line. Some operators were hoping for a much lower level.

Mini satellites to revolutionise telecoms - Network IT Week

Mini satellites the size of a milk carton and weighing 3.5Kg, being of such a small size, they can easily be launched into orbit.

They are being developed by University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies and called the CanX-2.

If enough control can be put into them, they could be used for the next generation of GPS, or even a next generation space telescope which will use multiple lenses held by lots of satellites stationed hundreds of miles apart to increase the focal area and thus increase resolution.

If they don't work, they'll just be more space junk.


BBC NEWS | Technology | Sony PSP sets sights on UK gamers

BBC NEWS | Technology | Sony PSP sets sights on UK gamers

The PSP goes on sale tomorrow, UK stores have already sold their allocations.

There are a number of UK games and videos which will be launched with the consoles, but US and Japanese games should work too, though only Japanese films will work (both Japan and the UK are in Region 2).

Though positioned as a games console, it's really a media console which plays games. It's likely they'll be some integration with the PS3 after it launches.

There are also rumours of enhancements to the PSP such as disks, cameras etc.

FT.com / By industry / IT - Creative accuses Apple of iPod patent breach

FT.com / By industry / IT - Creative accuses Apple of iPod patent breach

Creative filed a patent in 2001 for "a user interface that enables users of portable media players to efficiently and intuitively navigate among and select tracks on the players" which was granted this month.

This effectively allows them to go after other MP3 player manufacturers, but they are targetting Apple (which would make sense as they are the largest supplier).

Apple are used to litigation (they regularly face action re their name from Apple Corp - the Beatles' company for license infringement as Apple Corp hold the worldwide trademarks etc) and are bound to counter claim.

DSL Max may save BT's broadband blushes - ZDNet UK News

DSL Max may save BT's broadband blushes - ZDNet UK News

MAX DSL is another form of DSL allowing download speeds of up to 8Mb/s and upload of up to 832Kb/s, BT's initial tests have shown it's more likely to achieve download speeds of 6Mb/s.

Though it's an asymetric service it's likely to be cheaper than SDSL and BT may utilise it in its place, hopefully reversing the woefull uptake.

There's also likely to be a consumer variant offering uploads at 448Kb/s.

If BT offer some kind of QoS or seperate voice service using part of the bandwidth, then it would be suitable for multiline VoIP, even assuming a 64Kb/s voice channel the consumer variant could support about 6 lines and the business version maybe 12 lines. Moving to a lower bandwidth codec would support more channels ore the same channels with some bandwidth left for other traffic.

BT may start trials in September with roll-out in 2006.

ADSLguide: Be seeks trial users in London area for ADSL2+ service

ADSLguide: News Archive

BE, a new LLU operator in London is hoping to attract trialists by offering free service in September and then £20 pm for the basic service (it costs £4 pm extra for static IP).

The trial included a free connection and a free Speedtouch router with 4 Ethernet ports, a Wireless (802.11g) port and 2 phone ports (currently not used directly with the service) and an analogue port (again unused, but can plug into the PSTN - in the future will allow a pass-through service).

The service will deliver 24Mb/s downstream and 1Mb/s upstream, but customers need to be 1Km or less from the exchange or the usable speeds decrease.

Be haven't released final pricing, but this is in-line with services in Europe where £20 or less pm will get basic Internet service, national phone-calls and basic TV services.

Latest Business News and Financial Information | Reuters.co.uk

Latest Business News and Financial Information | Reuters.co.uk

Orange the (current) mobile arm of France Telecom and Wanadoo (the ISP arm) are offering cut price broadband to Orange mobile customers. They'll get 2M ADSL for £9.99 per month.

Eventually the ISP and mobile arms will be combined and come under the Orange brand.

This is just the start of a trend and ISP's will offer mobile offerings, either via a MVNO or as a reseller as is already happening in the fixed line markets.

France Telecom has deep pockets and large subsciber bases and can make this happen quickly and get a good fotthold in the market.

Apple's announcement on the 5th

It seems likely that Apple are going to announce the new Motorola phone with iTunes built-in which recently achieved FCC approval.

It seems they've done a deal with a provider in the US and it will be available on their network. How the pricing model will work is as yet unknown.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Microsoft throws down phone gauntlet to Google

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Microsoft throws down phone gauntlet to Google

Microsoft has just bought a telecoms company, another string to it's arsenal in the forthcoming VoIP wars.

Skype is undoubtably the current winner in IM/VoIP battles, but there's Gizmo from the Linspire lot, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messgenger, AIM, and now GoogleTalk so the market is going to progress rapidly.

Microsoft has a huge established base of users and has released their web services framework which fundamentally support VoIP, though Google (currently) are considered user friendly and not the evil empire.

Google have also announced they will allow open server to server communications allowing other IM networks to join the GoogleTalk service (assuming the other networks want to join). It can be expected that existing Jabber (XMPP) networks will be the first to be in line.

By Google using an open protocol and allowing s2s connections they could rapidly expand and dominate the IM space.


ADSLguide: Mailbox launches broadband availability and self diagnostics system

ADSLguide: News Archive

Mailbox have designed a tool that anyone can dial into and test the suitability of a line for ADSL. It will work from any line - even mobiles.

Mailbox customers also get the ability to do diagnostic tests if there seem to be ADSL problems, which Mailbox is thinking about licensing to other ISPs.

It would seem like someone at Mailbox has been playing with Asterisk, the open source Linux (and other platform) IP PBX/IVR and knocked up a set of scripts.

Apple hints at major iPod revamp - Network IT Week

Apple hints at major iPod revamp - Network IT Week

Apple are going to launch something new or an update to the existing iPod. It happens on the 7th.

Speculations are: -

* Music videos for current iPods.
* New iPod Shuffle type device.
* The Motorola iPod phone.
* Apple will become an MVNO and offer a phone service (mobile).

They could also launch a bigger video iPod to compete with the new Media systems being offered by Microsoft licensees.

DSL plugs into 70 per cent subscriber growth - Network IT Week

DSL plugs into 70 per cent subscriber growth - Network IT Week

70% subscriber growth, options of VDSL2 and ADSL2+, nice if you can get it. In the UK ADSL2+ is still not ANFP compliant (though the ANFP will be changed to allow it), however VDSL and derivatives are unlikely to ever be allowed since it causes interference between cable pairs in the telephony network.

VDSL works well where there's fiber to buildings or street cabinets and then VDSL within the building or from the street cab to the house.

Unfortunately the UK isn't fibered and installing VDSL in the exchanges wont give the performance (it's a very short haul service).

Digit Online news - Roxio launches Toast 7

Digit Online news - Roxio launches Toast 7

Toast the Roxio CD and DVD burning package for Macs is being upgraded.

The main features are slide shows, DivX (6) support and support for spanning multiple DVDs. The slide show features allows for producing multiple transition effects etc.

Toast 7 will also compress video content so that content from dual layer (9GB) DVD's will fit on to standard single layer disks. Presumably this will only work with unencrypted content, though there are programs that will rip the (encrypted) DVDs to standard (unecrypted) VOB files, which Toast will then handle.


Telewest/NTL Merger Delayed?

Telewest/NTL Merger Delayed?

The merger may not be delayed just on price, there are tax implications and the possibility the merged company will have SMP (significant market power). If it's deemed they do have SMP, then they can be regulated like BT and they'll have to open the network to 3rd parties, which brings on a completely new set of issues.

Intel rediscovers networking over powerlines - vnunet.com

Intel rediscovers networking over powerlines - vnunet.com

Intel are jumping on to as many networking technologies as they can. They've been hyping WiMAX like there's nothing else out there, but then they build chips and they build WiMAX chips.

They pulled out of Homeplug in 2000, but now have rejoined what's become the HomePlug and Powerline Alliance.

Though broadband speeds are increasing, the real jumps are going to be made in home networks both in wired and wireless technologies so people can distribute music and high-definition (HD) TV around their homes.

Though wireless is useful is doesn't penetrate thicks or metal walls. Most houses already have wires going everywhere, supplying electricity. The HPA is promoting technology and standards to utilise the existing electricity cabling to be a network within the home, as well as using the powerlines coming into the home for supplying the broadband itself.

It's only another chip off the block for Intel of course.

PlusNet's ADSL Auto-Disconnects

PlusNet's ADSL Auto-Disconnects

This is probably the first of a tranch of ISPs to implement idle time-outs. It's nothing to do with congestion really, but session limits on the IPStream service.

IPStream is the BT Wholesale service that many UK ISPs resell. When BT introduced capacity based charging the price to the ISP for the end user connection was fixed (about £8) and was no longer related to connection speed. The price of the backhaul increase by a magnitude from about £30,000pa to £300,000pa.

For larger ISPs that doesn't matter as the backhaul is shared between lots of users, so the cost becomes less significant. ISPs can over contend the service whereby they add more users sharing the same bandwidth. This is why ISPs tend to give away DSL modems rather than routers, so when the user shuts-down the PC the connection stops.

It's similar to the old modem days when ISPs knew people would disconnect after surfing because the call charges were prohibitive, so they could have more users than modems.

Unfortunately in the broadband world, connections don't have to close and people keep their PCs on all the time, and that's problematic for the ISP, not due to the contention as when the connection isn't being used as there's little or no traffic being generated, but because there are session limits i.e. the total number of users connecting to the ISP simulaneously.

It's all to do with L2TP (layer 2 tunneling protocol) which IPStream uses, and for a 255Mb/s pipe (backhaul) the session limit was about 12,000 i.e. 12,000 connected customers per pipe.
That's OK if all your customers are 2Mb/s (about 6000 sessions used), but at 512Kb/s the pipe should support upto 25,000 users.

Companies splash out millions on IP networks - LANs - Breaking Business and Technology News at silicon.com

Companies splash out millions on IP networks - LANs - Breaking Business and Technology News at silicon.com

3 large companies migrating to a converged IP network. They're spending a fair bit of money, but they are all multi-site companies. That's where VoIP can make real savings (no inter site telephony charges) and there's only a single infrastructure to manage.

VoIP doesn't make sense for a lot of companies, converging networks is expensive and just migrating away from BT to an alternative supplier using IDA (indirect access) or CPS (carrier preselect) can reduce bills significantly.

When migrating to VoIP and/or converged networks work out the economics out first and only if they stack-up consider the change. Changing just for technology sake is likely to be expensive and generate severe headaches.


Digit Online news - PSP 2.0 firmware update: Ten days late

Digit Online news - PSP 2.0 firmware update: Ten days late

Japanese users have had the 2.0 firmware for a while, it adds new features such as a decent web browser (so no more having to utilise Wipeout Pure's browser and skewed DNS entries), new video codecs such as H.264, unprotected AAC and WAV audio. They've also added new security features which are designed to stop people installing software they've written and upgraded the WiFi side to support WPA-PSK.

Some US users are downloading the Japanese firmware and installing that, though Sony advises against that.

Digit Online news - Adobe, Macromedia takeover approved

Digit Online news - Adobe, Macromedia takeover approved

Adobe has won shareholder approval to takeover Macromedia. Though not expected to complete until later this year, it's already had an effect with Macromedia not including Freehand in their latest Studio offer.

The combination of Adobe and Macromedia in the digital media space will create a strong company. Adobe is known for Illustrator and Photoshop (and though they have web packages they are not strong in that area) while Macromedia are known for Flash, Dreamweaver and to some extent Contribute.

It's likely the converged company will contain the best bits of Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash and Dreamweaver with complete integration between all the packages (like Adobe have done with their own software). This will create a pretty indispensible set of software.


BT reveals scale of business broadband failure - ZDNet UK News

BT reveals scale of business broadband failure - ZDNet UK News

It seems take-up of BT's SDSL service has been very low, with a high percentage of the 729 SDSL enabled exchanges having NO SDSL customers at all.

BT are cutting pricing for SDSL in November by 30%, but have stopped enabling new exchanges until the market picks up (they were meant to enable 800 in total) and will see how things progress by Jan 2006.

LLU operators are achieving better SDSL take-up, but their pricing is better suited to the market.

Ofcom Website | Background and context to the report on Ultra Wide Band interference on Broadband Fixed Wireless Access

Ofcom Website | Background and context to the report on Ultra Wide Band interference on Broadband Fixed Wireless Access

UWB or ultra wideband is a technology that spreads the signals across a wide range of frequncies. Signals are duplicated and error correction is used which makes the system very resistant to interference and allows very high data rates (hundreds of Mb/s if not higher).

Currently UWB is illegal in the UK and Ofcom has commissioned various independent bodies to carry out economic studies on the benefits and UWB.

Initial costings look very positive with great benefit to the UK economy, however there is a downside in that it might interfere with fixed wireless access (FWA) licenses therefore producing some negative costings to them, however these can be mitigated by ensuring the UWB systems would "listen" and not transmit on those frequencies where they "heard" other transmissions taking place.

In the US the FCC has already allowed the use of (low power) UWB and it looks like Ofcom would like to do the same, however they'd use an ETSI (European Telecoms Standards Institute) spectrum mask instead of the FCC one.

This would require a harmonised European approach and Ofcom have submitted their findings and analysis to various EU regulatory bodies and will submit their proposals for UWB in the next few months.

Google Talk

Google Talk

Google have launched an IM (instant messaging) service based nn the XMPP protocol (also known as Jabber) which is also used by Apple's iChat and others. Since Google have only made a Windows client it's possible to use other clients with the Google server (though voice chat is currently only available with the Google client).

Google talk also links in with Google Mail (GMail) and shows when new mail arrives etc. It will also use your GMail contacts.

Google are seriously starting to make dents into other markets that are not traditionally Google (or search) related, their recent release of Google Desktop (beta) 2 which now has Outlook etc integration allowing searching directly within a Microsoft program (though not using MS search technology).


ElectricNews.net:News:Google uses Sidebar to sideline rivals

ElectricNews.net:News:Google uses Sidebar to sideline rivals

Google is taking another hit at the PC desktop, it's sidebar product (which incorporated Google Desktop) will automatically pull content that it "thinks" the user is interested in (though these features can be turned off for the privacy concerned).

Though it's a definate dig at Yahoo and other search companies, it also poses at least an annoyance to Microsoft as it doesn't require a browser and offers direct access to applications (when a search requires opening a document etc).

Google are getting everywhere and their technology works. They'll be buying Microsoft soon.

T-Mobile promises 'true mobile broadband' for UK - vnunet.com

T-Mobile promises 'true mobile broadband' for UK - vnunet.com

T-Mobile is rolling out HSDPA in the UK (Germany and the Netherlands) which will offer 2Mb/s downstream connections (i.e. from the network to the handset). This is what 3G should have offered in the first place, though data usage on 3G has been disappointing so far.

"3" though supporting data, only support a walled garden approach with no connectivity outside their services and targetted squarely at consumers.

The traditional (GSM) operators have tried to attack the business markets for 3G data services, but as yet take-up is low and they're not achieving nearly as much data traffic as they'd like. This is partly because data rates have never really matched what was promised, but HSDPA may resolve this.

Pipex fires up UK WiMax trial - vnunet.com

Pipex fires up UK WiMax trial - vnunet.com

Pipex acquired a 3.5GHz national license through an acquisition it made a while back. So far it hasn't really done anything with the license as equipment has been expensive for both basestations and customer premises. However WiMAX changes that and prices are falling.

Whether Pipex actually utilise the spectrum themselves or, under the new spectrum trading regulations. sell it off is another matter, but making trial noises will increase its value.

It's rumoured that BT have already offered £5m for it, but Pipex said no and they've had to go back to the BT board to get some more.

However since wireless broadband isn't really Pipex's main business it's likely they'll want to sell it, but gaining as much value for themselves in doing so. Running a trial show's the spectrum has value.


Demon's Consumer Broadband all at 2M

Demon have dropped all consumer variants of broadband below 2Mb/s (and everyone who's on a service below 2M is being upgraded automatically). The pricing for the "Home" service is £19.99 inc VAT per month (no caps) and the "HomeOffice" (no caps, static IP and a few extra frills) £24.99 inc VAT per month.

When is BT going to offer 8Mb/s ADSL (MaxDSL)?

Microsoft makes a fortune out of Apple

Microsoft makes a fortune out of Apple

This isn;t really news at all. A while back Microsoft invested $250m in Apple to stop it going down the tubes. Why? Because

i) Microsoft didn't want to be the only OS for PC's (this is before Linux was but a techie toy) as they'd be hit with monopolistic problems.

ii) Mac software accounted for a considerable chunk of revenue and MS has the biggest Mac dev team outside of Apple.

There's somewhere in the region of 7m copies of Office for Mac out there, which is a LOT of dollars.

Techworld.com - Sun open sources digital rights technology

Techworld.com - Sun open sources digital rights technology

Sun open sourcing another technology (they've previously released Solaris as Open Solaris), well now there's the DReaM project.

DRM is extremely complicated and there are several competing standards (Apple uses one for iTunes, Microsoft another for Windows Media, Real another for their servers and music store) along with a multitude of others.

If Sun can get DReaM adopted by the Open Source movement, it might be an acceptable way forward (many people object to DRM as it limits what they can do with content they "own", however the media industry is never going to want to give their content away) and drive user support for DRM.

Vispa Internet Suffers DOS Attack

Vispa Internet Suffers DOS Attack

Stopping Denial of Service (DoS) or DDoS (Distributed DoS) attacks can be very difficult, especially for larger providers who have to check traffic at multiple entry points into their network and coordinate checks with other entry points to ensure that it really is a DoS attack, not just heavy traffic i.e. say there's a popular website (linked to a TV show) traffic may be negligable but when the show goes on air (or just after) traffic to the site increases by magnitudes. That can easily look like a DoS attack.

Once the DoS attack is detected, it can be even harder to stop as traffic will still be entering the network and even if it can be stopped at the edge (or upstream provider) the loading on the network boxes increases dramatically.

There are commercial systems out there which are designed specifically to monitor and sensibly block DoS attacks but they tend to be extremely expensive to implement. However many commercial sites who are prone to be the recipients are starting to demand DoS protection as part of their hosting services.

Cisco loosens grip on router market - vnunet.com

Cisco loosens grip on router market - vnunet.com

Cisco still dominates the core router market with a market share of around 78%, but Juniper have increased their share from 13% to 16%. It could be argued that Juniper make better equipment (in terms of technical features and performance), but they don't have the name Cisco which is their biggest problem (Juniper powered network just doesn't have the "clout" of Cisco powered network).

Cisco also have such a large footprint that they can leverage their installed base and channels for cross deals, so they can go to an infrastructure provider and get them to buy Cisco on the promise they pass infrastructure deals from Cisco customers to them. That makes a huge difference.

However when Huwai really hit the markets, both Cisco and Juniper will suffer.

BBC NEWS | Business | Google $4bn share sale hits stock

BBC NEWS | Business | Google $4bn share sale hits stock

Google's share price fell slightly after it announced it was releasing shares to raise another $4bn.

It's likely they'll use the money to acquire companies in the international markets, though China companies are expected to be high on their list.

Google's going to be bigger than Microsoft soon, and their technology will be embedded in everyting from mobile phones/PDAs to the PC desktop and the first port of call for any Internet activity.

Net4Now :: v21 launch Telephone Service

Net4Now :: News Story

The ISP v21 has launched a FreeTalk service allowing customers to call each other for free and free local and national calls (not stated, but liley to be calls to 01/02/03) as well as cheap international calls.

The revenues for voice are decreasing by the day (i.e. approaching zero), will this force BT to offer unmetered calls when they launch their 21CN?

ADSLguide: BT SDSL roll-out enters a hold phase

ADSLguide: News Archive

BT is going to halt the roll-out of SDSL in Sept 2005, which means 93 exchanges wont be SDSL enabled this year. They might start rolling out again in 2006.

The take-up of SDSL has been slower than expected (probably due to BT's high pricing) and other technologies can offer better value for money especially in London such as leased lines or even LAN externsion services (LES) and of course there's competition from other LLU players.

Maybe BT will rethink their pricing (and Ofcom allowing) drop it to levels where it's a no brainer to utilise SDSL instead of another technologies.

Digit Online news - Sony launches 'jellybean' iPod Shuffle rival

Digit Online news - Sony launches 'jellybean' iPod Shuffle rival

Sony's new jellybean walkman is designed to attack the Apple iPod shuffle, but it's got advantages in having a single line OLED (organic light emitting diode) and the option of an FM radio. The 1GB version with radio costs about £100 and will be launched in October.

Apple's iPod is being attacked from all sides, they must have something coming out to knock out the competition again, unfortunately they are extremely tight-lipped about future products and wont discuss future product plans.

Digit Online news - Microsoft demos RSS features in IE 7

Digit Online news - Microsoft demos RSS features in IE 7

Microsoft are catching up with Apple again. IE7 will feature an easy to use RSS subscription system (Apple's Safari browser already supports this). Unfortunately Apple only account for a small proportion of the market and IE's support of RSS will make it available to a much larger percentage of the population (IE accounts for over 80% of browsers in use today).

Maybe Apple's support of Intel will increase their market share, but it will take a while. MacOS X is a vast improvement over Windows XP, it will be interesting to see how Longhorn (now Vista compares) when it actually launches.

Digit Online news - Canon launches 12.8mp SLR camera

Digit Online news - Canon launches 12.8mp SLR camera

Canon's new 12.8mp EOS5D has a full frame sensor (i.e. the same as a 35mm film camera) which means no adjustment on standard lenses (normally digital SLR camera users have to multiply the focal length by 1.6 so wider angle lenses lose their wide angle properties).

It can shoot at frames per second and store 60 images in internal memory before having to save to the external memory. It also features a 0.2s start-up time.

It also uses standard Canon EF lenses including the new 204-105mm lens announced at the same time as the camera.

Though a professional camera, it has pre-defined point and shoot modes so also fits the prosumer market.

It's not cheap at £2,159 for the body alone, but 12.8mp is approaching film, and electronic sensors generally have a better sensitivity range (i.e. iso setting) which allows them to be used in a greater range of light settings.

Since it uses the same DIGIC-II processor as in other cameras, these resolutions are bound to filter down to consumer variants very soon.


ISP�s Call For Greater LLU Focus

ISP�s Call For Greater LLU Focus

AOL doesn't want BT to lose focus on LLU (local loop unbundling) especially as Alison Ritchie has left BT (who headed up their broadband division).

All though BT have frozen ADSL pricing until 1.5m lines are unbundled, they are bound to be focussing on their 21CN efforts which could potentially scupper LLU efforts anyway as it's being rolled out to every exchange in the country and why use a competitor when BT's offering will be everywhere and they'll bundle all sorts of offerings with the basic line rental.


San Francisco to get blanket Wi-Fi coverage? - Broadband & ISPs - Breaking Business and Technology News at silicon.com

San Francisco to get blanket Wi-Fi coverage? - Broadband & ISPs - Breaking Business and Technology News at silicon.com

It all sounds nice, blanket coverage of a city using WiFi, but it's not really been done before and WiFi was never designed for it. The 802.11 standards are really based on Ethernet (which is a wired protocol) and Ethernet relies on every station that's connected to a LAN (local area network) being able to "hear" the traffic on the LAN and detect whether collisions have occurred. In WiFi terms it's Ethernet mapped on to radio where as Ethernet uses CSMA/CD (carrier sense mulitple access/collision detect), 802.11 uses CSMA/CA (carrier sense mulitple access/collision avoidance). CSMA/CA requires that every node on the network is able to "see/hear" every other node.

This leads to hidden node problems which can cause network meltdowns and the bigger your WiFi network, the more chance you have of hidden nodes.

There's also the problem of mobile users who can act as hidden nodes and can moves between access points - requiring some kind of roaming protocol which 802.11 does not as yet support (though there are planned enhancements and proprietry solutions).

So though it's a good idea, the practicalities make it very complicated.

Digit Online news - LaCie unveils 2TB hard drives

Digit Online news - LaCie unveils 2TB hard drives

The units support Firewire 400 and 800 and USB 2.0. Each drive can operate at 88Mb/s with a combined speed of up to 800Mb/s per bus. The units support between 160GB to 2TB and cost between US$179 to US$2299. So for 2TB that's about £1400 which works out about £0.7 per GB.

The price of storage is dropping rapidly putting multi-terrabyte arrays into consumer land i.e. into the home.

Digit Online news - Apple update breaks 64-bit apps

Digit Online news - Apple update breaks 64-bit apps

Bit of a mistake there for Apple, though it has released a 2nd version of the update that now does work with 64bit apps and users should update (using system update).

Bloomberg.com: U.K. Energis prefer C&W to THUS

Bloomberg.com: U.K.

It seems THUS really did have a need for an M&A department. THUS bid £600m in cash and £200m in THUS shares. C&W's bid was undisclosed but they have cash in the bank.

If THUS had bought Energis, they'd have to have loaned the money, so paying off Energis loans with THUS loans, though the combined company would have been a potentially big threat to C&W. Now that Energis are going with C&W they'll get swallowed up.


Deadline set for C&W's Energis take-over | The Register

Deadline set for C&W's Energis take-over | The Register

C&W has put in an offer to buy Energis with a catch, it's only valid until Monday.

If they get 75% of shareholder agreement, then it's a done deal otherwise it dies. Two banks aren't happy and could kill it, but since Energis are losing most of the Wanadoo revenue, it may be a pre-fire sale.


Digital speed cameras could be illegal

Digital speed cameras could be illegal

A court in Sidney heard that the Roads and Traffic Authority could not prove the authenticity of the pictures. Though they are signed using a digital signature, it's based on an MD5 hash, which has known flaws.

In the UK deplayments of speed cameras has been suspended since July. Full reasons haven't been given, but there is speculation that since they're meant to reduce accidents not just generate revenue and people tend to break to below the speed limit that in a lot of instances accidents actually increase.

Google beats Microsoft�s top geeks

Google beats Microsoft�s top geeks

Google beating Microsoft, a vision into the future when Google's empire is bigger than MS's. Though MS are into many things, they main thrust is in the desktop and applications. Google works with MS and any other OS and is user agnostic, they just track what the user is doing.

Google is going to permeate into everything with their search technology getting into handlhelds, with location based services linked into Google maps etc.

MS beware.

Rockstar throws cold water on 'Hot Coffee' | Tech News on ZDNet

Rockstar throws cold water on 'Hot Coffee' | Tech News on ZDNet

The PC version of Grand Theft Auto (GTA) seems to have had scenes of an adult nature hidden in it by Rockstar Games programmers (they aren't meant to be in console versions). There's a "Hot Coffee" patch on the Internet which makes them available to players.

Now Rockstar have released a patch which removes or at least blocks the content, even if the hot coffee patch is applied.

GTA has been hit badly by the original news as it's rating was changed from mature to adult and several retailers took it off shelves.

Other companies are now likely to be delving into their code to ensure no inappropriate content has been inadvertently left in.

Net4Now :: ISP pays customers to stay

Net4Now :: News Story

Seriously Internet has introduced a scheme where customers get paid for staying with them, but only if they stay for 36 months and only £20. With the decreasing price of broadband that really isn't much of an incentive.

There's also the penalty of moving which is £60 if the customer moves in month 0 - 6, £40 in months 6 - 12, £20 months 12 - 18 and nothing if they move in months 18 - 24.

More of a gimmick to get their name in the press and poeple writing about it, seems to work :)

Digit Online news - Sony sues firm over UK PSP sales

Digit Online news - Sony sues firm over UK PSP sales

Sony (Computer Entertainment International or SCEI) has been going for importers of PSPs, Nuplayer in the UK recently lost a high court battle to sell imported PSPs. Now Sony is going after a Hong Kong firm (who run the Lik-Sang.com site) who sell PSPs to the UK and rest of Europe. Though they are fighting the case and will continue to sell PSPs in the meantime, Sony has won the cases so far.

Japanese PSPs use a Sharp manufactured display which is brighter and sharper (sic) than the Samsung one that is used by US PSPs and will be on the UK versions. Japanese PSPs are also Region 2 (as in DVD region encoding) which is the same as the UK so Japanese games and videos on UMDs should always work in UK models (and vice versa) if Sony do implement region coding.


Macworld: News: Microsoft Messenger 5.0 for Mac released

Macworld: News: Microsoft Messenger 5.0 for Mac released

MSN Messenger for Mac always seems to be lagging behind MSN for Windows suprising given Office for Mac is generally now a step ahead of Office for Windows. Though mainly geared at enterprise users with support for Live Communications Server 2005 there are improvements for consumers too.

M$ shunned by British ISPs | The Register

M$ shunned by British ISPs | The Register

Microsoft are a content provide, though their content is software. A lot of people access Microsoft's sites. Joining LINX doesn't mean anybody actually transferring any packets with MS as LINX is completely neutral and generally allows anyone to join (as in connect to a LINX comms port). Anybody connecting to LINX becomes a LINX member.

Once the connection is in place, it's up to MS and others to agree to peering which is where they agree to allow traffic between their networks.

If LINX members don't let Microsoft join purely for political reasons it will actually be a sad day as they are then excerting some form of "censorship" which goes against what a neutral peering point should be.

PlusNet Warns Heavy ADSL Users

PlusNet Warns Heavy ADSL Users

Though companies are offering 2Mb/s ADSL services and several with no usage caps, they really hope customers wont actually utilise the service to its full capacity. Margins are very low with ADSL and transit costs (i.e. costs to get off the ISP network) can escalate hugely if there are lots of high usage customers.

PlusNet are telling their customers they'll monitor their bandwidth for the next month (or more) and if usage goes above 50GB/month (avergaged upstream and downstream) then they'll be capped by contending them (which probably means moving all high usage customers to a different bit of the network). The other alternative is to leave the service (and PlusNet wont require the contract term to be completed) which is probably their preferrable option as it just moves the problem to another ISP.

Wiretaps For VoIP

Wiretaps For VoIP:

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expanding the reach of U.S. wiretapping laws to wireline broadband providers and Internet telephone companies.

In an order issued Friday, the FCC gave the providers 18 months to comply with the network wiretap accessibility rules of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA).

This could be a big problem as wiretapping VoIP can be hard if the calls stay VoIP all the way through the network. As soon as they hit the normal telephone network (i.e. PSTN) it's covered by standard wiretap protocols.

How this is going to affect players like Skype who operate in the US is as yet unknown.

Since the FCC have gone this route, it's likely Ofcom will follow suite and the UK will adopt a similar regime.

Macromedia drops FreeHand from bundle | CNET News.com

Macromedia drops FreeHand from bundle | CNET News.com

MAcromedia has dropped Freehand from their Studio 8 bundle, not really a suprise since Adobe acquired them and their Illustrator product is generally the preferred product anyway.

What will be next to go Fireworks replaced by Photoshop? When Adobe really get everything under their wing it'll probably be Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Dreamweaver and maybe Contribute, the latter two being the only 2 Macromedia products that have major intrindic value and are better than their Adobe counterparts.


NTL to offer 10Mbps broadband as standard - Network IT Week

NTL to offer 10Mbps broadband as standard - Network IT Week

Though pricing hasn't been announced, what this actually means is a move from bandwidth based pricing to usage based pricing. Everyone gets 10Mb/s (eventually). Current 3Mb/s users will be first to be migtrated and will have an allowance of 75GB per month (up from 30GB).

Usage based billing makes sense for low users, but can rapidly escalate out of control for customers who move a lot of data around (espeicially in the p2p world), it also makes sense for NTL as bandwidth really isn't the issue but how much transit they have to purchase from elsewhere, which will also be usage based.

OneTel cuts off BT broadband - Network IT Week

OneTel cuts off BT broadband - Network IT Week

The article implies OneTel is transferring all its broadband customers on to Easynet's LLU offering. Unfortunately this is wishfull thinking as Easynet only cover about 2 - 300 exchanges (while BT cover several thousand). So OneTel will be migrating those customers that happen to be on an Easynet unbundled exchange.

It wont be plain sailing either as mass migrations are currently problematic as there are still major process issues with BT's systems.

Easynet are trying to make a big push into the wholesale broadband market, but there are still major hurdles to overcome. OneTel must be feeling quite brave to have been one of their first customers to take the plunge.

Easynet are currently offering speeds up to 8Mb/s, however their kit is (vendor financed by Marconi) is relatively featureless compared to other vendors and this may bite them in the future if service providers wish to offer triple-play solutions utilising Easynet's infrastructure.

Though Easynet may be looking at ADSL2+ support speeds of up to 24Mb/s, it's not quite legal yet as the Access Network Frequency Plan (ANFP) needs to be modified to support it.

Technology News: Business : News Corp. Reportedly Had Takeover Talks With Skype

Technology News: Business : News Corp. Reportedly Had Takeover Talks With Skype

Would Skype make a good acquistion for News Corp? What wouldn't make a good acquisition for News Corp is more to the point. News Corp want consumers, they're moving into the Internet space rapidly and have ploughed money into various net ventures. It's estimated that they were going to spend $3bn. Skype has little revenue (though customers are purchasing add-ons such as SkypeIn/Out and Voicemail), but it's the 47m users that must attract News Corp.

Though talks have broken down, it's likely Skype will find a buyer.

FT.com / By industry / Telecoms - Marconi lifted by news of takeover talks

FT.com / By industry / Telecoms - Marconi lifted by news of takeover talks

Marconi are in trouble which is well known and it's inevitable that they're looking for a buyer.

Though Huawei claim it's speculation, they would make a good fit with Marconi. They already sell each other's products and Marconi have a large maintenance group which Huawei could utilise to support their 21CN activities and other markets when they decide to aggressively attack them.


Zen Vision From Creative Squares Up To Apple's iPod - Digital-Lifestyles.info

Zen Vision From Creative Squares Up To Apple's iPod - Digital-Lifestyles.info

Zen have launched another attack on the iPod, though maybe due to its size it's really an attack on the PSP which has the same media functionality (though no hard disk).

Creative seem to have got it right in terms of looks and even price though it's size might let it down.

We'll just have to wait and see what Apple have up their sleeves and what device they come out with (vPod?) which knocks the spots of the competition for a while.

Ofcom cracks down on phone bandits - vnunet.com

Ofcom cracks down on phone bandits - vnunet.com

Until recently it was easy for anyone to go to a telecoms provider, buy a PRS (premium rate service) i.e. 09 number and then run a service whereby they could generate very large revenues very quickly (it's possible to earn £5 per minute, or have drop charges whereby they get a sum just for calling the number even if you hang up immediately). Many telecoms providers weren't too fussy and would just pay the service a cut of the revenue and they could just take the money and run and find another telco to run the service again (generally under a different name).

Now telcos have to hold payment for 30 days giving Ofcom and ICSTIS (the PRS industry body) the chance to investigate scams and irregular services while they're going on with a much greater chance of catching the culprits. If they cant get paid, it's not worth them trying to scam people.

AOL snaps up storage firm | The Register

AOL snaps up storage firm | The Register

Yahoo bought Flickr, now AOL buy Xdrive. The remote storage business seems to be the industry to be in.

With everything going digital (music, cameras etc) people want to be able to store and share their content and remote storage is a good way to do it. Google started the trend (though for Email) with their Google mail service allowing 1GB per customer.

Xdrive has been going for quite a while as a remote storage solution will it now change with AOL's influence to be more like the other services.

Apple of course have been doing this all along with their .Mac service, though catering for Mac users there is an XP set of drivers for it, unfortunately it's not free. It's probably one of the more integrated storage systems out there (for Mac users) and works with their iLife products supporting photo uploads, remote syncing, file storage, web space, Email etc.