A technology blog for The Economist Group IT team

Monday, November 28, 2005

Forget Blu-ray and HD-DVD lets talk Holographic:

The first holographic storage systems, capable of storing up to 300 GB on a single disc, will reportedly go on sale towards the end of 2006.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Zen and the art of presentation 

Garr Reynolds highlights the different presentation style of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Even if you can't ever see yourself presenting anything to an audience, you should read this. It brilliantly highlights the problem with Powerpoint, or rather, the problem with the way that most people use the tool.

Remember, if you're presenting, you want your audience to listen to you, not to read what's behind you on a screen nor to be distracted by whacky effects.
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Second hand MS licenses for sale legally in UK 

ZDnet report that Discount-licensing.com have a successful business model in selling second hand volume licenses by exploiting the ability to transfer a perpetual software licence from a downsizing company to an active one. This is legal as long the terms and conditions of the relevant software vendor (in this case Microsoft) are adhered to.
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Monday, November 14, 2005


By way of the Context-Driven Software Testing list, here's one of those rather sobering top-ten's of "History's worst software bugs". I hadn't actually heard the story about the moth before, though...
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Mobile TV

Without much in the way of fanfare or at least that I saw, Vodafone (vod) launched a Sky Mobile service a couple of weeks ago. I finally got around to having a little play with it at the weekend. There are quite a few channels, quality wise its good. Or at least it is at my flat, not quite the same in the office. It seems to take a few seconds for the phone to catch up to the colours when it streams. It’s free on Vodafone’s 3g until Feb 2006. Any employees in our London office who want a demo drop by my desk…

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Sunday, November 13, 2005

Hyper Broadband Insanity Spreading Across UK

The amount of data ISP's are able to squeeze down decades old copper wire keeps increasing dramatically.

Earlier this year the new ISP 'Be' debuted a 24Mbps ADSL+ service in the London area only. Following the recent news (reported right here on EcobologIT) that Sky had purchased ISP Easynet, its subsidiary UKOnline has now announced 22mbps ADSL nationwide. There are of course limitations depending on how far you happen to live from the central office and the additional cost of a new modem that can support the increased data transmission. I also have a feeling the upstream speeds will remain constant at 256Kb for all of eternity.

Zen, Wanadoo and even BT are preparing to increase their ADSL speeds to 8Mbps, whilst on the cable side NTL have announced a 10Mbps data service upgrade for all of their customers by the end of 2005.

Not fast enough you say? Telewest (which I believe has merged with NTL and are now known collectively by the brilliant name UK Cable) is hoping to launch a service based on DOCSIS 3 (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specifications) middleware which will allow download speeds between 50Mbps and 100Mbps by the end of 2006. As my grandmother would have said, 'Stop this meshugass already!'
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Thursday, November 10, 2005

What Ozzie thinks of Microsoft's web strategy

The leaked memo is neatly summed up on ZDnet.
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Monday, November 07, 2005

Verity bought for £300m

Autonomy, the British based search company, bought out Verity (maker of the search software underpinning economist.com & CFO.com search systems). The buyout is subject to shareholder and regulatory appoval...
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Friday, November 04, 2005

Oracle have a free database out now - albeit in beta at the moment...

It limits you to 4Gb of Data and 1Gb of Ram usage, and one CPU. It's a small footprint DB 150Mb installed. Looks like they're aiming at getting people running it, then upgrading to full blown Oracle on which it is based...

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Thursday, November 03, 2005


Microsoft's announcement the other day included a preview of Kahuna - the codename for the AJAXed version of Hotmail. Microsoft are a bit late to the AJAX game with Google claiming to have popularised the technique with Gmail (Google Mail in the UK!) and Yahoo! having already delivered an AJAXed version of Yahoo! web mail. The live.com portal page looks like a beta of the alpha start.com page and it's still not clear exactly what will be live - Outlook 2003 is one product, certainly, but what else is not apparant.
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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Mother of All IM Attacks Inevitable
That's right, the instant messaging you've come to rely on is very, very fragile—and ripe for the sort of debilitating attack that could destroy your entire system. That's the conclusion of researchers studying malware on the Web. The story details the vulnerabilities and threats. If you use instant messaging, you must read it, and prepare yourself for the worst.
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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Office speculation

Specualtion is mounting that an announcement from Bill Gates and Ray Ozzie today will be about a hosted form of Office. Google and Sun recently skirted around the issue of OpenOffice on the web, but now it seems that Google are hiring programmers to further develop OpenOffice....

The big plus for Microsoft in having bits of Office online is that it could help counter piracy. It's not clear whether this will be the case, though, or whether you'll just be able to store files using a Microsoft service online.

It doesn't seem like it would be in Microsoft's interest to move people away from an overbloated desktop, but having web-based word processing and spreadsheets would certainly make it far easier for novices. If all you need is a browser, you don't need to know how to use XP or keep it virus-free etc. etc - Microsoft could run a cleaning service at their end.

We'll know tomorrow.
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