IBM, Citizen team up for wearable computer

IBM Corp. is working with watchmaker Citizen Watch Co. Ltd. on new prototypes of IBM’s wearable computer, the companies announced. The WatchPad 1.5, a wristwatch-sized device weighing 43 grams, runs Linux on a 32-bit ARM processor at a maximum speed of 74MHz. It has 8MB of DRAM and 16MB of flash memory, a speaker and a microphone.

It has a reflective monochrome LCD QVGA screen, a fingerprint recognition device for security, and an acceleration sensor that detects the user’s hand movements. It also has IrDA, RS232C and Bluetooth network interfaces. The wristwatch computer works not only as a PDA (personal digital assistant) but as a controller for PCs, using Bluetooth.

Microsoft abandons MCSE decertification policy

Microsoft Corp. has announced that it will not decertify MCSEs (Microsoft-certified systems engineers) for Windows NT 4.0 or below who do not upgrade to Windows 2000 by Dec. 31, as was announced over a year ago. Announcing its decision, the company cited an inability to “accurately predict the appropriate timing” for retiring certification credentials on older versions of its products.

“We’ve spent the past six months doing channel and customer research, and it’s become pretty clear that there is a set of customers who are well-served to have their MCSE on Windows NT 4.0. We want to continue to recognize that skill set as valuable,” said Robert Stewart, general manager of training certification for Microsoft.

VeriSign in smart card security deal

VeriSign Inc. and smart card software maker ActivCard Inc. have announced a partnership to develop a secure log-on system for computer networks.

As part of the agreement, VeriSign will develop smart cards using ActivCard’s software that will hold encrypted digital certificates and passwords so that users can log into a network with the card and password, according to a spokesperson from ActivCard’s European headquarters. ActivCard, which bases its software on Sun Microsystems’ JavaCard operating system, will give VeriSign the ability to take advantage of public key-based authentication systems, the spokesperson said.