Lost Packets

Japanese cell phone users can throw away their padlocks thanks to new fingerprint ID technology from NTT DoCoMo Inc. and Fujitsu Ltd. DoCoMo last month announced it has begun marketing the F505i – one of three new models of mobile phones, which feature megapixel-class image sensors and embedded cameras. With the F505i, users don’t have to rely on passwords or codes to gain access to handsets or stored data. Instead, all it takes is a fingerprint on the scanner located at the bottom of the phone to ‘unlock’ the device. While DoCoMo’s F505i is based on the Japanese personal digital communications (PDC) format and will not work in other countries, the company said it is considering introducing the fingerprint authentication feature in other markets around the world, but said it is awaiting feedback from the Japanese market before venturing out. Details can be found at www.nttdocomo.com.

HP iPAQ goes where no one has gone before

Hewlett-Packard Co. is sending its iPAQ h5550 to the moon next year. While this is not a new form of waste management, the company announced it has struck a deal with TransOrbital Inc., to send some of the devices onboard the TrailBlazer spacecraft to photograph and explore the moon. The iPAQs will be used to facilitate communication within the satellite, HP explained, and is expected to integrate with the TrailBlazer systems to allow TransOrbital to synchronize and share data from space. HP predicts the devices will also eventually be used to facilitate communication with cameras tethered to the spacecraft, which enable video streaming capabilities to Earth, and will also be used to enable e-mail communication with the TrailBlazer spacecraft while it orbits the moon and while on the moon’s surface.

Hot water for two Xerox execs

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last month settled a lawsuit against two former Xerox Corp. executives, banning them from practising as accountants after their alleged roles in accounting fraud at Xerox. According to the SEC, former CFO Barry Romeril and former Director of Accounting Policy Gregory Taylor agreed to pay approximately US$5.5 million in fines to settle the civil case, without admitting any wrongdoing. In its claim, the SEC said the two misled investors about Xerox’s earnings to inflate stock prices, and as a result, the two benefited from higher compensation and higher prices for personal stock sales. Last year, Xerox paid US$10 million in a civil case relating to the same incidents, the highest settlement ever paid at the time, according to the SEC.