News Briefs

Broadband DSL notches another 25 million

Broadband digital subscriber line (DSL) has attracted an additional 25 million subscribers globally in the past 12 months, reaching 55 million at the end of September 2003, according to the latest global numbers prepared for the international DSL Forum by Point Topic of Fremont, Calif. The telecommunications analyst firm notes that growth to date of this high-speed method to move data over a phone line has exceeded projections by three million subscribers. The December announcement revealed that by the year’s end, more than 62 million homes and businesses around the world are expected to select DSL rather than other broadband technologies, extending DSL’s global lead over cable modems. Japan continues to lead the world with 9.2 million, followed by the USA at 8.2 million, China at 7.8 million, then South Korea, Germany, France, Taiwan and Canada eighth at two million. Australia, European and Latin American countries showed strong growth, but China led subscriber growth in 2003. China’s subscribers increased at a rate of 354 per cent. Point Topic expects China to overtake Japan as the country with the most DSL subscribers. The DSL Forum’s target is 200 million customers – 20 per cent of all phone lines – by the end of 2005.

Securing laptops and their data

The pilfering of notebooks and tablet PCs increases as these devices proliferate, much to the tremendous inconvenience to the user and potential disaster to a company whose confidential business data is exposed. Caveo Technology of Newton, Mass., claims to have the first and only security product that provides both theft deterrence and data protection for laptop computers. According to Caveo, when its Anti-Theft PC Card is inserted into a PCMCIA slot of a notebook computer or tablet PC, built-in motion-sensing sounds an alert when movement is detected. As motion continues, the alert transitions to warnings and then an alarm. Caveo Anti-Theft shuts down the computer and prevents access to the operating system and to confidential data stored on the computer, even if the PC Card is removed without authorization. Since the system has its own rechargeable battery and is independent of the computer operating system, it protects the computer whether on or off. The system can be armed and disarmed from the keyboard when the computer is on, or by Caveo’s patented Motion Password, a sequence of motions selected by the user, while the laptop is off. The product retails online for US$99.

Atomica offers easy access to reference resources

With this issue’s theme of communication tools, it seems appropriate to update an item run this time last year in IT Focus that streamlines individual or business research for the sake of having information at one’s fingertips. Atomica Corporation earlier in 2003 extended the functionality and again renamed its fact-finder product formerly called Atomica Personal, then called Slingshot and now marketed as GuruNet. Described as an award-winning one-click fact-finder, the latest version of the reference library offers automatic translation of its concise answers from English into 11 international languages, powered by modular translation software from SYSTRAN. GuruNet gives single click access from any word or phrase on the screen to encyclopedias and dictionaries, thesaurus, acronyms, biographies, technical terms, quotations, company descriptions, stock quotes, news, sports, weather, maps and more. Working within any Windows application, GuruNet’s patented technology displays an unobtrusive pop-up window, without interrupting a user’s work. Robert Rosenschein, Atomica’s CEO, says GuruNet displays pre-compiled organized reference data from over 60 content sources and delivers facts on demand in a quick, concise, authoritative, readable summary.