PC333 memory production to begin soon

Memory chip makers are expected to begin mass production of PC333 DDR SDRAM in September, said Alex Wu, director of integrated products at Silicon Integrated System Corp. at the CeBIT Asia exhibition.

The announcement that PC333 will soon enter volume production comes as SIS readies the launch of its 645 DDR chip set for Intel’s Pentium 4 processor. The 645 is expected to be the first DDR chip set which will support PC333 memory for the Pentium 4. Rival chip-set maker Via Technologies Inc. also plans to launch a DDR chip set soon for the Pentium 4, the Apollo P4X266, but its chip set does not support currently support PC333. Intel has plans to introduce a version of its 845 chip set that supports DDR in early 2002.

Code Red hits DSL routers, cable-modem networks

The Code Red worm in all its variants continues its destructive spread, not only worming its way into hundreds of thousands of Microsoft Corp. Web servers, but also having a newly noticed impact on a broad range of Cisco Systems Inc. equipment, including DSL routers within the Qwest Communications International Inc. network.

In addition, cable Internet providers, including Time Warner Cable Inc., AT&T Broadband Inc., Cox Communications Inc. and Excite@Home Inc., have experienced network slowdowns as the new, rewritten version of Code Red discovered last weekend continues to spread. Dubbed Code Red II, the new computer worm, which includes a dangerous backdoor Trojan, has bogged down their networks by infecting Internet-connected machines where the Microsoft Web server is running.

Supercomputer to use 3,300 Itanium processors

Intel Corp. said recently that its Itanium family of processors will be used to build a distributed scientific computing system it claims will be the largest of its kind. The supercomputing system, called “TeraGrid,” is part of a US$53 million award by the American National Science Foundation to four facilities to do scientific research.

Creating a Distributed Terascale Facility, Intel says TeraGrid will link computers powered by more than 3,300 Intel Itanium processors. It will be capable of more than 13.6 trillion calculations per second, or 13.6 teraflops, and have the ability to store, access and share more than 450 trillion bytes of information.

Australia claims first for online newspaper

Australian publisher News Ltd. recently launched a digital version of its flagship The Australian newspaper, claiming it is the first major newspaper that can be delivered to customers over the Internet in identical form to the printed version.

The newspaper will use proprietary software called NewsStand Reader to enable subscribers to view and print an exact colour facsimile of the print publication, the company said in a statement. Subscribers need to download the NewsStand Reader software to access the material. NewsStand Reader, developed by NewsStand Inc., has also been chosen by the International Herald Tribune and New York Times for their forthcoming digital editions. The digital version will cost US$2 per day, according to the statement.

Adobe, Xerox tiff slows Internet fax standard

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has slammed the brakes on its plans to develop a common way of sending faxes over the Internet, due to last-minute licensing problems between rivals Adobe Systems Inc. and Xerox Corp.

After five years of development, the IETF’s Internet Fax working group was ready to publish a series of documents as draft standards. But the documents, which rely heavily on technology from Adobe and Xerox, were put on hold recently pending a review of intellectual property claims. At issue is the working group’s plan to use Adobe’s TIFF format to represent the content and structure of fax communications sent as e-mail messages over the ‘net. However, TIFF supports only black and white documents. The IETF working group extended TIFF to support colour documents using encoding technology called Mixed Raster Content (MRC) from Xerox. However, Adobe now claims that the IETF has overstepped its bounds in using its TIFF technology. Adobe refuses to support the new protocol (TIFF-FX) unless Xerox releases rights for its MRC technology to Adobe.

ATMs will get smarter

New software from NCR Corp. unit NCR Australia will allow more advanced banking applications on automatic teller machines, including potential Web-enablement, so customers can use their internet banking facility through the ATM screen.

Most ATMs still run the OS/2 system. NCR has come up with a solution called eRIC, an applications suite based on NCR’s Aptra architecture, which allows the ATM to run under NT, letting banks exploit the considerable processing power now in the machine. Messages are converted to OS/2 format so the central network host still “thinks” it’s talking to an OS/2 terminal.

Look into my eyes

Iris recognition software is a far surer method of security than PIN numbers and other password-protected systems, according to research conducted by Cambridge University. Researchers at the university’s computer department compared over 2,000 iris images and concluded the chances of two eyes being identical are 10 million to one.

Headed by one of the university’s head researchers, John Daugman, the report team found that patterns in biometric systems are more distinctive than those found in fingerprints and are far more difficult to fake. Daugman claims not one single false identification was recorded across all the scans.

Competition opens up Japan’s ADSL market

The number of ADSL subscribers in Japan skyrocketed to over 400,000 at the end of Julyit was announced recently. The figure is 10 times higher than the total number of subscribers five months ago.

The sudden growth in the ADSL service market in Japan started in June when Yahoo Japan Corp. declared a price war by announcing the launch of its ADSL service at 2,280 yen (US$18.70) per month. Until then, the average monthly fee for household ADSL service in Japan was over 5,000 yen, a price level maintained by dominant telecommunication carrier, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. Seven other companies have followed with announcements of discounts in recent weeks.