Taking a bite out of Bluetooth

Between PDAs, cell phones and other mobile devices, pockets, purses and briefcases are getting heavier. Adding to the mobile craze: IXI Mobile Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif. last month demonstrated its IXI Solution at DEMO 2002. AT the heart of the offering is the company’s Personal Mobile Gateway (PMG), a device that the company refers to as a “micro router and server.” The device acts as a single cellular connection for various Bluetooth-enabled devices. The offering is small enough to fit into a pocket, enabling users to carry it with them wherever they go. The company hopes that the device will help with the push towards the use of Bluetooth by helping to create an easy-to-use, wireless environment. The PMG comes equipped with an end-to-end software solution for manufacturers and wireless service operators, which includes remote management of the device.

Getting the message out

In an attempt to reach out to young voters, one French presidential candidate last month made an effort to not only be concise, but also hip to the wireless craze, according to an article from Reuters. Sixty-one year old Jean-Pierre Chevenement found himself innondated with thousands of text-message questions written in the shortened language that has become the norm for text-messaging users. The politician decided to send out replies, and even condensed his policies to 160 characters for mobile phone users in text messages. Chevenement reportedly did not type the messages himself, but instead dictated his replies to an assistant, who in turn typed out the answers. In his messages, Chevenement addressed problems facing youths such as student wages, drugs and safety at school. The former interior minister’s campaign will roll along until the election in April.

Customers all equal: Web registrar

A German Web registrar has made is clear that it does not discriminate against its customers based on size or status. The German Web site registration office Denic said the German Web site of U.S.-based CNN was taken offline for two days because the site’s operators failed to pay a fee of 58 euros -approximately $80.90. The domain’s owner, Turner Broadcasting, was warned about paying the annual fee. When it failed to do so, the site was taken offline. According to a story from the Reuters News Agency, a spokesperson for Denic noted that the company does not make distinctions between “CNN and Joe Blow,” and treats all customers the same.

Privacy breach hits organ donors

While conducting a survey in January, the University of Minnesota accidentally identified more than 400 organ donors to the recipients who had received their kidneys. A researcher was apparently using the University’s database to conduct a survey of recipients, but when the database grew too large, the researcher asked for help from the IT staff. The fix was a change in the software, which actually altered the information to show data that was supposed to be suppressed. The donor’s names have since been removed from the database to prevent any other breaches of this nature from occurring. The incident at the University of Minnesota is one of various recent examples where private information has been revealed. In another privacy of information case, there was recently a breach at Eli Lily and Co., which sent an e-mail out to more than 600 Prozac users. The e-mails included the name and e-mail address of every recipient within the message.

Aussies get serious about spam

The federal government in Australia last month announced that it would be cracking down on unsolicited bulk e-mail, as its National Office for the Information Economy prepares to conduct an investigation into the effectiveness if measures to counter it. According to a press release issued by the country’s minister for communications, information technology and the arts, as well as deputy leader of the government in senate, Richard Alston, the volume of such e-mails is on the rise. The Coalition Against Unsolicited Bulk Email estimates that Australian Internet users received six times more spam in 2001 than in 2000, according to the release.

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