Google Earth outs Swedish spies?! DRM again?!! Must be the morning roundup...

Good morning readers, and welcome to another Monday. Yeah, I wanna go back to bed as well. Best get on with the show before my desk begins to look soft.

First up this morning, IBM is doing much for our security, apparently. They’re taking the whole idea of hardware security to a relatively new level by hard wiring the encryption onto the processor. This keeps everything nice and contained, you see. IBM says that the Secure Blue system only takes up a few percentage points of silicone and the encryption and decryption of data doesn’t cause any overhead. The uses for such a chip are obvious at first, such as protecting sensitive government or personal data. However it can also be used for purposes such as DRM, which I’m sure will attract a barrel of merry laughing from the masses. Once more unto the DRM quagmire

Another new security feature on the horizon that’s not looking likely to have anything to do with DRM (though it’s made by Microsoft, so watch out) will help protect us from typo squatting nefarious ad servers. Ever misspell a URL ? One digit off and there’s a good chance that if it’s a popular website, someone else has an ad-serving website at the end of the line. This is problematic at best, damn near cringe worthy when it happens to children’s websites, and instead of Barney (or whatever the kids are at these days) they get bare naked breasts. Microsoft’s new tool aims to spot these sites and prevent us from falling on the sword. All I want to know is why would someone grab a typo-children’s website and then serve porn ads to it ?

The BTX form factor chassis (funny type of case to the lay-man) seems to be dying a death. While once Intel trumpeted it as the best thing from sliced bread, expecting to need the better cooling characteristics for their planned 5GHz and beyond Pentium 4’s, now it is only producing 6 out of 19 of its own motherboard designs in BTX. The switch in emphasis away from the Hot ’n Hungry GHz race and the opposition from Taiwanese motherboard manufacturers seem to have done to job in bringing the BTX adventure to an end. Now when would one of Intel’s hobby horses ever die a death...

Google Talk is being upgraded from the minimalist, stripped down IM client that it started out with to something a little more in-line with what all the teenagers are using. The latest release allows users customisable themes for their windows and a 32x32 image. The Google Talk client has not taken off to become as ubiquitous as some of its peers, but Google would do well to continue to develop the platform as it will allow the company to jump off into the likes of VoIP at a later date. Says the man with more IM clients than fingers

YouTube seems to be yet another "Stick your own crap up for the world to see" sites, in the vein of MySpace and so on, which is riding high on the teenage user wave. Everything from video bloggers to virally marketed ads (and sometimes both, if you remember the Logitech camera in "Breakup") get shown, and it’s drumming up well over 100 million more page impressions per month than even Google Video. Wired has one of their usually informative spots on the company, looking at how it came about and where it’s going in the future, from keeping itself to being more than just a fad to treading on sensitive copyright toes. Just thank your lucky stars that I don’t video blog this thing

The gulag ain’t what it used to be, at least in China anyways. These days in the boom of the new Chinese economy prisoners can alleviate their sentences not by the virtues of good behaviour (or at least, good socialism) but by inventing new things. For example the car thief who invented a security system for them. Apparently more than 132 prison inventions have won prizes at science and technology competitions, and everyone from architects to the afore mentioned car thieves, who are in prison for anything from stealing to bribary, are getting lucky on China’s new wave of prosperity. And finally we have another round of Google Earth causing some consternation to governments trying to keep their secrets secret. This time it is the mighty Swedish Intelligence Agency (don’t scoff... the fact that you didn’t know they have one probably means they’re doing their job) who is in the firing line. Apparently they’ve been censoring Swedish-made maps for years now, with the intelligence complex drawn over with trees (though, very oddly, the maps still have the roads into and around the complex overlaid). Not so on Google Earth, and don’t ask me what the people who trawl over these maps don’t have to do with the rest of their lives, where someone compared the two maps and found the complex uncensored on Google Earth. Shock, horror, a bunch of huts in the woods ! Aliens ! Swedish aliens ! And so on

We have plenty coming up this week (starting today, obviously) including a live memory stress test. All rather exciting. On top of that we’ll be updating our VGA charts (they’re going interactive, wouldn’t you know) and young Mr Wright will be gracing us with his Monday Morning Rundown, for all you who like games. Enjoy...

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