iPod phones? Laptops growing legs and running away? Must be the morning roundup...

Top ’o the morning to ya. That’s as Irish as I’m getting today, so lap it up. It would seem that todays news has a major VOIP/telephony theme running through it, with everything from an iPod phone to Yahoo ! VOIP hitting us over the head. Read on and discover...

First up however we have (another) case of sensitive data being nicked when somebody’s laptop grew legs and ran away on them. Who is it this time ? MI5 ? SIS ? The Foreign Office ? No, our state secrets are safe, and Lord Goldsmith deleted those emails yonks ago anyway. It’s HP who are in trouble this time. Yep, a company working for HP has managed to misplace a laptop containing the personnel files for 196,000 current and former HP employees. Aparently this brings to no less than 53 million the number of confidential personal records which have been revealed across a string of IT mishaps in the past 13 months. Be afraid

Meanwhile in the ongoing Battle of French Copyright, Apple has apparently been studying the language of Old Skool George W (pronounce that with a Texan accent for best effect) and declared that the French laws currently on the cards, which would enforce a rule to allow iTunes songs to be cross-compatible with any format, amount to no less than "state-sponsored piracy." We’re expecting the Shock and Awe assault of poor dance music any moment now

You know, I always thought that internally Microsoft was a bit like the Soviet Union. Everyone dressed the same, went to work in shifts and slaved away to produce operating systems and other programs with security as strong as any Russian steel. Apparently there’s a whiff of 1917 in the air however, as Microsoft bloggers have been dissenting about the delay of Windows Vista, calling for heads to roll and an uprising of the proletariat shareholders to ensue. Either this is a ploy, sanctioned by the Politburo, or things are more 1990 than 1930 over at Microsoft Central. Although they might just fire everyone who comments

The NHS is claiming that they’ve managed to do something right, though they’re not mentioning how over budget they went in doing it. Apparently the internal N3 broadband network for doctors, GP’s and the wider service has "quietly" been successfully rolled out after some initial delays and mishaps. They’ll find a way to muck it up

And now, on to a spate of telephony news. I suppose we may begin with the rumours of an iPhone. Apparently it’s common knowledge in Taiwan that Apple is planning an iPod that can function as a mobile phone. The rumours come from Taiwanese telephone makers BenQ, who say they won’t be making the phone but Apple did do the rounds over there to find someone who would. Analysts and pundits alike are excited by the move, due to be rolled out by Q4 2006, as 900 million phones are due to be on the go shortly and Apple has great brand recognition to leverage. Of course we’ll have to see if they decide to set up shop in France. Har har har

In VOIP land meanwhile Yahoo ! is launching its own service, attached to their existing messenger service. It’s currently being rolled out in the US of A, but we can count the minutes ’till it gets here. The rub is that you’ll be paying a monthly fee to use the service, which is not something you get with Skype and suchlike. However you do get a "Normal" telephone number for free with this package, something you’d have to pay extra for elsewhere. Tying in IM clients, with free PC-to-PC capabilities among other things, is the best way of doing VOIP. The likes of Skype are ahead because they were first into the market, but services such as Yahoo ! Messenger could bring VOIP to the masses. Now all I need is a VOIP iPod and my life is complete

Meanwhile in UKLand, Wanadoo UK has been shouting from the rooftops about their 150,000 VOIP customers in the UK. This is a sizable chunk of the estimated 500,000 or so currently estimated to be using VOIP in the UK, according to Ofcom. BT has about 100,000 users, and Europe-wide around 150,000 new people are switching on to VOIP monthly. So there

And finally the gaming blog Kotaku has a charming piece up celebrating eight or so years of Duke Nukem (You’ll be waiting) Forever with a recap of the many E3 trailers of the game that’ll "Be done when it’s done." Just in time for me to be old, grouchy and complain about the effects its violent content is having on my grandchildren

Coming up today we’ll have more from Rob’s team at the Game Developers Conference, who have been talking to some of the chaps behind America’s Army (the videogame, one hopes.)

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