Microsoft Office 12 details revealed; TDK unveils prototype -- and more news briefs

Short takes from this week's news

Short takes from this week's news

Microsoft reveals details of Office 12

Microsoft Office 12 will have tools for greater collaboration, information discovery, business intelligence and content management, with a focus on reducing IT complexity, Microsoft said last week. The software is due out in the second half of 2006.

100Gbyte DVDs set to shake up archiving

Storage managers could see their disc capacity double in two years, providing better data archiving, after TDK unveiled a prototype archiving disc last week. The four-layer 100Gbyte DVD can store twice as much data, and record at twice the speed of current Blu-ray Discs: 72mbps instead of 36mbps. Four-layer discs are due for release in 2007. Meanwhile, Toshiba is promoting its rival three-layer HD-DVD disc, capable of holding up to 45Gbytes of information.

Southampton professor joins Microsoft

A professor from the University of Southampton has left academia for Microsoft. Tony Hey, professor of computation and a senior member of the university's School of Electronics and Computer Science, will join Microsoft as a corporate vice-president. He will co-ordinate Microsoft's Technical Computing Initiative and work across the company to co-ordinate its efforts to collaborate with the scientific community worldwide.

Councils with in-house IT perform better

Councils that have outsourced their IT service do not perform as well as councils that run an in-house service, according to a study by local authority IT managers association Socitm. The research found that user satisfaction was 13% lower in the 10 largely outsourced councils surveyed, compared with the 75 other councils with more traditional IT services.

EMC products extend support for SAP products

EMC is to launch two software products that could make information lifecycle management easier for SAP users. The EMC Archiving for SAP with Documentum, a data archiving software suite for SAP, and EMC Performance Monitoring & Optimisation for SAP are due for release at the end of June. SAP Netweaver support for EMC DatabaseXtender for SAP BW will also be launched in June.

Intel appoints chief executive

Paul Otellini was appointed Intel's chief executive last week. Otellini comes from a sales and marketing, and is the first Intel CEO not to have an engineering background. He succeeds Craig Barrett, Intel chief executive since 1998. Barrett will become chairman of Intel's board of directors. Joint Intel founder Andy Grove will step down but continue in an advisory role.

Banks delay payments to fight phishing attacks

Four UK banks: Barclays, HBOS, Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest, are delaying intrabank payments for up to a day to combat phishing attacks. Analysts said the banks are likely to institute fraud-detection procedures for dealing with all suspect transactions.

'Sealed envelopes' will protect NHS patients

Connecting for Health, the multibillion-pound investment programme in NHS IT which aims to build electronic health records for all 50 million patients in England, has agreed to allow a "sealed envelope" for confidential clinical information to be built into the system, which staff could only access in an emergency.

Connecting for Health appoints another lead

Connecting for Health has appointed a fourth official to lead engagement with clinical and management stakeholders in two years. Richard Jeavons is to join the Department of Health as director of IT service implementation. Jeavons takes over from Alan Burns, who is standing down to become chief executive of Norfolk, Suffolk & Cambridgeshire SHA.

Linux users are still at risk from KDE flaw

Linux users who patched their systems for a serious security vulnerability in KDE last month must patch again, due to errors in the first patch. The vulnerability affects kdelibs, through an error in the kimgio component, when processing PCX image files.

Mass market VoIP comes to the UK

Vonage has launched one of the first UK voice over IP phone services, with a small business package priced at £18.99, which includes a fax line and 500 local and national minutes. The service features low international rates, caller ID and voicemail. The service requires a broadband connection and an adapter.

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