News in brief

Short takes on this week's news

Short takes on this week's news

Unilever first with RFID supply chain standard

Unilever is to be the first company to use a new radio frequency identification standard developed by IBM and T3Ci. The Electronic Product Code Information Services (Epcis) standard is designed to help organisations throughout the supply chain avoid information overload and share information to improve business processes.

Treasury saves £412m with e-procurement

New electronic procurement systems, such as web auctions, enabled Treasury buying agency to save a total of £412m last year. In its annual report, said the £412m in savings were delivered on £2.7bn of public sector expenditure, and exceeded government targets of £400m.

Microsoft tool lets users delay Explorer 7 roll-out

Microsoft has released a tool that will allow enterprises to postpone upgrading to the new Internet Explorer 7 browser via Microsoft's automatic update distribution services. The tool will allow users to test the browser in their own time before rolling it out across the business. IE7 for Windows XP is currently in beta and the browser will be distributed with the Windows Vista operating system from the end of this year.

Number of firms with a dedicated IT director falls

The number of organisations with dedicated IT directors has fallen over the past five years from 27% to 21%, the National Computer Centre's Benchmark of IT Strategy 2006 has found. However, board-level representation of the IT function has climbed from 61% five years ago, according to responses from 288 IT user organisations.In brief

IBM to base software charges on chip speed

IBM plans to charge for its software based on how fast it runs on users' systems. The supplier currently charges double for its software if a dual-core chip is based on the IBM Power architecture, but it does not charge extra for software running on dual-core x86 chips. In future, it plans to simplify the costs by setting licence charges according to the performance of the processors running the software.

Intel cuts prices as processor war continues

Intel has slashed the prices of some of its high-performance chips as part of an ongoing price war with AMD. The price cuts offered to PC manufacturers should eventually lead to cheaper computers for users. AMD also cut prices for some of its processors last week.

Ransomware increases encryption to 660-bit

Security software may be powerless to tackle a new generation of Trojans that encrypt data files before demanding payment in return for a decryption key. Previously, this "ransomware", used 56-bit encryption, which could easily be tackled by security software. But a report from security firm Kaspersky Lab said public key encryption of up to 660 bits is being used by the Gpcode malware family.

Government announces latest plans for WEEE

The government has announced its latest implementation plans for the delayed Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive. It will now come into force on 1 July 2007, with the aim of ensuring that all electronic hardware that is no longer wanted is disposed of in an environmentally-friendly way.

Spar ready for first remote Epos upgrade

Convenience store group Spar is planning to remotely upgrade its electronic point of sale software for the first time following the deployment of new hardware in its stores. The Epos hardware, from supplier Digipos, was rolled out to Spar outlets because the previous tills had reached the end of their life and the chain wanted to achieve efficiencies from conducting system updates remotely.

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