The big story of the week is the tale of the sixteen year old Irish school girl who has developed an email encyption technology that is faster and more secure than systems currently deployed in most email packages. They all carried this one, but kudos to The Times for breaking it. The euro quickly lost its appeal, with almost nobody bothering to follow up on the IT implications. Dixons grabbed the headlines in the business press with the continued march of its popular 'Freeserve' service.
Teenager devises new email code that astonishes industry -- The Times
Sixteen year old Sarah Flannery, from Cork "used matrices to formulate an alternative to RSA, the current data protection code, devised by three students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technoogy... She has been inundated with offers of jobs and scholarships from international computer companies and universities". The Times, January 13, 1999.
Business Week says HP Jornada is let down by the software -- Business Week
Business Week has given a thumbs down to HP's new, Windows CE-based notebook, the Jornada 820. They like the hardware, but feel the software is not up to the job. "a professional E-mail machine needs first rate E-Mail software, and Microsoft has spoiled a good idea by failing to deliver.". Business Week, Jan 25, 1999.
BBC1's audience falls below 30% -- The Economist
"BBC1's audience has just fallen below 30% for the first time -- and as pay-TV channels proliferate, the question whether broadcasting should still be tax-financed inevitably arises... If the licence fee is increased only in line with inflation the BBC will shrink. The licence fee therefore needs to be uprated either in line with the BBC's wage bill...or people with digital televisions should pay an extra 50% on top of an increase in inflation.". The Economist, Jan 16, 1999.
Dixons Freeserve hits 900,000 users as US investors rush in -- The Daily Telegraph
The success of Dixons Freeserve, now the UK's most popular ISP, is attracting investment for the parent group from the US, according to The Daily Telegraph. One analyst is quoted as saying "It all depends on how you want to view Dixons. As a stores group, the shares are expensive but as an internet stock they are as cheap as chips." The Daily Telegraph, January 14, 1999.
Educational value of computers for children is challenged -- The Guardian, Online
The Guardian reports on the publication of a new book which challenges the assupmtion that PCs for kids are a good thing. The books is called Failure to Connect, and is the work of the American educational psychologist, Jane Healy. "Her basic argument, very simplified, is that children under seven don't really need to be exposed to computers at all". The Guardian, Online, January 14, 1999.
Lex Column approves of Vodafone's improved offer for AirTouch -- FT
Lex approves of an improved Vodafone offer for AirTouch. "Given the excellent strategic fit, Vodafone is probbly right to up its offer -- if that is needed to clinch the deal in the face of hot competition from Bell Atlantic." Financial Times, Lex Column, 15 January 1999.