News schmooze: May Day hack attack falls flat

NHTCU kept up its high standards, Microsoft hated Linux even more, and mobile phone quietude threatened...

A police spokesman famously remarked on Tuesday that anarchists don't get up very early in the morning, and that must be doubly true for hackers. While anti-capitalist protesters at least made a scene in the streets of London this May Day, the hackers just weren't there. No thanks to our beloved National High Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU), though, which said it was leaving things to the cops.

The anarchists might have been taking the week off, but other causes made a stir in cyberspace, with pro-Chinese crackers defacing US government sites and Kashmiri separatists trying to break into BBC World Service servers. Scary as this might sound, though, it could be the work of 14-year-old troublemakers, say the experts.

By the sound of things, the kids have their work cut out for them. When they aren't wasting time with email, office workers are busy writing down important passwords and leaving them taped to their monitors, the Schmoozer has learned.

A lot of them also couldn't be bothered to figure out what their new mobile phone numbers would be starting this week, significantly cutting the number of shouts of "I'm on the train!", during the Monday morning commute.

But the Schmooze does find this apathy a bit strange, given that nearly half of mobile phone users say they'd give up their home phone before their mobile. They also like them so much they have no plans of replacing them with whizzier Internet phones, which won't come as good news to Britain's telcos, who are betting billions on next-generation mobile licenses.

New mobile phone mast danger shock! If the telcos really build all those networks the UK will apparently look "like a pincushion from the air". Prince Charles won't be pleased.

Intel is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its "Intel Inside" ad campaign, which has made it better-known than Nike... does this mean we can get rid of that annoying five-tone jingle now?

Dot-coms continue to perish at a lemming-like rate, but some find this all very exciting -- Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal for one, the richest businessman outside the US, who says he's about ready to go into vulture mode and snap up the bargains. So far he's kept a sceptical attitude toward tech companies -- which, for him, apparently means investing a mere $2m in them last year.

News flash: Microsoft doesn't like the open source movement. No, it really, really doesn't like it... in fact it's gearing up for a campaign to turn public opinion against those anti-capitalistic, McDonald's-marauding, Starbucks-smashing, long-haired, free-thinking Linux/GNU types.

Well, the May Day hackers might not have got out of bed, but at least somebody's giving two fingers to the techno-establishment -- though open source activists are quick to point out they're as pro-copyright as anyone.

The News Schmooze is ZDNet UK's irreverent review of the week's news. Send your tip-offs to: mailroomuk@zdnet.com.