PC breathalysers, green Linux and offshore pretenders

Stories of the month - December 2008

Stories of the month - December 2008

During December, silicon.com took a look at high-tech crime starting with a story about how UK police are one day hoping to develop a 'breathalyser'-type device for PCs. Once attached, the tool would circumvent the need to send the machine to forensics by automatically flagging up illegal activity on any PC.

Detective superintendent Charlie McMurdie, architect of the UK's Police Central E-crime Unit outlined the idea in an interview with silicon.com, saying: "Do we need to seize five computers in a suspect's house, or could we use a simple tool to preview on site and identify there's that one email we are looking for?"

It was also revealed this month how jobless techies are turning to crime in the wake of the credit crunch. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers and security vendor Finjan, 2009 will see unemployed IT workers use their skills for less than honourable purposes.

Stories of the month – December 2008

Click on the links below to read the stories everyone is talking about...

The future of climate change is in Linux's hands

Revealed: The top 30 offshoring destinations

UK police: 'We need crime breathalysers for PCs'

Roasted laptops, fighting panthers and fishing accidents

Jobless techies turning to crime

SMEs crazy in love with iPhone

Is the UK tech industry ageist?

Over 50? Worried about job prospects? Don't be

Don't be dazzled by the iPhone, operators warned

Department for Transport "incompetence" over shared services

Moving on from crime, the weirdest computing disasters of 2008 were revealed in December featuring a number of incidents that truly defy belief. Ever thought of putting your laptop in the oven to hide it from burglars? No?

Going back to IT workers, the silicon.com 2008 Skills Survey found that more than half of respondents believe that the IT industry is ageist with just 20 per cent of those quizzed saying they don't believe tech recruiters are influenced by age.

According to recruitment firm Harvey Nash, however, age should not be a growing concern for those job hunting in the current economic climate and could actually be an advantage, especially with the more high-level roles.

Apple's iPhone continued to be a popular subject in December, as it has been all year, with O2 saying it's sold more iPhone 3Gs to smaller organisations than it expected. The corporate world on the other hand, is proving harder to win over.

Going against the iPhone hype, one analyst group suggested it's a niche product which operators should not focus all their attention on. If they do, they run the risk of leaving the vast majority of their customers out in the cold.

Details of a fascinating European science project which relies on Linux also emerged this month. The Max Planck Institute uses the Géant2 research network and the biggest open source database to help model the earth's climate past and present in order to inform European Commission environmental policy.

A less successful public sector tech project comes in the form of the Department for Transport's shared services centre - a project that was meant to save £57m but has ended up costing the taxpayer £81m instead.

And finally, the top 30 offshoring destinations were named this month, with the Bric (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries facing new challengers. Among the new kids on the block are Mexico, Poland and Vietnam.