Astronomers map stars in The Milky Way

Submitted by Karthik on 8 April, 2004 - 11:08

An international team of astronomers has mapped the movement of stars in the Milky Way - a move which could improve understanding of our galaxy.

A 3-D map of how stars move in the general rotation of our galaxy took the scientists 15 years to build and will be published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

The results of the study by the Danish, Swiss and Swedish team included more than 1000 nights of observing more than 14,000 Sun-like stars, the so called F- and G-stars.

ABC and SwissInfo are both carrying this story.

Cisco announces flaw in in two of its management tools

Submitted by Karthik on 8 April, 2004 - 10:55

Computer Weekly reports that Cisco have announced yet another flaw in their software.. This follows a bunch of vulnerabilities detected last month in their router and switch IOS software.

A default user name and password combination were written, or "hard coded", into the software which runs on both devices and cannot be disabled. A malicious user who had the password would have complete control of the affected device, which could be used as a platform for further attacks, Cisco warned.

This must be the millionth "preset username and password" flaw reported in a networking device; albeit this time it's hard-coded :S Patches are available..

Netsky attacks: Four sites down, one to go

Submitted by Karthik on 8 April, 2004 - 10:45

ZDNet is carrying a short update on the state of the Netsky DDOS attacks which were scheduled to go off today.

Mikko Hyppönen said Netsky's authors seemed to have learnt a lesson from the mistakes made by the author of the Blaster worm, which last summer launched a massive DDoS attack on Microsoft's Windows Update Web site. However, unlike Netsky, Blaster attacked the lesser-used Web address: "Blaster was stupid -- it attacked the Web site that most people would not use. It only attacked, not Netsky is attacking the address that most people would surf to," he said.

I bet a few anti-RIAA/MPAA stories are going to crop up tomorrow :P

Infosys sets up consulting firm in the US

Submitted by Karthik on 8 April, 2004 - 08:16

The BBC is carrying a story on the setting up of Infosys' new consulting arm - Infosys Consulting. Infosys will be investing around USD 20 million and plans to hire about 500 people in the next three years. Business Wire is carrying the press release.

"This will counter the outsourcing sentiment out there," said Infosys Consulting chairman S Gopalakrishnan.

The outsourcing of jobs to low wage countries, particularly China, India and Mexico, is a US election issue.

The wrong stuff: what it takes to be a TSA terror suspect

Submitted by Karthik on 8 April, 2004 - 01:23

The Register has an interesting story on a lawsuit filed by the ACLU (American Cilil Liberties Union) against the TSA (Transport Security Administration) protesting against the vagaries of the no-fly list. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are all bonafide American citizens who have repeatedly had to face long delays and body searches, besides having to suffer the ignominy of being ostracised in public.

The plaintiffs' statements in an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and the Transport Security Administration provides some useful clues about what it takes to make the grade as a dangerous terror suspect. Career USAF Master Sergeant and mother of three? Retired Presbyterian Minister? ACLU special projects co-ordinator with Pakistani-type name?

The ACLU press release is here and also has links to the plaintiff statements which provide an interesting read. This story is also reported here and here.

IBM to take over Daksh

Submitted by Karthik on 7 April, 2004 - 22:58

The Economic Times is one of many sites carrying a report on IBM's takeover of Indian BPO provider Daksh.

The exact size of the deal is not available, but estimates ranged from Rs 560 crore ($130 million) to Rs 750 crore ($170 million). This is the largest deal so far in the Indian BPO industry, exceeding the $99-million pact (Rs 465 crore) through which software services company Wipro acquired Spectramind, the country's largest BPO firm.

Not a bad return for a 4 year investment :S

Linux not as inexpensive as believed

Submitted by Karthik on 7 April, 2004 - 22:40

FCW is carrying a story on yet another survey on the M$ vs. Linux debate, this time by research firm - Yankee Group.

Perhaps an even bigger bite in the Linux vs. Windows debate is the study's finding that Linux is not a long-term guard against security problems. Although it is considered somewhat more secure than Windows, Linux is expected to come under increasing hacker scrutiny in the future and companies seem to prefer sticking with the devil they know.

Try as I did, I couldn't find any connection between Yankee Group and Microsoft :/ Maybe someone will leak an explanatory email in a couple of weeks ;)

Aptech and NIIT - Market leaders in China

Submitted by Karthik on 7 April, 2004 - 21:14

The Economic Times has a story on the current state of the training and education market in China. Aptech and NIIT are said to have cornered 8.7% and 6.3% of the market respectively. However, an interesting footnote sheds more light on the current nature of the market:

Even though Indian players are seen driving the IT training market in China, the top five companies, including Aptech & NIIT, have only an 18.6% market share while the remaining 81.4% is with other smaller players largely in the unorganised sector with no visible brand names, says the study.

If we were American, we'd have been up in arms screaming that Aptech and NIIT were training our industrial enemies to steal our jobs... but then again, we are not..


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