TOM WILLIAMS, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
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ZigBee Alliance Passes 300 ZigBee Certified Products Milestone
The ZigBee Alliance has announced it has approved 341 ZigBee Certified products. This growth is more than 80 percent over last year’s 187 ZigBee Certified products. ZigBee standards have been adopted by more than 350 global manufacturers with representing annual revenues exceeding $1 trillion, according to a 2010 report from ONWorld. The ZigBee Certified products are used by millions of consumers and businesses worldwide. The growing list of ZigBee standards, now at 10, appeals to manufacturers wanting to offer their customers smart, green and easy-to-use products on an interactive wireless sensor and control network.
The ZigBee Certified program tests the functionality and interoperability of products using ZigBee standards and specifications. The certification of products is a critical part of the ZigBee Alliance’s standards development process. Unlike most other standards groups, the testing and certification of products is required before any ZigBee standard or specification is released for use. The ZigBee Certified process allows manufacturers to deliver a variety of products to customers of all types who can benefit from the simplicity of ZigBee control.
VIA Sues Apple for Patent Infringement
In what may appear to be a turnabout, VIA Technologies has announced it has taken legal action against Apple Inc., filing a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) and the U.S. District Court of Delaware for patent infringement by Apple’s iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV product lines and associated software.
“VIA has built up an extensive IP portfolio consisting of over 5,000 patents as a result of significant investments in world class technology research and development,” commented Wenchi Chen, CEO, VIA Technologies, Inc. “We are determined to protect our interests and the interests of our stockholders when our patents are infringed upon.”
The patents at issue cover microprocessor functionality featured in Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod and Apple TV devices, namely:
• U.S. Patent No. 6253312 – Method and apparatus for double operand load.
• U.S. Patent Nos. 6253311 & 6754810 – Instruction set for bi-directional conversion and transfer of integer and floating point data.
Apple has been in aggressive actions against competitors for alleged infringement on its iPhone and iPad designs, so the attack coming from the other direction is at least entertaining.
BIOS Rootkit Infects China
Malware, such as viruses and worms, typically infect systems in user space, where applications run. A few dig deeper, infecting the system’s kernel; these are called rootkits. A new piece of malware digs even deeper, infecting systems before the operating system even loads.
Dubbed “BMW virus” by Chinese antivirus vendor Qihoo 360, a new rootkit successfully infects key areas of a computer system: the BIOS, the Master Boot Record (MBR) and key Windows files. Symptoms of infection include the phrase “Find it OK” on the screen at start up, an antivirus virus warning of a “Hard Drive Boot Sector Virus” and a browser home page redirect to http://10554.new93.com/index.htm (which does not point to an active web site). Infection vectors include a compromised game download with a system restart required. BMW appears to be limited to China.
The BIOS or Basic Input/Output System is stored on a ROM and is responsible loading and checking the hardware for the system in advance of loading the operating system. Failure to “boot” the system from the BIOS generally means failure of the system.
While infection at this time may seem novel, there have been other BIOS malware. In the 1990s CIH/Chernobyl required the motherboard of infected systems to be replaced. More recently, in 2007, the ICELord BIOS rootkit affected only Award BIOS systems. ICELord may have been the basis for the new BMW rootkit.
3,000 GPS Shoe Devices Shipped for Tracking Dementia Patients
GTX Corporation has announced the FCC certification of the GPS Shoe and the delivery of the first 3,000 units to shoe partner Aetrex Worldwide. As millions of boomers are approaching 65, and in recognition of World Alzheimer’s Day on September 21, 2011, GTX announced the release of its first GPS tracking technology to be imbedded into comfort and wellness shoes for individuals afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia.
“The GPS Shoe has the potential to be life saving, as well as life changing technology for those afflicted and their caregivers,” says Andrew Carle, who has been internationally recognized for coining the term “Nana” Technologies for describing technology for older adults. Carle has served as an advisor to GTX Corp for the past three years and is additionally director of the program in Senior Housing Administration at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. “The shoes also hold the potential to save governments hundreds of millions of dollars in search and rescue operations, as well as in healthcare costs for those otherwise injured.” The World Alzheimer Report 2010 provides the clearest, most comprehensive global picture yet of the economic impact of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Over five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s, and without a cure, those numbers are expected to quadruple to more than 20 million in the U.S. and 106 million worldwide. Statistics show 60% of those afflicted will wander and become lost, and up to half of those lost who are not found within 24 hours may die, from dehydration, exposure, or injury. Because paranoia is a manifestation of the disease, many will remove objects placed upon them with which they are unfamiliar. However, habitual memory, which includes getting dressed, is the last type of memory retained in individuals with Alzheimer’s. The placement of the miniaturized 2-way GPS technology in comfort and wellness shoes is an efficient and useful monitoring solution for the estimated 15 million family and caregivers of people suffering from the disease.
Oracle Buys GoAhead
Oracle has announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire GoAhead Software and add its standards-based service availability software to its communications industry portfolio. GoAhead has been a pioneer in the development and delivery of COTS service availability software for the communications and aerospace and defense industries.
Network equipment providers (NEPs) and Systems Integrators are moving to a standardized software and hardware platform that can deliver and manage highly available services. Oracle, with the combination of GoAhead technology, plans to deliver a comprehensive, standards-based solution that supports the delivery of new services. NEPs and Systems Integrators should find it easier to deploy and maintain services for their customers and help them significantly reduce the cost and risk associated with bringing new services to market.
GoAhead was the first software company in the industry to deliver a commercially available product based on Service Availability Forum (SAF) specifications—the most widely adopted standard for service availability software. Oracle has been an active member of the Service Availability Forum and OpenSAF communities and plans to continue to participate and support these initiatives after the acquisition closes.
Linear Technology Teams with AEi Systems to Offer WCCA and SPICE Modeling
Linear Technology has signed and implemented a multiyear cooperation agreement and program with AEi Systems, a leader in worst case circuit analysis (WCCA) and SPICE modeling. Under the agreement, AEi Systems and Linear Technology offer customers and partner organizations (including M.S. Kennedy and Aeroflex) design and analysis assistance for circuit design and use of Linear’s radiation-hardened (RH) products in space and other radiation-hardened applications.
AEi Systems is developing and maintaining a database of SPICE models and performance data necessary to perform worst case analysis of Linear Technology’s rad-hard products, as well as ICs and hybrids from M.S. Kennedy and Aeroflex, such as the popular MSK58xx series or the VRGxxxx series of linear regulators. AEi Systems also provides Linear customers and partners with nominal SPICE models of Linear’s RH products at no charge. In addition, using AEi Systems’ extensive knowledge base, AEi Systems performs WCCA and provides design support for integration of Linear Technology ICs into new and upgraded customer designs.
RTI Selected to Sponsor Interoperable Open Architecture 2011
Real-Time Innovations (RTI) has announced that it has been selected as lead sponsor for the upcoming Interoperable Open Architecture 2011. This event brings together global leaders in defense procurement strategy from the U.K. Ministry of Defence (MOD), U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), French Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), Canadian Department of National Defence (DND), the European Defence Agency (EDA), NATO, and other defense organizations. The purpose is to share ideas on how to create a more efficient procurement process for defense systems.
The Interoperable Open Architecture conference, presented by the International Quality and Productivity Center (IQPC) and promoted by Defence iQ, offers delegates the opportunity to explore the recent shift in the way defense procurement is taking place. Increasingly, procurement agencies such as the U.S. DoD and U.K. MOD are mandating the use of data-centric integration strategies in open architecture to achieve systems-level interoperability, thereby creating a more open and competitive procurement environment. By specifying a common architecture across a multitude of similar platforms, defense agencies are greatly reducing through-life maintenance and modification costs while increasing opportunities for innovation. The intent is to provide systems to the military that are more rapidly adaptable to changing warfighter conditions. As lead sponsor and host, RTI will be presenting a paper on proven open-architecture strategies for systems integration and participating in a panel discussion exploring the future of defense procurement strategy.