IT news in brief

September 14, 2001

E-book programmer pleads 'not guilty'

Russian computer programmer Dmitry Sklyarov has pleaded not guilty to charges of breaking United States copyright law.

Sklyarov, , who was released on $50,000 bail last month, faces 25 years in prison and a $2.25 million fine, while his Russian employer, software firm Elcomsoft, could be fined $2.5 million.

Sklyarov and the company have been charged with five breaches of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It is the first criminal case brought under the legislation.

Sklyarov was arrested in Las Vegas in July after speaking at a conference about his e-book format converter, which Elcomsoft claims is legal in Russia.

The trial in San Jose is adjourned until September 24.

Blood service sends texts to recruit donors

The National Blood Service is using catchy mobile phone text messages to target university students in England and North Wales in a donor recruitment campaign.

The campaign follows successful regional pilots conducted by the service and Boltblue, the UK internet portal. The NBS plans to extend the programme to the population at large.

Professor woos Nordic investors

Steve Molyneux, director of the National ICT Research Centre at the University of Wolverhampton, was key speaker at a conference in Copenhagen yesterday hosted by Invest UK, a British government agency providing assistance to overseas companies interested in locating and investing in the UK.

Smart thinking goes global

British universities face stiff competition in the SIMagine Worldwide GSM and Java Card Developer Contest 2002. There were no UK finalists in this year's contest, featuring prizes worth £43,000 for innovative mobile communications applications.

Graduate finds formula for drug giant

University of Sunderland graduate Andy Cartwright has solved a problem that has dogged experts at drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline.

The company could not find what was causing an impurity in a new process that it wanted to use to produce an existing drug.

GSK's Ulverston plant in Cumbria, where the process was to be implemented, asked Mr Cartwright, who was on a work placement, to help.

The 22-year-old used the university's facilities to find a solution. Mr Cartright graduated with a BSc in chemical and pharmaceutical science this summer.

Magnetic attraction for plastic

A new magnetic tool-locking device for plastic injection-moulding machines, developed and tested by the University of Warwick, will save a Staffordshire company hundreds of hours a year.

Magnaforce UK will use the device to transform a ten-minute task into a single simple flick of a switch. The device, Magnalock, can be applied to nearly all existing injection-moulding machines without modifying moulding tools.

The development was under the university's £2 million Innovation-Direct programme for small company aid, funded by the European Regional Development Fund with support from Sun Microsystems.

Young mastermind takes on the world

Alistair Watkins, a second-year BSc student at Greenwich University and winner of the past two IT User of the Year competitions, is to represent the UK at the Skill Olympics in Seoul.

Mr Watkins is sponsored by the UK Education and Research Networking Association.

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