Thursday, July 31, 2008

Byte Into IT - 30 Jul 08

VIA Nano and Intel Atom Review - Battle of the Tiny CPUs
Intel Atom versus Via Nano

Two new processors create new opportunities for portable and micro PCs.  These pint-sized, low power processors should start appearing in all sorts of devices over the coming months.

Many of you will probably be reading your first review of a VIA CPU; even though the C7 processor has made VIA a name in the world of mobile internet devices and mini-notes their products haven't been of particular interest to the mainstream hardware enthusiast.  Over the past months though VIA and Intel have bunkered up for a battle of extreme low power processors that has developed into the performance review you see here before you.

Google enrolled for schools email deal
This certainly makes life easier for IT staff at the Department of Education!

Google has snatched what is believed to be its biggest single client in the world - the NSW Department of Education - away from its rival Microsoft to claim up to 1.3 million new users of its free email product.

The NSW Director-General of Education, Michael Coutts-Trotter, said the department had exploited its size to get the best deal for students and teachers, who will each receive customised Gmail accounts.

Scrabulous dropped from Facebook
Maybe Hasbro should buy the application from these two creative brothers!

The creators of online Scrabble knock-off Scrabulous said Tuesday they have pulled their application from US and Canadian Facebook pages due to a lawsuit filed by game-making giant Hasbro.

"This is an unfortunate event and not something that we are very pleased about, especially as Mattel has been pursuing the matter in Indian courts for the past few months," Scrabulous co-creator Rajat Agarwalla told AFP.

"We sincerely hope to bring our fans brighter news in the days to come." was launched by brothers Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla in India in 2005 and rocketed to popularity two years later after they released a version as a free "add-on" application for Facebook.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Byte Into IT - 23 Jul 08

Registration opens for .me domains - Internet - iTnews Australia
Registrations for the .me top level domain started yesterday afternoon, giving users a new crack at getting a personalised web address.

Unlike the recent staggered rollout of the .asia domain, the .me registrations are open to everyone from day one.

The .me domain name was previously assigned to Montenegro after the country gained independence in June 2006.

However, owing to the widespread potential appeal of the name it is now available for general use.
Beware of 3G bill shock - Telecommunications - iTnews Australia
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is warning consumers to be wary of the high charges that come with excessive data usage on new 3G mobile devices.

With the nationwide popularity of the recently released 3G iPhone, the ACCC said it wants to make sure consumers know the risks of usage caps and excess charges that come with data usage.

"In the case of smartphones, consumers can download greater amounts of information from the internet than ever before. With this, comes the potential for them to exceed their phone plan value and incur considerable additional charges,” said ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel.
BBC NEWS | Technology | Say goodbye to the computer mouse
It's nearly 40 years old but one leading research company says the days of the computer mouse are numbered.

A Gartner analyst predicts the demise of the computer mouse in the next three to five years.

Taking over will be so called gestural computer mechanisms like touch screens and facial recognition devices.

"The mouse works fine in the desktop environment but for home entertainment or working on a notebook it's over," declared analyst Steve Prentice.
Every show an infomercial? TiVo, Amazon ink purchase pact
TiVo plans to introduce a new feature to its popular DVRs that will allow TV viewers to buy products on-screen directly from Amazon when they are shown on various TV shows—the ultimate form of product placement. TiVo hopes that the new venture will not only help the company offer new ways for users to interact with their DVRs, but also help shed its reputation among broadcasters for devaluing their advertising by enabling users to skip ads.
.org first top level domain to adopt DNS security protocol
ICANN has unanimously approved a request by the Public Interest Registry (which handles .org domains) to become the first generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) to switch to the DNS security protocol DNSSEC. As part of the agreement, PIR will trailblaze DNSSEC, while simultaneously developing an education and adoption plan that can later be disseminated across the Internet's infrastructure, PIR's use of DNSSEC is a significant step forward, but a mixture of contentious political and technological issues have slowed the worldwide development and deployment process.

DNSSEC is intended to fix fundamental flaws in the original DNS protocol that leave it vulnerable to several different attack vectors, including cache poisoning. This is accomplished in part through the use of digital signatures. By using such signatures, the DNS resolver can check to see if information it is receiving is actually from the appropriate address; the digital signatures effectively act as a password (the analogy is not exact).

The DNS flaws themselves aren't anything new—they were discovered back in 1990—but the solution to the problem has been no less than eleven years in the making, putting the length of its development cycle almost on par with Duke Nukem Forever. DNSSEC development lasted from January 1997 to the present day, or roughly 11 years and six months. DNF was announced in April of 1997, and, assuming 3DRealms makes good on its 2008 projection, must ship no later than December 2008, for a total development time of 11 years, eight months. Hail to the king, indeed.
iPhone 3G tethering possible with jailbreak and proxy app
Although Mobile Safari on the iPhone is a reasonably good way to surf the web, there are also times when that screen is a little small, and you'd rather be using your laptop. WiFi is one option, but free, public WiFi isn't a given in many areas. Depending on which mobile phone you have, you may be able to tether the device to your laptop and browse using a cellular data network. Now, the iPhone doesn't normally have this functionality (much to our frustration), but thanks to the recent iPhone 3G jailbreak and a third-party proxy application, has figured out a way to (sort of) tether your iPhone 3G and use your laptop via the 3G network.
Open Tech offers a different twist on the Apple clone
Just one week after news broke about a lawsuit pitting Apple against "clone" manufacturer Psytar, another company has announced that it will be throwing its own hat into the ring. Open Tech Inc. has announced it will begin selling Mac OS X-compatible PCs in the coming days, offering two models to choose from: the Open Tech Home, and Open Tech XT.

The Open Tech Home, clearly marketed for home use, features a 3.4GHz Pentium D processor, 500GB of storage, 3GB of 667MHz DDR2 RAM, a 500-watt power supply, built in WiFi, a GeForce 8600 GT (512MB), and a DVD burner for a total of $620. The XT, however, seems to be more of a pro workstation with a Intel Core 2 Quad running at 2.40GHz, 4GB of 800MHz DDR2, a 800-watt power supply, built-in WiFi, a GeForce 8800 GT (256MB) and a DVD burner for $1,200.

If we are looking at pure bang for your buck (and operating system aside), neither the Home nor the XT offer an outstanding ratio. You could build pretty much the same machine for cheaper elsewhere, but this is all about the operating system.

So how is Open Tech shipping its non-Apple computers with OS X installed? The answer is that it isn't. While the company will preinstall Ubuntu 8.0.4 or Windows XP, the computer the company claims to be Apple-compatible won't actually be able to do so with Mac OS X.
How To: Create Your Own Linux Recovery Disc writes up a helpful guide to creating your own custom system recovery boot disc using an Ubuntu 8.04 CD image, a little command line work, and a few recommended emergency tools, including the partition format/restore tool GParted, e2undel, a file recovery tool, and anything else you might need if your hard drive, RAM, or anything else on your system suddenly decides it doesn't want to work. The guide requires a good bit of command line work, but it also lets you add whatever programs you'd like to have when you come back from the brink, and helps you strip out programs you don't to boot faster. For a similar (but pre-compiled) hard drive-fixing tool, check out Gina's guide to using the System Rescue CD.
Virtualization: VeeDee-Eyes Offers Pre-Configured Linux Distros for VirtualBox
If you've been checking out the newest VirtualBox beta for Mac OS X, or you're intrigued by Linux but not ready to deal with virtualizing it, the Sun xVM VirtualBox VDI Index—or, as it's skeevily nicknamed, veeDee-Eyes—has a host of pre-compiled, pre-configured images for you. No need to set up space, "boot" from a live CD and mess around with hardware config, as copies of Fedora, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE and others are ready to run. Not all of them are free, with a few of the multi-GB distros asking for a buck or two to cover server costs, but a good number of interesting variants and betas are there for the taking. VirtualBox runs on Windows, Mac, or Linux, and is a free download.
Linux Tip: p7zip Adds Built-In 7-Zip Tools to Ubuntu
The Tombuntu blog points out a seriously helpful package available in Ubuntu's extended repositories that make creating super-efficient 7-Zip archives simple and fast, whether you're right-clicking or working with a command line. Run this command to install it:

sudo apt-get install p7zip

Users of other Linux distros should find a similar package in their own sources. Once installed, creating compressed archives for storing or emailing is as simple as selecting the files, right-clicking, and choosing "Create Archive," and de-compressing just as simple

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Byte Into It - 16 Jul 08

Time machine needed to get iPhone? - Boing Boing
Eric Mueller took this photo of an AT&T store on lower Broadway in downtown Manhattan (near Park Place / City Hall) today. Seems the iPhone is "temporally out stock." Perhaps it'll be available last year.

Apple pushes 1 million iPhone 3Gs, 10 million iPhone Apps
Apple announced this morning that it had sold 1 million 3G iPhones over the weekend since the device's launch on Friday. The device launched in 21 countries (France, one of the original 22 countries, is sitting this one out until July 17) to long lines that lasted throughout the weekend, making this the most successful device launch yet—at least in terms of sales. This was all despite significant problems over the weekend, including unresponsive iTunes activation servers, supply issues, and up-and-down MobileMe service.

What kind of iPhone data plan do you really need?
Here's an overview of some common activities, how much data they used, and how long they took. Note that the tests were done with an iPod touch over WiFi, so there will be some differences with cellular data use.

Only 6 percent of iPhone buyers purchasing this summer
In the past two weeks, SRG has asked a total of 1,127 potential iPhone buyers when they were planning on purchasing the device, and only 6 percent said that they would be buying either this month or next month. Around 30 percent of those asked said they weren't sure or would be buying "later". A full 25 percent of those surveyed are planning to buy around Christmas, and roughly the same amount are planning on buying in early 2009.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Fix found for net security flaw
Mr Kaminsky discovered the error in the workings of the Domain Name System (DNS) about six months ago.

DNS is used to convert web addresses written in words - such as - into the numerical sequences used by computers to route internet traffic around the world.

The flaw revolves around the way that the servers that translate words into numbers handle the requests they get.

Unresolved the flaw would make it simple to operate "phishing" scams, in which users are directed to fake webpages supposedly for genuine banks or businesses and are tricked into disclosing credit card details or other personal data.

Mr Kaminsky talked to Microsoft, Sun and Cisco and many others in March and has been part of a team engaged in secret research since then to develop the security patch which has now been released simultaneously.

"This hasn't been done before and it is a massive undertaking," said Mr Kaminsky.

Despite the scale of the operation few are expected to see any disruption to their web experience as the patch is applied. It is not thought that the flaw had been exploited prior to its discovery.

Technical details are being kept secret for another month to give companies a chance to update their computers, before malicious hackers try to unpick the patch.

Personal computers should pick up the patch through automated updates. Microsoft released its patch on 8 July as part of its regular security cycle.

Apres CAPTCHA, le deluge - Boing Boing
CAPTCHAs -- the technology used to stop spammers from using computers to sign up for email accounts and the like -- are thoroughly broken; spammers and researchers are finding better and better ways to get computers to recognize the word-soup.

Time machine needed to get iPhone? - Boing Boing
Eric Mueller took this photo of an AT&T store on lower Broadway in downtown Manhattan (near Park Place / City Hall) today. Seems the iPhone is "temporally out stock." Perhaps it'll be available last year.

MPAA: actual P2P distribution often "impossible" to prove
Copyright holders shouldn't have to prove that an unauthorized distribution of their work occurred in order to collect damages, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. The group made its argument in an amicus brief filed on Friday to Judge Michael Davis, the judge overseeing the Jammie Thomas trial, after he asked for feedback from the industry before deciding whether to order a mistrial. Both sides realize that the stakes are high and are throwing everything they've got Judge Davis' way.

P2P leecher targeted in Germany for making files available
Evidence used to "prove" P2P users guilty of copyright infringement has been called into question a number of times recently, as the argument about whether "making available" music and movies counts as copyright infringement continues to rage on. In one case across the pond, it turns out that a German user who was targeted for making files available through the eD2K network had actually tweaked his eMule client so that it would not upload any files whatsoever. Telling the world "But I was leeching!" will rarely earn you any sympathy, but might in this case.

Campus copyright battle moves to textbook torrents
The RIAA's extensive campaign against filesharing has drawn in a lot of individuals, but college campuses have remained a major target of the content owners' legal threats. It's pretty clear that there's significant expertise with filesharing on college campuses, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that this expertise has been put to use with other copyrighted materials. Textbook companies are getting worried about the sharing of their bread-and-butter online, and have started a campaign designed to block the sharing at its source.

Friday in San Jose CA: hearing to punish Universal for sending copyright threats to dancing toddler - Boing Boing
If you're in Silicon Valley this week and want to have some legal-type fun, you could drop in on the Lenz v. Universal hearing (dress nice, behave yourself!) in which EFF will be arguing that Universal should be punished for sending a bogus copyright threat to a mom who posted a 29-second youtube of her adorable toddler dancing to Prince's "Let's Go Crazy."

BBC NEWS | Technology | Viacom 'backs off' YouTube demand
Viacom has "backed off" from demands to divulge the viewing habits of every user who has ever watched a video on YouTube, the website has claimed.

Google had been ordered to provide personal details of millions of YouTube users to help Viacom prepare its case on alleged copyright infringement.

Google, owners of YouTube, will now hand over the database but without data that could identify users.

Microsoft tells Congress Yahoogle will own 90% of ad market
A US Senate subcommittee heard testimony today about the competitive implications of Yahoo's recent deal with Google, which will see the company mix ads supplied by Google with its own on search result pages. In addition to two individuals who currently purchase search advertising, the hearings featured testimony from senior executives from the two principals involved in the deal, as well as Microsoft's top lawyer, Brad Smith. Their testimony presented radically different pictures of what constitutes competition in the search market, how this deal will affect that competition, and the ongoing negotiations between Microsoft and Yahoo.

Microsoft: $1 of piracy = $5.50 in "lost opportunities"
Each dollar lost to software piracy equals $5.50 in lost opportunities, claims Microsoft. A new white paper released by IDC and funded by the software giant looks at how copyright infringement affects the software ecosystem as a whole, not just how it affects a single corporation. IDC claims that, if Microsoft were to make back each of those lost dollars, partner companies would gain $4.37 in increased revenues and $1.13 in lower operational costs. That's assuming, however, that the Business Software Alliance's estimated losses due to piracy are correct—an assumption that IDC makes in this report, despite having admitted in the past that the numbers are misleading.

NVIDIA newest patent beatdown target for Rambus
We thought that Rambus' legal saga was finally winding down this year, with the cards largely having fallen in Rambus' favor. A jury in California determined that the company's patenting of DDR technology was not done fraudulently, and the DC Court of Appeals has determined that the FTC did not provide sufficient evidentiary support for its intervention in the RAM market. But instead of winding down, Rambus was apparently just warming up. The IP-only memory company has decided to start looking beyond traditional RAM manufacturing companies for further licensing, and has set its sights on graphics giant NVIDIA.

Apple finally sues unlicensed Macintosh cloner Psystar
Apple's adventures with Mac clones had at best, mixed results, and Steve Jobs quickly ended the program in 1997 after his return as CEO. While a company named Psystar ignored that memo when it decided to release its own unofficial Mac clones earlier this year, there's no way it's going to miss Apple's latest memo, which came in the form of a just-uncovered lawsuit filed earlier this month.

This past April, Psystar made instant waves by announcing a bargain-basement Mac clone for $399 that could run Leopard, the latest version of Apple's Mac OS X. Psystar's PC is an upgradeable tower with a respectable amount of features which, at face value, starts $200 lower than Apple's cheapest—and highly unconfigurable—Mac mini at $599. Despite drawbacks like incompatibility with some Apple software updates, a flood of orders brought the company's site down for days at a time.

Backup Utilities: Five Best Windows Backup Tools
Read on for a closer look at the five best Windows backup tools (according to Lifehacker readers), then give your vote to the application you like best:
- MozyHome does unlimited online backup for just $5 a month. Mozy is a set-it-and-forget-it solution, and the setting up part is incredibly simple. If you're just looking to give it a test run or you don't need unlimited backup, sign up for MozyHome Free, which gives you 2GB of backup space for gratis.
- Cobian Backup is free backup software that supports scheduled local and remote backups. Users love its rich feature set, as Cobian supports nearly every feature of its shareware alternatives. All current versions of Cobian are freeware, but the latest (version 9) is no longer open source
- SyncBack is full-featured backup software available in both freeware and shareware versions. The freeware SyncBack has a few limitations that the shareware version doesn't, like inability to backup open files, but both versions offer extensive features—including backup profiles and options for local and remote backups. The shareware version of SyncBack will set you back $30.
- Acronis True Image creates full live disk images of your PC so that when the time comes that you need to restore a backup, you're not just restoring files—you're restoring an exact copy of your PC as it was. The latest version of Acronis supports excluding individual files and folders from your image or you can set criteria for the data that you want to back up (in case you don't actually want to include everything in your disk image). Acronis True Image costs $50 and a 15 day trial version is available.
- Carbonite is an online backup solution similar to MozyHome. For $50 a year, Carbonite provides unlimited online backup and is another set-it-and-forget-it solution which offers off-site backup to remote servers. The biggest difference between Carbonite and Mozy is the price: Carbonite is $50 per year upfront compared to MozyHome's $5 per month, which adds up to $60 a year but doesn't lock you into a year. Carbonite does not offer a free version like MozyHome Free's 2GBs, but there is a 15-day trial.

Firefox 3: Ctrl+Drag a Tab to Copy It and Its History
When you want to backtrack a few paces in your web surfing clicktrail but not lose the page you're on, in Firefox 3, click on your current tab, hold down the Ctrl key and drag it. This will duplicate the tab and keep its history in the copy—that way you can back out and stay where you are in another tab. Sadly this trick only works in Firefox for Windows, not on the Mac. Don't forget, you can also drag tabs between browser windows in Firefox, too.

Screenshot Captor

Screenshot Captor is a program for taking screenshots on your computer. It's different from other screenshot utils in several notable ways.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Byte Into It - 09 Jul 09

Community to Gilliard: 'Consider Open Source' - Linux & Open Source - iTnews Australia
The Australian Open Source community has called for the consideration of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in the implementation of the Rudd Government’s Digital Education Revolution Policy.

In an open letter that was submitted last week to the Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gilliard, members of the community expressed its support of the Government’s investment in Australian ICT capabilities, education and training.

The letter is signed by nine leading FOSS advocates, including: Open Source Victoria’s Education Spokesperson Donna Benjamin; OLPA Australia Director Pia Waugh; Red Hat Australia General Manager Max McLaren; and Samba Developer Andrew Tridgell.

Central to the FOSS argument is the low cost associated with Open Source Software, which could enable more flexible use of the $1000-per-unit National Secondary School Computer Fund (NSSCF).
Vodafone accidentally announces iPhone plans - Telecommunications - iTnews Australia
Vodafone is offering four different plans, which are modelled after its current schemes, for both cap contract and business customers.

The cheapest monthly plan runs for $69 a month for $310 worth of minutes and texts, and 250MB worth of data. With this plan, customers will pay $189 for the 8GB and $309 for the 16GB.

With a $169 a-month contract, customers can get the 8GB iPhone for free, and the 16GB device for $89. This plan is worth $1200 of minutes and 1GB worth of data.

The other plans charge $99 a month for $600 worth of talk and text and 500MB of data, and $119 for $800 worth of text and talk and 500MB of data.

Vodafone said it will release more details on launch-day Friday
Opinion: Year of the penguin - Linux & Open Source - iTnews Australia
It’s taken the confluence of several disparate but connected events to create the perfect breeding ground for desktop versions of Linux to finally flourish.

Firstly, credit where it’s due, Apple’s decision to switch to a Unix core proved that you didn’t need to be a geek and/or a master of the command line interface to enjoy the benefits of Bell Labs’ near 40-year-old gaming platform. You could now watch the pretty pictures with the click of a mouse and have no need to know what was under the covers of MacOS X.

And of course, credit to ├╝ber-geek Linus Torvalds for rescuing Unix from the litigators arguing over who owns which bit of what was once basically free anyway. Your correspondent purchased the full source code for Unix, on magnetic tape of course, for US$1 back in 1980.
IBM and Linden teleport avatars beween virtual worlds - Internet - iTnews Australia
Linden Labs, creators of Second Life, and IBM say they have developed have created a set of compatible avatars that can be used on either companies systems.

The two companies said that they have successfully transported avatars from IBM's OpenSim virtual world server to a Second Life Preview server. The 3D characters were 'teleported' from one server to another and were able to function in both worlds.

The companies said that the occasion marks an important milestone in their interoperability efforts.
EU may regulate social networking sites over security issues
Social networking sites need more regulation in order to ensure that they won't pose major security risks to users, according to the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA). The agency issued a preliminary version of its General Report (PDF) covering online security this morning, pointing out that it views social networks as a "positive social phenomenon" that are not without their own set of security problems, and the organization has a set of recommendations meant to protect users online.

ENISA said that some of the main threats identified so far through social networks involve digital dossiers, face recognition, and social engineering attacks on enterprises. Phishing attacks, reputation damage, ID theft, stalking, and cyberbullying are common as well. The organization says that, because of the human desire to connect and the growing popularity of social networks, it's easy for users to let their guards down and not be aware of the size of the audience accessing their information. "Social Networking may be seen as a 'digital cocktail party,'" read the report. "However, compared with a real-world cocktail party, [social networking service] members broadcast information much more widely and sometimes unadvisedly, either by choice or unwittingly."
AMD set to ship first retail Mac Pro-ready graphics card
AMD has announced the ATI-branded Radeon HD 3870 for Mac & PC Edition, its first retail video card for the Mac Pro. Apple offers a version of the Radeon 2600 as the standard option for the Mac Pro, but this card is the first 3000-series available for that system. The card is also the first graphics card that is both Mac and PC compatible out of the box.
BBC NEWS | Technology | Google must divulge YouTube log
Google must divulge the viewing habits of every user who has ever watched any video on YouTube, a US court has ruled.

The ruling comes as part of Google's legal battle with Viacom over allegations of copyright infringement.

Digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called the ruling a "set-back to privacy rights".

The viewing log, which will be handed to Viacom, contains the log-in ID of users, the computer IP address (online identifier) and video clip details.
BBC NEWS | Technology | It's not the Gates, it's the bars
Many outside the computer field credit Microsoft for advances which it only took advantage of, such as making computers cheap and fast, and convenient graphical user interfaces.

Gates' philanthropy for health care for poor countries has won some people's good opinion. The LA Times reported that his foundation spends five to 10% of its money annually and invests the rest, sometimes in companies it suggests cause environmental degradation and illness in the same poor countries.
BBC NEWS | Technology | Firefox download record official
Mozilla has officially made history with a new Guinness world record for the largest number of software downloads in a 24-hour period.

The final record breaking 8,002,530 downloads for web browser Firefox 3.0 took place in June. » Stay in Sync with GCal and Thunderbird.
Stay in Sync with GCal and Thunderbird.
HOWTO Make online videos without getting sued - Boing Boing
American University's Center for Social Media has just concluded a long, in-depth project to establish a set of "Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video." They worked with video makers, legal scholars, eminent sociologists, fans and others to create something that reflects the law, practice and future of fair use for video remixing and sharing online.
Digg - G-Park iPhone App Lets the Forgetful Bookmark Their Cars
Park your car and tap "Park Me" to take a GPS reading; on the way back, hit "Where Did I Park" for turn-by-turn directions back to the whip.
Digg - 12 Quick Hacks For Firefox 3
It's time to hack it.
Slashdot | Google Open Sources Its Data Interchange Format
Google's open sourcing of their internal data interchange format, called Protocol Buffers (here's the code and the doc). Google elevator statement for Protocol Buffers is "a language-neutral, platform-neutral, extensible way of serializing structured data for use in communications protocols, data storage, and more." It's the way data is formatted to move around inside of Google. Betanews spotlights some of Protocol Buffers' contrasts with XML and IDL, with which it is most comparable. Google's blogger claims, "And, yes, it is very fast — at least an order of magnitude faster than XML."
Extra storage as students go Gmail | Australian IT
GOOGLE has edged out some of the biggest brands in the enterprise IT services market to pick up another major contract win in Australia's education sector.

Google partner SMS Management and Technology has emerged as the leading bidder to supply the NSW Department of Education with 1.5 million student email services using a customised version of the search giant's Gmail service, Acting NSW Minister for Education and Training John Hatzistergos said.

"This commitment is a further demonstration of the NSW Labor Government's commitment to equip teachers and students with the best possible means to compete successfully in the constantly evolving world of information technology," he said.

NSW education department chief information officer Stephen Wilson said the department was yet to finalise its contract with SMS but confirmed that it had lodged the winning bid.

SMS will be the prime contractor alongside Google and Telstra to fulfil the contract, valued at $9.5 million over three years. It's expected to be completed by the end of 2008.

The department rejected bids from Hewlett-Packard, Telstra subsidiary Kaz, and incumbent provider Unisys, to award the contract to SMS.

It's understood that the contract will be one the largest private deployments of Gmail in the world.

The win is Google's second major victory in the academic sector after Macquarie University signed up for Gmail in September last year. It could have massive implications for the Australian software market, as it places Gmail's online word processing software, Google Docs, in a strong position to challenge Microsoft's Office software suite in the education sector.