News Briefs

New Palms Released

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Palm Inc. is announcing today that it's upping the ante in the handheld wars with the release of two products. The monochrome Palm m500 ($399) and the color m505 ($449) are the size of a Palm V and feature the new Palm OS 4.0, which has improved security. The Palm m500 is slated for release next month; the m505 is due in May. A new universal hot-sync port will make all existing accessories obsolete but standardize all future ones.

Powell Seeks Funds For Department Nets

Secretary of State Colin Powell is asking Congress to approve $270 million in next year's U.S. State Department budget to increase communications and information sharing, particularly in the department's classified networks. Powell told the Senate Budget Committee last week that the money will be used to modernize the State Department's secure LAN, including its e-mail and word processing capabilities. The department's total budget request is about $8 billion.

Profiling Bill Reopened

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) last week reintroduced a bill that would require financial institutions to get customer approval prior to sharing personally identifiable information. The Freedom from Behavioral Profiling Act would amend the privacy restrictions in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley act of 1999. The bill ran into opposition on the Banking Committee last year.

Supercluster Takes Off

The Boeing Co. has implemented a 96-server supercluster developed by Linux Networx Inc. in Sandy, Utah, and powered by Athlon processors from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. in Sunnyvale, Calif. The supercluster will run applications that support Seattle-based Boeing's latest rocket development initiative, the Delta IV Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program. The system will simulate the way a rocket's fuel and fluids will act during flight, according to Boeing.

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