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'Mr. Sulu' honored with his own asteroid

George Takei, the TV actor best known for his role as Mr. Sulu on the original Star Trek series, has had an asteroid named after him.

In the latest example of real scientists paying homage to science fiction, the International Astronomical Union last week honored the actor and his character, by renaming an asteroid, formerly known as 1994 GT9. The new name will be 7307 Takei, according to a story by the Associated Press.

Others involved with Star Trek who have had asteroids named after them are Gene Roddenberry, the series creator, and Nichelle Nichols, the actress who played Lt. … Read more

Daily dose of BEA? Icahn raises stake--again

Just yesterday, billionaire investor Carl Icahn pushed his stake in BEA Systems into the double digits to slightly more than 11 percent. And today, he's raising his stake in the company again. This time, Icahn's boosting it to 13.2 percent.

Based on BEA's proxy last year, Icahn's investment would make him and his affiliates the second largest stakeholders in the company, after FMR and its wholly owned subsidiary Fidelity Management & Research, which held a 14.1 percent stake last year.

Although Icahn's bigger stake increases the pressure on BEA to consider his proposal … Read more

iForem launches 'lifetime' storage service

iForem is a new service making its debut at the DemoFall conference. Currently aimed at enterprise users, the company is set to step into the consumer space early next year. The basic premise of iForem is that users pay for storage up front, similar to purchasing actual physical media to save their files. iForem then keeps the files safe, secure, and redundant as long as you've got the proper passwords--all without a subscription.

iForem creators Stephen Pieraldi and TJ de Luna started the company as a response to some of the free online storage solutions out there that offer … Read more

Icahn raises stake in BEA Systems

Carl Icahn has thrown another log on the fire he's lit under BEA Systems, raising his stake to 9.88 percent in the enterprise applications software maker.

The billionaire shareholder activist, who last week called for the company's sale and raised his stake to 8.5 percent, went on the offensive again Thursday by adding more BEA shares to his holdings.

Icahn and his related entities now own a total of 38.7 million shares. That's a pretty large match to wave around, as he tries to ignite movement on BEA's board to put a "… Read more

FBI looks to Java to streamline wiretap requests

The FBI is replacing the Microsoft Access software it uses to track National Security Letter (NSL) wiretap cases with a new, automated, database management system sporting a Java Enterprise Edition application server using Oracle software.

The agency wants to eliminate manual entry of "cumbersome and error-prone" data on its eavesdropping cases. The way it stands now, the databases are not even connected to each other. Instead, an employee must manually enter every NSL lead sent to the Office of General Counsel (OGC)--a process that could take up to a dozen fields including a 15-digit alphanumeric identifier. The … Read more

Micro-productivity: man vs. machine, divergence vs. convergence

According to a McKinsey & Company study of US economic activity, "Raising the productivity of employees whose jobs can't be automated is the next big performance challenge." The study argues that "as more companies come to specialize in core activities and outsource the rest, they have greater need for workers who can interact with co-workers, partners, and vendors," supported by highly personalized organizing and communication tools. 40 percent of labor activity, says McKinsey, comes not from making things or from traditional transactions but from what the consultancy calls the "Interaction Economy," which it … Read more

Jive Software takes in $15 million to run with Web 2.0 collaboration

Fueled by a round of venture capital, Jive Software is pushing into the corporate technology market with lightweight Web collaboration software.

The company is expected to announce next week that Sequoia Capital has invested $15 million into Jive Software which has been self-funded and profitable until now.

Jive, perhaps best known for its online forum software, is focusing the company on Clearspace, a product first written about here and commercially introduced earlier this year.

The software is meant to be a lightweight alternative to more structured document management applications like Microsoft's SharePoint. With Clearspace, end users can start wikis, … Read more

Oracle contributes Linux code, expands hardware support

Oracle on Tuesday expanded the list of hardware compatible with its Linux distribution and added support for Novell's YAST administration tool.

The company certified six hardware configurations to run Oracle Enterprise Linux. Certified products include those made by Compellent Technologies, Dell, Egenera, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Pillar Data Systems and Unisys. The announcement was made in conjunction with the LinuxWorld conference this week in San Francisco.

Last year, Oracle launched its own distribution of Linux designed to be compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the leading distribution for corporate customers. Wide hardware compatibility is important to fitting into corporate data centers. … Read more

EnterpriseDB launches a 'center' for Postgres database

There's no phone number on the PostgreSQL.org open-source database Web site. And for EnterpriseDB CEO Andy Astor, whose company makes money from a Postgres-based product, that's been a problem.

On Tuesday, Astor's company launched a site called the EnterpriseDB Postgres Resource Center, which gives interested parties a phone number to call and, Astor hopes, other useful items.

The site's launch coincides with this week's LinuxWorld conference in San Francisco and includes a package of software tools meant to make it easier for business customers to install the open-source database. The site also offers technical … Read more