Vodafone handset never forgets a face\nVodafone last week launched its first handset with a face-recognition security system aimed at preventing strangers from gaining access to private data or running up a huge phone bill if the handset is lost or stolen. The Sharp 904SH handset also boasts a world-first VGA screen with 480 pixels by 640 pixels, about four times the resolution of other similar high-end phones. The security system uses a small camera positioned under the main display to verify - in a second - the identity of the user, based on stored data of the owner's eyebrows, mouth and nose. The phone also has a built-in 3D motion sensor which measures the handset's position and directional acceleration for more responsive game-playing. Bouncers may go biometric\nGoing for a pint? First look into the camera. Facial recognition systems - long the scourge of privacy activists - may become a mainstay at bars and clubs in the US, according to a report last week in Wired News. Jeff Dussich, founder of JAD Communications and Security, is marketing a BioBouncer biometric solution complete with a Las Vegas-style database of known troublemakers. BioBouncer costs US$7,500 for the hardware, software and set-up, and US$6,000 a year for support - including access to a networked 'rogues' gallery'. 'The goal is to have an extra set of eyes for club security (and) club management to help them keep out the perpetual troublemakers,' Mr Dussich said. Bullet train even faster\nEast Japan Railway has conducted the first real-track test of its new flagship Fastech Shinkansen, which is designed to be the world's fastest bullet train. First announced last year, the Fastech logged 366 km/h on a test run between Sendai station, Miyagi prefecture and Kitakami station in Iwate prefecture. JR East plans to run the train at 360 km/h from 2011 when the Tohoku Shinkansen Line linking Tokyo to Hachinohe is extended to Shin-Aomori station. The Fastech previously recorded a top speed of 398 km/h at JR's test track in Miyazaki. The company reported the car shook when the train exceeded 300 km/h but said the planned top speed remained a 'solid' prospect. Boots help players keep their cool\nAdidas unveiled its hi-tech +F50 TUNIT football boot in Hong Kong last week, following similar fanfare in other markets last month. The sports apparel company said the football boot's concept was based on letting players customise, adapt and tune their boots to all weather and pitch conditions, and their own style. The boot is constructed from three interchangeable components: the upper, the chassis and the studs. Of most interest to players in Hong Kong's sweaty climes is arguably the ClimaCool material, which the company claims provides a 360-degree cooling effect for the entire foot through its adiHex/mesh upper construction and ventilation cut-outs in the outsole. CPCNet HK expands services on mainland Data communications provider CPCNet Hong Kong has moved to expand its virtual private networking (VPN) service on the mainland, backed by key equipment from technology supplier Juniper Networks. CPCNet, a wholly owned subsidiary of Citic Pacific, has deployed Juniper Networks' M-series multiservice edge routers to broaden the coverage of its multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), internet protocol (IP) VPN service in Ningbo, Chengdu and Zhongshan. 'MPLS-based IP virtual private networking is a crucial business enabler for Greater China,' said Stephen Ho Wai-chung, chief executive at CPCNet. 'By leveraging the cost efficiencies of a managed VPN service, such as that offered by CPCNet, many large Asian enterprises and multinational corporations can enjoy high network performance, availability and security across Greater China.' The CPCNet expansion makes it one of the most extensive providers of MPLS-based IP VPN service in the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan. It was also the first network operator to launch this service across China. Research firm Ovum has estimated the global MPLS VPN service market segment to grow to US$1.12 billion in 2009 from US$127 million in 2004. MPLS technology is used to boost the speed of network traffic by managing packet data based on priority and service plan. Corel in strategic alliance with Lenovo Former word processing and graphics software titan Corel is staging an unlikely comeback through a landmark deal with the Lenovo Group. The Canadian firm has partnered with the mainland computer giant to provide software for its newly announced line of Lenovo 3000 desktops and laptops for small enterprises, home offices and individual users. Corel Small Business Center - the company's flagship software for office productivity, digital image editing and management, graphics and illustration - is offered free inside the low-cost line of Lenovo-brand personal computers. The software suite includes WordPerfect Office, CorelDRAW, Corel Paint Shop Pro X and Corel Photo Album 6 Starter Edition. Rob Enderle, principal analyst for consultancy firm the Enderle Group, said: 'Lenovo and Corel are positioning this targeted offering primarily at companies with less than 100 users looking for a high-value, feature-rich solution.' Quick recovery tool for sick computers Phoenix Technologies has unveiled an application that enables full personal computer restoration in minutes - without technology systems administrator intervention, network connection or use of external recovery media. Recover Pro 6 was unveiled in Hong Kong last week. 'With ever more capable malware and an increase in phishing attacks, it is becoming more difficult for enterprises to assure business continuity,' said Rick Tam, general manager for Hong Kong and Southeast Asia at Phoenix Technologies. 'Phoenix Recover Pro 6 provides a fast and easy way for enterprise users, particularly mobile users, to restore their PCs after an attack or crash. It also helps fight rapidly rising support costs.' He said enterprises might have deployed sophisticated network perimeter protection but corporate end users still remained vulnerable to attack because about 60 per cent of business-critical information continued to be stored on employee computers, not on more secure company servers. Designed to complement existing network defence applications, Recover Pro 6 is meant to be housed in a protected portion of a computer's hard drive. That gives a higher level of security than other PC recovery software because the program works even when Windows does not boot. Its location also means it is not vulnerable to attacks on the operating system. The recovery process can be accessed easily from a Windows interface or via the F4 hot key when Windows will not boot. Recover Pro 6 is suitable for Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Windows 2000 platforms, with Service Pack 3 or higher versions. It costs $388. Coscon brings in IBM to revamp IT department Mainland shipping giant Cosco Container Lines (Coscon), slowed down by its ageing IT infrastructure, has called on IBM to help revamp its systems for an undisclosed amount to meet growing business worldwide. IBM, through its enterprise integration design centre in Beijing, has implemented a package of software and services to help Coscon streamline business processes, build up efficiency and boost collaboration with customers, partners and suppliers. 'Over the past few years, we have witnessed an increase in demand for our shipping services,' said Ma Tao, deputy general manager for IT operations at Coscon. But he noted that the increased interest had put pressure on its outdated IT set-up, which included an electronic data interchange (EDI) with 21 applications based on a variety of development languages and supported on multiple servers. As Coscon's business continued to grow, its complex IT system hampered the company's ability to respond quickly to its ports of call, and its external and internal customers. To remedy this, the company has adopted IBM's service-oriented architecture. IBM's approach considers information and other IT assets of an organisation as services or building blocks, which can be mixed and matched to create new, flexible business processes. The IBM solution is based on its WebSphere software, which integrated Coscon's EDI applications. It reduces the number of servers to just three from 17.