HK resident set to tour space\nFormer Livedoor executive and Hong Kong resident Daisuke 'Dice-K' Enomoto is poised to become the world's fourth space tourist, according to Space Adventures, a Virginia-based space tourism company. Mr Enomoto, 34, will be the first fare-paying explorer from Asia to visit the International Space Station (ISS) following Dennis Tito, Mark Shuttleworth and most recently, Gregory Olsen. Mr Enomoto's 10-day expedition is scheduled for November this year. He will spend eight days on the ISS after making the one-day journey to the craft in a Russian Soyuz capsule. He has already begun his cosmonaut training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Star City, Russia. 'I am proud to be the first private citizen from Japan to begin training for an orbital spaceflight. I hope that by my interest in space exploration will encourage many others to learn more about the mysteries of the black sky. For the past 30 years, I have dreamt of seeing our Mother Earth from space,' Mr Enomoto said. He was the chief strategic officer at IT company Livedoor but left before the recent scandal beset the company. He now works as an independent investor. Agence France-Presse Global leaders play to iPod tunes\nThe iPod mania shows no signs of slowing. In the same week as Pope Benedict XVI received a white nano preloaded with his favourite classical music and Vatican Radio podcasts, British Prime Minister Tony Blair was asked about his on the late night Parkinson Show. While the Pope's only comment was to acknowledge that 'computer technology is the future', Mr Blair was happy to admit that he was 'not always in control of it'. 'My daughter [Kathryn] does all the songs. I'm not very good with the technology. I'm not very good with any aspect of it,' he said, according to a report in The Register. Mr Blair can take solace from the fact his key ally, George W. Bush, also reportedly has little knack for the diminutive player. When Mr Bush uses his iPod while mountain biking, the tell-tale white buds pump out songs loaded for the president by an aide. While their close links have been shown to extend beyond politics, Mr Bush and Mr Blair do not see eye to eye when it comes to music. The US president prefers country music greats George Jones and Alan Jackson, and even some Van Morrison. But for Mr Blair? Christina Aguilera. Webcams at funerals\nA crematorium in Britain has installed webcams to let mourners unable to travel to a funeral pay their respects online, according to the BBC. Hull City Council said the enhanced services at the Chanterlands Crematorium were part of a wider refurbishment programme for all its chapels. Mourners will be given an access code to watch the services from anywhere in the world. The council said it got the idea after seeing mourners filming funeral services with camcorders. Webcams will be installed in each of the chapels and people who want to watch the service will be issued a code for access, according to Mike Anderson from the council's bereavement services department 'The beauty of this system will be that it's in real time,' he said. Cisco leads sales for fourth straight year\nStrong demand for its routers helped Cisco Systems top worldwide sales of network security appliances and software products for the fourth consecutive year. Infonetics Research said the global network security appliances and software market touched US$4.3 billion last year, up 15 per cent from US$3.7 billion in 2004. Networking giant Cisco led all vendors with its 34 per cent revenue market share, which it has, more or less, maintained since 2002, according to Infonetics Research. Check Point Software Technologies was No2 in the market, with a 10 per cent share, while Juniper Networks was third with an 8 per cent share. 'As the network continues to be a mission-critical business system for organisations of all sizes, a top priority for customers is securing their information assets and minimising the impact of viruses and worms,' said John Chambers, president and chief executive of Cisco Systems. Infonetics Research ranked Internet Security Systems, McAfee (formerly Network Associates), Nokia, Nortel Networks, SonicWALL and Symantec as 'strong second-tier players'. Subsidiary of Sybase updates key software\nWith the worldwide mobile workforce continuing to expand, Sybase subsidiary iAnywhere last week unveiled a major revamp of its software that is used to deploy enterprise applications on portable devices. The new M-Business Anywhere 6.0 comes with support for double-byte Asian languages and applications, web services integration, remote upgrades, a new management user interface, on-device content password protection and three server caching options. Horace Chow Chok-kee, vice-president at Sybase Asia Pacific, said: 'Developers can create mobile web applications for personal digital assistant devices, smartphones, laptops and tablet personal computers using an always-available architecture.' Stephen Drake, programme director for mobile software research at International Data Corp (IDC) said organisations were making concerted efforts 'to mobilise their assets to improve employee productivity, create additional business efficiencies, increase customer satisfaction and provide return on investment for its business'. IDC has forecast that the global mobile workforce will increase to more than 850 million by 2009 from 650 million in 2004. HK sweeps technology awards at APICTA Show\nTwo leading universities, the MTR Corp and the government spearheaded Hong Kong's victory at the Asia-Pacific Information and Communications Technology Awards (APICTA) in Thailand last month. Hong Kong representatives won six prizes and an award of merit at the event held in Chiang Mai, where about 15 top awards were up for grabs. There were 164 entries from across the region. The Immigration Department won an award in the e-government and services category for its face recognition system. In the health-care category, the Hospital Authority took the award for its electronic patient record with radiological image distribution project. Local firm iTechnology received a merit award for its Hua Tuo chinese medical clinical management system. The MTR Corp and City University won in the industrial applications category for their engineering works and traffic information management system. In research and development, Chinese University won for its virtual Acupuncture project. Local firm eBroker Systems took the prize in financial applications for 'eBrokerSys', an intelligent global trading system. The best start-up company award was given to mobile game and community platform services provider Green Tomato. APICTA was initiated by the Multimedia Development Corp of Malaysia in 2001. Macau is scheduled to hold this year's edition of the awards. Leading airline aims to boost internet sales\nChina Southern Airlines, the mainland's largest airline - and its first carrier to sell electronic tickets - will push for a more aggressive internet strategy this year by expanding its domestic and online distribution network. Jerry Hu, general manager for e-commerce at China Southern Airlines, said the carrier aimed to 'improve its in-house e-ticketing system and co-operate with more online travel agencies and meta-search companies'. The move comes as the International Air Transport Association requested its member airlines to fully adopt internet ticketing by the end of next year. 'Last year we reached 15 per cent, so we still have a big challenge,' Mr Hu said. To bolster its internet initiative, China Southern Airlines has formed a sales network with 5,600 agencies and set up Sky Pearl Club service counters at 90 airports on the mainland. A report from Dublin-based Research and Markets said the mainland's nascent online travel market was worth 5 billion yuan in 2004. That is expected to reach 77.2 billion yuan by 2009, representing an annual growth rate of 72 per cent.