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Hand-held personal computers may soon have a more radical use — psychotherapy. University of Queensland researcher Justin Kenardy recently completed an international study of 200 patients which found handheld PCs were highly successful in helping to treat panic disorder and agoraphobia. He said the units could help patients through the period in between therapist visits, giving them prompts to help in situations they found difficult, through methods such as breathing control.

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Trying to promote the future of 3G, TelstraClear did some sexy demos last week of videoconferencing between mobile phones and streaming of high-quality video to PCs which weren’t very seamless. The LG videophones connecting to an Ericsson mobile base station on top of TelstraClear’s Sydney headquarters frequently dropped their connection. TelstraClear has many details to work through before it can make 3G a reality and is expected to take advantage of provisions in the Telecommunications Act allowing it to bolt its equipment to the mobile phone sites of rivals and have its customers roam on their mobile networks. TelstraClear wants to have its network vendor in place by the end of this year and exactly what it will offer customers depends on which network provider it chooses, as the vendor will supply some applications. Ericsson, Nokia, Siemens and Nortel are vying for the business.

Ugly

Two Spanish security experts are inviting computer buffs to participate in a competition to deface a Web site on a production server. This isn’t the first time a group of security professionals has challenged people to hack computer systems, nor will it be the last. What’s unusual about this contest, even if it’s not unique, is the target: a production server running Microsoft’s Windows 2000 operating system and chock-full with other software, including Microsoft’s Outlook Web Access, Firewall-1 NG from Check Point Software, Apache 2.0 from the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) and WebTrends Log Analyzer from NetIQ. The Web site, which also serves as the name of the competition, is www.infohacking.com. The aim is to drive home a message to chief technology officers (CTOs) — namely, that no matter how much money they invest in new security software, the people managing the systems are as important as the software, if not more. And the prize? A used Alpha Station 400 from the former Digital Equipment Corp.

E-mails to Sandra_Rossi@idg.com.au

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