8/22/2005

Canon Updates the PowerShot Line

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Canon went all out with the announcements today, introducing nine new cameras in every category from the entry-level A410 to the high-end, pro-level EOS 1D Mark II N.

In the compact A series, Canon will be keeping the PowerShot A510 and A520 and adding three new cameras: the A410, A610, and A620. The 3.2MP Canon PowerShot A410 ($149 list) is the entry level model, with 3.2X optical zoom, 14 shooting modes, and a 1.5-inch LCD. The A410 will record Motion JPEG video, but without audio, and runs on AA batteries.

The PowerShot A610 and A620 make up the high end of Canon’s compact-camera line. The A610 ($299 list) is a 5MP compact with 4X optical zoom, a 2-inch articulating LCD, and 20 shooting modes, including eight special scene modes. The 7.1MP PowerShot A620 ($399) is essentially the same as the A610 but with a higher megapixel count. Both cameras can also shoot Motion JPEG video with audio.

The black-and-boxy PowerShot S80 ($549 list) is a follow-up to the popular S70, with a 28- to 100-mm wide-angle lens (35-mm equivalent), a large 2.5-inch LCD, and 3.6X optical zoom. The 8MP camera includes 21 shooting modes, an optional housing for underwater shooting, and VGA or XGA video-shooting capabilities.

Source: PCMag

Video games make children violent

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Fresh debate raged over violence in video games after new research concluded that kids who blast away for hours are more aggressive, clash with their elders and can lag behind at school.

Children who chop and slash through karate games, for instance, apparently tend to try out moves on friends, while teachers have noticed that pupils who play violent games are more aggressive than those who don’t, the research found.

The research is fuelling a campaign by family values groups and latched on to by some US politicians against sex and violence in video games, which recently forced makers of one release, the famed “Grand Theft Auto” to halt production.

Young gamers “tend to imitate the moves that they just ‘acted out’ in the game they played,” said Kevin Kieffer, of Saint Leo University in Florida, co-author of an assessment of 20 years of research into the issue.

Source: AFP

Microsoft Buffs Sparkle ‘Flash Killer’

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

At its upcoming Professional Developers Conference next month, Microsoft Corp. is set to shed more details on its developer-oriented graphics tool, code-named Sparkle.

Sparkle will be one element of the upcoming Expression Studio suite of design and developer tools for the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), formerly known as Avalon. Expression Studio also is expected to be unveiled at the PDC, sources said.

Expression Studio also will feature a design tool Microsoft has code-named Acrylic, which Microsoft said last week will support the Microsoft Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML). Other components of Expression Studio will be delivered over time, sources said.

Sources said the primary goal of the Expression suite is to solidify Microsoft’s presence in the developer space by not conceding the design market to Adobe/Macromedia

Source: eweek

Amazon Nets Shutterfly For Photo Services

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Amazon.com has formed a new partnership with Shutterfly to provide online photo services to its customers, the companies said Monday.

Under the relationship, the two companies have built a co-branded Web site where consumers can get their digital photos turned into prints and share their images with others online. The services will also be offered through links on Amazon’s homepage and its online electronics store.

The service will also sell items such as cards, calendars, mugs and T-shirts with photos scanned onto them. In addition, Amazon customers can create a free online album with two separate image collections that have no set storage limits and are maintained at a personalized Web address. The service also offers free image-editing tools.

US Air Force Scrambles After Privacy Breach

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The US Air Force has been forced to notify more than 33,000 airmen that their personal details might have been exposed following the discovery of a computer security breach. The notification comes after Air Force personnel officers discovered suspiciously high activity on one account into a careers database, called AMS (Assignment Management System), dating back to June.

A preliminary investigation suggests a hacker used a legitimate user’s login information to access sensitive data from servers at the Randolph Air Force Base in Texas, the HQ of the Air Force’s human resources operations. The motive for the attack remains unclear but affected air force personnel are being urged to take precautions in case their details are misused by ID thieves or the like. Meanwhile Air Force and federal investigators are investigating the breach, which is sadly reminiscent of the many consumer privacy breaches suffered by US corporations over recent months.

Source: The Register

Companies Offer Cell-Phone Comics in Japan

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. will almost triple the number of comic books it formats for viewing on cell phones in a move that will make it the No. 1 provider of popular Japanese “manga” comics for cell phones, a company official said Monday.

The Sony Corp. unit will increase the number of titles it offers to 300 over the next year. That’s more than double the number offered by top rivals NTT Solmare and Toppan Publishing combined, though the two competitors also plan to boost their libraries.

Japanese viewers pay 315 yen ($2.90) to download five manga titles a month by an artist of their choice.

The marriage between cell-phone technology and manga comic books, which are wildly popular across all ages in Japan, is a natural progression in a nation where people already download music, games and even novels onto their mobiles.

Source: AP

Smugmug Combines Photography and Geography

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Smugmug Inc., the photo sharing site, today announced the launch of smugMaps — a feature that allows users to combine photos and maps with a click.

“If you’ve been there and done that, smugMaps let you prove it,” said Don McAskill, co-founder and Chief Geek, Smugmug Inc. “Bragging rights aside, it’s a great way to store your photos by location or let your friends and family experience your travels as though they were actually there.”

Customers can enter an address for any photo or just click a spot on a map to link their pictures to any latitude and longitude on Earth. When friends visit their online albums, they click a map button to see stunning photos seamlessly integrated with scrollable, zoomable Google maps.

Photo-geeks who use handheld GPS (Global Positioning System) devices or GPS integrated cameras and camera phones to digitally tag their photos with precise location data will rejoice when they discover that Smugmug automatically reads it and instantly makes their photo galleries mappable.

Google IM To Unveil On Wednesday ?

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google executives say they plan to unveil on Wednesday a “communications tool” that is potentially a clear step beyond the company’s search-related business focus.

While executives would not disclose what the new software tool might be, Google has long been expected to introduce an instant messaging service to compete with services offered by America Online, Yahoo and MSN from Microsoft.

A new Google strategy to enter the communications world could raise even more interesting questions than the current Silicon Valley hubbub over what it might choose to buy.

Source: N.Y Times

Sun launches open-source digital rights plan

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

After years of work, Sun Microsystems has begun trying to rally corporate allies behind a neutral standard for digital rights management, technology that governs how music, video or other information can be used or copied.

Sun President Jonathan Schwartz announced the long-brewing project, called the Open Media Commons, at the Progress and Freedom Foundation’s Aspen Summit on Sunday. The software the company hopes will be employed for digital rights management (DRM) is coming from Sun Labs and is called Dream (DRM everywhere available).

Dream is open-source software governed by Sun’s Community Development and Distribution License–the same license it uses to cover its OpenSolaris operating system. Dream’s components include software for letting different DRM systems interoperate based on credentials held by individuals, not by particular devices; server software for delivering streaming video; and Java software for managing video streams.

Source: ZDNet

Google revamps desktop search program

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google Inc. updated its software for searching PC hard drives and the Internet, giving the free program a new look and adding tools that deliver personalized information based on a user’s Web surfing habits.

Google Desktop 2, available Monday as a public beta test, is the company’s latest volley against Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. as all three race to expand their presence on PC desktops.

The latest Google offering includes several twists. Beyond providing search results, it monitors the user’s behavior and presents relevant information in a resizable and moveable vertical window called the Sidebar.

One module aggregates e-mail messages from a variety of accounts, including Google’s Gmail service or the user’s Internet provider. Others display stock prices, personalized news headlines, weather reports and what’s popular on the Web.

Another module pulls RSS feeds from Web sites that have been visited and offer that service. Unlike other feed aggregators, the user need not take any action for a feed to be added.

A photo module displays pictures from the local PC. It also pulls pictures from Web-based galleries that have been visited.

Some features, including personalized news, involve sending details of its users surfing habits back to Google. Bhatla said no personally identifying data is transmitted, and users can opt out.

Google Desktop 2 also offers the ability to encrypt - or scramble - the index to protect it from being read by unauthorized parties.

The software works on computers running Windows 2000 or Windows XP. Mac OS X is not supported.

Source: AP

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