9/20/2005

Yahoo Adds Most Useful Information On Search Results

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Yahoo keeps improving their search engine with more useful features.

Today Yahoo! Introduced a new feature in their abstract generating algorithm that tries to guess the most used information about that page, and promotes it into the summaries for search results. Not only does Yahoo! try to figure out the most used information on the page, but also integrate relevant features from other parts of Yahoo!.

For instance, in the example above, you can see that the search engine have found Maps & Reviews on Yahoo! Local, and also found that Yahoo! Local can send the address and phone number to your mobile phone - so that’s there too! But of course, its not always just content from Yahoo! – the search engine also use content from the site itself if that’s more relevant - try searching for Wal-Mart or 511 or FedEx .

Authors Hit Google With Copyright Lawsuit

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

An organization of more than 8,000 authors accused Google Inc. Tuesday of “massive copyright infringement,” saying the powerful Internet search engine cannot put its books in the public domain for commercial use without permission.

“The authors’ works are contained in certain public and university libraries and have not been licensed for commercial use,” The Author’s Guild Inc. said in the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

The lawsuit asked the court to block Google from copying the books so the authors would not suffer irreparable harm by being deprived of the right to control reproduction of their works. It sought class-action status on behalf of anyone or any entity with a copyright to a literary work at the University of Michigan library.

Source: AP

Dell Launches Flash Music Player

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

DJ DittyDell Inc., the world’s largest direct computer seller, on Tuesday launched a new flash-memory digital music player designed to compete with the iPod Shuffle.

Dell billed its DJ Ditty as a better value than the Shuffle. Both devices are $99 and come equipped with 512 megabytes of memory, but because the Ditty uses an audio format that compresses digital music files more efficiently, Dell asserts the Ditty can hold up to 220 songs while the same-sized Shuffle stores about 120.

The biggest difference between the devices is the Ditty’s 1-inch LCD display screen, which helps users navigate their music lists. In addition, the Ditty can receive FM radio.

Source: AP

Microsoft Announced Sweeping Reorganization

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft on Tuesday announced a sweeping reorganization of the company into three new divisions, a shift that will lead to the retirement of long-time Windows development chief Jim Allchin.

The reorganization calls for a reorganization of Microsoft into three large divisions led by individual presidents, each reporting to Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive.
Jim Allchin

  • Jeff Raikes will head up the company’s Business division, which will house Microsoft’s Information Worker group (which includes its Office product line), and its Business Solutions packaged applications group.
  • Kevin Johnson and Jim Allchin will be co-presidents of the Platform Products and Services division, which will comprise Windows Client, Server and Tools and the MSN division. Microsoft said Allchin will hold that new position until he retires once the company ships Windows Vista at the end of next year.
  • Robbie Bach will be president of the Entertainment and Devices division, which will oversee games and mobile device development.

The rationale for the huge reorganization is streamlining the company’s decision-making process and improving product development, Ballmer said in a statement.

Source: News.com

New Extremely Critical Flaw In Firefox

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Security company Secunia reports of a new extremely critical security flaw in the open source browser Firefox.

Peter Zelezny has discovered a vulnerability in Firefox, which can be exploited by malicious people to compromise a user’s system.

The vulnerability is caused due to the shell script used to launch Firefox parsing shell commands that are enclosed within backticks in the URL provided via the command line. This can e.g. be exploited to execute arbitrary shell commands by tricking a user into following a malicious link in an external application which uses Firefox as the default browser (e.g. the mail client Evolution on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4).

This vulnerability can only be exploited on Unix / Linux based environments.

The vulnerability has been confirmed in version 1.0.6 on Fedora Core 4 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4. Other versions and platforms may also be affected.

Right now there is no patch for this flaw, you can avoid this vulnerability by not opening links in Firefox from external applications.

Source: Secunia

Your Credit Card Number On Hotels Access Cards

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Wallace, IT director at AAA Reading-Berks in Wyomissing, Penn. has been bringing a card reader with him on business trips to see what’s on the magnetic strips of his hotel room access cards. To his dismay, a surprising number have contained his name and credit card information - and in unencrypted form.

What’s scary is how easy it is for even a novice to steal this information. He says he bought a $39 card reader at a local retail store and plugged it into his laptop’s USB port. Now when he scans a card, the device inputs the data directly into an open Excel or Word document.

Source: ComputerWorld

Mozilla Responds At Browser Security Claim

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Mozilla has reacted to a Symantec report issued on Monday which said serious vulnerabilities were being found in Mozilla’s browsers faster than in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. The study was conducted over the first six months of 2005.

Tristan Nitot, president of Mozilla Europe, hit back by claiming on Monday that when a vulnerability is found Mozilla’s “ability to react, find a solution and put it into the user’s hands is better than Microsoft.”

Nitot said that Mozilla’s reaction time was faster than Microsoft’s. “If you look at our ability to respond, we are in much better shape. On 6 September an IDN buffer issue was reported to Mozilla. On 8 September it was publicly disclosed. We ask our developers not to mention any problems until we have a fix for them, but for some reason he went public. On 9 September we had a configuration change that disabled the IDN problem, that users could implement manually, or they could use a patch. Within ten days we had a newer version that was fixed completely.”

“If you look at Microsoft — this month they decided to skip a security patch,” so any vulnerabilities won’t be addressed, according to Nitot. “That’s not the kind of thing that happens with us,” he said.

Related article: The Most Secure Browser

Source: ZDNet

AOL, Microsoft Plan Web Phone Services

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

AOL and Microsoft both announced new Internet phone services on Tuesday.

Time Warner Inc. said its America Online Inc. unit would introduce a new Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service called TotalTalk early next month.

Qwest Communications International Inc. and Microsoft Corp. said they will offer Internet phone service to small and medium-sized businesses, starting in 2006.

Source: eWeek

Jobs To Resist Music Comp Demand For Price Increase

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Apple Computer Inc. CEO Steve Jobs vowed Tuesday to resist music companies’ “greedy” demands for price increases on the iTunes music download site and warned that such a move would encourage piracy.

Jobs, speaking to reporters before the opening of the Apple Expo in Paris, acknowledged that some record companies were pushing him to raise the price of each song download, currently 99 cents on the U.S. iTunes site.

Record companies already make more profit by selling a song through iTunes than on a CD, with all the associated manufacturing and marketing costs, Jobs said.

“So if they want to raise the prices it just means they’re getting a little greedy,” he said.

Source: AP

Google To Provide Free Secure WiFi in San Francisco

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and longed for a secure WiFi access, you’ve probably noticed that there are almost none existed.

Well this is how one of Google’s engineer felt too, but unlike everybody else he decided to do something about it.

Using his 20% project time, he began an initiative to offer users more secure WiFi access. Google Secure Access is the result of this endeavor.

The final outcome was that the search engine giant is offering a free VPN (Virtual Private Network) client access called Google Secure Access that allows you to establish a more secure connection while using Google WiFi. By using Google Secure Access, your internet traffic will be encrypted, preventing others from viewing the information you transmit.

If you choose to use Google Secure Access, your internet traffic will be encrypted and sent through Google’s servers to the Internet. The data that is received will then be encrypted and sent back to your computer.

Download Google Secure Access (Beta)

Opera Is Going Free

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Opera Software today permanently removed the ad banner and licensing fee from its Web browser. The ad-free, full-featured Opera browser is now available for download - completely free of charge – at http://www.opera.com.

“Today we invite the entire Internet community to use Opera and experience Web browsing as it should be,” said Jon S. von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software. “Removing the ad banner and licensing fee will encourage many new users to discover the speed, security and unmatched usability of the Opera browser.”

Opera was previously available free of charge with an ad banner. Users had the option of paying a licensing fee to remove the ad banner and receive premium support.

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