9/24/2005

MSN Search Toolbar Gets Contextual Search Add-in

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The Watson 2.0 contextual search software released by Intellext earlier this month is now available as an add-in package for Microsoft’s MSN Search Toolbar application, Intellext announced Friday.

Watson 2.0, which Intellext calls a “personal research assistant,” provides computer users with Web links related to text displayed on Microsoft’s Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Internet Explorer applications, as well as the Firefox browser for the stand-alone Watson 2.0 package. For example, if a computer user surfed to the CNN.com Friday story, “Evacuee bus explodes as Rita closes in,” Watson would point the user to 36 related general Web links, one news link, two Web log links, and three research links.

With Watson incorporated into the Windows Desktop Search functionality of the MSN Search Toolbar, users get a “non-intrusive sidebar” that automatically returns related Web data, Intellext said. The Watson add-in download is available for a free 30-day trial; after that, it costs $10 a month or $99 a year.

Source: PCWorld

Weekly Software Updates

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Popular software titles updated in the past week

Next-Generation Blogging Platform Previews

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

While no one fears a Weblogging shortage any time soon, a new platform will tempt even more uninitiated civilians to enter the blogosphere when Six Apart releases its public beta of Project Comet in early 2006.

The new platform, which was shown at Demo Fall today, in Huntington Beach, Calif., boasts streaming video, voice, music and photos combined in a novice-level interface aimed at serving users from all levels and backgrounds.

Six Apart executives envision the blog evolving into a personal communication tool rather than an exclusively public medium.

Source: eWeek

Visa, MasterCard Will Not Warn Consumers

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A California judge ruled Friday that Visa USA Inc. and MasterCard International Inc. don’t have to send individual warnings to thousands of consumers whose personal account information was stolen during a high-tech heist uncovered earlier this year.

“I don’t see the emergency,” San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer said in rejecting a request for an order against the nation’s two largest credit card associations. “I don’t think there is an immediate threat of irreparable injury” to consumers.

The ruling represents a setback for a consumer lawsuit targeting Visa and MasterCard for a computer security breakdown that occurred between August 2004 and May at CardSystems Solutions Inc., a payment processor for merchants.

The breach, initially disclosed by MasterCard three months ago, exposed up to 40 million credit and debit accounts to potential abuse. The still-unknown computer hacker grabbed enough sensitive account information to defraud at least 264,000 accountholders, according to evidence gathered in the case so far.

Source: AP

More Colleges Offering Video Game Courses

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

More and more, video game-related courses are being offered in colleges around the country in response to the digital media industry’s appetite for skilled workers and the tastes of a new generation of students raised on Game Boy and Xbox.

Animation I, Cognition & Gaming and Computer Music are being offered as part of the year-old minor in game studies at RPI, one of dozens of schools that have added courses or degree programs related to video gaming in recent years.

RPI, which plans to offer a major in the field next year, graduated 27 gaming minors in its first year and expects a jump this year.

“The concept of designing good video games, or designing good human-computer interactions — that’s what I’m interested in,” said Chelsea Hash, a senior with a video game minor and a major in electronic arts.

From Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute to the University of Colorado, at least 50 schools around the country now offer courses in video game study, development or design, according to industry groups.

Source: AP

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