11/22/2005

Town votes to rename itself Secretsanta.com

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Officials in the northern Idaho town of Santa, Idaho, on Monday voted to rename the 115-person hamlet Secretsanta.com to hype an online gift exchange management service.

Last-minute legal wrangling left unclear whether the water board for Santa, the town’s only official body, had the authority to approve a new moniker. Even so, the board voted in favor of becoming Secretsanta.com in exchange for an undisclosed sum from a planned documentary on the name change.

Santa is the latest in a lengthening list of rural communities to agree to bear the brand of a company or service. Clark, Texas last week changed its name to Dish to promote EchoStar Communications Corp.’s Dish Network.

Source: Reuters

Hollywood, BitTorrent Reach Agreement

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Hollywood negotiated an agreement Tuesday with the creator of BitTorrent software, popular for downloading pirated movies over the Internet, in a deal aimed at reducing illegal traffic in online films.

The agreement requires 30-year-old software designer Bram Cohen to prevent his Web site, bittorrent.com, from locating pirated versions of popular movies, effectively frustrating people who search for illegal copies of films, according to executives familiar with the deal.

These people spoke only on condition of anonymity because details of the agreement between the major studios and Cohen were being announced later Tuesday in Los Angeles.

The agreement with Cohen would not prevent determined Internet users from finding movies or other materials using tools or Web sites other than Cohen’s, but it removes one of the most convenient methods people have used.

Source: AP

Intel Brings Home Multicore Gaming For The Holidays

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The era of multi-core PC gaming is here and at the Intel-sponsored Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL) World Tour Grand Finals some of the best players, hardware and software come together.

“We have spent the last year empowering more than 10,000 software developers with thousands of multi-core development platforms,? said Bill Kirby, director of planning in Intel’s Software and Solutions Group. “We are now beginning to see the new threaded applications and multi-core platforms gamers have been waiting for.?

Intel’s multi-core processors, such as the Intel Pentium processor Extreme Edition, let software developers add features to their games that create more realistic experiences. The ability to run different threads – or components – of the game in parallel can not only make the game run faster, but can also make it more engaging.

“In Black & White 2, multi-core technology enabled our development team to move the entire physics engine – the component that makes game objects behave like real-life objects – to a separate thread,? said Tim Rance, chief technology officer of Lionhead studios. “As a result, we have managed to run many more objects in the physics simulation so complex scenes appear much more realistic. We also utilized multi-core capabilities in our title The Movies and are excited about the future of multi-core processing.?

Other multi-core games are:

AOL Unveiled Its AIM Triton Service

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

America Online on Tuesday unveiled its AIM Triton Service, as the struggling Internet service provider seeks to stem tide of defecting customers.

AIM Triton is designed to serve as an integrated communications hub for AOL users, offering IM, email, SMS mobile text messaging, voice and video chat services, as well as an online address book feature from Plaxo. The Plaxo service will display a snapshot of information on up to 5,000 contacts listed on a user’s AIM “buddy” list.

Source: News.com

Parents Blame Death Of Son On World of Warcraft

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Xinhua, a mainland China news agency, has reported that the parents of a young boy who committed suicide last year have filed suit against Blizzard, the makers of World of Warcraft. The boy jumped out of a 24-story window on December 27, 2004 and the parents blame the suicide on the boy’s alleged addiction to the game. They also believe that he was trying to reenact a scene from the game.

Source: TGDaily

The 20 Most Critical Internet Security Vulnerabilities

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Global security experts join to issue annual update of SANS top 20 most critical internet vulnerabilities report.

The new report finds significant shifts in software being targeted by attackers.The SANS Top 20, produced since 2000, is the security experts’ consensus of the most critical security vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities are the programming flaws, contained in popular software packages, that deserve immediate attention from security professionals, CIOs and auditors to protect Internet-connected systems from widespread attacks.

The 2005 Top 20 reflects a significant shift from prior years in cyber attack targets. For five years, the majority of attacks targeted operating systems like UNIX and Windows and Internet services like web servers and mail systems. In 2005, however, a new wave of attacks concentrated on application programs.

The most noticeable set of applications that are being targeted by attackers are the backup and recovery tools and the antivirus and other security tools that most organizations think are keeping them safe from attacks and from loss of data. Now many of those systems have been shown to have critical vulnerabilities.

A second important shift in the Top 20 is public recognition of the critical vulnerabilities that are found in network devices such as routers and switches that form the backbone of the Internet. Network devices often have on-board operating systems and can be programmed just like computers. Compromises of network devices can provide attackers one of the most fruitful latforms for eavesdropping and launching targeted attacks.

You can read the complete list here

Company Wants To Reverse Engineer iPod DRM

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A company that specializes in rights-management technology for online stores has declared its plans to reverse-engineer the FairPlay encoding system Apple uses on iTunes Music Store purchases.

The move by Cupertino-based Navio Systems would essentially break Apple’s Digital Rights Management (DRM) system in order to allow other online music retailers to sell downloads that are both DRM-encoded and iPod-compatible by early 2006.

“Typically, we embrace and want to work with the providers of the DRM,? said Ray Schaaf, Navio’s chief operating officer. “With respect to FairPlay, right now Apple doesn’t license that, so we take the view that as RealNetworks allows users to buy FairPlay songs on Rhapsody, we would take the same approach.?

Source: Playlist

Microsoft to standardize Office formats

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft intends to submit file formats for its new Office 12 applications to the European standards body ECMA International. The company hopes this will allay concern about its level of control over document formats.

Microsoft, which dominates the market for desktop productivity software, plans to provide the specifications of Office 12 file formats to ECMA early next month. The technical committee is also being sponsored by Intel, Apple Computer, NextPage and some European customers, including British Petroleum and the British Library.

The creation of a fully documented standard submission derived from the formats, called Microsoft Office Open XML, will likely take about a year, Microsoft executives said. Once Microsoft Office Open XML is recognized as an ECMA standard, the group of companies then intends to pursue standardization at ISO, the International Organization for Standardization, which is particularly influential among government customers.

As part of its standardization effort, Microsoft will change the license in order to remove “virtually all the barriers” for developers working with the file formats.

Source: News.com

Patch issued for Sony CD uninstaller

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

SunnComm Technologies, a company that provides copy-protection technology for some Sony BMG CDs, said Monday it had issued a patch for a serious security flaw in its uninstallation program.

The program was a Web-based utility designed to remove copy protection software installed by some Sony CDs. However, the uninstaller, which had been used by 223 people before being taken offline, according to SunnComm, also allowed other Web sites to use the program to run their own malicious code.

Source: News.com

FBI Warns of E-Mail About Surveillance

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The Federal Bureau of Investigation issued an alert Monday about a scam involving unsolicited e-mails, purportedly sent by the FBI, that tell computer users that their Internet surfing is being monitored by the agency.

The users are told they have visited illegal Web sites and are instructed to open an attachment to answer questions.

The FBI did not send these e-mails and does not send any other unsolicited e-mails to the public, an agency statement said. As many harmful computer viruses are located in e-mail attachments, the FBI said it strongly encourages computer users not to open attachments from unknown recipients.

The FBI is investigating the scam. Recipients of these e-mails are asked to report them by visiting the Internet Crime Complaint Center at http://www.ic3.gov .

Source: AP

Google unveils tool to map shopping trips

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Joining the herd of Web sites jostling to cash in on the holiday shopping season, online search engine leader Google Inc. is adding a tool designed to make it easier for consumers to map out their local trips to the mall.

The feature, to be unveiled Tuesday at Google’s Froogle shopping site, will pinpoint the merchants selling a specific item within a designated ZIP code. Besides displaying a map showing all the local stores carrying the merchandise, Froogle also will list price differences.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company developed the free tool to help consumers avoid the frustration of traveling to a store that no longer has an item on their shopping lists, said Marissa Mayer, Google’s director of consumer products.

Froogle, a comparison shopping site that Google launched three years ago, will continue to give visitors the option to buy the merchandise online. Google receives a commission for the online referrals.

Source: AP

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