11/29/2005

Microsoft Testing Its Own ‘Google Base’

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp. said it is readying an online marketplace, code-named Fremont, which is apparently in response to a similar feature that rival Google Inc. introduced a few weeks ago.

Fremont is a free service in which people contribute listings, whether it’s about a couch for sale or someone looking for a commuting partner.

Microsoft plans to index each item, thereby adding it to the results from using Microsoft’s Internet search engine.

The software giant will enhance the Fremont listings with localized maps, and make them available through Microsoft’s newly revamped Internet portal, now known as Live.com, according to the company.

Source: eWeek

Microsoft Drops the Office Open Standard Ball

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp.’s open-standard Office XML format announcement may have proved to be a dud.

When Microsoft announced a week ago Monday that it had decided to open up its Office 12 XML file formats and had submitted the formats to be considered as a formal open standard by ECMA International, Alan Yates, the general manager of Microsoft’s Information Worker Strategy, said, “The new license that will accompany the Open XML format with the standards organization will go well beyond traditional standards licensing and will be very positive for the vast majority of developers, even open-source developers.”

This new license was to have been released last Wednesday. Instead, all that Microsoft did was to release its Patent Protection Covenant for its Office XML formats.

The only difference between Microsoft’s November 2003 open and royalty-free license for the Office 2003 Reference Schemas and today’s Office 2003 license, according to the company, is that “Microsoft is offering a covenant not to sue for the Office 2003 Reference Schemas.”

Source: eWeek

Sun plugs serious holes in Java

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Sun Microsystems has fixed five security bugs in Java that expose computers running Windows, Linux and Solaris to hacker attack.

The flaws are “highly critical,” according to an advisory from Secunia posted Tuesday. Vulnerabilities that get that ranking–one notch below “extremely critical,” the security monitoring company’s most severe rating–typically open the door to a remote intruder and to full compromise of the system.

All the flaws affect the Java Runtime Environment, or JRE, in computers loaded with Microsoft Windows, Linux or Sun’s own Solaris operating system. This is the software many computer owners have on their system to run Java applications. The bugs could allow an intruder to use a Java application to inappropriately read and write files, or to run code on a victim’s computer, Sun said in three separate security advisories released late Monday.

The vulnerabilities also affect specific versions of the Sun Java Software Development Kit (SDK) and Java Development Kit (JDK), according to those advisories.

Sun, based in Santa Clara, Calif., is urging people to install updated software to protect their systems. It has released updates to address the issues, including JDK and JRE 5.0 Update 4, which was actually delivered on June 23. A newer version, Update 5, was issued in September, but Sun would not say if additional security problems were fixed in that release. The software can be downloaded from the Sun Java Web site.

Source: News.com

Firefox 1.5 Final Released

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Mozilla.org released the much anticipated open source browser Firefox 1.5.

This is the first major release, that comes a year after the initial Firefox 1.0 release brings few improvments over its predecesor:

  • Automated update to streamline product upgrades. Notification of an update is more prominent, and updates to Firefox may now be half a megabyte or smaller. Updating extensions has also improved.
  • Faster browser navigation with improvements to back and forward button performance.
  • Drag and drop reordering for browser tabs.
  • Improvements to popup blocking.
  • Clear Private Data feature provides an easy way to quickly remove personal data through a menu item or keyboard shortcut.
  • Answers.com is added to the search engine list.
  • Improvements to product usability including descriptive error pages, redesigned options menu, RSS discovery, and “Safe Mode” experience.
  • Better accessibility including support for DHTML accessibility and assistive technologies such as the Window-Eyes 5.5 beta screen reader for Microsoft Windows. Screen readers read aloud all available information in applications and documents or show the information on a Braille display, enabling blind and visually impaired users to use equivalent software functionality as their sighted peers.
  • Report a broken Web site wizard to report Web sites that are not working in Firefox.
  • Better support for Mac OS X (10.2 and greater) including profile migration from Safari and Mac Internet Explorer.
  • New support for Web Standards including SVG, CSS 2 and CSS 3, and JavaScript 1.6.
  • Many security enhancements.

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New Orleans to get free public Wi-Fi service

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Looking to add a bright spot for citizens still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans Tuesday is expected to unveil a free municipally owned wireless Internet access system.

Published reports say the city’s Mayor, Ray Nagin, will announce the 512K bit/sec Wi-Fi network, which will also be used by police and local government activities.

According to The Times Picayune , most of the systems’ equipment was donated and the city will run the operation - at least initially. The network will span the city’s central business district and the French Quarter at first but will grow in the future.

Source: networkworld

New p2p service uses Gmail storage

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Ever wondered what you might do with the 2GB storage provided by Google’s Gmail service? A Dutch student Robbie Groenewoudt has come up with a novel solution. His new service, known as G2G Exchange combines the storage capacity of Gmail with p2p technology to create a new file-sharing service.

The new service requires that a user reveals some login information, so it is not something that you would want to use for a personal email service. Groenewoudt suggests that users open a new Gmail account especially for the purposes of running the service.

Source: PC Pro

Sony To Use MPEG-2 In Blu-Ray DVD

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

As Hollywood readies its new and controversial high-definition DVDs, at least one major studio is leaving some of the most advanced parts of the new disc formats on the table in favor of technology that’s more than a decade old.

Last week, studio giant Sony Pictures quietly voted for “none of the above,” and took a swipe at the new codec formats. The new advanced codecs aren’t immediately necessary for discs released in Sony’s high-capacity Blu-ray format, Sony Pictures executives said in an interview with CNET News.com, and the studio would instead use the 11-year-old MPEG-2 video codec used on today’s DVDs.

“Advanced (formats) don’t necessarily improve picture quality,” said Don Eklund, Sony Pictures’ senior vice president of advanced technology. “Our goal is to present the best picture quality for Blu-ray. Right now, and for the foreseeable future, that’s with MPEG-2.”

The studio’s decision represents a setback for the advanced codecs and their backers–an even greater one if other studios such as Disney, Paramount or Universal Pictures decide to follow Sony’s lead, as some industry insiders predict. And that could happen, particularly in the early days of the new DVDs, when the new codecs are unfamiliar to producers and engineers who have to create the DVD files, some analysts say. Hollywood production staff know how to make a clean DVD picture using the old technology, while the newer formats remain relatively unexplored territory.

But so far, studios remain split.

Representatives for Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox said they were planning to use the new formats. Warner is leaning toward Microsoft’s VC-1 format, while Fox is leaning towards the AVC format, the studios said.

Source: News.com

Coming Soon Single Letter Web Addresses

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Although Internet domain names may be getting longer or more complex as Web sites creatively squeeze into the crowded “.com” address space, most single-letter names like “a.com” and “b.com” remain unused. That may soon change as the Internet’s key oversight agency considers lifting restrictions on the simplest of names.

In response to requests by companies seeking to extend their brands, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers will chart a course for single-letter Web addresses as early as this weekend, when the ICANN board meets in Vancouver, British Columbia. Those names could start to appear next year.

But the transition won’t be easy - and it could lead to six-figure sales of this new online real estate, akin to opening New York’s Central Park to development.

Six single-letter names already claimed at the time - “q.com,” “x.com, “z.com,” “i.net,” “q.net,” and “x.org” - were allowed to keep their names for the time being.

One idea was to create a mechanism for splitting a single database into 26 - one corresponding to each letter. So instead of storing the domain name for The Associated Press under “.org,” it would go under “a.org.” In other words, “ap.org” would become “ap.a.org.”
Now, engineers have concluded that won’t be necessary. They have seen the address database grow to hold millions of names without trouble, so they are now willing to let go of the single-letter names they had reserved.

Source: AP

Eclipse developers to get AJAX access

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Developers accustomed to the Eclipse open source tools platform will have access to AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript plus XML) functionality from Genuitec.

The company in December plans to ship MyEclipse Enterprise Workbench 4.1, a new version of Genuitec’s J2EE IDE that is built on the Eclipse platform and offers support for developing with AJAX. JavaScript editing and debugging are featured.

The AJAX support is being billed by Genuitec as a first step in offering Web 2.0 development capabilities. Web 2.0 refers to an industry effort to transition the Web from a collection of static Web sites to a platform for applications.

Source: InfoWorld

Apple to ‘add iPod Dock’ to Mac Mini

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Apple’s abortive attempt to integrate an iPod Dock into the Mac Mini may yet come to fruition as the company prepares to enter the media centre arena using the diminutive computer.

Claims that the Mini design originally included a Dock were made this past March after electronics specialist Leo Bodnar took his Mini to bits and spotted unused bus connections on the riser card that connects the optical drive to the motherboard. The card appeared to contain a Firewire link that wasn’t needed by the ATA-100 optical drive and didn’t connect to anything else. With the riser card reaching up to the top of the Mini’s casing, Bodnar speculated that the Mac was originally conceived as sporting an integrated Dock.

Now, Apple-watching website ThinkSecret reckons it’s going to happen. Its sources claim an Intel-based Mac Mini, codenamed ‘Kaleidoscope’ and due to be announced at Macworld Expo next month, will sport such a Dock along with version 2.0 of Apple’s Media Center Edition-like Front Row shell and PVR functionality.

Source: The Register

Symantec scraps Sygate consumer firewall

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

One month after closing the Sygate Technologies takeover, Symantec is cutting the Sygate Personal Firewall products because of overlap with the Norton Personal Firewall.

The Sygate Personal Firewall and Sygate Personal Firewall Pro products will no longer be available effective Nov. 30, Symantec spokesman Phil Weiler said Monday. Consumers will receive special upgrade pricing when they buy a replacement product from Symantec’s Norton family of Internet security products, he said.

By pulling the Sygate Personal Firewall, Symantec is further reducing the options for people looking for a free firewall for their computer. Sygate offered the Sygate Personal Firewall at no cost and sold Sygate Personal Firewall Pro. Kerio Technologies has previously said it will discontinue its desktop firewall at the end of this year.

Source: News.com

11/28/2005

Maxell focuses on holographic storage

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Information storage media company Maxell has said it will launch its first holographic storage products in September 2006. The first removable drive will have a capacity of 300GB and a throughput of 160mbps.

Holographic storage works by storing information using light-sensitive crystals. Because it uses the whole volume of the drive–whose prototype looks somewhat like a floppy disk–not just the surface, it’s possible to store much more information than is possible on a DVD.

With a single holographic removable drive, or disk, able to store 1.6 million high-resolution color photos or more than 240 hours of TV broadcast, holographic storage is starting to draw the attention of many in the IT industry.

“Holographic media makes it possible for millions of pages of information and high-definition images to be held on one small, relatively inexpensive disk,” said Steven Pofcher, senior marketing manager at Maxell.

“That’s pretty inexpensive,” Tarasoff said. “Even the first versions can store 300GB per disk, and it has 160mbps data throughput rates. That’s burning. Then combine it with random access, and it’s the best of all worlds.”

Source: News.com

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