12/8/2005

Creative To Defend Interface Patent Rights

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

At the London Lauch of their new ‘Zen Vision: M’ portable media player, Creative Labs boss Sim Wong Hoo told the BBC that he plans to defend their August 2005 patent for interfaces in portable music devices.” From the article: “Creative chairman Sim Wong Hoo told the BBC News website that the company was already talking to various parties about the patent but refused to be drawn on specifics. ‘We will pursue all manufacturers that use the same navigation system,’ said Mr Sim. ‘This is something we will pursue aggressively. Hopefully this will be friendly, but people have to respect intellectual property.’

Music giant stamps on song lyric search app

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The developer of a song-lyric search utility has been forced to kill the application after being threatened with legal action by UK music publishing giant Warner/Chappell.

Walter Ritter, creator of the Mac OS X-based pearLyrics, was this week sent a cease and desist letter by the publisher. The company claims pearLyrics “enables people to copy and download lyrics. Inevitably this will enable people to download lyrics owned or controlled by this company, Warner/Chappell Music Ltd.”, the latter states.

However, by reproducing a song’s lyric, even though the words are all easily accessible through any web browser and a half-decent search engine, pearLyrics is contributing to the infringement Warner/Chappell’s copyright. A song’s words, music tabulation and guitar chords are all as well-protected by copyright law as the sound recording they’re heard in. Copying the words out of a CD booklet and posting them on the net is as much an infringement as ripping the tracks and posting them, though arguably less harmful to the artist concerned.

Ritter isn’t alone. His application shipped with a Widget for Mac OS X’s Dashboard tool, and a number of other lyric-displaying Widgets have been pulled of late from Apple’s download directory.

Source: The Register

Symantec Warns of ‘06 Security Threat

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

In an interview this week with VARBusiness, Symantec’s senior director of security response Vincent Weafer said that while widespread worm and virus outbreaks aren’t totally a thing of the past, they are being overshadowed by these new threats.

“We’re seeing a significant decrease in global events and moving toward low-volume, low-profile attacks that are based on profit,” he said.

He noted that Symantec has identified a 700 percent increase in bot-nets over the past year, along with a 143 percent rise in the amount of malicious code traveling across the Internet, and a doubling of phishing attacks during the same period. These are the instances — only recently getting more publicity — of infiltrators trying to dupe people into giving away personal information, such as social-security numbers and passwords to banking or credit-card sites.

Source: VARBusiness

Creative Reveals The ZEN VISION:M

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Creative Technology Ltd. today introduced the Zen Vision:M, Creative’s premier 30GB video player, photo viewer and MP3 player. Designed with a stunning, 2.5-inch, high-resolution 262,144 color LCD screen, the Zen Vision:M displays rich, vibrant digital video, and photos, full-color menus and album art.

The Zen Vision:M carries up to 15,000 songs, and supports music subscription services including Yahoo! Music Unlimited, Napster To Go and Rhapsody To Go. The Zen Vision:M also supports downloads from online music stores like Yahoo! Music, Napster, MSN Music and AOL Music Now. The rechargeable battery provides up to 14 hours of music playback.

The Zen Vision:M delivers four hours of video playback and provides extensive video format support, including MPEG-2, MPEG-4 Simple Profile formats such as Xvid, WMV, and MJPEG for enjoyment of up to 120 hours of movies downloaded from the Internet. The Zen Vision:M also supports TiVoToGo for free viewing of TV shows recorded on a TiVo personal video recorder, digitized home movies transferred from the PC, and video blogs from companies such as RocketBoom.

With capacity for tens of thousands of photos, the Zen Vision:M displays full-color image output on any size TV screen through an optional composite video-out connector. Users can watch slideshows set to music and select individual digital photos as display backgrounders.

The Zen Vision:M host of rich features, including:

  • FM radio and recording - with 32 preset options
  • Intuitive Vertical Touch Pad and Tactile Buttons on the face of the player - including the new “My Shortcut” Button for quick access to favorite DJ functions
  • Content password protection - Protects any content stored on the player
  • Built-in Microphone - shows volume levels on screen for optimum voice recording quality
  • Selectable themes, including Marine Blue, Sable Black, Ice Blue, Forest Green, Candy Pink and Pearl White to match the color scheme of the player menus to any mood
  • Organizer - Provides calendar, tasks and contact lists, and syncs with Microsoft Outlook
  • Extras - Enables setting of Date & Time, plus allocation of Removable Disk space for dedicated storage
  • A clock with wake-to-any-music alarm, color themes and different languages for further customization
  • A bundled AC adapter, valued at US$29.99

The new Creative Zen Vision:M will be available this month for US$329.99. It comes with an AC adapter, USB 2.0 cable, high-quality earphones, and a protective pouch. Optional accessories, including a docking station and an AV-out cable, will be available for purchase separately

More than half of Asia’s software illegal: study

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

More than half the computer software used in the Asia Pacific region last year was illegally downloaded and cost the region billions in lost economic potential, a study released said.

According to the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the regional software piracy rate was 53 percent in 2004, unchanged from the previous year. Globally, the situation improved slightly to 35 percent from 36 percent illegally downloaded in 2003.

If efforts to cut the piracy rate by 10 percentage points to 43 percent by 2009 are successful, 135 billion dollars could be pumped into the region’s economies and state coffers boosted by an extra 14 billion dollars in new tax revenues, the association of software makers said.

Source: AFP

Google nabs Borland tools chief scientist

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google’s quest for high-end programming talent continues unabated. The latest catch is Danny Thorpe, the chief scientist in Borland Software’s developer tools group and leading light in Delphi developer community.

Newsgroups and blogs focused on Delphi - a popular, if niche, developer tool - were abuzz about Thorpe’s departure this week. Thorpe’s own Borland-hosted blog makes no mention of going to Google.

However, John Kaster, a Borland Delphi evangelist, confirmed the move while minimizing its significance. “The product remains, the roadmap is open, the team is still working,” Kaster wrote.

While at Google, Thorpe will be working on the Firefox browser open-source project, according to another Borland Delphi guru Marco Cantu.

Source: News.com

Google takes the bus

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google has debuted a test version of a service that tries to map out the most direct route for public-transportation users.

Google’s transit trip planner, launched Wednesday, is currently limited to Portland, Ore., but may eventually launch on a global scale, according to its Web site.

The Google trip planner asks people to enter their preferred itinerary, such as location of departure and arrival, as well as dates and time of travel. The site then gleans all available information on public-transportation schedules to produce a trip planner.

The trip planner provides an estimated walking time to catch the nearest form of transportation on the desired route, which transit line to catch, as well as estimated traveling time. The trip planner also provides the estimated cost for using public transportation.

Source: ZDNet

Where are Rootkits Coming From?

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The sharp rise in rootkit detections on Windows machines is a direct result of adware/spyware vendors using sophisticated techniques to hide processes and prevent uninstallation, according to anti-virus vendor F-Secure Corp.

The Finnish company, which ships an anti-rootkit scanner in its security suite, has identified ContextPlus, Inc., makers of the Apropos and PeopleOnPage adware programs, as the company responsible for a large number of stealth rootkit infections.

F-Secure chief incident officer Mikko Hypponen said the company’s BlackLight technology has discovered the use of “very advanced rootkit technologies” in Apropos, a spyware program that collects users’ browsing habits and system information and reports back to the ContextPlus servers.

Like the typical spyware application, Apropos uses the data to serve targeted pop-up advertisements while the user is surfing the Web.

Unlike the average worm or bot that use rootkit technologies to avoid detection, Hypponen said the rootkit features built into Apropos aren’t being used to hide the existence of the program on the machine.

“They’re using a very sophisticated kernel-mode rootkit that allows the program to hide files, directories, registry keys and processes,” Hypponen explained in an interview.

Source: eWeek

Yahoo Provides Answers

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Yahoo launched on Thursday a free beta service, Yahoo Answers, that allows people to ask questions online on any topic and get answers from anyone who wants to answer them. The questions can be on any topic, for instance What is the capital of Egypt? and you’ll be able to search for past questions and answers.

Questions are also divided by category which you can also view via RSS.

Intel Working on Rootkit Detection Techniques

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Intel is working on a research project that would immediately notify PC users if they inadvertently download a rootkit such as the XCP (extended copy protection) software found on certain music CDs shipped by Sony, researchers said Tuesday.

Intel today held an open house for press, analysts, students, and employees in Folsom, California, to showcase some of its projects and to talk a little about its vision of the future of computing. That future involves relieving humans of the job of serving as gatekeepers for reams of information flowing between computers and people, said David Tennenhouse, vice president of Intel’s technology group and director of research at the company.

“We need to connect the computers directly to the data, so the human beings don’t have to be the I/O channel, and elevate the role of the human being to a more supervisory role,” Tennenhouse said.

Intel’s project is a long way from appearing in new PCs, however. The project is tentatively scheduled to become part of Intel’s products around 2008 or 2009, according to Travis Schluessler, a researcher with Intel.
Constant Program Monitor

One interesting project involves placing a small chip on a PC’s motherboard to monitor programs constantly for modifications that might be the result of a malicious attack, Schluessler said.

The Intel project seeks to protect systems from malicious programs that make their way onto a system and attack application software running in the system’s memory, Schluessler said. Many modern worms and viruses, such as the Slammer and Blaster worms, attempt either to disable programs running in memory or to alter those programs so that they run the attacker’s code and then propagate themselves across a network, he said.

Source: PC World

Sun makes Niagara an open-source chip

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

In a bid to increase the relevance of its processor line, Sun Microsystems pledged Tuesday to make the underlying designs of its new UltraSparc T1 an open-source project.

The Sparc chip specifications have been available for years to those who pay a fee to licensing organization Sparc International. But now Sun plans to release not just the specifications, but also the design itself, written in the Verilog hardware description language, and an accompanying verification suite and simulation models.

Sun plans to release the information through a new group called OpenSparc in the first quarter of 2006 and will use a license approved by the Open Source Initiative, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said during Tuesday’s launch of the ambitious T1-based T1000 and T2000 servers.

Releasing the UltraSparc T1 details move is likely to appeal chiefly to academia, said Insight 64 analyst Nathan Brookwood. “I really think it may appeal to some researchers. It’s really hard for me to imagine that a serious manufacturer would go off and make a product out of it,” he said.

Source: News.com

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