Expedia.com.au Launches in Australia

Filed under: — Galit

Expedia, Inc. (Nasdaq: EXPE), the online travel company, today announced the launch of its Australian website, Expedia.com.au .

The new website offers Australian consumers a set of features to help them make informed decisions and choose the hotel that best meets their needs from a selection of over 60,000 properties worldwide. Consumers can also choose from a broad range of over 2,000 activities and attractions in more than 250 destinations around the globe.

Bill Gates launches hunt for top Indian technology students

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates launched a talent hunt for India’s top technology students and urged software developers to cash in on the digital age.

Addressing over 5,000 developers in the grounds of a historic palace in India’s high-tech capital, Gates said the search, dubbed “Code 4 Bill,” recognised India’s role in nurturing technical talent.

“This is something we’ve never done before anywhere,” Gates said. “It’s aimed at pre-final and final year students. The best among the participants will get an opportunity to work with my Technical Assistants Team for a year.

“I’ll get to know them. I’m very excited about this,” he said.

Registration for the contest will start in January and students will be tested for technical and analytical skills. They will also be interviewed by Microsoft technical teams.

“Twenty selected students will also intern with Microsoft India before the final selection,” Gates said.

On the last leg of his India tour after visiting New Delhi and the southern city of Chennai, Gates said India’s software talents “are quite amazing.”

Source: AFP

Yahoo Purchased del.icio.us

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Today del.icio.us reported on their blog that Yahoo acquired del.icio.us
From the post:

We’re proud to announce that del.icio.us has joined the Yahoo! family. Together we’ll continue to improve how people discover, remember and share on the Internet, with a big emphasis on the power of community. We’re excited to be working with the Yahoo! Search team - they definitely get social systems and their potential to change the web. (We’re also excited to be joining our fraternal twin Flickr!)

We want to thank everyone who has helped us along the way - our employees, our great investors and advisors, and especially our users. We still want to get your feedback, and we look forward to bringing you new features and more servers in the future.

I look forward to continuing my vision of social and community memory, and taking it to the next level with the del.icio.us community and Yahoo!

Answers.com Acquires Natural Language Technology

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Answers.com, the answer-based search engine, announced the acquisition of Brainboost Technology, LLC for $4 million in cash and 439,000 shares of restricted stock, including certain price protection rights. The company plans to integrate the Brainboost answer extraction engine - cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology enabling natural language search on the Web - into its own product line. Mr. Assaf Rozenblatt, developer of the proprietary technology, has joined the Answers.com team as Director of Natural Language Research.

eBay halts auction of Excel flaw

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

An online auction of a “brand new vulnerability” in Microsoft Excel had reached about $60 when eBay pulled the item late Thursday.

A seller using the name “fearwall” started the auction Wednesday evening at 1 cent. It was up to $56 on Thursday afternoon with 21 bids placed, and eBay squashed the auction soon after that.

The online auctioneer removed the item because it contravened its guidelines, eBay spokeswoman Catherine England said Friday. “The listing was pulled for violating our policy against encouraging illegal activity,” she said in an e-mailed statement.

Microsoft is aware of the reported flaw and has been working with eBay on the matter, a company representative said in a statement. “This possible vulnerability was being auctioned on eBay, but has now been removed,” the representative said.

Source: News.com

Web Advertising Expected to Double In 5 Years

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Internet advertising is expected to account for 10 percent of the overall U.S. market by 2010, a twofold increase over last year, a market research firm said Thursday.

In five years, revenues from online advertising will reach $23.5 billion out of the estimated $235 billion companies are expected to spend, Park Associates said. Last year, Internet advertising accounted for 5 percent of a $189 billion market, which includes newspapers, magazines, cable TV and network TV.

In terms of a compound annual growth rate, online advertising is projected to increase 14 percent over the next five years.

As a result of this growth, the Internet is expected to become a mainstream advertising platform that attracts top dollars from advertisers, Harry Wang, research analyst for Park Associates said.

Source: Internetweek

Microsoft Planning IE7 Security Zone Lockdowns

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp. has announced plans to make several key default changes to Internet Explorer 7’s security zones to further harden the browser from malicious hacker attacks.

The built-in zones, used in IE to enforce security rules for Web sites by grouping them into categories, will be changed to scrap the use of the “Intranet” zone unless the computer has joined a domain.

According to details posted on the official IE Blog, Microsoft will also making significant default changes in the “Internet Zone” and “Trusted Sites” zone to provide defense-in-depth against some dangerous IE attack vectors.

“The Internet zone, where most users browse, will be tightened down with two very notable changes. The Internet zone will run in Protected Mode on Windows Vista,” the company explained. “ActiveX Opt-In will also help reduce the attack surface of ActiveX controls in the internet zone.”

Customers who depend on the IE6 level of the Trusted Sites zone will be able lower settings back to IE6 levels with a slider on the “Security” tab of “Internet Options” or through policy settings.

Source: eWeek

Sony says PS3 still on track for spring launch

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Sony Corp. on Thursday said it remained on track to roll out its PlayStation 3 game console by spring 2006 despite industry speculation that the scheduled launch could face delays.

The timing of the release of Sony’s updated PlayStation console has become a matter of speculation in the $25 billion video game industry and among the studios, hardware makers and other companies looking to handicap the battle over next-generation DVD technology.

A spokesman for Sony, the No. 1 provider of game consoles, said it was still targeting a spring 2006 launch for the PS3, which is key to maintaining its lead in the game console market against Microsoft Corp. which recently launched its competing Xbox 360 console.

Larry Probst, chief executive of the No. 1 video game publisher Electronic Arts Inc., said last week that he believed Sony’s console would not be available until fall 2006.

Source: Reuters

Power could cost more than servers, Google warns

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A Google engineer has warned that if the performance per watt of today’s computers doesn’t improve, the electrical costs of running them could end up far greater than the initial hardware price tag.

That situation that wouldn’t bode well for Google, which relies on thousands of its own servers.

“If performance per watt is to remain constant over the next few years, power costs could easily overtake hardware costs, possibly by a large margin,” Luiz Andre Barroso, who previously designed processors for Digital Equipment Corp., said in a September paper published in the Association for Computing Machinery’s Queue. “The possibility of computer equipment power consumption spiraling out of control could have serious consequences for the overall affordability of computing, not to mention the overall health of the planet.”

Source: News.com

Symantec hopes to deliver antivirus online

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Symantec will slowly move toward supplying its consumer applications–such as Norton Antivirus and Norton Utilities–as a service.

At a roundtable discussion in Sydney on Thursday morning, David Sykes, vice president of Symantec in the Pacific Region, explained that as broadband becomes ubiquitous and consumers get used to purchasing software online instead of in a box, security services–and even PC utilities–could be sold as a service.

According to Sykes, this is already happening in countries such as Korea where Internet service providers are reselling applications on behalf of security companies such as Symantec.

Source: News.com

For sale: Brand new Microsoft Excel vulnerability

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Over on eBay, a seller using the name “fearwall” has put up for auction “one (1) brand new vulnerability in the Microsoft Excel application.” The bidding started Wednesday evening at $0.01 and was up to $56 on Thursday afternoon with 21 bids placed.

According to the description, the vulnerability was discovered on Dec. 6 and all the details were submitted to Microsoft. The software maker indicated that it may fix the flaw in one of its upcoming patch releases, according to the eBay seller’s information.

“Since I was unable to find any use for this by-product of Microsoft developers, it is now available for you at the low starting price of $0.01 (a fair value estimation for any Microsoft product),” the seller wrote.

The vulnerability lies in the way Excel validates data when handling documents. Exploiting the flaw will compromise a user’s PC, according to the eBay post.

Source: News.com

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