12/12/2005

USA TODAY Combines Online and Print Newsrooms

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

USA TODAY President and Publisher Craig Moon and USATODAY.com Senior Vice President and Publisher Jeff Webber announced today that the website newsroom will be combined with the newspaper newsroom to create a single USA TODAY news operation.

Additionally, USA TODAY Editor Ken Paulson announced that USATODAY.com Vice President and Editor-in-Chief Kinsey Wilson has been promoted to executive editor of USA TODAY, joining current executive editor John Hillkirk in that role. Hillkirk and Wilson will share oversight of daily news operations and content development, reporting directly to Paulson.

Moon and Webber said the move to combine the newsrooms is a response to the growing importance of the Internet as a vehicle for news delivery. The new structure will allow both operations to begin working together to make the transition from a world of stand-alone news products to one in which news is available where, when and how consumers desire.

Microsoft to start testing new Messenger

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft is expected to begin testing soon of Windows Live Messenger, an update that expands the consumer instant messaging software into areas such as Internet phone calling.

The revamp is essentially an expansion of MSN Messenger. It adds a number of features and continues the program’s migration from a place to share short text messages into a manager for any number of modes of communication.

Various enthusiast sites, including Mess.be and BetaNews, reported that a private beta of Live Messenger is imminent, while another fan site, Messenger Blog, offered purported screenshots of the new software. Microsoft declined to comment on Monday, but had promised a beta version would come this month.

Source: News.com

HP Unveils Virtual Conference Rooms

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Virtual meetingHewlett-Packard Co. on Monday jumped into the business of providing the technology - and building the rooms - for large companies to hold virtual face-to-face meetings regardless of the distance between participants.

HP’s Halo Collaboration Studio offers a nearly immersive environment where people can see each other, talk and collaborate remotely as if they were in the same room. The underlying network, built and serviced by HP, minimizes delays and never crosses the public Internet.

Developed in partnership with DreamWorks Animation SKG LLC, the rooms are targeted at large corporations that are looking to cut down on the amount of time and money spent flying people to different locations. Each room costs roughly $550,000 with an $18,000 per month fee though the charges vary with the number ordered.

Source: AP

Intellext launches free desktop search product

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Intellext was set to release a free version of its Watson 2.0 desktop search product on Monday. The software, from Intellext, runs in the background on a computer and is designed to understand the context of what a computer user is reading or creating. It automatically offers relevant news articles, documents created in Microsoft Word and other Web- or PC-based information.

The tool has been available since September as an add-in on the MSN Search Toolbar with Windows Desktop Search. Business users willing to pay a license can buy Watson Professional, which offered additional customizing and integration with subscription sources and enterprise information systems.

Source: News.com

Sony Announces EverQuest Titanium

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Sony Online Entertainment Inc. (SOE), announced today that it will be releasing EverQuest: Titanium, an all-inclusive collection consisting of EverQuest Classic and the first ten expansions. EverQuest Titanium carries a suggested retail price of $19.99 and will be available at retail beginning January 11, 2006. In addition to the release of EverQuest Titanium, SOE will launch EQ Players, a website that will enhance the services provided to EQ players.

EverQuest Titanium offers the original classic game, as well as all ten expansion packs: The Ruins of Kunark, The Scars of Velious, The Shadows of Luclin, The Planes of Power, The Legacy of Ykesha, Lost Dungeons of Norrath, Gates of Discord, Dragons of Norrath, Omens of War and Depths of Darkhollow.

“EverQuest Titanium will allow players to experience more than 375 areas of exploration and excitement in the online world of Norrath,” said Chris Sturr, Sr. Brand Manager, Sony Online Entertainment. “This five-disk collection is essential for both classic EverQuest players and those interested in entering into the EverQuest experience for the first time as it will include in game items such as a collapsible roboboar and a frozen crystal shard.” (Please note: items are only claimable in one satchel for one player character.)

In addition to EverQuest Titanium, SOE is launching EQ Players, a website designed to extend the player’s interaction with the game outside of the game world. This new service gives players more ways to access, track and expand their in-game characters by obtaining character statistics, profiles, item information, in-game activities and more all in one place. The website, will launch on December 15, 2005, and will have profiles
for more than 4.9 million characters and more than 335 million total inventory items. EQ Players will be available for EverQuest players to try, at no additional cost, until December 29, 2005, after which time some EQ Players features will carry a monthly fee. In addition, as a special offer, SOE will reactivate previously closed EverQuest accounts for 21 days of free gameplay but the former EverQuest players must take advantage of this offer before January 13, 2006.

Would You Like Some Fries With That Download?

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The New York Times is reporting that the Walt Disney Company is hoping to replace happy meal toys with portable media players that could hold Disney movies, music, games, or photos. From the article: “The plan could work something like this: A customer enters a restaurant and buys a meal, receiving the portable media player and an electronic code that authorizes a partial download of a movie, video or other media file, which can be downloaded while in the restaurant, according to a United States Patent and Trademark Office application filed by Disney. Then, with each subsequent return, the customer earns more downloadable data, eventually getting an entire movie or game.

Source: Slashdot

Microsoft May Share Search Revenue

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft will share a part of its advertising revenues from its search engine with users, the company’s Chairman
Bill Gates has said.

Gates said that search engines like Google get their revenues from advertising because people use these search engines.

“Google’s business model is not based on free software,” Gates said. “Their business model is based on advertisements from which they make a lot of money.”

But they don’t share these advertising revenues with the end users who help them get the revenue, Gates said. “Google keeps all of the money with itself,” he added. Gates made the comments in a panel discussion on an Indian television channel here.

Through its AdSense program, Google does share advertising revenue with Web site publishers who carry ads that Google sells to advertisers.

In its bid to share revenues with users, Microsoft may give free software or even cash to users, said Gates, who did not discuss further details.

Source: PC Wrold

Intel Viiv, ‘Centrino 3′ launch dates leak

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Intel key Q1 2006 product launches will come on 6 and 9 January, respectively, it has been claimed.

First comes the debut of ‘Yonah’, the 65nm dual-core Pentium M processor, to be launched alongside the next incarnation of Intel’s Centrino platform. So claim “a few Intel partners”, cited by CoolTechZone.

The following Monday will see Intel launch its Viiv home media centre platform, according to moles from with Taiwan’s hardware manufacturer community by way of a DigiTimes report.

The Viiv unveiling may well take place at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, though the sources make no suggestion as to the location of the launch. Curiously, the Yonah launch is said to have been scheduled to take place in India, though the possibility of a CES event too can’t be ruled out.

Source: The Register

Hackers extort from U.K. charity donors

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Hackers have stolen the personal details of thousands of donors to a Christian charity Web site and tried to extort money from the victims.

U.K. charity Aid to the Church in Need admitted today that its online security systems had been breached by hackers.

The charity does not yet know how much money the criminals have stolen but the addresses of more than 2,000 online donors have been compromised and the hackers have used these details to contact the benefactors directly to try and extract more money.

Source: News.com

Self Destructing Text Messages

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Staellium UK has come up with a “self-destruct” text messaging service, that allows for sending a message with the knowledge that the message will delete itself as soon as the recipient has read it.

This “Mission: Impossible” style innovation, dubbed “Stealth Text”, promises to delete text within 40 seconds of being read.

“Stealth Text” requires both sender and receiver to sign-up with the mobile phone service run by Staellium UK. To sign-up simply text STEALTH to 80880 to receive a link, which allows down-loading of the StealthText applet via a WAP connection.

The service works by sending the recipient a text notification, showing the sender s name and providing a link to the message. The recipient must open the link and read the message within 40 seconds, before it disappears. The message is destroyed after viewing, rendering the link useless thereafter.

Although Staellium UK hopes to target business users with its new service, chances are celebrities might find it more useful to conceal their philandering ways.

Source: Techtree.com

AOL co-founder calls for split of Time Warner

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

As Time Warner nears a decision on a big alliance with Google or Microsoft for its America Online unit, Steve Case, the co-founder of AOL, has spoken out against the plan, aligning himself with the thinking of the financier Carl Icahn, who has called on Time Warner’s board to break up the company.

Case, who recently resigned as a Time Warner director, wrote in an essay in The Washington Post on Sunday that “although I played a key role in bringing AOL and Time Warner together six years ago, it’s now my view that it would be best to ‘undo’ the merger by splitting Time Warner into several independent companies and allowing AOL to set off on its own path.”

Source: News.com

Yahoo and Six Apart team up

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Yahoo and Six Apart were set to announce a partnership on Monday. Yahoo will offer users the ability to create blogs using Six Apart’s Movable Type software and have them hosted on Yahoo Small Business hosting service.

Six Apart, based in San Francisco, said it has optimized its Movable Type software specifically for the Yahoo service, which targets companies and professionals. Use of the Movable Type tool will be available with the purchase of a Yahoo Web Hosting account for $11.95 per month.

Source: News.com

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