12/15/2005

U.S. Charges Mexican Drug Makers

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A U.S. grand jury has indicted eight Mexican drug makers on charges they sold steroids to Americans via the Internet in what the Drug Enforcement Administration said Thursday was its largest operation against suppliers of the banned substances.

Indictments in U.S. District Court in San Diego include charges against the eight companies and 11 executives after a 21-month investigation, the DEA said. The businesses sell $56 million worth of steroids to U.S. customers annually, the DEA said.

Alberto Saltiel-Cohen, described by the DEA as a Mexican citizen who owns three of the companies, was arrested in San Diego on Wednesday, the agency said.

Two people suspected of trafficking in steroids were arrested in San Diego and two others were picked up in Laredo, Texas, the DEA said.

Federal agents also have identified more than 2,000 people in the United States who bought steroids from the companies over the Internet. Importing anabolic steroids can be a felony.

Source: AP

Science Journal: Wikipedia Pretty Accurate

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Wikipedia, the encyclopedia that relies on volunteers to pen nearly 4 million articles, is about as accurate in covering scientific topics as Encyclopedia Britannica, the journal Nature wrote in an online article published Wednesday.

The finding, based on a side-by-side comparison of articles covering a broad swath of the scientific spectrum, comes as Wikipedia faces criticism over the accuracy of some of its entries.

Two weeks ago prominent journalist John Seigenthaler, the former publisher of the Tennessean newspaper and founding editorial director of USA Today, revealed that a Wikipedia entry that ran for four months had incorrectly named him as a longtime suspect in the assassinations of president John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert.

Such errors appear to be the exception rather than the rule, Nature said in Wednesday’s article, which the scientific journal said was the first to use peer review to compare Wikipedia to Britannica. Based on 42 articles reviewed by experts, the average scientific entry in Wikipedia contained four errors or omissions, while Britannica had three.

Source: AP

DivX 6.1 Released

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

DivX 6.1 codec is finally here! It sports a ton of new features and enhancements, perhaps the most impressive being a massive improvement in encoding speed. According to our benchmarks, even a modest single CPU will run anywhere from 14 to 80% faster than the 6.0 codec depending on the quality mode selected. At the same time, brand new support for HT, SMP, Dual Core, and Dual Core + HT CPUs allows for gains of up to 300%.

Download DivX 6.1

Microsoft to move graphics outside OS kernel

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft will move the graphics for its next version of Windows outside of the operating system’s kernel to improve reliability, the software giant has told Techworld.

Vista’s graphics subsystem, codenamed Avalon and formally known as the Windows Presentation Foundation, will be pulled out the kernel because many lock-ups are the result of the GUI freezing, Microsoft infrastructure architect Giovanni Marchetti told Techworld.

Source: Techworld

Microsoft patents Pause

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft has been granted an interactive TV patent that pauses the show while the viewer follows an embedded hyperlink, such as a URL.

And so ends a 12-year battle. Incredibly, Microsoft originally filed for the patent in March 1993, and the language reflects its age: “The Internet has recently exploded in popularity,” we learn, and that, “a computer user with a modem can get on-line.”

In its current form, this archaic patent appears not be of immediate use to Microsoft. Patent #6,973,669 describes an invention which uses the vertical blanking interval (VBI) of analog broadcasts, a technology for which Intel once had high hopes. Intercasting delivered data at around 10kbit/s. As modern digital TV streams at 19Mbit/s per channel, there’s little shortage of bandwidth.

But read on, and it’s apparent that it’s the “pause” that Microsoft seeks to exploit.

Source: The Register

Yahoo signs license with JPEG patent company

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Search giant Yahoo has decided to take a license out on the so-called JPEG patent with Forgent Networks. Under the deal, Yahoo will pay Forgent royalties but be dismissed from the pending patent suit taking place in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The suit, which involves several remaining defendants, revolves around U.S. patent number 4,698,672. Forgent acquired the patent when it bought Compression Labs in 1997. During an audit of its intellectual property portfolio in the early 2000s, company officials first realized that the patent, in their belief, embodied a method for compressing photographs that was being used by digital camera makers and others.

Several companies have taken licenses out with Forgent. The patent has brought Forgent over $100 million in royalties. If successful in the suit, the patent could be worth close to $1 billion, according to Forgent execs.

Source: News.com

Swiss government switches 3,000 systems to Linux

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Novell Inc. Tuesday announced an agreement with the government of Switzerland to replace the software in 3,000 of its servers with the company’s SUSE Linux operating system. Operational efficiency and cost were key factors driving the Swiss government’s decision to move to Linux, according to Novell.

Novell did not disclose the value of the contract but did say it was the first formal procurement of any Linux platform by the Swiss government.

“Linux has been gradually introduced into various government departments in recent years, but this is the first formalized procurement process regarding the introduction of Linux at a federal level,” said Jurg Roemer, Delegate for Information Strategy of the Swiss Federal Government.

Source: desktoplinux.com

Britney Spears Back To Top Yahoo Searches For 2005

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Yahoo published 2005 top searches statistics.
2005 was a wild year in Search. Mariah Carey returned with a vengeance, while Britney Spears remained as popular as ever thanks to her new baby with future “Surreal Life” contestant Kevin Federline. Looking past the pop culture hubbub, Hurricane Katrina and the Asian tsunami dominated news searches, while Apple’s iPod drew big Buzz as well.

Software Pirate Pleads Guilty

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A California man who operated a Web site selling millions of dollars of pirated software has pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal copyright infringement, the Department of Justice says.

Nathan Peterson, 26, of Antelope Acres, California, pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria. Peterson was owner of iBackups.net, “the largest for-profit software piracy site ever shut down by law enforcement,” U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty of the Eastern District of Virginia said in a statement.

Peterson faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and a $500,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for April 14. Including restitution of $5.4 million, the penalties may be the highest ever imposed on a software pirate, said the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA). The trade group in 2003 alerted the FBI, which has been cracking down on piracy, of possible copyright violations at iBackups.

Source: PCWorld

Kazaa owners may face time in jail

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The masterminds behind the Kazaa file-sharing software could face time behind bars after the record industry initiated contempt of court proceedings, claiming an earlier ruling wasn’t adhered to.

Record companies allege that Sharman Networks, the owner of Kazaa, didn’t comply with a Federal Court order–described by the court as order No. 4–to modify the software to ensure 3,000 keywords would be filtered by Dec. 5.

However, Sharman disagreed since it managed to block Australian users from downloading Kazaa by identifying their Internet Protocol address.

“Contempt proceedings are fairly rare in this court and I’ve never yet sent anyone to jail,” Justice Murray Wilcox said Thursday in the Federal Court in Sydney. “I’ve threatened to a few times, but there’s always a first I suppose.”

The motion includes Sharman Networks Chief Executive Nikki Hemming, Altnet Chief Executive Kevin Bermeister, and associated companies Sharman Networks, LEF Interactive, Altnet and Brilliant Digital Entertainment.

Wilcox will hear the record industry’s motion for contempt of court on Jan. 30.

Source: News.com

New From Google Labs: Safe Browsing for Firefox

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google Safe Browsing is an extension to Firefox that alerts you if a web page that you visit appears to be asking for your personal or financial information under false pretences. This type of attack, known as phishing or spoofing, is becoming more sophisticated, widespread and dangerous. That’s why it’s important to browse safely with Google Safe Browsing. By combining advanced algorithms with reports about misleading pages from a number of sources, Safe Browsing is often able to automatically warn you when you encounter a page that’s trying to trick you into disclosing personal information.

Google Safe Browsing

Yahoo hires DARPA director to head research

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Yahoo has opened an East Coast research center, hiring an artificial intelligence expert and former director at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to head the office and start similar operations in other countries.

Ron Brachman, 56, was named vice president of worldwide research operations, the Internet giant said Thursday.

The new research center in New York City will initially focus on media, microeconomics and e-commerce to help understand “how people get together and do things in markets (and) auctions, (how they) exchange goods and services, and how large groups of people have macroeconomic behaviors,” Brachman said.

Brachman previously served as the director of DARPA’s Information Processing Technology Office.

In his new position, Brachman said he will research data-mining and how to make computer systems adaptive over time. “Recommendations made by online services–understanding similarities between interests and how to recommend things to people–have underlying (artificial intelligence) technology,” he said.

Artificial intelligence can also be used to help fight fraud and help improve targeted advertising, he said. “We can use expert rules and Bayesian reasoning to understand when transactions may be fraudulent,” Brachman said.

Source: News.com

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