12/19/2005

P2P Population Growing Again

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

During the middle part of 2005, the P2P population experienced a slight plateau as it hovered around 9 million total connected users. This plateau also witnessed a slight decline in total P2P users, dropping from a peak of 9.6 million users in August to 9.1 million users in October.

The resuming growth of the P2P population defies the RIAA’s lawsuit campaign against individual file-sharers, and more remarkably defies the MGM vs. Grokster decision. Despite the Supreme Court’s decision on June 27th, 2005, the P2P population grew from 8.8 million in June to its present number. This represents the addition of over 500,000 file-sharers. This study further dismisses the NPD Group’s latest P2P research, which found the number of people downloading at least one song on file-sharing networks had declined by 11%. The technology community largely ignored the NPD Group’s study, much like their last one, as it’s information gathering techniques are not consistent with the more realistic habits of file-sharers.

Source: Slyck

House approves new digital-TV deadline

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday approved legislation to complete the country’s transition to new, higher-quality digital television by Feb. 17, 2009.

Under a deal negotiated by Republicans in the Senate and House, a $1.5 billion fund would be created to help some consumers buy converter boxes so existing analog television signals do not go dark when the transition is finished.

Congress is eager for broadcasters to give up the analog airwaves, some of which will be auctioned for commercial wireless service, a sale that could bring in billions of dollars, potentially plugging the government budget deficit.

Source: News.com

H1-B Visa Plan Dropped From Bill

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A Senate-passed measure to add more visas for foreign workers in high-tech and specialty fields was dropped from a budget bill that passed the House early Monday, disappointing high-tech and manufacturing firms in search of skilled workers.

The Senate plan would have allowed 30,000 more of the popular H1-B visas each year, and increased fees for those visas to help trim the budget deficit. Congress capped the six-year H-1B visas at 65,000 per year in 2004, and that cap has already been reached for the 2006 fiscal year that began Oct. 1.

The Senate language also would have allowed 90,000 more employment-based green cards that offer permanent residency to skilled workers, and added fees for those.

Critics contend the visas give foreigners high-level jobs that should go to American workers, and the plan was opposed by some House Republicans as a backdoor way to boost immigration. House and Senate negotiators left it out of the final version of a $39.7 billion federal budget bill that passed the House 212-206 and was expected to get a Senate vote later in the day.

Texas to get broadband over its power lines

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Two Texas companies have announced a plan to offer high-speed Internet service over the power grid.

The plan was announced on Monday by Current Communications Group, a service provider that specializes in broadband service over power lines (BPL), and TXU Electric Delivery, the largest electric company in Texas.

The companies estimate that roughly two million homes and businesses in northern Texas will be able to subscribe to the new service when the network is complete. Current Communications–which has built a similar network over Cincinnati’s power lines with local utility company Cinergy–will design, build and operate the new broadband network. Deployments will begin in 2006, the companies said.

Source: News.com

Has Google Become More “Evil” Than Microsoft?

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A little-known part of the Google deal to buy part of AOL for $1 billion is a shocker: Google agreed to a link scheme that Microsoft called unethical, but that Google was only too happy to accede to, according to the New York Times. What’s going on here? Isn’t Microsoft supposed to be the bad guys, while Google is the “do-no-evil” company?

Well, the “do-no-evil” days are long past. The AOL deal made that clear.

The New York Times reported that Google will give AOL preferred placement for AOL’s videos in Google’s video search in Google’s new Google Video search site. In addition, Google will include links to AOL videos on the Google Video home page — and won’t label any of those links advertising, or call the preferred listings advertising, even though they clearly are ads.

Microsoft refused to include the links or give preferred placement without labeling them ads, saying that to do so would be unethical.

Source: networkingpipeline

Vonage Raises $250M

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Vonage Holdings received $250 million in convertible debt funding Monday, led by Bain Capital, bringing the VoIP provider’s total funding to $658 million.

Also participating in the funding were existing investors New Enterprise Associates, Meritech Capital Partners, and senior management, with a total of 16 new investors.

Vonage plans to use the money to further build its network around the United States, as well as deploy enhanced 911 services to provide emergency-calling capability to customers.

Source: redherring

McAfee AVERT Labs Predicts the Top Threats for 2006

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

McAfee, Inc. (NYSE: MFE), the leader in Intrusion Prevention and Risk Management solutions, today celebrates the tenth anniversary of McAfee AVERT Labs and its decade of tracking and providing protection against Internet threats. In conjunction with the anniversary, McAfee AVERT Labs also unveiled its outlook for security threats in 2006. The threat activity forecast includes an increase in mobile threats and the continued rise of phishing scams and identity theft.

  • More Mobile Attacks — A Serious Cause for Concern: Mobile malware was first sighted in June 2004 when a group of professional virus writers created the first proof-of-concept virus for smartphones — demonstrating that malicious code could be created for Symbian operating systems. Soon after, ‘Duts’ was released — the first virus for Pocket PC Systems and the first file infector for smartphones. Since then, several mobile Trojans have appeared, resulting in an alarming growth of mobile malware.

    McAfee AVERT Labs expects to see a significant rise in the number of global mobile threats in 2006. The use of smartphone technology has played a pivotal role in the threat’s transition from multifunction, semi-stationary PCs to palm-sized “wearable” devices. And as a result of the increased connectivity of smartphones, McAfee AVERT Labs expects these threats to make a
    quick transition to converged devices.

    McAfee AVERT Labs predicts that the damage caused by new mobile threats is likely to be more extensive than those caused by today’s PC threats because of the large volume of smartphones and the small percentage that are protected by mobile security. For example, in 2004, the ‘I Love You’ virus penetrated tens of millions of PCs in just a couple of hours despite the fact that half of all PCs had Internet security software installed. By comparison, a mobile threat targeting several operating systems could infect up to 200 million connected smartphones simultaneously because the majority of these devices do not currently have mobile security protection installed. According to McAfee AVERT Labs, since the inception of malware, mobile malware has grown almost 10 times faster than PC malware over a comparable period of one year.

    Consumers are less likely to install mobile security versus PC security because the perceived risk from mobile threats is much less. However, creators of mobile malware have learned from PC hackers and virus writers to create sophisticated threats, invisible to the consumer, that provide them with financial gain. This will result in instantly mature mobile threats that can devastate networks and consumer data with little fanfare or warning.

Eclipse touts Web, J2EE development in tools release

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Bolstering development of Web and enterprise J2EE applications in the open source arena, the Eclipse Foundation on Monday is set to release Version 1.0 of its Eclipse Web Tools Platform.

Version 1.0 features the official APIs for the platform, which had been available in previous incarnations with provisional APIs. “We’re declaring ourselves ready as a platform for commercial adoption,” said Tim Wagner, a project lead for the Web Tools Platform and senior manager on the BEA Systems Workshop team.

Web Tools Platform 1.0 will serve as precursor to a planned release of several Eclipse technologies simultaneously next June, via a bundle now dubbed “Callisto.”

A top-level project at Eclipse, Eclipse Web Tools Platform features editors for Java and associated technologies. J2EE 1.4 is supported on the platform, which plugs in to the Eclipse open source IDE.

Editors are included for JavaServer Pages, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, XML, and XSD (XML Schema Definition). Wizards are included for generating Enterprise JavaBeans, session beans, and message beans. Code is generated automatically.

Source: InfoWorld

Softbank, Yahoo start Net TV service

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Softbank and Yahoo Japan said on Monday they had formed a company to broadcast television programs via the Internet, taking advantage of the growing number of Japanese users on advanced, high-speed Internet connections.

The two companies said the joint venture, TV Bank, would operate a new streaming video service called “Yahoo!Doga” (Doga means “moving image” in Japanese), which aims to be a portal site for about 100,000 different programs including movies, sports and music shows as well as drama series from Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.

Source: News.com

Japan plans own Internet search engine

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Japan’s government, high-tech firms and universities will team up to develop their own Internet search technology, an official said, amid soaring profits for US giant Google.

A study group will meet this month with participation from more than 20 companies and universities, said the information policy official at the trade ministry.

The companies will include leading electronics firms Matsushita Electric Industrial, Hitachi, NEC and Fujitsu as well as telecom carrier Nippon Telegraph and Telephone and public broadcaster NHK, he said.

“Information searches have become a source of wealth,” he said. “We want to consider what Japanese companies can do in the current situation where overseas forces are dominant.”

“Japanese companies should have competitive power,” said the official who declined to be named.

The group aims to decide on outlines of the project by around July next year, he said.

Source: AFP

Time names Gateses ‘Persons of the Year’

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Bill Gates, and his wife, Melinda, were named Time magazine’s “Persons of the Year” along with Irish rocker Bono for being “Good Samaritans” who made a difference in different ways.

“For being shrewd about doing good, for rewiring politics and re-engineering justice, for making mercy smarter and hope strategic and then daring the rest of us to follow, Bill and Melinda Gates and Bono are Time’s Persons of the Year,” the magazine said in its Dec. 19 issue, made public on Sunday.

Managing Editor James Kelly said the three had been chosen as the people most effective at finding ways to eradicate such calamities as malaria in Africa, HIV and AIDS and the grinding poverty that kills 8 million people a year.

Source: Reuters (via news.com)

Guidelines set on software property rights

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

To remove obstacles to joint research, four leading technology companies and seven American universities have agreed on principles for making software developed in collaborative projects freely available.

The legal wrangling over intellectual property rights in research projects involving universities and companies, specialists say, can take months, sometimes more than a year. This legal maneuvering, they say, is not only slowing the pace of innovation, but is also prompting some companies to seek university research partners in other countries, where negotiations over intellectual property are less time-consuming.

The companies involved in the agreement, which will be announced today, are IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Cisco Systems. The educational partners are the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the universities of Stanford, California at Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, Illinois and Texas.

Source: News.com

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