Pioneer to sell Blu-ray drive in early ‘06

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Pioneer Electronics announced its first Blu-ray Disc drive Tuesday, the BDR-101A, which will store as much as 25GB of data when it goes on sale in the first quarter of 2006.

The drive isn’t expected to be for everyone, Pioneer said. One particular market the company does hope to reach is so-called content creation professionals, who need to make sure BD-ROM movies work properly before they’re mass-produced for mainstream consumers.

Blu-ray drives, backed by an alliance led by Sony, are set to compete with HD-DVD drives that are expected to arrive at roughly the same time. Both drive types employ a blue laser that can read and write smaller areas of information, letting more data be squeezed onto a single disk. That’s important as high-definition video arrives.

Source: News.com

Online retailers report record holiday sales

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Several online merchants reported record sales during the holiday shopping season, including online retail giant Amazon.com, which said popular items were iPod music players, video games, coats and jewelry.

Amazon said it had its best holiday sales season ever, with more than 108 million items ordered.

The busiest day for the world’s largest online store was Monday, Dec. 12, when more than 3.6 million items were ordered, or 41 items per second. The most expensive item purchased during the period was a pair of diamond earrings worth $94,000.

Source: News.com

Dell Pre-Installing Firefox in UK

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Blake Ross, creator of Firefox, has confirmed on his blog that Dell are now shipping Firefox on all desktop and laptop machines in the UK. While rumours had been floating around before this, and UK buyers had been reporting that 1.0.6 came pre-installed, this is the first official confirmation of Dell’s decision.

Source: slashdot

Virus Poses as Leaked MSN Messenger Beta

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Internet users are being warned about a new virus that poses as a leaked pre-release version of the MSN Messenger instant messenger program.

Unsuspecting Windows users who install the phony MSN Messenger Version 8 “beta” actually install an IM worm that spreads to their IM contacts, and connects their computer to a remote control “bot” network run by malicious hackers, according to F-Secure Corp., an antivirus firm based in Helsinki.

A Web site, msgr8beta.com, purports to have the leaked version of MSN Messenger. The site touts the advantages of the MSN Messenger 8, including “real-time emoticons,” and “built-in functionality with Windows Media Player 10.” Microsoft has not yet released a beta for MSN 8 to the public, although versions of the software are rumored to have been released to select customers.

However, the download offered from the Web site doesn’t contain any MSN Messenger code, said Mikko Hypp枚nen, manager of antivirus research at F-Secure. Instead, clicking on the Web site download links installs a virus that F-Secure calls “Virkel.F,” and causes your MSN Messenger client to send download links for the malicious Web site to the person’s IM contacts. Behind the scene, Virkel.F connects infected machines to a remote “botnet” server that can be used to issue commands or transfer malicious programs to the infected host, he said.

Source: eWeek

Yahoo to stream CBS comedies at no cost

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

CBS is teaming with Yahoo Inc. for “Comedy Bowl,” a week of free streaming of the network’s Monday comedies “Two and a Half Men” and “How I Met Your Mother” on Yahoo TV.

From Tuesday through January 2, two full previously aired episodes of both series will be available for free video streaming without commercials on Yahoo’s television section. This marks the first time that Yahoo will stream episodes of a CBS television series in their entirety.

CBS has been experimenting with streaming primetime series. This season, the network streamed three entire episodes of the freshman drama “Threshold” free and without advertising on http://www.CBS.com.

Source: Reuters

A surge of entertainment PCs In 2006

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Buoyed by Intel鈥檚 upcoming launch of its 鈥淰iiv鈥? consumer PC platform, demand for entertainment PCs based on the Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE) OS is expected to heat up in 2006, according to sources at Taiwan PC makers. A surge of entertainment PCs is expected to improve the average gross margin for desktop PCs, which has dropped to less than 10%, indicated the sources.

An entertainment PC could feature a variety of built-in multimedia capabilities, including DVD and receiver, digital/analog TV and digital sound appliances. With a remote control in hand, entertainment PCs could present streamed audio and video capabilities, to fulfill the concept of a 鈥渄igital home,鈥? the sources commented.

According to International Data Corporation (IDC), the average selling price (ASP) for desktop PCs may slide to US$626 in 2009, down 37.7% from US$862 in 2004. Taiwan-branded PC makers Acer, AOpen, Gigabyte Technology, Micro-Star International (MSI) and Shuttle launched entertainment PC lines in the fourth quarter of 2005.

Source: digitimes

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