1/5/2006

Consumer group seeks testing of EMI copy protection

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A consumer group on Thursday urged record company EMI Group Plc to allow testing of its anti-piracy technology in light of the controversy that dogged Sony BMG over security flaws on its copy-protected compact discs.

Sony BMG, a joint venture of Sony Corp and Bertelsmann recalled discs containing anti-piracy software after customers sued in November, claiming the software damaged their computers by making them vulnerable to hackers and by disabling a user’s firewall and anti-virus software.

Now the Electronic Frontier Foundation would like to ensure that copy-protected CDs released by EMI, long a forerunner in the use of anti-piracy technology, do not have similar pitfalls.

“Music fans deserve to know whether EMI’s copy-protected CDs are exposing their computers to security risks,” said Fred von Lohmann, senior staff attorney with California-based EFF, which was involved in a class-action lawsuit against Sony BMG.

Sony and EMI are the chief users of copy protection for U.S.-sold CDs, Lohmann said.

Following the example of its efforts with Sony, the EFF sent a January 4 letter to EMI, home to artists like Paul McCartney and Coldplay, urging it to publicly declare it will not take legal action against computer security researchers who study its copy-protected CDs.

Source: Reuters

New NVIDIA Quad SLI Enables Extreme HD Gaming

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

NVIDIA Corporation (Nasdaq: NVDA) took its acclaimed SLI technology to a new level by introducing support for the industry’s first ever Quad SLI-certified PC. Delivering the most extreme high definition gaming experience available on the PC, Quad SLI features four of NVIDIA’s flagship GeForce 7800 GTX GPUs each with two GeForce 7800 GTX graphics processing units (GPUs) on-board with an NVIDIA nForce(R)4 SLI X16 motherboard. This revolutionary technology was introduced today on the forthcoming Dell XPS 600 Renegade, as part of a keynote presentation by Michael Dell at CES in Las Vegas, NV.

NVIDIA Quad SLI technology allows consumers to:

  • Run today’s hottest games at extreme high definition (HD) resolutions including an unbelievable 2560×1600 — at silky smooth frame rates
  • Crank up their image quality with 32x antialiasing and 16x anisotropic filtering
  • Maximize their shader and texture settings for a truly immersive gaming experience

Xbox 360 Gets HD-DVD

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft has always expressed an interest in providing a next-generation disc format for Xbox 360, but there was no way they could incorporate the technology into their hardware if they were going to launch last November. They went with a standard drive.

Wednesday night at CES, Microsoft corporate VP Peter Moore announced they’ll be producing an external disc drive capable of reading Toshiba’s HD-DVD discs. Moore’s speech notes the drive is for users to enjoy high-definition films, though, and makes absolutely no mention of videogames taking advantage of the device.

Source: ExtremeTech

Opera Goes To Television

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

New version of the browser will run on TVs, set-top boxes, and other devices.

Norwegian Web browser company Opera Software hopes to plug into the home entertainment market with the launch of a new browser designed for TVs, set-top boxes, and other consumer electronic devices.

Opera 8.5 for Devices, based on the company’s core Web browser technology for desktop computers and mobile phones, uses Extensible Rendering Architecture to reformat Internet pages to suit any screen size, from 2-inch LCDs to large 16:9-ratio flat-panel TVs. The new version also has what the company calls a “spatial navigation system,” which will let users easily navigate pages with any input device.

Source: pcworld

MS Media To Power Verizon Wireless V CAST Music Service

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Today at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Microsoft Corp. and Verizon Wireless announced their collaboration on the new Verizon Wireless V CAST Music service to offer Verizon Wireless customers the ability to access and enjoy full-track, digital music downloads on mobile handsets and Microsoft(R) Windows(R) XP-based PCs through Windows Media Player 10.

Verizon Wireless adopted core Windows Media technologies including Windows Media Digital Rights Management (DRM), an enhanced Windows Media Audio Professional (WMA Pro) codec and Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) to provide consumers with unfettered access to V CAST Music content across multiple devices and scenarios.

Taking advantage of the inherent direct license acquisition capabilities in Windows Media DRM, V CAST Music will deliver over-the-air downloads directly to mobile handsets from a catalog of more than 1 million music tracks a few short weeks after launch, providing customers with access to content anywhere within the award-winning V CAST wireless broadband service area.

Using a dual-download approach for the handset, the V CAST Music service provides an optimized file for mobile handsets and access to a higher-fidelity copy for downloading on Windows XP-based PCs. Copies available for downloading to a Windows XP-based PC can be accessed through a new Verizon Wireless V CAST Music online store in Windows Media Player 10 and integrated into a customer’s existing library for playback on the PC. Downloaded music can also be burned to CD and enjoyed on a host of portable and networked devices, including PlaysForSure-verified devices and the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system.

Microsoft To Release WMF Fix Today

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft announced that it would release a security update to help protect customers from exploitations of a vulnerability in the Windows Meta File (WMF) area of code in the Windows operating system on Tuesday, January 2, 2006, in response to malicious and criminal attacks on computer users that were discovered last week.

Microsoft will release the update today on Thursday, January 5, 2006, earlier than planned.

Microsoft originally planned to release the update on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 as part of its regular monthly release of security bulletins, once testing for quality and application compatibility was complete. However, testing has been completed earlier than anticipated and the update is ready for release.

In addition, Microsoft is releasing the update early in response to strong customer sentiment that the release should be made available as soon as possible.

Microsoft’s monitoring of attack data continues to indicate that the attacks are limited and are being mitigated both by Microsoft’s efforts to shut down malicious Web sites and with up-to-date signatures form anti-virus companies.

The security update will be available at 2:00 pm PT as MS06-001.

Microsoft Is Going VoIP

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Philips and Microsoft Corp. are teaming up to introduce the new VOIP433 Dual Phone (incorporating Internet and PSTN phone capabilities), which will provide consumers with a simpler and more unified communications solution. The VOIP433 serves as both a traditional telephone and a VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone, allowing users to make and receive Internet calls to their online contacts through the upcoming Microsoft® Windows Live™ Messenger service, the successor of MSN Messenger, which boasts more than 200 million active accounts worldwide.

Also Uniden America Corporation and Microsoft Corp. announced an alliance in North America to deliver a digital cordless phone that serves as a traditional landline phone and takes calling to the next level by also enabling customers to make and receive Internet calls via the upcoming Windows Live Messenger phone. The WIN 1200, a 5.8GHz digital cordless phone, integrates Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony with a landline, enabling consumers to experience next-generation technology throughout the home while providing an easy-to-use and convenient way to stay connected. With the WIN 1200, customers will have three calling choices with the solution: free PC-to-PC calling through Windows Live Messenger allowing users to place and receive voice calls; MCI Web Calling offering Windows Live Messenger users a low-cost PC-to-phone outbound calling option; and traditional landline phone service.

MS Unveil New Windows Media Player 11 and URGE

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp. and MTV Networks, a division of Viacom Inc., unveiled the new Windows Media Player 11 and offered an early look at the URGE digital music service during the kickoff keynote address for the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates was joined onstage by MTV Networks’ Music Group President Van Toffler and music superstar Justin Timberlake to preview the seamless integration of Microsoft Windows Media Player 11 and MTV Networks’ URGE, which is designed to bring the emotional connection of music to the forefront of the digital entertainment experience.

Gates and Toffler highlighted the fresh, streamlined design for Windows Media Player 11 with optimized device support and incredibly fast search capabilities that provide consumers with instant access to the entire URGE catalog of more than 2 million songs. Set to debut this year, URGE will offer a deep well of programming and editorial to guide the consumer’s digital music experience, including exclusive content from MTV Networks’ MTV, VH1 and CMT brands.

As their digital music collections continue to grow, consumers increasingly need software to help them find and organize their music. Windows Media Player 11 addresses this head-on with core advancements that include a simplified user experience and unprecedented performance. Windows Media Player 11 makes it easy to manage all media through innovative design improvements from Windows Vista™, including visual navigation of entire media libraries, and simplified, high-performance device synchronization. Additional performance enhancements let consumers easily scroll through and access music faster than any other media player, whether the library contains 50 or 50,000 tracks. The powerful Windows Media Player 11 wordwheel search brings an entire catalog of music to consumers’ fingertips, providing lightning-fast search results that instantly narrow with each keystroke. Windows Media Player 11 with URGE will be available in Windows Vista, and is also scheduled to be available for Windows XP in the first half of 2006.

More Windows Live services on the way

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Buried in Microsoft’s announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show on Wednesday were additional clues to what the company has in mind for its Windows Live online service.

Microsoft says two new services–Live.com TV gadgets and Live.com TV recommendations–are in the works.

The gadgets service lets consumers remotely manage recording and viewing of TV programs on Windows Media Center-based PCs and settop boxes. The recommendations service allows consumers to rate TV shows they’ve watched on their TV via Media Center PCs and share them with others.

Microsoft didn’t say when the new services would be available, however.

Source: News.com

Florida spammer fined $11bn

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A small Iowa-based ISP has been awarded $11.2bn (£6.5bn) in a record judgment against a Florida spammer. CIS Internet Services successfully sued James McCalla over claims he sent more than 280m illegal spam messages with fraudulent return addresses towards CIS accounts, punting mortgages, debt consolidation services, pornographic and gambling websites. The judgment by US District Judge Charles Wolle, issued in late December 2005, further bans McCalla from using the internet for three years.

The lawsuit against McCalla was one of a series of lawsuits filed by CIS Internet Services owner Robert Kramer in 2003. Earlier rulings against other junk mail purveyors in Florida and Arizona have extracted fines in excess of $1bn.

Source: The Register

AMD Targets Mobile Computing, Emerging Markets

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Chip maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. on Wednesday made strides in two areas officials say are important to the company: mobile computing and emerging markets.

AMD and Hewlett-Packard Co., on the first day of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, announced a new line of consumer notebooks running on the chip maker’s Turion 64 processor.

In addition, the Sunnyvale, Calif., company said that it had reached a deal with the third-largest PC maker in China, which is building a line of commercial and consumer desktops powered by AMD processors.

Both moves highlight AMD’s push into areas where company officials feel there is a lot of room to grow.

Source: eWeek

Gates sees IBM not Google as top Microsoft rival

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Media coverage focuses on Microsoft Corp.’s competition with Google Inc., but Chairman Bill Gates sees IBM and not the Web search leader as its biggest challenger.

Microsoft faces a host of competitors ranging from Sony Corp. to Apple Computer Inc. to Nokia in its quest to control the next generation of software, Gates said in an interview on Wednesday ahead of his keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

“People tend to get over focused on one of our competitors. We’ve always seen that,” said Gates, comparing the potential threat of Google’s search capabilities to past competitors such as Internet browser Netscape and Sun Microsystems Inc.’s Java programming language.

“I’m never going to change the press’ view about what the cool company to write about is. That’s Google number 1 and Apple number 2. Too bad for Nokia, Sony and all those others.”

Google, extending beyond its dominant position in search, offers a variety of Web software that ranges from communications to e-commerce, all of which poses a potential threat to Microsoft.

Asked if Google represents the most formidable threat of the company’s 30-year history, Gates replied with a curt “No.”

“The biggest company in the computer industry by far is IBM. They have the four times the employees that I have, way more revenues than I have. IBM has always been our biggest competitor. The press just doesn’t like to write about IBM,” said Gates.

Source: Reuters

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