1/24/2006

Bill Gates’ Spam Prediction Misses Target

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Two years ago Tuesday, Bill Gates predicted that spam would be a “solved” problem by now, a prognostication that, say most e-mail experts, was as off-base as most of Nostradamus’ forecasts.

Jan. 24, 2004, Gates told a group at the World Economic Forum that “two years from now, spam will be solved.” During the talk, Gates pinned his prediction on the creation of an authentication scheme to verify senders’ identities, as well as the hope that some kind of micropayment structure could be created for levying fees on e-mail.

“We have a long way to go before we solve the spam problem,” said Scott Chasin, the chief technology officer for Denver-based e-mail security firm MXlogic. “Gates’ prediction has not come true. Talk to any Internet user out there and they’ll agree. All they have to do to know is log into their in-boxes.

“I think Gates had a very optimistic view of the world,” added Chasin.

Source: Information Week

Microsoft’s Sparkle: Is It a Flash Killer?

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Tuesday released new previews of its upcoming tools for designers. Microsoft Interactive Designer is a product for building Avalon (”Windows Presentation Foundation” or WPF) user interfaces.

These tools have been dubbed a Flash killer by some industry watchers, as it is expected to compete head-to-head with the Macromedia Flash product that was acquired by Adobe Systems last year.

The software giant has released the first Community Technology Preview (CTP) of its Microsoft Expression Interactive Designer tool, formerly known as Sparkle, and the company also released the fourth CTP of its Expression Graphic Designer, formerly known as Acrylic, said Forest Key, director of product management for Microsoft’s design tools.

Microsoft’s Expression Suite consists of the Expression Graphic Designer, Expression Interactive Designer and the Expression Web Designer. Microsoft has yet to release a CTP for the Web Designer, also known by its codename Quartz.

Source: eWeek

Ask Jeeves improves image search

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Ask Jeeves has launched its first proprietary image search technology, which features improvements to its image search ranking algorithms and new related search suggestions that offer suggestions on how to narrow or expand the search. The image search technology uses Ask Jeeves’ algorithmic search ranking which clusters the Web into topic areas and determines the ranking of pages within that area.

New sophisticated image recognition technologies measure attributes such as image type, shape, brightness and contrast level to determine picture quality. The search site is at pictures.ask.com.

Source: News.com

77% of Google users don’t know it records personal data

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

More than three quarters of web surfers don’t realize that Google records and stores information that may identify them, according to a new opinion poll.

The phone poll was conducted at the weekend by the Ponemon Institute in the wake of the DoJ subpoenas last week, and sampled over a thousand internet users.

It’s a pretty extraordinary statistic, and suggests that the battle for internet privacy is far from over - and indeed, may hardly even have started.

Google maintains a lifetime cookie that expires in 2038, and records the user’s IP address. But more recently it has begun to integrate services which record the user’s personal search history, email, shopping habits, and social contacts. After first promising not to tie its email service to its search service, Google went ahead and opted its users in anyway.

Source: The Register

Yahoo! gives up quest for search dominance

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Yahoo! Inc., one of the first Internet search companies, has capitulated to Google Inc. in the battle for market dominance.

“We don’t think it’s reasonable to assume we’re going to gain a lot of share from Google,” Chief Financial Officer Susan Decker said in an interview. “It’s not our goal to be No. 1 in Internet search. We would be very happy to maintain our market share.”

Yahoo!’s comments underline the difficulties any Internet company faces in trying to challenge Google’s dominance of the Web search industry. Google has at least double the market share of Yahoo! and Microsoft Corp. in Internet search, the largest and most profitable segment of online advertising.

“In some countries, it’s already game over in search, with Google the clear victor,” said RBC Capital Markets analyst Jordan Rohan in New York. “Google’s product development pipeline runs at such a fast rate that it’s very difficult for any company, Microsoft or Yahoo! to catch up.”

Source: seattlepi

Microsoft Releases New Preview of Visual Basic 9.0

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft has released a new Community Technology Preview of its Visual Basic 9.0 development environment.

The CTP of Visual Basic 9.0 features support for Microsoft’s LINQ (Language Integrated Query) extensions to the .Net framework and XML integration atop the XLinq API. The new release expands the XML integration in both the language and the IDE (integrated development environment), provides some editor features for the LINQ syntax, and enables DLinq for VB, according to the team building the tool.

The VB9 team listed new features in this CTP, including LINQ IntelliSense, DLinq support, editing support for XML literals and XML late binding.

Source: eWeek

US drops sanctions threat on Pakistan over piracy

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The United States has dropped a threat to cut off trade benefits for Pakistan because of steps that country has made to crack down on the piracy of U.S. music, movies and software, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said on Tuesday.

The announcement came shortly before President George W. Bush was due to meet with Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.

“The United States is pleased with the recent progress Pakistan has demonstrated in fighting optical disk piracy,” U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman said in a statement.

“Pakistan’s concerted efforts since April 2005, particularly its enforcement actions, have resulted in concrete results, including destruction of pirated optical disks, plant closures, arrests and confiscations of imported disks.”

U.S. copyright industry groups filed a petition in 2001 asking the Bush administration to consider suspending Pakistan from the Generalized System of Preferences program because of rampant piracy. However, the same organizations recommended in November the investigation be terminated.

Source: Reuters

Notre Dame probes hack of computer system

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Two computer-forensic companies are helping the University of Notre Dame investigate an electronic break-in that may have exposed the personal and financial information of school donors.

The hackers may have made off with Social Security numbers, credit card information and check images, Hilary Crnkovich, Notre Dame’s vice president of public affairs, told CNET News.com. She declined to disclose how many donors may be at risk.

“The (computer) server that was potentially affected was taken offline immediately,” Crnkovich said. “The university continues to explore safeguards and precautions to ensure something like this doesn’t happen in the future.”

Source: News.com

Google execs take $1 annual pay

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Top executives of Google Inc. have once again agreed to be paid annual salaries of $1 each in 2006, counting instead on stock options and grants of the company’s volatile stock for their pay.

In a regulatory filing on Monday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Web search leader said it had approved a base salary of $1 for Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt and its two co-founders and co-presidents, Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

The three were paid $1 a piece in salary during 2005.

The action — which was approved by Google last Tuesday but only disclosed this week — occurred ahead of the 14 percent decline in the company’s stock price last week amid investor concerns over the Internet sector’s growth outlook and revelation of a legal spat with the U.S. Justice Department.

But before anyone offers to spring for bus fare for Google executives, note that the 7 percent rebound in the price of the company’s stock on Monday alone means that Schmidt’s shares had recovered $413.8 million in value during the one-day trading session, according to CNET’s CEO Wealthmeter site. As a result, his total wealth in shares is roughly $6.3 billion.

Source: Reuters

IE 7 Code Revealed Online

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Elements of Microsoft’s next-generation Web browsing software have been posted on a Windows-related blog site, including screen shots of what the application may look like and a link to some of its code.

While the links to the build code for what appears to be a beta version of Internet Explorer 7 have since been yanked off the JCXP.net Windows forum, the site is still showing off roughly 14 screen shots of the browser.

The person who originally posted the links and photos to the site has since removed the ability for users to click through to the code sample, reportedly at Microsoft’s request. However, JCXP.net indicated that before removing the code it was downloaded as many as 12,000 times.

Source: eWeek

Microsoft Leverages IPv6 With Vista

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Internet protocol version 6 (IPv6) promises to deliver connectivity features in Windows Vista not possible with today’s Internet protocol version 4 (IPv4).

Microsoft Corp.’s “community technology preview” was issued in December. The second version ships in February. Both versions already support IPv6-enabled file-sharing and remote-access features.

Driving Microsoft to adopt the IPv6 protocol in Vista is the ability to enable “new application experiences.” It meant being able to incorporate “richer collaboration,” multiplayer gaming, or voice and video into applications. Sinead O’Donovan, product unit manger for networking at Microsoft, said “When we looked at key applications such as MSN Messenger, we learned that developers needed to do too many tricks to get them to work over NAT.”

Source: Information Week

Google co-founders cash in

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Last month, the 32-year-old celebrity co-founders of Google each sold more than $160 million worth of their company’s stock.

That may sound like the ultimate jackpot to most people, but to Sergey Brin and Larry Page it was just another month in their billionaire-in-a-year lives.

Since the search giant went public in August 2004, Brin has sold about 6.5 million shares at a market value of $1.68 billion. Page has sold about 5.8 million shares at a market value of $1.4 billion, according to calculations from Thomson Financial. Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, who was brought in to run the company before it went public, has sold more than 2.1 million shares, worth more than $502 million.

Of course, there’s nothing new about executives at hot tech outfits getting rich selling their stock once their companies go public. Microsoft’s Bill Gates didn’t become the richest man in the world because of his take-home salary. And Oracle’s Larry Ellison didn’t exactly fund his far-flung yachting adventures by cashing in a 401K plan.

But the speed at which the Google bosses have sold their stock and the eye-popping value of the sales have raised some eyebrows among corporate governance experts.

Source: News.com

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