2/27/2006

May 23 Launch of First Blu-Ray Disc Titles

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) is targeting May 23 to deliver the first wave of Blu-ray Disc (BD) titles at retail, it was announced today. Delivery will coincide with the launch that day of the first commercially available BD player from Samsung Electronics, which will be followed shortly by BD players from Pioneer and Sony along with a BD compatible VAIO PC from Sony.

SPHE and MGM Home Entertainment will first release eight BD titles, with another eight following shortly June 13. Benjamin S. Feingold, president, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, made the announcement.

The first Blu-ray Disc titles will include: 50 First Dates, The Fifth Element, Hitch, House of Flying Daggers, A Knight’s Tale, The Last Waltz (MGM), Resident Evil Apocalypse and XXX.

BD titles streeting June 13 include: Kung Fu Hustle, Legends of the Fall, Robocop (MGM), Stealth, Species (MGM), SWAT and Terminator (MGM). Underworld Evolution will debut in early Summer day and date with the DVD.

“We are primed to ensure that a variety of Blu-ray Disc content is available at retail to support the introduction of the first BD players from Samsung Electronics and Pioneer, as well as the first BD player and compatible VAIO computer from Sony,” said Mr. Feingold. “Sony Pictures further intends to provide additional titles to coincide with the launch of BD products from other manufacturers. We’re thrilled that the Blu-ray Disc era is about to begin.”

Amazon.com acquires Shopbop.com

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Online retailer Amazon.com, Inc. said on Monday it has acquired Shopbop.com, a retailer of women’s shoes and accessories.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Source: Reuters

Yahoo claims start-up stole trade secrets

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Yahoo has filed a lawsuit against wireless content company MForma, charging the San Francisco-based company and a group of ex-Yahoo employees there with theft of trade secrets.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in a Santa Clara County state court, the group of seven former Yahoo employees copied large amounts of confidential business and technical data when they left the Web portal company, and brought it to use in their new positions at MForma.

Yahoo is seeking a temporary restraining order, barring MForma from using any of the business or technical data. The company wants a deeper understanding of how the information has been used before asking for damages, a Yahoo attorney said.

Source: News.com

Samsung Steals the Brain Behind the iPod

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The New York Times reports that Samsung has hired the same programming genius who helped make the iPod so great to design its own music player. They imply that the new Samsung device is just as innovative.”

From the article: “Samsung’s choice of Mr. Mercer also shows how much consumer electronics now rely on the powerful computing capabilities that defined personal computers two decades ago. Samsung is betting that it can win a share of the music market dominated by Apple by using new software that mimics what is found in powerful PC’s. The Z5, shaped like a stick of gum, has a 1.8-inch color screen and a 35-hour battery life, and is priced at $199 to $249 to compete with the iPod Nano, which costs $149 to $249. Early reviews have been positive, and Samsung is hoping that the Z5 will work smoothly with the range of subscription music services that support the Microsoft PlaysForSure digital music standard.”

Source: Slashdot

Intel Plans to Create Massive R&D Facility in Israel

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Computer chip giant Intel signed a giant deal with the Haifa Municipality, and Matam Industrial park in southern Haifa to purchase 20 dunam (approximately 5 acres) of land for USD 5.8 million, where Intel will build, without government aid, its largest Research and Development center.

Intel is expected to double its center in Haifa to 40,000 square meters (approximately 12 acres) and add 1,500 more employees in addition to the 2,000 employees already working there. Intel’s investment could reach USD 20 million.

ntel has been situated in Haifa since the 1970s, where it developed the Third Generation, the wireless cellular chip.

Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini recently announced in a computer developers conference held in San Francisco that the company has decided to move on to the new family of processors, all of which were designed and developed in Intel’s R&D center in Haifa and in Kibbutz Yakum.

This would be the first time that Intel structures itself on processors developed outside the United States. Israel, therefore, is becoming one of Intel’s most important R&D centers worldwide.

Source: ynetnews.com

JBoss buys German services partner Objectone

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

JBoss, a long-rumored acquisition candidate, has purchased a German service partner to establish stronger footing in one of Europe’s fastest growing markets for open-source software, the company said last week. Objectone, which is located in Berlin, is a certified systems integrator and authorized JBoss service partner in Germany, selling JBoss subscription and support services to enterprises in the country, according to JBoss, of Atlanta, Georgia. The German company, which JBoss called its most successful partner in the country, will become JBoss Deutschland on March 1.

Source: hackinthebox.org

US stops joining the worldwide web - official

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Internet usage in the US has flatlined, with a third of the country’s households stubbornly refusing to sign up. And don’t expect any sudden surges of interest - only two per cent of US citizens surveyed by Parks Associates plan to sign up this year.

This leaves 36 per cent of US households without an internet connection at home - and no intention of getting one, either.

Source: The Register

Sony and NEC To Merge Optical Drive Businesses

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Japanese electronics makers Sony Corp. and NEC Corp. said on Monday they have finalised a plan to set up a joint venture for optical disk drives, aiming to better weather intense price competition. The two companies will transfer their optical drive businesses to a new entity, Sony NEC Optiarc Inc., which will start operations on April 3. The deal was first announced last November.

Source: Reuters

Enigma message cracks under distributed computing

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A distributed computing project has been set up that aims to crack unbroken Enigma ciphers dating back to World War II. One of four unbroken Nazi codes has already succumbed. The M4 project is seeking help from the net community in breaking the other three codes.

Source: The Register

TiVo may test giving away boxes

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

TiVo Inc. the television recording technology company that is facing increasing competition, on Monday said it is considering giving away TiVo set-top boxes as part of plans to win subscribers.

Chief Executive Tom Rogers said the company, whose name has become synonymous with the ability to pause live television and skip commercials, was close to offering a range of pricing options, including one plan that would include a free set-top box.

“We’re continuing to pursue the prospects of zero upfront and all upfront” pricing, Rogers told the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit in New York.

The company is likely to begin the test to offer free boxes, possibly in exchange for higher priced and longer term plans, fairly soon, said Rogers, who was named chief executive last July.

TiVo also faces competition from far bigger cable and satellite TV providers and consumer electronics makers, all of whom are offering rival digital video recorders to consumers. Many of the devices are more powerful than TiVo’s and are offered at lower prices — sometimes for free.

Source: Reuters

Google Video censors Iraq footage - for US only

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Last month it was China, this month it’s the United States that a servile Google is doffing its cap to.

The internet search giant’s video service is blocking US viewers from seeing an innocuous piece of Iraq footage that Google delivers to internet users in the rest of the world without any problems.

The footage shows US military personnel detonating a roadside bomb in a controlled explosion. It’s accessible from everywhere except the United States. But US citizens - who bear the human and financial cost of such improvised weapons - are presented with this message:

Google video censor
Click to enlarge

Described by one Reg reader as “very boring”, the footage shows little more than a distant plume of smoke. Google has little cause to prohibit the clip on grounds of taste - after all, under the banner of promoting “citizens media”, it cheerfully serves up “happy slapping” footage of school thugs beating up science students, and some impressive ejaculation shots from porn videos.

Source: The Register

The New Ask.com Unveiled

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Formerly known as Ask Jeeves, the new Ask.com offers differentiated search technology, instinctive search tools and a sleek design to help people get what they need faster. With a new brand that represents the Ask.com of today and reflects the significant advancements the engine has undergone in recent years, Jeeves the butler has retired from the site.

“The new Ask.com is the culmination of years of innovation, combining the most advanced core search technology with one-of-a-kind tools that make search better,” said Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Ask.com. “People deserve a search engine that gives them the tools to get what they need faster, not just a bunch of links on a page. Ask.com takes search to the next level.”

The new Ask.com features include:

  • New Homepage: A new sleek design, the page is cleaner and more straightforward.
  • The Ask.com “Toolbox”: Homepage shortcuts to more than 20 search tools, including maps, images, weather, dictionary, local and desktop search. The Toolbox is easily customizable to include the tools someone uses most. The Toolbox can be opened or closed depending on user preference.
  • Ask.com Maps: New and improved Maps and Driving Directions that combine an AJAX-based interface with a differentiated set of mapping tools to create the easiest way to build an itinerary. Includes: Drag-able location pins that automatically recalculate directions, even when you don’t know the address; Right-click to add a location for any point on a map; Build an itinerary with up to 10 locations; Get walking directions, in addition to driving; an industry first that allows consumers to find the best way to get to their destination on foot (great for city-dwellers); Hit a “Play” button to take a visual test drive of your directions (great for forks in the road); Open and close a left-hand information panel to enable wider map view; Overhead map views taken through aerial photography, which provides better visual resolution than satellite photos for most locations
  • Encyclopedia Search: Utilizing content from Wikipedia, Houghton Mifflin and Columbia, Ask.com displays direct answers right at the top of the results page.
  • Web-based Desktop Search: Ask.com Desktop Search users now have the ability to access their files and emails through their Web browser, in addition to a standalone application. Ask.com is the only search engine to offer both choices. Ask.com Desktop Search can now be accessed via the new Ask.com Toolbar.
  • Shaded Sponsored Listings: Ask.com now has the fewest ads of any major search destination on the first screen of results. With Smart Answers, Ask.com is also the only search engine to place editorial results above advertisements.

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