3/2/2006

Congress raises broadcast flag for audio

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Digital radio receivers without government-approved copy-prevention technology likely would become illegal to sell in the future, according to new federal legislation announced Thursday.

Rep. Mike Ferguson, a New Jersey Republican, said his bill–which would enforce a so-called “broadcast flag” for digital and satellite audio receivers–was necessary to protect the music industry from the threat of piracy.

Ferguson’s proposal would grant the Federal Communications Commission the power to enforce “prohibitions against unauthorized copying and redistribution” for both digital over-the-air radio and digital satellite receivers.

Source: News.com

Lucene 1.9 released

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Lucene 1.9, the open source search engine, has been released with a lot of new features, bug fixes and optimizations. 1.9 will be the last 1.x release. It is both back-compatible with 1.4.3 and forward-compatible with the upcoming 2.0 release.

Here are some highlights from the change log:

  • Added support for stored compressed fields
  • Added support for binary stored fields
  • Add ParallelReader, an IndexReader that combines separate indexes over different fields into a single virtual index
  • Added class org.apache.lucene.index.IndexModifier which combines IndexWriter and IndexReader, so you can add and delete documents without worrying about synchronisation/locking issues.
  • Added regular expression queries, RegexQuery and SpanRegexQuery.

Lucene is used in various web sites, some of the most known are Technorati.com and indeed.com

Source: TheServerside

Google Moving Search Records Out of China

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

In an effort to protect users of its Google.cn Web site, Google is moving search records out of China and into the United States, a company executive said this week.

Google.cn is a version of the company’s search engine that is hosted in China and adheres to Chinese censorship laws. It was launched in January.

The Mountain View, California, company has decided to store search records from the site outside that country, however, in order to prevent China’s government from accessing the data without Google’s consent, said Peter Norvig, Google’s director of research, speaking at a panel discussion at Santa Clara University earlier this week. “We didn’t want to be in the position of having to hand over these kinds of records to the government,” he said.

Source: PCWorld

Google Is Reportedly Switching to AMD

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google Inc. is switching its servers to run on Advanced Micro Devices Inc. chips instead of those made by Intel Corp., according to a Morgan Stanley report.

Google, which has more than 200,000 servers, has started to buy Advanced Micro’s Opteron processors with almost all new purchases, Morgan Stanley analyst Mark Edelstone said. He raised his earnings estimates for Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Advanced Micro.

“Most of Google’s near-term server purchases will use AMD’s Opteron for the first time,” Edelstone said. Google “will help AMD to enjoy a significant sequential increase in their server business in the first quarter.”

Source: LATimes

US man faces five years for hacking supervisor’s PC

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A former federal computer security expert faces a possible five year jail term after pleading guilty to hacking a US Department of Education computer. Kenneth Kwak, 34, of Chantilly, Virginia, admitted snooping on his supervisor’s email and internet surfing activities while employed as a system auditor for the US Department of Education.

Kwak placed unspecified software on his boss’s computer that allowed him to access files on the system without permission. He shared snippets gleaned from his repeated spying forays with colleagues around the office. In a statement the DoJ said: “Kwak carried out his crime and invaded his supervisor’s privacy for personal entertainment; there is no indication he profited financially from his actions.”

As part of a plea bargaining agreement, Kwak pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorised access to a protected computer during a hearing in the District of Columbia federal court before US District Judge Royce Lamberth on Wednesday. He faces a maximum of five years in jail and a fine of $250,000 over the offence. Sentencing has been set for 12 May.

Source: The Register

NASA laser device could assist at crime scenes

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Technology developed by NASA engineers lets photographers add measurements to objects in a picture with the use of laser dots, the space agency said this week. That tool, which has helped NASA scientists find and analyze damage to spacecraft, may soon be widely useful to police investigating crime scenes.

The device, called the Laser Scaling and Measurement Device for Photographic Images, is a black box weighing about half a pound, and attaches directly to a camera. With twin lasers an inch apart, the tool can project a pattern of dots in a photographer’s field of vision. Once the image loads into specialized software, the photographer can then set points of interest within the picture and set distances between those references.

The software sets the scale of objects based on distance, giving a viewer better perspective of an object’s size whether it’s close-up or faraway in the photo.

Source: News.com

EU sees digital library of six million books, documents by 2010

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

At least six million books, documents and “other cultural works” are to be put online and housed in the European Digital Library by 2010, the

The European Union’s executive arm said it would help fund part of a network of digitation sites and study copyright issues that might arise.

Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding said the library would help internauts “tap into Europe’s collective memory with a click of your mouse”.

The library will be based on the infrastructure of an existing network that allows access to digital resources already held in national libraries.

The commission, which first announced plans for the library last September, said it should have the full collaboration of national libraries by the end of the year.

Two million books, films, photographs, manuscripts and other works should be online through the library by 2008 and the figure would rise to six million by 2010 as more and more libraries, archives and museums plug in.

Source: AFP

NVIDIA To Deliver High-Definition Video Processing For Computers

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

NVIDIA Corporation announced the immediate availability of new NVIDIA PureVideo technology enabling comprehensive support for high-definition video including hardware acceleration for content based on the advanced H.264 specification.

H.264, which is also known as the Advanced Video Codec (AVC) specification or MPEG-4 Part 10, is one of the digital video codecs specified for the Blu-ray [not used again] and High Definition DVD (HD DVD) formats. H.264 delivers two to three times the compression efficiency of the MPEG-2 standard, which is used to create current DVD videos. H.264 has been adopted by both the DVD Forum for HD DVDs and the Blu-ray Disc Association for Blu-ray Discs, and VC-1 has also been adopted by the DVD Forum for HD DVDs.

NVIDIA PureVideo technology provides hardware acceleration for decoding H.264, VC-1, WMV and MPEG-2 movies and performs post processing techniques on the decoded high definition content, including spatial-temporal de-interlacing and inverse telecine. This provides consumers with precise images that have up to six times the detail of standard DVD movies. The PureVideo discrete video processing core offloads the CPU and 3D engine of complex video tasks, freeing the PC to run multiple applications simultaneously.

Consumers with PCs built with the following NVIDIA products, will be able to watch high-definition videos and DVDs with a high level of visual quality and performance:

  • NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) 7-series of GPUs for the desktop and notebook PC
  • NVIDIA GeForce 6-series of GPUs for the desktop and notebook PC
  • NVIDIA nForce(R) 6150 family of integrated GPUs

NVIDIA has been working closely with InterVideo, CyberLink and Nero software to include NVIDIA PureVideo acceleration and post-processing in their H.264 codecs, thereby leveraging the Company’s highly-advanced algorithms to deliver high quality and performance on today’s PCs.

Teenager Claims to Find Flaw in Gmail

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A teenage blogger claims to have discovered a flaw in Google’s Gmail service that allows JavaScript to run, potentially allowing a malicious hacker to gather e-mail addresses or compromise an account.

The supposed flaw may already have been fixed, however.

Source: PCWorld

Microsoft Alleges EU Colluded With Rivals

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp. filed a formal complaint with EU antitrust regulators Thursday, alleging that the European Commission withheld documents and secretly colluded with rival companies shortly before the EU charged that Microsoft had not obeyed an earlier ruling.

The EU said it had no immediate comment on the content or admissibility of what it termed Microsoft’s “supplementary response” to the charges against the company. It said it would decide after a March 30 or 31 hearing if it would levy euro2 million ($2.4 million) in daily fines against the company for not doing enough to provide competitors with the information needed to make their software work with Microsoft servers.

Those charges were based on an independent report from computer science professor Neil Barrett, who said the technical information Microsoft had provided needed a drastic overhaul to make it workable. Barrett, currently a visiting professor at Cranfield University in Britain, is an expert in Internet crime and fraud and has advised the British government on computer cases involving everything from pedophiles to hackers.

In Thursday’s complaint, Microsoft said it believes EU officials had “inappropriate” contacts with Barrett and rival firms Sun Microsystems Inc., IBM Corp., Oracle Corp. and Novell Inc.

Source: AP

Oracle unveils corporate search software

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Business software maker Oracle Corp. (ORCL.O: Quote, Profile, Research) on Wednesday announced new software designed to sift through corporate networks, a major push into the red-hot search market dominated by Google Inc. (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research).

Oracle’s Secure Enterprise Search is a program aimed at helping businesses and organizations quickly scour databases, e-mail systems and other corporate software for information.

Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison unveiled the software in Tokyo, saying it is aimed at filling a gap left by Google, which dominates online searches and has pushed into individual computers with its desktop search software.

“What Google does not do well is search private data. It searches public data very well, the World Wide Web. But most data we deal with is not public data, it’s private data, personal data,” Ellison said.

Illustrating the growing importance of the search market, Ellison described the software as “one of our biggest products in years”.

Oracle’s software would have security measures built in to ensure users can only access data they are authorized to view, Ellison said.

The search tool will be available by the end of May, Oracle said. No pricing for the product was disclosed.

Source: Reuters

Computer video game companies try online distribution

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Video game maker S2 Games plans sell its new title “Savage 2: A Tortured Soul” exclusively through Web downloads this October testing a new delivery system that both independent computer game makers and industry behemoths are trying.

By declining to box up thousands of CDs and distribute them in stores, S2 aims to cut the price of the game and hold on to a bigger percentage of proceeds, Marc DeForest, the company’s co-founder and lead designer, told Reuters this week.

The increasing proliferation of high-speed Internet connections is helping to drive interest in digital video game publishing, particularly among small game development houses looking for a direct route to fans.

According to research from Parks Associates, 42 percent of U.S. households have broadband Internet access, which is making it easier for users to quickly download video games, photos, music and other content. Broadband penetration in some other countries, such as South Korea, is significantly higher.

In the case of S2, players will be able to download the entire game to their computers. Online game play will happen on S2-run servers that allow the company to identify those players who have paid for the game.

The Northern California-based company’s first title “Savage: The Battle for Newerth” was introduced at $49.99 in 2003 and was primarily sold through retailers. DeForest said the company makes about $20 on the sale of each game.

He said the follow-on title, slated for release in October, will sell for $29.99. S2 will keep about $28 of each digital game sale, and unlike retail, payment will be immediate because customers pay the company directly.

Source: Reuters

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