8/12/2006

Pre 802.11n may not be upgradeable up to the final spec

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Despite the fact that Draft 1.0 of the 802.11n standard drew an unusually large number of comments, some manufacturers have already begun shipping so-called “draft-compliant” gear. It looks as though that deluge of comments will lead to a delay in the second draft of the specification, with a vote for Draft 2.0 not coming until January 2007.

802.11n is the next step up from 802.11g, offering wireless data transmission speeds of up to 600Mbps. The promise of such speeds has been enough for manufacturers and consumers alike to jump on the 802.11n bandwagon. However, as we pointed out in May, those investing in next-gen wireless might not get the return they are hoping for.

One issue is that the draft-compliant equipment may not be upgradeable up to the final spec, once one has been ratified.

Source: arstechnica

Amazon Proposes Using Private Customer Info for ‘Gift Clustering’

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The Santas on Amazon may soon know if intended gift recipients have been not only naughty or nice, but also whether they’re Muslim, Gay and Unemployed.

Amazon.com filed a patent application on Aug. 10 for a process that would allow Amazon customers to use the retail Web site to gather information on other customers, including “birthday, interests, occupation, education level, income level, location, race, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation.”

That information would be obtained by Amazon through several means, including “from a user profile for the recipient, from past ordering patterns of the recipient or from publicly accessible databases” and Amazon would then make recommendations based on “appropriate recipients for the items (e.g., religion and race),” the patent filing said.

Amazon officials have been careful to stress that the company has no current plans to deploy such a system.

It’s also fair to point out that large companies typically file a huge number of such patent applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, to protect their intellectual property and, more importantly, to preserve their future options. It’s not unusual for a large company to have drawers full of patent applications that it will never use.

That said, the Amazon filing is not likely to sit well with privacy advocates.

Source: eWeek

Judge: Unabomber Items to Be Sold Online

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A federal judge has ordered personal items seized in 1996 from Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski’s Montana cabin to be sold online.

U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell Jr. ruled Thursday that items belonging to Kaczynski - including books, tools, clothing and two checkbooks - should be sold at a “reasonably advertised Internet auction.”

The auction will not include 100 items the government considers to be bomb-making materials, such as writings that contain diagrams and “recipes” for bombs.

The remaining revenues from the sale will be applied to the $15 million in restitution that Burrell ordered Kaczynski to pay his victims.

Source: AP

Internet Explorer Loses More Ground to Firefox

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

While Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser has lost further market share this year, there has been a significant slowdown in the acceptance of its largest competitor, the open source Firefox browser, according to a white paper released by Janco Associates on Aug. 11.

Internet Explorer has continued to lose market share this year, to 75.88 percent share in July 2006 from 77.01 percent in January 2006 and 84.05 percent in July 2005. That comes off its January 2003 peak of 92.39 percent, the paper, written by Janco CEO Victor Janulaitis, says.

Source: Yahoo

Automakers to invest in hybrid project

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A research alliance consisting of General Motors Corp, BMW AG and DaimlerChrysler AG plans to invest over $1 billion in the development of a new hybrid transmission and related systems that backers say will leapfrog the market-leading technology now offered by Toyota Motor Corp.

The three automakers have about 500 engineers who have been working for the past 18 months on the joint development of the next-generation hybrid engine technology, which combines a battery-powered electric motor with a conventional gasoline combustion engine, company representatives said on Friday on the sidelines of an industry trade meeting.

The so-called dual-mode hybrid technology that has been under development by the consortium includes an onboard fuel-optimization computer that determines when and at what speeds the two motors will be used for power and how the on-board battery will be recharged.

Source: Reuters

Happy 25th Birthday To IBM PC

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Computer firm IBM made technological history on 12 August 1981 with the announcement of a personal computer - the IBM 5150.

Costing $1,565, the 5150 had just 16K of memory - scarcely more than a couple of modest e-mails worth.

The machine was not the first attempt to popularise computing but it soon came to define the global standard.

It altered the way business was done forever and sparked a revolution in home computing.

The term PC had been in use long before IBM released its machine - but the success of the 5150 led to the use of the term to mean a machine compatible with IBM’s specifications.

The machine was developed by a team of 12 engineers, led by Don Estridge, who was known as the “father of the IBM PC”.

Development took under a year and was achieved by building a machine using “off the shelf” parts from a variety of manufacturers.

Source: BBC

Microsoft’s antivirus package makes a splash

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Helped by low pricing, Microsoft’s Windows Live OneCare landed the No. 2 spot in sales at American stores in its debut month, according to The NPD Group.

The antivirus and PC care package nabbed 15.4 percent of security suite sales at retailers such as Best Buy and Amazon.com, according to NPD’s data. The average price was $29.67, well below Microsoft’s list price of $49.95. Online at Amazon.com, OneCare is available for only $19.99.

Source: news.com

Researchers: OpenOffice.org Security ‘Insufficient’

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Though Microsoft’s Office suite may currently be targeted by hackers, researchers at the French Ministry of Defense say users of the rival OpenOffice.org software could be at even greater risk from computer viruses.

“The general security of OpenOffice is insufficient,” the researchers wrote in a paper entitled “In-depth analysis of the viral threats with OpenOffice.org documents.”

“This suite is up to now still vulnerable to many potential malware attacks,” they wrote.

Source: Yahoo

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