8/22/2006

Chips promise to boost speech recognition

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are using custom computer chips to tackle a problem in speech recognition that software largely hasn’t been able to solve.

Speech recognition has long been a computer industry dream–but it never has become practical reality for most computer users. But researcher Rob Rutenbar argues that using a custom processor rather than software will improve speech recognition speed and lower its power consumption.

Source: News.com

Microsoft sues ‘cybersquatters’

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp. said it has filed three lawsuits against “cybersquatters,” in an effort to fight back against a surge of online trademark infringement by people seeking profit from pay-per-click advertising.

The Redmond, Wash., software giant said cybersquatters and typosquatters — people who register Web addresses either with trademarked terms or with common misspellings in the hopes of luring Web surfers who mistype addresses into their browsers — are now registering more than 2,000 domains each day targeting Microsoft.

The vast majority of the sites, which have addresses like “microsoftrebate.com,” “xbox36com.com” and “msnfinance.com,” are bought by professional operations that place nothing on the pages but pay-per-click ads served by online-ad networks, Microsoft said. About a quarter of the sites use privacy services to disguise their identities.

Source: AP

US authorities had free rein over world’s bank data

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The US Treasury programme of snooping on international banking transactions to track terrorist funding had unfettered access to the world’s private financial details for anything upto five years.

A spokesman for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (Swift) said it had won restrictions on the Treasury’s power to see its data, which consists of records of financial transactions between 7,800 of the world’s financial institutions, going back 120 days.

Source: The Register

Lab Uses Microsoft’s Vista For Cancer Research

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft’s Vista is still months from completion but it’s already winning upbeat reviews from one of its first guinea pigs, a California research lab that’s using a custom Vista application in its quest to unravel cancer.

The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, is working hand-in-hand with Microsoft Gold partner InterKnowlogy, which used the complete Vista and Office 2007 stack as the foundation of a tool it developed for modeling and annotating 3D structures. The project is one of the first to put Microsoft’s fledgling technology to use in production systems.

Source: InformationWeek

Verizon eyes new DSL fee

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Verizon Communications has decided to pocket most of the savings from the cancellation of a government surcharge on digital subscriber lines, despite calls from consumer groups to pass on the savings on to users.

Verizon, one of the biggest U.S. telecoms companies, used to charge DSL customers a monthly fee of $1.25 or $2.83, depending on connection speeds, for a government fund to help bring service to lower-income and rural areas.

The government stopped charging that fee from August 14, but Verizon will instead impose a new monthly surcharge of $1.20 or $2.70, beginning August 26, which it said was to help subsidize connection costs.

Source: Reuters

Privacy Worries Spur New Search Engine Tool

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Web developers at Unspam Technologies Inc. have created a new tool that helps consumers protect their privacy by sending erroneous search data to AOL, Ask, Google, MSN, and Yahoo on their behalf.

Unspam CEO Matthew Prince said “Lost In The Crowd” took one week to build. The company built the tool in response to the recent AOL Inc. debacle, where thousands of subscribers found their search data had spilled onto the Internet.

Lost In The Crowd randomly generates queries to confuse anyone who might look through future search records. Users download a search engine bookmark from Lost In The Crowd before going to the search engine and clicking on the bookmark.

Downloading the bookmark hands the Web cookie for the search engine to another computer operated by Unspam, which runs random searches on the searcher’s behalf, several times daily for up to six months.

Source: InformationWeek

Kevin Mitnick’s Web site hacked

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Instead of the usual description of Kevin Mitnick, his consulting services and books, the famed hacker’s Web site on Sunday displayed a vulgar message.

Online vandals, apparently operating from Pakistan, broke into the computer hosting Mitnick’s Web site on Sunday and replaced his front page with one of their own. As a result, four Web addresses belonging to Mitnick, including KevinMitnick.com and MitnickSecurity.com, displayed an explicit message on Mitnick and hacking.

“The Web hosting provider that hosts my sites was hacked,” Mitnick told CNET News.com in an interview Monday. “Fortunately, I don’t keep any confidential data on my Web site, so it wasn’t that serious. Of course it is embarrassing to be defaced–nobody likes it.”

Source: News.com

mail.com is First Webmail to Read Messages Aloud

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Users of mail.com can now choose to have emails read aloud in 11 languages thanks to cutting-edge speech synthesis integrated directly within the webmail client. The new Audio Webmail option is offered on mail.com Beta, available to all users.

With the introduction of Audio Webmail, mail.com offers an integrated web-based service that employs sophisticated speech synthesis to read out loud the contents of email messages. The service also lets users generate ‘podmail’ at the click of a button, i.e. convert an entire email message to an audio file for easy transfer to personal devices such as portable media players. mail.com is the first web-based email provider to offer such a service.

Audio Webmail works in 11 languages, including UK and US English, German, Italian, French, Japanese, Spanish, Danish, Swedish, Portuguese, and Dutch, with additional languages to be added in the future.

No downloads or software installs are required; the service works directly from the web browser and is therefore available on any computer, unlike add-on software for email clients.

The Audio Webmail feature is the result of a partnership between Outblaze, the global hosted email provider, and ReadSpeaker.

Sony Merges LCD TV With Desktop PC

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Combining the power of a PC with a quality LCD and stylish design, Sony today unveiled the new VAIO LS1 TV/PC Combo.

Featuring a framed display with a transparent border for a stunning, floating effect, the LS1 model packs the essentials for powerful computing into a slim chassis discreetly hidden behind the back of a flat-panel 19-inch WSXGA+ (1680 x 1050) LCD display.

The new VAIO LS1 TV/PC model incorporates an Intel Core Duo processor, 2GB of RAM and a 250 GB hard drive for running multiple, demanding applications simultaneously, such as watching and/or recording a TV show while downloading music in the background. The unit is a Windows Vista capable PC. It is also Windows Vista Premium ready.

For tidy interior design, the LS1 TV/PC incorporates personal computing into the living space without any unsightly wires. Network cables are discretely routed; ports are conveniently located on the sides; and wired connections are minimized. An included wireless mouse and wireless aluminum keyboard folds up for a beautiful presentation when not in use.

By utilizing the unit’s built-in wireless LAN (802.11 b/g) technology, the VAIO LS1 TV/PC can be positioned virtually anywhere.
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Sony: PS3 not in production

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Sony has admitted it has yet to begin manufacturing its PlayStation 3 console, less than three months before the machine is due to go on sale. The revelation raises the prospect that supply is going to be tight in the early days.

Speaking to US website Gamespot, Sony Computer Entertainment America president Kaz Hirai said: “We haven’t started manufacturing yet.” The company is currently “preparing… to get manufacturing going”, he added.

Source: Reg Hardware

Microsoft Offers To Help Firefox Run On Vista

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The head of Microsoft’s open source software lab has extended a helping hand to Mozilla Corp. if it’s interested in making sure the Firefox browser and Thunderbird e-mail client run under Windows Vista.

In a posting to the Mozilla development planning discussion group, Sam Ramji, the director of the lab, said he had set aside office space for open-source developers and would make Microsoft engineers available to Firefox and Thunderbird coders.

Source: Yahoo

US says carmakers must tell buyers about recorders

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The U.S. government will not require recorders in autos but said on Monday that car makers must tell consumers when technology that tracks speed, braking and other measurements is in the new vehicles they buy.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulation standardizes recorder content and sets guidelines for how the information should be disclosed. It also requires recorders to be more durable.

Privacy experts complained that consumer interests are not fully protected and information captured by recorders can be exploited.

Safety experts, consumer groups and insurance companies have long pressed the agency to mandate recorders in cars, but industry has responded voluntarily in recent years. About two-thirds of the new vehicles now produced each year contain the device that is connected to air bag systems. General Motors equips all its vehicles with recorders, a company spokesman said.

Regulators sought on Monday to set basic standards for their use, saying that uniform safety data will help make future auto safety regulation more precise.

Source: Reuters

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