12/8/2006

Microsoft opens digital library

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft is gearing up to launch a new online book search service enabling internet users to find content from books, periodicals and other print resources.

The digital archive, which is due to go live on Thursday, will include books from the British Library, the University of California and the University of Toronto. Other institutions including the New York Public Library and Cornell University expected to come on board in the near future.

The new service will compete with Google’s Book Search offering which was launched in 2005. That service has run into controversy due to the search engine giant’s scanning of content, some of which may still be copyrighted. Last year, a number of organisations including the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Authors Guild initiated a lawsuit against the firm over its service.

Microsoft seems to be taking a more publisher-friendly route however. The company is only offering access to non-copyrighted works initially, although it is believed that in the future it intends to include copyright works that publishers have given permission to use. As with Google’s Book Search service, out-of-copyright books will be available to download for free as PDF files.

Source: The Register

Pirates Spoof Vista’s Enterprise Activation

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Pirates are circulating a hack that lets them activate counterfeit copies of Windows Vista using a spoofed server that Microsoft relies on to make sure enterprises switch on the new operating system.

The software, loaded with the long name of “Microsoft.Windows.Vista.Local.Activation.Server-MelindaGates” is available on several pirate Web sites. It spoofs a Key Management Service server, one of the two technologies that Microsoft debuted last month that let businesses activate a large number of copies of Windows Vista.

The MelindaGates hack uses a VMware image of a KMS server to activate — and keep activated — a pirated edition of Windows Vista Business. “Looks like Windows Vista Volume Activation 2.0 is a big bust,” wrote a user identified as “clank” on the PirateBay Web site Friday.

Source: InformationWeek

NASA crushes lunar real estate industry

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The news deals a crushing blow to the dreams of thousands of idiots, who coughed the cash for their very own patch of dusty countryside on the moon. NASA announced earlier this week it would start building a permanent lunar outpost in 2020.

A NASA spokesman told us: “Property rights on the moon are governed by the United Nations. Those are all just frauds.”

Source: The Register

Palm Buys Back Its OS for $44 Million

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Palm is buying — or rather, buying back — what it used to own. This week, the Sunnyvale, California, firm announced that it purchased a perpetual license to the Palm Garnet operating system from Access Systems Americas. Garnet is used in all of Palm’s current handhelds and smartphones, including its popular Treo line.

Palm will pay Access $44 million for the license, which lets Palm edit the source code in any way it likes and keep all rights to its edits and upgrades. But Palm won’t pay anything until the third quarter of 2007. The single payment “eliminates the requirement for Palm to pay Access continuing royalties of tens of millions of dollars over the coming years,” according to a written statement by Palm.

The license also gives Palm the right to use Garnet in any Palm product, either in whole or in part, whether the product is a handheld, a smartphone, or even a new class of device.

Source: Yahoo

BitTorrent, Inc. Acquires uTorrent

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

BitTorrent, Inc. has taken the next step — the acquisition of uTorrent. In a joint announcement made today, the two firms have publicly solidified the merger. ‘Together, we are pleased to announce that BitTorrent, Inc. and uTorrent AB have decided to join forces … BitTorrent has acquired uTorrent as it recognized the merits of uTorrent’s exceptionally well-written codebase and robust user community. Bringing together uTorrent’s efficient implementation and compelling UI with BitTorrent’s expertise in networking protocols will significantly benefit the community with what we envision will be the best BitTorrent client.

Source: Slashdot

Zero Day Exploit Found in Windows Media Player

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Another zero day flaw has been reported in Windows Media player. It comes only one day after a serious zero day flaw was found in word. The flaw is dangerous because it involves IE and Outlook’s ability to automatically launch .asx files. No fix from Microsoft has been announced yet.

Source: Slashdot

Blu-ray DVD drive no bonus for some PS3 buyers

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Gamers love Sony Corp.’s new PlayStation 3 for its graphic capabilities and firepower, but the advanced Blu-ray DVD drive is annoying some by raising the cost, slowing production and forcing them to buy into a format they’ve not yet aligned with.

Sony’s move to put a Blu-ray drive into the PS3 video game console is part of the Japanese giant’s plan in a high-stakes next-generation DVD format war that recalls the fierce Betamax-VHS battle, which Sony’s Betamax lost.

This time, Sony’s Blu-ray is competing against a rival Toshiba Corp.-backed format known as HD-DVD.

Sony said Blu-ray is part of its long term plan to position its machine as a home entertainment hub, but some experts say the strategy may be backfiring.

Yankee Group analyst Michael Goodman said that while die-hard gamers will buy the PS3 at any cost early on, buyers who come to the product later will be more price-sensitive.

“Blu-ray is adding $150 to $200 to the product. They’ve created something that is not for today’s market. It’s not a market driver, it’s only driving the price higher,” he said.

Source: Reuters

Data Format Approved As Int’l Standard

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A data format used in Microsoft Corp.’s prevalent Office software line has been approved as an international standard - a move aimed at preserving access to documents created with the package for years to come.

Companies and governments had expressed concern that documents created with Microsoft’s proprietary technology might be impossible to read at some point in the future if Microsoft shifted to a format incompatible with current versions.

Source: AP

Internet gangs hire students for cybercrime

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Organized gangs have adopted “KGB-style” tactics to hire high-flying computer students to commit Internet crime, a report said on Friday.

Criminals are targeting universities, computer clubs and online forums to find undergraduates, according to Internet security firm McAfee.

Some gangs have sponsored promising students from other disciplines to attend computer courses before planting them in businesses as “sleepers”.

McAfee said the students write computer viruses, commit identity theft and launder money in a multi-billion dollar industry that is more lucrative than the drugs trade.

The gangs’ tactics echo the way Russian agents sought out experts at trade conferences or universities during the Cold War, the company said in an annual report.

Source: Reuters

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