12/20/2006

On Demand and on DVD at the Same Time

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

In an attempt to bolster consumer interest in paid video on demand, Comcast, the nation’s largest cable operator, has introduced an experimental program to release films on demand simultaneously with their release on DVDs.

The experiment, which will run on Comcast systems in Pittsburgh and Denver, would let customers pay $4 to see a movie the same day they could buy it at a neighborhood store for about $25, or rent it for about the same price as the on-demand service.

Source: New York Times

Record Labels Sue AllofMP3.com

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Several major record labels sued the operator of the Russian music Web site AllofMP3.com on Wednesday, claiming the company has been profiting by selling copies of music without their permission.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in New York against Moscow-based Mediaservices, which owns AllofMP3 and another music site, allTunes.com.

A slate of major record labels, including Arista Records LLC, Warner Bros. Records Inc., Capitol Records Inc. and UMG Recordings Inc., are behind the lawsuit.

The labels claim Mediaservices’ sites sell millions of songs by their artists without paying them “a dime” for the right to do so.

“Defendant’s entire business … amounts to nothing more than a massive infringement of plaintiffs’ exclusive rights under the Copyright Act and New York law,” according to the lawsuit.

The music companies are seeking a court order against Mediaservices and unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Source: AP

VeriSign to Distribute Movies

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

VeriSign Inc., best known for managing e-commerce security and Internet addresses, said it will start distributing family-friendly movies early next year.

The movie download service will be run by AxiomTV, a subsidiary of Axiom Entertainment Inc., based in Rochester, Mich.

Axiom is developing an Internet TV channel that will run kid-themed, parent-approved movies and shows. It will deploy technology called “Mother” to block pornography, violence and foul language.

A test version will launch Jan. 8, with general availability scheduled for Feb. 1. Subscribers would buy and install some cables and other simple hardware to watch movies on their television.

Source: washingtonpost.com

Rumor: Google Mught By An Online Clone Of Microsoft Office

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Rumors of a deal between Google and the Korean developer of an online Microsoft Office clone gained intensity Friday as Kang Tae-jin, CEO of the Korean firm, arrived in Silicon Valley.

Kang’s firm, The ThinkFree Corp., makes the ThinkFree Office suite, a highly-regarded bundle of office software that mimics the Microsoft standard. A Google acquisition team—reportedly the same team that led the company’s acquisition of YouTube—has visited the Korean company for acquisition talks twice in recent days, according to Korean press reports.

While Google has been acquiring individual pieces of office productivity software, they don’t constitute a threat to Microsoft’s Office, at least so far. In March, Google acquired tiny Upstartle and its Internet-based Writely word processor. Last month, the search-engine company picked up the founders of Israel-based spreadsheet provider iRows.

“Google isn’t just buying code,” says Google watcher Stephen Arnold, managing director of Arnold IT. “They’re buying people. It’s quicker for Google to bring in people who have demonstrated clever problem solving.”

Source: InformationWeek

BBC moves to file-sharing sites

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Hundreds of episodes of BBC programmes will be made available on a file-sharing network for the first time, the corporation has announced.

The move follows a deal between the commercial arm of the organisation, BBC Worldwide, and technology firm Azureus.

The agreement means that users of Azureus’ Zudeo software in the US can download titles such as Little Britain.

Until now, most BBC programmes found on peer-to-peer file-sharing networks have been illegal copies.

Beth Clearfield, vice president of program management and digital media at BBC Worldwide, said that the agreement was part of a drive to reach the largest audience possible.

The titles will be protected by digital rights management software to prevent the programmes being traded illegally on the internet.

Source: BBC

Microsoft makes Zune Vista-friendly

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

After a few weeks of not speaking to one another, Microsoft’s new operating system and its Zune digital-music player are getting along fine.

Microsoft on Tuesday released a software update that lets the Zune work with Windows Vista. Although Vista has yet to go on sale to consumers, the software has been available to businesses since last month, and many tech enthusiasts have been running test versions of Vista.

Microsoft noted the lack of Vista compatibility in November but pledged that a software update to fix the issue would be out well before the January 30 consumer launch of Vista.

In addition to adding support for the new operating system, Microsoft said on its Zune Insider blog that the update “improves the Zune software installation process, addressing the issues that some of the…users reported.”

Source: News.com

Hoax Web site jabs anti-illegal immigrant U.S. town

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Santa isn’t welcome in Hazleton because he’s an illegal immigrant just like all the others the Pennsylvania town is trying to get rid of — or so someone would have you believe.

A new Web site says the town intends to keep Santa out this Christmas because he represents the illegal immigration the town council believes increases crime and burdens local services.

But the site is a hoax, created by someone in a bid to satirize a local law passed in July that has attracted national attention by imposing penalties on businesses and landlords to deter them from hiring or renting rooms to illegal immigrants.

Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta, who instigated the Illegal Immigration Relief Act Ordinance, said neither he nor the City of Hazleton are involved with the Web site and that while he’s not taking it seriously, it may be illegal because it invites online donations. The town has referred it to police.

Source: Reuters

Sun JDK 5.0 Update 10

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A new update for Sun JDK 5.0 has been released. Amongst a variety of bugs that have been fixed (and some of which seem to be ancient - check bug 4744057; “Potential deadlock between Selector and SelectableChannel”, submitted in 2002!), one thing that caught my eye is the bug 6437047.

Download JDK 5 here

Source: SANS

Hackers call on Skype to spread Trojan

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Malware authors are using Skype to help spread a pair of Trojan packages.

The malware does not exploit flaws in Skype as such, as a computer worm might do, but spreads by tricking users into agreeing to run hostile code, which poses as a “cool program” from one of their contacts.

F-Secure reports that two different and separate malware samples are using Skype as an attack vector. One malware sample - called “sp.exe” - attempts to link to a site called nsdf.no-ip.biz to download additional malware components. The other sample of malware, first detected at the beginning of October, attempts to download components from marx2.altervista.org.

Mozilla Ending Firefox 1.5 Support

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

You now have a deadline to upgrade your browser: Mozilla announced that it won’t release any patches for Firefox 1.5 after April 24, 2007. That’s a fast end-of-life given that Firefox 2.0 came out only at the end of October.

Source: Yahoo

More US households own DVD players than VCR

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

For the first time, more US households now own DVD players than video recorders, according to a survey that reinforced the decline of the 30-year-old tape technology.

Nielsen Media Research said that in the third quarter of 2006, 81.2 percent of US homes possessed a DVD machine compared with 79.2 percent owning a video cassette recorder (VCR).

“This study shows the culmination of a long battle for share of consumers,” said Paul Lindstrom, a senior vice president at Nielsen, “and we now see that the popularity of DVDs has finally surpassed that of VCRs.”

Sales of new digital versatile disc players overtook VCR sales in 2003, and the home ownership figures reflect a boom in DVD-equipped home computer gaming consoles such as Sony’s PlayStation and cheaper DVD camcorders.

Movie studios are phasing out releases of their films on VHS (video home system) cassettes, focusing exclusively on DVDs and newer technologies such as Sony’s Blu-ray format.

Source: AFP

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