1/16/2008

Hungarians unleash dog bark translator

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Hungarian scientists are apparently working on computer software which analyses dog barks and potentially offers people the chance to “better recognise” their mutts’ emotions, Reuters reports.

Csaba Molnar and colleagues at Budapest’s ELTE University have tested the software on 14 dogs of the Hungarian Mudi herding breed in six situations: when the dog is alone, when it sees a ball, fights, plays, encounters a stranger, or goes for a walk.

The computer “correctly recognised the emotional reaction of the dogs based on their barks and yelps in 43 per cent of the cases”, which would be moderately impressive were it not for the fact that mere people had “judged correctly in 40 per cent of cases”.

Although the scientists conceded the software “could be improved”, Molnar offered: “A possible commercial application could be a device for dog-human communication.”

Sun To Buy MySQL For $1 billion

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Sun Microsystems will plunk down $1 billion to buy MySQL, the maker of a popular open-source database.

Sun said Wednesday that it will pay about $800 million in cash for MySQL’s privately held stock and will assume about $200 million worth of options. MySQL CEO Marten Mickos will join Sun’s senior executive team after the transaction closes.

Oracle to Buy BEA for $7.85 Billion

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Business software maker Oracle Corp. said Wednesday it agreed to buy BEA Systems Inc. for about $7.85 billion, a compromise price that ends a months-long dispute over the value of the software company.

Oracle agreed to pay $19.375 per share for BEA, which makes “middleware,” the computer coding that helps business applications interact more smoothly with databases. The price is based on 405.3 million outstanding BEA shares as of Nov. 30. Oracle put the total price of the deal at $8.5 billion.

The price represents a premium of 24 percent over BEA’s closing share price of $15.58 on Tuesday.

Nine Canadians arrested in child porn case

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Nine Canadians, including social workers and people involved with children’s organizations, have been arrested on charges of possessing child pornography purchased from a European Web site, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said on Tuesday.

Dubbed “Operation Koala”, the Canadian probe was part of an international investigation into sales of child porn, in which 98 Canadian are suspected.

Police said at a press conference that the nine arrested were all male. Of the 98 suspects, investigators said they were working on 50 ongoing cases and there would likely be more arrests. They said they had not been able to identify all the suspects.

12,500 sign ‘Save XP’ petition

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Within 36 hours of the full launch of InfoWorld’s petition drive asking Microsoft not to discontinue Windows XP as planned on June 30, 12,621 people had signed the online petition. And dozens of the site’s readers added their own comments to the InfoWorld Save Windows XP blog. Many external sites have promoted the campaign as well. InfoWorld will deliver the petitions to Microsoft later this spring.

The vast majority of comments supported the petition drive, providing a variety of reasons that both individuals and companies do not want to lose the option to keep new XP licenses available after June 30. Lack of compelling benefits in Vista, coupled with the training, support, and other costs of upgrading was the most cited reason. Some cited compatibility concerns.

UK considers role in US terror database

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The United States wants recruit Britain and other countries to share biometric data on terrorists and criminals, a British newspaper reported Tuesday.

The Guardian reported that the FBI said a proposed security database called the “Server in the Sky” was still being designed.

Once active, it would enable countries to search and swap data such as fingerprints, genetic information and iris scans on some of the world’s most wanted criminals.

The FBI said the database would hold information on “the world’s worst of the worst individuals,” according to the newspaper.

The newspaper said other countries, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, had been approached to participate in the project.

Britain’s National Police Improvement Agency, which has discussed the project with the FBI, said it was too early to say whether Britain would participate.

IBM to add software for Apple devices

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

E-mail software from IBM Corp. will be available on Apple Inc. iPhones and iPod Touch devices under a new partnership that brings together two big rivals of Microsoft Corp.

IBM plans a formal announcement of the Lotus Notes e-mail package for Apple’s portable devices at its Lotusphere conference in Orlando, Fla., next week. The software, which requires use of IBM’s Domino e-mail server program, will be free for users who already have a Lotus Web-access license and start at $39 per year for new users.

IBM also plans to release Lotus Notes and the free Lotus Symphony “productivity” package - which includes documents, spreadsheets and other Microsoft Office-like software - for Apple’s Macintosh computers.

With these moves, IBM is trying to find more avenues for its software and take advantage of Apple’s natural affinity for Microsoft alternatives.

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