Last.fm, music labels launch free music on-demand

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Last.fm, the social music network owned by CBS Corp, said on Wednesday it is introducing a free service for fans to listen to their favorite songs on-demand.

The new service is being launched in partnership with the four major music companies, as well as over 150,000 labels and artists.

When fans in the United States, Britain and Germany search for an artist on the Last.fm Web site, they can now stream the artist’s song for nothing or pay to download an MP3 version of the song via Amazon.com

Last.fm said the streaming service is funded by advertising revenue, which is shared with the music companies.

The move comes nearly six years after Last.fm first started reaching out to music companies to license songs to stream on its site.

A household paint that kills germs

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Researchers at Rice University and City College of New York have come up with a way to embed silver nanoparticles in vegetable oil-based paint. Early tests show that the material exhibits “efficient antibacterial activity” toward E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus.

Silver’s antibacterial properties have been known since the age of the Roman Empire, but making nano-sized particles (nano particles measure less than 100 billionths of a meter long) and then fixing them in paints and coatings has typically been expensive and time consuming. The Rice and CCNY researchers devised a hydrocarbon soup that in turn helps form raw materials into nano-sized particles.

Vista successor, Windows 7 to be released next year?

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A recently-release roadmap for the next major Window release – Windows 7 – indicates that Microsoft is planning to release the new operating system in the second half of 2009, rather than the anticipated release date of some time in 2010.

There are apparently three “milestone” builds planned for 2008, and the first one – M1 – has already shipped to key partners for code validation. M1 is for the English language build only, but is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Microsoft has announced that Windows 7 will most likely be the last Windows operating system available in 32-bit, and given the rapid advances Windows Vista is making in the 64-bit computing market, this seems a sensible decision.

MPAA Admits Mistake on Downloading Study

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Hollywood laid much of the blame for illegal movie downloading on college students. Now, it says its math was wrong.

In a 2005 study it commissioned, the Motion Picture Association of America claimed that 44 percent of the industry’s domestic losses came from illegal downloading of movies by college students, who often have access to high-bandwidth networks on campus.

The MPAA has used the study to pressure colleges to take tougher steps to prevent illegal file-sharing and to back legislation currently before the House of Representatives that would force them to do so.

But now the MPAA, which represents the U.S. motion picture industry, has told education groups a “human error” in that survey caused it to get the number wrong. It now blames college students for about 15 percent of revenue loss.

Major HTML update unveiled

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The first major update to HTML in 10 years - factoring in changing tastes around rich-media applications and online collaboration - has been unveiled by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

The group has published the first public working draft for what it termed a “major revision” to the mark-up language.

Much has changed since the early dot-com days of December 1997 when HTML 4 was published, as developers, designers and users have unlocked the web’s potential. Web sites have moved from being a collection of static pages to media-rich communities leveraging participation.[Fire up the hookah, boys - Ed]

HTML 5 is designed to reflect this, with APIs for drawing two-dimensional graphics, embedding and controlling multimedia, managing client-side data storage and editing parts of documents. Turning to more bread-and-butter stuff, HTML 5 will also make it easier to represent familiar page elements.

Five Most Overlooked Open Source Vulnerabilities Found By Audits

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

After reviewing 300 million lines of code in 2007, Palamida, a vulnerability audit and software risk management company, says it’s identified the five vulnerabilities most frequently overlooked by users in their open source code.

The five are listed in alphabetical order. Palamida did not attempt to assign a frequency ranking to the five, CEO Mark Tolliver said. Also, the Palamida list reflects known vulnerabilities that have been aired and fixed by their parent projects but are still encountered in the user base, such as businesses and government agencies. The projects named are not frequent offenders when it comes to security vulnerabilities, but their code is so widely used that unpatched vulnerabilities show up in Palamida’s enterprise and nonprofit agency software scans. In all cases, a patch is available to fix the vulnerability.

Open source code is “not any more vulnerable than commercial software” and in some cases, less so, said Tolliver. Open source projects tend to acknowledge their vulnerabilities and fix them promptly, he added.

The company conducts audits on enterprise software, spotting uses of open source and identifying origins of code. It both sells products to conduct audits and offers audit services and risk management consulting.

IncrediMail says Google restores ad deal

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Shares of Internet content company IncrediMail Ltd rose as much as 32 percent Tuesday, a day after it said Google Inc, its biggest customer, restored an advertising service partnership between the two firms.

“We have been reinstated and revenue is flowing back again,” Chief Executive Yaron Adler said by phone.

On January 11, IncrediMail said it got a notice from Google stating that the Web search giant decided to stop the partnership, which is called AdSense. Before Tuesday’s gains, IncrediMail’s stock had fallen about 30 percent since the news.

The Tel Aviv, Israel-based company, whose main product is its namesake e-mail service, had said it was clarifying the matter with Google and was exploring alternative relationships with other vendors.

Adler declined to say why Google, which contributes about 40 percent to IncrediMail’s revenue, decided to reinstate the relationship, or why the AdSense partnership had been previously discontinued.

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