3/27/2008

China to clamp down on mapping websites

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The Chinese government will clamp down on mapping websites and other online geographical information that it fears might undermine national security, state media reported Thursday.

Eight government agencies, including the foreign ministry, are to tighten supervision of geographical information available online, the official China Daily reported.

There are nearly 10,000 online map websites in China and authorities will close down most of them as they show maps without approval, said Min Yiren, deputy director with the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping.

“Some websites publish sensitive or confidential geographical information, which might leak state secrets and threaten security,” Min said.

YouTube removes videos banned in Turkey

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

YouTube has removed several video clips that had prompted Turkish authorities to block access to the video-sharing Web site, a move the company believes will lead to a restoration of access soon.

In a statement in Turkish sent to The Associated Press on Thursday, YouTube said the company “reviewed the videos that led to the most recent ban on access and removed them because of their content, which violate YouTube’s content policy.”

A court in the capital of Ankara imposed a ban on access to the site at the request of a prosecutor who had argued the clips were disrespectful to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a war hero who founded Turkey from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire.

Access to YouTube, which is owned by Google Inc., remained blocked in Turkey on Thursday morning, and Turkish authorities could not be reached for comment on when access might resume.

Pentagon approves development of new radios

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The Pentagon said on Wednesday that it had approved the start of development of a next-generation radio system for aircraft, ships and ground stations, paving the way for a huge contract award to either Boeing Co or Lockheed Martin Corp in coming days.

Pentagon acquisition chief John Young signed a document approving the next phase of the Joint Tactical Radio System program late on Monday, a spokesman for him said.

Defense analysts say the contract for system design and development of the Airborne Maritime and Fixed Station (AMF) segment of the program will total $800 million to $1.2 billion. A later production contract could translate into business deals valued at $10 billion or more over the long term, they say.

File Sharers Get Help Spotting ISP Moves

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Vuze Inc., a California-based company that provides a popular file-sharing program, is giving its users a tool to help figure out if their Internet service provider is interfering with their traffic.

The Associated Press last year confirmed user reports that Comcast Corp., the country’s largest cable company, was secretly disrupting some file-sharing by its subscribers. The company has acknowledged to the practice and said it’s necessary to curb traffic that would otherwise slow down Internet speeds for other subscribers.

The “plug-in” Vuze made available as a free download last weekend looks for “reset packets,” the tool Comcast uses to break off some connections with computers trying to download files from Comcast subscribers, Vuze said Wednesday.

The plug-in works with Vuze’s main application, Azureus, which is based on the BitTorrent file-sharing technology. If the user allows it, the plug-in will send data back to Vuze, which will collect information about ISPs that are interfering with their subscribers’ traffic.

Palo Alto-based Vuze said Azureus has been downloaded 20 million times, and an average of 1.3 million users are using at any one time.

YouTube to Provide More Viewership Info

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The popular video-sharing site YouTube is giving contributors more details about who’s watching their video clips and when, offering advertisers additional insights they can use to target their pitches.

The free program, known as YouTube Insight, also could help bands schedule their concerts and help anyone time the release of a new video.

The launch of Insight on Thursday comes as Google Inc. looks for ways to make money off its $1.76 billion purchase of YouTube in 2006. Despite growing interest in online video ads, many marketers have stayed away from user-generated video like what’s on YouTube.

Marketers who buy ads on YouTube already get a bevy of statistics about the performance of their ads. The new program breaks down viewership by day and shows the states or countries where most viewers are.

A movie studio that uploads a trailer for free on YouTube could use those details to see where the clip is most popular and perhaps buy ads targeted to users in that region - on YouTube and even on television.

Free Web Version of Photoshop Launches

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The maker of the popular photo-editing software Photoshop on Thursday launched a basic version available for free online.

San Jose, Calif.-based Adobe Systems Inc. says it hopes to boost its name recognition among a new generation of consumers who edit, store and share photos online.

While Photoshop is designed for trained professionals, Adobe says Photoshop Express, which it launched in a “beta” test version, is easier to learn. User comments will be taken into account for future upgrades.

Photoshop Express will be completely Web-based so consumers can use it with any type of computer, operating system and browser. And, once they register, users can get to their accounts from different computers.

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