1/12/2006

Taiwan breeds green-glowing pigs

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Scientists in Taiwan say they have bred three pigs that glow in the dark.

They claim that while other researchers have bred partly fluorescent pigs, theirs are the only pigs in the world which are green through and through.

The pigs are transgenic, created by adding genetic material from jellyfish into a normal pig embryo.

The researchers hope the pigs will boost the island’s stem cell research, as well as helping with the study of human disease.

Source: BBC

TV ads made quick and cheap on the Net

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A Los Angeles-based start-up launched a service Wednesday that allows companies to create television ad campaigns over the Internet for as little as $500 and as quickly as within one week. Spot Runner lets advertisers select a generic commercial from its library, personalize the ads and target customers by demographics, networks and neighborhoods.

Advertisers can buy air time on major networks, including local broadcast and cable channels like CNN and ESPN.

Source: News.com

Court Dismisses Yahoo Free Speech Suit

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A federal appeals court on Thursday skirted answering whether Yahoo Inc. must pay a fine of about $15 million to a Paris court for displaying Nazi memorabilia for sale in violation of French law.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a federal lawsuit brought by Yahoo in California challenging the fine levied five years ago for running an auction site in which French users could buy and sell the memorabilia banned in France.

Yahoo asked the U.S. court to rule that the judgment could not be collected in the United States because it violated the company’s free speech rights.

In a 99-page decision, the court left open the central question of whether U.S.-based Internet service providers are liable for damages in foreign courts for displaying content that is unlawful overseas but protected in the United States.

The court said it was unlikely the French would ever enforce the judgment and doubted Yahoo’s free speech rights under U.S. law were violated.

Source: AP

802.11n Wi-Fi Groups Vote For Single Spec

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The battle over the future of the next generation of the Wi-Fi standard appears to be over. The group formed by the original three contending specifications has agreed to adopt the fourth, later specification.

The upshot? A final 802.11n proposal will now be submitted to the IEEE standards-setting organisation, possibly as early as next week.

802.11n is predicated on MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) techniques to boost bandwidth by an order of magnitude above the standard of today’s Wi-Fi networks. The technique makes use of “multi-path” interference that might once have been minimised to drive up the network’s range.

With a final proposal submitted by the IEEE Task Group, the specification should become a draft standard under the auspices of an IEEE Working Group before being finally ratified as a standard by the organisation.

Related: 802.11n (MIMO) Will Revolutionize Wireless Networking

Source: The Register

1/11/2006

Live Internet TV Coming to Airlines

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Airline passengers will soon be able to watch live television on their laptops through Connexion by Boeing’s in-flight Internet service.

Beginning Jan. 23, passengers who buy blocks of Internet access on the nine foreign airlines that currently offer Connexion’s service will also be able to watch programs broadcast on BBC World, CNBC, Eurosportnews, and either EuroNews or MSNBC.

Airlines like JetBlue Airways and Frontier Airlines offer similar programming viewable on TV screens on the backs of passengers’ seats.

Under new pricing announced Wednesday, access to Connexion’s high-speed Internet service will cost $26.95 for up to 24 hours beginning Jan. 31. Connexion currently charges $29.95 for six hours of Internet access or more. Hourly pricing also is available.

The TV service will not cost passengers any extra.

Source: AP

NASA Wants Your CPU Time

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

NASA is looking for volunteers to spend about 30,000 hours looking at minuscule particles on a web-based microscope to identify traces of interstellar dust collected by the ‘Stardust’ spacecraft, expected to return to Earth on Sunday.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said Tuesday it would enlist an army of internet volunteers to help in the meticulous search for rare grains of ’submicroscopic dust’ that was collected along with larger grains of dust from the comet Wild 2 during the probe’s seven-year, 4.5 billion kilometre journey.

The reward for discoverers will be the privilege of naming the dust grains they find. The programme was announced at the national meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington, D.C.

Source: Science and Nature

1/10/2006

iPod-ready jeans

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Call it the 21st Century watch pocket.

Denim giant Levi Strauss said on Tuesday it had designed jeans compatible with the iPod music player, featuring a joystick in the watch pocket to operate the device.

The Levi’s RedWire DLX Jeans for men and women, which will be available this fall, also have a built-in docking cradle for the iPod and retractable headphones. Pricing was not immediately available.

Levi’s is not the first company to feature iPod-friendly apparel, although it may be the first to make iPod-compatible jeans.

Source: Reuters

IBM, USPTO Trying To Improve Software Patents?

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Recognizing some of the criticism facing the patent system, it looks like the US’s largest patenter for thirteen years running, IBM, and the USPTO are trying to work together on a system that improves software patents, without having to reform the entire patent system through laws. The NY Times has more details — but it’s tough to tell from these two articles how helpful this will really be.

Source: Techdirt

1/9/2006

No Growth for IT Salaries

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Most information technology workers saw little growth in their salary levels during 2005, and many of the professionals shouldn’t expect to see significant pay increases any time soon, according to the latest industry wage survey published by researchers Monday.

In the preliminary results of its January 2006 IT Salary Survey, research firm Janco Associates said that the mean compensation for computer industry professionals remained relatively flat over the final quarter of 2005, as it has since the beginning of calendar 2004, marking eight straight quarters of level performance.

According to the study, only top IT executives and workers in several hot technology sectors experienced noticeable gains over the last four months, while some companies have begun hiring more contractors in place of full-time workers to help lower their staff-related overhead expenses.

Source: eWeek

DRM keeps Spielberg’s Munich out of award-voters’ hands

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Steven Spielberg will most likely not get any nomination for the BAFTA (British Film Academy) awards for “Munich” because of a massive DRM cock-up. BAFTA’s 3,000+ members were sent encrypted ’screener’ DVDs that can only be played on special DVD players supplied by Cinea (www.cinea.com - a Dolby subsidiary). First the DVDs were held up by UK customs, thereby missing the first round voting deadline. But when they arrived, they would not play on any machine because they had been mastered for Region 1 (North America). As BAFTA members are cannot vote for films they have not seen and only a handful of preview screenings have been held, the film ought to be disqualified from consideration.

Source: boingboing

1/7/2006

Oracle ‘Worm’ Exploit Modified

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Exploit code for a malicious worm capable of wreaking havoc through Oracle databases has been tweaked and published, prompting a new round of warnings that an actual attack is inevitable.

Two months after an anonymous researcher released the first public example of an Oracle database worm, the code has been advanced and republished on the Full Disclosure mailing list, adding additional techniques to attack databases.

“It’s still very theoretical right now, but I don’t think any DBA should be underestimating the risk,” said Alexander Kornbrust, CEO of Red-Database-Security GmbH. “If you’re running a large company with hundreds of valuable databases, a worm can be very destructive. It is very possible to use this code to release a worm. I can do this right now if I wanted to.”

Kornbrust, renowned for his research work around security in Oracle products, claims he has already created an actual exploit that uses default usernames and passwords to target Oracle databases.

Source: eWeek

Pfizer fights fake Viagra with RFID

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Viagra may help many couples heat up the bedroom, but it has also helped fuel a huge counterfeit market.

Pfizer, the maker of the world-famous love drug, is now fighting back with technology. The company began on Dec. 15 to affix electronic identification devices known as RFID tags to all U.S. shipments of Viagra in an effort detect counterfeit pills, 5 million of which were seized by authorities last year.

Pfizer said its RFID plans do not call for tracking patient information of any kind. It also doesn’t store any product or patient information on the RFID tags, just the serial number. In addition, the bottles that most patients take home from the pharmacy won’t contain RFID tags because most pharmacists usually transfer medicines from manufacturers’ bottles to generic amber bottles when dispensing the pills.

On all bottles containing RFID tags, the company also puts a special logo and the words, “This package contains a radio frequency device,” in fine print, since you can’t see the tags, which are paper-thin and inserted under the bottles’ labels.

Source: ZDNet

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