Yahoo’s CES demo: Mission impossible

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Yahoo Chief Executive Terry Semel’s glitch-riddled keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show on Friday was saved by Tom Cruise and Ellen DeGeneres–and by making Microsoft Windows the butt of jokes.

While trying to demonstrate the new Yahoo Go TV, which allows people to access Yahoo content and services through a Windows XP-based PC connected to a TV, the Internet connection failed. Executives tried to ad lib until Semel called his surprise guest, Cruise, to the stage.

Cruise, twirling sun glasses in his hand, told the audience he was there to help his old friend Semel before showing a trailer of his new movie, “Mission Impossible III,” which is due in U.S. theaters in May.

Afterward, Cruise, Semel, Marco Boerries, Yahoo’s senior vice president of Connected Life, and Dan Rosensweig, the company’s chief operating officer, milled about the stage awkwardly, patting each other on the back.

A man in the audience yelled, “Play it again,” and Cruise said he wanted to see how fast Yahoo’s system could replay the movie. “Press the button,” he said, and Cruise could once again be seen in the action-adventure film dodging blasts and kissing women.

After Cruise left the stage, Semel said, “I guess if you’re going to have a demo glitch, (there is no) better way to follow it up than with Tom Cruise.”

Source: News.com

Wal-Mart Halts Movie Suggestions on Web

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is shutting down the system that creates movie recommendations on its shopping Web site after it linked a “Planet of the Apes” DVD to films about famous black Americans, including Martin Luther King Jr.

Wal-Mart said Thursday it had removed what it called the “offensive combinations” from a walmart.com page advertising a boxed DVD set, “Planet of the Apes: The Complete TV Series.”

Under a “similar items” section, the DVD set’s page linked shoppers to four films about the lives of King, actress Dorothy Dandridge, boxer Jack Johnson and singer Tina Turner. Wal-Mart later altered the page to link with television show DVDs.

The world’s largest retailer said the software that generates links for shoppers from one movie to others of similar interest would be shut down. All cross references would be removed as soon as technically possible until the system can be fixed, Wal-Mart said.

Source: AP


Consumer group seeks testing of EMI copy protection

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A consumer group on Thursday urged record company EMI Group Plc to allow testing of its anti-piracy technology in light of the controversy that dogged Sony BMG over security flaws on its copy-protected compact discs.

Sony BMG, a joint venture of Sony Corp and Bertelsmann recalled discs containing anti-piracy software after customers sued in November, claiming the software damaged their computers by making them vulnerable to hackers and by disabling a user’s firewall and anti-virus software.

Now the Electronic Frontier Foundation would like to ensure that copy-protected CDs released by EMI, long a forerunner in the use of anti-piracy technology, do not have similar pitfalls.

“Music fans deserve to know whether EMI’s copy-protected CDs are exposing their computers to security risks,” said Fred von Lohmann, senior staff attorney with California-based EFF, which was involved in a class-action lawsuit against Sony BMG.

Sony and EMI are the chief users of copy protection for U.S.-sold CDs, Lohmann said.

Following the example of its efforts with Sony, the EFF sent a January 4 letter to EMI, home to artists like Paul McCartney and Coldplay, urging it to publicly declare it will not take legal action against computer security researchers who study its copy-protected CDs.

Source: Reuters

HD DVD backers promise 200 movies

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The video format wars kicked into high gear on Wednesday when the companies backing HD DVD said that nearly 200 titles would be available for the format by the end of the year.

Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, HBO Video, New Line Entertainment and Warner Home Video stood up with Toshiba at the Computer Electronics Show in here and pledged that movies such as “Million Dollar Baby,” “Harry Potter 4: The Goblet of Fire,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Full Metal Jacket” and Sahara” and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow) would come out this year on HD DVD disks.

In all, these studios above represent more than half of the movies ever made, said Nancy O’Dell, the host of Access Hollywood and ersatz syndication TV celebrity who served as the emcee for the event at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Source: News.com


Nintendo Sells 10M Handheld Game Systems

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Nintendo Co. said Tuesday that it has sold about 10 million of its Nintendo DS handheld game systems worldwide, including about 4 million in North America and more than 5 million in Japan.

Perrin Kaplan, vice president for marketing at Nintendo’s U.S. headquarters in Redmond, said the company sold about 3 million of the handheld gaming gadgets to North American consumers in 2005. That’s on top of 1.2 million sold to North American consumers in 2004, following the system’s late November launch.

Rival Sony Corp (NYSE:SNE - news). said it has sold 3.2 million of its handheld game system, the PlayStation Portable, in North America between its March launch and mid-December. The company did not yet have sales figures through the end of 2005.

Source: AP

Studios announce next-generation DVD titles

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Film studios on Wednesday will release slates of next-generation DVDs due later this year in a move to jump start a multibillion dollar industry that risks being bogged down by a standards war.

Failure of two technology camps, called Blu-ray and HD DVD, to reach a unified technological front has set the stage this year for a formats war like the costly VHS/Betamax battle of 25 years ago.

Both Blu-ray, led by Sony Corp. and HD DVD, championed by Toshiba Corp., are expected this spring to launch new high-definition DVD players, offering greater capacity and interactive features, hoping to breathe new life into the sagging home video market.

News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox said it will release 20 Blu-ray films in a first wave this year that will include hits like “Fantastic Four” and “Ice Age.”

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment said it will release 20 titles on Blu-ray beginning this spring, including “The Fifth Element,” and “Hitch“.

Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. said it will announce products tied to both formats at the Consumer Electronics Show this week. Some electronics makers have said they plan announcements related to the formats at the show.

Sony’s Blu-ray appears to have amassed more allies, including Apple Computer Inc. Panasonic and the greater share of movie studios, although some industry watchers believe HD-DVD’s enlistment of Microsoft, has turned the whole dispute into a battle with personal computers at the center.

Hewlett-Packard, which has long sat on the board of the Blu-ray Disc Association, only recently decided to also join HD-DVD after Blu-ray failed to comply with certain technology requests it proposed to make Blu-ray more appealing to computer users.

Source: Reuters

BlackBerry users face security threat

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Windows users know that opening a malicious e-mail attachment can wreak havoc on their PC. It appears BlackBerry users have to use caution too.

Opening a malicious image sent via an e-mail on the popular mobile devices could disable a user’s capability to view attachments, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion said Tuesday.

The problem occurs because of a software flaw in the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, RIM said in a posting on its customer support Web site. An attacker would have to craft a special TIFF, or Tagged Image File Format, to perform the attack, the company said.

RIM has developed a fix for the problem. The software upgrade will be made available as soon as testing is complete, the company said.

Source: News.com


Dial MMS for Marijuana

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A teenage drug-dealing network that promoted its wares using MMS messages has been busted after a mother found incriminating messages on her child’s mobile. Massachusetts police arrested six local teenagers last week following a tip-off for a parent of one of the gang’s intended marijuana customers, according to local reports.

Police reckon the hi-tech dope dealers called prospective customers to arrange sales prior to sending picture messages of the merchandise. “They had a lot of proprietary enthusiasm,” Sgt. Daniel Devine told The New Britain Herald. “They would email a picture of the drugs and a message to kids in town on their cell phone, and then the kids in Farmington would send the photo and message to all their friends to notify them of the upcoming sale.”

The scheme was exposed after a parent spotted a picture advertising a sale on her child’s phone. She notified the police who busted the teens during a morning sale in a raid that netted “less than a pound of marijuana”, several hundred dollars, drug paraphernalia and mobile phones seized from a car.

Source: The Register


Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball to Use LEDs in 2006

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Since 1907 Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball has been rolling down to mark the arrival of a new year. The Royal Philips Electronic will mark the switch from traditional lighting to solid-state LEDs with a charity auction of 100 of the light bulbs used in this year’s ball.

One-hundred percent of the winning bid on the auction will benefit the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. The charity auction, part of the company’s “Next Year is brought to you by Philips” advertising campaign, will take place from 30 December 2005 to 6 January 2006.

From 2006 the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball will use an advanced, environmentally responsible solid-state lighting (SSL) LEDs.

Source: geekzone

Gyroscopes that can detect cancer

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Cancer-detecting biosensors developed by a Newcastle University-led consortium have attracted major European funding.

A vibrating disc no bigger than a speck of dust could help to diagnose and monitor common types of cancer and provide specialists with information about the most appropriate therapy.

The European Union has awarded international researchers, led by the University of Newcastle, a 12m euro grant to develop the biosensor technology, which is based on micro-gyroscopes.

The research team aims to produce a hand-held device which would enable samples of blood, smear or biopsy to be tested quickly and accurately, for signs of cancer of the breast, cervix, colon or rectum.

The device would identify ‘cancer specific markers’ - proteins or other molecules produced by cancer cells - which vary according to the type of cancer and are distinct from proteins produced by healthy cells.

The researchers have manufactured discs less than one-tenth of a millimetre in diameter and coated them with special patterns of DNA or proteins which cause the cancer-specific markers to bind to the surface.

Source: 999today

Professor Builds Computer Models for Wine

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Distinguishing fine wine from plonk is usually left to connoisseurs and winemakers, who rely on their senses, rough chemical measurements and the whims of nature to produce an exceptional tipple. But a Carnegie Mellon University professor, working with industry scientists in Chile, is hoping that computer models will identify the traits of good wine to help vintners produce more of it.

Lorenz “Larry” Biegler, who teaches chemical engineering at the university, is working on mathematical formulas to automate the fermentation process, adjusting ingredients and conditions to ensure robust flavors and higher yields from grape harvests.

Source: AP

Nanotech in Microchips by 2015

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Molecular electronics, a realm once considered science fiction, could be heading for our computers and devices sooner than thought. A new report on the technology roadmap of the chip industry finds a growing confidence in new nanotechnology, and forecasts that the transition to the post-silicon era could happen by 2015. The development of nanoswitches has already reached a point where it will be possible to manufacture them reliably at low cost. Intels goal over the next decade is to build chips that hold more than one trillion switches.

Source: Slashdot

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