12/29/2005

Intel to Unveil Massive Branding Strategy

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Intel New LogoIntel Corp. is launching a new corporate and brand identity that will include a reworked company logo, a change in its ubiquitous “Intel Inside” stickers and a shift away from the Pentium name for its microprocessors.

The changes, which will be formally announced Tuesday, come as the world’s largest chip maker tries to market itself less as a chip outfit and more as a provider of platforms, such as its Centrino technology for notebook computers or its upcoming Viiv for entertainment PCs.

“This evolution will allow Intel to be better recognized for our contributions, establish a stronger emotional connection with our audiences and strengthen our overall position in the marketplace,” said Eric Kim, Intel’s chief marketing officer.

In one move, the company is removing the familiar dropped “e” from its logo, which has been little changed since the company was founded in 1968 by Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce. And like the recently revamped AT&T Inc. logo, the letters that make up “Intel” appear in lower case.

Intel also is simplifying the “Intel Inside” stickers that first appeared on PCs in 1991 under then CEO-Andy Grove. But the marketing program in which Intel subsidizes PC makers who use Intel chips and stickers will continue, Intel spokesman Bill Calder said.

Intel, based in Santa Clara, also is announcing that its next-generation processors for mobile computers will be called “Core” rather than “Pentium M.” Processors with a single computing engine will be known as “Core Solo,” while chips with two engines will be called “Core Duo.”

Eventually, it’s expected Intel will completely retire the Pentium brand that was introduced in 1993.

The company’s logo will also include a tag line, “Leap ahead.” It’s “a simple expression that declares who we are and what we do,” said Kim, who joined Intel last year from Samsung.

Source: AP

XM Radio Gets Voice Control, Video And Parking Locator

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

XM Satellite Radio, will unveil the XM Advanced Services vehicle, a concept car featuring in-car video, voice command, weather alerts, parking space locator, and other exciting new innovations next week at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

The XM Advanced Services vehicle is a specially-equipped 2006 Lexus LX 470 to be displayed at CES January 5 - 8 in the Las Vegas Convention Center’s North Hall at the XM Satellite Radio booth (Booth #4606).

The XM Advanced Services vehicle will showcase in-car video with XM’s partner On2 Technologies (Amex: ONT), as well as a vast array of other new technologies, all of which can be delivered directly to the automobile by XM’s network of satellites and ground repeaters, the same satellite delivery system that XM employs to broadcast its 160 channels of commercial-free music and premier sports, news, and talk radio.

Sony settles class action lawsuit over DRM

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The record label has agreed to offer US customers money and free downloads to encourage them to replace CDs that secretly install rootkit software.

Sony BMG has struck a deal with the plaintiffs involved in a class action lawsuit over copy-restriction software it used in music CDs, according to a settlement document filed at a New York court on Wednesday.

The record label has agreed to compensate buyers of CDs that contained the XCP and MediaMax DRM programs, and to provide software utilities to allow consumers to uninstall both types of software from their computer.

Source: ZDnet

Kansas Lottery Computer Picks The Same Numbers 3 Days

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

It appears the third time’s the charm for some Kansas lottery players. The same “Pick Three” numbers hit three days in a row — making a lot of people winners.

If 5-0-9 are your lucky numbers, the Kansas lottery has been good to you. On Dec. 16, 17 and 18, the Kansas lottery computer picked those numbers in the same order for the Pick Three drawing.

That has some local players wondering whether there’s a glitch in the system. Lottery officials say their phones have been busy with both customers and retailers wondering how a lottery computer can pick the same three numbers in the exact order three nights in a row.

Kansas lottery security audited the machine’s functions and determined it was performing normally. The three numbers just came up through the random-number generator, according to lottery officials.

Normally, the odds of winning the lottery are one in 1,000. The probability that the numbers will be the same three nights in a row are a staggering one in a billion.

Source: ABC News

Court case examines music download prices

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The cost of downloading music from the internet, using services such as Napster, iTunes and TescoDownloads may be reduced if a price fixing case being brought against the major music labels in New York by Eliot Spitzer, the state attorney general, is proved.

Investigators acting on Mr Spitzer’s behalf have summoned several music publishers in a preliminary inquiry as to whether they have colluded in price fixing.

A spokesman for Mr Spitzer said his office was seeking information on wholesale prices charged by companies including Warner Music, Sony BMG, Vivendi Universal and the London-based EMI.

In September, Steve Jobs, the chief executive of Apple, labelled music publishers as “greedy? and blamed them for high prices on their iTunes service. Apple are also under investigation for alleged price fixing by the European Commission.

Should the New York investigation demonstrate price fixing, publishers may be forced to reduce the wholesale prices offered to download websites.

Source: timesonline

12/28/2005

European satellite launch challenges GPS

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The European Union launched its first Galileo navigation satellite on Wednesday, moving to challenge the United States’ Global Positioning System (GPS).

Russian space agency Roskosmos said the 600 kg (1,300 lb) satellite named Giove-A (Galileo In-Orbit Validation Element) went into its orbit 23,000 km (15,000 miles) from the earth after its launch on a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome in the middle of Kazakhstan’s steppe.

“The launch of Giove is the proof that Europe can deliver ambitious projects to the benefit of its citizens and companies,” said EU Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot in a statement.

The 3.6 billion-euro ($4.27-billion) Galileo programme, due to go into service in 2008 and eventually deploy 30 satellites, may end Europe’s reliance on the GPS and offer a commercial alternative to the GPS system run by the U.S. military.

“Radio-navigation based on Galileo will be a feature of everyday life, helping to avoid traffic jams and tracking dangerous cargos,” Barrot said.

The GPS is currently the only worldwide system offering services ranging from driver assistance to search-and-rescue help. Critics say its services for civilians offer less precision than those for military or intelligence purposes.

Galileo’s accuracy in positioning is to be one meter (3 feet) or less, while the GPS’s precision is more than 5 metres.

EU officials also say Galileo would never be switched off for strategic reasons, which might be the case with the GPS.

Source: Reuters

12/26/2005

Mobile phones to announce ‘you’ve been indicted’

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

South Koreans may look at their mobile phones with some trepidation in the new year because prosecutors will start telling people they have been indicted via text messages, an official said Monday.

In a country where about 75 percent of the population carries mobile phones, prosecutors felt it was time to move away from sending legal notices on paper and send them electronically instead, said Lee Young-pyo, an administrative official.

“Most people in South Korea have mobile phones and since the notices don’t reach them immediately by regular mail, this is a more definite way for the individuals to know they have received a legal notice,” Lee said.

The indictments by text messages are not intended to take people by surprise. “People will receive a text message of a legal notice only after they apply for the service,” he said.

Prosecutors expect to save about 160 million won ($158,000) a year by shifting to the service and reducing the number of legal notices it sends through the mail.

Other notices that will be sent by text messages include information on fines and penalties.

The service starts Tuesday but will be fully implemented in 2006.

Source: Reuters

Mamma.com Buys Copernic for $22M

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Copernic, which makes the popular desktop search tool that is also utilized by AOL’s Desktop Search product, has been acquired by metasearch engine Mamma.com in a cash and stock deal valued at just over $22 million. The two companies announced plans to join up last year, but the marriage was fraught with delays, including an investigation into Mamma’s stock by the SEC.

Source: BetaNews

12/25/2005

Brain scan technology could save babies’ lives

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Researchers at UCL (University College London) are developing a portable brain scanner which could help save the lives of premature and newborn babies in intensive care by avoiding to move them to conventional scanning facilities. A current prototype combines the advantages of both magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound. It uses optical tomography to generate images showing how the brain is working and a new generation should be ready by 2008 and such scanners should be commercially available shortly after.

Source: ZDNet

Virtual Reality Could Help Diagnose Heart Conditions

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Virtual reality that allows doctors to visualise the heart in three dimensions could help in the diagnosis of heart conditions. A pilot study published today in the open access journal Cardiovascular Ultrasound reveals that doctors can diagnose heart conditions quickly and easily from virtual three-dimensional animated images or ‘holograms’ of the heart. Three-dimensional (3D) holograms allow doctors to ‘dive’ into the beating heart and see interior parts of the organ.

Annemien van den Bosch and colleagues, from Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam in The Netherlands, projected ultrasound-generated 3D images of hearts (echocardiograms) in a specially designed four-walled room called the I-Space. In the I-Space, images are projected on three of the walls and the floor, which results in an animated hologram floating in space in front of the viewers. The viewers wear a pair of glasses with polarising lenses allowing them to see the hologram with depth.

Van den Bosch et al. asked ten heart specialists to analyse the holograms of patients with a heart defect that affects the shape of an inside part the heart, and of patients with a healthy heart. The doctors learnt how to use the equipment and were able to virtually ‘cut through’ the heart to see inside, using a virtual pointer, within ten minutes. The ten doctors could all distinguish healthy from unhealthy hearts and make the correct diagnosis within only ten minutes.

Source: science daily

12/24/2005

Warner subpoenaed in NY probe of music industry

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Warner Music Group Corp. has been subpoenaed by the New York Attorney General in connection with an anti-trust investigation into pricing of digital music downloads, the company said in a securities filing on Friday.

Warner said it received the request for information on Tuesday.

“As part of an industrywide investigation concerning pricing of digital music downloads, we received a subpoena from Attorney General Spitzer’s office as disclosed in our public filings. We are cooperating fully with the inquiry,” said Warner Music Group spokesman Will Tanous.

The New York Attorney General’s Office could not be reached for comment.

Last month, Warner Music, one of the largest U.S. record companies, agreed to pay $5 million to settle a separate New York state “pay-for-play” probe into how the music industry influences which songs are played on the radio.

Sony BMG paid $10 million and agreed to stop making payments to radio stations for airplay to settle the “payola” probe. Universal Music Group and EMI Group Plc are still under investigation.

A music industry source said the current probe appears to center on the way music companies set wholesale prices for digital downloads.

Source: Reuters

12/23/2005

Netflix wins first round in online DVD rental war

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

When the head of Netflix Inc. said rival Blockbuster Inc. threw “everything but the kitchen sink at us,” the world’s largest video rental chain responded by sending him … a kitchen sink.

The message from last January’s interchange was clear: Blockbuster, with $6 billion in 2004 revenue and 5,500 domestic stores, intended to own online DVD rental, an $8 billion industry pioneered by Netflix.

“This year was about Blockbuster taking a run at us,” Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings told Reuters at the company’s Beverly Hills offices. “They chopped price. They emptied their balance sheet.”

But despite Blockbuster’s costly offensive, Hastings said Netflix was on track for net subscriber additions of 1.5 million for 2005 for a total of 4.1 million — the midpoint of its target range.

Meanwhile, Blockbuster, which has been roiled by management and debt problems, saw the subscriber base at its 16-month-old online service stall at 1 million.

The companies also switched places in market value over the course of an intense, yearlong price war, with Netflix — which has no debt — now worth $1.5 billion, compared with Blockbuster at $684 million and more than $1 billion in debt.

Source: Reuters

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