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July 29, 2005

Economics of used books

Cory Doctorow: Here's a fantastic NYT article on the economics of the used book market. Many writers' orgs are freaked out because Amazon features used and new books alongside of one another, worried that used books will displace new book sales (there's also a lot of hoo-ha about review copies, publishers' rejects, and copies stolen from the printers, but even added up these account for an insignificant proportion of all but the smallest, most specialized book-runs). But economists understand that a market for used goods fuels a market for new goods -- would you pay nearly so much for your next car if you knew you couldn't sell it as used when you wanted to buy your next one? (this is one of the hidden, but gigantic downsides of DRM -- by prohibiting the market for used iTunes and other virtual goods, the sellers devalue their own products).
According to the researchers' calculations, Amazon earns, on average, $5.29 for a new book and about $2.94 on a used book. If each used sale displaced one new sale, this would be a less profitable proposition for Amazon.

But Mr. Bezos is not foolish. Used books, the economists found, are not strong substitutes for new books. An increase of 10 percent in new book prices would raise used sales by less than 1 percent. In economics jargon, the cross-price elasticity of demand is small.

One plausible explanation of this finding is that there are two distinct types of buyers: some purchase only new books, while others are quite happy to buy used books. As a result, the used market does not have a big impact in terms of lost sales in the new market.

Moreover, the presence of lower-priced books on the Amazon Web site, Mr. Bezos has noted, may lead customers to "visit our site more frequently, which in turn leads to higher sales of new books." The data appear to support Mr. Bezos on this point.

="http://radar.oreilly.com/">O'Reilly Radar)

Posted by dymaxion at 01:15 AM | Comments (0)

Konfabulator is Now Yahoo! Widgets (and Free)

I have been writing about Konfabulator since February 2005 and am a HUGE fan. When I do a PowerPoint presentation for work and my desktop shows up on the big screen, the widgets literally stop everything and people all want to know where they came from, and what the program is, etc. Yahoo made a smart move this week snapping up this company. I also find that they use very little memory or CPU power,…

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Posted by dymaxion at 01:12 AM | Comments (0)

Netflix near launch of movie downloads

Netflix near launch of movie downloads, according to SiliconValley.com. Sounds like the website glitch was real, and sources are confirming that the movie downloads will require a Netflix-provided set-top box:

One industry source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the new Netflix service would be similar to fledgling, studio-supported ventures like MovieLink and CinemaNow. Those services allow people to rent copy-protected movies and television shows over the Internet and watch them on their computers.

I've recently started up a Netflix account after leaving it dormant for 3 years. I can't wait to see what this service is like and will try my hardest to get a test unit for review.

Posted by dymaxion at 01:06 AM | Comments (0)

Microsoft prepares for a legal siege in Japan

The software giant is once again under fire for its alleged monopolistic practices, this time in Japan, and it faces the possibility of going up against three of the country's top electronics companies in court.

Posted by dymaxion at 01:01 AM | Comments (0)

40-inch LCD Prices Falling - Buy Two

According to market research firm iSuppli—get it? Like supply with an i—the prices of 40- and 42-inch LCD panels is swiftly falling down to about $950, meaning a nice big Christmas LCD will cost about $2,500 or less in December.

Smaller LCDs are almost free, now, at $550. Generally, there's a glut of these things out there which means more bigscreen Shark Week drink-a-thons next year.

40-inch LCD TV prices set to slum [TheInquirer]

Posted by dymaxion at 12:50 AM | Comments (0)

Earnins: Sony's Woes Continue

: Sony announced its second quarterly loss in a row and slashed its profit outlook, in its Q2 earnings. Sony posted a net loss of 7.3 billion yen ($65.2 million) in Q2, compared with a profit of 23.3 billion yen a year earlier. Sales dropped 3.3 percent to 1.56 trillion yen ($13.9 billion), from 1.61 trillion yen.
On the games side, it saw a 64 percent sales increase to 105.4 billion yen ($941.1 million). But the division also booked a 5.9 billion yen ($52.7 million) operating loss due to marketing and research expenses. That loss widened from 2.9 billion yen the previous year. Shipments of Sony PSP, which went on sale late last year in Japan and earlier this year in the U.S., totaled 2.09 million worldwide, while PS2 sales rose nearly fivefold to 3.53 million units.
Full results here.. FT: Lex Live: [Sony CEO Howard Stringer] has scope to withdraw from non-profitable segments like old-fashioned TVs. The movie business is lumpy and, since convergence of content and hardware is fairly elusive, could comfortably be spun off -- though Sir Howard, who cut his teeth at Sony in show business, may disagree. Games is also seen as integral, but any business that doubles its operating loss while lifting sales 64 per cent has to come under scrutiny. The fear, as ever, is that Sony avoids tough action: the beauty of rock-bottom expectations is that they are easy to out-perform."

Posted by dymaxion at 12:45 AM | Comments (0)

Shuttle Launch Sets Streaming Record

: Nearly 433,000 people tuned in to watch the Space Shuttle Discovery roar into space Tuesday morning, in an event that smashed a streaming video record set by AOL earlier this month. 335,000 people simultaneously watched via Yahoo in Windows Media, while Akamai served up the rest in Real Video format.
AOL jumped into the record books on July 2 when Live 8 concerts were streamed to over 175,000 people simultaneously.
One key factor in the number of video streams was the timing of Discovery's launch: 10:38am ET on Tuesday. Many Americans were at work and the Web was their only outlet to catch the historical moment.

Posted by dymaxion at 12:41 AM | Comments (0)

Google Trying To Patent Ads In RSS Feeds?

Google apparently doesn't want Microsoft to get away with all of the silly patent applications. The company, which was about the last one in the contextual advertising space to jump on the (somewhat annoying, honestly) "ads in RSS" bandwagon, has now filed for a patent on embedding ads in syndicated content. Again, considering that just about every contextual ad company is doing this without having read the Google patent (which was just released today), how could it possibly be described as non-obvious to a skilled practitioner?

Posted by dymaxion at 12:29 AM | Comments (0)

Cisco, Security Researcher Settle Dispute, Agree To Forget Talk Ever Happened

Following the story yesterday about Cisco suing a security researcher for doing a presentation on a huge vulnerability in Cisco routers, it appears the two sides have reached a settlement that basically says the guy will never speak about it again. He isn't to give the presentation again anywhere and all videos of the presentation were to be handed over to Cisco. Before the presentation, of course, Cisco employees had already ripped all the supporting material out of conference handouts, so that's missing also. So, the question is, can Cisco really make this disappear? Obviously there were some people who attended the session, and since the conference is all about hacking, you have to imagine a number of them fully understood the vulnerabilities being discussed. Are they all going to have to shut up about it too? It seems like a fairly difficult thing to try to sweep it under the rug and pretend it didn't happen.

Posted by dymaxion at 12:27 AM | Comments (0)

Automatic Surveillance Via Cell Phone

Your cell phone company knows where you are all the time. (Well, it knows where your phone is whenever it's on.) Turns out there's a lot of information to be mined in that data.

Eagle's Realty Mining project logged 350,000 hours of data over nine months about the location, proximity, activity and communication of volunteers, and was quickly able to guess whether two people were friends or just co-workers....

He and his team were able to create detailed views of life at the Media Lab, by observing how late people stayed at the lab, when they called one another and how much sleep students got.

Given enough data, Eagle's algorithms were able to predict what people -- especially professors and Media Lab employees -- would do next and be right up to 85 percent of the time.

isome from a number of angles: government surveillance, corporate surveillance for marketing purposes, criminal surveillance. I am not mollified by this comment:
People should not be too concerned about the data trails left by their phone, according to Chris Hoofnagle, associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

"The location data and billing records is protected by statute, and carriers are under a duty of confidentiality to protect it," Hoofnagle said.

ng an infrastructure of surveillance as a side effect of the convenience of carrying our cell phones everywhere.

Posted by dymaxion at 12:17 AM | Comments (0)

"Windows Vista: The Thud Heard Round The World"

The above quote is from John C. Dvorak from PCmag.com, PC magazine and his article, PC MagazineWindows Vista: Where’s the Buzz?” We have all come to think of John as a Apple hating, Unix hating, Windows PC user over the years. So that’s what makes his latest article so unusual. He starts out by making fun of the Vista name, which everyone does, including me, so just skip over that part. John then looks at why there is no buzz for Vista. He comes to the conclusion that many of us have come to and that’s that Windows Vista will offer nothing that it had originally promised 5 years ago. But he then looks at an interesting scenario.

When Vista is released, there will be a mass migration to OSX, which even though Jobs says will never be sold for PC users, Apple will eventually realize that Bill Gates became the richest person in the world by selling software, not hardware and will relent to public and stock holder pressure. Microsoft will fall back on it’s Office and Xbox products while Linux/Apache will take over the server space with MySQL and PHP as the hot development tools. Google will dominate the Internet and online applications. The rub would be if Google came out with an operating system as some have thought they would eventually.

I tend to think that until all the generic beige box manufacturers stop mindlessly throwing Windows on every computer the above scenario will not happen, most PC users do not have the knowledge to add or remove an operating system. But what I do see is that eventually users will not put up with operating systems that allow viruses and trojans, and ad-ware and spyware to shut down their computers. Eventually users will get fed up with software that limits support to a Mafia-type arrangement where you pay them for protection from the software itself. Then something will have to change.

Posted by dymaxion at 12:15 AM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2005

Inside Informix’ Demise

SandHill.com has a colorful essay on the rise and eventual demise of Informix, a database pioneer lost in Silicon shreds. Check out the story behind Informix’ revenue restatements, why former CEO Phil White did it and what today’s executives can learn from the experience. And we thought WorldCom was bad.

Posted by dymaxion at 10:52 PM | Comments (0)

Linux, Enterprise & Financial Sector

(Via Cworld) Open-source zealots may continue to play a part in instigating the spread of Linux across the European continent, - but private corporations and public-sector users in Europe typically cite pragmatic reasons for taking up the open-source operating system. They point to price and performance benefits. They want freedom to swap out hardware. They find the operating system reliable. They like its flexibility. Perhaps no single industry has tested Linux's enterprise mettle more than the financial services sector. Companies were facing mounting pressure to cut costs at the turn of the millennium. The Internet bubble was about to burst. Prices were fluctuating wildly. Order volume and data traffic were spiking in the wake of the electronic trading boom. Revenue was not. The number of stocks being traded was the same, and the rising cost of processing orders was becoming a big problem. When the market slump hit in 2001, that only exacerbated the trouble. Financial institutions had to think out of the box - fast -and Linux became an obvious alternative to consider. Several of the largest firms started to dump their proprietary Unix systems and shift to cheaper x86 hardware running Linux.

Linux enabled users to use a commodity platform. Trading in very expensive systems for much lower-priced commodity Intel systems was the biggest win. The Linux/Intel server combination would ultimately enable the firm to save "tens of millions of dollars" in IT costs across thousands of servers.Major financial institutions became one of the most powerful lobbies for Linux, pooling their clout to get their software vendors to support the operating system. They collectively urged their many software vendors to port applications to Linux. On the desktop, Linux support vendors continue to struggle for a high-profile success story that might drive adoption. Many projects have gone through the test phase only to encounter challenges with application support and integration when it comes time for the rollout.

"It's been the 'year of the Linux desktop' since 1998. It hasn't happened," says Chris Ingle, a London-based analyst at IDC. "You don't find CIOs saying, 'My biggest priority is changing all the desktops.' " Europe may outpace the U.S. with Linux desktop deployments, but even there, Linux captures only a small piece of the Windows-dominated market. And when it does, it's often thin-client or limited-function deployments, as opposed to the thick-client, knowledge-worker setups that Windows commands .


Category :

Posted by dymaxion at 10:44 PM | Comments (0)

Playing Poker Against AI

How could playing poker online ever become fair? The enforcement of no-teams and no-bots are hard to regulate. As AI becomes more sophisticated, we may eventually face the killer bot, capable of defeating champion poker players. Online poker sites have two choices: fight the bots or embrace them. And why wouldn’t they embrace them? Poker bots still pay the rake for each pot, so the online casino continue to flourish. Who knows? Online poker may turn into a virtual battlefield for AI.

via MSNBC

Posted by dymaxion at 10:27 PM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2005

Is Your Printer Spying On You?

Mark Frauenfelder: Donna Wentworth says: "Could your color laser printer be automatically including a secret fingerprint in every page so that what you print could be used to trace the document back to you?

"While it sounds like something from an episode of "Alias," the scenario isn't fictional. "

In an effort to identify counterfeiters, the US government has succeeded in persuading some color laser printer manufacturers to encode each page with identifying information. That means that without your knowledge or consent, an act you assume is private could become public. A communication tool you're using in everyday life could become a tool for government surveillance. And what's worse, there are no laws to prevent abuse. ... The ACLU recently issued a report revealing that the FBI has amassed more than 1,100 pages of documents on the organization since 2001, as well as documents concerning other non-violent groups, including Greenpeace and United for Peace and Justice. In the current political climate, it's not hard to imagine the government using the ability to determine who may have printed what document for purposes other than identifying counterfeiters. Your freedom to speak anonymously is in danger. Yet there are no laws to stop the Secret Service -- or for that matter, any other governmental agency or private company -- from using printer codes to secretly trace the origin of non-currency documents. We're unaware of any printer manufacturer that has a privacy policy that would protect you, and no law regulates what people can do with the information once it's turned over. And that doesn't even reach the issue of how such a privacy-invasive tool could be developed and implemented in printers without the public becoming aware of it in the first place.
"EFF is investigating further, but we need more data before we can do anything more to protect your privacy. We're asking you to help out by printing and sending us test sheets from your printer and/or your local print shop." Link

Posted by dymaxion at 11:50 PM | Comments (0)

Mugshot of man arrested for inhaling spray paint propellant

Mark Frauenfelder: Picture 9-1 From The Smoking Gun. This guy was arrested after attempting to buy spray paint at a hardware store. A sharp-eyed employee noticed the guy's face was covered with gold paint and called the cops. Link goes to larger pic and police report.
Link

Posted by dymaxion at 11:45 PM | Comments (0)

Arizona Soldier in Iraq demoted for Blogging

An Arizona Army National Guardsman who has been blogging from Iraq has been demoted and some of his pay is being forfeited, according to NPR. Leonard Clark, from Glendale, kept a blog in which he was critical of U-S operations in Iraq.

Posted by dymaxion at 11:28 PM | Comments (0)

Valley investments fly higher this quarter but not over last year

Link: MercuryNews.com | 07/25/2005 | Valley investments fly higher this quarter but not over last year.

Venture capitalists boosted their second-quarter investments in Silicon Valley private companies by 8 percent, to $1.802 billion, compared with the quarter before. That's the highest level in four quarters.

Posted by dymaxion at 11:16 PM | Comments (0)

Cell Phones Predict the Future

An anonymous reader writes "Wired News reports that cell phones were used in a recent project at MIT to both document and predict the lives of 100 MIT faculty and staff members. During the Reality Mining Project at MIT, Researcher Nathan Eagle logged 350,000 hours of data over nine months about the location, proximity, activity and communication of volunteers through cell phones carried by the participants. From the article, "Given enough data, Eagle's algorithms were able to predict what people -- especially professors and Media Lab employees -- would do next and be right up to 85 percent of the time."

Posted by dymaxion at 11:11 PM | Comments (0)

making shit up

Identical quotations and the truth, as disseminated by the US Military ...Following a car bombing in Baghdad on Sunday, the U.S. military issued a statement with a quotation attributed to an unidentified Iraqi that was virtually identical to a quote reacting to an attack on July 13. ... (quotes inside)

Posted by dymaxion at 10:08 PM | Comments (0)

World Cup Football May Generate $8.5 Billion For Mobile Companies

: (sub. req.) This report is sure to send ripples throughout the industry: according to estimates from Wireless World Forum, the Fifa World Cup in Germany next year could generate an additional $8.5 billion in revenues for the mobile telecoms industry.
The extra revenues would add more than 1 per cent to the global mobile industry's annual turnover of about $800bn. The report's authors estimate that the biggest single driver of the extra revenue will come from basic text messaging, which will account for $7.3bn of the potential increased spend.
The report suggests that mobile companies need to rethink: handset showcase may not be the biggest driver, but pure and simple messaging will: updates, alerts etc.

Posted by dymaxion at 09:10 PM | Comments (0)

Russia’s Biggest Spammer Murdered

Head of the . According to Mosnews, 35 year old Vardan Kushnir, Russia's largest spammer, was found dead in his Moscow apartment over the weekend. Kushnir was head of the American Language Center, a globally loathed (and frequently threatened) outfit which stoppe..

Posted by dymaxion at 07:32 PM | Comments (0)

Telus blocks out striking unions, and their websites. Days after half its employees walk…

The Canadian company is blocking Pro-Union website, says Broadband Reports.

Posted by dymaxion at 07:08 PM | Comments (0)

Yahoo! Buys Konfabulator

By tim I know this storyis all over the news, especially on Mac sites, but I wanted to call it out for another reason: as with the Google purchase of Keyhole, this is a purchase of a desktop software company by a web software company. I see these purchases as signs of that long term platform shift that I've been calling Web 2.0.  

I predicted this kind of thing in my open source paradigm shift talk at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention back in 2003, with the intentionally "out there" prediction that eBay would one day be in a position to buy Oracle. We're not that far along the curve yet, but the expectation that web companies will only buy other web companies should be put firmly into the trash bin.

Posted by dymaxion at 06:50 PM | Comments (0)

Netflix near launch of movie downloads

By rael As a user of TiVo, TiVo-to-go (dragging TV via my PC to DVD), Netflix, (and let's not forget PSP), this is just the next logical hop, skip, and jump....

Posted by dymaxion at 06:48 PM | Comments (0)

HP: This is Your Brain on Email

I have used a Blackberry for about three years now, and have noticed that I glance at the messages far too often, it has started to gain some of crackberry label given it, at least for me. Its convenient, yes, but also addicting. I notice it too being used by many more people in the halls these days. So its a good idea to understand what this continual connectivity means to us. Then I saw an article in CIO Insight, about research work at HP: "...a study on "info-mania" that suggests that too-frequent checking of e-mail and voice mail can lower your IQ up to ten points—which, for those keeping score, is a greater drop than researchers found in studying the effects of smoking marijuana ..."

Here is the HP page that introduces the study: ...HP calls for more appropriate use of “always-on” technology to improve productivity..., and their full HP Guide to Avoiding Info-Mania. The CIO Insight article also contains some reasonable criticisms of the study.

Posted by dymaxion at 06:44 PM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2005

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Pulled From Store Shelves

This wildly popular game is being pulled from this morning. In a surprise move, RockStar Software, the publisher, has admitted that the controversial game really did have those sex scenes built in, though they continue to claim that they were never meant to see the light of day in customers’ hands….

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Posted by dymaxion at 07:50 PM | Comments (0)

Google and Microsoft Lob More Lawsuits

crowemojo writes "According to a Business Week article Google has filed a counter-suit against Microsoft in reaction to the lawsuit that Microsoft filed when a corporate VP left to join the ranks of Google. Microsoft claims that the VP violated his non-compete agreement and Google claims that Microsoft is violating California laws giving workers the right to change jobs. Interestingly enough, the VP in question never lived in California!"

Posted by dymaxion at 07:46 PM | Comments (0)

Microsoft sues Google over competitive hire

Google has hired a man with plans and fancy pants to match, and Microsoft isn't pleased. Why? For one, he oversaw Microsoft's search efforts.

Posted by dymaxion at 07:26 PM | Comments (0)

Black Panther heirs seek spicy trademark

pant0705.jpg Former Black Panther associates of Huey P. Newton, the late co-founder of the militant organization, are seeking to trademark the phrase "Burn Baby Burn" so they can slap the words--long associated with conflagrations that left cities like Watts and Newark in cinders--on hot sauce.

According to pending filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Huey P. Newton Foundation also wants to trademark the phrase "Revolutionary Hot Sauce." The Oakland-based group, which is run by Newton's widow Fredrika and ex-Panther David Hilliard, submitted the trademark applications late last year and, according to USPTO records, appears close to securing government approval of its requests.

On the foundation's web site, the Newton group describes itself as a "community-based, non-profit research, education, and advocacy center dedicated to fostering progressive social change." It is unclear exactly what role spicy condiments play in this noble multicultural pursuit. (THE SMOKING GUN)

Posted by dymaxion at 06:49 PM | Comments (0)

AP To Launch Online Video Network

: This is in concurrent to the announcement below, but merits separate mention: AP will be launching an ad-supported online video news service, which would be available through AP member websites.
In exchange, AP members will share in revenue from the streaming video advertising carried on the network. Members would collect all the revenue from advertising generated by their own video.

Posted by dymaxion at 06:30 PM | Comments (0)

Skype's own video featureset is coming

skypeFrom the It Had To Happen Dept…

Skype has at least demonstrated their intention to release a video version of Skype known as SkypeSee, as they showed it off today at the AO2005 convention in Silicon Valley. By all accounts the video is superb, and Skype offers some unique features never before seen on Skype video add-ons, including full-screen video. Check it out at Skype Journal.

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© 2005 Weblogs, Inc.

Posted by dymaxion at 05:20 PM | Comments (0)

Attempting to Interview Ask Jeeves

This is the funniest thing I've seen today, aside from CNet blogging about parking at Yahoo. The folks at SatireWire decided to interview Ask Jeeves and ended up with amusing results.

It seems that we've haven't come that far since Eliza, have we? ;-)

Posted by dymaxion at 05:10 PM | Comments (0)

Zone Alarm V6 Released

Includes Anti-spyware 'OSFirewall'. Zone Labs and Checkpoint Software have released the latest version of their software firewall Zone Alarm, the direct links posted to the Zone Labs forum. This press release discusses what's new, and users in our Security forum give their impressions..

Posted by dymaxion at 05:06 PM | Comments (0)

80% don't care about Satellite Radio

Filed under: , ,

Howard Stern on SIRIUSEastlan performed a study back in 2001, when Satellite Radio was in it's infancy, asking Americans whether they had any interest in purchasing a new satellite delivered radio service. 80% said "no."

Now, four years later, it seems that the answer hasn't really changed. A new study, again performed by Eastlan, shows that yet again 80% of Americans have little interest in Satellite Radio and are unlikely to subscribe anytime in the future. In this new study, they found that 5% are currently subscribing and another 5% had no clue the hell Satellite Radio was - while an additional 9% are likely to subscribe sometime in the future.

You have to wonder what this means in terms of big name radio celebrities like Howard Stern jumping ship to Satellite. Will this 80% number change because his listeners are loyal to him? Or will it remain the same as drive-time listeners move on to the next morning show?
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Posted by dymaxion at 04:56 PM | Comments (0)

Greasemonkey's Slippery Side

Just in case you haven't seen it elsewhere, it's being recommended you uninstall Greasemonkey, a Firefox (and Opera) script tool, because of a serious flaw that serious flaw that leaves all your files vulnerable:

In other words, running a Greasemonkey script on a site can expose the contents of every file on your local hard drive to that site. Running a Greasemonkey script with "@include *" (which, BTW, is the default if no parameter is specified) can expose the contents of every file on your local hard drive to every site you visit. And, because GM_xmlhttpRequest can use POST as well as GET, an attacker can quietly send this information anywhere in the world.

They're working on it, but for now it's better to be safe than sorry.

Posted by dymaxion at 04:42 PM | Comments (0)

Citizen Photographers Get Their Own Agency

Fueling the discussion about whether it’s ok for citizens to take photos of their fellow citizens’ suffering and makemoney from it, welcome to Scoopt: the citizen journalist's photographic agency, selling mobile phone and digital camera pictures to the press and media:

Who will take tomorrow's front page photograph - a professional press photographer or a passer-by armed with a cameraphone?

Virtually everybody now has a mobile phone, and virtually every mobile phone now comes with a camera. Britain on Britain supplementThis means that somebody, somewhere is in a position to photograph just about anything that happens on the planet.

If you photograph a newsworthy event, you could have a valuable scoop on your hands. Scoopt represents you, making sure the right people see your photo and ensuring that you get a good deal. Scoopt is simple. Scoopt works. Above all, Scoopt works for you. Join Scoopt today. Snap... Send... Sell...

With another major security alert in London going on as I write, it’s timely.

I know I’m fence-sitting, but I don’t have a view on this yet. It’s hard enough as a journalist being in the middle of carnage or lynchings and not doing anything about it, so I’m not one to throw stones. I suppose you do hope that in the situation you’re able to do both: chronicle the situation for a wider audience (think of how useful those moblog pictures of those caught inside the Underground helped us understand how awful it was for them down there, an empathy that will help unite citizens in grief, horror and determination to thwart the terrorist’s aims) and then help. But I know that’s easier said than done.

(Thanks, Graham. )

Posted by dymaxion at 04:39 PM | Comments (0)

How to choose the right iPod for you

iPod.jpg

Multi-iPod owner Christopher Breen breaks down the three different iPods on the market by price and feature for folks considering buying or upgrading their little white music player. If you're not sure what all the differences are between the Mini, Shuffle and regular iPod are right now, this is the buying guide for you.

Posted by dymaxion at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)

eBay versus Google (2Q05 conf call quotes, EBAY, GOOG)

eBay CEO Meg Whitman explicitly stated on her Q2 conf call what many already surmised: that eBay and Google compete directly. Excerpts:

...you may not think of eBay as a search engine, but of course helping buyers find the item they want is a critical function of our platform, and our efforts here have already led to surprising results in the U.S. The number of searches performed on eBay actually puts us on par with Google, and our searches are all about shopping, buyers looking for items to bid on.

Magellan is our next generation search capability… which is in beta right now and will be rolled out over the next couple of months… The more effective we can make finding, the higher the conversion rates, the more robust marketplace it is for buyers and sellers… what Magellan does is… characterize free text listings in a much more robust way than we've been able to do it thus far.

Posted by dymaxion at 04:22 PM | Comments (0)

Skype’s imaginary billions

CNET News.com has often been in trouble with the bloggers. If you read this line, you know why. “Skype’s annual revenue has not been disclosed, but analysts suggest that it could be in the $6 billion to $10 billion range.” Did no one even question this statement? it is ridiculous. James Enck writes, “I don’t know which analysts they’ve been talking to, but Skype revenue estimates of $6 - 10bn would make it two to three times the size of Google.”

Posted by dymaxion at 04:17 PM | Comments (0)

Implications of today's Chinese currency re-valuation

The Chinese government announced it has re-valued its currency by 2.1%.

  • Effective immediately the exchange rate will shift from RMB 8.28 to the US $ to RMB 8.11 to the US $.
  • The RMB (Yuan) will no longer be pegged to the US dollar and will float in a tight 0.3% band against a basket of foreign currencies beginning tomorrow.

How will the re-valuation affect both Chinese companies and those companies doing business in China? We have comprehensive coverage on re-valuation including interviews with public company CEOs, quotes from management teams of public companies (from conference call transcripts), and analysis from external sources:

  1. Barron's on stocks that could benefit from re-valuation
  2. Business Week on stocks that could benefit from re-valuation
  3. NY Times on winners and losers from re-valuation
  4. Matthews China (ticker: MCHFX) fund manager on re-valuation
  5. How re-valuation affects China ETFs FXI and PGJ
  6. A major US retailer on possible effects of re-valuation on its business
  7. Ctrip (ticker: CTRP) on possible effects of re-valuation on its business
  8. A Chinese micro-cap company CEO on re-valuation
  9. How re-valuation might affect China real estate

Posted by dymaxion at 04:10 PM | Comments (0)

China Vs India – Digital Online Market

China is way ahead in the online market compared to India. Undeterred by China's restrictions, Yahoo, which owns the world's most-visited Web portal, invested $120 million in a Chinese search engine in 2003. Last year it started an auction site in China, where total online revenue hit $1.1 billion. India, an English-speaking democracy that allows freer flow of information, had online revenue of just $93 million. It does seem ironic that India, with its democratic government and free press, is so far behind China in developing its Internet market," says David Wolf, managing director of Wolf Group Asia, a Beijing-based regional consulting firm. The simple reason is that China has the infrastructure and India doesn't. The number of Web users in China has expanded sevenfold in eight years to 94 million. India, whose population of 1.1 billion is close to China's, has 24 million Internet users. Yahoo employs 600 people in China, 10 times as many as in India. The Chinese government has paved the way for Internet growth by investing $138 billion in telecommunications networks in the past five years. China's online revenue - which includes sales from advertising and from Internet gaming and wireless services - grew 35 percent last year to $1.1 billion and is expected to rise 30 percent in 2005.China is a giant market that's growing quickly. There's a lot more demand that can be satisfied. By contrast, India - generated about $93 million in online revenue last year, MindShare estimates. India's 24 million Internet users, are about a quarter of China's 94 million Web surfers. The teledensity is 1: 1.19 in china to 1:11 in India. Venture-capital firms made $177 million in Internet-related investments in China in 2003 and 2004, four times more than the $44 million India attracted.


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Posted by dymaxion at 04:00 PM | Comments (0)

Knowledge of Tech Terms

This is a fun statistic, as mentioned by Gary Price. Which tech terms do Americans internet users know, on average? Because if you're very tech-savvy (if you read this blog, you must be), the less you may understand how much people on average know ...

Posted by dymaxion at 03:15 PM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2005

What's killing Hollywood (not piracy!)

Cory Doctorow: This short, sharp list of what's killing Hollywood is pithy and to the point, and the perfect note to sign off for the weekend with -- I'm going away for a couple days' worth of birthday celebration and I'll be back on Tuesdayish!
1. Hollywood cannot control its marketing costs or star salaries. The growing importance of DVDs increases the "needle in the haystack" problem for any single film and thus locks studios into more marketing, creating a vicious spiral.

2. TV is now so much better, and offers artists greater creative freedom. Why watch movies?

3. The Internet is outcompeting cinema, whether at the multiplex or on DVD.

4. Big TV screens are keeping people at home, which lowers box office receipts. This also hurts the long-term prospects of many DVDs.

5. The demand for DVDs has fallen because movie lovers have completed their core collections, just as the demands for classical CDs have fallen.

6. The demand for DVDs was due to fall in any case. Forget the collectors, you buy DVDs to have a stock on hand so you don't have to run out to the video store on short notice. Now everyone has a stock. Stocks must be replenished every now and then, but there is no longer a large new cohort simultaneously building up a stock from scratch.

Posted by dymaxion at 12:04 AM | Comments (0)

Why are all the blog search engines so terrible?

When I first started tracking discussions in the blogosphere, I used Google, which, while it had the benefit of not forcing me to actually type in a URL since it was already integrated into my browser, wasn’t a great solution because - as of yet - Google doesn’t track blog articles, per se. They show up eventually, but mixed in with the rest of the Web. Then I was turned on to Technorati and used…

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Posted by dymaxion at 12:02 AM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2005

pill poppin'

Blogger gets fired. An NYC nanny was fired because of her blog. The twist? she worked for an Helaine Olen, an NY times style-section writer who wrote an article that started like this "OUR former nanny, ... liked to touch her breasts while reading The New Yorker ... She took sleeping pills, joked about offbeat erotic fantasies involving Tucker Carlson and determined she'd had more female sexual partners than her boyfriend." The nanny, saving money to get a PhD in english, chose to respond

Posted by dymaxion at 11:49 PM | Comments (0)

Google PageRank Update Underway

According to Search Engine Roundtable, a Google PageRank update is underway. If you want to discuss, here's a link to an SEW Forums thread. More disscussions about the update are listed here....

Posted by dymaxion at 11:21 PM | Comments (0)

How Different Can CNN Pipeline Be?

: I can understand CNN's enthusiasm for its premium online TV service, but I hope they realize it has been done before. Hyperbole, ah...now that's new.
Anyway, at the Television Critics Assn.'s summer press tour at the Beverly Hilton this weekend, CNN released some more details of its premium broadband service, dubbed "CNN Pipeline".
The service will feature a dowloadable app based on Windows Media, with four premium, live, on-demand streams of video from the day's major news centers as well as extensive on-demand video news reports, the usual range of CNN.com and wire stories, and a search feature.
This follows CNN.com's free video service, launched in June...
CNN Networks chairman Jim Walton likened the competitors' products to Pong..."What I'm about to show you right now is PlayStation or Nintendo or GameCube," Walton said.
For their own sake, I hope they're right...
MultiChannel News: "The Atlanta editors will determine what we feel are the four most significant streams at any given time," Walton said. "The viewer can cut between them to go searching for whichever live one you want."
Related:
-- CNN.com Launches Ad-Supported Video
-- Interview: Susan Grant, EVP, CNN News Services
-- CNN Breaks Out Of Premium-Only Online Video Shell
-- CNN.com Outlines Move From Pay Video To Hybrid

Posted by dymaxion at 10:56 PM | Comments (0)

The book radio

Vinat Venkatraman and Pei Yu's Book Radio takes the mental model of a physical book where user can browse by flipping pages, read by keeping a page open, and create a reminder of a specific page by placing a bookmark.

abooook.jpg

Each page of the Book Radio represents a frequency. You flip pages to scan the frequency spectrum; open to a specific page to listen to a station; place the bookmark on a desired page to listen and store the station; and slide the bookmark up or down to control the volume. Besides you can scribble in it, place stickers or take notes while listening.

Check the videos on the webpage.

Via Prototype.

Posted by dymaxion at 05:57 PM | Comments (0)

Lafayette Says 'Yes' to Fiber

62 percent vote to proceed. Residents of Lafayette, LA turned out in large numbers on Saturday to register their vote whether a bond offering to fund a city-wide fiber-optic project should be approved. The Daily Advertiser reports that with a 27 percent turnout, they voted 12,2..

Posted by dymaxion at 05:51 PM | Comments (0)

The Podsafe Music Network

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Podsafe Music NetworkThe Podsafe Music Network was officially announced to the public on last Friday's Daily Source Code and after spending several days messing around on it, I have to give this thing a 5 star review. It's really truly an amazing resource, for both the Podcaster and the Musician. For the Podcaster, we finally have the ability to easily find and play Podsafe Music to our heart's desire. For the Musician, there's now the ability to publish your music in an organized method, and most importantly, to allow your music to propegate throughout different Podcasts.

For unsigned artists, this marks the true beginning of a revolution. In the past, being an "indie" musician meant having to go from gig to gig, and praying to be played on the local college station. That was really the only way for the word to spread about you. With Podcasts, we now have a mass distributed method of exposure. It's like Syndicated College Radio. The Podsafe Music Network puts it all under one area, and best of all they "get it" when it comes to the balance of making money and providing a service.

Awesome. Two thumbs up. 5 Stars. Great job boys, keep it coming.

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Posted by dymaxion at 05:36 PM | Comments (0)

Blog comparison list

Trying to decide between Blogger, TypePad, WordPress, or MovableType? This is a chart of all the features they each offer... Link...

Posted by dymaxion at 05:14 PM | Comments (0)

Asia says yes to IPV6, US says whatever

China, India, Japan and South Korea all have advanced plans for making IPv6 their national standard, and they’ve set aside substantial budgets to do it. US is well lukewarm on the idea, but some politicans are getting very concerned.

Posted by dymaxion at 05:07 PM | Comments (0)

Asia & IPTV Adoption

Rajesh points to Om Malik's writing that Asia Leads The IPTV Revolution adding "South East Asia region is the current leader in IPTV adoption, with seven out of 13 countries already having rolled out some sort of service including PCCW’s NOW, which is the largest IPTV deployment in the world, and accounts for one third of the total global IPTV subscribers. Gartner estimates that the number of IPTV subscribers in these countries will double by end of 2005. New broadband networks capable of supporting higher speed flavors of DSL is one of the reason for quicker take-off and high population density and short geographical coverage makes higher deployment of DSL/Broadband easier in that part of the world. Second reason - there are no legacy cable networks(I think should be read as untapped market for cable is high),the massive scale adoption in Asia could give the region a leg-up in defining the future direction of IPTV as well."
The converge digest report highlights that the real "growth" markets in Asia are China, Korea, Japan, Malaysia and Taiwan. These countries are yet almost virgin territory for IPTV but have the population, government commitment, industry initiative and broadband penetration to foster growth in IPTV. At the opposite end however, there is also market saturation. Hong Kong for example, Asia's second most developed broadband market, is a mature market for IPTV already and does not present many growth opps. But China may still have a long way to go as the country, more so than elsewhere in the region, still is in its infancy when it comes to such crucial issues as bandwidth availability, affordability of service, content, regulation and piracy. These factors could slow down the IPTV service roll out significantly going forward.
The technology is still young & there is limited experience in terms of service roll out and experience.Multitude of challenges confront operators in providing a robust, future-proof service, including content-related complexities such as rights negotiation, costs and content security, and technological complexities including availability, maturity of technology, costs, middleware, architecture design, equipment choice. The next 12-18 months will be an exciting time to watch as more operators launch their services. They success or failure will determine the future of Pay TV in Asia and the world. I think that we are seeing adoptions all across -in Europe( Microsoft is working with several players there) and in the US as well(BellSouth). In Asia Pacific ,We saw Telstra recently stopping the IPTV rollout. John Dvorak maintains a good list of IPTV Players.


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Posted by dymaxion at 04:45 PM | Comments (0)

RFID and religion

In a study of the future of RFID that I worked on last year and this spring, I spent some time looking at religious-- or more specifically, millenarian and apocalyptic-- arguments against RFID. Many of the arguments that we saw against bar codes a couple decades ago-- that they're a tool for building a surveillance state that's either Orwellian or biblical-- are now made against RFID.

Today's Wired News has a new twist on the story: CASPIAN founder Katherine Albrecht believes that "technological developments of the last 10 to 20 years could be combining to make the Mark of the Beast a reality, and possibly even in our lifetimes":

Albrecht fears that retailers will match the data emitted by the tags with their customers' information, turning each tag into a potential tracking beacon. She also suspects the government will want access to the retailers' RFID databases.

But one aspect of Albrecht's anti-RFID crusade has been attracting a lot of attention from other privacy groups: her religious beliefs.

Albrecht does not often discuss her religious views with reporters. But she believes that RFID technology may be part of the fulfillment of the Mark of the Beast prophesied in the Book of Revelation.

Other privacy rights advocates want Albrecht to help them connect with Christians who believe that RFID tags -- tiny chips that emit serial numbers -- are the Mark of the Beast. Many of those Christians believe humans one day will be compelled to bear a mark on their heads or wrists, to engage in the buying and selling of goods.

I had not, frankly, expected that the apocalyptic arguments would have much effect on the future of RFID; but maybe I underestimated the odds of their shaping the technology, and the depth of their potential impact.

It certainly would be interesting to see how retailers reacted to a call by, say, James Dodson to boycott stores that plan to implement item-level RFID tagging.

Update: Gizmodo's post on the subject is inspired. Scroll to the last paragraph.

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Posted by dymaxion at 04:38 PM | Comments (0)

Google Master Plan

By nat

I saw The Google Master Plan in person, but wasn't allowed to speak of it because of my NDA. At last, though, elements are leaking out through the positions Google is hiring for. Here's what I can say:

Posted by dymaxion at 04:31 PM | Comments (0)

Schmidt on Information Industry (Video)

Google CEO Dr. Eric Schmidt discussed "Perspectives on the Information Industry" at the University of Washington. The 1-hour recording from May 26, 2005, is available as Windows Media or Quicktime file. [Thanks Gary.]

Posted by dymaxion at 04:26 PM | Comments (0)

Nanofactory Animation

The long anticipated Nanofactory animation, titled “Productive Nanosystems: from Molecules to Superproducts” by Lizard Fire Studios with the support of Nanorex, is now version 1.0. [animation] [slide show]

Thanks, John!

Posted by dymaxion at 04:24 PM | Comments (0)

Details of our Fios installation

I joined the Verizon Fios waiting list in December 2004, when I saw a Verizon crew splicing fiber on a pole near our house. And since then, I've been running the "Can I Get Fios?" test at the FIOS website every few weeks.  Last week the answer was yes, so I attempted to order Fios through the website. Several interface items didn't work with FireFox and, even after switching to Internet Explorer, I couldn't schedule an alternate date for installation.  So I ordered by phone.  That went smoothly with installation scheduled for Wednesday. I had to commit to being available from 8am - 5pm.

Sometime on Monday, a pre-terminated optical cable was run, from a pole-mounted optical junction box that serves eight subscribers, to the side of my house.  That was the first truck roll.

Then on Wednesday morning a very pleasant Verizon installer showed up at 8:45am -- the second truck roll. The 8am-5pm installation window was no joke as it took him until 5:15pm to finish. He was very confident on optical, electrical and mechanical issues, a little hesitant on computers issues, but he only had to phone for advice on one occasion.

The completed installation includes an optical network terminal (ONT) on the side of the house, a battery backup unit high on the basement wall, a power supply on a post in the basement near an available wall outlet, new wiring for our traditional phone line and a new CAT5 cable to a jack in my computer area.

Since optical drop cables come in fixed lengths with factory installed connectors, the ONU mounting box includes plenty of space to coil up spare fiber.  The active part of the ONU terminates the fibers and provides connections for four analog telephone lines, one RJ-45 Ethernet connector for broadband access and one video connector, currently capped.  There's also a power cable from the basement battery unit to the ONT with two power leads and 5-6 sense leads.

By 3pm all the new equipment was in. His first step was to move our phone line over from the copper drop wire to the ONU. With his laptop, he logged into a Verizon system that made the changes at the central office, so we had dial tone over the new optical connection in a few minutes.

Then he plugged in a Verizon-supplied D-Link DI-624 wireless router.  When ordering Fios, I was told this was extra cost, so I had declined. But he insisted this was a free part of the installation so I acquiesced.  We connected my laptop to the D-Link and proceeded to install software from a Verizon Fios installation CD. The installation procedure asked for the installation order number which it uploaded to a Verizon server.  A few seconds after entering the order number, my AIM client connected automatically and then Skype connected -- we were on the air (or at least on the Internet).  The rest of the software installation took another 20 minutes as I accepted everything they offered. Apparently I am now a premium member of MSN (at no extra charge!). And I have new email addresses at both verizon.net and msn.com.

At this point we had the only glitch in the whole process. While I was attempting to turn off the open wireless signal on the D-Link, i.e. while I was logged onto the D-Link, we lost Internet connectivity.  I have no idea what went wrong.  The installer proceeded to spend 15 minutes on the phone with another Verizon employee who walked him through various screens on the D-Link. Nothing was apparently wrong, no changes were made, but suddenly things started working again.

So then we ran a few speed tests and he packed up and left.

I immediately used Skype to call Bob Frankston and gloat, as I know he's still waiting for his Fios installation.

 

Posted by dymaxion at 04:21 PM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2005

Home DVD sales falling

I don’t really see this as that mysterious. People are likely waking up to the waste of money it is buy DVDs when you can just get them from services like Netflix and then keep then as long as you want for a lot less….

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Posted by dymaxion at 12:50 AM | Comments (0)

CC on PBS

From the PBS website:

Beginning Sept. 6, PBS will make available - exclusively over the Internet - broadcast television's first entirely downloadable series, featuring PBS technology columnist and industry insider Robert X. Cringely's interviews with personalities from the ever-changing world of technology.

...
"This ground-breaking series will be distributed under a Creative Commons license, so if viewers like what they see, they can redistribute the shows or even edit their own non-commercial version," Cindy Johanson, Senior Vice President, PBS Interactive Learning, said.

Posted by dymaxion at 12:49 AM | Comments (0)

Coca Cola Threatening Lawsuit Against Political Art (Ernest Miller)

The India Resource Center reports that the Coca Cola company is going after an Indian artist whose commentary on Coca Cola's policies incorporates their logo (Coca-Cola Threatens Top Indian Photographer with Lawsuit).

Mr. Haksar, a leading international photographer and winner of the 2005 Cannes Silver Lion, has placed a large billboard in one of Chennai's busiest areas - one of India's largest cities - with his own "work (which) is solely an expression of creativity."
The billboard features the ubiquitous red Coca-Cola wall painting, commonly found across India. Directly preceding the Coca-Cola ad, and part of the billboard, is a dry water hand-pump, with empty vessels waiting to be filled up with water - a common scene in India, particularly in Chennai.
On July 11, 2005, the law firm of Daniel & Gladys, who represent Coca-Cola's Indian subsidiary, sent a letter to Mr. Haksar threatening him with serious legal actions unless the billboard was replaced 'unconditionally and immediately'. Coca-Cola would seek Indian Rupees 2 million (US$ 45,000) for "incalculable damage to the goodwill and reputation" of Coca-Cola, and also sought an 'unconditional apology in writing'.
Mr. Haksar said, "I have no intentions of issuing any apology. Because I have not committed anything wrong. If Coke pursues this legal course, my lawyers shall take appropriate counter action."
via Furdlog

Posted by dymaxion at 12:48 AM | Comments (0)

Analog TV Will Die: 2009

Broadcasters accept cutoff date for digital migration. Broadcasters told Congress [yesterday] they would agree to give up spectrum for analog channels and begin broadcasting in all-digital format by 2009. Uncle Sam is eager for the transition - going so far as to set up a DTV promotional website - since they stand to make an estimated 30-70 billion dollars off the resale of the spectrum. That spectrum is freely loaned to broadcasters, and would be re-used for high-speed wireless voice and data services.

Posted by dymaxion at 12:38 AM | Comments (0)

Rockstar breaks silence on "Hot Coffee" GTA: San Andreas mod

GTA: San Andreas developer Rockstar has finally issued a statement on the now-infamous "Hot Coffee" mod. Let the finger-pointing begin!

Posted by dymaxion at 12:34 AM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2005

Powell joins Kleiner, Perkins in mentor role

'Yes, General, we respect your technical knowledge ... by the way, are you still on good terms with Wen Jiabao?'


By Richard Koman for SiliconValleyWatcherBut don't worry, he won't be talking about you at the UN ...

Former Sec. of State Colin Powell will join venture capitalist firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers as "strategic limited partner," a title that reveals both his investor status and his real job as entrepreneur mentor.

"I wanted to be on the leading edge of technology developments in America and in the world, which will not only benefit America, but all of human kind," Powell said in an interview with the San Jose Mercury News.

Kleiner partner Brook Byers said in a conference call, according to the Mercury: ``The real role he's going to play for us is mentorship.'' The Times quotes Ray Lane, Kleiner partern and ex president of Oracle, on Powell's international expertise: "General Powell has a global perspective. So we think he will be very helpful in helping us figure out what we should do overseas, and how we do it, and what we should eventually invest in."

Really. While Powell has sat on the boards of tech companies like AOL and Steve Case's Revolution - he is, he said, "not a total rookie" - what does he really bring to the party? The Times quotes Paul Kedrosky, a professor at the University of California San Diego and a specialist in venture capital, who thinks that Kleiner wanted him for the usual reasons former government bigshots are wooed by the private sector - access.

"There are any number of coaches who would happily sign up with Kleiner in a limited role given the payoff," Mr. Kedrosky said. "But it sure helps if you've got a coach who can pick up a phone and get Donald Rumsfield on the line." Security is currently a hot area for venture investing, Mr. Kedrosky noted - and one in which Kleiner Perkins "has been underinvested in relative to other large venture firms."

Makes sense. But imagine just how strained the call-opening small talk will be as Colin and Don reminisce on their chummy White House relationship.



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Posted by dymaxion at 11:38 PM | Comments (0)

Intel's Dirty Tricks

by Richard Koman for SiliconValleyWatcher

Why is Intel inside better? According to AMD's suit against the Santa Clara chipmaker, it's because Intel intentionally compiles programs to run slower on AMD chips. The complaint charges, according to TechWorld.

Intel has designed its compiler purposely to degrade performance when a program is run on an AMD platform. To achieve this, Intel designed the compiler to compile code along several alternate code paths. Some paths are executed when the program runs on an Intel platform and others are executed when the program is operated on a computer with an AMD microprocessor. (The choice of code path is determined when the program is started, using a feature known as “CPUID” which identifies the computer’s microprocessor.) By design, the code paths were not created equally. If the program detects a “Genuine Intel” microprocessor, it executes a fully optimized code path and operates with the maximum efficiency. However, if the program detects an “Authentic AMD” microprocessor, it executes a different code path that will degrade the program’s performance or cause it to crash."

Also, as widely reported: Intel's offices across Europe were searched by EU investigators. Offices in England, Milan, Madrid and Munich were caught up in the investigations of abusive marketing practices.

Complaint is on AMD's site (PDF).



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Posted by dymaxion at 11:35 PM | Comments (0)

Patent Holder Forgent Sues 15 Companies Over Playback During Video Recording

: Forgent Networks is suing 15 companies -- a who's who of DVR providers -- on the grounds that they are infringing on U.S. Patent 6,285,746 (pdf) relating to a computer-controlled video system that allows playback while recording. The feature is a staple of digital or personal video recording. Defendants include Cable One, Charter, Cox, Comcast, EchoStar, DirecTV, and Time Warner. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
Forgent's portfolio includes patents from Compression Labs, Inc., VTEL Corporation, and Forgent Networks, Inc. Chairman and CEO Richard Snyder is frank about the company's goals: "This is a natural expansion of the intellectual property program, however, our objective remains the same; to protect our intellectual property assets from infringement, while extracting value from those assets thus maximizing shareholder returns." Godwin Gruber LLP and The Roth Law Firm each stand to get a total of up to 40 percent of licensing revenue and litigation proceeds if Forgent prevails.

Posted by dymaxion at 11:22 PM | Comments (0)

Linking To Unauthorized MP3s Illegal In Australia

Earlier this year, we pointed to a situation in Norway, where a person who simply created a website with links to unauthorized copies of mp3 files was fined for doing so. Considering that Google can be used to find links to unauthorized copies of mp3 files as well, it certainly sounded like such a ruling opened up all search engines to quite a bit of legal liability. Apparently, it's not just in Norway that this problem occurs. Down in Australia, following up on a case we first wrote about two years ago, a judge has also decided that linking to unauthorized copies of mp3 files is illegal. In this situation, it looks like the judge is using similar reasoning to the US Supreme Court in the recent Grokster decision. Because the guy in question was using the links page to get more attention for his ISP, he's seen as somehow inducing people to infringe on copyrights. Of course, the real question is why isn't the industry going after the people actually sharing these files, as they are the ones actually breaking the law.

Posted by dymaxion at 11:10 PM | Comments (0)

Forged Documents in National Archives Change History

A recently published book claims that Himmler was murdered by the British Special Operations Executive, rather than him committing suicide after the Allies captured him. The book was based on documents found -- apparently in good faith -- in the UK's National Archive, which now appear to have been faked and inserted.

Documents from the National Archives used to substantiate claims that British intelligence agents murdered Heinrich Himmler in 1945 are forgeries, The Daily Telegraph can reveal today.

It seems certain that the bogus documents were somehow planted among genuine papers to pervert the course of historical study.

The results of investigations by forensic document experts on behalf of this newspaper have shocked historians and caused tremors at the Archives, the home of millions of historical documents, which has previously been thought immune to distortion or contamination.

t the security effort at the National Archives is directed towards preventing people from removing documents. But the effects of adding forged documents could be much worse.

Posted by dymaxion at 10:45 PM | Comments (0)

RSS Fund

The Boston Globe writes about a $100 million RSS fund started by Jim Moore and John Palfrey:


Moore and Palfrey are looking for companies that will not only apply RSS in innovative ways, but also clean up the technology's inevitable problems. Consider the double-edged matter of spam.

igital junk in your inbox could serve as fertilizer for new RSS businesses. Say you're a company that wants to promote a special deal to customers who've asked to hear from you. Use e-mail, and your valuable message may be lost to an overzealous spam filter. Or you could hang an RSS feed on your website. It's the ultimate in opt-in marketing, since your customer must ask to receive the feed. And since it's not e-mail, your messages never get mistaken for spam. So companies that provide RSS-based marketing solutions are worth a look.

Posted by dymaxion at 10:32 PM | Comments (0)

Skyscraper erased from movie over copyright concern

Editing Out the Transamerica Pyramid. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that copyright concerns caused the producers of BEWITCHED to edit the Transamerica Building out of the movie. The pyramid-shaped skyscraper is a copyrighted image. [Television Archiving]

Posted by dymaxion at 10:24 PM | Comments (0)

Download of the Day: Firefox 1.0.5

product-firefox.png

Mozilla released version 1.0.5 of the Firefox web browser today which is more secure and stable.

The new version includes bug fixes and security patches to known issues in the browser. Mozilla recommends that all Firefox users upgrade to 1.0.5. So go get it!

Posted by dymaxion at 09:27 PM | Comments (0)

Microsoft and Claria: It May Never Have Been On, But Now It's Off

It’s hard to know how serious this ever was but whatever, it’s now over, according to ClickZ News, who reports the Microsoft/Claria Deal Dead:

Microsoft has ended its acquisition talks with behavioral targeting firm Claria, ClickZ News has learned from a source close to the discussions. Another Microsoft source later confirmed that report.

A Microsoft staffer, who asked not to be identified, characterized the end of the talks as driven by concerns about a PR fallout that could follow a Claria purchase. That company has, in the past, been associated with spyware.

The source says Microsoft will likely consider buying other companies with behavioral targeting technology, but no one is "officially in scope at this time."

Certainly Microsoft was losing some major PR ground with the rumour bouncing around, and it didn’t help that folk were noticing some (possibly coincidental) tweaking of its own Antispyware assessments of Claria/Gator threats.

Posted by dymaxion at 09:25 PM | Comments (0)

Google video search playable films only

playable.jpg

Google Video search includes text and screenshots for all its video, but to get only films you can play from start to finish, check the new "playable video" radio button before you search. Remember, to play video on Google you'll need to download Google's free video viewer.

Posted by dymaxion at 06:06 PM | Comments (0)

IPTV in the air

On Jetblue we watch satellite TV. On Singapore Airlines they watch IPTV thanks to Connexion powered WiFi networks. According to Connexion director of wireless channel Adla Hendry half of all Wi-Fi-enabled devices on Wi-Fi enabled planes are logging to the internet. At present 60 planes owned by carriers like SAS, JML, Singapore, Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines have Connexion wi-fi. Soon you could get GSM services on the planes as well.

Posted by dymaxion at 05:52 PM | Comments (0)

BellSouth to Buy Vonage for $3.5 billion? … Not Likely

That BellSouth is buying Vonage is even a rumor, that’s just loco. Why in the name of god would they pay $4375 per subscriber (total $3.5 billion) when they very well know that Vonage customers bail much before the vital two year pay-off period is over. Why would they spend $3.5 billion to buy Vonage when for $6.7 billion they can buy Qwest which has a) 1.122 million DSL customers, you know the kind of technology you need for Vonage to work, and b) $13.809 billion in revenues. I am glad BLS is declining to dignify the rumor and declining to comment.

Andy adds, “The price of $3.5 billion seems almost excessive and for 800,000 customer or so, no real in house technology, a team that would largely go bye bye after acquisition, I don’t see the value.” On further thought, it is more like wishful thinking even though $3.5 billion is the price the Vonage investors would like to get for the company they has stuffed with dollars.

These are tough times for indie VoIP providers, especially with the cable guys getting their act together. Net2Phone is a cheaper option, and despite what people might think BellSouth still is a brand, and it is many times bigger than Vonage. And if…. and that’s a mighty big if, BellSouth does buy Vonage for that price, I will surely put this right up there with classic telecom disasters such as AT&T selling of cable broadband business (because analysts said so!) and MCI merging with WorldCom.

Posted by dymaxion at 05:48 PM | Comments (0)

China Internet search provider Baidu files for IPO (BIDU)

Chinese language Internet search provider Baidu.com (proposed ticker: BIDU) filed an F-1 with the SEC yesterday in preparation for an upcoming IPO on the Nasdaq. Here are a number of key points about the company and its services:

Traffic statistics

Posted by dymaxion at 05:45 PM | Comments (0)

Googel Maps adds Japan

By nat

Google Maps now has street maps of Japan, but you have to be able to read Japanese to use 'em. There's also detailed satellite imagery for Tokyo, as this map of what I hope is the Apple store shows.

Posted by dymaxion at 05:33 PM | Comments (0)

Enterprise Software - Clear Signs Of Slowing Down

Optimists were thinking that the enterprise software sector’s weakness was supposed to be short term. Yet again, enterprise software players are issuing second-quarter warnings. Borland, Siebel,Altiris all are falling down. While Borland blamed its woes on weaker information technology (IT) spending & that several of its deals failed to close by the quarter's end,(Borland's problems may be deeper. On Friday, the company announced the resignation of its CEO after six years at the helm. Borland's core business - developing sophisticated programming tools for enterprises - faces intense competition, especially from IBM )Siebel , leader in CRM - which sacked its CEO about three months ago (because of, well, a bad quarterly performance)also blamed its results on customers delaying orders. The outlook for enterprise players is becoming bleak. Customers are more resistant and competition is fierce. Unless a company has the scale needed to buy growth with cash and stock, the sector should be a laggard for some time to come.
We covered earlier, that the new economy software startups measured on different parameters are beginning to realize that earnings have replaced revenue growth as the new measure of success on Wall Street. This shift in outlook and measurements are creating pressures – these shall trigger a powerful wave of consolidation throughout the industry over the next few years. We also covered Ray Lane's recent view that the top 15 software companies earn 84% of the revenues in the industry & that the top three generate 75% of the profit, and the top one generates 57% of the profit.Enterprises have consumed a lot of technology and want to consolidate a lot of the technology they've bought. They want a few platform players - and innovation. The challenge is how do large enterprises hear about innovation? They used to have entire staffs who would spend thousands of hours listening to thousands of startups and trying to figure out which ones are the most innovative. We also covered M.R.Rangaswamy capturing it the best when he wrote that in five years we’ll look back and not recognize the old enterprise vendor. In an extremely well researched and thought out piece he wrote, "Many software vendors will not be able to hang on during the coming tumultuous five years. The survivors will operate in an entirely new landscape – with new models for business, hiring, development, services, marketing and so on. The enterprise software business of the future will be more dynamic, innovative, efficient and business-driving than ever before".
We also identified in the last few weeks, that the software market may get grouped along the patterns of:
- Platform Players Forcing Consolidation:
- Basket of Best Of Breed Players:
The general trend toward consolidation is already felt. The only issue is outside of the top 5/6 players several other players addressing specific niche areas currenlty have ore than 50% of the marketcap - we have to see how the economics,integration, customer reaction all mix up - with software, more than the employees, customers get alarmed about any possible merger moves. Big time acquisitions are already happening.Consolidation fever ahead - not sure whether customers would benefit a lot because of this - till the haze cleares, it is clearly alarming!!!


Category: .

Posted by dymaxion at 05:32 PM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2005

Willie Nelson: reggae and Wal-Mart

David Pescovitz: Countryman
In the works since 1995, Willie Nelson's reggae album Countryman comes out tomorrow... with two different versions of the cover art. Nelson personally digs the pot leaves, but his record label is nipping any potential controversy in the bud. From the Associated Press:
Universal Music Group Nashville is substituting palm trees for the marijuana leaves on CDs sold at the retail chain Wal-Mart, a huge outlet for country music that's also sensitive about lyrics and packaging.

"They're covering all the bases," Nelson joked.
Posted by dymaxion at 01:18 AM | Comments (0)

BBC Blasted for Making Music Freely Available (Ernest Miller)

One would think this is parody, but apparently it is not. The Independent reports that classical music labels are lambasting the BBC for making MP3s of classical music available for free download (Downloading Trouble at the BBC).

The BBC has been lambasted by classical music labels for making all nine of Beethoven's symphonies available for free download over the Internet. ...
But the initiative has infuriated the bosses of leading classical record companies who argue the offer undermines the value of music and that any further offers would be unfair competition.
Managing director of the Naxos label, Anthony Anderson, said: "I think there is a question of whether a publicly funded broadcaster should be doing this and there is the obvious issue that it is devaluing the perceived value of music. You are also leading the public to think that it is fine to download and own these files for nothing."
Heaven forfend! via Scripting News

Posted by dymaxion at 01:12 AM | Comments (0)

P2P Use Surges

According to P2PNet and Digital Music News, p2p use inched up in June, despite entertainment industry efforts. The average number of simultaneous users on P2P networks reached 8.9 million, a 20% jump from this time last year. File trading levels are now double what they were in September of 2003 when the RIAA began initiating lawsuits against file-traders.

Posted by dymaxion at 12:53 AM | Comments (0)

Who is the Master of Unlocking?

I’ve found the recent controversy over the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas sex mod / unlock extremely fascinating (thanks Gamespot). If you believe what the modder and critics are saying, Rockstar left the code for the sex mini-game in the final copies of San Andreas. For one reason or another, the theory goes, Rockstar blocked off the feature so it would be impossible to access. There were a few rumors that the code existed on the PS2 version, but it wasn’t until the PC version that someone actually unlocked it and made it available. Or modded it, depending on your viewpoint.

Now politicians and watch groups are up in arms. Folks who thought the cop killing and hooker stomping was bad are now going nuts over the prospect of young children pretending to have sex using an awkwardly timed minigame. Whether the code was modded or buried by self-censoring game makers, someone has added fuel to the fire and it won’t die down anytime soon.

Posted by dymaxion at 12:52 AM | Comments (0)

Tokyo Rose

"Now you fellows have lost all your ships. Now you really are orphans of the Pacific. How do you think you will ever get home?" Tokyo Rose was the name given to any female propaganda broadcaster for the Japanese during WWII’s battle for the Pacific, but it has stuck most tightly to Iva Toguri D'Aquino, an American who studied zoology at Berkeley and unwisely went to visit a relative in Japan in 1941 without a passport.

Her sultry voice was heard across the Pacific during her radio show “The Zero Hour,” which earned her about $7 per month. After the war, "Orphan Annie" returned to the U.S., where she was tried for treason in the most expensive trial in history. Her story has been made into movies and documentaries, and as of 2003 she was running a store in Chicago. You can listen to her broadcasts online and apparently even email her.

Posted by dymaxion at 12:36 AM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2005

Technorati is for PR Professionals

From SiliconValleyWatcher:

What surprised me was how aggressively Mr Hirshberg was pitching Technorati's expensive blog tracking services to this audience of agency and corporate communications professionals. Mr Whitmore barely mentioned his company, and I didn't pitch anything, maybe I should have :-)
But I did get an interesting peak into the world of "selling the blogosphere" and how there is a large and growing number of companies, such as Technorati, that would like to make a lot of money from the work of millions of bloggers.

But here's a question nobody is asking so far: Will Technorati offer bloggers a cut of the cash too?

Posted by dymaxion at 10:51 PM | Comments (0)

Plantronics, the convergence proxy

During California Gold Rush, the most money was made by folks who were selling picks and shovels, not the speculators. The same holds true for Silicon Valley. Back in the go-go 1990s, it was the Cisco-Sun-Oracle-EMC team that walked away with most of the money. History also offers us another great lesson. Today, many of us forget that during California gold rush there were peripheral companies that raked in the big dollars as well. Like Levi’s Strauss, the denim maker.

Wireless, VoIP, and convergence are growth businesses, and chipmakers Qualcomm and Texas Instruments, are the ones who are benefitting the most. They are the pick-and-shovel guys. But Levi’s of this convergence boom is Santa Cruz, California-based Plantronics. The wireless headset company has just announced that it is buying speaker-maker Altec Lansing for a whopping $166 million. The deal gives Plantronics an instant share in the fast growing iPod economy and helps them extend their reach into the home digital music business. Altec Lansing had sales of $100 million last year. Given than most recent mergers & acquisitions are going between 1.5-to-2 times next 12 month sales, this is a pretty good buy for Plantronics. The purchase also gets the company closer to the billion dollars in sales mark.

I have been a fan of Plantronics, and always thought it was a safer bet on the wireless/voip boom than betting on the actual handset makers or service providers. The legislations that mandated handsfree calling whole driving benefitted them the most. As Skype became more popular, more people were going to buy their headphones and microphones.

The demand for bluetooth headsets/headphones was also going to benefit this small but fast growing company. Sure it has had problems in the past, but for now it looks like a pretty good proxy for the digital and unwired consumer. It also gives the tiny company a good shot at taking on the Asian peripherals makers and Logitech, the 800-pound gorilla in this business. Plantronics, however, should not stop here. They should expand their share of the iPod economy by snapping up smaller but well regarded players such as Ten Technology and Griffin Technology.

Posted by dymaxion at 09:57 PM | Comments (0)

How Yuan re-valuation is affecting China ETFs (FXI, PGJ)

David Fry, founder and publisher of The ETF Digest discusses the importance of the currency factor when investing internationally. He suggests that the potential for Chinese currency re-valuation may be affecting China ETFs FXI and PGJ. See here. And a look at their recent market performances:

FXI in green; PGJ in brown.

Fxi_pgj78

Posted by dymaxion at 09:52 PM | Comments (0)

Is Perl Still Relevant?

By tim In my latest Ask Tim column over on oreilly.com, I answer Jag Venugopal's question about perl:
With the emergence of .NET, J2EE, Python, PHP, et. al, has Perl lost its niche as a scripting glue language? The buzz is all around PHP these days and also around Python. The complaints about Perl 6's complexity are only getting louder. Besides, Perl does not occupy the central position in O'Reilly's offerings that it once did. Is Perl on its way out?
Continue reading Is Perl Still Relevant?

Posted by dymaxion at 09:31 PM | Comments (0)

Giant Magellan Telescope Begins

Production on the Giant Magellan Telescope has begun with the casting of its 7 mirrors which will act as a single mirror with a diameter of 83 feet (25.4 meters) giving the telescope 10 times the resolution of the Hubble Telescope. Completion of the telescope is expected by 2016.

via New Scientist

Posted by dymaxion at 08:55 PM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2005

Florida man arrested for "stealing" unencrypted WiFi signal

Xeni Jardin: Police in St. Petersburg, Florida have arrested a man who used a neighbor's OPEN wireless network. It's the first criminal case of its kind. Look, I know it's not quite this simple, but -- an open network? Perhaps next they'll arrest folks for having the audacity to walk down the street and breathe their neighbors' air. Boing Boing buddy and nerd color commentator Wayne Correia quips, "Quick US -- amputate Florida before it spreads to other states!"
Benjamin Smith III, 41, faces a pretrial hearing this month following his April arrest on charges of unauthorized access to a computer network, a third-degree felony. Police say Smith admitted using the Wi-Fi signal from the home of Richard Dinon, who had noticed Smith sitting in an SUV outside Dinon's house using a laptop computer.
Link (via unwired, thanks Hal Bringman)

Posted by dymaxion at 12:32 AM | Comments (1)

Darwin stickers

Cory Doctorow: Swarthmore students are selling these CHARLES DARWIN HAS A POSSE vinyl stickers that you can sport to show your support for Enlightenment, reason, and the separation of church and state. Link (Thanks, Bren!)

Posted by dymaxion at 12:25 AM | Comments (0)

July 07, 2005

Keystroke Logging Declared Illegal in Alberta

Meshach writes "The Globe and Mail has a story about how keystroke logging has been declared illegal in Alberta Canada. The ruling applies to companies using logging as a means to track employees." From the article: " The employee, who was not named, worked as a computer technician for six months in 2004. Ms. Silver said it was a job where productivity was hard to measure. 'We thought that using an objective check through the computer would be the most fair and objective way to do that,' she said Wednesday."

Posted by dymaxion at 11:54 PM | Comments (0)

Keeping Up With Google Maps Hacks

Having trouble keeping up with the flood of Google Maps hacks? Me too. A new blog has started keeping track of them, with lots of entries and brief but comprehensive...

Posted by dymaxion at 11:31 PM | Comments (0)

The Good, Bad And Ugly Of Contextual Ads

: Mark Glaser at OJR takes a deeper look at the pros and cons of AdSense and ContentMatch, the contextual advertising solutions from Google and Yahoo respectively. (I am not a fan of contextual advertising on media sites, for reasons specific to our sites...it does work for search engines and other publisher sites)
John Battelle, who is starting FM Publishing to help bloggers sell ads on their sites, sees advertising as a conversation and believes that there's only so much an algorithm can do in matching advertisers with publishers.
Also, some interesting experiments from InfoWorld...

Posted by dymaxion at 11:18 PM | Comments (0)

Microsoft Patents Music Appreciation

theodp writes "Ever find yourself agreeing with a rock critic's assessment that a certain Nirvana song is 'angry'? If so, beware! From here on in, you could be infringing on Microsoft's just-issued patent for Training a trainee to classify fundamental properties of media entities, which Microsoft explains covers teaching one to recognize that the Beastie Boys' Hey Ladies is an example of a 'fun song.'" And as you read the patent, it just gets better and better. The "process" involves a "double grooving" phase that allows the listener to become a "groover." Well, isn't that just double groovy? Does anyone actually read these patents?

Posted by dymaxion at 11:06 PM | Comments (0)

Dumb Euro-Patent Push Rejected

By a vote of 648 to 14. The Financial Times reports that European lawmakers have wholly rejected the push to bring support for broad American-style concept patents to the whole of Europe with a vote of 648 to 14. An example of the idiocy Europeans will be missing out on: ..

Posted by dymaxion at 10:18 PM | Comments (0)

Search Ad Prices Up 3% In June 2005

Posted by dymaxion at 08:58 PM | Comments (0)

Reader Poll Results: Gmail rules email

The results of yesterday's email applicaton poll are in: Google's Gmail has won the hearts of more than a third of Lifehacker readers.

Out of 2778 total votes, 1,015 of you voted Gmail your favorite email application, far ahead of any other choice. Thunderbird came in second with just over half the number of Gmail votes, then OS X's Mail.app with Outlook trailing far behind.

Pretty shocking that Gmail, less-than-2-year old service, has such a high market penetration when their invite-only beta isn't even open to the public, Lifehacker readers are more web savvy early adopters than the average Joe, of course, but this speaks to the value of Gmail's huge advantages: web access from any computer to ample amounts of storage, an incredibly well-executed interface, and a number of hackers creating add-ons and plugins.

The final tally on all the email app options after the jump.

Posted by dymaxion at 08:27 PM | Comments (0)

How Big is Podcasting Market?

Now that Apple’s iTunes has added podcasting support, and it is getting noticed on Wall Street, it is about time someone came out with a market research report, however over-exuberant it might seem. The Diffusion Group emailed a press release this morning and were quick to point out that the “demand for time-shifted digital audio files or “podcasts” is expected to grow from less than 15% of portable digital music player owners in 2004 to 75% by 2010.

TDG’s new report, Podcasting: Fact, Fiction and Opportunity, suggests that between 2004 and 2010, the use of podcasting among US consumers will enjoy a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 101%.

Marc Freedman, the writer of the report seems to be hedging his bets a little.

“In many ways podcasting is a fad,” said Freedman. “Major media producers from satellite to radio to magazines are announcing new podcast programs daily just to appear hip and appeal to young people. But don’t be deceived by the hype. The fundamental growth, driven by the boom in portable digital music players, is similarly huge and very real.

I think these are seriously over optimistic estimates. Having lived through a bubble and watched folks at Jupiter put out ridiculous projections on a daily basis, I am going to discount the forecast by at least 75%. That’s a good rule of thumb so to speak.

Posted by dymaxion at 08:22 PM | Comments (0)

Commoditizing Middleware: CISCO’s Foreplay!!

Bill Burnham writes that the IBM and Cisco Relationship Is Headed For A Break-Up. Excerpts with edits & comments: IBM and Cisco may find it difficult to continue the partnership as Cisco has clearly made a strategic decision to try to destroy part of IBM’s core business. Cisco's approach to AON is based on innovative new technology that moves beyond the packet level to read

Posted by dymaxion at 08:15 PM | Comments (0)

Skype, Masses & Corporates!!

(Via S+B)The most attractive new form of Internet telephony is also the most threatening to corporate security — for now.Unlike the growing number of VOIP networks offered by phone and cable companies, Skype is a peer-to-peer system. Skype is a "softphone" - a software-based telephone that uses a computer, cellphone, PDA, or any other equipment connected to the Web to deliver voice with simultaneous file transfer and instant messages over the Internet. This means that it creates ad hoc computer-to-computer links over the Internet whenever Skype users want to reach one another. With this approach, no central networks mediate or manage the connection. As Skype eliminates the middleman, calls between its users are free. The company generates revenue by selling services that allow subscribers to make calls to people who haven’t downloaded the software. Skype’s sound quality is better than typical telephone reception, primarily because it is not limited to the standard telephone transmission spectrum of 300 Hz to 3 kHz, a relatively narrow bandwidth. Since its debut, Skype has signed up 35 million users and, at any one time, well over 3 million people are logged into its network. With all of this, Skype would seem to be on a smooth trajectory, but that’s not quite the case. Most corporate IT and telecom managers are trying to avoid Skype at all costs.
Skype is an IT manager’s nightmare. For one thing, Skype encrypts all its traffic, which makes it impossible to monitor what employees are doing, sending, or saying when they use this communications tool. Skype doesn’t follow the path of most VOIP services. It enters the corporate network as an application embedded in a mobile device; it is activated whenever a user accesses the Internet from within the corporate network to make a call. In this way, Skype could open holes in a corporate firewall from the inside. The fear is that Skype users could expose corporate networks to hackers, viruses, and malicious software (“malware”), or shield the activities of malicious employees. For the immediate future, these conditions make it risky for most large companies to embrace or even consider adopting Skype. But with Skype, the Internet becomes their virtually cost-free private telephone-and-voicemail network, a feature-rich system for remote real-time collaboration. This will become even more obvious as Skype’s capabilities increase. Themost lasting influence of Skype will be that it will force management and IT executives to consider how to structure a network that exists both inside and outside the corporate firewall. To improve innovation and their own productivity, employees will gravitate to the most advanced collaboration and communications tools with the most reliable levels of quality, no matter what price is paid in weakened security. Companies will have the task of figuring out how to integrate new technologies like Skype into their businesses — and how to get the most out of them.


Category :

Posted by dymaxion at 08:09 PM | Comments (0)

Oil Situation -Scary Indeed!!

Hamish points to Mathew Simmons well researched presentation on the oil prospects amidst increasing demands. Mathew Simmons is is the author of the book Twilight In The Desert talking on the coming saudi oil shock and the desert economy. Key points that Simmons raise include:

- Global oil demand grew by 14 million barrels/day in 10 years.
- Non-OPEC/non-FSU oil supply grew by 3.2 million barrels/day.
- Non-Middle East OPEC oil grew by 0.6 million barrels/day.
- 74% of incremental demand supplied by Middle East.
- Saudi is overproducing its key fields

And concludes by saying that
- Oil is not renewable and will peak.
- Discovering the date is the only open question.
- A rearview mirror is still only diagnostic tool that works.
- We might now be beyond the peak.
- Twilight in the desert

A really interesting and important work on a topic that could affect all of us quite seriously - Do not tkae the oil thing slightly - am hearing the noise about raising oil prices beginning to affect corporates and large sections of societies in several countries already. This presentation highlights the amercian's view on emerging autoobile technolgies where reducing the dependency on foreign oil is identfied as priority No.1

Posted by dymaxion at 05:56 PM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2005

US to ICANN and UN: UCANT

The US will not cede control of the Domain Name System for the Internet. As a result, the "Internets" malapropism may become a reality.

Posted by dymaxion at 01:04 AM | Comments (0)

Personalized orgasm ringtones

If you've got one of the 500 most popular male names (according to the UK census of 1987), then you can have an orgasmatone, a ring tone of a woman screaming and moaning your name every time you get a call. 70's style porn background music is included for free.

orgasmatone.jpg

Ego-stroking, possibly arousing, and definitely less annoying than that frog ringtone.

Posted by dymaxion at 12:39 AM | Comments (0)

Netflix now has 45,000 movies

Netflix Now Has 45,000 Movies available for rental. [Hacking NetFlix]

Posted by dymaxion at 12:07 AM | Comments (0)

July 05, 2005

Audible to offer Podcasts

Filed under:

AudibleAudible plans to make Podcasts available of some of it's major content such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News Hour, and NPR's "The American Life" - as well as other periodic content - via secure RSS.

Initially only available to Audible customer, users will be able to schedule automatic delivery of Audible programming to their computers and to any of the over 135 "AudibleReady" audio devices.

This is the first in a series of Audible Podcast initiatives to be introduced this year. Other tools will be made available intended to support the publishing of podcasts in an environment that offers a revenue model to content creators and increases the experience to listeners.

"There are three companies that have the potential to be huge in podcasting and in creating this new medium. Apple, Microsoft and definitely Audible." said the Podfather Adam Curry.
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Posted by dymaxion at 11:33 PM | Comments (0)

Microsoft's Antispyware Turns Neutral on Claria?

(Sorry, a few days late with this.) Further to the reports of talks between Microsoft and adware maker Claria (formerly Gator), spyware/adware expert Ben Edelman points to a website discussion that highlights an apparent conflict of interest should Microsoft Buy Claria: What would Microsoft’s own anti-spyware software make of Claria’s adware?

A Dozleng.com post reports that Microsoft's Anti-Spyware Beta now recommends that users "ignore" Claria. To confirm this result, I downloaded Claria's DashBar and Precision Time products, then installed MSAS, all on a fresh virtual PC that hadn't previously run any of these programs. MSAS's recommendation and default action was "Ignore."

In contrast, when last I ran MSAS on a PC with Claria software installed, MSAS recommended removing these same programs. This is exactly the kind of conflict of interest I worried about three paragraphs above -- but I didn't anticipate how quickly this problem would come into effect!

There are some more comments collected here. One website, Sunbelt Software, which receives updates from Microsoft but has its own inhouse research lab, reports that the change in recommendation from Quarantine or Remove to Ignore took place on March 31. Sunbelt’s Alex Eckelberry writes:

At any rate, does this mean that Claria will, in fact, be purchased by Microsoft? Not necessarily. It could mean, however, that the two companies are working together in some other capacity, or that Claria has successfully lobbied Microsoft to change the default action. Or, it's a simple oversight.

I can’t help feeling that if it was an oversight, it would have been corrected by now. And, as Ben Edelman points out, it’s not possible to check a list of Microsoft’s decisions on this kind of thing, where Microsoft lets users know what’s no longer being detect etc.. .

Compare Microsoft’s neutral ‘Ignore’ recommendation with nearly all other antispyware/adware programs that do, according to the Spyware Warrior website, detect Claria products, and, where they make a recommendation, suggest they be removed.

Bottom line? I’m with Ben: I think whatever bits of Claria Microsoft is interested in, conflicts of interest rear their head and the company’s efforts to burnish its image as security guardian will be lost, virtually overnight.

Posted by dymaxion at 11:22 PM | Comments (0)

Is Apple's embrace of Podcasting a threat to Audible? (ADBL)

Randall Stross' article in the NY Times, The Battle for Eardrums Begins With Podcasts (free subscription required), raises questions about Audible's (ticker: ADBL) competitive position. Summary and analysis:

Randall Stross' well-written article provides a good overview of podcasting (if you don't know what this is and you're an investor in either Apple, Audible.com or any radio stocks, read the article now). He then goes on to examine the implications of Apple's inclusion of podcasts in the iTunes Music Store. He writes:

"I was surprised to see how prominent podcasting was," Gene Munster, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray, told me last week, after he saw the new iTunes store. Mr. Munster explained his hypothesis: the podcasting phenomenon had simply become too large for Apple to ignore - it had to embrace it or resist it. By opting to embrace, the company regains the aura of revolutionary; by introducing many people to podcasts, he added, Apple "will reinvigorate conversation about the iPod."

Mr Stross then points out that Apple's promotion of podcasts poses a threat to Audible. Audible is currently the exclusive supplier to Apple of over 17,000 audio books, which Apple offers for paid download on its  iTunes music store. But Apple is now enabling podcast producers, including professional radio stations, to offer their free podcasts on the iTunes Music Store. This poses a threat to Audible, he implies, because it challenges Audible's position as exclusive provider of spoken-word material to Apple.

The bottom line for Audible is then summarized by this paragraph:

Mr. Munster of Piper Jaffray is bullish about Audible's prospects and predicts that Apple's support of podcasting will ultimately help Audible because it will increase awareness of spoken-word programming. Ultimately, awareness will lead back to Audible's core business, audio books, which account for 90 percent of its revenue. He also points out that Audible's exclusive agreement with Apple runs through September 2007; under that agreement, Apple cannot charge for spoken-word programming other than Audible's.

Analysis

Apple's adoption of podcasts is much more bullish for Apple than the article suggests.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster underestimates Apple's opportunity and motivation for promoting podcasts:

  • Music and audio books are currently produced and distributed by professional recording companies and music distributors. Podcasting challenges that business model. Cheap software and recording equipment now enable individuals and small companies to produce audio at low cost, and Apple's growing dominance of the (legal) music download market provides them with a centralized distribution platform (the iTunes Music Store) that obviates the need for distributors as intermediaries. (Bad news for the record companies.)
  • Apple could profit from this in two ways. First, it can optimize its software (such as GarageBand) for upload of digital files to the iTunes Music Store, boosting sales of its software and hardware. Second, once users start to pay for podcasts, Apple will take a cut of all podcast revenues on the iTunes Music Store, just as it takes a cut of music revenues now.
  • The podcast opportunity is arguably large. Podcasting will open the market for audio (and later video) production to millions of people. Since the material is digital, Apple's inventory and distribution costs for offering that material for sale on the iTunes Music Store will be negligible - just the costs of storage. But its revenues could be substantial. (Note: ie. Apple will be in a position to monetize the Long Tail of audio and video production.)

Where will that leave Audible?

  • Apple is strongly incentivized to dis-intermediate Audible. There's just too much money in this for Apple in the long term to give the market to Audible.
  • But Audible holds two strong cards: first, its current library of spoken-word audio and its ability to work with other (non-Apple) online music stores. And second, its exclusive agreement with Apple for paid spoken-word downloads until 2007.
  • The key question for Audible is therefore how fast the market for paid podcasting will develop. If it develops significantly before 2007, Apple will be unable to charge directly for podcasts without using Audible as the aggregator and provider of paid podcasts. That could allow Audible to build an entrenched positon in the business of distributing paid podcasts. But if the market for paid podcasts develops gradually, reaching critical mass in 2007 or later, Apple will circumvent Audible, by enabling producers to upload podcasts directly to the iTunes Music Store and taking all the distribution fees for itself.
  • Posted by dymaxion at 10:33 PM | Comments (0)

    Mobile Phones As Tracking Agents

    (Via Mobilmag)Japan has progressed beyond the usage of RFID and GPS to track people. Parents can have a wide range of services to choose from to track old parents, young children and others.The services have features which are quite advanced. Email alerts are sent to you as soon as the trackee steps out of a predefined area of up to 5km. Other than the guardian, a local support center is also contacted to deploy a fail safe strategy ensuring that the ward does not stray too far.The expectation is to have a wide range of consumers ranging from institutional buyers such as schools, care facilities, and medical organizations. Individual buyers such as families with working parents and with dependants are likely to be the largest group of buyers for this product

    .
    Category :

    Posted by dymaxion at 10:20 PM | Comments (0)

    Netcraft Reports Surge in New Sites

    By tim Netcraft:
    "In the July 2005 survey we received responses from 67,571,581 sites. The gain of 2.76 million hostnames from June is the second-largest monthly increase in the history of our survey, as 2005 continues to shape up as a historic year for Internet growth. The only larger gain was a 3.3 million hostname increase in March 2003, which ended months of stagnation and kicked off 30 consecutive months of positive growth for the Web. Factors in the dramatic growth include:
    • Increasing use of the Internet by small businesses as web sites and online storefronts become more affordable.

    • The explosive growth of weblogs, a growing number of which are purchasing domains for branding purposes....
    ft report.

    Posted by dymaxion at 09:59 PM | Comments (0)

    Brain Cells on Demand

    Regenerative medicine scientists at the University of Florida’s McKnight Brain Institute have discovered a cell culture method that may be able to produce a limitless supply of a person’s own brain cells. [article]

    via Science Blog


    “It’s like an assembly line to manufacture and increase the number of brain cells,” said Bjorn Scheffler, M.D., a neuroscientist with UF’s College of Medicine. “We can basically take these cells and freeze them until we need them. Then we thaw them, begin a cell-generating process, and produce a ton of new neurons.”

    scovery can translate to human applications, it will enhance efforts aimed at finding ways to use large numbers of a person’s own cells to restore damaged brain function, partially because the technique produces cells in far greater amounts than the body can on its own.

    Posted by dymaxion at 09:41 PM | Comments (0)