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Tue, 30 Sep 08
Sprint Blankets Baltimore With New WiMax Net
Sprint's new 4G wireless WiMax network has finally moved from the drawing board to the city of Baltimore, where the company has just launched its so-called Xohm service. Xohm is basically a wireless broadband service running on 2.5 GHz. It is designed deliver 2 to 4 Mbps downloads and work with laptops, PCs, and mobile phones that already have WiMax antennas built in -- or via a handful of available WiMax cards or modems. While Sprint's Xohm network is currently limited to Baltimore, the company says Chicago and Washington, D.C., are up next.

Tue, 30 Sep 08
TiVo Makes the PC Its Second Home
TiVo is teaming up with Nero to bring a new video recording solution to the PC. The companies announced Nero LiquidTV/TiVo PC on Monday. The product will offer TiVo functions from a computer, without the need for a set-top box. The system will be marketed toward both existing TiVo users and families that don't currently have digital video recording devices. It will run $199 for the full hardware kit -- including tuner card, a TiVo remote for the PC, and an IR blaster -- or $99 for just the software by itself. You'll also have to pay $99 a year for the TiVo service.

Tue, 30 Sep 08
Could Android Grease Motorola's Wheels?
Nearly a week after T-Mobile, HTC and Google unveiled the G1, the first handset running the open source Android mobile platform, another handset maker is reportedly preparing a large push to incorporate the nascent mobile software system into its upcoming devices. A report Sunday stated that Motorola is boosting the size of its Android development team from 50 to 350. The information was attributed to an unnamed developer who was approached by a headhunter for one of the positions.

Tue, 30 Sep 08
Building a Better Password
Two weeks ago, Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin discovered that a hacker had gained access to her personal e-mail account and posted some of its contents -- both letters and photos -- on a Web site viewable by the public. The incident underscores the importance for anyone with secure online profiles to create strong passwords, regardless of whether they're used as one's primary access key to a site or the "answer" to one's password reset question. With all the information we regularly communicate using online profiles, an interested snooper with enough access could easily peice together enough to leave anyone -- famous or otherwise -- with a costly case of identity theft.

Tue, 30 Sep 08
The World of Pod Modding
The iPod has become more than a simple music player. It now plays video, it features games, and -- in the case of the iPod touch -- it runs third-party applications. It's basically a pocket computer. And like any other computer, it can be tinkered with to do more than it was originally programmed to do. While the iPhone brought attention to the world of "jailbreaking" devices, there's a thriving community of technology enthusiasts happily modifying iPods, giving them new functions, custom skins and unofficial applications.

Tue, 30 Sep 08
Your Next Computer May Be a Smartphone
Last week was so ugly the economic conditions had me up on YouTube looking for things to put a smile on my face, and I found two -- one that has the "Pimp My Ride" folks pimping an IT shop with an Xbox -- not some marketing group's best moment -- and an HP ad spoof that has Steve Jobs selling HP computers. Increasingly lots of us are viewing these ads and other short videos on our phones, and that isn't all we are doing. E-mail, light document creation, and even a lot of gaming have moved over to cell phones.

Tue, 30 Sep 08
Android vs. iPhone: No Contest for Developers
Well, Android made its first showing last week in the form of the new G1, and as is so often the case when a brand-new product arrives, there were at least two noticeable effects. The first was a general quickening of the market's commercial pulses, as consumers began to salivate over the iPhone contender and new latest thing. Second, of course -- and our favorite part -- was that tongues began wagging afresh throughout the blogosphere.

Tue, 30 Sep 08
Why Social Networking Strategies Fail: A Cautionary Tale
With so many companies tightening their budgets in the midst of the tough, uncertain economic climate, there's a tendency to look at social networking as the new, free panacea. I've seen a few financial services and insurance companies start social networking strategies, promising to be open and reach out to their customers -- only to turn these strategies into yet another communication channel where they do all the talking and none of the listening. One particular financial services company, which will remain nameless in this column, serves as a cautionary example.

Mon, 29 Sep 08
In a Digital World, Lies Are Just a Click Away
Will the interactivity of the media, the atomization of knowledge and the premium on rapid response result in a collective loss of wisdom, judgment and perspective? Opinions differ. If he wins, Barack Obama is going to be sworn in on a Koran instead of the Bible. Trig isn't Sarah Palin's baby, it's her daughter Bristol's. Obama refuses to say the Pledge of Allegiance. Here's the list of books Palin wanted to ban from the library ... All these claims -- none of them true -- turned up in the e-mail inboxes of millions of Americans this summer.

Sun, 28 Sep 08
Kodachrome's Fading Colors in the Face of High-Tech Photography
It is an elaborately crafted photographic film, extolled for its sharpness, vivid colors and archival durability. Yet die-hard fan Alex Webb is convinced the digital age soon will take his Kodachrome away. "Part of me feels like, boy, if only I'd been born 20 years earlier," says the 56-year-old photographer, whose work has appeared in National Geographic magazine. "I wish they would keep making it forever. I still have a lot of pictures to take in my life." Only one commercial lab in the world, Dwayne's Photo in Parsons, Kan., still develops Kodachrome.

Sun, 28 Sep 08
How to Hit the Job Fair Without Pounding the Pavement
As travel expenses escalate and budgets shrink during this economic slowdown, businesses are finding ways to "do more with less," according to Brent Arslaner. As vice president of marketing at Unisfair, Arslaner says the concept of virtual conferences is "starting to catch on." Unisfair bills itself as a virtual event solution that combines the best of the WebEx, LinkedIn, and Second Life worlds for business professionals. According to FactPoint Group research, these virtual events are now 50 percent to 80 percent less expensive than their physical counterparts.

Sat, 27 Sep 08
MySpace Music: A Sound Salvation?
It looks like recording labels are willing to give music away for free if it means not having to deal with iTunes -- the No. 1 online music vendor and the No. 2 nemesis of music execs, due to its rigid pricing. While iTunes is clean and easy to use, it's also pretty sterile. If you know what you want, you'll probably find it there, and you can buy it very easily. You can even get a sort of automated personal shopper in the form of the new Genius feature. But unless you have a friend sitting at your computer with you, shopping at iTunes is not a very social experience.

Sat, 27 Sep 08
ISPs Ask Lawmakers to Let Them Police Themselves
Three major Internet service providers have promised Congress that they do not monitor their customers' activities online. However, in an argument worthy of the political venue in which it was made, executives from these companies went on to equivocate about what they were actually doing and whether they had a right to do it. They capped their testimony with an offer to self-regulate -- a time-honored and often successful practice on the part of businesses throughout every sector in the U.S. economy.

Sat, 27 Sep 08
Google's Page Makes Noise Over 'Rigged' White Space Test
Maybe everybody involved in the debate over wireless spectrum white spaces should give each other a little, well, space, if the acrimonious comments broadcasting from Washington, D.C., this week are any indication. Google cofounder Larry Page contributed to the high-stakes static during a speech Wednesday sponsored by the Wireless Innovation Alliance, which is lobbying the Federal Communications Commission to allow unlicensed access to the areas between television broadcast frequencies on the spectrum -- the so-called white spaces.

Sat, 27 Sep 08
Visa to Turn Android, Nokia Phones Into Credit Cards
Visa announced plans Thursday to develop payment and payment-related services for both Nokia mobile handsets and those running Google's new Android platform. In addition, Visa announced a pilot program that enables U.S. Bank Visa cardholders to transfer money using a mobile phone. The announcement looks to revive the efforts of credit card companies to push consumers toward mobile payments and mobile commerce, a concept that looked promising around the turn of the century but floundered in in the U.S. following the dot-com bust.

Sat, 27 Sep 08
Technology, Knowledge, Power and Wall St.: Do We Know Too Much?
I was a technology reporter for CNBC during the boom years of 1997-2000, when the only inflation that was going on was the air being pumped into the tech bubble by day traders. I lost count of the times when I would start my workday at the old network headquarters in Fort Lee, N.J., only to watch the Nasdaq jump by 100 points within the first half-hour of trading. By that point, my bosses were already screaming at me to head across the Hudson River to spend the rest of my day following tech stocks at the former Nasdaq Marketsite at Pearl and Whitehall Streets in lower Manhattan.

Sat, 27 Sep 08
IBM Nixes Standards Shenanigans; Plus: Flying Lipstick-Wearing Pigs!
IBM has had enough of the silliness that goes on at some of the standards bodies it belongs to. So Big Blue now has a new policy: No shenanigans. Setting standards for hardware, software, communications protocols, document formats -- is a job that's way too important to be done in the dark, says IBM. IBM denied that its new policy was a response to the approval of Microsoft's Office Open XML as an international standard by the ISO, even though the competing standard, OpenDocument Format, is found in the IBM-sponsored OpenOffice suite.

Sat, 27 Sep 08
Linux Where You'd Least Expect It
OK. You've heard of Linux. It's another operating system for a computer. But why use it when you can choose between Windows and Macs? Unless you run business-class servers, Linux isn't really something consumers really need to hear about, right? Well, if that's what you think Linux is, you couldn't be further from the truth. Look around you. Linux is everywhere, but you may not know it. However, you'll have to look at the fine print to be sure, because manufacturers usually don't openly advertise with labels announcing "Linux Inside."

Sat, 27 Sep 08
Mac Bloggers Dis G1, Apple's Draconian NDAs
The biggest news in the Apple-focused blogosphere this week came courtesy of the Google/HTC/T-Mobile G1 smartphone. Can it kill the iPhone? Most Apple fans don't seem overly worried, but it does have a couple of attractive features, like a slide-out keyboard. Coming back around to Apple and its iPhone App Store, the company has been cracking down with its non-disclosure agreements with third-party developers who get rejected. Plus, hints in the channel are rising -- are new MacBooks on the way?

Sat, 27 Sep 08
The Struggle to Satisfy Security-Minded Customers
When it comes to security software, who really knows what lurks in the minds of today's users? It appears that most people seem to choose their security products based on a lot of other factors beyond their ability to protect their computers from the malicious forces at work. Whatever the label on the box or the icon on the screen, it also appears that perfection in security software is an elusive goal -- as is brand loyalty. The reality is that any imperfections in security software, no matter how small, can become glaringly evident in short order.

Sat, 27 Sep 08
Threading Your Message Through a Tangled Web
With the strains on today's economy becoming increasingly apparent, it's now more important than ever to strategically and effectively plan your online media campaigns. To do this, you must have a complete understanding of the overall landscape of online media opportunities relating to your business, as well as your competitors. Obtaining these critical insights, however, can be challenging, given the sheer size of the Internet. Without a map that truly segments the commercial Web, advertisers can't really know where to focus their attention.

Sat, 27 Sep 08
RIM Shaken Following Weak Outlook
The stock of Research In Motion plunged in extended trading Thursday after the BlackBerry maker said the cost of launching new smart phones would eat into near-term profits. The company is launching three major new models in the current quarter, and the cost of ramping up production will trim the company's gross profit margin, co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie said. "We really just pack it full of features and cost-reduce later," Balsillie said of the new models. "There will be an impact on hardware gross margin."

Fri, 26 Sep 08
Dev Pros to Get Rough Cut of Windows 7
Developers attending Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference, set for Oct. 27 through 30 in Los Angeles, will leave with an alpha version of the software maker's upcoming Windows 7 operating system, the company confirmed Wednesday. Microsoft has historically offered up early versions of upcoming OSes to developers. However, this recent promise dispels rumors that Redmond was planning to skip its traditional alpha release due to timing issues in developing Windows 7.

Fri, 26 Sep 08
The Verdict Is Out in Jammie Thomas Case
She wasn't the first person to be sued by the music industry for illegally sharing digital music files, but Jammie Thomas was the first to go to court in the ongoing battle over copyrights, consumers and charges of piracy. The 30-year-old single mother from Minnesota lost the first round last October, but Wednesday a federal judge threw out her conviction and granted a new trial while also raising the bar on burden of proof for the Recording Industry Association of America.

Fri, 26 Sep 08
Oracle Hangs Shingle on Hardware Store
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison startled attendees at the company's Openworld conference -- as well as the rest of the industry -- with his announcement that Oracle and HP are joining forces to build computer hardware. It is Oracle's first direct foray into hardware manufacturing. HP will actually make the line of data warehouse application computers; Oracle will market them under its own brand. Specifically, the duo will develop the Exadata Storage Server and the Database Machine -- a programmable storage server and an advanced database server.

Fri, 26 Sep 08
Transmeta Embarks on Hunt for Suitor
Silicon Valley semiconductor company Transmeta has put itself up for sale. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip designer hired investment bank Piper Jaffray in early 2008 to assist it in exploring options. The Transmeta board ultimately decided a sale of the company was the best strategy. Piper Jaffray will head up the effort to find a buyer. In after-hours trading, Transmeta stock was up nearly 20 percent, trading at about $16 per share.

Fri, 26 Sep 08
Yahoo Gears Display Ad Engine to Home In on Targets
Yahoo has rejiggered its online display advertising engine in the hope that it can dominate the segment in the same way rival Google owns the search advertising market. Called "APT" -- the acronym doesn't stand for anything, according to Yahoo Vice President of Product Management John Slade -- the new platform is designed to make it more efficient for advertisers to reach their audiences with display ads.

Fri, 26 Sep 08
While Wall Street Burns, Candidates' Views on Tech Issues Simmer
A week -- even a day -- can make a world of difference in a presidential election. Witness the fact that nearly right up to the minute the still-unfolding Wall Street crisis came to a boil, the issue getting the most play in campaign speeches was oil prices. There was even a fair amount of speculation that one of John McCain's primary motives for placing Sarah Palin second on his ticket was her geographic proximity to the Alaskan oil fields and her support of the effort to allow further exploration of them.

Fri, 26 Sep 08
Oracle Teams With Amazon, Intel in Cloud-Seeding Deals
Oracle announced at its OpenWorld event this week two new partnerships intended to boost the firm's cloud computing offerings. The enterprise software maker announced Monday that it has teamed with Amazon to offer enterprise customers options available via the mega-e-tailer's Elastic Compute Cloud service. Oracle followed up that news Tuesday with the revelation that it has also joined with Intel on a collaboration the two companies said will help accelerate enterprise readiness of cloud computing, making it more efficient and secure.

Fri, 26 Sep 08
WAN Optimization: Getting the Most Bang for the Buck
The importance of creating synergies between the deliverance of business-critical data over the wide area network to support remote employees is increasingly important to business because more than half of the total workforce works outside the corporate headquarters' structure. According to Aberdeen's February 2008 Benchmark report, "The Roadmap to the Next generation Branch Office Networks," the number of end-user organizations expect the number to increase by 7 percent by the end of 2008.

Fri, 26 Sep 08
Once Wimpy, Cell Phones Got Game
Cell phones may finally be up to the task of crashing cars, zapping bad guys and bowling a decent frame. Led by Apple's iPhone 3G, which was released in July, phones hitting the market these days include faster processors and the increased memory that mobile-gaming software needs. Besides Apple's phone, phones made by Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, Nokia and Samsung Electronics are incorporating new technologies, such as global-positioning systems, touch screens and accelerometers, which allow gamers to control the action by tilting their phones.

Fri, 26 Sep 08
Will Oracle's Beehive Sting Microsoft Where It Hurts?
You have to give Oracle credit for persistence. The software giant has been trying to build out its groupware business for nearly 10 years, and has as yet modest success. Now, with Beehive, the next generation of its collaboration suite, Oracle may be sniffing some fresh and meaningful blood in the enterprise messaging waters. The investment Oracle is making in Beehive signals an opportunity born more by the shifting sands beneath Microsoft Exchange and Outlook, than in any new-found performance breakthroughs from Oracle's developers.

Fri, 26 Sep 08
Microsoft Antipiracy Chief Keith Beeman on Accidental Theft
After more than a decade in the software privacy and antipiracy space, Keith Beeman, general manager, Worldwide Anti-Piracy, Small and Midmarket, Solutions & Partners for Microsoft, says he has been able to gain a first-hand view of software piracy issues on a global scale. Piracy is a pervasive issue that can often catch enterprise customers by surprise, Beeman said. When it does, the costs to the ecosystem -- including the end user -- can be significant. Here is what he told the E-Commerce Times during a recent IDC conference in Toronto, Ontario.

Fri, 26 Sep 08
MySpace Starts Singing for Its Supper
Make room, iTunes. MySpace is hoping to shake up the digital music scene. In a bid to spruce up its popular online hangout, MySpace plans to flip the switch Thursday on a much-anticipated service that will give its roughly 120 million users free access to hundreds of thousands of songs from the world's largest recording labels. The catch: the music can be played only on personal computers connected to the Internet and listeners have to tolerate advertising splashed across the screen.

Thu, 25 Sep 08
Android vs. iPhone: The Battlefield Beyond the Handset
The unveiling Tuesday of HTC's much-anticipated G1 handset for T-Mobile, the first device running Google's Android mobile operating system, looks to be the opening salvo in a battle for smartphone consumers between Google and Apple. Although the first-generation G1 and second-gen iPhone are not exactly the same, the two handsets offer consumers many of the same features and functionalities. Both phones have a wide touchscreen, a music player and a camera. The smartphones, which can run on high-speed 3G networks, also offer Internet access and a Web browser.

Thu, 25 Sep 08
The New Biology of Biometrics
To a lot of computer users, the concept of biometric authentication is limited to thumb drive reader devices, eye scanners and voice pattern recognition. Such technologies still face stiff competition in most enterprise circles, where passwords and user tokens seemingly work well enough and are quicker and cheaper to deploy. Existing security strategies that grant access only after the presentation of a user's recognized physical traits are changing. Updated versions of fingerprint, voice and eye scanners are gaining popularity with IT managers.

Thu, 25 Sep 08
Cisco Ready to Mix It Up With Microsoft
Cisco has made countless billions selling switches and routers -- the network equipment that monitors and directs Internet traffic and keeps data flowing smoothly. Now, the hardware giant is moving into another market: corporate communications software. The move is part of a larger strategy to increase revenue and profit growth over the next several years. Its foray into the collaboration software market will bring it into direct competition with Microsoft, which already has a strong presence in the corporate communications software arena.

Thu, 25 Sep 08
New PCI Security Standard Falls Short
October is the expected release date for the next version of the PCI Data Security Standard, 1.2. Since the PCI Standard's creation -- to serve as a guideline to help organizations that process card payments, prevent credit card fraud, hacking and various other security vulnerabilities and threats -- much hype has surrounded each PCI update. Version 1.2 is no different, and we can expect commentary from analysts, journalists and a host of others touting the benefits that the extended guidance for compliance in 1.2 holds for the industry.

Thu, 25 Sep 08
Flock: Firefox's Social Cousin
In June, updates on two browsers were released: Firefox version 3 and Flock version 2 beta. Those in the know are already aware that the Flock browser was built -- at least in part -- with Firefox 3 code as its foundation. So here are some specifics for those who deal with requests from patrons for alternative browsers on library laptops or desktops or who may want a better understanding of the differences between Firefox and Flock. Plus, there is a small but growing population of users who are adopting Flock as their social Web browser. Consider this part of your Web 2.0 arsenal of information.

Thu, 25 Sep 08
Apple's Clever iTunes 8
It's been more than seven years since Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs bounded onto the stage at the annual MacWorld conference in San Francisco and took the wraps off the first version of iTunes. And oh, what a difference nearly a decade makes: The desktop jukebox has evolved from a simple, no-frills MP3 manager into an ever-expanding media gateway offering music, TV, movies, podcasts and even video games for the iPhone and iPod. Putting episodes of "Entourage" on the same digital shelf as Kanye West and "Ms. Pac-Man" may have been a stroke of genius.

Thu, 25 Sep 08
Big Blue Adopts Anti-Shenanigans Standards Policy
IBM has announced a new corporate strategy regarding its participation in the hundreds of standard-setting organizations relevant to its products. Simply put, it only wants to work within an environment that is open and transparent. "Standard-setting is too important -- for business, for government, for citizens and consumers -- to be anything but completely open," Bob Sutor, IBM's vice president of open source and standards, told LinuxInsider. "There is simply no justification for standards to be created in nontransparent ways using policies that are problematic, at best."

Thu, 25 Sep 08
Feds Aim to Tighten Net Around Online Predators
Cooperation between law enforcement agencies is essential in the fight against online sexual predators, the U.S. attorney general said Tuesday. Michael Mukasey announced the signing of an agreement between four federal agencies to share criminal intelligence on child predators. "The Internet child predator does not stand on the street corner like a drug dealer," he said. "He can't be chased down by a cop on the beat. Catching him requires sophisticated tools, technical know-how, and the partnership and expertise of law enforcement at all levels."

Thu, 25 Sep 08
The Social Media Puzzle
The other day I had a conversation with some nice people from the market research company Coleman Parkes Research. They wanted to tell me about a study they have recently concluded about social networking. I have to say it was pretty interesting stuff. I will leave it to you to search for them and to download their full report. What was interesting to me is the evidence they turn up about adoption and how the adoption of social media to date by companies follows an early adopter pattern.

Thu, 25 Sep 08
RIM Preps Investors for Glum Q2, Pins Hopes to Holidays
Research In Motion, the maker of the BlackBerry e-mail phone, disappointed investors with its initial forecast for the second quarter, and the stock has not recovered. The company had said it would launch its new flagship model, the Bold, in the U.S. during the quarter, but it has been delayed, and no U.S. launch date has been announced. However, analysts say RIM's overall sales have still been strong, and the arrival of several new models later this year positions the company for a strong holiday season, even though competition in the smartphone field is intensifying.

Thu, 25 Sep 08
WTO Puts Japan's Chip Tariffs Under Microscope
The World Trade Organization will examine whether Japan is complying with a ruling against its punitive import charge on South Korean computer chips. The WTO has twice ruled against a 27.2 percent charge Tokyo levies on dynamic random access memory made by South Korea's Hynix Semiconductor. Earlier this year, the WTO gave Japan until Sept. 1 to bring the tariff in line with international trade rules. A third ruling against Japan in the dispute could lead to South Korean trade retaliation against Japanese goods or services. The WTO set up a panel Tuesday to study the matter.

Wed, 24 Sep 08
Microsoft Offers Wall Street Super Powers
Microsoft on Monday announced its latest software release, Windows HPC Server, at the 2008 High Performance on Wall Street Conference in New York. The application, aimed at industries like financial services, marks Microsoft's latest entry into the high-performance computing market. The software is designed to give firms an easy-to-deploy, cost-effective and scalable HPC solution during a time when companies are seeking more efficiency from their IT resources without undercutting their competitive position in the market, said Microsoft VP Bill Laing.

Wed, 24 Sep 08
Adobe Gives Creative Suite 4 More Flash
Adobe's long-awaited Creative Suite 4 has made its public debut. As the company has demonstrated with previous releases of Creative, as well as other products, it is advancing a Web 2.0 agenda. For example, Adobe has integrated Flash throughout Creative Suite 4 to facilitate collaboration among designers and developers as they craft digital work products. The new suite includes Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design editions, Creative Suite 4 Web editions, Creative Suite 4 Production Premium and Creative Suite 4 Master Collection.

Wed, 24 Sep 08
The Tech-Savvy Approach to Political Branding
Barack Obama announced his running mate by text message. John McCain's putting up YouTube videos. Mayoral candidates are doing robocalling. And just about everyone running for public office has a blog. Clearly, the campaign landscape has gone high-tech. New technologies are helping candidates to connect with voters, and voters to connect with candidates, in new and surprising ways. And as a result, the practice of democracy itself is undergoing dramatic changes. The Web has become home base for politicians seeking to brand themselves.

Wed, 24 Sep 08
The Android Awakens
After months of speculation and anticipation, T-Mobile and Google on Tuesday unveiled the G1, a new smartphone manufactured by HTC and the first commercially available handheld to run Google's Android mobile operating system. "[This launch] is a very important milestone event for ... Google, T-Mobile and HTC. This is going to be a very, very important device in the marketplace, and it's going to have a lot of interest from consumers who have a strong affinity for the Google brand," said Michael Gartenberg, vice president mobile strategy, Jupitermedia/mobiledevicestoday.com.

Wed, 24 Sep 08
Netflix Wades Deeper Into On-Demand Stream With CBS, Disney Deals
Online movie rental company Netflix has signed distribution deals with two heavy hitters from the TV world -- the CBS Television Network and the Disney-ABC Television Group. Netflix will soon have a stable of new and syndicated television shows that its users can stream over the Internet -- "CSI," "NCIS," "Hannah Montana," "Wizards of Waverly Place," "Star Trek," "Family Ties" and "MacGyver," among others. Though known mostly for its online DVD rental business, Netflix launched an on-demand style service about 18 months ago.

Wed, 24 Sep 08
The Android Threat: Banking on Symbian's Maturity
Nokia is well prepared for Google's high-profile foray into the mobile phone business thanks to years of development experience and millions of phones on the market, a senior Nokia official told Reuters. Details of Google's plan to enter the mobile software market are expected on Tuesday when T-Mobile USA displays the first phone based on Google's Android platform in New York, sources familiar with the plan have said. Nokia said in June it would buy out smartphone software maker Symbian, then give the software to not-for-profit organization and make it royalty-free.

Wed, 24 Sep 08
One Week With the Svelte New iPod Nano
I've been using Apple products for years, so I'm not surprised by cool industrial design, "nanochromatic" colors, or connectivity that just works with other Apple ecosystem products. In fact, I expect all Apple products to look and feel better than most any other electronic device out there, yet when I first held the new fourth-generation iPod nano in my hand I was pleasantly surprised. It's thin, feels even thinner, and yet somehow it manages to feel solid at the same time. As the thinnest iPod yet, its sturdy oval and rectangular aluminum shell helps give it enough heft to enjoy using.

Wed, 24 Sep 08
EU Bears Down on Excessive Text-Message Fees
Sending a text message home to boast about a beach vacation should cost less than half of what it does now, EU regulators said Tuesday. The European Commission wants to set a price cap for text messages of 11 euro cents, far below the current EU average of 29 euro cents. The EU's top telecom official, Viviane Reding, said she was putting the new rules forward because telecommunications companies had not responded to her call for them to lower text prices.

Wed, 24 Sep 08
Investigators: Palin E-Mail Hacker an Easy Collar
The hunt for the hacker who broke into Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's personal e-mail account is shaping up to be a remarkably simple investigation, by the standards of major cybersecurity whodunits. U.S. investigators figure the hacker claimed responsibility in a detailed accounting that included his own personal e-mail address and that he tried to cover his trail using a U.S. Internet anonymity service that has been surprisingly cooperative with the FBI in efforts to peel away that anonymity. Not exactly the plot of a Hollywood thriller.

Wed, 24 Sep 08
Oracle Demos E-Biz Update, Releases Web 2.0 Dev Tools
Oracle has previewed the next release of its E-Business Suite at OpenWorld 2008 in San Franciso, and released a new JDeveloper and Oracle Application Development Framework tool. The firm showed off version 12.1 of E-Business Suite, saying that it formed part of its Applications Unlimited program. Applications Unlimited represents the firm's desire to support new Fusion releases, which combine best-of-breed features from across Oracle's portfolio with existing applications.

Tue, 23 Sep 08
Intel Ships Power-Sipping Chips for Desktops
Intel began shipping its Atom Processor 330 Friday. The chip is the latest addition to the Atom product line and has been specifically designed to run on so-called nettops -- desktop computers built primarily in order to surf the Web, send e-mail and perform basic Internet tasks, the company said. "Intel always intended these for netbooks/nettop computers as well as what Intel calls 'MIDs,' -- mobile Internet devices -- which are smaller, handheld devices," Tom Halfhill, an analyst at In-Stat and senior editor of "Microprocessor Report," told TechNewsWorld.

Tue, 23 Sep 08
Same Song, DRM-Free Medium: SanDisk Sells Albums on Memory Cards
What do Metallica and SanDisk have in common? For both, the memory remains. The metal band was singing about faded rock stars trapped in their glory days. The data storage company, however, is hoping that music-filled 1GB microSD memory cards will lure in consumers who fondly remember when their favorite songs were purchased on albums preloaded on physical media and weren't downloaded via the Internet. SlotMusic, SanDisk's new initiative, offers an entire album of digital rights management-free music on a memory card.

Mon, 22 Sep 08
IronPort Offers New Layer of Armor Against Invisible Web Menaces
Internet security firm IronPort Systems announced on Monday an enhanced layer of protection for its Web Security appliance S-Series with the addition of Exploit Filtering technology. The company made its announcement on the heels of the March launch of its URL Outbreak Detection and Botsite Defense. That security layer protects users against malware distribution through Web sites controlled by botnets. The Exploit Filtering layer targets the latest security threat posed by trusted Web sites compromised to deliver Trojans or phishing attacks.

Mon, 22 Sep 08
Electric Shock Risk Sparks iPhone Charger Recall
Apple has recalled the new ultracompact universal serial bus adapter plug that shipped with millions of iPhone 3G handsets. The plugs, according to the device maker, can snap off so that the blades remain inside an electrical outlet, creating a risk of electric shock. No injuries have been reported, Apple noted, but the company has instituted a new adapter exchange program to get stronger plugs into the hands of its customers. The ultracompact USB adapters are essentially a small white cube with two prongs and a USB port.

Mon, 22 Sep 08
Presidential Candidates Can Be CEOs
Last week, HP's ex-CEO and current Republican Spokesperson Carly Fiorina, in a poorly thought-out attempt to help McCain win, indicated that none of the presidential or vice presidential hopefuls could be CEOs like she was. Given she was fired, I was thinking, gee I hope so, but she intended the comment to mean they weren't as qualified as she was. Having studied to be a CEO myself and studied a number of successful ones, I believe she couldn't be more wrong.

Mon, 22 Sep 08
A Linux Bun in HP's Oven; Firefox and the EULA Hounds
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the Linux community must be doing something right. Rumors abounded throughout the blogosphere last week that HP may be working on its own version of our favorite operating system. Specifically, employees within HP's PC division are reportedly working on a mass-market operating system that is based on Linux but easier to use. Could there possibly exist a topic more likely to fire up the Linux blogs? Hard to imagine.

Mon, 22 Sep 08
McAfee Makes Enterprise Bid With $465M Secure Computing Buy
Virus protection giant McAfee is expanding its security empire with the acquisition of Secure Computing. The company announced plans for the purchase Monday morning. It'll pay $465 million, or $5.75 per share, in the merger. The move will no doubt help expand McAfee's suite of security-related products as it works to compete with the market's top provider, Symantec. Secure Computing's stock jumped close to 25 percent following the news.

Mon, 22 Sep 08
AT&T, iPhone and the Shape of Things to Come
Use an iPhone to hurl a virtual tomato at your TV, splattering your least favorite actor. Preview your commute from your couch with an on-screen peek through traffic cameras. Speak into a remote control to search for shows or watch 3-D TV without special glasses. These were among the prototype technologies unveiled this week by AT&T, the Dallas-based communications giant with research facilities in New Jersey, Atlanta and Austin. The previewed technologies had little to do with the traditional phone business.

Mon, 22 Sep 08
Social Networking and the Multichannel Shopper
Attaining the optimal mix of product selection, pricing and content in catalogs and collateral; and the tailoring of guided selling and navigation within multichannel management strategies is too important to leave to just trial and error. Lacking frameworks to define optimal mix of resources, anecdotal data instead of actual results often define the mix of resources across channels. Tapping into the immediate feedback social networking can provide eliminates the need to just rely on anecdotal data. You can find out what's working and why, quickly.

Mon, 22 Sep 08
Supercollider Snafu Could Delay Experiments for Months
Scientists expect startup glitches in the massive, complex machines they use to smash atoms. But the unique qualities of the world's largest particle collider mean that the meltdown of a small electrical connection could delay its groundbreaking research until next year, scientists said Sunday. Because the Large Hadron Collider operates at near absolute zero -- colder than outer space -- the damaged area must be warmed to a temperature where humans can work. That takes about a month. Then it has to be re-chilled for another month.

Mon, 22 Sep 08
Cablevision's Great DVR in the Sky
If the nation's largest cable TV operators have their way, the home digital video recorder could soon become a relic. Leading the way is Cablevision Systems, which plans to roll out a system in early 2009 that will let viewers record any show without a DVR, only a digital set-top box. Shows will be stored on Cablevision's servers instead of a home DVR -- a shift the company said could save it upward of $700 million. Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications also are interested in deploying network DVR services but are farther away from implementation.

Mon, 22 Sep 08
Internet Radio: Not Dead, Just on Walkabout
There have been some subtle shifts in digital music this year, trends that will accelerate over the next few months as the holidays near. I'm not talking about MP3 players and the new models to tempt you. Rather, there is an increasing amount of music available that does not require the downloading of songs to a portable device. It's Internet radio on the go, and the trend is emerging as a potentially disruptive market force, putting into question the need for a satellite radio service or even the purchase of music.

Mon, 22 Sep 08
Nano and Zune Could Learn a Lot From Each Other
The Zune has a long way to go to become a threat to the iPod. But it is getting closer. With updated Zunes and new iPods hitting the market in the past week, I spent some time with each: a black-on-black version of Microsoft's music and video player and a bright red model of Apple's iPod nano. It became clear that there are a few things Apple can learn from the Zune -- though not surprisingly, Microsoft might want to take some notes as well. The nano remains the more attractive of the two.

Sun, 21 Sep 08
Innov8: Workplace Immersion Training for Developers
A video game is helping university students prepare for careers in business and information technology. At the San Mateo IBM Innovation Center on Thursday, San Francisco State University student Andrey Lyubimov played a simulation on a large screen in which he came across various "co-workers" at a call center -- some helpful but others not so much, including a character more interested in getting coffee than addressing a crisis. In an interactive way, the program teaches students how to make decisions and gather information when they face various obstacles in the workplace.

Sun, 21 Sep 08
The TV Ad Exodus, Part 2: Melding With the Web
TV advertising's halcyon days appear to be fading further and further in the rear-view mirror. While the medium still carries a lot of clout, its growth rate has slowed, and companies are earmarking their spending for other media. Ironically, these new options may soon lead to a refashioning, if not a rebirth, of TV as an advertising vehicle. TV advertising has remained flat recently, and it's clear where companies are placing a growing portion of their money: the Internet.

Sun, 21 Sep 08
Government Data Loss Solution: Hold Bureaucrats Accountable?
The public sector is frequently under fire for inefficient data storage and data loss. With the pressure mounting to avoid further embarrassment, departments are looking to the channel for advice on how to deal with their data challenges. The release of the British government's "Hannigan Data Handling Procedures in Government: Final Report" in June introduced more regulations on data handling, storage and retrieval. Departments are being encouraged to make each set of data the responsibility of one person. If that person fails to handle the data, it can become gross misconduct.

Sun, 21 Sep 08
The Birds and the Bees: The Future of Air Force Robo-Tech
It may look like a futuristic arcade game, but it's a scene from an official Air Force animated video: Bad guys of indiscernible origin being shadowed, from a careful distance, by small robotic drones designed to resemble birds and insects. When one of the bad guys opens his apartment door, a tiny robo-bug, looking like a garage door opener with wings, sneaks in to spy. In another scene, a bug -- the Air Force calls them "Micro Air Vehicles," or MAVs -- creeps into a sniper's roost and delivers a deadly shot to the back of his head.

Sat, 20 Sep 08
Brin Steps Into Genetic Ethics Debate With Blog Revelation
Sergey Brin had his own genetic code Googled by his wife's DNA testing company. The results, revealed in the first posting of the Google cofounder's new blog, show that he carries a gene mutation that predisposes him to Parkinson's disease. "This leaves me in a rather unique position," Brin writes in his blog, Too. "I know early in my life something I am substantially predisposed to. I now have the opportunity to adjust my life to reduce those odds [e.g. there is evidence that exercise may be protective against Parkinson's]."

Sat, 20 Sep 08
Cisco Bulks Up Its Softer Side With Jabber Buy
Networking giant Cisco Systems said Friday that will acquire instant-messaging software maker Jabber. Terms of the pending deal were not disclosed. Denver-based Jabber makes an open source instant-messaging software that supports an assortment of devices across a business' IT network. Jabber also makes it possible for users to talk to one another across different instant-messaging platforms. For example, a user on Yahoo Messenger can connect with another user on Google Talk.

Sat, 20 Sep 08
Spammers Bait Hooks With Fake iPhone Game
Security firm Sophos issued a warning Thursday about e-mails purportedly offering free iPhone games. The missives profess to feature a free game for the smartphone, but the only thing those who download the attachment receive is malware designed to infect PCs running Windows. The scam e-mails purport to include a file dubbed "Penguin.Panic.zip," a supposed version of the popular "Penguin Panic" motion-based iPhone app game, in which a cuddly Penguin jumps from one iceberg to another while avoiding falling icicles.

Sat, 20 Sep 08
T-Mobile Paves 3G Freeway for Android
T-Mobile USA has been beefing up its nascent 3G mobile wireless services network, announcing that 3G will be ready to run in 21 markets by the middle of next month and will reach 27 major markets by the end of this year. The company says the planned expansion will deliver T-Mobile 3G services to more than two-thirds of the company's current data customers -- but T-Mobile will continue to expand throughout 2009. T-Mobile's UMTS/HSDPA high-speed data network is currently available across 13 major metropolitan markets.

Sat, 20 Sep 08
Software, Trust and Democracy
Software is an integral part of everything we do now -- drive a car, make a phone call, turn on the TV, get on an airplane and, yes, exercise your franchise. Is this the same software that just crashed my new cell phone or sent my credit card number off to a hacker in Eastern Europe? Well, not exactly the same software, but yes, it is software, and it is susceptible to the same sort of risks, with perhaps much more at stake. The rush for technological solutions combined with the competitive nature of our society ensures products are brought to market quickly, and e-voting is no different.

Sat, 20 Sep 08
Ninja Assassins, E-Mail Hackers and a Digital Media Pile-On
If you're a ninja assassin, a terrorist, an illegal street racer, or any other variety of violent outlaw, you shouldn't look to YouTube for training anymore; you won't find any there. The Google-owned video sharing site has revised its policies to specifically forbid videos that offer instructions on, "bomb making, ninja assassin training, sniper attacks, videos that train terrorists or tips on illegal street racing." YouTube has long banned graphically violent content, but the new rule bans related instructional content even if the violence itself isn't graphically depicted.

Sat, 20 Sep 08
The Global Antitrust Arsenal
Earlier this week, European regulators said that they are investigating the online advertising deal between Google and Yahoo, even though that deal affects only the U.S. and Canadian markets. Such a revelation is a disturbing sign of the globalization of government meddling and the out-of-control use of antitrust as a weapon. This news follows on the heels of rumblings from the U.S. Department of Justice, which recently hired Sandy Litvack, former DoJ antitrust chief under former President Jimmy Carter, to handle possible antitrust charges against Google.

Sat, 20 Sep 08
Mac Bloggers Get Leg Up on OS X Update, Scratch Heads Over ARM's Future
Now that Apple is reaching out into so many areas lately, bloggers following Cupertino's every move are looking at topics all over the map. However, there were a few important subjects that rose to the top this week: Apple's notebook share in the U.S. has surged, speculation over the next MacBooks and MacBook Pros is heating up, Apple has dropped the OS X 10.5.5 update, and PA Semi might be working on ARM iPhone processors. DisplaySearch reported that Apple's North American share of the notebook PC market had jumped up to 10.6 percent in the second quarter of this year.

Sat, 20 Sep 08
Mobile Enterprise Apps: The Next Security Frontier
Mobile application developers are a busy lot these days as organizations look to put the latest applications in the hands of mobile employees. However, as organizations' networks extend ever outward and "over the air," data and application security are primary concerns. Enterprise networks are a potential treasure trove for increasingly organized and sophisticated cyber-criminals, and the newness of mobile devices presents them with an enticing entry point.

Sat, 20 Sep 08
Encyclopedia Britannica: Modernization in Moderation
You may not know this, but Albert Einstein wore an editor's hat at Encyclopedia Britannica, as did George Bernard Shaw and more than 80 Nobel laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners. But it's that other encyclopedia, the online one, where vandals and anonymous editors allegedly run rampant, that's been getting all the attention lately. As hyped as Wikipedia may be, it's hard to deny that an open source information repository that gets updated several thousand times a second is well suited to present times.

Fri, 19 Sep 08
Cisco Makes Hardware-Free Switches a Virtualized Reality
Cisco and VMware announced Wednesday a collaboration that will bring businesses greater scalability and operational control of virtual environments in their data centers. The initial fruit of the two companies' combined efforts will be the integration of the Cisco Nexus 1000V distributed virtual software switch into the VMware infrastructure. The collaboration also means that both Cisco and VMware will lend their respective expertise in networking and virtualization to launch a new set of multidisciplinary professional services.

Fri, 19 Sep 08
Google, GE to Groom Grid for Electric Cars
Corporate heavyweights General Electric and Google have announced a plan to work together to promote new renewable energy policy initiatives in Washington, D.C. -- as well as help build up the nation's electricity grid so it can actually support key efforts like plug-in hybrid cars. The two companies briefly announced the partnership at Google's Zeigeist conference at its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters. Details are scarce about the fledgling partnership, but Google.org's Michael Terrell posted a video clip of Google CEO Eric Schmidt and GE's Jeff Immelt's discussion on the topic.

Fri, 19 Sep 08
Amazon's New Service to Rain Content From the Cloud
Amazon pioneered the magic in e-commerce by allowing people to shop for books and music online. Its latest business moves, however, have involved building an infrastructure that allows companies to weave their own Internet spells for customers via online storage, Web services and cloud computing. Thursday's announcement of a new Amazon content delivery service is another step in CEO Jeff Bezos' strategy of branching out into business-to-business solutions while providing new technology platforms that can attract developers to the company stable.

Fri, 19 Sep 08
What Palin's Hacked E-Mail Reveals: System Insecurity
Alaska Governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin received a harsh lesson in the relative security, or rather lack thereof, of commercial e-mail accounts Wednesday. The GOP hopeful for VP discovered her personal Yahoo e-mail account, on which she allegedly conducted official state business as governor of Alaska, had been hacked by activists associated with the group Anonymous. The break-in was reported by Wikileaks.org Tuesday after hackers gained access to Palin's [email protected] account and provided contents from that account to the Web site.

Fri, 19 Sep 08
Dark Data: What You Can't See Can Hurt You
Physicists tell us that only a small percentage of the universe can be seen directly. In fact, the vast majority of the universe is what they call "dark" -- composed of matter and energy that we know is there but that we can't observe, identify or analyze directly. The concept of "dark matter," first described in 1933 by physicist Fritz Zwicky, has since evolved into one of the cornerstones of modern physics. In fact, scientists have posited that up to 96 percent of what's "out there" in the universe is either dark matter or dark energy.

Fri, 19 Sep 08
The PC Guy Is Real, and He's Ready to Rumble
Microsoft's moving on to a new phase of its Windows ad campaign, and Jerry Seinfeld won't be joining the adventure. A new series of ads premiering Thursday shifts to a more direct brand and product focus -- a sharp change from the eccentric, image-oriented spots Seinfeld had helped orchestrate. In contrast to rumors circulating around the Web, though, Microsoft insists the transition has been part of the plan all along. The goal, the company says, was to reintroduce the brand and start conversations with the Seinfeld spots, then move on to more targeted territory.

Fri, 19 Sep 08
Rogue Code on Mobile Devices Ought to Keep You Up at Night
When it comes to maintaining the security of enterprises' mobile devices, many things keep corporate security officers and CIOs up at night -- but rogue code probably isn't one of them. Maybe it should be. After all, there are management tools to disable lost phones and passwords to protect in-use devices, but too few enterprise security execs have given considerable thought to malware downloaded into these same devices that may infect the entire network.

Fri, 19 Sep 08
Apple's Store, Apple's Rules, Apple's Peril
At first glance, it seems like another typical Mac tempest in a teacup -- a "helpless indie developer being ridden roughshod by the big bad monolithic control freak Apple." Like Macworld media blacklisting and the Proteron LiteSwitch and Konfabulator incidents before it, it's a cause celebre that unifies the Mac Web but makes them look petty and childish once the sobering light of scrutiny is shone upon it. Surely it's just another self-important quest; another case of MacMacs tilting at windmills.

Fri, 19 Sep 08
Free Software Shouldn't Mean You Can't Make a Buck
Richard Stallman, the founder of the GNU Project, speaks at great lengths about preserving the ideological purity of free software, and in his vision of the future, computer software development is modeled after mathematics and science research, where all research and development is open. So far as Stallman is concerned, proprietary software production is unethical and should be avoided. As he detailed extensively in The GNU Manifesto, traditional closed source capitalism should be rejected in software development and replaced with a post-scarcity economy.

Thu, 18 Sep 08
IBM Gets Serious About Social Networking With New Research Center
IBM is applying a common research model, collaboration between academia and the private sector, to the social media tech space. The IBM Center for Social Software is the first instance of a tech company establishing a center around these very popular emerging -- but still consumer-focused -- technologies, according to Big Blue. The Center's mission is to develop ways to effectively apply next-generation Web 2.0 technologies within a corporate environment. Indeed, chief among its goals is designing IBM's future Web 2.0 collaboration portfolio.

Thu, 18 Sep 08
Cray Intros Supercomputer Value Meal for $25K
Supercomputer maker has introduced the CX1, a small and low-cost supercomputer running Microsoft's new HPC Server 2008. The system is scheduled for official release Sept. 22. Aimed at users across a range of markets, including financial services, aerospace, automotive, petroleum, life sciences, government, academia and digital media, the systems are priced from $25,000 to more than $60,000. They boast an assortment of user-friendly features. In addition, the comparatively compact size of the CX1 means that the system can be housed in most office environments.

Thu, 18 Sep 08
Is Google Getting Into Gaming?
Rumors began bubbling up Tuesday that Google plans to acquire game maker Valve, developer of the "Half-Life" series and the Steam content distribution platform. The speculation began after a report cited "well-placed sources" claiming Google would very soon purchase Valve. The Internet search giant could be eying the Bellevue, Wash-based game maker in order to get its hands on the Steam content distribution technology. Google's Jon Murchison told TechNewsWorld the company had no comment on the possible acquisition.

Thu, 18 Sep 08
When Your PC's Ailin', Who Ya Gonna Call?
When you buy a PC, chances are darn good that the service package will be neither very convenient nor inexpensive. Most in-home or in-office service plans amount to little more than a local repair shop guy traipsing through your front door on a first-available basis. Even carting the computer to an in-store service center does not guarantee fast or efficient service. So when PlumChoice Online PC Services offered me an opportunity to try our their remote repair program, I sheepishly accepted.

Thu, 18 Sep 08
SanDisk Shakes Off Samsung's Second Shot at Takeover
Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung has launched a $5.85 billion hostile takeover bid of flash memory chipmaker SanDisk. News of the all-cash offer for SanDisk caused shares of the Milpitas, Calif.-based company to skyrocket more than 40 percent in early morning trading. SanDisk, which rebuffed an earlier offer from Samsung last May, also rejected Samsung's latest bid. SanDisk Chairman and CEO Eli Harari said Samsung's unsolicited acquisition offer severely undervalues SanDisk.

Thu, 18 Sep 08
Who Wants to Buy an Android?
After years of development, Google's first Android-powered phone is finally here -- well, almost. T-Mobile is expected to unveil the HTC Dream at a closed media event Sept. 23, with the device rumored to hit store shelves by mid-October. The question, then, is whether the Dream -- and the Android concept on the whole -- can actually deliver. It's a daunting task to try to topple the king, particularly one as popular and heavily hyped as Apple's iPhone.

Thu, 18 Sep 08
Is Apple ARMing the iPhone With Homemade Chips?
When Apple quietly bought a small semiconductor company earlier this year called "PA Semi," the move sparked a storm of speculation. Was Apple looking for new low-power processors for its iPhone? Was it aiming to develop new processors for unannounced but rumored Mac tablets? Or was Apple just buying PA Semi to snag some top-notch engineers? It turns out that one of those engineers, reportedly Wei-han Lien, the senior manager of Apple's chip team, let the PA Semi cat out of the bag this weekend by posting details of his job on LinkedIn, a professional and career-oriented social network.

Thu, 18 Sep 08
Electric Sheep CEO Sibley Verbeck on the Virtual Shopping Mall
Although companies can stick their feet into virtual worlds for a mere tens of thousands of dollars, serious return on investment really requires expenditures in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to Sibley Verbeck, CEO of The Electric Sheep Company, a virtual worlds software, content and services provider. In an ECT News Network Podcast Series interview, Verbeck says the business applications of virtual worlds that are targeted to kids are fairly mainstream. Business applications are in the experimental stage but growing.

Thu, 18 Sep 08
While Candidates Spar, Viewers Will Tweet
Current TV is handing over feedback on the upcoming presidential debates to those who make up so much of the network's programming: its audience. During the debates, the network bent on viewer-created content will broadcast Twitter messages -- or "tweets" -- from viewers. In close to real time, Current will display comments on the screen while Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama face off. It's an all the more interesting new kind of interactivity in political discourse given that Current was cofounded by former Vice President Al Gore.

Thu, 18 Sep 08
Gamer Nation
Katherine Graden doesn't really like shoot-'em-up video games. She prefers games on her Wii system that test her fitness and agility -- the ones her guy friends tease are her "sissy games." "I'm like, 'Fine! Go play your violent games. I'll stick with mine,'" the high school freshman from Chicago says, chuckling. It's a common scenario, according to a new national survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project that illustrates just how ingrained games have become in youth culture.

Thu, 18 Sep 08
Google's Picasa Knows a Familiar Face
If the human brain sees a million images per day and can instantly identify them, why couldn't software do that, too? Making such a thing a reality has been the longtime goal of German-born physicist Hartmut Neven, whose facial-recognition software firm was purchased by Google in 2006, with the stated goal of bringing his vision to digital photography. Instead of sifting through thousands of computer file names and badly named photo folders, what if we could organize our pictures by faces instead, gathering all of our pictures of Mom, Dad and the rest of the brood together?

Thu, 18 Sep 08
University of Colorado on Mission to Study Mars' Water History
NASA chose a University of Colorado proposal for a $485 million Mars mission on Monday after a nine-month delay caused by a conflict of interest in the selection process. The delay cost the space agency time, money and science. The price of the probe increased by $10 million, its launch was postponed by two years, and the science-gathering mission will be cut in half to one year, an official said. NASA chose the University of Colorado's proposal to study the Martian atmosphere from 20 other ideas to study Mars.

Wed, 17 Sep 08
New Six-Core Intel Xeon Chips Sign Up for VM Duty
Intel launched its latest series of chips in the Xeon branded line of server processors Monday. The Xeon Processor 7400 series includes seven 45 nanometer chips sporting up to six processing cores per chip and 16 MB of shared cache memory. The new six-core Xeons, aimed at mid-sized to large businesses, are optimized to run applications built for virtualized environments and data-hogging workloads such as databases, business intelligence, enterprise resource planning and server consolidation, Intel said.

Wed, 17 Sep 08
IMDb Adds Some Show to Its Tell
A site known for its information on entertainment is now offering up thousands of movies and TV shows for free streaming. The Internet Movie Database, or IMDb, launched a massive streaming service this week. The Amazon-owned operation has 6,000 full-length programs already available with plans for more titles in the future. The service interacts with Amazon's pay-based movie purchasing options, giving users the ability to rent or purchase the video for television-based viewing if they so choose. The service itself, however, is only ad-supported and has no fees or subscriptions built in.

Wed, 17 Sep 08
The Winds of Cyber War
The computer attacks Russia allegedly orchestrated against Georgia in August have raised the cyber warfare bar to a new threat level. The cyber assault that accompanied Russia's armed maneuver into its former territory of Georgia escalated to an international event. The concept of hurting a nation's technological infrastructure as part of a wider conflict is not new. The extent to which the digital warfare was waged, however, clearly added to a growing concern that has already led U.S. officials to prepare for the next wave of computer warfare.

Wed, 17 Sep 08
HP Targets SMBs With Infrastructure in a Box
HP on Tuesday launched "HP Adaptive Infrastructure in a Box for Midsize Businesses," a suite of products and services designed to enable businesses with anywhere from 100 to 999 employees to more efficiently and cost-effectively manage their evolving network and IT needs. The three-tiered HP AI in a Box lineup relies on HP Proliant BL260c dual processor servers running Windows Server 2008, HP StorageWorks All-in-One SB600c Storage Blade, HP Insight Control environment management, automation, power and cooling technology, virtualization and security all in a BladeSystem c3000 Enclosure.

Wed, 17 Sep 08
Citrix Attains a Higher Level of Xen
Citrix rolled out the fifth edition of its XenServer virtualization software Monday. The platform features more than 130 new features focused on ease of use, performance and security. Among the improvements to this latest iteration of XenServer are storage virtualization and integration with Windows Server 2008 from Microsoft, as well as persistent performance monitoring, reporting and alerting within XenCenter Management System. "We position it as the easy, open, powerful way to build data centers," Citrix's David Roussain told TechNewsWorld.

Wed, 17 Sep 08
Virtual Gadgets Selling for Real Money
Social media may be hailed as the savior of sagging sales these days, but few have figured out what social media are, much less how to wield them. Even fewer realize that games are the first, and arguably the most viable and sustainable, social medium in the mix. Unlike newcomers MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn and -- gasp -- even Twitter, the gaming communities are solid and stable, the camaraderie real and rooted deep, and the cash flow is, well, flowing.

Wed, 17 Sep 08
Is Comcast Barking Up the Right Tree?
In the age of online entertainment, consumers get virtually unlimited choice of content and unlimited means to entertain themselves. They can stream their favorite episode of "Lost" from ABC.com, watch full-length movies on Hulu or even download episodes of shows like the "The Office" from NBCDirect, and they can do it all for free. These choices offer consumers an unprecedented amount of control over their entertainment experience, which is bad news for incumbent content aggregators: cable, satellite and IPTV companies.

Wed, 17 Sep 08
Anticipating Android: Will It Challenge iPhone?
Anyone expecting the soon-to-be-launched Google phone to change the market like Apple's iPhone has over the past year will likely be disappointed -- for now. Industry insiders who have worked on Google's Android mobile operating system say it will struggle in the near term to match the consumer enthusiasm generated by Apple when its iPhone redefined the touch-screen phone market and greatly improved mobile Web surfing. Instead, Google sees Android as an open source platform for designing mobile devices.

Wed, 17 Sep 08
The Needy, Clingy Apple TV
One of the Apple TV's strengths is that it's based on Mac OS X. However, that's also proving to be a weakness as well. Consumer electronics boxes in the living room must live up to a higher quality standard than a Macintosh computer. After I installed iTunes 8, I noticed that the two TV shows I purchased on the Apple TV no longer synced back to my iTunes library. Worse, the "Summary" page in iTunes for the Apple TV was mostly blank and the tabs for Movies, TV Shows, Music and Podcasts were gone.

Tue, 16 Sep 08
Employers Use Social Nets to Weed Out Applicants Gone Wild
For those social networking phenoms posting their every thought, drunken photo, tale of debauchery, and brush with the law on your MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter pages, a word of warning: You might want to tone yourself down if you're looking for a job. There's a 20 percent chance that your next employer is reading, judging and possibly rejecting your professional persona based on the private one you tout online. Based on a nationwide survey of more than 3,100 employers, CareerBuilder.com says 22 percent of employers are using social networking sites to research job candidates.

Tue, 16 Sep 08
LinkedIn Promises Privacy Fence With New Targeted Ad Scheme
Players in the fragmented and crowded ad platform space just lost a little more elbow room with the entrance of LinkedIn's Audience Network. Not surprisingly, given its strong reach into business networks in almost every community, LinkedIn is offering up its job-related data to advertisers that seek to place ads targeting categories of professionals. This strategy is illustrative of a larger trend in this nascent space: the emergence of vertical ad networks focusing on a specific industry, or in the case of LinkedIn, a specific function.

Tue, 16 Sep 08
VMware Sails Into Uncharted Waters With Datacenter OS
VMware is working to move past its internal shakeups with the revelation of a new operating system for virtual server and storage management. The Virtual Datacenter Operating System, announced Monday at the start of the company's VMworld annual conference in Las Vegas, will offer an all-around solution to bring multiple resources onto a single cloud and make resource sharing significantly easier for customers. VMware is coming off of a rough patch started by its CEO's departure in July. The company is now focusing its efforts on its new product roadmap for 2009.

Tue, 16 Sep 08
EA, Take-Two Just Call the Whole Thing Off
Takeover talks between Electronic Arts and Take-Two have come to an end, the two video game software companies announced Sunday. The news comes some seven months after EA made its initial unsolicited offer to purchase the "Grand Theft Auto" developer for $26 per share, a deal that would have brought Take-Two's shareholders about $2 billion. The rival publishers had only recently come to the negotiating table for formal talks following EA's decision to allow the offer to expire.

Tue, 16 Sep 08
Digital Media Forces Close Ranks Against Apple
It reads like another Hollywood sequel. In fact, please try to imagine the late, great movie trailer voice-over artist Don LaFontaine intoning the following copy: In a world gone digital, now comes another tale of big companies joining forces to take on media pirates and a giant named Apple. From some of the same people who brought you the Digital Living Network Alliance and Plays for Sure, it's ... the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem!

Tue, 16 Sep 08
iPhone Update a Mixed Bag of Fixes and Frustrations
On Friday, Apple released a new iPhone 2.1 software update designed to tweak some of the handset's features and fix a variety of bugs. For some iPhone 3G owners, the most troubling issue has been consistent problems with 3G connectivity -- dropped calls, trouble switching from 3G to EDGE cellular services, and an inability to use 3G in areas that seem to have solid 3G signals for other cell phones. For others, the battery life has been dismal. Many have complained that backing up the phone via iTunes took longer than it should.

Tue, 16 Sep 08
Firms Partner to Open Window on Enterprise Virtualization
GlassHouse Technologies announced on Monday the release of Managed Services for Virtual Environments, a first-of-its-kind suite of managed services. The company broke the news at the VMworld 2008 Solution Exchange in Las Vegas. GlassHouse, an independent IT infrastructure consulting and services firm, launched its advanced management interface in conjunction with virtualization management software from Tek-Tools Software. The partnership produced a service that provides users with improved visibility, monitoring and reporting of their virtualized IT environments.

Tue, 16 Sep 08
Hard Choices: iPhone, iPod Nano and Gates-Seinfeld
This last week I've watched Apple's stock drop sharply as the market was disappointed with Apple's announcements, but I thought it was being unfair because the disappointment was largely due to overset expectations. In addition, Apple's move with the iPod nano was a very hard decision to make. Few companies would have the guts to make it, suggesting that Apple should be praised and not criticized. In addition, Microsoft, with a couple of exceptions, was pounded for its Seinfeld campaign largely because of misperceptions surrounding it.

Tue, 16 Sep 08
The Wild World of iPhone 3G Accessories
It's been over two months since Apple released the iPhone 3G, and most iPhone accessory manufacturers have had time to create the first round of iPhone 3G-compatible accessories. The term "coolest" is totally subjective, of course, and in the iPhone world it's even more so -- one person's cool new iPhone 3G case is another's dorkiest design mistake ever conceived in the history of cases. "Interesting" and "compelling" are usually more accurate, so here's a roundup of some of the iPhone 3G accessories that are worth taking a closer look at.

Tue, 16 Sep 08
Canonical Turns Up the Heat in Ubuntu Offensive
Faithful readers of this column may remember news we reported back in early April that the next Ubuntu release had been cunningly named "Jabbering Jackass." The news came from a memo that got leaked to the Linux Loop, the story went, and it was, of course, an April Fools' Day joke -- which we knew all along. Anyhoo, turns out the *real* next version of Canonical's very excellent software -- sans the "cuddly cartoon donkey" -- will be Jaunty Jackalope, as Mark Shuttleworth himself announced on a mailing list post last week.

Mon, 15 Sep 08
Putting Old Cell Phones Out to Pasture
Pity that old cell phone languishing in a drawer. It's missing out on a fascinating afterlife. Most discarded phones in the U.S. are simply forgotten amid household clutter. A smaller number of handsets make it to a collection center for recycling or a reselling facility. For those phones, their fates can vary from being sold to consumers in developing countries to being melted down for metals like gold and copper. But getting more consumers to think about their old phones the way they look at an empty soft drink can, as a product to be recycled, isn't so easy.

Mon, 15 Sep 08
Second Life Convention: Pondering the 3-D Internet
Distinct personalities in real and imagined worlds collided recently at the fourth annual Second Life convention in Tampa, Fla. That was only the beginning of the confusion for those outside Second Life, the virtual online community that is anything but confusing to those immersed in the virtual world. The phenomenon has "linked people of like minds" all over the world, said Scott Merrick, a volunteer helping stream video of the convention into the virtual world for the avatars who can't physically come to downtown Tampa.

Sun, 14 Sep 08
The Many Mad Monikers of Home WiFi Networks
Nearly every time I pull out my iPhone or fire up my laptop, I get an interesting look into the people and businesses that surround me. How do I do this? By looking at the names of their wireless networks. As the number of wireless networks and the number of portable devices that can connect to them continue to increase, naming a wireless network has become the high-tech equivalent of getting a vanity license plate, providing humor or insight into its creator.

Sun, 14 Sep 08
Crowdsourcing: Many Are Smarter Than One
Jeff Howe's new book, "Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd is Driving the Future of Business," belongs in the same section of your library as "The Wisdom of Crowds," "The Starfish and the Spider," "Wikinomics," "Small Pieces Loosely Joined" and Seth Godin's forthcoming "Tribes." The subject is group intelligence, or as Howe, a writer for "Wired" and other publications, calls it, "crowdsourcing." It's not the greatest name in the world, but it'll do. More accurately, it's "aggregated intelligence" since it's really the product of a bunch of individuals and not a "crowd."

Sun, 14 Sep 08
The TV Ad Exodus, Part 1: Beyond the 30-Second Spot
You come home one night and want to catch up on a local sporting event or your favorite show. You sit down, pick up the remote for your DVR, and start watching. As the first commercial appears, you -- like most individuals -- hit the fast-forward button. As you do so, advertising executives, TV networks and even DVR makers themselves wonder: What good are commercials if viewers like you don't watch them? The question continues to haunt TV executives as they grapple with the erosion of their traditional advertising base.

Sun, 14 Sep 08
Getting Intimate (With Customers) on Twitter
Twitter didn't do much for Ricardo Guerrero at first. In March 2007, the new tool was getting rave reviews from social media aficionados at the South by Southwest interactive media festival in Austin, Texas. Guerrero considered this tiny new tool du jour very limited, at least from his perspective as a marketer of refurbished Dell products. No one was in control. Conversations started in the middle and trailed off to nowhere in particular. If he wanted to direct messages to "targets," they were free to "unfollow" or "block" him out.

Sat, 13 Sep 08
New YouTube Guideline Targets Terrorists, Ninjas, Street Racers
A day before Americans bowed their heads to remember the victims of Sept. 11, YouTube bowed to pressure concerning online terrorist propaganda from Sen. Joe Lieberman and decided it will no longer allow videos that encourage or teach people to hurt other people. "While it might not seem fair to say you can't show something because of what viewers theoretically might do in response," says a new statement on YouTube's Community Guidelines page, "we draw the line at content that's intended to incite violence."

Sat, 13 Sep 08
RIM Sweetens BlackBerry to Take On Apple
Research In Motion, maker of the ubiquitous BlackBerry handheld e-mail device, is moving deeper into the consumer market, where it is sure to run up against tough competition from Apple's iPhone. Earlier this year, RIM forged a partnership with social networking site Facebook that lets BlackBerry device owners access information from their Facebook pages. Now, RIM has announced partnerships with a host of new companies that will give BlackBerry owners access to Windows Live Search, Google, Ticketmaster, MySpace, Slacker and TiVo.

Sat, 13 Sep 08
Video Game Market Gets a Case of Summertime Blues
The gains that have made 2008 a blockbuster year for the video game market continued in August; however, the rate of sales showed signs of slowing down for the month. Overall sales growth was held to single digits for the first time since 2006, according to numbers released Friday from market research firm NPD. August industry sales remained strong and saw a 9 percent gain over last August, though the month posted the first single-digit percentage growth in 27 months, said Anita Frazier, an analyst at NPD.

Sat, 13 Sep 08
Can Neighborhood Blogs Rescue Community Journalism?
Let's say you're a newspaper reporter, and you got into the business because you love to tell stories. You revel in the conflict and drama to be found in everyday situations, from crime scenes to City Hall -- and if you live in Detroit, you get to cover both at the same location, which helps save on gas money. Then one day your corporate parent encourages you to take a buyout offer because the Internets are sucking up all the ad revenue, and there's a big bullseye on your annual salary.

Sat, 13 Sep 08
Calling All iPhones: 2.1 Bug Buster Is Ready
As Apple CEO Steve Jobs promised earlier this week in his iPod and iTunes-focused music announcements, the iPhone 2.1 software update is now ready for installation by all iPhone owners. The update became available this morning, and Apple even went so far as to post a notice on its home page to alert iPhone owners of the free update. The 2.1 software update is a relatively big chunk of data -- 237.8 MB worth. "It fixes lots of bugs. You'll get fewer call drops. You will get a significantly improved battery life for most customers," Jobs told reporters.

Sat, 13 Sep 08
Yahoo Calls On Outside Devs to Knock Down a Few Walls
Search engine giant Yahoo is moving ahead with plans to open up its home page and e-mail services to third-party content. The move comes at a difficult time for the beleaguered company -- earlier this year, Yahoo spurned an acquisition attempt by Internet rival Microsoft, triggering vitriolic infighting among its shareholders over the future of the company. Yahoo is the second major Internet company this week to announce plans to open up its sites to third-party content; Time Warner's AOL made a similar move on Thursday.

Sat, 13 Sep 08
Microsoft's Odd Couple: Bill Gates Does a Mean Robot
Bill and Jerry are back, and the dynamic duo's second Microsoft ad is already bringing as much divided opinion as its much-analyzed predecessor. The spot, which first appeared on YouTube Thursday night, shows Seinfeld and Gates staying with "average family" in an effort to reconnect with the common American. As far as connections to Microsoft, it inches a little closer to direct talk about the company -- but still stays eccentric enough to leave many scratching their heads.

Sat, 13 Sep 08
The Quest for a One-Stop On-Demand Web App Shop
In some respects, the market for Web-based applications resembles a crowded, noisy and confused bazaar. It's difficult to get a good wide-angle view of all available options. Those there to sell wares often have a hard time finding and securing the best place to set up shop, and those shopping for the right Web app to implement for any given task are often left wondering whether a better solution might be found if they take more time and look around more corners.

Sat, 13 Sep 08
Some Mac Bloggers Rock Out to New iPods, Others Just Sway a Little
Not surprisingly, the special "Let's Rock" iPod and iTunes 8 announcement that Apple hosted for the media dominated the Apple-focused blogging world this week. Apple bragged about its music market dominance, introduced new iPods, iTunes 8 -- including a hot new musical Genius feature -- and even hinted at what to expect from the new iPhone 2.1 software update. But Mac bloggers didn't stop there -- rumors are now looking to October for a much-anticipated new line of MacBooks.

Sat, 13 Sep 08
Software License Compliance: Myth vs. Reality
The issue of compliance is forever on the minds of IT executives, and even more so in the last 10 years, due to increased audit activities by software vendors, complex licensing rules and the management of multiple vendors. Non-compliance with a software vendor's licensing can create uncomfortably large fines and legal fees for any enterprise. Compliance is key throughout any organization. In today's environments, vendor audits -- from Microsoft, Adobe, Oracle and SAP -- have become commonplace.

Sat, 13 Sep 08
Virtual Worlds: Big Business for Kids' Games
Remember how we were all supposed to do all our real-world shopping in virtual malls and hold our business meetings in virtual offices by now? Despite the ups and downs of highly detailed 3-D virtual worlds such as Second Life, There.com and Kaneva, that never really happened. But you or your kid can buy a stuffed unicorn and then go online and pretend to prance it around in the virtual worlds run by Webkinz, like more than a million other users do each month.

Fri, 12 Sep 08
Google's Chrome Could Use a Good Spit-Shine
Normally, when Google releases a new application, I'm right there standing in line to be one of the first to try it. However, that was not the case with Google's latest effort, Chrome. Reports that the Web browser acted as an oversized keylogger through its OmniBox were not reassuring. In addition, reports that Chrome's EULA gives Google "a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and nonexclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which [users] submit" really put me off.

Fri, 12 Sep 08
Can One-Trick Pony Peek Find Its Clique?
A small startup company, Peek, has introduced a new gadget -- or, perhaps, an antigadget -- called, not surprisingly, "Peek." It's basically a mobile handheld e-mail reader. And that's all it's for -- reading and sending e-mail. No, seriously, it is a brand-new device, and it does just one thing: e-mail. In an age of smartphones, mini laptops, netbooks, tablets, and genre-busting devices like the iPod touch, the Peek is an anomaly. It comes with a 2.5-inch 320-by-240 pixel color screen, a QWERTY thumb-pad keyboard, and a scroll wheel on the side.

Fri, 12 Sep 08
Tech Trade Groups May Join Forces to Create Powerful DC Lobby
Two technology associations with significant clout on Capitol Hill are in talks to combine forces. The two organizations, the AeA, formerly the American Electronics Association, and the ITAA, or Information Technology Association of America, began merger discussions several months ago. "The real synergy between our two organizations is that [the ITAA] is particularly strong when it comes to IT contractors who depend on the government procurement business," said ITAA CEO Phil Bond. "The AeA is strong in the commercial sector."

Fri, 12 Sep 08
Yahoo Lays Out Blueprint for Mobile Ubiquity
Yahoo is trying to carve out its niche in the mobile market with a newly expanded platform for mobile application developers. The company's Blueprint platform will now allow for the creation of standalone apps for any Java, Windows Mobile or Symbian device, executives revealed at a wireless industry conference in San Francisco on Wednesday. It will also provide tools for developers to build mobile-focused Web sites. Until recently, the platform was used primarily just for the creation of widgets within Yahoo's own Go application.

Fri, 12 Sep 08
SalesLogix Layers Web 2.0 Functionality Onto Buttressed Foundation
In version 7.5, SalesLogix' latest product release, the company builds on the Web architecture and platform it introduced more than a year ago. For version 7.2, which debuted in spring 2007, SalesLogix rebuilt its architecture using standards-based, scalable Web technologies that set the stage for the company to expand in a number of directions. Now, with its v 7.5 upgrade, the company has leveraged the multiclient customization environment to incorporate a number of new Web 2.0 technologies, as well as a Web-disconnected user interface.

Fri, 12 Sep 08
Keeping the Web Barbarians at Bay
Aberdeen research shows that firewalls, VPNs, antivirus, antispam, intrusion prevention, and Web content filtering solutions are deeply penetrated in organizations of all sizes. Management of this portfolio of independent solutions can be time-consuming, costly and inefficient. An upcoming Aberdeen benchmark report, "Unified Threat Management," will look at the degree to which Best-in-Class organizations are consolidating multiple security functions into a single solution.

Fri, 12 Sep 08
In the Wireless World, 3 Things Matter: Location, Location, Location
Location-based mobile and Web services are increasingly delivering value and gaining adherents as service providers devote greater time and resources to developing them further. For example, Sprint's Xohm wireless broadband unit is working with a group of leading mobile Web application development companies to develop a set of personalized "geobrowsing" services that will make their debut along with the introduction of their metro WiMax networks later this year.

Fri, 12 Sep 08
MapReduce and the Database: Analytics in Hyperdrive
In what could best be termed a photo finish, Greenplum and Aster Data Systems have both announced that they have integrated MapReduce into their massively parallel processing database engines. MapReduce, pioneered by Google for analyzing the Web, now becomes available to enterprises and service providers, giving them more access and visibility into more data from more origins. Originally created to analyze massive amounts of unstructured data, the approach has been updated to analyze structured data as well.

Fri, 12 Sep 08
VideoSurf Search Tool Connects Faces With Names
There are plenty of places to watch online video, but still no easy way to find a particular clip without suffering through a lot of trial and error. Now a startup led by a former Yahoo engineer is promising to simplify Internet video search with a complex technology that enables computers to recognize images, such as actors' faces, and index them scene-by-scene. "We absolutely think that it's a leap forward in finding and discovering video on the Web," said Lior Delgo, who left Yahoo in 2006 to start VideoSurf.

Fri, 12 Sep 08
Father of Web Scolds IE for Defying Graphics Standards
Tim Berners-Lee, the British-born inventor of the World Wide Web, says he doesn't like to express preferences among Web browsers. But he does have an issue with one of them: Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Berners-Lee, director of the standard-setting World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C, said in an interview this week that Internet Explorer is falling behind other browsers in the way it handles an important graphics feature for Web pages. A Web image that is encoded as a scalable vector graphic, or SVG, can be resized to fit the computer screen or zoomed into without becoming blocky.

Fri, 12 Sep 08
California Wine to Flow Through Amazon
Internet retail giant Amazon.com is muscling into the wine industry. The company plans to start selling wine from California's Napa Valley and other wine-producing regions in the U.S. later this year. Although Amazon has not confirmed the news, the Napa Valley Vintners Association has been holding workshops to familiarize its members with selling wine through Amazon's heavily trafficked Web site. Amazon reportedly will be working with New Vine Logistics, a Napa, Calif.-based firm that handles wine order fulfillment.

Thu, 11 Sep 08
Nokia Gives Cell Phones a Smart Spark With ActiveSync
Nokia shook up the smartphone marketplace Wednesday with news that it will expand the range of devices supporting Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync, the software maker's corporate e-mail application, to all Nokia devices running the S60 Symbian operating system. That will stretch the number of devices which include the Mail for Exchange feature by an additional 43 handsets. For businesses, the announcement essentially means that another 80 million mobile phones are now in play and able to access corporate e-mail using Microsoft's system.

Thu, 11 Sep 08
RIM Makes Foray Into Flip Phone Field With New Pearl Design
Smartphone maker Research In Motion is flipping the script with the latest iteration of the BlackBerry Pearl. RIM showed off the BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 smartphone at the CTIA Wireless fall trade show in San Francisco. It is the first device from RIM built on the clamshell form factor. "What we have here is the evolution from RIM of the Pearl line," Michael Gartenberg, vice president of mobile strategy at Jupitermedia, told TechNewsWorld.

Thu, 11 Sep 08
HP Keeps Laptop Going All Day, All Night
In an announcement that could pique the interest of hard-charging road warriors, HP on Monday claimed that its new HP EliteBook 6930p notebook computer is capable of up to 24 hours of continuous operation on a single battery charge. By way of perspective, HP offered this scenario: A full day's worth of battery life means business users can continuously compute on the world's longest scheduled commercial airline flight -- taking off from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and arriving at Singapore Changi Airport some 19 hours later.

Thu, 11 Sep 08
Google-Funded Satellites Promise Internet Access for All
Google is getting on board with a new push to bring high-speed Internet access to parts of world still unconnected. The company has joined Liberty Global and HSBC to fund a startup called "O3b Networks" -- short for the "other 3 billion" people who can't yet surf the Net. The group will install 16 low-cost satellites to bring affordable access to emerging markets across Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. The service, expected to be ready to launch by late 2010, aims to take the place of the fiber networks typically used in more developed nations.

Thu, 11 Sep 08
Snazzy Surveillance System - but Setup's a Pain
The USB 2.0 DVR four-channel Guardian Monitoring and Surveillance System lets you view and record cameras on your desktop or notebook computer from almost anywhere in the world. It is ideal for home or office, and can be a good alternative to more expensive commercial VCR systems -- but only if you have the computer system that runs the software. The Guardian USB device, one of Swann's newest products, does not run on Windows Vista -- a big disappointment.

Thu, 11 Sep 08
Firefox vs. Chrome: Is It a Fight if Everyone Wins?
A new high-tech soap opera kicked off last week in Silicon Valley as Google, long a supporter of the Mozilla Foundation and its open source browser Firefox, jumped into Mozilla's turf with its own browser, Chrome. Will the sexy new Chrome catch the eye of those early adopters who helped Firefox get started and eventually grab nearly 20 percent of the browser market once dominated by Microsoft's Internet Explorer? Or will Firefox remain the browser of choice for those who don't like Explorer?

Thu, 11 Sep 08
Online Auctions, Part 2: The eBay Diaspora
Online auction site eBay grew up on the receipts of smaller-scale sellers. Now, as the San Jose, Calif.-based company reaches out to larger, big-volume dealers, some of those original core customers are drifting away. Some sellers have moved on to competitors such as Amazon.com, said Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT. "I think a lot of the mom-and-pop retailers are probably looking to see if there are opportunities," King told the E-Commerce Times. "Amazon has been getting a pretty good reputation for certain kinds of products. I think it's rapidly evolving."

Thu, 11 Sep 08
Like It or Not, New Facebook Look Is Here to Stay
Since he started Facebook in college 4 1/2 years ago, Mark Zuckerberg has learned -- sometimes painfully -- that he can't make significant changes to the popular online hangout without triggering an uproar among indignant users who preferred the status quo. But Zuckerberg, still only 24, is hoping he has found a way to ease the journey down a different road so he won't have to issue public apologies like he did in each of the previous two years after springing new products on users.

Thu, 11 Sep 08
United Bankruptcy Report: Anatomy of a Snafu
A day after the recirculation online of an old newspaper story caused a temporary collapse in the price of United Airlines stock, Google and Tribune Co. offered sometimes conflicting versions of events while failing to pinpoint what started the bizarre occurrence. Tribune said the Google News search engine caused a spike in traffic by adding a Sept. 6, 2008, date to a 6-year-old story about United's bankruptcy on the Web site of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Tribune owns the Sun Sentinel and the Chicago Tribune.

Thu, 11 Sep 08
DoJ Interest in Google-Yahoo Deal Intensifies
Yahoo's plans to boost its profits in an online advertising partnership with rival Google could be moving into the crosshairs of the U.S. Justice Department, which has hired an antitrust litigator to review evidence for a possible legal challenge to the deal. Sanford Litvack, a former vice chairman at Walt Disney Co. and chief of the Justice Department's antitrust division during the Carter administration, is reviewing evidence the department has gathered in what could become an antitrust case focused either on Google itself or on its partnership deal with Yahoo.

Wed, 10 Sep 08
Microsoft Lets Zune Users Play Radio Tag
As the tech media and blogosphere focused their spotlights on the announcements coming out of Apple's "let's rock," press event on Tuesday, Microsoft risked being lost in the chatter. The company chose Monday to reveal details about upcoming changes to its Zune digital media player. Among the new features for the Zune are improved WiFi, radio tagging functionality, a 120 GB model and a 16 GB flash memory version. "It's really about an experience change," said Joshua Martin, an analyst at the Yankee Group.

Wed, 10 Sep 08
Apple Adds Muscle to iPods, Brains to iTunes
In a music-focused announcement, Apple announced the highly anticipated next generation of its iPod nano, a beefier iPod touch, iTunes 8, a new Genius feature that will create complementary playlists, the return of NBC to iTunes, HD television shows, the delivery of iPhone 2.1 software, and -- as if that weren't enough -- Apple bragged about being the largest music distributor and delivering 100 million application downloads via the App Store.

Wed, 10 Sep 08
Hawking Bets Against Collider Finding Elusive Higgs Particle
They've said it before, and they'll say it again: A powerful atom smasher set to fire up Wednesday will not destroy the universe. Scientists with knowledge of the machine -- dubbed the "Large Hadron Collider," or LHC -- are growing weary of the hype. The LHC, a giant apparatus 330 feet below the ground of the France-Switzerland border, has taken its share of flak over the past months. The collider works by smashing tiny particles called "hadrons" together at higher speeds than ever before possible.

Wed, 10 Sep 08
Will Vista's Dark Clouds Mar the Windows 7 Horizon?
In a recent survey of its customers running Microsoft's Windows operating systems, Devil Mountain Software found that roughly one-third of enterprises that purchased a New PC with Windows Vista pre-installed downgraded to Windows XP. Major businesses have not deployed Microsoft's latest OS due to compatibility issues and its reputation as a resource hog, according to Craig Barth, chief technology officer at Devil Mountain. "What we're seeing is a trend that organizations are either bypassing Vista, delaying adoption, or debating whether to stick with Windows XP," he said.

Wed, 10 Sep 08
App Store: Icing on the iPhone
Atlanta food writer and blogger Jennifer Zyman purchased her first Apple iPhone the day it went on sale last year -- "I waited in line; I'm a geek," she admits -- then upgraded to the sleeker, faster 3G model as soon as it hit stores this summer. She is as keen on her phone as she is on discovering the newest Midtown restaurant. Now the two go together. Among the 10 "apps" or applications she has downloaded for her phone are two restaurant locators -- Yelp and Urbanspoon -- that use the phone's global positioning software to find nearby restaurants and even provide customer reviews.

Wed, 10 Sep 08
What Xandros Has Up Its Sleeve
Custom Linux provider Xandros will release a free Linux OS called "Freespire 5" during the fourth quarter of 2008. This next version of Freespire will be based on the Debian GNU/Linux "Lenny" release rather than the Ubuntu Linux platform Freespire 4 uses. The move spearheads a new Xandros consolidated desktop strategy following its acquisition in July of Linspire, the developer of the CNR software distribution platform. Linspire also developed the commercial Linux OS called "Linspire" and the community-supported Freespire Linux desktop OS.

Wed, 10 Sep 08
Online Auctions, Part 1: The eBay Earthquake
Things are changing at eBay. eBay says it is evolving to adapt to changes in the larger market, but it's not clear how the auction giant will fare against an emerging army of specialized competitors, and it's far from clear whether sellers will warm to its new internal price structure. Changing the fee system is probably the boldest move eBay has made, company spokesperson Usher Lieberman told the E-Commerce Times. "We've restructured to a fixed price and moved to a flat fee for listing items, regardless of the quantity of what you're selling."

Wed, 10 Sep 08
Google to Give Newspaper Morgues New Life Online
Google is trying to expand the newspaper section of its online library to include billions of articles published during the past 244 years, hoping the added attraction will lure even more traffic to its leading Internet search engine. The project announced Monday extends Google's crusade to make digital copies of content created before the Internet's advent, so the information can become more accessible and, ultimately, Google can make more money from ads shown on its Web site.

Wed, 10 Sep 08
Sprint Jumps on Customer Training Bandwagon
Sprint Nextel is making a big push to help customers understand their phones, creating a formal program to make store employees available to explain their products and set them up for buyers. The campaign to be announced Tuesday is the first official program for in-person help by a cell carrier, but is similar to moves in the wider consumer electronics industry to demystify gadgets through one-on-one contact. Sprint closed all of its 1,219 stores on Sunday Aug. 17 to train its employees for the "Ready Now" program.

Wed, 10 Sep 08
EU Persuades Google to Forget You Sooner
Google said Tuesday it will further cut the amount of time it stores data about users' search requests, to meet European privacy demands. Peter Fleischer, Google's global privacy adviser, said the company will reduce the time it stores search information from 18 months to nine. Google introduced an 18-month limit in 2007. The change, which applies to Google's search Web sites worldwide, "is a significant improvement in privacy terms and it puts us ahead of the rest of the industry," Fleischer told reporters in a conference call.

Tue, 9 Sep 08
Real Offers Legal but Limited DVD-Ripping Software
DVD duplication is going mainstream with the introduction of RealNetworks' new RealDVD system. The software -- set to go on sale for about $30 at Real.com and Amazon.com by the end of September -- lets you legally make digital copies of any disc, including all its artwork and extras. There are, however, strict limitations involved. The move marks a fresh turn in an ongoing battle between moviemakers and technology purveyors. Unlike past utilities, however, Real insists its solution is completely legal and in line with industry standards.

Tue, 9 Sep 08
Microsoft Makes Major Move in Virtualization Catch-Up Game
With a host of software and manufacturing partners in tow, Microsoft held its "Get Virtual Now" launch event Monday. It was the official coming-out party for the much talked-about Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V technology, and also served as the occasion for announcing the upcoming availability of System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 and Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008. The just-released Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 also shared the spotlight, along with a raft of programs and solutions from Microsoft partners.

Tue, 9 Sep 08
The Growing Perils of Online Game-Play
As MMORPGs such as "World of Warcraft" and virtual worlds such as Linden Labs' Second Life continue to attract millions of users, they have also begun to attract cybercriminals, according to a recent report from ESET, a software security vendor. "Criminals follow the money trail, regardless if it's physical or not," Jeff Debrosse, director of research at ESET, told TechNewsWorld. The security risk to online gamers has topped ESET's threat list for the past few months and the firm's statistics indicate the problem is growing.

Tue, 9 Sep 08
Democrats vs. Republicans and Windows vs. Mac
Election time is a crazy time here in the U.S. I'm fascinated by what happened when John McCain, the presidential candidate of the Republican Party, chose a woman that no one on the Democratic side clearly anticipated. In campaigns, people can say some rather hurtful things, and given the feelings surrounding Hillary Clinton's loss, really stupid things. The goal generally appears to be, on both sides, to say whatever it takes to win an election. So too in technology, it is increasingly clear that the battle is more political than anything else.

Tue, 9 Sep 08
'Spore Origins' Headlines New Batch of EA Games for iPhone, iPod
Just as PC gamers in the U.S. and Canada are about to lay hands on the full version of "Spore," Will Wright's latest creation, Electronic Arts announced Friday that a moblie version of the game is coming to the iPhone and iPod touch. As with "Spore," "Spore Origins" puts gamers in the middle of a world where it is either eat or be eaten. The game takes players on a journey through an environment comprised solely of primordial ooze. As they devour weaker creatures and run from stronger predators, gamers move through two modes and 35 levels.

Tue, 9 Sep 08
Twitter: A Customer Communication Lifeline
When you're talking with your best and most trusted friends, there is no need to defend yourself with disclaimers, overly defined examples, or defensible arguments. The conversation just happens. When two friends know each other well, they finish each other's sentences. Wouldn't it be great to communicate like that with your customers? To what extent are they delighted or disgusted with your products or services? What did they think of the last product? Did they care about the new Web site, or was it your personal attention to their e-mails that mattered?

Tue, 9 Sep 08
Bill and Jerry, Chrome and the Next Linux Generation
Well, it was a comparatively quiet week on the Linux blogs last week, due at least in part, no doubt, to the Labor Day holiday. Gustav could have been a factor too -- dampening, so to speak, those conversational fires -- but we here at LinuxInsider also have another small theory to explain some of the relative lack of discussion: Many normally active members of the blogosphere, we suspect, were stunned into a sort of dazed stupor by the first Jerry Seinfeld Microsoft ad.

Mon, 8 Sep 08
Ford's Foray Into the New Auto Space Frontier
Ford Motor's newly created business unit to rapidly develop in-car technologies doesn't even have a name yet -- it's been using the working title "Connected Services" as other names are researched -- but there's been no lack of speed, or direction, on the new 40-person team. The group, a compilation of Ford's most talented leaders in engineering, marketing and the like, already has filed for more than a dozen patents, said Doug VanDagens, director of the new group.

Mon, 8 Sep 08
A Decade of Google
When Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google on Sept. 7, 1998, they had little more than their ingenuity, four computers and an investor's $100,000 bet on their belief that an Internet search engine could change the world. It sounded preposterous 10 years ago, but look now: Google draws upon a gargantuan computer network, nearly 20,000 employees and a $150 billion market value to redefine media, marketing and technology. Perhaps Google's biggest test in the next decade will be finding a way to pursue its seemingly boundless ambitions without triggering a backlash that derails the company.

Mon, 8 Sep 08
Microsoft Deploys 'Gurus' to Help Shoppers
As part of its new US$300 million marketing campaign and image makeover, Microsoft plans to deploy its own customer-service representatives at retailers like Best Buy and Circuit City to help people with their PC purchases. The world's largest software company plans to have 155 "Microsoft Gurus" in U.S. stores by the end of the year, and expand based on the project's success, Microsoft's general manager of corporate communications, Tom Pilla, said Friday.

Mon, 8 Sep 08
Does the Crowd Know Best?
Trying to begin a career as a graphic designer and build a portfolio, Evan Stremke joined CrowdSpring, a Chicago-based online marketplace for creative services. No conventional help-wanted Web site, CrowdSpring is part of a trend sweeping the Web, sometimes called "crowdsourcing." The idea is to set up an open, online competition among talent who bid for jobs doing everything from creating a corporate logo to writing blog entries. The 20-year-old student from Minnesota vies for work against stay-at-home moms, professional designers and others who want to hone their skills.

Sun, 7 Sep 08
US Scientists Prep for Large Hadron Collider's Debut
With less than a week to go before a state-of-the-art European particle collider makes the one in Batavia, Ill., a relic, scientists at Fermilab are testing ways of using the new facility from half a world away. Fermilab researchers on Thursday showed off the Chicago-area lab's high-tech communications links to the new Switzerland-based Large Hadron Collider, which is set to begin test operations Sept. 10. The remote operations center, the only one of its kind in the U.S., is a major part of the American lab's strategy to ride an expected wave of discoveries from the European device.

Sun, 7 Sep 08
Freeway Pro 5.2: Slick Site Designs Without Hand-Coding
Designing a professional looking Web site requires good coding and good design skills -- a combination that isn't overly prominent in the Web-design world. Freeway Pro 5.2 helps overcome that problem by giving designers the tools they need to build great sites without requiring them to develop strong coding skills -- and it does it all without compromising on visual and behind-the-scenes code quality. Freeway Pro will likely feel more comfortable in the hands of InDesign and QuarkXPress users than any other Web-design application, thanks to its page layout application-like interface.

Sun, 7 Sep 08
App Stores: Microsoft, Google Follow Apple
When Apple opened its iTunes App Store in July, the idea of a mass-market Web site that sells downloadable games, tools, and other applications for cell phones was a rarity. Handset owners could buy apps from their carriers or the occasional niche site. But these days, the app store concept is becoming commonplace. The question is, does the world need a warren of wireless app stores? In the coming six months, at least four would-be rivals of Apple will probably open their own online bazaars where developers of all stripes will sell downloadable software applications.

Sun, 7 Sep 08
Wikis Within the Enterprise: Serious Collaboration
Wikis began as free, open, public spaces for anyone at all to contribute and share their knowledge, expertise, and wisdom. Businesses have begun to recognize, however, the power of the wiki model for accomplishing internal collaborative tasks, like revising HR documents, producing specifications, and communicating across time and space. Call it Wiki 2.0 -- and it's the newest thing in enterprise software. "The wiki is a tool that groups can use as an extension of their workspace," wiki expert Stewart Mader.

Sat, 6 Sep 08
Viewers Stampede to Online TV
In the last two years, American households that use the Internet have doubled their online television viewing. Now, nearly 20 percent use the Internet to watch television broadcasts online, and no, it's not all on YouTube. Based on a survey of 10,000 households, The Conference Board and TNS report that 72 percent of online households have family members who log on for entertainment purposes on a daily basis -- but they're also logging on from multiple locations. Nearly 90 percent watch online broadcasts at home, 15 percent watch at work, and 6 percent watch from other locations.

Sat, 6 Sep 08
'Spore' Spawns Ingenious New PC-Gaming Style
The final countdown to Sunday's North American release of Electronic Arts' long-delayed and highly anticipated "Spore" has begun. Fans in Europe will get their first crack at it on Friday. The baby of Will Wright, creator of "The Sims" -- the best-selling video game in history -- "Spore" will have gamers spawning their own creatures and societies for many hours. "Spore" takes players on an evolutionary journey from single-cell organism to landwalker; from a tribe to a civilization that eventually takes to the cosmos and explores galaxies.

Sat, 6 Sep 08
What's Up With the Ad About Nothing That Has Everyone Talking?
It's only fitting that Jerry Seinfeld's first Microsoft ad is -- well, about nothing. The 90-second spot, which debuted during Thursday night's NFL game, shows Seinfeld and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates meeting in a shopping mall shoe store. Seinfeld casually saunters in, munching on a churro, and gets into a conversation with Gates about shoe size and finding the proper fit. Oh yeah, and also about the advantages of showering with your clothes on. The blogosphere's already buzzing with criticism and calls of failure for the heavily hyped ad.

Sat, 6 Sep 08
Mac Bloggers Rock Out, Ponder iPhone Data Dams, Dream of Tethering
This week, the Apple-focused blogosphere has been whipped into a frenzy over next week's super-secret special announcement. Select journalists received invitations to a Sept. 9 media event, which has fueled speculation over Apple's next big product launch. As if that weren't enough to keep everyone busy, another disgruntled iPhone 3G user has filed a lawsuit over 3G data speeds in San Diego, while the East Coast saw a major, though brief, service failure in AT&T's 3G and EDGE-based wireless networks.

Sat, 6 Sep 08
Can Web 2.0 Survive the Cancer of Comment Trolls?
I can hear the complaints already: If you read one more geeky media type going on about how Web 2.0 is helping transform the news from a lecture into a conversation, you'll fire off an angry e-mail or toxic, troll-worthy comment accusing me of trafficking in trendy new media cliches. If you do, then I thank you for helping to illustrate the point of today's column. Comments on journalism, media and political news Web sites from readers or news viewers are indeed allowing for instant, richer feedback.

Sat, 6 Sep 08
5 Burning Questions About E-Commerce Search Solutions
You can thank Google for raising your online customers' search expectations through the roof. The 900-lb. gorilla of Internet search delivers such quality results -- in just tenths of a second, as the results page tells you -- that online shoppers won't settle for anything less than blindingly fast search results from the e-commerce sites they visit. You may be working hard at SEO and paid search listings to draw visitors to your site, but if your site search function falls apart when they get there, they'll waste no time in shopping elsewhere.

Sat, 6 Sep 08
Michael Moore Preaches to Choir Online for Free
Inspired by Neil Young and Radiohead, Michael Moore will release his new film online and for free. The film, "Slacker Uprising," follows Moore's 62-city tour during the 2004 election to rally young voters. It will be available for three weeks as a free download to North American residents, beginning Sept. 23. An official announcement of the film is planned for Friday. Moore said he considered releasing "Slacker Uprising" theatrically as "Michael Moore's big election year movie" as he did with 2004's "Fahrenheit 9/11," which was highly critical of President Bush.

Sat, 6 Sep 08
Chumby: Fun, Functional, Squishy
Never let it be said that I don't listen to readers. In April, after I favorably reviewed a wireless product that elegantly displayed baseball scores, Don wrote: "How could you recommend that, especially at the price of $200 for a unitasker? This isn't worth $20 for what it does. What a joke. Please check out Chumby for a slightly cheaper and much more functional alternative." I'll stand by my review of the graceful Liveboard. But Don, despite his manners, had a point: It does one thing in an era when we expect our gadgets to be multitaskers.

Sat, 6 Sep 08
The New IT Cocktail: Technology With a Dash of Strategy
Many contact centers continue to operate at suboptimal levels. Case in point: One financial services company has managed to turn "press zero to talk to a human" into not just a selling point but a major advertising campaign. While some great leaps in efficiency and quality have been made over the past decade, contact centers are still in the early stages of evolution. Without question, the explosion in Internet-based transactions in recent years has raised the bar on customer service and significantly impacted the way companies operate.

Sat, 6 Sep 08
Red Hat Makes $107M Virtualization Bet
Software developer Red Hat bought an Israeli company in a bid to gain a competitive edge against Microsoft and smaller rivals that provide computing services for complex networks. Raleigh, N.C.-based Red Hat said Thursday that it paid $107 million in cash for privately held Qumranet, which sells software that helps computer systems run multiple programs more efficiently on less equipment. The acquisition continues Red Hat's David vs. Goliath narrative of chipping away at Microsoft's global dominance gained through its proprietary Windows operating system.

Fri, 5 Sep 08
Heads Up: Chrome's Omnibox May Record What You Type
Google's newly released Chrome browser is facing a backlash over its data collection and privacy practices. The company has already revised its end user license agreement following widespread concerns. Now, new worries are being raised about the browser's all-purpose Omnibox and how closely Google may be monitoring what is typed into it. Chrome drew plenty of hype with its beta release Tuesday. The browser boasts impressive speed and performance capabilities in addition to a number of innovative user options -- but now, Google is having to answer some tough questions.

Fri, 5 Sep 08
Microsoft Gropes for Market Share With Xbox Price Cuts
As the video game industry begins to ramp up for the holiday season, Microsoft announced Wednesday that it has cut the price of its line of Xbox 360 gaming consoles. The new pricing, which goes into effect Friday, starts at $199 for the low-end console, the Xbox 360 Arcade model. For consumers, the golden price for a gaming platform is $200 or lower. Consoles retailing at or below that price point account for more than 75 percent of the systems sold, according to Microsoft.

Fri, 5 Sep 08
HP Aims to Take the Sting Out of Virtualized Storage
HP announced a slew of new products on Wednesday designed to make the deployment of a virtualized solution a greater value for businesses. More than 8 out of 10 companies have implemented virtualization projects, but most anticipate that just 25 percent of their IT environment will be virtualized by 2010, according to HP-sponsored research. HP's virtualization push focuses on getting rid of the impediments that reduce a virtual deployment's positive effect on a business. It emphasizes application and business services performance -- whether hosted, networked or managed.

Fri, 5 Sep 08
Anti-Executable Keeps Interlopers Off Your Computer
Schools, libraries, corporations and government agencies have their picks of programs that restrict user access to networks, impose usage privileges, and prohibit time-hogging distractions such as games, instant messaging and peer-to-peer file-sharing applications. In that category, Faronics' Anti-Executable 3.0, which allows a computer to run approved applications only, is one of the most comprehensive ways available to improve worker and student productivity.

Fri, 5 Sep 08
What's Apple Up To Now?
With less than one week to go before Apple's Sept. 9 event, speculation about what the iconic hardware maker will unveil has kicked into overdrive. The general consensus is that Tuesday's announcement will debut an updated line of iPods. That contention is supported by the design of e-mailed invitations and other documents swirling around the Internet. iLounge, for instance, published blueprints it claims are for a second-generation iPod touch.

Fri, 5 Sep 08
Palm Treo Pro: Stylish on the Outside, Clunky on the Inside
Funny how quickly perceptions change. Rivals used to chase after Palm and its Treo smartphones. Now it seems Palm is the one doing the chasing. Consider the new $549 Treo Pro smartphone I've been testing. The business-focused device is Palm's latest attempt to lure customers wooed by Apple's iPhone, Research In Motion's BlackBerry and others. There's no knocking the thin and attractive new Treo Pro hardware -- it's the best-looking Treo to date. I can't say the same for Microsoft's cranky and not overly intuitive Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional software.

Fri, 5 Sep 08
HP's Virtualization Honcho John Bennett: Rethinking Virtualization
HP announced a series of wide-ranging virtualization products, services and initiatives on Sept. 2. The drive indicates a global and long-term surge by HP on managing solutions for virtualization, but in the context of business outcomes and in a management framework that includes larger IT transformation strategies. I conducted an earlier panel discussion on the HP announcements and vision, but also decided to go the top and interview the visionary behind the virtualization vision, John Bennett.

Fri, 5 Sep 08
Open Source Software: Your Company's Legal Risks
On Aug. 13, 2008, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision in the much-watched case Jacobsen v. Katzer, No. 2008-1001, which turned on whether violating an open source licensing agreement should be considered copyright infringement. It is important for companies to be aware of the implications of this decision and to respond accordingly; this applies to all companies that use open source software -- even those who think they don't.

Thu, 4 Sep 08
Survey: DVR Makes Homes Happier
The digital video recorder has become a must-have appliance, according to a survey released by NDS, a digital pay TV technology solution provider. More than 70 percent of consumers who currently own a DVR told surveyors that they could not live without it. Researchers queried more than 1,000 DVR owners in the U.S., UK, Australia and Italy in July 2008, asking them to rank the DVR in terms of relative importance among their household appliances.

Thu, 4 Sep 08
IBM Hones New Blade Server to Repel DoS Attacks
IBM is increasing its arsenal against hackers with a new beefed-up blade server. The IBM BladeCenter PN41, announced this week, combines Deep Packet Inspection technology from CloudShield with IBM's other protection platforms to create a powerhouse against attacks. The system is designed specifically to better protect against denial-of-service attacks, one of the most difficult types to detect and prevent. It's slated to become available in October.

Thu, 4 Sep 08
Fuel Cells, Part 2: The Future of Power
As energy prices -- crude oil, gasoline, heating oil, electricity and natural gas -- continue to increase, the focus of governments and other groups, such as car makers, has turned to finding alternative energy sources. High on that list of potential technologies are fuel cells. Much has been made about the future applications of fuel cell technology, particularly in the automotive sector. However, before the fuel cell can be viewed as a viable technology that will help solve our energy woes, some major problems have to worked out.

Thu, 4 Sep 08
Celebrities Take a Spin on Spore Creature Creator
Just days before the release of the much delayed and long-anticipated "Spore" -- the latest endeavor of "The Sims" creator Will Wright -- gaming publisher Electronic Arts has enlisted the help of some Hollywood and technology heavyweights. In addition to adding the celebrity critters to the Sporepedia, a catalog of all the creatures users have created and published on the game's Web site, for download, "Spore" fans will also vote for their favorite celebrity monster. After a more than three-year wait, "Spore" will make its bow on Sept. 5 in the UK and Sept. 7 in the U.S.

Thu, 4 Sep 08
Microsoft's Mobile App Market in the Sky
Another front may be opening in the battle for mobile platform supremacy. Microsoft is rumored to be planning to launch its own mobile application store. If the buzz is true, Microsoft may not be as late to the party as some would think. Android hasn't yet debuted. Apple, for its part, is facing push-back on many fronts. Ironically, Microsoft is positioned between Google's open source strategy and Apple's controlled environment -- an unlikely and uncomfortable place for the software giant to find itself.

Thu, 4 Sep 08
What's Hot: Used Apple iPhones
As the head of a company that sells used consumer electronics, David Chen follows sales of the iPhone with the precision of a mathematician. At the outset, the price of the first version of Apple's music-playing wireless device behaved as expected: When the newer iPhone 3G hit store shelves, demand for the earlier iteration plummeted. Then the unexpected happened. Within days of the iPhone 3G launch, demand for used, older iPhone models began rising, and prices began a steady climb. "We've been raising our prices over the past few weeks," says Chen, who runs NextWorth.com.

Thu, 4 Sep 08
Document Standards Dispute Leaves ISO Battered
A decision to dismiss appeals against the controversial fast-track approval of a Microsoft document format has provoked six members of global standards-setting body ISO to question ISO's relevance. Brazil, India, South Africa and Venezuela -- countries with fast-growing IT markets -- had appealed against ISO's stamp of approval for Microsoft Office Open XML, an endorsement likely to help the software giant win more public-sector contracts. A significant minority of national standards bodies had voted against approving the Microsoft format.

Wed, 3 Sep 08
Mic-Equipped Sony PSP-3000 to Hit Japan This Fall
Sony will launch a new version of its PlayStation Portable this fall in Japan, the company announced Tuesday. The PSP-3000, which Sony debuted in August, features a new high contrast LCD screen and built-in microphone. The revamped handheld gaming device also offers twice the memory of previous models, 4 GB, and boasts improved graphics. Sony will release new accessories as well, including a battery pack and cradle. The device will hit Japanese store shelves on October 16 at a retail price of about $182.

Wed, 3 Sep 08
Google Burnishes Chrome for Browser Battle
Google is getting into the browser game with its first beta release of Chrome. The long-rumored open source project is scheduled to become available to users in 100 countries Tuesday, starting a new battle for loyalty within the Internet Explorer and Firefox user bases. Chrome boasts a slew of features designed to improve stability and speed. The question, though, is whether the company that revolutionized Web search can make a dent in the already competitive browser market -- or whether its offering will fizzle in comparison to the offerings already up for grabs.

Wed, 3 Sep 08
Nokia Set to Open Comes With Music Buffet
So far, no mobile phone company has been able to make subscribers dance to its tune with a wildly popular, downloadable-to-handset music service. Yet Nokia, the world's biggest maker of mobile phones, still wants in on the action, so it's announcing that the first handset preloaded with its Comes with Music service will be sold in the United Kingdom in October. The subscription-based service is already making news with one big difference: Once your membership comes to an end, you'll still be able to keep all the tracks you downloaded.

Wed, 3 Sep 08
Google Tailors YouTube for Suits
Google is adding a video-sharing application called "Google Video for Business" to its Google Apps suite. It is designed to be a channel for companies to communicate internally with their employees. There are a number of use cases for the Software as a Service application, according to Google: It can be used for training; for making corporate announcements more personal; and for sharing information in the familiar YouTube format without making it public.

Wed, 3 Sep 08
iPhone to Go Legit in Russia via 2 Carriers
The gray market for unlocked iPhones in Russia will soon be turning white and black to match the latest colors available for the iPhone 3G -- MegaFon, the third largest cellular service carrier in Russia will be officially selling Apple's popular iPhone. Like previous heads-up announcements by other carriers that have signed with Apple, MegaFon's statement is brief: "MegaFon today announced it has signed an agreement with Apple to bring the iPhone to Russia later this year," reads its English translation.

Wed, 3 Sep 08
Touch-Screen Voting: It's Been Tried, but Can It Be Trusted?
Less than a decade ago, it seemed touch-screen had the touch. In the years after the 2000 Florida general election controversy, election officials worried about public confidence in voting and, fueled by $3 billion in federal funding for election improvements, presided over a swift transformation of the American voting experience. In just six years, the number of counties using electronic direct-entry voting systems tripled, while those using punch cards and paper ballots fell by two-thirds, according to Election Data Services, which tracks the usage of voting equipment.

Wed, 3 Sep 08
Reasons to Be Cheerful or Angry - Your Choice
Well, Labor Day is here and gone again, and the footloose, fancy-free days of summer are over for another year. It may warrant the shedding of a small tear or two, but we here in the Linux community are fortunate to have so much uplifting and entertaining news these days to keep our spirits up. Besides the highly comical Microsoft-Seinfeld alliance, which we wrote about last week, bloggers on the Linux Loop were speculating this week that Linux's market share may be as high as 20 percent or more, for example. That would certainly be something to celebrate!

Wed, 3 Sep 08
Is Social Networking an Asset or Liability for Your Company?
It's not a question of whether social networking will influence your company, customers, employees, suppliers and others, it's a matter of when. If you haven't committed to learn more about this area, it's time. Deciding if social networking is going to be an asset or liability is dependent on how your company chooses to approach it. Companies who look first to their communications objectives and selectively choose which aspects of social networking can accentuate their messaging are the most successful.

Wed, 3 Sep 08
Road-Tripping With the iPhone 3G
Some pundits have suggested the iPhone is the Swiss Army knife of mobile phones. Having spent a month with it, including taking it on vacation to Vermont, I've come to see it more as the Mini Cooper of communicators. As with that status car, the package is small while the cost of ownership is high. The initial, $199 come-on price is attractive for the new iPhone 3G. But the larger-capacity 16 GB model is $299. With activation fees and taxes, our bill for two iPhones came to $700 before my wife and I made our first calls.

Wed, 3 Sep 08
Physics Collides With Rap in Hadron Tunnels
Who says science doesn't turn people on? Kate McAlpine is a rising star on YouTube for her rap performance -- about high-energy particle physics. Her performance has drawn a half-million views so far on YouTube. The 23-year-old Michigan State University graduate and science writer raps about the Large Hadron Collider, the groundbreaking particle accelerator that has been built in a 17-mile circular tunnel at the CERN laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland.

Wed, 3 Sep 08
OnStar Beefs Up Command Center to Guide Gustav Evacuees
For the most part, the callers were calm, patiently asking for the fastest path out of New Orleans or some other Gulf Coast city as Hurricane Gustav twisted its way to the northwest. They started calling General Motors' OnStar service by the thousands early Saturday, and by Sunday, their numbers had grown to well over 3,000 per hour. "There's a lot of people that are stranded on the evacuation routes," said Brad Williams, a service manager for the automaker's motorist help line who was overseeing OnStar's response from a command center in downtown Detroit.

Tue, 2 Sep 08
Blending Visual Computing and Visual Networking
Two of my favorite attractions at Disneyland when I was growing up and working at the park, and which are no longer there, were the Carousel of Progress and the House of the Future. Both showcased a future based on the thinking that was going on when I was born. They did this by creating models, miniatures of cities and full-sized representations of the home, rooms, and appliances inside them. The Carousel of Progress started with the past and moved to the future, while the House of the Future existed in a future that almost came to pass.

Mon, 1 Sep 08
Test Driving the Next Generation of Fuel Technology
Tom Albert drove his loaner Chevrolet Equinox like any other car. He took it to work during the week, picked up groceries, and loaded up the back with bags of soil at the garden store. When his infant son was fussy, Albert drove the newborn around the block to calm him down. The normal driving experience ended, however, when it came time to fuel the car. Aboard the silent vehicle, Albert had two filling stations to choose from in the Washington, D.C., area, and the fuel -- hydrogen -- was anything but typical.

Mon, 1 Sep 08
Cell Phones Make Headway in Education
Cell phones have long been anathema in the classroom, banned as a potential distraction, at best, and as a possible vehicle for cheating, at worst. But lately, educators have begun changing their tune on mobile phones. Abilene Christian University will hand out Apple's iPhone 3G smartphone to two-thirds of this year's entering class of 950 freshmen. Students will be expected to use the devices to brainstorm ideas and get virtual handouts and podcasts during class. Instructors will use them for such tasks as monitoring attendance.

Mon, 1 Sep 08
Social Media Exposes the Corporate Psychopath
Truth or dare. We dare you -- CMO, brand manager, PR-communications specialist, CRM manager, or whoever you are -- to have your company authentically enter into the innovative realm of online social media, the world of Facebook and other networking sites -- or as it is known in shorthand, "Web 2.0." Not ready yet? Afraid you won't have control of what happens? C'mon, we double dare you. Still, not that daring? OK. If you won't take the dare, you have to tell the truth. Is your company customer-focused? "Yes, of course," you answer without thinking. Seriously now, be honest.

Mon, 1 Sep 08
The Penny Arcade Guys: Gamers Gone Pro
They are living the dream -- assuming turning video games into sustenance is your goal. In 1998, high-school best friends Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins were drawing superhero comics in their Spokane, Wash., apartment. Undeterred by their loss in a magazine's comic-strip contest, they'd set up their Web site for their strip, which survived on PayPal donations from readers. Then they made a big jump to advertising on the site, but their paying clients barely covered food.

Mon, 1 Sep 08
Charity Fundraising: Going Virtual
Fayandria Foley helped reel in big bucks in July with one of the year's most curious fundraisers. She helped pull together an American Cancer Society Relay for Life, which is typically a walkathon locally. More than 2,000 showed up -- or didn't, actually. Everyone at Foley's relay stayed home to participate. The relay took place in the Web universe of Second Life. Second Life is a three-dimensional video world where players can create an online personality.


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