Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

NewsWatch Archives

IHS: A Korean War Would Be Catastrophic To Global Electronics Business

The market research firm IHS points out that South Korea is vital to global electronics markets because of its dominance in producing two-thirds of all DRAMs and 70 per cent of  tablet display screens.

If war breaks out the result would be "chaos."

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The Competitive Advantage Of Amazon: Its Amazing Shareholders

Amazon today reported a $82 million net profit on $16.1 billion in sales for its fiscal first quarter and warned that it might lose more than one-third of a billion dollars ($340m) in its current quarter.

The unremakable financial performance, and the warning of a large loss, didn't upset shareholders by much:

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The Dark Side Of HTML5 - DRM Open Web Betrayal


The Free Culture Foundation is warning that Google, Microsoft, Netflix, and giant Hollywood music and movie companies, are pushing for an extension to the  HTML5 standard that will give them control over who can access web content.

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White House AP Story - Apparent Parody

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Chips News Roundup: Memory Is A Mess; Chip Startups Are Squeezed

[Matt Grimshaw offers a weekly roundup of news affecting the largest US tech industry.]

By Matt Grimshaw, Editorial Director, Future-Fab International

Change seems to be the only constant left in this age of double caffeinated, taurine infused hyper-communication. Icons seem to be a thing of a bygone era, now the world is populated by sharks; to stop swimming is to die. The Chip industry in particular is facing several key infliction points in parallel.

We’re entering an age of exponential change, in everything we know and take for granted, and the chip industry is no different. In fact it’s the chip business that is the catalyst for most of the changes; well what do you think runs your gadgets, laptops, TV’s and the like?

Well you haven’t seen anything yet – if some of the Star Trek Tech that I see coming from Universities is anything to go by prepared to not only accept change, but have that change happen to your physical being – for an idea of that which I speak take a look at this presentation by Juan Enriquez speaking at TED.

The News This Week…

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Chip News: Semiconductor Industry Struggles With Social Media . . . And Moore's Law

[Matt Grimshaw offers a weekly roundup of news affecting the largest US tech industry.]

By Matt Grimshaw, Editorial Director, Future-Fab International

It’s been a whirlwind of a week… you know the sort; you wake up on Monday go to work and then it’s like some sort of Hollywood blur/FFWD cut scene…then POW it’s Friday and you’re left with a distinct sense of “what the hell just happened??”.

During the blur, flashbacks of memorable occurrences stand out; things like distinct conversations and hanging out in a bar with three PR gurus (names omitted to save them) mid week to discuss that favorite subject of Tom Foremski’s – the emergence of New Media and the struggles of Old.

The Semiconductor industry is not immune to the effects of this trend. Although it isn’t what you’d call a trend setter, hell it’s not even a fast follower being more akin to an arthritic tortoise plodding along in the dust cloud of a rather speedy hare muttering things like “pesky kids…when I were a lad we did things differently” etc.

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Newswatch: Ballmer Reflects on Search -WSJ

Friday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Microsoft's John Schappert coming back to EA -SFGate

The return of Schappert is the latest in a number of EA-Microsoft moves. Peter Moore, the former head of Microsoft's Xbox business, left Redmond in 2007 to become president of the EA Sports label. Don Mattrick, a former EA president, made the jump to Microsoft earlier that year and eventually replaced Moore.

Ballmer: We Should Have Built Search Sooner -WSJ

“In our industry, the No. 1 mistake that people make is that they quit too early,” Ballmer said during comments to the Executives’ Club of Chicago. “If you look back at any great technology business, it took a while to build up.”

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Newswatch: Wireless Marketplace Competition is White Hot -Reuters

Thursday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

U.S. wireless providers debate about competition -Reuters

The issue of exclusive agreements among some of the biggest companies like Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) iPhone and service provider AT&T Inc (T.N) is at the center of some lawmakers' concerns about whether such practices hinder competition and innovation.

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Newswatch: Silicon's Heir; HTTPS Advocates; Cyber Squatting on Facebook

Wednesday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Stanford scientists discover a possible successor to silicon

The researchers found that electrons in a chemical compound called bismuth telluride have a unique property: They can travel without resistance, losing no energy. This suggests that there might be a new way to carry more information than silicon-based chips can handle.

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Newswatch: Google Sets Dangerous Precendent -NYTimes

Tuesday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Use Their Work Free? Some Artists Say No to Google -NYTimes

“When a company like Google comes out very publicly and expects that the market would just give them free artwork, it sets a very dangerous precedent.”

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Newswatch: Moving the Ball in Realtime -TechCrunchIT

Monday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Hanging on for dear life -TechCrunchIT

With Oracle swallowing Sun, the enterprise dynamics have swung hard to right, past cloud computing, and directly into the mobile identity landrush. It’s easy to pigeonhole smart phones as the latest version of Studio 54 society politics, but in fact our identities are being consolidated around the SIM chip, with our social graph around the Follow/Track architecture of Twitter and its subsidiaries.

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Chip News Roundup - Strange Things Are Afoot At TSMC . . . And A New Periodic Element

[Matt Grimshaw offers a weekly roundup of news affecting the largest US tech industry.]

By Matt Grimshaw, Editorial Director, Future-Fab International

It seems as if the chip industry is working its way through the procedure to recover from a heavy night….It woke up with a bad hangover, memory loss and for some strange reason; random street furniture on or around it’s bed (take your pick; traffic cone, street sign, car tyre etc).

Then it had its black coffee, whilst sifting through broken memories of the night before and now feels strong enough to face some food…

Nervously picking through a pile of eggs & toast hoping that it can hold it down long enough to get its blood sugar levels back to something nearing the standard classification of ‘alive’.

I’m not sure why, but this week seemed to indicate a sense of normality (if there is such a thing in this business) returning, an emergence from the fog of earnings (or lack of) announcements and a recommencing of the usual lunacy surrounding the tech business that allows all other tech businesses to exist in the first place…

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Newswatch: Act of Work a Collective Journey -ZDNet

Friday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Reconciling social computing with the enterprise -ZDNet

Jeff Jarvis and Michael Arrington made similar points over the weekend about process vs. product, ostensibly about their particular industry (journalism) and how social processes are competing — often more effectively, though very differently — with traditional, non-social “product” creations, namely news stories.

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The Comeback Of Wall Street's Bad Boy Internet Analyst : A Henry Blodget Retrospective . . .


Henry Blodget was the poster boy Internet analyst that everyone loved to hate during the Internet mania years. He could and did move markets with his analysis. He often chose outrageous targets for companies such as Amazon and he was often right.

But when the dotcom boom turned into a dot bomb he became the most visible target for the backlash to all the Internet hype and tears of many broken investors. And he also became a target for an army of lawyers.

Mr Blodget was barred from the securities industry and forced to pay a $4 million fine.

A lot of people took pleasure in his downfall. The British love to use a German word "schadenfreude" to describe that peculiar aspect of human nature.

Yesterday, that whole affair came to a close. The fines that Mr Blodget and top Wall Street firms had paid into a fund had been paid out to qualified plaintiffs, and there was money left over.

Mr Blodget wrote about this on Silicon Alley Insider, a New York based news site that he founded and that is very successful. (The site is a testament to Mr Blodget's continued analytical prowess.)

As most of you know--and as some of you are fond of observing when I say something you disagree with--back in 2003, I was named in a civil fraud complaint the SEC brought against Wall Street after the dotcom research and investment-banking scandals. As you may also know, I paid $4 million (oof) to settle my share of that charge, and I got booted out of the securities industry.

There follows an interesting account of what happened to his $4 million (plus $200K interest - the headline gives it away :) Blodget's SEC Fine To Reduce National Debt By $4.2 Million

But it's the comments that added a lot to his post. People are sharing how they were trading in those heady days and the huge effect of Mr Blodget's words on the market -- and on their fortunes

For example:

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Newswatch: “Base Model” of the Internet Will Be Paid -ZDNet

Thursday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Free broadband won't entice all -BBC

Some 42% of adults said that they had no interest or need for the internet. This so-called self-excluded group tended to be older or retired, with 61% confessing to never having used a computer.

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Newswatch: Orphans are Books Still Protected by Copyrights -NYTimes

Wednesday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

U.S. Presses Antitrust Inquiry Into Google Book Settlement -NYTimes

The Justice Department has sent the requests, called civil investigative demands, to various parties, including Google, the Association of American Publishers, the Authors Guild and individual publishers, said Michael J. Boni, a partner at Boni & Zack, who represented the Authors Guild in negotiations with Google.

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Newswatch: iPhone Upgrades; Tech Taxes; A Sun Proxy

Tuesday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Apple unveils faster iPhone with new features -SFGate

Tim Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies, said Apple is migrating the iPhone even more toward becoming a true mobile computer, in the process distancing itself from rivals who are having trouble keeping up.

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Newswatch: Ozzie is walking HTML 5 and pitching to Twitter Reader -TechCrunchIT

Monday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Ozzie at the Bat -TechCrunchIT

Ozzie knows this is the line in the sand Google is trying to draw with Wave, Chrome, and Android: that open standards will force Microsoft to comply with standards-based technologies that will reduce IE’s control of the browser landscape. Yet throughout his Valley sojourn, Ozzie reflected a confidence

Intel Exec Points Up Quirks In the Mobile Market -WSJ

Rather than always relying on a wireless router or access point as a shortstop for making Wi-Fi connections, Intel is backing software to make it easier for laptops to communicate directly with Wi-Fi-equipped cameras, electronic picture frames, printers–and even a robot that appeared on stage with Eden.

Hacking Traction: The Dark Side of Marketing Optimization -GigaOM

Multivariate testing and other optimization schemes can be a great way to make a good product even better, and they are underutilized by many companies. But too many startups have begun misusing such traction techniques as a strategy rather than as a tactic, inadvertently destroying the feedback needed to build a great product.

Search (and Destroy) Engines -h+

It has been suggested that this recent rise in online vigilantism was unique to China, partially because so many involved are educated but underemployed. For thousands of years, China was the source of social innovations, and with the world's biggest crowds and a new focus on crowdsourcing "justice"; China may again have generated a civilization-wide advance in governance.

Microsoft exec sees lower margins from "cloud" -Reuters

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Newswatch: Apple has a Variety of New Gadgets -Reuters

Friday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Suspense builds ahead of Apple extravaganza -Reuters

While many analysts believe Apple has a variety of new gadgets in the pipeline -- from new iPhone models to a long rumored, so-called tablet mini-PC -- the company has said the conference will focus on important but less sexy software operating system upgrades.

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Bain Survey: Tech And Telecoms Least Concerned About Recession

Bain & Company released its 12th "Bain’s Management Tools & Trends Survey." One of the findings was that tech and telecom execs were the least concerned about long-term impact from the recession and are the most focused on innovation. 70% said they could "dramatically" boost innovation through collaboration.

Financial services execs were the most pessimistic about their outlook, believing the recession will alter consumer behavior for at least three years.

Here's a few more findings from the Bain survey of 1400 top executives worldwide:

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Newswatch: Online Video Views New High -GigaOm

Thursday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

U.S. Video Views Up 16% in April to New High -NYTimes

While the number of U.S. video viewers continues to hold at something like 78 percent of the country’s Internet population, the number of videos they’re watching continues to soar.

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Newswatch: Java Apps; Facebook Credits; YouTube Exands to Boob Tube

Wednesday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Oracle CEO wants more Java on netbooks, devices -Reuters

"You'll see us get very aggressive with Java, and developing Java apps for things like telephones and netbooks," he told programmers attending a Java users conference in San Francisco. "There will be computers that are fundamentally based on Java."

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Newswatch: Frontline Chat and Tweet with the U.S. Military -AP

Tuesday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

APNEWSBREAK: US military tweets -AP

Many military commands and individual troops have long used social networking sites. The Air Force and Army have Facebook pages, as does Gen. Ray Odierno, the top commander in Iraq. But the new effort in Afghanistan is the first in an active war zone to attempt to harness the power of social networking sites as a primary tool to release information.

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Survey Shows Top Searchers Use Many Search Engines

Microsoft, with its new Bing search service should get some cheer from Nielsen Online. It surveyed "heavy searchers" the top 20 per cent of users that generate 80 per cent of all searches. It found that 72 per cent use 3 or more search engines per month.

Nielsen also found that nearly one third (30 per cent) of those using Google, also use MSN/Windows Live. The company says that this "disloyalty" means Microsoft could have a smaller hurdle in getting users behind Bing. It also likes MSFT's focus on key verticals such as travel, shopping, health and local search as being a good strategy rather than "simply trying to make a better Google."

Foremski's Take:

There's nothing "simply" about making a better Google. Nielsen doesn't say anything about who are the heavy searchers and why they do so many searches.

Heavy searchers are not necessarily heavy spenders. MSFT needs to convince a large number of the 80 per cent of regular searchers to use its search services. And that's tough because it must become a user habit rather than an occasional foray to find cheap travel deals.

DOJ Probes Hiring Pact Among Top Tech Firms: GOOG, APPL, YHOO...

The Deal Pipeline reports that the Department of Justice is investigating a possible pact between top US tech companies not to poach each other's top executives. If true, it would be a violation of the 1890 Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

Cecile Kohrs Lindell, reports :

According to Washington antitrust lawyers, the Department of Justice antitrust division's networks and technology section, led by chief James Tierney, has sent letters to at least a dozen major computer hardware and software companies. Google Inc., Yahoo! Inc. and Apple Inc. are believed to be among the recipients, as is at least biotechnology firm, Genetech Inc.

. . .The letters suggest that antitrust division lawyers suspect that some of the targeted companies have agreed not to poach each others' employees. Such an agreement, if DOJ lawyers can prove it exists, could be a violation of the nation's oldest antitrust law, the Sherman Act of 1890, which prohibits agreements among competitors that result in restraint of trade.

Foremski's Take:

The DOJ, under the new leadership of Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney, seems to be determined to find some type of anti-trust behavior by top US tech firms, especially Google. But this investigation seems to be clutching at straws. Even if true, it would probably not result in a criminal prosecution. The Deal Pipeline reports that the letters are in the form of a Civil Investigative Demand.

Critics of large companies such as Google are quick to accuse it of violating anti-trust because of its dominance in online advertising markets and its role on the Internet. However, there is no law against success. Anti-trust laws are designed to prevent criminal business activities.

UPDATE: Two days behind: The Washington Post reports "Federal Antitrust Probe Targets Tech Giants, Sources Say"

Newswatch: Cyber Turf Wars; Social Media ROI; "The Stacker"

Monday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Does Social Media Need an ROI? No and Yes. -elites tv

Just as a consumer will “tune out” interruption marketing that is too company-centric, corporations will eventually fatigue of soft programs that can’t be tracked to something: improving reputation, increasing awareness, and ultimately driving sales).

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Federated Media Loses Co-Founder - Chas Edwards Leaves For Digg

chas-edwards-photo-300x225.jpg.jpeg This one surprised me: Chas Edwards, a co-founder of Federated Media Publishing, an ad network pioneering "conversational marketing," announced he is leaving to join Digg, one of FM's clients.

Recently, John Battelle, another co-founder said he would step down as CEO but remain on staff. These top level changes come during tough economic times but most ad networks seem to be growing and doing well. (Please see: Adify: Everything Is Hunky Dory In Online Advertising.) It is not clear if the changes at the top have anything to do with FM's performance since it is a private company.

Mr Edwards was considered by many in the industry to be FM's most valuable asset because of his long experience in online advertising markets, especially his work at CNET.

Here is his farewell note:

In the coming weeks I’ll be joining some old friends and business colleagues at Digg, to be its publisher and chief revenue officer.

Time for a New Adventure

Newswatch: News Corp Looking to Sell Access -Reuters

Friday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

RumorMill: Amazon to Open Web Services API's? _CloudComputing

From a legal standpoint this would help negate some of the concerns around API liability. Amazon is known to have an extensive patent portfolio and in past has not been afraid to enforce it. A clear policy regarding the use of their API's would certainly help companies that up until now have been reluctant to adopt them.

News Corp hopes for broader ad deal with Google -Reuters

According to recent media reports, Google is seeking to renegotiate the deal at a significant discount to the current terms, which popular IT blog Tech Crunch pegged at $300 million a year.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer: Bing! -AllThingsDigital

Does Bing mean that your interest in Yahoo (YHOO) is waning? Ballmer jokingly recites the standard bullet points. “I think there’s a lot that can make sense in terms of a search partnership, not an acquisition,” he says in a monotone. “Whether such a thing will happen I don’t know.”

Bloodied by Google, Microsoft Tries Again on Search -NYTimes

The stakes for Microsoft could not be higher. Search has become the central tool for navigating the Web, and ads tied to search results are becoming an ever more important piece of the advertising market.

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Newswatch: Live Blogging Gets a Boost -TechCrunchIT

Thursday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Free as in Android -TechCrunchIT

Streaming video servers will become the gas stations of the near future, parking enough bits to finesse the look-ahead of new video as it hits the network, perhaps caching your favorite sites or follows based on your and your affinity cloud’s behavior.

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Newswatch: iTunes Set to Expand More in Europe; Microsoft thinking about Yahoo?

Wednesday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

What if the new name for Microsoft Live Search is ... Yahoo? -ZDNet

Microsoft quietly registered a limited liability company (LLC) last week, which points to the company being poised to make an acquisition or joint venture.

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Newswatch: Singularity and the Next "Great Dawn" -NYtimes

Monday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

The Coming Superbrain -NYTimes

The concept of ultrasmart computers — machines with “greater than human intelligence” — was dubbed “The Singularity” in a 1993 paper by the computer scientist and science fiction writer Vernor Vinge. He argued that the acceleration of technological progress had led to “the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth.” This thesis has long struck a chord here in Silicon Valley.

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Newswatch: iUniversities; R&D Holds Steady; Broadband Grants Delayed

Friday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Microsoft: No defense hearing in EU case -AP

"We believe that holding the hearing at a time when key officials are out of the country would deny Microsoft our effective right to be heard and hence deny our 'rights of defense' under European law," said Dave Heiner, Microsoft's deputy general counsel.

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Newswatch: Craigslist Founder Calls Social-Media Participation Patriotic -WSJ

Thursday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Ray Ozzie Asserts Microsoft’s Position In The Cloud -TechCrunchIT

...every company, every ISV is going to have some blend of software that runs on-premises and some that runs in the cloud, and everyone wants tools that they can use to in essence deploy some apps to part of their organization that might be in the cloud, another part of their organization that might be on-premises, to do that on an application by application or region by region by region or program by program basis.”

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Newswatch: Hard to Imagine "Turning it Off"

Wednesday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Is there any ‘turning it off’?

Ironic that Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, exhorted University of Pennsylvania graduates in a commencement speech yesterday to turn off their computers and phones to “discover all that is human around us.” Google has many of us so deeply invested into its offerings that some of us are practically paralyzed when we can’t access its services for a few hours.

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Newswatch: Dynamic Links; Twitter Tools; Comcast Complaints

Tuesday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Google CEO urges grads: 'Turn off your computer' -AP

"Turn off your computer. You're actually going to have to turn off your phone and discover all that is human around us," Schmidt said. "Nothing beats holding the hand of your grandchild as he walks his first steps."

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Newswatch: Schooling the Mass Market to Pay for Content

Monday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

A want to break free

Charging for consumer media content "may work for specific niches of content and consumers", Mr Lancefield argues, "but it can't be just repackaged and repurposed. To tip people into the fee-paying world, it will have to be distinctive and new". Yet making more distinctive content will be hard for companies simultaneously cutting costs in reaction to plunging revenues.

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Newswatch: Apples's WDC Will Have 1,000 Engineers On Hand -Reuters

Thursday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Apple sets tech conference date -Reuters

Apple has said it expects Jobs to return in late June, meaning investors and the media will be looking for any update to that timetable at the June 8 conference.

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Newswatch: Sun's Other Suitor; Google Updates Search; Microsoft's 3-D Camera

Wednesday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Sun Had Another Interested Suitor Besides IBM and Oracle -WSJ

Sun Microsystems wasn’t just courted by IBM and Oracle before the latter agreed to buy the computer maker. A new regulatory filing by Sun also describes a mysterious “Party B” that remained in the bidding–though an apparent longshot–until Friday, April 17, two days before Sun and Oracle signed the purchase agreement.

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Newswatch: Google Discovers Radio is Not Like Web -WSJ

Tuesday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Radio Tunes Out Google in Rare Miss for Web Titan -WSJ agencies, fearing Google's technology would put them out of business, were a tough audience. Google refused to create bundles of spots and negotiate prices ahead of time, which was how radio was generally sold, say people familiar with the discussions.

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Newswatch: Intel Ordered to Change "Naked Restrictions" to Competition - Reuters

Monday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

EU to find Intel anti-competitive: sources -Reuters

The European Commission is set to decide on Wednesday to fine the world's largest chipmaker and order changes to its business practices for what the EU executive sees as "naked restrictions" to competition, the sources said.

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Newswatch: FTC Taking a Closer Look at Google's Search Dominance -AP

Friday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Google CEO doesn't see problem with his Apple role -SFGate

Walker told reporters that Google is "comfortable" that it doesn't generate enough revenue in the same markets as Apple for Schmidt's and Levinson's dual roles on the companies' boards to violate antitrust law.

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Newswatch: "The Fulltexters Won" -TechCrunchIT

Thursday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Rest in Peace, RSS -TechCrunchIT

Today, RSS is a shell of its former self, casually subsumed as the transport for 140+ content into the social stream. There, RSS items are fed into aggregators and husked for their behavioral signals, packaged as Tweets and sold for pennies on the whuffie dollar. The mainstream media, once cowed by the fulltexters, now masquerades as blog sites and competes for shortened URLs alongside the bloggers they deride under their breath.

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Newswatch: Answerbots; Google as Monopoly and Obama's Offshore Tax Proposal

Wednesday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Disney looks beyond traditional studio model -Reuters

Disney said on Tuesday it will continue to reposition itself for a changing marketplace as industrywide DVD sales slump and as more and more consumers look online for content, even though a clear business model for online distribution has not yet emerged.

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Newswatch: Google Will Not Escape Scrutiny From Regulators -NYTimes

Tuesday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Apple and Google Ties Investigated -NYTimes

Antitrust experts say that investigations of interlocking directorates rarely lead to major confrontations between companies and the government. Executives typically choose to resign from the board of a competitor if it poses a problem rather than face a lengthy investigation or a bruising legal fight.

E.U. to Hear Proposal for Cross-Border Net Copyright -NYTimes

Depending on how the commissioners seek to have the license granted, a single E.U. license would force collecting agencies to make themselves a more attractive place to do business or else lose the copyright fees to another country.

Google Aims to Woo the Enterprise With Its Cloud -GIGaom

The premise of these platforms is they take away the complexity of managing a bunch of actual machines (even if they are in the cloud), but still allow developers to build customized programs. However, with that simplicity comes a loss of control. Some developers dislike the way App Engine requires them to handle data and have complaints over the proprietary nature of the standards Google uses, which means that apps built in App Engine won’t easily port to another platform.

Tech companies object to Obama's plan to crack down on overseas tax havens -MercuryNews

While not eliminating deferral, Obama would change the law that lets companies take an immediate deduction on their U.S. income tax for business expenses tied to overseas operations, such as interest on a loan to build a foreign factory. According to a White House fact sheet, the proposal would raise $60 billion over nine years by requiring companies to defer those deductions until they pay U.S. taxes on the income from those operations.

Hulu and YouTube compete for online video audience -MercuryNews

"Generating revenue from user-generated content is very, very difficult, and that's probably being generous," said Josh Martin, a senior analyst at the Yankee Group, a technology research firm. "The reason Hulu's been successful is that it's providing the content that people want."

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Newswatch: Real Time Information; Popularity Based Search

Monday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

An invention that could change the internet for ever -The Independent

Computer experts believe the new search engine will be an evolutionary leap in the development of the internet. Nova Spivack, an internet and computer expert, said that Wolfram Alpha could prove just as important as Google. "It is really impressive and significant," he wrote. "In fact it may be as important for the web (and the world) as Google, but for a different purpose.

Cyber chief needs to be in White House: experts -Reuters

Gregory Nojeim, senior counsel for the Center for Democracy and Technology, said his group had urged that the task of ensuring cybersecurity be given to the Department of Homeland Security, not the National Security Agency, or NSA, which is responsible for breaking codes and electronic spying.

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Newswatch: A More Social Google; Oracle's SaaS Efforts Show Profit

Friday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Apple building chip design capability: report -Reuters

An Apple spokesman confirmed the company has hired both Bob Drebin, former chief technology office of the graphics products group at chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices and Raja Koduri, who previously held the same position.

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Newswatch: AOL Spins Off; Apple to Build Own Chips

Thursday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Time Warner Is Moving Closer to AOL Spinoff -NYTimes

In a regulatory filing Wednesday, Time Warner said it was nearing a decision to spin off America Online, and put an end to the travails that began with the merger in 2000 of the two companies, a deal that has resulted in the evaporation of more than $100 billion of shareholder value.

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Newswatch: Cloud Strategies and the Debate Between Private and Public Clouds; Online Video Gains Meta Attention

Wednesday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

The Perfect Strategy for the Cloud -CloudComputing

With the evolution of the cloud, it's not hard to see why so many young startups are jumping into the arena. The key for many companies looking to implement effective cloud computing/storage solutions is how to differentiate one from another within a crowded space. A hot button topic within the market place is the debate of public vs. private clouds, which is better? Which is more cost-effective?

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Newswatch: Privacy Advocates Pressure Big Companies -Reuters

Tuesday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

FTC says Internet firms near "last chance" -Reuters

Companies that track consumer behavior on the Web for targeted advertising without proper consent are near their "last chance" to self-regulate, the head of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Monday.

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Newswatch: Global Audiences and the International Paradox -NYTimes

Monday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

In Developing Countries, Web Grows Without Profit -NYTimes

Web companies that rely on advertising are enjoying some of their most vibrant growth in developing countries. But those are also the same places where it can be the most expensive to operate, since Web companies often need more servers to make content available to parts of the world with limited bandwidth. And in those countries, online display advertising is least likely to translate into results.

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Newswatch: IBM Makes Cloud Plans; Myspace Changes CEO Profile

Friday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

IBM plans cloud computing services for 2009 -Reuters

In addition to the service for developers, the company also plans to introduce clouds that allow businesses to run business applications and virtualize personal computer networks, Sims said. Much of the technology was developed using know-how that IBM developed through a partnership with Google to develop cloud services for academic computing that dates back to 2007, she said.

MySpace co-founder DeWolfe to step down -SFGate

DeWolfe is expected to move onto a new startup, following the path of several executives who left MySpace last month including former Chief Operating Officer Amit Kapur.

Former Facebook Exec Van Natta Set to Take Over at MySpace, as Founder DeWolfe Prepares to Step Down -AllThings Digital

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Newswatch: Interactive Targeted Ads to Appear on TV Screen -AP

Thursday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Another year of handwringing on cybersecurity -SFGate

Security vendors say they are not doing enough and government officials say they are not doing enough because attacks are getting worse

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Newswatch: More Software and Service Online, Key Growth Areas -Reuters

Wednesday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Internet upstarts left Sun in the dust -SFGate

The demise of Sun Microsystems as an independent company closes the book on one of Silicon Valley's brashest upstarts and shows how great ideas get copied and commoditized in an era of relentless technological change.

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Newswatch: Consolidation may give rise to virtualization software -NYTimes

Tuesday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Cash in Hand, Technology Giants Go Shopping -NYTimes

As the computer business has matured, companies that handcraft products for top performance face a harsh reality: Standard equipment can now handle most business tasks, and what matters most to customers now is large scale — and the low prices that come with it.

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Newswatch: Government hiring hackers, Comcast raises rates as Internet service costs fall

Monday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

As Costs Fall, Companies Push to Raise Internet Price -NYTimes

Comcast told investors that the hardware to provide 50-megabits-per-second service costs less than it had been paying for the equipment for 6 megabits per second.

Story continues...

Newswatch: Youtube Feature Presentations? Google profits up.

Friday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Google's Youtube clinches deal with studios -Reuters

The move underscores Google's efforts to ramp up content on YouTube to attract more advertising dollars. On a blog post, YouTube said only that it was announcing a new destination for TV shows and an improved page for movies, without elaborating.

Story continues...

Newswatch: Spam uses a 2 billion gallon tank worth of energy with greenhouse gas emissions -SFGate

Thursday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Spam is a big polluter in more ways than one -SFGate

According to a study released Wednesday by McAfee Inc., the security technology company in Santa Clara, the amount of energy it takes annually to transmit, process and filter spam from around the world is estimated to be equal to the electricity used in 2.4 million homes in a year

Story continues...

Newswatch: AOL and Yahoo in the courtroom? Seven patents under review. - Reuters

Wednesday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

AOL asks court to rule Yahoo patents not violated -Reuters

According to the complaint, attorneys for Yahoo have alleged in emails and letters sent over the past several years to AOL and Quigo that up to seven Yahoo patents are being infringed.

Story continues...

Newswatch: Talk Is Cheap EBay Decides To Hold Skype, Release StumbleUpon.

Tuesday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Ebay Skype sale unlikely: report -Reuters

A proposed buyout of eBay Inc's Skype led by private equity, including Warburg Pincus and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and the Web telephone company's co-founders is unlikely to be completed, the Wall Street Journal cited sources as saying on its blog on Monday."

Story continues...

Newswatch: Founders Want Skype Back From Ebay; Daily Facebook Makes You Dumber

Monday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Skype Founders May Seek to Buy It Back -NYTimes

Selling Skype would solve a number of problems for eBay, including generating cash for its United States operations. EBay had $3.19 billion in cash at the end of last year, but $2.8 billion of that money is overseas and would be subject to repatriation taxes if the company were to invest it in its ailing United States e-commerce marketplace, according to analysts.

Story continues...

Newswatch: Who Went Down Rabbithole Manhole And Switched Off Silicon Valley's Internet?

Friday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Phone service restored after vandalism shuts it down in Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Santa Cruz County - was as if time turned back a generation. No landlines. No cell phone service. No Internet connection or working ATMs. If people had emergencies, they were told to run outside and flag down passing patrol cars or drive to the nearest fire station.

Story continues...

Newswatch:Google's Free Advice To Newspapers Week Continues; Plus VCs Are Investing Despite Roach Motel-Like Conditions

Thursday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Google’s Schmidt Explains Ranking Results To Publishers; Hint: Not The Answer They Wanted

Newspaper publishers eager to have their results show up as more authoritative than others got a lesson in ranking results from Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt, who told them Google News already does that.

- Google Insists It’s a Friend to Newspapers - NYTimes

Newspaper publishers do not want to cut off the traffic they get from Google’s search and news services and from other search engines. It is technologically simple for any newspaper Web site to keep content off Google and Google News, but few if any newspapers have chosen to do that.

Harris: Venture capitalists feeling less gloomy -

"On the one hand, it's like a Roach Motel: There's no exit market, so money comes in but it can't get out," Shomit Ghose of Onset Ventures told Cannice. "On the other hand, innovation and entrepreneurship continue to barrel along in sixth gear: There's a lot of disruptive investing opportunities out there."

Boston Globe Surprised by Size of Demand for Cuts -

...employees reacted with a mix of resignation and anger Wednesday on learning of the pay and benefit cuts and the lost job security that The New York Times Company wants them to accept...

Applied Materials' $1.9 billion solar panel deal trimmed back to $250 million -

...believed to be one of the biggest such agreements ever signed — has been trimmed back to just $250 million because of the soured economy.

Why Facebook and Twitter are glad they're getting older | Technically Incorrect - CNET News

In just the last two months, the number of Facebook members over 35 has doubled. And the biggest demographic grouping isn't 12-18. It's 35 to 44.

Does AP know how its YouTube channel works? | Digital Media - CNET News

The AP recently sent a letter to WTNQ-FM in Tennessee--an affiliate of the Associated Press, by the way--accusing the country music radio station of copyright violation for embedding videos from the AP's official YouTube channel on its Web site...

- Google releases upgrade to its App Engine

In the new platform, developers will be able to write their programs in Java and deploy them directly to the Web using the Google Web Toolkit. And they will be able to move those programs more easily to other application servers.

- O'Brien: Venture capital needs transparency, not regulations

Venture capital remains way too clubby and secretive. That's out of step with the times. We are living in the age of transparency, where businesses and governments of all stripes are going to be pushed to accept that sharing more information is crucial to building and maintaining trust. I'm not sure VCs get that.

- WiMax coming to the Valley

WiMax has been partly bankrolled by Intel and Google. And in an effort to jumpstart WiMax in Silicon Valley, the Intel and Google corporate campuses will get access to a limited version of the system covering about 20 square miles beginning in late summer.

- Will Wright to leave Electronic Arts -AP

Wright, 49, co-founded Maxis Software in 1989, and Electronic Arts bought it eight years later. He is behind some of the game company's biggest hits, most notably "The Sims," hailed as the best-selling PC game of all time, with more than 100 million units sold around the world.

- Patent suit targets Apple's multi-touch technology - SFGate

Elan, known for providing touch-pads on Asustek Eee PCs, has been down this road with touch-pad maker Synaptics of Santa Clara. The two signed a cross licensing agreement last year after Elan reportedly won an early preliminary injunction.

- Lost in the Real World, Found via Cyberspace

The Internet may allow bad guys to stalk people or steal their identities. But it also makes it easier to give something back, because of sites and tools that can help people reunite strangers with lost valuables like wallets, cellphones and cameras.

- Time Warner Cable Profits Will Grow With Broadband Caps -NYTimes

...the question of what is “fair” is somewhat more abstract than just saying someone who uses more should pay more. After all, people who watch more hours of cable television don’t pay more than those who don’t.

- Cable's answer to online's ad success: targeting -AP

Cable TV operators are taking a page from online advertising behemoths like Google Inc. (GOOG) to bring these so-called "addressable" ads onto the television.

- Cal team uses puppets to demystify nanotech -SFGate

The arcane world of nanotechnology has a chance to become transparently clear to the uninitiated, thanks to a troupe of UC Berkeley science and engineering researchers who in song and puppetology explain it all in a video that has won a national award from the American Chemical Society.

- Era of personalised medicine awaits -BBC

Complete Genomics has published its first genome, in what is called a proof of concept trial, and now plans to scale up its sequencing programme.

- Dashboards meet the 21st century

LCD displays that can show any image or information the car’s computer can conjure are beginning to appear in some new models, and the first car with a video-only instrument panel is due to debut later this year.

- YouTube's Fred is first online video star to break 1M subscribers =LATimes

YouTube's Fred Figglehorn, the screechy, chipmunk-voiced Internet star, has become the first person in the history of online video to amass 1 million subscribers.

Newswatch: Google Tells Newspapers It's Not Our Fault And You Should Have Seen It Coming

Wednesday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Google CEO Calls for New Web Journalism

Google Inc. Chief Executive Eric Schmidt called on newspaper executives to create a "new format" for online journalism, including new delivery models that give consumers personalized content they want to read.

Story continues...

Newswatch: Is Schwartz McNealy's Gil Amelio As Sun Sets On IBM Deal

Tuesday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Will McNealy return?

Sun CEO Faces Pressure Over IBM -

Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's CEO, is under pressure to come up with an alternative for the struggling computer maker if talks with IBM can't be revived.

Story continues...

Silicon Valley News Links

I've been experimenting with a sister site, Silicon Valley Newswire. I get sent a lot of information. Some of it I follow up with interviews and write stories for Silicon Valley Watcher. But there is a lot that I don't have time to cover and it usually it goes to waste. But sometimes the information can be interesting enough on its own.

What I've done is color-coded the content to identify the source. If it is in black type, it is written by me. If it is in red, the content is directly quoted by the person or company that sent it to me. If it is in green, then I have a money relationship with that source or the content was included for a fee (no green content yet). If it is in brown then I might be brown nosing :)

Hopefully this provides some transparency and the reader is better able to judge the content by knowing the source and my motivation. Please let me know if you think there is value in this approach.

Here are some news links:

How do CIOs make smart IT investments?

Boom not gloom: Vindicia predicts profitability from online billing services

If a company is growing, it is probably hiring too. Privately held Vindicia says 2009 revenues will double this year to as much as $8m and make it profitable.

Microsoft search grows in January

Nielsen Online reported the January search rankings.

Hitwise says Google Maps almost catches MapQuest traffic

MapQuest is still the market leader for online maps but Google Maps recently came very close to snatching the lead.

Big telcos say Stimulus Bill would discourage private broadband investment

Scott Cleland says the wording in the Stimulus Bill concerning building broadband infrastructure could harm private investment in Internet infrastructure.

Helping newspapers make money: Trulia and Washington Post

Newspaper companies these days need to make money from many revenue streams.

Boom amid the gloom: Solar power monitoring market boosts Energy Recommerce

There’s a lot of technology needed for getting the most out of solar energy.

How vulnerable is the media to cyber attacks?

It’s a question that The Security Economics Institute of the Business Performance Management (BPM) Forum is trying to answer.

Girls in Tech Incubator presents Circle of Moms co-founder

Adriana Gascoigne, founder of Girls in Tech, says that Ephraim Luft, co-founder and CEO of Circle of Moms will be sharing his experience in building a successful social network, on February 25 in San Francisco.

Free strategy help for entrepreneurs…

Entrepreneurs are at the heart of Silicon Valley and they will be important in reviving the global economy. It’s tough running a business. Sramana Mitra is offering free help.

Cleantech Forum coming up in San Francisco

Cleantech ventures have been getting a lot of funding in Silicon Valley.

BuddyMob social app for Android

Christophe Hocquet writes to tell me about BuddyMob, a highly social application for Google Android mobile phones.

Monday News Watch: Don't Mention the Economy, We Might Get Away With it . . .

News Links for Silicon Valley and beyond...

As much as the tech industry would prefer not to mention the economy there are huge problems out there . . .

FDIC Faces Mortgage Mess

Mervyn's Fights to Keep Stores Open

Businesses Pinched by Tighter Lending

Venture Financing Drops for Youngest Companies As Older Ones Suck Up More Cash

Fair Game: Borrowers and Bankers: A Great Divide

Uncomfortable Answers to Questions on the Economy

Wall Street Journal:

Qualcomm, Nokia Head to Court Over Fees

AT&T Profit May Suffer

Taking Control of Digital Lives

“Wi-Fi Squatting” a Crime – By the Victim

New York Times:

In Egypt, a Thirst for Technology and Progress

News Flash From the Cover of Esquire: Paper Magazines Can Be High Tech, Too

Protest Blog Aims at Tribune Boss

Texas Approves a $4.93 Billion Wind-Power Project

Everybody’s Business: Lessons in Love, by Way of Economics

Linus Torvalds on the "four-letter word" called "innovation"

Microsoft's online gamble: Smart bet?

Waterproof tech: Gadgets that like to swim

Nikon nirvana: Which digital single-lens reflex camera?

Breaking taboos in the tech fishbowl

Highbrow social site Spire hits the scene

Mitnick shows how social engineering is done

San Francisco Chronicle:

That's Not So 'Funny' -Online hangouts proving fruitful for prosecutors, who have used damaging photos of defendants to nail them in court.

Venture Funding Declines

California Is The 32nd State For Spam

San Jose Mercury:

Fandango hopes its helps sales
IBM, Oracle, SAP sued over server software patents
Yahoo, sought by Microsoft, gets more search traffic
AT&T iPhone customers may have to wait three weeks for device
No iPhones? No problem in Russia and China


Tech Is Boring Me — It's time for me to expand.

Hello Goodbye

- - -

Rave reviews find out why! - Order the The Amazon Kindle Electronic Book Reader!

You need video services! Creation, Distribution, Attention. Contact Aron Pruiett at SF Media Collective- 415 533 4487 - Here is a demo reel.

Silicon Valley Watcher Consulting services - call Tom at 415 336 7547

Friday News Watch: Intel Turns 40 . . .

News Links for Silicon Valley and beyond...

The Making Of A Behemouth

Since its incorporation 40 years ago today, Intel Corp. has exemplified the culture of Silicon Valley. Tom Abate

Wall Street Journal:

Google Buys Russian Online Ad Firm

Tech Firms Rise Above Turbulence

Sony Ericsson Hurt by Weak Sales

Police Arrest, Try to Hire Computer Hacker

Russian Billionaire's Yacht Makes Waves

Ledger Dazzles in Suffocatingly Dark 'Knight'

A Cloud Over the U.S. Solar Push

New York Times:

Bits Blog: Google Deliberately Sells Fewer Ads — and May Have Gone Too Far

Wikipedia Tries Approval System to Reduce Vandalism on Pages

Amazon Plans an Online Store for Movies and TV Shows

City Room: What a Pimp Reads

Everybody’s Business: Lessons in Love, by Way of Economics

Legg Mason: We're backing Yahoo

AMD CEO discusses plan to compete with Intel Atom chip

Is Al Gore Nuts?

Torvalds attacks IT industry 'security circus'

New Yahoo filing. A lot like the old Yahoo filing

Yahoo gives prime Net real estate to Icahn-bashing site

AT&T mistakenly announces free Wi-Fi for iPhone users...again

San Francisco Chronicle:

TECH CHRONICLES BlogHer conference starts today in S.F. with a global presence Ladies, start your laptops. The BlogHer 4 convention is rolling into...

San Jose Mercury:

A chat with Yahoo's David Filo

You’re looking for a “TV”? Oh, you mean a living-room monitor with the entertainment interface

Cypress Semiconductor rides the sales power of SunPower

Silicon Valley set to lose yet another public company

Polish exchange for start-ups? No joke.

Thursday Afternoon News Watch: AMD CEO Resigns, GOOG Dissapoints, MSFT's Big Expenses, IBM Beats Forecasts

Advanced Micro Chief Steps Down After Another Loss

Google Earnings Are Below Forecasts, and Shares Fall

I.B.M. Income Rose 22%, Beating Forecasts

Microsoft Profits Are Hurt by Big Expenses

Yahoo's Latest Filing Knocks Icahn Agenda as Risky

Microsoft Posts Gains, Tempers Outlook

Google's Net Jumps, But Disappoints

- - -

Rave reviews find out why! - Order the The Amazon Kindle Electronic Book Reader!

You need video services! Creation, Distribution, Attention. Contact Aron Pruiett at SF Media Collective- 415 533 4487 - Here is a demo reel.

Silicon Valley Watcher Consulting services - call Tom at 415 336 7547

Thursday News Watch: Most Online Communities Fail . . .

News Links for Silicon Valley and beyond...

Why Most Online Communities Fail

One of the hot investments for businesses these days is online communities that help customers feel connected to a brand. But most of these efforts produce fancy Web sites that few people ever visit. The problem: Businesses are focusing on the value an online community can provide to themselves, not the community.

Wall Street Journal:

SAP, Oracle Boost Software Prices

EBay Net Rises Amid Worries

Microsoft Revs Up Talks With AOL

U.S. Worried About China's Hackers

Former Samsung Chairman Found Guilty

San Francisco's Inside Job

New York Times:

Little Interest in Buying AOL as the Unit Is Shopped Again

Apple Sues Psystar to Block Macintosh Clone Sales

Bartering Expands in the Internet Age

Nintendo and Sony Unveil Games

Profit Rises 25% at Intel on Strong Global Demand

San Francisco Chronicle:

Fun And Games

Shine Is On Lower Costs

Rebates Mean More Go Solar

San Jose Mercury:

Microsoft-Yahoo quarrel plays out in Senate

Hi, I’m coordinating the NASA Urine Drive this year. Cup of coffee?

Apple apologizes for MobileMess

Coming up!

Interview with Sam Whitmore- what's going on in media? Sam's Media Survey keeps track of everything...

Also: Kevin Maney and Don Clark, they're competitive journalists but they are in tune - live and on stage at the Rockit Room!

Tuesday News Watch: YHOO, MSFT and Icahn Continue Spatting . . . [Don't they have any businesses to run?]

News Links for Silicon Valley and beyond...

Microsoft Disputes Yahoo's Account

Which Way Is Up? Yahoo, Microsoft and Icahn Can't Agree

From the Inside, Jerry Yang Looks Out for Yahoo

Microsoft says Yahoo misrepresenting latest offer

I’m sorry, Mr. Yang, there are no “do-overs” in roulette

Wall Street Journal:

Intel to Unveil New Centrino

Netflix Comes to the Xbox 360

EBay Decision Shows the Fragmented State of Internet Law

Tech Departments Cutting Back on Big Projects

PCCW Seeks $2.5 Billion for Stake in HKT

Dish to Retry Satellite Orbit

New York Times:

At the Uneasy Intersection of Bloggers and the Law

A Million New iPhones Sold in the First Weekend

As Sold by Google, Ads on Yahoo Could Cost 22 Percent More

Hazards: ID Tags Interfering With Medical Care

Take Two Prozac and E-Mail Me in the Morning

Sales Expected to Fall 20% in Semiconductor Equipment

San Francisco Chronicle:

E3: Shane Kim talks about Microsoft's grand ambitions

Big Strokes Of Mischief

San Jose lab will put solar panels to the test

San Jose Mercury:

Paper's weight: Technology has added to the load

Cell phone companies scramble to halt trafficking

IPhone 3G goes platinum in first weekend

Monday News Watch: Female CEOs in Silicon Valley Down to Zero

News Links for Silicon Valley and beyond...

SJM: Female CEOs at top Silicon Valley tech firms down to zero

Wall Street Journal:

Intel, Others Back DNA Sequencer

Nvidia Aims to Ease PC Maker Issue

Intel's Hard to Copy

A Web Page of One's Own

Nvidia Aims to Ease PC Maker Issue

New York Times:

In House, Tweets Fly Over Web Plan

In Bid for Yahoo, Microsoft Turns More Aggressive

Advertising in Europe Softens, and More Goes to the Internet Deal With EBay Angers Sellers

Older E-Mail Users Favor Fast Replies

Anticipating What’s New at Video-Game Trade Show

Yahoo to MS: Drop the nudnik, maybe we do a deal

Do Flickr's APIs protect its users enough?

San Francisco Chronicle:

A Free Tool To Make Web Pages More Interesting

Google's best friend

San Jose Mercury:

O'Brien: Icahn will prevail in Yahoo struggle

Drilling deeper: Niche 'vertical sites' refine Web searching

Rambus sues Nvidia over patent infringement claims

Former HP exec pleads guilty in trade secrets case


Psst. Have you heard? SEC on the prowl to catch rumor mongers

Friday News Watch: Die! iPhone Mania! Die! Die! Die! . . .

A tidal wave of iPhone stories Thursday swept away many other news stories. I hope the iPhone mania will die very soon but it probably won't. Here is some of the iPhone coverage plus a few stories not about the iPhone.

eBay's iPhone app now out of the box

Twitterrific for the Apple App Store

iPhone OS 2.0 Unlocked (YES!)

Searching on an iPhone can be fun

Microsoft's first iPhone app--Tellme?

Apple Imposes Gag Rule on iPhone Application Makers

Wall Street Journal:

Semiconductor Suppliers Hit by Downturn

EBay Drops PayPal Plan Down Under

Microsoft Ready to Hit Back at Mac Guy

Most Workers Aren’t Satisfied With Their Tech Departments

Tech Diary: Hooked on Chinese Phonics - Video

New York Times:

Apple's Latest Opens a Developers' Playground

Yahoo Is Inviting Partners to Build on Its Search Power

Senators Weigh Possible Rules for Advertising and Online Privacy

SF Chronicle:

You are not reading enough Has the Internet killed the joys of sitting...

Have Highbrow Porn, Will Travel Violet Blue investigates CineKink, the...

Armed man shot to death during raid on marijuana farm near Saratoga

Samsung Instinct breaks Best Buy sales record

Solar PV bulks up

Whole Foods CEO: Bill Gates should consider "conscious capitalism"

Going thin on Road Trip 2008 with the MacBook Air


Put Meebo IM on your desktop with Meebone

Amid the App Store fanfare, Apple releases significant update for AppleTV

Yahoo Patents Anchor Text Relevance in Search Indexing

NxE's Fifty Most Influential ‘Female’ Bloggers

New York Magazine Buys Restaurants Menu Site Menupages

Thursday News Watch: Fake Steve Jobs Gives Up . . . the Real Steve Jobs Keeps on Ticking

Dan Lyons, the former Forbes writer and soon-to-be Newsweek writer, announced Wednesday in a rambling post that he's shutting down the tech industry phenomenon known as The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs. After it launched in 2006, the blog quickly became a must-read for anyone intrigued by Apple, its mercurial founder, and Silicon Valley in general.

Dan Lyons should outsource the diary there must be a lot of people that would want to be Fake Steve for a day. That's still a lot of work. I don't know how the Real Steve does it. Day after day.

Fake Steve Jobs calling it a day

The ‘Fake’ Steve Jobs Is Giving Up Parody Blog


Yahoo Is Inviting Partners to Build on Its Search Power

Apple’s Latest Opens a Developers’ Playground

Verizon to Pay $21 Million to Settle Suit Over Fees

Sun Valley: The Old-Media Death-Watch Continues

Advertisers Bite Back at Regulators, and Microsoft Snipes at Google-Yahoo Deal

Yahoo seeks ad revenue by fueling others' search innovation's indie-music royalty program goes live

Forbes: iPhone App Store could launch Thursday

San Jose Mercury:

Comcast to work with Vonage on Internet traffic management

Sycamore, 3 ex-executives settle SEC charges

Study finds addictive drugs easily ordered online

SF Chronicle:

Flickr, Getty In Photo Deal

Boom In Online Classes

You're Not Reading Enough

Microsoft, Google push for broad Web privacy laws Users should control how...


The Pirate Bay Wants to Encrypt the Entire Internet

Windows is Collapsing

Windows is collapsing under its own weight, Gartner analysts charged this week. (TechNewsWorld)

It takes Microsoft too long to introduce new versions of Windows, and once a new version is released, it takes significant time for the ecosystem to support it and for the release to stabilize. Organizations need to wait for that support and stability and then deal with the enormous task of deployment and management for increasingly nebulous benefits. For Microsoft, its ecosystem and its customers, the situation is untenable.

Accepting all that, empires don't really collapse, they just kind of buckle and groan,'s Ina Fried says in a meandering sort of way. After all it took the Roman Empire about 150 years to finally call it a day in 476 AD.

It might not take that long for the Redmond Empire, though, because the grounds are rapidly shifting out from under Microsoft's entire model. Applications are moving to the browser, operating systems are moving to non-PC devices. While Apple is leveraging OS X for the iPhone, Microsoft can barely get 6 percent of customers to adopt Vista. Google is readying Apps and Docs for a serious push against Office.

All of which means, says Arrington, that Microsoft really, really needs that Yahoo deal. "Online advertising revenue is their only real hope of long term survival."

Flickr offers (a little) video

YHOO's Flickr announced today that the original Photo 2.0 site now features video. But it's only for Pro users and only 90-sec. clips. The idea seems to be that it's not competing with YouTube but offering video as "long photos."

This works for Arrington, who was originally skeptical but after a demo now thinks the vids are "a perfect compliment to event photos."

FlickVid beta tester Paul Stamatiou says the 90-sec limit was a compromise between Flickr's original 60-sec concept and testers' requests for three minutes. Long enough to do something – in the sense that you can do something with Twitter – but not appealing to the illegal TV sharing crowd. Paul's only gripe: no support for HD video

But 90 seconds is really short Dan Farber point out at He shot a brief (156-second) video of his interview with Flickr PM Kakul Srivastava and then had to go through the pain of editing it down to 90 seconds. How much easier to upload to YT instead! "I expect that the Flickr team and community will think seriously about raising the limit on playing time," Dan concludes.

Newswatch 4.8.08: GOOG launches App Engine

Revving up App Engine. Google is launching a preview release of App Engine, a way for developers to run applications on Google's infrastructure, using the Google's own GFS and Bigtable. Google provides an environment including dynamic webserving, persistent storage, scaling and load balancing, APIs for authenticating users and a fully featured local environment. Act now: only 10,000 devs admitted for now. (Google App Engine Blog via Slashdot)

WiiBox 360? Microsoft, never one to let somebody else's good ideas unexploited, is set to release an imitation Wii remote for Xbox 360, sources say. An unidentified source says Microsoft's Rare studio will design the interface and look of the controller. This is marketing-driven MSFT development at its worst, MTV News' source says: "This is pure clusterfuck."

Above Europe, there is no peace. The EU has approved the use of cellphones on flights above Europe. Now imagine those all-important sales guys and product managers with their Blueteeth meeting away nonstop in coach. At least for Americans flying in Europe, there's a certain charm in the melange of Dutch, Italian, French, German. But one imagines that gets old fast, especially if you can understand the languages. In any case, the US won't following suit, the FAA says. (AP

Facebook ready to settle with ConnectU. Mark Zuckerberg's buddies at Harvard were mad when he left their ConnectU project -- possibly with code the hired him to write -- to go off and form Facebook. Last year they sued. Now it looks like Facebook and ConnectU are ready to settle the case, an anonymous source the Times.

Imeem buys Snocap. Snocap -- that was life after Napster for one Shawn Fanning. Now social/music net Imeem (which has a tendency to crash FF/Mac, btw) is snapping it up. Sounds like Imeem can use struggling Snocap's music registry technology to identify copyright-infringing media on its site and cut it down to a permitted 30-sec clip. Snocap also offers tools for artists to sell their music directly to fans. That could be a good fit with Imeem's music focus, as well. (LA Times)

4.07.08: Bloggers' lives endangered?

Death, blog not proud. The Times points to the recent deaths of ZD bloggers Russ Shaw and Marc Orchant as a sign that blogging is bad for your health. And since you need three facts to support a trend story, as Larry Dignan points out, throw in Om's non-fatal heart attack, too. The fast-paced worlds of Gawker and TechCrunch are thrown in there, too. Media is definitely moving towards hiring bloggers for piece work rather than staff reporters for life ... but plenty of us are creating balanced lives that revolve around family, not our computers.

MSFT: You have three weeks. Steve Ballmer slapped Jerry Yang around some, delivering an ultimatum letter. In essence: Give in now or face a proxy fight – for less money. Lose control of your company and have no place in ours. And enjoy those shareholder lawsuits, too. Microsoft Press Pass.

YHOO details AMP!. The new system, formerly Apex, is expected to make ad-buying across Yahoo sites and partner sites simple and powerful. Its development is partly behind YHOO's reluctance to accept MSFT's offer. (Reuters)

Judge doubts RIAA legal theory. A key issue in RIAA cases is whether the existence of files in share folders is proof of infringement of whether the RIAA has to show. Last week, two judges came to opposite conclusions on that issue. If the RIAA has to show actual downloading, it could put quite a crimp in their litigation strategy. (AP)

Newswatch 4.4.08: iTunes is No. 1

iTunes is No. 1. For the first time, a seller of online music has surpassed any seller of plastic CDs. Apple's iTunes store passed Wal-Mart for the first time. Rolling Stone reporter: "People have long talked about the shift to digital music sales but this seems to be a symbol it is actually happening." (Reuters)

GOOG raised its own bids in auction. GOOG blog includes this revelation: "In fact, in ten of the bidding rounds we actually raised our own bid -- even though no one was bidding against us -- to ensure aggressive bidding on the C Block. In turn, that helped increase the revenues raised for the U.S. Treasury, while making sure that the openness conditions would be applied to the ultimate licensee."

Mortgage crisis? Don't tell Zillow. You enter your finances but not your contact information. You get offers based on the numbers and make the call, not vice versa, as with Lending Tree. That's a good thing. (VentureBeat)

UK ISP to labels: Take a hike. British ISP Talk Talk says it's not its job to police networks for illegal content, despite the please of the recording industry. (BBC)

Newswatch 4.3.08: MySpace Music: DRM-free with streaming

MySpace Music: Free streaming, no DRM, plus ringtones and concert ticket sales. That's Rupert Murdoch's idea of a music service. Interestingly, EMI is the only major not to come on board – and EMI recently hired away Douglas Merrill as CIO of Google. What's the connection? (

Emerging markets said no to OOXML. While many are asserting that Microsoft backroom dealing turned European no votes into yes votes on the election of OOXML as an ISO standard, developing nations held firm against. Gartner analyst: "These are areas where open source has more strength and more advocates." Compare the population of Brazil, India and China to Europe (728m). (InfoWeek)

Ask your phone a question. YHOO's OneSearch 2.0 features an open API so phones will bring up results from any sites that support OneSearch when users say a question or term. Previously, only results from Yahoo partners came up. Call it more de-Semelization of YHOO.

XP stays alive. Recognizing the growth in ultra-low-cost PC sales, MSFT continue licensing Windows XP to OEMs for that class of machines. There's no way Vista will work on those machines and without XP, many manufacturers might have chosen Linux instead. Considering the latest version of Ubuntu proved rock-hard while Vista fell in two days in a recent "hack the OS" contest, that might not be a bad choice. (

Fast Times in Twin Cities. Comcast has rolled out high-speed cable Internet in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Garrison Keilor can afford it but maybe not that many other people – it's $150 a month. But you get really fast Internet – 50Mbps and eventually as much as 160Mbps. Does that mean Comcast can stop stomping on P2P at least in the Twin Cities? Not until the new network management procedures are implemented – and even then ...

Newswatch 4.2.08: CTIA attendees fall for Mars hoax

An Instinct to clone. Need a phone with a touchscreen, colorful icons and a $99 data plan? Check out Spring and Samsung's new Instinct, which is pretty blatantly an iPhone copycat. It's even locked in to Sprint's network, but unlike AT&T they offer a high-speed CDMA EV-DO Rev A network. (InfoWeek)

Realm of the absurd: Congress on Second Life. Not everything techno groovy is worth doing and it's pretty unlikely there's any particular benefit to beaming a Congressional hearing into Second Life. Tech-crazy Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is the congressional sponsor of the virtual hearing. Rather than the future of political outreach, consider this a diplomatic effort to a foreign land. (LA Times)

4.1.08: Branson dupes the wide-eyed. Must- read Register: "Speaking Tuesday at the CTIA Wireless trade show in Las Vegas, Sir Richard Branson told several hundred mobile industry insiders that he and Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin will soon fly a solar-powered Noah's Ark to Mars. And they believed him.<

No open cell networks. FCC Chair Kevin Martin finally got back to Skype over its proposal to open cell networks to all devices. The idea was that a 1960s case that forced AT&T to open its network should be applied to Verizon and, well, AT&T. That's not necessary, Martin said. (Ars Technica)

YouTube gets Rick Astley'd. Supposedly it's an April Fool's Joke, but every featured video on the home page yesterday linked to Rick's "Never Gonna Give You Up." Some joke. At 9 pm last night, YT managed to send 6 million vid views Astley's way (embedding disabled by request). (YouTube)

Newswatch 04.01.08: Gmail offers Custom Time

Ready for Custom Time? Cool new Gmail feature: "Just click "Set custom time" from the Compose view. Any email you send to the past appears in the proper chronological order in your recipient's inbox. You can opt for it to show up read or unread by selecting the appropriate option." And Bill Gates says Google doesn't understand business needs! Hmm, checking calendar...

MSFT buys a standard. In some very fishy voting, Microsoft's OOXML was approved by the ISO. A number of countries who had previously voted no switched to yes, after some heavy pressure and some rather odd shenanigans. Now there is a call for reform of such ISO procedures as allowing fast-tracking of standards. (ZDNet).

GOOG takes Docs Offline. Huge step forward for Google Docs/Apps: Google Gears now supports Google Docs (text doc only for now; spreadsheets and presentations in the "future"). Users will see an Offline link over the next few weeks. And more: At the Google I/O con, GOOG will show developers how to support Gears in their own apps. Gears could be the engine that drives a whole new class of hybrid apps. (PC Mag)

AAPL monitor made customers see red. But only a few shades of red. Law firm KBK has launched a class action suit against Apple for selling a monitor allegedly advertised as sporting millions of colors (8-bit color) but in fact a 6-bit device. The lawyer takes some "pleasantly cheap shots," says the Register. "Apple is squeezing more profits for itself by using cheap screens and its customers are unwittingly paying the price. Apple is duping its customers into thinking they're buying 'new and improved' when in fact they're getting stuck with 'new and inferior."

Newswatch 3.31.08: 3G iPhone this summer!

3G iPhone in June!? Bank of America says Apple will have a 3G iPhone out in June. Analyst Scott Craig calls for 3m phones in production in May, with 8 million coming in Q3. That coincides with the release date of iPhone's 2.0 software. (Reuters)

Another tedious vertical from Yahoo. As if women needed another magazine, here's Shine from Yahoo. It looks good. Better than these Yahoo verticals used to look. The lead "story" on Kate Bosworth is even a video, not a story. But for a company that has snapped up a lot of Web 2.0 companies, well this is pretty old-school Yahoo.

Adobe gets religion. Long comfy in its proprietary perch, Adobe finally has reason to sidle up to open source folks and has joined the Linux Founation. Under CTO Kevin Lynch (you will recall he came from Macromedia), Adobe has open sourced an SDK for Flex and BlazeDS. Adobe's also working on a Linux version of Air. (InfoWeek)

Most secure OS? It ain't your Mac In a contest to hack into three different operating systems, hackers at CanSecWest exploited Apple's Safari to compromise the system in two minutes. It took whole days to break through a PC running Vista SP1 (weak link: Adobe Flash). The hackers couldn't break through a Sony Vaio running Ubuntu 7.10, though. (Desktop Linux)

Memory in a flash. After some severe delays, Intel has moved forward with Europe's ST Microelectronics to create Numonyx (sounds like a new sleeping pill?) -- a new company that will manufacture NOR and NAND flash memory. Intel owns 45.1%, ST 48.6% and investment firm Francisco Partners 6.3%. AP)

Newswatch 3.28.08: Comcast makes nice

Comcast makes nice with BitTorrent. There's no doubt Comcast needs to manage its network traffic. That's what happens with shared infrastructure like cable. The problem is in how it did it, who it did it on, and what it said about it. Now the cable company has made nice with BitTorrent and promised to only throttle in a "protocol-agnostic" way. Maybe that will get them a better reception at an FCC hearing at Stanford. (NYT)

Photoshop. Online. Free. Adobe is forging the path in taking a high-end software product into the hyperlinked world of web services, not only allowing users to upload, tweak and filter photos, but building in social networking with links to Facebook and its own gallery-sharing feature. (

TorrentSpy is dead. Founder Justin Bunnell: 'Ultimately the court demanded actions that in our view were inconsistent with our privacy policy, traditional court rules, and international law; therefore, we now feel compelled to provide the ultimate method of privacy protection for our users - permanent shutdown.' How noble. Or perhaps, having destroyed evidence, it was time to throw in the towel. (Register)

Get some data on your vids. With YouTube Insight, you can find out where your video viewers are coming from, find out how long it takes to get popular and so on. It's the world's biggest focus group, YT product manager says. (InfoWeek)

Safari: Unwanted, unsafe. So first Apple starts shoving Safari 3.1 down Win users' throats via the software update feature in iTunes, which sparks Mozilla ceo John Lilly to call them "malware" vendors, but now a security hacker has discovered two critical flaws in the browser. Weaponization is just around the corner, Andrew Storms of nCircle reported.

News of the stupid. O'Reilly hometown Sebastopol decided not to accept a local ISP's offer to create a free Wi-Fi network in the town, cowtowing to some local New Age psychosomatic fantasy that Wi-Fi causes some kind of health detriment. O'Reilly's Dale Dougherty says if this had played a century ago, the town wouldn't have electricity. (O'Reilly Radar)

Newswatch 3.27.08: Cnet lays off 120

Oracle profit up. $30 billion worth of acquisitions – not the least of which was BEA -- has generated some steady maintenance income and enabled the company to offer an impressive lineup of enterprise software. Even so, Wall Street drilled the share price down. (NY Times)

Did Apple dither over screens? Apple has settled a lawsuit that claims Apple didn't deliver "millions of colors" on some of their screens. Noticing the displays were grainy and banded, plaintiffs believe Apple used six-bit displays instead of 8-bit displays in MacBook and MacBook Pro machines. Apparently the plaintiffs had trouble turning the case into a class action, making them willing to settle. (Ars Technica)

10 million 3G iPhones? Is Apple getting ready to spring a 3G iPhone? Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney says he believes 10 million such phones are on order. He thinks Apple is using an organic LED display.

Cnet lays off 120 That's 10 percent of the web publishers' staff. CEO Neil Ashe says it's realigning its enterprise properties, ZDNet and TechRepublic, to "improve monetization – and centralizing IT and other core biz ops. Key to streamlining: Moving IT systems to an open API. No word about layoffs at flagship (TechCrunch)

Vietnam Wall now searchable. USA Today says family and friends no longer have to travel to DC to find their loved one's name on the Wall. Not so sure that's a good thing. The physical, real-world experience of the stillness of being with people at the Wall is what makes it such a meaningful experience. Now, is it just one more website?

Newswatch 3.26.08: Social network scrabble

Yahoo joins OpenSocial. MySpace SVP: "Yahoo is an important addition to the OpenSocial movement, and through this foundation we will work together to provide developers with the tools to make the Internet move faster and to foster more innovation and creativity." (Wired)

Surprise! Broadcasters hate white space. NAB's Dennis Wharton: Google fails to show devices won't interfere with digital broadcasts. (CRN)

11 freaking hours? Netflix's site and logistics computers went down for a whopping 11 hours yesterday. The outage started at 7 am and lasted until 6. It took down distribution centers as well, so movies will be delayed a day or two. Customers are wondering if Netflix is getting too big for its own good. Wired)

And now a service pack people really care about ... MSFT is getting closer to releasing SP3 for Windows XP. It released Release Candidate 2 "Refresh" on Tuesday, a second crack at the RC2 first released in February. The final release will happen in the first half of 08, is all MSFT will say.

Paris exposed ... Facebook privacy controls fail a test. A computer tech was able to pull up supposedly access-controlled photos, like one of Paris Hilton at the Emmy Awards, despite Facebook's privacy controls. Facebook said he had exposed a bug that was fixed immediately.

Newswatch 3.25.08: XM, Sirius merger OK'd

Satrad merger approved. The Justice Dept. won't stand in the way of a merger between the Sirius and XM satellite radio companies. (InfoWeek) DOJ: "The evidence does not demonstrate that the proposed merger ... is likely to substantially lessen competition." (Public statement)

GOOG amps up push for white spaces. GOOG filing with FCC: "[White spaces offer a] "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide ubiquitous wireless broadband access to all Americans.” [Opening up the spectrum would] "enable much-needed competition to the incumbent broadband service providers." (ZDNet)

Mozilla pissed at Apple. Apple has been pushing Safari 3.1 down to Windows users, even if they have never downloaded previous versions. That makes Mozilla CEO John Lilly very, very angry: "What Apple is doing now with their Apple Software Update on Windows is wrong. It undermines the trust relationship great companies have with their customers, and that’s bad -- not just for Apple, but for the security of the whole Web." (Register)

MSFT offers free SP1 support. There are enough problems out there that Redmond felt the need to give away tech support for a year. There's a two-letter solution to upgrade woes: X-P. (CRN)

Your Netflix is late.As of Monday afternoon, Netflix has been offline all day. The glitch has knocked out logistics and delivery, as well as the website. (

Newswatch 3.24.08: Sun shines light on chips

Small fish don't like GOOG's new search feature. Google for "new york times" and you'll get a second search box as part of your results. Searching in this field lets you search just within the Times. The same goes for other large companies like Best Buy. That is pissing off smaller companies, who say Google is using the brands to sell advertising. (NYT)

Sun's laser breakthrough. The rapidly approaching limit to Moore's Law could be blown away by a new approach to connecting chips. Rather than using tiny wires, Sun is researching a process to use laser beams instead. Sun researcher: "We expect a 50 percent chance of failure, but if we win we can have as much as a thousand times increase in performance." (NYT)

Top sites say no to networks. and other premium sites are starting to realize that ad networks suck off value from their brands. They're paying attention to Harris Millard's warning against selling off Web inventory like "pork bellies." (MediaWeek.)

NetSols shuts down anti-Islam film site. Network Solutions has blocked the site for a soon-to-be-released film by Dutch politician Geert Wilders that attacks Islam. NS spokeswoman: "In this situation with the dialogue that’s happening throughout the world we’ve made the choice to suspend the site as of last night." (a href="">ZDNet)

MSFT investigates Word hack. The risk is limited because users have to go through several steps for the hack to be successful. (

Newswatch 3.21.08: Verizon's big spectrum win

Verizon wins C block. The names are finally out on the winners of the exciting 700MHz spectrum auction. Big winner: Verizon, who not only won the nation-wide C block but also picked up a grand total of 108 licenses for $9.6b. AT&T picked up another 227 for $6.6b. Now it will be interesting to see how all this spectrum gets built out, especially with the Google-authored open access rules. (New York Times)

Comes with EMI. Nokia is negotiating with EMI to take part in its Comes with Music program, in which phone buyers can download unlimited amounts of music with a one-year subscription. Nokia reportedly pays Universal $80 per device. (Beta NewsFT) Politely, but apparently unenthusiastically. (

SP1 upgrade bugs. The "small number of device drivers" that are incompat with Vista SP1 includes a widely used Intel chipset used by HP, Gateway, Lenovo, etc. And for a host of reasons, there are reams of stories screaming about the upgrade. (InfoWeek)

Oh, look, I've got Safari. I took a quick look at my program list on Windows XP and was surprised to see that I had a brand spanking new copy of Safari 3.1. Where'd that come from? "It now appears that the Cupertino-based company aspires to use the advantage presented by the Software Update mechanism to muscle its way further up the browser charts at the expense Microsoft's Internet Explorer and other third-party Windows browsers." (Apple Insider)

Newswatch 3.19.08: Music with your iPod

Would you like music with your iPod? Apple is negotiating with music labels to offer unlimited access to the iTunes music library when consumers pay a premium for a new iPod. Apple is thinking about copying Nokia's "Comes with Music" plan but the negotiations are foundering, as usual, with how big a cut of iPod sales Apple will share with the labels. Music exec: "It’s who blinks first, and whether or not anyone does blink." (FT)

Who won the spectrum? The betting money says Google is out of the running on the 700MHz spectrum, but who won? Altogether, the FCC netted $20b – $4.75b for the C block, but nothing for the D block, dedicated for public safety agency communication. (AP)

Spreadsheet Gadgets. Google has unveiled several Gadgets for spreadsheets in Google Docs. Gadgets are more than a way to distribute the data; they're a data source themselves. "If I'm collecting census data and putting it into a spreadsheet, I can also make that data available to statisticians" through the Visualization API, says product mgr. Jonathan Rochelle. (

iPhone Flash? Adobe wants help. Statement: "To bring the full capabilities of Flash to the iPhone Web-browsing experience, we do need to work with Apple beyond and above what is available through the SDK and the current license around it."

EU net: faster, cheaper. Increased competition is improving broadband speeds and cutting costs in Europe, but former monopolies still need to let go more. (AP)

Newswatch 3.18.08: SP1, APPL numbers, Facebook features

The Grand Master passes. Arthur C. Clarke, most famous for 2001: A Space Odyssey but the author of dozens of novels, hundreds of stories and quite a few screenplays, died at the age of 90. Clark's three laws: 1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong. 2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible. 3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. (Wikipedia.)

SP 1 is here. After a lot of back and forth, with quite a few buggy bumps along the way, MSFT made SP1 available to Windows Vista users through Windows Update and as a standalone installer package from the Microsoft Download Center. (Ed Bott.)

The return of Wintel. MSFT and INTC are hooking up to spend $20m on parallel computing research at UC Berkeley and U. of Ill. Champagn-Urbana. "Twenty-plus years ago, the research space in parallel computing was looking toward the end of Moore's Law, and so there were bases that were built there to exploit parallelization," MSFT dir. of multicore computing Dan Reed said. "The challenge has been that long-term research had been required to support this. There is no silver bullet there. Some of it is going to be incremental advances; some is (sic) going to be new languages." (InfoWeek.)

Privacy ... on Facebook. Facebook announced its very own IM system plus new privacy controls. Says Most notable about the new privacy controls is the fact that Facebook members will now be able to choose how much of their profiles are visible to those on their friends list. There's also Facebook Chat, which is intended as a lightweight ease-of-use feature, not competition to AIM. VP Matt Cohler: "We want Facebook to be part of your experience all over the Web. Our business is not to make Facebook an island."

AAPL numbers. Wow, people really are buying Macs. The cooler PC accounts for 14% of the US market, as of Feb. 08, compared to 9% in Feb. 07. NPD analyst: ""The MacBook and MacBook Pro did pretty well and made a smooth transition to the Penryn. And Apple got a nice bump from the MacBook Air." But it's not just the machines: the Apple Store experience is key. "Apple's stores are key to what they do." (ComputerWorld.)

More numbers. iPhone users love the Web. Some 85% of them regularly check mail and websites on their phones, compared to 58% of all smartphone owners and 13% of all phone owners.

OK, Steve, we'll make Flash better. To Steve Jobs, Adobe is just another engineering group to kick around. When he told the world that Flash wasn't good enough for the iPhone (/.), you could just imagine him screaming "THIS SUCKS!" behind closed doors. Anyway, Adobe sheepishly is skulking back into the room, announcing it will work on a Flash that meets with the boss's approval. Flash Light might not be good enough for iPhone but apparently it is good enough for WinMob, Silverlight be damned. (Eric Zeman.)

Newswatch 3.18.08: Intel roadmap, media struggles, iPhone gripes

Intel roadmap. Intel announced that Dunnington, its six-core server processor, will ship in the second half of 08, and will be socket-compatible with the Caneland server/work station platform. The microarchitecture Nehalem will go into production in Q4 with a 45nm process. A 32nm version codenamed Westmere is scheduled for 09. (CRN) "The single biggest feature" in Nehalem will be a memory controller that speeds up data access from memory. (WSJ). But don't expect quad-core in your laptop anytime soon. Says analyst Roger Kay: "I've always used the adage, the hardware is ahead of the software is ahead of the user. I can imagine a small niche [of adopters] on the notebook side, but I still think it's going to be three to four years before [quad-core laptops] become mainstream." (Wired.)

Sad state of media. We know the media, especially newspapers, are in bad shape. But the Project for Excellence in Journalism's new report, State of the Media 2008, offers some room for hope among the ruins. Most importantly, journalists are still ready and willing to adapt to the new media, learn new skills and devise new ways of telling stories. Unfortunately, the business side is seriously lagging. "People used to think that the people on the business side would save journalism, but it's turning out to be the other way around in a lot of cases," PEJ director Tom Rosenstiel said. (Chronicle).

Don't call us dept. Almost everyone who downloaded the iPhone SDK got a nice 'thanks but no thanks' letter from Cupertino, reading, "As this time, the iPhone Developer Program is available to a limited number of developers and we plan to expand during the beta period." (Fortune) "I’m not surprised at Apple’s 'greet and toss' tactic - greet the high-profile big-name commercial companies and invite them in under the velvet rope, and toss out the riff-raff who were going to make their products available at a price (or lack of a price) that would mean that Apple wouldn’t be making money off the products." (Adrian Kingsley-Hughes).

Newswatch 3.14.08: MSFT, YHOO meet

MSFT, YHOO execs meet
[AP] Microsoft Corp. met with Yahoo Inc. to discuss the software maker's unsolicited takeover bid earlier this week, a breakthrough that could be the first step toward a friendly deal between the two rivals. The meeting occurred Monday near Yahoo's Sunnyvale headquarters, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Lou Reed wants better sound
[Billboard] Lou Reed is lashing out at new modes of audio technology, saying that "people have got to demand a higher standard" than current MP3 music files.

Whitman joins McCain campaign
[Merc] Retiring eBay Chief Executive Meg Whitman is joining the presidential campaign of John McCain as a national co-chair. Whitman, who steps down from her eBay job at the end of the month, had been a major fundraiser for Mitt Romney.

Verizon unveils tech to speed up P2P
[AP] Verizon Communications Inc. has broken ranks with the industry and announced Friday that it plans to help its users share files faster — at least those who do it legally. With researchers at Yale University and a group of companies that make file-sharing software, Verizon collaborated to enable faster downloads for consumers and lower costs for participating ISPs.

iPhone: the new gaming platform
[Chron] "We are very enthusiastic about the iPhone as a platform and we think Apple has done it right on the hardware and the delivery platform," said Michel Guillemot, president and CEO of mobile gamemaker Gameloft. "We think from the consumer point of view, it's going to very successful and we are eager to participate in this."

FCC handling of complaints criticized
[Reuters] A study by the Government Accountability Office concluded that about 83 percent of the complaint investigations conducted by the FCC between 2003 and 2006 were closed without any enforcement action taken by the agency, and that it was impossible to determine why because the FCC did not collect enough data to follow up.

Newswatch 1.13.08: Bid for Take-Two turns hostile

EA makes hostile bid for Take-Two
[AP] The heat is on: Electronic Arts Inc.'s $2 billion bid for "Grand Theft Auto" maker Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. turned hostile Thursday as EA took its $26-per-share offer directly to Take-Two shareholders.

Gates, Mundie makes pitch for white space
[ZDNet] “We’re hopeful [white spaces spectrum] will be made available so that Wi-Fi can explode,” Gates said.

Congress probes FCC complaint-handling
[Reuters] A study by the Government Accountability Office concluded that about 83 percent of the complaint investigations conducted by the FCC between 2003 and 2006 were closed without any enforcement action taken by the agency, and that it was impossible to determine why because the FCC did not collect enough data to follow up.

AAPL dev conf: June 9-13
[MacObserver] Apple announced on Thursday that it will be hosting its World Wide Developer Conference on June 9 through June 13, 2008. The event will be at Moscone West in San Francisco, and Apple is dubbing it "A landmark event. In more ways than one."

GOOG unveils free ad manager
[ZDNet] After winning approval for the DoubleClick acquisition from regulators, Google wasted no time introducing a new free service called “Ad Manager” that gives companies a powerful way to manage their ad inventory.

MSN exec leaves for SpotRunner
[WSJ] Joanne Bradford, vice president and chief media officer of Microsoft's MSN online service, will leave the software maker after seven years to join Spot Runner Inc., a privately held Los Angeles firm that uses the Internet to help companies create advertisements for television.

AAPL sued over iTunes
[BetaNews] ZapMedia holds patents on sending music from a server to multiple players. The company applied for the patents in 2000, however the first one wasn't granted until March 2006, and the other on Tuesday.

MPAA calls net neutrality assault on intellectual property
[ZDNet] MPAA's Glickman: "Today MPAA and all of our studios are standing up in opposition to broad-based government regulation of the Internet. We are opposing so-called "net neutrality" government action. And, in the process, we are standing up for our customers, for our economy and for the ability of content producers to continue to create great movies for the future."

Newswatch 3.12.08: Hackers crack iPhone SDK

Hackers jailbreak iPhone 2.0
[Wired] The iPhone Dev Team said yesterday (thanks, Gizmodo) it has figured out a way to hack into the iPhone's bootloader by taking advantage of the way the iPhone authorizes code that can be written to memory

TiVO, YouTube deal to deliver web vid to TV
[NYT] “TiVo’s strategy is to bridge the gap between Web video and television and make as much content available as possible for our subscribers,” said Tara Maitra.

Japan says iPods spark up
[InfoWeek] Japanese government officials are investigating a possible defect that caused an Apple iPod to shoot out sparks while it was being recharged, it was reported Wednesday.

Hulu goes live
[Reuters] At launch, Hulu will offer full-length episodes of more than 250 TV series, from current hits such as The Simpsons to older shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It also will offer 100 movies, including The Big Lebowski and Mulholland Drive.

Our rapidly expanding digital universe
[WSJ] as consumers and companies create more emails, legal documents, photos and videos, the digital universe is growing at 60% a year. The study was commissioned by storage company EMC, so take the results with the appropriate grain of salt.

Excel security hole
[PCW] This Trojan is circulating through email messages that contain attached Excel files," US-CERT said in an advisory. "Known file names for these attachments are OLYMPIC.XLS and SCHEDULE.XLS. These files may also contain Windows binary executables that can compromise an affected system."

MSFT submits IE7 for antitrust review
[PCW] Microsoft has submitted the follow-up to Windows Vista to the committee that oversees its U.S. antitrust compliance, to ensure the operating system is meeting the terms of the company's agreement with the government.

YouTube hit OK Go stumps for NN
[ZDNet] “If people wonder whether the music industry will benefit from Net Neutrality they can look no further than us,” said OK Go’s lead singer and guitarist Damian Kulash in testimony today before the House Judiciary Committee.

Newswatch 3.9.08: Zuckerberg defends Lacy

Zuckerberg: Lacy asked interesting questions
[] "We may have not talked about the things that were most relevant to the audience that was here, but I've worked with Sarah on a number of pieces, and I generally think she's really smart and didn't necessarily deserve the reaction that people gave her."

Gmail app swipes passwords
[ZD] "Every time a user adds their account to the program to back up their data, it sends and email with their username and password to his personal email box! Having just entered my own information I became concerned."

Beatles/iTunes rumors denied
[] Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the joint venture owned by Sony and singer Michael Jackson has thrown cold water over reports coming out of London that the Beatles catalog would soon be available on iTunes. A spokeswoman for Sony/ATV Music Publishing told CNET that the reports are "untrue."

Now the Internet knows you're a dog
[NYT] A new analysis of online consumer data shows that large Web companies are learning more about people than ever from what they search for and do on the Internet, gathering clues about the tastes and preferences of a typical user several hundred times a month.

EU probes US prosecution of gambling sites
[Reuters] "The U.S. has the right to address legitimate public policy concerns relating to Internet gambling, but discrimination against EU companies cannot be part of the policy mix," EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said in a statement.

Newswatch 3.7.08: iPhone, iPhone, iPhone

Apple promotes iPhone for biz
[Ars] The iPhone will offer full Exchange support, thanks to licenses from Microsoft. The iPhone will also get enterprise-friendly security features, including remote wipe, support for Cisco IPsec VPN, certificates, identities, and WPA2/802.11x support. "Enterprise customers will be pretty excited," says Schiller.

iPhone strategy promotes, stifles innovation
[WaPo] One big unknown is where Apple will draw the line on which apps they'll allow and which they won't. So far, they've stated outright that pornography and illegal apps will not be tolerated (natch). But beyond that, Apple appears to fostering innovation, encouraging developers to stretch their collective imaginations--right down to allowing developers to offer free apps as well as for-pay apps.

Pentagon bans Google
[ZDNet] The Pentagon is not feeling too friendly towards Google these days. The brass got pretty pissed off when the discovered that Google Maps Street View had some up close and personal images of Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. “It actually shows where all the guards are. It shows how the barriers go up and down. It shows how to get in and out of buildings,” said Gen. Renuart, commander of U.S. Northern Command.

MSFT: The little engine that could?
[InfoWeek] "We're in the game, and we're the little engine that could, just working away, working away, working away," Ballmer told interviewer and former Apple employee and evangelist Guy Kawasaki. "In online, yeah, it'sGoogle (NSDQ: GOOG), Google, Google. I'd say we're the underdog." That's a far cry from as recently as last year, when Ballmer called Google "cute" and a "one trick pony."

Sprint Nextel on the block?
[NYT] Merrill Lynch analysts are suggesting that Deutsche Telekom, which owns T-Mobile, may consider acquiring Sprint to block a price war in the mobile phone industry, the Kansas City Star reported. Merrill said that the wireless carrier’s woes may force it to cut prices to attract customers. “In such a price war scenario, we think T-Mobile would face the most pressure, and Deutsche Telekom would see the increased urgency to drive market repair,” the firm’s analysts said in a report cited by The Star.

Negroponte needs a CEO
[BizWeek] Negroponte is looking for help in piloting OLPC. During an interview with BusinessWeek, he revealed publicly for the first time that he's searching for a chief executive while he continues in the role of chairman. He says the organization has been operating "almost like a terrorist group, doing almost impossible things" for three years. Now, he says, it needs to be managed "more like Microsoft."

Newswatch 3.5.08: Ready for iPhone SDK?

MSFT details IE 8, offers beta
[InfoWeek] Internet Explorer 8.0 is a shift from previous versions in that it focuses heavily on complying with Web standards. "The Web gets better when developers can spend less time working through interoperability issues and more time developing," Internet Explorer general manager Dean Hachamovitch said in a keynote address. "Today, differences between browsers simply waste too much developer time."

Bank asks for dismissal in Wikileaks case
[NYT] Lawyers involved in the case said the move by Bank Julius Baer most likely ends its battle against Wikileaks, a Web site that allows people to post documents anonymously “to be of assistance to people of all regions who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their governments and corporations.”

Jobs disses Flash, Adobe burns
[InfoWeek] Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said Adobe (NSDQ: ADBE) Flash is not yet good enough for the iPhone, prompting Adobe to respond that the smartphone isn't ready for the Web without its video-playing technology.

Otellini promises growth
[] Intel CEO Paul Otellini sought to reassure major investors Wednesday that the world's largest chip maker is still poised for strong growth into new areas like mobile computers, and can maintain its current lead in PC technology. Intel is investing new products like its Atom processor and attempting to break into these new markets by reminding software developers and device makers that Intel's chips are used to run today's PC-based Internet, and are ideal for allowing tomorrow's mobile devices to access that Internet.

iPhone SDK will promote social software
[ZDNet] There has (sic) been many published rumors suggesting that a number of handpicked companies have been given early access to the SDK so that they can get a head start developing flagship applications for the iPhone - perhaps to be showcased at tomorrow’s event. Intriguingly, MySpace is said to be one of those companies.

iPod crime wave?
[AP] Researchers at a public policy institute iPods are perhaps the main reason U.S. violent crime rose in 2005 and 2006 after declining every year since 1991 _ although a close look at the findings suggests the hypothesis has holes.

Newswatch 3.4.08: Office Online beta goes public

D&D founder dies
[Register] Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax rolled a natural one on his fortitude save today, dying at level 69 at his home in Lake Geneva. Best known for developing D&D with Dave Arneson in 1974, Gygax helped formulate a pen-and-pencil role playing ruleset that would become a touchstone for modern gaming across its genres.

MSFT debuts Office Live Workspace
[] Office Live Workspace, a Web-based extension to Office that introduces online document sharing and storage, has been in a limited, private beta test since last October. The free service, set to debut later this year, is aimed at Google's Documents and Spreadsheets, among other services, that have emerged as popular alternatives to Office.

Google Gears on WinMobile phones
[NYT] There are a couple of announcements Tuesday that point to a major technological battle: the race to become the platform for mobile applications. This is happening at two levels. There are mobile operating systems like Symbian, Windows Mobile, Apple’s mobile version of OS X and Google’s forthcoming Android.

YHOO tool for mobile bookmarks
[] Tuesday unveiled a new bookmarking tool for cell phones that lets people keep track of favorite Web content--news feeds, search results, Web sites--from one place on their handheld. The technology, called Yahoo OnePlace, will be available in the second quarter of 2008.

AAPL shareholders want say in Jobs' pay
[MacObserver] In response to the vote, Apple CEO Steve Jobs told shareholders on hand for the meeting, "I hope this say on pay will help me with my $1 a year." Mr. Jobs has earned US$1 per year in salary since he returned to the company in 1997, though he has also earned a not-so-small fortune in stock grants, as well as a private jet he uses for company-related travel. Apple picks up the tab for those travel expenses.

Plug your iPod into Nautilus
[BizWeek] Nike and Apple are working with several gym equipment manufacturers and the health clubs 24-Hour Fitness and Virgin Athletic Health Clubs to allow members to plug their iPod Nanos into cardio equipment. They can then track workouts, set goals and upload the information to a Nike Web site.

UC deal with Saudi university

[MercNews] UC Berkeley has finalized an agreement to provide curricular, research and faculty-hiring help to a budding Saudi Arabian university. Berkeley leaders today announced the contract with the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, which is expected to open in 2009.

Newswatch 3.3.08: Get ready for natural computing

MSFT ready for natural computing
[PCW] Ballmer: "We're pioneering technologies that can identify spoken and written words. Interacting with computers will be just like interacting with people: We may still use keyboards and mice when it's more efficient, or you may use a wave of your hand to instruct the computer what you intend."

INTC goes Atomic
[Ars] Intel announced yesterday that its upcoming low-cost/low-power CPUs code-named Silverthorne and Diamondville will be sold under a single brand once the products launch. The MID-centric product family will hereafter be known as "Atom." Consumers are obviously meant to associate the Atom brand with objects of very small size, though Intel "Quark" would have a certain ring to it.

Wikileaks back online
[PCW] In his parting shot on a troubled case Judge White was reported as bemoaning the "definite disconnect between the evolution of our constitutional jurisprudence and modern technology. Maybe that's just the reality of the world that we live in. When this genie gets out of the bottle, that's it," he said.

AAPL falls short on vow to offer 1,000 movies
[Macworld] On my Apple TV I examined the All HD area and found that Apple’s close to the promise of 100 HD movies. The total as of the morning of February 29th is 91 HD movies. Note, however, that not all are offered with 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound. Choose All Movies on your Apple TV and you’ll find 351 titles for rent.

iPhone talks in China stalled
[AppleInsider] "We have not yet officially begun talks with Apple over the iPhone problem," China Mobile Chief Executive Wang Jianzhou told a group of reporters this week. "As long as our customers want this kind of product, we will keep all options open." In January, Reuters cited a spokesperson for the Chinese carrier as saying that the two firms had "terminated talks," a notion later disputed by Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, who insisted that those reports were simply untrue.

Will Apple exert extreme control over iPhone apps?
[SiliconAlleyInsider] Apple will soon be supporting third-party iPhone apps, which we'll hear plenty about during Steve Jobs' iPhone press event this Thursday. The bad news: Apple's stamp of approval could be the most restrictive in the smartphone industry. Most important, Apple will act as a gatekeeper, formally approving or denying all software releases for the iPhone. How does that compare to other smartphone operating systems?

Newswatch 2.29.08: Judge reverses Wikileaks decision

Judge reverses ruling in Wikileaks case [Reuters] "There are serious questions of prior restraint and possible violations of the First Amendment," U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White ruled from the bench in his San Francisco courtroom.

Vista price cuts show how badly MSFT needs YHOO
[NYT] One look at Microsoft’s high profit margins certainly raises questions about how long this business model can continue before someone creates a more efficient model. The combination of the open source movement, the Web, and the advertising-supported software model epitomized by Google are starting to have the long-predicted effect.

eBay, MercExchange settle feud
[BetaNews] As part of the agreement, eBay will purchase from MercExchange three patents which cover search, online auction, and fixed price sales.Terms of the deal were not disclosed. "We're pleased to have been able to reach a settlement with MercExchange," eBay general counsel Mike Jacobson said in a statement.

Chinese, Indian buyers send phone sales soaring
[] "Emerging markets, especially China and India, provided much of the growth as many people bought their first phone," Carolina Milanesi, research director for mobile devices at Gartner, said in a statement. "In mature markets, such as Japan and Western Europe, consumers' appetite for feature-laden phones was met with new models packed with TV tuners, global positioning satellite (GPS) functions, touch screens and high-resolution cameras."

Google's war on IT
[ReadWriteWeb] Google is actually going about marketing to the enterprise market in a pretty ingenious way - they're not. Instead, they're bypassing the IT department (who would, in all honesty, probably laugh at the thought) and marketing their suite on the sly directly to the employees themselves: "Are the tools provided by your IT department too unwieldy to use? Is IT to slow to respond to your needs? Then forget IT and use Google Apps instead!"

AAPL fighting RIM for biz market
[CNN] The phrase "new enterprise features" in a recent Apple iPhone-related event invite was all it took for some to anoint the iPhone as the next big challenge for Research In Motion Ltd. (RIMM), the world's leading supplier of smartphones.

Newswatch 2.27.07: Big guns step in for Wikileaks

ACLU, EFF step in on Wikileaks case
[] Wikileaks is receiving some independent legal support from free speech groups, including Public Citizen, the California First Amendment Coalition, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Project on Government Oversight, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They--and some media organizations also expected to file a brief--are asking to intervene on Wikileaks' behalf.

iPhone SDK coming next week?
[TechCrunch] It’s not clear whether the SDK will actually be released on that date, or whether it will just be detailed. In either case, Apple has failed to fulfill its promise to release the SDK this February as anticipated. The event will be invite-only and will take place at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, March 6 at 10am.

Windows Server launches
[] "I'm not here to write new code, to design new apps," Tom Brokaw told the crowd at the tony Nokia Theater in downtown Los Angeles. Instead, Brokaw spoke for several minutes on the radical transformation of society being brought about by technology.

EU fines MSFT $1.35b
[AP] The European Union's longest-running fight with Microsoft Corp. neared an end Wednesday as regulators imposed a record $1.3 billion fine on the world's largest software company for failing to fully comply with a 2004 antitrust order. CEO to leave
[PaidContent] Scott Meyer, the CEO of, part of New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT), is leaving by next week, our sources say, and has been confirmed by the company. His last day will be Thursday next week. No replacement is being named now.

YHOO fails to impress at IAB

[Battelle] It's clear they are beginning to roll out a strategy, but, well, it's not clear to me what the big vision is. I see parts of it - boil the all-in-one advertising platform ocean, make Yahoo more open, create exchanges between publishers and advertisers - but I can't see the whole dern thing. And from the buzz at the IAB conference after Jerry and Sue's presentation yesterday, I ain't the only one.

Here come the YHOO shareholder suits
[WaPo] Five of the suits allege Yahoo's board breached its duty by spurning Microsoft without trying to negotiate a better deal, according to the annual report. The two other suits allege Yahoo unfairly favored Microsoft's "inadequate" bid even though the board eventually turned down the original cash-and-stock offer of $31 per share.

Newswatch 2.26.08: FCC gives Comcast a grilling

Apple updates laptops with multitouch trackpads
[] The MacBook Pro is available with Core 2 Duo (Penryn) processors at up to 2.6GHz and up to 6MB of cache memory. Storage options have been revised to include up to a 300GB hard drive.

FCC grills Comcast, considers rulemaking
[NYT] In sharp questioning to a senior executive from Comcast, Mr. Martin indicated that the commission was considering whether to levy a fine or issue an order that would limit the company’s ability to slow down broadband traffic to consumers using file-sharing programs.

iTunes: We're No. 2!
[LA Times] Nearly half of all teenagers bought no compact discs in 2007, accelerating the music industry's painful transition from CDs to digital downloads, according to a report released today.

YHOO seeks to build some Buzz
[Wired] The site works similar to Digg and Reddit: Users "Buzz up" news stories they like, and depending on how many Buzz points the story gets, it could land on the front page of the site. The stories that receive the most Buzz points will also be submitted to Yahoo editors for possible inclusion on the Yahoo homepage. Users can simultaneously submit stories to Yahoo Buzz along with other sites including Digg, Facebook, Propeller, Reddit and Stumbleupon.

GOOG's new project: Undersea fiber cable
[Newsfactor] Google has a unique reason for investing in infrastructure, said Rob Enderle, principal analyst with the Enderle Group, in an e-mail. "Google appears to be trying to vertically integrate -- my guess is so they eventually can provide a complete Internet/phone/entertainment service which is completely ad-driven," he wrote.

Pakistan lifts its ban on YouTube
[ZDNet] Having neatly knocked YouTube off the net for several hours, exposing a key vulnerability in the BRG system and creating a small tumult within Pakistan, the government has now changed course and removed the block on YouTube.

Lightweight competition: Mac Air v. Lenovo X300
[BetaNews] Unlike Apple's lightweight offering, Lenovo's latest falls into the "full-featured" category, which means it comes with an optional 7mm slim DVD burner, a feature which many users require if only for a sense of comfort. Supplied to further ease consumers' minds, the X300 comes standard with a fingerprint scanner, I/O port disablement and 32-byte password protection for enhanced security.

Newswatch 2.25.08: Adobe launches AIR

Fresh AIR for apps that span desktop, net
[WSJ] Someone who wants to put an item up for bid on eBay, for example, could fill out the form through the AIR software while the PC isn't connected to the Web. The software would automatically post the information to eBay the next time the computer is connected to the Internet.

Pakistan shoots down YouTube (for a few hours)
[NYT] The chain of confusion started when Pakistan's Internet tinkering was copied to an affiliated I.S.P. in Hong Kong, which copied it to other companies routing Internet requests across the world. Experts on Internet routing agreed on their mailing list that the spread of the YouTube-blocking beyond Pakistan was an accident.

Nokia previews Morph, a futuristic rubbery device
[TechNewsWorld] Morph is currently just a concept that demonstrates how future mobile devices might look, Nokia said, with pliable materials, transparent electronics and self-cleaning surfaces. Actual, commercial devices based on the concept won't be available for a good seven years at least. "Nokia Research Center is looking at ways to reinvent the form and function of mobile devices; the Morph concept shows what might be possible," said Bob Iannucci, Nokia CTO.

'Vista Capable' lawsuit gets class action status
[InfoWeek] Seattle District Court Judge Marsha Pechman, who last year rejected Microsoft's request for a dismissal of the case, last week effectively expanded the lawsuit to potentially include all consumers who purchased a Windows XP PC advertised as "Vista Capable."

Semantic Web firm gets $13m funding
[ZDNet] Spivack says that the additional injection of cash will be used to move Radar Networks’ initial product, Twine, from its current beta status toward mainstream adoption. He suggests that the thousands of individuals already on Twine’s waiting list will gradually be granted access from next month, and encouraged to drive viral growth by passing invitations to friends and colleagues. He believes that Twine will be open to the public by early Summer.

Security hole in VMWare
[CRN] Core Security Technologies, based in Boston, Mass., announced the discovery of a flaw in VMWare's desktop virtualization software for Windows that could leave companies vulnerable to hackers. "What's most relevant about this vulnerability is it demonstrates how virtual environments can provide an open door to the underlying infrastructures that host them," said Core Security's CTO Ivn Arce.

Japan launches high-speed net satellite
[Wired] After a week of delays, Japan launched a new, experimental Internet satellite on Saturday that shows why Japan is still so much farther ahead than the United States in terms of bandwidth. The "Kizuna" satellite is designed to give extremely high Internet speeds to rural and other areas that have been left off the country's already high-speed grid.

Newswatch 2.22.08: Is this the new Microsoft?

FCC hearing on Comcast
[] "What we're going to see on Monday is a trial of the Internet," said Columbia Law School Professor Tim Wu. "Comcast is in the docket, accused of crimes against the public interest, and we'll see how well they are able to defend themselves."

GOOG's moon contest gets started
[NYT] Addressing the X Prize teams and journalists, Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder, compared his company’s support of the competition with other companies’ sponsorship of yacht races. “The idea we can help spur the return to the moon and maybe even do it more quickly than some of the national plans is really exciting to me,” Mr. Brin said.

Open source wary of the new open Microsoft
[CRN] Dominick Sartorio, president of the Open Solutions Alliance (OSA), said he understands the feelings of mistrust within the open source community. "There's always been a lot of language thrown around between Microsoft and the leaders in the open source community," he said. "Obviously it has not been a good relationship, but personally I think a lot of that is behind us now."

MSFT offers SP1 early - by mistake
[ZDNet] Spokesperson: 'Today, a build of SP1 was posted to Windows Update and it was inadvertently made available to a broad group. The build was intended only for our more technically advanced testers, and was meant to only be offered to those with a specific registry key set on their PC. For general availability, we are still planning to make SP1 broadly available in the mid-March timeframe.'

DoubleTwist makes Facebook P2P

[DailyTech] the client interfaces with Facebook via a Facebook Application named TwistMe, and lets you share files with users you've befriended. The Facebook application makes file-sharing as simple as a drag and drop, and once the direct transfer is complete, it will appear in your friend's desktop client. DoubleTwist has plans to interface its client with all major social networks, creating a new revolution in P2P. It’s currently working on developing an interface for the OpenSocial platforms.

Even encrypted data isn't safe

[NYT] A group led by a Princeton University computer security researcher has developed a simple method to steal encrypted information stored on computer hard disks.The technique, which could undermine security software protecting critical data on computers, is as easy as chilling a computer memory chip with a blast of frigid air from a can of dust remover.

EMC thunders into cloud computing with Pi Corp.

[Newsfactor] Enterprise storage giant EMC has acquired a small start-up that hasn't released any products. Pi Corp. was founded by Paul Maritz, a 14-year veteran of Microsoft. EMC is also hiring Maritz as president of a new Cloud Infrastructure and Services division.

Newswatch 2.20.08: Bill Gates has a lot to say

Gates to China: Monopoly, not censorship is way to go
[IDG] "I don't see any risk in the world at large that someone will restrict free content flow on the Internet," he said. "You cannot control the Internet." (Good thing MSFT is buying YHOO, then, to get the message across.)

Judge: RIAA suits are A-OK
[Ars] Despite a litany of wrong doing, including trying to contact Andersen's young daughter at school and her apartment building without Andersen's knowledge or permission, the judge said the plaintiff needed more specifics. Lory Lybeck, Andersen's attorney, told Ars that he plans to refile and move ahead with the lawsuit. "The judge spent about 45 minutes to an hour discussing exactly what she was looking for in an amended complaint," Lybeck said.

P2P guy doesn't like new, improved Comcast
[Ars] Sanford Snidner says that his service will often "slow to a crawl" when using file-sharing applications and that he feels "betrayed" by Comcast's actions. "I'll bet most paying customers out there have no idea that Comcast is secretly blocking and slowing down their high-speed Internet service," Sidner said in a statement. "It cuts at the heart of the service we all purchased."

Judge didn't count on Wikileaks' Swedish connection
[NYT] The records for the site’s I.P. address indicate that it is hosted by PRQ, based in Stockholm. PRQ is owned by two founders of the Pirate Bay. PRQ has gone out of its way to host sites that other companies wouldn’t touch. It is perhaps the world’s least lawyer-friendly hosting company and thus a perfect home for Wikileaks, which says it is “developing an uncensorable system for untraceable mass document leaking and public analysis.”

DVD Jon's DoubleTwist rips away DRM
[Wired] “Every time this dude releases a hack I’m not interested in using, I end up being forced to download a new patch from Apple for my iTunes/iPod if I want to buy new music.”

More wisdom from Bill: No MSFT-YHOO culture clash
[] "Yahoo wants to do breakthrough software," Gates told CNET "The engineers there want to compete very effectively against Google or any other thing that comes along, so I don't think there is really a different culture. ... "Jerry Yang to his credit has kept a lot of very top engineers that have been just doing their work and improving those things. That's why we see the combination as so powerful."

YHOO embraces Google-built software for search
[TechCrunch] Hadoop is an open-source implementation of Google’s MapReduce software and file system. It takes all the links on the Web found by a search engine’s crawlers and “reduces” them to a map of the Web so that ranking algorithms can be run against them. Yahoo is replacing its own software with Hadoop and running it on a Linux server cluster with 10,000 core processors.

Newswatch 2.19.08: MSFT to YHOO: This is war!

Forget housing woes, HP results forestall recession
[Bloomberg] ``Their guidance was much more bullish than we thought it would be, particularly with what we've seen out of Cisco,'' Pacific Crest Securities' Brent Bracelin said in an interview. ``Their outlook suggests that things aren't as bad as people thought.''

MSFT will launch proxy fight for YHOO
[NYT] The move, expected to cost about $20 million to $30 million, was Microsoft’s alternative to raising its $44.6 billion bid and is seen as a less expensive way to put pressure on Yahoo’s board. Yahoo rejected Microsoft’s original offer as undervalued.

30 years after Betamax, Sony wins a format war
[NYT] The format battle often drew yawns from analysts and consumers, however. Many believe that the new disc format will be leap-frogged quickly by Internet-based movie downloads, just as music discs have been increasingly replaced by digital files.

Judge orders WikiLeaks offline, then backs off
[ZDNet] It seems that WikiLeaks lawyers were able to convince the judge that something was amiss here, because the second order, a TRO, provides WikiLeaks an opportunity to answer (by Feb. 20) and JB to respond to that answer (by Feb. 26.) One question is whether JB lied about there being a stipulation for WikiLeaks to go offline, since WL compained so vociferously about it and the order was so quickly amended.

Supremes reject ALCU appeal in wiretap case
[AP] "It's very disturbing that the president's actions will go unremarked upon by the court," said Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU's national security project. "In our view, it shouldn't be left to executive branch officials alone to determine the limits."

CrackerJack to include iPod Shuffle as prize
[Macworld] At just $49, the iPod shuffle is the most affordable iPod ever,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide iPod Product Marketing. “The new 2GB model lets music lovers bring even more songs everywhere they go in the impossibly small iPod shuffle.”

Will students choose free MSFT over free open source?
[InfoWeek] "We want to do everything we can to equip a new generation of technology leaders with the knowledge and tools they need to harness the magic of software to improve lives, solve problems, and catalyze economic growth," Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said in a statement. (Hmm, don't they already have that?)

Newswatch 2.18.08: The journey of the iPhone

The demise of HD-DVD
[PunchJump] Toshiba Corp. will announce an exit from the HD DVD market on Tues. The claim coincides with an earlier report from NHK Japan Broadcasting Corp. that it will end HD DVD production and close DVD factories in the Aomori prefecture in Northern Japan.

The strange journey of the iPhone
[NYT] For months, tourists, small entrepreneurs and smugglers of electronic goods have been buying iPhones in the United States and then shipping them overseas. There the phones’ digital locks are broken so they can work on local cellular networks, and they are outfitted with localized software, essentially undermining Apple’s effort to introduce the phone with exclusive partnership deals.

RIM, Motorola declare war through patent lawsuits
[Forbes] Motorola got pistol-whipped with a Blackberry, a Blackberry Research In Motion lawsuit that is. The phone-maker was served the same day it filed a nearly identical suit against its competitor. RIM and Motorola each accuse the other of stealing technology, and are determined to fight it out in court.

MSFT-YHOO merger faces technical challenge
[NYT] Microsoft and Yahoo have drastically opposite philosophies on open-source software. While Microsoft has used some open-source code, it has generally not contributed technology to the open-source community. In contrast, Yahoo has been an extensive contributor and has built its internal computing platform almost entirely from open source.

OEMtek says it can double Prius' mileage
[Merc] For $12,500, OEMtek says it can add a bigger battery pack to your Prius and double its mileage - to 100 mpg or more. "There are people who want this right now, no matter what," said Cindi Choi, vice president of business development.

Harvard site hacked
[PCW] One of Harvard University's Web sites appeared on Monday to have been hacked, with its contents appearing on the BitTorrent file-sharing network. A compressed 125 MB file described as the database for the Web site of Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is available via the BitTorrent P-to-P (peer to peer) network.

Newswatch 2.13.08: Net neutrality rises again

Markey offers net neutrality bill
[Reuters] "Our goal is to ensure that the next generation of Internet innovators will have the same opportunity, the same unfettered access to Internet content, services and applications that fostered the developers of Yahoo, Netscape and Google," Markey said in a statement.

A busy Patch Tuesday
[InternetNews] "Most organizations these days have a fairly good security practice about not opening unknown files from unknown users. But visiting Web sites that can be exploited is still a biggest area of concern. Here you have a remote code execution with no user interaction. Keeping your users from visiting sites like this is especially difficult."

Racing to define the future of cellphones
[AP] The LiMo Foundation — which includes such software companies as McAfee Corp. and Purple Labs and telecommunications giants such as Samsung — showed off 18 handsets Wednesday at the World Mobile Conference in Barcelona. Some of the devices are ready for market. Just two days earlier, also in Barcelona, chip makers Texas Instruments Inc. and Qualcomm Inc. began demonstrating prototypes of handsets based on Android — for which no one offered a launch date.

Woman says lost laptop worth $54m
[WSJ] A woman is suing Best Buy for $54 million because the retailer’s tech-repair staff lost her laptop. The rationale: There’s no telling what the store’s technicians might do with the data on the computer. Sure, $54 million dollars seems a bit insane – we’ll have more on why she chose the amount in a moment. But blaming the tech guys is anything but crazy. In fact, it appears to be all the rage for people who find themselves in cyber trouble.

AAPL will offer 3G iPhone this year
[CIO] In a research note Monday, analyst Richard Gardner of Citigroup cited the falling production numbers as an indicator that Apple is gearing up for a new model, The Washington Post reported. In Europe, iPhone sales have been underwhelming. "We believe that lack of 3G has been a significant headwind for iPhone in Europe, where 3G is already pervasive," Gardner said.

Facebook yields to users (again)
[CompWorld] After a flood of highly publicized user complaints, Facebook Inc. this week moved to make it easier for users to permanently delete their accounts and all the content associated with them by posting instructions on its user help page.

Newswatch 2.12.08: MSFT girding for a fight

MSFT to YHOO: So you want a fight?
[NYT] Microsoft’s statement suggests that, at least for now, the company is not willing to raise its price. Microsoft also indicated anew that it was ready for a fight, repeating earlier statements that it might consider “all necessary steps” to ensure the deal is completed. Experts said Microsoft could ratchet up pressure on Yahoo’s board by taking its offer directly to shareholders and waging a proxy fight to oust Yahoo’s directors; it has until March 13 to nominate a new slate of directors.

Nokia, Google in mobile search deal
[Reuters] "This also might be a bit of a defensive move in light of Android-based devices supposedly coming in the second half of 2008," said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi. "Although Nokia might not adopt the (Android) platform it is making sure they are working with Google and offering consumers what they want."

Android prototypes come to Barcelona
[]It's not so much what Android allows cell phone users to do, but rather what it doesn't require handset chip and device makers to do."Android provides a complete application framework, which can be put on chipsets with a lot less work."

Is it Xperian X1 v. iPhone?
[PCW] the information and preview provided during the product's launch at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Sunday created a buzz that resonated across the Web. One commentator hailed Xperia X1 as the new reference in terms of productivity and entertainment, and "the most exciting Windows Mobile phone since the Blackjack 2."

Apple unveils Aperture 2
[] Aperture 2.0 has a new raw image-processing engine and streamlined work flow, and the first new feature Apple touts is better speed, one of the common knocks against it compared with its rival. The software, like Adobe's Lightroom, is aimed at enthusiasts and professionals who need to edit and catalog "raw" images, the unprocessed data from higher-end cameras' image sensors.

CNN launches citizen journalism site
[Reuters] CNN this week will enter YouTube territory with, a new site built entirely on user-produced news. And unlike CNN's own properties -- where only iReport submissions that have been handpicked by editors and checked for accuracy ever make it online or on air -- the new site will be wide open, allowing users to post whatever content they choose, CNN said.

Newswatch 2.11.08: Yahoo says No

YHOO rejects MSFT bid
[Bloomberg] ``Yahoo thinks they're worth more because of the plans they've implemented that have yet to come to fruition,'' said Daniel Taylor, an analyst at research firm Yankee Group in Boston. ``The board is saying, `We think we can keep the company together and do far better with it than Microsoft ever will.'''

Sony intros Xperia smartphones
[InfoWeek] The first and most notable device in Sony Ericsson's lineup is the Xperia X1, a Windows Mobile smartphone with a touch screen overlay and a full QWERTY keyboard. The phone comes with 3G technology called HSDPA and Wi-Fi for a high-speed mobile experience. It also has built-in GPS for personal navigation."

Starbucks to offer free Wi-Fi through AT&T
[Ars] AT&T says that, beginning this spring, anyone who uses a Starbucks Card (a prepaid gift card, like one you would give to a friend) will be able to get up to two hours of free WiFi service per day at any Starbucks location with WiFi service. Better yet, if you're an AT&T broadband or U-verse subscriber, you'll be able to use unlimited WiFi at Starbucks for free. For everyone else, paid service will begin at $3.99 per two-hour session, and monthly membership will go for $19.99 per month.

MSFT buys Sidekick-maker Danger
[Reuters] Danger was co-founded by Andy Rubin, who is now running Google's mobile phone project, Android. Google has assembled a community of carriers, cellphone makers, software developers and chipmakers to develop a mobile software platform.

Android makes a big debut in Barcelona
[CRN] Texas Instruments plans to showcase the first prototype handset powered by Google's Android platform at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, Spain, this week, according to the company.

PDF exploit infects thousands
[CompWorld] Attackers have been exploiting one of the recently-revealed vulnerabilities in Adobe Reader for at least three weeks, security researchers said today, with one estimating the infection count at "many thousands" so far. On Tuesday, Adobe Systems Inc. acknowledged that its popular PDF viewer sported several flaws, and patched them that same day. However, it has yet to spell out the exact number or nature of the bugs.

Newswatch 2.7.08: AOL to be split up

Time Warner to split up AOL
[NYT] Time Warner, seeking to cut costs and streamline operations, plans to split off AOL’s Internet access business from its Web site and online advertising business and cut 100 jobs at its corporate unit, the company’s new chief executive, Jeffrey L. Bewkes, said Wednesday.

Never plug in a cell phone again
[Reuters] Scientists in the United States and Canada said on Thursday they have developed a unique device that can be strapped on the knee that exploits the mechanics of human walking to generate a usable supply of electricity. It generates enough power to charge up 10 cell phones at once, the researchers report in the journal Science.

Google tries to sneak past IT guards
[Ars] According to Google Apps senior product manager Rajen Sheth, "Google Apps has been, by definition, an IT project, and now we want to let people use it without IT involvement."

Grrr! Biofuels actually worse for climate change
[WSJ] A study published in the latest issue of Science finds that corn-based ethanol, instead of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by a hoped-for 20%, will nearly double the output of CO2 and other gases that trap the sun's heat. A separate paper in Science concludes that the clearing of native habitats around the world to grow more biofuel crops will lead to more carbon emissions, not less.

Big guys sign on to OpenID
[NYT] IBM, Google, Microsoft, Verisign and Yahoo have joined the corporate board of the OpenID Foundation, giving a boost to the group's efforts to simplify the process of signing into Web sites.

Is Google out of spectrum auction?
[PCMag] Recent bidding patterns suggest that Google has pulled back now that c-block open access requirements have been met, so that rivals like Verizon and AT&T can duke it out – and fund the inevitably pricey build outs.

GOOG makes news local
[Google] Today we're releasing a new feature to find your local news by simply typing in a city name or zip code. While we’re not the first news site to aggregate local news, we’re doing it a bit differently -- we're able to create a local section for any city, state or country in the world and include thousands of sources. We’re not simply looking at the byline or the source, but instead we analyze every word in every story to understand what location the news is about and where the source is located.

Newswatch 2.6.08:

AT&T widens 3G net
[] "Fast wireless broadband is the foundation for a whole range of new and emerging applications that our customers are adopting, including everything from social networking to sending live video and large business files," Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T's wireless unit, said in a statement. [In preparation for 3G iPhone???]

MSFT: Vista SP1 out in March
[CRN] During beta testing for Vista SP1, Microsoft found that some device drivers were causing problems on systems with SP1 installed. Although the issues can be fixed by uninstalling and reinstalling the drivers, Microsoft decided this would be too complicated for most users. As a result, Microsoft will spend the next month hunting for additional problematic device drivers, said David Zipkin, senior product manager in Windows Client Group.

GOOG to offer free, legal music downloads in China
[WSJ] The service, which is likely to offer access to tunes from three global music companies as well as dozens of smaller players, could start in the next several weeks barring any last-minute hiccups. The music pact marks a turning point in Google's battle with Baidu to gain dominance in an Internet market that is soon expected to surpass the U.S. this year in number of users.

Cable cuts stir up conspiracy pot
[ZDNet] So what’s going on with telecom cable interruptions in the Middle East? First a ship’s anchor cut into two high-priority cables — Flag Telecom’s Europe-Asia cable and the consortium-owned SEA-ME-WE 4 system. That pretty seriously damaged communications in the Middle East and choked - but didn’t cut off - traffic to India.

Newswatch 2.5.08: Super Tuesday: The candidates on tech

Clinton ducks tech policy questions, Obama and Paul see eye-to-eye
[] Even with the missing answers, these positions seem to reflect the candidates' broader philosophies. Obama appears more liberal than Clinton, flatly opposing the Real ID Act while she's less forceful, saying it needs to be reviewed. Both engage in a careful lapse in memory: unlike Paul, Clinton and Obama voted for Real ID as part of a broader "Global War on Terror" spending bill three years ago before turning around and criticizing it.

iPhone, touch get more memory
[] The iPhone once again comes in two capacities: 8GB for $399 and now 16GB for $499. Apple sold 8GB and 4GB varieties on iPhone Day, but it discontinued the 4GB model after it cut the price of the 8GB model to $399. Something like 90 percent of all early iPhone buyers opted for the 8GB version. The first time around, people signaled pretty clearly that they wanted more than 4GB of storage, but he thinks that there's still a "sweet spot" at 8GB of storage.

Nvidia to buy PhysX maker Ageia
[InfoWeek] "By combining the teams that created the world's most pervasive GPU and physics engine brands, we can now bring GeForce-accelerated PhysX to hundreds of millions of gamers around the world," Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of Nvidia, said in a statement.

MySpace launches developer network
[Wired] It looks like MySpace made good on its developer platform launch...sort of. Even though the News Corp.-backed social network yanked the tarp off its new platform today, it will be another month before us non-developers get a look at it.

Opera upgrades mobile browser
[InfoWeek] Opera Mobile 9.5 uses Opera's zoom technology to enlarge content on a Web page, and pages can be saved for offline browsing when there isn't an Internet connection available. The new version also uses Opera's Presto rendering engine to speed up the loading of pages. Opera said it tweaked the engine to improve performance by accelerating the handling of Web pages, even those coded using JavaScript and Ajax.

Nokia rolls out gaming, media services
[Reuters] "These are the first steps on the long journey towards becoming a competitor in the Web 2.0 services space," said CCS Insight research director Ben Wood. "It now faces the challenge of building awareness for these and other services with consumers who have already gravitated towards established web brands such as Google."

Yahoo upgrades Zimbra
[Newsfactor] The latest version aims to set a standard for Web-based business productivity with hundreds of enhancements across desktops and devices. Yahoo said Zimbra's partners include universities, internet service providers and small businesses.

Newswatch 2.5.08: GOOG fights hard for YHOO independence

GOOG working hard to block MSFT-YHOO deal
[NYT] Privately, Google, seeing the potential deal as a direct attack, went much further. Its chief executive, Eric E. Schmidt, placed a call to Yahoo’s chief, Jerry Yang, offering the company’s help in fending off Microsoft, possibly in the form of a partnership between the companies, people briefed on the call said.

Recruiting a big issue in MSFT-YHOO
[NYT] The battle for tech supremacy is largely a battle for talent. And so one crucial question about Microsoft’s $44.6 billion bid for Yahoo is whether a combined company could more easily attract software engineers — an increasingly precious commodity. Both companies are already fighting the perception that their most innovative days are behind them.

Would GOOG alliance make sense for YHOO?
[NYT] Regardless of the exact numbers, there are tens of billions of dollars in play that could be used to enable all sorts of financial engineering meant to keep Yahoo out of Steve Ballmer’s hands.

YHOO selling Unlimited music service to Rhapsody
[USAToday] Yahoo Music will continue to offer music videos, Internet radio and music downloads. But customers of its monthly Yahoo Music Unlimited service will be migrated to Rhapsody. No firm timetable has been set. Yahoo, which expects the deal to close by the middle of year, did not disclose terms.

Industry Standard is back - in name, online only
[CompWorld] Said Derek Butcher, the online publication's vice president and general manager: "We'll be covering the same topic area in terms of the online economy and the business of the Internet, which of course has grown quite a bit since the original Industry Standard was around. We really want to be true to the editorial integrity and professionalism and quality analysis of the original Industry Standard; we want to provide the what and the why, rather than just the what."

MSFT opens Boston research lab
[] The new lab will focus initially on "core computer science, especially more algorithmically oriented areas, and the social sciences, with a particular emphasis on building connections between these two areas," Microsoft said, adding that there will also be a small team working on design issues.

iPods don't harm pacemakers: FDA
[PCW] A Food and Drug Administration-led study refutes claims that the magnetic fields produced by Apple iPods and other such portable music devices interfere with cardiac pacemakers.

Newswatch 2.1.08: MSFT goes hostile on YHOO

Why MSFT went public
[AllThingsDigital] Sources at Yahoo tell me that Microsoft made its most recent overtures right after Yahoo announced its earnings Tuesday and then told Yahoo execs they had two days to respond or Microsoft would go public with the offer. When Yahoo balked at the heavy-handed tactic, guess what? Microsoft went public. Now Yahoo is scrambling to figure out a response to the overture, but is looking for any other option but Microsoft.

Microsoft-Yahoo bid: Behind the scenes
[Seattle PI] The announcement follows months of rumors, and for Yahoo, it comes amid a sinking share price and layoff plans. Significantly, it's being made not as an agreement with Yahoo but as a proposal to its board of directors -- from which Yahoo's chairman and former chief executive, Terry Semel, resigned last night, just prior to Microsoft's announcement.

Ballmer letter to Yahoo
[Microsoft] In February 2007, I received a letter from your Chairman indicating the view of the Yahoo! Board that “now is not the right time from the perspective of our shareholders to enter into discussions regarding an acquisition transaction.” According to that letter, the principal reason for this view was the Yahoo! Board’s confidence in the “potential upside” if management successfully executed on a reformulated strategy based on certain operational initiatives, such as Project Panama, and a significant organizational realignment. A year has gone by, and the competitive situation has not improved.

YHOO statement
[Yahoo] Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO), a leading global Internet company, today said that it has received an unsolicited proposal from Microsoft to acquire the Company. The Company said that its Board of Directors will evaluate this proposal carefully and promptly in the context of Yahoo!'s strategic plans and pursue the best course of action to maximize long-term value for shareholders.

The impact on web workers
[WebWorkerDaily] I see three major benefits to web workers if this deal goes through: Google gets some real competition, Microsoft gets a big dose of Open Source culture and flickr and get some innovation.

Newswatch 1.31.08: C block auction is over

And the winner is ...
[NYT] In the second round of bidding in the government’s spectrum auction today, there were no new bids for the C block of frequencies, the most attractive license that will allow someone to start or add to a national wireless voice and data network. The high bid from this morning stands at $4,713,823,000. Since the rules would require anyone else who wanted to buy those frequencies to bid in this round, it appears that there is no one else trying to compete.

Will Middle East outage affect outsourcing?
[CNN] Reports say that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain Pakistan and India, are all experiencing severe problems.

Problems in the Air
[Macworld] Apple’s Web site warned that older bases stations using a draft specification of the 802.11n wireless networking standard may implement what the company called a “wide” channel in the 2.4GHz range that could interfere with the MacBook Air, which conforms to more recent draft specifications. Apple recommended changing older base stations to use the 5GHz channels or to upgrade the base station to a newer model.

MySpace launches dev network
[WaPo] Interested developers will be able to sign up on the site to receive information about the MySpace Developer Platform, announced in October. Then next Tuesday, the developer site will become fully operational and feature documentation and API tools to build and test applications for MySpace, the world's most popular social networking service.

TSA launches a blog to answer questions
[CompWorld] SA Administrator Kip Hawley noted on the blog that there is no time for agency personnel to answer passenger questions during the airport screening process. Screeners have no time to explain to passengers why they are asked to do certain things and can only demand that they follow orders. The blog, he said, provides a forum to explain processes and to allow passengers to suggest changes to the TSA checkpoint processes.

Lessig gives farewell copyright speech
Creative Commons founder and Stanford professor Lawrence Lessig is giving his final presentation on Free Culture, Copyright and the future of ideas at Stanford's Memorial Auditorium on January 31st, 2007. After 10 years of enlightening and inspiring audiences around the world with multi-media presentations that inspired the Free Culture movement, Professor Lessig is moving on from the copyright debate and setting his sites on corruption in Washington. Stanford Memorial Auditorium, 1 pm

Foremski on Newsgang
[] Tom will be on Steve Gillmor's Newsgang at 2:00 today. Call in to 800-704-9804, listener code 352337. Or check out the Twitter feeds at newsgang and tomforemski.

Newswatch 1.30.08: Egypt, India lose Net access

Judge to MSFT: Two more years
[WaPo] Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia extended the court's supervision through Nov. 12, 2009, writing that the2002 settlementhad not fully taken effect. Several U.S. states involved inthe casehad sought a five-year extension, despite opposition from the Department of Justice.

Net broken in India, Egypt
[Reuters] - A breakdown in an international undersea cable network disrupted Internet links to Egypt, India and Gulf Arab countries on Wednesday, and Egypt said it could take several days for its services to return to normal. It was not immediately possible to gauge the impact of the disruption on financial institutions. Egypt's telecoms ministry said 70 percent of the country's Internet network was down and India initially said it had lost over half its bandwidth.

ICANN may put bite on domain tasting
[IDG] The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is considering keeping the annual fee it charges registries for a registered domain name, even if the domain name is forfeited during the five-day Add Grace Period. ICANN currently charges US$0.20 per domain per year. The move is intended to stop "domain tasting," a practice where thousands of domain names are purchased at a time and monitored to see which get the most traffic during the grace period, said Jason Keenan, media advisor for ICANN.

Apple TV delayed
[Merc] recently added movie rentals as a feature to its iTunes store. Consumers can now watch those movies on their iPods or computers, but in order for them to view them on Apple TV, they're going to need to install a software upgrade. Apple had promised to have the free upgrade available by the end of this month, but the company announced today that customers will have to wait another week or two for it. "The new ... update ... is not quite finished," the company said in a statement.

NY bill to register offenders' emails
[NYT] Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo and state lawmakers, with the backing of the social networking sites MySpace and Facebook, are pushing a bill that would crack down on sex offenders’ use of the sites. The law would require all registered sex offenders to submit any e-mail addresses and other Internet identifiers, such as screen names used for instant messaging, to the State Division of Criminal Justice Services within 10 days of their creation, just as with their home addresses.

Newswatch 1.29.08: EU: ISPs can protect user data

Is Apple really missing all those iPhones?
[PCW] "Some unknown number of iPhones are being unlocked by purchasers and some, probably a larger number, are being unlocked for resale," said Gottheil. "Some are in inventory. Some will be returned. And some are being used for the non-phone features, as iPhone Touches, until the owners can change their wireless contracts.

EU: ISPs need not hand over downloaders' info
[AP] EU law did not require governments to protect copyright by forcing companies to disclose personal data in civil legal actions, the Luxembourg-based court ruled. [Countries] could draft national rules to change this but they will then have to balance the right to privacy against property rights and "cannot however affect the requirements of the protection of personal data," a court statement said.

Skyfire promises full Web-browsing on non-Apple smartphones
[Newsfactor] Skyfire, currently in private beta, makes mobile browing "just like" using the Web on a PC, the company said, even if sites are built with Flash, Ajax or Java technologies. What's more, the company said, smartphone browsing isn't any slower than browsing on a computer.

Cisco battles for the data center
[MarketWatch] Cisco says that the new data-center switch would be able to copy all the searchable data on the Internet in 7.5 minutes, download Wikipedia's database in 10 milliseconds or download 90,000 Netflix movies in less than 40 seconds. It also can run 5 million concurrent transcontinental videoconferences using the company's Telepresence Collaboration systems, a company spokeswoman said.

Nokia buy of Trolltech a blow to GOOG
[BizWeek] With Nokia's support, Trolltech may turn into a widely used mobile Linux platform -- and further contribute to fragmentation of the Linux developer community. There are already more than 20 flavors of Linux. Android, the strongest of the bunch, was expected to unite Linux developers. Now, however, some developers that might have jumped onto Android may stick with Nokia.

Open source buyout
[InfoWeek] SpringSource, the supplier of the Spring Framework for Java development that has found its way inside many large enterprises, is buying Covalent Technologies. Covalent supplies technical support for some of the Apache Software Foundation code that works best with Spring, the Apache Web Server and Apache Tomcat, a lightweight application server.

TakeTwo settles Hot Coffee scandal
[GameSpot] In order to claim the benefits, customers will have to swear that they bought a copy of the game before July 20, 2005 (the day San Andreas was rated AO for Adults Only by the Entertainment Software Rating Board), and were "offended and upset by the ability of consumers to modify and alter the game's content" with the mod. They also have to swear that they wouldn't have purchased the game if they'd known about the mod, and would have returned the game upon learning of the mod if they thought they could.

Newswatch 1.25.08: Is Apple missing some iPhones?

Is Apple missing some iPhones?
[PCW] Apple claims slightly over 3.7 million iPhones were sold in 2007 -- yet AT&T this week revealed it ended the year with "just at or sightly under two million iPhone customers." That two million has been boosted somewhat by an estimated 300,000-400,000 sales in Europe, analysts believe.

FCC studies AT&T purchase of Aloha
[Reuters] The head of the Federal Communications Commission is pressing for the agency to quickly approve plans by AT&T Inc (T.N: Quote, Profile, Research) to purchase $2.5 billion worth of wireless airwaves from a privately held partnership, sources said on Friday.

All I want for, uh ... Valentine's Day is my XO laptop
[PCW] I feel a twinge of guilt each time I get annoyed over all this. The most important XO laptop I paid for was the one that was meant for some child in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Haiti, Mongolia or Rwanda, and if it indeed got there in a timely fashion, I'm happy. But if Matthew's experience and mine are any experience, OLPC's fulfillment house lost the addresses of at least some of the people who made donations through PayPal.

Sony signs on for custom DVD sales
[Register] Customers will be able to order certain Sony DVDs through retailers, who can in turn order only the quantity they need rather than bulk purchasing ahead of time, as is the usual way. Sony says it can release more relatively obscure media, without requiring retailers to make a larger investment in niche titles with limited demand.

GOOG combats domain name scams
[AP] Over the next few weeks, Google will start looking for names that are repeatedly registered and dropped within a five-day grace period for full refunds. Google's AdSense program would exclude those names so no one can generate advertising revenue from claiming them temporarily, a practice known as domain name tasting.

Manhunt 2 again banned in Britain
[DMW] The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) first ruled that the game could not be sold in the country; Rockstar then won an appeal of that ruling before the BBFC's Video Appeals Committee. The High Court said the Video Appeals Committee made an "error of law" when interpreting the definition of "harm" too narrowly, and must now reconsider its decision.

Gates' 'creative capitalism' proposal causes a stir
[] the notion that businesses themselves are responsible, at least in part, for solving poverty has gained increased attention at this year's forum, according to reports coming out of the Swiss ski resort town.

Israeli startups to visit SV
[GigaOm] Early next month, 15 web startups from Israel will spend a week touring Silicon Valley, meeting with investors, strategic partners, customers, entrepreneurs and industry leaders. The startups, among them PLYMedia, which overlays web video with additional meta data, will present to the industry on Wed., Feb 6, at Microsoft’s Mountain View campus.

Newswatch 1.24.08: Gates calls for creative capitalism

MSFT up 79% on Vista, Office sales
[WSJ] Microsoft Corp. posted a 79% jump in quarterly net income from a year ago, when results were lowered by deferred sales of Windows Vista and Office. Quarterly revenue jumped 30% amid a surge in sales for the Windows operating system and holiday sales of the Xbox 360 videogame console.

Gates touts creative capitalism at Davos
[Seattle PI] "We have to find a way to make the aspects of capitalism that serve wealthier people serve poorer people as well," he told an auditorium packed with corporate leaders and politicians at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. "I like to call this idea creative capitalism."

Nokia has 40% market share
[BizWeek] Nokia extended its already formidable dominance of the global handset business on Jan. 24, announcing it had achieved 40% market share in the fourth quarter of 2007. But perhaps the biggest surprise was the Finnish company achieved that long-promised and psychologically important milestone while also becoming more profitable.

Global music sales fell 10 percent
[Reuters] Global digital sales grew by around 40 percent in 2007, the IFPI group said, but this was not enough to offset the sharp fall in CD sales, meaning the overall market is expected to be down around 10 percent for 2007.

Via pushes for the mainstream with Isaiah processor
[PCW] Via Technologies offered the first detailed look at its upcoming Isaiah processor architecture Thursday, showcasing technological and performance improvements that will determine whether or not the company can make it as a mainstream processor vendor.

AT&T offers free Wi-Fi for broadband subscribers
[] Free Wi-Fi will be offered only to AT&T broadband subscribers who subscribe to services with 1.5Mbps downloads or higher. Subscribers who only have the company's wireless service will not be offered free Wi-Fi.

Picture frames come with viruses to infect PCs
[] Best Buy is warning customers who purchased its Insignia 10.4-inch Digital Picture Frames that their device may be harboring a virus, according an advisory posted on its Web site over the weekend.

Newswatch 1.23.08: EMC offers SaaS to enterprise

EMC offers SaaS to the enterprise
[Newsfactor] The release indicates a "growing acceptance of software-as-a-service offerings," Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT, said in a telephone interview. " has turned the corner on the traditional reticence." The cornerstones of SaaS adoption are expense and simplicity, King added. "Software as a service plays well where there's an enterprise-class product that's easier to use and more cost-effective than running the solution in-house," he said. offers free on-demand streaming
[Reuters] said the streaming service is funded by advertising revenue, which is shared with the music companies.The move comes nearly six years after first started reaching out to music companies to license songs to stream on its site. "They wouldn't even take our calls back then," said co-founder Martin Stiksel. (OBTW, when I tried it, it was buffering like crazy-RK)

MSFT hires Staples exec to market Windows Mobile
[InfoWeek] At Microsoft, Peters will be charged with promoting the company's mobile software brands, including Windows Mobile and Windows Live for Mobile. He will report to Pieter Knook, senior VP of the mobile communications business unit at Microsoft. The move is the latest turn of what has become a revolving door executive suite at Microsoft.

eBay's ailing outlook
[Forbes] The world’s largest Internet marketplace, eBay, reported a whopping profit on Wednesday spurred along by strong growth from PayPal online payments, StubHub, Skype, classifieds, and advertising as well overseas auctions. But its weaker-than expected forecast for 2008 sales and profit sent shares tumbling, overshadowing the departure of long-time Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman.

Airlines to offer Wi-Fi
[NYT] Southwest announced Wednesday that it will test satellite-delivered broadband Internet access on four aircraft this summer, the airline said in a statement. Southwest passengers with Wi-Fi-enabled devices would have Internet access for e-mail and Web browsing after the tests and subject to approval by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Newswatch 1.22.08: MPAA report on piracy was all wrong

YHOO cuts hundreds of jobs
[Bloomberg] "Yahoo plans to invest in some areas, reduce emphasis in others, and eliminate some areas of the business that don't support the company's priorities," according to a statement from the Sunnyvale, Calif., company.

MPAA admits piracy numbers grossly distorted
[Ars] After commissioning a 2005 study from LEK Consulting that showed collegiate file-swappers were responsible for 44 percent of movie studio "losses" to piracy, the MPAA then used the report it bought to bludgeon Congress into considering legislation to address this massive problem. Now the MPAA admits that the report's conclusions weren't even close to being right; collegiate piracy accounts for only 15 percent of "losses." Oops. And that's assuming you believe the rest of the data.

AAPL stock falls on good news
Now, that's a tough market! [NYT] Apple earned $1.58 billion, or $1.76 for each diluted share, in the first quarter of fiscal 2008, compared with $1 billion, or $1.14 a share, in the period a year earlier. Revenue was $9.6 billion, up from $7.1 billion. But while Apple executives paraded those as record-setting figures, investors focused on projections for the next quarter, which were lower than what analysts had expected.

Whitman retires from eBay
[NYT] The company intends to replace Ms. Whitman as chief executive of the Internet auction giant with John Donahoe, 47, president of eBay’s marketplaces division, which includes its large but stagnating online auction business. The announcement could come as early as this week.

1,000 genomes to bloom
[Wired] The 1000 Genomes Project, announced today and led by scientists from around the world, builds on the groundbreaking HapMap project. Launched in 2002, HapMap spotlighted regions of the genome that vary from person to person.

Drive-by pharming is in the wild
[Dark Reading] "With this sort of attack, all a victim would have to do to be susceptible is simply view the attacker’s malicious HTML or JavaScript code, which could be placed on a Web page or embedded in an email," Symantec says. "The attacker’s malicious code could change the DNS server settings on the victim’s home broadband router (whether or not it’s a wireless router)," the company reports. "From then on, all future DNS requests would be resolved by the attacker’s DNS server, which means that the attacker effectively could control the victim’s Internet connection."

Newswatch 1.21.08: HBO puts shows online

HBO puts its shows online
[Reuters] The service, HBO on Broadband, will make its debut with a much larger library than its cable-based on-demand service in a stab at satisfying increasingly mobile and choosy viewers. It will roll out to Time Warner Cable high-speed Internet customers in Green Bay and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as a free add-on to HBO and HBO on Demand

The bionic contact lens is here
[MSNBC] Researchers at the University of Washington have created the prototype for a bionic contact lens — recently tested on rabbits — that includes light-emitting diodes, basic wiring for electronic circuits and even a tiny antenna.

Hackers attack power utilities online
[ZDNet] The Washington Post reports that Tom Donahue, the CIA’s top cybersecurity analyst, told an audience of utility security pros: “We do not know who executed these attacks or why, but all involved intrusions through the Internet. We suspect, but cannot confirm, that some of the attackers had the benefit of inside knowledge.

MSFT discloses plans for virtualization strategy
[WSJ] The software giant's moves include the purchase of a Silicon Valley startup called Calista Technologies Inc. Terms of the purchase weren't disclosed. Microsoft is also relaxing some of its licensing policies to allow use of virtualization software with more versions of its Windows Vista operating system and lowering some fees associated with using the technology.

EU: IP addresses are personal info
[AP] Germany's data protection commissioner, Peter Scharr, leads the EU group preparing a report on how well the privacy policies of Internet search engines operated by Google Inc., Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp. and others comply with EU privacy law.He told a European Parliament hearing on online data protection that when someone is identified by an IP, or Internet protocol, address "then it has to be regarded as personal data."

LA Times fires another editor over cuts
[WSJ] James O'Shea: In discussions about the current and future budgets, it became clear that Publisher David Hiller and I didn't share a common vision for the future of the Los Angeles Times. In fact, we were far apart. So David decided he wanted a new editor. As I've said on numerous occasions over the past 14 months, I intended to stay here and lead this newspaper to the greatness it deserves. But David decided he wanted to terminate my employment and get another editor. I wish the new editor the best.

Newswatch 1.18.07: CA task force calls for more broadband

Wii has the strongest of Decembers
[WSJ] The videogame sector had a blowout month in December thanks to a strong slate of popular titles and the continued strength of the Nintendo Co. Wii, which remained in short supply through the holidays.

Bionic contact lenses coming to your eyes
[Wired] Sporting circuits a few nanometers thick and grain-of-sand-sized light-emitting diodes, the lenses have full Count Zero potential. They're also the product of some ingenious hackery: since contact lenses are delicate and circuit manufacture is hot and toxic, the researchers designed each component to attach itself only to certain other components. Their powder of circuits and diodes literally self-assembled into gadgetry when sprinkled onto the lens plastic.

Dvorak: Sun-MySQL deal a disaster
[Marketwatch] Sun Microsystems Inc. gobbling up MySQL is perhaps the worst single event I have ever witnessed in the history of tech mergers and acquisitions. ... I'm close to being convinced that Oracle wanted to buy MySQL to kill the product, but knew that it couldn't pull off the stunt itself. It would be too obvious, especially to European Union regulators. So it sent in a stooge to do the job. Sun cannot actually afford to spend a $1 billion on a company producing a mere $60 million in revenue and working outside its core competencies. So who can afford it? Oracle, that's who. This deal stinks from top to bottom.

CA task force: Make broadband ubiquitous
[Reuters] California should consider issuing debt to augment private investment in enhancing and expanding high-speed communications services, a state task force said on Thursday. It said that better, faster and more available broadband capabilities would propel economic growth for the most populous U.S. state,

Desparate TV viewers might turn to Digg
[BizWeek] With the television writers still striking, Kevin Rose and Co. are banking audiences will watch what’s playing on Digg. Today, Rose’s Internet TV network Revision3 is launching “The Digg Reel,” a short online show featuring the top videos submitted to Digg. The shows’ creators hope to get a boost from frustrated television viewers starved for something—anything—new aside from NBC’s American Gladiators

Sprint is crashing
[USAToday] Sprint Nextel, struggling to keep afloat amid a crush of customer defections, on Friday announced it was cutting 4,000 jobs. The reduction is the first of what is expected to be a series of moves by the new CEO, Dan Hesse, as he tries to save the troubled wireless carrier. Last January Sprint announced it was cutting 5,000 jobs. The company currently has 60,000 employees.

Newswatch 1.17.08: Your Internet Meter is Running

MSFT names Disney exec to CIO position
[NYT] Tony Scott, who most recently was CIO at Walt Disney, will take over that same role at Microsoft in February, reporting to Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner. Scott, who also will be a corporate vice president at Microsoft, replaces Stuart Scott, who departed the company in November.

The online meter is running
[Reuters] Time Warner Cable Inc said on Wednesday it is planning a trial to bill high-speed Internet subscribers based on their amount of usage rather than a flat fee, the standard industry practice. The company believes the billing system will impact only heavy users, who account for around 5 percent of all customers but typically use more than half of the total network bandwidth.

GOOG.ORG grants $25m
[Forbes] Five million dollars is going to an organization called InSTEDD (for Innovative Support to Emergencies, Diseases and Disasters), which looks for gaps in information flow among relief and response organizations. Another $2 million has been given to a nongovernmental organization in India called Pratham, which conducts large-scale assessments on the delivery and quality of education to the poor.

YHOO supports OpenID
[PCW] People with a Yahoo user name and password will be able to use that ID information to access non-Yahoo Web sites that support the OpenID 2.0 digital identity framework, reducing the amount of different log-in information people need to create, remember and enter online.

Facebook game Scrabulous faces Hasbro ire
[] Game companies Hasbro, which distributes Scrabble in North America, and Mattel, which is responsible for its overseas trademarks, have reportedly asked Facebook to remove the game from its application directory. And you can tell it's a serious legal matter because nobody's talking.

Newswatch 1.16.07: Sun buys MySQL for $1b

Sun buys MySQL for $1 billion
[InfoWorld] "This is a move that helps Sun's strategy. It pits the LAMP stack, backed by Sun, against Microsoft .Net. It's a strong initiative," said Noel Yuhanna, database analyst for Forrester Research. The LAMP stack is a set of open source software that includes MySQL as the database -- Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP or other dynamic scripting language. The elements of the set work easily together and can be used to build ambitious Web applications.

Ellison closes deal for BEA: $7.8b
[TMCNet] “Oracle did indeed come through as the most appropriate buyer for BEA,” Celent analyst Bart Narter suggested. “This purchase enables the company to go head to head with other companies such as IBM and SAP in offering SOA infrastructures to the largest enterprises.”

AAPL stock gets hammered
[MarketWatch] "Investors were underwhelmed, possibly on unrealistic iPhone speculation and the lack of a killer product similar to the iPhone launch," Abramsky said. "But [it was] mostly general market pressure." Apple may have been caught in the sell-off Intel, which was down 12% in today's trading.

AT&T recalls batteries after explosions and fires
[Reuters] AT&T Inc (T.N: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Wednesday it will replace 17,000 batteries mostly used to back up power supply for its U-verse television network after two fires and two explosions in a little over a year. The company said no one was injured by the incidents and the replacement of the batteries housed in outdoor telecommunications equipment cabinets would not change its spending plans for 2008.

MSFT owns patent for system that takes action based on person's vital signs
[] "This particular patent application, in general, describes an innovation aimed at improving activity-monitoring systems and uses the monitoring of user heart rate as an example of the kind of physical state that could be monitored to detect when users need assistance with their activities, and to offer assistance by putting them in touch with other users who may be able to help," from Horacio Gutierrez, VP of IP, said.

Monkey think, robot do
[InfoWeek] In what researchers tout as a first-of-its-kind experiment, monkeys' thoughts controlled the walking patterns of a robot in Japan. "They can walk in complete synchronization," said Dr. Miguel Nicolelis of Duke University. "The most stunning finding is that when we stopped the treadmill and the monkey ceased to move its legs, it was able to sustain the locomotion of the robot for a few minutes -- just by thinking -- using only the visual feedback of the robot in Japan."

Newswatch 1.15.08: Macworld: skinny laptop, iTunes movie rentals

Apple gets superskinny with MacBook air
[Macworld] At the risk of sounding obvious, the MacBook Air is incredibly light and tiny. Its looks owe a lot to the MacBook Pro and previous silver Mac laptop models, but its curved edges and tapered shape are unlike anything we’ve seen on a Mac laptop in a long time, if ever. Someone sitting next to me just likened it to a really big iPod nano, and that’s not far off.

High-res pics of the air
[AppleInsider] Height is 0.16-0.76 inch (0.4-1.94 cm). The 2GB of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM is soldered to the motherboard. So no memory upgrades available. The multi-touch trackpad works with ease and better than you would expect, at least in the applications Apple is using for demos. The battery is a integrated, non-replacable 37-watt-hour lithium-polymer.

iTunes Movie Rentals includes all the majors
[AppleInsider] Apple said it plans to offer over 1,000 titles by the end of February, including over 100 titles in high definition video with 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound which users can rent directly from their widescreen TV using Apple TV. iTunes Movie Rentals are priced at $2.99 for library titles and $3.99 for new releases, and high definition versions are just one dollar more with library titles at $3.99 and new releases at $4.99.

Does the EU hate successful American companies?
[NYT] Setting ground rules for competition is one thing, but seeking to determine outcomes is another. The next clue about Europe’s antitrust attitudes will be its decision on Google’s planned purchase of DoubleClick, a takeover that has already received an approving nod in Washington. It is indeed a very separate matter from the Microsoft case, but the outcome will be telling.

FCC starts Comcast investigation
[Reuters] We believe our practices are in accordance with the FCC's policy statement on the Internet where the Commission clearly recognized that reasonable network management is necessary for the good of all customers," Comcast said in a statement.

214 bidders for wireless spectrum auction
[InfoWeek] The major qualified bidders include familiar American business names like Google, under the name Google Airwaves, AT&T Mobility Spectrum, Verizon Wireless, Alltel, Chevron, Cincinnati Bell Wireless, Cox Wireless, and Qualcomm.

iPhone at the center of the mobile web
[TopTechNews] Data from Google that iPhone represented the most mobile traffic on Christmas establishes "without question that the iPhone is the pre-eminent mobile device," Greg Sterling, principal analyst with Sterling Market Research, said. Case in point: In conjunction with Macworld, Google released a revamped version of its Grand Prix applications for iPhone, making the apps faster and easier to use.

Newswatch 1.14.07: It's Macworld time!

What will Steve announce?
[Newsfactor] With Apple's ability to design unique-looking products, the notebook sector is one where Apple can do something "sexy," NPD analyst Steve Baker said. Still it won't be a "driver of volume" this year. "By putting [in] flash and possibly LED backlighting, that's going to be a pretty expensive product," he said.

Pepsi pushing Amazon's MP3 store
[AP] Justin Timberlake's will appear in a spot for Pepsi, kicking off a yearlong $1 billion giveaway of MP3s, CDs, videos, consumer electronics and other items on Amazon.

GOOG beefs up iPhone interface
[TechCrunch] With iGoogle integration, developers don’t have to wait for Apple to open up the iPhone to third-party apps. They can just create an iGoogle gadget instead. No wonder Google CEO Eric Schmidt recuses himself from iPhone discussions when he goes to Apple board meetings.

Toshiba puts up a fight for HD DVD
[Reuters] Toshiba Corp said on Monday it is slashing prices of its HD DVD format players by between 40 to 50 percent as major Hollywood studios move to embrace Sony Corp's Blu-ray format high definition DVDs.

Netflix opens up streaming video
[InfoWeek] "Unlimited has always been a very powerful selling point with our subscribers and a large part of what set us apart in the marketplace," Leslie Kilgore, the company's chief marketing officer, said in a prepared statement. "In talking with members about our streaming feature during the past year, it became clear that, as with DVDs, the idea of streaming unlimited movies and TV episodes on a PC resonated quite strongly. And we're now in a good position to offer that."

New dynamic hack has compromised 10,000 websites
[PCW] It appears that a single gang is behind the attacks, since the malicious software it spreads is storing login and password details on one server in Spain, said Yuval Ben-Itzhak. Finjan is trying to get the ISP (Internet service provider) to shut it down, he said.

Oracle users don't apply patches
[InfoWeek] Oracle on Tuesday is scheduled to issue 21 patches for its database, applications, and related products, a move that reflects a four-year old patching process. But a software executive who's been visiting Oracle user groups says only a third of Oracle database administrators adopt the patches.

Newswatch 1.11.08: Zuckerberg says Beacon is 'good'

Zuckerberg: Beacon a 'really good thing'
[ComputerWorld] "It might take some work for us to get this exactly right," he told 60 Minutes in an interview to be broadcast Sunday. "This is something we think is going to be a really good thing. I actually think [our ads] make [Facebook] less commercial. What would you rather see? A banner ad from Bloomingdale's or that one of your friends bought a scarf?"

Brits ban Vista
[InfoWeek] The agency that governs educational technology in the UK has advised schools in the country to keep Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT)'s Windows Vista operating system and its Office 2007 software out of the classroom and administrative offices.

Network Solutions slammed for new domain policy
[TopTechNews] What would you a call a company that allows users to search for domain names and then registers those names to itself? Some would call it a "front runner" or a "cybersquatter." Network Solutions quietly launched a program that registers searched-for domain names to itself. For a period of four days after the initial domain search is conducted, the name can be purchased only from Network Solutions.

Rumor has MSFT buying CDN Limelight
[AlleyInsider] A CDN industry insider (not at Limelight) tells us he has heard this twice in recent days from independent sources. Why would Microsoft want to buy Limelight, the unprofitable No. 2 player in the CDN business behind Akamai (AKAM)? It's indeed a puzzlement.

150 million websites can't be wrong
[TGDaily] According to Netcraft’s web server survey, web hosters saw an increase of 5.4 million websites during the month of December which resulted in a total of 155,230,051 websites by the end of the month. In 2007, the analysis firm estimates that the Internet has grown by more than 50 million websites, topping the previously recorded absolute growth record of about 30 million sites in 2006.

Second Life banks banned
[Ars] "As these activities grow, they become more likely to lead to destabilization of the virtual economy," the blog posting reads. "At least as important, the legal and regulatory framework of these non-chartered, unregistered banks is unclear, i.e., what their duties are when they offer 'interest' or 'investments.'"

Newswatch 1.10.08: iPhone: The Untold Story

Amazon to sell BMG DRM-free
[Reuters] Amazon said the deal makes it the first retailer to offer customers DRM-free songs from all four major music companies in the MP3 format.

Blue films like Blu-Ray
[PC Mag] The adult film industry is still taking a wait-and-see approach to the Blu-ray /HD DVD wars. But while Blu-ray's perceived costs have pushed some companies into the arms of the HD DVD camp, Warner Bros.' decision last week to exclusively support Blu-ray has some thinking that the end of HD DVD is nigh.

MSFT denies dual-boot XO laptop
[] Microsoft put the kibosh on talk of a dual-boot XO laptop after OLPC chairman and founder Nick Negroponte told IDG News Service Wednesday that the two organizations are working on such a project.

iPhone: The Untold Story
[Wired] It was a late morning in the fall of 2006. Almost a year earlier, Steve Jobs had tasked about 200 of Apple's top engineers with creating the iPhone. Yet here, in Apple's boardroom, it was clear that the prototype was still a disaster. It wasn't just buggy, it flat-out didn't work. ...

Subpoena in MySpace suicide case
[LAT] A federal grand jury in Los Angeles has begun issuing subpoenas in the case of a Missouri teenager who hanged herself after being rejected by the person she thought was a 16-year-old boy she met on MySpace, sources told The Times.

Network Solutions may give up 'front running'
[ComputerWorld] The registrar came under fire this week as it implemented a policy that effectively locks up any domain name that is the subject of a search on its site, preventing a customer from registering the name with another, possibly less expensive, registrar for four days. Network Solutions charges customers $34.99 to register a domain name, while Inc., for example, charges up to $9.99.

Newswatch 1.9.07: FCC to investigate Comcast

EU drops APPL probe as Jobs drops prices
[NetworkWorld] Apple said that within six months it will lower the prices it charges for music on its U.K. iTunes Store to match its already standardized pricing across Europe in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and Spain

APPL will provide movie rentals
[Bloomberg] Apple will announce the rental service Jan. 15, the people said. New releases and older titles will rent for $3.99 for 24 hours. The lower-priced rentals and additional titles may help boost the popularity of Apple's iPod media players, iPhone and Apple TV set-top box, which delivers shows to widescreen TV sets.

Frontline Wireless collapses for lack of funding
[NYT] Frontline Wireless, which wanted to build an innovative cellular network for both private use and local public safety agencies, has collapsed because it could not raise enough money to bid in the government auctions of wireless spectrum that start later this month.

The future of cars is computers
[Wired] General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner gave the first keynote address from the head of an automobile manufacturer in the 41-year history of the Consumer Electronics Show on Tuesday. Wagoner's message was clear: the car is no longer a mere mode of transportation, but has become a hybrid of sorts -- part vehicle and part consumer electronics device.

FCC to probe Comcast
[Reuters] Comcast Corp said on Wednesday that it would cooperate with an investigation by U.S. regulators into how it manages some Internet traffic on its network, but again denied it had interfered with file-sharing services.

OLPC developing dual-boot laptop
[ComputerWorld] The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project and Microsoft Corp. are working together to develop a dual-boot system to put both Linux and Windows on laptops aimed at kids in developing countries, the head of OLPC said in an interview Tuesday.

Subpoenas issued in MySpace suicide
[LAT] A federal grand jury in Los Angeles has begun issuing subpoenas in the case of a Missouri teenager who hanged herself after being rejected by the person she thought was a 16-year-old boy she met on MySpace, sources told The Times. The case set off a national furor when it was revealed that the "boyfriend" was really a neighbor who was the mother of one of the girl's former friends.

Newswatch 1.8.08: Blu-Ray wins, who cares?

Comcast will offer huge movie library on demand
[NYT] The plan, which Brian L. Roberts, the chairman and chief executive of the Comcast Corporation, will describe in a keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, is aimed at making a nearly limitless supply of movies and television shows available on television, where Comcast subscribers could view them on demand, and through the Internet, where anyone with Web access could watch them.

Blu-Ray wins, who cares?
[Forbes] With Apple,, NetFlix and Microsoft pushing downloadable movies and cable and phone companies peddling a plethora of on-demand, high-definition content, the day is coming when the stacks of plain vanilla DVDs that clutter many home entertainment centers will go the way of the CD collection.

AAPL releases new MacPro, XServe
[InfoWeek] Both new products are under $3,000 and come standard with two Intel Xeon quad-core chips, codenamed Harpertown, which were released only last month. Last year, the same custom design would have cost $4,000. "One of the advantages in using Harpertown is that it packs a lot more performance per watt in the same thermal envelope," said Apple's Tom Boger.

Wikia Search sucks
[TechCrunch] Many of us have waited a year as the Jimmy Wales hype machine promised a human powered search engine that could take on Google. [Last night] that search engine launched at , and it may be one of the biggest disappointments I’ve had the displeasure of reviewing.

MSFT searches for enterprise search with $1.2B deal
[GigaOM] Microsoft is bolstering its enterprise search with an offer to buy Norway’s Fast Search & Transfer ASA in a cash deal valued at 6.6 billion Norwegian kroner ($1.2 billion). The deal is aimed at increasing functionality in Microsoft’s business software, as well as acting as a beachhead for Redmond in the enterprise search market.

Sears sued over date breach
[CompWorld] - Sears Holdings Corp. is facing a class-action lawsuit after making the purchase history of its customers public on its Web site. The lawsuit seeks damages as well as an accounting by Sears to determine whether the Web site was misused by criminals. It was filed on Friday by New Jersey resident Christine Desantis, who is represented by KamberEdelson LLC, a technology law firm.

CSCO brings social networking to big media
[] The new software called Eos, which stands for entertainment operating system, will allow media and content companies to build online communities for niche groups. Specifically, the software will help these companies monitor the community's interaction with each other and the content itself.

Newswatch 1.7.07: Bye, bye, Bill

Bye, bye, Bill
[Newsweek] Not that I expected a weepy departure. Gates is unsentimental about stuff like this. For him a speech is all about the logistics of which Microsoft goodies to include, and the standard hope that the demos won't crash. This year's version was clearly in keeping with his tradition, a heaping helping of high-tech comfort food.

Wikia Search goes live
[Business Week] The new site takes a hybrid approach to search, combining technologies and features from a range of successful Web sites —search-related and non-search, including social-networking phenomenon Facebook. And when you look beyond the home page, Wikia Search's design is just as eclectic. Its open-source design process has produced a site built on proven Web-design standards—and not just those established by Google.

YHOO to make social services central
[Reuters] He said services would be more social, making it easier for users to update friends automatically on their Web activities. "With Yahoo, we plan on being the most essential starting page for your life," Yang told the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

INTC unveils 45nm notebook chips
[InfoWeek] Intel is scheduled to start production of Menlow, which will include a new low-power 45-nm processor packages codenamed Silverthorne, this quarter, Anand Chandrasekher, senior VP and general manager of Intel's ultramobility group, told InformationWeek. In addition, Intel is building processors and chipsets for set-top boxes and digital video recorders. The platform, scheduled to ship this year, will use Menlow technology, but will be marketed under other names.

PSP: your Skype-enabled handheld videophone
[Forbes] Sony said Monday it has allied with Skype to enable users of its latest slim PSP-2000 to make low-cost telephone calls and free calls around the world via the Net.

Jobs wins over Hollywood
[BusinessWeek] BusinessWeek has learned that Apple is close to nailing down agreements with most of the big studios, though not all may be ready to announce by the time Jobs takes the stage on Jan. 15 at the annual Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco.

Intel split a wake-up call for OLPC
[Newsfactor] Rather than see Intel as the bad guy here, OLPC should view the break-up as a "wake-up call." OLPC's mission is to change education, Vota said, "so the expectation that it has to be one platform over another is monopolistic. OLPC has to compete in the marketplace against other offerings."

Obama turns Facebook fans into delegates
[ZDNet] Barack Obama’s victory in Iowa was marked by heavy participation by young and first-time caucusers. The San Francisco Chronicle takes note that this may mark the first time that politicians talk about bringing in young voters actually materialized on the ground.

Sears spyware draws lawsuit
[InfoWeek] plaintiff Christine Desantis alleges that the company's exposure of customer data represents a breach of contract and a violation of the Consumer Fraud Act. The $5 million sought is to cover payments to affected consumers and attorneys, and the cost of injunctive relief; no individual is seeking more than $75,000, according to the legal filing. The crux of the case is that Sears "failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that [consumers'] private information was secure," according to the complaint.

Newswatch 1.3.08: Watch Netflix on TV

Netflix, LG deal: Watch Instantly on your TV
[WSJ] The partnership between Netflix, Los Gatos, Calif., and South Korea's LG represents another gamble by technology companies that video from the Internet, which is commonly downloaded to personal computers, will go mainstream when users can easily access it from TV sets.

Cell phones cause traffic jams
[NYT] Motorists talking on the phone drive about two miles per hour more slowly than people who aren’t on the phone, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Utah. And while hands-free devices often are touted as safer alternatives, the scientists found that people using them also putter along, which suggests that it’s the talking, not the cellphone, that distracts the brain.

Suit: IBM dumped chemicals
[Reuters] 90 residents of the upstate New York towns of Endicott and Union say that from 1924 to 2002, IBM dumped chemicals including trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene near the Endicott plant where the computer giant was born.

Hitachi boasts 500GB hard drive for notebooks
[CRN] The Travelstar 5K500, the 2.5-inch mobile hard drive sets a new benchmark for capacity and, according to Hitachi, will usher in a new era of slim desktops, full-featured notebooks, gaming consoles and other advanced applications for mobile consumers.

Gates, MSFT exec give $30m for telescope
[Seattle PI] The Gates and Simony money will pay for three large mirrors now in the first stages of production at the University of Arizona in Tucson. The telescope will be built on a mountain in northern Chile and start operating in 2014 with a digital camera with 3,200 megapixels.

MSFT shuts off older Office formats
[ComputerWorld] Service Pack 3 (SP3) for Office 2003, said Viral Tapara, a U.K.-based IT evangelist for Microsoft, blocks old file formats for security purposes. "Some older file formats, including some from Microsoft, are insecure and do not satisfy new attack vectors that hackers can use to execute malicious code."

AAPL files patent for notebook docking station
[Macworld] A U.S. patent granted to Apple on Thursday seems to support reports that the company is working on an ultramobile PC to compete with Microsoft and its hardware partners in that market. The patent filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office defines “a docking area configured to receive a portable computer,” according to the filing.

Newswatch 1.2.08: OLPC sued for $20 million

Qualcomm infringed on patents
[Reuters] Qualcomm Inc said on Wednesday it would be hurt in the short term by a court injunction on the sale of chips infringing rival Broadcom Corp's patents, but it promised to have alternative products in phones before the end of the quarter.

$40 coupons to convert to digital broadcasts
[Wired] Aided by the billions it's expected to rake in after this month's 700 MHz spectrum auction, the government officially started issuing $40 coupons on Wednesday to go toward the purchase of digital conversion boxes.

New flash drive includes Web backup
[Reuters] When consumers store documents, photos and music onto SanDisk's new Cruzer Titanium Plus USB flash drive, it will back up that digital information to a Web service offered by a start-up company called BeInSync, which stores data onto Inc's computers.

Wikia Search goes public alpha Monday
[] Wikia Search, which aims to allow people to contribute to how pages are ranked and to edit search results, will have open-source search algorithms and application program interfaces.

Nigerian company sues OLPC for $20m
[GrokLaw] Maybe this doomed litigation effort will last just long enough for a Nigerian knockoff of the OLPC, or the OLPC on Intel, to become ready for release. Maybe it's just about money a couple of guys want. Who knows why people do things like this? I have the filings for you, so you can draw your own conclusions. So, here we go. Your first binary moment of 2008. It's laugh or cry.

Data breaches set record in '07
[InfoWeek] The number of publicly reported data breaches in the U.S. rose by more than 40% in 2007, compared to the previous year, according to statistics compiled by the Identity Theft Resource Center.

Tablet ModBook ships
[Macworld] Starting with a stock Apple MacBook laptop, Axiotron has designed a new case and a new input system, eschewing the keyboard and trackpad instead for a stylus input that enables users to write directly on the screen. It's the first pen tablet-based Mac.

Newswatch 12.27.07:

APPL patent app describes wireless food ordering
[InfoWeek] The latest application, filed Dec. 20, described a system in which a person approaching a cafe, fast-food, or take-out restaurant could place an order that would be received by an in-store computer. The person's order would be treated as if the customer was standing in line, which means he would be served before people placing orders after the remote order arrived.

GOOG to face trial in patent dispute
[Reuters] The appeals court ruled that Google's immensely profitable AdSense did not infringe on HyperphRase's patents. It handed down a split decision on AutoLink, agreeing that Google did not infringe, as claimed, on one of the HyperphRase patents. But it vacated a summary judgment in Google's favor on two others and sent it back to the Wisconsin district court.

AAPL cuts deal with Fox for VOD
[USA Today] Under the arrangement, Fox movies would be available for rental on Apple's iTunes for $2.99 and consumers could watch them for a limited time, according to The Financial Times, which cited a person familiar with the situation.

Win HomeServer suffers from corruption
[PC Mag] "A few people in the Community Forums have reported data corruption when saving files [on WHS] from applications including Windows Vista Photo Gallery, Windows Live Photo Gallery, Microsoft Office OneNote 2007, Microsoft Office OneNote 2003 and SyncToy 2.0 Beta," the WHS team wrote in a blog post.

Mossberg: Dell XPS beats iMac for design
[WSJ] the Dell XPS One is the first Windows all-in-one desktop I've tested that I believe matches or exceeds the iMac in hardware design. That's no small feat, especially coming from Dell.

DoCoMo signs on to Android
[Reuters] The move marks a strategic shift for Japan's largest wireless operator by seeking a partner, as the firm has been lagging behind much smaller rivals in luring new subscribers in recent months.

Boston's T boasts cell service
[] AT&T became the third cellphone provider to offer a signal underground. T-Mobile and Verizon both connected their networks earlier this month, but without any announcement from the T, many customers were not aware they could use their phones.

Newswatch 12.26.07: AAPL hits $200

GOOG knows your friends - or so it thinks
[NYT] Now Google is assuming that anyone you have had a conversation with using Google Talk is a friend, so they’ll automatically be able to see and read what you’ve read and marked as shared.

Russia launches sats for its GPS
[Reuters] The military-run GLONASS mapping system works over most of Russia and is expected to cover the globe by the end of 2009, once all its 24 navigational satellites are operating.

AAPL working on auto-volume controls for iPod
[PCW] Apple is reportedly working on a new iPod feature that automatically regulates volume levels to make sure you don't damage your hearing with excessively loud playback, according to the The Daily Mail.

FBI building biometric database
[ZDNet] In The Simpsons movie, Marge, Bart and Lisa’s conversations are tracked by the NSA. It’s not that they’ve been targeted as specific threats to the EPA’s plans to wipe Springfield off the map but because the NSA listens to every American’s conversation. That scenario — which an ACLU officer calls the Always On Surveillance Society — looks increasingly unridiculous.

Hebrew Bible on a pinhead
[BBC] The 0.5sq-mm (0.01sq-in) nano-Bible was written on a silicon surface covered with a thin layer of gold (20nanometres thick - 0.0002mm). It was written using a device called Focused Ion Beam (Fib).

A very Amazon Christmas
[TechCrunch] In electronics , Apple iPods took four of the top five spots, but coming in at No. 2 was Amazon’s own Kindle book reader. (Garmin took the No. 6 slot with its portable GPS Navigator).

AAPL hits $200
[Bloomberg] Apple Inc. rose to a record in Nasdaq Stock Market trading after more than doubling this year on sales of Macintosh personal computers and demand for the iPhone.

Newswatch 12.24.07: FBI building biometric tool

Vonage settles with AT&T
[Reuters] AT&T sued the company, accusing it with using packet-based telephony products, which allows voice conversations to be carried over the Internet, based on products that use technology covered by AT&T patents.

FBI prepares vast biometric database
[WashPost] The FBI is embarking on a $1 billion effort to build the world's largest computer database of peoples' physical characteristics, a project that would give the government unprecedented abilities to identify individuals in the United States and abroad.

Store scalps Wiis on eBay
[Ars] "The real crime is that we get Wii shipments regularly. In fact, right now we have about 20, but none of them make it to the store front. They all get put on the store's eBay site at a minimum $499.99 buying price."

YHOO China infringes copyright
[] "The ruling against Yahoo China is extremely significant in clarifying copyright rules for Internet music services in China," John Kennedy, chairman and CEO of the International Federation of Phonographic Industries, or IFPI, said in a statement Thursday.

RedHat hires Delta exec as CEO
[Atlanta Journal-Constitution] Former Delta Air Lines executive Jim Whitehurst, one of two internal candidates who were not chosen as the carrier's new CEO, has landed in the top post at a well-known technology company.

IBM acquires high-speed DB maker
[InfoWeek] Solid specializes in developing databases that are stored in a computer's high-speed random access memory (RAM), bypassing the hard drive. The result is a system that can deliver data to applications virtually in real time, according to Solid.

Newswatch 12.19.07: DoubleClick deal approval soon

Firefox 3, beta 2
[] The new version sports a wide range of improvements over the first test version of the browser upgrade, most notably plugs for memory leaks, security fixes, and a download manager that includes improvements previously available only through plug-ins.

GoogHooSoft fined $31m for gambling ads
[ABC] Google will pay the government $3 million and Yahoo will pay $7.5 million for their participation in advertising online gambling on their search engines. Microsoft will pay $21 million. As part of the settlement, Microsoft will also provide $9 million to the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Bidder line up for spectrum auction
[WashPost] As expected, Google has applied to participate in the auction. A handful cable companies, such as Cox, and smaller Internet companies, such as XPressWeb, are planning to bid. Big phone companies have traditionally been the main players in spectrum auctions. But AT&T and Verizon Wireless, who are expected to square off against the newcomers, have to fix some paperwork glitches or provide more information before the FCC accepts their applications. altered evidence, judgment for MPAA
[PCW] The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has won a lawsuit against the operators of, with the judge ruling in favor of the MPAA because the Web site operators tampered with evidence. In a ruling that could have implications for the privacy of Web site users, Judge Florence-Marie Cooper of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, ruled that TorrentSpy has infringed MPAA copyrights in a default judgment against the operators of the site.

Google-DoubleClick will close shortly
[Bloomberg] The five-member Federal Trade Commission is poised to approve the transaction after reviewing complaints by Microsoft Corp. and AT&T Inc. that the combination would harm competition for Internet advertisements, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

XP SP3 candidate goes public
[InfoWeek] Windows XP SP3 Release Candidate offers a number of enhancements over the current version of the OS. It includes all updates issued since Windows XP Service Pack 2 was released in 2004, and some new elements. Among them: A feature called Network Access Protection that's borrowed from the newer Windows Vista operating system. NAP automatically validates a computer's "health," ensuring that it's free of bugs and viruses, before allowing it access to a network.

Newswatch 12.17.07: Ribbit is Phone 2.0

Ribbit offers Phone 2.0
[NYT] This isn’t just a widget for talking to your friends, like Skype and its many “Voice 2.0” imitators. Rather, Ribbit is offering a full telephone switchboard on its server, connected both to the Internet and to the public-switched telephone network. That makes it possible for developers ranging from companies offering customer-relationship management services, to online shopping web sites to add a phone feature by just embedding Adobe Flash into a website.

Sony to rise in 2008 game HW sales
[ScreenDigest] . Whereas in 2007 Nintendo has succeeded in expanding the appeal of the Wii to different consumers, including more females and older consumers to drive adoption, Sony's pipeline of exclusive content and the launch of multi-media services may result in a significant uplift for the PlayStation 3 in 2008.

Get your Wii - in January
[Reuters] Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime told a telephone news conference that shoppers who pay the full price of about $249 for an out-of-stock Wii on December 20 and 21 at retailer GameStop Corp will get a certificate promising a Wii "sometime in January."

Everyone Googles themselves
[SFChron] About half of the online adult population has looked up themselves or someone else online, according to a survey released Sunday. A good 36 percent said they have searched the Web for someone with whom they've lost touch, and 9 percent have dug up information on someone they were dating.

Facebook sues porn site over spidering
[PCW] Facebook alleges that in June servers controlled by the defendants used automated scripts to make more than 200,000 requests for personal information stored on Facebook's site.

AMZN opens its cloud for testing
[] The new Web service joins two others the online retailer launched in 2006 that anyone can pay to use: computing horsepower called the Elastic Computing Cloud (EC2) and data storage called Simple Storage Service (S3). SimpleDB works in conjunction with those services, letting customers store, modify, and query data, the company said Friday.

Newswatch 12.14.07: FTC chief won't recuse in Google merger

FTC head won't recuse herself
[] FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras said Friday that she will not recuse herself from hearing the Google-DoubleClick merger case, arguing that the fact her husband's law firm is representing DoubleClick doesn't merit her recusal.

Google knol no Wiki killer
[BizWeek] Today, Google’s new tool called “knol,” which will give people a way to write “authoritative” articles about a particular subject, is supposed to kill Wikipedia. Let’s put aside the fact that almost no Google product besides search has ever killed anything.

MSFT fires back at Opera
[Newsfactor] "We believe the inclusion of the (IE) browser into the operating system benefits consumers, and that consumers and PC manufacturers are already free to choose to use any browsers they wish," Microsoft said in a statement.

Early release for MSFT hypervisor
[PCW] Microsoft Thursday did something it rarely does. The company released a beta for a long-awaited technology -- in this case its Windows Server 2008 virtualization technology Hyper-V -- ahead of schedule.

SecondLife CTO is out
[InfoWeek] "It has been an absolute thrill working with all of you on Second Life," according to the e-mail attributed to Ondrejka. "When Philip looked across a rickety card table in November of 2000 and told me that we would do more than build a great product, we needed to build a great company, too, I knew it would be a wild ride."

Cisco pushes Web 2.0
[InfoWeek] Outlining their plan to move from supplying "plumbing and transport" to being a provider of a variety of services and applications in the "second phase of the Internet," top Cisco (NSDQ: CSCO) executives Tuesday said that collaboration and Web 2.0 technologies will transform the way people work and live -- and boost Cisco's bottom line -- in coming years.

Gateway CEO quits
[NYT] Gateway CEO Ed Coleman will resign from his position at the end of January, clearing the way for Acer's top executive in the Americas to take the helm, the Taiwanese company said Friday.

Newswatch 12.13.07: Facebook takes platform Web-wide

iPhone, Chinese users hack targets in 08
[GameShout] The Arbor report states that the assaults will likely be "drive-by" attacks where malware embedded into seeming harmless information such as images or other media will perform dangerous actions when rendered on the iPhone web browser.

Opera sues MSFT for antitrust
[PCW] The complaint, which was filed with the European Commission on Wednesday, says Microsoft is abusing its dominant position in the desktop PC market by offering only Internet Explorer as a standard part of Windows, and hindering interoperability by not following accepted standards with IE.

Facebook to license its platform
[CompWorld] In a direct shot across the bow of Google Inc. and its OpenSocial project, Facebook Thursday announced plans to allow other social networks to license its technology so that Facebook applications can run on those sites. A day earlier. Bebo, a social network that rivals MySpace and Facebook in terms of popularity in some parts of the world, announced that it will be the first social network to license Facebook's standards so that developers can extend Facebook's applications to Bebo.

Barton lashes out at Google
[] Barton said in his letter on Wednesday, "all efforts to reach a mutually agreeable time have been rebuffed, and it begins to seem that no date for a visit is sufficiently convenient to Google. Your warm initial invitation followed by Google's chilly response to a proposed visit by Committee counsels is disconcerting."

MSFT buys European mapping company
[Reuters] "This acquisition will play a significant role in the future growth of our search business and presents a huge opportunity to expand our platform business beyond the U.K. and globally," said Sharon Baylay, general manager of the Online Services Group at Microsoft.

Privacy groups want FTC head to recuse
[Reuters] Two privacy groups asked the Federal Trade Commission chairman on Wednesday to recuse herself from considering Google Inc's (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research) purchase of DoubleClick because of her ties to a law firm hired by the smaller firm.

Newswatch 12.12.07: Vista SP1 has 300+ fixes

300 fixes in Vista SP1
[InfoWeek] Microsoft has released a detailed roster of the contents of its forthcoming service pack for Windows Vista, and the list includes more than 300 hot fixes covering everything from data protection to video performance.

Erase search queries on
[PCW] When enabled by the user, the feature will completely delete search queries and associated cookie information from servers -- including IP addresses, user IDs, session IDs and the text of queries made.

Does Cisco's Chambers want to be president?
[] Several audience members compare John's stage persona to former president Bill Clinton. Since it has been rumored that John would like to go into politics after Cisco, why shouldn't he go for the whole enchilada and run for president in 2012?

Bebo opens to developers
[Reuters] The Open Application Platform will be fully compatible with the thousands of applications that have helped fuel growth at social network Facebook, as well as a newer platform called OpenSocial launched by Google Inc in October.

IBM's greenhouse gas meter
[NYT] GreenCert offers a standard method to collect and manipulate large volumes of information from numerous sensors and tools, then calculates and documents the reduction in carbon emissions.

RIAA targets shared folders
[PCW] At issue in the Arizona court case of Atlantic v. Howell is whether or not consumers are breaking copyright laws if they rip a music CD and save the digital files to a "shared folder."

Touchy features in Windows 7
[ZD Net] “All I will say that if you are impressed by the ‘touch features’ in the iPhone, you’ll be blown away by what’s coming in Windows 7. Now if only we could convince more OEMs that Windows Touch Technology is going to drive their sales.”

Newswatch 12.10.07: AMD suffers slowdowns

Universal signs with imeem
[InfoWeek] The companies announce an agreement Monday that completes deals between all four major music companies and imeem, which compensates labels and artists by sharing ad revenue. The arrangement is a new model for the music industry, which has been struggling to increase profits as the distribution of music changes radically because of the Internet.

MSFT preview online Office service
[InfoWeek] Office Live Workspace is still a humble beginning for the online functionality that will likely find itself imbedded into the fabric of Office itself in the future. It's not a full, online suite of Office applications, but rather a set of collaborative tools meant to work with the Office client apps.

AMD's Barcelona woes continue
[Wired] After the new quad-core processor's launch was delayed half a year due to what company CEO Hector Ruiz called "technical problems," widespread shipments have now hit another production snag on account of a technical glitch known in the processor industry as an erratum.

Free software v. Verizon
[Ars] The SFLC has sued the telecom giant on behalf of the developers of BusyBox, a set of Unix utilities typically used in embedded systems. One of the devices it's found in is the Actiontec MI424WR wireless router, which Verizon distributes to its FiOS customers.

T-Mobile launches Wi-Fi phone
[CrunchGear] The Samsung Katalyst (SGH-t739), a slim slider from T-Mobile that supports My Faves and HotSpot @Home. While you probably won’t feel like the coolest kid on the block with this WiFi-enabled phone, you can make calls over WiFi and it’s technically a world phone even without the WiFi capabilities.

IBM, partners push to 32nm process
[EETimes] IBM and its joint-development partners have announced that their "high-k/metal gate" technology in next-generation 32nm devices will be available to IBM alliance members and their clients in the second half of 2009.

Newswatch 12.7.07: Apple delights Big Apple

Hackers attack fed labs
[PCW] In what a spokesperson for the Oak Ridge facility described as a "sophisticated cyber attack," it appears that intruders accessed a database of visitors to the Tennessee lab between 1990 and 2004, which included their social security numbers and dates of birth.

EchoStar becomes Dish, spins off SlingBox
[GigaOM] Why the change? EchoStar wants its name to truly reflect its true business. It is also planning to spin off some of its businesses, and that spin-off will be called EchoStar Holding Co. (EHC), a move we had mused about earlier.

Drew family statement on Megan's suicide
[Fox] "Lori Drew was not aware of any mean, nasty or negative comments made by anyone against Megan until after Megan took her own life. In fact, the first negative message was sent by a teenager from another residence, and several other negative comments were made by other teenagers at different locations. The negative comments that were sent by the teenage girl at the Drew’s residence occurred when Lori was not home.

GPL lawyers sue Verizon
[CW] A group that provides legal services to open-source software developers announced today that it has filed a copyright-infringement lawsuit against Verizon Communications Inc. alleging that the company is violating the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) in distributing wireless routers to users of its FiOS fiber-optic broadband service.

21st century Bonnie & Clyde
[ABC] Police say the couple stole their neighbors' identities and may have even broken into their homes to install spyware on their computers. Dozens of keys, credit cards and fake IDs were discovered in the young couple's upscale apartment.

Manhattan Apple Store opening
[] The first person in line, a high schooler, had showed up at 1 a.m. That's not a typo. He told CNET that by 3:30 or 4 a.m., more people started to join him. But the line really started to take off in the early afternoon, as students were let out for the weekend (some schools in the area close early on Fridays) and grown-up Apple fans cleared out of their offices in favor of lining up in the freezing cold.

TX sues sites over kids' privacy violations
[CW] Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott has sued two Web sites that cater to children for failing to take adequate measures to protect their identities and personal information. The lawsuits are the first in the U.S. to be brought under the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) of 1998 and highlight the many privacy pitfalls facing minors that the law is designed to address.

Newswatch 12.6.07: Supercomputer on a chip

Dell selling PCs at Best Buy
[InfoWeek] Dell said its XPS and Inspiron brands of computers would be available in the next few weeks at Best Buy stores, which means the products won't be available for the holiday shopping season, the more lucrative time of the year for retailers. Nevertheless, striking a deal with Best Buy is good in the longer term, because the retailer's customer base will complement those of Staples and Wal-Mart Stores, which already carry Dell products.

In-flight email on JetBlue
[USA Today] JetBlue's service will start small: just one Airbus A320. But the airline plans to roll it out to the rest of its fleet on an undetermined schedule. As owner of the wireless spectrum on which the system operates, JetBlue also plans to sell the service to competitors.

IBM says research will produce supercomputer on chip
[Reuters] IBM says it has made a breakthrough in converting electrical signals into light pulses that brings closer the day when supercomputing, which now requires huge machines, will be done on a single chip.

MSFT porting XP for OLPC XO
[ZDNet] “We want Windows to run on the XO and we are investing significant energy and talent,” Mr. Utzschneider said. Still, he said the Windows XO machine will have to pass muster before Microsoft supports it for volume use. “We really want to make sure we have a quality experience before we make commitment to governments.”

AT&T: the open network?
[] it's just an exercise in marketing and public relations, and not a substantial shift in policy. And really, any claim by AT&T that "we are the most open wireless company in the industry," as de la Vega said, is kind of silly considering that you're not authorized to use an iPhone on any other network in the U.S., even if you pay to terminate your two-year contract.

Weirdo mom in MySpace suicide being cyberbullied
[Fox] On Dec. 3, a blog entitled "Megan Had It Coming" carried an entry signed by Lori Drew, the woman involved in creating the fictitious profile that taunted Meier. The blog entry appeared on the same day St. Charles County Prosecutor Jack Banas announced there wasn't enough evidence to charge anyone.

Newswatch 12.5.07: Zuckerberg apologizes for Beacon

Zuckerberg apologizes for Beacon
[WSJ] We've made a lot of mistakes building this feature, but we've made even more with how we've handled them," Mr. Zuckerberg wrote. "We simply did a bad job with this release, and I apologize for it."

Orange sells 30K iPhones
[InfoWeek] Standalone iPhones offered by France Telecom's Orange unit helped the telecom sell nearly 30,000 of the smartphones in the first five days it was available, the company said Wednesday. Because of French regulations that outlaw marketing practices that tie product sales, Orange is the only provider of the iPhone anywhere to offer the device as a standalone phone -- also known as an unlocked phone -- without a contract.

Public test for Vista SP1 coming
[] "We feel really good and we look forward to receiving feedback from our larger set of testers," said David Zipkin, a senior product manager on the Windows Client team.

GOOG optimizes iPhone apps
[] Google has optimized its applications for the iPhone so they are integrated into a single interface and operate faster. Now, if you go to Google's home page on your iPhone you'll see the Web search box and links to Gmail, Calendar and Reader up at the top of the screen for quick access.

No charges in MySpace suicide
[ZDNet] "There is no way that anybody could know that talking to someone or saying that you’re mean to your friends on the Internet would create a substantial risk,” Banas said. “It certainly created a potential risk and, unfortunately for the Meiers, that potential became reality. But under the law we just couldn’t show that.”

Times changing for video games
[NYT] Sunday’s multibillion-dollar mega-merger between Activision and the games unit of Vivendi was perhaps the most compelling reflection yet of how swiftly video games have evolved in the last few years, not just as a business but also as a force on the global cultural and artistic landscape.

Newswatch 12.4.07: German iPhone re-locked

German iPhone locked again
[PCW] T-Mobile Germany need not sell an unlocked version of Apple's iPhone, a court in Hamburg ruled Tuesday. The decision leaves the German operator free to sell the phone for €399 (US$585) including tax, tied to its network and with a two-year service contract, just as it proposed at the phone's German launch on Nov. 9.

Did EchoStar bid on spectrum?
[Forbes] The question of the day seems to be whether EchoStar Communications will bid for a piece of the wireless spectrum the U.S. government is auctioning off in January, and if so, why?

Girls kick ass in math contest
[BizWeek] In a first for the prestigious Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology for U.S. high school students, girls walked away with top honors in both the individual and team categories.

Nokia-Apple battle brewing
[BizWeek] Nokia announced a new initiative Dec. 4 that seems aimed squarely at Apple. Beginning next year, higher-end Nokia phones will come with a built-in music service offering unlimited downloads of songs for a year. Nokia has signed up Universal Music to provide its catalog, including top contemporary musicians such as Amy Winehouse and Kanye West.

Apple sued over visual voicemail patents
[eWeek] "We have litigated this patent successfully on two prior occasions," Greg Dovel of Dovel & Luner, counsel for Klausner Technologies, said in a statement. "With the signing of each new licensee, we continue to receive further confirmation of the strength of our visual voice mail patents."

Chat on AIM through gmail
[NYT] Now Gmail users can have instant-message conversations with users of AOL’s AIM system. (Here is Google’s blog post on this.) Google’s standalone message system, Google Talk, has not been a big hit. Then it started integrating its instant message system in a column on the left margin of Gmail, and it is picking up some more users.

12.3.07: Facebook admits to deep trackinig

FaceBook admits tracking logged off users
[PCW] Facebook has confirmed findings of a CA security researcher that the social-networking site's Beacon ad service is more intrusive and stealthy than previously acknowledged, an admission that contradicts statements made previously by Facebook executives and representatives.

Russian company buys LiveJournal from SixApart
[InfoWeek] One-year-old Russian online media company SUP on Monday announced that it has acquired LiveJournal -- a hosted blogging service that counts millions of users in the U.S. and around the world.

No charges in MySpace bullying case
[Wired] Prosecutor Jack Banas said in a press conference today that the intent of Drew and others who created the fake MySpace account and who verbally attacked Meier online did not cross a threshold into criminal activity based on state laws that govern harassment and child endangerment.

CNET fires reviewer for trashing advertiser
[TheStreet] A source familiar with the situation confirmed to that game reviewer Jeff Gerstmann was fired from the company after writing a negative review of Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, a violent action game published by Eidos Interactive.

MSFT, Mozilla talk security trash
[DailyTech] Microsoft released a security report on November 30, titled "Internet Explorer and Firefox Vulnerability Analysis". The report, which examined the quantity and threat level of vulnerabilities within the two browsers, came out very strongly skewed in Microsoft's favor. Mozilla's Mike Shaver had some choice words in response to the report. "Just because dentists fix more teeth in America doesn't mean our teeth are worse than in Africa," he said, said left handedly comparing Internet Explorer to a festering tooth.

AAPL close to movie deal with Fox
[AppleInsider] The proposed deal, which would end a considerable standoff between Apple and nearly all Hollywood studios over the digital sale of movies, has reportedly been helped by the iTunes operator's sudden willingness to increase the wholesale price of new flicks beyond $15.

Judge to Facebook: Court docs stay online
[NYT] Facebook tried last week to force the magazine 02138 to remove some unflattering documents about Mr. Zuckerberg from its Web site. But a federal judge turned down the company’s request for a court order to take down the material, according to the magazine’s lawyers.

DRM's last days?
[Reuters] Warner Music Group (WMG) and Sony BMG Music Entertainment are feeling increased pressure to follow EMI and Universal Music Group's lead in distributing music in the MP3 format, which forgoes restrictive digital rights management technology.

Newswatch 11.30.07: Facebook backs off on Beacon

Facebook backs off on Beacon
[MTV] The company announced late Thursday that it was amending its policy and would no longer send messages about users' activities without getting explicit approval each time, the Times reports. The move by the site, which has more than 50 million active members, brought praise from a spokesperson for, the political action group that started "Petition: Facebook, stop invading my privacy" 10 days ago.

NZ teen may be cybercrime mastermind
[AP] Working with the FBI and the police in the Netherlands, the New Zealand police raided the home of the 18-year-old in the North Island city of Hamilton and took him into custody along with several computers.

Verizon switch to LTE the real news
[NYT] They (sic) key fact isn’t anything technical here. LTE is the format that has been endorsed by the GSM Association, which coordinates the wireless standard used in most countries. And it has been endorsed by AT&T. What it means is that in a few years, you will be able to buy phones and switch them between the two largest wireless networks in the United States—Verizon and AT&T—as well as carriers in most of the world.

Facebook wants site to remove legal docs
[WSJ] Facebook Inc. filed two legal motions aiming to force an independent magazine to take down from its Web site documents related to a suit over the social-networking site's origins. Early yesterday, Facebook's lawyers notified 02138, an independent magazine geared at Harvard alumni, of two separate emergency motions seeking the removal of the documents from its online edition.

Chinese, Russians leading cyberwarfare
[ZDNet] Cyberwarfare - long rumored - became a reality in 2007, as Russia (it is generally agreed) let loose prolonged cyber attacks on little Estonia, China attacked military and government computers in the US, India and Germany, and, in all, 120 countries are using the net for espionage.

iPhone launches in France, unlocked for 649 euros
[Newsfactor] Those distant clicking sounds are Apple's iPhones being unlocked in Europe. On Wednesday, mobile provider Orange began selling unlocked iPhones, without a long-term contract, for the translated price of $1,106. T-Mobile is already offering unlocked iPhones in Germany.

GOOG really is going to bid on spectrum
[NYT] Google said it would file its application on Monday to bid on the valuable 700-megahertz spectrum, which is being vacated by television networks as they convert their signals to digital. The formal bidding process is scheduled to begin on Jan. 24.

Newswatch 11.29.07: AT&T says 3G iPhone coming in 08

AT&T: 3G iPhone coming in 08
[Bloomberg] "You'll have it next year,'' Stephenson said in response to a question about when the 3G iPhone would debut. He said he didn't know how much more the new version will cost than the existing model, which sells for $399. Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs ``will dictate what the price of the phone is,'' he said.

Micron drops price of hard drives
[] Micron will start mass-producing solid-state drives in the first quarter of 2008. The first drives will hold either 32GB or 64GB of memory. While that's less than half the capacity of the average notebook drive today, it's actually more storage than most business users need, said Dean Klein, vice president of memory system development at Micron. Plus, solid-state notebooks can come out of a deep sleep or launch applications far more rapidly.

Administration must turn over spying docs on Friday
[] U.S. District Judge Susan Illston in San Francisco gave the Office of the Director of National Intelligence until November 30 (Friday) to turn over documents relating to conversations it had with Congress and telecommunications carriers about how to rewrite wiretapping laws.

The client-side security chasm
[NYT] Holes in so-called client-side applications, including Web browsers, e-mail clients, productivity suites, and media players, have become particularly worrisome over the last year, according to SANS, which highlighted the issue as part of its annual report on the top 20 Internet security risks for 2007.

Parents of teen suicide call for jail time for neighbor
[ABC] The family of Megan Meier, the 13-year-old girl who took her own life after being bullied on MySpace, is demanding justice and jail time for the adult involved in the bullying.

Media outlets looking for more control of search
[AP] The current system doesn't give sites ''enough flexibility to express our terms and conditions on access and use of content,'' said Angela Mills Wade, executive director of the European Publishers Council, one of the organizations behind the proposal. ''That is not surprising. It was invented in the 1990s and things move on.''

Toddlers want computers for Christmas
[NYT] Toy makers and retailers are filling shelves with new tech devices for children ages 3 and up, and sometimes even down. They say they are catering to junior consumers who want to emulate their parents and are not satisfied with fake gadgets.

Newswatch 11.27.07: G-Drive coming?

Greenpeace says Nintendo, XBox too toxic
Nintendo Co. became the first company to score zero out of a possible 10 points in the Greenpeace ranking of 18 leading electronics companies. It provided no information to consumers on the substances it uses in manufacturing or on its plans to cut hazardous materials, the environmental organization said.

Cranking up the g-drive
[WSJ] Google is preparing a service that would let users store on its computers essentially all of the files they might keep on their personal-computer hard drives -- such as word-processing documents, digital music, video clips and images, say people familiar with the matter. The service could let users access their files via the Internet from different computers and mobile devices when they sign on with a password, and share them online with friends. It could be released as early as a few months from now, one of the people said.

MSFT looks to Siberia for data center
[NYT] "Though Microsoft Russia is working on potential data center construction in Russia, we are still far from final site selection," said Evgeny Danilov, Microsoft Russia's director of public relations, in a statement.

ABC News, Facebook in campaign deal
[ZD Net] I don’t think Facebookers will provide better questions. I see no evidence that the mass of Internet users are more thoughtful or insightful than journalists. Just the opposite. But it does serve as a sort of polling center; reporters can watch concerns bubble up and catch fire. They can see how people respond to campaign ads and on-the-stump accusations. And if ABC is streaming a lot more political content Facebookers’ way than they would see otherwise that’s probably a good thing.

Tiger upgrade causing 'catastorphic' failures
[InfoWeek] Users of Apple's Tiger operating system -- predecessor to the more recent Leopard OS -- are reporting that the software grinds to an unrecoverable halt when upgraded to the latest version. According to posts appearing in the discussion forum on Apple's support Web site, Macs upgraded to version 10.4.11 of Tiger are freezing up and refusing to reboot without a clean installation.

OLPC lashes out at governments
[BBC] "You've got to be big, you've got to be bold. And what has happened is that there has been an effort to say 'don't take any risks - just do something small, something incremental'. It feels safe but by definition what you are ensuring is that nothing happens."

NASA posts high-res map of Antarctica
[Wired] Piecing together about 1100 images, the mosaic shows the Antarctic continent in true-color, high-resolution, largely seamless detail, with only the only gap at the central South Pole region, NASA officials said.

Newswatch 11.26.07: OLPC sale extended

OLPC Give 1, Get 1 extended
[ZD Net] The One Laptop per Child project’s “Give One, Get One” program has been extended through Dec. 31 as donations averaged about $2 million a day. On that pace, the OLPC should move about 490,000 units by the end of the year. Does that make the effort a success?

AMZN gets things right with ugly Kindle
[CSM] The Kindle may not look perfect, or be perfect, but it's the best e-book reader yet to appear on the market. And like the iPod, it could be the tipping point in a whole new way to access a popular medium – in this case, books.

XP: Now even faster than Vista
[PCW] Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3), the update scheduled to release next year, runs Microsoft Corp.'s Office suite 10% faster than XP SP2, a performance testing software developer reported Friday.

France vows to shut off net for pirates
[PCMag] Under the agreement—drawn up by a commission headed by thechief executive of FNAC, one of France's biggest music and film retailers—service providers will issue warning messages to customers downloading files illegally. If users ignore those messages, their accounts could be suspended or closed altogether.

Vista Capable campaign confused even MSFT
[CompWorld] A Microsoft Corp. product manager couldn't correctly explain the "Vista Capable" marketing slogan, according to recent filings in a lawsuit that claims the company misled consumers with a prerelease Vista campaign last year.

No warrant needed for cellphone tracking data
[ZDNet] Federal law enforcement agents are “routinely” seeking court orders for cellphone companies to provide them with realtime positioning data on suspects - often without even a pretense of a showing of probable cause, The Washington Post reports.

Newswatch 11.21.07: Protest grows over Facebook ads

MoveOn slams Facebook's Beacon ad program
[Newsfactor] MoveOn has started a Facebook group for its petition to make Facebook's controversial advertising program into an opt-in system. "Facebook must respect my privacy," the petition states. "They should not tell my friends what I buy on other sites -- or let companies use my name to endorse their products -- without my explicit permission."

Despite Spider, AMD shares hit new low
[TheStreet] American Technology Research analyst Doug Freedman said chip companies carrying large loads of debt on their books are particularly suffering in the current environment. With the credit market tightening, there are concerns about the ability of highly leveraged companies to weather a downturn in the economy, Freedman explained.

Is Voyager cool enough to compete with iPhone
[Forbes] Search the Internet for information about the LG Voyager, a hotly anticipated cell phone that's widely viewed as Verizon Communications' response to the iPhone, and you'll find hundreds of thousands of stories and blog posts--and one rap video.

YHOO, BMG deal allows music mashups
[] Yahoo announced on Tuesday that it has expanded its partnership with music mega-label Sony BMG to bring the company's music videos to its Yahoo Video platform.

T-Mobile offers contract-free iPhone
[AP] Deutsche Telekom AG's mobile unit said Wednesday it would offer Apple's iPhone without a contract to comply with a court injunction, but consumers that opt out of a two-year contract will pay more than twice as much for it. T-Mobile will start selling the combination smart phone-iPod media player for 999 euros ($1,477) instead of 399 euros ($590) with a two-year contract.

Brown apologizes for data blunder
[Guardian] The government has apologised to the country for the loss of two CDs containing the personal information of 25 million people. Gordon Brown, the prime minister, today faced down loud barracking and made an official apology for the loss of the discs. The CDs are still missing.

Newswatch 11.20.07: HP shines

HP grows even as US market softens
[NYT] "This is very different from what we heard from I.B.M. and Cisco, in particular," said Shaw Wu, an analyst with American Technology Research. "H.P. continues to execute in this very tough environment. The key reason is that they’re very global."

Shareholder suit against AAPL dismissed
[Bloomberg] Apple won dismissal yesterday of a lawsuit claiming that company directors and managers, including the chief executive, Steven P. Jobs, lied to shareholders about the backdating of option awards.

FCC to give millions for broadband
[WaPo] The Federal Communications Commission announced $417 million in grants yesterday to help rural health-care groups build high-speed Internet networks to connect isolated clinics to sophisticated medical resources in urban areas.

Solar is the new dot-com
[Mercury News] "It feels to me as if we're in the same phase," said McCalmont, who runs ReGrid Power, a solar installation company in Campbell. "There's a lot of excitement, a lot of innovation."

Wii is the holiday toy of choice
[AP] Perrin Kaplan, vice president of marketing and corporate affairs at Nintendo of America, said the console was "priced right from the beginning." A look at eBay shows that Kaplan may be wrong: New Wii systems are selling about $100 above the $250 store price.

Vodaphone challenges iPhone deals in Europe
[IHT] A Vodafone spokesman, Simon Gordon, said the company was not trying to block the sale of the device but rather trying to level the playing field in Germany. Vodafone operates Vodafone Germany, the No. 2 German carrier. T-Mobile is the industry leader with 34 million customers.

Public beta for Firefox 3 is out
[CompWorld] "It's a preview release, so use with caution and don't expect your add-ons to work without some magic; but between you and me, I've been running on this 'developer preview' for at least three months, and have never looked back."

Dell moves in on iMac
[PCW] Dell has moved into the all-in-one PC market pioneered by Apple with the iMac, with Monday's introduction of the XPS One, a new Intel-based Windows-compatible PC. The system starts at US$1,499.

Newswatch 11.19.07: Amazon lights up Kindle

Amazon launches Kindle ebook reader

The Kindle, Amazon's first foray into making its own hardware, weighs 10.3 ounces, can contain up to 200 books, has a keyboard, and uses electronic ink display technology. It is on sale today at

AMD readies its Spider
[] The first major fruits of Advanced Micro Devices' acquisition of ATI Technologies are ready for the public just as the market for those products is going through some profound changes. Spider will be AMD's first "platform" product when it makes its expected debut Monday. It is designed for desktop PCs, and the entire Spider package comes with a new processor, AMD's quad-core Phenom chip, the new 7-series chipsets, and new graphics chips.

GOOG's 23andme offers home DNA test
[Reuters] "The mission of 23andMe is to take the genetic revolution to a new level by offering a secure, Web-based service where individuals can explore, share and better understand their own genetic information," said 23andMe co-founder Linda Avey.

AAPL fears Boot Camp will mean fewer Mac apps
[InfoWeek] Apple warned that the utility, known as Boot Camp, "may deter developers from creating software applications for Mac OS X if such applications are already available for the Windows platform."

Chip flaw could mean security breach
[NYT] Shamir wrote that if an intelligence organization discovered a math error in a widely used chip, then security software on a PC with that chip could be “trivially broken with a single chosen message.” Executing the attack would require only knowledge of the math flaw and the ability to send a “poisoned” encrypted message to a protected computer, he wrote. It would then be possible to compute the value of the secret key used by the targeted system.

S. Korea boot camp for the net-addicted
[NYT] Compulsive Internet use has become a national issue here in recent years, as users started dropping dead from exhaustion after playing online games for days on end. A growing number of students have skipped school to stay online, shockingly self-destructive behavior in this intensely competitive society.

OS X is Unix-certified
[TGDaily] The Open Group announced that both Apple’s latest operating systems have been awarded a certificate of conformance to the UNIX 03 standard.

Newswatch 11.16.07: GOOG goes for the spectrum

GOOG to go it alone in auction bid
[WSJ] Google is prepared to bid on its own without any partners, say people familiar with the matter. It is working out a plan to finance its bid, which could run $4.6 billion or higher, that would rely on its own cash and possibly some borrowed money.

Amazon to launch book reader Monday
[] The Kindle is equipped with a Wi-Fi connection that taps into an Amazon e-book store, which users can access to purchase new electronic books--and Amazon has reportedly signed onto a deal with Sprint for EVDO access. Additionally, the device comes with a headphone jack for audiobooks, as well as an e-mail address.

Video company petitions FCC over Comcast throttling
[ZDNet] So things are really heating up on the Comcast front. Vuze, an open platform for video distribution that uses BitTorrent, has filed a formal petition for the FCC to make some rules about what Comcast is doing. And this comes just a day after a Comcast consumer filed a lawsuit in California court against Comcast, accusing it of deceptive business practices and false advertising.

Singapore lifts ban on game with lesbian scene
[USAToday] Censors had banned the game because of a lesbian sex scene between two characters, but The Straits Times says officials announced today that they will let retailers sell the futuristic Xbox title in Singapore. It will carry an M18 rating, the paper says.

Adu Dhabi takes 8% of AMD
[NYT] The infusion of cash comes as A.M.D. is struggling to control costs as it refocuses its research and development efforts amid intense competition from Intel, the leading chip maker. The Mubadala Development Company, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, received 49 million newly issued shares at $12.70 per share, the closing price on Thursday. Mubadala will not receive a board seat as part of the deal.

In ID theft, some victims see opportunity
[NYT] A raft of new companies like Debix, LifeLock and TrustedId say they can make it easier for consumers to protect themselves — for a monthly fee of about $10. “We take a miserable and painfully confusing process and make it as easy as we can, given the constraints the credit agencies put on us,” said Scott Mitic, chief executive of TrustedID, which is based in Redwood City, Calif.

Senate to debate telecom immunity
[WaPo] A battle over legal immunity for telecommunication companies that participated in a controversial Bush administration counterterrorism surveillance program landed on the Senate floor yesterday, after the Judiciary Committee voted to preserve protections for companies who help the government.

Newswatch 11.15.07: Looking for the Blue Cloud

Sun grabs the spotlight at Oracle OpenWorld
[VNUNet] A new distribution agreement will see the Solaris operating system officially supported on Dell PowerEdge servers for the first time. Dell will also be able to offer support packages to Solaris users.

Apple patches 41 bugs in monster patch
[CW] "Typically, the third-party applications are open-source projects; examples represented here include BIND, bzip and Kerberos. It's good to see Apple put forth these fixes as many of these updates fix critical security flaws."

IBM's Blue Cloud
[Reuters] "I think Google and Amazon are on to something," IBM's Bill Zeitler said. "Our particular focus is taking these standards of Internet computing and bringing them to the mainstream in the commercial world."

Warner chief: Music industry screwed up
[MacUser] "We used to fool ourselves,' Edgar Bronfman said. "We used to think our content was perfect just exactly as it was. We expected our business would remain blissfully unaffected even as the world of interactivity, constant connection and file sharing was exploding. And of course we were wrong. How were we wrong? By standing still or moving at a glacial pace, we inadvertently went to war with consumers by denying them what they wanted and could otherwise find and as a result of course, consumers won."

Comcast sued over P2P blocking
[AP] "What the AP report did was just confirm to him that it wasn't just him who was suffering from the problem," the plaintiff's lawyer said. "There was this confluence of events where everyone seemed to reach the same conclusion, which was that Comcast was engaging in this activity."

Bebo launches Open Media
[paidcontent] Today it’s launching Open Media, a system letting content owners publish videos from their shows using their own players and advertising, from which they keep all ad revenue. The platform lets users become “fans” of series in the same way they add individuals as friends; shows also get blogs, reviews, forums and polls on a custom-branded, “channel profile” page. Users can send videos to friends.

Craigslist as creative writing workshop
[NYT] Across the country, aspiring writers are using Craigslist not just as a place to offload their futons, but as a pixeled writing workshop where they test their stabs at social satire on some of the more than 30 million visitors that the site draws each month. Their personal ads ostensibly seek a soul mate, but what they’re really looking for is an audience.

Newswatch 11.14.07: The future of social nets? Email

YHOO, GOOG see email as the killer social app
[NYT] Web-based e-mail systems already contain much of what Facebook calls the social graph — the connections between people. That’s why the social networks offer to import the e-mail address books of new users to jump-start their list of friends. Yahoo and Google realize that they have this information and can use it to build their own services that connect people to their contacts.

Murdoch: WSJ must go free
[NYT] Rupert Murdoch says he plans to abolish subscription fees at The Wall Street Journal’s Web site, according to news accounts from Australia. This apparently was news to executives at his company and The Journal, who cautioned that the decision might not be final.

'Moral pygmies' pay families
[LA Times] Yahoo promised to pay the families' legal bills and to create a fund to "provide support to other political dissidents and their families," but the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company wouldn't disclose other details of the agreement.

Sun worries Android will split Java
[] "Anything that creates a more diverse or fractured platform is not in (developers') best interests," said Rich Green, executive vice president of Sun's software work. The feedback from developers is, 'Help us fix this.'"

Marvel comics go online
[Reuters] The publisher said on Tuesday that it will start a Web site that will feature access to thousands of its comic books and the famous heroes who populate them, from Spider-Man and the X-Men to the Fantastic Four and The Avengers.

Sun commits $2b for virtualization
[InfoWeek] Following close on Oracle (NSDQ: ORCL)'s heels, Sun Microsystems on Wednesday announced that it will offer a Xen-based hypervisor -- xVM -- for generating virtual machines and Sun xVM Ops Center for managing them.

New Zune is better
[WSJ] They are smaller, lighter and more attractive, and they include three big improvements. Unfortunately for Microsoft, Apple hasn't been standing still, either. It now has its own large-screen, wireless model, the iPod Touch, with a radical "multi-touch" interface like the iPhone's.

Your personal assistant is in India
[NYT] Thanks to Indian companies like Brickwork India and GetFriday, even sole proprietors can have personal assistants to conduct research, monitor the Web, make appointments and even give them a wake-up call and tell them to get some exercise — all for as little as $15 an hour.

Newswatch 11.13.07: YHOO settles with dissidents' families

YHOO settles with dissidents' families
[WaPo] Yahoo settled today with the families of two Chinese dissidents imprisoned after the company helped identify them to the Chinese government. The terms of the settlement are not being disclosed and Yahoo is not admitting fault, an attorney for the families said.

EU extends review of DoubleClick acquisition
[] European antitrust regulators will conduct a more extensive, second-phase review of Google's pending merger with DoubleClick, the EU announced Tuesday.

Q&A with Andy Rubin on Android
[] We've been building it as a mobile mashup platform. That is a new concept for cell phones. So the developer can now stand on the system platform and take advantage of other developers' work for the first time. So, that just creates more flexibility for the developers, less work, faster turnaround, rapid prototyping, and all that stuff, and we're really, really excited about that concept.

MSFT now says virtualization will be standalone, delayed
[PCW] Microsoft Monday tweaked its virtualization strategy by unveiling a stand-alone virtualization server that won't require users to run the Windows Server 2008 operating system.

Apple patches TIFF bug in iPhone
[CIO Today] Following news that Apple's latest firmware update for the iPhone breaks the "jailbreak" software that many users had installed to run third-party applications or use a carrier other than AT&T, nCircle's Andrew Storms said that, with the iPhone SDK on its way, it's best to take advantage of the security patch and sit tight for a few months.

MSFT to buy Musiwave
[CW] Musiwave allows mobile operators to offer self-branded music applications, including full song-over-the-air downloads, ringtones and ring-back tones. Operators including O2, Vodafone, T-Mobile, Orange, Telus, Telefonica and Virgin Mobile are among Musiwave's customers.

Marvel Comics' digital archive
[PCW] Marvel Comics on Tuesday announce the launch of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited. The new service is Mac and PC compatible and is priced starting at $4.99 per month. Users can also check out 250 free samples.

YHOO expands mobile search in Asia
[BizWeek] The new partnerships include mobile operators in India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Newswatch 11.12.07: GOOG grows millionaires

GOOG stock price amazes and delights employees
[NYT] “It isn’t considered ‘Googley’ to check the stock price,” said an engineer, using the Google jargon for what is acceptable in the company’s culture. As a result, there is a bold insistence, at least on the surface, that the stock price does not matter, said the engineer, who did not want to be named because it is considered unseemly to discuss the price.

IBM buys BI vendor Cognos for $5b
[CW] The acquisition of Cognos supports IBM's Information on Demand strategy, IBM said, because integrating Cognos tools under the project will provide new business insight into a broader set of users that those who traditionally have used BI tools.

AOL buys Israeli Q&A company
[BizWeek] Yedda uses patent-pending technology that automatically matches questions to other related questions and topics, while selecting the best available users to answer the question.

Facebook gets a formal invite to OpenSocial
[MarketWatch] Chris DeWolfe, chief executive of MySpace, said that Palo Alto-based Facebook was likely to be under pressure to consider joining the initiative. MySpace and Facebook are the two largest U.S. social networking sites by number of users.

Intel's Penryn boosts performance, pressure on AMD
[CW] Intel Corp.'s new 45-nanometer chip for the desktop, part of the newly released Penryn family, should give gamers, researchers and serious multitaskers a significant performance boost, according to analysts. And that is not good news for rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc., which recently started shipping its quad-core Barcelona processor -- built using a 65nm manufacturing process.

In UK, iPhone 'fastest-selling' phone ever
[Times] Peter Erskine, the chief executive of O2, which is Apple’s chosen network partner in the UK, said: “It has been the fastest-selling device we have ever seen.” The phone had sold “in the tens of thousands” since its launch on Friday, he said.

Northeastern sues GOOG over patent
[Reuters] Google faces a federal patent infringement lawsuit by Northeastern University over technology used in its core Web search system, according to legal papers filed last week. The complaint was filed on Nov. 6 but the case only came to light over the weekend.

MySpace hack that compromised Alicia Keys site widespread
[PCW] The widely reported problems with pop singer Alicia Keys' MySpace profile have been cropping up on the social networking site for the past ten days and are likely to continue, a security expert said Friday.

Newswatch 11.9.07: iPhone hits Europe

It's iPhone day in Europe
[AP] In Germany, the phone went on sale at more than 700 T-Mobile shops, including one in Cologne that opened just after midnight with some 350 customers already waiting outside. By 5 p.m., Deutsche Telekom AG, which owns T-Mobile, said it sold more than 10,000 iPhones in Germany through its shops and online.

Hackers inflitrate Alicia Keys' MySpace
[NYT] Researchers at the Atlanta, GA-based Exploit Prevention Labs have discovered multiple hacked MySpace pages, including the personal page of the R&B artist. Also hacked were pages for Greements of Fortune, a French funk band, and Dykeenies, a rock band from Glasgow.

Nigerian scammers discover social networking
[NYT] The scammer somehow breaks into a victim’s Web-based e-mail account. He then impersonates the victim and sends an emergency plea for help to everyone in the account’s address book, asking them to wire money to Nigeria. The e-mail includes some variation on a story about getting mugged or losing a wallet while on a trip to Nigeria.

Are Facebook ads illegal?
[Newsfactor] Facebook's new Social Ads platform is raising some eyebrows among privacy advocates. According to Lauren Weinstein, cofounder of People For Internet Responsibility (PFIR) and moderator of the Privacy Forum, the key question is whether Facebook users are given the opportunity to control what information about them gets distributed.

iPhone 1.1.2 jailbroken almost before release
[] Erica Sadun at The Unofficial Apple Weblog obtained jailbreaking code for the 1.1.2 update almost simultaneous with its release last night, and tests this morning confirm that it works for both the iPhone and the iPod Touch.

[] New Windows for old PCs
Under a new program announced Friday, large companies that sell refurbished PCs can get a brand spanking new copy of Windows to put on the machines--provided they pay Microsoft for the privilege.

Prince moves against websites
[AP] Contrary to reports, the Purple One is not suing his fans or looking to inhibit free speech in any way, AEG, which promoted Prince's concert series in London, said in a statement.

Newswatch 11.8.07: YHOO's China troubles

AMD applies graphics techniques to new CPU
[Reuters] Advanced Micro Devices Inc launched a new graphics chip on Thursday modified to crunch huge amounts of data, with potential customers in financial, engineering and scientific industries.

Yahoo's China problem not going away
[Newsfactor] After Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang and general counsel Michael Callahan appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) called on Yahoo to endorse his Global Online Freedom bill, which would ban Internet companies from disclosing to foreign governments information identifying specific users.

AT&T whistleblower lobbies against immunity
[Wired] Mark Klein traveled to the nation's marble halls of power Wednesday, hoping to persuade lawmakers not to crush the lawsuit against AT&T that is largely based on his allegations that his former employer wiretapped the internet on behalf of the government.

Carriers wary about Android
[CSM] "The telcos have fought any opening up of their walled garden because it goes against their survival instinct," says Craig Settles, an industry consultant in Oakland, Calif. "But Google has the muscle to make this work."

Apple hit with another antitrust suit
[ZDNet] Apple tried to lock the latest generation iPods to iTunes even if this meant upsetting iPod-owning Linux users. Formats that the iPod can play are also locked down tight. Want it to play WMAs? Forget about it. Want new firmware for the iPod? Guess what, you need iTunes installed. There no doubt in my mind that the iPod/iTunes link is monopolistic, it’s just that people don’t seem to care.

RedHat teams up with Amazon
[InfoWeek] RedHat announced a partnership with Wednesday to offer its latest Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.1 as a beta service through Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud. The online Amazon service supplies an expandable, on-call computer resources to users who seek to scale up their applications without building out their data center.

IBM gives autonomic computing a brain
[IDG] To keep up with growing complexities of data center maintenance, IBM on Thursday announced a new set of self-management tools that can reduce the cost and manpower needed to run data centers.

Newswatch 11.7.07: MSFT dumps CIO

MSFT fires its CIO
[DailyTech] Stating merely that Stuart Scott violated company policies, Microsoft fires a top leader from a critical position. It's not the first time. In years past, two other top execs have disappeared without a trace.

Waiting for Facebook's other shoe to drop
[NYT] The most important bit of news at Facebook’s press conference yesterday was what they didn’t say out loud: Once the company gets the bugs out of its system for social ads on its own site, it will likely create a network to use its data to display advertising on other sites.

Get your Google Maps at the pump
[AP] The pumps, made by Gilbarco Veeder-Root, include an Internet connection and will display Google's mapping service in color on a small screen. Motorists will be able to scroll through several categories to find local landmarks, hotels, restaurants and hospitals selected by the gas station's owner.

'Essential' server software goes beta
[PCW] Microsoft will release a public beta version of a bundle of server software products for medium-size businesses, code-named "Centro," in the first half of next year. Centro is intended to make it simpler for businesses with limited IT management resources to install and control key software tools. The bundle will go on sale in the second half of next year as Windows Essential Business Server,

Red Hat, Sun deal shows power of open source
[ZDNet] “Sun and Red Hat may not be the best of buddies but, even on their worst days, they have far more common interests with each other than with Microsoft,” pointed out analyst Gordon Haff of illuminata. “Certainly both companies can agree that they’d rather see Java win than .Net.”

Imagine a PC without waiting
[Wired] There's absolutely no reason you should be waiting the three-plus minutes it takes your computer to boot up Windows, says Woody Hobbs, CEO of Phoenix Technologies. And indeed, if Hobbs has his way, you may not have to endure those waits much longer.

Will Ubuntu push Linux onto desktop?
[Ars] Linux is now an appealing choice for many users who would never have considered making the switch a few years ago. Distributions have improved at an astounding pace, and Ubuntu leads the pack on the desktop. Ubuntu 7.10 provides an effective and usable Linux platform that has a lot to offer a more mainstream audience as well as Linux enthusiasts.

Newswatch 11.6.07: Facebook launches new ads

Announcing Facebook Ads
[] “Facebook Ads represent a completely new way of advertising online,” Zuckerberg told an audience of more than 250 marketing and advertising executives in New York. “For the last hundred years media has been pushed out to people, but now marketers are going to be a part of the conversation. And they’re going to do this by using the social graph in the same way our users do.”

Android has long road ahead
[] Rumors had been flying for months about Google's plans for the mobile market. And now that it's here, it's clear that Google has greater ambitions than simply building a new phone. Instead, the company is looking to transform the mobile industry by making it easy to develop new applications that can be pushed out to hundreds of handset models on dozens of carrier networks using free, open-source technology.

Yahoo takes a drubbing in Congress
[ZDNet] Lantos: 'I would urge you to beg the forgiveness of the mother whose son is languishing behind bars thanks to Yahoo’s actions.'

MSFT unveils low-cost search for enterprise
[IDG] The products, Search Server 2008 and Search Server Express 2008, are based on technology pulled out of SharePoint Server 2007, according to Jared Spataro, group product manager for enterprise search at Microsoft.

Security fixes for QuickTime
[] Apple on Monday released QuickTime version 7.3, addressing seven security vulnerablities for QuickTime 7.2 and earlier. Some of the flaws are serious and can be exploited by luring a victim to a Web site that contains a malicious crafted image or movie. The patches include both Mac OS X and Windows. A month ago, Apple patched another serious flaw within QuickTime for Windows. The latest version is available through the built-in software update feature of QuickTime or from the Apple Downloads site.

GOOG's OpenSocial a defensive move
[GigaOM] The scorched earth strategy adopted by Google with OpenSocial reflects the fact that Facebook threatens to run away with what may be a huge new market for social networking-oriented advertising and as such, doing what until now had been the unthinkable: putting a hand in Google’s till.

MSFT fires its CIO for violations
[AP] “Stuart Scott’s employment with Microsoft was terminated after an investigation for violation of company policies,” a Microsoft spokesman, Lou Gellos, said, reading from a company statement.

Newswatch 11.5.07: GOOG phone is here and it's a platform

Forget gPhone, GOOG unveils Android
[] "Today's announcement is more ambitious than any single 'Google Phone' that the press has been speculating about over the past few weeks," Google CEO Eric Schmidt said in a statement. "Our vision is that the powerful platform we're unveiling will power thousands of different phone models."

Cuban: Facebook should license API
[Blog Maverick] I called a buddy at Yahoo and suggested that they license the Facebook API. I happen to think that far better search and ad serving solutions can be developed around a combination of user published information and user activity It just seems to me that if Facebook were to give me an option of publishing a laundry list of relevant information about myself to external Facebook API applications, such as search and ad serving networks that those applications would serve me better results.

Yahoo kickstarts career networking for college kids
[Wired] The network, called Kickstart, is specifically geared towards connecting college students with alumni for networking. We'll be honest -- it's not Mash, the full-blown social network we were hoping for. But if positioned properly, Kickstart could be one of the better professional networking sites out there. . .er, for college students at least.

Phoenix HyperSpace: apps sans the OS
[PCW] Notebooks designed to run the software could offer instant-on functions including multimedia playback, e-mail, instant messaging, Web browsing or remote system maintenance, all without the need to boot into an operating system such as Windows.

CSU students hacked system to change grades
[CompWorld] John Escalera, 29, of Fresno, Calif., and Gustavo Razo Jr., 28, of Pasadena, Calif., were charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, identity theft and unauthorized computer access, according to an indictment unsealed last Wednesday. The men face up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 if convicted. ... If only they had studied as hard as they hacked...

Yahoo lawyer apologizes for false statements to Congress
[Chronicle] Michael Callahan, the Sunnyvale Web portal's general counsel, initially testified to House panels last year that Yahoo gave information about one of its users to Chinese law enforcement without knowing the nature of their probe. In fact, he realized months later that Yahoo had details about the investigation, but that he neglected to pass them along to lawmakers.

Newswatch 11.2.07: MySpace joins GOOG's OpenSocial

Groups petition FCC to stop Comcast delays
[Newsfactor] Free Press and Public Knowledge have called on the FCC to take action against Comcast to prevent Comcast from blocking or filtering peer-to-peer network traffic. Of particular concern is Comcast reportedly doing this by sending reset packets that appeared to be coming from the users themselves. Essentially, Comcast was impersonating users.

MySpace joins OpenSocial
[Newsfactor] With MySpace's partnership in OpenSocial, Google has transformed the social-networking landscape, several observers said. "This is very important because it could shift the social-networking power eventually to this OpenSocial consortium and allow this group to redefine what social networking will be in the future," said analyst Tim Bajarin.

Apps in the works for OpenSocial
[CompWorld] Plaxo, for example, Friday unveiled new dynamic profiles that support Google's new OpenSocial APIs. Users of Plaxo's Pulse social network can now create distinct professional and personal profiles that include photos, contact information and privacy settings. Any applications written to the Google OpenSocial APIs can be embedded in the profiles, Plaxo said.

Mac porn virus overhyped
[Balto Sun] I’m not saying the Trojan, called OSX.RSPlug.A, poses no threat. It’s real and it’s out there. But it’s not spreading like wildfire. A Mac user needs to do a lot of dumb things to get infected.

Sub-$300 laptop? Wow.
[PCW] Wal-Mart offers laptops from Everex running Ubuntu, one-click access to Google Docs, Facebook

IP firm Wi-LAN sues Silicon Valley
[Ars Technica] Canada-based Wi-LAN—"a leader in technology licensing"—has filed two suits against 22 total companies that it alleges have infringed on its patents relating to WiFi and power consumption in DSL products. Those companies include some strange bedfellows: PC manufacturers like Apple, Acer, Gateway, and HP; WiFi gear makers such as Atheros Communications, Belkin, Broadcom, Buffalo Technology, and D-Link; and a pair of big-box retailers—Best Buy and Circuit City—just for kicks.

Despite update, iMacs still freezing under Lepoard
[CompWorld] Updates issued Thursday by Apple Inc. did not fully solve lockup problems for some iMacs, and in some cases made the screen-freezing worse, Mac owners reported Friday. Apple acknowledged it is again looking into the issue.

Newswatch 11.1.07: MySpace joins GOOG's OpenSocial

MySpace joins OpenSocial
[AP] Google trumpeted the MySpace coup Thursday in a meeting with reporters, two days after revealing its plans to create a distribution network for interactive applications known as "widgets."

IBM launches $1.5b security initiative
[InfoWeek] "The way companies do security today is broken, because what companies tend to do is hand security off to the IT department," said Stuart McIrivine, director of IBM Corporate Security Strategy.

OpenSocial means it's GOOG v Facebook
[Facebook] Google's OpenSocial initiative is an attempt to break the "silos" of current social networks in light of the fact that while it makes sense for social-networking developers to convert their apps for Facebook or MySpace, which have huge reaches, they are unable to justify creating custom apps for every small social network out there.

FTC says time for tighter controls on online ads
[NYT] “When you’re surfing the Internet, you never know who is peering over your shoulder or how many marketers are watching,” commissioner Jon Leibowitz said.

UN teams with GOOG, CSCO for view on poverty
[AP] The United Nations teamed with technology giants Google Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. to launch a new Web site Thursday that will provide data and a bird's eye view of global efforts to fight poverty and meet U.N. development goals by 2015.

Wal-Mart and GOOG beat Negroponte to $200 PC
[ComputerWorld] PC maker Everex rolls out a budget desktop PC today that costs $200 and combines the Ubuntu Linux kernel with Google applications and open source software.

UC creates first nano-radio
[Chronicle] Professor Alex Zettl led a team that developed the minuscule filament, which can be tuned to receive AM or FM transmissions. The first song it played? "Layla" by Derek & the Dominos. Eric Clapton's unmistakable guitar riff can be heard on a scratchy recording of the nanoradio's output posted by Zettl online.

Newswatch 10.31.07: GOOG mobile plans push stock over 700

GOOG launches OpenSocial
[] In a move that was anticipated for weeks, Google has unveiled a set of application program interfaces (APIs) that allow third-party programmers to build widgets that take advantage of personal data and profile connections on a social-networking site. But instead of limiting the project to its own social-networking property, Orkut, Google has invited other sites along for the ride--including LinkedIn, Hi5, Plaxo, Ning, and Friendster.

Privacy groups seek 'do-not-track' list
[Reuters] Nine U.S. privacy and consumer organizations asked the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday to create a "do not track" list for Internet users who don't want their online activities tracked, stored and used by advertising networks.

GOOG in advanced talks with carriers
[WSJ] Deals with the carriers would represent a major breakthrough for the Internet search giant, which until now has encountered wariness from some quarters of the wireless industry about its mobile-phone plans.

Leopard kills wireless: users
[PCW] "When you connect to your wireless network, your transmit rate will be 54 (if you're using the 54g standard)," said someone identified as nunofgs. "If you start up a download or something that occupies your bandwidth (even LAN traffic), you will notice that the transmit rate drops to 11, then to 3, then to 1 until finally your downloads will drop, your iChat connections will fail and your browser will not load pages."

Is Leopard a security win?
[Newsfactor] Following the release of Apple's latest operating system, Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, security experts have taken a look at the new OS and are complaining not only that Leopard's firewall isn't turned on by default, but also that Leopard uses earlier versions of open-source software that have significant bugs, including security vulnerabilities.

Porn virus targets Macs
[] Intego, a Mac security software company, issued an alert Wednesday warning Mac users of the OSX.RSPlug.A malware, which it describes as a Trojan horse. Those of you familiar with mythology recognize the reference, and OSX.RSPlug.A disguises itself as a video codec that would ensure whatever porn video you just stumbled upon will play on your Mac.

MSFT sues pirate sites
[Computerworld] -- Microsoft Corp. today broadened its efforts to stop people from pirating its products, launching a piracy-related Web site and announcing that it has filed 20 more lawsuits against alleged dealers of counterfeit or pirated software.

PS3s set world record
[SlipperyBrick] It’s official. Stanford University’s [email protected] project has been recognized by the Guinness World Records as the most powerful distributed computing network in the world. Utilizing the processing power of more than 670,000 PlayStation 3s Cell processors worldwide the distributed network delivers over one petaflop of power that’s being used for Stanford’s studies of protein folding and its link to diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and certain forms of cancer.

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Newswatch 10.30.07: Crazy for Leopard

APPL picks up a quick $200 mil
[InfoWeek] Apple on Tuesday said it sold more than 2 million copies of its new Leopard operating system during the software's first weekend of availability. "Early indications are that Leopard will be a huge hit with customers," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs, in a statement.

Run Leopard on PCs, apps on iPhone
[Newfactor] The AppSnapp team says, it "fixes Apple's TIFF bug, making your device MORE secure than it was without AppSnapp!" This ironic development shows that hackers such as HD Moore -- a member of the AppSnapp team who had earlier shown that the TIFF bug could be used to gain control of the phone -- "like the device and they want it to be useful and secure but they also want it unlocked," said Andrew Storms, director of operational security Relevant Products/Services at nCircle.

IBM turns waste into light
[InfoWeek] By using reclaimed silicon, solar cell manufacturers can save between 30% and 90% of the energy they would have expended using new silicon materials, IBM said. To recycle the wafers, IBM is using a process that removes transistor patterns embedded in them. The patterns usually prevent silicon wafers from being reused along with other silicon products because they represent closely guarded intellectual property.

ODF group says Sun torpedoed format
[ComputerWorld] ODF began losing support within the OpenDocument Foundation last February, when it became clear to members of the group that Sun Microsystems Inc. -- one of the file format's biggest public backers -- was more interested in making its own StarOffice application suite interoperable with Microsoft's Office formats than it was in making ODF work with them.

Supremes consider kiddie porn laws in digital age
[USA Today] The Supreme Court Tuesday will take up a First Amendment test of Congress' ability to tackle child pornography in the digital age. Justice Department lawyers defending a 2003 law that criminalizes the advertising of purported child porn say such Internet ads fuel the market for smut and hurt children even when the advertised pictures are fake.

Imeem inks deal with EMI
[NYT] EMI would join Sony BMG and Warner Music in allowing Imeem users to upload virtually any song from their catalogs. Other users then can listen to those songs on their computers without charge. Universal Music Group, the fourth major label, is in talks with Imeem and has no philosophical objection to its approach, said a music executive briefed on Universal’s negotiations with Imeem.

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Newswatch 10.29.07: readies TV service

New group joins Russians in PDF attack
[eWeek] The PDF file installs several different pieces of malware, including the Zeus variant of the PRG Trojan. It uses anti-debug/anti-VMware tactics to evade analysis and slowly downloads other files to the infected host via BITS (Background Intelligent Transfer Service), a lightweight HTTP-based protocol that is usually allowed through firewalls because it's what Microsoft Update uses, Jackson said.

OLPC '$100 laptop' now $200
[Reuters] The One Laptop per Child Foundation, founded by MIT Professor Nicholas Negroponte, has started offering the lime-green-and-white machines in lots of 10,000 for $200 apiece on its Web site.

Hulu prepares for launch of online TV
[NYT] Hulu is presenting select episodes of some 90 television shows, including new and old programs from NBC (“The Office,” “The A-Team”), Fox (“24” and “The Simpsons”) and an assortment of smaller broadcasters like USA Networks. It has also added two new partners, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which distributes programs like “Chapelle’s Show” and “Reno 911,” and Sony Pictures Television, which will make selections in its archives like “I Dream of Jeannie,” available on

Colbert nation one million strong
[NYT] A group created by Raj Vachhani and titled “1,000,000 Strong for Stephen T Colbert” — has grown to more than a million members in just over a week, making it the most popular political group on Facebook by far. “What amazed me the most was how [Barack] Obama’s 1 Million Strong Group took more than 8 months to get about 380,000 members, but Colbert’s 1 Million Strong Group took less than a week to get 750,000 members,” he wrote in an e-mail message Wednesday.

Free Jammie: the coffee mug, the thong
[] Jammie Thomas is pulling out the stops in her bid to defend herself in court. The 30-year-old woman has begun selling men's and women's undergarments, coffee mugs, canine apparel, and baby bibs to raise money to pay her legal fees. All the merchandise is stamped with the new "Free Jammie" logo created for her by one of her supporters.

Negroponte: OLPC openness means Windows too
[] "It would be hard for OLPC to say it was 'open' and then be closed to Microsoft. Open means open," Negroponte said.

EU digs deeper on GOOG/DoubleClick
[Dow Jones] he European Commission wants more industry views on the proposed takeover by Google Inc.'s (GOOG) of Internet advertising broker DoubleClick, according to a document seen by Dow Jones Newswires. The regulator has sent out a second questionnaire to the companies' customers, especially targeting publishers, seeking their reactions to the takeover, said a lawyer familiar with the publishing side of the deal.

ICANN considers scrapping Whois
[AP] It will have a tough time winning approval — and could create chaos. But the fact that abandoning Whois is on the table underscores frustrations among privacy advocates that ICANN appears on the verge of launching new studies and deferring a decision yet again after some six years of debate.

RedHat pursues Asian governments
[IDG] Asian governments are pivotal to Red Hat Inc.'s goal of earning 60 percent of its revenue from outside the US by the end of 2009, said Matthew Szulik, the company's chairman, chief executive officer, and president, in a conference call on Thursday.

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Newswatch 10.26.07: It's Leopard Day

AAPL Stores gird for Leopard
[InfoWeek] Among the promotions: Apple Store staffers in New York City, San Francisco and other locations will hand special edition Leopard T-shirts to the first 500 shoppers.

Intel starts Penryn production
[CompWorld] Intel Corp. Thursday opened its new $3 billion manufacturing facility in Chandler, Ariz., kicking off mass production of its new 45-nanometer microprocessors.

MSFT making progress in putting Windows on XO
[Reuters] "We're spending a nontrivial amount of money on it," Microsoft Corporate Vice President Will Poole said in an interview on Thursday.

MST reports strong gains
[NYT] New versions of its lucrative personal computer businesses — the Windows Vista operating system and Microsoft Office 2007 — appear to be selling better than industry analysts anticipated.

Industry lobbies for patent reform
[AP] Dell Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Adobe Systems Inc. flew in executives Thursday to meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Their goal: firm flagging support for a bill that passed the House last month by a 220-to-175 vote.

Vonage settles with Verizon
[Bloomberg] Verizon Communications and Vonage Holdings settled a patent-infringement lawsuit with Vonage agreeing to pay as much as $120 million. The payment by Vonage, the unprofitable Internet phone service provider, would be cut to about $80 million if a U.S. appeals court agrees to reconsider its ruling last month that upheld most of a $66 million jury verdict for Verizon.

Newswatch 10.25.07: AT&T pays AAPL over $800 per iPhone

Verizon, Vonage settle for $120 million
[] Vonage on Thursday said it had resolved an ongoing patent dispute with Verizon Communications at a price tag of up to $120 million, ending what has been a mostly gloomy saga for the struggling Internet phone company.

MSFT debuts Mobile server
[InfoWeek] Taking direct aim at BlackBerry's commanding lead in the enterprise smartphone business, Microsoft announced its first server-based tool for managing and securing Windows Mobile devices.

AT&T pays $18/month/iPhone
[NYT]Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, has tried to do the math. His bottom line is rather shocking: AT&T appears to be paying $18 a month, on average, to Apple for each iPhone activated on its network. That adds up to $432 over a two year contract. In other words, Apple will receive $831 for each iPhone it sells. (It’s a little less for iPhones sold in AT&T stores.)

10 hidden gems in Leopard
[Macworld] After walking through Apple's Guided Tour, and the 300-plus New Features page, and playing with the release version for a few days, I've come up with a list of 10 lesser-known gems to look for after you've installed Leopard.

Rep. Boucher weighs in on Comcast
[Electronista] The company should, Boucher suggests, "simply tier their offerings and engage in a pricing structure that allocates more bandwidth to those who pay more, and less to those who pay less."

Russian hackers behind PDF attacks
[PCW] Users can thank the Russian Business Network (RBN), a well-known collective of cybercriminals, for the malware-armed PDF attachments that began appearing in in-boxes Tuesday, said Ken Dunham, director of response for iSight Partners Inc.

MSFT profits surprise
[Reuters] Microsoft posted a rise in quarterly profit today, boosted by healthy demand for personal computers loaded with its Windows operating system and strong sales of its Halo 3 video game.

Newswatch 10.24.07: GOOG, MSFT fight for Facebook

MSFT, GOOG battle for Facebook
[Bloomberg] An agreement may be announced in the next day or two, said one of the people, who asked to remain anonymous because the talks are private. The stake will probably be about 5 percent and would value Palo Alto, California-based Facebook at $10 billion to $15 billion, the people said.

Gmail gets IMAP support
[InfoWeek] Matthew Glotzbach, product management director for Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Enterprise, held it up as an example of Google's attempts at continuous innovation, saying it's one of many new features Google has added since launching Google Applications in February. "IMAP isn't new, but bringing it together is," he said.

TJX breach just keeps getting bigger
[eWeek] Despite TJX having reported some 46 million consumers impacted by the massive data breach into its computer systems, new documents indicate that as many as 96 million consumers may have been affected, including about 29 million MasterCard victims and 65 million Visa victims, according to documents filed with the federal court in Boston Oct. 23.

Qualcomm debuts Gobi
[EDN] Qualcomm Inc. on Tuesday introduced a new embedded solution targeted for notebook computers, dubbed Gobi global mobile Internet, which the company claims will allow notebooks to use high-speed mobile Internet services offered by network operators worldwide.

Xen founder outlines virtualization vision
[InfoWeek] When XenSource founder and CTO Simon Crosby first took the stage, he made sure to point out to the audience that XenSource is the exact opposite of VMware, since the company's goal is to deliver virtualization everywhere. "We want virtualization to be a component of the enterprise IT stack," Crosby said.

Verizon gives up the open access fight
[NYT] Verizon Wireless on Tuesday abandoned its legal challenge of the Federal Communications Commission’s rules for its auction of radio spectrum, removing a potential obstacle to the much-anticipated sale.

Verizon challenges cable with FiOS
[WSJ] Two years after launching its FiOS service, Verizon has signed up half a million TV subscribers and, as of the second quarter, was adding 2,600 customers per business day, the company says. In the parts of the Dallas area where FiOS service is offered, a quarter of households are taking it, Verizon estimates.

Newswatch 10.23.07: Sixth of all iPhones used for unlocking

250,000 iPhones unlocked or bricked
[Mercury News] About 250,000 of the nearly 1.4 million iPhones that Apple has sold thus far have gone to customers that don't have any intention of signing up for AT&T's service, Apple chief operating officer Tim Cook said Monday on a conference call with analysts and investors. That's a problem not only for AT&T, which doesn't get any monthly service fees from those customers, but for Apple, with which AT&T shares a portion of iPhone service revenue.

MSFT won't compete for spectrum
[CompWorld] "Microsoft has no plans to participate in the spectrum auction," Ballmer told a crowd at the CTIA Wireless IT and Entertainment 2007 show in SF.

MSFT announces low-cost XBox Arcade
[PCW] The Xbox 360 Arcade console combines a High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) connector and 256MB of on-board memory for storing games and entertainment content. It also includes five games previously available only to Xbox 360 users who signed up for Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade online service.

Casual gaming focus of MySpace Games
[Newsfactor] The social-networking giant announced a deal with New York-based Oberon Media on Tuesday to create a new, free gaming destination. MySpace Games, which will launch in early 2008, will let members choose from hundreds of award-winning casual games.

Cisco to buy WiMax startup Navini for $330m
[AP] Larry Lang, vice president and general manager of Cisco's Mobile Wireless Group, said Navini's products will complement the Wi-Fi wireless technology already embedded in Cisco's products. "In the U.S., there are a number of choices, and it's nice to have WiMax as another choice," he said. "But there are some places in the emerging markets where it would have been WiMax or nothing."

UK cops shut down piracy site Oink
[Guardian] The closure has been welcomed by the music industry, which said that leaked copies of pre-release records meant that Oink users were able to access hundreds of albums before they reached the shops. The invitation-only website, which had an estimated 180,000 users, was well known among internet filesharers as one of the most popular and exclusive sources of free downloads.

NBC pulls content from YouTube
[FT] An NBC spokesperson confirmed the move, and said it was intended to provide a boost to Hulu, which is a joint venture with News Corp's Fox division, and did not represent a new, tougher line that the company was taking against Google.

StumbleUpon toolbar now works with search engines
[BizWeek] Once downloaded, the toolbar simply adds information to the regular search results. And by now, StumbleUpon has amassed a sizable store of information to respond with, thanks to an existing base of 3.7 million users who have rated more than 13 million Web pages. . . .

NEW! - Get SVW on your Mobile Phone!

Newswatch 10.22.07: Waiting for AAPL earnings

Would you like your spam as an MP3?
[AP] The latest in unwanted electronic communication is an MP3 file that began landing in inboxes around the world last week. It features a spooky, synthesized Darth-Vader-sounding female voice touting the stock of Exit Only Inc., traded on the lower-standard Pink Sheets.

Are regulators dragging feet on Intel probe?
[AP] In August, Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand asked the FTC to probe Intel. A letter to the FTC from the New York Democrats said: "If the allegations against Intel are true, the potential harm to consumers could be profound." In a response in September, the FTC told legislators the agency is barred by law from disclosing investigations. On Monday, Brian Fallon, a Schumer spokesman, said the agency appears to be "slow-walking" the issue.

IBM chipset promises superfast downloads
[InfoWeek] IBM disclosed Monday that it has teamed up with Taiwanese vendor MediaTek to develop computer chipsets that the companies say will allow consumers to wirelessly zap high definition content to televisions and other devices at push-button speeds. Dubbed mmWave, the chipsets -- which comprise computer chips and high-speed interconnects -- will use so-called millimeter wave radio technology to transmit the data.

Jobs envisions a decade of annual OS upgrades
[NYT] “I’m quite pleased with the pace of new operating systems every 12 to 18 months for the foreseeable future,” he said. “We’ve put out major releases on the average of one a year, and it’s given us the ability to polish and polish and improve and improve.”

UN agency gives boost to WiMax
[NYT] The United Nations telecommunications agency in Geneva gave the upstart technology called WiMax a vote of approval, providing a sizable victory for Intel and something of a defeat for competing technologies from Qualcomm and Ericsson.

Chemical group says iPhone environmentally sound
[PCW] The Bromine Science and Environmental Forum BSEF), the international organization of the bromine chemical industry, points out that none of the substances Greenpeace is criticizing Apple for deploying in the device are banned under existing environmental law.

Libraries rebuff GOOG, MSFT
[NYT] Several major research libraries have rebuffed offers from Google and Microsoft to scan their books into computer databases, saying they were put off by restrictions these companies wanted to place on the new digital collections. The research libraries, including a large consortium in the Boston area, are instead signing on with the Open Content Alliance, a nonprofit effort to make digital material as widely accessible as possible.

Newswatch 10.19.07: Viacom slaps at GOOG, puts Daily Show online

Ballmer: We can compete with Google
[Newsfactor] At the Web 2.0 Summit, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gave full recognition to Google's search strategy: "The most valuable advertising real estate, in a sense, comes out of search," he said. "You're never going to grow a big advertising base, never going to attract a critical mass of advertisers if you can't be credible in search."

13,000 Daily Show clips online - legit
[NYT] Videos of every skit, every joke and every guest are available for free, fully searchable on According to Comedy Central, 13,000 videos will be stored in the database.

Open iPhone shows error of AT&T deal
[Newsfactor] Given that Apple had been saying since the phone's launch that it would support third-party software only through Safari, the move also represents a retreat from the original game plan in which Apple would have exclusive access to the device's native features. The Web plan failed, several analysts said, in part because of the slowness of AT&T's Edge network. Apple's current concession to developers can be directly linked to the "mistake" of the exclusive deal with AT&T.

iPhone sales start to blossom
[Wired] A new report by research group Strategy Analytics says the iPhone is now the fourth best-selling handset in the U.S. As AT&T's top-selling device during the third quarter -- accounting for nearly 13 percent of overall sales -- the groups says the device could even usurp the Motorola RAZR V3 (currently the No. 1 U.S. phone) in the coming quarters.

Digital music firesale
[] Prices will probably continue to drop until the retailers have no margin left. In other words, to make a business out of selling digital music, you have to have an attached product that's actually profitable. In Apple's case, it's hardware. In Amazon's case, they must be hoping it draws users to the site, where they eventually will buy other products.

Leopard mania!
[CRN] "We've probably doubled the backorders of Leopard, compared to what we did with Tiger," said Patrick Brown, CEO of Brown Computer Solutions, a Brattleboro, Vt.-based solution provider and Apple specialist. "With the Intel Macs, Apple has significantly increased the installed base. We do expect a very successful launch."

Your dashboard, open
[] Dash now plans to ship its GPS product for cars, the Dash Express, in early 2008. Its key differentiator from other GPS units is that it will always be connected to the Internet. The new news is that the Dash will have an open platform, so people can build interesting apps for it.

Newswatch 10.18.07: France unlocks iPhone

France unlocks iPhone
[PCW] Under a just-announced deal, the European mobile carrier Orange will be the exclusive source for the iPhone in the French market. The unlocked phone is concession to a French law that forbids companies to bundle a cell phone to a specific mobile operator.

Ballmer unveils MSFT mashup tool
[CompWorld] Ballmer told a keynote audience at the Web 2.0 Summit here that the Popfly mashup tool, first announced in May, is built with Microsoft's Silverlight rich media software and is aimed at allowing nonprogrammers to build applications without having to code. "This is designed for some of that end-user 'programmer' somebody who doesn't necessarily have to be a conehead," Ballmer noted.

Media cos, MSFT agree on copyright pact
[Reuters] Viacom Inc, Walt Disney Co, Microsoft Corp and other media companies have agreed to a set of guidelines to protect copyrights online but Google Inc, owner of the Web's biggest video site, was notably absent from the pact.

Hacked 911 call put family at risk
[Seattle PI] Someone reportedly had overdosed on cocaine at a Southern California home. Inside, the caller said, a man was dead and a woman had been shot in the face. The caller told the dispatcher he had a handgun -- and was ready to kill.

APPL could face suit over toxic report
[ABC] A consumer watchdog group is considering a lawsuit against Apple, after the release of a Greenpeace report that alleges the company's iPhone contains toxic chemicals, though some critics have labeled the study a publicity stunt.

Amazon 1-Click Patent rejected
[] A panel of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected most of's 1-Click online purchasing system patent claims because of evidence that another patent predated this one.

States to Microsoft court: Five more years!
[Newfactor] Six states and Washington D.C. formally requested that oversight of Microsoft continue until 2012 on grounds that Microsoft could gain a competitive advantage for its middleware offering, Silverlight, not based on its merits but on Microsoft's ability to control the desktop. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly is expected to rule on November 6.

Newswatch 10.17.07: APPL opens iPhone to developers

iPhone SDK coming in Feb.
[] Let me just say it: We want native third party applications on the iPhone, and we plan to have an SDK in developers’ hands in February. We are excited about creating a vibrant third party developer community around the iPhone and enabling hundreds of new applications for our users. With our revolutionary multi-touch interface, powerful hardware and advanced software architecture, we believe we have created the best mobile platform ever for developers.

It will take until February to release an SDK because we’re trying to do two diametrically opposed things at once—provide an advanced and open platform to developers while at the same time protect iPhone users from viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc. This is no easy task. Some claim that viruses and malware are not a problem on mobile phones—this is simply not true. There have been serious viruses on other mobile phones already, including some that silently spread from phone to phone over the cell network. As our phones become more powerful, these malicious programs will become more dangerous. And since the iPhone is the most advanced phone ever, it will be a highly visible target.

Some companies are already taking action. Nokia, for example, is not allowing any applications to be loaded onto some of their newest phones unless they have a digital signature that can be traced back to a known developer. While this makes such a phone less than “totally open,” we believe it is a step in the right direction. We are working on an advanced system which will offer developers broad access to natively program the iPhone’s amazing software platform while at the same time protecting users from malicious programs.

We think a few months of patience now will be rewarded by many years of great third party applications running on safe and reliable iPhones.


P.S.: The SDK will also allow developers to create applications for iPod touch. [Oct 17, 2007]

iPhone highly susceptible to malware
[Newsfactor] "A rootkit takes on a whole new meaning when the attacker has access to the camera, microphone, contact list, and phone hardware," renowned hacker HD Moore said regarding a security vulnerability in Apple's iPhone. "Couple this with 'always-on' Internet access over EDGE and you have a perfect spying device," he added.

Ubuntu trying to break open the desktop for Linux
[Newsfactor] With a new version of the Ubuntu Linux distribution coming out on Thursday, some might be wondering what chance the OS might have against behemoths Microsoft and Apple? "If anybody has a chance of succeeding with a desktop Linux," said Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT, "Ubuntu is at the head of the line."

Skype, under eBay control, cuts deal with MySpace
[InfoWeek] There is probably minimal overlap among Skype's 220 million registered users and MySpace's 110 million monthly users, but the potential is there -- particularly for teenage MySpace users, who may want to call their friends, often impulsively.

Facebook comes to terms with NY attorney general
[Wired] Facebook has apparently made good with the New York State attorney general who has been investigating the site's response and handling of complaints as part of a child safety probe.

Telephony opportunity calling for MSFT
[BizWeek] nstead of selling an end-to-end system that directs calls to the proper extensions, stores an employee directory, and connects conference calls, Microsoft will embed those features in the new software to interact with its e-mail, word processing, and mobile-phone applications, as well as programs made by partners. "We've got a very different way of being able to do things," Gates said.

Lantos says YHOO lied about Chinese arrest
[ZDNet] “We want to clarify how that happened, and to hold the company to account for its actions both before and after its testimony proved untrue. “And we want to examine what steps the company has taken since then to protect the privacy rights of its users in China.”

Newswatch 10.16.07: YouTube unveils copy protection

Leopard goes on sale Oct. 26
[AP] One of the new features is "Boot Camp," which lets users install Microsoft Corp.'s Windows on Intel-based Macs, though both operating systems can't run at the same time. The feature, in a test version released last year, already has helped attract new customers to the Macintosh platform.

Greenpeace says iPhone a toxic hazard
[MacWorld] Like all Apple products worldwide, iPhone complies with RoHS [Restriction of Hazardous Substances], the world's toughest restrictions on toxic substances in electronics," an Apple spokesperson, told Macworld.

Napster's new service: Web-based
[AP] Napster Inc. on Tuesday launched a new Web-based version of its music service that lets customers listen to their music on any computer without downloading software.

Five years in jail for spamming
[Newsfactor] While the spam conviction is a "proud and successful case for the Justice Department," it serves to illustrate the limits of criminal prosecution on the spam problem, said Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle. "It is well known that the majority of spam today is sent by zombie computer networks throughout the world," he said.

APPL to drop DRM-free prices to 99 cents?
[TechSpot] While we have no information on whether the iTunes Plus songs are selling well, we assume that the decision to drop the price is a response to the Amazon MP3 store. Amazon sells individual tracks for between 89¢ and 99¢ apiece, all without any DRM restrictions. With that in mind, it's kind of hard for Apple to compete at $1.29.

GOOG launches watermarking for YouTube content
[NYT] “We are delighted that Google appears to be stepping up to its responsibility and ending the practice of profiting from infringement,” said Michael Fricklas, general counsel of Viacom, which filed a $1 billion copyright infringement suit against YouTube and Google in March. “We’ll be watching to ensure that the system is reasonably effective and sufficiently robust to address the issue.”

Ubuntu: Linux with eye candy
[NYT] Wednesday, a new version of Ubuntu—code named Gutsy Gibbon—will be introduced sporting the sort of three dimensional effects that are the trademark of Windows Vista and Macintosh Leopard.

Newswatch 10.15.07: Hard-drive breakthrough

Hitachi breakthrough will mean terabytes in your hand
[HalfLifeSource] Hitachi announced a new breakthrough in technology storage by developing the world's smallest read/write head for hard drives. The name for the storage device is dubbed, "Current Perpendicular-to-the-Plane Giant Magneto-Resistive" or CPP-GMR head.

13-year-old jailbreaks iPod Touch
[MacObserver] A 13 year old that goes by the handle AriX has managed to produce a simple to use jailbreak method for the iPod touch called iJailBreak. AriX's hack allows iPod touch users to install third-party applications on their touch interface iPod, and does not require any special skills to use.

Porn spammers get five years
[EastValleyTribune] The case, investigated by the FBI and the Justice Department’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, was the first to include charges under the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, the Justice Department said in a statement. The act was designed to crack down on the transmission of pornography in commercial bulk unsolicited e-mail messages.

Universal takes on Apple
[BizWeek] BusinessWeek has learned that Morris has already enlisted Sony BMG Music Entertainment as a potential partner and is talking to Warner Music Group. Together the three would control about 75% of the music sold in the U.S. Besides competing head-on with Apple Inc.'s music store, Morris and his allies hope to move digital music beyond the iPod-iTunes universe by nurturing the likes of Microsoft's Zune media player and Sony's PlayStation and by working with the wireless carriers.

Linux cos. sued for patent infringement
[] Although I and many attorneys in the open-source industry have long been concerned about patent challenges to open-source companies, this case appears to be the first by patent trolls against an open-source licensor," said Mark Radcliffe, a DLA Piper intellectual property attorney.

Pentagon promotes space-based solar power
[Newsfactor] Huge solar arrays placed into a continuously and intensely sunlit orbit around the earth would be able to generate gigawatts of electrical energy that could be electromagnetically beamed back to earth. The receiving stations down on the ground would be designed to deliver the power to the existing electrical grid.

YouTube layers videos onto Google Earth
[VNUNet] For example, a trip to Maui offers videos of surfing, snorkelling and exotic sea life, while users who fly to Chamonix-Mont Blanc in France can watch videos filmed at the highest points of the Alps.

Newswatch 10.12.07: APPL ready for third-party apps?

RedHat, Novell sued for patent infringement
[CompWorld] Linux vendors Red Hat Inc. and Novell Inc. are being sued for patent infringement by IP Innovation LLC and Technology Licensing Corp. The plaintiffs claim they own U.S. Patent No. 5,072,412 for a "User Interface with Multiple Workspaces for Sharing Display System Objects" issued Dec. 10, 1991, as well as two other similar patents. It is believed to be the first patent infringement lawsuit involving Linux.

Will Apple support third-party developers for iPhone
[Newsfactor] Embracing third-party development for the iPhone is practically an imperative for Apple, Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, said in an interview. "Apple almost has to embrace third-party developers," he said. "The demand is so strong, the behavior of developers almost forces them to do this."

Shawn Fanning's Snocap cuts half its staff
[WSJ] The San Francisco company on Thursday laid off more than half of its employees, reducing to about 26 people its former staff of 57. The company said its remaining staff plans to focus its resources on existing partnerships, including deals with News Corp.'s MySpace and Imeem Inc. Snocap said it has heard during the past few months from large companies that are interested in a possible acquisition of the startup.

Scare supply means no holiday price drop for Wii
[Gamespot] Nintendo senior marketing VP George Harrison said that the Wii's price isn't budging, for now at least. "We'll stay at $249 for the foreseeable future. We are still selling everything we can make," he said.

Universal wants to take on iTunes
[eFlux] BusinessWeek reports that Universal chief Doug Morris is enlisting other big music players for a new online service. Among those mentioned is heavyweight Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group, another potential partner.

FCC's Martin: Open access rules good for small biz
[CIO Today] The open-access provisions of the 700-MHz spectrum auction are a critical factor in making the spectrum accessible to small businesses, FCC Chair Kevin Martin told a House committee Wednesday. "It is our goal that this open platform requirement will allow smaller businesses ... to put their products directly into the hands of consumers."

Newswatch 10.11.07: iPhone hackers strike back

iPhone hackers strike back
[] Two weeks to the day after Apple's iPhone software update wiped third-party applications from the device and disabled unlocked phones, the hackers have struck back. The latest hack allows iPhone users who have already installed the OS X 1.1.1 update to revert their iPhones to the previous 1.0.2 update, "jailbreak" it for third-party applications, and then somehow update back to the 1.1.1 version without the cell door slamming shut.

IBM, Linden cooperate on virtual standards
[Newsfactor] Currently, users have to create separate avatars for each virtual world they want to inhabit, but a universal avatar would allow users to create one once and use it across VR worlds. "It's an obstacle to the development and spread of virtual worlds, both in the consumer and corporate space," said Colin Parris, IBM's VP of digital convergence.

Firefox mobile: too little too late?
[Ars Technica] If Mozilla can bring the quality and flexibility of the Firefox desktop experience to the mobile platform without having to sacrifice distinctive features like add-on support, it will be a huge win for open-source mobile web browsing. This will not be an easy task, and strong competition in the mobile space already exists from WebKit and Opera—and even Internet Explorer.

Analyst mom to Ballmer: Vista sucks
[PCW] "I'm one of those early adopters of Vista," said Yvonne Genovese, an analyst who was interviewing Ballmer along with fellow analyst David Smith on stage at a conference forum. "My daughter comes in one day and says, 'Hey Mom, my friend has Vista, and it has these neat little things called gadgets -- I need those.'" Said Ballmer: "I love your daughter." "You're not going to like her mom in about two minutes," said Genovese, while the crowd laughed.

GOOG leads in global search
[BBC] Korea's NHN was the fifth most used search engine, according to the story, just behind Microsoft. The study revealed that most search activity happens in the Asia-Pacific region, which includes countries such as China, Japan and India.

Paul Allen launches alien-hunting array
[] Allen will be inaugurating the initial 42 antennas of his namesake, the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) – the first major radio telescope designed from the pedestal up to efficiently (which is to say, rapidly) chew its way through long lists of stars in a search for alien signals.

China repressed iPod sweatshop report
[PCW] The allegations are contained in a 17-page report by Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, Journey to the heart of internet censorship, produced in cooperation with Chinese Human Rights Defenders and an anonymous "Chinese technician working in the internet sector."

Bush threatens veto if telecoms don't get immunity
[ZDNet] President Bush warned two House committees that he would veto any intelligence bill that failed to give full immunity to telecom companies who cooperate with intelligence agencies. The House Judiciary and Intelligence committees approved bills that would require the government to get court orders before it could conduct blanket surveillance of overseas targets.

BP is SimCity's alternative energy provider
[Environmental Leader] Electronic Arts and BP have collaborated to include climate change education within SimCity Societies, the next iteration of the city-building game. BP’s logo appears in the game as a provider of alternative energy.

Newswatch 10.10.07: GOOG buys Twitter competitor

SEC taking 'hard look' at stock-trading programs
[Mercury] The Securities and Exchange Commission could put a chill this week on automatic stock-trading plans that scores of Silicon Valley executives use to insulate themselves from allegations of insider trading.

GOOG passes over Twitter for Jaiku
[Ars Technica] Google product manager Tony Hsieh officially announced today that Google has acquired Jaiku, a Finnish microblogging service provider. The financial terms of the acquisition have not been publicly disclosed.

Jurors: We wanted to send a message
[Wired] "She should have settled out of court for a few thousand dollars," Hegg said. "Spoofing? We're thinking, 'Oh my God, you got to be kidding.' "

AT&T buys spectrum for $2.5b
[Newsfactor] While AT&T did not say what it intends to do with the spectrum purchased from Aloha Partners for $2.5 billion, some reports speculated that AT&T might use it to deliver video over its cellular networks. Additionally, the spectrum could be used to deliver connectivity via WiMax or to enhance services for Apple's future iPhones.

Blinkx will pay for videos
[NYT] By combining two Internet trends — social networking and online video — with a moneymaking opportunity, Blinkx hopes to better compete with YouTube, the market-leading video-sharing service owned by Google, said the founder and chief executive of Blinkx, Suranga Chandratillake.

Zennstrom defends price of Skype
[NYT] Revenue and earnings projections made by Skype executives before the sale to eBay turned out to be “a bit front-loaded,” he said. “Sometimes I feel like we tried to monetize too rapidly,” Mr. Zennstrom said.

Supremes allow case against HP
[AP] The case involves a lawsuit by two Oklahoma residents, Stephen and Beverly Grider, who allege that Compaq Computer Corp. sold them a defective computer and didn't repair or replace it, as called for in the company's warranty.

PurchasePro boss obstructed justice
[WaPo] Charles E. "Junior" Johnson, 46, whose now-defunct company PurchasePro became embroiled in an accounting scandal with AOL in 2001, headed to trial again in U.S. District Court in Alexandria on charges including stock fraud, conspiracy and witness tampering. Prosecutors added the charge of obstruction of justice, for allegedly urging his attorney to use fake e-mails in the cross-examination of a government witness.

Newswatch 10.9.07: GOOG expands vid ads

GOOG expands video ads through AdSense
[CompWorld] The program allows advertisers to distribute their video-based ads across the AdSense network, not just on YouTube, Google said in a statement. YouTube content partners can earn extra revenue from their clips. And Google will also earn money from ads attached to the video clips, which will be delivered "within a customized embedded player that's ad supported," Google said.

Nobel prize for tech that led to mini-hard drives
[AP] France's Albert Fert and German Peter Gruenberg independently discovered a physical effect in 1988 that has led to sensitive tools for reading the information stored on hard disks. That sensitivity lets the electronics industry use smaller and smaller disks.

Rhapsody links up with TiVO
[Chron] Now why would you want to listen to your music on your TiVo?"We're taking advantage of the fact that you are on your television and can access this stuff," said Jim Denney, TiVo's vice president of product marketing. "You're accessing your 4 million tracks where you can sit down and listen to these things... For TiVo, this is all part of buillding a strong entertainment system in the living room."

iBricking lawsuit a long-shot
[Newsfactor] "I don't think they [will] get out of the gate on those claims given that Apple has no monopoly in the cell phone business (indeed, this is its first foray), and AT&T similarly has none when it comes to cell service," said IP lawyer Denise Howell.

RIAA wears black hat with pride
[] "It's usually inadvisable to turn someone into a martyr," said Jonathan Bernstein, president of Bernstein Crisis Management, a Los Angeles-based public relations firm. "I would think they could have pursued someone that drew a little less empathy."

gPhone won't kills iPhone
[PCW] Google is putting the final touches on a mobile-phone project, but unlike Apple's iPhone the so-called GPhone is all about software for mobile carriers and mobile advertisers.

Newswatch 10,.8.07: Woman says she will appeal RIAA verdict

IBM, GOOG putting a cloud on campus
[Newsfactor] The cloud-computing project announced by Google and IBM combines "IBM's historic strengths" with Google's "expertise in Web computing," said IBM CEO Sam Palmisano. "We're aiming to train tomorrow's programmers to write software that can support a tidal wave of global Web growth and trillions of secure transactions every day."

RIAA defendant vows to appeal $220,000 verdict
[InfoWeek] From her MySpace: "He explained how we're going to take the RIAA's theory of making [files] available and appeal it," she wrote. "He also explained how if we win, this would stop the RIAA dead in their tracks!!! Every single suit they have brought has been based on this making available theory, and if we can win this appeal, they would actually have to prove a file was shared and by someone other than their own licensed agent."

Seagate shipping hard/flash drive
[TGDaily] Seagate today said that it has begun shipping its first hybrid hard drive, a device that combines standard hard drive storage technologies with NAND flash, in volume. There is still a premium to pay for these drives, but Seagate undercuts the price of its competition and expects the new model to hit the notebook mainstream soon.

VMWare offers virtualization for small business
[PCW] The packages offer varying levels of features depending on price. At the core of all three is either VMware's ESX Server or ESX Server 3i, a product released last month whose hypervisor is embedded in flash memory in the server hardware. The hypervisor enables multiple OSes to run on one machine.

iBricking lawsuit claims Apple a monopoly
[CompWorld] Timothy Smith filed the lawsuit Friday with a California state court in San Jose seeking class-action status. The suit demands that Apple be barred from selling locked iPhones and that it be required to provide warranty service for owners of unlocked devices. The lawsuit also asks for unspecified monetary damages.

UK Wi-Fi grows as Mickie D's offers wireless access
[] The company hopes the Wi-Fi service will attract more businesspeople into it outlets, but Chief Information Officer Ivan Brooks said the company expects its existing customer base to respond to the service too. The company estimates that a regular hot spot user who pays to log on for an hour per week will save as much as $530 (260 pounds) per year on premium Wi-Fi charges.

New Zune boss on board at MSFT
[WSJ] Rick Thompson will run a revamped product line. Microsoft last week unveiled a line of Zune devices, featuring sleeker designs and a broader range of options for storage and sharing of songs. He will be charged with Zune business development, including supervising relationships with the music industry and content providers.

Nano catches fire!
[DigitalTrends] Atlanta's Danny Williams says his nerly two year-old iPod nano caught fire in his pants pocket while he was at work in a kiosk at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Williams claims the flames leaped up to his chest, and the fre lasted about 15 seconds—in interviews, Williams sais glossy paper in his pocket may have prevented him from being burned.

Trust MSFT with your health info?
[Forbes] Microsoft has long been labeled an enemy of the people--the company you didn't even trust with your PC's serial number. Now the new Microsoft, led by philanthropist Bill Gates, hopes you will entrust your medical records with it.

Newswatch 10.4.07: Whopping judgment in favor of RIAA

In RIAA case, woman found liable for $220K
[USA Today] Jurors ordered Jammie Thomas, 30, to pay record companies $220,000 — or $9,250 for each of 24 songs for which the companies sought damages. They could have awarded damages as low as $750 per song.

New name for game: Halo $300 million
[AP] Gamers around the globe dropped nearly $300 million on "Halo 3" in the week since the first-person shooter for Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 console debuted, the company said Thursday. Microsoft also said that in the week after the Sept. 25 launch, Xbox 360 console sales "nearly tripled" from previous weekly average.

YHOO moves to curb phishing
[CIO Today] The Domain Keys strategy at the heart of the new technology that Yahoo, eBay, and PayPal hope will help eliminate phishing is essentially a verification process to determine that e-mail comes from its purported sender. While Domain Keys might sound like an ideal solution, it is of limited usefulness unless a majority of e-mail providers back it.

BT unwires Britain
[Forbes] Britain's BT Group has joined forces with wireless internet company FON to create "the world's largest" Wi-Fi community, adding 3 million consumers to a collective that already includes subscribers to France's NeufCegetel and Time Warner Cable in the United States.

GOOG upgrades business users to Postini mail
[Reuters] Google, the market leader in Web search and online advertising for consumers, is introducing e-mail controls and anti-spam protections resulting from the acquisition of e-mail services supplier Postini, which it closed three weeks ago.

GOOG accuses Verizon of lobbying violations
[MarketWatch] In a letter filed with the FCC Monday, Google attorney Richard Whitt cited Verizon's "improprieties" in both lobbying the FCC, while simultaneously pursuing the lawsuit. Whitt in particular cites a Sept. 17 meeting between Verizon and Chairman Martin where he claims the open-access rules were discussed, though "the actual content of [the meeting] was not disclosed until days after."

Mr. Sulu gets an asteroid
[] In the latest example of real scientists paying homage to science fiction, the International Astronomical Union last week honored the actor and his character, by renaming an asteroid, formerly known as 1994 GT9. The new name will be 7307 Takei, according to a story by the Associated Press.

Newswatch 10.3.07: Hacker fight back against Apple

Verizon's iPhone look-alike
[InfoWeek] The Voyager, exclusively offered by Verizon Wireless, has a large external touch-screen that also slides open sideways for a full QWERTY keypad. This gives users a choice on how they access the phone's features, Verizon Wireless said.

Game on as hackers fight iPhone update
[] Perhaps more important than the bricking of unlocked iPhones is the fact that the firmware update blocked third-party application development. Apple has refused to open the iPhone platform to third-party developers, saying programmers should write Ajax-based applications that users can access through the Safari Web browser.

MSFT updates Zune
[NYT] Microsoft has chosen not to compete on price, matching Apple’s price points for devices of the same size. (That is, flashy players with 4 gigabytes for $149 and 8 gigabytes for $199, and an 80-gigabyte hard drive player for $249.) That’s probably wise in the long run. Microsoft isn’t a brand that should rely on discounting. Microsoft includes a Wi-Fi connection on these models, while Apple charges $100 more for its Wi-Fi enabled iPod Touch series.

Email secrurity for GOOG Apps Premier
[PCW] Google Inc. will add e-mail security, compliance and recovery services to Google Apps Premier edition at no extra charge, boosting an area of this hosted communications and collaboration suite that is key for its adoption by large organizations.

In RIAA case, defense plants seeds of doubt
[Wired] Day No. 2 of the Recording Industry Association of America's copyright infringement case against a 30-year-old woman continued here Wednesday, with the defense peppering jurors with purported reasons to doubt Jammie Thomas' culpability.

Berkeley to put lectures on YouTube
[] Berkeley officials claimed in a statement that the university is the first to make full course lectures available on YouTube. The school said that over 300 hours of videotaped courses will be available at

Malicious code infects Chinese security site
[Infoworld] At least three pages on the Chinese Internet Security Response Team's (CISRT) Web site are rigged with a malicious "iframe," a hidden window on a Web page that can allow code such as JavaScript to run on a visitor's PC, according to Trend Micro's malware blog.

Newswatch 10.2.07: YHOO's search breakthrough

Toshiba to ship OLED screens in 09
[PCW] Toshiba Corp. plans to begin selling televisions with OLED (organic light-emitting diodes) screens as soon as panels are ready, according to a company spokeswoman. The first Toshiba OLED television sets should hit the market in 2009, said Yuko Sugahara.

DHS holds off on sharing high-res sat images
[ZDNet] Monday was supposed to be the day that the Department of Homeland Security began sharing its detailed spy satellite images with a range of government agencies. But DHS is delaying the launch — revealed by the Wall Street Journal in August — as Democrats voice concerns about the program.

iRate buyer sues Apple for $1m
[The Times] Dongmei Li, of New York, who waited "for hours" to buy a 4GB version of the iPhone in July three days after its debut, is accusing Apple of "price discrimination, underselling, discrimination in rebates, deceptive actions and other wrongdoings," according to a filing by her attorney, C Jean Wang, of Wang Law Offices.

Adobe's software-as-service strategy
[PCW] Chizen would never be caught mouthing the "Software + Services" catchphrase pounded into the ground by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. But he is steering Adobe in the same direction that Ballmer is pointing Microsoft.

Nokia buys Navteq for $8 billion
[NYT] Nokia’s plans to acquire the map and navigational software maker Navteq for $8.1 billion raise the stakes in the competition among wireless carriers, handset makers and new entrants like Google and Microsoft to deliver information and advertising directly to cellphone users.

Not enough Wiis for holidays
[GameSpot] "We have been sold out worldwide since we launched," Reggie Fils-Amie boasted. "Every time we put more into the marketplace, we sell more, which says that we are not even close to understanding where the threshold is between supply and demand...Our inventory is lasting a day."

Yahoo offers Search Assist to help divine user intent
"We know that consumers want a complete answer, not a bunch of links, and the changes we've made are focused on getting people to the best answer -- whether it be a Web link, photo, video or music clip -- in one search," said Vish Makhijani, general manager and senior vice president of Yahoo! Search.

Newswatch 10.1.07: Skype CEO booted out of eBay

Palm posts $840,000 loss
[InfoWorld] The loss compares to a net income of $16.5 million for the same period last year. The results for the first quarter ending Aug. 31 continue a rough patch for Palm, which is posting gains in smartphone sales that don't seem to make up for the downturn in demand for PDAs, Palm's traditional mainstay.

How to turn iBrick back into phone
[InfoWorld] Owners of hacked iPhones have begun posting instructions on how to roll back a recent Apple firmware upgrade that rendered their mobile phones unusable. The instructions were available Monday on the iPhone Dev Wiki, a Web site devoted to iPhone software hacks and tools.

eBay removes Skype CEO
[CompWorld] Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom has given up his CEO title for a spot on the eBay unit's board, and eBay announced it was taking $1.4 billion in charges related to Skype in its third quarter earnings

Fear iPhone updates
[CompWorld] "With the iPhone update, Apple is now producing a fear of taking their patches," nCircle's Andrew Storms said. "If they release a functionality update and security fixes at the same time in the future, some users will think twice about applying it. They'll ask themselves, 'What will it break this time?' and, 'Will it backfire on me?'

Spy satellites stalled over privacy concerns
[] Under fire from politicians citing privacy worries, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is delaying plans--previously slated to kick in Monday--to begin making detailed spy-satellite images available to a wider range of government agencies.

A common Ajax platform for all ...
[InfoWorld] Anticipating one Web emerging for both mobile and desktop access, dignitaries at a mobile AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) workshop last Friday also saw a common AJAX platform emerging across both mediums. "That's the trend. That's what appears is happening," said Jon Ferraiolo, manager of operations for OpenAjax Alliance and a Web architect at IBM.

Embed docs on the Web with Adobe Share
[Wired] Adobe's new web service, called Share, lets users upload and share office documents through the browser. You can also generate a Flash preview for any shared document and embed it in a web page -- just like a YouTube video.

Live Workspace: All space, no work
[Wired] The service may seem like an odd entry into the online office apps game, seeing how it is clearly meant to compliment, not replace, Microsoft Office. In other words, don’t come to Office Live Workspace looking for an online version of Word. The new service is essentially an online storage mechanism with the ability to share documents, not a true online office suite.

Newswatch 9.28.07: GOOG makes concessions to save DoubleClick deal

GOOG defends DoubleClick deal
[BizWeek] Eric Schmidt told legislators on Sept. 27 that the company is exploring whether to let users keep Google from tracking the sites they're visiting. To do so, the company would enable Web surfers to shut off so-called cookies, the bits of code used to track the sites visited by individual computers and deliver ads related to those sites.

3Com sold, taken private
[Mercury News] Network equipment maker 3Com Corp. is giving up its independence in a $2.2 billion buyout by Bain Capital Partners, but it's gaining freedom from the whims of the market and a chance to expand in China.

GOOG buys social net Zingku
[CompWorld] A Google spokesman, in an e-mail, said the company had acquired "certain assets and technology" of Zingku. "We believe these assets can help build products and features that will benefit our users, advertisers and publishers." Details of the purchase weren't disclosed.

MSFT unveils TV networking devices
[InfoWeek] MSFT) on Thursday introduced Linksys, D-Link, and Niveus Media products that would distribute high-definition video from a Windows Media Center PC to any home TV with a wired or wireless network connection.

AAPL lawyer leaves for Qualcomm
[Forbes] Dan Rosenberg, 56, joined Apple last November, when the maker of iPod players and Macintosh computers was in the thick of a stock options scandal. His predecessor there, Nancy Heinen, is now fighting civil charges that she fraudulently backdated stock-options awards to the executive team and a grant to CEO Steve Jobs.

The Cloud offers cheap Wi-Fi for touch owners
[TUAW] The Cloud Unlimited Music gives iPod touch users unlimited access to the Clouds extensive network of Wi-Fi hotspots across the UK for £3.99 per month. You might wonder why this is exclusive to the iPod touch, why not let iPhone users in on the fun? That's because the iPhone contract with O2 in the UK includes access to the Cloud (which is very cool indeed, why can't AT&T include something like this in the iPhone data plan?).

IBM Symphony: 100,000 downloads
[PCWorld] To keep up with the number of people interested in downloading Symphony, IBM tripled the number of download servers it had for the suite of productivity applications in the first few days of its release.

Newswatch 9.27.07: Palm offers $100 Centro (after rebate)

Palm introduces $100 Centro
[PC World] Slated to debut on Sprint in October, the Centro is significantly smaller and--after a slew of rebates, at least--cheaper than Treo counterparts that likewise support Sprint's superfast EvDO 3G network. Sprint has a 90-day exclusivity agreement for the Centro.

Halo nets $170m in first day
[Times Online] The total easily exceeded that of Halo 2, which brought in $125 million in 2004, as well as takings of the most popular Hollywood films. More than 1.7 million copies of the game were preordered in America, Microsoft said, and 1.4 million people had gone online to play it since its release on Tuesday morning.

Will iPhone update 'brick' unlocked iPhones?
[Computer World] "WARNING: Apple has discovered that some of the unauthorized unlocking programs available on the Internet may cause irreparable damage to the iPhone's software," the message read. "If you have modified your iPhone's software, applying this software update may result in your iPhone becoming permanently inoperable."

Next up from iRobot: iBabySitter
[AP] It's designed to enable parents on a business trip to feel they're almost at home. For example, a parent could remotely send the wheeled robot into a bedroom, where the children could open a book in front of the robot's camera. The parent could then read the story aloud and watch and hear the kids' reactions. The family could also converse.

Amazon store better than iTunes
[Salon] All of Amazon's tracks are sold as unrestricted MP3s, free of Digital Rights Management, or DRM -- they will work on just about any music player in the world, including an iPod. The store marks iTunes' first real competition. In fact, I think it kicks iTunes' buttons.

MSFT TV networking devices for Media Center
[InfoWeek] Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) on Thursday introduced Linksys, D-Link, and Niveus Media products that would distribute high-definition video from a Windows Media Center PC to any home TV with a wired or wireless network connection.

AOL patching AIM flaw
[InfoWeek] This vulnerability poses a significant security risk to millions of AIM users," said Ivan Arce, CTO at Core Security, in a written statement. "Core Security has alerted AOL to this threat and has provided full technical details about the vulnerability so that they can address it in their products.

Newswatch 9.26.07: MSFT should junk Vista

AMZN takes on AAPL
[Bloomberg] The MP3 service offers 2.3 million songs from more than 180,000 artists, said yesterday. The songs, most priced from 89 to 99 cents, don't have software that limits how customers can store and play them.

WiMax chip aimed at a future market
[PC World] Motorola Inc. unveiled a WiMax client chipset on Tuesday and praised Sprint's strategy of leaving WiMax clients to device makers and retailers. But that plan, a change of pace from U.S. carriers' usual practice of selling and subsidizing phones themselves, could take years to pay off in the mass market.

Are web giants looking to push out ad agencies?
[AdWeek] When Martin Sorrell used the term "frenemy" to describe WPP's view of Google, he struck a chord in an industry wary of Internet giants' growing might. Since then, concerns have grown even more as both Google and Microsoft edge further into agency services.

HuffPost raises $5m more
HuffingtonPost, the uber-blog, has quietly raised another $5 million in a second institutional round of funding. The round included all previous investors: Softbank Capital, Greycroft Partners, CEO and co-founder Ken Lerer and Bob Pittman’s Pilot Group.

MSFT must abandon Vista to save itself
[] While Vista was originally touted by Microsoft as the operating system savior we've all been waiting for, it has turned out to be one of the biggest blunders in technology. With a host of issues that are inexcusable and features that are taken from the Mac OS X and Linux playbook, Microsoft has once again lost sight of what we really want.

And VoIP comes to iPhone
[GigaOM] Truphone, a UK-based maker of software that allows you to send and receive phone calls over Wi-Fi on Nokia (NOK) mobile phones, has started showing off an iPhone-version of its offering at the DEMOfall conference. ruphone CEO James Tagg earlier this morning, and he said that the software will be available for download later this year — perhaps by December.

T-Mobile intros Sidekicks
[AP] T-Mobile USA is updating its Sidekick cell phones, adding a high-end model and the first Motorola-built entry in the line of quirky gadgets with a screen that swivels to reveal a keyboard.

Newswatch 9.25.07: MSFT to buy into Facebook?

MSFT considering buying into Facebook
[NYT] Microsoft, Google and several funds are considering investments in the fast-growing site, according to people with knowledge of the talks, that could give the start-up a value of more than $10 billion.

Unlock iPhone, get a paperweight
[BBC] Apple has warned that anyone attempting to unlock their iPhone to use with an unauthorised mobile network could find their phones irreparably damaged.

Amazon launches DRM-free music store (beta)
[] Each song is encoded at 256kbps, the file quality that Apple offers for its DRM-free iTunes Plus premium music selections, which it sells for $1.29 apiece rather than its usual 99 cents. Amazon's pricing for Amazon MP3 ranges from 89 cents (including the top 100 best-selling songs) to 99 cents; albums are priced from $5.99 to $9.99.

US networks stream online for free
[FT] US television networks believe they have found the business model needed to profit in the digital age – streaming their hit shows over the internet as opposed to selling them to consumers as digital downloads

Mainframe startup challenges IBM
[FT] If Microsoft’s comprehensive legal defeat in Europe last week has wider ramifications in the technology industry, then a Silicon Valley start-up named PSI could provide an early test case. PSI, which has been trying to break into the mainframe computer business, already has a private antitrust suit against IBM pending in the US. At the end of last week it was hinting heavily that it would now try to ride the Microsoft ruling all the way to Brussels.

EchoStar buys Sling Media for $380m
[AP] 'As an early investor in Sling Media, EchoStar has been pleased with the progress and commitment the company has made establishing Sling Media and the Slingbox as powerful and beloved digital media brands,'' EchoStar Chief Executive Charlie Ergen said in a written statement.

GOOG will respect Canada's privacy laws
[Reuters] Google Inc is considering a Canadian launch of its Street View map feature, which offers street-level close-ups of city centers, but would blur people's faces and vehicle license plates to respect tougher Canadian privacy laws, the Web search firm said on Monday.

Newswatch 9.22.07: Inventors march on Hill

Inventors protest patent reform
[PCWorld] The legislation "will weaken the patent system," said Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway and the AutoSyringe. "It will devalue patents. It will be a disincentive for people to invest in the future."

Jobs subpoenaed in backdating case
[] The subpoena of Steve Jobs in the backdating case against Apple general counsel Nancy Heinen doesn't indicate that the SEC is interested in Jobs, said Peter J. Henning, a law professor at Wayne State University Law School. "This is more procedural. They want to tie down what he would say under oath and on the record," he said.

Free software lawyers sue over GPL misuse
[CIO Today] "We licensed BusyBox under the GPL to give users the freedom to access and modify its source code," Erik Andersen, a developer of BusyBox and a named plaintiff, said in a statement. "If companies will not abide by the fair terms of our license, then we have no choice but to ask our attorneys to go to court to force them to do so."

Serious flaw in PDF
[PCWorld] "Adobe Acrobat/Reader PDF documents can be used to compromise your Windows box. Completely!!! Invisibly and unwillingly!!!," wrote Petko Petkov, in a breathless Thursday blog posting. "All it takes is to open a PDF document or stumble across a page which embeds one."

VCs want a tax break
[NYT] The House is considering an increase in a crucial tax rate, prompting venture capitalists and their leaders to assert that such a change will hamper job creation and innovation.

Fox replaces NBC at iTunes
[LA Times] "What we are seeing is a rather messy and inelegant fumbling into the future of video distribution," said Tim Hanlon, executive vice president of Denuo, a consulting arm of the advertising giant Publicis Groupe. "It's also an admission that the television networks' time-honored, top-down manner of distribution is not the way that people are watching video anymore," Hanlon said. "Programmers are having an interesting time trying to figure out how to adjust."

Will GOOG lay its own cable?
[NYT] Google would plan to be part of a project called Unity that would also include several telecommunications companies, that hopes to have a cable in service by 2009, the publication wrote. It would own a dedicated portion of the multi-terabit cable, giving it a significant cost advantage for trans-Pacific data transmission over rival Internet companies.

Newswatch 9.21.07: Intel, Toshiba claim breakthroughs

GOOG patents spell out drive into enterprise
[InfoWeek] The filings with the United States Patent Trademark Office are all defined by the concept of "container" patents -- so called because they describe a computer within a computer concept for applications that use multiple servers.

Mossberg: Lovely touch short on battery
[WSJ] It seems ridiculous to me to sell a powerful device with Wi-Fi and a huge screen, and to leave out things like an email program, even though you can use Web-based email programs. I assume Apple was concerned that the less costly Touch might compete too much with the iPhone if it had these features.

NBC offers free show downloads -- with commercials
[NYT] Jeff Gaspin, the president of the NBC Universal television group, told Bill Carter in the Times that the files would degrade after seven days “Kind of like ‘Mission: Impossible,’ only I don’t think there would be any explosion and smoke.”

Nokia launches Wi-Fi phone
[Reuters] Nokia, the world's top cell phone maker, unveiled on Thursday a new phone featuring unlicensed mobile access, or UMA, technology. Nokia said this new UMA model, the 6301, will begin shipping in Europe in the fourth quarter for about $322

French iPhone contract goes to Orange
[AP] Thursday's announcement came days after Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs visited Britain and Germany to unveil similar deals with mobile operator O2 and Deutsche Telekom AG. The iPhone, a combined cell phone-iPod media player that also can wirelessly access the Internet, will go on sale in all three countries in November — in time for the holiday season.

Intel chips for mini-devices
[Mercury News] "The opportunity here is explosive," said Senior Vice President Anand Chandrasekher. "The full Internet in your pocket is a major transformation. It is not possible today." Intel's first Silverthorne chip is scheduled for release in the first half of next year and is on track to achieve a tenfold reduction in power use - an achievement Intel initially expected in 2010.

Toshiba stream processor breaking out of PS3
[] On October 2, a prototype of the SpursEngine will be used in notebook PCs at CEATEC Japan 2007, as well as in special concept notebooks. To show its capabilities, the demonstration will include real-time, 3D "face morphing" of hairstyles and makeup on actual video of individuals.

Newswatch 9.19.07: Murdoch to set WSJ free

Murdoch plans to set WSJ free
[Reuters] "Will you lose $50 million to $100 million in revenue? I don't think so," Murdoch said. "If the site is good, you'll get much more." His comments came a day after the New York Times Co said it would end its paid TimesSelect service to attract more online ads.

MPAA wants to 'deepen relationship' with ISPs
[Ars Technica] "Their revenue bases depend on legitimate operations of their networks and more and more they're finding their networks crowded with infringed material, bandwidth space being crowded out," Glickman said."Many of them are actually getting into the content business directly or indirectly. This is not an us-versus-them issue."

Senate plans hearing on DoubleClick deal
[] According to an aide, the U.S. Senate Judiciary subcommittee that deals with antitrust issues has scheduled a hearing for September 27 entitled "An Examination of the Google-DoubleClick Merger and the Online Advertising Industry: What Are the Risks for Competition and Privacy?"

iPhone launch announced for UK, Germany
[] Along with pegging the launch dates for the iPhone in German and the UK, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced for the first time that Apple would work to disable the rash of iPhone unlocking programs currently available for sale and for free. "It's a cat-and-mouse game," he said. "People will try to break in, and it's our job to stop them breaking in."

SCO may fold
[] Having filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, SCO claims it may go under permanently, depending on how much the court decides it owes Novell.

SAP unveils web software (finally)
[NYT] Called Business ByDesign, the software is initially a one-size-fits-all, subscription-based package aimed at mid-sized companies and is a crucial plank in SAP's strategy to more than double its customer base to 100,000 by 2010. "It's not just a new product for us," Chief Executive Henning Kagermann told journalists and analysts at a company event in New York. "It's a new era for SAP."

HP backs African recycling research
[] Hewlett-Packard is funding a project to investigate how electronic waste generated by African companies, as well as material from Western businesses that is dumped illegally, can be disposed of in a safer and more environmentally friendly way.

Newswatch 9.18.07: New Intel chips, YHOO buys Zimbra

Intel unveils power-saving Nehalem chips
[NYT] Intel’s chief executive, Paul S. Otellini, told developers at its biannual technology conference that the company expects to finish the new family of chips in the second half of next year, in keeping with its latest promise of a new chip architecture every other year. The new architecture, code-named Nehalem, will use as many as eight processing cores, and offer better graphics and memory control processing.

YHOO to buy Zimbra for $350m
[Mercury] Yahoo announced Monday that it has agreed to buy Zimbra, a maker of Web-based e-mail software, for $350 million in cash, providing the clearest indication yet of how the Internet giant is changing course to compete against rivals like Google.

IBM offers free office software
[InfoWeek] IBM said Tuesday that Symphony, based on open source software from the project, will be made available as a free download essentially to whoever wants it. The package contains a word processor called Lotus Symphony Documents, as well as Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets and Lotus Symphony Presentations. IBM is calling the suite "enterprise-grade productivity software" and points out that it's based on many of the same tools found in its pricey Lotus Notes 8 e-mail and collaboration platform.

GOOG launches presentation app
[IDG] Google plans to add a presentations application to its Web applications suite on Tuesday, delivering on a promise made in April. The suite, until now known as Docs & Spreadsheets, will also be renamed Google Docs on Monday. (Creative branding -RK)

APPL picks O2 for UK iPhone
[FT] Mr Jobs declined to detail of the revenue-sharing arrangement between Apple and 02, but the operator is expected to pass at least 10 per cent of the revenue generated by iPhone users from phone calls and data functions, such as web browsing, to Apple. (Some reports say it's 40 percent -RK)

GOOG sending more ads to phones
[AP] With the expansion announced Monday, any Web site accessible through a mobile Web browser will be able to participate in Google's vast advertising network. The company previously had been serving up mobile ads based on search requests entered directly into its engine or its partners' sites.

Crooks get more professional
[AP] The savviest hackers lock middlemen into long-term service contracts so they can automatically push the newest exploits on unwitting consumers and compensate for patches developed by legitimate programmers.

Internet in the air, on Alaska
[Reuters] Alaska Air said it will test a system from Row 44, a provider of broadband communication for airlines, on a Boeing 737 aircraft in spring 2008. Based on that trial's outcome, it plans to equip its 114-aircraft fleet.

Newswatch 9.16.07: Get ready for Powerset

YHOO rolls out new social net - Mash
[ComputerWorld] Yahoo Inc. has quietly rolled out a beta version of a new social networking site called Mash that will let users to create online profiles. Available now by invitation only, Mash is similar to other online profile sites. However, it also allows users to make starter profiles for their friends and to leave their own profiles open to let other "trusted" users add content, noted Yahoo's Will Aldrich Monday in a blog post about Mash.

SpiralFrog launches free, legit music service
[AP] The music service, which has arranged to pay record companies a cut of its advertising revenue, aims to lure music fans who normally flock to online file-swapping networks to share and download music for free. "We believe it will be a very powerful alternative to the pirate sites," said Joe Mohen, chairman and founder of New York-based SpiralFrog Inc. "With SpiralFrog you know what you're getting ... there's no threat of viruses, adware or spyware."

iPhone rebate good for iTunes after all
[Bloomberg] Apple Inc., after cutting the price of the iPhone by $200, started offering $100 in credit to early buyers and said they can use it to purchase iTunes gift cards. Apple's Web site says the credit isn't good for iTunes gift cards but the page is incorrect and is being revised, spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said. Users can't add the credit directly to their iTunes accounts.

That $100 laptop now $188
[] "The price hike is directly related to the lack of large orders. First the production was going to be 10 million units, then it was five, then three, now it's one million," said OLPCNews editor Wayan Vota. As orders fail to materialize, production orders drop, prices rise, and the whole proposition becomes unpalatable to government buyers.

Corporate America spews net crime
[Wash Post] Roughly four percent of all spam, malicious software attacks, phishing Web sites and other cyber crime activities detected in the first half of 2007 emanated from the networks controlled by the world's 100 highest-grossing companies, according to a new report from anti-virus company Symantec.

OS to give Apple 40% of UK iPhone bills
[MocoNews] “Orange and T-Mobile are understood to have signed contracts [in France and Germany respectively] and at least one had Apple employees helping to implement the device on their networks. But at the 11th hour O2 snatched the UK deal with an offer that gave such a high proportion of revenues to Apple that none of its competitors could see any way of making any return on the phone, even over three years.”

Powerset launches Tuesday
[BizWeek] Powerset's system will analyze the actual meaning of words and phrases that it indexes on the Web. It then will analyze the linguistic meaning of the query and find the best matches between the two—theoretically, at least, producing more meaningful results. "Our system reads every single sentence in every single document and extracts meaning from them," says Powerset Chief Executive Barney Pell.

Newswatch 9.14.07: iPhone credit not for iTunes

APPL excludes iTunes from $100 iPhone credit
[Bloomberg] ``People will get their $100 and they'll find lots of other gadgets to buy,'' Andy Hargreaves of Pacific Crest Securities in Portland, Oregon said. He rates the shares ``outperform'' and owns some. ``You'll get people buying new iPods or another iPhone.''

Verizon sues to stop open access rules for auction
[] "Agency action goes to appellate court with the presumption that the agency is correct," Washington lawyer Philip Verveer explained. In addition, courts tend to defer to executive agencies in technical matters. "This matter is one where the FCC's discretion under the statute is very broad. Any appeal of agency action is going to have a very difficult time," he said.

GOOG calls for global privacy rights
[InformationWeek] "...Google is calling for a discussion about international privacy standards which work to protect everyone's privacy on the Internet," said Google privacy counsel Peter Fleischer. "These standards must be clear and strong, mindful of commercial realities, and in line with oftentimes divergent political needs. Moreover, global privacy standards need to reflect technological realities, taking into account how quickly these realities can change."

Demo debate mashup
[Boston Globe] "Unfortunately most people who are not engaged in politics are not going to sit down for an hour and a half to watch a debate," said political commentator Arianna Huffington, cofounder of the Huffington Post. "We don't want to give up on these people, and we want to allow them to participate in the way that they want to participate. With a little luck, they'll become engaged."

Prince, Village People sue YouTube
[] Somebody combined the Village People's hit song, "YMCA," with footage of a dancing Adolf Hitler and posted the clip to YouTube. Now the company that owns the rights to the band's music is preparing to sue YouTube.

YHOO acquires BuzzTracker
[Wired] The road to Yahoo's 100 day reform is paved with acquisitions as the web portal is set to announce its purchase of BuzzTracker from Chicago-based Participate Media later today. Early speculation has the purchase price of the news aggregation site falling somewhere between $5-$7 million.

Newswatch 9.13.07: GOOG offers $30m Lunar X Prize

GOOG offers $30m prize to put a robot on Mars
[] "The Google Lunar X Prize calls on entrepreneurs, engineers and visionaries from around the world to return us to the lunar surface and explore this environment for the benefit of all humanity," said Peter Diamandis, chairman and CEO of the X Prize Foundation, a nonprofit prize-generating group.

Sergey and Larry get their own runway
[Newsfactor] NASA has quietly cut a deal with Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who will get to park their Boeing 767-200 widebody jet, as well as two other Google jets, at NASA's Moffett Field in the heart of Silicon Valley. The price tag of that parking space? $1.3 million.

Google Maps may violate Canada privacy law
[Newfactor] Google's Street View may violate Canada's Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, which prohibits commercial use of personal data without the individual's consent, according to a letter that Jennifer Stoddart, Canada's Federal Privacy Commissioner, recently sent to Google and Immersive Media.

Prince to sue YouTube and eBay
[] In an attempt to "reclaim the Internet," Prince is preparing to file lawsuits against YouTube, eBay and The Pirate Bay, for allegedly encouraging copyright violations, according to one of his representatives.

Valley group claims 'fair use' is valuable
[PC Mag] The use of copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright holder brings in $4.5 trillion in annual revenue for the United States, according to a study released Wednesday from the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA).

CSCO offers a social network for partners
[CRN] The company Tuesday took the wraps off a new channel initiative that encourages partners to team with ISVs and provides a virtual platform in which they can meet and interact.

Phone makers team up on Flash cards
[AP] Nokia Corp. said Thursday it's teaming up with competitors — including Samsung and Sony Ericsson — on a flash memory card that works with a variety of cell phones and other gadgets, regardless of maker. The technology, expected to be ready in 2009, will use the new Universal Flash Storage specification.

EFF accuses FBI of even more illegal activity
[Ars Technica] A Freedom of Information Act request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation revealed that the FBI had sent letters to telecommunications providers requesting that they "provide a community of interest" for telephone numbers the FBI was investigating. The documents were among the so-called exigent letters that the FBI has admitted were "improper" (read: illegal). But in a Monday blog post, EFF's Kurt Opsahl charged that the "community of interest" requests were fresh evidence that the FBI had broken the law.

Newswatch 9.11.07: Barcelona thrills, Apple's spectrum tease

Partners sing homage to Barcelona
[Register] Skipping the fact that AMD has launched the chip that was originally code-named Barcelona six months late and at only 2Ghz performance, many of the firm's first tier partners instead sang the praises of virtualisation, energy efficiency and something the chipmaker dubbed as "investment protection."

So that's $100m in free iPods
[FT] Apple on Monday dispelled some of the concerns that have gathered around sales of the new iPhone as it announced that 1m of the gadgets had been sold by last weekend. Coming some three weeks before the target date that the technology company had set for hitting the 1m milestone, the news helped to calm fears that had been provoked by a surprisingly big price cut it announced for the handset in the middle of last week.

Take two printouts and call me in the morning
[PC World] HP researchers have developed a medical patch that uses thermal inkjet technology to painlessly administer drugs to a patient. The patch uses microneedles to inject drugs just below a patient's skin and can be programmed to precisely control the amount and timing of each dose that is delivered.

First look at iTunes ringtones
[Apple Insider] Making good on its promise, Apple on Tuesday unlocked a new feature of iTunes that allows iPhone owners to create their own custom ringtones, though an initial pool of compatible songs appears to be extremely limited.

APPL bid for spectrum unlikely
[] From the day the iPhone was released, consumers have had one persistent complaint -- the lock-in to AT&T and its poky data network. Steve Jobs is no fan of wireless carriers. In fact, he has called them "orifices" in the past, and at last week's announcement of the iPhone price cut, he didn't even mention his partner, AT&T. Is it possible, then, that Jobs would act to cut the stranglehold wireless carriers have on mobile communications?

Skype users slammed by new virus
[] When users click on the link to a supposed image, a Windows dialog box pops up. If the user runs or saves the file, the machine will be infected with the worm. The worm uses Skype's application programming interface (API) to access the PC.

IBM develops nanoprinting
[SciAm] Researchers from IBM's Zurich Research Lab and Switzerland's ETH Zurich science and technology university today announced the development of a dramatic new printing process that can manipulate nanosize particles to create larger images.

IBM adds Lotus Notes code to OO.o
[InformationWeek] IBM will donate part of the code behind its Lotus Notes package to, a Sun-backed group that offers open source office software as a free download. IBM officials said the move is part of a broader effort that IBM is undertaking to support

Get your server baked with hypervisor
[ComputerWorld] VMWare announced the ESX Server 3i hypervisor on Monday. And today, VMware CEO Diane Greene told a standing-room-only crowd at the company's annual user conference here that embedding the new software directly into systems will enable hardware vendors to sell servers optimized for virtualization.

Newswatch 9.10.07: Barcelona launches

AMD launches Barcelona
[PC World] Supercomputer users were among Opteron's earliest adopters, and that is one piece of Opteron history that may be repeated with release of the quad-core Barcelona. What may well become the world's largest supercomputer is now being built at the Texas Advanced Computing Center with Barcelona chips.

APPL sells a million (overpriced) iPhones
[Telegraph] Apple has sold its millionth iPhone in the United States, just 74 days after the touch-screen mobile phone went on sale, and amidst increasing criticism over Apple’s decision to slash the price of its 8GB handset by $200 to $399 and discontinue the 4GB model.

Might AAPL bid on spectrum?
[Business Week] At this point, says one of the sources, Apple is leaning against participating in the auction. It's not the money. Rather, the risk for Apple is in entering the generally low-margin, hardscrabble world of running a massive-scale network.

GOOG taps Capgemini for IT services for Google Apps
[PC World] The partnership with Capgemini, one of the world's largest IT services companies with over 75,000 employees in 32 countries, makes Google Apps more palatable to large organizations that prefer IT services providers to assist them with changes and additions to their large, complex IT architectures.

SanDisk launches 16GB flash-memory video player
[PC World] The SansaView will have a 2.4in wide-screen display on which users can view DivX video content converted using the Sansa Media Converter as well as the H.264, Mpeg4 and Windows Media Video content the player natively supports. The FM radio will have 20 station presets and SanDisk will also include a line-in recording feature.

VMWare now comes with the hardware
[NYT] The computer makers have agreed to put VMware’s hypervisor — the software socket in which the company’s virtual machines run — on their hardware (in flash memory on the motherboard). To get the nod, VMware accomplished the technical feat of shrinking its hypervisor more than 60-fold, from 2 gigabytes to 32 megabytes, says Bogomil Balkansky, senior director of product marketing.

In UK, Vodaphone or iPhone?
[Guardian] Competing mobile music service, to be launched in time for Christmas, will give its UK customers unlimited access to over a million music tracks. But MusicStation, created by a group of British dotcom millionaires, has a catch. When customers stop paying the £1.99 a week subscription, their music collection becomes unplayable.

Newswatch 9.7.07: Patent Reform passes House

House passed Patent Reform
[Press release] “I’m delighted that the House of Representatives has come together in a bipartisan manner to address the need for comprehensive reform in our intellectual property system,” noted Rep. Zoe Lofgren. “I believe this bill strikes the right balance between the need for strong patent rights and the encouragement of innovation. My amendment to the bill, which was incorporated into the manager’s amendment, goes a long way towards addressing this balance by focusing on the troubling growth of forum shopping in patent litigation. The amendment restores fairness and clarity to patent litigation by removing the most glaring instances of forum shopping by patent trolls.”

AAPL refunds $100 for early iPhone customers
[Steve Jobs] This is life in the technology lane. If you always wait for the next price cut or to buy the new improved model, you'll never buy any technology product because there is always something better and less expensive on the horizon. The good news is that if you buy products from companies that support them well, like Apple tries to do, you will receive years of useful and satisfying service from them even as newer models are introduced.

Judge voids security letters in Patriot Act
[NYT] The law allowed the F.B.I. not only to force communications companies, including telephone and Internet providers, to turn over the records without court authorization, but also to forbid the companies to tell the customers or anyone else what they had done.

Criminals exploit P2P users
[Seattle PI] Federal agents and prosecutors sounded a warning Thursday to the millions of people who use peer-to-peer software for downloading music or video files: "You are handing criminals the keys to your computer."

iPhone price cut: AAPL got it right
[The Street] Apple's CEO wants to return to you $100 of what you paid when you bought your iPhone too early -- provided, of course, you spend the $100 in one of his stores.Why do I get the feeling this is exactly what Steve Jobs had planned all along? Chances are that the extra $100 you would have saved, had the iPhone been appropriately priced to begin with, would have been spent outside an Apple store.

AAPL wants TV shows prices cut
[Beta News] Apple has begun an effort to convince networks and studios providing it video content to allow it to cut prices in half, meaning most television shows sold through iTunes would retail for 99 cents. Perhaps this explains NBC's defection.

Netscape pulls plug on Digg clone
[] Jason Calacanis' personal project, Netscape's Digg clone, has officially closed up shop. When it was initially introduced, Netscape drew a lot of criticism for the site's similarities to Digg and for trying to bribe its top users to switch over to Netscape.

MSFT boosts Office for Mac
[] Microsoft's next release of Office for Mac, due in January, will include business features that PC users have taken for granted for years. That will include the ability to set up out-of-office messages, according to a preview in Microsoft's Office for Mac team blog.

Newswatch 9.6.07: iPhone price cuts irk early buyers

iPhone price cut angers early adopters
[Boston Globe] The dramatic price cut has angered some consumers who paid the higher price. "I was happy to pay full price thinking that I'd at least get a couple months out of it before the price went down, say, $100," said Richard W. Joseph, 32, a doctor at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and a member of EverythingiPhone .com, a website devoted to the phone. "Going down $200 17 days after I bought it is very upsetting."

New HP Blackbird and iPaqs
[PC World] HP's new gaming PC, the Blackbird 002 LCi, is made from aluminum and is liquid-cooled to enhance performance. The Blackbird was created by designers of VoodooPC Inc., which HP acquired last year."

NetApp sues Sun over 7 patents
[Mercury News] Experts in patent law say the suit, filed this morning in U.S. District Court in Lufkin, Texas, could become a test case of how to treat open-source software that improperly includes patented technology. "This is something people feared for a long time was coming," said Mark A. Lemley, a law professor at Stanford University.

On-demand video box rolls out with 5,000 movies
[Reuters] Unlike other Internet-based movies services, the two-year-old Santa Clara, California-based start-up said the service lets viewers watch high definition films on regular television screens by downloading them over the Internet. Movies are stored on Vudu set-top boxes, co-founder Tony Miranz said.

Intel intros new quad-core Xeons for virtualization
[] Intel claims the new Xeon 7300 chips are ideal for virtualization, offering not only twice the cores but also up to four times the memory capacity of earlier multiprocessor platforms. VMware was on hand for the Intel announcement, stating that the two companies worked together to optimize the VMware ESX Server for the Xeon 7300.

Newswatch 9.5.07: iPod? iPhone? Both?

iPod touch to cell carriers: F- you
[PC Mag] Demonstrating the iPod touch, Steve played Beck's song "Cellphone's Dead"—really, Steve?—and pointed out that the iPod touch's Wi-Fi "is not only faster than 2.5G, but it's faster than any 3G network." Then he rolled out a music store for the iPhone that doesn't seem to work on AT&T's EDGE network, only over Wi-Fi. Ouch!

touch, cheaper iPhone creates a compelling lineup for Apple
[Newsfactor] "This is very, very aggressive for the technology they're delivering," Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with Jupiter Research said in a telephone interview from the event, "The fact they made this cut early on shows that Apple is being quite aggressive in terms of bringing new consumers in the purchase funnel," he said.

Palm dumps Foleo portable
[InfoWeek] Palm on Tuesday killed development of the Foleo, an ultramobile, Linux-based computer, saying the company needs to focus all its resources on developing its next-generation smartphones instead. Part of that effort includes a new Linux-based operating system that Palm plans to use across its future smartphones.

NBC signs with Amazon after dumping Apple
[NYT] The media conglomerate, part of General Electric, said yesterday that Amazon had agreed to give it something that Apple would not: greater flexibility in the pricing and packaging of video downloads.

Facebook lets users opt to go public
[Register] In a major move, the social networking site said on Wednesday that it intends to make a limited public listing service available to people who are not logged in to Facebook, meaning that non-members will be able to look for friends or acquaintances via a search box on the Facebook home page. Information contained in the listing service will also be accessible via search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and MSN Live.

MSFT releases Silverlight
[PC Mag] "Microsoft will be delivering Silverlight Media Codecs for Linux, and Novell will be building a 100 percent compatible Silverlight runtime implementation," Guthrie wrote in a blog post.

MSFT cuts Zune price
[PC World] The Zune device from Microsoft now costs US$199, $50 less than its original price tag. Microsoft announced the price cut on its Zune Insider blog on Tuesday, a day before Apple was rumored to be introducing new iPod models at an event in San Francisco, which the company did indeed do.

HP's Voodoo to produce Blackbird gaming PC
[] The HP Blackbird 002 is the first joint effort with Voodoo, the Canadian enthusiast PC maker that HP purchased a year ago. HP is expected to unveil the souped-up PC at a special event in New York on Wednesday evening.

Newswatch 9.4.07: iPod rumors: iPhone, net radio features

iPod with OS X?
[] If the persistent rumors are fulfilled Wednesday during the latest episode of The Steve Jobs Show (a product presentation at San Francisco's Moscone Center), the iPod is about to get a whole lot more powerful.

New iPods to play net radio
[] A reliable industry insider has told that the announcement will include plans to bring digital radio to the iPod along with an option to buy music using the device. The source said that the new iPods will be able to receive digital radio, and will include a 'buy-now' function to allow the user to download and buy tracks as they are being played.

iPhone outsold all smart phones in July
[InfoWorld] The Apple iPhone led smartphone sales in the United States in July, beating Research In Motion(RIMM)'s BlackBerry, the Palm Treo, and other rivals, a market research firm said Tuesday. In addition, iPhone sales equaled those of the most popular feature phone in the United States, LG's Chocolate, iSuppli said.

ISO rejects Microsoft's OOXML standard
[The Times] "The large number of reported no votes and abstentions demonstrates the depth of concern around the world over OOXML's interoperability and openness."

AT&T offers parental controls on phones
[Gizmodo] AT&T's mobile division is going to follow Disney Mobile and others by introducing its "Smart Limits" parental controls: parents use a web interface to set call blocking, calling hours, text message and download limits. But unlike many similar child-protection systems, this one will cost users $4.99 per month—per kid.

Sony to challenge Apple over movie downloads
[WSJ] Stringer is planning to use Sony's technology-packed PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable videogame machines, along with its Bravia high-definition televisions, to develop products and services to let users download television shows and movies, similar to the way they download music and videos using Apple's iTunes store and iPods.

Google GPay patent feeds more gPhone rumors
[Monsters & Critics] The patent describes that GPay works by a user sending a text through to Google providing payment details related to a specific payee. GPay then transfers a debit between the user’s bank account and that of the receiving payee.

Making the internal combustion engine obsolete
[AP] "It's a paradigm shift," said Ian Clifford, chief executive of Toronto-based ZENN Motor Co., which has licensed EEStor's invention. "The Achilles' heel to the electric car industry has been energy storage. By all rights, this would make internal combustion engines unnecessary."

MSFT offers cloud computing
[NYT] Microsoft: “We’re taking the communications and sharing components and creating a set of services that become what we believe is the one suite of services and applications for personal and community use across the PC, the Web and the phone.”

Newswatch 8.31.07: APPL to NBC: 'Nyah-nyah'

Amazon to launch music service in Sept?
[Reuters] Inc has tentatively set a mid-September target for the launch of its music service, the New York Post reported in its online edition on Friday, citing sources familiar with the situation.

Apple to sell ringtones
[NY Post] In a new twist, iPhone users will have the ability to choose any part of the song they want as their ringtone. Most major ringtone offerings from Verizon, AT&T or Sprint feature pre-determined samples.

Spamhaus relieved of $11m judgment
[Ars Technica] An appeals court has overturned a $11.7 million award against Spamhaus after the antispam group failed to show up in court to defend itself. Spamhaus was sued by a spammer unhappy about finding his company's name on the Spamhaus blacklist.

RIAA tired of being called a cartel
[Ars Technica] One of the common defenses against the music industry's lawsuits is to accuse the record labels of copyright misuse by collusion and acting as an illegal cartel in their legal campaign. In UMG v. Lindor, the labels are attacking that defense in a motion filed earlier this week, asking a federal judge to either strike the defense or force Marie Lindor to amend it to include something other than "mere conclusions and buzzwords."

NBC walks away from iTunes
[] Many analysts see Hollywood taking steps to break the iTunes stranglehold on the digital downloads market. Besides balking over lack of control, "intellectual property owners other than record labels are really offended by Apple's royalty rate," generally believed to be 35 percent, said Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities.

Apple issues a raspberry to NBC
[] "Since NBC would withdraw their shows in the middle of the television season, Apple has decided to not offer NBC TV shows for the upcoming television season beginning in September," Apple said in its statement.

Sweden invalidates its OOXML vote
[InfoWorld] The reason given by SIS was not the controversial circumstances surrounding the vote, in which Microsoft was found to have offered companies "incentives" if they voted in favor of OOXML. Instead, SIS cited a technicality, saying proper procedures had not been followed.

Thailand lifts ban on YouTube
[NYT] The Thai government said today it has lifted a ban on YouTube after the Web site agreed not to allow videos that violate the country’s laws or are deemed offensive there.

GOOG to host wire stories
[SEL] Today, Google News will begin offering articles from several major wire services and news agencies hosted on its own site, rather than sending readers away from Google. The move is part of licensing agreements that have been stuck over the past year. Google News is also promising better duplicate story detection, so that the original source of a news article should be more likely to get visitors and readers get a better experience by not stumbling over the same story hosted by different publications.

Newswatch 8.30.07: Decker clears Yahoo's decks

Decker shakes up staff at YHOO
[NYT] The latest in a string of internal shake-ups will bring together Yahoo’s sales operations with the company’s publisher network, corporate partnerships and HotJobs to form a “global partner solutions” division. It will be led by Hilary Schneider, a fast-rising protégée of Ms. Decker.

Eolas settles with MSFT over IE patents
[Seattle PI] Microsoft and Eolas Technologies Inc. have settled their high-profile patent dispute over technology in Internet Explorer, according to a letter to Eolas shareholders from Mark Swords, the company's chief operating officer. The agreement resolves a case in which Microsoft was previously hit with a judgment of more than $500 million.

YouTube cuts a deal with UK music publishers
[Ars Technica] YouTube has made an agreement with the UK-based MCPS-PRS Alliance, a group that pays royalties to publishers, songwriters, and composers. YouTube will pay a flat fee in order to use its members' work on the site, while another US-based publishing group waits for a similar deal.

Monster tries to defend delay in notifying jobseekers
[] Some two weeks after Symantec told Monster of a, um, gargantuan breach of the system, executives admit the theft may have been much larger than the 1.2m names Symantec originally reported and defended the delay in notification.

Conference call? Dell would rather not
[] Dell has failed to file its last six quarterly earnings reports and its last annual report with the SEC due to the company's internal investigation into its accounting practices. Dell says it's going to get current with its SEC filings in the first week of November, which is good timing. The NASDAQ informed Dell last week it had until November 12 to get its act together or it will be delisted.

Net must stay open, says Cerf
[FT] “The most important thing is to make sure we have a secure and stable network. There are ways to attack the system which we need to defend against.”

MSFT delays Longhorn
[InfoWorld] When Microsoft unveiled the long-awaited details of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 on Wednesday, the company also quietly pushed back the release date for another highly anticipated product, Windows Server 2008. The update to Microsoft's server OS, formerly code-named "Longhorn," had been due for release by the end of the year, but the company said Wednesday that the new target for release is the first quarter of 2008.

US ready to end antitrust decree on MSFT, states not
[InfoWorld] Key parts of the consent decree -- which grew out of the 2002 antitrust settlement struck with Microsoft by the U.S. Department of Justice and 20 states -- are scheduled to expire Nov. 12. On one side, the U.S. Department of Justice and five states -- New York, Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio, and Wisconsin -- told the judge that the decree had done its job.

Sony intros video Walkman
[Reuters] The devices will support an open platform -- which means they will play a variety of music formats such as MP3 and Microsoft Corp's WMA, providing more choices for downloading and managing music and video collections online.

MSFT buys Parlano for corporate social networking
[AP] Microsoft Corp. said Wednesday it will buy a small Chicago-based technology company and add its group-chat software to a broad vision for integrated office communications programs.

IBM makes headway on nanocomputing
[Reuters] Imagine cramming 30,000 full-length movies into a gadget the size of an iPod. Scientists at IBM said on Thursday they had moved closer to such a feat by learning how to steer single atoms in a way that could create building blocks for ultra-tiny storage devices.

Newswatch 8.29.07: Earthlink cuts 900 as bottom drops out of muni Wifi

Google CFO retires early
[Infoworld] There doesn't appear to be any controversy associated with Reyes' departure, which is expected to happen by the end of the year. In fact, Reyes will assist Google in the search for his replacement, Google said.

Meet the Apple iCar?
[] Apple and Volkswagen are reported to be in talks about an "iCar" or car integration system, according to reports from German magazine Capital and the Associated Press. Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Audi Chairman Martin Winterkorn, who heads the Audi brand group that includes Volkswagen, met recently in California to discuss ideas, but no concrete plans, a Volkswagen representative told the Associated Press.

Security concerns over VoIP
[] Following disclosure of an eavesdropping vulnerability, the Jericho Forum says VoIP tech is not ready for business deployment.

Another iPhone unlocking video
[InfoWorld] In the six-minute video, posted on the blog , John McLaughlin, founder of Uniquephones, is seen with a PC and an iPhone unlocking the device using software from his company.

What does model railroad software have to do with the future of the Internet?
[Infoworld] A recent federal court ruling pertaining to open-source software in model railroads could derail enforcement of open-source licenses altogether, according to Mark Radcliffe, general counsel for the Open Source Initiative.

Earthlink cuts 900 jobs
[AP] Shares of the Internet service provider EarthLink climbed sharply Tuesday after it said it would cut 900 jobs — about half its work force — and close four offices in an effort to reduce operating costs.

Rumors of new iPod thrill investors
[Reuters] Apple has distributed invitations to a September 5 event in San Francisco, but did not reveal what it would be about. "The product announcement is likely to include a full line-up of revamped iPods with significantly greater functionality at current price points, including the much-anticipated full-screen video iPod," Goldman said in a note, urging investors to buy Apple shares.

Who Lou? Hulu? Whatever ..
[Reuters] News Corp. and NBC Universal said on Wednesday they have named their new online video joint venture Hulu, taking a page from the Internet company tradition of creating meaningless corporate monikers. "We just wanted a name that is short and easy to spell," Hulu spokeswoman Christina Lee said. "We like the idea that it rhymes with itself. We wanted a fun name."

Newswatch 8.28.07: More gPhone rumors ...

A phone to go with all that spectrum
[CrunchGear] A HTC insider sent us a tip this weekend about an upcoming gPhone coming out of Taiwan that should launch Q1 2008. Google is currently assessing over twenty HTC models and refining its final handset design and will create a special version of Google Maps, compatible with built-in GPS, and compatibility with Gmail and the calendar app.

YHOO to parents: You can text too
[Toronto Star] Yahoo Inc., the most popular provider of Web-based email in the United States, has added a feature that lets users send free messages directly to mobile phones. The enhancements make it easier to send email, instant messages or text messages from a single website – no need to launch or toggle between separate applications or devices.

Status 'criminal' has been reset to 'customer'
[CMP] Microsoft over the weekend fixed a glitch with the validation scheme for Windows XP and Vista that angered users by flagging their legitimate versions of the OS as pirated.

Forget gPhone, YTphone is here
[PC World] Both cameras share some common features, such as the ability to record H.264 movies. The cameras also feature "YouTube Shooting Mode," which records movies at the optimum size, quality and other settings for uploading to YouTube. They utilize face detection auto focus technology and an auto-tracking autofocus mechanism that employs motion analysis.

Sony back to rootkit tricks?
[PC World] A line of USB drives sold by Sony Electronics installs files in a hidden folder that can be accessed and used by hackers, a Finnish security company charged Monday, raising the specter of a replay of the fiasco that hit Sony's music arm two years ago when researchers discovered that its copy protection software used rootkit-like technologies.

Microsoft's OpenXML to get stamp of approval despite open source whiners
[Computerworld] With ISO's Sept. 2 voting deadline looming, the recently retired secretary general of Ecma International defended Microsoft Corp.'s Office Open XML document format against fierce technical criticism. "Give me any standard, and I bet you I can find an error," said Jan Van Den Beld, who retired in April after 16 years running Geneva-based Ecma, in a telephone interview on Monday with Computerworld. Ecma is shepherding Open XML, the default format used by Office 2007 documents, through ISO's traditionally difficult approval process.

The Man is burning early
[Wired] Flames engulfed Burning Man's giant namesake sculpture five days early during a rare total lunar eclipse early Tuesday. Fire crews put the fire out, while onlookers cheered. Details remain sketchy at this time, although there have been unconfirmed reports of arson or a possible electrical malfunction. One person was arrested, according to a story in the Reno Gazette-Journal. The Man was only partially damaged, and Saturday's planned big burn is still on, the paper said.

Yahoo moves for dismissal of dissidents' case

By Richard Koman for SiliconValleyWatcher

Yahoo wants a federal court to dismiss Chinese dissident Shi Tao's complaint against the company for allegedly facilitating his arrest by Chinese authorities. Yahoo Monday filed a 51-page motion to dismiss, claiming that Shi's problem is with Chinese authorities and that the case has "no place in American courts." Shi, Wang Xiaoning and Wang's wife, Yu Ling, charged that Yahoo turned over to the Chinese government information about their online activities, which ultimately led to their arrest and sentencing to 10 years in prison. In the opening paragraph of Yahoo's motion, company lawyers said:

"This is a lawsuit by citizens of China imprisoned for using the Internet in China to express political views in violation of China law. It is a political case challenging the laws and actions of the Chinese government. It has no place in the American courts." reports on the circumstances of the arrests:
According to Monday's filing, Chinese journalist Shi, a reporter at Contemporary Business News in mainland China, was prosecuted after he e-mailed foreign reporters information issued by the Chinese government warning of possible trouble around the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. Shi sent the document through an anonymous account, but the authorities tracked him down because Yahoo's Hong Kong subsidiary allegedly supplied an IP address connecting a PC to a message containing his information. The government considered the content of the e-mail a "state secret," according to the filing.

The filing expresses sympathy for Shi and Wang but disclaims any responsibility for their prosecution.

Yahoo deeply sympathizes with the plaintiffs and their families and does not condone the suppression of their rights and liberty by their government. But Yahoo has no control over the sovereign government of the People's Republic of China, the laws it passes, and the manner in which it enforces its laws. Neither (Yahoo company) can be held liable for the independent acts of the PRC just because a former Yahoo subsidiary in China obeyed a lawful government request for the collection of evidence relevant to a pending investigation.
At the Times, Miguel Helft had this quote from Morton Sklar of the World Organization for Human Rights USA, which filed the suit on behalf of the dissidents:
It is not the Chinese government that is the defendant here. It is Yahoo, for their part in this process. If not for Yahoo, there would have been no abuses. They gave the pieces of information that allowed China to take these actions.
Sklar suggests that Yahoo apply its claimed commitment to human rights in the context of whatever role the company will play in the Beijing Olympics.

Newswatch 8.27.07: Acer buys Gateway for $710m

Acer to acquire Gateway for $710m
[ComputerWorld] This is the biggest acquisition in Acer's 30 year history," said J.T. Wang, Acer's chairman, speaking at a news conference in Taipei. "After this acquisition, we are solidly number three in the global PC market," Wang said. Acer's acquisition deal with Gateway also derails rival Lenovo Group Ltd.'s plans to acquire Packard Bell BV.

MSFT meltdown tars customers as pirates
[Computerworld] Microsoft Corp. has blamed an unspecified server problem for a 19-hour stretch during which paying users of Windows XP and Vista were accused by the company's Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) validation system of running pirated software. Any Vista system fingered during the episode was stripped of some features, including the operating system's Aero graphical interface.

Source: gPhone aimed at $100 laptop
[] I talked to one of my inside sources at Google today. He said that the Google (applications) Suite is going to play a huge role in the usability of the GPhone, and the thought process behind it's functionality is less about beating the iPhone and more about beating the $100 Laptop, which provides a huge clue behind what will be the pricing structure on this. When he was telling me about all the nuances of what he's seen the thing do, I couldn't help but audibly remark about the FCC bid for the 700mhz spectrum making a whole lot more sense. He didn't come out and say it, but I got the impression that they were gunning for the spectrum with a vengeance. (via Om)

How resizing should work
[Guardian] From SIGGRAPH, here's an amazing video on image resizing by Dr Shai Avidan and Dr Ariel Shamir, in support of their paper on Seam Carving for Content-Aware Image Resizing. It achieves the ultimate level for any graphics processing trick, which is that when it's implemented in software, people won't notice. They'll just think, well, that's how resizing should work.

Why Mahahlo and Techmeme are going to kick GOOG's butt
[Scobelizer] Scobe explains how SEO-resistant technologies like Mahalo, TechMeme, and Facebook are about to upend the search industry.

Samsung tapped to help Sprint with WiMax in NYC
[NYT] Sprint, which recently said it would spend up to $5 billion on a mobile high-speed wireless standard by 2010, said it had awarded the New York WiMax market to Samsung.

YHOO lets users text from webmail
[Reuters] Yahoo Inc said on Sunday it was giving its e-mail users more ways to reach friends and online contacts by allowing them to trade messages with mobile phone users.

MSFT will distribute free software to India
[AP] Microsoft sees BiG Tech as another opportunity to push its India strategy that has often tied business moves with philanthropy. "We think it is going to make a big impact in India," said Neelam Dhawan, managing director at Microsoft India.

Is hacking an iPhone illegal?
[TopTechNews] The DMCA might not protect groups such as iPhoneSimFree and iPhoneUnlocking, which are planning to sell their hack software for profit. Writing on the Engadget blog, copyright attorney Nilay Patel said that AT&T or Apple might opt to sue on other grounds. TracPhone has turned numerous suits into settlements precisely because reselling unlocked phones is not within the DMCA exemption.

Newswatch 8.24.07: iPhone unlocked

Linux-user-turned-movie-pirate has to switch to Windows
[Ars Technica] "I had a meeting with my probation officer today and he told me that he has to install monitoring software onto my PC. No big deal to me; that is part of my sentence," he wrote on his Lost and Alone blog. "However, their software doesn't support GNU/Linux (Which is what I use). So, he told me that if I want to use a computer, I would have to use an OS that the software can be installed on."

High-def streaming over cable comes complete with DRM
[Ars Technica] Cable subscribers should soon be able to stream cable TV programming over their home networks, as CableLabs has announced its approval of a new streaming protocol. Called DTCP-IP (Digital Transmission Copy Protection), the new spec will use DRM to lock down content to ensure that it doesn't escape the cozy confines of cable subscribers' homes. waited five days to reveal data theft
[Reuters] It wasn't until Wednesday, a day after Symantec issued the August 21 report, that Monster put a notice on its Web site,, warning users they might be the target of e-mail scams.

Labor unions oppose patent reform
[InfoWorld] By enlisting labor unions, patent reform opponents are trying to put Democrats "in the same situation the Republicans were in," said Ronald Riley, president of the Professional Inventors Alliance, which represents small inventors. Riley's group, along with the American Ingenuity Alliance and other groups, have focused getting unions to back their cause in recent months.

iPhone unlockers strut their stuff
[InfoWorld] ohn McLaughlin, founder of Uniquephones, said his Belfast, U.K., company will be posting software on Saturday that iPhone users can download to unlock their handsets to work with any SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card on any network they choose. The software should hit the Web at between noon and 2 p.m. Eastern Time, he said.

GOOG may start NY transit guide
[Bloomberg] ``We are always looking for ways to incorporate technology in what we do,'' Jim Redeker, assistant executive director of New Jersey Transit, said in a telephone interview from Newark. Google has ``good experience at making this work.''

gPhone in two weeks?
[TechCrunch] Rediff News in India is reporting that the Google Phone is set to be launched in 2 weeks time! The GPhone is said to simultaneously launch in both Europe and the United States, with the only thing standing in Google’s way being US regulatory approval.

Sony's sweet little battery
[VentureBeat] Sony hopes to make up for its millions of exploding batteries with new research that proves you can run a music player with glucose-based batteries.

Newswatch 8.23.07: GOOG will 'probably' bid on spectrum

EU: Rambus overcharging for chip patents
[AP] European Union regulators have charged Rambus Inc. with antitrust abuse, alleging the memory chip designer demanded "unreasonable" royalties for its patents that were fraudulently set as industry standards.

More women joining causal games boom
[Mercury News] You might think the face of one of the hottest areas in gaming right now is a young male in his 20s who owns the latest supercharged gaming system from Microsoft or Sony - or both. But you'd be wrong.

Intuit CEO resigns, as company beats the numbers
[AP] Intuit Inc. said Wednesday Chief Executive Steve Bennett will step down at the end of the year, and the financial software maker reported a narrower loss and higher revenue than Wall Street expected during the typically unprofitable fourth quarter.

Net radio stations cool to latest proposal
[AP] Some small Internet radio broadcasters are rejecting a new offer from a music industry group to pay discounted royalty rates for streaming music online through 2010.

Google 'probably' will bid on spectrum
[TopTechNews] "They clearly want to be the nation's contact to the Web and communications," Rob Enderle said. "It's a very ambitious plan -- they could be vastly more powerful than any technology company has ever been."

Internet to be bigger than TV
[TopTechNews] 66 percent of the new survey's respondents reported viewing television programs from one to four hours per day, versus 60 percent who reported the same levels of personal Internet use. Moreover, researchers said the traditional TV set is increasingly taking a back seat to PCs and cellular handsets among consumers between the ages of 18 and 34.

Sub-prime fallout a blessing for VCs?
[NYT] “People are being scared away from other investment strategies,” said Keith Benjamin, a partner at Levensohn Venture Partners, a San Francisco firm that focuses on technology investments. “The credit crunch can help venture,” he wrote on his blog. “One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.”

AT&T's overstuffed iPhone bills
For the last several weeks, iPhone users have been by turns amused or enraged over the sheer heft of the bills they are receiving from AT&T.

NYT launches MyTimes
[Mashable] In a scaled-down RSS reader, users select feeds they want to add: initially, these are the picks of editors - in my case, a selection of blogs from technology columnist David Pogue. These picks are added to a Netvibes-style startpage. It’s nothing new for those of us used to the sites it’s cloning (Netvibes, Pageflakes etc), but neither is it a misstep: it’s extremely useful for those NYTimes readers who want more control, but aren’t aware of the opportunities on the open web.

Yahoo Teachers: social net for teachers
[Mashable] Yahoo is building a combination of social network, collaborative space and (most of all), lesson plan creator for educators called Yahoo Teachers. The first part of the site is the “Gobbler” - a browser add-on that helps teachers save photos, text and sites from around the web in one place (see this video). Once Gobbled, users move to the second stage: organizing that information into lesson plans and worksheets, tagging them and sharing them with others to save time.

That's personalization: Facebook ties ads to profiles
[Mashable] Utilizing the information users share about themselves on their profile, Facebook will enable very targeted advertising options for businesses. Taking it a step further, the model will also allow for a bit of predictive marketing to take place, making assumptions about a user’s interests based on what information is on their profile, including gender, zip code, date of birth, occupation, music preferences and more.

AMD's Richard quits
[] Advanced Micro Devices will announce the imminent departure of Henri Richard, the company's chief sales officer, later this afternoon, CNET has confirmed. A source familiar with AMD's plans confirmed the news, first reported earlier Wednesday.

Newswatch 8.22.07: 'Aldrich Ames wants to be your friend'

AMD's Richard to leave
[TG Daily] Henri Richard, AMD’s Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, will be leaving the company. first broke the story on and the information has since been confirmed by several other sources. Apparently Richard will leave the company on September 8th for another job opportunity.

US intelligence embraces Web 2.0 concepts
[TopTechNews] As the U.S. intelligence community prepares to go live with an intelligence-sharing system called A-Space that is modeled on popular social-networking sites, crisis-management strategist David Stephenson said the A-Space model might correlate well to the business world and help prevent the kinds of scandals like that seen at Enron and HP.

GOOG zaps faces, license plate numbers[] Google has gotten a lot of flack from privacy advocates for photographing faces and license plate numbers and displaying them on the Street View in Google Maps. Originally, the company said only people who identified themselves could ask the company to remove their image. But Google has quietly changed that policy, partly in response to criticism, and now anyone can alert the company and have an image of a license plate or a recognizable face removed, not just the owner of the face or car, says Marissa Mayer, vice president of search products and user experience at Google.

Adobe adopting high-def video for Flash
[AP] The ubiquitous Flash video player will soon support the same technology behind next-generation, high-definition DVDs, but don't expect online clips to look great on giant television screens for some time.

YouTube launches integrated ads
[Computerworld] YouTube's new in-video advertising model may be the right balance between what viewers will tolerate and what advertisers will pay, and could justify Google Inc.'s $1.65 billion purchase price for the video Web site.

GOOG Earth scans the skies
[NYT] After turning millions of Internet users into virtual explorers of the world, the Internet search giant is now hoping to turn many of them into virtual stargazers.

Search engine IPO pulled as founder's rap sheet is revealed
[NYT] Marc Armand Rousso pleaded guilty to stock fraud charges in the United States in 1998 and was convicted of stock fraud in France in 1999. He has settled several suits brought by investors who claimed stock losses. Schmidt doesn't rule out bid for mobile bandwidth
[Reuters] Google Inc. is leaning toward bidding in upcoming U.S. mobile phone airwave auctions, despite a partial setback last month from Washington regulators, Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said on Tuesday.

Newswatch 8.21.07: YHOO buys game ad company

TickEx launches in U.S.

[Mashable] Based in London, TixEx is a search engine that lets you browse for the best price on tickets for live events. With TickEx, you can find tickets for events like concerts, theater shows, and sports events. With its centralized search function, TickEx aggregates results and offers you a one-stop shop for finding tickets.

Yahoo buys game mobile game ad company Actionality

[VentureBeat] Actionality sticks ads into mobile games and other applications as they’re being downloaded from a mobile web browser to a phone; competitors include Greystripe. Yahoo also recently announced that it is expanding its mobile ad services to include Vodafone. However, the profitability of mobile advertising — whether on a mobile browser or in a download — is in question.

YouTube launches video ads

[The Times] Twenty seconds after a clip begins, a transparent advert appears in the bottom fifth of the video for a further 15 seconds. Clicking on the image overlay plays the advert, but if ignored it simply disappears. Eileen Naughton, YouTube’s director for media platforms, said: “We are trying to be respectful of the YouTube community, whilst working with marketing partners.”

Is Comcast screwing with BitTorrent traffic?

[] Rumors have been floating around that Comcast is filtering peer-to-peer BitTorrent traffic, which is often used to distribute pirated movies.

Newswatch 8.20.07: Skype apologizes, blames Patch Tuesday

MIT startup unveils 64-core processor
[Ars Technica] The basic tile + processor/cache + router + mesh network idea was pioneered by Dr. Agarwal and MIT's RAW project about a decade ago, and now those same ideas also form the basis for TILE64. TILE64 consists of a mesh network of 64 tiles, with each tile containing a general-purpose processor core and a non-blocking router. The short-pipeline, in-order, three-issue cores implement a MIPS-derived VLIW ISA with a few important and peculiar features.

Skype apologizes
[] According to a statement released by Skype on Monday, the outage--which affected a significant portion of Skype's users--came about Thursday with "a massive restart of our users' computers across the globe within a very short time frame." The restart stemmed from a routine Windows update. "This caused a flood of log-in requests which, combined with the lack of peer-to-peer network resources, prompted a chain reaction that had a critical impact," Skype's statement said.

MSFT, CSCO say they'll work together as they compete
[Reuters] The top executives of Cisco Systems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. said on Monday that they would ensure their products work together, seeking to prevent customers from putting off buying decisions.

Facebook a $5b waste of time - in Australia
[Sydney Morning Herald] Richard Cullen of SurfControl, an internet filtering company, estimates the site may be costing Australian businesses $5 billion a year. "Our analysis shows that Facebook is the new, and costly, time-waster," he said.

Nokia gets approval for US 3G handset
[Wireless Info] This version is a quad-band GSM phone which includes support for the US 3G bands. This means that it would work with the both the voice and 3G data network of AT&T, but not T-Mobile's 3G network.

Paramount dumps Blu-Ray
[USA Today] Just when it seemed that the Blu-ray Disc had gained the upper hand in the high-definition video disc battle, HD DVD has recruited two studios, Paramount and DreamWorks.

American sues GOOG over ad words
[NewsFactor] After several years of trademark lawsuits against AdWords, the jury is still out on whether Google operates safely within trademark law or not, Santa Clara University law school professor Eric Goldman said. "The courts that have confronted this issue have split right down the middle," he said. "That tells you it's a really hard legal question," Goldman said. American was well aware that the "data is split" and decided to bring the suit anyway, Goldman noted.

Jive gets $15m of venture cap
[] Its Clearspace software is meant to be a lightweight alternative to more structured document management applications like Microsoft's SharePoint. With Clearspace, end users can start wikis, write blogs and share documents without significant upfront training.

Newswatch 8.17.07: Skype slow to recover

Mom slaps RIAA with class action suit
[Register] The RIAA has been slapped by a class action lawsuit, filed by Tanya Anderson, a single mom from Oregon who claims the organization's goons impersonated her 10-year-old daughter's grandmother over the phone to extract evidence.

Second suit against Apple for battery woes
[Computerworld] argues that Apple and AT&T committed fraud by not fully informing customers about the costs and procedures for replacing the battery. The complaint argues that the battery "must" be replaced after 300 charges, anticipating a replacement at one year or less by a qualified technician, since the battery sits inside a sealed compartment.

Windows Home Server ships in August
[Computerworld] No partner has yet disclosed a ship date or final price for a WHS-based server, nor has Microsoft discussed pricing for the system builder version, which it will sell as software-only to smaller computer dealers and hobbyists.

Skype outage goes on and on
[PCWorld] Skype Ltd. is still trying to restore service to millions of its customers almost 24 hours after they began to experience problems logging in to the VOIP service. The problems are likely to continue throughout the day, Skype warned in a status announcement at 11 a.m. GMT Friday.

FCC Commissioner: Pearl Jam censorship tied to neutrality
[Ars Technica] Mysteriously, AT&T seems bound and determined to turn the fight for net neutrality into a fight for the First Amendment. Now even an FCC commissioner is making the connection between Pearl Jam's plight and a neutral 'net.

SourceFire buys up ClamAV
[] ClamAV is being bought (and improved by) Sourcefire. This is a win for the market and for Sourcefire. And for open source.

American sues Google over keywords
[Computerworld] American Airlines Inc. is suing Google Inc., claiming the search company is infringing on the airline's trademarks by using them as keyword triggers for paid advertisements by other companies.

Newswatch 8.16.07: Skype outage could mean the end of P2P VOIP

Cooling chips with the ion wind
[Ars Technica] Researchers at Purdue University, in a study funded by Intel, have demonstrated a prototype cooling engine that increased the heat-transfer coefficient of a microprocessor by 250 percent.

Lennon catalog on iTunes
[BBC] "John would have loved the fact that his music will now be available in a format suited to a new generation of listeners," Ono said.

Facebook Secrets gets takedown notice
The blogspot site is gone, but, hmm, there's a new site:

Does Skype outage expose P2P's limitations?
[GigaOM] Folks at Joost, Babelgum and other P2P companies should be concerned about their business prospects going forward. Venture capitalists who have been funding P2P-based services should take this as an early warning on the fragility of the whole P2P ecosystem, where a small glitch can cause widespread problems.

Wikipedia Scanner reveals who's editing now
[InfoWorld] Virgil Griffith, who will be a graduate student at the California Institute of Technology starting in September, has developed Wikipedia Scanner, a search tool that traces the IP (Internet Protocol) address of people who make edits to the online encyclopedia.

iPod lies have Taiwanese execs staring at prison
[InfoWorld] Nine executives at Inventec Appliances could face jail time for failing to reveal plans by Apple to reduce iPod orders to the company in a timely manner. he executives have been indicted by Taiwanese prosecutors over allegations of insider stock trading, the company said Thursday.

Netflix hopes to beat out Blockbuster with customer service
[NYT] Netflix’s decision to greet anxious consumers with a human voice, not an e-mail, is also unusual in corporate customer service. “It’s very interesting and counter to everything anybody else is doing,” said Tom Adams, the president of Adams Media Research, a market research firm in Carmel, Calif. “Everyone else is making it almost impossible to find a human.”

MTV to invest $500m in games
[Reuters] MTV Networks plans to invest well over $500 million in video games, seeing the red-hot entertainment category as a major pillar of growth in its goal to reach consumers wherever they spend time.

Social networking not paying off for USAToday
[TechCrunch] data shows monthly visitors down from 14 million in March to about 10 million today, a 29% drop in unique visitors. The New York Times and Washington Post are both at about even levels with March.

Newswatch 8.15.07: Facebook shakeup, SEC after Take-2

Zuckerberg shakes things up at Facebook
[VentureBeat] Chief operating officer Owen Van Natta “has gotten a bit of a demotion, in title at least,” according a blog post by Kara Swisher at AllThingsD. Van Natta’s title, Swisher reports, will now be “chief revenue officer and vice president of operations” — he will remain in charge of technical operations and advertising, but other responsibilities will apparently be divided up between some of the newer executive-team hires.

SEC may file charges against Take Two
[] Last week, SEC staff members informed Take-Two that it was planning to recommend to the commissioners that charges be filed in the case and that monetary damages should be sought.

Fox, Times caught scrubbing Wikipedia entries
[] According to the political blog DailyKos, someone at Fox News--as identified by usage of a Fox News IP Address--has "scrubbed" a series of entries having to do with several of the service's personalities, including Brit Hume, Chris Wallace and Bill O'Reilly. At the same time, The Times has allegedly been mucking with the Wikipedia entry on The Wall Street Journal, as well as about Rep. Tom DeLay

LA Times homicide GOOG map
[Mashable] The Homicide Map shows every homicide that the newspaper knows of in the L.A. County. This visual data adds context to the existing Homicide Report, and offers perspective for readers and researchers.

New URI browser flaws worse than thought
[InfoWorld] "It is possible through the URI to actually steal content form the user's machine and upload that content to a remote server of the attacker's choice," said McFetters, a senior security advisor for Ernst & Young Global Ltd. "This is all through functionality that the application provides."

Businesses say no thanks to Vista
[InfoWorld] Forrester says "most" of the 45 IT managers it spoke to this spring are waiting for the release of Vista Service Pack 1 early next year before starting to "seriously consider" upgrading to Vista.

China launches media crackdown
[NYT] China today disclosed a crackdown on “false news reports, unauthorized publications and bogus journalists,” two months before the opening of the politically sensitive Communist Party congress, which is held once every five years. The crackdown, confirmed by the government’s official web site, comes after a television journalist was given a one-year prison sentence and a $130 fine on Sunday for allegedly fabricating a story about Beijing dumpling makers that were said to use cardboard as filler.

Xandros expands MSFT partnership
[InfoWorld] Linux distributor Xandros is licensing messaging protocols from Microsoft as part of an expansion of the partnership the two companies forged in June.

Newswatch 8.15.07: Facebook shakeup, SEC after Take-2

Zuckerberg shakes things up at Facebook
[VentureBeat] Chief operating officer Owen Van Natta “has gotten a bit of a demotion, in title at least,” according a blog post by Kara Swisher at AllThingsD. Van Natta’s title, Swisher reports, will now be “chief revenue officer and vice president of operations” — he will remain in charge of technical operations and advertising, but other responsibilities will apparently be divided up between some of the newer executive-team hires.

SEC may file charges against Take Two
[] Last week, SEC staff members informed Take-Two that it was planning to recommend to the commissioners that charges be filed in the case and that monetary damages should be sought.

Fox, Times caught scrubbing Wikipedia entries
[] According to the political blog DailyKos, someone at Fox News--as identified by usage of a Fox News IP Address--has "scrubbed" a series of entries having to do with several of the service's personalities, including Brit Hume, Chris Wallace and Bill O'Reilly. At the same time, The Times has allegedly been mucking with the Wikipedia entry on The Wall Street Journal, as well as about Rep. Tom DeLay

LA Times homicide GOOG map
[Mashable] The Homicide Map shows every homicide that the newspaper knows of in the L.A. County. This visual data adds context to the existing Homicide Report, and offers perspective for readers and researchers.

New URI browser flaws worse than thought
[InfoWorld] "It is possible through the URI to actually steal content form the user's machine and upload that content to a remote server of the attacker's choice," said McFetters, a senior security advisor for Ernst & Young Global Ltd. "This is all through functionality that the application provides."

Businesses say no thanks to Vista
[InfoWorld] Forrester says "most" of the 45 IT managers it spoke to this spring are waiting for the release of Vista Service Pack 1 early next year before starting to "seriously consider" upgrading to Vista.

China launches media crackdown
[NYT] China today disclosed a crackdown on “false news reports, unauthorized publications and bogus journalists,” two months before the opening of the politically sensitive Communist Party congress, which is held once every five years. The crackdown, confirmed by the government’s official web site, comes after a television journalist was given a one-year prison sentence and a $130 fine on Sunday for allegedly fabricating a story about Beijing dumpling makers that were said to use cardboard as filler.

Xandros expands MSFT partnership
[InfoWorld] Linux distributor Xandros is licensing messaging protocols from Microsoft as part of an expansion of the partnership the two companies forged in June.

Newswatch 8.14.07: VMWare rocks the Street

RIAA fails to pay attorney fees
[IP Law] In Capitol v. Foster, where the Court has awarded defendant more than $68,000 in attorneys fees against the record companies, the plaintiffs have failed to pay the amount ordered, and Ms. Foster has asked the Court to enter judgment.

Netflix rolls out social networking features
[TechCrunch] According to the Netflix Community Blog, the company unveiled the new community section on July 30th and has been tweaking it significantly over the last couple of weeks. There a number of community features so far.

VMWare shares surge in IPOM
[NYT] Shares in the software company VMware surged nearly 90 percent early in their first day of trading, reaching $55, or $26 above the initial offering price of $29. Also: CIO Today: VMWare's explosive IPO shows power of virtualization

YouTube seeks testimony of comics Stewart and Colbert
[NYT] The comedians were requested by the video site to give testimony in legal proceedings as it fights a $1 billion lawsuit by Viacom, according to court filings.

Nokia recalls 46m phone batteries
[SF Chron] Nokia Corp. warned Tuesday that up to 46 million batteries used in some of its cell phones could be faulty and pose a risk of overheating. The advisory applies to batteries manufactured by Matsushita from December 2005 to November 2006,

SCO Group doesn't own Unix
[SF Chron] In a 102-page ruling, U.S. District Court Dale Kimball ruled that Novell Inc., not SCO, owns copyrights covering the Unix operating system, which SCO claims is what makes Linux sturdy and reliable. Kimball said SCO didn't acquire ownership rights to Unix when it bought the licensing and development rights from Novell in 1995.

GOOG Health screen shot
[Googlified] Screenshots of the upcoming medical record management program Google Health, have been leaked to Google Blogoscoped. The project was previously code named under the names “M Scrapbook” (Medical Scrapbook) and Weaver.

Batanga, Latino portal, raises $30m
[VenureBeat] The company says it has around 4.5 million unique monthly visitors, and streams over 90 million songs and 10 million videos per month. There is no question that this niche is growing, and Batanga holds a strong set of cards. However, it’s going to have to play them well: It is a destination site in a Web 2.0 world, where with a few major exceptions, users are increasingly moving away from loyalty to a single site or brand.

Newswatch 6.13.07: Facebook code leaked, MSFT makes $6b buy

Facebook code published online
[Guardian] The company blamed the leaked code on a "bug" that meant that it was published accidentally, and said users should not be concerned. Facebook's spokeswoman, Brandee Barker, said: "It was not a security breach and did not compromise user data in any way."

MSFT closes $6b acquisition of aQuantive"
[TopTechNews] The move instantly gives Microsoft access to several online advertising businesses, including advertising campaigns and Web site development with Avenue A/Razorfish, tools for publishers and advertisers to track campaigns and demographics with Atlas Media Console, as well as an advertising network called Drive Performance Media.

Users cut back on web communications
[Computerworld] Internet users spend almost half their time online reading and watching content, dwarfing the time spent searching for information, communicating with others and buying products, according to a four-year analysis of Internet activity released Monday. The new study from the Online Publishers Association (OPA) found that the time Internet users spend viewing online content is up 37% from four years ago.

Qualcomm lawyer resigns
[Reuters] The resignation comes the day before the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California starts a hearing on a Broadcom request for an injunction against Qualcomm related to three patents that the court ruled Qualcomm had infringed. The judge on Friday tentatively doubled Broadcom's $19.64 million damages awarded against Qualcomm in May for the patent infringement.

Oops! MSFT says it gave FCC defective device
[AP] Representatives for Microsoft and other technology companies met with FCC engineers last week and determined the device "was working improperly and an internal component was broken," creates a video ad network
[Mashable] Entitled the Husky Network, site publishers can now wrap videos in an advertisement skin, which will reportedly get you a higher click-through rate. It will work with embedded YouTube and Revver videos, and most other video players as well.

SCO bites the dust
[TopTechNews] For four and a half years, SCO has vehemently claimed that it owns the copyrights to Unix. SCO implicated Linux by alleging the free operating system relies on code stolen from Unix. But a Utah judge has ruled against SCO, deciding that SCO does not own the copyrights to Unix, making the Linux allegation moot in this case.

Tesla founder steps down as CEO
[] Michael Marks, the former CEO of contract manufacturer Flextronics, has stepped in to become the interim chief executive of electric sports car company Tesla Motors. Founder and current CEO Martin Eberhard will become president of technology.

Newswatch 8.10.07: Murdoch might set free

[Reuters] Murdoch may free
News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch has said he might make the Wall Street Journal's Web site free, a shift that could compel Britain's Pearson to do the same with the online version of its Financial Times. (And what about the Times?)

Stanford makes the cut for robot car contest
[Mercury News] Stanford is one of two teams with Bay Area connections named among 36 semifinalists Thursday for the defense department's robotic vehicle race later this year "It's great that we are in. We are obviously in the great company of 35 other strong teams," Sebastian Thrun, Stanford associate professor of computer science and electrical engineering and leader of the Stanford Racing Team, said in a statement.

Veoh sues to block Universal
[AP] The online video sharing site responds to threats by Universal with a federal action of its own -- a request for declaratory relief that it is protected by DMCA Safe Harbors.

Perfect 10 sues Microsoft over thumbnails
[Ars Technica] Adult site Perfect 10 is suing Microsoft over its image search feature, which features thumbnails of its models and links to sites that host the images without permission. A similar lawsuit against Google hasn't turned out too well for the adult site, though.

AT&T censors Pearl Jam, sparking net neutrality debate
[ZD Net] After AT&T censored a supposedly live webcast of a Pearl Jam concert, in which Eddie Vedder tossed off a couple of anti-Bush ad libs during a cover of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall,” the band complained bitterly not only about censorship but about media consolidation and the risks of not having net neutrality.

Universal to test DRM-free song sales
The music will not be offered D.R.M.-free through Apple’s iTunes, the leading music service. The use of copy protection software has become a major bone of contention in the digital music business, where iTunes accounts for the vast majority of download sales. But Apple’s proprietary D.R.M. does not work with most rivals’ devices or software — meaning that music sold by competing services cannot play on Apple’s popular iPod. Some record executives say they believe that the stalemate has capped the growth of digital music sales, which the industry is relying on more heavily as sales of plastic CDs slide.

Vista blocks high-def content
[Infoworld] Content protection features in Windows Vista are preventing customers from playing high-quality video and audio and harming system performance, even as Microsoft neglects security programs that could protect users, computer researcher Peter Gutmann argued at the USENIX Security Symposium in Boston Wednesday.

RSA to buy Tablus
[Computerworld] Finding a fitting match for their plans to offer a full portfolio of product to secure data behind the firewall, RSA has announced plans to purchase data-leak protection vendor Tablus.

Newswatch 8.9.07: Jobs, censorship, online video

AT&T censors Pearl Jam over anti-Bush lyrics
[Reuters] While performing "Daughter" during the annual Lollapalooza festival in Chicago, the band segued into a portion of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall," during which frontman Eddie Vedder sang, "George Bush, leave this world alone" and "George Bush, find yourself another home." Those lyrics were missing from the broadcast.

Novell: Apps are Job One for Linux

[TopTechNews] In order for Linux to grow into the computing mainstream, the open-source OS needs more applications and a standardized approach to software certification, Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian said.

Netflix DRM hacked
[PC World] A hacker has posted instructions for how to save streamed movies from the Netflix Inc. service, undermining Microsoft Corp.'s copy protection technology designed to prevent people from saving the content.

AMD to launch Barcelona at Lucas
[] An AMD spokesman wouldn't explicitly confirm whether the event, to be held at the Letterman Digital Arts Premier Theater at the headquarters of Lucasfilm, will see the debut of Barcelona. But AMD has said it plans to ship Barcelona "for revenue" in August.

DUI defendant wins access to breathalyzer source code
[] When Dale Lee Underdahl was arrested on February 18, 2006, on suspicion of drunk driving, he submitted to a breath test that was conducted using a product called the Intoxilyzer 5000EN. During a subsequent court hearing on charges of third-degree DUI, Underdahl asked for a copy of the "complete computer source code for the (Intoxilyzer) currently in use in the state of Minnesota." The state supreme court granted that request.

Facebook advertisers can opt out of parts
[FT] Facebook advertisers will be able to opt out of parts of the social networking website following the discovery that some campaigns were running close to content promoting the British National Party, the far-right political party.

Take-Two lawyer sentenced in backdating
[Bloomberg] Take-Two Interactive Software’s former general counsel, Kenneth I. Selterman, was sentenced yesterday to three years of probation for falsifying a letter to regulators. He is the third former executive from the video game company, the maker of the Grand Theft Auto series, to be sentenced in a stock option backdating investigation.

Blockbuster buys MovieLink
[Bloomberg] Blockbuster is also acquiring rights to show the films of Movie- link’s owners, which include Warner Brothers Studios, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Paramount Pictures, it said. Financial terms were not disclosed. “It immediately puts us in the digital download business,” Blockbuster’s chief executive, James W. Keyes, said. “Clearly, our customers have responded favorably to having other convenient ways to access movies and entertainment.”

Valley payrolls: Movin' on up
[Reuters] The high-tech hub is adding the kind of jobs that signal an extended and steady recovery, according to a report released on Thursday. "These are the kinds of jobs that are very hard to create and very expensive to pay for," the report's author said. "But obviously business is so good they're being created."

Newswatch 8.8.07: Brocade CEO guilty on all counts

Newsome sends Wi-Fi to voters
[AP] Hoping to break a political impasse, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has submitted a ballot measure asking voters whether they support blanketing the city with a wireless Wi-Fi system that would enable free Web surfing subsidized by ads from Google Inc.

Hearst to buy Kaboodle
[Reuters] "We understand very well that people want to collaborate while shopping," Hearst Interactive President Kenneth Bronfin told Reuters. "We think this marriage of community with shopping is a big and important prospect."

Universal invests in
[Digital Media News] "Universal's strategy is to become actively involved in all areas of media where our artists and our music are present," said UMG vice chairman and CFO Nick Henny.

GOOG News now has comments
[] Users of the U.S. version of Google News will now be able to comment on a story, that is assuming they're somehow involved in it. The process is not for everyone, and in fact requires a lengthy verification process of sending off your comment and credentials to a special Google e-mail address, and later verifying your identity via domain name and an e-mail follow-up from Google staff.

Jury throws the book at Ex-Brocade CEO Reyes
[TopTechNews] Reyes is convicted on all counts of fraud and conspiracy, as a chill descends upon the Valley, expecially lawyers.

Hard drive breakthrough
[ComputerWorld] Fujitsu says it has successfully demonstrated the ability to perform basic read/write capability of each individual nanohole of the patterned media using a typical flying head on a rotating disk. That breakthrough could lead the company to produce hard drives with storage capacities of up to 1.2TB on a two-platter, 2.5-in. drive as soon as 2010

Newswatch 8.7.07: Reyes convicted on all counts

Reyes, ex-Brocade CEO, convicted on all counts
[AP] Former Brocade Communications Systems Inc. CEO Gregory Reyes was convicted Tuesday of defrauding investors in the first stock options backdating case to go to trial. The guilty verdict on all counts is an important validation of the Justice Department's options backdating probe, which has so far led to criminal charges against at least 10 executives.

Qualcomm's cheating waived right to patent enforcement
[Reuters] A federal judge has ruled that Qualcomm Inc. waived its rights to enforce two technology patents asserted against rival chip maker Broadcom Corp. by concealing documents and patents, the companies said on Tuesday.

Judge kills record-setting judgment against MSFT
[TopTechNews] A federal judge in San Diego shocked Alcatel-Lucent by throwing out its $1.5 billion award against Microsoft for infringement of certain MP3 patents. In March, a jury had found Microsoft liable for infringing two of Alcatel-Lucent's patents and issued the largest patent-infringement award in history.

AAPL unveils new iMacs
[] Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced two new iMacs at the start of an event held Tuesday at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. The 20-inch and 24-inch iMacs are the latest editions of Apple's all-in-one iMac design. They are made from aluminum and glass, and come with a new keyboard. Both the new keyboard and the iMac itself are thinner than the previous edition.

Dell buys Zing
[GigaOM] Dell has been bitten by the consumer electronics bug again. It has acquired Mountain View, Calif.-based Zing, a company started by Tim Bucher, a former Apple employee. Terms of the deal were not announced.

Cisco profits, revenues up
[Infoworld] The dominant networking vendor's revenue rose 18 percent from a year earlier to $9.4 billion while its earnings per share grew 24 percent to $0.31. Net income was $1.9 billion.

Silverlight makes MLB debut
[Infoworld] currently is using the technology to show video highlights of baseball games, integrating the Silverlight player with news stories and other content on the site.

Bloggers can be journalists
[Lawgarithms] The bill defines the practice of journalism as “gathering, preparing, collecting, photographing, recording, writing, editing, reporting or publishing of news or information that concerns local, national or international events or other matters of public interest for dissemination to the public.”

Newswatch 8.6.07: Did Yahoo Lie about Chinese Dissent?

NYT exposes Fake Steve Jobs

[NYT] “I’m stunned that it’s taken this long,” said Mr. Lyons, 46, when a reporter interrupted his vacation in Maine on Sunday to ask him about Fake Steve. “I have not been that good at keeping it a secret. I’ve been sort of waiting for this call for months.”

Lantos to investigate whether Yahoo lied about China dissident

[InfoWorld] General counsel Michael Callahan allegedly told the committee that Yahoo handed over information to Chinese police as required by law and that the company had no information about the nature of the investigation against Shi. Contrary to this testimony, Lantos alleges that some evidence has surfaced that Yahoo was told specifically that Shi was being targeted for illegally divulging state secrets to foreign entities.

Microsoft gives 3D look at shuttle
[] The viewer, created with Microsoft's Photosynth technology, gives people a three-dimensional perspective on the space center, letting people zoom in for a close-up, high-resolution look at heat tiles on the shuttle, for example, or zoom out to see a panoramic of Cape Canaveral.

Amazon launches micropayment service
[Seattle PI] The Amazon Flexible Payment Services allows developers to send and receive money, create specific instructions on how payments can be made, aggregate micro-transactions such as a penny into larger transactions and view account balances.

Herding cats dept: Bloggers want to unionize
[Wash Post] "I think people have just gotten to the point where people outside the blogosphere understand the value of what it is that we do on the progressive side," said Susie Madrak, the author of Suburban Guerilla blog, who is active in the union campaign. "And I think they feel a little more entitled to ask for something now."

BitTorrent offers ad-supported streaming video
[SJ Merc] Beginning this month, the video and media distribution company will offer some of its library of television and feature films, which include titles such as "Letters from Iwo Jima" and "24," for free as streaming videos, supported by advertising.

Internet pioneer's new company offers powerful routers
[] "I need much faster Internet access. When I ask for something on the Web, I want that to happen in a fraction of a second instead of 10 seconds, Roberts said. "This will let the Web operate in fractional second times."

Facebook loses ads over far-right UK party
[FT] More companies pulled advertising from Facebook, the social networking website, on Friday after discovering their campaigns ran next to a page for the far-right British National party. Virgin Media, Halifax General Insurance and Pru Health, the healthcare insurance division of Prudential, withdrew from Facebook following the departure of Vodafone and First Direct bank on Thursday.

Newswatch 7.31.07: FCC approves open access rules

FCC approves open access rules, denies Google

[Financial Times] US regulators on Tuesday handed mobile handset and internet companies a partial victory over the country’s wireless communications carriers as they voted to free some of the country’s wireless spectrum to let consumers use more devices and mobile applications of their choice.

DOJ and RIAA may team up

[Ars Technica] The US Department of Justice has until mid-September to decide whether it wants to help the RIAA defend the constitutionality of its claim that it is owed damages of $750 for each copyrighted song infringed.

Apple releases torrent of patches

[] Dozens of vulnerabilities and bugs were covered by a total of six downloads for Mac OS X. Some of the vulnerabilities seem quite serious, leading to arbitrary code execution, downed applications or both. Apple also issued the first software update for the iPhone as part of Tuesday's releases. The iPhone update will be delivered through iTunes the next time you sync your iPhone with your Mac or PC.

Twitter closes financing

[] Twitter has announced the closing of financing with Union Square Ventures, Charles River Ventures, and some angel investors including Marc Andreessen, Dick Costolo, Ron Conway, and Naval Ravikant.

Ready for behavioral AdWords?

[GigaOM] Susan Wojcicki, Google’s VP of product management, told reporters Google is experimenting with behavioral AdWords. For instance, if you search for "Italian Hotels," and follow that with a keyword search for "weather," the results will show Italian weather-related advertisements. No user information is stored by Google; the ads are displayed on the fly.
As MSFT reels from competition, Gates still plans to leave

[NYT] Gates insists that his new world of philanthropy will be just as compelling as software has been. “I’ll have also malaria vaccine or tuberculosis vaccine or curriculum in American high schools, which are also things that, at least the way my mind works, I sit there and say, ‘Oh, God! This is so important; this is so solvable,’ ” he said, “You’ve just got to get the guy who understands this, and this new technology will bring these things together.”
Wales' Wikia wants to challenge GOOG in search

[Reuters] Wikia, has acquired Grub, a pioneering Web crawler that will enable Wikia's forthcoming search service to scour the Web to index relevant sites. "If we can get good quality search results, I think it will really change the balance of power from the search companies back to the publishers. I could be wrong about this, but it seems like a likely outcome."
Woz backs video venture

An Internet video brainchild of three twentysomething former University of California grad students has won big backers, including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Red McCombs, co-founder of Clear Channel Communications.

Newswatch 7.26.07: ConnectU suit on verge of dismissal

Judge: ConnectU suit 'gossamer thin'

[] "Claims must have a factual basis," the judge said. The allegations, which ranged from breach of confidence to fraud to misappropriation of trade secrets, comprised a "most evanescent of explanations," Woodlock said.

MSFT acquires ad company AdECN
[] Venture-backed AdECN has built a platform for buying and selling display advertising, which will be folded into Microsoft's Online Services Business.

Meebo names fastest growing IM client
[Mashable] As Meebo is a very inclusive chat network, aggregating the most popular chat clients, it has a wide appeal. Google Talk has also gained significant traction in the last year, tripling its user base and has reached 2.3 million unique visitors.

GOOG offers portal for Sprint WiMax
[Ars Technica] Google will offer an Internet portal to Sprint's WiMAX customers when the wireless broadband network begins to roll out in US test markets in 2007 and 2008.

Target picks BluRay, which is looking like a winner
[AP] Target Corp., the nation's second-largest retailer, will start selling a Sony Blu-ray high-definition DVD player during the critical holiday shopping period and feature the player along with Blu-ray discs in store displays, dealing a potential blow to the rival HD DVD format.

GOOG raises Turing prize to $250K
[Register] 2005 winner Vint Cerf: 'Google is proud to provide support for ACM's Turing Award and its unique role in celebrating innovations in technology that benefit society.'

Mozilla ditches Thunderbird
[Computerworld] Mitchell Baker: 'Mozilla doesn't focus on Thunderbird as much as we do browsing and Firefox, and we don't expect this to change in the foreseeable future.'

Ballmer asks for patience
[InfoWorld] 'Vista doesn't get done by three people in a garage in three days. A great misconception in the tech industry is that most successes happen overnight.'

Newswatch 7.25.07: Mom sues Universal over takedown notice

Dancing atoms hold promise of superfast computing
[Reuters] Suspended in laser light, thousands of atoms pair up and dance, each moving in perfect counterpoint to its partner.

Mom sues Universal over YouTube takedown

[EFF] Stephanie Lenz's 29-second recording shows her son bouncing along to the Prince song "Let's Go Crazy," which is heard playing in the background. Lenz uploaded the home video to YouTube in February to share it with her family and friends. But last month, YouTube informed Lenz that it had removed the video from its website after Universal claimed that the recording infringed a copyright controlled by the music company.

PC sellers disappointed with Vista

[PCWorld] Acer president Gianfranco Lanci today became the first major PC manufacturer to openly attack Microsoft over the Windows Vista operating system. "The whole industry is disappointed with Windows Vista," he said.

Cisco patches Duke's wireless woes (with are not iPhone-related)
[Computerworld] Cisco Systems Inc. confirmed today that patches for its wireless LAN controllers released Tuesday arose from the investigation of hotspot failures at Duke University that were originally pinned on Apple Inc.'s iPhone. Yesterday, Cisco published a vulnerability alert that outlined multiple bugs in its Wireless LAN Controllers (WLC) that it said "could result in a denial of service (DoS) in certain environments."

Newswatch 7.23.07: HP buys Opsware

HP buys Andreessen's Opsware
[TopTechNews] HP paid $14.25 a share in stock for Opsware, a 39 percent premium on the pre-announcement stock price. It's especially good for founder Marc Andreessen. The Netscape creator will pick up a cool $138 million in the deal, on the basis of his ownership of 9.7 million shares.

Intel brings datacenter advances to server networks
[InfoWorld] Later this year, Intel will help server network interfaces take advantage of the major recent advances in datacenters: multiprocessor systems, multicore processors, and virtualization. The company unveiled at Cisco Systems' Networkers user conference a pair of chips for server network cards or motherboards.

Cleantech funding on an upswing
[GigaOM] The 5th annual Dow Jones VentureOne report attributes emerging sectors like cleantech as one of the factors that made venture investment in 2006 the highest level since 2001.

Info on MSFT's Web analytics tool leaked
[Computerworld] The tool, which is aimed at taking on Google Inc.'s Analytics product, will allow users to segment Web traffic by both age and gender. Microsoft will get the demographic data from users' Live ID profiles.

iPhone vulnerabilities reported
[CNET] Researchers at Independent Security Evaluators have announced at least two vulnerabilities in the way the Apple iPhone opens a specially crafted Web page in Safari.

OLPC ships to production, delays release
[InfoWorld] One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) moved a step closer to providing low-cost laptops to children in developing nations by giving the go-ahead to the mass production of its XO laptop. However, the computers are expected to be out in October, one month later than originally planned.

MSFT offer search privacy options
[NYT] There’s nothing like a little regulatory scrutiny to get Internet companies talking about privacy. Even if some of their words ring somewhat hollow.

Daily Reel expands
[NYT] This month, The Daily Reel (, a Web site devoted to online filmmakers and Internet video, introduced a social networking section called ReeledIn (

Social networking site takes $20m
[TechCrunch] Hi5 is now ranked as the 11th most popular site online above Facebook at 13th. If you’ve never heard of the site though, there is a reason; most of Hi5’s traffic doesn’t come from the United States. Hi5 is the No. 1 ranking site online in Portugal, Ecuador, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Newswatch 7.20.07: GOOG issues spectrum ultimatum

Videographer commits suicide, her boyfriend is missing
[Modern Art Notes] This past Tuesday, a week after Theresa Duncan, digital artist Jeremy Blake's longtime girlfriend, committed suicide, a man called 911 to report that he saw someone swimming out to sea. Blake's clothes and wallet were found nearby on Rockaway Beach. Blake has not been heard from since. Duncan's funeral will be held in Detroit tomorrow. Blake is known for photographs and DVDs that mix visual narrative with abstract forms. He had a 2005 solo show at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, created an abstract sequence for the film Punch Drunk Love, and he worked with Beck on the CD Sea Change.

GOOG puts its billions on the spectrum table
[Mercury News] pledged to bid at least $4.6 billion, the minimum bid the Federal Communications Commission requires entrants in the auction for a slice of the airwave spectrum now used to broadcast UHF channels. But there are strings attached to Google's pledge. In a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said his company will step out of the auction if the commission doesn't require winning bidders to resell broadband access at wholesale rates.

...and AT&T hits back
[GigaOM] AT&T: 'We would repeat that Google should put up or shut up— they can bid and enter the wireless market with any business model they prefer, then let consumers decide which model they like best.'

Don't like search engines holding onto your data? Just Ask
[AP] became the first major search engine to promise users it won't store data on their queries, giving the privacy conscious the option of conducting research on the Internet in relative anonymity. "The number of people this is important to is small," said Doug Leeds, Ask's vice president of product management. "But to these people, it's very important."

Munster: AT&T gives APPL a piece of the action
[TopTechNews] Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster raised his target price for Apple stock to $205 on the basis of research that indicates that Apple is getting a healthy share of revenue from AT&T for every iPhone contract. "While we do not know the exact details of the agreement, we conservatively estimate that AT&T gives Apple $3 per month for every iPhone customer already with AT&T and $11 per month for every new subscriber," Munster wrote in a research note released to clients on Thursday.

NASA Earth
[Mashable] The new NASA layer has astronaut photography of Earth, satellite imagery, and earth city lights. Incorporating photos and images that NASA has been collecting for decades, the astronaut photography of Earth really showcases some great stuff. The satellite imagery has some options for downloading images in order to overlay them on the earth’s surface, offering some manipulation options that weren’t available prior to this collaborative project.

FCC considers unlocked phones in spectrum auction
[Computerworld] FCC is considering the question of unlocking cell phones and creating more cell phone portability as it considers a wide range of rules for an auction of the 700 MHz spectrum band likely to be held next January. With locked phones, the customer is limited to using the carrier and services where the phone is purchased. The iPhone, for example, is a locked phone, because it can only be used through AT&T Inc.'s network.

10% of companies have fired bloggers
[Wired] Nearly ten percent of companies have fired an employee for violating corporate blogging or message board policies, and 19 percent have disciplined an employee for the same infractions, according to a new survey.

Newswatch 7.19.07: GOOG disappoints, as sector looks rosy

GOOG profit up 28%, stock price down
[NYT] If there was any doubt that Google was serious about going after the software business, Mr. Schmidt dispelled them during the company’s annual shareholder meeting in May. “Our next strategy evolution is to really think about three components — search, ads and apps,” Mr. Schmidt said.

MSFT profits edge up 7 percent
[AP] The world's largest software maker said Thursday its earnings for the three months ended June 30 climbed to $3.04 billion, or 31 cents per share, from $2.83 billion, or 28 cents per share, during the same period last year. Results were weighed down by a charge of $1.06 billion, or 8 cents per share, related to the video game console repairs.

AMD profits down in 2Q
[AP] Advanced Micro Devices Inc. reported a loss in the second quarter as heavy acquisition costs and lower microprocessor prices overshadowed rising chip sales. But shares of AMD, the world's No. 2 microprocessor maker, rose almost 5 percent Thursday in after hours trading as sales exceeded analyst expectations and the company said it hopes to break even in the fourth quarter.

Outlook good for tech earnings
[InfoWorld] With shares of major technology companies trading as high as they have ever done in the post dot-com era, IT investors this week are scrutinizing quarterly results from the world's biggest vendors to judge how the market will hold up for the rest of the year.

Facebook acquires yet-to-launch Parakey
[Mashable] Facebook is announcing today that it has acquired Parakey, the startup created by Firefox co-founders Blake Ross and Joe Hewitt. Parakey is an open source web OS that bridges the gap between the desktop and the web.

Harry Potter leaks online
[Digital Media World] Days before its release, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," the anticipated final novel in J.K. Rowling's series, has appeared on file-sharing networks and some websites in the form of digital photographs taken of the book's more than 700 pages.

AT&T softens position on open access frequency
[InfoWorld] AT&T Inc. has backed away from earlier complaints about proposed open-access rules on parts of the 700MHz spectrum to be auctioned by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission by early next year.

GOOG cookie-light plans: 'Worthless'
[ComputerWorld] "No users will experience any gains in privacy at all due to Google's change in policy," said Randy Abrams, director of technical education at ESET, a vendor of antivirus products in San Diego. "It's not a bad idea. It's just a worthless one. [Google's announcement either] demonstrates a complete lack of understanding about the role cookies can play in privacy, or else utter contempt for the intellect of Google users."

Newswatch 7.17.07 Earnings madness - INTL up, YHOO flat

YHOO revenue up, expectations lowered
[NYT] Yahoo said today that its net income for the second quarter was $161 million, or 11 cents a share, almost unchanged from the same period a year ago, as revenues rose 8 percent to $1.7 billion. But Yahoo also lowered profit and revenue expectations for the remainder of 2007, amid continued weakness in display advertising.

Intel earnings exceed expectations
[NYT] The chip maker, a closely watched indicator of the overall health of the technology industry, reported net income of $1.3 billion, on revenue of $8.7 billion in the second quarter.

IBM's research head retiring
[AP] Paul Horn, who has led IBM's research division for 11 years, is retiring and being replaced by John E. Kelly III, who has overseen the company's strategies on technical standards and intellectual property.

Google will be your search engine
[AP] Google Inc. is offering to run the search engines of small Web sites for as little as $100 per year, marking the company's latest attempt to make more money off technology that already steers much of the Internet's traffic. The service scheduled to be unveiled Tuesday is aimed at the millions of Web sites that either don't have search engines or are unhappy with the quality of their current search results, said Nitin Mangtani, a Google product manager.

Dual-mode cell/Wi-Fi blackberry
[Reuters] The dual-mode BlackBerry 8820, as the device is known, will be launched by AT&T in the United States later this summer, the company said.

Harry Potter's parallel online universe
[Reuters] So popular are J.K. Rowling's stories, and the Web pages built around them, that a handful of online fans have become stars in their own right. Arguably the biggest is Emerson Spartz, who was just 12 when he set up Today the site is visited up to 40 million times a month, making it one of the biggest Potter sites in the world and a viable commercial venture.

MSFT ships Windows Home Server code
[TopTechNews] Project lead: 'We had a spirit of getting it done, no matter what. We broke some rules but never any laws," he toasted in a blog post. "We took a few risks... and they paid off.'

Newswatch 7.16.07: Net radio saved but the price is DRM

Net radio compromise means DRM is coming soon
[Ars Technica] A source at a major MP3-based Internet radio station who did not want to be named told Ars Technica that this is not the first time that SoundExchange has expressed interest in seeing streaming media locked down with DRM, but this is the first time it has been laid down on the table as absolutely necessary to any compromise that would deviate from the royalty agreement already approved by the Copyright Board.

Tech stocks gradually shake off the past
[USA Today] With zero fanfare, Internet stocks are emerging as some of the market leaders this year. Even while the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 notched new highs last week, both are left behind by even stronger performances of Internet stocks that investors have loved to hate since the dot-com implosion of 2000.

London gets free Wi-Fi
[ZDNet UK] The free network, which is being marketed at "," gives users free access if they agree to view an advertisement of 15 to 30 seconds in length every 15 minutes. If users don't want to view the ads, they are charged one of a range of fees, including $6 (2.95 pounds) per hour or $20 (9.95 pounds) a month.

HP, China Telecom push broadband
[PC World] A China Telecommunications Group Corp. (China Telecom) subsidiary in Jiangsu province and Hewlett-Packard Co. are offering customers a desktop computer with broadband Internet access for 198 renminbi, or US$26, per month.

MSN, MySpace China to cooperate
[China Herald] MSN China takes outsourcing strategy to build its Chinese portal, it cooperates with dozens of partners to provide various content and services to its users. Content and service providers have to pay for several millions Yuan a year to be a partner.

Sony's Crackle (nee Grouper) to offer videos by aspiring filmmakers
[NYT] “We have been moving away from YouTvand toward higher-quality content,” said Josh Feltzer, the founder of Grouper who is now co-president of Crackle, “by rewarding the aspiring producer versus the person who wants to share a video of a wedding or of someone jumping off a roof.”

Intel offers Extreme mobile CPU
[] Today Intel announced the Core 2 Extreme X7800, its first laptop CPU under the Extreme Edition brand. The 2.6GHz dual-core processor features 4MB of L2 cache and an 800MHz front-side bus, making it the highest-end chip in Intel's mobile lineup.

Ghost of Zuckerberg's past may haunt Facebook IPO
[TechCrunch] Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra, accuse Zuckerberg of stealing the source code, design, and business plan for Facebook in 2003 when he worked in the Harvard dorms as a programmer for their own tertiary education focused social-networking site, now known as ConnectU.

Newswatch 7.12.07: Court turns down net radio

Court declines to save Net radio
[The Register] The Internet radio death watch continues. Late yesterday, a federal appeals court denied an emergency stay petition from webcasters, refusing to delay the arrival of massive royalty hikes that threaten to bring down online radio as we know it. The new royalty rates are due to kick in on Sunday. The stay was rejected with a single sentence from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. "Petitioners have not satisfied the stringent standards required for a stay pending court review," the order read.

GOOG lets users mash up their own maps
[Reuters] MyMaps, as the new feature is known, allows consumers to select from more than one hundred mini-applications created by independent software developers. These allow users to overlay data on top of Google's popular online map service.

Facebook ads performing poorly
[Mashable] After toying around with its ads, Reach Students found that the clickthrough rate was only about 0.04%, with 1.4 million page impressions. Turns out, this low clickthrough rate has been the case for nearly every company that advertises on Facebook with both banners and flyers.

Audiobook selelr MediaBay shuts down
[DigMedWire]ediaBay, a provider of spoken word audio content that has been seeking a buyer since early last year, announced that it is ceasing operations.

MSFT, Mozilla squabble over Firefox flaw
[Computerworld] The debate over who is at fault for a Windows zero-day vulnerability continues, with Microsoft saying it's not responsible for the issue and Mozilla making plans to patch Firefox -- even though it accepts no blame for the flaw, either.

New iPhone rumor: APPL will release iPhone-like iPod
[Computerworld] Maybe this is what Morgan's Chang was seeing in the patent filings: 'Reports from Taiwan suggest that Apple may launch next month a new iPod that looks, feels and works like an iPhone, but without the phone part.'

And how much do I hear for this security hole?
[WaPo] A Swiss Internet start-up is raising the ire and eyebrows of the computer security community with the launch of an online auction house where software vulnerabilities are sold to the highest bidder.

Intel Classmate PC gives world's kids the laptop they need
[WaPo] The most interesting new laptop shipped so far this year isn't sold in the United States. It's also missing most of the standard parts of a computer: a modem, a CD burner, even a hard drive.

Newswatch 7.11.07: iPhone madness

Lightning strikes reported by iPod users

[AP] AP - Listen to an iPod during a storm and you may get more than electrifying tunes. A Canadian jogger suffered wishbone-shaped chest and neck burns, ruptured eardrums and a broken jaw when lightning traveled through his music player's wires.

iPhoneDevCamp yields cool new apps
[AP] With a game called "Tilt," players rotate the phone to control a creature who likes to eat falling leaves and butterflies. In "Pool," the display turns into a blue lake that creates ripples when you touch it, and if another member signed into the pool community on another iPhone touches the same spot at the same time, you will catch a fish. Another, "iPhoneVote," sets up a real-time polling program where users cast a "yea" or a "nay" by turning the phone up or sideways.

Morgan analysts fight it out over Nano iPhone
[Reuters] Asked about the conflicting reports, Brian Marchiony, a U.S. spokesman for JPMorgan, said Shope "holds JPMorgan's official view of Apple's stock." Chang declined comment.

Ask to build eco-friendly datacenter in WA
[SearchBlog] It's cool that the center is zero carbon emissions. I pinged Ask CEO Jim Lanzone and asked what he thought was significant about this new data center. In short, he said it's a sign of growth, of a willingness to make big investments, and a sign of preparations for new things to come.

Whole Foods CEO used chatrooms to dis Wild Oats
[Reuters] The chief executive of Whole Foods Market Inc. posted messages on a Yahoo! chat forum under an alias for years, talking up his own company while predicting a bleak future for Wild Oats Markets Inc., the rival it has since sought to acquire.

Flash update to fix security holes
[Adobe] An input validation error has been identified in Flash Player and earlier versions that could lead to the potential execution of arbitrary code. This vulnerability could be accessed through content delivered from a remote location via the user’s web browser, email client, or other applications that include or reference the Flash Player. (CVE-2007-3456)

Stupid rumor: MSFT buying Facebook for $6 bill
[Mashable] nalyst Henry Blodget is claiming, without a source, that Microsoft may be considering the purchase of Facebook for $6 billion: “No, of course we can’t confirm it. But it makes sense, don’t you think?…$6 billion’s a nice fat number, but it’s only 1/25th of Google’s valuation, and the Facebook folks clearly think they’re worth more than that. So maybe Steve will have to throw in another $5 or $10. Or $20.”

Newswatch 7.10.07: Analyst retracts Nano iPhone projectcion

Breaking: JP Morgan retracts Nano iPhone prediction
[TUAW] JP Morgan has just issued a note retracting Kevin Chang's earlier projection about a near term iPhone Nano. The new report says that the majority of Chang's assumptions appear to have come from a review of the patent that was published last week, adding that a near-term launch of an iPhone-nano product would be "unusual and highly risky."

Tivo, Amazon let you buy movies from your TV
[AP] The new ''Buy on TV'' feature allows TiVo users to search Amazon's video catalog and rent or purchase titles using their TiVo's remote control. The feature works for owners of TiVo Series2 and Series3 broadband-connected DVRs.

AAPL shares hit all-time high based on cheap iPhone predictions
[AP] A patent filing that was disclosed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last Thursday further fueled the rumor mill. The patent application, filed in November, describes a multifunctional handheld device with a circular touch pad displaying illuminated symbols that could change depending on the mode in use. Drawings in the filing show an iPod-like device with a scroll wheel resembling a rotary phone dial. Apple enthusiast Web sites quickly offered up their interpretation: an iPhone Nano.

Nielsen to measure sites by time spent, not page views
[AP] "Based on everything that's going on with the influx of Ajax and streaming, we feel total minutes is the best gauge for site traffic," said Scott Ross, director of product marketing at Nielsen. "We're changing our stance on how the data should be" used.

Phishing tool creates new sites in 2 mins
[Computerworld] Easy-peasy-sleazy: A new piece of PHP code making the malware rounds can install a phishing site on a compromised server in about two minutes.

Nano iPhone could come out before Firefox 3
[Computerworld] Mozilla doesn't expect to release a public beta of the next version of its Firefox Web browser until mid-September at the earliest.

Bay Partners throws money at Facebook leeches
[VentureBeat] Silicon Valley venture capital firm Bay Partners said it wants to write checks of between $25,000 and $250,000 to developers writing applications for Facebook’s platform. The project is remarkable because it suggests the firm believes these applications may grow into major companies simply by gorging on the massive 29 million userbase of Facebook as a testing ground.

Ballmer sheds little light on software+services plans
[Infoworld] n a keynote at the Worldwide Partner Conference in Denver, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer shed more details on the plan other executives, such as Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie, have been teasing out over the past year -- but not many more.

Newswatch 7.9.07: DVD Jon breaks iPhone/AT&T bond

Fixing typos by web users, without raising hackles
[NYT] With the cleverness of a Wall Street arbitrageur, David Ulevitch, a 25-year-old anthropology graduate from Washington University in St. Louis, has figured out how to use the numbers to make a business out of the propensity of Web surfers to make simple typing errors. Moreover, he has done it in a way that has not outraged the band of gray-bearded technical designers of the original Internet, which in itself is no simple feat and plays no small part in his success.

Apple plans cheaper, Nano-based iPhone
[Reuters] Apple Inc. plans to launch a cheaper version of the iPhone in the fourth quarter that could be based on the ultra-slim iPod Nano music player, according to a JP Morgan report.

Jon says he has cracked iPhone, can bypass AT&T
[] I’ve found a way to activate a brand new unactivated iPhone without giving any of your money or personal information to NSA AT&T. The iPhone does not have phone capability, but the iPod and WiFi work. Stay tuned!

RIAA to feds: Make XM-Sirius pay higher fees, restrict listener recording
[] At it again! The RIAA has already mounted a court challenge against XM over gadgets like the Pioneer Inno that allow consumers to trap individual songs originally played on air in alleged violation of copyright. Now it's urging the issue should be a deciding factors in the FCC's consideration of the proposedunion of XM and Sirius Satellite.

GOOG, YHOO working on new social nets
[Google Operating System] GOOG has been working for a year with Carnegie Mellon on a new social network, titled Socialstream, that is able to "draw content from a variety of sources. Socialstream would be based on a unified social network (USN), a single network that provides social data to other sites as a service. A service model allows many social networks to be linked together, letting them share both content and the nature of the relationships of the people who use them."
[TechCrunch] We’ve been hearing about a new Yahoo social network initiative called Mosh, which is at but can only be accessed from inside the Yahoo offices. It’s likely this would replace Yahoo’s 360 social network service, which has never really gotten traction. The existence of Yahoo Mosh also most likely puts a bullet in any further speculation that they are in acquisition talks with Bebo.

GOOG's $625m acquisition of Postini aimed at securing Apps
[] "This does reaffirm our commitment to delivering hosted services," said Dave Girouard, VP/GM of Google Enterprise. That hosted services market is the one in which GOOG execs swear they are not targeting MSFT, but which observers say is a definite threat to the dominance of Windows.

US wants 7 years for Qwest's Nacchio
[Infoworld] Prosecutors are recommending that former Qwest Communications International chief Joseph Nacchio serve more than seven years in prison for insider trading during the telecommunications boom.

GOOG Earth shows China's new nuke sub
[Strategic Security Blog] A commercial satellite image appears to have captured China's new nuclear ballistic missile submarine. The new class, known as the Jin-class or Type 094, is expected to replace the unsuccessful Xia-class (Type 092) of a single boat built in the early 1980s. The new submarine was photographed by the commercial Quickbird satellite in late 2006 and the image is freely available on the Google Earth web site.

Intel to buy stake in EMC's VMWare
[Reuters] Intel will invest about $219 million for a stake in VMware and a seat on the board of the Silicon Valley software company.

Newswatch 7.6.07: iPhone dev camp hopes to post first apps this weekend

iPhone too expensive for Vodaphone
[Guardian] Apple is demanding that its European mobile phone partners hand over a significant proportion of revenues generated by the iPhone and restrict the content that users can access. The portion of network revenues demanded by Apple is believed to have been behind Vodafone's decision not to sign up as the exclusive partner for the iPhone in the UK. That contract is understood to have been won by O2.

Germany to GOOG: Get over Gmail trademark loss
[Ars Technica] Google has been barred from pushing any further its fight for the Gmail trademark in Germany. Daniel Giersch emerges victorious in his clash with the Internet giant and gets the dubious distinction of keeping a trademark that makes everyone think of Google.

eBay launches hard-to-type Craigslist competitor Kijiji
[USA Today]Since February 2005, eBay has been operating an international classified forum called Kijiji, which means "village" in Swahili. The site allows users in more than two dozen countries to buy and sell goods and services that are difficult or impossible to ship or sell on eBay, such as baby-sitting services in Montreal or a leather recliner in Beijing. EBay's U.S. classified site, which launched last Friday, covers 220 cities in 50 states.

iPhone dev camp this weekend in SF
[Computerworld] After this weekend, if everything goes according to plan, you'll be able to download the first Web 2.0-based applications optimized for the Apple iPhone. The apps will stem from the collective brainpower of developers, designers and testers who turn out for this weekend's iPhone Developers Camp in San Francisco. "The focus is on people who are developers, designers and testers," said organizer Raven Zachary. "It'll be a great place for them to learn and work with their peers. [Participants] will work in teams over the weekend to build and launch applications for the iPhone. On Sunday, our goal is to have on our site, iPhoneDevCamp, links to a number of applications for the iPhone."

Bloggers say company tried to entrap movie downloaders on behalf of MPAA
[Computerworld] According to ZeroPaid, a file-sharing Web site, ostensibly offered users complete downloads of movies such as Batman Returns, along with free client software for speeding up the downloading process. The only problem, according to ZeroPaid was that is owned by Media Defender Inc. -- the Internet piracy prevention company. According to ZeroPaid, the custom client software being offered on the Miivii site downloaded video, but also scanned the contents of the user's hard drive for other copyrighted material.

How green was my iPhone?
[Greenpeace] So the iPhone is out. Not a single word from Apple about any green features. Nothing about reducing toxic chemicals or encouraging recycling for old phones dumped for the iPhone. Maybe it's just another case of Apple 'failing to communicate' its environmental priority? What is for sure is the iPhone appears far behind greener phones from Nokia and Sony Ericsson.

YouTube guitar lessons pulled in copyright spat
[NPR] Thousands of guitar students lost a valuable resource last week. The most popular guitar teacher on YouTube saw his more than 100 videos yanked from the site. The reason: a music company accused him of copyright infringement for an instructional video on how to play a Rolling Stones song.

UK Conservatives to music industry: Cut the misogyny and we'll extend copyright terms
[The Times] David Cameron yesterday offered the music industry a unique deal – cut the glorification of materialism, misogyny and guns in hits and the next Conservative government would back an extension of the copyright on sound recordings from the current 50-year period to 70 years. Cameron said: “Most people think these are all multimillionaires living in some penthouse flat. The reality is that many of these are low-earning session musicians who will be losing a vital pension.” ... Sir Cliff Richard, The Who and Sir Paul McCartney backed the campaign to extend the 50-year term.

Newswatch 7.5.07: GOOG blew Sicko slam, iPhone close to cracked

GOOG apology for Sicko slam
[The Official Google Blog] In this case, the blog criticized Michael Moore's new film "Sicko" to suggest how health care companies might use our ad programs when they face controversy. Our internal review of the piece before publication failed to recognize that readers would -- properly, but incorrectly -- impute the criticisms as reflecting Google's official position. We blew it.

In fact, Google does share many of the concerns that Mr. Moore expresses about the cost and availability of health care in America. Indeed, we think these issues are sufficiently important that we invited our employees to attend his film (nearly 1,000 people did so). We believe that it will fall to many entities -- businesses, government, educational institutions, individuals -- to work together to solve the current system's shortcomings. This is one reason we're deploying our technology and our expertise with the hope of improving health system information for everyone who is or will become a patient.

Backfence closes, citizen journalism a failure

[Mashable] The hyped “citizen journalism” trend isn’t panning out too well: Backfence, a network of 13 local sites where users could post their news items, classifieds and photos, is shutting down. Others will do a better postmortem than us, but my initial hunch is that these ventures (Bayosphere was another, that got rolled into Backfence when it failed) were too ambitious, and focused too heavily on “journalism” instead of tech.

UK company says it's close to unlocking iPhone

[InfoWorld] John McLaughlin, founder of Belfast, U.K.-based Uniquephones, said he has engineers working around the clock in several countries who are close to cracking the complex security system Apple has set up to ensure customers can only use iPhones with AT&T Wireless service.

Hard to resell an iPhone

[NYT] Across the nation, people looking to make a quick and easy profit bought one, two or as many phones as they could by recruiting friends to stand in line with them. Many of them were the first to get in line, camping overnight outside the stores. But now they are finding that the iPhone is much more like a Harry Potter book than a hard-to-find Wii video game machine: a great thing to be one of the first to own, but not high in resale value because supply is not constrained.

TechCrunch20 prize money
[ValleyWag] TechCrunch20, the upcoming conference planned by blogging blowhards Jason Calacanis and Michael Arrington, now comes complete with $50,000 in prize money for the startup judged, like a prized poodle, to be the "Best in Show."

Belgium says ISPs must protect copyright
[TechCrunch] A court in Belgium has ruled that an Internet Service Provider bears the responsibility for stopping illegal file-sharing on its network. Although the ruling was made in Belgium, it relies on the E.U. copyright directive and may set precedent for the entire Union according to IFPI, an organization that represents the recording industry world wide.

MSFT takes $1b charge for XBox
[Reuters] Microsoft said on Thursday said it would take a more than $1 billion charge to fix "an unacceptable number of repairs" to its Xbox 360 video game consoles and had missed shipment targets for the end of June. Microsoft is under pressure with mounting complaints about Xbox 360 failures on the Internet and growing expectations that Sony could slash the price of its rival PlayStation 3 console at a video game exposition next week.

GOOG subpoenaed for keyword data
[IP Law Blog][In] the latest development in the long-running case of Rhino Sports v. Sport Court, ... the plaintiff Sport Court (now Conner Sport Court International) claimed that Rhino Sports had breached an injunction by buying the keyword phrase "sport court," when it fact Rhino Sports apparently had just broad-matched the word "court." The parties aren't done squabbling yet, because now Sport Court has issued a subpoena to Google requesting records of all purchases of "sport court" as a keyword; the associated "cost per click calculations"; estimated ad positions for the keyword; search volume trends for the keyword.

Hello! Maybe I'm missing something big, and maybe I'm not aware of how common these types of subpoenas to search engines are, but this data sounds like it would have significant competitive value. At minimum, I suspect every trademark owner and SEO would LOVE to have this data.

Newswatch 7.3.07: Apple shares up as profit margin revealed

APPL's 55% profit margins on iPhone makes investors happy

[AP] On Tuesday, the research company iSuppli reported that a tear-down analysis of the iPhone showed its bill of materials and manufacturing costs totaled $265.83. That means Apple would generate a margin of more than 55 percent for every 8 gigabyte iPhone it sold for $599, iSuppli said in a report.

GOOG makes FeedBurner free

[TechCrunch] FeedBurner MyBrand, a service that allows users to control the URL of feeds is now free -- a move that will be strongly welcomed. For many, the biggest argument against using Feedburner was the need to give up control of your feed URL is back

[AP] The music download site that was an obstacle to Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organization has been shut down by Russian authorities, according to the U.S. government. The victory, however, was short lived: The same company behind has launched a similar site that resembles the shuttered service, provides the same legal disclaimers and sells songs at a fraction of the price of iTunes.

SAP admits data was taken from Oracle

[NYT] The German software company says an American subsidiary’s actions were “inappropriate” but contests a claim of espionage.

NetSuite files for IPO

[] The company, which hopes to raise $75 million based on its registration filing fee, is currently controlled by Tako Ventures, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lawrence Investments that is owned by Larry Ellison, Oracle founder and chief executive.

LG to release YouTube phone
[TechCrunch] Apple received a lot of attention earlier this year when they announced a deal with Google to deliver YouTube video natively onto the iPhone; in comparison the LG deal is far more interesting. Essentially users will be able to record videos on their mobile phones then upload them immediately to YouTube through a streamlined interface.

Newswatch 7.2.07: iPhone activation woes, the threat to China, hackers' delight

AT&T tries to fix iPhone woes
[Wash Post] While blogs continue to simmer with complaints from people who waited months to buy an iPhone and now are experiencing problems activating it, AT&T Inc. said Sunday that the situation has improved. "We are working on any issues on an individual basis with customers who were impacted," said Michael Coe, a spokesman for AT&T.

iPhone: brilliant device, horrendous activation
[Ryan Irelan] The biggest frustration I had was that everytime I called I got a different answer as to why my phone wasn’t activated. Once a rep even blamed Apple and their email server were backlogged. I confirmed that the final activation email is triggered by AT&T, but from a quick look at the headers is coming from Apple servers (Xserves, actually). I do not, however, think Apple was the bottleneck here. Do I know that for sure? No, I don’t. I don’t anything for sure about this whole situation because everyone at AT&T was treating it like a magical voodoo process, which was in the hands of a server and no one could change anything.

Asia fears impact of the iPhone
[NYT] “Apple’s impact will be bigger than Asian handset makers think,” said Kim Yoon-ho, an analyst in Seoul at Prudential Securities. “The iPhone is different from previous mobile phones. It is the prototype of the future of mobile phones.” The fear now is that Apple may repeat in wireless communications what it accomplished in portable music with the iPod: changing the industry. Manufacturers like Samsung Electronics and Sony could find themselves wondering what hit them, say analysts and industry executives.

Race is on to hack iPhone
[Computerworld] By Sunday night (U.S. time), hackers had made progress towards circumventing the iPhone activation process, gaining access to key system files and finding two passwords used with the phone, according to the iPhone Dev Wiki. "I think by the end of tomorrow we'll have an activation crack," one user wrote on the site.

Text-friendly hopefuls vie for hearts and thumbs
[Wash Post] "Your cellphone is probably the one piece of technology that is with you all the time," said Joe Rospars, Obama's new-media director. He oversees the mobile campaign, which kicked off a few days ago. "The reality is, I don't think there's a campaign or a political organization right now that has figured out how to smartly use this technology. There's going to be a lot of experimentation."

Murder, (s)he Wiki'd
[Wash Post] Investigators had not yet discovered the bodies of pro wrestler Chris Benoit, his wife and their 7-year-old son when someone altered Benoit's Wikipedia entry to mention his wife's death, authorities said.

Public Enemy turns to digital distributor
[NYT] TuneCore, a digital music distributor, is expected to announce that Public Enemy, one of the seminal hip-hop groups, will use its service for its new album.

Scamming African scam artists
[NYT] Prized scam-baiter trophies include photographs of the practitioners and their accomplices holding signs intended to humiliate them and saying things like “I am a bad person” or making statements that are unsuitable for print. The Web site uses photos of scam practitioners holding signs as navigation tools for the site. One scam-bait video that turned into a YouTube hit shows scam artists in a Lagos grocery store acting out the dead parrot sketch from “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”

RoboCops and Soldiers
[AP] "Right now, we have no plans to take any robot with a lethal-weapon approach to the market," Jim Rymarcsuk of iRobot said. "For this system, and all systems we have looked at, there is a human in the loop making the decisions. This in no way is giving the robot the capability to use force on its own."

Hackers target execs and families
[InfoWorld] E-mails contained the name and title of the executive in the subject line, as well as a malicious Microsoft Word document containing executable code. The hackers are trying to trick the victim into thinking the messages comes from someone they know, in the hope that the victim will willingly install, for example, a program that can record keystrokes.

Newswatch 6.28.07: FTC cool to net neutrality

By Richard Koman for SiliconValleyWatcher

FTC urges caution on net neutrality
[AP] The chairwoman of the FTC recommended on Wednesday against additional regulation of high-speed Internet traffic. Deborah Platt Majoras said that without evidence of “market failure or demonstrated consumer harm, policy makers should be particularly hesitant to enact new regulation in this area.”

Results in Malibu Rum ad contest spark outcry on YouTube
[NYT] The winner, however, was posted Monday, and finalists were not publicly named. Some consumers who lost the contest were quick to start a rumbling on YouTube message boards that the contest had been rigged — a charge that Malibu denied. One YouTube user even made a six-minute conspiracy theory video that compared images from a professional Malibu commercial promoting the contest with the winner’s video, saying in part: “Wow, the same nose!? The same guy? You be the judge!”

Netflix settles patent claim against Blockbuster
[AP] The secrecy surrounding the settlement raises the possibility that the two rivals had reached a "sweetheart agreement" that may stifle competition, said Scott Kamber, a New York lawyer who has filed a separate lawsuit alleging that Netflix abused the patent process in an attempt to monopolize the market for online DVD rentals. The judge refused to oversee the settlement because Netflix and Blockbuster wouldn't provide him with a copy of the agreement.

Do social nets encourage cyberbullying?
[Totally Wired] What's most interesting to me in this report is the reality that once you make something digital it's very hard to prevent it from being copied, forwarded or misused in some way if someone has it out for you, and that most teens are still shocked that certain photos or communications that were meant to be private turn up in incidents of harassment or bullying. According to the report, "one in 6 teens (15%) told us someone had forwarded or posted communication they assumed was private."

YouTube wins sex-on-the-beach case
[Ars Technica] Brazilian model Daniella Cicarelli and a sex video. Cicarelli and her boyfriend, Tato Malzoni, had sued YouTube after a video of the couple having sex on a public beach in Brazil appeared on the site. The pair argued that YouTube was violating their privacy. Judge Gustavo Santini Teodoro ruled that the couple's privacy claims were unfounded and ordered Cicarelli to pay fees to each of the defendants.

Two iPhones per person
[] Apple announced this morning that iPhone sales will be limited to two per person, max. Interestingly, that's one more than the AT&T stores will allow you to buy. And just so you don't make a trip in vain, Apple is offering a handy-dandy tool for checking iPhone availability at your local store.

Newswatch 6.27.07: Reviewers say iPhone a thing of beauty

iPhone lives up to the hype (but the network sucks)
[Mercury News] Early reviewers raved about both the iPhone's physical design and the software at its core. The iPhone is "a classic example of the Apple look: slim, shiny and elegant," Levy wrote. "As it did with MP3 players, Apple has made even its most stylish competitors look like Soviet-issue contraptions." The iPhone's software "sets a new bar for the smart-phone industry," added Mossberg and Katherine Boehret in their joint review for the Journal. But they unanimously lambasted the speed at which the device accesses the Web over AT&T's network.

GOOG on offensive against Blogger spam
[Plagiarism Today] over the past week or so, I’ve noticed that a lot of the Blogspot links have been returning results indicating that the blog has been locked down for “Possible Blogger terms of service violations."

US behind in green investment
[] Cleantech venture capitalist says U.S. is 20 years behind and better get onboard if it wants to take the lead and cash in.

RIAA pigopolists tried to shake down 10-year-old
[Register] An unemployed single mom with health problems has renewed her legal challenge of the RIAA, with unseemly new details, including accusations the cartel's goons of trying to contact the woman's 10-year-old daughter at school by impersonating her grandmother on the phone.

Digg founder Kevin Rose opens Pownce (sorta)
[TechCrunch] The founding team of the company also includes Leah Culver, Daniel Burka, and Shawn Allen. Pownce looks to be a web based sharing network with an optional desktop client for advanced features.

BBC iPlayer to launch limited open beta in July
[Mashable] The iPlayer is only available for Windows users in the UK, though a Mac version is still in the works. As the iPlayer will be using Microsoft DRM technology to enforce the limited download period for saved programs, a bit of controversy has been raised regarding the omission of open source advocates and Mac users. These issues are being addressed by the BBC as well.

MPAA sues Peekvid, YouTVPC
[Ars Technica] The gist of the suit is that businesses should not be allowed to prosper from illicit material, even if they do not host it. Both YouTVPC and Peekvid provide access to some of the most popular video content in the world, but they do so by linking up other sites (many of them outside the US) where the content is stored. This allows them to claim that they are doing nothing illegal, even though providing access to this unlicensed material is the extent of their business. Koman says: Um, MPAA might have a good point with this one.

MSFT launches 'low-cost' PC in India
[] The IQ PC, created in partnership with AMD, will sell for around $500 and be targeted at education market. Koman says: Huh?? $500 is cheap? You can buy an HP laptop for $450 at Office Depot today.

Newswatch 6.26.07: iPhone Mania

Is anyone listening to Silent Tuesday?
iPlan costs hit Apple shares
[FT] Shares of Apple fell more than 2 per cent after Apple and AT&T revealed three new pricing plans for iPhone. Koman's take: Check. $80 for voice and data. Well, if you have to check your cell bill, you can't afford it.

Apple announces data plans
[Apple PR via AppleInsider] All three plans include unlimited data, Visual Voicemail, 200 SMS text messages, roll-over minutes and unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling. With everything else already included, iPhone customers can easily choose the plan that's right for them based on the amount of voice minutes they plan to use each month. In addition, iPhone customers can choose from any of AT&T's standard service plans.

[NewsforReal] Millions of Americans will chuck their perfectly good cell phones, sending them off to either a local landfill or shipped across the sea to some third world nation where peasants will retrieve the precious metals and chuck the unwanted toxic materials into their landfills or the sea. ... Products that actually enhance life and personal productivity don't need a lot marketing. I knew months before the first personal computer was going to be available at my local Radio Shack, and I was there the day it arrived ... But products like the iPhone require lots of buzz-creation, since they are not really needed by anyone. At best they are nothing but show-off enhancements on existing gadgets.

Will iPhone change the way we live?
[SF Chron] "The iPhone has the potential to raise the level of technology that each one of us carries every day," said Kevin Almeroth, associate director for UC Santa Barbara's Center for Information Technology and Society. ... With its sleek, simple design, the iPhone targets the average Joe and Jane, making smart phones more accessible than before. ... But the iPhone in its current form ... isn't running on the fastest cell phone network. Its touch screen interface may not be that easy to use. It doesn't have GPS ... It doesn't let users download music and videos wirelessly....

Judge denies GOOG's bid to keep MSFT under antitrust oversight

[FT] Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who oversees the terms of the four-year-old agreement that settled the US antitrust case against Microsoft, refused to consider a Google application to have the agreement extended beyond November, when large parts of it expire. She said Google’s only course of action was to lodge its complaint with the US justice department - which has said it is satisfied no further action is needed. Koman's take: You will recall that the DOJ lawyer making that call used to do a lot of business with Redmond.

GOOG targets nonprofits with Google Earth program
[Computerworld] Google Outreach Google has launched a program to help nonprofits use Google Earth to raise awareness of their missions and better demonstrate what they do.

GOOG launches news in images
[Googlified] Whenever you hover over a photo, the headlines list on the right will highlight the headline that’s related to the story, and displays a snippet of the news story. It's actually quite groovy.

Arrington's latest spokesblogging gig
[ValleyWag] He joins a "conversation" on gaining the user's trust -- on Never heard of it? It's a pop-up site which turns out to be registered to Hakia, a new search engine, which is one of the clients of Federated Media, the company that sells Techcrunch ads.

Newswatch 6.25.07: YHOO sales chief is out

GOOG asks DOJ to keep an eye on MSFT Desktop
[AP] Google Inc. is pressing for an extension to the U.S. Justice Department's oversight of Microsoft Corp.

Judge has compromise to keep Vonage alive
[AP] A judge suggested a possible compromise in a patent dispute between Internet phone carrier Vonage and Verizon Communications that would allow Vonage to continue signing up new customers while it modifies its technologies.

Internet agency to discuss domain name expansion
[AP] New Internet addresses, including those entirely in foreign languages, are under review by a key oversight agency, although meetings this week in Puerto Rico are likely to conclude with more questions.

GooglePlex expanding in Mountain View
[MediaNews] When the ink dries on a new contract between Google and the city of Mountain View, the search giant will be on its way to an additional 310,000 square feet of office space in the city it calls home.

YHOO sales chief out
[AP] Yahoo Inc. said Sunday that its chief domestic sales officer resigned and that the company will merge its search and display advertising departments in the U.

Yahoo sales chief is out
[WebProNews] The post-Terry Semel era at Yahoo sees a shakeup at the top of its cross-platform, North America sales team, as Wenda Harris Millard moves from the portal company to Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. — Did Millard jump or was she pushed?

Hah. Batelle says his authors should have disclosed
[TechCrunch] More happenings on the sponsored text debate: John Battelle, CEO of FM Publishing, the ad network behind the ads, throw his authors, including us, under a bus today when he writes: … hmm. Disclose? Disclose what?

Defamation lawsuit seeks to unmask anonymous cowards
[The Register] Server logs? what server logs? — They should've known better than to flame law students. — Two female law students at Yale University have filed a lawsuit in a federal district court in Connecticut against an operator …

Macs 'snap-crackle-pop' after 10.4.1
[InfoWorld] Apple's update to Mac OS X 10.4.10 last week is driving some users crazy from a new popping sound. Dubbed "Snap Crackle Pop" on Apple's support forum by the first to note the problem, the noise was irritating enough for one to call it "maddening," while another claimed it "would slowly drive me insane."

Newswatch 6.25.07: YHOO sales chief is out

GOOG asks DOJ to keep an eye on MSFT Desktop
[AP] Google Inc. is pressing for an extension to the U.S. Justice Department's oversight of Microsoft Corp.

Judge has compromise to keep Vonage alive
[AP] A judge suggested a possible compromise in a patent dispute between Internet phone carrier Vonage and Verizon Communications that would allow Vonage to continue signing up new customers while it modifies its technologies.

Internet agency to discuss domain name expansion
[AP] New Internet addresses, including those entirely in foreign languages, are under review by a key oversight agency, although meetings this week in Puerto Rico are likely to conclude with more questions.

GooglePlex expanding in Mountain View
[MediaNews] When the ink dries on a new contract between Google and the city of Mountain View, the search giant will be on its way to an additional 310,000 square feet of office space in the city it calls home.

YHOO sales chief out
[AP] Yahoo Inc. said Sunday that its chief domestic sales officer resigned and that the company will merge its search and display advertising departments in the U.

Yahoo sales chief is out
[WebProNews] The post-Terry Semel era at Yahoo sees a shakeup at the top of its cross-platform, North America sales team, as Wenda Harris Millard moves from the portal company to Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. — Did Millard jump or was she pushed?

Hah. Batelle says his authors should have disclosed
[TechCrunch] More happenings on the sponsored text debate: John Battelle, CEO of FM Publishing, the ad network behind the ads, throw his authors, including us, under a bus today when he writes: … hmm. Disclose? Disclose what?

Defamation lawsuit seeks to unmask anonymous cowards
[The Register] Server logs? what server logs? — They should've known better than to flame law students. — Two female law students at Yale University have filed a lawsuit in a federal district court in Connecticut against an operator …

Macs 'snap-crackle-pop' after 10.4.1
[InfoWorld] Apple's update to Mac OS X 10.4.10 last week is driving some users crazy from a new popping sound. Dubbed "Snap Crackle Pop" on Apple's support forum by the first to note the problem, the noise was irritating enough for one to call it "maddening," while another claimed it "would slowly drive me insane."

Newswatch 6.25.07: YHOO sales chief is out

GOOG asks DOJ to keep an eye on MSFT Desktop
[AP] Google Inc. is pressing for an extension to the U.S. Justice Department's oversight of Microsoft Corp.

Judge has compromise to keep Vonage alive
[AP] A judge suggested a possible compromise in a patent dispute between Internet phone carrier Vonage and Verizon Communications that would allow Vonage to continue signing up new customers while it modifies its technologies.

Internet agency to discuss domain name expansion
[AP] New Internet addresses, including those entirely in foreign languages, are under review by a key oversight agency, although meetings this week in Puerto Rico are likely to conclude with more questions.

GooglePlex expanding in Mountain View
[MediaNews] When the ink dries on a new contract between Google and the city of Mountain View, the search giant will be on its way to an additional 310,000 square feet of office space in the city it calls home.

YHOO sales chief out
[AP] Yahoo Inc. said Sunday that its chief domestic sales officer resigned and that the company will merge its search and display advertising departments in the U.

Yahoo sales chief is out
[WebProNews] The post-Terry Semel era at Yahoo sees a shakeup at the top of its cross-platform, North America sales team, as Wenda Harris Millard moves from the portal company to Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. — Did Millard jump or was she pushed?

Hah. Batelle says his authors should have disclosed
[TechCrunch] More happenings on the sponsored text debate: John Battelle, CEO of FM Publishing, the ad network behind the ads, throw his authors, including us, under a bus today when he writes: … hmm. Disclose? Disclose what?

Defamation lawsuit seeks to unmask anonymous cowards
[The Register] Server logs? what server logs? — They should've known better than to flame law students. — Two female law students at Yale University have filed a lawsuit in a federal district court in Connecticut against an operator …

Macs 'snap-crackle-pop' after 10.4.1
[InfoWorld] Apple's update to Mac OS X 10.4.10 last week is driving some users crazy from a new popping sound. Dubbed "Snap Crackle Pop" on Apple's support forum by the first to note the problem, the noise was irritating enough for one to call it "maddening," while another claimed it "would slowly drive me insane."

Newswatch 6.22.07: YHOO board next for makeover?

YHOO censoring open source
[Slated] Yahoo seems to have developed a policy of censoring answers in their "Yahoo! Answers" service, if that answer contains a suggestion to use Open Source alternatives to Microsoft software. The gist of it is, that a fellow Yahoo'er posted a question about what to do with a PC that had run into unsolvable Windows problems, since that user did not have a Windows install disc. Amanda suggested, quite amiably, that the hapless user should simply install Ubuntu Linux, since it looked like they'd need to start over from scratch anyway. Amanda was subsequently rewarded with a warning from Yahoo that her answer was "in violation of our Community Guidelines or Terms of Service.", and they promptly deleted her answer.

EU widens data storage probe beyond GOOG
An investigation set off by concerns over how long Google stores user information has widened to include all Internet search engines.

CFO leaving TiVO for mystery Valley company
[AP] Steve Sordello has resigned as chief financial officer to take the same role at an undisclosed Silicon Valley company.

YouTube to stream to iPhone
[AFP] Apple said it tailored iPhone software to receive content from the superstar video-sharing website and play it on the device's 3.5-inch wide display. iPhones go on sale at US Apple and AT&T stores on 29 June.

Will YHOO board get makeover too?
[] "They just furnished a massive compensation package to Terry and then turned around and terminated his tenure. It begs the question about whether there's some intelligent design behind the program," said Patrick McGurn, executive vice president at ISS. "Problems on the compensation front can be a window into the boardroom," McGurn added. "A second part of the process could be in looking at succession among the directors."

YouTube meets craigslist in new classifieds site
[] There's a new Web site called Real People Real Stuff where anyone can post a classified video. As expected, there are plenty of bad-quality clips and boring infomercial-type stuff, selling real estate, cars and even Shih Tzu puppies. But there are also some hidden gems. For instance, some guy in Alexandria, Va., wrote a song about his company's "Dog Guard" invisible pet fence. "We keep your hound aroundddd. We keep your hound aroundddd," he croons as he strums his guitar.

eBay to re-enter Chinese auction biz
[NYT] It is eBay’s second attempt to break into the Chinese market after the collapse of the company’s EachNet venture, and the first with a local partner.

General decries Google Earth
[Computerworld] Lt. Gen. David Deptula, head of U.S. Air Force intelligence and surveillance, is decrying the commercial availability of data available through software such as Google Earth, saying it poses a danger to security but can't be shut down.

Zepplin may bring riche tourists to CA

[USA Today] Start-up plans to offer zeppelin rides and rentals over the San Francisco Bay Area if the government and investors come through.

Yahoo/eBay Merger Case Strengthened By Semel Departure
[Seeking Alpha] I believe all the turmoil around Yahoo! (YHOO) following CEO Terry Semel's resignation fortifies the case for a merger with eBay (EBAY), which I defended before. — Keep in mind that Google (GOOG) is the perennial enemy to both.

Appeals court limits photogs' copyright claims
[] In a decision called "curious" by an intellectual property expert, a federal appellate panel in Atlanta has reversed its circuit's 6-year-old opinion in a major copyright case, declaring the ruling's mandate on behalf of freelance photographers to be "moot."

Group chat in Google Talk

Newswatch 6.20.07: Lessig moves on from copyright battle

Murdoch talking with Yahoo about handing over MySpace(!)[Washington Post] News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch has been discussing a deal to swap his MySpace social-networking site with Yahoo for a one-quarter stake in the Internet-portal company, even as he pursues his $5 billion offer for Dow Jones. The talks with Yahoo are preliminary and began before chief executive Terry S. Semel resigned Monday. It is unclear whether the talks will move forward under Semel's successor, Jerry Yang.

Lessig leaving copyright to attack 'corruption'
[Lessig blog] I am not (as one friend wrote) "leaving the movement." "The movement" has my loyalty as much today as ever. But I have come to believe that until a more fundamental problem is fixed, "the movement" can't succeed either. Compare: Imagine someone devoted to free culture coming to believe that until free software supports free culture, free culture can't succeed. So he devotes himself to building software. I am someone who believes that a free society -- free of the "corruption" that defines our current society -- is necessary for free culture, and much more. For that reason, I turn my energy elsewhere for now.

Richmond schools put IBM in $5 million bind
[AP] District puts IBM Corp. in a tough spot by asking the company to forgive a $5 million debt that began when educators bought computers from Big Blue way back in 1989.

GOOG to lobby for carbon reduction
[FT] Google is starting to throw its political weight around by looking to persuade politicians, energy companies and PC users to work together to reduce carbon emissions.

IP won't kill social media
[Denise Howell] On the panel I moderated this morning, captioned Will Intellectual Property Kill Social Media? The answer was resoundingly “no,” and the converse also held true: social media won’t kill IP, either. Instead, they’ll find a way to productively co-exist, or so we all seemed to think.

Leaked story: Yahoo buys
[GigaOM] Yahoo will announce tomorrow it has bought collegiate sports site The news is available due to what seems to be a publishing timing error on an Associated Press story by an Austrian web publication. Yahoo is describing the deal as Jerry Yang’s first as CEO, though recently ousted CEO Terry Semel’s regime had initiated discussions.

Judge deals blow to RIAA
[Slashdot] A federal judge in New Mexico has put the brakes on the RIAA's lawsuit train, at least in the US District Court for New Mexico. Judge Lorenzo F. Garcia denied the RIAA's motion to engage in discovery. This means that the RIAA will not be able to easily get subpoenas to obtain identifying information from the University.

MSFT agrees to change Vista virtualization
[Washington Post] Microsoft has agreed to revise its Vista operating system under a compromise with federal and state officials monitoring the company's compliance with a five-year-old antitrust decree, according to a court filing last night.

SueTube: sex, copyright and rock 'n' roll

[Ars Technica] "A victory for Viacom could potentially have enormous implications for Yahoo, eBay, Amazon, MySpace, and many other Internet companies, because they all rely on the same DMCA Safe Harbors to protect many facets of their businesses, as well. The stakes are high all around."

Newswatch 6.15.07: eBay, GOOG spat getting nasty

eBay, GOOG fighting over payments plans
[AP] A spat that erupted this week between eBay Inc. and Google Inc. after Google tried to siphon attention from the online auctioneer's grand user celebration might presage more tension in one of the Internet's most interesting new rivalries.

eBay pulls ads from GOOG after spat
[AFP] EBay and Google have turned from ardent partners to nettled adversaries, with the renowned online auction site yanking it ads from the world's most popular Internet search engine.

Apple iPhone sighting?

1 million downloads of WinSafari
[AP] Apple Inc. said Thursday that users have downloaded more than 1 million copies of the Windows version of its Safari Internet browser in the first 48 hours it was available.

Are private MySpace postings subject to discovery?
[Mashable] A teenager was sexually assaulted in 2003 by another middle schooler, who was convicted. In defending against her suit, the board of education wants to look at her private MySpace and Facebook posts to check her claims of emotional distress. Can Facebook and MySpace be forced to grant access to the teenager’s personal accounts? (Koman's take: Yes, since she is bringing the suit and the posts are "reasonably calculated to lead to admissible evidence" they should be discoverable.)

MSFT says GOOG's Vista complaint is baseless
[Computerworld] Google maintains that a feature built into the Windows Vista operating system that allows users to search a computer's hard drive did not leave room for competition from other desktop search applications.

Linux leaders plan counterattack on MSFT
[Computerworld] Leaders in the open-source software field congregated at Google headquarters this week to debate the future of the movement and face down recent patent threats by Microsoft. responds to lawyer class-action suit
[] This lawsuit is an effort to censor and to chill Avvo’s analysis, commentary and opinion in order to protect attorneys who have disciplinary actions in their backgrounds. It seems to reflect a belief, on behalf of the lawyers bringing this lawsuit, that the First Amendment doesn’t apply to the dissemination of opinions and information about them.

Moore's 'Sicko' pirated online
[AdAge] Michael Moore's new documentary "Sicko" has been pirated and is now widely available for download on peer-to-peer content sites like

GOOG hard at work on video ID
[Google Blog] We are beginning tests on an automated system to identify and match specific videos. The technology extracts key visual aspects of uploaded videos and compares that information against reference material provided by copyright holders. Achieving the accuracy to drive automated policy decisions is difficult, and requires a highly tuned system.

Newswatch 6.14.07: Flashless cameras, MSFT Linspired, Vista mystery image

Mystery image is anti-piracy measure
[Seattle PI] A tiny image of three men embedded in the hologram of the Vista DVD is not an easter egg but an anti-piracy measure, according to Microsoft.

Linspire, MSFT in patent deal
[AP] Microsoft Corp. announced Wednesday that it will license instant messaging and digital media technology to a small desktop Linux distributor, Linspire Inc.

Updating maps on the spot and sharing the fixes [NYT] TomTom’s new Map Share software combines cartography with community to allow users to update maps on the go.

Second Life adds voice to Live Grid
[Mashable] What is being called the Voice First Look Viewer is available for download to use in the live grid, meaning all users can now have voice options in their Second Life game.

Human-based search engine wants to hire searchers
[Computerworld] A search engine that uses people to find search results has begun taking applications from people who want to be paid for researching search queries. Mahalo hopes to have 10,000 of the most popular search terms in place by year's end.

Colorado federal court allows discovery of anonymous P2P defendants
[Internet Cases] Warner Brothers, UMG and Electra didn't know the names or the locations of the defendants, but only knew that the IP addresses from which the alleged infringement occurred belonged to Qwest Communications. So they asked the court for permission to obtain immediate discovery from Qwest to find out each John Doe defendant's true name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, and Media Access Control address.

Joost offers free TV shows but beta lacks juice
[USAToday] Maybe Joost really does represent the future of television. But for now the new, ad-supported Internet TV service feels retro - and thin. Joost lets you watch a variety of full-length TV shows for free on a computer. But there's no live programming at the moment, and the sparse lineup is underwhelming.

Chinese net addict kills mother for money
[Reuters] A teenage boy in southern China, "heavily addicted" to the Internet, killed his mother and severely injured his father with a kitchen knife after he was refused money to go to a cybercafe, state media said on Thursday.

Kodak says sensor can eliminate flash
[Reuters] Eastman Kodak Co. said on Thursday it has developed digital camera technology that nearly eliminates the need for flash photography, part of the company's effort to make money from its deep patent portfolio.

Newswatch 6.13.07: Green Valley?

Google, Intel seek to save power
[NYT] Google and Intel are leading a consortium of companies in an effort to reduce the amount of power wasted by personal computers.

Analyst downgrades Apple stock, but others don't agree
[Bloomberg] Apple was downgraded to the equivalent of a "hold" rating at ThinkEquity Partners, which said the stock was overvalued due to excessive "hype" over the iPhone.

Former CA exec will pay restitution
[NYT] Stephen Richards will pay more than $29 million in restitution as part of an accounting fraud at the company.

EditGrid gets funded
[StartupSquad] EditGrid, one of the most promising and enterprising startups in the Web20 as well as Office20 space has finally raised Series A funding. The funding round was led by WI Harper.

Dissident YHOO shareholders send message
[NYT] About a third of stockholders voted against the re-election of one or more company directors, heeding the advice of advisory firms.

YT to launch Euro versions?
[Mashable] Based on the upcoming Press Day held by Google in Paris next week, and the place-holder, blank or error status of URLS such as, and, there is much speculation going around that Google will be launching YouTube sites on a more global scale.

Slacker offers more control over net radio
[Mashable] With the Slacker Station Creator, adding fifteen or more artists to your station will allow you to listen to tracks by only the artists you’ve chosen. You can also filter your search results according to the popularity of tracks played.

Facebook sold 10% of shares?
[Mashable] There’s a big rumor going around that Facebook had to sell 10% of its shares in order to pay for enough hardware to handle the rapid increase of users in the last year.

WinSafari slower than IE, Firefox
[Wired] Apple CEO Steve Jobs touted Safari 3's speed as one of its most appealing features. But in tests by Wired News, the first public beta of Safari for Windows is actually slower than both Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 2 when accessing Ajax-intensive web applications.

Firings show Chron cuts come from hard news

The Chronicle identifies some of those laid off last week. The list is notable for being weighted towards the serious journalists and editors, with a special emphasis on enterprise reporting. Among the fallen:

David Tong - assistant business editor. "David Tong came to The Chronicle in 1997 after many years at the Oakland Tribune. In his career as a business editor he has nurtured many reporters who went on to great careers, several at the Wall Street Journal." - Ken Howe, business ed.

George Judson - asst. ME for enterprise. "He oversaw some of the newspaper's major enterprise projects -- including much of the coverage of the BALCO steroids scandal, extensive coverage of global warming, a series on execessive use of force by city police and more." - Deputy ME Steve Proctor.

Gail Bensinger - foreign editor. "Gail was involved in some of the biggest stories of our time. It was her acuity that was largely responsible for the consistently outstanding files from Iraq, the Middle East and elsewhere that graced the Examiner's and Chronicle's foreign pages, not to mention Page 1. The "megagraphics" that she conceptualized and produced set the gold standard for reader service. Oh, and when she had the time, Gail also wrote beautifully. Her departure after 32 years of faithful, professional service represents an irreplaceable loss, for her colleagues and for the reading public." - National editor Andrew Ross

Marc Sandalow - Washington reporter. "His contributions to the paper over the years were enormous, but his under-fire direction of bureau coverage on 9-11 will always stand out. More recently his three-part series examining the career of San Francisco Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi was the first thorough look at the woman." - Politics editor Jim Brewer.

Newswatch 6.12.07: YHOO shareholders vote for censortship

Apple to sell music through UK social net

[FT] Apple is tapping into the popularity of social networking sites, as it announces a deal on Wednesday to embed its iTunes internet music download service into the Bebo website.

YouTube test video fingerprinting
[AP] Disney and Time Warner are among YouTube's partners in long-awaited deployment.

Google tightens limits on data retention
[NYT] Addressing privacy concerns, the company announced on Tuesday that it would keep the Web search histories of users for only 18 months instead of 24.

New lawyer web search creates controversy
[WSJ] Steve Berman, the high-profile Seattle class-action lawyer, doesn’t like Avvo. In an article today in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, he called the site a “flat-out scam” that does not serve the interest of consumers.

Yahoo shareholders defeat anticensorship measure
[Computerworld] Yahoo Inc. shareholders voted down a proposal that would have forced management to adopt stronger policies regarding government attempts to limit Internet access and to curtail freedom of speech in countries where Yahoo operates.

Repubs concerned over patent reform bill
[IP Law] The contingent, made up of Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), and Jeff Sessions (R-AL), noted the level of disagreement among the various groups advocating for (or against) reform.

eBay thinks outside with eBox
[] Initiative calls for auction kingpin to rebuild its systems for faster development--and maybe more hosted apps.

Newswatch 6.11.07: US sides with MSFT in GOOG antitrust claim

Microsoft Finds Legal Defender in Justice Dept
[NYT] The top antitrust official at the Justice Department last month urged state prosecutors to reject a confidential antitrust complaint filed by Google that is tied to a consent decree that monitors Microsoft’s behavior. Google has accused Microsoft of designing its latest operating system, Vista, to discourage the use of Google’s desktop search program. The official, Thomas O. Barnett, an assistant attorney general, had until 2004 been a top antitrust partner at the law firm that has represented Microsoft in several antitrust disputes.

Patent ruling strikes blow at Qualcomm

[NYT] Tens of millions of new mobile phones containing certain Qualcomm semiconductors could be barred from import into the US under a ruling issued Thursday by International Trade Commission.

Power advance heralds future of wirelessly charged devices
[AP] MIT researchers made a 60-watt light bulb glow by sending it energy wirelessly - from a device 7 feet away - potentially heralding a future in which cell phones and other gadgets get their juice without having to be plugged in.

YouTube's Steve Chen says site will go mobile next year
[AP] Chen said on Saturday consumers in many parts of the world will have access to the popular video-sharing Web site on their mobile phones by next year.

Watchdog group pans Google's privacy policies as worst on the Web
[AP] n a report released Saturday, London-based Privacy International assigned Google its lowest possible grade. The category is reserved for companies with "comprehensive consumer surveillance and entrenched hostility to privacy."

Yahoo condemns lack of free speech in China, but says it must follow nation's law
[AP] "Yahoo is dismayed that citizens in China have been imprisoned for expressing their political views on the Internet," the company said in a statement. However, Yahoo added that companies operating in China must comply with Chinese law or risk having their employees face civil or criminal penalties.

Apple offers Safari on Windows, open iPhone to devs
[] Wow, Windows users are so lucky. They not only have Firefox and IE 7 but Apple's crappy browser is now cross-platform.

GOOG complains about Vista search
[Infoworld] Google spokes: ""The search boxes built throughout Vista are hard-wired to Microsoft's own desktop search product, with no way for users to choose an alternate provider from these visible search access points. Likewise, Vista makes it impractical to turn off Microsoft's search index."

Hollywood balks at Apple online movie rentals
[Reuters] Apple's plans to enter the nascent online movie rental business drew skepticism on Monday from Hollywood executives who questioned pricing, copy protection and the timing of a possible launch.

China's e-waste capital chokes on old PCs
[Reuters] Guiyu is a modern day gold rush town. But instead of panning for gold in babbling streams, workers shift through piles of broken old computer parts in acrid smelling shacks, smelting down parts with crude equipment to extract valuable metals like gold and copper.

Adobe offers new tools to run apps online
[Reuters] "Apollo is for when developers want to take online applications and make them work offline on a computer," Michele Turner, Adobe's vice president of platforms, said in a phone interview. "We don't think the browser is going to go away."

Frequent fliers air beefs in chatrooms - and airlines are paying attention

By Amy Levine-Koman

Airlines take away our leg room and our peanuts, but they are keeping an eye on complaints passengers reel off in chat rooms, reports the Washington Post.

All across the Internet, passengers are sharing horror stories and traveling tips. Flyertalk, one of the more popular sites for frequent fliers, has more than 130,000 members - and the airlines' attention.

American Airlines' customer service managers and spokesmen visit the sites because they "give you a quick pulse check on the industry," said Roger Frizzell, vice president of corporate communications.

Inspired by the idea of the chat room, United Airlines even launched its own version of the chat room in April and invited 200 of its highest-mileage fliers to join the private discussions, the carrier said.

Continental Airlines has even gone so far as to sponsor two events in recent years for Flyertalk members (known as Flyertalkers) at its headquarters in Houston, drawing more than 200 people who paid their own way to have their say. The Flyertalkers even convinced Continental chief executive Lawrence W. Kellner to get his company more involved in the chat room.

Since being assigned to monitor Flyertalk, and blogs on various Web sites, O'Leary has solved dozens of problems that irritate flyers. He has posted more than 500 comments in the past year alone on Flyertalk.

"Every airline executive in his right mind is reading Flyertalk and other sites. If it is bothering these customers, it is probably bothering others who don't post on the sites," says Scott O'Leary, a customer service guru at Continental who monitors Flyertalk.

Newswatch 6.7.07: This 'n' that

By Richard Koman

Blogstorm tracks blogs' inbound links

[TechCrunch] It shows basic inbound link stats for blogs based on Yahoo link data. The site also shows how many links more recent posts have generated, and includes several charts. This is a great way for bloggers to see which of their posts are more popular.

Digital sigs get standards nod
[] OASIS standards group ratifies a tamper-proof method for handling electronic timestamps, postmarks or official corporate imprimaturs.

Patent office to test peer review of tech patent apps
[Computerworld] The yearlong project will allow experts in computer technology to send technical references regarding the claims of a patent application before an examiner reviews it.

[Computerworld] A researcher has posted exploit code that attackers can use to hijack Windows machines via Yahoo Inc.'s Messenger instant messaging software.

Dr. Bill Gates at Harvard graduation
[Seattle Post-Intelligencer] Bill Gates has a year left as a full-time Microsoft executive, but his address today at Harvard University's commencement showed how much his thinking has expanded beyond Microsoft and the PC industry. His technological references were part of a broader message about the world's inequities.

MSFT buys data management vendor
[Infoworld] Microsoft has purchased Stratature, a small, privately held data management company and will use the technology to enhance its SQL Server database, Office, and related business software, the company said Thursday.

Significant changes proposed to copyright law
[Business and Technology Law] On May 14, 2007, the office of the U.S. Attorney General transmitted a legislative proposal to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that would represent one of the most significant overhauls of federal copyright law in recent years.

Newswatch 6.6.07: Amazon to buy Netflix?!

Amazon to buy Netflix?! [Mashable!] Netflix’s stock has been declining, as it faces competition from Blockbuster, iTunes, Wal-Mart and many other forms of online movie services. Being acquired by Amazon could offer a great boost for Netflix, which could benefit greatly from Amazon’s existing outlets, warehouse and shipping stronghold, and other directives of the company.

Amazon ups China spending [AP], the world's biggest online retailer, will raise spending on its money-losing unit in China to bolster sales in the largest Web market behind the United States.

Yahoo courting Facebook again?
[Mashable!] Yahoo has yet to harness an overwhelmingly popular social network to call its own, and this song and dance that Yahoo and Facebook have engaged in may get exciting all over again. Yahoo is also rumored to have been in talks with Bebo for an acquisition of the successful U.K. social network.

Administration seeks overhaul of patent system
[NYT] The goal is to improve the quality of patents, which should curb the rising wave of patent disputes and lawsuits, the director of the government's patent office said.

Google, Big Ten schools team up to digitize books
[Computerworld] Eleven Midwestern university libraries have agreed to work with Google to create digital versions of up to 10 million books in their collections.

Navajo Nation IT project honored
[Computerworld] The Navajo Nation is building an integrated network so its residents can participate in the Information Age.

Pay to spam
[Wired] Four more ISPs will start charging banks, e-commerce sites and other large e-mail senders for guaranteed delivery.

Newswatch 6.5.07: iPhone open to third-party devs

Google at odds with the locked-down enterprise

[Infoworld] Google has generally been quiet when it comes to talking about security, and it has kept the team that keeps Google's Web sites secure under wraps.

iPhone will include developers' apps
[Slashdot] In an exciting shift from previous statements, Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed at the D Conference that 3rd-party development will be supported on the iPhone.

Firefox may block sites fingered by GOOG
[Computerworld] Mozilla Corp. may add a tool to the next version of its Firefox browser that would block Web sites identified by Google as potentially harboring malware. scores the lawyers
[] A venture-capital backed Web site called that launches Tuesday claims to offer a "game-changing" alternative to the Yellow Pages for anyone interested in hiring a lawyer.

Why there's no such thing as Web 2.0
[Marc Andreessen] Proposed: There's no such thing as Web 2.0. — Well, that's not actually true. — Let me back up. — Here's what I think happened. — In the beginning, Web 2.0 was a conference. — As conferences go, a good one — with a great name.

Google teams with SalesForce
[Googlified] Google AdWords partner with Salesforce to form “a strategic global alliance to help millions of businesses leverage the Internet to achieve success.” Their first joint product of this partnership is Salesforce’s Group Edition, which features Google AdWords to “achieve integrated sales and marketing success."

Cities swap public Wi-Fi secrets
[Infoworld] Despite the tribulations of launching a regional wireless Internet network, some cities are making progress by sharing their hard-won lessons.

Newswatch 6.4.07: iDay: June 29

MSFT strikes deal with Linux distributor

[AP] It will share technology with Linux distributor Xandros Inc., the latest in a string of deals meant to help the patent-protected Windows operating system work more smoothly with open-source programs.

iDay: June 29
[AP] Apple Inc.'s highly anticipated iPhone will be available June 29, according to both TV commercials broadcast Sunday night and a company spokesman.

China bars new net cafes
[AP] China will license no new Internet cafes this year while regulators carry out an industry-wide inspection, the government says, amid official concern that online material is harming young people.

Palm sells off 25%
[NYT] Palm Inc. has reached a deal to sell a quarter of the company to Elevation Partners, a private equity firm, for about $325 million as part of a plan to reorganize the company.

Harvard licensing 50 patents to nanotech startup
[NYT] A deal could transform the little-known Nano-Terra Inc. into one of nanotechnology’s most closely watched start-ups.

Google keeps tweaking its search engine
[NYT] Google’s top minds offer a peek inside the algorithm that provides search results for half a billion users.

Google Reader for Facebook

[Mashable] Now you can get your Google shared items directly on your Facebook profile, which others can see, and read as well.

AdSense coming to Google Maps
[Mashable] Google’s latest feature for Google Maps, called Mapplets, will enable developers to build applications within Google Maps, and add advertisements right into them.

Court tells FCC to go f**k itself
[IP Democracy] The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York struck a major blow for free speech today when it seriously smacked down the FCC’s policy of levying fines against broadcasters for airing “fleeting expletives.”

Newswatch 5.31.07: eBay buys StumbleUpon

Why eBay bought StumbleUpon
[Om Malik] By marrying the toolbar to Skype client, eBay can do an end run around Google’s dominance of the search business. A simple search box inside Skype client is all it would take. It is not that far fetched: Skype has been slowly integrating various different services (including PayPal) into its client, and slowly becoming eBay’s desktop backdoor. relaunches as social net
The new version of was created on the Drupal content management platform and features extensive archives cataloging Grateful Dead history, songs, photos, memorabilia, and shows, indexed and searchable by tags. Dead users will be able to participate in forums, upload their own photos, and bookmark concerts and shows they have attended. Fans will also be treated to exclusive free mp3 show downloads.

Lessig in the lion's den
[Orlowski] No matter how much Lessig says he believes in copyright, his "movement" of evangelical network utopians wants to tear it down. Why? Because copyright, and in particular the aspect known as droit d'auteur (the author's moral rights to assert how it used), creates "friction" for network utopians, who dream of a universe running like a smoothly oiled piece of clockwork machinery. When they need to ask for copyright - or pay a creator - it messes up what they think is the perfect, smooth running of the network. The licenses are a minor technical bugfix to a borderline problem, that of obtaining rights clearance rapidly in a digital age. But Creative Commons isn't sold as a minor bugfix, so much as a moral crusade. Every time the scheme is launched in some new territory, pointed out Brett, it is accompanied by a cacophony of anti-copyright rhetoric. This rhetoric lumps creators in with The Enemy - The Man.

YouTube cuts deal with EMI
[Reuters] YouTube has agreed to a breakthrough deal with major music label EMI Group Plc to give users of YouTube's video sharing site broad access to music videos by EMI artists. The company said YouTube users would be allowed not only to watch and play authorized videos and recordings from EMI artists, but also to incorporate elements of these videos in YouTube users' own "user generated content."

Calcanis launches human-powered search
[TechCrunch] The service has features that are similar to the new Netscape news finder product that Calacanis launched last year at AOL: expert guides will determine the most relevant results. The main search results are provided by guides (Mahalo employees), who find relevant results for search terms. User submitted results are also included.

Valley, SF nets going nowhere
[Om Malik] The Palo Alto Daily News says the plan to build a Wi-Fi network for Silicon Valley is “mired in delays.” Construction of the network hasn’t started yet, cities have yet to sign certain important agreements, and the test network which was expected to be ready as early as February, won’t be ready until sometime in the summer. Optimistic? After all June is knocking on the door. We’ve all heard the San Francisco story by now, where the mayor’s plan for a muniFi network via EarthLink and Google, has been sucked into a bureacratic wormhole.

$4 million for Metaverse
[VC] "We believe that Multiverse will play a fundamental role in the growth of virtual worlds and multiplayer games. Based on the Multiverse team's experience and creative vision, we believe they could become a $1 billion leader creating breakthrough applications for business, education, government and entertainment."

Hillary comes to the Valley

Hillary Clinton will be speaking in Silicon Valley on Thursday, May 31, addressing Silicon Valley leaders. It's at 2:45 at Applied Materials. Maybe you were invited.

NewspaperRX: A radical medicine is called for

John Batelle wrote this yesterday:

Up until recently, the Chronicle had 400 journalists working at the paper. FOUR HUNDRED! When I wrote for the LA Times, I often wrote two stories a day. Is the Chronicle pumping out 800 stories a day? Is it breaking all sorts of amazing stories and being a leader in the community with those 400 journalists? Hell no! 400 reporters and what is the paper DOING with them? Not much, I'm afraid. The paper should OWN the Valley Tech story. Does it? No. It should OWN the biotech story. Does it? No. It should OWN the real estate/development story. Does it? No. It should OWN the California political story. Does it? No!

Why? Well, maybe it has THE WRONG 400 journalists working for it?! And the wrong tone/approach/structure? Just maybe?

I'm not sure the Chron has the wrong journalists working for it. I would argue it has much more to do with approach and structure. But, ultimately, it may have to do with a basic fact no one can escape: putting ink on paper is no longer the appropriate way to do news.


In newspapering there is a choice. Either you are in the Bob Woodward camp - the reader should pick up the paper every day and exlaim, "Holy shit!" - or the USA Today camp - the paper should make you feel warm and fuzzy. The Chron is clearly in the latter camp.

What would a newspaper look like if it dropped the hierarchical structure of reporters-sr. reporters-copy editors-editors-managing editors-editor in chief? Thinking about the Chron's piece on James Currier this morning, what if newspapers were run like Ooga Labs?

The small staff is organized into two-person speed teams, each pair an engineer and designer, who are the only employees working on one of the five businesses. They sit side by side in an open pit in Ooga Labs' Financial District office so people can get to know one another and what everyone is working on.

What if newspaper writing could be more like blog writing? What if it didn't have to be third-person, inverted pyramid, what if writers didn't have to refer to themselves in the story as "a reporter"? What if business reporters could quote people other than Wall Street analysts? What if Mike Arrington were considered a go-to source?

What if newspapers weren't afraid of saying when a bunch of facts add up to an obvious truth? As in, Al Gonzales is lying. Larry Ellison is a son-of-a-bitch. Google shouldn't be trusted with your data.

There was a day when newspapers were wild and wooly affairs, highly partisan, seeking out controversy, willing to make stories happen. Fremont Older was a newspaper editor who exposed graft in San Francisco at the turn of the century. He was not above paying for a source to stay at an undisclosed location and plastering something close to this in the morning paper: "The Bulletin has first-hand information that the mayor was involved in last night's murder. If the mayor doesn't come to our offices by 2pm today to explain, we will print all in tomorrow's paper."

Maybe that's not quite appropriate these days, but newspapers have forgotten how to sell papers. But consider this quote from Mike Arrington: "If I say outrageous things that are more controversial, I make more money." That is a sentiment William Randolph carried close to his cold heart. It is one very far from the way today's Hearst-owned Chronicle operates.

Newswatch 5.30.07: CBS buys, MySpace buys photo services

CBS acquires for $280m
[] CBS are one of the few companies who needed no explanation of what we are doing, and we were impressed at how progressive their plans are. This deal with CBS gives us a chance to really make shine, and gives us more flexibility than other funding options would for doing all the crazy stuff we’re had scribbled on whiteboards for years. CBS understands the vision, the importance we place on putting the listener in charge, the vibrant and vocal community, the obsession with music stats, and our determination to offer every song ever recorded.

Second Chinese dissident sues Yahoo
[Ars Technica] Shi Tao, sentenced to a decade in prison back in 2004, was the first Chinese citizen known to be jailed because of e-mails turned over by Yahoo. Now, Shi has joined the World Organization for Human Rights case against Yahoo, filed in April in a San Francisco court. The case was originally brought on behalf of of jailed dissident Wang Xiaoning.

MySpace acquires Flektor for Flash slideshows
[Mashable] Clearly the Flektor deal, first rumored on Techcrunch, goes hand in hand with the Photobucket buy: it pairs a massive photo hosting and search service with the developers of snazzy, offbeat creation tools. I still don’t think it’s enough strategically: MySpace has just bought two add-ons, while Facebook has welcomed hundreds into the fold with Facebook Platform. Facebook remains the underdog, but the onus is now on MySpace to think strategically about building an ecosystem around itself.

Arrington: Cut journalists loose!
[IP Democracy] "Where they’re getting their lunch eaten is the blogs,” Arrington said. Arrington’s solution to the newspaper industry’s problem is to turn all journalists into bloggers. When asked what advice he might offer to The New York Times, for example, Arrington said the company should let all the journalists go off and do their own thing.

Also in the news: [InfoWorld] MySpace parent to buy Photobucket | [AP] Apple debuts unprotected song sales | [NewsFactor] Novell taking risks in MSFT deal | [NYT] HP seeks to ease printing of Web pages | [Reuters] Jeopardy hooks up with Google | [AFP] Google pushing to make inroads into S. Korea |

New incubators offer unending innovation

James Currier calls his new startup Ooga Labs a "technology greenhouse." Which makes it seem like an incubator, but according to the Chronicle's Jessica Guynn, it's really something much more radical.

via SF Chronicle/Mike Kane

The first project out of Ooga is a progressive social network called GoodTree, which Currier was user-testing on the sidewalk of Market Street. The idea of user-testing by just setting up a laptop on the sidewalk and grabbing passers-by to test it is the sort of fresh thinking that is becoming part of the new culture of Silicon Valley, as already-wealthy entrepreneurs are funding their companies without venture money.

Currier made $100 million selling Tickle to; Obvious founder Ev Williams made a bundle selling Blogger to Google. As Williams wrote in launching Obvious:

"Fun in work to me means a lot of freedom, and ton of creativity, working with people I respect and like, and pursuing ideas that are just crazy enough to work. I don't want to have to worry about getting buy-in from executives or a board, raising money, worrying about investor's perceptions, or cashing out."

Currier wants to apply that notion of having fun at building technology to the very structure of the company, Guynn says.

When I close my eyes and say the word 'ooga,' I see a bunch of people joined together by the same goal, jumping around the fire," he said. He has recruited an eclectic clan of nerds to become mavericks. He has done away with most other jobs and departments and made the geeks -- in the words of one Ooga staffer -- "first-class employees."

The small staff is organized into two-person speed teams, each pair an engineer and designer, who are the only employees working on one of the five businesses. They sit side by side in an open pit in Ooga Labs' Financial District office so people can get to know one another and what everyone is working on.

In a company with hardly any hierarchy, people talk and act freely, even walk around barefoot or perform backflips. They share everything: research, software code, bad jokes. Each feels empowered to make critical decisions. Everyone gets paid the same salary and gets equity in each of the five startups being incubated. And they all get the kind of benefits more common at major corporations.

Finally, here's Currier's open letter to '06 CS grads. It's a rousing call to action, to life, to sending engineers out into the world to create something rather than learning how to succeed in a corporation. An interesting question: where do you think Google is on this continuum between Currier's vision and say, working at Intel or Oracle?

Don't make my mistake!

So you're going to take a cube job with slow Microsoft, bureaucratic Oracle, or with some boring financial company?

C'mon! Do you want spend all of your life wearing modest habits of charcoal grey, driving your Volvo on the salty roads of the drab East Coast, paying 50% of your earnings to taxes, and hanging out with narrow minded people, congratulating yourselves on improving a feature of a widget of version 12.1b.4 of some software, or maybe improving the financial return of some rich bald dude in Greenwich, CT by 0.2% above the S&P Index?

Has no one taken you aside and said, "Wait! You're about to waste 10 years of your life figuring out the path you chose out of college is crap!"

No one did to me either when I went to Princeton, and it took me until I was 31 to get my ass out to San Francisco and do tech start ups. Don't make my mistake. Save yourself now. Even if you don't work for me. I mean it.

Out here, you think about the future. Out here, you are surrounded by colorful, dynamic technologists and entrepreneurs who are really making a difference, pushing the edge.

Most people think that working for a big or known company will give them good experience. That's kind of like saying learning to sit still for dental surgery is good experience. Sure, it's an experience, but there are life paths where you don't have to have dental surgery, or work for a big company, to have the best life. In fact, I would argue that you learn the wrong things working for a big company, and that it's actually not good experience. A good experience is when you really make something happen in the world. Big companies teach you how to work through layers of bureaucracy and how to solve problems in very risk-averse ways -- in short, how to make something happen in their organization. A big company is not the safe career choice. It's the risky choice. It risks your mind and your life.

Oh, and one more thing. Initially, your friends and family may not understand why you didn't take that "safe" cube-job with the company whose name they know, but in two years they will understand. They will love using the websites you build, and they will talk often with their friends about it. They will see you having a vibrant life, pushing the edge of what's happening, and they'll be proud to know you.

Take a few minutes and reconsider your first "starting point" out of college. It sets up a direction that takes some time to change. Aim yourself in the right direction. Again, you don't have to come to Ooga Labs, just get to the Bay Area and join a startup. You will never regret it.

Newswatch 5.29.07: Facebook uber MySpace?

FTC investigating Google/DoubleClick merger
[AP] The review of the deal was widely expected after Mountain View-based Google announced plans last month to acquire DoubleClick. Google lawyer: the acquisition "poses no risk to competition and should be approved."

Google launches streetside view in Maps
[O'Reilly Radar]: This morning Google gave their 2D maps an incredible realworld addition. Its a street-view, that in certain cities, will let you get a street side view of the area you are currently in. This is not just a static, A9-style image.

Silicon Valley wide-eyed over a bride
[NYT] After Google invests in Sergey's new wife's genetics company, Schmidt declined to comment about 23andMe’s business or its future products, but he said that the company had instituted an array of checks and balances to ensure objectivity, including the recusal of Mr. Brin from any discussions. “That was all done by the book beyond belief,” Mr. Schmidt said.

GOOG acquires anti-virus co. GreenBorder
[TechCrunch] The purchase may indicate a renewed focus by Google on desktop applications. GreenBorder provides an anti-virus platform that combined with Google Desktop would deliver a more compelling download and strength Google’s position as a desktop applications competitor to Microsoft.

La-La offers free, on-demand music streaming
[TechCrunch] Unlike Internet radio, which is covered by the DMCA and which has rates set by regulation, there are no laws to cover on demand streaming. LaLa must negotiate directly with the big labels. Our understanding is that the labels will also only negotiate one year deals, and if they see any profit on the table at the end of the term they will grab for more.

MySpace: The next prodigy?
[Redeye VC] By providing a clear roadmap – and business opportunity – for the widget makers, Facebook has just increased it’s virtual R&D budget by over $250 million dollars. By welcoming third-party innovation, Facebook will reap the benefit of hundreds of millions of dollars of venture investment – and the Facebook user will have a much richer experience. I'd wager that every widget maker who has previously relied on Myspace for traffic is hard at work this holiday weekend on migrating their application to support the Facebook API.

Also this morning: [AP] GoDaddy takes over domains from RegisterFly | [Slashdot] 2ndGen iPhone confirmed? | [Guardian] Facebook is the new Apple |

Newswatch 5.25.07: Facebook ready to take on MySpace

Facebook opens platform with 85 third-party apps
[Mercury News] Analyst: "The difference between small social networks and big ones that have staying power is the ability for people to customize them. That's why this is an important announcement. The only limit on their growth now is the creativity of the people who build on it."

Euro data protection chief backs Google
[Infoworld] Data protection officials from 27 European countries have warned Google it is storing data on people's searches for too long -- but Europe's top privacy guardian, the European Data Protection Supervisor Peter Hustinx, believes Google's efforts to respect the privacy of European citizens in its Internet search software "is not just window dressing."

Online ad spending gears up for video
[Paul Kedrosky] Digital marketing agency: "The agency of the future will be half a software company and half an entertainment company because that's the new landscape."

Lonelygirl15 creators create branded spinoff for UK
[Reuters] Giving advertisers "the chance to pitch their products such as clothing or mobile phones at a younger audience who have moved in recent years from traditional media to the Internet."

Google/FeedBurner deal confirmed
[TechCrunch] Rumors about Google acquiring RSS management company Feedburner are accurate and are now confirmed, according to a source close to the deal.

Also noted: [Computerworld] RIM announces WiFi/cell phone | [Infoworld] Apple fixes 17 OS X flaws | [Infoworld] Malicious software plays on legal fears | [Ars Technica] RFID security act passed by CA Senate again | [Financial Times] Sony sued over Blu-ray | [TechMeme] Technology mucking up the media | [NYT] A programming language like playing with blocks |

SaveNetRadio rejects SoundExchange offer on royalties

I wrote a piece about the oppressive net radio royalty rates for the Metro newspapers (check out Sound Salvation) only to get scooped yesterday by SoundExchange's offer to help out small webcasters. (That's the problem with print - you lock the issue down, send it off to the printers and wait for the drops; a weekly is days behind the news cycle.)

(Photo of Bill and Michelle Goldsmith of

The background if you're only dimly following these things:

The new royalty structure--which was proposed by SoundExchange, the organization that collects performance royalties and distributes them to record labels and artists for a roughly 15 percent take off the top--would raise per-stream performance royalties from .07 cents per stream in 2005 to .19 cents in 2010, tripling the monies that larger webcasters pay. More importantly for small webcasters, the new rules do away with an option to pay a percentage of gross revenue. That effectively increases the rate small webcasters pay by a stunning 1,200 percent.

So yesterday SoundExchange made this offer: Retroactive to Jan. 1, 2006 and continuing only through 2010, SoundExchange would allow small webcasters to pay a proportion of their revenues as royalties, rather than charging a royalty per song per listener. That Draconian scheme would still apply to "non-small webcasters." The rate for smallcasters is 10% for revenue up to $250,000 and 12% abover that amount, up to a ceiling.

Today, SaveNetRadio dismissed the offer as a scheme that would hasten the death of net radio (read the press release.)

“The proposal made by SoundExchange today would throw “large webcasters” under the bus and end any “small” webcaster’s hopes of one day becoming big,” SaveNetRadio spokesperson Jake Ward said. “Under government-set revenue caps, webcasters will invest less, innovate less and promote less. Under this proposal, Internet radio would become a lousy long-term business, unable to compete effectively against big broadcast and big satellite radio – artists, webcasters, and listeners be damned.”

“Labeling webcasters small or large is a distinction without a difference,” continued Ward. “Two of the most prominent webcasters, and Live365 are models of industry success but would be bankrupted by the CRB and by the SoundExchange proposals. Pandora employs 100 people in an enterprise zone in Oakland, California, but its popularity would put it out of business. Similarly, Live365, an aggregate webcaster that provides a platform for more than 10,000 individual webcasters, has a staff of fewer than 40. Though clearly small as a business, Live365’s enormous importance and scope among webcasters would force them to shut down.”

SoundExchange concedes that the offer was made in response to the rising support for Congressional legislation to overturn the new rates. Lawmakers have received a flood of constituent communication about the issue. Does it make a comment about our society that people are calling congresspeople about net radio but not Darfur? Maybe, but I argue that people have legitimate grounds for being concerned about leisure-oriented apps like net radio.

Why, one might wonder, are the grassroots ringing their senators' and representatives' phones over something as seemingly trivial as online music, when the war in Iraq continues to rage, when the genocide in Darfur shows no sign of ending, when climate change threatens to turn San Francisco into a sandy little island? It's not, it turns out, trivial at all; it has to do with the culture and texture of our lives.

"I think people want control," says Laurie Joulie of the Roots Music Association. "I think they see in all facets of their lives that corporations have had too much control over what they watch on TV, what they hear on the radio, the politics of the country.

"And I think they just want to take control back."

Newswatch 5.23.07: Apple hot and bothered by iGasm

Apple pissed over iGasm
[MacWorld]Ann Summers marketing device that combines iPod and vibrator - complete with knock-off ad campaign

The man who owns the Internet
[USA Today] How Kevin Ham built a $300 million empire from domain names

Ubuntu founder: Microsoft is our patent pal
[InfoWorld] Trolls like Nathan Myhrvold, not MSFT, are open source's true enemies

Jangl Tailors VOIP for Social Networks
[TechCrunch] Social networking types get free long-distance with privacy

Amazon acquires Brilliant Audio
[CNET] With its own audio publisher, Amazon strengthens ties to content

Weinberger's new book: Everything is miscellaneous
[Excerpt] "We're adding massive amounts of metadata -- tags, links, playlists, even taxonomies -- to all of the resources available on the web without prior planning and coordination, making a huge mess. But, that mess actually enhances the available ways we can find and make sense of what's available to us. All that unplanned metadata lets us pull pieces together, and then it helps us contextualize and understand those pieces."

Around the Net: [CNET] Pandora's music box on Sprint phones | [Computerworld] Moore's Law meets its green match at processor forum | [Inquirer] Geeks put girls off tech careers | [AP] Lenovo profits up 600% | [AP] Senopia offers 'your name here' cell service | [NYT] Intel forms flash memory company with Swiss | [TechCrunch] Pandora Wi-Fi device |

Newswatch 5.22.07: Small webcasters get offered a break

SoundExchange offers small webcasters a break (Digital Media Wire)

MSFT won't sue over Linux patents (ZDNet)

IBM intros fastest microprocessor ever (Newsvine)

GOOG wants to organize your life (Newsvine)

GOOG buys into Sergey's wife's biotech firm (Reuters)

Joost taps Creative Artists for content deals (Digital Media Wire)

GOOG launches Hot Trends (Infoworld)

GOOG to digitize 800,000 Indian books (Biz Report)

MSFT has free web analytics tool (StartupSquad)

House passes tech-friendly antispyware bill (

Dance step creator backs down from DMCA claim (

GOOG pushes for better use of radio spectrum (Google Watch)

China backs down from requiring real names for bloggers (Reuters)

Symantec settles piracy suit for $200K and trade group promises aggressive litigation

Symantec, working through the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), has settled its claims for copyright infringement against Grace Chan, who the company accused of selling pirated software over eBay, SIIA said in a press release. (Infoworld story here.) Chan settled for $205,000 and other confidential terms.

“The sale of pirated software through online auctions is a growing problem that hurts buyers, sellers and the auction sites themselves,” said Keith Kupferschmid, SVP of SIIA’s Software Anti-Piracy Division. “Consumers are getting duped, legitimate businesses are losing money and the credibility of eBay and other sites is under attack. With existing auction site tools doing little to curb the problem, SIIA has stepped up its efforts to aggressively pursue software pirates.”

The case is something of an opening salvo in SIIA's aggressive program to litigate against software pirates. The litigation program is designed to "establish a much greater level of deterrence" for people selling pirated software on auction sites because programs like eBay’s Verified Rights Owner program haven't done the job. SIIA filed three suits in May and two others last November. Look for several more suits in coming months.

Newswatch 5.21.07: Google, Salesforce in talks

Dell Linux to debut Thursday (InfoWorld)

Regulators considering loosening SOX (InfoWorld)

Google, Salesforce alliance? (SF Chronicle)

Facebook to allow companies to create branded pages (WSJ)

YouTube video star gets TV host gig (Digital Media Wire)

Upload movies to BitTorrent, go to jail (Digital Media Wire)

Rails creator doubts Silverlight will win (InfoWorld)

Google Talk can call phone numbers (StartupSquad)

Google leases more space in Seattle (Infoworld)

NFL stiff-arms Internet video (Ars Technica)

Google Coop embeds gadgets in search results (Steve Rubel)

25 inventions that have changed our lives (USA Today)

Jimmy Wales: Wikipedia worth billions (ValleyWag)

XML for anti-phishing (Computerworld)

Black swans and Silicon Valley, or the unimaginable impact of the network

There's a fascinating hour on Talk of the Nation today with Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. (Look for audio around 3 today.)

In his book he explains what a black swan is and how it should lead us to rethink what history is and how we understand the development and predictability of technological breakthroughs. Basically, there certain discoveries or events that are so far out of what is known about the world that they or their impacts are unpredictable. The term comes from Capt. Cook's discovery of a black swan in Australia, after millenia of Westerners believing there were only white swans. No one thought to ask the question, could there be other colors - swans were simply white.

When it comes to technology, Taleb points to three inventions as black swans - highly improbable impacts that were completely unpredictable - the Internet, the PC and the laser. Basically, how do you get from a DARPA network to MySpace, the iPod and YouTube? If you were downloading .aiff files from Compuserve in the 1980s could you have predicted Napster, the iPod or Internet radio?

More to the point, is there anything really important in this world where somebody who was there could say, yes, I predicted that. Or is everything that has major impacts - positive or negative - essentially unpredictable. It's a weakness of our human natures, Taleb says, that we try to reduce the highly improbable, random-access, nature of the world into some very linear logic sequences.

The problem is that we teach our kids, yes, the world is sensible. World War One, for example, is taught as the very predictable and perhaps unavoidable result of decades of European tension, that when Europe was loaded with the fuel of tension, the spark of a meaningless assassination was enough to erupt the powderkeg. Ah, the student says, it all makes sense.

Only it doesn't. Because there are many periods of high tension that don't result in war. There are many successful inventions that don't take off and change the world.

Taleb divides the world into two domains - Mediocristan and Extremistan. In Extremistan, black swans have power. There are no natural limits by which unpredictability will be constrained. Silicon Valley is surely Extremistan. No limits to wealth, no limits to the impact that may be created by one technology, one company, one entrepreneur. And the black swans all swim upstream. But despite Taleb's thinking here, the impact of black swans are not all beneficial.

Valley successes have huge network impacts. The success of Google networks out across a myriad of companies, it impacts individuals, it changes competitors' business plans, it creates a surge in acquisitions, spreading more wealth and more opportunities for further investment. And if you bet wrong, so what? You're gonna bet 10 grand, 100 grand, a million? A million can turn into a billion around here pretty damn fast. Unlike Wall Street, of which it was said, "I made $8 million in eight years and I lost it all in eight seconds."

But that brings me to newspapers. While in the early days of ARPAnet no one would have predicted, you know, real-time traffic updates displayed in full-color cellphones, by the same token no one predicted the death of newspapers. Yet here we are, right on the cusp. A whole range of damage and benefits have resulted from the development of the Net and it could have gone in any number of possible ways and it still will.

On the show Taleb called dentistry a Mediocristan profession, as opposed to venture capitalism. It's a self-limiting universe, dentistry. You have to be there to drill the teeth, you can only drill so many teeth a day and you can't outsource it to India. You can't make a billion dollars as a dentist and you're not going to go broke (unless you molest your patients or something.)

It strikes me, then, that the impact of the Internet and other "disruptive" technologies is that they convert Mediocristan into Extremistan. Want a stable life? No big riches and you'll always have a job? You could do worse than journalism. Or, actually, you could. Because online journalism is, it turns out, an exercise in entrepreneurism with the possibilities of investment and acquisitions or a scramble to pay the bills and a visit to a bankruptcy lawyer.

So, that's what I get out of black swans and computer technology. One by one, limits and safety nets are being removed. Extreme possibilities replace stability and safety. And the domains in which things are no longer predictable and in which the world fundamentally changes grow exponentially.

New HP director fired exec who had AIDS, wanted to bar women from Dartmouth

"I'm Joel Hyatt and you have my word on it." Anyone growing up on probably the entire Eastern seaboard remembers seeing those TV ads. Those ads led Hyatt Legal Services to be the largest single law provider in the country and enabled Hyatt to become a major player in the Democratic party. He even won the Ohio nomination for senator, only to lose in the general election. Such a player is Hyatt that he teamed with Al Gore on Current and now serves as CEO of Current Media.

HP was thusly proud, then, to announce that Hyatt has taken a place on HP's board, expanding the board membership to 10. The other new board member is John Joyce of Silver Lake, formerly an IBM executive for 20 years, notes the Mercury. Both men bring "deep business knowledge, exceptional judgment and outstanding character," HP said.

But Slashdot points around to some good dirt on Hyatt worth expanding on. To wit:

  • Hyatt illegally fired the head of HLS' Philadelphia office when he discovered he had AIDS. Hyatt's behavior was "so outrageous, judge ruled in 1990 that he awarded punitive damages for $157,000. Hyatt made "absolutely no effort" to accommodate Cain, the judge ruled but mounted a "corrupt assault" on his dignity by demoting him to an entry-level position.

    The whole story is remarkable similar to the Tom Hanks movie "Philadelphia," in which Hanks plays a lawyer fired by his conservative law firm because he has AIDS. The studio denies the film was based on any one case. (If you're really interested, look up 734 F.Supp. 671 on your favorite legal research serviced.)

  • Robert Scheer reported in 1999 that while at Dartmouth he advocated keeping the college free from females.

  • Scheer also reported that the Hyatt hotel chain once sued him for using the Hyatt name. His real name, apparently is Joel Hyatt Zylberberg. But "I'm Joel Zylberberg and you have my word on it" somehow doesn't have the same ring.

Hyatt will serve on the HR committee, which presumably would be in charge of pretexting directors and employees for corporate leaks.

A Reader Writes: 60 Minutes on one laptop per child...

Michael Silverman from AMD draws attention to:

I wanted to make you aware that this evening CBS’ 60 Minutes program aired a 13 minute piece featuring Nicholas Negroponte’s non-profit One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Program (, of which AMD is proud to be the CPU provider and a key strategic partner. The mission of OLPC is very much in line with our own 50x15 Initiative, whose goal is to enable 50-percent of the world’s population with affordable Internet access and computing capability by the year 2015.

Here is more:

Newswatch 5.18.07: Google wants FeedBurner, MSFT spends $6b on ad guys, iPhone approved

Microsoft buys ad company for $6 billion. Repeat: $6 billion (NY Times)

WPP buys online ad company for $649m (NY Times)

iPhone approved for sale: look for it in June (Mercury News)

Google is after FeedBurner (StartupSquad)

MSFT reorg Computerworld

More people going off the grid (AP)

HP details retainers for board members (Dow Jones)

YouTube founders' next moves (AP)

Google takes aim at Slide/RockYou (StartupSquad)

Online invitation to 'help yourself' surprises the stuff's owner (NY Times)

Microsoft Launches Popfly: Mashup App Creator Built On Silverlight (TechCrunch)

AppleGate and "solid gold" sources (TechCrunch)

aQuantative: Who are these guys? (Between the Lines)

SF Chron: Cheaper than paper towels

So it's come to this. I'm a subscriber again.

About a month ago, I cancelled my subscription to the Chronicle. Over the past six months I'd watched the front page become filled with giant photos and human interest stories, while day after day news about the US attorney crisis, debates over Iraq and other major stories were relegated to nine inches on A12 - or not even run at all. Cruising the Web, I'd read things in the Times and the Post - not to mention the international press - that never appeared in San Francisco's only surviving daily.

Then yesterday I got a call from the paper, asking why I dropped it.

"Because it sucks."

There ensued a lengthy conversation in which the salesperson agreed he didn't read the "liberal rag" for the news, that there was sports and coupons and the pink pages and what the hell, you get some news in the bargain. He said "we really want you back" and the price was just 38 cents a week for Wednesday through Sunday delivery.

I figured this was one of those deals where it's 10 cheap weeks, then you're back on the seven days a week at 50 cents a day deals. I said I wasn't interested in coupons and it wasn't about the paper being liberal. "It's about the fact that Hearst Corp. has gutted the news operation and filled the front page with meaningless fluff."

Eventually he clarifies: $10 for six months of five-days-a-week service. And the kicker: "Just use it clean your windows. It's cheaper than paper towels."

So that's the state of newspapering today. They really are selling newspapers for birdcage liners. So, I went for it. $10 - what the hell? So if you want the Chron, I highly recommend dropping it and waiting for that ten-buck call.

And my wife misses the Cryptoquip.

Stanford pardody below:

Newswatch 5.17.07: Amazon drops DRM

Amazon sells DRM-free MP3s (Mercury News)

David Grisman sues YouTube (AP)

Brocade CEO's defense slapped down by well-connected judge (WSJ Law Blog)

Thumbnails are fair use, appeals court says (BBC)

Google moves towards universal search (Guardian)

Tech Museum names Quattrone as chairman (AP)

Virginia Tech killing game sparks anger (

MySpace balks at states' requests on sex offenders (AP)

Is Yahoo censoring Flickr photos? (Guardian)

Is BBC losing tech edge? (Guardian)

Who's afraid of Google? (Chronicle)

StartupAddict - entrepreneurial marketplace (StartupSquad)

HP's new emphasis on design sells more PCs (NY Times)

HP profit falls 7% (Wash Post)

Next gen of Wi-Fi planned for summer

Will MSFT sue its customers? (WSJ Law Blog)

Africa spurs 3G growth (Reuters)

Newswatch 5.15.07: Rampant ivory trade on eBay

eBay condemned for allowing 'rampant' ivory trade (Reuters)

Oracle VP settles trading charges (Mercury News)

SF Wi-Fi plan hits snag (SF Chronicle)

YouTube restores video critical of rapper: a take-down error, admits Universal (Ars Technica)

Senators say offshore firms are biggest H1-B users (Infoworld)

Business Software Alliance supports new cybercrime bill (Infoworld)

AOL buys Third Screen Media to boost mobile ad business (Infoworld)

Microsoft's hard line on open source hardest on startups (Infoworld)

On the Web, an advanced carbon calculator for personal use (NY Times)

Bill Joy: Cleantech bigger than Internet (Reuters)

Top 5 Euro startups from Startup 2.0 (TechCrunch)

Amazon acquires camera review site (TechCrunch)

260 new porn sites every day (TechCrunch)

Yahoo appoints new CFO (Yahoo PR)

(USA Today)

The real story of JPG Magazine (Derek Powazek)

DHS' new job under copyright bill: monitor borders for concert bootlegs

The White House is throwing its support behind a bill to dramatically extend penalties for copyright infringement - and even "attempted" copyright infringement,'s Declan McCullagh reports.

Federal law currently punishes not-for-profit copyright infringement with between 1 and 10 years in prison, but there has to be actual infringement that takes place. The Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2007 would eliminate that requirement. (The Justice Department's summary of the legislation says: "It is a general tenet of the criminal law that those who attempt to commit a crime but do not complete it are as morally culpable as those who succeed in doing so.")

Obviously, some people attempt murder and fail, and those people should still be punished (although not as harshly as those who actually complete the deed), but is it really that hard to complete copyright infringement? Would having your Internet connection go down during a P2P upload count as attempted copyright infringement? Other aspects of the bill are equally bizarre, such as:

  • "Anyone using counterfeit products who "recklessly causes or attempts to cause death" can be imprisoned for life." Huh? Justice Dept. officials say hospital officials who use pirated software could be prosecuted under this provision. But wouldn't any system whose failure could cause death run software tightly integrated with the hardware? I mean, you wouldn't find Artificial Life Support 7.0 on LimeWire, would you?

  • "Permit more wiretaps for piracy investigations." No surprise there.

  • "Add penalties for intended copyright crimes." This appears to be even a lower standard than attempted copyright crimes; it seems to net in actions that don't rise to the level of attempt.

  • Most bizarre, I think: "Require Homeland Security to alert the Recording Industry Association of America ... when compact discs with 'unauthorized fixations of the sounds or sounds and images of a live musical performance' are attempted to be imported." So now it's a matter of homeland security to guard against concert bootlegs? Perhaps terrorists hate America so much they want to kill us with rarities. Why not make Homeland Security monitor YouTube for clips of the Daily Show?

What's still unclear is the kind of reception this legislation might encounter on Capitol Hill. Gonzales may not be terribly popular, but Democrats do tend to be more closely aligned with Hollywood and the recording industry than the GOP. (A few years ago, Republicans even savaged fellow conservatives for allying themselves too closely with copyright holders.)

GOOG defends data retention with nonexistent laws

At Ars Technica, Nate Anderson takes Google to task for justifying its extensive data-retention policies as adhering to laws that don't even exist.

In a post on the official Google blog, Peter Fleischer, Google's global privacy counsel, explained that one of the reasons Google chooses not to anonymize data for 18-24 months is to comply with "legal obligations," such as the EU Data Retention Directive, which requires member countries to pass laws requiring data retention for six to 24 months (to help investigate terrorism).

Since these laws do not yet exist, and are only now being proposed and debated, it is too early to know the final retention time periods, the jurisdictional impact, and the scope of applicability. It's therefore too early to state whether such laws would apply to particular Google services, and if so, which ones. In the U.S., the Department of Justice and others have similarly called for 24-month data retention laws.

Google keeps your data linked directly to you for two years because nonexistent laws will eventually be passed requiring data retention? In any case, the EU laws wouldn't apply to US users - and the US calls for two-year retention are just trial balloons; no concrete proposals have been introduced as bills. Anderson says:

Even though the laws are not yet in force in Europe and won't apply retroactively, Google still uses the law as an argument to retain data now, and to do so for the longest possible period the law provides for. ... The company does itself no favors by engaging in some rhetorical sleight of hand and claiming that laws which don't yet exist ought to guide its current behavior; just admit that the reasons are business-related and be done with it.

Newswatch 5.14.07: Geeks and suits rub together at GigaOm

Geeks and suits rub shoulders at GigaOm party (Wired)

Intel settles copyright suit with Chinese company (AP)

Supreme Court declines to rule on telecom rate-setting case (AP)

Bubble 2.0? Not any time soon (StartupSquad)

A nod to journalistic integrity at IDG (NY Times)

Web fight: blocking ads and adding art (NY Times)

Net radio faces thorny royalty issues (NY Times)

Yahoo launches an eco-guilt trip (Mashable)

Why Google is making us dumber (Mashable)

Murdoch pledges to make MySpace greener (GreenBiz)

Yahoo gives away hybrid taxis (Green Wombat)

Is Google sexist? (Google Watch)

Google Earth to get animal sounds (Google Watch)

Jakob Nielsen: Web 2.0 is bad design (BBC)

iTunes video, Apple TV are dead ends, say researcher (Computerworld)

AMD to launch quad-core Phenom chip (Computerworld)

MSFT offers unified communications devices (NewsFactor)

AGs seek sex offender data from MySpace (AP)

MSFT patent attack hints at internal problems (Infoworld)

Newswatch 5.11.07: Sens sponsor bill to save net radio

Thailand drops plans to sue Google over video (AP)

At Vonage, sales increase as litigation clouds future (NY Times)

Out of chaos, order. Or so Google says (NY Times)

Facebook to offer classifieds (NY Times)

MySpace launches 'Take down, stay down' (Mashable)

Senators sponsor Internet Radio Equality Act (Digital Media Wire)

Michelle Malkin, Universal in flap over podcast criticism (DMW)

Ballmer coy about Yahoo rumors) (Computerworld)

KSR patent ruling is a controversial decision (WSJ Law Blog)

Tesla Motors raises $45m more (VentureBeat)

New domain names on tap for 08 (USA Today)

Legal threat over media players (

McCartney goes digital, Beatles 'virtually settled' (Billboard)

Steve Jobs 'outrageous' performance at shareholders meeting

Steve Jobs performance at Apple's annual meeting yesterday was nothing short of outrageous, shareholders charged, as the CEO refused to let a board director answer a question and laughed off a suggestion that he give up restricted stock he received in exchange for backdated options. He said the stock was actually priced too high, but that he is not asking the company to reimburse him.

The Mercury News reported on the furor.

"Options backdating is a cancer eating away at the company," charged Con Hitchcock, a representative of Amalgamated Bank, while arguing at the meeting for the labor-backed institution's proposal on backdating.

Teamsters representative Noa Oren tried to ask William Campbell, Apple's co-lead director and the head of its compensation committee, about Jobs' pay. But Jobs refused to let Campbell answer, saying the directors who attended were there as guests. "I thought that was outrageous," Oren said.

"It is appalling that he would think that he had a right to interpose himself between shareholders and the board," said Nell Minow, editor of the Corporate Library, a business research and watchdog organization based in Portland, Maine. "That showed very poor judgment on his part," added Minow, who owns Apple shares and voted for the shareholder proposals, but did not attend the meeting.

"It's bad enough that Jobs said that," she said. "`What's really appalling is that none of the directors objected to him saying that. Where were their spines?"

It's well-known that Jobs assembled his board to never challenge his authority. After getting thrown out of Apple in the 1980s, Jobs structured the board on his return to include himself and a majority of his friends. Several board members have financial interests with Jobs and Apple that make it unlikely they would act against Jobs.

Apple directors Bill Campbell, chairman of Intuit; Arthur Levinson, CEO of Genentech; and Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, who all attended the meeting, were unavailable for comment afterward and did not return calls later.

Shareholders had proposed six non-binding proposals, two of which, related to environmental concerns, were withdrawn at the meeting. The four remaining proposals, although defeated, apparently garnered widespread support among Apple investors. According to a preliminary tally reported by Amalgamated Bank, about 41 percent of shareholder votes were in favor of the proposal to bar backdating. Another 41 percent voted in favor of allowing shareholders to have an advisory vote every year on executive pay at the company. Some 38 percent of shareholder votes were in favor of both forcing Apple's executives to hold on to a large portion of their shares and tying executive pay to the company's performance.

Even though the measures lost, the level of support was "very unusual" and could put the board under pressure to reform.

Amazingly, in response to demands from AFL-CIO representative Brandon Reese that Jobs give back some of the restricted shares he received in exchange for backdated stock options, Jobs said that the options were "approved" by Apple's board in August 2001, but that he didn't get his shares until October, when Apple's stock was about 50 cents a share higher.

"I didn't ask the company to reimburse me," he said.

In point of fact, that October date was made up and fraudulently documented by Apple lawyers. The grant date was actually December, when shares were even higher. The delay from August to December was due to Compensation Committee discomfort with the level of compensation.

Newswatch 5.10.07: Jobs dismisses shareholders, $45m for Joost

Joost gets $45m investment from CBS and Viacom (AP)

HBO CEO kicked out after Vegas arrest for assault (Wash Post)

iPod patent shows dual screens, rear touchscreen (TechCrunch)

Odeo acquired by SonicMountain (TechCrunch)

Funny or Die - challenge to the Long Tail (VentureBeat)

Harry McCracken returns to PCWorld (PCWorld)

Jobs deflects angry shareholders at annual meeting (Mercury News)

Cisco accused of hiring bias (Mercury News)

From Intel and AMD, rival boasts of technology (NY Times)

IBM program to focus on saving energy (NY Times)

Combined Reuters-Thompson would challenge Bloomberg (NY Times)

Friendster launches classifieds and jobs (Mashable)

Second Life kiddie porn investigation under way (Mashable)

iPods make pacemakers malfunction (Computerworld)

Vonage appeals patent verdict, citing new Supreme Court decision (Computerworld)

MSFT inks $1 billion software deal with Lenovo (Computerworld)

Yahoo shuts down auctions, Photos (Computerworld)

Myth of the open source volunteer developer (Wired)

Courts cast wary eye on evidence gleaned from cellphones (Wired)

Jazz cats to Congress: Save net radio! (Wired)

LiveInk offers better way to read onscreen (VentureBeat)

Another mill for Technorati (VentureBeat)

Steve Jobs: Silence, shareholders! (ValleyWag)

70 expert ideas for better CSS (Smashing Mag)

Zune to get wireless downloads, Flash player (Engadget)

Kevin Rose's latest startup (GigaOM)

Newswatch 5.10.07: Jobs dismisses shareholders, $45m for Joost

Joost gets $45m investment from CBS and Viacom (AP)

HBO CEO kicked out after Vegas arrest for assault (Wash Post)

iPod patent shows dual screens, rear touchscreen (TechCrunch)

Odeo acquired by SonicMountain (TechCrunch)

Funny or Die - challenge to the Long Tail (VentureBeat)

Harry McCracken returns to PCWorld (PCWorld)

Jobs deflects angry shareholders at annual meeting (Mercury News)

Cisco accused of hiring bias (Mercury News)

From Intel and AMD, rival boasts of technology (NY Times)

IBM program to focus on saving energy (NY Times)

Combined Reuters-Thompson would challenge Bloomberg (NY Times)

Friendster launches classifieds and jobs (Mashable)

Second Life kiddie porn investigation under way (Mashable)

iPods make pacemakers malfunction (Computerworld)

Vonage appeals patent verdict, citing new Supreme Court decision (Computerworld)

MSFT inks $1 billion software deal with Lenovo (Computerworld)

Yahoo shuts down auctions, Photos (Computerworld)

Myth of the open source volunteer developer (Wired)

Courts cast wary eye on evidence gleaned from cellphones (Wired)

Jazz cats to Congress: Save net radio! (Wired)

LiveInk offers better way to read onscreen (VentureBeat)

Another mill for Technorati (VentureBeat)

Steve Jobs: Silence, shareholders! (ValleyWag)

70 expert ideas for better CSS (Smashing Mag)

Zune to get wireless downloads, Flash player (Engadget)

Kevin Rose's latest startup (GigaOM)

Newswatch 5.9.07: Is Apple really green now?

Gates discusses software amid talk of Yahoo deal (NY Times) to launch video recommendation service (Mashable)

AOL's Dick Parsons: YouTube is Custer, we're the Sious (IP Democracy)

Green computing at Google (

IT industry as polluting as aviation (

Gore's (and Apple's) inconvenient truth (

Apple Mac: Now in green (Green Wombat)

Just 8% of Americans are 2.0 users (Digital Media Wire)

How-to video site VideoJug raises $30 million (Digital Media Wire)

Newspaper site traffic rising twice as fast as rest of net (Digital Media News)

eBay may acquire StumbleUpon for $75 million (ComputerWorld)

MSFT gets advertisers for Web TV shows (AP) gives $200,000 to plug-in hybrid group (VentureBeat)

BuzzLogic shows which bloggers have power and where (VentureBeat)

Newswatch 5.8.07: Google to police the Web?

Sun plans version of Java for cellphones (NY Times)

Ericsson, Sun to develop open source server (Reuters)

CNet joins NBC, NewsCorp venture (Reuters)

HP expects earnings jump (PC World)

IBM, Amazon settle all patent litigation (InfoWorld)

Web 2.0 still the domain of techies (InfoWorld)

Ubuntu plans mobile Linux (PC World)

Newmark to publishers: Get funny! (Wired)

YouTube knocks out fight video (USA Today)

Warner will program for the Net (USA Today)

Gates: Reading will go totally online (Seattle PI)

Google to police the Web (RoughType)

Photobucket buy was a steal (TechCrunch)

Photobucket to MySpace for $250m

ValleyWag's scoop: MySpace will acquire Photobucket, the parasite service that allows users to post photostreams to their MySpace profiles. MySpace cut the service off a few weeks ago claiming Photobucket violated the terms of service by placing ads on their content.

TechCrunch confirms the rumors and adds a pricetag: $250 million.

Photobucket has been looking for a buyer since March, when they hired Lehman Brothers to help sell the company. They were looking for $300 million or more, but may have had few bidders other than MySpace.

The companies have been in serious acquisition discussions for the last couple of weeks - A dispute that involved Photobucket videos being blocked on MySpace led to acquisition discussions, and the block was removed.

So what's behind the buy? Om Malik suggests it's kind of like Google buying YouTube. "The MySpace photo service hasn’t really gained as much traction and MySpacers continue to gravitate towards Photobucket."

Thomas Hawk says there may be untapped value in Photobucket's archives.

In my mind one of the biggest unrealized values of Photobucket is in the size of it's library of images. By unrealized values I mean that although they likely have the largest collection of images in any one repository, the images are not organized, ranked and categorized like you might find at Flickr.

Photobucket has always maintained that they don't want to build their own community like Flickr. That they simply want to be an easy place to host images. However, as their library gets bigger and bigger, figuring out a way to make sense of these images will unlock even greater value than a simple photo hosting service.

Newswatch 5.7.07: YT lawsuits, MS, YHOO rumors fizz

Silicon Valley is in merger fever (Venture Beat)

MySpace acquires Photobucket (ValleyWag)

MSFT, YHOO rumors fizzle (big surprise) (Seattle PI)

A Boston newspaper prints what local bloggers write (NY Times)

Journalists to sue HP over surveillance (NY Times)

Book not ready for print? Whip up an audiobook for protest (NY Times)

Tech investors cull start-ups for Pentagon (NY Times)

3D printers that transform plans into objects may in homes soon (NY Times)

The return of the small screen serial leaves advertisers cold (NY Times)

MST3K podcasts tackle the big time

YouTube has more lawsuits to worry about (StartupSquad)

NBC, Viacom support Rodney King video owner in suit against YouTube (Google Watch)

YT paying for content provides a value barometer (Mark Cuban)

Congress confronts universities on file-sharing (Digital Media Wire)

IRS wants user data from websites (Computerworld)

Yahoo stock was whipsawed over rumors of talks with Microsoft (Washington Post)

Zimbra cuts deal with Comcast (Venture Beat)

Newswatch 5.4.07: Yahoo, Microsoft rumors back on

US to clarify online gambling ban (AP)

MSFT to challenge $75m award for attorneys' fees (AP)

Shareholder applauds Jobs' enviromental promises (Mercury News)

MSFT/YHOO rumors again (Startup Squad)

Vonage dealt setback in patent case (NY Times)

Steve Jobs: $1 a year? Er, make that $646m (Computerworld)

Apple hid iBook defect: Denmark (Computerworld)

Intel charges back while AMD slides (USA Today)

AMD aims to preempt Intel's new chip set launch (Computerworld)

YHOO Photos will be permanently flickrd (NewsFactor)

Online maps updates after Maze disaster (USA Today)

Plain old websites being boobytrapped by hackers (USA Today)

YouTube to pay star users (GigaOM)

PR Newswire, Umbria team up for blog tracking (TechCrunch)

Kawasaki's Truemors: Twitter for the truth

Newswatch 5.3.07: Judge nixes Vonage retrial bid

RIM unveils the Curve Blackberry (AP)

Google lists Belgian newspapers again (AP)

iPhone optimism lifts Apple over $100 (Bloomberg)

Jobs touts enviro record as critics cry 'iWaste' (AP)

Winning bid for GQ internship: $32K (AP)

Judge upholds $1.53b judgment against MSFT (AP)

IBM designs breakthrough material for chip fab (NY Times)

AOL slips to No. 3 on Internet (NY Times)

MSFT buys mobile ad company ScreenTonic (Startup Squad)

A crack in the MSFT fortress? (Christian Science Monitor)

Court denies Vonage's bid for new patent trial (Reuters)

Acer works with BMW on laptop design (InfoWorld)

Yahoo intro's Web-based Messenger (InfoWorld)

Making peace in the Middle East (PC version) (Reuters)

PCWorld publisher kills Apple story, editor resigns

I worked at an IDG rag called Publish! many years ago, though not on the magazine, so I'm just surprised stories like this don't come up more often on IDG titles. As far as I could tell, the sales department ruled and advertisers' concerns were taken very seriously. From Wired's Epicenter blog:

PC World Editor-in-Chief Harry McCracken quit abruptly today because the company's new CEO, Colin Crawford, tried to kill a story about Apple and Steve Jobs.

The piece, a whimsical article titled "Ten Things We Hate About Apple," was still in draft form when Crawford killed it. McCracken said no way and walked after Crawford refused to compromise. Apparently Crawford also told editors that product reviews in the magazine were too critical of vendors, especially ones who advertise in the magazine, and that they had to start being nicer to advertisers.

Crawford was former CEO of MacWorld and only started at PC World about a month ago. According to the PC World source, when Crawford was working for the Mac magazine, Steve Jobs would call him up any time he had a problem with a story the magazine was running about Apple.

Digg revolt: Rethinking the 'wisdom of crowds'

Antony Mayfield calls it the Great Digg Revolt of 2007 and Mike Arrington says Viva la Revolution but for Web 2.0 entrepreneurs, the story of Digg's capitulation to its mob of users intent on linking to a DRM crack must be somewhat disquieting.

The events as Arrington describes them:

The Digg team deleted a story that linked to the decryption key for HD DVDs after receiving a take down demand and all hell broke loose. More stories appeared and were deleted, and users posting the stories were suspended.

That just got the Digg community fired up, and soon the entire Digg home page was filled with stories containing the decryption key. The users had taken control of the site, and unless Digg went into wholesale deletion mode and suspended a large portion of their users, there was absolutely nothing they could do to stop it.

Digg founder Kevin Rose's white flag post, though, contains some interesting subtext:

We had to decide whether to remove stories containing a single code based on a cease and desist declaration. We had to make a call, and in our desire to avoid a scenario where Digg would be interrupted or shut down, we decided to comply and remove the stories with the code.

But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be.

If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.


The desire to avoid being shut down, of course, refers to the fact that Digg is legally obligated to respond to takedown notices under the DMCA. (This story describes the law in the Google context.) Failure to do so exposes the site to civil liability. And since the aggrieved party is the MPAA, not exactly known for being litigation-shy, the decision could hardly have too difficult.

A harder decision would have been the one to "capitulate to the mob" as Arrington says. But in Rose's spin Digg is now willing to "go down fighting" and "die trying." But exactly what principle is Digg willing to die for? The right to post the magic code? To fight against the immorality of DRM? Nonsense.

Digg is acting like a royal battallion that finds itself cut off by an agry mob of colonials. When all is lost, they grab the rebels' standard and shout, a la Arrington, "Down with the King!" In other words, this is mob rule and Digg's only legal argument once they are sued will be "it was out of our hands because our business model is based on users controlling the site."

In other words, in Digg's success is the seed of its own destruction - and it is not alone. Any truly user-driven site can careen out of control at any time. Digg realized that continuing to act within the law seriously threatened to leave the site an abandoned empty husk, that they could not have both legal protection and a business, so they opted for business over no business, albeit one with a huge, gaping chasm that will be excavated by corporate lawyers.

Cisco saving big bucks by putting lawyers on fixed fees

Silicon Valley is a large consumer of legal services and those services are wildly expensive, so beancounters across the Valley must have perked up at a Wall Street Journal article about Cisco's efforts to stem the cost of their lawyers.

Cisco has largely deep-sixed the billable hour and is paying its two major outside law firms on a fixed-fee basis.

"Typically, large numbers of associates go off and write memos that get tucked into the lower right-hand side of someone's drawer," says Gordon Davidson, chairman of Fenwick & West LLP of Mountain View, Calif., the firm that represented Cisco Systems in its WebEx purchase. Using a monthly fixed-fee arrangement, he says, Fenwick lawyers have cut down "on stuff that we were doing that was interesting, but not that useful."

Cisco pays for about 75% of its $125 million legal bills on a fixed-fee basis. And no wonder. GC Mark Chandler (that's him on the left testifying before Congress about collaboration with China) estimates he has trimmed his outside legal bill by 25%. One key reason may be found in a recent study by law professor Bill Ross, which found that two-thirds of lawyers said they had "specific knowledge" of bill padding. More than half said they had performed unnecessary tasks in order to bump up their invoices, the WSJ Law Blog reports.

So bypassing the billable hour can remove huge temptation by lawyers to bilk their clients. With $125 million legal budget, how is Cisco going to notice a certain memo really took 10 hours not 14?

On the other hand, with the size of its budget, companies like Cisco can make even powerhouse lawyers like Fenwick and West (which does Cisco's corporate work) pay attention. And Fenwick is willing to play along because new technology makes estimating the amount of work involved much more predictable.

New tools are helping both sides estimate costs up front, giving general counsels more confidence to move ahead with arrangements like fixed fees and "value-based billing," in which the payment a firm gets depends in part on the results it achieves.

The boosts have mostly come from off-the-shelf electronic-billing and "matter-management" software programs. Over time, as data accumulate, general counsels' offices are able to organize cost information on everything from a group of 20 patent filings to a large single task like reviewing three million document pages.

Cisco's experience with Morgan Lewis, which handles the company's litigation, shows that it will be quite a while before the legal industry is happy about this new arrangement - ML figured they made about 15% than they would at billable rates - but that ultimately this is where lawyers need to go:

Ms. McKeon and Mr. Davidson at Fenwick say the Cisco arrangements are now profitable, though not hugely so. "You don't want your law firm making a huge profit," says Ms. McKeon, "but you don't want your law firm taking a hit either. They're not going to give you the same level of service."

Newswatch 5.2.07: Silverlight reboots the Web, Digg succumbs to users

Jack Valenti is dead at 85 (The Register)

Why Silverlight is important (TechCrunch) | Stunning engineering, masterstroke of a rollout (Steve Gillmore) | Microsoft rebooted the Web (Scobelizer)

Vonage seeks retrial of patent case (Reuters)

Joost gets more video deals (Reuters)

Digg buried by users in piracy face-down (The Register) | Digg surrends to mob (TechCrunch) | 09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63-56-88-c0 (Digg blog)

Ex-Yahoo Dave Goldberg joins Benchmark Capital (TechCrunch)

Peter Gabriel launches ad-supported download service (The Register)

Xerox software allows users to adjust color printers through simple English commands (NY Times)

YouTube launches ActiveShare (Mashable)

Supreme Court cues restrictions in patent grants

The Supreme Court yesterday made it substantially harder to get a patent in its decision in KSR v Teleflex, says the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog. That's got to be good news for the tech industry, where patents have become a game of mutually assured destruction, the most miniscule "inventions" getting patented, companies doing defensive patenting through reverse engineering of competitors products, and so on.

The Law Blog offers up a compendium of comments on the case, which centers on the definition of obviousness, one of the twin pillars of patent law (the other being novelty.) In this case, the Court threw out an automotive patent, saying it was an obvious application of prior art.

Michael Barclay, Wilson Sonsini, from SCOTUSblog: This decision makes it far easier to invalidate patents based on obviousness. Thus, this is the most important patent case of the last 20 years, and perhaps since the passage of the 1952 Patent Act.

James Dabney, Fried Frank, lawyer for KSR: The decision should greatly lower the cost and uncertainty of patent litigation. The Court held that the preemptive effect of prior art was a “legal determination” that could be resolved by way of a pretrial motion for summary judgment. The Court further held that United States courts have — and always have had — much greater authority to deem patent claims invalid than the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had acknowledged between 1983 and at least 2005.

Peter Sullivan, who filed amicus briefs for Cisco and others: Now, all knowledge in the relevant field — technical knowledge, changes in implementing technologies, consumer demand — will be available to show whether the invention was truly innovating or just the product of connecting the dots in the prior art. The Court’s opinion will allow the Federal Circuit to develop a more flexible framework in which to judge obviousness, and it should help stem the flow of patents of questionable value being issued by the PTO.

Google, Viacom girding for a $1b fight

Google filed its answer to Viacom's lawsuit over copyright infringement on YouTube yesterday. No surprise that Google's theory is the DMCA's safe harbors provision. But anyone who thought that this suit was headed for a quick settlement will probably be disappointed. The AP reports that Google has hired Philip Beck as outside counsel, the lawyer who represented Bush in the 2000 election battle. Google demanded a jury trial in proceedings yesterday and the two sides are not in settlement talks.

In its response to the suit, Google said the suit "challenges the careful balance established by Congress when it enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act."

Under the safe harbors provisions of the act, Internet companies don't face civil liability for copyrght infringments of it users. Google said Viacom's attack on the DMCA is ironic considering entertainment and television companies were behind the law's passage in the first place.

"They were at the table when these things were being negotiated," he said. "Suddenly they don't want to live with the other end of the deal," said Google counsel Michael Kwun.

Michael Fricklas, general counsel for Viacom, said the DMCA doesn't apply to Google for several reasons.
"The DMCA doesn't apply if you have knowledge of an infringement," he said, noting that Viacom has sent Google more than 200,000 takedown notices. In addition, Fricklas said Google is deriving a financial benefit from Internet traffic generated by the attraction of copyrighted works.

Newswatch 5.1.07: GOOG ready for fight with Viacom

Viacom suit threatens Net discourse (AP) Also: GOOG calls Viacom suit unfounded (NY Times)

Comcast, Yahoo ad deal (Startup Squad)

Shared Copy - web annotation bookmarklets (Startup Squad) planning to go public (NY Times)

Biz 2.0 backups fail (NY Times)

Cleantech surges with $48b in funding (

Green ad network launched (

Silicon Valley Startup to Build World's Largest Photovoltaic Solar Power Plant - in Canada (Green Wombat)

Solar prospectors head to California (Green Wombat)

Google Gives More Freedom to China Ops; MySpace Moves In (GoogleWatch)

Google renames personalized homepage iGoogle (Computerworld)

Employees suck up two work days a month websurfing (Christian Science Monitor)

News Corp offers $5b for Dow Jones (AP)

KSR v Teleflex: Supreme Court's big ruling (WSJ Law Blog)

Supreme Court: No patent protection for software copies overseas

In a victory for the software industry, the Supreme Court ruled today that a "golden master" of software shipped overseas for copying is not a patent infringement. The case is Microsoft v AT&T (PDF).

In prior suits, AT&T had won judgments against Microsoft for including in Windows software that infringes AT&T's speech-recognition patent. In this case, the phone company wanted damages for computers sold overseas. The foreign manufacturers had installed Windows by copying the OS from a golden master that Microsoft shipped from the US.

Generally, US patent law gives no protection when infringement occurs overseas. It's up to companies to patent their inventions in countries around the world and prosecute them in foreign courts. In 1984, though, Congress passed an exception, section 271(f) of the Patent Act, which makes it an infringement to ship "components" of a product with intent to "actively induce" a foreign manufacturer to combine the components into an infringing product.

That's what AT&T was asserting here - that the Windows golden master was a "component" of an infringing finished product (a computer) - and thus Microsoft is liable under US law. Two lower courts agreed with AT&T but the Supreme Court today reversed, deciding that a golden master is "Windows in the abstract," not a physical component. The Court held that copying the master is a separate step in the process and the law doesn't cover copying.

In order for AT&T to succeed, Microsoft would have had to have duped the master in the US and sent those duplicate discs overseas for installation on the PCs. That might not even have sufficed, since the software on the disc is not an infringement until its actually installed on the computer.

The logic is a bit hard to grasp and all of the decisions (a concurrence by Alito and a dissent by Stevens) reached for analogies to make sense of the question. Writing for the majority, Justice Ginsberg thought a master was like a blueprint - instructions for building. But this can't be right - source code might be considered a blueprint, but a master is binary: ready to install.

Justice Alito compared it to sending a pre-Gutenberg manuscript off to a scrivener for copying, meaning, I think, that once copied, the original can be discarded, thus the thing shipped is not it itself a component at all.

Justice Stevens seemed a bit confused about the whole thing. He analogized to shipping an inventory of knives specially made to work in an infringing machine. But of course Microsoft wasn't shipping an inventory; if it had, the shipment would probably have been covered under the law.

Probably the best analogy is shipping one component, say a knife, which could easily be replicated in a general purpose machine, to make many more copies. Would shipping that one knife qualify as shipping "components for combination"? It doesn't seem like it.

The law was passed in response to a Supreme Court case that found no infringement when a US manufacturer shipped components of a shrimp deveining machine overseas. Thus the law speaks of shipping components for combination.

Most important, it seems to me, is the Court's reluctance to extend patent law one step past the letter of the law. Since the law doesn't speak of copying, shipping and copying will not be conflated, the decision says. And since there is a presumption against expanding US patent protection overseas, the court will not expland the protection. If Congress wants to expand it, it can. AT&T surely has the lobbying power to try to get such a change enacted. Or it can make its claims in the countries where the infringment actually took place.

All of which, of course, is a great relief for software in general, since there is always risk of patent infringement in software. The world once again is safe for outsourcing.

Newswatch 4.30.07: Supreme Court rules for Microsoft in 'golden master' case

Yahoo buys Right Media ad exchange (GigaOM)

MSNBC: All your debate belong to us (Ars Technica)

Apple admits battery problems (BBC)

Online slavery archive launched (BBC)

Ignore US copyright bullies: Prof (BBC)

Baidu might go into video sharing (China Herald)

Dell dropping direct-only model (InfoWorld)

Bill to save Internet radio (InfoWorld)

Acer v HP in patent case (InfoWorld)

Google seeks clearer path to state data (NY Times)

Vudu casts its spell on Hollywood (NY Times)

Digg digs into open source (Computerworld)

Sexual threats quiet female bloggers (Wash Post)

Court modifies test for invalidating patents (AP) -- Decision in MSFT v ATT (PDF)

US hits China and Russia over copyright (AP)

Newswatch 4.27.07: Bill to save net radio

GOOG trying to expand in China (AP)'s China play (NY Times)

Vista, Office boost MSFT share price (AP)

GOOG halts hijacked ads (AP)

Proposal to allow Net gambling (AP)

$100 laptop now costs $175, runs Windows (AP)

Sold on eBay, shipped by Amazon (NY Times)

Bill would nullify Internet radio royalty increase (Computerworld)

MIT dean quits after misrepresenting degrees (

Net radio bill blasted by royalty collectors (

NASA partners show off tech at open house (

Amazon's pursuit of innovation pays off (FT)

Final thoughts on Sierra and net misogyny

I wrote this piece for my local alternative weekly, The Bohemian, about Kathy Sierra and Tim O'Reilly's code of conduct. They headlined it You've Got Hate Mail.

Tara Hunt, a blogger who was an earlier target of the same people who threatened Sierra, emphasized in an IM conversation that misogyny on the web and in tech circles goes deeper than such obvious brutality. She points to an online video for startup company Ning, in which CEO Gina Bianchini--a very attractive woman in her 30s--demos the company's service. Among the user comments: "David: That is one sexy CEO/Demo. She can Ning me anytime!!" "Ed: I thought this was well-done, informative demo."

Hunt asks, "Is it misogyny? Or just the fact that the technology industry is still so young and clueless about how these comments damage a woman's ability to function in this space? And these comments further go towards making it 'OK' to push women to the edge of this space."

Final word on the code proposal to sex-positive writer Violet Blue:

Whatever the good intentions of O'Reilly's proposal, Blue adds, "There's no add-water instant solution until our wider media culture, including mainstream media, changes its attitudes toward women. We can lead a change to the wider culture, but there's no magic button."

Newswatch 4.26.07: Investors love Apple now, tell Fred Anderson to suck an egg

Questions of motive in Apple board's statement (NY Times)

Sun and IBM offer new servers (NY Times)

Pete Townsend to make beautiful music from a dog (The Register)

Apple shares abover $100 (Chronicle)

Jobs: No music subscriptions (Reuters)

Sony to launch video sharing site (Reuters)

Newspaper sites struggle with the conversation (AP)

Wii lifts Nintendo profit 77% (AP)

Acer up 41% (AP)

VMWare offers $100m IPO (Dow Jones)

Toshiba down, Fujitsu up (AP)

Comcast earnings up 80% (AP)

Apple easily beat estimates (Mercury News)

Tech investments paying off for Amazon (AP)

Vonage gets temporary relief (AP)

Intel plan to restore lost emails (AP)

Sun gains server market share (AP)

VC spending reaches five-year high (AP)

Hearst, MediaNews abandon ad collaboration plans (Mercury News)

ChinaCache gets $32m (Startup Squad)

Parallels Technology Network announced (ComputerWorld)

FCC approves plan for spectrum auction (Computerworld)

Adobe to make Flex open source (Computerworld)

Hackers buy up AdWords (Computerworld)

Web mashups turn citizens into watchdogs (Wired)

China vows further crackdowns on "unhealthy" content

Further signs that China will continue censoring the Internet in China: President Hu Jintao was reported as saying that "unhealthy" content should be purged from the net and replaced with Communist doctrine, the BBC reports.

The comment came at the Communist Party Politburo, which pledged to impose firmer propaganda controls on the net. In January Hu said officials must nurture a healthy online culture.

"Development and administration of internet culture must stick to the direction of socialist advanced culture, and adhere to correct propaganda guidance," the Politburo meeting resolved, reported China Central Television (CCTV).

The latest rumblings come during a crackdown trend, in which directives ordered the "purifying" of TV and demands that stations reserve prime-time slots for "ethically inspiring TV dramas." The BBC says the steps are all part of a clean-up before the Party's 17th Congress, at which ""major leadership changes" are expected, the South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday.

Newswatch 4.25.07: Apple says iPhone in June

Video search engine Blinkx to go public (InfoWorld)

Yahoo China appeals piracy ruling (InfoWorld)

Apple case to be watched closely (InfoWorld)

Appeals Court allows Vonage to keep marketing (NY Times)

Sales and earnings up at Amazon

Apple 2Q growth up 88 percent, exceeding expectations (Chronicle)

Virus writers attack Google ad links (WashPost)

LiveSearch exec quits (All About Microsoft)

Second Life gets voice (

Newsvine relaunch today (TechCrunch)

Photobucket back on MySpace (TechCrunch)

iPhone on track to ship in June (Reuters)

EU adopts criminal penalties for piracy

Apple sidesteps Anderson's claims

Apple's board issued a statement sidestepping Fred Anderson's claims that he warned Steve Jobs about the repurcussions of backdating. The board statement said in full:

We are not going to enter into a public debate with Fred Anderson or his lawyer. Steve Jobs cooperated fully with Apple’s independent investigation and with the government’s investigation of stock option grants at Apple. The SEC investigated the matter thoroughly and its complaint speaks for itself, in terms of what it says, what it does not say, who it charges, and who it does not charge. We have complete confidence in the conclusions of Apple’s independent investigation, and in Steve’s integrity and his ability to lead Apple.

Anderson says he warned jobs in January 2001 that the executive options grant would be subject to an accounting charge unless the Apple board confirmed that the grant had been agreed on January 2. Mr Anderson “was told by Mr Jobs that the board had given its prior approval and the board would verify it”, Mr Anderson’s lawyers alleged. “Fred relied on these statements by Mr Jobs and from them concluded that the grant was being propertly handled.”

Apple conf call tomorrow

In light of the SEC's charging of Nancy Heinen today and settlement with Fred Anderson, Apple's quarterly conference call might be especially interesting. We'll live-blog it. But you might want to tune in here tomorrow at 2 PST.

Anderson: Jobs was warned about options

Fred Anderson, until this year Apple's longtime CFO, said he warned Steve Jobs that backdating stock options would have serious accounting repurcussions, the Financial Times reports.

The statement comes as Anderson cut a deal with the SEC to disgorge $3.5 million he received and pay a $150,000 fine. Meanwhile, the SEC formally charged former GC Nancy Heinen.

In a statement circulated by his lawyers, Mr Anderson alleged that he had received assurances from Mr Jobs in late January 2001 that an options grant to several members of Apple’s top management team had been approved by Apple’s board on January 2. That was two weeks before the January 17 grant date specified in Apple’s company filings.

In late January, Mr Anderson warned Mr Jobs that the executive options grant would be subject to an accounting charge unless the Apple board confirmed that the grant had been agreed on January 2. Mr Anderson “was told by Mr Jobs that the board had given its prior approval and the board would verify it”, Mr Anderson’s lawyers alleged. “Fred relied on these statements by Mr Jobs and from them concluded that the grant was being propertly handled.”

“It now appears that the board may not have given the necessary prior approval to the grants,” his lawyers said.

As Anderson has it, there was no board approval, just Jobs' and Heinen's approval. Apple declined to comment.

If Jobs in fact was aware of the repurcussions and acted to select the Jan. 17 date anyway, that flies in the fact of the Apple board's earlier report that Jobs was unaware of the implications. It also calls into question the trustworthiness of the board's internal investigation and suggests that the SEC may yet show greater interest in Jobs.

Heinen is also at risk for federal criminal charges.

Newswatch 4.24.07: Kleiner expands to China

Kleiner Perkins expands to China (NY Times)

Trying to avoid EU find, MSFT defends royalty demands (NY Times)

Warner, Bertelsmann in $100m settlement over Napster (AP)

HP to unveil data warehousing software (Mercury News)

Yahoo will offer song lyrics online (Mercury News)

YouSendIt raises $10m (Mashable!)

YHOO, HuffPost, Slate host online-only prez debate (press release)

Feds boost energy entrepreneurs (Green Wombat)

GOOG sued for infringing hyperlink technology (Google Watch)

Apple shareholders to decide on bid to remove toxics from products (Computerworld)

ID theft task force calls for stronger laws (Computerworld)

HP files second patent lawsuit against Acer (Computerworld)

Fred Anderson settles with SEC (WSJ Law Blog)

Romney: President as CIO (Wash Post)

Copyright report more rhetoric than reality (Slashdot)

SEC to charge Apple's ex-GC Nancy Heinen

The SEC is getting ready to charge Apple's former GC, Nancy Heinen, with securities fraud in Apple's option backdating scandal, The Mercury News reports.
The SEC is looking into Heinen's role in awarding Steve Jobs stock options but also at a second round of grants in which various executives, including Heinen herself, profited from backdating.

Heinen approved setting a grant date to Jobs in October 2001, rather than December 2001 when the grant was finalized and the price was higher. She claims that she thought this was legal at the time. More troubling - and harder to justify - are accusations that she instructed a lawyer working under her, Wendy Howell, to create bogus documentation for an October board meeting at which board was said to have approved the grant to Jobs. That meeting, of course, never happened.

When the board finalized the Jobs grant shortly before Christmas 2001, board member Arthur Levinson, Genentech's CEO, sent an e-mail saying the deal with Jobs was done and instructed Heinen to document the Oct. 19 date, according to three people familiar with the grant.

Heinen, these sources say, then e-mailed Wendy Howell, an in-house Apple lawyer who ordinarily documented stock options, instructing her to handle the Jobs documents. From there, the accounts of Heinen and Howell differ, according to sources familiar with their versions.

What is not disputed is that Howell wrote phony meeting minutes to show the board approved the Jobs grant on Oct. 19, 2001. Howell maintains she was instructed by her superiors to create the meeting minutes, but Heinen denies knowledge of the false minutes, although she signed them in her role as the board's corporate secretary, according to sources familiar with both accounts. Two people familiar with Heinen's account say she regularly had stacks of minutes to sign, and didn't scrutinize the Howell minutes.

The SEC is also readying a case against former CFO Fred Anderson.

The Mercury's sources report that Jobs also approved a January 2001 grant for executives including approved by Jobs for top Apple executives, including Heinen and Anderson.

Sources say Jobs in late December 2000 approved the options. Under Apple's options program at the time, the options would normally be dated the following Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2001. But the grant wasn't finalized until Jan. 31, two people familiar with the case say.

In the interim, Heinen and Anderson discussed an appropriate date for the options, sources say, and decided that it would appear improper to use the Jan. 2 date, when the shares closed at $14.80. These sources say Heinen and Anderson settled on Jan. 17, when the stock was at $16.81 a share, believing it was proper to drag the date forward from Jan. 2 because the price was lower. But the options were backdated to that Jan. 17 date on Jan. 31, when the stock was at about $21 a share.

Heinen will argue that because she chose a higher price than Jan. 2's price, she wasn't profiting from the date choice. Another point of view might be she didn't want to look greedy.

Newswatch 4.23.07: Software upgrade crashed Blackberry

This is your life, according to Google (Ars Technica)

Google acquires videoconferencing software (Ars Technica)

Web 2.0 wave starts to take hold (BBC)

eBay sorry over policy change (BBC)

Software upgrade caused Blackberry meltdown (BBC)

BBC to open archive for trial (BBC) on game day: how IT hits a home run (

YouTube deletes, restores video of McCain singing 'Bomb Iran' (

Microsoft sued for patent infringement over .NET (

YouTube to collect user data (

AMD posts surprisingly big loss (FT)

Dell falls further behind HP (FT)

Vonage shares fall on bankruptcy fears (FT)

The perils of being suddenly rich (NY Times)

An inside look at backdating at Apple (Mercury News)

Group tries to block Google/DoubleClick deal (AP)

More details on Google's stock option auction program (Mercury News)

Intuit offers to pay for filers' tax late fees (Bloomberg News)

Podcasting advertisers Podbridge gets funded

Newswatch 4.23.07: Software upgrade crashed Blackberry

This is your life, according to Google (Ars Technica)

Google acquires videoconferencing software (Ars Technica)

Web 2.0 wave starts to take hold (BBC)

eBay sorry over policy change (BBC)

Software upgrade caused Blackberry meltdown (BBC)

BBC to open archive for trial (BBC) on game day: how IT hits a home run (

YouTube deletes, restores video of McCain singing 'Bomb Iran' (

Microsoft sued for patent infringement over .NET (

YouTube to collect user data (

AMD posts surprisingly big loss (FT)

Dell falls further behind HP (FT)

Vonage shares fall on bankruptcy fears (FT)

The perils of being suddenly rich (NY Times)

An inside look at backdating at Apple (Mercury News)

Group tries to block Google/DoubleClick deal (AP)

More details on Google's stock option auction program (Mercury News)

Intuit offers to pay for filers' tax late fees (Bloomberg News)

Podcasting advertisers Podbridge gets funded

Newswatch 4.19.07: Microsoft offers $3 software for digital divide

Google offers query-less search (InfoWorld)

Spammers, hackers seize on Virginia Tech news (Infoworld)

MySpace introduces Digg-like recommendation feature (AP)

MSFT rolls out $3 software for developing world (AP)

Hundreds of thousands file late as Intuit can't handle last-minute rush (AP)

Patent reform bill seeks to boost innovation (AP)

Bereft of Blackberries, the unwired make do (NY Times)

Dell losing market share to HP (NY Times)

Click fraud increasing (

Tools mine personal data across Net (

Zune phone patent app surfaces in series of tubes (

Forget Froogle. Now it's 'Product Search.' (

eBay acquires StumbleUpon (TechCrunch)

Newswatch 4.18.07: Blackberry system crashes hard

Blackberry disruption jams emails (BBC, USA Today)

Schmidt disses MS claims on DoubleClick (Seattle PI)

Intel earnings jump sharply but sales dip (NY Times)

Yahoo earnings down 11 percent (NY Times, AP)

David Lazarus: Web 2.0 is all about the money (Chronicle)

Newspapers, Yahoo shifting ad platform (Chronicle)

Supreme Court asks White House to review patent case (AP)

Patently at odds (Wash Post)

A chain of grief with links on FaceBook (Wash Post)

Google acquires Tonic for online presentations (Startup Squad)

Indies fear music will go unheard if net is prioritized (Mercury News)

Court won't consider law in 'Howling Pig' case (How Appealing)

SV's green fringe benefit (Green Wombat)

The new YouTube? Yelp (Computerworld)

Employees leaking corporate data on Google Cal (Computerworld)

Open source e-voting software (Computerworld)

Seagate posts smaller profit, lowers outlook (AP)

Vonage says patent ruling could force bankruptcy (Bloomberg)

IBM meets earnings forecast despite moderate sales growth (AP, NYT)

FCC commish 'really worried' about digital TV transish (AP)

McNeely touts open source for kids (AP)

Web counting rules need change (BBC)

Technology forever reshaping how we deal with tragedy (AP)

House to vote on bill to ban websites with names resembling US agencies (NY Times)

Centrify raises $15m (VentureBeat)

Shocking Tec raises $7m (VentureBeat)

Adify gets $19m round

Adify, launched at last year's Web 2.0 conference, has landed a $19 million round led by US Venture Partners, the company reports. The company's product is called Build Your Own Network and it takes a vertical marketing approach to combine mainstream properties with blogs.

From the press release:

For example, Adify is working with Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive (WPNI) to power its Sponsored Blogroll program. Combining ad space from and high-quality, independent bloggers, Sponsored Blogroll enables marketers to reach a broad audience across the Web in a single buy. Major national advertisers such as Marriott and Lufthansa have signed on as sponsors for the travel blog section of the network.

“We recognize that vertical networks – networks that combine content from or across a complementary group of web properties – are the next logical evolution for publishers seeking to expand their advertising solutions for customers,” said Beth Comstock, President, Integrated Media, NBC Universal. “They are quickly becoming an important way to develop scale for our marketing clients.”

Newswatch 4.17.07: Judges to webcasters: Deal with it

Judges reject appeals from webcasters (AP)

Schmidt says Google close to filtering system for YouTube (

College advises students to push back against RIAA (Ars Technica)

'Fatal' blow to webcasters (BBC)

Online child abuse complaints up (BBC)

Google to offer online presentation program (

Will anyone watch Lonelygirl15 spinoff? (

Ban on monthly net access charges faces hurdles (

Cisco invests in home networking company Avega (

Researchers: Botnets getting beefier (eWeek)

Intel steals a march on AMD (FT)

AOL programs back new business model (InfoWorld)

Amazon web services losing money (InfoWorld)

Joe Krauss: Google a nerd paradise (InfoWorld)

Adobe's Chizen responds to MSFT Silverlight (InfoWorld)

Apple shareholders could change options rules (InfoWorld)

Computer science tries to bring more women into the fold (NY Times)

Intel says new chips 40% faster (Reuters)

New mobile search service from Tellme (Reuters)

Wireless email patents v. Innovation (Slashdot)

Wi-FiPod? (TailRank)

Apple considering rebate for iPhone (AppleInsider)

Reporters rely on blogs for info from shooting scene is pointing to this blog post from a Virginia Tech student as an indication of how, especially with cellphones down, the media depended on bloggers and other web forums to connect with eyewitnesses to the unbelievable carnage. The blogger, a student named Paul, wrote:

The story goes that she was in class and they heard a banging, her teacher opened the door to find out what was going on, and after not seeing anything, closed the door. Not more than two seconds later, a gunman entered her room, to which the class responded by getting underneath the desks and basicly hiding as well as possible from this guy. He then shot at the class somewhere between 8 to 12 times and then left. Kate was hit in the hand by a stray bullet, after speaking with her on the phone while she was/is at the hospital,I found out that she still has a peice of a bullet lodged into her hand, and has fractions on her index and pinkey finger. She is about to go into surgery to get that cleaned up and will be there for the next three days. Again she was not specific on exactly what transpired there, but it must have been very stressful for her. She said that the gunman, who looked asian, left and She and another classmate barricated the door while others attended to the wounded and injured. The gunman came back and tried to get in, but because of the barracade couldnt and proceeded to shoot at the door at hip level, while kate was and the other classmates were at ground level.

The second comment on the entry was from CBC, the third from NPR, a little later the Boston Herald, MTV and ABC all posted requests for interviews.

Non-media posters expressed outrage at the speedy requests, which were along the lines of "That's terrible. Look can you call me?"

I cannot believe how quickly the media has already descended on you! Too bad you and the other bloggers are, as usual, doing their jobs for them. Please keep posting, and don't let the media swarm get to you. Tell your friend Kate and everyone else down there that a lot of people are thinking about you. Stay strong. quotes Robert Niles of the Online Journalism Review:

"The Web basically cuts the middleman out of the picture, and allows the people who were there on the scene to get their story out to a global audience immediately," said Robert Niles, editor of the Online Journalism Review. "Of course, journalists can follow up on that, find these first-person witnesses or potential witnesses and interview them to draw more details out of them to further complete the story. So it allows the whole newsgathering process to move much more quickly."

But the fast-moving events and the information vacuum may have created some craziness. The LiveJournal blog of Wayne Chiang - with dozens of photos of him with LOTS of guns convinced many they had ID'd the shooter, according to ABC's Richard Esposito:

Right now pretty much the Internet thinks it is me, Chiang told ABC News. "I am just interested in trying to clear my name.

"It was five for five. I was Asian, I lived in (the dorm), I go to V Tech, I recently broke up with my girlfriend and I collect guns," Chiang, who initially contacted ABC affiliate KNXV.

TechCrunch 20: DEMO without fees (for presenters)

Michael Arrington and Jason Calcanis have announced TechCrunch 20: a merit-based selection of 20 compelling startups, who will get a change to make their pitches and gives their demos before an audience.

The format is simple: Twenty of the hottest new startups from around the world will announce and demo their products over a two day period at TechCrunch20. And they don’t pay a cent to do this. They will be selected to participate based on merit alone.

We are also assembling an amazing group of twenty experts to assist us with the conference. These experts will help recommend the final startups to present at TechCrunch20. And they will also participate at the conference - they’ll watch company presentations and discuss the merits of each with robust audience participation.

Confirmed industry experts include Marc Andreessen (Co-founder, Ning), Chris Anderson (Editor-In-Chief, Wired Magazine), Roelof Botha (Partner, Sequoia Capital), Mark Cuban (Founder, HDNet), Om Malik (Founder, GigaOm), Robert Scoble (Scobleizer), and Dave Winer (Scripting News).

Companies should apply here.

Computers: The new news consumers

A fascinating article in the FT today about how computer-generated news has a lively audience - other computers. It's not just Google News. Various services are taking financial data and turning it into news stories customized for software to process and pass onto trading computers.

“One of the big consumers of news now is a computer,” says Matthew Burkley, senior vice-president of strategy at Thomson Financial. “This area has turned out to be broader than we thought. Instead of being limited to a marginal number of our clients, the demand for news which is readable by a computer is very widely spread.”

Reuters reports a similar demand. “There is real interest in moving the process of interpreting news from the humans to the machines,” says Kirsti Suutari, global business manager of algorithmic trading at Reuters. “More of our customers are finding ways to use news content to make money. This is where news is exciting.”

Still Wall Street firms maintain a place for humans in the new world of news-triggered trading.

“News events are extremely subjective,” says Will Sterling, head of institutional electronic trading at UBS. “Our general approach has been to blend the automation with a degree of human oversight. It’s better to take an extra few seconds to be sure.” CEO threat to TechCrunch is a toothless attempt to indimidate

So far as I can tell, the lawyer letter that CEO Shannon Terry sent to TechCrunch's Mike Arrington, accusing him of defamation and demanding a retratction, is pure bullshit.

Friday morning Arrington wrote that Terry "committed" securities fraud while a principal at SGA Goldstar Research, he and two others were accused of a "massive ongoing market manipulation” scheme. The others were sentenced to federal prison. Terry cooperated and got off with a $828,000 fine, Arrington wrote, pointing to an SEC document and a magazine article. (Technically, the 828K was a disgorgement, not a fine.) In a 1998 complaint against Sheldon Kraft, the SEC uncontrovertibly accused Terry of illegal manipulation of the stock of a company called Systems of Excellence:

The Complaint alleged a massive ongoing market manipulation orchestrated by Huttoe in which he executed an unregistered distribution of tens of millions of SOE shares. The Complaint further alleged that Huttoe artificially inflated the price for those shares by issuing materially false press releases about nonexistent multimillion dollar sales of SOE products, filing false periodic reports with the Commission, and bribing with SOE stock persons to tout SOE stock, including Melcher and Terry. As a final part of the scheme, Huttoe, Melcher, and Terry then took advantage of the inflated market by dumping shares on unwitting investors. On January 29, 1997, the Commission amended the Complaint to allege that in addition to touting SOE stock, SGA Goldstar, Melcher, and Terry engage in a systematic practice of publishing promotional coverage for other issuers in exchange for compensation.

This 1999 article describing the scheme makes it clear that Terry was a relatively small player in the scheme. Kraft, Charles Huttoe and Goldstar owner Theodore Melcher were the major players in the scheme to talk up the value of the stock through spreading lies about incoming business and acquisition negotiations. When the price did triple, the conspirators sold and made millions. What do you call that? Pump and dump.

An employee of SGA Goldstar Research, Shannon Terry, was found to
have violated the anti-touting and antifraud provisions of securities
laws by a U.S. District judge. The court ordered Terry to disgorge
$828,000 of trading profits.

Note that Terry was ordered to "disgorge" $828,000. That's how much, according to the court, he made from the illegal scheme. Kraft by comparison paid $1.1 million and got a probation sentence for cooperating with investigators, though he could have been sentenced to up to five years in jail. Huttoe was sentenced to 46 months in jail.

So to be clear, from the record. Terry was found guilty in federal court and paid out more than $800,000 in ill-gotten gain. The case was a big deal, with the most central character doing jail time.

So now comes Terry, alleging that Arrington's report is false and libelous and demanding a retraction. In my opinion, Arrington should decline the offer on several grounds: truth, lack of "actual malice," lack of inury and lack of jurisdiction.

Truth is an absolute defense. If what Arrington published is substantially true, Terry has no case. The burden is on Terry to prove the falsity of the claims. So lets go throught the claims.

1. That the headlines "committed securities fraud" and "was involed in fraud" clearly imply that Terry is presently involved in securities fraud.

Sheer nonsense. The reference to fraud is clearly in the past. It would take a tortured reading to come up with that interpretation; even if a reader did, the text makes it clear that the fraud occurred in the past.

2. No finding that Terry was involved in a pump and dump scheme was made.

Bullshit. Terry was found guilty of exactly that, as described above.

3. Terry was an employee not a principal of Goldstar.

Assuming that's true - and that's what the magazine article says - so what? It's not defamatory to say that someone was a principal rather than an employee. Under the Supreme Court decision Gertz v Welch, the plaintiff must show actual damage. This is simply a nonmaterial issue of fact which causes no damage.

4. No charge of stock manipulation was made against Terry in 1998. The statement infers that Terry was a coconspirator of Kraft and Huttoe.

The SEC document charging Kraft is dated 1998. If the charge actually was made in a prior year, it is disingenuous to deny the statement based on a technicality. I don't know what the law is around inferences but an inference that Terry was a coconspirator is pretty legitimate.

5. The statement that "Terry cooperated with authorities" and "got off with a fine" are false and defamatory.

Based on the magazine article, it seems that Terry never faced a prison term and it's not clear that he cooperated. But again, he would have to show that this inaccuracy is material to his claim. It hardly seems so. The fact that he disgorged his profits indicates the gains were a violation of security law.

Finally, even if this last inaccuracy is material and Terry suffered actual damages (that is, the Yahoo deal falls apart) he would have to show the deal fell apart because of Arrington's article - that is, that Yahoo wouldn't have found it by due diligence. Hard to believe, since Mike found it so quickly.

If Terry were to try to collect punitive damages, he would have to show "actual malice" on Arrington's part under the Supreme Court's Gertz decision. Actual malice is knowingly publishing a falsehood or "reckless disregard" for whether it was true or not.

There are more claims in the letter but they all pretty much come out the same. The bottom line: eveyone knows that lawyers send scary letters trying to achieve the client's aims without the risk and expense of actually going to court. This letter is nothing more than a toothless "scary lawyer letter."

And one final point. The rationale in Gertz for having a lower standard to collect on actual damages was that private citizens have much worse access to the press to set the record straight (as opposed to the New York Times v Sullivan case, where actual malice was the standard for libel actions by public officials). Arrington's offer to run a piece by Terry unedited and prominently shows that the weaker access rationale is substantially weaker in the Internet era.

Newswatch 4.16.07: MSFT's Flash killer, hot Web2 startups

Microsoft to unveil rival to Flash (FT)

Comcast joins MySpace/NBC network (Reuters)

Silicon Valley's nuclear option (Green Wombat)

Yahoo expands newspaper partnership (Wash Post)

Kathy Sierra: Few clues, little evidence (Wired)

Report against CA's Wong (WSJ LawBlog)

Ignite lights up Web2.0 Expo (VentureBeat)

Project Agape, the meta nonprofit (VentureBeat)

Why Google bought DoubleClick (GigaOM)

Google selling user info?

10 successful Web2 startups (Guardian)

Intel to demo possible DRAM replacement (Infoworld)

Report from Web2.0 Expo

Freedom Mail plans to enlist in wireless campaign of the patent wars (NY Times)

Intel to detail plans on handhelds in China (NY Times)

BBC, Al Jazeera join YouTube rival (Reuters)

Vonage: No tech workaround (USA Today)

Researchers explore scrapping, rebuilding Net (USA Today)

Dodgeball founders quit Google (

Google Maps includes swimming distance (

Apple puts a leash on its Leopard (

New patent hints at Apple TV 2.0 (Ars Technica)

Palm embracing Linux in the hopes of being relevant again (Ars Technica)

Virtual Big Brother is unveiled (BBC)

Concern as net hits data limits" (BBC)

Speed boost plan for file-sharing (BBC)

Google, Clear Channel in broad U.S. radio ads deal
Adobe player frees viewers to watch video offline

Silicon Valley seeks to revamp wireless industry

Does GougleClick violate antitrust?

Google's wowser $3.1 billion bid for DoubleClick - announced Friday after the markets closed - has Microsoft pissed off. Redmond wants the government to consider the antitrust implications of the largest contextual advertising player owning the leading company in display ad online placement, The Times will report tomorrow.

Microsoft GC Brad Smith said the deal would “substantially reduce competition in the advertising market on the Web.”

AT&T joined the antitrust call, with public affairs VP Jim Cicconi saying, “For many of these new Web services, it could be that the advertising-supported model is the predominant business model,” he said. “The danger here is that Google could be in a position to pick winners and losers.”

That's rich, considering that's exactly what the net neutrality bills that AT&T (nee SBC) fought so hard against last year.

So how about the merits of the antitrust assertion? Google will most likely get its way, said law professor Andrew Gavil.

Any review of a merger on antitrust grounds begins with a determination of the “relevant market” in which the two companies operate. “That is the first hurdle in case like this,” said Andrew I. Gavil, a law professor at Howard University, “and it looks as if DoubleClick may well be in a nearby, or complementary, market instead of the same market as Google. And then the question will be how easy it is for new entrants to compete in the online advertising markets.”

In Perfect 10 decision, court may have given support to Google

Via Denise Howell's Lawgarithms, a recent Ninth Circuit decision may bode well for Google in its suit with Viacom. The decision in Perfect 10 v CCBill (PDF) makes it harder for a copyright owner to sue a service provider for the presence of copyright-infringing material.

The decision speaks to the safe harbor provisions in both the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) and the Communications Decency Act Section 230. In this case, porn site Perfect 10 was suing a company which provided webhosting services (CWIE) and subscription billing services (CCBill). Allegedly, some of CWIE's webmaster customers were serving up images swiped from Perfect 10.

CWIE/CCBill naturally asserted the safe harbor protections of the DMCA and CDA and the key point in the decision centered on whether CWIE lost the protection of the safe harbors by "receiving a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity, in a case in which the service provider has the right and ability to control such activity." (DMCA, Section 512(c)(1)(B))

The court ruled that the standard for "direct financial benefit" should be the same as for the common law standard for vicarious copyright liability (which really is what Perfect 10 is asserting). In Ellison v. Robertson (357 F.3d 1072) (PDF), the Ninth Circuit held "direct financial benefit" occurs when "the infringing activity constitutes a draw for subscribers, not just an added benefit" and the infringer has the "right and ability to supervise" infringng activities.

By this standard, the court holds that CWIE did not get a "direct financial benefit" because the ability to host infringing material was not a "draw" to their service. Congress, the court says, was quite explicit that the mere fact that a service provider collects fees from infringing users "would not constitute a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity."

A good chunk of the rest of the decision centers on whether CWIE had set up reasonable mechanisms for responding to take-down notices and removing repeat offenders - and whether Perfect 10 delivered adequate take-down notices. In general the court rules that the take-down notice must meet fairly precise rules and that CWIE didn't get the "red flags" that would have compelled them to act against offenders. All in all, a pretty pro-ISP decision.

So how does this apply to Viacom v Google? First of all that case was filed in New York, not San Francisco so this case isn't directly applicable. It does suggest a line of reasoning that the 2nd Circuit should address, however: that so long as infringing material is not YouTube's primary "draw" but just an "added benefit," Google will be protected under the safe harbors. Will the 2nd Circuit buy this? And if they do, will the Supreme Court buy it? Let's turn to the commentators:

Denise Howell:

The "direct financial benefit" exemption is one of the most crucial legal points at issue in Viacom v. YouTube, and here we have the Ninth Circuit saying that if the presence of infringing material is merely an "added benefit" and not a primary draw, a defendant should be immune under the DMCA from liability for the infringing acts of others. As a practical matter, this requires parties and courts to classify and quantify the role of the infringing material, and thus imports a Sony v. Universal/substantial noninfringing use-esque anlaysis into interpreting and applying the DMCA. Advantage YouTube/Google — though the Second Circuit (where Viacom v. YouTube is pending) is well known for departing from the reasoning of the Ninth.

Jason Schultz:

#4 Perhaps most importantly, the Court found that copyright holders who send DMCA notices must "substantially comply" with all six requirements under Section 512(c)(3)(A) in order to trigger the take-down procedures under the Safe Harbors. In other words, if a DMCA notice fails to substantially comply with the requirements, the ISP/Provider can ignore the notice. This applies to each notice individually and cannot be satisfied by separate notices over time that cobble together all the relevant information.

#5 A great quote for why #4 is important: "Accusation of alleged infringement have drastic consequences: A user could have content removed, or may have his access terminated entirely. If the content infringes, justice has been done. But if it does not, speech protected under the First Amendment could be removed."

Eric Goldman (site may be down):

This Ninth Circuit panel clearly understood the dangers that copyright and publicity rights lawsuits pose to Internet intermediaries, and they took a number of useful steps to push back on a very aggressive plaintiff's novel but expansive theories. Kudos to them. But with two other Perfect 10 cases pending with the Ninth Circuit, I strongly suspect that the most interesting and powerful aspects of this ruling soon will be reshaped by the subsequent opinions.

Newswatch 4.13.07: CEO of Yahoo target committed securities fraud

What do you think of this news feature? Useful? Superfluous? Let us know in the comments. Want to see more headlines? Fewer? Should we include a blurb? This morning's news: CEO committed securities fraud: Yahoo deal killer? (TechCrunch)

Net reaches out to final frontier (BBC)

Leopard delayed by Apple iPhone (BBC)

Chips stack up in 3rd dimension (BBC)

MI iPod proposal possibly influenced by Apple (Ars Technica)

Online comments by minors Constitutionally protected (Ars Technica)

HP selects Via processor for China PC (

Robertson launches new DRM-free music service (

Virtual theft reports skyrocket in China (China Herald)

Paris Hilton bait for MS cursor exploit (eWeek)

Akamai goes P2P, buys Red Swoosh (GigaOM)

Rolling Stone's new social network (GigaOM)

Why Apple shifted coders to iPhone (GigaOM)

Ghost - WebOS for real (Startup Squad)

CBS shows coming to MSN, Joost, AOL (Infoworld)

China improving on piracy: MS lawyer (Infoworld)

Ninth Circuit gives a lift to YouTube in porn decision (Lawgarithms)

China cracks down on online porn (AP)

Mexico decriminalizes libel (AP)

Utah trademark registry aimed at search terms (AP)

China approves property law (AP)

Tech hub to open sensor data to anyone (AP)

CA ex-CEO to pay $800m restitution (NY Times)

Newswatch 4.12.07: Vonage CEO out

CBS Jumps on the "Stick-It-To-You-Tube" Train (IP Democracy)

Women don't click with Internet videos (Reuters)

Apple, Opera, and Mozilla Push For HTML5 (Slashdot)

E-mail monitoring may violate European laws (

Google plans to open operations center in Poland (AP)

Vonage CEO resigns; Company moves to cut costs (Computerworld)

Subscription rumors for iTunes surface again (

Senators propose labels for adult sites (

The case of the missing White House emails (

Vonage chief out (FT)

Comcast to launch website for video (FT)

Comcast acquires Fandango (GigaOM)

Faster WiFi World is coming (NYT)

MGM will offer movies on iTunes (AP)

Beatles settle EMI suit (SF Chron) releases two-way storage unit (TechCrunch)

Yahoo to acquire (

Microsoft will crack open its tech vault (Seattle PI)

UPDATE: Photobucket says MySpace didn't contact them

Just received this statement from Photobucket regarding MySpace's assertion that Photobucket was warned. (I have to say: excellent PR to be watching the blogs and getting responses out quickly!)

Photobucket was not contacted by MySpace about this issue. Photobucket is continually identifying new ways for brands to reach, and engage with their audiences. One of the ways we can do this is by allowing our users to combine their own content with that of brands to create personalized slideshows and videos. Some of our users choose to share their slideshows with friends on blogs and social networks, of which MySpace is obviously one. This content is not clickable and does not generate revenue for Photobucket – only the branded content and environments on Photobucket do that. In addition, MySpace is claiming that some of these slideshows contravene its terms of service. However, it has decided to block the posting of user-generated videos from Photobucket, not slideshows.

Brands have a lot of great content available that users want to share with their friends and networks. It’s a trend which is only going to increase, and we think it’s good for the brands, for the users and for social networks to provide ways to create and share that compelling content. Limiting users’ ability to do so would seem to be contrary to MySpace’s mission and certainly to ours.

About that Code of Conduct

Tim O'Reilly has posted some "lessons learned" from the debate over his proposed Code of Conduct in light of the Kathy Sierra fiasco. From the comments on this page, as well as some of the edits on the Wikipedia page, it seems to me that the whole debate is tripping over the notion of enforcement.

Tim says he believes in a culture of civility for the web and that what he is proposing is not a code at all but a proposal for mechanisms that would sort of increase the base level of civility in the system.

It concerns me that Kathy Sierra, whose bad experience triggered this discussion, thinks that a code of conduct such as I proposed would do no good. (She points out that the threatening comments about her are not on sites that she controls.) But I believe that civility is catching, and so is uncivility. If it's tolerated, it gets worse. There is no one blogging community, just like there is no one community in a big city. But as Sara Winge, our VP of Corporate Communications pointed out, it's not an accident that "Civil" is also the first two syllables of "civilization."

The problem here is that a culture of self-restraint and censorship is also catching. You can look at 1950s America or the post-Code movie industry to see snapshots of cultures that are hamstrung by groupthink. Although no one's mentioned it, I think the spectre of the self-imposed Movie Code - a way to avoid governmental regulation that resulted in far more Draconian censorship than would have come from Washington and which led indirectly to the Hollywood blacklists (again, voluntary) - is somewhere in the subconcious here.

I think the fear is overblown. Site owners will make their own decisions about what to delete and what not. As Tim writes:

I challenge anyone who reads the comments on the two entries about the Code of Conduct that are linked to at the start of this entry to tell me that I'm suppressing discussion just because I deleted a couple of comments by potty-mouthed kids who didn't have anything to say but epithets.

I would do the same. Others will not. After it all dies down, the trolls and the hate-mongers will be back and it will be up to site owners to decide what to do about them. Perhaps the gravity will have shifted against hate-mongering. But it's such a big place, with so many dark nooks and crannies, that I frankly doubt that the culture of civility will be enough to make an impact.

It will come down to enforcement. How will the Code be enforced? Not by badges and pledges, after all. But by creating new mechanisms that allow bloggers to act in ways that allow conversation without allowing abuse. One idea is to let users flag posts, which then become "click to see," thus taking the comment out of the general stream of conversation.

You could take it further an adopt the Craigslist mechanism: enough flags cause the post to be deleted.

I really like this, as it addresses one of the biggest hesitations I personally have about deleting comments, namely that deleting part of a conversation can make it impossible to reconstruct what really went on. And there have also been problems in the past with blog owners selectively editing conversations to present themselves in the best possible light. A mechanism that preserves comments while hiding them "in the back room" so to speak would seem to me to be a really useful tool.

But the above quote about the "problem" of bloggers selectively deleting I find problematic. To take a legal approach, my blog is my property. I can disable comments, delete ones I don't like, block users I don't like, etc. If the community doesn't like it, they can criticize me for being a self-serving jerk. If I don't like the criticism, maybe I'll change my ways.

That's an enforcement mechanism. A community-based enforcement mechanism. It's not a particularly civil one but it works.

The rule about don't feed the trolls seems to be the most helpful thing of all. I had a chat with Tara Hunt, in which she said she "absolutely" wishes she hadn't kept engaging the conversation as it became and more antagonistic. People that care about civility will follow these basic precepts - act civilly, discourage others from being uncivil, don't feed the trolls. Ultimately, no badges are necessary.

Finally, Tim points out that whatever voluntary code is adopted is likely to bump up against certain legal protections that websites now have - but that could be taken away whenever Congress got the urge to do so.

Jeff Jarvis asserted that sites (blogs) that selectively edit comments would run the risk of losing Section 230 protection, the law that prevents websites from being held tortiously liable for user postings. Tim points out this isn't true, quoting from EFF's FAQ about the law.

"Courts have held that Section 230 prevents you from being held liable even if you exercise the usual prerogative of publishers to edit the material you publish. You may also delete entire posts."

Still, to say you take "responsibility" for something (#1 - We take responsibility for our own words and for the comments we allow on our blog) is just empty words unless there's a way to enforce that responsibility. When Alberto Gonzales says it, it should mean he's willing to resign. When an individual or company says it, it should mean they're willing to defend themselves in a court of law.

Thus he concedes lawyers - real lawyers - should review the code before people start using it, to make sure bloggers aren't increasing their liability.

Did Photobucket violate MySpace terms - or is Fox shutting down parasites?

Photobucket announced yesterday that MySpace is blocking the service's video and remixes from MySpace profiles. This is sending shockwaves through the MySpace widget economy. Widgets like these are completely dependent on being able to feed through MySpace, and if they can't users will abandon in droves.

Robert Scoble says the news will chill investment in "parasitic services."

If you want to avoid these issues there’s really one choice: pay for your site’s own hosting and build your own traffic. One reason to join services like MySpace and is that there’s a built-in level of traffic — the home page on regularly drives hundreds, if not thousands of visitors to even new sites every day. If you go off and build your own site you don’t have those advantages, but you’ve got to live with when they pull down parasitic services, which is what Photobucket is.

Fox says there is a very good reason for the move - and that third parties that play by the rules have no reason to worry. (Via Om:

“MySpace allows its users to embed video, slide shows, and other features from third parties so long as they comply with our terms of service. Photobucket recently began running an ad-sponsored slideshow and encouraged users to post these ads in bulletins and profiles throughout the community. We spoke to the company about their actions, but they refused to respect our community’s terms and we had no choice but to disable their service. MySpace does not block third party embeds or services that abide by our terms of use. We support the freedom of expression and creativity of our community and must continue to protect the experience expected by our users.”

Even so, the rules can of course change at any time, or Fox can decide that the party is over.

Regardless of who is to blame, this widget squeeze, if that is indeed the case, exposes the soft underbelly of all these start-ups that have pinned their hopes on the MySpace ecosystem.

Well, it seems like there is a toll to pay to get access to MySpace. Google paid hundreds of millions of dollars to get access to FIM’s playground. It is not surprising to see Rupert’s lieutenants play whack-a-mole with start-ups with little to offer in terms of monetary compensation.

MySpace may simply be laying the groundwork to move their huge base of users to their own video service - or to YouTube, as part of that advertising deal. Notes Dr. Tony Hung:

I think it just goes to show that Rupert Murdoch means Business when it comes to MySpace, and furthermore, isn’t afraid to show that MySpace doesn’t need any external widgets polluting its pool of users with “choices” and the like.

If MySpace has an alternate video storage and management product cooking — which only has to be *just* has good — it will have no problem locking in its users. They’d have to deal with a whole lot of them being cheesed off because all the time that was spent uploading their videos to another service had been lost; but I’m sure there’s lots they could do to sweeten the pot in the meantime.

Newswatch 4.11.07: MySpace bans widgets

Google Earth zooms in on Darfur carnage (SF Chronicle)

HowStuffWorlks raises $75m for instructional video site (VentureBeat)

Catamount raises $82m, will dabble in clean tech (Venture Beat)

Palm Will Create Its Own Linux Platform (NewsFactor)

Sun CEO shows off high-end Rock chip (

Lorne Michaels kvetches about NBC-YouTube relationship (Google Watch)

Support for IBM landmark grows (Mercury News)

Search engines improve Sitemaps protocol (Infoworld)

Google plans worldwide developer day (ComputerWorld)

MySpace blocks Photobucket videos (

Santa Cruz schools want to go solar (Renewable Energy News)

Spam to overtake human-generated email in 2007 (Ars Technica)

Defendant prevails in another RIAA suit (Ars Technica)

Californian IT surges into London (FT)

Code of conduct? Complete Tosh (Guardian)

Spock's new people engine (TechCrunch)

Big round for Aggregate Knowledge (TechCrunch)

Code of Conduct: Lessons learned so far (Tim O'Reilly)

MySpacers learn harsh reality (Scoble)

Judge tosses date-dissing website suit (USA Today)

Newswatch 4.10.07: RIAA wants to use pretexting

RIAA and MPAA: Copyright holders should be allowed to use pretexting (Ars Technica)

Yahoo to serve ads to Viacom sites (InfoWorld)

Good news and bad news for Vonage


Google buys stake in Maxthon Browser company (

MuniFi: Build it and they still don't come (GigaOm) adds content management system

In defense of Sam Zell (ValleyWag)

New technology aims to bore impatient spammers (Wash. Post)

Forget the eBay exit, sell on Web2.0forSale (TechCrunch)

FineTune launches Apollo Desktop Player (TechCrunch)

Trashing TechCrunch: Time to vote for winners

AMD plans to cut back on spending and hiring (NY Times)

SanDisk, Yahoo in music deal (NY Times)

Blogging codes of conduct: consensus still seems unlikely (Lawgarithms)

Blogger guidelines and a call for censure

Although Tim O'Reilly had published an original draft of a Blogger's Code of Conduct a week ago, today seems to be the day the press jumped on them as a news story. I talked to Tim last week about the Kathy Sierra story and a couple things from that conversation stand out.

  • Censure, not censor. He called on the community - the blogosphere, if you must, but really the relevant online community whatever it might be - to provide censure, public condemnation, of people who create hate sites or whose posts are over the line in terms of hate speech, threatening speech and personal attacks.

  • Have a sense of shame. Tim being Tim, he free-associated to an argument he once had with poet Robert Bly - a founder of the new age men's movement of the last decade - to the effect that shame has a place. There are some things we do that we should be ashamed of, that society universally condemns as evil.

Most of these have been criminalized - you know, rape, murder, child abuse. But on the flat screen of a blog, we are dealing with speech, not actions. And there are a few kinds of speech that are illegal (shouting fire in a movie theater) but in general speech is protected. Threatening someone's life, stalking, these sorts of things are not protected but in general, it's no crime to say some pretty awful things.

The remedy for having awful things said about you generally is tort - invasion of privacy, libel/slander, etc. But that's the expensive, painful, lawyer-filled approach. Short of litigation, is there a way to bring some self-restraint to the party? The guidelines are a good, reasonable start:

  • Own your words and your web space - in other words, admit that you are at least a passive participant in all that happens on your blog.
  • Take conflicts offline before responding online
  • Don't feed the trolls
  • Speak directly to those behaving badly

Jimmy Wales posted the draft on his Wiki and the community edited results are interesting. The one that has garnered the most push-back has been "We discourage anonymous comments." And indeed this goes to the central issue that has plagued Wikipedia, is plaguing the blogosphere and feeds real-world "gang mentality." I'd like to address that in some depth in a future post.

Valley leaders offer public/private solution to spectrum wars

On Feb. 1, 2009, federal law requires broadcasters to vacate a whole bunch of radio spectrum, as the switch to digital draws to completion. What to do with all that spectrum, some 108 megahertz? The current plan is to reserve just 24 megahertz for a national emergency response system and to sell off about 60 megahertz to commercial wireless players. But pressure is mounting for more spectrum to be used to make the emergency response system a heavy-duty, state-of-the art affair, The Wall Street Journal reports.

With the wireless industry and first-responders increasingly at loggerheads over the spectrum, the FCC will soon make a decision about to play it. And one proposal receiving a lot of attention is from Frontline Wireless, an investment group started by former FCC chairman Reed Hunt and including Valley VCs L. John Doerr and James L. Barksdale, The New York Times reports.

"The country's not going to have this opportunity again in my generation," says Janice Obuchowski, a telecom official in the first Bush administration whose new company, Frontline Wireless, is one of several with mixed-use proposals on the table. "There's no other spectrum this attractive that is not occupied," Ms. Obuchowski says.

The FCC is auctioning off some 60 megahertz to commercial wireless businesses but pressure is now building to hold back some of that spectrum. Between turning it all over to industry or holding more of it back for public use, some people are recommending a Third Way: public/private partnerships.

Frontline Wireless proposes to take half of the 24 megahertz spectrum already set aside by Congress for emergency purposes, bid in the auction for an additional 10 megahertz, and then build a broadband network for joint use, giving priority access to emergency services during crises. Backing the plan, Ms. Obuchowski joined forces with Reed Hundt, FCC chairman during the Clinton administration, and Haynes Griffin, a founder of Vanguard Cellular Systems Inc., which was bought by AT&T in 1998.

An earlier proposal backed by Nextel would have sold half the 60 megahertz to a nonprofit trust for joint use. That was rejected by lawmakers but is still supported by first-responder groups. Some lawmakers think the 24 megahertz already promised is enough.

"The burden of proof rests with those who advocate that an even greater amount of spectrum should be made available to emergency services over and above what they have already been given," says Rep. Rick Boucher of Virginia, an influential Democrat on the House Commerce Committee.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin seems to signalling preference for emergency use of the spectrum.

"In general, public-private partnerships do serve a very valuable purpose and can achieve very good goals," Mr. Martin says. "But in this case, you've got to make sure that when first responders have an emergency, they get the kind of access they need."

Mr. Martin says the FCC could opt to set national standards and leave it up to local emergency services to find the funds to build a broadband service that fits their needs. The FCC chairman says the Frontline plan raises questions because it essentially seeks to limit bidders for the 10 megahertz of spectrum.

Newswatch 4.9.07: GOOG admits data theft, Code of Conduct for bloggers

Google China stole rival's data(!) (Googlified)

New PG&E plug-in car can feed power to home (Mercury News)

Aperta’s UFO like hybrid vehicle gets funded (StartupSquad)

Google faces brain drain as wealthy workers hit stock-option anniversaries (Mercury News)

O'Reilly proposes blogger code of conduct (Computerworld)

Thailand orders popular political Web forum to close (AP)

In Silicon Valley, tech economy strengthens despite strains elsewhere (Mercury News)

AMD forecasts lower Q1 earnings, plans restructuring (AP)

SanDisk, Yahoo team up on WiFi music player (AP)

A Call for Manners in the World of Nasty Blogs (NY Times)

A Fictional Video on MySpace Puts a TV Show’s Promotion Into Hyperspace (NY Times)

SV Moneymen Make a Play for Airwaves (NY Times)

H.P. Tries to Create Printers That Love the Web (NY Times)

A Setback, Then a Reprieve for Vonage (NY Times)

AOL will offer Google ads on its sites (USA Today)

GOOG fighting pension funds' anti-censorship proposal

New York pension funds are calling on Google and Yahoo to resist censorship and to stop hosting customer data in certain host countries. Rebecca MacKinnon points to the proposal in Google's notice of annual meeting and proxy statement for their 2007 sharedholder meeting, May 10 at the Googleplex.

The funds are making a similar proposal for Yahoo's meeting in June. (YHOO hasn't filed its 14A for that meeting yet.)

Google's board of directors is recommending that shareholders vote against this resolution at Google's May 10th shareholder meeting. They give no explanation why.

Here's the text of the proposal:

Whereas, freedom of speech and freedom of the press are fundamental human rights, and free use of the Internet is protected in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees freedom to “receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers”, and

Whereas, the rapid provision of full and uncensored information through the Internet has become a major industry in the United States, and one of its major exports, and

Whereas, political censorship of the Internet degrades the quality of that service and ultimately threatens the integrity and viability of the industry itself, both in the United States and abroad, and

Whereas, some authoritarian foreign governments such as the Governments of Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam block, restrict, and monitor the information their citizens attempt to obtain, and

Whereas, technology companies in the United States such as Google, that operate in countries controlled by authoritarian governments have an obligation to comply with the principles of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, and

Whereas, technology companies in the United States have failed to develop adequate standards by which they can conduct business with authoritarian governments while protecting human rights to freedom of speech and freedom of expression,

Therefore, be it resolved, that shareholders request that management institute policies to help protect freedom of access to the Internet which would include the following minimum standards:

1) Data that can identify individual users should not be hosted in Internet restricting countries, where political speech can be treated as a crime by the legal system.

2) The company will not engage in pro-active censorship.

3) The company will use all legal means to resist demands for censorship. The company will only comply with such demands if required to do so through legally binding procedures.

4) Users will be clearly informed when the company has acceded to legally binding government requests to filter or otherwise censor content that the user is trying to access.

5) Users should be informed about the company’s data retention practices, and the ways in which their data is shared with third parties.

6) The company will document all cases where legally-binding censorship requests have been complied with, and that information will be publicly available.

Newswatch 4.6.07: GOOG, AFP settle over Google News

Google Adwords contract upheld (again) (Tech & Marketing Law Blog)

Hop-On receives US design patent on MP3 phone (press release)

Judge imposes Vonage injunction (AP)

Agence France-Press, Google settle suit (AP)

Apple probe will shake up whole music industry (MarketWatch)

Hackers dissect AppleTV to create cheapest Mac ever (Wired)

Electronic paper edging towards reality (Computerworld)

State of the Live Web (Sifry Alerts)

Google, Yahoo reject shareholders motions against censorship (China Herald)

Web 2.0 - the folly of amateurs (

Google evades questions about software similarities (Infoworld)

Google chief gets $1 in pay; his security costs $532,755 (NY Times)

MyMaps: Is Google doing a Microsoft? (Paul Kedrosky)

Early prototype of Firefox Coop released (TechCrunch)

Prices for .com and .net will rise (USA Today)

Amanda Congdon: Oblivious (ValleyWag)

McClatchy deal with Yahoo opens doors (Wash Post)

On Yahoo, foreclosed homes for house hunters (Wash Post)

Santa Cruz porn bust forecasts impact of tech (Mercury News)

Newswatch 4.5.07: GOOG MyMaps, Thailand bans YouTube, Trash TechCrunch

SEC probes Grand Theft Auto firm (BBC)

Google reveals exec salary deal (BBC)

Microsoft criticized for OpenXML petition (

Nokia pays Qualcomm $20m for patents (

Software AG gobbles up WebMethods (

Rewriting ethics rules for the new media (

Funds press Google on Internet freedoms (Financial Times)

EU blow to Microsoft on Windows (Financial Times)

Google MyMaps smashes mashups (GigaOm)

In VoIP, Cisco thinks small to go big (GigaOm)

Google to build $600m datacenter in SC (Infoworld)

Yahoo tests customizable search engine (Infoworld)

Apple unveils octa-core Mac Pro (Infoworld)

Thailand bans YouTube (NYT)

Feds check gambling in Second World (Reuters)

US attorney not letting up on backdating (SF Chronicle)

Trash TechCrunch and win a pass to Web 2.0 Expo (TechCrunch)

How Yahoo blew it (Wired)

Viacom's miniscule Web audience (ValleyWag)

Malaysian bloggers may have to reveal identities (AFP)

Silicon Valley wants plug-in hybrids to hit the road (GreenWombat)

New online tool helps companies calculate emissions (GreenBiz)

Why broadband is 5x cheaper in Japan

How do you like these statistics? Japanese broadband customers pay about 70 cents per megabit per second of bandwidth. In the US, we pay $4.90, on average, according to Takashi Ebihara, senior director of the corporate strategy department at NTT East Corp.

Why? A wide-ranging government policy on broadband, coupled with healthy competition, said Ebihara, according to InfoWorld.

Forum host Information Technology and Innovation Foundation has argued that the U.S. needs a more aggressive broadband policy, saying broadband adoption creates new jobs and new innovative products. As of June 2006, the U.S. ranked 12th among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development nations in broadband adoption, behind Canada, Iceland and Sweden, among other countries.

Japan, through its u-Japan broadband strategy, provides money for cities to wire schools and community centers, provides zero-interest or low-interest loans for cities and businesses to deploy broadband, and provides tax breaks for the purchase of networking equipment, Ebihara said.

The problem is that the Bush administration doesn't want anything to do with government-sponsored initiatives. "I don't think at the moment, the United States has any national policy," Ebihara said. "The idea is, let the market do it."

This is manifested in the difference in common carrier rules. Japanese policy requires the two national incumbent telecoms to share their networks with competitors. While, in the US, the FCC ended common carrier requirements, even as it allows more and more consolidation of the telecom industry.

NTT East has "mixed feelings" about sharing its broadband networks, Ebihara said. The two incumbents have less competition in the fiber space than in DSL, partly because competitors want to recoup their investments in DSL, he said.

"The people are happy, and our competitors are happy," he said. "Personally, I think [the policy] is right when you look at the long-term strategy."

Asked why NTT East continues to invest in fiber when it must share its network, Ebihara said the company, partly owned by Japan's government, sees the benefits for the country. "We see the future, and then we do what we feel is right," he said. "[Making low-yield investments is] very difficult for American companies like Verizon and AT&T. They have to answer every quarter to investors."

Biz loves Web 2.0, hates blogs

(Via Putting People First: McKinsey has a new report that finds businesses are embracing web services, social networking and all means of having computers connect them with their customers. But they don't like blogs.

The rising popularity of user-driven online services, including MySpace, Wikipedia, and YouTube, has drawn attention to a group of technological developments known as Web 2.0. These technologies, which rely on user collaboration, include Web services, peer-to-peer networking, blogs, podcasts, and online social networks.

Respondents to a recent McKinsey survey show widespread but careful interest in this trend.1 Expressing satisfaction with their Internet investments so far, they say that Web 2.0 technologies are strategic and that they plan to increase these investments. But companies aren’t necessarily relying on the best-known Web 2.0 trends, such as blogs; instead, they place the greatest importance on technologies that enable automation and networking.

At BusinessWeek, Bruce Nussbaum says blogs are in the control of their authors, not the executive suite or the PR department. And PR managers (and CEOs) don't like that very much.

I will venture to suggest that most managers are afraid of blogs. Very few blog themselves and when they do, it runs through the marketing or PR departments. Managers in general still worry about loss of control with blogs. Letting their employees and consumers into the conversatohn and allowing them their say frightens them.

That's a huge mistake. Check out Jeff Jarvis' post about Dell. He and Dell got into quite a pushing match some time about about his terrible experience with a Dell laptop. He triggered a major rehaul at Dell that included building blogs and consumer conversation sites that helped the company remake itself and its reputation.

The great challenge to companies these days is to learn how to let consumers in, how to open a conversation with them that is honest and real. It looks like lots of managers have yet to get that signal. Wait until they get their own Dell Hell.

Understanding kids online

I spent about half an hour on the phone yesterday with Anastasia Goodstein, author of the just-released Totally Wired. It's really aimed at parents and teachers who are trying to make sense of kids' use of technology and how to approach that use, but her research seemed to me to be of interest especially to the Web 2.0 sector, which is so youth-centric.

First and foremost, she wants to disabuse people of the notion that kids on MySpace are in perpetual danger of being abducted by sex abusers and rapists.

There's this fixation on "stranger danger" and predators online. Naturally, the media converge on events when they do happen, with programs like "To Catch a Predator" - as a parent, that's going to scare the crap out of you.

The reality is, the number of children abducted by strangers they meet online is extremely low - much lower than children abducted by people they know. Yes, they're there, but teens especially older teens are pretty savvy about online and are more interested in talking to friends - and friends of friends. It's more of a risk for younger kids and tweens.

Kids do deal with real online issues, though, like cyberbullying. And kids being kids, they are also guilty of bullying. Goodstein quotes the story of a 13-year-old girl who wrote on her MySpace profile that her teacher "masturbates with a flute."

If she had just written that on a note to a friend and it was discovered, she would have probably gone to the principal's office and it would have been dealt with. By putting it on MySpace, other kids participated, it escalated and they were expelled. It's the viral nature of the Web.

Enough bad news, though. Overall, the tween and teen fascination with the net is a "positive thing, a democratizing influence," she says.

So some lessons for Web 2.0 entrepreneurs: * Kids are talking to their friends and they growing up online.

The people teens are communicating with online are the people they communicate with face to face. A recent study found that teens find they have deeper relationships with the people they have both online and offline communications with. Kids will say things online they can't say face to face. Boys are more willing to flirt with girls in IM than they would be in person. They're getting immediate validation in their online communications.

* Multitasking doesn't work.

Studies show neurologically that you dont retain as much when you multitask. It's just a myth that younger generations are able to multitask - somehow they're able to get by. I've talked to teens who say 'I just can't do it.' I encourage parents to set limits at study time - turn the phone off, put IM on "away" or log off.

* Schools are really struggling with this stuff

I really feel for the teachers. With No Child Left Behind, there's so much pressure to teach to the test. There's not a lot of time to keep with up technology. And while there are many grants to buy the latest technology, there are often no funds for training. So no one's thought about how to use the technology.

Some teachers are fearful that if they ask some tech-savvy students for help, they'll lose their place of authority, they'll be admitting they're not the all-knowing teacher. There are certainly trailblazers, teachers who are using blogging and video games in the classrooom ... but they're very much in the minority. There's no push to experiment with these technologies. There isn't a growing body of knowledge that teachers can tap into.

There's also understandable fears about liability and risks attached to using MySpace and blogs for homework assignments. Some companies are responding to this with white-label social networking products.

* This generation is creating its own media

Many kids are learning to write code and use FinalCut, although most teens like to do stuff that's relatively easy. With the cost of cameras getting cheap, the fact that it's easy to build some kind of following on YouTube is incredibly exciting. Teens are creating their own TV programming. It's going to force major changes in advertising and make corporations more accountable.

* Kids are living their lives publicly - for good or ill

The reassuring news is what they're doing online is what they've always done offline - figuring out who they are, socializing, getting validation. The motivations are the same. The big difference is the public nature of this. They're more comfort living their lives publicly. Part of it is ignorance, part of it our society, with reality TV, etc. As young people realize that employers and college recruiters google people, hopefully they'll scale that back or at least make their profiles private.

Newswatch Headlines: Wed. 4.4.07

Sssearch for Google python sucessful (Googlified)

DoubleClick to set up exchange for buying and selling ads (NY Times)

In-flight cell use formally scuttled (AP)

More users tuning into Napster, stock price jumps (Ars Technica)

Lenovo tops eco-friendly ratings (BBC)

Google is learning Chinese (China Herald)

Josh Wolf calls release a victory (

OpenOffice 2.2 released - "real alternative" to Word? (

Cursor flaw gives Vista security black eye (

Viacom vids are only 2% of YouTube views (GigaOm)

Google Desktop for Mac (Googlified)

Debate lingers over federal data handling laws (Infoworld)

World Bank gives Africa $164m for Internet (Reuters)

Google/Echostar: Ads as analytics loss-leaders (Paul Kedrosky)

Valley's best brains work on energy (Reuters)

EU says record firms force iTunes to limit access (Reuters)

Qualcomm sues Nokia for patent infringement (SF Chronicle)

Mozilla to build social networking into Firefox (TechCrunch)

Josh Wolf to go free today

Josh Wolf, who has been serving the longest jail term ever imposed on a journalist for refusing to cooperate with a court, will be freed today, his lawyer said. reports that Wolf cut some sort of deal with the court to allow him to post the video in question on his blog.

"Today, Josh got what he wanted from day one--he will not have to testify before the grand jury about the events at the protest or the identities of participants," his Oakland-based attorney David Greene wrote in a statement amid ongoing mediation in his case.

Note that Wolf is not being required to testify about the identities of the people on the tape. He always claimed the tape itself was of no particular interest. So it appears to be a total victory for Wolf and his long stay in jail is vindicated.

Today's headlines: GOOG aims at TV ads

Google announces TV ad trials (Google Blog)

The state of Technorati (Dave Sifry)

EU price probe into iTunes (BBC)

Vonage does end-run around 2 of 3 Verizon patents (Ars Technica)

Compete launches attention metrics (ReadWriteWeb)

ViddYou launches Blogger for vloggers (TechCrunch)

Hot or Not goes free (GigaOm)

VCs aim to out-angel the angels (Business Week)

comScore files for $85m IPO (BizReport)

JavaScript botnet code leaks to Web (ComputerWorld)

MS Labs releases DeepFish mobile browser (MS Live Labs)

GOOG requests extension to answer Viacom (Google Watch)

US slips from top tech spot (IP Democracy)

Legal guitar tabs return to the Web (Ars Technica)

BBC offers shows via mobiles (BBC)

Dell gives go-ahead for Linux (BBC)

HP prints new (color) biz cards for vet (

TauMed to create med-savvy social community

AJAX apps ripe targets for JavaScript hacking (eWEEK)

GPL sparks openness debate in tech sector (Financial Times)

Blogger posts Vista fixes (InfoWorld)

Tribune sale puts Cubs on the block (SF Chronicle)

The ultrafast future of wireless (Technology Review)

Sierra, Locke issue coordinated statements

Kathy Sierra and Chris Locke have issued statements on the situation that has been roiling the blogosphere. Sierra received death threats on her own blog and threatening comments and images were posted on sites Locke ran. Sierra accused Locke and others of being party to these threats.

Some selections from Sierra's statement:

My post led many people to the wrong conclusion about the specific levels of involvement by the people I named. That my one post touched a nerve for tens of thousands of people shows just how wide and deep this problem is. People are outraged not just because of my story, but because it's been a growing problem that's hurt the lives of so many others online.

I do believe that Chris, Jeneane, and Frank did not make the specific posts and images that I found threatening, and I believe they were not responsible for the threatening comments on my own blog. However, Chris and I (and others) still strongly disagree about whether people who are respected and trusted in our industry (like the three of them) are giving tacit approval when they support (though ownership, authoring, and promoting) sites like meankids and unclebob.

Chris and I are in complete agreement that it would be tragic if this incident were used as a weapon by those who would limit free and open exchange. My desire is for much more open debate on this issue, not legislated limits. ... This could be a very important moment if we stop, think, and talk about the kind of future we really want online, and make certain we don't give up something more important in the process.

And from Locke:

The material Kathy quoted on her site was hurtful and ugly. I do not excuse it or think it should be excused. Some of the things that were posted about her were admittedly frightening, and far beyond tasteless. The post about Maryam Scoble was cruel and disgusting. These postings prompted the decision to delete both blogs...

Neither were we laughing about the impact of this affair on the people who did nothing to create or promote the words and images that touched off this whole imbroglio. Careers and reputations have been seriously injured by a rush to judgement that was often sadly short on evidence of crime or culpability.

This issue should be explored and discussed, not swept under the rug, not rationalized away. At the same time, we need to look closely and carefully at the implications for free speech. The First Amendment allows and protects language that many find noxious. But there are forces in the world at present -- not least in the US -- that would leap at any opportunity to limit speech or even abolish certain forms of it. Crucial as is the current debate about hate speech directed at women, it would be tragic if this incident were used as a weapon by those who would limit free and open exchange.

EMI, iTunes go DRM-free - and hi-fi to boot

Steve Jobs didn't announce the Beatles on iTunes today but what did he announce is frankly more important - a deal with EMI to sell music DRM-free, at higher quality and for an extra 30 cents. The AP reports:

"Doing the right thing for the customer going forward is to tear down the walls that impede interoperability," Jobs told a London news conference.

Jobs said that he planned to offer around half of all music in the iTunes store under the premium package by the end of the year, but declined to say whether the company was in discussions with other leading record companies.

"Consumers tell us overwhelmingly that they would be prepared to pay a higher price for digital music that they could use on any player," EMI CEO Eric Nicoli said. "It is key to unlocking and energizing the digital music business."

You don't just get DRM-free music for that price - you get higher quality music. reported:

Consumers who have already purchased EMI tracks containing Apple's FairPlay copy protection will be able to upgrade them to the premium version for 30 cents, EMI said. Full albums in DRM-free form can be bought at the same price as standard iTunes albums.

"We are committed to embracing change, and to developing products and services that consumers really want to buy," said Nicoli, cited internal EMI tests in which higher-quality, DRM-free songs outsold its lower-quality, copy-protected counterparts 10-to-1.

Longtime DRM enemy Cory Doctorow was boing-boinging out of his seat.

This is some of the best news I've heard all year. DefectiveByDesign is soliciting ideas for a thank-you gift to Steve Jobs. This may just be a sneaky way of hiking music prices, but hell, it's a whole lot more than I thought we'd get. What's more, Apple pricing DRM-free music at $1.29 means that the $0.79-0.99 DRM-free MP3s from competing indie music stores will get a huge price advantage. I could not be happier right now.

Canadian startups and people

Tara Hunt has an enlightening list of Canadian startups, Web2's and people to know. The startups: Shopify, ConceptShare, FreshBooks and GiveMeaning. Check it out.

Beatles, Apple to come together?

April 1 is the bane of your average newshound. Dave Winer fell for Mike Arrington's Fool's Day message that he was acquiring Fucked Company to catch the wave as Web 2.0 descends into toilet.

And then there's Google's new gmail feature - Google Paper - and Google's new ad-based broadband home network: "We use information gathered by discreet DNA sequencing of your personal bodily output to display online ads that are contextually relevant to your culinary preferences, current health status and likelihood of developing particular medical conditions going forward." (TechCrunch has the hole story)

And AP reports that the Beatles' record label EMI and Steve Jobs will have a very special announcement tomorrow with "a special live performance." Paul and Yoko doing a duet on "The Ballad of John and Yoko"? Speculation is that a long awaited deal for the Beatles' catalog on iTunes is the subject of the announcement.

Or is this someone's idea of an April Fool's joke?

Women speak up about Kathy Sierra

Blogger, erotica writer and fetish model Violet Blue writes in the Chronicle about Kathy Sierra and the many other women online who have been harrassed.

Imagine being a girl and working really hard to earn the reputation of a respected voice in the world of tech journalism and blogging -- a world populated by disproportionately more men than women -- and to find yourself the target object of a hate-filled Web site. The tone and content of the hate site centers around sexually threatening you, suggesting ways you could be killed and have your corpse defiled, stating that you are a "slut" and that your gender is also in question. Your straight male colleagues don't have this problem.

Then the person running the hate site blogs about every word you say, every time you make a post or publish an article. And targets your friends. And posts the names of your family and Google satellite maps of your family's homes. They deface your Wikipedia page at every opportunity, with sexual slurs, objectifying you at every possible chance. It's enough to make a girl choose not to be a tech journalist.

What I described above is a true story, one I have lived through with one of my closest female friends for over a year now.

She has problems with Sierra's decision to hide away as a result of her online victimization, though.

She describes herself as feeling so helpless as to have to run and hide. ... My friend did not characterize herself as helpless at any point, and neither have I. And with my friend, there was (and still is) no "bloggers-stick-togetherness" in our corner of Blogistan. The question is, Do we women need to portray ourselves as victims to garner support when men threaten to defile our corpses if we gain notoriety?

Sierra's haters -- and the man behind the hate, in my friend's case -- are doing this not because they're immature. They're doing it because they want women out of their worlds. Every female tech and sex writer I have contact with knows this -- every girl whose work has been Dugg, Slashdotted or commented on in a forum that allows trolls to fester. When someone goes this far, to make death imagery and maintain a 24/7 hate blog, we're not talking about a lack of social skills, we're talking about a desire to destroy.

At HorsePigCow, Tara Hunt writes:

There ARE sick and evil people who see this ‘bad behaviour’ and can’t decipher between mean joke and real threat and they will act on it. I think it’s time to take responsibility for our actions.

About a year and a half ago, I didn’t understand this. I was witness to a distraught Mena Trott on stage at Les Blogs 2, talking about this very subject. She put a call out for civility in the blogosphere and was called ‘bullshit’ on it. That was an ill-informed and incredibly irresponsible reaction. We found out later that she had been on the receiving end of many of these types of awful threats. I felt terrible for being a part of the audience who supported the ‘bullshit’ position, and I’ve learnt since then what Mena was talking about, but hadn’t had taken the time to bring it up until now. I was one of the cowards who stood by and watched the bad behaviour be justified. I was as bad as the perpetrators themselves.

We cannot tolerate these attacks any longer. Sites like DIGG and Slashdot and instant chatrooms on sites are filled with awful dialogue. Sexist, racist, hateful stuff. Stuff that, I’m sure, these people wouldn’t dream of saying if their identities were revealed.

When we see personal attacks, we need to speak out. We need to tell the commentors and the people in the chat rooms that these statements are NOT okay. We can disagree with ideas, but attacking people personally is NOT okay. If you have a ‘friend’ who is engaging in this type of activity, you have to tell that person it is NOT okay. What is not okay in ‘real life’ is not okay in virtual life. If the virtual space is truly that democratic, of-the-people, world changing, Read/Write wonder that we proclaim it to be, we need to clean it up.

And from corporate spokesperson Heidi Miller:

On my personal blog, I've been subject to similar attacks. I've been called similar names and have been at the receiving end of some venomous postings attacking my character with a similar violent and sexualized overtone (I won't repeat the language here, but you can guess the gist). In my case, however, I was able to track down the attacker, who happened to belong to a group that I was a member of. Since the attacks violated our by-laws, the attacker was requested and (under great protest) agreed to remove the posts.

And I'll admit that it was a difficult decision, in my case, to make the group directors aware of the situation. I felt, as it seems Kathy did at first, that this was just words and not a real threat and that I should be able to be thick-skinned and handle the conflict on my own without publicizing it.

In the end, I'm glad that I did as Ms. Sierra did and made the authorities aware. In fact, I'm ashamed that I even considered tolerating that kind of language and behavior as acceptable or dismissable. Name-calling and threatening language should simply not be tolerated--there is having thick skin, and then there is taking responsibility for one's own self and for making the blogosphere a safe place for everyone to talk.

O'Reilly, Locke, Winer on Kathy Sierra situation

Tim O'Reilly, who publishes Kathy Sierra's books, said in yesterday's Chronicle that bloggers need to set limits for what users can say on their blogs.

"We need to say this is not acceptable behavior," said Tim O'Reilly, CEO of Sebastopol's O'Reilly Media, which publishes Sierra's books and runs the ETech conference where Sierra was scheduled to speak this week. "If you start making offensive comments, they will be deleted from a blog. Don't give people that platform."

O'Reilly brokered a conversation between Sierra and Chris Locke - who started the site where the threats were first posted, but who has denied making the threats. He accuses her of engaging in character assasination.

Reached late Wednesday night, Locke said he was having a "productive and open exchange" with Sierra, and he hoped to bring the conflict to a resolution, ideally by having the perpetrator take ownership of the comments. Locke drew a distinction between the death threats that were made on Sierra's site and the less threatening images that were posted on the sites he was connected to.

"There is no linkage between that," he said. "There was an inference in the way that she blogged about it that these were related incidents. We got tarred with the brush that we were homicidal stalker killers."

Having said that, Locke also acknowledged that "the stuff that got posted was despicable."

On his blog, Locke posted a response to a Computerworld Australia writer about the situation.

Kathy Sierra was receiving "death threats" in *anonymous* comments to her blog, they did not come from me or, to the best of my knowledge, from anyone I know. That she would make such an inference based on no evidence whatsoever is outrageous, no better than the comments she so forcefully objects to that were made about herself. And *none* of the statements or graphics she quotes were made by me, as I'm fairly certain she already knows.

I found some of what was written on the meankids and unclebobism sites in extremely bad taste, yes. And as I said, I immediatetly took down the site when I saw Kathy's understandably strong objections. I think her response, as it pertains to anything I personally wrote, was unjustified -- but highly effective -- character assassination. As a result, I'm sure I'll be explaining for years to come that I'm not really an ax murderer and child molester. Nice work.

I did write two comments on the "Bob's Yer Uncle" site, which I am happy to repeat for the record: 1) "Kathy Sierra is a hopeless dipshit."; and 2) "The only 'passionate users' I know are crack heads." I do not like Kathy Sierra. I like her even less after her post of Monday. If she is waiting for me to apologize for something I did or said, she is going to have a very long wait.

Finally, a combative post from Dave Winer, never one to shy away from combat.

Sometimes people say things that are designed to hurt other people. Locke, Sessum, Paynter and Head Lemur are the kinds of people who do that. I read yesterday that Denise Howell considers them friends. I've asked other people who do, like David Weinberger and AKMA how they can support that -- I asked when I was a target of their attacks. All I got was silence. I think people need to come to terms with that, and speak up whenever people say or do things designed to hurt other people. That's how we prevent explosions like the one we dealt with this week. Permalink to this paragraph

So if we have a code of conduct, it can't just talk about how trolls behave, because truly we have no control over that. It should talk about responsible people whose names we know with reputations they care about -- what should they do when abuse happens? That is something we can do something about. There should be 18 steps before something like Kathy Sierra's post appears in the midst of the blogosphere, and it shouldn't come from teh person who has been victimized, someone else should stand up for them and explain what happened. For so many reasons this is a much better way to go, and I'm sure the victim would like it better too (I speak from experience). Permalink to this paragraph

You know there's nothing worse than being hunted and having no one care enough to speak up for you. That's what we need to work on folks. And when we solve this problem, we can go to work on Iraq -- because that's much heavier and much worse, but kind of the same thing. Why aren't we angry at all the wasted lives? I think we'll find the answer to that question is related to why we're so bad at dealing with situations like the one we tried to deal with this week

Kathy Sierra, death threats and the Blogosphere

Kathy Sierra, formerly known as a leader speaker on creating user communities, says she is scared for her life after death threats and violent sexual fantasies were directed at her on websites operated by some leading bloggers. She cancelled a speaking engagement at O'Reilly's ETech con. And she responded by outing a number of people apparently involved - including Cluetrain co-author Chris Locke. But Locke's involvement may have been tangential. He says so. The blogosphere is riling over this one. It will prove to be a defining moment. Here's her post, followed by a selection of commentary in our next posts.

Sierra's post is tough going (and not for children):

As I type this, I am supposed to be in San Diego, delivering a workshop at the ETech conference. But I'm not. I'm at home, with the doors locked, terrified. For the last four weeks, I've been getting death threat comments on this blog. But that's not what pushed me over the edge. What finally did it was some disturbing threats of violence and sex posted on two other blogs... blogs authored and/or owned by a group that includes prominent bloggers. People you've probably heard of. People like respected Cluetrain Manifesto co-author Chris Locke (aka Rageboy).

At about the same time, a group of bloggers ... began participating on a (recently pulled) blog called At first, it was the usual stuff--lots of slamming of people like Tara Hunt, Hugh MacLeod, Maryam Scoble, and myself. Nothing new. No big deal. Nothing they hadn't done on their own blogs many times before.

But when it was my turn, somebody crossed a line. They posted a photo of a noose next t