Thursday, July 31, 2008

Microsoft's Live Search homepage adds background image with clickable spots

While it doesn't add much to the overall function of the search engine itself, Microsoft's latest update to the Windows Live Search homepage adds a background image with "hotspots" that can be clicked.

For example, the first background appearing on Live Search shows a picture of the Okavango Delta in Botswana, with four clickable areas are included on the map. One over the trees in the distance asks "What will you see on your safari in Botswana?" with links to search results on animals on the country. Another link, over the boater's head takes users to an overhead view of the region using Live Search Maps.

Dish first to deliver 1080p HD television programming

Satellite television service Dish will be the first to offer live programming "full HD" 1080p resolution, while the return of an all-HD package hearkens back to the days of Voom.

Dish purchased the assets of Cablevision's Voom in 2005, and much of its content was folded into the satellite provider's offerings. None of the Voom HD channels exist on Dish any longer, as they disappeared in May. Now, however, it seems like the company is ready to try the Voom approach once again: a package of only HD channels.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Garmin nuvifone delayed due to 'carrier-specific requirements'

In Garmin's second quarter earnings announcement today, the GPS company said its nuvifone that was anticipated for release this year will be delayed.

The company's iPhone-like hybrid 3G handset and GPS device was originally expected to launch in the third quarter of this year in American markets. It was then gently pushed to a fourth quarter release, which Garmin has now rescheduled for the first half of 2009.

A statement from the company says: "While we had hoped to have carrier launches in the fourth quarter, we have found that meeting some of the carrier-specific requirements will take longer than anticipated."

Real partially patches 'highly critical' RealPlayer flaws

Security firm Secunia said Tuesday that RealNetworks had fixed most of the security flaws within its RealPlayer software that were first highlighted on Friday.

Four separate issues were discovered within most versions of RealPlayer 10, 10.5, and 11 across the Linux, Mac, and Windows platforms. While the company released the patch on Monday, which Secunia noted in its advisory, the firm said the fix was not complete.

The issue still not fully patched is related to an error in the rmoc3260 ActiveX control "when handling the 'Controls,' 'Console,' or 'WindowName' properties with a specific timing."

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Yahoo says DRM issue overblown by media, but will offer refunds

Yahoo told BetaNews that the media was hyping the expiration of the company's DRM certificates and didn't expect a user backlash, but said it has decided to offer refunds to those affected anyway.

Last Week, Yahoo announced in an e-mail to customers that it would remove its DRM keys for authorizing song playback on October 1. This means that although purchased music would continue playing, it cannot be reauthorized, essentially locking it to the current computer. If a user buys a new PC or reinstalls the operating system, the purchased music would no longer be playable.

eBay and software group butt heads over stopping piracy

The SIIA wants eBay to squelch short-term software auctions. Since the start of its anti-counterfeiting initiative, eBay seems to be practicing some other curbs on software banditry, to various degrees. If the two sides can't see eye to eye, will the battle actually land in court?

Although a lawsuit against eBay isn't "pending or on the immediate horizon," the Software Information Industry Association (SIIA) has sued other Web sites before, and Keith Kupferschmidt, senior VP of the Software Information Industry Association (SIIA), is very unhappy over what he views as eBay's failure to take real action against software piracy.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Verizon launches 100 HD channels on FiOS in New York City

"Make no mistake about it. This isn't cable," said Virginia Ruesterholz, president of Verizon Telecom, in announcing today the immediate start of FiOS services with 100 high-definition channels in parts of New York City, plus the availability of 150 HD channels by the end of this year in sections of New York City and some other areas of the US.

Because nearly 60 percent of New York City residences and businesses are located in multiple dwelling units (MDUs), Verizon is putting an early focus on apartment buildings. More than 100 MDUs will go live with 100 HD-channel TV today, according to Maura Breen, Verizon's general manager for New York.

Sirius+XM is official as FCC approves merger

On a 3-2 party-line vote, the Federal Communications Commission approved the merger of Sirius and XM, although the satellite radio companies had to make some key concessions.

The final commissioner to vote on the deal was Deborah Taylor Tate, who held her vote pending XM and Sirius agreeing to certain limitations. The two sides did so late last week, and Tate gave her blessing late Friday.

The Department of Justice had given the merger a green light in March of this year following its own review, already 13 months after XM and Sirius first announced their plans to merge in February 2007.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Nearly 7 years after original, a new Windows XP goes gold

On August 24, 2001, Microsoft released to manufacturing the final version of Windows XP. 6 years and 11 months later, a new version of XP has gone gold, this time for the OLPC XO computer, also known as the "$100 laptop."

Originally designed to run Linux, the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) XO laptop is targeted at developing nations and those too poor to afford proper computers for education. The device, which went on sale publicly in November for $200, features wireless connectivity, a built-in camera and a keyboard designed to change languages.

Video service RedLasso folds under legal pressure from networks

RedLasso, a digital video re-syndication service, has closed its controversial site after threats of copyright lawsuits from NBC Universal and Fox.

The service digitized live audio and video content, which users could edit and re-arrange into embeddable clips.

In May, Fox, CBS, and NBC delivered a cease-and-desist order to the service which threatened a lawsuit if it didn't conform to copyright law. The networks propounded that the content RedLasso broadcasted was not its to distribute, and said the company had never received permission to do so.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Beta release of Office Outlook Connector adds calendar syncing

A beta release of Office Outlook Connector 12.1 adds syncing between Windows Live Calendar and Microsoft Outlook.

As with previous versions, the connector will sync a user's Hotmail account and contacts with Microsoft's Office productivity suite. The addition of calendar support rounds out the service, and offers functionality akin to Apple's MobileMe (although its more meant for desktops in this case, not mobile phones).

Microsoft Office users could get calendar sync in previous versions, but this required a subscription above and beyond the free Outlook Connector download.

After pirate lands in prison, software group hints at eBay lawsuit

After convicted software pirate Jeremiah Mondello pulled a 48-month federal prison stretch on Wednesday, an industry anti-piracy group announced six more lawsuits against individual piracy suspects -- also reportedly hinting that eBay could be the next one to get hauled into court.

"Mondello is a whiz-kid who used his smarts and savvy to rip off software makers and consumers. We are fortunate that he has been stopped, but there are hundreds more like him running illegal operations on eBay and other sites," according to Keith Kupferschmid, SVP of intellectal property policy and enforcement for the Software Industry Information Association (SIAA).

Friday, July 25, 2008

Verizon to announce FiOS rollout in New York City

Verizon has scheduled a webcast for Monday, where it will officially announce rollout plans and pricing for FiOS in New York City, which has over 8.2 million residents, providing a huge boost for the service that counts only 1.8 million customers.

Thus far, Verizon's FiOS television and Internet service has been largely relegated to the suburbs, where the company could more easily dig down to install fiber optic lines. Major metropolitan areas have seen only spotty FiOS coverage, making the New York City launch an important milestone for Verizon. The company was granted approval from the city last week to offer its television service. Verizon also plans to host an event at Grand Central Terminal.

China now counts more Internet users than the US

Even though the government places heavy restrictions on the Internet with censorship and routine crackdowns on cyber dissidents, China has finally surpassed the United States for the most online users in the world.

The China Internet Network Information Center compiled the numbers that indicate China now has 253 million total Web surfers, with the United States coming in at an estimated 223 million users. China has a total population of more than 1.3 billion people, compared to the United States' 301 million.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Creative adds to music player lineup with Zen Mozaic

Creative expanded its music player lineup Thursday, releasing new models designed to be fashionable with a mosaic design where the buttons are located.

The Creative Zen Mozaic comes in four sizes -- 2GB, 4GB, 8GB and 16GB -- with a stronger emphasis on the music player's looks than functionality.

All models are able to play music and video files, along with display photos and CD cover art. The Mozaic has a 1.8-inch screen, built-in speaker, FM radio, microphone, and supports MP3, WMA, WMA-DRM 10, and JPEG file formats. The device measures 79.5mm x 40mm x 12.8mm.

Microsoft reorganizes and rethinks, chief architect of Yahoo bid exits

With Microsoft's stock prices down 20 percent since February, CEO Steve Ballmer is reorganizing and rethinking the company, and the chief architect of Microsoft's abandoned attempt to acquire Yahoo, Kevin Johnson, is leaving to head up communications equipment maker Juniper Networks.

In a concerted effort to catch up to Google in the online space, Microsoft is now carving up its Platform and Systems Division (PSD), formerly headed by Johnson, into two divisions: "Windows/Windows Live" and "Online."

Thirteen record labels ask judge for ruling against LimeWire

Thirteen record labels have filed for a summary judgement to their two-year old case against peer-to-peer file swapping service LimeWire, seeking to bring a swift end to the drawn-out conflict.

In 2006, the Recording Industry Association of America sued LimeWire seeking $150,000 per occurrence of illicit music sharing, claiming the service participated in "inducement of copyright infringement, contributatory copyright infringement, and with respect to pre-1972 recordings, common law copyright infringement and state law unfair competition."

Microsoft makes Games for Windows Live free, will sell game downloads

Microsoft announced late Tuesday that it would no longer charge Windows gamers to connect to one another for multiplayer gaming, and this fall will launch an online store for downloading PC games.

All users will be able to access the Games for Windows Live, which is similar to Microsoft's Xbox Live -- service at no cost. Microsoft said that the decision to remove the pay tier came after discussions with developers and fans led it to believe that multiplayer gaming should be free.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Microsoft prepares to auto-deliver Windows Search 4.0 to Vista users

If you notice your hard drive crunching later this month while performing a menial task, fear not: it's just the new Windows Search software creating an index of your files. Microsoft plans to automatically deliver version 4.0 of the software, formerly Windows Desktop Search, to Vista users.

Windows Search 4.0 was released in June and Microsoft says it has "seen a good number of downloads, and a number of positive responses from customers." The advantage over Vista's built-in search function is one of performance, the company claims. The structure of the search index was completely redesigned to speed up locating items on the hard drive and networked PCs.

Details on DNS flaw inadvertently leaked; researcher says patch now

The cat is out of the bag before Black Hat. That isn't a passage from a Dr. Seuss children's book, but a description of what happened on Monday when a Web site accidentally posted details about a DNS flaw uncovered by security researcher Dan Kaminsky earlier this month.

Kaminsky, who plans to discuss the flaw at the forthcoming Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas next month, had wanted to keep the details private until then, in hopes of preventing the flaw from being used for malicously redirecting Internet traffic to phony Web sites for large-scale phishing exploits.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mobile phone video streaming service Qik opens public beta

Mobile phone video broadcast site Qik, which launched in private testing this spring, has opened today as a public beta.

Qik is a live video streaming site that turns the user's mobile phone camera into something of a remote webcam. Users are encouraged to stream events and other happenings, which can be viewed live and later as video clips, to the Qik Web site.

Thanks to a committed stable of users providing unique content to the service and support from notable bloggers, Qik has rapidly gained widespread attention. It's not clear whether the company has paid or otherwise rewarded these individuals -- such as Robert Scoble, Michael Arrington and XM Radio's Robert Eklund -- for using Qik, but the service has quickly outpaced rival Flixwagon as a result.

Facebook sues over copied design, launches redesigned interface

Social network giant Facebook entered litigation with German site Studivz on Friday for closely copying its design, just in time for Facebook to launch its totally redesigned interface on Monday.

German site StudiVZ took more than a few design cues from Facebook. According to reports, early versions of the site even featured filenames such as fbook.css and poke.php, as the two companies were reportedly "in talks."

StudiVZ's founder Ehssan Dariani has frequently been quoted in his acknowledgment of the two sites' similarity: "We may have oriented ourselves along the lines of the Facebook layout, but it was also clear that we would strongly distinguish ourselves by other things, that we wanted to be original."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Has Google's relentless growth finally stopped?

The fuel that brought Google from a laboratory experiment to one of the world's industrial giants, may at last be burning itself out. That leaves Google one player among many, in a questionable economic environment. What now?

When a cartel of oil-producing nations wants to tweak demand for its product upwards, along with its per-barrel prices, one tool it has at its disposal is tightening its pipelines and reducing supply. In the online advertising space, in terms of reach and supply, you don't actually need a cartel to approach the power of Google.

Japanese, Korean researchers may extend the lifespan of NAND flash

Scientists from the University of Tokyo and Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) claim they have successfully created a new flash NAND memory that can operate for hundreds of years.

In an e-mail correspondence with BetaNews, AIST confirmed it had created the new NAND memory, and said it hopes to have it out the door soon.

The NAND flash memory used today in such products as smartphones (including the Apple iPhone), UMPCs and other small notebooks, video game consoles, digital cameras, and solid-state drives (SSDs) are able to function for about ten years on average. However, that lifespan can be dramatically reduced when it's responsible for virtual memory or other similarly demanding tasks.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Slowing PC market, another online reinvestment ahead for Microsoft

With half of 2008 having already gone by, Microsoft's online services situation today is pretty much the same: Without a Yahoo partnership, the division is still bleeding. It's a good thing Microsoft's also a software company.

If the recent economic downturn can be characterized as a "storm" for those industries in which America has a major stake, the PC industry is certainly weathering this storm very well. Analysts had expected shipment growth to rise to only 12% annually; but from Microsoft's perspective, the number is more like 15%.

Major Yahoo shareholder backs Yang in anti-Icahn campaign

Major Yahoo shareholder backs Yang in anti-Icahn campaign

12:03 pm EDT July 18, 2008 - Apparently after having read and assessed the text of Yahoo's new anti-Icahn Web site, as well as its latest filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (detailed below), Yahoo's third largest shareholder, capital management firm Legg Mason, announced this morning that it would be backing Yahoo's current management in its efforts to retain its existing board structure and management.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Vista users greeted with an unexpected surprise: MobileMe

While they may have no intention of ever signing up for the service, Windows users are finding an unexpected addition to their Control Panels.

A link for "MobileMe Preferences" has begun appearing at the bottom of the Control Panel screens of those who have installed the latest Apple iTunes software -- according to one user, without any notification at all.

The MobileMe preference panel has also been reported to be showing up in Windows XP as well.

Sony to offer 'Graphic Splash' for select Vaio FW notebooks

Sony's upcoming Graphic Splash notebooks will be based on the Vaio FW multimedia PC introduced this week, and they'll be available for sale online for a limited time this fall, BetaNews has learned.

In announcing a "new line-up" of Graphic Splash notebooks on Wednesday -- plus a related contest -- Sony didn't specify whether the decoratively cased PCs will use any of the four Vaio models unveiled on Wednesday as its underpinnings, or whether they'll constitute a separate model. Photos accompanying the announcement appeared to show the new designs on the company's existing FZ series notebooks.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Latest Winamp adds access to CBS Radio stations

Who still uses Winamp? There's at least one guy at BetaNews whose desktop clutter contains the venerable music player, and today there's actually a new reason for it to stay right where it is.

Download Winamp Full 5.54 from FileForum now.

Though it's been BetaNews itself that sounded the death knell for Winamp as much as four years ago, the product itself lives on, albeit without the innovative spirit that characterized its Nullsoft developers at the turn of the decade. Today's release of version 5.54 might not merit mention were it not for the addition of at least one compelling new feature: the new and rebuilt AOL Radio, which now provides direct access to CBS owned and affiliated radio stations throughout the US.

Sony plans $500 'Blu-ray player for audiophiles' for fall

Sony plans $500 'Blu-ray player for audiophiles' for fall

At a press event in New York this week, Sony presented a prototype of a new "Blu-ray player for audiophiles" -- the BDP-S550 -- slated for release next fall.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Australia tweaks its code of conduct for Internet and mobile

Today, the Australian Communications and Media Authority approved the Content Services Code, a set of guidelines for ISPs and mobile carriers, which include directives for ISPs to hire so-called "trained content assessors."

The Content Services Code is a code of practices developed by the Internet Industry Association for online and mobile content providers. Within it are guidelines for "self-regulation of content" from commercial ISPs and mobile operators, which include the mandatory hiring of in-house censors, called "trained content assessors."

Details emerge on Psystar suit, Apple wants recall

Apple is not only suing Psystar to stop them from selling Mac clones, but is asking the courts to order that the Florida-based company recall all of the systems sold to customers.

The 16-page complaint argues that Psystar's actions were meant to damage Apple, as well as confuse the public. In addition, the continued sales of Open Computers would financially hurt the company.

Altogether, Apple is accusing Psystar of ten counts: copyright infringement, contributory and induced copyright infringement, breach of contract, inducing breach of contract, two claims of trademark infringement, "trade dress" infringement, trademark dilution, unfair competition under California law, and unfair competition under common law.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sony, HP get behind an open format for digital audio

Hewlett-Packard and Sony announced they will work together to develop a new generation of Digital Audio Tapes, called DAT 320, which will be built on an open standard so that other companies are able to contribute.

Although the two companies are collaborating to create the Digital Data Storage (DDS) standard, they both have plans to offer DAT 320 tape drives and cartridges that will eventually compete against one another. The Sony and HP products will have the same speed and capacity, though it's likely their firmware will be different, even though the drives will be interchangeable.

YouTube agrees to share viewer data, without IDs and IPs

Litigants trying to get data on what the video site's users were watching have backed off somewhat, although YouTube will still have to share some data with Viacom.

Plaintiffs Viacom and a class-action group led by the Football Association of England agreed to accept a watered-down version of YouTube's viewer logs. That version will not include the IP addresses nor the YouTube usernames of the viewers.

Earlier this month, a judge ordered Google to turn over this information to Viacom. The media conglomerate had specifically requested information that would have also tied the viewer data to a specific YouTube user.

Monday, July 14, 2008

First Look: MobileMe promising, but limps out of the gate

First Look: MobileMe promising, but limps out of the gate

In my three plus years of covering Apple, its MobileMe product is probably the most exciting concept, in my opinion.

New Creative sound systems promise to compensate for poor MP3 quality

Creative introduced two new consumer-grade media players that claim to be capable of identifying different parts of an MP3 track that have lower sound quality, and remastering them to restore sound quality as much as possible.

The Creative Zen X-Fi and Zen X-Fi with Wi-Fi both offer a 2.5-in. TFT display, built-in FM radio, built-in microphone, a video converter, and SD card expansion slot for additional storage. All of the devices measure 83mm x 55mm x 12.8mm and weigh in at 69 grams.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Activision adds Line6 amp modeling to Guitar Hero: World Tour

The next in Activision's popular line of rhythm-based music simulation games is scheduled for release in Fall 2008, and is single-handedly changing the style of the game with the addition of many new features.

World Tour will follow in the footsteps of Rock Band, offering a drum kit and vocal microphone in addition to the expected guitar controllers, which have reportedly also been upgraded. An eight-player "Battle of the Bands" mode, extended character customization, and online career mode, as well as "the largest on-disc set list in a music-rhythm game to date," have been added. A complete set list, however, has not yet been released.

Phoenix BIOS with hypervisor to premiere Monday in NEC laptops

BetaNews has learned that, on Monday, NEC will roll out plans to include remotely manageable anti-virus technology in PC notebooks, running outside of the Windows OS in Linux-based HyperSpace firmware from Phoenix Technologies.

NEW YORK CITY (BetaNews) - Shauli Chaudhuri, vice president of marketing at Phoenix Technologies, told BetaNews this week that NEC will be among the first PC manufacturers to use its HyperSpace technology.

Use of the Phoenix firmware will allow security applications to operate before, during, and after Vista boots up and shuts down, securing the NEC notebooks before malware can get downloaded by Windows applications, according to Chaudhuri.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

West Coast lines grow longer as iPhone 3G buyers are told to wait

Just a few blocks away from the Moscone Center, where Steve Jobs and company host Macworld and WWDC every year, the enthusiasm for Apple's latest product launch was apparent.

West Coast lines grow longer as iPhone 3G buyers are told to wait

New York Attorney General's child porn crusade expands

After an investigation of newsgroups that uncovered large amounts of underage pornography, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo began a large-scale expulsion of the material at the ISP level. Now there's an official Web site for the effort.

Last month, a statement from the Attorney General's office announced that agreements with Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and Sprint had been made to "purge their servers" of sites and Usenet groups that were found to contain child pornography.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Eager iPhone 3G buyers begin all-night wait outside stores

The second-generation iPhone won't go on sale for another 9 hours, but some intrepid souls are already lining up outside AT&T and Apple stores to be among the first to use the device. We spoke with two as they began their night-long wait.

At an AT&T store in downtown Baltimore, which saw early morning lines form before last year's nighttime iPhone launch, was preparing for big crowds. Shortly after the close of the store at 8pm, plastic posts and chains were being setup to guide the expected line.

Now you can find your cell phone...when it screams, 'I'm lost!'

The next time you lose your cell phone, you might hear it scream something like "I'm stolen!" or "I'm lost - take me home," through new location-based technology now under development by a company called

NEW YORK CITY (BetaNews) - From its Web site, the start-up already offers software dubbed Cellphone Superhero, aimed at letting users lock misplaced cell phones remotely, in addition to storing photos, e-mails, and contact information of friends and co-workers securely in a private online vault.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

VMware CEO ousted for former Microsoft exec

Diane Greene, CEO of industry leading virtualization firm VMware, has lost her job to Paul Martiz, a former Microsoft executive who arrived at EMC -- VMware's owner since 2004 -- with its buyout of Pi Corp. last year.

In issuing an announcement that stunned the software industry, EMC Chairman Joe Tucci applauded Greene -- who co-founded the $1.3 billion virtualization software company 10 years ago -- for guiding "the creation and development of a company that is changing the way that people think about computing."

OpenSUSE improves its deployment system for various distributions

In an effort to improve the open source contribution and distribution processes, the openSUSE project released Build Service 1.0, a new code repository service with several key improvements.

Although many Linux distributions have code repositories and libraries open to the community, they can sometimes be difficult to navigate, especially when trying to view older code samples. Matters become even more complicated when multiple teams are working on the same project, sometimes updating the same package, resulting in multiple simultaneous versions within a given repository.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

PayPal, Google team in anti-phishing initiative

With phishing attacks and fraudulent e-mails still slipping through Google Gmail's security walls, the Mountain View-based company plans to work with eBay and its PayPal unit in an effort to protect e-mail users.

In an agreement announced today, Google and eBay will use DomainKeys and DomainKeys Identified Mail e-mail authentication technology to help stop fraudulent e-mails enter the Gmail inboxes. The DomainKey helps an ISP to determine whether or not a specific e-mail is authentic, and if it should be delivered. Developed by Yahoo, any e-mail sent with a DKIM will have a type of cryptographic signature that must be accepted by an e-mail server -- this case -- before being accepted.

Standards board execs recommend ISO 29500 appeals be rejected

It's looking more likely now that Open XML will overcome perhaps its last hurdle on the road to publication as an international standard, as the leaders of both ISO and IEC have systematically disassembled four member countries' appeals.

The secretaries general of the International Organization for Standardization and the International Engineering Consortium, in a report to the technical and standards management boards of both organizations, recommends that those boards reject the appeals of representatives of Brazil, India, South Africa, and Venezuela against the publication of the Open XML document format suite created by Microsoft, as ISO/IEC 29500.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sony re-releases its problematic PS3 firmware update

Last week, Sony pulled its PlayStation 3 firmware upgrade (v2.40) after users began to report that it "bricked" their consoles. An updated update has been made available.

First promising that a fix was coming some time "midweek," in, the new firmware upgrade is reportedly available worldwide already.

Though Sony has issued no official statement addressing problems caused by the upgrade, or even what percentage of downloaders were affected by it, the company said earlier that incidents were low in number. Of course, the numbers must have been substantial enough to warrant such a delay. Complaints on official PlayStation message boards were not in overwhelming quantity, but were nonetheless common.

Microsoft to host 'Deskless Worker' entry-level Web services

When Microsoft announced in March it would be marketing its own hosting services for Exchange and SharePoint, some wondered how the company could successfully compete with itself? Today, it provided the answer.

One under-appreciated facet of Microsoft's business is the amount of software that it sells to registered partners, who then resell that software to their clients. We're not talking about the Office suite or Visual Studio, but rather Windows installations, along with the services installed on Windows-based servers that can be licensed per user. Businesses that keep their employees connected through SharePoint sites and Exchange services often get their software through these partners.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Report: Third-generation Toyota Prius to sport solar panels

When Toyota's popular hybrid gets a makeover in 2010, the car will now harness the power of the sun to operate its own air conditioning.

The first Priuses shipped in 1997 in Japan, and worldwide in 2000. Toyota last redesigned the car in 2003 to make it quicker and more efficient, and automotive analysts have widely expected another revision to come soon with additional enhancements.

Reports from Reuters and Japanese business news service Nikkei indicate that one of these new features would be solar panels from Kyocera. As solar panels small enough to fit on a car's roof cannot produce a great deal of energy, only the air conditioning would be partially powered by the technology.

Google adds privacy link, avoids trouble

On Google's main page, one of the few places on the Internet where a dearth of content is beneficial, it's easy to notice when a single word changes, especially when it's one as hot as "privacy."

Where it once said "©2008 Google" at the bottom of the page, it now says "©2008 - Privacy." The change was announced on Thursday before the Independence day holiday as a word-for-word identical passage in blogs by Marissa Mayer Search Products and User Experience Vice President and Pablo Chavez, Senior Policy Council.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

'Metal Gear Solid 4' gives PS3 a sales boost in Japan

It's good to be on top of the heap, Sony discovered for perhaps a brief moment, and today gaming analysts are giving the PS3 a ray of hope for Japan. But that depends on just how carefully you slice the pie, as the market leader remains Nintendo.

Widely circulated reports attributed to Reuters, though not attributed to the Nikkei service, state that the relative ratio of sales of Sony's PlayStation 3 to Nintendo's Wii console, tightened to 1.7 : 1, during a five-week period that ended last week. In that period, the highly anticipated Konami game title

Do-it-yourself phone manufacturer declares its independence tomorrow

While many of us will be enjoying fireworks and barbeques tomorrow to help celebrate the Fourth of July, a Taiwan-based device manufacturer, Openmoko, plans to launch a new open source Linux handset that begs to be customized.

While there's no evidence yet that Openmoko's Neo Freerunner will be available through any major US carrier on a subsidized plan, the phone can be used on AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and other mobile phone services in the United States, with customers apparently able to select which network they wish to use.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

New Google Talk gives iPhone users a free messaging alternative

Google has pushed out a new version of its Google Talk service for Apple iPhone and iPod Touch owners designed the service to work solely through Safari, so there are no software downloads that need to be installed.

According to a blog post late yesterday from Google mobile team software engineer Adam Connors, interested iPhone users simply head to, sign in, start chatting with friends.

"We've tried to keep the design as faithful to the desktop experience as possible, so it should be familiar to you," Connors wrote. "You can select from a quicklist of the people you contact most, search your contacts, and manage multiple conversations."

Nokia and InterDigital start to disassemble their running feud

You dream of seeing outcomes like this: One side asks the other, "What were we fighting about again?" The other side responds, "I don't remember." And the two shake hands and start picking up their mess. This may actually be happening.

It is perhaps the most bizarre patent licensing foray in the history of telecommunications -- so unusual that a third layer of lawsuits, filed beginning in July 2005 and extending into 2006, was literally convened to settle in court the question of what it was that the second layer of lawsuits was supposed to be about.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Next Patch Tuesday has few security updates, big Vista reliability fix

In its monthly advance notice the weekend before the second Tuesday of the month, Microsoft said it will only be addressing four security issues this time around, two dealing with Windows. But a surprisingly big Vista bug fix is under way.

If you think about it, the relative security of Windows Vista hasn't been the subject of much debate recently. If there's any problem consumers have with it, whether it's born out of market perception or real-world experience, it's a feeling that it's not all that reliable.

BlackBerry Pearl users can test voice input for Google Maps

As Google expands its product line for mobile services, the Mountain View-based company announced BlackBerry Pearl users now have the ability to use voice search.

Specifically, users will be able to use Google Maps, getting directions or locations by voice instead of text searching.

Pearl owners can go to, press 0 to center the view of the map, press a side key and say a business name or location, and then release the button so the voice recognition software can begin to pull in results.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

European tech leaders reject calls for ISP vigilance as 'scaremongering'

European ISP organizations are concerned that the cost of implementing proposals intended to reduce cybercrime could put them out of business, but a leading security vendor said the cost of not doing anything could be even higher.

As we reported yesterday, a report for the European Parliament suggests that ISPs pool together to conduct pro-active measures against systems that maliciously impact IP traffic, and that ISPs be held responsible if they fail to do so. That proposal garnered comments from European organizations and from states' government representatives.

It's official: Mozilla's Firefox sets Guinness World Record

From 18:16 UTC on June 17, 2008 to 18:16 UTC on June 18, 2008, Mozilla indeed reached its goal of setting the record for "the single most downloaded piece of software in a single day."

"Mozilla set a new Guinness World Record for the largest number of software downloads in 24 hours for the 8,002,530 downloads of Firefox 3!" a Mozilla spokesperson told BetaNews yesterday.

As previously reported in BetaNews, Mozilla needed to keep careful watch over its servers in handling millions of requests for Firefox 3.0, the latest iteration of its browser.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Windows XP will be sold to some OEMs after all, says Microsoft

BetaNews has confirmed that, although most of Microsoft's shipments of Windows XP did end on June 30 as scheduled, it is still making XP available to both makers of low-end Netbooks and 'systems builders,' large and small.

Monday of this week didn't exactly spell the end of Windows XP, after all. In line with its "end of life" plans, Microsoft did stop selling XP to OEMs and retailers on Monday -- but with some notable "exceptions" which Microsoft acknowledged to BetaNews Tuesday evening.

Sirius predicts post-merger strength

Responding to an unfavorable analyst outlook for post-merger Sirius and XM, satellite radio network Sirius this week published its guidance for 2009, predicting a full year of profitability if the merger is completed.

Just under two weeks ago, Goldman Sachs analyst Mark Wienkes wrote, "While the FCC draft circulation signaling the merger's likely ultimate conditioned approval generated a short-term lift to the stocks, we think any imminent merger-related strength has passed." He went on to add, "With core demand for satellite radio falling amongst the younger demographics, versus rapid increases for MP3 players and other new technologies, and declining core ARPU, we see long-term risk to the outlook."

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

DOJ silence to HP means EDS merger can proceed

The house that Ross Perot built, after he left IBM in 1962, will apparently face no opposition in being absorbed into Hewlett-Packard's services division, as the DOJ's silence can be interpreted as acquiescence.

No news is good news: Hewlett-Packard Co. said yesterday that it had not received any requests for additional information from the US Department of Justice or the Federal Trade Commission regarding its May 13 acquisition of Electronic Data Systems Corp., which clears the way for the acquisition to proceed.

Fake Vuittons cost eBay real money

Online auction service eBay has been ordered by a French court to pay $63 million to French fashion company Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), the company responsible for making Louis Vuitton and Dior branded handbags and perfume.

A two-pronged legal attack saw LVMH accuse eBay of "guilty negligence" claiming it didn't do enough to stop fake LVMH merchandise from being sold through the site. And any sale whatsoever of LVMH-branded perfume, fake or not, was considered illicit by LVMH since only approved distribution networks are allowed to sell the perfume to customers.