Sunday, August 31, 2008

802.11r now a published IEEE standard

The newest Wi-Fi protocol, 802.11r, which has become the de facto "Wireless VoIP standard", is now a published standard of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) standards board.

802.11r has been in the works since 2004, with the express purpose of developing a Wi-Fi connection that can quickly pass between access points. A go-ahead for publishing the final draft of the standard was given by the 802.11r task group last January.

Rogers adjusts data plans for iPhone, BlackBerry Bold

With the BlackBerry Bold now available, Rogers, Canada's leading carrier has decided to extend its iPhone 3G promotional data plan until next month, while adjusting other plans.

Rogers Wireless' data plans came under almost immediate criticism after the iPhone 3G's launch on July 11, for what many saw as overpriced data rates. The company later adjusted those plans to appease its detractors.

As part of those adjustments, the company also announced a promotional plan for $30 per month that allowed for the transfer of 6 GB of data. It was set to expire on August 31, but the company has now decided to extend it until the end of September.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Creators of rejected App Store comic book appeal for rating system

After its 'Murderdrome' comic book was rejected by Apple's iPhone App Store, Infurious Comics this week appealed to Web site visitors support its request to Apple for a rating system similar to one already used on iTunes.

The App Store turned down the comic book earlier this week, claiming that it violated a section of an SDK agreement which states: "Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.) or other content or materials that in Apple's reasonable judgment may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users."

Analyst: Over 100 new handsets, including 3G, on tap for Q4

The economy might be rocky, but one analyst says mobile device makers will still be releasing a total of over 100 new cell phone models in the second half of 2008 alone -- and about three-quarters of those will be 3G network-capable.

Vendors such as Nokia, HTC, RIM, Samsung, Motorola, LG, and Palm have been prepping the phones for the back-to-school and December holiday seasons, said Matt Thornton, an analyst at Avian Securities, in an interview with BetaNews this afternoon.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Microsoft buys a shopping service for $486M, but will only keep part

Microsoft today took another step in its strategy to beef up Live Search versus Google and Yahoo, unveiling a complicated deal to buy Greenfield Online and its subsidiary Caio, a European-based online price comparison and shopping site.

Under the agreement, Microsoft is offering $486 million for Greenfield. But in a related move, Microsoft today claimed to have secured a buyer for Greenfield Online's Internet survey solutions, the business that forms the heart of Greenfield Online.

WB network returns as Web site

Deceased television network The WB has been resurrected, at least on line, emerging from beta as an ad-supported streaming TV show repository.

Launched in beta last May, The features full episodes of programs such as Babylon 5, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smallville, Everwood, Friends, and The O.C.

Episodes of classic Warner Bros. shows will be updated every Monday, and a good deal of content has been made immediately available. Twenty-one episodes of the

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Paid Google ad appears to state McCain picked Lieberman

A Google AdWords ad first spotted by BetaNews contributor Sharon Fisher, along with ads for the McCain campaign that have appeared today on BetaNews and elsewhere through Google, appear on first glance to have spoiled McCain's VP pick.

Groups of politically-minded bloggers, including the DaniWeb IT community, have been noting today a peculiar jump today in the number of online ads, appearing in BetaNews and elsewhere, showing presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain alongside former Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Joe Lieberman.

IE8 Beta 2 adds standards mode, suggestions, 'Web slices'

Download Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 for Windows Vista from FileForum now.

Validating all indicators since Monday that a revamped beta was ready for public eyes, Microsoft lifted the lid on Beta 2 of Internet Explorer 8 this afternoon, offering the first glance at some very competitive new features.

With every intention of evening up the score with Firefox 3, Microsoft opened up its public beta process for the first edition of IE8 to contain a full list of new features. Beta 1 (which was launched back in March) concentrated on making the engine work and rendering pages properly; now it's Beta 2's turn to dazzle the public.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More indications of Apple iPod refresh September 9

The buzz from analysts who have begun to speak out about what they expect to see during an Apple event that for now has only been rumored, lends new credence to the theory that iPods could be revamped as soon as 9/9.

JupiterResearch analyst Mark Mulligan says he would like to see Apple start to offer pre-loaded content, and like many analysts, continued to beat the drum for an iTunes subscription offering.

"Don't just play the Rhapsody/Napster game and offer portable rentals for ten dollars a month," Mulligan argued. Instead, the service should be inexpensive and allow for permanent downloads within the offering.

Time may be running out for a 64-bit Vista-based ZoneAlarm

Download ZoneAlarm Pro Beta for Windows XP and 32-bit Vista from FileForum now.

The difficulty for third-party developers to produce security software for the most feature-rich Vista kernel continues to this day, and a lack of news from ZoneAlarm suggests it could persist well into next year.

At one time, ZoneAlarm was among the single most downloaded pieces of software, of any category whatsoever, in the entire world. But for well over a year after Microsoft's release of the 64-bit version of Windows Vista, whose kernel includes significant upgrades for security purposes, there still is no 64-bit edition of the ZoneAlarm firewall that works on Vista.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

ITunes access returns to China following block

After having lost complete access to iTunes for nearly a week, for reasons that may have had to do with the music store featuring an album supporting Tibetan freedom, users in China report they can download music once again.

The first reports of connectivity issues surfaced on Monday, in timing that seemed to coincide with iTunes' release of a pro-Tibet album. While access to that particular album still appears to be restricted, the rest of the store returned this week.

Could Obama's VP pick have triggered millions in SMS traffic?

If you do the math, using the best estimates available to you about text messaging (SMS) usage in the US, the results could be staggering: A single news announcement may mean a small windfall for telcos.

If Sprint's early estimates are accurate and if they're reflective of other carriers' traffic on the day Sen. Barack Obama announced his running mate, the resulting flow of text message traffic on the nation's networks could theoretically have generated more than $118 million in extra revenue for the nation's cell phone carriers.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Intel works on wireless laptop battery recharging

The groundwork may have been laid by Nikola Tesla for wireless transmission of electricity, but Intel is putting it to good use through a new effort to charge a laptop in much the same manner.

At the Intel Developer's Forum in San Francisco this week, a demonstration was shown where researchers were able to power a 60 watt light bulb from an energy source that was three feet away. About 75% of the power from the source was retained.

More HTC Dream details revealed through FCC

The latest FCC filings indicate the HTC Dream will be roughly the same length as the iPhone 3G, although slightly thinner.

An iPhone 3G measures in at 115.2 millimeters by 61.2 millimeters: the Dream will be 115 mm by 55 mm, according to documents that were available for a time through the FCC's Web site. No doubt HTC's Dream, widely believed to soon become the first "Googlephone," will likely be thicker than the iPhone since it will include a slide out QWERTY keyboard.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Nintendo sued for controllers again

A Maryland company has sued Nintendo, alleging that the Wii's controller infringes upon four of the company's patents.

Earlier this year a small Texas company called Anascape sued Nintendo for the designs of its Wii classic and GameCube controllers, two peripherals especially popular at that time because of the game Super Smash Brothers: Brawl. That company walked away with $21 million after Nintendo lost the patent appeal.

Now, another US company has sued the Japanese video game maker for controller designs, but this time for the Wii's iconic Wiimote. Rockville, Maryland's Hillcrest Laboratories has sued Nintendo for patent infringement and filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission over the Wiimote's design.

Is CDMA cell phone technology already dead? Analysts disagree

In separate reports issued this week, one prominent analyst firm proclaimed the impending death of CDMA cellular technology, while another touted its resurgence. So which is it?

Analyst firm Dell'Oro Group has declared CDMA -- for many years a widely used mobile communications standard, especially in North America -- already "dead."

Scott Siegler, a mobile infrastructure analyst at Dell'Oro, bases these claims on a slowdown in spending on CDMA by Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless, as these wireless operators pour more investments into higher capacity GSM technologies.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Is BlackBerry Bold really having iPhone 3G-like issues?

Research In Motion launched its newest BlackBerry, the Bold, in Canada yesterday. Reviewers who have hastily compared it to Apple's iPhone have been asked by RIM to remove a side-by-side review comparing browsing speed between the two devices.

The Bold, or BlackBerry 9000, runs on an Intel XScale 624 MHz processor, has an HVGA 480x320 display and offers UMTS (2100, 900, 850MHz), GSM (1900,1800,900,850MHz), GPRS, EDGE and HDSPA , as well as Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS. There is also 1 GB of on-board memory for storage of files, and 128 MB of flash memory for applications.

'Contractor error' suspected in $12,000 FEMA phone hack

FEMA is now investigating a hack attack against its voice mail system that racked up $12,000 in international calls, with preliminary evidence indicating that "contractor error" was probably involved.

Debbie Wing, a spokesperson with the US Federal Emergency Management Agency, told BetaNews today that the government agency -- which is part of the US Dept. of Homeland Security -- first noticed "inappropriate" calling patterns on Saturday, August 16.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Apple's iPhone 3G gets ho-hum response in Poland and India

Mobile service provider Orange Poland this week hired actors to help "warm up" reception to Apple's latest phone. Meanwhile, in India, a new iPhone 3G costs the US equivalent of $712 -- another indicator of barriers in some emerging markets.

Although earlier launches of Apple's iPhone 3G created big stirs in the US, northern Europe, and Japan, in a later wave of rollouts this week, the reaction has been more ho-hum in countries like India and like Poland -- a place where actors actually got paid to stand in line.

Pro-Tibet album may be behind China iTunes block

Users of Apple's music store in China have been reporting problems downloading music since the beginning of the week.

Chinese authorities have not directly confirmed blocking iTunes. Requests for comment have gone unanswered, or reporters have been told officials had no information on the block. However, the timing of this latest blockage seems to coincide with the release of a pro-Tibet album by the Art of Peace Foundation, which was released on Sunday.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

UK law firm looks to begin prosecuting file sharers

Davenport Lyons has been working with the music industry in the UK to sniff out P2P users. Now it will ask the UK courts to force ISPs to release information to identify them.

The firm is looking to identify about 7,000 individuals in total. Representatives said they will seek an order from the High Court Wednesday, and will use the information to launch civil suits against those individuals.

Swiss company Logistep assisted in the identification of the individuals by IP address, which will be provided to the court as part of the request for an order.

Analysts: Consumers, businesses want phones with more 'features'

Customers are now buying more costly cell phones with features such as GPS, Bluetooth, and music enablement, not just in the US but worldwide, according to recent research by two industry analyst firms.

According to a new study from analyst firm NPD, mobile handsets sold in the US during the second quarter of this year were, "by and large, more feature-rich than those sold the year prior." Meanwhile, demand is increasing throughout the world for handsets with features such as GPS, touchscreen, and multimedia, concurs a study by IDC released at the end of July.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Apple gives MobileMe subscribers more free time

Subscribers who have remained with MobileMe through its continued growing pains will be rewarded with another 60 days free, bringing the total free time to 90 days.

To be eligible for the new extension, customers must be enrolled members by midnight Tuesday. Those who have already enrolled will see their free trial periods extended another 60 days.

Apple will begin issuing the extensions Tuesday, which will be applied to all accounts within the next few days.

Pandora: Last gasp for Internet radio can't be further prolonged

Since March 2007, when the Copyright Royalty Board exacted a per-performance, per listener fee on streaming online services, pundits have declared a deathwatch on Internet radio. Recently, Pandora's founder expressed the same dire outlook.

This weekend, Pandora founder Tim Westergren told the Washington Post that his service is nearing the point where shutting down is the only feasible option. Despite the fact that Pandora is among the top 200 most popular United States Web sites (and climbing), and that the Pandora iPhone application is among the App Store's 10 most downloaded, Westergren said his company is still losing money.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Skyfire Beta 0.6 heats up pocket screens

Skyfire Beta 0.6 heats up pocket screens

Skyfire Beta 0.6 heats up pocket screens

TSA-approved laptop bags: $220+

The US Transportation Safety Administration's recent relaxation of rules on removing laptops from luggage at airport checkpoints, carried an announcement of soon-to-be available TSA pre-approved bags. This fall, we should see the first.

"The Checkpoint Flyer" by Tom Bihn adheres to TSA guidelines as presented in the group's five-month design challenge. To achieve this, it integrates a protective laptop sleeve into a messenger-style bag that allows the two to be separated for scanning in "less than three seconds" (re-attachment times were not included).

Monday, August 18, 2008

Android phone may have Google ads, but no Exchange support

With Google still touting the first Android phone for late 2008, reports state the forthcoming HTC "Dream" phone might lack support for Microsoft Exchange, and further, that it will come with Google's advertising software pre-installed.

After showing a primitive prototype of the initial Android phone at CES in January, Google gave demos of features in May that included a new interface and menu structure, a built-in compass, a port of the Pac-Man game, and access to Google Maps. One blogger who viewed the phone in May, Vincent Nguyen, exclaimed at that time, "The HTC Android Dream phone is a worthy competitor to the [iPhone] 2.0."

GraphOn adds Google to lengthening list of lawsuit targets

In the latest of a barrage of lawsuits against various and sundry operators of "automated and network-automated databases," Web development company GraphOn is now hauling Google into court on allegations of patent infringement.

In a complaint filed in US District Court in Texas, GraphOn is charging that Google's Base, YouTube, Blogger, Sites, and AdWords services violate a total of four patents the company now owns.

Also cited in a still unresolved suit by GraphOn against Yahoo, CareerBuilder, eHarmony,, and IAC/Interactive Corp., the four patents include US Patents No. 6,324,538 (also known as "the '538 patent"), 7,028,034 ("the '034 patent"), 7.269,591 ("the '591 patent"), and 6,850,940 ("the '940 patent").

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Former Apple counsel settles options backdating charges

Apple's former general counsel will pay the US Securities and Exchange Commission some $2.2 million in fines to settle charges related to the Cupertino company's stock options scandal.

SEC officials said Nancy Heinen's fine was comprised of $1.6 million in what it called "ill-gotten" gains, plus interest, and a $200,000 penalty. The former executive is one of two from the company to agree to pay fines. Like former Apple CFO Fred Anderson -- who was fined $3.5 million -- Heinen is neither admitting nor denying guilt.

Netflix admits it's experiencing shipping delays

Netflix admits it's experiencing shipping delays

11:00 am EDT August 15, 2008 - In what many are calling Netflix's biggest service disruption yet, the movie rental-by-mail company's shipping system has still not returned to full functionality, with at least 2.5 million subscribers affected.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Google India could be ordered to break one blogger's anonymity

A construction equipment company in Mumbai, India, has asked that country's high court to order Google India to disclose the identity of "Toxic Writer," a blogger who made defamatory remarks about its mining project in Mozambique.

According to the original complaint filed by Gremach Infrastructure Equipments and Projects Ltd., the ninth paragraph of a blog entry entitled "toxic fumes" contained defamatory material that amounted to a smear campaign against it. However, because the blog post was taken down on an interim order from the Bombay High Court, the actual text is unavailable and even some cached copies cannot be retrieved.

Yahoo names Chapple, Biondi to board, but what happens next?

New Yahoo board member Frank Biondi has a knack for being at the center of a firestorm. So the fact that Carl Icahn successfully got Biondi on board this morning, probably means a new storm is on the horizon.

There are now three of Icahn Partners' ranks serving as members of the Board of Directors of Yahoo. Carl Icahn himself will assume the seat vacated by outgoing member Robert Kotick, and former Viacom and Universal chief Frank Biondi and former Nextel founder John Chapple will add to the board's membership. Yahoo made the news official this morning.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Reports: Apple set to fix iPhone 3G connectivity in update

Apple may attempt to alleviate what iPhone 3G users have perceived to be connectivity problems by way of a software update instead of a recall, which would take a significant chunk from its profits.

Earlier in the week, Swedish engineering magazine Ny Teknik reported on tests from unnamed iPhone 3G users showing its signal sensitivity was well below levels specified in 3G standards. That report indicated that there may be a hardware issue somewhere between the antenna and the amplifier. If either or both parts aren't operating properly, it could lead to poor connectivity and slower speeds.

Lower income Tennessee residents to get free cell phones

The maker of a popular pre-paid cell phone today announced a program that will give low income Tennessee residents free cell phones and mobile service on a year-to-year basis.

Called SafeLink Wireless, the project is being led by the Tennessee Department of Safety, TracFone Wireless, and local nonprofit organizations. Eligible households will receive a free cellular handset with 60 or more minutes of airtime a month plus unlimited access to emergency services (911). Handsets will support standard cellular features such as voice mail, SMS, call waiting, as well as international calling.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Twitter cuts off tweets by SMS in the UK over costs

It appears as if Twitter was unable to reach agreements with UK carriers to keep costs of its SMS tweets down. While users will still be able to send updates to a phone number, they will no longer be able to receive them on phones.

With Twitter's text option, a user's blog update could turn into dozens of text messages depending on who is following that particular user, which the Twitterer was not paying any additional fee for.

"That's because we've been footing the bill," co-founder Biz Stone wrote yesterday in a post to the company blog. "When we launched our free SMS service to the world, we set the clock ticking. As the service grew in popularity, so too would the price."

Attacks continue on Russian and Georgian Web sites, but who's to blame?

Armed conflict between Russia and Georgia has been paralleled by what many in the media have classed a "cyberwar," where Georgian Web sites have been crippled by DDoS attacks and defacements.

As Georgian government sites were rendered inaccessible this week, Poland, Estonia, and the United States hosted mirrors to provide supplementary outlets for information. Polish president Lech Kaczynski's official site says, "Along with military aggression, the Russian Federation is blocking Georgian Internet portals."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

In-car wireless Internet to become a reality with Chrysler

An EV-DO-enabled hotspot will be installed as an option in 2009 models of Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge vehicles, as well as some earlier models, the auto maker announced yesterday.

Chrysler itself will not install the Mopar-produced devices direct from the factory, instead it would be made available at the dealership. The new router will be mounted in the trunk much like CD changers and satellite radio receivers already are, and hardwired into the car's electrical system. Users will be able to use Wi-Fi at distances from the car comparable to current home-based wireless routers.

New iPhone app makes it a wireless storage device

New iPhone app makes it a wireless storage device

With a multitude of applications now available from the App Store, few stand out. Vieosoft's

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Microsoft to stop boxed sales of Money

Although it has been offering its financial suite in a downloadable version for quite some time, beginning with the 2009 version of Money Plus, it will no longer be sold through retail channels.

Microsoft pointed to the fact that last year's sales of its Money personal finance software outpaced in-store sales for the first time in the products history, and more than 50 percent of sales of Money now come from online downloads.

Product manager Chris Jolley said that the "time feels right" for such a shift, and that new efficiencies would be realized across all fronts. Shifting to an all-download model is better for the environment, he added. He also noted the changing attitudes of consumers.

Commercial antivirus software rendered useless in hours

At the Race To Zero contest at DEFCON 16 in Las Vegas last weekend, seven sample viruses and three sample exploits were reverse engineered to the point where they could bypass anti-virus software. The task took one team just over two hours.

Race to Zero is a contest where a series of malicious code samples are given that must be modified to be able to circumvent five anti-virus engines, each sample more difficult than the last.

The contest began with the 20-year-old DOS virus Stoned, then followed with Netsky, Bagel, Sasser, Zlob, Welchia, and Virut.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Apple claims $30 million in iPhone software sales

CEO Steve Jobs said that nearly 60 million applications have been downloaded, generating about $1 million in sales per day for the company.

Obviously with an average selling price of 50 cents -- and the minimum charge for an application being 99 cents -- a large portion of iPhone applications downloaded through the Apps Store have been free. Even so, the number is quite impressive.

Sales of third-party applications could reach $360 million in the first year alone, Jobs told

IAC spinoffs begin early trading tomorrow

Common stock in five companies formerly under the IAC (InterActive Corp.) banner, owners of and, will begin "when-issued" trading on the open market tomorrow under five new stock symbols.

This is the realization of an announcement by the holding company made in November 2007, when it made public its intent to spin off its properties Home Shopping Network (HSN). Ticketmaster, Interval Leisure Group (a real estate and timeshare company), and Lending Tree.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Yahoo tweaks advertising policies in response to Congress

Last week, Congress sent letters to Internet platform providers expressing concern over targeted advertising. Now those letters have resulted in action from at least one company, which will now enable users to opt-out.

As part of its new privacy policy announced this afternoon, Yahoo will give its users a choice as to choose whether to opt-out of the company's targeted advertising across its properties. It is already offering its users an option to opt-out of similar ads served by third-party networks.

Ubuntu attracts the lion's share of LinuxWorld's smaller crowds

Download Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) Alpha 3 from FileForum now.

Even though attendance was a bit sparse during this year's LinuxWorld Conference & Expo when compared to previous years, the Canonical booth -- where the latest Ubuntu Linux software was being shown off -- still managed to draw a crowd.

Each Ubuntu presentation and training session throughout the three days of LinuxWorld was heavily attended, especially compared to similar sessions elsewhere where relatively few attended. Ubuntu and Linux in general have, Canonical representatives claimed, have finally matured as a technology, rendering the need for an extravagant technology show no longer necessary.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Apple pulls $1,000 App Store 'gem' after eight downloads

Armin Heinrich, the developer of the 'I Am Rich' application that sold for $999.99 and does essentially nothing, isn't sure why his submission was pulled from the App Store as it was done without warning.

Eight people are said to have downloaded the program, including six in the US, one in Germany and another in France during the day it was live. Using the App Store's revenue split, Heinrich would have made nearly $5,600 in revenues from an program that essentially does nothing.

IBM VP urges open source devs to make Linux less like Windows

If Linux is going to make bigger inroads on the desktop, developers need to stop cloning Microsoft Windows and instead produce more unique user interface designs, according to Bob Sutor, IBM's VP of open source and standards.

Sutor made these remarks today at the Black Hat Conference in Las Vegas, a day after IBM issued the latest in an eight-year series of Linux announcements, joining at LinuxWorld with Linux distributors Red Hat, Novell, and Canonical in an initiative to build "Microsoft-free PCs for business."

Friday, August 8, 2008

Could cuts in telcos' 'terminating rates' be passed on to consumers?

Users who want to lower their cell phone bills could be in for a treat -- or maybe not -- if the FCC responds favorably to a petition filed jointly by the nation's top three wireless providers, backed by powerful industry groups.

In their petition to the US Federal Communications Commission, AT&T, Sprint Nextel, and Verizon Wireless -- along with the CTIA, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), the VON Coalition, and other parties -- are mutually seeking uniformity around, and reductions in, the carrier "terminating rates" which service providers charge each other for helping to carry one another's traffic over networks.

Openmoko to publish 'open' phone recipes, after dealing with NDAs

Openmoko has finally decided to release the full schematics for its open source, "build-your-own" phones, apparently after the removal of stumbling blocks surrounding non-disclosure agreements for GSM chips.

About a month after shipping its own Neo FreeRunner phone, Openmoko today rolled out plans to post the compete inner workings of that phone and its predecessor, the Neo 1973, on its Web sites at and, for use under a Creative Commons (CC) license.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Toshiba doubles its embedded flash capacity to catch up with Samsung

Thumb drives and portable music players may continue their rapid capacity increase, thanks to #2 flash supplier Toshiba introducing 32 gigabit chips this fall. It's a big gamble, though, for a catch-up player in a declining market.

Just 16 months after the company said it was ready to begin sampling 16 gigabit (Gb) NAND flash memory for embedded devices, using its 56-nanometer lithography process, Toshiba announced late this morning that it would begin sampling 32 Gb embedded flash devices using its 43-nm process in October.

LinuxWorld shows off the latest data center-in-a-truck

Talk about your portable servers. Rackable Systems brought its ICE Cube Modular Data Center to LinuxWorld, demonstrating how companies can literally ship their data centers from city to city, even overseas, in cool comfort.

SAN FRANCISCO (BetaNews) - Self-contained, fully portable, modular servers are becoming more popular because they help reduce data center costs, and these all-in-one data centers can be moved from location to location with ease. Over the past few years, at least two companies have created their modular centers in shipping containers that can be transported by road, rail or air.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Three new IBM / Linux partnerships aimed at a 'Microsoft-free' world

At the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in San Francisco this week, IBM strengthened its ties with the open source community by announcing partnerships with Canonical, Red Hat and Novell.

SAN FRANCISCO (BetaNews) - IBM hopes adding its software to distributions of Ubuntu, Red Hat, and Suse Linux will help consumers transition to become "Microsoft-free."

Specifically, IBM is working to ensure its Open Collaboration Client Solution, including Lotus Symphony, Lotus Notes, and Lotus Sametime, operate with the three Linux distributions.

Oracle boosts its own Linux with 'templates' to aid virtualization

In a realm where a "server" is no longer one box with one processor, it isn't always practical to keep reinstalling the same applications for multiple servers. Today, Oracle is proposing a unique solution, involving "templates."

Oracle's server virtualization software, known as Oracle VM, is targeted at supporting server consolidation and systems integration by enabling Oracle and non-Oracle applications, designed to run on different operating systems, to share the same underlying operating environment.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bertlesmann bows out of Sony BMG for $1.2 billion

The German publisher has sold its 50 percent stake in the joint music publishing venture, although it plans to retain the catalog rights to certain acts within Europe.

Under Sony management, the Sony BMG publishing group will change its name to Sony Music Entertainment Inc. (SMEI), and would become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony. The Japan-based company will continue to use Bertlesmann-owned Arvato Digital Services for up to six years for its distribution needs, it said this morning.

FastBack backup service to move beyond Windows, says IBM

IBM will also offer its FastBack enterprise-class backup service not for just Windows but for other operating environments over time, according to a company product manager in an interview with BetaNews.

John Conner, an IBM product manager for both TSM and TSM FastBack, wasn't able to specify which platforms yet when talking with us. "But we're looking at Linux, Solaris, and AIX, for instance," noted Conner, who is product manager for both TSM and TSM FastBack.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Apple's fix for major DNS security hole finally arrives

Nearly three weeks after Microsoft patched its Windows operating system to protect against attacks exploiting a flaw within the DNS system, Apple has delivered its own fix.

The DNS flaw, discovered by security researcher Dan Kaminsky, allows attackers to divert traffic to Web sites of their choice through an issue with BIND, software that powers DNS servers.

While a random transaction ID is produced to initiate the communication, certain setups cause the number of possibilities to decrease, thus making guessing the correct ID easier. Kaminsky even said there was a way to guess correctly in only a couple tries.

Congress' probe of target advertising expands to 33 companies

Microsoft and Google are among those who have received letters from four members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee expressing concerns over their online advertising methodologies.

The letter asks the companies to respond by Friday to eleven questions revolving around the subject of targeting ads to specific users, based on behavior or other disseminated factors. The congressmen are looking for answers as to how the companies engage in the practice and to what extent, as well as with regard to address privacy and legal concerns.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Next-generation FireWire finalized, but USB 3.0 will be faster

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) recently approved IEEE 1394-2008, a faster version of the standard known to most simply as FireWire and used for connecting PCs with digital video devices or external hard drives.

"The new standard includes all of the amendments, enhancements and more than 100 errata which have been added to the base standard over the last 12 years," IEEE chair of the working group Les Baxter said in a statement. "This update provides developers with a single document they can rely upon for all of their application needs."

Apple's latest headache: some iPhones developing cracks

Posters to Apple's support forums are complaining of what appears to be a defect in the iPhone 3Gs casing, which is causing hairline cracks.

It appears from a search of the initial thread in question that the cracks are most commonly appearing around the headphone jack, ringer switch, and volume controls.

That could suggest the manufacturing process may be causing some type of weakness near these areas, and put under regular use, the defects appear in the form of small cracks.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

FCC finds Comcast in violation of net neutrality rules for BitTorrent blocking

The Federal Communications Commission has concluded its vote on Comcast, finding the cable operator in violation of net neutrality rules by a margin of 3-2, but it will not issue fines.

Democrats Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, as well as Republican chairman Kevin Martin were reported earlier this week to have voted in favor of taking action against Comcast for secretly degrading or blocking peer-to-peer traffic -- specifically that used by BitTorrent.

Toyota developing a Segway-like transportation device

Better known for its automobiles, Toyota is now planning to move into the personal transport business with the "Winglet," scheduled to become available in the early part of the next decade.

The devices seem to share a lot in common with the Segway, which pioneered the category with its Human Transporter. In fact, the design of Toyota's "L" Winglet model looks quite similar.

In addition to the "L," Toyota is developing two other models, the "S" and the "M" (ostensibly corresponding to small, medium, large), which are shorter and appear to have different intended uses. The "M" model is shorter and looks designed for younger rides, while the "S" appears to be a "hands-free" device -- like a Segway without a handle.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Bill to ban in-flight mobile phone calls goes to House

A bill that calls for a ban on all in-flight cellular voice calls will be put up for vote before the full House of Representatives after being approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee.

Chairman of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit Peter DeFazio (D-OR.) introduced HR 5788, or the HANG UP (Halting Airplane Noise to Give Us Peace) Act in April of this year, and it was approved in the Transportation and Infrastructure committee on Thursday.

Yahoo tries to make Delicious bookmarking site more mainstream

Yahoo's social bookmarking site Delicious (formerly has received its long-awaited user interface overhaul, which the company hopes will attract more mainstream users and make the site less niche.

Since acquiring in late 2005, Yahoo has gradually moved the service into a more accessible realm. It has also been moved from its clever, but easy to mis-type .us domain to the much simpler

The site's layout has been changed to improve uptake in new users, while maintaining essential elements for existing users. Yahoo has also announced increased overall speed through a "new infrastructure that makes ever page faster," and the search engine has also been refined to quicken searches.