Slashdot It! Diversified manufacturer Emerson Electric agreed to buy a Motorola unit that serves the telecommunications, medical and defense industries for $350 million in cash, the companies said Friday. Emerson, whose portfolio includes motors, thermostats, storage units for supermarkets and technology to improve manufacturing efficiency, plans to acquire Motorola's Embedded Communications Computing business by the end of the calendar year, the companies said. The Motorola business, which had sales last year of about $520 million, provides embedded-computing products and services to communication infrastructure and equipment makers in the telecommunications, medical imaging, defense and aerospace, and industrial-automation industries, the companies said. gaming keyboard It will become a part of the Emerson Network Power business, boosting St. Louis, Mo.-based Emerson's presence in the $6 billion embedded-computing business, the companies said. "Wireless adoption is driving long-term telecommunications market growth, and broadband applications are reviving near-term wireline investment," Emerson Chief Executive David Farr said in a statement. "As we watch the telecom world quickly bring voice, video and data together for its customers, we believe the addition of the Motorola ECC business significantly strengthens our position for growth," he added. Cell phone maker Motorola, based in Schaumburg, Ill., said the deal enables it to focus on its core businesses. Based in Tempe, Ariz., the Motorola business employs about 1,100 people, the companies said. The primary purpose of embedded-computing technology is to control machines or other computer systems and manipulate data, the companies said. For example, in the telecommunications sector, such technology routes and monitors voice, video and data traffic across multiple networks. Power Supplies Dell Laptops Surf the web faster with Mozilla FireFox
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Slashdot It! Bowing to pressure from customers and computer makers, Microsoft plans to keep Windows XP around a little longer. Large PC manufacturers were slated to have to stop selling XP after January 31. However, they have successfully lobbied Microsoft to allow them to continue selling PCs with all flavors of Windows XP preloaded until June 30, a further five months. Microsoft also plans to keep XP on retail shelves longer and will allow computer makers in emerging markets to build machines with Windows XP Starter Edition until June 2010. The move indicates the continued demand for the older operating system, some nine months after Windows Vista hit store shelves. In recent weeks, several PC makers launched programs that allow new PC buyers to more easily "downgrade" their Vista Business and Vista Ultimate machines to Windows XP. Fujitsu, which was among those lobbying for the change, has started including an XP restore disc in the box with all of its laptops running Vista Business. "This allows the installed base of Windows XP users more time to manage the transition to Vista, which is important for some smaller companies with limited resources," Paul Moore, senior director of mobile product marketing for Fujitsu, said in a statement. Dell also said it support's Microsoft's decision. "We believe the additional time will help some customers to prepare for the transition from XP to Vista," the company said in a statement. Microsoft, for its part, sought to downplay the impact of the move, disagreeing with the notion that there is still strong demand for XP. "We wouldn't term it strong," said Kevin Kutz, a director in Microsoft's Windows Client unit. "We would describe this as accommodating a certain element who needs more time." Kutz said Microsoft had seen similar demand patterns with past releases and noted that in the past, old operating systems remained available for around 18 months after the release of a new operating system. "While Windows Vista sales are still going strong...we recognize there are some customers that need more time," Kutz said. Surf the web faster with Mozilla FireFox
Geeking out with Chew Jek Hui at 10:25 PM
Slashdot It! Boeing, Air New Zealand and Rolls-Royce today announced a Memorandum of Understanding to conduct a biofuel demonstration flight designed to help accelerate the development of viable and sustainable alternative fuels for commercial aviation uses. Boeing is exploring second-generation biofuel feed stocks and processes that have the potential to reduce greenhouse gases throughout their entire lifecycle. The demonstration flight is planned for the second half of 2008 using an Air New Zealand Boeing 747-400 equipped with Rolls-Royce engines. Boeing is in discussions with fuel-source providers around the globe to identify potential biofuels that are available in suitable quantities for laboratory and jet-engine performance testing and in compliance with stringent aviation requirements. Additional details will be announced closer to the actual demonstration flight date. "Our near-term goal in this pioneering effort is to identify sustainable alternative bio-jet fuel sources for the planes that are flying today," said Craig Saddler, president of Boeing Australia. A significant first step is identifying progressive fuel sources that will provide better economic and environmental performance for air carriers, without any change to aircraft engines or the aviation fuel infrastructure." The Air New Zealand bio-jet fuel demo flight will highlight the suitability of environmentally progressive fuel solutions (bio-jet fuels) that differ from traditional biofuel development. Bio-jet fuels will incorporate second-generation methodologies relative to sustainable feedstock source selection and fuel processing, which are uniquely suited for aerospace applications. These bio-jet fuels can potentially be blended with traditional kerosene fuel (Jet-A) to reduce dependency on petroleum-based fuels. Additionally, sustainable bio-jet feedstock sources avoid deforestation practices and potential competition with global food resources, while helping to lower aviation carbon dioxide outputs. "This test flight is another step in our plan to lead the globe in development of the most environmentally responsible airline," said Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Rob Fyfe. "We have already taken large steps toward this goal by introducing fuel-efficient Boeing 777s and we eagerly await the first of our 787-9 Dreamliners which will burn 20 percent less fuel than the planes they replace." Air New Zealand, one of the world's most progressive airlines, is a launch customer for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, scheduled for entry into service in 2008. Air New Zealand will receive its first 787-9 in 2010. In addition to providing passengers with a better flying experience, it also will provide operators with a more environmentally efficient jetliner including lower carbon emissions and quieter takeoffs and landings. Surf the web faster with Mozilla FireFox
Geeking out with Chew Jek Hui at 10:24 PM
Slashdot It! Novell says its Linux business has grown by 243 percent over the last three quarters, and it largely credits its deal with Microsoft. Novell has reached $100 million in revenue from Linux over the nine-month period, thanks to the close working relationship it has had with Microsoft since the two companies signed their collaborative deal in November. As part of the deal, Microsoft offers support for Novell's Suse Linux, and the two companies are working on making their respective software interoperable. "For Novell's first three quarters of our fiscal year, our Linux business was up 243 percent," said Justin Steinman, director of marketing at Novell. "This (sales increase) is public endorsement that our joint engineering efforts are already paying dividends to customers operating in a mixed environment, which, by the way, is pretty much all Linux users today," said Steve Harris, senior sales director for open source at Novell. "It helps us to maintain momentum and our investments in this collaboration work, which will continue to drive growth in our Linux business worldwide." It is the interoperability between Linux and Windows that "is really receiving a lot of customer interest right now," Harris said. As an example of the cooperation between the two companies, earlier this month, Microsoft and Novell announced a joint development lab in Cambridge, Mass., that will focus on cross-platform interoperability. The lab, which measures 2,500 square feet, will host a combined team of eight Microsoft and Novell engineers and two directors, working to make Windows Server and Suse Linux Enterprise work together, according to a statement from the two companies. One of the key areas of interoperability work will be in virtualization, which is seen as a crucial area by many IT professionals. The lab will also work on file formats, systems management and directory technology integration. Novell's main competitor in the Linux market, Red Hat, announced its quarterly results this week. The company said its quarterly revenue of $127 million was up by 28 percent compared with the same quarter last year. Its subscription revenue of $109 million was up 29 percent, Red Hat said. Surf the web faster with Mozilla FireFox
Geeking out with Chew Jek Hui at 10:19 PM
Earlier this week Apple said a planned update would leave the device "permanently inoperable".
Thousands of iPhone owners hacked their expensive gadget in order to unlock it for use with other mobile carriers and to run a host of unsupported programs.There are also reports of the update causing issues with unaltered iPhones. On Monday Apple issued a statement in which it said many of the unauthorised iPhone unlocking programs caused "irreparable damage" to the device's software. The company said this would "likely result in the modified iPhone becoming permanently inoperable when a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update is installed". That warning has now proved correct as many owners are reporting their phones no longer work following installation of the update. Apple requires iPhone owners to take out a lengthy contract with AT&T in the United States but there are a number of programs on the net that unlock the device for use with other networks. Some owners are reporting on technology blogs and Apple's own forums that the update is deleting contacts information, as well as photos and music, on iPhones that have not been modified in any way. Surf the web faster with Mozilla FireFox
Geeking out with Chew Jek Hui at 3:56 PM
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Slashdot It! Sales of next-generation DVD players are not seen as likely to take off for another 18 months as consumers are still waiting for prices to fall and for the battle over two competing technologies to be resolved. Referring to the high-definition DVD format war between HD DVD and Blu-ray, Forrester Research said in a report on Monday that while the two camps have "been fighting what seems to be a war of attrition for consumers' hearts and minds," few consumers are warming to either type of device. Sony backs the Blu-ray standard against Toshiba's HD DVD. Hollywood and electronics manufacturers hope new high-definition DVDs, with better picture quality and more capacity, will revive the slowing $24 billion home DVD market. But the format war has curbed adoption in a way reminiscent of the Betamax-VHS videotape format battle of the early 1980s, experts say. Forrester analyst J.P. Gownder stood behind his company's view that Blu-ray would eventually win out over HD DVD, but he said the Blu-ray camp needs to cut prices. A stand-alone Blu-ray player sells for about $500, while HD DVD players cost about $400, and prices are expected to drop further as the holiday shopping season nears. Gownder said Blu-ray's content advantages are somewhat diminished since the recent decision by Viacom's Paramount studio to commit exclusively to HD DVD. HD DVD hardware prices have also dropped into consumers' preferred price range, he said. "Weakened by these developments, Blu-ray needs to offer a viable hardware model at the $250 price point by Christmas 2007," he said in the report. "The Blu-ray camp must also stave off further studio defections, and employ more aggressive promotional tactics to counter HD DVD's recent momentum." Forrester said typical owners of high-definition televisions are not willing to pay more than $200 on average for a new HD DVD or Blu-ray player. "Failure to alter strategy would open up Blu-ray to a possible upset defeat at the hands of HD DVD," Gownder said. Surf the web faster with Mozilla FireFox
Geeking out with Chew Jek Hui at 4:16 PM
Slashdot It! 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. As we're more than aware, Vista Ultimate comes at a premium. For an additional $160 over the Premium SKU price, Ultimate gives you a complete backup and restore option, BitLocker Drive encryption, the ever so popular Windows Fax & Scan, and the "Ultimate Extras." But what started with a promise of "Extras" by summer, quickly turned into an apology from Microsoft and the eventual release of DreamScene and Windows Hold 'Em (among others) today. And while each of the "Extras" runs just fine, Microsoft's "Extras" blunder is just another reason why the company must abandon Vista before it's too late. The first indication that Microsoft should abandon Vista is its poor sales figures. According to a recent report titled "Windows Vista Still Underperforming in U.S. Retail" from NPD, Vista sales are significantly behind XP sales during its early days. Even worse for Redmond, some are reverting to XP, citing issues with compatibility and overall design. And if that wasn't enough, Macs continue to surge and with the impending release of Leopard, Microsoft may be in for a rough holiday season. With each passing day, it's becoming blatantly clear that Microsoft released Vista too early and the company's continual mistakes and promises that can't be kept are further annoying the Windows faithful. Much talk has been given to Service Pack 1 and how this update should address many of the issues users have with Vista, but I simply don't agree. Will SP1 eliminate the ridiculous Microsoft licensing schemes? Will SP1 drop the price on the higher-end versions? Will SP1 eliminate the need for users to buy a new computer just to use the faulty OS? SP1 will do nothing but fix the holes and issues we currently know about and create even more. As we all know from the days of Windows ME and even XP, Microsoft is not the best company at finding and addressing security issues, and chances are, Vista will be no different. One significant problem that I have with Vista is its inclusion of new DRM, specifically the company's decision to install Protected Video Path. To prevent a person from copying (or in most cases, backing up) a movie, the operating system provides process isolation and if an unverified component is in use, the operating system shuts down DRM content. For the first time on any operating system, we're not even allowed to backup our favorite movies? Come on. I also find it interesting that Microsoft decided to take the user access control concept from Mac OS X and make it much worse. Can someone please explain to me why I need to be asked if I wanted to do something entirely innocuous like open a third-party app from a well-known software company? Never before have I seen such an abysmal start to an operating system release. For almost a year, people have been adopting Vista and becoming incensed by how poorly it operates. Not only does it cost too much, it requires more to run than XP, there is still poor driver support, and that draconian licensing scheme is a by-product of Microsoft picking on the wrong people. The road ahead looks dangerous for Vista and Microsoft must realize that. With Mac OS X hot on its tail, Vista is simply not capable of competing at an OS level with some of the best software around. If Microsoft continues down this path, it will be Vista that will bring the software giant to its knees--not Bill Gates' departure. Of course, categorically dumping an operating system is quite difficult and with millions already using the OS, chances are Microsoft won't find a good enough reason to do it. And while I can understand that argument, there's no reason the company can't continue to support Vista and go back to the drawing board for its next OS. Even better, go back to XP--it's not nearly as bad as Vista. As a daily user of Mac OS X, Ubuntu and Vista, I'm keenly aware of what works and what doesn't. Mac and Linux work. The time is up. Microsoft must abandon Vista and move on. It's the company's only chance at redemption. Surf the web faster with Mozilla FireFox
Geeking out with Chew Jek Hui at 3:56 PM
Slashdot It! The race for supremacy in Internet searching has been decidedly one-sided for the last few years, with Google attracting an ever-bigger slice of the market. That has not stopped underdogs like Yahoo, Microsoft and Ask.com from trying again and again to find new ways to pull in more searchers. Microsoft is introducing another such effort on Thursday: a major overhaul of its Live Search service (www.live.com). It presents results in ways that are markedly different from the list of 10 blue links that have long been an online standard. A search using the words “digital camera,” for instance, will deliver photos and links to reviews and shopping information for the most popular digital cameras. This “product guide,” which includes information culled from sites like Amazon.com and PriceGrabber.com, will be followed by traditional search results. Over the next month, Microsoft will start using this approach for searches related to products, local businesses, health information and entertainment. The idea is to try to anticipate what users want, said Satya Nadella, corporate vice president of the search and advertising platform group at Microsoft. “We call it blended search,” Mr. Nadella said. “We’re giving you instant answers.” Meanwhile, Yahoo has quietly introduced a similar set of features on its search engine, calling them shortcuts, and is expected to deliver more updates soon. Ask.com made the most radical departure from standard results in June when it unveiled a service called Ask3D. The service displays results in three panels that combine standard search results with suggestions for related queries, blog items, videos, photos, news articles and shopping information. Yahoo’s shortcuts are already in use on searches related to music, sports, local businesses and travel. Vish Makhijani, senior vice president and general manager for Yahoo Search, said users clicked on shortcuts at a higher frequency than they did on the top Web result. “We’re delivering them because they are of really high value to Yahoo users,” he said. These companies’ efforts to set their results apart from Google’s come after years in which search engines were largely focused on delivering increasingly comprehensive and relevant links but did little to alter their presentation. The quest to improve the quality of the results themselves continues, and Mr. Nadella promised that Microsoft’s new service would finally be as good on that front as Google’s. Google, too, has changed its approach to presentation, but far more gradually than its rivals have. In May, for instance, it started a service called universal search that mixes videos, photos, news articles and other items with traditional search results. And it has progressively added modules atop its search results that deliver stock quotes, local weather and flight tracking information in response to queries on those subjects. Google’s caution has been deliberate. Company officials have said that Google tries to introduce new features without disrupting a formula that has proved to be a hit with users. Indeed, Google accounted for 56.5 percent of all searches in the United States in August, a gain of nearly 10 percentage points from a year earlier, according to the Web audience measuring firm ComScore. Yahoo was a distant second with 23.3 percent of the market, followed by Microsoft with 11.3 percent, and Ask.com and AOL with 4.5 percent each. AOL’s searches are performed by Google’s technology. Analysts said the new strategies by Microsoft, Yahoo and Ask.com were not likely to shake up those rankings anytime soon, in part because Google commands such strong loyalty. “Habits are hard to break, and it is especially hard to break good habits,” said Danny Sullivan, the editor of Search Engine Land. “If you’ve had a good experience with Google, you have little reason to switch.” Mr. Sullivan said users were unlikely to drop Google altogether. But he said the new features introduced by Microsoft and others may persuade some people to use those search engines for specialized queries — say, for health information, entertainment and products. “I don’t think any of the things Microsoft and Yahoo are doing are game changers on their own,” Mr. Sullivan said. The struggles of Ask.com illustrate how hard it is to battle the Google juggernaut. Ask.com has long been considered an innovator in search, and its new features have been praised by analysts and appreciated by its users. But the company has not been able to translate the good reviews into gains in market share. “We’re like the Oscar-winning movie that hasn’t made $100 million at the box office,” said Jim Lanzone, the chief executive of Ask.com, which is owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp. But Mr. Lanzone said he had not lost hope. “People don’t switch search engines overnight,” he said. Like Mr. Lanzone, Mr. Nadella of Microsoft said his goal was not necessarily to steal customers from Google, but rather to entice Microsoft’s millions of users to turn to the service more frequently. Charlene Li, an analyst with Forrester Research, said this strategy made sense. A company like Yahoo, she said, has hundreds of millions of people who visit its Web site, but not all of them use its search service. “They are not necessarily trying to get the Google loyalist,” Ms. Li said. “Yahoo is trying to get its core users one search at a time.” Surf the web faster with Mozilla FireFox
Geeking out with Chew Jek Hui at 3:54 PM
Slashdot It! Equipment powering the internet accounts for 9.4% of electricity demand in the U.S., and 5.3% of global demand, according to new research from Uclue.com. The annual energy demand of computers, monitors, networking, and transmission equipment for the internet amount to 350 billion kWh in the US -- 9.4% of the 3.7 trillion kWh used in total. Similarly, world demand for the internet is 868 billion kWh, or 5.3% of total global electricity consumption of 16.33 trillion kWh. The largest demand for internet-related energy use comes from desktop computers and monitors, which account for two-thirds of total use. Networking equipment such as modems and routers are another sizable draw, as are the substantial power demands for data processing and equipment cooling at data centers. Actual data transmission, on the other hand, chiefly over telephone lines, is a small component -- approximately 0.1% -- of overall energy demand. "As far as we know, this is the first estimate of total internet electricity use," said David Sarokin, the Uclue researcher who compiled the data. "The raw numbers were all out there, but they hadn't been assembled in this way before." Surf the web faster with Mozilla FireFox
Geeking out with Chew Jek Hui at 3:51 PM
Slashdot It! Intel Chairman Craig Barrett said the microchip maker is regaining market share against Advanced Micro Devices and that its performance is looking "pretty good." Barrett also told Reuters in an interview that the world's largest chip company is fairly insulated against the U.S. economic slowdown, as most of its business is overseas. "I think we're in a very strong competitive position vis-a-vis AMD," Barrett said. "We've given guidance on our performance, and it looks pretty good," he said, declining to comment further on the company's outlook or on current demand. Intel earlier this month boosted its revenue to between $9.4 billion and $9.8 billion for its current quarter, which is completed around the end of September. That is compared with an earlier target range of $9 billion to $9.6 billion, and with $8.74 billion in the year-ago period. Barrett said his company has been regaining market share from AMD with new products. Intel has also fought market share losses to AMD with price cuts to older products. Intel stumbled in 2005, but it started introducing chips with new designs in the middle of last year that have helped the company regain market share against its smaller rival. Earlier this month, AMD introduced a line of chips code-named Barcelona that have four cores, the main computing engines in computers, to compete with quad-core processors from Intel. When asked whether he had concerns about a U.S. economic slowdown, Barrett said most of Intel's business is abroad. "The bulk of our business is outside the United States...The growth of our business is predominantly in emerging markets," he said. "If there (were) a worldwide slowdown, that would be a concern to us," Barrett said. "But most of the dialogue has been on the U.S." Surf the web faster with Mozilla FireFox
Geeking out with Chew Jek Hui at 3:40 PM
Friday, September 28, 2007
Slashdot It! According to Computer World, they published an new report on what Apple can do to improve the future iPhones. A few suggestions include the much needed 3G and GPS Quote"1. Get on the 3G train Let's start with the most obvious shortcoming: The fact that the iPhone is tied to AT&T's old EDGE wireless data network instead of the technologically superior 3G network. One of the things that makes the iPhone revolutionary is its unprecedented use of the Internet. No other cell phone or handheld on the market offers the full-featured, Web-browsing experience of Safari mobile (to say nothing of YouTube, Maps or other Net applications). But the EDGE data service is too slow for many Internet tasks, especially downloading large amounts of data, such as a graphically intense Web page or a video from YouTube. The iPhone's ability to use Wi-Fi instead of EDGE mitigates these limitations, but that is only an option when you're in range of a Wi-Fi network. And even though AT&T offers 3G coverage in some areas, the iPhone itself doesn't support 3G. It isn't clear at this point how quickly AT&T plans to beef up its 3G service throughout the country. The company's Web site claims that it is working to expand 3G coverage, and its coverage indicator does show more 3G locations than when the iPhone was announced in January. What's more, a recent patent licensing deal struck between Apple and InterDigital strongly implies that 3G support for the iPhone is in the works. (InterDigital specializes in developing embedded wireless technologies and has already developed and licensed 3G technology to other companies, including Nokia, NEC, Sharp and Panasonic.) Even if AT&T's rollout of 3G isn't speedy, 3G performance for the iPhone is still critical for its success in other markets, including Europe, which has much more widespread 3G service than the U.S. 2. Add GPS Speaking of data services, the iPhone desperately needs GPS. Offering a dedicated Google Maps application is great, but its use is limited without GPS. After I got lost on a dark country road recently, one of my friends asked me, "How can you be lost when you've got an iPhone?" The answer, of course, is that the iPhone's Maps application is great, so long as you know where you are. If you don't, then it isn't much help. GPS would also position the iPhone to compete with in-dash navigation devices. Think about the ability for the iPhone to be not only phone, Internet device and iPod, but also navigation system. The added value is so incredible that it really is surprising Apple didn't include GPS in the iPhone to begin with." Read more at Computer World Surf the web faster with Mozilla FireFox
Geeking out with Chew Jek Hui at 8:38 PM
Geeking out with Chew Jek Hui at 4:34 PM
Slashdot It! Demonoid.com, one of the most popular BitTorrent trackers has allegedly been taken offline by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA). Both the tracker and the website have been unresponsive for nearly 24 hours now.
TorrentFreak contacted some of the Demonoid administrators, but they are not sure what happened either. It is certainly possible that Demonoid’s Canadian ISP pulled the plug after being pressured by the CRIA. The ISP said before that they would take it down if they would receive complaints.
Right now, the Demonoid server is still pinging, but the ISP could have firewalled the everything after they received some serious legal threats. Deimos, the founder and the head admin of the site is unreachable and has not responded yet.
This is not the first time Demonoid suffers major downtime due to pressure from the anti-piracy lobby. Demonoid had to move its servers from The Netherlands to Canada in June after The Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN filed a subpoena against Demonoid’s ISP. BREIN had asked the ISP to take Demonoid offline and hand over the administrator’s personal details, but Demonoid relocated their servers before any harm was done.
Unfortunately, it now seems that Canada is not the “safe haven” as they expected it to be. It is likely that Demonoid has to relocate again, for the second time in three months.
Demonoid tracks over a million .torrent files and is the second largest BitTorrent tracker after The Pirate Bay. The shutdown of the site and tracker is a huge blow for the BitTorrent community that lost 2 of the most popular BitTorrent trackers (TorrentBox was taken offline for US users a few hours ago) within 24 hours.
Update: Still no response from Deimos, the CRIA or Demonoid’s ISP.
Update: The CRIA and Demonoid’s ISP refuse to comment to the allegations, they don’t confirm or deny anything.Surf the web faster with Mozilla FireFox
Geeking out with Chew Jek Hui at 4:30 PM
Slashdot It! OMX, a leading expert in the exchange industry, has signed a seven-year agreement to outsource its global customer network operations and data center management to Verizon Business. OMX owns and operates the Nordic Exchange and supplies exchange technologies to more than 60 exchanges, clearing organizations and central securities depositories in 50 countries worldwide. The company employs more than 1,500 people within its operations in Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hong Kong, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. OMX's decision to outsource its network and data center operations will enable the company to focus on its core competencies by working with a single global provider. The company's communications network and data center facilities serve both OMX's own operations and those of its global customers. Under the agreement, Verizon Business will take responsibility for aspects of external networks and data centers. OMX will continue to be the prime contractor and offer a wide range of IT services to exchanges, clearing organizations and central securities depositories worldwide. The overriding goal of the agreement is to further enhance OMX's global customer service delivery and support future growth. "Finding a dedicated outsourcing supplier for external network operations is an important element in our global growth plans," said Markus Gerdien, president, market technology for OMX. "Our external network operations are crucial to our business, and we needed to ensure we developed a relationship with a supplier truly able to support our global needs today and in the future. "We chose to work with Verizon Business thanks to the company's excellent track record in managed services, acknowledged experience of the financial services sector, solutions expertise, and a global network reach. This partnership is ultimately designed to benefit our customers. We look forward to realizing the benefits of Verizon Business' support as we continue to expand the reach of our IT services worldwide," Gerdien said. John Killian, president, Verizon Business, said: "The decision to adopt a managed services approach is increasingly seen as a strategic factor for business success. OMX is a truly global organization working, and also servicing customers, in one of the most demanding communications environments - the financial markets. OMX's business relies on fast, secure and reliable networks, and we are delighted that it has chosen to entrust the operation and management of this critical business asset to Verizon Business." Surf the web faster with Mozilla FireFox
Geeking out with Chew Jek Hui at 4:29 PM
Slashdot It! Sony sold about 250,000 units of the new version of the PlayStation Portable in Japan in the four days since its launch, a game magazine publisher said Wednesday, roughly matching total Japanese sales of the original PSP in the two months through August. Sony launched the new PSP, which is cheaper and slimmer than the initial model, on September 20 in Japan in a bid to compete better with Nintendo's DS Lite. Both Sony and Nintendo released their handheld consoles, the PSP and DS, respectively, late in 2004. But sales of the PSP, which can play movies, music and games, have recently been outshone by the DS Lite, the lighter version of the DS. Sony sold 250,702 new PSPs in the four days through September 23, compared with 275,223 units of the original PSP it sold in July and August in Japan, according to data from videogame magazine publisher Enterbrain. Surf the web faster with Mozilla FireFox
Geeking out with Chew Jek Hui at 4:25 PM
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Slashdot It! Many manufacturers search out designs that will help them develop a product known for extraordinary performance. Benchmark Reviews has already reviewed many of the very best CPU coolers available to enthusiasts, from the very unique and original design of the Zaward Sylphee ZCJ003 and VIVO to the oversized Thermaltake MaxOrb CL-P0369. Not long ago, we even reviewed the Ultra ULT33186 Chilltec TEC CPU cooler which combined three different cooling technologies into one solution. All of these products performed very well, but none of them really set itself apart from the pack like the Xigmatek HDT-S1283 did. In this review we will test the OCZ Vendetta (OCZTVEND) Exposed Copper Heatpipe Direct Touch CPU cooler against a field of well-established competitors. URL: http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=90&Itemid=1 Surf the web faster with Mozilla FireFox
Geeking out with Chew Jek Hui at 4:38 PM
Slashdot It! Today Benchmarks Reviews takes a look at one of the newest additions to the Tagan Aplus case product line, the CS-EL Diablo BM Mid Tower ATX Case. Computer cases are no longer just a box to install your parts. Some of today’s higher end cases may cost more than a complete entry level computer. They have come to play a crucial role in the cooling of today’s high end CPU's and GPU's. And it is not just the how well the case cools, or how many drives it holds, but what it looks like that has become important. To a computer enthusiast the first impression a case makes is no trivial matter. Your case makes a statement about what type of computer user you are, from the small form factor, to the plane Jane vanilla beige cases, all the way up to the brushed aluminum water cooled cases. URL: http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=91&Itemid=1 Surf the web faster with Mozilla FireFox
Geeking out with Chew Jek Hui at 4:37 PM
Slashdot It! One Laptop Per Child, an ambitious project to bring computing to the developing world’s children, has considerable momentum. Years of work by engineers and scientists have paid off in a pioneering low-cost machine that is light, rugged and surprisingly versatile. The early reviews have been glowing, and mass production is set to start next month.
Orders, however, are slow. “I have to some degree underestimated the difference between shaking the hand of a head of state and having a check written,” said Nicholas Negroponte, chairman of the nonprofit project. “And yes, it has been a disappointment.”
But Mr. Negroponte, the founding director of the M.I.T. Media Laboratory, views the problem as a temporary one in the long-term pursuit of using technology as a new channel of learning and self-expression for children worldwide.
And he is reaching out to the public to try to give the laptop campaign a boost. The marketing program, to be announced today, is called “Give 1 Get 1,” in which Americans and Canadians can buy two laptops for $399.
One of the machines will be given to a child in a developing nation, and the other one will be shipped to the purchaser by Christmas. The donated computer is a tax-deductible charitable contribution. The program will run for two weeks, with orders accepted from Nov. 12 to Nov. 26.
Just what Americans will do with the slender green-and-white laptops is uncertain. Some people may donate them to local schools or youth organizations, said Walter Bender, president of the laptop project, while others will keep them for their own family or their own use.
The machines have high-resolution screens, cameras and peer-to-peer technology so the laptops can communicate wirelessly with one another. The machine runs on free, open source software. “Everything in the machine is open to the hacker, so people can poke at it, change it and make it their own,” said Mr. Bender, a computer researcher. “Part of what we’re doing here is broadening the community of users, broadening the base of ideas and contributions, and that will be tremendously valuable.”
The machine, called the XO Laptop, was not engineered with affluent children in mind. It was intended to be inexpensive, with costs eventually approaching $100 a machine, and sturdy enough to withstand harsh conditions in rural villages. It is also extremely energy efficient, with power consumption that is 10 percent or less of a conventional laptop computer.
Staff members of the laptop project were concerned that American children might try the pared-down machines and find them lacking compared to their Apple, Hewlett-Packard or Dell laptops. Then, in this era of immediate global communications, they might post their criticisms on Web sites and blogs read around the world, damaging the reputation of the XO Laptop, the project staff worried.
So the laptop project sponsored focus-group research with American children, ages 7 to 11, at the end of August. The results were reassuringly positive. The focus-group subjects liked the fact that the machine was intended specifically for children, and appreciated features like the machine-to-machine wireless communication. “Completely beastly” was the verdict of one boy. Another environmentally conscious youngster noted that the laptop “prevents global warming.”
Still, the “Give 1 Get 1” initiative is mainly about the giving. “The real reason is to get this thing started,” Mr. Negroponte said.
He said that if, for example, donations reached $40 million, that would mean 100,000 laptops could be distributed free in the developing world. The idea, he said, would be to give perhaps 5,000 machines to 20 countries to try out and get started.
“It could trigger a lot of things,” Mr. Negroponte said.
Late last year, Mr. Negroponte said he had hoped for orders for three million laptops, but those pledges have fallen short. Orders of a million each from populous Nigeria and Brazil did not materialize.
Still, the project has had successes. Peru, for example, will buy and distribute 250,000 of the laptops over the next year — many of them allocated for remote rural areas. Mexico and Uruguay, Mr. Negroponte noted, have made firm commitments. In a sponsorship program, the government of Italy has agreed to purchase 50,000 laptops for distribution in Ethiopia.
Each country will have different ideas about how to use the machines. Alan Kay, a computer researcher and adviser to the laptop project, said he expects one popular use will be to load textbooks at 25 cents or so each on the laptops, which has a high-resolution screen for easy reading.
“It’s probably going to be mundane in the early stages,” said Mr. Kay, who heads a nonprofit education group, whose learning software will be on the XO Laptop. “I’m an optimist that this will eventually work out,” Mr. Kay said.Surf the web faster with Mozilla FireFox
Geeking out with Chew Jek Hui at 4:30 PM
Slashdot It! Companies like Google scan their e-mail users’ in-boxes to deliver ads related to those messages. Will people be as willing to let a company listen in on their phone conversations to do the same?
Pudding Media, a start-up based in San Jose, Calif., is introducing an Internet phone service today that will be supported by advertising related to what people are talking about in their calls. The Web-based phone service is similar to Skype’s online service — consumers plug a headset and a microphone into their computers, dial any phone number and chat away. But unlike Internet phone services that charge by the length of the calls, Pudding Media offers calling without any toll charges.
The trade-off is that Pudding Media is eavesdropping on phone calls in order to display ads on the screen that are related to the conversation. Voice recognition software monitors the calls, selects ads based on what it hears and pushes the ads to the subscriber’s computer screen while he or she is still talking.
A conversation about movies, for example, will elicit movie reviews and ads for new films that the caller will see during the conversation. Pudding Media is working on a way to e-mail the ads and other content to the person on the other end of the call, or to show it on that person’s cellphone screen.
“We saw that when people are speaking on the phone, typically they were doing something else,” said Ariel Maislos, chief executive of Pudding Media. “They had a lot of other action, either doodling or surfing or something else like that. So we said, ‘Let’s use that’ and actually present them with things that are relevant to the conversation while it’s happening.”
The company’s model, of course, raises questions about the line between target advertising and violation of privacy. Consumer-brand companies are increasingly trying to use data about people to deliver different ads to them based on their demographics and behavior online.
Pudding Media executives said that scanning the words used in phone calls was not substantially different from what Google does with e-mail.
Still, even some advertising executives were wary of the concept.
“We can never obtain too much information from the targets, and I would love to get my hands on that information,” said Jonathan Sackett, chief digital officer for Arnold Worldwide, a unit of the advertising company Havas. “Still, it makes me caution myself and caution all of us as marketers. We really have to look at the situation, because we’re getting more intrusive with each passing technology.”
Mr. Maislos said that Pudding Media had considered the privacy question carefully. The company is not keeping recordings or logs of the content of any phone calls, he said, so advertisements only relate to current calls, not past ones, and will only arrive during the call itself.
Besides, Mr. Maislos said, he thought that young people, the group his company is focusing on with the call service, are less concerned with maintaining privacy than older people are.
“The trade-off of getting personalized content versus privacy is a concept that is accepted in the world,” he said.
Mr. Maislos founded Pudding Media with his brother, Ruben. Each had spent several years doing intelligence work for the Israeli military. Before Pudding Media, Ariel Maislos ran a broadband company called Passave, which he sold in May 2006 to PMC-Sierra, a maker of computer chips for telecommunications equipment, for $300 million. Richard Purcell, a former chief privacy officer at Microsoft, is an adviser to Pudding Media, Ariel Maislos said.
To give the ads greater accuracy, Pudding Media asks users for their sex, age range, native language and ZIP code when they sign up. For now, the company is running ads that are sold by a third-party network, but Pudding Media plans to also sell its own ads in a few months.
Advertisers pay based on how often a user click on their ads, and a spokeswoman said the rates were similar to the cost-per-click prices in Google’s AdSense network. Pudding Media plans to add other payment models, like charging for each ad impression or by the number of calls an ad generates to the advertiser.
As the company’s software listens in on conversations, it filters out explicit words in determining which ads to select, so that content and ads will not be shown with those inappropriate words. Pudding Media would not elaborate, beyond saying that these were “keywords with profanity and things you wouldn’t want a 13-year-old to hear.”
While the calling service only works through computers for now, Mr. Maislos said he saw the potential to use it with cellphones. The company is offering the technology to cellphone carriers to allow their customers to enjoy free calls in exchange for simultaneously watching contextually relevant ads on their screens. Callers can try Pudding Media at www.thepudding.com, dialing any number in North America. Because the service has so far been in a quiet beta test, the company would not say how many people have tried it so far.
Pudding Media is also trying to sell the technology to Web publishers and media companies that would like to offer readers free calls and content related to those calls. A news site, for example, could show only its own articles and ads to people as they talked to friends.
Mr. Maislos said that during tests he noticed that the content had a tendency to determine conversations.
“The conversation was actually changing based on what was on the screen,” he said. “Our ability to influence the conversation was remarkable.”Surf the web faster with Mozilla FireFox
Geeking out with Chew Jek Hui at 4:25 PM
Slashdot It! Microsoft is offering to replace damaged discs of its just-launched Halo 3 game for the Xbox amid reports that special limited-edition packaging is scratching them. On its Xbox Website, Microsoft says the disc replacement program covers the "Halo 3" limited edition game disc and essentials disc at no charge through the end of the year. Microsoft began selling "Halo 3" on Tuesday, and the acclaimed alien shooter game is seen as the $30 billion video game industry's equivalent of a new "Harry Potter" book. The Associated Press said that blogs were brimming with reports that special limited-edition packaging is scratching the videogame discs Surf the web faster with Mozilla FireFox
Geeking out with Chew Jek Hui at 4:24 PM
Slashdot It! British cellphone users will get their first look Monday at a new mobile service called Blyk, which will offer subscribers some free calls and text messages in return for their agreeing to accept advertising on their phones. The idea behind Blyk is not new; Virgin Mobile in the United States started a similar service last year. But the introduction of Blyk in one of the most competitive and technologically sophisticated mobile markets means the service will be scrutinized as a test of mobile advertising’s viability. Compared with the hundreds of billions of dollars that mobile operators generate annually in fees from callers, text-message users and other network users, mobile advertising remains a tiny business. Analysts estimate that it will generate $1 billion to $2 billion in revenue worldwide this year. Yet activity is heating up, not just on the consumer side with services like Blyk, but also behind the scenes, as network operators, Internet companies, advertising agencies, technology start-ups and even phone manufacturers seek a piece of the action. Why are so many people trying to get into such a small business? Analysts say that spending on mobile advertising could surge, with estimates of the market ranging from $5 billion to $11 billion within five years. Perhaps more important, fees from callers are flat or falling in many markets, so network operators are scrambling for new sources of revenue. Everyone else wants to be there at the inception, in case mobile marketing turns into a bonanza, like online advertising. “There’s a battle raging between the Web world and the wireless world for control of mobile advertising revenue,” said Patrick Parodi, chief marketing officer of Amobee Media Systems, an online advertising specialist. “It’s going to be war.” Representatives of the Web world have been bolstering their positions for a bolder move into mobile advertising. Last week, Google announced a system for sending ads to mobile Web pages, similar to its AdSense online advertising program. Last month, Yahoo acquired Actionality, a company based in Munich that specializes in inserting ads into mobile games and other content. That deal followed two mobile marketing acquisitions in May, with AOL buying Third Screen Media and Microsoft buying ScreenTonic. Given the success of the Internet companies, particularly Google, in cashing in on online advertising, “there’s this assumption that they will move in and take control of mobile,” said Eden Zoller, an analyst at Ovum, a telecommunications consultancy. “It’s not that simple.” The biggest selling point of online advertising is the ability to show Internet users relevant ads, based on the Web pages they visit or search terms. But in the mobile world, network operators control information on their customers’ habits, and they are unlikely to give it up — not least for privacy reasons. Network operators have been been working with advertising specialists to develop their mobile marketing capabilities. Advertising agencies have also joined the rush to acquire mobile advertising specialist firms, now that many of the attractive targets in online advertising have been bought. WPP Group invested in JumpTap last spring; Aegis Group acquired Marvelous Mobile in June, and Publicis Groupe bought Phonevalley this month. Perhaps the most intriguing entrant in the mobile advertising game is Nokia, the world’s largest manufacturer of cellphones. Last week, Nokia agreed to buy Enpocket, a mobile advertising network based in Boston, building on previously announced mobile advertising and media plans. Surf the web faster with Mozilla FireFox
Geeking out with Chew Jek Hui at 4:15 PM