Thursday, October 25, 2007

Byte Into It - 24 Oct 07


Google Docs Mobile Now Available | Lifehacker Australia
Google launches Docs Mobile, a slimmed-down view of Google Docs and Spreadsheets for your handheld. At the top of the narrow page is a search box, followed by a list of recent documents with links to view (but not edit) spreadsheets and documents (presentations are not viewable.) You can also navigate folders, and move between rows and columns or to a particular cell in spreadsheet view

Gmail gets IMAP - Download Squad
Why is IMAP integration a good thing for Gmail? POP was a stepping stone, but IMAP pushes Gmails benefits over the top. With IMAP, users can now access their email via a desktop application like Outlook or Thunderbird, read emails, make changes, delete, and have the changes made across platforms. So if you now log into your Gmail account, the message which you read in Thunderbird, will now be marked accordingly. No more wasting time trying to sift through emails that had already been answered.

Prepare Your Mac for Leopard | Lifehacker Australia
Macworld says there are a few things you can do to clean up and prepare your Mac before you take the leap to OS X 10.5 Leopard. Install the latest versions of your current applications (many are rolling out Leopard updates), clean up your hard drive, uninstall unneeded software, run the Apple hardware test and repair your hard drive using Disk Utility. The list of file and folder deletion candidates is especially impressive.

Recover a Deleted Word Document | Lifehacker Australia
Weblog Hack College lists 10 ways you may be able to recover an accidentally deleted Word document, including searching your hard drive for Word's AutoRecover backup file

Mimic OS X's Finder Sidebar in Windows Explorer | Lifehacker Australia
The default Windows Explorer sidebars—generally either the System Tasks and Other Places view or the file system tree—are handy ways to navigate your filesystem, but if you're an ex-Mac user or you would prefer a Mac-like favourites sidebar that lets you define what folders you want quick access to via drag and drop, weblog UneasySilence's simple guide to mimicking OS X's Finder Sidebar in Windows Explorer is for you. By installing a program called Finder style and performing a simple registry tweak, you can turn your sidebar into an attractive, customizable point of access to all of your most used folders.

How to create a bootable Win XP SP3 CD | Lifehacker Australia
The release of Windows XP Service Pack 3 is coming up, and APC magazine has published a guide on how to create a bootable XP SP3 CD. The tutorial uses Bart's Boot Image Extractor and Nero Burning Rom, but emphasises that you should wait for the official release of SP3 - as the beta's product activation code is bugged and won't accept any key you type in. Oh, and - it'll be a while - SP3 has no official release date yet, but is expected in the first half of 2008.

TED | TEDBlog: 100 Websites You Should Know and Use
Julius Wiedemann, editor in charge at Taschen GmbH, offered an ultra-fast-moving ride through sites in many different areas, from art, design and illustration, to daily news, blogs and curiosity. Here's his list of 100 websites you should know and use. Categories: CURIOSITY & KNOWLEDGE, GRAPHICS, MUSIC & ARTS, E-COMMERCE EXPERIENCE, SEARCHING & FINDING, ONLINE RESOURCES, TOP INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE CREATORS

Joost Coming To The Browser?
Joost CEO Mike Volpi just suggested on stage at Web 2.0 that Joost is working on a browser-based version of its peer-to-peer Internet TV service. “At some point, when we can deliver the quality that Joost is known for, we will deliver an in-browser experience,” he told the audience here. Asked if he faces any legacy issues, since Joost is based on a peer-to-peer client that must currently be downloaded, his answer was that it is possible to separate the file-sharing from the viewing experience and that in fact Joost is working on just such a browser-based solution. It’s not clear whether people would still need to download a separate piece of software to do the P2P file-streaming or whether that could just be a browser plug-in. But with in-browser Flash video about to get a whole lot better over the next few months, Joost will have to respond with its own browser-based experience.

Entire Daily Show archive goes online - Boing Boing
Viacom has announced that it's going to post the entire eight-year Daily Show archive, with advertising, to the web, and include with it a bunch of community and mash-up features. This is great news -- but can Viacom deliver a service that's 0.25% as good as YouTube (whom they're suing for $1 billion)?

BBC NEWS | Business | Apple to open up iPhone software
"We are excited about creating a vibrant third party developer community around the iPhone and enabling hundreds of new applications for our users," said Mr Jobs. He added that it would take until February to release a software development kit (SDK), as Apple both wanted to "provide an advanced and open platform", at the same time as protecting iPhone users from viruses and privacy attacks. The SDK will also allow developers to make applications for the iPod touch, which uses the same underlying architecture as the iPhone.

P2P vs Radiohead's "free" Rainbows: why P2P can be a hard habit to break
Radiohead's innovative digital distribution arrangement for their new album, In Rainbows, lets people pay whatever they want for the music, including nothing at all. Despite that, BitTorrent swapping of the album has been on the level of other major releases. Are people really so cheap that they won't even register with the band in order to snag a free download? The answer appears to be yes.

Shopping: Buy the Right Size TV to Fit Your Space
If you're finally taking the plunge to the world of HDTV, it's tempting to go out and buy the biggest screen you can afford. But before you whip out your wallet and plop down for a 65-inch HDTV, make sure you take your practical viewing distance into account with CNET's simple TV-viewing distances chart. For example, if you want to buy that 65 incher, you'd better be able to veg out at least 8.1 feet away from the screen.

Featured Early Adopter Download: Instantbird 0.1 is Like Firefox for Chat
Free, open source application Instantbird aims to do for chat what Firefox does for the browser. Based on the same tools used to create Firefox and Thunderbird, Instantbird should ultimately be just as extensible as the former—which means IM customization will be as simple as installing a Firefox extension. Right now Instantbird connects to virtually any IM network and supports a tabbed chat interface. Beyond that, the application is still very barebones, but its upcoming features are very exciting. Aside from the basics you'd expect from any chat app (like status notifications, contact management, and IM notifications), the ultimate roadmap for Instantbird includes video and voice support. What's most exciting, though, is the possibility that the chat application will be subject to the same community of creative extension developers that make Firefox such a killer browser—so that Instantbird can easily be customized to deliver exactly what you want from it. Instantbird is free, works with Windows, Mac, and Linux. It's still a very young app, so this one's for the early adopters.

Mythbuntu is an Ubuntu derivative focused upon setting up a standalone MythTV system similar to Knoppmyth or Mythdora. Currently, it is a recognized as a community supported project by Canonical. Mythbuntu can be used to install a stand alone Frontend, Backend, or combination machines. Unlike similar projects, Mythbuntu keeps close ties with Ubuntu and all development is given back to the Ubuntu Community. This allows easy conversions from a standard desktop to a Mythbuntu machine and vice versa. The development cycle of Mythbuntu closely follows that of Ubuntu, releasing every six months shortly after Ubuntu releases.

Nokia's S60 Touch Interface announced - Engadget
Nokia is showing off their new S60 Touch Interface at the Symbian Smartphone Show. The touch-interface supports haptic feedback and accepts both finger and stylus inputs depending upon the display technology used.The press release is out and with it, more information about the new S60 software: existing S60 3rd Edition apps will run on touch-enabled devices unmodified (but can be further enhanced); generic proximity and light sensors supported; a UI Accelerator Toolkit enables "impressive" graphical effects; and Flash Video will be supported in the S60 web browser. Available to S60 device manufacturers "during 2008."

Nokia N810 gets official - Engadget
# Same 4.13-nch WVGA (800 x 480), 65k color display as the N800, brightness increased by ~20% # GPS with particular focus on the "context sensitive web" via Ovi # 2GB internal storage (not including memory cards), ships with maps for use with GPS # Has WiFi (802.11b/g), does not have WiMAX # Bluetooth (2.0+ EDR) DUNs to capable phones, totally Foleo-like # 400MHz OMAP 2420 CPU, 128MB RAM, 256MB ROM # Integrated frontal camera, ambient light sensor, mini USB 2.0, hardware lock switch # Plays back video: 3GP, AVI, H.263, H.264, MP4, ASF, WMV, MPEG-1/4, Real video; audio: MP3, WMA, AAC, AMR, AWB, M4A, MP2, Real audio, WAV # Battery life aimed at 4 hours of "typical use" (movies, music, internet access, etc.), 10 hours music only, and up to 2 weeks totally idle time, and 5 days active standby ("improved compared to previous generation devices") # Runs Nokia's Linux Maemo interface (duh) # 5 x 2.83 x 0.55-inches, 7.97 ounces # Ships in November

Chumby ships to early orderers - Boing Boing
The Chumby -- a squeezable wireless beanbag computer -- is finally shipping! The little beanbag is completely open -- from the flat-pattern for the bag, to the firmware for the device -- and the way it works is, you subscribe to any of hundreds of "widgets" that Chumby hackers have made and published. Though the Chumby isn't generally for sale yet, people who signed up for early notice of it are getting information for buying one today.

Apple releases Leopard guided tour video
demo some of Leopard's key selling points like the new Desktop, Stacks, Cover Flow, Quick Look, Time Machine, and more. Fortunately, the narrator also covers some of the finer details of each feature, such as the ability to customize how Stacks order files and the "Back to my Mac" feature of the new Finder for .Mac members.

Apple - Mac OS X Leopard - Features - 300+ New Features
Browse all new features by category

Microsoft Concedes in European Antitrust Case - New York Times
Microsoft said it would not pursue a final appeal to the European Court of Justice, which could have drawn the case out another two to three years. Microsoft said it would make the server protocols available for purchase through its Web site, Under the agreement, software developers will only pay a one-time fee of 10,000 euros, or $14,300, to gain access to Microsoft’s communications protocols, which specify how to exchange data between Windows and rival products. These protocols are trade secrets, not patents. If competitors want to license Microsoft’s patents, they must pay a per-unit royalty of 0.4 percent of the value of the product sold. Microsoft had originally demanded 5.95 percent of sales as royalties.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Byte Into It - 17 Oct 07


Screenshot Tour: A Look at Ubuntu 7.10 "Gutsy Gibbon" RC1
there's a lot that's new (or at least now included by default) and very cool here—native support for dual-monitor setups, integrated Firefox tweaks and extensions, instant printer configuration and, of course, more of the Compiz eye candy that's helping Ubuntu look less like the dowdy younger brother of Windows and Mac.

Leopard and Leopard Server to go on sale October 26
Rumors swirled once again that October 26 would officially be Leopard Day, and Apple came out this morning with the official announcement. The big cat will go on sale at 6pm (presumably local time) at Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers that Friday, and the online store is now accepting preorders.

Leopard system requirements and new features
The system requirements are now official: any Intel or PowerPC G5 Mac, or a G4 running at a minimum of 867MHz. Nice knowing you, G3s and sub-867MHz G4s. The minimum RAM is 512MB—but you'll want some more if you intend on actually running applications. And you need a DVD drive plus 9GB disk space. Some of the included applications have additional requirements, such as an external HD (sold separately) for Time Machine.

Jobs confirms iTunes Plus price drop across the board
A number of independent labels have now indeed been added to the iTunes Plus section of the iTunes Store, and many (but not all, yet) of the DRM-free tracks have been reduced to 99¢ apiece. Steve Jobs has now confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that the company is reducing its iTunes Plus prices, to 99¢ across the board down from $1.29 per track. He said that all of the company's iTunes Plus tracks will reflect the new prices later today or tomorrow.

Featured Windows Download: Export Hardware Drivers with DriverMax
Windows only: Want to format your hard drive and reinstall Windows but you're not sure you have all the hardware driver disks to get everything working again? Free utility DriverMax analyzes XP or Vista systems for installed hardware drivers and exports them to a folder or external drive. Install DriverMax on a newly built system and import those drivers to get everything from your video card to TV tuner working again.

Featured Windows Download: Burn CDs and DVDs with CDBurnerXP
Windows only: Freeware application CDBurnerXP is an easy to use, all-in-one CD and DVD burning suite with an impressive range of features. This app can burn gapless audio CDs, create and burn ISOs, and even handle burning to Blu-Ray and HD-DVDs. Its simple Drop-Box feature offers a really smooth way to add new files to a project via drag-and-drop. If you've got the urge to burn a lot of optical media but you don't want to shell out $100 for Nero or some other professional suite, CDBurnerXP is an excellent alternative. CDBurnerXP is freeware, Windows only.

How To: Cheat DVD Regional Encoding
If you've ever bought a DVD that wouldn't play on your DVD player due to region incompatibilities (the film industry's attempt at protecting their distribution system), Wired's guide to cheat DVD regional encoding is for you. The cheapest solution: If you live in the U.S. or if you simply want a solution that will work on any DVD player—even those which haven't been hacked—your best solution is to burn a copy of the movie. ...what you'll want to do is rip a copy of your DVD using one of the many popular ripping programs on the market (we suggest ImgBurn on Windows and Mac The Ripper for Mac). Make sure that you set the ripping software to produce a "region all" file and then, when you've got a copy on your hard drive, burn a new DVD. Wired suggests a couple of shareware apps to burn the new regionless DVDs, but you should also be able to use free/freeware apps like ImgBurn or CDBurnerXP for Windows and Burn for Macs.

Getting Things Done: David Allen on Managing Your Stuff with GTD
author of Getting Things Done David Allen explains the meat of his GTD system in this five minute video, which covers dealing with the "stuff" in your life, reducing your to-do's to simple "widget-cranking," and clearing your mind. Allen comes across pretty frenetic in this quickly-cut together clip, but it's a good primer for folks new to GTD.

Featured Windows Download: Find Software Updates with UpdateStar
Windows only: Freeware application UpdateStar detects what applications are running on your computer and informs you of available updates. In tests, UpdateStar performed much better than previously mentioned AppSnap as it provides shareware and commercial application information, whereas AppSnap does not. UpdateStar's interface is also a lot snazzier, though that's really just frosting. To be fair, UpdateStar isn't entirely accurate: it informed me that Mozilla Thunderbird 5.2 was the latest version available (it's currently at However, for a product that's still in beta, it does a fine job. UpdateStar is a free application for Windows only.

Online Storage: Gmail Storage to 6GB by January
The Official Gmail Blog has announced that Gmail's storage counter has received a much-needed bump in its storage growth rate, which will put Gmail storage at 6GB by January 2008. Additionally, the premium Premier Edition is seeing a jump to 25GB from 10GB.

Releaselog | » Real punishment: Russian Viagra spammer murdered
Alexey Tolstokozhev (btw, in Russian his name means ‘Thick Skin’), a Russian spammer, was found murdered in his luxury house near Moscow. He has been shot several times with one bullet stuck in his head. According to authorities, this last head shot is a clear mark of russian hit men (known as “killers” in Russia). Tolstokozhev was a famous spammer who sent millions of e-mail promoting viagra, cialis, penis enlargement pills and other medications. Links in these e-mails usually led to some pharmacy shop, which paid Tolstokozhev a share of its revenue. This is a well known affiliate scheme employed by spammers worldwide. Tolstokozhev is estimated to be responsible for up to 30% percent of all viagra and penis enlargement related spam. In order to send millions and millions of unsolicited letters, Tolstokozhev employed a network of infected computers (so-called “botnet”), which he rented from hackers. How profitable is spam? Well, the authorities say that Tolstokozhev has likely made more than $2 million in 2007 alone. (in comparison: average russian monthly salary is $400). This is a second murder of a spammer in Russia. Another russian spammer, Vardan Kushnir, was assassinated in 2005.

Dell: Microsoft warnings haven't hurt Linux uptake - ZDNet UK
Claims made by Microsoft that Linux violates its software patent have not affected sales of Linux-based hardware, according to Michael Dell. Speaking to at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando on Thursday, Dell's chief executive officer said his company has seen Linux uptake for servers increase faster than Windows server products, despite Microsoft's claims. "On the server side Linux continues to grow nicely, a bit faster than Windows," said Dell. "We're seeing a move to Linux in critical applications, and Linux migration has not slowed down."

Patent holding company targets Linux, files lawsuits against Red Hat and Novell
Patent holding company IP Innovation has filed a patent infringement suit against Linux distributors Novell and Red Hat. The patent, which describes a "user interface with multiple workspaces for sharing display system objects," dates back to 1987 and originated in Xerox's PARC labs.

schrep's blog: Mozilla and Mobile
* Mozilla will add mobile devices to the first class/tier-1 platform set for Mozilla2. This means we will make core platform decisions with mobile devices as first-class citizens. * We will ship a version of "Mobile Firefox" which can, among other things, run Firefox extensions on mobile devices and allow others to build rich applications via XUL. * Mozilla will expand its small team of full-time mobile contributors to focus on the technology and application needs of mobile devices. In particular two new folks just joined: ** Christian Sejersen, recently the head of browsers at Openwave which has shipped over 1 billion mobile browsers, joined Mozilla Monday. He'll be heading up the platform engineering effort and setting up a R&D center in Copenhagen, Denmark. ** Brad Lassey just joined Mozilla from France Telecom R&D. He's already been an active contributor to our mobile efforts and can now focus on Mozilla mobile full time.

Review of Ubuntu 7.10 (gutsy) new features and changes
Some little sweets

Desktop deliverance: an overview of GNOME 2.20: Page 1
This article explores some of the new features in GNOME 2.20 and GTK 2.12. In particular, we will look at how some of the most significant changes impact the GNOME user experience, examine some of the architectural improvements that are of interest to open-source software developers, and shed some light on the GNOME development process to see how some of these features came into existence.

Only Ubuntu Linux: Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) Release Dates
In addition to Ubuntu 6-months stable releases and the next version of ubuntu is 8.04 with Code Name “Hardy Heron” but this release will proudly wear the badge of Long Term Support (LTS) and be supported with security updates for five years on the server and three years on the desktop

Crazy EULA makes you agree to a bunch of other EULAs - Boing Boing
Sam installed a IE plugin called Web Viewer today, and when he clicked on the license "agreement," he noticed that it contained this clause: The Software may contain third party software which requires notices and/or additional terms and conditions. Such required third party software notices and/or additional terms and conditions are made a part of and incorporated by reference into this EULA. By accepting this EULA, you are also accepting the additional terms and conditions, if any, set forth therein. Get that? When you agree to the EULA for Web Viewer, you also agree to a bunch of other, nonspecified "agreements" somewhere else. Better hope that there's nothin' unreasonable in them!

EFF to Dems: don't let AT&T off the hook for illegal spying! - Boing Boing
EFF's legal director Cindy Cohn has written a great op-ed in today's San Francisco Chronicle about the Democratic Congress's move to immunize AT&T from liability for its complicity in illegally wiretapping every single American Internet user for the NSA.

Hard times for hard drives: US may ban popular imports
The International Trade Commission (ITC) has announced that it plans to begin an investigation into several companies that either make or use certain hard drives. In a statement issued yesterday, the ITC said that the hard drives in question are alleged to infringe on patents owned by California residents Steven and Mary Reiber. The two filed a complaint with the ITC in September, saying that the importation of the hard drives violates section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Byte Into It 10 Oct 07


Microsoft aims patent guns at Red Hat -
Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has warned users of Red Hat Linux that they will have to pay Microsoft for its intellectual property."People who use Red Hat, at least with respect to our intellectual property, in a sense have an obligation to compensate us," Ballmer said last week at a company event in London discussing online services in the UK.

Wireless net bug bites Next G | Australian IT
TELSTRA wireless internet customers have run into problems with the Next G network as a result of a software snafu disabling or corrupting card modems used to connect to the web.Telstra confirmed the problem, caused by a firmware upgrade that affected some Option-manufactured wireless internet cards, but denied that large numbers of customers had been hit by the bug.

However, one BigPond wireless internet user whose card had been disabled by the firmware upgrade said Telstra technicians had suggested thousands of people had experienced problems with their wireless modems.

According to the customer, Telstra technicians said some of the cards could be fixed with a software patch while others required a replacement wireless modem.The customer said Telstra's response to the problem had been quick and
replacement cards were being issued to wireless broadband users whose
hardware had failed.

Amazon's MP3 store rips off your fair use rights - Boing Boing
Amazon's contract says you "may copy, store, transfer and burn the Digital Content" for personal use. But then it goes further and specifies restrictions, saying you "agree that you will not redistribute, transmit, assign, sell, broadcast, rent, share, lend, modify, adapt, edit, sub-license or otherwise transfer or use the Digital Content."

How to become a tagging master | Lifehacker Australia
43 Folders has written a guide devoted to the fine art of tagging. No matter what the data is that you're tagging - blog posts, photos on Flickr, or bookmarks at, a good tagging system will help you find what you seek with ease. This three point guide basically says consider what you're tagging and how you'll remember them (ie photos are often associated with the place they were taken, or the person they depict). It also points out you should consider what needs to be tagged - for example, OSX files already have the date created and modified attached to them, so tagging them with a date is redundant.FInally and most importantly, create a list of attributes from which you'll draw your tags.

A breath of (Adobe) AIR | Lifehacker Australia
APC magazine has a writeup of Adobe's cross-platform runtime, AIR, which looks at eBay's beta version of eBay Desktop based on Adobe AIR (its verdict: less annoying that eBay's website) and a number of other applications which have been written for AIR, including: * Arise - a news aggregator;
* Bee - a desktop blog editor which integrates with WordPress and Flickr;
* Fresh - an RSS feeder created using AJAX;
* MapCache - a map/direction system using Yahoo! Map Web Services;
* Podcast Player;
* RoadFinder which combines Google Maps and Yahoo! Maps.

Seagate combines flash memory, hard disk for notebook storage - Storage -
Seagate Technology on Monday launched its first combination disk storage and flash memory hard drive, joining rival Samsung Electronics in offering hybrid drives that manufacturers say speed the boot-up time of PCs and significantly boost battery life.The Seagate Momentus 5400 PSD, which stands for "power savings drive," offers 160 Gbytes of traditional rotating disk storage and 256 Mbytes of flash memory. Sony is the first PC maker to offer the new product, making it available in its Vaio SZ650,

Digg - Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon free CD's: orders are taken NOW
The shipit service of Ubuntu is now taking orders for Gutsy shipments. Standard options: 1 or 2 x86 cd's or 1 x86_64 cd's

Vista Sp1: Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) Looking Good So Far, Due in Q1 '08 - Gizmodo
The first service pack for Windows Vista is on its way, and PC Magazine has a preview of an early private beta version. The good news is that reviewer Neil Randall found the service pack to be faster overall than the shipping version of Windows Vista, and also noticed more drivers available and improved encryption. Randall also experienced applications within Adobe Creative Suite CS2 running faster, dialog boxes popping up more rapidly and other file copying speedups. This bodes well for the shipping version of SP1, which should be available along with Service Pack 3 of Windows XP (the last service pack for XP) in Q1 of 2008.

Yahoo Music to record execs: No more DRM, ever - Boing Boing
Yahoo! Music's Ian Rogers gave an inspirational talk to some music execs with two messages: one, I won't build DRM anymore for you, because Yahoo customers hate it; and two, let's focus on all the ways that free-as-in-speech music can kick enormous amounts of ass.

Free wireless networking HOWTO book - Boing Boing
The book covers planning a Wi-Fi network, setting it up, security considerations, and adding antennas or more base stations to increase coverage and range. (What's not included? Much about WPA security and anything about 802.11n.)

Slashdot | RIAA Conceals Overturned Case
"When a Judge agreed with the RIAA's claim that 'making available' was actionable under the Copyright Act, in Atlantic v. Howell, the RIAA was quick to bring this 'authority' to the attention of the judges in Elektra v. Barker and Warner v. Cassin. Those judges were considering the same issue. When the that decision was overturned successfully, however, they were not so quick to inform those same judges of this new development. When the defendants' lawyers found out — a week after the RIAA's lawyers learned of it — they had to notify the judges themselves . At this moment we can only speculate as to what legal authorities they cited to the judge in Duluth, Minnesota, to get him to instruct the jurors that just 'making available' was good enough."

Mac Freeware: Save Up to $1,600 in Software! | MacApper
The following software is 100% free and tried and proven with excellent results. Besides, if it doesn’t work for you, it didn’t cost you anything to start with.

Mac Rumors: Trillian For Mac Coming
Though this first alpha build of the OS X version of Trillian is still very preliminary and minimal - the functionality pulled through is about the same as the Flash-based web version - the code for every single feature on the Windows version is there in the underlying mediums. As the UI is expanded, those features will become available. The OS X version will be playing catch-up to the Windows one for a while yet, however.

Microsoft challenged to either put up or shut up - The INQUIRER
OPEN SAUCE group Open Invention Network (OIN) has called Microsoft's bluff on its sabre-rattling claims that Linux infringes some of its patents, reports Australia's IT News.CEO of OIN Jerry Rosenthal believes that Microsoft's statements are empty threats. He says the Vole should either disclose exactly which patents its talking about or cut out slandering Linux and drop its claims.

"The FUD is clear. If you have a patent that you are proud of, then disclose it," Rosenthal said. "If your patent is a good patent then you are not worried about revealing it before going to court because you would be confident of success."

Digg - Leaked Antitrust Memo: Bill Gates et al are Anti-Cross Platform [PDF]
Why are we doing so many things cross-platform?... I consider this cross-platform issue a disease within Microsoft... We should be asking for specific innovations to restrict to Windows..."

Apple delivers ZFS Read/Write Developer Preview 1.1 for Leopard
Sun's high-performance ZFS file system has been hinted to be coming to Mac OS X Leopard for some time now. Even Sun's CEO said at one point that ZFS was on, but Apple quickly shot down that claim. Then ZFS was said to be available as a read-only option. Now a new episode in this ZFS soap opera reveals that the revolutionary file system could very well be coming for Leopard, even if it doesn't ship in time for the OS launch this month.Apple has now issued "ZFS Read/Write Developer Preview 1.1 for Leopard," an update to a previous build from June that enables full read, write, creation, and destruction abilities of ZFS file systems for developers testing Leopard. Before you get your hopes too high though, Apple confirms in the release notes of this developer preview that only read access will be shipping with 10.5.0. It gives no ETA for when full read/write features will be be available, nor a confirmation that full ZFS capabilities are coming specifically to Leopard.

Access Webapps in a Distraction-Free Browser with WebRunner | Lifehacker Australia
Windows/Mac/Linux: Mozilla's new stripped-down browser WebRunner offers distraction-free access to specific web applications (like Gmail), and integrates them into the desktop with an easy launch shortcut: WebRunner is based on a concept called Site Specific Browsers (SSB). An SSB is an application with an embedded browser designed to work exclusively with a single web application. It's doesn't have the menus, toolbars and accoutrements of a normal web browser. Some people have called it a "distraction free browser" because none of the typical browser chrome is used.

Lifehacker AU to participate in Blog Action Day | Lifehacker Australia
Blog Action Day (October 15) is an annual blogger initiative to raise awareness and donation for a particular issue. This year's issue is the environment, so all participating blogs will devote their posts to environmental issues on that day.

Radio stations want Congress to look into major label recording contracts
the National Association of Broadcasters has called out the RIAA for a high-noon showdown before Congress. The NAB this week sent a letter to Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) suggesting that Berman's committee take a closer look at how labels pay—or don't pay—their artists. It's retaliation for the RIAA's attempt to force radio broadcasters to pay more to use music on the air, but that doesn't mean it's a bad idea.

How the RIAA tasted victory: a perfect storm which might not be repeated: Page 1
Last week, a federal jury took less than four hours to find Jammie Thomas, a 30-year-old single mother from Brainerd, MN, liable for willful copyright infringement. When the tab—24 songs at $9,250 each—had been tallied up, Thomas found herself owing the record labels a whopping $222,000. In the aftermath of the case, it's important to look at why the jury came to the decision it did, and why other cases may not play out the same way.

Rumor: Apple TV to gain HD content, optical drive
It's been quite some time since Steve Jobs qualified the Apple TV as a "hobby" for Apple, meaning that the company is still kicking around a few ideas as to what direction it should take the device. Hopeful owners and critics alike have had no shortage of ideas on where the initial device went wrong and what the company should do to fix it. If rumors are to be believed, however, some to-do list items may finally get checked.

Apple updates 15" MacBook Pro battery firmware
Apple released Battery Update 1.3 for all MacBook Pro models with a 15 inch screen. The details are sketchy as usual: Battery Update 1.3 updates battery firmware and addresses battery performance issues with the 15-inch MacBook Pro.

The support article does go into some detail about when the battery is updated and how to determine if the update is installed already. Basically, once the update is installed on the system, it's applied to batteries when they're installed or when the system boots or wakes from sleep. The update is available through Software Update.

Leopard's Preview 4.0 previewed
Although it's not one of those applications that you hear a lot about, the Preview application gets a whole lot of love when it comes to PDF-related tasks and basic image conversion and editing. Preview is, however, a bit old-school when it comes to the interface and the design. But according to a new preview of Preview 4.0 at AppleInsider, both the design and the feature set are getting an overhaul in the new version.

Digg - Road to Mac OS X Leopard: Finder 10.5
The Finder in Mac OS X has long been reviled as the most glaring problem in the system, earning it the "Fix the F-ing Finder" meme. Apple has significantly updated the Finder for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, introducing some things old, some things new, some things borrowed, and, well, the icon is still blue. Here's a look at what's new.

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Byte Into It - 3 Oct 2007

Watch High Quality Television over the Internet with Joost | Lifehacker Australia
Windows/Mac: Freeware streaming television application Joost has released the 1.0 beta of their snappy, attractive on-demand video player.

Power Up with Writer's Tools | Lifehacker Australia
Windows/Mac/Linux (All platforms): The Writer's Tools extension adds a useful new menu to the popular, open source office suite that bakes convenient tools like Google Translate, an online dictionary lookup tool, email backup, remote backup to an FTP server and more directly into

How to manage your role as family tech support | Lifehacker Australia
The final tip is perhaps the most useful one, too - install Logmein on their computers so next time they call you for tech support, you can log in and diagnose the problem yourself, and as a bonus they get to *watch* what you're doing onscreen so next time they'll hopefully be able to help themselves.

Kwoff - an Australian social news aggregator | Lifehacker Australia
Fans of Crikey and its founder Stephen Mayne will be interested to know that he's one of the founders of new website Kwoff, along with Dan Walsh and Greg Barns.

Startup transforms Windows desktop into panoramic display - Software -
360Desktop is a startup that reorganises the standard Windows desktop into a panoramic, revolving pane of glass thousands of pixels long. 360Desktop is due to debut Wednesday at the DemoFall 2007 show in San Diego.

Pay what you like for album, Radiohead tells fans - Internet -
Radiohead said its seventh studio album "In Rainbows" would be available from from Oct. 10 in MP3 format, meaning it can be played on all digital devices. In the latest twist in the move to digital music, fans can choose how much to pay, or can pay nothing if they prefer.

Microsoft extends XP availability by five months - Operating Systems -
Microsoft has extended the availability of its Windows XP operating system to computer makers by five months.System builders will now be able to continue making computers bundled with XP until 30 June 2008. The software was scheduled to be axed on 31 January 2008.

XP restore cripples Windows Update - Operating Systems -
A Windows XP update pushed out two months ago is leaving some users unable to update their systems.Microsoft has confirmed that XP users who need to restore their systems after a major crash using the XP recovery disk will no longer have access to the Windows Update service. A workaround has been published on the Microsoft Help & Support website.

Yahoo brings One Search to the desktop - Internet -
Yahoo has launched a new search engine that aims to deliver more relevant search results.The new Yahoo One Search combines search results from a series of sources, combining web pages with videos and images.

Users hesitating when they enter a search query will be presented with a list of suggested search terms, allowing them to better define their query.

Broadband providers finalise funding as Broadband Guarantee deadline looms - Telecommunications -
Federal ICT Minister, Helen Coonan, has announced another eight broadband providers have been approved under the $163 million Australian Broadband Guarantee, bringing the approved total to 14.The Government program assists broadband providers with supplying internet access to all regions across Australia.

Seven applicants have finalised the registration process and have entered into funding agreements with the Government. Those already approved and registered include: Australian Private Networks, Elders, HarbourIT, Internode, Westnet, Westvic Broadband and Wideband Networks.

Westpac, IBM, and University of Ballarat launch security alliance with Victorian Gov - Security -
The Victorian Government together with Westpac Bank, IBM Australia and the University of Ballarat have launched the Internet Commerce Security Laboratory (ICSL) a research alliance to tackle cyber-crime.The ICSL will focus on addressing critical Internet security issues for Australian businesses and consumers, users of Internet banking and financial services.Jointly
funded and operated, the alliance is also set to identify best practise
processes and develop Internet security solutions.

DigiTimes: Google will definitely launch its own branded handset - Engadget
Citing sources at "Taiwan handset makers," DigiTimes is reporting that "Google will definitely launch its own branded handset." However, the Googlephone's OS, hardware specs, production contractor and operating partners have still not been finalized. DigiTimes' sources also note that Google is contemplating going with a
3G handset instead of EDGE for its initial foray into the cellphone

Digg - 20 tips to get more juice from your laptop battery
When there are no power outlets in sight there's nothing more frustrating than a dying laptop battery. We've all been in that situation where we have a couple hours of work left to finish but our battery life is only estimated to last one more. Good news. Often times these situations can be avoided by optimizing the battery performance...

Zune: Zune 2 and Flash Zune Official - Gizmodo
The next-generation Zune has just been announced, coming at you with a price tag of $249 for the 80GB hard drive model and $149/$199 for the 4GB and 8GB flash-based models respectively. The new features in all models, which were leaked early, are wireless syncing with your computer automatically when you're in Wi-Fi range—something users have been clamoring for since even before the first Zune—as well as videos in the Zune Marketplace and new music, some of which are DRM-free. The Zune Pad is actually touch sensitive, much like the iPod's Click Wheel.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Halo 3 sales top £84m in 24 hours
Video game Halo 3 earned more than £84m ($170m) in sales in its first 24 hours on release, according to Microsoft.The game sets the record for the most money earned in a day by an entertainment product, topping figures set by film Spiderman 3.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Ultra-thin TV to hit the market
An ultra-thin television brighter and crisper than current generation screens will go on sale from Sony in December.The TV uses organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) to produce the image, resulting in a screen only 3mm thick.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Adobe challenges word on the web
Adobe has joined a growing list of firms offering web-based alternatives to conventional office programs.The software developer has acquired the online word processor Buzzword, which allows users to create and share text documents on the web.

iPhone update: facts and fiction - Engadget
iPhone protest vid uses Apple's own words to support the "crazy ones" - Engadget
A lot of people out there aren't too happy with Apple right now. Some of them express their displeasure with expletive-filled tirades in the comments section of any pertinent blog post they can find. Other, arguably more creative folks use the popular medium of the day to make the object of their frustration appear foolish and hypocritical in an entertaining manner. To witness just such a protest, head over to the video after the break...

Digg - Road to Mac OS X Leopard: an extensive look at Preview 3.0
pple in a matter of weeks will roll out Preview 3.0 as part of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, a significant update to its homebred media viewer that will see the application expand from a simple PDF reader into the beginnings of a full-fledged image editor. Here's an extensive look at what's new in Preview 3.0.

Microsoft launches promotional Office 2008 site
Carbon Copy Cloner 3 arrives with new UI, more control
If you're suffering from a nagging feeling because you haven't backed up in 30 minutes, you might be relieved to know Mike Bombich has released version 3 of the ever-popular Carbon Copy Cloner. As a popular, powerful and highly customizable backup tool, CCC is the choice of many a Mac user who cannot settle for backing up or cloning anything less than their entire machines.

Rumor: Mac OS X Leopard Gold Master
Portents of an imminent Leopard release appear aplenty. Shortly after the final Tiger update and a small Leopard update, a full-sized install of Leopard, 6.5GB, was made available to ADC members. Both ThinkSecret and AppleInsider are suggesting this may be the beginning of the end.

Minireview: Rogue Amoeba's new Radioshift Internet radio recording utility
Known best for its array of audio editing and recording apps, Rogue Amoeba has added a new tool to its belt called Radioshift. With a tagline of "radio on your schedule," Radioshift brings the concept of time shifting to Internet radio, allowing you to search, browse, subscribe, record, and listen to your shows. Gone are the days of spreading yourself thin between RealAudio, Windows Media, and other Internet radio apps—Radioshift promises to be your one-stop shop.

Photoshop Elements 6 coming to the Mac sometime in 2008
The relationship between Mac owners and Adobe has become increasingly strained over the past year or two, due in large part to the time it took Adobe to release Universal Binary version of Photoshop. The release of Photoshop CS3 in April scratched that itch, but we haven't heard much about that other version of Photoshop, Photoshop Elements. As it turns out, the Mac version won't be out until 2008, despite the release of the Windows version this week.

Researchers suggest iPods are the cause of an "iCrime wave"
You've heard it all before: iPods are high-theft items, and there has allegedly been an increase in crime as a result of the proliferation of our favorite white (or black... or aluminum anodized in our favorite colors) devices. But there hasn't been much data on the possible phenomenon, just anecdotal evidence and a few police reports here and there. The Urban Institute hopes to throw its own data into the mix, though, with a new report suggesting that rising crime rates may in fact be linked to iPods.

Boot Camp 1.2 expires, 1.3 and up live to boot another day
Earlier this year, Apple told CNET that "the Windows installation on a user's Mac will continue to work after the Boot Camp license expires." So your Windows partition is safe... for the time being.

Cocoatech releases Path Finder 4.8 with Leopard UI, per-folder settings
Cocoatech's Path Finder is one of the strongest Finder replacements available for Mac OS X. Packed with features and customization abilities until the cows come home, one of its few drawbacks stems from Apple's reluctance to allow Mac OS X users to completely replace the Finder with an alternative.

Step By Step: Mirror Your Mac on a Bootable External Drive - Lifehacker
If and when that terrible day your Mac dies finally catches up to you, you can be back up and running with all your applications, settings and data in under 5 seconds with a bootable system clone. By mirroring your entire Mac's hard drive to an external FireWire drive, you can boot from that disk using any other Mac and have your entire system at your fingertips, no tedious software installations, System Preference setting or desktop wallpaper hunting required. Using the excellent free version of SuperDuper and a regular old FireWire drive, here's how to mirror your Mac onto a bootable disk.

Digg - Xbox360 is the biggest selling console of the week in America

Xbox360 is the biggest selling console of the week in America from Gaming - Digg The lastest sales figures are out for America and Xbox360 sold an amazing 100,000 units this week to become the highest selling home console - Nintendo's Wii sold 90,000 and Sony's PS3 limped to 30,000 sales. With the release of Halo3 showing up in next weeks charts Xbox360 sales could pass 200,000 for the week.

Digg - $399 PS3 confirmed by Best Buy
Thanks to a helpful tipster, we have a couple of Best Buy documents showing a $399 Playstation 3 with 40GB disk and Spiderman 3 bundle with an "In Stock Date" of October 28

How Can I Open a URL in the Non-Default Browser? | Lifehacker Australia
Dearest Lifehacker, I am using Win XP at the office, and—obviously—my default browser is Firefox. The thing is, I have some "intranet" stuff that must be viewed on Internet Explorer, so I want to make a shortcut to open some specific URLs in iexplorer.exe and not in my default browser. Can this be done?

How Can I Open a URL in the Non-Default Browser? | Lifehacker Australia
If you want to open and manage the IE-only sites just like regular bookmarks within Firefox, just install the IE Tab Firefox extension and follow this method to create Firefox bookmarks that will automatically open in an Internet Explorer tab. non-default-shortcut.pngIf you're looking for an actual desktop shortcut, on the other hand, just create a new shortcut to Internet Explorer (iexplore.exe) on your desktop (or wherever you want this shortcut). Once the shortcut is created, right-click it and then select Properties. In the Target field, after the location the shortcut is pointing to, type in the URL of the web site you want to open in IE. Then just hit OK, rename the shortcut to indicate where it's pointing to, and voila—launching the shortcut will automatically open that URL in Internet Explorer. (Keep in mind that the same method should work if your default browser is IE and you want to create a Firefox shortcut.) Whichever method you use, once you've set up your bookmarks or shortcuts you shouldn't have much trouble at all opening your IE-only URLs in your non-default browser on-the-fly.

Get a 15-Minute Email Address from GuerrillaMail | Lifehacker Australia
GuerrillaMail is an anonymous web service that provides you with a temporary email address—perfect for web sites that you don't want to communicate with you but require email registration. Generate an email address and reload the home page to view any incoming messages. The 15-minute timer displays the amount of time you have remaining until your email address expires, but you can extend your time if necessary. The concept is not much different from previously mentioned 10-minute mail, 2 Prong, or the army of similar temporary email services—though GuerrillaMail even has a (paid) script to host this application yourself, which could come in handy if the domain name gets banned. Whatever service you choose, temporary email addresses can really keep your regular inbox spam-free.

Download TV Torrents and Watch TV Online with TIOTI | Lifehacker Australia
Web site Tape It Off the Internet (TIOTI) is an online television portal designed to help you find and watch your favourite TV shows, either through streaming online video, BitTorrent downloads, or links to purchase the episode or season from iTunes or Amazon. The goal of TIOTI is to make finding and watching your favourite television shows easier than your regular BitTorrent experience—sort of a "non-geek" BitTorrent tracker and then some.

Disable and Remap Any Key with SharpKeys | Lifehacker Australia
Windows only: Sick of accidentally hitting the Caps Lock key when you never intentionally use it? You can disable the Caps Lock key entirely with a free Windows utility called SharpKeys. The How-To Geek explains that instead of having to edit the Windows registry yourself to disable and remap keys, SharpKeys does it for you with a convenient interface. You can even add key combinations that map to functions and applications, like Print or your default email client. SharpKeys is a free download for Windows XP and Vista.