Thursday, March 27, 2008

Byte Into It - 26 Mar 08

BBC NEWS | Technology | Embracing the torrent of online video
Internet law professor Michael Geist applauds the recent use of BitTorrent by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Moreover, the European Union recently joined forces with leading
broadcasters such as the BBC to launch P2P-Next, a new peer-to-peer
research project. The project, which involves an investment of tens of millions of
dollars, hopes to advance current P2P technologies to create the
"next-generation Internet television distribution system." While the CBC may succeed in paving a new path for content distribution
for broadcasters, it is also placing the spotlight yet again on the
contentious issue of network management practices. A growing number of internet service providers actively limit the
amount of bandwidth allocated for file swapping on BitTorrent. Those practices - known as traffic shaping - may leave users around the
world wondering why they are unable to swiftly download the CBC
content. In fact, critics point to the anti-competitive effects of ISPs
limiting access to new forms of video distribution, while actively
offering consumers competing video services..

Major update to Miro, the free/open Internet TV client - Boing Boing
Miro, the free/open Internet TV client, has just released a major update, going to 1.2. Miro combines BitTorrent (fast downloads), VLC (play any video format) and RSS (subscribe to video in "channels" and have new episodes downloaded directly to your desktop as they're published).The idea is to create an open platform for enjoying video online, one that isn't owned by any company, one that anyone can produce video for -- to make video open like the web, not owned by any company. Basically, to make a Firefox for Internet video.

SlySoft on Blu-ray BD+ crack: next time it will be easier

Last week, SlySoft announced that it had definitively cracked the extra layer of DRM that helped make Blu-ray more popular with the studios than HD DVD. The company announced in a post on its forum that the new version of AnyDVD HD ( will allow users to make "backup security copies" of Blu-ray discs that use BD+. One issue facing SlySoft (and anyone else that manages to crack BD+) is that the encryption keys and scheme can be modified in the case of a successful crack. That's no worry, as van Heuen told Ars that "cracking updates will take significantly less time than the basic work we did the last three months—which was figuring out how BD+ works, since it is not documented in public."Although the BD+ scheme is designed to be dynamically updated, van Heuen isn't worried. Noting that the entire BD+ scheme is "not economical to be done even once," he wryly points out that "the customer pays the additional cost." There are some "attacks" against SlySoft's crack that the BDA could roll out, but Slysoft is prepared to address them, van Heuen added.

TiVo takes a break while cable giants do the heavy lifting
DVR pioneer TiVo is shifting its business model into a new gear. In a few years, you might not even recognize the company anymore. If you like the TiVo way of presenting content, then this is all good news.Comcast has started to roll out software updates to New England customers, turning their Motorola set-top boxes into nearly full-fledged TiVo machines. Cox is planning to follow suit in its Rhode Island and Connecticut coverage areas, and is currently running through technical trials. TiVo is busy talking to other cable operators around the country, and the new distribution channels should make the DirecTV defection a distant memory soon enough.

As the cable providers start to shoulder the costs of promoting the TiVo service to their own customers, TiVo is scaling down the marketing spend and pocketing the difference. The company would no doubt love to become a pure-bred software licensor that simply works on the user interface and lets its partners worry about the underlying hardware. Notwithstanding the early success of the generation 2.5 TiVo HD box, it looks like the company is already heading in that direction.

Dropping 22TB of patches on 6,500 PCs in 4 hours: BitTorrent
Apparently, software updates are getting so big these days that simply downloading them from a server is becoming prohibitively time consuming, especially when the same updates need to be applied to many different machines. A Dutch university has some 6,500 desktop PCs in ten locations, which on occasion need to download 3.5GB worth of different types of updates. That's a handsome 22.2TB in total. In a traditional client-server world, that's some modest lifting.In fact, INHOLLAND University's IT department used to have almost two dozen servers distributed over the university's locations to serve up these downloads. The school was able to retire 20 of them after adopting a new way to distribute updates: BitTorrent.

Slashdot | China Unblocks the BBC (In English)
China has unblocked the BBC Web site — the English-language version at any rate. No announcement was made, because China has never acknowledged blocking the BBC for the last decade. The Chinese-language version of the site has been blocked since its inception in 1999.

OpenSocial Foundation launches with Google, Yahoo, MySpace
Google's OpenSocial platform for providing social network application development standards got significant new support today. Between Yahoo joining the fold and the creation of an official new foundation to oversee the evolution of OpenSocial, Google is looking to solidify the platform's future, providing a clear sense of direction and a forum for community interaction and resources.On a conference call today, representatives from Google, Yahoo, and MySpace outlined the initial plans for the OpenSocial Foundation, a new nonprofit organization whose purpose is to organize the various aspects of the platform. With an early framework already in place at, the foundation will primarily serve as a resource hub and communication portal for the developer community. According to Google's statistics, OpenSocial applications are already
used by over 200 million users across participating social networks
like, Friendster, LinkedIn, Six Apart, and more. Next
Tuesday, hi5 will be joining the fold, and the OpenSocial Foundation
itself should be up and running within the next 90 days.

Safari 3.1 on Windows: a true competitor arrives (seriously)
Safari 3.1 is the first non-beta release of Safari for Windows. Along with the Mac version, 3.1 brings support for CSS Web fonts and animations, and it improves existing support for SVG and HTML 5. There are also a handful of performance and stability improvements rolled into the release.

Tracking Linux prereleases: OpenSUSE, Ubuntu, and Fedora: Page 1
Ubuntu, Fedora, and openSUSE—three of the most prominent desktop Linux distributions.

Evidence mounting: Windows 7 going modular, subscription
When Windows 7 launches sometime after the start of 2010, the desktop OS will be Microsoft's most "modular" yet. Having never really been comfortable with the idea of a single, monolithic desktop OS offering, Microsoft has offered multiple desktop OSes in the marketplace ever since the days of Windows NT 3.1, with completely different code bases until they were unified in Windows 2000. Unification isn't necessarily a good thing, however; Windows Vista is a sprawling, complex OS.A singular yet highly modular OS could give Microsoft the best of all possible worlds: OSes that can be highly customized for deployment but developed monolithically. One modular OS to rule them all, let's say.

Mary Jo Foley is wagering that one of the big changes coming with Windows 7 is that it might be "available in pieces." That is to say, Windows 7 could be a modular OS. I'll go further. Windows 7 will be a modular OS, and we can already see the clues in Windows Vista, because it, too, is a fledgling modular OS.

Windows XP: Going, going ... gone?
So will there be any way to get a copy of XP after June 30? If you want to continue using XP, what problems will you face? If you buy a PC with Vista installed and decide you want XP instead, what are your options?

BBC NEWS | Technology | Google backs 'white space' wi-fi
Google is pressing the US government to allow the unlicensed frequencies of TV "white space" to be used for wi-fi.The firm has written an open letter to regulators saying the US spectrum was a "once in a lifetime opportunity".

White space is unused blocks of frequencies in-between channels broadcast on analogue airwaves.

Digg - Do you hear the diference between a 128 and 320 kbps mp3?
Test yourself!

Featured Windows Download: Add YouTube and Flickr to Windows Media Center with Yougle
Windows Media Center plug-in Yougle integrates community video from the likes of YouTube and community images from sites like Flickr and ICanHasCheezburger with Windows Media Center. Once installed, Yougle provides access to all of those wonderful videos, pictures, and even audio from the comfort of your couch. If this looks familiar, the plug-in is a Vista version of a previously mentioned and no-longer-developed Windows MCE plug-in. Yet another great plug-in for making your Media Center life better. Yougle if freeware, Windows Vista only, requires a registration at the download site.

Featured Windows Download: Add Hidden File Showing, Other Right-Click Tools with Shell Tools
Free shell extension utility Shell Tools adds a few rare-but-good abilities to your right-click menu, including a means of toggling hidden file showing that's a lot more convenient than digging through each folder's toolbar menus to find the switch. In addition, the configurable extension tool lets you copy file names instead of files, create (hidden) note files on any file, grab URLs or site names from Internet Explorer bookmarks, and install or load fonts for a single session from the Explorer shell. I'm keeping it installed for the hidden file feature alone, but those who do a lot of file-swapping might find a good use for the notes feature, at the least. Shell Tools is a free download for Windows systems only

Featured Windows Download: Keep Real-Time File Snapshots with DocShield
Windows only: Free snapshot backup utility DocShield provides a similar service to previously-mentioned FileHamster, but with a lot more control over how often, and how big, those backups should be. Select individual files or groups of certain file types (like .jpg or .xls in the My Documents folder, for instance) on your home computer, networked systems, or even remote FTP servers, set DocShield to check at certain increments, and choose whether those backups are compressed or not. Better still, the program offers a utility to save a file and its versions onto a USB drvie, along with a utility to read and re-save it. For those looking for a Time-Machine-like utility for Windows but don't need entire systems backed up, DocShield is a helpful tool. DocShield is a free download for Windows systems only.

TripIt | Organize your travel
# Organize trip details into one master online itinerary -- even if arrangements are booked at multiple travel sites # Automatically include maps, directions and weather in their master itinerary

Digsby = IM + Email + Social Networks
One combined buddy list for all your AIM, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, Google Talk, and Jabber Accounts. Manage your Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL/AIM Mail, IMAP, and POP accounts right from digsby. Stay up to date with everything happening on your Facebook or MySpace account .

FriendFeed - About Us
FriendFeed enables you to keep up-to-date on the web pages, photos, videos and music that your friends and family are sharing.

Byte Into It - 19 Mar 08

First Look: LimeWire Music Store beta short on selection
The first thing to note about the LimeWire Store is that it is currently web-only. The company expects eventual integration with its open source P2P desktop client, but no specific timeline for that feature has been announced yet. For now, users can browse through LimeWire's selection of DRM-free tracks and albums online and listen to 30-second previews in the browser window. The company says that there are currently 500,000 MP3s available for purchase, which are almost entirely from independent labels and artists. Given LimeWire's protracted legal fight with the record labels, a full inventory of music from the Big Four labels may be a long ways off.

Indie labels bypass iTunes, give digital sales a shot
Bands have always sold CDs at concerts, and nearly every indie label has some sort of online storefront these days (see, for instance, Fall, Suicide Squeeze, and Rough Trade). What's more recent is the trend toward offering digital distribution, often in fan-friendly formats like MP3 and FLAC. Reuters has a piece this weekend on three indie labels (Merge, Def Jux, and Sub Pop) that are examples of the trend, and it points out the obvious problem that such sites face: most music lovers will never visit a label-specific store. But in the digital, long-tail era, such stores can succeed by targeting a niche fan base with exclusives, rarities, and out-of-print material. They can also cater to online buyers concerned about audio fidelity by offering lossless versions of tunes, something that the major stores don't even make available.

Firefox 3 goes on a diet, eats less memory than IE and Opera
The upcoming Firefox 3 release has much to offer in addition to a smaller memory footprint, including an improved user interface, new themes that increase visual platform integration, a completely revamped bookmark and history system that uses an SQLite database, a Cairo-based rendering backend, full-page zoom, support for JavaScript 1.8, and many other new features. These improvements will likely continue to push Firefox's climbing market share.

CBC to release TV broadcast as high-quality, no-DRM BitTorrent download - Boing Boing
Sources indicate that the CBC is set to become the first major North American broadcaster to freely release one of its programs without DRM using BitTorrent. This Sunday, CBC will air Canada Next Great Prime Minister. The following day, it plans to freely release a high-resolution version via peer-to-peer networks without any DRM restrictions. This development is important not only because it shows that Canada's public broadcaster is increasingly willing to experiment with alternative forms of distribution, but also because it may help crystallize the net neutrality issue in Canada.

Microsoft eyes iPhone with Adobe Flash smartphone deal
Adobe today announced that Microsoft has licensed Flash Lite and Reader LE for the Windows Mobile OS. Microsoft will make these products available to all Windows Mobile OEMs around the world, firing a shot across the bow of the S.S. iPhone. Flash Lite has been available as a manual download for Windows Mobile for some time, but Microsoft is clearly looking to reenergize its mobile OS market share and kill the iPhone's growing momentum. Flash support could be a point of differentiation for Microsoft, after Steve Jobs panned Flash Lite as "not capable of being used with the web" at a recent shareholder's meeting. Microsoft is looking to fill the void left by the iPhone's "just the Internet" Safari browser, which has been criticized for its lack of Flash support.

Ohio seizes voting machines in criminal investigation
At the request of election officials, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation has seized voting machines for forensic analysis and has launched a criminal investigation into the Franklin County Board of Elections. The investigation was launched after Jennifer Brunner, Ohio's Secretary of State and chief election official, found that a candidate's name was marked as withdrawn on the electronic voting machine that she used during the recent primaries, an irregularity that was also reported by voters in other precincts. The state attorney general is now working with a team of computer forensic consultants to determine if there was any tampering. Preliminary analysis conducted by specialists from SysTest Labs indicates that the internal audit capability of the Franklin County voting machines had been manually disabled by county election board programmers last year, making it almost impossible to tell if any nefarious changes have been made to the systems. SysTest also discovered that the election board had failed to adhere to routine machine testing standards and had tested only one machine in each precinct rather than all of the machines.

Yahoo offers peek into crystal ball to justify bigger payday
The fact they're taking this very public and very defiant stand right now is a good sign that the company is confident about where it stands, and it's enough to send the stock more than 5 percent higher today—comfortably ahead of the general market or its biggest rivals. The lack of interest from would-be rescuers like News Corp. or Time Warner's AOL suggests that Microsoft will eventually get Yahoo's hand in marriage. But the company seems to be firing on most of its cylinders right now, and is walking the talk. Redmond will probably need to up its dowry a bit before it gets to consummate the deal.

Microsoft hits milestone with long-awaited Vista SP1 release
After many rumors as to when Windows Vista would get its much-anticipated first service pack looked improbable, Microsoft has finally dropped SP1 on the masses. SP1 rolls together 23 security updates and 550 hotfixes into a 434.5MB download (726.5MB for the 64-bit version). Apart from improvements brought by individual updates that are now part of SP1, changes that SP1 brings by itself to Microsoft's flagship OS are numerous. Significant changes include: * File copying should no longer have an ETA of hundreds of years * UAC has been altered slightly, including fewer prompts in specific scenarios * DirectX has been updated to support not only DirectX 9 and 10 hardware, but the backwards-compatible 10.1 as well * WGA has been tweaked to address two of the most popular exploits * Further support has been added for third party search solutions

Israel rebukes US: Our copyright laws are fine, thanks
Israel wants the US government to know that it won't implement laws banning the circumvention of DRM and it won't rewrite its ISP safe harbor rules; furthermore, neither of these issues should have any effect on trade relations between the two countries. The Israeli filing (PDF) made to the US Trade Representative comes a month after the International Intellectual Property Alliance called out numerous countries around the world for not living up to the IIPA's vision of the ideal copyright enforcement regime. Canada came in for a thorough trouncing, and Israel was also subject to criticism that it wasn't doing enough on copyright.

Childhood's end: Arthur C. Clarke passes away at age 90
Arthur C. Clarke is perhaps best known outside science fiction for his three laws of prediction. The laws state: 1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong. 2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible. 3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Casual games make a serious impact
When it first appeared in 2001 the game was known as Diamond Mine but is best known as Bejeweled. Since then creator Popcap has sold more than 10 million copies of Bejeweled and the game has been downloaded more than 150 million times. In technical terms Bejeweled is known as a casual game because it can be played for a few minutes rather than for the hours that games such as World of Warcraft demand. James Gwertzman, director of business development at Popcap, said just because Bejeweled and its ilk can be played for a few minutes at a time doesn't mean they are without merit. "There's nothing necessarily casual about playing them," he said. Popcap estimates that players rack up 600 million hours playing its online games every year. Importantly for the gaming industry the people raking up these hours are not traditional gamers. "Popcap players are 65% female and 70% of them are over the age of 30," said Mr Gwertzman. "It's a demographic that's been completely and utterly written off as gamers."

Wii locks comprehensively broken! - Boing Boing
The locks on the Nintendo Wii have been comprehensively broken. Now, just by loading some code onto an SD card and sticking it into your Wii, you can unlock your console so that it will play homebrew games written by anyone, not just big companies that have paid big license fees to Nintendo!

Digg - Microsoft says no Blu-ray for Xbox 360
Microsoft Corp is not in talks to include Sony Corp's Blu-ray high-definition DVD technology in its Xbox 360 video game console, an executive said on Wednesday.
Digg - Why Microsoft should be worried about new NPD sales figures
Sony's PlayStation 3 has surpassed the Xbox 360 in sales for the second straight month. Microsoft has to be concerned about the PS3's growing momentum as well as its own supply constraints.

Digg - 10 reasons PlayStation 3 is still relevant
Blu-ray wins, Metal Gear Solid 4 gets dated, and 8 other reasons the PS3 is relevant again.

Five videogame characters who suck at their jobs. Destructoid offers reviews, previews, trailers, cheats, and more.
In general, our videogame protagonists need a set context for their lives before being thrust into action and adventure. Mario can't just be a dude with a goomba-stomping fetish; he has to be a plumber...Leisure Suit Larry - "loser" Max Payne – "Detective" Donkey Kong – "Donkey" Mario – "Plumber Samus Aran – "Bounty Hunter".

Build your own quad SLI: NVIDIA launches the 9800 GX2
NVIDIA's 9800 GX2 is, as the name indicates, a dual-GPU card. Unlike ATI's 3870 X2, the 9800 GX2 is built on two printed circuit boards (PCBs) with a single cooling structure in between the two cores. Both companies claim that their respective choice of single-PCB or dual-PCB is the best option for a variety of reasons, though NVIDIA also spent time explaining how this unified cooling system is far more effective than that of the ill-fated 7950 GX2. The card itself is 10.5" long and dual-slot, both of which are standard for high-end cards today.

One thing to also note from the above picture is the native HDMI output slot. That's a new feature for NVIDIA, as is the fact that the card is now capable of carrying video and audio over a single HDMI connection.

Digg - Gran Turismo 5 Prologue: one million preorders in Europe
Gran Turismo 5 Prologue is looking to take Europe by storm as the Blu-ray version of the game has already toppled the million mark in the territory.

Digg - What will be the “Big” Nintendo announcement at E3?
Nintendo U.S president Reggie Fils-Aime has teased the audience of GameTrailers TV with a promised “Big” announcement around Nintendo’s second half of 2008 line-up. The bomb is set to drop at the upcoming E3 event.

Digg - Lego Team Fortess 2
Two of the greatest things in the world finally meet.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Embracing the torrent of online video

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Byte Into It - 12 MAr 08

Conroy confirms expert broadband panel - Telecommunications - iTnews Australia
The six industry and corporate experts making up the Panel include; John Wylie, Lazard Carnegie Wylie CEO; Tony Mitchell, Allphones Chairman; Laureate Professor Rod Tucker, University of Melbourne; Professor Emeritus of Communications Reg Coutts, University of Adelaide; Tony Shaw, former Australian Communications Authority Chairman; and Dr Ken Henry AC, Treasury Secretary.

Although Conroy failed to mention a tender timeline for private companies to submit proposals for the proposed network, it is expected that a call to tender will be issued by the end of this month after the Panel settles in.

BBC NEWS | Americas | Pentagon bans Google map-makers
The US defence department has banned the giant internet search engine Google from filming inside and making detailed studies of US military bases.

Close-up, ground-level imagery of US military sites posed a "potential threat" to security, it said.

The move follows the discovery of images of the Fort Sam Houston army base in Texas on Google Maps.

Booty call: Music has-beens line up to sue The Pirate Bay
Prince wants his day in court, but as recently as November, Prince's gameplan was to go after The Pirate Bay's revenue source. The copyright crusader formerly known as an artist has inspired others to consider battling the Bay, as it looks like The Village People, ABBA, and other has-beens are considering using The Pirate Bay's recent indictment in Sweden as a chance to grab headlines and some cash. The news was first reported by Swedish news site E24.

Google argues against calling IP addresses "personal data"
In a new public policy posting, Google software engineer Alma Whitten made the case that IP addresses aren't so much personal information as potentially personal information. Many IP addresses assigned to consumers don't reliably map to a single machine (due to the wonders of DHCP), and even when they do, it's only the machine and not the person who is identified. Google clearly hopes to avoid a "black-and-white declaration that all IP addresses are always personal data."

The possibility was raised last month at a hearing of the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee. At the hearing, European data protection authorities put forward the idea of adding IP addresses to the list of personal information, but Google's Global Privacy Counsel Peter Fleischer objected in words that might sound familiar.

Flash DRM could put Dramatic Prairie Dog on endangered list
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has expressed concerns that Adobe's efforts to develop a DRM system for Flash video content will be bad news for users looking to remix and repurpose digital media content. Adobe's DRM will principally be used in its new streaming desktop media player application, but will also be supported in the Flash browser plug-in.

"This ISP has been rated 'G' by the state of Utah"
As a politically and socially conservative state, Utah has been at the forefront of many attempts to keep objectionable material away from the eyes of children. The latest attempt comes in the form of a bill introduced into the state House of Representatives that would give ISPs who block access to objectionable material the equivalent of a "G" movie rating.

HB 407, introduced by Rep. Michael Morley (R), would designate some ISPs as "Community Conscious Internet Providers" if they meet certain criteria. In order to be certified as a CCIP by the Attorney General's office, an ISP would prohibit its customers by contract from posting pornography or other material that's harmful to minors. Customers of the G-rated ISP would also be prevented from reaching what the bill refers to as "prohibited material."

eBay a veritable software pirates' bay, says industry group
a new report by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) suggests that most aren't getting a very good deal at all. That's because at least 90 percent of the software sold on eBay is reportedly pirated.

EFF to take RIAA on in court over "making available" claim
EFF staff attorney Fred von Lohmann is going to appear at a hearing tomorrow to argue that the mere presence of music in a KaZaA share is not enough to constitute copyright infringement. The Howells were originally sued in 2006. In their original response to
the RIAA's complaint, they argued that KaZaA was "not set up to share"
and that the files flagged by MediaSentry were "for private use" and
"for transfer to portable devices, that is legal for 'fair use.'".

Chinese official on SMS voting: "txtng votes ripe 4 abuse"
Believe it or not, some officials in China are "elected" this way, largely due to the popularity of similar shows in China. So many people voted for shows like Super Girl and other Chinese clones of American Idol that officials apparently thought, "why not?"

Patents on video game mechanics to strangle innovation, fun
While it seems every few months video games are released that feature some novel idea, the overwhelming majority of titles are building off of what has been released before. This isn't a shocking thing for any art form, and lazy critics know the first thing you do when discussing a game, movie, or television show is to look at what has influenced the work and see how the property in question has moved things forward. But video games are now facing a new challenge when trying to build on past concepts: gameplay ideas are being patented.

Antitrust monitors turn their attention to Windows 7
A recent filing on the DoJ's United States v. Microsoft site reveals that the Technical Committee responsible for overseeing compliance with the 2002 consent decree has received an early build of Windows 7 for review.

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly recently extended the duration of the sanctions imposed on the software giant, which will now run until November 2009. The extension brings the successor to Windows Vista, which has not been given a ship date by Microsoft, under the aegis of the Technical Committee. It's unlikely that Windows 7 will hit store shelves before the decree expires, so the Technical Committee is understandably anxious to get its hands on early builds.

"Year of filters" turning into year of lawsuits against ISPs
The Big Four record labels have taken an Irish ISP to court, seeking to keep P2P activity off of its network. Eircom, the largest broadband ISP in Ireland, was sued by the labels in the High Court of Ireland yesterday; the case has been assigned to Ireland's Commercial Court, which handles commercial litigation.

The lawsuit accuses Eircom of abetting illegal downloading by allowing copyrighted material to traverse its network unimpeded. The IFPI, which plays a role similar to that of the RIAA in European litigation, wants the ISP to start filtering traffic to scrub all illicitly uploaded and downloaded copyrighted material on its network.

Christian Coalition, NARAL odd bedfellows at net neutrality hearing
the Christian Coalition siding with NARAL (pro-choice), Pearl Jam (anti-Bush), and BitTorrent (file-swapping). Strange bedfellows, indeed.

Judge to Viacom: No punitive damages in YouTube case
Viacom suffered a (slight) setback today in $1 billion lawsuit against YouTube. The two media titans are going toe-to-toe in a New York courtroom, but the judge recently ruled that Viacom cannot seek punitive damages against YouTube. Massive statutory damages, however, remain on the table.

What Viacom wanted to do was reserve two options for damages: 1) actual damages and 2) statutory damages. Both of these are outlined in US copyright law, but Viacom also wanted the right to seek 3) punitive damages should it choose to pursue option one.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Byte Into It - 5th Mar 2008

BBC NEWS | Technology | Microsoft targets the mobile web
Microsoft has launched a bid to capture a segment of the growing market for rich web content on mobile phones. The software firm has signed a deal with handset manufacturer Nokia to bring its Silverlight platform to millions of mobile phones. Silverlight is seen as a competitor to Adobe's Flash.
Nokia's S60 platform, which uses Symbian, will be the first to take advantage of Silverlight. S60 is used in handsets built by LG and Samsung as well as Nokia.
Silverlight allows designers and developers to produce rich web applications that are independent of browser, operating system and handset. Microsoft has stressed its value for developing Web 2.0 applications that would work on a computer, but also on any other device including mobile phones.The software enters a marketplace already dominated by Adobe's Flash, and its recently launched Air product. Flash is already on millions of mobile phones. Adobe has agreements with 18 of the top 20 device manufacturers worldwide including Nokia.

Format War: Stop! Why It Still Isn't Safe to Buy Blu-ray
Now that Blu-ray is fully in the spotlight, it's got to get its act together spec-wise. Except for Panasonic's DMP-BD30 and the PlayStation 3 with up-to-date firmware, no current Blu-ray player can even handle the 1.1 spec with picture-in-picture, already appearing in certain Blu-ray discs .The place to be is spec 2.0, referred to as "full profile."
Suddenly, it's Sony who is looking the best here, with not only the
amazingly upgradable PS3 but two new players announced this week, the BDP-S350 and S550. Also who's to say that half of the blockbuster movies out on Blu-ray now
won't get a re-release with more interactive content when the spec 2.0
players saturate the market?...and of course, everything will get cheaper.

Whirlpool broadband survey says no to Telstra next gen Internet - Telecommunications - iTnews Australia
The latest annual survey of broadband subscribers conducted by online discussion forum Whirlpool has shown that respondents are strongly opposed to letting Telstra operate the nation's broadband infrastructure.Conducted over four weeks from 31 December 2007 to 1 February 2008, Whirlpool's 2007 Australian Broadband Survey collated the input of more than 17,000 broadband subscribers.

Of those respondents, a mere 5.7 percent supported a Telstra-led next generation infrastructure build (such as fibre-to-the-node). The G9 consortium, which is made up of Telstra rival telcos such as Optus and iiNet, fared slightly better with support from 21.4 percent, but fell well behind support for a Government led build which raked in 51.9 percent of the vote.

Microsoft promises IE8 beta in June - Software - iTnews Australia
Microsoft is to launch a test version of Internet Explorer 8 by the end of June, according to an official posting on a company blog. Improved support for Ajax programming and better security are among the enhancements to the latest version of the browser, according to Microsoft.Microsoft is also expected to address interoperability criticisms levelled at IE7. The new version is likely to comply more fully with World Wide Web Consortium standards bringing it in line with Mozilla's Firefox.

Mozilla patches critical Thunderbird flaw - Security - iTnews Australia
Users are being urged to update their copies of Mozilla's Thunderbird and SeaMonkey email applications after the disclosure of a serious security flaw..The advisory warns of a 'critical' flaw in the two applications which could allow an attacker to remotely execute code on compromised systems.

Mozilla said that the vulnerability lies in the way Thunderbird handles Mime content in email messages.

By sending a specially crafted message, an attacker could trigger a buffer overflow error which would leave the user vulnerable to the remote installation and launch of malware.

Nokia's Touch UI Hands-On: Officially Way Behind Apple
The working prototype here is very rough. It's missing animations between picture swipes and lacks truly natural menu swiping. It also doesn't support multitouch here, but that's a matter of hardware—and this is early software, so we should be not too harsh on Symbian for updating their great OS to keep up with the Joneses. But we can conclude one thing from this demo: Despite doing a good job of building a touch UI on S60 without alienating current users, Symbian is far behind Apple in UI development

Android Hands-On Video: It's Fast, It's Still Not There
No fancy graphics demos, no iPhone-style multimedia fizzbang, just a humble ARM9 processor in a plain white prototype "to demonstrate the scalability of Android" and serve as a "development platform.

Cellphones: New Android SDK Spells Out OS Improvements and UI
Screenshots included and the UI looks a lot better than the original, complete with screen animations

Featured Download: Get Notified of New Gmail in Multiple Accounts with GmailAssistant
Windows/Linux: Free, open source application GmailAssistant monitors multiple Gmail accounts and alerts you of new mail. The application can monitor anything from your inbox to specific labels, so you can get very granular about what you want to be notified of.

Google: Collaborate with Co-Workers Using Google Apps Team Edition
If you've always wished your workplace or school would take advantage of the Google Apps suite but it just isn't happening, Google has released a new, free Google Apps Team Edition designed to implement Google Apps collaboration with nothing more than a set of work email addresses. Once you sign up with Google Apps Team Edition, you and your co-workers can collaborate using Google Docs, Gcal, Gtalk, and a Google Start Page to bring it all together.

Feature: Manage Your Online Reputation
Are you happy with the results people get back when they Google your name? If not, there are easy ways to monitor and guide what information is published about you online.

Telephony: Get Your GrandCentral Number Today
If you've been dying to try out the one-number-to-rule-them-all phone service GrandCentral, but have been stymied by their move to a closed, invite-only beta following Google's acquisition of the service, you'll be glad to know that GrandCentral has opened up to users of Google's Blogger. If you're still undecided about whether or not GrandCentral is for you, check out our extensive review and gallery of GrandCentral.

Email: Use a Address to Lessen Gmail Spam
The Digital Inspiration blog points out a Gmail trick that's been just under the surface all along (not that our commenters haven't noticed). Everyone who has an "" address can also receive mail sent to ""

Collaboration: JotSpot Relaunches as Google Sites, Offers Similar Wiki-Like Collaboration
Google has unveiled the results of their purchase of JotSpot—the free collaboration tool you could once use to make wiki-like collaboration pages and organize your family—and while the offerings are somewhat slim at this point, it's looking like a promising addition to the Google Apps suite (both free and premium). You can set up Sites to create pages that only users with email addresses on a certain domain can use, or have your page open to edits or viewing by anyone. Each Sites account gets 10 GB of storage, and importing data and tools from other Google services, like group calendars, spreadsheets, Picasa slideshows, and the like, is pretty streamlined. Google Sites is free to use, and requires a sign-up with a non-Gmail email address.

SoundSource 2: Real audio controls in your menu bar
Rogue Amoeba's SoundSource, a handy freeware utility that offers much more convenient control over your Mac's audio. SoundSource basically wraps up most of the essential System Preferences Sound pane controls in a much more powerful and convenient menu bar item. You can switch between any of your output/input devices right from SoundSource, and Mac OS X Leopard users will see volume sliders for each audio item as well.Rogue Amoeba provides SoundSource to Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5 users free of charge on its Freebies page.

PayPal to Safari users: 'Ditch it'
Safari is attracting some unwanted attention from PayPal, the eBay-owned payment company. PayPal is urging its users to ditch Safari and instead use alternative browsers such as Internet Explorer 7, IE 8, Firefox 2, Firefox 3, or even Opera.The reason for the warning is Safari's lack of anti-phishing technology. Currently the Apple browser does not alert users to sites that could be phishing for your info, and it lacks support for Extended Validation.

Digg - Can Apple Patent the Pinch? Experts Say It's Possible
"If Apple's patents are granted, the company could absolutely stop others from using similar technology,"... "They'd also be in an especially good position to stop others from including certain features. Apple could stop [their use] not only on mobile devices but also desktops."

RoboForm: Password Manager, Form Filler, Password Generator, Fill & Save Forms
RoboForm is the top-rated Password Manager and Web Form Filler that  automates password entering and form filling.