Thursday, April 24, 2008

Byte Into It - 23 Apr 08



Keren's Links:

http://virtualworlds2008.com/

http://www.virtualworldsnews.com/

http://www.starwreck.com/

http://xmedialab.com/

http://threeminds.organic.com/

MSN Music customers lose *all* their music the next time they buy a new PC - Boing Boing
People who bought music from the MSN music store have been royally hosed by Microsoft: as of August 31, if you buy a new computer, or refresh your hard-drive or upgrade your OS, you have to kiss all your music goodbye. Microsoft has shut down its DRM "license server" and left people who bought music -- instead of downloading it from a P2P site -- out in the cold. MSN Entertainment and Video Services general manager Rob Bennett sent out an e-mail this afternoon to customers, advising them to make any and all authorizations or deauthorizations before August 31. "As of August 31, 2008, we will no longer be able to support the retrieval of license keys for the songs you purchased from MSN Music or the authorization of additional computers," reads the e-mail seen by Ars. "You will need to obtain a license key for each of your songs downloaded from MSN Music on any new computer, and you must do so before August 31, 2008. If you attempt to transfer your songs to additional computers after August 31, 2008, those songs will not successfully play."

BBC NEWS | Technology | Web 2.0 is set for spending boom
Forrester analysed seven Web 2.0 categories: blogs, mashups, podcasting, RSS, social networking, widgets and wikis. Of these, social networks will attract the greatest levels of investment but even then that will be dwarfed by the multi million dollar revenues the software industry commands.

Mr Young says "Advertising revenue has been hard to come by with even sites such as Facebook finding it hard to monetise their high volumes of traffic.

"Companies are now looking over their shoulder to the business market where even revenues of $50 (£25) per user per month are looking increasingly appealing"

He also points out that there will come a saturation point and investment will start to slow down as Web 2.0 applications become increasingly prevalent and absorbed into collaborative software packages.

Microsoft: IT vulnerabilities down, threats deadlier - Security - iTnews Australia
IT threats are continuing to rise, although the number of disclosed vulnerabilities tailed off in the last six months of 2007, according to new research from Microsoft launched at today's Infosecurity Europe event.

The firm's Security Intelligence Report uses data captured by Microsoft Windows Defender and the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) over the last six months.

The disclosure of new vulnerabilities dropped by 15 percent in the last six months of 2007, while the amount of malware removed from computers by the MSRT was 40 percent higher. Instances of trojan malware rocketed by 300 percent.

The number of potentially unwanted applications – such as spyware and adware – jumped by 67 percent to 129.5 million pieces.

Ubuntu clears path to enterprises - Linux & Open Source - iTnews Australia
Linux vendor Ubuntu has made two announcements pitching itself firmly in the direction of enterprise open-source computing.

The firm announced the availability of Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (long term support) Server Edition, and LTS Desktop Edition, pledging that both would add to its operating systems' stability, security and reliability.

Both versions are available as free downloads from the Ubuntu web site, and will be boosted with either five, or three year support from the firm and its partner Canonical. "Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Server Edition is built for business", said Jane Silber, chief operating officer at Canonical, "LTS Desktop Edition is a very significant release as it will take Ubuntu squarely into the business environment."

The Ubuntu Desktop Edition has support from a number of commercial vendors, all of whom have pledged to distribute onto the platform. These include Adobe, Google, Real Networks and Skype

Google announces Sydney Developer Day event - Internet - iTnews Australia
Google Australia today extended an open invite to developers in Sydney to attend a day-long discussion about building Web applications and advancing the Web as a platform.

Scheduled to be held on 18 June, Google Developer Day will feature presentations from top Google engineers, including Lars Rasmussen, Ben Appleton, Mike Jones, Dmitri Abramov, David Day, and David Glazer.

Attendees also will receive a mix of hands-on advice for building Web applications, as well as opportunities to learn about emerging programming trends.

Sessions at the event will cover: AJAX and JavaScript technologies; APIs and Web tools; social applications of the Web; mobile devices and applications; and Google Maps.

Microsoft releases XP SP3 but gives no word on reprieve - Operating Systems - iTnews Australia
Windows XP Service Pack 3 has released to manufacturing (RTM),” wrote Chris Keroack, the service pack's release manager, in a message posted to a TechNet support forum. “Windows XP SP3 bits are now working their way through our manufacturing channels to be available to OEM and Enterprise customers.”

Some of the biggest additions to Windows XP SP3 include a range of features backported from Windows Vista, such as black hole router detection, Network Access Protection, and Windows Imaging Component. A full summary of the SP3 features and changes can be found at Microsoft’s XP SP3 download centre.

Existing XP Pro and Home users will have to wait until April 29 to be able to download the service pack directly from Microsoft Download Center

Scammers hook up over LinkedIn - Security - iTnews Australia
Social networks such as LinkedIn are being exploited by online fraudsters, experts warned today..

Security firm BitDefender said that LinkedIn users are receiving emails requesting invitations to be added to other users' social networks.

Users may be more inclined to believe the emails because they come through the official channels, and they also slip past spam filters.

The scammers have even set up a fake profile page on LinkedIn. However, once the connection is made, the scammers then groom the users to participate in an advance fee fund scam, more commonly known as the Nigerian 419 fraud.

"This new twist to the old 419 scheme is more dangerous as there is an increased chance for network users to fall for the scam since they use it to build up their businesses or careers and thus tend to grant it some implicit trust," said Bogdan Dumitru, chief technology officer at BitDefender.

Dumitru noted that many sites, such as LinkedIn, are not able to verify the identity of those who join.

BitDefender also said that other social networking sites are likely to be used by fraudsters for similar scams.

Ballmer admits Vista is 'a work in progress' - Operating Systems - iTnews Australia
Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has told delegates at the software giant's Most Valuable Professionals Summit in Seattle that Windows Vista is "a work in progress" and that the company is trying to learn from its mistakes..

"I think we did a lot of things right, and I think we have a lot of things we need to learn from," Ballmer told the assembled independent developers, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The five-year development cycle for Vista had been too long, according to Ballmer, and was not something that Microsoft would be repeating.

Second Life seen becoming mainstream - Internet - iTnews Australia
Virtual world Second Life has the potential to become mainstream once computers and connections catch up with the aspirations of its creators, its founder told Reuters in an interview on Monday.

Despite the fact that user growth is slowing as a wave of publicity subsides, Philip Rosedale believes activity will increase 100-fold as improvements in computers and Second Life's own systems make it easier and more fun to become a citizen.

"I estimate we're at 1 percent of total use in 5-10 years," said Rosedale, the chief executive of Linden Lab, which runs Second Life, comparing its trajectory to that of the World Wide Web, which entered the mainstream in the mid-1990s.

Second Life has established a niche following among fans patient enough to grapple with the technology, but many who dabbled when the hype surrounding the virtual world was at its peak were deterred by the time, effort and technology required.

Second Life has about 13 million registered citizens but only a hard core estimated to number several hundred thousand are thought to be regular visitors.

Women unhappy in the IT workplace - Jobs Centre - iTnews Australia
The majority of women working in IT are dissatisfied with their work/life balance, according to research released this week..

While employers claim to support flexible working, women often find the reality quite different.

Boffins promise 500,000GB iPod - Storage - iTnews Australia
A nanotechnology breakthrough at the University of Glasgow could pave the way for MP3 players with a storage capacity 150,000 times greater than today's top-of-the-range devices..

Researchers claim to have developed a molecule-sized switch which dramatically boosts storage capacity without the need to increase the physical size of players.

The technology could see 500,000GB crammed into a square inch microchip, allowing users to store hundreds of millions of video clips and music tracks on a single device, well in excess of the 40,000 songs on today's largest capacity players.

The breakthrough, undertaken with colleagues at Daresbury Laboratory in Warrington using a giant X-ray machine, could also transform storage on other consumer electronics, including DVD players.

Featured Download: Take and share screenshots and screencasts with Jing Project
Windows/Mac only: Freeware application Jing Project takes screenshots and screencasts, then provides a seamless method for saving and sharing your pics or video via the internet. You can invoke Jing via keyboard shortcut or the unobtrusive yellow half-orb that it adds to your desktop. Then select the area you want to capture, tell Jing whether you want a video or an image, and then let Jing do its work. When you've finished your capture, you can either save the results to your desktop or upload them to Screencast.com. If you upload, the URL of your screenshot or screencast will automatically be copied to your clipboard.

The biggest plus side to Jing—and the feature that could really help it catch on—is its ease of use; anyone can get up and running taking screencasts and screenshots with very little effort. Screenshots you take with Jing can be edited with text, arrows, and highlighting after you take the shot.

Digg - Guitar Hero To Become More Like Rock Band
Industry analyst Janco predicted it back in August and now an interview with Activison CEO Bobby Lotick over on Conde Nast Portfolio, confirms that new additions to the Guitar Hero franchise will indeed include additional instruments.

Digg - Uwe Boll asks Blizzard for WoW movie rights, Azeroth says no
Blizzard has essentially laughed the German director out of their offices, and certainly right out of Azeroth. "We will not sell the movie rights, not to you... especially not to you," was apparently Paul Sams reply, to which Azeroth was pronounced saved!

Digg - Wii Owners Do Not Want New Games
These new gamers are content with the games they have, often going no further than the Wii Sports game that comes with the machine. They don ’t buy new games with the fervor of a traditional gamer who is constantly seeking new stimulation.

Digg - See how the Wii Lightsaber works
LucasArts has ahem, 'unleashed' the latest web documentary for Star Wars: Force Unleashed, showing just how you swing a Lightsaber with the Wii Remote (and stylus).

ThinkGeek :: Super Pii Pii Brothers (Thanks Richard)
As any good geek should know by now Japan has some of the wackiest and most unusual products anywhere. So when we were visiting Tokyo recently and saw lines of Japanese schoolgirls waiting to play an amazing new game for the Wii called Super Pii Pii Brothers we were only a little surprised. After all with games like WarioWare and Raving Rabbids the Wii is no stranger to crazy gameplay mechanics... but it was quite unusual to see the "strap-on" style accessory and peeing action that Pii Pii Brothers provides.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Byte Into It - 16 Apr 08



Australia plans counter-terrorism email checks - Security - iTnews Australia
Australian companies providing critical services to the economy will be allowed to intercept the emails and internet communications of their workers under new security counter-terrorism laws. The government's current Telecommunications Act, which expires in June 2009, only allows security agencies to monitor employees communications without consent. "I promise we are not interested in the email you send out about who did what at the Christmas party," Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard said on Monday. "What this is about is looking at our critical infrastructure. If our banking system collapsed, if our electronic system collapsed, obviously that would have huge implications for society," Gillard told local television. "We want to make sure they are safe from terrorist attack." The planned new laws have concerned civil liberties groups.

Farewell CDMA: Conroy confirms closure - Telecommunications - iTnews Australia
It’s final. Telstra’s moribund CDMA mobile phone network will cease to be come April 28, after Communications Minister Stephen Conroy today confirmed that Telstra has met the requirements to allow its closure. Earlier this year, Conroy delayed the CDMA network’s January 28 closure after a report released by ACMA found insufficient equivalence between CDMA and Telstra’s Next G network. An online poll conducted by iTnews at the time of Conroy’s initial CDMA delay confirmed the Senator’s concerns. The poll, which attracted 737 respondents, found that 61 percent of voters thought Next G’s network coverage was worse than CDMA's. Twenty-five percent thought it was better, while 13 percent were indifferent. Since then, Telstra has implemented a number of the Senator’s recommendations in an effort to bring the Next G network up to scratch. These include establishing a hotline for users experiencing Next G handset problems and sending out teams of "Coverage Advocates" to visit customers in rural areas to help them make a smooth transition to the new network. “Once the shut-down of the CDMA network is complete, Telstra will be able to focus its resources and energy on improving and expanding the Next G network, providing high levels of customer service to Next G customers, and to help the small number of customers still holding CDMA equipment.” But before these initiatives cease, Telstra must report to Conroy so he can assess whether the level of demand warrants an extension of the programs he said..

Nokia launches new phone with electronic wallet - Mobility - iTnews Australia
Nokia, the world's top cellphone maker, said on Tuesday it would start selling a new handset, the 6212 Classic, with integrated Near Field Communication (NFC). NFC allows users to share content by connecting two phones which can receive audio files and other downloads from service providers simultaneously. The phone can also be used for payments.

Internode expands naked ADSL2+ offering - Telecommunications - iTnews Australia
National broadband IP carrier Internode is set to expand its Naked ADSL2+ offering by converting existing phone services to naked ADSL. Naked ADSL2+ does not require a dial-tone enabled copper phone line, which means that customers can avoid paying for traditional line rental purely to support an Internet connection. While a naked line does not support traditional telephony functionality such as faxes and security alarms, Internode hopes their product will appeal to customers in apartments and those who do not wish to take time off work to allow technicians to connect wiring in their homes. Customers opting to go naked will still be able to make calls as Internode’s ADSL2+ broadband plan includes the NodePhone1 voice-over-broadband phone service.

BBC NEWS | Technology | BBC announces Nintendo Wii deal
The BBC's iPlayer video service will soon be available via the Nintendo Wii. The video download and streaming service that lets people catch up with BBC programmes will soon be a channel on the hugely popular game console. Early versions of the service will be available from 9 April but more polished software will be released as the service is developed. The BBC is still at loggerheads with internet service providers (ISPs) over who should pay for extra network costs.

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | BBC new media boss to stand down
The BBC's head of future media and technology Ashley Highfield is leaving to launch an on-demand video service for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. Known as Project Kangaroo, the joint venture has been described as "Freeview for the internet" and plans to offer more than 10,000 hours of programmes.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Google tackles child pornography
Google engineers have adapted a software program to help track child sex predators and search for patterns in images of abuse on the web. Google has created the technology for the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). It was originally developed to block copyrighted videos on the company's YouTube division. The program uses pattern recognition to enable analysts to sort and identify files containing child sex abuse.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Nokia pushes '4G wireless' plans
Nokia, the world's largest handset manufacturer, has signed up Sony Ericsson, NEC and Alacatel-Lucent to its plans for a 4G wireless system. The companies have formed a licensing framework for their patents for the emerging mobile standard, called Long Term Evolution (LTE). The deal will add momentum to LTE, which is seen as a direct competitor to Wimax, which is being pushed by Intel. The first LTE networks are being rolled out in the US and China. LTE is a faster and more long distance wireless system compared to 3G.

Featured Mac Download: Run Apple TV on Your Mac with ATV4mac
Mac OS X Tiger only: ATV4mac runs Apple TV take 2 as a Mac application, bringing all the cool multimedia features of the Apple TV to your Mac. ATV4mac is a fairly young project, hence the unfortunate Tiger-only support at the moment, but it's already sporting most of the features available to Apple TV along with a few of its own. ATV4mac is freeware, Mac OS X Tiger only.

Feature: Free Ways to Synchronize Folders Between Computers
several free solutions can automatically sync folders between computers—even over the internet, through office firewalls—no matter what operating system you use. Whether you want work files edited at home to magically appear on your PC at the office, or the family room Mac to have a copy of the latest batch of digital photos downloaded onto the computer in the den, three free applications can help.

Feature: Trim Down Windows to the Bare Essentials
When you're installing Windows in a virtual machine or on old, slow hardware, you want the leanest, meanest and fastest-running configuration possible. Most of the time, you want the best from your operating system, including all the bells and whistles. Other times, you don't want the default, bloated Windows installation, with every single built-in feature slowing you down. Luckily, whether you want to put Windows on a diet in a virtual machine or you want to get Windows up and running all snappy-like on older hardware, you've got a handful of excellent and free options at your disposal.

Getting Things Done: How to Ditch Dedicated GTD Apps
Mac user Dennis Best says that using David Allen's Getting Things Done productivity system on your Mac doesn't mean you need to find the ultimate GTD application—that the tools you already have in Mail.app, iCal and Finder get the job done fine. After trying out shiny GTD-specific applications (like Things, which dazzled us too), he's settled on using those built-in tools instead.

Feature: Stitch Photos Into Panoramas with Free Software
Let's take a look at how to use the free, open source application Hugin to make two basic kinds of panoramas. What you'll need * A digital camera that embeds EXIF data in its pictures (that's basically all of them) * A copy of Hugin (available for Windows, Mac, and Linux). If you're on Windows or Linux, you should also grab a copy of the AutoPano tools; Mac OS X users should have AutoPano tools built in. Follow the instructions at the Hugin site to install your copy.

Featured Mac Download: Syncopation Syncs Up to Five iTunes Libraries
Mac OS X only: Shareware application Syncopation keeps your music, podcasts, and video in sync between up to five iTunes libraries. The app finds music that's in one library but not others, then transfers files between computers until everything matches. Syncopation is smart, too: it automatically replicates changes to a track's metadata in one library across your others. You can even set up block lists that keep, for example, your thrash metal out of your significant other's library. Syncopation is $25 for the full version, but you can download a demo version that works with two computers for 30 days—so if you just want to run one quick sync between two libraries, it's an excellent free solution. Either way, the Mac OS X-only Syncopation is a great tool, though it'd be great to see a completely freeware alternative.

Mac Tip: Get to More Than Definitions in Dictionary.app
in Dictionary.app (at least in Leopard), under to "Go" menu, there is an option labeled "Front/Back Matter." Clicking this brings up a whole slew of useful reference material, including a language guide (complete with a list of clich├ęs to avoid), a list of the chemical elements

Digg - Apple says AirPort Disk use with Time Machine is unsupported
Okay, the Time Machine / AirPort Extreme situation is now officially ridiculous. TidBITS's Glenn Fleishmann is reporting that Apple's confirmed to him that the Extreme is unsupported for use with Time Machine, even though the latest batch of updates enable AirPort Disks to show up in the Time Machine disk-selection box.

Rumors rumble about unlocked 3G iPhones headed to Australia
MacTalk, the "Australian Macintosh Community," is featuring a post saying that Apple resellers in the country have been informed by Apple Australia that iPhones are headed the land down under. The alleged details are very interesting: the iPhone should be released at the end of June with no carrier lock-in, and Australia's network of Apple resellers will be able to sell them. While some are skeptical of the report, according to MacTalk member named "decryption," there are several plausible reasons why it could be true. The June timeframe coincides with the planned opening of Australia's first Apple Stores in Sydney and Melbourne this summer.

Psystar on Apple's EULA: No comment, but check out OpenPro!
Psystar, a Miami-based IT company, was offering a $399 PC called "OpenMac" that could allegedly run Leopard. Psystar will even install a fresh retail copy of Leopard for you—for $155 of course. Hey, Apple doesn't offer OEM pricing, you know. As news spread around the 'Net, Psystar's servers went down. While many wondered if it was due to threats from Apple's legal department, owner Rudy Pedraza told Ars this morning that it was just good, old-fashioned server overload. As of 9am CT this morning, Pedraza says that the website has been up and taking orders for 20 hours. Due to the high demand, orders are currently at a seven-day lead time. There are also two new significant changes in the product offering. One is that Psystar has changed the name from "OpenMac" to "Open Computer." Pedraza told us that this was also not due to any threats from Apple legal. "This is a proactive step we took on our own, to avoid any issues," he said.

Amazon MP3 store's gains not coming at iTunes' expense
Amazon MP3 has made quite a splash since it launched last September. Its wide selection of DRM-free content (the widest selection when it comes to the Big Four labels) and relative ease-of-use have made it a favorite among those who buy music online. It turns out, though, that Amazon's growth has not come at the expense of the iTunes Store, according to a new report by the NPD Group. The data shows that Amazon may be able to continue growing alongside iTunes, although the two will probably butt heads one day if they want to compete for the top spot among music retailers.

Apple IIgs laptop


http://benheck.com/04-14-2008/apple-iigs-original-hardware-laptop



Turn your iPod Touch into an iPhone


http://lifehacker.com/378511/turn-your-ipod-touch-into-an-iphone



Google Maps to insert YouTube vids


http://www.macworld.com/article/133002/2008/04/google_maps_youtube.html



OpenMac/Pystar - The return of Mac Clones.


http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/04/14/openmac_advertised_for_39999.html

http://www.wired.com/gadgets/mac/news/2008/04/apple_psystar



more hits against iTunes


http://www.macworld.com/article/133009/2008/04/tesco.html



Apple & Blu-Ray


http://macenstein.com/default/archives/1287



More v2 iPhone rumors


http://macenstein.com/default/archives/1288



Is AppleCare worth it?


http://forums.mactalk.com.au/20/47863-applecare-protection-plan-worth.html






Thursday, April 10, 2008

Byte Into It - 9 Apr 08

Seagate hard drives in some mac laptops may be prone to failure
UK drive recovery company Retrodata is warning customers of a rash of failures involving a particular Seagate drive model, a SATA unit made in China and used in Apple laptops. This specific mechanism, according to Retrodata's intake notes, seems to be prone to a spectacular self-destruct where the drive heads auger into the platter, rendering the data mostly dead.

How to spot the potentially affected drive: check System Profiler under Serial ATA, and if you have a Seagate drive with a 7.01 firmware revision... well, double-check those backups.

USB malware on the rise - Security - iTnews Australia
Around a tenth of all malware is designed to use portable storage media, such as removable USB drives, as an attack and spread vector..

Security firm ESET said that 10.3 per cent of malware detections last month were identified as files containing information on programs to be run automatically when removable media are inserted into a computer.

ISO announces OOXML success - Software - iTnews Australia
The International Standards Organisation (ISO) has announced that Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) file format has received the necessary number of votes for approval as an ISO/IEC International Standard.

Subject to there being no formal appeals from ISO/IEC national bodies in the next two months, OOXML will proceed to publication as an international standard for word-processing documents, presentations and spreadsheets.

Conroy plans feedback forum for telecommunications policy - Telecommunications - iTnews Australia
Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy is calling for participants to take part in a forum aimed at identifying ways to make consumer representation in telecommunications policy making more effective.

Scheduled to take place in Canberra on Thursday 1 May 2008, the forum will provide an opportunity for participants to discuss ways in which current consumer representation strategies can be improved.

Prominent stakeholders in the telecommunications market -- including consumer, carrier, disability, government and industry representatives -- have been invited to attend.

Windows XP gets two-year extension - Software - iTnews Australia
Microsoft is to extend the availability of Windows XP by two years..

But the extension will apply only to extremely specialised low-end PCs, and not to common consumer models.

A company spokesperson said that availability will be limited to PCs classified by Microsoft as "ultra-low cost" .

"We believe that Windows Vista is the best way to address customer and partner needs on mainstream PCs," said the spokesperson.

BBC hits out at iPlayer 'traffic shaping' - Internet - iTnews Australia
The BBC is threatening to name and shame ISPs that attempt to 'traffic shape' downloads from its increasingly popular iPlayer service..

Traffic shaping is a means of controlling the volume of users visiting a network at any one time.

ISPs have proposed using the procedure to cope with increased traffic levels caused by the popularity of the iPlayer. Visitors are now accessing a quarter of a million shows every day, according to the BBC.

IBM to build corporate Second Life - Internet - iTnews Australia
IBM is to team up with Linden Lab to develop an in-house version of Second Life for businesses..

The pair will begin work on a project to turn Second Life's grid platform into a product which will allow enterprises to build secure virtual worlds that can be deployed behind a firewall.

IBM hopes that the project will yield a secure version of Second Life that the company can run in-house.

Big Blue is demonstrating a sample of a Second Life grid running on one of its BladeCenter modules at the Virtual Worlds Conference in New York.

Microsoft Windows 7 two years away - Operating Systems - iTnews Australia
Despite ramping up efforts to improve Vista traction in the marketplace, Microsoft is already preparing for the release of its latest operating software – codename Windows 7 – following an announcement by Bill Gates.

At the annual meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said he expected Windows 7 to be released within the next two years, around three years after the launch of Vista.

Yahoo rebuffs Microsoft’s advances, again - Business - iTnews Australia
Yahoo has rejected yet another aggressive advance from Microsoft in which the software giant issued a three-week ultimatum: either accept a US$44.6 billion buyout offer or face an ugly proxy battle.

During the past weekend, Microsoft chief executive, Steve Ballmer, sent an open letter to Yahoo that warned that if the Internet search company failed to agree to its proposed financial terms within a three-week deadline, Microsoft would take its offer direct to shareholders and instigate a proxy contest to elect an alternative board of directors.

Google releases application development engine - Software - iTnews Australia
Google is previewing a new service aimed at web application developers. The preview release of the Google App Engine will let developers host, create and run applications as easily as they might create a blog, said the firm.

In his blog post, Kevin Gibbs, Google Tech Lead on the Google App Engine, said that the engine took the typical building blocks used by developers, and packaged them with a scalable infrastructure, meaning that developers could, "spend less time dealing with system administration and maintenance, and more time building and improving their applications."

The SDK gives access to Python application servers, GFS data store services, and Google's own scalable BigTable databases. As well as this, any apps developed using the tools will work seamlessly with Google apps, and developers have full access to the firms' APIs.

The preview version of the App engine is free, but limited to the first 10,000 people to sign up. Interested subscribers will need a Google log-in, such as that used with the Googlemail email service.

Vignette goes social - Internet - iTnews Australia
Vignette Community Services features ratings, reviews and tagging tools to enable users to make and review content, also present is functionality for administrators to analyse user-generated content (UGC), according to the firm's product marketing manager, Guy Westlake.

"A key point is that user-generated content has greater penetration for online buyers – it could help strengthen brands, drive revenue and by leveraging the knowledge and comments on products, it could feedback into development," he explained. "It could also increase loyalty, because a key battleground for e-commerce is getting your customers to stay online and interact with the site. "

Vignette Community Applications, meanwhile, gives firms the ability to add blogs, wikis, forums and other collaborative features to their sites, and can also be used on intranets to aid content discovery and knowledge management, said Westlake.

BBC NEWS | Business | Google executive poached by EMI
Record label EMI has appointed a senior executive from Google to run its digital strategy, the first time such a post has been created at the firm.

Douglas Merrill, who led Google's successful stock market listing in 2004, will take up his post on 28 April at EMI's Los Angeles office.

BBC - Newsbeat - Music - Radiohead offer Nude remix
Radiohead are giving fans the chance to remix Nude, the second single from their latest album, In Rainbows.

The band have split the track into five different parts - voice, guitar, bass, drums and strings. Users can also add their own instruments and effects.

Remixers are sent an access code to transfer the files into music production software like Garageband or Logic Pro.

Finished mixes can be uploaded to a new website - radioheadremix.com - where users vote for their favourite. The winner will be announced on 1 May.

If social networking isn't Mac-centric enough, try net4mac
Social networking has become de rigueur for many, with sites like MySpace and Facebook overtaking the original—and mostly forgotten—Friendster. LinkedIn is popular with business types. But does anyone even remember Orkut? Well, if none of these services quite do it for you, and you're a snob who only wants to network with other Mac users, you might want to take net4mac for a spin.

Rick Rolled to child porn = you're a pedophile, says FBI
be careful of what you click on and from whom. If that link points to anything even pretending to be child porn, that's enough evidence for the FBI of intent to download it. The authorities could then raid your home and possibly throw you in jail. No joke, it just takes one click and you're under intense suspicion.

Second Life lawsuit over purloined naughty bits settled
The not-nearly-as-sordid-as-you-might-think story goes like this. 19-year-old Robert Leatherwood allegedly stole scripts written by Florida-based Eros, LLC that gave people's avatars lifelike naughty bits and enabled them to engage in kinky, virtual sex. He then resold them without permission, which sparked a lawsuit from Eros founder Kevin Alderman over copyright violations last July. That was apparently when Leatherwood decided to stop selling the scripts, according to the Associated Press, and was likely part of the reason Eros decided to settle.

Pirate Bay on IFPI lawsuit: Labels can "go screw themselves"
The four main backers of The Pirate Bay could be personally on the hook for 15 million kroner ($2.5 million) after record labels requested the amount in damages from the Stockholm District Court yesterday. Gottfrid Warg of The Pirate Bay responded with the elegance that always characterizes the group's pronouncements, telling Sweden's The Local that "the record companies can go screw themselves."

A class of copyright thieves? A lawsuit over lecture notes
The suit pits a professor at the University of Florida, who has published course materials commercially, against one of the commercial note-taking services that exist to serve the needs of students at most large campuses. Back in the '90s, the University of Florida itself sued a similar service over the ownership of lecture materials; they lost. This time around, the ability of electronics to capture and transform lecture material may have changed the issues dramatically.The professor involved, Michael Moulton, teaches wildlife ecology and
conservation. A few years ago, starting with the notes that he used to
deliver his lectures, Moulton gradually built an electronic version of
a textbook. After getting the University to waive its copyright on the
material, he worked with a company called Faulkner Press to copyright
and formalize the material. That material is now available
as a $90 CD that includes audiovisual material, study guides, and
practice examine questions. It's apparently required material for any
students enrolled in Moulton's class.

Meanwhile, a company called Class Notes, doing business as
Einstein's Notes, was performing the typical service of collecting
notes and class materials, and selling them to students. In the
process, the suit alleges, they ran afoul of Moulton's copyrights;
Faulkner seeks an injunction against their distribution of course
material, plus fees and damages.

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Labels seek billions in damages over Baidu MP3 deep-linking
A major copyright infringement case against Chinese search engine Baidu is moving forward, as Beijing's No.1 Intermediate People's Court has agreed to hear claims brought forward by three of the Big Four record labels. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry announced this morning that the three labels were seeking maximum damages of 500,000 yuan (roughly US$71,000) per track on at least 127 tracks, totaling 63,500,000 yuan (US$9 million) in damages. But that could just be the minimum, as the IFPI says Baidu may face damages in the billions.

Trademark lawsuit could put the squeeze on Google AdWords
Trademark law is designed to protect consumers by preventing companies from selling their products under false pretenses. The core issue of the Rescuecom case is whether choosing a competitor's trademark as an advertising keyword is likely to confuse consumers. Rescuecom has argued that Google profits from consumer confusion by obscuring the distinction between organic search results and paid advertising. Google, in contrast, compares its advertisements to a grocery store that stocks a generic product on a shelf alongside its brand-name competitor—a use that courts have consistently upheld as legal.

Blame games: bill says content makers liable for violence
A bill currently under consideration in the Arizona state legislature would impose liability on persons who produce or distribute "dangerous or obscene" content (including audio, video, interactive media, and even written content) that is found to be the material cause of a terrorist act or felony. The broadly-worded proposal, which is touted by its supporters as a tool for financially punishing makers of violent rape films, is viewed with serious concern by movie producers and video game developers who fear that it will be abused.

Flood of revelations in Vista-capable suit paused for appeal
It appears that Microsoft will get a brief reprieve from the flood of bad news pouring out of its "Vista Capable" lawsuit. Judge Marsha Pechman has put the entire case on hold while Microsoft challenges her ruling that the case be granted class-action status. Once the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals weighs in on that question, though, the case will resume and discovery will continue. If such discovery proves as revelatory as what has already emerged, Microsoft may well be thankful for a breather.

EU groups: data retention policies violate Rights Convention
A group of 43 European civil liberties groups today filed a brief with the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg that argues for overturning a 2006 EU directive mandating data retention policies across EU countries. The groups assert that the directive is illegal, but more importantly that the directive interferes with basic human rights granted to all Europeans. Not only that, but they don't think data retention will make people safer, and on a continent with a history of surveillance states, potential abuses of power are always an issue.

Featured Windows Download: Reconfigure Windows with TweakNow
Windows utility TweakNow puts a friendly interface on the most common registry settings on your PC, complete with an Undo button. Tweak your Start menu, Control Panel, Desktop, user accounts, and other settings using TweakNow, which shields you from the decidedly not-fun and risky undertaking that is editing the registry by hand. This looks particularly useful for locking down a PC for the kids—for instance, you can use it to disable access to the Control Panel and desktop context menus. TweakNow is a free download for non-commercial use, Windows only.

Featured Windows Download: Temporarily Disable Flash in Internet Explorer with Toggle Flash
Once you've installed the toolbar button, a single click turns off Flash functionality in the background; click again, hit refresh, and the videos, animations, and other Flash elements return. It's small, it uses no background memory, and it just works. Toggle Flash is a free download for Windows systems and Internet Explorer 7 only; hit either link below for help getting the button to show up on your toolbar.