Google has upgraded its GrandCentral service to a new offering called Google Voice, in a direct attack against internet and traditional telephony services.IBM + Sun: How a merger would impact IT - Network World
Google Voice takes the existing GrandCentral service, which consolidates landlines and mobile numbers into a single phone number with voicemail, and adds the ability to make free domestic calls, transcribe voice mails and allow conference calls for up to six participants.
"The new application improves the way you use your phone," said the company in a blog posting. "You can get transcripts of your voicemail and archive and search all the text messages you send and receive. You can also use the service to make low-priced international calls and easily access Goog-411 directory assistance. "
The move is bound to worry internet telephony providers such as Skype, but will also affect traditional providers by offering services for free that constitute a major part of their revenue streams.
Google acquired GrandCentral in July 2007, but has done little to develop the service until now. Existing GrandCentral users can use Google Voice immediately, and the application will be opened up to new users in the next few weeks.
The IT industry is abuzz with the rumor that IBM is going to purchase Sun for nearly $7 billion, first reported in the Wall Street Journal. It's all speculation until a deal is confirmed, but the combined reach of an IBM/Sun company would be vast. Here are nine topics to consider:Kiwis get reprieve from new anti-piracy laws - BizTech - Technology
Cloud computing.Servers.Storage.Virtualization.Competition with HP.Database overlap.Speaking of open source…Java.Clash of cultures?
New Zealand has withdrawn a controversial law which could have forced firms to disconnect internet users accused of illegal use of material such as music or films.iiNet pulls out of net censorship trials - web - Technology - theage.com.au
The Copyright Amendment Act would have put the onus on internet service providers (ISPs) to ban users accused of copyright breaches, even if allegations were unproven.
Australia's third largest internet provider, iiNet, has withdrawn from the Government's internet censorship trials, saying it could not "reconcile participation in the trial with our corporate social responsibility".Hacked filter reveals blacklist in 30 seconds - Internet - iTnews Australia
The move comes after the anonymous whistleblower site Wikileaks last week published a leaked copy of the secret Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) blacklist of prohibited websites, which forms the backbone of the Government's censorship policy.
Far from containing just "illegal material" such as child pornography, the list of prohibited websites includes a wealth of legal material such as regular gay and straight porn sites, YouTube links, online poker sites, Wikipedia entries, euthanasia sites and even the sites of a Queensland dentist, a school canteen consultancy and an animal carer.
The Government's mandatory internet censorship plan, which is already being trialled by a number of small ISPs, will block sites contained on the ACMA blacklist for all Australians.
A 30-second hack of a NetAlert-approved family-friendly filter exposes a list of websites banned in Australia.Wikileaks domain holder raided - Internet - iTnews Australia
The vulnerability, leaked to iTnews over the weekend and verified by IT security consultants, is due to a flaw in the Integard internet filtering software developed by Brisbane's Race River Corporation.
A source claimed to iTnews that Integard can be reverse-engineered with a hex editor to reveal material the software is designed to keep secret.
iTnews asked three IT security specialists for their opinions.
They all refused to go on the record but they said the list of banned URLs is exposed in a process that takes about 30 seconds.
Wikileaks claims the homes of the owner of its German domain (wikileaks.de) has been raided by Police in what the whistle-blowing site claims is a reaction to the publication of blacklists from Australia, Thailand and Denmark.BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | China 'blocks YouTube video site'
Theodor Reppe, who owns the domain for the German Wikileaks site at wikileaks.de, claims that seven police officers in Dresden and four in Jena searched his homes on Monday.
German police documents state that the reason for the search was for "distribution of pornographic material" and "discovery of evidence".
Mr Reppe claims he was not contacted by Police prior to the search.
China is reported to have blocked the YouTube video-sharing website because it has been carrying video of soldiers beating monks and other Tibetans.Worm turns Linux routers into botnet - Security - iTnews Australia
The date and location of the footage, posted by a Tibetan exile group, cannot be ascertained.
A Chinese government spokesman would not confirm whether YouTube had indeed been blocked.
China has a history of blocking websites which carry messages it views as politically unacceptable.
The psyb0t worm appears to be in circulation since the start of the year and targets routers running Mipsel, a form of the Devian Linux distribution designed for MIPS processors.BBC - Newsbeat - Technology - Thousands turn to cyberbully site
The worm is believed to be the first of its kind and the researchers at DroneBL estimate it may have infiltrated as many as 100,000 routers.
The worm uses a brute force attack against the router by dictionary checking the username and passwords. This shows the exploitation is not an attack on the flaw in the operating system itself but against poor user security.
“90 per cent of the routers and modems participating in this botnet are participating due to user-error (the user themselves or otherwise). Unfortunately, it seems that some of the people covering this botnet do not understand this point, and it is making us look like a bunch of idiots,” said the DroneBL blog.
“Any device that meets the above criteria is vulnerable, including those built on custom firmware such as OpenWRT and DD-WRT. If the above criteria is not met, then the device is NOT vulnerable.”
A new website set up to help people being cyberbullied has already prompted tens of thousands of children to look for help.BBC NEWS | Technology | Call to 'shut down' Street View
Cybermentors.org.uk is thought to be the first website in the world where help for victims comes from others their own age through instant messaging and online videos.
A formal complaint about Google's Street View has been sent to the Information Commissioner (ICO).VMware working on mobile admin tool - Software - iTnews Australia
Drawn up by lobby group Privacy International (PI), it cites more than 200 reports from members of the public identifiable via the service.
PI wants Street View shut down while the ICO investigates the service.
"The ICO has repeatedly made clear that it believes that in Street View the necessary safeguards are in place to protect people's privacy," said Google.
Privacy International (PI) director Simon Davies said his organisation had filed the complaint given the "clear embarrassment and damage" Street View had caused to many Britons.
Developers at VMware are working on a new tool which will allow administrators to manage virtualized systems through a mobile handset.Skype opens up to corporates - Telecommunications - iTnews Australia
The "vCenter Mobile Access" tool, as it is currently being called, will allow administrators remote access and management of virtual machines, performing such tasks as migration and recovery through a mobile phone.
"Imagine any scenario where you need to actively manage your datacenter but you are nowhere close to a PC," wrote Vmware director of product management and market development Srinivas Krishnamurti.
"Wouldn’t it be nice to act on the notification from your mobile phone? After all, we are now a generation that doesn’t leave home without a mobile phone."
Skype has finally decided to open up to corporates with the launch of a new beta program designed to bring Skype calls to PBX systems based on the Session initiation Protocol (SiP) standard.Will every new high-def television in Australia be obsolete on May 1? - Silicon Lust - Blogs - PC Authority
Skype for SiP allows firms running SiP-based PBXs to place calls with Skype to landlines and mobile phones worldwide.
The software will also give firms the ability to receive and manage inbound calls from Skype users to SiP-enabled PBX systems, enabling them to offer click-to-call functionality on web sites.
Around a third of Skype customers use the tool in a business setting, but the company had not previously been ready to offer a corporate service, according to Stefan Oberg, general manager of Skype for Business.
MPEG4-gate is Freeview's latest FUD campaign designed to scare Australians into not skipping ads. Adam Turner tries to set the record straight.BBC NEWS | UK | Social network sites 'monitored'
If you believe that bastion of journalism, Rupert Murdoch's Melbourne Herald Sun, every digital television, set top box and PVR sold in the last decade should be taken down to the rubbish dump on May 1 because the broadcasters are changing formats from MPEG2 to MPEG4.
Thankfully our good friends at Freeview have come to the rescue by ensuring Freeview-endorsed digital television equipment handles both MPEG2 and MPEG4. Thank God for Freeview, protecting us from those big, bad television broadcasters.
The Freeview campaign has one goal - to protect the interests of Australia's old-school media giants from the combined threats of ad-skipping, copying and pay television. I call Freeview a "campaign" because all it does is rebrand what we already called digital television, while implying that "15 new channels" are on the way.
Freeview is not really a new product - unless your definition of a new product is taking a bucket of slop and changing the label to say "new and improved", when all that's new and improved is the label.
Freeview is basically a cartel of the existing free-to-air broadcasts looking to protect their position in a rapidly changing world. The best summary I've heard of Freeview so far is a spoof of the Freeview television ad, which Freeview had pulled from YouTube but is now back up here. I'd call it essential viewing if you want to understand what Freeview has to offer. YouTube - Freeview: More of the Same Sh#t
Social networking sites like Facebook could be monitored by the UK government under proposals to make them keep details of users' contacts.New Linux kernel released without penguin - Linux & Open Source - iTnews Australia
The Home Office said it was needed to tackle crime gangs and terrorists who might use the sites, but said it would not keep the content of conversations.
Civil liberties campaigners have called the proposal a "snoopers' charter".
The idea follows proposals to store details of every phone call, email, and internet visit made in the UK.
Tens of millions of people use sites like Facebook, Bebo and MySpace to chat with friends, but ministers say they have no interest in the content of discussions - just who people have been talking to.
The latest version of the Linux kernel has been released by Linus Torvalds with one instantly recognisable change – no Tux the Penguin.Oz victims in the dark about credit card leak - Security - iTnews Australia
Kernel 2.6.29 has some important changes, including some support for the Brtfs file system which will replace Ext and better support for WiMax wireless radio.
But users are more likely to notice that Torvalds has removed Tux and replaced him with a Tasmanian Devil wearing a penguin mask. This is a temporary measure to support the Australian campaign to save the rare marsupial.
Australians whose credit card details and other personal data have been exposed on the public Internet since Friday are yet to be contacted by their credit card merchants or law enforcement authorities.BBC NEWS | UK | Call to scrap 'illegal databases'
As reported on iTnews on Friday, the credit card and contact details of some 19,000 people have been discovered sitting in the cache of a popular search engine.
Within hours of the attack, representatives from both the Australian Federal Police and Visa told iTnews they would be investigating the matter.
As of 3pm today (Monday, March 23, 2009), the details remain available on the public Internet for viewing.
A quarter of all government databases are illegal and should be scrapped or redesigned, according to a report.
The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust says storing information leads to vulnerable people, such as young black men, single parents and children, being victimised.
It says the UK's "database state" wastes billions from the public purse and often breaches human rights laws.
But the government says the report contains "no substantive evidence" on which to base its conclusions.