Friday, September 28, 2007

Doubleclicking is Good, Google says

Google is watching you. But you already knew that. Every time you conduct a search using its search engine, Google keeps tabs—and uses the information to send you ads tailored to the interests and tastes suggested by your searches.

Here's something you probably didn't know: The company may let you close the blinds, digitally speaking. Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt told legislators on Sept. 27 that the company is exploring whether to let users keep Google from tracking the sites they're visiting. To do so, the company would enable Web surfers to shut off so-called cookies, the bits of code used to track the sites visited by individual computers and deliver ads related to those sites. Schmidt outlined that and other steps in an e-mail to Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) read during a Senate hearing concerning Google's proposed purchase of DoubleClick. Google also is investigating technology that would keep user data collected from different sources from being concentrated in one place, and ways to better notify customers of Google's data-collection practices.

Continue reading at Google Defends the DoubleClick Deal.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Say Hello to HALO for the third time and the best article that I read about it, "Rethinking Halo"

After seeing fans on the TV waiting for the release of the HALO 3 and still thinking about which console to buy, (Xbox Ultimate or WII) and I set out to search for information on Halo. I am not a shooter game fan but I have a lot of friends who are. I have seen the game, I like the graphics but running around and shooting anything that moves is not my cup of coffee. But others say the same about the games I like, Simulations, driving and flying mainly. I also like to those in real life, flying mainly with model aircrafts and helicopters.
Back to Halo. It is a very important for Microsoft (or M$ as the empire is lovingly known here) make this issue of the game a success. In fact they plan to overtake PS3 with the aid of HALO. So the article "Rethinking Halo" gave me all the information I needed to fill the holes of my knowledge about the game, both current and past.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

SFLC files a lawsuit against Monsoon Multimedia Inc., on behalf of the developers of BusyBox, Erik Andersen and Rob Landley.

The Software Freedom Law Center has filed a lawsuit to enforce an open-source license. The suit charges Monsoon with using BusyBox under the GNU General Public License version 2 but failing to publish its source code. Under the terms of the license, distributors of software that uses the licensed software must make their source code available. Failing to do so is considered copyright infringement.
This case is a last resort after Monsoon failed to rectify the situation, he said. The suit is necessary because from a legal perspective, copyright owners can start to lose rights if they don't act to protect them, Dan Ravicher, legal director at SFLC, said.
Monsoon develops digital video products, including a device that enables remote TV viewing.
The GPL Violations Project is a group that actively pursues license violators and has brought at least one case to court in Germany. Earlier this year, one of the project's team members publicly revealed violations that Cisco Systems Inc. made in its phone previously called the iPhone. Cisco subsequently corrected the problem.
More information;
On Behalf of BusyBox Developers, SFLC Files First Ever U.S. GPL Violation Lawsuit
HAVA thread related to the same issue.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Open Office by IBM, it is a symphony, Long live ODF

IBM ANNOUNCED in New York City that it will offer a complete set of office productivity applications, desktop software, called IBM Lotus Symphony, at an event today in New York. The programs will be available as free downloads from the IBM Web site.

The IBM's offerings are versions of open-source software developed in a consortium called The original code traces its origins to a German company, Star Division, which Sun Microsystems bought in 1999. Sun later made the desktop software, now called StarOffice, an open-source project, in which work and code are freely shared.

By joining Sun and Google to develop and promote open source software products implementing ODF, IBM adds welcome resources and marketing power to lure users away from the high costs and vendor lock-in of Microsoft Office.
IBM executives compare its ODF initiative with the support it gave to the open source system Linux by promoting its use in corporate data centers, support that helped make Linux very successful over the last several years.

Monday, September 17, 2007

MIIVI is VIIDE and looks like wide open too!

MIIVI is VIIDE, while ago I wrote about Mediadefender using a site called Miivi to attract potential movie or music down loaders. They appeared to have change the name to viide but now it seems that mediadefender has become wide open instead! The same source TorrentFreak (Dugg) and ARS Technica (Slashdotted) reports about juicy details about the company.
Ironaically the leaked information was dilivered/distributed via bittorrent!, and everybody is going through personal details, contracts and contacts.
Before I could finish the article TF again posted about anothe leak, MediaDefender Phone Call and Gnutella Tracking Database Leaked
Well All those labels and movie companies that hired mediadefender to defend their products must be wondering about defense they got, from a company that even could not protect it self, even after a giant information leak!
The group supposed to be responsible for this havok, is Mediadefender defenders

Microsoft, M$, European Antitrust Decision upheld!

The 13-judge Grand Chamber of the Court of First Instance in Luxembourg, A European Union court upheld a landmark 2004 European Commission antitrust decision against Microsoft on Monday in a crucial victory for the European competition regulator over the U.S. software giant. The court dismissed Microsoft's appeal on all substantive points, except reversing the Commission on the creation and funding of a monitoring trustee to ensure implementation of one of the remedies.
"The Court of First Instance essentially upholds the Commission's decision finding that Microsoft abused its dominant position," a court statement said. The Court also ordered Microsoft to pay most attorneys fees incurred by rivals who had brought the action.
By contrast, Microsoft's allies were forced to bear their own costs.
As part of the ruling, a 497 million euro ($689.9 million) fine on Microsoft was upheld. A 280.5 million Euro non-compliance fee was added.
The Commission had later said Microsoft failed to comply with its order on interoperability and fined the company an additional 280.5 million euros. It is considering a further fine for non-compliance.
The ruling of the CFI (Court of First Instance) on facts is final, but matters of law may be appealed to the European Union's highest court, the European Court of Justice.
Information from Reuters.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

SCO is ready to read Chapter 11 Now

SCO today filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, just a month after losing several key court rulings in its legal fight against Novell Inc., IBM and others over what it asserts is the company's Unix intellectual property.

In an announcement today, Lindon, Utah-based SCO said it filed a voluntary petition for reorganization, as well as for its subsidiary, SCO Operations Inc.

"The board of directors of The SCO Group have unanimously determined that Chapter 11 reorganization is in the best long-term interest of SCO and its subsidiaries, as well as its customers, shareholders and employees," the company said in a terse press release late today. That is what happens when one bites the hand that feeds one. Looking forward to see you vaporise after IBM case closes. If you did not know, I get all my SCO court related news from Groklaw!

Friday, September 14, 2007

M$ Fiddles with your WIndows (and we don't need Damn permission)

Microsoft well known here as M$ has been caught updating users Windows machines without asking them or even mentioning them. I just checked mine but some how they missed mine! May be because I disabled automatic updates and use a firewall that windows does not know about! (Windows does not recognize Jetico Personal Firewall but it does a great job). I will update my windows when I want so disabling automatic updates might help in the events like this.
The Story came from Scott Dunn, of Windows Secrets, who noticed that Windows Update (WU) has recently started altering files on users' systems without displaying any dialogue box to request permission.
This latest snafu has replaced nine files on systems;

In Vista, the following files are updated:
1. wuapi.dll
2. wuapp.exe
3. wuauclt.exe
4. wuaueng.dll
5. wucltux.dll
6. wudriver.dll
7. wups.dll
8. wups2.dll
9. wuwebv.dll

In XP, the following files are updated:
1. cdm.dll
2. wuapi.dll
3. wuauclt.exe
4. wuaucpl.cpl
5. wuaueng.dll
6. wucltui.dll
7. wups.dll
8. wups2.dll
9. wuweb.dll

But Scott assures (I would take his word over M$' in this matter) that these files does not cause any harm to your system. But the M$' capability of doing so and utter disregard to it's users might be some thing that States wanting to extend the anti trust watch would want to show the Judge.
Scott also tells us how you can watch your system and registry changes with a free program Tiny watcher, which I already use, to see things like this in the future.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

SUN finally sets, Schwarts settles to sell windows

Gone are the days when former Sun Chief Executive Scott McNealy proclaimed: "It's mankind against Microsoft."
But that doesn't mean the company has become agnostic. Rather, the Sept. 12 move was the ultimate expression of Sun's new religion—one that in some ways is just as risky. If Sun was once defined largely by who its rivals were, it's now partnering with many of them in an effort to ensure as many customers as possible have the option of buying its technologies.
The new Microsoft deal follows alliances with IBM (IBM) and Intel (INTC), which Sun is trusting to resell its Solaris server software for customers who want it. It's another aspect of Chief Executive Jonathan Schwartz's plan to drive adoption of Sun technologies as broadly as possible. The linchpin of the scheme: The 2005 plan to give away the battle-tested Solaris, Sun's crown jewel, for free. As a result of these efforts, "We can do business with 100% of the marketplace now. That's not something we could have said a few years ago," Schwartz told BusinessWeek in a recent interview.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

States ask for extension of Microsoft Antitrust oversight extension

(AP) -- Ending court oversight of Microsoft's business practices in November would not allow enough time to consider the antitrust implications of the new Windows Vista operating system, a group of states said in a filing Thursday.
U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who oversees Microsoft Corp.'s adherence to the terms of a 2002 antitrust settlement, asked the software maker, the Justice Department and a group of states led by California submit reports by Thursday on the effectiveness of the consent decree.
The oversight aimed to make it possible for Microsoft's middleware competitors - who build software that links the operating system with everyday programs - to compete fairly, even if Microsoft's operating system monopoly persisted.
"Microsoft has not directly contravened these provisions," said the states' report, which was submitted by the office of California Attorney General Jerry Brown.
Antitrust concerns about Microsoft began surfacing with news of a Federal Trade Commission investigation in 1991, and in 1994 the software maker agreed to modify its contracts with PC makers to ease restrictions, which ended renewed U.S. and European antitrust investigations.

Another round of investigations led to a federal lawsuit that ended with a court declaration that Microsoft was using its operating system monopoly to squash middleware competition, and led to a settlement and the consent decree in 2002.

The California group said the January launch of Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows Vista, changes the game.

"As a practical matter, termination of the Final Judgment means ... plaintiffs will not be able fully to assess the impact in the marketplace of Microsoft's recent introduction of Vista," the group wrote.

Florida and Utah, two of eight states plus the District of Columbia that make up the California group, didn't sign on to the report.

"Florida made the decision not to join the filing at this time because we do not completely share the Group's position that the consent decree was totally ineffective," said Sandi Copes, a spokeswoman for the state attorney general, in a statement. "We do agree, however, that we have not seen as much competition introduced as we expected."

The Utah attorney general's office declined to comment until it could confirm the papers have been received by the court.

In its report, the Justice Department said it appeared the consent decree was working. Web browsers like Mozilla's FireFox and Apple Inc.'s Safari present "renewed competition," as do the increasing popularity of programs available through a Web browser.

"The final judgments have been successful in protecting the development and distribution of middleware products and in preventing Microsoft from continuing the type of exclusionary behavior that led to the original lawsuit," Thomas O. Barnett, assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department's antitrust division, said in a statement.
The Justice Department said in its report that while Microsoft's operating system market share hasn't dropped because of the consent decree, "it would misapprehend the purpose of the Final Judgments to rely on these facts to argue that the Final Judgments have been ineffective. Microsoft was never found to have acquired or increased its monopoly market share unlawfully."
In its own report, Microsoft directly countered California's claims, saying, "The Final Judgments were never designed to reduce Microsoft's share in any putative market."
But the California group said the consent decree has not led to any more competition. The report cites Microsoft's continued dominance in the operating system market and the fact that few, if any, PC makers have sold computers with non-Microsoft Web browsers set as the default, among other examples.

One of the casualties of Microsoft's practices was Netscape. Its Web browser led the field until Microsoft started bundling its own Internet Explorer with Windows and restricting how PC makers installed competing products. It was eventually bought by AOL.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Doing some real work with GMail with a little help from little known features.

Official Gmail Blog: Top 10 little-known Gmail features (Part 2)
This little info actually helped me. I use GMail extensively and yes I had to schedule many an event via email. I used to send the email and then create an event to match what I did with the email. But this little fact given in the article (The link above) saved the day! Funny how you don't see many things that are obvious!.
"1. Create event
Since I use Gmail and Google Calendar at work (through Google Apps), I'm constantly emailing people about meetings, and scheduling them on everyone's calendars. When I'm writing an email to set up an event, I can actually do it all from within Gmail by clicking the "Add event info" link below the subject line. Then choose the time and location for the meeting or party. When you send the email, the event details will be added to to your Google Calendar, and Gmail will send an invitation to the email recipients to add it to their calendars as well."

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Don't use mobile communications while mobile in UK

Motorists who use a hand-held mobile phone or fiddle with a satellite-navigation system while driving could be jailed for up to two years. Prosecutors have said they could be charged with dangerous driving in a dramatically tougher approach to such offences. Those caught fiddling with an MP3 music player or texting on a mobile at the wheel could also face the charge.

using mobile while driving

Prosecutions will be brought whenever it is judged that using the equipment posed a danger, such as forcing a car to swerve or causing a distracted motorist to jump a red light.
Those who kill while using a mobile phone will face 14 years behind bars under the charge of causing death by dangerous driving. Director of Public Prosecutions Ken Macdonald said: "There is widespread public concern about the use of mobile phones and other hand-held electronic equipment while driving.
"We accept that in cases where there is clear evidence that danger has been caused by their use - such as texting while driving - then our policy should spell out that the starting point for charging will be dangerous driving."

The long story continues here at This is London

An Apology and $100 for early iphone customers!

How about the guys who paid thousands? Ha! and those guys who stood on the lines for days? well that is life!

(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs apologized to customers who paid full price for the iPhone before he cut the cost by $200 on 5th of this month.

In an open letter on the company's Web site, Jobs said users who bought the phone before the discount and got no other rebate will receive $100 in credit at Apple's retail or online stores.

``Our early customers trusted us, and we must live up to that trust,'' Jobs wrote today. ``We apologize for disappointing some of you, and we are doing our best to live up to your high expectations of Apple.''

The rebate and price cut raised concern that demand may have stalled, hurting Jobs's effort to sell 10 million iPhones in 2008 and take on Research In Motion Ltd. and Motorola Inc. Cupertino, California-based Apple plans to sell its millionth iPhone by the end of this month. The iPhone, a combined iPod media player and mobile handset, went on sale June 29 for as much as $600.

Apple shares fell $1.75, or 1.3 percent, to $135.01 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading after a 5.1 percent slump yesterday. The stock has gained 59 percent in 2007.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Silverlight flashed and Moonlight is on the way!

Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday officially released version 1.0 of its Silverlight rich media player. Silverlight is a cross platform, cross browser plug-in that enables designers and developers to build rich media experiences and .NET based RIAs for the web.
WeSeePeople: Silverlight released and Moonlight is on the way!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

New iPods, Love them!

Apple has unveiled a new line of iPod's, including a long awaited touch-screen iPod and the new look nano. Added to the bunch is ability to buy music via iTunes directly from the device.

Touch-screen iPod, iPod Touch features the same 3.5-inch, touch-screen display as the iPhone, on which light finger touches allow the user to scroll through menus and resize pictures with two fingers.
You get all of the lovely multi-touch goodness that the iPhone provides, so you can swipe, flick and flip through your music, videos, pictures and podcasts to your heart's content. The display is 3.5in wide, 320 x 240 and is of course perfect for Cover Flow.The iPod Touch includes the Safari Web browser, with Google and Yahoo search engines and easy access to YouTube videos. Basically a iPhone without a chain attached to AT&T.
The iPod Touch is 8mm thick, and can store photos, music, videos and other digital data. It is priced at $299 and will be available in Australia later this month. A 16GB model will go on sale for $399.

The iPod nano now features a 2.0-inch display that features the same resolution as the previous-generation full-sized iPod: 320 x 240 pixels. "We've achieved this with a screen with the highest pixel density we've ever shipped: 204ppi," explained Jobs. "And the screen is just gorgeous. We you see it you're going to really love it."

Jobs demonstrated the iPod nano playing video by watching an episode of The Daily Show featuring John Hodgman, the actor who appears as the PC in the US versions of Apple's "Mac and PC" television ads.
Jobs said the new iPod nano provides 24 hours of audio and five hours of video playback on a single battery charge. The redesigned iPod nano comes in two versions - a 4GB version in silver, for $149, and 8GB version in colours, for $199.

Palm Foleo found dead at birth

According to a post by Palm CEO Ed Colligan, Palm has decided to shelve much talked about mini notebook, Foleo due to inconsistencies in operating system and development platforms. Palm is striving hard to have all the systems on a single platform.
Financially, Palm will take a limited charge of about $10 million dollars to our earnings. Perhaps it is a good decision by Palm. I would not have bought one as I have given up using Palm a long time ago. I have considered getting Treo but went Windows way after hearing all the negative reviews about Treo.
Funny thing about the Palm CEO's post is that it collected a bunch of comments complaining about palm devices!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

OOXML Fails to Win Fast Tracking Approval

The International Organization for Standardization has voted against a proposal to fast-track Microsoft's Office Open XML format as an international standard. Here's how the vote went: all 41 of the of the countries that had worked on the proposal participated in the vote. There were 17 "yes" votes, 15 "no" votes, and 9 abstentions. Without counting the abstentions, that works out to 53.12 percent approval, far short of the two-thirds majority needed. Of the 87 national standards bodies voting, 18 voted against OOXML, leaving OOXML just shy of the 75 percent threshold for that vote.


Microsoft Corp. failed to win approval for its Office software file format to be considered an international standard, losing a closely watched vote that reflects the software giant's broader battles in Europe and around the world.

Voting on the file format, called Open XML, closed Sunday at the International Organization for Standardization, or ISO. To become a standard, Open XML needed to meet two criteria; it missed both -- albeit narrowly in one case. File formats are the rubrics used to turn bits of data into business letters, spreadsheets and presentations.

A spokesman at ISO, the primary international body that ratifies standards on everything from the size of nuts and bolts to the technical specifications of computer codes, declined to comment, saying the group was preparing an announcement about the vote.

The standards struggle -- which has pitted Microsoft against open-source advocates and traditional rival International Business Machines Corp. – is important because it speaks to the issue of who should control the digital codes used to store billions of documents. Microsoft sought to have its document formats adopted as a standard in part to allay concerns that it keeps rivals from developing competing office software.

The vote isn't the end of the line for Microsoft. The standards issue now enters another phase during which the company has a chance to convince disapproving countries to change their minds. In a statement, a Microsoft executive, Tom Robertson, said he was "extremely delighted" that 74% of the countries voted to support Open XML as a standard. Microsoft needed 75%. Microsoft fell shorter in the other requirement, that two-thirds of a key group of countries vote yes. According to people familiar with the matter, 53% in the key group did so.