Friday, September 23, 2005

Will eBay have buyer's remorse? | | CNET

Will eBay have buyer's remorse? | | CNET "Will eBay have buyer's remorse?
Any time you spend more than $4 billion, it's only natural to experience momentary buyer's remorse. (I'm obviously not speaking from personal experience but hey, I can dream!)
But I've been puzzling ever since eBay decided to break the bank to acquire Skype. The company's paying a pretty penny. There's the original price of $2.6 billion in cash and stock as well as the sundry performance incentives that could add another $1.5 billion if Skype hits certain financial performance metrics.
But did eBay get its money's worth? You only know the answer to these questions years later. Yahoo thought it was getting full value when it paid $5 billion to buy, perhaps the dumbest deal in the history of the computer business.
Anyway, I use both the free and pay versions of Skype. It usually works fine though it's hardly perfect. Sometimes the latency on the line is unbearable. Other times the person on the other hand says I sound like I'm talking from Jupiter. For all the glitches, I still think Skype offers good value for the price. "

PayPal glitch sparks customer anger

CNET "Online payments company PayPal is working to fix a glitch that has been causing duplicate debit card withdrawals and deposits on some customer accounts since the beginning of September.
The problem first surfaced on Sept. 6, when some PayPal customers noticed duplicate withdrawals from their debit cards that sent their accounts into the red. Two weeks later, more PayPal customers also reported duplicate withdrawals and deposits into their accounts. "

Katrina spurs federal action on VoIP

CNET "Hurricane Katrina's thrashing of communications networks has amplified the need for Congress to take action on Net phone policy, senators said Thursday.
At a hearing convened by the Senate Commerce Committee, senators pledged to take steps to ensure that all communications networks, including voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, can connect their customers to the 911 system. One such bill was introduced in May.
'I want to underscore how complete and total the implosion of communications seemed to be,' said Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican who was in the ravaged state during the storm. 'It puts the sort of normal process of rumors floating around...through the stratosphere, because all of a sudden there's no way to get real, accurate information on the ground.'
The 'robust, unique features' of Net phones helped ease the communications logjam when people could find power sources, said Sen. John Sununu, a New Hampshire Republican. According to the Voice on the Net Coalition, which represents VoIP interests, Net phones lines have been used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Red Cross, the Army, hospitals and evacuees at the Houston Astrodome in the storm's aftermath. "

Microsoft's nightmare inches closer to reality

CNET "As early as May 1995, three months before Netscape Communications' initial public offering sparked the dot-com boom, Microsoft executives were worried that the nascent World Wide Web could one day become a significant threat to the Windows franchise.
In an extensive memo called 'The Web is the Next Platform' that was introduced as evidence in Microsoft's antitrust trial five years ago, Microsoft engineer Ben Slivka described a 'nightmare' scenario for the software giant."

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Let Google Copy!

Wired News: "Google's book war with copyright holders is coming to a head with a lawsuit this week from the Writers Guild of America. The courts should take this opportunity to loosen unnecessary restrictions that are limiting innovation with no clear benefit to the public or rights holders.
In a lawsuit filed Monday, Google stands charged with illegally copying protected works for a commercial purpose without first obtaining the permission of the copyright holders."

Cosmic Log: Techies stand up to the storm

MSNBC: Techies stand up to the storm: Even as another monster hurricane is bearing down on the Gulf Coast, high-tech types are helping disaster workers cope with a flood of data: Who survived Hurricane Katrina, and who's looking for those survivors? What places haven't yet been checked? Which places are likely to provide havens from the storm, and which places are particularly hazardous?

We highlighted some of the technologies that were being employed just after Katrina hit, and during the peak of the search-and-rescue effort. Information technology emerged as a vital factor in the relief effort's successes, as well as its failures. Now those technological tools will be put to the test once again by Hurricane Rita.

Name that worm--plan looks to cut through chaos

CNET "Zotob.E, Tpbot-A, Rbot.CBQ and IRCbot.worm: all names given to a single worm that wreaked havoc in Windows 2000 systems last month. Among the plethora of identifiers, perhaps the most useful--CME-540--didn't make an impact.
But that's about to change. CME-540 was the tag attached to the worm by the Common Malware Enumeration initiative, which is just emerging from its test phase. Next month, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team plans to officially take the wraps off the effort, meant to reduce the confusion caused by the different names security companies give worms, viruses and other pests. "

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Classifieds dominate local ads growth online

CNET "Online local ad spending in the U.S. is expected to see steady growth in 2005, but will be dominated by classifieds, a new study has shown.
Local ad sales on the Net will rise 26 percent to $3.2 billion in 2005, according to a JupiterResearch report released Wednesday. The rest of the decade should see 11 percent compound annual growth, up to $5.3 billion. Approximately 70 percent of that revenue will come from classifieds.
'Outside of classifieds, local ad spending online remains relatively immature,' JupiterResearch analyst David Card said in a statement. For online publishers and networks, better opportunities lie in national advertisers that target local audiences rather than local businesses, Card said. "

Google builds an empire to rival Microsoft

CNET "Google's one-of-a-kind computer network gives it a chance to surpass Microsoft to become the most dominant company in tech, according to the author of a recently published book on the search giant.
Google already has plenty of influence. It handles nearly half of the world's Web searches. It's hiring some of the biggest names in the industry, from the controversial Kai-Fu Lee of Microsoft to the legendary Vint Cerf, an early Internet pioneer. And it has become such the topic du jour in Silicon Valley that its search for a new corporate chef warrants significant local news coverage.
But what's next? Author Stephen Arnold has closely analyzed Google patents, engineering documents and technology and has concluded that Google has a grand ambition--to push the information age off the desktop and onto the Internet. Google, he argues, is aiming to be the network computer platform for delivering so-called 'virtual' applications, or software that allows a user to perform a task on any device with an Internet connection."

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Technology progress?

OK, I love technology... well, maybe not as much as Kip at the end of Napoleon Dynamite (thank gawd!), but I like to get me a good tech fix every once in a while...

Anyways, am I the only one who is a bit freaked out by the exponential rate of connectivity? I mean... about 15 years ago, cell phones came either mounted in your car or in a large bag with usage packages starting at $1 per 30 seconds. Less than 10 years ago, the Internet started taking off... in fact this is my 10 year anniversary of my first email account with Compuserve. Now, cell phones are mini-computers, and you can carry around about 20 CDs worth of music on something about the size of a credit card.

What's coming down the pike? I mean... doesn't it frighten you a bit that gadgets are coming out that will let you watch a virtual 42" projection screen with earbuds in a thing that looks like some really pimped out sunglasses??? And if you subscribe to a mobile TV service, you could watch David Letterman riding the train home from a bad date ... Regis and Kelly on a bench in the park having your morning cup o' Joe before you do the daily grind at the office ...

As the mother of two little ones (almost three and almost one), I look with cautious optimism to the future. While it will be great to have the technology to know where they are all the time, any time (and yes, I will buy two units once our daughters get to be dating age), what about our privacy? What about the implications for how our young people socialize?

I remember hanging out at the local arcade with my group of friends and cruising the mall. While I think that 80's trend led to an overly materialistic society (see overextended credit usage among 30-somethings, increase in home foreclosures, bankruptcies... etc., etc.), what will our overly tech-savvy generation lead to?

On the one hand, my almost three-year-old is not fascinated with stuff... because she watches mostly DVD movies, she is not exposed to the overly annoying commercials hocking everything from the latest My Little Pony to the (rolling eyes) Bratz. She has no idea these wonders even exist, so... consequently, she is not trying to grab everything in site to take it home and simultaneously cleaning out mom's wallet. That's nice... but is there a downside?

You know what... I'm not going to worry about it and will just ride this wave as it comes. After all, like any generation's obsession, there will be positive and negative ramifications. "Greed is good," Gordon Gecco says in 1988... Bernie Ebbers may not agree so much today.

AOL, Microsoft prep VoIP services

CNET "America Online and Microsoft are both gearing up to launch Internet phone services, the companies announced Tuesday.
AOL plans to launch its TotalTalk Net phone service on Oct. 4. The service will let consumers make and retrieve calls, as well as send and receive e-mail and instant messages, via a PC or home phone when using AOL's AIM Triton client, the company said. The instant-messaging software upgrade will be available later this week.
Meanwhile, Qwest Communications International and Microsoft said they are partnering to enhance VoIP, or voice over Internet Protocol, service for small and midsize businesses.
The companies are the latest players to throw their hat into the increasingly crowded VoIP ring that includes telecom giants such as SBC Communications, as well as start-up Skype, which was recently acquired by eBay.
AOL said its TotalTalk service will include such features as a built-in dial pad for PC-to-phone calls and a telephone terminal adapter, or broadband router, to connect traditional telephones to a cable or DSL modem. "

Google invites 400 to 'off the record' event

CNET "Google is planning a partner forum for about 400 people, including bloggers and journalists from major media outlets, and is prohibiting participants from writing about it, according to a search engine industry expert.
Dubbed 'Zeitgeist '05: The Google Partner Forum,' the event is 'the first 'customer innovation conference' Google said it has ever held,' wrote Danny Sullivan in his Search Engine Watch blog from Friday.
The event is scheduled for Oct. 25-27 at Google's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, Sullivan said. The link to Google's posting about the event now requires a username and password for access.
In his blog, Sullivan cited the following passage, which he said is in the frequently-asked-questions section of the event Web site: 'All speeches and discussions at Zeitgeist are off the record. To ensure that our presenters and attendees can speak openly, no press coverage or blogging is permitted.'
Speakers on the agenda, Sullivan wrote, include Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, Yahoo Chief Executive Terry Semel, MSN Senior Vice President Yusuf Mehdi, InterActive Corp's Chief Executive Barry Diller and Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble. "

Monday, September 19, 2005

Dial VoIP For Vulnerability - Editorial - CIO

Dial VoIP For Vulnerability - Editorial - CIO: "Phone service is abruptly cut off at a Wall Street brokerage after a hacker launches a full-scale denial-of-service attack, flooding the firm's voice servers with registration requests. An Internet worm makes its way from a retail giant's data network to its voice network, shutting down call centers and costing millions in lost revenue. An imposter enters the phone network of a top government agency and makes away with classified information by spoofing his caller ID."