Friday, November 11, 2005

Microsoft's ad pitch underpins Net moves

CNET "Microsoft's grand ambitions for free services rest on one thing: its ability to get to know you better.
The company has outlined a whole host of things it would like to offer as part of its 'Live' services effort. But it needs to make more money selling ads to make the push pay off.
To do this, it's betting on personalization as the way to boost its online ad sales. The centerpiece of the strategy is something called AdCenter--a tool that Microsoft has been developing for more than a year as a way to serve up ads tailor made for the user that is receiving them. "

Thursday, November 10, 2005

VOIP No Longer for the Underdog

VOIP No Longer for the Underdog: "News Analysis: The telehone industry's old guard emerges as leaders of 'new telephony,' and they can thank federal regulations.

Internet telephony was once for underdog firms able to muster up a few hundred thousand dollars in investments. But that's not the case anymore, and perhaps federal regulations have played a large role.
The present-day landscape is very different from what early VOIP (voice over IP) entrepreneurs had in mind for the freely available software that turns Internet connections into free phone lines.
Because of VOIP, the 'new telephone company' no longer needed to own a network of any kind.
Rather, it required only a little venture capital to build a brand and a Web site, and a requirement that all customers come with their own Internet connection. "

Riot Crackdown Nets Bloggers

French prosecutors shut down several blogs this week and arrested bloggers suspected of inciting violence, as officials moved to squelch riots that have rocked France for more than 10 days.

A prosecuting attorney from Le Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris, who spoke under condition of anonymity, told Wired News that three bloggers and forum visitors allegedly posted messages that violated French criminal statutes governing violent speech. Two of the bloggers, who were arrested earlier this week, could be arraigned under violent speech statutes, the prosecutor said. The blogs in question, he said, were hosted on a French site called Skyblog, which is owned by Skyrock.

Link: Wired News.

Study: Teenagers favor IM to e-mail

CNET "Instant messaging is emerging as a favorite communication tool among teenagers and young adults, with a good number of them sending more IMs than e-mails, a new survey says.
Nearly 66 percent of 13- to 21-year-olds say they send more IMs than e-mails, compared with 49 percent last year, according to an America Online-commissioned study of instant messaging trends.
Overall, 38 percent of users say they send as many or more IMs than e-mails.
One-fourth of users would like to see entertainment content within instant messages, while 20 percent want to make phone calls from their messaging service. Already, 33 percent of users send mobile IMs from their cell phones at least once a week. Another 12 percent say they would be interested in an IM-based VoIP service that could replace their primary household phone line, the survey said."

More Google classifieds buzz

CNET "Google has filed a patent application for something called 'Google Automat,' a service that could tie into the Google Base database service and 'Google Purchases' (formerly 'Google Wallet') online payment system, said Classified Intelligence, which helps media companies and others develop classified-advertising services.
Last month, Google said it was testing a new service, Google Base, that would let people post and make searchable any type of content. A sample page listed as examples party planning services, current events and used car listings.
'Google is seeking to patent a Web advertising placement system tentatively known as 'Google Automat' that could directly impact the $100 billion annual global classified-advertising business,' Altamonte Springs, Fla.-based Classified Intelligence said in a statement.
'It's crystal clear Google is planning for an all-out move into classified advertising,' said Peter M. Zollman, founding principal of Classified Intelligence.
In its patent applications, Google used the '' Web address, Classified Intelligence said. "

Got 2 extra hours for your e-mail?

CNET "'I was buried under a pile of e-mail,' Robbins, 41, said. 'I can't remember ever having a nightmare. For my first nightmare to be about e-mail, that was pathetic.'
In his waking life, at the consulting company where he worked, Robbins sometimes had to troll through 120 e-mail messages a day, many of them from his boss. 'By the time I got done triaging the e-mail, I didn't have energy to do the rest of the work,' Robbins said.
So Robbins sent his boss and colleagues a series of recommendations about changing their e-mail ways. When the suggestions were ignored, Robbins quit his job and went into business for himself, helping executives improve their job performance. High on his list of priorities was helping them wrestle down their e-mail."

Google's Tough Call

Wired 13.11: "A decision will be made this November that may well change the Internet as we know it. Not in a technical sense - the threats there are many and are yet to be resolved. I'm talking about change in a business sense - meaning what business models will work on the Internet."

Yahoo backs off bidding for AOL stake

CNET "'After we learned what their proposed deal terms were, we passed and we've never looked back,' a Yahoo spokeswoman said on Thursday, confirming a report in the Wall Street Journal.
She denied that the company had made an offer for AOL but confirmed that Yahoo Chief Executive Terry Semel met with Time Warner chairman Richard Parsons in October.
The paper, citing a person familiar with the matter, said Time Warner signaled it wasn't interested in the terms Yahoo was willing to offer.
Time Warner is still in talks with Web search engine Google and software giant Microsoft and the Journal said the two companies are neck-and-neck in the talks, citing unnamed sources.
Time Warner is expected to choose one partner with which it will start exclusive negotiations as early as next week, the paper said."

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

One million Windows users switch to Mac : "As many as one million Windows users may have switched to Macs this year as the iPod halo transforms Apple into a technology industry 'darling' and users tire of Windows security problems.
According to Needham analyst Charles Wolf the shift follows Apple's fast-paced series of innovations. 'The momentum generated by these products has translated into financial results that have easily beat most estimates. Most importantly, Windows users are buying Macs in increasing numbers.
'We estimate that in the first three quarters of calendar 2005, over one million of them have purchased a Mac compared to our estimate of 500,000 for the entire calendar year. Clearly, the so-called halo is working. Windows users are also switching because of the growing epidemic of viruses infecting their PCs,' he writes."

Net Chat Anoints Public Figure

Wired News: "Can mention on the net turn an ordinary citizen into a public figure with severely limited abilities to fight libel and defamation lawsuits? According to a Florida judge's ruling -- perhaps the first of its kind in the United States -- the answer is yes.
In an Oct. 21 ruling, Florida circuit court Judge Karen Cole threw out a defamation case against two TV stations because she deemed the plaintiff -- a Jacksonville woman -- to be a public figure who had been subject to 'substantial' internet debate. "

The Embattled Swipe-Card Hotel Key

New York Times: "THE magnetic hotel room key, one of the lodging industry's most popular but controversial creations, is losing some of its attraction.
New technology and old worries are edging the systems closer to extinction. Perhaps at no time will that be more apparent than at next week's International Hotel/Motel and Restaurant Show in New York, billed as the world's largest hotel industry event.
'Technology moves in cycles, and the cycle may be turning away from magnetic systems,' said Richard Siegel, who publishes the trade magazine Hospitality Upgrade. 'There are a lot of new technologies that hotels are intrigued by.'
According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, 83 percent of hotels have electronic locks, and a majority of these use magnet swipe-card technology. No one expects these systems to vanish overnight. For one thing, they are cheap - plastic keys cost about 10 cents each. They are also a snap to use - just swipe the card through the reader and you are in your room. And they are without question more efficient than the old-fashioned, easy-to-lose metal keys.
But they also have a bad reputation among some business travelers. For several years, rumors have circulated on the Internet about privacy concerns with magnetic cards. The rumors appeared to originate in 1999, when the police department in Pasadena, Calif., investigated a claim that personal information had been extracted from a hotel key card. Officials ultimately concluded that private data was not being downloaded onto the cards."

Cookie Monsters - The innocuous text files that Web surfers love to hate. "Slate uses cookies. So do the New York Times, the Washington Post, and almost every media site on the net. Popular blogs like Daily Kos and Powerline have embraced them. Google and Yahoo! dispatch them to better target ads. Retailers like Amazon rely on them to fulfill orders. Even Sesame Street deploys them on its Web site.
Cookies are simply text files sent by a Web site to your computer to track your movements within its pages. They're something like virtual license plates, assigned to your browser so a site can spot you in a sea of millions of visitors. Cookies remember your login and password, the products you've just bought, or your preferred color scheme. Sites that ask you to register use cookies to target advertising´┐Żsomeone who claims an annual salary of $35,000 might see ads for Boca Burgers rather than foie gras. "

Monday, November 07, 2005

Homeland Security's vague cyber plan

CNET "A preliminary report released by the Department of Homeland Security seems to scatter cybersecurity responsibilities across the government and the private sector while sticking to generalities about future plans.
In its 175-page draft of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (PDF), the department outlines a broad framework for protecting the nation's 'critical infrastructure' and 'key assets'--bureaucratic argot referring to everything from the power grid to dams to computer systems.
President Bush first commissioned the plan in December 2003, and the Department of Homeland Security released an early version in February. According to a notice announcing the document's availability, the latest version aims to provide greater detail.
The term 'cybersecurity' appears 148 times the draft, and a 16-page appendix devoted to the topic offers some suggestions for threat analysis, response readiness and training. "

Google, Yahoo unveil cell phone services "Yahoo Inc and Google Inc are rolling out new wireless services to provide features similar to computers on mobile phones, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In its online edition the newspaper said Yahoo is introducing a mobile phone with SBC Communications Inc that will link mobile phone services to Yahoo users' accounts, address books and preferences.

SBC executives said the SBC-Yahoo phone, which will be manufactured by Nokia Corp, is expected to be available early next year and will cost 200-300 usd, The Journal said.

Google is tailoring some of its services for use on wireless devices and starting today users of more than 100 types of mobile phones can access Google's map database, the newspaper said."

Study: CEOs find blogs useful

CNET "A growing number of chief executives of American companies rate blogs high as employee communication tools, although a majority of them remain skeptical about starting their own blog, a new study has shown.
About 59 percent of CEOs surveyed said they find Web logs, or blogs, useful for internal communications, while 47 percent see blogs as tools for communication with external audiences, according to a study conducted by PRWeek and Burson-Marsteller. Of the 131 CEOs surveyed, seven percent are actually blogging while many others say are unlikely to start a blog themselves. About 18 percent of these CEOs say they plan to host a company blog over the next two years.
The survey indicates that chief executives see blogs as useful for communicating new ideas and news, providing an informal channel of communication and getting instant feedback."

Black Hat Organizer Unbowed

Wired News: "On Wednesday, Cisco Systems released a patch for what has become known as the Black Hat Bug: a serious vulnerability in the operating system running Cisco routers, which drive traffic through much of the internet and control critical infrastructure systems.
Cisco's move closes the book on a controversy that began last July, when Mike Lynn, a computer security researcher speaking at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, demonstrated that an attacker could use the bug to crash Cisco routers or control them remotely. Before Lynn's talk concluded, the dark conference room was already lit with the glow of cell phones from audience members urging their IT departments to immediately patch their Cisco routers."

Why they say spyware is good for you

CNET "Sony rightly came under fire last week from programmers and Internet users for injecting an undetectable copy-prevention utility into Microsoft Windows when certain CDs are inserted.
Now the lawyers are taking aim, too. Robert Green, a partner at the San Francisco firm of Green Welling, says he's readying a class action lawsuit against Sony.
'We're still investigating the case and talking to different people about what happened to them,' Green said on Friday. He plans to argue that under California law, if you buy a copy-protected CD from a music store, you should be informed that a spyware-like utility will be implanted on your hard drive. "