joi, 30 august 2007

Intel looks to improve desktop security with vPro upgrade

Intel released an upgrade to its vPro bundle of automated PC management technologies on Monday, saying that the new chip package delivers better data security for desktop systems than the original version launched last year did.

Systems administrators can use the new processor and chip set bundle, which was code-named Weybridge, to automatically send software patches to thousands of desktop PCs, according to Intel officials. They said the upgraded technology can also be tapped to instruct PCs that aren't being used to enter a sleep state or to remotely diagnose broken systems.

In conjunction with Intel's announcement, Hewlett-Packard Co., Dell Inc. and Lenovo Group Ltd. all introduced desktop PCs based on the new vPro bundle, which officially is called the Intel vPro Processor Technology for 2007.

Intel plans to add a version of vPro for notebooks during the first half of year, at the same time that the company upgrades its current Centrino Pro processor with a new chip that is being called Montevina.

Greg Bryant, general manager of Intel's digital office platform division, said during a briefing in Boston that to qualify for the vPro label, a PC must use an Intel Core 2 Duo processor from the E6550 device on up, plus the company's Q35 Express chip set and other hardware-based networking and virtualization technologies.

Compared with the original vPro platform launched last September, the upgraded components will make it easier for IT administrators to manage large fleets of PCs, Bryant said. But perhaps the biggest improvement will be in security, he added.

For example, the new vPro offering uses virtualization to run some security software in a protected section of a system's hard drive. It also includes time-based filters for detecting the patterns of security attacks, as well as on-chip memory for storing network security credentials in hardware instead of more-vulnerable software.

Those features won't replace conventional security applications but are designed to work alongside such products, Bryant said. He claimed that as security threats have grown more sophisticated, IT managers need a combination of software and hardware to defeat them.

"Much security today is based on threats running in software on the OS, which has to be working for [the security mechanisms] to be effective," Bryant said. "Some things, like how memory is accessed, are controlled by the chip set. So if we don't do it, who is going to do it?"

Dean McCarron, an analyst at Mercury Research Inc. in Cave Creek, Ariz., said that Weybridge includes enough improvements to attract new corporate buyers, although he noted that it isn't aimed at small and midsize businesses.

"You're not going to see [small and midsize businesses] using this, with one guy reviewing the management console each night," McCarron said. "But in the enterprise environment, this kind of thing is pretty critical to keeping costs down. The last thing you want to do is go out and visit the desktops when you've got 5,000 of them."

Reducing on-site support calls by IT technicians was one of the primary reasons that Sutter Health, a not-for-profit network of 26 hospitals and other health care facilities that operates primarily in Northern California, is adopting desktops with the vPro technology.

Tim Hearing, regional vice president and CIO for Sutter's Sacramento/Sierra region, said the task of managing his unit's 7,500 desktops and several thousand laptops is complicated by the fact that its five hospitals and 40 clinics are spread across an area with a 100-mile radius.

The organization recently finished a test of the original vPro offering and now plans to purchase several thousand HP systems that include the new version of the technology. "We have a few hundred of the 2006 models, just to do a pilot and play around and see if it's worth paying the few extra bucks," Hearing said. "And at least for us, the answer was 'yes' since we have such a decentralized environment."

Hearing noted that even if vPro was installed on just 10% of his operation's PCs, that would help to cut down on the trips to remote facilities by IT staffers. "You need quite a bit of windshield time when you have to go out and touch 700 devices," he said.

HP said it will offer the new vPro technology in its HP Compaq dc7800 desktop PC.

Dell will deploy vPro 2007 in its OptiPlex 755 system, offering users a choice of five processor speeds and hard drive storage of up to 250GB. And Lenovo will make the Intel technology available in its ThinkCentre M57p desktop and eventually in its ThinkPad T61 notebook PC as well. None of the PC vendors disclosed shipping dates or prices.

Red Hat puts systems management online

Red Hat, Inc. has launched an online version of Command Center, its integrated server and application monitoring service. It also brings new features and a free evaluation version.

Red Hat Command Center is a software as a service offering that monitors the availability and performance of IT infrastructures around the clock, said Red Hat. Because Command Center is delivered as a service, it's quick to deploy and you pay only for what you use, the company said. Command Center monitors Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss, as well as a range of IT infrastructure components including network devices, servers, business applications and websites, the company claimed.

Previous releases of Red Hat Command Center required a dedicated hardware appliance called a "scout" to monitor servers behind a firewall. Now the scout software can be deployed on any commodity server.

New features include:
  • Improved access to monitoring data

  • Increased licensing flexibility, by server or by probe

  • Better administrative control over scout configurations

  • Refreshed user interface and login capabilities
According to Red Hat, bulk monitoring data can now be downloaded in the open XML standard for reporting and archival purposes. Enhanced entitlement tools allow you to mix and match unlimited probes per server or purchase only the probes you need. The scout software has also added administration tools for improved diagnostics and security within a customer's monitoring environment, the company said.

Red Hat also claimed that Command Center's Web interface has been refreshed for greater usability so that one Red Hat user ID now gives you access to all the company's online services.

Command Center sits alongside Red Hat's other management services, including Red Hat Network Satellite and JBoss Operations Network

miercuri, 29 august 2007

NASA photo, video collection to be digitized

With a 50-year collection of photos, videos, films and other material, NASA's archives from manned and unmanned space missions is almost as vast as outer space.

And now, NASA is undertaking a project to put all of that material into a central archive that can be searched by space flight aficionados.

In an announcement Thursday, NASA said it has reached a deal with the nonprofit, San Francisco-based Internet Archive to scan, archive and manage the agency's vast collection. The effort will be paid for solely through grants, foundations and individual contributions received by the Internet Archive.

NASA already has much of its collection online, but the material is divided up into more than 20 different imagery categories, making it hard to find specific images or archives unless a user knows exactly where it is, said spokesman Bob Jacobs. "One of the challenges, and the thing that interested the Internet Archive, is that the agency didn't have digital media storage [procedures in place] as one of its core competencies," he said. "The bottom line here is that we have lots of assets ... but we had no real coordinated and certainly no comprehensive search capability ... to find the best of our images."

That will change with the creation of a single resource online where visitors can search and find the high- and low-resolution images and information they want, he said.

The agency will begin by providing the most easily accessible images and other resources so they can be put into the new online database, with additional material added as it is unearthed. "There's 50 years' worth of materials here, and it's in a variety of media and locations," including 10 NASA field centers, Jacobs said.

Much of what is in the collection may be surprising when it is released as the five-year project gets up to speed, he said. "I don't think that any of us know the depth to which a lot of these assets are stored. You finish one project and you open up another box filled with things you've never seen before."

Paul Hickman, office manager for the Internet Archive, said the group will house the digitized collection on its high-capacity redundant servers in San Francisco, Europe and Egypt. Presently, the group handles an estimated 5 petabytes of storage, but more capacity can be added. "Whatever they have, we'll have the capacity for it," he said.

The Internet Archive was selected by NASA for the project following a competitive process, he said.

The images and other data will likely be provided to the Internet Archive on hard drives so that it can be transferred to the group's archives for storage, Hickman said. Other materials, including printed documents, microfilm, books, computer presentations, audio files and VHS video, will be scanned or copied and then digitized for the online archive.

Initial plans for the project call for the Internet Archive to consolidate NASA's major image collections in the first year, with more to come the year after that. In the third year, NASA and the Internet Archive will identify analog imagery that needs to be digitized and added. The two partners will also work to build a system to automatically capture, catalog and store future material in the online archive.

The project will allow the space agency to more easily share and showcase its unique achievements, including remarkable photos from its Mars rover missions and from its manned and unmanned voyages to the Moon and beyond.

"Any opportunity that we have to allow the public to experience these missions, well, they're just incredible opportunities for us to do that," Jacobs said. "We have some of the most amazing imagery of anyone on the planet."

Seagate to offer solid-state drives in 2008

Seagate Technology LLC plans to add solid-state drives based on flash memory chips to its lineup of storage products sometime in 2008, the company said Thursday.

Seagate will introduce the drives across a range of products including desktop and notebook PCs, offering various storage capacities, said Woody Monroy, a Seagate spokesman. Monroy confirmed comments made by the company in published reports earlier in the day.

"We have solid-state drives on every road map that we have," Bill Watkins, the company's CEO, told The Wall Street Journal in an interview.

SSDs, as solid-state drives are also known, use flash memory instead of magnetic disks to store information. Flash is a type of non-volatile memory, which means the chips retain stored information when power is off. Other memory types, such as DRAM, lose data when the power goes off.

SSDs offer a couple advantages over disk-based drives: they're lighter, consume less power, and more rugged, making them ideal for laptops and mobile devices. They are also more expensive, but the price gap is narrowing as flash memory becomes increasingly cheaper.

Seagate already makes hybrid drives, which combine flash memory with magnetic disks. Its Momentus 5400 PSD hybrid drive stores the most commonly accessed data on flash memory instead of on disks, which improves read time and speeds up the process of booting a computer, the company said.

The drives are intended to be used in laptops and are available in capacities up to 160GB, according to Seagate's Web site.

Seagate will use the new flash drives to augment its product lineup for certain applications, but predicts far greater demand for its hybrid, or "flash-embedded," drives. "We have a pretty compelling product in hybrid drives; that's where we see a large part of the storage market going in the future, much bigger than SSD," Monroy said.

In January, Seagate joined an industry alliance of storage vendors promoting hybrid drive technology, also including Hitachi Global Storage Technologies Inc., Fujitsu Ltd., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Toshiba Corp. That capability also complements a feature of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Vista OS, designed to remove the delay often encountered while a computer searches for and retrieves files from its hard drive. Intel Corp. also uses a similar approach to speed the performance of its Centrino Duo notebook platform.

As the high cost of flash and hybrid drives drops closer to traditional hard drives, consumers will soon fuel increased demand for the superior performance of solid state, analysts said. In June, iSuppli Corp. forecasted that by the end of 2009, 12% of notebooks would include SSDs, and 35% of notebooks would use hybrid hard drives.

Microsoft uses Silverlight for experimental search site

Microsoft Corp. has launched an experimental Web site that plays with two technologies the company plans to make a big part of its Web strategy: Internet-based search and Silverlight.

The site, called "Tafiti," which in Swahili means "do research," provides a combination of Microsoft's Live Search with an uncommon interface built using Silverlight. Microsoft launched Silverlight -- a combination of player and development technology -- in April as a way to embed multimedia graphics within Web browsers. The technology competes with Adobe Systems Inc.'s Flash and Flash Player. Live Search is Microsoft's search engine, which the company has completely overhauled in the past two years and continues to optimize in an effort to compete with Google Inc. and others.

Microsoft developed Tafiti with Seattle-based design firm Jackson Fish Market LLC as a way for people to organize information and do research for a project that would entail searching for various topics from different resources on the Web, including Web pages, images and books. Microsoft also wanted to show how its nascent Silverlight technology could create a new Web experience for search, the company said. Microsoft has not said whether it plans to use the site in a commercial way.

The search experience Microsoft presents in Tafiti is unlike most currently found on the Web. The graphics on the home page have a similar look and feel to the graphical user interface of Windows Vista -- after all, Silverlight is based on Windows Presentation Foundation, the graphical subsystem contained in Vista. The page includes a box for entering a search topic on the left side of the screen, which is created to look like the top of a piece of looseleaf paper, with a blank white section in the center with the heading "Web" where search results appear. On the right is a notepad-like application that Microsoft calls a "shelf," with thumbnail-size screen shots of what look like Web pages.

Once a search topic is entered, the results come up in the center. Users can drag and drop searches they want to look more closely to one of the search shelves on the right side of the screen. These searches can be stacked on top of each other on each shelf, and when a user clicks on the notepad with the saved searches, they appear in the center of the screen on graphics that look like torn pieces of paper. Users then have the option to create a link to the page in a blog through the "Blog it" command or to e-mail the Web site to someone via the "E-mail it" command.

Previous searches also are saved in a similar way, with a new box appearing on the left to begin a new search that is stacked on top of the previous search so that it can be accessed if a user so chooses.

Users also can look at search results in a "Tree View" by clicking on that command on top of the search results page. That takes users to a page on which a tree appears with the first few words of all of the different search results appearing as various branches. Mousing over a search result makes a notepad pop up with some information from the search result and a link to the Web page.

Tafiti runs on Windows Vista and XP SP 2, and is accessible through Internet Explorer Versions 6 and 7 and Mozilla Firefox and 2.0.x on these operating systems. It's also available on Firefox, 2.0.x and Apple Safari 2.0.4 on Apple Inc.'s Mac OS X.

marți, 28 august 2007

Autosurf Sites: A Real Way to Earn Money or a Scam?

Autosurf sites promise members payment for viewing ads -- often very large amounts of money. They claim autosurfing is a great way to make money -- and they are extremely popular right now.

But how legitimate are these autosurf sites -- and can you really make any money?

This has become a very hot question, because the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently filed fraud charges against the owner of perhaps the largest autosurf site,, and alleged this site was actually a $50 million Ponzi scam.

(A Ponzi or pyramid scheme is a scam that promises people outrageous returns or payments, and pays them with money from new investors or members instead of money generated from the business. Since this is not sustainable over time, Ponzi scams always collapse and people who join later always lose money. Ponzi scams are illegal in the US.)

The Concept of Autosurfing

Autosurf is a controversial form of online advertising, where different advertised websites are automatically rotated in the viewer's browser. Advertisers, of course, pay the autosurf company to have their websites as part of the rotation. Viewers are paid cash or credit to view the advertised websites.

Autosurf sites are rotated automatically for the viewer. No interaction is required for most autosurf programs, so there is usually no way for advertisers to know if the viewers are even seeing the ads.

In fact, many autosurfers leave their computers and go and get a cup of coffee or go to the gym while the autosurf ads are being displayed. This is a huge disadvantage for the advertisers.

Why People Autosurf

The primary reason people autosurf is to earn cash or credits. Some autosurf sites require people to add their own money, which combines some kind of job (watching the ads) with a type of "investment" or "membership."

The second reason people autosurf is to get traffic to their own websites. Some autosurf programs will show your website to other members in direct proportion to how many times you view other websites. For example, you might earn one credit to have your website shown for every two websites you view. Websites that are purely for traffic and require no monetary investment are called "traffic exchange" programs and are not Ponzi scams.

Legitimate Autosurf Programs

There are autosurf programs that do indeed pay their members money. However, it's important to note that the money being paid to the site's autosurfers isn't coming from the members themselves. The money is coming from paid advertisers.

Here is how a legitimate autosurf program works:

Advertisers pay the autosurf company x dollars per thousand impressions. (An impression is when the website is displayed in the viewer's browser as part of the rotation.)

For example, it's not uncommon for an advertiser to pay $1 to $2 per thousand impressions. That means the advertiser is paying the autosurf company $.001 to $.002 per impression. Then the autosurf company pays their autosurfers a percentage of that amount -- for example, half of the amount it gets paid by the advertisers.

That means that an autosurfer would have to have 1,000 to 2,000 websites displayed in their browser rotation to earn $1.00! Since each website is usually displayed for 15 to 30 seconds, it's easy to see that these autosurf programs will not lead to riches.

Now, the companies who are buying advertising know that they are getting impressions and not necessarily visitors. That's why the cost of autosurf advertising is so low. And as you can see, that's also why autosurfers aren't getting rich off of their autosurfing efforts.

Again, notice that in the above example, the money being paid to the autosurfers is coming from the paid advertisers, not from the members themselves.

What About Autosurf Sites That May Be Ponzi Schemes?

At these sites, you don't autosurf for free -- you have to invest in the autosurf program. These sites promise that you will get paid to autosurf, and the amount you get paid is often proportional to your investment.

Usually, there is a wide range in the amount you can invest -- from just a few dollars to thousands of dollars. And, you're promised a very high rate of return: 1% to 10+% per DAY for 100 to 500 days.

The more you invest, the more you are told you'll earn for your viewing of the advertised sites.

These sites also have a recruitment component. In other words, you recruit others to participate in the program. That's part of the system.

How Do You Know if an Autosurf Program Is Legitimate?

Here are four important questions to ask:

1. Are the payouts high? If you are promised unusually high earnings, be VERY skeptical.

2. Do you need to invest your money to autosurf? In general, you should never have to pay to get a job. Again, be very skeptical if you are asked to pay or invest to join.

3. Where is the money to pay you coming from? Is it coming from advertisers paying the autosurf company or from other members' fees?

4. Are the payouts related to what you are doing? Why should you earn more money for viewing the same ads if you have more money invested in the program? (After all, advertisers don't get more benefit if you've invested more money.)

Caveat: You can always ignore good testimonials in deciding whether or not something is a Ponzi scam. Ponzi scams DO pay their early members (usually outrageous amounts), so Ponzi scams will have great testimonials. Ponzi scams fall apart when not enough new members join or when there are complaints that generate investigations -- that's when people stop getting paid and millions of dollars are often lost.

Another characteristic of Ponzi scams is that they often have a very charismatic founder. This is certainly not a requirement of a Ponzi scam, but often people who have been scammed will later still defend the founder who scammed them.

Currently, the SEC has filed fraud charges against the owner of The owner is accused of running a $50 million Ponzi scam and pocketing $1.9 million into her personal bank accounts. According to an SEC statement, "at least 95 percent of revenues have come from new investments in the form of membership fees from new or existing members. The other 'multiple income streams' from advertising revenues or off-site investments were either negligible or non-existent.", which had over 300,000 members, has ceased operations. is only one of many, very similar autosurf programs out there.

Are these current autosurf sites Ponzi scams? We'll let the FBI and SEC make the final determination. In the meantime, we recommend you look at any autosurf program VERY skeptically and ask (and get good answers to) the four questions above before you make a decision to join any autosurf program.

Time to sign off. Enjoy your week.

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Companies should be wary of low-priced Google office suite, study says

At just $50 a year per user, Google Inc.'s Google Apps Premier Edition (GAPE) hosted office productivity suite could be one of the cheapest mistakes a large business makes.

That's one of the conclusions of a study by the Burton Group, which said GAPE offers lots of good value for business users, but lacks strong regulatory compliance features and poor administrative tools for user accounts. That means a quick deployment in a large business could be a "career-limiting move" for IT staffers who advocate its use without knowing of its shortcomings.

In his 55-page study, Guy Creese, an analyst at the Midvale, Utah-based analyst firm, said that GAPE has energized the market for software-as-a-service (SaaS) products. But it is primarily based on a similar free, consumer-focused Google Apps productivity suite that doesn't convert easily for large corporate use.

"Initially combining a portal, e-mail, instant messaging, calendars, document sharing and concurrent document creation -- all for the price of $50 per user per year -- the solution rapidly caught enterprises' imaginations," Creese wrote. "Unfortunately, quickly adopting GAPE without understanding its quirks or looking at other alternatives is likely to become a career-limiting move."

While usability is generally good -- except for users who build complex spreadsheets -- critical data security and regulatory compliance features are missing, Creese said in an interview today. "I would say that a lot of people would view this as a potential [Microsoft] Office replacement," he said. "One of the main sorts of architectural problems Google has right now is that these products were created for consumers."

As a result, IT administrators can't add users in groups with the same general rights, making the creation and administration of user accounts slow and cumbersome because they have to be set up individually, Creese said. "If you're a large enterprise looking to deploy this corporatewide, it is an issue."

On the records management and compliance issue, Google is not the only SaaS vendor with shortcomings, Creese said. Typically, I get major silence" when vendors are asked how they deal with those issues, he said.

Google's offering allows spreadsheets to be saved and preserved in groups for later access, although word processing documents can only be saved individually, a time-consuming process, Creese said. "And that gets legal departments nervous [because] they're on the hook for the documents" with no easy way to retrieve them. "For a small to medium-size business, that's not a big thing. But for a large business, that doesn't really cut it."

Not all the news is bad, though, according to Creese.

While GAPE may not yet be fully featured for large business users, Google "has done a service to the marketplace by legitimizing this" approach, he said. Other major vendors, such as Inc. and Microsoft Corp. -- with its popular Office suite -- are moving into the SaaS office productivity market on Google's heels, adding credibility to the concept. "I think a large part of this is just the brand recognition that Google gets with this. But I am not convinced that they will ultimately win the battle."

In the report, Creese wrote that SaaS-based products are not always a good fit for companies. "For example, some SaaS solutions assume that an Internet connection is always available; financial institutions prefer that corporate information be stored behind the corporate firewall; and support via a Web site can be a shock to companies used to frequent face-to-face meetings with suppliers," he wrote.

"Rushing into a decision is typically a bad move when looking at any new system. But the GAPE decision is especially difficult because it demands that enterprises bet on a delivery model [SaaS], a product [Google Apps] and a company [Google] that are all less than a decade old," he wrote. "Furthermore, the offering is somewhat difficult to understand because its features are generic enough that it can function -- in limited cases -- as a replacement for Microsoft Office, as an enterprise content management system, and as a collaboration and communications system. In addition, the product is still evolving."

"While the $50 per user per year price point is attractive, enterprises are not getting a lot for their money," he wrote.

Creese called the situation in the overall marketplace similar to the emergence of the Netscape Web browser in '94-'95, when Microsoft missed the initial Internet launch and had to play catch-up. "It's a real race," Creese said. "In the end, I think this is all good for enterprises. The market is still immature. While [enterprise users] should pay attention, I don't think it's time to rush into things."

luni, 27 august 2007

Yahoo Mail lets users send free text messages to cell phones

August 27, 2007 (Computerworld) -- Yahoo Inc. has closed the beta testing of its new e-mail service and will roll it out to its 254 million users over the next six weeks, the company said today. The beta testing of the new Yahoo Mail had been going on for two years.

Yahoo has added some new features to Yahoo Mail that were not included in its test of the service. For example, users can now send free text messages in real-time from Yahoo Mail to cell phones in the US, Canada, India and the Philippines, according to the statement. In addition, they can send instant messages from Yahoo Mail to Yahoo Messenger and Windows Live Messenger2 users.

Yahoo said it will continue to offer its classic version of Yahoo Mail to users who might not want to switch to the new service. "We have always been focused on making it easy for people to connect to those who matter most to them, and during the beta testing period of the new Yahoo Mail, we were able to incorporate a number of enhancements based on valuable feedback from our users," said John Kremer, vice president for Yahoo Mail.

Yahoo Mail will also add a feature called Shortcuts that lets the system automatically recognize things such as dates and addresses, giving users the option of adding the information to their Yahoo Calendar or Contacts list, launching Web searches and displaying a map inside the Yahoo Mail interface. The new Yahoo Mail will be available to Yahoo Small Business Mail users this fall.

With competition heating up from Google, Microsoft and others, Yahoo has to continually boost Yahoo Mail, which drives a lot of Web traffic for the company, an analyst said.

"Yahoo Mail is a keystone application for Yahoo, so continuing to enhance it is very important for the company, because there is a good chunk of ad inventory they get there," said Mike McGuire, a Gartner analyst.

The challenge, he said, is always to upgrade services in a way that provides tangible, concrete benefits to users, and to make people aware of the value of the improvements.

Because some users won't embrace the new version right away, giving them the option of using the "classic" version of Yahoo Mail is a smart move. "That's important, because consumer inertia is a pretty powerful force," McGuire said.

Yahoo Mail is a free service, but it has a fee-based option called Plus that costs $19.95 per year and offers additional features, such as POP access, e-mail forwarding and no graphical ads.

joi, 23 august 2007

IBM unveils Lotus Notes 8

By all accounts, the much-needed upgrade offers a modernized user interface for Notes as well as new usability tools and added capabilities, such as the ability to send instant messages from within the e-mail client via IBM's Sametime software.

The changes are the result of building the Version 8 client on top of the company's Eclipse-based rich-client platform, according to IBM officials.

Version 8 represents IBM's strategy to create client interfaces built on a common platform. This will allow components of any client application to be provisioned and managed centrally, said Barton Group analyst Karen Hobert.

For example, Notes 8 is built on the same programming model as Lotus Expeditor 6.1.1, which is based on open standards from The common framework becomes an open client for mashups and composite applications in addition to the traditional Notes features.

Although Notes 8 may not steal market share from Microsoft Corp.'s Outlook client, Hobert said the new release should more than satisfy current Notes users.

"It was a product that has been neglected for quite some time," said Hobert. "Now organizations that do have Notes mail can offer to their users an e-mail client that is on par with whatever else is out there."

Notes 8 offers users upgrades in three major areas: extensibility through plug-ins and composite applications; a new provisioning capability; and editing tools based on the Open Document Format for Office Applications for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations.

Because the framework is an open standard and Java-based, managers can also get at the controls to change menus based on usage models and to provision users by sending out a wrapped file that is easily opened on the client side.

Both Notes 8 and Domino 8 are shipping now. IBM said its suggested retail pricing starts at $101 per client for Notes 8 and $73 per user for the company's Domino Web Access software, a browser-based alternative to the full e-mail client.

Apple signs iPhone deals for Europe, report says

August 22, 2007 (IDG News Service) -- Apple Inc. has signed its first deals with mobile phone service providers to offer the iPhone in three of Europe's largest markets, ending a period of intense negotiations, according to a report in the Financial Times newspaper.

Germany's T-Mobile Deutschland GmbH, France's Orange SA and the U.K.'s O2 (UK) Ltd. are reported to have signed exclusive deals to sell the iPhone in their respective markets.

The service providers have agreed to give Apple 10% of the revenue generated from sales of voice and data services for the device, according to the Financial Times story, which cited unnamed sources. The service providers hope to introduce the phone in time for the holiday shopping season.

Apple plans to announce the deal officially at the IFA international consumer electronics exhibition in Berlin next week, the Financial Times reported.

The iPhone launched in June in the U.S. through an exclusive partnership with AT&T Inc. Initial reviews were positive, except for concerns about AT&T's slow EDGE (Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution) data network, and the fact that the iPhone's battery can only be replaced by returning the device to Apple. There were also activation problems during the first weekend, when thousands of customers tried to activate their phones at the same time and overwhelmed AT&T's servers.

Since then, speculation had been rife about who Apple would partner with in Europe. Most initial reports agreed that T-Mobile and O2 would be among the partners. Some reports, citing unnamed sources, said that Vodafone Group PLC, Europe's biggest mobile service provider, had been outbid by rivals in eleventh-hour talks.

Europe's splintered telecommunications market makes it harder for Apple to launch the iPhone here than in the U.S. None of the big carriers cover all of Europe's most populated markets, forcing Apple to strike deals with several companies.

The iPhone could provide a boost for mobile service providers in Europe, where brand loyalty is not very strong and customers tend to choose service based on coverage, Forrester Research Inc. analyst Niek van Veen said in a recent interview.

Apple's new smart phone may also help them to secure longer-term contracts with customers, who tend to favor prepaid calling plans in Europe over long-term subscriptions. That same factor could also work against the iPhone in Europe, however. Apple and AT&T require iPhone customers to sign up for two-year contracts, and that's an unusually long period.

Apple's steep demands may have made it harder for the company to reach agreements, van Veen said.

AT&T reportedly is also sharing a portion of the revenue from the iPhone. It's a new business model that Europe's carriers may be reluctant to swallow, van Veen said.

"It's more than just a question of reach and what Apple wants, it's how much operators are willing to sacrifice their current [business] model for this phone," he said.

The contracts with T-Mobile, Orange and O2 were signed in recent days, according to the Financial Times. The top executives of T-Mobile and O2 campaigned for personal talks with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, the paper said.

The story appeared first in the German-language Financial Times Deutschland and was reported later in English in the U.K. Financial Times.

James Niccolai in Paris contributed to this report.

Google's Blogger hit by outage

August 22, 2007 (IDG News Service) -- Google Inc.'s Blogger blog publishing and Blogspot blog-hosting services went offline earlier today. Among the organizations affected by the outage was Google itself, which hosts its official company blogs on Blogspot.

Blogger publishers have posted a rising volume of complaints on the official Blogger discussion forum since Monday, reporting problems editing, publishing and accessing blogs.

However, things apparently took a turn for the worse this morning, when Blogger and Blogspot apparently went offline.

Checks on and a variety of Blogspot-hosted blogs by IDG News Service staffers in different parts of the U.S. and Europe returned server error messages, confirming reports from users in the Blogger discussion forum.

Blogger and Blogspot were back online around 11 a.m. EDT. The outage apparently lasted more than an hour. However, many Blogger publishers have been reporting error messages when trying to perform a variety of operations at least since Monday.

Google didn't respond to a query yesterday about the complaints piling up in the discussion forum, nor did it reply to a request for comment this morning about the service's outage.

miercuri, 22 august 2007

Flash drive offers PIN security

Memory company Corsair has come up with an ingeniously simple way to secure USB flash drives without having to remember a password – build a PIN-based ‘padlock’ into the drive itself.

As the picture on the company website makes apparent, the new Flash Padlock drive has a five-button PIN interface on each drive, into which the user hits the unlock code before accessing the drive. Doing this is as simple as hitting an unlock button on the unit and then entering the chosen code, which can be up to ten numbers in length.

For extra security, the Flash Padlock automatically unlocks itself each time it is removed from a PC, so users don’t actually have to remember anything beyond the PIN number to use the drive securely. The drive requires no special software to operate.

An added benefit compared to password-based products is that the Flash Padlock partitions the drive as a singe partition – password-based drives reserve a separate partition for the security driver itself.

The company’s argument is that users feel more at home using simple PIN codes than having to load specialised software designed to choose and manage passwords.

Rival products in the USB storage segment invariably come with some kind of software security, but there is no evidence that the average user actually turns on such security.

Building a PIN number touchpad into a drive sounds like an intuitive feature, as long as the code itself isn’t forgotten. To get round that problem, users are invited to register their PIN code on Corsair’s website. If the PIN is forgotten, the code can then be retrieved by supplying a valid email address and password.

Beyond describing the PIN system, Corsair’s description of the drives inner security workings, and any use of encryption, is vague. Presumably, the PIN is stored on a physically separate memory location within the drive.

Flash Padlock costs $29.95 (£15) and $39.95 (£20) for the 1Gb and 2Gb capacities on offer, and can be used on Windows 2000, XP, Vista and Apple OS X.

Google Earth plug-in adds space exporation

Google is offering a new add-on for Google Earth, called Sky, that lets users explore space and see photos of the precise star formation overhead based on their locale.

Users can now tap Google to peruse astrological wonders such as the Crab Nebula, an expanding remnant of a supernova 6,300 light years from earth. Markers within the star photos pull in explanatory text from Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. Overlays outline constellations such as Leo, illustrate phases of the moon and show how the planets visible from Earth orbit over two months.

Google Sky uses high-resolution imagery from the Space Telescope Science Institute, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the Digital Sky Survey Consortium, CalTech's Palomar Observatory, the UK's Astronomy Technology Centre, the Anglo-Australian Observatory as well as NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

The imagery covers 100 million stars and 200 million galaxies, Google said.

While much space imagery is already available online, Google's goal was to make it more accessible by wrapping it into its Google Earth program, which previously focused on satellite images of earth. The project came out of the Google's engineering team in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

"Zoom in to distant galaxies hundreds of millions of light years away, explore the constellations, see the planets in motion, witness a supernova explosion; it's like having a giant, virtual telescope at your command - your own personal planetarium," wrote Lior Ron, a Google product manager on the Google Earth and Maps team blog.

Using the service requires a new download of Google Earth.

While Google Earth is free for regular users, it also offers a commercial version, Earth Enterprise, that lets businesses attach their own data to satellite imagery and host the information on their own server.

Microsoft sells an enterprise version of its Virtual Earth platform, a mapping and imagery service that enterprises can tie into their own applications.

luni, 20 august 2007

E-card can kill your computer

DENVER (KWGN) — If you've received an E-Card lately you may want to check twice who it's from before you open it. That warm wish may not be from a sender you wish to hear from.
The clue comes in the subject line. The email will read as if it is from from a neighbor, a co-worker, a friend, or an old classmate or colleague.

The Better Business Bureau is warning this E-card scam is actually a way for hackers to get into your computer. First it will install viruses on your hard drive. It will also install spyware on your computer that will scan your machine for personal and financial information.

You are also vulnerable for pop ups, launching adult websites and possibly sending everyone in your address book e-cards that look like they came from you with the virus.

The BBB recommends not opening any E-Cards that look suspicious and deleting them. They also recommend installing Firefox anti-virus software.

duminică, 19 august 2007

Skype outage disables millions of users

Skype is experiencing software problems that have disconnected service for millions of users.

“Some of you may be having problems logging into Skype,” the notice states. “Our engineering team has determined that it’s a software issue. We expect this to be resolved within 12 to 24 hours. Meanwhile, you can simply leave your Skype client running and as soon as the issue is resolved, you will be logged in. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

Downloads of Skype software have been temporarily disabled as well, the notice states, which added that Skype will make downloads available again “as quickly as possible.”

At the time of eBay’s $2.6 billion purchase of the company in October 2005, Skype had 54 million members in 225 countries and territories, and was signing up 150,000 new users each day.

The New York Times reported that Skype users in Colombia, Brazil, Germany, Finland and the United States reported difficulties logging on, and there were 29 posts on the Skype blog lamenting the lack of connections.

Network World could not access the blog, which had 61 reactions on it, at the time of this report – attempts produced a “Sorry, this isn’t working right now. Please try again” notification.

Skype uses peer-to-peer technology to connect phone calls, instant messages and videos among its users, and supports the Windows, Mac OS X, PocketPC and Linux operating systems. The service is popular with consumers and some small- to medium-size businesses, but Skype is also trying to crack the large corporate market.

Skype net revenues totaled a record $90 million in Q2 2007, a growth rate of 103% over the $44 million reported in Q2 2006.

Skype had 220 million registered user accounts at the end of Q2 2007, representing a 94% increase from the 113 million registered user accounts at the end of Q2 2006.

The CD turns 25 and I'm getting old

Gather 'round kids cuz Grandpa Buzzblog is gonna tell a story.

Remember how your jaws all dropped the first time you saw HD-TV and realized how much better it was than crappy ol' regular TV?

Well, your Gramps and his homies had a similar epiphany 25 years ago when the compact disc first emerged as an alternative to records.

What's a record? … Another story for another day, kids, lemme go on here while I still have the wind.

You see it was 25 years ago tomorrow to the day, Aug. 17, 1982, when Philips made the first CD in Germany. I'm gonna read to you from a press release now:

Exactly 25 years ago tomorrow, on August 17, 1982, Royal Philips Electronics manufactured the world's first compact disc at a Philips factory in Langenhagen, just outside of Hanover, Germany. The invention of the CD ushered in a technological revolution in the music industry as CDs — with their superior sound quality and scratch free durability — marked the beginning of the shift from analog to digital music technology. The CD became a catalyst for further innovation in digital entertainment, helping pave the way for the launch of DVD and the current introduction of Blu-ray optical media.

Since that day Philips estimates that more than 200 billion -- that's billion with a "B" -- have been sold worldwide, although I know that none of you young whippersnappers have bought any lately what with those iPod buds stuck in your ears all the time.

Anyway, I'm not going to drone on here much longer cuz I see you're getting fidgety, but I want you to believe your Grandpa Buzzblog when he tells you he can remember hearing a CD for the first time as clearly as the first time he kissed your Grandma Buzzblog -- not as fondly, mind you.

And lastly -- hey, hey, hey, wait just another second, those video games aren't going anywhere … And lastly, I want you to know exactly how close the manufacturing of that very first CD came to killing -- and I mean killing deader than Elvis -- the entire music industry.

How so, you say?

The artist on that first disc: ABBA.

Kids, be glad you're too young.

sâmbătă, 18 august 2007

How blogging can boost your career

Writing a blog can establish your company's credibility, demonstrate your expertise on a certain subject or help you organize yourself and your projects. It can also land you a job. As blogging becomes more pervasive in popular culture, CIOs are finding blogs can be truly useful to their careers.

According to Rebecca Foreman, VP at executive recruiting service firm Polachi, blogs are an excellent way to highlight not only your career accomplishments but also your personal interests. And 67 percent of senior executives from U.S. technology companies who blog do include personal information in their blogs, according to a recent Polachi survey. Foreman says that she often looks for personal interests that align with the position she is trying to fill.

For example, in looking to fill a position at Segway, she wanted someone with a ­passion for transportation. That's not something you'd put on a résumé, but it's ­something you might write about in a blog. Foreman searched blogs for executives who had interests in bicycling or Harleys, or were trained as private pilots and enjoyed flying in their free time.

"We want to find what's not on the résumé," she says. "There is more to a person than their role at a company." Many people might have the necessary skill set, but personal affinities like being a mountain biker can make you the ideal candidate, she says. A solid third of the Polachi survey respondents said they've been contacted by recruiters who wanted to speak with them after reading their blog. The survey also showed that 80 percent of executives who blog think it helps them with professional networking.

It worked for the County of San Diego's new CIO, Bill Crowell, who blogged about his career quest on at "CIO Job Search: A Real Life Chronicle". The blog provided a powerful personal marketing tool and fodder for his final--and successful--interview with the county, says Crowell.

Best practices

1. Always include your subject matter expertise. If you've just been through an Oracle implementation or have moved to on-demand software delivery, then write about it. Technology executives read each other's blogs for best practices. Who knows who could benefit from your experience and what contacts you might make as a result?

2. Showcase your writing skills. Foreman says that as a recruiter she is always talking about written and oral communication skills, even at the executive level. You might be great in a face-to-face interview, but being able to express your thoughts clearly in your writing will set you apart.

3. Don't talk politics. You could ostracize half of your audience. Instead, stick to business topics, talk about your technology expertise or your interest in, say, sports. Be true to the subject matter you've chosen for your blog. Also, use the right keywords; you want your blog to be among the results of keyword searches for your topic of interest.

joi, 16 august 2007

Vanzari spectaculoase pe segmentul notebook

Piata PC din Romania a crescut puternic in al doilea trimestru din 2007. Cele mai noi date publicate de IDC arata ca numarul de unitati vandute a atins 165000, crescand cu mai mult de o treime, iar valoarea pietei s-a apropiat de 147 milioane USD, cu o crestere de peste 58% comparativ cu aceeasi perioada a anului trecut.

Vanzarile de notebook au inregistrat din nou o rata spectaculoasa de crestere - cu peste 120% mai multe unitati vandute decat in aceeasi perioada din 2006. Desi trimestrul 2 al anului este in general unul slab pentru unitatile desktop PC, perioada aprilie-iunie a acestui an a adus o crestere de 23% a vanzarilor, in special datorita unor proiecte din sectorul public si unor achizitii de tehnica de calcul cu sprijin guvernamental. Piata serverelor x86 a inregistrat de asemenea o evolutie puternic pozitiva, cu aproape 82% peste valoarea inregistrata in aceeasi perioada a anului precedent.

"Strategiile de marketing ale vendorilor, asociate cu preturile in scadere ale componentelor si un dolar aflat in declin, imping vanzarile de notebook catre noi puncte de maxim," spune Calin Mirea, Research Analyst, IDC Romania. "Lucrurile se vor calma in timp, pe masura ce raportul intre vanzarile desktop si notebook se apropie de 1 / 1."

Raportul trimestrial IDC PC Quarterly Tracker livreaza din timp indicatori si date esentiale de piata care detaliaza schimbarile si tendintele ce survin pe piata PC din Romania. Tracker-ul permite utilizatorilor o segmentare a datelor dupa volum, valoare, tara, an, trimestru, vendor, brand, procesor, end-user si canal de vanzare/distributie. Raportul include o analiza grafica si calitativa intr-un format care reda o imagine de ansamblu a evolutiilor, dupa fiecare tehnologie in parte.

marți, 14 august 2007

46 de milioane de baterii problematice pentru Nokia

Nokia sa ofera sa inlocuiasca 46 de milioane de baterii produse de o alta companie pentru a fi incorporate in cadrul telefoanelor mobile, datorita riscului de supraincalzire, a declarat astazi compania.

Bateriile cu probleme au fost produse de catre Matsushita Battery Industrial si comercializate cu o mare varietate de telefoane Nokia, incepand de la familia de produse 1100 si pana la modelele de top N91 si E60.

Nokia a declarat ca “in foarte putine cazuri”, un scurt circuit poate cauza supraincalzirea bateriilor BL-5C in timp ce sunt reincarcate. Totodata, compania a adaugat ca pana acum i-au fost aduse la cunstiinta in jur de 100 de incidente, dar nici unul dintre ele nu a implicat rani serioase si nici pagube inseminate nu au fost raportate.

Oamenii ingrijorati de aceasta problema isi pot inlocui bateriile gratuit, a declarat Nokia. Compania a deschis o pagina Web ce listeaza modelele de telefoane si descrie modul in care consumatorii pot verifica daca bateriile lor sunt afectate.

Producatorul finlandez de telefoane are mai multi distribuitori pentru bateriile BL-5C si peste 300 de milioane de astfel de baterii au fost produse pana in prezent. Dintre acestea, problematice sunt doar 46 de milioane de baterii produse de Matsushita intre decembrie 2005 si noiembrie 2006, a adaugat compania.

Sony Ericsson K770

Noul telefon Sony Ericsson K770 Cyber-shot, anuntat astazi, este un telefon all-in-one dotat cu camera digitala si album foto. Cu o grosime de doar 14,5 mm si disponibil in culoarea Truffle Brown, K770 poate capta imagini la fel de bune precum o camera digitala, iar imaginile pot fi printate in format A4. Camera poate de asemenea inregistra filmulete si este inzestrata cu un LED puternic de lumina pentru pozele si filmuletele captate in interior. La fel ca la toate telefoanele Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot, modul de folosire foarte confortabil sta la baza experientei mobile.

“Cele mai bune momente ale vietii trec deseori fara a fi imortalizate atunci cand nu ai o camera foto,” spune Helene Barnekow, Director de Marketing in cadrul Sony Ericsson. “Daca indragesti faptul ca ai un telefon cu o camera foto si iti doresti poze care sa faca parte din albumul tau, atunci K770 este perfect.” Barnekow continua: “Adevaratul avantaj al lui K770 este ca poti sa impartasesti momentele tale de suflet familiei si prietenlior. Odata activat modul de camera, ecranul de 1,9 inci devine viewfinder, meniul de baza Cyber-shot devine vizibil si se pot vedea de asemenea opt icoane luminate care apar de-alungul tastelor telefonului. Acestea servesc ca shortcut-uri pentru functiile de baza ale telefonului, cum ar fi dimensiunea si iluminarea pozei.

Cel mai bun mod de a impartasi pozele este probabil printr-un slide show pe ecranul telefonului lui K770. Pozele celor apropiati pot fi incarcate pe blogul personal sau galeria on-line personala. Camera de 3,2 megapixeli cu auto focus asigura poze de o calitate superioara pe care le poti printa la marime A4 (297mm x 210 mm). Telefonul se poate conecta direct la imprimanta folosind aplicatia PictBridge.

K770 este mult mai mult decat un telefon cu functii foto. Dotat cu un Memory Stick Micro, K770 dispune de un card de memorie de 256 MB care permite stocarea de pana la 200 de poze de cea mai buna calitate. Radioul FM cu RDS cauta o receptie cat mai clara de fiecare data cand va aflati in miscare.

K770 este un telefon GSM/GPRS 900/1800/1900 si UMTS 2100 ce va fi disponibil in culoarea Truffle Brown in pietele selectate incepand cu toamna anului 2007.

Ubisoft lansează Chessmaster The Art of Learning

Ubisoft, unul dintre cei mai importanţi editori de jocuri video, a anunţat publicarea jocurilor Chessmaster: Grandmaster Edition pentru PC, dezvoltat în studioul din Bucureşti şi Chessmaster: The Art of Learning pentru Nintendo DS, dezvoltat în studioul din Sofia. În ambele jocuri, Josh Waitzkin, Maestru internaţional, de opt ori câştigãtor al Campionatului Naţional de şah al Statelor Unite, îi învaţã pe jucãtori tehnicile care stau la baza jocului de şah şi sã cum îşi perfecţioneze aptitudinile pentru a deveni maeştri, cu ajutorul cursurilor şi tutorialelor ce se regãsesc în cartea sa The Art of Learning (Free Press). Jucãtorii vor putea sã punã în practicã tacticile învãţate în mod single-player sau sã îşi provoace prietenii la diverse competiţii amuzante, in mod multiplayer via LAN sau Internet.
• Învaţã de la campionul Josh Waitzkin: Folosind principiile enumerate în cartea sa The Art of Learning, Josh plaseazã jucãtorii în locul sãu, în câteva din situaţiile în care s-a aflat de-a lungul carierei sale.
• Multiplayer wireless: Optiunea wireless a consolei DS face posibilã înfruntarea a doi jucãtori. Existã o varietate de jocuri interesante în mod multiplayer, printre care: Dark Chess, unde piesele adversarului sunt invizibile; Extinction Chess, unde învingãtor este cel care captureazã primul toate piesele adversarului; şi Losing Chess, un joc care rãsplãteşte jucãtorul care pierde primul toate piesele.
• şase mini-jocuri originale: Fiecare mini-joc are o muzica proprie, efecte sonore, un scor record propriu si 20 de niveluri de gameplay. Jucãtorii se pot bucura de: Minefield, unde piesele de şah sunt folosite pentru a localiza minele ascunse în tabla de şah; Breaking the Lines, unde doar regele poate captura pionii; şi Fork My Fruit, un joc care foloseşte piesele de şah pentru a captura fructe de acelaşi fel, dintr-o gama variatã.
• Jocuri celebre: Jucãtorii au acces la 900 de jocuri de şah dintre cele mai faimoase, care sunt comentate pentru a ajuta jucãtorul sã deprindã în acest fel noi strategii.
• şah-mat: Jucãtorul va avea parte de o distracţie maximã datoritã arsenalului de 600.000 de jocuri pe care le are la dispoziţie.
Lansarea jocurilor Chessmaster: The Art of Learning şi Grandmaster Edition este prevãzutã în octombrie 2007.

Atentie la bateriile defecte din laptopurile Toshiba

CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) a anuntat recent ca Toshiba Corp. a retras si mai multe baterii defecte de laptop de pe piata, dupa probleme indelungate cu bateriile lithium-ion produse de Sony Corp.

Conform avertizarii publicate de CPSC, bateriile din unele laptopuri Toshiba Satellite A100, Satellite A105 si Tecra A7 construite intre ianuarie si aprilie 2006 pot lua foc de la supraincalzire. Aproximativ 1400 de calculatoare portabile sunt afectate de aceasta retragere, a spus CPSC.

Bateriile retrase faceau parte dintr-un set mai mare de baterii retrase de Toshiba acum o luna, care nu a fost publicata de catre CSPC. Atunci, producatorul japonez a anuntat ca 17 linii diferite de productie ar putea fi echipate cu baterii defecte. O actualizare a documentului de suport de la Toshiba a adaugat cu o zi mai tarziu cele trei sisteme anuntate recent de CSPC. Agentia nu a explicat diferenta de mai multe saptamani intre anuntul Toshiba si anuntul CPSC.

“Consumatorii ar trebui sa nu mai foloseasca bateriile defecte si sa contacteze Toshiba pentru a primi o baterie de schimb gratuita”, a spus agentia. Toshiba a anuntat un utilitar pentru Windows care detecteaza bateriile defecte; acesta e disponibil pe site-ul companiei.

Toshiba a spus ca retragerile recente nu au avut nici o legatura cu retragerea masiva a bateriilor Sony din anul 2006. Atunci, Toshiba, impreuna cu alte companii importante, a retras peste 1 milion de baterii produse de Sony.

Google opreste vanzarea si inchirierea videoclipurilor

Google nu va mai oferi consumatorilor abilitata de a descarca contracost videoclipuri de pe Google Videos, incepand de miercuri, a confirmat ieri un purtator de cuvat al companiei.

Google si-a deschis magazinul de videoclipuri in ianuarie 2006, permitand utilizatorilor sa cumpere si a inchirieze o multime de videoclipuri, incluzand programe sport, show-uri de televiziune, stiri si filme. Pretul videoclipurilor era cuprins intre 1.99 si 20 de dolari. In timp ce portiunea comerciala a site-ului se va inchide, partea gratuita a site-ului va ramane disponibila.

“Atat Google cat si YouTube exploreaza o mare varietate de modalitati prin care sa monetizeze continutul video online – de la testele pilot AdSense pentru sincronizarea video si pana la incercarea unor formate diferite de reclame pe YouTube – iar primele rezultate au fost imbucuratoare,” a declarat Gabriel Stricker, purtator de cuvant al companiei. “Reafirmand implicarea noastra pentru construirea unor modele de taxare a videoclipurilor, suportate de advertising, am decis sa inlaturam optiunile de descarcare a videoclipurilor pe Google Video.”

Google a anuntat ca va achizitiona YouTube in luna octombrie, intr-o tranzactie estimata la 1.65 miliarde de dolari.

Windows XP: Sistemul de operare care nu dispare?

Microsoft Corp. a trebuit sa creeze o noua versiune a Windows XP Professional pentru producatorii de calculatoare deoarece popularitatea mare a sistemului de operare a epuizat aproape in intregime stocul de chei de activare pentru produs.

Noua versiune, numita SP2c, nu include actualizari sau facilitati noi, ci a fost creata pur si simplu pentru a mari stocul de chei de activare pentru produs. XP Pro SP2c, pregatit pentru distributie, va fi disponibil pentru OEM si constructori de sisteme de luna viitoare, a anuntat Microsoft.

“Datorita longevitatii Windows XP Professional, a devenit necesar sa creem mai multe chei de activare pentru constructorii de sisteme, cu scopul de a sustine disponibilitatea produsului Windows XP Professional pana la data EOL (end-of-life) prestabilita a canalului pentru constructori de sisteme”, a spus o echipa de constructori de sisteme de la Microsoft.

Microsoft a stabilit data EOL pentru Windows XP la 31 ianuarie 2008 pentru retail si OEM (original equipment manufacturer), si cu un an mai tarziu pentru constructorii de sisteme.

“SP2c va fi lansat pe canalul constructorilor de sisteme in luna septembrie pentru a le oferi o noua gama, extinsa, de chei de activare”, a spus echipa de la Microsoft. Noua versiune va fi valabila doar pentru Windows XP Professional; XP Home, spre exemplu, nu va fi afectat.

Alte semne ale longevitatii sistemului de operare includ renuntarea unor OEM, cum ar fi Dell, la folosirea sistemului de operare Vista. In luna aprilie, Dell a inceput sa ofere din nou Windows XP clientilor.

luni, 13 august 2007

Linux pe dispozitive mobile

Foarte probabil, in 2008 piata va putea culege roadele initiativei recent create pentru dezvoltarea primei platforme Linux destinate dispozitivelor mobile bazate pe standardele din prezent.

Fundatia LiMo, creata in ianuarie, intentioneaza sa furnizeze o platforma comuna pentru dispozitivele mobile si "sa aduca mai multa inovatie" pe piata dispozitivelor mobile, a declarat Morgan Gillis, director executiv.

"Este un subiect sensibil acela al colaborarii dintre jucatorii din aceasta industrie pentru conceperea unei platforme comune care sa foloseasca API-uri comune," a declarat Gillis.

Executivul fundatiei LiMo este de parere ca in timp ce dispozitivele bazate pe Linux exista pe anumite piete, cum ar fi China si Japonia, reprezinta doar tehnologii proprietare si nu sunt bazate pe o "platforma de standarde deschise".

De la cei sase membri fondatori, care includ Motorola, NEC, NTT Docomo, Panasonic Mobile Communications, Samsung Electronics si Vodafone, fundatia LiMo a continuat sa recruteze si alti jucatori din industria mobila. Recent, fundatia a anuntat alaturarea, ca membri de baza, a Aplica, Celunite, LG Electronics, Wind River sau McAfee.

Alti, care au venit ca membri asociati, includ ARM (producator de microprocesoare), Broadcom, Ericson, Innopath, KTF, MontaVista Software sau NXP B.V.

Kaspersky Lab lanseaza Anti-Virus 7.0 in Romania

Kaspersky Lab lanseaza in Romania prin Punkt Net solutiile de protectie a calculatorului - Kaspersky Internet Security 7.0 si Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7.0.

Punkt NET - Partenerul Oficial Kaspersky Lab in Romania, aduce pe piata nationala solutii de securitate ale calculatorului server sau statie normala de lucru, a telefoanelor mobile de ultima generatie si a PDA-urilor.

Kaspersky Lab a lansat in data de 2 August versiunea 7.0 pentru produsul Kaspersky Anti-Virus si pentru produsul Kaspersky Internet Security. Kaspersky Lab are 200 de milioane utilizatori si 10 ani experienta in domeniu.

Taxa anuala pentru domeniul .ro

In momentul de fata romania este printre putinele tari din lume in care achizitionarea unui domeniu local se face printr-o singura plata, la activare, beneficiarul urmand a-l folosi "pe viata", adica fara a mai achita o alta taxa ulterioara. Un domeniu .ro costa acum intre 18 si 38 de euro, in functie de firma (registrar-ul) de la care se face achizitia.
Reteaua Nationala de Calculatoare (RNC), care se ocupa de administrarea tuturor domeniilor .ro, lucreaza la realizarea unui sistem prin care un domeniu romanesc sa poata fi administrat mult mai usor de catre detinatorul sau. Unul dintre motivele care se afla la baza implementarii noii solutii de administrare a domeniilor locale este reprezentat de faptul ca multe dintre ele sunt nefolosite sau datele utilizatorilor nu sunt actualizate la zi. De exemplu, sunt cateva mii de domenii care nu au fost folosite de cumparatori. In momentul in care sistemul va trece de faza de testare, va urma implementarea sa si o data cu aceasta se va produce si trecerea la plata anuala a domeniilor. Astfel utilizatorul este obligat sa plateasca o data la 12 luni daca doreste sa beneficieze in continuare de numele pentru site-ul web pe care-l detine. In alte tari unde este practicat acest sistem de tarifare, cu trei luni inainte de incheierea anului, utilizatorul primeste un e-mail prin care este instiintat ca in decurs de 90 de zile trebuie sa achite taxa pentru domeniu. In caz contrar, datele corespunzatoare acestuia se vor sterge, numele respectiv devenind "liber", adica putand fi achizitionat de oricine altcineva. Deoarece instiintarea despre data scadenta este trimisa prin e-mail, cumparatorul unui domeniu se straduieste sa-si mentina datele de contact la zi.
"Ca parteneri, RNC nu ne-a anuntat despre o taxa anuala pentru domeniile .ro. In urma unui e-mail trimis pe aceasta tema catre RNC, am fost instiintat ca trecerea la noul sistem ar putea fi realizata pana la sfarsitul acestui an", a declarat Claudiu Cadar, administrator la Claus Web.

Contactat de noi, Catalin Leanca, sef serviciu RNC-GRID, ne-a spus ca noile detalii nu au fost definitivate, insa spera ca noul sistem va trece la faza de utilizare in urmatoarele sase luni. El a mai precizat ca taxa anuala va fi la nivelul celor platite pentru alte domenii din cadrul Uniunii Europene, estimand o valoare de 10-15 euro/an pentru fiecare domeniu. "Va exista o perioada de gratie de 1-2 ani in care cei care au achizitionat un domeniu .ro inainte de introducerea noilor reglementari nu vor plati noua taxa", a mai spus Leanca.

Comert electronic in Romania

De la spectacol la normalitate, de la inedit la banal - acesta este drumul pe care tinde si comertul electronic in Romania. Numarul magazinelor online a crescut spectaculos, increderea in e-commerce a utilizatorilor de internet este de asemenea in crestere. Piata "se misca", iar despre problemele si noutatile ei a acceptat sa vorbeasca Carmen Sebe, CEO Gecad ePayment, intr-un interviu realizat in exclusivitate de ziarul financiar exclusiv electronic. Se vorbeste destul de mult despre comertul electronic - mai intai ca spectacol, apoi ca utilitate. Cat de mult a devenit acesta un lucru comun pentru utilizatorul roman de internet, cat de mult evolueaza lucrurile?

Carmen Sebe: Aveti dreptate, comertul electronic si platile online prin card sunt subiecte care capteaza interesul publicului in ultima perioada. In continuare in Romania distanta de la curiozitate pana la utilizare este foarte mare iar cifrele pe care le vehiculam arata o piata inca in primele etape de dezvoltare. Ritmul de crestere este insa foarte rapid iar faptul ca anul acesta vom asista la triplarea vanzarilor fata de 2006 demonstreaza faptul ca romanii incep sa considere cumparaturile online o alternativa interesanta.

In 2004, cand am lansat primele solutii de plata electronica ne propuneam sa obtinem 10% din cifra de afaceri in Romania iar restul in strainatate.
Ne bazam, bineinteles, pe faptul ca in afara tarii exista o piata educata, comerciantii online cunosc deja business-ul iar consumatorii finali sunt deschisi platilor online prin card, pe cand in Romania ambele parti ale ecuatiei, comercianti si cumparatori deopotriva, nu cunosteau inca abc-ul industriei. Deja dupa primul an ne-am dat seama ca potentialul local este mult mai mare decat estimasesm initial si am inceput demersuri de stimulare a pietei: parteneriate strategice, proiecte de comunicare. In prezent, aproximativ jumatate din rulajele noastre se obtin de pe piata din Romania.

Ma intrebati cat de mult comertul electronic a devenit un lucru comun pentru utilizatorul roman de internet. Noi credem ca la un numar de aproximativ 6 milioane de utilizatori de Internet cat estimeaza MCTI in acest moment in Romania, 400.000 de tranzactii prin card pe internet in magazinele online romanesti pentru 2007 este o baza buna de pornire. Potentialul imediat de crestere este de cel putin 80%, acesta fiind procentul ocupat de comenzile online onorate cu plata in numerar sau transfer bancar. Publicul care utilizeaza internetul in Romania este cel mai interesant si mai usor de atras cel putin datorita deschiderii sale si unei presupuse familiaritati cu cardul bancar. Colaborarea ePayment cu BRD a promis sa vina si mai mult in sprijinul securitatii, credeti ca alaturarea celor doua branduri a crescut nivelul de incredere?

Carmen Sebe: Nu avem nici o indoiala ca momentul anuntarii parteneriatului intre GECAD ePayment si BRD a insemnat un castig de autoritate pentru industria comertului electronic. Companiile mari au simtit ca au un partener de increde in acest segment si au decis sa intre in piata. Trebuie sa fim realisti, este o industrie in care se lucreaza cu bani, trebuie sa ai incredere in cei care administreaza incasarile in numele tau iar asocierea intre un nume puternic pe piata bancara si un nume la fel de puternic pe cea a solutiilor de securitate a fost de bun augur. Faptul ca nume mari precum Orange sau Blue Air au decis sa ofere plata online prin card ca modalitate de achitare a serviciilor a contribuit de asemenea la nivelul de incredere de data aceasta a consumatorilor finali in platile online cu cardul. Mentionati cativa dintre clientii reprezentativi ai ePayment si ce clienti au fost atrasi in 2007?

Carmen Sebe: Intre clientii nostri se numara Altex, Blue Air, eMag, Neogen, Orange, Telemobil, iar din 2007, Polirom, Rodipet,, Parlatel si altele. Multe magazine online considera acceptarea platii cu cardul drept un lux nu tocmai compatibil cu mentinerea preturilor mici. Credeti ca poate avea succes transferarea in mod direct a costului si catre consumator, asa cum procedeaza de exemplu Zapp la plata online a facturilor sau acest lucru ar indeparta clientii?

Carmen Sebe: Inainte de a raspunde la intrebarea dvs. as vrea sa fac cateva precizari. In conditiile unor calcule corecte de profitabilitate si rulaj, comisioanele presupuse de tranzactiile online prin card nu ar trebui sa stanjeneasca in niciun fel existenta afacerii online respective. In plus, o gandire de business "sanatoasa" presupune orientarea pe termen lung, cresterea volumelor tranzactionate si automat reconsiderarea comisioanelor percepute. Daca, de exemplu, o companie vrea sa intre pe piata de retail de electronice si isi pune in planul de afaceri un adaos estimate de 5%, atunci nu v accepta niciodata plata online cu cardul pentru ca nu va fi eficienta pentru el. Dar, daca pornesti de la inceput cu ideea ca o afacere iti va aduce doar 5% castig faci o mare greseala caci nici piata traditionala si nici cea online nu iti vor oferi multa libertate de miscare si oportunitati foarte bune de a acreste. Tot timpul vei fi constrans de un "low margin" pe care te vei chinui sa il mentii acolo unde ti-ai propus.

Revenind la intrebare, decizia de introducere a unei taxe care sa acopere partial sau chiar in intregime costurile aferente platii online cu card tine de politica fiecarei companii. Fara sa mai discutam despre reglementarile Visa sau Master Card care promoveaza tocmai neimpunerea unor taxe suplimentare cumparatorului final, putem spune ca pe termen scurt nu se vor indeparta clientii. Motivul este simplu, cei care acum si in viitorul foarte apropiata cumpara online sunt asa numitii early-adopters care prefera eventual sa plateasca in plus dar sa beneficieze de servicii mai bune. Pe termen lung efectele se vor vedea cu siguranta pentru ca pe de-o parte incep sa cumpere si cei care mai degraba cost-conscious iar pe de alta concurenta ii va forta si pe acesti comercianti sa se alinieze la o politica de preturi cat mai prietenoase. Vestea buna este ca va creste si volumul ceea ce le va permite sa suporte cu usurinta aceste comisioane. Cu putin timp in urma, Gecad ePayment a prezentat presei secretele comertului electronic direct din sediul Gecad, credeti ca mass-media, intelegand corect si complet sistemul, poate avea rolul decisiv in promovarea e-commerce?

Carmen Sebe: Mass-media are intr-adevar un rol decisiv, ea putand construi sau, dimpotriva, distruge increderea in comertul electronic. Motivul care ne-a determinat sa organizam un astfel de eveniment nu a fost nici pe departe sa "acoperim" ochii presei si sa ii facem pe jurnalisti un fel de emisari neconditionati ai utilizarii cardului online. Am vrut sa atragem atentia ca populatia stie foarte putin despre utilizarea cardurilor, face confuzii si pe motivul neasumarii unor riscuri supra-evaluate nu indrazneste sa isi foloseasca cardul bancar pentru cumparaturi online in magazinele romanesti. In realitate, riscurile asociate unui card sunt mai mari offline decat online iar in Romania sistemele de securitate antifrauda sunt la standarde chiar mai ridicate decat in afara tarii. Este nevoie, asadar, de o informare corecta si de explicarea clara a pasilor presupusi de o comanda/plata online. Este pacat ca doar o mica parte a populatiei sa cunoasca si sa beneficieze de avantajele comertului online. Care sunt asteptarile de crestere a pietei pentru 2007 comparativ cu 2006, judecand dupa consumarea deja a jumatate din aceasta perioada?

Carmen Sebe: In perioada ianuarie - iunie s-au platit online, in magazinele romanesti, produse si servicii in valoare de aproximativ 14,3 milioane euro. Numarul total al tranzactiilor procesate in magazinele online din Romania care folosesc solutia ePayment(R) s-a ridicat la 160.000. Nivelul intregii industrii de plati online prin card pentru aceeasi perioada se ridica la aproape 16,5 milioane euro si 200.000 tranzactii, conform datelor publicate de RomCard. In conditiile unei cresteri moderate pentru urmatoarele sase luni vom asista cel putin la triplarea nivelului pietei pana la sfarsitul lui 2007. Se pot face prognoze pe termen lung in e-commerce in Romania? Se poate estima evolutia pe urmatorii 3 - 5 ani?

Carmen Sebe: Valorea totala a produselor si serviciilor tranzactionate online cu cardul dar si numarul mai mare al comenzilor online sunt inca la un nivel redus in comparatie cu cifrele vehiculate la nivel international. Din acest punct de vedere ne despart cam 10 ani de pietele dezvoltate dar probabil in 5 ani le vom ajunge din urma. Suntem la acelasi nivel in ceea ce priveste baza tehnologica si cu un pas inainte in privinta standardelor antifrauda.

La nivel de consumator final impactul cel mai mare il va avea intrarea companiilor furnizoare de utilitati pentru ca ele vor contribui cel mai bine la formarea obisnuintei de plata online prin card. Un viitor optimist include de asemenea si un sprijin evident din partea statului prin reglementarea si simplificarea procedurilor legate de platile online.


Echipa Ajax Amsterdam a acceptat să-l cedeze pe mijlocaşul Wesley Sneijder la campioana Spaniei, Real Madrid, în schimbul sumei de 27 milioane euro, a anunţat gruparea olandeză în noaptea de duminică spre luni. 'Ajax şi Real au ajuns la un acord, care prevede transferul imediat al lui Wesley Sneijder (...) pentru 27 milioane de euro', precizează clubul Ajax pe site-ul său oficial.

Negocierile dintre cele două cluburi intraseră în impas, după ce clubul din Amsterdam a respins un ultimatum dat de Real, care le-a cerut olandezilor să accepte sau să respingă, vineri seara, o ofertă de 24 milioane euro pentru Sneijder.

Iniţial, Ajax solicitase 30 milioane euro pentru transferul lui Sneijder, care devine al doilea fotbalist olandez achiziţionat de Real Madrid în această vară, după Royston Drenthe, de la formaţia Feyenoord Rotterdam.


Tenismanul sârb Novak Djokovic, cap de serie numărul 3, a câştigat turneul de Masters Series de la Montreal, după ce l-a învins pe numărul 1 mondial, Roger Federer, deţinător al titlului, cu scorul de 7-6 (7/2), 2-6, 7-6 (7/2).

La 20 de ani, Djokovic, aflat la al şaselea titlu din carieră, este primul jucător care îi învinge la acelaşi turneu şi pe Federer şi pe spaniolul Rafael Nadal, pe care l-a eliminat în semifinale.

În acest an, el a câştigat al patrulea titlu după Adelaide, Miami şi Estoril, astfel că va ocupa locul trei în clasamentul ATP începând de luni.

La rândul său, Federer, în vârstă de 26 de ani, în cazul unei victorii, ar fi obţinut al 50-lea titlu din carieră, ceea ce l-ar fi dus pe locul nouă în clasamentul celor mai titraţi jucători din istorie. El rămâne la egalitate cu germanul Boris Becker, cu 49 de titluri.

Wikia: Mai mult decat un rival pentru Google

Google Inc., precum si alte motoare de cautare, gasesc in Wikia Inc. mai mult decat un simplu competitor, ei se confrunta cu probabilitatea de a infrunta sute, chiar mii de noi competitori.

Intregul proiect Wikia va intra in zona open source, reducand dramatic costurile pentru oricine doreste sa creeze un motor de cautare, a declarat Gil Penchina, CEO Wikia Inc. In loc sa plateasca milioane de dolari pentru indexarea Internetului, crearea software-ului pentru pagina de cautare, filtrele pentru paginile goale sau cu spam, si un algoritm pentru calcularea si evaluarea rezultatelor, noile companii vor gasi aceste componente online, gratuit, multumita comunitatilor open source si de software gratuit.

"In prezent, in domeniul cautarii costului construirii unei pagini se ridica undeva intre 5-10 milioane USD," a continuat Penchina. "Noi ne dorim ca oricine sa poata crea o pagina de cautare pentru 500Euro. Nu consideram Google un concurent, ci costul."

Proiectul, initiat de co-fondatorul Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, consta in patru componente, indexarea Web, dezvoltarea aplicatiei motorului de cautare, un algoritm, si folosirea oamenilor pentru a filtra si evalua rezultatele.