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Thursday, November 09, 2006

MS to pay Universal for each Zune sold

Microsoft has agreed to pay Universal Music Group a royalty fee for every Zune sold, and the label has indicated that it has a stake in Zune's success. "We felt that any business that's built on the bedrock of music we should share in," said Universal chief Doug Morris. The deal is not directly linked to content shipped with the player, as its prel... [more]

Get lost!

Ever get lost, or turned around? Found yourself in unfamiliar territory? Or worse, awakened with just one shoe on? Well, we have something for you. No, not a shoe -- we mean GPS-Enabled Google Maps on the Helio Drift.

In a very short time, Google Maps for Mobile has taken a lead in mobile mapping and is available on more than 300 phone models. Now we've taken it to a new level: we're partnering with Helio to bring you GPS integration with Google Maps.

It's hard to enter a starting point if you don't know where you're starting from. We think that integrating GPS capabilities into Google Maps for Mobile will make our phones much smarter -- and you've told us that too.

When you use Google Maps on the Helio Drift you always know where you are. Start Google Maps and a blue dot is placed on the map at your current location. You can even see yourself move on the map as you change location. Say goodbye to sore thumbs from having to constantly type in your location.

Of course, you still get all of the popular Google Maps functionality: real-time traffic, detailed directions, integrated search results, easily movable maps, and satellite imagery. So get yourself a Drift and just get lost! No matter where you end up, we'll show you the quickest way out. [more]

Intel Announces Web 2.0 Biz Bundle

Intel this week unveiled SuiteTwo, a software bundle of Web 2.0 software services -- including collaboration, blogging, RSS, search and Wiki technology -- aimed at small- and medium-size businesses. Announced at the Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, SuiteTwo was produced by Intel's investment arm, Intel Capital, and will be available via OEM reseller channels and some Intel software partners in about six months. It will sell for US$175 to $200 per user annually or $15 to $17 per user monthly. [more]

RCFaces : New Open Source Ajax JSF Library Released

RC Faces or Rich Client Faces is a JavaServerFaces library that provides a component set for building next generation Web applications. RC Faces use AJAX technologies and an object-oriented JavaScript API to build highly dynamic pages. [more]

Simplified Object library - to convert POJOs into any format

"SOJO" stands for "Simplify your Old Java Objects" or, in noun form, "Simplified Old Java Objects." The goal of the SOJO project is to provide a library to convert object graphs into a specific structure - which could be a CSV representation, JSON, XML, or any other available format - to ease communication with non-Java processes. SOJO manages cycle detection, as well, so complex object graphs can be represented and transmitted. The conversions are pluggable, so even custom formats can be used. [more]

JEC 1.0, Java-Exchange Connector, released

JEC 1.0, the "Java Exchange Connector," has been released. JEC, as its name implies, provides pure-Java access to a MS Exchange installation. The library is very simple, but provides access to Exchange addresses, contacts, emails, and events, which covers most of the functionality you'd want for such a library. [more]

Joystiq video: Xbox 360 Wireless Headset review

We picked up one of Microsoft's Xbox 360 Wireless Headsets and put it through the paces in a video review. It's been fantastic so far, especially when we've been fragging people in Gears of War. It's light enough that you hardly feel it (bringing you that much closer to the game! -- says Sony), and look ma, no wires! Seriously, we've tried to walk away to the phone, kitchen or bathroom with our old headset still connected more times than we can count. It's a little disconcerting when your controller goes skittering across the floor after you, tethered by the headset cord.

Anyhow, after a couple of days with this thing we still love it. A couple of minor complaints are that it uses a wall charger instead of a handy USB cable. With the Xbox 360 having so many ports, it would have been nice to have the option to charge it through the console. Also, the section of the headset that holds the earpiece on is slightly delicate. You have to be very careful when you change them out because there is some pushing and pulling involved. Other than that, it's a solid little sucker that you'll enjoy adding to your smacktalk arsenal.

It's a bit steep at $59.99, so stick it on a Christmas wishlist. Amazon has it for $49.99, which is the lowest price we've seen. It's worth trying to find a sale, even if it does make you look a little bit like Lando Calrissian's assistant dude. [more]

The Challenges of a Changing Infrastructure

The implications of this interesting piece at Help Net Security are significant. Enterprises are relocating servers from branch offices to data centers in an effort to improve security and to ease compliance with regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The problem is that such centralization can slow [more]

Strata 3D Suite updated, enhanced

Strata has introduced important enhancements and additions to all three of the applications that make up its Strata 3D Suite, providing a complete solution to capture, model, render, animate and present 3D content for design and commerce. Strata 3D CX -- the company's 3D design application -- is updated with over 50 enhancements and is available fo... [more]

TIME Gadget of the Year honors Apple

TIME Magazine has rated Apple's MacBook Pro its no. 3 Gadget of the Year 2006, while the Nike + iPod Sport Kit ranks no. 6 in the top 8 as rated by the publication. The MacBook Pro description as the no. 3 Gadget of the Year reads: "This 'iMac on wheels' has built-in iSight camera and remote for Front Row media manager. It features illuminated keyb... [more]

New Western Digital boss to take helm in January 2007

Western Digital might still be looking for the right man to occupy its vacant VP EMEA position, but the company has found a new face to lead its global strategy in the shape of COO John Coyne. He will officially make the CEO’s chair his own in early January when current chief Arif Shakeel steps down to take up a temporary advisory role. [more]

Intel Ships First 1Gb 65nm Flash Memory for Cell Phones

Now even more space to store your covert spy pics... [more]

Atari Founder Forecasts PlayStation 3 Failure

Creator of Pong and the man behind Chuck E. Cheese gives thumbs up to Wii and Xbox 360, but thumbs down for PlayStation 3... [more]

TiVo Alert: History of video games on CNBC

CNBC, not a network typically associated with two-hour documentaries on video games, will be airing a two-hour documentary on video games Wednesday, November 15th, "just two days before the scheduled release of Sony's highly anticipated PlayStation 3" -- and four days before the scheduled release of Nintendo's highly anticipated Wii (there, we said it for you). So, what does the Consumer News and Business Channel have to say about video games in Game On! The Unauthorized History of Video Games?

We're expecting the usual history lesson (Tennis for Two, Spacewar, Yo! Noid ... the classics) combined with lots of big numbers, regaling viewers with tall tales of how video games outsell movies (not really true ... box office only, folks). They do promise that "the program also includes riveting stories about the corporate power struggles that won (and lost) billions and how a single blunder helped destroy Atari's $2 billion-a-year-empire." So, maybe you'll learn something or, more importantly, maybe someone who doesn't know anything about video games (beyond MSFT and SNE) may catch the show on Wednesday, November 15th at 9 PM and 12 AM ET -- or even the rebroadcast on Sunday, November 19th at 9PM and 12AM ET -- and reconsider video games. They do outsell movies, y'know. [more]

Fujifilm debuts FinePix Z5fd

Fujifilm has introduced the FinePix Z5fd, the second camera (after the S6500fd) to use the company's Face Detection technology. According to Electronista, when shooting a portrait, an FD camera prioritizes faces while judging autofocus and exposure; the camera then zooms in to faces automatically, trimming off what it considers to be extraneous edg... [more]

Briefly: MacBook BTO, Darwin 8.8.1

In Brief: Apple has added several new build-to-order options for the new Core 2 Duo-based MacBook (released yesterday), including drives up to 200GB (4200rpm), up to 2GB DDR2 SDRAM, an Apple USB Modem, and pre-installed copies of iWork ‘06, Logic Express 7, Final Cut Express HD 3.5 and Aperture 1.5.... Mac OS X Forge has announced the release of Da... [more]

The Digg Algorithm

Cristian Mezei of SeoPedia wraps up his findings of how a story needs to collect diggs to make it to the Digg frontpage. [more]

Stretching Online Ad Dollars

Businesses that have been advertising online for some time may well have the sensation of being the early arrivers in an increasingly crowded room. As more ad dollars flow online, marketers are increasingly bumping into one another, elbowing for space and bidding up search keywords and other prime online advertising real estate. Costs and complexity of the ads continue to increase for the merchants and other businesses attempting to use the Internet to reach customers, attract them to their own Web sites and convert them from shoppers into buyers. [more]

Linux Strategies on the Line

The last three weeks have provided the biggest news stories to hit Linux in a long time, raising many questions and stirring speculation. What does Oracle have in mind -- cutting into Red Hat's revenue for its own profit, or weakening the enterprise Linux leader for acquisition? What will its partnership with Microsoft do for Novell, and will the noise of more ardent open source supporters who are Microsoft foes translate to any real backlash? [more]

ESA head doesn't like term "video game"

Doug Lowenstein, head of the ESA, is unhappy with the term "video game" being used to describe the industry. Say what? He thinks that by calling them games, the industry can't be taken seriously; whereas, if the terminology were changed, the industry as a whole wouldn't be as susceptible to negativity. Alright, we're with you so far ... what's it gotta be?

The suggested changes are "interactive entertainment" or "entertainment software." Interactive entertainment doesn't make much sense, since board games and outdoor sports are also interactive; entertainment software, however, is a better choice. There is a bigger question at hand, though; will a simple name change really work?

Gaming has a terrible public face and political presence. Without serious political lobbying and PR pushes within more traditional media outlets, gaming may never get any respect. Will a name change make gaming more acceptable (err, rather ... make software entertaining more acceptable), or will the politicos simply play the name game as well, and call it the Entertainment Software Decency Act instead? [more]

PC Software Rivals GarageBand

GarageBand is an outstanding addition to Apple Computer's original iLife software suite. What the program does is give musicians and non-musicians alike a tool to create music on a computer. Even before the introduction of GarageBand, there were programs in the PC world that worked in ways similar to the Apple offering, but they lacked its simplicity and visual elegance. That's changed, though, with the introduction of Session by M-Audio, which is part of Tewksbury, Mass.-based Avid. [more]

Metareview - Elite Beat Agents

Elite Beat AgentsPurists may scoff at these 'men in black' who lack the flair of Ouendan's male cheerleaders. They may also wince at tracks like Avril Lavigne's "Sk8er Boi" and Ashlee Simpson's "La La," included for Western-aligned palettes. Alas, cultural transitions are often difficult, but at least the series' unique rhythmic core has not been tampered with.
  • IGN (95/100) - "Westerners who've played the original Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! might end up a little disappointed that the Nintendo of America version might lack the kitschy Japanese flavor ... [but] with new characters, popular Western tunes [IGN 'heart' Ashlee Simpson], and plots that actually make sense, Elite Beat Agents retains the awesome, addictive gameplay core."
  • GameSpot (89/100) - "One of the strangest things about Elite Beat Agents is its soundtrack. The grouping of songs that Nintendo has assembled here is equivalent to someone taking the individual music libraries of a teeny-bopper kid and his or her parents, tossing it all into a jar, shaking vigorously, and then scooping out a random handful of songs."
  • GameDaily (70/100) - "Elite Beat Agents is still a good game that deserves a shot with any music-loving Nintendo DS owner out there. It's a surprise Nintendo took the chance at releasing this game in the States, but it's as much of a surprise that it's actually quite good, and compares well enough to the import classic to make it a recommended buy."
[more]

eHosting teams up with FVC

Value added distributor FVC has established an agreement with eHosting DataFort to act as an authorised channel partner in the Middle East. Under the terms of the agreement, FVC will also produce an integrated message management solution and enhanced managed application services as add-ons to existing services provided by company. [more]

Lexmark ventures into Egypt

Printer vendor Lexmark has revealed that it will soon be opening a full-fledged office in Cairo in an effort to take advantage of the growth potential in the Egyptian printer market. According to IDC, the printer market in Egypt is expected to grow by 5.7% this year to nearly 165,000 units. [more]

CA set for Moroccan launch

CA will continue its pursuit of more coverage in the Middle East and Africa region when it opens a new operation in Morocco next week. The Casablanca-based office will also be used to serve Tunisia and Algeria in addition to lending support to CA’s business in several West African markets. [more]

eChannel 12th November 2006

Another week, another victim of a vendor audit. This time eSys has become the latest company left wondering how it is going to pick up the pieces after being ruthlessly dropped by Seagate. But with the shift in balance between hard drive vendors and their distribution channels changing, there is much more to this fall-out than meets the eye. [more]

Orkut Words Generator

Wanna spell something with Orkut's little "people alphabet"? [try it]

Schmidt Complains About Privacy Invasions

Cool – Google CEO Eric Schmidt is standing up against warped gov’t privacy invasion attempts. The Guardian today writes:

<see previous post]. The government claimed it wanted access to records of internet searches and online activity to help identify suspected terrorists and observe dangerous patterns of behaviour. [more]

Disney to Make Video Games for Nintendo

Disney is going to development new video games for the Nintendo Wii and DS... [more]

Newly Supported CSS Selectors in IE7

Now that IE7 has been released and has begun to penetrate into the userbase, it won't be too long before we can start using more advanced CSS in our pages. Two of the most useful items will be the Child and Adjacent Sibling combinators. These were briefly covered in a couple of Adrian Senior's articles on the Child combinator and Sibling combinator. But now that it is about to become feasible to use them for real web pages, it is time to delve more deeply into the subject.
[more]