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August 31, 2004

Open Source Proposal for Business Intelligence and Reporting

"Software maker Actuate on Tuesday proposed a project within the Eclipse open-source foundation to create freely available business intelligence and reporting software.

"If accepted as an Eclipse project, the initiative would result in open-source software to design and generate business reports from Java application servers.

"A vote at Eclipse on whether to accept the proposal, called the Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) project, is slated for one month from now."

Martin LaMonica. Actuate Pushes Open-Source Data Reporting. Aug. 24, 2004.

See also Jim Wagner. BIRTs of a Feather: Actuate and Eclipse. Aug. 24, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:26 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Linux Plans New Search Feature

"Developers of KDE have announced plans to simplify searching for files on the open-source Linux desktop environment by adding a Google-style search feature.

"The next version of KDE, which will either be called 3.4 or 4, is expected to include the new search feature. It's likely to be released within the next 18 months. Aaron Seigo, a KDE developer, said the community has already been discussing and writing code for the new search engine at the KDE Community World Summit, which is taking place in Ludwigsburg, Germany.

"The search engine will be included on the control panel and will build on KDE's current search functionality."

Ingrid Marson. Linux Group Aims for Google-Like Search. Aug. 26, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:24 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Cell Phone Numbers to Become Available

"Sterling Wilson cannot find his old friends. He figures that the ones he has not tracked down must have cellphones, but he has no idea where to look up their numbers.

"It is not like the old days. 'They're not listed in the 411 directory,' Mr. Wilson complained.

"Some people would like to change that. In October, most major cellphone carriers plan to start compiling a publicly accessible listing of wireless phone numbers."

Matt Richtel. For Now, Unwired Means Unlisted. That May Change. The New York Times. Aug. 30, 2004.

Editor's note: See also's prior story on cell phone directories.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:18 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Sprint Backs Apple for Multimedia

"Apple Computer, making headway for its media player technology in the mobile industry, will help content creators make streaming multimedia available over Sprint's cellular network.

"The companies announced on Thursday the certification of Apple's Xserve G5 server and QuickTime software to deliver multimedia content over Sprint's streaming video and audio service, called PCS Vision Multimedia Services.

"The agreement means that content providers can use Apple's QuickTime technology to encode audio and video for Sprint's media service, which was announced earlier this month."

Richard Shim. Sprint backs Apple tech for video streaming. Aug. 26, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:50 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Does iPod Shuffle Have a Mind of its Own?

"While Bob Angus was presiding over a summer dinner party at his Upper West Side apartment in Manhattan, his Apple iPod decided to reveal its softer side.

"Angus had selected the Shuffle Songs mode on his iPod, which was connected by an adapter cable to his stereo receiver. By doing this, he relinquished control of his 1,300-song music library--and, as he would soon find out, of his party.

"The Guns N' Roses song 'Paradise City' blared from his speakers. It was followed by the melodic piano solo at the beginning of Elton John's 'Your Song.' Angus' 10 guests burst into laughter.

"Such are the perils of using Shuffle, a genre-defying option that has transformed the way people listen to their music in a digital age. The problem is, now that people are rigging up their iPods to stereos at home and in their cars, they may have to think twice about what they have casually added to their music library."

Rachel Dodes. When iPod is the DJ, Watch Out. Aug. 26, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:35 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Cell Phone Film Festival

"As filmmaking and digital technology grow ever more intertwined, scores of internet-related film festivals are creating forums to celebrate the marriage. But now one of the pioneers of such events is taking the film festival onto altogether new ground: the cell phone.

"This month, Zoie Films, an Atlanta producer of independent films and festivals, began accepting entries for what it says is the world's first cell-phone film festival.

"And while it might be difficult for some to imagine films that would work on 1- or 2-inch screens, Zoie's founder, Victoria Weston, thinks the medium offers filmmakers -- who are already used to creating films for computer screens -- a rich palette with which to work."

Daniel Terdiman. A Celebration of Cell-Phone Film. Wired News. Aug. 30, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:31 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

August 30, 2004

Software Captures Music from Satellite Radio

"Catching Blondie's reunion tour broadcast at 4 in the morning wasn't an option for XM Satellite Radio subscriber Scott MacLean. 'I was missing concerts that were being broadcasted when I was asleep or out,' he said.

"So the 35-year-old computer programmer from Ottawa, Ontario, wrote a piece of software that let him record the show directly onto his PC hard drive while he snoozed.

"The software, TimeTrax, also neatly arranged the individual songs from the concert, complete with artist name and song title information, into MP3 files.

"Then MacLean started selling the software, putting him in the thick of a potential legal battle pitting technically savvy fans against a company protecting its alliance--and licensing agreements--with the music industry."

Reuters. MP3 Tool Pulls Satellite Radio Into Piracy Fight. Aug. 27, 2004.

Update: Paul Festa. XM Radio Pulls PC Hardware Amid Piracy Concerns. Aug. 30, 2004. (XM Radio discontinues radio receiver that could be outfitted with TimeTrax, software that allows unit users to record songs onto their PC hard drive; unit is being sold on eBay.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:38 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Technology Aiding Protesters at GOP

"Technology has changed how protests are organized.

"Activists are using the Internet to arrange housing for out-of-towners, organize a mass-flash of underwear emblazoned with anti-Bush messages and tell protesters what to say if they're arrested ('I am going to remain silent. I would like to speak with a lawyer.').

"Cell phones work well for on-the-fly mobilizations, and text messages add to their power. Some protesters are signing up for 10 p.m. daily text updates telling them where the next day's events will be.

"Mobile bloggers, or mobloggers, are expected to show up in droves and quickly post on the Web photos, text and even video chronicling events as they happen."

Ellen Simon. Technology Playing Role in GOP Convention Protests. eWeek. Aug. 27, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:59 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Broadcast Treaty Negotiation Reaches Crucial Stage

"An international treaty to give broadcasters the right to control who may record, transmit, or distribute their signals is reaching a crucial stage of negotiation by the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva.

"The current draft (.pdf) incorporates many proposals, but the main ones most countries agree on give broadcasters 50 years' worth of legal control over the recording, retransmission, and reproduction of their broadcast signals. These rights are separate from those of the owners of the actual content being broadcast and if members at the next meeting of WIPO's Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, in November approve the treaty, it could take effect by 2006.

"The idea that broadcasters should have rights enabling them to combat signal piracy is relatively uncontentious. Opponents such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Union for the Public Domain are concerned, however, that broadcast rights might lock up materials that should be freely available to the public."

Wendy Grossman. Broadcast Treaty Battle Rages On. Wired News. Aug. 28, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:36 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Court Dismisses VeriSign Lawsuit

"Internet domain name registry VeriSign just can't seem to convince anyone that redirecting misspelled Web addresses to its own site is a good thing.

"A federal district court judge on Thursday threw out VeriSign's legal arguments that ICANN's ban on this tactic amounted to a violation of U.S. antitrust law.

"VeriSign, which runs the master database for .com and .net addresses, had argued that its competitors had succeeded in stymieing VeriSign's plans for its Site Finder service by providing advice to the board of directors of ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers."

Robert Lemos. VeriSign's Antitrust Suit Against ICANN Dismissed. Aug. 27, 2004.

See also Jim Wagner. VeriSign Loses Round Against ICANN. Aug. 27, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:32 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Who is Responsible for Technical Service?

"Tech support once meant wrestling with the lingo of personal computers. These days, it may also involve grappling with a different kind of language barrier, as James R. Barr Sr. discovered.

"Barr called Dell seeking help formatting, partitioning and reloading Windows XP. 'I got a tech in India who spoke British English. I am 73, speak Alabama English and use two hearing aids. We both experienced some understanding problems.'

"One communications snag: The rep didn't realize that when Barr said 'oh' he meant the number, not the letter.

"Tech service horrors are nothing new, of course. War stories abound of people who languish on hold only to finally reach a support rep even more befuddled than they were. No company seems immune. But the situation appears to be worsening."

Edward C. Baig. Have You Tried to get Tech Support Lately? Arrgh! #*!!. USAToday. Aug. 27, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:12 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Electronic Books Becoming More Popular

"After more than a decade of false starts and empty promises, publishers may finally be starting to understand what consumers want from electronic books.

"Although revenues remain tiny, industry surveys show encouraging signs of growth in e-book sales over the past year.

"Publishing executives and analysts say the industry is finally coming to grips with the most significant issues that have stalled e-book adoption to date."

David Becker. Have e-books Turned a Page?. Aug. 27, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:01 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

August 28, 2004

RSS Entering the World of Big Business

"Really Simple Syndication is starting to attract some real money.

"This is especially true after Technorati -- one of the leading blog and Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, tracking services -- acknowledged Monday it recently closed a multimillion-dollar round of venture capital funding.

"While Technorati's haul is in and of itself impressive, it's the expected ripple effect on other RSS technology developers that has some in the industry excited."

Daniel Terdiman. RSS Attracts Really Serious Money. Wired News. Aug. 26, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:27 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Feds Nab Spammers and Cyber-Criminals

"The U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday that it has taken action against more than 150 individuals accused of spamming and other Internet-related crimes, a crackdown welcomed by the industry but seen as doing little to curb the spam plague.

"The Justice Department announced that Operation Web Snare, begun June 1, has produced the arrests or convictions of more than 150 individuals and the return of 117 criminal complaints, indictments and information.

"The effort, thought to be the largest one yet taken against cyber-criminals, is largely directed against those who run 'phishing' schemes–sending e-mails designed to look like they're from legitimate companies such as banks and online retailers in an effort to harvest credit card numbers or other personal information from unsuspecting consumers."

Dennis Callaghan. Federal Sweep Nets Spammers, Cyber-Criminals. eWeek. Aug. 26, 2004.

See also Paul Roberts. Merchant Group Helps DOJ in Fraud Stings. InfoWorld. Aug. 26, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:03 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Study Shows Business IM Increase

"In AOL's Second Annual Instant Messaging Trends Survey, which was conducted nationally and over the full range of IM systems and users, the company found that 59 percent of Internet users now use instant messaging.

"While teens and young adults still dominate the population, nearly 48 percent of those surveyed who are older than 55 year of age use instant messaging, and 43 percent of the employed populations of IM users use the product at work.

"And while 62 percent of the at-work users do use IM to stay in touch with family and friends, the overwhelming use is for business productivity reasons."

John Dickinson. AOL Study Shows Business IM Use On The Rise. Aug. 24, 2004.

See also Business Wire. America Online Inc.'s Second Annual Instant Messaging Trends Survey Shows Instant Messaging Has Gone Mainstream. Aug. 24, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:26 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

FBI Targets Copyright Violators

"Federal authorities searched computers in six locations yesterday in an attempt to disrupt a network used to trade copies of movies, software, games and music.

"The Justice Department said the searches represented the first time that so-called peer-to-peer networks had been singled out for a criminal enforcement action under copyright law.

"The department has stepped up enforcement of copyright law this year, but until now it has focused on organizations known as warez groups, which steal copies of movies and other materials to make them available to downloaders."

Saul Hansell. U.S. Searches Computers, Trying to Disrupt Piracy. The New York Times. Aug. 26, 2004.

See also
Peter Kaplan and Andy Sullivan. U.S. Raids Net Song Swappers in Copyright Crackdown. Reuters. Aug. 25, 2004.

Attorney General John Ashcroft. Digital Gridlock Announcement. Aug. 25, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:15 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Airline Pre-Screening Program Announced

"For months, homeland security officials have privately debated how to blunt criticism of their planned aviation screening system that passengers and airlines complained was overly intrusive.

"Yesterday, officials announced a friendlier version with a new name, 'Secure Flight,' and a new slogan, 'Preserving our freedoms.' But the system still will rely on key elements of the earlier, controversial program.

"Yesterday's announcement was part of an effort by homeland security officials to come up with a way to implement a viable passenger pre-screening system."

Robert O'Harrow Jr. Airport Screening System Touted as Improvement. Aug. 27, 2004.

See also
Associated Press. 'Secure Flight' Replaces CAPPS II. Wired News. Aug. 26, 2004.
Ryan Singel. Secure Flight Gets Wary Welcome. Wired News. Aug. 27, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:03 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

August 27, 2004

Will the Power of Blogs Remain Editorial?

"A new service would break down the walls between blogs' editorial and advertising content by matching up marketers and bloggers in a manner reminiscent of magazine advertorials.

The service, called Blogversations, is ostensibly designed as a way for bloggers to get paid to do what they've always done: carry on open-ended discussions with their readers about whatever they want to talk about. The difference is that Blogversations wants to find marketers willing to pay to sponsor the discussions.

"The sponsored discussions can 'help marketers engage tuned-out consumers,' said Umair Haque, one of the developers of Blogversations. 'They let bloggers retain control of what they have to say. They give readers interesting, thought-provoking discussion to take part in.'

"In return for hooking up bloggers and advertisers, Blogversations gets a cut of the payment."

Daniel Terdiman. Service Mixes Ads in Blog Chatter. Wired News. Aug. 25, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:19 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

New Proposal for 'Induce Act'

"Electronics manufacturers and some Internet providers are mounting a counterattack to a copyright bill intended to ban peer-to-peer networks and that could also imperil devices like Apple Computer's iPod.

"That measure, called the Induce Act, has been widely panned by the technology industry. Now some groups, including SBC Communications, Verizon Communications and the Consumer Electronics Association, are fighting back with their own proposal that will be sent to Capitol Hill on Tuesday afternoon.

"Their proposal, dubbed the 'Don't Induce Act,' (.pdf) is designed to provide the Senate with an alternative that's less threatening to the industry. It is far narrower, saying that only someone who distributes a commercial computer program 'specifically designed' for widescale piracy on digital networks could be held liable for copyright violations."

Declan McCullagh. Industry Offers Alternative to P2P Bill. Aug. 24, 2004.

See also Katie Dean. Copyright Bill Needs Big Changes. Wired News. Aug. 25, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:47 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

'This Land' Belongs to All of Us

"A music company claiming to own the rights to Woody Guthrie's 'This Land is Your Land' may have gotten more than it bargained for when it took on JibJab Media, the Web animators behind a wildly popular parody of the U.S. presidential campaign.

"The animators on Tuesday beat back copyright infringement charges leveled at their work, which was based on the tune. Attorneys for the company also said they had found evidence that the copyright on Guthrie's song expired in 1973, meaning that anyone can use it for free.

"'This song belongs to you and me,' quipped Fred von Lohmann, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which defended JibJab in the case."

Evan Hansen. JibJab Beats Copyright Rap. Aug. 24, 2004.

Electronic Frontier Foundation. Music Publisher Settles Copyright Skirmish Over Guthrie Classic. Aug. 24, 2004.

Editor's note: See also's prior story on this political parody.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:51 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Ask Jeeves Branches Out to Japan

"The fifth-largest search site in the United States has formed a joint enterprise with Tokyo-based software company Transcosmos to launch the site, called Ask Jeeves Japan.

"The new Japanese venture could spell competition for Web search stalwarts in that country, where Yahoo Japan, a joint venture between Yahoo and Softbank, dominates. Google, the No. 1 search property in the United States, also operates a Web site and advertising arm in Japan.

"The country is attractive to search providers because it's host to a fast-growing Internet economy with thriving e-commerce."

Stefanie Olsen. Ask Jeeves Knocking on Japan's Door. Aug. 23, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:50 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

RIAA and Colleges Address Illegal File Sharing

"Colleges and universities across the country are taking new steps to fight rampant Internet music piracy by beefing up their education efforts, offering legal music downloading options and stiffening penalties for illegal file sharing, according to a report released today.

"The report, which was prepared by a coalition of higher education institutions and the recording industry, said that schools are adopting new policies as well as technological and educational measures to ensure that students have access to online music without resorting to illegal downloads."

Jonathan Krim. Justice Dept. to Announce Cyber-Crime Crackdown. Aug. 25, 2004.

See also:
Katie Dean. Music Services Score an A-Plus. Wired News. Aug. 24, 2004.
Cynthia L. Webb. Online Music Goes Back to School. Aug. 24, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:41 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

IBM Develops New Collaboration Techniques

"A recent demonstration of new collaboration technologies under development at IBM's research labs won the company praise for its vision and deft handling of the Lotus Notes and Domino-to-Workplace migration issue.

"The technology closest to availability is a productivity component for Workplace called ActivityExplorer, which is expected to be a part of Version 3.0 of Workplace and due to ship next quarter.

ActivityExplorer combines e-mail, chat and shared work spaces in one interface. Users can share work, defined as collaborative objects.

Dennis Callaghan. IBM Sets Sights on Collaboration. eWeek. Aug. 23, 2004.

See also Dennis Callaghan. IBM Previews Future Collaboration Technologies. eWeek. Aug. 11, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:37 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

August 26, 2004

Social Software Startup Reaches Major Milestone

"Preparing for more competition in the enterprise social software field, startup Socialtext Inc. has raised more than $500,000. Socialtext announced the Series A funding on Monday on its own blog.

"CEO Ross Mayfield said the investment will largely fuel product development for the company, which sells software for building wikis and Weblogs for enterprise collaboration.

"Venture capitalists have increasingly turned their attention to the social software and social networking arena with investments in everything from blogging and XML syndication services to online dating services and enterprise social networking."

Matt Hicks. Social Software Startup Garners Funding. eWeek. Aug. 24, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:40 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Software Maker Exposes Metadata

"Workshare, a specialist in collaboration software built around Microsoft Office applications, is aiming to alert businesses to the danger of hidden data lurking in their documents.

"The company launched, a Web site with information on the dangers posed by hidden metadata in documents.

"The site includes Metafind, a downloadable tool for automatically analyzing and exposing metadata in documents posted on a given Web site."

David Becker. Software Maker Exposes Hidden Data. Aug. 23, 2004.

See also Jim Wagner. Scrubbing Content Metadata. Aug. 23, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:32 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

MPAA Sues Over License Agreements

"The Motion Picture Association of America said Monday that it has sued two chipmakers for selling DVD chips to companies that are flouting copy-protection rules.

"The lawsuit is the second to target DVD hardware makers and is part of a new campaign by the trade association to crack down on the spread of disc players that deviate from a Hollywood-approved system of copy control features.

"According to the MPAA, Sigma Designs in Milpitas, Calif., and Taiwan-based MediaTek each have sold DVD-player chips to companies that offer features in their products that aren't allowed under the general DVD technology license. That act violated the license the chipmakers had to sign to build the DVD chips in the first place."

John Borland. Hollywood Cracks Down on DVD Chipmakers. Aug. 23, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:04 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Linksys and Netgear Provide VoIP Devices

"Linksys and Netgear, two competing providers of home networking equipment, announce today that they are entering the business of making equipment used to place telephone calls over the Internet, according to industry executives

"In both cases, Linksys and Netgear announce that they are selling equipment designed specifically for use by Vonage, a start-up company that has become a pioneer in providing so-called Internet telephony.

"The announcements underscore the continued growth of Vonage, more generally, the development underscores the idea that Internet calling is slowly beginning to creep out of the fringes and into the mainstream."

Matt Richtel. 2 Companies to Make Gear for Phoning Over Internet. The New York Times. Aug. 24, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:00 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Business Travelers Stay Connected

"Business travelers will be able to surf the Web securely on long-distance flights by combining services from Boeing and iPass, the companies plan to announce on Monday.

"The companies are betting that business travelers, who already connect their laptop computers wirelessly in hotels, cafes and airports around the world, want to stay connected on the plane."

Reuters. Travelers Could Soon Log on From 30,000 Feet. Aug. 23, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:49 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

CRM Software for Small Businesses

"Cisco announced a new software product that will link its voice over Internet protocol products with Microsoft's customer relationship management software.

"The product, Communications Connector, was developed with technical assistance from Microsoft. It builds on a partnership in the small-and midsize-business market that the two companies announced last February.

"Cisco said that with its new product, smaller companies will be able to improve customer service and reduce operational costs, just as larger companies have done for years."

Marguerite Reardon. Cisco, Microsoft Step up Small-Business Push. Aug. 23, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:35 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

August 25, 2004

Shall Sonny Bono Rescue Peter Pan?

It seems that Peter Pan is due to fall out of copyright protection and into the public domain. And the character's British copyright holders are trying their damndest to do a Disney and keep that from happening.

Disney, of course, was one of the chief proponents of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA), which Congress passed into law in 1998. The CTEA extended copyright protection another twenty years not only for new creative works, but also for existing creative works -- including those (like Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh) that were about to fall into the public domain.

(Lest we always smack Big Corporate for the CTEA, let it be known for the record that the Gershwin estate -- holder of the copyrights to George's and Ira's songs -- also lobbied hard for the CTEA.)

Now we have a Reuters story that says that London's Great Ormond Street Hospital, the entity that holds the Peter Pan copyright, is desperately seeking an author to write a sequel to the Peter Pan story; the European copyright on the story is due to expire in 2007. According to the Reuters story, royalties from Peter Pan provide "a 'significant but confidential' source of income."

I am unsure of what British or European Union copyright law says on this issue, but given the recent penchant for global "harmonization" of copyright laws, I am almost sure that those foreign laws have been updated to include CTEA-like provisions. (By the way, "harmonization" is just another way to say for "the U.S. needs foreign companies to make its IP laws just like ours in order to make sure that domestic creativity gets the same protection everywhere in the world.")

The irony here is that author J. M. Barrie donated the Peter Pan character to the Hospital in the late 1920s. Apparently, the hospital is not interested in being similarly charitable.

This may be occurring across the pond, but it is sooooo Hollywood.

Reuters. Author Sought So Peter Pan Copyright Never Grows Up. Aug. 23, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:59 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Be All That You Can Be Virtually

"For the past three years, the military has been entertaining the surprising idea that video games, even those that you play on a commerical system like Microsoft's Xbox, can be an effective way to train soldiers. In fact, the Army is now one of the industry's most innovative creators, hiring high-end programmers and designers from Silicon Valley and Hollywood to devise and refine its games. Some of these games are action-packed, like Full Spectrum Warrior. Others, like one that the military's Special Operations Command is currently designing to help recruits practice their Arabic, are less so. All the games, however, speak to the military's urgent need to train recruits for the new challenges of peacekeeping efforts in places like Iraq."

Clive Thompson. The Making of an X Box Warrior. The New York Times Magazine. Aug. 22, 2004.

See also Evelyn Nussenbaum. Video Game Makers Go Hollywood. Uh-Oh. The New York Times. Aug. 22, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:42 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

ACLU Urges Consumers to Protect Privacy

"A score of large enterprises, including CVS Corp., The Home Depot Inc. and Thrifty Inc., were targeted this month by privacy advocates who want them to refrain from voluntarily giving sensitive data about customers to the government.

"Concerned that federal agents are pressuring companies to turn over electronic data even when they're not legally required to do so, the American Civil Liberties Union is leading a 'no-spy pledge' campaign."

"The campaign urges consumers to write to the stores, airlines, banks and car rental agencies they frequent and request that these companies not hand over customers' personal data unless required by law.

Caron Carlson. Privacy Advocates Ask Retailers to Guard Personal Data. eWeek. Aug. 23, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:21 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Interview with CEO of Userplane

"My interview today is with Mike Jones, CEO of Userplane. Userplane develops Flash-based components for enhancing web sites, and has recently upgraded its Userplane Communications Suite, which the company has been targeting at social networking sites."

Benjamin F. Kuo. Interview with Mike Jones, CEO of Userplane. Aug. 23, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:19 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Download Before You Buy

"In June 2003, Best Buy transferred ownership of the Musicland Group to a private investment company, asking for nothing but the investors' assumption of Musicland's debt and lease obligations.

"Just over a year later, Musicland, of Minnetonka, Minn., has named Zimmerman Partners in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to handle its account, with billings estimated at $50 million. The two companies are poised to execute the next step in a turnaround plan: makeovers for the 900 stores that Musicland runs under the Sam Goody, Media Play and Suncoast Motion Picture brands, which collectively sell CD's as well as entertainment products ranging from DVD's to movie posters to books.

"The strategy envisions stores that embrace the Internet's role in music sales and emulate the loungelike atmosphere of chains like Barnes & Noble and Starbucks."

Nat Ives. Musicland Looks to the Internet. The New York Times. Aug. 24, 2004.

See also Richard Shim. Starbucks, HP Queue Up Music Coffeehouses. March 16, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 06:58 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Justice Department Re-visits Patriot Act

"A top Justice Department official on Monday took a swipe at one of the recording industry's favorite ideas: a law encouraging federal prosecutors to sue copyright infringers.

"Hewitt Pate, assistant attorney general for antitrust, expressed skepticism toward a bill called the Pirate Act that the Senate overwhelmingly approved in June. It's designed to curb peer-to-peer piracy by threatening individual infringers with civil lawsuits brought by the government.

"That idea is 'something that people should take with a grain of salt,' Pate said at a conference held by the Progress & Freedom Foundation. While 'the Justice Department is there to enforce the law, there's something to be said for those who help themselves.'"

Declan McCullagh. Justice Dept. Takes P2P with 'Grain of Salt'. Aug. 23, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:53 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

August 24, 2004

Online Social Networks Lead to Professional Allies

"While their use is still largely limited to less-than-mission-critical purposes, online social networking services are becoming more popular each day.

"But there is growing evidence to support claims that some social networking services (SNS for short) can be a powerful professional ally to businesses — in particular, independent entrepreneurs and smaller companies, for whom each new personal connection is a significant business building block.

"LinkedIn and ZeroDegrees are two of the more popular services that facilitate business-oriented connections, and some argue these and similar sites are now doing a better job at connectivity than ever before."

Xeni Jardin. Online Social Networks Go To Work. MSNBC News. No date.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:55 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

A New Hurdle for Spammers

"New antispam technology standards are on the way that promise to hit spammers where it hurts the most--their wallets.

"At issue is the ability to authenticate the original source of e-mail messages, a major hole in the current system that allows spammers to easily forge return addresses and hide their tracks.

"This month, the Internet Engineering Task Force reviewed several e-mail authentication proposals, agreeing to fast-track a submission from Microsoft known as Sender ID."

Marguerite Reardon. Stopping Spam at the Source. Aug. 23, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:33 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Developing VoIP Wiretap May Stifle Innnovation

"Wiretapping Internet phones to monitor criminals and terrorists is costly and complex, and potentially a big burden on new businesses trying to sell the phone service.

"The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to move forward with rules that would compel the businesses to make it possible for law enforcement agencies to eavesdrop on Internet calls. The commission's preliminary decision (.pdf) is a major step in the long process of deciding how Internet-based conversations could be monitored.

"But developing systems to wiretap calls that travel over high-speed data networks - a task that the companies are being asked to pay for - has caused executives and some lawmakers to worry that helping the police may stifle innovation and force the budding industry to alter its services."

Ken Belson. The Call Is Cheap. The Wiretap Is Extra. The New York Times. Aug. 23, 2004.

Editor's note: See also's prior story on federal wiretapping.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:02 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Online Gambling

"An Internet company that publishes information about online gambling has asked a federal district court in Louisiana to decide whether advertisements for Internet casinos are protected forms of speech.

"Casino City Inc., which operates, an online casino directory, charges that the Justice Department violated the Constitution by threatening American publishers with criminal penalties if they broadcast, print or display advertisements for gambling Web sites.

"The company is asking the court to issue a declaratory judgment that advertisements for online casinos are constitutionally protected speech."

Matt Richtel. Lawsuit Claims Free Speech for Online Casino Ads. The New York Times. Aug. 23, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:50 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Inspector General Claims Legal Use of JetBlue Data

"An Army data-mining project that searched through JetBlue's passenger records and sensitive personal information from a data broker to pinpoint possible terrorists did not violate federal privacy law, according to an investigation by the Army's inspector general.

"The inspector general's findings (.pdf) were accepted by some, but critics say the report simply highlights the inability of the country's privacy laws to cope with 21st-century anti-terrorism efforts.

"JetBlue, which turned over the data at the request of the Transportation Security Administration, was the first airline fingered for secretly sharing data with the government. But it is now known that six of the 10 largest airlines, along with two of the largest airline reservation centers, also did so."

Ryan Singel. Army: JetBlue Data Use Was Legal. Wired News. Aug. 23, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:20 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Congress Seeks a Federal Civil Liberties Commission

"A recommendation to establish a federal civil liberties commission -- which would oversee all antiterrorism information-sharing among government agencies -- is gaining support and could be implemented relatively soon, government officials and outside observers say.

"But it remains to be seen just how much power the commission would have, and whether it would be accountable to the president or Congress.

"The idea comes from the 9/11 commission's report (.pdf), which said "at this time of increased and consolidated government authority, there should be a board within the executive branch to oversee adherence to the guidelines we recommend and the commitment the government makes to defend our civil liberties."

Ryan Singel. Congress Wants Rights Board. Wired News. Aug. 21, 2004.

See also Sarah Lai Stirland. Panel Queries Officials About Intelligence Oversight, Privacy. Aug. 20, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:03 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

August 23, 2004

Search Dances with Flamenco

Earlier this month, we posted a story about the Flamenco search engine. According to researchers at University of California, Berkeley's School of Information Management & Systems, Flamenco "allow[s] users to move through large information spaces in a flexible manner without feeling lost. A key property of the interface is the explicit exposure of category metadata, guide the user toward possible choices, and to organize the results of keyword searches."

The New York Times recently covered the Flamenco story.

"A visit to the school library was once a necessity before writing term papers or reports. But nowadays many students use the Internet as their library.

"However convenient it may be to search the Web from home or a dorm room, the Internet cannot replace many of the built-in benefits of the library, like browsing the stacks for related information that could add spark and depth to an essay or a report.

"But researchers are working on more flexible approaches to searching for digital information not only on the Web, but on one's own hard drive, where elusive details may be scattered through photos, e-mail and other files."

Anne Eisenberg. Making a Web Search Feel Like a Stroll in the Library. The New York Times. Aug. 19, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:21 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Passports Taking on High-Tech Identity

"One of the basic forms of personal identification, the passport, is on the verge of taking on a new, high-tech identity.

"A number of countries are about to launch trials of passports and visas that incorporate basic biometric information about the document holder alongside the traditional photo and passport number--data such as a digital image of the citizen's face that will be compared to a facial scan taken at the airport.

"The U.K. Passport Office recently announced that it is looking for volunteers to help test the recording and verification of facial recognition, iris and fingerprint biometrics."

Michael Kanellos. E-Passports to Put New Face on Old Documents. Aug. 18, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:43 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Government Using Secret Evidence in Secrecy Fight

"The Justice Department is using secret evidence in its ongoing legal battles over secrecy with the American Civil Liberties Union, submitting material to two federal judges that cannot be seen by the public or even the plaintiffs, according to documents released yesterday.

"In one of the cases, the government also censored more than a dozen seemingly innocuous passages from court filings on national security grounds, only to be overruled by the judge, according to ACLU documents."

Dan Eggen. U.S. Uses Secret Evidence In Secrecy Fight With ACLU. Aug. 20, 2004.

See also American Civil Liberties Union. ACLU Files Motion Today to Exclude Secret Evidence. Aug. 19, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Attribution: first discovered news of these challenges to the Patriot Act through a posting in beSpacific, edited by Sabrina Pacifici.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:42 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

E-Tail Sales Delivering Solid Gains

"Online retail sales continue to show significant growth, according to the latest figures released by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

"Statistics published Friday by the federal agency indicate that e-tail sales reached $15.7 billion in the United States during the second quarter of 2004, a 23 percent increase over the same period last year.

"E-commerce made up approximately 1.7 percent of the nation's $919 billion in total retail sales, which rose nearly 8 percent from a year ago."

Matt Hines. Online Retail Sales Continue to Surge. Aug. 20, 2004.

See also Todd R. Weiss. Online sales continue to Rise, Up 23.1% From a Year Ago. Computerworld. Aug. 20, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:51 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Social Networking Web Site Spreading Quickly

" is a free online community that connects people through networks of friends and common interests at over one-hundred different colleges and universities.

"ConnectU can be used for friendship, class work, dating, and developing professional relationships.

"While other networking sites are limited to each member's own college or university, ConnectU connects all students and alumni nationwide, resulting in better dating and networking opportunities."

eMediaWire. Thousands Flock to New Social Networking Web Site Aug. 22, 2004.

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Olympians Barred From Blogs

"The International Olympic Committee is barring competitors, as well as coaches, support personnel and other officials, from writing firsthand accounts for news and other Web sites.

"Participants in the games may respond to written questions from reporters or participate in online chat sessions — akin to a face-to-face or telephone interview — but they may not post journals or online diaries, blogs in Internet parlance, until the Games end Aug. 29."

Anick Jesdanun. Olympic Athletes Largely barred From Posting Online Diaries. USA Today. Aug. 20, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:38 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Video Games Go Hollywood

"Movie producers are often criticized for running at the sight of original ideas, preferring instead to milk plays, books, news events, toys and even video games for their screenplays.

"Now the video game industry is returning the favor, and then some. Seeking to establish the medium as a mass market form of entertainment instead of a niche technology, the game industry has taken the playbook of the movie business.

"The results have been movie-based games, Hollywood-quality special effects, professionally composed soundtracks, celebrity voices - and even Hollywood-style economic problems, including ballooning budgets and a greater reliance on monster hits."

Evelyn Nussenbaum. Video Game Makers Go Hollywood. Uh-Oh. The New York Times. Aug. 22, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:07 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

August 21, 2004

Court Rules in Favor of File-Sharing Companies

"The makers of two leading file-sharing programs are not legally liable for copyrighted works swapped online by their users, a federal appeals court ruled (.pdf) in a blow to the entertainment industry.

"Among other reasons, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said Grokster Ltd. and StreamCast Networks Inc., unlike the original Napster LLC, were not liable because they don't have central servers pointing users to copyrighted material.

"The panel noted that the software firms simply provide tools that let individual users share information over the Internet, regardless of whether that shared information is copyrighted."

Associated Press. Appeals Court Ruling Favors File-Sharing. Aug. 20, 2004.

See also John Borland. Judges Rule File-Sharing Software Legal. Aug. 19, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:21 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Classroom Weblogs Becoming More Popular

"Classroom Web logs, or blogs, many of which got their start in the last school year, are becoming increasingly popular with teachers as a forum for expression for students as young as the second-grade level and in almost any subject.

"In the blogs, students write about how they attacked a tough math problem, post observations about their science experiments or display their latest art projects.

"For teachers, blogs are attractive because they require little effort to maintain, unlike more elaborate classroom Web sites, which were once heralded as a boon for teaching. Helped by templates found at sites like and, teachers can build a blog or start a new topic in an existing blog by simply typing text into a box and clicking a button."

Jeffrey Selingo. In the Classroom, Web Logs Are the New Bulletin Boards. The New York Times. Aug. 19, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:01 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

E-Mail Privacy Law Clears Assembly

"California's Assembly has voted to require the state's employers to inform their workers in writing if e-mail and other Internet activity is monitored at the office.

"If it becomes law, supporters said the bill would place the state at the forefront of protecting employee privacy online and may serve as a model for similar bills in other states."

Reuters. California Lawmakers Back E-mail Warning. Aug. 18, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:57 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Software Revives Music Sharing

"A group of anonymous programmers has released new software that allows music to be swapped via Apple Computer's popular iTunes jukebox.

"Like an older piece of software called MyTunes, the newly released OurTunes allows a person to browse complete iTunes libraries on other computers and download songs, either in MP3 or the AAC format preferred by Apple.

"Songs purchased from the iTunes music store and wrapped in Apple's copy-protection technology cannot be traded. OurTunes works only among computers that share a network, however."

John Borland. Hackers revive iTunes music sharing. Aug. 19, 3004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:52 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

VoIP Company Struggles With Telephone-Numbering Plan

"A dispute between SBC IP Communications and state utility agencies over how to distribute phone numbers promises to shape regulations that are key to the future of the fledgling Net telephony industry.

"SBC IP Communications, a subsidiary of SBC, wants to sidestep the usual procedures and get telephone numbers directly from the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA), without first obtaining a state telephone operator's license.

"Last month, SBC IP asked (.pdf) the Federal Communications Commission for a temporary waiver of the licensing requirement.

"Without an unfettered supply of phone numbers from NANPA, SBC IP argues, it and other carriers' rollouts of Net phone service will be hampered."

Ben Charny.VoIP Firm Tussles With States Over Phone Numbers. Aug. 19, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:37 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Blogging Replaces Postcards

"Who needs postcards? Use high-tech ways to stay in touch while you're traveling.

"You create a Web site and simply update it when you get a chance, uploading a few new photos and writing a couple of paragraphs to let everyone know where you are and how you're doing.

"It's simple, and it's often fast (depending on your connection on the road), and as a result your loved ones become a part of your trip."

Joel Strauch. Blogging Across America. PCWorld. Aug. 20, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:20 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

August 20, 2004

P2P Network Serves Students

"I2hub, the supercharged file-swapping network that has run for months on the university Internet2 network, is aiming to solidify its hold on campuses, with new businesses targeted at students.

"The I2hub founders have acquired a small online textbook exchange and are tying it into the file-swapping service, hoping that students will start reselling books to each other instead of using local bookstores. With this, and other similar student-focused services, they're aiming to turn the file-swapping traffic into a more traditional--and potentially profitable--hub of campus activities."

John Borland. Supercharged College P2P Project Expands. Aug. 16, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:11 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Now Apple is Really Ticked Off

"RealNetworks on Tuesday unveiled its 'Freedom of Choice' marketing push, featuring 49-cent singles, $4.99 albums and a message that it has the only music store compatible with both iPods and portable devices based on Windows Media. The result: a major challenge to Apple Computer, a boost for Windows Media, and a new imperative for music labels to back Apple rivals to break down compatibility barriers."

Forrester Research. Commentary: RealNetworks Lobs Another Grenade. Aug. 17, 2004.

See also:
John Borland. RealNetworks Slashes Song Prices. Aug. 17, 2004. (RealNetworks has kicked off a digital music marketing campaign by highlighting Harmony, a new iPod-compatible technology, and offering song downloads from its music store for 49 cents for a limited time.)

John Borland. Can Glaser and Jobs Find Harmony? Aug. 17, 2004.

Update: John Borland. Real Curtails Half-price Music Sale. Sept. 9, 2004. (RealNetworks closed down its three-week promotional campaign, selling more than three million singles.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:05 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Johansen Strikes Again

"Jon Lech Johansen, the Norwegian hacker famous for cracking DVD encryption, says he has cracked Apple AirPort Express.

"Johansen has revealed the public key that Apple AirPort Express, a wireless networking protocol, uses to encrypt music sent between iTunes and a wireless base station.

"AirPort Express was released in June 2004 as a small wireless bridge from a personal computer to a stereo. Details of the AirPort Express codes were also published on Johansen's weblog, which is called So Sue Me."

Lars Pasveer. Hacker Takes Bite Out of Apple's iTunes. Aug. 12, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 06:51 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Managing VoIP Effectively

"Many CIOs will be keeping a close eye on Boeing Company's efforts to roll out Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) voice, video and data services to more than 157,000 employees worldwide and Verizon's July 22 announcement to launch a similar phone service for consumers.

"These recent announcements could be just the tip of an iceberg of pent-up demand among corporations for a seamless network of digital capabilities.

"But the complexity of getting real value from a VoIP initiative could also put companies on a slippery slope towards a multi-million dollar mistake if they simply race to keep pace with innovation without managing the effort effectively."

John Sviokla. VoIP: Tip of the Iceberg or Slippery Slope?. CIO Update. Aug. 10, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:47 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Local WiMax By 2006?

"US telecom operators are only 18 months away from offering local WiMax communications to their customers, according to research released on Monday.

"The Meta Group says that falling costs and increased mobility will ensure WiMax (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) can be a viable communications option.

"However, BT has said that the technology is unlikely to make much headway unless there is joint funding between different network operators."

James Sherwood. WiMax: Coming your way soon?. ZDNet UK. Aug. 17, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:42 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

PC Survival Time Lowers to 20 Minutes

"Don't connect that new PC to the Internet before taking security precautions, researchers at the Internet Storm Center warned Tuesday.

"According to the researchers, an unpatched Windows PC connected to the Internet will last for only about 20 minutes before it's compromised by malware, on average. That figure is down from around 40 minutes, the group's estimate in 2003.

"The drop from 40 minutes to 20 minutes is worrisome because it means the average 'survival time' is not long enough for a user to download the very patches that would protect a PC from Internet threats."

Matt Loney and Robert Lemos. Study: Unpatched PCs Compromised in 20 Minutes. Aug. 17, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:14 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

August 19, 2004

Software Tool Detects Spoofed Sites

"A new software tool from WholeSecurity can spot fraudulent Web sites used in online cons known as 'phishing scams', according to a statement from the company.

"The new product, called Web Caller-ID, can detect Web pages dressed up to look like legitimate e-commerce sites.

"WholeSecurity is marketing the technology to banks, credit card companies, and online retailers as a way to prevent unwitting customers from accessing false sites, to reduce fraud, and increase confidence in online commerce."

Paul Roberts. Does That Web Site Look Phishy?. PCWorld. Aug. 16, 2004.

See also:
Cara Garretson. EBay taps WholeSecurity to Fend off Phishers. Network World Fusion. Aug. 16, 2004.
PR Newswire. WholeSecurity Launches Web Caller-ID: Industry's First Behavioral Anti- Phishing Solution. Aug. 16, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:37 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Closing the Digital Divide

"Raj Reddy was fed up debating the problem of the digital divide between the rich and the poor and decided to do something about it.

"Reddy, a pioneering researcher in artificial intelligence and a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, plans to unveil at the end of this year his new project, called the PCtvt, a $250 wirelessly networked personal computer intended for the four billion people around the world who live on less than $2,000 a year.

"He says his device can find a market in developing countries, particularly those with large populations of people who cannot read, because it can be controlled by a simple TV remote control and can function as a television, telephone and videophone."

John Markoff. Trying to Take Technology to the Masses. Aug. 15, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:17 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Visits to Political Parody Outnumber Campaign Web Sites

"According to Internet statistician ComScore Media Metrix, JibJab's online lampoon of President Bush and Sen. John Kerry received 10.4 million unique hits during the month of July.

"It's just amazing,' said Spiridellis, who founded JibJab with his brother Evan in 1999. 'It really speaks to the power of word-of-mouth advertising.'

"The political movie did manage to attract the attention of music publisher Ludlow Music, however, which owns the rights to Guthrie's original song. The music company sent JibJab a cease-and-desist letter (.pdf), asking that the site be taken down. The online media company responded (.pdf) with legal action aimed at defending its fair-use rights to the music."

Matt Hines. Political Parody Draws Web Crowd. Aug. 16, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:56 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Rock the Vote Uses IM to Reach Voters

"MTV's nonpartisan partner, Rock the Vote, is turning to instant messaging to further its role as a player in this fall's presidential election.

"All year, Rock the Vote has been trumpeting its goal to get 20 million 18- to 24-year-olds to the polls.

"Along the way, it has unveiled initiatives like Rock the Mobile Vote, using mobile phones and text messaging to spread the word to young would-be voters about political issues, voter registration and the importance of voting.

Daniel Terdiman. Rock the Vote Goes IM. Wired News. Aug. 16, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:48 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

AOL Offers Free Online Games

"America Online has begun offering free online fantasy-sports games to its paying members and outside Web users, as it attempts to attract and retain customers with new services.

"AOL said that fantasy sports players who also use its AOL Alerts system can receive updates on their teams' performance via their wireless devices."

Matt Hines. AOL Kicks Off Free Fantasy Sports. Aug. 16, 2004.

See also America Online, Inc. America Online To Launch Extensive Free Fantasy Sports Games and Features for AOL Members and Other Online Consumers. BusinessWire. Aug. 16, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:19 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

August 18, 2004

Games Not Ready for the Living Room

"Video game consoles may well become the centerpiece of the digital entertainment experience in the home--but not this year.

"'Convergence,' the notion that a single digital appliance will handle multiple tasks, has been an industry movement for years. But in the battle for the digital living room, a retrenchment is in order. Recent missteps indicate the major players in the game console industry, such as Sony and Microsoft, are still searching for a convergence device that will click with consumers."

David Becker. Playing the Convergence Game. Aug. 16, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:26 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

European Antitrust Regulators Extend Review of Anti-Piracy Software

"European antitrust regulators said Monday they have extended their review of a deal between Microsoft Corp. and Time Warner Inc. to make anti-piracy software together.

"European Commission spokeswoman Amelia Torres declined to give a reason for the extension but such a step usually means regulators need extra time to review concessions offered by the companies to address competition concerns.

"Under the new timetable, the commission must decide by Aug. 25 whether to clear the deal or open a second-phase, in-depth probe, which takes four months."

Associated Press. E.U. Extends Review of Anti-Piracy Software Deal. Aug. 16, 2004.

See also:
Dawn Kawamoto. Microsoft, Time Warner DRM Buy on EU Review Shelf. Aug. 16, 2004.
Robert McLeod and Matthew Newman. Microsoft, Time Warner Offer EU Concessions to Approve Purchase. Seattle Times. Aug. 17, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:17 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Feedster Integrates RSS Advertising

"Feedster Inc. is embracing RSS advertising with plans to add sponsored links into its feeds of search results.

"The search engine for Weblogs and syndication feeds announced an expansion of its advertising program that will include the use of contextual advertising from Kanoodle Inc. in its feeds.

"Feedster's expanded advertising move signals a growing interest in using RSS not only to promote a site but also to make money from feed content. Feedster also will sell its own sponsorships for some of the RSS feeds, while using the Kanoodle contextual pay-per-click ads for its nonsponsored search feeds."

Matt Hicks. Feedster Preps Paid RSS Links as Ads Expand. eWeek. Aug. 16, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:05 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Microsoft Details Compatability Problems

"Microsoft has issued a list of nearly 50 software applications and games that may encounter problems with its Windows XP Service Pack 2 update.

"Microsoft details the various issues that people may face when they install the SP2 package, which was released to PC manufacturers earlier this month.

"A range of applications are listed in the Microsoft report, including several of the software maker's own products, along with antivirus tools, Web server software and a handful of games."

Matt Hines. Microsoft Lists SP2 Conflicts. Aug. 16, 2004.

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Warner's Clumsy Attempt With Blogs

"Warner Brothers Records pulled out all the stops recently to promote a rock band, the Secret Machines, on the Internet. But there is one stop that might have been better left unpulled.

"Earlier this month, Warner became the first major record label to ask MP3 blogs to play its music. The blogs - which are relatively new but increasingly popular - are personal Web sites that offer music criticism right next to the actual music, in the form of downloadable MP3 files.

"But as is sometimes the case when marketers try to insinuate themselves into online communities, the company's approach did not go as planned."

David F. Gallagher. Warner's Tryst With Bloggers Hits Sour Note. The New York Times. Aug. 16, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:51 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Music Being Downloaded Directly to Cell Phones

"The ability to download complete tracks directly over cell-phone networks to mobile phones is becoming a reality in Europe.

"O2 Music, the music arm of U.K.-based international telecom operator mmO2, has started offering songs for download in Germany and the United Kingdom.

"The emerging trend of selling full-length songs directly to mobile phones in Europe has been triggered by better understanding and cooperation between mobile phone operators, handset manufacturers and record labels."

Reuters. Downloads on the Move in Europe. Wired News. Aug. 15, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:40 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

August 17, 2004

Notorious Blog

"The instant message blinked on the computer at Jessica Cutler's desk in the Russell Senate Office Building. 'Oh my God, you're famous.'

"Before she could form the thought -- 'famous, cool -- or puzzle how she, a lowly mail clerk, had escaped obscurity, a second instant message popped up on her screen. Startled, Jessica recalls, she began to curse.

'Your blog is on Wonkette,' the message said.

"Jessica's blog (short for 'Web log') was the online diary she had been posting anonymously to amuse herself and her closest girlfriends. In it, she detailed the peccadilloes of the men she said were her six current sexual partners, including a married Bush administration official who met her in hotel rooms and gave her envelopes of cash; a senator's staff member who helped hire her, then later bedded her; and another man who liked to spank and be spanked."

April Witt. Blog Interrupted. Aug. 15, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:33 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Copyright Crusaders Target Schools

"For the third year in a row, software companies are supplying schools with materials that promote their antipiracy position on copyright law.

"But for the first time this year, the library association is presenting its own material, hoping to give kids a more balanced view of copyright law.

"The ALA sees a need for this because materials offered by groups like the Business Software Alliance and the Motion Picture Association of America are designed to influence kids with one-sided information."

Katie Dean. Copyright Crusaders Hit Schools. Wired News. Aug. 13, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:57 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

A New Business Model for Online Publishing

"After 13 years of experimenting, veteran Net publisher Adam Engst has finally stumbled on a good business model -- fast-turnaround e-books.

"Since 1990, Engst has been publishing TidBits, a weekly Mac-oriented newsletter that is the second-longest-running publication on the Internet.

"From the get-go, Engst has pioneered just about every revenue model on the Internet -- ads, subscriptions, sponsorships and the now-ubiquitous tip jar -- with mixed success.

"But now Engst thinks he's finally cracked it. Since last fall, Engst has published a series of rapidly produced e-books using a system he calls 'extreme publishing.'"

Leander Kahney. Net Publishing Made Profitable. Wired News. Aug. 13, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:43 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

eBay Partners With Local Classified Site

"eBay's announcement on Friday that it took a 25 percent stake in online classifieds site Craigslist illustrates how the Web's biggest players are putting a heavy focus on going local.

"Craigslist, launched in 1995, is a bare-bones classifieds site for people looking for almost anything. The site has since created a flourishing network of online buyers and sellers while maintaining a simple look and feel free from banner ads.

"Although the companies did not disclose any financial details, the investment will allow eBay to establish a stronger presence in local transactions."

Jim Hu. eBay Looks to go Local with Craigslist Stake. Aug. 13, 2004.

See also San Francico Chronicle. CRAIGSLIST On the record: Craig Newmark. Aug. 15, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:30 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Bypassing Traditional Media With Blogs

"You know blogging has gone mainstream when air-conditioning contractors are doing it.

"Some news media analysts say blogging is a significant shift in the way people get their news and learn about new consumer products and services.

"Research on the number of people who read blogs is scarce, although the people who read them are probably those who treat them as a supplemental part of a news media diet."

Chris Baker. What's all the blog about?. Aug. 15, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:24 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

California May Implement VoIP

"A body of independent auditors and experts recommended last week that the state consider open-source software and voice over Internet Protocol telephony as two measures to cut costs. The suggested measures are a small part of the voluminous California Performance Review.

"'If all of these recommendations are implemented, they have the potential to save more than $32 billion over the next five years,' the directors of the group of appointees told California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in an letter introducing the report.

"The savings from using the two technologies would make up a small fraction of that total. Moving to VoIP could reduce the state's phone bill by between $20 million and $75 million a year."

Robert Lemos. California Urged to Use Open Source, VoIP. Aug. 13, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:19 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

August 16, 2004

Is Google Bungling Its IPO?

"The IPO lexicon has a myriad of colorful words, such as 'green shoe,' 'blue sky,' 'flipping' and 'red herring.' There is a new word we can add: GOOG-plosion. Definition: IPO disaster.

"Google has certainly committed a variety of major blunders. While no initial public offering is perfect, investment banks such as Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse First Boston (which are co-managing the Google deal) have tremendous experience in the IPO process and rarely goof.

"As everyone knows, it is Google's two 30-something founders who are running the IPO circus. True, their management techniques have been hugely successful for its search engine business--but these skills do not translate well to the tricky business of raising billions of dollars. This is something that should be left to the pros."

Tom Taulli. Google This: Disaster. Aug. 13, 2004.

See also
Dawn Kawamoto. Google Says Playboy Article Could Be Costly. Aug. 13, 2004. (Founders' interview published in Playboy could put the company in violation of IPO mandatory quiet period.)

Stefanie Olsen. Gmail By Any Other Name?. Aug. 13, 2004. (Google may lose trademark rights to "Gmail" name.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:50 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Most Americans Have Used a Search Engine

"New surveys and traffic data confirm that search engines have become an essential and popular way for people to find information online. A nationwide phone survey of 1,399 Internet users in the spring by the Pew Internet & American Life Project shows that 84% of online Americans have used search engines – that translates into more than 107 million people. On any given day online, more than half those using the Internet use search engines. And more than two-thirds of Internet users say they use search engines at least a couple of times per week."

Pew Internet & American Life Project. Data Memo on Search Engines. (.pdf) Aug. 12, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:49 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Microsoft Proposes 'Sender ID' Technology

"Microsoft on Thursday is holding a summit with members of the E-Mail Service Provider Coalition to address the use of Sender ID technology as a standard to fight spam and phishing.

"The software giant said it would gather more than 80 members of the ESPC coalition at its Redmond, Wash., headquarters to discuss using Sender ID as a way to ensure that e-mail originates from the Internet domain it claims to come from.

"Fighting the annoyance of spam and the dangers of fraud activity such as 'phishing' is among the top concerns of Internet users and the companies that serve them.

Dawn Kawamoto. Microsoft Touts 'Sender ID' to Fight Spam, Scams. Aug. 12, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:56 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Internet Calls Being Blocked

"Some broadband customers who use the Internet for phone conversations are complaining that their incoming calls are being blocked.

"The problem, which surfaced about two weeks ago, apparently prevents some Net phone users who are also broadband customers of Adelphia Communications, Citizens Communications' Frontier and various rural cable providers from receiving calls, according to sources familiar with the situation.

"A handful of AT&T;'s CallVantage Net phone subscribers are among those affected."

Ben Charny and Robert Lemos. Some VoIP Calls Being Blocked. Aug. 12, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:41 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Blogs: Efficient Way to Relay Corporate Information

"The tried and true marketing and PR departments may one day make the endangered species list thanks to a rush of corporate interest in blogs and RSS feeds.

"Weblogging -- or blogging -- is taking social networking to new heights. And with the improvements to the technology, the personal journals are now supplying tens of millions of bits of information every day.

"The question by some is, 'Do companies need a full-blown marketing or PR department when the employees themselves and the conversations they have on these blogs are getting the corporate info out more effectively?'"

Michael Singer. Blogs: The Marketing Killer. Aug. 13, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:12 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

August 14, 2004

Text Messaging and the Evolution of the Thumb

"You can glimpse them in malls or school hallways, or even on the road, pumping a thumb (if not both thumbs) with speed and aplomb.

"They are text messagers, a rapidly growing breed who use the cell phone to tap out and send short electronic missives.

"Having initially boomed in Europe and Asia, text messaging has now invaded the United States with full force. In the first quarter, 2.6 billion text messages were sent on cell phones in the United States, an increase from 1.2 billion in the comparable period a year earlier, according to the Yankee Group, a market research company."

Matt Richtel. All thumbs, Without the Stigma. The New York Times. August 12, 2004.

See also Matt Richtel. You, Too, Can Join the Text-Messaging Masses. The New York Times. Aug. 12, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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P2P Networks Distribute Windows Update

"Peer-to-peer advocacy group Downhill Battle has made a copy of Microsoft's Windows XP Service Pack 2 available at a site called through the BitTorrent file-sharing system.

"'Now is a crucial time to demonstrate ways that peer-to-peer can be useful,' according to co-founder Nicholas Reville. 'We are facing a situation where Congress is seriously considering outlawing peer-to-peer for all intents and purposes.'

"Reville was referring to the Induce Act, a bill before Congress that says 'whoever intentionally induces any violation' of copyright law is liable for that infraction. Downhill Battle also used peer-to-peer technology to distribute video of the congressional hearings on the Induce Act."

Ina Fried. Windows Update Hits File-Sharing Networks. Aug. 10, 2004.

See also Alfred Hermida. File-Sharers Offer Windows Update. BBCNews. Aug. 10, 2004.

UPDATE: Ina Fried. Group Cites Microsoft Tthreat, Says No SP2 Over P2P. Aug. 13, 2004. (Downhill Battle has stopped distributing Microsoft's Windows XP Service Pack 2 update following a DMCA threat from the software maker.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:33 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (1)

Blogs Generate Transparency

"At the Aspen Institute's Conference on Journalism and Society in mid-July, a question was put to executives of major news organizations: Whom do you trust in online media today? Most answered with a list of the usual suspects: the Web sites of The New York Times, NPR, the Los Angeles Times.

"Jeff Jarvis, a blogger and president of Advance Internet, gave a different answer: 'I have learned to trust the voice and judgment of my fellow citizens.'

"That answer may have drawn snickers a few years ago. No longer."

J.D. Lasica. Transparency Begets Trust in the Ever-Expanding Blogosphere. Online Journalism Review. Aug. 11, 2004.

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'Push to Talk' Over WiFi

"Cellular carriers are creating 'push to talk' services that travel over Wi-Fi networks, federal regulators say--a move that could expand the one-push cell phone calls to VoIP systems.

"The technology development was disclosed by the Federal Communications Commission in a notice of proposed rulemaking on the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), a 160-page document released last week that discusses how to regulate Internet services.

"In the same document, the FCC reiterated its belief that push-to-talk calls are subject to federal wiretapping requirements."

Ben Charny. 'Push to Talk' Meets Wi-Fi. Aug. 11, 2004.

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Desire for Alternative Browsers Growing

"For Katherine Sandlin, a barrage of pop-up ads was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back - in this case, her reliance on Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

"One software switch later, Ms. Sandlin is reveling in a pop-up-free existence and spreading the word about Firefox, a free Web browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation that has a built-in pop-up blocker.

"For the first time since Microsoft's browser beat out Netscape to gain dominance, its market share is eroding as users like Ms. Sandlin shift to other browsers."

Juliet Chung. In Search of a Browser That Banishes Clutter. The New York Times. Aug. 12, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:21 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

TxtMob Could Move From Political to Business Arena

"In the history of political protests, police have long had the technological upper hand when it comes to monitoring protesters' movements and actions. But a new tool is giving activists at this year's two major political conventions a chance to stay one step ahead of the police.

"Known as TxtMob, the new service from the Institute for Applied Autonomy was unveiled last month at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. There, TxtMob allowed more than 260 subscribers to automatically blast text messages to the mobile phones of every other subscriber.

"According to Emily Turrettini, author of, TxtMob could well prove to be a crucial tool for anyone trying to organize groups of people amid rapidly evolving circumstances."

Daniel Terdiman. Text Messages for Critical Masses. Wired News. Aug. 12, 2004.

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August 13, 2004

CNet's Bountiful Blog Special

Want a veritable harvest of information and commentary about blogging, its utility, and its place in the American media landscape? Then check out's bibliography, entitled "The Blogosphere: Are Blogs Worth the Hype?" The bibliography features some of the Web's best stories on blogging and its potential as an alternative to television, radio, and cable. already has posted several stories from this collection already, including Executive Editor Charles Cooper's opinion that the blogging community "blew its chance" to become legitimized at the Democratic National Convention.

But as they say in those cheesy late night commercials, "Wait!! There's more."

  • Geoffrey Nunberg, a senior researcher at the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford University, compares the language use in blogs and newspapers;
  • The Online Journalism Review on Big Media's response to the blogosphere at the Democratic National Convention;
  • Mother Jones' view on what blogging at the Convention meant, both for blogging and for the established media; and
  • An opinion that blogging is to the progressive cause what talk radio has been to the conservative cause. The Blogosphere: Are Blogs Worth the Hype?

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Wired News Interviews Dan Gillmor

"As columnist with the San Jose Mercury News, veteran Silicon Valley reporter Dan Gillmor has covered the bubble, boom, bust and continuing evolution of the tech industry for over a decade.

"Along the way, he has become an increasingly influential voice in exploring how technology changes media -- and how it changes us in the process.

"Wired News spoke with Gillmor while he was on the road in Europe."

Xeni Jardin. We're All Journalists Now. Wired News. Aug, 11, 2004.

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Variety of Secrets Exposed Through Use of MP3s

"Private photographs, confidential financial documents and even military secrets have joined the list of files that computer users can download as they scour the Internet.

"'One way files are being offered is by people bringing work home from the office and putting it on their home computers where they have a P2P application installed,' said Rick Wallace, who last month launched the web site.

"'At the office, their computer is behind a firewall that protects the network, but many do not have that protection at home and it can lead to great security lapses.' As more inexperienced users look for MP3 music clips, movies, television shows, pornography and computer programs, they often leave the digital door to their computers wide open."

Christopher Borowski. Computer Users Share Private Files with Their MP3s. Reuters. Aug. 9, 2004.

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Amid Internet Popularity Traditional Habits Still Dominate

"The Internet is emerging as a key tool in the everyday lives of a majority of Americans, but when it comes to buying movie tickets or paying bills, they still prefer the traditional way.

"Although almost all Net users conduct some of their day-to-day activities online, most still resort to offline means to communicate and make transactions, the Pew Internet & American Life Project reported (.pdf) this week.

"'In just a few years, the Internet has made a strong mark on everyday life,' Deborah Fallows, author of the report, said in a statement. 'Yet, it is mostly the case that Internet users lean heavily toward the offline alternative for accomplishing the key tasks of their lives.'"

Dinesh C. Sharma. Study: Offline Still Beats Online for Some Activities. Aug. 12, 2004.

See also:
Pew Internet and American Life Project. The Internet Has an Impact on Americans’ Everyday Lives, but Traditional Offline Habits Still Dominate. Aug. 11, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:43 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Microsoft Announces New 'Live Meeting' Subscription Models

"Microsoft will offer three new subscription plans to better accommodate usage patterns and will add Live Meeting to its volume licensing programs, the most common avenue for large corporate buyers to purchase Microsoft products.

"Microsoft launched Live Meeting late last year, after it acquired specialist PlaceWare.

"The service enables users to present PowerPoint slides, jointly edit documents and perform other basic collaboration tasks over the Internet."

David Becker. Microsoft Opens up Live Meeting. Aug. 10, 2004.

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August 12, 2004

Copyright Issues in Digital Media

"The Congressional Budget Office released a new study on digital copyright issues, outlining economic problems that Congress should keep in mind as it grapples with making new laws.

"While stopping short of specific legislative recommendations, the paper offers a set of principles for lawmakers that's largely focused on avoiding being tied too closely to past practices or to the interests of powerful companies or consumer groups.

"The paper could provide a strong working text for legislators, as they face growing calls from both copyright holders and consumer groups to reshape laws that have been severely tested by the growth of the Net and digital copying technologies."

John Borland. Congressional Economists Tackle Copyright Issues. Aug. 10, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:33 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

New IM Collaboration Service for Businesses

"Five Across Inc. will launch an instant messaging (IM) product for business users on Monday that the startup vendor hopes will be a workplace alternative to free, consumer-oriented, public IM services and pricy enterprise-class IM systems.

"Five Across' InterComm basic IM software can be downloaded and run for free over the vendor's IM network, a model similar to the one adopted by providers of consumer-oriented, public IM services, such as America Online Inc.'s AIM, Yahoo Inc.'s Messenger and Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Messenger.

"Unlike consumer-oriented IM services, which are at their core geared toward casual use by individuals in a nonwork environment, the InterComm product contains a raft of workgroup features designed to allow business users to collaborate on documents, communicate and share files."

Juan Carlos Perez. New IM Service for Business Users Launched. InfoWorld. August 9, 2004.
See also Laura Blackwell. InterComm Fuses Messaging, Collaboration. PCWorld. Aug. 9, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:52 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Serious Flaw in AOL Instant Messenger

"According to Secunia and Internet Security Systems, there is a flaw in the 'Away' function of the AOL messaging software, which allows users to show their friends that they're not at the computer.

"The vulnerability is caused due to a boundary error within the handling of 'Away' messages and can be exploited to cause a stack-based buffer overflow by supplying an overly long 'Away' message" of about 1,024 bytes.

"Once the buffer overflow has been executed, a malicious hacker could then direct the client PC to a Web site where more code could be downloaded."

Graeme Wearden. 'Critical' flaw seen in AOL Instant Messenger. August 10, 2004.

See also
No author. Critical Security Flaw Spotted In AOL Instant Messenger. TechWeb. August 9, 2004.
Paul Roberts. AOL IM 'Away' Message Flaw Deemed Critical. Computerworld. Aug. 9, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:31 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Web Services Standard Proposed to Promote Interoperability

"A consortium of major technology companies, including newfound allies Microsoft and Sun Microsystems, submitted a proposed new standard intended to promote interoperability between Web applications.

"The specification would provide a framework for applications to exchange and decipher messages, a key requirement for interoperability.

"Lack of interoperability has been one of the key factors in slowing down the expected boom in Web services, with many important applications unable to exchange data with one another."

David Becker. Sun, Microsoft Join on Web App Standard. Aug. 10, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:08 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Slow Growth Forecast for Paid Search

"A new Internet advertising forecast shows slower growth for paid search listings in the next five years, a projection that raises questions about Web search leader Google Inc.'s prospects as it goes public.

"Advertisers will more than double spending on paid search to $5.5 billion in 2009 from $2.6 billion this year, but the annual growth rate will decelerate to 11 percent in 2009 from 65 percent in 2003, according to a report by Jupiter Research.

"JupiterResearch has forecast total online ad spending, including search and display ads like banners, will nearly double to $16.1 billion by 2009. Local search spending will grow more slowly than total online advertising or paid search, rising to $879 million in 2009 from $502 million this year."

Michele Gershberg. Hey, Google: Paid Search Growth May Slow. Reuters. Aug. 8, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:02 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

August 11, 2004

Google Pays Off Yahoo!

"Google Inc. settled a major patent dispute with rival Yahoo Inc. yesterday for about $328 million in stock, removing a legal threat to its online search business and eliminating some of the uncertainty surrounding its impending initial public offering.

In exchange for 2.7 million shares, Yahoo dropped its two-year-old lawsuit, which had alleged that Google infringed on Yahoo's patents for the technology that matches advertising with Internet search results. Google relies on that advertising for more than 90 percent of its revenue."

David A. Vise. Google Ends Its Dispute With Yahoo. Aug. 10, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:43 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Disney's Attmept to Lockdown Access to Digital Works

Fred von Lohmann, Senior Intellectual Property Attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has pointed out in a recent Deep Links post that the Disney Company is attempting to get the Federal Communications Commission to regulate "all devices capable of recording from any audio broadcasting medium or from the Internet." Regulation would come via a broadcast flag.

Deep Links. Nose. Camel. Tent. Aug. 6, 2004.

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The New is Still Based on the Old

"The Internet revolution that began in the early 1990s frequently generated exhortations to 'go digital,' join the 'digital economy' or enter the 'digital age.' Proselytizing digital technology with such fervor lent the 'other' kind of technology -- analog -- a has-been status. Analog, the consensus view maintained, was yesterday's news.

"But it turns out that analog technology not only has its place in the digital age, but that the world still can't do without it."

Robert MacMillan. New Economy, Old Technology. Aug. 9, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:58 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

What if You Have to Search Everything?

"Although search engines have greatly enhanced access to information, and storage technology has made it cheap to digitize nearly everything, search tools need to be refined to make it easier to digest information or conduct queries. That was the word from researchers and speakers at the New Paradigms for Using Computers Conference, held at IBM's Almaden research lab here last week.

"Early attempts to better locate the world's information are already under way. The University of California at Berkeley, for example, showed off at the conference a prototype of a search engine called Flamenco that makes it easier to search for works of art or antiques. Santa Clara, Calif.-based Inxight, meanwhile, has created software that attempts to graphically represent latent connections between people or institutions by studying where and how they get mentioned on the Web."

Michael Kanellos. Next-Generation Search Tools to Refine Results. Aug. 9, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:54 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Continuing to Address the Digital Divide

"As the nation's transformation to a wired society has accelerated, many policymakers have shelved fears of a gulf between Internet haves and have-nots. Internet use at all income levels has gone up. The government program known as E-rate helped subsidize the wiring of schools and public libraries, while recent government efforts have focused on proving broadband to rural areas.

"Yet a significant digital divide based on income persists, largely affecting the urban poor."

Jonathan Krim. Program Aids Urban Poor In Accessing The Internet. Aug. 9, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:53 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Opposition to Cell Phone Directory

"Darlene Mickey is among a minority of cell phone users: She actually wants her wireless number listed with directory assistance. 'I live by my cell phone.' 'It's my lifeline for my business. I'd like my clients to be able to find me.'

"Almost 90 percent of the 160 million U.S. cell phone consumers have another opinion. They don't want their numbers listed, according to a survey by a market research firm. Nonetheless, the cell phone industry plans to launch a database to list numbers at customers' request.

"Consumer groups say that such a directory would open a door to unwanted marketing and other harassing calls that not only would hassle cell phone users but also cost them valuable minutes for incoming calls."

Yuki Noguchi. The Wireless Industry and the 411. August 7, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:07 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

August 10, 2004

ALA's Copyright Network

The American Library Association Washington Office's Office for Information and Technology Policy is in the process of developing the Copyright Advisory Network, an online resource that will allow librarians to post questions about copyright issues, and receive answers to those issues. The answers will come from the Association's copyright experts, presumably including Carrie Russell, who writes the "Carrie on © column in School Library Journal, and is the author of Complete Copyright.

"The ALA should be appluaded for taking this step. It will be interesting to see how the Association navigates unauthorized practice of law concerns, and it also will be interesting to see the volume and nature of questions that may be posted to the Network.

Above all, this initiative highlights how important copyright knowledge is to all information professionals, including librarians. It is a shame, however, that so few graduate information science programs devote a full course to the topic. When last I checked about a year ago, no more than five of this nation's ALA-accredited graduate library science programs offer a course in copyright law. (Fortunately, my alma mater, Syracuse University's School of Information Studies, is one of them.)

American Library Association. Copyright Advisory Network.

Attribution: first discovered news of the Copyright Advisory Network through a posting in LibraryLaw Blog, edited by Mary Minow.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:58 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (1)

Have Financial Trouble? Don't Use the Software

"One of the puzzling things about sneakwrap licenses is that so many software companies try to keep them secret until after the user purchases the product. A reader recently sent me Company X's license. Looking it over, I found a number of terms I thought unusually harsh, such as this one:

'The Agreement and the licenses granted hereunder shall terminate without further notice or action by (Company X) if You become bankrupt or insolvent, make an arrangement with Your creditors or go into liquidation.'

"So if you experience financial difficulties, you lose what was supposed to be a perpetual license. Gee, how fair is that?"

Ed Foster. The Mystery License. The Gripe Line Weblog. Aug. 7, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:43 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Do Spam Filters Work?

"As spam has become the bane of in-boxes, spam filters have come to the rescue. Added on to or built into popular e-mail services and programs like Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, Eudora and Outlook, the filters are helping many people feel less besieged by spam.

"Yet filters can also create more work, requiring constant vigilance and frequent tuning in order to teach the software to recognize certain types of junk."

Katie Hafner. Delete: Bathwater. Undelete: Baby. The New York Times. Aug. 5, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:25 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Getting Behind the BSA's Piracy Story

"A nonprofit trade group formed by more than a dozen major software makers -- including Microsoft and Adobe -- the Business Software Alliance is charged with enforcing licensing and copyright protections. Personal contact with the software group usually comes in the form of a 'software audit,' in which the BSA, often acting on a tip from an angry current or former employee, combs through a company's PC stock, matching installed programs with licenses. Companies that come up short can be forced to pay big fines and buy tons of new licenses.

"But BSA executives say the group's role isn't to be the tough guy. Instead, they're around to protect the interests of software makers, through a combination of enforcement action, education and governmental lobbying."

David Becker. Software Piracy: Hype Versus Reality. Aug. 2, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:15 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Apple Really Blindsided

"RealNetworks' RealPlayer program once defined digital multimedia online -- it was the only way to listen to scratchy Web radio or watch grainy Web video. Today Apple's iPod holds a similar role in the MP3-player market -- it's the gadget everybody seems to want.

"Both of these products were recently updated: Apple's newest iPod adds the best design features of the iPod mini, while RealPlayer 10.5 adds the unprecedented feature of iPod compatibility."

Rob Pegoraro. RealPlayer's iPod-Compatible Update 'Stunned' Apple. Aug. 8, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:57 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Big Media Acknowledges Blogging's Influence

"Could we be entering a belated Age of Enlightenment when it comes to the way media companies treat independent bloggers? After years of deep-linking legal debates and arguments about whether bloggers are journalists, some mainstream media outlets are starting to realize a link from a prominent blogger can bring traffic and buzz.

"Take the example of the Wall Street Journal Online. Just a few years ago, Patrick Phillips, who runs the IWantMedia Web site, got in trouble with the Journal's legal department for linking to stories behind the subscription wall by using the site's "Email This" function.

"Now, night editor David Patton sends out an e-mail each evening especially to bloggers to let them know about the site's 'free feature,' an article that is available for free."

(Editor's Note: The Journal finally got on the syndication bandwagon, and began offering RSS feeds this summer. The feeds offer no content, however -- not even a lede -- and readers still need a subscription to or the print edition in order to view content. In other words, the Journal business and editorial staff still don't really get it.)

Mark Glaser. Dear Bloggers: Media Discover Promotional Potential of Blogosphere. Online Journalism Review. Aug. 4, 2004.

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August 09, 2004

States Continue Pressuring File Trading Companies

"A group of 46 state attorneys general sent a deeply critical letter to file-sharing companies Thursday, asking them to take stronger action on privacy and intellectual-property violations.

"Thursday's letter asked makers of file-sharing software to take 'meaningful steps' to prevent the dissemination of child pornography, invasion of privacy and copyright infringement. The group stopped short of citing specific legal action that states might take against companies but said they could target individuals using file-swapping networks for fraudulent purposes."

Kudos to, which continues to chronicle the entertainment industry's moves to legislate copyright at the state level, in addition to it's increased efforts at the federal level.

Back in March, cited a report that outlined how the entertainment industry was assisting the states in portraying peer-to-peer networking companies as manufacturers of defective or potentially dangerous products. If classified in such a manner, file sharing products would have to bear extensive warning labels, and aggrieved copyright owners may be able to win damages from the products' manufacturers under state product liability statutes, in addition to any damages available pursuant to federal copyright infringement laws.

Additionally, Borland's article chronicles a trend amongst law enforcement officials and legislators at both the state and federal levels to portray P2P networks as harbors for adults who trade freely in child pornography. If such activity does occur on P2P networks, it is reprehensible and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

But these allegations have been offered by entertainment industry lobbyists, then spoon-fed to state and federal officials -- almost always without the slightest shred of study or independently verifiable evidence. Clearly, the entertainment lobby has a vested interest in such a campaign, and any of their claims that concern copyrighted works always should be held to the strictest scrutiny.

Unfortunately, state and federal officials often fail to investigate such claims before acting.

John Borland. State AGs Warn File-Sharing Companies. Aug. 5, 2004.

See also:
Declan McCullagh, et al. P2P Faces New Legal Scrutiny from States. March 15, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:36 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Folding the Hand on Google's IPO

"In Silicon Valley, hackers, engineers, venture capitalists and sales executives love to use Google.

"Just do not ask them to bet on it.

The valley's digerati, traditionally among the biggest proponents of initial public offerings of technology stocks, are overwhelmingly bearish on Google's widely anticipated offering, which is expected to get under way soon, through an online auction."

John Markoff. Loving Google but Not Its Public Offering. The New York Times. Aug. 6, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:35 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Surf and Fly All At Once

"The price of Lufthansa's Connexion by Boeing service costs $30 for a long-haul flight (six hours or more), or $10 for 30 minutes, and is perhaps more than some are willing to pay. But Connexion is at the leading edge of a trend that analysts and executives said will gain momentum this year, and is likely to lead to lower prices, a greater selection of vendors and much more mouse clicking on flights.

"Connexion made its debut in May on Lufthansa, which calls its service FlyNet, and is the first full-feature, in-flight Internet service to reach travelers, after years of half-starts."

Bob Tedeschi. Logging On at 30,000 Feet. The New York Times. Aug. 8, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:31 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

IM Over the Web

"Microsoft is testing a new version of its MSN Messenger that can be used over the Web without having to install software. The new service is the latest attempt by Microsoft to extend its reach in the market for messaging services, used to send instant text messages between users logged on to different computers and devices.

"MSN rivals America Online and Yahoo already offer Web-based instant messaging, as do other Web-based messaging service providers.

Reuters. Microsoft Tests Web-based Messenger. Aug. 7, 2004.

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Search Around Your House

"Yahoo is betting that search results tailored to the customer's location will give it the edge. The company's new test site 'greatly improves the ability of users to find directions, maps and other information related to everything from restaurants to movie theaters to day spas,' Yahoo said.

"Yahoo also has begun letting users rate and review businesses in their area through its local search site. The search results Yahoo provides include advertisements, called 'sponsored results,' for local businesses. Yahoo's move comes as its competitors are increasing their focus on the local search market. Google Inc. in March introduced Google Local, which provides maps, directions and other information for local businesses to users searching for such information on the Google home page."

Cynthia L. Webb. Yahoo: Trying to Be a Local Hero. Aug. 4, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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Chat with the Oval Office

"Will President Bush reschedule his prime-time speech to avoid a conflict with 'American Idol?' (Nope.) Why does he hate nature? (He doesn't.) Do presidents pick up a hot line red phone? (No, phone colors of choice have been black, turquoise and white.)

"'Ask the White House' is an online chat held about five times weekly. People fire eclectic questions at administration officials and staffers, mixing heavy affairs of state with light fare about where Barney the dog sleeps. The forum is supplemented by e-mail exchanges that offer officials a bit more time to research their answer."

Siobhan McDonough. Online Chats Offer White House Access. Aug. 6, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:11 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

August 07, 2004

Mobile Phone Providers Offer IM

"In separate deals announced Thursday, Verizon Wireless and Cingular Wireless said they will make instant-messaging services available to their customers.

"While Verizon is partnering with Microsoft's MSN, Cingular is teaming with Yahoo."

Dinesh C. Sharma. Verizon, Cingular Get Hooked to IM. Aug. 5, 2004.

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The Library & The Blog

"How many libraries currently have a weblog? A search on Google (using the search terms 'library weblog') returned 544,000 hits on 21 June 2004, but this is not indicative of widespread use of weblogs by libraries for user-related activities. The top ranking site from Libdex is a list of library weblogs by country, which also features articles on weblogging by and for information professionals, most of whom are based in the U.S. and Canada. Articles carry titles such as 'Blogging Your Life Away' and 'The secret life of tattooed and bellydancing librarians' (the mind bloggles) [sic] - as though to illustrate that librarians can be as hip and cool as the regular guys in the blogging community."

Penny Garrod. Weblogs: Do They Belong in Libraries?. Ariadne. July 2004.

See also K. Matthew Dames. Social Software in the Library. July 26, 2004.

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AOL Opens Enterprise Software Applications to New Developers

"America Online on Tuesday said it will allow two new companies to develop enterprise software applications using its popular FaceTime Communications and Akonix will be able to incorporate AIM's instant messaging and online presence technology into its products. The companies also will sell AIM's application programming interface (API) to businesses that wish to develop their own IM and presence features.

"IMLogic struck a similar deal with AOL in February, and already about 100 companies are using its software to develop their own AIM applications."

Jim Hu. AOL Opens Messaging to Enterprise Developers. August 3, 2004.

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The Blogosphere, Post-Convention

"In his column 'Cybertourists in Boston,''s Charles Cooper expresses his disappointment with the bloggers credentialed for the Democratic National Convention. I think he missed the point about what was taking place in Boston.

"This was not a contest between the best of 15,000 traditional journalists and the total output of a few dozen Web loggers. We were watching the start of an important learning process.

"My main issue with his assertion that 'blogging blew its big chance' is with his apparent premise that this was a head-to-head evaluation of similar products with a similar feature checklist. This was not a prize fight, and they weren't even going after the same prize."

Dan Bricklin. Blogging Breakthrough in Boston?. Aug. 2, 2004.
Charles Cooper. Cybertourists in Boston. July 30, 2004.

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Wiretapping Internet Calls

"The FBI wants to force Verizon Communications to make sure that its broadband-over-fiber service can be easily wiretapped by police and spy agencies.

"In a letter sent to the Federal Communications Commission last month, the FBI said that Verizon's Fios service must be required to abide by a 1994 law that levied complex and expensive eavesdropping requirements on traditional phone companies. The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Justice Department joined the request.

"The request made to the FCC marks the latest skirmish in the war over what wiretap rules should apply to the Internet and who will pay for the costs of buying equipment to provide police and spy agencies with backdoors for secret surveillance."

Declan McCullagh. FBI Wants to Eavesdrop on Fiber Links. August 3, 2004.

See also Cynthia L. Webb. FCC Serves Up a Ruling Smorgasbord. August 5, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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Search Engines Exploring Personalization

"The next time you enter 'Thai restaurants' in a search engine's text box, you might find more than just ten blue links. Don't be surprised to be served reviews of establishments in your vicinity, and maybe even a link to make a reservation.

"Several of these search 'shortcuts' under development by Google, AOL Search, and other Web search engines are being described at this week's Search Engine Strategies conference.

"One such project in Google's Lab is called Google Personalized. It invites users to create a profile by selecting categories of interest that range from 'bluegrass music' to 'mobile computing' to 'skateboarding' to 'women's health.'"

Dennis O'Reilly. Search Engines Get Personal. PCWorld. August 4, 2004.

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August 06, 2004

Kerry's Tech & IP Agenda

"The Democratic National Convention is over, some $65 million has been spent on a week-long party in Boston, and what do we now know about John Kerry?

"The Massachusetts senator barely mentioned technology in his convention speech, except to marvel at ever-shrinking microchips and implore everyone to visit That's not much to work with.

"A careful review of Kerry's history in the Senate shows that his record on technology is mixed. The Massachusetts Democrat frequently sought to levy intrusive new restrictions on technology businesses that could harm the U.S. economy. He was no friend of privacy and sided with Hollywood over Silicon Valley in the copyright wars."

Declan McCullagh. John Kerry's Real Tech Agenda. Aug. 2, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:59 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Software Company Forced Out of Existence Due to DMCA

"A maker of software that enabled users to copy DVDs and computer games folded Tuesday under the mounting weight of lawsuits by deep-pocketed movie studios and video game producers.

"321 Studios Inc. quietly announced 'it has ceased business operations including, but not limited to, the sale, support and promotion of our products.'

"The company said that despite its 'best efforts to remain in business,' unfavorable court rulings by three federal courts this year assured its demise."

Jim Suhr. DVD-Copying Software Company Folds. August 4, 2004.

See also Katie Dean. 321 Studios Shuts Its Doors. Wired News. August 3, 2004.

Update: Jim Hu. MPAA Wins Settlement in DVD Copy Case. Aug. 10, 2004. ("The Motion Picture Association of America has settled a copyright infringement suit against 321 Studios for an undisclosed financial amount.")

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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Blogs Assist Knowledge Sharing

"Once a unique place for hackers and geeks, blogging and social networking have now become multi-million dollar enterprises where IT heavies roam in search of money-making opportunities.

"The industry itself has shifted from its early adopter stage to an 'awkward adolescence,' according to experts attending last Friday's BlogOn 2004 conference. But major IT players like Microsoft, IBM and others are finding that they can embrace blogs instead of fearing them and transition the communication platform from a technical tool to an enterprise goldmine.

"'Social media builds relationships. Connection happens before conversation, but still, this is business,' CEO Ross Mayfield said. 'What you will not find on your balance sheet is an underlying value proposition of enhancing social capital.'"

Michael Singer. IT Heavies Lifting Dollars For Blogs. July 26, 2004.

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Google Searches Reveal Stolen Credit Cards

"Simple queries using the Google search engine can turn up a handful of sites that have posted credit card information to the Web.

"The lists of financial information include hundreds of card holders' names, addresses and phone numbers as well as their credit-card data. Much of the credit-card data that appears in the lists found by Google may no longer be valid, but several people verified that the credit cards numbers were authentic.

"The query, the latest example of 'Google hacking,' highlights increasing concern that knowledgeable Web surfers can turn up sensitive information by mining the world's best-known search engine."

Robert Lemos. Google Queries Provide Stolen Credit Cards. August 3, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:34 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Lessig Encourages Freedom to Imagine

"You can pay $25 for Lawrence Lessig’s new book. Or you can download it for free. What’s the catch? None, according to Lessig, a law professor who specializes in intellectual property and is the author of Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity.

"A memo Lessig wrote to his publisher convinced Penguin Books that releasing Free Culture online actually would increase sales of hardcover copies. Which may be true: there have been more than 180,000 downloads—and Penguin is on its third printing."

Stanford Magazine. Give It Away and They'll Buy It. July/August 2004.

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Possible Internet Chat Regulation

"Tiago Bittencourt Silva started an ambitious programming project last month: an open-source utility that lets small groups of Internet users communicate through instant messages, video links and audio chat.

"Silva's project, called p2pCommunity, is designed to appeal to groups of 2 to 100 people who want to collaborate on writing papers or designing software applications. He's already made a pre-alpha release available at no cost on the SourceForge distribution site.

"Thanks to a bizarre move by Congress last week, p2pCommunity and hundreds of similar projects could end up paying taxes to state governments to prop up the antediluvian scheme of running copper wires to rural households for analog phone service."

Declan McCullagh. Taxes on Tap for Internet Chat? July 26, 2004.

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August 05, 2004

College Libraries Using RFID Tags

"Some college libraries have replaced the bar codes on their books with high-tech tags that can silently transmit information, a change that might escape the notice of most patrons. But privacy advocates hope you take a closer look.

"The new tags use radio-frequency identification, or RFID. They have made the news recently as a tool to make retail stores more efficient at inventory control and theft prevention -- and also as a potential source of snooping. Recently, libraries have starting adopting the tags as well.

"With their encased microchips, RFID tags can transmit information to devices designed to pick up the signals and interpret them. Some privacy advocates worry that a day will come when a library book's tag could broadcast information about a patron to anyone nearby with a tag-reading device -- stalkers, snoops, corporate marketers, or G-men."

Scott Carlson. Talking Tags. The Chronicle of Higher Education. August 6, 2004.

See also Electronic Frontier Foundation. ACTION ALERT: A Chance to Keep RFIDs Out of San Francisco Public Libraries.

Editor's note: See also's prior story on library's RFID usage.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:48 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Click Fraud's Exposure Increasing

"Click fraud -- the practice of clicking on a text advertisement served by a search engine for the sole purpose of forcing the advertiser to pay for the click -- is emerging as an important concern for search engine marketers.

"Click fraud is not a new phenomenon. It has been happening for years, since the original installation of the cost-per click (CPC) pricing model. Click fraud has been increasing in frequency and impact as more advertisers launch CPC campaigns and as the overall cost of online advertising (both search and non-search related) continues to rise.

"A notable example is the case of affiliate click fraud uncovered by the Times of India. This is certainly not the first click fraud case of its kind, nor is it limited to India and Nigeria -- this activity has been, and is occurring all over the world. Unfortunately, it takes the Google IPO for the industry to start lifting the hood on what has heretofore been considered a perfect - and perhaps even brilliant - online pricing model."

Jessie Stricchiola. Lost Per Click: Search Advertising & Click Fraud. Search Engine Watch. July 29, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:39 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0) Offers Unique Features

"What could be more fun than taking on Google in the search engine business ??

"I'm working with a company called IceRocket is a brand new search host that combines the best of spidered search, meta search, and what we hope are some unique and different features that make using the engine more efficient and addictive.

"I'm not involved in the day to day, I've offered to help come up with some unique features that hopefully can allow them to seperate from the pack. To me, this is a unique way to 'design my own search engine.' The features that are and will be included, are the things I look for when I'm doing my searches."

Blog Maverick. Watch Out Google….Here We Come! August 1, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:24 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Yahoo's Alternative to Aggregating Information

"Yahoo has rolled out a feature-laden beta version of its local search service, sharply upping the ante in the rapidly evolving local search sweepstakes.

"The new service offers similar functionality to Google's local search beta, but adds a number of unique features that break new ground, surfacing and aggregating information in interesting, useful new ways.

"Beyond offering features the company hopes will be perceived as superior to Google, Ask Jeeves and other players in the general search space with local offerings, Yahoo is seeking to differentiate itself from the online yellow pages providers, as well.

Chris Sherman. Yahoo Targets Google, Yellow Pages with New Local Search. Search Engine Watch. August 3, 2004.

See also Pamela Parker and Zachary Rodgers. Yahoo!, Ask Jeeves Bow Local Search Tools. August 3, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:07 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Hollywood Marketing Toward Men

"Hollywood -- always in search of hip, influential people who can get others to go see a film -- is spending an increasing portion of its collective marketing resources online, shifting budgets and attention from traditional media like television and print toward the Web.

"While the major movie studios spent just 1.3 percent of their $6.76 billion advertising budget online in 2003, the portion will balloon rapidly in coming years, industry executives say.

"According to Doug Hirsch, general manager at Yahoo Movies, Hollywood is also going to be targeting music sites heavily frequented by young men, and social-networking sites like Friendster."

Daniel Terdiman. Hollywood Chases Young Men Online. Wired. July 29, 2004.

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Userplane Introduces New Web Audio Video Recorder

"Userplane, the premier provider of enterprise social software for online communities, today introduced Userplane Web Recorder(TM) 1.5 -- a significant enhancement of its A/V recorder technology, delivering improved performance, reliability and administrative tools.

"Offering Flash-based recording and playback capabilities to an array of business segments, Userplane Web Recorder 1.5 is the leading application providing dynamic, browser-based video and audio message recording.

"A/V message capabilities can enhance any website environment and various forms of communication between companies and their audiences -- delivering sales pitches, personal messages, advertising promotions and product showcases in a familiar format that captures the senses."

No author. Userplane Unveils Web Recorder 1.5, Featuring Enhanced Flash-Based Audio/Video Message Recording and Playback Capabilities. BusinessWire. August 2, 2004.

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August 04, 2004

Is Web Calling Just E-Mail Waiting to Happen?

"Most new technology comes with risks, no matter how great the advantages. Computers, for instance, can store huge amounts of information, but they can also freeze, crash and melt down.

"The challenge is no different with Internet phones, which more and more consumers and businesses are using. The phones break voice conversations into data packets and route them over the Internet, a cheap and more flexible alternative to traditional phone calls that travel over copper wires.

"But Internet phones and the routers and servers that steer and store the digitized calls are susceptible to the bugs, viruses and worms that have plagued computer data systems for years. With Internet phones, hackers or disgruntled employees with access to a company's phone server can eavesdrop on conversations by surreptitiously installing software that can track voice packets."

Ken Belson. Hackers Are Discovering a New Frontier: Internet Telephone Service. The New York Times. Aug. 2, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:49 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

The Blackberry is Not Good

"When a company introduces a brilliant melding of hardware and software that allows us to do something with previously unrivalled ease, we are inclined to embrace it so gratefully that we will pay any price to obtain it. And we are so delighted to have it that we cannot imagine for a long while how the pioneer could ever be seriously challenged.

"Today, the BlackBerry faces formidable competition. A well-financed Silicon Valley start-up, Good Technology, has developed software that is arguably superior to BlackBerry's. It is the first to continuously and wirelessly synchronize every module of Outlook, needing no cradle to connect gadget to computer. The BlackBerry has yet to catch up.

"Most significantly, Good has written its software to run on an array of phones and hand-held devices - whatever runs Palm or Microsoft software."

Randall Stross. It's BlackBerry Season, but Maybe Not for Long. The New York Times. Aug. 2, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:37 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Music Presented at the Cellular Level

"First there was the ring tone. Then the camera. Now the music player.

"In its relentless push to add features to cellphones, the wireless industry is preparing to make affordable new phones that can store and play full-length downloaded music tracks.

"Motorola's announcement last week that it is working with Apple Computer to make phones that can store and play iTunes music tracks is the first major indication that the convergence of the portable music player and the inexpensive cellphone is finally upon us. The Motorola music phone will be on the market next year."

Laurie J. Flynn. The Cellphone's Next Makeover: Affordable Jukebox on the Move. The New York Times. Aug. 2, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:31 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Can Public Records Be Restricted by Copyright?

"'These truths we hold self-evident…'" Thomas Jefferson in writing the words of the Declaration of Independence down on paper created an 'original work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression.' Could he have claimed copyright in it?

"The Continental Congress made a few amendments to Jefferson's draft. In making amendments and thus creating a derivative work, would they have infringed on his copyright? Could Jefferson or the Congress have demanded royalties from the newspapers and broadside publishers printing the Declaration?

"That's absurd, you may say. 'The Declaration of Independence is a public record. Public records can't be copyrighted.' Governmental bodies, however, are claiming copyright in public records.

"A Virginia legislative committee created this year by House Joint Resolution 6 will be studying issues about electronic public records, including copyright. A subcommittee of Virginia's Freedom of Information Council is now examining issues about Geographic Information Systems, including copyright."

Becky Dale. Can The Government Copyright Public Records? Virginia Laywers Weekly. July 26, 2004.

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Scaling RSS Traffic Requires Conscious Thought and Effort

"Dare Obasanjo suggested two approaches that would help InfoWorld and other RSS feed providers limit bandwidth consumption. The first is HTTP compression, a simple but seldom-used capability of Web servers and browsers.

"The second method proposed is the use of the HTTP conditional GET. The conditional GET combined with HTTP compression can make a huge performance difference -- most newsreaders won’t pull an RSS feed unless it has changed, and when they do, the file will be compressed.

"In my experience, the annoyances in serving RSS have less to do with bandwidth and more to do with supporting regular surges of simultaneous connections from newsreaders."

Chad Dickerson. RSS Bandwidth Blues. InfoWorld. July 30, 2004.

See also Chad Dickerson. RSS Growing Pains. InfoWorld. July 16, 2004.

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IBM Offers Java Code to Spur Innovation

"IBM plans to contribute more than half a million lines of its software code, valued at $85 million, to an open source software group.

"The move is one of the largest transfers ever of proprietary code to free software, and I.B.M. is making the code contribution to try to help make it easier and more appealing for software developers to write applications in the Java programming language.

"I.B.M. is handing over the code for Cloudscape, a database written in Java, to an open source group, the Apache Software Foundation. Within the open source group, the database will be called Derby."

Steve Lohr. In Competitive Move, I.B.M. Puts Code in Public Domain. The New York Times. August 3, 2004.

See also:
Stacy Cowley. IBM offers Cloudscape as Open Source Code. InfoWorld. August 3, 2004.
Jim Wagner. IBM Tosses Embedded Database to Apache. August 3, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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August 03, 2004

Blog Brings Convention to "Grass Roots" Level

"The organizers of Virginia's delegation are sure there must be hundreds or thousands -- or, at least a few -- people out there who wanted desperately to be part of the state's trek to Boston. To help them live vicariously, there is

"That Web site is the Virginia delegation blog. Laura Bland, the Democratic Party's communications director, said she believes it is the only online convention journal being run by a state delegation.

"The audience is the great mass of people who are not part of the Virginia delegation. The intent is to provide a sense of participation when they are not in Boston . . . to bring politics to the absolute grass-roots level."

Michael D. Shear. Blogging Brings Convention Home to Virginians. July 28, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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Possible Patent Infringements by Linux

"OSRM, a provider of open-source consulting and risk mitigation insurance, announced (.pdf) that the group has found that there are 283 issued, but not yet court-validated, software patents that could conceivablly be used in patent claims against Linux.

"That's the potential bad news for Linux developers and users. The good news is that the Linux kernel contains no court-validated software patents.

"OSRM won't publicly say what the specific software patents are that potentially affect Linux because it 'would put the whole developer community at risk.'"

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols. Open-Source Insurance Provider Finds Patent Risks in Linux. eWeek. August 2, 2004.

See also Stephen Shankland. Group: Linux Potentially Infringes 283 Patents. August 1, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:03 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Combating Intellectual Property Theft

"File-swapping wasn't such a big deal when all you had to lose was a lousy download. But ever since the RIAA has gotten serious about making people pay for what they play, it's a different story.

"The RIAA is one of the industry groups that have joined forces with a Justice Dept. task force formed to combat intellectual-property theft.

"The task force is chaired by David Israelite, deputy chief of staff and counselor to Attorney General John Ashcroft. In contrast to the RIAA, which has focused on filing civil lawsuits against accused pirates, Israelite can slap scofflaws with criminal charges."

Patricia O'Connell. Piracy and "Economic National Security". BusinessWeek Online. August 2, 2004.

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Microsoft Provides Prototype of Search Service

"For more than two years, Microsoft has been talking up its goal of providing users with an integrated search capability that would allow them to find information stored locally on hard disks, on corporate intranets and across the Internet. On Thursday, Microsoft finally showed a prototype of such a service.

"Here at the annual Microsoft Financial Analyst Meeting, MSN corporate vice president Yusuf Mehdi demonstrated for attendees the capability to 'search beyond the Web.'

"'This service will let us move beyond what's out there,' Mehdi said, referring to current and future search offerings from its competitors, especially Google."

Mary Jo Foley. Microsoft Previews All-in-One Search. Microsoft Watch. July 29, 2004.

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Copies of Doom 3 Appear Before Release

"The eagerly awaited blockbuster computer game, Doom 3, has been leaked on the internet.

"Copies of the game on file-sharing networks and newsgroups are being downloaded by thousands of people. The cost to the game's makers, id Software, could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds in lost sales.

"The sci-fi horror title has been four years in the making and is due to go on sale in the US on Tuesday and next week in the UK."

Alfred Hermida. Long-Awaited Doom 3 Leaked Online. BBC News. August 2, 2004.

See also Mike Snider. Long-awaited 'Doom 3' Begins Onslaught at 12 a.m. Tuesday. USA Today. August 1, 2004.

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August 02, 2004's Editor Writes About Libraries & Social Software, an online publication dedicated to providing information professionals with the most up-to-date information on a wide range of technology-related issues, has published an article by Editor in Chief K. Matthew Dames. The article, entitled "Social Software in the Library," discusses the role and uses of several social software applications within the library space.

"Most of the published literature about social software has been more about the commercial viability of services like Orkut, LinkedIn, Feedster, and Ryze. Missing from much of the discourse is an analysis of the practical and educational value of social software. There are few published articles that explain what social software is, how social software tools may be used to build knowledge networks, or the information professional’s role in using and mediating these tools."

"The purpose of this article is to fill that void. By its end, the reader should have a solid understanding of what social software is, and hopefully will understand how these tools may be used to help people and organizations work better and more collaboratively."

K. Matthew Dames. Social Software in the Library. July 26, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:30 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

The New Copyright

"Copyright law gives NBC and other broadcasters the power to deny anyone the use of its content, at least presumptively. If you want to rebroadcast Meet the Press or sell copies on the Internet, you need NBC's permission. There are exceptions, at least in theory. The law, for example, exempts 'fair uses' of copyrighted material from the control of its owner. If a clip is short enough, or if its use is sufficiently transformative or critical, then the law allows its use, whether permission is granted or not.

"In practice, however, the matter isn't that simple. The costs of defending a fair use right in court - and, more important, the costs if any such defense should fail - make the risk prohibitive for most creators. Defense of fair use could run hundreds of thousands of dollars - several times the budget of a typical documentary. And losing this type of claim could expose the filmmaker to $150,000 in damages for each copyright infringed. In a world in which Fox News sues comedian and author Al Franken for parodying 'fair and balanced,' a cautious director can't be too careful."

Lawrence Lessig. Copyrighting the President. Wired. Aug. 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:12 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

The New File Swapping

"Think of them as eBay crossed with Napster, then injected with Friendster DNA. The newest social networking services merge three powerful Web functions - auctioning, file-sharing, and friend-of-a-friend socializing - to build digital barter economies. Unlike first-gen social networks, these communities are about more than getting laid and getting paid. These "social swap nets" help like-minded members pool digital resources - music, movies, games, even hardcover books.

Mediachest and SongBuddy are two early examples. They're still small (and size matters when it comes to a well-stocked "sharing pool"), but their very existence points to a new era in networked transactions, one in which online exchanges become more useful.

Xeni Jardin. Friends With Benefits. Wired. Aug. 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:00 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

The New Marketing Machine

"In the five years that Jeffrey Cole has been running the UCLA Internet Project, he's found that Net users consistently watch less TV than other people - in 2003, more than five hours less per week. This pattern has held for every age group, for both sexes, and in every country he's studied, from Hungary to South Korea. Young men are simply the advance guard. "The business model of television, which is to deliver viewers to advertisers," he declares, "is as troubled as that of the music industry."

Eager to reach the disappearing guy demo, marketers are experimenting with advertorial blogs, commercials that pop up in email, even human billboards running around Times Square with ad slogans pasted on their foreheads. Ad revenue to Web sites is soaring, and game publishers are hoping to hit pay dirt as well. For anyone who gets it right, big rewards are in the offing.

Frank Rose. The Lost Boys. Wired. Aug. 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:21 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

How Long Will Digital Data Last?

"If Moses had been handed the Ten Commandments on floppy disks, would word from on high have survived through the ages? Literal interpretations of the Bible aside, the answer, quite possibly, is no.

"In the digital era, consumers worry about the staying power of their sacred possessions. They fret about the permanence of computers and electronics gear. And they pray that the most prized digital treasures — family photographs — will last from one generation to the next.

"Digital longevity is a contradiction in terms. As consumers eye their aging PCs or pine for the latest camera or cell phone gadgetry, they must worry about the legacy of stuff left behind.

Edward C. Baig. Life Has Gotten Even Shorter in Digital Age. USA Today. July 26, 2004.

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