Saturday, June 23, 2007

IPod Killers That Didn't

Burlingame, Calif. - Steve Jobs is not noted for his modesty. So five years ago it was easy to shrug off his boast that "listening to music will never be the same again" when he introduced the iPod--a tiny hard drive with headphones that held up to 2,500 songs and sold for as much as $500.

Thing is, Jobs was right on the money this time: 67 million units later, the iPod has indeed changed the way people listen to music. It has also changed much more: Apple Computers has transformed from a struggling PC-maker into the dominant force in consumer electronics. The music industry has been forced to overhaul its business model, while the television and movie industries are getting ready to do the same. And Jobs himself has upgraded his status from business leader to cultural icon.

So you can't blame competitors for trying to get in on the action. None has had much success so far, and several have died trying.

A couple even got into the business ahead of Jobs. Companies like Rio and Creative Technologies beat Apple to market and then squabbled over which one created the first digital audio player (answer: neither). But clunky designs and steep prices kept consumers from buying in. The Rio PMP 300, for example, sold for $200 and stored about 15 songs.

When the iPod entered the arena in late 2001, competitors continued to produce and sell their own versions, but nothing caught people's attention like the boxy white player. For the next two and half years there wasn't a single contender that threatened to steal victory from the iPod. By early 2004, Apple had 92% of the digital audio player market, according to NPD Group. That year, competitors finally launched a barrage of products that were supposed to kill off the iPod: They boasted as much memory as Apple's machines, sold for less and offered more bells and whistles.

But consumers didn't bite. MP3 player pioneer Rio and mass market laptop master Dell, which both debuted new players in 2004, were eventually forced out, even though their products received decent reviews. IRiver, which tried to take on the iPod Mini in 2005, is now largely focusing on its home market of South Korea.

Sony and Creative, however, haven't given up. A new entrant, SanDisk, is making gains by selling low-priced machines.

Do any of these products have a chance at bringing down the iPod? No. But they have eaten away at its market share. From its high of 92% in early 2004, Apple is now down to 77% of the market, a number that has held steady for most of the year. On Wednesday, Apple announced it had sold 8.73 million iPods in the last three months, as consumers latched on to colorful new versions of the iPod Nano.

But on Nov. 14, Apple's winning game could begin to change, as Microsoft launches the highest profile MP3 player to hit the market since, well, the iPod. From a hardware perspective, Microsoft's Zune is nothing special--just a repackaged Toshiba device with the ability to trade songs wirelessly. What's different about the Zune is its potential to upset the digital audio player ecosystem with a new model that matches Apple's: A closed network with its own store and new copyright management software. The last time Microsoft took a cue from Apple's business, it ate up the PC industry.

Microsoft used to play in the MP3 player market by licensing its PlaysForSure software to hardware makers like Creative, and to online music stores like Yahoo!, Napster and RealNetworks. Now PlaysForSure is all but dead, and it seems likely that the stores and manufacturers that supported will have an even harder go of it than before. Will iPod and Zune be the only players left standing?

Steve Jobs isn't worried. He told Newsweek he thinks consumers won't have patience for the Zune's wireless sharing feature. Like it has done in the past, the iPod will continue to succeed with its industrial design and iTunes software expertise, he says. "Other companies tried to do everything on the device itself and made it so complicated that it was useless."

Free International Calls From 3 Mobile

Friday, June 22, 2007

Stephen Hawking To Become A Movie Star

Acclaimed British physicist Stephen Hawking will reportedly trade in scientific journals for the big screen by starring in a movie.

The film, "Beyond the Horizon," aims to explain some of the complicated theories backed by Hawking and his fellow physicists, including the idea that space has up to 11 dimensions and the cause of the big bang.

The 64-year-old Hawking, famous for his 1988 international best-seller "A Brief History of Time," will also narrate a soundtrack which explains cosmological concepts.

"Beyond the Horizon" centres around a fictional religious affairs correspondent for The Times newspaper who approaches Hawking, interviewing the physicist for a major feature.

Leonard Mlodinow, a former scriptwriter on the television series "Star Trek," is working with Hawking on the project, which does not yet have a release date, The Sunday Times said.

The academic, who is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge -- a post once held by Isaac Newton -- was diagnosed with the muscle-wasting condition motor neurone disease at the age of 22. He is in a wheelchair and speaks with the aid of a computer and voice synthesiser.

His research has centred on theoretical cosmology and quantum gravity, looking at the nature of such subjects as space-time, the "Big Bang" theory and black holes.

Copyright © 2006 Agence France Presse.

Dot Drug Testing

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bush Administration Uses YouTube For Anti-Drug Propaganda

The Bush administration is taking its fight against illegal drugs to YouTube, the trendy Internet video service that already features clips of wacky, drug-induced behavior and step-by-step instructions for growing marijuana plants.

The decision to distribute anti-drug, public service announcements and other videos over YouTube represents the first concerted effort by the U.S. government to influence customers of the popular service, which shows more than 100 million videos per day.

The administration was expected to announce the decision formally on Tuesday. It said it was not paying any money to load its previously produced videos onto YouTube's service, so the program is effectively free.

"If just one teen sees this and decides illegal drug use is not the path for them, it will be a success," said Rafael Lemaitre, a spokesman for the drug office.

The government's YouTube videos include a previously televised, 30-second ad of a teenager running from a snarling dog and bemoaning pressure from his friends to smoke marijuana.

"Then today, they said I should try to out run Tic Tic, the lumber-yard dog," the teen says. "And I don't think I can. I'm an idiot."

YouTube, a San Mateo, Calif.-based startup, has become one of the Internet's hottest properties since two 20-something friends started the company 19 months ago. The free service allows users to share and view videos, most of which are amateurishly produced and include clips of young people singing and dancing — usually badly.

The government's short public service announcements — all of which were produced previously for television — are highly polished. They will compete for viewership against hundreds of existing, drug-related videos that include shaky footage of college-age kids smoking marijuana and girls dancing wildly after purportedly using cocaine. Other YouTube videos describe how to grow marijuana and how to cook with it.

"Welcome to the great experiment," said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project. He predicted computer-savvy critics of U.S. drug policies will quickly edit the government's videos to produce parodies and distribute those on YouTube. "This seems pretty new and pretty adventurous."

The government linked its videos with the terms "war on drugs," "peer-pressure," "marijuana," "weed," "ONDCP" and "420," so anyone searching for those words on YouTube could find its anti-drug messages. All the videos were associated with a YouTube account named "ONDCPstaff" and identified as an 18-year-old living in Washington. The term 420 is a popular reference for marijuana.

Michael Bugeja, who studies how different groups use the Internet, said the White House plan is misdirected because online video services don't afford serious consideration to weighty topics.

"It's the wrong forum and the wrong target," said Bugeja, an author and director of the journalism school at Iowa State University.

On the Net:

U.S. anti-drug videos:

Smoke and Mirrors: The War on Drugs and the Politics of Failure

H�cker erneuern Windows ?MS06-040? Angriffe

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

IE At Risk To New Unpatched Bug

Exploit code for an unpatched vulnerability in Microsoft's Internet Explorer is circulating, a security company said Friday, but the danger remains low as the current attack only crashes the browser.

Fully-patched Windows XP SP2 and Windows 2000 SP4 systems are open to the new attack, said David Cole, director of Symantec's security response group. "This is proof-of-concept code, we haven't seen any active exploits," said Cole. "Whether it grows into something bigger is heavily linked to if it gets remote code execution [capabilities]," he added.

The news comes just three days after Microsoft released its newest security updates. On Tuesday, however, the company's browser was not patched; an August fix that ended up being released three different times, most recently this week, was the last IE update.

There is no patch now available for the bug, which Microsoft acknowledged it is investigating. In a security advisory issued Thursday, the Redmond, Wash. developer said that it would either release a patch in its regularly-scheduled monthly update, or as an out-of-cycle fix. Windows Server 2003 is not at risk.

The new IE problem is related to an ActiveX control (Microsoft DirectAnimation Path) that's part of the "daxctle.ocx" COM object. An attacker who successfully exploited the vulnerability could hijack the computer, Microsoft acknowledged, without any interaction once a user had been enticed to a malicious Web site.

Microsoft patched ActiveX controls several times last year as attackers discovered that Windows wasn't properly checking to see whether data passed to controls was within allowed parameters. In the case of the proof-of-concept code now available, JavaScript passes unacceptable data to the control, which then results in a heap overflow.

Cole said it wasn't a shock that ActiveX continues to have issues. "The more functionality [in code], the more likely there's an error in it," he said. "Complexity is the enemy of security. It's a difficult problem to solve. Developers try to balance rich functionality with security."

Even though an actual in-the-wild exploit has not been spotted, some security organizations sounded the alarm. Danish vulnerability tracker Secunia, for example, ranked the IE flaw as "Extremely critical, it's more serious warning.

With a patch unavailable, Symantec recommended that users check out Microsoft's advice, which included setting the "kill bit" for the ActiveX control to disable it. That, however, requires users to edit the Windows Registry, something many are unprepared to do. In the past, Microsoft's suggestions to set specific kill bits have been taken up by third-party researchers, who have cranked out automated tools for turning off the control.

Another tactic, said Microsoft, is to disable all ActiveX controls in Internet Explorer from the dialog that appears after selecting Tools|Internet Options.

Internet Explorer 7, which Microsoft will release later this year for Windows XP (and early next bundled with Windows Vista), may stymie similar vulnerabilities in the future, said Cole. "There's some promising signs," said Cole, "but to think that IE 7 will eliminate all these vulnerabilities is ignoring the history of computer security."

In fact, there are growing signs that attackers may soon target Web 2.0 applications written in Ajax. Among Ajax-based sites and services, Cole counted the popular social network MySpace, as well as new versions of Web-based e-mail from Microsoft and Yahoo.

"We're already seen a little bit of interest," said Cole. "The MySpace worm, and the Yamanner worm that attacked Yahoo Mail [in June]. They're not being exploited rampantly, but then neither is Ajax being used widespread.

"We'll find out a lot more about how vulnerability Ajax is in the not-too-distant future."

Source - Tech Web

Stephen, der feilbietet, um ein Filmstar zu werden
Bluegrass Gospel Song Lyrics