Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Google talks to phone giants

Internet search engine giant Google is reportedly in talks with both Sprint and Verizon about putting its software on mobile phones.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that talks between the companies are at an advanced stage. By entering into the wireless world, Google would have a new arena for its advertising. It already holds a dominant position in the lucrative sector of online advertising. Avi Greengart, an analyst for Current Analysis, told Reuters: "If Google is going to make a splash, it's going to have to say (to operators) 'offer our phone and we'll share the revenue'."

According to the report in the Wall Street Journal there will be an announcement in the next two weeks that "GPhone" software will be available to consumers by mid-2008. However, others have said that a deal with mobile operators is still a long way off. Use of other carriers' mobile networks is key to any Google wireless plans.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Skype launches cell phone

The popular internet phone service Skype has released its own cell phone, which can be used to make calls over the internet.

Dubbed the Skypephone, the device is the result of a collaboration between Skype and the mobile company 3. As well as being able to make VoIP calls, Skypephone will also be able to be used to make normal cell phone calls and access the internet. Michael van Swaaji, acting chief executive at Skype, is quoted in the Telegraph as saying: "Skype has now taken a giant step forward in the mobile arena.

"It takes an innovative operator like 3 to challenge traditional thinking and offer the kind of product other operators are still shying away from." Meanwhile, eBay recently stated that when it acquired Skype in 2005 for $2.6 billion it paid too much. Because Skype earnings that were forecast have yet to materialize, Skype will only take charge of $1.43 billion of the money.

MySpace and Zazzle Sign Custom On-Demand Music Merchandise Deal

Partnership Enables More Than 6 Million Musicians and Bands on MySpace to Sell Unlimited Merchandise Without Any Up-Front Production Costs or Inventory Risks

MySpace, the world's most popular social network, announced today a music merchandise deal with Zazzle, the only on-demand retail platform to offer billions of retail quality, one-of a kind products shipped within 24 hours. The distribution partnership will empower the more than 6 million musicians and bands on MySpace to sell unlimited music merchandise to the MySpace community instantly. The announcement also underscores MySpace's commitment to offer tools and services to the music industry that benefit artists and consumers alike.

Starting today, musicians and bands on MySpace will be able to create products and sell merchandise by putting the Zazzle Merch Booth widget on their MySpace profile. With Zazzle's new "Model Realview" technology, these artists can display their very own branded merchandise three dimensionally, on real models in their profile. The Zazzle Merch Booth widget will also enable placement of the artist's merchandise in a Zazzle gallery, their own websites, fan sites, blogs and more. MySpace users can also use Zazzle to create their own custom items for their favorite musicians and bands.

"MySpace will continue to evolve its industry leading music platform by developing new revenue models, partner integrations, and features that bring bands and fans together," Amit Kapur, VP of Business Development for MySpace. "Zazzle's on demand platform will enable music artists on MySpace to share merchandise with fans like never before."

Monday, October 29, 2007

Bang & Olufsen Launches New MP3 Player for Holiday 2007 Season

Giving Never Sounded So Good ...

Bang & Olufsen, the global provider of exclusive, high quality audio and video products, announces the arrival of its new MP3 player, renowned for its cutting edge
style and dynamic CD sound quality. Additionally, Bang & Olufsen presents a variety of holiday gift ideas, including a stylish Bluetooth headset, robust computer loudspeakers, and a distinct home telephone that enables clear and concise communication.

BeoSound 6 New MP3 Player

For those who seek the ultimate sound quality while listening to their favorite digital music files, BeoSound 6 proves to be the top choice! Its superior sound performance rivals that of home audio systems. When compared to other MP3 players, BeoSound 6 has a very clear and pure CD sound quality, due to its high performance on signal to noise playback.

BeoSound 6 allows up to 40 hours of playback (which is double the market standard for battery life). It has a storage capacity of up to 1000 songs and can be utilized with any PC or MAC based operating systems -- making it the MP3 player of choice for those who value quality over quantity!

Woman gets revenge over the internet

A woman in Connecticut has been charged with harassment and breach of peace after attempting to take revenge on her ex-boyfriend through the internet.

Pilar Stofega, 34, made up profiles of her ex-boyfriend's wife on an adult website and supplied her phone number and address. She also posted an old high school picture of the wife. Her intention was to break up the marriage, police have alleged. When strange men started calling the house, the man who had dated Stofega eight years ago did some online research and realized who was behind the plot.

After he gave Stofega's name to the police, she was arrested and admitted to being behind the profiles. She has been released on a $2,500 bond. The Associated Press quotes court documents as saying that Stofega enacted the plot in order to "be vindictive, knowing that the profiles would create marital problems."

Spammers use mp3 files

A new spam campaign is using mp3 files to try and manipulate the stock market, according to the security software firm Sophos.

The mp3s that are being sent out disguise themselves as music from a variety of artists, such as Elvis and Carrie Underwood, but when opened, consist of a man's voice instructing the recipient to invest in a small company. Listeners are told to invest in Exit Only Incorporated, which is a company that runs a website where one can sell and buy cars.

Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at Sophos, said: "Users may click on the mp3 file expecting to hear Elvis, but they'll be all shook up when they discover it's actually a voice resembling Marvin the Paranoid Android droning on about a stock that is set to be the next big thing. "The spammers are already likely to have purchased stock on the cheap, and they are now trying to artificially inflate its price."

If the spammers do succeed in making the price of the stock go up, then they will then sell up all their stock at a profit, added Mr Cluley.

This method is known as a pump and dump scam.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Verizon Donates $60,000 and Free Calling Services to Aid Victims of Southern California Wildfires

Verizon Helps Keep Evacuees, Responders Connected During Crisis

Verizon is stepping up with a $60,000 grant to assist Southern Californians forced from their homes amid devastating wildfires that have swept across the region.

Verizon is also providing evacuees with a range of free calling services - from cell phones to automatic call-forwarding - to help them stay connected during the natural disaster. "Our neighbors are in trouble and we want to help," said Verizon West Region President Tim McCallion. "Communicating in times of crisis is critical, and obviously many people need food, shelter and other basic necessities. We are providing an array of financial and operational support to those who have been displaced by these devastating fires, and we intend to help make the homeowners, business owners and relief workers' lives a little easier during this very trying time."

The Verizon Foundation will donate $60,000 to the American Red Cross for fire victims, with the grant to be divided equally among the Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Diego and Riverside county chapters of the Red Cross.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Free parental controls software offered

Parents now have free access to cutting-edge parental control software from Florida-based BluePrint Data, the company has announced.

BluePrint is releasing its highly-rated Kidsnet Internet Parental Control product for free on the internet. Kidsnet Parental Control allows parents to check almost every website possible. It has reviews of 98 percent of all traffic on the web. And the reviews are done by highly-trained content specialists. In 2005 Consumer Reports gave Kidsnet Parental Control its highest rating of excellent, due to its "ease of use and flexibility".

Bob Dahlstrom, BluePrint Data's chief executive, said: "We are delighted to be able to provide parents, teachers, and others the opportunity to help protect children from the dangers posed by the internet and internet content." As well as parental control software, BluePrint also offers anti-spam and anti-virus products, along with web filtering. Meanwhile, a new web browser specifically for children and virtually hosted by Miss America, Lauren Nelson, has made its debut.

Sprint Nextel commits to WiMax

Communication giant Sprint Nextel has publicly restated that it will continue expanding its WiMax offerings.

The company's newly-elected chief executive, Paul Saleh, recently told USA Today that the ultimate goal is to build a nationwide WiMax network, allowing users to roam freely and still have internet access. Though Sprint's WiMax service, called Xohm, was largely the idea of the company's former chief executive Gary Forsee, it appears as if Sprint is sticking with it. Of the WiMax service, Mr Saleh told the paper: "This is where the market is going." Mr Forsee was ousted from the company following complaints from customers about poor service and the company generally experiencing a slowdown.

In order to build the ambitious nationwide network, Sprint is to collaborate with the WiMax company Clearwire. When it is initially rolled out Xohm is to cover Chicago, Washington and Baltimore, but plans are in place for a rapid expansion following that.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Phishers use stolen data to snare victims

Business software company has had data stolen, which is being used by phishers to entrap victims, it has been reported.

A scam, directed at customers of Automatic Data Processing (ADP) used the pilfered information. The information was also used to target customers of SunTrust Banks, according to the Washington Post. DowJones reports that JMP Securities analyst Patrick Walravens wrote that 900,000 ADP customer records were compromised in the damaging phishing attack.

Vice-president of corporate strategy at, Bruce Francis, wrote in an email to DowJones: "Phishing is increasingly a fact of life on the internet. "Like a number of major internet services in banking, retail, and other areas, we've seen an increase in phishing activity over the past few months." Recently the Anti-Phishing Work Group eCrime Researchers Summit concluded that more education is needed on how to identify and report phishing attacks.

Comcast denies blocking file sharing

Comcast has denied widespread reports that it routinely blocks its customers from accessing file-sharing applications.

While it does use bandwidth management which can result in delays for those using peer-to-peer networks, it never blocks applications outright, the company contended. The Associated Press has reported that it carried out tests which found that Comcast does actually block certain applications such as BitTorrent.

Steve Bannerman, who works at the network intelligence company Narus, told Reuters: "US ISPs are not preventing anybody from getting to the applications, but they are preventing some users of P2P services from hogging all the bandwidth and slowing down the experience for other users." Many have seen the reported blocking of applications as a violation of net neutrality regulations.

BitTorrent is mainly seen as a way to download copyrighted songs and movies, however it is also used for other more legitimate applications.

Keeping Your Identity a Secret

Shoulder surfing, dumpster diving and phishing, actions performed by criminals that invade, violate and steal a person's identity. Each year millions of consumers have
their identities stolen. The result is time consuming and costly; on average victims spend close to 30 hours and up to $500 cleaning up their personal information after a theft, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

There are several actions you can follow to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft. Following the recommendations below, courtesy of Universal Protection Service, is the first step to taking a proactive approach to securing your identity.
-- Review bank and credit card statements monthly.
-- Shred any documents that contain personal information including your
home address, phone numbers, birthdates and credit card and bank
-- Protect your laptop with a unique code and/or password.
-- Monitor your credit report quarterly.
-- Avoid leaving mail in the mailbox. If you will be gone for an extended
period of time have mail delivery stopped or ask a neighbor to retrieve
it for you daily.
-- Stay alert on the phone. Never give out your social security number or
banking information.
-- Memorize personal passwords and change often.

However, if the unfortunate does happen and your identity is stolen it is important to react quickly.
-- Immediately contact the three credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and
Transunion, and ask each company to place a fraud alert on your credit
-- Notify your credit card companies and banks by phone and in writing.
-- File a complaint with the FTC and contact the local police department.
-- Make copies of all your documents and keep a record of your actions
while you regain your identity.

For more information visit our web site at

Monday, October 22, 2007

ISP 'blocks internet traffic'

Customers of Comcast that use high speed internet could be having some of their activities blocked by the internet service provider (ISP) it has been reported.

Specifically file-sharing activities are sometimes interfered with, widespread reports have alleged. A test carried out by the Associated Press found that the reports were true. This violation of net neutrality regulations is presumably so those doing large amounts of file sharing are not gobbling up other users' bandwidth.

Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas told the Associated Press: "We have a responsibility to manage our network to ensure all our customers have the best broadband experience possible. "This means we use the latest technologies to manage our network to provide a quality experience for all Comcast subscribers." Among the activities that Comcast blocks is using BitTorrent, which is widely seen as a way to illegally download music and films. However, BitTorrent is also used for other more legitimate purposes.

Phones Aren't Safe Either, Hackers Say

By Marty graham October 21, 2007

Hacking VoIP is easy, says John Kindervag, and it gets you well past the phone. Using penetration tests propounded by a tool called VoIP Hopper, he and partner Jason Ostrom got well past the phone into the corporate systems that support it from hotel rooms, corporate offices and so on.

“The whole catalyst behing VoIP Hopper is we were in a hotel room with a Cisco phone,” Ostrom says. “We were (able to get) into the (hotel's) corporate network and got access to their financial and corporate network and recorded other phone calls.”

Click here for the entire story.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Nokia unveils Internet Tablet

The Finnish cell phone giant Nokia has given the world a first look at its innovative new N810 Internet Tablet.

Powered by Linux, the device is the new version of the N800 and features Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS among its many functions. Nokia showed the device at the ongoing Web 2.0 Summit which is taking place at San Francisco's famous Palace Hotel. Ari Virtanen, vice president, Convergence Products, Multimedia, Nokia, said: "The Nokia N810 packs the power of a traditional computer into a pocket-sized format. Its open standard technology accelerates the convergence of multiple functionalities and services into a single device.

"Our new Nokia N810 offers users a true Web 2.0 experience in a compact, stylish, yet affordable package - it connects people to what matters to them." The N810 has a keyboard that slides out and a screen with 800x480 resolution.

High speed internet for Trump properties

Verizon will soon be providing Donald Trump's properties at United Nations Plaza and Trump Park Avenue with its FiOS internet service, offering residents in the Trump World Tower new facilities.

Internet access at speeds of up to 50 megabits per second can be provided by the technology and it is delivered via an advanced digital all-fiber-optic network. Trump Organization chairman and president Donald Trump said: "Trump properties are known for offering the finest in both services and amenities. Having Verizon FiOS services delivered on fiber optics to my buildings continues that high standard of excellence I demand.

"We know our residents will appreciate our foresight in getting them the best in telecommunications services from Verizon." He added that he is currently working with Verizon to bring FiOS to all of his properties. Verizon announced earlier this week that residents of the 1,416-unit Eastchester Heights apartment complex in the Bronx can now benefit from the company's FiOS internet service.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

MySpace teams up with Skype

The popular social networking site MySpace has enlisted the internet phone service Skype, it has been reported.

Under the collaboration, users of MySpace will be able to call each other for free using Skype, beginning at the end of November this year. The service will also allow MySpace members to pay to place calls to landlines and mobiles. Michael van Swaaij, the chief executive of Skype, was quoted by the NY Times as saying: "We are interconnecting the world's largest voice network and the world's largest video and social network."

"It feels like an obvious fit." When MySpace members use the Skype pay service the two outfits will split the revenues, though the ratio of the split is not known. Skype currently has approximately 220 million users, whereas MySpace has over 110 million. The internet auction company eBay bought Skype for $.3.1 billion in 2005.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hacker breaks into iPod Touch

A 13-year-old hacker has developed a way to break into the iPod Touch, it has been reported.

The young hacker, known only by his moniker AriX, developed a hack code dubbed iJailBreak which allows one to use third-party applications on the Apple device. Many owners of the iPod Touch were unsatisfied with Apple's recent release of the 1.1.1 software patch because it made defunct any third-party application installers that were already on the device. Josh Martin, an analyst with Yankee Group, told MacNewsWorld: "At the end of the day, once you hack the device you have to realize there is the potential for things going awry.

"It's not a phone, so there may be less concern about what is done to it. If Apple discovers there is a hack they may not go out of their way to eliminate, but I could see them trying to eliminate it also."

PayPal and eBay phishing drops

The number of phishing emails directed at users of eBay and PayPal has dropped off substantially, a security firm has found.

A year ago approximately 85 percent of phishing emails pretended to be from one of the two companies, but in September of this year only 21 percent did, according to Sophos. Now cyber criminals are widening their nets in an attempt to draw more internet users into their scams.Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said: "In September 2006, almost nine out of ten phishing emails were trying to steal information from unwary eBay/PayPal customers, now it's more like one in five. "That's an impressive turnaround by anyone's standards."

Now users of PayPal and eBay are not as prone to be targeted by cyber criminals, added Mr Cluley. On October 3rd 2002 eBay purchased PayPal, which was already the favored payment vehicle of choice for over half the users of the internet auction house.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Mozilla unveils ambitious mobile plans

Internet company Mozilla has revealed plans to make its Firefox browser work just as well on mobile devices as it does on the internet.

Those using Mobile Firefox will be able to use tools like bookmarks, history, extensions and many other implements usually not found on mobile browsers. Mozilla, which is based in Mountain View, California, has said that it will hire a new team of experts to focus solely on mobile applications for the browser. Mike Schroepfer, Mozilla's vice-president of engineering wrote in his blog on Tuesday, "People ask us all the time about what Mozilla's going to do about the mobile web and I'm very excited to announce that we plan to rock it.

"We are serious about bringing the Firefox experience and technology to mobile devices." Mozilla will be "a great platform" for mobile devices, Mr Schroepfer added. The company released Firefox 2.0 on October 25th 2006.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Experimental Electronica Music Videos are a Next-Generation Variety Show

As an international distributor of electronic musical instruments during the 1990s, Geoff Farr frequently spent long nights in European hotel rooms watching the only
television programs that required no translation: short experimental videos backed with electronic music scores. Farr says German television was an especially rich medium for an American insomniac interested in creative new videos.

"I watched endless hours of shows like 'Flomotion' and 'Man vs Machine,' Farr says. "There was another program called 'Space Night' that ran photos from NASA archives, accompanied by some really interesting electronic music artists. The shows were really compelling ... I couldn't rip my eyes away from the screen."

Farr surmised that others would find the offerings equally entertaining, and attempted to secure United States licensing rights for the programming. After it became apparent that such rights would be prohibitively expensive, he decided to create his own compilations of original experimental videos, and called the shows i Promise 2 Be You.

Farr enlisted the aid of musician and film editor Bill Black, with whom he had collaborated on an earlier video production that had been selected as a finalist in the 2002 Sundance Online Film Festival. Farr began to envision and assemble what would eventually become 10 half-hour programs on the i Promise 2 Be You Web site (

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hacker hits eBay

The popular internet auction site eBay has been broken into by a hacker who has locked some members out of the site.

Only a "very small" number of members were affected by the break-in, eBay has insisted. The news site AuctionBytes was the first to report the incident. Last month a hacker broke into the site and stole personal information about eBay users and posted it on a forum. Of this most recent incident, Nichola Sharpe, a spokeswoman for eBay, was quoted by PC World as saying: "We were able to block the fraudster quickly before any permanent damage had been done.

"At no point did the fraudster get any access to financial information or other sensitive information." She maintained that rather than hacking into the eBay website itself, the hacker responsible broke into "externally visible servers".

The site is involved in an "ongoing battle" against those trying to compromise its security, Ms Sharpe continued.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Blue Coat makes phishing 'breakthrough'

Security company Blue Coat is claiming that its new anti-phishing product, dubbed Web Filter, is a first for the security software industry.

The product, which is for Blue Coat ProxySG, assesses each website visited in real-time, rather than just comparing them with a list of known phishing websites as most products do now. When a phishing site is detected, Web Filter alerts users that they will be vulnerable to cyber criminals if they open the site.

Bethany Mayer, senior vice president, Worldwide Marketing, Blue Coat Systems, said: "Phishing has become a lucrative vocation for criminals, and to date there has been very little standing in its way to thwart its success. "Since the web is constantly changing, it is important not to rely simply on protection from a static URL database."

Real-time "assessment and categorization" are the best protection for users of the internet, added Ms Mayer

Internet plea from Interpol garners overwhelming response

Hundreds of people from all over the globe have responded to an internet-borne request from Interpol for help in finding a pedophile.

Interpol have posted the man's picture on the internet after he appeared in over 200 photos abusing young boys. In the photo's the man's face has been digitally scrambled, but computer experts working for German police managed to unscramble it and produce a legible image.

Kristin Kvigne, assistant director of Interpol's Trafficking in Human Beings Unit, told the BBC: "We have already ... hundreds of responses from the public globally as to who this person could be. "We feel that with the press, the media coverage that this case has been given, we have a very good chance of finding out who he is."

Investigators think that the pictures that the man appears in were taken in Vietnam or Cambodia in 2002 or 2003.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Microsoft charts phishing success

Every year approximately 0.4 percent of users of the internet divulge personal information in phishing scams, according to research from Microsoft.

The research could not determine on average how much money victims that fell prey to phishing scams lost, reports PC World. Microsoft presented the research at the recent Anti-Phishing Work Group summit in Pittsburgh. Researchers Cormac Herley and Dinei Florencio co-wrote a paper on the findings. The software giant monitored 500,000 internet users who had downloaded Phish Detective and tracked password reuse among them.

Phish Detective comes with the Windows Live OneCare Advisor for the Windows Live Toolbar. Mr Herley told PC World: "The problem with phishing is it's easy to get an accurate estimate of people who are going to vote one way or the other, but when you're trying to estimate something that's rare it gets hard." Meanwhile, the number of phishing attacks increased worryingly during September, according to recent research from MessageLabs Intelligence.

Scammers send fake IRS emails

Cyber criminals are continuing to send emails pretending to be from the IRS, it has been reported.

The emails are part of a phishing scam that attempts to garner personal information from unsuspecting internet users. So common are these emails that the IRS has an address for recipients to forward them to so they can be examined. IRS spokesman Jesse Weller told the San Jose Mercury: "These schemes involve unsolicited email purportedly from the IRS, promising a refund to potential victims (or a warning that they are being investigated) and that they should click on an embedded link or open an attachment for more information."

However, many of these emails have a link that is a Trojan horse and can break into and take over a victim's computer, Mr Weller added. The IRS never sends out emails that ask for people's personal financial information or pin numbers, he continued

Microsoft and Bungie Studios to Evolve Relationship

Companies to forge new long-term relationship.

Microsoft Corp. announced a plan for Bungie Studios, the developers of the "Halo(R)"
franchise, to embark on a path to become an independent company. Microsoft will retain an equity interest in Bungie, at the same time continuing its long-standing publishing agreement between Microsoft Game Studios and Bungie for the Microsoft-owned "Halo" intellectual property, as well as other future properties developed by Bungie.

The critically acclaimed Xbox 360(R)-exclusive "Halo 3" achieved $300 million in global sales in its first week. Released on Tuesday, Sept. 25, "Halo 3" is the fastest-selling video game ever and already one of the most successful entertainment properties in history.

"Our collaboration with Bungie has resulted in 'Halo' becoming an enduring mainstream hit," said Shane Kim, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios. "While we are supporting Bungie's desire to return to its independent roots, we will continue to invest in our 'Halo' entertainment property with Bungie and other partners, such as Peter Jackson, on a new interactive series set in the 'Halo' universe. We look
forward to great success with Bungie as our long-term relationship continues to evolve through 'Halo'-related titles and new IP created by Bungie."

"This exciting evolution of our relationship with Microsoft will enable us to expand both creatively and organizationally in our mission to create world-class games," said Harold Ryan, studio head for Bungie. "We will continue to develop with our primary focus on Microsoft(R) platforms; we greatly value our mutually prosperous relationship with our publisher, Microsoft Game Studios; and we look forward to continuing that affiliation through 'Halo' and beyond." Bungie Studios will remain in its current location in Kirkland, Wash.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Online videos 'could contain malware'

A recent security report has warned that online videos could be disguising viruses and malware which could infect one's computer.

Research from the Georgia Tech Information Security Center found that hackers are finding new means of disguising damaging software and that putting it in online videos is becoming a favored method. Criminals are also using text-based messages and PDF files to disguise viruses, the security report stated.

Chris Rouland, the chief technology officer for IBM's internet security systems unit and a part of the group that drafted the report, commented: "Just as we see an evolution in messaging, we also see an evolution in threats. "As companies have gotten better blocking e-mails, we see people move to more creative techniques."

Media players are simply "the next logical step" for cyber criminals to take to infect victims' PCs, he added. Meanwhile, MessageLabs Intelligence recently reported that the month of September saw a substantial rise in the number of phishing attacks.

Global Entertainment Phenomenon 'Halo 3' Records More Than $300 Million in First-Week Sales Worldwide

Xbox 360 console sales more than doubled; nearly 3 million gamers play online via Xbox LIVE.

Interactive entertainment will never be the same, with the launch of one title that has changed the way the world thinks about video games. "Halo(R) 3" has captured the attention of consumers worldwide and has made history as one of the biggest entertainment launches of all time.

Microsoft Corp. today announced that "Halo 3" has officially become a global phenomenon, garnering more than $300 million in sales in the first week alone. The critically acclaimed Xbox 360(R) exclusive, which was released worldwide on Tuesday, Sept. 25, is the fastest-selling video game ever and already one of the most successful entertainment properties in history.

Initial reports from retailers worldwide show console sales have more than doubled compared with the weekly average before the launch of "Halo 3." With games such as "Halo 3," "Madden 08" (EA Sports), "Mass Effect" (Microsoft Game Studios) and "Rock Band" (Harmonix), Xbox 360 has the greatest lineup in the history of video games and is the only console where consumers can play all the year's biggest blockbusters.

"'Halo' is truly a cultural phenomenon, and the launch of 'Halo 3' is an important milestone for Xbox 360 and for video games as entertainment and as an art form," said Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft. "'Halo 3' embodies our vision for the future of entertainment, where some of the world's greatest creative minds will deliver a new generation of interactive storytelling."

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Permanent ban on Internet taxes urged by eBay

The internet auction giant eBay has urged Congress to pass a permanent ban on Internet taxes. Without such a ban, fewer businesses will want to sell their goods and services over the Internet, eBay warned. Congress enacted a temporary ban on Internet taxes in 1998, which was renewed again in 2004. However, that ends on November 1st this year.

Brian Bieron, eBay's senior director of federal government relations, told the Associated Press: "More importantly, fewer consumers will use the internet. "And, for the small businesses using the internet, that means fewer sales and less opportunity to compete with the mega retailers." The Internet is a "lifeline" for many of these smaller businesses, Mr Bieron added.

Last month a trio of US senators also called on Congress to pass a permanent ban on Internet taxes. Among them was Arizona senator John McCain, who is bidding to be the Republican presidential nominee.

Miss America aims to ensure internet safety for kids

A new internet browser sponsored by Miss America - Lauren Nelson - is to debut today, it has been reported.

The purpose of the browser is to keep children safe on the internet by steering them away from dangerous websites. Since becoming Miss America, Nelson has made internet safety for children her main platform, stemming from a distasteful experience she had on the internet as a young girl.

She recounted: "We were chatting with people we didn't know, which was our first mistake, and someone asked for our personal information. "A week later, he sent some inappropriate pictures to one of my friends. We were all scared and told our parents, who contacted the authorities." Dubbed the Miss America Kid-Safe Web Browser, the browser has an animated version of Nelson who "supervises" childrens' surfing and can even read their email out loud to them.

Microsoft Unveils Pricing for Small Biz VoIP System

By Jennifer Hagendorf Follett, CMP Channel

While solution providers anxiously await the release of Microsoft's unified communications product portfolio later this month, the company in the meantime is making strides to bring its small business VoIP wares to market.

Microsoft on Tuesday said it has released its Response Point phone system to manufacturing, meaning that OEM partners D-Link and Quanta Computer will soon have general availability for products based on the software. Microsoft also said both partners will be pricing their products below $3,000.

Microsoft joins vendors such as 3Com, Cisco Systems and Digium in recently targeting VoIP systems at small businesses.

The systems, which include VoIP call processing and features such as voicemail, call forwarding and integration with Microsoft Outlook, are targeted at small-business customers with up to 50 users, though they will scale higher, said Jeff Smith, senior product manager at Microsoft, Redmond, Wash.

Microsoft's small business VoIP move comes two weeks ahead of the planned launch of Microsoft's Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007 and other communications products at a launch event in San Francisco on October 16. Smith noted that Response Point systems were built from the ground up as small business solutions and are not designed to work as branch office systems off of larger OCS deployments.

Two OEM partners, D-Link and Quanta, are preparing to ship product bundles within the next few months that package Microsoft software with their base hardware units, gateways and phones.

A VoIP Phone That Does Not Need A Broadband Connection

Acellus Announces Rollout of a VoIP Access Device That Does not Need a Broadband Connection

The modem equipped ATA (Analog Terminal Adapter) box will allow users to make inexpensive VoIP long distance calls over a regular phone line using only a dialup connection to the Internet.

Acellus Communications, Inc. (Pink Sheets: ALLU) announced today the rollout of a
device that will allow VoIP calls to be made over a regular phone line without the use of a computer. "This is the only stand alone device of its kind that we know of that can enable people to make long distance VoIP calls over a regular phone line," says company CEO Jeff Miller.

Conventional VoIP requires a broadband connection. Considering that there are almost 40 million people in the US alone that use dialup to connect to the Internet, the potential market for the device is substantial. In addition, Acellus has secured an exclusive with the OEM for distribution rights in the United States and is presently in negotiations with a major international VoIP carrier that has already tested the devices and is looking to utilize them on their network. Acellus plans on providing its own VoIP services in the future through an alliance with this carrier. More
news will follow as these negotiations progress.
Device Features:
* They will work anywhere the Internet can be accessed through a
landline phone service
* They will easily fit into a briefcase
* They provide clear quality sound
* Simply plug in a regular telephone to make calls
* They are inexpensive
* They will also work on a broadband connection
* They are very user friendly
* They don't affect regular phone service
* They work on any SIP based VoIP gateway

Distribution: Acellus plans to market the ATA box to large ISPs and conventional VoIP companies. The devices will allow these companies to market or pre-sell VoIP service in areas where broadband is currently not available. Since the devices will also work on broadband, customers can easily be converted to conventional VoIP service when it becomes available.

For more information contact CEO Jeff Miller: 800-899-2190 or

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

US Seeks To Enforce Internet Gambling Ban

Federal regulations proposed on Monday would mean that banks and credit card companies would have to forge rules to prevent transactions with Internet gambling sites.

The proposals come in the wake of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act which was passed by Congress last year. Now US authorities are seeking to crystallize the illegality of Internet gambling through clearly-defined laws. All banks will need "to have policies and procedures that are reasonably designed to prevent payments being made to gambling businesses in connection with unlawful internet gambling", the proposal stated.

In December, the World Trade Organization ruled that the US ban on internet gambling broke global commerce rules. Now Antigua & Barbuda are asking the US to pay $3.4 billion a year to make up for lost revenue. And many Internet gambling companies in Europe which have been hit by the ban are lobbying for the EU to request similar compensation.

Facebook Users 'Vulnerable'

Many users of the popular social networking site Facebook expose their personal information to anybody who wishes to see it, Sophos has warned.

The security software company stated that in making their personal details public information Facebook users are making themselves vulnerable to cyber criminals. In the London network on Facebook, the largest network on the site, a full 75 percent of users allow anybody to see their profile, whether they have been accepted as a "friend" or not.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said: "I was flabbergasted when I joined a network on Facebook using a profile which I thought was secure, only to find Facebook had changed a number of settings and was opening me up to millions of strangers." "Who was to say that cyber criminals weren't in that network too? Is it right that Facebook works this way?" Currently Facebook has approximately 34 million members worldwide.