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February 10, 2007

Vodafone To Provide YouTube Service

Link: Vodafone To Provide YouTube Service

Filed under: Internet, IPTV, Mobile, Telecoms by Jan Harris

Vodafone will soon make YouTube available to its mobile phone users in the UK. YouTube is a video sharing website which lets users upload, view, and share video clips.

Users of the service will be able to view a selection of videos from a list that is updated daily and upload their own videos directly from their mobile phone. They will also be able to forward links to their favourite clips to friends.

Earlier this week Vodafone announced that it was making social networking site MySpace and eBay, the online auction site, available on Vodafone mobiles. The company also recently unveiled a virtual island in Second Life, an online virtual world developed by Linden Labs.

The new mobile Web 2.0 services are part of the company’s strategy to add brands that it believes will be attractive to customers and to more closely engage customers and encourage feedback on its services.

Customers will be able to access YouTube via the Vodafone Live! Web portal, which is currently available on 4.7 million handsets in the UK.

Pricing details have not yet been announced.

New Search Engine May Understand Plain English

Link: New Search Engine May Understand Plain English

Filed under: Internet, Search Engines, Companies by Jan Harris

Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in California is licensing a broad portfolio of patents and technology to Powerset, a well-financed start-up company, with the aim of developing a search engine that could eventually compete with Google.

Powerset is licensing PARC’s “natural language” technology, which enables computers to understand and process languages like English or French. The technology would be the basis for a search engine which would understand search queries typed in plain English, rather than keywords.

Powerset raised $12.5m in autumn 2006, in its first round of financing from venture-capital firms and individual investors.

As part of the agreement, Ronald M. Kaplan, a leading natural-language researcher at PARC, will become Powerset’s chief technology and scientific officer and Powerset will sponsor a number of researchers at PARC.

PARC will also receive an equity stake in Powerset and earn royalties from the company.

February 9, 2007

Hackers targeted ICANN

Link: Hackers targeted ICANN

Filed under: Internet, Security, Webmaster, Web Development by Brian Turner

It has emerged that a concerted DDoS attack by cyberhackers attemped to disrupt the heart of the internet earlier this week.

A Distributed Denial Of Service (DDoS) attack can involve tens of thousands of PCs - usually hacked PC’s networked together - which then try to flood a target server network with useless information, until the target is overloaded and ceases to function.

The attack this week targeted the internet’s core DNS servers - those responsible for ensuring that websites and email works in the first place.

Targets included ICANN, the US Defense Department, and UltraDNS, who together help oversee the proper placement of .com, .net, and .org domain names on the internet.

However, the attack remained invivisible due to the diligence of hundreds of root server admins, who helped ensure that the attacks did not impact core internet systems.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen attacks of this nature targeting DNS servers, but the recent success of server admins to prevent normal internet users from being impacted is being hailed as a significant success.

In describing the attack, Graham Cluley, senior consultant at security firm Sophos, said it was like “fourteen fat men trying to get into an elevator - nothing can move”. We can only presume he was trying to illustrate a DDoS by analogy, rather than the actions of US server admins.

NEC Warns on VoIP Spam

Link: NEC Warns on VoIP Spam

Filed under: Technology, Mobile, VoIP, Telecoms by Brian Turner

NEC, the networking vendor, expects telephony spam levels to soar to between 40% and 70% of all calls.

While sending junk messages is too expensive over traditional networks because of call charges, NEC believes that the volume of telephone spam, created via Botnet platforms, could explode as more telephony is delivered over IP networks.

NEC has developed a software add-on to its PBXs, which claims to stop up to 99% of unsolicited VoIP calls, which are known as Spam over Internet Telephony (Spit).

The company’s Seal software uses a variety of criteria to detect spam calls, such as a high volume of calls originating from on IP address. The software can reject these calls or send them to voicemail. It is also able to blacklist callers by caller ID or IP address.

NEC will demonstrate the software at the 3GSM World Congress which will be held in Barcelona in February.

China First to Launch 4G Standard

Link: China First to Launch 4G Standard

Filed under: Internet, Mobile, Wireless, Telecoms by Jan Harris

China has launched the world’s first fourth-generation standard despite the fact that it has not yet released 3G telephone services in mainland China.

According to the official ‘China Daily’, 4G has been rolled out in Shanghai by a group of 10 Chinese organisations. The group launched the B3G (Beyond 3G)/4G research project in 2001 under the label Future Technology for Universal Radio Environment, or FuTURE Project.

The 4G system, which will allow data to be transmitted at up to 100 megabytes per second, cost 150 million yuan to roll out - around $19.3m. It will now be subjected to field tests and then trialled in commercial use until 2010.

4G will be able to transmit data as quickly as optical fibre, bringing significant improvements in the streaming of high-quality images and data services through wireless transmission.

China has experienced long delays with developing its 3G service, but the issue of third-generation licenses, allowing domestic telecom operators to build 3G mobile phone networks, is expected to commence later this year.

Retailers Plan To Upgrade Networks

Link: Retailers Plan To Upgrade Networks

Filed under: Internet, Technology, Software, Hardware by Jan Harris

Research commissioned by Zycko Ltd, the convergent storage and IP company, found that 67% of UK retailers plan to upgrade their networks during 2007 with new open standards technology.

The Vanson Bourne survey of over 300 IT managers found that retail is one of the leading sectors for adopting innovative IT solutions. According to the survey 67% of IT managers in the retail sector plan to upgrade over the next 12-18 months, to technologies such as WiFi, Chip and PIN and contactless payment cards, in order to benefit from business efficiencies and consequent cost savings.

Around 88% of the IT managers surveyed gave cost reduction as the main reason for moving to an open standards network, while 40% of respondents said that being tied to proprietary systems with expensive licensing upgrades was an urgent problem.

Around 50% of those who responded to the survey said they were unhappy with their current networking supplier and 59% believed that open standards networking would provide cost savings, for example through improved choice and flexibility.

Zycko is privately held company, employing over 190 staff and based in
Cirencester, UK.

Urban WiMax Providing Free London Service

Link: Urban WiMax Providing Free London Service

Filed under: Technology, Mobile, Wireless, Telecoms by Jan Harris

Urban WiMax has revealed £4.4m plans to launch a free WiMax service in London.

According to Urban WiMax this will be the most advanced service available in the capital to date. The free trial will run from April through to July, when a full paid service will be launched.

Around 250 central London businesses will be connected in the trial period and if this is successful the service will be rolled out to nine other cities in the UK.

Urban WiMax claims that its offer will be the UK’s first true WiMax service. It is based on the 802.16d standard kit and will cost only 50% to 70% of the price of BT’s SDSL prices at wholesale levels.

The 5.8GHz waveband is expected to deliver 10Mbit/s of symmetric bandwidth, CCTV through business and critical voice and video services. It will be available to customers within approximately 1.5km of the first Urban WiMax station in Westminster, central London.

The number of WiMax networks in the UK is expected to double by 2007.

February 8, 2007

Europe leader in IPTV subscriptions

Link: Europe leader in IPTV subscriptions

Filed under: Internet, Technology, IPTV, Mobile, Telecoms by Jan Harris

A study by analyst firm Canalys found that Western Europe accounts for two-thirds of worldwide IPTV subscribers. The main reason that Europe is leading the way in IPTV is the increased investment in networking technology in the region.

According to the research, overall IPTV industry revenues are $1bn a year, on total IPTV subscribers of more than 3.6 million.

According to Canalys, IPTV networks are expected to become the most complex and bandwidth intensive that have ever existed. Although there has been substantial investment in network upgrades, it is still unproven if IPTV networks can scale into the millions without loss of performance and slower response times.

The IPTV market is very tightly focused and many regions still do not have a reliable service, so the top five providers make up 60% of the total market.

Canalys identifies the leading global IPTV providers as PCCW with 18.2% market share, France Telecom with 16.8% and Free Telecom with 14%.

Asia and North America are considered potential growth area for IPTV. AT&T and Verizon are already pushing nationwide roll-outs of IPTV services in North America.

Windows Mobile 6 Announced

Link: Windows Mobile 6 Announced

Filed under: Internet, Microsoft, Technology, Mobile, Software by Jan Harris
Microsoft Windows

Microsoft is planning to officially announce Windows Mobile 6, formerly code-named Crossbow, at the 3GSM trade show in Barcelona.

The new version of Windows Mobile features a revamp of the interface and a number of upgrades in common with Vista, such as improved search and security features and tighter integration with Windows Live services. It supports Windows Live instant messaging and e-mail

The improved search function means that users will now be able to type in the first few letters of the item they are searching for, and the phone will automatically display only matching results.

Security enhancements include the ability to not only protect data stored on the device, but to also encrypt information stored on a removable memory card. Enterprises will be able to set policies requiring the use of secure passwords which are required to be regularly changed.

Version 6 works with the same core - Windows CE 5 - as Windows Mobile 5, and should therefore work with Windows Mobile 5 applications.

The operating system is available in both touch screen and non-touch screen versions. Pocket PC Phone Edition, for touch screens, has been renamed Windows Mobile Professional, while Smartphone edition, for non touch screens, is now called Windows Mobile Standard. There is also a version for PDAs without phone capabilities called Windows Mobile Classic.

Windows Mobile 6 is expected to be available in Spring 2007.

Amazon, TiVo Test New Movie Download Service

Link: Amazon, TiVo Test New Movie Download Service

Filed under: Internet, Technology, IPTV, Mobile, Amazon by Jan Harris
Computers & Internet

Online retailer Inc. and TiVo Inc. are testing a service which enables users to watch videos rented or bought over the Internet directly on televisions.

The service is inline with a growing trend to link personal computers and TVs.

The partnership with TiVo strengthen’s Amazon’s Unbox download service, and gives it the edge on Wal-mart’s video download service or Apple Inc.’s iTunes, which allow downloads to computers or portable devices.

Customers will be able to download movies and TV shows from “Amazon Unbox on TiVo” from their computer to a TiVo box, which they will then be able to playback on their television set.

The Unbox service gives TiVo another product to differentiate its video-recording technology from the generic digital video recorders offered by cable and satellite providers.
TiVo subscribers pay about $18 a month for the service, which lets users watch Internet video and listen to music and has security features for children.

Unbox will allow TiVo subscribers to rent or buy films and TV shows from studios and networks including CBS, News Corp.’s Fox Entertainment Group, General Electric Co.-controlled Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. Entertainment.

TV episodes will be available to buy for $1.99 and most movies for between $9.99 and $14.99. Purchased videos are stored in a customer’s personal are at, for further access. Movies can also be rented at prices starting at $1.99.

Amazon and TiVo are testing the new system on more than 1.5 million TiVo boxes with high-speed Internet connections.

BT Talks To Wi-fi Sharing Network

Link: BT Talks To Wi-fi Sharing Network

Filed under: Internet, Technology, Mobile, Wireless, Telecoms by Jan Harris

According to a Reuters’ article, BT is talking to Spanish wi-fi sharing network FON about a landmark deal that would strengthen BT’s mobile service.

BT has recently started promoting the use of wi-fi as part of its Fusion fixed/mobile, broadband and mobile service.

BT has thousands of Openzone access points across the UK and abroad, where customers can access the internet via wireless technology with no download limits. BT’s fusion handsets work in the company’s Openzone hotspots, allowing BT to establish a mobile network based entirely on unlicensed spectrum.

FON operates a community where users make their home wi-fi routers - which FON provides at a subsidised price - available for public use. This creates a network of hotspots which users can log-on to for a fee.

BT and other ISPs currently discourage the use of FON and similar networks. If BT does enter into a deal with FON it will be a public endorsement of FON’s business model.

A deal with FON would allow BT customers to start sharing access to their home Wi-Fi networks. BT Fusion mobile customers, who have mobile phones that can connect to a short-range wireless Wi-Fi network, as well as a cell phone network, could use their phones when they are in the vicinity of one of these Wi-Fi “hotspots”.

They could use their phones on the home networks of around 250,000 global FON members, known as “foneros”, 10,000 of which are based in Britain.

BT has said that it does not have a deal with FON that it can talk about at the moment.

February 6, 2007

Online marketing spend increases share

Link: Online marketing spend increases share

Filed under: Business, Internet, Marketing, Ecommerce by Brian Turner
Computers & Internet

According to Outsell, Inc., online marketing spend continues to accelerate - with print and TV media spend predicted to decrease over 2007.

The researchers interviewed 1010 advertising professionals about overall advertising spend, which revealed the following:

- Online spending to increase 18%
- Search marketing spend to increase by 39%
- PPC spend decrease 1%
- TV/radio/movie spend to decrease 3.5%
- Increased overall spend of 5.8%

While print media still accounts for the largest marketshare, at 40% of advertising spend, internet spending will account for 20% of advertising budgets over 2007.

Interestingly, advertisers appear to be exploring different internet marketing channels for budgets, with banner and CPA models taking significant interest for branding purposes.

According to an analysis by Jordan McCollum, perceptions of click fraud could be a key reason for advertisers shunning increases to PPC budgets.

Overall, it shows that marketing spend is increasingly targeted at internet users and that traditional media remains under threat of decreased spend.

Although the figures were for the USA, we can only look forward to such forward thinking internet use increasingly prevalent among UK marketing and advertising agencies.

3 Reaches 90% of UK With 3G Services

Link: 3 Reaches 90% of UK With 3G Services

Filed under: Technology, Mobile, Wireless, Telecoms by Brian Turner

Mobile operator 3UK has announced that its third-generation services now cover 90% of the UK population.

3, which is owned by Hutchison Whampoa of Hong Kong, is now the leading UK 3G provider, followed by Orange which covers 85% of the UK population. Vodafone has nearly 80% coverage, T-Mobile covered 70% of the UK at the end of 2006 and expects to hit 80% by the end of 2007, while O2 currently has around 60% coverage.

In the four years that it has operated in the UK, 3 has built 7,250 base stations across the country.

Since 2005, its 3G rollout has been managed in conjunction with Ericsson, which is responsible for the management, operation and performance of the network and its underlying IT infrastructure.

3 aims to roll out HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access), which allows for higher data transfer speeds than 3G, across its network by the end of 2007.

New Service To Rival Google AdSense?

Link: New Service To Rival Google AdSense?

Filed under: Internet, Webmaster, Marketing, Ecommerce, Web Development, AdSense by Jan Harris

Fast Search & Transfer has unveiled a new service - Fast AdMomentum - which will allow online publishers to display private-label, contextually relevant ads on their Web sites.

The service means that companies will be able to make money by selling ads to advertisers without involving an ad agency or network. It has the potential to more than double ad revenues for some publishers, compared with similar services provided by Google and Yahoo.

Fast Search & Transfer, a competitor to Google’s Enterprise Search Appliance in the corporate search market, sells AdMomentum as a software license rather than for a share of revenue, which is the business model used by Google.

Fast’s software is installed in a publisher’s data centre. It could also be used by a third party to provide an online, contextual advertising network serving smaller online publishers such as blog networks.

Fast’s customers include U.S.-based online directory, Norway’s Schibsted newspaper group and Australian search site Sensis.

Fast AdMomentum will compete with both Google’s Adsense and Panama, Yahoo’s new paid search ad-serving platform. Yahoo’s system is similar to Google’s in that it ranks ads both on price and relevancy to users.

However, some commentators are already cynical about the success of such a program, suggesting that although Fast may bring in a few big partnerships, the problems involved with running a custom-built adnetwork platform will be beyond most webmasters.

February 5, 2007

Microsoft pushes IE7 browser safety

Link: Microsoft pushes IE7 browser safety

Filed under: Internet, Security, Microsoft, Browsers, Phishing, Companies by Brian Turner
Microsoft Windows

Microsoft has upgraded its computer systems, allowing Web sites fitted with a new type of security certificate to display a green-filled address bar in IE7. The green bar is meant to indicate that the site can be trusted.

Microsoft plans to promote the green bar at next week’s RSA Conference in San Francisco - an annual security conference which will be introduced by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates.

The coloured address bar is meant to reassure Web surfers that it is safe to carry out transactions on the site. It already appears on the secured sites of and VeriSign. The names of other participating Web sites will be revealed at the RSA conference.

The new feature is part of Microsoft’s strategy to combat phishing - an online scam that uses bogus Web sites to trick people into revealing personal information. Phishing costs businesses millions of dollars and reduces consumer trust in the Net.

IE7 will only display the green address bar on websites with an ‘extended validation certificate’, or EV SSL. This is a new type of security certificate which is sold by the same companies that sell Secure Socket Layer, or SSL, certificates that allow traffic to be encrypted. These sites are indicated by a yellow padlock in Web browsers.

Initially, only incorporated entities will be able to qualify for the ‘extended validation certificate’ and be able to display the green bar. Smaller businesses will be excluded. However, the CA Browser Forum, the organisation that drafts the rules for EV SSL certificates, is working on guidelines that would include all legitimate Web sites.

Microsoft is the first browser maker to adopt the EV SSL certificates and plans to release promotional material explaining what the green bar means. It shouldn’t be too long before other browser makers follow Microsoft’s lead.

Vista kills iTunes

Link: Vista kills iTunes

Filed under: Microsoft, Technology, Apple, Software by Brian Turner
Microsoft Windows

Windows users running iTunes software could face a number of compatibility issues if they upgrade to Microsoft’s new Vista operating system.

PC’s running Vista may experience problems playing music or video purchased and downloaded to the desktop iTunes player from the iTunes Store. Problems have also been experienced with synchronising address book contact and calendar functions, and slowed runtime.

There is also the possibility that plugging an iPod into a computer running Vista may corrupt the iPod player. An iPod may be corrupted if users try to eject the digital music player from a desktop port using the “Safely Remove Hardware” feature found on the Vista sytem tray.

According to Apple, until the patch is released, the safe way to unlock an iPod from a PC running Vista is to use the “Eject iPod” control in the iTunes software.

Apple is advising it customers to delay installing Vista until it releases a new version of its iTunes software which is specifically designed to address the Vista compatibility issues. The software is due to be released shortly.

For customers already experiencing problems a special support page is available.

The problems may not affect all users and iTunes 7.0.2 may work with Windows Vista on many typical PCs, but with the Vista compatible software due anytime, it’s not really worth taking the risk.

February 2, 2007

Vista to support OpenDocument Conversion

Link: Vista to support OpenDocument Conversion

Filed under: Technology, Open Source, Software by Jan Harris
Microsoft Windows

SourceForge, Microsoft’s development and download repository of Open Source code and applications, is releasing a translator that will convert file formats between Microsoft Office and rival standard OpenDocument, or ODF.

In a project started in 2006, SourceForge has developed code which allows a user to open and save word processor documents in two different formats - Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) format, and ODF which is supported by IBM, Sun Microsystems and Novell. OOXML is the default document format in Microsoft’s Office 2007 suite.

The plug-in will work with Microsoft’s Word application, in the Office 2007, Office 2003 and Office XP editions. The translator allows a user to open and save documents in the ODF format from Word.

The software will be available to download for free from SourceForge under the open-source BSD license. It will also be available on Microsoft’s own website.

SourceForge is now starting work on code to translate file formats between Microsoft’s Excel spreadsheet and PowerPoint presentation software and the corresponding ODF files. These plug-ins, which will also be open-source, are expected to be available by the end of 2007.

Free Wi-Fi Trial For Vista Users

Link: Free Wi-Fi Trial For Vista Users

Filed under: Microsoft, Technology, Mobile, Wireless by Brian Turner
Microsoft Windows

Hotzone operator The Cloud is offering early adopters of Windows Vista a three-month free trial of Wi-Fi access.

The Cloud was chosen by Microsoft to promote its new Vista operating systems because of its extensive network coverage in the UK.

Vista users in America are being offered a similar deal with T-Mobile as the operator.

Vista users will be able to access the service from early next week by registering on Microsoft’s UK Vista homepage. No credit card details will be required when users initially register, but these details will be needed if they decide to continue with the service after the trial period.

The Cloud operates 7,500 Wi-Fi sites across the UK. It has indoor hotspots in airports, railway stations and hotels, and outdoor hotzones in six city centres. Its square mile-wide wireless network across the City of London will be operational from the end of March.

February 1, 2007

Google loses GMail in Germany

Link: Google loses GMail in Germany

Filed under: Internet, Webmaster, Google, Legal by Brian Turner

Google has lost the right to use the name “GMail” in Germany after it was ruled to violate an existing trademark held in the country.

Google has faced other trademark disputes over the name Gmail since the service was launched in 2005.

Here in the UK, Google already lost a case brought by IIIR which led to the service being renamed GoogleMail.

Daniel Giersch, who owns the Gmail trademark in Germany, now plans to forward the case to protect other registrations in Switzerland, Norway and Monaco.

While the effect on branding can only be damaging to Gmail users, it remains surprising that Google was unable to foresee the potential trademark disputes at the launch of the service.

Trust Approves BBC’s Download Plans

Link: Trust Approves BBC’s Download Plans

Filed under: Internet, IPTV by Jan Harris

The BBC Trust has given initial approval to the BBC’s plans to provide popular programmes online, and make them available for viewers to download up to a week after they are broadcast.

Full approval of the on-demand plans is expected after a two-month public consultation period.

After the consultation period, the BBC is expected to launch the iPlayer - software which allows audiences to watch or download any programme from the last seven days.

The BBC Trust is an independent body which replaced the BBC’s governors at the beginning of 2007. Although it said that the download plans would be of significant public value, it also agreed with Ofcom’s concerns that the iPlayer could have negatively impact commercial rivals.

Because of these concerns the Trust imposed a number of conditions on the service, including scaling back plans to let downloaded episodes remain on users’ hard drives for 13 weeks. The Trusts wants this reduced to 30 days.

Some programmes, such as ‘landmark series’ like Planet Earth, may be able to remain on a viewer’s computer for longer periods via a feature called series stacking.

Every episode of a “stacked” series would be available until a week after transmission of the final instalment.
The Trust also wants parental controls introduced to its on-demand services in order to protect children.

It also advised that audio books and classical music should be excluded from the download service.

Final approval of the service is expected by 2 May.

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