Platinax: For EntrepreneursPlatinax Business ForumPlatinax Business NewsPlatinax Business DirectoryBusiness Blog
March 29, 2007

Intel extends Wi-Fi range

Link: Intel extends Wi-Fi range

by Brian Turner

Intel has developed Wi-Fi technology which can transmit signals over 60 miles, rather than the few hundred feet that current Wi-Fi signals travel. The system uses regular Wi-Fi hardware combined with modified software.

The technology has been developed by researchers from Intel Research Berkeley, an Intel lab which cooperates on research projects with the University of California at Berkeley.

The company designed the system for use in emerging markets where the communications infrastructure is limited and mainly concentrated in cities.

Although a large percentage of the population live in villages, these are often cut off from the outside world except by car, bus or footpath.

The new Wi-Fi antennas could provide a chain of links. Villagers would connect to a Wi-Fi antenna in their town or region. This would then relay the signals through several other towers until it reached a fibre link which connected the villager to the Internet.

The Wi-Fi antennas would effectively perform the same function as WiMax, a long-range wireless technology, but while a WiMax tower costs between $15,000 and $20,000, the long range Wi-Fi towers might only cost $700 to $800.

An additional advantage is that Wi-Fi operates in the unlicensed portion of the spectrum, while WiMax services may require governmental permission.

However, the big disadvantage is the security risk of third-parties tapping into Wi-fi networking in this manner.

We’ve already seen how Wi-fi networks can present a security risk to users, especially where the network has not been reasonably secured.

While long-range Wi-fi offers welcome benefits, providers are going to have to re-assure consumers that the networks are indeed safe and secure for private data use.

March 23, 2007

Microsoft temporarily closes Soapbox

Link: Microsoft temporarily closes Soapbox

by Jan Harris
Computers & Internet

Microsoft is closing newly launched ‘Soapbox’ video-sharing site, to bolster its defences against pirated content. Current subscribers will be able to continue using the site, but no new subscribers will be accepted.

Since a test version of the site was launched in February, Soapbox has filled up with unauthorised clips from companies such as News Corp and NBC Universal.

This would have been potentially very embarrassing for Microsoft which has entered into an online joint venture with News Corp and NBC, together with AOL and Yahoo, to provide a video network featuring content from major TV networks and film studios.

Microsoft has appointed digital-fingerprinting technology from Audible Magic to create a system to filter clips and prevent the uploading of copyrighted video clips.

Soapbox will be closed to new subscribers for up to two months, until safeguards against pirated content are in place.

McAfee conflicts with Zonealarm

Link: McAfee conflicts with Zonealarm

by Brian Turner
Computers & Internet

Windows users with multiple security programs installed may be in for a rude awakening this morning - the latest update to McAfee Security Suite 9 won’t allow the software to work in conjunction with the free Zonealarm firewall.

According to McAfee technical advisor Bill Chapman, this is due to a software conflict between McAfee Security Security Center and Zonealarm - the result of which is that the McAfee software will shut down and no longer protect a users PC.

The solution recommended by McAfee is to uninstall both Zonealarm and McAfee - but reinstall only McAfee.

While McAfee is under no obligation to ensure its software works with other security products, the recent issue with Zonealarm represents a potential danger to consumers

Zonealarm is one of the most popular free security programs around, with over 60 million users worldwide.

Therefore those users who don’t notice that their McAfee anti-virus has stopped working could set themselves up for serious malware infections.

At present it is uncertain whether McAfee intends to correct the matter, or whether this represents a squeeze on competing security companies.

However, those users who find themselves forced to choose between McAfee and Zonalarm may wish to consider buying the Zonalarm anti-virus package instead - as it’s around a third the price of McAfee’s anti-virus product.

Simply Media and JumpTV in UK TV partnership

Link: Simply Media and JumpTV in UK TV partnership

by Jan Harris

Digital entertainment provider Simply Media has entered into a partnership with JumpTV, which broadcasts ethnic television over the Internet, to provide international television channels to subscribers of ‘Simply TV’.

Simply Media’s new Internet Protocol set-top box, Simply TV, will provide JumpTV channels from Latin America, Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Customers will be able to specify whether they want channels from particular countries or regions and will also be able to subscribe to individual channels.

Simply Media operates over 25 digital television channels, including 5 satellite channels, and delivers them via its web portal.

The company’s new IPTV powered set-top box will provide Internet television in an easy to operate format.

The Simply TV set-top box service will be advertised to ethnic audiences on and offline and customers will be able to subscribe on a monthly or yearly basis when they purchase a set-top box. Subscriptions range from £3.99 to £19.99 a month.

Simply TV plans to launch its set-top box product in the UK, in Spring 2007. The box is WiFi-enabled and works with any broadband Internet Service Provider.

Apple TV now available in UK

Link: Apple TV now available in UK

by Jan Harris

Apple TV, which allows iTunes content from a PC or Mac to be wirelessly played on a widescreen television is now shipping in the UK following a one-month delay.

All types of content can be viewed, including movies, TV shows, music, photos and podcasts, via a wireless network.

Operation of Apple TV is easy with a simple and intuitive Apple Remote which works from a distance of 30 feet. The device works with most modern televisions and computers running Mac OS X or Windows XP.

Apple TV provides access to over 400 movies and 350 TV shows in near DVD quality; over four million songs; 5,000 music videos; 100,000 podcasts; and 20,000 audiobooks from the iTunes Store.

Apple TV includes a 40GB hard drive, allowing users to store up to 50 hours of video, 9,000 songs, 25,000 photos or a combination of each.

It can be easily connected to widescreen TVs and home theatre systems and can wirelessly auto-sync content from one computer or stream content from up to five additional computers to a TV.

The suggested retail price for the system is £199 (inc. VAT).

Yahoo provides OneSearch for mobile users

Link: Yahoo provides OneSearch for mobile users

by Jan Harris

Yahoo has launched an Internet search system for users of internet-enabled mobile phones.

The service will start in the US, but will be rolled-out to international markets later in 2007.

The service, called OneSearch, which was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics show in January, will focus on providing local information rather than just a list of web links.

To perform a search, a user enters a postcode or place name and locally relevant information will be provided such as news headlines, weather forecasts, images from Yahoo’s Flickr photos site and business listings.

The search results appear on a single page and are also sorted into categories to make finding useful results easier and quicker. Consumers can call business directly just by clicking a link on the web page.

Yahoo has started offering OneSearch on the 85% of existing US mobile phones with Web browsers and has also secured contracts with Nokia, Motorola, Samsung and LG Electronics to feature its Yahoo Go software, which includes the oneSearch service.

March 20, 2007

Adobe releases alpha version of Apollo for web developers

Link: Adobe releases alpha version of Apollo for web developers

by Jan Harris
Computers & Internet

Adobe Systems is planning to release an alpha version of its innovative Apollo software on Monday.

The initial release is aimed at Web developers and programmers, who will be able to download a software development kit and ‘runtime’ software for running Apollo applications from Adobe’s labs site -

Apollo is the code name for an exciting new tool which allows web developers to use their existing skills and tools in HTML, JavaScript, Ajax, Flash and Flex, to build and deploy internet applications on the desktop.

The application will run on Mac and Windows and a Linux version will be developed.

Applications written for Apollo function like normal Web applications but act like locally installed software. Apollo applications can be accessed with a desktop icon and will be able to automatically reconnect when a computer gets online.

Eventually, users will be able to download a runtime to their desktop PCs to run Apollo applications, just as they download a Flash Player to run Flash Web animations.

Adobe’s Creative Suite 3, which will be released this month, will allow people to create Apollo content.

Vodafone launches 7.2 MBits/s wireless data service

Link: Vodafone launches 7.2 MBits/s wireless data service

by Jan Harris
Computers & Internet

Communications company Vodafone is launching wireless mobile data transmission services with speeds of up to 7.2 MBits/s, at the CeBIT technology fair in Hannover, Germany.

The technology, which is based on HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access - a 3G mobile telephony protocol), will provide high speed mobile transmission of large data volumes for Vodafone’s customers in Germany.

The service will provide upload speeds of up to 1.45 MBits/second and will work over the existing 3G network in the country.

The fastest wi-fi mobile broadband download speed available in the UK is currently 1.8Mbits/second using HSDPA.

It has not been disclosed if there will be a UK rollout of the technology.

Google strengthens user privacy

Link: Google strengthens user privacy

by Jan Harris

Google is changing its data retention policy, but privacy campaigners say that the company hasn’t gone far enough to protect user privacy.

Google currently keeps its search logs indefinitely - maintaining a permanent record of keywords used in a web search, the IP address the search originated from and information from web cookies.

Under its new policy, which will take effect at the end of 2007, the company will make the final eight bits of the IP address and the cookie data anonymous between 18 and 24 months after the date of the search. This will make it much harder to identify the individual or computer which carried out the search.

Information on some searches may still have to be retained for longer periods, due to legal requirements.

Privacy advocates, including the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a public interest research center in Washington, D.C., say that the retention period is still much too long and the policy needs to go much further to ensure users’ privacy.

Google is unwilling to anonymise the entire IP address, delete it altogether or anonymise any of it sooner than 18 months because it uses the data to analyse usage patterns, diagnose system problems, and to combat denial of service attacks.

Google and YouTube in $1bn copyright dispute

Link: Google and YouTube in $1bn copyright dispute

by Jan Harris

Broadcaster Viacom, which owns MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures, is suing Google for alleged copyright infringement and claiming $1bn in damages.

Viacom claims that nearly 160,000 clips from its programmes have been displayed on YouTube, Google’s popular video sharing website which allows users to upload, view, and share video clips.

The broadcaster has requested an injunction to stop its material being uploaded to YouTube. It claims that clips from its programming have been viewed more than 1.5 billion times.

In early February Viacom asked for 100,000 of its clips to be removed from the site under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Google agreed to comply with the request.

Google is developing technology which will filter out clips that infringe copyright and expects to deliver it in the near future.

March 12, 2007

Telindus Launches IPTV Products in UK

Link: Telindus Launches IPTV Products in UK

by Jan Harris

Telindus Group NV, a provider of ICT solutions and services, has introduced a portfolio of IPTV products to the UK.

The company’s IPTV portfolio is designed to help digital content owners generate the maximum profits from broadband networks and deliver ‘triple play’ services (a combination of voice, video, and data streaming services on one network) and digital content via a set-top box (STB) or direct to a PC.

Telindus provides a portfolio of effective tools designed to easily integrate with a company’s existing IP infrastructure, to deliver digital content to consumers.

The Telindus IPTV portfolio includes Telindus TV - an IPTV solution for delivering digital TV via IP set top boxes to a television or PC; Telindus VoD - a MPEG-2 digital Video-on-Demand solution for a STB or PC; Telindus CMS - a content management system and Telindus CARE - a web-based system for managing subscribers and the provision of Telindus play services.

The IPTV portfolio is available as a complete packager, or customers can select whichever modules best serve their needs.

Macropolitan prepares for radio spectrum auction

Link: Macropolitan prepares for radio spectrum auction

by Jan Harris

London-based Macropolitan, which provides wireless network operators with access to rooftop aerials, has obtained exclusive telecommunications rights to 7,600 properties across all the major urban areas.

This will place it in prime position to benefit from regulator Ofcom’s plans to auction 400 megahertz of spectrum under 3 gigahertz over the next three years. The spectrum can be used for a range of telecoms services including private mobile radio, wireless broadband, digital broadcasting, 3G mobile, and WiMAX.

Macropolitan addresses the problem that wireless operators have in finding sites for aerials in the cities, a process that can be lengthy and incur probative legal fees.

The company plans to partner with the winners of the auctions, providing network operators with access to its sites via a single contract.

Macropolitan also partners with property owners, such as Travelodge and David Lloyd Leisure, providing them with new revenue streams

Macropolitan was founded in May 2006, after securing funding from property investor Vincent Tchenguiz, investment banker Miller Buckfire and Harpal Randhawa’s New York-based private investment group Global Emerging Markets.

March 9, 2007

Adobe developing photo-authentication tools

Link: Adobe developing photo-authentication tools

by Brian Turner
Computers & Internet

Adobe researchers are developing two plug-ins for PhotoShop which could detect whether or not a photo has been retouched. Demand for photo-authentication tools is growing in response to the increase in news being spread via blogs and photo-sharing websites.

Adobe is collaborating with Professor Hani Farid, an expert in photo and image fraud detection, on the development of the products.

The Clone Tool Detector can identify if a section in a picture has been recopied from another part of the picture.

The second tool can identify if pixels are missing from a photo, which could indicate that an image has been cropped.

Adobe has not yet decided if the tools will be added to Photoshop. The company is currently beta testing a new version of Photoshop, CS3, that will be announced at the end of March.

Wikia to build search engine

Link: Wikia to build search engine

by Brian Turner

Wikia, the commercial version of non-profit online encyclopedia Wikipedia, is planning to build a search engine which could capture up to 5% of the Internet search market. The search engine would aim to compete with market leaders Google and Yahoo.

The news was revealed by Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, at a news conference in Tokyo.

Wales believes that collaborative search technology could fundamentally change the power structure of the Internet, with users working together to enhance search engines in the same way that Wikipedia articles are re-written and developed by users.

A major advantage is that a collaborative search engine could be less susceptible to spam because of the constant updates.

However, a major disadvantage is that online collaborative projects have a history of being dominated by a minority of people, who have neither the qualifications nor the skills to justify their decision making. The result can range between clique behaviour or rampant mob rule.

This has been exemplified by complaints about DMOZ, the open directory project owned by AOL but begun in the late 1990’s, which has been roundly criticised for poor transparency and clique behaviour.

More recently it has been shown to be a major failing with Digg, a news site run by young teenagers, who have shown themselves averse to self-criticism and have banned a whole string of sites for little reason other than they are connected with the search marketing industry.

Wikipedia itself has not been free of criticisms along both lines, with some editors possessively taking control of subject areas away from other users, while others yet have masqueraded as leading experts only to be found to be entirely unqualified.

While Jimmy Wales may well hope that a collaborative search engine may provide certain advantages over existing search engines, it’s difficult to see how yet another search engine in a crowd of start-up search engine wannabes, is actually going to break new ground in this area – either in terms of improved relevancy, or significant market share.

March 8, 2007

NDS and Nortel collaborate on IPTV

Link: NDS and Nortel collaborate on IPTV

by Brian Turner

US-based Nortel Networks is joining with NDS, a West Drayton, UK-based networking firm to develop Internet Protocol TV services for the European market.

Nortel has signed a global reseller and joint marketing agreement with NDS and set up a laboratory for IPTV research at its Research Triangle Park campus in North Carolina.

The two companies plan to integrate Nortel’s voice and multi-media products into NDS’s MediaHighway middleware in order to offer IPTV that includes a comprehensive package of services.

A user will be able to control a range of communications services from their TV, including caller ID, call handling, address book, click-to-dial, call-logs, instant messaging and other IP-based communication services.

Nortel and NDS demonstrated the service at the IPTV World Forum 07 at Olympia, London.

March 7, 2007

London leads the world for Wi-Fi Usage

Link: London leads the world for Wi-Fi Usage

by Brian Turner

According to new research from iPass Inc., Wi-Fi usage across the world grew by 44% between H1 2006 and H2 2006, with the strongest growth in the UK where Wi-Fi usage soared by 75%.

The research, published in the ‘iPass Wi-Fi Hotspot Index’, found that over half (59%) of global Wi-Fi usage takes place in the US, while the UK is in second place at 11%.

London was the world’s most popular city for usage of Wi-Fi at non-business travel locations such as retail locations and cafes, with over 11,000 sessions.

Airports were the most popular venue for Wi-Fi connections, accounting for 49% of all public Wi-Fi access worldwide. Café’s and other retail outlets were the second most popular venue, with 29% of Wi-Fi connections and hotels were in third place with 23%.

In the UK, Heathrow airport was the most popular Wi-Fi venue during the period, followed by Gatwick, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports. The most popular hotel venues included the Radisson Hotel at Manchester Airport, the Hilton London Heathrow and the Hilton Paddington.

The iPass Wi-Fi Hotspot Index summarises data collected by iPass across its base of approximately 1,000,000 quarterly users. The company has a network of more than 76,000 hotspots in 68 countries, and over 3,000 business customers, allowing it to offer a global perspective into Wi-Fi usage.

Microsoft submits HD Photo to standards body

Link: Microsoft submits HD Photo to standards body

by Jan Harris
Microsoft Windows

Microsoft is planning to submit its HD Photo image format to a standards body in the hope that it will become a neutral industry standard rather than a purely Microsoft technology.

The company hopes to establish HD Photo as a higher-quality replacement for the widely used JPEG standard.

Microsoft will announce details of the move on 8 March at the Photo Marketing Association trade show in Las Vegas.

Although the standardisation of HD Photo would mean Microsoft loosing control of HD Photo, it would also give the company an influential position in the digital photography market.

Microsoft’s standardisation plan is inline with earlier changes to its HD Photo policy.

In November 2006, Microsoft liberalised the licensing policy for the software and changed its name from Windows Media Photo to the more generic HD Photo.

The company also said that HD Photo technology is covered by the Open Specification Promise - under which Microsoft promises not to assert its patent rights. This makes HD Photo more attractive to open-source programmers.

Joost boost with JumpTV

Link: Joost boost with JumpTV

by Jan Harris

JumpTV is set to appear on the upcoming Joost online television service.

Canadian JumpTV, which offers 270 channels of programming from 70 countries on both a free and subscription basis, has agreed to provide some shows for free on Joost.

It will initially offer Spanish-language series from Colombia, Chile and Peru, and an Arabic-language comedy, followed later by programming in Romanian, Turkish, Russian, and Bengali.

Joost was launched by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, the founders of Skype and Kazaa in January as an ad-supported Internet television network. It uses the same peer-to-peer file-sharing technology that has turned the music industry upside down.

Joost’s deal with JumpTV follows a recent deal with Viacom to distribute content, such as movies from Paramount, and content from MTV.

Ofcom reports recommends fibre to the home technology

Link: Ofcom reports recommends fibre to the home technology

by Jan Harris

According to an Ofcom-commissioned report from Plextek, the UK should embrace FTTH (fibre to the home) technology, so that it doesn’t trail behind the rest of Western Europe in providing high-speed Internet services. FTTH uses optical fibre for last-mile connections to users’ premises and provides super high-speed broadband.

The findings of the report contradict Ofcom’s previous advice that DSL broadband is an adequate solution to support the UK’s future internet access needs.

Plextek undertook a six-month study into the role of wireless broadband and found that high-speed fibre connections to the home and office will be vital if the UK is to adopt services such as IPTV which need greater bandwith than can be provided by DSL broadband.

The report recommends a combination of fibre connectivity backbone networks and fixed and wireless gigabit connections in the last mile. This combination is already in use in some parts of the UK - by the Metronet network in Manchester for instance.

Steve Methley, senior consultant at Plextek advised that high definition (HD) TV services will require undiluted access to streaming content at 10-15Mb/s per channel, substantially faster than today’s ADSL systems can support.

Wireless standards are being developed with a bias towards small screen mobile content delivery and are not attempting to address the needs of services such as HDTV.

March 4, 2007

BBC and YouTube in content deal

Link: BBC and YouTube in content deal

by Brian Turner

The BBC and YouTube have entered into a partnership to launch BBC content on YouTube, the video sharing website owned by Google.

Some of the content will be specially commissioned, and will include news clips and short-form promotional content for popular BBC programmes such as Doctor Who.

Content from a number of channels including BBC, BBC Worldwide and BBC World, will be shown on three new YouTube channels - one news channel and two entertainment channels. Some of the content will be partly funded by advertising.

The deal will allow the BBC to reach a wider audience and the company hopes that it will also drive extra traffic to its own website. YouTube has a monthly audience of over 70 million users. The BBC will share in the advertising revenue generated by traffic to the three new channels.

YouTube members will be able to rate the BBC videos and recommend them to others, as they already do with other YouTube content.

As well as watching and sharing video clips, YouTube members can also upload clips of their own. The site contains pirated film and music clips, which has led to the BBC being criticised for entering into the deal.

While the BBC will not actively search for BBC-copyrighted clips already uploaded by YouTube members it will reserve the right to replace poor quality clips with its won content, or to remove content that infringes other people’s copyright.

« Previous PageNext Page »