Thursday, November 23, 2006

Google News finds more trouble in Europe

Google News finds more trouble in Europe: "

(InfoWorld) - Google is facing mounting protests from newspaper publishers in Europe, the impact of which could ultimately affect the amount of content available to end users through search engines.

The company is due to appear in court on Friday morning to dobattle with the Belgian press, which filed alawsuit earlier this year accusing Google of copyright infringement for the way it posts headlines and snippets of their news stories on Google News.

Meanwhile, in the past two weeks trouble has also stirred up elsewhere. The company was forced to put on hold the launch of its Google News Web site in Denmark last week after newspapers there demanded a system that would allow them to 'opt in' to Google's service, rather than having their content trawled automatically, said Holger Rosendal, head of the legal department at the Danish Newspaper Publishers Association.

And a Norwegian media group has written to the search giant, objecting to the way that Google posts thumbnails of its members' news photos. 'According to Norwegian copyright law, you are not allowed to use photos without permission from the rights holder, so that's the big issue here,' said Pernelle Borset, associate director of the Norweigan Media Businesses' Association.

The protests highlight mounting concern among some publishers that Google has gone beyond a simple search service to become a powerful media company that profits from the content of others. Publishers of news, books and other content types have filed lawsuits, often charging copyright infringement, to force Google to seek permission before using their work and even provide them with compensation.

Google responds that it acts within the law because it posts only snippets of publishers' content, and because the publishers can opt out easily. It notes that it drives traffic to publishers' Web sites, since it links to their publications, and it can help publicize works that might not otherwise be found.

Moreover, it says, if search engines were forced to get permission from every site they indexed, search services would not be able to operate at all.

'If content isn't indexed, it can't be searched. And if it can't be searched, how can it be found?' asked David Eun, Google vice president for content partnerships, in a Google blog post . 'Imagine a library with no index of titles or subjects of the books on its shelves, or no catalogue of the authors who wrote them.'

But that, critics say, is the point. Google is not a public service like a library, it is a profit-seeking company. Google may not 'aggressively monetize' Google News with advertisements, but the site attracts visitors to Google, and visitors mean money.

'The exceptions (for fair use) don't really cover what is in effect a commercial service, and that's where they are vulnerable,' said Laurence Kaye, a lawyer in the U.K. who is advising the newspaper industry on copyright issues.

Google isn't the only company targeted. Copiepresse, the group representing Belgian newspapers, also sent a cease and desist letter to Microsoft Corp.'s MSN division, which promptly removed the Belgian newspapers from its Web site rather than become embroiled in a lawsuit. Copiepresse has said that it may sue others.

The outcomes of the various lawsuits, also brought in the U.S. by Agence France Press, the Authors Guild and others, will shape how Google and other search engines can index and display copyright material on their Web sites. For users, they will determine whether search engines continue to give them easy access to such a wide variety of content.

Google lost an initial ruling against Copiepresse in September and was forced to remove the newspapers' content from its Belgian search site and from Google News. Google was not present at the hearing, however, apparently because of an administrative error on Google's part. On Friday -- assuming it shows up -- it will defend itself for the first time.

The outcome could affect more than Google News. Copiepresse argues that by indexing and caching its members' content, Google is effectively making copies of the works for a commercial purpose, which it says is a copyright violation. It also objects to Google using the material without first asking permission.

Those arguments could be applied to other types of content. Search engines index and cache masses of copyright work on the Web without first asking permission. If the Court of First Instance in Brussels upholds its initial judgment, it could make it difficult for search engines in Belgium to operate at all.

'The ruling right now means that search engines can't operate in Belgium, because you don't have the right to index copyright pages without explicit permission,' said Danny Sullivan, editor in chief of

A favorable ruling for Copiepresse could inspire other copyright holders to seek redress and potentially influence how other European countries apply copyright law to search engines. A decision is not expected for some weeks, and Google has also filed an appeal.

Google declined to comment on the possible ramifications of the case, but it acknowledged its significance in a posting to the Google blog: 'We do feel that this case raises important and complex issues. It goes to the heart of how search engines work,' wrote Rachel Whetstone, Google's director of European corporate communications and public affairs.

PPK on JavaScript: The DOM - Part 3

PPK on JavaScript: The DOM - Part 3: "This week we look at text nodes, node lists, forms and the level 0 DOM, DOM hyperspace and markers. The W3C DOM defines a few methods for getting and changing texts, but the core string methods and properties are more useful and versatile. By Peter-Paul Koch. 1120"In general, text nodes are easy to work with. The W3C DOM defines a few methods for getting and changing texts, but the Core string methods and properties we discussed in 5F are more useful and versatile.

Database-enabled Ajax with PHP

Database-enabled Ajax with PHP: "Ajax has taken the Web to a new level by offering an intuitive interactive model that rivals the desktop. To compete with desktop applications, you'll learn how to create database-enabled Ajax requests using PHP and MySQL. By Kris Hadlock. 1122"
n this article you'll learn how to create database-enabled Ajax requests using PHP and MySQL. We begin by creating the front-end HTML and JavaScript files used to make requests to the server-side. The requested server-side is a PHP file which bridges the gap between Ajax and a PHP object that connects to a MySQL database and returns results as an XML response to the Ajax engine. To cover this functionality you'll learn about the concepts from a high level overview rather than focusing on each and every line of code. The complete source code for this sample can be downloaded and is necessary to create a working sample on your personal server. Let's get started by taking a look at the front-end.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Microsoft, CompUSA to offer Vista early

Microsoft, CompUSA to offer Vista early: "

(InfoWorld) - Microsoft Corp. continues to expand ways customers can get access to Windows Vista as the OS' official launch date approaches. The company said Monday it is teaming with CompUSA stores to offer early access to Windows Vista to U.S. small businesses.Through the Microsoft Small Business Value Program, small businesses that want to purchase five or more licenses forWindows Vista can purchase them through one of two licensing programs -- Open Value or Open Business -- beginning on Nov. 30 from CompUSA stores. This is the day Vista will be available to Microsoft's volume license customers, but before the product's general availability in retail outlets, which will not occur until Jan. 30, 2007.

The Open Value and Open Business license programs are intended to allow smaller companies to acquire Microsoft software in a cost-effective way that can be managed online, according to Microsoft. Typically, small businesses can purchase software through these programs either from Microsoft or a licensed reseller, but Microsoft is extending this access to CompUSA retail outlets. CompUSA has more than 229 stores in the U.S.

The company plans to allow more retailers to offer Vista through these volume-licensing programs throughout 2007, Microsoft said.

Open Value will spread payments for the software out over a year, while Open Business requires an upfront payment, according to Microsoft's Web site. Open Value also includes a subscription to Microsoft Software Assurance (SA), the company's software update program, while SA is an add-on option for Open Business customers.

Small business customers that purchase Vista at CompUSA through one of the programs will initially receive a Microsoft Small Business Value Program Kit and a proof of purchase. A CompUSA sales associate also will work with the customer to explain how to download Vista and activate the licenses, Microsoft said.

Microsoft is touting the long-delayed Vista as a major overhaul of its Windows client OS with many benefits for customers, and has high hopes that people will upgrade to the new OS as early as possible. However, there is evidence from both analysts and business customers that neither consumers nor businesses are in a hurry to purchase Vista.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Web 2.0 Summit in review: Long tails, forgotten trails

Web 2.0 Summit in review: Long tails, forgotten trails: "

(InfoWorld) - The Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco this week was intended as a gathering of the best Internet minds talking strategy, but at times it felt like a big group hug: ‘Congratulations, we survived the bubble bursting!’Although its more than five years since Web 1.0 came crashing down, many from that era still strut their stuff at these events, including Netscape’s Marc Andreesen, Yahoo’s David Filo, and every VC who wants to find the next Google.

But the hype has more reality in it now, and that reality was palpable at this event. The Internet is bigger and there’s a whole lot more money flowing through it than in 2000. The Internet has gone global (only 20 percent of Internet users were North American in 2006, according to Morgan Stanley’s Mary Meeker).

And rather than exuding a get-lucky mentality, participants here seemed to accept that there’s lots of competition and commoditization out there, and that if you build something, it had better deliver real value to users at a low price.

Even Google seems to have gotten this religion, with CEO Eric Schmidt, for example, warning the collected entrepreneurs to ‘never trap an end-user’s data, let them move it around if they want … we’re even going to do this with search data; it will keep us honest.’

And nobody blinked when Chinese Internet kingpin Jack Ma said his company planned to launch a Web-based enterprise software suite. Why wouldn’t he, if he has the developers, the capital, and the local market knowledge?

Everybody here wants to become a platform, to build out their connection with customers into something broader and deeper. 'If you want to be a survivor, you have to go from being a killer app to a killer platform,' said’s Marc Benioff.

‘Why not do it?’ asked CEO Jeff Bezos, summing up the free-for-all attitude as he explained why his company launched a suite of Web services that seemingly have very little to do with its core retail business.

'This is what we've been doing for 11 years, operating Web-scale apps, high volume, high transaction,’ Bezos continued. ‘To me, Web 2.0 is computers talking to computers … this is a great business.’ Hmmm … or could it be that Amazon builds its own IT capacity for the Christmas peak load and has a lot of idle hardware sitting around the rest of the year?

The new new thing this year was the presence of true media bigwigs -- people such as IAC/Interactive’s Barry Diller or The New York Times Co.’s Arthur Sulzberger Jr. Althought their companies already have a significant Web presence (,, Ticketmaster,, and others), you couldn’t help but feel they were here playing catch-up to the latest potential dinosaur killers like YouTube or MySpace. (‘Yes, we got rid of Jeeves, we don’t know where he is,’ confessed Diller, unemotionally, in his best laugh line).

Also, traditional tech companies such as Microsoft, Adobe, and even Intel, who’ve long danced on the Web’s edges were here in force, trying to reinvent and reposition themselves.

Most of the attendees in the audience (when not out in the hallways doing deals) were surfing election results, Techcrunch, or tracking their site’s traffic on Google Analytics. Video seemed to be the app on everyone’s minds.

‘This year something happened,’ proclaimed Google’s Schmidt. ‘Video became a fundamental data type on the Internet.’ Morgan Stanley’s Meeker presented stats showing that as much as 60 percent of Internet traffic may be P2P sharing of ‘unmonetized’ video. And that while the global internet is experiencing 10-15 percent annual user growth, usage growth is in the 20-30 percent range. She pointed to Skype, with 136 Million registered users, growing as much as 80 percent a year. ‘Skype may be the fastest growing product in history,’ she said. (For more of these stats, see Meeker’s full presentation here.)

So who will the winners be?

‘Who’s the dog that’s really wagging the long tail?’ asked conference organizer Tim O’Reilly in the best mixing of metaphors at this year’s event. He’d apparently forgotten the old Web 1.0 saying … on the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog!


Florida e-voting: 18,000 'missing' votes in close race

Florida e-voting: 18,000 'missing' votes in close race: "

(InfoWorld) - Government watchdog group Common Cause has called for an investigation of electronic voting machines used in Florida's 13th congressional district because of 18,000 missing votes.About 18,000 people who cast votes in other races in Tuesday's election failed to record a vote for either candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives. At last count, Republican candidate Vern Buchanan led Democratic candidate Christine Jennings by less than 400 votes in the race to succeed Republican Katherine Harris, who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate.

Nearly 13 percent of voters in Sarasota County picked candidates in other races but did not choose a candidate in the House race. More than 35 callers to Common Cause's voter hotline left messages Tuesday saying the e-voting machines appeared to leave off a vote for Jennings on their summary screens, said Ben Wilcox, executive director of Common Cause Florida. In neighboring Manatee County, just 2 percent of voters did not cast a ballot in the congressional race.

Some voters caught the omission and were able to go back and vote again for Jennings, but others may have missed the problem, Wilcox said.

'Sarasota County election officials must conduct a revote,' Wilcox said. 'The machines should be impounded, audited and tested to determine if voters were unable to cast a ballot and why. Sarasota County voters deserve an explanation.'

Undervoting for top-of-the-ballot races on e-voting machines is typically under 1 percent, according to a study released this year by the Brennan Center for Justice.

The county did not require the Elections System and Software (ES&S) e-voting machines to include paper printouts to back up the electronic vote.

'This is part of the reason we've been calling for a paper trail,' Wilcox said.

Ironically, Sarasota County voters on Tuesday approved a ballot measure requiring paper trail ballots to be used as a backup to the e-voting machines.

Digital newspapers by 2008?

Digital newspapers by 2008?: "Imagine unfurling the morning paper to find a flexible electronic display streaming the latest news. This fantasy could become a reality in as soon as two years. erman Hauser, co-founder of venture capital company Amadeus Capital Partners, told there are no technical challenges left for e-papers and said he hopes to have a factory producing flexible electronic screens by 2008. A technology called "plastic electronics" has been harnessed by researchers to produce flexible electronic displays, combining electronics and print technology on a supple screen.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Apple Unveils New MacBook With Intel Core 2 Duo Processors

Apple Unveils New MacBook With Intel Core 2 Duo Processors: "Apple today unveiled its new line of MacBook consumer notebooks that now include Intel Core 2 Duo processors. Just one inch thin, the new MacBooks are up to 25% faster than the previous generation and feature a built-in iSight video camera, the MagSafe Power Adapter, and iLife ‘06."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Dell expands embrace of AMD chips

Dell expands embrace of AMD chips: "

(InfoWorld) - Dell Inc. plans to launch a desktop for its business customers on Wednesday that is powered by an Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) processor, marking another step in AMD's effort to gain more ground in the server market.

Dell's OptiPlex 740 will offer users the choice of an Athlon 64 or Athlon 64 X2 AMD processor, replacing the Intel Corp. Pentium used in the last generation machine, the OptiPlex 620. Dell also offers a similar product, the OptiPlex 745, with Intel's new 'Conroe' Core 2 Duo chip. Dell declined to comment about the new product until it is released.

This win is important for AMD, which has relied on its growing success in the server market to compete with Intel in recent months. AMD has seen its greatest gains in the server market, where its share more than doubled to 25.9 percent of x86-based servers in the second quarter of 2006, according to Mercury Research.

Dell began selling its first AMD-based servers in October, including the PowerEdge 6950 and SC1435 models. On Tuesday, Gateway Inc. followed suit, announcing it would use AMD's Opteron chip in three new rack-mounted servers, the E-9422R, E-9522R and E-9722.

Despite these wins in the server segment, AMD must also win market share in the desktop and notebook segments to become an equal competitor with Intel. The company has notched wins in the last 12 months by gaining acceptance from Lenovo Group Ltd. and Hewlett-Packard Co. on desktops for corporate customers.

An array of new products from Dell should push AMD closer to its goal. Dell launched its first AMD-powered desktops in September, offering Athlon or Sempron chips in its Dimension E521 and C521. And on Friday,Dell launched its first two notebooks with AMD chips, the Inspiron 1501 and Latitude 131L. Both products offer an AMD Sempron or Turion chip.

Dell's OptiPlex 740 will also make waves in the graphics market, where Nvidia Corp. is claiming victory in one of its first product wins since AMD acquired its rival ATI. Future AMD-powered PCs will probably provide their own graphics processing, since AMD plans to bundle its technology with ATI's. But in the meantime, Nvidia is seeing the results of a campaign to sell more graphics products for commercial enterprise PCs, not just consumer gaming platforms.

The OptiPlex 740 will use Nvidia's nForce core logic package, including networking and storage interfaces as well as pure graphics, said Drew Henry, general manager of Nvidia's media and communications processor business unit. Dell chose nForce because it is a well-defined package, and corporate IT departments demand stability of drivers, software and operating systems in their business desktops, he said.

'Over the past few years, we've been slowly and very quietly moving into the server marketplace, with wins on HP, IBM and Sun,' said Henry. 'And we've been executing a strategy to get specified on more commercial and enterprise products.'

Nvidia already has a stronghold in the workstation graphics sector, and hopes thatMicrosoft Corp.'s Vista OS will push it toward greater success on commercial desktops in 2007, as users are forced to add more powerful graphics processing to handle the 3-D data viewing and translucent 'Aero' windows.

Dell has not yet released price or availability for the Optilex 740, but the PC is expected to be Vista-capable, offer biometric security and support remote IT troubleshooting and power management. Gateway is selling its 1U E-9422R server for US$1,799, its 2U E-9522R server for $1,849 and its 3U E-9722 for an unlisted amount.


(Via InfoWorld.)

Microsoft enters domain name registration game

Is it something that MS Doesn't do? Microsoft enters domain name registration game: "

(Last week, the company was added to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) list of accredited domain name registrars, according to

domain name service provider Dot and Co. This means that Microsoft can now add new top-level domains to the databases used by computers on the Internet.

Microsoft was not immediately able to comment for this story, but the move is probably related to its Office Live product,which is expected to emerge from its beta testing period on Nov. 15, according to Rich Miller, an analyst with Internet research firm Netcraft Ltd.

Microsoft offers free domain name registration to Office Live users and to date the company has been using Melbourne IT Ltd. for this service. By becoming a registrar in its own right, Microsoft could cut costs, Miller said.

Though its status as a registrar makes it possible, Miller does not expect Microsoft to get into a new business selling $7 per year domain name registrations. 'The most sensible approach for them is do what they're doing with Office Live,' he said. 'Use the domain name to establish the relationship and then offer additional services.'

Being a registrar also gives Microsoft better access to the top-level domain databases and could help the company improve its Live Search product, Miller said.

Google Inc. has also become a domain name registrar so that it can quickly determine when domains have changed hands and then adjust their search ranking accordingly, he said.

Microsoft became a registrar on Oct. 31, according to Dot and Co., and is now accredited to register .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, .name and .pro top-level domains.


Xbox Live cues up TV, movie downloads

Xbox Live cues up TV, movie downloads: "New feature appears to be Microsoft's latest attempt to colonize
the living room.Microsoft's Xbox Live service will soon let people download selected television shows and movies, the company said Monday.

The new service is expected to go live on November 22, said Scott Henson, Microsoft's director of platform strategy. The idea is to add the new content--movies like Patriot Games, V for Vendetta and The Matrix, as well as TV shows such as Survivor, South Park and Friends--to existing Xbox Live games."

William "DigitalBill" Douthett -Updated Memorial Service and Submissions

William "DigitalBill" Douthett -Updated Memorial Service and Submissions: "Additional information is being released regarding memorial services for William 'DigitalBill' Douthett. You are invited to participate."

The family has made arrangements to hold a small, private funeral ceremony in Butler, Pennsylvania where Bill's ashes will be laid to rest.

In addition a memorial ceremony will be held on Saturday, October 14th, 2006 at 3:00pm at the Education Facility at John U. Lloyd Beach State Park in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Family and friends will be in attendance, and all of Bill's acquaintances are invited to attend and participate.