Saturday, October 11, 2003

You can make one with your cellphonecam

Reiter's leaks a new service which enables CellPhoneCam users to turn their clicks into post cards! Called SNAP N PRINT, is an easy-to-use program that can be downloaded onto almost all camera phones and let's clickers simply pick the picture he or she wants to send and type in an address and message. The wireless transfer, formatting, printing and mailing are all accomplished by ClearSky Mobile Media.

U.S. Government starting to list WEBSITES as terrorist organizations.

SLASHDOT links to a story about the Justice Department now listing Web Sites as knwon 'Terror' Groups. Under U.S. law, it would be illegal to provide money or other material support to the designated Web sites, the people who run them could be denied U.S. visas and U.S. banks must block their funds. The State Department said it was yet clear how this would work in practice.

Is this national security or squelching free speech on the Net. Probably BOTH. But I don't have a problem with it.

Telemarketers set their sites on Cellphones

In an effort to avoid the provisions of the National Do Not Call Registry, Telemarketers are setting their sites on CELLPHONES. Read more here.

Really evil considering it's on YOUR DIME.

Don't be surprised if the Telemarketers claim that they don't know it's on there because with more people abandoning the land line for portability of a cell phone, there will be no way to distinguish them.

Thankfully, the Do Not Call list is taking numbers again, so log on and get your cell phone on it.

Napster focusing on Windows Media, not MP3

WIRED reports that Napster 2.0 is leaving the world's most popular MP3 player out of the litterbox. Napster 2.0 uses only Windows Media Audio files, not MP3s, and the iPod doesn't support the Windows format. OF COURSE IT DOESN'T!
Why would it?

The workaround is to burn tracks downloaded from Napster 2.0 to a CD and then rip the CD into MP3s. But with iTunes for Windows just around the corner, it probably a moot point.

AOL plans to stream ads in Instant Messenger

Leoville has a story from Instant Messaging Planet about AOL's plans to stream commercials in AOL Instant Messenger. Thank god for Trillian.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Making a film in 3 days is impossible ... it's also cool

It's the the coolest filmmaking competition around. It's called the National Film Challenge. Teams from all around the country are answering the call to write, produce, score, edit and deliver a completed short film in just under 3 days.

The competition begins when organizers send teams a film genre and a list of required elements: prop, character and line of dialogue. The team then hits the ground running - writing, casting, filming, and editing an 8 minute film.
The 10 Best films go on a DVD compilation of the Best of the National Film Challenge 2003, and earn a spot in a prestigious film festival in Austin later in the year.

Regardless, everyone deserves credit for not only answering the challenge, but for accomplishing it. About 15% of the teams won't finish. And of those that do, some of the films may be god aweful. But that isn't the point. Because there is always a few diamonds in the rough that get noticed. And for them, they may get the exposure they've worked all their lives to get.

The Challenge is October 17-20th all around the USA. Teams will get their notes at 7pm on Friday night the 17th, and must have their completed project postmarked by Monday at NOON on the 20th.

I'll be directing mine so stay tuned on how it ends up.

Security firms lists Microsoft email & internet programs in top 20 "vulnerabilities"

According to LEOVILLE, the SANS institute is listing Microsoft Outlook on their list of The Twenty Most Critical Internet Security Vulnerabilities. Other firms are declaring that we should STAY AWAY from Internet Explorer.

Microsoft's response? They're "circling the wagons" with monthly patches unless it's an emergency fix.

FBI Scam is after your Credit Card info ...

from FBI.GOV:

They're sweeping the country: e-mails that pretend to be helping you.

What do they say? They say that debit card information is being stolen on a massive scale. They say you can protect yourself by registering your debit card information with the FBI.

What do they ask you to do? They link you to a site that LOOKS like the FBI website, and they ask you to plug all your personal information into an official looking form... to ensure that "any fraud operations with your account... not be made." Hah.

Don't do it!

This is the oldest new scam in the book. Your information would go straight into the hands of crooks, and their hands would go straight into your bank accounts.

What should you do if you get one of these e-mails? Don't delete it... just yet. Take the time to contact your nearest FBI field office, or file a complaint on the Internet Fraud Complaint Center at It's also a good idea to contact your ISP and let it know about the scam. Okay, now delete it.

Protect yourself. For more information on this scam, related scams with credit cards or social security numbers, and other Internet schemes, look inside at Internet tips and Internet Fraud Schemes.

Register before October 29th and get 5 free downloads

The Kitty will come roaring back on October 29th. But if you register for Napster 2.0 before then (like now) they will give the first 5 downloads FREE. Downloads will then be the traditional Apple model - .99 per song and $9.95 per album.

Anyone have a livejournal account out there? email me.

New anti piracy software actually encourages buying software

NEW SCIENTIST reports that illegal copies of particular computer games are using anti-copying code which causes pirated games to "fade" over time. The pirated games protected by the system work properly at first, but start to fall apart after the player has had just enough time to get hooked. As a result, the pirated discs become a promotional tool that actually encourages people to buy the genuine software!

Bloggers tend to abandon their blogs

According to a recent Perseus survey, two-thirds of all blogs are abandoned shortly after they've begun.

Fear not, ER fans, we're in it for the long haul.

Music Television may start offering download service

The Financial Times reports that MTV may be considering competing with APPLE's ITunes music store and Napster 2.0 by offering downloads of songs on its websites.

Meanwhile, in a disturbing poll that doesn't bode well for the RIAA, a new Harris poll shows 8 in 10 teens think file-sharing should be legal!

The poll goes on to say that a majority are against the RIAA campaign of terror, and only one in ten teens believe that those who illegally offer copyrighted music to file share should be fined.

Those who download music but have never paid for a download say they download because:

* They only like one or two songs on a CD (59%),
* They want to get music quickly (48%),
* They believe that music is too expensive to buy (46%),
* They want to get music for free (44%),
* They want songs that are not available for sale (40%), and
* They believe that music should be shared (38%).

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Leave the modem, take the cannoli

WIRED has a story about how Organized crime syndicates are now using cyberspace to run extortion rackets, child-pornography rings and a host of other operations they are known for.

Seeing that the individual net user can be coopted, the Mob is recruiting technically savvy programmers to concoct fraud schemes against banks, businesses, and individuals.

UPDATE: According to the BBC, Gangs from Romania are stealing MILLIONS from ATM machines using high tech pinhole cameras, card skimmers and other gadgets to obtain personal identification numbers & card details. The low tech method works as well as in many cases they just steal the cards themselves.

Mouse House wants to embrace DVRs and Video on Demand

If you can't beat `em? Sounds like an attitude Mickey would have. Disney has an idea that Piracy can best be curbed by embracing new technologies like Digital Video Recorders and Video On Demand, but to put digital locks on content in order to prevent pirates from benefitting.

Mapquest comes to your cellphone thanks to Verizon

Okay, you're lost. Need a map. How about Mapquest? MobileMag reports that Verizon and Mapquest have gotten together to launch "Vidigo." The service will offer consumers MapQuest maps and directions while on-the-go and is currently only available on Verizon Wireless' Get It Now(SM)-capable phones.

Customers with Verizon Wireless Get It Now-capable phones can download a free demonstration of MapQuest Mobile Powered by Vindigo or pay just $3.99 for monthly access or $2.49 for one-day purchase.

Kaaza has a money plan to curb piracy and file share at the same time

The Post is reporting that file sharing companies have gotten together and offered a plan which will curb piracy and guarantee record companies $900 million per month in Internet music sales.

But is the RIAA buying it? What do you think?

Meanwhile, this label is embracing the idea - and it seems to be working.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Chrysler embraces bluetooth

MOBILEMAG has a story about Chrysler developing a built-in "Bluetooth" wireless network with the help of Sony Ericsson. Drivers will be linked to their cell phones via the car's Bluetooth sub-system, can make and receive calls by voice activation, and hear the conversation through the stereo.

Snapstream introduces PVR for your desktop

Moving a step closer to convergence of TV and Computing, Snapstream offers all the power of digital video recording but without the cost of more hardware or monthly fees.

It also has the built in advantage of being able to convert recorded shows directly to both MPEG 2 and DivX formats, a built-in streaming video server routes live or recorded TV to any computer connected to your home network, or even stream recorded shows to you ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD via across the Internet using a broadband connection! Users can also make changes to recording via the internet.

Good enough for me!

Cost: $64.99, with a free trial here.

On board radiators are here

With chips getting more powerful and speeds getting faster and faster, heat is an obvious problem. And noisy fans are an annoying option. And if you have a laptop? Then aside from these, users don't have much choice.

Until now. WIRED reports that a company has developed a small, onboard water-cooling system for computer chips that functions like a car's radiator.

Using a technology called "Active Micro-Channel Cooling," the system is designed as a thin patch of silicon with dozens of tiny pipes called "microchannels" etched into it. Place a mere millimeter from the surface of the chip, the network of pipes transmits a constant stream of cool water across the surface which will absorb heat from the computer chip to a radiator on the outside of the machine.

What, was it developed by Microsoft?! :D

Yahoo/Reuters has a story about a college student who discovered an obvious flaw in software designed to prevent copying of CDs. You just press the "shift" key!

UPDATE: After publishing a paper on how to defeat the latest copy protection schemes which the record companies spent millions to develop and forgot to disable the shift key, a Princeton student is getting SUED!

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Courts overturn FCC rule regarding Cable ISPs

In a battle of TeleCom giants, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that cable companies must open their high-speed Internet services to rival providers.

The decision - which puts phone companies on an equal footing with Cable - is good for consumers and bad for Cable companies which control over 60% of the broadband marketshare. That translates to lower costs for not only broadband, but for cable service as well.

Big Blue announces a crash proof laptop

A laptop with airbags? Thanks to BIG BLUE, it's true.

Court upholds FTC on on "Do Not Call"

The Washington Post reports that the The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can go forward with its national "do not call" registry while an appeals court considers whether the list violates telemarketers' free speech rights, the U.S. Court of Appeals said Wednesday.

The decision, following on the heals of Congress passing a law in 24 hours giving them the authority, and the FCC claiming that they also have jurisdiction to enforce the registry spells doom for telemarketers.

It's about time the government did something constructive!

Three Companies have broken the 4.7 gig barrier

InfoWorld reports that three companies are showcasing dual-layer DVD-Rs at "Ceatec Japan 2003." That's good news for videophiles who like to make DVDs of home movies, but BAD news for movie companies who fight piracy.

TechTV figured out how.

TechTV has a "how-to" on how to play Gameboy on your CELL PHONE! The emulator is called GOBOY and you can read about here.

Meanwhile, NOKIA announces the NGage, a new cellphone which plays games like a Gameboy!

Games, photos, text messaging ... don't people use their phones for talking anymore?

Monday, October 06, 2003

I'm Returning like a King

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Observe accordingly.

As for e-r:

"Woo-pee! That may have been a small step for Neil, but it's a long one for me!"
- Pete Conrad, Commander Apollo 12 when he first set foot on the moon

Brosnan passes the 007 baton

The Glascow Daily Record is rumoring that James Bond 007 actor Pierce Brosnan is hanging up his Astin Martin and passing the torch to BMW Films Hire CLIVE OWEN.

Granted, it's only a rumor, but Owen's own website not only doesn't deny it, it's posting links to all the other sources for the story.

And if you don't think he has the action chops, check out the BMW Film Series THE HIRE (note - you can get the DVD for free!).

Using Gameboy to Rock the House

MSNBC has an article of the same title about a subculture that uses GameBoys to make music! The concept is called "chiptunes" and uses 8-bit music and 70's era graphics to create a sensation amoungst music lovers.

BLEEP! BLOOP! Thank you, Seattle, we love you!

Convert images to ASCII

Check it out here.

Come on, admit it, you've always wondered

Thanks to LinkFilter - well now we know.

Software can identify you by your typing style

Here's an article about an Israeli software company which had developed an application which can figure out who you are by how you type. It relies on "behaviometric" technology and may one day be part of security systems efforts to prevent hackers from gaining access to computers and sensitive data.

Filesharers create online "speakeasies"

CNN/TECH is reporting that the RIAA campaign of terror may only serve to drive filesharing even further underground, not stop it. As what CNN calls "the jihad" against file-sharers continues, more users are becoming anonymous using encyrption software developed for businesses to protect their corporate secrets on the Net.

And more advanced file-sharing software, like the up and coming "Blubster," will also allow users to hide their identities as it will encrypt files before they are transferred and decrypts them for the file-sharer.

So, some predicted, even though file sharing is reportedly dropped by over 40% because of the RIAA campaign, that may be because they aren't going away, they're just going underground.

They aren't doing enough for the pirate senator from Utah

Reuters is reporting that Senator Orin Hatch (R- Utah) is warning hi-tech companies that they aren't doing enough to stem the tide in illegal file-sharing and it could leave them open to legal liability.

Hatch, who receives and average of over $150,000 a year from the TV/Movie/Music industrial complex, has been an advoate against filesharing though it was discovered that his website used a pirated copy of JAVA.

GPS Watches and Cell Phones are all the rage

In Australia, Spying on your teens via satellite is all the rage. And it's causing rage amoungst privacy advocates.

For $600 USD, tracking units to monitor children and teenagers - disguised as watches, mobile phones and belts - have hit Australia and are being gobbled up by parents wanting to keep tabs on their kids.

As a parent, this is a cool thing. But let's face it, kids aren't stupid. If they thing that watch is bugged, they'll conveniently lose it, folks.