Videora | Broadcatching | Catching up soon

December 16, 2005

Broadcatching combines RSS and BitTorrent to create a content delivery system. Presenting Videora. Its like the ‘season pass’ feature of the “TiVo.”

“…because BitTorrent does cryptographic hashing of all data, subscribers to the feed can be sure they’re getting what they think they’re getting, whether that winds up being the latest Sopranos episode, or the latest Sveasoft firmware upgrade. (Naturally, however, ensuring that the same data reaches all nodes neglects the possibility that the original, source file may be corrupted or incorrectly labeled.)”

Advertisements

VistaDB : Embedded SQL Database Alternative for .Net Released

November 7, 2005

VistaDB 2.1 database for .NET has been released!

VistaDB is a small-footprint, embedded SQL database alternative to Jet/Access, MSDE and SQL Server Express 2005 that enables developers to build .NET 1.1 and .NET 2.0 applications.

VistaDB features SQL-92 support, small 500KB embedded footprint, free 2-User VistaDB Server for remote TCP/IP data access, royalty free distribution for both embedded and server, Copy ‘n Go! deployment, managed ADO.NET Provider, data management and data migration tools.

This 2.1 update includes over 60 improvements, including new support for .NET 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005.

I’ve used VistaDB in some of my applications, and I must say it works as advertised. The 500kb footprint is a boon for desktop application deployment.

Here’s the free download trial link. Try it out yourself!

Peer-To-Peer Document Security Solution

June 24, 2005

(World’s First) Peer-To-Peer Document Security Solution

Essential Security Software has released public beta of Essential Taceo – the world’s first peer-to-peer content security solution designed to meet the security needs of small businesses. Taceo is a powerful, easy-to-use document security solution that enables small business users and individuals to securely distribute sensitive email messages and documents while protecting the privacy, integrity and authenticity of the content.

Existing and pending legislation such as Sarbanes-Oxley, Gramm Leach Bliley Act, HIPAA, and California Senate Bill 1386 require that firms dealing with personal, financial or medical information implement proper safeguards such as those provided by Essential Taceo. “Security should be a top concern for any small business who wants to prevent information loss,” said Steven Guggenheimer, vice president of small business for the Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partner Group at Microsoft. “We are excited that Essential Taceo is offering small business customers an option to support them while using their existing Microsoft Office and Windows XP environments.”

“Essential Taceo was designed from the ground up with the needs of small and medium size business users in mind,” said Ray Zambroski, president and CEO, Essential Security Software. “We’re very pleased to deliver the world’s first peer-to-peer content protection solution providing unprecedented security, privacy and enhanced productivity to our customers.”

Taceo gives content authors the power to enable rights management controls that determine how the recipient may use their content. For example, Taceo senders can prevent sensitive email and documents from being edited, printed, copied or opened by an unwanted third party.

Taceo includes strong encryption and powerful rights management controls. Not only is content protected while in storage or transit, but also after it has arrived on the authorized recipient’s desktop.

Essential Taceo integrates with popular Microsoft products, giving users the power to exchange information securely without disrupting workflow. Peer-to-peer architecture eliminates the need for costly server licenses and facilities the delivery of secure content beyond the firewall. Persistent security controls travel with content regardless of where it is distributed or how it is stored.

Essential Security Software (ESS) delivers business tools that enable small business owners and individuals to securely distribute sensitive e-mail messages and documents while protecting the privacy, integrity and authenticity of the content.

Founded in September 2003 and headquartered in Bellevue, Wash., ESS believes that people have the right to security technology that is powerful, effective, flexible and easy to use. ESS provides robust software security solutions that enrich people’s lives by leveraging the full power of computing technologies.

More information is available at http://www.essentialsecurity.com.

Enter Avalanche: P2P filesharing from Microsoft

June 17, 2005

Enter Avalanche: P2P filesharing from Microsoft

Researchers at Microsoft’s computer science lab in Cambridge have developed a peer-to-peer filesharing system that they say overcomes the scheduling problems associated with existing distribution protocols such as Bit Torrent.

The researchers claim download times are between 20-30 per cent faster, using their network coding approach, than on systems that only code at the server, and between 200 and 300 per cent faster than distributing un-encoded information.

Naturally, Microsoft is very keen to stress that this technology should be used for distributing legitimate content. It even put that in italics in the press material.

http://www.research.microsoft.com/~pablo/papers/nc_contentdist.pdf

Overpeer acquires important Anti-Piracy Patent

June 16, 2005

Overpeer Acquires Patent from the University of Tulsa Covering Anti-Piracy on Peer-to-Peer Networks

http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/050608/sfw030.html?.v=15

Overpeer, Inc., an also ran in business-to-business digital media solutions has acquired U.S. Patent No. 6,732,180 from the University of Tulsa. The patent defines a system for closely imitating digital media files on peer-to-peer networks. The technology covered by this patent can impair the ability of peer-to-peer users from illegitimately acquiring copyrighted files.

/Quote

P2P and copyright infringment go together, atleast for now. While p2p is all about freedom et al, there’s another side to it — the virually unstoppable force of the network. So how would this “anti p2p technology” work, I wonder.

Wild guesses work. Let me try some.

Ok, we know that every file (in pure layman’ish way) has a unique signature – a Hash. The MD5 and SHA-1 algorithms are two popular but compromised algorithms for generating cryptographic hash functions; the SHA-2 algorithm has no known compromises.

P2P networks (like the popular bit-torrent) work on a principal based on hash. Typically, to share a file using BitTorrent, a user creates a .torrent file, a small “pointer” file which contains:

  • the filename, size, and the hash of each block in the file (which allows users to make sure they are downloading the real thing)
  • the address of a “tracker” server (which is discussed below)
  • and some other data.

Now this Hash serves as a reference checking tool whereby the downloader manages ditributed file transfer and check whether portions recieved are complete and authentic (you might recieve incomplete portions, in which case the signature — hash — won’t match). And here lies an important key to tap the whole transaction. If you know the file signature, you know which files are being transferred and how.

So if ‘Star Wars’ is being illegally downloaded and distributed over a network, one can ‘sniff’ the traffic to know which portions are being downloaded and by whom — the end points. And, possibly, stop the transaction (Difficult, but possible)

Just a wild guess folks. Drop in an email to shashark.at.gmail.dot.com if you have other thoughts on the same. I’m curious.

Where is Huminity ?

June 15, 2005

Huminity, a p2p based Chat cum Social Networking Client came with a bang in December last year. It was even covered in slashdot. Slashdot called it the technology of the year. Though the huminity site was worse then a newbie code, I really liked the app.

Then, it disappeared. So where is Huminity, now ?

Read this, and you’ll be surprised:


http://www.globes.co.il/serveen/globes/docview.asp?did=737641&fid=942

Social networking software co Huminity raises $2-4m Huminity’s product combines instant messaging and chat technologies enabling users to share their personal contact systems.

Sources inform “Globes” that Israeli start-up Huminity has raised $2-4 million, at a company value of $10 million, after money, in its first financing round. Sources close to the company said a leading Israeli venture capital fund, a US fund, and the CEO of one of the world’s largest Internet companies participated in the round, which is close to completion. Huminity cofounders Oren Rossen and Nir Ben-Halevy declined to disclose details about the round.

Rossen and Ben-Halevy are Humity’s only employees. Rossen was a former high-tech analyst at Investec Israel (TASE: INSI), and Ben-Halevy directed the high-tech team at Deloitte and Touche – Brightman Almagor. They founded Huminity a year ago. Huminity’s product combines instant messaging and chat technologies enabling users to share their personal contact systems.

“It took a while to find the right direction for a product that offers what “Newsweek” calls the technology of 2003 – social networking,” said Rossen. He said it was clearly impossible to raise money for a company developing Internet tools at this time. “The funds wanted to see revenue flows and growth, and we quickly realized that it would be impossible to raise money from them. We therefore decided to change our strategy.”

Huminity, which develops Internet-based software tools to manage personal and professional networks, launched its first financing round when it had a working product with 400,000 customers worldwide. In recent months, the two entrepreneurs made progress on developing the software, which uses extremely low-cost open code. Rossen said theyhad personally invested $30,000 by the time they launched the first version. He added that the company’s cash burn rate was $3,500 a month.


So, is Huminity back in stealth mode as a part of larger strategy ?

Looks like. Good Luck, Huminity!

Laplink releases Instant Networking p2p Appliction

June 15, 2005

There was Groove. Now there’s Laplink. Here’s official Media Release

The latest version of ShareDirect, an instant networking application based on peer-to-peer architecture, was released by Laplink today. ShareDirect 1.3 allows users to connect folders between any number of PCs and share files of any size or type directly.

ShareDirect enables secure, private folder-to-folder file sharing connections across an Internet connection and through existing firewall and router configurations.

Laplink’s ShareDirect needs no special configuration in order to share files between PCs. The files are shared between authenticated members only, meaning that no unauthorized or anonymous individuals can access files. The platform uses 256-bit encryption on all data transmissions, keeping files secure and private, and provides built-in anti-virus checking for all downloaded files.

“Email is an easy way to send files, but it’s not secure, and you can’t always send large files that way,” explained Carol Hughes, President, Tax Planning Centre, Ltd., which uses ShareDirect to share tax files between their head office and franchise locations. Hughes continued, “Other options required costly servers or a complicated set-up or management. ShareDirect gives us an easy-to-use, cost-effective way of sharing sensitive files of any size or type while maintaining high standards of security.”

In recent months, the credibility of peer-to-peer technology for enterprise and professional use received a significant boost when Microsoft acquired Ray Ozzie’s Groove Networks, a suite of “virtual office” features built on peer-to-peer architecture. Following this acquisition, Microsoft made the decision to invest in and license certain technologies from Laplink.

This latest version of Laplink ShareDirect streamlines usability and brings the supported languages to five – English, German, French, Italian, and Spanish.

ShareDirect costs less than $4 per month, based on an annual subscription of less than $40. A 15-day free trial is available.

Sharedirect is a nice little program very similar to gotomypc and Groove. Laplink’s investor’s include Microsoft.

Google Acquisitions Part II

June 15, 2005

Also on slashdot | Original Link

From http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2005/6/12/143721/743

Google Might Gobble

Technorati – If Google is the average person’s homepage, Technorati is the homepage of the underground, tech-savvy web user. Technorati is a blog portal whose average visitor enjoys podcasts, Wikipedia, and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Providing more cutting edge results than a normal search engine, Technorati would integrate well with Google News and/or Blogger, and could perhaps feature blogs on the Google Personalized Homepage. Technorati is somewhat similar to Bloglines, which was purchased by Ask Jeeves recently.

BuzznetYahoo! beat Google to the punch by acquiring Flickr, one of my candidates in the first draft of this article. Like Flickr, Buzznet is a photo hosting and sharing service that features unique tagging features. It is possible to browse by tag and see all sorts of interesting stuff. Buzznet would probably jibe with Picasa’s Hello photo posting service, perhaps include some sort of photo-Blogger, and integrate well with Orkut.

Koders – Koders is a search engine for open source code that works remarkably well. With the recent push for plugins for Google Desktop search, Koders would be an interesting addition to Google’s software initiatives. It would make sense to combine with Google Code and Google Linux Search in some way.

GuruNet (Answers.com) – Recently, Google stopped linking to definitions on Dictionary.com, and started linking to Answers.com instead. Answers features a wealth of information about different topics, and uses Wikipedia for much of it. Since Wikipedia’s non-profit status rules it out as a potential Google acquisition, Answers.com would be the next best thing. It also would help improve Google Q&A quite a bit. Interestingly, GuruNet is a publicly traded company (AMEX: GRU) with a market cap of about $100 million.

del.icio.us – This social bookmarking and tagging application could be used to improve Google search results, and perhaps integrate with Orkut in some way. Were Google to buy Buzznet as suggested above, this would work well with it.

StumbleUpon – This unique browser plugin and service would probably improve Google results and add a new level to the venerable search engine. It would probably combine with the Google Toolbar in some fashion, since the two have some similar functions.

Propel – Similar to Google Web Accelerator, Propel claims to speed up your browsing experience. The company is run by optical mouse inventor Steven T. Kirsch, who is no stranger to buyouts: his Frame Technology Corp. was purchased by Adobe, and his Infoseek was bought by Disney. This could help Google out with Web Accelerator, which it has been having trouble with.

From Left Field
Here are some companies you probably haven’t heard of, and some companies you know very well that fit in less well with the Google plan. It is not too likely that any of these will be bought by Google, but keep in mind, most of Google’s past acquisitions have been unexpected.

Audioscrobbler/Last.fm – So far, Google hasn’t made any inroads into the music industry. However, these sites together form an interesting, Google-ish service that uses algorithms reminiscent of PageRank to calculate the top artists and similar info.

TiVo – TiVo is a little too big and a little too well-known to be bought by Google. Also, Google’s experience with hardware is limited to Google Search Appliances and similar. But, TiVo would work well with Google Video. TiVo seems to fit better with Apple Computer‘s media plans than it does with Google’s geek mentality, though.

Icosystem – This swarm intelligence company might be useful for radical new spidering algorithms or some new form of PageRank. It’s only peripherally Google-ish, though.

Monster – Monster is the most popular job search site. Some bloggers have tossed this idea around, touting various forms of integration with other Google services. They also mention that Yahoo! owns HotJobs. However, one wonders whether Google is interested in this market at all.

Coral – This caching service would probably be interesting and useful for Google’s own cache. However, it is run by NYU, so it’s not a commercial company, and may not be up for grabs.

The Open Directory Project – The definitive web directory has long been partnered with Google for the Google Directory. But the Google Directory hasn’t been updated in a very long time, and it still sports the old tabbed Google design, which lacks links to Froogle and Google Local. Although the ODP is owned by Netscape, Google should have sufficient cash to acquire it since the IPO.

Stayhealthy/Fitness Expert – This online health company doesn’t offer content a la WebMD, instead providing health and fitness hardware, self-test kits, and a kiosk joint-ventured with IBM. The hardware interface is web-based. As with TiVo, Google’s limited hardware experience may be a problem, and one wonders whether Google is interested in the health and fitness space.

World66 – World66 could be Google’s answer to Yahoo! Travel, with some work. Its Wiki style, however, might be too wild for Google’s liking.

My Way – This image ad and popup-free page is very Google-like. However, it’s redundant to existing Google offerings, and these days having no popups isn’t as big a deal as it was 3 years ago. It might compete with Yahoo!’s portal, though.

Google Acquisitions Part I

June 15, 2005

This is an interesting article on Google and how it grew in size:

Companies Google Gobbled

Deja News (Google Groups) – This web-based Usenet archive started life in 1995. Between 1999 and 2000, Deja overexpanded into a comparison shopping portal. Losing money, Deja sold the shopping component to eBay in late 2000, and it became part of Half.com. In February 2001, the big G entered the game and snatched up the Usenet archives, reintroducing them as Google Groups and extending them back to 1981 with the help of private collections. Today, Google Groups features Deja’s Usenet, mailing lists, and Yahoo! Groups-esque features with a Gmail-like interface.

Outride – Outride, Inc. was an information retrieval spin-off from Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Google acquired certain technology assets in September 2001 and quickly integrated them into its search engine. Outride.net currently forwards to Google.

Applied Semantics – Google bought up this contextual advertising company in April 2003 and used it for its AdSense/AdWords services, allowing it to compete with Yahoo!‘s Overture.

Kaltix – This 3-person personalized search startup company was quickly picked up by Google in September 2003. Kaltix formed the foundation of Google Personalized Search. Kaltix.com currently forwards to Google.

Blogger – Blogger was the flagship product of Pyra Labs. For a long time, Blogger was free of fees and ads, but it wasn’t making money. After the original capital for Pyra dried up, a number of employees resigned, including the co-founder. In an effort to become profitable, Pyra introduced the ad-powered Blogspot hosting and the pay Blogger Pro service. It wasn’t quite enough, and Pyra needed more resources, so Google stepped in during 2003. Blogger was redesigned by professional web designers in May 2004, and is now one of the most-used blogging tools.

Picasa – Picasa, a $30 photo organizer program, was first released in October 2001. In May 2004, Picasa announced integration with the Google-owned Blogger, and in July 2004, Google bought the company. Soon, Picasa was free, and it featured Google trademarks like an “I’m Feeling Lucky” button. The software routinely wins awards from leading PC publications.

Keyhole – Keyhole is a digital mapping company founded in 2001. Presumably to cut out the middleman for the not-yet-released Google Maps, Google bought them in October 2004. Since then, there has been an immediate price reduction for the Keyhole software (from $69.95 to $29.95), and integrated satellite photos in Google Maps.

Zipdash – Google acquired this traffic/mapping company in 2004 and put it to work in Google Maps. Although the acquisition was not publicized, Zipdash is mentioned in Google’s 2004 annual report.

Where2 – This Australian mapping company was also mentioned in the 2004 annual report, but not much is known about it. It also had something to do with Google Maps.

Urchin – In March 2005, Google acquired Urchin, a web analytics and statistics company. Though we haven’t yet seen what they’re up to with it, it will probably be used with AdWords/AdSense, with statistics about clickthroughs and such.

Dodgeball – Google acquired this two-person cell phone social networking company in May 2005. The company was looking for investors, and Google apparently fit the bill. So far, nothing has happened with this company, but it will probably have something to do with Google Mobile.

P2P – The Sharing Economy

June 14, 2005

The Sharing Economy

Yale law professor Yochai Benkler points to Google and Skype as examples of a new, Info Age market structure, based on peer production

Open-source software, song sharing, the volunteer-written online encyclopedia Wikipedia, and other activities, he contends, require neither traditional corporate oversight nor monetary incentives to create real value. And that’s likely to both threaten some existing companies and create entirely new ones, as it has with search engine Google (GOOG ) and Skype Technologies, a provider of free Internet phone service.

Benkler recently spoke with Robert D. Hof, BusinessWeek‘s Silicon Valley bureau chief, about how peer production works and what it will mean for corporations and the economy. Edited excerpts of their conversation follow:

Q: How did you conceive the notion of peer production from such seemingly disparate activities?
A:
I had been looking at commons-based behaviors in unlicensed radio spectrum and in intellectual property, and their important role in innovation. I was uncomfortable with the notion that this was purely a phenomenon of software or musicians. That doesn’t explain Wikipedia. That doesn’t really explain Slashdot [the peer-written and -reviewed tech news site]. That doesn’t explain why Google was so phenomenally successful.

Q: What qualities do those things have in common?
A:
[They show that] the economic role of social behavior is increasing. It used to be that if you said, “Here, this is interesting, why don’t you read this?” it was primarily social. When you take the exact same behavior and plug it into Google’s Page Rank algorithm, you actually get a discrete economic output that increases welfare in the economy overall — even though you continue to have a certain social interaction there as well.

Q: Why is peer production happening now, and what technologies are enabling it?
A:
With the steam engine, the archetype of the Industrial Revolution, we moved to industries where the physical capital was relatively concentrated. You had to have financial capital in order to enable effective collaboration between individuals.

What we’re seeing now is cheap processors, which put computation on our desktops and in our laps, cheap storage, and ubiquitous communications. It’s this combination of a low-cost personal computer and the Internet…that allows this aggregation of behavior. Things that would normally just dissipate in the air as social gestures come to have some persistence as economic products. This departs radically from everything we’ve seen since the Industrial Revolution.

Q: How is the combination of these technologies turning that behavior into something economically valuable?
A:
You can build platforms and tools that assume that what you’re doing is facilitating sharing — as opposed to producing a finished product to a consumer. Look at Skype. It has built a platform that allows us to share our PCs’ excess capacity to produce connectivity. No one has built a network for Skype — all the million or 2 million people online are contributing resources. There’s no commercial transaction between us.

Just imagine trying to build a global voice-over-IP [VoIP] network. The cost would be unimaginable. The costs are unimaginable, except they’re borne by a million or 2 million different people instead of by a company. It hasn’t become less capital-intensive. The way in which it’s financed has changed. It’s user-capitalized networks.

Q: Does peer production challenge the market system as a whole?
A:
I don’t see a risk of that. At the end of the day, people have to put food on the table, and food won’t be produced in this way. Cars won’t be produced in this way. Buildings won’t be produced in this way. Even novels won’t be produced in this way.

There’s a subcategory of things that can be produced in relatively fine-grained, modular units that are amenable to this production. It so happens that a lot of the most valuable products of the Information Economy can be produced this way: software, most information, most knowledge, a lot of computation, a lot of storage, a lot of connectivity. And that’s quite significant. But it’s not a threat to business as a broad category.

Q: Still, it sounds like peer production could be pretty disruptive to many existing businesses, since they exist largely to marshal people to produce things under one roof.
A:
It’s going to create a pressure for a lot of companies in this space to see how they coexist in this new ecology and how they take advantage of the productive energies and capabilities of this new player.

If you’re in the business of making readymade barns, then a sudden influx of people doing barn-raising will kill your business. But if you’re in the business of planks, hammers, trucking, it’s actually not that bad at all. Or take the car and the horse-drawn carriage. There was a whole industry eliminated. But what about asphalt producers? What about suburban builders?

Q: What business models are emerging that leverage peer production?
A:
The first is surfing, like Google surfs the collective judgments of lots and lots of people, or like IBM (IBM) surfs on Linux. The second is essentially toolmaking, like Second Life, a multiplayer online game environment, where 99% or so of the objects in the same have been produced by the users. Skype has another business model. It’s built on untapped capacity in the economy, but it sells other things that allow us to connect into the public switched telephone network.

Q: Where might peer production go from here?
A:
There’s a possibility of using some of these insights for building distributed backup systems for data, like peer-to-peer networks. The basic idea is that these are fault-resistant backup systems. You could imagine banks having some kind of relationship with people who have accounts to create these kinds of distributed backup systems.

You could begin to imagine local governments using mesh networks built on top of Wi-Fi or next-generation wireless networks, to create robust emergency communications infrastructures. Connectivity in the last mile is co-produced by people basically handing messages that their neighbors are sending.

Q: Why is a law professor diving so deep into economics?
A:
When you’re looking at an area of radical technological, economic, and social transformation, we need to know what’s happening in the social and economic domain, why it’s happening in technological terms, and what are the technological possibilities. Only then can we understand that if we pressure this point with law or pressure that point with law, things will change in a way that is attractive or unattractive.

Q: What has been the reaction of traditional economists to your ideas?
A:
I’ve found myself treated with a reasonable amount of respect among the people interested in open-source software. But it’s an uncomfortable shoe for economists. Business-school economists, more than economics department economists, are interested in this. And more specifically, businesses are interested in this.

Oracle Buys TimesTen

June 14, 2005

TimesTen, Inc. accepts Oracle’s offer

Oracle and TimesTen, Inc., a privately held supplier of real-time data management software, today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement whereby Oracle will acquire TimesTen. The parties anticipate closing the transaction by the end of July 2005, subject to certain regulatory approvals and other customary conditions.

TimesTen provides infrastructure software for managing events, transactions and data for a growing number of performance-critical applications in telecom, networking, securities trading and other industries. Systems powered by TimesTen today include real-time billing, stock trading, call centers, airline operations and many other ultra high-performance applications.

Dropout and Startup !

June 14, 2005

Live, Jobs Tells Stanford Grads

Steve Jobs told Stanford University graduates Sunday that dropping out of college was one of the best decisions he ever made because it forced him to be innovative — even when it came to finding enough money for dinner.

In an unusually candid commencement speech, Apple Computer’s CEO also told the almost 5,000 graduates that his bout with a rare form of pancreatic cancer reemphasized the need to live each day to the fullest.

“Your time is limited so don’t let it be wasted living someone else’s life,” Jobs said to a packed stadium of graduates, alumni and family.

Jobs, wearing sandals and jeans under his robe, was treated like a rock star by the students, in large part due to the surge in popularity of Apple’s iPod digital music player.

A group of students wore iPod mini costumes over their robes and several shouted, “Steve, hire me!”

Jobs, 50, said he attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon but dropped out after only eight months because it was too expensive for his working-class family. He said his real education started when he “dropped in” on whatever classes interested him — including calligraphy.

Jobs said he lived off 5-cent soda recycling deposits and free food offered by Hare Krishnas while taking classes.

He told the graduates that few friends could see the value of learning calligraphy at the time but that painstaking attention to detail — including mastering different “fonts” — was what set Macintosh apart from its competitors.

“If I had never dropped out I might never have dropped in on that calligraphy,” Jobs said.

Jobs also recounted founding Apple in his parent’s basement and his tough times after being forced out of the company he founded when he was only 30.

“I was a very public failure and I even thought about running away from the valley,” Jobs said.

Instead, he founded Pixar Studios, which has released enormously popular films such as Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc.

“It was awful tasting medicine but I guess the patient needed it,” Jobs said.

When he was diagnosed with cancer, Jobs said his doctor told him he only had three-to-six months to live. He later found out he had a rare, treatable form of the disease — but he still learned a tough lesson.

“Remembering you are going to die is the best way to avoid the fear that you have something to lose,” he said.

Before the ceremony, a plane rented by the Computer TakeBack Campaign, an environmental group, flew over the stadium with a banner that read: “Steve, don’t be a mini player — recycle all e-waste.” The group is prodding Apple to improve its efforts to recycle obsolete electronics.

Also Covered at Slashdot | More About Steve Jobs | Official Steve Jobs Page | About Imac and Apple

Yahoo Launching PhotoMail

June 11, 2005

Why they ever bought Flickr ?

Yahoo Inc. is introducing a test version of a new service called PhotoMail that lets users insert up to 300 digital photographs into the body of an e-mail and store an unlimited numbers of photos on the Web and media company’s computers.

Yahoo’s PhotoMail is the first such service to integrate and simplify its e-mail offering, its online photo storage and editing service and its image search function of more than 1.5 billion images, Spillane said, noting that senders simply drag and drop images that are stored anywhere on the computer’s hard disk drive.

RealNetworks to Acquire Listen.com

April 23, 2005

RealNetworks to Acquire Listen.com

RealNetworks, Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Listen.com, Inc. in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $36 million (wow!). With this acquisition, RealNetworks will own two Internet subscription content services, the RealOne SuperPass, which offers news, sports, and entertainment programming, and the RHAPSODY music service. Listen.com’s RHAPSODY subscription service, music and artist information, and radio service will be important assets in building the music offerings of RealNetworks’ RealOne subscription service. In addition, Listen.com’s distribution arrangements and technology partnerships with broadband cable and DSL providers, online music sites, computer manufacturers and consumer electronics companies will enhance the reach of RealNetworks’ subscription offerings. Listen.com has distribution agreements with a network of more than 15 companies, including Time Warner Cable’s Road Runner high-speed ISP, Charter Communications, Verizon Online, Sprint, Cablevision Systems Corporation’s Optimum Online, Gateway, Lycos, RCN Corporation, and Sony’s Musiclub.

Skypecasting – P2P File Sharing

April 11, 2005

Crossposted from Slashdot

shashark writes “Technologically savvy users are merging these technologies to “Skypecast“, using Skype’s service to distribute recordings across the internet for free. This allows expert users to run their own mini-radio stations, which can be accessed by any Skype user. Skype does not actively support these uses, but encourages its users to find new applications for their service. Other possibilities discussed by Skypecasters at Unbound Spiral or Moodle are to turn an MP3 player into a radio station for any of Skype’s 29 million registered users to dial up using their Skype line. Instructions also are available on how to record a personal soap opera and use Skype to distribute it en masse. Even more ominously, some Skypecasters record Skype calls and post them on the Internet.”

Yahoo to acquire Six Apart?

January 18, 2005

Yahoo to acquire Six Apart?

Six Apart, the owner of hosted blogging service TypePad and publisher of blogging software Movable Type, just acquired LiveJournal. Within six months Six Apart itself will be acquired by Yahoo!. Or so claims this blog.

A New Passage to India – Knowledge@Wharton

January 13, 2005
Knowledge @ Wharton writes

New Passage to India
In the past, western publications described fast-growing Asian economies as the “Asian tigers,” and India as the “caged tiger.” What they were referring to was the fact that steel-hard barriers of regulations and controls fettered Indian businesses and the economy and prevented them from achieving their full potential. These days, though, following years of deregulation and economic liberalization, India increasingly is viewed as a fast-growing economy that is being transformed by globalization, much like China, into a powerhouse. In other words, the Indian tiger has finally escaped its cage and is on the prowl for new opportunities. This exploration formed the theme of several sessions at the recent Wharton India Economic Forum held in
Philadelphia. In this special section on India, Knowledge@Wharton focuses on three key sectors of India’s transformation: macroeconomic growth, health care, and financial services.
Taking India’s Pulse: The State of Health Care
India is now one of the world’s largest producers of generic drugs and vaccines. Companies like Ranbaxy and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories are becoming well known around the world. But interest is growing in the health care industry’s domestic agenda. How India plans to leverage its reputation on the global pharmaceutical stage to address the needs of its own people was the focus of a panel and keynote address at the Wharton India Economic in Philadelphia.
To Grow Faster, India Must Unshackle Industries from Government Controls
The Indian economy could be growing at double-digit rates, but for that to happen, local politicians and bureaucrats must work to cut away red tape and privatize inefficient government-run firms, according to experts who spoke recently at the Wharton India Economic Forum in Philadelphia.
Investing in India: On the Ground Floor, Going Up?
Overseas investors have often viewed India as a risky bet, a perception shaped by the country’s on-again, off-again commitment to building infrastructure, financial markets that are often beset by scandals, and a legacy of protection against imports. Now, however, that perception is changing, according to participants in the Wharton India Economic Forum. Interest in sectors such as manufacturing and real estate is rising rapidly.

Tide of Grief

January 12, 2005

The Earth shrugged, and more than 140,000 died. Millions lost their loving ones, homes, work — everything.

Find useful links below that provide more information on Tsunami, and how you can contribute your 2 cents. Please do contribute generously — your money can buy a few smiles.

Information

Donations

“e-learning big for India”: Yet Another Hyper-Prediction

December 25, 2004

CIOL : News : “e-learning big for India”

“e-learning big for India”
With e-learning market valued at $28 billion by 2008, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu global director Nick van Dam sees a major opportunity for India.
Nanda Kasabe
Friday, December 24, 2004

CHENNAI: The $16.4 billion Deloitte, delivering audit, tax, consulting and financial advisory services worldwide and serving more than one-half of the world’s largest companies is scaling operations in India.

Chief global learning officer for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and global director in Deloitte’s change learning and leadership practice, Nick van Dam believes that there would be exponential growth in e-learning by the year 2008, which presents a major opportunity for India.

Nick van Dam was in Pune to meet the company’s partner Maximize Learning and create awareness about e-Learning.

How would you define e-learning? Do you see e-learning playing a significant role in the enterprise?

I would term e-learning as net-enabled learning targeted to achieve business goals. The enterprise is a significant user of e-learning as a tool since it is faster, better and cheaper. Companies spend millions of dollars on training and e-learning reduces the overall training costs by 30 percent to 40 percent. It also reduces training time by as much as 50 percent on the same subject and decreases time-to-market of new skills globally. More courseware is available at significantly less costs. It has been noticed there is a 25 percent to 50 percent higher retention of knowledge due to e-learning.

How would you describe the current landscape in the e-learning market? What kind of trends do you foresee in the industry?

e-learning as a solution did not exist before 1996. The term itself took root after 1997. By the year 1999, the global e-learning market touched $ 1.7 billion. Currently, it stands at $ 6.5 billion and IDC has predicted that market is likely to witness an exponential growth and touch the $ 28 billion mark by 2008. I firmly believe e-learning simulations are the next big thing in learning.
Over 50 percent of enterprises will be using e-learning simulations to teach vital skills to their sales and customer support professionals by 2006. Our partner in India Maximize is already doing some work in this area for Deloitte. Simulation-based learning is second nature to the new generation brought up on a diet of play stations, videogames and multimedia.

What is likely to be the driving force behind any decision to outsource?

According to IBM/ASTD Learning Outsourcing Survey 2004, over 75 percent of organizations surveyed are expected to outsource e-Learning in the future. Over 67 percent organizations are looking to reduce operating costs and another 46 percent lack the internal capability. Around 43 percent organizations do have access to the best practices and talent and the improvement of quality and consistency of content is a major issue with 22 percent organizations. Therefore, outsourcing offers a wonderful option to such companies.

What kind of a role do you see India playing in the e-learning market?

India boasts of a huge highly educated workforce. It already has experience in technology and BPO support and is becoming home to a number of Fortune companies. India also has exposure in e-learning development and could do well to capitalize on these strengths. India stands a chance to seize a big portion of the $ 28 billion pie that e-learning will become by 2008.

What kind of growth plans does the company have for India and what kind of role will e-learning play in this expansion?

We currently have a team of 1,700 professionals in Hyderabad. There are plans to take on 6,000 new people in the next 24 months. We are pleased with the quality of work in India and many of our clients are spending in India. Therefore, we need a workforce that is educated and understands the need of technology.
The 6,000 odd people that will be taken on will require orientation programs, compliance programs and an understanding of the needs of business process. India will be a significant user of e-learning. The Hyderabad facility will be the largest outside of USA to offer support functions as development, helpdesk, research and a broad range of services for Deloitte clients worldwide. The US team is the largest with 30,000 people on board.

Most Pointless Searches. World-Wide-Scum.

December 22, 2004

See most recent pointless search requests here.

Someone please put up a page for this ‘Delhi Public’ Pic(sic!). She is a celebrity, for sure.

On second thought, its ironic. The more media mentions this case, the more people you have going crazy about the pic. We live in sick times.

He’s Out!

December 21, 2004

Followup to Release the CEO of eBay India (Baazee) – a travesty of cyber-law and e-commerce Petition

HC grants bail to bazee.com CEO- The Times of India

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday granted bail to baazee.com CEO Avnish Bajaj in the MMS sex-clip case.

Thunderbird – Reclaim Your Inbox

December 21, 2004

Thunderbird – Rocks!

Thunderbird makes emailing safer, faster, and easier than ever before with the industry’s best implementations of features such as intelligent spam filters, built-in RSS reader, quick search, and much more.

Full Five Stars. *****

Download Thunderbird Now.

Spot the blog in firefox

December 21, 2004

New york times ad gets noticed

Spot my blog here

(Press Ctrl + f -> “shashark”)

Release the CEO of eBay India (Baazee) – a travesty of cyber-law and e-commerce Petition

December 20, 2004

Release the CEO of eBay India (Baazee) – a travesty of cyber-law and e-commerce Petition

This petition seeks your support to

1. ask for the immediate release of the CEO of eBay India / Baazee.com
2. ask for the Government to clarify its stand on the legality of e-commerce in India without ink-on-paper signatures
3. ask for the governemnt to immediately change the Information Technology Act to afford the accused the same level of protection (innocent till proven guilty) as the rest of regular law does

In case you agree, please do sign the petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/baazee/petition.html

Full Text Follows (from http://www.petitiononline.com/baazee/petition.html)

To: Dr. Manmohan singh, the Prime Minister of India

Many of you may have heard of this case – where the CEO of eBay India (better known as Baazee.com) was arrested in New Delhi – because some merchant offered for sale a pornogrphic video on the auction site.

[Before I get into the facts of the case – I’d like to say I’m not affiliated with eBay India / Baazee in any way. I am a technology investor in India – and several of my investee companies are involved with e-commerce – and I’m starting this petition because the arrest raises far wider implications that can affect the entire industry of internet-based businesses in India and perhaps elsewhere too.]

The facts of the case are:

1. A boy in New Delhi used his mobile phone to shoot a video of a girl performing a sexual act on him – and then sold the video to his classmates, who then further uploaded it on the internet and it eventually got talked about, written up about, and even sold on CDs in shops in New Delhi and elsewhere.

2. The video found its way to the internal network of one of India’s top engineering schools, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Kharagpur, where it apparently was popular.

3. One student at this IIT, Ravi Raj, then allegedly went to eBay India / Baazee, where he was signed up as their merchant doing business under a different company name (after reading and agreeing to their terms of service which expressly forbade trade in any pornographic items) and put up an ‘item’ for sale, which advertised that he would email back a “video of Delhi girls having fun” to anybody who sent him Rs. 125 (about US$3). This was on the afternoon of Saturday, November 27.

4. In the next 2 days, 8 people sent in money to Mr. Raj, and he emailed them back attachments of the said file. None of this exchange happened on eBay India / Baazee – and at no time was any pornographic material of any sort hosted on eBay India/Baazee’s network.

5. Now eBay India / Baazee has tens of thousands of merchants and its automated keyword scanning systems didn’t catch anything untoward in the title of the ad. Nevertheless, when the company was informed of this listing on Monday, November 29, the next working day, it immediately yanked the item off the site.

6. The police then contacted eBay India / Baazee in Mumbai, where it is based, and the company cooperated fully with the authorities, disclosing the identities of the seller and the buyers of the item. The police then followed up and remanded Ravi Raj to their custody, but apparently found no fault with the Director of the IIT, who’s network hosted the video.

7. The CEO of eBay India / Baazee, Avnish Bajaj, an American citizen then flew to New Delhi on December 17 on a police request to help with their investigations – and then suddenly found himself in the surprising position of being arrested by the Delhi Police – apparently under Section 67 of the Indian Information Technology Act of 2000

8. When eBay India / Baazee’s lawyers applied for bail on Saturday, December 18, by quoting, among other things the Terms of Service of Baazee that the merchant had to agree to before signing up, the Magistrate apparently rejected the documentation by saying that there was no ink-on-paper signature on the agreement and hence she would not accept it as evidence. Mr. Bajaj was then remanded to further custody for a week – which is where he still remains.

This petition seeks to not just gather support for Mr. Bajaj’s immediate release – but also to raise the people’s and the Government’s awareness on issues relating to e-commerce.

A. By rejecting the admissiblity of the paper version of Terms of Service, and insisting on an ink-on-paper signature for legal status, the entire legality of the e-commerce business in India is called to question. This is ironic, for the largest e-commerce operation in not just India but South Asia is the Indian Railways online ticket-selling business – a Government-owned and run operation – which does business worth Rs. 18 crores (US$4 million) a month. This Magistrate’s decision seems to imply a lack of legal standing for all ticket sales online by the Railways. It also calls to question all other e-commerce sales in India – which amount to hundreds of crores of rupees a year.

B. There are other serious issues with the very nature and reasoning behind the arrest. Mr. Bajaj was apparently arrested under Section 67 of the Indian Information Technology Act of 2000 – which basically puts the onus to prove innocence on the defendant (in other words, if charged, you’re assumed to be guilty till you prove yourself innocent). By the act’s definitions, it would appear that eBay India / Baazee come under the description of a “Network Service Provider”, a party that is now being held responsible for the transmission of any salacious and / or prurient / pornographic material, or causing of the transmission of such material.

C. Another section of the same act, Section 79, then offers safe harbour for the defendant if they can prove that either they were unaware of the nature of such material on their network – or that they took reasonable safeguards to prevent the entry of such material in to their network. The point here is that – if charged, you have to prove your innocence after your arrest – as opposed to normal legal practice of assuming innocence till guilt is proven. One would assume the right procedure would be for prosecutors to gather evidence, go to a court of law, argue their case, persuade the authority that an arrest is called for and then proceed.

D. Further, while I am not a lawyer – I believe that an advertisement for salacious material, even if innocently called “Delhi girls having fun” does not qualify as “transmitting or causing the transmission of pornographic material” as defined under Section 67.

E. I further believe that an online click-to-agree-to-terms-of-service before you’re allowed to sign up SHOULD have the same status as a signed document – and I understand from lawyers I have spoken with that the very same Indian Information Technology Act and its modifications of the Indian Evidence Act – do allow for the same level of admissibility.

F. I am also told that this has never before been tested in Indian court, and this is the first such test.

G. I further believe that the arrest of the head of the Indian arm of one of the world’s most respected e-commerce companies under Criminal Law where there is clearly demonstrable lack of criminal intent is a huge, retrograde step for a country that seeks to attain excellence in all fields of information technology

H. This can only further push other investors to look at India with doubt for its ability to offer a strong, fair law that protects the interests of internet and other technology-driven businesses here.

This petition seeks your support to
1. ask for the immediate release of the CEO of eBay India / Baazee.com
2. ask for the Government to clarify its stand on the legality of e-commerce in India without ink-on-paper signatures
3. ask for the governemnt to immediately change the Information Technology Act to afford the accused the same level of protection (innocent till proven guilty) as the rest of regular law does.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

As an aside: Utopia, Mr Mallya ?

December 19, 2004

Kingfisher signs $ 1.8 bn deal to acquire 30 Airbus- The Times of India: “Earlier this month Mallya said his airline would start domestic services by April with a fleet of eight aircraft on which fashion models would serve as flight attendants.
The group has said it will cut fares below those of established carriers by tightly controlling costs, issuing e-tickets, online reservations and outsourcing services

Master of the Obvious, Mr Mallya.

Symantec takeover of Veritas delivers more questions than answers

December 17, 2004

Symantec takeover of Veritas delivers more questions than answers

Paul Roberts writes — ‘The acquisition will transform Symantec into an enterprise software powerhouse.

However, it also leaves issues unsettled, including the question of how the companies’ products will be integrated, and the long-term roles of Veritas chief executive Gary Bloom and Symantec president and chief operating officer John Schwarz, who will initially share the presidency of the combined company.

Veritas sells backup, archiving and file system software. Symantec sells software to protect home and office computer systems and networks. The deal is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2005.

Symantec and Veritas executives hope the combined company will help its enterprise customers to control data integrity and availability, according to Jeremy Burton, executive vice-president of the Data Management Group at Veritas.

“The two biggest risks that (chief information officers) face is people breaking into their systems, or those systems failing. If we can solve those problems, we’re going to take a lot of worry off the CIO’s plate,” he said.

New US state and federal data privacy regulations demand strict information integrity. At the same time, the move by many companies to highly available Web-based services demands strong IT infrastructures.

The new company will focus on both those needs, integrating storage management and security management technologies and services for companies that want resilient, highly available data storage systems that are also secure, said Symantec’s Schwarz.

The acquisition is in line with Symantec’s decision to emphasise data integrity in recent months, said Chris Christiansen of IDC. It also gives Symantec a much larger stake in the enterprise software market, which will serve the company well as Microsoft moves to integrate more security technology with its Windows operating system.

“Microsoft clearly has to do something to improve the security posture of its software, and that has a potentially harmful effect on antivirus suppliers and other client security products,” he said.

However, Symantec’s purchase of Veritas raises at least as many questions as it answers.

The companies have only begun to contemplate connections between their product portfolios and will not begin significant planning until after the acquisition has closed in mid-2005, with no real product integration before 2006, Schwarz said.

The Veritas purchase throws a shadow of doubt over other recent Symantec acquisitions, including the 2003 purchases of storage management software supplier PowerQuest and ON Technology, Christiansen said.

Symantec must also work to keep its consumer security software business healthy and add new technology that keeps it ahead of Microsoft, as that company gradually incorporates more security products into its offerings, Christiansen said.

Also unclear are the rolls of Schwarz, and Veritas chief executive Gary Bloom.

A statement from the companies said that Symantec chief executive John Thompson would continue as head of the new company, and named Bloom as the company president.

However, Schwarz and Bloom are actually slated to share the presidency, with the chief operating officer position likely discontinued once the deal is finalised.

Schwarz expressed confidence that he and Bloom would be able to work together and that the company could operate without a chief operating officer. Bloom will handle the company’s “go to market” strategy, with Schwarz overseeing the product portfolio.’

Firefox NYT Ad

December 16, 2004

The mega two-pager Firefox NYT ad to coincide with 11 million downloads.

BREAKING NEWS: Symantec and Veritas to Merge

December 16, 2004

Symantec and Veritas to Merge

Symantec and Veritas to Merge

Symantec (SYMC:Nasdaq – news – research) Thursday said it will acquire rival software company Veritas Software (VRTS:Nasdaq – news – research)in an all-stock deal.

Based on Symantec’s closing stock price of $27.38 on Dec. 15, the transaction is valued at approximately $13.5 billion.

The two Silicon Valley-based companies have been discussing a deal for more than a month,

Under the agreement announced by the two companies, Veritas stock will be converted into Symantec stock at a fixed exchange ratio of 1.1242 shares of Symantec common stock for each outstanding share of Veritas common stock. The deal price represents about a 9.5% premium for Veritas shareholders.

Veritas shares added 89 cents, or 3.2%, to $29 in premarket trading. Symantec fell $1.32, or 4.8%, to $26.06.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2005 will be accretive in the first combined year of operations.

On Monday, Oracle (ORCL:Nasdaq – news – research) announced a definitive agreement to acquire PeopleSoft (PSFT:Nasdaq – news – research) for $10.3 billion, ending the software industry’s most bitter takeover saga.

Also, as previously reported by http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/12/14/symantec_buy_veritas/

Symantec eyeing Veritas for $13bn

There could be another high profile software merger on the way with rumors circulating today that Symantec will buy Veritas Software for more than $13bn.

Such a deal would create the ultimate data protection vendor. Symantec specializes in anti-virus and network security applications, while Veritas is a major player in the data backup and storage software markets. The combined company would have strong consumer and corporate plays and be able to pull off true laptop to mainframe sales.

Veritas has been mentioned as a frequent acquisition target. Companies such as Sun Microsystems, EMC, Hitachi, IBM and Oracle have been named as possible suitors. Oracle is, of course, doing its best to drive consolidation in the software industry by picking up PeopleSoft and threatening to buy more firms.

Word of the possible merger – first reported by The New York Times – sent Veritas shares up close to 10 per cent, at the time of writing. The software maker started the day with a market cap of more than $10bn. Symantec investors have seen their shares drop more than 12 per cent, at the time of this report, to $28.80.

It would be somewhat surprising to see Veritas agree to an acquisition , given that the company’s CEO Gary Bloom has long said he thinks Veritas can grow at a steady pace on its own. Veritas has acquired numerous companies over the past two years, trying to build out its server software portfolio. Veritas pulled in $1.75bn in revenue last year.

Veritas, however, is attractive at the moment as its share price – $27.56 – is well below a 52-week high of $40.68. The company was hammered by investors after some accounting problems became public.

Symantec, by contrast, has seen its share price surge over the past year on the back of solid revenue growth. ®

The IBM/Lenovo Deal: Victory For China? – Knowledge@Wharton

December 16, 2004

Knolwedge @ Wharton completely nailed with this article. For those following IBM/Lenovo deal closely — must read this. Americans wont know — but China is right there, ahead of them.

The IBM/Lenovo Deal: Victory For China? – Knowledge@Wharton

[Copyright acknowledged]

The IBM/Lenovo Deal: Victory For China?

With the sale of IBM’s personal computer business to Chinese company Lenovo Group Limited, two emerging trends quickly move front and center: The increasing commoditization of technology and the emergence of Chinese companies as global players. Wharton professors say both trends warrant watching and raise some key questions. Can Lenovo become a global player and integrate IBM’s U.S. managers? Will IBM’s PC customers defect to rivals like Dell Computer? Can state-owned Chinese companies become dominant in the international markets?

The deal, announced Dec. 7, is valued at $1.75 billion in cash, stock and assumed liabilities. Once the agreement is finalized in early 2005, Lenovo will have three owners – the state with 46%, public investors with 35% and IBM with 19%. The Chinese government currently owns 57% of Lenovo. The company, to be managed primarily by former IBM executives working out of New York, will have 19,000 employees, with 10,000 of them coming from IBM. Of those 10,000, 40% are currently based in China and 25% in the United States.

IBM benefits from the deal by getting rid of a business — PCs — that defined the company in the 1980s, but later became a drag on profit margins. Over the past decade, IBM has transformed itself into a services and software company, and set its sights clearly on China as a potentially huge market. It has shed disk drives, displays, desktop manufacturing and network processor businesses while adding PricewaterhouseCoopers’ services firm PwC Consulting. IBM has also acquired software companies such as Tivoli, Rational and Informix.

“Overall, this deal is another indicator of how resilient IBM is,” says Wharton management professor Mark J. Zbaracki, who was a staff industrial engineer at IBM from 1982 to 1991. “IBM’s strength historically has been reinventing itself.” The company has manufactured everything from timekeeping devices to card sorting machines to videodiscs to typewriters and printers, only to jettison those businesses later. “This sale is symbolic of something going away — the PC business in the U.S.,” says Zbaracki.

For Beijing-based Lenovo, the acquisition of IBM’s PC business signals the arrival of China as a global player in key industries. Lenovo gains access to the worldwide PC market and quickly becomes a computer maker with more than $12 billion in annual revenues. It also gets exclusive access to the IBM logo for five years and permanently acquires the “ThinkPad” brand. “If you had to pick a U.S. brand to buy, this would be a big one,” says Marshall Meyer, a Wharton management professor who has studied Chinese companies and traveled extensively in the country. “Public relations is a big component of Chinese management and a lot of people will see this as a victory for China.”

Michael Useem, head of Wharton’s Center for Leadership and Change Management, agrees. “This is a brassy move by both IBM and Lenovo,” he notes. “It’s untrodden ground for a Chinese company to make a sudden, big move to operate on the world stage.” Useem says the biggest perk of the deal for IBM is that, by partnering with Lenovo, it gains better access to the market for services in China. In addition, stronger relations with the Chinese government can only boost IBM’s standing. “Government relationships are key in China,” he says. “IBM sees this as an alliance. Maybe the price wasn’t as good as it could have been,” but IBM gets a definite payoff in the form of “better relationships.”

So the big question is: Can Lenovo acquire the third largest PC business in the world — behind Dell and Hewlett-Packard — and become a dominant player?

‘BitTorrent’ Gives Hollywood a Headache

December 11, 2004

Yahoo! News – Bit Torrent and How!

Bram Cohen didn’t set out to upset Hollywood movie studios. But his innovative online file-sharing software, BitTorrent, has grown into a piracy problem the film industry is struggling to handle.

As its name suggests, the software lets computer users share large chunks of data. But unlike other popular file-sharing programs, the more people swap data on BitTorrent, the quicker it flows — and that includes such large files as feature films and computer games.

Because of its speed and effectiveness, BitTorrent steadily gained in popularity after the recording industry began cracking down last year on users of Kazaa, Morpheus, Grokster and other established file-sharing software.

The program now accounts for as much as half of all online file-sharing activity, says Andrew Parker, chief technology officer of Britain-based CacheLogic, which monitors such traffic.

“BitTorrent is more of a threat because it is probably the latest and best technological tool for transferring large files like movies,” said John Malcolm, senior vice president of anti-piracy operations for the Motion Picture Association of America. “It is unusual, perhaps unique, in that the moment you start downloading you are also uploading,” he added. “It’s what makes it so efficient.”

Cohen created BitTorrent in 2001 as a hobby after the dot-com crash left him unemployed. He says the aim was to enable computer users to easily distribute content online — not specifically copyrighted content.

“It seems pretty clear that a lot of people are actively interested in engaging in wanton piracy,” said Cohen, 29, of Bellevue, Wash. “As far as I’m concerned, they’re just pushing around bits, and what bits it is they’re pushing around is not really a concern of mine. There’s not much I can do about it.”

Read More