Technology News

Brings you recent Technology news from digital life;Internet, Gadgets, Blogs, Electronics and more...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Slingbox TV-over-Internet device lands in Europe

An electronic gadget that promises to unshackle consumers from their TV sets became available in Europe for the first time on Tuesday, opening up new ways for users to watch television wherever they go.

The Slingbox plugs into a terrestrial, cable or satellite TV set-top box and then transmits the video over the Internet. Users can then tune in via a PC or a laptop. It is part of a new product category known as "placeshifting," similar to the "time-shifting" made popular by digital video recorders like Sky+ and

The Slingbox is available in Britain this week, ahead of a broader European launch later this year.

The device, which sells for 180 pounds ($338) could complicate the nascent efforts of broadcasters and mobile phone companies to sell TV downloads and other video services. Slingbox users in the United States can also use mobile phones to watch video, though that service is not yet available in Britain.

However, at least one mobile phone company sees the Slingbox not as a threat but as a possible opportunity to sell new services to subscribers.

An executive for U.S. mobile carrier Sprint Nextel told Reuters last week that his company is talking to Slingbox manufacturer Sling Media Inc and other companies about bulking up its multimedia capabilities.


Gamespot: Apple Entering Gaming Market?

According to Gamespot, there have been hints at a possibility that Apple may enter the games market through its popular iTunes Online Store. Gamespot speculates that the company may be readying games that will be playable on your iPod and available through iTunes. Here's the full post:

Of all the products on the market, few engender as much fanatical loyalty as the iPod. Sony was clearly hoping for something similar when it introduced the sleek PlayStation Portable in March of last year, touting that it played games and video, while the iPod didn't.

Last October, Apple removed one of those advantages when it launched the fifth-generation video iPods. Since then, speculation has swirled that the Silicon Valley company is readying an iPod that could play things other than Brick and Parachute, two of the rudimentary games that come with the ubiquitous handhelds.

This week, GameSpot learned that there may be more to the Apple-game rumors than mere Mac-mad daydreams. A tech-sector recruiter contacted the GS NewsDesk with an interesting story of a prospective hire that got away. Recently, when the recruiter made an offer to a software engineer, the engineer turned the offer down--saying he was being "heavily recruited by Apple."

According to the engineer, an Apple hiring manager named Mike Lampell is heading up a group inside Apple's storied iTunes division. The group is specifically hiring for "C/C++ coders with a 'gaming background.'" The engineer says the project in question was described to him as "super secret," and Apple would not even tell him the exact nature of it until he had been hired and signed a non-disclosure agreement.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Nike shoes talk to Apple's iPod in new system

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nike Inc. said on Tuesday that it is making running shoes that will be able to send data about the wearer's performance to an Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod using a new wireless system called Nike+iPod.

Shares of Nike rose over 2 percent as it capitalized on the popularity of the iPod line, which dominates portable digital music players. But one analyst said a relatively narrow section of Nike consumers would be interested in the running products.

Using a Nike+iPod Sports Kit, expected to retail for about $29, consumers will be able to access time, distance, pace and calories burned through the earphones of a nano version of the iPod via a sensor in the insole of special shoes that communicate with the digital music player.

Nike also launched a line of performance clothing, including jackets and shorts, that holds iPods and keeps wires untangled and out of sight.

"We share the same types of consumers," said Trevor Edwards, Nike's vice president of global brand management, who said more than half of nano users already use the device while running. "We know that these two brands work really well together."

A 2002 deal between Nike and the Netherlands' Philips Electronics NV that resulted in an mp3 player that tracked time and distance fizzled, Edwards said, because of differences in the two companies' target consumers.


Analyst John Shanley of Susquehanna Financial Group said the Nike+iPod launch was innovative but would not appeal to the company's core base of teenage boys.


Monday, May 22, 2006

New Trojan Targets Microsoft Word

Now Microsoft Word users need to be extra careful while downloading files, as hackers have already targeted Microsoft Word 2003 exploiting zero-day vulnerabilities with a new Trojan horse named "Trojan.Mdropper.H".

Symantec, the leading desktop security vendor, has issued an alert on its home page regarding the vulnerability, asking users to be extra careful while opening any Word document received either by email or any other means. According to Symantec, opening an email attachment which appears to be a Word document actually opens the latest Trojan horse virus program, giving hackers access to users' PCs. When the document is opened by users, it triggers the vulnerability.

According to Symantec the attack originated in Asia, and now it appears that the attacks are targeted at large organizations but there could be a change in strategy.

Johannes Ullrish, chief technical officer, SANS Internet Storm Center, said that the attackers behind the latest Trojan horse might be operating out of China or Taiwan. The researchers have found Chinese characters in the malicious Word document, and the servers associated with the attack have been traced back to these countries.
The seriousness of the attack has been compounded by Microsoft's declaration that the company might require over three weeks to fix the vulnerability.


Sony Ericsson builds a better Walkman phone

Sony Ericsson has released two new cellphones with improved music functions: the W850, its first GSM/UMTS slider phone and the W710.
The W850 is claimed to feature a "unique combination" of a full horizontal mode camera and the latest Walkman player 2.0 which will position it against the expected Apple iPhone -a cellphone combined with the iPod music player.

According to Sony Ericsson, the Walkman player 2.0 simplifies navigation through music genres, play lists, individual songs or music albums and includes a TrackID feature powered by Gracenote Mobile MusicID.

This new service enables users to record a few seconds of a song and with one click send that clip to the Gracenote worldwide music database which will identify the track and relay the information back to the phone.

Jan Wäreby, corporate executive vice president, head of sales and marketing, Sony Ericsson, said: "The W850 allows users to identify and buy music in a new and spontaneous way – hearing tracks they like, identifying them with TrackID and downloading them to the phone."

Sony Ericsson also claims to have made the user interface more intuitive making it easy to search and play tracks as well as download them. "New graphics capabilities make the experience more visual and provide music metadata and album art. And the download service is integrated, so there's no need to come out of the music player and into the web browser to visit online music stores."


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The New Macbook

Apple anounced their new notebook, Macbook. It has a great look and style, a very powerful Intel core duo CPU, a built in camera for chating, front row for networking, 13.3-inch widescreen and built-in wireless capability and more features.

Apple says:

What do you get when you put up to 2GHz of pure Intel Core Duo power, an iSight camera, Front Row, iLife ’06, and a 13-inch glossy widescreen display into a sleek case? More than you thought possible for less than you thought possible. Meet MacBook, starting at $1099.

Yahoo!'s New Home Page

Yahoo announced its new home page design at their blog. You can reach it here. I personaly liked the new design. It is more simple and user friendly. There is a major color on the page , default is white but you can change it by "Page Options" button. You have 5 color options. You can also change width of the page by switching to the narrow layout.

New home page has 5 main areas. First one is search area. There is not much difference here but Yahoo! Answers is noticible. Second main part is left navigation bar. It contains major Yahoo! Services. If you can't find a service there there is a "All Yahoo! Services" button at the bottom of this bar. Third main part is news area,in the middle of the page. There are some topics like Featured, Sports and MOney there. Every option has different news topics in it. Forth and probably newest part is “personal assistant”. It involves recent emails, Yahoo Messenger,Radio and Weather. And one last part is Yahoo! Pulse which they explain as "a place to discover the most popular and interesting Yahoo! searches, as well as pop culture trends, music, videos, photos...".

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Skype Goes to Free in USA and Canada

Skype users who live in USA and Canada can now make free calls from personal computers that connected to internet to landline and wireless phones. Users outside of these two countries can still talk from computer-to-computer and must pay a fee of $ 0.023 (or something similar) to call landline phones. This shows that in the future we may just use our computers to comunucate, not any landline phones. Now skype has 40 million users and growing.

Official Press Release:

Skype, the global Internet communications company, announced that all US and Canadian-based Skype customers can now make free SkypeOut™ calls to traditional landline and mobile phones in the US and Canada. Previously, Skype users in both countries were required to pay for Skype calls from their PCs to traditional telephones. Free SkypeOut calls to the US or Canada will be available to US and Canadian-based Skype users until the end of the year.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Windows Media Player 11

Apple has been amazingly successful at winning over PC users and infiltrating their machines via iTunes, but with Windows Media Player 11 (WMP 11), Microsoft says "No more."

The new release, launched today as a beta download, beats Apple iTunes in many aspects. It acts as a repository and player for all your music, video, and images, unlike Apple's popular player. And while WMP 11 doesn't integrate with the iTunes Music Store, it also doesn't lock you in to one purchasing source. In fact, it integrates numerous stores including Napster,, Movielink, and MTV's new Urge service.

This release represents a major departure from the feel and navigation styles of WMP 10 and iTunes. With many other media players, you scroll through a list of files; WMP 11 lets you browse your library by cover. Some other players, like Yahoo! Music include the capability, but none do it as well. Bringing art to navigation makes the process much more appealing visually—your music collection no longer looks like a spreadsheet.

You'll also find the Word Wheel search technology Microsoft has implemented with Vista. Its speed is stunning—start to enter the first few letters of a track, album, or artist into the search bar, and the appropriate music will be waiting for you before you stop typing. Although iTunes has the same basic feature, seeing album art pop up is much more compelling than getting a list of tracks.


Kaspersky Internet Security 6

Quick—think of three antivirus programs. Are they all from American companies? If so, you may want to broaden your horizons. This full-scale security suite from Moscow adds spyware protection, a spam filter, and a powerful firewall to the well-respected Kaspersky Anti-Virus (KAV)—a household name in Russia and Europe but less well known in the U.S.

Independent antivirus testing labs give KAV high marks. West Coast Labs awarded it Checkmark certification for virus detection and removal as well as for Trojan and spyware detection. ICSA Labs certifies it for virus detection, and Virus Bulletin has given it the VB100% award. You won't find the protection for private data or the parental control that many other suites offer, but all the essentials are there.

KAV includes features designed to block as yet unknown threats, commonly called zero-day attacks. Real-world tests by show that the antivirus really is effective against such assaults (and the company is quicker than most to boil a new threat down into an identifying signature).

KAV saves time by scanning only new files and those that have changed since the last scan. With previous versions, that could cause problems. The method used to mark files as having been scanned, Alternate Data Streams, caused some other detection tools to report that a malicious rootkit might be present. Though Kaspersky maintains there's no way that malware could have taken advantage of the technology, the company now uses a different approach. The speedup in scanning is impressive; I haven't seen anything quite like it in other security products.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Microsoft Preps New Version of Windows CE

While Microsoft Corp. has been beset by delays in its new operating system for personal computers, developers quietly have been working on a new version of another Windows, this one found in everything from sewing machines to sophisticated cell phones.

A beta version of the revamped Windows CE is due to be introduced to software developers at a conference Tuesday in Las Vegas. The update also will provide the basis for Windows Mobile, which is built for sophisticated cell phones but which even the company concedes can be clunky.

Users can expect to see products based on both systems in 2007, Microsoft says.

Microsoft is trying to conquer the growing market for high-end cell phones while keeping alive opportunities for Windows CE, a decade-old technology that the company has long pushed for small electronic devices. CE is used in such disparate devices as gas station pumps and TV recorders.

Analysts say the market has a lot of potential, although Microsoft has hard work ahead.


Sega announces next Sonic game, exclusively for Wii

Sega has announced details of the next Sonic game, Wild Fire, which will be released exclusively for Nintendo's Wii console in 2007.

The latest instalment in the series, which has been running since 1991, is set in the themed world of the Arabian Nights. The story is that the final chapters of the story have gone missing, and Sonic must recreate them (probably in faster form than originally intended.)

This shift in setting is intended to provide a fresh looking environment for players to whiz around in. And the whizzing in Wild Fire will not be your childhood whizzing either, with the game taking full advantage of the Wii controller - for example one can hold the controller horizontally with two hands and tilt left and right to steer, and continue to tilt and fling forward to dash-attack.


Intel Introduce New Processor Family: Core 2 Duo

Intel, one of the major microchip manufacturer company introduced it's new main CPU brand, named Core 2 Duo. Core 2 implies that this CPU brand will have two cores, as you can thing of two CPU placed in one. This means it can do two different tasks at same time, like listening music and surfing on net.

Intel combines two main product lines together, these are Desktop and Laptop. Desktop computers require more power, laptops require less heat and some power too. Intel says this new Core 2 Duo will be very powerfull and at same time very energy-efficient so they will be used on both Desktops and laptops. They achieve this by new 65-nanomete chip production technology. This allow them to install more transistors in a chip with less Energy requirements.

They also say that this new processors will have large caches, that is a small storage unit installed in the CPU. All things i mentioned above are shows that intel is in a new vagon. They are not focusing on to increase processor clock speed but they are adding new cores and large caches. They chose this new way because increasing clock speed is more difficult to achive at this level of clock speeds. Also adding more cores is more effective because it is very comman to use computers for various tasks nowadays. You listen music,same time surf the net, copy some songs to your mp3 player and speak with youe friend on skype!

I m curious to see what this new technology will bring to our digital life.

Intel News Release:

The Intel® Core™2 Duo processor is the new brand for Intel Corporation’s upcoming powerful and more energy-efficient processor families for desktop and laptop computers that will arrive in the third quarter, the company announced today.

Formerly codenamed Conroe and Merom, the Intel Core2 Duo processors for desktop and notebooks PCs respectively are based on the newly designed Intel® Core™ microarchitecture and will include two processing cores — or brains — per chip, hence the “Duo” addition. Intel will also call its highest performing processor for enthusiast and gamers the Intel® Core™2 Extreme processor.

Having a common microarchitecture for the consumer, gaming, notebook and business desktop market segments makes it easier for computer developers to create more efficient software applications and can share capabilities across all categories if necessary.

The dual-core processors will include the industry’s largest integrated cache or memory reservoir called Intel® Advanced Smart Cache that includes a unique design for faster performance on memory intensive applications. The products will also support such features as enhanced security, virtualization and manageability built right into the processors.

Consumers and businesses will also be able to purchase these processors as part of Intel’s market-focused platforms, a collection of Intel hardware and software technology innovation designed and tested together and tailored to specific computing needs.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Nokia, ATI to Collaborate on Mobile Multimedia Tech

Nokia and ATI Technologies are partnering to try to simplify and drive the development of multimedia capabilities for Nokia phones, the companies said on Thursday.

ATI, a designer of graphics and digital-media processors for game consoles, computers and handheld devices, plans to offer a software development kit for mobile multimedia developers later this year. Together, ATI and Nokia will also host workshops to showcase the new environment to developers. The goal is to make the development of multimedia services easier by promoting open standards and also to inspire the development of mobile multimedia services such as 3-D gaming, mobile TV, video and music playback, they said.

"We want to make sure that with the Nseries devices, we’re pushing the multimedia experience," said Damian Stathonikos, a spokesman for Nokia. The company recently introduced new additions to the Nseries line of phones, highlighting multimedia capabilities such as video capture on some of the devices.

Nokia doesn’t use ATI processors in its phones and won’t say if it plans to in the future, Stathonikos said. Nokia commonly uses chips from Texas Instruments, among others. Products and capabilities developed using the environment that ATI and Nokia create can run on a variety of phones, not only handsets with ATI chips, Stathonikos said.

As part of their goal to simplify development, ATI and Nokia also want to enable developers to create content or services that can be accessed from a variety of devices without requiring developers to tweak the products for each device. Despite many historic efforts across the industry to simplify development this way, developers are still required to change their products to suit requirements of different handsets.


McAfee bites into Apple security

The antivirus vendor introduced McAfee VirusScan for Mactel on Friday. To back up its statement, McAfee cited the release in March of a patch that fixed 20 vulnerabilities in OS X. A proof-of-concept worm that targeted the OS X platform was also discovered earlier this year.

Many flaws have been discovered in Microsoft products over the same period.

McAfee admitted that Mac users were at "no significant risk" at the moment. But the security vendor also said that if the OS X user base expands, thanks to the popularity of iPod media player and its new range of Intel-powered Macs, then Apple's software will become a more tempting target for organized criminals.

"Historically, Microsoft has been targeted because it has had dominant market share. As there are more Apple users (in the future), more threats will appear," Sal Viveros, a security expert at McAfee, told ZDNet UK.

"At this point, there is very little research (into OS X vulnerabilities) and very few people trying to exploit the OS. You have a lot more people trying to find vulnerabilities in Windows at the moment, but we believe that as more people put the time into finding vulnerabilities in Apple OSes, they will become just as vulnerable as any other OS," Viveros added.

Some Apple users have reacted angrily in the past to suggestions that the Mac platform is becoming less secure, pointing out that Microsoft regularly releases critical patches.

But Secunia said that it also believes that hackers are likely to focus more resources on finding vulnerabilities in Mac OS X.


AOL to Add Free Phone to Instant Messaging Feature

AOL is preparing to offer the 41 million users of its instant messaging system a free phone number that will allow people to call them from regular phones while they are online.

The move is part of a broad effort by AOL — which has been buffeted by defections from its flagship dial-up Internet service — to capitalize on the continued popularity of its decade-old AIM instant message system.

In addition to expanded Internet calling features, AOL also plans to introduce AIM Pages, an effort to compete with, the rapidly growing social networking service. MySpace, which is owned by the News Corporation, gives its 70 million mostly young members a place to post their writings, photographs, favorite music and video clips.

"Our strategy is to protect and extend our instant messaging business," said James P. Bankoff, executive vice president for programming and products at AOL, a unit of Time Warner. "You have to play offense."

The free phone number is a new twist on services that allow calls between regular phones and PC's, an idea made popular by Skype, which is owned by eBay, and copied by others, like Yahoo through its instant message software. As with those services, the new AOL Phoneline service, to be introduced May 16, will allow users to call each other free if both are online, typically using headsets or microphones attached to their computers.

Other services charge about $30 to $40 a year for a telephone number to receive incoming calls, and about 2 cents a minute to place phone calls from a computer to an ordinary telephone line.

AOL will sell outgoing calls only as part of a flat-rate package that costs $14.90 a month for unlimited calling, or at an introductory price of $9.95 a month for people who subscribe when the service starts.

Skype has not taken off in the United States as it has in other countries because telephone rates are much lower here, said John McKinley, the president of AOL's digital services division. Free incoming calls, he said, are more appealing in this country, especially for people who mostly use cellphones but do not want to give their cell number to casual acquaintances.

These people can give the AOL number out freely. They can then receive notifications on their cellphones of new voice mail messages left at their AOL number.

AOL will make phone numbers available in 50 metropolitan areas. The company hopes to profit both from displaying advertisements to users and from the outbound calling charges and additional services, like ring tones and call forwarding.

AOL is joining a growing list of companies that are attacking the traditional telephone market with the aid of the Internet. There are now about five million subscribers to so-called Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, communications services, according to International Data Corporation, a market research firm based in Framingham, Mass. Because cable and Internet companies are aggressively marketing the service, that is expected to increase to about 30 million subscribers by 2009.

"What's really intriguing about this is how cheap and easy some of this stuff is to use," said Will Stofega, research manager for VoIP services at International Data.

The other new piece of AOL's strategy for its AIM network, AIM Pages, hopes to match MySpace in giving users broad flexibility in designing their pages, but it is also meant to be easier to use. AOL has created a series of modules users can place on their pages, including photo albums, buddy lists and other information about themselves and their interests. It offers ways to add content from AOL and its sister Time Warner companies, like AOL music videos and CNN headlines.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

NASA's First Female Shuttle Commander Retires from Spaceflight

NASA astronaut veteran Eileen Collins, the first woman to pilot and command a U.S. spacecraft, is hanging up her orbital wings to pursue more terrestrial exploits, the spaceflight veteran said Monday.

“It has been wonderful,” Collins told of her shuttle flight career. “The number one thing for me now is to spend time with my family.”

Collins, 49, commanded NASA’s first shuttle mission – STS-114 aboard Discovery – since the 2003 Columbia disaster, and is a veteran of four orbiter flights throughout a nearly 16-year astronaut career.

"Eileen Collins is a living, breathing example of the best that our nation has to offer," said NASA chief Michael Griffin, in a statement. "She is, of course, a brave, superb pilot and a magnificent crew commander.”

But the experienced shuttle astronaut will not plunge into a post-spaceflight career immediately. Collins said she’s reserved the entire upcoming summer to spend with her husband, Pat Youngs, daughter Bridget, 10, and son Luke, 5.

“They’ve put up with all of my training schedules and then I was gone for five weeks over last summer,” Collins said of her family, citing the three weeks of quarantine and two weeks in space during her last mission, not to mention the many national and international appearances that followed her return. “Now that it’s been eight or nine months, I’m just going to chill out and finish the remaining work to be done from STS-114, then it’s on to something new.”

Collins said she hopes her retirement will also allow newer astronauts an opportunity to fly before the shuttle fleet itself retires in 2010. Though a native of Elmira, New York, Collins said she will remain in Houston, Texas – home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center – for the time being.

“It’s important to me that these young people get a chance to fly,” Collins said. “It’s very important to the country to have more people that have flown in space because we take that spaceflight experience with us, which is a valuable thing to have when you go on to design future spacecraft and educate young people.”

Collins is a graduate of Syracuse University, where she studied mathematics and economics, and received two master degrees from Stanford University and Webster University, respectively. She completed her U.S. Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training at Oklahoma’s Vance Air Force Base in 1979 and was teaching serving as a mathematics and flight instructor at Edwards Air Force Base when selected as an astronaut.


Skype Intros 2.5 Beta and Skypcasting

Skype (News - Alert), the global Internet calling provider, has released Skype 2.5 Beta, its latest software edition allowing users to make voice and video calls for free over the Internet.

Skype’s newest features and enhancements make it even easier to set up a Skype account and to stay in touch with friends, family, and colleagues for free.

The newest version of Skype simplifies registration and dialing, while improved conference calling and other improvements provide excellent voice quality. Simple prompts while Skyping allow users to adjust how they manage their Internet connection to ensure they have the best possible call quality. Localized payment options in more the 15 currencies have also been built in.

As with all Skype releases, Skype 2.5 beta customers can talk for as long as they like with over 100 million Skype customers across the world without worrying about the cost or the distance of the call.


Microsoft looking to buy into Yahoo?

Microsoft's share price has taken a beating lately, in part because of the company's increased spending on R&D. Microsoft may be preparing to write a much larger check, as the Wall Street Journal is reporting (subscription required) that the company and super-size Internet portal Yahoo! have been in talks over Microsoft's possibly purchasing an equity stake in the portal.

Here's the rationale.

Despite Microsoft's efforts over the past couple of years and a promising Windows Live beta, the company is still arguably far behind Google in search, advertising, and web services. In the meantime, Google is making moves that could be interpreted as positioning it to encroach on Microsoft's turf, such as buying Writely and launching the Google Page Creator. In addition, MSN/Windows Live is a distant third in search engine usage, according to Search Engine Watch.

Yahoo has a very strong portal presence and has made some smart acquisitions over the past couple of years, including Flickr and Arguably, it is also the most popular web site in the US, with over 100 million unique visitors per month, according to the Journal.

Where Yahoo is lagging is the all-important search, to the point that despite its strong second place, the company made noises about giving up on passing Google. Those comments didn't sit well with the search team at Yahoo, which quickly rebutted the CFO's throw-in-the-towel comments. That said, Yahoo still trails Google by a wide margin when it comes to search, 42.7 percent to 28.0 percent (MSN comes in at 13.2 percent) for the month of March.

Over the past year, there have been senior-level talks between Microsoft and Yahoo over some sort of partnership, with the most likely scenario being the software maker buying an equity stake in the portal. This would be a big change for Microsoft, given its traditional reluctance to make big acquisitions. Ballmer & Company did make a play for a stake in AOL, briefly emerging as the front-runner before Google pulled the trigger on a 5 percent stake near the end of 2005. Much less likely is Microsoft selling off MSN to Yahoo.

Currently, there do not appear to be any active discussions between Microsoft and Yahoo. That doesn't rule out the possibility of a deal. The two parties may very well return to the negotiating table at some point if the principals at Microsoft and Yahoo think they can make a deal, or if the senior leadership in Redmond thinks its MSN/Windows Live group ultimately isn't up to the task of dethroning Google. It's even possible that Microsoft could make a play to acquire Yahoo outright, but that could do nasty things to its solid balance sheet depending on how such a deal was structured. Whatever route Microsoft and Yahoo take, one thing is for sure: all roads to online supremacy go through Mountain View, California.


Monday, May 01, 2006

Deutsche Telekom and Cisco switch on IP TV

T-Online, a division of Deutsche Telekom, is to team up with Cisco to deliver a converged data, voice and video, triple play service over its T-Com broadband network.

This "T-Home" network is based on Cisco Internet Protocol Next-Generation Network (IP NGN) architecture and the service is delivered with Cisco IP set-top boxes supporting the Microsoft TV IPTV Edition software platform.

T-Home will make the service available to customers in Germany, France and Spain in the second half of 2006.

"Our objective is to offer customers a convenient Plug and Play solution that can be set up and operated both quickly and easily," said Kai-Uwe Ricke, chairman of the board at Deutsche Telekom.

T-Com's video delivery network is based on the Cisco IP NGN architecture and incorporates Cisco 12000 Series routers at the provider edge, Cisco 10008 Series routers as Broadband Remote Access Server (BRAS) platforms and Cisco Catalyst 6509 Series switches.

T-Home is delivered through a Cisco set top box from the KiSS series called the T-Home X 300T Media Receiver which is one of the first in the world to support Microsoft IPTV Edition. Cisco acquired KiSS Technology in September 2005.

The T-Home X 300T Media Receiver enables high-definition (HD) IPTV and features personal video recorder (PVR) functionality. Its 80-gigabyte hard disk stores up to 70 hours of programming with "time shifting" capabilities that enable users to record preset programs, and even interrupt running programs and continue them later.

The T-Home X 300T supports the Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial (DVB-T) standard and features a dual DVB-T tuner as well as and can be controlled remotely over the Internet. It is HD-capable via an HDMI interface and offers Ethernet and SCART ports for additional connectivity and functionality.


Security Startup Targets Unpatched Windows Vulnerabilities

A new security company says it has developed a novel approach to protecting PCs from software that exploits unpatched Windows vulnerabilities.

Exploit Prevention Labs, founded in 2005 by some of the same executives behind the PestPatrol antispyware product, has developed software that scans network traffic for known exploits--called zero-days or 0days--that take advantage of unpatched bugs in Windows software.

Called SocketShield, the software also acts as a Web site filter, preventing users from visiting sites that are known to distribute malicious code.

Unlike the major security products, SocketShield does not protect against a wide variety of known malware. Instead, it blocks against a select group of zero-day attacks known to be in circulation. Currently, that means the product blocks about 15 malicious exploits that take advantage of Internet Explorer and Firefox bugs, says Roger Thompson, the company's chief technology officer.

"We're not saying that we're all things to all people. We're just a nifty layer, but it's an important layer," he adds. "We know which exploits are important and we known which ones are in use, and we protect you until you can patch."

Other Protection

Though SocketShield is focused on browser exploits, it could also be used to protect against other types of attacks, Thompson says.

Some users are worried about these zero-day exploits. Last month security vendor eEye Digital Security released a workaround for an unpatched Internet Explorer vulnerability after hackers published code that could be used to exploit it. That patch was downloaded over 150,000 times before Microsoft finally patched the bug.

SocketShield's focus on scanning for network traffic and its ability to block known malware sites makes it a little different from other antivirus products, says Richard Stiennon, chief research analyst with IT-Harvest, a research firm in Birmingham, Michigan. "Vendors are not really good at finding the sites that are trying to infect you," he explains. "They're not good at searching the Web because there are hundreds of millions of Web sites to look at."

The first nonbeta version of SocketShield will ship in June and will cost $29.95 for a one-year subscription. Renewals will cost $19.95 per year.