In a surprise move, Warner Bros. announced they will be dropping support for HD-DVD and exclusively backing the Blu-ray format. Caught off guard, Toshiba cancelled 1:1 press meetings scheduled for this year's CES, currently under way. Why the sudden change of heart? Warner said "a two-format landscape has led to consumer confusion and indifference toward high definition, which has kept the technology from reaching mass adoption." Ouch.
Spammer to See Slammer
A federal grand jury in Detroit has indicted Alan Ralsky and 10 co-conspirators of running a spam based pump-and-dump scheme. The accused sent out numerous spam messages promoting Chinese penny stocks in an attempt to drive up prices, and then sold their shares for profit. The Justice Department also accused Ralsky of using various illegal methods to evade filters and "trick[ing] recipients into opening, and acting on, the advertisements in the spam." The spam-scam netted $3 million in the summer of 2005.
Penryn Pounces at CES
CES provides the ideal stomping ground for unveiling new tech, and Intel took advantage of the opportunity by showcasing no less than 16 new Penryn processors. Five of them represent the first Penryn chips designed for laptops, four were for servers, and the rest were desktop parts. Speeds ranged from 2.1GHz to 2.8GHz, and all of them boast an environmentally friendly lead-free and halogen-free design. The real excitement, however, will come when Intel takes the wraps off of Nehalem, which is expected in the second half of 2008.
Google Seeks Image Patent
Google today published an application from June 2007 that seeks to patent the recognition and use of text contained in images and videos. As the leader in the online search industry and owner of YouTube, Google offered only a generic response to questions regarding patent applications, saying "we file patent applications on a variety of ideas that our employees come up with."
U.S. Stings Online Betting Operating
Eight people were arrested today in connection with a Costa Rica based online sports gambling operation that may have netted millions of dollars in annual profits. Charges include conspiracy and illegal gambling, with arrests spanning New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland. The ringleader, Carmen Cicalese, remains at large.
Pennsylvania Pounded by Hackers
Pennsylvania's government web site fell under attack over the weekend, including pages of the departments of Labor and Industry, Education, and Military and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Pennsylvania Lottery. The attack forced administrators to shut down nearly the entire site for several hours, though it doesn't appear that anyone's personal data had been compromised. Four other states and a university had been attacked in a similar back-door infiltration, all of which were traced back to a domain registered in China.