Startup company G.ho.st is crying foul over Microsoft's new ad campaign, but not because the commercials suck. Instead, the company claims Microsoft's ads violate the startup's trademark, specifically the phrases "life without walls," "imagine without walls," and "imagine no walls." G.ho.st. CEO Zvi Schreiber has sent a letter to Steve Ballmer requesting that the phrases in question be removed from Microsoft's product lineup, website, marketing materials, and anywhere else the software giant might be using them.
Michael Marinello, a Microsoft spokesman, did acknowledge that Microsoft had received the letter, but said in an email "the allegation is without merit." Not so says Schreiber, who claims that G.ho.st has been using the phrase "no walls" in conjunction with its G.ho.st Virtual Computer software, which Schreiber describes as an alternative to Windows.
Going for the gusto, Schreiber not only wants Microsoft to stop using the above mentioned phrases, but wants Microsoft to amend existing ads clarifying that it has not licensed G.ho.st's technology or trademark, as well as mentioning that they do not use the same "features or benefits of the G.ho.st Virtual Computer." All this on top of wanting Steve Ballmer and Co. to negotiate a "good faith" license for past use.
Ready for the kicker? Not only does G.ho.st not yet officially own the allegedly trademarked phrases, but according to PC World, the company filed an application for the trademarks on the same day it sent Microsoft the ceast and desist letter.
Can anyone challenge Google's dominance in the search arena? Right now the answer is 'no,' but don't tell that the Ask.com. The search site that started out as a verb (as opposed to Google, whose overwhelming popularity in pop culture forced it to be officially recognized in the English language) has gone back to the drawing board, much like Wile E. Coyote did time and again in vain attempts to catch up to the Road Runner.
Starting today, Ask.com will roll out a completely revamped version of its search engine, which is the first time it has been rebuilt since Jim Safka took over Jim Lanzone's position as chief executive in January (Safka previously held the same position at Match.com).
Ask.com's makeover includes search results from "structured" sources of data. For example look up Cops and you'll find not only the typical bevy of URLs, but also TV listings for when the next episode will air. Search results also come faster than they did before.
But is a faster, smarter search engine enough to propel Ask.com out of its position as the fourth most popular search?
PC World’s Paul McNamara contacted Google last week to see if the cloud computing titan would clarify its use of the word “beta”. Sadly from those who read the response, they clearly intend to continue bending the term to their own use. This on the other hand leads to a great community conversation starter. Currently 22 out of 49 non Google Labs services carry the beta tag, including popular and widely used services such as Gmail and Google Docs. Google’s official response to the question is as follows: "We believe beta has a different meaning when applied to applications on the Web, where people expect continual improvements in a product. On the Web, you don't have to wait for the next version to be on the shelf or an update to become available. Improvements are rolled out as they're developed." If I’m interpreting my corporate double speak correctly, it seems clear that Google intends to continue using the beta tag to represent constantly evolving products. This makes me wonder, is it fair to use such a widely understood version label and turn it into a marketing term? Now it’s your turn to chime in. Do you like Google’s new definition of the beta tag? Or would you prefer they get off the fence and better distinguish new products from the old.
Open Office has been around in one form or another for over nine years now. But the once little known productivity suite known back then as StarOffice has evolved considerably over the years. Today the Sun Microsystems freebee is admittedly a fairly full featured alternative to Microsoft Office. Open Office in fact has become so useful that Maximum PC Editor and Chief Will Smith has admitted its open source charm (and free price tag) has finally won over his home PC for casual word processing. Fans of the platform have another reason to get excited these days with the impending launch of version 3.0. The new version will further improve compatibility when working with Microsoft Office files and will include additional support for the open file format OpenDocument which is to be integrated into Office 2007. For those looking to give version 3 a try, a public beta is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac. But for corporate users looking to implement Open Office you should follow the links instead to the version named StarOffice. The retail version will cost you about $69.95, but it includes technical support and intellectual property indemnification. For those keeping track Open Office 2 launched on October 20th 2005 and the latest stable version is 2.4.1 which was released in June.
TOM-Skype, the Chinese chapter of Skype, has been caught filtering and archiving text messages. The Chinese VoIP service provider has eight dedicated servers for storing messages that contain certain politically contentious keywords, according to a report published by The Information War Monitor, a Canadian organization that monitors internet censorship.
Tom-Skype, a joint venture between eBay and China’s TOM Online, also stores the usernames of all those people that exchange messages containing such sensitive keywords. Also, the service provider actively censors any politically sensitive keywords - some as harmless as “milk powder” - in messages. TOM-Skype doesn’t restrict itself to Chinese users but freely records messages and usernames of other Skype users from across the world as well (only those users that exchange "obnoxious" messages with Chinese users). To top it all, all the private data is available publicly as it is hosted on unencrypted web servers.
A collective sigh of relief was let out Thursday, as a panel of federal judges who determine royalty rates for recordings ruled to renew the current royalty rate until 2012. The ruling by the Copyright Royalty Board, a panel of three judges appointed by the Librarian of Congress, applied directly to mechanical royalties (which as we mentioned before, are the fees paid directly to songwriters and publishers of music, not the performers).
The currently royalty rate of 9.1 cents was lobbied to receive a 66 percent increase by music publishers, concerned about losing income as music sales decline. Labels and retailers pushed to judges to adopt a new model that would determine royalty payments as a percentage of wholesale revenue, however neither of these suggestions made the ruling.
One document in the hearing, submitted by an Apple executive, had threatened that a significant inflation in royalty rates could potentially force them to shut down the massively popular iTunes music store, which has sold over 5 billion songs to date. While Apple sees substantial sales, they operate with very thin margins.
There are still some in the music industry that have claimed that new rulings such as these might not be enough to satisfy the insatiable rise of illegal file sharing. “Whether these developments will be sufficient to return the music industry to health is not clear,” said Jonathan Feinstien, a music lawyer at the Krasilovsky & Gross firm in New York.
Crysis Warhead, despite releasing less than a year after Crysis, has received a few more oodles of critical acclaim than its predecessor. And, as a nice bonus, it also run admirably on rigs that aren't chock-full of wallet-devouring tech and don't display disturbing signs of sentience. Thus, it makes perfect sense that Crytek has decided to jab a toothpick through the multiplayer half of its latest opus and pass out some free samples.
Starting October 6th, a few quick clicks at www.mycrysis.com will provide you with an activation code for the weekend's festivities. Once signed-up, you'll have full access to Crysis Wars from 11:00 AM PDT on October 10th to 11:59 PM PDT on October 12th. To be clear, this isn't just a demo. It's the entire, 21-map multiplayer portion of the game.
“We have been extremely pleased with the reception we have received from gamers and press for Crysis Warhead,” said Cevat Yerli, CEO and President of Crytek. “Crysis Wars is definitely a big reason for this success and something we are dedicated to, not only as a part of future Crysis titles, but in terms of releasing new modes and continued support for our growing community.”
Great idea on Crytek's part. So, those of you who pirate games for "demo purposes," will temporary full access to a game put an end to your swashbuckling ways?
Hate the blissful feeling that accompanies plucking a brand new game from the patch on launch day? Think digital distribution is just too convenient? Well then, you'll be one of the backward-thinking few who actually appreciate Ubisoft's Far Cry 2 pre-order deal. Simply stroll over to your nearest participating game store, place a few dollars in the cash register, and unlock "hours" worth of crucial gameplay! Have a looksie at what's on the other side of the hoops you'll soon be jumping through:
The Georgian: The Georgian informant has gone into hiding at the Fuel Depot in UFLL territory, find him and discover what your predecessor learned from him about the Jackal’s location.
The Bolivian: The Bolivian informant is on the run, trying to escape the country by stealing a plane from a small airfield in APR territory. Try to get to him before your predecessor does.
Special Delivery: Your employers have more information for you about your predecessor – learn the location of his new dead drop and raid it to find information about his secret meetings.
Le Francais: A French smuggler and arms dealer who may have been providing arms to the Jackal has been tipped off, and your predecessor is trying to stop him from crossing the border. Find out what Frenchman’s price is.
For those of you who don't pre-order, or who plan to (legally) download the title, we don't really know what to tell you. So far, the "bonus" seems to be limited to retail channels, but we'll contact Ubisoft for more info.
In the meantime, however, don't worry too much. We already pre-ordered the game months ago.
According to a new report from Net Applications, both Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Mozilla's Firefox browsers saw a drop in market share last month. That shouldn't come as a big surprise considering that Google's Chrome browser made its debut in the same time period, but what's interesting to note is that the combined drop exceeds the gains posted by Chrome.
At some point, Microsoft has to be getting concerned. IE still dominates the browser landscape by a wide margin, but that won't always be the case if it keeps giving up market share. IE slid .63 points to 71.52 percent in September, which adds up to a 3.95-point drop on the year, or down 5.2 percent. Firefox's slide was a little less slippery at .22 points settling in at 19.46 percent, and has gained ground on the year with a 2.48-point climb, or up 14.6 percent.
It also wouldn't take a leap of faith to assume most Chrome users were previously surfing with IE and Firefox, and if true, that would mean more IE users made the jump than those using Firefox. You can draw your own conclusion on that one.
Don't own a DeLorean? Not to worry because you can still go back in time. Google turns a decade old this year, and to celebrate its 10th birthday, Google has brought back its oldest available search index.
"We had so much fun searching that we wanted to put this old index online for everyone to play with," blogs Shrin Oskoi, Product Manager. "We thought it'd be even cooler if we could actually see the full versions of the old web pages, so we worked with the Internet Archive to link to their cache of these pages from 2001."
Did you know that InfoGear put out an iPhone long before Apple turned the cellular landscape topsy turvy? And we bet you had no idea Michael Phelps invented a technique that allows imaging of biological processes in the organ systems of living individuals. Of course, that's Michael Phelps the accomplished scientist, not the record breaking Olympic swimmer.
Find anything interesting? Hit the jump and let us know.