Aaron Dobbins

Advertisements in ICQ Messages?

One disheartened BetaNews reader sent word that the ICQ message window is now plagued by an advertisement. This would be a first for the software, however ads have appeared in other areas of the client. Rumors have been going around as to the interoperability between AIM and ICQ, but no confirmation has been received. Evidence suggests the two will soon be interoperable however, as you can login to the AIM system with your ICQ number and password. You can view a screenshot of the advertisement here. Are we seeing an end to free services on the Internet?

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Web Icon Retired

Though the story might not be super important, it is interesting nonetheless. What is believed to be the first live image ever broadcast over the Internet way back in 1993 is being retired today. The image, just a coffee pot sitting in the corner at Cambridge University, has gained historical status due to its significance in the advancement of the Web. Humorously enough, the whole thing started when a programmer was tired of walking down flights of stairs to find the coffee pot empty. Once again, this story proves that it is laziness rather than necessity that is the mother of invention...at least some of the time. You can check out the infamous coffee pot here.

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DeCSS Part 2

It seems that another team of individuals has cracked the DVD encoding that was supposed to make it impossible to copy the material onto a hard drive. Last year a team accomplished the feat and published the code, which drew massive amounts of attention and caused all sorts of legal problems for the 15-year old who did it. This time an MIT student and alum did the same thing to prove that it is not a crime to publish the code.

Robert Lemos at MSNBC reports the pair insists their efforts are to teach about copyright protection, and thus, they cannot be punished by law.

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Analysts Say MS Will Lose on X-Box

Some analysts are predicting that it could take as long as five years for the X-Box to pay off for the Redmond Giant, as it is expected to take a whopping $2 billion loss on the system initially. Reuters reports the analysts are optimistic about the success of the system, but that it will not contribute to profits for Microsoft anytime soon.

MS will spend as much as $500 million marketing the console when it debuts later this year. It is expected around the same time that Nintendo's GameCube will launch.

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Nintendo Serves Up Details on Handheld Add-on

Already raising excitement about its exciting add-on for the GameBoy, Nintendo today talked to the press about what the next generation device will feature. Working with Olympus Optical, the two companies will begin development on a card-swipe system that will allow users to download and play with their favorite animated characters. The new system is expected to launch later this year, with GameBoy Advance coming to Japan on March 21st. The initial launch will feature 25 titles, including a revamped Mario Brothers, Reuters reports.

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New AIM Information

Thanks to another BetaNews reader for pointing us to some more interesting information about the upcoming AIM Woodstock client, which is currently in alpha testing. According to certain documents, the new version of AIM will support local advertising based on an area code you input into the program. Also according to the same documents, AOL expects as much as a 70% conversion rate to the new AIM within six months of its release. For more information about AIM Woodstock, read here. The first official beta release is expected on April 4th.

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Napster Filter Bypassed

As of this week Napster was ordered to begin filtering all copyrighted music out of the downloads on the network. Today the popular AOL Instant Messenger add-on Aimster, which allows users to share files via the Napster network directly through AIM, released the Pig Encoder. This software allows users to bypass said filters on Napster, and continue business as usual file sharing.

BetaNews would love to tell you how the encoder works, but it is top secret. If you want to read about it on the Aimster site, you can visit it here. Remember, the more people who find out how it works, the more likely the wrong people will catch wind and new filters will be created to block the pig encoder.

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Windows XP Build 2446 Released to Testers

Several BetaNews readers wrote in to notify us that Microsoft has released Build 2446 of the upcoming Windows XP. Sent to testers earlier this week, one reader reports Microsoft has removed the registry key that disables product activation in an effort to fight piracy. The final release of Windows XP is expected in the fall, with Beta 2 coming up shortly. Keep checking back for further information as Microsoft continues to develop Windows XP.

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Windows NT Life Cycle Nearing End

According to information recently sent to BetaNews, it appears that Windows NT is nearing the end of its lifecycle at Microsoft. Service Pack 7 for NT 4.0 is expected in the third quarter of this year, and is said to be the last for the operating system. With focus mainly on Windows 2000 and Windows XP now, Service Pack 2 for Win2k is expected sometime soon, with the final release of WindowsXP coming later this year. Service packs are expected to follow every six months in the future for these two operating systems.

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Naked Wife Virus Spreading

In keeping on top of the latest virii hitting the net, McAfee yesterday issued a warning about the newly discovered Naked Wife virus. Carrying a payload which attempts to delete all .bmp, .com, .dll, .exe, .ini, and .log files, this virus poses as a flash movie with the window reading "JibJab Loading". McAfee has labeled the virus high risk, so be on the lookout for any message carrying the NakedWife.exe attachment.

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OfficeXP Released to Manufacturers

Microsoft announced today that the next version of its popular office suite, officially named OfficeXP, has been released to manufacturers. A slew of new features has been adding, including the new SharePoint system which allows users to share information on private Web pages built directly through Office.

A new "Smart Tag" system enhances Office by recognizing when users enter certain keywords that will trigger events in the software. For example, if the user types a name that is in their Outlook address book Word might prompt them to see if they would like to grab the person's address.

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New.net Bypasses ICANN on TLDs

A new registration site, New.net, has directly bypassed the popular Internet regulation board ICANN in offering TLDs for sale. The PCWorld article reports that New.com, in addition to the seven recently approved top level domains, 13 others are up for sale at $25 a shot. The new domains include .kids, .travel, and .xxx. Arguments over ownership of sites will be judged in the same manner as ICANN by New.net. The company is working with UltraDNS to make access to the domains more efficient, as they already work within existing DNS structure. For more information visit www.new.net.

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Napster Screening System Will Help

Pleading to keep the service going, attornies for Napster today told the judge that a new screening system could potentially block as many as one million MP3 files from being traded on the network. RIAA President Hilary Rosen told AP that the group sees potential in the efforts by Napster, but many think they should be forced to do more. Napster officials said the software would be smart enough to catch variations on spelling and other tricks that could be used to get around such filters. Many critics doubt the effectiveness of said screening based on the theory that users will simply rename files. Only time will tell what the final resolution to this conflict between Napster and the RIAA will be.

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Hotmail Addresses Public Domain

The Associated Press reports today that Hotmail users are at risk for receiving spam if they fail to see the "opt out" checkbox during Hotmail registration. According to the report users are automatically added to the Infospace Internet White Pages directory. Microsoft representatives told the AP reporter that users clearly have the chance to uncheck the box, so it is not a breach of privacy. What do you think? Since there is the opt out checkbox it doesn't seem like such a big deal, but because it is Microsoft related all hell should break loose right?

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Scope - Interesting New Web Software

A BetaNews reader sent word over the weekend about a new Internet browser hitting the net dubbed Scope. What makes Scope unique is its ability to show you what the same Web page looks like when rendered by both the Mozilla and IE engines. Using a simple tab interface it allows developers to check both simultaneously without having to load several programs all at once. You can also save groups of sites to be opened at the same time under one single command. This lightweight browser also features tools to block annoying popup advertisements. For more information check it out here.

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