Aaron Dobbins

Microsoft Now Faces FTC Probe

In what seems like a never ending battle in the courtroom for Microsoft, the Federal Trade Commission is now investigating its advertising practices. The FTC is reportedly looking into whether or not the ads run for handheld computing devices were deceptive in nature. These ads were run last April when the product was launched. The problem lies in the fact that Microsoft did not inform users in the advertisement that you had to buy a separate modem for certain wireless functions, according to the AP report. The FTC apparently has issues with the font size and graphics used in the print ads.

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Philips Mini Hi-Fi System Beta Test

Philips is currently accepting applications for beta testing of its FW-i1000 Internet Audio enabled shelf system. The new stereo allows you to play music directly or connect to the Internet and listen to Internet Radio. You will also be able to upgrade the software on the system directly through the stereo when updates are available in the future. According to the Web site, the FW-i1000 is capable of "pumping out earth-shaking 240 Watts Total Power. The 3-CD changer plays CDs, CD-Rs and CD-RWs, and the wOOx technology patented by Philips guarantees powerful, deep Bass." For more information and to sign up for the beta testing visit Philips. You can sign up until March 15th.

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Ericsson Unveils Web Tablet

This June when Lara Croft officially hits the big screen portrayed by Angelina Jolie, users will see a lot more than Ms. Croft in the flesh. In the movie you will catch a first glimpse at Ericsson's new venture, the H610 Web Screen. Driven by RedHat Linux, the color wireless is set to hit retail stores later this year.

The Webtablet-like device features a built-in speaker phone with a base station that plugs into a regular phone line for communications. The Bluetooth device has a range of up to 100 meters and will start at 56K data transfer.

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Napster Rivals Up the Ante

Napster rival J. River has reportedly offered the big five record companies a $3 billion deal to allow access to their vast libraries of music, according to a recent Newsbytes report. Last week Napster offered a $1 billion settlement payable over the next five years to the companies. J. River reportedly plans on offering a subscription service based on Media Jukebox technology, which they say has already had 1 million downloads. A survey done by the company suggests that as much as 48% of those users would pay $10 a month for the service, which is expected to grow up to 50 million users over the next five years. For more information visit J. River at www.musicex.com.

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Court Fails to See Logic in MS Breakup

Saying that a breakup of the Redmond Giant could simply spawn the market domination of a different company, an appeals court today questioned the entire anti-trust case against Microsoft. Reuters reports the head judge in the case told lawyers today "You're going to replace one monopoly with another if you're right." Legal experts say this particular judge's attack is significant because he was not originally expected to blast the DOJ. A ruling on the case isn't expected for another few months at the earliest, and many believe Microsoft has a solid chance of having its earlier decision by Judge Jackson overturned. Stay tuned as the case continues.

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Opera 5 Technology Preview Tomorrow

Opera, Inc. sent word that Technology Preview 1 of the Opera Web browser version 5 would be available for interested netizens tomorrow. Availalbe for any PowerPC user running MacOS 7.5 or later, the newest release features many of the same improvements launched in its Windows counterpart last year. The Mac version too will be simply ad-supported rather than shareware. A 68K version is coming shortly, followed by an OS X version eventually. For more information visit www.opera.com.

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I Will Call It Mini-Flash

Macromedia today announced plans to make a miniature version of its popular Flash player to run on Microsoft PocketPCs. The software already runs on Compaq's IPaq, Casio's Cassiopeia and HP's Jordana. The current hold up is the software's lack of ability to play back MP3 audio. Developers can get their hands on the release over at www.macromedia.com along with examples and guides to help them create flash animation compatible with the PocketPC.

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Napigator2 Finally Arrives

Napigator, a popular program used by Napster lovers and college students whose campus has blocked the use of Napster, has made a final release of Napigator2 after months of development. The new release totally changes the Napster experience by embedding the Napigator interface into the Napster interface and making it a tab. The stand alone interface has been totally revamped with great new icons, along with several other improvements including more server information and a bookmarking system. For more information on the newest release visit FileForum and download it now.

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Apple Fixing DVD Eject Problem on PowerBooks

Apple has confirmed a glitch in the alignment of the DVD drive in its new slim PowerBooks that causes problems with ejecting said DVDs. The biggest problem however, is that current owners must return their PowerBooks to Apple Care Centers and go without them until they are fixed. According to the MacCentral report that could take as much as seven days. Bad news for business men and women that rely on their laptops for work purposes.

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Network Solutions to Sell Domain Database Information

In what could become a nightmare for domain owners all over the Internet, it seems that Network Solutions is poised to sell the entire contents of its registration database to the highest bidder. Most likely, and most certainly, that bidder will be a marketing firm or the likes, bringing floods of e-mails to domain owners everywhere. According to the Wall Street Journal report, a recent newsletter to direct marketers from the company stated "Available for the first time ever. Approximately 6 million unique customers, sliced and diced for you to target prospects, learn about a specific audience or retain customers ... Take this information and run with it."

According to the Wall Street Journal report, a recent newsletter to direct marketers from the company stated "Available for the first time ever. Approximately 6 million unique customers, sliced and diced for you to target prospects, learn about a specific audience or retain customers ... Take this information and run with it."

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Mobile Linux Ready to Roll

Beloved Linux guru Linus Torvalds today told John G. Spooner over at ZDNet that Transmeta is ready to launch its awaited Mobile Linux operating system. The new software, according to the report, is supposed to cut down on memory and other requirements for smaller net-enabled devices and appliances. Released under the GNU license, the software could roll out of Transmeta doors as early as next week or the following week. The OS will run on both Intel and Transmeta processors. For more information on Transmeta, visit www.transmeta.com.

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Microsoft to Launch Stinger Cellphones Later This Year

Microsoft, in its effort to set the standard for multimedia-enabled cellular phones, will launch a line of phones later this year with its new software code-named Stinger. Retailing for around $800, the phones are more of a microcomputer, featuring a "relatively large color screen" and contact management software. They will also be able to play video and audio, according to the press release. Basically a slim, phone-enabled version of the PocketPC, the Stinger software will allow developers to virtually "drag-n-drop" existing Windows applications into Stinger-compatible software. For more information and to read a few more specs, read the Reuters report.

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MS Says Linux 'Stifles Innovation'

According to a Bloomberg report, Microsoft's Jim Allchin said during the WindowsXP announcement that Linux is "an intellectual property destroyer" because of its open source nature. Allchin also said that the result of Linux gaining more ground would be the loss of incentive to research and develop, thus stifling innovation.

Bloomberg quotes Allchin as saying "I'm an American, I believe in the American Way, I worry if the government encourages open source, and I don't think we've done enough education of policy makers to understand the threat."

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New WindowBlinds Released

Stardock has released another version of its popular Windows skinning program WindowBlinds. This version increases performance as well as allows the status bar of Windows to be skinned. Compatibility was also increased in this version. For those of you who cannot get your hands on WindowsXP, you can use WindowBlinds for the time being and get your interface to look just like Luna. For more information visit www.windowblinds.net.

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MS Hailstorm on the Horizon

Microsoft is in the works to dent AOL's long time grip on the instant messaging industry with its new strategy and software technologies dubbed Hailstorm. Mary Jo Foley has the scoop over at ZDNet once again, as the Redmon Giant hopes to take instant messaging to the next level, beyond basic chatting. According to her report, MS plans to use its 'Hailstorm' software to transform IM'ing into a multi-functional platform for Internet productivity, with access to e-mail, stock quotes, and calendar functions. The question remains though, as to what Microsoft will add to the picture that isn't already supported by AOL IM, and what will make it so much better. For more information read Mary Jo's article over at ZDNet.

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