David Worthington

Visa, Amex Cut Ties with CardSystems

In a first of its kind move, Visa USA and American Express Co. have dropped the hammer on an affiliated payment processor several months after its was revealed that a massive security breach exposed the records of millions of its cardholders.

CardSystems Solutions put the account information of approximately 40 million credit card holders at risk for fraud by mishandling data stored in its database. Customers' names, credit card numbers and expiration dates were revealed in the breach.

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Microsoft Issues Second 'Maestro' Beta

Microsoft has released a second beta of "Maestro," now formally known as Microsoft Office Business Scorecard Manager 2005.

Maestro is a server-based business performance management scorecard application that tightens integration between Office and backend software. It is branch off of Microsoft's Office Accelerator program, but dramatically increases Business Intelligence (BI) capabilities, the company says.

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Blinkx Uses RSS to Stream Video, Audio

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is already used to ferret out thousands of news sites and blogs everyday. Now, RSS has fanned out and is being used by blinkx to distribute multimedia from personalized feeds available at its TV Video Search.

Blinkx.TV is a rich media search engine that uses a series of proprietary technologies to locate, transcribe and index broadcasts. The user determines the content's topic and sources.

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MS to Beta Communicator Web Access

Microsoft is in search of customers to evaluate its upcoming Microsoft Office Communicator Web Access add-on to Live Communications Server 2005 (LCS). A beta is expected within the next 30 days.

Communicator Web Access, code-named Budapest, extends the full capabilities and presence of LCS to the Web for users that cannot install or easily access the Office Communicator client. Microsoft says that Budapest will be cross platform and compatible with most commonly used Web browsers.

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IBM Introduces New PC Cooling Tech

As the iron heats up, Big Blue is trying to keep it cool. IBM has introduced "Cool Blue," a datacenter cooling technology that it claims will reduce heat output in computer systems by up to 55 percent while driving energy costs down by as much as 15 percent.

Officially called the IBM eServer Rear Door Heat eXchanger, Cool Blue is filled with sealed tubes that circulate chilled water, removing what IBM claims is up to 50,000 BTU of heat from a full server rack on any brand server. There are no moving or electrical parts and units are mounted with standard fittings and couplings.

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Suit: Intel Sabotaged Compiler for AMD

Advanced Micro Devices is alleging that Intel sabotaged the performance of its CPUs by crafting a routine for its compiler to build programs along un-optimized -- and perhaps even dangerous -- code paths for AMD processors, all while optimizing performance for its own "Genuine Intel" chips.

The accusation was made within a brief filed in the United States District Court for The District Of Delaware as part of AMD's ongoing antitrust case against Intel.

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Nintendo to Game with Wireless Router

The Nintendo fanboys Nwizard.com have good news for DS and would-be Revolution owners that are bounded in the fact that they are not tech savvy: Nintendo is releasing an easy-to-use wireless router as an accessory to its gaming products.

Online gaming is set to play a big role in Nintendo's future. During the 2005 E3 trade show, it was announced that Nintendo would introduce free Wi-Fi Internet connectivity to jumpstart its online gaming initiative.

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Microsoft Testing New Hotmail Interface

Microsoft's MSN business unit is trying to hook customers onto "Kahuna." Kahuna is codename for an upcoming version of Hotmail that will sport a new style of interface, automatic inbox refreshing and a preview pane that will enable Hotmail users to read and respond to e-mail without ever leaving their inbox.

Microsoft has reason to be testing such additions: Many of these features are already out of testing and in production among its competitors.

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Yahoo Refreshes Firefox Toolbar

Just one day after Google launched its toolbar software for Firefox, Yahoo has brought rain to Google's parade, releasing a refreshed build of its own Firefox toolbar.

Yahoo's Firefox toolbar replicates many of the features it already offers customers using Microsoft's Internet Explorer Web browser such as an integrated search box, content discovery, a RSS subscription manager, protection against spyware and server-side preferences that can be recalled from any PC connected to the Internet.

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Microsoft Demos InfoPath Server

For a moment, Microsoft lifted the tarp that shrouds Office 12 in secrecy at its Worldwide Partner Conference on Friday. Microsoft information worker vice president Chris Capossela demonstrated what Microsoft Watch believes to be the upcoming InfoPath Forms Server.

During the demonstration, Capossela showed attendees how Office users can use the software to deliver server-based forms using a Web browser -- without a client being installed.

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Spyware Changing Web Surfers' Habits

With reports whirling about how unprotected PCs can be hijacked within minutes of coming online, it would be no wonder if computer users have modified their behavior. A study conducted by Pew Internet & American Life Project (PIP) found that nearly 91 percent of those surveyed have done just that.

The report revealed that approximately 93 million Internet users in the U.S., or 68 percent, have experienced computer problems within the past year that are consistent with malware.

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Microsoft Rings Up Money 2006

Microsoft's Money 2006 has hit the shelves, offering customers a comprehensive financial management suite that can do everything from balance their checkbook to paying their bills online.

This year's release takes into account tightening budgets with improved online banking, as well as better tracking so that users can keep tabs on their spending. At the same time, tools to decipher budgets, understand spending, and manage debt were improved over the previous release.

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Microsoft to Battle Oracle with CRM 3.0

After a nearly two year hiatus, Microsoft has leapt ahead to version 3.0 of its customer relationship management (CRM) software. Once work is completed, CRM 3.0 will replace the 1.6 release as Microsoft's front line solution to battle with more established vendors including Oracle, PeopleSoft, Siebel Systems and SAP for a more sizeable share of the market.

The most significant aspect of the release en route toward achieving that goal may be Microsoft's adoption of more on-demand services. Rather than rely solely on its partners to provide hosted CRM software as it had previously, Microsoft will roll out a subscription-style pricing model and provide its CRM tools to customers over the Web.

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Mainsoft Brings Visual Studio to Linux

Mainsoft has made it possible for Linux developers to use Microsoft's Visual Studio software to create Web applications for Linux.

Visual MainWin for J2EE Developer Edition, or Grasshopper, is a free .NET plug-in developed following a two-year collaboration with the Mono development community. Mono is an open source alternative to Microsoft's .NET platform. Mainsoft's Visual MainWin enterprise product suite also exposes Visual Studio to developers that use FormScape, Infogate Online and IBM Rational.

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AOL Pictures Goes Mobile

America Online is preparing mobile access to its AOL Pictures Web service. AOL Pictures stores photos remotely on AOL's servers, making them accessible from any device with access to AOL's services. The mobile service provides thumbnails of pictures stored online in addition to individual image downloads.

A beta version of the service provides SprintVision and Cingular MediaNet subscribers with mobile access to their AOL Pictures account via Web-enabled phones. Photos will be compressed for more efficient transport. An AOL spokesperson told BetaNews that it will make the service available to all major carriers upon its release.

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