Nokia files ITC patent complaint against Apple

Nokia fired the latest salvo in its ongoing patent dispute with Apple, saying Tuesday that it has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission charging that Apple infringes its patents "in virtually all of its mobile phones, portable music players and computers."

The complaint involves seven patents that Nokia says Apple is using to "create key features" in products related to the user interface and camera, antenna and power management technologies. Nokia wants the ITC to investigate its claims.

Nokia and Apple are already locked in a legal struggle that started in October when Nokia filed suit against Apple in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. Nokia, the world's largest mobile handset maker, alleged in that lawsuit that Apple infringed 10 of its patents related to wireless technologies used in the iPhone. Apple countersued earlier this month, charging that Nokia has infringed on 13 Apple patents.

"This action is about protecting the results of ... pioneering development" of "key technologies in small electronic devices," said Nokia's Paul Mellin, the general manager of patent licensing in a statement about the ITC complaint.

"While our litigation in Delaware is about Apple's attempt to free-ride on the back of Nokia investment in wireless standards, the ITC case filed today is about Apple's practice of building its business on Nokia's propriety innovation."

An Apple spokesman could not be reached for comment Tuesday morning, but when it filed the countersuit Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell said: "Other companies must compete with us by inventing their own technologies, not just by stealing ours."

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Psystar halts sales of Mac tool, will start selling Linux PCs

Mac clone maker Psystar last week indefinitely suspended sales of its only product, a $50 utility that lets customers install Apple's Snow Leopard operating system on generic Intel-based computers.

The company also said it would resume selling systems "in the coming days." Those machines will run Linux rather than Mac OS X.

Psystar, which began selling Mac clones in April 2008, has been battling Apple in federal court in California since July 2008, when Apple sued the Doral, Fla. firm, saying it violated copyright laws by preinstalling the Mac operating system on its machines.

Sales of Rebel EFI, which Psystar launched in October, have been "voluntarily suspended" while the company seeks clarification from the courts about whether the software is legal, Psystar said in a Dec. 22 statement. "Psystar feels it would be prudent to halt the sale of Rebel EFI while we explicitly ask the court for clarification on the legality of Rebel EFI."

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Rebel EFI has been Psystar's only product since early December, when the company halted sales of all hardware, including the Intel-based clones pre-loaded with Snow Leopard, and agreed to pay Apple approximately $2.7 million if it loses planned appeals of a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup.

On Dec. 15, Alsup issued an injunction that banned Psystar from selling Mac OS X-equipped computers, giving the small business until midnight Dec. 31 to comply. Although the injunction did not expressly include Rebel EFI, Alsup warned Psystar that at some point it could be held in contempt if it sold the software.

"Whether Rebel EFI violates the terms of the injunction set forth in this order is a factual issue more appropriate for a contempt action," Alsup said in his order two weeks ago. "[But] this order declines to 'bless' a product about which it knows little of substance ... and Psystar -- if it continues to do so -- sells Rebel EFI at its peril."

Previously, Psystar argued that Rebel EFI should not be liable to any injunction ordered by Alsup, and in a second lawsuit, has asked a south Florida federal court to rule on the software's legality.

Although Psystar took Alsup's warning seriously enough to pull Rebel EFI, it continued to trumpet its right to sell the utility. "We respectfully disagree with courts [sic] notion that we are 'hardcore copyright infringers,'" said Psystar on its Web site. "Psystar has never, and will never, condone software piracy. It's your software, you should be able to use it where you want to."

Apple, however, has argued in the Florida federal court of U.S. District Court Judge William Hoeveler that Rebel EFI is "simply a repackaged version of Psystar's circumvention technology" that has been barred by Alsup. Apple has asked Hoeveler to transfer the Florida lawsuit to Alsup's court.

Not surprisingly, Psystar sees things differently. "If you purchase an off-the-shelf copy of OS X Snow Leopard, its [sic] your right to use that software," said Psystar. "A publisher cannot forbid you from reading a book in the bathroom or listening to a music disc while riding your bicycle. There should be no difference in the software realm, no matter how much money Apple or anyone else throws at it."

Although Rebel EFI has been taken off the market, Psystar said customers who ordered a $15 tee-shirt, or donated $20 or more to the company would receive a free copy when the utility goes back on sale. The tee-shirt's front reads "I sued Psystar" while the reverse reads "...and all I got was a lousy injunction." The company has also asked for donations in $20, $50 and $100 amounts.

Psystar halts sales of Mac tool, will start selling Linux PCs

Psystar are now selling t-shirts at $15 each in support of the Mac clone company.

Assuming Alsup or Hoeveler give Rebel EFI a stamp of legality, Psystar plans to release multiple versions of the Snow Leopard installation tool, including ones tailored to specific PCs, such as Dell's discontinued Mini 9 netbook and Hewlett-Packard's Mini series of netbooks.

In the meantime, Psystar will soon resume PC sales. Unlike its previous machines, which could be ordered with Windows or Mac OS X, Psystar's new line will only offer Linux.

Clearly, the new computers will be aimed at customers who want to install Snow Leopard rather than actually use Linux. "In addition to using only first quality components, our hardware specifically chosen such that it is known to be compatible with OS X (via Apples [sic] own drivers or open source offerings online)," said Psystar. "This makes it easier to get up and running with your favorite XNU based operating system, including Pure Darwin."

XNU is the operating system kernel that Apple acquired from NeXT, a computer company owned by CEO Steve Jobs between his stints with Apple. Apple used the XNU kernel in Mac OS X.

Last week's statement was the clearest indication yet that Psystar, which once told potential investors it could sell as many as 12 million machines in 2011, will rely on Rebel EFI to drive any future business. By selling Linux PCs and Rebel EFI to customers, Psystar would shift responsibility for installing Mac OS X to its users.

Psystar has yet to file motions in either the California or Florida federal courts asking for clarification of Rebel EFI's legal status.

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Day 2: iTunes 12 Days Of Christmas - free festive fun with Alan Partridge Christmas show

Apple's iTunes 12 Days Of Christmas has started with a range of free festive treats from the iTunes Store.

Apple is offering a range of tunes, films, TV shows and applications across the 12 days of Christmas, starting on Boxing day and running all the way to Wednesday 6 January.

iTunes 12 Days Of Christmas - free festive fun with Alan Partridge Christmas show

Each will only be available to download for 24 hours.

Today's free download is classic Christmas comedy from Alan Partridge and Knowing Me, Knowing You. The timing is perfect as not only is it Christmas but Steve Coogan, aka Alan Partridge has just announced a big screen outing for the fictional television and radio presenter.

In Knowing Me, Knowing Yule, Alan presents a Christmas special from a replica of his own home.

Over 40 minutes of cringeworthy comedy is available now until midnight tonight.

Click here to download Knowing Me, Knowing Yule free from iTunes.

Come back tomorrow, to discover more free Apple downloads as part of the iTunes 12 Days Of Christmas promotion.

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Online retailer jumpstarts Intel's Core i3 chip launch

An online retailer is taking orders for a Hewlett-Packard laptop that includes Intel's latest Core i3 processor, providing details of the chip maker's next-generation laptop processor ahead of the product's official launch.

ECost, a U.S. online store, is taking orders for an HP Pavilion dv6-2157sb laptop with the Core i3-330m processor. The processor runs at a speed of 2.13GHz, according to the listing.

Online retailer jumpstarts Intels Core i3 chip launch

The laptop is priced at $919 and includes 4GB of DDR3 memory, a 320GB hard drive, wireless networking, a 15.6-inch screen and the Windows 7 OS.

Intel last week said it would officially release the next generation of laptop and desktop processors at the Consumer Electronics Show, which will be held in Las Vegas January 7-10. The chips will be available under the Core i3, i5 and i7 brands and will offer better application and graphics performance than Intel's existing Core 2 Duo processors.

The new chips integrate the CPU and graphics processor in a single package, which could improve graphics performance while drawing less power. The graphics chips will be able to play back full 1080p high-definition video and decode Blu-ray movies.

Better performance also comes from running more threads on each core for faster task execution. A dual-core Core i3 chip, for example, will be able to run four threads simultaneously, compared with two threads on existing dual-core Core 2 Duo processors. Intel's new Turbo Boost technology, featured in the i3, can ratchet up the speed of a processor core or even shut off a core when not needed to save power.

An Intel spokesman declined to comment on the laptop listing. HP did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Earlier, a Canadian retailer, A-Power, listed the Core i3-530 chip for desktops running at 2.9GHz. That listing has been pulled off the Web site. The dual-core chip included 512KB of L2 cache and 4MB of L3 cache.

The new chips are part of Intel's Westmere architecture and will be manufactured using the latest 32-nanometer process. Intel's existing chips are made using a 45-nm process.

Westmere is based on the same micro-architecture underpinnings as existing Nehalem chips, which are made using the 45-nm process. Nehalem chips include Core i5, Core i7 desktop and Xeon 5500 server chips.

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Countdown to Christmas: Track Father Christmas with Google & NORAD

Web users will be able to track Father Christmas' progress tonight on the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad)'s dedicated website in 3D without having to download Google Earth.

Norad has been working with Google since 2004 to allow web users to monitor Santa's progress as he delivers presents on Christmas Eve.

However, this year Google revealed that the dedicated NORAD website will feature a Google Earth plug-in, instead of using the Google Earth client.

"As a result, you'll be able to follow Santa in Google Earth's immersive, 3D environment directly within your web browser," said Brian McClendon, VP engineering and Bruno Bowden, senior software engineer in a blog.

Track Father Christmas with Google & NORAD

"We thought hard about the different ways we could improve the Santa tracker and after a year of planning, we think this year's will be the best one yet."

Google said that, just like last year, web users will also be able to track Santa's progress from their mobile phone by visiting a dedicated mobile site, and an even see updates on his progress by following NORAD on Twitter.

Last year more than eight million people tracked Santa on Christmas Eve.

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DigiTimes: 5-megapixel Apple iPhone coming in 2010

A report from DigiTimes suggests the next generation Apple iPhone will come equipped with an improved 5-megapixel camera.

OmniVision Technologies is expected to see CMOS image sensor (CIS) orders for Apple's iPhone devices grow to 40-45 million units in 2010 from 20-21 million estimated this year, according to industry sources cited by DigiTimes.

5-megapixel Apple iPhone coming in 2010

Those figures include 5-megapixel CIS orders for the next-generation iPhone model according to those sources.

OmniVision currently supplies the 3.2-megapixel CIS found in the iPhone 3GS.

The next generation iPhone is predicted to be available possibly by June next year claims several Mac rumour sites.

MacRumors, once again claims evidence of an new iPhone and iPhone OS 4.0 being tested.

One iPhone developer has noted a single instance of iPhone OS 4.0 being used in their Pinch Media analytics MacRumors reports.

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DDoS attack on DNS hits Amazon and others briefly

Internet users in Northern California were unable to reach properties including and Amazon Web Services for a time Wednesday evening, as their DNS provider was targeted by a distributed denial-of-service attack. The attack came as North American consumers rushed to finish online shopping ahead of the end-of-year holiday season.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) was the first to signal something was amiss. Its status page indicates that at 5:43 p.m. Pacific Time on Wednesday its staff was investigating reports of DNS (Domain Name System) resolution errors from customers trying to reach its S3 cloud storage service. The problem persisted until 6:38 p.m. Pacific Time, but in the meantime the S3 service continued to operate, AWS said.

However, staff at Neustar, the owner of Amazon's DNS provider UltraDNS, was aware of the problem around an hour earlier, at 4:45 p.m. Pacific Time.

"At 7:45 p.m. Eastern Time we noticed an abnormal spike in queries and immediately identified it as a DDoS attack," said Allen Goldberg, vice president of corporate communications at Neustar, in an email.

The company was able to analyze the attack pattern and take steps to limit its effects within minutes of identifying the problem, he said.

"We had everything under control well under an hour. The attack was limited to Northern California Internet users," he said.

Other AWS cloud services in North America experienced similar problems, including the Virginia and Northern California data centers hosting EC2, the Elastic Compute Cloud. The company's SimpleDB and Simple Queue Service servers, and all AWS servers in Ireland, were unaffected by the DNS problem.

The outage affected the e-commerce servers of parent company too, and many others: "Tons of sites are offline," wrote Jeff Barr, Amazon Web Services strategist, in a Twitter message.

Others reported that sites including Second Life were also experiencing problems.

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Apple issues Final Cut Studio (2009): FAQ

Apple has issued an Final Cut Studio (2009): FAQ support document covering a range of frequently asked questions.

Released in July 2009, Final Cut Studio, a professional video and audio production suite for Mac OS X, includes a range of new features and enhancements.

The Apple document, Article: HT3979, last modified on 22 December can be found here.

(Visit our sister site MacVideo for in-depth details and analysis regarding all the new features found in Final Cut Studio.)

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China blames online games for drugs, murder, teen pregnancy

China's state news channel has blamed hugely popular online games for problems including drug addiction, teen pregnancy and even murder this month as regulators crack down on allegedly harmful content in games.

In a program titled "Confession of a Murderer - Focus on Pornography and Violence in Online Games (Part Two)," China Central Television (CCTV) on Thursday reported on a Beijing juvenile prison where one man was serving a life sentence for murders he committed to obtain virtual equipment in an online game. Up to 80 percent of the violent criminals in the prison turned to crime because of online games, the report said.

"He himself killed five people, and the reason he took the path to crime was addiction to violent online games," it said.

The program follows other CCTV reports this month that have blamed social ills on online games and given voice to concerns among some Chinese parents that excessive time spent on games and social-networking sites is interfering with their children's schoolwork.

The reports, which also come amid a wide-reaching government campaign against Internet pornography, show how erratic political conditions can threaten companies operating in China.

Chinese regulators this year have shut down dozens of online game designed overseas and ordered developers to stop including "lowbrow" content like monster-hunting in games.

A struggle between government agencies for the right to regulate online games has further roiled the industry and helped send the hit game World of Warcraft offline for three months earlier this year.

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Chinese state media have long criticized online games. The last installment of the CCTV series told the story of a 14-year-old girl purportedly influenced by an online dancing game to start having sex with people she met online. The game, called "Audition," was said to encourage one-night stands and the girl to have had two abortions.

CCTV this month also aired a report on teenagers who became addicted to cough medicine and then drugs like methamphetamine as a way to keep their energy up during all-night gaming marathons. The boys were said to spend their time in Internet cafes, which are often filled with chain-smoking young men using instant-messaging programs and playing online games.

China has the largest number of Internet users in any country with at least 338 million people online. Over 210 million of those people play online games, according to a government survey

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Ndrive intros free NRadar safety camera warnings iPhone app

iPhone developer Ndrive has announced NRadar, a new safety camera warning application for iPhone.

The free application is available in the UK, France, Italy, Poland, and Iberia via the Apple Store.

NRadar combines several functions to create a robust product unlike any other safety camera application insists the company.

NRadar features include.

● Offers voices of real people that tell you to reduce the speed, so you do not even need to look at the screen, like a normal turn by turn application● Allows settings for Fixed radars, mobile and lights● Setup warning based on sounds, shake and flashing● Setup up your preferred distance for warnings● Retrieve updates for the safety camera database whenever you like for free● Create your own safety camera database easily, allowing you to manage creation, editing, and removal of user-generated information as you like● See multiple warnings at the same time● Know from where they will come from checking the screen● Allows iPod music at the same time with music fade out and fade in● Uses advanced Bluetooth with your car, so it can override the music with the warnings

Available from the Apple iTunes App Store, NRadar requires the iPhone 3.1.2 Software Update or later.

Ndrive intros free NRadar safety camera warnings iPhone app

NDrive Navigation Systems is a Portuguese company that began developing navigation software in 2005. More recently the company has turned its focus to making GPS programs for mobiles including the iPhone, Symbian, Windows Mobile and Android platforms.

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FT: January announcement on fabled Apple Tablet

According to the Financial Times newspaper, Apple's long-rumoured tablet could be available sooner than later following an announcement next month.

The FT, in a report linking Apple with TV content providers Disney and CBS, claims Steve Jobs and co will make an announcement in January.

January announcement on fabled Apple Tablet

"Apple is preparing an announcement next month that many anticipate will be the official unveiling of its tablet, but the company has so far declined to confirm the existence of the device. Wall Street analysts expect mass production of an Apple tablet to begin as early as February," the FT reports claims.

Apple has no plans to appear at next year's Macworld Conference and Expo or 2010 International CES trade show, so any announcement would be a one-off event. Based on previous form, Apple prefers to announce products that are available to buy or order online. Although due to FCC licensing restrictions Apple revealed the iPhone six months before launch.

Rumours have persisted that the Mac maker has been working on a large iPod touch device with extended computing functionality for some time now.

An extensive Macworld Apple Tablet FAQ can be found here.

Apple posts Xsan 2.2.1 FileSystem update for Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6MySpace Music platform launches today

Apple posts Xsan 2.2.1 FileSystem update for Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6

Apple has issued Xsan updates for Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6.

The Xsan 2.2.1 update is recommended for all systems running Xsan 2.2 says Apple.

The update includes general file system fixes, as well as specific fixes for file system reliability and cvfsck repair utility.

Apple posts Xsan 2.2.1 FileSystem update for Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6

The Mac OS X - 10.5 update for Mac OS X Server - 10.5 can be downloaded here.

The Mac OS X - 10.6 update for Mac OS X Server - 10.6 can be downloaded here.

Apple also released Xsan Uninstaller 2.2.1 for Mac OS X - 10.5, 10.6 and Mac OS X Server - 10.5, 10.6.

This uninstaller is for Xsan version 1.4.2 through 2.2 on Mac OS X or Mac OS X Server versions 10.4 through 10.6 and can be downloaded here.

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In-Stat: Handhelds grab larger share of hotspot traffic

Hotspot usage from handheld devices is growing fast, thanks to the increasing popularity of products equipped with Wi-Fi, according to a report from market research company In-Stat.

This year, Wi-Fi hotspot usage will increase by 47 per cent, and handheld devices will account for 35 per cent of those connections, compared to 20 per cent in 2008, according to In-Stat. By 2011, they will account for half of the connections, it said.

The trend is crystal clear, according to Magnus Ahlstrm, Nordic marketing director at European hotspot operator The Cloud. However, growth has been faster in the British isles than in other parts of Europe, such as Germany, where The Cloud and its mobile operator partners are offering services.

Mobile phone operators in the U.K. have been more open to using Wi-Fi to offload their 3G networks than operators in other countries, Ahlstrm said.

Mobile operators can take a lot of the credit for the increase in traffic from handheld devices, according to In-Stat: their bundling of access to hotspots with mobile plans has made hotspots more popular, In-Stat said.

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Making Wi-Fi hotspots easier to use, including automatically connecting users, has also been key to getting more users to access the Internet via hotspots, according to Ahlstrm.

The iPhone has been a trailblazer when it comes to making it easier to connect to hotspots. Other smartphone vendors, including Nokia, still have some work to do, Ahlstrm said.

The traffic growth won't come just from smartphones. Wi-Fi-equipped cameras, gaming devices and personal media players are becoming more popular. Shipments of Wi-Fi-enabled devices will increase from about 109 million in 2009 to 177 million in 2013, according to In-Stat.

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Vodafone: Apple's iPhone ready for business

Apple's latest partner in the UK Vodafone, insists the iPhone is more than ready for business customers.

Vodafone has been actively promoting the device as an useful tool for business and not simply a lifestyle choice for those who like to play with applications, surf the Internet and listen to music.

Vodafone’s head of enterprise Peter Kelly spoke with IT Pro.

"It has been directly positioned and sold heavily into the consumer marketplace, no question. But, I think that the iPhone now is absolutely ready for a much deeper penetration into the enterprise space."

Kelly claimed the iPhone had not previously been presented well to the business community, and had lacked vital business tools and applications that would enhance the user experience.

Vodafone’s head of enterprise highlighted location-based services, collaboration for enterprise, CRM applications, field force applications as useful business tools now making an impact on the Apple iTunes App Store.

"What Vodafone is looking to do, working closely with Apple, is show how they can be integrated into the back office for the enterprise."

The full IT Pro interview can be found here.

Earlier this week, Vodafone said they will start selling Apple's iPhone as early as Thursday 14 January next year, the fourth operator in the UK to do so.

Apple has been promoting the iPhone as a business tool for some time.

Apples iPhone ready for business

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CES: LG Display develops thinnest-yet LCD TV panel

Today, Monday 21st December is the last last order date for guaranteed free next-day delivery to the UK mainland for a range of Apple MacBook, iPhone and iPod accessories from Knomo.

Each bag and accessory is crafted in luxurious quality materials promises the company and has Samuel L. Jackson as one of several celebrity fans.

Prices start from around 20 for a iPod nano case rising to over 200 for a bag. More details can be found at

For those who like to brave the crowds of Christmas shoppers a list of Knomo retail outlets is available at

CES: LG Display develops thinnest-yet LCD TV panel

Countdown to Christmas: Knomo accessories for MacBook, iPhone, iPod

Countdown to Christmas: Knomo accessories for MacBook, iPhone, iPod

Today, Monday 21st December is the last last order date for guaranteed free next-day delivery to the UK mainland for a range of Apple MacBook, iPhone and iPod accessories from Knomo.

Each bag and accessory is crafted in luxurious quality materials promises the company and has Samuel L. Jackson as one of several celebrity fans.

Prices start from around 20 for a iPod nano case rising to over 200 for a bag. More details can be found at

For those who like to brave the crowds of Christmas shoppers a list of Knomo retail outlets is available at

Countdown to Christmas: Knomo accessories for MacBook, iPhone, iPod

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Apple issues Mail Services Update 1.0 for Mac OS X Server v10.6.2

Apple has posted an Mail Services Update for systems running Mac OS X 10.6.2 Server.

According to Apple's notes: "This update addresses issues affecting overall mail service reliability and performance."

Apple issues Mail Services Update 1.0 for Mac OS X Server v10.6.2

"The update is recommended for all servers running Snow Leopard Server version 10.6.2."

The 20.6MB download is available here, along with Apple's built-in Software Update mechanism.

Apple notes a third option, the software update can be installed on a remote server via Server Admin or the softwareupdate command-line utility.

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Hackers take Twitter offline, blame placed on Iranian Cyber Army

Microblogging site Twitter went offline for a while Friday after hackers calling themselves the Iranian Cyber Army apparently managed to change DNS records, redirecting traffic to another Web page.

Instead of the usual Twitter Web site design, visitors to the site instead saw a black screen with an image of a green flag and Arabic writing. The defaced site also included a message that said, "This site has been hacked by Iranian Cyber Army," and an email address.

Hackers take Twitter offline, blame placed on Iranian Cyber Army

Whether or not Iranian hackers are responsible for the attack wasn't immediately clear. However, Twitter and other Internet sites have been used by Iranian opposition groups and protestors to share details of anti-government protests in that country.

Twitter blamed the outage on changes made to the company's DNS (Domain Name System) records, which match the company's domain name with the IP addresses of its servers.

"Twitter's DNS records were temporarily compromised but have now been fixed. We are looking into the underlying cause and will update with more information soon," Twitter said on its Twitter Status page.

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Based on Twitter's account of the attack, it's possible that the company's servers were never compromised. The actual attack may have instead targeted Dyn, the DNS service provider that manages Twitter's DNS records, according to whois records.

While the outage left Twitter users cut off from the service for about an hour, the type of attack wasn't serious, according to Dhillon Andrew Kannabhiran , founder and CEO of Hack In The Box, a Malaysian company that runs security conferences in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

"Yawn, is my comment. It was a simple defacement. So what?" Kannabhiran said.

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Adobe offers up Camera Raw 5.6, Lightroom 2.6 updates

Adobe's photography tools, Camera Raw and Lightroom have been updated to versions 5.6 and 2.6 respectively.

Available for both Mac and Windows, the updates adds new camera support for the following models according to the Jack Nack on Adobe blog post.

Canon EOS 7DCanon PowerShot G11Canon PowerShot S90Leaf Aptus II 5Mamiya DM22, DM28, DM33, DM56, M18, M22, M31Nikon D3sOlympus E-P2Pentax K-xPanasonic FZ38Sigma DP1sSony A500Sony A550Sony A850

According to the Adobe release notes the Camera Raw 5.6 and Lightroom 2.6 updates provides a fix for an issue affecting PowerPC customers using the final Lightroom 2.5, Camera Raw 5.5 and DNG Converter 5.5 updates on the Mac.

The issue, introduced in the demosaic change to address sensors with unequal green response, has the potential to create artifacts in highlight areas when processing raw files from Sony, Olympus, Panasonic and various medium format digital camera backs according to Adobe's notes.

The updates also include improved camera profiles for the Leica M9 and Ricoh GXR.

Adobe adds, the Lightroom 3 beta has not been updated with this new camera support. "If you're working with one of these newer cameras and the Lightroom 3 beta, please use the DNG Converter 5.6 to convert proprietary formats to DNG files that can be used in the Lightroom 3 beta," Adobe adds.

The Camera Raw update for Mac and Windows and Lightroom update for Mac and Windows are available now.

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Apple's iPhone beats Microsoft's Windows Mobile in US market share

Apple's iPhone has taken second spot in US market share, ahead of Microsoft's Windows Mobile but behind RIM's BlackBerry smartphone in top spot, according to new research.

The latest report from marketing research company comScore, estimated the BlackBerry has around 40 per cent share of the US smartphone market, while the iPhone has around 25 per cent.

Thursday's report from comScore found that in the three months ending October 2009, Apple's iPhone had nearly 9 million US users, compared with the almost 15 million users whose preference is for RIM's Blackberry smartphone. The report suggested around 7.1 million currently are running Microsoft Windows Mobile based phones.

In the three months ending in July 2009, Apple and Microsoft based smartphones were neck and neck, with a user base of 6.63 million and 6.66 million, respectively.

Reports on Thursday noted the iPhone has actually been outselling Windows Mobile devices in the US for nearly two years.

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Earlier this week, Microsoft revealed that Windows Mobile 7 - the next version of its smartphone OS - is unlikely to be released until "late 2010".

Phil Moore, UK head of mobility at Microsoft confirmed the OS has "been put back until late next year but it is definitely coming". Originally slated for a 2009 release, Windows Mobile 7 is thought to include iPhone-like touch gestures.

Apples iPhone beats Microsofts Windows Mobile in US market share

ComScore also found US consumer awareness of Google’s Android is growing rapidly, due in large part to a popular Verizon Droid ad campaign.

"While iPhone continues to set the bar with its App Store and passionate user base, and RIM remains the leader among the business set, Android is clearly gaining momentum among developers and consumers," said Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president of mobile.

Although Android’s share of the smartphone market is relatively small, it has quickly doubled in the past year to 3.5 per cent in October 2009, comScore noted.

"With handsets on multiple carriers, from multiple manufacturers, and numerous Android device models expected to be in the US market by January, the Android platform is rapidly shaking up the smartphone market," Mark Donovan added.

Users of both Apple and Android-supported devices were more likely to engage with mobile media than an average smartphone user according to the report with 94 per cent of iPhone users doing so in September 2009, with 92 per cent of Android device users interacting with mobile media in the same month.

News browsing via the Internet was popular on both platforms, although Apple iPhone users took the lead when it came to using email, with 87 per cent of iPhone users checking mail compared to 63 per cent of Android phone users.

ComScore estimated around 36 million Americans own a smartphone, with approximately 196 million making do with a traditional mobile phone. ComScore provides marketing data and services to many of the Internet's largest businesses.

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Mirror follows Guardian with paid iPhone apps in new year

The Mirror newspaper is to follow The Guardian's lead earlier this week and offer a selection of paid applications for iPhone and iPod touch. and, a showbiz gossip site, will launch paid applications in the new year. However, planned applications offering digital versions of the Daily Mirror and Scotland's Daily Record will be free.

“There are over one million iPhones in use in the UK at the moment and now that the handset is available across a number of network operators the number of subscribers will increase so this is the perfect time for Trinity Mirror’s portfolio of apps to hit the market," said Rick Gleave, Head of Interactive and Mobile at Trinity Mirror.

“Brands have demonstrated that it is possible to successfully position themselves in both the mobile internet market and applications market and benefit from both."

More Trinity Mirror applications are planned for 2010. The company has a portfolio of five national newspapers, over 120 regional newspapers and 400 plus digital products.

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Earlier this week, The Guardian launched a paid mobile version of the newspapers website.

The Guardian application costs 2.39 and becomes one of the first news applications that users must pay for. The The newspaper hasn't ruled out the possibility of charging for extra functionality at some point in the future.

The Guardian iPhone application offers topic-based search, the ability to download and read content without internet connection using the 'offline reading' option and the opportunity to personalise your home screen.

Available from the Apple iTunes App Store, The Guardian costs 2.39 and requires the iPhone 3.0 Software Update.

Guardian puts value on news with £2.39 iPhone appMadness to headline Camp Bestival

Countdown to Christmas: MacUpdate $49.99/£30 Christmas bundle

The popular MacUpdate is delivering 11 Acclaimed Mac applications for $49.99. around 30, 85 per cent off the usual price.

Included in the 2009 Holiday Bundle are:

• PathFinder 5.5 ($39.95) - Powerful, award-winning Finder alternative. PathFinder combines the best features of Mac OS X's Finder with powerful additions to make browsing and managing your Mac better.

• Socialite ($20.00) - Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Digg, Google Reader… Socialite covers all your social networking bases.

• Yep 2 ($39.00) - Scan, store, tag, organize, and manage all the documents on your Mac.

• Speed Download ($25.00) - Versatile download manager and accelerator. Manage and accelerate all of your downloads; FTP, file sharing, WEBDAV support and more.

• Radio Gaga ($39.99) - Internet radio multi-recorder with 10,000+ stations. Never run out of music with Radio Gaga; listen and record from thousands of choices.

• GarageSale ($34.99) - Create outstanding eBay auctions. Includes a free upgrade to version 6, arriving next year.

• iRip ($19.00) - Copy songs from your iPod to Mac. The most trusted music transfer ripper in the world with over 5 million downloads.

• DragThing ($29.00) - Tidy up your desktop with this versatile launcher. Macworld's Jason Snell calls DragThing, "one of my favourite Mac utilities of all time."

• HealthNut ($19.00) - Easily track your calories and nutrients. Keep your New Year's Resolution with this new tool for logging what you eat and learning your nutrient intake.

• PCalc 3.5 ($19.00) - Fully featured scientific calculator. The standard against which all other scientific calculators are measured.

• Machinarium ($19.95) - Award-winning puzzle/adventure game. Challenge your brain and stimulate your senses with this one-of-a-kind adventure.

The MacUpdate Holiday Bundle is available for $49.99 until Wednesday 23 December 2009, exclusively at

Additional applications and other bonuses may be available on a limited basis during the bundle.

MacUpdate $49.99/£30 Christmas bundle

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ustwo launches the Dot 2, 48-hour game for iPhone, iPod touch

Creative studio ustwo™ has released a new game for iPhone and iPod touch in ..™ (or the Dot 2™) – the sequel to the .™ (the Dot™). Both applications took 48 hours to create, as part of a series of 48 hour games planned by the team.

In ..™, the player is a white dot whose existence is dependent on eating the blue dots (FOOD) whilst avoiding the red triangles (DEATH).

Game play manifests itself in a 3D world with a rolling landscape, which speeds the white dot through its quest for survival. See how long you can survive says ustwo™.

ustwo™ has created a demo site so you can try the ..™ for free.

The full game however, uses the iPhone's accelerometer - which promises to adds another dimension to the game.

Available from the Apple iTunes App Store, ..™ costs 59p and requires the iPhone 3.0 Software Update.

A detailed Macworld profile of ustwo™ can be found here.

ustwo launches the Dot 2, 48-hour game for iPhone, iPod touch

Rolling Stones to go on new world tourMicrosoft intros Bing app for iPhone, iPod touch

Microsoft intros Bing app for iPhone, iPod touch

Those who want a little less Google on their iPhones will now be able to put a lot more Bing on their handsets.

Microsoft has released a Bing iPhone app for immediate release via Apple's App Store to give iPhone users a Google alternative.

Like Google's Mobile app, the Bing application is a free App Store download, and acts as a gateway to Bing's Web search and other services.

It maintains the Bing Web site's look and feel, with text laid atop a colourful background image, but using simplified menu options for navigation.

Microsoft intros Bing app for iPhone, iPod touch

Users are able to get turn-by-turn directions with Bing Maps, along with traffic information. The focus is on local results in other areas as well, with movie listings, weather and local businesses. Omitted from the app's home page is Bing Shopping. It's not clear whether Streetside, a feature of the Bing Maps Beta akin to Google's Street View, will make the leap.

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Of course, the app can be used to search the Web, read the news, and look up recent and favorite searches. Matching Google's app, Bing also lets users search the Web by voice.

Other features include the ability to open multiple tabs within the Bing application, pushpins for saving locations and multiple locations shown on a single map.

iPhone Becomes a Bit Less Google-centric

Much of the iPhone experience remains dominated by Google. It's the default search engine for the iPhone's default browser - Safari. Google Maps powers locations and directions for the iPhone and YouTube provides entertainment. As it stands, the iPhone limits the default search engine to either Google or Yahoo.

Bing loyalists have been forced to type in to conduct a Bing search.

For some time Microsoft has tried to muscle onto the iPhone. In August Microsoft app developers made it possible for third-party iPhone app developers to integrate Bing into their offerings by providing a software developers kit (SDK).

That would allow app developers to create iPhone application that searched Bing for Web information, images, videos, news and phonebook results. A Bing Mobile app is already available for Blackberry, Windows Mobile, BREW and Sidekick phones.

Available from the Apple iTunes App Store, Bing is free and requires the iPhone 3.0 Software Update.

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New Designers 2010 graduate design showcase dates announced

The dates have been announced for New Designers 2010, a prestigious showcase for design graduates from across the UK.

In 2010 New Designers will have been running for 25 successful years insist the organisers.

Held at the Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, London N1 0QH, organisers have confirmed the following dates.

PART 1: 1-4 July 2010 – Textiles; Fashion & Accessories; contemporary Applied Arts; Ceramics & Glass; Jewellery & Precious Metalwork.

PART 2: 8-11 July 2010 – Product Design; Furniture; Visual Communications (including Graphic Design & Illustration; Spatial Design.

New Designers 2010 graduate design showcase dates announced

The industry acclaimed New Designer Award and VIP Previews take place on the evenings of Wednesday 30 June and Wednesday 7 July 2010.

The satellite event within New Designers - One Year On showcases a specially selected group of some small companies and individual designer-makers whose work has matured and progressed in the first year in business.

"New Designers is the freshest and most vibrant show of its kind bringing together the very best in UK graduates design, showcasing the work, energy and talent of the next generation of designers. In this economic climate, young designers are not property for anyone wishing to bring fresh blood into their businesses," said the show’s director Isobel Dennis announcing the dates.

"Their creativity and transferable skills are crucial. New Designers’ committed and forward thinking supporters recognise and value their association with an event that continues to introduce creative and smart thinking talent into the workplace."

Further details will be available over the forthcoming months at .

Fightstar February datesEU accepts Microsoft’s commitments to offer browser choice (Updated)

EU accepts Microsoft's commitments to offer browser choice (Updated)

Microsoft's promise to allow Windows users to choose which Internet browser they use has been accepted by the European Commission, ending its antitrust investigation of the company's position in the browser market.

The company will offer users of Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 a choice screen through which they can pick the browsers they want to install on their PC.

EU accepts Microsofts commitments to offer browser choice (Updated)

The screen will be offered to users in the European Union and some neighboring countries for the next five years via the Windows Update mechanism. In addition, PC manufacturers will be allowed to ship computers with competing Web browsers, as well as or instead of Internet Explorer.

To eliminate bias, the choice screen is presented as a neutral window, not a full Internet Explorer window as Microsoft initially proposed, and the browsers are presented in random, rather than alphabetical, order. The five most popular browsers - initially Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Opera - will be displayed first, while users will be able to scroll the list to pick from seven others, initially AOL, Maxthon, K-Meleon, Flock, Avant Browser, Sleipnir and Slim Browser. The list will be reviewed every six months.

The Commission informed Microsoft of its objections to the company's practice of tying Internet Explorer to its Windows operating systems on 15 January.

By exploiting its dominant position in the operating system market, Microsoft prevented other software browsers from competing on their merits. The new choice screen will enable such competition, the Commission said on Wednesday.

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"We hope this closes a long chapter in a sometimes uneasy relationship with the Commission, and we hope it opens a new one," Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said at a news conference in Brussels.

Now that the Commission has accepted Microsoft's proposal, it becomes legally binding. If Microsoft fails to deliver, it could face a fine of up to 10 percent of its worldwide turnover, under E.U. antitrust law. The Commission will review the situation regularly to ensure that the choice screen is achieve the desired result, and may require Microsoft to make changes, it said.

Microsoft has also made some concessions on another complaint filed with the Commission, regarding the information it provides to third-party software developers to enable them to develop products interoperable with those of Microsoft.

Without such information, it is difficult for other companies to develop software that collaborates with, or competes with, Microsoft products such as Office or SharePoint.

The Commission has not yet sent a statement of objections, or formal accusation, to Microsoft regarding the interoperability complaint, so the legal process has not begun, and Microsoft's concessions on this point are not legally binding.

Kroes hopes to make a decision "as early in 2010 as possible" either to drop that case or to file a statement of objections, she said Wednesday.

(With additional reporting by Paul Meller in Brussels.)

Guardian puts value on news with £2.39 iPhone appMySpace Music platform launches today

GrooveMaker Rock Ace by Skunk Anansie guitarist comes to iPhone

iPhone developer IK Multimedia has announced the release of the first artist created GrooveMaker application for iPhone and iPod touch.

GrooveMaker Rock Ace by Skunk Anansie's guitarist Ace, offers users a chance to create music from a series of loops.

GrooveMaker Rock Ace by Skunk Anansie guitarist comes to iPhone

Having sold upwards of 5 million records, Skunk Anansie recently reformed to promote the Smashes and Trashes best of album.

"Anyone can now create and share non-stop metal and rock tracks for DJing, remixing, multimedia and movie soundtrack compositions on the go, in real-time, just like a professional DJ or rock producer," runs the GrooveMaker Rock Ace blurb.

According to the IK Multimedia, GrooveMaker Rock Ace offers:

- Instantaneous control over 8 stereo loop tracks- Play, mix and randomise loops on the fly- Combine studio-quality loops to produce millions of possible grooves- Manipulate loops in real time (pan, volume, mute, solo, group, tempo)- Arrange grooves easily with drag and drop to create full-length tracks- Save, preview and recall you mixed tracks- Upload your tracks as hi-quality .WAV file to your Mac/PC via Wi-fi- Interactive Help allows quick learning simply by following the indicated steps

Included sound features include:

- Massive loop library of drums, bass, guitars chords/riffs/solos/pads/effects, percussion- Rock, Metal style- 5 included songs + 1 freesong when you register- 315 loops- 85, 95, 97,110,130 BPM- 280 MB of samples

Available from the Apple iTunes App Store, GrooveMaker Rock Ace costs 5.99 and requires the iPhone 2.2.1 Software Update.

Guardian puts value on news with £2.39 iPhone appRolling Stones to go on new world tour

Rage Against the Machine web searches surge in X-Factor showdown

An internet campaign that aims to get 'Killing in the Name Of' by Rage Against the Machine (RATM) to the Christmas Number One in place of The X Factor winner Joe McElderry, may succeed, says Hitwise.

According to the web metrics firm, last week Searches for the term 'rage against the machine' increased by almost 600 percent, and accounted for slightly more (0.0001 percent) more searches than the term 'joe mcelderry'.

"Add in the fact that 'Killing in the Name Of' is currently sitting atop the iTunes chart, and it looks like a distinct possibility," said Hitwise.

Rage Against the Machine web searches surge in X-Factor showdown

RATM on iTunes.

The internet campaign is being heavily supported by social networkers on Facebook and Twitter.

However, McElderry's version of the Miley Cyrus hit The Climb was available to download as soon as the show ended last night.

Whether RATM will be able to maintain their position as the most downloaded single this will remain to be seen.

MySpace Music platform launches todayGuardian puts value on news with £2.39 iPhone app

Picture of Google's experimental handset appears on Twitter

A picture of an experimental Android handset given out to Google employees had blogs buzzing over the weekend amid signs that the company could offer a Google-branded smartphone next year.

The picture of the touchscreen phone, carried on sites including TechCrunch and Engadget, was posted online by Twitter user Cory O'Brien.

O'Brien offered a few observations about the phone, which appears to be an upcoming HTC handset called Passion. He noted that the handset is the same size as Apple's iPhone but has a screen that is roughly 5 millimeters longer.

News of the new Android handset spread quickly on Saturday, after Google announced in a blog post that its employees were testing a new Android handset.

On Sunday, The Wall Street Journal reported Google plans to sell an Android-based phone called Nexus One directly to consumers starting next year. The phone will be sold online, it said.

The report did not say whether the handset distributed to Google employees is the same handset that will be sold under the company's brand.

Picture of Googles experimental handset appears on Twitter

Guardian puts value on news with £2.39 iPhone appThe Spice Girls musical will be called ‘Viva Forever’

Guardian puts value on news with £2.39 iPhone app

The Guardian newspaper has launched an iPhone application which offers a range of features to help readers stay in touch with content.

Formatted for iPhone and iPod touch, The Guardian costs 2.39 and becomes one of the first news applications that users must pay for.

Developed internally along with mobile agency 2Ergo, The Guardian hasn't ruled out the possibility of charging for extra functionality at some point in the future.

The newspaper also hopes to add video content in the near future.

The iPhone application offers topic-based search, the ability to download and read content without internet connection using the 'offline reading' option and the opportunity to personalise your home screen.

According to The Guardian, the application will check for the latest content every time it is opened or after every 15 minutes of use.

Available from the Apple iTunes App Store, The Guardian costs 2.39 and requires the iPhone 3.0 Software Update.

Around half the visitors to The Guardian's dedicated mobile site - - do so via Apple's handsets.

Earlier this month, The Telegraph newspaper launched a new and improved version of its news application, which is offered free.

The update offers readers a chance to share stories or pictures via email, Twitter or Facebook access video reports and picture galleries.

Madness to headline Camp Bestival

BlueBeat says Beatles songs are its own creations

Recently Macworld wrote about BlueBeat, a Web site that was not only selling MP3 downloads of The Beatless (something the Fab Four doesn’t yet allow, although you will be able to buy an apple-shaped USB drive with the remastered catalog soon), but also selling music in general for the cut-rate price of 25 cents or 15p a track.

Something seemed fishy.

A few days later, EMI—the record company that controls the Beatles’ music — and others filed a lawsuit against BlueBeat for copyright infringement and asked for a temporary restraining order (TRO).

And that’s where things get really weird.

As Ars Technica reports, Media Rights Technologies (MRT), the company behind BlueBeat, has a very reasonable explanation for why what it’s doing is legal.

You see, according to MRT’s co-founder and CEO Hank Risan, the songs BlueBeat is selling are in fact his original creations.

How’s that, you wonder? Apparently Risan told the RIAA’s general counsel Steven Marks that he authored the songs using “psycho-acoustic simulation” so they are new recordings and not subject to copyright restrictions. Well, that explains everything.

In its response in opposition to the TRO, BlueBeat’s lawyers claim that the Website is “entirely lawful and does not constitute piracy” and that the plaintiffs are not likely to succeed.

Also, the plaintiffs are well aware that the defendants “developed a series of entirely new and original sounds that it allows the general public to purchase” and that “copyright protection does not extend to the independant fixation of sounds other than those conatained in their copyrighted recordings.”

Uh huh.

Even if BlueBeat could somehow convince a judge that it’s completely legit—and that isn’t going to happen, mind you—there’s still the fact that the company doesn’t actually tell you that you’re not buying the originals.

The Abbey Road album page, for example, lists the artist, album title, track titles, record label, and release date—you would reasonably assume that’s what you’re buying. So at the very least, BlueBeat is misleading users into believing they are buying something that’s not actually for sale.

Oh yeah, and the Website’s FAQs say, “our mp3s are fully-licensed audio-visual works and pays all applicable royalties,” yet at the bottom of every page it reads, “All audio-visual works copyright BlueBeat.”

So which is it? BlueBeat pays royalties or it owns everything it sells? Seems like if its own Web site is so schizophrenic, there’s not much chance of convincing anyone else that it deserves to survive.

BlueBeat says Beatles songs are its own creations

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No EMI, no iTunes but Beatles back catalogue available online from 15pLady Gaga to release The Fame Monster

Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom sign final agreement to combine T-Mobile UK and Orange UK

Two months after first announcing plans, Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom have signed a final agreement to combine T-Mobile UK and Orange UK operations.

"Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom have committed themselves to a long-term partnership with this joint venture contract," Telekom's finance chief Timotheus Hoettges said in a press release. The companies won't be able to implement any changes until the joint venture secures regulatory approval sometime in 2010.

"We hope that we can close the deal and implement the joint venture by the middle of next year," T-Mobile UK Managing Director Richard Moat told Dow Jones Newswires.

Both brands, Orange and T-Mobile will remain separate for at least 18 months before any decision is made on combining the two. The UK merger should see T-Mobile also offering Apple's iPhone at some stage. Orange starts selling the smartphone from next week, Tuesday 10th November.

T-Mobile's Moat confirmed Deutsche Telekom is talking to Apple about selling the iPhone in countries that it doesn't already offer the smartphone. Deutsche Telekom have rights to the iPhone in Germany, Hungary, Croatia and the Netherlands.

The pair predict 4 billion euros savings through the joint venture.

Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom sign final agreement to combine T-Mobile UK and Orange UK

T-Mobile hops to follow Orange in selling the iconic iPhone.

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Two thirds claim Spotify stops them illegally downloading

Nearly two thirds of UK Internet users that illegally download music online said Swedish music streaming service Spotify has encouraged them to reduce their illegal file-sharing activities, says

Research by the comparison site revealed that 12 percent of Brits have illegally downloaded files online in the past month, while men prove to be bigger offenders than women with 16 percent of men illegally downloading compared to just nine percent of women. also said that that younger generations were more likely to offen with just under a third of under 20s claiming to illegally file-share.

James Parker, broadband manager at, said: "With Spotify joining the ranks of legal music sites, illegal downloading seems set to become much less popular".

"Streaming music for free or for a reasonable fee while on the move could spell the end for illegal downloading and could even send the CD the way of the mini-disc and cassette tape."

Spotify allows users to create a playlist of songs they want to hear from its catalogue. They can also create 'collaborative' playlists, which are assigned their own web addresses, and can then be added to by other Spotify listeners.

The tracks are broadcast in a style similar to commercial radio, in that they are peppered with adverts.

However, for 99p, Spotify users can purchase a whole day of ad-free listening, or alternatively pay a 10 monthly subscription and never hear an advert again.

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75% of surfers say no cutting off illegal downloadersBT Digital Music Awards return in 2010

Developer finds major coding errors in Facebook, MySpace

Social-networking sites MySpace and Facebook have apparently fixed coding errors that could have allowed an attacker access to all of their users' data and photos.

The simple coding errors are alarming considering the extent to which social networks have gone to reassure their users that their data will be safe. The problem involved the way those sites handle requests for data from other domains, known as the "cross-domain policy."

Sites such as MySpace and Facebook typically block other domains from requesting and receiving data for privacy reasons, except for their own vetted subdomains.

Facebook disallowed access from other applications on its main domain, but a developer in the Netherlands, Yvo Schaap, found that Facebook would allow data to be given out from one of its subdomains.

Developer finds major coding errors in Facebook, MySpace

Yvo Schaap discovered the Facebook issues.

Since the subdomain also hosted all of Facebook's data, it would be possible to steal data by luring a victim to a URL with a Flash application rigged to grab the data if the victim had their auto-login enabled, which most people do, according to Schaap's blog.

A "more invasive and hidden exploit could harvest all the user's personal photos, data and messages to a central server without any trace, and there is no reason why this wouldn't be happening already with both Facebook and MySpace data," Schaap wrote on his blog.

He also found the problem on MySpace, which allowed a domain called "" to access data. A Flash application could be uploaded to that site, which would then be allowed access to the data if a victim visited a malicious URL.

A look at Facebook's latest crossdomain.xml file shows that the bug appears to have been fixed. MySpace also appears to have taken "" out of its cross-domain list.

Facebook and MySpace could not be immediately reached for comment.

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Mubaloo offers £5,000 iPhone business app in new competition

Mubaloo, a company who creates and develops applications for smartphones including the iPhone, is offering one business the opportunity to have free iPhone application, to the value of 5,000 developed in a new competition.

The competition in association with Real Business, asks businesses to come up with an idea for a useful business application in 200 words or less.

The competition launched today, runs until 11th December.

The competition is free to enter and full details are available here.

A detailed Macworld Mubaloo profile is available here.

Mubaloo offers £5,000 iPhone business app in new competition

Mubaloo create and develop business applications on the iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Microsoft and Palm Pre handsets including Fuel Prices UK.

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Official: Apple confirms 100,000 iTunes App Store apps

Apple has officially confirmed reports from last week and announced today that the iTunes App Store now has 100,000 applications available for download.

iPhone and iPod touch customers in 77 countries can choose from an range of applications in 20 categories, including games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel Apple says.

"The App Store, now with over 100,000 applications available, is clearly a major differentiator for millions of iPhone and iPod touch customers around the world," said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing.

"The iPhone SDK created the first great platform for mobile applications and our customers are loving all of the amazing apps our developers are creating."

"The App Store has forever changed the mobile gaming industry and continues to improve," said Travis Boatman, vice president of Worldwide Studios, EA Mobile in an Apple press release.

"With a global reach of over 50 million iPhone and iPod touch users, the App Store has allowed us to develop high quality EA games that have been a huge success with customers."

"With 10,000 downloads a day, worldwide customer response to our I Am T-Pain App has exceeded our wildest expectations," said Jeff Smith, CEO of Smule. "The App Store has given us a unique opportunity to create and grow a very successful business, and we’re looking forward to an exciting future."

iTunes App Store users have so far downloaded well over two billion applications Apple added.

Apple confirms 100,000 iTunes App Store apps

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iPhonky intros Gangster Rocco for iPhone, iPod touch

New iPhone developers iPhonky have announced Gangster Rocco for iPhone and iPod touch.

The game promises fun addictive gaming with the ability to pit mice against cats.

Gangster Rocco has three lives and gamers must survive over five levels in the game, each level difficulty increasing in terms of more mouse traps and stronger cats as you venture on.

Gamers need to tilt iPhones and iPods left or right to avoid the cats mouse traps, at the same time collecting the red cheese and yellow cheese for more points.

Available from the Apple iTunes App Store, Gangster Rocco costs 59p and requires the iPhone 2.2.1 Software Update or later.

A recent iPhonky Macworld profile is available here.

iPhonky intros Gangster Rocco for iPhone, iPod touch

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No EMI, no iTunes but Beatles back catalogue available online from 15p

Those hoping for a Beatles on iTunes announcement at Apple's September music themed rock and roll event had to make do with Norah Jones, the antithesis of rock and roll.

Last week Santa Cruz, California-based website began selling The Beatles back catalogue without EMI's permission, with individual tracks, including 2009 Remasters, available for just 15p or 25 cents.

The MP3s are encoded at a lossy 160 Kbps, while the file's song information tags list "2009" as the copyright holder.

Over 500 Beatles tracks are available on the site, ranging from the remastered albums to the 1996 Anthology collections.

It is known that EMI has investigated launching The Beatles' back catalogue digitally, perhaps from a dedicated website, although those plans appear still to be on hold.

Earlier this year on the eve of Apple introducing new iPods, John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono claimed surviving Beatles plus spouses had signed a deal with Apple and iTunes although that proved premature at best.

Ex-Beatle and multi-millionaire Sir Paul McCartney has previously expressed piracy concerns should The Beatles ever be made available digitally online. "If one [EMI] employee decides to take it home and wap it on to the internet, we would have the right to say, ‘Now you recompense us for that.’ And they’re scared of that," McCartney told The Observer newspaper.

No EMI, no iTunes but Beatles back catalogue available online from 15p

Beatles piracy is of course not new. Self-styled electronics wizard and one time Beatles associate Magic Alex, aka Yanni Alexis Mardas, looked at ways back in the late 1960's, on the Fab Four's behalf, to prevent people taping vinyl records and recording songs from the radio.

"He [Mardas] had an idea to stop people taping our records off the radio – you’d have to have a decoder to get the signal, and then we thought we could sell the time and put commercials on instead. We brought EMI and Capitol in from America to look at it, but they weren’t interested at all," Ringo Starr said in The Beatles Anthology book.

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50p per month broadband tax will see 100,000 homes going without claims TalkTalk

According to TalkTalk CEO Charles Dunstone, the UK's proposed 50p broadband tax will force 100,000 low income households to give up their broadband lines.

The tax is expected to start in 2010 and last for seven years, raising about 1 billion. It's designed to help fund the roll-out of superfast broadband access, but Dunstone says the increased availability of high-speed internet will come at a cost.

50p per month broadband tax will see 100,000 homes going without claims TalkTalk

"This is an unjust and regressive tax on all phone customers which will subsidise mostly richer rural households that can afford high priced super fast broadband services," said Dunstone.

"We estimate that the increase in price will mean that over 100,000 mostly low income homes will be forced to give up their broadband lines. This is wholly inconsistent with the government's plans to tackle digital exclusion by increasing uptake and use of broadband," he added.

TalkTalk's director of strategy and regulation, Andrew Heaney, is due to give evidence to a Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) Committee later today to outline the company's concerns.

Hearney is expected to express concerns to the BIS Committee that the government has avoided proper public debate on the issue by including the levy in the Finance Bill which traditionally is not consulted on.

TalkTalk believes that investment in the UK's broadband infrastructure should be focused on delivering essential basic internet access, rather than developing premium services that favour the private sector.

"Crucially the scheme is likely to delay next generation broadband roll-out in rural areas rather than hasten it as private investors will wait for public funds to be made available. This will mean that much of the tax will be wasted investing in networks that the private sector would have built themselves anyway," said Dunstone.

"When broadband first started people said the networks would only reach 60 per cent of the population. The private sector, unaided, actually got to 99 per cent coverage, far further than in most other countries. We now need to let the private sector drive next generation broadband as far as it can. Public funding at this stage - in what appears to be an effort to ‘keep up with the Joneses in Korea, Singapore and the Netherlands - is simply going to waste customers' money and slow down roll-out."

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DOOM Classic comes to iPhone, iPod touch

id Software has released DOOM Classic for iPhone and iPod touch.

The acclaimed first person shooter, which helped define the genre, and sees gamers play as a space marine stationed on the planet Mars, battling to prevent an invasion of earth.

DOOM Classic includes the original three episodes as well as Episode Four, Thy Flesh Consumed, spread across 36 levels.

In DOOM Classic, multiplayer action is reborn insists id Software. With a wireless connection, gamers can battle up to four players in Deathmatch mode, or work together cooperatively and fight back against the demons of Hell.

Gamers can also choose from three different control types and customise the interface.

Available from the Apple iTunes App Store, DOOM Classic costs 3.99 and requires the iPhone 2.0 Software Update or later.

DOOM Classic comes to iPhone, iPod touch

For more than 15 years, id Software, an independent game developer, has been creating some of the most popular and critically acclaimed games in the industry.

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UK police smooth over rift with Internet registry

UK police have apologised over a recent public presentation that linked a nonprofit Internet registry with money laundering by a notorious group of Russian cybercriminal gangsters.

The brouhaha started during a presentation by Andy Auld, head of intelligence of the e-crime department for the UK's Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA), and Keith Mularski, supervisory special agent with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation's Cyber Division, at the RSA security conference on Oct. 21.

UK police smooth over rift with Internet registry

The seasoned cybercriminal investigators were describing the Russian Business Network (RBN), a well-known group linked to malicious software, hacking, child pornography and spam.

RBN showed how organized cybercrime had become: to support its activities, RBN received an IP (Internet protocol) address allocation so it could essentially act as its own ISP (Internet Service Provider). Those IP addresses were allocated by RIPE Network Coordination Center, which is one of five Regional Internet Registries (RIR) responsible for assigning IP address blocks to ISPs and other network providers.

In 2006, RIPE allocated addresses to a fake company registered in the UK that was a front for the RBN. RIPE contends it was duped and that at the time, it was impossible to tell that the front company wasn't legitimate. After repeated contact with law enforcement, RIPE eventually pulled RBN's IP allocation in May 2008.

Criminal funds

While describing law enforcement efforts to fight RBN and other cybercriminals, Auld singled out RIPE and the other four RIRs as points where criminal activity can be put under pressure. Since RIPE was paid by RBN for IP addresses, RIPE "was receiving criminal funds," Auld said.

That essentially made RIPE part of a money laundering operation, Auld said, adding the caveat that law enforcement didn't treat the situation that way. Nonetheless, Auld's comment ruffled RIPE's feathers.

"They apologised to us immediately when we called," said Axel Pawlik, RIPE's managing director, on Thursday. Pawlik said he has also met SOCA officials this week in Seoul at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) conference.

Pawlik said RIPE, which is based in Amsterdam, can revoke IP allocations if a company violates its guidelines or based on a Dutch court decision. RIPE has rarely banned companies, Pawlik said.

RIPE does take measure to vet new applicants, but in the case of RBN, "it's quite difficult to find those people if they are hidden behind those shell companies and fake fronts," Pawlik said.

RBN - believed to be based around St. Petersburg, Russia - also had the local police, the judiciary and government agencies "firmly in its pocket," Auld said. "The local police were unable to get anywhere near the group," he said.

After RIPE kicked off RBN, the group quickly tried to reconstitute its network, but law enforcement was able to interfere with it. Nonetheless, it is believed that those behind the RBN are back at it, albeit under a slightly different business model, Auld said.

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First Look: Apple TV 3.0 update

The Apple TV is a strange beast. Steve Jobs famously referred to his company's media-playback box as “a hobby.” In early 2008 Apple released a major software update, Apple TV 2.0, that revamped its interface and added movie rentals to the mix. Yet in a world increasingly full of Internet-connected TV boxes, Apple’s “hobby” has remained strangely static.

Thursday’s release of Apple TV 3.0 software doesn’t do a lot to change that, but for the unknown number of people who have bought an Apple TV box over the past two and a half years, it seems to be a pleasant improvement that addresses some lingering interface issues while adding whole new levels of mystery about exactly what (if anything) Apple is going to do with the product.

Revamped main menu

The highlight of the Apple TV 3.0 software update is its revamped main menu. Gone is the two-column grid introduced as a part of Apple TV “take two.” Instead, there’s a new interface that takes full advantage of widescreen TVs.

Spread out across the screen is a row with seven columns which forms the backbone of the new menu system: Movies, TV Shows, Music, Podcasts, Photos, Internet, and Settings. Clicking right or left determines which one of the columns is highlighted.

When an item in that row is selected, the Apple TV displays a column of menu items beneath it. Spatially, this layout seems to makes a lot more sense than the old Apple TV menu.

Apple TV 3.0 update

Apple TV 3.0 main interface.

Within the individual stacks of menu options, Apple has addressed the interface feature of Apple TV 2.0 that I disliked the most: the placement of all iTunes Store-related items at the top, with the menu item containing your own media placed all the way at the bottom.

Now your media—movies, TV shows, music, and more—can always be found behind the top item of each column. It makes the whole experience feel a bit friendlier and a bit less like the entire device was created as a vehicle for Apple to sell you more stuff.

bove the menu items, in the top third of the screen, is a strip of tiles similar to the ones used in Apple TV 2.0’s iTunes Store interface. But even here, Apple’s has showed restraint when it comes to commerce. The first few items of the strip all feature your content—unwatched movies or TV shows, Genius mixes and recently-added albums (as well as the currently playing track, if there is one), unplayed podcasts, photos, and the like.

For some media types, such as movies and TV shows, there’s also integration with the iTunes store: keep moving to the right, past your recently unwatched movies, and you’ll find top movies on iTunes. But it’s handled with the right emphasis. More than that, the appearance of the media tiles atop the menu items makes the entire main menu seem more vibrant and interesting.

(Font fans will be happy to know that the Apple TV interface is now drawn with famous, comforting, star-of-a-major-motion-picture Helvetica. It looks nice. Even non-font geeks may notice, though they won’t be able to put their finger on just what’s different. However, one of our editors reported that the lighter-weight font causes flickering on his older HDTV set.)

NEXT: Apple’s new packages

Continued... 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | NEXT >

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Sony announces better-than-expected results

Despite losing money on the back of lower sales during its fiscal second quarter, Sony said business was better than it had expected and has cut full-year loss forecasts as a result.

Sales during the quarter, the period from July to September, were down 20 percent on the same period last year at 1.7 trillion ($18 billion) and net losses were 26 billion, it said Friday. Last year during the same period it recorded a net profit of 21 billion.

More than half the losses were due to the strong Japanese yen, said Nobuyuki Oneda, Sony's chief financial officer, at a Tokyo news conference. The strong yen reduces the value of sales and profits made overseas and makes Sony's products less competitive overseas.

Sales were down due to the global recession, which started during the October to December quarter last year. The company blamed the drop into loss on restructuring charges, poor results at its mobile phone joint venture Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications and other affiliates, and the effects of the strong Japanese yen.

Of Sony's IT-related business groups, its consumer division was the only one to make a profit, although the 9 billion recorded was 87 percent down on last year. Sales in the division fell 36 percent led, by a decline in revenue from Bravia LCD TVs. During the quarter it sold 3.3 million of the TVs compared to 3.7 million in the same period last year. Sony put the lower sales down to price competition, primarily in the U.S. and Europe.

Weaker demand for Cybershot digital cameras, which sold 5.2 million units during the quarter against 5.7 million a year earlier, also pushed down sales. Video camera sales were 1.3 million units, down from 1.5 million.

Sony announces better-than-expected results

The network division, which includes Sony's PC and game console business, saw sales drop 24 percent and losses extend to 59 billion. Despite the launch of a new version of the PlayStation 3 console, overall game sales decreased due to lower sales of the PlayStation 2.

PlayStation 3 sales jumped from 2.4 million units to 3.2 million units, while PlayStation 2 sales fell from 2.5 million units a year ago to 1.9 million during the quarter. The PlayStation 2 is Sony's previous-generation console but still sees demand because of the large number of games available and its low price.

Despite lower unit sales, Sony didn't downgrade full-year sales forecasts for any of its key products. Most were kept unchanged although it raised its DVD player sales target from 9 milllion to 11 million units and its Walkman digital music player target from 6.7 million units to 7 million.

"Because operating profit significantly improved on our expectations we have revised up our forecast," said Oneda.

Sony now expects full-year losses to hit 95 billion, down from its July forecast of 120 billion. It left its sales forecast of 7.3 trillion unchanged. However the company cut its research and development budget for the current year by 8 percent to 460 billion. Sony will also reduce capital expenditure by 25 percent as previously announced.

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