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Skyfire Browser For Smartphones

SkyfireSkyfire, a start-up company, has spent the last 18 months to develop a new proprietary technology that now delivers web content to mobile phones at a speed that matches computer browsing. This revelation was made at the DEMO 08 conference. Skyfire’s CEO Bhandari claims that Skyfire’s success can be attributed to the development of a unique efficient protocol that their servers transcode every web page into on the fly. It is these pages, transcoded into a phone format, that allow users to view and transact online like they do on their broadband PCs.

Until the development of special browsers, mobile browsing has brought substandard WAP pages, second-rate versions of websites, persistent error messages, slow rendering of of images, and very unreliable transactions. The release of Skyfire not only addresses these pain points in the mobile online experience, but is certain to catapult mobile usage into mainstream in one step.

Click here to read more

U2 Challenges Internet Providers

u2s BonoThe world famous band U2‘s advocacy on fairness is echoed not only by its four members, but by its manager as well. Paul McGuinness, U2′s manager for the past thirty years, challenged Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to take up the cudgels against freeloaders who get their music fix from illegal downloads. He called for immediate disconnection policies and added that governments should prod the ISPs as well.

bono paul mcguinness.jpgMonday’s MIDEM conference saw McGuinness lying bare “what has gone wrong with the music business”. His speech assigned blame on three parties: record companies that “allowed an entire collection of digital industries to arise that enabled the consumer to steal with impunity the very recorded music that had previously been paid for”, Silicon Valley corporations that produced gadgets that enabled ripping content from records, and governments that removed blame from ISPs, should illegal transactions occur during their watch.

McGuinness emphasized that the three involved needed to responsibly work hand-in-glove to stop the illegal pilfering and peddling of legitimate music. ISPs, in particular, should “protect the music” and “make a genuine effort to share the enormous revenues (with the artists)”.

McGuinness added that “ISPs have the power to change all this pretty much overnight,” noting the ability of ISPs to stop illegal file swiping through tougher disconnection clauses.

[Editor's Note: Perhaps the Record Industry needs to look to themselves first. Their pricing models are totally out of line with their product. If CDs sold for $3.00 instead of $17-$25, there would be little or no incentive. If pricing is fair, most consumers will buy. Just look at the movie industry - it costs $200,000,000.00 to make a decent movie now, yet the DVD mostly sells for about $15. It's all about value. Something Tiger has understood for 20 years!]

Contributor: Arne Galang, TigerDirect Correspondent

Source: ZDnet

Related Links: CD & DVD Burners @ TigerDirect.com

Home Security 2.0

alert-me.jpgMcGuinnessReport February 1st, 2008

Have you ever left the house and wondered to yourself if you’ve locked the back door, shut the ground floor windows or have forgotten to turn off the stove? It can really bug you all day long unless of course you’ve got a friendly neighbor who can take a peek to check up on things for you. But if you live alone or if everyone in your household is usually out during the day, having someone or something to keep you posted on the status of your home can ease your worries and improve home security. AlertMe.com of the United Kingdom has come up with a complete package that monitors your house as well as the occupants inside.

The kit known as AlertMe is a home monitoring system that keeps in contact with you wherever you go and can send you alerts via SMS or email. You can even view activity notes from your own website. If anything happens to your home while you’re away, it can immediately alert you or another family member.

Each kit comes with everything you need to start securing your home.

  • Hub x 1
  • Keyfob x 3
  • Motion Sensor x 2
  • Door/Window Sensor x 3
  • Lamp x 1
  • Alarm Detector x 2
  • Customizable Button x 1
  • Additional accessories such as extra Keyfobs can be added to the package.

    The entire kit works together to keep tabs on everything. The Hub monitors your home and continuously updates the AlertMe servers. Any alerts from the Hub are sent to you via SMS or email. Motion and Door/Window Sensors detect movement and the Alarm Detector monitors your preinstalled smoke, carbon monoxide or freezer sensors. The Lamp is a Wi-Fi signal booster for larger houses and displays the status of your home. The Button and Keyfob can activate the alarm with the Keyfob acting as a proximity sensor to let you know if the owner of that set of house keys has arrived.

    Installing the AlertMe kit is really easy. You may be thinking that with all the included accessories, you’d have to call an specialist to wire up everything. With secure Wi-Fi as the communication protocol between the sensors and Hub, no wiring is needed. With no wires all you have to do is install the sensors and hub and you’re all set. Peace of mind and ease of use go hand-in-hand with AlertMe.

    AlertMe is an easy to use home monitoring system that is compatible with sensors you may already have in your home. It monitors booth the premises as well as the occupants. Concentrate on your day ahead as AlertMe will do the worrying for you.

    Contributor: Norbert John C. Emata, TigerDirect Correspondent

    Source: AlertMe.com

    Related Links: Security Products @ TigerDirect.com

    Microsoft Proposes Acquisition of Yahoo! for $31 per Share

    msyahoo_logos.jpgFebruary 1, 2008: The proposed transaction would valued at approximately $44.6 billion in cash and stock, and provide 62 percent premium to current trading price for Yahoo! shareholders. The combined entity would create a more competitive company while providing superior value to shareholders and better choice and innovation for customers and partners. View the related PowerPoint presentation (.ppt file, 2.3 mb)

    The Official Microsoft Press Release:

    REDMOND, Wash. — Feb. 1, 2008 — Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) today announced that it has made a proposal to the Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) Board of Directors to acquire all the outstanding shares of Yahoo! common stock for per share consideration of $31 representing a total equity value of approximately $44.6 billion. Microsoft’s proposal would allow the Yahoo! shareholders to elect to receive cash or a fixed number of shares of Microsoft common stock, with the total consideration payable to Yahoo! shareholders consisting of one-half cash and one-half Microsoft common stock. The offer represents a 62 percent premium above the closing price of Yahoo! common stock on Jan. 31, 2008.

    “We have great respect for Yahoo!, and together we can offer an increasingly exciting set of solutions for consumers, publishers and advertisers while becoming better positioned to compete in the online services market,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “We believe our combination will deliver superior value to our respective shareholders and better choice and innovation to our customers and industry partners.”

    “Our lives, our businesses, and even our society have been progressively transformed by the Web, and Yahoo! has played a pioneering role by building compelling, high-scale services and infrastructure,” said Ray Ozzie, chief software architect at Microsoft. “The combination of these two great teams would enable us to jointly deliver a broad range of new experiences to our customers that neither of us would have achieved on our own.”

    The online advertising market is growing at a very fast pace, from over $40 billion in 2007 to nearly $80 billion by 2010. The resulting benefits of scale along with the associated capital costs for advertising platform providers make this a time of industry consolidation and convergence. Today this market is increasingly dominated by one player. Together, Microsoft and Yahoo! can offer a competitive choice while better fulfilling the needs of customers and partners.

    “The combined assets and strong services focus of these two companies will enable us to achieve scale economics while reaching R&D critical mass to deliver innovation breakthroughs,” said Kevin Johnson, president of the Platforms & Services Division of Microsoft. “The industry will be well served by having more than one strong player, offering more value and real choice to advertisers, publishers and consumers.”

    The combination will create a more efficient company with synergies in four areas: scale economics driven by audience critical mass and increased value for advertisers; combined engineering talent to accelerate innovation; operational efficiencies through elimination of redundant cost; and the ability to innovate in emerging user experiences such as video and mobile. Microsoft believes these four areas will generate at least $1 billion in annual synergy for the combined entity.

    Microsoft has developed a plan and process that will include the employees of both companies to focus on the integration of the combined business. Microsoft intends to offer significant retention packages to Yahoo! engineers, key leaders and employees across all disciplines.

    Microsoft believes this proposed combination would receive all necessary regulatory approvals and expects that the proposed transaction would be completed in the second half of calendar year 2008.

    Microsoft is also committed to working closely with Yahoo! management and its Board of Directors as they, along with Yahoo! shareholders, evaluate this compelling proposal.

    Below is the text of the letter that Microsoft sent to Yahoo!’s Board of Directors:

    January 31, 2008

    Board of Directors
    Yahoo! Inc.
    701 First Avenue
    Sunnyvale, CA 94089
    Attention: Roy Bostock, Chairman
    Attention: Jerry Yang, Chief Executive Officer

    Dear Members of the Board:

    I am writing on behalf of the Board of Directors of Microsoft to make a proposal for a business combination of Microsoft and Yahoo!. Under our proposal, Microsoft would acquire all of the outstanding shares of Yahoo! common stock for per share consideration of $31 based on Microsoft’s closing share price on January 31, 2008, payable in the form of $31 in cash or 0.9509 of a share of Microsoft common stock. Microsoft would provide each Yahoo! shareholder with the ability to choose whether to receive the consideration in cash or Microsoft common stock, subject to pro-ration so that in the aggregate one-half of the Yahoo! common shares will be exchanged for shares of Microsoft common stock and one-half of the Yahoo! common shares will be converted into the right to receive cash. Our proposal is not subject to any financing condition.

    Our proposal represents a 62% premium above the closing price of Yahoo! common stock of $19.18 on January 31, 2008. The implied premium for the operating assets of the company clearly is considerably greater when adjusted for the minority, non-controlled assets and cash. By whatever financial measure you use – EBITDA, free cash flow, operating cash flow, net income, or analyst target prices – this proposal represents a compelling value realization event for your shareholders.

    We believe that Microsoft common stock represents a very attractive investment opportunity for Yahoo!’s shareholders. Microsoft has generated revenue growth of 15%, earnings growth of 26%, and a return on equity of 35% on average for the last three years. Microsoft’s share price has generated shareholder returns of 8% during the last one year period and 28% during the last three year period, significantly outperforming the S&P 500. It is our view that Microsoft has significant potential upside given the continued solid growth in our core businesses, the recent launch of Windows Vista, and other strategic initiatives.

    Microsoft’s consistent belief has been that the combination of Microsoft and Yahoo! clearly represents the best way to deliver maximum value to our respective shareholders, as well as create a more efficient and competitive company that would provide greater value and service to our customers. In late 2006 and early 2007, we jointly explored a broad range of ways in which our two companies might work together. These discussions were based on a vision that the online businesses of Microsoft and Yahoo! should be aligned in some way to create a more effective competitor in the online marketplace. We discussed a number of alternatives ranging from commercial partnerships to a merger proposal, which you rejected. While a commercial partnership may have made sense at one time, Microsoft believes that the only alternative now is the combination of Microsoft and Yahoo! that we are proposing.

    In February 2007, I received a letter from your Chairman indicating the view of the Yahoo! Board that “now is not the right time from the perspective of our shareholders to enter into discussions regarding an acquisition transaction.” According to that letter, the principal reason for this view was the Yahoo! Board’s confidence in the “potential upside” if management successfully executed on a reformulated strategy based on certain operational initiatives, such as Project Panama, and a significant organizational realignment. A year has gone by, and the competitive situation has not improved.

    While online advertising growth continues, there are significant benefits of scale in advertising platform economics, in capital costs for search index build-out, and in research and development, making this a time of industry consolidation and convergence. Today, the market is increasingly dominated by one player who is consolidating its dominance through acquisition. Together, Microsoft and Yahoo! can offer a credible alternative for consumers, advertisers, and publishers. Synergies of this combination fall into four areas:

    Scale economics: This combination enables synergies related to scale economics of the advertising platform where today there is only one competitor at scale. This includes synergies across both search and non-search related advertising that will strengthen the value proposition to both advertisers and publishers. Additionally, the combination allows us to consolidate capital spending.

    Expanded R&D capacity: The combined talent of our engineering resources can be focused on R&D priorities such as a single search index and single advertising platform. Together we can unleash new levels of innovation, delivering enhanced user experiences, breakthroughs in search, and new advertising platform capabilities. Many of these breakthroughs are a function of an engineering scale that today neither of our companies has on its own.

    Operational efficiencies: Eliminating redundant infrastructure and duplicative operating costs will improve the financial performance of the combined entity.

    Emerging user experiences: Our combined ability to focus engineering resources that drive innovation in emerging scenarios such as video, mobile services, online commerce, social media, and social platforms is greatly enhanced.

    We would value the opportunity to further discuss with you how to optimize the integration of our respective businesses to create a leading global technology company with exceptional display and search advertising capabilities. You should also be aware that we intend to offer significant retention packages to your engineers, key leaders and employees across all disciplines.

    We have dedicated considerable time and resources to an analysis of a potential transaction and are confident that the combination will receive all necessary regulatory approvals. We look forward to discussing this with you, and both our internal legal team and outside counsel are available to meet with your counsel at their earliest convenience.

    Our proposal is subject to the negotiation of a definitive merger agreement and our having the opportunity to conduct certain limited and confirmatory due diligence. In addition, because a portion of the aggregate merger consideration would consist of Microsoft common stock, we would provide Yahoo! the opportunity to conduct appropriate limited due diligence with respect to Microsoft. We are prepared to deliver a draft merger agreement to you and begin discussions immediately.

    In light of the significance of this proposal to your shareholders and ours, as well as the potential for selective disclosures, our intention is to publicly release the text of this letter tomorrow morning.

    Due to the importance of these discussions and the value represented by our proposal, we expect the Yahoo! Board to engage in a full review of our proposal. My leadership team and I would be happy to make ourselves available to meet with you and your Board at your earliest convenience. Depending on the nature of your response, Microsoft reserves the right to pursue all necessary steps to ensure that Yahoo!’s shareholders are provided with the opportunity to realize the value inherent in our proposal.

    We believe this proposal represents a unique opportunity to create significant value for Yahoo!’s shareholders and employees, and the combined company will be better positioned to provide an enhanced value proposition to users and advertisers. We hope that you and your Board share our enthusiasm, and we look forward to a prompt and favorable reply.

    Sincerely yours,

    /s/ Steven A. Ballmer
    Steven A. Ballmer
    Chief Executive Officer
    Microsoft Corporation

    Source: Microsoft

    Related Links:

  • Microsoft
  • Microsoft Products @ TigerDirect.com
  • Take The Internet To New Places With Nokia N800

    Nokia N800The Nokia N800 Internet Tablet exemplifies the epitome of technology, style and portability. The N800 easily connects to the Internet via Wi-Fi or compatible cellular phone. Enjoy the Internet on a portable size tablet with a high-resolution widescreen display in the palm of your hand. Effortlessly make Internet Phone calls, check & send e-mail, instant message and so much more with the Nokia N800. You can also access Internet media at home or on-the-go with the Nokia N800′s high quality stereo audio.

    The Nokia N800 NSeries Internet Tablet frees you from your desk and bulky laptop and places the World Wide Web and much more in the palm of your hand. The N800 is the ideal tool if you’re always on-the-go and need to stay connected. Once you use the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet, you’ll never leave home without it. Order your Nokia N800 Internet Tablet today!

    For those that say that there are better solutions, consider this:

  • 1. Price: The Nokia N800: is now below $300 ($229.99 right now! @ TigerDirect).
  • 2. Open Source: The Nokia N800 is a Linux device based on a modified version of Debian GNU/Linux that they call “Internet Tablet OS 2007 edition”. Nokia created the open source development platform for the 770 and N800. They’ve worked hard to encourage developers to port applications to this platform. You can find more info at www.maemo.org.
  • 3. Third Party Applications: Nokia strongly encourages 3rd party developers to make software for their N800 and 770 products, and most (if not all) of it is free on the Maemo site.
  • 4. No Service Contract Needed: With the Nokia N800, you can access the internet via Wi-Fi or with a Bluetooth enabled mobile phone. This allows you the freedom to use the mobile provider of your choosing.
  • 5. Removable Storage: The Nokia N800 has two memory slots that support a range of memory cards (SD, miniSD, microSD, MMC and RS-MMC). This allows you to keep one card in the device for a more permanent storage solution, and still have a slot available for cards from your camera or other device. With the falling price of memory cards, you could have several cards with music and videos tucked away in the carrying case that comes with the N800.
  • 6. Better Audio and Video Codec Support: The N800 supports a wide range of audio and video formats. Supported audio formats are AAC, AMR, MP2, MP3, RA (Real Audio), WAV, WMA. You can play videos in the following formats: 3GP, AVI, H.263, MPEG-1, MPEG-4, RV (Real Video), and Flash Video (YouTube!). That covers just about anything you’d ever want to play on a media device. You can even stream audio and video from networked computers!
  • 7. It’s Not a Cell Phone But You Can Still Make Calls: The N800 is not a cell phone, but because of its web-access you can run Internet-based phone applications. The N800 can be used to for making VoIP calls via Gizmo and GoogleTalk. Skype support is coming in the second quarter of 2007. This means that you can make cheap (or even free) calls anytime you are connected to a Wi-Fi network. With WiFi becoming more prevalent every day, this means you’ll soon be able to use your N800 to make calls from just about anywhere.
  • 8. Webcam for Video Conferencing: The N800 also has a built in webcam and supports video conferencing! How great would that be for your next conference call? StarWars-like video calls are not sci-fi for this device.
  • Source: Nokia

    Related Links: Nokia N800 @ TigerDirect.com

    Waste-O-Meter

    wasteometer.PNGIn a century where people start losing their social skills and the trend is to turn everything into online businesses, Waste-O-Meter is the scale that measures your PC/Internet “weight”. I bet your time is a precious thing, who’s isn’t? But have you ever counted how much time you spend on the Net chatting with friends or browsing?

    The whole web industry is about you spending more time in front of the computer, there are many articles about what is the average time one spends on Google, My Space, Yahoo messenger or etc; all these companies are very proud of how much time you spend/waste on their sites. However, if search engines were better maybe people would find what they were looking for faster and hence the time spent would be smaller; Google for instance grew so fat that many times the results returned are irrelevant in relation to queries. Similarly, if someone is spending so much time on a social network maybe he/she doesn’t have a life; does it mean that my space is a place of jobless people?

    Willing to compare that against the time spent on the computer while producing something useful or even working? (yeah, your boss will love these stats!)

    Sources:

  • Intel’s Cool Software CoolSW.Intel.com
  • Waste-O-Meter

    Related Links: Download Software @ TigerDirect.com

  • There’s Something About The New Sony Mylo 2

    Sony Mylo 2It’s probably the size. No? The shape? Or maybe it’s the face. There’s really something about Sony Mylo 2 personal communicator / pocket web browser that makes you wonder what it really is. And is it really more sexy that the old Mylo? The answer is Yes!

    The New Mylo 2 features a larger display, at 3.5-inch 800 x 480 touchscreen type, with a slide-out back-lit QWERTY keyboard. It now has a 1GB memory and a memory stick Pro Duo slot. The updated features definitely makes it more appealing.
    But you’ll get excited even more with its laptop-like features. It does music, video, Internet, and widgets. Its web browser supports AIM, Skype, Yahoo messenger, Google, YouTube, Facebook and other web 2.0 sites. It supports podcasts and RSS. It also connects to 802.11g wireless networks in addition to the standard with 802.11b WLAN.

    The Mylo 2 has a 1.3 megapixel camera but no VGA cam to enable video chat. Other specs include an 800 x 480 3.5-inch touchscreen display and 1GB internal storage. It’s good for 20 hours of playing music, 7 hours of watching videos, and 6 hours of Skype – yes you can send and receive Internet calls!

    It is similar other devices such as Nokia’s Internet tablet series or the iTouch, but what you’ll love is the free Internet access until 2010! Once purchased, you have free access to Wayport’s WiFi network – which includes 9,000 McDonald’s, hotels, airports, and other places. Now, that is something. This is a head-turner just for this freebie alone.

    Source: Sony

    Related Links: SmartPhones @ TigerDirect.com

    Music Labels to QTrax: No Deal

    qtrax-press_pic04.gifThe world’s biggest music companies, including Warner Music Group Corp and Sony BMG, denied that they have agreed to license songs for a free download service that was launched by Qtrax on Monday. Qtrax told Reuters and other media outlets last week that it had deals with the major labels representing about 75 percent of all music sales, to let users download songs for free in a new service to be supported by advertising revenue.

    Click here to read more

    Craigslist user Attempts to Hire Hitman

    Craigslist KillerA woman offered $5,000 for an ‘eradication task’ – or actually kill – her lover’s wife. Not only did she want to do this, she put an ad on Craigslist to get it done!

    While not a promoted employment listing category, this woman felt that someone in Grand Rapids would be willing to take the five grand for a little ‘eradication task’.

    Click here to read more

    Qtrax Revamped Music Service to Woo Music Fans

    qtrax-press_pic04.gifA revamped online file-sharing service aims to woo legions of music fans by offering unlimited, free song downloads that are compatible with iPods, and all with the blessing of major recording companies. Qtrax is the latest online music venture counting on the lure of free music to draw in music fans and on advertising to pay the bills, namely record company licensing fees.

    Click here to read more

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