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Sunday, October 30, 2005

IBM to use Google desktop search deep inside firms

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - IBM and Google Inc. are collaborating to make it easier for office workers not only to search for local documents and personal e-mail but to delve deep into corporate databases, the companies said on Friday.

IBM is linking up its OmniFind corporate search system with Google's free desktop search for business to make it easier for users to locate information throughout an organisation that is often locked up in many separate systems.

"Getting these two products together makes sense for both of us," David Girouard, general manager of Google's enterprise business unit. "If you want to have a good corporate search product, you have to have desktop search," he said.

Google wins IBM's endorsement among corporate technical managers for its desktop search product and IBM gives corporate information workers an already popular entry point into back-office databases through Google's search.

Searchable data ranges from e-mail to computer files to blog postings to corporate repositories of data, images, audio or video, Prial said. Much of this is not available using public Web search tools. Typically, it is hard to reach inside a company except by trawling through many different programs.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Google gives peek at classified ad service

SAN FRANCISCO - Google Inc. has unintentionally provided a sneak peek at what appears to be a looming expansion into classified advertising - a free service that might antagonize some of the Internet search engine's biggest customers, including online auctioneer eBay Inc.

Screen shots of the experimental service, dubbed "Google Base," appeared on several Web sites Tuesday shortly after the legions of people who dissect the online search engine leader's every move discovered a link to a page inviting people to list things like a used car for sale, a party planning service and current events.

Google confirmed the development of the service a few hours after taking down the link.

"We are testing new ways for content owners to easily send their content to Google," the Mountain View, Calif.-based company said in a statement. "We're continually exploring new opportunities to expand our offerings, but we don't have anything to announce at this time."

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IBM, Cisco form open-source storage group

More than a half-dozen tech titans, including IBM, Cisco Systems and Network Appliance, announced plans Tuesday to form an organization to develop open-source storage management software.

The group, dubbed Aperi, also will include Brocade Communication Systems, Computer Associates International, Engenio Information Technologies, Fujitsu, McData and Sun Microsystems.

"Today's news is significant," said Jim Stallings, IBM vice president of intellectual property and standards. "This is a breakthrough on how traditional storage is done...we're building it on an open-source platform."

IBM will donate a portion of its storage management technology to Aperi; other organization members have the option to do the same. The open-source storage code will be designed to remove the barriers that occur when running computers that have different platforms, Stallings said.

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Saturday, October 15, 2005

Phones will soon tell by way a user walks if it's fine to talk

MOBILE phones will soon be able to recognise their owners by the way they walk, say scientists who unveiled a security sensor which responds to a person's movements.

The technology, developed by Finnish researchers, would disable equipment if it sensed the person using it was not the owner, helping to cut crime by preventing unauthorised use of portable devices such as laptops and mobile phones.

The inventors say the system could also be adapted for credit cards in the future so it could verify a user's identity based on their physical movements before approval of payment transactions.

Heikki Ailisto, a professor at VTT, the Technical Research Centre of Finland, said the principal advantage was that it provided an effective identification method but did not require the user to perform a specific task like entering a password.

"It is better in the sense it is unobtrusive and implicit - people are lazy about using passwords, fingerprint sensors, anything which requires explicit action."

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Microsoft and Yahoo in buddy link

Microsoft and Yahoo have added each other to their "buddy lists", announcing a landmark agreement on Wednesday to link two of the world's biggest instant-messaging (IM) services.

The deal marks a breakthrough in the biggest inter-operability problem facing consumers. Unlike the telephone system, where users can reach one another across any network, AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and Skype all operate networks whose members cannot talk to users of competing services.

Microsoft and Yahoo said they would enable inter-connectivity in the second quarter of 2006 so that users could see members of the other service in their desktop lists as well as message them, use "smiley" emoticons and make a PC-to-PC voice call.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

IBM ships VTL, updates SVC

The launch of the VTL was coupled with an update to IBM's SVC storage virtualization system, and updates to IBM's server virtualization products, all under the company's "Virtualization Engine" branding.

Earlier this year IBM told Computer Business Review that it would ship an Open Systems VTL this year, but would follow it up with a more sophisticated product in 2006. Despite IBM's longstanding history in mainframe tape emulation, the company is not an early entrant to the nascent market for open systems tape emulators. The first major suppliers to ship open systems VTLs were tape library vendors. Last year EMC became the first big disk vendor to ship an open systems VTL, and HP followed suit last month.

EMC and HP have named the OEM sources of their VTL technology, as FalconStor Software and Sepaton respectively. IBM admits that its VTL, called the Virtualization Engine TS7510, is based on OEM'ed technology, but it will not say from where.

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Monday, October 10, 2005

Nanotechnology catches on at Ford

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Ford Motor Co. will collaborate with aircraft maker Boeing Co.p. and Northwestern University to research how nanotechnology can improve car and plane design and ultimately lead to more alternative-powered vehicles.

Ford is promoting the alliance as evidence of the automaker's commitment to innovation as a means of improving sales and returning to profitability.

"Creativity and innovation is the competitive advantage," said Anne Stevens, Ford group vice president for Canada, Mexico and South America. Stevens announced the alliance Thursday at the opening of the Ford Motor Co. Engineering Design Center on Northwestern's campus, which was funded in part with a $10 million donation from the automaker.

Researchers from Ford and Boeing will work with Northwestern faculty members to develop nanocomposites, specialty metals, thermal materials and sensors that could be used to make vehicles stronger, lighter, more powerful and less expensive to manufacture.

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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Driverless robots reach milestone in DARPA race

PRIMM VALLEY, NEV.--Stanford University's Racing Team has accomplished a historic feat of robotics, finishing first in the DARPA Grand Challenge, a 131.6-mile driverless car race that no artificially intelligent machine has ever conquered before.

"We had a great day," said Sebastian Thrun, director of Stanford's artificial intelligence lab and head of the racing team. Stanford's "Stanley," a modified Volkswagen Toureg with sensors and radar mountings, crossed the finish line within eight hours and 14 minutes, under the 10 hour requirement, according to times posted on the DARPA race Web site.

Although an official winner will not be announced until all robots either finish or burn out, the DARPA Grand Challenge "has been conquered," according to a spokesman for the department.

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Text Hackers Could Jam Cellphones, a Paper Says

Malicious hackers could take down cellular networks in large cities by inundating their popular text-messaging services with the equivalent of spam, said computer security researchers, who will announce the findings of their research today.

Such an attack is possible, the researchers say, because cellphone companies provide the text-messaging service to their networks in a way that could allow an attacker who jams the message system to disable the voice network as well.

And because the message services are accessible through the Internet, cellular networks are open to the denial-of-service attacks that occur regularly online, in which computers send so many messages or commands to a target that the rogue data blocks other machines from connecting.

By pushing 165 messages a second into the network, said Patrick D. McDaniel, a professor of computer science and engineering at Pennsylvania State University and the lead researcher on the paper, "you can congest all of Manhattan."

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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Toshiba gains ground in format war

Electronics giant Toshiba has secured an important victory in its long-running battle with Sony to establish the standard format for the next generation of DVDs.

Until this weekend, Hollywood was evenly split between Sony's Blu-ray product - backed by Disney, Fox and Sony-owned Columbia and MGM -and Toshiba's HD-DVD, which was supported by Warners, Universal and Paramount.

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Microsoft to provide security strategy update

Senior Microsoft executives on Thursday plan to provide an update on the software maker's security strategy and product plans, including its upcoming enterprise anti-spyware offering, sources said.

Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer and Mike Nash, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Security Business & Technology Unit, are scheduled to discuss the company's "security strategy and product road map" at an event in Munich, Germany, on Thursday morning, a source close to Microsoft said Tuesday.

The event is expected to include more details on Microsoft's upcoming tools to fight spyware in the enterprise, sources familiar with the company's plans said. A Microsoft representative declined to comment for this report.

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Monday, October 03, 2005

Novell server hacked

A company server that some workers at Novell apparently used for gaming purposes was hacked into and then used to scan for vulnerable ports on potentially millions of computers worldwide, according to an Internet security consultant.

The scans, which have been going on since Sept. 21, are targeted at TCP Port 22 -- the default port for Secure Shell (SSH) services. SSH programs are used to log into other computers over a network or to execute remote commands and move files between machines in a secure fashion. Scans against the port are often an indication that hackers are looking for vulnerable SSH systems that they can break into and take control of.

Kevan Barney, a Novell spokesman, Wednesday confirmed that one of the company's systems had been compromised. But he added that the server was not part of the company's corporate network nor was it a production server.

Chris Brandon, president of Brandon Internet Security that reported the problem to Novell Tuesday, said he was first alerted to the hack when a client reported scanning activity several days ago.

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