Con Music?

By Pete | @kingpetey | 09 Apr 2003

In an attempt to try to get people to download music legitimately a range of companies and organisations to do with the music industry have come up with ?Digital Download Day?. The European day starts today and allows users to sign up until the 15th of April. Once signed up the user can access ?3 worth of music in 3 different ways:

1. Download up to 30 tracks. (store able for 1 month)
2. Stream 300 tracks.
3. Burn 3 tracks to CD.

A choice of 170,000 tracks from over 7,500 artists is on offer. Bands and artists include Christina Aguilera, Linkin? Park, Norah Jones, Eminem, Coldplay, Miss Dynamite, Robbie Williams, Jennifer Lopez, The Streets, The Coral, Michael Jackson, The Raveonettes and Gareth Gates.

The idea of the day is to try to promote awareness of legitimate music subscription services however how effective do they expect it to be? With free services such as Kazaa becoming increasingly popular how do they expect people to stop downloading music when they can get it easily and free.

As soon as restrictions such as a making the tracks available on your PC for 1 month only are put onto music people would much rather download the MP3 rather then some strange format.

?Currently an estimated 4.5 million people are accessing a total of almost 1 billion pirated tracks at any one time. But the tracks are often of dubious quality and contain viruses. ?

From the organisers press release. I would just like to point out the point about viruses and how this is not true, the MP3 is made so it cannot contain viruses. I'm not too sure what they are trying to say with this point. As for the tracks being pirated is another point not proved either.

The fact is that the music industry is in a mess and in my view digital download day does not give the end user any real reason to stop using free sharing programs and use subscription services. Until people have a good enough reason to need to change to legitimate services why should they?

Hotmail Fights Spam

By Pete | @kingpetey | 24 Mar 2003

Microsoft's Hotmail receives and sends some of the largest amount of spam by email on the web. In a fight back against this Microsoft is setting a limit of sending 100 emails a day. For many users it says this wont matter as most users only send a few emails a day but this will stop the big spammers from using Hotmail.

Many ISP's already have similar limits to stop people from flooding their networks with emails. Experts think that spam has risen by 500% in the past 18 months and for a company with over 120million users this has been many more emails.

MSN is having an overall clamp down over spam. In the past month, it sued in federal court to learn the identities of some spammers, and it has promised to pursue similar lawsuits. Both AOL and EarthLink have won monetary damages in suits against spammers.

Many Hotmail users welcome any moves to try to stop the amount of spam coming into their inbox's however Microsoft is still not tackling the bigger problems of spam coming in from outside its network. This for many people is a bigger problem then from emails coming from other hotmail users.

One thing is for sure is that we will be seeing more and more email providers taking up law suits against spammers to try to cut down the amount of unwanted emails on the net.

Wireless Use on the Rise

By Pete | @kingpetey | 11 Mar 2003

Wireless use throughout Europe and the US is on a constant rise according to some major companies. Wireless use includes a range of activities, from corporate use in linking two sites together to providing wireless gateways to the net in public places.

Companies are also looking into mobile phone technology for providing a better service to their customers. For instance Avis, the car rental company this month started selling a service called Avis Assist that lets lost customers learn where they are and then get back on track with turn-by-turn directions read to them over a mobile phone.

However the problem is at the moment that most customers do not have the right sort of phones so use the new Avis Assist services, Avis are getting around this problem by renting out certain Motorola phones to interested customers.

Many telecoms companies are also looking at the new technology in order to provide new services. One of these companies is Nextel communications who are using mobile phones to pin point where people are and have been in the last couple of hours. While this brings up certain human rights issues the company is sure that it has a legitimate service to offer businesses and consumers. ?Users can simply turn off their mobile phone if they do not want to be found, however this does mean that they will not be able to accept calls? said one analyst.

Wireless LAN gateways are being fitted in many public places throughout the world, such as airports, hotels, restaurants and rail stations so that anyone with a wireless card in their laptop will be able to get online with a small fee.

According to a report from telecoms consultancy Analysts public wireless net access throughout Europe and the US will grow from a $33million industry to around $5.5billion in 2007. This is certainly one big growth market that many businesses are getting involved in.

Sony's PlayStation 2 will start trials for its online gaming service this March. Gamers wanted to take part will need a Broadband connection and will have to fill in a questionnaire about the service.

This is all to rival Microsoft's Xbox live which has been on trial in Europe for some months now. Sony and Microsoft have both launched online gaming in Japan and the US and hundreds of thousands of gamers have signed up for the services.

Unlike Microsofts subscription service Sony will let the individual games developers decide how much to charge for online games and Sony will do provide a lot of the infrastructure like the Xbox Live service does. While this may give game developers more freedom in setting up an online game it does mean a lot more work in putting in what can be an expensive gaming infrastructure.

Sony's service will require people to buy a network adapter for ?39:99 so that they can connect their PS2 to their broadband connection. The starter kit also includes a headset and an online only version of the game SOCOM: US Navy Seals, which pits a team of soldiers against a group of terrorists.

Sony has been trying to get deals with all the major ISPs so that gamers will be able to play games through their existing broadband connection. So far the biggest market for online gaming is South Korea, will Europe be as gaming mad?

[Last edited on March 9, 2003 at 10:09:47am by pwhite]

New Net Speed Record

By Pete | @kingpetey | 07 Mar 2003

Scientists in Amsterdam, Holland and scientists in the US have managed to transfer data across the Atlantic at 923 megabits per second. They did the equivalent to a DVD movie (6.7gig) in less than a minute.

That is a massive 10,978 kms (6,800 miles) for the data to travel in such a sort time. This is a new world record in data transfer and the scientists are very excited about what this may mean for the future of the Internet.

Les Cottrel, of Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (Slac) Computer Services, said: "By exploring the edges of internet technologies' performance envelope, we will bring high-speed data transfer to practical everyday applications."

The data were sent across the Internet2 network, this is a network run by a number of Universities worldwide working on the Internet of the future. It is intended to connect and serve research and educational institutions at transmission speeds that allow near-instant transfer of hundreds of megabytes of data.

The research was inspired by particle physics and the vast amounts of data produced by the subject. Many people are excited about the future of the Internet and high speed data transfer could be the key to getting many futuristic ideas to work.