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Music-enabled mobile phones gain in popularity January 10, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Mobile Telecoms.
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In the U.S., 23.5 million wireless customers own wireless phones equipped with a built-in music player, according to Telephia, which calculates that, in the third quarter of 2006, close to 20% of all new phones purchased were music phones. Most users still opt to grab music files from their PC to load onto their phones, rather than use over-the-air technology.

According to recently published research from Telephia, there are now 23.5 million mobile subscribers in the USA who have phones with integrated music players. The number of consumers with music-enabled phones is up five times from the same period in 2005 and nearly 20 percent of the new phones purchased in Q3 2006 were music capable.

Many of these subscribers report loading music on to their phones via their PC, but only a small number have actually downloaded music over the air (OTA) from a wireless carrier music store. In Q3 2006, a little over two million subscribers, about 8.5 percent of those with capable phones, reported any purchases of music via OTA downloads.

“It is still early days in the market for OTA music purchasing and carriers are experimenting with pricing models and working to improve the user experience,” said Kevin Burden, Senior Manager � Mobile Devices, Telephia. “Clearly, the ability to facilitate impulse music purchasing will allow the wireless music stores to capture some portion of the larger digital music market – the only question is how big a piece they will get.”

Mobile phones with integrated music players have been in the U.S. market for more than two years and have gone through substantial improvements in memory capacity, file format capability and sound quality. Nearly all of the major device manufacturers are featuring music-capable phones as an important part of their current product portfolios. The LG Chocolate (VX8500) has been one of the most heavily promoted music phones, but the five most popular models among recent purchasers are the Motorola RAZR (V3m and V3i), Motorola E815, LG VX8100, and Sony Ericsson Z525.

Mobile operators have launched their music stores much more recently and OTA purchasing is still not available on all the major carriers. Sprint was the first major U.S. operator to launch its music store in October 2005, followed quickly by Verizon Wireless in January 2006. Subscribers on these carrier networks represent the majority of the two million OTA downloaders. Music phones and OTA music stores were the focus of much of the advertising spend from carriers during the holiday season. Of the more than $3.5 billion of carrier advertising dollars that was spent in 2006, $234.3 million or 6.7 percent, promoted music phones and music download services.


Fun on the beach proving a headache for YouTube January 10, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in YouTube.
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A Brazilian judge has ordered YouTube to pull down a video featuring celebrity Daniela Cicarelli, supermodel and MTV host, having sex on the beach with her banker boyfriend. YouTube is trying to comply … but users keep posting the video again and again.

A Brazilian judge has ordered YouTube to find a way to stop Brazilians from viewing steamy footage of supermodel Daniela Cicarelli and her boyfriend on the highly trafficked video-sharing site, court officials said last week.

YouTube, the popular Web site owned by Google, was first ordered in September to remove video showing Cicarelli and Brazilian banker Renato Malzoni in intimate scenes along a beach near the Spanish city of Cadiz.

But the clip still appears periodically on YouTube, prompting the expanded order from Sao Paulo state Supreme Court Justice Enio Santarelli Zuliani on Tuesday, the court’s press office said Thursday.

Two Brazilian sites that ran the video of Cicarelli and Malzoni complied with the original order, the statement said.

Cicarelli is one of Brazil’s best-known models. She hosts a show on Brazilian MTV and was previously engaged to Brazilian soccer great Ronaldo, who plays for the famed Real Madrid team in Spain.

The judge said YouTube must find a way to use filters so the clip stops popping up in Brazil. Rubens Decousseau Tilkian, an attorney representing Cicarelli’s boyfriend, said YouTube had not gone far enough to prevent access to the clip because people keep posting it using different names for the video.

“The Internet is democratic and has to be defended, but this struggle is to have some level of control to avoid the violations of people’s fundamental rights, like privacy and intimacy,” Tilkian said in a phone interview.

YouTube spokeswoman Jennifer Nielsen declined to comment on the decision. Links to the video appeared on YouTube Thursday, but efforts to access them from Brazil and the United States produced this message: “This video has been removed due to terms of use violation.”

Though Zuliani is a judge in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s most populous state and the one with the heaviest Internet use, he had the power to issue an order affecting all of Brazil, the court press office said.

The case now goes automatically to a three-member panel of judges who will decide whether to make the order permanent and whether to fine YouTube as much as $119,000 for each day that the video was viewable, Tilkian said. The lawyer represented Cicarelli and Malzoni in the first case when they won the order to have the links taken down. Malzoni decided to go forward with the second case seeking to ban YouTube in Brazil after the video kept reappearing, Tilkian said.

“The problem is that the system is failing,” Tilkian said. “Our objective is simply to get this video offline.”

It’s not YouTube’s first brush with litigation, although disputes have often been over copyright. In July, independent news reporter Robert Tur sued YouTube in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, claiming footage of his was posted and circulated without his permission.

YouTube also deleted nearly 30,000 files after a Japanese entertainment trade group complained, and through negotiations with leading U.S. copyright holders agreed to deploy an audio-signature technology that can spot specific clips.

When it bought YouTube in November, Google set aside shares now worth about $220 million as a financial cushion to cover losses or possible legal bills for the frequent copyright violations on YouTube’s video-sharing site.

Meanwhile, Google last September appealed a Brazilian federal judge’s order to turn over information on users of the company’s Orkut social-networking service. Google insisted it already had complied with court requests to identify individuals accused of using Orkut to spread child pornography and engage in hate speech against blacks, Jews and homosexuals. The company has said it is open to data requests from foreign governments as long as they comply with U.S. laws and are issued within the country in which the information is stored.

Time.com intended as 24/7 news source January 10, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Media.
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The revamped Time.com launches today as a 24-hours news operation, in time for the print version’s new Friday publication date. Besides design tweaks, the site also will offer more original news stories and analysis.

Time.com was set today to unveil a new design for its Web site that positions the site as a 24/7 news source and complements the print counterpart’s on-sale date change to Friday from Monday.

“We’ve been doing stories online for a while, but we haven’t been very good at drawing people’s attention to them,” said Josh Tyrangiel, managing editor for Time.com. “We’re already in the process of breaking news and covering it, but you’ll finally be able to see it.”

Time.com also will add more original news and analysis, in tandem with the print magazine.The site has signed up former CIA operative Bob Baer will write a column; other blogs will appear on art, China and the Middle East.

The site will sport a cleaner design, ringed by the red border associated with the magazine, and ad units will be fewer but larger and appearing higher on the page. Time.com also will offer expanded advertising opportunities, with pre-roll and mobile ads available this year for the first time, and expanded podcast placements.

Visitors also will be able to get free access to Time’s entire archives, back to its 1923 launch issue.

Angelina attacks Madonna January 10, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies, Music.
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Angelina Jolie has attacked Madonna for adopting a child ‘illegally’, reports Daily Mail.

She said the singer should never have visited an impoverished African country with the sole intention of choosing an infant. Her comments follow accusations that Madonna used her fame and money to speed the adoption of one-year-old David Banda late last year.

“Madonna knew the situation in Malawi, where he was born,” said Miss Jolie, who has adopted two Third World youngsters of her own.

“It’s a country where there is no real legal framework for adoption. Personally, I prefer to stay on the right side of the law. I would never take a child away from a place where adoption is illegal.”

Miss Jolie also made clear she was shocked by Madonna’s decision to take David from the country where his father still lives. In the interview with French magazine Gala, Miss Jolie ruled out marriage to her partner Brad Pitt, the father of her six-month old daughter Shiloh.

But she said she wanted him to become legal father to their adopted children Maddox, five, and Zahara, almost two.

Asked about Pitt, whom she met on the set of ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’ while he was still with ex-wife Jennifer Aniston, she said, “Don’t go repeating it whatever you do but, yes I love him. I love him a lot. After I met him my life seemed more harmonious.”

A 3-D map of universe January 10, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Science.
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Astronomers have unveiled a three-dimensional map that sheds light on the mysterious “dark matter” that makes up a quarter of the universe.

The map shows that the dark matter forms a filamentous ‘skeleton’ upon which visible matter congregates, eventually producing stars, Nature magazine reports.

The composition of the dark matter is unclear but without it the universe could not exist. The dark matter is thought to act as a glue holding galaxies together.

“This is the first time that such a large-scale three-dimensional picture of dark matter has been produced, and it will allow cosmologists to probe deeper into the nature of this elusive matter,” the report says.

The map has a few puzzles within it. Some areas show clumps of dark matter that aren’t accompanied by the bright features associated with conventional, visible material (made of baryonic matter), and vice versa.

“On the large scale the general picture is as expected, but there are some small-scale discrepancies,” Richard Massey at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, and one of the team members who pieced together the map from hundreds of slightly overlapping images from the Hubble Space Telescope’s Cosmic Evolution Survey was quoted as saying.

“The existence of large clumps of isolated dark matter and visible matter flies in the face of everything we know,” said cosmologist Carlos Frenk of the University of Durham, UK.

The discrepancies, Nature says, could be a simple error resulting from the way the observations were made. But if they are real, says Massey, they will bring a huge shock.

Baryonic structures are expected to form only inside the dark-matter scaffold, says Massey adding “there will need to be a lot of follow-up work before we really believe any individual discrepancies”. Massey, the report says, used a technique called gravitational lensing, whereby the pull from dark matter caught in between a star and the observing telescope alters the path of the light, and allows the presence of dark matter to be inferred.

Eric Linder of the University of California, Berkeley, who was not involved with the work, agrees that the map backs up the favoured theory that dark matter forms a scaffold on which galaxies form, Nature said.

He suggests possibilities for the more unusual spots in the map: one is that galaxies made of dark matter (dark galaxies) exist, but he thinks this is unlikely. Another possibility is that the discrepancies are errors in the data which seem almost inevitable given that mapping the dark matter required a very sensitive measurement of an incredibly small signal.

There are, Nature says, plausible explanations for small areas of dark matter and visible matter existing in isolation.

Dark matter, if the clump is small enough, could have any accumulating visible matter blown out of it by a high-energy phenomenon such as a quasar or a supernova, for example.

“The collision of two galaxies could also blow an amount of visible matter out as a faint satellite galaxy that has no associated dark matter, suggests Frenk. But these theories can’t explain the large features visible on the COSMOS map, he adds.