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Ericsson’s HSPA platform to enable mobile TV, Vlogs September 20, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Blogging, Mobile Telecoms.
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Ericsson announced its U335 WCDMA mobile platform, the first to enable the introduction of mass-market HSPA multimedia devices capable of new services such as mobile TV, mobile video blogging and other services demanding both high uplink and downlink data speeds.

The Ericsson U335 combines high-speed uplink data with state-of-the-art multimedia functionality at a price level that makes true mass-market consumer devices possible. It differs from Ericsson’s previously announced HSPA platforms, which have focused primarily on network access for PC-card products and high-end feature phones, making the U335 the first platform enabling HSPA devices for all segments on the market.

The latest addition to the mobile platforms portfolio of multimedia platforms, the U335 is expected to become a flagship product by supporting not only higher uplink data speeds than its predecessors but also incorporating several mobile TV standards and advanced multimedia features.

“By enabling mobile TV through MBMS, DVB-H and Unicast, together with outstanding imaging, video and music capabilities in a cost-efficient package, we expect to see many consumer models built on this platform,” said Robert Puskaric, head of Ericsson’s mobile platforms’ unit.

By launching the U335 platform, Ericsson brings HSPA to the mass market almost one year ahead of schedule. Strong R&D efforts, together with the flexibility to adapt to market changes, make this possible, and show why Ericsson is the market leader in the WCDMA segment for independent platform suppliers.

Products built on the U335 platform are expected to be available in volumes in the second half of 2008.


LiveJournal users fight erotic ‘Harry Potter’ deletions September 3, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Blogging, Internet, Internet Safety.
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LiveJournal users who patronize sex-themed Harry Potter fan art and fiction communities, and a host of other concerned users, are revolting a second time over account suspension notices they say are unpredictable and trample on their free-expression rights.

The most recent saga over user-generated Harry Potter artwork appears to have started late last week, when at least two users, “ponderosa121” and “elaboration,” reported receiving notices from a LiveJournal abuse team member who informed them that their accounts had been “permanently suspended.” (One user tracking the situation says an “undetermined” number of other Harry Potter artists have also been suspended in recent weeks, but we’ve yet to get official confirmation on that.)

The reason for the deletions? The users’ journal entries contained “drawings depicting minors in explicit sexual situations,” which represented a violation of LiveJournal’s policies, according to copies of the letters posted by their recipients.

In ponderosa121’s case, the offending image depicted an unclothed Harry Potter of ambiguous age receiving oral sex from sometimes-villain Severus Snape. The image posted by elaboration, who describes herself on an external site as a 21-year-old Atlanta sometimes-resident with a fondness for “zombies, pie and cold pizza,” showed the twin brothers of Ron Weasley, Harry’s good friend, in their own intimate moment. There were no ages listed in the fantasy images, however, so they could have been meant to depict the lads when they were 18 years old.

The uproar is reminiscent of an outcry around Memorial Day weekend, when thousands of users mobilized against LiveJournal parent company SixApart’s deletion of about 500 journals of a seemingly similar nature. CEO Barak Berkowitz ultimately admitted the company had “really screwed this one up” and vowed to restore many communities deleted in an effort to wipe out allegedly inappropriate pedophilia-related chatter.

This time around, SixApart representatives have not responded to my repeated requests for comment on Monday. An official explanation has also yet to surface on LiveJournal’s official news page, where the most recent entries have found their comments quotas maxed out by user gripes about the latest kerfuffle.

But one user miffed by the suspensions has posted what appears to be a copy of a response on Friday from a LiveJournal abuse team member who identified himself as Eric.

Although the content in question did not meet the legal definition of child pornography, “non-photographic content involving minors in sexual situations which does not contain serious artistic or literary merit is likely in violation of Federal obscenity laws, and is content LiveJournal has chosen not to host,” he said in that message.

A team of LiveJournal moderators, employees and SixApart staff reviewed the images and “clearly did not see serious artistic value in content that simply displayed graphic sexual acts involving minors,” Eric added.

The company also states in its Terms of Service that it “in its sole discretion, may terminate your password, journal, or account, and remove and discard any content within the Service, for any reason, including and without limitation, the lack of use, or if LiveJournal believes that you have violated or acted inconsistently with the letter or spirit of the TOS.”

Those explanations hardly appeased some exasperated users, who alternately mocked or scolded that line of thinking. One user who goes by the name Guma Kawauso argued that by that logic, people could face journal shutdowns for posting images by the renowned photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, whose common themes were flowers, portraits of famous people and nudes–which encountered charges of “pandering obscenity.”

“‘Obscenity’ is the perfect tool to weed out everything that doesn’t fit in a nice, clean, straight, male-dominated and preferably white world,” charged a user named erestor.

“The policy makes LJ an unwelcoming environment for sexual expression and experimentation, which is a change; in the past, LJ has been a valuable environment for many groups who are expressing, experimenting with, or identifying as non-normative sexualities to speak free of constraints which are often backed by patriarchical [sic], racist, classist, or heterosexist behavioral norms,” another user, who goes by the moniker “coffeeandink,” wrote in a recent entry.

To make matters worse, some users have been complaining that a LiveJournal employee named Abe Hassan, who goes by the username burr86, has posted “mocking” statements about fandom communities, which they argue is unprofessional and deserves at least a reprimand.

While apparently on a much smaller scale, the latest episode has fanfic devotees once again encouraging livid LiveJournal users to switch to “clone” sites in protest and to register their discontent through feedback emails.

Update at 5:15 p.m. PST: Some readers have commented below that they’re concerned this report doesn’t reflect the breadth of concern from the LiveJournal community about these incidents.

Let the record reflect, then, that a number of users who wouldn’t consider themselves Potter fans, per se, are fundamentally concerned about the way SixApart has handled these situations in recent months. They’re taking issue with everything from its “customer service” practices to what concerned users argue is an unevenly enforced terms-of-service policy in the first place. Some said they’re not so much concerned about what LiveJournal deems inappropriate as how the company goes about deciding that.

Source > CNetNews

NanoScan, the first online antivirus for blogs July 28, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Blogging, Internet Safety.
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Blog owners can now offer NanoScan, Panda Software’s new online virus scanner, to their readers. To do this, all they need to do is send an email to partners@nanoscan.com and ask for the code, which they can simply copy and paste on their web pages.

By doing this, bloggers and webmasters can offer significant added value to visitors, who will be able to keep their computers free from any active threats that might be performing malicious actions on their computers.

They can also include up-to-date stats on computers infected worldwide thanks to NanoScan’s Infex. Bloggers can choose between two options: offer data for the country the visitors come from, or show information for the country chosen by the blog owner.

To include Infex on your page, go to http://www.infectedornot.com/gadgets/

By adding these tools to their pages, bloggers offer readers significant added value.

With these launches, Panda Software takes another step forward in its commitment to the growing 2.0 community, offering its tools to the millions of bloggers.

Currently, NanoScan detects more than 1 million examples of known threats and is continually updated against new threats, with almost 2,500 new samples a day. It also detects unknown malware thanks to the Genetic Heuristic Technology.

The tool is fully compatible with Vista and works with both Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers.

Take a free trial of NanoScan’s beta version at: http://www.infectedornot.com

China actress hits blog success July 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Blogging.
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The daily online musings of a popular Chinese actress and director has turned her into one of the world’s most widely-read bloggers.

Xu Jinglei has just celebrated her 100 millionth hit since starting the blog less than two years ago, according to the Chinese website Sina. At one point last year, her site topped the list with Technorati, the respected US-based search engine for blogs.

Analysts say her success signifies the power of the internet in China. Even though only a fraction of China’s 1.3bn population use the internet, online use in the country has grown rapidly. The number of internet users rose to 132 million last year, making it second only to the US.

The government has encouraged internet use for education or business purposes, but has come under fire for censoring items it deems subversive or offensive.

Xu Jinglei, 33, is an acclaimed actress and director with a reputation for having a high intellect and integrity. In her blog, which she started in October 2005, Xu steers clear of plugging her career and instead focuses on her daily life, reflections and frustrations. After one trip to New York to study English, she published her test scores and described the difficulties she faced learning the language.

She ranks in the top 50 of the 75 million blogs worldwide, tracked by San Francisco-based Technorati. For a time last year, she headed the list.

“When one billion people decide to do something, it has a ripple effect all over the world,” Technorati’s Derek Gordon told the San Francisco Chronicle. “As the country begins to be more wired and connected… we’re clearly going to see more Chinese voices coming online.”

Related Links > Xu Jinglei blog (in Chinese) > http://blog.sina.com.cn/xujinglei

Online networking hits confidentiality July 1, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Blogging, Internet Safety, Microsoft.
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Do you want to find out what’s happening at Microsoft? You could visit the company website and navigate your way through the home page, or you could go instead to Mini-Microsoft, the blog of an anonymous employee that has become a soap box for employee discontent over the past three years.

Here you can find details of managerial pay packages, bonuses and share awards. If that does not help you, there are alternative commentaries in the blogs of Mini-Microsoft India and Mini-Microsoft France.

Corporate confidentiality and communications policies have been ripped to shreds by the social networking phenomenon that has spread like a bushfire, taking advantage of internet platforms supported by second generation web technology that allow ease of access and individual content management.

Social networking and blogging sites have created opportunities for people to exchange information on companies in a way that can enhance or harm a corporate reputation or brand.

Richard Mosely, Managing Director of People in Business, a consultancy that advises companies about how to build and retain a so-called “employer brand”, says that companies are being forced to take notice of internet sites and web-based forums that are sharing information and opinions on employers. “When we are asked to audit employer brands it is not simply a matter of looking at the way companies want to present themselves, it is about the reality of the brand experienced as it is shared in various public arenas,” says Mosely.

The ubiquity of website use and the flourishing of social networking sites is changing the relationship that companies have between their employees, customers and potential recruits. But the changes are not one-sided. Recruiting companies are finding that information held on the internet can be valuable in assessing the character of potential recruits.

Information can flow both ways, however. Last year, a job-hunting Yale student, Aleksey Vayner, was embarrassed to learn that a video he had produced to support the CV he had sent to UBS, the investment bank, had been posted on YouTube. It showed him breaking bricks in karate, pumping weights, and ballroom-dancing.

The ridicule it attracted led to him taking leave of absence from college and to a leak inquiry at the bank. Such cases demonstrate that the changing nature of work, including the opportunity to work anywhere, the ease of transfer of information, and the speed and access of the Web, is making it increasingly difficult for companies to keep a lid on their internal relations.