Amazon AutoRip reboots the CD with free cloud MP3s
Amazon has just unveiled a new feature called AutoRip, which grants customers free MP3 version of CDs they buy from Amazon. It's perhaps intended to lure people back to buying CDs and cut out the pesky iTunes middleman by removing the need for the disc to ever see the inside of your computer. The MP3 versions are stored in your Amazon Cloud Player online and can be accessed from a computer, your smartphone, your tablet or whatever else you may have hacked to play MP3s. VintageThe other obvious b...
Skittles wins big as Facebook tweaks fan data
A tweak to Facebook's algorithms now give a more accurate view of what brands are most popular among the local population.Previously, Facebook showed top brands in a given territory or country but it still showed worldwide fan numbers, giving a skewed view of what companies your compatriots like.Now the data has been released to allow analytical tools show what brands are really top of the pops. For instance: in the UK iTunes is in the top ten by worldwide fans but it falls off that list when yo...
‘First’ Pirate Bay Server on Permanent Display in Computer Museum
Founded in 2003, the Pirate Bay turns a decade old September this year. Since its humble beginnings the notorious site has come a long way. Today The Pirate Bay is spreading a world of information to millions of people every day through a complex network of cloud based servers hosted across the world. However, in the first two years the hardware setup was rather primitive. The site first came online in Mexico where Gottfrid Svartholm hosted the site on a server owned by the company he was worki...
MHI unleashes Hawk, Eagle and Merlin
MH Invent (MHI) has launched a trio of new products under its Secure Communications Suite. Named Hawk, Eagle and Merlin, they are said to be device and protocol agnostic and not to require certificates or tokens, but can be made compatible with legacy security infrastructure and support a range of services.Hawk is the underlying platform that secures communication between users and services on whatever devices they use, and Eagle is a picture based log-in method that MHI said is stronger than st...
Play.com to close down direct retail business as tax loophole closes
Popular online entertainment retailer Play.com has announced that it will close down its direct retail operation.The website, which has long offered some of the best deals on the web for DVDs, Blu-rays, games, consoles and boys toys, will shutter that side of its business in March 2013.The announcement comes following the closure of a tax loophole in April 2012, which had allowed the Jersey-based company to be VAT-exempt on many of the goods it sells.Play, owned by Japanese firm Rakuten, had tak...
British military could be 'fatally compromised' by cyber attack
Britain's armed forces have no proven back-up if a cyber attack downs vital information and communications systems, the government has been warned.A Commons defence select committee report said that a sustained cyber attack from enemies could leave the military "fatally compromised" and demanded that the government act.The coalition government has already pledged £650 to prevent cyber attacks and has named cyber defence as a "tier one" priority.However, the select committee repor...
RapidShare: Traffic and Piracy Dipped After New Business Model Kicked In
As one of the planet’s largest file-hosters RapidShare is continually under the watchful eye of the world’s entertainment companies. After years of lower-level complaints, during 2010 there was a significant development. In a response to a request from the Office of the US Trade Representative, the RIAA submitted their list of foreign “notorious markets” and among the usual torrent site suspects were surprise entrants RapidShare. In the year that followed RapidShare worked hard to co...
Windows Live Messenger gets death date: March 15
Let's have a minute's silence amid the CES 2013 hubbub please. Microsoft has announced the day that Windows Live Messenger will be put out to pasture. March 15 is the day to black out in your diary, as the company encourages those of us still steadfastly clinging on to Messenger to move over to relatively new kid on the block, Skype. After all, Microsoft didn't spunk $8 billion on Skype to let you carry on IMing in peace on a familiar bit of software you've been using for 13 years.Microsoft's Sk...
Facebook 'building' something to be revealed next week
Something big is coming from Facebook next week - or so we infer from an invite the the social network has been sending out for an event at its San Francisco HQ. "Come and see what we're building," the invite reads, getting the internet's collective tongue wagging about possible Facebook hardware. Could the 'book be double bluffing on the whole Facebook phone thing? Is Zuckerberg taking the network the way of Amazon with a Facebook tablet on the cards?Phone homeOf course, it could be tha...
Google lets sleeping dogs lie in Microsoft patent dispute
Google has dropped two patent claims it was pursuing against Microsoft after the Redmond company refused to pay royalties. The claims relate to H.264 video compression patents held by Motorola Mobility, which Microsoft refused to cough up for because it said Motorola/Google was asking for far more than the patents were worth.Under the freshly inked FTC agreement announced last week, Google has to abide by the friendly-sounding FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms, meaning its ro...
Certified BitTorrent Box Brings uTorrent to Your TV
With a quarter billion active users a month BitTorrent is without a doubt the most used file-sharing platform. The vast majority of these BitTorrent users download video files, but despite these staggering statistics it can still be quite cumbersome to play downloaded files on the old-fashioned TV. The first ever certified Android-powered BitTorrent box aims to change this. After the initial December launch was delayed, the BBK BitTorrent box officially goes up for sale today. While we have s...
Twitter posts meagre profits of £16,500 in the UK
Twitter has posted its first set of accounts for the UK side of its business and it's fair to say the figures are hardly befitting of its global stature.The social network's British subsidiary, which commenced operations with a small team in London's Silicon Roundabout in May 2011 made profits of just £16,500 in its first 7 months of trading.The microblog set up shop in the capital in order to sell targeted advertisements through promoted tweets to its UK audience, as part of an international ex...
Vint Cerf: Internet competition has “evaporated” since dial-up
Internet co-creator Vint Cerf speaking at CES. Chris Foresman Vint Cerf, co-creator of the Internet, said today he is troubled by the prospect of companies like AT&T avoiding government regulation after the transition from traditional phone technology to all-IP networks. Already, he said, competition was decimated when the Internet moved from dial-up providers to cable companies and telcos. Cerf—who made the Internet possible by co-developing the Internet...
CES 2013: CES 2013: Dancing toasters sadly absent
Ahh, CES. Where tech hearts are swollen with possibility then broken on the nasty sharp rocks of reality. We took to Twitter to see what everyone's making of CES 2013, year of the, er, portable media storage and LG's continued dominance in front-load laundry.First the venue: the CES roadshow has rolled back into Vegas where, as @robotodd revealed, you can get married next to a Pizza Hut. Ah, romance. USB troutAnyway, on with the tech. Those reading @edzitron's tweets would go expecting big thing...
PayPal Demands Invites to Private BitTorrent Trackers
For many years payment processors have dealt with both file-hosting and BitTorrent sites without asking too many questions, but last year things began to change. Rightsholders and anti-piracy companies have been putting companies like PayPal under increasing pressure to stop processing funds for sites that have become associated with copyright-infringing activities, whether those sites operate legitimately or not. Stirred up by people such as those behind the StopFileLockers campaign and rightsh...
Facebook tries out yet another profile redesign
Facebook has begun rolling out a new Timeline layout which groups all your friends' public communiques on one side of the wall while other bits and pieces are locked to the other. This makes the whole thing look a bit less 'timeline-y' but does mean a cleaner, easier to read layout without any danger of you missing anything on your own wall. Sorry, timeline. Thing. Whatever.Wait a minute, you're thinking. This isn't a CES 2013 story! And you're right - we're as surprised to be writing it as you ...
SIP takes business telecoms to the cloud
Over the past five years the cloud has transformed how businesses organise and use many of their strategic systems. Most obviously, traditional desktop applications have been transferred to counterparts in the cloud, as they offer lower costs, easier maintenance, 24/7 accessibility and perpetual upgrades. Now business telecoms looks set to go through a radical transformation of its own into cloud services.Many enterprises already use teleconferencing through systems such as Skype, and since its ...
Censoring Pirate Sites Doesn’t Work, Researchers Find
The file-sharing landscape has often been described as a hydra. Take one site down, and several new ones will take its place. Blocking or censoring sites and files may have a short-lived effect, but it does very little to decrease the availability of pirated content on the Internet. Researchers from Boston’s Northeastern University carried out a study to see how effective various anti-piracy measures are. They monitored thousands of files across several popular file-hosting services and ...
Satellite Internet: 15Mbps, no matter where you live in the US
billrdio America is a land of haves and have-nots when it comes to broadband Internet. While many of us enjoy downloads speeds of 50 or even 100 Mbps, 119 million Americans lack broadband access (defined as 4Mbps down and 1Mbps up). Out of those 119 million, 19 million live in areas where there is no option to buy a wired broadband connection, according to government data. Wouldn't it be great if we could provide broadband speed to nearly every American, withou...
Leaked Oscar Screeners are BitTorrent Smash Hits
With the Academy Awards just weeks away, January is an exciting time for movie lovers around the world. In the run up to “Oscar Sunday” on February 24, this Thursday the nominees will be announced following the deliberations of 5,700 Academy members. Some of those voters will have made their assessments from a trip to the theater but some highly privileged individuals will have received a piece of cinematic gold from the studios – access to pre-release copies of all the top mov...