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    Friday, May 15, 2009

    Reuters - Cisco, Clearwire in WiMax supply deal

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    Cisco, Clearwire in WiMax supply deal

    Wednesday, May 13, 2009 1:16PM UTC

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Clearwire Corp said on Wednesday that Cisco Systems Inc would build devices for customers of a high-speed wireless network Clearwire is building based on emerging WiMax technology.

    The companies said that as part of their multiyear agreement, Clearwire has also selected Cisco as its supplier of Internet equipment on a national basis.

    Cisco plans to build new devices for Clearwire's WiMax network targeted at consumers, small offices and home offices as well as small and medium-sized business and plans to introduce its first WiMax device later this year.

    Clearwire, which is 51 percent owned by Sprint Nextel Corp, currently offers WiMax in Baltimore, Maryland, and Portland, Oregon, and plans to bring the service to more than 80 markets by the end of 2010.

    (Reporting by Sinead Carew, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

    Reuters - Spielberg makes videogames to keep his family happy

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    Spielberg makes videogames to keep his family happy

    Thursday, May 14, 2009 4:34PM UTC

    By John Gaudiosi

    RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - Oscar-winning film director Steven Spielberg was so frustrated that no videogames catered for all of his seven children that he did what a entertainment maestro might do -- made his own game.

    "Boom Blox" was the first in a multi-franchise deal between Spielberg and videogame publisher Electronic Arts and has sold close to one million copies globally since it was released for Nintendo's Wii last May.

    On May 19, EA releases Spielberg's second game, "Boom Blox Bash Party."

    Spielberg, who said he plays just about every game that comes out, is a big fan of Nintendo's Wii console and its motion-sensor controls that involved physical interactivity.

    "It's been very, very good for a parent like me who wants our kids not to be couch potatoes, but to get up and move their bodies around more," said Spielberg, who worked closely with the team at EA's Los Angeles studio on both the games.

    Spielberg said "Boom Blox" originated from the idea of using the Wii controller to knock something down, like the traditional family toy of building blocks.

    In the newest game up to four players face a range of challenges of up to 400 levels in locations as diverse as outer space and deep under the sea where they can create their own user-generated content and share this with others online.

    "You can become a creator at home," said Spielberg. "You can become a participant and you can become an activist. It's a really wonderful way to empower players to share their ideas with the world and give us better ideas for our own future of the next iteration beyond "Bash Party.""

    With Spielberg's creative support, EA is set to continue with this family-friendly game franchise even though the original "Boom Blox" received some backlash from the gaming press when it launched, especially when initial sales for the title were slow.

    SPIELBERG SEES FILMS, GAMES TO CONVERGING

    There's been some criticism of "Boom Blox's" relatively weak sales performance compared to triple-A enthusiast titles like "Gears of War 2" and "Grand Theft Auto IV," but that is an apples to oranges comparison," said Billy Pidgeon, market research analyst at Game Changer Research.

    "Many games for the Wii have broad mass market potential and have a slower and longer sales curve than do enthusiast titles."

    As for Spielberg, he says he's learning more with every new game. The filmmaker actually once owned his own game studio.

    "The smartest and dumbest thing I ever did was to sell my company to EA," said Spielberg. "Medal of Honor" was almost done and we made the decision to sell Dreamworks Interactive to Electronic Arts and had we not sold, we would have been able to stay in business just based on the success of "Medal of Honor."

    "But it was very smart also for us to sell to a company that was better equipped and better managed to be able to take "Medal of Honor" into the international market and really make a commercial success out of it. "

    Spielberg said there aren't many similarities between creating in Hollywood and in the games space.

    "The technology involved at every level to create a videogame is only similar to the technology involved that created the dinosaurs in "Jurassic Park,"" he said.

    "There is no production, like I'm very accustomed to. There's no hiring of actors or building sets...the minutia of technology takes over."

    He said perhaps that is one reason why videogames have not translated to the big screen, although Hollywood continues to try with new films like Disney Pictures' "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time."

    "So far, there hasn't been a major success in the videogame industry based on a motion picture, nor has there been a very successful motion picture based on a videogame," said Spielberg.

    "There's not been convergence, thus far. There will be. When it happens it will be dynamite."

    (Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)

    Reuters - Google reshoots Japan views after privacy complaints

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    Google reshoots Japan views after privacy complaints

    Wednesday, May 13, 2009 10:9AM UTC

    TOKYO (Reuters) - Internet search engine Google said it would reshoot all Japanese pictures for its online photo map service, Street View, using lower camera angles after complaints about invasion of privacy.

    Google's Street View, which offers 360-degree views of streets around the world using photos taken by cruising Google vehicles, has already run into privacy complaints in other countries and activists have tried to halt the service in Japan.

    Google said in a statement on Wednesday it would lower the cameras on its cars by 40 cm (16 inches) after complaints they were capturing images over fences in private homes.

    But it said it would continue filming in Japan, where it has so far covered 12 cities.

    "It is certainly a fact that there have been concerns," said Yoshito Funabashi, a spokesman at Google's Tokyo office. "We thought of what we can do as a company and tried to be responsible."

    Google said it has also blurred car number plates in the pictures, as it has done in Europe, but the new steps did not convince Japanese campaigners.

    "They are just trying to get through at the technological level ... The question is, can we allow for them to shoot (images) unselectively?" said Yasuhiko Tajima, a professor of constitutional law at Sophia University in Tokyo.

    Britain's privacy watchdog has rejected calls to shut Street View down there, where concerns have ranged from images such as someone throwing up outside a pub to media reports that a woman filed for divorce after her husband's car was pictured outside another woman's house. [ID:nLN970530]

    Both Google Maps and a related mapping service, Google Earth, have also been criticized by some countries for providing images of sensitive locations, such as military bases.

    (Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

    Reuters - Verizon Wireless to sell HP netbook computers

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    Verizon Wireless to sell HP netbook computers

    Thursday, May 14, 2009 4:47AM UTC

    (Reuters) - Verizon Wireless, a venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc, will start selling Hewlett-Packard Co's netbook computers from May 17, according to a statement from Verizon Wireless.

    The netbook is priced at $199.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and with a new two-year activation on a mobile broadband plan, the statement said.

    The netbook will have a Windows XP Home edition operating system and will weight 2.4 pounds, Verizon said. The service plan will begin at $39.99 for monthly access, it said.

    The still-evolving netbook market is growing thick with players from all over the tech sector. Wireless carriers such as AT&T Inc are helping lead the charge, while graphics chipmaker Nvidia Corp, wireless chipmaker Qualcomm Inc and Freescale Semiconductor Inc have all designed ARM-based processors that can be used in netbooks.

    The U.K.-based ARM Holdings Plc licenses the chip technology.

    The netbook phenomenon took off in 2008, with sales of 11.7 million units, led by companies such as Acer Inc and Asustek Computer Inc that were quick into the market. Nearly every PC vendor offers an Intel Atom-based netbook, including Hewlett-Packard Co and Dell Inc.

    (Reporting by Anurag Kotoky in Bangalore; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

    Reuters - Hackers launch phishing attack on Facebook users

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    Hackers launch phishing attack on Facebook users

    Thursday, May 14, 2009 10:50PM UTC

    By Jim Finkle

    BOSTON (Reuters) - Hackers launched an attack on Facebook's 200 million users on Thursday, successfully gathering passwords from some of them in the latest campaign to prey on members of the popular social networking site.

    Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt said on Thursday that the site was in the process of cleaning up damage from the attack.

    He said that Facebook was blocking compromised accounts.

    Schnitt declined to say how many accounts had been compromised.

    The hackers got passwords through what is known as a phishing attack, breaking into accounts of some Facebook members, then sending e-mails to friends and urging them to click on links to fake websites.

    Those sites were designed to look like the Facebook home page. The victims were directed to log back in to the site, but actually logged into the one controlled by the hackers, unwittingly giving away their passwords.

    The purpose of such attacks is generally identify theft and to spread spam.

    The fake domains include www.151.im, www.121.im and www.123.im. Facebook has deleted all references to those domains.

    Schnitt said that Facebook's security team believes the hackers intended to collect a large number of credentials, then use those accounts at a later time to send spam hawking fake pharmaceuticals and other goods to Facebook members.

    The site fought off a similar attack two weeks ago, he said.

    Privately held Facebook and rival social network MySpace, which is owned by News Corp, require senders of messages within the network to be members and hide user data from people who do not have accounts. Because of that, users tend to be far less suspicious of messages they receive.

    Hackers used a phishing attack last year to spread a malicious virus known as Koobface (a reference to Facebook). It was downloaded onto Facebook members' PCs when they clicked on a link sent to them in an email that looked like it had been sent by a friend on Facebook.

    (Reporting by Jim Finkle; Editing by Toni Reinhold)

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    If you know me then you know my name. I am The Black Rider and the world is my Flame. The rider writes, observes, creates, produces, and learns the world around him. Ride on. Ride on!

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