Elpub buttonEP Topic News: 27th March 2002

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Digital photo rescue

Lexar Media, a developer of high-performance digital media and reader products, has announced its proprietary image file recovery program for the digital photography industry. Image Rescue, apparently, recovers "perceived to be lost" image files from CompactFlash memory cards. Participating Lexar Media authorized professional dealers will use Image Rescue to provide image recovery services for their digital photography customers. Common culprits that can cause images to be lost include: removing the card from a camera before an image is fully stored, digital camera battery levels being too low to write a complete image, and fluctuations in power flow to a digital camera.

Most disk recovery software programs identify problems and repair the card to allow it to store again, but previously saved image files remain inaccessible. Lexar Media's Image Rescue solution goes to the root-level of the data structure to identify and retrieve lost images. According to the company, "in most cases, Image Rescue locates JPEG, TIFF, RAW and thumbnail files from all sectors on the memory card and allows the user to back-up image files to a designated area on a computer's hard drive".

URL: Image Rescue http://www.digitalfilm.com/
URL: Lexar Media http://www.lexarmedia.com/

Digital content cross promotion

Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment (SPDE) announced that the leading online gaming division, Sony Online Entertainment Inc. (SOE), will host a mini-site at The Station for the Sony Screen Gem's film "Resident Evil." This collaborative effort marks the first time that SOE and SPDE's recently launched online marketing division, Sony Pictures Integrated Network (SPIN), have worked together to promote a film property from the studio. The cross promotion promises that "movie buffs and game players will enjoy a "Resident Evil"-themed Confetti game, sweepstakes, a gallery of movie images, behind-the-scenes film footage, the latest scoop on the movie's stars, a live chat, and a direct link to the official movie site".

URL: official movie site http://www.resident-evil-the-movie.com/
URL: SOE http://www.station.com/

Strata 3Dplus latest

Strata has announced the availability of the 'Rich Media Edition' of Strata 3Dplus Version 3.7, its 3d content authoring software. The latest version provides the ability to save images and animations directly to the Macromedia Flash file format.

URL: http://www.strata.com/

iTV content conundrum

The US-sponsored Advanced Television Forum (ATV Forum) has announced the second in a series of Symposia considering: "The Content Conundrum: What Is a Content Creator to Do in Today's iTV Environment?". The ATV Forum is a non-profit group helping accelerate deployment of interactive TV (iTV) in the US. The Symposium, ATV W3 L.A., is scheduled to take place April 24-25, 2002, at the UCLA Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, USA. The preamble to the invitation we received stated:

"Interactive television content developers are currently facing major challenges in the deployment of services in North America [and by inference European developers]. While the promise of high-end set-top boxes, home gateways, persistent out-of-band connections, powerful processors and widely deployed personal video recorders (PVR) create exciting prospects, the short-term reality is that many major cable multiple service operators (MSO) and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) providers are focused on the basics of interactive services on current generation set-top devices. As a result, content creators are wondering how the current strategy of crawl, walk, run affects their business".

"Content is the key to the success of iTV. Without compelling content, mass adoption of iTV will not happen," said Barry Schliesmann, event co-chair, ATV Forum and CTO at Ignite Sports.

ATV W3 L.A. is hosted by the UCLA Hammer Museum and co-sponsored by The American Film Institute (AFI). AFI is the preeminent US organisation dedicated to advancing and preserving the art of film, television and other forms of the moving image.

URL: UCLA Hammer Museum http://www.hammer.ucla.edu/
URL: ATV Forum http://www.atvforum.com/
URL: About ATV W3 mailto:info@atvforum.com

Mobile games developments

Openwave Systems, a developer of Internet Protocol (IP) based communication infrastructure software and applications, and In-Fusio, a European mobile games service provider plan to work together to implement a mobile gaming infrastructure based on In-Fusio's games engine. According to the companies the move is being welcomed by both network operators who are keen to provide more billable services on their networks and games developers looking to expand revenue streams form their games content.

URL: Openwave http://www.openwave.com/
URL: In-Fusio http://www.in-fusio.com/

MPEG-4 for handhelds

DSP Group, a developer of Digital Signal Processor (DSPs) cores, and MEICOM Technologies, a provider of image and video-processing software have released a totally software-driven MPEG-4 codec for DSP Group's PalmDSPCore licensable DSP core. The companies are aiming the technology at what they see as an "emerging mobile multimedia market" ... requiring an "MPEG-4 quality streaming video solution with significant reductions in power consumption for 2.5/3G cellular phones and mobile devices".

URL: MEICOM Technologies http://www.meicom.com/
URL: DSP Group http://www.dspg.com/

MS eBook authoring tools

Microsoft and OverDrive have jointly announced the introduction of ReaderWorks 2.0, the latest in a suite of eBook authoring and conversion tools for creating Microsoft Reader eBooks. The tools aim to make publishing eBooks easier, and include enhanced features that take advantage of Microsoft Reader version 2.0. According to the companies, large corporations, publishing and production houses worldwide use OverDrive ReaderWorks to automate eBook production throughout their enterprises. The new features of ReaderWorks Publisher 2.0 (the authoring suite) include:

The ability to create Microsoft Reader eBooks directly from Word documents Navigation Workspace and Tour Wizard tools for creating custom tours through an eBook title Table of contents support for Microsoft Word Bookmarks and additional styles Flexible eBook cover page options including support for building smaller eBook files Enhanced support for external HTML tags Improved support for Open eBook (OeB) and XML tags.

OverDrive also offers:

ReaderWorks Standard 2.0 is available at no charge whilst ReaderWorks Publisher 2.0 has a list price of US$ 149. The products are available for immediate download.

URL: ReaderWorks 2.0 http://www.overdrive.com/
URL: Microsoft Reader http://www.microsoft.com/reader/
URL: http://www.openebook.org/

Pocket PC Phone Edition

Pocket PC 2002 Phone Edition is the latest addition to Microsoft's Pocket PC 2002 family. The software combines PDA-based applications with integrated wireless voice and data capabilities. "With Pocket PC 2002 Phone Edition, we've worked hard to make integration of the phone and Pocket PC applications seamless for customers," claimed Microsoft.

URL: http://www.microsoft.com/

More mobile games

Cartoon Network and Digital Bridges, a provider of mobile entertainment services, plan to launch a number of mobile games, based on Cartoon Network characters, throughout North America and Europe. Three of the first games will be based on the "Scooby-Doo" cartoon series, and the titles will encompass a wide range of current mobile gaming technologies including SMS, WAP, Java and BREW, "allowing the vast majority of mobile handset owners the chance to enjoy the games". The titles will be completed by mid-2002 and announcements regarding specific operators and networks "publishing" them will follow.

URL: Digital Bridges http://www.digitalbridges.com/

Maintaining web application integrity

TeaLeaf has launched a web application management product aimed at ensuring the integrity of web applications, thereby boosting reliability and resolving site problems. TeaLeaf IntegriTea, is targeted towards "providing visibility into the functional integrity of web applications", enterprise-wide - a complex issue. Find out whether the software delivers on such a promise via the URL below (there's a white paper available), evaluation copies are available for download.

URL: download http://www.tealeaf.com/downloads/downloads.asp
URL: TeaLeaf Technology http://www.tealeaf.com/

Web ontology language

W3C have released a working draft for a Web Ontology Language that they call OWL (Ontology Web Language). The draft is part of the ongoing Semantic Web activities. Some of the difficulties in this endeavour are apparent in the document itself. The term "use cases", which normally refers to user requirements before the solution is determined, is here used to refer to sample applications of the method "ontology".

One use case actually starts, "Ontologies can be used to ...". There is also a latent contradiction between the idea of a web ontology and a web ontology language. Ontology design includes the idea that "Among several viable alternatives, we will need to determine which one would work better for the projected task, be more intuitive, more extensible, and more maintainable." (Ontology Development 101). It is not clear that different ontologies can help to search across the web as a whole or help with disambiguation in this context. Consider for example the practical meaning of the term "non-believer" in ontologies that might be developed by different religious groups. Inconsistent ontologies are not "wrong", they represent the flexibility inherent in language and human belief, reflected in the content of web documents.

URL: http://www.w3.org/TR/webont-req/
URL: http://protege.stanford.edu/publications/ontology_development/ontology101.shtml

Designing wireless financial apps

For next-generation wireless devices, firms planning financial services applications face a familiar high-tech problem: "How do you know what customers will want and use when a technology has never been used before?". Many innovations work fine in the lab and factory only to fall flat with customers. Researchers, at Hong Kong's University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and the Helsinki School of Economics (HSE) have worked with Digia in an attempt to solve this problem using a new method for building customer models in an attempt to explain why technical features are important. Digia is a Finland-based R&D firm, developing application software for wireless communication devices.

The researchers worked with 14 likely early adopting customers and 18 experts to develop models for how the customers and experts thought potential features could affect their lives and how they felt about those impacts. They used the models in brainstorming sessions with Digia executives and engineers to come up with new product ideas that would best meet the customers' needs and at the same time identified ideas that they didn't think would be successful. A working paper, with graphics, and photos is available via the link below.

URL: http://www.peffers.com/

Wireless market research

Light Reading in conjunction with its newly acquired Web site, Unstrung has launched Wireless Oracle a subscription research service that tracks financial and technological trends in the emerging wireless market, presumably with a US-bias. The first monthly Wireless Oracle newsletter, called "The WiFi Landscape," provides an overview of emerging wireless networking technologies, including a detailed list of the startups in the space.

The report draws on financial and technological information from public filings, conference calls, and interviews with the leading wireless service providers and equipment suppliers. The current month's Wireless Oracle is available as a single report for US$ 400 or as part of an annual subscription (which includes 12 monthly reports) for US$ 1,250, reduced to at an introductory price of US$ 899.

URL: Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com/
URL: Unstrung http://www.unstrung.com/
URL: Wireless Oracle http://www.wireless-oracle.com/

Mobile .Net

Microsoft plans to support the GSM Association's M-Services Phase II Initiative and is also active in the association's Wireless LAN Task Force. The company also announced that the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), "has incorporated the standardised Microsoft Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) Compact Profile". Microsoft is planning to make its .NET Compact Framework interoperable with elements of the Phase II specifications to provide "fixed and mobile [devices and applications] with connecting bridges".

URL: http://www.microsoft.com/

Motorola's digital media group

The Motorola Digital Media Group, which encompasses businesses and employees from Motorola's former Entertainment Media Group (including its DigiCable, Satellite Broadcast Network Systems (SBNS), and Worldwide Interactive Networks (WIN) organisations) will focus on digital consumer gateways and digital systems. The company believes that new division will "better enable Motorola to provide hardware and software solutions for each of the global conditional access and set-top markets". It will be part of the Motorola Broadband Communications Sector which focuses on broadband solutions that deliver interactive television, the Internet, and telephone services over wired and wireless networks.

URL: Motorola Broadband http://www.motorola.com/broadband

Wireless promotions

Entrega Corporation has launched a trial version, available as a free download, of The Beamer, a software application that turns a standard Palm Handheld into a digital marketing device. Using the infrared communications port on each handheld, The Beamer apparently allows for the continuous transfer of information to other Palm Handheld devices.

It's developers believe it will have application at trade shows, point of purchase displays, retail storefronts, press events, and customer waiting areas. Content could include product information, special promotions, press kits, or trade show floor plans. The Beamer has a range of about six feet. The trial version, includes setup instructions and will operate on a standard Palm Handheld.

URL: http://www.entregacorp.com/

MPEG-4 multicast video channel

Multicast Technologies, an Internet broadcasting and data distribution company, claims to be offering the "first commercial MPEG-4 multicast" with a broadcast of the Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit, to be followed by music and entertainment programming on the new MPEG-4 video channel.

"This MPEG-4 channel opens a revenue source for ISPs by making purchasing by the viewer easy. MPEG-4 also provides clear, DVD quality video", said Marshall Eubanks, Co-Founder and CEO of Multicast Technologies.

URL: http://www.on-the-i.tv/

Mobile 3D

ARM (a provider of 16/32-bit embedded RISC processor solutions), and Superscape (the interactive 3D developer) have developed a 3D software rendering engine for mobile phones, a key element of their new interactive 3D applications platform, Swerve. ARM has completed the code optimisation of the first preview release of the Superscape Swerve Client Lite, the Swerve entry- level product for handset manufacturers.

The Swerve Client range will be licensed and marketed by ARM to its global network of Partners who include some of the world's leading manufacturers of mobile phones and chip sets. It is anticipated that ARM will start shipping Swerve Client during the second half of the year. In addition to the engine itself, a comprehensive package of content creation tools and services will also be available from Superscape.

URL: ARM http://www.arm.com/
URL: Superscape http://www.superscape.com/

RealNetworks RealSystem Mobile

RealNetworks has announced RealSystem Mobile, which it describes as "a breakthrough platform for creation, delivery, and playback of RealAudio/RealVideo and Third Generation Partnership Program (3GPP) standards-compliant multimedia content in the mobile environment". The product is being aimed at mobile operators who wish to deploy media delivery and content subscription services.

URL: http://www.real.com/
URL: http://www.realnetworks.com/

MMS location services

Logica and Mapflow are jointly developing location based services (LBS) over multimedia messaging (MMS). Both companies believe that location based services will be one of the key drivers for the rapid adoption of MMS. MMS brings applications such as e-mail, video and audio download, animated graphics and electronic card and picture exchange to mobile device users. LBS hold out the promise of "providing information and functionality based on the user's position and context" to deliver personalised services.

URL: Logica http://www.logica.com/mms
URL: Mapflow http://www.mapflow.com/

Language technology on the map

UK Euromap is a non-profit making site devoted to the development and marketing of Human Language Technologies (HLT - programs which can understand, create or process human speech and writing. The site is hosted by the Sussex University's Information Technology Research Institute, one of Britain's leading research centres for HLT. The European Union is funding the Euromap project in 13 separate EU countries, to the tune of four million Euros.

The UK Euromap site is dedicated to news and views from this fast-growing sector, with items of interest to academics, researchers, new media entrepreneurs and customer relations professionals. The site includes features on key UK developers of HLT and case studies on bringing products to market. For instance, a current news item reports on a product that can read your emails out loud to you over your mobile phone. Webmaster Amy Neale said: "Euromap aims to put entrepreneurs in touch with the innovators in this field. In this way it will act as a catalyst for bringing new products to market".

URL: Euromap http://www.itri.brighton.ac.uk/projects/euromap

Philips licenses Scansoft

ScanSoft, a supplier of imaging, speech and language solutions, has signed a license agreement with Philips Speech Processing, a developer of network-based speech applications such as directory assistance, voice portals and call centre services automation. Philips has licensed ScanSoft's text-to-speech technology, RealSpeak, which will be deployed in 14 different languages.

URL: http://www.speech.philips.com/telephony
URL: http://www.scansoft.co.uk

Introducing AxKit

Perl.com, a web site aimed at programmers working with Perl has published an article: "Introducing AxKit". AxKit is a mod_perl application for dynamic transformation of XML inside the web server. It has been used to serve up web sites with the content completely written in XML, to style the output, choose between HTML, PDF and other output formats, to degrade depending on browser, and so on.

This, the first in a promised series of articles, covers how to get the best of AxKit by explaining how to go about setting it up and serving up some simple XML files. The Perl.com web site offers a free email-based update service, subscribe at the site.

URL: AxKit article http://www.perl.com/pub/a/2002/03/12/axkit.html
URL: Perl.com http://www.perl.com

Web developers resources from IBM

The IBM developerWorks Newsletter Technology Edition is IBM's free email news service which includes resources for developers. The latest issue includes links to a couple of useful resources for El.pub readers active in the web development field.

URL: IBM developerWorks http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/?n-3142

Music copyrights portal

Rights Clearing House (RCH) has announced that it is developing a web portal for the clearing of music copyrights in Canada for the Department of Canadian Heritage. RCH is a consortium of Digital Content Management Services (DCMS), RightsMarket, and the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), was founded in June 2001 expressly for the development of this portal. Work on the project began in July 2001 and will continue through March 2002.

"This joint project will develop technology to simplify licensing for specific uses of copyright-protected material in Canada. Users will be able to go to a single clearance centre, determine what licences they require, pay the prescribed amounts and be granted the right to use the copyright-protected material," says Al Saurette, CEO of RightsMarket. "RCH is establishing a new benchmark for obtaining the legitimate use of copyright-protected material", he concluded.

URL: RightsMarket http://www.rightsmarket.com/

"Hidden web" project

The Scout Report includes a resource item on OAlster - a description of the University of Michigan's Digital Library Production Service's project. Standing for Open Archives Initiative, OAIster is an ongoing, collective effort on the part of librarians and other information service professionals to increase access to Web-based resources not currently retrievable by existing search engines.

URL: http://oaister.umdl.umich.edu/
URL: Scout Report current issue: http://scout.cs.wisc.edu/report/sr/current/
URL: Scout Report news item issue http://scout.cs.wisc.edu/report/sr/2002/scout-020315.html

DARPA Agent Modeling Language

XML.com includes a two part introduction to the DARPA Agent Modeling Language, DAML. The article develops the ontology from an initial introduction, demonstrating some more advanced DAML concepts.

URL: http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2002/03/13/daml.html

Agent news

UMBC AgentNews reports that:

Subscribe to the free AgentNews email service from the AgentWeb web site below.

URL: AgentNews http://agents.umbc.edu/07/05/
URL: AgentWeb http://agents.umbc.edu/

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