Just in time for the holidays, TiVo's making some temporary changes to its service fee structure. For new TiVo buyers from now through February 2, 2008, service choices are as follows:1 year monthly service: now $12.95/month
1 year prepay service: $129
2 year prepay service: $249
3 year prepay service: $299
To reiterate: those pricing discounts apply only to new TiVo customers ; existing customers won't see any changes to their bill. However, TiVo does have an offer for current customers: the return of the lifetime service fee. Existing customers who buy an additional TiVo on the same account can opt for a one-shot product lifetime service fee for that new DVR for $399. That's $100 more than the equivalent plan that was offered by the company until last year .
Additionally, TiVo is making what it calls a "permanent change" to its multiservice discount . Subscribers can choose between a $9.95 monthly charge or a $99 yearly prepay .John P. Falcone covers home theater and network entertainment products. He's been writing for CNET since 2002.
And now convicts in these countries won't feel left out. NEC has signed a letter of intent to resell RFID identification and tracking system for prisons from Alanco in Asia. The agreement is non-exclusive in Japan but exclusive in other, unidentified, Asian markets. A definitive agreement, worth several million, will be signed in the next thirty days, said Alanco.
With the Alanco system, prisoners, or "uncooperative users" in Alanco parlance, wear RFID bracelets surrounded by a multitude of readers. As a result, their movements can be tracked. In U.S. prisons where it's been installed, Alanco TSI Prism system has reduced inmate violence. What Yakuza member could object?
"Inmates know they are being monitored and know they will get caught. The word spreads very quickly," said Alanco exec Greg Oester last year.Topics: Bookmark: Digg Del.icio.us Reddit cnet_news406:http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-5647180-7.html
Think Fido might be running a fever? Now all you have to do to measure your dog's temperature is tune in to an implantable RFID microchip.
St. Paul, Minn.-based Digital Angel Corp. on Monday announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted the company a patent for a syringe-implantable microchip that uses radio frequency technology to determine the body temperature of its host animal. Potential applications for the chip include non-invasive monitoring of temperatures in cats, dogs, livestock and horses and early detection of infectious diseases such as bird flu in poultry.The patented technology covers a passive transponder, a sensor and integrated circuit that together make it possible for someone with a scanner to determine the body temperature of an animal implanted with the Bio-Thermo.
Bio-Thermo microchips are currently being sold in the United Kingdom, Japan and the Philippines, Digital Angel says, with patents covering the Bio-Thermo RFID technology currently pending in several other countries. The company has begun marketing the chips in the U.S. equine market, it says, and is preparing to sell the microchips for the companion animal market, as well.
Leave it to Amazon to clear up Microsoft's obfuscations.
Windows Vista Service Pack 1 will be available for shipping on Wednesday, March 19, according to a listing on Amazon.com . People can preorder the software already.
A search on the term "Windows SP1" returns several versions of Windows Vista, including Ultimate and Home Premium editions. The suggested manufacturers' price for Vista Ultimate with SP1 is $319.95 and Vista Home Premium with SP1 is $239.95 .
On Monday, my colleague Ina Fried tried to nail down the exact shipping date from Microsoft. She did find out that Windows Vista SP1 is expected to be available in retail stores "as soon as April," according to a company spokesperson.
The main features expected in SP1 are fixes to avoid incompatibilities with some applications as well as better reliability, security, and performance.
Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet also spotted the Amazon listing and reported that Windows XP SP3 is not far behind .
A report from the Associated Press , meanwhile, suggested that Vista SP1 could be available for download Tuesday.
Update 5:21 a.m. Pacific : Microsoft finalized the code for Windows Vista SP1 in February and made the software available for download to members of its MSDN and TechNet developer network in late February.
Tech companies are trooping to Congress today to testify before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law .
Fairly or not, politicians have held the tech industry's feet to the fire over sundry issues touching on human rights in the age of the Internet. It's been an unsatisfying debate marked by lots of finger-pointing but little in the way of results.
In her prepared remarks, Google Deputy General Counsel Nicole Wong offers a few concrete suggestions that I think make sense. Here's a summary:
Include censorship in trade negotiations. We believe that government-sponsored censorship is one of the largest barriers to making information more available online, and so it is vital for the U.S. Departments of State and Commerce, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, to make censorship a central element of our bilateral and multilateral trade talks.
Strengthen the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. More can be done to ensure that the ICCR--developed more than 30 years ago--truly protects free expression online. The U.S. should renew diplomatic efforts to encourage more countries to ratify the agreement; countries that belong to the covenant should submit regular compliance reports; and aid should be provided to help individuals filing complaints under the covenant.
Enhance the State Department's Global Internet Freedom Task Force, and appoint an at-large ambassador. The task force has accomplished a lot so far but should receive additional prominence, authority, and funding. For example, the State Department could appoint an ambassador-at-large for Internet freedom to serve as a diplomatic advocate for these issues.
Promote free expression as part of foreign aid. Government can do more to tie U.S. aid programs to countries' implementation of their ICCR obligations. We have already urged the Millennium Challenge Corporation to incorporate Internet censorship in measuring whether candidate countries have achieved criteria for democratic governance.
Up until now, Silicon Valley's been left on its own to deal with authoritarian regimes like China. That's a no-win proposition. Without solid backing from Uncle Sam, there's no way that even a powerhouse tech company like Google or Microsoft is going to be able to stand on its own.
The Google suggestions aren't the last word in figuring out rules of engagement, but they're a sensible beginning. Now it's up to the hired help in Washington to take the lead. Will they grab the opportunity or opt for more grandstanding? We'll find out later today.Charles is an executive editor with CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years. A graduate of Queens College and Columbia University, Cooper began his career in journalism at the Associated Press before moving to technology coverage. Before joining CNET News, he worked at Computer & Software News , Computer Shopper , PC Week , and ZDNet. He received the Excellence in Journalism award from the Northern California branch of the Society for Professional Journalists for column writing. In addition to his blogging and podcast appearances, he is a co-host of the CNET News Daily Debrief. E-mail Charlie .
The scenario: Within ten years from today Google and Amazon merge, forcing the beacon of mainstream media to go offline and sue the Googlezon colossus in the United States Supreme Court for violation of copyright law.
In an eight-minute flash presentation , the Museum of Media History presents its picture for how the Fourth Estate will be toppled by participatory journalism, aided by the titans of the Internet industry.
Seminal moments leading to the destruction of the media industry include the creation of the Web, the founding of Amazon and Google, blogging, TiVo and social networking services, such as Friendster.
But it's the year 2004, according to the clip, that sets the stage for dramatic changes in how people consume--and make--their news and information. Sony and Philips announce the first mass-produced electronic paper; Microsoft unveils a social news filter Newsbot; and Amazon unveils its own search engine.
Then the video clip's makers get really creative. Awash in cash from going public, Google acquires TiVo in 2005. The following year sees the emergence of the Google Grid, which allows consumers to access an unlimited amount of storage and bandwidth to share media.
Google and Amazon merge in 2008 and trump Microsoft's competitive efforts with an algorithm that allows computers to construct news stories dynamically tailored to each individual user.
The symbolic demise of the Fourth Estate occurs in 2011 when the New York Times Company loses its suit against Googlezon.
In 2014, Googlezon unleashes EPIC, the Evolving Personalized Information Construct, which collects and filters media of all types to consumers. Some people are actually employed, too, paid according to the popularity of their work.Martin LaMonica is a senior writer for CNET's Green Tech blog. He started at CNET News in 2002, covering IT and Web development. Before that, he was executive editor at IT publication InfoWorld . E-mail Martin .
It's ironic how different Europe can be from the United States. While the U.S. continues its mindless rampage against the future of digital distribution with DRM, RIAA, MPAA, and other acronyms designed to stuff the 21st century back into the 20th century's ideas of how to package and sell property, Europe is actually investing in that future. To be exact, it's putting $22 million toward peer-to-peer technology , in a BitTorrent-minded project called P2P-Next.
Surely European broadcasters are against the move, right? After all, research suggests that 50 percent of those using BitTorrent are doing so to steal TV shows . As one TorrentFreak blogger noted, however, European broadcasters believe this situation presents an opportunity rather than a threat:
One of the biggest names taking part is the BBC, who will use the new BitTorrent client to stream TV programs. Other partners in the P2P-Next project are the European Broadcasting Union, Lancaster University, Markenfilm, Pioneer Digital Design Centre Limited and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The main goal is to develop an open source, BitTorrent-compatible client that supports live streaming.
The current project will help broadcasters to find better ways to reach th online audience, and offer high quality on-demand television.
Now if only we could work on U.S. industries threatened by digitization and downloading. The software industry might actually more fully embrace open source. The entertainment industry would find ways to monetize the heavy demand for its products, as evidenced by file "sharing."
The EU apparently recognizes that the way to monetize P2P is to get out in front of it and enable it on superior terms to those available by more illicit means. Imagine that.