Distributed Computing Industry
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December 28, 2009
Volume XXIX, Issue 2

In Lieu of An Online Holiday Greeting

Rather than the traditional DCIA season's greetings message this year, DCINFO readers are receiving a more meaningful gift: a special discount for signing up now to attend the day-long P2P MEDIA SUMMIT at CES on Wednesday January 6th.

First, click here to register for the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and then sign-up for the extraordinary P2P MEDIA SUMMIT using the special code "DCIAmem" to save nearly $250.

This really is a gift that will keep on giving - there's no better way to get a head-start on what to expect from the forefront of online service development in the New Year.

Don't miss this seminal industry event being held once again at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Also of particular interest to DCINFO readers, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski will be interviewed by Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) President Gary Shapiro on Friday January 8th; and Josh Silverman, CEO of Skype, the P2P industry's greatest financial success, will deliver the keynote address at the Leaders in Technology Dinner (LIT) at CES that evening.

Hollywood + Silicon Valley = Frenemies?

Excerpted from Huffington Post Report by Daren Tsui

When it comes to Hollywood and Silicon Valley, it's all turf wars and cattiness, the trash talk only put on hold for the occasional air kiss and photo op. Sound familiar? Maybe like Paris and Nicole? Lauren and Heidi?

That's right - I'm saying Hollywood and Silicon Valley (and by that, I mean tech in general) are frenemies, and always have been. A few half-hearted overtures of friendship here and there when it suits them, but otherwise they just peer warily at one another from across the club. (Think MPAA v. BitTorrent).

But if Hollywood and Silicon Valley don't ditch the defensiveness and start truly playing nice, the credits threaten to roll on movie revenues as we know them - and both sides will lose out.

Don't believe me? Take a look at the music industry.

The labels fought the digital realm so long and so hard that by the time they accepted the change, music fans had already been re-engineered. They'd grown accustomed to peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing, and getting their favorite artists immediately, and for free. It's tough to unlearn habits, and the music labels learned the hard way how critical it is to be part of the consumer re-engineering process.

Hollywood needs to learn the same lesson. And fast. If it's going to stay viable and relevant, Hollywood needs Silicon Valley - and vice versa.

The process of re-engineering consumers' consumption of movies and TV is already well underway - and immediacy is becoming a key element. Over the next few years, the two sides need to create and test a wide variety of potential new business models - together - or the movie studios, TV networks, and digital webmasters run the risk of losing out on the consumer experience. (Read: purchase process).

So, can "frenemies" work together?

The answer should be yes. The Valley can provide distribution methods that give consumers what they want - new releases, on demand. And Hollywood can deliver quality content in a variety of forms/formats the digital distributors need. Together they should both make money.

After all, they're not that different. One may think of itself as "new" and the other as "old," one may be Fortune 500 while the other is dominated by start-ups, but the fact is that both are entrepreneurial risk-takers. Every new film or television show, just like every new technology play, is a high-stakes gamble.

And it's that commonality, and that history, that both industries need to think about as they look forward. Hollywood can't be afraid to take risks. And Silicon Valley shouldn't try to cut the content providers out of the picture.

The answer is out there. Taking risks, trying all types of different things, and working together is how it will be found. After all, if Lauren and Heidi are on speaking terms again, there's hope for us, too.

Report from CEO Marty Lafferty

Photo of CEO Marty LaffertyFollowing are highlights of the first half of the DCIA's 2009 Year in Review. Second-half highlights will be published here next week. All delegates to the 2010 P2P MEDIA SUMMIT at CES will receive copies of the full report on January 6th.

2009 began with the music industry seeking cooperation from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in combating online music infringement. What.cd partnered with Open Your Eyes Records to revolutionize the industry landscape by demonstrating that peer-to-peer (P2P) technology and record labels could work hand-in-hand to accomplish their goals.

Verizon lowered prices to content owners and content delivery network providers (CDNs) for connecting directly to its Internet backbone network. Verizon Senior Technologist Doug Pasko announced the new Partner Port Program at the 2009 P2P MEDIA SUMMIT at CES.

The DCIA welcomed Laura Tunberg, a Principal Partner of We Get It Consulting to its Member Services team focusing on DCIA Content Group development.

LimeWire CEO George Searle introduced the beta version of LimeWire 5.0 at the SUMMIT. This highly anticipated release redefined sharing as a social activity on the network, with users choosing to set-up personal networks based on existing contacts, exchanging information selectively with their friends, and being protected from inadvertently sharing personal and sensitive data.

Brand Asset Digital (BAD) received the DCIA Groundbreaker's Award.

Peer-to-peer television (P2PTV) services Joost and Octoshape live-streamed coverage of President Obama's Inauguration Ceremony for CBS and CNN respectively. CNN alone served a record 21.3 million streams, with a peak of 1.3 million simultaneous streams. Livestation enabled users to switch among a variety of international perspectives on the historic inauguration.

The DCIA-sponsored P4P Working Group (P4PWG) formalized its structure as a non-profit corporate alliance in preparation for commercial deployment of the P4P protocol. Verizon's Doug Pasko and Pando Networks' Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Laird Popkin were elected Co-Chairs of its Board of Directors.

Cisco Systems said that, by 2012, Internet video alone would account for 400 times the traffic carried by the US Internet backbone in 2000. Video-on-demand, IPTV, P2PTV, and Internet video were forecast to account for nearly 90% of all consumer IP traffic.

In February, the Isle of Man (IOM) began promoting a new approach to address digital infringement: an experiment in which IOM's 80,000 inhabitants would be able to download unlimited amounts of music from file-sharing services in exchange for paying a nominal monthly fee to their ISPs.

Powerful BitTorrent client Vuze launched a new version of its software making file transfers more stable, usable, and faster.

The DCIA and Interactive Media Strategies debuted the new P2P Thought Leaders online video series with a feature webcast of Laird Popkin.

Kontiki, a provider of enterprise P2P video delivery solutions, made several key management appointments to deliver on Kontiki's vision for this emerging market category.

Ad-supported P2P music service QTRAX executed an agreement with Warner Music Group (WMG), marking the successful completion of licensing deals with all four major record labels, as well as top music publishers and leading independents.

The DCIA presented Digital Music Testing on the Isle of Man with IOM e-Commerce Advisor Ron Berry and a keynote interview with LimeWire CEO George Searle at Digital Music Forum East.

Ipoque published its Internet Study 2008/2009, covering usage of the most popular protocols including P2P, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), instant messaging (IM), and media streaming. Their key finding was that P2P generates the most traffic in all eight regions of the world.

Burst Media revealed that more than 80% of web surfers are concerned about the privacy of their personal information such as age, gender, income, and web-surfing habits. Such concerns are prevalent among all age segments, including younger demographics now coming of age online.

In March, media technology company Playlouder MSP confirmed its discussions with IOM regarding the government's proposal to experimentally license ISPs to enable customers to access unlimited music for a monthly fee.

Several member companies of the DCIA released their implementations of inadvertent file-sharing protection principles.

The DCIA presented its second annual P2P MARKET CONFERENCE in conjunction with the Media Summit New York (MSNY), featuring top global P2P brands and case studies of emerging business models. P2P streaming music service Spotify received praise from music industry blogger Bob Lefsetz.

Two of 50 Cent's allied brands scored big numbers by attaching his name to P2P-related content. Glaceau's vitaminwater Formula 50 and Right Guard's Pure 50 worked with BAD to attach search results to branded content which could be shared with other users. Both campaigns generated click-through rates over 4% and post-click engagement times of more than two minutes.

Nexon America, a leader in free-to-play multiplayer online video games, selected Pando Networks to provide P2P cloud-based content delivery services for Nexon games, accelerating download speeds and increasing completion rates for millions of gamers while significantly lowering Nexon's delivery costs.

The Carmel Group and the DCIA presented P2P - What Business Models Are Making Money at CeBIT in Hannover, Germany.

Atlanta, GA based independent cable network FamilyNet Television began offering content via the web as part of its full-time broadband channel powered by P2PTV service TVU Networks.

Oversi, a pioneer of over-the-top (OTT) delivery solutions, was selected by Chile's largest cable communications company, VTR Global Com SA, to provide caching and content acceleration services.

Norway's public broadcaster NRK embraced P2P by giving away its TV shows as torrents, saving on distribution costs and attracting new viewers from the enormous community of torrent fans. NRK endorsed P2PTV player Miro.

GigaTribe won the Best of 2009 Award from Trender Research for its "free, community-based file-sharing software that lets users easily share unlimited amounts of photos, videos, music, and other files with their 'tribe' of friends, family, and coworkers, quickly and securely, in a private, fully-encrypted environment."

P2P content delivery software maker Solid State Networks announced the first wave of developers utilizing its Solid Axis CURRENT SDK to manage the delivery of game updates and patches for their latest game titles.

Zattoo, which focuses on European TV channels featuring licensed content and digital rights management (DRM), launched a browser-based version of its P2PTV service.

The latest version of Vuze was released and with it a brand new media streaming/downloading feature for a variety of devices, including the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Content delivery network (CDN) Akamai Technologies began offering the Akamai NetSession Interface based on P2P technology that the company acquired with its purchase of Red Swoosh.

In April, ARTISTdirect, owner of MediaDefender, announced the firm's acquisition of the MediaSentry unit of SafeNet.

New figures showed that music streaming sites like P2P-based Spotify were helping to curb the rising tide in unauthorized downloads and file sharing.

Red Herring named Oversi a winner of the Red Herring 100 Europe award given to the top hundred private technology companies based in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region each year.

France's National Assembly tossed out the country's proposed HADOPI law - a three-strikes rule requiring ISPs to cut off customers' Internet access for one year if they were suspected of unauthorized downloading of copyrighted material.

Hughes Hubbard & Reed, an international law firm of approximately 350 attorneys, joined the Professional Services Group of the DCIA.

The DCIA-sponsored Inadvertent Sharing Protection Working Group (ISPG), at tax preparation time, sponsored a PR campaign to help users of personal computers (PCs) and other networked devices keep their sensitive data private and secure.

The DCIA participated in l'Association Quebecoise de l'Industrie du Disque's (ADISQ) "Remonter le Torrent" at Les Rencontres 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

A Swedish court found against four operators of high-profile website The Pirate Bay (TPB) for "assistance in making copyrighted content available." 

The Swedish Performing Rights Society (STIM) released a study entitled Pirates, File Sharers, and Music Users reaffirming that that 86% of people would pay for licensed P2P. A report from the BI Norwegian School of Management found that music file sharers already buy ten times more music than non-sharers,

In May, the DCIA produced the fourth annual P2P MEDIA SUMMIT LA in conjunction with Digital Hollywood Spring. The conference focused on metrics and analytics. Solid State Networks received the DCIA Trendsetter's Award and Ignite Technologies' new whitepaper 2009 Best Practices for Enterprise Content Delivery was delivered to attendees.

The US House of Representatives conducted a legislative hearing, in which the DCIA participated, on HR 1319, "The Informed P2P User Act," to help protect file sharers from inadvertently sharing confidential data. Four other tech-related trade groups raised concerns about this misguided and outdated bill.

The European Parliament voted to make it illegal to disconnect repeat file sharers' Internet connections as one facet of a larger Telecoms Package.

Vuze launched a portable edition of its BitTorrent client, called Vuze to Go.

Leaf Networks announced a licensing agreement with NETGEAR for its P2P virtual private network (VPN) technology, which enables users to access their network-attached storage (NAS) devices through the ReadyNAS Remote application from anywhere, as if they were on their local area network (LAN).

The DCIA conducted a panel focusing on evolving ISP views of P2P technology at 2009 Streaming Media East.

Forrester Research predicted that interactive marketing spending will hit $25.6 billion this year - up 11% from $23.1 billion in 2008.

As recorded in Analytical Perspectives, White House officials requested that agencies launch pilot projects focused on cloud computing.

Vatata, a P2P streaming technology provider based in China, announced its full support for Adobe's Flash RTMP streaming protocol, so that the Flash Player can now play both live P2P and video-on-demand (VOD) streaming content.

Xenocode, a division of Code Systems and a leader in application virtualization and delivery technology, announced the immediate availability of its online P2P Sandbox, allowing the world's most popular file-sharing application LimeWire to be run directly from the web in a risk-free manner.

Octoshape's Infinite Edge P2P technology was selected to power the pause, replay, and synchronization functionality of the Emmy Award-nominated TrackPass RaceView application available exclusively through NASCAR.

In June, a new report from Trendstream and Lightspeed revealed that, in just three years, online video has become the fastest-growing media platform in history. In one week, 97 million Americans viewed streaming clips online. According to The Global Web Index, 72% of US Internet users watched video clips monthly - making video bigger than blogging or social networking. Nielsen Online pegged the number of US online video viewers at nearly 117 million.

For those missing the defunct FeedMyTorrents and its duplicate-free RSS-based automation, ShowRSS began offering the same functionality and integration with RSS-enabled BitTorrent clients.

At the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, CA, Electronic Arts (EA) CEO John Riccitiello said that more than a billion people would soon be a part of the global videogame community, presenting software developers a broad opportunity for growth.

According to a report conducted by Ipsos MediaCT on behalf of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), 68% of US households currently play computer games or videogames, an increase of 3% over 2008,

GigaTribe was selected to showcase its new Internet file-sharing technology at the third annual French Tech Tour.

Verizon Business unveiled its much-anticipated cloud computing service, called Computing as a Service (CaaS), a deliberate departure from the approach taken by existing cloud providers such as Amazon.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) reported that interactive advertising is responsible for $300 billion of economic activity in the US. The ad-supported Internet represents 2.1% of the US gross domestic product (GDP). It directly employs more than 1.2 million Americans with above-average wages in jobs that did not exist two decades ago, and another 1.9 million people work to support those with directly Internet-related jobs.

Cisco released a report suggesting that global Internet traffic is growing exponentially, including the prediction that the web will nearly quadruple in size over the next four years. By 2013, what amounts to 10 billion DVDs will cross the Internet each month. In other words, it will take over a million years to watch just one month's worth of web video traffic.

LimeWire announced deals for the LimeWire Store with new partners: Skint/Loaded, Alpha Pup, CAM, and Mbop Digital. Their combined digital music catalogs added tens of thousands of titles to the service.

The DCIA partnered with the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) on the second World Copyright Summit in Washington, DC.

Solid State Networks announced the availability of SOLID PUBLISHER, the company's game publishing software suite, which includes two distinct products that enable game developers and publishers to deliver games directly to gamers through a single interface.

Breakout games publisher Activision Blizzard, which incorporates P2P technology for game distribution, said it was poised to become a billion dollar business by 2012.

In-Stat reported that networked videogame consoles are currently the most utilized devices for bringing web video to the TV and will remain so in the near-term. By 2013, 10.7 million consoles will be used as web-to-TV mediation devices in the US.

Buffalo Technology launched the latest version of its LinkStation Pro, a home and small-business NAS drive that lets users store and share music, photos, and movie files at home as well as online.

Opera Software, maker of the innovative Opera browser, introduced a new version of its software called Opera Unite that combines web browsing with file serving "and turns cloud computing crowd computing." That is, "it removes the need for a web server and allows people to share files and interact directly."

Pew Internet & American Life Project's Gaming and Civic Engagement Survey of Teens/Parents revealed that 97% of US teens of teens (ages 12-17) now play digital games.

Research from Interpret provided insight on the importance of the PC as a gaming platform for both complex and casual games. The study found that 23% of gamers still rely on PC-based games as a primary means of gaming, feeling that PCs provide superior experiences compared with console-based games such as Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360, and Sony PlayStation.

P2P functionality for games on the iPhone, announced during the keynote at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), generated a great deal of interest. Bomberman Touch 2: Volcano Party launched on iPhone/iPod featuring a P2P battle function.

To support and accelerate progress in this realm, the DCIA began to advance an industry-spanning initiative for leading P2P software developers and distributors, online games publishers and marketers, and other qualified entities that are involved in games distribution over broadband networks.

Next week's report will feature industry highlights from July through December. Share wisely, and take care.

Cloud Computing Security Set to Improve Over Next Five Years

Excerpted from EDL Consulting Report

Security will continue to improve for cloud computing solutions over the next five years as services providers grow more sophisticated, EMC Security Division President Art Coviello said in an interview published Monday. 

In an exchange with Forbes Magazine, Coviello noted that systems integrators, telecommunications firms, and large online service providers such as Google and Amazon have a big incentive to maintain their reputations, and will therefore pay careful attention to security issues raised by the cloud computing services they offer. 

"You can bet that security and risk of loss of reputation will be high on the stack," Coviello told the magazine. 

The computing security executive said that many companies are realizing better economies of scale by shifting software functions to the cloud, and noted the high costs firms must pay to maintain security if they wish to keep all of their infrastructure on-premise. 

A number of independent studies confirm that security offered in the cloud can be equal or superior to on-premise security infrastructure. Technology research firm Gartner concluded that cloud computing security services can offer faster deployment and lower costs than equivalent on-premise solutions.

Spotify Biding Time for the Right Contracts Before US Debut

Excerpted from VentureBeat Report by Kim-Mai Cutler

The most eagerly anticipated music service this side of the Atlantic Ocean didn't cross the pond this year. What's going on?

Spotify is a P2P music service that originated in Sweden, which lets you stream more than 6.5 million tracks for free with advertising. The paid version, about 10 euros a month, gives you access on your phone and without ads.

Co-Founder and CEO 26-year-old Daniel Ek, who recently moved to London, is splitting much of his time between New York and the UK as the company tries to nail down the right licensing agreements with the major record labels. Last summer, Spotify pledged it would be in the United States by year-end, but has since pushed the launch back to next year.

"We can wait. It took us about three years to launch, and we can wait until we get the product right," said Gustav Soderstrom, Spotify's Vice President of Products. "We only get one chance to come to the US."

Although there are technical issues like making sure Spotify's infrastructure scales to accommodate several times its current 7 million person subscriber base, the bigger impediment is the business and advertising side of the equation.

The wrong streaming contracts with expensive quarter or half-cent royalties per play would quickly shorten the company's financial runway and hand it the fate of other US music start-ups like iLike and iMeem, which were sold to MySpace earlier this fall.

Spotify has been using the extra time to hire salespeople across Europe and in the US, so when the service does debut it can immediately begin to monetize its base. Ramping up monetization efforts has also meant tweaking advertising to push more conversions to paid subscriptions. Soderstrom wouldn't talk about conversion rates specifically, other than to say the company "was quite pleased" with them.

In terms of the product itself, Soderstrom said the company will focus on discovery and recommendations, landing on all mobile platforms beyond the current iPhone, Android, and Symbian offerings, and releasing more application programming interfaces (APIs) to cultivate a stronger developer community. There are already several sites built around Spotify in Europe for sharing playlists.

Mobile is key as it's the most valuable part of the paid service. The company recently appointed a new mobile-focused Chief Technology Officer from mBlox named Oskar Stal.

Soderstrom said the company has been testing its mobile apps around Manhattan. They work well, but American users will have to rely on cached playlists because of the US's poorer mobile infrastructure. (Stockholm and Oslo have the world's first 4G network).

So when will Spotify make its US debut? Soderstrom wouldn't give an exact date. The team is headed to CES next month in Las Vegas. Are they were going to make an announcement there? As he rushed off to a meeting with Ek and Stal, Soderstrom replied with a sly smile, "Maybe - maybe not."

Chinese Video-Sharing Site Youku Secures $40 Million

Excerpted from Digital Media Wire Report by Mark Hefflinger

Chinese video-sharing site Youku announced that it has raised $40 million in private equity funding, led by Chengwei Ventures. 

The round is being considered the first tranche of a growth financing round; Youku said it is in active discussions with other potential investors on a second tranche that would raise up to an additional $40 million. 

Other participants in the round included previous backers Brookside Capital, Maverick Capital, and Sutter Hill Ventures. 

Beijing-based Youku counts 1,500 content partners delivering professionally-produced programming to its site, which counted 149 million unique visitors during October, according to iResearch data. 

The company will use the funds to syndicate professional media, produce web-based content, and improve user experiences on the PC and mobile devices. 

Youku has now raised a total of $110 million in funding, and $10 million in venture debt to date.

2009: The Year the Government Discovered Cloud Computing

Excerpted from GovIT Report by Kevin Jackson

2009 was truly a watershed year for Federal information technology professionals.

After inaugurating the first Cyber-President, we saw the appointment of our first Federal CIO and the rapid adoption of cloud computing as the way forward for improved efficiencies at reduced cost. 

The theme continued throughout the year with the Federal Cloud Computing Initiative, the Open Government Directive and finally, as if to put an exclamation point on the rising importance of IT to national security the appointment of the nation's first Cybersecurity Coordinator.

Government cloud computing is a reality and as Peter Mell of NIST succinctly put it, "2010 will be the year of the cloud computing pilot."

President Obama's New Cyber Boss Faces Tough Job

Excerpted from BBC News Report by Maggie Shiels

Despite saying the issue was a priority for the government, it has taken seven months to find someone to take the job. Howard Schmidt, a former eBay and Microsoft executive was appointed after others turned the post down.

"I bring to this challenge lessons learned during 40 years of experience in government, business, and law enforcement," said Mr. Schmidt.

"In our digital world the information technologies we depend on every day present us with great opportunity and great danger - for our national security, public safety, and economic competitiveness as well as our personal privacy," added Mr. Schmidt in a video broadcast posted on the White House's website.

While applauding the appointment of the country's first cyber-security coordinator, security professionals have also expressed some frustration at how long it has taken to fill the post. "While I am disappointed that it has taken this long, I am happy the government spent the time to get the right person for the job," said Ken Silva, Chief Technology Officer of VeriSign and someone who has known Mr. Schmidt for around eight years.

"What he brings to this job is the right level of senior government experience and industry experience. That is something that is hard to find. Before getting down to the technology challenges, he has to establish himself within government and industry in this new role," Mr. Silva told BBC News.

Mr. Schmidt served under President George W. Bush for three years, where his tasks involved reviewing how to improve network security for government agencies, the private sector, and citizens.

Some in the industry warn of the political pitfalls ahead as Mr. Schmidt tries to pull together a number of government agencies and their various cyber-security issues. "I think it will be a very tough job. He's going to have to herd some cats," said Roger Thornton, CTO and founder of security vendor Fortify Software.

Cisco's Chief Security Officer John N. Stewart agreed that Mr. Schmidt has his work cut out for him. "Today more than ever, we need greater collaboration between government and business leaders to help enable national security and public safety, provide for economic prosperity, and ensure the delivery of critical services to the American public."

In Mr. Schmidt's video broadcast, he said that the President has already directed him to focus on several priority areas. These include "developing a new comprehensive strategy to secure American networks, ensuring an organized, unified response to future cyber incidents, strengthening public/private partnerships, promoting research and development for the next generation of technologies, and leading a national campaign for cyber-security, awareness, and education".

"When it comes to cyber-security, our vulnerability is shared," said Mr. Schmidt.

In May this year, President Obama pledged to personally appoint someone to the post. Mr. Schmidt will have "regular access to the President and serve as a key member of his National Security Staff," said John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism.

Comcast Moves Beyond P2P Litigation

Cable Digital News reports that Comcast has agreed to a settlement agreement related to its former policies for broadband-network management regarding P2P traffic.

"Although we continue to believe that our network-management practices were appropriate and in the best interests of our customers, we prefer to put this matter behind us and avoid a potentially lengthy and distracting legal dispute that would serve no useful purpose," the company said.

Giraffic Cost-Reducing Content Delivery Technology

Excerpted from Fierce Online Video Report by Jim O'Neill

Israel-based Giraffic is hoping the public beta version of its new content delivery technology that's set to launch next month after several months of alpha testing will make a splash with companies in the US looking to cut their bandwidth costs.

Giraffic says its product, which uses P2P technology, reduces the cost of delivering video, including long-tail content, by as much as 70% and improves the end-user experience as well.

"Our technology enables reducing delivery costs substantially, both in popular video content and in long-tail content, utilizing P2P technology," CEO Yoel Zanger said in a recent interview.

"If P2P technology was successful in replacing multi-billion dollar infrastructures in the international phone-calling sector - with Skype an example of that - our technology aims to do the same for online video delivery."

The company, founded in 2008 and formerly known as UC Networks, has raised about $1 million so far from venture capital firm Start-up Factory and several private investors.

Torrent Magnifier: A Desktop BitTorrent Search Tool

Excerpted from Download Squad Report by Brad Linder

Torrent Magnifier is a BitTorrent search engine that searches multiple BitTorrent trackers including btjunkie, MiniNova, and Fenopy.

Of course, there's nothing new about a web page that lets you search for torrents from different trackers. You can also do that at Torrentz, SumoTorrent, Torrentfly, and any number of other sites. 

But here's what makes Torrent Magnifier different: There's a desktop client. Just enter a query and hit the search button, and Torrent Magnifier will search for torrents. No web browser necessary. Well, at least not until it's time to actually download a torrent. At that point, you hit the Go button and the torrent download page will open in your default web browser. 

The desktop client is certainly something that sets Torrent Magnifier apart from the crowd of web-based solutions. And there's also a Windows Gadget version of the search tool as well as an Internet Explorer 8 accelerator.

Swap It! Encrypt It! New File-Sharing Entry

A unique and refreshing idea has appeared in the online world. A company by the name of Swap it! Encrypt it! has recently entered the race to provide computer Internet users with the latest alternative to sending large e-mail attachments that would otherwise require an FTP, CDS, DVDS, USB flash drive, or expensive courier.

The people at Swap it! Encrypt it! have developed a method that allows users to send large files directly from their e-mail. An innovative feature that allows users on-demand access to their file transfer. Being able to send large files directly from a user's e-mail also protects the user from browser or Internet disconnection.

When users are disconnected, they only have to go as far as their e-mail in-box to find and re-establish their file transfer. The best part about the method Swap it! Encrypt it! created to send large files from e-mail is that it doesn't require installing software or training and it works with any kind of e-mail account.

Aside from Swap it! Encrypt it!'s ability to offer services directly from a sender's e-mail account, Swap it! Encrypt it! brings a unique business model to users of Internet based file-transfer systems. Rather than paying monthly membership fees, Swap it! Encrypt it! users pay a one-time fee based on the size of their file transfer. Because Swap it! Encrypt it! offers many bandwidth sizes to choose from, it's very easy to spend less and get exactly what you need.

Company owner Taylor Steele decided to add other features to Swap it! Encrypt it!'s service that would, "save users money, and give them an advantage without the cost of monthly membership fees." He did this by adding optional password protection and free confirmation e-mails to every file transfer. Furthermore, the firm offers users the chance to get familiar with its file-sharing system by offering a light version of its service. Swap it! Encrypt it! Lite allows its users to share files and download unlimited files up to 25 MB, without signing up.

It is innovations like these that have lead many people to believe Swap it! Encrypt it! is the biggest innovation in Internet based file transfer systems since "You Send It." It will be interesting to see what further changes this company will bring to the world of file sharing.

Nerrot - The World's Most Minimal Torrent Site

Excerpted from TorrentFreak Report

As BitTorrent sites have developed over the years, many have added a plethora of features to enhance the user experience. A brand new torrent site called Nerrot, which officially launched its beta this week, takes completely the opposite approach.

Google's homepage has always been known for its minimalist presentation and the lack of distractions has proven a hit with users. Earlier this month, Google turned on a new fade-in effect, which meant that until the user's mouse was moved, everything except the logo, search field and two buttons beneath it remained hidden.

Nerrot, a new torrent site now in early beta, somehow manages to make even Google look cluttered. Nicholas, the programmer behind Nerrot, told TorrentFreak that his motto is "Simply simplify simplistically!" This philosophy is evident in the site's interface and operation.

Nerrot bills itself as an "instant torrent downloader" and is very easy to use. Simply type in the name of the material you're looking for as accurately as possible into the search field and the appropriate torrent is immediately delivered.

Behind the scenes, Nerrot does all the boring stuff automatically. The torrent file it delivers to you aims to be the most relevant to your search and should also be one that connects you to the healthiest available swarm. In TorrentFreak's tests Nerrot delivered on its promises most of the time.

Nicholas told us that the site is currently in "0.5 beta" and new features such as filtering results based on the amount of seeds or leeches, an XML or database-driven auto-complete, and an option to select which trackers Nerrot should search for torrents will be realized with "juicy javascript, modals and ajax goodness" and will remain optional and hidden.

Although Nerrot is quite good at picking the right torrents, some users might feel like they are no longer in control when the torrent files are served automatically. In some cases this might even lead to downloading "fake" torrents as the site offers no option to check for comments or inflated peer ratios.

$75 Laptop Coming Soon to Young People in Need

Excerpted from MediaPost Report

Forbes takes a look at what could someday be the world's cheapest PC, and cost a mere $75. One Laptop Per Child, MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte's non-profit initiative to put educational laptops in the hands of developing world schoolchildren, is presently upgrading its XO computer, better known as the "hundred-dollar laptop." 

The new machine, known as the XO-3, is slated for a 2012 release, yet is apparently still more of a pipe dream than a product. 

"Early designs for the PC reveal a minimalist slate of touch-powered electronics that drops practically every feature of a traditional computer except its 8.5-by-11-inch screen, a scheme that would shed all of the first XO's child-like clunkiness without losing its simple accessibility," according to Forbes.

Yves Behar, founder of FuseProject, which designed the both the original and the XO-3, tells the magazine that he hopes to shrink the frame around the XO-3's display down to practically nothing, opting for a virtual keyboard instead of a physical one, and no buttons.

Net Neutrality, VoIP, and the First Amendment 

Excerpted from TechNewsWorld Report by Scott Fulton

New developments in technology could alter the debate over net neutrality. First, there is the distinct possibility that Google is readying a smart-phone that could eventually bypass telcos altogether, operating exclusively over the Internet. Another interesting development is the cable set-top box (STB) as a home networking appliance, including phone functionality. That could spell the end of the landline.

As the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continues to consider regulations that would limit an Internet service provider's (ISP) ability to restrict customers' access to specific services in the name of traffic management, it is now no longer possible to foresee an outcome to the debate without someone claiming that Constitutional rights are being violated somewhere.

"It should not be lost on anyone that the strongest and loudest voices for net neutrality rules often cloak their agenda as advancing the first amendment or, just as frequently, first amendment 'values,'" stated National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) President Kyle McSlarrow, in a speech earlier this month to The Media Institute in Washington, DC. "But urging the government to impose rules that supposedly promote first amendment values is too often used to justify regulations that instead threaten first amendment rights. By its plain terms and history, the first amendment is a limitation on government power, not an empowerment of government. Making these arguments is, ironically, almost proof that first amendment rights are being implicated."

McSlarrow was referring to arguments from net neutrality advocates in recent months that proposed FCC regulations, limiting ISPs' methods in imposing traffic management techniques, would help ensure customers' first amendment rights. In summary, advocates tend to argue than whenever an ISP restricts Internet access based on the nature of an application, it makes a judgment on the context of the communication that takes place on that service - thus restricting users' rights to free speech.

The counterargument is that the proposed regulations - or, more accurately, the current interpretation of them - would unfairly restrain ISPs from being able to offer tiered services, that is, to give one class of Internet customer a different price than another. That may only seem unfair on the surface, if we're thinking only in terms of web services. But increasingly, voice traffic (VoIP) is becoming a principal element of the Internet, competing directly against wireless and wireline telephone. Conceivably, regulations restricting ISPs to offering services and prices based on bandwidth only, rather than category, would force them to price VoIP service as though it were offered on the web - which could render VoIP less competitive against traditional telephone.

Please click here for the full report.

BPI Losing Its Battle Against File Sharing

Excerpted from HEXUS Report by Scott Bicheno

The BPI - the trade organization for the UK recorded music industry - has revealed that in spite of its best efforts, and significant media coverage of the issue, levels of unauthorized file sharing in the UK are not declining.

Perhaps even more worrying for the BPI is the fact that, while file-sharing levels have remained more or less the same, other methods such as overseas MP3 pay sites and links to cyberlockers - online data storage facilities - have grown significantly in the past six months.

"There are now more than thirty-five licensed digital music services in the UK, offering music fans a great choice of ways to get music," said Geoff Taylor, BPI chief executive. "It's disappointing that levels of unauthorized file sharing remain high despite this and the publicity surrounding imminent measures to address the problem. It's vital that those measures come into force as quickly as possible."

While you can understand Taylor's desire for ever more draconian rules concerning unlicensed downloads, as he concedes himself, there has already been a fair bit of activity in this area to no apparent effect. In fact, the continued diversification of the ways in which consumers can obtain unauthorized music implies the problem is a Hydra, in which every victory is negated by several new challenges.

While the law needs to be enforced, and the more flagrant abusers punished, the only long-term solution to the problem of unauthorized file sharing is to make paying for music such a superior experience for consumers that they feel the benefits justify the cost.

Taylor is apparently not convinced, pinning his hopes on future legislation. "The growth in other, non-P2P methods of downloading unlicensed music is a concern, and highlights the importance of including a mechanism in the Digital Economy Bill to deal with threats other than P2P," he said.

Coming Events of Interest

P2P MEDIA SUMMIT at CES - January 6th in Las Vegas, NV. The DCIA's seminal industry event, featuring keynotes from top P2P, social networking, and cloud computing software companies; tracks on policy, technology, and marketing; panel discussions covering content distribution and solutions development.

2010 International CES - January 6th-10th in Las Vegas, NV. The industry's largest educational forum to help companies expand their businesses and understand new technology. Over 200 conferences and more than 300 expert speakers encompass International CES.

World's Fair Use Day - January 12th in Washington, DC. WFUD is fast approaching and Public Knowledge is happy to announce a number of exciting additions to the list of confirmed speakers. Head over to the World's Fair Use Day website to view the full schedule. And be sure to join us for a day-long celebration of fair use, creativity and remix culture!

MIDEM & MidemNet - January 23rd-27th in Cannes, France. MIDEM  is where music professionals from across the industry meet face-to-face to do business, analyze trends and build partnerships. MIDEM brings together music leaders looking for concrete solutions and insights. MidemNet's renowned digital business conference program is now included free with your MIDEM registration.

Vator Splash Event - February 4th in San Francisco, CA. Vator, a leading platform for innovators and entrepreneurs to broadcast themselves, is holding its inaugural Vator Splash Competition to find 10 promising early-stage start-ups to present at this special event. Enter the competition today using the 25% discount code: VatorDCIA.

Cloud Computing Forum - February 10th online. Open source software developer Red Hat will host an online forum on open source cloud computing. The forum will include technical presentations from across the cloud computing industry, as well as discussions on current challenges and solutions offered by open source technologies.

P2P MARKET CONFERENCE - March 9th in New York, NY. Strategies to fulfill the multi-billion dollar revenue potential of the P2P and cloud computing channel for the distribution of entertainment content. Case studies of sponsorships, cross-promotion, interactive advertising, and exciting new hybrid business models.

Media Summit New York - March 10th-11th in New York, NY. MSNY is the premier international conference on media, broadband, advertising, television, cable & satellite, mobile, publishing, radio, magazines, news & print media, and marketing.

Cloud Computing Congress - March 16 in London, England. A practical guide on cloud computing for business - the value proposition, and the impact on the IT function. Building and managing applications in the cloud - how to manage and control applications and resources in the cloud environment. Security, testing and management of cloud infrastructures.

Copyright 2008 Distributed Computing Industry Association
This page last updated January 2, 2010
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