In a sign of digital acquiescence for the music industry, organizers of the upcoming Grammy Awards (Feb. 13) are letting voting members hear nominated songs for free through the Apple iTunes Music Store. The Recording Academy will initially test the scheme with one, as yet unchosen award category, likely a major one such as New Artist, Album of the Year, Record of the Year, or Song of the Year. The Academy wants to make nominated music more accessible to voting members. In the past, members had to visit a chapter office to listen to the tunes.
Is all fair in love, war and adware? A federal court may help decide as far as adware goes, at least in a case involving software from one company uninstalling a rival s computer code. Avenue Media is suing New York-based DirectRevenue. According to court documents, Avenue Media noticed in mid-November a considerable drop in the use of its product, the so-called Internet Optimizer. Avenue Media, which says it has lost millions of users and thousands of dollars in advertising as a result, blames DirectRevenue s software, which included a tool to delete Avenue Media s. DirectRevenue said that Avenue Media had signed a distribution agreement with one of its subsidiaries to distribute DirectRevenue s technology. DirectRevenue claims that agreement inferred the right to uninstall rival products. Both companies make technology, commonly known as adware, that directs users to advertisements based on their Web-surfing habits. Adware usually piggybacks onto users machines when they download free programs.
ARE YOU READY, TOLEDO?
Madden Madness 2005 is a day long Madden NFL 2005 video game competition for PlayStation2 on January 22 at the Toledo-Lucas County Main Public Library (325 Michigan Street). The competition is free and open to the public. Players can register at any Toledo-Lucas County Public Library location or e-mail Madden@toledolibrary.org for a random drawing; or show up the day of the event when four overtime positions to be randomly selected. First prize is an all-expense-paid trip to Nassau, Bahamas. Many of the tournament games, including the finals, will be played on a 24-foot video screen. For more information call 419-259-5381.
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Zondervan Publishing, Laridian Electronic Publishing and Mobile Digital Media have released the Zondervan NIV Study Bible Suite, software for the Palm OS and Windows Mobile operating systems that includes Zondervan s New International Version Study Bible, a popular edition of a 1978 translation that presented the text of the Bible in contemporary language. The Zondervan software also presents 20,000 contextual footnotes and 100,000 hyperlinked cross-references. Readers can add notes, highlight text and bookmark particular passages, or customize their screens for font, size or color (setting it to display the words of Jesus in red type, for example). Besides the New International Version, the program includes five other translations: the American Standard and King James versions, Young s Literal Translation, Darby s New Translation and the World English Bible. Switching among versions is a quick affair, making it useful for in-depth passage comparison.
Equipped with a tiny camera, a high-tech device that recognizes the white stripes of a pedestrian crosswalk and reads traffic lights might help the blind get around without a walking stick or seeing-eye dog. Researchers at Kyoto Institute of Technology are developing such a technology, the latest aimed at helping blind and visually impaired people lead more independent lives. Though a working prototype isn t yet ready, the electronic eye has shown promise at signal lights that don t emit songs or sound effects to aid blind pedestrians. Using a handheld digital video camera, researcher Mohammad Shorif Uddin filmed 196 traffic intersections in Japan. Back in the lab, a computer program examined the footage and correctly detected the crosswalks in all but two instances, when it signaled the presence of intersections that didn t exist. Researchers aim to make a device small enough to perch on a pair of glasses. It will be run by a miniature computer that can bark verbal instructions. Ultimately, canes and other travel aids with sonar or lasers can alert the user of approaching objects. Global Positioning Systems can tell what streets, restaurants, parks and other landmarks the user is passing.