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Microsoft to Acquire Skype

by Mick 0 Comments

In a recent press release, Microsoft announce that they have entered into an agreement to purchase Skype for $8.5 billion in cash.

The Press Release mentions that Skype will support Microsoft devices like Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and a wide array of Windows devices, and Microsoft will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other communities. Microsoft will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms.

Skype will become a new division within Microsoft, the Microsoft Skype Division, and be run by Tony Bates the current CEO of Skype.

A transcript of the Press conference held by Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, and Tony Bates, CEO of Skype, is available at

Amazon MP3

by Mick 0 Comments

Noticed that Amazon have recently launched their own music downloading service, to compete with iTunes from Apple.

Will Amazon succeed when companies like Virgin Digital recently decided to close their doors?

The Virgin Digital site will finally close on October 19 see more detail at

The point of note, with the new Amazon venture, is the fact that music tracks which they have available (more than 2 million songs) are completely free of any Digital Rights Management (DRM) control.

DRM is a digital padlock which is used to prevent copying of the downloaded material and can also be used to ensure that the material can only be played on a specific device.

Music which is free of DRM makes it more appealing to a wider audience and with the backing of a large company such as Amazon, which can ensure competitive prices versus iTunes, looks certain to be a success.

However, the price per track still seems on the high side to me even at a rate of the quoted $0.89 - $0.99 per track. Why not retail at $0.50 ?

Wacom - the next 25 years

by Mick 0 Comments

As Wacom, the developer of pen-tablet devices and related technology, celebrates its Silver Anniversary it has recently announced a new direction for the future.

Wacom recently announced its new brand concept for the next stage in its growth, building on the vision which has inspired it to create tools that have put high technology into the hands of the world’s most creative people in the simplest and most natural way. This new direction clearly sets out the company’s ambition for continued growth beyond the pen technology it has become famous for. It sets the way ahead for further innovations for anyone who uses interface technology. The announcement of the growth vision has been accompanied by a transformation of the company’s corporate identity and the introduction of a new consumer brand.

Read the full press release at

and visit the re-designed Wacom web-site at

Although this could just be seen as simply a re-branding exercise, Wacom introduces the Bamboo range that looks to introduce its suite of pen tablets for navigating, drawing, painting, writing and retouching photographs on a computer, to a home user where previously its product range had been aimed at the creative professional.

Read about the Bamboo range at

or in Europe at

now if only they would reduce the price of the Cintiq

Strata Foto 3D

by Mick 0 Comments

Strata Foto 3D a tool for creating 3D content from still images.

A wide range of objects can be modelled, including those with holes and 'difficult' organic shapes.

This is achieved using a conventional camera with photos taken from a number of different viewpoints.

Strata Foto3D

The shape of the object and its surface color are extracted from each photo and the information is used to build a 3D object.


Set-top box

by Mick 0 Comments

A new type of TV set-top box has been announced by researchers at the University of Wollongong in Australia.

The device will recognise hand-gestures and sends a relevant signal to a remote-control which has been designed to work with different makes of television, video recorder, DVD player, hi-fi and digital set-top box.



Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2007

by Mick 0 Comments

More of a Marketing/Sales oriented event than a technical event, but can reveal further insight into what is happening at Microsoft.

Steve Ballmer outlines Microsoft's Software-As-A-Service plans in his keynote speech. Video highlights from the show are available at:


Ballmer says, Microsoft have the following offerings

Personal Services
Windows Live, Office Live, Popfly, MSN, Live Search, Virtual Earth

Business Services
Exchange Hosted Services, Managed Communication and Collaboration services,Office Live Small Business, Dynamics Live CRM, Titan

(Titan is an Application Development Platform for CRM (customer relations management)

Developer Services
Windows Live Cloud Infrastructure Services, Silverlight Streaming, BizTalk services

Service Enablers
Web Sites: Windows Server, SQL, VS, AdCenter. Click to run client: ActiveX, Ajax, Silverlight, .NET, Win32 Softgrid

Tangible 3D

by Mick 0 Comments

NTT Comware has developed a real-time 3D display system which relies on a pair of cameras that capture and process data about an object. which is the basis of Tangible-3D Technology.



This technology is an improved version of the NTT Comwares tangible 3D system without requiring special glasses which was originally developed in 2005.

From a recent report in the New Scientist


A system that makes three dimensional images solid enough to grasp has been unveiled by Japanese firm NTT. It could let businesspeople shake hands from across the globe or allow museum visitors to feel precious exhibits that are normally out of reach, the company says.
The prototype Tangible 3D system combines a 3D display with a 'haptic glove'. The display creates lifelike images appear in just in front of a flat screen. It creates the illusion of depth by showing slightly different images to each of the viewer's eyes. This means no special glasses are needed.
Attached to the display is a haptic glove. Once inside, a user's hand is touched by numerous force-feedback components to make it feel as if it interacting with something solid.