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Friday, August 31, 2007

Sui Southern Gas Company Selects the ArcFM Solution

Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGC) has become the first company in Pakistan to implement Telvent Miner & Miner's ArcFM Solution for their Karachi, Sindh, and Balochistan region operations. The company has chosen ArcFM, ArcFM Server, ArcFM Viewer, Inspector, and Designer products to add new functionalities in their existing GIS system and to help manage their distribution system.

Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) is Pakistan's leading integrated gas company. The company is engaged in the business of transmission and distribution of natural gas as well as construction of high pressure transmission and low pressure distribution systems. SSGC's transmission system extends from Sui in Balochistan to Karachi in Sindh comprising over 3,200 KM of high pressure pipeline ranging from 12 - 24" in diameter. The distribution activities that cover over 1200 towns in the Sindh and Balochistan are managed through its regional offices. SSGC serves more than 1,800,000 industrial, commercial, and domestic natural gas consumers in these regions through a distribution network of over 27,540 Km. perfume your personality

The vision of the SSGC GIS project is to create and maintain an efficient GIS environment that fosters geographic data sharing within the commercial, transmission, distribution, engineering, management, and other departments. The current GIS system provides fast and easy web access to users, showing pipeline and land use data and aiding in the understanding and visualization of feature locations. SSGC is the first utility company in Pakistan that has undertaken development of a large-scale and high-resolution GIS system for its gas pipeline network. SSGC has been recognized by ESRI for excellence in the GIS field with a 2006 Special Achievement in GIS award at the 2006 Annual ESRI International User Conference in San Diego, California.

The focus of the ArcFM Solution implementation will be to bring significant business value to the organization for managing workflows and distributed information being shared across the organization, including reduction of overall operating costs and improved customer service. SSGC will be able to reduce data maintenance overhead and improve data accuracy by integrating facility design, analysis, and mapping functions into a single process. The company also runs SCADA solution, Oracle's ERP E-Business Suite, and Customer Care and is planning to integrate them with the GIS.

Zuhair Siddiqui, Chief Information Officer at SSGC, says, "The ArcFM Solution will give our company a complete utility-specific system for modeling, editing, maintaining, and managing facility asset data thus enhancing the design, analysis, and operations processes. Improved business process and service-with-a-smile are the ultimate goals for SSGC. ArcFM will play an essential role in achieving these objectives."

Telvent Miner & Miner (TM&M) is a world leader in the development and implementation of GIS software for utilities. TM&M's ArcFM Solution and extended services assist electric, gas, water, and wastewater utilities in increasing productivity, lowering costs, and improving services by allowing them to effectively manage spatial information. Founded in 1946 as a full-service electrical engineering firm, TM&M has been a business partner of ESRI since 1987. This partnership has enabled TM&M to become the world's leading developer of ArcGIS applications for the utility industry. TM&M services include implementation, integration, and customization of software to fit the needs of individual utilities. For more information, please visit

For more than 30 years, ESRI has been the leading developer of GIS software with more than 300,000 clients worldwide. ESRI also provides consulting, implementation, and technical support services. In addition to its headquarters in California, ESRI has regional offices throughout the United States, international distributors in more than 90 countries, and more than 1,700 business partners. ESRI's goal is to provide users with comprehensive tools to help them quickly and efficiently manage and use geographic information to make a real difference in the world around them. ESRI can be found on the Web at

Telvent (NASDAQ: TLVT), the IT company for a sustainable and secure world, specializes in high value-added products, services and integrated solutions for the Energy, Transportation, Environment and Public Administration industry segments, as well as Global IT Services. Its innovative technology and client-proven expertise enable the efficient and secure real-time management of operational and business processes for industry-leading companies worldwide.

ArcFM Solution, ArcFM, ArcFM Viewer, Designer, Responder, Conduit Manager, and Network Adapter are trademarks of Miner and Miner, Consulting Engineers, Inc. Other companies and products mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective trademark owners.

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Knowledge2007 Conference Announces Keynote Speakers ,Major Industry Support

Keynote speakers and major industry support for the upcoming Knowledge2007 Conference, with the CIO Summit and 2nd Annual CIO of the Year Awards have been announced by Energy Central and Sierra Energy Group, the research and analysis division of Energy Central.

Keynote addresses are schedule to be delivered by Bill Maguire, CIO of Virgin America, on November 13th, and Richard LaFave, CIO at Sprint (Invited) on November 14th. The intimate setting of Knowledge2007 will enable utility CIOs to hear about innovations from both of these companies and how they can be applied to their utility organizations.

The Knowledge2007 Conference is also fortunate to have the support of its sponsors, representing the industry's major technology solution providers. Heading up the industry support is Sprint, the Knowledge2007 Presenting Sponsor. Other sponsors include Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, Accenture, Alliance Data, Enspiria, and OSIsoft.

Warren Causey, a Vice President with Sierra Energy Group and Conference Program Chair commented on the importance of these keynote speakers: "We are excited about our keynote addresses at Knowledge2007. Bill Maguire has built Virgin America's IT infrastructure from the ground up while aligning this complex infrastructure with the company's innovative and customer-centric vision. And Sprint's commitment to utility industry requirements with leading telecommunications innovations will provide additional insights for our CIO and senior IT management audience. We are all very excited about the conference with these two 'headliners'."

Mike Smith, Senior Vice President with Sierra Energy Group added: "This combination of keynoters who are at the forefront of the innovative use of IT to provide business solutions, coupled with the support of virtually every leading technology solution provider in North America makes Knowledge2007 a very compelling event for senior utility IT executives. We look forward to seeing everybody in Austin in November!"

Additional information about the Knowledge2007 Conference can be found at


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About Energy Central

In business since 1995, Energy Central is an energy information services and media company that has developed a membership base of 140,000+ power industry professionals. These members have access to a variety of news and information products, including daily and weekly e-newsletters, five web sites (including and and publications such as EnergyBiz magazine.

About Sierra Energy Group

Formed in 2005 as the Research & Analysis Division of Energy Central, Sierra Energy Group provides analysis and intelligence in utility and energy business and technology markets. Services from Sierra Energy Group include the renowned Causey Reports, Market Intelligence and research programs, and proprietary research offerings. The Group is composed of utility and energy industry veterans with backgrounds in utility IT and business operations, solution provider management, and market research

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Barnhart named associate dean for School of Engineering

Cynthia Barnhart, co-director of the MIT Operations Research Center, has been named associate dean for academic affairs for the School of Engineering, Dean Subra Suresh announced today.

Barnhart, who holds appointments in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Engineering Systems Division, will assume her new role Sept. 1.

"I know we will all benefit from her wisdom and her perspective, and I look forward to working closely with her," said Suresh.

Barnhart holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Vermont and a master's degree in transportation and Ph.D. in transportation/civil engineering, both from MIT. She joined the MIT faculty in 1992. perfume your personality

Barnhart is a world-renowned expert in logistics problems in the airline industry, and her research interests include mathematical programming models and large-scale optimization approaches for transportation and logistic systems; and service network design and operations planning for scheduled transportation systems.

In 1997, she formed the Large-Scale Optimization Group at MIT, which is comprised of graduate students and researchers developing and applying optimization models and algorithms to large-scale problems in transportation, telecommunications and other problem domains.

She is also former co-director of MIT's Center for Transportation Studies and former leader of the Engineering Systems Group in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Barnhart is the current president-elect of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, the largest professional society in the world in the field of operations research.

She will replace Philip J. Solondz Professor of Engineering, and Professor of Mechanical and Ocean Engineering Dick Yue, whose tenure as associate dean of engineering will conclude in December. In his announcement, Suresh thanked Yue for his eight years of "distinguished and dedicated service" as associate dean.

Yue will help guide the School of Engineering through the ABET accreditation process this fall, and then he will remain actively involved in several educational and research initiatives in the School of Engineering, Suresh said.

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'Wiki City Rome' to draw a map like no other

Residents of Italy's capital will glimpse the future of urban mapmaking next month with the launch of "Wiki City Rome," a project developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that uses data from cellphones and other wireless technology to illustrate the city's pulse in real time.

The project will debut Sept. 8 during Rome's "Notte Bianca" or white night, an all-night festival of events across the capital city. During that night, anyone with an Internet connection will be able to see a unique map of the Italian capital that shows the movements of crowds, event locations, the whereabouts of well-known Roman personalities, and the real-time position of city buses and trains. perfume your personality

The map will also be broadcast on a big-screen display in one of Rome's main squares in the city center, giving Romans real-time feedback on the human dynamics in their immediate surroundings.

Wiki City Rome stems from MIT's SENSEable City Laboratory, an initiative directed by Carlo Ratti that studies the impact of new technologies on cities. The project builds on the work of "Real Time Rome," presented during the 2006 Venice Architecture Biennale, the prestigious biannual exhibition of contemporary art.

Organizers say Wiki City Rome raises the intriguing prospect of a map drawn on the basis of dynamic elements of which the map itself is an active part. According to researcher Francesco Calabrese of SENSEable City Lab, a person could consult the map to find the most crowded place in Rome to drink an aperitivo - and then identify the least congested route by which to reach it.

"Rome's Notte Bianca is all about the city, the people and the events, and Wiki City Rome will give Romans a new awareness of how they move within their city in response to this exceptional pulse of activities," said researcher Kristian Kloeckl, a SENSEable City Lab member who is also working on the project.

"How do people react towards this new perspective on their own city while they are determining the city's very own dynamic? How does having access to real-time data in the context of possible action alter the process of decision-making in how to go about different activities?" Kloeckl asked. "These are among the questions we may be able to answer."

By looking at a city using a "real-time control system" as a working analogy, the Wiki City project studies tools that enable people to become prime actors themselves in improving the efficiency of urban systems. In coming years, the Wiki City project will develop as an open platform where anybody can download and upload data that are location and time sensitive.

"By deploying developments of the 'Web 2.0' and the 'Semantic Web,' Wiki City can be a significant leap forward towards a pervasive 'internet of things' to support human action and interaction," said Carlo Ratti.

Ratti's team obtains its data anonymously from cell phones, GPS devices on buses and taxis, and other wireless mobile devices. Data are made anonymous and aggregated from the beginning, so there are no implications for individual privacy.

Partnering with the SENSEable City Lab on Wiki City Rome are SEAT Pagine Gialle, Telecom Italia, Telespazio, the Rome public transportation authority ATAC, La Repubblica, and Trenitalia.

In addition to Kloeckl, Calabrese and Ratti, members of the Wiki City Rome team include Assaf Biderman, Bernd Resch, and Fabien Girardin

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Scientists at MIT unraveling the secrets of red tide

In work that could one day help prevent millions of dollars in economic losses for seaside communities, MIT chemists have demonstrated how tiny marine organisms likely produce the red tide toxin that periodically shuts down U.S. beaches and shellfish beds.

In the Aug. 31 cover story of Science, the MIT team describes an elegant method for synthesizing the lethal components of red tides. The researchers believe their method approximates the synthesis used by algae, a reaction that chemists have tried for decades to replicate, without success.

Understanding how and why red tides occur could help scientists figure out how to prevent the blooms, which cause significant ecological and economic damage. The New England shellfish industry, for example, lost tens of millions of dollars during a 2005 outbreak, and red tide killed 30 endangered manatees off the coast of Florida this spring.

The discovery by MIT Associate Professor Timothy Jamison and graduate student Ivan Vilotijevic not only could shed light on how algae known as dinoflagellates generate red tides, but could also help speed up efforts to develop cystic fibrosis drugs from a compound closely related to the toxin.

Red tides, also known as algal blooms, strike unpredictably and poison shellfish, making them dangerous for humans to eat. It is unknown what causes dinoflagellates to produce the red tide toxins, but it may be a defense mechanism, possibly provoked by changes in the tides, temperature shifts or other environmental stresses.

One of the primary toxic components of red tide is brevetoxin, a large and complex molecule that is very difficult to synthesize.

Twenty-two years ago, chemist Koji Nakanishi of Columbia University proposed a cascade, or series of chemical steps, that dinoflagellates could use to produce brevetoxin and other red tide toxins. However, chemists have been unable to demonstrate such a cascade in the laboratory, and many came to believe that the "Nakanishi Hypothesis" would never be proven.

"A lot of people thought that this type of cascade may be impossible," said Jamison. "Because Nakanishi's hypothesis accounts for so much of the complexity in these toxins, it makes a lot of sense, but there hasn't really been any evidence for it since it was first proposed."

Jamison and Vilotijevic's work offers the first evidence that Nakanishi's hypothesis is feasible.

Their work could also help accelerate drug discovery efforts. Brevenal, another dinoflagellate product related to the red tide toxins, has shown potential as a powerful treatment for cystic fibrosis (CF). It can also protect against the effects of the toxins.

"Now that we can make these complex molecules quickly, we can hopefully facilitate the search for even better protective agents and even more effective CF therapies," said Jamison.

Until now, synthesizing just a few milligrams of red tide toxin or related compounds, using a non-cascade method, required dozens of person-years of effort.

The new synthesis depends on two critical factors--giving the reaction a jump start and conducting the reaction in water.

Many red tide toxins possess a long chain of six-membered rings. However, the starting materials for the cascades, epoxy alcohols, tend to form five-membered rings. To overcome that, the researchers attached a "template" six-membered ring to one end of the epoxy alcohol. That simple step effectively launches the cascade of reactions that leads to the toxin chain, known as a ladder polyether.

"The trick is to give it a little push in the right direction and get it running smoothly," said Jamison.

The researchers speculate that in dinoflagellates, the initial jump start is provided by an enzyme instead of a template.

Conducting the reaction in water is also key to a successful synthesis. Water is normally considered a poor solvent for organic reactions, so most laboratory reactions are performed in organic solvents. However, when Vilotijevic introduced water into the reaction, he noticed that it proceeded much more quickly and selectively.

Although it could be a coincidence that these cascades work best in water and that dinoflagellates are marine organisms, water may nevertheless be directly involved in the biosynthesis of the toxins or emulating an important part of it, said Jamison. Because of this result, the researchers now believe that organic chemists should routinely try certain reactions in water as well as organic solvents.

The research was funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Merck Research Laboratories, Boehringer Ingelheim, and MIT.

"This is an elegant piece of work with multiple levels of impact," said John Schwab, who manages organic chemistry research for the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. "Not only will it allow chemists to synthesize this important class of complex molecules much more easily, but it also provides key insights into how nature may make these same molecules. This is terrific bang for the taxpayers' buck!"

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YouTube agrees to royalty deal for UK performers

Today, the MCPS-PRS Alliance and YouTube announced an agreement to license more than ten million pieces of music to YouTube, which will recognize the contribution of the creators of that music to the service. The MCPS-PRS Alliance collects royalties for more than fifty thousand composers, songwriters, and publishers in the UK. The deal will allow each of the fifty thousand artists to be paid when their works are played on YouTube.

MCPS and PRS are the not-for-profit UK collecting societies that ensure composers, songwriters, and publishers are paid royalties when their music is used; from live performance to TV and radio, CDs to DVDs, downloads, streams and everything in between. Royalties create a future for music by supporting creators while they continue to write. MCPS and PRS are committed to delivering maximum royalties and world-class service.

YouTube, which is owned by Google, is the world's largest online video community. YouTube has faced no end to mounting attacks and lawsuits over their user published content. Most of the claims against YouTube are over royalties and IP violations. Viacom, who is the largest of their opposition, is already prepping witnesses, and their case for the $1.5 billion suit they filed against Google over the content displayed on YouTube.

"We're pleased to be working in cooperation with the MCPS-PRS Alliance to provide the YouTube community in the UK with the best possible user experience. This agreement is another great example of how we are working with the music industry to explore new and creative ways to compensate music creators," Chad Hurley, CEO and Co-Founder of YouTube said.

Adding to that Steve Porter, of the MCPS-PRS said, "We are delighted to have concluded this deal with YouTube and to be the first collecting society outside the US to do so. Whether it is music videos, user uploads or other audio visual content, our agreement will allow our fifty-thousand songwriter, composer, and music publisher members to be paid when their creative talents are being enjoyed on YouTube's service across the UK."

The deal marks the first fully settled agreement of this kind. Although some U.S. royalty collecting societies have reached interim arrangements with YouTube, none of them are at the stage where final compensation values are ready to be set. Under the terms of this agreement, YouTube will pay a blanket fee to the MCPS-PRS for their content.


YouTube Inc. will begin paying U.K. artists whenever their tracks are used as backing music for clips on its Web site, according to reports Thursday.

The MCPS-PRS Alliance, a British society that collects royalties for composers, songwriters and publishers, said it will license more than 10 million musical pieces to YouTube for use on its British version.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Revenue will be distributed to artists by the Alliance based on estimated uses.

YouTube, which is owned by Mountain View-based Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has been criticized by some media companies who say the video-sharing site encourages improper use of copyrighted material

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On the Internet, A Tangled Web Of Classified Ads

A few years ago, a classified ad for Andrew Davis's 2001 Mitsubishi Montero SUV might have been limited to two lines of descriptive shorthand: A/C, pwr pkg, 6cyl AT, 2wd, $9k firm.

Today, in ads on the Internet, Davis is posting pictures of his car in an off-road setting and sharing such details as the replacement of the timing belt and water pump 5,000 miles ago. He has even included a link to a feature article about his car's model in Popular Mechanics.

Andrew Davis prepares his 2001 Mitsubishi Montero for sale after placing ads on multiple Web sites, which he found
Andrew Davis prepares his 2001 Mitsubishi Montero for sale after placing ads on multiple Web sites, which he found "a confusing jumble" both for seller and buyer.(By Bill O'leary / Post)

Davis, a Clemson University graduate who moved to the Washington area only a few weeks ago, posted free classified ads on Craigslist and the Marketplace area on Facebook, the social-networking site. He also paid for an ad in The Washington Post, a bundled deal that also put his listing on and other Web sites.

His approach of putting his vehicle in front of as many potential buyers as possible illustrates how dynamic the process of classified advertising has become. For sellers, the options have moved beyond newspaper ads and fliers on coffee-shop bulletin boards. And for buyers looking for a car, an apartment, a job or a new puppy, it means better chances of seeing relevant ads on a variety of sites.

This push into online classifieds -- a business dominated by newspapers for more than a century -- is still very much in flux, said Greg Sterling, principal analyst with Sterling Market Intelligence in Oakland, Calif. While classified revenue has been shrinking at newspapers across the country, a growing number of Web companies, both established and new, are moving into the business, although not necessarily dominating the market.

Newspapers have lost their grip on classifieds in recent years. Once a steady source of revenue, classified advertising at some of the larger chains has dropped 14 to 20 percent over the past year, notably in once-lucrative segments such as automotive, real estate and employment ads, according to Fitch Ratings. Fitch, a credit ratings agency in New York, said this week that newspaper performance has been weaker than it originally forecast for the year.

Online traffic to classified sites, meanwhile, has grown 23 percent, to more than 46 million unique visitors in July, up from about 37 million a year earlier, according to the market research firm ComScore in Reston. Traffic has declined on some sites, among them Yahoo Classifieds, where it fell by 13 percent. But it has grown on some newer sites such as MySpace, where classified listings have jumped 33 percent since their August 2006 debut.

The classified market has become increasingly fragmented as a growing number of companies search for the best way to convert offline newspaper ads into a Web format.

"It becomes a confusing jumble of sites," Sterling said. "If you're a seller, that's a problem, and if you're a buyer, that's a problem."

What is emerging are two primary online approaches. One is simply to shift the traditional classifieds model to the Web, aggregating ads to a single site. The other involves distributing those aggregated ads to as many Web sites as possible.

EBay has backed some of the biggest and best-known classified sites. It partially owns Craigslist, the popular no-frills site that collects local listings, and allows buyers and sellers to post listings free. EBay recently introduced its U.S. users to two similar sites, Kijiji and Gumtree, both of which started overseas.

Geebo, based in McLean, is another online listing site trying to compete against Craigslist by creating a brand name that will draw buyers and sellers to its site.

"When I think about classified sites, outside of Geebo, I can only think of one, and that's Craigslist," said Geebo chief executive Greg Collier. "It's not like I can think of 10 or 12 of these right off the top of my head. There may be a lot out there, but nobody knows they're there."

In contrast, such companies as Edgeio and Oodle are less concerned with creating a site that buyers will view as a destination. Instead, they are pushing their way into the marketplace by acting as a go-between, cutting deals with newspapers, as well as Web sites, to increase the number of places where their listings appear.

Edgeio collects classified listings through individual sellers, as well as listings on sites like Geebo, or from traditional publications. Using software, it then distributes those ads to Web sites with specialized audiences.

For example, a niche Web site for fans of cocker spaniels might partner with Edgeio to display ads from a local breeder selling puppies. The ads might come from an individual or an ad posted in the community newspaper, but are then distributed to the cocker spaniel site through Edgeio.

"Our goal is to get more traffic to the [Web site] publishers," said Edgeio co-founder Keith Teare. "As money flows through the system, we take our share."

Like Edgeio, Oodle acts as a middleman, but is positioning itself to be more like a buyer's agent, offering such tools as e-mail alerts. Oodle's service searches classifieds and finds products a prospective buyer is looking for. In addition, it analyzes its listings for trends and other market data for buyers to use in their research. For example, someone shopping for a 2002 Honda Accord will also get information about that car, such as the average price for that year and model, in Oodle's listings.

Oodle chief executive Craig Donato said his model is a new approach to classified advertising. The challenge now is to get those ads in front of a local audience in a creative way so that buyer and seller can find each other and complete the sale.

"What's happening essentially is that companies are trying to do things online that lead to offline transactions," he said. "The transaction always occurs between two humans offline. . . . You would never rent an apartment without seeing it first or take a job without interviewing. That defines classified ads."

For that reason, local papers say they will be key players, even as classifieds find more venues online.

Forging partnerships with sites like Oodle have allowed newspapers to test some different approaches without having to build their own technologies, said Mort Goldstrom, vice president of advertising for the Newspaper Association of America in Arlington.

But Fitch Ratings analyst Mike Simonton said newspapers have a long way to go in making up for eroding classified revenue.

"We don't think that online classifieds have replaced or are successfully replacing the print classifieds," he said. "There's just a lot more competition in that market."

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Not so super-cool after all: MIT researchers knock down theory about nanofluids

MIT engineers have shown that nanofluids, which once held promise as a super-coolant, do not have the theoretical cooling capabilities many scientists believed they had.

Nanofluids are suspensions of tiny particles on the nanometer, or billionth of a meter, scale. When nanofluids were first engineered in the early 1990s, experiments showed that their thermal conductivity--a measure of their heat-removing capability--was much higher than expected.

Several new theories were offered in recent years to explain this anomalous behavior. Among them, the "microconvection" theory predicted an astonishing increase of several orders in the thermal conductivity of the fluid just by adding light nanoparticles less than ten nanometers in size.

MIT researchers recently conducted experiments to test the microconvection effect and found that nanofluids in fact do not have the advanced cooling properties ascribed to them. The team reports its findings in the Aug. 31 issue of Physical Review Letters.

"We conclude that there is no 'magic' in nanofluids, and the early promise of nanofluids as an 'advanced nanoengineered coolant' remains largely unfulfilled--and will probably remain so in the years to come," said Jacob Eapen, a graduate student in nuclear science and engineering and lead author of the paper.

Liquids are often used for industrial cooling, especially in nuclear reactors and coal-fired power plants. Car engines, air conditioners and refrigerators are also cooled by liquids.

However, solids have a higher thermal conductivity than liquids. Thus, researchers have long experimented with improving the thermal conductivity of liquids by dispersing solid particles in them. In theory, that could improve the efficiency of cooling devices.

In the 1960s, engineers tried this approach with micrometer-scale particles, but the large size of the particles led to pipe erosion and pump damage. It was not until the 1990s that researchers were able to try the same thing with nano-sized particles.

Initial experiments were very promising, showing that the increase in thermal conductivity for nanofluids was several orders of magnitude higher than predicted by the theory of thermal conduction known as Maxwell's theory.

The microconvection theory, which tried to explain this behavior, hypothesized that "the random motion of the diffusing nanoparticles is an efficient source of fluid convection that can increase the heat transfer capability of the surrounding fluid," said Eapen.

The MIT group decided to verify the microconvection theory by testing one of its predictions--that lighter nanoparticles will increase the nanofluid thermal conductivity. The researchers used well-dispersed silica and Teflon particles, both of which are lighter than commonly used alumina and copper oxide nanoparticles. The thermal conductivities they observed were far lower than what the microconvection theory would predict.

"Thus, we could experimentally show that microconvection does not exist," said Eapen. Their results do match well with the Maxwell theory, he added.

In fact, the nanofluid thermal conductivity is very similar to that of many solid composites and liquid mixtures and falls between the classical bounds for inhomogeneous materials. Describing it as "anomalous" was an unfortunate consequence of focusing on the Maxwell theory which is true only for well-dispersed nanoparticles. In most nanofluids, the dispersed particles form linear chain-like configuration and the classical theory indeed predicts a larger thermal conductivity.

The work was performed at the MIT Center for Nanofluids Technology by Eapen and Wesley Williams, a graduate student in nuclear science and engineering, and Roberto Rusconi, a visiting student from Politecnico di Milan, Italy, with leads provided by Jacopo Buongiorno, assistant professor of nuclear science and engineering; Lin-wen Hu, associate director of the nuclear reactor laboratory; Sidney Yip, professor of nuclear science and engineering; and Roberto Piazza, a professor at Politecnico di Milano.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the MIT/Politecnico Progetta Rocca.

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MIT grad student tracks the 'jihad effect'

An MIT graduate student has received a fellowship from a U.S. Department of Homeland Security-funded research center to study the "jihad effect" - that is, how wars impact the trajectory of terrorist movements.

Stephanie Kaplan, a Ph.D. candidate in political science, plans to use the funds she receives from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) to support her work on the relationship between armed conflicts and terrorism.

Kaplan is particularly interested in the way the Iraq war has shaped and will shape the future of al Qaeda. Ultimately, she hopes to contribute to improving the formulation and practice of U.S. counterterrorism policy.

"Regardless of how the war ends, whether the United States leaves Iraq now or stays in the months and years ahead, we must understand how the conflict has mobilized new assets on behalf our enemies--skilled people, weapons, money, social bonds and legitimacy--and to what end those assets will be deployed in the future," Kaplan says.

"It is far better to begin this conversation now than years from now, when the jihad effect will be felt in full force," she adds.

Based at the University of Maryland, College Park, START is a Department of Homeland Security "Center of Excellence" charged with researching how terrorist groups form and behave and on how societies may best respond to terrorist threats.

For Kaplan, MIT provides an ideal venue to develop new concepts for understanding terrorism within the field of political science.

"When it comes to counterterrorism, all too often the focus remains at the operational level--catching the next operative and foiling the next attack. This is a matter of mindset, but it is also a matter of time--in Washington, very few people have the luxury to step back and process the information coming at them in a long-term, strategic manner. I came to MIT so that I could figure out what that big picture is and do so in a rigorous way. And the political science department and Security Studies Program here at MIT are perfect homes in which to do that," she says.

This year, Kaplan will work as a teaching assistant in a political science course, American Public Policy for Washington Interns, designed for MIT students in the Institute's summer Washington internship program.

Before coming to MIT, Kaplan worked in several policy capacities in Washington, D.C., including as a staff member on the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, known as the 9/11 Commission.

Kaplan, who was managing editor of the commission's final report, treasures one memory of her experience above all others - a late-night walk around ground zero after a marathon session with the staff investigating New York City's emergency response.

"The gravity of 9/11 combined with the responsibility of carrying out the investigation really hit home," she says.

A native of Arlington Heights, Ill., Kaplan received a B.S. in foreign service from Georgetown University in 2000; she came to MIT in 2004.

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Thailand lifts ban on YouTube

Bangkok - Thailand on Friday lifted a five-month ban on the YouTube website after the owner, Google agreed to block video clips that break the kingdom's laws or offend sensibilities.

Local access to YouTube has been blocked in Thailand since April 3, after a person in the United States posted a video clip that was deemed insulting to the Thai monarchy.

Under Thailand's lese majeste law it is illegal to insult Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 79, or the royal family.

After a series of negotiations with YouTube to withdraw the clip, Thailand's Ministry of Information and Communciations Technology decided to block the popular site six months ago, prompting international concerns about Thailand's press freedoms.

Thailand argued that if Google was willing to block sites with references to 'democracy' in China, it should be similarly considerate of Thai sensibilities about the royal family.

It was only after YouTube developed software to block provocative clips did the ministry agree to lift the local ban, according to Thai media reports.

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Intel Releases Quad-Core Processors Early

Intel Releases Quad-Core Processors Earlysponsered by;

Originally slated for January 2007, Intel today announced the availability of two dual-core processor families with the release of the Intel Xeon 5300 and Intel Core 2 Extreme.

The Core 2 Extreme processors are primarily for desktop clients and users that have multimedia editing or high-end gaming requirements, while the Xeons target server implementations. And judging from the early reviews, these two-socket chips represent the fastest silicon you can currently buy.

The release of these processors comes ahead of AMD who doesn't expect to release their four-way quad-core ("4x4") offering until mid-2007. Being first to market gives back some of the edge AMD won when they released dual-core processors ahead of Intel. AMD's dual-core Opteron has been credited in helping the company make significant market gains in the last year.

Intel's quad-core market advantage may have come at the expense of engineering time. One criticism of the Intel quad-core design, dubbed "Clovertown," is that it is just two dual-core chips from the same die "sandwiched" together.

That engineering decision may be a moot point until AMD releases their own quad-core processor when you consider that Inte's Core 2 chips under 2.66 GHz are pulling only 80 watts of power compared to the 120 watts of AMD's latest dual-core Opteron. The balance of performance versus power is what has given the Opteron a leg up over Intel's Itanium for some time and it looks as if the pendulum just swung the other way. And for multimedia processing, you are unlikely to find a faster chip out there than the Core 2 right now. Obviously not every application is going to be so well optimized but if you're encoding video, Core 2 Extreme is a good bet.

Systems vendors have quickly lined up, betting that IT buyers are ready to make jump. IBM, HP, SGI, Apple and Dell have all announced the availability of servers and clients based on Intel's new chips.

The one surprise here is Dell, who beat nearly everyone to the punch announcing they would offer Intel-based quad-core machines last week. Dell isn't one to jump on trends early -- it was only this year that the company began offering AMD-based clients and servers -- and this timely buy-in could be considered either a technology endorsement, a way for Dell to shake things up after a couple of bad quarters, or both.

Users looking to capitalized on the super-fast chips shouldn't expect any early discounts. The 2.66GHz Xeon X5355 will set you back $1172 while the 2.66GHz Core 2 Extreme QX6700 is priced at $999.

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Stem Cells from Adult Bone Marrow Converted to Brain Cells

steam cell

Stem cells from human adult bone marrow have been successfully converted into functional brain cells, putting science closer to the possibility that one day damaged brain tissue can be repaired by implanting new cells. Not only that, it also means that people could potentially become their own donors, circumventing ethical issues related to other, more controversial sources of stem cells.

Dr. Alexander Storch, professor of neurodegenerative diseases at the Technical University in Dresden, Germany, described the research at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology here.

Stem cells are non-specialized cells that can divide and turn into other specialized cells such as bone, brain or blood cells. While large numbers of stem cells are present in developing embryos, smaller quantities of stem cells occur in certain parts of the adult body, such as in the bone marrow. It is believed stem cells in mature animals are there to help with tissue repair.

Stem cells in adult human bone marrow are normally able to change, or differentiate, into one of three cell types: cartilage, fat cells or bone cells, Dr. Storch said. However, researchers in various laboratories around the world have been working with stem cells derived from adult human bone marrow to try to change them into other types of cells, such as nerve cells.

Some small amount of success was achieved in those laboratories, though these other research teams attempted to convert bone marrow stem cells directly into glial and neuron cells, types of nerve cells found in the brain. The resulting cells were not functional, and would not be of sufficient quality for transplantation. Dr. Storch's team added another step and have had more success.

What researchers in Dr. Storch's laboratory did was to alter the way bone marrow stem cells are grown in culture. Instead of trying to turn them directly into glial and neuronal cells, the researchers instead turned the bone marrow stem cells into another type of stem cell -- neural stem cells. To do this, they altered the environment in the culture by using a medium that is usually used for culturing neural stem cells. They then added growth factors. Once the bone marrow cells stayed in the mixture for a while, they turned into neural stem cells, also referred to as neuroprogenitor cells.

"We do not produce nerve cells or glial cells, but immature neuroprogenitors," Dr. Storch said. The hope is that these could be transplanted straight into the brain where they would, in theory, turn into fully functional glia and neuron cells.

There is already evidence that these neural stem cells are active and will turn into the appropriate glial and neuron cells is transplanted into a brain. Researchers found that while in suspension, the cells grow into neurospheres (small balls or aggregates of precursor brain cells) and that they expressed, or produced, the neural stem cell marker nestin. Both of these features were missing in previous attempts by researchers in other laboratories.

"Our protocol generated a high yield of cells," Dr. Storch said. Plus, the cells grew quickly. "We calculate we'd need approximately 70 days to grow enough cells for a transplant procedure from one bone marrow biopsy. We'd have the same quantity of cells usually transplanted in studies of Parkinson's Disease," he said.

Scientists hope that the research may one day help treat diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer Disease, and Multiple Sclerosis, all diseases where nerve or brain tissue is damaged.

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StemStem Cell Basics

Stem cells have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body. Serving as a sort of repair system for the body, they can theoretically divide without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is still alive. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential to either remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell.

This document covers basic information about stem cells. For a more detailed discussion, see our Stem Cell Reports. Or you can check the Frequently Asked Questions page for quick answers to specific queries.

Throughout Stem Cell Basics, the first reference to a Glossary term on a page appears in bold, underlined maroon type. Clicking on the term will open its definition from the Glossary page in a new window.

What are adult stem cells?

An adult stem cell is an undifferentiated cell found among differentiated cells in a tissue or organ, can renew itself, and can differentiate to yield the major specialized cell types of the tissue or organ. The primary roles of adult stem cells in a living organism are to maintain and repair the tissue in which they are found. Some scientists now use the term somatic stem cell instead of adult stem cell. Unlike embryonic stem cells, which are defined by their origin (the inner cell mass of the blastocyst), the origin of adult stem cells in mature tissues is unknown.

Research on adult stem cells has recently generated a great deal of excitement. Scientists have found adult stem cells in many more tissues than they once thought possible. This finding has led scientists to ask whether adult stem cells could be used for transplants. In fact, adult blood forming stem cells from bone marrow have been used in transplants for 30 years. Certain kinds of adult stem cells seem to have the ability to differentiate into a number of different cell types, given the right conditions. If this differentiation of adult stem cells can be controlled in the laboratory, these cells may become the basis of therapies for many serious common diseases.

The history of research on adult stem cells began about 40 years ago. In the 1960s, researchers discovered that the bone marrow contains at least two kinds of stem cells. One population, called hematopoietic stem cells, forms all the types of blood cells in the body. A second population, called bone marrow stromal cells, was discovered a few years later. Stromal cells are a mixed cell population that generates bone, cartilage, fat, and fibrous connective tissue.

Also in the 1960s, scientists who were studying rats discovered two regions of the brain that contained dividing cells, which become nerve cells. Despite these reports, most scientists believed that new nerve cells could not be generated in the adult brain. It was not until the 1990s that scientists agreed that the adult brain does contain stem cells that are able to generate the brain's three major cell types-astrocytes and oligodendrocytes, which are non-neuronal cells, and neurons, or nerve cells.

A. Where are adult stem cells found and what do they normally do?

adult stem cells have been identified in many organs and tissues. One important point to understand about adult stem cells is that there are a very small number of stem cells in each tissue. Stem cells are thought to reside in a specific area of each tissue where they may remain quiescent (non-dividing) for many years until they are activated by disease or tissue injury. The adult tissues reported to contain stem cells include brain, bone marrow, peripheral blood, blood vessels, skeletal muscle, skin and liver.

Scientists in many laboratories are trying to find ways to grow adult stem cells in cell culture and manipulate them to generate specific cell types so they can be used to treat injury or disease. Some examples of potential treatments include replacing the dopamine-producing cells in the brains of Parkinson's patients, developing insulin-producing cells for type I diabetes and repairing damaged heart muscle following a heart attack with cardiac muscle cells.

B. What tests are used for identifying adult stem cells?

Scientists do not agree on the criteria that should be used to identify and test adult stem cells. However, they often use one or more of the following three methods: (1) labeling the cells in a living tissue with molecular markers and then determining the specialized cell types they generate; (2) removing the cells from a living animal, labeling them in cell culture, and transplanting them back into another animal to determine whether the cells repopulate their tissue of origin; and (3) isolating the cells, growing them in cell culture, and manipulating them, often by adding growth factors or introducing new genes, to determine what differentiated cells types they can become.

Also, a single adult stem cell should be able to generate a line of genetically identical cells-known as a clone-which then gives rise to all the appropriate differentiated cell types of the tissue. Scientists tend to show either that a stem cell can give rise to a clone of cells in cell culture, or that a purified population of candidate stem cells can repopulate the tissue after transplant into an animal. Recently, by infecting adult stem cells with a virus that gives a unique identifier to each individual cell, scientists have been able to demonstrate that individual adult stem cell clones have the ability to repopulate injured tissues in a living animal.

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Lightest Full HD Camcorder by Sanyo

Sanyo Electric Co. <6764> said Thursday it will introduce the world's smallest and lightest digital camcorder compatible with full high-definition recording, accelerating downsizing efforts by Japanese electronics makers.
The new digital camcorder, which will be released under the Xacti brand in mid-September, weighs 268 grams, some 22 grams lighter than a similar product Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. <6752> introduced on Aug. 1 that is currently the world's lightest, Sanyo said.
It is also 18 pct smaller than Matsushita's camcorder.
Sanyo reduced the weight of the new camcorder by cutting down the number of integrated circuit chips used, the company said.
The new product enables full high-definition recording of about 85 minutes with an 8-gigabyte Secure Digital Memory Card. It will retail for around 120,000 yen.
The company expects to sell 100,000 units worldwide in the first year of the launch.

News Inside news:

I. summary - Presently, as for viewing environment of the movie where the customer was photographed, furthermore Kousei small conversion large picture conversion is advanced by the enlargement of the hi-vision television which accompanies the spread of terrestrial digital broadcast. According to JEITA "AV principal item world demand estimate", for 2006 country composition ratio of the terrestrial digital television in the television approximately has become 68%, 2007: Approximately 81%, 2008: Approximately, it is the possibility that 92%, it directs to the analog stopping wave 2011 and it spreads expands. In addition, ratio of the hi-vision model in the domestic video camera 2006: Approximately 26%, 2008: Approximately 64%, 2010: It is thought as the thing which approximately is expanded to 85%. (This corporation estimate)
 At this corporation, we sold the digital movie camera Xacti "DMX-HD1" to which in 2006 February hi-vision (720p) it can record to the SD memory card the system MPEG-4 movie for the first time in the world. It received the appraisal where the merit that development concept is "anytime easily you can take the hi-vision movie and the Kousei small photograph and anywhere", is high in the market. After that "DMX-HD1A" (2006 September) "DMX-HD2" (2007 March) consecutively it sold, the silicon movie * started endeavoring to the enlargement of 3 markets.
 This time, be able to record the full hi-vision movie of the 1920×1080 pixel easily, the digital movie camera which can make also the retention and playback of the image which photographed simple, we sell Xacti "DMX-HD1000".

II. Details explanation
1. Worldwide smallest most light weight
* 1 full HD (1920×1080 record) digital movie As for DMX-HD1000 worldwide smallest most of cubic measure 272cc and mass 268g light weight
* 11920 (horizontal resolution) the ×1080 (vertical resolution) full HD record is possible at compact size. In movie recording type full HD of approximately 43 parts (the 1920×1080) record is possible in the SDHC memory card of 4GB with the adoption of image compressed technology MPEG-4 of advancement AVC/H.264. In order high speed to process the bulk data of full HD, "platinum ## (sigma) the engine" new development. "Platinum ## (sigma) the engine" those of 2 tip/chip constitution 1 chipped until recently with the development of the individual full HD corresponding H.264 codec, made the miniaturization of set possible. In addition, serial radiography of approximately 2 hours was actualized with the battery of attachment with such as high bulk compressibility and approximately 4.2w where it is due to the optimization of image processing algorithm architecture electric power consumption low.
2. "New ergonomics design" adoption of natural photographing style It is Xacti series common concept, while following the individual design whose muscle burden when photographing is little with natural photographing style, even at the time of tripodal use the lens becomes horizontal, "new ergonomics design" is adopted.
 This time, whether the difference of the photographing style again with the angle of the lens and grip, some kind of effect is produced on the muscle, it researched with associate Professor and our company research and development headquarters digital system laboratory Yosihiro Professor Tetuo university graduate school engineering postgraduate course design scientific major human life engineering laboratory Katsuura Chiba Simomura jointly.
 Angle of the lens and grip draws up the experimental model of 7 types from those of the 0° to the 135°, the measurement of muscle electric potential of the right arm 6 place and analyzes the muscle burden at the time of movie photographing the subjective appraisal by the questionnaire on the basis of. It was proven as a result, when angle of the lens and grip is the 105°, muscle burden is easy to use small that.
 This time DMX-HD1000 of announcement adopts this angle, also from grip form by the fact that it makes the design which fits to the palm, from to have has pursued cheapness.
3. Simply it can retain & can play back the image which photographed "Xacti library" function Until recently, as for retention and playback of the image which photographed with full hi-vision, there was also a point that it handles the data of bulk, there were times when it needs private hard. It is the function which can make the retention playback of the movie and the photograph data where the "Xacti library" the docking station of attachment and external hard disk drive of marketing * USB connection * 5 just does 4, photographed simple. The substance is set to the docking station, it is the sufficient simple operation retention or playback mode being selected from the menu on the picture of television. When playing back, sum nail of the file which would like to become viewing with the remote control which is attachment just is chosen can enjoy immediately from the picture. In addition, because album function is built in to the "Xacti library", gathering the various scenes freely, you said that it draws up the original album, screens with sliding show also method of using which is pleasant is possible. If the "Xacti library" is used, it is possible it not being private hard and the personal computer, to leave simply, to look at the numbers of the scene of memory.
* It is not something which guarantees the operation in 4 all HDD.
* Using 5 attachment private cables. The HDMI cable becomes selling separately.
4. Photograph function of completenessIt corresponds to the high sensitivity photographic set-up of ISO 3200.
To force to shutter chance, high-speed connected copying function of second 7 scene. * 6
During movie photographing simultaneous photographing record of the photograph is possible. * 7
8,000,000 pixel suitable photographic recording is possible.
* As for 6 record picture primes approximately 4,000,000 pixel.
* As for 7 record picture primes approximately 2,000,000 pixel.
New development "multiple being off-center canceler" loading
In still picture hand being off-center revision this corporation individual "multiple being off-center canceler" anew development. With this system, it corresponds to also revolution being off-center revision and subject being off-center revision. In addition, this corporation individual electronic type hand being off-center system in the base, it was off-center in the movie and increased the picture area of the detection territory, from actualized the improvement of revision precision.
New development photograph face detection function
When photographing the face detection maximum of 12 is possible. Photographing which corresponds to AF and the like which puts emphasis on optimum AE and the central person who respond to the detection area designates the face as the center is possible. In the image restoration which photographed in face detection, one face focusing on expression of subject understands clearly by the fact that zoom it does.
5. Other meritsFeeling at rest even with the beginner, operational "simple mode" loading.
Being one-touch, you can reset various mode sets the "full automatic button".
Can play back the data of full HD "Nero corporation Nero 7 Essentials", compilation is possible on the personal computer, "Ulead DVD MovieWriter 5 SE" attachment.
Power source on/off of substance possible private remote control. (At the time of docking station connection)
The new development 2.7 type 230,000 pixel wide liquid crystal monitor adoption which corresponds to the HD picture.
The 1900mAh bulk lithium ion battery which corresponds to new development and long haul life.
The external Strobo, the video light/write and the microphone etc you install, possible accessory shoe loading.
The telecon version lens (1.6 times)/the wide conversion lens (0.7 times)/the semi fish eye (0.4 times) preparing the lens/the digital wireless microphone etc as the option item.

Product name Digital Movie Camera
Model Number DMX-HD1000
Color Silver , Black
MSRP Open Price
Sales Date Mid-September 2007
Initial Global Monthly
Production 15,000 units

Please note the contents of this press release, is specific to the model sold in Japan.
SANYO will launch this product in various regions around the world, though the name, model number, specifications, etc. may differ.

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Can Microsoft’s open source problem be solved?

In his recent piece about how Microsoft should be afraid of open source, our own Matt Asay stumbles on a solution to the problem.

He offers this nifty Forrester chart (right) showing how software revenues have changed in the last few years, from licenses to maintenance, with services declining as well.

There are good reasons for this. Open source is one. The need for continual updates on, say, anti-viral programs is another.

All of which leads to my cunning plan says perfume presents personality Ads by perfume strore


Stop selling Microsoft software. Rent it.

Microsoft is doing this already in the enterprise space. Contracts routinely include maintenance on server software. So why not do that in the consumer space?

Instead of selling Windows for, say, $150, through an OEM, sell one year of it for $99. Require registration for updates, and then charge $75/year for maintenance, just like the anti-virals do.

The same thing with Office. Don't sell it for $500. Sell it for $300, but for one year only. Then ask for another year of maintenance. Or, even better, get their credit card and charge $30/month for the whole shebang, Windows, Office and all.

Now you've got recurring revenue, you're actually getting more than retail (because people keep PCs for three years, not two), and you've got constant access to the customer's PC in order to provide the service that customer is paying for.

Plus there's constant customer contact and the ability to upsell. Companies like-y the upsell.

Instead of sending out a yearly service pack, you can send out daily or weekly updates, just like the anti-viral guys do. And now your money is coming from maintenance, not license sales.

This isn't rocket science, it's merely adapting what already exists in the enterprise space to the consumer market, using online channels Microsoft and its ISVs already use.

Sure, Microsoft will have to make sure it continually pleases customers, lest they cancel their contracts. It will have to take responsibility for the customer's set-up working.

But that seems like a small price to pay.

So, tell me I'm crazy here.

Blog This E-mail Print Sphere

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"Family Guy" ties into Xbox Live

LOS ANGELES (24hoursnews) - 20th Century Fox has struck a deal with Microsoft Corp. to make the first two seasons of the animated series "Family Guy" available for downloads on the Xbox Live service beginning Monday.

"Family Guy" represents the first Fox product to make it onto Xbox, which lacks an overall deal with the News Corp.-owned studio. In the battle of the electronic sell-through outlets, score one for Xbox over main rival iTunes, which hasn't yet landed rights to "Family."

"This is our first one," said Jamie McCabe, executive vp at 20th Century Fox. "We hope to have other content on there, but right now with the launch of 'Halo 3' and the launch of the new season of 'Family Guy' coming out, the timing really worked well for this one."

Noting the popularity of "Family" among males 18-34 -- which also happens to be the sweet spot for the gaming industry -- he added, "It's about as perfect a demographic fit as we can get."

Xbox 360 owners will be able to purchase each of the episodes from the first two seasons as well as the straight-to-DVD film "Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story" for 160 Microsoft points, or about $2, which is comparable with the pricing of TV episodes on iTunes and other VOD platforms.

In addition to being its initial foray into Xbox, this also is first time the Seth MacFarlane-created series about the irreverent Griffin clan has been available for downloads on any platform, McCabe said.

Along with the debut of new episodes of the show, Fox also is set to release the "Family Guy Season Five" DVD on September 18, but McCabe said there is little concern that the Xbox downloads will impact those sales.

"It's a different market and a different consumer," he said. "'Family' has been a phenomenon on DVD, and that audience will continue to buy it."

Since its formal launch as a provider of movies and TV content in November, Microsoft has aggressively built out the Xbox content offerings as it looks to position the Xbox 360 console as the home-entertainment hub for the living room. Among the content providers for the Live service are Warner Bros., Paramount, the Walt Disney Co., New Line, Lionsgate, Miramax, MTV, Turner Broadcasting and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

"It's a great interface, and they're definitely doing all they can to support this content,"

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"Family Guy" ties into Xbox Live

LOS ANGELES (24hoursnews) - 20th Century Fox has struck a deal with Microsoft Corp. to make the first two seasons of the animated series "Family Guy" available for downloads on the Xbox Live service beginning Monday.

"Family Guy" represents the first Fox product to make it onto Xbox, which lacks an overall deal with the News Corp.-owned studio. In the battle of the electronic sell-through outlets, score one for Xbox over main rival iTunes, which hasn't yet landed rights to "Family."

"This is our first one," said Jamie McCabe, executive vp at 20th Century Fox. "We hope to have other content on there, but right now with the launch of 'Halo 3' and the launch of the new season of 'Family Guy' coming out, the timing really worked well for this one."

Noting the popularity of "Family" among males 18-34 -- which also happens to be the sweet spot for the gaming industry -- he added, "It's about as perfect a demographic fit as we can get."

Xbox 360 owners will be able to purchase each of the episodes from the first two seasons as well as the straight-to-DVD film "Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story" for 160 Microsoft points, or about $2, which is comparable with the pricing of TV episodes on iTunes and other VOD platforms.

In addition to being its initial foray into Xbox, this also is first time the Seth MacFarlane-created series about the irreverent Griffin clan has been available for downloads on any platform, McCabe said.

Along with the debut of new episodes of the show, Fox also is set to release the "Family Guy Season Five" DVD on September 18, but McCabe said there is little concern that the Xbox downloads will impact those sales.

"It's a different market and a different consumer," he said. "'Family' has been a phenomenon on DVD, and that audience will continue to buy it."

Since its formal launch as a provider of movies and TV content in November, Microsoft has aggressively built out the Xbox content offerings as it looks to position the Xbox 360 console as the home-entertainment hub for the living room. Among the content providers for the Live service are Warner Bros., Paramount, the Walt Disney Co., New Line, Lionsgate, Miramax, MTV, Turner Broadcasting and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

"It's a great interface, and they're definitely doing all they can to support this content,"

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Sony shutting down Connect Music Store

steven (24hoursnews) - Sony Corp. will begin shuttering its Connect Music Store in March, the company confirmed Thursday.

Rumors of the shutdown began in June after the company laid off 20 people and allocated remaining staff and resources to the PlayStation group.

Behind the move is Sony's decision to support Windows Media Audio DRM in its new line of Walkman digital music players, also announced Thursday. The Connect service, and previous Sony portable devices, used a proprietary technology called ATRAC which never caught on. The new devices will now work with any other Windows Media-enabled digital music store, such as Wal-Mart and others.

The Connect deactivation will take place on a phased basis in North America and Europe. Specific timing for each region was not disclosed, but is not expected to begin until March. Connect's e-book service will remain operational.

Customers who bought ATRAC-encoded files can continue to manage their library with past Sony devices, but the company is advising them to back up their library to audio CDs, as future Walkman devices may not support the format.

Sony's new Walkman devices for the first time include video. The Sony Pictures Entertainment division is providing video content for the new devices via, rather than Connect.


Sony has announced that it is shutting Connect, its online music store, admitting defeat at the hands of Apple's iTunes.

The service - which sold songs in a proprietary format that prevented them from being played on non-Sony devices - will close in Europe some time after March next year, depending on demand, the company said in a statement.

Officially, the explanation given by Sony was that it had "listened to its customers," but sources at the company said that selling songs in the 'ATRAC' format - which was used only by Sony - went against the tide of making devices more compatible with a range of download services.

The next generation of Sony Walkman digital media players - details of which were released simultaneously with the Connect announcement - will use the Windows Media Player platform. The switch means that the new Sony devices will be able to download songs from third-party music sites, such as HMV and Napster, the company said. They will not work with Apple's iTunes store, however, which commands as much as 80 per cent of the market

"Customers don't want to be constrained in their music choice, and to fear that if they change computers or their device, they won't be able to use certain types of services," a source close to Sony said. "ATRAC was a a great codec [a type of audio format] and it served its purpose for a time, but the world has moved on."

The two new series of Walkman - the NWZ-A810 and the NWZ-S510, which will be available from October - will be able to download movie trailers, songs, and music videos from "a range of websites" that are Windows-compatible, Sony said in a statement. They will also be able to connect wirelessly with other Sony devices, such as the PlayStation 3.

Sony launched Connect in the UK in July 2004 as part of an attempt to provide an integrated music service that incorporated both the online platform and the device in a proprietary format, much in the manner of Apple's iPod-iTunes system.

The company has always been tight-lipped about how many customers the service had, but in 2005, Sony's vice-president for network services in Europe said that Connect had "done a lot of sales."

Ultimately, however, the service struggled to gain a foothold against Apple's iTunes store, which is by far the dominant player in the digital download market.

Today shares in Sony were down 1c, at $46.10.

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