Another Pothole For Zune; Apple Opens Fairplay?

Engadget reports, in a "non-scientific sampling," that Sony has disabled Zune's song sharing feature for "popular artists by Zunerama and Zune Thoughts." They go on: "it looks like it's roughly 40-50 percent of artist that fall under this prohibited banner, and the worst news is that there's no warning that a song might be unsharable until you actually try to send it and fail." In related (DRM) news, cNet reported yesterday that "Apple plans to make it possible for people to listen to iTunes' songs on devices other than iPods, according to a published report." I'm pretty sure this move has been hastened along by EU action (certainly not by US government action). The DRM wars are, of course, yet another version of standards wars (think Blue Ray, Beta/VHS, CDMA/GSM ...). But DRM is also about protecting institutions (and their markets) from disruptive technology.continue reading →

Microsoft Launches Academic Search

Windows Live Academic (WLA) search (beta) is scheduled to go live after midnight, focusing on (not surprisingly) computer science, physics and engineering subjects. The Microsoft tool provides abstract previews via a preview pane, sort and group by capability, and citation export, according to the website. WLA contains both freely available and access-restricted content, just like Google Scholar. A key difference between this search and Google Scholar may be authentication. Microsoft has worked with publishers and universities to provide (seamless?) access to subscription content, according to the website. Google is also working with libraries -- "offering the option to include a link for their patrons" -- to make their tool more useful for students and researchers. When I tried the service -- 2.00 - 2.30 am -- it wasn't yet working (or the servers were being hammered - but in the wee hours of the morning?). I switched from Firefox to…continue reading →