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May 23, 2011
Volume XXXV, Issue 3

Internet Usage, Video Streams Soar

Excerpted from Online Media Daily Report by Gavin O'Malley

In need of some good news, AOL's network of sites saw visitors stay about 5% longer in April, according to new data from Nielsen.

From home and work computers, Google remained the most-visited site in the US in April, with 150 million unique visitors. While 194.8 million Americans went online in April, overall Internet use was down 2.4% from March.

Still, YouTube increased US visitors month-over-month, with average visitors spending 2.9% more time on the video hub in April. The site hit an all-time high that month, as its US viewers consumed 8.7 billion streams: up 7% month-over-month.

Partly due to the fewer days in April, US consumers spent slightly less time online - 3.8% less time, on average - and visited fewer unique sites compared to March.

Yet despite the slight monthly decline in time spent, Nielsen estimates that Internet access at home and work grew to 244 million individuals in the US in April.

Wikipedia managed to leapfrog over Apple to become the eighth-most-visited site in April - even with questions about the dedication of its contributors.

In addition, Americans streamed 14.7 billion videos in April - the most streams ever in a month, according to Nielsen. While the number of videos streamed increased, however, total viewing time actually decreased during the period. There were 141.4 million unique US video viewers who spent an average of 4 hours, 31 minutes viewing video over the course of the month, per Nielsen.

AOL Media Network and The CollegeHumor Network saw the largest month-over-month increase in unique viewers - up 13% and 11%, respectively - placing them just ahead of Hulu, which was the sixth top video brand in March.

New to the list of most heavily used sites with double-digit gains in streams from March were Dailymotion - up 61%, AOL Media Network - up 31%, and Megavideo - up 25%.

LinkedIn's Surge Sets Stage for More Internet IPOs

Excerpted from NY Times Report by Evelyn Rusli

It's not 1999, but the big Internet IPO is back.

Shares of LinkedIn, the professional social network, more than doubled on their first day of trading, a surprising debut that both echoed the giddy exuberance of the last tech boom and heralded the coming of several multibillion-dollar Internet companies, like Facebook, that are expected to go public in the next 12 months.

The initial public offering, the largest by a United States Internet company since Google's offering in 2004, was a major test of investor demand for the new wave of fast-growing social Web companies. Valuations for start-ups like Groupon, Facebook, Twitter, and Zynga have been surging in private secondary markets in recent months. Thursday's market action was an indication that investors' appetite for these businesses had not waned despite questions of whether sky-high valuations were justified.

Linkedin's shares opened on the New York Stock Exchange at $83 - up from its initial public offering (IPO) price of $45 - and rose as high as $122.70 before paring their gains. The shares closed at $94.25, giving the company a market value of roughly $9 billion - more than four times the value of an early Internet king, AOL.

But this Internet boom is different in many ways from the last one.

The companies going public have more than just "eyeballs" of web users; they have businesses that report earnings and revenue. LinkedIn, for example, which makes money from advertising, subscriptions and recruitment services, made $15.4 million last year on $243.1 million in revenue.

And unlike the late 1990s, there is no flood of new companies coming to market. Much of the enthusiasm for LinkedIn can be attributed to the small number of shares sold and a pent-up demand by investors who have had to wait out the financial crisis to put money in a sizable American Internet start-up.

In its offering, LinkedIn sold 7.84 million shares, less than 10% of the company, with the option to sell an additional 1.1 million. Roughly 95% of the investors who wanted an allocation did not get their full allotment, said a person close to the offering who was not authorized to speak publicly about it.

"Today, there are a limited number of players in social media," Lou Kerner, a Wedbush Securities analyst said. "There's incredible investor demand for everything social because of its potential growth."

Still, Thursday's rally was particularly stunning because few expected LinkedIn to be a blockbuster IPO. The last United States company to gain more than 100% on its first day of trading was Nymex, the commodities market operator, in 2006, according to data from Renaissance Capital, an IPO advisory firm.

Before this month, the company had attracted modest attention compared with its high-flying peers Facebook and Groupon, which have wowed investors with billion-dollar funding rounds and surging valuations.

Please click here for the rest of this story.

Report from CEO Marty Lafferty

Photo of CEO Marty LaffertyThe Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA) commends and supports US Senator and Chairman of the Judiciary Patrick Leahy (D-VT) this week in introducing S. 1011 as legislation to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986 for the digital age.

The existing ECPA law was written more than a quarter of a century ago and before the Internet had developed. We now rely much more on computing - including cloud computing - and face many more challenging issues related to mobile connectivity than we did at that time.

Senator Leahy's amendment would create a warrant requirement, meaning that government would have to show probable cause in order to obtain access to data in the cloud such as e-mail, whether opened or unopened, or shared documents and files.

It would also require law enforcement officials to obtain a warrant before accessing a citizen's real-time location information, such as by means of a mobile-phone app. Past geo-location data, however, would only require a court order in the initial version of this proposed amendment to ECPA.

Digital Due Process, a coalition of leading Internet and communications companies, trade associations, and advocacy groups - including the DCIA - developed recommendations for digital privacy that are reflected in this bill, which would fully codify DDP principle 1, partially codify DDP principle 2 - two very important recommendations - but would not address DDP principles 3 and 4, at least in this stage of the legislative process.

Key specifics of the measure include Section 1, which provides its full title, the "Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments of 2011."

Section 2 prohibits an electronic communications, remote computing, or geo-location information service provider from voluntarily disclosing the contents of its customer's e-mail or other electronic communications to the government. There are limited exceptions to this prohibition under current law, including, customer consent and disclosure to law enforcement to address criminal activity.

Section 3 amends ECPA so that the disclosure of the content of e-mail and other electronic communications by an electronic communications, remote computing, or geo-location information service provider to the government is subject to one legal standard -- a search warrant issued based on a showing probable cause. The provision eliminates the outdated 180-day rule that currently requires varying legal standards for the government to obtain e-mail content, depending upon the age of the e-mail.

The provision also requires that the government notify the individual whose account was disclosed, and provide that individual with a copy of the search warrant and other details about the information obtained, within three days. ECPA permits the government to access content that is publicly available, such as remarks posted on a blog or a public website.

This Section also amends ECPA to clarify that the government may use an administrative or grand jury subpoena in order to obtain certain kinds of electronic communication records from an electronic communications service provider, including customer name, address, session time records, length of service information, subscriber number and temporarily assigned network address, and means and source of payment information.

Section 3 further amends ECPA to clarify that geo-location information service providers are covered by the requirements in the original law (Section 2703).

Section 4 amends Section 2705 of ECPA to provide that the government may seek a court order to delay notifying an individual of that fact that the government has accessed the contents of their electronic communications for up to 90 days. This delay period may be extended for a period of up to an additional 90 days at a time by a court. Once notice is provided, Section 4 also requires that the government provide the individual with a copy of the search warrant.

This Section also adds a new provision that would allow the government to delay providing notice if doing so would endanger national security. To reduce the costs associated with providing notice, this section also allows the government to provide notice by e-mail, or other effective means.

And finally, Section 4 establishes a 90-day time limit on the period that the government could prevent a service provider from informing its customer about the disclosure of electronic communications information to the government. This time period may be extended by a court for up to an additional 90 days at a time.

Section 5 would establish new privacy protections for geo-location information collected, stored, or used by mobile devices and mobile applications, such as smart-phones and tablets. This provision also clarifies the legal standards under which the government can obtain location information from these and other kinds of electronic communications devices. Specifically, the provision requires that the government obtain either a search warrant or a court order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), to access or use an individual's smart-phone or other electronic communications device to obtain geo-location information.

This Section also establishes a law enforcement exception to the warrant requirement that would apply when the Attorney General or certain other specified senior law enforcement officials designate a law enforcement officer to obtain geo-location information during an emergency involving either, imminent danger, organized crime, or an immediate threat to national security. The government must still obtain a search warrant for the geo-location information within 48 hours, or a court may suppress the evidence obtained or derived from this information in a legal proceeding.

The provision also includes exceptions to the warrant requirement when there is user consent or a call for emergency services.

Section 6 would require that the government obtain a search warrant in order to obtain contemporaneous (real-time) geo-location information from an electronic communications, remote computing, or geo-location information service provider. There is an exception to the warrant requirement for emergency calls for service.

This Section would also require that the government obtain either a search warrant, or court order to obtain historical geo-location information from an electronic communications, remote computing, or geo-location information service provider. This provision codifies the government's current practice for obtaining this kind of location information.

Section 7 permits a provider to voluntarily disclose content that is pertinent to addressing a cyber-attack involving their computer network to either the government or to a third-party.

The provision also requires that the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security submit an annual report to Congress detailing the number of accounts from which either the Department of Justice (DoJ) or Department of Homeland Security received voluntary disclosures under the cyber-security exception. The provision also requires that the Attorney General provide information about the number of voluntary disclosures under the cyber-security exception made to the Department that did not result in the filing of criminal charges.

Lastly, Section 8 clarifies the kinds of subscriber electronic communications records that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) may obtain from a provider for counter-intelligence purposes. The following records are subject to the new provision: name; address; session time and duration; length of service and types of service; telephone or instrument number, or identity; and dialing, routing, addressing and signaling information.

The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), which has served superbly in a key DDP leadership role, supports this measure. "Of course, the government needs to be able to investigate crimes and protect the national security, but it should do so within the rules set by the Constitution, and that means the government should get a warrant from a judge," said Jim Dempsey, CDT Vice President for Public Policy. 

"The courts have been slow in responding to technology, and the protections have lagged, so Congress needs to act." "Everyone knows that this technology we have become so dependent on also can expose our most intimate thoughts and our daily movements to government surveillance. I hope that the Justice Department will recognize that the Constitutional standard of a judge's warrant is the right standard for government intrusion on our privacy." 

The DCIA also believes that Senator Leahy's proposed measure effectively addresses two of our chief concerns: first, that legislation affecting advanced technologies avoid the unintended consequence of stifling further innovation by unnecessarily hampering US industry participants with burdensome compliance requirements; and second, that such legislation mitigate uncertainty regarding rules of engagement at the consumer level, which can negatively impact market development especially in the very rapidly evolving high-technology sector.

The bottom line is that we believe Americans expect the same privacy protections when accessing online and cloud-based solutions as they are accustomed to offline or when using traditional applications. That is, freedom from eavesdropping without due process, which in turn must be based upon probable cause. The Fourth Amendment should apply as fully to electronic media as it does to preceding forms of communication.

While not complete and not perfect, Chairman Leahy's bill is a positive step in that direction and, perhaps most importantly, augurs well for larger related undertakings that Congress also needs to commence, such as a revision of the seriously outdated Communications Act. Share wisely, and take care.

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy

I am pleased to introduce the Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act of 2011 - a bill to bring our Federal electronic privacy laws into the digital age. Since the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) was first enacted in 1986, the ECPA has been one of our Nation's premiere privacy laws. But, today, this law is significantly outdated and out-paced by rapid changes in technology and the changing mission of our law enforcement agencies after September 11.

In the digital age, American consumers and businesses face threats to privacy like no time in history. With the explosion of new technologies, including social networking sites, smart-phones and other mobile applications, there are many new benefits to consumers. But, there are also many new risks to their privacy.

Just in the past few weeks, we have witnessed significant data breaches involving Sony and Epsilon that impact the privacy of millions of American consumers. We are also learning that smart-phones and other new mobile technologies may be using and storing our location and other sensitive information posing other new risks to privacy.

When I led the effort to write the ECPA 25 years ago, no one could have contemplated these and other emerging threats to our digital privacy. Updating this law to reflect the realities of our time is essential to ensuring that our Federal privacy laws keep pace with new technologies and the new threats to our security.

This bill takes several steps to protect Americans' privacy in the digital age. First, the bill makes common sense changes to the law regarding the privacy protections afforded to consumers' electronic communications. Under the current law, a single email could be subject to as many a four different levels of privacy protections, depending upon where it is stored and when it was sent. The bill gets rid of the so-called "180-day rule" and replaces this confusing mosaic with one clear legal standard for the protection of the content of emails and other electronic communications. Under my bill, service providers are expressly prohibited from disclosing customer content and the government must obtain a search warrant, based on probable cause, to compel a service provider to disclose the content of a customer's electronic communications to the government.

This bill also provides important new consumer privacy protections for location information that is collected, used, or stored by service providers, smart-phones, or other mobile technologies. To protect consumer privacy, my bill requires that the government obtain either a search warrant, or a court order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, in order to access or use an individual's smart-phone or other electronic communications device to obtain geo-location information. There are well-balanced exceptions to the warrant requirement if the government needs to obtain location information to address an immediate threat to safety or national security, or when there is user consent or a call for emergency services. The bill also requires that the government obtain a search warrant in order to obtain contemporaneous (real-time) location information from a provider. There is an exception to the warrant requirement for emergency calls for service.

To address the role of new technologies in the changing mission of law enforcement, the bill also provides important new tools to law enforcement to fight crime and keep us safe. The bill clarifies the authority under the ECPA for the government to temporarily delay notifying an individual of that fact that the government has accessed the contents of their electronic communications, to protect the integrity of a government investigation. The bill also gives new authority to the government to delay notification in order to protect national security.

Lastly, the ECPA Amendments Act strengthens the tools available in ECPA to protect our national security and the security of our computer networks. The legislation creates a new limited exception to the nondisclosure requirements under the ECPA, so that a service provider can voluntarily disclose content to the government that is pertinent to addressing a cyber-attack. To protect privacy and civil liberties, the bill also requires that, among other things, the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security submit an annual report to Congress detailing the number of accounts from which their departments received voluntary disclosures under this new cyber-security exception.

Verizon Seeks to Acquire Software Firms to Expand Cloud Services

Excerpted from Reuters Report by Sinead Carew

Verizon Communications may seek acquisitions of small software companies worth less than $100 million to complement its recent Terremark deal, the company's Chief Financial Officer said.

Verizon spent about $1.4 billion on data-center operator Terremark last month to expand its reach in business services. It may follow with more acquisitions to boost offerings in software-as-a-service (SaaS), web-based software it would host at a remote data center, CFO Fran Shammo told the Reuters Global Technology Summit.

"I do think there are probably a number of smaller, strategic-type things that we will add to the Terremark acquisition from a SaaS perspective," Shammo said. Areas of interest include specialist software for fleet management or for managing a company's energy efficiency.

"There are a lot of niche software companies out there who are developing all kinds of applications that can be used by small business, medium business, and enterprise customers," said Shammo. But he noted that these deals would be smaller than the Terremark purchase.

"Normally these software companies are small. These are worth tens of millions of dollars, not hundreds of millions of dollars," he said.

IBM: Cloud Computing Poised to Take Off at Companies

A new IBM study of more than 3,000 global CIOs shows that 60% of organizations are ready to embrace cloud computing over the next five years as a means of growing their businesses and achieving competitive advantage. The figure nearly doubles the number of CIOs who said they would utilize cloud in IBM's 2009 CIO study, and is one of dozens of new insights and trends learned from CIOs worldwide in businesses of all sizes.

As demand for ever-growing amounts of information continues to increase, companies are seeking simple and direct access to data and applications that cloud computing delivers in a cost-efficient, always-available manner. The use of cloud, which began in supporting deployments mainly inside companies, has now also grown common between organizations and their partners and customers. In IBM's 2009 CIO study, only a third of CIOs said they planned to pursue cloud to gain a competitive advantage. This year's study shows a dramatic increase in the focus on cloud, particularly in media and entertainment, which rose to 73%, automotive (70%) and telecommunications (69%).

From a country standpoint, seven out of 10 CIOs in the US, Japan, and South Korea, and 68% in China, now identify cloud as a top priority. This is dramatically up from 2009, when CIO interest in cloud hovered at about a third in each of these countries.

The IBM study also found that more than four out of five CIOs (83%) see business intelligence and analytics as top priorities for their businesses as they seek ways to act upon the growing amounts of data that are now at their disposal. CIOs are also increasingly turning their attention to mobile computing to keep pace with the fast-changing marketplace.

As the proliferation of mobile devices with enhanced functionality and mobile applications that support business productivity and new market opportunities continues to grow, mobile computing and mobility solutions are now seen by nearly three-quarters of CIOs (74%) as a game-changer for their businesses - up from 68% in 2009.

Among other trends identified from this year's study: Analytics and business intelligence hold the most interest in the chemical and petroleum, consumer products and healthcare industries, where 91, 89 and 86% of CIOs surveyed, respectively, cited it as part of their visionary plans to increase competitiveness over the next three to five years; 95% of CIOs in South America (excluding Brazil) and Canada see analytics and business intelligence as their competitive differentiator; mobility solutions were identified most in the travel (91%), media and entertainment (86%) and energy and utilities (82%) industries; risk management is a top issue in the finance and banking industries, where more than 80% of CIOs said they are focusing their attention.

IBM's 2011 study, the definitive study of trends among chief information officers, is the product of face-to-face interviews with CIOs from diverse organizations in 71 countries, 18 industries and organizations of every size. The study, titled "The Essential CIO," reinforces the increasingly strategic role that CIOs are playing as leaders of innovation and growth. The study is being released in IBM's centennial year as the company marks the historic role it played in both establishing the need for CIOs in the 1950s and 1960s -- the early days of business computing -- and elevating the position over the ensuing decades to give a voice to IT in the C-suite.

"As technology becomes both an enabler of competitive advantage and embedded in every facet of the enterprise, the role of the CIO has never been more essential," said Jeanette Horan, vice president and Chief Information Officer, IBM. "This study provides key evidence of how the capabilities of IT are aligning perfectly with the aspirations of business leaders. The winners will be those companies that understand the power of technologies like cloud, analytics and mobility, and can harness that power to transform their businesses."

Just as analytics, cloud and mobility have become dominant areas for CIOs, other areas are taking up less of their time, although this does not mean they are any less important. Virtualization, risk management and compliance, for example, have moved down on the CIOs "visionary plan list" but this is the result of virtualization become more mainstream (and less the specific responsibility of CIOs) and risk gradually moving to a dedicated risk officer.

The report also highlights a number of recommendations, ranging from strategic business actions and use of key technologies that IBM has identified that CIOs can implement, based on CIO feedback from the study. The full 2011 CIO Study and interviews about the study are available here.

Huawei Taps into Middle East Cloud Computing Market Growth

Excerpted from AMEinfo Report

Huawei, a specialist in providing next-generation telecommunications network solutions for operators around the world, showcased its cloud computing strategy and end-to-end solutions for telecommunications operators and enterprises at the 3rd Cloud Computing Summit in Abu Dhabi.

Huawei is the Diamond Sponsor of this important annual event. The summit is focused on helping executives understand the business impact of cloud computing now and in the future and keep them updated on trends in the industry.

Recent IDC cloud research shows that revenue from public information technology (IT) cloud services will reach $55.5 billion in 2014. This rapid growth rate is over five times the projected growth for traditional IT products. To allow telecom operators and enterprises to access this exciting new market, Huawei has created a cloud computing solution that, in concert with a world-wide partner network, provides unique end-to-end solutions. These cloud solutions open up a new world of solutions for users everywhere.

Speaking at the summit, Ronald Raffensperger, Director, Cloud Computing Marketing, Huawei Technologies, said, "Cloud computing will play a very important role in reshaping the computing and Internet landscape. By allowing breakthroughs in existing service and business models, cloud computing will inevitably expand its role as a backbone for IT services. As a revolutionary concept, its technological realization is set to change the way people work and live."

The explosive growth of information and applications to access information anywhere anytime is driving the need for cloud services. Cloud computing is reshaping the Internet landscape, creating new opportunities for suppliers and driving changes in traditional IT offerings. As organizations in the Middle East look at cloud computing as a cost effective solution, Huawei is focused on providing them with an efficient yet scalable platform that can facilitate common business productivity applications online in an open, non-proprietary fashion.

"Leveraging on our proven leadership within the telecom industry, we are poised to bring the telecom-class Cloud Computing solutions to operators and enterprises," added Raffensperger.

Cloud Computing Is Here to Stay 

Excerpted from InfoQ Report by Abel Avram

Once considered a fad by some analysts and IT specialists, cloud computing has become a strategic priority for many companies around the world. The fact that cloud computing is no longer a possible technology of the future but one of today is proven by various studies made public over the last six months.

A recently published study realized by IBM based on face-to-face conversations with more than 3,000 CIO worldwide has concluded that cloud computing has grown significantly in enterprises' priority over the last two years.

Cloud computing has jumped from 33%, very low on the list of priorities in 2009, to 60%, on par with Business Process Management, and not far behind Business Intelligence, Mobility Solutions and Virtualization.

The first recommended step in adopting the cloud would be to move non-essential computing chores to the cloud, leaving internal resources available to "perform tasks that are most valuable to the organization."

Commenting on a 2011 study based on surveying 1,535 CIOs and published by the CIO Magazine, Michael Friedenberg, President and CEO of IDG, said, "Cloud computing really did arrive. Actual adoption is under way everywhere, at least to some degree." He continues by quoting results from the study:

Enterprise organizations use private cloud most often, with 23% now using private versus 7% public.

Small-to-midsize businesses spend larger chunks of their IT budget on cloud, averaging 20% for companies with fewer than 1,000 employees. Larger enterprises are earmarking around 15% of their IT budget for cloud.

Budgets are increasing for cloud-based services, with big companies expecting the percentage of their IT budget dedicated to cloud to increase 67% in the next 12 months. On average, large enterprises plan to spend $2.2 million on cloud this year.

The Second Annual Government IT Purchase Plans study done by CompTIA, a non-profit association for the IT industry, concludes that US government agencies are most interested in becoming "more efficient and reduce long-term costs," but they are placing cloud computing "slightly lower on the list":

Nearly four in ten (39%) of federal, state and local government IT decision makers and influencers identified new data backup and recovery solutions as a priority over the next 12 months. Security applications were cited by 37% of respondents, followed by virtualization solutions (30%) and content management solutions (24%). Options such as unified communications and cloud computing (18% each) ranked slightly lower on the list.

With 18% in priority, cloud computing is not nearly as important for government agencies as it is for businesses - 60% in IBM's study - but perhaps some of the "backup and recovery" and "virtualization solutions" mentioned involve the cloud in some way.

If there was any doubt on the viability of cloud computing, now it is obvious that this technology is here to stay. One may argue over the meaning of the term, there may be security concerns, there may be some eyebrows raised by recent high-profile outages, but the benefits seem to outweigh them, making cloud computing an attractive solution for many enterprises.

Company Brings Back P2P Technology to Disrupt Another Industry

London based marketing firm GoodBuzz has released the open version of its guerrilla marketing program GoodBuzz.org. In development for more than a year, the program is built using the controversial P2P technology, which some years ago has disrupted music and film markets.

"GoodBuzz is doing for marketing and advertising what BitTorrent did for online music, video, and software distribution some years ago. Both utilize the power of peer-to-peer (P2P) networks to maximum effect, getting the job done faster, cheaper and more effectively than by any other means." says Mawuna Koutonin, the founder of the GoodBuzz Network.

The GoodBuzz program is now open to all event organizers, small business owners who can't get the attention of the mainstream media, and journalists to promote their events or business, and people who don't have a lot of money to spend in advertising.

"The purpose," said Koutonin "is to help the Davids beat the Goliaths in the marketplace with a proven content distribution technology applied to marketing and advertising."

The key to Goodbuzz scalable and broad distribution power is cooperation. Cooperative distribution can grow almost without limit, because each new participant brings not only demand, but also supply. And, because each new participant brings new resources to the distribution, campaigns get limitless exposure for less effort and expenses.

"GoodBuzz is not just a concept, but an easy to use program, even for people with no technical background or marketing experience. When things work out well, it compares to prime-time TV coverage for an event, or a book that's been featured on the Oprah Show." said Koutonin.

It's a new world of possibilities.

BitTorrent's Personal Content Channel 

Excerpted from CNET News Report by Seth Rosenblatt

BitTorrent 8, released last week in beta, contains a sharp new feature that makes it easier than ever to create torrents of your personal files and share them with a group of friends or colleagues. The feature implementation isn't expected to change by the time that BitTorrent 8 graduates to its final version, so this "how-to" ought to be viable for some time.

Once you've installed BitTorrent 8 beta, take a quick tour of some of the public content channels that come with the program. This part isn't essential; however, it's worth seeing because it's a good place to get some ideas of the kinds of files that you can share on your content channel. These pre-existing legal content channels include popular shows like the TED educational lectures and legally shared music and movies. Click on one to add it to the channel bar at the top of the program.

Next, go to the My Files button on the right of the channel bar. If you haven't created a channel, this section will be blank. It's a little hard to see, but click the gray arrow just to the left of the My Files button and the Personal Channel wizard will open. Fill in your name and channel title, and upload an avatar to customize it. You can actually come back and complete these steps later if you'd like.

To add files to share, hit the More Content tab, click Browse for File and navigate to the files that you own the rights to. Once added, you can write a note about the file, choose people to share the torrent link with over email, Twitter or Facebook and engage in real-time conversations with those friends directly from the central pane of the BitTorrent interface.

The link that gets sent out detects whether the recipient has BitTorrent 8. If they don't, the link downloads the installer and automatically subscribes them to the channel after installation. If they do, it simply adds the channel. The channel acts as a grouping mechanism for the torrents contained within. Each file added gets its own torrent, so that subscribers don't have to fiddle with choosing files within a torrent.

BitTorrent has also said that it will guarantee the minimum health of the torrent. The equivalent number of seeders for that is still in flux, although BitTorrent lead engineer Thomas Ramplelberg said that it's currently around seven seeders.

The impact of Personal Content Channels on legally owned personal file-sharing could be massive. It's a great tool for sharing high-resolution audio and video files that you own without having to reduce the file size first. Parents can share pictures and video with each other from school plays or sports events; artists of all kinds could share high-quality versions of both final works and works-in-progress with editors or fans; and businesses with multiple offices could use it to quickly transfer documents and multimedia presentations between disparate locations.

Currently, the beta is available only in English and only for Windows computers. For the duration of the beta, personal content channels will not have file size restrictions and is free to use. BitTorrent was unable to comment on whether the service would continue to be free of restrictions after BitTorrent 8 final was released, but it's still a killer file-sharing feature that combines the speed of torrents with the crispness of the high-quality files that our portable devices can now create.

Fujitsu Invests Billions in Revolutionary Cloud Computing

Excerpted from Jamaica Observer Report by Julian Richardson

A revolutionary IT solution that will significantly reduce capital expenditure and operational costs for local businesses. That's how President and CEO of Fujitsu America Tony Doye is envisioning the impact of the new rage in information technology, cloud computing.

Cloud computing allows for IT services to be retrieved via the Internet through web-based tools, without a client being in direct connection to a server storing the information. IT providers such as global industry giant Fujitsu have invested billions of dollars in building cloud-like structures where they host information securely for clients, who have remote access to the data.

Hence, capital and information management costs are reduced because clients don't have to own a server and they operate with leased capacity.

"We have deployed in all the major regions of the world a standard operating environment which is consistent with a Fujitsu-based cloud. We start by selling infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), software-as-a-service (SaaS), etc.," Doye told Sunday Finance in an interview on Thursday at the Fujitsu Caribbean headquarters in Kingston.

He explained that the system is a very elastic one geared towards businesses of all types.

"It's a different value for different industries and different size of companies," said Doye, who assumed the head of Fujitsu America in April 2010.

"For the small enterprises, it's a good way to get going: You have low capital cost, you pay as you go and your pits and troughs are managed by someone else, not by you. For the bigger customers, it's a way of doing research and development (R&D), so they could do development in the cloud," he noted.

Additionally, the Fujitsu America boss stressed that the firm's cloud services give clients the option to choose their own level of control.

"We are allowing customers to choose from private products they manage themselves all the way up to managed services offsite," said Doye, emphasizing, "whether you are in financial services or another area, where there is a strong leaning towards having your own cloud in terms of security, our clients can have it all at our center and we manage it remotely."

RIAA-Backed Warrantless Search Bill in California

Excerpted from Slashdot Report If you run a CD or DVD duplication company and you're based in California, you may soon be subject to warrantless searches in order to "fight piracy."

California Senate Bill 550, introduced by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), has slowly begun making its way through the state legislature as a way to cut down on counterfeit discs, but critics worry that it may open the door to Fourth Amendment violations."

This fits in well with other recent moves to neuter the Fourth Amendment.

Yep: The RIAA Is Now Taking the Cloud to Court

Excerpted from Digital Music News Report

If you want to share music, there are dozens of cloud-based lockers to choose from. Well, the RIAA just picked one to subpoena, the beginning of something litigious. 

The unlucky target is Palo Alto-based Box.net, a cloud-based storage and sharing site that suddenly finds itself in the RIAA's legal crosshairs. 

The company, which counts Mark Cuban among its investors, was once heralded as "the Facebook of Cloud Computing." But apparently, all the social (and secure) sharing is a bit too much for major label tastes. 

According to paperwork filed with the US District Court for the Northern District of California on May 18th, the RIAA is subpoenaing Box.net to determine the identity of some suspect individuals. 

These 'bad actors' are apparently using Box to transfer large amounts of music files. The subpoena is being driven by Mark McDevitt, Vice President of Online Anti-Piracy for the trade group. "The purpose for which this subpoena is sought is to obtain the identities of the individuals involved.," the brief explains. 

Box.net is complying, but what happens once the information is handed over? That's anyone's guess at this stage. 

Lawsuits against the individuals themselves is one route, though perhaps the RIAA has a plan to put Box.net into a sticky box of liability. Which could potentially create lots of havoc for other lockers and the cloud in general.

Coming Events of Interest

Cloud Computing Asia - May 30th - June 2nd in Singapore. Cloud services are gaining popularity among information IT users, allowing them to access applications, platforms, storage and whole segments of infrastructure over a public or private network.CCA showcases cloud-computing products and services. Learn from top industry analysts, successful cloud customers, and cloud computing experts.

Cloud Expo 2011 - June 6th-9th in New York, NY. Cloud Expo is returning to New York with more than 7,000 delegates and over 200 sponsors and exhibitors. "Cloud" has become synonymous with "computing" and "software" in two short years. Cloud Expo is the new PC Expo, Comdex, and InternetWorld of our decade.

The Business of Cloud Computing - June 13th-15th in San Diego, CA. Cloud Computing is the latest disruptive technology. Enterprises, large and small, are looking to cloud computing providers for savings, flexibility, and scalability. However, potential adopters of all sizes are concerned about security, data management, privacy, performance and control.

CIO Cloud Summit - June 14th-16th in Scottsdale, AZ. The summit will bring together CIOs from Fortune 1000 organizations, leading IT analysts, and innovative solution providers to network and discuss the latest cloud computing topics and trends in a relaxed, yet focused business setting.

Digital Media Conference - June 17th in Washington, DC. The DCIA presents CONTENT IN THE CLOUD as part of the digital media business issues and law & policy tracks at this eighth annual gathering of over 500 of the most influential decision-makers in the media, entertainment, and technology industries.

Cloud Leadership Forum - June 20th-21st in Santa Clara, CA. This conference's enterprise-focused agenda, prepared with the help of nearly a dozen IT executives, will bring you case studies and peer insights on how leading organizations are approaching the cloud opportunity - plus much more.

Cloud Computing World Forum - June 21st-22nd in London, England. This third annual event is free to attend and will will feature all of the key players within the cloud computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS) market providing an introduction, discussion and look into the future for the ICT industry.

Copyright 2008 Distributed Computing Industry Association
This page last updated June 24, 2011
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