Ad for Microsoft’s Sync pretty funny

Microsoft’s product marketing tends to be fairly dull. Even inside the company, its methods for naming, marketing, and packaging have been the subject of scorn and derision.

So, that makes this commercial for its Sync in-car entertainment system all the more noteworthy.

The company illustrates the power of the system’s voice controls, by showing what happens when you take those commands beyond the car.

It’s a good approach to explaining a whole new type of technology–something that is often tough–just ask TiVo.

What do you think? Does it make you want to get the system, or does it just make you laugh. Or does it not even do that?

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Sony Rolls Out Goofy Music Player: The Rolly

Is Sony’s egg cracked? Japan never ceases to amaze me with its abundance of new gadgets. The most recent gizmo to come from Japan, the Sony Rolly, is no exception.

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Unveiled on Monday, the Rolly is an egg-shaped music player that can flap and rotate its robotic wings, gyrate across the floor, and spin up a storm amidst a neon show of green and blue lighting.

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In addition to playing back music from its internal memory the Rolly can also receive music streamed via a Bluetooth connection.

As far as I’m concerned the best part of the Rolly is its reported ability to analyze music and come up with the dance moves. Users can even program the Rolly’s moves themselves.

The gadget is small enough to fit in your hand and comes standard with 1GB of internal memory (some 500 songs, though programing the Rolly with more complex dance moves will diminish that capacity), stereo speakers, and a five hour battery life.
It goes on sale in Japan on September 29 for equivalent of about $353 U.S.

If Sony’s marketing campaign is any proof, it appears trying to imitate the thing on the dance floor is half the fun of owning one. Here is a link to an amusing commercial for the Sony Rolly airing in Japan where people try to keep pace with Rolly moves.

Finally a dance partner for Sony’s Aibo robotic dog. Lets hope the robotic dog doesn’t eat the robotic egg.

Pre-teen creates iPhone malware

A precocious pre-teen has prompted security warnings after creating a piece of malware for Apple‘s iPhone.

The 11 year-old hacker created a malicious file for the iPhone that masquerades as a legitimate piece of third-party software.

The file presents itself as ‘firmware 1.1.3 prep’, a utility said to prepare the handset for an upcoming software update.

Malicious activity does not occur when the software is installed; the damage is done when the user attempts to remove the malware. On deletion, the ‘prep’ file also removes a number of other legitimate files from the iPhone.

Security firm F-Secure credits the administrators of iPhone download site Modmyifone with publicising the attack and tracking down the author.

The administrators of Modmyifone claim that they have contacted the author’s parents, and that the site hosting the malicious code has been taken down.

Since the first third-party iPhone applications were released last summer, their regulation has rested largely on the shoulders of the user community.

Apple has washed its hands of the unofficial software, saying that, while it would not take special steps to remove any iPhone hacks, it would not support or take responsibility for damage caused by third-party software.

Although this latest attack has been taken down, security firms are warning iPhone users to be very careful when installing third-party software on the mobile device.

McAfee recommends that iPhone users install only official firmware updates, and the US Computer Emergency Response Team advises users to download files only from trusted websites.

“Hopefully this serves as a warning for those who have opened their iPhones using a security hole in the system and installed unverified software without a second thought,” wrote F-Secure chief research officer Mikko Hyppönen.

“This time it was an 11 year-old playing with XML files who created the Trojan. Next time it might be someone with more skills and specific targets.”