This, the first of our regional blogs, is authored by the technology and financial journalist Dominic Basulto. Dominic is a New York native, has been a senior editor at Corante since day one and has written for a number of online and offline media companies. Send tips or story ideas to: email@example.com.
About this weblog
Here we'll report daily on the latest tech and business developments in New York City. Impossible we concede: comprehensive coverage of the city's every story. What we hope you'll find: tips, tidbits and perspectives you won't find elsewhere. As well as unique insights, original interviews and more that should be of interest to New York's vibrant community of technologists and those who track, invest in and report on them.
Long Island-based Computer Associates has acquired California-based Qurb, an email software security provider, in an all-cash deal. According to Crain's New York, the deal will beef up the company's security management portfolio. Security management -- protecting against phishing and other forms of email fraud, for example -- is a market segment with room for growth, as anyone with a PC and an email account can testify. Just last month, Computer Associates also acquired Tiny Software, a provider of desktop firewall technology.
A new video game due to be released in the fall, True Crime: New York City, claims to have "the most authentic depiction of the Big Apple in a video game." According to Activision, "the streets are accurate as a global positioning system -- and feature real-life things like subways, landmarks and real neighborhoods like Harlem, Chinatown and Times Square."
Judging by an earlier game, True Crime: Streets of Los Angeles, the new NYC-based video game will feature generous amounts of blood and gore, mature sexual themes, strong language and gut-wrenching violence.
Marvel must be feeling flush, especially after the box office performance of recent movies starring Spider Man, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. Now, The Motley Fool reports that Microsoft and Marvel have joined forces to put Marvel characters into massively multiplayer online games developed for Microsoft's Xbox 360 console. The deal was announced at, of all places, a comic book convention.
The Motley Fool puts the deal into context:
"One of the soundest investment arguments backing Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick Marvel is its ability to make its intellectual property work in so many channels. Licensing its characters for videogames is no new thing, [but] this is Marvel's first foray into massively multiplayer online games, which is a particularly promising segment of the videogame industry. As far as Microsoft is concerned, gaining a cache of well-known characters is a logical step as it competes with Sony's PlayStation and Nintendo's Gamecube, not to mention the massively multiplayer online games that are available for the ubiquitous home computer without requiring a console."
Senator Chuck Schumer is leading the crusade against violent video games, hoping to stop the next generation of hyper-violent games (especially the ones that encourage gamers to partake in all kinds of urban mayhem) from ever being sold in the city. Schumer singled out the new video game 25 to Life, which allows players to "attack police with an arsenal of Molotov cocktails, broken bottles and baseball bats." Last night's "Sixty Minutes," for example, had a segment ("Can a Video Game Lead to Murder?") about a 20-year-old kid in Alabama who played "Grand Theft Auto" so obsessively that he went on some kind of rampage at police HQ.
Senator Schumer explains why he's trying to block these games from being sold in New York City: "It's the worst in a series of violent and gruesome games that lower the common denominator of decency."
"Anyone with a library card and a Windows media player can now borrow audio versions of everything from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to Zane Gray on Fishing. The MP3 files, which can be downloaded at any hour of the day from the librarys Web site, at ebooks.nypl.org, are good for three weeks, after which they can no longer be accessed. Users will be able to burn the files on to CDs for personal use."
It's all part of the changing nature of libraries, says a NYPL official: We see the future of circulating materials starting to head toward the Web and remote access, as opposed to people coming in to check things out. Were trying to stay one step ahead of the curve."
The Neighborhood Project is an "experiment in collective knowledge" that first went live in San Francisco, with plans to roll it out to other cities later. We assume that New York has to be high on the list of cities for future roll-out, given its rich concentration of diverse neighborhoods. From The Neighborhood Project's Website:
"The Neighborhood Project is creating a map of city neighborhoods based on the collective opinions of internet users. Addresses and neighborhood data are translated into latitude and longitude values, and then drawn on the map. The address and neighborhood data are collected from housing posts on craigslist, and from people filling out the form below. The coordinates are generated using the free geocoder.us. The map is from the TIGER/Line US Census data."
Craig Newmark of Craigslist gives it a thumbs up, calling it "a rather notable effort using craigslist data."
NY1's Adam Balkin explains that Napster's Shawn Fanning, once the "most hated man within the music industry establishment," is back with a legal peer-to-peer file-sharing system that's already a a big hit at the New York Digital Music Forum.
Fanning's new company, Snocap, is attempting to win over former detractors of Napster: "What we're trying to do is enable that vision and enable that excitement and selection that Napster brought to the world, but do it in a place where people don't have to worry about getting sued; where they can get access to music and know when they download a track they know that it will bet the track they believe it was..."
Less than 12 months after the company filed for a $57 million IPO (which was subsequently pulled), Long Island's Sybari Software announced plans to be acquired by Microsoft for an undisclosed sum. According to Newsday, Sybari is "expected to become a major lynchpin of Microsoft's widely anticipated movement into the consumer and corporate security market." On news of the deal, shares of rival security software makers, including Symantec and McAfee, sank -- the clearest indication that Microsoft's acquisition of Sybari will change the competitive picture for the enterprise security software market.
The New York Times reports on the grand opening of the Software Freedom Law Center, a nonprofit legal center in New York that will "focus on helping the leaders of open-source software projects organize and manage their work in ways that anticipate and avoid potential legal pitfalls." It's backed by $4 million from the Open Source Development Labs and will be headed up by Columbia law professor Eben Moglen. In addition, two full-time intellectual property lawyers will provide pro bono legal advice.
Scandal-tarred Long Island software maker Computer Associates is ready for a marketing makeover, reports Ad Week. It's time to put those nasty accounting scandals away once and for all. The global marketing and advertising effort is expected to span 50 countries at a total price tag of $150 million.
This time, it's Andrew Erlichson (former CEO and co-founder of Flashbase) who has launched a new online photo sharing venture known as Phanfare, which "allows users to share and back up their digital photos in a simple, permanent, polished, and unbranded way."
David Pogue of the New York Times chastises "60 Minutes" for a segment on a 12-year-old Juilliard music genius that apparently contained a number of inaccuracies about Finale software. Pogue discounts the existence of any serious flaws:
"What a load of hooey! The program in question is Finale, software with which I'm exceedingly familiar: in Finale's early days, I wrote its manuals, consulted on its development and served as its New York City sales rep. Now, today's Finale has its glitches. But to suggest that it can't keep up with the frenetic typed keystrokes of a musician is naïve at best..."
The executives of Long Island-based software maker Computer Associates are attempting to shrug off a multi-billion-dollar accounting scandal and move on with life. The company's newly-appointed president and CEO discussed the company's strategic agenda in a press conference on Tuesday, emphasizing that acquisitions will power the company's growth engine in the near-term future: "My bias will be, frankly, to look for early ways of entering a market even with relatively undeveloped or immature technology teams or even immature market and sales teams..."
Wall Street seems to like the story -- and the fact that the new CEO is a long-time IBM veteran. Several Wall Street analysts have already set a $35 price target for the company's stock, which is currently selling around $30.