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Edupage, December 22, 2006

Edupage is a service of EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology.

TOP STORIES FOR FRIDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2006


MSU Suffers Data Mishap NASA and Google Sign Space Agreement Act Laptop Revenue to Surpass Desktops in 2007 Recording Companies Sue Russian Site in U.S. Court


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MSU SUFFERS DATA MISHAP Officials from Mississippi State University (MSU) have notified approximately 2,400 students and employees that their confidential information was mistakenly made available on a public Web site. In a statement, Doc Foglesong, president of MSU, said, "When we learned that the site actually was publicly accessible, we took the server offline immediately and began an investigation." Compromised information included names, Social Security numbers, and some birthdates. Maridith Geuder, a spokesperson for the university, would not say how the mishap occurred but noted that when the problem was discovered on December 6, the site was immediately taken down. For those individuals affected, the university will pay for a credit-monitoring service. Geuder also noted that the university is moving away from Social Security numbers as student identifiers, but that process is not complete. Associated Press, 21 December 2006 http://www.sunherald.com/mld/sunherald/news/state/16287365.htm

NASA AND GOOGLE SIGN SPACE AGREEMENT ACT Under a new agreement between NASA and Google, considerable amounts of data will be available through applications developed by the space agency. Last year, Google agreed to start a research center at NASA's Ames Research Center. Chris Kemp, director of strategic business development at Ames, said of the data on hand at NASA, "Even though this information was collected for the benefit of everyone, and much is in the public domain, the vast majority of this information is scattered and difficult for non-experts to access and to understand." The new agreement, called the Space Agreement Act, creates a partnership in which data from NASA about the Earth, the moon, and Mars will be accessible through tools such as Google Earth. The two organizations will also work together on new ways to analyze data collected by NASA every year. Michael Griffin, administrator of NASA, said, "This agreement between NASA and Google will soon allow every American to experience a virtual flight over the surface of the moon or through the canyons of Mars." BBC, 19 December 2006 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6192523.stm

LAPTOP REVENUE TO SURPASS DESKTOPS IN 2007 A number of industry analysts believe that 2007 will be the year in which revenues from sales of laptops surpass those of desktop computers. According to Richard Farmer, analyst with Merrill Lynch, the current revenue split for PC makers (47 percent desktops, 41.6 percent laptops) will change in 2007 to 45.6 percent laptops and 43.1 percent desktops. By 2008, estimates put revenues from laptops at nearly 50 percent, with desktops representing just 40 percent of revenues. Richard Shim, an analyst with IDC, agrees that revenues for laptops will continue to increase and will pass those from desktops, though he added that the number of desktops shipped will outpace the number of laptops until late 2008 or 2009. One reason revenues are expected to change sooner than shipments is that laptops command higher prices than comparable desktops. eWeek, 19 December 2006 http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2074603,00.asp

RECORDING COMPANIES SUE RUSSIAN SITE IN U.S. COURT Recording companies have filed suit in U.S. Federal District Court in Manhattan against a Russan online music service. The lawsuit seeks an injunction against AllofMP3.com to prevent it from selling copyrighted music without permission and to force it to surrender its domain names. The Russian site sells albums for a fraction of the cost of legal music sites and offers music from artists who have not authorized online sales of their music. The AllofMP3 site claims that it complies with Russian copyright law. Russia agreed to rein in Russian Web sites that illegally sell copyrighted materials as a condition of joining the World Trade Organization, but without evident progress to date. The U.S. lawsuit targets Mediaservices, the AllofMP3 site's Moscow-based operator, which also runs a music service called allTunes that uses an interface similar to that of iTunes. New York Times, 22 December 2006 (registration req'd) http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/22/technology/22music.html


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