Origami “not an iPod killer”

Discussions on Microsoft’s new device Origami were animated on technology blogs this week following the release of the ultra small PC.

Origami is a handheld computer and music player which “features small, lightweight, carry-everywhere hardware designs coupled with the full functionality of a Microsoft Windows-based PC and a choice of input options, including enhanced touch-screen capabilities”, according to the software giant.

But Origami divided gadget geeks, with some saying it was worth the wait while others complained that it was too big, the battery life of three hours was too short and that it might not bring any added value compared with pocket and tablet computers already on the market.

“This Origami thing is nothing more than a glorified PMP (a digital music player) with networking…Why on earth would I want to buy one of these? It’s crappier than a laptop, no keyboard (if you’ve have you ever tried using a virtual keyboard you know it is a complete joke). Why not just go for a tablet?,” said Can Koklu.

Mkjones said that his “high hopes” for Origami had been dashed. Describing it as “just a smaller tablet PC” and “horrendously ugly”, he also bemoaned the fact that it was too large to be truly portable.

“Why-oh-why can’t Microsoft follow the Xbox teams lead and come up with something people would actually want to use and that would help inject a small amount of cool-a-ability into the Microsoft aura.

“I’m no fan of Apple but I just know they will further embarrass Microsoft with a far-far-far sexier and more usable device in the near future.”

Not everyone hated it though. Gypsy Raven in a blog entitled “I love it!” gushed: “I soooooo want a Microsoft Origami! I don’t care if it’s first generation, I must find out where I can get one of these babies. Sheeesh, I haven’t been this excited about a first gen gadget since the time iPaq came out.”

Some blogs forecast Origami might become a success over a couple of years’ time once the price comes down from the estimated $1,000-2,000 and once its battery capacity increases allowing its use as a life style device through all day.

Michael Gartenberg at JupiterResearch, estimated that Origami “may not be an iPod killer” but said that the gadget still is a new class of device able to compete with other devices that cost about the same. This would mean intensified competition to portable media players, game machines, and GPS units. As it is small enough to keep close at hand, Mr Gartenberg said, “Origami may well change what devices people carry with them.”

Google click fraud settlement

Google came in for criticism when it agreed to pay up to $90m to settle claims against it for “click fraud” - where advertisers have to pay commission for invalid clicks on their ads, often made by competitors.

The search engine used its corporate blog to tell investors - phrased as “the finance folks out there wondering how we’ll account for this” - that it had agreed to reimburse advertisers with credits, rather than cash, for invalid clicks at any point since 2002.

“We have said for some time that we believe we manage the problem of invalid clicks very well,” read the post by Nicole Wong, Google’s associate general counsel.

But bloggers in the tech community were unimpressed by Google’s failure to filter out more suspect clicks before billing for them and by its carefree tone, a week after chief executive Eric Schmidt said click fraud was no longer a material issue.

“This is the kind of thing that should have every etailer mad as a hornet,” wrote Greg Tice, while Scott Karp noted the risks for Google’s advertising revenues, should it fail to sustain confidence in its system.

“If advertisers lose faith in Google and the value of search advertising, there’s a rapidly growing and vibrant digital media universe that’s waiting to absorb those search ad dollars,” he wrote on Publishing2.0.

Others criticised Google’s levity in using its blog to communicate with investors. “If the settlement of the first big click fraud lawsuit doesn’t merit the formality of a press release, what does?” said Neal Lachman on Internet Outsider.

And a plaintive refrain on the message boards showed the internet’s darling could finally be losing its touch: “I wished I could call $90m not material.”

“Do not pass go, do not collect £200…”

Hackers could now go to jail for up to 10 years in the UK, after the House of Commons passed legislation imposing tougher penalties for high-tech crime, making it possible to extradite hackers from abroad, and making it easier to prosecute for “denial of service” attacks, where hackers bombard a website with requests for information until its servers crash.

Criminals have used the method to shut down the websites of large retailers and gambling companies, demanding blackmail payments to stop the attacks. Alex Tew, the teenage entrepeneur who earned $1m from creating milliondollarhomepage.com, ignored requests for payment from a body calling itself “The Dark Group” and saw his website crash before security upgrades were put in place.

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