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PRINCETON, NJ–(Marketwire – March 25, 2008) – The Catastrophe Risk Exchange (CATEX) today announced the release of the Pivot Point Mosaic [Version 1.0] Reporting Service, delivering an advanced, web-based reporting solution to its clients.

Information about the initial Mosaic product release was announced Tuesday by CATEX COO Frank Sweeney during an interview on CATEX TV (www.catex.com)at 1530 GMT (11:30 am EDT).

The initial release includes a suite of data cubes that spans every major module of the Pivot Point reinsurance transaction system. Each data cube can be used to generate a broad range of customized reports to meet the business intelligence needs of its clients.

The Mosaic reporting product is built upon, and supports, all of the existing Pivot Point Systems, including the Pivot Point Broker System; the Pivot Point Agency System, and most recently, the Pivot Point Risk-Bearer System. This Pivot Point software platform currently serves client operations in 20 countries; processes premium volumes of more than USD 3 billion annually; and settles financial transactions in 60 currencies.

Frank Sweeney, CATEX COO, said, “Off-the-shelf reporting and business intelligence applications can be very costly to businesses. CATEX can provide a more affordable reporting solution since we can draw upon our innate knowledge of the underlying Pivot Point data structures to speed reporting deployments to our clients.”

The new product is developed entirely using Microsoft web-based technology, and it can therefore be delivered over the Internet to any end user via a web browser. Once deployed, the CATEX Mosaic service will automatically pull a new data set from the Pivot Point system database at the desired time interval (e.g., hourly, daily) set by a client. Mosaic will allow flexible report design and formatting, and once posted, a report can be stored and reused on a regular basis to ensure consistent business reporting over time. By allowing convenient downloads to Excel spreadsheets and various off-line software environments, the new service will remove the need for ad hoc data extracts or transfers to the internal systems of CATEX clients.

Kunal Patel, CATEX Chief Technology Officer, said, “Our goal is to address multiple challenges facing our clients’ IT departments — enterprise-wide business intelligence; ad hoc reporting; access to data; and third-party integration. Our product should enable IT managers to deliver these solutions in a secure, cost-effective way with reduced time-to-market.”

Product deployment options include either a “fully-managed deployment option” where CATEX personnel manage the data cubes, and also prepare and post the requested reports for the client’s review, or a “partially-managed deployment option” where CATEX will train client business or IT specialists to build and deploy the desired reports.

About CATEX:

CATEX is a leading developer of internet-based software products and services for the global reinsurance industry. CATEX also operates the CATEX Global Exchange, an on-line reinsurance marketplace, and CATEX TV, an on-line TV station that broadcasts risk-related news to a growing international audience. The company has been in operation since 1994 and has offices in Princeton, New Jersey and London.

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By Antone Gonsalves
InformationWeek 

YouTube co-founder Steve Chen says the site plans to launch a live video service this year.

In a brief interview videotaped at a New York party thrown by YouTube, Chen told Sarah Meyers of Pop17.com that YouTube had always wanted to offer live video but lacked the resources. That, however, has changed, since Google‘s acquisition of YouTube in 2006.

The video and transcript of the interview were posted by TechCrunch. In the interview, Meyers asks, “When are you guys gonna do live video on YouTube?”

Chen responds: “2008. We’ll do it this year.” He goes on to say, “Live video is just something that we’ve always wanted to do. We’ve never had the resources to do it correctly, but now with Google, we hope to actually launch something this year.”

Live video, which is the ability to use a Web cam to record events and then stream the results in real time to the Web is not new to the Internet. Yahoo launched such a service as an “experimental release” this month.

Along with showing Web cam-generated video streams from people’s computers, Yahoo Live also offers developers an application programming interface for mashing up live video streams on a Web site or client application. The API uses REST, or Representational State Transfer, an XML-based protocol for invoking Web services over HTTP.

A unique feature in the service is the ability to see people watching the same video, assuming their Web cams are linked to the service. In addition, there’s live chat while the video is playing.

Other sites offering live video include Justin.TV, Mogulus.

See original article on InformationWeek.com

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Bill Gates, AFP/Getty

Vista was released to consumers on 30 January, 2007

Microsoft is warning Windows Vista users that a forthcoming service pack for the operating system may stop some third-party programs working. The software giant has released a list of programs that may be broken by the SP1 update for Vista.

Most of the software hit by the upgrade are security programs that prevent Windows users falling prey to viruses, trojans and booby-trapped webpages.

The Windows Vista update will be released to the public in mid-March.

Update loop

Service Packs are among the biggest updates Microsoft issues for its various operating systems. The software firm said SP1 makes Vista more secure and reliable and introduces some new features.

The list of programs affected by SP1 is divided into three. Some will be blocked by the update, some will not run and others will lose some of their functions.

PROGRAMS HIT BY SP1
BitDefender AV
Fujitsu Shock Sensor
Jiangmin KV Antivirus 10
Jiangmin KV Antivirus 2008
Trend Micro Internet Security
Zone Alarm Security Suite
Iron Speed Designer
Xheo Licensing
Free Allegiance
NYT Reader
Rising Personal Firewall
Novell ZCM Agent

Of the 12 programs mentioned, six block viruses or keep an eye on the places someone visits online.

Microsoft warned that its list was not “comprehensive” and asked people to get in touch with the maker of any affected software to fix problems.

Although the update will become widely available in March, Microsoft is releasing it to business customers in February.

Microsoft has also been forced to withdraw an update to Vista that was required before Service Pack 1 could be applied.

Writing on the Windows Vista blog, Nick White, Microsoft product manager, said the company had withdrawn the preparatory update while it investigated.

Isolated reports suggest that some machines on which the preliminary update has been applied go into an update loop.

He wrote: “We are working to identify possible solutions and will make the update available again shortly after we address the issue.”

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An Egyptian man tries to access a website at an Internet cafe ...

An Egyptian man tries to access a website at an Internet cafe during disruption of the Internet service in Cairo in January 2008. A ship’s anchor severed one undersea Internet cable damaged last week, it was revealed on Thursday amid ongoing outages in the Middle East and South Asia, but mystery shrouds what caused another four reported cuts.(AFP/File/Amro Maraghi)

 

by Charles Onians 

CAIRO (AFP) – A ship’s anchor severed one undersea Internet cable damaged last week, it was revealed on Thursday amid ongoing outages in the Middle East and South Asia, but mystery shrouds what caused another four reported cuts.

There has been speculation that five cables being cut in almost as many days was too much of a coincidence and that sabotage must have been involved.

India’s Flag telecom said in a statement that the cut to the Falcon cable between the United Arab Emirates and Oman “is due to a ship anchor… an abandoned anchor weighing five to six tonnes was found.”

Flag — part of India‘s Reliance Communications — said repair work on the cable which broke on February 1 was continuing despite rough weather, and it was expected to be completed by Sunday.

The company said repairs to its other Flag Europe Asia cable, one of two that were cut off Egypt‘s Mediterranean coast, were continuing and would also be complete by Sunday.

Technicians aboard the repair ship were using remotely operated submarine vehicles to check the damage, but the company did not say what caused the cut.

There was no immediate word on the state of repairs to the second severed Mediterranean cable, SEA-ME-WE4.

The damage to the first three cables caused widespread disruption to Internet and international telephone services in Egypt, Gulf Arab states and South Asia.

A fourth cable linking Qatar to the United Arab Emirates was then also damaged causing yet more disruption, telecommunication provider Qtel said.

Earlier reports said that the damage had been caused by ships that had been diverted from their usual route because of bad weather.

But Egypt has already excluded ships as the cause of damage to the Mediterranean cables thanks to footage recorded by onshore video cameras of the location of the cables which showed no traffic in the area when the damage occurred.

Yet another Gulf cable was reportedly cut, the Khaleej Times said on Tuesday, but there have been suggestions that one break had been counted twice.

The head of Qatar’s telecoms regulator, Hessa al-Jaber, said in press reports that she doubted the damage was deliberate.

The Qatari telecoms firm Qtel told AFP the line was being fixed and that services should return to normal within days.

With so many cables cut, speculation has risen as to whether the outages, unprecedented in the region, were coincidence or something more nefarious.

“So many incidents happening in one region, whether it is a coincidence is a moot question,” said R.S Perhar, secretary of the Internet Service Providers’ Association of India.

“The coincidence of so many cables snapping does raise doubts about why this is happening. It needs to be answered.”

He said that many Internet service providers were still only “getting 30-40 percent bandwidth.”

Some blamed companies’ failure to provide backup systems for the outages.

“Many companies don’t spend on restoration and protection work. They don’t build alternative cable networks. That’s why these problems happen,” said a spokesman for an Indian telecom service provider on condition he not be named.

Bloggers have speculated that the cutting of so many cables in a matter of days is too much of a coincidence and must be sabotage.

Theories include a US-backed bid to cut off arch-foe Iran‘s Internet access, terrorists piloting midget submarines or “vengeful militant dolphins.”

An earthquake off the coast of Taiwan in December 2006 snapped several undersea cables and hit Internet access across Asia, but no unusual seismic activity has been reported in the Middle East in recent days.

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