Bell Canada last month launched a new service targeted at game addicts. GamesMania enables registered visitors to subscribe or rent PC games via the Internet. While at press time there was only English service available, GamesMania plans to “be the pre-eminent bilingual subscription and gaming portal in Canada.” Users require a high-speed connection, and can get the games streamed directly to their hard drives. The Web site also features gaming news, reviews and previews. The games are hosted on Bell’s network. The cost for the service starts at $14.95 per month for unlimited access to 3 selected games. Individual games can also be rented – starting at $4.95 – for various lengths of time. For more information, check out the site at www.gamesmania.com. Visitors can take a tour to see what the site is all about, but must register in order to do so.
If gaming is not your thing, but music is, the second online music service sponsored by music labels is set to launch this month. Pressplay will allow users to burn an unlimited amount of tracks onto CD, but they will not be allowed to transfer music to portable digital players. Pricing for the service was not available at press time. The service is a joint effort on the part of Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment. MusicNet, another service, was launched last month by Real Networks Inc., AOL Time Warner, Bertelsmann and EMI Group.
Snooping on the boss
A labour union in Australia has come up with the idea of letting workers find out more about what their bosses are up to. The New South Wales Labor Council launched a Web site called Bosswatch last month, which tracks links between apparently separate companies and executives. It provides an interlinked corporate database, whose main aim is to highlight networks of influence operating behind the scenes with players including company directors, shareholders and subsidiary companies, the council said in a statement. A search engine on the site allows visitors to search by executive or company name. Clicking on the name of an executive shows all the salaries and other benefits accruing to the executive from all the companies he or she is associated with. Clicking on a company name shows the financial results, shareholding structure of the company and links to directors and other senior executives. The council said that all the information presented is publicly available, it had just never been linked through a single database before.
Teen hackers wreak havoc
The latest virus to hit the world was apparently the result of a childish rivalry between a bunch of kids. Last month, four Israeli youths between the ages of 15 and 16 were arrested for authoring the Goner worm, which has caused an estimated US$5 million in damages across the world. According to a recent article, the youths were known as Pentagone and were involved in a turf battle over Internet communications.
Investment tool launched
A Canadian company has created a tool for AIM Funds Management Inc. to allow unitholders of AIM and Trimark mutual funds to customize and view their semi-annual reports online. Symcor Inc.’s tool has allowed AIM to personalize its printed semi-annual reports to each retail investor and financial advisor, but will also enable individual investors to choose the information they want to see about a certain fund’s performance, holdings and financial statements. Mutual fund companies, which are required to report on the performance of their funds to unitholders on an annual and semi-annual basis, often end up having to send out generic packages that can be more than 200 pages long, according to the company. In a press release, Symcor says its technology is expected to save at least 1,000 tonnes of paper per year in AIM’s production process.
Hackers attack Xbox
A slew of reports have been flying around concerning the attack by various techies upon Microsoft’s Xbox. While it appears some are content to fiddle with the software, others are reportedly taking the thing apart to mess with the hardware, in hopes of improving the machine. Web sites and forums have even been set up, allowing hackers and testers alike the opportunity to share the info they have garnered through their experiments. One such site, Xboxhacker.net, provides information about what other visitors have done and offers a rundown of what the author of the Web page has found. It appears as if there have been some precautions taken by Microsoft however, which is making it a little more difficult for the hackers than they thought it would be.