Best online music… 2 billion PCs… Edible business cards… Is Harry Potter dead?


The best online music stores

Apple iTunes is ranked first in Choice magazine’s report comparing nine online music sites for ease of use and performance. It beats Sanity Digital (2nd), Soundbuzz (3rd), ninemsn Music (4th), Chaos Music (5th), BigPond Music (6th), JB Hi-Fi Music (7th), Channel GO (8th) and Sound Foundation (9th).

Choice’s biggest beefs with online music sellers were that in most cases their information on digital rights management restrictions on the use of the music files were buried in their FAQ pages. And consumers are warned to be aware of the different file types for sale. For instance you can play AAC files on iPods and some Sony players, but nothing else. WMA files can be played on a range, but not on iPods.

Most are charging $1.69 a song, but make sure you shop around for albums, because they vary in price a lot.


Two billion PCs worldwide by 2008

There will be one billion personal computers in use around the world by 2008 and two billion by 2015, with most new users coming from China, Russia, Brazil, and India, according to a new study of computer-adoption trends reported in

“Worldwide PC Adoption Forecast, 2007 to 2015,” a report by US group Forrester Research, studied the 67 largest emerging and mature markets for PCs based on population. They found that although it took 27 years to reach one billion PC users, it is likely to take less than seven years to reach the two billion mark.

The largest market for personal computers will be China, with close to 500 million new users expected by 2015, followed by India, Russia and Brazil, the next largest markets, which are expected to bring in a combined total of 300 million PC users.

Some of the factors that will enable such a rapid proliferation of computers include a significant reduction in the price of hardware and software due to new technology, as well as the introduction of wireless internet access to remote areas that previously had no such connection, the report’s authors say.

And, they predict, businesses that sell PCs to emerging markets will probably follow a different model from current sales methods, selling large volumes of PCs at once, rather than gradually introducing products to the marketplace. Further, while PC users in more developed countries tend to replace their PCs every four or five years, consumers in developing nations are likely to keep theirs for longer.


Edible business cards: Print on peanuts, pasta and more

First there were chocolate business cards, now there are peanuts etched with your name and address. is featuring Arigatou, a company that specialises in the sale of laser-etched food products.

It offers “Taberu Me” edible business cards printed on peanuts. Peanuts are not the only product they print on. You can also use walnuts, cashew nuts, red beans, black beans, grains of rice and even pasta for your business card.

Arigatou uses a high-grade CO2 laser engraver nicknamed “Shiawase-kun,” which can etch up to 700 characters per second on hard organic materials. A set of 150 Taberu Me cards costs 5800 yen (around US$50).


Is Harry Potter dead? You don’t want to know

According to an email doing the circuit now, one of the characters to bite the dust in the upcoming Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is Harry himself. Meanwhile the e-mail will plonk the W32/Hairy-A worm on to the machine of those that delve deeper, reports ITWire.

“The W32/Hairy-A worm can automatically infect a PC when users plug in USB drives, which carry a file posing as a copy of the eagerly anticipated novel,” warns Oxfordshire-based Sophos. “If the users have allowed USB drives to ‘auto-run’ they will see a file called HarryPotter-TheDeathlyHallows.doc.”

With auto-run enabled instead of the required information, the worm simply shows the phrase “Harry Potter is dead.”

Infected machines will eventually find that user names are changed to those from the book series, Internet Explorer web browser settings will be changed to point the default page to, specifically to a cash-in book titled ‘Harry Putter and the Chamber of Cheesecakes’. Sounds like a joke, but maybe not a very funny one.


SmartCompany Quote of the Day

“You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.”
Steve Jobs


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