Tag Archives: software

Microsoft £2.5m victory in parallel importing case

Microsoft finally have closure as the man behind the sales firm ITAC, Barry Omesuh, is sentenced to up to nine months in jail per sentencing and must pay £2.5 million in damages to Microsoft after an overwhelming battle against piracy.  The Manchester based distributor, ITAC, who are now out of business, were behind selling ‘grey’ copies of Microsoft’s software.

Omesuh was sentenced due to the fact that he was parallel importing by selling a software in a region that is actually intended for a different region, thus finding himself outside of his rights.  Omesuh was given 7 sentences which range between one month to nine months and he has been ordered to carry out his time simultaneously by the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

Microsoft are clearing not taking any prisoners in their protection to their intellectual property and have proved that they will settle for nothing less than justice.  ITAC were originally made to pay out £1 million to Microsoft in 2006 for parallel importing, however the company continued on selling the software through an unauthorised company in the Middle East.  Microsoft have been battling against the company since 2004, and although they have won their battles in the past this victory is coming as great news for Microsoft as it should herald in the end of the illegal dealings through ITAC.

The High Court found Omesuh to be in contempt of court as he was found to have misled the court regarding the reality of the value of his assets.  When issuing her judgement, Mrs Justice Proudman highlighted how, “The defendant was a wholly unreliable witness who on his own admission told a number of bare-faced lies about relevant matters over a period of time.”

The anti-piracy attorney for Microsoft UK, Graham Arthur, has underlined Microsoft’s stance on piracy, saying, “This case against ITAC and Mr Omesuh shows that Microsoft takes a zero tolerance approach to anyone who undermines the level playing field for our retailer community.

“We are working hard, sometimes behind the scenes, to ensure the software reseller market is a place where all retailers can compete on an equal footing. We want to make sure that retailers caught cheating the system are held accountable for their damaging actions,” said Arthur.

ITAC can no longer damage Microsoft as the company went into administration in March 2008, however, Microsoft faces an ongoing battle against many other organisations around the world who continue to supply illegal copies of its software.  However, ITAC are one less organisation to worry about and Arthur continued to discuss how resolute Microsoft is about tackling the crisis.

“We caught ITAC trading illegally more than once which shows how determined we are to protect genuine, honest businesses from being undercut by unscrupulous traders.  In today’s climate, we believe this is more important than ever, particularly when the culprits blatantly persist in their unlawful trading,” continued Arthur.

This should get tongue’s wagging

Georgia Tech researchers have developed a tongue-powered system that could transform a disabled person’s mouth in to a virtual computer that uses teeth as a keyboard.

“You could have full control over your environment by just being able to move your tongue,” said Maysam Ghovanloo, a Georgia Tech assistant professor who leads the team’s research.

The aptly named, Tongue Drive System, turns the users tongue in to a joystick, allowing the disabled to manipulate wheelchairs, manage daily house work tasks and to control computers. It’s still in the early stages of development, but things are moving forward.

It’s not the first ever system that uses facial movements to control electronics, but testers of the system believe it could be a break through.

“This could give you an almost infinite number of switches and options for communication,” said Mike Jones, a vice president of research and technology at the Shepherd Centre, an Atlanta rehabilitation hospital. “It’s easy, and somebody could learn an entirely different language.”

This is a significant step up from the handful of systems available to disabled people. The “sip and puff” technique, which lets people issue commands by inhaling and exhaling into a tube, is among the most popular. However, this is limited to just four commands.

Rather than putting a physical keyboard in someone’s mouth, the researchers have developed a virtual keyboard instead. A magnet about 3 millimetres wide is placed under the tip of the tongue, and then the magnet’s movement is tracked by sensors on the side of each cheek, which sends data to a receiver atop a rather bulky set of headgear. It is then processed by software that converts the movement into commands for a wheelchair or other electronics.

When the system is booted up, users are required to establish six commands: Left, right, forward, back, click, and double click.

Ghovanloo he hopes he could one day add dozens more commands that turn teeth into keyboards and cheeks into computer consoles. For example, “Left-up could be turning lights on, right-down could be turning off the TV,” Ghovanloo said.

So far the research has landed the team over $200,000 in funding from the National Science Foundation and the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. The next step is to make the system more user friendly. This will involve re-sizing the headset – it currently looks like something from Frankenstein – and to improve battery life, and the size of the individual components.

WebAnywhere:Helping Blind People Use the Internet


With the help of screen-reader software, blind people can use a computer, but those products can cost more than US$1000, so you won?t see them in public libraries or at internet cafes.


A new web-based application called ?WebAnywhere? has been developed by a computer science graduate at the University of Washington ? and best of all, it?s free. Unlike the traditional and costly programs, WebAnywhere is a web-based application that can make surfing the net accessible to the blind on almost any computer.


The developer, Jeffrey Bigham, hopes that it will enable blind people to check flight times at an airport, plan a bus route at the library or to type up a quick email at an internet caf?.


To actually get WebAnywhere running, a bind person need to get online which, without a computer set-up with verbal feedback, can be difficult. However, Bigham did plenty of research and found that many web-smart blind people often know loads of keyboard shortcuts and tricks, and when to ask for help.


Once online, a user can use the WebAnywhere browser, which can link to and read out any page ? as long as the computer has speakers of a headphone socket. The program can read any page from top to bottom, or skip around the section titles or tab through charts.


Lindsay Yazzolino, a blind Brown University student who has a summer job at the University of Washington said: ?WebAnywhere could benefit from some tweaking but it’s a big improvement over a total lack of public access.?


Yazzolino said she would like a better search function and fewer keystrokes, but loves the fact the program is free.


The program is open source and Bigham hopes that others will make improvements to it. Although he is not blind himself, he recognises the area as one that needs some programmers to get stuck in to.


Bigham?s faculty adviser is hoping that commercial search engines will adopt WebAnywhere as a module. His dream is for web developers to keep blind people in mind when they design their pages, making information available to everyone.