WinInfo Daily UPDATE, June 16, 2004

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In the News

- Web Attack Topples Microsoft and Google
- Microsoft Technology Approved for Next-Generation DVD Standard

==== In the News ====

by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Web Attack Topples Microsoft and Google

Several of the world's largest Web sites, including Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo!, went offline yesterday because of an electronic attack on Akamai, the hosting company that mirrors those sites for performance reasons. The sites were offline at various times between 9 A.M. and 11 A.M. Eastern time, according to reports.
"It was a large-scale, international attack on \[the\] Internet infrastructure," an Akamai spokesperson said, although later evidence suggested that only Akamai-mirrored sites were knocked offline. More important, perhaps, is the news that the availability of all Internet sites dropped only about 20 percent during the attacks--from 100 percent to just over 80 percent. However, the availability of Akamai-hosted sites dropped to nearly 0 percent. "We do know that attack was against four sites that happened to be Akamai customers," the company spokesman said. "But I don't know if the intent was to go after Akamai or go after Web properties that happened to be customers of ours."
Currently, Akamai isn't sure where the attack originated and hasn't released any details. But reports circulating among security experts suggest that the attack originated with Akamai's DNS servers, which at times route as much as 15 percent of all Internet traffic.

Microsoft Technology Approved for Next-Generation DVD Standard

The DVD Forum steering committee recently approved the initial specification for High-Definition DVD (HD-DVD), a next-generation DVD standard. According to the specification, HD-DVD devices will have to support VC-9, the basis for Windows Media Video (WMV) 9, Microsoft's most recent video codec. HD-DVD will also support the MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) formats, according to the DVD Forum. The decision is a coup for the software giant, which is trying to establish its multimedia formats as industry standards.
HD-DVD isn't the only high-resolution, next-generation DVD format, however. A competing group will offer devices based on a technology called Blu-ray. But HD-DVD offers a number of advantages over Blu-ray, not the least of which is HD-DVD's backward-compatibility with today's DVDs. As a result, tomorrow's HD-DVD devices will play DVDs as well as HD-DVDs.
Thanks to VC-9's and WMV's compression capabilities, HD-DVDs will be able to play back more than 130 minutes of HD video encoded at 15Mbps. This capability played a major role in the inclusion of Microsoft's technology in the specification because at 23GB Blu-ray supports more capacity, and a second-generation 50GB Blu-ray standard is due soon.

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