Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Flying Keymouse II takes to the air • reghardware

Flying Keymouse II takes to the air

by Bob Dormon, reghardware.com
June 22nd 2011 1:34 PM

Tech gadgets company Brando is making moves with the Wireless Flying Keymouse II that it announced today.

This handheld device, which looks much like a designer TV remote control, features 65 keys and an integrated laser pointer. In use as a mouse, movements in the air position the cursor which are conveyed to its 2.4GHz wireless USB dongle, compatible with Window XP or higher, Mac OS X and Linux.

The wireless range is up to 15m and suggested applications are in the home theatre PC (HTPC) environments. Indeed, its keyboard includes dedicated media controls as well as a full Qwerty layout, which even glows in the dark. You can see the Keymouse II in action, but it remains to be seen if this company promo video will help it fly off the shelves. The Wireless Flying Keymouse II costs $59US and is available from Brando here. ®

See Video:

Original Page: http://www.reghardware.com/2011/06/22/wireless_flying_keymouse_2/

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MusicLites: A Symphony of Light and Sound | GeekBeat.TV

MusicLites: A Symphony of Light and Sound

by Catherine Faas, geekbeat.tv
June 26th 2011

High-end audio technology innovator Artison and North America’s number one lighting company, Osram Sylvania, have come together to create MusicLites, a wireless speaker and light combination that will take your average light bulb experience from ‘meh’ to mesmerizing.

The pretty speakers fit into any existing ceiling lighting fixtures and shine a warm LED glow while filling your space with high fidelity audio. And you thought “The Clapper” was cool.

With a handful of these, you could equip your entire house with high-quality audio distribution minus the traditional (and wallet-draining) installation.

Specs breakdown:

  • 70 mm high-fidelity loudspeaker offers full-range high performance audio
  • Proprietary 2.4 GHz wireless transceiver has a range between 30-90ft.
  • Whole house audio distribution without the expense of traditional installation
  • 20W RMS, Class D amplifier with 95% efficiency for lifelike audio

(Via MusicLites)

Original Page: http://geekbeat.tv/musiclites-a-symphony-of-light-and-sound/

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Talking The Talk: Verbally Lets The Speech Disabled Communicate Using The i

Talking The Talk: Verbally Lets The Speech Disabled Communicate Using The iPad (For Free)

by Rip Empson, techcrunch.com

Intuary, a mobile app startup, recently launched its first app, called Verbally, which is designed to bring speech to those without. Verbally is an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) solution built for the more than six million people in the U.S. suffering from speech disabilities — caused by Lou Gherig’s Disease, stroke, brain injury, Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, autism, and more. The app allows users to tap the words they wish to communicate onto the app’s keyboard, or choose from pre-prepared words or phrases, which are then in turn transmitted into audio phrases.

The app’s founders, Anil, Gautam Godhwani, along with their cousin Ajay, lost their mother (and aunt) to Lou Gehrig’s Disease in February of this year. She had been a music teacher and singer for 40 years, but in late 2009, her voice began to fail. Seeing the tremendous impact the lack of communication had her, they began investigating solutions on the market. While there are a number of solutions currently available, the touchscreen solutions from large corporations, like Dynavox-Mayer Johnson, cost a minimum of $8K and require at least one month of waiting. Obviously, for those suffering from aggressive illnesses, that wait time is unacceptable.

While iPad apps like that made by Proloquo2Go, for example, offer full feature sets and are more reasonably priced at $190, Verbally hopes to offer a user experience that will appeal to literate adults with high cognition — as well as to those without, and thus reach a larger audience. (MyVoice also makes a nifty communication tool that the speech-disabled can use on the iPhone, which is definitely worth checking out.)

As such, the app offers a full keyboard in which to type the speech the user wishes to communicate, as well as a “Core Words Grid”, which offers over 50 essential words, designed to save users with less mobility 50 percent of the taps required to input sentences. There’s also a “Core Phrases Grid, smart text prediction, customizable keyboard layouts, and choices of various male and female voices — all designed to minimize keystrokes and maximize ease, speed, and choice.

Ajay Godhwani, Intuary’s CEO, was previously part of the Senior Management Team at Tallan, a professional services firm, where he was responsible for technology projects of clients like
Walt Disney Company and Best Buy. Gennady Borkhovich, Co-Founder and CTO, has worked at
Lockheed Martin and McGraw-Hill, and Anil and Gautam Godhwani are board members, active advisors, and investors in Intuary. The brothers, along with Peter Weck, launched Simply Hired, a venture-backed job search site.

Verbally has been downloaded 20K+ times since its iTunes launch in March. It’s a great cause, and it’s nice to see entrepreneurs innovating and trying to bring cheap, easy-to-use technology to the disabled.

Original Page: http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/17/talking-the-talk-verbally-lets-the-speech-disabled-communicate-using-the-ipad-for-free/

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Friday, August 19, 2011

iTunes Match Not Laundering Pirated Music, It's Driving A Subscription Futu

iTunes Match Not Laundering Pirated Music, It's Driving A Subscription Future

by E.B. Boy, fastcompany.com

One of the interesting things about the new iTunes in the Cloud service Apple announced Monday is that it doesn't only include the music that you buy through iTunes. Through an additional service, called iTunes Match, Apple will also sync any music you own (that has a match among the 18 million songs in the iTunes store) to all of your devices.

The knee-jerk reaction from some was to say Apple had effectively created a way for users to pirate songs from wherever and have Apple launder their files, exchanging them for for clean ones. "This puts together a model that allows people to make money off of pirated music," Jeff Price, founder and CEO of digital music hub TuneCore told Mashable.

The service will cost $24.99 a year, and Apple is reportedly doing deals with labels and publishers to sanction this service. What the knee-jerk reaction neglects to consider is that Apple will reportedly pay labels royalty-style installments every time one of their tracks gets moved through the iTunes Match system. And since it appears that Apple is not going to distinguish between authorized and unauthorized tunes, the music industry might finally earn some money on illegally downloaded tunes that were previously pure loss.

But industry executives Fast Company spoke with, who asked not to be named due to the amount of power Apple now wields in their business (and Apple is still cutting deals with some labels), said the amount that gets recouped will be negligible, compared to the size of the losses. More important to them were the insights they'd be getting into which songs consumers liked--information they'd lost access to in the piracy world.

More important still, the executives said, is that iTunes Match will help get people back in the habit of paying for music. Even though, technically, of course, iTunes Match isn't charging consumers for the music per se, just for the syncing. Still, the executives said, after a decade of treating music like it should be free, consumers will now start (or restart, really) to associate costs with the product.

This, the execs said, will be useful for where we're all headed: subscription services. In five or ten years, they said, based on trends they're seeing today, consumers won't be buying individual tracks and albums. Rather, most will simply subscribe to services like Rhapsody and Spotify and get their music that way.

iTunes Match, then, plays a valuable role for the industry. Not because it allows them to recoup much in the way of losses from piracy. But because it gets people back in the habit of paying for music and primes them for the future awaiting us all.

It's no wonder, then, that Rhapsody president Jon Irwin was cool-headed when he spoke to Fast Company following Apple's announcements, which constitute a giant moving into his company's space. "Anytime you've got a company like Apple--they're a great company and they make great products--the awareness it's going to bring to cloud music ... I think that's something we can leverage."

[Image: Flickr user Adam Melancon]

Original Page: http://www.fastcompany.com/1758202/music-executives-itunes-match-is-an-important-stepping-stone-toward-our-collective-subscript

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Red Hat CEO: Keep cloud open or go back to 80s-style computing | ZDNet

Red Hat CEO: Keep cloud open or go back to 80s-style computing

by Paula Rooney, zdnet.com
May 4th 2011 1:16 AM

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US Edition Home / News & Blogs / Linux and Open Source

Red Hat CEO: Keep cloud open or go back to 80s-style computing

Keep the cloud open — or kill it, Red Hat’s chief exec advised during his opening keynote at the company’s annual summit Tuesday.
“Without open source, clouds wouldn’t exist. Full stop,” said Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat President and CEO, noting that three core principles — collaboration, openness and choice — enabled users such as Google and Amazon [...]

Red Hat Inc., Computing, Cloud, Open Source, Strategy, Management, Paula Rooney
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Keep the cloud open — or kill it, Red Hat’s chief exec advised during his opening keynote at the company’s annual summit Tuesday.

“Without open source, clouds wouldn’t exist. Full stop,” said Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat President and CEO, noting that three core principles — collaboration, openness and choice — enabled users such as Google and Amazon to build the first cloud infrastructure, and adherence to those principles will determine the cloud’s fate.

“The protests in the Middle East succeeded because they did everything out in the open … those same principles will be key success factors in the next generation IT architecture,” Whitehurst added.

The cloud is the first user-driven innovation of its kind, and was enabled by open source software, he said. Most technology innovations are vendor or consortium-driven. said.

“End users came up with it …. and now every vendor is trying to say this is my vision around the cloud,” he noted. “That’s the antithesis of what the cloud is and what it should be. It’s not about one stack but a set of principles that allowed this collective innovation to happen.

He took a swipe at Amazon for developing its own set of hooks.  “Clouds have started to develop their own set of APIs. If you’re developing an application on Amazon API, you can’t move that application … you’re stuck there. If clouds are developed that way, it’s kind of like going back to the 80s.”

“Cloud apps need to be written so they can go across multiple clouds,” he said. “As CIOs develop the next generation IT technology architecture, should they demand anything less than that? Collaboration, not coercison. Transparency, not hype. Choice, not lock-in.”

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily e-mail newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Paula Rooney is a Boston-based writer who has followed the tech industry for almost two decades.

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  • there is a constant fight...
    Unfortunately we live in a monetary economy and not a resource based economy, so there will always be organisations and entities that attempt to hijack the user base. FOSS has come a long way and proves the viability of a merit based open structure of volunteers (even corporation volunteer resources) as opposed to monetary rewards based system. However, the insidious desire to dominate and control will be there as ling as there is money. It is not clear who will win any given battle, but it is ultimately clear who will win the war. vonschutter 05/04/2011 12:32 AM
  • Why pay more for closed
    Why restrict your options to proprietary options? Bizarre, the cost savings from the cloud require we play hardware options against each other, the ability to move requires open systems.

    Happily we've been recommending Linux, java EE. Powerful, scaleable and open. Why pay for less?

    Richard Flude 05/04/2011 02:29 AM
  • RE: Red Hat CEO: Keep cloud open or go back to 80s-style computing
    @Richard Flude,

    As usual there is a trade-off between open standards and flexibility and proprietary technology and tighter integration with related software stacks. My opinion is the cost becomes a wash. Disparate technologies that are developed by different parties always have to be tweaked and rarely work out of the box. If they are developed by third parties, support is unavailable or comes at a premium ( part of the open source business model). The upside is you can avoid alot of lock-in. Keep in mind open source and proprietary is not necessarily mutually exclusive. You can have open source technologies that have some degree of lock-in because the implementation doesn't adhere to any standard...especially if there aren't any.
    Most proprietary solutions work out of the box. Open source advocates, engineers etc...often like to point out that MS infrastructure workers are monkeys because of the ease of implementation. That being said, it's a backhanded complement to MS for creating a system that is easy to admin. However, lock-in is the price you pay for that. Make your choice.

    I am not a Microsoft shill, and I like Linux. I understand the value in having open standards for the sake of interoperability. I do however balk at the notion that all software should be free. It devalues the hard work of the developers that create the software. If you are good at something you should be paid for it.

    bmonsterman (Edited: 05/04/2011 07:33 AM)
  • RE: Red Hat CEO: Keep cloud open or go back to 80s-style computing
    test deep@... 05/04/2011 01:58 AM
  • More stories from Paula Rooney. Please!
    nt Dietrich T. Schmitz ~~ Your Linux Advocate 05/04/2011 04:05 AM
  • RE: Red Hat CEO: Keep cloud open or go back to 80s-style computing
    WX forecast: cloudy with rain, possibility of thunderstorms.

    The only parallel I can draw between 80's computing and cloud computing is both leave you with a dumb terminal on your desk and some central computer somewhere that will go up and down based on the whims of the sys admins.

    7mgte 05/04/2011 05:53 AM
  • RE: Red Hat CEO: Keep cloud open or go back to 80s-style computing
    @7mgte I believe the comparison was pointing out that proprietary hooks -- like Amazon's -- are little different from proprietary desktop solutions, or proprietary client-server apps that require specific terminals to work with specific server-based systems.

    But I'm hardly the sharpest tool in the shed, so don't take my word for it ... unless I just happen to be right.

    jscott69 05/04/2011 07:14 AM
  • RE: Red Hat CEO: Keep cloud open or go back to 80s-style computing
    @7mgte There is another 90s parallel to consider but only the more ancient of us will make the connection. Remember compiling COM Objects on Wintel platforms?

    You created Objects with publicly facing interfaces. You used binary compatibility to ensure you never broke the interface, and ensured backward compatibility. You wrote your consumer code and tightly coupled to the publicly facing interface.

    Fast-forward to SOA, WOA, and web interfaces. You see similar problems.

    dave_helmut 05/04/2011 10:17 AM
  • Kill the cloud
    The cloud was a bad idea in the first place. It was only inevitable that it would become proprietary, regardless of its origin. I believe it all boils down to trust. A "free" cloud or a proprietary cloud, it makes no difference. There is still a cost, and sometimes huge, when the cloud goes down, and the clouds are going down faster and more severely as time goes by. The weatherman is right... there are thunderstorms coming, and it doesn't look good for the clouds. But going back to the 80's is not the only alternative. The 90's look like a better choice for me. bionicbub (Edited: 05/04/2011 09:17 AM)
  • "Cloud" versus "Grid"
    "The cloud is the first user-driven innovation of its kind"

    Oh, c'mon! About 3-4 years ago they were talking about the same thing but calling it "the Grid" -- only it didn't catch on then. Sounds like revisionist history to me.

    Rick_R 05/04/2011 09:23 AM
  • What a load or crap
    Without open source, clouds wouldnt exist. Full stop

    Maybe we can claim that without closed source, computers wouldn't exist. Full Stop. (hence no need for a cloud!)

    So who's this guy trying to fool?

    Bill Pharaoh (Edited: 05/04/2011 12:30 PM)
  • RE: Red Hat CEO: Keep cloud open or go back to 80s-style computing
    If I get to choose... I want to go back to 80s style computing. hiraghm@... 05/04/2011 01:12 PM
  • Agree in principle
    I'd vote for a set of open standards, along the lines of Internet protocols or USB connectors, to keep things interoperable. Everything great has been achieved by interoperability. Further the American Government should recognise that the best way to prevent future anti-competitive behaviour is not to wait until after the event and penalise the miscreants ... but to insist on interoperable standards as a preemptive strike against unlawful actions (likely by the usual suspects). Instead of passing laws in secret to prevent consumers 'stealing' copyright, why not try to keep global corporations on the straight and narrow?

    And be transparent, of course.

    I'd also vote for a new architecture, more along the lines of Google's network exploitation of commodity items, not the traditional datacentre chock full of vastly expensive proprietary iron running the same old OS's.

    Choice, definitely. Otherwise companies like Apple will cut standards like Flash, restrict one's choice of material and charge a 30% tax on what remains.

    Back to the 80's? In the 70's IBM had its TSO operating system where graphics terminals connected and used their share of the mainframe's computing power. As Paul Murphy said, the 'last 10 years has been a journey to nowhere' with the x86 architecture (nowhere in computing terms, not consumer usage).

    However a good cloud architecture is complex (ask Amazon and LastPass!), but is it not like the design of the Internet ... a suitable project for the American Universities combined? Leaving it in the hands of the current major corporations and US Government seems most unlikely to lead to an efficient and cost-effective result for consumers and businesses.

    Leaving it to the media, and regretably ZDNET too, is also unlikely to bring much joy. Like politicians - too many biased views and entrenched interests (despite disclosures). I am sick of reading the PC v MAC flamebait, 'should we go private or public cloud', 'is Apple/Google/ORACLE evil?'. When I look at what Ed Bott and Paul Thurrott wrote about Windows VAIL, and how they would restrict their home server to a single hard disk ... I am outraged. Do they not remember that RAID was invented in 1988/9? How can they do anything but pour scorn and derision on M$ for their incompetence? Not the failings of their engineers, who are perfectly capable of designing a new file system, but a management culture which has painted itself into a corner by one profit-driven technology restriction after another, until it is impossible to move forward within their own contraints!!

    We do indeed need to mobilise, otherwise Information Technology will be the first industrial revolution where the existing incumbents did not disappear or were not marginalised, in favour of a more efficient order.

    Perhaps Paula would like to start work on her colleagues?

    johnfenjackson@... (Edited: 05/06/2011 03:08 AM)
  • RE: Red Hat CEO: Keep cloud open or go back to 80s-style computing
    Open Source is for losers who do not care about being able to get anything done. They spend all day attempting to fix errors in their favorite applications. They have to write drivers for any new hardware or just use older out-of-date hardware. Open Source allows no innovation and promotes no learning. bigjim01@... 06/13/2011 04:05 AM

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Original Page: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/open-source/red-hat-ceo-keep-cloud-open-or-go-back-to-80s-style-computing/8794

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ThinkGeek :: U-Socket USB Wallplug

U-Socket USB Wallplug

thinkgeek.com | Nov 30th -0001

Everything's USB Powered Anyway, right?

Look around you. Chances are pretty good there are at least half a dozen things within arm's reach of you that are plugged into a power outlet. Your laptop, your tablet computer, your phone... even that awesome pair of wireless headphones need to be charged. Everything gets plugged in, though some of the smaller devices have charging interfaces that double for data ports.

Your cellphone, for instance, probably recharges over USB. The manufacturer was kind enough to give you a wall-outlet dongle that converts the 110 volts coming out of your wall outlet into 5 volts of USB power. That's fine, but you'll either lose an outlet with that adapter, or you'll misplace the dongle, and you'll have to plug into your computer, and that's not always convenient.

So some enterprising engineers at Fastmac realized how easy it would be to just build the transformers right into the wall outlets! Put 2 USB ports in the wall plate next to the 110 volt sockets, and you've doubled the versatility of your power line. We just happened to get a hold of a handful of these outlets, and brought them to you because, well, we think they're pretty awesome.

Note that you need to use your considerable brains to install these outlets. Please learn everything you can about replacing wall outlets before even thinking about performing this kind of electrical work. Electricity is dangerous, and you could electrocute yourself, set the house on fire, or ruin your sensitive electronics if you do something wrong. This is srs bznz, so don't cut corners. Tell you what, just do yourself a favor and watch this video. It'll only take a minute. We'll wait.

Once you've followed the instructions, you should be able to enjoy some USB power coming right out of your wall. It's the future, man.


  • Input voltage: AC 100 to 125V 50/60Hz
  • Output voltage: USB: DC 5.0V 2100mA (2.1 amps)
  • Operation temperature: 0 to 35 Degrees Celsius (32 to 95 Degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Guaranteed to charge all mobile phones that accept USB power, including iPhone 4!

Original Page: http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/travelpower/e81a/#tabs

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Security flaw found in feds' digital radios | Privacy Inc. - CNET News

Security flaw found in feds' digital radios

by Declan McCullagh, news.cnet.com
August 17th 2011 8:23 AM

Expensive high-tech digital radios used by the FBI, Secret Service, and Homeland Security are designed so poorly that they can be jammed by a $30 children's toy, CNET has learned.

A GirlTech IMME, Mattel's pink instant-messaging device with a miniature keyboard that's marketed to pre-teen girls, can be used to disrupt sensitive radio communications used by every major federal law enforcement agency, a team of security researchers from the University of Pennsylvania is planning to announce tomorrow.

Converting the GirlTech gadget into a jammer may be beyond the ability of a street criminal for now, but that won't last, says associate professor Matt Blaze, who co-authored the paper that will be presented tomorrow at the Usenix Security symposium in San Francisco. CNET obtained a copy of the paper, which will be made publicly available in the afternoon.

"It's going to be someone somewhere creating the Project 25 jamming kit and it'll be something that you download from the Net," Blaze said. "We're not there right now, but we're pretty close."

Project 25, sometimes abbreviated as P25, is the name of the wireless standard used in the radios, which have been widely adopted across the federal government and many state and local police agencies over the last decade. The plan was to boost interoperability, so different agencies would be able to talk to one another, while providing secure encrypted communications.

The radios aren't cheap. A handheld Midland P25 Digital sells for $3,295, and scanners are closer to $450.

But federal agents frequently don't turn encryption on, the researchers found. (Their paper is titled "A Security Analysis of the APCO Project 25 Two-Way Radio System," and the other authors are Sandy Clark, Travis Goodspeed, Perry Metzger, Zachary Wasserman, and Kevin Xu.)

Here's an excerpt:

The traffic we monitored routinely disclosed some of the most sensitive law enforcement information that the government holds, including: Names and locations of criminal investigative targets, including those involved in organized crime... Information relayed by Title III wiretap plants...Plans for forthcoming arrests, raids and other confidential operations...

On some days, particularly weekends and holidays, we would capture less than one minute, while on others, we captured several hours. We monitored sensitive transmissions about operations by agents in every Federal law enforcement agency in the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. Most traffic was apparently related to criminal law enforcement, but some of the traffic was clearly related to other sensitive operations, including counter- terrorism investigations and executive protection of high ranking officials...

To intercept the Project 25 radio communications, the researchers used a high-quality receiver that cost about $1,000 and can be purchased off-the-shelf. But, Blaze said, it's possible to do it on the cheap: "You can do everything you need with equipment you can buy at Radio Shack... hobbyist-grade equipment."

Motorola XTS5000 handheld, which uses the Project 25 standard

Blaze said he has contacted the Justice Department and the Defense Department, which also uses Project 25 digital radios. "They are now aware of the problem and are trying to mitigate against it," he said.

Representatives of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO), which has championed the Project 25 standard, did not respond to a request for comment this afternoon. Neither did the Telecommunications Industry Association, which maintains the standard.

The University of Pennsylvania researchers did not discover any vulnerabilities in the actual encryption algorithms used in the radios. They also chose not to disclose which agencies were the worst offenders, what cities the monitoring took place in, or what frequencies they found each agency used.

A third vulnerability they found was that each radio contains a unique identifier, akin to a phone number, that is broadcast in unencrypted form. So is the unique ID of the destination radio. That allows an eavesdropper to perform what's known as traffic analysis, meaning tracking who's talking to whom.

The reason jamming is relatively easy is that the Project 25 doesn't use spread spectrum, which puts the would-be jammer at a disadvantage. By contrast, P25 relies on metadata that must be transmitted perfectly for the receiver to make sense of the rest of the communication. A pulse lasting just 1/100th of a second, it turns out, is enough to disrupt the transmission of the metadata.

This isn't the first time that University of Pennsylvania researchers have taken a critical look at Project 25. Many of the same authors published a security analysis last November, which concluded that it's "strikingly vulnerable to a range of attacks."

Original Page: http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20090434-281/security-flaw-found-in-feds-digital-radios/?tag=TOCcarouselMain.0

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Cow on the lam for 12 weeks becomes tabloid star

Cow on the lam for 12 weeks becomes tabloid star

by Andy Eckardt, today.msnbc.msn.com
August 15th 2011

Holy cow! It must be a slow news month in Germany if a runaway animal makes the front page of a top selling German newspaper.

Bovine Yvonne has been keeping animal lovers in Bavaria in a tizzy after she broke through an electric fence on May 24 and has been hiding in a nearby forest ever since.

On Saturday, German tabloid BILD splashed the headline "Save Cow Yvonne" on its cover, set up a Facebook page and posted a $14,000 reward for anyone who can help lead to the cow's capture. Let the cow hunt begin!

Story: Maltese dog missing for year after car crash is headed home

But it may take more than a social media campaign to capture Yvonne. She supposedly has help: Yvonne has been spotted with a herd of deer in the thick southern German woodlands.

"Day and night, we have up to seven people on the search for the cow," said Michael Aufhauser, the founder of Gut Aiderbichl, an animal sanctuary and rescue facility that has taken the lead in the rescue efforts and will board the cow if it's found. "We are even using an infrared camera, two four-wheel drive Jeeps and a quad bike, but no luck so far."

All hands on deck
After local authorities initially issued a shoot-to-kill order, fearing that Yvonne would be a security risk and endanger drivers on a busy nearby road, Aufhauser and his team decided to buy "the cow in absentia" from the local farmer and deployed search dogs, experienced riders on horses and scores of volunteers for the hunt.

"The last time we spotted Yvonne was a week ago at 1 in the morning, but it was too dark to place a tranquilizer dart," Aufhauser said.

Story: Spin doctoring: Vets replace tortoise’s leg with wheel

There is even a Swiss "animal communicator" involved, an augur, who says she has been in contact with Yvonne via a subject from her home in Switzerland.

But, for the rescue team, the most promising approach is the hope for an awakening of family instincts.

"At first, we brought in Waltraud, Yvonne's sister, and placed her at the edge of the woods," Aufhauser said. "Then I got lucky and found her own calf, Friesi, on a farm in Austria, a now full-size ox who had been believed to be dead."

And, this week, Yvonne's supporters are hoping to lure the cow from her forest hideout with the sex appeal of a handsome bull called Ernst. "He is the George Clooney among the former breeding bulls," Aufhauser said.

Several times, Yvonne has been spotted peeking through the trees at her family members under the cover of darkness, but she always managed to evade police, hunters and animal welfare activists.

Summer hole
Germany has had its share of crazy animal tales. Germany's so called "summer hole" stories have focused on "Caiman Sammy," a croc who was spotted in a popular quarry pond causing fear among sunbathers, and "Bruno the Bear," who scared hikers, killed sheep and eventually got shot in the summer of 2006.

This rainy German August started with flashy reports about a poisonous spider that supposedly crawled out of a banana box in a supermarket. The grocery store was shut down for weeks and the spider was never found. But the multi-legged arthropod was probably not cute enough to make front-page headlines.

Video: Baby gorilla saved from poachers

In times of gruesome economic news and reports of violent conflicts in the Middle East, Yvonne's funny escape plot truly has "story of the month" potential.

Sadly, time might be running out for Yvonne. Local authorities have suspended the shoot-to-kill order for only two weeks and banners have been spotted near the woods that read "Kill The Cow."

Fans and supporters across Germany still hope for a happy outcome so that Yvonne can end up at her designated Gut Aiderbichl retirement home instead of reaching the same cruel fate as "Bruno the Bear."

Even so, Bruno became a legend: his body was eventually stuffed and can now be viewed at a Munich museum.

Original Page: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/44144391/ns/today-today_pets_and_animals/

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