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Crime

Feds: Red Light Camera Firm Paid For Chicago Official's Car, Condo 115

Posted by samzenpus
from the red-light-red-light dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The former CEO of Redflex, a major red light camera vendor, and John Bills, former Managing Deputy Commissioner at the Department of Transportation, have been indicted on federal corruption charges stemming from a contract with the City of Chicago. According to the indictment, a friend of Bills was hired as a contractor and paid $2 million. Much of that money was then kicked back to Bills, who also got a Mercedes and a condominium via Redflex employees. The defendants are facing 23 counts including: mail fraud, wire fraud, and bribery. Each fraud count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years."
PC Games (Games)

Witcher 2 Torrents Could Net You a Fine 724

Posted by Soulskill
from the dodging-legal-threats-now-a-valid-gameplay-mechanic dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this quote from Eurogamer: "Gamers who download upcoming PC exclusive The Witcher 2 illegally could receive a letter demanding they pay a fine or face legal action. If gamers refuse to pay the fine, which will be more than the cost of the game, they could end up in court, developer CD Projekt told Eurogamer. 'Of course we're not happy when people are pirating our games, so we are signing with legal firms and torrent sneaking companies,' CD Projekt co-founder Marcin Iwiski said. 'In quite a few big countries, when people are downloading it illegally they can expect a letter from a legal firm saying, "Hey, you downloaded it illegally and right now you have to pay a fine." We are totally fair, but if you decide you will not buy it legally there is a chance you'll get a letter. We are talking about it right now.' Interestingly, The Witcher 2 will be released free of digital rights management – but only through the CD Projekt-owned digital download shop GOG.com. That means owners will be able to install it as many times as they like on any number of computers – and it will not requite an internet connection to run."
Games

Whatever Happened To Second Life? 209

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-blame-ralph dept.
Barence writes "It's desolate, dirty, and sex is outcast to a separate island. In this article, PC Pro's Barry Collins returns to Second Life to find out what went wrong, and why it's raking in more cash than ever before. It's a follow-up to a feature written three years ago, in which Collins spent a week living inside Second Life to see what the huge fuss at the time was all about. The difference three years can make is eye-opening."

Comment: Labs need to evolve, not go away (Score 1) 571

by CormacJ (#27376527) Attached to: RIP the Campus Computer Lab, 1960-2009

I run a computer lab at the University of Washington. There's a few reasons why computer labs won't go away soon for us:

1) Expensive software - if we did away with labs students would have to buy software such as SPSS, and they would need it only for a few classes. We don't think its reasonable to expect students to incur this added expense.

2) Specialized hardware - Our video editing suites will always require video editing hardware and DVD/Blu-Ray readers and burners, and having nice scanners and color printing is an added incentive to come in to the lab.

We do make allowances for students with laptops though. I've made spaces for laptops where I've added power strips and networking points for those that don't use the 802 network. We're also looking at adding groupware to our lab to make it easier for groups to work and collaborate.

We also run our help desk out of a lab and we'll help students with their laptop issues. We allow students to come and eat and relax in this lab too. We've found that this atmosphere encourages students to come back to a lab environment.

Comment: My check list (Score 3, Informative) 835

by CormacJ (#26566857) Attached to: How To Diagnose a Suddenly Slow Windows Computer?

My usual check list for this is:

1) Check the hard drive, SMART, or manufacturer diagnostics
2) Get the manufacturer diagnostics, and run a full hardware validation
3) If all is clean, check for things recently updated - a bad update may be clogging things
4) Check your anti-virus/anti-spyware software. Sometimes they can switch into extra-paranoid mode and slow things down horribly.

Comment: Mirroring can be a solution (Score 1) 711

by CormacJ (#26310363) Attached to: Why Mirroring Is Not a Backup Solution

Assuming that you have spare drives, you can use mirroring as a backup solution.

I had a huge database that I was was responsible for and we'd lock the database and split the mirror, take the drive offsite.

If the system died, we had a spare drive available for immediate recovery.

It's all in how you do it.

Space

+ - 30th Anniversary of the Wow! Signal

Submitted by Himring
Himring (646324) writes "Today marks the 30th anniversary of the single most significant event, to date, that points to possible evidence of ETI. On this day in 1977, Dr. Jerry R. Ehman circled data retrieved from the "Big Ear" radio telescope of the Ohio State University Radio Observatory. The telescope has since been destroyed, and although other, modern telescopes have tried (such as the VLA) none of have successfully reproduced the results of that day. By and large, all possibilities of an earth-based signal causing the event have been ruled out as well as any possible natural phenomenon. Still, Dr. Ehman has remained reserved and stated that he doesn't want to draw, "vast conclusions from half-vast data." Here is the link to Dr. Ehman's 30th Anniversary Report."
Sony

+ - Blue Ray beaten by...Print Screen

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "German mag C't has discovered you can record protected high-def flicks in full resolution via automating the print screen function of the provided Intervideo WinDVD software. Both Sony's Vaio and Toshiba's Qosmio laptops with Blu-ray and HD DVD drives respectively come bundled with the software, and are vulnerable to the hack. Quite simply, it can be used to capture the movies frame-by-frame, and then reassembled to create the entire movie. Not the most elegant solution, but they claim it works. http://www.engadgethd.com/2006/07/07/blu-ray-and-h d-dvd-copy-protection-defeated-by-print-screen/"
The Internet

+ - Domain google.de apparently kidnapped

Submitted by
Christian_Franz_LL.M
Christian_Franz_LL.M writes "On tuesday night, someone appears to have managed to be registered as the holder of the domain "google.de". The service of the German section of Google Inc. was unavailable, displaying only an "under construction" message.

This appears to be an extraordinarily spectacular attempt in suicide, lest the apperent new domain holder, a Mr. Martin Rusteberg of Germany, happens to hold prior rights in the string "google". A quick search revealed that there are no trade marks registered in Germany (https://dpinfo.dpma.de/protect/mar.html), with OAMI with respect to European trade marks (http://oami.europa.eu/CTMOnline/RequestManager/) nor with the WIPO with respect to so-called international trade marks that might have been extended to cover Germany (http://www.wipo.int/ipdl/en/search/madrid/search- struct.jsp). This should allow Google Inc. to sort out the problem by means of an injunction by a German court within the day or a couple of days at most.

This might be different though, should the current domain holder turn out to have any other kind of rights in the string "google" himself, e.g. using it as a company identifier prior to Goolge Inc.'s market entry in Germany.

Unlike other TLDs, the German registrar DENIC e.G. (http://www.denic.de)does not provide a dispute resolution procedure. That means that the possible kidnapping of the domain will be subject to German jurisdiction. That means that while, for example, the ICANN Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (http://www.icann.org/udrp/) allows for "soft arguments" to be brought forward and domains to be transferred directly if there is no response by the defendant, arbitration in front of a German court could turn out to be more difficult that one might, at first sight, expect.

Whilst there can be little doubt that google would eventually succeed in regaining the domain due to it's overwhelming fame, the path to victory could turn out stony.

There is juristdiction by Germany's Federal Court of Justice that accepts that in a conflict of prior rights, the rights of a party that has what has been described as "an absolute reputation", prevail (BGH, Urt. v. 22.11.01, I ZR 138/99 — shell.de, http://netlaw.de/urteile/bgh_13.htm).

Still, it is rather unlikely that this concept would be sufficient to allow Google Inc. to achieve an injunction under German law. This is due to the requirement that no injunction must anticipate the final decision — which would be the case if the current domain holder was forced to cancel the domain.

By the way: under German law, no right holder can ask for a domain to be transferred. It has to be cancelled and can then be re-registered by the rights holder. Google Inc. will have to ask for a so called dispute entry by the registrar Denic e.G., which will bar the domain from any further transactions, and then go to court really, really quickly.

Depending on whether or not the current registrant has any prior rights, this might turn out as a finacial suicide or the easiest way to earn real money without any effort at all — if, which is not unlikely, Google Inc. decides to cut things short and buy the new registrant out. Which, I have a tinkle, may have been the idea in the first place.

Still, this is high rolling: from both a legal and a financial point of view, it would have been less risky just to rob a bank. It's probably just that geeks aren't any good at this sort of thing, in contrast to the fine detail of domain registration policies...

For further information on German internet law, visit http://www.netlaw.de/ or just ask: cfranz@christianfranz.net.

Christian Franz, LL.M.
Rechtsanwalt
(Attorney at Law)
Düsseldorf, Germany"

I have ways of making money that you know nothing of. -- John D. Rockefeller

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