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Microsoft

+ - Microsoft Research uses kittens to secure the web

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at Microsoft Research have recently proposed a rather unorthodox approach to telling spam-bots apart from real humans: displaying photos of cats and dogs that users have to tell apart. Their project is called Asirra, and was presented as part of their annual TechFest technology show. This is the first year Techfest has had a day set aside for the press."
Software

+ - What Bosses should know: software requirements

Submitted by
Esther Schindler
Esther Schindler writes "CIO.com asked developers to name the ONE thing that they wished the CIO understood about software requirements. The summary is several pages long, but it pulls no punches: from the role of requirements, to defining who creates the requirements (and in how much detail), to the need to shake the boss to get him to understand that requirements change, to paying attention to the process. It's all here, in Five Things CIOs Should Know About Software Requirements, with a few dozen developer's voices loud and clear. For instance, one developer comments, "The CIO has to realize that if there is no bad news, there is something very wrong. Smiling people nodding 'Yes' in meetings is not a sign of great intelligence at work.""
Security

+ - Why Millions of Home Alarm Systems are Useless

Submitted by
Michael Jagger
Michael Jagger writes "Here is link to a post that describes why one of the most popular home alarm systems in North America is a complete waste of money. The post describes why the hardware itself is useless as well as shows a picture showing exactly how an alarm should not be installed. The system described in the post, which is unfortunately similar to those in millions of North American homes, offers no value to anyone except for the monitoring companies who charge a monthly fee to provide a virtually useless service. Does your alarm system look like this?"
Privacy

+ - SWIFT applies for Safe Harbor Protections

Submitted by KDR_11k
KDR_11k (778916) writes "The Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT, the system used for all international bank transfers) is now applying for Safe Harbor protections in the US following a dispute with the EU over handing data to US authorities (of course with subpoenas). EU data protection laws don't allow giving peronal information to other entities without the consent of the person the information is about which already caused the dispute over handing passenger data to US authorities. SWIFT hopes that with these Safe Harbor protections they will no longer be forced to give up information they aren't allowed to but Safe Harbor does not apply to banking organizations. Now it depends on whether SWIFT is a banking institution (they claim they aren't) and whether they are a data processor or controller (they claim the former, apparently data protection laws only apply to the latter).

The EU's proposed solution is that SWIFT should abandon its US data center to bring its data out of range of US officials."
XBox (Games)

+ - Xbox Live Marketplace Digital Rights MISManagement

Submitted by
Divalent
Divalent writes "For over fourteen months, Microsoft has been aware of a problem that is presented to a user if they attempt to play an XBL arcade game or a game with premium paid downloadable content on any other machine than the one it was originally downloaded on. (See forum thread begun on 12/18/05)

MS has not come forward and publicly acknowledged the problem. Their representatives on the forums have even gone so far as to say, despite it's frank illegality, that those that had consoles stolen or replaced, in or out of warranty, from retailers will not have the workaround solution applied to their accounts unless they have explicit proof of said replacement. This means if your box breaks out of warranty, you cannot simply trash it and head to a store and buy a new one. You must somehow show continuity and PROVE to Microsoft that your old box is broken and has been replaced by the one you say it has been replaced by. Whatever happened to content being tied to your Gamertag, an ID that is uncopy-able and can only be logged onto one console at any one time? Where was the mention prior to launch of tying content to Gamertag AND the first console used to download the content before launch? That little detail wasn't even brought up until the Fall Update in October '06.

Currently there is a group of users who have had enough of this mismanagement of the growing segment of users with this problem. It is felt that Microsoft has its choice of a myriad of solutions such as Apples (de)authorizing protocol for iTunes. You can get a synopsis of the problem at Parallax Abstraction's blog on the matter here along with his recommendations of what to do. Included in the suggestions, whether you've personally been effected by the problem or not, is the urging to sign a petition that asks Microsoft to change the Digital Rights (Mis)Managment scheme currently in place."
Music

+ - Classical Music Hoax of the Century?

Submitted by
Retrospeak
Retrospeak writes "The CD recordings of Joyce Hatto, a concert pianist often described as "the greatest living pianist that almost no one has ever heard of" and praised by one critic as performing "the most extraordinary recordings I have ever heard" has come under a cloud of musical suspicion, as reported in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/17/arts/music/17ha tt.html?th&emc=th). Seems that many the Hatto recordings are digitally identical to those of a variety of other classical performers, some relatively obscure and some more famous. Because of the growing storm of sonic controversy, the British audiophile magazine "Gramophone" requested the folks at Pristine Classical to subject some of the tracks in question to detailed digital scrutiny and the results are very interesting (http://www.pristineclassical.com/HattoHoax.html)."

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