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Microsoft

Anti-Piracy Windows 7 Update Phones Home Quarterly 819

Posted by kdawson
from the who-owns-your-computer dept.
Lauren Weinstein sends in news of a major and disturbing Microsoft anti-piracy initiative called Windows Activation Technologies, or WAT. Here is Microsoft's blog post giving their perspective on what WAT is for. From Lauren's blog: "The release of Windows 7 'Update for Microsoft Windows (KB71033)' will change the current activation and anti-piracy behavior of Windows 7 by triggering automatic 'phone home' operations over the Internet to Microsoft servers, typically for now at intervals of around 90 days. ... These automatic queries will repeatedly — apparently for as long as Windows is installed — validate your Windows 7 system against Microsoft's latest database of pirated system signatures (currently including more than 70 activation exploits known to Microsoft). If your system matches — again even if up to that time (which could be months or even years since you obtained the system) it had been declared to be genuine — then your system will be 'downgraded' to 'non-genuine' status until you take steps to obtain what Microsoft considers to be an authentic, validated, Windows 7 license. ... KB971033... is scheduled to deploy to the manual downloading 'Genuine Microsoft Software' site on February 16, and start pushing out automatically through the Windows Update environment on February 23. ... [F]or Microsoft to assert that they have the right to treat ordinary PC-using consumers in this manner — declaring their systems to be non-genuine and downgrading them at any time — is rather staggering." Update: 02/12 02:08 GMT by KD : Corrected the Microsoft Knowledge Base number to include a leading 9 that had been omitted in the pre-announcement, per L. Weinstein.
Medicine

Pneumatic Tube Communication In Hospitals 350

Posted by kdawson
from the foot-long-packets dept.
blee37 sends along a writeup from the School of Medicine at Stanford University on their pneumatic tube delivery system, used for sending atoms not bits. Such systems are in use in hospitals nationwide; the 19th-century technology is enhancd by recent refinements in pneumatic braking. "Every day, 7,000 times a day, Stanford Hospital staff turn to pneumatic tubes, cutting-edge technology in the 19th century, for a transport network that the Internet and all the latest Silicon Valley wizardry can't match: A tubular system to transport a lab sample across the medical center in the blink of an eye."

Comment: Re:Most professors guilty? (Score 1) 467

by Debug0x2a (#30047660) Attached to: Attack of the PowerPoint-Wielding Professors
The best professor I had made a set of powerpoint charts that included blank space where some problems or diagrams would be. He projected the charts onto the whiteboard and would write on the whiteboard over the chart for problems and examples. This cut down on the setup time to pose the problem and still got to the handwork that really drilled the info in. Powerpoint is a tool... if you always use the hammer where a screwdriver is necessary you are doomed to f&#* something up...
Music

ASCAP Says Apple Should Pay For 30-sec. Song Samples 463

Posted by kdawson
from the thicket-of-rights dept.
CNet reports on a new money battle brewing between those who generate music and those who profit from selling it on the Net. "Songwriters, composers, and music publishers are making preparations to one day collect performance fees from Apple and other e-tailers for not just traditional music downloads but for downloads of films and TV shows as well. Those downloads contain music after all. These groups even want compensation for iTunes' 30-second song samples. ... Apparently, the music industry can't obtain the fees through negotiations. They have begun lobbying Congress to pass legislation that would require anyone who sells a download to pay a performance fee..."
Science

Creating a Quantum Superposition of Living Things 321

Posted by kdawson
from the wanted-dead-and-alive dept.
KentuckyFC writes "Having created quantum superpositions of photons, atoms, and even molecules, scientists are currently preparing to do the same for larger objects — namely viruses. The technique will involve storing a virus in a vacuum and then cooling it to its quantum-mechanical ground state in a microcavity. Zapping the virus with a laser then leaves it in a superposition of its ground state and an excited one. That's no easy task, however. The virus will have to survive the vacuum, behave like a dielectric, and appear transparent to the laser light, which would otherwise tear it apart. Now a group of researchers has worked out that several viruses look capable of surviving the superposition process, including the common flu virus and the tobacco mosaic virus. They point out that after creating the superposition, scientists will be able to perform the Schrodinger's Cat experiment for the first time, which should be fun (but less so for the virus)."

The Homemade Hard Disk Destroyer 497

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the if-you-can-recover-that-you-earned-it dept.
Barence writes "All businesses have sensitive data they need to destroy when they replace PCs, but disposing of hard disks properly can be an expensive business. This has led one IT manager in the UK to come up with his own, homemade solution — Bustadrive. It uses a powerful 'hydraulic punch' to physically deform a hard disk, rendering it virtually unreadable, and requires nothing more than a pull of the lever on the front — similar to a drinks-can crusher. PC Pro tested the Bustadrive, and also sought the opinions of data destruction companies as to whether the device was really as effective as hoped, or just a fun way to mangle a hard disk or two."
Cellphones

Chinese Employee Loses iPhone Prototype, Kills Self 514

Posted by kdawson
from the taking-the-job-way-too-seriously dept.
tlhIngan writes "Physical intimidation of a Foxconn employee, 25 year-old Sun Danyong, and a possibly-illegal search of his house may have led to suicide after an iPhone prototype in his possession was lost. Foxconn is Apple's long-time manufacturing partner for the iPhone. Entrusted with 16 iPhone prototypes, Danyong discovered that one was missing and searched the factory for it. When it didn't turn up, he reported the incident to his boss, who ordered his apartment searched. There are reports of physical intimidation by Foxconn security personnel. This ended tragically on Thursday at 3 AM, when Danyong jumped from his apartment building to his death." VentureBeat notes that "Apple exerts immense pressure on its business partners [to] help it maintain secrecy." An Apple spokesperson said this to CNet: "We are saddened by the tragic loss of this young employee, and we are awaiting results of the investigations into his death. We require our suppliers to treat all workers with dignity and respect."
PC Games (Games)

Is Cataclysm the Next World of Warcraft Expansion? 259

Posted by Soulskill
from the either-that-or-it's-not dept.
ajs writes "There has been no official announcement yet, but a number of moves by Blizzard Entertainment seem to indicate that the next expansion for World of Warcraft could be titled Cataclysm. Speculation began when Blizzard trademarked Cataclysm recently, and then later when a test server briefly popped up with the word 'Maelstrom' in its name. If true, the name would fall neatly into the WoW lore and expected expansion list. The Cataclysm is another name for the Great Sundering, an event that created a swirling vortex of water and mystical energies (the 'Maelstrom') that has appeared on the world map in-game since release. There are also indications that early design work included some of the islands in this area, which has long fueled anticipation of a Maelstrom-based expansion involving the former Night Elf noble, Azshara, queen of the Naga and the Goblins whose main city is in the south seas."
The Courts

+ - Jammie Thomas Moves to Strike RIAA $1.92M Verdict->

Submitted by
NewYorkCountryLawyer
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Jammie Thomas-Rasset has made a motion for a new trial, seeking to vacate the $1.92 million judgment entered against her for infringement of 24 MP3 files, in Capitol Records v. Thomas-Rasset. Her attorneys' brief (PDF) argues, among other things, that the 'monstrous' sized verdict violates the Due Process Clause, consistent with 100 years of SCOTUS jurisprudence, since it is grossly disproportionate to any actual damages sustained. It further argues that, since the RIAA elected to offer no evidence of actual damages, either as an alternative to statutory damages, or to buttress the fairness of a statutory damages award, the verdict, if it is to be reduced, must be reduced to zero."
Link to Original Source
Privacy

Middle-School Strip Search Ruled Unconstitutional 528

Posted by timothy
from the moment-of-claritin dept.
yuna49 writes "The US Supreme Court today ruled 8-1 that the strip search of a 13-year-old girl by officials in an Arizona middle school was unconstitutional. However, by a vote of 7-2, the Court also ruled that the individual school officials could not be held personally liable. A suit for damages against the school district itself is still going forward. We discussed this case at length back in March when the Court decided to hear the case on appeal."

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