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Universal Refuses To Renew On iTunes 287

UnknowingFool writes "It appears for the moment that Universal will not renew its long term contract with Apple for content on the iTunes store. While the details are not known about the exact nature of the dispute, many speculate that it has to do with Apple's stance on fixed pricing and Apple's refusal to license their DRM. The worse case scenario may include Universal pulling its entire catalog from iTunes. Both sides stand to lose out with 1/3 of of new releases coming from Universal and an estimated 15% of Universal's sales coming from digital downloads. Apple's market share is about 75% of digital downloads, and digital downloads are growing while CD sales are shrinking."

Microsoft To Change Desktop Search After Google Complaint 286

Raver32 writes to tell us that Microsoft will be making changes to their desktop search tool in Vista after a 49-page antitrust complaint was filed by Google. "Microsoft initially dismissed the allegations, saying regulators had reviewed the program before Vista launched. However, Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, said in an interview last week that the company was willing to make changes if necessary."

Soldiers Can't Blog Without Approval 358

denebian devil writes " has obtained a copy of updated US Army rules (pdf) that force soldiers to stop posting to blogs or sending personal e-mail messages without first clearing the content with a superior officer. Previous editions of the rules asked Army personnel to "consult with their immediate supervisor" before posting a document "that might contain sensitive and/or critical information in a public forum." The new version, in contrast, requires "an OPSEC review prior to publishing" anything — from "web log (blog) postings" to comments on internet message boards, from resumes to letters home. Under the strictest reading of the rule, a soldier must check with his or her superior officer before every blog entry posted and every email sent, though the method of enforcing these regulations is subject to choices made by the unit commanders. According to Wired, active-duty troops aren't the only ones affected by the new guidelines. Civilians working for the military, Army contractors — even soldiers' families — are all subject to the directive as well, though many of the people affected by these new regulations can't even access them because they are being kept on the military's restricted Army Knowledge Online intranet. Wired also interviewed Major Ray Ceralde, author of the new regulations, about why this change has been made."

Kaleidescape Triumphant in Court Case, DVD Ripping Ruled Legal 213

Jim Buzbee writes "Ever wanted to rip all your DVDs to a big network server so that you could select and play them back to your TV? Up until now, manufacturers have been wary of building a device to allow this type of usage because they've been afraid a lawsuit. The DVD Copy Control Association had claimed this was contractually forbidden, but now a judge says otherwise stating, 'nothing in the agreement prevents you from making copies of DVDs. Nothing requires that a DVD be present during playback.' Kaleidescape has finally won their long-standing lawsuit, a case we first talked about early in 2005."
Data Storage

So You've Lost a $38 Billion File 511

smooth wombat writes "Imagine you're reformatting a hard drive so you can do a clean install but then realize that you have also reformatted the back up hard drive. No problem. You reach for your back up tapes only to find out that the information on the tapes is unreadable. Now imagine the information that is lost was worth $38 billion. This scenario is apparently what happened in July to the Alaska Department of Revenue. From the article: 'Nine months worth of information concerning the yearly payout from the Alaska Permanent Fund was gone: some 800,000 electronic images that had been painstakingly scanned into the system months earlier, the 2006 paper applications that people had either mailed in or filed over the counter, and supporting documentation such as birth certificates and proof of residence.' Using the 300 cardboard boxes containing all the information, staff worked overtime for several months to rescan everything at an additional cost of $200,000."

New York To Ban iPods While Crossing Street? 487

An anonymous reader writes to mention Reuters is reporting that New York State Senator Carl Kruger is looking to institute a $100 fine for using electronic gadgets while crossing the street. Citing three pedestrian deaths in his Brooklyn district as the main driving reason he believe Government has an obligation to protect its citizens. "Tech-consuming New Yorkers trudge to work on sidewalks and subways like an army of drones, appearing to talk to themselves on wireless devices or swaying to seemingly silent tunes. 'I'm not trying to intrude on that,' Kruger said. 'But what's happening is when they're tuning into their iPod or Blackberry or cell phone or video game, they're walking into speeding buses and moving automobiles. It's becoming a nationwide problem.'"

Personality Secrets in Your MP3 Player 326

Jeremy Dean writes "Once past saying 'hello' and 'how are you?' to someone you've just met, what is next? How do we make friends and get to know other people? Psychologists have talked about the importance of body language, physical appearance and clothing but they've not been so keen on what we actually talk about. A recent study put participants in same-sex and opposite-sex pairings and told them to get to know each other over 6 weeks (Rentfrow & Gosling, 2006). Analysing the results, they found the most popular topic of conversation was music. What is it about music that's so useful when we first meet someone and what kind of information can we extract from the music another person likes? "

Vista - iPod Killer? 557

JMB wrote us with a dire warning, as reported by the San Jose Mercury News. Apple is cautioning its Windows-using iTunes customers to steer clear of Vista until the next iTunes update. The reason for this is a bit puzzling. Apparently, if you try to 'safely remove' your iPod from a Vista-installed PC, there's a chance you may corrupt the little music player. They also claim that songs may not play, and contacts may not sync with the device. Apple went so far as to release a detailed support document on the subject, which assures users that a new Vista-compatible version of the software will be available in a few weeks. Is this just some very creative FUD? If it is not who do you think is 'at fault' here, Microsoft or Apple?

Chinese Prof Cracks SHA-1 Data Encryption Scheme 416

Hades1010 writes to mention an article in the Epoch Times (a Chinese newspaper) about a brilliant Chinese professor who has cracked her fifth encryption scheme in ten years. This one's a doozy, too: she and her team have taken out the SHA-1 scheme, which includes the (highly thought of) MD5 algorithm. As a result, the U.S. government and major corporations will cease using the scheme within the next few years. From the article: " These two main algorithms are currently the crucial technology that electronic signatures and many other password securities use throughout the international community. They are widely used in banking, securities, and e-commerce. SHA-1 has been recognized as the cornerstone for modern Internet security. According to the article, in the early stages of Wang's research, there were other data encryption researchers who tried to crack it. However, none of them succeeded. This is why in 15 years Hash research had become the domain of hopeless research in many scientists' minds. "
Data Storage

China Readies Royalty-Free DVD Format 183

An anonymous reader writes with an InfoWorld article on China's new attempt to introduce a royalty-free format to rival the DVD. The article is not sanguine on China's chances of getting the EVD format used outside of its own borders (they tried once before in 2003). The submitter is more optimistic, asking: "Is this the future and the effective end of DRM — to be taken and co-opted by nation-states?" From the article: "The DVD player makers plan to switch to EVD (enhanced versatile disk) in an attempt to avoid paying patent royalties on the DVD format, according to published reports. The world's largest producers of DVD players, Chinese electronics companies would use the format instead of standards such as MPEG-4. Last week, 20 top manufacturers including Haier announced their plans to switch from DVD to EVD entirely by 2008, according to a report in China Economic News."

Vista Licenses Limit OS Transfers, Ban VM Use 968

NiK0laI writes "TechWeb has posted an article regarding Vista's new license and how it allows you to only move it to another device once. How will this work for people who build their PCs? I have no intention of purchasing a new license every time I swap out motherboards. 'The first user of the software may reassign the license to another device one time. If you reassign the license, that other device becomes the "licensed device," reads the license for Windows Vista Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate, and Business. In other words, once a retail copy of Vista is installed on a PC, it can be moved to another system only once. ... Elsewhere in the license, Microsoft forbids users from installing Vista Home Basic and Vista Home Premium in a virtual machine. "You may not use the software installed on the licensed device within a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system," the legal language reads. Vista Ultimate and Vista Business, however, can be installed within a VM.'" Overly Critical Guy points out more information about changes to Vista's EULA and the new usage restrictions. "For instance, Home Basic users can't copy ISOs to their hard drives, can't run in a virtualized environment, and can only share files and printers to a maximum of 5 network devices."

U.S. Government Crippled by Sex, Gaming Sites 283

BobB writes "The U.S. Department of the Interior's inspector general has released a report that says department employees are wasting their taxpayer-funded work time going to prohibited web sites. Some of these sites relate to sex, computer games, gambling and auctions. The study found that almost $2 billion a year in productivity was being lost to these 'excessive indulgences.'" From the article: "Computer-use logs revealed more than 4,732 entries relating to sexually explicit Web sites and gambling sites. Some computers accessed sex sites for 30 to 60 minutes during the test period. More than 1 million log entries were discovered indicating 7,763 Department computer users spent 2,004-plus hours accessing game and auction sites. Extrapolated over the year, that could account for 100,000 lost work hours. Put another way, this would equal 50 full-time employees doing nothing but surfing online game and auction sites." to Get Firefox Extensions and More 207

I_am_Rambi writes " is set to get new features including Firefox-like extensions. From the article: 'Second, and I think that although we have no clear road map for this yet (besides, our version naming scheme is going to change once again ), and StarOffice shall include the Mozilla Foundation's Thunderbird and Sunbird (calendaring application) in the future. Besides the inclusion of those two softs inside the office suite, connectors to Sun Calendar Server and Microsoft Exchange will also be developed accordingly.'"

"Survey says..." -- Richard Dawson, weenie, on "Family Feud"