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Microsoft

+ - Microsoft take developer to court

Submitted by chrisbeatty
chrisbeatty (811646) writes "The Register are reporting that Microsoft are threatening a UK developer, Jamie Cansdale who built software to run unit tests in Visual Studio.

What starts as a jovial chat with a senior Microsoft manager has led to Microsoft beginning legal proceedings due to the program working for the free Visual Studio Express product. The developer is now refusing to back down, is Microsoft not just pushing the development community, the support & good press they give away from itself?"
Sony

+ - PS3's backward incompatibility

Submitted by JFMulder
JFMulder (59706) writes "According to GameIndustry.biz, Sony has decided to remove the Emotion Engine (PS2's main CPU) from the new model PS3 launched in Europe next month in order to drive the cost down. According to the same article, the console will have limited backward compatibility with PS2 games at launch and a list of games will be made available. One can speculate that these cost savings won't be passed on to the consumer since Sony is trying to get the cost of the console down as much as possible to break even. One has to wonder why they haven't done that 2 months ago if Sony truly believes that backward compatibility is not 'that important'."
The Courts

+ - Belgium's SWIFT does a runner to America

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A new twist to an old story. SWIFT, the Belgium bank transfer company that admitted it handed all transaction data to the NSA & CIA without warrants or limits, faces prosecution in Belgium. Their response is to do a runner to the USA. Shifting their data to USA data stores and seeking protection under the US-EU safe harbor treaty.

If you were the CIA and had access SWIFT's data, whose details would you look up. I'd look up every world leaders bank transfers, every politician's payments, every civil servants interbank transactions. Maybe look up what money Democrats send abroad too, might be some political leverage in that."
The Internet

+ - BitTorrent going legit - why would users pay?

Submitted by Tookis
Tookis (1053180) writes "As of Monday you'll be able to pay for movie downloads from BitTorrent.com, but why should people use file sharing for good instead of evil? While there are plenty of legit uses for the BitTorrent technology, obviously the number one use is to illegally download files such as movies, television and music. So what makes BitTorrent.com think these people will suddenly be prepared to pay for what they already get for free? Will files from the BitTorrent Entertainment Network come down faster than illegal BitTorrent files from the wider internet? Not likely, as the factors that affect peer-to-peer download speeds are still at play regardless. And why should people use a legit BitTorrent with DRM instead of say iTunes? http://www.itwire.com.au/content/view/9922/1085/"
Robotics

+ - Singapore holds "Terminator" robotics comp

Submitted by
duc0n
duc0n writes "Singapore's Defence Science and Technology Agency has just recently started a robotics competition named "TechX". The goal? Design a robot capable of entering an urban proving ground, navigating obstacles such as stairs, elevators and doors, and able to recognize and engage a specific target (using "a means that [they] will provide for the robot to mark the target"). All this is, of course, hauntingly similar to the Samsung sentry robot story from awhile back. Applications have been open since January, but the final event is not set to take place until August 2008."
Space

+ - vast water reservoir revealed

Submitted by
Agent Provocateur
Agent Provocateur writes "WUSTL has a news bulletin about research which has shown a hidden ocean the size of the Artic. A seismologist at Washington University in St. Louis has made the first 3-D model of seismic wave damping — diminishing — deep in the Earth's mantle and has revealed the existence of an underground water reservoir at least the volume of the Arctic Ocean. It is the first evidence for water existing in the Earth's deep mantle. Full report here."
Movies

MPAA and FBI Help To Train Swedish Police 165

Posted by kdawson
from the Pirate-Bay-not-obvious-enough? dept.
Several readers let us know about a program in which a US FBI agent and employees of the MPAA led a seminar for Swedish police officers in methods of finding and stopping illegal downloading from the Internet. The writer at zeropaid.com says, "I bet the Swedish people are going to love to find out that the US government and a US lobbying group now have a hand in training their police personnel. So much for the notion of national sovereignty." Reader Oxygen provided a bit of translation from an article in Swedish on IDG.se: "According to Bertil Ramsell, responsible for the course, the purpose of the visit was to give the invited speakers a chance to explain to the students what their organization's purpose was. But in a report from the IIPA, the purpose was to educate students in anti-piracy."
Media

+ - UK's Prime Minister's Office Dismisses Ban DRM e-P

Submitted by
rvincoletto
rvincoletto writes "UK's Prime Minister's Office Dismisses Ban DRM e-Petition:

Digital rights issues have been gaining increasing prominence as innovation accelerates, more and more digital media products and services come onto the market and the consumer wants to get access to digital content over different platforms. Many content providers have been embedding access and management tools to protect their rights and, for example, prevent illegal copying. We believe that they should be able to continue to protect their content in this way. However, DRM does not only act as a policeman through technical protection measures, it also enables content companies to offer the consumer unprecedented choice in terms of how they consume content, and the corresponding price they wish to pay. It is clear though that the needs and rights of consumers must also be carefully safeguarded. It is reasonable for consumers to be informed what is actually being offered for sale, for example, and how and where the purchaser will be able to use the product, and any restrictions applied. While there is good reason to expect the market to reach a balance as these new markets develop, it is important that consumers' interests are maintained in the meantime. Apart from the APIG (All Party Internet Group) report on DRM referred to in your petition, Digital Rights issues are an important component in other major HMG review strands on Intellectual Property, New Media and the Creative Economy. In particular, the independent Gowers Review of Intellectual Property commissioned by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, published its report on 6th December 2006 as part of the Chancellor's Pre-Budget Report. Recommendations include introducing a limited private copying exception by 2008 for format shifting for works published after the date that the law comes into effect. There should be no accompanying levies for consumers. Also making it easier for users to file notice of complaints procedures relating to Digital Rights Management tools by providing an accessible web interface on the Patent Office website by 2008 and that DTI should investigate the possibility of providing consumer guidance on DRM systems through a labelling convention without imposing unnecessary regulatory burdens. You can see the full report on the HM Treasury website. The Government has welcomed the Gowers Report and will now be looking to implement the recommendations for which it is responsible.
"
Editorial

+ - Attacking feminism: why should a geek care?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In a recent article, Author Michael Reed challenges some of the accepted arguments on the subject of Women In IT.

The article begins with an outline of the some of the basic issues and then moves onto a criticism of two recent tech articles on this subject. In the article, he provides some arguments against the use of affirmative action.

The two articles under discussion are:
SCALE 5x: Women in Open Source

The hidden engineering gender gap"
Announcements

+ - Australia Outlaws Incandescent Lightbulb

Submitted by
passthecrackpipe
passthecrackpipe writes "The Australian Government is planning on making the incandescent ligtbulb a thing of the past. In three years time, standard lightbulbs will no longer be available for sale in the shops in Australia (expect a roaring grey market) and everybody will be forced to switch to more energy efficient Fluorescent bulbs. In this move to try and curb emissions, the incandescent bulb — which converts the majority of used energy to heat rather then light — will be phased out. Environmental groups have given this plan a lukewarm reception. They feel Australia should sign on to the Kyoto protocol first. (Article in Dutch). A similar plan was created together with Phillips, one of the worlds largest lighting manufacturers. What do other slashdotters think? Is this a move in the right direction? Will this boost the development of better fluorescent bulbs? Improve the design and lower the costs of LED lightbulbs? Will this plan make a big difference to the environment at all?"
Privacy

UK's Blair Dismisses Online Anti ID-Card Petition 377

Posted by kdawson
from the no-is-an-answer-too dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Prime Minister Tony Blair has responded personally via email to 28,000 online petitioners opposing the UK's planned identity card scheme, and has closed the online petition. The email reads: 'We live in a world in which people, money and information are more mobile than ever before. Terrorists and international criminal gangs increasingly exploit this to move undetected across borders and to disappear within countries. Terrorists routinely use multiple identities — up to 50 at a time... ID cards which contain biometric recognition details and which are linked to a National Identity Register will make this much more difficult.'"
Security

+ - "Drive-By Pharming" and 'borrowed' researc

Submitted by apesaga
apesaga (660146) writes "On the 8th February 2007, an independent security consultant published an article describing how a type of attack known as "Drive-By Pharming" can be used to make significant changes to a user's broadband router, simply by running some javascript when they visit a webpage. http://getahead.ltd.uk/blog/joe/2007/02/08/csrf_ph arming.html.

However, on February 15th 2007, exactly one week later, Symantec published an article on their website http://www.symantec.com/enterprise/security_respon se/weblog/2007/02/driveby_pharming_how_clicking_1. html describing exactly the same thing.

Are Symantec now resorting to stealing ideas from other researchers, or is this just a harmless coincidence? Obviously the more people that publicise this, the better chance of users finding out and making the necessary changes to their router. But wouldn't it be nice if the original author http://getahead.ltd.uk/joe was credited?"

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