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Why Microsoft's Zune Scares Apple to the Core 574

BoredStiff writes "Computerworld has an article examining Microsoft's plans to launch a competitor to the Apple iPod, the wireless media player called Zune. The article lists five reasons why Apple may fear the Zune, and why it won't be as easily smacked down as the dozens of mp3 players before it have been. The Zune isn't just a music player, the article argues. Think of it as a portable, wireless, hardware version of MySpace. With the Zune, Microsoft is trying to launch a consumer media 'perfect storm.'" From the article: "Microsoft will make the movement of media between Windows, Soapbox and the Zune natural and seamless. The Zune interface is just like a miniature version of the Windows Media Center user interface and is very similar to some elements of Vista. Apple fans are overconfident in the iPod because Apple once commanded 92% of music player market share, a number that has since fallen to around 70%. About 30 million people own iPods. But Microsoft owns more than 90% of the worldwide operating systems market (compared with Apple's roughly 5%), representing some 300 million people. The company expects to have 200 million Vista users within two years."

BT Futurologist On Smart Yogurt and the $7 PC 455

WelshBint writes, "BT's futurologist, Ian Pearson, has been speaking to He has some scary predictions, including the real rise of the Terminator, smart yogurt, and the $7 PC." Ian Pearson is definitely a proponent of strong AI — along with, he estimates, 30%-40% of the AI community. He believes we will see the first computers as smart as people by 2015. As to smart yogurt — linkable electronics in bacteria such as E. Coli — he figures that means the end of security. "So how do you manage security in that sort of a world? I would say that there will not be any security from 2025 onwards."

California Sues Automakers for Global Warming 725

ajs writes "Reuters is reporting that the state of California is suing automakers over global warming. California is claiming that automakers have 'harmed the resources, infrastructure and environmental health,' of the state. The targeted automakers are Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp., Toyota Motor Corp., Chrysler Motors Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co."

Possible Delays for Vista in Europe 279

tttonyyy writes "After Microsoft was hit with fines for anti-competitive behaviour in 2004 and 2006, it seems that the launch of Vista may be delayed in Europe. Microsoft is blaming this delay on a lack of guidelines from the European Commission. The Commission denies causing any delay, declaring that the impetus is not on them but on Microsoft to produce a product that conforms to the EU competition rules." Further, The New York Times reports "Delaying the introduction in Europe, [members of the European Parliament] said in a letter made public by Microsoft on Thursday, 'would put European companies at a competitive disadvantage with every other company around the world who does have access to these new technologies.'"

Vista Startup Sound to be Mandatory? 865

Toreo asesino writes "There has been lots of debate in the past few days over Microsoft's plan to make the startup sound in Windows Vista something that can't be specifically silenced by changing the sound settings in the control panel. Users would be able to avoid hearing it by manually turning down the speaker volume, but then they would have to turn that volume back up to hear anything else."

O'Reilly Lawyers Set Up Shop in the Patent Office 190

theodp writes "On the same day Netizens fumed over the trademarking of Web 2.0 (R), lawyers for O'Reilly were beating a path to the USPTO to file for a trademark on MAKER FAIRE, lest some Irish scallywag try to co-opt that catchy phrase for a conference. Speaking of NETIZENS, USPTO records show O'Reilly once sought a trademark for that term. And while details are sketchy, USPTO records also indicate that O'Reilly not only sought to trademark the term WEBSITE, it was the plaintiff in a scheduled Trademark Trial involving a defendant who laid claim to the phrase WEB CITE."

Irish Company Claims Free Energy 1125

raghus writes "An Irish company has thrown down the gauntlet to the worldwide scientific community to test a technology it has developed that it claims produces free energy. The company, Steorn, says its discovery is based on the interaction of magnetic fields and allows the production of clean, free and constant energy — a concept that challenges one of the basic rules of physics." I can't wait until I can use this free energy to power my flying car and heat my aquarium of mermaids.

OLGA Shut Down by DMCA (again!) 449

Gavitron writes "The online Guitar Tablature Archive has been shutdown again, to "ensure that composers and songwriters will continue to have incentive to create new music for generations to come." Scant details exist, but there is more information in forums and blogs."

Microsoft Bracing for Worm Attack 256

10010010 writes "A network worm attack targeting a critical Microsoft Windows vulnerability appears inevitable. The flaw is easy to exploit, as evidenced by the quick release of an exploit module for HD Moore's Metasploit Framework. Within hours of the Patch Day release Tuesday, two pen testing companies (Immunity and Core) created and released 'reliable exploits' for the flaw, which was deemed wormable on all Windows versions, including Windows XP SP2 and Windows Server 2003 SP1."

BBC Reports UK-U.S. Terror Plot Foiled 1792

j823777 was one of several readers to point out a BBC report that "A terrorist plot to blow up planes in mid-flight from the UK to the U.S. has been disrupted, Scotland Yard has said. It is thought the plan was to detonate up to three explosive devices smuggled on aircraft in hand luggage. Police have arrested 21 people in the London area after an anti-terrorist operation lasting several months. Security at all airports in the UK has been tightened and delays are reported. MI5 has raised the UK threat level to critical — the highest possible." spo0nman adds a link to the Associated Press's coverage. Update: 08/10 12:57 GMT by T : Several readers have pointed out new restrictions imposed as a result of this plot on passengers' carry-on luggage. In the UK, nearly all possession (including laptop computers) must be carried in the cargo hold; while their rules don't yet go quite as far, U.S. airlines are stepping up their enforcement of carry-on-restrictions, including banning substances like toothpaste.

Has Anyone Seen the Moon Pictures? 474

NASA has received a lot of bad press in the last few years. Now in a stunning move to prove how much they have learned from past mistakes, it appears they have lost the magnetic tapes that recorded the first moon walk. They also seem to have misplaced the original recordings of the other five Apollo moon landings. Hopefully nobody has taped an episode of "The OC" over them yet.

Warner to Sell Music on DVD 365

Carl Bialik from WSJ writes "Warner Music is planning an aggressive attempt to replace the CD by pushing consumers to buy their music on specially outfitted DVDs, the Wall Street Journal reports. It's music to the ears of some struggling retailers who seek a new physical product to re-capture some of the online (and file-sharing) market. 'As a retailer I'm going to be holding on desperately for any compelling physical product,' said Eric Levin, who owns two independent stores called Criminal Records in the Atlanta area. 'So the introduction of a new cause for excitement.' More from the article: 'But there are some stumbling blocks that may discourage consumers from embracing DVD albums. The new discs would not play on normal CD players, meaning consumers could not simply pop their new discs into their car stereos or other players. And users would not be able to copy the main audio mix onto their computers. On the proposed DVD album, the main audio mix is to be protected by the same software that already protects the content on normal DVDs.'"

Worst Ever Security Flaw in Diebold Voting Machine 681

WhiteDragon writes "The folks at Open Voting Foundation got their hands on a Diebold AccuVote TS touchscreen voting machine. They took it apart (pictures here), and found the most serious security flaw ever discovered in this machine. A single switch is all that is required to cause the machine to boot an unverified external flash instead of the built-in, verified EEPROM."

Microsoft Locking Out Anti-Virus Makers? 135

twitter writes "Anti-virus makers have more to fear than stonewalling by Microsoft if a report by Agnitum, maker of Outpost Personal Firewall, is right about recent trusted computing changes. All the problems were summarized in a choice Register quote, 'In addressing the potential problem of not being able to install Outpost on new versions of Windows, we have discovered that it is possible to drill past the new security measures introduced by Microsoft - if we use the same techniques used by hackers.'"

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken