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+ - Ask Slashdot - The legality of licensing extorsion? 1

Submitted by firegate
firegate (134408) writes "We've come to rely on a piece of specialty software that costs $7000 per license, with a 10-year expiration on each license. The software checks licensing at startup against an online activation server, and each copy has a $750 annual maintenance agreement to cover updates and support. With support generally unable to solve issues and no product updates in ages, we chose to let the maintenance agreement lapse. A couple of months later, one copy of the software displayed a licensing conflict at startup. The software vendor refused to correct the issue, which was on their end with the licensing server, until we agreed to pay out the annual maintenance fee — despite the fact that we are only one year into the 10-year license window. Are their actions legal, and is there any recourse in situations where software vendors hold licenses hostage in this manner?"

Comment: Results of my own 3g test (Score 1) 108

by firegate (#28587379) Attached to: Testing 3G Networks Across the US
The company I work for keeps a pool of aircards for employees who travel (mostly sprint, but we also have two verizon and two at&t). I took one from all three providers on a trip to run my own speed test about a year ago - tested them on a drive up from Las Vegas through Los Angeles, Monterey, San Francisco to Sacramento. The Sprint was consistently the fastest (I'd usually get download rates around 1.2-1.4mbps - did not test for upload) and seemed to get the best reception in most places (particularly while on the move and not in a major city, it would still remain on their 3g network). The AT&T was the true speed king, topping out around 1.8mbps downstream as I recall, but only in the middle of Los Angeles and San Francisco - anywhere else, it had spotty connectivity and would frequently drop down to the EDGE network. I never got past 900kbps on the Verizon and it also seemed to drop to "2.5g" quite often. I now carry one of the Sprint aircards with me at all times, and you'd have to pry it from my cold dead hands.

One other thing I found - not all aircards are alike. I tested through 4 of the Sprint aircards from the same location and found that two of them were consistently much faster than the other two to the tune of around 250kbps on average. All were the same model (Novotel EX720).

Testing was all done on my Macbook Pro.

Comment: Alienware just has horrible CS overall (Score 5, Interesting) 665

by firegate (#27890925) Attached to: Alienware Refusing Customers As Thieves

One of our offices needed a couple of PC's and I ordered two through Alienware - everything went through fine and they were set to arrive two weeks later.

Three weeks after I placed the order, Alienware informed me that they hadn't built or shipped the computers because I had asked that they be shipped to an address other than the CC billing address.

I'll never do business with that company again.

Input Devices

Cheap 3D Motion Sensing System Developed At MIT 60

Posted by timothy
from the let-the-ractives-begin dept.
Al writes "Researchers at the MIT Media Lab have created a cheaper way to track physical motion that could prove useful for movie special effects. Normally an actor needs to wear special markers that reflect light with numerous high-speed cameras placed around a specially-lit set. The new system, called Second Skin, instead relies on tiny photosensors embedded in clothes that record movement by picking patterns of infrared light emitted by inexpensive projectors that can be mounted in ceilings or even outdoors. The whole system costs less than $1,000 to build, and the researchers have developed a version that vibrates to guide a person's arm movements. Watch a video of Second Skin in action."
Microsoft

+ - Heavily discounted Zune outpacing iPod sales-> 1

Submitted by
firegate
firegate writes "Yahoo Tech is reporting that the Microsoft Zune, having been heavily discounted for the holiday season, "is currently Amazon's top-selling music player, beating out the new iPod Nano and the 80GB iPod on the 'Bestsellers in Electronics' list. An Associated Press report even indicates that the Zune's newfound popularity has left it in short supply, sold out in many locations. Is this a sign that a true competitor, from Microsoft no less, has finally broken into the Apple-dominated MP3 player market? And will this spell more success for Windows-media based music subscription services like Napster?"
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