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Television

Conflict of Interest May Taint DTV Delay Proposal 339

Posted by timothy
from the hard-to-find-true-disinterest dept.
Anonymous writes "Ars Technica has discovered that one of the Obama transition team members advising on the digital TV transition has a conflict of interest that would benefit WiMAX carrier Clearwire over Verizon. 'Barack Obama's call to delay the DTV transition would affect not only millions of analog TV viewers, but also powerful companies with a vested interest in the changeover date — including at least one with an executive on Obama's transition team.'"
The Internet

What Do You Do When the Cloud Shuts Down? 203

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the more-to-think-about dept.
jbrodkin writes "Can you trust your data to the cloud? For users of an online storage service called The Linkup, formerly known as MediaMax, the answer turned out to be a resounding 'no.' The Linkup shut down on Aug. 8 after losing access to as much as 45% of its customers' data. 'When we looked at some individual accounts, some people didn't have any files, and some people had all their files,' The Linkup CeO Steve Iverson admits. None of the affected users will get their lost data back. Iverson called it a 'worst-case scenario.'"
Media

The One-Use, Self-Destructing DVD Returns 561

Posted by kdawson
from the renting-a-media-experience-while-polluting-too dept.
BonrHanzon writes "Looks like DivX (the stupid one, not the codec) has been resurrected in the form of Flexplay. Staples will be selling these movie disks for 5 bucks a pop at the checkout counter. The disks can be played in any DVD player, but a special adhesive will render the disk unplayable 48 hours after the package has been opened. As if our landfills weren't already overflowing with enough crap." The blog post notes that Flexplay has actually been around for 5 years; the Staples distribution deal is what's new.
The Courts

Should RIAA Investigators Have To Disclose Evidence? 216

Posted by Zonk
from the special-rules-for-special-people dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "A technology battle is raging in UMG v. Lindor, a court case in Brooklyn. The issue at hand is whether the RIAA's investigator SafeNet (the company that acquired MediaSentry) now needs to disclose its digital files, validation methodology, testing procedures, failure rates, software manuals, protocols, packet logs, source code, and other materials, so that the validity of its methods can be evaluated by the defense. SafeNet and the RIAA say no, claiming that the information is 'proprietary and confidential'. Ms. Lindor says yes, if you're going to testify in federal court the other side has a right to test your evidence. A list of what is being sought (pdf) is available online. MediaSentry has produced 'none of the above'. 'Put up or shut up' says one commentator to SafeNet."
Privacy

US Democrats Accidentally Publish Whistleblowers' Email Addresses 352

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the oh-whoops-our-bad-honest dept.
iluvcapra writes "The US House Judiciary Committee recently emailed all of its potential whistleblowers information about how it was restructuring its whistleblower program. Unfortunately for its sources, it emailed them this information with their addresses in the "To:" field (and not the Bcc: field) It also cc:'d this email to the Vice President. I'd like to think think this is some sort of ingenious subterfuge, but I'm doubtful."
Music

Juror From RIAA Trial Speaks 918

Posted by kdawson
from the tell-us-what-you-really-think dept.
Damon Tog notes a Wired blog posting featuring quotes from a juror who took part in the recent RIAA trial. Some excerpts: "She should have settled out of court for a few thousand dollars... Spoofing? We're thinking, "Oh my God, you got to be kidding."... She lied. There was no defense. Her defense sucked... I think she thought a jury from Duluth would be naive. We're not that stupid up here. I don't know what the f**k she was thinking, to tell you the truth."
Privacy

Sony Developing Gigapixel Satellite Imaging 101

Posted by Zonk
from the hello-up-there dept.
holy_calamity writes "Sony and the University of Alabama are working on a gigapixel resolution camera for improved satellite surveillance. It can see 10-km-square from an altitude of 7.5 kilometres with a resolution better than 50 centimetres per pixel. As well as removing annoying artefacts created by tiling images in Google Earth and similar, it should allow CCTV surveillance of entire cities with one camera. 'The trick is to build an array of light sensitive chips that each record small parts of a larger image and place them at the focal plane of a large multiple-lens system. The camera would have gigapixel resolution, and able to record images at a rate of 4 frames per second. The team suggests that such a camera mounted on an aircraft could provide images of a large city by itself. This would even allow individual vehicles to be monitored without any danger of losing them as they move from one ground level CCTV system to another.'"
Censorship

Yes Virginia, ISPs Have Silently Blocked Web Sites 204

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the something-to-think-about dept.
Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton writes "A recurring theme in editorials about Net Neutrality -- broadly defined as the principle that ISPs may not block or degrade access to sites based on their content or ownership (with exceptions for clearly delineated services like parental controls) -- is that it is a "solution in search of a problem", that ISPs in the free world have never actually blocked legal content on purpose. True, the movement is mostly motivated by statements by some ISPs about what they might do in the future, such as slow down customers' access to sites if the sites haven't paid a fast-lane "toll". But there was also an oft-forgotten episode in 2000 when it was revealed that two backbone providers, AboveNet and TeleGlobe, had been blocking users' access to certain Web sites for over a year -- not due to a configuration error, but by the choice of management within those companies. Maybe I'm biased, since one of the Web sites being blocked was mine. But I think this incident is more relevant than ever now -- not just because it shows that prolonged violations of Net Neutrality can happen, but because some of the people who organized or supported AboveNet's Web filtering, are people in fairly influential positions today, including the head of the Internet Systems Consortium, the head of the IRTF's Anti-Spam Research Group, and the operator of Spamhaus. Which begs the question: If they really believe that backbone companies have the right to silently block Web sites, are some of them headed for a rift with Net Neutrality supporters?" Read on for the rest of his story.
Science

Scientists Find 'Altruistic' Center of the Brain 223

Posted by Zonk
from the be-nice-brainy dept.
davidwr writes "A team of researchers at Duke University published a paper linking the brain's posterior superior temporal cortex to altruistic behavior. The BBC also picked up the story. If confirmed this has applications in neurology, psychology, child-rearing, and a host of other domains. From the BBC piece: 'Using brain scans, the US investigators found this region related to a person's real-life unselfish behaviour. The Duke University Medical Center study on 45 volunteers is published in Nature Neuroscience. The participants were asked to disclose how often they engaged in different helping behaviours, such as doing charity work, and were also asked to play a computer game designed to measure altruism.'"
Television

+ - Dutch analog television over the air stopped

Submitted by
Koos
Koos writes "In the night between 10 and 11 December 2006, the terrestrial analogue TV transmitters for the Netherlands were switched off, and digital (DVB-T) transmitters took over (page in Dutch!).

For 55 years analogue over-the-air television was available in the Netherlands (history page in Dutch!). The switch to digital was prompted by European regulations pushing the switch to digital and because of the running costs of the high-power VHF and UHF transmitters. The Netherlands was the first country to end analogue terrestrial television broadcast.

About 74000 to 200000 (estimates differ) households depend on terrestrial broadcast for receiving television. In this densely populated country cable tv is available almost everywhere. Satellite receivers are used a lot by people wanting more channels.

The interesting part about the switch was that the same channels used by the old analogue transmitters were going to be occupied by the DVB-T transmitters, so very little testing for correct reach and signal could be done before the switch. Some tests with DVB-T were seen in the previous weeks. DVB-T was available already in the 'Randstad' (area in the west of the country, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and all the cities in between) but transmitters closer to our borders have to be set up not to interfere with German and Belgium transmitters."

A Hands-On Zune Review 279

Posted by Zonk
from the zunetastic dept.
jayintune writes "2old2play.com got the chance to sit down with Microsoft's new media player, the Zune, to give some comments and insight into the players User Interface, Video Playback, Music Sharing, as well as software and setup." From the article: "I had expected the player to be fairly heavy, but after holding the Zune in my hand it was clear that I was wrong. It is not as light as the latest video iPod, but compared to my fourth-generation iPod, the Zune was lighter. The top of the Zune had a clear glass layer while the exterior had a tactile feel to it, nothing like the hard metal and plastic of the iPod devices. The 'skin' of the Zune was a 'rubberized' material that had a smooth seductive feel to it. I found myself unable to stop stroking the device, so much that the demo assistant asked me to put it down."

Opera to Start Phoning Home? 197

Posted by Zonk
from the they-know-what's-good-for-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Near the end of a story about Opera's determination to stay in the game: 'Earlier this week, Opera announced an addition that will keep it in step with its rivals. Johan Borg, a developer working on the browser, said Tuesday in a blog that the next edition, Opera 9.1, will include beefed up anti-phishing and anti-fraud features. Rather than simply indicate that a site is secure with a notation in the address bar, Opera 9.1 will also query Opera-owned servers for information on any site visited. Those that Opera has identifies as fraudulent will be automatically blocked by the browser.'"

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