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Microsoft

Microsoft Slaps Its Most Valuable Professional 474

Posted by kdawson
from the schizophrenic-is-one-word-for-it dept.
Violent Offender writes with a touching story in The Register about Microsoft's awarding of its Most Valuable Professional credential to a British hobbyist, Jamie Cansdale, then turning around and threatening him with a lawsuit for the very software that won him the award. The article links to the amazing correspondence from Microsoft on Cansdale's site.
Microsoft

Jack Thompson Sues Microsoft 574

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the try-not-to-get-laughed-out-of-court-again dept.
An anonymous reader writes to mention that Jack Thompson, in his latest bout of zealotry, has set his sights on Microsoft for their recent release of Halo 3. GameAlmighty has posted the letter to Bill Gates. "Here's the deal, Mr. Gates: Either Microsoft undertakes dramatic, real steps, through its marketing, wholesale, and retail operations to assure that Halo 3 is not sold, via the Internet and in stores, directly to anyone under 17, or I shall proceed to make sure that Microsoft is held to that standard by appropriate legal means. I have done that before successfully as to Best Buy, and I shall do so again as to Microsoft and all retailers of Halo 3."
The Internet

Congress May Outlaw 'Attempted Piracy' 768

Posted by Zonk
from the i-see-what-you-were-trying-to-do-there dept.
cnet-declan writes "Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is asking Congress to make 'attempted' copyright infringement a federal crime. The text of the legislation as well as the official press-release is available online. Rep. Lamar Smith, a key House Republican, said he 'applauds' the idea, and his Democratic counterpart is probably on board too. In addition, the so-called Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2007 would create a new crime of life imprisonment for using pirated software in some circumstances, expand the DMCA with civil asset forfeiture, and authorize wiretaps in investigations of Americans who are 'attempting' to infringe copyrights. Does this go too far?"
Music

Canadians Overpay Millions on Copyright Tax 144

Posted by Zonk
from the helping-the-man dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Michael Geist has up a post on his site about the Copyright Board of Canada's decision last week on the controversial private copying levy, which functions like a tax on blank media. The good news? The Board reduced the levy on certain media such as CD-R Audio, CD-RW Audio, and MiniDiscs. The bad news? The millions of dollars in overpayment from these media will go into the pockets of manufacturers, importers, and retailers, not back to the consumers who paid in the first place. 'In addition to the overpayment issue, the decision contains several interesting revelations ... the decision sheds some light on the CPCC's enforcement program. The collective has aggressively targeted those parties that do not pay the levy, with 21 claims over the past three years. In fact, the enforcement program has been so effective that the Board found that concerns about the emergence of a gray or black market for blank CDs has not materialized.'"
The Internet

Is Virtual Rape a Crime? 690

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the because-/quit-is-so-hard-to-type dept.
cyberianpan writes "Wired is carrying commentary on the story that Brussels police have begun an investigation into a citizen's allegations of rape in Second Life. For reasons of civil liberty & clarity we'd like to confine criminal law to physical offenses rather than thought crimes but already threats, menace & conspiracy count as crimes. Could we see a situation where our laws extend?"
The Internet

Illinois Bill Would Ban Social Networking Sites 293

Posted by kdawson
from the including-Obama's dept.
AlexDV writes "Library blogger Michael Stephens is reporting that an Illinois state senator, Matt Murphy (R-27, Palatine), has filed a bill that 'Creates the Social Networking Web site Prohibition Act. Provides that each public library must prohibit access to social networking Web sites on all computers made available to the public in the library. Provides that each public school must prohibit access to social networking Web sites on all computers made available to students in the school.' Here is the bill's full text." This local effort harks back to an attempt last May to get federal legislation banning school and library use of social networking sites (Wikipedia summary here). The DOPA bill passed the House but died in the Senate.
Science

An Early Warning System For Earthquakes 147

Posted by kdawson
from the whole-lotta-shakin' dept.
Iphtashu Fitz writes "Would 15 seconds be enough warning time to prepare for an earthquake? It certainly wouldn't be long enough to evacuate from where you live, but it may be just long enough to get out of a building or brace yourself in a doorframe or under a solid desk. Italian scientists may have discovered a way to measure the initial shockwave of an earthquake two seconds after it starts, and from it predict the extent of the destructive secondary wave that will follow. It typically takes twenty seconds for the secondary wave to spread 40 miles, so sensors that can transmit warnings at the speed of light may provide just enough warning before a major quake for people to brace themselves. Even more importantly, such a warning could allow for utilities like gas companies to close safety valves, preventing potential fires or explosions in the aftermath of the quake."
Businesses

Apples Are For Grannies? 432

Posted by Zonk
from the all-named-smith dept.
RoboJock writes "So much for Justin Long — the young, hip 'n' trendy face of the Apple Mac (as seen in the 'Mac vs. PC' ads) is even further removed from the average Mac owner than everyone suspected... By three or four decades. According to research discussed at Silicon.com, 'nearly half of Mac owners are 55 and older — that's almost double the share for average home-PC users.' It seems the young guns don't have the extra cash to stump up for smooth shiny aesthetics." From the article: "For the digital youth, high-street box shifter Gateway is the brand of choice, taking the number-one slot among PC buyers aged between 18 and 25. Dan Ness, principal at MetaFacts, said in a statement: 'Apple can claim long-time loyalists but its future among the young technoliterati is an interesting dynamic.'"

Stop Global Warming With Smog? 361

Posted by kdawson
from the now-there's-an-idea dept.
lkypnk writes, "The AP is reporting that Nobel Prize winning scientist Paul Crutzen has suggested deliberately spreading a layer of particulate matter in the upper atmosphere to help reflect some of the sun's energy in an effort to combat global warming. He reminds us that the eruption of the volcano Pinatubo in 1991 cooled the planet by as much as 0.9 degrees; he believes his computer simulations show a similar effect from deliberate injection of sulfur into the atmosphere by humans. Whatever the feasibility of the idea, as the president of the National Environmental Trust has said, 'We are already engaged in an uncontrolled experiment by injecting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.'" From the article: "'It was meant to startle the policy makers,' said [Crutzen]. 'If they don't take action much more strongly than they have in the past, then in the end we have to do experiments like this.' ... Serious people are taking Crutzen's idea seriously."
Education

More A's, More Pay 366

Posted by Zonk
from the teaching-to-the-paycheck dept.
theodp writes "Little slashdotters may find teacher a tad more upset when they screw up on a test. The Dept. of Education just launched the first federal program that uses bonuses to motivate teachers who raise test scores in at-risk communities, awarding $42M this month to 16 school systems. Any fears that teachers might cook the books to score a typical $5,000 payoff? Not to worry, says Chicago's school chief, there are statistical analyses in place that spot testing irregularities, presumably better at catching Cheaters than those used in the past."

Bruce Schneier On Perceived and Real Risks 324

Posted by Zonk
from the hit-me-with-your-best-shot dept.
prostoalex writes "Encryption guru Bruce Schneier takes a look at perceived and actual risks with some insightful commentary on how warped the public perception of risks may be: '...we worry more about anthrax (with an annual death toll of roughly zero) than influenza (with an annual death toll of a quarter-million to a half-million people). Influenza is a natural accident, anthrax is an intentional action, and the smallest action captures our attention in a way that the largest accident doesn't. If two airplanes had been hit by lightning and crashed into a New York skyscraper, few of us would be able to name the date on which it happened.'"

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."

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