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Microsoft

Microsoft Applies For "Digital Manners" Patent 289

SirLurksAlot writes "Ars Technica reports that Microsoft has recently applied for a patent for a technology which would attempt to enforce manners in the use of cell phones, digital cameras, DVRs and other digital devices. According to the article, the technology could be used to bring common social conventions such as 'No flash photography' and 'No talking out loud' to these devices by disabling features or disabling the device entirely. The article also points out that the technology could be implemented in situations involving sensitive equipment, such as in airplanes or hospitals. The patent application itself is also an interesting read, as it describes a number of possible uses for the technology, including 'in particular zones to limit the speed and/or acceleration of vehicles, to require the use of lights, to verify an indication of insurance coverage and/or current registration, or the like.' While this technology could certainly be of interest to any number of organizations one has to wonder how the individuals who own devices which obey so-called 'Digital Manners Policies' would feel about it."
Microsoft

Windows Media Center Restricts Cable TV 448

PrescriptionWarning writes "With the latest Media Center Edition update from Microsoft, I and many others are finding that content available on television is now completely unwatchable from Media Center. The message states: 'Restricted Content: Restrictions set by the broadcaster and/or originator of the content prohibit playback of the program on this computer.' A simple search on the subject reveals that HBO programming and, in my case, Braveheart on AMC are among the many selections now restricted for playback or recording by Windows Media Center Edition. What's next, restricting every piece of programming on television?"
The Courts

Repair Computer, Repurchase OS? 453

An anonymous reader asks: "Recently, I have been bit by a computer repair on an e-Machines computer that involved a system board replacement. Though this was strictly a repair, not an upgrade, neither MS or e-Machines will provide for activation of the system. Why should a user have to purchase another copy of XP after repairing a computer? The system board is listed on the e-Machines website, but costs 4x what an off-the-shelf board with the same chip-set/capabilities costs, and furthermore is not actually available. The e-Machines rep even said repurchasing XP was my only option. This seems to me patently unfair and of questionable legality. Is it possible that there are enough disgruntled consumers bit by this problem to generate a class-action lawsuit?"

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