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Music

Submission + - RIAA victim Jammie Thomas needs a new lawyer 1

newtley writes: "Minnesota mother Jammie Thomas, the first RIAA victim to actually appear in court, is now urgently looking for a new lawyer to represent her in her appeal. She was ordered to pay close to $250,000 in damages after the RIAA alleged she'd infringed copyrighted music files. Now, "Sad news!" — says her blog. "Brian Toder and his law firm are only representing her for the remitter motion currently before the court and not for the appeal due to lack of funds. She confirmed that the donations collected here are still going into her legal defense fund and will be used to finance her appeal. She is now in search of a capable attorney ready to take the appeal either pro bono or for what is raised through fundraising efforts. If you can help, please contact Jammie by email: jammie [at] freejammie [dot] com." In the Bush administration's most blatant support of the commercial music industry yet, the US Department of Justice filed a brief defending the constitutionality of the $9,250-per-song-file jury verdict."
Linux Business

Where Linux Gained Ground in 2007 203

christian.einfeldt writes "Computer scientist and media maven Roy Schestowitz takes a look at platforms where GNU Linux gained the most ground in 2007. In a thorough review which is the first of a two-part series, Schestowitz looks at trends in supercomputers, mobile phones, desktops, low-end laptops and tablets, consoles, media players and set-top boxes. Schestowitz finds that GNU Linux solidified its dominant grip on supercomputers; made huge gains in low-end laptops and tablets; won major OEM and retail support on the desktop; gained new entries into game consoles; and also spawned new businesses in set-top boxes while holding its ground in pre-existing product lines. He sums it all up by saying that '2007 will be remembered as the year when GNU/Linux became not only available, but also properly preinstalled on desktops and laptops by the world's largest companies.'"
It's funny.  Laugh.

Dvorak Looks Back At 'Another Crappy Tech Year' 253

twitter writes "The Vista Death Watch is PC Magazine's most popular column. That is just one of many items in Dvorak's review of yet another 'disappointing' year in Technology. 'I was not a fan of 2007. It was another crappy tech year--just the latest in a string of bad years dating back to 2000. Let's see some of the highlights and lowlights in no particular order ... The whopper for Intel, though, was its Viiv initiative, which was a dog from the get-go and was dropped--finally. Somewhere along the way, Intel bought into the Silicon Valley crock that CPUs were not important any more. What a laugh. Luckily for the company, it refocused on processor chips and found itself in the driver's seat once again. Of course, Intel will fall off the path again, of that you can be sure.'"
Power

Submission + - 50% growth in solar production in 2007 to 3.8 GW (earthpolicy.org)

mdsolar writes: "Solar cell production experienced 50% growth worldwide producing 3.8 GW of cells in 2007. In the US, installation of solar power grew by 83% in 2007 over 2006 but the US fell to fifth place in solar cell production as Taiwan pulled into fourth place after Japan, China and Germany. The US holds a large lead in thin film solar production. Expanding polysilicon supplies are expected to bring the cost of solar panels to $2/Watt by 2010. The cost of production for thin film panels is expected to be below $1/Watt by 2010; competitive with coal power."
Linux Business

Submission + - Microsoft Paid Novell $356 Million in '07

Anonymous writes: At the end of this piece at Channelweb.com, it's reported that Microsoft paid Novell $355.6 million last year as part of their "interoperability" deal. It's no small wonder, then, that Novell executives are saying the deal has been a huge success so far.
The Internet

Submission + - Maine Congressional Candidate Groks Net Neutrality (dailykos.com)

wd-41 writes: "Ethan Strimling is a candidate for Congress in Maine's 1st Congressional District. Just as Maine's Senator Olympia Snowe has, Strimling has made net neutrality a priority. His recent post about net neutrality on the political blog, dailykos, has just been called to my attention. Setting aside the politics of that particular blog, it's a pretty interesting statement coming from a politician.

The difference between a non-neutral and a neutral network is stark. It is the difference between a strip mall and a town square. It is the difference between people as consumers and people as citizens. Consumers consume, but citizens communicate, collaborate, and create. . . .We stand at a crucial time in the evolution of the Internet. There is currently a great tension between those who would consolidate and control the Internet, and those of us who want to see the Internet continue to grow and thrive as a distributed and decentralized medium for communication, collaboration, and democratic participation.
What do others think about what he's saying? Does it sound like he gets it more than other politicians?

link: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/12/30/193147/70/454/427705"

The Almighty Buck

Child's Play Breaks a Million Bucks 81

Utoxin noted that Child's Play has raised the bar for their annual games for hospitals charity. They say "Not only did we break the million dollar mark, but we decimated it with our new total of $1,135,000! This significant achievement made this holiday season a happier, brighter one in our fifty partner hospitals. To everyone who has contributed to this amazing milestone, thank you! The hospital wish lists are still online, and some have seen new items added. While we try to get lots of new games and more to the children in time for the holidays, the hospitals have a need for equipment year-round. Likewise, we will continue to accept donations through Amazon, PayPal and the mail until next year's fundraiser kicks off."
Censorship

Submission + - Mandatory internet filters to protect children (abc.net.au) 5

CaptainDefragged writes: Just announced on the Australian ABC News site Senator Conroy says it will be mandatory for all internet service providers to provide clean feeds, or ISP filtering, to houses and schools that are free of pornography and inappropriate material. ... Senator Conroy says anyone wanting uncensored access to the internet will have to opt out of the service, and will work with the industry to ensure the filters do not affect the speed of the internet.
Windows

PCWorld Says Firefox is Strong, Vista is Weak 395

twitter writes "PC World has released their year in review statistics and 2007 was not kind to Microsoft. IE 6 users are equally likely to move to Firefox as they are to IE7 and no one wants Vista. 'How much of an accomplishment is it for a new version of Windows to get to 14 percent usage in 11 months? The logical benchmark is to compare it to the first eleven months of Windows XP, back in 2001 and 2002. In that period, that operating system went from nothing to 36 percent usage on PCWorld.com--more than 250 percent of the usage that Vista has mustered so far.'"
Biotech

Submission + - Life in extreme environments

Roland Piquepaille writes: "U.S. biologists have developed a model mapping the control circuit governing a bacteria named Halobacterium salinarum, which can live in extremely salty environments, and that can survive to radiation which would be deadly to most other organisms. Their model shows how these bacteria adapt themselves in response to their environment. According to the biologists, 'this study marks the first time researchers have accurately predicted a cell's dynamics at the genome scale.' This research effort is 'an important milestone for the new field of systems biology,' but could also lead to new ways of engineering biofuels and pharmaceuticals. But read more for additional references and a photograph showing how Halobacteria can give a reddish color to San Francisco bay salt ponds."
AMD

Future AMD GPUs To Be More 'Open-Source Friendly' 180

skaroo writes "Phoronix is reporting that future AMD GPUs will be more open-source friendly. After AMD started releasing their GPG specifications to the open-source community, questions arose whether there would be information covering the Unified Video Decoder (UVD) found on the Radeon HD 2000 graphics cards. The UVD information is needed in order for hardware-accelerated video playback, but it likely cannot be opened due to DRM. However, an AMD representative said that moving to a modular UVD design is a requirement for future GPUs and that they will be more open-source friendly. They will also be opening the video acceleration information for their earlier graphics cards."
Music

Submission + - RIAA Insanity-Suing People For Ripping CD's They P (fastsilicon.com) 2

mrneutron2003 writes: "With this past weeks announcement by Warner to release its entire catalog to Amazon in MP3 format with no Digital Rights Management, you would think that the organization that represents them, The Recording Industry Association of America , would begin changing its tune. However in an inane display of hubris and futility, the RIAA presses on in it's tirade against the very consumers its partners rely on buy (we're not making this up) suing individuals who merely rip CD's they've purchased legally.

The Washington Post reports on the case being fought by a Scottsdale Arizona man, Jeffrey Howell, who is being taken to task for ripping his own store bought CD's to his PC as a violation of copyright.

Now, in an unusual case in which an Arizona recipient of an RIAA letter has fought back in court rather than write a check to avoid hefty legal fees, the industry is taking its argument against music sharing one step further: In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.
If the RIAA is successful here, it is safe to say that the overwhelming majority of American music consumers will soon be classified as criminals under the law for attempting to use media they've legally purchased in a manner they desire.
http://www.fastsilicon.com/off-the-wall/riaa-insanity-suing-people-for-ripping-cds-they-purchased.html"

Government

Submission + - CIA analyst addresses public in Portsmouth, NH (fosters.com)

How To Get Your Ex Back writes: "The story was first reported in The Portsmouth Times Newspaper, a small town paper and not online. The article, Former CIA Analyst Says Evidence Abounds for Impeachment, has been relayed to online new sites. Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst, addressed a group of people in Portsmouth, NH, December 17th, with evidence relating directly to the non-evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the President's desire to invade and cover up the truth. "Don't let anyone tell you the President was deceived by false intelligence ... they knew," McGovern said. Mr. McGovern is also supported by Dennis Kucinich, a lagging but hopeful Democratic Presidential Candidate. "The argument for impeachment is overwhelming," Randy Kezar of Kingston said after the event. "Impeachment is constitutionally required.""
Microsoft

Submission + - Office 2003SP3: Old file formats, now unavailable! 3

time961 writes: "In Service Pack 3 for Office 2003, Microsoft has disabled support for many older file formats, so if you have old Word, Excel, 1-2-3, Quattro, or Corel Draw documents, watch out! They did this because the old formats are "less secure", which actually makes some sense, but only if you got the files from some untrustworthy source.

Naturally, they did this by default, and then documented a mind-bogglingly complex workaround (KB 938810) rather than providing a user interface for adjusting it, or even a set of awkward "Do you really want to do this?" dialog boxes to click through. And, of course, because these are, after all, old file formats, many users will encounter the problem only months or years after the software change, while groping around in dusty and now-inaccessible archives.

One of the better aspects of Office is its extensive compatibility mechanisms for old file formats. At least the support isn't completely gone—it's just really hard to use. Security is important, but there are better ways to fulfill this goal.

This was also covered by the Windows Secrets newsletter, although I can't find a story URL for it."

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