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New Wii Menu Update Targets Homebrew Again 258

Nintendo has tried to block homebrew during firmware updates in the past, often unsuccessfully. Now, as it rolls out version 4.3 of the Wii System Menu, stopping homebrew modifications once again seems to be its primary goal. From Nintendo's support site: "Because unauthorized channels or firmware may impair game play or the Wii console, updating to Wii Menu version 4.3 will check for and automatically remove such unauthorized files." Since it's hard to bill that as an upgrade, they vaguely add, "In addition, there are some behind the scenes enhancements that do not affect any prominently-used features or menus but will improve system performance."

Nintendo Wins Lawsuit Over R4 Mod Chip Piracy 146

schliz writes "The Federal Court has ordered an Australian distributor to pay Nintendo over half a million dollars for selling the R4 mod chip, which allows users to circumvent technology protection measures in Nintendo's DS consoles. The distributor, RSJ IT Solutions, has been ordered to cease selling the chip through its site and any other sites it controls, as well as paying Nintendo $520,000 in damages."

Apple Patches Massive Holes In OS X 246

Trailrunner7 writes with this snippet from ThreatPost: "Apple's first Mac OS X security update for 2010 is out, providing cover for at least 12 serious vulnerabilities. The update, rated critical, plugs security holes that could lead to code execution vulnerabilities if a Mac user is tricked into opening audio files or surfing to a rigged Web site." Hit the link for a list of the highlights among these fixes.

Tower Switch-Off Embarrasses Electrosensitives 292

Sockatume writes "Residents in Craigavon, South Africa complained of '[h]eadaches, nausea, tinnitus, dry burning itchy skins, gastric imbalances and totally disrupted sleep patterns' after an iBurst communications tower was put up in a local park. Symptoms subsided when the residents left the area, often to stay with family and thus evade their suffering. At a public meeting with the afflicted locals, the tower's owners pledged to switch off the mast immediately to assess whether it was responsible for their ailments. One problem: the mast had already been switched off for six weeks. Lawyers representing the locals say their case against iBurst will continue on other grounds."

The Murky Origins of Zork's Name 70

mjn writes "Computational media researcher Nick Montfort traces the murky origins of Zork's name. It's well known that the word was used in MIT hacker jargon around that time, but how did it get there? Candidates are the term 'zorch' from late 1950s DIY electronics slang, the use of the term as a placeholder in some early 1970s textbooks, the typo a QWERTY user would get if he typed 'work' on an AZERTY keyboard, and several uses in obscure sci-fi. No solid answers so far, though, as there are problems with many of the possible explanations that would have made MIT hackers unlikely to have run across them at the right time."

Mega Man 10 Confirmed For WiiWare 104

The upcoming issue of Nintendo Power revealed that Capcom is working on Mega Man 10 for a release via WiiWare sometime in the future. "Like Mega Man 9 (released for WiiWare in 2008), Mega Man 10 remains true to the series's roots with 8-bit-style graphics and sound, and tried-and-true Mega Man gameplay." According to the early look at Nintendo Power's article, the game may include an easier difficulty mode, likely inspired by complaints that the previous game was too hard. It also previews one of the new bosses, who is apparently called "Sheep Man." Make of that what you wool.

US Patent Office Fast Tracks Green Patents 136

eldavojohn writes "A new initiative is being piloted where 'green' patents are given special priority over other patents in the backlogged system. David Kappos (Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO) said, 'Every day an important green tech innovation is hindered from coming to market is another day we harm our planet and another day lost in creating green businesses and green jobs. Applications in this pilot program will see a significant savings in pendency, which will help bring green innovations to market more quickly.' The details of how you qualify for a green patent (PDF) are available with patent blogs offering opinions on this initiative."

The Frontier of the MMO Genre 92

Eurogamer is running a feature about what they call "frontier" MMOs, games that are on the fringe of a market flooded with attempts to replicate the success of Everquest and World of Warcraft. Many publishers already have more MMO projects than they know what to do with, and often leave the more unusual and unique games out in the cold, preferring to stick with familiar IP or a tried-and-true approach. "Like any gold-rush, the MMO market also attracts a different kind of adventurer: the fearless, inexperienced, determined and solitary dreamer, making a go of it on nothing but their own resources and pluck. The online distribution and direct revenue streams — be they subscriptions or micro-transactions — make it theoretically possible to make a mint in MMOs without any help from the gaming establishment at all." They take a brief look at several such games currently in development, including Earthrise, Gatheryn, and Global Agenda.

Comment Re:Actually he's right -- check out the REAL ID ca (Score 1) 288

1. All the talk about "tracking" is nonsense. An RFID anything has a range measured in inches normally. Stuff it in your wallet sandwiched in between more cards and it pretty much won't work.

Until the next technology comes along -- then you can be tracked with all the range they want. But by then it will be too late to argue about it and you would just look like one those "tinfoil hat" types or a "conspiracy kook" if you questioned it. All Americans want to be tracked to help their government fight "terrorism", don't they?

There are limits on the signal to noise ratio and distance, and you can greatly reduce the readability with a commercially available sleeve. Or a piece of tinfoil. Like the kind you currently use for your hats ;). They can keep adding more and more expensive and sensitive technology, you just need to keep adding sheets of aluminum foil to your shield. It would be the stupidest arms race ever.

3. What's the application though? If it is just border crossings, then do border crossings have the infrastructure to process a contactless card?

The application is -- you guessed it -- remote tracking. The newest U.S. Passports as of July of this year all have RFID chips in them as well. It's not perfect, but yet another baby step on the way to "total information awareness" on citizens, just like the East Germans had but without all the fancy technology. It's a pilot program, testing the waters regarding citizen resistance, and inching it into general acceptance. There was a huge revolt against the REAL ID program, so think of this as a "reboot" of that program.

The passports are including a chip so that we can retain our visa-waiver status with European countries. They don't trust paper travel documents anymore, and they require anyone traveling there to either have a secure Schengen visa or a document from your home country that they think is secure enough. If you ever get concerned about the "remote tracking," wrap more layers of aluminum foil around your passport and ID.

4. Accidentally leaving the card inside a microwave oven while you are warming coffee would harm the chip, so don't ever do that.

That's right. As soon as they get enough of these things in circulation, you will need them to get on airlines, go in government buildings, or maybe pass "illegal immigrant checkpoints". If your RFID chip was disabled, that might mean that you are an illegal immigrant, or a terrorist, or that you just like standing in long lines and being searched thoroughly.

The REAL ID program would have gone into effect on May 11 of this year, except that it was such a tremendous threat against the rights of our citizens that many states openly revolted against it. The REAL ID was an "enhanced drivers license" and you would have needed it to get on airplanes or enter government buildings nationwide by now. The Department of Homeland Security had a deadline of May 13 of this year, and yes, they were planning to put an RFID chip in the REAL ID card as well. Google it -- it's everything that you are arguing that this identical program is not, and it was a planned nationwide program before it got derailed.

I have no problem with a secure document that proves my identity, as long as I can shield it when not in active use. If I don't trust the shielding that the government provides, I can use my own. I have no problem with biometric authentication on the document, as long as the enrollment data is a token on the card and not in a central government database. Both of those are covered in the new passports, so I don't have a problem with it.

Where I do have a problem is that the breeder documents AREN'T as secure. We can't trust biometric passports from some crazy eastern European country if anyone can show up with two photoshopped printouts and get enrolled with a new name. The most secure document in the world is useless if you weren't able to prove the identity in the first place.

What you *should* be on the lookout for are programs with central biometric databases. Having a US passport like this allows you to visit Europe without getting a Schengen visa, which uses a central duplicate check and database to store your fingerprints.

There's a tough balance there though, since not having a biometric duplicate check makes the documents less valuable, since anyone can have duplicate ids under different names if they can come up with breeder documents. If you're concerned about centrally stored biometrics, contact your congress-critter and tell them that. But you're not going to get much traction against a strong identification document that can only be used when you take it out of 15 layers of aluminum foil.

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