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China Readies Royalty-Free DVD Format 183

An anonymous reader writes with an InfoWorld article on China's new attempt to introduce a royalty-free format to rival the DVD. The article is not sanguine on China's chances of getting the EVD format used outside of its own borders (they tried once before in 2003). The submitter is more optimistic, asking: "Is this the future and the effective end of DRM — to be taken and co-opted by nation-states?" From the article: "The DVD player makers plan to switch to EVD (enhanced versatile disk) in an attempt to avoid paying patent royalties on the DVD format, according to published reports. The world's largest producers of DVD players, Chinese electronics companies would use the format instead of standards such as MPEG-4. Last week, 20 top manufacturers including Haier announced their plans to switch from DVD to EVD entirely by 2008, according to a report in China Economic News."

iPod Has Nothing To Fear From Slow-Starting Zune 422

narramissic writes, "Looks like Apple's iPod has nothing to fear from Zune this holiday season. In a research note published Tuesday, PiperJaffray senior research analyst Gene Munster writes that 'during its launch week on Nov. 16, Zune held the seventh spot on online retailer Amazon.com's top 10 best-selling MP3 players list, and it fell from that spot to 13 on the list only five days after launch, on Nov. 20.' Even worse, only 8% of retailers surveyed by PiperJaffray recommend the Zune to customers, while 75% recommend Apple's iPod." The article notes Apple's 5-year headstart in the portable player market and Microsoft's stated intention to invest heavily in the Zune over the next several years.
It's funny.  Laugh.

MPAA Goes After Home Entertainment Systems 402

philba writes to tell us that home theaters may become the new jurisdiction of our MPAA overlords. The MPAA is lobbying to make sure that home users authorize their entertainment systems before any in-home viewings. From the article: "The MPAA defines a home theater as any home with a television larger than 29" with stereo sound and at least two comfortable chairs, couch, or futon. Anyone with a home theater would need to pay a $50 registration fee with the MPAA or face fines up to $500,000 per movie shown."
Portables

Thailand Government Cancels OLPC Participation 196

patiwat writes "Thailand's new junta-appointed Education Minister has cancelled Thailand's participation in the One Laptop Per Child project and scrapped a plan to give a 2B1 laptop to every primary school student. He has also cancelled plans to roll out computers and a broadband connection to every single school in Thailand. The cancellation of half a million scholarships for needy students is being studied. He cited the lack of readiness of teachers and the need to focus on basic education standards. "We will not focus too much on technology and materials. We will focus on substance," he said. This comes on the heels of the cancellation of the Thai government's open source policy."
United States

Submission + - Suppressing the amateur scientist

Fogg writes: According to the Wired article Don't Try This at Home, it has gotten to the point where selling a decent chemistry set in the U.S. is illegal, performing real experiments in high school chemistry class is becoming rare, and selling standard reagents from a website can result in a raid by the feds (as happened to the amateur scientist's dream store United Nuclear).
In the past several years, the CPSC has gone after a variety of online vendors, demanding the companies require customers to prove they have a license to manufacture explosives before they can purchase any chemical associated with making them. Many of these compounds, however, are also highly useful for conducting science experiments. Sulfur, for example, is an ingredient in hydrogen sulfide, an important tool for chemical analysis. Potassium perchlorate and potassium nitrate are widely used in labs as oxidizers.
The CPSC's war on illegal fireworks is one of several forces producing a chilling effect on amateur research in chemistry. National security issues and laws aimed at thwarting the production of crystal meth are threatening to put an end to home laboratories. In schools, rising liability concerns are making teachers wary of allowing students to perform their own experiments. Some educators even speculate that a lack of chem lab experience is contributing to the declining interest in science careers among young people.
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft sensoring Digg content?

StaticShock writes: According to Daniel Eran (who writes the RDM magazine), it appears that Microsoft has been sensoring Digg content deemed unfavorable to their corporate image. He discusses this in a footnote to his recent article. Doing a quick search for his name or the name of his magazine turns up zero results on digg, which seems unlikely without intervention.

Voting Machine Glitches Already Being Reported 742

Neovanglist writes "CNN, FOX, and MSNBC are reporting that voting machines in three states (Ohio, Indiana, and Florida) have already been showing issues, both in the machines themselves and in the training of poll attendants, causing many districts to switch to paper ballots." From the article: "Voters put the Republican congressional majority and a multitude of new voting equipment to the test Tuesday in an election that defined the balance of power for the rest of George W. Bush's presidency. Both parties hustled to get their supporters out in high-stakes contests across the country, Democrats appealing one more time for change, and appearing confident the mood was on their side. Republicans conceded nothing as their vaunted get-out-the-vote machine swung into motion." If you're in the U.S., and you haven't voted already, go do it!

MSN Music Purchases Not Compatible with Zune 453

lewiz writes "The BBC is reporting that music purchased at MSN Music will not play on the new Zune music player." From the article: "The problem has arisen because tracks from the MSN Music site are compatible with the specifications of the Plays For Sure initiative. This was intended to re-assure consumers as it guaranteed that music bought from services backing it would work with players that supported it. MSN Music, Napster, AOL Music Now and Urge all backed Plays For Sure as did many players from hardware makers such as Archos, Creative, Dell and Iriver. In a statement a Microsoft spokesperson said: 'Since Zune is a separate offering that is not part of the Plays For Sure ecosystem, Zune content is not supported on Plays For Sure devices.'"

OpenSourcing Yourself, Are You Ready? 191

An anonymous reader writes "Many people love and use open source software. Open source has made an impact in just about every place imaginable; education, hardware, coke, beer, cell phones, pharmaceuticals, search engines and encyclopedias. However, OpenHuman takes it one step further and invites you to open source yourself to experiment with the open human idea. This may sound crazy and rife with privacy concerns but as the author asks, do you still believe in Internet privacy in the age of blogs, MySpace, LinkedIn, Meetup, and Flickr?"

Sony's Karakker On Turning Around PS3 Buzz 209

simoniker writes "Sony's new PR boss Dave Karakker has been talking about his challenges handling publicity for the PlayStation 3, explaining how Sony will be switching things up: 'We were allowing media to drive the message for us, and interpret it for us. So allowing someone like Peter Moore, who's a good friend of mine, to stand up there and say negative things about Sony, there wasn't anybody refuting that. People just took that for face value. Now we're very aggressively defending our turf.' He also defend the lack of universal achievements on PS3: 'Frankly, how I view it is I don't care if you're great at Madden if I'm playing you in Resistance. Because that doesn't tell me you're that much better in Resistance. An overall score doesn't really tell me much, it tells me you've spent a lot of time online, it tells me you spend a lot of time playing games, but it doesn't tell me how good you are at a particular game.'" Should be noted that Simoniker is a former Slashdot editor -- also, the AP write-up about reactions to the PS3 is quite positive.

Saddam Hussein Sentenced to Death 1003

indraneil writes "Saddam Hussein has been sentenced to death along with his half brother. Three Baath party officials charged with Hussein in the killings of 148 Shiite civilians have been sentenced to 15 years in prison, while a fourth has been cleared. He is to be hanged inside 30 days from now. Saddam Hussein has been given 10 days to appeal against the decision. His lawyer has warned to a bloodbath if the sentence is carried out."

Diebold Demands That HBO Cancel Documentary 514

Frosty Piss writes "According to the Bloomberg News, Diebold Inc. is insisting that HBO cancel a documentary that questions the integrity of its voting machines, calling the program inaccurate and unfair. The program, 'Hacking Democracy,' is scheduled to debut Thursday, five days before the 2006 U.S. midterm elections. The film claims that Diebold voting machines aren't tamper-proof and can be manipulated to change voting results. 'Hacking Democracy' is 'replete with material examples of inaccurate reporting,' says Diebold. 'We stand by the film," said a spokesman for HBO. 'We have no intention of withdrawing it from our schedule. It appears that the film Diebold is responding to is not the film HBO is airing.'"

Want To Know About the New Apple MacBook Pro? 310

An anonymous reader writes to tell us about an extremely helpful user who is answering questions from all comers about the new MacBook Pro. "A few days ago, a user by the name 'bcavanau' posted on the macrumors.com forums that he had just picked up a new MacBook Pro. Forum members started asking him about features, specifications, and benchmarks. He was happy to oblige, posting responses to everyone's questions. Eventually the forum thread got out of hand, and he set up a website devoted to answering the questions. If you have a question that hasn't already been answered, email him at the address on the site. He is responding daily and sometimes within minutes. This guy is dedicated. Thanks 'bcavanau', you get two thumbs up." The link to the site is cached via the Coral Content Distribution Network.

Bug Pushes Vista Out to November 8th 285

IntelliAdmin writes "Microsoft originally targeted October 25th for Vista's release to manufacturing, but a last-minute bug that 'took most of the Vista team by surprise' has caused an unexpected delay, said Ethan Allen, a quality assurance lead at a Seattle high-tech company that tests its products for Vista. Allen said the Vista team discovered the bug, which 'would totally crash the system, requiring a complete reinstall'. Vista now has a new RTM date of November 8th" A reader wrote in to point out this story originated with Paul Thurrott.

Finger Pointing Over iPod Windows Virus 293

rs232 writes sent us some choice quotes in the finger pointing over the iPod's that recently shipped with a virus on them. "It's not a matter of which platform the virus originated [on]. The fact that it's found on the portable player means that there's an issue with how the quality checks, specifically the content check, was done," Poon wrote in a blog entry. and "Steve, if you need someone to advise on how to improve your quality checks, feel free to contact me 8)."

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