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E-Passport Cloned In Five Minutes 259

Last month a panel of EU experts warned that the e-Passport's security is "poorly conceived", and in fact a week later a British newspaper demonstrated a crack. Now another researcher has shown how to clone a European e-Passport in under 5 minutes. A UK Home Office spokesman dismissed it all, saying "It is hard to see why anyone would want to access the information on the chip."

Novell Gets $348 Million From Microsoft 308

An anonymous reader writes, "Novell has published additional details about its agreements with Microsoft concerning Windows and Linux interoperability and patents. It seems the company is receiving an up-front payment of $348 million from Microsoft, for SLES subscription certificates and for patent cross-licensing. Microsoft will make an upfront payment to Novell of $240 million for SLES subscription 'certificates' that Microsoft can use, resell, or distribute over the term of the agreement. Regarding the patent cooperation agreement, Microsoft will make an up-front net payment to Novell of $108 million, and Novell will make ongoing payments totaling at least $40 million over five years to Microsoft."

How Much Does a Vista Upgrade Cost? 321

dptalia writes "Microsoft has rolled out its Vista upgrade program, where people can buy a qualifying PC with XP today and upgrade to Vista later for free. This article talks about what free really means. Some companies, such as Dell, charge $45 for converting to Vista Home from XP home. And then comes the question of actually trying to upgrade your computer... Is "free" really worth it?"

2006 Election Maps Mashups 105

John Fitzpatrick writes, "Search Engine Watch has an article on the launch this week of map-based search tools to follow the 2006 Congressional elections, from both Google Earth and the map-based real estate site HotPads.com. The Google Earth Blog notes the release of two election-oriented layers outlining the borders of the congressional districts and linking to Google News articles related to the different races. And HotPads is offering the 2006 Election Edition. From their blog: 'The 435 congressional districts are outlined on HotPads Maps, with red and blue designating the party affiliation of the districts' current Representatives. By clicking on the districts' "I" buttons..., users can view quick facts about the districts including the current Representatives and the candidates in November's contests. By clicking on the quick facts bubble, users can get more detailed information [from] Wikipedia articles with detailed information about the candidates and the close races.'"

Do Big Screens Make Employees More Productive? 472

prostoalex writes "If your company uses 17" or 19" monitors, 30" monitors will make the employees more productive, Apple-sponsored research says. MacWorld reports: "Pfeiffer's testing showed time savings of 13.63 seconds when moving files between folders using the larger screen — 15.7 seconds compared to 29.3 seconds on the 17-in. monitor — for a productivity gain of 46.45 percent. The testing showed a 65.09 percent productivity gain when dragging and dropping between images — a task that took 6.4 seconds on the larger monitor compared to 18.3 seconds using the smaller screen. And cutting and pasting cells from Excel spreadsheets resulted in a 51.31 percent productivity gain — a task that took 20.7 seconds on the larger monitor versus 42.6 seconds on the smaller screen."" Calling such task-specific speed jolts "productivity gains" seems optimistic unless some measure of overall producivity backs up that claim, but don't mention that on the purchase order request.

NSA Publication Indices Declassified 76

Schneier is reporting that a 3 year old freedom of information act request has finally come to fruition showing us indices from the NSA Technical Journal, Cryptographic Quarterly, Crytologic Spectrum, and Cryptologic Almanac. From the article: "The request took more than three years for them to process and declassify -- sadly, not atypical -- and during the process they asked if he would accept the indexes in lieu of the tables of contents pages: specifically, the cumulative indices that included all the previous material in the earlier indices. He agreed, and got them last month. Consider these bibliographic tools as stepping stones. If you want an article, send a FOIA request for it. Send a FOIA request for a dozen. There's a lot of stuff here that would help elucidate the early history of the agency and some interesting cryptographic topics."

Apple Goes After the Term 'Podcast' 419

Udo Schmitz writes "Earlier this year, Apple went up against companies using the word 'pod' in their product names. Now, Apple is going after the term 'podcasting'. Wired has the complete text of Apple's cease-and-desist letter to Podcast Ready." From the article: "Robert Scoble -- whose own company, PodTech, may be at risk in this witch hunt -- has weighed in on the issue by suggesting that the tech community as a whole adopt other terms like "audiocast" and 'videocast' (or alternately, 'audcast' and 'vidcast') to describe this type of content, while other folks feel that fighting Apple and generating a ton of negative press for Cupertino is the best solution. Our take? Apple should be happy that its golden goose is getting so much free publicity, and if it isn't, we know of several companies that probably wouldn't mind if zencast, zunecast, or sansacast became the preferred terminology."

MS Planning Free Web-Based Business Software 132

nieske writes "In response to Google Apps for Your Domain, Microsoft is also planning to release free web-based business software. The software will be ad-supported, but a paid, ad-free version will also be available. From the article: 'Revenue from software licenses for Office and the Windows operating system accounts for a bulk of Microsoft revenues. The challenge for Microsoft will be to make sure a free or, possibly, a subscription-supported version of Works won't hurt sales of its dominant Office software, which accounted for a quarter of the company's $44 billion in sales last year.' Would you choose an ad-supported online version of Microsoft Office over other free options like OpenOffice or Google Apps for Your Domain?"

Verizon Steps in to Fix Microsoft's IPTV 96

NYGiant writes "Microsoft IPTV isn't cutting it for Verizon, Ars Technica reports, so they've taken over parts of the project. Verizon is in a rush to perfect its IPTV service, which is based on Microsoft's IPTV software. The problem is that to run well, Microsoft's software needs more memory than Verizon's set top boxes ship with. From the article: 'Under the terms of that deal, Verizon would use Microsoft's Foundation Edition middleware stack. Microsoft would also supply a set of customer-facing applications. While Foundation Edition remains in use by Verizon, the development of the other applications was taken over by Verizon engineers.'"

Microsoft Research Builds 'BrowserShield' 226

SteelyBen writes "Researchers at Microsoft have completed work on a prototype framework called BrowserShield that promises to intercept and remove, on the fly, malicious code hidden on Web pages, instead showing users safe equivalents of those pages. The BrowserShield project, an outgrowth of the company's 'Shield' initiative, could one day even become Microsoft's answer to zero-day browser exploits such as the WMF (Windows Metafile) attack that spread like wildfire in December 2005."

Canadian Copyright Group Seeks To License the Net 149

An anonymous reader writes "A new Toronto Star article from Michael Geist not only describes why Canadian Ministers of Education are pushing a copyright proposal that will harm Internet access, but also reveals how a copyright group is seeking to create a new license for Internet content. Access Copyright, a copyright collective, wants to use a new international text standard to license everything from books to blogs. Geist outlines in his blog how Canadians can fight back against these bonehead proposals."

SanDisk MP3 Players Seized in MP3 Licence Dispute 299

MrSteveSD writes "According to the BBC, German officials have seized Sandisk's MP3 players at the IFA show in Berlin. The Italian company Sisvel claims that Sandisk has refused to pay license fees for the MP3 codec. Sisvel President Roberto Dini has said that Sandisk could get an edge over competitors by not paying the fees. How much are proprietary format licensing fees pushing up the cost of consumer goods?"

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