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The Courts

RIAA Drops Tanya Andersen Case 164

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "After 2 years, the RIAA has finally dropped its longstanding case against disabled single mother Tanya Andersen in Oregon, Atlantic v. Andersen. The dismissal (pdf) relates merely to the RIAA's claims against Ms. Andersen, and does not relate to her (a) claim for attorneys fees or (b) counterclaims against the RIAA, which are presently before the Court on a motion to dismiss. The counterclaims were first interposed in December 2005. This is the same case in which the RIAA insisted on taking a face to face deposition of a 10 year old girl. Prior to the case, neither the mother nor the child had ever even heard of file sharing."
The Courts

Indecent Game Sales Now A Felony In New York 398

Gamespot reports on the final passing of New York senate bill A8696, legislation proposed just last week, that now makes it a serious felony to sell or rent a violent game to minors. The bill makes it illegal to sell a console without parental control options and establishes a group to second guess the ESRB's rating decisions. "'This bill is impermissibly vague,' EMA president Bo Andersen said in a statement. 'A8696 seeks to apply real-world standards of violence to the fictional and fanciful world of video games, an environment in which they have no meaning. As a result, retailers and clerks will not and cannot know with certainty which video games could send them to jail under A8696. It was depressing to hear members of the Assembly note the constitutional problems with the bill and then state that they were voting for it.'" The senate seems to have no fear of possible overturn of the bill, and claims it's only thinking of the children.
Operating Systems

Where Do You Go For Linux Training? 84

Spritzer writes "I work for a rather large corporation with multiple divisions around the world. Nearly all user computers in the company are Windows systems, and there is no plan to move to Linux in the future. However, a good many of our products are now designed to run on Linux systems for security and stability purposes. Obviously, the design/development teams are knowledgeable in the use of Linux operating systems. Unfortunately my field service teams are not, and their is no in-house training program. This has begun to affect our ability to provide efficient, quality service to customers when in the field. So, we need training and would prefer to stay away from online, self-paced courses and get our people some hands on training with an instructor. What training services have you used in the past to get people trained in the basics of using?"
Privacy

Why Web Pirates Can't Be Touched 402

gwoodrow writes "Forbes has a brief article about, essentially, the ultimate futility of fighting online pirates. From the article: 'As the world's largest repository of BitTorrent files, ThePirateBay.org helps millions of users around the world share copyrighted movies, music and other files — without paying for them ... That's illegal, of course — at least it is in the U.S. But when Time Warner's (nyse: TWX — news — people ) Warner Bros. studio accused them of breaking U.S. copyright law in 2005, the pirates gleefully reminded the movie company that they didn't live in America, but rather in the land of vikings, reindeer, Aurora Borealis and cute blond girls.' The article also touches on the many YouTube clones and AllofMP3.com."
Portables

A "Bill of Lights" to Restrict LEDs on Gadgets? 729

PetManimal writes "Mike Elgan has had it with useless lights on gadgets and computers. He singles out the Palm Treo and the Dell XPS gaming laptops as being particularly bad with the use of unnecessary lights, and also cites the plethora of LEDs on desktop PCs and peripherals. 'My PC and other computing equipment make my office look like a jet cockpit. I have two LCD monitors, each of which has two indicator lights that flash even when the PC is turned off. The attached sound control has a light on it. My keyboard has multiple lights. The power cord has lights, the printer has lights, and the power button is illuminated. My cable modem and Linksys router flash like crazy all the time. Together, these useless lights create a visual cacophony of blinking, multicolored lights that make me feel like I'm taking part in a NASA stress test for astronaut candidates.' Elgan calls on manufacturers to respect his 'Gadget Bill of Lights' to restrict the use of nag lights and allow users to turn them off. He also says the industry should pay more attention to industrial design when creating new products."
Privacy

Harvard Prof Says Computers Need to Forget 341

Jessamine writes "A Harvard professor argues that too much information is being retained by computers, and the machines need to learn how to forget things as humans always have. "If whatever we do can be held against us years later, if all our impulsive comments are preserved, they can easily be combined into a composite picture of ourselves," he writes in the paper. "Afraid how our words and actions may be perceived years later and taken out of context, the lack of forgetting may prompt us to speak less freely and openly." Will such massive databases make us all act like politicians? Is data retention creating a "panopticon"? These are questions that the good doctor raises."
Security

Vista's Troublesome UAC is Developer's Fault? 228

MythMoth wonders: "We've heard all about the pain and discomfort of working with Windows' User Account Control (UAC) switched on, but now Ian Griffiths is explaining that the developers are the problem — they brought it on themselves. In earlier articles we have heard that Microsoft think that everyone should do it like this — Ian does acknowledge that things are better in the Unix world, but is he right? Is the onus now on the developers to help fix a problem that they did not cause?" Rather than ask the user for permission on every operation, what other ways could Microsoft have improved Vista's security?
Handhelds

Ubuntu Mobile Announced 66

Placid writes "The BBC has up an article detailing the 'Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded' project which was announced by Matt Zimmerman, Ubuntu's CTO, on the Ubuntu developers mailing list. Zimmerman stated that 'These devices place new demands on open-source software and require innovative graphical interfaces, improved power management and better responsiveness.' According to the article, Intel will have their finger in the pie too, as they've recently announced a prototype device running Ubuntu. Part of the project's goal is to maximise the power saving abilities of a planned low-energy chip codenamed Silverthorn. The chip will be just one-seventh the size of normal chips, and consume only 10% of the power of existing processor. What does this mean for projects such as OpenMoko? Healthy competition, or the beginning of the end?"
Software

Would You Install Pirated Software at Work? 848

An anonymous reader asks: "I am an IT professional, and due to budget constraints, I have been told to install multiple copies of MS Office, despite offering to install OpenOffice, and other OpenSource Office products. Even though most of the uses are for people using Excel like a database, or formatting of text in cells, other programs are not tolerated. I have been over ruled by our controller, to my disagreement. I would never turn them in, but I am in tough place by knowing doing something illegal. I want to keep my job, but disagree with some of the decision making on this issue. Other than drafting a letter to the owners of the company on how I disagree with the policy, what else can I do?"
Power

Quantum Dot Recipe May Lead To Cheaper Solar Panels 205

Science Daily is reporting that scientists have developed a new method for cost-effectively producing four-armed quantum dots that have previously been shown to be particularly effective at converting sunlight into electrical energy. The discovery could clear the way for better, cheaper solar energy panels.
Privacy

Russia to Halt Public Access to .RU Whois Data? 97

An anonymous reader writes "A Domain Tools blog post is reporting on a Russian newspaper article regarding a provision of Russian law that would prohibit public access or posting of Whois data for the .RU TLD without written permission. The Personal Data law, which the article states went into effect on January 30, 2007, will require compliance by RosNIIROSa (www.ripn.net) by 2010."
Microsoft

Why Microsoft Will Never Make .NET Truly Portable 293

Michelle Meyers writes "Just days before Microsoft claimed to be making parts of the .NET CLR "available" to other platforms, NeoSmart Technologies had published an article bemoaning and blasting Microsoft's abuse of it's developers by pretending .NET was a true cross-platform framework when they're doing everything in their power to stop it from being just that. Of interest is NeoSmart's analysis of how Microsoft has no problem making certain portions of .NET available to Mac users — just so long as its distributed under an "open source" license that forbids any and all use of the code except for educational purposes — yet are terrified of the very thought of .NET being available to *nix users, even if that's to the benefit of .NET developers everywhere. Even more interesting is one of the comments on that article linking to legal documents in which Microsoft employees discuss the (im)possibility of creating a cross-platform code and UI framework, years before the .NET project even started!"
Power

New Jersey Turnpike As a Power Source? 264

New Jersites writes "New Jersey, home of the eponymous Jersey barrier, is considering wind turbines powered by the breeze generated from traffic on the Jersey Turnpike. The wind turbines won't be built on the side of the highway. They will be built inside — what else? — the Jersey barriers. By replacing sections of solid concrete with Darius turbines, they might be able to harvest enough energy to power a light-rail line."

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