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Programming

California Can't Perform Pay Cut Because of COBOL 1139

beezzie writes "Last week, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered a pay cut, to minimum wage of $6.55/hr, for 200,000 state workers — because a state budget hadn't been approved yet. The state controller, who has opposed the pay cut on principle and legal grounds, now says the pay cut isn't even feasible because the state's payroll systems are so antiquated. He says it would take six months to go to minimum wage, and nine months more to restore salaries once a budget is passed. The system is based on COBOL, according to the Sacramento Bee, and the state hasn't yet found the funds or resources, in ten years of trying, to upgrade it." The article quotes a consultant on how hard it is to find COBOL programmers; he says you usually have to draw them out of retirement. Problem is, if there were any such folks on the employment rolls in California, Gov. Schwarzenegger fired them all last week, too.
Microsoft

Sweden's Vote on OOXML Invalidated 232

Groklaw Reader writes "Just days after Microsoft's attempt to buy the Swedish vote on OOXML came to light, SIS declared its own vote invalid. The post at Groklaw references a ComputerWorld article with revelations from Microsoft: 'Microsoft Corp. admitted Wednesday that an employee at its Swedish subsidiary offered monetary compensation to partners for voting in favor of the Office Open XML document format's approval as an ISO standard. Microsoft said the offer, when discovered, was quickly retracted and that its Sweden managers voluntarily notified the SIS, the national standards body. "We had a situation where an employee sent a communication via e-mail that was inconsistent with our corporate policy," said Tom Robertson, general manager for interoperability and standards at Microsoft. "That communication had no impact on the final vote." ...'"
PC Games (Games)

Vista Games Cracked to Run on XP 376

Next Generation is reporting that Vista PC games have been cracked to run under XP. Hacking groups who apparently wanted to play new titles like Shadowrun and Halo 2 with driver support have taken it upon themselves to open up the playing field a bit. "The news is sure to irk Microsoft who may now face an increased delay in some consumers adopting Vista at this early stage. However, it shouldn't come as a surprise. Earlier this month Falling Leaf Systems said in a press release that it believed Microsoft was deceiving consumers by stating that the titles would only work on Vista, and announced its intentions to release compatibility software to disprove the claim. 'Microsoft has, in typical Microsoft fashion, decided to launch their forced migration onslaught in full force with the release of two games that will only run on Windows Vista,' said Falling Leaf Systems CEO Brian Thomason in the press release." Relatedly, Mitch Gitelman of the (now closed) FASA Studios has taken exception to negative reviews of Shadowrun.
Media

CSS of DVDs Ruled 'Ineffective' by Finnish Courts 222

An anonymous reader writes "The CSS protection used in DVDs has been ruled "ineffective" by Helsinki District Court. This means that CSS is not covered by the Finnish copyright law amendment of 2005 (based on EU Copyright Directive from 2001), allowing it to be freely circumvented. Quoting the press release: ' The conclusions of the court can be applied all over Europe since the word effective comes directly from the directive ... A protection measure is no longer effective, when there is widely available end-user software implementing a circumvention method. My understanding is that this is not technology-dependent. The decision can therefore be applied to Blu-Ray and HD-DVD as well in the future.'"
America Online

AOL Security Compromised by Teenager 99

Freaky_Friday wrote with a link to an InfoWorld article about a teenage kid accessing customer information at AOL. The alleged criminal trespass began late last year, and extended up through early April. According to the article, the guy used some 'off-the-shelf' hacking software he downloaded online to gain access to, and then transmit information from, AOL's systems. "The complaint states that Nieves admitted to investigators that he committed the alleged acts because AOL took away his accounts. 'I accessed their internal accounts and their network and used it to try to get my accounts back,' the defendant is quoted as saying in the complaint. He also admitted to posting photos of his exploits in a photo Web site, according to the complaint ... If the defendant was honest about his motivation in his reported confession, it's safe to assume that he wasn't interested in stealing data for financial gain, [Managing director of technology at FTI Consulting Mark] Rasch said. Still, it'll be interesting to find out what steps AOL is taking if customer data was in fact compromised, he said."

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