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Music

Why Starting a Legal Online Music Vendor Is Tough 214

Hodejo1 writes "Former MP3.com CEO Michael Robertson offers commentary at The Register saying any attempts to build a sanctioned digital music site today is doomed from the outset. 'The internet companies I talk to don't mind giving some direct benefit to music companies. What torpedoes that possibility is the big financial requests from labels for "past infringement," plus a hefty fee for future usage. Any company agreeing to these demands is signing their own financial death sentence. The root cause is not the labels — chances are if you were running a label you would make the same demands, since the law permits it."
Google

Some Developers Leaving Google For Microsoft 685

recoiledsnake writes "We have heard about lots of talented developers jumping ship from Microsoft to Google, but is the trend beginning to turn? Dare Obasanjo (a Microsoft employee) writes about a few high-profile people picking Microsoft over Google — either making the jump directly, or choosing Microsoft after receiving offers at both. Sergey Solyanik is back to Microsoft and he primarily gripes about the culture and lack of career development at Google. He writes, 'Everything is pretty much run by [engineering] — PMs and testers are conspicuously absent from the process. Google as an organization is not geared — culturally — to delivering enterprise class reliability to its user applications.' Danny Thorpe, who was the key architect of Google Gears, is back at Microsoft for his second stint working on developer technologies related to Windows Live."
Social Networks

A Cautionary Tale of Open Source Social Technologies 330

eweekhickins writes "The 'country' drop-down menu on one organization's donations pages omits Israel as a country and includes 'Palestine.' Among other things, this means that Israelis can't donate to the organization from these pages; it also presents the risk of a PR nightmare for the organization. This EWeek story cautions that while basic Web 2.0 technologies combined with open source can be incredibly powerful and productive, they can also lead to disastrous results for an organization that isn't paying close enough attention."
Software

Pidgin Controversy Triggers Fork 1104

paleshadows writes "Pidgin, the premier multi-protocol instant messaging client, has been forked. This is the result of a heated, emotional, and very interesting debate over a controversial new feature: As of version 2.4, the ability to manually resize the text input area has been removed; instead, it automatically resizes depending on how much is typed. It turns out that this feature, along with the uncompromising unwillingness of the developers to provide an option to turn it off, annoys the bejesus of very many users. One comment made by a Professor that teaches "Collaboration in an Open Source World" argued that 'It's easy to see why open source developers could develop dogmas. [...] The most dangerous dogma is the one exhibited here: the God feature. "One technological solution can meet every possible user-desired variation of a feature." [...] You [the developers] are ignoring the fan base with a dedication to your convictions that is alarmingly evident to even the most unobservant of followers, and as such, you are demonstrating that you no longer deserve to be in the position of servicing the needs of your user base.'" Does anyone besides me find this utterly ridiculous?
Science

Brain Study Calls Free Will Into Question 733

siddster notes an account up at Wired of research indicating that brain scanners can see your decisions before you make them. "In a study published Sunday in Nature Neuroscience, researchers using brain scanners could predict people's decisions seven seconds before the test subjects were even aware of making them... Caveats remain, holding open the door for free will... The experiment may not reflect the mental dynamics of other, more complicated decisions... Also, the predictions were not completely accurate. Maybe free will enters at the last moment, allowing a person to override an unpalatable subconscious decision."
Cellphones

iPhone's Development Limitations Could Hurt It In the Long Run 452

ZDOne writes "Apple might have finally come around to allowing third party developers to create applications for the iPhone, but only up to a point. ZDNet UK claims Apple is leaving itself vulnerable to the competition and to a loss of lustre by blocking background tasks on the device. The author notes, 'Perhaps it doesn't trust application designers or users very much. Perhaps it wants the best software for itself, where it can limit what it can do in order not to upset its telco friends. Whatever the reason, it reflects badly on Apple. The iPhone is not an iPod; it's a smartphone connecting to a universe of fast-changing data on behalf of innovation-hungry users. The sooner it stops pretending to be a 1981 IBM PC, the better it will be for everyone.'"
Portables

MacBook Air First To Be Compromised In Hacking Contest 493

Multiple readers have written to let us know that the MacBook Air was the first laptop to fall in the CanSecWest hacking contest. The successful hijacking took place only two minutes into the second day of the competition, after the rules had been relaxed to allow the visiting of websites and opening of emails. The TippingPoint blog reveals that the vulnerability was located within Safari, but they won't release specific details until Apple has had a chance to correct the problem. The winner, Charlie Miller, gets to keep the laptop and $10,000. We covered the contest last year, and the results were similar.

Microsoft or Apple - Who Is the Faster Patcher? 252

Amy Bennett writes "And the answer is... Microsoft. Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology analyzed 658 high-risk and medium-risk vulnerabilities affecting Microsoft products and 738 affecting Apple. They measured how many times over the past six years the two vendors were able to have a patch available on the day a vulnerability became publicly known, which they call the 0-day patch rate. What they found: 'Apple was below 20 [unpatched vulnerabilities at disclosure] consistently before 2005,' said Stefan Frei, one of the researchers involved in the study. 'Since then, they are very often above. So if you have Apple and compare it to Microsoft, the number of unpatched vulnerabilities are higher at Apple.'"

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