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Rick Rubin Discloses Sony Rootkit Called Home 249

caffeinemessiah writes "Rick Rubin, the legendary music producer, recently signed on as co-head of Columbia Records, which is owned by Sony BMG. In a recent New York Times interview (on pg. 4 of the online version), he discloses, possibly accidentally: 'It was the highest debut of Neil [Diamond]'s career, off to a great start. But Columbia — it was some kind of corporate thing — had put spyware on the CD. That kept people from copying it, but it also somehow recorded information about whoever bought the record...' Seems like the rootkit might have been a little more than your vanilla invade-your-rights-DRM scheme."

Vista SP1 Coming In Q1 2008 254

Many readers sent in word of Microsoft's announcement of the schedule for Vista SP1. The Beskerming blog has a good summary. Up to 15,000 people will get access to a beta of SP1 by the end of September; general release is targeted (not promised in stone) for early 2008. The service pack is said to improve performance and stability, not to add features.
United States

Pirate Banned From Using Linux 698

dsinc writes "A guy who uploaded the latest Star Wars movie got arrested, pleaded guilty to 'conspiracy to commit copyright infringement' and 'criminal copyright infringement' and got jail and home confinement. As part of his home confinement, he agreed to install some tracking software on his computer. The problem is He's an Ubuntu Linux user and the gov't doesn't have any tracking software for Linux. So he's been told that he must use Windows for the term of his confinement. Looks like a case of cruel and unusual punishment to me"
Linux Business

Turns Out Ubuntu Dell Costs $225 More 361

An anonymous reader writes "One week ago this community discussed the apparent price advantage of Ubuntu Dell over Vista. The article linked to a Dell IdeaStorm page with the status: 'Implemented.' Today the status has changed on that page to 'Reneged: Ubuntu Dell is $225 More Than Windows Dell.' The full price of a Ubuntu Inspiron 1420N is indeed $50 cheaper than the identical hardware configuration with Vista — except that a $275 free upgrade to 2GB memory and a 160-GB hard drive is available for Windows only."

Submission + - Microsoft, IBM, admit feelin heat from Google Apps (

jbrodkin writes: "Microsoft and IBM executives admitted they are feeling pressure from Google now that the Web search giant is targeting the business market with a set of communication and collaboration tools. The statements reflect Google's growing influence beyond the consumer market. soft-ibm-google-apps.html?page=1"

InkJet Printers Lying, Or Just Wrong? 461

akkarin writes in about a study reported at Ars Technica on how accurate ink-jet printers are when they report that cartridges are empty. Not very, it turns out. Epson came out on top of the study (and Ars rightly questions how objective it was, given that Epson paid for it), but even they waste 20% of the ink if users take the printers' word for when to get a new cartridge. On average, the printers in the study wasted more than half the ink that users bought.

Submission + - Google to build $600M data center in Western Iowa (

wlandman writes: "Google will build a $600 million data center in western Iowa, Gov. Chet Culver announced Tuesday. The Internet leader has already begun construction on a 55-acre site in Council Bluffs, across the Missouri River from Omaha, Neb. The center is expected to create about 200 jobs with an average salary of about $50,000."
The Courts

The Privacy of Email 133

An Anonymous Coward writes "A U.S. appeals court in Ohio has ruled that e-mail messages stored on Internet servers are protected by the Constitution as are telephone conversations and that a federal law permitting warrantless secret searches of e-mail violates the Fourth Amendment. 'The Stored Communications Act is very important,' former federal prosecutor and counter-terrorism specialist Andrew McCarthy told United Press International. But the future of the law now hangs in the balance."

Submission + - IRC+ plans to revolutionise IRC with Services RFC (

An anonymous reader writes: "IRC is dying... the biggest nets are losing their users. Why? Because there are lots of other chats: the messengers, jabber, ICQ, MSN... The clock is ticking, but IRC is still in a good position. It is still a kind of command-line application. You have to remember the commands to register nicks, channels, whilst writing many complex commands to auto-identify. There are lots of channels and user modes, etc — it is too complex for new users."

"IRC+ is a new standard for IRC services. Services will be forced to use similar replies, easy to parse by a script, IRC client developer or botmaker."


Submission + - Say NO to the M$ OpenXML format as an ISO standard (

magesor writes: "Say NO to the Microsoft Office format as an ISO standard

There is a petition that I just copy here:

I ask the national members of ISO to vote "NO" to the ballot on the Microsoft Office OpenXML (OOXML) specification to become an ISO standard for the following reasons:
  1. There is already a standard ISO26300 named Open Document Format (ODF): a dual standard adds cost to industry, government and citizens;
  2. There is no provable implementation of the OOXML specification: Microsoft Office 2007 produces a special version of OOXML, not a file format which complies with the OOXML specification;
  3. There is missing information from the specification document, for example how to do a autoSpaceLikeWord95 or useWord97LineBreakRules;
  4. More the 10% of the examples mentioned in the standard do not validate XML conformity;
  5. There is no garantee that anybody can write a software that fully implements the OOXML specification without being liable to patent damages or patent license fees;
  6. This standard conflicts with other ISO standards, such as ISO 8601 (Representation of dates and times), ISO 639 (Codes for the Representation of Names and Languages) or ISO/IEC 10118-3 (cryptographic hash);
  7. There is a bug in the spreadsheet file format which forbids to enter any date before the year 1900: such bugs affects the OOXML specification as well as software versions such as Microsoft Excel 2000, XP, 2003 or 2007.
  8. This standard has not been created by bringing together the experience and expertise of all interested parties (such as the producers, sellers, buyers, users and regulators), but by Microsoft alone.
EOOXML objections


Submission + - MIT Media Lab Releases New Programming Language

An anonymous reader writes: Efforts to make computer programming accessible to young people began in the late 1970s with the advent of the personal PC, when another programming language with roots at MIT — Logo — allowed young people to draw shapes by steering a turtle around a screen by typing out commands. But the path to mastering most programming languages has been strewn with obstacles, since students needed to figure out not only the underlying logic but also master a brand new syntax, observe strict rules about semicolons and bracket use, and figure out what was causing error messages even as they learned the program. By contrast, Scratch — a free download at — is easy enough for kindergarten-age children to use.
United States

Submission + - Indian software firms abusing H1B visas?

An anonymous reader writes: It's not a big surprise and is in fact a known fact that a bunch of Indian IT companies, that have opened offices in the US , engage in outright abuse of H1B visas by bringing "highly-skilled" workers from India. From this Times-of-India article, "As the US Senate gets ready to take up the comprehensive immigration reform legislation, the two top law makers — Republican Senator Charles Grassley and Democratic Senator Richard Durbin — said "more and more it appears that companies are using H-1B visas to displace qualified, American workers." The companies the senators sent letters to were Infosys Technologies, Wipro Ltd., Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., Patni Computer Systems, I-Flex Solutions Inc., Satyam Computer Services Ltd., Larsen & Toubro Infotech Ltd., Tech Mahindra Americas Inc. and Mphasis Corp. As if outsourcing of jobs to India wasn't enough, these companies are setting up shops right here in the US to bring in cheap labour resulting in lower wages and displaced American workers.

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