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Paramount to Drop HD DVD? 470

zeromemory writes "The Financial Times reports that " Paramount is poised to drop its support of HD DVD after Warner Brothers' recent backing of Sony's Blu-ray technology, in a move that will sound the death knell of HD DVD and bring the home entertainment format war to a definitive end." According to the Times, Warner Brother's recent defection to Blu-Ray allowed Paramount to terminate their exclusive relationship with HD DVD. Universal Studios remains the only major studio to exclusively support the HD DVD format, though rumors have surfaced that their contract may also contain a termination provision similar to that exercised by Paramount."

Submission + - Microsoft Announces Offer to Acquire Fast Search &

frandr02 writes: "Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: "MSFT") today announced that it will make an offer to acquire Fast Search & Transfer ASA (OSE: "FAST"), a leading provider of enterprise search solutions, through a cash tender offer for 19.00 Norwegian kroner (NOK) per share. This offer represents a 42 percent premium to the closing share price on Jan. 4, 2008 (the last trading day prior to this announcement), and values the fully diluted equity of FAST at 6.6 billion NOK (or approximately $1.2 billion U.S.)."

Submission + - Most locks are worthless

The Courts

RIAA Admits ISPs Have Misidentified "John Does" 271

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The RIAA has sent out a letter to the ISPs telling them to stop making mistakes in identifying subscribers, and offering a 'Pre-Doe settlement option' — with a discount of '$1000 or more' — to their subscribers, if and only if the ISP agrees to preserve its logs for 180 days. Other interesting points in the letter (PDF): the RIAA will be launching a web site for 'early settlements,'; the letter asks the ISPs to notify the RIAA if they have previously 'misidentified a subscriber account in response to a subpoena' or become aware of 'technical information... that causes you to question the information that you provided in response to our clients' subpoena'; it notes that ISPs have identified 'John Does' who were not even subscribers of the ISP at the time of the infringement; and it requests that ISPs furnish their underlying log files, not just names and addresses, when responding to RIAA subpoenas."

Submission + - Mikhail Gorbachev Asks Bill Gates for a Pardon

Russian Art Buyer writes: "CNN is reporting that Nobel Peace Prize Mikhail Gorbachev has asked Bill Gates himself to show a teacher and a software 'pirate' mercy. From the article: "In an open letter, Nobel Peace Prize winner Gorbachev said the teacher, Alexander Ponosov, from a remote village in the Urals, should be shown mercy because he did not know he was committing a crime." All this amidst Russia's crackdown on software/mp3 piracy."

Submission + - Court rules GPS tracking NOT illegal

An anonymous reader writes: t-sly-gps-tracking-isnt-unlawful/ [b]Court rules that sly GPS tracking isn't unlawful[/b] It's one thing to offload (illegally) a dozen or so GPS units from a storage facility and beg the police to nab you by leaving them turned on, but for the boys in blue to slide a tracking device into your ride to keep dibs on your doings, well that's another matter entirely. Earlier this month, the Seventh Circuit of the US Court of Appeals "ruled against a defendant who claimed that the surreptitious placement of a GPS tracking device amounted to an unconstitutional search," essentially giving the coppers the green light to add a GPS module to a suspicious ride sans a warrant. While we're sure the privacy advocates out there are screaming bloody murder, the district judge found that they had had a "reasonable suspicion that the defendant was engaged in criminal activity," and it seems that a well-placed hunch is all they need for lawful placement. Interestingly, the government argues that no warrant was needed since "there was no search or seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment," but did add that "wholesale surveillance of the entire population" was to be viewed differently. So while this may come as a shock to some folks out there, it's not like your vehicles have been entirely devoid of data capturing devices up until now anyway, so here's fair warning to be on your best behavior when rolling about.
The Internet

Journal Journal: Comcast gets tough on HighSpeed Internet Customers.

I've been a Comcast customer nearly 4 years and have had a pleasant experience with them until recently. We received a phone call in December from someone claiming they were a Comcast rep to warn us of excessive bandwidth usage. After multiple calls to Comcast Customer Service that same day, we were told to ignore the call since their records said our account showed no issues.

Operating Systems

Submission + - Operation Cold Comfort

monkeyboythom writes: I noticed someone, a Dave Sullivan, had his own guerrilla marketing of Linux (specifically Ubuntu) during a Microsoft Vista launch event:

This week, Microsoft announced the global consumer release of both Windows Vista, and Office 2007. In Toronto, they celebrated with a media-exclusive event at Yonge & Dundas Square, which is the Toronto equivalent to Times Square. This week, from Tuesday to Saturday, they have a tent set up called the "Microsoft Canada Ice House," where live demos and talks are being held open to the public.

Seeing an opportunity, I immediately posted about this to the Ubuntu Canada mailing list, and a discussion has broken out. Unfortunately, we don't have any CDs, but we'd like to hang out around the lineup next to the Ice House, demonstrating Ubuntu on laptops and handing out literature. David Patrick of the linuxcaffe is also the owner of a 10-foot inflatable Tux which we'd also like to employ for this event.

With the 10 foot penguin raised, they called it a success. Link:

Flickr page: 57594514735917/

Submission + - Online BS degrees

An anonymous reader writes: I'm currently attending DeVry University. I'm taking all of my classes online. DeVry is pretty expensive. I'm wondering how valuable my CIS degree from DeVry will be. Do any of you have a degree from DeVry? Is it a rip-off? I currently have a 4.0 GPA, and I feel that I'm learning a lot. I just want to know how seriously people will take the degree I'm spending $58K on.

Submission + - Could X-ray scanners work on the street?

Zebadias writes: X-ray cameras that would "undress" passers-by in a bid to thwart terrorists concealing weapons, could be coming to a street near you, according to reports at the BBC. Aside from the obvious privacy issues, would such a plan work?

Submission + - Food Network using subliminal advertising?

spoco2 writes: "Is the Food Network using subliminal advertising now? From the always interesting Something Awful forums comes this interesting nugget:

"I was sitting around waiting for Battlestar Galactica this evening watching Iron Chef America. I had seen the commercials for tonight's episode, and it looked neat so I set it up to record. Towards the end, when they're going over the iron chef and the challenger's entries a McDonalds logo popped up for a single frame."
There's a video of the offending portion."

Submission + - Pretexting Now Illegal

Investigative Lead writes: "Pretexting, better known as lying, is now illegal thanks to a law signed by President Bush last week. While the new law doesn't address many of the other times private investigators may lie in order to gather private information, it at least stops them from gathering telephone records under false pretenses. The bill itself was introduced late last year, but only finally got the necessary support after the HP spying scandal broke, where they used PIs on their own board members in order to identify press leaks. Anyone trying some of those techniques now could end up with a maximum of 10 years in prison."

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