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Media (Apple)

Submission + - iPod Classic lookalike firmware for iPod Video

omega21 writes: Recently, the some developers at have modified some original iPod video firmware to mimic the interface and look of the new Classic and Nano iPods. Among other things, the menus are now split with a mini now playing screen on the right with album art. It is definitely capable of fooling people into thinking you upgraded! It is available for free.

Submission + - Start-up business

iamnotat writes: "I'm 18 (Just completed my freshman year as a CS/Math double major) and as a summer job I'm considering starting up a computer repair/upgrade service for my neighborhood and for the last few days I've been drafting up a business plan. While doing this I've run across some problems: primarily how and when the customer should be paying for the service. I think I should be charging by the hour of work done by the computer so that I can run a test and work on other computers at the same time. I talked to my parents and they didn't like that plan because it would make all jobs equal. They suggested a menu type system for prices. Another problem is should I get liability insurance in case someone tries to bring me to small claims court if I "ruin" their PC? Does anyone have any experience with this?"

Submission + - 10 Reasons why you should not rely on Windows Defe (

Nick Zara writes: "Windows Defender is a free antispyware software (it comes with Windows XP and Vista) that is supposed to protect your pc against spyware. But why do so many people choose other third party software? Today it's time to reveal 10 reasons that make Microsoft's program not good enough to deliver effective protection."

White House E-mail Scandal Widens 839

Spamicles alerts us to a report just issued (PDF) by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. At least 88 White House officials used Republican National Committee email accounts for government business. The RNC has destroyed at least some of the emails from 51 of those officials. Law requires emails sent by officials to be stored or recorded. There is evidence that White House lawyers and the (current) Attorney General knew of this but did not act to stop it. From the article: "These e-mail accounts were used by White House officials for official purposes, such as communicating with federal agencies about federal appointments and policies... Given the heavy reliance by White House officials on RNC e-mail accounts, the high rank of the White House officials involved, and the large quantity of missing e-mails, the potential violation of the Presidential Records Act may be extensive."

Submission + - How to Stop Pirates: Ask Nicely

BillGatesLoveChild writes: When Trey Harrison found his music lighting software 'Salvation' had been pirated, he was taken aback. Being an Independent Software Developer, there wasn't much he could do. So he contacted the Warez Group and asked them nicely. They wrote back and said sorry, that they at least hoped more people got to see it and that in accordance with his wishes, they wouldn't release it again.

But what of the Anti-Piracy tool "Armadillo Software Passport" that was supposed to have protected Trey's Software? Unlike the Pirates who responded straight away, Trey says he never heard a peep back from Armadillo. Seems the Pirates have better "customer support" than the Anti-piracy agents!

Of course, "Ask Nicely" may not work for the RIAA who as Orson Scott Card's famous essay pointed out have perhaps irreversible ill-will due to their history of ripping off artists and consumers and buying off Congressmen. But for smaller companies and independents, perhaps it's worth a try? There's even hope for the industry heavies. Mark Ishikawa of Anti-P2P Company BayTSP says 85% of people he sends a gentle warning on behalf of the MPAA "do not come back, with no headlines and no public relations blowups."

Could a softly-softly approach work better for IP owners that heavy-handed threats and lawyers?

Submission + - Fixing the U.S. Patent System

An anonymous reader writes: For most of us, a billion dollars is a lot of money. I use the phrase "for most of us" because, according to Alpha magazine (April 2007), last year three hedge fund managers each took home well in excess of $1 billion (yes, Billion with a "B"). Here's another number for you: in total, the top 25 earners on Alpha's list pulled in more than $14 billion in 2006, equivalent, the magazine reported, "to the GDP of Jordan or Uruguay." In case you were wondering, the mega-earners were James Simons of Renaissance Technologies ($1.7 billion), Kenneth Griffin of Citadel Investment Group ($1.4 billion), and Edward Lampert of Sears Holdings ($1.3 billion). For the rest of us, whose W-2 forms do not have a 10-digit number in the box labeled "income," the dollar amounts involved in two patent infringement cases over the past year seem astonishingly high. In February, a California jury ruled that Microsoft must pay Alcatel-Lucent $1.52 billion for infringing two MP3 audio compression patents in software added to Microsoft's Windows Media Player. (Microsoft plans to appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington state). This action follows last year's $612.5 million settlement between Research in Motion (RIM) and NTP. To avert a possible court-ordered shutdown of its BlackBerry system, RIM paid the equivalent of a year's worth of revenue to the small Virginia-based patentholding firm, which had sued RIM claiming the BlackBerry infringed on several of its patents. Stung by the scope of these awards, the high tech community has gone on the offensive in calling for reform of the U.S. patent process, which has long been criticized as stifling rather than promoting innovation while serving to elicit lawsuits that extort large settlements. At the heart of the matter is the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), an agency commonly described as overwhelmed and unable to keep pace with new and developing technology. As of mid-2005, the average length of time it would take to reach a first action on the merits of a new application in the area of control circuits was 44 months, for computer security it was 39 months, and for medical instruments 46 to 54 months. In all, there is an estimated backlog at USPTO of over 675,000 patent applications, a number that is expected to rise to nearly 800,000 by year's end. While funding for the USPTO has increased in recent years allowing the agency to hire 1,200 new people per year to its patent examiner corps, legislative changes are also needed. Congress to the rescue? eName=FAMSUsPatent.July2007.html

Submission + - Sand Grain sized RFID chips (

enderanjin writes: "The diamond ring of the future will radiate its unique beauty — quite literally — thanks to a minuscule radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip embedded in it. Scientists at Hitachi Research Labs in Japan have devised the smallest RFID tag ever, just 0.05 millimeter by 0.05 millimeter, tinier than a grain of sand."
Data Storage

Submission + - Short-Run Data Entry?

iluvcapra writes: "I recently came into the possession of about a hundred paper handwritten pages with tabular data, which I'd like to get into some kind of computer format (tab-delimited or XML would be fantastic, but any open database format would be good too. OCR wouldn't work, the handwriting is a little too fiddly, and I don't think I could hack a program that would properly interpret.

I'd rather not type the data in myself, I'd be happy to pay someone to do it. Is anyone aware of services on the web or in general that would take my stuff as a PDF and send me back a text file? I know there are services out there, but they seem to be oriented toward bulk and repeat business, and I'm really just looking for a one-time deal, and particularly I was looking for a reference and a story about how it all worked out."

Submission + - Fast-Moving Web Threat Spreads Around The World

Adam writes: HNS has a story about an accelerating infection in Italy of seemingly legitimate web pages loaded with malicious code that could plant a keylogger to steal user passwords, or turn computers into proxy servers for various other attacks. Tens of thousands of users worldwide have already accessed compromised URLs, oblivious to the threat as a result of their natural web surfing activity. The initial HTML malware takes advantage of a vulnerability in so-called "iFrames" that are commonly used on websites and commonly exploited.

Submission + - Big brother is watching you drive (

np_bernstein writes: "I initially heard about this on Seattle's Local NPR station: The Seattle-Tacoma bridge's Speedpass travel data will be available for 8.5 years to Law enforcment & subpoena. This just seems like an unnecessary exposition of private data, and potentially sets a precident for storing other electronic traffic data like Traffic Signals. Fortunately it's only speed pass users, so is in a sense "opt in".

Each time a driver uses the Good to Go automatic toll transponder system, a series of cameras will snap 24 photos of the vehicle as a computer system creates a record detailing the date and time of the trip. ... Drivers can request their own toll information from the Transportation Department, she said. Under state law, the only other people with access will be law enforcement investigators who subpoena the data and attorneys who request the data through court order, Matkin said.


Submission + - 'Italian job' Web attack hits 10,000 sites

maximus1 writes: Online criminals have installed malware on more than 10,000 Web sites over the past few days, primarily in Italy, according to Trend Micro Inc. and Websense Inc. Infected Web sites contain a short piece of HTML "iFrame" code that redirects the victim's Web browser to a server that attempts to infect the victim's computer using a tool called MPack which installs a keylogger and a Trojan downloader program on compromised PCs. Insiders refer to the attack as the "Italian Job" which refers to the Michael Caine heist film.

Submission + - Trials of Reverting a Notebook from Vista to XP

penguin_dance writes: "As if you need another reason to hate Microsoft or Vista, here's another one: They made it virtually impossible to delete Vista and install Windows XP. But part of the blame needs to go to the hardware manufacturers who have apparently removed their XP drivers.

Thor Schrock's blog tells how the team did it which involves a lot of hassles trying to find the right drivers.

Obviously it would be better to buy the laptop with Windows XP (or even better, nothing, installed.) Which begs the question, "Where's the best place to buy an up-to-date laptop without Vista?" (not a mac, please.)"

Submission + - World Videogame Culture

Anonymous Coward writes: "GWN writes: "Crashing through the immense cultural barriers that separate the world's gamers is something every developer has been trying to accomplish ever since Nintendo first used Donkey Kong to seduce America. But no matter how close they might get, and no matter how many games unexpectedly capture the attention on an unintended market, the complex parameters of cross-cultural appeal seem altogether too intricate to quantify."

Read the full feature article here."

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