RealNetworks is soon going to tread the perilous waters of DVD copying. The company has announced that it is going to release RealDVD, an application for making digital copies of DVDs. Although DVD copying applications have been available for long, RealDVD will be the first such tool to be released by a major company.
RealNetworks is fully convinced that there won't be a strong case against it, if the company is ever dragged to court over the software. RealDVD will come with certain restrictions to prevent its use for piracy. "We have put in significant barriers so people don't just take this and put it on peer-to-peer networks," RealNetwork's Robert Glaser told NYT. However, he did not spill the beans on the exact nature of the curbs. RealDVD will carry a $30 price tag.
Nothing is worse than when the government decides to levy another tax someplace. Newegg customers of New York were irked on June 1, 2008 when they found out that Newegg was being required to collect sales tax to orders sent to New York, even though Newegg doesn’t have a store there.
However, Newegg has backed away from that stance, sending out an email from Newegg Company Spokesperson and Vice President of Merchandising, Bernard Luthi, saying that it reversed it’s decision based on feedback from it’s customers.
“This decision was driven by your direct and candid feedback and our continued commitment to you as our valued customers.” He went on to thank customers for their patience as they worked things out.
Of course, New York residents are still responsible for paying their sales tax.
Newegg should be applauded for taking a stand. Collecting taxes for different states, counties, and localities would be a terrible mess for any online retailer to wade through. It would only serve to drive up prices for consumers and stifle internet commerce.
How do you feel about taxes on items purchased over the web?
CRN recently reported on a research from internet security vendor Marshal that found out of the 622 users polled 29.1% admitted to having purchased items through spam emails.
I seriously hope this was just a particularly ignorant group of Internet users. Okay, now hear this; Buying stock through spam email amounts to lighting a match to your hard-earned cash. There is no magic pill to make your penis bigger or make you better in bed. Buying crap through spam encourages spammers to spam more. In other words, don’t do it! Those of us with a clue will thank you, if we don’t cuff you first.
Comcast is not about to stop in its attempts to manage heavy users on its network after the hand slap from the Federal Communications Commission that found that Comcast had improperly blocked peer-to-peer programs.
Bloomburg reports that Comcast now has plans to slow Internet service to the heaviest users during periods of congestion. The internet speeds for targeted customers will be reduced for periods lasting from 10 minutes to 20 minutes, to keep the service running smoothly for other users.
How much of a slow down? Mitch Bowling, Comcast's senior vice president and general manager of online services said it would back down to “a really good DSL experience''.
Internet Service Providers need a way to control bandwidth hogs during peak times in order to keep things profitable. The only other way is to add additional bandwidth that they would never even touch the rest of the time, which comes off their bottom line. Comcast’s first mistake was being sneaky about it and not disclosing the practice to consumers.
I actually like their latest idea, but from the sounds of this, they are about to repeat their second mistake; not defining what constitutes a heavy user and what exactly is this penalty phase with the bandwidth cap? The generalities just make users uneasy. Those same uneasy users will backlash if they unknowingly get caught up in Comcast’s heavy user slowdown, with what they see as reasonable usage. That reasonable usage is completely subjective, unless Comcast chooses to define it.
What do you think? Is Comcast’s latest plan an improvement?
As we covered previously, Dell was trying to trademark the term ‘cloud computer’ and had filed the necessary paperwork with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The application had reached the Notice of Allowance phase where they receive a written notification that a mark has survived the opposition period and that other parties have had a chance to object to the application.
In a ruling posted on the trademark office’s web site on Aug. 12th, they rejected Dell’s application to trademark the term cloud computing, backing away from a final official recognition of Dell’s application.
The trademark office’s findings said, "In addition to being merely descriptive, the applied-for mark appears to be generic in connection with the identified services and, therefore, incapable of functioning as a source-identifier for applicant’s services”. This leaves everyone in the IT field saying, “Well, duh!”
Technology has always left the laws of the land playing catch up when it comes to regulating new things. A new law under consideration in California would allow cyber bullies who use text messages or the Internet to harass their fellow students to be suspended or expelled under a bill that is close to passing the state Legislature. The bill applies to bullying through messaging, cell phones, pagers, computers or other electronic communication devices.
Almost from the very beginning the internet has had it’s own form of bullies in the shape of Trolls and other jerks that feel brave based on the sense of anonymity (real or perceived) that being online gives them. Whether these Trolls are ‘griefing’ a multiplayer games or flaming a forum it has been up to the admins of these services to police their domain which boils down to cleaning up the Troll dung and banishing them by whatever means at their disposal.
This type of behavior in recent years has begun to see overlap with the more traditional schoolyard type bullies. Advanced cell phones with photo and video capabilities and text messaging and internet access make it all too easy for embarrassing situations to become immortalized online forever. This can make life hell for these kids at an age when they are most vulnerable.
Homeland Security is once again drawing criticism, this time over a newly disclosed policy that has apparently existed for some time. According to the Washington Post, U.S. agents have (and have had) the authority to seize and retain laptops indefinitely, which as resulted in some travelers reporting not getting them back. And not just laptops, but all kinds of electronic devices, like cell phones, music players, portable hard drives, and more.
While the policy isn't new, it's only now being stated publicly and the contents of the DHS document has civil rights activists and lawmakers up in arms. Not only does it appear that government officials have the power to seize electronic devices, but according to U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, customs agents are allowed to analyze the contents of laptops without any suspicion of wrongdoing.
"The policies that have been disclosed are truly alarming," Feingold wrote in a statement.
Unlike other kings, spam king Edward "Eddie" Davidson decided that he didn’t like his new royal domain at the minimum-security federal prison in Florence, Colorado. After serving five weeks of his 21 month sentence his Royal ‘Spamness’ hopped a ride with his wife when she came to visit.
"He jumped in the car with his wife," said Will Cochenour with Lakewood police. "When they were leaving, he forced her in the car, brought them home and left after a change in clothing.” Davidson was last seen Sunday afternoon in his wife's 2006 silver Toyota Sequoia.
Davidson's Power Promoters spamming network promoted junk between 2002 and 2005, gumming up inboxes everywhere.
The U.S. Marshals are leading the search, with help from FBI, IRS and the Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force. This time however they are sure not to take him back to Club Fed, but somewhere with a bit more security, and you can bet he’ll be in for a longer stretch of time too. This is providing that one of his spammed subjects doesn’t run into him first and tar and feather him. While this would make it a great disguise, it is sure to remove hair coming off (ouch).
If you are out looking for the spam king, be sure to imagine him without his royal accoutrements as pictured below.
Be wary of the disgruntled IT guy. No really, be wary. He most likely won’t be in to gun anyone down, but he may lock you out of the computer system. That’s just what happened to the City of San Francisco. Terry Childs a network engineer who helped create the city’s new multimillion dollar FiberWan system had reportedly faced disciplinary problems at work. He is now accused of hijacking the city FiberWan system locking out all other Admins.
While the system continues to run normally, administrators can’t make changes to the framework of the system. They’ve called in experts to get into the system but it could take several weeks.
Childs first gave up a bogus password to police. He has now clammed up and is refusing to cooperate. He is currently being held in jail in lieu of $5 million bail.
San Francisco's mayor, Gavin Newsom, described Childs as a formerly well-regarded worker who had apparently turned into a "rogue employee that got a bit maniacal", "He was very good at what he did, and sometimes that goes to people's heads".
Blizzard has won a summary judgment against the World of Warcraft bot maker MDY (the folks that brought you WowGlider, now MMOGlider) based on copyright grounds. The judge also decided that liability for contributory copyright infringement and tortious interference is off the table and won’t go to the jury at trial. This is a victory for Blizzard and a setback for MDY, which brought the action.
Botting has been common in MMO games from almost the beginning and developers have tried varying amounts of pressure to stop the practice. It causes headaches to developers trying to manage an ‘economy’ within their games and discourages players who want to play within the game's frame work and rules. Players have used it as a method to get ahead in MMOs and even turned it into real money by selling virtual items and characters made in this fashion for real money.
This is starting to sound bad for MDY. Who do you think is in the right? MDY, or Blizzard? The final ruling could have an effect felt across many MMOs.