Newsflash - consumers hate DRM! Could it be that Apple finally got the message? Apparently so, according to a rumor at AppleInsider. Apple has yet to make an announcement, but AppleInsider claims iTunes may be dropping DRM completely starting tomorrow.
"A report from last week brought to AppleInsider's attention by French technology site ElectronLibre asserts that it's now 'clear' Apple will spark new interest in its music store by removing DRM from tracks published by Sony, Universal and Warner on December 9th,"AppleInsider writes.
Apple's iTunes Store, which claims 70 percent of the online digital music market, already offers DRM-free tracks from EMI and indie content. If all tracks moved to the same format, it could deal a blow to the competition, such as Amazon and Walmart, both of which offer DRM-free tracks from all major studios.
Throwing a wet blanket on the rumor is Cnet, who says that come tomorrow, don't expect any big changes. Cnet acknowledges that Apple is in negotiations with Universal, Sony, and Warner, but warned that none of the deals are final, with at least one source saying "it's unlikely Apple will have anything to announce regarding DRM-free music from the top labels before the end of the year."
In other words, cross your fingers but remain skeptical.
If you haven't yet made the plunge to Firefox 3.0, you might want to put it near the top of your to-do list (don' forget to call your mother as well). Should it still slip your mind, Mozilla will actively be encouraging users to upgrade.
"With the holidays fast approaching, later today Mozilla will start offering a gift to Firefox 22.214.171.124 users - a free upgrade to Firefox 3.0.4," Mozilla wrote in a blog post, "the very latest and best browser from Mozilla offering more speed, requiring less memory, and providing the safest and easiest web browsing experience available."
Yes, Firefox is still free, despite what we assume is a tongue-in-cheek blog. But it's not all a laughing matter. According to TGDaily, Mozilla might be making plans to kill off support for Firefox 2.0. Should that happen, those using the older browser could find themselves at increased risk of attack, particularly as hackers have now started targeting Firefox with malware written solely for the open-source browser.
It's hard to imagine, but the computer mouse celebrates its 40th birthday today, making the rodent susceptible to premature over the hill jokes. The one-button wooden mouse, which was built by Bill English, was first used by Douglas Engelbart on this day 40 years ago in a demonstration at the Fall Joint Computer Conference (FJCC). Dr. Engelbart showed how the new input device could be used to clip text files, copy and paste, and how it could come in handy on computer networks.
Many of the researchers behind the first demo are reuniting to celebrate the mouse's 40th anniversary. Among them will be Dr. Rulifson, who joined the group that Dr. Englebart assembled at the Stanford Reseearch Institute in California.
"I met Doug and got throroughly enchanted," Dr. Rulifson told the BBC. "I really understood what he was after. I was blown away by the ideas."
Forty years later and the computer market is overrun with rodents, although the mouse has evolved quite a bit from its one-button debut. Logitech alone has shipped over a billion mice found in over 100 countries, and should probably send English a 'thank-you' card.
It looks like GameStop is actively building their laundry list of problems, having just added piracy to the mix. According to Joe Haygood, they’ve been leaving plenty of game instruction books inside the open boxes on shelves, leaving CD Keys up for grabs.
According to Mr. Haygood, “I went back to the shelf and found three other games where the CD codes were smack dab in the package. Games like Left 4 Dead, Mercenaries 2 and Spider Man Web of Shadows. When I talked to the manager about this, it was said that it was a mistake and it would not happen again.”
This problem didn’t plague just one GameStop, either. He made his way to a second location to find “at least six games that had CD codes on the inside of the packaging, on the shelves.”
What do you think? Is this a problem that you’ve seen at your own local GameStops, or is this an isolated incident? Let us know in the comments.
Nearly four years after Arizona State University decided to open up a flexible display center, they’ve come forward with a prototype.
Their prototype is a flexible display, that is supposedly very easy to manufacture. Thanks to their plastic construction and low power consumption, they’re currently being boasted as extremely e-friendly. The displays are crafted using self-aligned imprint lithography technology, invented by HP.
ASU and HP are hoping to release the technology soon, but they haven’t sent a definite date.
If you've been thinking about upgrading to Nvidia's GeForce GTX 260 videocard, you may want to hold off for a few weeks. According to Chinese site Expreview, Nvidia will release a new 55nm-based GTX 260 along with a 55nm GTX 295 (GTX 260 GX2) in January 2009. And if history tells us anything, Nvidia tends to do well with core revisions (G92-based 8800GT, for example). Expreview posted several pics of the revised GTX 260, which it claims were sent in from Zotac.
In addition to a die shrink, the new GTX 260, or at least Zotac's version, looks to be built with a 10-layer PCB design rather than 14 layers as found on current GTX 260/280 videocards, Expreview says. The new revision also upgrades its 3+2 phase power modules to 4+2 phase.
Other specs look to remain the same, such as the number of stream processors (216) and core and memory frequencies. This means you might not see a leap in stock performance, but in theory, the power consumption, heat output, and overclocking potential should all be improved.
No word yet on projected pricing, which could either sweeten or spoil the whole deal.
In case you haven't noticed, multi-core processing has taken hold and the race is on to cram more cores onto a single die. But assuming developers can keep up, at some point, chip manufacturers are going to have address a potential major problem that could make adding more cores a useless endeavor. More specifically, a "memory wall" looms large in the not too distant future that, as Jon Stokes from ArsTechnica puts it, could make more than 16 cores pointless.
The problem stems from memory bandwidth not being able to keep pace with faster processors, whether those speed bumps come from a faster frequency or more cores. Put simply, memory is creating a bottleneck and can't feed the processor fast enough, a problem that has existed for some time. Intel and AMD have been able to mask the problem by adding more cache, but doing so doesn't overcome the memory wall, which looks poised to really rear its ugly head as more cores are piled on to new chip packages.
"Engineers at Sandia National Laboratories, in New Mexico, have simulated future high-performance computers containing the 8-core, 16‑core, and 32-core microprocessors that chip makers say are the future of the industry," writes Samuel K. Moore at IEEE Spectrum Online. "The results are distressing. Because of limited memory bandwidth and memory-management schemes that are poorly suited to supercomputers, the performance of these machines would level off or even decline with more cores."
Hit the jump to find out what solutions are being proposed.
Advertising Age (via Cnet) reports that Microsoft and rapper Common are teaming up with ad agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky to put classic Microsoft imagery from the '80s and modern remixes on T-shirts. Yes, the line will be called "Softwear by Microsoft."
The first two designs unveiled bring back memories of MS-DOS (if you've forgotten all the DOS you ever learned, be sure to see our 50 Skills Every Real Geek Should Have article for a refresher) and the days when MicroSoft was two words. You can see more designs, including Common's remixes, at the Softwear by Microsoft website.
So, how about it, Redmond fanboys (and fangirls)? Are you going to embrace your roots, or do these designs make you hit your reset button? Join us after the jump for your chance to sound off.
Wikipedia clearly is among the most innocuous websites and one can not imagine it being blocked by a child pornography filtering mechanism. However, the improbable has just occurred in the UK. The whole problem began when an image of a Scorpions album prompted Internet Watch Foundation’s Cleanfeed child pornography filtering system - used by many of the leading UK ISPs - to block the particular page.
Consequently, all traffic to Wikipedia from ISPs that deploy Cleanfeed beagn to be routed through transparent proxies – one proxy per ISP. Even if a single user is barred from editing by Wikipedia’s anti-vandalism system, all other users using the same proxy suffer exactly in the same fashion as most UK-based Wikipedia users are sharing a handful of IP addresses.
You can track the problem as it unfolds on this Wikipedia page dedicated to it. The IWF has stated on its website that the particular page was reported through its online reporting mechanism. After it was found unsuitable for minors, the page was “added to the list provided to ISPs and other companies in the online sector to protect their customers from inadvertent exposure to a potentially illegal indecent image of a child.”
Google has delivered its riposte to Precursor LLC, which accused the search giant of using 21 times more internet bandwidth than it pays for in its maiden research study of U.S. Consumer Internet Usage and Cost. Richard Whitt, Google’s Washington Telecom Counsel derided Scott Cleland, the author of Precursor’s contentious report, for what it calls “payola punditry.”
He questioned the neutrality of the report given the fact Cleland’s anti-Net neutrality group – effectively against Google - is funded by telecom and cable companies. He expressly made it clear that he believes that the report was at the behest of Cleland’s paymasters.
Whitt even hung a question mark against the accuracy of the calculations upon which Cleland based his diatribe against the search giant. "Mr. Cleland's calculations about YouTube's impact are similarly flawed. Here he confuses "market share" with 'traffic share.' YouTube's share of video traffic is decidedly smaller than its market share. And typical YouTube traffic takes up far less bandwidth than downloading or streaming a movie."
But Cleland is standing his ground. He described the report as a “transparent attempt to estimate something of significance.”