Hot on the heels of the Pirate Bay trial, which just recently ended (not without considerable controversy), another trial is just now getting started. This one, however, involves RealNetworks and its RealDVD ripping program, a $30 piece of software that has drawn the ire of the Movie Picture Association of America (MPAA).
At the heart of the issue is RealDVD's ability to make digital copies of DVDs to a user's hard drive while still retaining the DVD-copy protection. The process even adds a further layer of DRM to the files it rips, so as far as RealNetworks is concerned, the program doesn't run afoulof the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
Naturally, the MPAA vehemently disagrees, even going so far as to say the software should be called StealDVD instead of RealDVD. Even more troubling for the MPAA is the RealNetworks' plan to develop DVD-saving software for manufacturers of DVD players. Facet, as it's being called, would allow Toshiba, Sony, and other companies to sell players capable of copying DVDs and save them internally. A prototype capable of storing about 70 movies has already been made, and it's expected that similar devices would sell for around $300 or less.
"The movie industry wants people to buy DVDs an so do we," said Bill Way, VP and general counsel of RealNetworks. "They have a real problem with piracy, and we are not that problem. I don't think our product will make the problem one iota bigger. I think it gives people an opportunity to make digital copies of their movies in a legal way."
Right or wrong, it will now be up to the courts to decide.
Mainstream Media’s fascination with the Conficker virus is somewhat amusing, but the actions of the world’s most famous computer trogan on the other hand are not. According to Fox News, Conficker is finally starting to show signs of life and has begun organizing thousands of machines into a botnet to send email spam and spread malware.
Anybody running anti virus or Windows update is pretty much protected from Conficker at this point, but amazingly this still leaves millions of machines to worry about. It remains to be seen how much longer Conficker will continue to plague the web, but hopefully at the very least this brings computer security to the minds of mainstream users.
So Conficker is spreading spam and spyware? Anyone surprised?
If a web 2.0 service goes offline in the middle of the night does it make a sound? Well, if your Yahoo quietly pulling the plug on your free web hosting service, you hope not! As sad as it may be for us nostalgic types, after more than a decade of hosting free community webpages, this once innovative and powerful brand will finally come to a close later this year.
The trademark of the GeoCities service was the neighborhood system which allowed users to assign their page to a specific community of like minded websites. They were also founded during a period when only a handful of developers were publishing content for the web. Neighborhoods such as “Hollywood” and “Silicon Valley” were abandoned shortly after Yahoo took control of the company in 1999. It was purchased at the peek of the dot com bubble for $3.57 billion dollars, and like many other web properties scooped up at this time, it wasn’t worth as much as they’d hoped.
Yahoo is also known for having made several unpopular changes to the service shortly after acquisition which some users blame for its slow downward spiral. One of these changes for example was a modification to the terms of service which allowed Yahoo to lay claim to any content hosted on its service. Many of these decisions were eventually reversed, but with the rapidly falling costs of web hosting, it was only a matter of time before it folded in. Yahoo has stopped accepting new applications, and existing users are being encouraged to upgrade to one of their paid web hosting packages.
Did you ever host a website on Geocities? Share your memories after the jump.
SSD prices have been improving steadily over the past year, but they are still priced out of reach for the average user in any type of practical capacity. That being said, our readers are Maximum right? So for those of you who have been considering SSD’s, you might want to hold out just a bit longer.
The newest entrant into the category comes from OCZ who is preparing to launch their new solid state drive, and the specs are pretty impressive. The new “Z-Drive” will bypass SATA bottlenecks by hooking directly onto a spare PCIe slot. The architecture of the drive has also clearly been tuned for performance with the four Vertex controllers being configured in a four-way RAID 0.
On paper this drive is capable of read speeds up to 510MB/sec, and write speeds to match idling out around 480MB/sec. Of course we won’t be able to verify these speeds until we get one in the lab, but if true, it could be one of the fastest consumer drives to date. The initial launch will see three different capacities made available, 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB. Pricing hasn’t been released just yet, but as with any new cutting edge SSD, expect it to cost more than most PCs.
Yeah – this is getting pretty ridiculous. Just when you thought Valve’s market-dominating Steam service couldn’t cut any more off its game prices without bleeding money, they go and prove everyone wrong.
This weekend, Valve’s offering the Orange Box – a complete steal even at its original price – for $9.99. For those who haven’t been keeping score, the Orange Box contains Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episodes One and Two, Half-Life 2: The Lost Coast, Portal, and Team Fortress 2. Really, the only things this virtual incarnation of said box lacks are, well, actual oranges and any sort of box. But hey, you’re saving the trees for cheap, and isn’t that basically the American Dream?
So, six amazing games. Ten bucks. Breathing lightly on piggy bank will yield you that kind of scratch. Seriously, if you haven’t played these games, what are you even waiting for? Afraid you might lose your job while utterly engrossed in your new purchases? Well, if Steam keeps topping itself like this, you probably won’t need much money to keep your gaming appetite sated anyway.
Sure, YouTube is already the home of such viral favorites as Chocolate Rain and the dramatic chipmunk, but let’s face it – it took you far too long to hear about these web gems. But, thanks to YouTube’s newest feature in progress, RealTime, waiting to hear about a video will be a thing of the past.
YouTube RealTime will allow users to see which of their friends are online, what video they’re watching, and even comments that they’ve left, all in a toolbar that will be visible no matter where you are on the site. So, if you log onto YouTube to watch something, but you’re just not sure what you’re in the mood for, check out what your pals are getting in to!
Currently RealTime is under an invite only embargo, but each person that receives an invite will get 25 of their own to pass out. So, if you’re lucky enough to get one, why not share the love with other Maximum PC commenters? Hook a brother up!
According to some reports Asus’ latest nettop, the EeeBox B208, should be arriving sometime in June for buyers over in the UK.
The EeeBox B208 will come with a dual-core Intel Atom 330 processor, ATI Radeon HD 4530 graphics, and HDMI-out (to help provide a full HD experience). As for connections, it’ll be able to hop on your WiFi using 802.11n, or gigabit Ethernet. And, impressively all this will be whisper quiet, making only 26dB of noise.
It’ll presumably all cost around $500. Not bad, considering how well this could handle the role of a media center.
Geeks have to be suckers for Bluetooth headsets. Don’t believe me? I have purchased no fewer than five Bluetooth headsets ranging from Plantronics, to Cardo and Motorola in the last two years.
Among the most disappointing was the Voyager 855. Although it fit my tiny ear canals well, the reliability of it was, well, everything you’ve come to expect of a Bluetooth headset. Sometimes it would connect with my admittedly mediocre Windows Mobile phone and sometimes it wouldn’t.
It didn’t help that the audio levels were just too low. At least the noise cancellation was top notch. Still, I had to chuck it for two Cardo units: The S-640 and the S-800. I had the highest hopes for the S-640 clip-on unit and carded ear piece. Unfortunately, incoming sound quality was dismal and the lack of noise cancellation made conversations in my beater with original struts impossible. Did I mention that it too was quite flakey with the Bluetooth connection. The S-800, however, was quite reliable. It locked onto my phone and worked fine. The volume was also almost painfully loud when set to max. The UI was good and the quick dial feature that let you access the first few slots in your speed dial was awesome.
I only use my headset in my car and turn it off when not in use. Initially I could get a week or two without having to recharge it. That turned into a week and now it seems like it needs to visit the charger every three days.
Trying to describe Microsoft's Windows Live family of web-enabled tools for Windows has been a bit like the parable of the blind men describing the elephant.
Is Windows Live a photo sharing service? A file sharing service? An email service? An IM service? With the news that Windows Live is adding connections next week to many other popular Web 2.0 social networks, it's easier now to say, as ArsTechnica puts it, that Microsoft wants to:
[T]urn Windows Live into the average netcitizen's main hub for his or her social life, or at the very least to turn Windows Live into a social network.
Microsoft's teaming up with lots of social-networking partners around the world. US-based companies becoming BFFs with Windows Live include MSN, Digg, Facebook, SmugMug, and MySpace (see the full list of 31 current and new partners here).
Pixel Qi has been talking up a new display technology as of late, one which promises to change the landscape in a big way. And soon. Next month is when Pixel Qi founder Mary Lou Jepsen says the company's 10-inch 3Qi display will start showing up, which will combine a low-power black and white mode, e-paper mode, and high-resolution color LCD mode into a single, affordable, sunlight-readable screen.
"The future of portables is all about the screen, Jepsen said. "Think of screen like a chip on the motherboard: it can massively lower power consumption and (increase) battery life and create a much better visual experience."
The focus on affordable isn't too surprising, considering Jepsen co-founded the One Laptop Per Child project, and is now focusing on making low-cost displays. It will be quite the feat if she and and her company can pull off an affordable miracle display, and she's already looking ahead to adding touch gestures as well.