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Author Topic: Tech News Weekly: Edition 18-09  (Read 3530 times)

Ehtyar

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Tech News Weekly: Edition 18-09
« on: May 03, 2009, 06:56:20 AM »
The Weekly Tech News
TNWeekly01.gifHi all.
Be sure to check out The Hunt for Gollum, probably available by the time you read this ;)
As usual, you can find last week's news here.


1. Apple Sued Over Legal Threats to Wiki Operator
Spoiler
http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2009/04/apple-sued-over-legal-threats-to-wiki-operator.ars
Apple are being sued by BluWiki with the help of the EFF in response to legal threats from Apple over content BluWiki hosted showing iPod owners how to use iTunes alternatives.

Quote
The operator of a public wiki site has filed a lawsuit against Apple in an attempt to defend its rights to publish information under the First Amendment. OdioWorks LLC, which runs BluWiki, filed the lawsuit in a US District Court in the northern district of California today with the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation in order to seek a declaratory judgment that would protect the company from continued attacks by Apple's legal team.

BluWiki, like most wiki platforms, is open to the public for the sole purposes of sharing information. The site is noncommercial and doesn't run ads, and depends on its users to edit and publish articles on a wide variety of topics. Up until about six months ago, some of those topics included information on how to use an iPod or iPhone with third-party software—something that is not possible under Apple's normal product restrictions.


2. Windows 7 Will Feature "XP Mode"
Spoiler
http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2009/04/windows-7-will-feature-xp-mode.ars
In the interest of easing the backward compatibility problems that tend to plague new Windows releases, Windows 7 will include a virtualized versions of Windows XP that will permit users to run applications that no longer work on Windows Vista/7.

Quote
Redmond is taking a page from the early days of Mac OS X with Windows 7. Similar to Classic—Mac OS X's emulation-based support for Mac OS 9 (and earlier) apps—the newly confirmed "XP Mode" that will appear in Windows 7 will use a VM for backwards compatibility with a previous-generation OS.

Win7's XP Mode uses VirtualPC to run some XP apps. In a blog post (via CNET), the Win7 team says, "All you need to do is to install suitable applications directly in Windows XP Mode which is a virtual Windows XP environment running under Windows Virtual PC. The applications will be published to the Windows 7 desktop and then you can run them directly from Windows 7."


3. RapidShare Hands Over User Info in Germany, Users Panic
Spoiler
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/04/rapidshare-hands-over-user-info-in-germany-users-panic.ars
Popular file sharing site Rapidshare has reportedly handed over user logs to the record industry, resulting in at least one raid in Germany.

Quote
The popular Germany-based file hosting service RapidShare has allegedly begun handing over user information to record labels looking to pursue illegal file-sharers. The labels appear to be making use of paragraph 101 of German copyright law, which allows content owners to seek a court order to force ISPs to identify users behind specific IP addresses. Though RapidShare does not make IP information public, the company appears to have given the information to at least one label, which took it to an ISP to have the user identified.

The issue came to light after a user claimed that his house was raided by law enforcement thanks to RapidShare, as reported by German-language news outlet Gulli (hat tip). This user had uploaded a copy of Metallica's new album "Death Magnetic" to his RapidShare account a day before its worldwide release, causing Metallica's label to work itself into a tizzy and request the user's personal details (if there's anything record labels hate, it's leaks of prerelease albums). It then supposedly asked RapidShare for the user's IP address, and then asked Deutsche Telekom to identify the user behind the IP before sending law enforcement his way.


4. EU Extends Musical Copyrights by 20 Years, Eyes Movies Next
Spoiler
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/04/eu-extends-musical-copyrights-by-20-years-eyes-movies-next.ars
The European Union has extended musical copyright to 70 years up from 50.

Quote
The European Parliament late last week agreed to extend musical copyrights from their current 50-year term to 70 years. So all that early rock 'n roll about to pass into the public domain? Don't count on using it in your documentary for another two decades—and there's nothing to say that the term won't be extended again.

While the vote is a big victory for the music labels who can continue to market major artists like The Beatles (let's face it, the obscure stuff from the 1950s isn't selling in measurable quantities anymore, and it's not playing on the radio), the movie industry looks set to cash in soon, too. In passing the term extension, Parliament also asked the European Commission "to launch an impact assessment of the situation in the European audiovisual sector by January 2010, with a view to deciding whether a similar copyright extension would benefit the audiovisual world."


5. "Pirate Google" Sets Sail to Show Copyright Hypocrisy
Spoiler
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/04/pirate-google-sets-sail-to-show-copyright-hypocrisy.ars
In defense of The Pirate Bay owners, an anonymous individual has established thepirategoogle.com, which uses Google directly to locate torrent files.

Quote
The Pirate Bay trial saw the defendants trot out "the Google defense" on multiple occasions: Google indexes .torrent files, so what's wrong with our doing it? That point didn't sway the judge, who saw a world of difference between what the two sites did, but it did resonate with at least one Internet coder, who last week rolled out The Pirate Google.

The site serves as little more than a gateway to a Google custom search (it simply limits all queries to .torrent files, something that any searcher can do on their own by adding "filetype:torrent" to searches). It exists not so much to provide useful functionality, but to make the same point that The Pirate Bay admins made at their trial: Google indexes all of this stuff as well.


6. UK.gov to Spend £2bn On ISP Tracking
Spoiler
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/04/27/imp_consultation/
The UK Goverment has ruled out storing internet user data on government run servers, and has instead opted to spend £2 billion to assist ISPs in storing it due to..."privacy concerns"... Seriously, I didn't know snorting crack could cause that much drain bamage....

Quote
The government plans to spend £2bn for ISPs to intercept details of their customers' emails, VoIP calls, instant messaging and social networking.

Under the proposals, mobile and fixed line operators will be required to process and link the data together to build complete profiles of every UK internet user's online activity. Police and the intelligence services would then access the profiles, which will be stored for 12 months, on a case-by-case basis.


7. Optical Disc Offers 500GB Storage
Spoiler
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8021012.stm
With DVDs already disastrously insufficient in size for data storage, and BluRay only barely keeping pace, a new 500GB optical storage medium has been announced. I wonder will it suck just as hard as existing optical media? Seems we'll have to wait a few years to find out...

Quote
The micro-holographic disc, which is the same size as existing DVD discs, is aimed at the archive industry.

But the company believes it can eventually be used in the consumer market place and home players.

Blu-ray discs, which are used to store high definition movies and games, can currently hold between 25GB and 50GB.


8. Fordham Law Class Collects Personal Info About Scalia; Supreme Ct. Justice Is Steamed
Spoiler
http://www.abajournal.com/weekly/fordham_law_class_collects_scalia_info_justice_is_steamed
A quick funny. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia recently made a public comment questioning the need for tighter protection of private information on the internet, only for Fordham University law professor Joel Reidenberg to assign his class the task of digging up info on the judge himself. After being presented with pictures of his grandchildren and a listing of his food and movie preferences, the judge "isn't happy".

Quote
Last year, when law professor Joel Reidenberg wanted to show his Fordham University class how readily private information is available on the Internet, he assigned a group project. It was collecting personal information from the Web about himself.

This year, after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia made public comments that seemingly may have questioned the need for more protection of private information, Reidenberg assigned the same project. Except this time Scalia was the subject, the prof explains to the ABA Journal in a telephone interview.


9. NASA's Swift Orbiting Observatory Spots Oldest Supernova Yet
Spoiler
http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2009/04/nasas-swift-orbiting-observatory-spots-oldest-supernova-yet.ars
NASAs Swift observatory has copped a lens full of a 13 billion year old super nova. The super nova, termed GRB 090423, is believed to have taken place just 600 million years after the birth of the universe.

Quote
As attention is focused on the impending mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope, one of NASA's other orbiting observatories gave us a great reminder that visible astronomy isn't the only game in town (where "town" equals "near earth orbit"). One of NASA's other great success stories, the Swift observatory (we've mentioned it in so many stories, I'll just link to a Google search for it) has recently spotted an unusual gamma-ray burst, caused by a supernova, that didn't appear to arise from an object that could be detected at visible wavelengths. Follow-up observations have now confirmed that this is the most distant event of the sort ever imaged, having occurred over 13 billion years ago.

The Swift was designed to solve a long-standing problem for astronomy. Given something as big as the universe, high-energy events are happening all the time, but we could only observe them if we happened to have an instrument pointing in the right direction at the time. The Swift was designed to detect the direction of high-energy photons, and could swing its instruments to pinpoint the source rapidly. At that point, it could continue observations at gamma-ray and X-ray wavelengths on its own, while the location was relayed to telescopes that could obtain data at other wavelengths. It's worked exactly as intended, which is why the Swift graces the science news so often.


10. The Hunt For Gollum
Spoiler
http://www.thehuntforgollum.com/
The Hunt For Gollum, a 40 minute fan-made prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, will become available as a free online download at 16:00 today.

onion.png



Ehtyar.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2009, 07:43:35 PM by Ehtyar »

tomos

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Re: Tech News Weekly: Edition 18-09
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2009, 12:05:02 PM »
thanks Ethyar ;)

I'm confused by #6 - you talk about the UK "assisting" ISPs to protect data and then the article is about bills in the US "to protect federal networks and electric power grids" ?
Tom

4wd

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Re: Tech News Weekly: Edition 18-09
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2009, 07:24:49 PM »
4. It's good to see that the EU is also bending over to allow their citizens to be well and truly shafted by corporate greed.

5. Am I missing the point here?

Surely the difference is that TPB actually provides the torrent files that enable the downloading of the copyrighted material, (although from what I remember reading of all this, the torrent files themselves aren't illegal since they're only hash values and pointers not actually copyrighted data).

Whereas Google doesn't host anything, they merely point to a site that does.

7. Still waiting for any form of holographic storage for consumers, they've been making the damn things for more than 4 years now.  (Not to mention waiting for citywide maglev trains.)
« Last Edit: May 03, 2009, 08:53:46 PM by 4wd »

Ehtyar

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Re: Tech News Weekly: Edition 18-09
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2009, 07:41:36 PM »
I'm confused by #6 - you talk about the UK "assisting" ISPs to protect data and then the article is about bills in the US "to protect federal networks and electric power grids" ?
Crap, I used the right heading with the wrong quote and link, sorry. Real article here.

5. Am I missing the point here?

Surely the difference is that TPB actually provides the torrent files that enable the downloading of the copyrighted material, (although from what I remember reading of all this, the torrent files themselves aren't illegal since they're only hash values and pointers not actually copyrighted data).

Whereas Google doesn't host anything, they merely point to a site that does.
You're correct. However, this defense was made in response to the prosecutions assertion that TPB provided a convenient way to search for torrents. This argument as used only to counter that specific claim.

Ehtyar.