Gotta love this story. In 2000, the FBI apparently used Carnivore electronic surveillance in an attempt to collect information on Osama bin Laden’s network. Unfortunately they screwed up and also collected a whole bunch of e-mails exchanged by “non-covered targets” – you know, real people, folks who didn’t think the FBI was going to be looking over their shoulder. […] continuedRead more
A nasty surprise lies ahead for users of personal video recorders.
TiVo and Replay market devices that are godsends to serious TV hounds. They connect at night to a program directory, then let you record 30 or more hours of programming to replay at your leisure. What’s more, they recommend or record programs based on your viewing habits – all the episodes of a weekly show, or all the films with a certain actor. […] continuedRead more
More developments in the recording industry’s relentless war to make sure we can’t actually hear any music.
Yesterday KaZaA, the Dutch software and products company which founded KaZaA.com, announced that it intends to shut down because it can’t afford to defend copyright infringement charges brought against it by the entertainment industry. […] continuedRead more
Got a new computer, an Nvidia GeForce 3 or 4 video card, and a bunch of free time? Check out the reviews of Dungeon Siege and see if it looks like you might be tempted. I don’t normally play role-playing games, but Dungeon Siege is so compelling – easy to get started, beautiful graphics, fun gameplay – that I’ve buried more hours than I want to admit over the last few weeks. […] continuedRead more
On May 2, I wrote about an order due to take effect this week requiring Internet streaming radio stations to pay punishingly high royalties for songs – far higher than comparable royalties for conventional radio stations. It was the result of strongarm tactics by the recording industry to end web broadcasting, since no broadcaster could have afforded to pay the royalties. […] continuedRead more
The next hot market is online gaming – plenty hot already, but due for a big push in the next eight months. Many people are joining massive online worlds and investing oodles of time in their online characters. Everquest, Ultima Online, Asheron’s Call – all of them are more popular than you probably realized. […] continuedRead more
The recording industry is going to elaborate lengths to create music CDs that are copy-protected – to prevent you from copying, or “burning,” music onto recordable CDs, onto a computer hard drive, or onto a portable music player. Last week Apple Computers reported that the copy-protection scheme used by Sony and Universal can crash iMacs so thoroughly that they require a trip to a repair shop. […] continuedRead more
REAL: A particularly nasty new virus named “Klez” is making the rounds by e-mail. It has the usual characteristics: it arrives in a randomly-generated message from someone you know, with a file attachment that does nasty things when you click on it. This one stands out because it does particularly nasty things that are difficult or impossible to recover from. […] continuedRead more
“Personal video recorders” (PVRs) are the hot new item in the television industry. Tivo and Sonicblue Replay are the market leaders. These boxes act like a super VCR. They record shows for viewing later, holding thirty or more hours of shows at a time. They present program directories; they keep track of the shows you watch and record things you haven’t asked for but that you might like. […] continuedRead more
More copy protected CDs are hitting the market – especially in Europe, but clearly the US is next. They corrupt the CD in ways that make many of them unplayable in a computer or in some car stereos. In fact, they no longer conform to the standards for “Compact Discs,” and the record labels have removed the “Compact Disc” logo from the case. […] continuedRead more
In March Yahoo changed its marketing policy. With no warning, it suddenly granted itself the right to send advertising spam, postal mail, and telemarketing phone calls to tens of millions of its users who had previously opted out.
There was a huge outcry by privacy advocates and lots of press coverage. […] continuedRead more
Kazaa has taken over as the best music sharing program – most users, best selection, best interface. But Kazaa has been rightfully attacked for including other “spyware” programs that are secretly installed along with the main program.
Somebody hacked the Kazaa installation package and removed all the bad stuff. What’s left includes everything necessary to run Kazaa and share music, but nothing that will report on your surfing or allow your computer to be possessed by third parties or any of the other little nasties. […] continuedRead more
Pick your flavor of early reviews of Attack of the Clones. On one side: a very favorable review from BBC News. Sample: “This is quite possibly the best Star Wars of the series. It looks lavish and Lucas pushes all the right buttons. He also lets us see that ancient Jedi Master Yoda knows how to handle a lightsabre!” […] continuedRead more
The states in the Microsoft trial screwed up in a big way yesterday. The lawyers blew it, and the states may have blown a hole in their case.
The states have been insisting that Microsoft be ordered to produce a stripped-down “modular” version of Windows XP in which various “add-ons” (media player, Internet browser, etc.) […] continuedRead more