The Author’s Guild, a group of over 8,000 authors, has accused Google of “massive copyright infringement,” claiming that the search engine takes the works of the authors which have been licensed to particular public and university libraries and puts them in the public domain, therefore violating their copyrights. The New York-based non-profit organization says in the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan that, “By reproducing for itself a copy of those works that are not in the public domain, Google is engaging in massive copyright infringement. It has infringed, and continues to infringe, the electronic rights of the copyright holders of those works,”. So what’s Google’s response? “We regret that this group has chosen litigation to try to stop a program that will make books and the information within them more discoverable to the world,” the company said in a statement. Google also claims that authors and/or publishers can exclude their books if they don’t want their works included in the index.
Read More | USA Today
According to a report, Cambridge Silicon Radio has approached Apple with the idea of installing their wireless Bluetooth microchips in iPods to come. If Apple were to incorporate this idea into its popular iPod line, it would mean that users would be able to listen to thier music via wireless headphones and also have the ability to sync wirelessly with your computer. One analyst even estimates that consumers could have their hands on a wireless iPod as early as fall 2006. So what do you think? Is wireless the way to go, or do enjoy being “tied down” to your iPod?
Read More | AppleInsider
Oddly enough, TiVo has stopped sales of their DVR’s both by phone and on the TiVo website. The rumor is that the company that TiVo outsources sales to has gone under, but whatever the reason, customers are being directed to Best Buy for order fulfillment. In addition, TiVo accessories and git subscription sales are also halted for the time being.
Read More | TiVo
Moments ago our Microsoft contact let us know the official Xbox 360 worldwide launch dates. The console will be launching on November 22 in North America, December 2 in Europe, and December 10 in Japan. Microsoft says they are hard at work ramping up production of the units to meet demand. So it is official - the Xbox 360 is a little over two months away.
Read More | Playfeed
eBay has announced (or rather, confirmed) that they are indeed planning to acquire VOIP provider Skype in a deal worth up to $4.1 billion when all is said and done. eBay CEO and President Meg Whitman comments, “Communication is at the heart of community and e-commerce, making Skype a natural fit for eBay,” but I’m more inclined to believe it’s something of a power play made to keep Google or Yahoo from getting there first. Regardless, I’m pretty confident eBay won’t mess with a good thing, and hopefully we’ll see some enhancements and additional features brought into the mix as a result.
Read More | Skype
According to an article at BBSpot, it seems Windows XP will be the last OS to display the infamous Blue Screen of Death upon crashing. Instead, Windows Vista users will be treated to a game of solitaire from the Solitaire of Death Screen while waiting for IT support help. The cards backs will be none other than blue in color and will appear when “Windows reverts to less ideal operation for reasons unknown.” This new screen is ideal for those whose computers crash while at work, because, as Bill Gates puts it, “Let’s face it, these users were probably playing solitaire before their PC crashed so falling back to the SOD will not inconvenience them.”
Edit: I was wondering how long it would take before a reader figured out it was a satire article. Gareth, contact us for your prize!
Read More | BBSpot
Reversing a decision made in January that allowed Microsoft’s Office 2003 XML format to be used within the State government, the State of Massachusetts has given Microsoft’s proprietary formats the “thumbs-down.”
According to the revised plan, only the OpenDocument file format, which is supported by Open Office, and Adobe’s PDF format are to be acceptable for document exchange. According to Eric Kriss, Secretary of Administration & Finance for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, “Desktop software that supports OpenDocument and PDF in the future is acceptable; Microsoft’s proprietary XML formats are not.” The state plans to develop phased migration plans from Microsoft Office to Open Office, with a target date for implementation of January 1, 2007.
However, there has been criticism over the definition of Adobe proprietary formats (protected by several patents) as being acceptable while Microsoft’s proprietary formats were unacceptable. The “powers that be” in Massachusetts, however, seem to have made their decision - and leave an uneasy feeling about just how great their “commitment to open source” really is.
Read More | ArsTechnica
Ad/Spyware vendor 180Solutions is begging the public to reconsider their opinion of their difficult to uninstall and privacy invading product, blaming all of their problems on “affiliates”. The 180Solutions platform offers annoying popup advertisements and an invasion of a users privacy in exchange for “free media, games, and other entertainment”. While the battle against spyware and adware wages on, it’s amazing that companies like this Bellevue, WA-based company continue to try to install invasive software platforms to pump their sleazy wares.
Read More | Broadband Reports
According to Reuters, hackers or modders that tinker with their Blu-ray players may be subject to their devices being remotely disabled. The feature, operated through a required connection between the player and the internet, could monitor the device and shut it down if any changes are made to hardware or internal firmware. While this may not affect the mainstream user, having an outside entity attempting to control and monitor yet another component of home entertainment is sure to cause waves in the tech-savvy community, especially for those used to tampering with regional coding in their current DVD players. In the battle against HD-DVD for format legitimacy, the mention of this feature will certainly put a damper on Blu-ray.
Read More | Reuters
This actually makes a lot of sense, but is something that we don’t often think about. Apparently, the way that Blockbuster Online, Netflix, and similar services send mail is a big problem for the USPS, despite the large amount of revenue these services generate for the postal service. The size of the mail envelopes do not conform to standards set long ago, which the machines used to process mail go by. As a result, rental DVD’s can either be forced into the machines, resulting in breakage, or separated and sorted by hand. Many solutions have been proposed, but none accepted at this point. Still, it is an interesting read.
The problem with CD/DVD mail is that the rules, designed to ensure that mail pieces claiming discounted rates can be processed on letter sorting machines, are useless in evaluating CD mail designs. Most CD/DVD mailers that comply with letter processing regulations are not compatible with letter processing equipment. CD/DVDs are not paper and present unique processing challenges. The USPS processing plants have learned the differences between paper and plastic the hard way. As marketing has pushed for more CD/DVD mail, postal operations have had to contend with more pieces that are incompatible with their equipment. Currently, the two largest companies presenting this non-compatible automation mail are NetFlix and Block Buster; but they are not the only customers with mail piece design problems. New guidelines must be developed to ensure that CD/DVD mail, claiming automated letter rates, is capable of being processed on USPS letter sorting machines.
Read More | Postcom
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