This week in the tech news…
This will be the last report for a while. I’m leaving for France on Monday and I’m not sure what kind of Internet access I’ll have. But I will post pictures and stories when I get back April 10.
Happy birthday OS X. It’s four years old. Apple started selling it on March 24, 2001.
- The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Tuesday in the MGM vs. Grokster case. At stake, whether Grokster and Morpheus are legally liable for copyright violations that occur on their services. The Recording and Motion Picture industries, Bush Administration, Christian Coalition, Don Henley, Sheryl Crow, and the Dixie Chicks have all filed briefs (PDF) in favor of MGM’s case. Intel, the Consumer Electronic Association, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and numerous computer science and law professors, are on the other side, claiming that a decision overturning the court’s 1984 Sony Betamax decision will eliminate the VCR, DVD recorder, iPod, Tivo, the PC, and on and on. Needless to say, this is a very important case for all of us who love technology. I recommend studying up at the EFF’s site then crossing your fingers on Tuesday.
- Microsoft is going on the offensive against technologies it considers threatening to its Windows monopoly:
- The company is claiming that Firefox is less secure than Internet Explorer. Some “independent” columnists are taking the bait.
- Microsoft was also exposed for funding a report that claimed Windows was more secure than Linux. The report by the Florida Institute of Technology and Security Innovation was delivered at last month’s RSA security conference, without disclosing who paid for the research.
- Check out the page at Microsoft.com on “How to buy an MP3 Player.” Hard drives? Bad. Built-in voice recorder, FM recorder, or stopwatch. Good. Getting “locked into one online store” cough-iTunes-cough very bad.
- The Sony Playstation Portable, PSP, shipped on Thursday. Sony made sure there were plenty of units to go around. Despite long lines in San Francisco I was able to walk into a Best Buy in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, at 6p and pick one up. The store had expected 70 units and received 200. Best feature so far: built-in free Wi-Fi gaming in Twisted Metal: Head On. Booyah!
- Symantec, attempting to drum up sales for its security products, says that Mac OS X will soon become a target for hackers. I say, bring ‘em on. (And make sure you use secure passwords, gang.)
- Banks must start telling customers about security breaches. They didn’t have to before?
- Yahoo! buys Flickr; Barry Diller buys Ask Jeeves. I bought a PSP. Oh yeah, I already mentioned that.
- Yahoo! has also increased storage on its free email accounts to one gigabyte to match Google’s Gmail.
- Sony may be willing to compromise on Blu-Ray.
- Agence France Press has successfully sued Google to remove its news feeds from Google News. Yahoo has reacted by asking US courts for 1st ammendment protection. Google is also removing news feeds from an alleged white supremecist group.
- On Monday Apple closed a hole in the iTunes Music Store that allowed users to buy songs without copy protection. By the end of the week, the hole was re-opened. Is there such a thing as effective copy protection? To my knowledge no one has cracked the Windows Media DRM. Yet.
Some of the webs sites I spent time on this week…
- How virtual memory works from Adrian’s Rojakpot
- The truth about speaker cables from TNT-Audio
- The Top 25 Innovations of the past 25 years from MIT-Lemelson
- Transparent screens from Flickr
- PSP Site from IGN
- A life hacks wiki from 43Folders
Listen to my radio show for commentary on these stories and more every Saturday and Sunday, 11a to 2p Pacific on KFI, Los Angeles or via podcast at http://leoville.tv/podcasts/kfi.