Neal Vitale Reviews: Marie Antoinette, The Prestige
Google Bombing, Stealing Another Election, Electoral Math


by Craig Reynolds

Pathetic PatchGuard: remember Microsoft's plan to lock third-party security firms out of the Vista kernel?  Once again Microsoft intends to illegally abuse its monopoly to gain a competitive advantage. (What they called "cutting off their oxygen supply" back when they did it to Netscape.) Despite their dismal history of insecure software, they thought they could do a better job than the third parties. Yet before Vista is even launched, PatchGuard, the Vista Kernel Patch Protection feature that was supposed to keep the security firms (and the bad guys) out, has already been circumvented: Microsoft Decries Vista PatchGuard Hack, Competitors continue bickering over Vista’s security features and Security firm punctures Vista's Patchguard. The moral is that putting Microsoft in charge of your computer's security is profoundly dangerous.

iPod and DVD Jon: noted reverse engineering maven Jon Johansen circumvented Apple's FairPlay DRM several years ago and it has been a series of tit-for-tat patches since then. Now his new company DoubleTwist plans to sell tools to allow interoperability between music stores and music players, including but definitely not limited to iPod and the iTunes store. Opinions differ on the legality of various parts of this plan, since the draconian DMCA what had traditionally been considered legal and legitimate reverse engineering: What DVD Jon's iPod crack means for you, Could FairPlay Hack Lead to iTunes Demise? and iTunes copy protection 'cracked'. Other iPod news: Analysis: How the iPod changed Apple's fortunes and Apple's iPod-like patent, a bigger screen for better video?

RIAA cut and runners: one wonders how much revenue is generated by the self-defeating RIAA "sue your customers" policy. Or is is both a money loser and a stupid idea? Can they hope to pay for expensive teams of lawyers by suing grandmas and teenagers? Worse for them, one defendant's lawyer has been able to collect fees from the the RIAA after they dropped their frivolous case.  Now the same attorney is back and the RIAA is backpedaling as fast as they can: Another Way To Get The RIAA To Drop Case And Run and Defendant doesn't want RIAA let off the hook.

From the Googleplex: integrated election coverage: Google Earth rocks the vote. Customizable Google search, allows limiting searches to certain sites, or ranking those results higher: Google readies custom search engine service, see the service's home page for examples. The deeper your pockets are, the larger the litigation bull's eye painted on your back: We’re Google. So Sue Us.

Earth, Mars and beyond: sometimes it is hard to understand how tiny increases in global temperature can be a serious problem. Here is a for instance: Warming link to amphibian disease. Australia goes into solar power in a big way: Aussies Eye Sun to Beat Blackouts and Australia plans world's biggest space-age solar power station. On the longevity of space probes: NASA to decide Hubble's fate and NASA’s Spirit Rover Hits 1,000th Martian Day.

Technobits: get Firefox 2 --- a cookie is not an alibi and an IP address is not a person --- I.B.M. Sues Amazon Over Technology Patents --- He sent 38 billion emails and called himself the Spam King. "Then Bill Gates went after him... It is not often that computer users cheer a victory for Microsoft... But many will... after the computer giant claimed a [$7 million] victory..." (via) --- Hackers disrupt on-line brokers --- 60 megapixel display --- distributed approach to ubiquitous wi-fi --- industrial biomimicry: Industrial design takes cues from bugs, leaves, crabs (biomimicry gallery) --- RuBot II a Rubik's cube solving robot (via, and while you are at YouTube, see this amazing blindfold solve).