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Why We Fight


by Craig Reynolds

DRM stupid and useless: its official! everyone agrees that DRM is bad: Bill Gates and Steve Jobs Agree DRM Is Bad and Music execs criticise DRM systems (via). It seems like the only clueless losers who still think it is a good idea are the top management and legal departments of the major labels. Why is that not surprising? A handful of idiots ruin it for everyone: What web 2.0 could teach Warner Music’s Edgar Bronfman. New research on why DRM is pointless: Study Finds P2P Has No Effect on Legal Music Sales (via).

IBM v MS: IBM's newly announced Open Client package provides cross-platform desktop applications: IBM software geared to reduce PC costs and IBM delivers an open desktop. This effort grew out of IBM's internal effort to move toward Linux based workstations for its own employees. The apps currently run on Windows and Linux, and soon on Mac OS X. But since Open Client replaces your Microsoft apps, why bother running a second rate, insecure OS like Windows? This move by IBM should help typical users transition to better designed more secure OS like Apple's and Linux. Way to go Big Blue!

Chips: the accelerating trend toward placing more and more processors (aka CPUs, cores) on single chips reached a new high water mark this week when Intel introduced its 80 core Teraflop Research Chip: Intel Prototype May Herald a New Age of Processing and One Small Chip for a PC, One Giant Leap for Computing. In a dual or quad core system, the division of labor between the CPUs is often determined a priori by a programmer. But as processor counts increase, as in the Cell processor in PS3 with 8 cores, the more successful programming techniques are aimed at utilizing an arbitrary number of processors. (I've done some of that myself.) Speaking of Cell: Sony to slash chip spending. Also this week IBM announced a new speed record for eDRAM memory, and D-Wave announced the beginnings of practical quantum computing, a 16 qubit machine to be operational in 2008.

Games and hacks at MIT: Wired surveyed the state of university game studies, particularly Henry Jenkins group at MIT: Today's Homework: Make Good Games. (If you are interested in this sort of thing, please visit my somewhat stale page Game Research and Technology and feel free to suggest new links.) Depending on who you listen to, this is either evidence that the current MIT administration is tone deaf to Institute culture and its illustrious history of hacking, or that these particular hackers crossed an unwrit threshold into criminality (and even so, a potential 20 year prison term?!): MIT prank no joke to authorities and Three Students Face Felony Charges After Tripping E52 Alarm.

Robots and other wacky gizmos: news of progress on micro air vehicles (Not Your Grandma’s Robot "Professor’s insect-based design could revolutionize the world of robotics") and non-rigid robots (Soft Robot Project Gets Rolling squishable, foldable designs allow new applications). A cool conceptual prototype for making tableware from reusable shape-memory plastic: DishMaker (via, via). Between meals the raw material stores in a tiny space.

Technobits: Copyright group seeks digital music levy Canadian music industry wants money for nothing --- How old PCs can bridge the digital divide --- U.S. bee colonies decimated by mysterious ailment (also) --- Hope for end of climate deadlock --- Man-made shape explains how turtles self-right --- Finding Boosts Chances of Martian Life more evidence of water on Mars --- Scientists Reverse Autism-like Symptoms In Genetic Mouse Model Of Rett Syndrome exciting new gene therapy --- Building the Cortex in Silicon --- Computer Model Mimicks How Brain Recognizes Street Scenes --- Israeli researchers promise a more beautiful you --- Computer Program Writes Its Own Fiction.