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The "Dancing Baby" and Universal Music Scheduled for Court

Almost a year ago, I put this post up here about an infant dancing to a song by "some artist with an identity crisis". I also heard that this same artist was a bit upset and had material he performed yanked despite the fact that he did not have rights to the song. These two incidents both deal with the issues of fair use. My thoughts on both are simple. Get a counselor, get comfortable with your identity and get with the 21st century.

Seems that we may get to see what the courts actually think of the "dancing baby" case. As I mentioned a year ago, the EFF responded to the bogus copyright case. The case is now nearing trial. Of course, doing what any litigant would do if they are facing a loosing battle, Universal has requested the case be dismissed. I hope that does not happen.

One of the first feeds I check when I wake is Recording Industry vs The People. This morning I saw this. The case, at the moment, is scheduled for Friday.

I hope the case proceeds. I hope that the judge reads Universal the riot act. In my opinion, removing a 29 second clip of a child dancing to a song in the background is protecting nothing. I feel it is more like harassment or agitation. It is not the action of a responsible organization protecting the rights of an artist (or whatever he wishes to be called at this time). I think these are more like tactics we would see in organized crime or the Gestapo. They protected nothing and attacked the consumer and innocent.

Seriously though, I feel it is great that the EFF is going to attempt to see this through. I feel this case is a great example of fair use and not, in any way, a violation of copyright. I am glad to see that, in my opinion, the courts finally seem to be tired of this "submit to us via litigation" tactic that the recoding industry is using as a business model.

Besides once the court sees how cute that kid is, Universal is going to look so dumb it will be an entertaining thing to follow. I don’t know how fast this thing will proceed and I will be away most of this weekend but I will do my best to follow up on it here. Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment.

Refurbished Ink – Give it a try and save money

I am a huge fan of saving money, and about a year ago I discovered refurbished printer ink.  Even more recently I have discovered 4InkJets.com.  A company that sells quality refurbished ink and backs up their product with a 365-day money back guarantee.

I bought from this company for the first time last week.  I got my three Dell 720 cartridges in the mail and opened up the first cartridge.  Turns out that the cartridge sat in the 110F heat a little too long and exploded.  Same result with cartridge two and three.

I called 4InkJets and they apologized and sent replacement cartridges out the same day.  They also included a postage-paid label for me to return the bad cartridges back to them.  The replacement cartridges worked great, and have amazing quality.  They will definately get my business next time I need printer ink.  Each cartridge comes with an envelope for you to mail in your empty cartridge so they can reuse the parts.  You don’t get a discount, but it helps keep their costs low.

Give 4InkJets a try, I do not think you will be disappointed.  If you are, they will give you your money back!  You can get 10% off your order and free shipping when spending $50 or more, until the end of July, 2008.

Get 10% Off Ink, Toner and Much More at 4inkjets, Free S&H on Select Orders, Code YB443X, exp 7.31.08

Security Flaw with Gmail

A recently discovered security flaw within Gmail explains how spammers are able to personalize their spam; with almost no work.Here’s a cute vulnerability in the gmail system that comes from the strong tie-ins between gmail, the google calendar and all the other services.

How to do it:

– Go to the ‘share this calendar’ tab

– Enter the email address in the ‘person’ box

– Click ‘add person’ and ‘save’

– When you return to this screen you will see the first and last name along with the gmail address

Link: Finding the name behind the gmail address

Way to go Google.  This is a pretty big screw up on your part, and something that makes me fairly angry.  I get at least five emails a day from Viagra spammers who all seem to know my name.  At least now I know where they got it from.

Thanks Google; please fix this,


MIT Opens New Window On Solar Energy

Imagine windows that not only provide a clear view and illuminate rooms, but also use sunlight to efficiently help power the building they are part of. MIT engineers report a new approach to harnessing the sun’s energy that could allow just that.

The work, reported in the July 11 issue of Science, involves the creation of a novel "solar concentrator." "Light is collected over a large area [like a window] and gathered, or concentrated, at the edges," explains Marc A. Baldo, leader of the work and the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering.

As a result, rather than covering a roof with expensive solar cells (the semiconductor devices that transform sunlight into electricity), the cells only need to be around the edges of a flat glass panel. In addition, the focused light increases the electrical power obtained from each solar cell "by a factor of over 40," Baldo says.

Because the system is simple to manufacture, the team believes that it could be implemented within three years-even added onto existing solar-panel systems to increase their efficiency by 50 percent for minimal additional cost. That, in turn, would substantially reduce the cost of solar electricity.

In addition to Baldo, the researchers involved are Michael Currie, Jon Mapel, and Timothy Heidel, all graduate students in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Shalom Goffri, a postdoctoral associate in MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics.

"Professor Baldo’s project utilizes innovative design to achieve superior solar conversion without optical tracking," says Dr. Aravinda Kini, program manager in the Office of Basic Energy Sciences in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, a sponsor of the work. "This accomplishment demonstrates the critical importance of innovative basic research in bringing about revolutionary advances in solar energy utilization in a cost-effective manner."

Solar concentrators in use today "track the sun to generate high optical intensities, often by using large mobile mirrors that are expensive to deploy and maintain," Baldo and colleagues write in Science. Further, "solar cells at the focal point of the mirrors must be cooled, and the entire assembly wastes space around the perimeter to avoid shadowing neighboring concentrators."

The MIT solar concentrator involves a mixture of two or more dyes that is essentially painted onto a pane of glass or plastic. The dyes work together to absorb light across a range of wavelengths, which is then re-emitted at a different wavelength and transported across the pane to waiting solar cells at the edges.

In the 1970s, similar solar concentrators were developed by impregnating dyes in plastic. But the idea was abandoned because, among other things, not enough of the collected light could reach the edges of the concentrator. Much of it was lost en route.

The MIT engineers, experts in optical techniques developed for lasers and organic light-emitting diodes, realized that perhaps those same advances could be applied to solar concentrators. The result? A mixture of dyes in specific ratios, applied only to the surface of the glass, that allows some level of control over light absorption and emission. "We made it so the light can travel a much longer distance," Mapel says. "We were able to substantially reduce light transport losses, resulting in a tenfold increase in the amount of power converted by the solar cells."

[Teresa Herbert @ Massachusetts Institute of Technology]


Save $10 at Amazon.com Through July 21

Amazon.comAmazon.com is offering $10 off of purchases of $50.00 or more through July 21.

There is a slight catch, you will have to pay for your order using the same Bill Me Later service I told you about last week and enter the promo code: “BMLSAVES” at checkout.

Most items sold by Amazon.com (not third party retailers) also qualify for Free Super Saver Shipping!

Promotions, pricing, and the free shipping promotion maybe subject to availability and restrictions.

Hiding your flash drive in plain sight?

How often do you think this will get thrown out?

Basically this product is a 2 GB USB flash drive that is disguised as a severed USB cable.  Neat idea but why would anyone need such a thing?

First of all, if the data was important the possibility that the “cable” would just get tossed because of the way it looks is not something I am willing to take a chance on.

Second, why would you want to answer the question of “Why do you have a broken cable plugged into your computer?” over and over again?

But I am sure this product will sell as it is a great gimmick.

Until the next time,


Xbox Reinvents Home Entertainment, So They Say!

As Xbox 360 readies for the next wave of audience expansion, Microsoft Corp. today announced a new Xbox experience that will reinvent home entertainment from the inside out, changing the way we play games, watch movies and TV shows, and even become contestants in game shows. It all begins this fall with a bold new look and feel that is fun, social and simple to use.

The announcement was made during the E3 Media and Business Summit in Los Angeles. It came amid the unveiling of an exclusive partnership with Netflix Inc. that will give Xbox 360 users instant access to more than 10,000 feature films and television shows with a click of a button.

Also on the docket: The best and broadest entertainment lineup the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system has ever seen. In its strongest broadening play yet, Xbox announced Xbox Live Primetime, the next evolution in game shows slated for Xbox Live this fall; TV shows and movies from world leaders in entertainment including NBC Universal, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, SCI FI Channel and USA Network domestically and Constantin and MGM internationally; and blockbuster games “Lips,” “Rock Band 2,” “Scene It? Box Office Smash,” and “You’re in the Movies“.

We’re entering a new age in entertainment, and Xbox 360 is uniquely positioned to become the heart of the living room,” said Don Mattrick, senior vice president for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “The new Xbox experience offers more content than you can find from any device that connects to the television. That convergence of entertainment and gaming will bring new people and more families to the category, driving a record year for the games industry.

This year more than any other, Xbox 360 has something for everyone – whether you love playing games with friends or are simply looking for the best in entertainment,” Mattrick said.

Netflix Jumps In With Entertainment For Everyone

The exclusive partnership offers Netflix subscribers the ability to instantly stream movies and TV episodes from Netflix to the television via the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system. Xbox 360 will be the only game console to offer this movie-watching experience, available to Xbox Live Gold members who are also Netflix subscribers at no additional cost.

From the Netflix Web site, subscribers simply add movies and TV episodes to their instant Queue, which will appear automatically on the TV screen via Xbox 360. Once selected, movies will begin playing in as little as 30 seconds. In addition to instantly streaming Netflix movies to the TV, Xbox Live Gold members can browse and rate movies, fast-forward, pause and rewind, all using either their Xbox 360 Controller or remote.

Netflix on Xbox 360 will launch this fall with the release of the new Xbox experience, a new generation of games and entertainment experiences that will be available for Xbox 360 this fall.

The New Xbox Experience

The new Xbox experience represents the first time in history that a mass market consumer electronics device has been reinvented through free software, giving people more fun and intuitive ways to interact, play and enjoy entertainment.

Xbox Live is the world’s fastest-growing online social network on TV,” said John Schappert, corporate vice president of Interactive Entertainment Live, Software and Services Business at Microsoft. “We doubled our membership the past two years, growing from 3 million to 6 million, and then from 6 million to 12 million. And today, we are adding a new member every five seconds. With the best and broadest social entertainment experiences launching this fall, the future is limitless.

Some of the features that make the new Xbox experience groundbreaking are the following:

  • Entertainment without limits. With Live Party, bring your favorite games, TV shows, movies and pictures to life by sharing those experiences with friends, wherever they are around the world.
  • Express yourself. With the new Xbox 360 experience, gamers can personalize their entertainment like never before. They can create their own avatar, designed exclusively by Rare Ltd., and jump into a party with friends from around the world.
  • Must See TV” and much, much more. The biggest names in entertainment worldwide, such as Netflix, NBC Universal, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, SCI FI Channel, USA Network, Constantin and MGM are bringing their content to Xbox 360.

360 Degrees Of Entertainment

The 2008 Xbox 360 entertainment lineup of games, movies and TV shows is its best and broadest ever. Whether for fans of action, role-playing, racing, sports, strategy, party or action-adventure games, Xbox 360 has the biggest blockbusters and the most exclusive content in 2008 and beyond:

  • The new game show. The new Xbox Live channel Xbox Live Primetime represents an all-new way to play. A collection of virtual game shows such as “1 vs. 100,” Xbox Live Primetime allows thousands of gamers to become contestants from their living rooms, playing together simultaneously, live with content that is always fresh and relevant. The global phenomenon “1 vs. 100” is created by Endemol, the world’s largest independent production company and the producer of the hit show “Deal or No Deal.” Xbox Live Primetime is available in North America, France, Germany and the U.K.
  • Blockbusters. Xbox 360 is the only place gamers can play the year’s biggest games, such as “Gears of War 2,” “Resident Evil 5,” “Fable II” and exclusive “Grand Theft Auto IV” episodes.
  • Music. Xbox 360 is the preferred stage for all the best music games, including “Lips,” “Rock Band 2,” “Guitar Hero World Tour” and “DanceDanceRevolution UNIVERSE 3.
  • Family. Xbox 360 gets the whole family playing with titles such as “Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts,” “Scene It? Box Office Smash” and “Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise.
  • Sports. Xbox 360 remains the best place to play sports titles, including leading franchises like “Madden NFL,” “Tiger Woods PGA Tour,” “NBA Live,” “NHL 2K” and more.
  • TV and movie entertainment. Xbox is home to the best TV and movie entertainment, including exclusive games such as “You’re in the Movies” and “1 vs. 100,” exclusive films and TV from Netflix, and the world’s largest online library of on-demand high-definition TV shows and movies.

Other Ocean Interactive Open iPhone Games Division

Other Ocean Interactive, the developers of Super Monkey Ball – one of the most popular downloads from the Apple App Store – today announced a specialized iPhone division will be created at its studio in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Our experience working with Apple’s SDK has been extremely positive and the iPhone, with its accelerometer, opens up exciting opportunities for game development on this platform,” explained Gordon Wood, Other Ocean’s technical director and senior programmer. “The iPhone platform has generated a lot of attention and people are excited for the opportunities that lie ahead.

Mr. Wood will head the technical elements of Other Ocean’s new iPhone division whilst Chris Sharpley, senior artist on Super Monkey Ball, will lead the division’s art and design department.

Other Ocean worked alongside SEGA of America to develop the Super Monkey Ball game.

Choosing Other Ocean as our development partner to bring Super Monkey Balll to the iPhone was absolutely the right decision,” said David Cobb, Sega’s Vice President of Product Development. “Other Ocean’s dedicated and talented team has established itself as an industry leader on this new platform.

Super Monkey Ball is available for $9.99 from Apple’s App Store on iPhone and iPod touch.

Psystar Is Taken To Task By Apple

Despite having zero pity for the foolish choices made by Psystar, I do feel badly for those who purchased these PC. This lawsuit is not going to mean long term hardware support for their end users. This is not to dismiss whether Apple is or is not within their rights. That is something the law can determine. No, my gripe is that Psystar opted to try this entire idea in the first place.

The concept of the “hack-in-tosh” is hardly a new concept, dating back when Apple was still using PowerPC for their CPUs. As far as I am concerned the only reason someone would be duped into buying a Psystar machine running OS X is to save money. Because apparently, the Mac mini is not meeting the price point that it was intended. And this is sort of interesting, being Macs are “not considered more expernsive” than Windows PCs. It appears, the market supporting the Psystar option is a evidence that this line of thinking might be a fuzz off.

Are people buying those Psystar machine because they think the tower look is sexy? Perhaps users enjoy not being able to run all of the provided Apple updates on the Psystar machines? Come on, it’s obvious. Apple will hopefully consider what drove people to these boxes in the first place as clearly, it is not being addressed by Apple themselves. Thoughts?

Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader

A co-worker had a rather thick book on her desk titled “Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader”.  Intrigued, I grabbed it and took a look.  It’s a book filled with factoids of everything you could possibly think of.  Want to know where Corn Flakes came from? It’s there.  Want to know how G.I. Joe started? Check out this book.  This book was stuffed with information and I found it hard to put down.

I did a search when I got home and found that there is a whole library of Uncle John’s books.  I even found a video about it from a radio host.  Check out the web site HERE.  I’ll be ordering several and stocking them in my bathroom and coffee table.