2008
10.21

Here are the latest bits and pieces of news from around the tech world. Come back here this weekend for even more…

The McCain Campaign has been bitten by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). Several of their YouTube videos, including political advertisements, were taken down upon DMCA complaints from who-knows-where, possibly the studios whose shows can be seen, albeit briefly, in the ads. McCain’s legal counsel has asked YouTube to exercise discretion about the takedown notices, ignoring them if “fair use” applies,, however the DMCA makes no provision for such a thing and for YouTube to make such arbitration would lead it down a slippery slope out of safe haror provisions, thus making it a much, much more restrictive environment for posting videos. All of this is rather ironic, but very much needed; McCain supported the DMCA’s legislation a few years back.

Speaking of YouTube, it is now the second-largest search engine on the web. Google is number one, Yahoo ranks third. If you count Google and YouTube as a single entity, there’s no chance of catching up unless aliens suddenly abduct the colorful company.

Sandisk’s SlotMusic initiative is now in full force, though the idea is downright dumb. Basically you’re lookig at a casette-player model (no track information one album per piece of media) except instead of casettes you’ve got tiny MicroSD cards. It’s a nice way to sell flash memory for Sandisk, and at least SlotMusic cards don’t have to be rewound after playing, but if you have a midrange cell phone (or, for that matter, one of several of Sandisk’s MicroSD-slot-equipped Sansa players), there’s absolutely no point in getting the $20 SlotMusic player. Nor, in my opinion, any reason for not just downloading your music from Amazon’s MP3 store to a regular MP3 player or a regular McroSD card, which can be found for around $5 per gigabyte nowadays.

Don’t want the temptation of a ringing phone while driving? By working with cell carriers, Aegis Mobility wants to help, forwarding calls to voicemail and pausing text message reception if you’re traveling at a high rate of speed, presumably down the freeway. Problem: you could be in a bus, or in the passenger seat. Interesting, though…what do you think?

Google’s Android phone operating system apparently has a “kill switch” in it, so Google can turn off malicious applications that might make their way onto the phone. Apple has been found to have such a procedure as well, however it seems people find Google’s option more admissable, since Google told everyone about the switch, the software is open-source so the switch can be disabled, and Google has no control over applications’ entrance into the market. As opposed to Apple, who in all honesty sould be able to shut off such applications before they get through te rather fickle iTunes App Store submission process.

Want a cheap laptop? How about a really cheap netbook? Best Buy is selling the Asus Eee PC 900A for $300. Granted, there’s no optical drive, the processor is on the slow side (Intel’s Atom chip) and you’re not going to store much on the unit’s built-in 4GB flash-based hard disk alternative. But, if you can handle the tiny keyboard, mini-sized screen and Linux operating system, you’ve got yourself one tiny laptop at an amazingly low price.

Want something slightly more substantial? Though the Lenovo IdeaPad Y430 that I looked at last week has gone up a whopping $150 in price (hey, it was a good deal!) Buy.com has a promotion on the last-gen IdeaPad Y510. This solid machine’s price? A cool $500, shipped.

A final DMCA debacle: Quote Unquote Records had their site taken down for posting copyrighted music…their own copyrighted music! What’s more, the music, offered for free, wasn’t coyrighted in the regular sense, but licensed under the more liberal Creative Commons system (which I use on my non-Oredigger blogs). Copyright paranoia at work? Absolutely.

Antec is getting into the Halloween spirit with their “Skeleton” case. The rather audacious substitute for your average computer component cavern has a practical use as well, beyond the flashing lights and the gargantuan 250mm fan up top: components are dead-easy to swap out. So whether you like to tinker or troubleshoot, the Skeleton case may be worth a look, even past October 31st.

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