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Power User

By Tech Locksmith ·
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Something Pfishy at Sony?

by Tech Locksmith In reply to Power User

Being the professionally paranoid individual anyone has to be if they started programming computers in the early 1960?s and is still in the field, not to mention having been a high-tech reporter since before IBM shipped the first IBM-PC, I have been watching the Sony DRM saga unfold with great interest.</strong>  After the second major security threat in Sony BMG music CDs appears in a very short period and just before the holiday season, I've begun to have some very nasty thoughts.
<p>You'd have to be pretty incompetent if you were Sony and put these untested chunks of code in your expensive CDs, but you'd have to be a fool to sell Sony this malware and expect to stay in business for long, yet two companies appear to have done so.</p>
<p>Isn't it interesting that the rootkit malware and now the SunnComm MediaMax threat both appear just about the time people are thinking what a nice present it might make to cut a few mix CDs for friends and family?</p>
<p>The new MediaMax threat is particularly worrying because it will be installed on ANY PC which plays the ?infected? CDs, EVEN if you decline to accept the EULA which is presented.</p>
<p>Now it would be a nice question trying to determine just how much North American business Sony BMG might loose in the short term from people hesitating to buy new CDs under that imprint, and then compare that potential loss to the potential savings from scaring the holy heck out of anyone who might consider loading any Sony music CD into their PC even to make a legitimate backup exclusively for their own use, let alone blocking any thoughts of making up a few gift mixes for the holidays.</p>
<p>Is it just me, or could this make economic sense? (I say North American because the software in the MediaMax case appears to be only in CDs sold to the U.S. and Canada.)</p>
<p>For further details about these two digital rights foul ups you can look to this week?s issue of my TechRepublic Locksmith Column which will run soon.</p>
<p>BTW, the original patch for this second DRM junk had a flaw. Somehow that sounds familiar too and all in all I ain't about to insert ANY music CD in my PCs for a while.</p>

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Something Pfishy at Sony?

by apotheon In reply to Something Pfishy at Sony?

<div style="text-lign: justify">
<p>You said "The new MediaMax threat is particularly worrying because it will be installed on ANY PC which plays the 'infected' CDs, EVEN if you decline to accept the EULA which is presented." That's not entirely true: this only applies to Window PCs. There's always a way around this crap.</p>
<p>It's possible that a CD with one of these "DRM" rootkits might prevent a non-Windows PC from reading the CD, but if that's the case all you've done is saved yourself from getting a rootkit on your PC. That seems like a perfect opportunity to return it for a refund.</p>
<p>This move of Sony's only makes economic sense if you let it. Get your money back where you can, and stop buying anything of theirs until they get the message that screwing with your computer is not allowable.</p>
</div>

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Something Pfishy at Sony?

by Tech Locksmith In reply to Something Pfishy at Sony?

<p>While Apotheon?s comment is undeniably true, it is also 95% irrelevant.</p>


<p>Most of these music CDs are not bought by computer security
experts, they are bought by average individuals ? mostly kids, in fact, who
love to rip their own mix CDs so any arguments about not playing into Sony?s
possible plot have nothing to do with reality.</p>


As
for non-Windows, come on now ? That is obviously completely off
base.  95%+ of the home PCs in the world are
Windows-based, political correctness never stopped a tornado and saying
non-Windows PCs are the solution to a massive consumer problem simply
isn?t the
mark of someone living in the real world. Linux has a place in
business, a very important place, but not in the average home. As for
Apple, I don't like single sourcing hardware for business, never have,
never will, and I used to work for Wang (my attitude didn't make me
terribly popular there, but it did make me correct and kept me employed
when everyone else there was looking for work).<br />
<strong><br />
</strong>

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Something Pfishy at Sony?

by WearsManyHats In reply to Something Pfishy at Sony?

It seems to me that what you suggest, that Sony wanted to scare customers out of playing their (is that Sony or the customer) CD on a computer, is just a by-product of the whole fiasco. Some smart Sony employee may have suggested how, "hey, this could work to our advantage!". There are people in Sony's PR department who are paid good money to think about things like that. If they planned to scare people to begin with then Sony's legal department were left out of the loop because they would probably have had a few strong words about it.<br /><br />For me, either way, I have lost respect for Sony as a company. They have no business "scaring me" and they have no business assuming I won't make use of <strong>*my*</strong> CD in a responsible way. If they think I am a criminal then they should charge me with a crime, not **** me around because the music I'm interested in happens to be on the Sony/BMG Label.<br /><br />

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Tax money to buy digital TV converters

by Tech Locksmith In reply to Power User

<p>Although the Federal government seems completely helpless
when it comes to providing radios to first responders so police, emergency
management, fire, and EMS workers can actually communicate during a disaster,
at least they have been able to completely foul up the entire digital TV market
in the U.S.</p>


<p> Since old TVs won?t work when all stations change over to
digital TV, the same people who weren?t able to get water to the New Orleans
Super Dome to save some lives, have decided to take tax money and use a billion
or so to help people buy converter boxes.</p>


<p> As a final irony, can you believe this boondoggle is part of
a bill euphemistically described as an effort to cut spending!</p>


<p> But, believe it or not, the $1.5B which is being spent is
actually only half the $3 billion which the Senate wanted ? apparently some of
the Senators may own professional football teams and need to ensure viewers.</p>


<p> There is a good story in AustralianIT.news.com</p>


<p><a href="http://australianit.news.com.au/articles/0,7204,17619408%5E15306%5E%5Enbv%5E,00.html">http://australianit.news.com.au/articles/0,7204,17619408%5E15306%5E%5Enbv%5E,00.html</a>
</p>


if
this is a major worry for your household.

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Limit sales of violent video games

by Tech Locksmith In reply to Power User

Saying, ?these video games are stealing the innocence of our
children,? Senator and former first lady Clinton yesterday submitted a bill to make it a
federal misdemeanor to sell adult-rated video games to anyone under the age of
17. (In the U.S.of course.)


<p> What?s
your opinion? As a journalist of 30+ years I am pretty strong on freedom of
speech but I am also against child abuse and I feel that selling violent video
games to kids should be criminalized.</p>

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Limit sales of violent video games

by WearsManyHats In reply to Limit sales of violent vi ...

I absolutely love the visual quality and beauty of many "video" games that I see currently. But I myself do not play video games, I am just a part-time artist that loves where the industry has been able to go with the imagery of gaming. However, visual art whether it is a film, a painting, or a video game, very often takes a back seat to the message being given. In many cases the message of video games is not a positive one. The message is usually violent, cruel, horrific, disgusting, etc. No child should be exposed to that in whatever medium it is communicated.<br /><br />I often see the mistake, in my opinion, of people who believe that Freedom of Speech absolves them of responsibility. If someone walks into a grade school and starts showing pictures of dead bodies and violence to underage children, is that a crime? I think it should be. They have the right to do the "freedom of speech" but they also have the responsibility to deal with all of the angry parents, teachers, police, etc. that I'm sure would take offense.

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Limit sales of violent video games

by Tech Locksmith In reply to Limit sales of violent vi ...

Freedom of speech doesn't absolve anyone of anything under the
constitution - I think that is the REAL problem, thinking that it does
(not the respondant to my posting, WearsManyHats, but the people who, I completely
agree, DO seem to think it it leaves them unaccountable.) That is why
reporters go to jail to protect sources rather than fleeing the country
- they recognize that freedom requires taking personal responsibility.<br />
<br />
FoS is actually Freedom of the Press, not just license for anyone to
say anything they want - this has been distorted too much in recent
years.<br />
<br />
I do think that taking too much freedom at the expense of
responsibility, especially just to make money, is irresponsible - the
problem is just WHO draws the line - it is usually government and the
big concern faced by reporters and the ACLU is really whether the
govt. is limiting speech because it is bad, or because it criticizes
the government.<br />
<br />
That is what really frightens a lot of people about what the administration with wiretaps sans warrants.<br />
<br />
But, it is an established point of law that<br />
"The Constitution is not a suicide pack"<br />
The problem comes in reconciling that with FoS.<br />
<br />
However, I just don't see how this can be legitimately applied to
marketing violent video games to children - that strikes me as a
question of public health, albeit mental health in this case.<br />
<br />
When weighing FoS questions, I, as a reporter and member of The
National Press Club of many year's standing, like to pose the question:<br />
<br />
What is the harm if I (or society) am wrong in limiting this?<br />
<br />
In cases of religion, government ethics, corruption, etc, the harm of
preventing opposing or even outrageous ideas from being explored
publically, can be enormous - as big as risking freedom and democarcy.<br />
<br />
But the harm, if any, of not letting children be immunized to participating in virtual killings??<br />
<br />
The good posed by enforcing a ban which is already agreed upon, verses some imiganary harm, is simply not worthy of debate.<br />
<br />
Game makers try to make this an FoS argument at the expense of society.<br />
<br />
If we can't enforce the prohibition aginst kids buying and using these
games, I, for one, would gladly give up my persona lright and freedom
to
play Doom in the interest of living in a less violent society - even,
and I want to emphasize this, if it is only a slight chance that the
society would benefit.<br />

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Limit sales of violent video games

by jdclyde In reply to Limit sales of violent vi ...

An excellent point that many people miss.<br />
<br />
Yes, you have freedom of speech to pretty much say what you want.<br />
<br />
The part that people forget is there can be negative impacts from saying whatever you want.<br />
<br />
I have a right to say something racist, and then everyone around me has the right to treat me like an idiot for being so.<br />
<br />
Journalist have a right to freedom of the press, and I have a right to
not buy their publication if I think they are out of line.<br />
<br />
The best interests of our children and our socety should be our first
concern.  People care about the enviroinment being poluted, why
not our minds?<br />
<br />
Responsiblity.  What a concept.  (it will never catch on)<br />

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Limit sales of violent video games

by deonz In reply to Limit sales of violent vi ...

<p>All too simplistic?</p>
<p>I started gaming back in the 80s on the Commodore 64. Before that I toyed with Atari. I'm now in my early thirties and still love gaming as much as I did then. I have no criminal record. I got my first speeding fine last year (15 km/h above). I've been in one fight all my life - and both of us got some. I've pretty much played everything PC related out there and still participate in LAN events. As an experienced gamer I have started taking exception with titles such as Doom 3 and Quake 4. I wiped both half-way through. Why? Because they are an insult to anyone with 2 brain-cells. They contain no story-line and their only selling-point is the graphics. Gameplay is utterly predictable. Yet, there are recent titles like the Knights of the Old Republic series (or earlier Deus Ex) - brilliant. A believable uninverse. Are they any less violent that Doom or Quake - no. The point here is that for some the gaming industry has stood still. Games are becoming increasingly like interactive movies, and movies have plots. The good gaming houses have realized this. </p>
<p>This brings me to my point - at which age should a kid be exposed to violence? None during the childhood years and then straight to George Bush's army? I am of the oppinion that children should be exposed to violence in a constructive way. Have them kick the daylight out of each other in a martial arts class. Once you've gotten kicked in the ribs you know it hurts like **** and will think twice about doing to someone else just on the off chance that he/she may do it back to you. Simply put, sanitize your childrens' world from violence and you raise adults with no experience of it, no respect for its extremes, totally self-centred because they believe what they dish out never comes back, or totally pathetic ending up being bullied anyhow. Violence is part of human nature. Deny that at your own risk. Prohibition has never worked and it never will. Rather, take an interest in what your kids are doing. Play the games with them. Then at least you'll know what they are being exposed to. And there may be the off chance that it keeps you young and thinking.</p>

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