Between Lion and Mountain Lion, Apple is cramming OS X with ideas borrowed from iOS: the Launchpad, the App Store, full-screen mode, AirPlay, Messages, Notes, Reminders and much more. It’s also making iOS-like gestures, which you perform on Macs’ oversized touch pads, more and more important.
But for all the sweeping iOS influence, Apple is leaving plenty of stuff alone. OS X’s Dock, desktop, menu bar and windows are largely untouched in Mountain Lion. That’s both good and bad: They remain utterly familiar, but you might be sorry that Apple didn’t give them more TLC if the company’s fascination with iOS-ification doesn’t appeal to you.
And then there’s Windows 8. With the touch-centric Metro interface, Microsoft is starting from scratch. It’s built a radically new look and feel and added new features, and expects developers and users to make a great leap forward. Support for old-school Windows is still there, but it’s been shunted off to one side. It’s a necessary acknowledgement that Microsoft couldn’t simply do away with the Windows we’ve known for 26 years overnight.
There are numerous reports circulating that the Microsoft Security Essentials anti-malware utility is flagging Google’s Chrome browser as a password-stealing trojan.
In what appears to be a crucial false-positive, Microsoft’s security tools are removing Chrome from Windows machines, marking it as a variant of the notorious Zeus (Zbot) malware family.
Shady, Microsoft. Very shady.
If the reports are accurate, the deals could be done within the next 30 days. The deals would allow customers to subscribe to TV packages through Comcast or Verizon Fios directly through their consoles and avoid the dreaded dance with the cable guy.
Love it! Avoiding the $30 charge and 72-hour waiting period to get new cable installations done is simply l33t!
Accused Xbox 360 modder finds case pleasantly dismissed
The case of 28-year old CSU student Matthew Crippen has come and gone. Arrested last year on Digital Millennium Copyright Act violations — specifically, for modding Xbox 360s to enable them to play pirated games — federal prosecutor Allen Chiu announced on the third day of trial that the government was dropping its case against him “based on fairness and justice.”
Unfortunately it’s not really a positive ruling in favor of user rights; but at least it’s not a ruling in favor of stepping on them in favor of corporations!
A California man charged with violating the DMCA by installing mod chips in Xbox 360 consoles won’t be allowed to claim “fair use” at his scheduled jury trial next week, a federal judge ruled Tuesday — a decision potentially devastating to the defense, and not particularly favorable to anyone who thinks they have the right to tinker with hardware that they’ve bought and paid for.
Crippen’s lawyer hoped to convince that jury that Crippen’s alleged modifications weren’t intended to enable piracy, but to allow Xbox owners to make lawful “fair use” of copyrighted material, or for other non-infringing purposes. The lawyer compared installing a mod chip to jail breaking an iPhone, an activity explicitly permitted under a recent DMCA exception approved by the U.S. Copyright Office.
But U.S. District Judge Philip shot down that argument Tuesday, noting that the DMCA makes it a crime to “circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access” to copyrighted material, even if there’s no proof that the circumvention was intended to facilitate piracy. The iPhone exemption is irrelevant, he wrote, because the Copyright Office did not extend that exemption to game consoles — just phones.
Here’s my million dollar idea: some clever hacker needs to figure out a way to hijack the Xbox’s wifi signal to allow for some over-the-web VoIP calling solution, at which point the “phone vs. gaming system” becomes significantly more complicated.
Given that he’s getting around the recent DMCA ruling allowing for iPhone jailbreaking by claiming the Xbox isn’t subject to that ruling, and referring to the original 1980′s law, my (admittedly shoddy) understanding of legal precedent would force the judge to recognize the newer ruling – given that the Xbox would have become effectively a phone – and could force his hand into applying the recent ruling’s logic to the Xbox.
In either case, Xbox is making a truly bad business decision; stifling your customers’ freedom isn’t the smartest way to go these days. I loved their recent decision to embrace all the Kinect hacking; why not here?