Archive for February 14th, 2007
Straight from Bare Knuckle Politics: “TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran’s hard-line president, who has berated the United States and refused to compromise on his nuclear program, is now softening his tone, saying Monday he wants dialogue rather than confrontation in Iraq. Tehran also denied it gave sophisticated weapons to militants to attack U.S. forces.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted that turmoil in Iraq is bad for his country and dialogue – not force – was the solution to the region’s conflicts.
“We shy away from any kind of conflict, any kind of bloodshed,” Ahmadinejad told ABC’s “Good Morning America.””As we have said repeatedly, we think that the world problems can be solved through dialogue, through the use of logic and a sense of friendship. There is no need for the use of force.”
Known for his inflammatory anti-Western rhetoric, Ahmadinejad in recent weeks has taken a milder approach to diplomacy. The change in tone comes at a time when domestic criticism of the controversial leader has increased, with both reformers and fellow conservatives complaining that Ahmadinejad spends too much time criticizing the United States and Israel, and not enough on internal issues such as Iran’s struggling economy.
At the same time, the U.S. appears to be hardening its accusations against Iran, including claims that the highest levels of the Iranian leadership armed Shiites in Iraq with sophisticated armor-piercing roadside bombs that have killed more than 170 troops from the U.S.-led coalition.”
Straight from Bare Knuckle Politics: “Feb. 13, 2007 — The story tonight in Iraq is not the arrival of more U.S. troops, but the departure of one of the country’s most powerful men, Moqtada al Sadr and members of his army.
According to senior military officials al Sadr left Baghdad two to three weeks ago, and fled to Tehran, Iran, where he has family.
Al Sadr commands the Mahdi Army, one of the most formidable insurgent militias in Iraq, and his move coincides with the announced U.S. troop surge in Baghdad.
Sources believe al Sadr is worried about an increase of 20,000 U.S. troops in the Iraqi capital. One official told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, “He is scared he will get a JDAM [bomb] dropped on his house.”
Sources say some of the Mahdi army leadership went with al Sadr.
Though he is gone for now, many think al Sadr is not gone for good. In Tehran he is trying to keep the Madhi militia together.”
Straight from Ars Technica: “How many laptops does the FBI lose? The Office of the Inspector General (or OIG; it’s a part of the Department of Justice) sought to find out back in 2001, when it did an initial audit of the Bureau’s losses of both weapons and laptops. The findings of that first audit were bad enough that the OIG began a follow-up on it, the results of which have just been released. The good news is that losses are dropping. The bad news is that they’re still happening, and the FBI doesn’t know if secure information is entering the wild.When the initial audit was completed in 2002, the FBI was losing 3.82 functional weapons a month (training weapons were going missing at an even higher rate of 5.07 each month). Laptop losses were even worse, with 10.71 disappearing every thirty days. The new audit shows significantly better numbers: only 1.09 functional weapons and 2.64 laptops were lost each month, and losses of training weapons dropped all the way to 0.41.
While the OIG applauds the work that the Bureau has done so far, they still raise questions about the loss rate and about the FBI’s procedures for handling such events. Losing guns isn’t a good thing, but losing laptops can be just as bad, especially when they contain classified information. Unfortunately, the OIG determined that the FBI doesn’t even know which of its computers contain such information.”
Straight from Gamestyle: “Electronic Arts game developer Andrew Garrett thinks 360 will be top dog this generation.At FreeRepublic.com, a thread popped up concerning which console to buy. Electronic Arts game dev Andrew Garrett jumped in, writing:
”Last year, the prediction was that Sony would win the next-gen war, that the PS3 would be the dominant console, just like the PS2 was.
That is no longer the case. The extremely strong performance of the Wii, combined with the miserable performance of Sony has revised pretty much everyone’s expectations. Right now, most of us here think the 360 will be on top for this generation, with the battle for second place between Sony and Nintendo (and that’s a major shock, as we’d nearly written Nintendo off for the non-handheld market.) Most of us still think Sony will beat off Nintendo, simply due to the older graphics on the Wii, but it’s not a sure thing.
My opinion, get the 360 and/or the Wii. Skip the PS3 unless there’s a big change in the near future.”
So, who is this Andrew Garrett? He’s worked on titles like The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle Earth II and Medal of Honor: European Assault. Previously Garret worked at Dragonstone Software, where he created scientific engines for moving clothes and hair on characters in-game.”
Straight from Kotaku: “I spent my weekend playing Ar Tonelico, the charming yet slightly disturbing new highly Japanese PS2 RPG by Atelier Iris developer Gust, and enjoying myself completely after logging nearly 16 hours on the title. I was playing on my PS3 since I thought it looked lonely, and everything was going well until the last time I tried to save…
…In one fell swoop most of my weekend was rendered null and void, and my only option was to restart on the PS2 to make sure this doesn’t happen again, as the save was irreversibly corrupted. My suggestion? Don’t play this on your PS3. If you’ve already started, pick up PS2 memory card adapter and switch the save to your PS2, or just back it up constantly. Don’t let this happen to you.”
Straight from Gizmodo: “You know what today is? Well, allegedly, it’s quantum computer unveiling day! ABC has a story reminding us that today is the day that that Canadian company is supposed to unveil the world’s first quantum computer and peppers it with all sorts of “how will this change your life?” scenarios. Imagine a world where business will be able to easily manage, like, a lot of their inventory… or a world with genetically based drugs. Once you ignore the fact that the computer is still the size of a freezer and needs to be in a near absolute zero temperature environment you’ll be wet like October, too. We’ll let you know if this mysterious computer actually surfaces today.”
Straight from Tech Crunch: “Three weeks after receiving a subpoena from the U.S. District Court in Northern California, YouTube has reportedly identified a user accused by 20th Century Fox Television of uploading episodes of the show 24 a week prior to their running on television. That user, named ECOTtotal, is also alleged to have uploaded 12 episodes of The Simpsons, some quite old. Apparently Google and YouTube were willing and able to identify the owner of the username ECOTtotal, acording to a report on InternetNews.com.
Straight from Slashdot: “A court in Brussels, Belgium, has just found Google guilty of violating copyright law with its Google News aggregator. According to the ruling, Google News’ links and brief summaries of news sources violates copyright law. Google will be forced to pay $32,600 for each day it displayed the links of the plaintiffs. Although Google plans to appeal, this ruling could have chilling effects on fair use rights on the web in the rest of Europe as well if other countries follow suit.”
Straight from Slashdot: “The RIAA has sent out a letter to the ISPs telling them to stop making mistakes in identifying subscribers, and offering a ‘Pre-Doe settlement option’ — with a discount of ‘$1000 or more’ — to their subscribers, if and only if the ISP agrees to preserve its logs for 180 days. Other interesting points in the letter (PDF): the RIAA will be launching a web site for ‘early settlements,’ http://www.p2plawsuits.com; the letter asks the ISPs to notify the RIAA if they have previously ‘misidentified a subscriber account in response to a subpoena’ or become aware of ‘technical information… that causes you to question the information that you provided in response to our clients’ subpoena’; it notes that ISPs have identified ‘John Does’ who were not even subscribers of the ISP at the time of the infringement; and it requests that ISPs furnish their underlying log files, not just names and addresses, when responding to RIAA subpoenas.”
Straight from Slashdot: “A court in Belgium has found that Google’s website caching policies are a violation of that nation’s copyright laws. The finding is that Google’s cache offers effectively free access to articles that, while free initially, are archived and charged for via subscriptions. Google claims that they only store short extracts, but the court determined that’s still a violation. From the court’s ruling: ‘It would be up to copyright owners to get in touch with Google by e-mail to complain if the site was posting content that belonged to them. Google would then have 24 hours to withdraw the content or face a daily fine of 1,000 euros ($1,295 U.S.).’”
Straight from Slashdot: “The Journal of Political Economy is running the results of a study into P2P file-sharing, reports Ars Technica. The study has found that, contrary to the claims of the recording industry, there is almost no effect on sales from file-sharing. Using data from several months in 2002, the researchers came to the conclusion that P2P ‘affected no more than 0.7% of sales in that timeframe.’ 803 million CDs were sold in 2002, according to the study, which was a decrease of about 80 million from the previous year. While the RIAA has been blaming that drop (and the drop in subsequent years) on piracy, given the volume of file-sharing that year the impact from file sharing could not have been more than 6 million albums total. Thus, 74 million unsold CDs from that year are ‘without an excuse for sitting on shelves.’”
Straight from Gizmodo: “The guys at the Doom 9 forum are marking February 11, 2007 as the day when digital rights management was defeated on Blu-ray and HD DVD discs. It turns out that cracking the high definition disc formats was much easier than was originally thought. The processing key that can unravel the DRM on all HD DVD and Blu-ray discs has been found by a clever encryption fighter named arnezami.It gets better:
The first-reported cracks for HD DVD and Blu-ray discs were not completely effective, because each individual title had secret codes that were needed to unravel the rest of the encryption on that disc. But now this newly-found processing key is apparently the holy grail that unlocks the DRM on all HD DVD and Blu-ray discs released so far. The guy found it by simply watching his computer memory, where the secret code—which we won’t publish here for fear of doing jail time—simply appeared. Incredible. Let the free downloads begin!”