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Good Old AOL

So, me and Raquel were wandering around in Manhattan on Wednesday, and I decided to waste three hours of our time at Strand Book Store, an incredibly bookstore with miles and miles of books (”Stop complaining! We’ll leave in five minutes!”). I decided to look at every single $1 book they had (among thousands) and found this: AOL.com by Kara Swisher. The book chronicles AOL’s meteoric rise to industry giant, and I just thought it would be fun to put a little piece of ancient history on my bookshelf. I may never read it, but I love adding to my library.

And no, that’s not an Amazon Associates link to make some money, just a regular, no money link. I just thought it was a fun find.

December 31st, 2004 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | 2 comments

Is Microsoft DRM Allowing Spyware Over P2P?

Allegations from Techdirt, PC World, Broadband Reports, and Boing Boing, that a flaw in Microsoft Windows DRM allows an attacker to insert spyware into media files, and that the recording industry is taking advantage of this to send spyware and adware over peer-to-peer networks. What is known is that Overpeer, the company the RIAA hired to flood P2P networks with bogus music files, is also responsible for the hijacked files. Whether or not the RIAA is involved and sanctioned this or not is not yet known. Will the authorities shut down Overpeer, since it has now admitted that it has broken the law? One can only hope. Neglecting to prosecute a malware company, an admitted one, one which does not hide and has no shame, will tell all sorts of parties that they can move to the next obvious attack: computer viruses. When we start letting vigilantism on the internet, all hell is going to break loose.

Still, some people are mad at Microsoft through this whole thing. Techdirt says:

What may be even more important to this story, however, is the revelation of just how easy it is, thanks to a huge loophole in Microsoft’s copy protection technology, to include a malicious file with an audio or video file. Basically, because Windows DRM needs to look for a license, all anyone needs to do is point that license to a website that loads malicious content and off you go. Thank you Microsoft, for creating a huge loophole that will probably make sure millions of new computers are loaded with spamming, DDOSing trojans shortly. Thank goodness for that Microsoft DRM, huh? Not only does it not protect any actual property while making things more expensive, it opens up plenty more people to malicious attacks.

December 31st, 2004 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Security, Media Player, General | no comments

Venezuala Moves Towards Open Source

Slashdot reports that the latest news out of Venezuela (English translation) is a presidential decree that prioritizes open source over regular pay software. My family on my father’s side hails from Venezuela, and I won’t turn this into a political discussion (feel free to use the comments and Junto for that), but I will say this: President Hugo Chavez’s every move seems to manage to piss off U.S. interests. Supposedly, the first attempt at this decree was thwarted by non other than Microsoft.

December 31st, 2004 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Open Source, General | no comments