After doing a little bit of research, I decided to pick up a SyncMasterTM 226BW from Samsung. Between the new monitor and my ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT video card, the resolution looks absolutely stunning. Even my home movies look fantastic in HDTV. I really couldn’t have been happier with the upgrade.
Unfortunately, Hollywood isn’t quite as thrilled about my new HD Media Dream Machine and they’ve decided to punish me by revoking my Watch Now privileges from Netflix.
As part of their agreement with Hollywood, Netflix uses a program called COPP (Certified Output Protection Protocal). COPP is made by Microsoft and the protocol restricts how you are able to transfer digital files off of your PC. When I ran COPP to identify the error on my machine, it gave me an ominous warning that “the exclusive semaphere is owned by another process.”
My Netflix technician told me that he had never heard of this particular error and thought that it was unique to my setup. When I consulted Microsoft, they suggested that I consult the creator of the program. Since Microsoft wrote the COPP software, I wasn’t sure who to turn to after that.
The irony in all of this, is that the DRM that Hollywood is so much in love with, is really only harming their paying customers. When you do a DRM reset, it’s not your pirated files that get revoked, it’s the ones that you already paid for that are at risk. I’m not allowed to watch low res Netflix files, even though I have the capability to download high def torrents? How does this even make sense? It’s as if the studios want their digital strategies to fail.
After six years of childless marriage, John and Cynthia Burke of Newark decided to adopt a baby boy through a state agency. Since the Burkes were young, scandal-free and solvent, they had no trouble with the New Jersey Bureau of Children’s Services—until investigators came to the line on the application that asked for the couple’s religious affiliation.
John Burke, an atheist, and his wife, a pantheist, had left the line blank. As a result, the bureau denied the Burkes’ application. After the couple began court action, however, the bureau changed its regulations, and the couple was able to adopt a baby boy from the Children’s Aid and Adoption Society in East Orange.
In an extraordinary decision, Judge Camarata denied the Burkes’ right to the child because of their lack of belief in a Supreme Being. Despite the Burkes’ “high moral and ethical standards,” he said, the New Jersey state constitution declares that “no person shall be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshiping Almighty God in a manner agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience.” Despite Eleanor Katherine’s tender years, he continued, “the child should have the freedom to worship as she sees fit, and not be influenced by prospective parents who do not believe in a Supreme Being.”
Where I work the company is willing to blow huge amounts of money on a consulting firm or hardware, but ends up firing people when times get tight. It’s a universal mass hysteria that paying $100 – $200 per hour for a group of consultants is preferable to simply hiring good employees. At the rates companies pay these consultants they could hire 4 full time employees.
Consultancies used to provide a service by managing the entire project so you didn’t have to do much. Now with Agile and Pair Programming the consulting firms can dupe clients into helping them make the sausage, provide little to no services, yet still charge insane rates. What’s impressive is these consulting firms somehow charge rates that are 5 or 6 times what they pay their employees.
Think about that. How is it possible that your consulting firm has so much inefficiency they must charge 600% overhead? Are the services you get really that far above the base pay of that employee? Why the hell not just hire someone and have a long term learner who’ll be ready to work on anything?
Accounting, that’s why. When you hire a Full Time Employee (FTE) you need to account for it and budget them differently than if you pay a firm for a consultant. There’s several loop holes in the tax and accounting standards that make a consultant seem cheaper than a regular employee.
However, this is a mass hysteria. Eventually people will catch on that the quality they get for the price they pay isn’t there. A smart consultancy will figure out that they could undercut these idiot firms by simply using technology properly to cut costs and reduce overhead. Hell, you’ve got 600% overhead to work with. Should be easy to pull a Southwest Airlines on them.
A Harvard researcher has accused one of America’s biggest retailers of sneaking privacy-stealing spyware from ComScore onto customers’ machines.
Sears Holding Corporation, owner of Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart, makes the pitch in an email sent to people shortly after they provide their address at Sears.com. Clicking the “Join” button invokes a dialog that requests the person’s name, address and household size before installing ComScore spyware that monitors every site visited on the computer.
Sears’ leap into the spyware business was first documented by Computer Associates researcher Benjamin Googins, who determined the notice to end users was inadequate. Yesterday, Harvard researcher Ben Edelman weighed in and came to largely the same conclusion.
It’s not that Sears fails to notify users it intends to spy on them. Indeed, the email sent to users states that the application “monitors all of the internet behavior that occurs on the computer on which you install the application, including…filling a shopping basket, completing an application form, or checking your…personal financial or health information.”
The rub is that this unusually frank warning comes on page 10 of a 54-page privacy statement that is 2,971 words long.