Sun-Sentinel: News Local - Fingerprint technology faces test in court. Should photoshopped fingerprints be admissable evidence? I don't think so - not at this stage. The system currently relies on "the integrity of the individuals involved". Meaning it's not suitable when the outcome could send someone to jail... or to their death. Remember, people used to rely on lie detector tests; but they can be faked, so now it's just an aid to an investigation. If someone fails the test, then that's an indication that you should dig further. It doesn't mean any more than that. Same for photoshopped prints - you can't be sure you haven't altered it when you "enhance" an image.

Slashdot | Nintendo's Playstation Settlement Bombshell.

"Console Talk has the story on a settlement between Sony and Nintendo over the rights to the "PlayStation" name, which was originally a joint owned copywrite, given to a CD and Cartridge based system to play SNES games. The settlement is for 10% of Sony's proceeds, past and present on the "PlayStation" name, currently amounting to approximately $2.3 billion. Nintendo is allowing Sony to pay it off in installments over the next 20 years."

Yahoo! News - Record Industry Wants Small Shops to Clean House. In other news, the record industry announces lastest business plan drafted by Butch the Schoolyard Bully. They feel they can learn more about petulance and picking on smaller kids from Butch and the five other boys he keeps handy as backup.

I mean seriously, how much time do these people have on their hands?? Did they just hire too many lawyers while pursuing Napster and well hey they have to be kept busy now?

Slashdot | Tim O'Reilly Says Piracy is Progressive Taxation. I particularly like the first point made.... Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy. Yes, indeedy. If nobody know you or your stuff, nobody buys your stuff. However, if everyone knows you and 10% of them buy your stuff, you're in business. What if 20% pirate your stuff? Well you're still better off than the poor bankrupt company who can't get their stuff bought OR pirated.

Some companies have realised this, so they only go after corporate piracy - that is, businesses using pirate software. If the guy at home doesn't get a pirate copy, he can't learn how to use it and he'll never purchase it at work. Not just that, but many companies now licence a second copy of each corporate purchase, for home use... for that exact reason.

Ars Technica: IMAK Smartglove (12/2002). Looks much better than the sports supports I've tried - they're not made for computer/mouse usage and they're definitely not made to stand up to daily use. Who knows. My desk at work is crap (gap between the keyboard tray and rest of the desk, right where the mouse should sit) so this might not help anyway.

Human or Computer? Take This Test. Discusses the ways you can have an automated process identify a computer vs. a human. Not a Turing test, although they are discussed, but rather a gatekeeper/checkpoint. A human has no problem identifying a word in distorted text or sound; but a computer - currently - has little or no chance of figuring it out. This does have some issues for disabled users and text-only browsers; but for the most part the benefits are worthwhile.

Another interesting point in this article is this... We can make a computer "smart" at maths because it's a relatively set body of knowledge. 2 + 2 = 4, big brother aside. But identifying a word in distorted text is something we don't understand nearly as well; so we can't express the process in code well enough for the computer to do it. Advances are being made; but to create a true artificial intelligence, we will have to understand ourselves far better than we do now.

In the Future, We'll All Be Harry Potter (Alertbox Dec. 2002). Jakob in an unusually whimsical mood... but his points are good; Harry Potter's world is filled with stuff that we could have right now. We have the technology. I was discussing this with someone the other day... we have the technology to do so many things, but they aren't done. It's a damn shame. The evil of money/profit is frequently to blame, it seems... eg. all cars could ten times safer than they are now; but it would "cost too much". Depends on how you define "cost", i think. - Don't mention fun. German stereotypes aside, there's always a counterpoint... what if getting rid of "fun" in the workplace actually reduced stress? Well, perhaps for some people yeah. Myself I think a nice balance is the best approach. Allow some workspace personalisation, but ditch the group-hug team bullshit.