Well, Snap!

snapscreen.JPGSnap Preview Anywhere™ WordPress Beta is now featured on PoliTech.

What is Snap Preview Anywhere? Snap Preview Anywhere enables anyone visiting PoliTech to get a glimpse of what other sites we’re linking to, without having to leave our site. By rolling over any link, the user gets a visual preview of the site without having to go there, thus eliminating wasted “trips” to linked sites.

Try it out, let me know if you like it, if you use it, or if you notice any isssues.

So far there are reports of some slowness with preview of some links. But all in all I think it’s a nice feature that should encourage readers to use this blog as intended.

Click the links, actually read what I linked to, and form your own opinion.

Many Thanks to the WordPress staff for once again adding cutting edge features to their offering.

HD-DVD copy protection defeated … for now

brand-hd-dvd.gifBoingBoing reader Gunther says,

On the doom9 forums there is news of a new tool to decrypt HDDVD’s. How you get the key is not yet clear but there is a promise to have a tool to get the needed key later. (check the #9 post in the thread): Link, and related coverage at the Inquirer UK.

Here is the instructional video posted by muslix64, the guy who claims credit. He says, “I was not aware of anyone having done that, so I did. Have a look. The AACS copy protection system is really Unbreakable! The program is a simple implementation of the aacs crypto protocol freely available on the net. No reverse engineering! Stay tuned for source code soon! Merry Christmas everyone!”

BoingBoing reader A.V. points out that the HD-DVD DRM crack is not a crack — but a hack that will stop working pretty soon:

Note that AACS has not been broken. All they did was copy the key from memory off WinDVD’s software. Yes, this will let you copy HD-DVD for now, until the manufacturers revoke the key in the next batch of HD-DVD pressings. WinDVD will either have to get a new key or might get their license canceled entirely, ending the product.

Of course if they get a new key, then it can be copied from memory again unless they start encrypting it in memory and then this program is useless.

So “backup” your HD-DVD’s while you can, in a few months this program will be useless on newer releases.

So for now you may be able to backup your HD-DVD collection, but only if you work fast, on the 150 or so titles that are already released, and only if the DVD Playback software you are using has the vulnerability.

Due to all the attention, this hole will likely be plugged within months if not sooner and any playback software containing the vulnerability will likely be blacklisted by the studios.

The only real upside to all of the attention that this quasi crack is receiving is an elevation of public consciousness about the DRM issue.

Hattip: BoingBoing

UPDATE: HD DVD Encryption Hacked, Xbox 360 Player Utilized

Nanomaterials Produce Flexible Three – Dimensional Electronics


Nanomaterials Produce Heterogeneous Three- Dimensional Electronics

Researchers at the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory of the University of Illinois have developed a new, experimentally simple approach for combining broad classes of dissimilar electronic materials into heterogeneously integrated systems with two or three dimensional layouts on rigid or flexible substrates. The materials and techniques, published in the December 15 issue of Science, provide capabilities that can complement those achievable with conventional methods.

“We have developed a simple approach to combine disparate types of semiconductor devices into three dimensional, heterogeneously integrated (HGI) electronic systems,” added Rogers, who has appointments in the departments of materials science and engineering, chemistry, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical science and engineering, and is also a researcher at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.

The process starts with the synthesis of semiconductor nanomaterials, in the form of micro and nanoscale ribbons, wires, tubes and bars, on specialized growth substrates. Repeated application of a printing technique that uses soft, elastomeric ‘stamps’ with these nanomaterials as solid ‘inks’ followed by device integration yields heterogeneously integrated electronics that incorporate any combination of these or other semiconductor nanomaterials on virtually any type of device substrate, ranging from rigid inorganic materials to flexible plastics. Circuits built in this way offer electrical and mechanical (e.g., bendability) attributes that would be impossible to achieve using conventional, wafer-based approaches to electronics.

A key feature of the strategy is that it occurs at room temperature, thereby enabling the electronics to be placed on unconventional substrates such as thin sheets of plastic.

“This work shows that it is possible to liberate high performance electronic devices from semiconductor wafers and to integrate them onto surfaces and substrates that better serve important end applications,”

Science News from: scitizen.com

The Year in Review; 2006 Top Ten Lists

It’s almost 2007, and who doesn’t like looking back at the previous year by perusing the various Top Ten lists? Here are some of my favorites…

From Wired.com we have the 9th annual presentation of the Wired News Vaporware Awards, their ode to the year’s top technology products promised, hyped and scheduled, but not delivered. Click: Vaporware ’06: Return of the King

From consumeraffairs.com, the Top 10 Scams of 2006 From the article: “Scammers scored at will, generating instant cash using lottery and fake check scams. They capitalized on news events and pop culture to catch consumers off guard, and enlisted all kinds of emerging technology to perfect identity theft.”

American Council on Science and Health serves up; The Top Ten Unfounded Health Scares of 2006 where they say, “Unfortunately, old scares seem neither to die nor to fade away—some of these that garnered media attention in 2006 are replays of earlier scares, sometimes with a new twist.”

From foreignpolicy.com we find “The Top Ten Stories You Missed in 2006“. You saw the stories that dominated the headlines in 2006: the war in Iraq, North Korea’s nuclear tests, and the U.S. midterm elections. But what about the news that remained under the radar?

Techie’s Corner posts A top 10 popular torrent sites list of 2006

Politically Correct & Liability Free, Season’s Greetings

From PoliTech to all of you!


From me (“the wishor”) to you (“the wishee”), please accept without obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, politically correct, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

I wish you a financially successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but with due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures or sects, and having regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting you are bound by the following terms:

1.This greeting is subject to further clarification or withdrawal.

2.This greeting is freely transferable provided that no alteration shall be made to the original greeting and that the proprietary rights of the wishor are acknowledged.

3.This greeting implies no promise by the wishor to actually implement the inferences contained in this correspondence.

4.This greeting may not be enforceable in certain jurisdictions and/or the restrictions herein may not be binding upon certain wishes in certain geographical locations.

5.This greeting is warranted to perform as reasonably as may be expected within the usual application of good tidings, for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent
holiday greeting, whichever comes first.

6.The wishor warrants this greeting only for the limited replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wishor.

Free Java, Symbian, Palm and Pocket PC Software

GetJarLogo.pngCheck out GetJar.com for tons of free software to run on your Palm, your Phone, just about anything. Be careful at work though … because GetJar.com has a complete listing of available software for your various devices … including software primarily intended for the adult user.

Browse or search for software by title, device, or platform … even old devices like old phones, old Palms, and old Pocket PCs can be taught to do new tricks with some of the cool software available via getjar.com.

Added to the PoliTech reading list under the “Software” category.

Wasting Nanotechnology’s Potential


Former White House science advisor warns that nanotechnology’s potential threatened

Dr. Lane made his remarks today at a Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies event at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The program marked the release of a new article in the December 2006 issue of the journal Nature Nanotechnology, “What drives public acceptance of nanotechnology””

“A recent poll by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies shows that while public awareness of nanotechnology is increasing, fully 69 percent of Americans have heard little or nothing about nanotechnology,” said Lane. “More young people are seeing nanotechnology in advertisements for MP3 players than are learning about nanotechnology in schools.”

“In my view, given what’s at stake, this situation is unacceptable. I fear that nanotechnology may be heading for a fall. A major environmental, medical or safety problem—real or bogus—with a product or application that’s labeled ‘nanotechnology’—whether it actually is nanotechnology or not—could dampen public confidence and financial investment in nanotechnology’s future, and could even lead to unwise regulation. We should not let this happen,” stated Dr. Lane.

Yep! I’ve been saying that for a long time.