Posts Tagged ‘software’

5 Free Apps for Windows 7

November 9, 2009

Windows 7 is here, and so are many useful applications to enhance your computing experience.  Here are 5 apps that look particularly useful for Windows 7:

  1. Desktop Media – This app will automatically adds drive icons to your desktop. It will detect USB drives, fixed drives (ie. your hard drives), CD/DVD drives, network drives, and even RAM disk drives.
  2. Standalonestack 2 – This app allows you to move one step beyond the new Windows 7 features and create program “stacks,” or graphical lists, based off of a single icon on your desktop. When you click on this icon, you can use the ensuing menu of items to launch new programs, folders, or settings options. It’s like having a number of different Start buttons that you can customize as much as you’d like.
  3. 7 Taskbar Tweaker – This app is a simple utility for adding additional functionality into your default Windows 7 taskbar.  There are not a weighty list of items to play around with, but 7 Taskbar Tweaker’s modifications aren’t normally customizable options in the Windows 7 OS.
  4. Menu App – This app allows you to configure menus and use them to launch your favorite programs, music files, documents, websites, etc., all from the start menu.
  5. Rainmeter – This app provides desktop skinning without a ton of crazy configuration files to sort through.

These apps are reviewed at MaximumPC.  Enjoy.

Court rules copying your own DVD’s is illegal

August 16, 2009

A federal court has found a DVD copying company’s software violates U.S. copyright law. What is more, the court held copying DVD’s (including ones you’ve purchased and legally own) is illegal.

A U.S. District Court Judge on Tuesday issued a preliminary injunction that will prevent RealNetworks from selling its software until a jury can decide the issue. The software allows users to rip through protection technology and make digital copies of legally-owned content (assuming the user purchased the DVD). That will undoubtedly keep RealDVD and Facet, Real’s prototype DVD player, off store shelves for an indefinite period. Facet also makes digital copies and stores them to a built in hard drive.

The decision represents a major victory for the film studios, which had accused Real of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and breach of contract in a lawsuit filed last fall. Had the decision gone against the film studios and its trade group, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), it would have been an affirmation that consumers have the right to copy their DVDs for personal use. Right now, when a DVD owner loses or breaks a disc, they conceivably must purchase another copy. RealDVD and Facet eliminate the need for discs once copies are made. The MPAA’s assertion was simple — consumers do not have the right to copy DVD movies — ever.

The case represents a landmark, precedent-setting ruling in terms of fair use.  It sets the precedent that not only declares that media-copying software which circumvents copy-protection technologies is illegal, but also adds legal credence to the MPAA and RIAA’s argument that consumers making copies of legally purchased DVDs and CDs is a crime.

To read more about the proceedings and history of this case, read CNet’s article here.  Some analysis provided by the Daily Tech.

Court Days, Legal Software for your iPhone

August 10, 2009

CourtDaysLargeCourt Days for the iPhone provides a quick and efficient way to calculate court dates and deadlines without having to rely on that clumsy old paper date wheel or counting by hand on a paper calendar.

This inexpensive app (99 cents) computes days between events, and is sensitive to your State’s holiday dates.  If you need to know when an Answer is due, for example, just enter the beginning date, and calculate the due date.

Court Days is also available for the Touch.

Here is the Developer’s site, and Futurelawyer’s review of the software.

Microsoft and Linux agree? – you know there’s something wrong

July 21, 2009

The mutual disdain between Microsoft Corp. and Linux, an open-source computer operating system, is unrivaled.

But new rules for software contracts put out by The American Law Institute have united the enemies as part of a growing protest of tech companies and their lawyers. The most controversial of the guidelines is that software vendors must guarantee buyers that there are no hidden flaws in the software.

Industry lawyers say the rules will create undue product liability for companies and developers because of the inherently flawed nature of software.

“It creates an unrealistic standard and a lot of litigation,” said Mark Radcliffe, a DLA Piper lawyer who’s worked to oppose the new rules. “Any project that has Microsoft and Linux on the same side, you know there’s something wrong.”

The debate divides consumer protection advocates, who say software companies should be liable for the quality of their products, from the industry, which calls the principles unnecessary and potentially crippling.

Microsoft and Linux joined together to write letter to protest the new standard (find it here).

Read the rest of the article here