2/22/2005

Lawsuit Says HP Printer Cartridges Die Before Use

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A Georgia woman has sued Hewlett-Packard Co. claiming the ink cartridges for their printers are secretly programed to expire on a certain date, in some cases rendering them useless before they are even installed in a printer.

The suit filed in Santa Clara Superior Court in northern California last Thursday seeks to represent anyone in the United States who purchased an HP inkjet printer since Feb. 2001. HP is the world’s No. 1 computer printer maker.

An HP spokesman said the company does not comment on pending litigation.

HP ink cartridges use a chip technology to sense when they are low on ink and advise the user to make a change. But the suit claims those chips also shut down the cartridges at a predetermined date regardless of whether they are empty.

“The smart chip is dually engineered to prematurely register ink depletion and to render a cartridge unusable through the use of a built-in expiration date that is not revealed to the consumer,” the suit said.

The suit, which seeks class-action status, asks for restitution, damages and other compensation.

Source: Reuters

Changes in Windows XP Product Activation

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Update — 3/2/05: Microsoft Clear Up Windows Activations Misconceptions

On February 28, Microsoft® will disable Internet activation for all Microsoft Windows® XP product keys located on the Certificates of Authenticity (COA) labels distributed by large, multinational OEMs.

Direct OEMs of Microsoft (large multinational OEMs that that have a direct signed license agreement with Microsoft) usually preinstall Windows software using System Lock Preinstall (SLP), which is a direct OEM’s method of legitimately bypassing Product Activation on behalf of their customers.

One form of piracy occurs when Product Keys are stolen from Certificates of Authenticity (COAs) that have been placed on direct OEM machines where the Windows software was preinstalled using SLP. Pirates take the Product Key from these COAs and sell them to resellers or customers who then use them to activate a hard disk loaded copy of Windows.

To reduce the illegal trafficking of these OEM product keys Microsoft will “disable? the ability to activate these direct OEM Product Keys over the Internet. When a customer or reseller tries to activate using a Product Key found on the list of “disabled? Keys, the online product activation wizard will instruct them to call Microsoft where a customer service representative can assist them further. Call center operators receiving these calls will only issue an override key to customers who correctly answer a series of questions which manually verify them as legitimate.

The first phase of this Product Activation policy update will affect product keys from the top 20 Direct OEMs only. This policy will go into effect on February 28th with additional updates throughout the year to extend this policy to all OEMs authorized to use SLP. This change will affect all Windows XP product keys already shipped from the top 20 OEMs in the market today as well as shipments going forward.

Microsoft compensates blocked Dutch web firm

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft is to compensate Dutch web company Ilse Media because its AntiSpyware software blocked one of Ilse’s portals, Startpagina (”Startpage”).

Not too long ago Microsoft released a beta version of its anti spy software, which offers the choice of signing up for real-time protection. Windows AntiSpyware can monitor the PC and warns when unwanted software is installed.

Apparently, it also blocked Startpagina, one of the most popular directory pages in the Netherlands. Internet users that wanted to select Startpagina as their home page, were forced to use MSN.com instead.

Ilse wasn’t amused: the company is a fierce competitor of MSN on the Dutch market. Although only a dozen internet users must have used Microsoft’s software, Ilse threatened Microsoft with legal action. Microsoft told Dutch news site Planet Multimedia today it will pay Ilse €10.000 to compensate for legal costs, despite the fact that the bug has already been fixed in the new version of Windows AntiSpyware, which was released last week.

The incident may spark off a whole parade of court cases by web companies or even spyware merchants who believe that they are illegitimately expelled by Microsoft’s anti spyware software.

Source: The Register

Microsoft To Force XP SP2 Update

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) contains major security improvements to provide better protection against hackers, viruses and worms. Up untill now Microsoft have provided the ability to temporarily block the delivery of SP2 via Automatic Update and Windows Update and this ability will expire on April 12, 2005.

Beginning 12.01AM, April 12, 2005, this temporary blocking mechanism will expire and systems with Automatic Update enabled or interactively download SP2 via Windows Update will begin receiving SP2. Note that this is also the scheduled day for the monthly cumulative release of security updates

The End Of Clie

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Sony is bringing an end to its Clie line of PDAs in Japan, the company says this week. The move comes eight months after the company said it would no longer sell new models of PDAs overseas and puts the cap on a product line first announced by the Tokyo company in mid-2000.

The company won’t be launching any new Clie PDAs in Japan although it will continue to offer service and support for its users, says Aki Shimazu, a spokesperson for Sony in Tokyo.

Sony is considering further products built in collaboration with other group companies including telecommunication-orientated products with Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications and computer gaming-orientated devices with Sony Computer Entertainment and its recently launched PSP PlayStation she says. However, at present no such firm plans for products have been decided.

Source: AP

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