Disney asks Gizmodo to clarify that jewel box is not intended for pot stashing

Gizmodo's Joel Johnson blogged about Disney Electronics's fairly clever "Disney Princess" jewel box/CD player, noting that its secret compartment is "perfect for your child's first marijuana stash."

Disney wrote to Joel and asked him to clarify "that marijuana stashing is not an intended or authorized use of this product." Link

Powerbook battery tracker

A new beta app for tracking your Powerbook's battery health just got posted to VersionTracker. The release version promises network-awareness so that you can compare you battery's health to others'.
iBatt is a new PowerBook battery tool which can diagnose your battery's health, and generate graphs showing battery utilization trends. Whereas the system only provides you with current charge level, iBatt tells you total battery capacity, rate of charge/discharge, current battery voltage, and battery state. The release version will have network support to compare your battery's health with other batteries in your PowerBook model.
Link

Feds crank up heat on P2P, new House bill promises prison for "pirates"

I just filed a story for Wired News on a new House bill that proposes prison time for file-swappers -- and on today's Justice Department announcement of a new intellectual-property task force to analyze how the department addresses issues like the unauthorized sharing of digital software, music and movies.
Justice spokesman John Nowacki declined to disclose further details on the membership of the [Intellectual Property Task Force], or what specific activities it will pursue.

The task force was created in the wake of criticism by some members of Congress that the Justice Department has not done enough to crack down on digital piracy. The announcement took place on the same day that a House judiciary subcommittee unanimously approved a bill that would punish file swappers with up to three years in jail for first offenses, and up to six for repeat offenses.

Sponsored by Reps. Howard Berman (D-California) and Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the bill targets heavy users of peer-to-peer networks and those who pirate copies of feature films. The bill outlines a new piracy deterrence program for the FBI, and calls for the Justice Department to create an antipiracy "Internet Use Education Program." If signed into law, Justice would receive $15 million for investigation and prosecution of copyright-related crimes in 2005.

If signed into law, H.R. 4077 -- the "Piracy Deterrence and Education Act of 2004" -- would be the first to punish file sharing with jail time. The bill also takes aim at camcorder copiers who sneak into film screenings. Anyone who "knowingly uses or attempts to use an audiovisual recording device in a motion picture theater" to copy a movie could face up to six years in jail.

Link to Wired News story.
Text version of PDEA should be available through Thomas shortly, here: Link. Update: PDF version (63Kb) of the PDEA is now available here: Link.

Music industry relies on data from pirate nets to hone strategy

Record labels are using data gleaned from pirate P2P networks to refine their sales-strategies, to excelletn effect. Nevertheless, they still repudiate the networks themselves, and vow to go on individually suing every participating music fan until they have all learned to respect the music industry.
The online data revealed that despite Story of the Year's lunar rotation, its single ``Until the Day I Die'' ranked among the top 20 most popular downloads, alongside tracks from Blink-182, Audioslave and Hoobastank that received significantly more airplay. And when the band performed in a city, ``we didn't necessarily see the phones blowing up at radio, but we saw download requests for the song skyrocket as they went through,'' said Jeremy Welt, Maverick's head of new media.

Armed with this data, Maverick fought for more airtime at radio, which translated into more CD sales. Story of the Year's album, ``Page Avenue,'' just went gold, selling more than half a million copies.

``I definitely don't like to spin it that piracy is OK because we get to look at the data. It's too bad that people are stealing so much music,'' said Welt. ``That said, we would be very foolish if we didn't look and pay attention to what's going on.''

Link (via Copyfight)

Katana controller for PS2 game

This wireless motion-sensitive sword is the controller for a character in Onimusha 3, forthcoming for the PS2. The game itself is apparently recursive: you are asked to direct the motions of an avatar who is playing a videogame of his own controlled by a motion-sensitive sword, and swinging the physical sword-controller causes the virtual sword-controller to move, which, in turn, directs the swordsmanship of your avatar's character in an in-game game. Zany.

Update: Joel "Deadpan" Johnson writes, "The recursive stuff on that post was just a joke. There is only one layer of abstraction; you swing the sword and your character swings his, end of story. I'm obviously TOO FUNNY for my own good." Link (via Gizmodo)

Batmobile built like a tank

The Batmobile for the next Batman movie has monster-truck wheels and looks like a fighter-tank from the Car Wars universe. Link (Thanks, Numlok!)

Memos in Starbucks detail Bushies' Richard Clarke strategy

Memos on letterhead from "Office of the Secretary of Defense, The Special Assistant," have been retreived from a DC Starbucks. They detail what appears to be Bushie spin-strategy to deal with Richard Clarke's damning WMD testimony.
The notes say: "Took threat v seriously and then segue to wh we have been doing. Rise above [ Richard A.] Clarke.

"Emphasize importance of 9/11 commission and come back to what we have been doing.

"[Commission member Jamie] Gorelick pitting Condi [ Condoleezza Rice] v. [Deputy Secretary of State Richard] Armitage

"Our plan had military plans to attack Al Q -- called on def to draw up targets in Afg -- develop mil options."

There's an underlined notation "DR" in the margin and a quotation, apparently from DR, perhaps Rumsfeld, to "Stay inside the line -- we dont need 2 ruff [or puff] this at all. we need 2b careful as hell about it. This thing will go away soon and what will keep it alive will be one of us going over the line."

Reg Required Link Non-registration American Progress Link (Thanks, LVX23!)

Google's free gigabyte

Google announced a free email service, promising a Gigabyte of storage to each user.
"The idea is that your mail can stay in there forever," said Wayne Rosing, vice president of engineering at Google. "You can always index it, always search it, and always find things from the past."
That's a neat idea, but I wonder if you can store attachments, and how big those attachments can be? That makes all the difference. Link

Mid Century Lampshades

Meteor LightsMeteor Lights sells really nice retro lampshades and other mid-century lighting stuff. Link

Robot-themed handbags, animal-shaped cellphone cozies

Handbags and other accessories filled with esprit de geek. Handmade by genuine humans. High cuteness factor. Chuckles Central makes stuff like Robot handbags, iPod/digital camera/mobilephone Cozies, Laptop Magnet, and Robot Magnets.
Link

Canada's RIAA can't prove infringement by P2P uploaders, says court

Canada's Federal Court has ruled that the Canadian Recording Industry Association was not able to prove copyright infringement by the uploaders it sued. The judge also said that under that country's copyright law, downloading is not illegal. Link

Chris Hoofnagle, Assoc. Director of EPIC, The Electronic Privacy Information Center, tells BoingBoing: "We have the decision online here (~670kb PDF). It's remarkable. The judge says that keeping a file in a p2p system is no different than installing a photocopy machine in a library." And BoingBoing reader Chris suggests this alternate link to a leaner PDF from the Federal Court of Canada: Link

Mephisto morphed art-pr0n

Our pals at Fleshbot say:
Sure, any hack with a copy of Photoshop and a few hours can turn women into barnyard animals, but if you want to see beautiful models transformed into slugs, chocolate bars, or five-and-a-half foot tall anthropomorphic cigarettes, you'll have to consult the work of a master. (Anyone curious to see how Britney looks as a pig, cow, or dog should check this out as well.)

Mephisto Gallery (photomanipulations @ doc.furvect.com)

Keanu stars in A Scanner Darkly

Boing Boing pal Dave Gill points us to news that Keanu Reeves will star in the Hollywoodization of A Scanner Darkly, based on Philip K. Dick's masterpiece SF novel about drugs and schizophrenia. As Dave says, "uh-oh."

According to Variety, Richard Linklater may direct the film, employing the same live action-to-animation technique seen in Waking Life. I suppose it's no surprise that Keanu was chosen for the role. After all, The Matrix was the ultimate PKD rip-off. Link

Left-handed phone

Sony Ericsson's LH-Z200 cellphone now comes in a left-handed model. Link (via Engadget)

Homeless Hacker profile in Wired

Great Wired profile of Adrian Lamo, the Homeless Hacker who got busted for using the NYT's Lexis-Nexus account.
In theory, it's easy to see Lamo as a good guy. Unlike many hackers - even whitehats - he never uses a pseudonym and makes no effort to hide his identity. If the company he notifies appears grateful, he will often offer to help plug the hole he's discovered for free. Poulsen, for one, believes that Lamo "practices a style of hacking - open, brash, illegal, but carefully observant of an unwritten code of ethics - that went out of style a decade ago."

Indeed, Lamo's hacks are uncommonly witty and at times almost inspiring. Once, after tunneling into Excite@Home's customer service database, Lamo pulled the email and phone number of a customer whose complaint had gone unanswered for a year. Lamo called him up, chatted briefly, then offered to forward him all the company's internal correspondence pertaining to the original complaint.

Link