FAA Has Almost 300,000 Drone Owners Registered in the First Month

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) received a lot of hassle when it made its announcement last year when it announced plans to require drone owners to register their craft, both those purchased previously and those which they purchase in future. Even with all this hassle though they’ve seen quite a few drone owners register in the first month.

In a statement, over the first 30 days since the online registration system went online they’ve had nearly 300,000 people register their “small unmanned aircrafts”. If you own a craft between 0.55lbs and 500lbs you are required to register it, with registration required before you are allowed to fly the craft outside.

During the first 30 days, it was free to register, however, there is now a $5 cost for registration. If you purchased your drone before December 21st, 2015, you are required to have registered your drone by the 19th February, with all registrations lasting three years.

With everything from shooting down your neighbours drones and cutting off power in Hollywood, drones have proven to be difficult, with worst case scenarios ending in injuries. Some groups have gone so far as to create anti-drone technology or even an anti-drone police force. With these measures in mind, paying $5 to register your craft isn’t all that bad is it?

Catan Under New Ownership

For years, families have been torn apart by the building of cities and conquering of the seas all in the name of Catan. Now it would seem that you could find the isle of Catan under a different name, or rather new ownership.

Asmodee North America has acquired the license to the English language version of the island of Catan from Mayfair games. This doesn’t mean it’s all over for Mayfair, with both Asmodee and Mayfair games looking to work together to promote Catan Day 2016, the tournament schedule and even the 2016 Catan World Championship.

In response to this acquisition, Asmodee formed Catan Studio Inc, a new creative unit designed to further expand on the game.

This isn’t the first expansion for Asmodee, having recently acquired the publisher known as Fantasy Flight Games, the maker of a series of games including an entire host of Star Wars games including the X-Wing miniature game and the latest Star Wars paper based RPG.

With so many games already under its belt and yet another joining, could you soon see a Star Wars Catan with the entire galaxy conquered on your table? We already have Star Trek Catan so why not? Do you play Settlers of Catan and if so what, if any, versions would you like to see considered for release?

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

The Big Bang Theory Producers Are Being Sued

We sadly live in a world where everyone can sue everyone for almost anything. This happens a lot and sometimes the lawsuits have more claim than other times. The latest one is one that is hard to place and I think it will end up as a tough call in the courtroom. Warner Bros, CBS, Fox, Chock Lorre, and Turner Broadcasting are among the targets in a new lawsuit against The Big Bang Theory and more specific, the Soft Kittie usage.

The original author of the nursery rhyme isn’t around anymore, but the authors children Ellen and Margaret are suing pretty much anyone involved with the show over the use of the nursery rhyme. The plaintiffs seek damages and profits as well as their attorney fees covered as part of the lawsuit where they say that they never been asked for permission and no royalties have been paid for the use of the by-now famous Soft Kitty rhyme.

The lawsuit was filed on Monday in the Southern District of New York, claiming that the lyrical rights clearly belonged to author and copyright owner Edith Newlin, and that the accused “never contacted or made any attempt to contact Edith Newlin or her successors to seek permission to use the Soft Kitty Lyrics, and Plaintiffs never granted any permission … to do so.”

So far everything seems pretty straight forward, the accused are guilty. But it is rarely that straightforward and especially not when we’re dealing with laws and rights.

Warner Bros bought the rights to use the song from Willis Music back in 2007, which pretty much clears them. Originally the lyrics ran in a Willis compilation called Songs for the Nursery School back in 1937, but that was only on a loan basis and Willis did not obtain any rights besides for that usage. So they technically didn’t have the rights to sell at all. The song, or rhyme, has been used in at least eight episodes of the show, with only slight tweaks, the lawsuit states.

If it was just about a few royalties, then I’m sure that Warner Bros could end the whole thing very quickly, but there’s more trouble. The Soft Kitty song has become somewhat legend and that has been exploited in promotions, advertising, and fan articles. That part makes the whole deal a lot more tricky. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, if we get a verdict at all or if they two parties find an outside agreement.

FAA Set Deadline For Drone Registration

For a while now the hot topic for technology being used by the public has been drones. Small devices capable of flight with everything from a camera to a gun attached to them. Recently a drone crashed into a power line in Hollywood, the end result being a power outage for several hours with no way to track the responsible party to a toddler losing an eye to a crashed drone, the concept of controlling this area of technology has been discussed by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) for a while. The FAA has now clarified what the registration will entail and revealed details about the penalties for flying without a permit.

“The Qube is flown in a demonstration (pictured above) in Simi Valley, California, October 19, 2011. The tiny drone with four whirling rotors swoops back and forth about 200 feet above the ground scouring the landscape and capturing crystal-clear video of what lies below. (Gary Friedman/Los Angeles Times/MCT)”

In order to register you will be required to pay a $5 fee, a fee that is being waived if you register in the first 30 days. You must register any drone that weighs between 0.55 and 50 pounds, by the deadline of February 19th, 2016.

The penalty for flying a drone without a license? Civil penalties could be a fine up to $27,500 while criminal penalties could include fees of up to $250,000 and up to three years in jail!

You can start the process now, but you won’t be able to fully register until December 21st. In order to register you must be 13 years old and upon completion will be issued a certificate that will include a unique ID that you must put on your drone.

Microsoft Clarifies Rumors of Updating Pirated Windows Copies to Legit Windows 10

There have been rumors all over the internet that Microsoft is going to let users running pirated versions of Windows update to the ‘legit’ Windows 10 once it is released. While Microsoft is going to allow just about anyone to upgrade to its latest distribution for free, that does not mean it is giving it away for free.

“We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10,” said Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s executive vice president of operating systems.

However, the confusion was made with the previous statement as to what kind of experience unlicensed upgraders will get. Apparently Microsoft told Arstechnica that pirated copies of previous Windows versions will be able to upgrade to Windows 10, but the Windows 10 they get will be considered an “unofficial” version.

“With Windows 10, although non-genuine PCs may be able to upgrade to Windows 10, the upgrade will not change the genuine state of the license … If a device was considered non-genuine or mislicensed prior to the upgrade, that device will continue to be considered non-genuine or mislicensed after the upgrade,” Microsoft said in a statement.

Microsoft did not clearly state what will actually happen or how the experience of Windows 10 will be to pirated versions once they upgrade. However, given the latter versions of Windows, the company might cut some major features, updates and even annoy you with blank desktops and popup messages, or even cut off access to the Window Store or the Xbox Video Store.

Thank you PCMag for providing us with this information

Almost 10,000 UK Driving License Details Leaked Online

It looks like the NSA or other government agencies might not be the only ones that have access to your personal details. Everyone with Internet access could have seen your address, name, email and photo just by navigating to a website. This is the case of a private parking ticket company by the name of PaymyPCN.net, who allegedly published one of their clients’ database online. It is said that a security flaw on the private parking firm’s website allowed public access to around 10,000 motorists.

“[The] breach at PaymyPCN.net demonstrates that even with basic IT security measures in place, perimeters are still permeable.” said Sol Cates, CSO at security vendor Vormetic. “In this case, it appears that, while motorists’ data and fine payments were encrypted once inputted into the PaymyPCN.net website, a backdoor link left the computer database wide open – providing access to private information provided to PaymyPCN.net by the DVLA. Although the information was encrypted, just as important is the control of access to the encrypted information – and this is where PaymyPCN.net appears to have failed,” he added.

Michael Green, a consumer activist, is said to be the one who uncovered the flaw after it had been “sent to a motorist in error”. The site is said to have been taken offline by PaymyPCN.net immediately after the breach, but it has since returned. PaymyPCN.net activities involve the collection of parking charge notices, acting as an agent of both private and public sector parking operators.

Thank you The Register for providing us with this information

Kodak Launching Android Smartphones in 2015

Kodak is launching some Android smartphones, with the first to be shown at CES in January. However, this is not a comeback for Kodak in a different business per say, this is more like Kodak licensing their brand to someone else’s phones.

As well as that first phone, there will be a “4G handset, a tablet, and a connected camera” all designed by British company Bullitt Group.

“Kodak is one of the world’s most recognisable brands. It is trusted by consumers as a marque of quality and innovation,” says Oliver Schulte, CEO Bullitt Mobile. “We’ve taken that heritage and used it to inspire a range of beautifully designed devices that will let users take great pictures and edit, share, store and print them in an instant.”

This is a practice that isn’t too rare these days, especially for now former giants like Kodak. Polaroid for instance slaps their logo on TVs they don’t even have a say in. The question is though, will this help a previously almost bankrupt Kodak get back on its feet?

Source: The Verge

Iowa Creating App For Digital Driving Licenses

The state of Iowa in the US is developing a smartphone app that will allow citizens to display their driving license on their devices.

The new app is intended to make it easier for drivers to carry their license, as many people simply don’t bother carrying it anyway. Besides driving, the app will also come in useful for other times ID is required, such as at airports and for purchasing age restricted items. Residents will still of course be allowed to carry their conventional license, as the app is not seen as a complete replacement.

Governor Terry Branstand told the Des Moines Register, “We are really moving forward on this”, with the app currently under development and with a pilot program to take place next year. The app will use a pin number and biometric scanner for verification.

Source: BBC News

 

Microsoft To Be Worried About PCs That Are Still Using Windows XP

According to Redmond’s statistics, Microsoft has around 377,000 PCs in New Zealand alone that are running Windows XP and will be made vulnerable after April 8, 2014. Also, users of the old and popular WIndows XP could affect others who have already upgraded. Personal information could be put at risk as well as business trade secrets, customer account data and more.

“We estimate that up to 377,000 PCs in New Zealand running Windows XP could be vulnerable to malware attacks after 8 April 2014 and we want to make sure that Kiwis upgrade before Microsoft stops supporting Windows XP”. “For businesses, upgrading an operating system takes time. Depending on complexity, small businesses could take three to six months to upgrade, and larger businesses can take six months or more. We are really worried that some New Zealand companies are cutting it too close to the end of support date.” – Dean Edwards, Windows business group manager at Microsoft NZ.

Hackers could reverse engineer fixes made to the newer platforms and see if the exploits work on Windows XP. Therefore, Microsoft has a big challenge not only to provide customers with their latest products such as Windows 8.1, but also convince users and businesses to switch to a more up to date operating system like Windows 8 or Windows 7.

Thank you Tom’s Hardware for providing us with this information