Broadband Sanctions, Google Balloons, and Microsoft Mind Control

It's been a light weekend — we're guessing everybody's still coming out of shock from Microsoft's move to "open source" — but never fear, we've busily scoured the 'net and have come up with a stash of goodies to share. Fellow geeks, start your engines!

First up is a little something we stumbled onto on Saturday. It seems that amongst all their plans to play nice, Microsoft is also planning ways to enslave the Earth, or at least, that's what one of the finalists in their Next-Gen PC contest seems to be. The Momenta is a computer that detects excitement and starts recording, so you'll have mementos of "the most memorable moments of your life." All housed in an ultra-futuristic chrome collar to fit snugly around your neck. We can't be the only ones who have seen enough Star Trek to know this can't be good.

Speaking of Big Evil and no-good, it looks like they're about to get bitten in the bum by their own marketing campaign. The Empire pulled a fast one back in 2006 when it marketed XP boxes as "Vista Capable" only to have the customers find out later that the machines could manage only the most basic of Vista's features. Now a U.S. District Court has certified a class action lawsuit on the issue, allowing affected users to give Big Evil a piece of their legal minds, not to mention a punch in the pocketbook. Here's hoping they get 'em for everything they're worth.

Speaking of legal troubles, ISPs in the UK are getting an earful on the consequences of ignoring illegal file sharing on their networks. The government's Culture Secretary — we love that they have a Culture Secretary, and wish a certain U.S. leader would get one — has mounted his soapbox and is calling for a crackdown on web piracy in Britain, threatening that if the ISPs don't get their act together and do something on their own, Parliament will be forced to act. Some have pointed out that this isn't the first time the government has sung this tune, but with the recent push from the European Parliament to criminalize copyright infringement, we're guessing this is more than lip-service.

Back across the pond, Google is looking to expand its internet offerings, with reports surfacing that Big Search may be looking to buy itself a balloon. This is no child's play though — the net giant is supposedly thinking of acquiring Space Delta Corp., a company that specializes in launching transmitters attached to weather balloons to provide mobile phone service in areas that otherwise are unreachable. Google would reportedly use the technology — which can cover a distance equal to forty cellular towers — to deploy a wireless network that would make it a major player in both telephone and internet service. The only problem? The balloons pop very quickly, meaning the transmitters have to be re-deployed each day.

And with that — as much as we hate to pop your bubble — we're done until this afternoon.

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