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Articles by larry

New legal way to copy DVD movies

September 15, 2008

As you are probably aware, almost all commercial DVDs are embedded with software to prevent their being copied. That software, called “content scrambling system” (CSS), not only prevents users from duplicating their DVDs but also from copying a movie from the DVD to a PC or other device. That’s a drag. If I buy a movie, I want to be able to enjoy it anytime and anywhere, whether on my TV, a [...]

Some call it the Silicon Valley of East Germany

September 1, 2008

By Larry Magid San Jose Mercury News September 1, 2008 ADLERSHOF, Germany — About 12 miles south of the center of Berlin, this district has a rich history of science, technology and innovation. But when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, the future of Adlershof was very much in doubt. Today, Adlershof is home to numerous research institutes and more than 250 companies, many of which were [...]

Home appliances big at German tech show

September 1, 2008

At the IFA show in Berlin the big story is “white goods” – the fact that the show, for the first time in its 84-year history, is mixing home appliances along with consumer electronics. The issue is so big here that it was trumpeted on Thursday night by none other than German Chancellor Angela Merkel who, along with the Mayor of Berlin, addressed the show’s opening night “gala” [...]

How hackers likely attacked Georgian websites

August 12, 2008

Georgian government websites have been under attack, making it difficult or impossible for users to access several sites – including that of the country’s president. The attacks, according to the New York Times, started “weeks before physical bombs started falling on Georgia,” and the Georgian president’s site was difficult or impossible to access on Tuesday [...]

Thoughts on the John Edwards “Affair”

August 11, 2008

I’ve been thinking about John Edwards’ predicament and realize that what bothers me is neither the affair nor the fact that he lied about it but his comment to ABC’s Bob Woodruff that he did it because he was “egocentric and narcissistic.” The idea that a politician is egotistic and narcissistic is hardly news but it is a bit strange for him to blame his indiscretions on those [...]

Painful as slander may be, don’t turn service providers into speech police

August 11, 2008

When Congress voted for the Communications Decency Act of 1996, most members thought it was just about pornography, says U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren. But one section of CDA had much broader implications, the San Jose Democrat told the Internet Education Foundation’s second annual State of the Net Conference at Santa Clara University last week. The CDA, which would have prevented the posting of [...]

Feds indict credit card thieves: How can you protect yourself

August 5, 2008

As you may have heard, the Justice Department, on Tuesday, indicted 11 people for hacking into nine major U.S. retailers networks which resulted in the theft of 40 million credit and debit card numbers. If you or your family shopped at TJ Maxx, BJ’s Wholesale Club, OfficeMax, Boston Market, Barnes & Noble, Sports Authority, Forever 21 or DSW your information could have been included in [...]

New Smart phones innovate but don’t imitate

August 4, 2008

A lot has been written about how Apple added support for Microsoft Exchange to help the iPhone better compete against BlackBerry and Windows Mobile in corporate environments. But the reverse is also true. BlackBerry maker Research In Motion as well as companies that make Windows Mobile phones are setting their sights on the consumer market. That’s old news when it comes to Windows Mobile. [...]

Internet DNS Flaw — What you need to know

July 31, 2008

You may have heard about the security flaw that affects the entire Internet. It’s actually a problem with the software behind just about all domain name servers – DNS for short. A domain name server is a computer that acts like a phone book or switchboard operator that takes a web address – like and translates it to an Internet Protocol (IP) address like Since IP [...]

Larry celebrates 25 years as a tech columnist

July 7, 2008

This week marks my 25th anniversary as a tech columnist. “The Computer File,” my syndicated Los Angeles Times column, debuted July 3, 1983. My first topic was “Learn Buzzwords Before Shopping,” in which I informed my readers about the difference between hardware and software and such techie terms as bits, bytes and kilobytes. I didn’t have to tell them about [...]
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