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Editor’s note: Our weekly tech tips can be pretty big. So we’re splitting them into three segments each week:

  • News, Hints, Tips, Tricks & Tweaks
  • TechTips
  • Configuration and troubleshooting

Tell us what you think of the new format!

Is your ISP joining forces with RIAA?
Some ISPs have fought the efforts of the recording industry and Hollywood studios to obtain information about computer users who frequent peer to peer file sharing services, but others are joining forces with the content providers to create technology to identify movie and music pirates, and that has some privacy advocates up in arms. It was reported last week that AT&T recently met with entertainment company representatives toward that end. You can read more about it here.

Microsoft drops Digital Image Suite
What is DIS, you might ask. Well, that’s part of the problem. Although it was a decent little photo organizing/editing program, Microsoft’s Digital Image Suite never gained widespread popularity. Now DIS stands for DIScontinued, as Microsoft announced recently that they will no longer make the software since many of its functions are now included in the operating system. If you use DIS, though, don’t despair. The product will still be supported through April 30, 2010 and you can even still buy it while supplies last. Read more here.

Get cool free icons
If you have your own web site (and who doesn’t, these days?), you can dress it up with graphic elements like icons and buttons. But paying a designer to create graphical elements for you can get expensive, and just “borrowing” ones you like from other web sites can be a violation of copyright law. Luckily, there are plenty of sources of free icons on the web. A pretty extensive collection here.

Vista hologram mystery solved
You may have read some blog posts recently speculating about a vast conspiracy surrounding three tiny mysterious faces that appear in the authenticity hologram on the Windows Vista Business Edition DVD. They’re too small to be seen without magnification. You can see pictures of the images here.

Unfortunately, the story of who they are and where the pictures came from isn’t nearly as exciting as some folks anticipated. It’s only a watermark, designed to make it harder for counterfeiters to copy. Thanks to Nick White for clearing up the mystery in his Vista Team blog post.

Does Google own you?
This eWeek article says yes. The search engine giant has taken a lot of hits lately over its increasing intrusions into our lives, including street level photos on the Google Maps site and the huge amount of personally identifiable information it collects when you use its software and services. Is it something to be concerned about, or can we trust the company just because it claims to “do no evil?”

Deb Shinder