Quick Hits

Think software piracy is the way to make a few quick bucks? Think again. It appears that at least the U.S. is cracking down hard on software pirates. Recently, a 52-year-old Taiwanese woman was sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading no contest in what is being called one of the largest software piracy cases in U.S. history. Lisa Chen was arrested along with three associates after authorities seized hundreds of thousands of copies of pirated software, worth more than an estimated US$75 million. The pirated software included copies of Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system, Office 2000 desktop software, as well as Symantec’s Norton Antivirus software. In addition to her prison sentence, Chen has been ordered to pay US$11 million in additional damages to both Microsoft and Symantec.

Not for the squeamish: man burned by laptop

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. In November, a British news Web site reported that a 50-year-old, fully dressed scientist had suffered burns to his nether regions after placing his laptop on his lap for an hour. According to the man’s medical report, the man occasionally “had felt heat and a burning feeling on his lap and proximal thigh, a sensation that was relieved at least temporarily when the computer was moved slightly.” The unnamed laptop reportedly cautioned users to not operate with the base resting directly on exposed skin, and warned that with extended operation, heat can potentially build up in the base causing discomfort or eventually a burn.