BuzzBlog: Best Buy Gone Bad; Crime Fighting Pen

A judge orders electronics retailer Best Buy to stop using Windows maintenance software from Winternals. Also, Uniball touts high-security ink to help prevent ID fraud.

April 21, 2006

2 Min Read
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Best buy behaving badly? Usually when you hear the term "restraining order" you think "creepy ex-boyfriend must stay at least 500 feet away from former girlfriend." But restraining orders can also compel people to stay away from software. A federal judge in Texas has ordered Best Buy and Geek Squad to stop using software from Winternals, a maker of popular tools for maintaining Windows systems.

Winternals alleges that Geek Squad, Best Buy's PC support subsidiary, violated copyright law, claiming that Best Buy terminated negotiations for a multimillion dollar licensing agreement with Winternals but let employees continue to use Winternals software for PC repair beyond the trial period. That's a major no-no. Guess it's time for Best Buy to call the Lawyer Squad. --Andrew Conry-Murray, [email protected]

The Crime-Fighting PenYou know ID theft has gone mainstream when pen maker Uniball launches an ad campaign touting high-security ink to help prevent ID fraud. Uniball has hired Frank Abagnale, the con artist turned FBI consultant portrayed in the Hollywood film Catch Me If You Can, as a pitchman. He's hawking the Uniball 207, which uses "specifically formulated ink" that bonds to paper fibers.

The goal is to prevent check washing, a scheme in which a con artist steals a check from the mail and washes off the ink, then rewrites the check to himself. Says Mr. Abagnale in a video clip: "Something as simple as paying attention to the pen you use gives you a head start in fighting the crime of identity theft." Perhaps the Uniball 207 will spur a security arms race in office supplies. Hey, Bic, how about two-factor-authentication ballpoints? --Andrew Conry-Murray, [email protected]

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'The number of useless websites out there that are nothing more than placeholders for Google AdSense ads is exploding, and using google.com to search for stuff is now often more frustrating than helpful.' --Mitch Tulloch

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