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Yeah, that Burger King King creeps us out, too

Dead Rising gave you nightmares. Now, prepare yourselffor the creepiest Xbox games yet, courtesy of . . . Burger King. Starting Nov. 19, the BK Lounge will be selling Xbox games featuring three of its scariest characters: The King himself, the Subservient Chicken and Brooke Burke. Pocketbike Racer, Sneak King and Big Bumpin come from British developer Blitz Games, known mostly for undistinguished kids' titles based on franchises like Barbie and Bratz. But the games will only cost $4 apiece (with the purchase of a Value Meal), so maybe they won't give you too much indigestion.

Yahoo seals up your photos and thoughts

A childhood photograph of a man with a mother he hasn't spoken with in 20 years, an Argentinean's proclamation of his love for The Simpsons and a tune from the Boston punk band Darkbuster are among the early submissions to Yahoo Inc.'s digital time capsule.

The company is accepting words, pictures, videos, sounds and drawings from anyone around the world at timecapsule.yahoo.com. It plans to seal about 5 terabytes of data - equivalent to the text of roughly 5-million books - until the company's 25th anniversary in 2020.

"What we're basically trying to do is create a shared digital mosaic of our time by allowing users to define what's important to them," said Bill Gannon of Yahoo. "We've seen prayers, haiku, poems, a lot of digital photographs and video is starting to come in."

The items won't be publicly available until 2020.

Microsoft pumps Xbox parental tools

Microsoft Corp., which has said it wants to interest a broader audience in its Xbox video-game console, is launching a promotional tour to publicize Xbox features that let parents restrict access to certain games. Microsoft's 20-city bus tour will include visits to Boys & Girls Club of America locations. Microsoft is donating an Xbox 360 to each club it visits, and the youth organization has agreed to put promotional materials about the parental controls in the clubs on the tour.

Do bad on the Net, face McGruff

McGruff the Crime Dog is going digital. The 26-year-old mascot is the centerpiece of the National Crime Prevention Council's new campaign to "Take a Bite Out of Cyber Crime." The Web site ByteCrime.org offers a free, 36-page brochure with tips.

DVD you want will always be in stock

If you ever wanted to be able to walk into a store, order a movie and have it burned onto a DVD in 10 minutes, your wish may come true soon.

Sonic Solutions and Macrovision Corp. have jointly developed technology that burns DVDs with the same quality as regular DVDs and the same copyright protection that Hollywood studios demand.

It marks a critical step toward setting up DVD-burning kiosks in retail stores, something that has been talked about for years. And it could eventually make available thousands of movies that have never been on DVD and allow retailers - online and in your neighborhood - to sell a wider variety of movies and television shows.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see kiosks by the next holiday season," said Kurt Scherf, principal analyst at Parks Associates. "This is an era of experimentation for (movie studios)."

Camcorder-zapping tech protects movies

The report in Technology Review sounds like something that would appear in Mad magazine's Spy vs. Spy.

You are in a theater watching a movie when suddenly a narrow beam of light shoots out from the front of the house and zaps the camcorder of the person sitting next to you who is trying to make a bootleg copy of the film.

The camcorder-zapping technology - the beam is invisible to humans - developed at Georgia Tech is one option. Another is technology that damages the illegal copy of the film, by digitally inserting flashes of light or the words "illegal copy," if a bootleg version is made.

Brad Hunt, the chief technology officer of the Motion Picture Association of America, says the industry wants to make sure the antitheft systems will not distract moviegoers before it gives the go-ahead to such efforts.

Spam! The spiced ham people can't stop you

The producer of the canned pork product Spam has lost a bid to claim the word as a trademark for unsolicited e-mails.

EU trademark officials rejected Hormel Foods Corp.'s appeal, dealing the company another setback in its struggle to prevent software companies from using the word "spam" in their products, a practice it argued was diluting its brand name.

The European Office of Trade Marks and Designs, noting that the vast majority of the hits yielded by a Google search for the word made no reference to the food, said that "the most evident meaning of the term SPAM for the consumers ... will certainly be unsolicited, usually commercial e-mail, rather than a designation for canned spicy ham."

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