Techdirt reports that the latest versions of Wikipedia's mobile apps have switched to OpenStreetMap from Google Maps. Says Techdirt's commentary: "One wonders how Google didn't see this coming — or if they did, what exactly their strategy is here. OpenStreetMap is gaining a lot of momentum, and in some areas even features much better data. The real lesson here is that there's never an incumbent that isn't at risk of being unseated, no matter how widespread the adoption of their product or service—especially if they make an anti-customer decision like Google when it put a price tag on Maps. The situation also points to the long-term strength of open solutions: while a crowdsourced system like OpenStreetMap never could have put together a global mapping product as quickly as Google did, over time it has become a serious competitor in terms of both quality and convenience."
Hugh Pickens writes "While Apple generates more than $575 in profit for every iOS device, and according to estimates in 2007 Apple earned more than $800 on every iPhone sold through ATT, Horace Dediu reports that Android generated less than $550m in revenues for Google between 2008 and the end of 2011, earning only $1.70 per year, per Android device — explaining how Apple is sucking up two thirds of the profit in the mobile phone business. Dediu's starting point is a settlement offer Google made to Oracle of $2.8 million and 0.515% of Android revenues on an ongoing basis. His assumption is that those numbers represent Google's revenue from Android to date. 'If this is the case,' writes Dediu, 'We have a significant breakthrough in understanding the economics of Android and the overall mobile platform strategy of Google.' Of course profitability is not the only reason Google is in the mobile phone business. 'P&L considerations were not the only (or even at all) factors in investment for Google. Having a hedge against hegemony of potential rivals, having a means to learn and develop new business and having a role in defining the post-PC computing paradigm are all probably bigger considerations than profitability,' writes Dediu. 'My take is that [Android] is not a bad business. But it's also not a great one.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Amazon doesn't show off prototypes unless it is pretty confident about the tech, so you may be surprised to find the next Kindle is probably going to have a front-lit display. The lighting tech comes from a company they purchased back in 2010 called Oy Modilis. It specialized in such lighting and has patents related to whatever Amazon decided to use. The display is meant to be lit in a blue-white glow, and if it's anything like Flex lighting probably won't impact battery life too much. The question is, does anyone really want or need a light for their Kindle?"
Krystalo writes "The hacktivist group Anonymous today hacked multiple UK government websites over the country's 'draconian surveillance proposals' and 'derogation of civil rights.' At the time of writing, the following websites were taken down: homeoffice.gov.uk, number10.gov.uk, and justice.gov.uk. The group is not pleased with the UK government's plans to monitor Internet users."
An anonymous reader writes "Facebook already shares its Law Enforcement Guidelines publicly, but we've never actually seen the data Menlo Park sends over to the cops when it gets a formal subpoena for your profile information. Now we know. This appears to be the first time we get to see what a Facebook account report looks like. The document was released by the The Boston Phoenix as part of a lengthy feature titled 'Hunting the Craigslist Killer,' which describes how an online investigation helped officials track down Philip Markoff. The man committed suicide, which meant the police didn't care if the Facebook document was published elsewhere, after robbing two women and murdering a third."
An anonymous reader writes "I was looking at multimedia players from brands such as SumVision, Noontec and Western Digital. They all seem to be some device which accepts a USB hard-drive and commands from an IR remote control, and throws the result over HDMI. I have my own idea of what a hardware multimedia player should do (e.g. a personalized library screen for episodes, movies and documentaries; resume play; loudness control; etc.). I also think it will a good programming adventure because I will have to make the player compatible with more than a few popular codecs. Is this an FPGA arena? Or a mini-linux tv-box? Any advice, books or starting point to suggest?" There certainly have been a lot of products and projects in this domain over the years, but what's the best place to start in the year 2012?
An anonymous reader writes "As congressmen in Washington consider how to handle the ongoing issue of cyberattacks, some legislators have lent their support to a new act that, if passed, would let the government pry into the personal correspondence of anyone of their choosing. This is SOPA being passed in smaller chunks... 'H.R. 3523, a piece of legislation dubbed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (or CISPA for short) has vague definitions that could allow Congress to circumvent existing exemptions to online privacy laws and essentially monitor, censor and stop any online communication that it considers disruptive to the government or private parties.'"
New submitter BBCS writes "The National Copyright Administration of the People's Republic of China ('NCAC') is seeking public comments on a controversial draft amendment to China's copyright law. A number of recording artists and musicians have reacted strongly against this proposed amendment because it appears to encourage using others works without compensation. The amendments that have drawn particular ire are article 46 & 48. Per Article 46, one does not need consent to make recordings of another person's musical work if 3 months have passed since such work was published. Per Article 48, to use such person's musical work, one must contact the NCAC, identify the published material and its author, and within 1 month of use, submit a usage fee as per the NCAC, to facilitate the distribution of payment to applicable parties. I wonder what happens when someone applies to make use of Chinese Democracy by Guns N' Roses." What would you do, if copyright were so strongly time-limited?
hondo77 writes "Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health '...have re-created the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder in several honeybee hives simply by giving them small doses of a popular pesticide, imidacloprid.' This follows recently-reported studies also linked the disorder to neonicotinoid pesticides. What is really interesting is the link to when the disorder started appearing, 2006. 'That mechanism? High-fructose corn syrup. Many bee-keepers have turned to high-fructose corn syrup to feed their bees, which the researchers say did not imperil bees until U.S. corn began to be sprayed with imidacloprid in 2004-2005. A year later was the first outbreak of Colony Collapse Disorder.'"
00_NOP writes "The One Laptop Per Child project has disappointed in Peru, reports the Economist, apparently because in general teachers did not make creative use of the technology. As in other cases the computers seem to have been regarded as ends in themselves rather than tools to help change the ways kids are taught. Quite disappointing for those of us looking for Linux-Global-Domination but not really much of a surprise given the experience in richer countries either."
New submitter everithe writes "Dear Slashdot, I am nearing the end of my undergraduate years and hoping to continue on in academia, probably focusing on condensed matter physics. Recently I've noticed some alarming pessimism among Slashdotters about the state of science — that fraud is rampant and that people honestly trying to do science are less likely to be recognized and obtain tenure. Obviously I am very interested in doing real and useful science, but am worried that this could conflict with my ability to put food on the table. My question is, how bad is it really, and do you have any advice for how one just starting out might survive in such an environment?"
First time accepted submitter samazon writes "According to a recently proposed abstract by the United States Geological Survey, hydraulic fracturing, or more specifically the disposal of fracking wastewater, may be directly correlated to the increase in seismic activity in the midwest. Results of the paper will be presented on April 18th, but the language of the abstract seems to imply that there is a connection. After years of controversy regarding hydrofracking including ground water contamination and disclosure of chemical solutions, the results of the study, if conclusive, could influence the cost of natural gas due to increased regulations on wastewater disposal." The actual language of the abstract leaves a fair amount of wiggle room: "While the seismicity rate changes described here are almost certainly manmade, it remains to be determined how they are related to either changes in extraction methodologies or the rate of oil and gas production."
A week ago, we posted news of the delay that the Raspberry Pi Foundation faced because of a requirement that their boards be tested to comply with EU regulations. Now, the word is in, and the Raspberry Pi passed those tests without needing any modifications. From their post describing the ordeal: "The Raspberry Pi had to pass radiated and conducted emissions and immunity tests in a variety of configurations (a single run can take hours), and was subjected to electrostatic discharge (ESD) testing to establish its robustness to being rubbed on a cat. It’s a long process, involving a scary padded room full of blue cones, turntables that rise and fall on demand, and a thing that looks a lot like a television aerial crossed with Cthulhu."
Karel Zak started a fork of Mutt back in January to integrate features the upstream authors deemed too radical, and today released the first status update. So far implemented is native notmuch support (inspired by Sup) which adds fast search, tagging, and virtual folders from notmuch queries. Unlike the current hackish solutions, all of these are available as native mutt commands and can be used in your muttrc. Additionally, patches from Debian and other distributions will be integrated. Source is over at Github, and a few screenshots are on their wiki.
New submitter artciousc writes with news that Amazon is dodging taxes in the UK. From the article: "Regulatory filings by parent company Amazon.com with the U.S. securities and exchange commission show the tax inquiry into the UK operation, which sells nearly one in four books sold in Britain, focuses on a period when ownership of the British business was transferred to a Luxembourg company." Clever trick there: "The UK operation avoids tax as the ownership of the main Amazon.co.uk business was transferred to a Luxembourg company in 2006. The UK business is now owned by Amazon EU Sarl and the UK operation is classed only as an 'order fulfilment' business." The HMRC is investigating the legality.