redletterdave writes "It seemed like a step in the right direction for Yahoo back in November, when the company announced a family of new mobile products that would enrich the way users experience and understand their news and entertainment content. But just shy of seven months after that outburst of mobile and social apps and tools, Yahoo has decided to call it quits on arguably the biggest piece of that mobile package: the personalized magazine app for iPad, Livestand. This was the first major business decision made by Ross Levinsohn, the interim CEO who took over for Scott Thompson on May 13 after the SEC discovered Thompson lied on his resume."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
dgharmon writes in with a story about the final outcome of thousands of Nortel patents that were bought last July. "You may recall last summer that Apple, Microsoft, EMC, RIM, Ericsson and Sony all teamed up to buy Nortel's patents for $4.5 billion. They beat out a team of Google and Intel who bid a bit less. While there was some antitrust scrutiny over the deal, it was dropped and the purchase went through. Apparently, the new owners picked off a bunch of patents to transfer to themselves... and then all (minus EMC, who, one hopes, was horrified by the plans) decided to support a massive new patent troll armed with the remaining 4,000 patents. The company is called Rockstar Consortium, and it's run by the folks who used to run Nortel's patent licensing program anyway — but now employs people whose job it is to just find other companies to threaten." On a semi-related note, there is a new petition to the White House to make a law that patent lawsuits that find for the defendant automatically fine the plaintiff three times the damages they were seeking."
An anonymous reader writes "CNN takes a look at Apple's response to the Department of Justice's investigation into eBook price fixing. The filing 'cuts the government's case to shreds' while at the same time not bothering to defend the five publishers also under investigation. Apple said, 'The Government starts from the false premise (PDF) that an eBooks "market" was characterized by "robust price competition" prior to Apple's entry. This ignores a simple and incontrovertible fact: before 2010, there was no real competition, there was only Amazon. At the time Apple entered the market, Amazon sold nearly nine out of every ten eBooks, and its power over price and product selection was nearly absolute.'"
mikejuk writes "Following the successful defense of the Internet against SOPA, website owners are being invited to sign up to a project that will enable them to participate in future protest campaign, the Internet Defense League. The banner logo for the 'bat-signal' site is a cat, a reference to Ethan Zuckerman's cute cat theory of digital activism. The idea is that sites would respond to the call to "defend the Internet" by joining a group blackout or getting users to sign petitions. From the article: 'Website owners can sign up on the IDL website to add a bit of code to their sites (or receive code by email at the time of a campaign) that can be triggered in the case of a crisis like SOPA. This would add an "activist call-to-action" to all participating sites - such as a banner asking users to sign petitions, or in extreme cases blackout the site, as proved effective in the SOPA/PIPA protest of January 2012.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Legendary sci-fi writer Marc Zicree (Star Trek, Babylon 5, Sliders) and special effects wizard Doug Drexler (Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica) are behind the fastest funded film project on Kickstarter. They're using crowd-funding website kickstarter to directly communicate with and enlist the support of fans for their latest project Space Command. Maybe with direct communication, sci-fi fans can rest easy and not have to worry about their favorite shows being cancelled like FireFly."
First time accepted submitter johnsnails writes "A German 16-year-old, Shouryya Ray, solved two fundamental particle dynamic theories posed by Sir Isaac Newton, which until recently required the use of powerful computers. He worked out how to calculate exactly the path of a projectile under gravity and subject to air resistance. Shouryya solved the problem while working on a school project. From the article: 'Mr Ray won a research award for his efforts and has been labeled a genius by the German media, but he put it down to "curiosity and schoolboy naivety." "When it was explained to us that the problems had no solutions, I thought to myself, 'well, there's no harm in trying,'" he said.'"
sciencehabit writes "China and India are some of the world's top polluters, with countless cars, factories, and households belching more than 2 million metric tons of carbon soot and other dark pollutants into the air every year. The pall hanging over the region has come to be known as 'the Asian brown cloud.' These pollutants aren't just bad news for the countries themselves. A new study reveals that they can affect climate thousands of kilometers away, warming the United States by up to 0.4C by 2024, while cooling other regions (abstract)."
An anonymous reader writes with news that Groupon is testing out a service for letting merchants accept credit cards that could put it into competition with PayPal and Square. "Groupon's nascent payment service comes with an Apple iPod Touch, and a case that wraps around the back of the device, which allows merchants to swipe credit cards." The fee structure isn't finalized, but their aim is to be competitive with PayPal and Square. "Groupon may have flexibility to charge lower fees because it could subsidize the payments service from money it makes providing other services to merchants, they said. PayPal's service, known as PayPal Here, charges a fee of 2.7 percent of the purchase price for all types of credit and debit cards - including those issued by American Express Co.. Transaction fees for processing AmEx cards are often higher. Square charges 2.75 percent per swipe. Groupon's test service is charging a 1.8 percent transaction fee and 15 cents per transaction, Rocky Agrawal, an industry analyst, reported in a VentureBeat blog late Thursday."
theodp writes "If you're a COBOL programmer, you're apparently persona non grata in the eyes of the nation's Chief Information and Chief Technology Officers. Discussing new government technology initiatives at the TechCrunch Disrupt Conference, Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel quipped, 'I'm recruiting COBOL developers, any out there?,' sending Federal CTO Todd Park into fits of laughter (video). Lest anyone think he was serious about hiring the old fogies, VanRoekel added: 'Trust me, we still have it in the Federal government, which is quite, quite scary.' So what are VanRoekel and Park looking for? 'Bad a** innovators — the baddest a** of the bad a**es out there,' Park explained (video), 'to design, create, and kick a** for America.' Within 24 hours of VanRoekel's and Park's announcement, 600 people had applied to be Presidential Innovation Fellows."
sethopia writes "In 2010, three people had the crazy idea to start a school where the teachers teach whatever they want and the students pay for classes with whatever teachers need — cutlery, art, advice — but never with money. Trade Schools have been popping up around the world and are now active in 15 cities and 10 countries, with almost no prodding from its founders. Caroline Woolard, one of the founders, discusses the challenges and opportunities of adapting their idea to an international audience and making the Trade School software — based on Python and Django — great."
Barence writes "Is it even possible to buy technology with a clean conscience? With the vast majority of gadgets and components manufactured using low-paid labor in Asia, manufacturers unable to accurately plot their supply chains, and very few ethical codes of conduct, the article highlights the difficulty of trying to buy ethically-sound gadgets. It concludes, 'The answer would appear to be no. Too little information is available, and nobody we spoke to believed an entirely ethical technology company exists – at least, not among the household names.'"
An anonymous reader writes "A fortnight ago the Bitcoin financial website Bitcoinica was hacked and the hacker stole $87,000 worth of Bitcoins. At the time the owner promised that all users would have their Bitcoins and US dollars returned in full, but one of the site developers has just confirmed that they have no database backups and are having difficulty figuring out what everyone's account balance should actually be. A failure of epic proportions for a site holding such large amounts of money."
New submitter wirelessduck writes "After some recent complaints from a Labor MP about price markups on software and technology devices in Australia, Federal Government agencies decided to look in to the matter and an official parliamentary inquiry into the issue was started. 'The Federal Parliament's inquiry into local price markups on technology goods and services has gotten under way, with the committee overseeing the initiative issuing its terms of reference and calling for submissions from the general public on the issue.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Dallas Mavericks owner and media entrepreneur Mark Cuban thinks he knows the reason for Facebook's disappointing IPO; smart money has realized that 'mobile is going to crush Facebook', as the world's population increasingly accesses the Internet mostly through smartphones and tablets. Cuban notes that the limited screen real estate hampers the branding and ad placement that Google and Facebook are accustomed to when serving to desktop browsers, while phone plans typically have strict data limits, so subscribers won't necessarily take kindly to YouTube or other video ads. Forbes' Eric Jackson likewise sees a generational shift to mobile that will produce a new set of winners at the expense of Facebook and Google."