snydeq writes "While Apple and Samsung fight over patents and prototypes, other copyright trolls are waging an X-rated battle on innocent users, as lawyers representing some adult movie companies are sending letters accusing users of illegally downloading their movies and saying that, for a price, they can make the charges go away. 'Cases like this, usually involving pornographic content, are very common,' Mitch Stoltz, a staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation said. At least 250,000 individuals have been named in group lawsuits over the last few years. There's a very common belief that if someone pirates your Wi-Fi connection or uses your computer without your permission, you are responsible for illegal downloads of copyrighted material. That's not true, says Stoltz; the law is quite clear. However, the lawyers who bring those cases use that misperception to convince innocent people that they had better pay up. Since $3,500 is just a fraction of the money it would take to fight a case in court, most people simply settle."
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An anonymous reader writes "BlackBerry maker Research in Motion's (RIM) four-year standoff with the Indian government over providing encryption keys for its secure corporate emails and popular messenger services is finally set to end. RIM recently demonstrated a solution that can intercept messages and emails exchanged between BlackBerry handsets, and make these encrypted communications available in a readable format to Indian security agencies. An amicable solution over the monitoring issue is important for the Canadian smartphone maker since India is one of the few bright spots for the company that has been battling falling sales in its primary markets of the US and Europe. In India, RIM has tripled its customer base close to 5 million over the last two years,"
This week the sequel to last year's indie hit Orcs Must Die! was released, and I take a look at it, to see what's new, what's still the same, and if it's worth playing. The orcs are back, and again, they must die! Orcs Must Die! 2 provides an ample amount of ways to off the orcs, both old and new, and several new features. Click the link to read more to see my thoughts on this game.
darthcamaro writes "There is a myth that IPv6 is only for those in Asia, but that's not true. According to new data discussed this week at an IETF conference, there are more IPv6 users in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world — coming in at 3 million. From the article: 'George Michaelson, senior R&D scientist at APNIC (Asia Pacific Network Information Centre) has a reasonable idea of what the current levels are globally for IPv6 adoption, thanks to some statistical research he has been doing. In his view, IPv6 is now a reality in terms of adoption. "I think you're used to us standing up and saying 'woe is me, woe is me, v6 isn't happening,'" George Michaelson, senior R&D scientist at APNIC (Asia Pacific Network Information Centre) said. "But it is actually happening, these are not trivial numbers of people that are now using IPv6 on a routine basis."'"
Hugh Pickens writes writes "James Kendrick writes that after Apple introduced the iPad, companies shifted gears to go after this undiscovered new tablet market but in spite of the number of players in tablets, no company has discovered the magic bullet to knock the iPad off the top of the tablet heap. 'What's happening to the 7-inch tablet market is what happened to the PC market several times. Big name desktop PC OEMs, realizing that consumers didn't care about megahertz and megabytes — yes, that long ago — turned to a price war in order to keep sales buoyant,' writes Adrian Kingsley-Hughes. 'Price becomes the differentiating factor, and this in turns competition into a race to the bottom.' Historically, when a race to the bottom is dictated by the market, it's more a sign of a lack of a market in general. If enough buyers aren't willing to pay enough for a product to make producers a profit, the market is just not sufficient. Price is a metric that most people know and understand because it's nowhere as ethereal or complicated as CPU power or screen resolution. Given a $199 tablet next to another for $299, the $100 difference in the price tag will catch the eye before anything else. But if price is such an important metric, why is the iPad — with its premium price tag — so popular? Simple, it was the first tablet to go mass market, and cumulative sales of around 85 million gives the iPad credibility in the eye on potential buyers. 'So the problem with the Kindle Fire — and the Nexus 7 — is the same problem that's plagued the PC industry. Deep and extreme price cuts give the makers no wriggle room to innovate,' writes Kingsley-Hughes. 'By driving prices down to this level so rapidly, both Amazon and Google have irrevocably harmed the tablet market by creating unrealistic price expectations.'"
redkemper writes "More than 400,000 American homes have cut the cord and ditched their cable and satellite pay-TV services since the start of 2012. The figure includes 169,000 subscribers shed by Time Warner Cable last quarter, marking the service provider's tenth consecutive quarter of customer losses. It also includes the 52,000 net subscribers DirecTV lost this past quarter, and 176,000 customers who left Comcast."
sciencehabit writes "Don't feel inadequate. Even though your teeth are largely composed of a mineral softer than that found in sharks, new tests suggest that they're just as tough. In sharks, the material coating the teeth is largely composed of fluoroapatite, a fluoridated phosphate mineral that in its pure form is harder than the hydroxyapatite found in the enamel of human teeth. But by pressing tiny metallic pyramids into the surfaces of teeth from a shortfin mako shark and a tiger shark, researchers found that the enameloid coating on shark teeth is no harder than that of the enamel on a human wisdom tooth. The teeth are, in fact, of comparable hardness because their surfaces aren't pure mineral but instead are made of mineral crystals bound together with proteins so that the material doesn't shatter under a sudden impact."
An anonymous reader writes "Police would be required to get a warrant to use drones for certain types of surveillance under legislation introduced on Capitol Hill. The proposed bill would also tighten regulations on what kind of data can be collected by the government and private companies and how it can be used. To safeguard against abuses, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), co-chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Privacy Caucus and a longtime member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, released a draft of the Drone Aircraft Privacy and Transparency Act of 2012 on Wednesday." In related news, garymortimer points out that a North Dakota court has preliminarily upheld the first-ever use of an unmanned drone to assist in the arrest of an American citizen.
MarkWhittington writes "During an interview with USA Today on the eve of the arrival of the Mars Rover Curiosity, NASA administrator Charles Bolden had some interesting thoughts on why a humans-to-Mars mission should be international and not American-led, how the world should react positively to the Chinese beating America back to the moon, and what he would do (or rather not do) if NASA were to have an 'unlimited' budget."
twoheadedboy writes "Iran may have been hit hard by Stuxnet, but officials have said that reports of a virus infecting its nuclear facilities and forcing computers to play the AC/DC classic 'Thunderstruck' were rubbish. Last month, F-Secure's chief research officer, Mikko Hypponen, was sent an email that appeared to be from a scientist working at the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), claiming nuclear systems had been targeted by cyber attackers. Whilst the chief of the AEOI has come out to deny those claims, the sender of that email still managed to get hold of an official aeoi.org.ir email address. That has left some onlookers baffled about what is going on."
wiredmikey writes "A development following the recently posted story Senate Cybersecurity Bill Stalled By Ridiculous Amendments — The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 failed to advance in the US Senate on Thursday. The measure was blocked amid opposition from an unusual coalition of civil libertarians — who feared it could allow too much government snooping — and conservatives who said it would create a new bureaucracy. The bill needed 60 votes in the 100-member Senate to advance under rules in the chamber, but got only 52. The failure came despite pleas from Obama and top US defense officials. The US Chamber of Commerce argued that the bill 'could actually impede US cybersecurity by shifting businesses' resources away from implementing robust and effective security measures and toward meeting government mandates.'"
MrSeb writes "In a twist that reinforces Valve's distaste for Windows 8, it turns out that the Source engine — the 3D engine that powers Half Life 2, Left 4 Dead, and Dota 2 — runs faster on Ubuntu 12.04 and OpenGL (315 fps) than Windows 7 and DirectX/Direct3D (270.6 fps); almost a 20% speed-up. These figures are remarkable, considering Valve has been refining the Source engine's performance under Windows for almost 10 years, while the Valve Linux team has only been working on the Linux port of Source for a few months. Valve attributes the speed-up to the 'underlying efficiency of the [Linux] kernel and OpenGL.' But here's the best bit: Using these new OpenGL optimizations to the Source engine, the OpenGL version of L4D2 on Windows is now faster than the DirectX version (303.4 fps vs. 270.6 fps). If OpenGL is faster, and it has a comparable feature set, and hardware support is excellent... why is Direct3D still the de facto API? With Windows losing its gaming crown and smartphones (OpenGL ES!) gaining in popularity, is it time for an OpenGL revolution?"
netbuzz writes "The Wikimedia Foundation today is releasing the results of a 'pilot study' it commissioned last year to assess the accuracy and quality of Wikipedia in such a way that it would provide a methodology blueprint for others do more thorough reviews of online encyclopedias. The results are in, and despite ready acknowledgment of the small sample size and paragraphs worth of other caveats, the parents of Wikipedia can't help but note that its baby was judged to have outperformed other online encyclopedias, including Encyclopedia Britannica, in three different languages. Britannica, which disputed the Wikipedia-friendly results of a much-cited Fortune comparison report back in 2005, has yet to offer a reply to this one."
Bryan Killett is a physicist working on the Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE) for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. GRACE is a joint mission of NASA and the German Aerospace Center which collects satellite data to learn about Earth's changing gravity field, specifically the high frequency changes associated with ocean tides. As the high tide comes in, more water is present, so gravity in that location is temporarily strengthened. These changes are detected with GRACE and used to improve ocean tide models. Dr. Killett provides the open source (GPLv3) code used to process GRACE data on his home page. Bryan has agreed to take a break from measuring gravity fields and answer your questions about GRACE and the climate changes it has revealed. Feel free to ask as many as you like but please confine your questions to one per post.
Caught via the H is news that more components of webOS have been released: "The core applications provide a comprehensive set of platform user applications, including Email, Calendar, Contacts, Memos, Accounts, Clock and Calculator." Additionally, HP has opened up the development branch of system manager: "We are excited to open up the active development branch of our upleveled System Manager. This major upgrade incorporates the latest QtWebKit and Qt technologies in an improved architecture. Modern QtWebKit now underlies all applications, providing state-of-the-art support for HTML rendering and I/O. The latest stable release of Qt has been integrated across the system, eliminating alternate rendering paths and providing a clean base for the future. These changes bring enhanced stability and performance to Open webOS." As always, source can be had from the Open webOS github. A bit of bad news for existing device owners, however: "...we are aiming for support on future hardware platforms where SoC’s support Linux 3.3+ kernel and where open source replacements for proprietary components are integrated. Existing devices cannot be supported because of those many proprietary components, including graphics, networking and lack of drivers for a modern kernel." Existing device owners will have to live with the "webOS community edition."