Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

+ - 332 A Plan to Fix Daylight Savings Time by Creating Two National Time Zones

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Allison Schrager writes in the Atlantic that losing another hour of evening daylight isn't just annoying. It's an economically harmful policy with minimal energy savings. "The actual energy savings are minimal, if they exist at all. Frequent and uncoordinated time changes cause confusion, undermining economic efficiency. There’s evidence that regularly changing sleep cycles, associated with daylight saving, lowers productivity and increases heart attacks." So here's Schrager's proposal. This year, Americans on Eastern Standard Time should set their clocks back one hour (like normal), Americans on Central and Rocky Mountain time do nothing, and Americans on Pacific time should set their clocks forward one hour. This will result in just two time zones for the continental United States and the east and west coasts will only be one hour apart. "America already functions on fewer than four time zones," says Schrager. "I spent the last three years commuting between New York and Austin, living on both Eastern and Central time. I found that in Austin, everyone did things at the same times they do them in New York, despite the difference in time zone. People got to work at 8 am instead of 9 am, restaurants were packed at 6 pm instead of 7 pm, and even the TV schedule was an hour earlier. " Research based on time use surveys found American’s schedules are already determined more by television than daylight suggesting, in effect, that Americans already live on two time zones. Schrager says that this strategy has already been proven to work in other parts of the world. China has been on one time zone since 1949, despite naturally spanning five time zones and in 1983, Alaska, which naturally spans four time zones, moved most of the state to a single time zone. "It sounds radical, but it really isn’t. The purpose of uniform time measures is coordination. How we measure time has always evolved with the needs of commerce.," concludes Schrager. "Time is already arbitrary, why not make it work in our favor?""

+ - 242 Pace at Which US Government Can Update its Websites

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Despite what we hear about how much the US Government is struggling with a website, it is reassuring that most of the US Government entities can update their website within a day after they are asked to. This conclusion is the result of research done by the Networking Systems Laboratory at the Computer Science Department of the University of Houston. The research team tracked the US Government websites and their update times and found that 96% of the websites were updated within 24 hours after President Obama signed HR 2775 into law ending the Government shutdown. Worth noting that two websites took 8 days to update. It is interesting that the team was able to use the shutdown as an opportunity to study the efficiency of the IT departments of various parts of Government. More details at:
http://www2.cs.uh.edu/~gnawali/govtshutdown/"

+ - 232 Microsoft to can Skype API, third party products will not work->

Submitted by Mark Gibbs
Mark Gibbs (2907449) writes "If you've recently fired up Skype you may have noticed a dialog box with a warning appear briefly (at least on OS X) then vanish. If you're fast enough to catch it you'll find that it's warning you that some application you're using that works with Skype will stop working in December, 2013. This applies to all sorts of software supporting headsets, cameras, ... you name it."
Link to Original Source

+ - 218 Snowden: Government treats dissent as defection, criminalizes political speech

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Edward Snowden is calling for international help to persuade the U.S. to drop its espionage charges against him. Snowden said he would like to testify before the U.S. Congress about National Security Agency surveillance and may be willing to help German officials investigate alleged U.S. spying in Germany. Snowden is quoted as saying that the U.S. government "continues to treat dissent as defection, and seeks to criminalize political speech with felony charges that provide no defense." And he continues, "I am confident that with the support of the international community, the government of the United States will abandon this harmful behavior.""

+ - 174 Microspotting: Inside the Microsoft Archives-> 1

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "In a video tour, long-time company archivist Amy Stevenson takes us behind the scenes of the Microsoft Archives, a collection of artifacts that preserve our history and embody our culture. There, you'll find decades worth of Microsoft software, advertisements, documentation, memorabilia and...skulls? You'll just have to watch to understand. Some of the scariest items include a life-like Bill Gates doll (wearing a jogging suit), sent by a Russian doll artist, and a human-sized Clippy costume."
Link to Original Source

+ - 213 Google Attacks Microsoft Again: Android 4.4 Ships With Quickoffice

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "With Android 4.4 KitKat, Google’s biggest blow to Microsoft isn’t against Windows Phone. It’s against Microsoft Office. You see, KitKat ships with Quickoffice, letting you edit Microsoft Office documents, spreadsheets, and presentations on the go, without paying a dime, straight out of the box. This tidbit was largely lost in the news yesterday, given the large number of improvements and new features that KitKat offers. Yet it’s a very big deal: every Android user that upgrades to KitKat will get Google’s Quickoffice, and every new Android device (starting with the Nexus 5) that ships with KitKat or higher will also get Quickoffice."

+ - 179 Is Chromium Dropping the Ball with MathML? 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Recent reports of MathML's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Given the amount of marketing dollars companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft have spent trying to convince a buying public to purchase their wares as educational tools, you'd think they'd deliver more than lip service by now. MathJax team member, Peter Krautzberger, has compiled a great overview of the current state of MathML, the standard for mathematical content in publishing work flows, technical writing, and math software: "20 years into the web, math and science are still second class citizens on the web. While MathML is part of HTML 5, its adoption has seen ups and downs but if you look closely you can see there is more light than shadow and a great opportunity to revolutionize educational, scientific and technical communication.""

+ - 200 Autonomous Dump Trucks Are Coming to Canada's Oil Sands-> 1

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "According to a Bloomberg report, Canadian oil sands giant Suncor, which is "Canada’s largest energy company by market value," is currently testing haul trucks that are run by computers. Extracting bitumen from sands requires first digging up an enormous amount of the sand itself, with about two tons of sands required to produce one barrel of oil. Digging up all of that sand is the job of huge excavators, which then offload into gigantic haul trucks that transport sands to extraction plants. Time is money, and in this case being faster means carrying as much sand as possible. Haul trucks can carry hundreds of tons at a time, and are in constant motion, moving back and forth between excavator and extraction plant."
Link to Original Source

+ - 214 Skunk Works Reveals Proposed SR-71 Successor: The Hypersonic SR-72-> 1

Submitted by cold fjord
cold fjord (826450) writes "Aviation Week reports, "Ever since Lockheed’s unsurpassed SR-71 Blackbird was retired ... almost two decades ago, the perennial question has been: Will it ever be succeeded by a new-generation, higher-speed aircraft and, if so, when? That is, until now. After years of silence on the subject, Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works has revealed exclusively to AW&ST details of long-running plans for what it describes as an affordable hypersonic intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and strike platform that could enter development in demonstrator form as soon as 2018. Dubbed the SR-72, the twin-engine aircraft is designed for a Mach 6 cruise, around twice the speed of its forebear, and will have the optional capability to strike targets. Guided by the U.S. Air Force’s long-term hypersonic road map, the SR-72 is designed to fill what are perceived by defense planners as growing gaps in coverage of fast-reaction intelligence by the plethora of satellites, subsonic manned and unmanned platforms meant to replace the SR-71." — More at Foreign Policy."
Link to Original Source

+ - 220 Dark Wallet Will Make Bitcoin Accessible for All—Except the Feds->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "The group, called UnSystem, are self-proclaimed cryto-anarchists led by Cody Wilson—who you may remember as the creator of the controversial 3D-printed gun. After getting himself in hot water with the government for making the digital files to print an unregulated weapon freely available on the internet, Wilson's now endeavoring to bring bitcoin back to its anarchist roots. Like other bitcoin wallets, you'll be able to store, send, and receive coins, and interact with block chain, the bitcoin public ledger. But Dark Wallet will include extra protections to make sure transactions are secure, anonymous, and hard to trace—including a protocol called "trustless mixing” that combines users' coins together before encoding it into the ledger."
Link to Original Source

+ - 196 Why Amazon Fights State Sales Tax, But Supports it Nationally

Submitted by cagraham
cagraham (3027657) writes "The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that Amazon will begin charging customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin sales tax today, after fighting against it for years. Amazon now charges sales tax in 16 states, affecting roughly 163 million Americans. Yet despite Amazon's continued fight against sales tax on the state-level, they support a Senate bill that would allow all states to tax online retailers. It seems like a contradiction, but it's actually a calculated move to undercut rivals like eBay (who would have a far harder time dealing with sales tax laws), and even an unequal playing field (many states that tax Amazon don't tax other online retailers)."

+ - 234 Bill Gates: Internet Will Not Save the World-> 1

Submitted by quantr
quantr (1722336) writes "The internet is not going to save the world, says the Microsoft co-founder, whatever Mark Zuckerberg and Silicon Valley's tech billionaires believe. But eradicating disease just might.
Bill Gates describes himself as a technocrat. But he does not believe that technology will save the world. Or, to be more precise, he does not believe it can solve a tangle of entrenched and interrelated problems that afflict humanity's most vulnerable: the spread of diseases in the developing world and the poverty, lack of opportunity and despair they engender. "I certainly love the IT thing," he says. "But when we want to improve lives, you've got to deal with more basic things like child survival, child nutrition."
These days, it seems that every West Coast billionaire has a vision for how technology can make the world a better place. A central part of this new consensus is that the internet is an inevitable force for social and economic improvement; that connectivity is a social good in itself. It was a view that recently led Mark Zuckerberg to outline a plan for getting the world's unconnected 5 billion people online, an effort the Facebook boss called "one of the greatest challenges of our generation". But asked whether giving the planet an internet connection is more important than finding a vaccination for malaria, the co-founder of Microsoft and world's second-richest man does not hide his irritation: "As a priority? It's a joke."
Then, slipping back into the sarcasm that often breaks through when he is at his most engaged, he adds: "Take this malaria vaccine, [this] weird thing that I'm thinking of. Hmm, which is more important, connectivity or malaria vaccine? If you think connectivity is the key thing, that's great. I don't.""

Link to Original Source

+ - 254 DoD News Aggregation Service "The Early Bird" Dead After 65 Years->

Submitted by SanDogWeps
SanDogWeps (2882399) writes "Periodically viewed as copyright infringement by the media, the Department of Defense's "Early Bird" has been delivering applicable headlines to the Armed Forces since 1948. It stopped updating on October 1st, along with a number of other government products, but when the lights turned back on, The Early Bird remained dark. A number of reasons have been floated, including applicability in the internet age, cost, and a lack of interest. Others claim The Early Bird was nothing more than a propaganda machine, by culling articles that painted DoD in a favorable light."
Link to Original Source

+ - 221 Atlanta man shatters coast-to-coast 'Cannonball Run' speed record->

Submitted by The Grim Reefer
The Grim Reefer (1162755) writes "Before the transcontinental race in "Cannonball Run," the starter tells the gathered racers, "You all are certainly the most distinguished group of highway scofflaws and degenerates ever gathered together in one place."

Ed Bolian prefers the term "fraternity of lunatics."

Where the 1981 Burt Reynolds classic was a comedic twist on a race inspired by real-life rebellion over the mandated 55-mph speed limits of the 1970s, Bolian set out on a serious mission to beat the record for driving from New York to Los Angeles.

The mark? Alex Roy and David Maher's cross-country record of 31 hours and 4 minutes, which they set in a modified BMW M5 in 2006.

Bolian, a 28-year-old Atlanta native, had long dreamed of racing from East Coast to West. A decade ago, for a high school assignment, Bolian interviewed Brock Yates, who conceived the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, aka the Cannonball Run."

Link to Original Source

+ - 172 River City Ransom: How A NES classic returned 20 years on->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "River City Ransom: Underground is the latest high profile game campaign on Kickstarter but as an interview with the title's creators this week highlights, it's not exactly a new game. Rather, it's an official sequel to a Nintendo Entertainment System/Famicom classic, belt-scroller River City Ransom. Remarkably, getting the license and the help of original River City creator Yoshihisa Kishimoto proved easy for the team, indie developers who were submitting game designs to Atari in crayon aged six.

"I asked for the license and I asked Kishimoto-san if he had an interest in helping us make a better Kunio-kun game,” producer Daniel Crenna says. “It’s not particularly dramatic to say that, but I asked." As the author points out, it's interesting to imagine what other games could be resurrected with a little bit of polite curiosity.""

Link to Original Source

+ - 161 How Earth's Biosignature Will Change as the Planet Dies->

Submitted by KentuckyFC
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "As the Sun expands into a red giant, life on Earth will die away. Now astrobiologists have worked out how this will look to distant observers watching the biosignature in our atmosphere. They say the first major effect of warming, about 1 billion years from now, will be a dramatic drop in atmospheric carbon dioxide as the oceans absorb more of it. That's bad news for trees and plants, which need carbon dioxide for photosynthesis and so begin to die off. Since plants produce oxygen, atmospheric levels of oxygen will also drop killing of the animals. By about 2 billion years from now, the only living things on Earth will be microbes. However, methane levels will have risen dramatically, caused by decaying plant matter. And decaying animals will release a gas called methanethiol which breaks down into ethane, which ought to be visible too. Finally, they calculate that about 3 billion years from now, the oceans will boil and Earth will be a barren planet with little if any biosignature at all. But all this is not just a subject of morbid fascination, however. With the next generation of space telescopes, astronomers should see similar biosignatures on Earth-like planets around other stars that are also beyond their sell by dates. So we'll be able to watch them die off first."
Link to Original Source

+ - 292 Almost Certain Chance of Catching Next Supernova->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "The last star to go supernova in the Milky Way—that astronomers know of—exploded in 1604, before Galileo first turned a telescope to the heavens. But with a neutrino detector now being built within a Japanese mountain that could come online as early as 2016, researchers might be able to do something as yet undone: Make detailed observations of a supernova in our galaxy before it visibly explodes. First, astronomers would be alerted to the unfolding event by the flood of neutrinos generated when a supernova collapses. Within minutes, they could determine the general area of the sky where the explosion would occur, point their infrared telescopes in that direction, and wait for the fireworks. With the new sensor in place, instruments—especially infrared telescopes—would have an almost 100% chance of observing the next supernova in our galaxy, the researchers report."
Link to Original Source

+ - 256 Google's Barge Is A Marketing Showroom-> 2

Submitted by Dave Knott
Dave Knott (2917251) writes "The mysterious barge docked in San Francisco Bay that has been fuelling intense speculation the past week will serve as a luxury showroom for Google products and a floating, modular venue for the company's private events. The large structure built out of shipping containers that sits on top of the barge will be used to market Google Glass, the much-hyped augmented reality headgear Google unveiled this year, and other products and to host invitation-only events and parties for clients. The structure is constructed of interchangeable 12-metre high shipping containers that can be assembled and disassembled and transported by road, rail or ship anywhere in the world."
Link to Original Source

+ - 183 EU Petition Seeks to Ban Export of Surveillance Software

Submitted by Trailrunner7
Trailrunner7 (1100399) writes "A Dutch member of the European parliament is supporting a grass-roots effort to restrict the export of surveillance software such as FinFisher and others, which are used by some governments and law-enforcement agencies to monitor their citizens’ activities.

The effort, dubbed Stop Digital Arms, is supported by Marietje Schaake, a member of the EU Parliament’s International Trade committee. The petition itself is on the Change.org site, and it calls upon members of the European Union “to give the European Commission the mandate to draft the laws and develop initiatives necessary to stop digital arms trade”.

There are a number of companies that sell the kind of surveillance and “lawful intercept” software referenced in the digital arms petition. Perhaps the most well-known is a British company called Gamma International UK, which sells the FinSpy and FinFisher software used by various governments around the world. In a report called “For Their Eyes Only” released earlier this year, the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the university of Toronto detailed the spread of this software around the world and identified a slew of FinFisher command-and-control servers in countries such as Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States, among many others.

“Whenever they had the chance to, commercial surveillance providers always claimed that they do comply with export regulations and sometimes even went further and claimed to take into account human rights records. The reality is that those are companies driven by profit and these export laws are an obstacle to that,” Claudio Guarnieri, a security researcher and one of the authors of the Citizen Lab report, said."

+ - 264 A Protocol For Home Automation->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "Marshall Rose, one of the creators of the SNMP protocol, has a beef with current home automation gadgets: it's very, very difficult to get them to talk to each other, and you often end up needing a pile of remote controls to operate them. To fix these problems, he's proposed the Thing System, which will serve as an intermediary on your home automation network. The Thing System aims to help integrate gadgets already on the market, which may help it take off."
Link to Original Source

+ - 163 Cornell team says it's unified the structure of scientific theories->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Cornell physicists say they've figured out why science works, or more specifically why scientific theories work – a meta theory. Publishing online in the journal Science Nov. 1the team has developed a unified computational framework they say exposes the hidden hierarchy of scientific theories by quantifying the degree to which predictions – like how a particular cellular mechanism might work under certain conditions, or how sound travels through space – depend on the detailed variables of a model."
Link to Original Source

+ - 221 Scientists Using Supercomputers to Puzzle Out Dinosaur Movement->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Scientists at the University of Manchester in England figured out how the largest animal ever to walk on Earth, the 80-ton Argentinosaurus, actually walked on earth. Researchers led by Bill Sellers, Rudolfo Coria and Lee Margetts at the N8 High Performance Computing facility in northern England used a 320 gigaflop/second SGI High Performance Computing Cluster supercomputer called Polaris to model the skeleton and movements of Argentinosaurus. The animal was able to reach a top speed of about 5 mph, with “a slow, steady gait,” according to the team (PDF). Extrapolating from a few feet of bone, paleontologists were able to estimate the beast weighed between 80 and 100 tons and grew up to 115 feet in length. Polaris not only allowed the team to model the missing parts of the dinosaur and make them move, it did so quickly enough to beat the deadline for PLOS ONE Special Collection on Sauropods, a special edition of the site focusing on new research on sauropods that “is likely to be the ‘de facto’ international reference for Sauropods for decades to come,” according to a statement from the N8 HPC center. The really exciting thing, according to Rodolfo Coria, a member of the team behind the first physical reconstruction of Argentinosaurus, was how well Polaris was able to fill in the gaps left by the fossil records. “It is frustrating there was so little of the original dinosaur fossilized, making any reconstruction difficult,” he said, despite previous research that established some rules of weight distribution, movement and the limits of dinosaurs’ biological strength."
Link to Original Source

+ - 234 'Morris Worm' Turns 25: Watch How TV Covered It Then->

Submitted by netbuzz
netbuzz (955038) writes "On Nov. 2, 1988, mainstream America learned for the first time that computers get viruses, too, as the now notorious “Morris worm” made front-page headlines after first making life miserable for IT professionals. A PBS television news report about the worm offers a telling look at how computer viruses were perceived (or not) at the time. “Life in the modern world has a new anxiety today,” says the news anchor. “Just as we’ve become totally dependent on our computers they’re being stalked by saboteurs, saboteurs who create computer viruses.”"
Link to Original Source

+ - 267 SkyRunner Car Goes Off-road and Off-ground->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "Back in 2008, we heard about a parasail-equipped dune buggy, known as the Parajet Skycar. It could scramble over rough ground like a true off-roader, but then take to the skies when needed. One epic 6,000-km (3,728-mile) drive/flight from London to Tombouctou later, its creators got some ideas about how the design could be improved. The result is the lighter, better-flying and less-polluting SkyRunner – and you can order one now."
Link to Original Source

+ - 172 Which encrypted cloud storage really work?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Almost three years ago, I started looking for a cloud storage service. Encryption and the "zero-knowledge" concept were not concerns. Frankly, after two weeks testing services, it boiled down to one service I used for almost 2 years. It was perfect — in the technical sense — because it simply works as advertised and is one of the cheapest for 500GB.

One of the main problems I have found with them was the fact that sync did not work correctly for all. Only two of them were able to sync a large folder structure (hundreds of thousands files in thousands of folders) without mysteriously duplicating, deleting or "reappearing" files, instantaneously detecting changes and replicating them without issues. It even handled things like creating, renaming and deleting files quickly, without duplicating them.

But this year, I decided changing that service for another one, that would encrypt my files before leaving my machine. Some of these services call themselves "zero-knowledge" services, because (as they claim) clear text does not leave your host: they only receive encrypted data — keys or passwords are not sent.

I did all testing I could, with the free bit of their services, and then, chose one of them. After a while, when the load got higher (more files, more folders, more GB...), my horror story began. I started experiencing sync problems of all sorts. In fact, I have payed for and tested another service and both had the same issues with sync. Worse, one of them could not even handle restoring files correctly. I had to restore from my local backup more than once and I ended up loosing files for real.

In your experience, which service (or services) are really able to handle more than a hundred files, in sync within 5+ hosts, without messing up (deleting, renaming, duplicating) files and folders?"

+ - 148 Arizona Commissioner Probes Utility's Secret Funding Of Anti-Solar Campaign->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "An Arizona utility commissioner is asking for all the key players in a debate over a solar energy policy in the state to reveal any additional secret funding of nonprofits or public relations campaigns. The probe comes after Arizona Public Service, the state's largest utility, admitted last week that it had been secretly contributing to outside nonprofits running negative ads against solar power.

As The Huffington Post reported Friday, APS recently admitted that it had lied for months about paying the 60 Plus Association, a national conservative organization backed by the Koch brothers, to run ads against current solar net-metering policy. APS is currently pushing the Arizona Corporation Commission to roll back the policy, which allows homeowners and businesses with rooftop solar energy systems to make money by selling excess energy back to the grid. Solar proponents say that the policy has facilitated a solar boom in the state, and that changing it could have a huge negative impact on future growth."

Link to Original Source

+ - 214 Comcast Donates Heavily to Defeat Mayor who is Bringing Gigabit Fiber to Seattle

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Andrea Peterson reports in the Washington Post that one of Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn's big policy initiatives has been expanding the quality and quantity of high-speed Internet access throughout the city. However incumbent providers, particularly Comcast, have invested heavily in defeating McGinn in the mayoral election. While Comcast denies there is any connection between McGinn's broadband policies and their donations, the company has given thousands of dollars to PACs that have, in turn, given heavily to anti-McGinn groups. One of McGinn's core promises in the 2009 campaign was to "develop a city-wide broadband system." The mayor considered creating a citywide broadband system as a public utility, like water or electricity. But aides say that would have been too expensive, so the mayor settled on public-private partnerships using city-owned dark fiber. This dark fiber was laid down starting in 1995, and the mayor's office now says there are some 535 miles of it, only a fraction of which is being used. In June, the partnership, called Gigabit Squared, announced pricing for its Seattle service: $45 dollars a month for 100 Mbps service or $80 a month for 1 Gbps service plus a one-time installation cost of $350 that will be waived for customers signing a one-year contract. For comparison, Comcast, one of the primary Internet providers in the area, offers 105 Mbps service in the area for $114.99 a month according to their website. In a statement to The Post, Comcast denied their donations to the Murray campaign were related "in any way to any actions of the current Mayor," instead saying they reflected their prior support for Murray's state senate campaign. If Comcast is indeed attempting to sway the election, it would fall in line with a larger pattern of telecom interests lobbying against municipal efforts to create their own municipal broadband systems or leveraging city-owner fiber resources to create more competition for incumbent providers. "A loss for McGinn on Tuesday probably won't mean the end of Gigabit Squared's work in the Seattle metro area, though it could curtail Gigabit Squared's plans to expand to other parts of Seattle," writes Peterson. "More importantly, though, if Comcast's donations help Murray defeat McGinn, it will send a powerful message to mayors in other American cities considering initiatives to increase broadband competition.""

+ - 211 The Patent Problem Is Bigger Than Trolls

Submitted by Bob9113
Bob9113 (14996) writes "Ars Technica reports the following: "Canada-based telecom Nortel went bankrupt in 2009 and sold its biggest asset--a portfolio of more than 6,000 patents covering 4G wireless innovations and a range of technologies--at an auction in 2011. Google bid for the patents, but didn't get them. Instead, they went to a group of competitors--Microsoft, Apple, RIM, Ericsson, and Sony--operating under the name "Rockstar Bidco." The companies together bid the shocking sum of $4.5 billion. This afternoon, that stockpile was finally used for what pretty much everyone suspected it would be used for--launching an all-out patent attack on Google and Android. The smartphone patent wars have been underway for a few years now, and the eight lawsuits filed in federal court today by Rockstar Consortium mean that the conflict just hit DEFCON 1.""

+ - 205 Patent war goes nuclear: Microsoft, Apple-owned "Rockstar" sues Google->

Submitted by GODISNOWHERE
GODISNOWHERE (2741453) writes "So this is what "thermonuclear war" looks like.
The complaint against Google involves six patents, all from the same patent "family." They're all titled "associative search engine," and list Richard Skillen and Prescott Livermore as inventors. The patents describe "an advertisment machine which provides advertisements to a user searching for desired information within a data network."

Link to Original Source

+ - 245 Larry Page and Sergey Brin Are Lousy Coders

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Don't tell Business Insider's Nicholas Carlson about Santa and the Easter Bunny just yet. He's still reeling after learning that Larry Page and Sergy Brin are actually pretty lousy coders. That's according to I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59, a book about the company's startup days by Douglas Edwards. "I didn't trust Larry and Sergey as coders," Google engineering boss Craig Silverstein recalls in the book. "I had to deal with their legacy code from the Stanford days and it had a lot of problems. They're research coders: more interested in writing code that works than code that's maintainable." But don't cry for Larry and Sergey, Argentina — even if the pair won't be taking home any Top Coder prizes, they can at least take solace in their combined $50+ billion fortune. And, according to Woz, they certainly could have kicked Steve Jobs' butt in a coding contest!"

User hostile.

Working...