The NY Times reports that Apple has internally discussed an investment into Twitter to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. From the article: "There is no guarantee that the two companies, which are not in negotiations at the moment, will come to an agreement. But the earlier talks are a sign that they may form a stronger partnership amid intensifying competition from the likes of Google and Facebook. Apple has not made many friends in social media. Its relationship with Facebook, for example, has been strained since a deal to build Facebook features into Ping, Apple's music-centric social network, fell apart. Facebook is also aligned with Microsoft, which owns a small stake in it. And Google, an Apple rival in the phone market, has been pushing its own social network, Google Plus. 'Apple doesn't have to own a social network,' Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said at a recent technology conference. 'But does Apple need to be social? Yes.'"
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The Megaupload case continues, and on Friday attorneys for the U.S. government made some interesting claims. They were in court to argue against a request to dismiss the indictment against Megaupload that was raised on the grounds that Megaupload has no U.S. address. After a debate about jurisdiction and precedent, this happened: "The government also argued that it could keep Megaupload in legal limbo indefinitely. 'None of the cases impose a time limit on service,' the government's attorney told the judge. Therefore, the government believes it can leave the indictment hanging over the company's head, and keep its assets frozen, indefinitely. Not only that, but the government believes it can continue to freeze Megaupload's assets and paralyze its operations even if the judge grants the motion to dismiss. That's because in the government's view, the assets are the proceeds of criminal activity and the prosecution against founder Kim Dotcom will still be pending. The fact that the assets are in the name of Megaupload rather than its founder is of no consequence, the government claimed."
An anonymous reader tips a story at VentureBeat about a company that helps game developers analyze data gathered from their games to detect cheaters. But now, the company says this data can also be used to determine other traits of the players, like whether they're minors, or whether they like to gamble. Their CEO, Lukasz Twardowski, expects such analysis will soon be able to reveal even more traits, like whether a player is color blind, has a developmental disorder, or has Alzheimer's disease. "'Games are the richest and the most meaningful form of human-computer interaction. ...By tracking how they play games, we can learn a lot about people,' Twardowski explained. Hesitatingly, he added: 'That will be a huge responsibility for us later on.' ... Academics have begun to take games more seriously, as a window into the human psyche. Games are addictive and immersive and are built to command hours of our time and attention. What better testbed for myriad psychological and medical conditions? A good game pushes us to our limits, challenging us to use both the analytical and intuitive sides of our brain.
New submitter zixxt writes "GTK+ Developer Benjamin Otte talks about the stagnation and decline of the Gnome Project. He describes how core developers are leaving GNOME development, how GNOME is understaffed, why GNOME is a Red Hat project and why GNOME is losing market and mind share. Is the Gnome project on its deathbed? Quoting: 'I first noticed this in 2005 when Jeff Waugh gave his 10×10 talk. Back then, the GNOME project had essentially achieved what it set out to do: a working Free desktop environment. Since then, nobody has managed to set new goals for the project. In fact, these days GNOME describes itself as a “community that makes great software”, which is as nondescript as you can get for software development. The biggest problem with having no goals is that you can’t measure yourself. Nobody can say if GNOME 3 is better or worse than GNOME 2. There is no recognized metric anywhere. This also leads to frustration in lots of places.'"
HangingChad sends this excerpt from PCMag: "Microsoft this week admitted that its upcoming Surface tablet might hurt its relationships with PC maker partners. As first noted by the New York Times, Redmond said in a Thursday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that 'our Surface devices will compete with products made by our OEM partners, which may affect their commitment to our platform.'" The filing also made note of the difficulties in building up another app marketplace: "In order to compete, we must successfully enlist developers to write applications for our marketplace and ensure that these applications have high quality, customer appeal and value. Efforts to compete with these application marketplaces may increase our cost of revenue and lower our operating margins."
jfruh writes "More and more people are joining the ranks of 'cord-cutters' — those who cancel their cable TV subscriptions and get their televisied entertainment either for free over the airwaves or over the Internet. But, assuming you're going to do things legally, is this really a cheaper option? It depends on what you watch. Brian Proffitt contemplated this move, and he walks you through the calculations he made to figure out the prices of cutting the cord. He weighed the costs of various a la carte and all-you-can-eat Internet streaming services, and took into account the fact that Internet service on its own is often pricier than it would be if bundled with cable TV."
geek writes "According to Marco Arment, the creator of Instapaper, Apple may be in trouble with developers. According to Arment, the new sandboxing guidelines from Apple are pushing developers away in droves. 'I've lost all confidence that the apps I buy in the App Store today will still be there next month or next year. The advantages of buying from the App Store are mostly gone now. My confidence in the App Store, as a customer, has evaporated. Next time I buy an app that’s available both in and out of the Store, I’ll probably choose to buy it directly from the vendor. And nearly everyone who’s been burned by sandboxing exclusions — not just the affected apps’ developers, but all of their customers — will make the same choice with their future purchases. To most of these customers, the App Store is no longer a reliable place to buy software.' Arment also comments on the 'our way or the highway' attitude Apple often takes in these situations and how it may be backfiring this time around."
As part of a KDE-wide effort to prepare for Qt 5/QtQuick2, and a push to improve the window manager, KWin now sports QML decoration support. Currently, the C++ API for decorators is "...not very Qt like and requires a strong understanding of how the window decoration in KWin works ... [and] seems to be too difficult to be used." This complexity increases maintenance burden: "In 4.9 we ship four window decorations: the Aurorae theme engine, Oxygen, Plastik, b2 and Laptop. Together they are 10 kSLOC of C++ code and 1 kSLOC QML code (Aurorae). Before Aurorae got ported to QML the size of the decorations was 13 kSLOC. Overall that is about 10 per cent of the KWin source base, which is rather large." Basing his work on the QML version of the Aurorae engine, Martin Gräßlin set out to port Plastik to QML (the C++ version has already bitrotted, and was slated for removal): "After one and a half days of work I’m proud to say that writing decorations in QML is possible. ... In the current state the decoration consists of 370 lines of QML code and I expect to need an additional 100 lines to finish the buttons (they are already functional, that is the close button closes the window) and add some of the configuration options. The same API in C++ consists of 1500 lines of code. So we do not only get fewer lines of code but also a more readable and easier to maintain codebase. For something like a window decoration a declarative approach is much better suited than the imperative C++ way of painting elements."
On Tuesday, Microsoft signed a patent cross-license agreement with Amdocs Software Systems. They specifically noted in their press release that the agreement covered Amdocs' use of 'Linux-based servers in its data centers,' and noted that Amdocs paid them money for the privilege. In light of the current state of mobile device licensing, with Microsoft getting a cut from most Android device sales, should data centers operators worry about having to pay Microsoft for their use of Linux servers? From the article: "To date, Linux advocates have been hypersensitive to any move Microsoft has made against the open-source OS—which, to be fair, Microsoft has seen as a threat since its inception. It's certainly possible that Amdocs approached Microsoft for a patent cross-license for its own purposes; but if that's the case, Amdocs would likely have disclosed that fact. Amdocs representatives declined to comment on the deal, and the arrangement has been completely ignored on the Amdocs Website. ... The question, though, is whether Microsoft will begin eyeing data-center operators as a similar source of licensing revenue. The company has avoided directly challenging Linux developer/distributors such IBM or Red Hat, instead targeting partners and customers."
Earlier this month, we discussed a Kickstarter project for Ouya, and Android-based gaming console in development by a company of the same name. Their fundraising campaign was wildly successful, and now they've partnered with cloud gaming provider OnLive for the console's launch. (Which is somewhat unexpected, because OnLive already sells its own pseudo-console.) In the same post, the Ouya creators showed their most recent design for the console's controllers.
Diggester tips this quote from NBC News: "Two men unlucky enough to get both HIV and cancer have been seemingly cleared of the virus, raising hope that science may yet find a way to cure the infection that causes AIDS, 30 years into the epidemic. The researchers are cautious in declaring the two men cured, but more than two years after receiving bone marrow transplants, HIV can't be detected anywhere in their bodies. These two new cases are reminiscent of the so-called 'Berlin patient,' the only person known to have been cured of infection from the human immunodeficiency virus."
Hugh Pickens writes "Nathan Vardi writes in Forbes that in the last two months, Mark Zuckerberg has had a rude introduction to the capital markets. With Facebook's stock in free-fall, down more than 40% from its IPO price, Zuckerberg has a big problem. 'Zuckerberg did not want to deal with the pressures of being a public company. Like many entrepreneurs these days he viewed the capital markets with suspicion,' writes Vardi. 'So Zuckerberg made a fateful decision, he decided to keep Facebook a privately-held company for much longer than other success stories like Google or Amazon.' But waiting eight years to conduct an IPO has turned out to be an impossible problem to manage. The bankers at Morgan Stanley applied all the lessons of the last 15 years and priced the IPO at $38, which was very aggressive, in an attempt to avoid leaving any money on the table and the embarrassment that a huge IPO pop would represent. With such a big valuation at IPO time, Facebook had to show some results. But the numbers that Facebook announced in its first quarterly earnings report were underwhelming and the trading hordes drove Facebook's stock down by 15% in Friday morning trading. Now the early institutional investors are heading for the exits and it's hard to imagine morale at Facebook won't take a hit that correlates with the loss in value of the shares belonging to the employees. 'The lesson of the Facebook fiasco for Silicon Valley is clear. Start-up entrepreneurs cannot evade the discipline of the capital markets any more than can the prime ministers of Spain and Italy.'"
CowboyNeal writes "Last week, Oracle announced that they were making Oracle Linux available free of charge, and also provided a script that makes switching to Oracle Linux nearly painless for existing CentOS users. What makes Oracle Linux unique, and why would anyone want to use it? Read on to find out, as I delve into what Oracle Linux has to offer."
nk497 writes "Google is in more trouble over the Street View Wi-Fi data slurping incident. Two years ago Google admitted it had collected snippets of personal data while sniffing for Wi-Fi connections. The UK's data watchdog, the ICO, didn't fine Google, but did demand it delete the collected data. Following the FCC's investigation, the ICO double-checked with Google that the data was deleted, receiving confirmation that it had. Except... it hadn't all been deleted, Google has now admitted. That breaches the deal between the ICO and Google, and the watchdog has said it's in talks with other regulators about what to do next."