ndogg writes "Microsoft has announced that it is releasing an H.264 plugin for Firefox. This plugin does not add H.264 capabilities to Firefox, but rather allows it to use the H.264 capabilities built into Windows 7. With that in mind, it sounds like it may not work on anything other than Windows 7."
tekgoblin writes with news that a federal judge has issued a permanent injunction against LimeWire for copyright infringement and unfair competition. A notice on the LimeWire home page says "THIS IS AN OFFICIAL NOTICE THAT LIMEWIRE IS UNDER A COURT-ORDERED INJUNCTION TO STOP DISTRIBUTING AND SUPPORTING ITS FILE-SHARING SOFTWARE. DOWNLOADING OR SHARING COPYRIGHTED CONTENT WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION IS ILLEGAL." An anonymous reader points to coverage at CNET, too.
sciencehabit writes "A rare Japanese flower named Paris japonica sports an astonishing 149 billion base pairs, making it 50 times the size of a human genome — and the largest genome ever found. The genome would be taller than Big Ben if stretched out end to end. The researchers warn however that big genomes tend to be a liability: plants with lots of DNA have more trouble tolerating pollution and extreme climatic extinctions—and they grow more slowly than plants with less DNA, because it takes so long to replicate their genome."
vistapwns writes "MPEG LA has announced that free h264 content (vs. paid h264 content which will still have royalties) will be royalty free forever. With ubiquitous h264 support on mobile devices, personal computers and all other types of media devices, this assures that h264 will remain the de facto standard for video playback for the foreseeable future."
danielkennedy74 writes "Newsweek.com becomes the latest in a long list of sites that will reveal an Easter egg if you enter the Konami code correctly (up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a, enter). This is a cheat code that appeared in many of Konami's video games, starting around 1986 — my favorite places to use it were Contra and Life Force, 30 lives FTW. The Easter egg was probably included by a developer unbeknownst to the Newsweek powers that be. It's reminiscent of an incident that happened at ESPN last year, involving unicorns."
Lanxon writes "A Russian man is hoping to overhaul the technology within Taser-type weapons — transforming them from single-shot, short-range devices that stun for a few seconds, into more effective long-range, rapid-fire weapons — by modifying the wires and the type of shock they generate, reports Wired. Non-lethal weapon developer Oleg Nemtyshkin's design uses bare wires, rather than the insulated wires favored by Taser and other stun gun makers. These wires weigh only about one sixteenth as much as insulated wire, providing less drag on the darts and improved accuracy. Nemtyshkin demonstrated his bare wire technology with a prototype – 'Legionary" — in 2001. His latest version is the S5, and a video of the weapon in action shows it firing repeatedly — almost as fast as the trigger can be pulled."
A British website called crabrevenge.com will help you prove that there is literally nothing you can't find online by selling you pubic lice. A disclaimer on the site says the creators "do not endorse giving people lice," and the lice are for "novelty purposes only." The company also boasts about a facility "where we do all of our parasite husbandry and carefully considered selective breeding." Three different packages are available: "Green package - One colony that can lay as many as 30 eggs for about $20. Blue package - Three colonies to share with your friends or freeze a batch or two for about $35. Red package - A vial of 'shampoo-resistant F-strain crabs' which can take up to two weeks to kill for about $52."
kkleiner sends along an amazing video of what robot-controlled machining is coming to. "Industrial robots are getting precise enough that they're less like dumb machines and more like automated sculptors producing artwork. Case in point: Daishin's Seki 5-axis mill. The Japanese company celebrated its 50th anniversary last year by using this machine to carve ... a full-scale motorcycle helmet out of one piece of aluminum. No breaks, no joints, the 5-Axis mill simply pivots and rotates to carve metal at some absurd angles. Every cut is guided by sophisticated 3-D design software (Openmind’s HyperMill)."
hansamurai writes "Over one hundred cars equipped with a Webtech Plus blackbox were remotely disabled when a former employee of dealership Texas Auto Center got hold of his employer's database of users. Webtech Plus is repossession software that allows the dealership to disable a car's ignition or trigger the horn to honk when a payment is due. Owners had to remove the battery to stop the incessant honking. After the dealership began fielding an unusually high number of calls from upset car owners, they changed the passwords to the Webtech Plus software and then traced the IP address used to access the client to its former employee."
MMBK writes "Dennis Chamberland is one of the world's preeminent aquanauts. He's worked with NASA to develop living habitats and underwater plant growth labs, among other cool things. His next goal is establishing the world's first permanent underwater colony. This video gets to the heart of his project, literally and figuratively, as most is shot in his underwater habitat, Atlantica, off the coast of Key Largo, FL. The coolest part might be the moon pool, the room you swim into underwater."
timothy writes "Anyone skeevy and devious enough can buy online an ATM skimmer from some underhanded maker of same, but why not cut out the middleman, and just take the cash directly? (Also, if you're going to attempt to stop him, can I have your watch when you are dead?)"
I'm typing this on a netbook with no hard drive, not using a chip from Intel or AMD, and powered by AA batteries. Eight rechargeable AAs, to be precise, in a bank of cells right where a Li-Ion battery would sit in a conventional laptop. The batteries charge in place, too (regulation prevents overcharging) meaning that the power cord is a simple three-prong-to-cloverleaf cord, no wall-wart required. It's the EduBook from Xcore (see that page for some photos of the internals, too), and it's a cool concept. Despite some warts, it's one of the most interesting things I ran into on the CES show floor last month (Xcore's Michael Barnes kindly supplied the laptop, straight from the display case). Read on for my review.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Craig Mundie, Microsoft's Chief Research and Strategy Officer, called for the creation of an 'Internet Driver's License' at the World Economic Forum in Davos, saying, 'If you want to drive a car you have to have a license to say that you are capable of driving a car, the car has to pass a test to say it is fit to drive and you have to have insurance.' Of course, there are quite a few problems with this. For starters, internet use cannot yet cause death or dismemberment like car accidents can; and this would get rid of most of the good of internet anonymity while retaining all of the bad parts, especially in terms of expanding the market for stolen identities. Even though telephone networks have long been used by scammers and spammers/telemarketers, we've never needed a 'Telephone Driver's License.'"
Presto Vivace writes "Reporting for Computer World, Grant Gross writes that the RIAA is asking the FCC not to make the net neutrality rules so strict that they 'would limit broadband providers' [flexibility] to "address" illegal online file sharing.' It seems the RIAA is unclear on the concept of the Fourth Amendment. 'The FCC should not only avoid rules prohibiting ISPs from blocking illegal file trading, but it should actively encourage ISPs to do so, the RIAA said. ... Other groups called on the FCC to stay out of the copyright enforcement business. If ISPs are required to check for copyright infringement, they could interfere with legal online activities, said six digital rights and business groups, including Public Knowledge, the Consumer Electronics Association and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.'"
Anonymous Crobar writes "Microsoft has received a patent for a 'digital rights management scheme for an on-demand distributed streaming system,' or using a P2P network to distribute commercial media content. The patent, #7,639,805, covers a method of individually encrypting each packet with a separate key and allowing users to decrypt differing levels of quality depending on the license that has been purchased."