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Comment Cord Cutting (Score 4, Interesting) 697

I pulled the plug on Comcast over six months ago, and I love it. I bought a Dell Inspiron Zino HD 410 and hooked it up to my big ol' TV. It has HDMI out which actually sends the audio as well, since this computer is designed to be TV connected. It does a great job for streaming Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon VOD. I'm saving $60/mo., and enjoy a better experience. On demand streaming is wonderful, since there's so much out there to watch already. I do have to be patient, waiting for TV shows to hit Hulu or movies to hit Netflix, but it's been worth it to me. The only thing I really miss is the ability to just sit down and let the flashing box entertain me. Now I do have to make a choice. Before, I could sit down and let a Mythbusters marathon entertain me. I can still do that, but I have to think to do it before I can do it. I've also been spending more and more of my time watching podcasts from TWiT and others. I watch very little actual TV these days, only those shows I really want to see.

Stallman Says Cloud Computing Is a Trap 621

stevedcc writes in to tell us about an interview with RMS in The Guardian, in which he gives his views on cloud computing, with a particular focus on user access to data and the sacrifices made for convenience. "'It's stupidity. It's worse than stupidity: it's a marketing hype campaign,' he told The Guardian. 'Somebody is saying this is inevitable — and whenever you hear somebody saying that, it's very likely to be a set of businesses campaigning to make it true.'" Computerworld has a summary of some of the blogosphere's reaction to RMS's position.

Two AI Pioneers, Two Bizarre Suicides 427

BotnetZombie writes "Wired tells the quite sad but very interesting stories of Chris McKinstry and Pushpinder Singh. Initially self-educated, both had the idea to create huge fact databases from which AI agents could feed, hoping to eventually have something that could reason at a human level or better. McKinstry leveraged the dotcom era to grow his database. Singh had the backing of MIT, where he eventually got his PhD and had been offered a position as a professor alongside his mentor, Marvin Minsky. Sadly, personal life was more troublesome for them, and the story ends in a tragic way.
PlayStation (Games)

Sony Rejects PS3 Price Cuts 187

Despite hopeful comments by analysts, Sony has gone on the record (again) saying that it has no plans to cut the PS3's pricetag any time soon. Next Generation reports: "'PS3 prices and shipment plans for the future should be determined by market trends and competition. Sony currently doesn't have any specific plan to cut the PlayStation 3's price.' Analysts believe a price cut is inevitable, as the company struggles to catch Microsoft's early lead with Xbox 360, and the $250 Wii continues to sell as many as can be produced. However, Sony's plan has generally been to hold tight and hope that demand for Blu-ray drives will increase, by the end of this year." Relatedly, the company has outlined releases for the second quarter of this year on the PS2, PS3, and PSP systems.

Submission + - US Spaceflight record Broken

Josh Fink writes: "Today, astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria has been living and working in space for 197 days. The previous record of 196 days was held by expedition 4 crew members Carl Walz and Dan Bursch. When Lopez-Alegria returns to Earth on April 20, he will have spent 214 days aboard the IIS. From the article:

"You know it's kind of being like Barry Bonds and...Albert Pujos playing on the same team," Lopez-Alegria, an avid baseball fan, said referring to professional ballplayers. "I have a feeling my record isn't going to last very long, and I know exactly who is going to break it."

While the US may have broken its own record, it still has a long way to go to catch up with the world record of 438 days held by Valery Polyakov, a MIR crew member. You can view the article located at space.com here."
The Courts

Submission + - UK: Child Porn "Art" Illegal

StewedSquirrel writes: Parliment passed a law yesterday making "child porn images" illegal, focusing on "non-photographic" renditions, apparently including "drawings, images and sculptures". It goes even further to broadly define restrictions:

The proposed new law would cover depictions of child sex abuse that have either been created on a computer or are cartoons, drawings or other "artwork".

The article then mentions several incidents where London Art Gallery owners have been arrested and charged in the past few years for displaying artwork depicting "a photographer's three young children playing while naked" or "a photographer's daughter in the bath". Both were overturned on the basis that "art" is not covered by then current child porn laws.

Presumably, this exhibition of Donatello's David in London is illegal by some interpretations of the law, since it displays a naked prepubescent child in a pose that has been described as "provocative", "sensual" or "a fetishists dream" by art critics. Statues of Zeus abducting Ganymede may fall even more squarely under the wording of the law. While the police have vowed not to prosecute posession of "genuine artwork", what credentials does the average detective have to determine "genuine artwork"? Would they consider a modern sculpture of the same subject with the same care that they would consider one of the classics?

How does this recent law affect the ongoing effort to digitize British art galleries? Does it have far reaching implications for the physical collections of art galleries as well? Does it make British citizens on legally shaky ground merely visting the national museum? How would someone make that determination in light of this new law and the past history of enforcement and raids on smaller galleries? Does this law go too far?
The Courts

RIAA Balks At Complying With Document Order 166

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "When the RIAA was ordered to turn over its attorneys' billing records to the defendant's lawyer in Capitol v. Foster, there was speculation that they would never comply with the order. As it turns out they have indeed balked at compliance, saying that they are preparing a motion for a protective order seeking confidentiality (something they could have asked for, but didn't, in their opposition papers to the initial motion). Having none of that, Ms. Foster's lawyer has now made a motion to compel their compliance with the Court's March 15th order."

Judge Strikes Down COPA, 1998 Online Porn Law 348

Begopa sends in word that a federal judge has struck down the Child Online Protection Act. The judge said that parents can protect their children through software filters and other less restrictive means that do not limit others' rights to free speech. This was the case for which the US Department of Justice subpoenaed several search companies for search records; only Google fought the order. The case has already been to the Supreme Court. Senior U.S. District Judge Lowell Reed Jr. wrote in his decision: "Perhaps we do the minors of this country harm if First Amendment protections, which they will with age inherit fully, are chipped away in the name of their protection."

RIAA Caught in Tough Legal Situation 267

JeffreysTube writes "The RIAA's legal fight against a divorced mother has run into trouble, with the judge now telling the RIAA that its only two options are to proceed with a jury trial against Patty Santangelo or dismiss the case with prejudice. If the latter happens, Santangelo officially "wins" and could collect attorneys' fees. The judge is less than pleased with the RIAA, which is now trying to drop the case without giving Santangelo a chance to be declared guilty. 'This case is two years old,' wrote Judge McMahon. 'There has been extensive fact discovery. After taking this discovery, either plaintiffs want to make their case that Mrs. Santangelo is guilty of contributory copyright infringement or they do not.'"

Submission + - Real-time P2P monitoring

An anonymous reader writes: Apparently someone is running global BitTorrent P2P network monitoring. There is impressive view on http://www.p2p-monitor.com/?rt — currently representing downloads of Borat movie across all Internet. Each peer is geolocated, and information about download progress and client used is included.

Submission + - FBI in Cohoots with Verizon, AT&T, MCI

mrbluze writes: "In the ongoing FBI probe, Wired News confirms that the FBI did enter into contracts with telephone companies to "harvest" telephone records.

"The contract essentially pays for the man hours or the personnel cost for the people who have to do the work," said FBI Assistant Director John Miller in an interview with Wired News last night. "We want dedicated people who handle our requests or do nothing else."

I have read elsewhere that security organizations have deals with operating system and other software manufacturers to provide back-doors to PC's. How widespread is all of this privacy invasion in reality?"

Pascal is a language for children wanting to be naughty. -- Dr. Kasi Ananthanarayanan