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Chinese Firm Launches Cloud-Based Mobile OS 33

An anonymous reader writes "China-based company Alibaba looks to take on the might of Apple and Google with a cloud-based operating system. According to the company, its Aliyun OS will be based on the Linux kernel, and will also be compatible with Android apps. Launched alongside the K-Touch Cloud-Smart Phone W700, Alibaba is hoping that a 0% slice of developer profits will encourage adoption, and says it hopes manufacturers will take the platform to global markets."

How Google Avoided Paying $60 Billion In Taxes 1193

bonch writes "Google only pays a 2.4% tax rate using money-funneling techniques known as the 'Double Irish' and the 'Dutch Sandwich,' even though the US corporate income tax is 35%. By using Irish loopholes, money is transferred legally between subsidiaries and ends up in island sanctuaries that have no income tax, giving Google the lowest tax rate amongst its technology peers. Facebook is planning to use the same strategy."

Adobe Download Manager Installing Software Without Consent 98

"Not all is worth cheering about as Adobe turns 20," writes reader adeelarshad82, who excerpts from a story at PC Magazine's Security Watch: "Researcher Aviv Raff has found a problem in ADM (Adobe Download Manager) and the method through which it is delivered from The net effect of the problem is that a user can be tricked into downloading and installing software using ADM without actual consent. Tonight Adobe acknowledged the report and said they were working on the issue with Raff and NOS Microsystems, the company that wrote ADM."

External Airbag Designed to Protect Pedestrians Screenshot-sm 253

Thanks to researchers at Cranfield University, you don't have to feel bad when you plow into a group of pedestrians who are crossing the street too slowly. They have designed an external airbag that mounts to your hood at the base of the windshield. Research shows that this is the area where a pedestrian's head is most likely to hit in an accident. "Test results indicate that the system works extremely well. When fitted to a demonstrator vehicle not originally designed with pedestrian protection in mind, the results were well inside all current legal criteria for pedestrian protection currently in force in Europe," Roger Hardy of the university's Cranfield Impact Centre said.
The Courts

Supreme Court Declines Jack Thompson Appeal 100

eldavojohn writes "Jack Thompson was disbarred last year in Florida, putting a halt to annoying lawsuits targeting game makers and the constitutional rights of gamers. Well, he had appealed to the United States Supreme Court (scheduled to be heard last Friday) to get this overturned, but instead they declined to even hear his appeal. They wouldn't even give him the time to review his appeal, so it appears his disbarment for life stands. Florida had declined to file a response to Thompson's appeal, and it turns out they didn't need to. Sad day for Jack Thompson, but a great day for gamers everywhere." This comes shortly after Thompson was frustrated by the vetoing of some legislation he promoted in Utah.
Input Devices

Some of the Weirder Ideas From CHI 2009 43

An anonymous reader writes "Technology Review has a roundup of some of the weirder ideas on show at last week's Computer-Human Interaction conference in Boston. They include a trackball that heats up as you roll over different parts of an image, a pair of goggles that track eye movements using electrooculography, and a miniature robot with a cellphone for its head."

New Form of "Mobius" Carbon Predicted 115

KentuckyFC writes "We've seen carbon nanotubes, buckyballs, and chickenwire. Now materials scientists have created a computer model of a Mobius strip fashioned from strips of graphene — a molecule that would have a single surface and only one edge. (Other groups have made Mobius-like organic molecules but never out of carbon sheets.) The model allows the researchers to determine the physical and chemical properties of the molecules and how these depend on the number of twists in the strip. The team says, for example, that 'Mobius carbon' should be stable to temperatures of at least 500 Kelvin (abstract). But the most exciting prediction is that strips with an odd number of half twists should have a dipole moment that would cause them to self-organize into a crystal. That implies that there's a new type of carbon made entirely of Mobius strips ready to be made by any chemists with a good supply of graphene (maybe these guys)."
The Internet

CRTC Mulls Canadian Content On the Internet 269

PsiCTO writes "The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is going to weigh Internet content regulation — this could mean requiring some amount of Canadian content coming across Canadian pipes. The CRTC is akin to the FCC. They get that they can't 'regulate' the Internet, but are proposing to promote additional Canadian content in some way, as is currently done with radio and TV content. Likely they will discuss tax credits, subsidies, grants, or other traditional mechanisms. What do people think about this? Are there similar efforts, existing or proposed, in other countries?"

Submission + - Out-of-warranty Slingboxes broken with update

fetta writes: I take back every nice thing I've ever said about the Slingbox. A recent Slingplayer update breaks some Slingboxes , including mine. After the update, all remote control settings are lost and cannot be reset. You can watch TV but not control your DVR devices.

The root cause seems to be a new DRM setting: even if the device has been used in the US since installation, you get an error about the device not being authorized for use in the USA.

"This Slingbox was not originally designed to be used in the USA. You may not be able to configure this Slingbox for some devices in this new location."

To make matters worse, Slingbox charges $29/per incident for support, even if you're still under warranty but past the first 90 days. I find it offensive to have to pay for support for a problem caused by their software update. They seem to feel free to ignore any problems that their software is causing for any customer with a box more than 12 months old — if I were more cynical, I would think that this is their version of planned obsolescence.

So, if you wanted to replace the Slingbox with a similar device, what other options exist? Is there anything open-source, or at least made by a more consumer-friendly company? I hate to buy another piece of hardware, only to have it disabled by the manufacturer after the warranty runs out.


Submission + - OpenDNS to block and monitor Conficker worm

Linker3000 writes: According to El Reg, from Monday, OpenDNS plans to introduce an new service that will prevent PCs infected with the Conficker (aka Downadup) malware from contacting its control servers, and will also make it easy for admins to know if even a single machine under their control has been infected by Conficker: "Starting Monday, any networks with PCs that try to connect to the Conficker addresses will be flagged on an admin's private statistics page. The service is available for free to both businesses and home users." Maybe this is a good time to take a look at OpenDNS if you haven't done so already.

Submission + - tracking political donors with googlemaps (

Geoffrey.landis writes: "Some donors to groups supporting the controversial measure 8 have received death threats and envelopes containing a powdery white substance, and their businesses have been boycotted. The targets of this harassment blame a controversial and provocative Web site,, which has used California open disclosure laws, along with googlemaps, to publicize the names and addresses of individuals who donated money to pass the controversial Californis proposition 8.

According to the New York Times, eightmaps takes that the donation data, formerly of interest mainly to social scientists, pollsters and journalists, and publishes it in a way not foreseen when the open-government laws were passed. As a result, donors are exposed to a wide audience and, in some cases, to harassment or worse.""

The generation of random numbers is too important to be left to chance.