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The Courts

Submission + - Jammie Thomas hit with $1.5 million verdict (cnet.com)

suraj.sun writes: Jammie Thomas-Rasset, the Minnesota woman who has been fighting the recording industry over 24 songs she illegally downloaded and shared online four years ago, has lost another round in court as a jury in Minneapolis decided today that she was liable for $1.5 million in copyright infringement damages to Capitol Records, for songs she illegally shared in April 2006.

The trial is the third for Thomas-Rasset, after one jury found her liable for copyright infringement in 2007 and ordered her to pay $222,000, the judge in the case later ruled that he erred in instructing the jury and called for a retrial. In the second trial, which took place in 2009, a jury found Thomas-Rasset liable for $1.92 million.

Thomas-Rasset subsequently asked the federal court for a new trial or a reduction in the amount of damages in July 2009. But earlier this year, the judge found that amount to be "monstrous and shocking" and reduced the amount to $54,000.

CNET News: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-20021735-93.html


Submission + - Do Firefox users pay more for car loans? (consumerist.com)

RandyOo writes: "Someone wrote in to The Consumerist to report an interesting discovery: while shopping online for a car loan, Capital One offered him different rates, depending on the browser he used! Firefox yielded the highest rate at 3.5%, Opera took second place with 3.1%, Safari was only 2.7%, and finally, Google's Chrome browser afforded him the best rate of all: 2.3%! A commenter on the article claims to have been previously employed by Capital One, and writes: If you model the risk and revenue of applicants, the type of browser shows up as a significant variable. Browsers do predict an account's performance to some degree, and it will affect the rates you will view. It isn't a marketing test. I was still a bit dubious, but at least one of her previous comments backs up her claims to have worked for a credit card company. Considering the outcry after it was discovered that Amazon was experimenting with variable pricing a few years back, it seems surprising that consumers would be punished (or rewarded), based solely on the browser they happen to be using at the time!"

Submission + - Lawsuit says Apple iBricked 3GS to Boost iPhone 4 2

Ponca City writes: "Earlier this year, when Apple released the iPhone 4, it also offered an OS update to customers with older iPhone 3G and 3GS models. Now the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an angry iPhone owner is accusing Apple of purposely designing the software upgrade so it would break older iPhones, forcing customers to upgrade to the iPhone 4. According to the complaint by Biana Wofford, Apple knew that the update from iOS 3.x would turn her iPhone 3G into a "device with little more use than that of a paper weight" and also criticized Apple over the difficulty in downgrading to the previous operating system without having to become a hacker. "A lot of customers — myself included--found that the "upgrade" to iOS 4 created crippling performance problems on older phones," writes Matt Rosoff. Although Apple probably isn't as devious as the plaintiffs imagine- — it probably just didn't test iOS 4 on older phones very thoroughly adds Rosoff. "But the plaintiffs do make one good point: once you upgraded the OS, it was impossible to downgrade without violating Apple's terms and conditions.""
Role Playing (Games)

Submission + - The Elder Scrolls' open source heritage

qubodup writes: "Two active TES-inspired free software game projects have drawn attention to themselves lately. OpenMW is a re-implementation of the TES3: Morrowind game engine, written in the D programming language, licensed under GPL3. In an interview the project's developer talks about how the project started, why he chose Git and graphics engine development.
DungeonHack (DH) is a FPRPG that is mostly inspired by TES2: Daggerfall's content generation system. In a recent review, the progress is illustrated in screenshots and videos and the short-term plans for the next release get introduced. Note: both engines use the infamous OGRE graphical engine."

Submission + - Microsoft Contributes Linux Drivers to Community (microsoft.com) 1

JerkBoB writes: REDMOND, Wash., July 20, 2009 — Today, in a break from the ordinary, Microsoft released 20,000 lines of device driver code to the Linux community. The code, which includes three Linux device drivers, has been submitted to the Linux kernel community for inclusion in the Linux tree. The drivers will be available to the Linux community and customers alike, and will enhance the performance of the Linux operating system when virtualized on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V or Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V.

More here: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2009/Jul09/07-20LinuxQA.mspx

Input Devices

Submission + - Hercules releases GPL MIDI drivers for Linux (blogspot.com)

Anonymous Coward writes: "On Monday Feb 16th, Hercules released GPL Linux MIDI drivers for their DJ Controller series of MIDI input devices (Mk2, RMX, MP3 Control, DJ Control Steel).
Today, cross-platform GPL DJ software Mixxx released "Mixxx 1.6.1+Herc" to enable use of those drivers with Mixxx. Details are available on the Mixxx Development Blog.
Big props to Hercules and to Mixxx for supporting Free DJs everywhere!"


Submission + - Apps that officially support Wine (winehq.org)

David Gerard writes: "Wine (the Windows not-an-emulator for Unix) runs Windows applications more often than not. (Certainly more often than Vista does.) Dan Kegel on the wine-users mailing list/forum has started gathering apps that declare Wine a supported platform, and there's now a page on the Wine wiki: the Wine Support Honor Roll. We need more apps that work with Wine stating that they consider it a supported platform. If you write Win32 open source or shareware, please open yourself to the wider market!"
Operating Systems

Motorola Moving to Android, Windows Mobile for Smartphones 136

nerdyH writes "Motorola will ditch its MotoMAGX Linux stack and UIQ Symbian stack in favor of Google's Android Linux/Java stack and Windows Mobile 6.5 and 7, it announced today. The news comes after five years selling millions of Linux phones in Asia, and after a year during which many of Motorola's top US phones used the homegrown Linux stack. Motorola's current Linux phones in the US include the RAZR2 v8, E8, EM30, U9, ZN4, and ZN5." This also comes alongside news that Motorola's financial hardships are causing them to cut 3,000 jobs. It also puts into perspective their recent plans to hire hundreds of Android developers.

Submission + - NASA Goddard releases RFP for MMO (nasa.gov)

Pvt_Waldo writes: NASA quietly released an Request For Proposal (RFP) on Friday for their NASA themed MMO, much I'm sure to the initial joy of the huge number of people who submitted to their earlier RFI (Request For Information) back in January of this year. Joy at least for a few minutes, until the people reading it realized that this will be an unfunded project. That's right, NASA is not putting any money into this project at all. They will be graciously granting the rights to ask that certain conditions be met by whom ever they choose, and yet will be providing no money. None for development, none for support, none for prototyping or resaerch. What ever happened to that $3 million we read about a year ago?!

Rumor has it that they got around 140+ submissions to the RFI (Request For Information) earlier this year and NASA only expecting 20 or 30. NASA was thrilled, and the press and the blogs were all over this — you could tell a lot of people were hugely excited about this game idea. And yet now, as an unfunded project, it is no more than NASA saying, "Hey, we would love it if someone would make this game for us. We insist it meet certain requirements and we will be judging your submissions based on certain conditions. Oh, and it's up to you to fund all the development and then subsequent support and maintenance of this project."

Did the coolest game idea since Spore just go from "w00t" to "suck" in the flash of an eye?


Submission + - Opposite of Superconductors Discovered (anl.gov) 3

Sir Holo writes: Superinsulation may sound like a marketing gimmick for a drafty attic or winter coat. But it is actually a newly discovered fundamental state of matter created by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory in collaboration with several European institutions. This discovery opens new directions of inquiry in condensed matter physics and breaks ground for a new generation of microelectronics.

When they tried to pass a current through the material, the researchers noticed that its resistance suddenly increased by a factor of 100,000 once the temperature dropped below a certain threshold.

Superinsulators could eventually find their way into a number of products, including circuits, sensors and battery shields.


Submission + - Is Truth-Telling About Lie Detectors Treason? (antipolygraph.org)

George Maschke writes: "Last week, MSNBC reported that the U.S. military will soon deploy to Afghanistan a hand-held lie detector called the Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System, or PCASS. I promptly posted some critical commentary about this decision, noting among other things how the PCASS can be fooled. This was promptly followed by a couple accusations of treason from anonymous polygraph examiners. Now, a federal polygraph examiner and past president of the American Polygraph Association has openly accused me of treason. What do you think?"

Submission + - camera that "sees" through cloths

pilsner.urquell writes: Reuters has a story out of the United Kingdom about a camera that can "see" through cloths.

The T5000 camera, created by a company called ThruVision, uses what it calls "passive imaging technology" to identify objects by the natural electromagnetic rays — known as Terahertz or T-rays — that they emit.

The high-powered camera can detect hidden objects from up to 80 feet away and is effective even when people are moving. It does not reveal physical body details and the screening is harmless, the company says.

Submission + - Electron filmed for the first time (opednews.com)

earlymon writes: From http://www.opednews.com/articles/life_a_kathlyn__080309_electron_filmed_for_.htm — From TFA: 'Using a stroboscope and laser, a team led by Swedish researcher Johan Mauritsson, assistant professor in atomic physics at Lund University, went beyond measuring the end result of an electron's interaction, they tracked and filmed its process.' A controversial must-see.

The two most common things in the Universe are hydrogen and stupidity. -- Harlan Ellison