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Businesses

When Patents Attack — the NPR Version 87

Posted by timothy
from the official-office-suite-of-rent-seeking dept.
fermion writes "This American Life is running a story this week on Intellectual Ventures, a firm some consider the leader of the patent trolls. The story delves into the origins of the term patent troll and the rise of the patent troll industry. Much time is spent presenting Intellectual Ventures both as a patent troll firm and a legitimate business that allows helpless inventors to monetize patents. It is stipulated that Intellectual Ventures does not in fact sue anyone. It is also alleged that Intellectual Ventures creates many shell companies, presumably to hide such activity. Intellectual Ventures is compared to a Mafia protection racket that may never actually burn down a business that does not pay the dues, but does encourage such burning to occur."
Communications

Could PSTN Go Away By 2018? 305

Posted by timothy
from the hullo-operator dept.
An anonymous reader writes "If current rates hold, only 6% of the U.S. population will still be served by the public switched telephone network by the end of 2018. Tom Evslin reports that the 'Technical Advisory Council (TAC) to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recommended last week that the FCC set a date certain for the sunset of the PSTN rather than let the service fade slowly into oblivion as it is doing now.' Since doing 'nothing' isn't really possible, he suggests: (possibly) end(ing) the Universal Service Fund subsidies, ensuring PSTN-dependent services like E911 work on new technologies, and assuring that everyone who now has PSTN service has access to either a broadband or cellular communication alternative."
Java

Thoughts On the State of Web Development 253

Posted by kdawson
from the sofea-meet-soui dept.
rmoskal recommends his blog post up at Most Media on finding the right level of abstraction, Grails, and SOFEA. "[Three years ago] I was very excited about Apache Wicket as the way to develop line of business applications with a domain model, CRUD [create-read-update-delete] screens for maintaining the model, and in the most interesting cases, doing something else useful besides. I still like Wicket. It has, as its website says, a small conceptual surface area.' It reminds me of Python in that 'You try something it usually just works.' In many respects, though, Wicket seems to be at the wrong level of abstraction for the for the sorts of line-of-business applications described above. If your team is spending any time at all writing code to produce listing, filtering, and sorting behavior, not to mention creating CRUD screens and the back-end logic for these operations, they are probably working at the wrong level of abstraction. ... Recently I did a small project using Grails and was quite pleased. Grails uses groovy, a dynamic language compatible with Java, and is based on the proven technologies that I know and love well: Spring, Hibernate, SiteMesh, Maven, etc. ... I get all the power of the Java ecosystem without the fustiness and lack of expressivity of the core language (no more getters and setters, ever!)."
Space

Planck Mission Releases Images of Galactic Dust 40

Posted by Soulskill
from the break-out-the-galactic-pledge dept.
davecl writes "The Planck satellite has released its first new science images, showing the large scale filamentary structure of cold dust in our own galaxy. This release coincides with the completion of its first survey of the entire sky a couple of weeks ago. There's lots more work to be done, and more observations to be made, before results are ready on the Big Bang, but these images demonstrate Planck's performance and capability. More information is available on the Planck mission blog (which I maintain)."
Earth

Officials Sue Couple Who Removed Their Lawn 819

Posted by kdawson
from the revenge-of-the-lawn dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The LA Times reports that Orange County officials are locked in a legal battle with a couple accused of violating city ordinances for replacing the grass on their lawn with wood chips and drought-tolerant plants, reducing their water usage from 299,221 gallons in 2007 to 58,348 gallons in 2009. The dispute began two years ago, when Quan and Angelina Ha tore out the grass in their front yard. In drought-plagued Southern California, the couple said, the lush grass had been soaking up tens of thousands of gallons of water — and hundreds of dollars — each year. 'We've got a newborn, so we want to start worrying about her future,' said Quan Ha, an information technology manager for Kelley Blue Book. But city officials told the Has they were violating several city laws that require that 40% of residential yards to be landscaped predominantly with live plants. Last summer, the couple tried to appease the city by building a fence around the yard and planting drought-tolerant greenery — lavender, rosemary, horsetail, and pittosporum, among others. But according to the city, their landscaping still did not comply with city standards. At the end of January, the Has received a letter saying they had been charged with a misdemeanor violation and must appear in court. The couple could face a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for their grass-free, eco-friendly landscaping scheme. 'It's just funny that we pay our taxes to the city and the city is now prosecuting us with our own money,' says Quan Ha."
Graphics

NVIDIA Previews GF100 Features and Architecture 101

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the visualize-this dept.
MojoKid writes "NVIDIA has decided to disclose more information regarding their next generation GF100 GPU architecture today. Also known as Fermi, the GF100 GPU features 512 CUDA cores, 16 geometry units, 4 raster units, 64 texture units, 48 ROPs, and a 384-bit GDDR5 memory interface. If you're keeping count, the older GT200 features 240 CUDA cores, 42 ROPs, and 60 texture units, but the geometry and raster units, as they are implemented in GF100, are not present in the GT200 GPU. The GT200 also features a wider 512-bit memory interface, but the need for such a wide interface is somewhat negated in GF100 due to the fact that it uses GDDR5 memory which effectively offers double the bandwidth of GDDR3, clock for clock. Reportedly, the GF100 will also offer 8x the peak double-precision compute performance as its predecessor, 10x faster context switching, and new anti-aliasing modes."
Media

Bono Hopes Content Tracking Will Help Media Moguls 569

Posted by timothy
from the for-the-chilldren-of-northern-ireland dept.
Khalid Baheyeldin writes "In his New York Times op-ed column, Irish singer Bono, otherwise noted for his humanitarian efforts expressed dismay at losses music artists incur from internet downloads. He notes that 'we know from America's noble effort to stop child pornography, not to mention China's ignoble effort to suppress online dissent, that it's perfectly possible to track content.' He then goes on to wonder 'perhaps movie moguls will succeed where musicians and their moguls have failed so far, and rally America to defend the most creative economy in the world, where music, film, TV and video games help to account for nearly 4 percent of gross domestic product.'"
Censorship

Sharp Rise In Jailing of Online Journalists; Iran May Just Kill Them 233

Posted by timothy
from the your-ethics-may-vary dept.
bckspc writes "The Committee to Protect Journalists has published their annual census of journalists in prison. Of the 136 reporters in prison around the world on December 1, 'At least 68 bloggers, Web-based reporters, and online editors are imprisoned, constituting half of all journalists now in jail.' Print was next with 51 cases. Also, 'Freelancers now make up nearly 45 percent of all journalists jailed worldwide, a dramatic recent increase that reflects the evolution of the global news business.' China, Iran, Cuba, Eritrea, and Burma were the top 5 jailers of journalists." rmdstudio writes, too, with word that after the last few days' protest there, largely organized online, the government of Iran is considering the death penalty for bloggers and webmasters whose reports offend it.
Image

Scientists Say a Dirty Child Is a Healthy Child 331

Posted by samzenpus
from the snack-is-going-to-be-on-the-floor-today dept.
Researchers from the School of Medicine at the University of California have shown that the more germs a child is exposed to, the better their immune system in later life. Their study found that keeping a child's skin too clean impaired the skin's ability to heal itself. From the article: "'These germs are actually good for us,' said Professor Richard Gallo, who led the research. Common bacterial species, known as staphylococci, which can cause inflammation when under the skin, are 'good bacteria' when on the surface, where they can reduce inflammation."
Idle

Neanderthals "Had Sex" With Modern Man 536

Posted by samzenpus
from the strange-bedfellows dept.
According to Professor Svante Paabo, director of genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Neanderthals and modern humans had sex across the species barrier. The professor has been using DNA retrieved from fossils to piece together the entire Neanderthal genome, and plans on publishing his findings soon. He recently told a conference that he was sure the two species had had sex, but still had questions as to how "productive" the relations had been. "What I'm really interested in is, did we have children back then and did those children contribute to our variation today?" he said. "I'm sure that they had sex, but did it give offspring that contributed to us? We will be able to answer quite rigorously with the new [Neanderthal genome] sequence." What remains a mystery is what Paleolithic brewery provided the catalyst for these stone age hook-ups.
Privacy

Kaspersky CEO Wants End To Online Anonymity 537

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-my-computer-is-already-broadcasting-an-ip-address dept.
Andorin writes "Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of well-known computer security company Kaspersky Labs, is calling for an end to the anonymity of the Internet, and for the creation of mandatory 'Internet passports' for anyone who wishes to browse the Web. Says Kaspersky, 'Everyone should and must have an identification, or internet passport ... the internet was designed not for public use, but for American scientists and the US military. Then it was introduced to the public, and it was wrong ... to introduce it in the same way.' He calls anonymity 'the Internet's biggest security vulnerability' and thinks any country that doesn't follow this regime should be 'cut off.' The EFF objects, and it's likely that they won't be the only ones."
Cellphones

COLLADA Contest Winners From Siggraph 2009 31

Posted by timothy
from the what's-in-there? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "COLLADA — the group creating open 3D data standards — announced their latest contest winners at Siggraph 2009. Ordinarily this wouldn't interest me, but the grand prize winner, NaviCAD, really did submit something rather interesting — an iPhone app that lets you explore Google 3D Warehouse models. Of course there's the pinching for zooming in/out, but it also uses the motion sensor to control the view. If you are walking around the inside or outside of a building, as you look around in the real world the view on the iPhone displays the corresponding view."
The Internet

+ - The Video Bay - now in Beta Extreme->

Submitted by poundhard
poundhard (1586155) writes "Some two years ago, it was mentioned on TorrentFreak and Slashdot that The Pirate Bay team were working on a YouTube competitor. At the oral proceedings of the Spectrial, I believe it was Peter Sunde, aka Brokep who said to the prosecutor that it was one of those side projects that failed. A few days ago though, he appeared over Skype at the Open Video Conference in New York, and apparently said that they were about to launch something new. It has been speculated in Norway that it will be the IPREDator. But I checked out The Video Bay, and hey, it is about to go live! This is what they write...

- To stay in the spirit on which TPB was founded and using the Latest Technology, TVB aims to use the new HTML5 features, more specificly the <video> and <audio> tags with the ogg/theora video and audio formats. This site will be an experimental playground and as such subjected to both live and drunk (en)coding, so please don't bug us too much if the site ain't working properly."

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