Mr.Intel writes: A jury has ordered Apple to pay $626 million in damages after finding that iMessage, FaceTime and other Apple software infringed on another company's patents. In a case that has been bouncing around the court system since 2012, VirnetX accused Apple of violating four of its patents, which mostly involve methods for real-time communications over the Internet. VirnetX has been labeled a "patent troll" because it is a patent holding company that makes no actual products. It has just 14 employees and rents office space for $5,000 a month. The company makes money by licensing patents to other firms — and by suing businesses that it believes has infringed on its intellectual property.
Mr.Intel writes: The IRS stopped accepting electronically filed tax returns Wednesday because of problems with some of its computer systems. The outage could affect refunds, but the agency said it doesn't anticipate "major disruptions."
A "hardware failure" forced the shutdown of several tax processing systems, including the e-file system, the IRS said in a statement. The IRS.gov website remains available, but "where's my refund" and other services are not working.
Some systems will be out of service at least until Thursday, the agency said. "The IRS is currently in the process of making repairs and working to restore normal operations as soon as possible," the IRS said.
Mr.Intel writes: A Utah lawmaker wants computer technicians to face jail time if they don't immediately report child pornography they discover on someone's computer. The proposal would require computer technicians to report child pornography to law enforcement or a federal cyber tip line if they encounter the material, but they would not be required to go searching for it. If they find it and don't report it, they could be given up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
It would mirror laws already on the books in at least 12 other states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Mr.Intel writes: You'll have to wait a bit longer to see what the heck is up with Luke Skywalker. Disney announced this afternoon that it's delaying Star Wars: Episode VIII from May 26, 2017 by seven months to December 15, 2017. Disney didn't give any reason for the delay, but sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that it'll allow the studio to give the film a Christmas release treatment, which worked pretty well for The Force Awakens. Additionally, it'll give director/writer Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper) more time to work on the film. THR's Borys Kit notes that may include rewrites to focus more on the new class of Star Wars characters.
Mr.Intel writes: Last year, Hewlett-Packard eliminated 34,000 jobs, and JC Penney and Sprint announced cuts, while JP Morgan Chase has cut 20,000 from its workforce since 2011. In double-earner families, at least one parent reports feeling "insecure" about their job, and in almost half of those both think their job is insecure.
This dynamic creates a constant tension for workers, who are beset by uncertainty. It has bred what Pugh calls the "one-way honor system," in which workers are beholden to employers, but employers are not, says Pugh, author of "The Tumbleweed Society: Working and Caring in an Age of Insecurity," out earlier this year.
Mr.Intel writes: Video of a handgun fired from a hovering drone into a wooded area has been posted on YouTube — where it has gone viral — apparently by an 18-year-old Connecticut student whose father says his son created the drone for a college class. The gun drone appears to have been fired on private property and — so far, authorities said — it did not appear any laws were broken.
Mr.Intel writes: No matter how carefully it is mixed or reinforced, all concrete eventually cracks, and under some conditions, those cracks can lead to collapse. "The problem with cracks in concrete is leakage," explains professor Henk Jonkers, of Delft University of Technology, in the Netherlands. "If you have cracks, water comes through — in your basements, in a parking garage. Secondly, if this water gets to the steel reinforcements — in concrete we have all these steel rebars — if they corrode, the structure collapses."
But Jonkers has come up with an entirely new way of giving concrete a longer life. "We have invented bioconcrete — that's concrete that heals itself using bacteria," he says.
Mr.Intel writes: Should we believe it? Those of us under 55 who drink a lot of coffee – more than four cups per day – may be at greater risk of an early death. And not death from heart problems, but death from all causes. The study, from Mayo Clinic Proceedings, followed people for almost two decades, and found that in both sexes, younger people were more likely to die of anything than people who drank less.
Mr.Intel writes: "A Missouri Circuit Court granted an injunction today, blocking the state law that would ban all electronic communication between teachers and students, including their own children that was set to take effect on Sunday."
Mr.Intel writes: "Australian researchers at La Trobe University have just published a study suggesting that people on a serious caffeine buzz are prone to hear things that aren’t there. The study might raise new concerns about the safety of caffeine. But for the average person who’s weary of conflicting reports about coffee and health, the new findings may not amount to much more than background noise."
Mr.Intel writes: "Why would anyone custom build a liquid-cooled, glass and aluminum-cased Wii? Why not is apparently the question long time modder Angel OD asked when he started this project in late 2009. Now complete, he's posted many pictures for us to marvel at."
Washington fears Saudi Arabia overestimated its oil reserves by as much as 40 percent and the kingdom can't keep enough oil flowing to control prices, U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and published by The Guardian newspaper in London reveal.
Mr.Intel writes: Employers should think twice before trying to restrict workers from talking about their jobs on Facebook or other social media.
That’s the message the government sent on Monday as it settled a closely watched lawsuit against a Connecticut ambulance company that fired an employee after she went on Facebook to criticize her boss in 2009.
Mr.Intel writes: Last night's State of the Union Address contain ten things (and four outrages) technical professionals need to know about the President’s speech, and how his policies might affect you, your employer, and your family well into the future.
Mr.Intel writes: "Duke Nukem Forever will finally be with us, for better or worse, on May 3, 2011 (May 6, 2011 worldwide). Publisher 2K Games and pinch-developer Gearbox Software (Borderlands, Brothers in Arms) announced the date this morning. The presumably irreverent first-person shooter will ship simultaneously for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows PCs."