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Communications

Take a Picture: Snapchat Settles With FTC Over "Dissapearing" Claims 51

Posted by timothy
from the if-it-reaches-an-output-device-it-can-reach-an-input-device dept.
The New York Times is one of many outlets reporting that Snapchat has agreed to settle with the FTC about the gap between promises made about the company's "disappearing" communications system and reality. "The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday said Snapchat had agreed to settle charges that the company was deceiving users about the ephemeral nature of the photos and video messages sent through its service. The messages were significantly less private than the company had said, the commission said. In marketing the service, Snapchat has said that its messages “disappear forever.” But in its complaint, the commission said the messages, often called snaps, can be saved in several ways. The commission said that users can save a message by using a third-party app, for example, or employ simple workarounds that allow users to take a screenshot of messages without detection." Besides the monetary side of the settlement (details of which are promised soon on the FTC's site), the company has agreed to operate for the next 20 years with special supervision of a new privacy program; it seems a little optimistic as a timeframe for any social-media related business. Here are the FTC's charges (PDF).
Medicine

Carpenter Who Cut Off His Fingers Makes "Robohand" With 3-D Printer 91

Posted by samzenpus
from the finger-jam dept.
mpicpp (3454017) writes with the ultimate DIY story about a carpenter in South Africa who lost his fingers in an accident, and now runs a company that makes mechanical prosthetics with 3D printing technology. "'I was in a position to see exactly what happens in the human hand. I got the basics of what it's all about and thought yeah, I'll make my own.' Richard van As is recalling the moment in May 2011 when he sat in a Johannesburg hospital waiting to hear if his fingers could be stitched back on. Just an hour earlier, he had been in his carpentry workshop sawing wood when the saw slipped and ripped diagonally through the four fingers on his right hand....After days of scouring the Internet he couldn't find anywhere to buy a functional prosthetic finger and he was astonished at the cost of prosthetic hands and limbs which began in the tens of thousands of dollars. But his online surfing paid off as it brought him to an amateur video posted by a mechanical effects artist in Washington State, by the name of Ivan Owen. Together, the pair developed a mechanical finger for van As, but their partnership has also gone on to benefit countless hand and arm amputees around the globe, through the birth of the company "Robohand." Officially launched in January 2012, Robohand creates affordable mechanical prosthetics through the use of 3D printers. Not only that, but it has made its designs open source, so that anyone with access to such printers can print out fingers, hands and now arms as well.'"

Comment: more karaoke tracks? (Score 5, Interesting) 48

by Nick Number (#46484133) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Jonathan Coulton What You Will

Over the past five years I've taken on the mantle of karaoke nerd (I will also answer to diva), and I've really enjoyed performing the karaoke tracks which I bought from your website and persuaded various KJs to import. "First of May" tends to get me some funny looks, and despite the disclaimer, I've yet to be punched in the nose after singing it./

Do you have plans to release any new karaoke tracks? Is there any chance that "Still Alive" will get one, or does Valve own those rights?

What about more sheet music?

Robotics

World's First Fully Functioning Missile-Shooting Robotic Transformer 33

Posted by timothy
from the get-that-theme-song-out-of-my-head dept.
Readycharged writes "A generation's childhood dreams have come true with the creation of a working 'robot in disguise' Transformer which, when operated by remote control, morphs from a luxury sports car to a missile hurling robot in seconds. Japanese inventor Kenji Ishida is planning to make 10 lucky (and undoubtedly rich) purchasers owners of these toys in the run up to Christmas, having first displayed them at the Maker Faire in Tokyo during the first week of December. For those willing to wait a few years, Ishida plans to have created a life size, drivable model by 2030."
Crime

NY Attorney General Subpoenas Craigslist For Post-Sandy Price Gougers 458

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-the-market-will-bear dept.
TheSync writes "In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the New York State Attorney General has subpoenaed Craigslist, demanding that the site identify more than 100 sellers whose prices on post-Sandy gas, generators and other supplies were of an 'unconscionably excessive price' during an emergency. AG Eric Schneiderman said: 'Our office has zero tolerance for price gouging [and] will do everything we can to stop unscrupulous individuals from taking advantage of New Yorkers trying to rebuild their lives.'"
Privacy

Skype Hands Teenager's Information To Private Firm 214

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the but-we-were-friends dept.
New submitter andrew3 writes "Skype has allegedly handed the information of a 16-year-old boy to a security firm. The information was later handed over to Dutch law enforcement. No court order was served for the disclosure. The teenager was suspected of being part of a DDoS packet flood as a part of the Anonymous 'Operation Payback'." According to the article, Skype voluntarily disclosed the information to the third party firm without any kind of police order, possibly violating a few privacy laws and their own policies.
Technology

Commodore 64 turns 30 218

Posted by samzenpus
from the happy-birthday dept.
will_die writes "The Commodore 64 came out 30 years ago and to celebrate this the BBC went and got two groups of kids to try out an old system, complete with tape drive. It's sure to bring a few grins to people who had one of these old systems. From the article: 'The Commodore's ability to display 16 colours, smoothly scroll graphics and play back music through its superior SID (sound interface device) chip - even while loading programs off tape - helped win over fans, but it did not become the market leader until the late 1980s.'" Last spring a modern version of the C64 was released.
Patents

Patent Attorneys Sued For Copyright Infringement 97

Posted by Soulskill
from the sibling-fights-are-the-worst-fights dept.
Zordak writes "Patent blogger Dennis Crouch writes on Patently-O of a catch-22 for attorneys. Patent attorneys are required to submit all prior art that they know of to the patent office. Failing to do so is an ethical violation, and can result in a patent being invalidated. But now the Hoboken Publishing Company and the American Institute of Physics are suing a major patent firm for copyright infringement, because they submit articles to the patent office without paying a separate royalty."

Comment: Re:CHEAP e-mail phone (Score 1) 294

by Nick Number (#39147495) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Mobile Phone Solution With No Data Plan?

Hey, no howling from this quarter. I'm still using my Treo 650 and I have a spare in reserve for when this one dies. It may not be fashionable, but it's a great tool for doing what I need - keeping contacts, notes, and calendar and syncing them with standalone Outlook. Many newer phones won't do that at all, or require you to take a roundabout route through Windows Live or Exchange.

Pertinent to the OP, the Treo is grandfathered in with Verizon and doesn't require you to buy a data plan. It does just fine with calling and SMS (though I have run into some problems with MMS).

Waste not, get your budget cut next year.

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