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The Ignominious Fall of Dell 604

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Bill Snyder discusses the ignominious decline of Dell, one akin to that of Computer Associates, leaving the company forever tainted by scandal and a 'shocking breach of faith with customers.' Dell's pioneering business model and supply chain helped make desktop computing ubiquitous, affordable, and secure. But years of awful quality control and customer service have finally caught up to the company in a very public way that will do irreparable damage to the company for years to come. 'What we've learned about Dell recently doesn't qualify as an understandable mistake. Only a rotten company sells defective computers and lies about it.'"

Submission + - CA wants to put electronic ads on license plates 1

techmuse writes: The San Jose Mercury News reports that the California state legislature wants to put electronic advertising on your license plate. The plate would display standard plate information when the car is moving, but would also display ads when the car is stopped. Not distracting or annoying at all!

Submission + - "We Don't Care, As Long as the U.S. Is Satisfied" (

An anonymous reader writes: ...the decision to introduce U.S.-style DMCA rules in Canada in 2007 was strictly a political decision, the result of pressure from the Prime Minister's Office desire to meet U.S. demands. She states "the Prime Minister's Office's position was, move quickly, satisfy the United States." When Bernier and then-Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda protested, the PMO replied "we don't care what you do, as long as the U.S. is satisfied."

Submission + - G.M. Opens its Own Battery Research Laboratory ( 1

Al writes: "Bankrupt automaker G.M. has taken a significant step towards reinventing itself by opening a battery laboratory in Michigan on a site that once churned out internal combustion engines. The new facility lets G.M. engineers simulate all kinds of conditions to determine how long batteries will last once they're inside its vehicles. Battery packs are charged and discharged while being subjected to high and low temperatures as well as extremes of humidity. Engineers can also simulate different altitudes by placing the packs in barometric chambers. The facility has also been designed so that engineers located in New York and Germany and at the University of Michigan can perform experiments remotely. Despite its financial troubles, G.M. has committed to producing the Volt and is already working on second- and third-generation battery technology at the new lab."

Submission + - Supreme Court Won't Hear Case Over Computer Tech's ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: Supreme Court Won't Hear Case Over Computer Tech's Right To Search Your Computer A few years back, we wrote about the case where a guy was arrested for possessing child pornography after techs at Circuit City found child porn on his computer, while they were installing a DVD player. The guy insisted that the evidence shouldn't be admissible since the techs shouldn't have been snooping through his computer — and a lower court agreed. The appeals court, however, reversed, noting that the guy had given Circuit City the right to do things on his computer — including testing out the newly installed software (which is how the tech claims he found the video). The guy appealed to the Supreme Court, who has declined to hear the case, meaning that the ruling stands for the time being. So, basically, if you hand your computer over to someone else for repairs, at least in some jurisdictions, they may have pretty free reign in terms of what they're allowed to access on your computer.

Submission + - Camara Goes on Offense Against the RIAA

whisper_jeff writes: Ars has an excellent write up outlining how Kiwi Camara (Jammie Thomas(-Rasset)'s new lawyer) is taking a page from the "The Best Defense is a Good Offense" book and going on the attack against the RIAA. Not content to just defend his client, he is laying siege against the RIAA's entire campaign and beginning the work of dismantling it from the bottom up, starting with questioning whether they actually do own the copyrights that were allegedly infringed. And, if you're thinking this is good for everyone who's been harrassed by the RIAA, you'd be right — Camara, along with Harvard Law professor, Charles Nesson, plan to file a class action suit seeking to force the RIAA to return all the (ill-gotten) money they've earned from their litigation campaign. To paraphrase NewYorkCountyLawyer, could this be a sign of the end?

Submission + - Engineer Stereotype - Team Player or Expert Loner?

Hugh Pickens writes: ""Industrial advisory boards are always saying engineers come to the workplace with good technical skills but they don't work well on team projects," says Paul Leonardi at Northwestern University. Trained as an ethnographer, Leonardi studied more than 130 undergraduate engineering students observing lab sessions and group project work time to study the culture of undergraduate engineering and found that when students entered engineering schools, they already had an idea of what an engineer should be from television programs and other media. "There's a stereotype that engineers do things by themselves," Leonardi says. "So when students are asked to work in teams, they think, am I going to be disadvantaged? When I go to the workplace am I not going to be as valuable?" Leonardi and his colleagues often saw groups splitting up group work, even if they were specifically asked to work on it together at the same time. To combat this, professional societies often say that engineering schools should put more team-based projects into curriculum, but Leonardi argues that isn't enough. "The change we need is helping to put new kinds of stereotypes and images of what it means to be an engineer into the culture so students can reflect on those and think about changing their work practices to align with what we really want engineers to be," Leonardi says. "It's important for organizations to get involved with engineering education, providing internships and co-op opportunities, because it allows students to see early on other images of engineering so they can see that there are images of engineers out there other than the expert loner.""

Submission + - Norwegian court rules: Indexing sites not legal 1

geirendre writes: The court of Norways capitol "Oslo Tingrett" have ruled that indexing internet sites without prior consent from the owner to be illegal. Link to original article (in Norwegian) The court states that "indexing a site is copying content" and thus violates copyright laws. In other words, what Google (and other search engines) does when it indexes sites, is illegal.

Texas Makes Zombie Fire Ants 398

eldavojohn writes "What do you do when a foreign species has been introduced to your land from another continent? Bring over the natural predator from the other continent. Scientists in Texas have introduced four kinds of phorid flies from South America to fight fire ants. These USDA approved flies dive bomb ants and lay an egg inside the ant. The maggot hatches and eats away juicy tender delicious ant brain until the ant is nothing more than a zombie that wanders around for two weeks before the head falls off and the ant dies. A couple of these flies will cause the ants to modify their behavior and this will be a very slow acting solution to curb the $1 billion in damage these ants do to Texas cattle ranches and — oddly enough — electrical equipment like circuit breakers. You may remember zombifying parasites hitting insects like cockroaches."

Major League Baseball Dumps Silverlight For Flash 388

christian.einfeldt writes "This week, Major League Baseball will open without Microsoft's Silverlight at the plate, according to Bob Bowman, CEO of Major League Baseball Advanced Media, which handles much of the back-end operations for MLB and several other leagues and sporting events. The change was decided on last year but was set to be rolled out this spring. Among the causes of MLB's disillusionment with Silverlight were technical glitches users experienced, including needing administrator privileges to install the plugin (often impossible in workplaces). Baseball's opening day last year was plagued by Silverlight instability, with many users unable to log on and others unable to watch games. Adobe Flash already exists on 99% of user machines, said Bowman, and Adobe is 'committed to the customer experience in video with the Flash Player.' MLBAM's decision to dump Silverlight is particularly problematic for Microsoft's effort to compete with Adobe, due to the fact that MLBAM handles much of the back-end operations for CBS' Webcasts of the NCAA Basketball Tournament and this year will do the encoding for the 2009 Masters golf tournament."

The X300 Could Usher in a New Generation of ThinkPads 132

An anonymous reader writes "The ThinkPad has long been a favorite of IT departments everywhere and is the preferred notebook for legions of no-nonsense users. As times have progressed the ThinkPad has improved but the X300 marks the most significant change in its design since the butterfly keyboard. While we've already discussed a few leaked specs, official news of big changes like LED-backlighting (the first on a ThinkPad) and a widescreen display accompany a number of important but smaller design tweaks. Current thinking is that these changes indicate that the X300 is the first step in a series of larger changes to the ThinkPad. The notebook has already received a number of favorable reviews, but the other changes - the ones that will ultimately trickle down to the rest of the ThinkPad line - are perhaps more interesting than this specific $2500+ notebook."

Why Is Less Than 99.9% Uptime Acceptable? 528

Ian Lamont writes "Telcos, ISPs, mobile phone companies and other communication service providers are known for their complex pricing plans and creative attempts to give less for more. But Larry Borsato asks why we as customers are willing to put up with anything less than 99.999% uptime? That's the gold standard, and one that we are used to thanks to regulated telephone service. When it comes to mobile phone service, cable TV, Internet access, service interruptions are the norm — and everyone seems willing to grin and bear it: 'We're so used cable and satellite television reception problems that we don't even notice them anymore. We know that many of our emails never reach their destination. Mobile phone companies compare who has the fewest dropped calls (after decades of mobile phones, why do we even still have dropped calls?) And the ubiquitous BlackBerry, which is a mission-critical device for millions, has experienced mass outages several times this month. All of these services are unregulated, which means there are no demands on reliability, other than what the marketplace demands.' So here's the question for you: Why does the marketplace demand so little when it comes to these services?"

Mozilla Hitting 'Brick Walls' Getting Firefox on Phones 228

meteorit writes "Mozilla has been working on a mobile version of Firefox since last year, and is now looking to repeat the success of Firefox on the PC. Although development seems not to have been completed, it is known that informal negotiations have already started with mobile network operators. Firefox Mobile is scheduled to be launched by the end of the year and the inaugural version will be compatible with the Linux and Windows Mobile operating systems. Work is already underway to determine what the browser's UI will look like. In the meantime those negotiations seem to be hitting 'brick walls', as cellphone operators resist the intrusion of the open web onto their platforms."

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog. -- Cartoon caption