dtolman writes "Scientists at the Keck and Gemini telescopes stole the thunder of Hubble scientists announcing the first picture of an extrasolar world orbiting a star. Hubble scientists announced today that they were able to discover an extrasolar world for the first time by taking an actual image of the newly discovered exoplanet orbiting Fomalhaut — previous discoveries have always been made by detecting changes in the parent star's movement, or by watching the planet momentarily eclipse the star — not by detecting them in images. Hubble's time to shine was overshadowed though by the Keck and Gemini observatories announcing that they had taken pictures of not just one planet, but an entire alien solar system. The images show multiple planets orbiting the star HR 8799 — 3 have been imaged so far."
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Well, Phase I of the RIAA's misguided pursuit of an innocent, disabled Oregon woman, Atlantic v. Andersen, has finally drawn to a close, as the RIAA was forced to pay Ms. Andersen $107,951, representing the amount of her attorneys fee judgment plus interest. But as some have pointed out, reimbursement for legal fees doesn't compensate Ms. Andersen for the other damages she's sustained. And that's where Phase II comes in, Andersen v. Atlantic. There the shoe is on the other foot, and Tanya is one doing the hunting, as she pursues the record companies and their running dogs for malicious prosecution. Should be interesting."
Smivs writes "China now has the world's largest net-using population, say official figures. More than 253 million people in the country are now online, according to statistics from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC). About 95% of those going online connect via high-speed links. Take up of broadband has been boosted by deals offered by China's fixed line phone firms as they fight to win customers away from mobile operators. Despite having a greater number of people online, China's net economy still has a long way to go to match or exceed that of the US or even that of South Korea. Figures from Analysis International said China's net firms reported total revenues of $5.9bn (£2.96bn) in 2007. By contrast, net advertising revenue alone for US firms in 2007 stood at $21.2bn (£10.6bn)."
superglaze writes in to note that according to Nokia's software chief, its plans for open source include getting developers to accept things like DRM, commercial IP rights, and SIM locks. "Jaaksi admitted that concepts like these 'go against the open-source philosophy,' but said they were necessary components of the current mobile industry. 'Why do we need closed vehicles? We do,' he said. 'Some of these things harm the industry but they're here [as things stand]. These are touchy, emotional issues, but this dialogue is very much needed. As an industry, we plan to use open-source technologies, but we are not yet ready to play by the rules; but this needs to work the other way round too.'"
Wired's Autopia blog documents what we all knew was coming: rising gas prices have killed off the SUV. Auto industry watchers had predicted that the gas guzzlers in the "light truck" category would lose the ascendancy by 2010; no one expected their reign to end in a month, in the spring of 2008. Toyota, GM, Ford, and now Nissan have announced they will scale back truck and SUV production and ramp up that of smaller passenger cars. Of course there will always be a market for this class of vehicle, but its days on the top of the sales charts are done. "'All of our previous assumptions on the full-size pickup truck segment are off the table,' Bob Carter, Toyota division sales chief said last week during a conference call with reporters. Translation — we have no idea how low they'll go."
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "While there have been shifting reports about McCain's view on warrantless wiretapping, nothing could be clearer than the latest comment by McCain adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin, who said, 'We do not know what lies ahead in our nation's fight against radical Islamic extremists, but John McCain will do everything he can to protect Americans from such threats, including asking the telecoms for appropriate assistance to collect intelligence against foreign threats to the United States as authorized by Article II of the Constitution.' Article II, of course, is what Bush has argued gives the President virtually unlimited power during war, and McCain has already voted in favor of Telecom Immunity, though he sometimes mentions, to those asking for accountability, wanting to hold hearings about what the telecoms did."
An anonymous reader writes "Two message boards devoted to the same topic have each been on-line for roughly eight years. One is censored, and the other is not. The two forums are virtually the only ones devoted to their topic (polygraph testing, a fairly arcane one), so they're in "competition" only with each other. The result? The uncensored forum has more than six times as many posts as the censored one." To be fair, there are a few other differences between the two forums, but the point may still be valid.
mattnyc99 writes "Last month we learned that the UK has approved in-flight mobile, effective immediately. Popular Mechanics has a follow-up on why the phones-on-planes ban is here to stay in the United States. Statements from the FCC and FAA confirm that any chance to overturn it remains dead on arrival — even though new "pico-cell" networks cut down interference with phones on the ground. American Airlines is looking like it will have onboard Wi-Fi within the next couple months, just the same. PM does note, however, that if the European mobile rollout is a success, US carriers might just have to give into demand."
An anonymous reader notes that Comcast is offering a new 50-Mbps / 6-Mbps package for residential customers for $150, starting in Minneapolis-St. Paul and extending nationwide by mid-2010. The new service will use the DOCSIS 3.0 standard, which is nearing ratification. We've recently discussed Comcast's BitTorrent throttling and promise to quit it, and their low-quality 'HD' programming. How attractive will $150 for 50 Mbps be compared to Verizon's FiOS offerings?
Ian Lamont writes "Novell Vice President and GNOME architect Miguel de Icaza sounded off at a MIX 08 panel on a number of topics. First, he claimed that he was 'not happy' with Novell's cross-patent licensing agreement with Microsoft, saying that if he had his way, the company would have stayed with the open-source community. He also said that neither Windows nor Linux are relevant in the long term, thanks to Web 2.0 business models: 'They might be fantastic products ... but Google has shown itself to be a cash cow. There is a feature beyond selling corporate [software] and patents ... it's going to be owning end users.' He also tangled with Mike Schroepfer, a Mozilla engineering executive, about extending patent protection for Moonlight to third parties. However, de Icaza did say that Novell has 'done the best it could to balance open-source interests with patent indemnification.' We discussed the beginnings of the deal between Microsoft and Novell back in 2006."
eldavojohn writes "How much would you pay to be the leading video media technology right now? Is $400 million too much? Sony didn't think so and this article speculates that's how they won the Hi-Def format war. 'With billions of dollars in global sales at stake, experts had predicted the Toshiba-Sony battle would go on for years - not unlike the 1980s battle of videotape formats between VHS (Matsushita) and Betamax (Sony). That war lasted a decade, leaving Sony battered and humiliated. So how did this epic battle come to such an abrupt end? The answer lies in part with the bruising Sony experienced with Betamax, which, like Blu-ray, was also the better product on paper.'"
genji256 writes "Adding to his first impressions, Walt Mossberg has published a full review of the soon-to-come Lenovo X300. As a bottom line he 'recommends the X300 for road warriors without hesitation, provided they can live with its two biggest downsides: a relatively paltry file-storage capacity and a hefty price tag.' Gizmodo lists all the comparisons with the MacBook Air that Walt inevitably makes. Final score: it's a tie, though certain points are arguable ('Doesn't use Mac OS X Leopard. Winner: MacBook Air')."
theodp writes "A recent Amazon SEC filing sheds light on the puzzling departure of Microsoft Sr. VP Brian Valentine in Sept. 2006. Valentine is the Gen. George Patton-like figure charged with pushing Vista developers, who dumped the still not-ready-for-prime-time OS into RC1 status as he bolted for a new gig at Amazon. Having repeatedly assured everyone that Valentine was staying with the company post-Vista, Microsoft backpedaled and explained that Valentine decided to leave since the company had shipped a near-final version of Vista. Not so. Although analysts fell for the PR line, it seems Valentine had actually signed an Employment Agreement way back in June calling for him to be on board at Amazon on Sept. 11 if he wanted to pick up a $1.7M signing bonus, $150K base salary, another $500K bonus, and 400K shares of Amazon stock (now worth almost $30M). Who says you have to shell out $999.95 for MS-Project to come up with accurate planned completion dates?"