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Submission + - Alan Turing Pardoned (

a.ferrier writes: Today’s computing would be unthinkable without the contributions of the British mathematician Alan Turing, who laid down the foundations of computer science, broke Nazi codes that helped win World War II at the famous Bletchley Park, created a secure speech encryption system, made major contributions to logic and philosophy, and even invented the concept of Artificial Intelligence. But he was also an eccentric and troubled man who was persecuted (and prosecuted) for being gay, a tragedy that contributed to his suicide just short of the age of 42 when he died of cyanide poisoning, possibly from a half-eaten apple found by his side. He is hailed today as one of the great originators of our computing age. Today he received a Royal Pardon.

Tax-Free IT Repairs Proposed For the UK 102

judgecorp writes "Removing tax from computer repairs could have a real impact on the IT industry's carbon footprint, according to a petition of the UK government. Old computer equipment often ends up in landfill, or in toxic illegal re-cycling centers in developing countries, because users think it is not cost-effective to repair it. Making repairs tax free could be a simple bit of financial engineering to encourage skilled jobs and keep electronics out of the waste stream, says the author of the campaign."
PlayStation (Games)

PS3 Hacked? 296

Several readers have sent word that George Hotz (a.k.a. geohot), the hacker best known for unlocking Apple's iPhone, says he has now hacked the PlayStation 3. From his blog post: "I have read/write access to the entire system memory, and HV level access to the processor. In other words, I have hacked the PS3. The rest is just software. And reversing. I have a lot of reversing ahead of me, as I now have dumps of LV0 and LV1. I've also dumped the NAND without removing it or a modchip. 3 years, 2 months, 11 days...that's a pretty secure system. ... As far as the exploit goes, I'm not revealing it yet. The theory isn't really patchable, but they can make implementations much harder. Also, for obvious reasons I can't post dumps. I'm hoping to find the decryption keys and post them, but they may be embedded in hardware. Hopefully keys are setup like the iPhone's KBAG."

App Store Piracy Losses Estimated At $459 Million 202

An anonymous reader passes along this quote from a report at 24/7 Wall St.: "There have been over 3 billion downloads since the inception of the App Store. Assuming the proportion of those that are paid apps falls in the middle of the Bernstein estimate, 17% or 510 million of these were paid applications. Based on our review of current information, paid applications have a piracy rate of around 75%. That supports the figure that for every paid download, there have been 3 pirated downloads. That puts the number of pirate downloads at 1.53 billion. If the average price of a paid application is $3, that is $4.59 billion dollars in losses split between Apple and the application developers. That is, of course, assuming that all of those pirates would have made purchases had the application not been available to them for free. This is almost certainly not the case. A fair estimate of the proportion of people who would have used the App Store if they did not use pirated applications is about 10%. This estimate yields about $459 million in lost revenue for Apple and application developers." A response posted at Mashable takes issue with some of the figures, particularly the 75% piracy rate. While such rates have been seen with game apps, it's unclear whether non-game apps suffer the same fate.

Former Exec Says Electronic Arts "Is In the Wrong Business" 180

Mitch Lasky was the executive vice president of Mobile and Online at Electronic Arts until leaving the publisher to work at an investment firm. He now has some harsh things to say about how EA has been run over the past several years, in particular criticizing the decisions of CEO John Riccitiello. Quoting: "EA is in the wrong business, with the wrong cost structure and the wrong team, but somehow they seem to think that it is going to be a smooth, two-year transition from packaged goods to digital. Think again. ... by far the greatest failure of Riccitiello's strategy has been the EA Games division. JR bet his tenure on EA's ability to 'grow their way through the transition' to digital/online with hit packaged goods titles. They honestly believed that they had a decade to make this transition (I think it's more like 2-3 years). Since the recurring-revenue sports titles were already 'booked' (i.e., fully accounted for in the Wall Street estimates) it fell to EA Games to make hits that could move the needle. It's been a very ugly scene, indeed. From Spore, to Dead Space, to Mirror's Edge, to Need for Speed: Undercover, it's been one expensive commercial disappointment for EA Games after another. Not to mention the shut-down of Pandemic, half of the justification for EA's $850MM acquisition of Bioware-Pandemic. And don't think that Dante's Inferno, or Knights of the Old Republic, is going to make it all better. It's a bankrupt strategy."

Publisher Whining Prompts Italian Investigation of Google 91

Complaints about "lack of transparency" from publishers have prompted Italian competition authorities to begin an investigation of Google's search and news services. I'm sure their motives are completely altruistic. "Because Google does not disclose the criteria for ranking news articles or search results, he said, newspapers are unable to hone their content to try to earn more revenue from online advertising. Ad revenue on the Web is directly proportional to the size of the audience, which is heavily influenced by search or Google News rankings."

Heavy Rain, BioShock 2 Delayed 61

Quantic Dream has announced that their much-anticipated thriller Heavy Rain is being pushed back to 2010. Co-CEO Guillaume de Fondaumiere said that the game is on-time and on-budget, but also that they don't want it to come out at the same time as many other high-profile games. "Most publishers today realize that it's not ideal to release a new IP or a new genre just before Christmas. It's a very crowded place to be, and certain games need more space to live their life. Everybody at working on the project, both at Quantic and Sony, believe this is the right time." Meanwhile, Take-Two announced that BioShock 2 would be delayed as well, backing off from their October 30th EU release date and saying it will come out during the "first half of calendar 2010."

Submission + - Robet Anton Wilson, R.I.P.

a.ferrier writes: "Robert Anton Wilson — philosopher, author, visionary, Discordian, and Fortean, — died early this morning. From his final blog post on January 6: "Various medical authorities swarm in and out of here predicting I have between two days and two months to live. I think they are guessing. I remain cheerful and unimpressed. I look forward without dogmatic optimism but without dread. I love you all and I deeply implore you to keep the lasagna flying. Please pardon my levity, I don't see how to take death seriously. It seems absurd.""
It's funny.  Laugh.

101 Dumbest Dot-Com Moments 143

brennan73 writes " has posted an article called "Boo! And the 100 Other Dumbest Moments in e-Business History". There's some pretty good stuff in there, but I particularly enjoyed revisiting the predictions of how sites like were going to change the world. My personal favorite quote, from Henry Blodget of CIBC Oppenheimer: 'Unlike with other famous bubbles ... the Internet bubble is riding on rock-solid fundamentals, perhaps stronger than any the market has seen before.' Um..."

Nobody said computers were going to be polite.