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Submission + - Judge approves $100 million Dell settlement (

crimeandpunishment writes: It's official. Dell will pay the US government $100 million to settle fraud charges. CEO Michael Dell will personally pay a $4 million fine. A federal judge approved the settlement after Michael Dell assured him the company will deliver on the reforms it promised. Dell was accused of pumping up its profits over five years by improperly using payments from Intel, in order to meet Wall Street targets.

Submission + - Phone app fights distracted driving with rewards (

crimeandpunishment writes: Can you drive without talking or texting? Want to make money for doing it? There's an app for that. A new application for the iPhone and phones that use Android keeps track of when the driver's following the local laws regarding cellphone use behind the wheel....and the driver can earn or lose points which can be cashed in at retailers like Barnes and Noble.

Submission + - IRS servers down during crucial week (

crimeandpunishment writes: A planned server outage turned into an unplanned glitch for the Internal Revenue Service, and it comes at a very bad time. The IRS planned the server outage for the holiday weekend....but today they couldn't get the system back into operation. This week is the deadline for filing 2009 tax returns for taxpayers who got extensions. So far it's not having a huge impact since the shutdown only involves the updated version of the e-filing system, and most programs used by large tax companies like H&R Block will default to the older version. There's no estimate on when the system will be back up.

Submission + - Lawyer is big winner in webcamgate settlement (

crimeandpunishment writes: While the Lower Merion School District in Pennsylvania has agreed to a $610,000 settlement in two lawsuits over secret photos taken on school-issued laptops, less than a third of that will go to the students. A total of $185,000 will be put in trust for the students. Their lawyer will receive $425,000.

Submission + - Microsoft ads spoof smart phone addiction (

crimeandpunishment writes: It may be the funniest thing Microsoft has done since Windows Vista....but this time they want people to laugh. The company is going the spoof route in its first batch of ads for the new Windows 7 phone software. The commercials poke fun at smart phone addiction....showing people wandering in a daze, eyes glued to their smart phone screens. The solution to their guessed it, another smart phone.

Submission + - Will NFL tackle TO's Twitter trouble? (

crimeandpunishment writes: One little Tweet could cost Terrell Owens some big bucks. There was a post on his Twitter account an hour before yesterday's game between Owens' Bengals and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers....and even if TO didn't post it himself, it still violates the NFL policy against players using social media, beginning 90 minutes before a game. His teammate, Chad Ochocinco, was fined $25,000 for Twitter violations before and during a preseason game in August.

Submission + - Houston, we have a family reunion (

crimeandpunishment writes: It's a brother act that's really out of this world. If all goes according to plan, the only space sibling team will be hooking up in orbit. And not only are Scott and Mark Kelly brothers, they're identical twins. Scott took off Friday on a Russian Soyuz rocket to begin a five and a half month mission as the next commander of the International Space Station. Mark is the next commander of the space shuttle Endeavour, scheduled to lift off in February and hook up with the space station March 1st.

Submission + - Horror in your iPhone (

crimeandpunishment writes: The scariest thing about your iPhone is no longer the bill. The creative forces behind a horror movie called "Mental Scars" have created the first horror magazine app for the iPhone. Geeks + gore = "Deadzone".

Submission + - Government to add electric cars to federal fleet (

crimeandpunishment writes: The federal government wants to say "plug 'er in" instead of "fill 'er up". The General Services Administration is asking auto companies to bid on supplying 100 electric cars. It's a symbolic (and small) step....but the government says it would help them determine how federal agencies could best use electric vehicles. The request is part of an administration plan to increase the number of green vehicles used in federal jobs.

Submission + - Marijuana effort has generous Facebook friends (

crimeandpunishment writes: Call it a status upgrade for the effort to legalize marijuana in California. Facebook co-founder Sean Parker has made a $100,000 donation to back California's Proposition 19. And co-founder Dustin Moskovitz made a $20,000 donation....on top of $50,000 he previously contributed. A spokesman for the Drug Policy Alliance says "What's interesting here is that (Parker) is a member of the generation that really gets it. We think he's pivotal to the future of drug policy reform in the country".


Submission + - Blackberry ban averted in United Arab Emirates (

crimeandpunishment writes: The nation that started the "let's ban the Blackberry" trend has now decided it won't ban the Blackberry. The United Arab Emirates has reached a deal with Reseach in Motion, just days before it was about to begin blocking messaging, email, and Web services on the smart phone over security concerns. So far there's no indication what concessions RIM made...but in its statement, the country's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority acknowledged "the positive engagement and collaboration of Research In Motion (RIM) in reaching this regulatory compliant outcome". The ban would have affected a half-million UAE users and foreign travelers passing through the busy Dubai airport.

Submission + - Connection at a cost: stressed-out students (

crimeandpunishment writes: Imagine a college student without a cellphone or a email, no social networking. A significant number of students say that wouldn't be so bad. While a new poll found that 57 percent of students say being without that constant connection would make them more stressed, 25 percent said it would actually be a relief. They feel pressure to instantly answer emails and texts, and they get nervous when their own messages don't get an immediate reply.

Submission + - Japan looking to sell "smart cities" to the world (

crimeandpunishment writes: Smart cars. Smart phones. Smart cities? That's the star of the show this week at Caetec, Japan's premier electronics show...and it takes "going green" to a whole new level. Using no fossil fuel. Solar, wind, and nuclear power are distributed to buildings, homes, and electric cars through "smart grids".....drastically reducing or even eliminating carbon emissions, and as a result fighting global warming. And possibly becoming Japan's next big export.

Submission + - FTC: an inconvenient truth in eco claims (

crimeandpunishment writes: What's advertised as "eco-friendly" isn't always consumer friendly, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC today released new guidelines for making claims about environmentally-friendly products.....and says if companies want to claim they're being green, it can't just be in an attempt to make more green. The new Green Guides...which have been updated for the first time since 1998...contain specific recommendations on when to use words like "degradable" and warnings about misleading messages through the use of seals of approval.

Submission + - Craigslist robber sentenced (

crimeandpunishment writes: How many times have we heard about someone being robbed when answering an ad on Craigslist? But every once in a while, instead of "buyer beware" the story ends with "buyer battles back". Case in point....a would-be robber in Western New York will now have plenty of time in prison to think about how a feisty victim and a pair of good Samaritans foiled his plan.

"Necessity is the mother of invention" is a silly proverb. "Necessity is the mother of futile dodges" is much nearer the truth. -- Alfred North Whitehead