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Submission + - Deja Vu: Microsoft's 2015 Surface Book Ad and Apple's 2014 'Your Verse' iPad Ad

theodp writes: With its sweeping vistas and narration by the late Robin Williams, Apple's 2014 'Your Verse' ad dramatically showcased the many ways iPads might help people create, from making movies to calibrating wind turbines. So it's interesting that Microsoft's first ad for its new Surface Book (YouTube) bears a striking resemblance to the earlier Apple ad (YouTubeDoubler comparison). Which is probably only fair, since Apple's soon-to-be-released iPad Pro bears more than a passing resemblance to the Microsoft Surface. Hey, good artists copy, great artists steal, right? By the way, between the release of Microsoft's Surface Pro 4, Apple's iPad Pro, and Google's Pixel C, is the keyboard+touch interface poised to be a four-decade "overnight success"?

Submission + - Microsoft's 1TB Surface Book will cost you a hefty $3,199 (

logaecology writes: Microsoft talked about the Surface Book having up to a 1TB solid-state drive when it announced the laptop/tablet hybrid, but you couldnt actually buy it on launch — 512GB was as good as it got. Well, that extra-capacious model is now available fo...

Submission + - Hear the recordings Google stores of voice commands you've said to your phone (

Mark Wilson writes: OK Google, Siri, and Cortana all make it possible to control a phone simply by speaking to it. In the case of Google, what you might not be aware — it's hardly something the company shouts about — is that recordings of every command, question, and request are stored online.

Listening back through these could well be interesting, embarrassing, perhaps even nostalgic. You can step back in time and remind yourself of trips abroad, fun nights out, and the like, but you might also be concerned about privacy. If you would rather these recordings were not stored online, you can delete them; here's how.

Pay a visit to the Voice & Audio Activity section of your Google account and you'll probably find a lengthy list of recordings stretching back months.

Submission + - Linux 4,0 Getting No-Reboot Patching (

An anonymous reader writes: ZDNet reports that the latest changes to the Linux kernel include the ability to apply patches without requiring a reboot. From the article: "So, Red Hat and SUSE both started working on their own purely open-source means of giving Linux the ability to keep running even while critical patches were being installed. Red Hat's program was named kpatch, while SUSE' is named kGraft. ... At the Linux Plumbers Conference in October 2014, the two groups got together and started work on a way to patch Linux without rebooting that combines the best of both programs. Essentially, what they ended up doing was putting both kpatch and kGraft in the 4.0 Linux kernel." Note: "Simply having the code in there is just the start. Your Linux distribution will have to support it with patches that can make use of it."

Submission + - NASA awards contract to Bigelow Aerospace for inflatable ISS module (

cylonlover writes: NASA has announced that it has awarded a US$17.8 million contract to Bigelow Aerospace to provide the International Space Station with an inflatable module. Details of the award will be discussed by NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver and Bigelow Aerospace President Robert Bigelow at a press conference on January 16 at the Bigelow Aerospace facilities in North Las Vegas. However, based on previous talks, it’s likely that the module in question could be the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM).

Submission + - ARM is 20 years old today (

An anonymous reader writes: ARM was founded on November 27th 1990 in a converted barn outside Cambridge to exploit Acorn'(TM)s single greatest asset, the intellectual property bound up in its home-grown Acorn -" now Advanced -" Risc Machine processors. 20 Billion ARM processors have been shipped these past 20 years. The founders of ARM consisted of 12 engineers led by Sir Robin Saxby who gave the company its global vision and the innovative licensing model under which it sold not physical silicon but designs for other companies to manufacture.

Submission + - DHS Seizes 75+ Domain Names ( 2

PatPending writes: FTFA: The investigative arm of the Homeland Security Department appears to be shutting down websites that facilitate copyright infringement. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has seized dozens of domain names over the past few days, according to TorrentFreak. ICE appears to be targeting sites that help Internet users download copyrighted music, as well as sites that sell bootleg goods, such as fake designer handbags. The sites are replaced with a note from the government: "This domain named has been seized by ICE, Homeland Security Investigations."

Submission + - Giving a Netbook to a 4yr old. What to load on it? 2

nostrodecus writes: I have a nephew who is very young, but who has the techie gene — he found the Gruffalo on youtube before anyone knew he could spell. Now he's almost 4, and I was thinking of giving him my netbook (Acer running XP), which i hardly use any more. So of course I will be deleting all the porn, but what should I load up on it? Are there tools/apps that I can load up on it to protect it and him from things he shouldn't see until college? Also, what apps or games could I load on it that a 4 year old will get some use out of?

Submission + - Al Gore Recants Support for Corn-Based Ethanol (

Hugh Pickens writes: "Federal ethanol subsidies reached $7.7 billion last year and the bio-fuel industry faced criticism in 2008 as food prices rose with ethanol consuming ever more of the corn crop and drawing down feedstocks. Now Al Gore says his support for corn-based ethanol subsidies while serving as vice president was a mistake that had more to do with his desire to cultivate farm votes in the 2000 presidential election than with what was good for the environment. "It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for first-generation ethanol," Gore said at a green energy conference in Athens, Greece adding that the energy conversion ratios — how much energy is produced in the process — "are at best very small." Gore now favors second-generation ethanol, using farm waste and switchgrass. Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis, representing ethanol producers, responded that "the contributions of first generation ethanol to our nation's economy, environment and energy production are not a mistake, but a success story.""

Netgear Launches Open Source-Friendly Wireless Router 182

An anonymous reader submits news of Netgear's release of the "open source Wireless-G Router (model WGR614L), enabling Linux developers and enthusiasts to create firmware for specialized applications, and supported by a dedicated open source community. The router supports the most popular open source firmware; Tomato and DD-WRT are available on WGR614L, making it easier for users to develop a wide variety of applications. The router is targeted at people who want custom firmware on their router without worrying about issues, and enjoy the benefits of having an open source wireless router."

MPAA Scores First P2P Jury Conviction 335

An anonymous reader writes "The MPAA must be celebrating. According to the BitTorrent news site, the Department of Justice is proclaiming their first P2P criminal copyright conviction, against an Elite Torrents administrator. The press release notes, 'The jury was presented with evidence that Dove was an administrator of a small group of Elite Torrents members known as "Uploaders," who were responsible for supplying pirated content to the group. At sentencing, which is scheduled for Sept. 9, 2008, Dove faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.'"

Corn Genome Sequenced 64

dooling writes "Later this week, the completion of the maize genome draft sequence will be announced. Maize has a large genome (slightly smaller than human) that is highly repetitive (about 80%). These facts made a whole-genome shotgun approach to sequencing infeasible. Therefore, a BAC-by-BAC approach was taken, similar to what was done for the Human Genome Project. Further work on the maize genome will focus on the parts of the genome that have genes, thereby avoiding the highly-repetitive regions of the genome (even though the maize genome is slightly smaller than human, it is thought to have about twice as many genes). You can read my take here."

Feed Techdirt: Will 2008 Be The Year Of The Linux Desktop? (

People have been declaring the Year of Desktop Linux for years. Linus Torvalds himself declared the Year of the Linux Desktop way back in 2004, a prediction that now appears to have been a bit optimistic. Now, Forrester is predicting that 2008 will be the year that Linux becomes a "credible threat" to Windows. Color me skeptical. The suite of Linux desktop software—especially the excellent Open Office—has definitely improved over the years, with Ubuntu getting a lot of buzz over the last couple of years for putting out a polished and user-friendly product. But desktop users, and corporate desktop users in particular, tend to be very conservative. They want software they trust, and that they know will be compatible with other peoples' software. Unless Linux-based products offer compelling features that the Windows alternatives don't, it's just not going to be worth the risk of abandoning trusted software. Moreover, a lot of companies have a suite of specialized business software that was built around Windows that would be very costly to convert to another platform. Eventually, the cost savings may be compelling enough to get a significant number of companies to switch. Windows and Office are expensive, but switching your whole company to software that has unanticipated flaws is a lot more expensive. So the process of evaluating, testing, and transitioning to a new operating system is likely to take a decade, not a year. So I doubt that a significant number of companies will be providing Linux desktops to their (non-geek) employees by the end of 2008.

Tim Lee is an expert at the Techdirt Insight Community. To get insight and analysis from Tim Lee and other experts on challenges your company faces, click here.

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Submission + - $1000 (Aussie pesos) for uploading Simpsons movie (

bikkit writes: "An Australian has been fined $1000 (Australian pesos) for uploading the Simpsons Movie to the interwebs... A bit cheaper than your average seven-figure penalty in the US of A! Dunno if it's fair, but it's not ridiculously high! Published on the (Australian) ABC 20 minutes ago!"

Space is to place as eternity is to time. -- Joseph Joubert