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IRS Servers Down During Crucial Week 93

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."

The PlayStation Move Arrives — a Hands-On Report 185

itwbennett writes "The PlayStation Move hit retail stores on Friday and blogger Peter Smith spent the weekend putting it (and his shoulder) through its paces. So how does this motion controller compare to the Wii? Smith says it 'felt a lot more precise' but that 'there were instances where the depth perception of the camera got lost for a moment.' The bottom line: 'If you have a Wii and the Wii Motion Plus accessory, there isn't a whole lot here right now to justify $100-$170 worth of gear for most gamers.'" CNET is similarly critical, complaining of the continual calibration requirements and the dearth of good launch titles. The Guardian's games blog agrees that quality games are currently lacking, but says the accuracy and responsiveness are a step up from the Wii, giving the Move a lot of potential. iFixit did a teardown, providing an interesting look at the hardware inside the device.

Stewart and Colbert Plan Competing D.C. Rallies Screenshot-sm 696

Lev13than writes "In a direct retort to Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor rally, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have announced competing rallies on October 30th. Stewart plans to host a 'Rally To Restore Sanity' on Oct. 30 on the National Mall in D.C. for the Americans he says are too busy living normal, rational lives to attend other political demonstrations. Colbert, meantime, will shepherd his fans in a 'March To Keep Fear Alive.' 'Damn your reasonableness!' Colbert said. 'Now is not the time to take it down a notch. Now is the time for all good men to freak out for freedom!' Stewart, meanwhile, has promised to provide attendees with signs featuring slogans such as 'I Disagree With You But I'm Pretty Sure You're Not Hitler' and 'I'm Afraid of Spiders.'"

Intel Threatens DMCA Using HDCP Crack 373

mikesd81 writes "Intel is apparently threatening to use the DMCA against anyone using the HDCP crack under the DMCA's anti-circumvention clause. 'There are laws to protect both the intellectual property involved as well as the content that is created and owned by the content providers,' said Tom Waldrop, a spokesman for the company, which developed HDCP. 'Should a circumvention device be created using this information, we and others would avail ourselves, as appropriate, of those remedies.'"

They Finally Found Out We Like Our Computers 184

I'm Not There (1956) writes "Sociologist Clifford Nass is talking about how people think of their computers as something like human beings. In one of his experiments, Nass found that people are more willing to 'help' computers when the computer helped them previously: 'When people were then asked to help optimize the screen resolution on a computer where the program had been "helpful," they were much more likely to do so than with the less helpful version.' He also found that people evaluating software's performance were more forgiving if the evaluation was done on the same computer the software was tested on. Nass has recently published the book The Man Who Lied to His Laptop, in which he 'uses our interactions with machines to investigate how human relationships could be improved.'"

Old People Enjoy Reading Negative Stories About Young Screenshot-sm 122

A study by Dr. Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick and co-author Matthias Hastall suggests that your grandma's self-esteem gets a boost when she hears about the stupid things young people do. "Living in a youth centered culture, they may appreciate a boost in self-esteem. That's why they prefer the negative stories about younger people, who are seen as having a higher status in our society," said Dr. Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick. From the article: "All the adults in the study were shown what they were led to believe was a test version of a new online news magazine. They were also given a limited time to look over either a negative and positive version of 10 pre-selected articles. Each story was also paired with a photograph depicting someone of either the younger or the older age group. The researchers found that older people were more likely to choose to read negative articles about those younger than themselves. They also tended to show less interest in articles about older people, whether negative or positive."
The Courts

Facebook Says It Owns 'Book' 483

An anonymous reader writes "The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Facebook has sued a tiny start-up called Teachbook.com over the use of 'book' in its name. The start-up, which has two employees, aims to provide tools for teachers to manage their classrooms and share lesson plans and other resources. 'Effectively they're bombing a mosquito here, and we're not sure why they want to do that,' Teachbook.com co-director Greg Shrader told the Tribune. Facebook said its use of 'book' in its name is 'highly distinctive in the context of online communities and networking websites.' Facebook apparently is alleging that no other online 'network of people' can use the word 'book' in its name without violating its trademark."

Throwing Out Software That Works 622

theodp writes "Just as the iPhone rendered circa-2007 smartphones obsolete, points out Marco Arment, the iPad is on the verge of doing the same to circa-2010 netbooks. Should this succeed, cautions Dave Winer, we may be entering an era of deliberate degradation of the user experience and throwing overboard of software that works, for corporate reasons. Already, Winer finds himself having to go to a desktop machine if he wants to view web content that's inaccessible with his iPhone and iPad. 'There was no bottleneck for software in the pre-iPad netbooks,' he writes. 'It matters. What I want is the convenient form factor without the corporate filter. It's way too simplistic to believe that we'll get that, but we had it. That's what I don't like — deliberate devolution.'"

Music Festival Producer Pre-Sues Bootleggers 422

An anonymous reader writes "Apparently, if you even have been *thinking* about bootlegging the Mile High Music Festival this coming weekend in Denver you've already been sued. No joke. Event producer AEG has already filed trademark infringement claims against 100 John Does and 100 Jane Does in anticipation that they're going to bootleg the event. Since none of the sued parties have actually done anything yet, no one's showing up in court to protest the lawsuit either, so it moves forward... meaning that AEG can use it to get all sorts of law enforcement officials (US Marshals, local and state police and even off-duty officers) to go seize bootleg material."

FBI Prioritizes Copyright Over Missing Persons 372

An anonymous reader writes "The FBI has limited resources, so it needs to prioritize what it works on. However, it's difficult to see why dealing with copyright infringement seems to get more attention than identity theft or missing persons. In the past year, the FBI has announced a special new task force to fight intellectual property infringement, but recent reports have shown that both identity theft and missing persons have been downgraded as priorities by the FBI, to the point that there are a backlog of such cases."

Discovery Threatens Fan Site It Also Promotes 287

An anonymous reader writes "It seems the lawyers and the marketing people at The Discovery Channel don't talk to each other much. The marketing people behind the show 'The Deadliest Catch' have been supporting a fan community called DeadliestCatchTV.com for a while now. They've regularly sent the site info, free clips, previews and information about the show. On top of that, they link to it from the official site, including it in a list of 'fan sites' as a part of the 'Discovery Network,' and even will frame the site with the show's own dashboard for those who click through. Discovery's lawyers, on the other hand, have threatened to sue the site out of existence and have demanded that the owner hand over the domain name — which he is going to do, because he doesn't have the money to fight this. While there may be a trademark issue (which could be easily resolved with a free license), the lawyers are also making the ridiculous argument that posting the videos Discovery sent him to post are copyright infringement. They're also claiming that embedding the official Discovery Channel YouTube videos (which have embedding turned on) is copyright infringement. This is exactly how you turn lots of fans into people who hate your entire channel."

Churchill Accused of Sealing UFO Files, Fearing Public Panic Screenshot-sm 615

Newly released secret files show that Winston Churchill ordered a cover-up of an alleged encounter between a UFO and a RAF bomber because he feared public panic. From the article: "Mr Churchill is reported to have made a declaration to the effect of the following: 'This event should be immediately classified since it would create mass panic among the general population and destroy one's belief in the Church.'"

"Of course power tools and alcohol don't mix. Everyone knows power tools aren't soluble in alcohol..." -- Crazy Nigel