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Hewlett Packard's Cult Calculator Turns 30 318

Hugh Pickens writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that Hewlett Packard's HP-12C financial calculator has remained outwardly unchanged since its introduction in 1981. 'Once you learned it on the 12C, there was no need to change,' says David Carter, chief investment officer of New York wealth-management firm Lenox Advisors, who has owned his 12C for 22 years and still keeps it on his desk. 'It's not like the math was changing.' The 12C, which costs $70 on HP's website, is HP's best-selling calculator of all time, though the company won't reveal how many units it has sold over the years. The 12C still uses an unconventional mathematical notation called 'Reverse Polish Notation,' which eschews parentheses and equal signs in an effort to run long calculations more efficiently."
The Almighty Buck

High Tech Misery In China 876

theodp writes "Think you've got a bad job? Think again. You could be making keyboards for IBM, Microsoft, Dell, Lenovo and HP at Meitai Plastic and Electronics, a Chinese hardware factory. Prompted by the release of High Tech Misery in China by a human-rights group, a self-regulating body set up by tech companies will conduct an audit of working conditions at the factory. In return for take-home pay of 41 cents per hour, workers reportedly sit on hard wooden stools for 12-hour shifts, seven days a week. Overtime is mandatory, with workers being given on average two days off per month. While on the production line, workers are not allowed to raise their hands or heads, are given 1.1 seconds to snap each key into place, and are encouraged to 'actively monitor each other' to see if any company rules are being transgressed. They are also monitored by guards. Workers are fined if they break the rules, locked in the factory for four days per week, and sleep in crowded dormitories. Okay, it's not all bad news — they're hiring."

Obama Picks RIAA's Favorite Lawyer For Top DoJ Post 766

The Recording Industry of America's favorite courtroom lawyer, Tom Perrelli, who has sued individual file swappers in multiple federal courts, is President-elect Barack Obama's choice for the third in line at the Justice Department. CNet's Declan McCullagh explores the background of the man who won the RIAA's lucrative business for his DC law firm: "An article on his law firm's Web site says that Perrelli represented SoundExchange before the Copyright Royalty Board — and obtained a 250 percent increase in the royalty rate for music played over the Internet by companies like AOL and Yahoo," not to mention Pandora and Radio Paradise. NewYorkCountryLawyer adds, "Certainly this does not bode well for CowboyNeal's being appointed Copyright Czar."

Weak US Dollar Means Nintendo Favors Europe For Now 588

timeOday writes "The LA Times is reporting that the new Nintendo Wii Fit is hard to find on US shelves, due not only to strong demand but also the United States' declining status in the world economy: '"[Nintendo] is also is shrewdly maximizing its profit by sending four times as many units to Europe, reaping the benefits of the strong euro," says Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities. "The shortage demonstrates one consequence of the weak dollar. We're seeing companies ignore their largest market simply because they can make a greater profit elsewhere."'"
The Almighty Buck

Gen Con Files For Chapter 11 120

Heartless Gamer writes to tell us that Gen Con LLC announced late last week that they have filed for Chapter 11. This move will not affect the still profitable Gen Con Indy event which will still happen August 14-17, 2008. "This action became necessary as a result of significant unforeseen expenses associated with attempts to expand its core business to encompass externally licensed events. [...] The protections afforded by Chapter 11 will allow Gen Con to further its efforts to address its liquidity needs, preserve value for its creditors and explore strategic alternatives for the business." Evan writes to add that this is the result of LucasFilm suing GenCon.

Use the Force, Luke.