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Comment Re:Purpose and intents (Score 1) 270

That's probably true. But we've seen several court verdicts (Piratebay, Limewire etc) that show the courts consider it's the intent that's important, which would give Google a much better chance in court than Isohunt and the like have.

Isohunt, TPB, Limewire run their business on providing access to copyrighted content, take that away and 99% of their users aren't interested anymore. Google providing access to torrent links is more like an accidental side-effect, and 99% of their users wouldn't even notice if all torrent links were removed from Google tomorrow. Perhaps Slashbots think that shouldn't make a difference, but the courts seem to think it does.

Comment Re:O2 just started doing this in the UK (Score 4, Informative) 34

Here in Thailand, a similar system works by phone users purchasing top-up cards at 7-11's, supermarkets or general stores. Once you've got the credit on your phone, you can make a payment by sending a specially formatted text message. The stores selling top-up cards are everywhere, and no credit cards or bank accounts are needed.

Comment Re:Fairness towards all licensees (Score 3, Informative) 131

On the other hand, this is why killing HD-DVD was such an important thing. Putting two major patent holders (Toshiba and Microsoft) in charge of the direction of the de facto media format would have been disastrous.

Instead we've got nine major patent holders - Sony, Panasonic, Pioneer, Philips, Thomson, LG Electronics, Hitachi, Sharp, and Samsung - in charge of Blu-ray. Is that really an improvement ?

Comment Re:Why the variation? (Score 1) 282

as CPU's become faster and more efficient, its likely browsers will pass eventually regardless of if they optimise their code or not.

Not true AFAIK - although I can't find the exact reference offhand and haven't checked the code, I remember reading that this speed test is written to become gradually more demanding over time to keep pace with computers getting faster.


Google Chrome Is Out of Beta 444

BitZtream writes "This morning Google announced that Chrome is out of Beta, and showing improvements for plugin support, most notably video speed improvements. It also contains an updated javascript engine, claiming that it operates 1.4 times faster than the beta version, and work has begun on an extensions platform to allow easier integration with the browser by third parties."

U-Turn On UK ID Cards 143

An anonymous reader writes "The UK appears to be watering down its national ID card system, with the revelation by the government that it will now only check the cards against a central biometric database in a minority of cases. Critics are saying it not only renders the whole scheme pointless, but will pose a security risk by making it far easier to use copied or cloned cards. 'But an Identity and Passport Service spokesman denied the system would be vulnerable to fraud: 'The majority of instances where people use their identity cards will be day-to-day situations where the cards offer a convenient method of proving identity such as a young person proving their age to buy alcohol,' he said.'"

How To Make Money With Free Software 187

fons writes "Dutch Python hacker/artist Stani took part in a contest organised by the Dutch Ministry Of Finance to design a 5 euro commemorative coin. And he won, using only free software: 'The whole design was done for 100% with free software. The biggest part consists of custom software in Python, of course within the SPE editor. For the visual power I used PIL and pyCairo. From time to time also Gimp, Inkscape and Phatch helped quite a bit. All the developing and processing was done on GNU/Linux machines which were running Ubuntu/Debian. I would have loved to release the coin under the GPL, which could maybe solve the financial crisis. However for obvious reasons I was not allowed to do that.'"

Comment Re:They just don't get it do they (Score 4, Interesting) 437

Doesn't it read a bit more like they're trying to block google analytics? Not that they're taking a direct shot at any particular company of course... maybe I'm just overly paranoid.

I don't think so. Google Analytics tracks many visitors to the same site, whereas this seems to be aimed at preventing tracking of the same visitor to many sites. In the MS blog it says it'll prevent the same cookie tracking you across more than 10 sites. I think the implication is that it's bad for Adsense, Doubleclick and the like as they can no longer track you through third-party cookies on dozens of sites and build up an advertising profile of you that way.

Good for privacy of course, but as so much of the web is ad-funded is this really going to be good for the web as a whole ? I guess we'll have to wait and see on that one.

I think it's interesting also that this is happening as Microsoft tries to become a bigger player in the internet ad business. They could use IE feature to their advantage here, as it'd be fairly easy for them to implement a scheme where all third-party cookies are limited, except for those of Microsoft and its "selected partners". Would we put it past them to do something along those lines ?


The Death of Nearly All Software Patents? 731

An anonymous reader writes "The Patent and Trademark Office has now made clear that its newly developed position on patentable subject matter will invalidate many and perhaps most software patents, including pioneering patent claims to such innovators as Google, Inc. In a series of cases including In re Nuijten, In re Comiskey and In re Bilski, the Patent and Trademark Office has argued in favor of imposing new restrictions on the scope of patentable subject matter set forth by Congress in article 101 of the Patent Act. In the most recent of these three — the currently pending en banc Bilski appeal — the Office takes the position that process inventions generally are unpatentable unless they 'result in a physical transformation of an article' or are 'tied to a particular machine.'"

It's not hard to admit errors that are [only] cosmetically wrong. -- J.K. Galbraith