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Music

+ - New Royalty Rates to Bankrupt Webcasters

Submitted by
scifience
scifience writes "Earlier today the new royalty rates for US-based webcasters were announced by the Copyright Royalty Board. Under the new system, a station with just 1000 listeners will be charged over $150,000 a year in royalties. The worst part? The rates are effective retroactively to the beginning of 2006. The royalties were proposed and will be collected by RIAA-backed SoundExchange. Luckily, the rates are still subject to appeal. More information on the changes and what can be done to stop the RIAA from destroying internet radio here."
Businesses

Best Buy Confirms 'Secret' Version of its Website 356

Posted by Zonk
from the probably-should-have-kept-that-under-wraps dept.
Iberian writes "The Courant site confirms an oft-rumoured possibility: Best Buy does indeed maintain a second website for what one could assume is for the purpose of defrauding its customers. State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal ordered the investigation into Best Buy's practices on Feb. 9 after columnist George Gombossy disclosed the website and showed how employees at two Connecticut stores used it to deny customers a $150 discount on a computer advertised on BestBuy.com. Says Gombossy, 'What is more troubling to me, and to some Best Buy customers, is that even when one informs a salesperson of the Internet price, customers have been shown the intranet site, which looks identical to the Internet site, but does not always show the lowest price. [State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal] said that because of the fuzzy responses from Best Buy, he has yet to figure out the real motivation behind the intranet site and whether sales people are encouraged to use it to cheat customers.'"
Microsoft

+ - Vista Drivers Listing

Submitted by
RadarSync
RadarSync writes "Check out this page of free links to Vista drivers: http://www.radarsync.com/vista In many cases it has drivers that Microsoft doesn't have and that aren't easily found on the manufacturer's site: For example, see what this guy wrote: http://www.onemetal.com/neotoxic/blog/?p=13 "I have an on-board C-media High Definition surround sound Audio system. Again after hunting for drivers on the manufacturer sire I was having no luck. There was mention of Vista Drivers but nothing to download. After hunting on the net I eventually found this site http://www.radarsync.com/vista/ that and downloaded there driver.. and after a reboot... I had sound!""
Programming

+ - Did D-Wave really demonstrate a quantum computer?

Submitted by Qubert
Qubert (666) writes "Was D-Wave's quantum computer demo last week the real thing? Ars Technica takes a look inside the cold, black box and concludes that whatever was in there, it probably wasn't a 'pure' quantum computer: 'Jumping off the fence, we will say that we think D-Wave demonstrated a real device; however, we think their device is going to set off a debate in the physics community over where the boundary between classical and quantum computation is. At present, quantum computers are "globally phase coherent," which means that every qubit's state is entangled (and therefore correlated) with every other qubit... The D-wave system, however, is certainly not globally phase coherent, which raises the question of whether it is a quantum computer.'"
Businesses

+ - CompUSA Gives Customer 4+ Month Run-around

Submitted by
Andy
Andy writes "I've had an ongoing...adventure...with CompUSA's repair and customer service departments for the last four months, the short version of which is that — two years in a row — they damaged my laptop while repairing it (this second time more than once!) and are dragging their feet in responding to me and replacing the computer their service center damaged. I've tried to handle it privately for four months, but at this point, I'm running out of options and hope that Slashdot can help bring some attention to my troubles and turn the heat up on CompUSA a bit so they'll do the right thing!

In October 2005 I brought my Sony laptop to them for service, and it came back with all the case screws in the wrong places, causing physical damage to the case and a big loose gap in the front edge. Then, a year later, they again returned my laptop to me with incorrect screws, and with a wad of tape wedged between the keyboard and the cooling fan!

That started a saga, still ongoing, with more missing screws, a heat-related video problem, a damaged hinge cover, missing protective covers for the LCD's screws, and four months of broken promises, abysmal customer disservice, and lack of returned calls on all levels from the local store's tech services manager, operations manager, and GM up to the corporate manager of customer service and chief of escalation.

I've posted my story on my blog at http://www.onefromtheroad.com/index.php?cat=11 (posts are in reverse order, since it's a blog!)

Please help me spread my story, and hold CompUSA responsible for mistreating their customers like this!

— Andy

P.S.-For futher episodes of CompUSA being involved in grossly mishandling repairs, see http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=28004 5"
Mozilla

+ - EverQuest II embeds Mozilla browser

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "EverQuest II's next release will include an embedding of the Mozilla browser. It's currently live on the test server and has a few issues that will hopefully be resolved before release.

http://forums.station.sony.com/eq2/posts/list.m?st art=15&topic_id=347230

Some interesting uses of the browser such as automatically searching for quest hints are being discussed on the interface board:

http://www.eq2interface.com/forums/showthread.php? t=7846"
Patents

+ - Microsoft Wants Patent on Indentation

Submitted by
theodp
theodp writes "Throw some text in a worksheet, make the columns small, and color the cells to denote a hierarchy. Like this. That, my friend, may constitute patent infringement for the next twenty years if the USPTO grants Microsoft the patent it's seeking for Minimizing Indenting (actual patent image). Just one more example of how Microsoft's lawyers are making the world a better place through more joyful and inclusive design."
Biotech

+ - GM Cancer Potato Study Suppressed for 8 Years

Submitted by Doc Ruby
Doc Ruby (173196) writes "Welsh activists have released after an 8 year court battle a Russian study that shows increased cancer linked to eating Genetically Modified potatoes, supporting independent research by Arpad Pusztai:

Alan Simpson, a Labour MP and green campaigner, said: "These trials should be stopped. The research backs up the work of Arpad Pusztai and it shows that he was the victim of a smear campaign by the biotech industry. There has been a cover-up over these findings and the Government should not be a party to that." Mr Simpson said the findings, which showed that lab rats developed tumours, were released by anti-GM campaigners in Wales. Dr Pusztai and a colleague used potatoes that had been genetically modified to produce a protein, lectin. They found cell damage in the rats' stomachs, and in parts of their intestines.
While the trials have flaws, those methodological defects seem to downplay an actually higher risk of cancer:

Half of the rats in the trial died, and results were taken from those that survived, in breach of normal scientific practice.
"
Businesses

+ - Piracy worked for us

Submitted by
dorianm
dorianm writes "Piracy worked for us, Romanian president tells Gates

BUCHAREST (Reuters) — Pirated Microsoft Corp software helped Romania to build a vibrant technology industry, Romanian President Traian Basescu told the company's co-founder Bill Gates on Thursday.

Basescu was meeting the software giant's chairman in Bucharest to celebrate the opening of a Microsoft global technical center in the Romanian capital.

"Piracy helped the young generation discover computers. It set off the development of the IT industry in Romania," Basescu said during a joint news conference with Gates.

"It helped Romanians improve their creative capacity in the IT industry, which has become famous around the world ... Ten years ago, it was an investment in Romania's friendship with Microsoft and with Bill Gates."

Gates made no comment.

Former communist Romania, which has just joined the European Union, introduced anti-piracy legislation 10 years ago but copyright infringements are still rampant.

Experts say some 70 percent of software used in Romania is pirated, and salesmen still visit office buildings in central Bucharest to sell pirated CDs and DVDs.

Foreign investors say Romania's IT sector is one of most promising industries in the fast-growing economy thanks to high level of technical education in Romania, low wages and the country's thriving underworld of computers hackers.

Source: Washington Post"

Nanotech Battery Claims to Solve Electric Car Woes 320

Posted by Zonk
from the down-with-woes dept.
rbgrn writes "A123 Systems claims to have invented a Lithium Ion battery that not only can discharge at very high rates of current but can be recharged very quickly without damage to the cells or overheating. From their website: 'A unique feature of A123Systems' M1 cells is their ability to charge to high capacity in 5 minutes or less. That's a significant improvement over traditional Li Ion, which typically requires more than 90 minutes to reach a similar level of charge.' Using this technology, General Motors has announced a plug-in hybrid SUV and Venture Vehicles is developing a fully electric 3 wheel vehicle. Politics aside, the main technological hurdle to mass adoption of electric cars has been a fuel station replacement when driving distances beyond a single charge worth of range. Will we finally be seeing high current recharge stations in the next decade?"
Music

+ - Classical Music Hoax of the Century?

Submitted by
Retrospeak
Retrospeak writes "The CD recordings of Joyce Hatto, a concert pianist often described as "the greatest living pianist that almost no one has ever heard of" and praised by one critic as performing "the most extraordinary recordings I have ever heard" has come under a cloud of musical suspicion, as reported in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/17/arts/music/17ha tt.html?th&emc=th). Seems that many the Hatto recordings are digitally identical to those of a variety of other classical performers, some relatively obscure and some more famous. Because of the growing storm of sonic controversy, the British audiophile magazine "Gramophone" requested the folks at Pristine Classical to subject some of the tracks in question to detailed digital scrutiny and the results are very interesting (http://www.pristineclassical.com/HattoHoax.html)."
Networking

+ - Videoconferencing server for Linux ?

Submitted by Hymer
Hymer (856453) writes "Well it is really a simple question: Does anyone here know a vidoconferencing server for Linux ? It may be a non-standard solution but the clients have to exist for at least Linux, Windows and Mac OS X. The communication channel should preferably encrypted. I need video and some kind of common workplace or desktop sharing, audio is optional. I've searched the Net and found nothing... geeks do not need to look at other geeks to understand eachother but CEO's obviously does... ;-)"

Comment: Warning: small novelette ahead (Score 2, Informative) 334

by mentatultima (#17738250) Attached to: Financial Analyst Calls Second Life a Pyramid Scheme

The problem is that they are "investing money" into lindens and hoping the exchange rate changes. Linden Labs as specifically "pegged" the linden to the dollar. I track it and it usually has been consist to about 1000L for abojut $4/US. Lindens are strictly controlled, it is not easy to just make large amounts of linens, ( I know I have tried :) ). Most of this is planned, they hired an economist to help control the economy. Linden labs makes $.30 US on each buy and about 3.5% on each sale. Sales of lindens tend to act as stocks, meaning you put in a sell order and wait for some to bid on the lindens. buys are typically much faster though.

There is one example of linden dumping to control linden prices, quote: "In the second half of September we sold L$20,117,994 to prevent rapid appreciation of the L$. " . http://blog.secondlife.com/2006/10/03/linden-dolla r-economy-update-2/ it is on there blogs.

From the website (https://secure-web4.secondlife.com/currency/descr ibe-transaction-fees.php): Fees for Buying L$ You will be charged a fixed fee of $0.30 per transaction regardless of the amount of L$ you purchase.

Fees for Selling L$ Sellers of currency pay a fee of 3.5% per transaction. Proceeds will be credited to your US$ account balance.

Yes there are limits to trading, unless you apply for higher limits:
https://secure-web4.secondlife.com/currency/descri be-limits.php

So if you read the article, he was trying to do currency trading on a pegged currency, not the greatest idea. He got the same amount going in as going out minus the trasnaction fees, gee go figure.

And if you want to look at the economic statistics: http://secondlife.com/whatis/economy_stats.php Which also lists the sources and sinks, most of the money made by linden labs is from transaction fees, tier fees (fees for owning land or islands), and membership fees.

Linen exchange market data: http://secondlife.com/whatis/economy-market.php More useful economic statistics: http://secondlife.com/whatis/economy-graphs.php

Another interesting thing is that lindens are not produced, except by "allowances" given to residents and non-residents weekly. In WOW (world of warcraft) the server producers more gold when creatures are killed. Hence the lindens in Sl are an artifical scarcity, which is what all real world currencies are.

Not everything is sunshine and roses though:

There are some problems with the economy though:

  1. land prices have gone out the roof. It is nearly impossible to buy land without spending around $100US worth of lindens. land prices for purchase vary between 17L and more per M. How and what you can build on the land depends on the conventant or contract for the land and how much land you own. For the covenants, think home owners association. Plus for private islands you may not actually own the land, and if the island owner does not pay up his tier fees then the island itself may go into remiss.

    Yes, you can get equivilent work much cheaper in SL by paying in lindens. Although the prices needed for contracted services have been going up steadily. I have had several friends in SL quit doing contracting because it does not pay enough for the effort even corporate sponsorship. I do know of some contracting companies that make enough to survive on though.

    Problems with stability during the updates, this can be especially painful as shops cannot sell when SL is down, and sometimes products break during updates or on rare occassions inventory disappears during updates.

    Land values going down or becoming unusable due to someone building something really ugly or a casino, clubs, or a mall being built in the sim (major lag issues usually due to poor scripts and resource management).

    The "banks" in SL are entirely owned by people inside the game, they have no guarentees of any kind. There have been rumours of a bank or two withdrawing money and not having enough to pay all creditors, but then again look at EVE online where financial fraud is acutally ingrained in the game itself. The biggest fraud in EVE online was akin to 120,000 US ,several billion isk. Go ahead ask me if I have anything in the "banks" in SL, they operate mainly due to people wanting more and more. The banks have about 30% interest a year. There are a dozen or more banks in SL.

    In SL, a lot of residents sell products that maybe copyright violations. Expect a lot of lawsuit slapdowns in the near future.

    Very few of the residents in SL actually make enough to live on. For december of 2006, only 140 people made enough to live on in on for a first world economy, assuming you can live on $2,000 US a month minus transaction fees. See the section estimated business owners for: http://secondlife.com/whatis/economy_stats.php

Now, you can ask why I am interested in this? Well I do own a "business" in SL.
http://www.slexchange.com/modules.php?name=Marketp lace&MerchantID=19403
http://www.slboutique.com/index.php?p=buy&user_ava tar_id=9711&nh=1

I tend to make mostly small pocket cash, small being the operative word. :/ sort of with the old wine-growers joke: "How do you make a small fortune in SL?", start with a big one.

Honestly the current reporting makes SL either the new gold rush or a pyramid scheme. Why didn't the writer/economist goto www.sceondlife.com, he would have found most of the information offhand rather easily, I just saw in hte article that he purchased funds did not invest in a business, and just hoped the money itself would apprecaite even though its "pegged". the only real way tro make money in SL is for other residents to give you money in exchange for your services or products.

UNIX is many things to many people, but it's never been everything to anybody.

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