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Microsoft

Microsoft Can Remotely Kill Purchased Apps 389

Posted by samzenpus
from the killing-distance dept.
Meshach writes "The terms of service for Microsoft's newly launched Windows Store allows the seller to remotely kill or remove access to a user's apps for security or legal reasons. The story also notes that MS states purchasers are responsible for backing up the data that you store in apps that you acquire via the Windows Store, including content you upload using those apps. If the Windows Store, an app, or any content is changed or discontinued, your data could be deleted or you may not be able to retrieve data you have stored."
Medicine

Americans Less Healthy, But Outlive Brits 521

Posted by timothy
from the cross-cultural-croaking-comparison dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this intriguing snippet: "Older Americans are less healthy than their English counterparts, but they live as long or even longer than their English peers, according to a new study by researchers from the RAND Corporation and the Institute for Fiscal Studies in London. Researchers found that while Americans aged 55 to 64 have higher rates of chronic diseases than their peers in England, they died at about the same rate. And Americans age 65 and older — while still sicker than their English peers — had a lower death rate than similar people in England, according to findings published in the journal Demography."
Piracy

App Store Piracy Losses Estimated At $459 Million 202

Posted by Soulskill
from the arrr-me-hearties dept.
An anonymous reader passes along this quote from a report at 24/7 Wall St.: "There have been over 3 billion downloads since the inception of the App Store. Assuming the proportion of those that are paid apps falls in the middle of the Bernstein estimate, 17% or 510 million of these were paid applications. Based on our review of current information, paid applications have a piracy rate of around 75%. That supports the figure that for every paid download, there have been 3 pirated downloads. That puts the number of pirate downloads at 1.53 billion. If the average price of a paid application is $3, that is $4.59 billion dollars in losses split between Apple and the application developers. That is, of course, assuming that all of those pirates would have made purchases had the application not been available to them for free. This is almost certainly not the case. A fair estimate of the proportion of people who would have used the App Store if they did not use pirated applications is about 10%. This estimate yields about $459 million in lost revenue for Apple and application developers." A response posted at Mashable takes issue with some of the figures, particularly the 75% piracy rate. While such rates have been seen with game apps, it's unclear whether non-game apps suffer the same fate.
Sony

Sony Offers Bloatware Removal Service — For a Fee [Updated] 231

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the scams-and-other-marketing-ideas dept.
linuxwrangler writes "First Sony packed its laptops with Microsoft Works, Microsoft Office trial version, Corel Paint Shop Pro trial version, WinDVD and more. Now it is offering to remove the bloatware. Of course marketing changed the name from 'removing the crap we stuck you with' to 'Fresh Start' software optimization. And they want you to pay $149.99 to clean up their mess — $49.99 for 'Fresh Start' on top of the required $100.00 Vista Business upgrade. You can get about $25.00 of that cost back if you select all available 'no-software' options which are only available after selecting the $149.99 'upgrade'. Wonder what they would charge to remove Windows completely." Update 11:57 GMT by SM: It seems that massive outrage at Sony's "Fresh Start" program has encouraged them to drop the fee for scrubbing your laptop of bloatware before shipping it your way.
The Internet

UK ISPs To Start Tracking Your Surfing To Serve You Ads 238

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the weak-anonymizers-and-other-fun-party-tricks dept.
TechDirt has an interesting article about a UK-based company that is trying to work with ISPs to make use of user surfing data to serve targeted ads. "Late last year, we heard about a company that was trying to work with ISPs to make use of that data themselves to insert their own ads based on your surfing history -- and now we've got the first report of some big ISPs moving into this realm. Over in the UK three big ISPs, BT, Carphone Warehouse and Virgin Media have announced plans to use your clickstream data to insert relevant ads as you surf through a new startup called Phorm."
Upgrades

VBA Going Away, Macs Now, PCs Soon 255

Posted by kdawson
from the cuts-down-on-the-cross-platform-exploits dept.
Nom du Keyboard writes "As Microsoft drops support for older Office file formats, it looks like Visual Basic for Applications is also going soon. Mac Office 2008 has dropped VBA in favor of enhanced support for AppleScript, and Office 2009 is scheduled to lose it in favor of Mac incompatible Visual Studio Tools for Applications (VSTA) or Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO). This sounds like the Mother of All Backwards and Cross-Platform Incompatibilities — especially since there appears to be no transition period where both the old and new scripting languages will be simultaneously supported. And as past experience with Visual Studio .NET has shown, upgrade tools are far less than perfect."
Science

Scientists Trap Light In Nano-Soup 110

Posted by kdawson
from the confusing-the-photons dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Physicists at the Bhavnagar University in Gujarat, India have trapped light in a nano-soup concoction. The chance discovery could pave the way for lab-on-a-chip devices for processing optical information. As of now there is no theoretical explanation for why the fluid has the effects it does on laser light."

Comment: Where are the HiFi Speaker Wires? (Score 5, Insightful) 429

by path_man (#21408435) Attached to: 10 Great Snake-Oil Gadgets

Warning: Troll Alert!! I'm sure I'll get modded down for this but...

I would think that the latest spate of HiFi speaker wires would be right up there. The key difference between dowsing rods and these cables, is that once in a while dowsing rods seem to work. The multi-hundred dollar cables, time and time again in double-blind tests, have been shown to perform more poorly than the cheap utility speaker wire. And yet, there's a whole industry out there that argues (and markets) to the contrary.

Snake Oil indeed.

Censorship

University of Florida Student Tasered At Political Rally 1819

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the slow-to-revise-taser-policy dept.
An anonymous reader writes "During a political rally at the University of Florida, an annoying student was tasered while attempting to ask Senator Kerry (D-MA) some questions regarding the 2004 election. Police are looking into whether excessive force was used to prevent the student from going over his alloted question period." There are also several YouTube videos available of the incident.
Patents

Separation of Church and Microsoft 165

Posted by kdawson
from the can't-watch-that dept.
theodp writes "Last week, the USPTO published a rather odd Microsoft patent application for Content Ratings and Recommendations, which describes how religious-based communities and other 'subcultures' can use the patent-pending process to prevent their members from viewing undesirable television programs and movies."

Blu-ray's Hardware Woes Stacking Up 196

Posted by Zonk
from the hard-to-find-a-primary-color dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The bad news just keeps on coming for Blu-ray. First, Sony halved its U.S./Japanese launch shipments of its Blu-ray powered PlayStation 3, blaming a shortage of blue lasers. Then, in the last two weeks, both Sony and Pioneer delayed the releases of their new Blu-ray players, refusing to cite reasons. And this week, at Blu-ray backer LG's annual dealer show, a previously announced LG Blu-ray player was nowhere to be found. LG product development director Tim Alessi had this to say: 'We will provide an announcement when the time is right.'"

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