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Microsoft

Craig Mundie Wants "Internet Driver's Licenses" 427

Posted by timothy
from the genuine-advantage dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Craig Mundie, Microsoft's Chief Research and Strategy Officer, called for the creation of an 'Internet Driver's License' at the World Economic Forum in Davos, saying, 'If you want to drive a car you have to have a license to say that you are capable of driving a car, the car has to pass a test to say it is fit to drive and you have to have insurance.' Of course, there are quite a few problems with this. For starters, internet use cannot yet cause death or dismemberment like car accidents can; and this would get rid of most of the good of internet anonymity while retaining all of the bad parts, especially in terms of expanding the market for stolen identities. Even though telephone networks have long been used by scammers and spammers/telemarketers, we've never needed a 'Telephone Driver's License.'"
Businesses

Facebook Mafiosi Go To the Mattresses vs. Zynga 102

Posted by Soulskill
from the concrete-galoshes dept.
sympleko writes "Zynga has the lion's share of traffic in Facebook applications, and Mafia Wars is one of their most popular social games. Collapsing under the weight of over 26 million users, Zynga has been scrambling to thwart hard-core gamers who reverse-engineer URLs or script the game to optimize their enjoyment. Many of the workarounds have annoyed users who were accustomed to various game features, and even worse, the hastily-deployed changes have resulted in many players losing access to the game, in-game prizes, or statistics. Fed up with a software company seemingly bent on discouraging people from enjoying their product, a number of tagged players have organized a boycott of all Zynga games. The first 24-hour boycott on Sunday 12/13 resulted in an 11% decline in Daily Active Users, and an emergency thread on Zynga's forums (from which most of the flames were deleted). The current boycott, extending Wednesday through Sunday is being supported by a 428K strong Facebook group. At issue is the social contract between software companies and their devoted user base, as well as the nefarious tactics Zynga has used to raise cash."
Image

NASA Tests Flying Airbag 118

Posted by samzenpus
from the drop-the-cloud-anchor dept.
coondoggie writes "NASA is looking to reduce the deadly impact of helicopter crashes on their pilots and passengers with what the agency calls a high-tech honeycomb airbag known as a deployable energy absorber. So in order to test out its technology NASA dropped a small helicopter from a height of 35 feet to see whether its deployable energy absorber, made up of an expandable honeycomb cushion, could handle the stress. The test crash hit the ground at about 54MPH at a 33 degree angle, what NASA called a relatively severe helicopter crash."
Portables

CrunchPad Will Be a 'Dead Simple Web Tablet' 145

Posted by Soulskill
from the tablets-going-crunch-is-usually-a-bad-thing dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "TechCrunch's Michael Arrington has been talking for a year about building a touch-screen tablet for Web surfing and now it appears that the CrunchPad is close to becoming a reality. 'We're going to make some really big announcements,' said Arrington, who predicted a prototype would be ready for unveiling by the end of July. The purpose of the CrunchPad will be very simple: surfing the Web. Turn it on and up comes a browser — 'an Internet consumption device,' for reading, checking e-mail or watching video. The CrunchPad will not have a hard drive or keyboard and photos of the latest prototype show a device with a 12 inch screen. 'The screen is now flush with the case and we've decreased the overall thickness to about 18 mm,' writes Arrington. 'The case will be aluminum, which is more expensive than plastic but is sturdier and lets us shave a little more off the overall thickness of the device.' The CrunchPad boots directly into the browser with a Linux-based operating system and a WebKit-based browser. A video of an earlier CrunchPad prototype in action shows a device which, unlike the iPhone, runs flash. 'The next time we talk about the CrunchPad publicly will be at a special press and user event in July in Silicon Valley,' writes Arrington. 'We're full on. These prototypes are real.'"

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