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The Courts

Submission + - Obama Aide Intervenes in Ted Stevens Conviction (reuters.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Citing allegations of prosecutorial misconduct, Attorney General Eric Holder moved to drop all charges against former Alaskan senator Ted Stevens. Defense lawyers had pending motions for retrial on the basis of the problems cited with the prosecutors' actions. In a statement to federal prosecutors, Holder said "I have determined that it is in the interest of justice to dismiss the indictment and not proceed with a new trial."

Submission + - Google Reveals Once-Secret Server Design

Hugh Pickens writes: "Most companies buy servers from the likes of Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, or Sun Microsystems but Google, which has hundreds of thousands of servers and considers running them part of its core expertise, designs and builds its own. For the first time Google revealed the hardware at the core of its Internet might at a conference this week about data center efficiency. Google's big surprise: each server has its own 12-volt battery to supply power if there's a problem with the main source of electricity. "This is much cheaper than huge centralized UPS," says Google server designer Ben Jai. "Therefore no wasted capacity." Efficiency is a major financial factor. Large UPSs can reach 92 to 95 percent efficiency, meaning that a large amount of power is squandered. The server-mounted batteries do better, Jai said: "We were able to measure our actual usage to greater than 99.9 percent efficiency." Google has patents on the built-in battery design, "but I think we'd be willing to license them to vendors," says Urs Hoelzle, Google's vice president of operations. Google has an obsessive focus on energy efficiency. "Early on, there was an emphasis on the dollar per (search) query," says Hoelzle. "We were forced to focus. Revenue per query is very low.""

Submission + - Firefox tops European browser market for 1st time (ostatic.com)

ruphus13 writes: The EC took a decidedly harder stance against Microsoft and its anti-competitive practices in the browser wars. Those restrictions seem to have yielded results. Firefox, for the first time, has the largest market share amongst browsers. From the post, "StatCounter is now reporting that Firefox 3.0 is the most popular browser in Europe--for the first time. Number one in Europe? That's a milestone, and a sign of very healthy browser competition in Europe. If the European Commission's recent efforts to force Microsoft to offer more browser choice in Windows succeed, Firefox may well stay number one." It is also interesting to note that Firefox has 100% market share on 1 continent — Antarctica! The article states, "I'm guessing the data comes from one user — and he's using Firefox."

Submission + - Should Google be forced to pay for news? (pcpro.co.uk) 1

Barence writes: "The Guardian Media group is asking the British Government to investigate Google News and other aggregators, claiming they reap the benefit of content from news sites without contributing anything towards their costs. The Guardian claims the old argument that "search engines and aggregators provide players like guardian.co.uk with traffic in return for the use of our content" doesn't hold water any more, and that it's "heavily skewed" in Google's favour. It wants the Government to explore new models that "require fair acknowledgement of the value that our content creates, both on our own site (through advertising) and 'at the edges' in the world of search and aggregation.""
Wireless Networking

New Wireless Technology Goes Where GPS Can't 18

An anonymous reader writes "Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has developed a new wireless localisation system with the ability to track, sense and communicate in areas where GPS and other wireless technologies cannot work. Originally developed for use in horse and motor racing, the high-accuracy terrestrial localisation system is being commercialised to allow first-response emergency workers to be accurately tracked in dangerous environments such as in building collapses or underground mines where other tracking technologies will not work. The system uses nodes attached to workers that communicate with portable fixed nodes around the site, allowing the position of the worker to be tracked in areas where typical tracking signals wouldnt work. The nodes can be modified to also collect data from the worker, such as heart rate, core temperature, and whether there are any dangerous gases or radiation in the area. The system has government-funded backing and is set to be commercialised and deployed in Australia's emergency services within three years. Other applications for the technology include military, sport, counter-terrorism, motor and horse racing."

Yale Students' Lawsuit Unmasks Anonymous Trolls 668

palegray.net writes "Two female Yale law school students have used the courts to ascertain the identities of otherwise anonymous posters to an Internet forum, with the intent of prosecuting them for hateful remarks left on the boards. At a minimum, the posters' future legal careers are certainly jeopardized by these events. While I'm not certainly not supporting or encouraging hateful speech online, these controversial actions hold potentially far-reaching consequences for Internet privacy policy and free speech." According to the linked Wired Law article, "The women themselves have gone silent, and their lawyers — two of whom are now themselves being sued — are not talking to the press."

Judge Rules Sprint Early Termination Fees Illegal 343

Antiglobalism writes to tell us that an Alameda County Judge has ruled against Sprint Nextel in a class-action lawsuit, awarding customers $18.2 million in restitution for early termination fees. "Though the decision could be appealed, it's the first in the country to declare the fees illegal in a state and could affect other similar lawsuits, with broad implications for the nation's fast-growing legions of cell phone users. The judge - who is overseeing several other suits against telecommunications companies that involve similar fees - also told the company to stop trying to collect $54.7 million from other customers who haven't yet paid the charges they were assessed. The suit said about 2 million Californians were assessed the fee."
The Internet

Submission + - Domain Names

Zivatad writes: The company I work for will not provide pop3 mail access, however I needed pop3 to send mail to my windows mobile phone. So, I went out and purchased the company name.net What rights would I have owning a domain name for the company I work for? Would this be considered grounds of dismissal. As far as I know the company is not Trademarked, As I've never seen a company logo displaying so.

Feed Engadget: Legion Hardware offers advice for building the best Crossfire rig (engadget.com)

Filed under: Desktops

Choosing the right graphics card / chipset combo to give you the most bang for the buck is always tricky business, and even moreso when you're looking to get the most out of some brand new hardware like AMD's Radeon HD 4000 series cards. Thankfully, the folks at Legion Hardware have now stepped in to help out a bit, although, as is often the case, it's not entirely a clear cut choice. If it's a bargain you're looking for though (relatively speaking), it seems like pairing an ASUS P45 motherboard with a couple of Radeon HD 4850 graphics cards (for a total of about $550) will give you enough performance to impress all but the most demanding gamer. If you want to push those benchmarks as far as possible, however, you'll have to go up to an ASUS X48 board, although even the folks at Legion Hardware question whether the mere 5% performance gain is worth the extra cost. If you want to make your own decision though, you can hit up the link below and dig through the numbers yourself.

[Via PC Perspective]
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Apple Suit Demands That Psystar Recall OpenMacs 759

Da'Man writes "The Psystar saga takes another series of turns. Not only is the website down but an examination of the suit filed by Apple shows that the Cupertino Goliath wants Psystar to recall all Open Computer and OpenServ systems sold by the company since April. It seems that Steve Jobs is out to totally sink Psystar and put an end to Mac clones."
Social Networks

Submission + - One in four businesses block access to Facebook (networkworld.com)

jbrodkin writes: "Nearly one in four businesses block employee access to social networking Web sites such as Facebook and MySpace. Many companies look the other way, but a substantial minority view social networking as a "productivity killer," says the Challenger, Gray & Christmas consulting firm. On the flip side, 8% of companies actually encourage employees to use social networking sites, and 10% say they are invaluable marketing, networking and sales tools. Integrating social networking sites and other Web 2.0 tools into regular business processes could help firms recruit new employees, particularly young ones, the consulting firm said."

Submission + - Netflix Roku (yahoo.com)

Gilbert Sequira writes: "Has the battle to create a dream product to link online digital media to the TV quietly been won? Despite competition from just about everyone — Vudu, Apple, TiVo, Xbox, and more — humble Roku, which released its Netflix Player set-top box barely over a month ago (making it a distant latecomer to the game), sold out of its first shipment in three weeks. Demand is so strong that the company is air-freighting new units to the U.S. in order to keep up. Almost thrown off as an aside in a Forbes story about Netflix's online ambitions, Roku VP Tim Twerdahl mentions that later this year the $99 box will be upgraded to stream content from other providers aside from Netflix. (The upgrade will be a simple software download that will enhance existing boxes.) That would make it the first major set-top box to hook into multiple services and could turn what is already a very good product into a category killer. Even without the extra features, the Roku box is already a hit, and I think it's because it's embraced the idea of simplicity. There's nothing complicated or even sophisticated about the Netflix Player. There's no display on the box, and the remote control is reminiscent of the original Zenith "clicker." Next to famously "simple" products like TiVo and the Apple TV, the Roku player makes them look like baffling mainframe computers in comparison. Anyone who can plug in their television should have no problem setting up the device. Naturally, the price is another huge boon for the product. At $99, it's cheaper than dinner and a movie. Since the service is free if you already have a Netflix account, what possible objections could anyone have to hooking one up? Add in more streaming options and the Roku gets even better. Roku teases us by not mentioning exactly what services it will link to, though; they are described only as "other 'big name' providers." My only concern is that the box needs to retain its simple nature. If I have to input a credit card number using a remote with no number buttons on it, I'll unplug it in disgust. Meanwhile, Netflix is wasting time with other set-top box providers (including Microsoft's Xbox), all of which is just a distraction that keeps it from adding to its 10,000-movie library available for streaming. Does anyone really watch movies on the Xbox 360 as it is? The fan is so loud it drowns out the dialogue. Memo to Netflix: Stick with the Roku. Expand the library. Dominate the market."

The two most common things in the Universe are hydrogen and stupidity. -- Harlan Ellison