The San Francisco Chronicle reports that "A federal judge overturned a jury's multimillion-dollar damage award to the programmer of the original John Madden Football video game on Wednesday, saying there was no evidence that his work was copied for seven years, without credit, by the marketer of later versions of the hugely successful game. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer of San Francisco spared Electronic Arts Inc. from nearly $4 million in damages, plus interest that could have exceeded $7 million. The jury verdict also could have led to larger damages against the company for later versions of the game, which reaped billions of dollars in revenues, if future juries found that those, too, had been lifted from the work of programmer Robin Antonick." Also at Kotaku.
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tsu doh nimh writes "Michaels Stores Inc., which runs more than 1,250 crafts stores across the United States, said Saturday that it is investigating a possible data breach involving customer cardholder information. According to Brian Krebs, the journalist who broke the story [and, previously] news of the Target and Neiman Marcus breaches, the U.S. Secret Service has confirmed it is investigating. Krebs cited multiple sources in the banking industry saying they were tracking a pattern of fraud on cards that were all recently used at Michaels Stores Inc. In response to that story, Michaels issued a statement saying it 'recently learned of possible fraudulent activity on some U.S. payment cards that had been used at Michaels, suggesting that the Company may have experienced a data security attack.' In 2011, Michaels disclosed that attackers had physically tampered with point-of-sale terminals in multiple stores, but so far there are no indications what might be the cause of the latest breach. Both Target and Neiman Marcus have said the culprit was malicious software designed to steal payment card data, and at least in Target's case that's been shown to be malware made to infect retail cash registers."
First time accepted submitter SugarManner writes "Google Glass is in for a fight even before they hit the market. The Taiwanese company Chipsip has just released plans for a competing product that beats Google Glass on all specifications. (Seen on the Swedish Elektronik Tidningen — warning: written in Swedish) Nine sensors on the Taiwanese product 'Smart Glass' can detect speed, altitude, temperature, light and position. It has built-in GPS, Bluetooth 4.0 and a microphone. The processor is based on Rock Chips Cortex A9 system RK3168 running at 1.5 GHz. While Google Glass supports 802.11g communication, Chipsip Smart Glass supports 802.11n. The camera and screen resolution also top Google Glass by a notch, and with stereo sound on the Smart Glass compared to Google's mono sound, it seems that the Taiwanese company has hit all the right spots to make Google goggle. Or not. Google Glass is still in Beta, so specs on the final product may change."
jackb_guppy writes with word that "Legislation that would let students use computer programming courses to satisfy foreign-language requirements in public schools moved forward in the Kentucky Senate on Thursday." From the article: "Kentucky students must earn 22 credits to graduate high school, but 15 of those credits represent requirements for math, science, social studies and English — and college prerequisites call on students to have two credits of foreign language, [state senator David] Givens said. Meanwhile, Givens pointed to national statistics showing that less than 2.4 percent of college students graduate with a degree in computer science despite a high demand in the market and jobs that start with $60,000 salaries."
First time accepted submitter inqrorken writes "During the recent cold snap, New England utilities turned to an unconventional fuel: jet fuel. Due to high demand for heating, natural gas supplies dropped and prices skyrocketed to $140/mmBtu and prompting the Mid-Atlantic RTO to call on demand response in the region. With 50% of installed generation capacity natural-gas fired, one utility took the step of running its jet fuel-based turbines for a record 15 hours."
Bob9113 writes "According to an article on Ars Technica, the Republican National Committee (RNC) has passed a resolution that "encourages Republican lawmakers to immediately take action to halt current unconstitutional surveillance programs and provide a full public accounting of the NSA's data collection programs." The resolution, according to Time, was approved by an overwhelming majority voice vote at the Republican National Committee's Winter Meeting General Session, going on this week in Washington, DC."
An anonymous reader writes "Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, recently claimed that Apple is the only computer company left from the early days of the Mac. Unfortunately for him, HP still exists. "Every company that made computers when we started the Mac, they're all gone," Schiller told Macworld in an interview on Apple's Cupertino campus. 'We're the only one left.' I'm sorry Apple, but when exactly did HP declare bankruptcy? We contacted an HP spokesperson for a statement on Apple's ridiculous claim and were pointed to its timeline history page."
lemur3 writes "On January 24th Google had some problems with a few of its services. Gmail users and people who used various other Google services were impacted just as the Google Reliability Team was to take part in an Ask Me Anything on Reddit. Everything seemed to be resolved and back up within an hour. The Official Google Blog had a short note about what happened from Ben Treynor, a VP of Engineering. According to the blog post it appears that the outage was caused by a bug that caused a system that creates configurations to send a bad one to various 'live services.' An internal monitoring system noticed the problem a short time later and caused a new configuration to be spread around the services. Ben had this to say of it on the Google Blog, 'Engineers were still debugging 12 minutes later when the same system, having automatically cleared the original error, generated a new correct configuration at 11:14 a.m. and began sending it; errors subsided rapidly starting at this time. By 11:30 a.m. the correct configuration was live everywhere and almost all users' service was restored.'"
ProgramErgoSum writes "Horse carriages, vinyl records, telegraphy, black and white television are all great examples of technology that held tremendous sway decades ago and eventually faded away. Other systems such as railways and telephony are 'historical,' but have advanced into the current age, too. I think not being aware of the science behind such yesteryear technologies (or their histories) is not right. I feel it would be most beneficial to encourage kids to explore old technologies and perhaps even try simple simulations at home or school. So, what websites or videos or other sources of information would you reach out to that teaches the basics of say, telegraphy? Or, signalling in railways? Etc. etc." Do you (or do you plan to) educate your kids about any particular older technologies?
theodp writes "Back in 2010, Bill Gates Sr. made the case for I-1098, an initiative for a WA state income tax that Gates argued was needed to address K-12 funding inequity, which he claimed was forcing businesses "to import technically-trained employees, while our own people are shut out of highly paid careers." Opposed by the deep-pocketed, high-tech studded Defeat 1098, the initiative was defeated. Four years later, some of the same high-tech leaders who records show funded Defeat 1098 — including Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer ($425K), Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith ($10K), Code.org founder Hadi Partovi ($10K), Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos ($100K), Microsoft Corporation ($75K) — have gotten behind groups like Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us and Code.org, which are singing a similar Chicken Little tune, telling lawmakers that U.S. students will continue to be shut out of highly paid computer science careers without additional K-12 funding, and the U.S. will lose its competitive edge unless tech is permitted to import even more technically-trained employees. In a departure from Gates' income-tax based solution, Microsoft and Code.org argue that the-problem-is-the-solution, proposing that tech visa fees be used to fund K-12 CS programs. To 'accept that computer science classes are only available to the privileged few,' writes Code.org, 'seems un-American'. So, as some of the nation's biggest K-12 school systems turn to Code.org for CS education programs, should they expect the funding to come from taxes, H-1B tech visa fees, or the-kindness-of-wealthy-strangers philanthropy?"
wiredmikey writes "Microsoft on Friday said that attackers breached the email accounts of a "select number" of employees, and obtained access to documents associated with law enforcement inquiries. According to the company, a number of Microsoft employees were targeted with attacks aiming to compromise both email and social media accounts '..We have learned that there was unauthorized access to certain employee email accounts, and information contained in those accounts could be disclosed,' said Adrienne Hall, General Manager at Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Group. 'It appears that documents associated with law enforcement inquiries were stolen,' Hall said. Targeted attacks like this are not uncommon, especially for an organization like Microsoft. What's interesting about this is that the incident was significant enough to disclose, indicating that a fair number of documents could have been exposed, or that the company fears some documents will make their way to the public if released by the attackers—which may be the case if this was a 'hacktivist' attack."
Lasrick writes "Tom Bielefeld, a physicist specializing in nuclear security, writes a detailed article that has some surprising revelations about nuclear security in the U.S. (and elsewhere). Although some security measures have been tightened since 9/11, the US does not require transports of category-1 to be protected by armed guards, and individual states don't have to provide lists of 'safe havens' to the transport company (and they often don't). And at hospitals and other buildings that house radioactive materials and devices, 'security conditions remain hair-raising, even when these facilities have been checked by inspectors.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Ten years ago today, six and half months after launch, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's six-wheeled, solar-powered Opportunity rover landed on the surface of Mars, tumbling into a previously unknown feature now referred to as the 'Eagle Crater'. Opportunity and its twin Rover Spirit, which had arrived three weeks earlier, proceeded to crawl over and through plains, craters, and sand dunes, collecting and analyzing soil and rock samples, and taking panoramic photos of their surroundings, blowing orders of magnitude past the original projected 90 day mission timeframe. Spirit's mission drew to a close after it became irretrievably bogged down in soft soil in 2009; scientists lost contact with the rover in early 2010. Meanwhile, Opportunity is still going strong, with scientists announcing new evidence this past week of an ancient mild watery environment conducive to microbial life. Several web sites have mined the NASA archives to assemble tributes commemorating 10 years of work from Opportunity: Time, space.com, Information Week/Techweb. There's also a bricks-and-mortar tribute; the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC has just opened an exhibit featuring photos sent by the two rovers."
Toe, The writes "The New York Police Department has quietly installed about 200 temporary surveillance cameras in midtown Manhattan to help spot trouble along 'Super Bowl Boulevard,' a 13-block street fair on Broadway that's expected to draw large crowds during the windup to the game. The temporary cameras for the Super Bowl festivities will supplement a system of thousands of permanent cameras covering midtown and Wall Street that the NYPD monitors from a command center in lower Manhattan. The department has pioneered analytical software that allows it to program the cameras to detect suspicious activity, such as a bag or other objects left in one place for a long time. Hazmat and bomb squads will be on standby. Others officers will patrol with bomb-sniffing dogs. Still more will watch from rooftops and from police helicopters. At a recent security briefing at the stadium, police chiefs and other officials said success will be measured in part by how well authorities conceal all the concern over potential threats." Now it's a proven tradition: Superbowl crowds are a good place to test people-watching gear.
An anonymous reader writes "With the latest open source Linux code published today the AMD RadeonSI Gallium3D driver supports OpenGL 3.3 and GLSL 1.50; this is the open source Linux graphics driver used for Radeon HD 7000 series and newer, including the new Hawaii GPUs. The OpenGL 3.3 support appeared in patches spread across Mesa and LLVM that should appear in their next releases. It was also found that the RadeonSI driver is becoming a lot faster and starting to compete with Catalyst, AMD's notorious Linux binary driver."
Trailrunner7 writes with this excerpt: "Building on the success of the last couple of years, Google plans to offer more than $2.7 million in potential rewards in the next iteration of its Pwnium hacking competition at this year's CanSecWest conference in Vancouver. The company has run the contest in parallel with the older Pwn2Own competition at the conference, with somewhat different rules, and this year plans to allow researchers to go after Chrome OS running on both ARM- and Intel-based Chromebooks. Pwnium began as Google's answer to Pwn2Own, the well-known hacking contest that has attracted some of the top researchers in the industry over the course of the last few years, including Dino Dai Zovi, Charlie Miller, Chaouki Bekrar and the Vupen team and many others. ... But the money that Google is putting up for new compromises of Chrome OS is far beyond what's available at Pwn2Own or any of the other major contests and has attracted a small, but elite, group of contestants in past years. The company is promising rewards of as much as $150,000 plus some bonuses, paid at Google's discretion, for especially innovative or serious exploits."