New submitter susmit writes with news of India's new goal for launching a satellite to Mars in 2013. From the article: "India plans to launch a mission to Mars next year, putting an orbital probe around the red planet to study its climate and geology, top space department officials said on Thursday. ... A 320-tonne Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle rocket will be used to carry the orbiter spaceship, blasting off from the ISRO launch site at Sriharikota in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. Another senior official at ISRO, requesting anonymity, estimated the cost of the mission at 4.0-5.0 billion rupees ($70-90 million dollars)."
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angry tapir writes "SAP has agreed to pay Oracle US$306 million in connection with the corporate-theft case that Oracle filed against it and a former SAP subsidiary in 2007, according to a filing made Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The long-running legal dispute centers on illegal downloads of Oracle software and support materials by SAP subsidiary TomorrowNow, which offered lower-cost support services for Oracle software. SAP admitted liability for actions taken by TomorrowNow workers, and a jury awarded Oracle US$1.3 billion in damages in November 2010." The $1.3 billion fine was overturned shortly after, causing more months of litigation.
itwbennett writes "Assuming that Microsoft doesn't choose to implement Secure Boot in the ways that the Linux Foundation says would work with Linux, there 'will be no easy way to run Linux on Windows 8 PCs,' writes Steven Vaughan-Nichols. Instead, we're faced with three different, highly imperfect approaches: Approach #1: Create UEFI Secure Boot keys for your particular distribution, like Canonical is doing with Ubuntu. Approach #2: work with Microsoft's key signing service to create a Windows 8 system compatible UEFI secure boot key, like Red Hat is doing with Fedora." itwbennet finishes with: "Approach #3: Use open hardware with open source software, an approach favored by ZaReason CEO Cathy Malmrose." When you can't even use a GPLv3 licensed bootloader to boot your system, you might have a problem. Why is everyone so quick to accept the corpse of TCPA in new clothes?
harrymcc writes "On August 3, 1977, Radio Shack announced its TRS-80 microcomputer at an event in New York City. For the next several years, it was the world's most popular PC — but it never got the respect it deserved. (I still wince when I hear 'Trash-80.') Over at TIME.com, I'm celebrating the anniversary with some reflections on the machine and why it was so underappreciated."
The Liberated Pixel Cup draws to a close. The deadline for code entries was July 31st, and those entries were posted online Thursday (with descriptions). You'll have to wait longer than expected for the results though: "Note that due to the larget volume of entries (48 code entries alone, plus a large number of art entries), judging may take longer than we had originally thought. Our current time frame for judging is the end of August. We'll keep people posted on our progress." Good luck to all the entrants. Anyone see anything interesting in the submitted games?
Social game developer Zynga has been on the receiving end of complaints in the past for releasing games that look a bit too much like games from indie developers, and for other shady business practices. Now, they've run afoul of somebody with sharper teeth. Today Electronic Arts and Maxis filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Zynga claiming that The Ville is "blatant mimicry" of The Sims Social. "'This is a case of principle,' says EA Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw. 'Maxis isn't the first studio to claim that Zynga copied its creative product. But we are the studio that has the financial and corporate resources to stand up and do something about it. Infringing a developer's copyright is not an acceptable practice in game development.' In its complaint, EA argues that Zynga willfully and intentionally copied ideas from The Sims Social, the Facebook edition of the EA/Maxis franchise that released in August 2011. When Zynga released The Ville last June, consumers and the press immediately pointed out that the title resembled The Sims more than a little."
The Wall Street Journal reports that AT&T has plans to shut down its 2G network by January 1, 2017. Roughly 12% of its contact wireless customers — 8.4 million people — have 2G handsets, and the company plans to gradually move them to devices running on more modern networks. "The timeline for the 2G shutdown was made in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday. An AT&T spokesman said the company no longer sells 2G handsets to contract or prepaid customers. Along with phones, the company does have some other devices connected to its 2G networks, but it also expects that they will transition to more modern technology in coming years. As the carriers deal with ever increasing data usage on their networks, they also are facing a spectrum shortage to carry all the traffic. Shutting down legacy networks is one part of the plan, along with acquiring new spectrum and finding innovative ways to use unused airwaves."
cylonlover writes "There are plenty of different 3D printers to choose from these days, from the popular Makerbot Thing-O-Matic to the budget-priced Solidoodle. These all have one drawback, however, in that they aren't exactly portable. Most need to be disassembled to be moved, and even the fully-assembled Cubify printer isn't really built for travel. But now, two MIT students have developed the PopFab, a machine that does 3D printing and more, all while fitting inside a small suitcase. With different heads, the machine could also be used for milling, vinyl cutting, drawing, and much more, to create a wide variety of objects. The creators have also tested its portability by traveling with it as a carry-on suitcase to Saudi Arabia, Germany, and within the U.S."
alphadogg writes "A new audit of the Internal Revenue Service has found the agency paid refunds to criminals who filed false tax returns, in some cases on behalf of people who had died, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), which is part of the U.S. Treasury. The IRS stands to lose as much as $21 billion in revenue over the next five years due to identity theft, according to TIGTA's audit (PDF), dated July 19 but publicized on Thursday. 'While the IRS does not have access to all third-party information documents at the time tax returns are filed, some third-party information is available. However, the IRS has not developed processes to obtain and use this third-party information."
ptorrone writes "Open-source hardware company Adafruit has released a Linux Raspberry Pi distro for hardware hacking and teaching electronics. This distro comes with SPI, I2C, & OneWire WiFi. It also has some things to make overall hacking easier, such as sshd on startup (with key generation on first boot) and Bonjour (so you can simply ssh raspberrypi.local from any computer on the local network). The distro is called Occidentalis v0.1. Rubus occidentalis (the black raspberry) is derived from Raspbian Wheezy, and is available for download here."
Hugh Pickens points out an article by David Zweig at The Atlantic about the rise of fact-checking sites on the internet, and the power they give to journalists and average internet denizens to sniff out fiction parading as truth. Quoting: "Since the beginning of the republic (not the American republic, I'm talking the Greek republic) politicians have resorted to half-truths and bald-faced lies. And while tenacious reporters and informed citizens have tracked these falsehoods over the years, until now they've lacked the interconnectivity and real-time capabilities of the Web to amplify their findings. Sites like the Washington Post's Fact-Check column and FactCheck.org, which draws hundreds of thousands of unique visitors each month, often provide fodder for public fascination with fact-checking. ... Perhaps the masses don't care about inaccuracies. Many Democrats and Republicans alike will believe what they want and ignore or disregard the truth. ... But there are enough experts within a variety of fields rabidly conversing about errors that content-creators—be they politicians, journalists, or filmmakers—are now forced to be on their toes in a way they never have been before. And that's a good thing.'" Zweig also points out Snopes, Prochronisms, and Photoshop Disasters as useful tools for spotting errors or misrepresentations.
As data centers become more common and more advanced, there's been a movement to automate and consolidate control of data center components, and an industry is starting to grow around it. "While VMware pushes a programmable data model based on its technologies, vendors such as Puppet Labs are making the case for a more platform-neutral approach. Puppet Labs has developed a declarative language for configuring systems that can be extended across the data center: the organization recently announced the creation of an open source project in conjunction with EMC, called Razor, to accomplish that goal. There’s already open source project known as Chef, created by Opscode, with a similar set of goals. In a similar vein, Reflex Systems, a provider of virtualization management tools, is trying to drum interest in VQL, a query language that the company specifically developed for IT pros."
Krau Ming writes "After about eight years spent in research, I've made the decision to go back to school — medical school. When I last spent the bulk of my days sitting in lectures, I took notes with paper, and if the professor wasn't technologically impaired, he/she would have posted powerpoint slides as a PDF online for us to print and make our notes on. Since it has been so long, I am looking for some options other than the ol' pen and paper. Is there an effective way of taking notes with a laptop? What about tablet options? Are there note-taking programs that can handle a variety of file types (eg: electronic textbooks, powerpoint slides, PDFs)? Or should I just sleep in and get the lectures posted online and delay learning the course material until the exam (kidding)?"
Diggester tips news that physicists from Tsinghua University in China have published "the first proof-of-principle demonstration of a genuine quantum router." The group's paper (PDF) is available at the arXiv. MIT's Technology Review describes it thus: "In this new device, the information is encoded in the polarization of photons, either horizontal or vertical. The Chinese group begin by creating a single photon that is in a superposition of both horizontal and vertical polarization states. They then convert this single photon into a pair of lower energy photons that are entangled, a process called parametric down conversion. Both of these photons are also in a superposition of polarization states. The router works by using the polarization of one of these photons as the control signal to determine the route of the other, the data signal. The device is simple, little more than a collection of half mirrors for guiding photons and waveplates for rotating their polarization."
wiredmikey sends this excerpt from SecurityWeek: "A recent article on ProPublica dissected two commonly quoted figures about cybersecurity: $1 trillion in losses due to cybercrime itself and $388 million in IP losses for American companies. Both figures have been scrutinized and challenged by many, and viewed as typical security vendor FUD. ... The $1 trillion figure is attributed to anti-virus vendor McAfee, while the $388 million in IP losses number belongs to Symantec's Norton division. According to ProPublica, 'The report was not actually researched by Norton employees; it was outsourced to a market research firm, StrategyOne, which is owned by the public relations giant Edelman.' The problem with both of these figures — $1 trillion and $388 million — is, as Microsoft researchers pointed out earlier this year in a report fittingly titled 'Sex, Lies, and Cybercrime,' they are studded with outliers. In one example they cite that a single individual who claims $50,000 losses, in an N = 1000 person survey, is enough to extrapolate a $10 billion loss over the population. In another, one unverified claim of $7,500 in phishing losses translates into $1.5 billion over the population. The Microsoft researchers concluded: 'Are we really producing cyber-crime estimates where 75% of the estimate comes from the unverified self-reported answers of one or two people? Unfortunately, it appears so. Can any faith whatever be placed in the surveys we have? No, it appears not.'"