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Submission + - Free Software Camps Wading Into VP8 Patent Fight

An anonymous reader writes: As reported by Slashdot, Nokia recently notified the IETF that its RFC 6386 video codec (aka VP8, released by Google under a BSD license with a waiver of that company's patent rights) infringed several dozen of its patents; furthermore, Nokia was not inclined to license them under FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminating) terms. While the list provided by Nokia looks intimidating, Pamela Jones at Groklaw discovered that many appeared to be duplicates except for the country of filing; and even within a single country (e.g. the US), some appeared to be overlapping. In other words, there may be far fewer distinct patented issues than what appears on Nokia's IETF form. Thom Holwerda at OSNews also weighed in, recalling another case where sweeping patent claims by Qualcomm and Huawei against the Opus open source audio codec, which proved to be groundless FUD. The familiar name Florian Mueller pops up again in Holwerda's article.

Submission + - Requirement is NOT implementation! (

developersrant writes: "“Requirement requirement requirement” as I whispered to myself while I sat around a board room table with 5 other fellow developers who anxiously tried to reach an agreement on how we will go about a Jira ticket. This happened at a recent sprint planning meeting. For a 2 weeks long sprint the planning session lasted 3 straight days and everyone was tired and wanted to move on. For each ticket there was a one sentence description and we had to come up with some kind of implementation details and then estimate using actual hours as story points. The reason for the lack of detailed requirement was that the product owner felt that we as developers should have more controls on how we go about the tickets hence prepared the vague requirements. Let me explain why the product owner is totally stupid and insane and only idiots will prepare each ticket with one sentence description."

Submission + - Bezos Patenting 'Dumb' Tablets, Glasses, Windshields 2

theodp writes: GeekWire reports on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' pending patent on remote displays that communicate with base stations and operate on wireless power. Reducing devices to mere screens with minimal storage that receive pre-rendered content (e.g., bitmap images), the patent application explains, eliminates the need for bulky batteries or processors, and employing techniques like electromagnetic or electrostatic induction allows one to cut the cord completely. Such remote displays, Amazon suggests, could find a home on college campuses (tablets), in your car (windshield displays or DVD players), and even on your face (eyeglasses).

Submission + - Yahoo Buys Summly News Reader, Hires 17-Year Old Founder

An anonymous reader writes: Yahoo has announced the acquisition of Summly, a mobile news reader which uses NLP algorithms to compose short summaries of stories for display on the iPhone screen. The deal price is believed to be around $30 million. It's an interesting confirmation of CEO Marissa Meyer's stated goal of making Yahoo relevant in the mobile space. Nick D'Aloisio was 15 years old when he launched the company from his London home (under the name Trimit, which is actually easier on this poster's ears) and has the precocious flair of some other young tech founders; he demos the app in the video accompanying the TechCrunch piece. D'Aloisio will remain in London as the head of the Summly business unit as he studies for his A-levels.

Submission + - Evolution challenged with new dates

An anonymous reader writes: An international team of researchers has found evidence challenging existing views about the timescale of two major events in human evolution: the first migration out of Africa, and the dating of "mitochondrial Eve,' the last common ancestor of all humans along the matrilineal line.

Submission + - Dos Emulation Arrives on the Raspberry Pi

An anonymous reader writes: Homebrew Coder Pate has released a Dos Emulator for the Raspberry Pi, originally released for the Nintendo DS and Android the emulator currently can emulate a CPU: 80486 processor, including the protected mode features (for running DOS4GW games) but without virtual memory support. The emulation runs at a speed of around 20MHz 80486 (which equals a 40MHz 80386) machine. It has support for Super VGA graphics, Soundblaster 2.0, Memory, USB Keyboard and Mouse. Perfect for playing old classics such as Doom, Duke Nukem 3d and Theme Park.
The Internet

Submission + - ICANN's Trademark Clearinghouse Launching Tuesday (

itwbennett writes: "If you want to protect your brand before ICANN roles out the new gTLDs (generic top-level domains), here's your chance. The clearinghouse will allow trademark owners to register their marks for an annual fee of between $95 and $150. The clearinghouse 'doesn't necessarily prevent trademark infringement or cybersquatting, but it does help trademark owners and brand owners somewhat in mitigating the damage that might occur,' said Keith Kupferschmid, general counsel and vice president of IP policy and enforcement for the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA). 'We've been telling brand owners it's not that expensive to protect themselves and they ought to do it.'"

Submission + - What to do with unwanted desktop computers? 2

MarioMax writes: I've recently acquired several (3-5 year old) desktop computers from various family members. They are far from the latest and greatest machines, but they do a good enough job for checking email and playing web-based games. The problem is that I have no personal use for them, and other members of the family have no use for them either. It seems a shame to send them off to a recycling center when they're still perfectly servicable. What should I do with them?

Submission + - 19-Yr-Old Develops Ocean Cleanup Array That Could Remove 7.3M Tons of Plastic (

formaggio writes: 19-year-old Boyan Slat has unveiled plans to create an Ocean Cleanup Array that could remove 7,2500,000 tons of plastic waste from the world’s oceans. The device consists of an anchored network of floating booms and processing platforms that could be dispatched to garbage patches around the world. Instead of moving through the ocean, the array would span the radius of a garbage patch, acting as a giant funnel. The angle of the booms would force plastic in the direction of the platforms, where it would be separated from plankton, filtered and stored for recycling.

Submission + - New CFAA "Reform" Draft Makes Law Even Worse (

frank_adrian314159 writes: "After the Aaron Swartz suicide, people had hoped that CFAA would be modified to be less draconian. Our naivete knows no bounds. Salon reports that the new draft of the modified CFAA makes the law even worse by expanding it (and its penalties) rather than by reining it in. One provision states that anyone conspiring to break this new law will be subject to the same penalty as if they had committed the crime in question. And even though the bill's language on "exceeding authorized access" has been trimmed a bit, the same language in the section about "unauthorized access" makes the point moot and is still broad enough to be troubling, especially given the law's penalties."

Submission + - The ATF Isn't Convinced That 3D-Printed Guns Compare to the Real Thing (

derekmead writes: 3D-printing gun parts has taken off, thanks to the likes of Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed. While the technology adds a rather interesting wrinkle to the gun control debate, the ATF currently is pretty hands-off, saying that while 3D-printed gun technology has arrived, it's not good enough yet to start figuring out how to regulate it.

"We are aware of all the 3D printing of firearms and have been tracking it for quite a while," Earl Woodham, spokesperson for the ATF field office in Charlotte, said. "Our firearms technology people have looked at it, and we have not yet seen a consistently reliable firearm made with 3D printing."

A reporter called the ATF's Washington headquarters to get a better idea of what it took to make a gun "consistently reliable," and program manager George Semonick said the guns should be "made to last years or generations." In other words, because 3D-printed guns aren't yet as durable as their metal counterparts, the ATF doesn't yet consider them as much of a concern.


Submission + - Tallinn Manual Interprets International Law in Cyberwar Context (

msm1267 writes: The Tallinn Manual is a NATO commissioned project to determine how international law applies to cyberspace in times of war. Tallinn Manual editor Michael N. Schmitt of the U.S. Naval War College explains how the 300-page manual will be a reference manual as states adopt their own cyberwar rules of engagement.
The document was nearly four years in the making, and focused exclusively on what Schmitt said were the upper layers of severity, rather than day to day attacks such as cybercrime, intellectual property theft and APT-style espionage; version 2.0 of the Tallinn Manual will attempt to tackle those areas, he said.


Submission + - Rather Than Fix The CFAA, House Judiciary Committee Planning To Make It Worse (

walterbyrd writes: "Adds computer crimes as a form of racketeering. Expands the ways in which you could be guilty of the CFAA — including making you just as guilty if you plan to "violate" the CFAA than if you actually did so. Ratchets up many of the punishments. Makes a very, very minor adjustment to limit "exceeding authorized access." Expands the definition of "exceeding authorized access" in a very dangerous way. Makes it easier for the federal government to seize and forfeit anything."

Submission + - NASA To Launch 13,000 sqft Solar Sail In 2014 (

kkleiner writes: "In 2014, NASA hopes to launch a 13,000 square foot solar sail — the third to ever hit space and by far the biggest yet. The sci-fi inspired mission, Sunjammer, is named after Arthur C. Clarke’s 1964 tale of sun-yacht races through the solar system and will carry the ashes of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and his wife Majel Barrett Roddenberry to the mission’s destination, a gravitationally balanced orbit between the Earth and Sun (L1). Sunjammer’s sail is a third of an acre, about 124 feet to a side, and seven times the size of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Planetary Society’s solar sail IKAROS, the biggest sail successfully launched to date."

Submission + - Ephemeral Vacuum Particles Cause Fluctuations in the Speed of Light (

skade88 writes: From the article 'Is the nature of a vacuum really fixed? Not so, according to two forthcoming papers. Researchers have identified a quantum level mechanism for interpreting a vacuum as being filled with pairs of virtual particles with fluctuating energy values. They've also discovered that physical constraints, such as the speed of light and the so-called impedance of free space, are indications of the total number of elementary particles in nature.'

Submission + - NYC's Bloomberg On Drones: "Scary" But Inevitable ( 1

redletterdave writes: "New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg was asked in a radio interview about the domestic use of drones by the government: 'We're going into a different world unchartered, and like it or not, what people can do or governments can do is different, and you can to some extent control [that], but you can't keep the tides from coming in. We're going to have more visibility and less privacy. I don't see how you stop that. It's not a question of a question of whether I think it's good or bad — I don't see how you stop that.'"

Submission + - Scientists Study Earworms and How to Get Them Out of Your Head

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Richard Gray reports that scientists have found a way to help anyone plagued by those annoying tunes that lodge themselves inside our heads and repeat on an endless loop — when snippets of a catchy song inexplicably play like a broken record in your brain. The solution can be to solve some tricky anagrams to force the intrusive music out of your working memory allowing the music to be replaced with other more amenable thoughts. “The key is to find something that will give the right level of challenge,” says Dr Ira Hyman, a music psychologist at Western Washington University who conducted the research. “If you are cognitively engaged, it limits the ability of intrusive songs to enter your head." Hyman says that the problem, called involuntary memory retrieval, is that something we can do automatically like driving or walking means you are not using all of your cognitive resource, so there is plenty of space left for that internal jukebox to start playing. Dr Vicky Williamson, a music psychologist at Goldsmiths, University of London, says that the most likely songs to get stuck are those that are easy to hum along to or sing and found that that Lady Gaga was the most common artist to get stuck in people’s heads, with four of her catchy pop songs being the most likely to become earworms – Alejandro, Bad Romance, Just Dance and Paparazzi. Other surveys have reported Abba songs such as Waterloo, Changes by David Bowie or the Beatles’ Hey Jude."

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