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Sun Microsystems

Oracle Top Execs Answer Sun Employee Questions 207

The Register writes "Sun invited Oracle president Charles Phillips and chief corporate architect Edward Screven to an employee-only town hall this Wednesday, where they took questions on what's coming. They said they'd be 'crazy' to close Java, that Oracle 'needs' MySQL, and all Sun's processors look appealing. They hedged on OpenOffice — Phillips said he couldn't comment on any product line — and on Sun's work in high-performance computing. Screven made it pretty clear the Sun vision of cloud computing does not fit with Oracle's; Oracle sees itself as a provider of infrastructure like virtualization to make clouds, not a provider of hosted services. As for who's staying and who's getting cut at Sun: Phillips said Oracle needs Sun, but warned 'tough decisions' will be coming. Don't forget, this is the company that couriered pink slips to the PeopleSoft staff it cut following that acquisition."
Sun Microsystems

Oracle Buys Sun 906

bruunb writes "Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ: ORCL) and Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ: JAVA) announced today they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Oracle will acquire Sun common stock for $9.50 per share in cash. The transaction is valued at approximately $7.4 billion, or $5.6 billion net of Sun's cash and debt. 'We expect this acquisition to be accretive to Oracle's earnings by at least 15 cents on a non-GAAP basis in the first full year after closing. We estimate that the acquired business will contribute over $1.5 billion to Oracle's non-GAAP operating profit in the first year, increasing to over $2 billion in the second year. This would make the Sun acquisition more profitable in per share contribution in the first year than we had planned for the acquisitions of BEA, PeopleSoft and Siebel combined,' said Oracle President Safra Catz."
Books

eReader.com Limits E-book Sales To US Citizens 182

An anonymous reader writes "eReader.com seems to have begun applying distribution restrictions to its library. I first noticed that there was a FAQ page about distribution restrictions this morning. When I tried to order a few books this afternoon I simply couldn't — a large banner on the order confirmation told me the books had distribution restrictions. I checked a number of titles but it seems a large number of books are no longer available to non-US citizens like me. It is interesting to note that this policy change got implemented shortly after Barnes&Noble purchased Fictionwise. I have no idea if the new owners are behind this new policy but it seems crazy to restrict sales of ebooks. I've bought dozens of ebooks from eReader the past 4 years. I still have 15 dollar store credit but cannot buy any of the books I am interested in." (Right now, the link that should display these new geographic restrictions returns an error message that says the page is being updated.) Sounds like Barnes & Noble is taking its cues from Apple.
Earth

Curved Laser Beams Could Help Tame Lightning 184

Urchin writes "Laser beams just gained a new property — they can curve through space. That's what happens when ultrashort laser pulses pass through a phase pattern mask and a lens, which together shift the most intense region of the beam from the center to the right-hand side. The asymmetry in the pulse causes it to drift progressively further to the right along an arc as it travels. The laser beam is so intense that it ionizes the air it passes through to create a curved plasma channel. Those kinds of channels can be up to 100 meters long — direct them at thunderclouds and they could first trigger lightning to spark and then act as a convenient but short-lived lightning rod to guide it safely to the ground, according to some researchers."
Microsoft

Closing Time At Microsoft's Campus Pub 393

theodp writes "Just three days before the Spitfire pub was to open on Microsoft's Entertainment & Devices Division campus, TechFlash reports that Microsoft got cold feet and pulled the plug on the project, leaving the bar's owner and his 22 employees in the lurch. 'I am completely stunned and disappointed by the decision,' said now lease-less owner Jonathan Sposato, who's stuck with space built out as a pub, complete with a giant bar, a fireplace, and eight beer taps. (He says it wouldn't be economically viable to refit it as a restaurant.) Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellos confirmed the company's sudden change of heart: 'The goal was always to create a cool gathering place for employees, but to do so in a manner that's consistent with a business environment. We decided we should do something more appropriate, and that meant not having a pub.' The new pub had been in development for more than a year."
The Media

Paid Shilling Comes to Twitter 134

An anonymous reader alerts us that an outfit called Magpie is paying Twitter users to tout advertisers' products. Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb has identified a number of household-name companies — among them Apple, Skype, Kodak, Cisco, Adobe, Roxio, PC Tools, and Box.net — whose products are hyped by identically worded, paid Magpie tweets. But comments to Kirkpatrick's post, including one from a Box.net spokesman, make it sound likely that these shills were paid for not by the companies themselves, but by affiliate marketers. That may not matter. In the same way that Belkin recently got burned paying consumers to write complimentary online reviews about the company's products, the makers of products and services touted through Magpie may find themselves tainted in the backlash from this new form of astroturfing. Kirkpatrick concludes his post: "So there's the Twitter-sphere for you! Bring on 'real time search,' bring on a globally connected community, bring on vapid, vile, stupid shilling. It all seems pretty sad to me."
The Military

Better Living Through Nukes? 432

perkonis writes "So, you've got 23,000 nukes laying about and no one to use them on. What to do with them? Well, you blow up stuff for fun and profit. Some of the ideas range from good on paper (such as mining oil shale) to just downright bad (such as making a new Panama Canal). Making a big ditch by blowing up nukes — what could possibly go wrong?"
Movies

Decent DVD-Ripping Solution For Linux? 501

supersloshy writes "I'm a user of Ubuntu Linux and I have been for a little while now. Recently I've been trying to copy DVDs onto a portable media player, but everything I've tried isn't working right. dvd::rip always gets the language mixed up (for example, when ripping 'Howl's Moving Castle,' one of the files it ripped to was in Japanese instead of English), Acidrip just plain isn't working for me (not recognizing a disc with spaces in its name, refusing to encode, etc.), Thoggen is having trouble with chapters (chapter 1 repeated twice for me once), and OGMRip has the audio out of sync. What I'm looking for is a reliable program to copy the movie into a single file with none of the audio or video glitches as mentioned above. Is there even such thing on Linux? If you can't think of a decent Linux-based solution, then a Windows one is fine as long as it works."
Sun Microsystems

What If Oracle Bought Sun Microsystems? 237

snydeq writes "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister believes Oracle is next in line to make a play for Sun now that IBM has withdrawn its offer. Dismissing server market arguments in favor of Cisco or Dell as suitors, McAllister suggests that MySQL, ZFS, DTrace, and Java make Sun an even better asset to Oracle than to IBM. MySQL as a complement to Oracle's existing database business would make sense, given Oracle's 2005 purchase of Innobase, and with 'the long history of Oracle databases on Solaris servers, it might actually see owning Solaris as an asset,' McAllister writes. But the 'crown jewel' of the deal would be Java. 'It's almost impossible to overestimate the importance of Java to Oracle. Java has become the backbone of Oracle's middleware strategy,' McAllister contends."
Google

iPhone App Causes Google To Shut Down SMS Service 420

An anonymous reader writes "A few days ago, Inner Fence released a paid iPhone app called Infinite SMS, which let iPhone users employ Google's free SMS gateway to send SMS messages without paying their service providers. The resulting surge in traffic on Google's SMS gateway forced Google to block all third-party applications from using the free SMS feature — including Google's own GTalk client."
The Almighty Buck

Sony Bringing RMT To Vanguard 39

Eurogamer reports that Sony Online Entertainment will be adding the ability to do real money trading to at least some of their Vanguard: Saga of Heroes servers. It's the same service they opened for a pair of Everquest II servers a while back. Quoting: "The service, offered by Live Gamer, allows players to sell items, currency and characters for real cash through a secure channel, authorised by the game operator. Most real-money trading in MMOs is a 'grey' market that doesn't have the operator's consent. ... Sony Online Entertainment recently said that it had no intention to bring its other real-money trading initiative — the Station Cash item shop — to Vanguard."

Comment Re:Russia Saves US Manned Spaceflight? (Score 2, Interesting) 161

Why not let (extraorbital) US Manned Spaceflight die for now?

Before you reply, consider for a moment the relative gains we have gotten from things like Hubble, Cassini, the mars rovers, Japan's Hinode solar satellite, etc, to what we have achieved with the ISS and the projected goals of Orion, versus the costs of the programs.

I have a strong knee-jerk reaction against letting manned spaceflight die too; dammit, I *want* people to walk on Mars. But the fact is, we are learning a hell of a lot from unmanned missions at a tiny fraction of the cost.

We can resurrect the idea of extraorbital manned missions at any time; would it make sense to shelve them for now though?

Also, I wouldn't frame the argument for manned spaceflight as "will of the people" if I were you; what you and I want in this respect is likely quite different than the (general) "will of the people".

Comment Re:Russia Saves US Manned Spaceflight? (Score 4, Informative) 161

Actually the budget deficits were not manageable; they were simply pushed back.

This is not a partisan issue at all; increases in the national debt are public record and there for anyone to see, be it on wikipedia or .gov websites.

The Reagan administration borrowed more money than all the presidents before him, combined. Basically, it was the same idea as living "well" by maxing out credit cards and getting new ones when you fill up the old ones. Fun while it lasts, but someone has to pay for it eventually.

So, we get to where we are today, with the interest on the national debt being more than 20 times NASA's annual budget. Granted, a lot of that came from both presidents Bush too, especially the latter. GHWB kind of inherited a problem there from Reagan.

Anyway, remember that when you look back to the Reagan years as some kind of boon for the space industry. Short term, definitely; long term, not so much.

Comment Re:Moving ISS not a crazy idea at all (Score 1) 161

Might not be so bad. The thrust required to get it into a transfer orbit might not be so large, and it is not too difficult to think of ways to mitigate the modular asymmetry. For example, put the thruster on one side of the station CG, and on the other side, build out a boom that then supports all the individual modules via guy wires or cables. Not trivial, but probably easier than building a second station in the location you would want to move the ISS to.

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