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IBM Adopts Open Patent Policy 91

Andy Updegrove writes to mention a New York Times article about IBM's bold new move to reform patent practices. The nation's largest patent holder will adopt several new policies intended to clear up the veil of secrecy and wall of lawsuits that plague the patent process. From the article: "The policy, being announced today, includes standards like clearly identifying the corporate ownership of patents, to avoid filings that cloak authorship under the name of an individual or dummy company. It also asserts that so-called business methods alone -- broad descriptions of ideas, without technical specifics -- should not be patentable. The move by I.B.M. does carry business risks. Patents typically take three or four years after filing to be approved by the patent office. Companies often try to keep patent applications private for as long as possible, to try to hide their technical intentions from rivals."

GUIs Get a Makeover 540

jcatcw writes "From Xerox PARC to Apple to Microsoft, the GUI has been evolving over the years, and the increased complexity of current systems means it will continue to change. For example, Microsoft is switching from dropdown menus to contextual ribbons. Mobile computing creates new demands for efficient presentation while the desktop GUI doesn't scale to larger screens. Dual-mode user interfaces may show up first on PDA phones but then migrate to laptops and desktops. Which of today's innovations will become tomorrow's gaffs?"

Could a Reputation System Improve Wikipedia? 216

Acidus writes, "There is an excellent article in this month's First Monday about using reputation systems to limit the effects of vandalism on public wikis like Wikipedia. It discusses the benefits and weaknesses of various algorithms to judge how 'reliable' a given piece of text or an edit is. From the article: 'I propose that it would be better to provide Wikipedia users with a visual cue that enables them to see what assertions in an article have, in fact, survived the scrutiny of a large number of people, and what assertions are relatively fresh, and may not be as reliable. This would enable Wikipedia users to take more advantage of the power of the collaborative editing process taking place without forcing that process to change.'"

Gaming Tourneys Coming to U.S. Television 119

greig writes "DirecTV is aiming to bring to the states what the South Koreans have been enjoying for years: regular broadcasts of videogaming tournaments. Games at the first tournament were Battlefield 2, Counterstrike 1.6, Halo 2, Project Gothem Racing and Dead or Alive 4. The initial broadcasts of the exhibition invitational are on the free DirecTV channel 101 this weekend. Is this the first step to escalating videogames to the status of the X-Games and poker?" Taken from the about section: "The Championship Gaming Series will launch as a league starting 2007; however, in 2006, we will broadcast 3 television events: Championship Gaming Invitational, the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL) Winter Finals and an event that will be announced shortly."

Amazon Unbox Video Store Launches 308

andrewl6097 writes "Amazon.com has launched it's Amazon Unbox video store. Looks like about 1300 movies and 350 tv series, at $9.99 and up for movies and $1.99 per TV episode. Downloads come with a DVD quality version and a version more appropriate for portable players (using Windows DRM). Also, videos can be re-downloaded from your Amazon media library. Cool!"

Trouble on the Debian Front? 255

Linux.com is reporting that Matthew Garrett, one of the more active Debian developers, has called some ongoing problems with the Debian project into focus with his resignation. While he didn't hold any actual office, many prominent Debian developers described Garrett as "high profile". From the article: "In his own blog, Garrett relates his gradual discovery that Debian's free-for-all discussions were making him intensely irritable and unhappy with other members of the community. He contrasts Debian's organization with Ubuntu's more formal structure. In particular, he mentions Ubuntu's code of conduct, which is enforced on the distribution's mailing lists, suggesting that it 'helps a great deal in ensuring that discussions mostly remain technical.' He also approves of Ubuntu's more formal structure as 'a pretty explicit acknowledgment that not all developers are equal and some are possibly more worth listening to than others.' Then, in reference to Mark Shuttleworth, the founder and funder of Ubuntu, Garrett says, 'At the end of the day, having one person who can make arbitrary decisions and whose word is effectively law probably helps in many cases.'"

Apple Gives In to Absurd Patent Claims 162

gottabeme writes Apple has settled with a small Oregon company that claimed patents on simple aspects of iTunes, such as sorting and searching tracks, copying tracks to media players, and just plain choosing a track to play." From the article: "In the 10-page suit, lawyers for Contois said that David Contois, the owner, conceived of and developed a computer interface for playing music on an internal or external computer-responsive music device, which he then exhibited at the 1995 COMDEX trade show and the 1996 NAMM music industry trade show. According to the suit, persons who were at the time employed by or later became employed by Apple were present at both trade shows and viewed Contois' software. The suit charged that Apple later 'copied' the invention and used the design ideas in the interface for iTunes."

AOL CTO Shown the Door 277

BrewerDude writes "Reuters is reporting that AOL Chief Technical Officer Maureen Govern has resigned from the company. Is this an appropriate penalty for releasing 20 million keyword search results, or is it too harsh, or not harsh enough? What do the slashdot readers think is the appropriate outcome of this fiasco?"

YouTube's Growing Competition 139

bart_scriv writes "BusinessWeek looks at YouTube's rapidly growing imitators and questions the site's long-term viability. In addition to the competition, YouTube continues to face problems caused by its reliance on copyrighted material; the site's popularity is service- (rather than emotion-) based, which makes it a ripe target for anyone that might replicate and improve the service. From the article: 'YouTube's own challengers are advancing at a rapid rate. AOL is re-engineering its video site to mirror YouTube's success, and CNN is launching CNN Exchange, which will house user-contributed video features. Then there are sites like Eefoof.com, Panjea.com, Revver and Blip.TV, which share up to 50 percent of ad page revenue with the creator of the videos. Others like Dabble.com (currently in beta) sort through all video hosting sites (like YouTube and its competition) for search content, while specialty video sites like Pornotube concentrate on one point of interest.'"

Star Trek... Inspirational Posters? 202

Noryungi writes "Hot on the heels of Despair dot com, here comes... the Star Trek Inspirational Posters!. Imagine a mind-meld of Mr Spock, Despair's demotivational attitude and the Linux Distro Parodies, and you have one heck of a funny site. If you are a true Trekkie, don't click on the link, as this is certainly going to offend you..."

Surprising Burning Crusade Details for WoW 278

Heartless Gamer writes "There is quite a few surprises waiting in World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade. The raiding scene in World of Warcraft is going to dramatically change once Burning Crusade is released. Here's the long and short of it: all of the new high-end raid content will be capped at 25 heads. Indeed, all the raid content that was mentioned in today's demo, with the exception of Kharazan (which is designed for 10 players) is being designed around a force of 25. Blizzard has completely done away with 40-man raiding; Molten Core, Blackwing Lair, the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj, and Naxxrammas will still exist, of course. There just isn't going to be any new 40-man content. How's that for earth-shattering?"

Microsoft Port 25 interviews Miguel de Icaza 202

Ben Galliart writes "Microsoft's Port 25 blog, the voice of MS Linux Labs and a spin-off from the MS Channel 9 blog, has an interview with Miguel de Icaza where they discuss the Gnome and Mono projects. It is a nice change of pace to see Microsoft go from attacking Novell and Linux to interviewing a Novell employee about a Linux desktop system. Port 25 has come under some fire since they can not always be trusted. Port 25 has on occasion put out FUD such as claiming Microsoft is doing more to improve security than any other vendor and a security guide attacking Red Hat for not providing security updates for Red Hat v9 despite that Red Hat ended support back in 2004. They have also released a password synchronization daemon for Red Hat, AIX, HPUX and Solaris that must run as root and makes several calls to strcpy() (which violates Microsoft's guidelines for doing secure coding)."

Transgaming Technologies and Mac Developers 141

ZerocarboN writes "With such current Mac publishers as Aspyr and MacSoft typically spending months to bring games to the Mac, Mr. State said: "We imagine that they are re-evaluating their business models. Our technology does revolutionize how games are brought to the Mac, which we believe will result in a paradigm shift in the Mac game publishing landscape." He added that TransGaming has no plans to license Cider to other companies, but "we are always open to discussion.""

What it Means to be a Mashup 57

An anonymous reader writes "IBM DevWorks has provided us with an introductory article that helps define what it means to be a mashup. In addition to just defining what a mashup really is the author also delves into what they do for the community at large and where they may take us in the near future. From the article: 'Mashups are an exciting genre of interactive Web applications that draw upon content retrieved from external data sources to create entirely new and innovative services. They are a hallmark of the second generation of Web applications informally known as Web 2.0.'"

The UK's Total Surveillance 439

Budenny writes "The Register has a story in its ongoing coverage of the UK ID Card story. This one suggests, with links to a weekend news story, that the Prime Minister in waiting has bought the idea that all electronic transactions in the UK should be linked to a central government/police database. Every cash withdrawal, every credit card purchase, ever loyalty card use ... And that data should flow back from the police database to (eg) a loyalty card use. So, for example, not only would the government know what books you were buying, but the bookstore would also know if you had an outstanding speeding ticket!"

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