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Microsoft

Where Microsoft's Profits Come From 295

derrida writes "Microsoft is the largest, most profitable software company in the world. In case you had any doubts about where Microsoft's profit comes from, there's nothing better than a graph to make all those numbers clear. As you may have guessed, the desktop division is quite profitable, while the online division is a money pit."
Bug

Windows Patch Leaves Many XP Users With Blue Screens 658

CWmike writes "Tuesday's security updates from Microsoft have crippled Windows XP PCs with the notorious Blue Screen of Death, users have reported on the company's support forum. Complaints began early yesterday, and gained momentum throughout the day. 'I updated 11 Windows XP updates today and restarted my PC like it asked me to,' said a user identified as 'tansenroy' who kicked off a growing support thread: 'From then on, Windows cannot restart again! It is stopping at the blue screen with the following message: 'A problem has been detected and Windows has been shutdown to prevent damage to your computer.' Others joined in with similar reports. Several users posted solutions, but the one laid out by 'maxyimus' was marked by a Microsoft support engineer as the way out of the perpetual blue screens."
Censorship

AU Classification Board To Censor Mobile Apps 129

bennyboy64 writes "The Australian Classification Board is seeking to censor mobile phone applications under its National Classification Scheme. 'I recently wrote to the minister [Minister McDonald] regarding my concern that some so-called mobile phone applications, which can be purchased online or either downloaded to mobile phones or played online via mobile phone access, are not being submitted to the board for classification,' Australia's Classification Board director Donald McDonald told a Senate Estimates committee. I wonder if they know that there are over 80,000 applications on the iPhone platform alone?"
Media

Disney Close To Unveiling New "DVD Killer" 498

Uncle Rummy writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that Disney is close to releasing a new system that will sell permanent, multi-device access to digital media. The system, dubbed Keychest, is being positioned as an answer to consumer concerns about purchasing digital media that are locked to a small number of devices, and thus as a way to finally shift media sales from an ownership model to an access model. They claim that such a service would reduce the risk of losing access to content as a result of a single vendor going out of business, as purchased content would remain available from other vendors. However, they do not seem to have addressed the question of what happens to customers' access to purchased content if the Keychest service itself is discontinued."
Power

Cats "Exploit" Humans By Purring 503

An anonymous reader notes a BBC report on research recently published in the journal Current Biology, indicating that cats manipulate humans by adding a baby-like cry to their purring. "Cat owners may have suspected as much, but it seems our feline friends have found a way to manipulate us humans. Researchers at the University of Sussex have discovered that cats use a 'soliciting purr' to overpower their owners and garner attention and food. Unlike regular purring, this sound incorporates a 'cry,' with a similar frequency to a human baby's. The team said cats have 'tapped into' a human bias — producing a sound that humans find very difficult to ignore."
Censorship

The Internet Helps Iran Silence Activists 232

Hugh Pickens writes "Over the last couple of weeks, those who believe in the transformative power of technology to battle an oppressive state have pointed to Iran as a test case. However, as Farhad Manjoo writes on Slate, the real conclusion about news now coming out of Iran is that for regimes bent on survival, electronic dissent is easier to suppress than organizing methods of the past. Using a system installed last year, built in part by Nokia and Siemens, the government routes all digital traffic in the country through a single choke point, using the capabilities of deep packet inspection to monitor every e-mail, tweet, blog post, and possibly even every phone call placed in Iran. 'Compare that with East Germany, in which the Stasi managed to tap, at most, about 100,000 phone lines — a gargantuan task that required 2,000 full-time technicians to monitor the calls,' writes Manjoo. The effects of this control have been seen over the past couple days, with only a few harrowing pictures and videos getting through Iran's closed net. For most citizens, posting videos and even tweeting eyewitness accounts remains fraught with peril, and the same tools that activists use can be used by the government to spread disinformation. The government is also using crowdsourcing by posting pictures of protesters and asking citizens for help in identifying the activists. 'If you think about it, that's no surprise,' writes Manjoo. 'Who said that only the good guys get to use the power of the Web to their advantage?'"
Cellphones

AT&T's Bad Math Strikes MythBusters' Savage 305

etherlad writes "MythBusters' Adam Savage got a bill charging him $11,000 for 'a few hours' of Web surfing while in Canada, using his AT&T USB Mercury modem. AT&T gave him a quote on the data rate: '.015 cents, or a penny and a half, per kb.' Looks like AT&T didn't learn from Verizon's inability to do math. AT&T is also claiming Savage downloaded over 9 GB, which he calls 'frakking impossible.' Savage's huge following on twitter got him a speedy response by AT&T."
The Courts

Supreme Court Declines Jack Thompson Appeal 100

eldavojohn writes "Jack Thompson was disbarred last year in Florida, putting a halt to annoying lawsuits targeting game makers and the constitutional rights of gamers. Well, he had appealed to the United States Supreme Court (scheduled to be heard last Friday) to get this overturned, but instead they declined to even hear his appeal. They wouldn't even give him the time to review his appeal, so it appears his disbarment for life stands. Florida had declined to file a response to Thompson's appeal, and it turns out they didn't need to. Sad day for Jack Thompson, but a great day for gamers everywhere." This comes shortly after Thompson was frustrated by the vetoing of some legislation he promoted in Utah.
Google

Google Brings 3D To Web With Open Source Plugin 191

maxheadroom writes "Google has released an open source browser plugin that provides a JavaScript API for displaying 3D graphics in web content. Google hopes that the project will promote experimentation and help advance a collaborative effort with the Khronos Group and Mozilla to create open standards for 3D on the web. Google's plugin offers its own retained-mode graphics API, called O3D, which takes a different approach from a similar browser plugin created by Mozilla. Google's plugin is cross-platform compatible and works with several browsers. In an interview with Ars Technica, Google product manager Henry Bridge and engineering director Matt Papakipos say that Google's API will eventually converge with Mozilla's as the technology matures. The search giant hopes to bring programs like SketchUp and Google Earth to the browser space."
The Courts

RIAA Brief Attacks Free Software Foundation 554

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The RIAA has requested permission to file a response to the amicus curiae brief filed by the Free Software Foundation in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, the Boston case against a Boston University grad student accused of having downloaded some song files when in his teens. In their proposed response, the RIAA lawyers personally attacked The Free Software Foundation, Ray Beckerman (NewYorkCountryLawyer), and NYCL's blog, 'Recording Industry vs. The People.' The 9-page response (PDF) — 4 pages longer than the document to which it was responding — termed the FSF an organization 'dedicated to eliminating restrictions on copying, redistribution, and modifying computer programs,' and accused the FSF of having an 'open and virulent bias against copyrights' and 'blatant bias' against the record companies. They called 'Recording Industry vs. The People' an 'anti-recording industry web site' and stated that NYCL 'is currently subject to a pending sanctions motion for his conduct in representing a defendant' (without disclosing that plaintiffs' lawyers were 'subject to a pending motion for Rule 11 sanctions for their conduct in representing plaintiffs' in that very case)."
Sun Microsystems

Ballmer, IBM Surprised By Oracle-Sun Deal 324

Geon Lasli writes "Reporters caught up with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in Moscow to get his take on Oracle's deal to buy Sun Microsystems for US$7.4 billion. Ballmer was at a loss for words: 'I need to think about it. I am very surprised.' According to a source, IBM hadn't given up on purchasing Sun and was blindsided by Oracle's move. I guess IBM must be regretting playing tough 2 weeks ago. Unknown to outsiders, Sun had probably found the Oracle lifeboat before they decided to pull the plug on the deal."
Privacy

The FBI Has a Trojan To Watch You 372

G_of_the_J writes "A man who had cut 18 cables affecting Verizon and Comcast was blackmailing them. He had demanded bank accounts be set up and information be provided on web sites that he specified. Although he used anonymous access to get to the web sites, the FBI had planted a trojan which was downloaded to his computer. The trojan then sent his IP address and other information to the FBI."
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."
Earth

Is Alcohol Killing Our Planet? 468

Andy_Spoo writes "Something that I've been trying to get an answer to: Is alcohol killing our planet? Alcohol is a byproduct of yeast, but another is CO2. As we all know (unless you've been asleep for years), CO2 is helping to warm our planet, sending us into destruction. So how much is the manufacture and consumption of alcohol contributing to the total world CO2 level? And don't forget that bars and pubs force beer through to their pumps using large compressed cylinders of CO2. Does anyone know?"

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