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Word of the Year - "Truthiness" 254

KingSkippus writes "Stephen Colbert calls it 'truth that comes from the gut, not books.' Merriam-Webster calls it their 2006 Word of the Year. The word, first introduced [Windows media] on 'The Word' segment of The Colbert Report, won by a five-to-one margin. In spite of Colbert's ironic dismissal of dictionaries and other reference books, will Colbert's coined word actually be added to those books? With media outlets like CNN and MSNBC covering it, the idea may very well have truthiness."

Machine Gun Sentry Robot Unveiled 845

mpthompson writes "Samsung has partnered with a Korean university to develop a robotic sentry equipped with a 5.5mm machine gun. Meant for deployment along the DMZ between North and South Korea, the $200,000 robot employs sophisticated pattern recognition software for targeting humans. No three laws here, but the robot does include a speaker that can be used to politely issue a warning before taking the target out. The promotional video is both scary and funny at the same time."

US Citizens To Require ''Clearance'' To Leave? 987

jo7hs2 writes "The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has proposed a system which will in essence make it mandatory for you to have permission before leaving or entering the country, effectively putting everyone on a no-fly list unless the government says otherwise. Interestingly, the proposal does not seem to cover personal travel, only that on some sort of carrier like an airline or cruise vessel. While this certainly is concerning, it isn't exactly new, as a passport is already required for circumstances covered under the proposal."

Forgent Settles JPEG Patent Cases 167

eldavojohn writes "As many of you know, the JPEG image compression is actually proprietary. This has resulted in many lawsuits between its owner, Forgent Networks, and other companies that have used it. Yesterday Microsoft and about 60 other defendants settled with Forgent to the tune of $8 million. For a company with annual revenues of $15 million, that's nothing to sneeze at. You haven't heard the last of Forgent yet, as the article states, 'It is currently pursuing claims against cable companies over a patent that it says covers technology inside digital video recorders.' Sounds like that one could be worth a little bit of cash, wouldn't you think?"

Firefly Fans Fight Back Against Universal 294

Gossi writes "What happens when a film studio and a fanbase get into bed? Fans of Joss Whedon's Firefly, and the movie by Universal Studios — Serenity — are not amused. After being encouraged to viral market Serenity, the studio has started legal action against fans (demanding $9000 in retroactive licensing fees in one case and demanding fan promotion stop), and going after Cafepress. The fans response? Retroactively invoice Universal for their services."

EMI Exec Says 'The Music CD is Dead' 528

Anonycat writes "Alain Levy, the chairman of EMI Music, made a speech at the London Business School declaring 'the end of the music CD as it is.' He went on to say that most CDs are simply used for ripping onto digital audio players. Levy adds that by the beginning of 2007, all EMI CDs will come with additional material to make them more attractive to the consumer. Revenue from CDs still outranks revenue from downloads by better than 6 to 1. Would it take 'additional material' to get you to keep buying CDs? What material would you like to see?"

2006 Election Maps Mashups 105

John Fitzpatrick writes, "Search Engine Watch has an article on the launch this week of map-based search tools to follow the 2006 Congressional elections, from both Google Earth and the map-based real estate site HotPads.com. The Google Earth Blog notes the release of two election-oriented layers outlining the borders of the congressional districts and linking to Google News articles related to the different races. And HotPads is offering the 2006 Election Edition. From their blog: 'The 435 congressional districts are outlined on HotPads Maps, with red and blue designating the party affiliation of the districts' current Representatives. By clicking on the districts' "I" buttons..., users can view quick facts about the districts including the current Representatives and the candidates in November's contests. By clicking on the quick facts bubble, users can get more detailed information [from] Wikipedia articles with detailed information about the candidates and the close races.'"

Fox And Universal Say Goodbye To Halo Movie 310

Master_of_Tumbleweeds writes "20th Century and Universal Pictures, the two studios that agreed to co-finance the film adaptation of Microsoft's Halo video game, have abruptly pulled out of the project. This leaves executive producers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh without financing or distribution. A ballooning budget (rumored to have been closing in on the $200 Mil mark) and apparent lack of confidence in rookie feature film director Neill Blomkamp are being named the major culprits for Fox and Universal's decision."

How Warcraft Really Does Wreck Lives 617

An anonymous reader writes "There's a great blog post about how World of Warcraft can ruin lives, it's written by a person that was for a long time a member of the largest council on what is now one of the oldest guilds in the world." This is a story that is very familiar to a lot of folks. I know people who are actively wrecking their lives and risking their jobs by playing too much of a video game.

911 Call Tracking Site Stirs Concern 239

Frosty Piss writes, "This story comes from the Seattle Post-Intellegencer. For the past year, John Eberly has operated Seattle911.com, a site that until this week took real-time feeds of 911 calls from the Seattle Fire Department and plotted them on Google Maps. But on learning of Eberly's site, officials cited 'security concerns' and altered the way they display 911 calls on their Web site, changing the format from text to graphical, preventing Eberly from acquiring the raw data. (Several programmers are quoted musing how trivial it would be to work around this evasion.) Fire officials worry that allowing others to display where fire crews are on an Internet map could make things easier if terrorists were planning an attack. That logic left Eberly and others scratching their heads, as the information continues to be publicly available on the Fire Department's site. 'We're not obligated to provide this information. It's something that we did for customer service in the first place,' a Fire Department spokesperson said. So is this public information? Should the data be available to the public in real time?" The Seattle P-I story ends with a quote from Bruce Schneier: "The government is not saying, 'Hey, this data needs to be secret,' they are saying, 'This data needs to be inconvenient to get to.'"

Longhorn Server's "Improved" Security 151

An anonymous reader writes, "The 'most secure Windows ever' may be very secure from hackers and malware — but what do you do when Longhorn Server lets you install the OS, set up Active Directory, and initialize the domain without once asking you even to create an administrator password? From the article: 'What happened to Windows Server? Where did all of the stringent security checks and ultra-protection of Windows Server 2003 go? Windows Server 2000 was quite insecure, and Windows Server 2003 turned over a new leaf... But it seems Microsoft is more than willing to flip that page back — even Windows Server 2000 required an Administrator password at the very least.'" Inevitably, Dave Barry's years-old quote comes to mind: "Microsoft has a new version out, Windows XP, which according to everybody is the 'most reliable Windows ever.' To me, this is like saying that asparagus is 'the most articulate vegetable ever.'"

Ballmer Sounds Off 335

PreacherTom writes "Steve Ballmer shares his thoughts on the Web 2.0 phenomenon, Zune, XBox, Vista, Bill's upcoming 2008 retirement, the future of Microsoft, and other subjects. For example, regarding the GooTube deal: "Right now, there's no business model for YouTube that would justify $1.6 billion. And what about the rights holders? At the end of the day, a lot of the content that's up there is owned by somebody else. The truth is what Google is doing now is transferring the wealth out of the hands of rights holders into Google." He's blunt, if nothing else."

Phantom Entertainment Announces Lapboard Preorders 59

Arian writes "Phantom Entertainment (formally Infium Labs) are set to finally release their first product after years of investors trust and years on John Public's distrust. The product is the Phantom Lapboard, a wireless keyboard/mouse combo designed so you can frag from the comfort of your couch. It is designed to work with the upcoming Phantom Game Service, if and when the service is released. Preorders for the Lapboard are available on the Phantom Entertainment website. It is due out in November, at a full retail price of $129.99.

Weakness In Linux Kernel's Binary Format 281

Goodfellas writes, "This document aims to demonstrate a design weakness found in the handling of simply linked lists used to register binary formats handled by the Linux kernel. It affects all the kernel families (2.0/2.2/2.4/2.6), allowing the insertion of infection modules in kernel space that can be used by malicious users to create infection tools, for example rootkits. Proof of concept, details, and proposed solution (in PDF form): English, Spanish.

The Troubles With the Yahool Mail Beta 239

An anonymous reader writes "Yahoo Mail recently launched their new webmail service, dubbed Beta (yes just like gmail) no doubt hoping to win back market share in the world of webmail. Their prime competition is gmail, which they've modeled some of the new features on, but Yahoo Mail Beta falls very short of offering a similar experience. The ad infested new Yahoo Mail is patchwork of ideas halfway implemented and glaring usability problems."

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