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Businesses

Pay What You Want — a Sustainable Business Model? 133

revealingheart writes "As 2010 comes to a close, it could be remembered as the year pay-what-you-want pricing reached the mainstream. Along with the two Humble Indie Bundles, YAWMA offer a game and music bundle, and Rock, Paper and Shotgun reports on the curiously named Bundle of Wrong, made to help fund a developer who contracted pneumonia. More examples include when Reddit briefly let their users donate an amount of their choosing for upgraded accounts when they were having financial difficulties; the Indie Music Cancer Drive launched Songs for the Cure for cancer research; and Mavaru launched an online store where users can buy albums for any amount. Can pay-what-you-want become a sustainable mainstream business model? Or is it destined to be a continued experiment for smaller groups?"
Piracy

Submission + - RIAA, MPAA recruit MasterCard as Internet Police (myce.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Two weeks ago, MasterCard felt the wrath of Anonymous Operation Payback-style DDoS attacks after refusing to process payments that were intended to fund WikiLeaks, the website which began leaking confidential US diplomatic cables last month. Now, the company is preparing to head down another controversial path by pledging to deny transactions which support websites that host pirated movies, music, games, or other copyrighted content.

MasterCard lobbyists have also been in talks with entertainment industry trade groups, including the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and have made it clear that the company will support the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), sources close to the talks have said.

Microsoft

Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 Released 175

Greg writes with this excerpt from Ars Techica: "Following a four-month beta program, Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) 2.0 has been released. The new version significantly revamps the heuristic scanning engine, adds Windows Firewall integration as well as network traffic inspection. The update unquestionably makes MSE, which has already become very popular due to its quiet but effective ways, even more of a must-have for Windows users. MSE has always been very good at finding and removing malware, but it has relied mainly on antimalware definitions. The improved heuristic engine makes it even better at detecting threats; at the same time, we expect the number of false positives to slightly increase as well. The new Windows Firewall integration is a minor improvement: it lets you tweak Microsoft's firewall from inside MSE."
Image

Erlang and OTP in Action Screenshot-sm 63

RickJWagner writes "Manning has just released a new Erlang title, called Erlang and OTP in Action. For quite some time now, there's been a definitive guide to Erlang-- Joe Armstrong's excellent book Programming Erlang. Well, it's time to make a little extra room on the bookshelf, because the Erlang book-o-sphere has just shifted. There are now two must-have resources for an Erlang programmer." Keep reading for the rest of Rick's review.
Firefox

IE9 Team Says "Our GPU Acceleration Is Better Than Yours" 360

An anonymous reader writes "Over on the IE blog Microsoft's Ted Johnson writes, 'With IE9, developers have a fully-hardware accelerated display pipeline that runs from their markup to the screen. Based on their blog posts, the hardware-accelerated implementations of other browsers generally accelerate one phase or the other, but not yet both. Delivering full hardware acceleration, on by default, is an architectural undertaking. When there is a desire to run across multiple platforms, developers introduce abstraction layers and inevitably make tradeoffs which ultimately impact performance and reduce the ability of a browser to achieve 'native' performance. Getting the full value of the GPU is extremely challenging and writing to intermediate layers and libraries instead of an operating system's native support makes it even harder. Windows' DirectX long legacy of powering of the most intensive 3D games has made DirectX the highest performance GPU-based rendering system available.' Some Mozillians hit back in the comments to the IE Blog post and others have written blog posts of their own. PC Mag's Michael Muchmore seems to conclude that IE9 and Firefox 4 are more or less the same (despite the title of his article) while Chrome currently lags behind."
Earth

China Plans To Mine the Yellow Sea Floor 223

eldavojohn writes "Details are limited but state media is reporting on $75 million being put into a new research facility in Qingdao, Shandong Province that will conduct research into mining the sea floor. From the article: 'Scientists believe sea beds at a depth of 4,000 to 6,000 meters hold abundant deposits of rare metals and methane hydrate, a solidified form of natural gas bound into ice that can serve as a new energy source.' The research center's first goal is to do surveying and exploration with a new submersible named 'Jiaolong' (a mythical aquatic Chinese dragon). Hopefully these quests yield energy resources to meet growing demand for resources like liquefied coal in China."
Image

Bicycles As a Gateway To Government Control Screenshot-sm 634

somaTh writes "Dan Maes, a candidate for governor of Colorado, thinks he's found an international conspiracy that starts with bike sharing. The article describes his current complaints with the incumbent's policies. 'The bike program in it of itself, if that's all it is, I wouldn't be opposed to it,' Maes told 9NEWS. 'What I am opposed to is if it's part of a bigger program that the mayor has signed on to as part of a UN program. That I would be opposed to.' He goes on to argue that the bicycle program is only a gateway into bigger policies including, but not limited to, forced abortions and population control. I understand that bike seats are uncomfortable, but I had no idea it was on purpose."
Google

Google and Verizon In Talks To Prioritize Traffic (Updated) 410

Nrbelex writes "Google and Verizon are nearing an agreement that could allow Verizon to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content's creators are willing to pay for the privilege. Any agreement between Verizon and Google could also upend the efforts of the Federal Communications Commission to assert its authority over broadband service, which was severely restricted by a federal appeals court decision in April. People close to the negotiations who were not authorized to speak publicly about them said an agreement could be reached as soon as next week. If completed, Google, whose Android operating system powers many Verizon wireless phones, would agree not to challenge Verizon's ability to manage its broadband Internet network as it pleased." Update: 08/05 20:03 GMT by T : nr3a1 writes with this informative update excerpted from Engadget: "Google's Public Policy Twitter account just belted out a denial of these claims, straight-up saying that the New York Times 'is wrong.' Here's the full tweet, which certainly makes us feel a bit more at ease. For now. '@NYTimes is wrong. We've not had any convos with VZN about paying for carriage of our traffic. We remain committed to an open internet.' Verizon's now also issued a statement and, like Google, it's denying the claims in the original New York Times report."
The Courts

RIAA Calls YouTube-Viacom Decision Bad Public Policy 260

adeelarshad82 writes "The Recording Industry Association of America voiced its opposition to the recent decision in the YouTube-Viacom copyright infringement case, stating that 'the district court's dangerously expansive reading of the liability immunity provisions of the [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] upsets the careful balance struck within the law and is bad public policy.' Cary Sherman, RIAA president, also wrote in a blog post, 'It will actually discourage service providers from taking steps to minimize the illegal exchange of copyrighted works on their sites.'"
Image

Ozzy Osbourne To Be Genetically Decoded Screenshot-sm 256

Dashiva Dan writes "DNA research lab Knome has announced that it is going to sequence Ozzy's entire genome. Ozzy, the former lead singer of Black Sabbath, reality television star, and spokesman for World of Warcraft among many other things, has been selected so they can discover, among other things, how drugs are absorbed in the body. The amount of abuse Ozzy has put himself through and survived is a large part of why he was chosen."
Software

BSA Says Software Theft Exceeded $51B In 2009 350

alphadogg sends a NetworkWorld.com piece going over the Business Software Alliance's latest stats on software theft around the world. "Expanding PC sales in emerging markets is increasing the rate of software piracy, according to the Business Software Alliance and IDC. The rate of global software piracy in 2009 was 43%, meaning that for every $100 worth of legitimate software sold in 2009, an additional $75 worth of unlicensed software also made its way into the market. This is a 2-percentage-point increase from 2008. Software theft exceeded $51 billion in commercial value in 2009, according to the BSA. IDC says lowering software piracy by just 10 percentage points during the next four years would create nearly 500,000 new jobs and pump $140 billion into 'ailing economies.' ... In the United States, software piracy remained at 20%, the lowest level of software theft of any nation in the world. ... The PC markets in Brazil, India, and China accounted for 86% of the growth in PC shipments worldwide." The BSA president said, "Few if any industries could withstand the theft of $51 billion worth of their products." It's unclear whether that was a brag about the industry's robustness, or a result of the industry's low cost of goods sold.
Image

Website Sells Pubic Lice Screenshot-sm 319

A British website called crabrevenge.com will help you prove that there is literally nothing you can't find online by selling you pubic lice. A disclaimer on the site says the creators "do not endorse giving people lice," and the lice are for "novelty purposes only." The company also boasts about a facility "where we do all of our parasite husbandry and carefully considered selective breeding." Three different packages are available: "Green package - One colony that can lay as many as 30 eggs for about $20. Blue package - Three colonies to share with your friends or freeze a batch or two for about $35. Red package - A vial of 'shampoo-resistant F-strain crabs' which can take up to two weeks to kill for about $52."
Oracle

Oracle Restricts Access To Sun Firmware Downloads 202

boer lee writes with the news that you can expect trouble in downloading firmware updates for your Sun server if you purchased it before March 16, 2010. "In a somewhat surprising move (and without any notification to customers), Oracle shut down public access to firmware downloads. I learned this the hard way when I contacted Oracle customer service almost two weeks ago. Yes, it took 13 days for me to get access to the firmware download for systems under the standard warranty (i.e. less than a year old)."

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