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Patents

Microsoft Invents Price-Gouging the Least Influential 259

theodp writes "In the world envisioned by Microsoft's just-published patent application for Social Marketing, monopolists will maximize revenue by charging prices inversely related to the perceived influence an individual has on others. Microsoft gives an example of a pricing model that charges different people $0, $5, $10, $20, or $25 for the identical item based on the influence the purchaser wields. A presentation describing the revenue optimization scheme earned one of the three inventors applause (MS-Research video), and the so-called 'influence and exploit' strategies were also featured at WWW 2008 (PDF). The invention jibes nicely with Bill Gates's pending patents for identifying influencers. Welcome to the brave new world of analytics."
Books

Copyright Industries Oppose Treaty For the Blind 135

langelgjm sends in a piece from Wired, which details the background of a proposed treaty to allow cross-border sharing of books for the blind — a treaty which is opposed by an almost unified front of business interests in the US, with the exception of Google. "A broad swath of American enterprise ranging from major software makers to motion picture and music companies are joining forces to oppose a new international treaty that would make books more accessible to the blind. With the exception of Google, almost every major industry player has expressed disapproval of the treaty, which would allow cross-border sharing of digitized books accessible to the blind and visually impaired. Google's chief copyright counsel believes the industry-wide opposition is mainly due to 'opposition to a larger agenda of limitations and exceptions... We believe this is an unproductive approach to solving what is a discrete, long-standing problem that affects a group that needs and deserves the protections of the international community.'"
Cellphones

Fines Fail To Curb Cell Phone Usage While Driving 339

andylim writes "An in-depth study of over 14,000 London drivers by the Transport Research Laboratory has found an increase in the number of London motorists making and taking calls using their handsets at the wheel between 2008 and 2009, even though harsher penalties were introduced in 2007. It seems that most people, at least in London, still don't respect the fact that there's a much higher risk of being involved in an accident if you're using your cell phone."
Operating Systems

ARM-Powered Laptops To Increase Linux Market Share 296

Charbax writes "Last April, Microsoft argued that it controlled the netbook OS market for devices sold in certain Microsoft-friendly US retail stores, while ABI Research claims that Linux actually has 32% of the worldwide netbook market, and that its market-share is growing. At the recent Netbook World Summit in Paris France, Aaron J. Seigo, Community leader at the KDE Foundation, and Arnaud Laprévote, CTO at Mandriva Linux, give us their estimation for next year's Linux market share (video) in the consumer laptop market. Their estimation is that Linux will dominate in ARM-powered laptops and that those may take over a significant share of the overall laptop market by their significantly cheaper prices (as low as $80), longer battery life (as long as 20-40 hours on a small battery using the Pixel Qi screens), as well as lower size and weight. Running some of the Chromium OS builds for ARM available shortly and having a full browser experience on those cheaper and better ARM-powered Linux laptops could make it a significant mass market success to shake up the Intel and Microsoft consumer PC/laptop monopoly in its boots."
Government

House Outlaws Obama's NASA Intervention 209

TopSpin writes "NASA's Constellation Program and Ares rockets appear to have strong support in Congress. An appropriations bill passed by the House includes language that bars 'any efforts by NASA to cancel or change the current Constellation program without first seeking approval of Congress.' The Administration's appointed NASA leadership is being publicly hostile towards its traditional aerospace affiliations. As Charles Bolden put it to industry execs, 'We are going to be fighting and fussing over the coming year,' and 'Some of you are not going to like me because we are not going to do the same kind of things we've always done.'"
GNOME

GNOME Developer Suggests Split From GNU Project 587

blozza2070 writes "In a recent posting from Philip Van Hoof, he suggests that GNOME split off from the GNU Project and has proposed a vote. He was informed he will need 10% of members to agree for a vote to be put forth. At the same time, David Schlesinger (on the GNOME Advisory Board) has agreed on a vote. Stormy Peters said she doesn't agree with this, but then gave everyone instructions on how to proceed with a vote. She mentioned that roughly 20 members are needed to agree." The mailing list server is timing out as of this writing, but iTWire has the Cliff's notes.
Government

White House Plans Open Access For Research 74

Hugh Pickens writes "Currently, the National Institutes of Health require that research funded by its grants be made available to the public online at no charge within 12 months of publication. Now the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President is launching a 'Public Access Policy Forum' to determine whether this policy should be extended to other science agencies and, if so, how it should be implemented. 'The NIH model has a variety of features that can be evaluated, and there are other ways to offer the public enhanced access to peer-reviewed scholarly publications,' OSTP says in the request for information. 'The best models may [be] influenced by agency mission, the culture and rate of scientific development of the discipline, funding to develop archival capabilities, and research funding mechanisms.' The OSTP will conduct an interactive, online discussion that will focus on three major questions: Should this policy be extended to other science agencies and, if so, how it should be implemented? In what format should the data be submitted in order to make it easy to search and retrieve information? What are the best mechanisms to ensure compliance? 'It's very encouraging to see the Obama Administration focus on ensuring public access to the results of taxpayer-funded research [reg. required] as a key way to maximize our collective investment in science,' says Heather Joseph, executive director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition."
Music

Music While Programming? 1019

BubbaDoom writes "In our cubicle-ville, we have programmers intermixed with accounting, customer support and marketing. As programmers, it is our habit to put on our headphones and listen to our portable music players to drown out all of the noise from everyone else. The boss recently sent an email just to the programmers demanding that we do not use our music players at work because he thinks it distracts us from our jobs and causes us to make mistakes. Of course, we've explained to him that prattle from the other people is much, much more distracting, but he insists his policy is the right one. What is the Slashdot community's experience with music at work for programmers?"

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