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Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft slapped with $1.52 billion payout in MP3

Ice.Saoshyant writes: "Those federal juries in San Diego do seem to frown on MP3 patent infringement. They just ordered Microsoft to fork over $1.52 billion (yes, with a "b") to Alcatel-Lucent for infringing on two MP3 audio patents with its Windows Media Player, the largest patent ruling in history. Naturally, Alcatel-Lucent seems to like this turn of events.

I guess that's what they get for not using non-proprietary patent-free formats like Vorbis and FLAC. Software patents are a nightmare."
Space

Submission + - Rocket creates 1000 new pieces of space junk

MattSparkes writes: "A Russian rocket exploded in orbit on monday, creating 1000 new pieces of space junk. It is one of the worst space debris events ever recorded, the amount created being roughly on par with China's recent test. Researchers are not yet certain what may have caused it to explode; It could have been hit by a micrometeoroid, or corrosion or mechanical failure of the rocket body could have caused the fuel and oxidiser to come into contact, leading to an explosion. 2006 was an especially bad year in terms of satellite break-ups, with eight objects breaking up in orbit."
Space

Submission + - NASA to Launch Magentic Storm Probes

eldavojohn writes: "The aurora borealis (also known as the Northern Lights) has long been known to be an effect resulting from the Sun's solar wind pushing particles into the earth's magnetic field and atmosphere. In light of the possible danger that these substorms could pose to astronauts & equipment, NASA is now planning a mission to track down these magnetic storms and disturbances. The program's not so catchy name of Time History of Events and Macroscale Interaction during Substorms has a slightly catchier acronym of THEMIS. From the article, "In order to scan the Earth's magnetic field and pinpoint the origin of substorms, THEMIS researchers plan to stagger their spacecraft in different orbits that range in altitude from 10 to 30 times the radius of the Earth (the planet's radius is about 3,962 miles, or 6,378 kilometers).""
Security

Submission + - Conn. Teacher "spyware" case in-depth comm

boyko.at.netqos writes: "Network Performance Daily has two interviews dealing with the case of Julie Amero, the Connecticut schoolteacher convicted of harming minors from porn pop-up ads that the defense contends was the result of a spyware infection. The first is from defense witness Mr. Herb Horner, the second from prosecution witness Detective Mark Lounsbury."
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft pegs 1/2 million false pirates

arhhook writes: "Microsoft's anti-piracy tool has marked more than one in every five copies of Windows as bogus, the Redmond, Wash., developer said Tuesday, while more than half a million users may have been mistakenly pegged as pirates. WGA has been criticized by users and some analysts for frequently getting the real versus counterfeit question wrong, mistakenly identifying valid copies as illegitimate. Lazar acknowledged that this "false positive" rate was a burden to users and Microsoft."
Biotech

Submission + - The worst sounds in the world: official

An anonymous reader writes: Over 1.1 million votes have been counted and the results are in. But the worst sound is not fingernails on a blackboard (16th), or babies crying (3rd). The number one is truly sickening . . . vomiting.
Google

Submission + - Google Sues Leo Stoller for Racketeering

EdwardianDandy writes: "Leo Stoller — the Chicago attorney who has successfully sued companies like Paramount and Northrop Grumman because he claims to own the trademark "stealth" (as in stealth bomber) — has finally been sued by Google for racketeering. Stoller has been harassing Google for years, arguing that he owns the trademark "Google," and submitting forged documents to the courts to prove his case."
United States

Submission + - Revived House Science/Tech Investigations Subcomm.

Doc Ruby writes: The US House of Representatives has revived the once moribund Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science and Technology. Slashdot has covered government bias/censorship of science in policy. This subcommittee's job is to expose and correct such misgovernment. The new subcommittee Chair describes its recent history and immediate future in an interview. He mentions an anonymous tipoff form anyone can use to report abuse to the subcommittee.
Slashdot.org

Submission + - Cheap Geographic Web Site Load Balancing

David Tiberio writes: "I have about 20 geographically dispersed web hosting accounts averaging $10 per month. I load balance my traffic on these servers with DNS failover. My total cost is about $300 per month for the entire setup including DNS failover service. I have 100% uptime, and fast performance, separating apps and media on different datacenters. Users go to their nearest datacenter. Here's how I did it."
Movies

Submission + - Blu-ray says NO to porn, porn says NO to Blu-ray

Sarusa writes: If this is true, it's Beta vs VHS all over again and HD-DVD may be the foregone winner of the format wars. First, Heise reports (summarized from the German by sgknox.com) that Digital Playground (NSFW), who were committed to Blu-ray last year, are now producing HD-DVD titles instead. No Blu-ray disk manufacturer would make their disks because Sony doesn't want porn on Blu-ray (just as with Betamax). Second, as reported by tgdaily, the porn industry at CES overwhelmingly favors HD-DVD because it's much cheaper and easier to produce. As noted in the tgdaily article, porn was a huge factor in VHS winning the VHS/Beta format wars even though most people don't like to acknowledge it. Porn, like gaming, pushes tech adoption.
Television

Submission + - Senator to FCC: no broadcast flag for you!

Flag waver writes: Senator John Sununu (R-NH) will introduce legislation that will prevent the FCC from creating technology mandates for the consumer electronics industry. As a result, the FCC would be hamstrung in its efforts to revive the broadcast flag. '"The FCC seems to be under the belief that it should occasionally impose technology mandates," Sununu said in a statement. "These misguided requirements distort the marketplace by forcing industry to adopt agency-blessed solutions rather than allow innovative and competitive approaches to develop."' Sen. Sununu previously tried without success to remove the broadcast flag provisions from the massive telecommunications bill that died before reaching the Senate floor during the last Congress.
Networking

Submission + - Michigan county launches free WiFi network

hlovy writes: "Wireless Oakland is part of a longer-term plan to "close the digital divide" by first blanketing the county's 910 square miles with free Internet service, then providing "low-cost or no-cost" computers and training to the county's "underserved population groups." Story and video can be found here."
Portables

Submission + - Study: Zune fails to crack top 10 in sales

srizah writes: "CNET News.com.com is running a story on a study done by market researcher Current Analysis about how Zune has captured a decent share of the HDD based portable media player market. The study however goes on to highlight that Zune has not yet broken into the top 10 list in sales. The picture is expected to change when a flash-based player option is available with Zune to compete with Ipod Nano/Shuffle and Sandisk players. The full story is available here. http://news.com.com/Study+Zune+fails+to+crack+top+ 10+in+sales/2100-1041_3-6147422.html?tag=newsmap"
The Media

Submission + - Dutch Ban Segways From Public Roads

srizah writes: "Segway has been banned on the public roads of the Netherlands. The traffic authorities claim that it is a motorized vehicle and a mo-ped. An excerpt from the story in Physorg, "Segway Nederland director Piet Kruijt said Tuesday the company was "completely ambushed" by the decision, first announced by national police on Nov. 27, 2006. "We're working on all fronts to get this resolved," Kruijt said. He estimated that "a number of hundreds" of Segways have been sold in the Netherlands. For the time being, they are only legal on private property. Police said that with no approval of the vehicles in sight by the country's Royal Traffic Agency, they could not be allowed to continue using public streets. The Segway "is a motorized vehicle, and according to Dutch law, a mo-ped," a police statement said. But because the Traffic Agency hasn't approved the vehicle, the police statement said, it can't be issued license plates. "It's a nice vehicle, I've ridden one myself," said Hans van Geenhuizen, a spokesman from the Traffic Agency, which is responsible for licensing. But he said the agency cannot license the Segway under current law. "It doesn't have a brake, you brake by leaning back, and that's clearly not permissible," he said. " http://www.physorg.com/news86965198.html"

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