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Google

Submission + - Google Calls 'December Fools' on Contest Hopefuls

theodp writes: Google pledged to unveil the winner of its Google Fiber initiative by the end of the year, but that date has now slipped into 2011. For the cities so desperate to host the project that they even changed their name — prompting an April Fools goof from Google CEO Eric Schmidt — the delay is likely to be frustrating. This isn't the first time Google has blamed an overwhelming response for a missed deadline on a high-profile contest. After backing off of the original vision for the Google 10^100 contest celebrating the search giant's 10th B-day in 2008, Google struggled for two years before finally awarding the $10 million in prize money to groups that coincidentally were pretty tight with Google — $3MM went to fave-of-Sergey-Brin FIRST; $2MM was earmarked for prior-Google-award-recipient AIMS; another $2MM went to longtime-Google-supported Public.Resource.Org; and $2MM was awarded to Khan Academy, a pet non-profit of Google Director John Doerr and his wife. The one apparent exception was $1MM recipient Shweeb, whose mission still jibed nicely with Larry Page's decades-old dream of building a monorail. Hopefully the winner(s) of the Google Fiber will be less about who-you-know-at-Google, although it has already been announced that a faculty/staff housing development owned by Stanford (Sergey and Larry's alma mater) will get 1Gbps Google fiber regardless of how Palo Alto fares in the judging.

Comment Re:Screw "SyFi" or whatever they call themselves. (Score 1) 602

I visited Universal Studios just before Season 3 started, and they were handing out "Battlestar Galactica: The Story Thus Far" DVDs to everyone as they left the park (if you don't remember, that was a 1-hr special designed to get new viewers up to speed that Universal aired on NBC, SCI-FI, USA, Bravo, Universal HD, and Sleuth, and which they made available online for free).

Power

Long In Development, Toshiba 'SCiB' Battery Debuts 284

relliker notes Toshiba's announcement of the SCiB, a battery we have been following for years. (As usual, use NoScript to avoid the incredibly annoying timed begging popup on Gizmag's site.) Here is Toshiba's SCiB site. The battery's specs claim 6,000+ charge/deep-discharge cycles with minor capacity loss, safe rapid charging to 90% in 5 minutes, and enhanced safety regarding overheating or shorting out. It could make its way into electric vehicles before long.

Comment Re:Spammers will LOVE this (Score 1) 397

I don't even see why this is news. I had an HP printer with "HP Instant Delivery" 12 years ago (in 1998), which could print out a customized newspaper each morning based on your preferences. You would choose the types of stories, the sources it would pull from, and the length. And yes, the newspaper included small ads. It was actually quite handy for reading during the morning commute.

Intel

Microsoft Lifts XP Mode Hardware Requirement 205

An anonymous reader writes "This week, Microsoft published a patch that allows Windows XP Mode to run on PCs without hardware-assisted virtualization. Which begs the question: Why the bizarro requirement in the first place? Was it an honest attempt to deliver an 'optimal' user experience? Or simply a concession to the company's jilted lover, Intel Corporation — 'a kind of apology for royally screwing up with the whole Windows Vista “too fat to fit” debacle,' as the blog post puts it."
Apple

Angry AT&T Customers May Disrupt Service 572

g0dsp33d writes "Fake Steve Jobs, the alter-alias of Newsweek's Dan Lyons, is calling disgruntled AT&T users to protest comments from AT&T’s Ralph de la Vega that smart phone (specifically iPhone) usage is responsible for their network issues and his plan to end unlimited data plans. The post, dubbed 'Operation Chokehold,' wants AT&T customers to use as much data service as they can on Friday, December 18th at noon. While Fake Steve Jobs is notable for its satire, many Twitter and Facebook users seem to be rallying to its cry. It is unclear if there will be enough support to cause a DDOS."
Education

Student Loan Interest Rankles College Grads 1259

theodp writes "Like many recent college grads, Steven Lee finds himself unemployed in one of the roughest job markets in decades and saddled with a big pile of debt — he owes about $84,000 in student loans for undergrad and grad school. But what's really got Lee angry are the high interest rates on his government-backed student loans. 'The rate for a 30-year mortgage is around 5%,' Lee said. 'Why should anyone have to pay 8.5%? The government has bailed out homeowners. It's bailed out big businesses. Why can't it also help students?' Not only that, federal student loans are the only loans in the nation that are largely non-dischargeable in bankruptcy, have no statutes of limitations, and can't be refinanced after consolidation, so Lee can forget about pulling a move out of the GM playbook. And unlike mortgages on million-dollar vacation homes, student loans have very limited tax deductability. A spokeswoman for the Department of Education blamed Congress for the rates which she conceded 'may seem high today,' but suggested that students are a credit-unworthy lot who should thank their lucky stars that rates aren't 12% or higher. Makes one long for the good-old-days of 3% student loans, doesn't it?"

Comment Re:Works In Congress: +1, Insidious (Score 1) 809

Actually, they often wouldn't even bother with consultants. I got to tour the set of Voyager while it was shooting (S01E13, "Cathexis"), and many of the shooting scripts would simply says [TECH] instead of the technical term, and it was up to the ACTORS to fill in the blank. For example, you'd see a line like: "We've got to [TECH] the [TECH] before the [TECH] [TECHS]". They just relied on the actors using a consistent set of gibberish to fill in the blanks.

Comment Re:Legal Recourse (Score 1) 438

That's bull. You cannot recover lost wages incurred by appearing in small claims court. The only lost wages you can sue for in small claims court are those lost because the defendant physically prevented you from working (i.e. Sony came to your house and smashed your fingers, preventing you from working as a coder). Suing someone is voluntary. To quote the website of one cities small claims court:

3. THE AMOUNT OF YOUR CLAIM: You may ask for money only. No other recovery is permitted in the Small Claims Division. You may not recover "punitive damages", nor lost wages, traveling expenses, costs of obtaining evidence, baby-sitting and the like, incidental to your filing, preparing, or trial appearance. You may recover court fees and interest from the defendant if you win your case.

Communications

FairPort Accused of Faking Network Readiness Test 144

wytcld writes "When Verizon spun off its Northern New England lines to FairPoint, FairPoint leased Verizon's computer network to manage them. This was costly, so FairPoint readied its own network. To prove its own network was ready for the switchover a demonstration was prepared for an outside auditor, Liberty. Now a whistleblower claims: '...when Liberty was watching what they thought was "flow thru" within a system and from one system to another, they were really only seeing a small program that was created to assimilate what they wanted the systems to do. They were not actually in the systems at the time nor were they in the test systems. They were in a newly created small program that used screen shots from the real system to deceive the audience into believing that they were watching a real demonstration.' How easy is it to find auditors who can be fooled by such a simple trick? Whether or not the test was faked, the network has proved so unready that FairPoint is close to bankruptcy, and may have its licenses to operate revoked in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont."

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