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Comment Re:A naive question (Score 2, Insightful) 306

If I want a landline, I can go buy any old phone I want, and as long as it speaks the right protocols (which are pretty simple for analog landlines) I can plug it into my wall, and it works.

It took the US government to end enforced landline phone rentals and open up the analog telephone network in 13 F.C.C.2d 420.

With today's moves towards "deregulation" I don't think we'll see the cell industry being forced to do anything similar in the near future.

Google

Submission + - Startup Claim Google Copied Annotation Product (eweek.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Web annotation startup ReframeIt claim Google copied their web annotation product when releasing Google Sidewiki. At first glance, the products do look quite similar, and this eWeek article has some interesting evidence, including suspicious user registrations by Google employees and an attempt by Google to hire off ReframeIt's lead engineer. Evil or coincidence?

Comment Re:Can someone explain this more clearly? (Score 1) 393

Another funny point is if you were to disassemble PhysX's "GPU acceleration," you'd find that it runs very few kernels on the GPU, and that they're quite simple. What you'd also find is that there are two CPU codepaths: a non-optimized CPU codepath, and an optimized CPU codepath. The optimized CPU codepath is only taken when using the nVidia "GPU" code (which really hardly uses the GPU) - the performance improvement gained from "using the GPU" is really gained from using a non-gimped codepath!

Comment Re:And Good For Them! (Score 1) 132

"Standard HTML" is sort of an oxymoron.

Yes, you can do a lot of what's done on the web in "standard" HTML - but then you have to wrangle it into every "standard" browser, which turns out to be subtly different and full of bugs compared to the next.

It's not even possible to point the finger straight at Microsoft any more - Firefox has its fair share of bugs and an awful lot of non-standard DOM extensions, and every browser disables and enables a certain feature which the next supports. Support is even added and removed in certain browser sub-patchlevels and revisions - for example Safari suddenly started supporting certain DOM load events in a random security patch due to a merge of upstream WebKit.

Flash provides a common platform on which layout, interpretation, and feature support is similar (nearly identical) across all browsers on most platforms, something no other web programming solution can do.

Unfortunately that common platform isn't very good, but the homogeneity it allows is the continuing, and probably lasting appeal.

Comment Re:5th Amendment (Score 1) 767

Uhh... that's assuming the feds can't reverse-engineer worth a crap when they want to get a conviction. Seeing as how I know feds who can, this is wrong.

Once they've siezed the laptop (which I guess they've decided they can do now), they can do whatever they want with the drive image, including disassembling whatever boot code you had "hiding" your "hidden" partition. You need something that only -you- know, that's in your head, somewhere they can't yet reverse-engineer legally - we generally call this thing a password.

Graphics

Submission + - AMD demonstrates OpenCL at SIGGRAPH Asia (fireuser.com) 1

cloude-pottier writes: At SIGGRAPH Asia, AMD demonstrated their implementation of the OpenCL, an open-standards language developed by the Khronos Group targetting GPGPU and general parallel computing applications. The first demo was called PowderToy, a computational fluid dynamics simulation (a video can be seen on the linked page). The original PowderToy, which the demo is based directly on, can be downloaded as well.
Space

Submission + - First 'habitable' alternative to Earth found

ceros writes: European astronomers yesterday reported the discovery of a habitable planet located nearby in the constellation Libra. The so-called "super-Earth" is the smallest of the 229 planets found beyond our solar system. Moreover, it orbits within the "Goldilocks Zone" where temperatures are "just right" for water — and thus life — to exist.
Networking

Submission + - Researchers Break Internet Speed Records

atommota writes: A group of researchers led by the University of Tokyo has broken Internet speed records, twice, in two days. Operators of the high-speed Internet2 network announced Tuesday that the researchers on Dec. 30 sent data at 7.67 gigabits per second, using standard communications protocols.

The next day, using modified protocols, the team broke the record again by sending data over the same 20,000-mile path at 9.08 Gbps.

http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2007Apr24/0,4670,Fast erInternet,00.html
Sony

Submission + - Sony Updates PSP, PS3 Firmware, adds rumble?

Guppy06 writes: "Sony released new firmware for both the PSP and the PlayStation 3 today. The releases focuses on support for PlayStation games downloaded from the PlayStation Store, allowing the PS3 to play these games directly without having to transfer them to the PSP, as well as apparently allowing save data for these games to be transferred between the two. Most interesting, though, is that PS3 owners "can now use the vibration function of accessories that are for use with Playstation and Playstation 2 format software." With no USB or Bluetooth accessories for the original PlayStation (at least), this seems to suggest that new hardware is on the horizon for the PS3, but whether it's a new controller or a new adapter to connect PS2 and PS controllers hasn't been announced."

Feed Got A Good Credit Score? Rent It To Someone In Need (techdirt.com)

One of the common consequences for victims of identity theft is that they can see their credit scores get damaged, and because the big credit agencies don't offer much help in monitoring and fixing this, it can be a major hassle to get the problem resolved. Barry Ritholtz to an interesting story about a different kind of fraud, whereby people with good credit scores can sell their credit histories to people who want their own score boosted. Basically, the law states that people are allowed to add an unlimited number of individuals to their credit card accounts; it's mainly intended for parents who want to put their kids on the account. But, various websites have emerged to take advantage of this loophole, enabling people with bad credit histories to improve their score by getting access to a good credit history. It's not clear how widespread this actually is, but it pretty clearly violates the whole point of a credit score, since it's supposed to give the lender some idea of how reliable the borrower is. Fair Isaac, the company that developed the FICO score, says it's currently in talks with the FTC to stop the practice. The question, then, is whether shutting down this loophole will do the trick, or whether credit history brokers will simply find another loophole.
The Internet

Submission + - Goatse up for auction

An anonymous reader writes: The notorious domain goatse.cx is up for auction, current bidding is over $105k ... Could this be the next hot Internet property?
Media

Wal-Mart Begins Massive Push For HD DVD 338

Several readers sent us word of Wal-Mart's ordering 2 million HD DVD players from China. Hans V wrote, "My kids work at Wal-Mart and the manager there has been talking about this. HD-DVD's are selling like mad there so I hear." Another reader sent us a few links in Chinese and summarized them this way: "The first batches of these blue-laser HD DVD players are to land sometime in 2007, with complete fulfillment of the order [from Fuh Yuan] in 2008. The deal could be worth up to $300 million US, which translates to $150 per player. If so, by the time Christmas 2007 rolls around, Wal-Mart could be selling these for less than $200 retail, although some speculate that the initial manufacturer suggested retail pricing might be in the ballpark of $299. Currently the cheapest high-definition player is a Toshiba HD DVD with an MSRP of $399." By comparison Blu-Ray players, manufactured in Japan, are not expected to drop below $1000 until next year. The International Herald Tribune writes about the risk Toshiba is taking by bringing in Chinese manufacturers to trump Sony in the format war.

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