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Toys

Practical Jetpack Available "Soon" 237

Ifandbut was one of several readers to point out the arrival in Oshkosh of the first practical jetpack. It was invented by a New Zealander Glenn Martin, who has been working on the idea for 27 years. He plans to sell the gizmos for somewhere in the neighborhood of $100K. While previous attempts at jetpacks have flown for at most a couple of minutes, Mr. Martin's invention can stay aloft for half an hour. Both "practical" and "jetpack" may need quotation marks, however: The device is huge and it's incredibly noisy. And, "It is also not, to put it bluntly, a jet. 'If you're very pedantic,' Mr. Martin acknowledged, a gasoline-powered piston engine runs the large rotors. Jet Skis, he pointed out, are not jets, and the atmospheric jet stream is not created by engines. 'This thing flies on a jet of air,' he said. Or, more simply, it flies."
The Courts

Marshall University Challenges RIAA 117

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Marshall University, in Huntington, West Virginia, has become just the second US college or university to show the moxie to stand up for its students instead of instantly caving in to RIAA extortion. In February, Marshall, represented by the Attorney General of the State of West Virginia, made a motion to quash the RIAA's subpoena for student identities, pointing out in exquisite detail in its long-time IT guy's affidavit (PDF) the impossibility of identifying copyright 'infringers' based on the RIAA's meager evidence. Unfortunately, the Magistrate — under the mistaken impression that the RIAA isn't going to sue the identified students, but merely wants to talk to them — recommended that the subpoena be okayed by the District Judge (PDF). It is not yet known whether Marshall will be filing objections. The first US college or university known to have attacked the RIAA's subpoena was the University of Oregon, which — also represented by its state's Attorney General — made a motion to quash last November, and even questioned the legality of the RIAA's methods. The Oregon motion is still pending."
Privacy

E.U. Regulator Says IP Addresses Are Personal Data 164

NewsCloud writes "Germany's data-protection commissioner, Peter Scharr told a European Parliament hearing on online data protection that when someone is identified by an IP, or Internet protocol, address, 'then it has to be regarded as personal data.' Scharr acknowledged that IP addresses for a computer may not always be personal or linked to an individual. If the E.U. rules that IP addresses are personal, then it could regulate the way search engines record this data. According to the article, Google does an incomplete job of anonymizing this data while Microsoft does not record IP addresses for anonymous search."

Goodbye Cruel Word 565

theodp writes "The problem with Microsoft Word, writes the NYT's Virginia Heffernan, is that 'I always feel as if I'm taking an essay test.' Seeking to break free of the tyranny of Microsoft Word, Heffernan takes a look at Scrivener and the oh-so-retro WriteRoom, which she and others feel jibe better with the way writers think. 'The new writing programs encourage a writerly restart. You may even relearn the green-lighted alphabet, adjust your preference for long or short sentences, opt afresh for action over description. Renewal becomes heady: in WriteRoom's gloom is man's power to create something from nothing, to wrest form from formlessness. Let's just say it: It's biblical. And come on, ye writers, do you want to be a little Word drip writing 603 words in Palatino with regulation margins? Or do you want to be a Creator?'"
Anime

Comcast Targets Unlicensed Anime Torrenters 352

SailorSpork writes "According to a thread on the forums of AnimeSuki, a popular anime bittorent index site, Comcast has begun sending DCMA letters to customers downloading unlicensed fan-subtitled anime shows via bittorrent. By 'unlicensed', they mean that no english language company has the rights to it. The letters are claiming that the copyright holder or an authorized agent are making the infringement claims, though usually these requests are also sent to the site itself rather that individual downloaders. My question is have they really been in contact with Japanese anime companies, or is this another scare tactic by Comcast to try and reduce the bandwidth use of their heavier customers now that their previous tactics have come under legal fire?"
Privacy

Terror Watch List Swells to More Than 755,000 512

rdavison writes "According to a USA Today story, the terror watch list has swollen to 755,000 with 200,000 people per year being added since 2004. Adding about 548 people daily every day of the year does not seem to lend itself to a manual process with careful deliberation given or double checking being done for each person added. It seems to suggests that data is being mined from somewhere to automatically add names to the list."
Microsoft

Turbolinux Is Latest To Sign Microsoft Pact 180

mytrip sends word that Turbolinux has followed Novell, Linspire, and Xandros in signing a patent and technology agreement with Microsoft. Microsoft pledged not to sue Turbolinux's users for patent infringement. Turbolinux, headquartered in Japan, sells Linux systems mostly in emerging markets such as China and India. The Betanews story speculates on some of the technology benefits Turbolinux might get out of the deal.
Communications

No Third-party Apps on iPhone Says Jobs 778

wyldeone writes "In an interview with the New York Times, Steve Jobs confirms reports that the recently-announced iPhone will not allow third party applications to be installed. According to Jobs, 'These are devices that need to work, and you can't do that if you load any software on them.' In a similar vein, Jobs said in a MSNBC article that, 'Cingular doesn't want to see their West Coast network go down because some application messed up.'"
Games

Sony Console the Worst Launch Ever 193

No, not that one. 1up set out to see if the PlayStation 3 had the worst launch of any modern gaming console, and found that another Sony console held that title. The original PlayStation's launch was pretty dreadful, with Warhawk's average of 89.4 being fairly low for most launch title leaders. The worst launch lineup of the 'next-gen' systems is actually the Wii, which has averaged only a 71.3 over its 20 launch titles. The PS3 is next up, with 73.4, and the 360 has the overall best of the three consoles, having scored an average of 77.3 over its 18 titles last year. From the article: "Averages are just that, though, and don't tell you much about the best games that accompanied the launches. And the best of the batch wasn't a surprise, but it wasn't a Nintendo game either. Soul Caliber for the Dreamcast, with an average of 96.4 just barely squeaks out the win over the Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess for Wii. At the other end of the spectrum, both Wii and PS3 share the worst stinkers with Happy Feet for Wii coming in at a 45 and Gundam: Crossfire at the very bottom with its 34.8."
Microsoft

Critical Review of the Zune 616

ceallaigh writes "Andy Ihnatko of the Chicago Sun-Times has a critical review of the Zune. "Avoid," is my general message. The Zune is a square wheel, a product that's so absurd and so obviously immune to success that it evokes something akin to a sense of pity."
Microsoft

So What If Linux Infringes On Microsoft IP? 394

Mr Men writes to mention a ZDNet blog entry by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes wondering aloud if maybe, just maybe, Microsoft isn't lying about having patents that are part of Linux. "Come on, no matter how much of a Linux fan you are, you have to admit that there's at least a chance that Linux does indeed infringe on Microsoft's patents. After all, Microsoft does hold a lot of patents and while Linux is open source and we can all take a look at the source code, only Microsoft has access to most of its source code so it isn't all that difficult for it to prove — to itself at any rate — that there are IP infringements contained in Linux. After all, before IBM handed over some 500 patents to the open source community, it's pretty clear that Linux was infringing some of them. Given that, why is it so hard to believe that the same isn't going on with Microsoft?" Even then, he goes on to say, so what if they do? It's not like they're going to go after us with a 'Linux tax.' Kingsley-Hughes imagines that, for the most part, Microsoft is just going to sit on this info and use it to form more and more profitable deals. Better than the alternative, I guess.

The Web Is 16 Today 235

GuNgA-DiN writes, "Today marks the 16th anniversary of the World Wide Web. According to the timeline on the W3.org site: 'The first web page [was] http://nxoc01.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html. Unfortunately CERN no longer supports the historical site. Note from this era too, the least recently modified web page we know of, last changed Tue, 13 Nov 1990 15:17:00 GMT (though the URI changed.)' A lot has happened in 16 years and this little 'baby' has grown into quite the teenager."

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