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Time-Warner Planning AOL Split 69

Two years ago the word was AOL was planning a split from Time-Warner, because it was so successful. Now Time-Warner is considering a split of its own, deciding whether or not to separate the two 'halves' of the AOL pie. The split would see its 'access' ISP side made into an entity separate from its 'audience' side, consisting of portals, advertising and blogs. "[Time-Warner chief executive Jeffrey Bewkes] also said [AOL's] 84 percent ownership stake in Time Warner Cable is 'less than optimal' for both companies. He said the two companies are talking about operating improvements and changes to the ownership structure. The chief financial officer, John Martin, said it will take 'several more months' to separate the AOL businesses 'because it's fairly complicated.' The company expects AOL's advertising revenue for the first quarter of 2008 to be 'essentially flat to down slightly' versus the year-earlier quarter, he said."

Fifth Cable Cut To Middle East 676

You may have noticed a number of stories recently about undersea cables getting cut around the world. Apparently the total is now up to 5, but the scariest part of this is that Iran is now offline. You can also read Schneier's comments on this coincidence. Update: 02/06 17:42 GMT by Z : As a commenter notes, though the country of Iran is obviously experiencing some networking difficulties, it is not offline.

DHS Official Suggests REAL ID Mission Creep 277

The Register noticed that a senior US Department of Homeland Security official has floated the idea of requiring citizens to produce federally compliant identification before purchasing some over-the-counter medicines — specifically, pseudophedrine. The federal ID standard spelled out by the REAL ID act has been sold as applying only to air travel and entry to federal buildings and nuclear facilities. A blogger on the Center for Democracy and Technology site said, "[The] suggested mission creep pushes the REAL ID program farther down the slippery slope toward a true national ID card." Speaking of federal buildings, CNet has a state-by-state enumeration of what will happen on May 11, when REAL ID comes into effect, to citizens who attempt to enter, say, the Washington DC visitors bureau.

Microsoft Re-Brands PlaysForSure 194

mikesd81 writes "Information Week writes about a licensing change intended to 'beat Apple at their own game'. They're going to use a combination of branding and DRM, and replace the "PlaysForSure" logo with a "Certified for Windows Vista" tag.'The certification is used to guarantee compatibility with Microsoft's copyright-protection software and is the same logo used for the company's Zune player. The problem, however, is that music and video bought from the online Zune Marketplace won't play in their native format on other devices, including those that will carry the new logo.'"

Congressman Hollywood Wants To Make DMCA Tougher 228

Stormy seas writes "Congressman 'Hollywood' Howard Berman (D-CA) used a House subcommittee hearing today to express his view that the DMCA was in need of a rewrite. In his view, it doesn't go far enough. During his opening remarks for a hearing on the PRO-IP Act, Berman said that the DMCA's Safe Harbor needs further scrutiny and that it might be time to make filtering mandatory. There's more: Berman also 'wants to examine the "effectiveness of takedown notices" under the DMCA, and he'd like to take another look at whether filtering technology has advanced to the point where Congress ought to mandate it in certain situations.'"
Social Networks

Submission + - phpBB 3.0 Gold released! (prweb.com)

buanzo writes: "The leading open source forum and online collaboration system, announced today the availability of phpBB Version 3.0. This release includes enhanced collaboration features, better security and delegated administration features, extended support for open source and commercial database management systems, and optimisation for mobile devices and search engines. phpBB is available at no cost, released under the GNU General Public License."

Submission + - Captain Kidd's ship found

An anonymous reader writes: The wreckage of the Quedagh Merchant, abandoned by Captain Kidd in the 17th century, has been found by the underwater archaeology team from Indiana University. Charles Beeker of IU said his team has been licensed to study the wreckage and convert the site into an underwater preserve for the public. It is remarkable that the wreck has remained undiscovered all these years given its location, just 70 feet off the coast of Catalina Island in the Dominican Republic in less than 10 feet of seawater. "I've been on literally thousands of shipwrecks in my career," Beeker said. "This is one of the first sites I've been on where I haven't seen any looting. We've got a shipwreck in crystal clear, pristine water that's amazingly untouched. We want to keep it that way, so we made the announcement now to ensure the site's protection from looters." The find is valuable because of what it could reveal about William Kidd and piracy in the Caribbean, said John Foster, California's state underwater archaeologist, who is participating in the research. Historians differ on whether Kidd was actually a pirate or a privateer — someone who captured pirates. After his conviction of piracy and murder charges in a sensational London trial, he was left to hang over the River Thames for two years. Historians write that Kidd captured the Quedagh Merchant, loaded with valuable satins and silks, gold, silver and other East Indian merchandise, but left the ship in the Caribbean as he sailed to New York on a less conspicuous sloop to clear his name of the criminal charges. IU Anthropologist Geoffrey Conrad said the men Kidd entrusted with his ship reportedly looted it and then set it ablaze and adrift down the Rio Dulce. Conrad said the location of the wreckage and the formation and size of the canons, which had been used as ballast, are consistent with historical records of the ship. They also found pieces of several anchors under the cannons. "All the evidence that we find underwater is consistent with what we know from historical documentation, which is extensive," Conrad said. "Through rigorous archeological investigations, we will conclusively prove that this is the Capt. Kidd shipwreck."
Portables (Apple)

Submission + - Hack Turns iPhone Camera Into HD Camcorder (mp3newswire.net)

An anonymous reader writes: Monsters and Friends has just released the beta of Drunknbass, a new iPhone hack that allows the unit's camera to capture video. "...while the iPhone's 2.0 megapixel camera resolution may be mediocre for a still camera, it is excellent resolution for a consumer video camera. For example, a standard definition Canon digital camcorder uses a 680K pixel sensor chip (because a standard def TV's resolution is only 520 x 360), while HD camcorders like Canon's use a 2.9 megapixel sensor. Of course, there are mobile phones whose cameras have condiderably higher-res than the iPhone. The beta presently allows 5 second clips at 10frames per second, but the finished version will soon allow infinite recording at 45 frames per second. Video of Drunknbass in action can be found on YouTube

Submission + - Xiph Fights Back for inclusion in the HTML5 Draft (xiph.org)

bigmammoth writes: "Last night xiph.org has issued a press release responding to changes made in the HTML5 draft that remove references to ogg codecs and container.

The W3C has expressed a clear intention to officially define video as an integral part of the web by introducing the <video/> tag. Up to this point, video on the web has been presented primarily using a fragmented array of proprietary extensions powered by encumbered formats. Those who cannot use them have been made second-class citizens. Failing to standardize on an unencumbered, reasonably-performing format is a failure to advance beyond this state.
They also point out that Ogg has triggered no litigation to date even though it is very widely used. The same cannot be said for MPEG-licensed codecs.

The MPEG-LA's own sublicense disclaimer warns that licensees are not protected from patent-related litigation nor are they protected from submarine patents.


Submission + - The 10 Worst Gadgets of 2007 (popularmechanics.com)

longacre writes: "Among the esteemed products making it to this year's top 10 biggest triumphs of fail: the Violet Nabaztag, a $165 device claiming to be the world's first WiFi-enabled rabbit; AppleTV, a capable device hamstrung by disappointingly weak content availability; and the Ironman Resolution Vibration Trainer, which in exchange for $2,000, will give you chafed hands and diarrhea, but probably won't get you in shape."

Submission + - Big Content & DRM: Why Internet TV Won't Sucee (digg.com)

Paul Ellis writes: "Internet Video & TV's problem isn't really technical, it's the content producers. When it's easier to consume stolen content than to pay for it (DRM), content producers will end up owning 100% of nothing, instead of 10% of something. I'm a paying customer just wanting to enjoy entertainment I paid for and arbitrary technical requirements are stopping me!"

Submission + - Senate to vote on freedom threatening bill (govtrack.us)

An anonymous reader writes: Bill 1955/1959 in the Senate for vote include dangerous language, such as "The term 'violent radicalization' means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change." Since the term "force" is later fuzzed in the bill, this could be used to censure most any content not in vogue with the current administration, whichever that may be. Further, varied readings could infer violation of several constitutional rights. A literal reading can be had at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/gpoxmlc110/h1955_rfs.xml. It is recommended that any US citizens who find these bills to infringe upon their personal rights to contact their local Senator's office to voice their complaints.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - A Canadian Man Receives $85k Mobile Phone Bill (techluver.com)

Tech.Luver writes: "A Canadian man has been shocked to receive a mobile phone bill for nearly $85,000. The 22-year-old oil-field worker from Calgary, Piotr Staniaszek thought he could use his new phone as a modem for his computer under his $10 unlimited mobile browser plan from Bell Mobility. "The thing is, they've cut my phone off for being like $100 over," he told CBC News. "Here, I'm $85,000 over and nobody bothered to give me a call and tell me what was going on." ( http://techluver.com/2007/12/13/a-canadian-man-receives-85k-mobile-phone-bill/ )"

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