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Submission + - Microsoft Azure Platform Certified "Secure" by Department of Defense

cagraham writes: Microsoft's cloud storage platform Azure received their first government certification yesterday, less than 24 hours before the official shutdown. The certification, which grants Azure “Provisional Authority to Operate," should make it easier for Microsoft to compete with rivals like IBM and Amazon Web Services for government contracts. The certification signifies that the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and US General Services Administration have all deemed Azure safe from external hackers. Government cloud contracts are a lucrative market, as seen by Amazon's recent tussle with IBM over a $600M contract for a private CIA cloud.

Submission + - Apple ID Phishing Scam Compromises 100+ Websites (ibtimes.com)

redletterdave writes: More than 100 different websites had been compromised, but not hacked, to display bogus Apple ID login pages designed to trick Apple users into relinquishing their personal information. All of the compromised sites are hosted by a single IP address registered to an ISP in the Houston area; the majority of these affected sites have not been cleaned, and they continue to present fake, albeit convincing, Apple ID login pages.
Patents

Submission + - Samsung: Android's Multitouch Not as Good as Apple's (itworld.com)

itwbennett writes: "Hoping to avoid a sales ban in the Netherlands, Samsung has said that Android's multitouch software doesn't work as well as Apple's. Samsung lawyer Bas Berghuis van Woortman said that while Apple's technology is a 'very nice invention,' the Android system is harder for developers to use. Arguing the bizarre counterpoint, Apple's lawyer Theo Blomme told judge Peter Blok, that the Android multitouch isn't inferior and does so infringe on Apple's patent: 'They suggest that they have a lesser solution, but that is simply not true,' said Blomme."
Wireless Networking

Submission + - Your Neighbor's WiFi Wants You to Vote for Romney

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Megan Garber writes that wireless routers have become the lawn signs of the digital age particularly in large apartment buildings, where almost every unit has a unique wifi network that will be detected in turn by all the other unique wifi networks, SSIDs can be a cheeky, geeky way to broadcast messages to your immediate neighbors. Most of us keep it simple with "275_Elm_Street," "Apt23," or "my_network" but some get more creative with names like: "Apt112IHaveYourMail," "PrettyFlyForAWiFi," or "WeCanHearYouHavingSex" — a great way to freak out your annoying neighbors without hiding in their bushes or peeping in their windows late at night. Now the team at OpenSignalMaps, which maintains a database of geolocated wifi access points, analyzed the data they've collected about wireless routers to see whether wifi names are "being used to fly political colors" and have found, globally, 1,140 results for "Obama" and an additional six for "Romney" — an indication not necessarily of Romney's popularity relative to the president's, but of the attention that four years as president can confer. "There's something uniquely contemporary and incredibly old-school about that kind of broadcasting: It's messaging meant only for your immediate neighbors," writes Garber "It's both intimate and isolating, both invasive and impersonal, both omnipresent and invisible, both passive and aggressive." Which makes them a good metaphor for political discourse as it looks in the US today with its particular mix of intimacy and impersonality. "The politicized network names are like lawn signs for people who don't have lawns.""
Bitcoin

Submission + - Hacked Bitcoin Financial Site Had No Backups (bitcointalk.org)

An anonymous reader writes: A fortnight ago the Bitcoin financial website Bitcoinica was hacked and the hacker stole $87,000 worth of Bitcoins. At the time the owner promised that all users would have their Bitcoins and US dollars returned in full, but one of the site developers has just confirmed that they have no database backups and are having difficulty figuring out what everyone's account balance should actually be. A failure of epic proportions for a site holding such large amounts of money.
Earth

Submission + - 'Asian Brown Cloud' Threatens U.S. (sciencemag.org) 1

sciencehabit writes: China and India are some of the world's top polluters, with countless cars, factories, and households belching more than 2 million metric tons of carbon soot and other dark pollutants into the air every year. The pall hanging over the region has come to be known as "the Asian brown cloud." These pollutants aren't just bad news for the countries themselves. A new study reveals that they can affect climate thousands of kilometers away, warming the United States by up to 0.4C by 2024, while cooling other regions.
Hardware

Submission + - Former MakerBot COO creates the world's first $500 3D printer (geek.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: At first glance Sam Cervantes and his latest invention may seem questionable, but after spending some time talking with him I’m sure what he’s showing off is legit. Cervantes and his team are working on the first $500 3D printer, a device known as the Solidoodle. At the risk of sounding cliche, what you’re witnessing in the video is truly game-changing; the Solidoodle is a significant step towards making 3D printing accessible to the average consumer.
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft To Screw Over Its Own Developers... Yet Again (bing.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft to start charging Bing API developers a minimum of $40/month for the privilege of using their (formerly free) search and translation API's, ignores plight of non-profits, low-traffic and hobbyist users. Mass migration to Google imminent?
Cellphones

Submission + - German Court Upholds Ban On Push Email In Apple's iCloud, MobileMe (nasdaq.com)

suraj.sun writes: A German regional court Friday backed an earlier court decision that banned Apple from offering push emails in Apple's iCloud and MobileMe services in Germany, granting Motorola Mobility a victory in a global patent war among several technology companies. The Mannheim regional court also said Apple must pay damages to Motorola Mobility, but didn't specify the amount.
Idle

Submission + - Canadian Digs Out Basement Using Only Radio Controlled Scale Tractors and Trucks (blogspot.com) 1

Phurge writes: Excavating a basement using professional machinery is nothing new but doing it with radio controlled (RC) scaled models is something unheard of. Welcome to the little big world of Joe, from Saskatchewan, Canada.

For the past 7 years (!), Joe has been digging out his basement at an average annual rate of 8 to 9 cubic feet using nothing more than RC tractors and trucks!

And we're talking about the whole nine yards here — he starts by transporting the excavator on an RC truck to the basement, unloads it, digs and uses other trucks to transfer the dirt up to the ground through a spiral ramp! He even has a miniature rock crusher!

"I feel quite fortunate to have stumbled onto this basement excavation idea, it's been a great past time to date dreaming up new ideas to tackle different projects along the way," Joe wrote on the Scale4x4rc forums where he also posted pictures and videos of his feat

Apple

Submission + - Apple overturns Motorola's German iPad and iPhone sales bans (bbc.co.uk)

SpuriousLogic writes: Apple has been granted a temporary suspension of a sales ban imposed on some of its products in Germany.

Motorola Mobility had forced Apple to remove several iPad and iPhone models from its online store earlier today after enforcing a patent infringement court ruling delivered in December.

An appeals court lifted the ban after Apple made a new licence payment offer.

However, Germany-based users may still face the loss of their push email iCloud service after a separate ruling.

Patent consultant Florian Mueller, who attended the review, said that the suspension may only last a few days or weeks — but that Apple's revised proposal had been enough to allow it to restart sales.

"The Karlsruhe higher regional court believes that Apple's new offer needs to be evaluated before this injunction can enter into force again," he wrote on his blog.

"A suspension like this is available only against a bond, but Apple is almost drowning in cash and obviously won't have had a problem with obtaining and posting a bond."

He said that the bond amount was likely to have been about 120m euros ($158m, £100m).

Unresolved
A statement from Apple said: "All iPad and iPhone models will be back on sale through Apple's online store in Germany shortly.

"Apple appealed this ruling because Motorola repeatedly refuses to license this patent to Apple on reasonable terms, despite having declared it an industry standard patent seven years ago."

However, Motorola signalled that it would try to restore the ban.

"We are pleased that the Mannheim court has recognized the importance of our intellectual property and granted an enforceable injunction in Germany against Apple Sales International," a statement said.

"Although the enforcement of the injunction has been temporarily suspended, Motorola Mobility will continue to pursue its claims against Apple."

Pulled products
The sales ban relates to Motorola's patent for a "method for performing a countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet radio system".

Motorola licenses the patent to other companies on Frand (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms.

Frand-type patents involve technologies that are deemed to be part of an industry standard. In this case Motorola's innovation is deemed crucial to the GPRS data transmission standard used by GSM cellular networks across the world.

Companies must offer Frand-type patents for a reasonable fee to anyone willing to pay.

Apple had previously said it would be willing to pay the fee going forward, but the two firms dispute how much Apple should pay for failing to license the technology up until now. Missed payments are not covered by the "reasonable" rule, and Motorola is able to demand a more expensive price.

Apple's iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 had all been affected — but not its newer iPhone 4S. All 3G models of the iPad were involved, but not their wi-fi-only counterparts.

Email technology
The separate push email ban would only come into effect if Motorola decided to enforce a second judgement that Apple's iCloud and MobileMe infringed another of its innovations.

The patent relates to two-way communications between pagers and other devices and was granted in 2002.

If Motorola decides to enforce the judgement some iPhone users in Germany would lose the ability to automatically receive emails as soon as they have been sent. Instead they would either have to manually check their accounts or set their devices to periodically check for updates.

This patent is not deemed to be critical to an industry standard, so the firm does not have to license the technology to Apple even if the iPhone-maker offered to pay.

Apple said that it believed the patent involved was invalid, adding that it was appealing against the decision.

Although the two cases only apply to Germany they may have implications for other European lawsuits. EU rules say different countries' courts can reach different conclusions, but must explain why.

Mr Mueller Mr Mueller notes on his blog that Apple has brought patent claims of its own against Motorola in Germany, and that Motorola also faces a lawsuit filed by Microsoft which is due to be considered next Tuesday.

Google

Submission + - A Fake Profile on Google+ Goes Unnoticed, Gets 42, (techie-buzz.com) 2

chinmoykanjilal writes: "Recently, A Google+ profile has been discovered, which easily features among the top 1000 Google+ accounts worldwide, but is actually a fake account. The Google+ account of Victoria Nigar has attracted a lot of attention lately. She is in over 42,550 circles, and is ranked 545 among top Google+ users in the world, #10 in Canada. Clearly, she has a huge following, but the people who follow her looking at her profile have not the slightest clue."
Your Rights Online

Submission + - Actually Take These Petitions Seriously... (whitehouse.gov)

qeveren writes: The White House's "We the People" site is intended to give the general populace a means of raising issues via petition, and those that receive enough signatures within a specific time frame will be answered... unless they're inconvenient.
Piracy

Submission + - Slashdot effect takes down Pirate Party Book (activepolitic.com)

bs0d3 writes: Today the United States Pirate Party launched their book, 'No Safe Harbor' and it was a success. It was so successful in fact, that it killed their primary website. According to Andrew Norton, the site went down shortly after his submission to slashdot was posted. The site should be fixed and up and working soon, but if you wanted to get the book now, it is available here on thepiratebay, you can also grab it in plain text here. Additionally, it is available for sale in paper back format via amazon.com.

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