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Submission + - Microsoft is buying Skype (

AnonymmousCoward writes: The Wall Street Journal reported earlier tonight that Microsoft–in what would be its most aggressive acquisition in the digital space–was zeroing in on buying Skype for $8.5 billion all in with an assumption of the Luxembourg-based company’s debt.

Submission + - Aaron computer rental firm spies on users (

An anonymous reader writes: The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Wyoming couple who said they learned about the PC Rental Agent "device and/or software" inside the computer they rented last year when an Aaron's Inc. store manager in Casper came to their home on Dec. 22.

The manager tried to repossess the computer because he mistakenly believed the couple hadn't finished paying for it, the couple said. Brian Byrd, 26, said the manager showed him a picture of Byrd using the computer — taken by the computer's webcam. The image was shot with the help of spying software, which the lawsuit contends is made by North East, Pa.-based Designerware LLC and is installed on all Aaron's rental computers.

Comment Re:Self-destructive (Score 1) 589

After this little stunt, and if this trend continues in the future, I would be surprised if OO.o remained the office of choice in Ubuntu 11.04, or really any of the Linux distros who pride themselves on free software. Oracle is destroying its free-software products.

openSUSE and Ubuntu are switching to the LO codebase.

Comment Re:massive miscalculation (Score 1) 174

while i don't launch balloons - if that is the way you wanted to do it.. would it not make it easier and safer to secure it to a flatbed truck and drive it under the balloon then release then having a crane hold it??

The "crane" is needed to hold the payload still until the balloon ascends to pull the flight train and the gondola payload vertical. The tension in the flight train at balloon release pulls the payload horizontally, fairly hard. The flight train is typically 1000 feet long! While you could secure the payload to a truck, gondolas aren't generally designed to handle transverse loads at the load point. You really don't want them to, either; there's often (comparatively delicate) momentum transfer units at the load point that allow accurate pointing of telescopes once at float altitude (~125,000 feet, or ~35 km). And once you build a structure to take the pressure off the gondola load point, you're generally back to a crane design again.

You can see pictures and movies of our experiment's launch last year from Fort Sumner, NM. The StratoCat site has some additional details about this flight and many others, including ours.

Catastrophic launches like this are really rare -- the CSBF team really do a fantastic job. It's really had to tell exactly what happened here, though fairly high winds were a complicating factor. It's very lucky for everyone involved that no one got hurt.

Condolences to the science team, and best wishes that they can pick up the pieces and fly again...

Comment Re:Tell me about it (Score 1) 225

It just usually happens that because Game development is a field where the leaders are usually in it for the fun of creating games, they aren't going to give up their positions for a better job at another company.

If you started as a level designer in EA or Microsoft, I don't think you will ever get to lead designer, unless the current lead designer decides to create his own startup. He probably gets paid well enough, has a reasonable amount of job stability (because if it doesn't sell, blame the pirates), and enjoys what he is doing.

If he leaves, the borg company will purchase a smaller dev company and make their lead developer the new lead. It's not the first time it has happened.

Comment Re:Passive Denial of Service is a Bad Precedent (Score 2, Insightful) 537

I see this as more of a property issue than anything, though I know that legal tack hasn't been taking with this case. The way I see it, the passwords or the more abstract concept of "access" is property of the organization. The network is property of the organization. By not returning the passwords or access under termination, he stole company property. Its like if you have a company car and get reassigned and don't turn in the keys. You've then stolen the keys, and prevented use of the car. Not doing something is just as active a thing as doing something when its done purposefully with the intent of blocking something. If he didn't do something because it was outside his responsibility and didn't see how it could cause much harm is one thing, but seeing a situation, and taking purposeful inaction with the purpose of preventing something else is in that case an action. Its perfectly criminal in many cases to NOT do something.

Comment Re:MS should... (Score 1) 239

Then they should have to promise to support X years, and if they want to extend past that then fine, but anybody buying the game would know its "sell by" date. As the world of gaming becomes increasingly online oriented (some would argue we are already there) and companies using online MP as a selling point, it is only fair that the customer knows its "sell by" date otherwise it is just ripe for abuse.

After all do YOU know what the "sell by" date is for ALL EA products? MSFT Games? Activision? Ubisoft? Know of ANY place where a consumer can quickly AND easily find out this information on ALL the game companies? It is actually very simple: Game companies are using online MP as a selling point, and plastering their boxes with this fact. In the days of PC gaming this wasn't a problem as dedicated servers meant that if you couldn't find a host you had the ability to host yourself.

But as the new consoles become ever more popular, and even the PC games being nothing but bad console ports, we are getting to a point where the consumer has NO way to tell if the game will work Just be fair, that is all I ask. Have a guaranteed "supported to" date so that we the consumer can look at the box and know whether or not it will work. Oh and any company like Walmart that tries to sell non functional products like Tabula Rasa should have some nice massive fines laid on their ass. I too have seen Tabula Rasa boxes recently at my local Walmart. Talk about ripping off your customers!

Comment Re:Hypocritical cross-platform support story (Score 1) 944

Supposing you want to run a program that I write, and I'm going to write it in exactly one language because it's just me and not a corporation with thousands of employees, and I'm not so in love with the Mac that I will write it to run only there.

Then what do you recommend I do in the face of "de-emphasized" Java?

Comment Re:Student Interest Does Not Equal Employer Intere (Score 1) 225

If you owned a video game studio, who would you publish? Some guy who sat on his ass and got a degree in "video game design" from some no-name school? Or some guy that programmed and released for free an innovative game over the internet? I'd take the guy that has results.

Uh, perhaps the time spent in the course gives you some skills to make your own video game which you can use to impress people. It's not like you're just paying for a note from your teacher after 4 years of doing nothing.

Comment Re:Take some time and think (Score 1) 537

"just do it, its your employer" isn't good enough.

I'm not sure why you think this, as that will land you (in jail in rare cases or) out of a job. It is expected that an employer has full control over what you do in your position (insofar as you are willing and able to do it or quit). This includes reversing policy or statements they have made at any time. If you want to sue them for attempting to coerce or asking you to do something illegal, that's an after-the-fact. Welcome to the real world.

Comment Cool, I can't wait to start suing. (Score 0, Flamebait) 537

Since the service that was denied "was the ability to administer the routers and switches of the FiberWAN" I figure that anyone who keeps me from getting to work on time in the morning by driving stupidly, or even a police officer who stops me along the way I can have them brought up on "Denial of Service" charges and maybe even making a tidy profit. Also I think Jason Chilton is an idiot.

Comment 'Hot Market' (Score 2, Interesting) 189

I didn't realize that Mission Viejo was such a hot market... No one goes to The Shops except for locals. If MS really wanted to 'showcase' their products they could have chosen a much more high profile-venue. And there are plenty in OC: The Spectrum, South Coast, Fashion Island, or even The Block. Not to mention the fact that there is a Costco across the freeway and a Best Buy a mile up. I'm sure they'll be happy to 'introduce' consumers to Microsoft (as if MS needs an introduction anyway).

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