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Businesses

$860 Million In Fines Handed Out For LCD Price-Fixing 151

eldavojohn writes "Six companies have pleaded guilty to worldwide price fixing of Thin-Film Transistor Liquid Crystal Displays from Sept. 14, 2001, to Dec. 1, 2006. For violating the Sherman Act, the companies have agreed to pay criminal fines of over $860 Million. In addition, nine executives have been charged in the scandal. The pricing scam affected some of the largest companies at the time, including Apple, HP and Dell. (If you bought a TFT-LCD from them in that time frame, you may be one of the victimized consumers.) From the DOJ release, 'According to the charge, Chi Mei carried out the conspiracy by agreeing during meetings, conversations and communications to charge prices of TFT-LCD panels at certain pre-determined levels and issuing price quotations in accordance with the agreements reached. As a part of the conspiracy, Chi Mei exchanged information on sales of TFT-LCD panels for the purpose of monitoring and enforcing adherence to the agreed-upon prices.'"
The Courts

"Accidental" Download Sending 22-Year-Old Man To Prison 1127

An anonymous reader writes "Two years ago, Matthew White searched Limewire for porn. He was looking for 'College Girls Gone Wild,' but ended up downloading some images of child pornography. This was accidental, according to White, and he quickly deleted the images. A year later, the FBI showed up on his family's doorstep and asked to search the computer. After thorough sleuthing, the FBI found some images 'deep within the hard drive.' According to White, the investigators agreed that he himself could not have accessed the files anymore. Matthew now faces 20 years in jail for possession of child pornography. On advice from his lawyer, he intends to plead guilty so that he will 'hopefully' end up with 3.5 years in jail, 10 years probation and a registration as a sex offender. 'The FBI could not comment on this specific case, but said if child pornography is ever downloaded accidentally, the user needs to call authorities immediately. They may confiscate your computer, but it's better than the alternative.'"
Media

Best PC DVR Software, For Any Platform? 536

jshamacher writes "I've used MythTV for several years (first on Slackware, now via Mythbuntu) and it's good. But not great — I have a list of annoyances as long as my arm. For example, even 0.22 still has problems playing many DVDs and I frequently have to fall back on Xine. Since upgrading to new hardware, I've had issues with sound dropping out; these problems only occur for Myth, not for anything else. So now I'm trying out alternatives. Freevo seemed promising when I tried it a few months ago but it had its own issues. I'm also increasingly getting pressure from my family to get things like NetFlix streaming working on this machine. This seems to imply migrating to a Windows-based solution. I threw XP on it and tried MediaPortal but could never get that to control my Motorola cable box via the IR blaster. So my questions to you: What DVR software do you use? Are you happy with it? What don't you like? Are there any packages out there that 'just work' as media hubs and for time-shifting cable TV?"
Science

Programmable Quantum Computer Created 132

An anonymous reader writes "A team at NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology) used berylium ions, lasers and electrodes to develop a quantum system that performed 160 randomly chosen routines. Other quantum systems to date have only been able to perform single, prescribed tasks. Other researchers say the system could be scaled up. 'The researchers ran each program 900 times. On average, the quantum computer operated accurately 79 percent of the time, the team reported in their paper.'"
Censorship

Obama Talks Internet Freedom, China Censors 312

eldavojohn writes "In a town-hall-style Q&A with (hand-picked) Chinese students in Shanghai, President Obama made several statements knocking China's firewall and censorship. Quoting: 'I am a big believer in technology and I'm a big believer in openness when it comes to the flow of information. I think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes, because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable. They can begin to think for themselves. That generates new ideas. It encourages creativity. And so I've always been a strong supporter of open Internet use. I'm a big supporter of non-censorship. This is part of the tradition of the United States that I discussed before, and I recognize that different countries have different traditions. I can tell you that in the United States, the fact that we have free Internet — or unrestricted Internet access — is a source of strength, and I think should be encouraged.' The Washington Post notes that the event was broadcast only on the local level, and in fact Chinese authorities removed from view what little coverage it had gotten, after about an hour. But at least American news media are gobbling it up."
Security

In Test, Windows 7 Vulnerable To 8 Out of 10 Viruses 843

As Windows 7's market share passes 3.6%, up from 1.9% the day before launch, llManDrakell notes an experiment they did over at Sophos. They installed Windows 7 on a clean machine — with no anti-virus protection — with User Access Control in its default configuration. They threw at it the next 10 virus/worm samples that came in the door. Seven of them ran; UAC stopped only one baddie that had run in the absense of UAC. "Lesson learned? You still need to run anti-virus on Windows 7."
The Courts

Japanese Ruling Against Winny Dev Overturned On Appeal 82

Joren writes "In Japan, in a case that has been five years running, the Osaka High Court on Thursday overturned a lower court ruling that had convicted and fined the developer of controversial file-sharing software Winny of assisting violations of the Copyright Law. Originally charged in 2004, Isamu Kaneko, 39, a former research assistant at the University of Tokyo, was declared not guilty, and will not be required to pay a 1.5 million yen fine levied by a December 2006 Kyoto District Court ruling. 'Merely being aware of the possibility that the software could be abused does not constitute a crime of aiding violations of the law, and the court cannot accept that the defendant supplied the software solely to be used for copyright violations,' presiding judge Masazo Ogura said. Furthermore, in siding with the defense, the appeal ruling stated that 'Anonymity is not something to be looked on as illegal, and it is not something that applies specifically to copyright violations. The technical value of the software is neutral.'"
Graphics

Nvidia Discloses Details On Next-Gen Fermi GPU 175

EconolineCrush writes "The Tech Report has published the first details describing the architecture behind Nvidia's upcoming Fermi GPU. More than just a graphics processor, Fermi incorporates many enhancements targeted specifically at general-purpose computing, such as better support for double-precision math, improved internal scheduling and switching, and more robust tools for developers. Plus, you know, more cores. Some questions about the chip remain unanswered, but it's not expected to arrive until later this year or early next."
Government

FCC Backs Net Neutrality, Chairman's Full Speech Posted 270

ArmyofGnomes writes "FCC chairman Julius Genachowski delivered Monday on President Obama's promise to back 'net neutrality' — but he went much further than merely seeking to expand rules that prohibit ISPs from filtering or blocking net traffic by proposing that they cover all broadband connections, including data connections for smartphones. Genachowski stated: 'I understand the Internet is a dynamic network and that technology continues to grow and evolve. I recognize that if we were to create unduly detailed rules that attempted to address every possible assault on openness, such rules would become outdated quickly. But the fact that the Internet is evolving rapidly does not mean we can, or should, abandon the underlying values fostered by an open network, or the important goal of setting rules of the road to protect the free and open Internet. ... In view of these challenges and opportunities, and because it is vital that the Internet continue to be an engine of innovation, economic growth, competition and democratic engagement, I believe the FCC must be a smart cop on the beat preserving a free and open Internet.'"
Upgrades

PCI Express 3.0 Delayed Till 2011 80

Professor_Quail writes "PC Magazine reports that the PCI SIG has officially delayed the release of the PCI Express 3.0 specification until the second quarter of 2010. Originally, the PCI Express 3.0 specification called for the spec itself to be released this year, with products due about a year after the spec's release, or in 2010."
Games

The Problems With Porting Games 330

mr_sifter writes "There's a large lexicon of monosyllabic, four-letter words for describing something you don't like — but only PC gamers use the word 'port' with such a fervent degree of repulsion. Common complaints about console ports include meager graphics options, dodgy third-person camera angles, poorly-thought-out controls and sparsely distributed save points. In this feature, Bit-tech talks to developers of games such as Dead Space, Red Faction and Tales of Monkey Island to find out why porting games between the three major consoles and the PC is so difficult. Radically different CPU, graphics and memory architectures play their part, as do the differences in control methods and the rules Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo set about how games should work on their systems."
Google

Google Two Years Into Overhaul of the Google File System 217

El Reg writes "As its ten-year-old file system — GFS — struggles to keep up with Gmail, YouTube, and other apps it was never designed to support, Google is brewing a replacement. According to the company, it's two years into a GFS sequel designed specifically for customer-facing apps that require ultra low latency."
Encryption

Generating Fast MD5 Collisions With ATI Video Cards 72

An anonymous reader writes "Yesterday at Black Hat USA 2009, a talk entitled MD5 Chosen-Prefix Collisions on GPUs (whitepaper) (Both PDFs) presented an implementation written in assembly language for ATI video cards that achieves 1.6 billion MD5 hash/sec, or 2.2 billion MD5 hash/sec with reversing, on an ATI Radeon HD 4850 X2. This is faster than the much-publicized 1.4-1.9 billion hash/sec figure that was supposedly reached on a PlayStation 3 by Nick Breese at Black Hat Europe 2008 (he later noticed an error in his benchmarking tool). Compared to the cluster of 215 PlayStation 3s that was used to create a rogue CA in December 2008, Marc Bevand claimed a cluster of 12 machines with 24 video cards would be a bit faster, consume 5 times less power, and be 10 times cheaper."

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