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Comment Re:Laches (Score 1) 261

The earnings from selling Stormtroper merchandise (and thus the damages Ainsworth can claim) have increased substantially in the 25 years since Lucas started doing it. Lucas is clearly in a more vulnerable position now than if Ainsworth had sued him in 1977.

Doesn't work that way. He can claim what it was worth 30 years ago, the same as everybody else got when they claimed it 30 years ago (still a fair chunk of money). No reasonable judge is going to give him what it's worth today. A mere increase in value is not sufficient for laches; the essential requirement is that the losing party must have made different decisions as a result of the delay, and that those decisions have left them in a worse position.

If Lucas had believed that he owed no royalties to anybody and then sold the rights to somebody else (who would now sue him for screwing up), that would be a case for laches - his position has been harmed by the delay. If the royalties would amount to more than it was worth then he could claim he wouldn't have gone ahead with the project if he'd known about this in advance, and that would also be one. But there's nothing like that here.

A New Concept in Supercomputers 113

Steve Kerrison writes "With the power of CPUs ever-increasing and the number of cores in a system increasing too, having a supercomputer sit under your desk is no longer a pipe dream. But generally speaking, the extreme high end of modern computing consists of a big ugly box housing that generates a lot of noise. A UK system integrator has developed a concept PC that blows that all away. The eXtreme Concept PC (XCP) has quite a romantic design story, with inspiration coming from concept cars and the sarcophagus-like Cray T90. The end result is a system that resembles a Cylon — computing power never looked so ominous. Although just a concept, the company behind the design reckons there could be a (small) market for the systems, with varying levels of compute power accompanied by appropriate (say, LN2) cooling."
The Internet

A New Paradigm For Web Browsing 237

dsaci points out a New York Times article about how surfing the web may change to a more graphics-based endeavor. With the advent of devices like the Wii and the iPhone, the capability to directly control objects on a screen is becoming a popular and affordable technology. That, combined with immersive interfaces such as Piclens, could be the future of web browsing. Quoting: "'I've wondered for a long time why the computer interface hasn't changed from 20 years ago,' said Austin Shoemaker, a former Apple Computer software engineer and now chief technology officer of Cooliris. 'People should think of a computer interface less as a tool and more as a extension of themselves or as extension of their mind.' Voice, too, is finally beginning to play a significant role as an interface tool in a new generation of consumer-oriented wireless handsets. Many technologists now believe that hunting and pecking on the tiny keyboards of cellphones and P.D.A.'s will quickly give way to voice commands that will return map, text and other data displayed visually on small screens."

Microsoft Says Vista Has the Fewest Flaws 548

ancientribe writes "Microsoft issued a year-one security report on its Windows Vista operating system today, and it turns out Vista logged less than half the vulnerabilities than Windows XP did in its first year. According to the new Microsoft report, Vista also had fewer vulnerabilities in its first year than other OSes — including Red Hat rhel4ws, Ubuntu 6.06 LTS, and Apple Mac OS X 10.4 — did in their first years."

Vista Shipped On 39% of PCs In 2007 321

Stony Stevenson writes "Vista is proving far less popular than XP did with new PC buyers during the earlier OS's first year on the market. This conclusion follows from statements by Bill Gates at this week's Consumer Electronics Show. Gates boasted that Microsoft has sold more than 100 million copies of Windows Vista since the OS launched last January. Based on Gates's statement, Windows Vista was aboard just 39% of the PC's that shipped in 2007. And Vista, in terms of units shipped, only outperformed first-year sales of XP by 10%, according to Gates's numbers, while PC shipments have doubled in the years since XP's release."

Patent Office Program To Speed Computer Tech 80

coondoggie writes "Looking to address critics, the US Patent and Trademark Office this week is starting a program to speed up and improve the review of computer hardware and software technologies. The agency is set to launch a peer-review pilot project that will give technical experts in computer technology, for the first time, the opportunity to submit technical reports relevant to the claims of a published patent application before an examiner reviews it. The idea is to get as much knowledge about a particular claim in front of an examiner as quickly as possible so they can make a decision faster, the agency said. IBM, Microsoft, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, CA, and Red Hat have already agreed to review some software patent applications for the one-year community review project. Intel, Sun, Oracle, Yahoo, and others are also part of the project. The pilot is a joint initiative with the Community Patent Review Project, organized by the New York Law School's Institute for Information and Policy.

Submission + - Cathedral row over video game

An anonymous reader writes: The BBC reports that the Church of England is considering legal action against Sony for featuring Manchester Cathedral in a violent PlayStation video game. The bishop of Manchester has stated that violence shouldn't be associated with the church, a view which may come as a shock to history students and those who've actually read the bible. Those protesting consider the game especially inappropriate because "it is well known that Manchester has a gun crime problem".

Sony describe the game as featuring "strange looking alien invaders seeking to destroy humanity". Speaking of which; MEP Arlene McCarthy is apparently writing to Sony to express her concerns.

A Chip on DVDs Could Prevent Theft 435

Dieppe writes "A simple chip added to a DVD disk could prevent retail theft. According to the AP article at MSNBC, the chip would be activated at the register to make a previously dark area of the DVD clear, and therefore readable. Could this help to stem the tide of the approximate $400 million dollars in losses from brick and mortar stores? Game console DVDs could also be protected this way too. Could this help to bring the prices down on DVD games and movies?"

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