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Comment Wildfire connected incoming calls to other numbers (Score 2, Interesting) 185

There certainly seems to have been other instances of prior art, though I do not know what actual patents existed. Wildfire 1.0 was released on October 19, 1994 and provided many of the same features.

"Wildfire smooths the process of completing calls and helps you be more available to callers. The system does a good job of identifying callers, so you spend much less time than before tapping numbers into the dialpad or looking up information in your Filofax or PIM. For example, the informed call waiting feature asks callers to speak their name, then plays that in your ear only (regardless where you're calling from) so you can decide what to do. If you ignore the call, Wildfire takes a message. If Wildfire identifies the caller by recognizing the name, she can take further action."

Comment The Case for Lunar Property Rights (Score 1) 144

According to an article in Popular Mechanics from the June 2008 issue:

With the space race in full flower, though, the real worry was national sovereignty. Both the United States and the Soviet Union wanted to reach the moon first but, in fact, each was more worried about what would happen if they arrived second. Fears that the competition might trigger World War III led to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which was eventually ratified by 62 countries. According to article II of the treaty, "Outer Space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means."

Ideally, title would be recognized by an international agreement that all nations would endorse. The 1979 Moon Treaty was a flop, but there's no reason the space powers couldn't agree on a new treaty that recognizes property rights and encourages investment. After all, the international climate has warmed to property rights and capitalism over the past 30 years.


App Store Piracy Losses Estimated At $459 Million 202

An anonymous reader passes along this quote from a report at 24/7 Wall St.: "There have been over 3 billion downloads since the inception of the App Store. Assuming the proportion of those that are paid apps falls in the middle of the Bernstein estimate, 17% or 510 million of these were paid applications. Based on our review of current information, paid applications have a piracy rate of around 75%. That supports the figure that for every paid download, there have been 3 pirated downloads. That puts the number of pirate downloads at 1.53 billion. If the average price of a paid application is $3, that is $4.59 billion dollars in losses split between Apple and the application developers. That is, of course, assuming that all of those pirates would have made purchases had the application not been available to them for free. This is almost certainly not the case. A fair estimate of the proportion of people who would have used the App Store if they did not use pirated applications is about 10%. This estimate yields about $459 million in lost revenue for Apple and application developers." A response posted at Mashable takes issue with some of the figures, particularly the 75% piracy rate. While such rates have been seen with game apps, it's unclear whether non-game apps suffer the same fate.

Apple Orders 10 Million Tablets? 221

Arvisp writes "According to a blog post by former Google China president Kai-Fu Lee, Apple plans to produce nearly 10 million tablets in the still-unannounced product's first year. If Lee's blog post is to be believed, Apple plans to sell nearly twice as many tablets as it did iPhones in the product's first year."

Comment "Who Cares?" is an old argument (Score 1) 533

As mentioned in John Dvorak's Second Opinion this excerpt sums it up quite well:

Our privacy rights have been eroding for years and just accelerated with the Bush administration. President Barack Obama has been on board since day one.

What sort of society wants to tap the phone calls of all its citizens? What sort of society wants to rifle through your personal belongings after busting into your house? These notions are promoted on TV with shows like "24" and other cop shows, where warrantless searches are common. (Even the actual mechanisms are revealed: "Did you hear a scream for help in there?" "YES! Let's bust in.")

It ironic Eric Schmidt seems to feel differently about his own personal information that that of others.

Schmidt, it should be noted, had a few personal details of his life revealed a few years ago by CNet in an exercise to show the power of Google's /quotes/comstock/15*!goog/quotes/nls/goog (GOOG 590.51, -0.99, -0.17%) search engine. Schmidt was incensed that, for instance, his home address was unearthed, and the company then banned CNet from its press events. Read the CNet article at issue.

Using Schmidt's logic, one has to ask: Why did he care if he wasn't doing anything wrong?


Submission + - Peices of earliest known Christian Bible go online

bihoy writes: A report on BBC News states "Visitors to the website can now see images of more than half the 1,600-year-old Codex Sinaiticus manuscript.

Fragments of the 4th Century document — written in Greek on parchment leaves — have been worked on by institutions in the UK, Germany, Egypt and Russia.

Experts say it is 'a window into the development of early Christianity'."

Accordinng to a New York Times article, "Not all of it has withstood the ravages of time, but the pages that have include the whole of the New Testament and the earliest surviving copy of the Gospels written at different times after Christ's death by four of the Apostles: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

The bible's remaining 800 pages and fragments — it was originally some 1400 pages long — also contain half of a copy of the Old Testament. The other half has been lost."

Submission + - Turning Sugar Water into Biofuel (

bihoy writes: It seems that a company bt the name of Virent has come up with a process to turn sugars directly into fuel rather than an ethanol additive.

Virent CEO Lee Edwards talks about the technology in an online vidoe stating that their patented catalysts turn biomass sugars directly into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, not ethanol, so it has a high energy content that can be dropped in to existing infrastructure, says .

There is also an article where he is quoted as saying "I believe we're at the bottom-end of the cycle on crude oil and that in the long-run crude oil will become more expensive," Edwards said in an interview with MarketWatch. "Virent's got a really unique technology that's able to transform sugars from biomass directly into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. In our view that's the right path to take."

Apparently, compared to water-based ethanol, the fuel contains more energy and it's easier to transport via pipeline since it doesn't absorb water and corrode pipes.

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