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Submission + - A Google blunder: the sad story of Urchin (arstechnica.com)

Anenome writes: Google has a track record of buying startups and integrating them into its portfoilo. But sometimes those acquisitions go terribly wrong, as Ars Technica argues has been the case with Google's 2005 purchase of web-analytics firm Urchin Software Corp. 'In the wake of Google's purchase of the company, inquiring customers (including Ars Technica) were told that support and updates would continue. Companies that had purchased support contracts were expecting version 6 any day, including Ars. What really happened is this: Google focused its attention on Google Analytics, put all updates to Urchin's other products on the back burner, and rolled out a skeleton support team. Everyone who forked over for upgrades via a support contract never got them, even though things weren't supposed to have changed. The support experience has been awful. Since the acquisition, we have had two major issues with Urchin, and neither issue was solved by Google's support team. In fact, with one issue, we were helped up until the point it got difficult, and then the help vanished. The support team literally just stopped responding.'
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Upcoming firmware will brick unlocked iPhones (arstechnica.com)

iCry writes: It was rumored last week, and Apple has now confirmed it: 'Apple said today that a firmware update to the iPhone due to be released later this week "will likely result" in SIM-unlocked iPhones turning into very expensive bricks... So what are users of SIM-unlocked iPhones to do? Not run the latest software update, that's for sure. Users can instead pray to the hacking deities — the famed iPhone Dev Team that released the free software unlock, and iPhoneSIMfree, which released a commercial software unlock — to write applications that will undo the unlocks, as it were, if those users want to run the latest iPhone software.'

Submission + - AMD announces triple-core CPU (arstechnica.com)

punt pass and kick writes: AMD has announced that they will begin shipping three-core CPUs as part of their Phenom architecture. 'AMD is positioning the new processor, which will be marketed as part of the Phenom line and will sport 2MB of shared L3 cache, as a response to consumer needs. The company's PR is pitching the idea the dual-core/quad-core split has left a gap in the market, and implying that consumers will want to save some money instead by picking up a triple-core part more suited to workloads with lower levels of multithreading.' Ars reports that AMD's 2008 roadmap now features single-, dual-, triple-, and quad-core parts for consumers. It 'is either a stroke of genius or it's a recipe for mass confusion. I haven't yet decided which I think it is, but one thing's for certain: the Intel vs. AMD price/performance picture for 2008 just got a lot murkier... and a lot more interesting.'
The Courts

Submission + - Verizon sues FCC over 700MHz open access rules (arstechnica.com)

Carterfone writes: Verizon is upset at the open access conditions for the 700MHz spectrum auction, and they're going to court to get them overturned. The company has filed a lawsuit in the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, urging the court to overturn the rules. 'In its petition for review, Verizon argues that the FCC exceeded its authority in mandating the two open access conditions, accusing the Commission of being "arbitrary" and "capricious," and saying that the rules are "unsupported by substantial evidence and otherwise contrary to law." Google is critical of Verizon's lawsuit: 'It's regrettable that Verizon has decided to use the court system to try to prevent consumers from having any choice of innovative services. Once again, it is American consumers who lose from these tactics.'

Submission + - Porn industry looking for fix for piracy problem (arstechnica.com)

Hedgehog writes: Piracy has the porn industry up in arms, and they appear to be hard up for solutions to the problem. The increased popularity of BitTorrent and other p2p networks has made profits harder to come by for the industry. 'With sales tanking quickly over the past several years in favor of free alternatives, the industry is now trying to figure out ways to stay afloat. Piccionelli estimates that no more than 15 or 20 percent of the porn in the wild is legitimate — for an estimated $50 billion industry, that could mean a lot in lost sales, although it is highly debatable whether many of those downloading XXX features on their P2P network of choice would have purchased those titles instead.' At least they're not looking at DRM: 'Noting something that Hollywood still has yet to acknowledge: "I worry about [the producers] coming up with DRM or technological solutions, because they're not going to work."'
Portables (Apple)

Submission + - Apple Blesses 3rd-Party iPhone Software - Sort Of (arstechnica.com)

StarKruzr writes: "Ars Technica is reporting that Apple's Greg Joswiak has said the company is officially taking a "neutral stance" on third-party binary applications for their mobile phone product. This means that while the iPhone community developers will get no help from Cupertino with respect to 3rd-party apps, Apple doesn't intend to do anything to prevent them from going nuts with whatever they want to write. Future Software Updates may break the hacks in one way or another, but it will be incidental rather than intentional. This is pretty great news for geeks who want a UNIX cell phone with a great interface. The iPhone software development community's progress has been accelerating rapidly, and this announcement can only mean that it will speed up even faster now that there is a measure of assurance from Apple that the phone will be "allowed" to be a platform rather than just a pretty device."
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Amazon gunning for PayPal, Google Checkout (typepad.com)

Kanuck54 writes: "Today Amazon officially launched their Flexible Payments Service, firing a shot across the bows of both PayPal and Google Checkout. With the special fee structure on payments below ten dollars — all the way down to a quarter-cent fee on a one-cent transaction — it looks like micropayments just got a whole lot closer to reality. Integration is already completed or well-underway for an online invoicing service, a personal finance website, and a few others hand-picked by Amazon for early participation. There's even talk of a Facebook application for settling personal debts. With no setup or monthly fees and some very good rates, it looks like the online payment industry is about to feel the effects of a major shake-up."

Submission + - New Rubik's puzzle released; no twisting required

PuzzleBoy writes: The first review of the Rubik's Revolution has hit the net. Although the new toy resembles a traditional Rubik's cube, it works in a totally different way, no twisting needed. That's going to cause some confusion around the office. From the article: "My first thought—and I know I won't be alone in this—was to twist it in the traditional Rubik's Cube way. Nothing doing—this cube is a Rubik's in name and basic design only. The decision to package this electronic toy inside the iconic cube seems to be a marketing one: if it didn't have the Rubik's name attached to it, would we all be talking about the toy as much as we are?" Is a light game a worthy successor to the iconic Cube of yore?
United States

Submission + - Digital Fair Use bill introduced to US House

An anonymous reader writes: Ars Technica reports that "US Representative Rick Boucher (D-VA) and John Doolittle (R-CA) today announced the Freedom And Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship Act of 2007 (FAIR USE Act). The bill's aim is to help put an end to the madness circulating around the general imbalance that has befallen copyright in recent years."

Submission + - The state of virtualizing OS X

seriouslywtf writes: There's been a lot of speculation about whether people will eventually be able to run Mac OS X in a virtual machine, either on the Mac or under Windows. Well, it seems that both Parallels and VMWare have definitively told Ars Technica that until Apple explicitly gives them the thumbs up, they're not going to be enabling users to virtualize OS X even though it may be possible to do so. From the first article, Parallels said:

"We won't enable this kind of functionality until Apple gives their blessing for a few reasons," Rudolph told Ars. "First, we're concerned about our users — we are never going to encourage illegal activity that could open our users up to compromised machines or any sort of legal action. This is the same reason why we always insist on using a fully-licensed, genuine copy of Windows in a virtual machine — it's safer, more stable, fully supported, and completely legal."
And VMWare added:

"We're very interested in running Mac OS X in a virtual machine because it opens up a ton of interesting use cases, but until Apple changes its licensing policy, we prefer to not speculate about running Mac OS X in a virtualized environment," Krishnamurti added.

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