eldavojohn writes: Gartner's released a report on Worldwide numbers of 2012 3Q phone sales and the staggering results posted from Android have caused people like IW's Eric Zeman to call for sanity. Keep in mind these are worldwide numbers which might be less surprising when you realize that the biggest growth market of them all is China who is more than 90% Android. It's time to face the facts and realize that Android now owns 73% of the worldwide smartphone market. While developers bicker over which platform is best for development and earnings, the people of the world may be making the choice based on just how inexpensive an Android smartphone can be. This same time last year, Gartner reported Android at 52.5% of market share and it now sits at 72.4% market share with over 122 million units sold worldwide. Only Q4 reports will tell if Android's momentum will finally begin to slow to save some chance of competition in the smartphone ecosystem or if the Quickening will be complete.
eldavojohn writes: Vermont is the first state to ban fracking (hydraulic fracturing), a process that was to revolutionize the United States' position into a major producer of natural gas. New York currently has a moratorium on fracking but it is not yet a statewide ban. Video of the signing indicates the concern over drinking water as the motivation for Vermont's measures (PDF draft of legislation). Slashdot has frequently encountered news debating the safety of such practices.
eldavojohn writes: The editors of Infection and Immunity are sending a warning signal about modern science. Two editorials (1 and 2) published in the journal have given other biomedical researchers pause to ask if modern science is dysfunctional. Readers familiar with the state of academia may not be surprised but the claims have been presented today to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) that level the following allegations: "Incentives have evolved over the decades to encourage some behaviors that are detrimental to good science" and "The surest ticket to getting a grant or job is getting published in a high profile journal, this is an unhealthy belief that can lead a scientist to engage in sensationalism and sometimes even dishonest behavior to salvage their career." The data to back up such slanderous claims? "In the past decade the number of retraction notices for scientific journals has increased more than 10-fold while the number of journals articles published has only increased by 44%." At least a few of such retractions have been covered here.
eldavojohn writes: Considering IBM's portfolio gained 6,180 last year alone, it's not a huge number. But after a dispute with Yahoo a couple weeks ago, Facebook has purchased 750 patents from IBM. That's over thirteen times the 56 they were reportedly holding. The humorous rumor is that Yahoo might have been licensing these patents from IBM. If you can't beat 'em, buy the patents they're licensing from another company. Another rumor is that Facebook might just be getting started in their bid to expand their patent portfolio. No word yet on if the purchased patents directly pertain to Yahoo's infringement claims on messaging, privacy controls, advertising, customisation and social networking.
eldavojohn writes: Twisted Metal designer David Jaffe gave a DICE Summit presentation in which he argued against "games that have been intentionally made from the ground up with the intent and purpose of telling a story or expressing a philosophy or giving a designer's narrative." He went on to say essentially that it's a waste of time and resources when the focus should be on game-play, not story. While some parts of his presentation are warmly welcomed by the gaming community (like his instructions for game execs to get a bullshit filter), this particular point has some unsurprising opponents. His argument against a "cinematic narrative" was probably strongest with his comparison to the movie Saving Private Ryan where Spielberg made the Normandy Beach invasion scene as close to a documentary as possible. The audience could sit back and appreciate that. But if you made a game where the player is in that position of the soldier then that historically accurate imagery and top shelf voice acting doesn't really matter, the only thing the player should be thinking is "How the fuck do I get to that rock? How do I get to the exit?" Is Jaffe right? Have game makers been "seduced by the power and language of film" at the expense of game-play?
eldavojohn writes: Almost two months ago three individuals were charged with selling the designs of Apple's latest tablet to Maita Electronics for 200,000 yuan (about $30,857.60 USD). They have now been sentenced in Shenzhen City: 'Xiao Chengsong, the legal agent of Maita Electronics, to 18 months in prison and fined him 150,000 yuan ($23,000) for buying the design from two Foxconn workers... Foxconn employee Lin Kecheng, was sentenced to 14 months and fined 100,000 yuan, while another worker identified as Hou Pengna was given a two-year sentence suspended for one year and fined 30,000 yuan. All three were convicted of the crime of violating commercial secrets.'
eldavojohn writes: In his latest blog post, Dev Gualtieri recalls a time when US industrial research and publishing papers was part of his professional life. Aside from the plug for the book Science Mart and its get-off-my-lawn-edness, Gualtieri cites his own personal anecdote on the decline of US industrial research. Companies like Bell used to employ the minds of people like Shannon and Turing while producing groundbreaking papers and researching new technologies. The blog notes that its easier for today's company to justify investing large amounts of cash in legal fees and lawyers than white papers and researchers. The accusation is that today's "Marketplace for Ideas" actually is just making us stupider (by outsourcing research) as opposed to many claims that it is inherently efficient. The commercialization of scientific research as a commodity starting in the 1980s has left our country inept and lazy on the global market as companies simply buy out the small guys who come up with original ideas or litigate them into oblivion instead of doing their own research and development. Gualtieri's sentiments echo Andrew Odlyzko in 1995 who conducted research in the once prestigious Bell and AT&T Labs. Is industrial research all but dead in the United States? Has anyone here been recently published in a journal after doing research in their company's environment?
eldavojohn writes: By way of Patently O with a bit of context at Ars, news is spreading of Apple's acquisition of over two hundred of Freescale's patents and patent applications. To clarify from the article, 'To be clear, the assignment records available only indicate that Apple received an “assignment of assignors interest.” Thus, it is unclear from the information now available whether (1) Apple obtained full title to the patents and (2) whether Apple purchased the rights or obtained them through some other type of transaction. However, a cash purchase is likely because Apple has a large multi-billion-dollar cash surplus while Freescale has a large multi-billion-dollar debt that has come due. The patents were previously mortgaged and a release of the security interest has not yet been recorded.' Is it possible that a large exchange of cash has occurred betwixt the two? Keep in mind that Apple has a lot of arrows going to and from it in the smartphone lawsuit quagmire that erupted in March of 2010.
eldavojohn writes: Lionhead, the developer of Fable III, told Eurogamer that used games are worse than piracy. Mike West, the lead combat designer for the latest Fable said, 'For us it's probably a no-lose even with piracy as it is. But, as I say, second-hand sales cost us more in the long-run than piracy these days.' So downloading a game is bad but apparently stopping by a second hand store to pick up a licensed physical copy of the game ends up hurting them even more.
eldavojohn writes: Riding the tail of Apple's 30% announcement, Google's Eric Schmidt has announced One Pass, a new method for users to pay for content. The BBC is reporting that Google is taking a 10% cut. One Pass will work on Google sites and on phones and tablets as the announcement notes: 'Readers who purchase from a One Pass publisher can access their content on tablets, smartphones and websites using a single sign-on with an email and password. Importantly, the service helps publishers authenticate existing subscribers so that readers don't have to re-subscribe in order to access their content on new devices.' This is to be handled through Google Checkout.