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Submission + - iPhone Developers creating a lot of hot air

An anonymous reader writes: John Biggs of notes that the company that makes Pull My Finger, Air-o-matic has asked for $50,000 in damages from iFart Mobile for using the tagline "Pull my finger!" in some of their PR materials and on a YouTube video representing iFart Mobile. Long story short, now iFart is asking a judge to find that "pull my finger" is part of public domain, essentially shutting Air-o-Matic up with the legal system.

Personally, I think iPhone development stinks. I think the entire industry is going down the hole. And, my father told me to "pull my finger" more times that I care to remember when I was growing up, 50 years ago!
The Courts

Submission + - Pennsylvania Judges jail kids for cash (

fishyfool writes: "Two Luzerne County Pennsylvania Judges have admitted that they jailed kids, and gave harsher than normal sentences to others for payments of more than 2.6 million dollars from private contractors. These contractors, PA Childcare and a sister company, Western PA Childcare, then billed the state. The more children incarcerated, the more money paid to the companies. These judges face up to 7 years in prison"
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - High Tech Misery in China

theodp writes: "Think you've got a bad job? Think again. You could be making keyboards for IBM, Microsoft, Dell, Lenovo and HP at Meitai Plastic and Electronics, a Chinese hardware factory. Prompted by the release of High Tech Misery in China by a human-rights group, a self-regulating body set up by tech companies will conduct an audit of working conditions at the factory. In return for take-home pay of 41 cents per hour, workers reportedly sit on hard wooden stools for 12-hour shifts, seven days a week. Overtime is mandatory, with workers being given on average two days off per month. While on the production line, workers are not allowed to raise their hands or heads, are given 1.1 seconds to snap each key into place, and are encouraged to "actively monitor each other" to see if any company rules are being transgressed. They are also monitored by guards. Workers are fined if they break the rules, locked in the factory for four days per week, and sleep in crowded dormitories. Okay, it's not all bad news — they're hiring."

Submission + - Creditors Charge Shady Deals in Midway Bankruptcy (

GamePolitics writes: "Last Thursday, Mortal Kombat publisher Midway filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. On Friday, certain creditors filed a motion which raises serious questions about the circumstances surrounding Midway's November sale by mogul Sumner Redstone to a mysterious buyer for a mere $100,000. The motion alleges that, under certain circumstances, buyer Mark Thomas, who has no track record in the video game industry, could reap a 30,000% return on his $100K investment while other creditors lost out."

Submission + - EU wants standard for mobile phone connectors ( 1

Jantastic writes: "European Commissioner Günter Verheugen (Industry) wants manufacturers of mobile phones to come up with a standard connector for chargers and microphones. If companies fail to do so, proposed legislation should speed up this process. Original story in Dutch here, funny English translation here. In theory, this could improve competition, while enabling longer lifecycles for these devices."

Submission + - Are you ready for road tolls anywhere? (

bfwebster writes: "Here in Denver, we have E-470, a toll section of the 470 beltway that uses the usual transponder attached to your windshield. Fair enough, and I make use of it, particularly in driving to the airport. But they've just implemented new technology on E-470 that allows anyone to drive through the automated toll gates. If you don't have a transponder, it takes a photo of your license plate and sends a monthly bill to your house. As a result, the company that runs E-470 plans to close all human-staffed toll booths by mid-summer. And as an article in this morning's Rocky Mountain News notes, "Such a system could be deployed on other roads, including some that motorists now use free. The result: a new source of money for highways and bridges badly in need of repair." You can bet that legislators, mayors, and city councilpersons everywhere will see this as an even-better source of income than red-light cameras. You've been warned.""

Comment KDE prior art (Score 5, Informative) 250

Take a look here see the view of the virtual desktops on the top right? KDE has had this feature since at least 98 and I think the beta's had even more. Gregory Swartz just patented someone elses work likely seen while working as a consultant in the working environments of his clients.
The Internet

Submission + - Muslims and the digital divide (

catherine odonnell writes: "Aug. 1, 2007 | Politics and Government
Muslim political parties grow online but digital divide continues to widen
Catherine O'Donnell

    World Information Access Report 2007
The WIA Project investigates causes and consequences of the global digital divide.

  Political life in Muslim countries is surprisingly wired, according to researchers at the University of Washington.

In 2000, fewer than 50 political parties from Muslim countries had Web sites. By 2007, there were more than 200 parties represented online, the majority of them secular. The expansion of online politics in the Muslim world outpaces that of the rest of the developing world.

Also in 2000, 40 percent of the world's political parties were online, and 28 percent of parties in developing countries were online, but only 16 percent of parties in Muslim countries were online. Political parties in the Muslim world have quickly caught up, and today 38 percent of the political parties in Muslim and other developing countries are online. These figures likely reflect overall growth of political content in blogs, chat groups and listservs, said Philip Howard, an assistant professor of communication at the University of Washington who with his students prepared the World Information Access Report.

"We only looked for Web sites produced by an official party organization," said Howard.

"It is probably now safe to say that there is a political blogging community in every country, and that in some countries the Internet is the only infrastructure for political debate.

"No dictator has been toppled because of the Internet," Howard added, "but today, no democratic movement can topple a dictator without the Internet."

World Information Access researchers, who review trends in the global digital divide, studied data on political party Web sites from 2000, 2005 and 2007. They covered 212 countries and thousands of political parties — 3,217 parties in 2007 alone.

This boom in online political life in Muslim countries is surprising given the digital divide between rich and poor countries. Wealthier ones have more high-speed broadband service, which means citizens get more information more quickly. In contrast, many citizens in poorer countries continue using dial-up services, which are slower but less expensive.

Other findings from the report:

Many poor governments depend on Web site hosting services in wealthy countries such as Canada and the United States. One-third of all nations maintain some of their government Web sites on servers in the U.S., and one-fourth maintain all of their government Web sites on servers in the U.S.

Three-fourths of national libraries have Web sites but only 54 percent load in the country's national language. For example, Tajikistan's national library offers online access in Russian, but not Tajik. Sixty-nine percent of national libraries load in English but only 20 to 25 percent of the world's people speak English.

Almost every city in the world offers cybercafes or other commercial Internet access, but they cost average people in a developing city twice as much of their daily income as people in a developed city. In wealthiest cities between 2000 and 2005, cost of an hour of Internet access for average people dropped significantly, from 26 percent of daily income to 7 percent. The cost of going online fell as average income rose. In many developing cities, however, cost of going online didn't fall as dramatically, nor did incomes rise as fast. People in those cities spent 40 percent of their daily income to use the Internet in 2000 compared with 14 percent in 2005.

African nations are reforming their telecommunications policies, but surprisingly, the number of Internet hosts in Africa has declined. For several decades, African governments have been encouraged to reform their telecommunications by de-regulating the industry, privatizing telecommunications companies and introducing competition. The number of Internet hosts around the world has grown significantly since 1990, but the portion in Africa has declined because the governments have difficulty creating national infrastructure. In 1990, only 1.6 percent of the world's Internet hosts resided in Africa; by 2005, that number declined to 0.7 percent.

For more information, contact Howard at (206) 612-9911 (cell) or (206) 221-6532 or

A briefing booklet is available at


    Report finds growing inequality across global information society
  March 20, 2006

  RSS news feed: news releases about Philip Howard

    Muslim political parties grow online but digital divide continues to widen
  Aug. 1, 2007
    Hackers get bum rap for corporate America's digital delinquency
  March 12, 2007
    Report finds growing inequality across global information society
  March 20, 2006
    Think money in politics got 'reformed?' Just try running for Senate in 2006
  Dec. 5, 2005
    State ballot measures draw record amounts of cash
  Nov. 4, 2005
    Who did voters pick on Nov. 2? In some cases, we'll never know
  Dec. 9, 2004
    Major-party candidates work the Web, while many challengers stay offline
  Nov. 18, 2004
    Democrats outgunning GOP in e-mail wars, researchers find
  Oct. 29, 2004"

The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Baseball dubs StubHub to 'resell' tickets (

coondoggie writes: "Today's announcement that StubHub has become "The Official Ticket Scalper of Major League Baseball" (no, they don't actually use that language) brings nearer the day when the NFL will jump into the scalping business, says a former StubHub seller who's only "former" because the New England Patriots revoked his season tickets ... for selling on StubHub. Sour grapes? Or on the money?"

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