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First Earth-Sized Exoplanet May Have Been Found 222

Adam Korbitz writes "New Scientist is reporting the extrasolar planet MOA-2007-BLG-192Lb — whose discovery was announced just last summer — may actually be the first truly Earth-sized exoplanet to be identified. A new analysis suggests the planet weighs less than half the original estimate of 3.3 Earth masses; the new estimate pegs the planet's size at 1.4 Earth masses. The planet orbits a small red dwarf star, some 3,000 light-years from here, at an orbital distance of 0.62 astronomical units, about the same distance as Venus from our sun. One significance of the planet's discovery is that it points to the probable ubiquity of smaller terrestrial planets in somewhat Earth-like orbits around red dwarf stars, the oldest and most numerous stars in the galaxy. Here is a video report from the discoverers."

Comment Knee-jerk misinterpretation of the original argume (Score 4, Insightful) 437

I think most commenters are missing the primary focus of the author's rant. This is fair, because his letter is laden with subtext that is probably not obvious to people who aren't intimately familiar with the iPhone developer community. I believe that the primary thrust of his argument is not that he should be paid more, or that his apps can't stand on their merits, or that he is no longer in a position to play gatekeeper.

Rather, his primary complaints seem to be with the Apple-approved and required distribution mechanism for the iPhone, namely their App Store. The App Store severely limits how apps can be sold, promoted, and used. It does not allow for trial software, it does not allow for returns. There is no built-in help system or feedback mechanism. Ratings cannot be challenged. And the "top X apps" is segregated by "free" vs "pay" but not by different levels of pay. Therefore it is much easier to sell more copies of a $0.99 app and climb the charts, displacing potentially far better but more expensive apps that are naturally going to have fewer sales.

Hockenberry's letter seems aimed at encouraging or nudging in the direction of fixing many of these perceived App Store deficiencies. That is why it is addressed to Steve Jobs, and not to other developers. He isn't saying "stop selling your $0.99 apps," he's saying, give all app developers a fair playing field to encourage innovation and risk-taking.

Comment Re:Mp3 Locking? (Score 1) 619

Oh come *on* people. I wouldn't normally endeavor to explain a very old joke, but the number of people dissecting this post in all seriousness makes me fear for our youth.

The My freelance gig in front of a Mac trolls appear in virtually every discussion about Apple Computer. The troll claims to have witnessed taking 20 minutes to copy a 17 MB file from one folder to another and proceeds to question all Apple users as to their platform choice. It is a straight forward copy-and-paste from a weblog entry ( by Jason Kottke. It has also led to some very inspired and amusing parodies.


The BlackBerry Orphans 228

theodp writes "The WSJ reports that the growing use of email gadgets is spawning a generation of resentful children. In addition to feeling neglected, kids fear BlackBerrys and Treos can put their lives in jeopardy as Mom and Dad type away while driving." From the article: "Like teenagers sneaking cigarettes behind school, parents are secretly rebelling against the rules. The children of one New Jersey executive mandate that their mom ignore her mobile email from dinnertime until their bedtime. To get around their dictates, the mother hides the gadget in the bathroom, where she makes frequent trips before, during and after dinner. The kids 'think I have a small bladder,' she says. She declined to be named because she's afraid her 12- and 13-year-old children might discover her secret."

Nintendo Sued over Wiimote Trigger 229

kaizokunami writes "A company named Interlink Electronics, Inc., creator of interface devices has filed a suit in US District court against Nintendo of America, claiming the Nintendo the trigger on the bottom of the Wii controller infringes on their patent. The article includes images submitted with the patent application." From the article: "The complaint alleges that the trigger on the bottom of the Wii controller infringes on Interlink Patent No. 6,850,221 (Trigger Operated Electronic Device), which the company secured on February 1, 2005. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata first presented the Wii controller to the public not too long after that date, during the 2005 Tokyo Game Show."

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