quanticle writes: According to the Daily Telegraph, when Gordon Brown sat down to watch the DVDs that Obama had given him, he found out that they were from the wrong region. Will this be the impetus that finally convinces our government that region coding is detrimental?
quanticle writes: The New York Times is reporting that Electronic Arts has offered $2bn for Take Two Entertainment. The effort appears to be a move to consolidate the two companies before Take Two releases the next iteration of its blockbuster franchise, Grand Theft Auto 4.
quanticle writes: In an effort to force Yahoo to accept its $44.6 billion buyout offer, Microsoft has authorized a proxy fight to remove Yahoo's board of directors. Microsoft is prepared to spend $20 to $30 million on the battle, which it still considers more economical than raising its bid for Yahoo.
quanticle writes: According to Ars Technica, California testers have discovered severe flaws in the ES&S voting machines. The paper seals were easily bypassed, and the lock could be picked with a "common office implement". After cracking the physical security the device, the testers found it simple to reconfigure the BIOS to boot off external media. After booting a version of Linux, they found that critical system files were stored in plain text. They also found that the election management system that initializes the voting machines used unencrypted protocols to transmit the initialization data to the voting machines, allowing for a man-in-the-middle attack.
quanticle writes: According to the New York Times, the FCC is planning to unveil new regulations for the cable market that will lower barriers to entry for independent programmers.
The rules would be aimed at stopping the growth of existing cable giants like Comcast and Time Warner, while seeking to encourage more small companies to get into the field. Also, earlier this month, the FCC struck down the practice of having exclusive contracts between cable providers and apartment owners.
All in all, this looks like a welcome infusion of competition into an otherwise stagnant market. The impact that this will have on the network neutrality debate is unclear.
quanticle writes: According to this article, SoundExchange has dropped its requirement that webcasters implement anti-streamripping measures for a compromise on licensing fees. However, the new conditions set a cap of $1.25 million in annual revenue beyond which webcasters will be charged the full fee. There is also a 5,000,000 hr. cap on the amount of aggregate tuning hours (hours listened x # of listeners). Webcasters say that these two limits essentially constitute a restraint of trade, as any station that exceeds them will be instantly crushed by enormous fees.
As Rusty Hodge of Sona.fm says:
In fact, if we extrapolate our current revenue to royalty ratio, our rates would go from $150,000 to $5 million at the point we hit the $1.25 million revenue cap. So if we can increase the size of our business to over 1.25 million dollars, we'll be forced out of business.
The Broadband Census of America Act, currently in draft form, asks the FCC to increase its broadband threshold speed from 200Kbps to 2Mbps and to stop claiming that a ZIP code has broadband access if even a single resident in that ZIP code does.
quanticle writes: A 15 year old Australian boy has tricked Youtube into removing videos by claiming that they infringed on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's copyright.
This raises some interesting questions about the level of due diligence necessary in verifying that takedown orders are legitimate and in the ability of people to take down videos that offend them by simply stating that they are infringing on someone's (not necessarily their own) copyright.
quanticle writes: According to CNN, NASA wants to establish a permanent human presence on the moon by 2024. While NASA has stated intentions to establish such a base beforehand, this is the first proposed timetable I've heard so far.
NASA Associate Administrator Scott Horowitz said the goal is to conduct the first manned missions to the moon by 2020, starting with short stays by four-person crews that would establish the outpost.
He estimated that perhaps by 2024 there might be a continual presence on the surface, with crews rotating in and out, as is done with the international space station.
Firefox 2.0 also promises better support of client-side data storage, better support for SVG text, improved add-on and search box management. Tabbed browsing is now default, with close buttons built into the tabs themselves, and new tab management features like the ability to undo previously closed tabs.