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Democrats

House Proposes Legalizing, Taxing Online Gambling 473

eldavojohn writes "Passed in 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act is set to go into effect June 1. New efforts by Democrats in the House of Representatives aim not only to stop that but to legalize and tax Internet gambling. Jim McDermott (D-WA), said, 'This is a huge boon to the state governments. If you look across the country you're seeing programs cut. In Arizona, they just cut out a program for children's health for 40,000 kids. Here's a source of money.' Basically, the bill proposes that for each state, a 6% cut would be taken from all wagers and go to the state in which the bet was made online, while federal would get 2%. They estimate in the next decade this would amount to $30 billion for state and tribal governments and $42 billion for the federal government in new taxes. Banks and casinos appear to be very much on board, while the usual crowd (Republicans, Focus on the Family, Think of the Children) gathered in opposition to the move."
Patents

Encyclopedia Britannica Loses Information-Retrieval Patent Ruling 95

angry tapir writes with a snippet from Good Gear Guide: "A notorious patent case about a technology that allows people to search multimedia content may finally be coming to a close. Earlier this week, a judge ruled that two patents initially awarded to Encyclopedia Britannica are invalid. The patents were built on the infamous 5,241,671 patent first unveiled by Compton's NewMedia in 1993 at the Comdex trade show. That patent, which covered the retrieval of information from multimedia content and is now owned by Britannica, would have been relevant to the many companies selling multimedia CD-ROMs at the time."
Input Devices

Lenovo Tinkers With Larger Delete and Escape Keys 586

Slatterz writes "After a year's research, Lenovo boffins have decided the time is right to install larger Delete and Escape keys on their updated ThinkPad laptop T400s range. While it is a small change, it is fairly radical to tinker with an area of hardware which has been largely unchanged since the 19th century. What convinced them to make the size-change was doing some tests on users to see which keys they use the most. They found that on average, people used the Escape and Delete keys 700 times per week, yet those were the only non-letter keys that Lenovo hasn't made any bigger." The article says Caps Lock may be next on the agenda; death is too good for Caps Lock.
Businesses

Time Warner To Spin Off AOL 141

Hugh Pickens writes "Time Warner is inching closer to untangling one of the worst mergers in American corporate history that began with the merger of Time Warner with America Online, a deal that has resulted in the evaporation of more than $100 billion of shareholder value. "Although the company's board of directors has not made any decision, the company currently anticipates that it would initiate a process to spin off one or more parts of the businesses of AOL to Time Warner's stockholders, in one or a series of transactions," Time Warner said in the filing. Tech industry analysts have speculated for years that Time Warner would spin off AOL; the two companies merged in 2001 with the idea that AOL's strengths as a new media company could benefit an old media company like Time Warner, and vice versa. But few synergies ever arose from the marriage and even AOL founder Steve Case, who is no longer with the company, has said that he believes the two companies should be separated."
The Military

Konami Cuts and Runs From Iraq War Game 321

Less than a month after the announcement of Six Days in Fallujah , a video game based upon a real-life battle between US Marines and Iraqi insurgents in 2004, Konami has decided that it is too controversial, and abandoned plans to publish the game. The developer, Atomic Games, has not commented on Konami's decision other than to say an announcement will be made soon. Konami told a Japanese newspaper, "After seeing the reaction to the video game in the United States and hearing opinions sent through phone calls and e-mail, we decided several days ago not to sell it." While the game did receive a great deal of criticism, others were optimistic, including several outspoken veterans of the Iraq war. One of the major complaints was that in researching the battle, Atomic Games reportedly interviewed several insurgents. This prompted speculation that the insurgents were compensated for their help, though Atomic later denied that was the case. Konami's decision also may have been influenced by the fact that they seemed to represent it as entertainment, whereas Atomic's president, Peter Tamte, was more hesitant to describe it as "fun." He said, "The words I would use to describe the game — first of all, it's compelling. And another word I use — insight."
The Courts

Breathalyzer Source Code Ruling Upheld 520

dfn_deux writes "In a follow up to a 2005 story where Florida judge Doug Henderson ruled that breathalyzer evidence in more than 100 drunk driving cases would be inadmissible as evidence at trial, the Second District Court of Appeal and Circuit Court has ruled on Tuesday to uphold the 2005 ruling requiring the manufacturer of the Intoxilyzer 5000, Kentucky-based CMI Inc, to release source code for their breathalyzer equipment to be examined by witnesses for the defense of those standing trial with breathalyzer test result being used as evidence against them. '"The defendant's right to a fair trial outweighed the manufacturer's claim of a trade secret," Henderson said Tuesday. In response to the ruling defense attorney, Mark Lipinski, who represents seven defendants challenging the source codes, said the state likely will be forced to reduce charges — or drop the cases entirely.' ... What this really means is that outside corporations cannot sell equipment to the state of Florida and expect to hide the workings of their machine by saying they are trade secret. It means the state has to give full disclosure concerning important and critical aspects of the case."
Television

FCC Unanimously Approves White Space Wi-Fi 156

Smelly Jeffrey writes "With the release of this whitepaper, the FCC unanimously approved plans for a new technology with strong supporters and even stronger detractors. White Space Wi-Fi effectively allows manufacturers of wireless devices to incorporate transceivers that operate on unused DTV channels. Although the deregulation is new, the idea seems to have caught Google's interest recently as well. It seems that this has been rather rushed through the normally stagnant channels at the FCC. While some view it as interference in the already crowded spectrum, it seems the FCC Chairman really likes the idea of re-purposing dark parts of the newly allocated DTV bands once more." Update: 11/06 18:15 GMT by T : You may want to look at Tuesday's mention of the decision as well, but the additional links here are interesting.
Government

Paper Ballots Will Return In MD and VA 420

cheezitmike writes "According to a story in the Washington Post, 'Maryland and Virginia are going old school after Tuesday's election. Maryland will scrap its $65 million electronic system and go back to paper ballots in time for the 2010 midterm elections. In Virginia, localities are moving to paper after the General Assembly voted last year to phase out electronic voting machines as they wear out. "The battle for the hearts and minds of voters on whether electronic systems are good or bad has been lost," Brace said. The academics and computer scientists who said they were unreliable "have won that battle."'"

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