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Patents

Google Patents Shipping-Container Data Centers 207

theodp writes "Two years ago, Robert X. Cringely wrote that Google was experimenting with portable data centers built in standard shipping containers. The idea, Cringely explained, wasn't new and wasn't even Google's, backing up his claim with a link to an Internet-Archive-in-a-Shipping-Container presentation (PDF, dated 11-8-2003) that was reportedly pitched to Larry Page. Google filed for a patent on essentially the same concept on 12-30-2003. And on Tuesday, the USPTO issued the search giant a patent for Modular Data Centers housed in shipping containers, which Google curiously notes facilitate 'rapid and easy relocation to another site depending on changing economic factors'. That's a statement that may make those tax-abating NC officials a tad uneasy."
Media (Apple)

Apple Cuts Off Linux iPod Users 854

Will Fisher writes "New iPods will no longer be able to work with Linux. iTunes now writes some kind of hash (SHA1, md5?) to the iPod database which new iPods check against. If this check fails then the iPod reports that it contains 0 songs. This appears to be protection against 3rd party applications writing out their own databases. We haven't found out how to generate our own valid hashes (but we do know the hash includes the database itself, and possibly the iPod serial number), and are looking for help."
Google

Google Sought To Hide Political Dealmaking 283

A blog entry by Michael Kanellos at ZDNet links to and expands upon an article in the Charlotte Observer. Last year Google was apparently throwing its weight around in North Carolina, seeking tax breaks from state and local legislators. When the company didn't get what it wanted pressure was brought to bear on legislative aides, journalists, and politicians. The search giant was especially touchy about keeping the negotiations secret: "Executives didn't want anybody even to mention the company's name for fear that competitors could learn of its plans. Most involved with the negotiations were required to sign nondisclosure agreements ... That posed challenges for elected officials, charged with conducting the public's business in the open. As the tax measure wended its way through the legislature, some lawmakers began linking it to Google." The results of this deal are extremely lucrative for both sides. Google brought some $600 million in investment and as many as 200 jobs to the state, and legislation enacted with Google's help is projected to save the company some $89 million in taxes over 30 years.
Google

Firefox Creator No Longer Trusts Google 528

watashi writes "Blake Ross the man whose scratched itch became the Firefox browser explains on his blog why he has a problem with Google's policy of promoting their own products over competitors' in search results. His main gripe is that the tips (e.g. "Want to share pictures? Try Google Picasa") result in an inability for other products (perhaps even Parakey?) to compete for the top slot on Google."

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