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OpenMoko Schedule Announced 165

levell writes "The schedule for the OpenMoko, an open source, Linux-based Neo1973 smart phone was posted to the community mailing list by Sean Moss-Pultz this morning. On Feb 11, free phones will be sent to key community developers and the community websites/wiki/bug tracker will be available. Then on March 11 (the official developer launch) we'll be able to buy an OpenMoko for $350. After allowing some time for innovative, slick software to be created there will be a mass market launch at which point Sean hopes that 'your mom and dad will want one too.'"

Quasi the Intelligent Robot 104

Jake David writes to tell us about a uniquely emotive robot — named Quasi — developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. Quasi appears capable of holding intelligent conversations. Here is a a video of the robot in action. Note that the animatronic figure is little more than the emotive organ of the robot, whose entirety encompasses the display booth as well. From the CMU page: "Quasi has a number of features in addition to his eyelids for conveying emotion, the most prominent of which are Color Kinetics LED lighting fixtures for his eyes and antennae. These combine red, green, and blue LEDs... His antennae can move both forward and backward as well as in and out, giving them an expressive quality not unlike that of a dog's ears."

FTC Fines Xanga for Violating Kids' Privacy 200

WebHostingGuy writes "As reported by MSNBC, the FTC has fined $1 million dollars for repeatedly allowing children under 13 to sign up for the service without getting their parent's consent. This is the largest penalty ever issued for violations of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act." From the article: "'Protecting kids' privacy online is a top priority for America's parents, and for the FTC,' FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras said in a statement. 'COPPA requires all commercial Web sites, including operators of social networking sites like Xanga, to give parents notice and obtain their consent before collecting personal information from kids they know are under 13. A million-dollar penalty should make that obligation crystal clear.'" What impact, if any, do you think this will have on other community sites that may not always follow the COPPA statutes?

Molecules Spontaneously Form Honycomb 106

Science Daily is reporting that University of California Researchers have discovered a new process in which molecules assemble into complex patterns without any outside guidance. From the article: "Spreading anthraquinone, a common and inexpensive chemical, on to a flat copper surface, Greg Pawin, a chemistry graduate student working in the laboratory of Ludwig Bartels, associate professor of chemistry, observed the spontaneous formation of a two-dimensional honeycomb network comprised of anthraquinone molecules."

The UK's Total Surveillance 439

Budenny writes "The Register has a story in its ongoing coverage of the UK ID Card story. This one suggests, with links to a weekend news story, that the Prime Minister in waiting has bought the idea that all electronic transactions in the UK should be linked to a central government/police database. Every cash withdrawal, every credit card purchase, ever loyalty card use ... And that data should flow back from the police database to (eg) a loyalty card use. So, for example, not only would the government know what books you were buying, but the bookstore would also know if you had an outstanding speeding ticket!"

Apple Announces More Options Troubles 159

fremen writes "Apple today announced that they will be withdrawing their financial reports back to September 29, 2002 and delaying the filing of future reports after finding more backdated options problems. Companies backdate their stock options by looking back over a period of time and choosing a historical low as the option strike price. While not illegal, this must be fully disclosed to investors and properly accounted. Expect more uncertainty in the coming weeks as regulators must now uncover how much of Apple's record profits were incorrect as well as whether or not Steve Jobs will be able to continue leading the company."

SCO Accuses IBM of Destruction of Evidence 266

Udo Schmitz writes "According to an article at Forbes, SCO claims that IBM destroyed evidence by ordering programmers to delete copies of code that could have helped SCO prove its case. SCO's attorney Brent Hatch says that 'one IBM Linux developer has admitted to destroying source code and tests' and that they didn't mention this in public, because it only became relevant now, and that 'the claim was part of a motion SCO filed in March 2006, which has remained sealed'." From the article: "IBM declined to comment, citing a policy of not discussing ongoing litigation. In her sharply worded ruling, Wells criticized SCO's conduct in the case and seemed to indicate she was annoyed with the company. 'I don't know if that's true or not, but that's a question I'm asking myself,' Hatch says. Hatch concedes the Wells ruling represented a setback for SCO. But he says SCO still has a strong case. "

UK Street Crime Rise Blamed on iPods 799

CNET reports that the British Government today attributed the country's 22% rise in street crime to iPod robberies. This has hit CNET close to home. Guy Cocker, a CNET (Gamespot) journalist based in London, was mugged last week. The muggers held 'a semi-automatic weapon to the back of Cocker's head and told him, "we're taking all your stuff"'. CNET's solution to the problem is suggestions on how to conceal your iPod from attackers. These include 'The gaffer tape method,' 'The Coke can method,' and 'The Christopher Walken method.'

'No Alternative' To Microsoft Fine 394

An anonymous reader writes " is running an interview with Neelie Kroes, the competition commissioner for the EU. She confirms that the massive fines to Microsoft are absolutely necessary, and goes into some of the commissions reasons for slapping the giant down." From the article: "Microsoft has claimed that its obligations in the decision are not clear, or that the obligations have changed. I cannot accept this characterization--Microsoft's obligations are clearly outlined in the 2004 decision and have remained constant since then. Indeed, the monitoring trustee appointed in October 2005, from a shortlist put forward by Microsoft, believes that the decision clearly outlines what Microsoft is required to do. I must say that I find it difficult to imagine that a company like Microsoft does not understand the principles of how to document protocols in order to achieve interoperability. "

Nerds Switching from Apple to Ubuntu? 957

Mindpicnic writes "The recent switch of two lifelong Mac nerds to Ubuntu hasn't escaped Tim O'Reilly's radar. He cites Jason Kottke: 'If I were Apple, I'd be worried about this. Two lifelong Mac fans are switching away from Macs to PCs running Ubuntu Linux: first it was Mark Pilgrim and now Cory Doctorow. Nerds are a small demographic, but they can also be the canary in the coal mine with stuff like this.'"

PS3 Apparently A Computer 440

Rinzai writes to mention an article on Gamasutra, noting a statement by Ken Kutaragi where the CEO states that the PS3 is a computer, not a console. From the article: "He went on to outline a scenario where many parts of the PS3 were upgradeable, much more like a PC, noting: 'Since PS3 is a computer, there are no models but configurations', and continuing (though talking in the theoretical): 'I think it's okay to release a [extended PS3] configuration every year'. It's clear from the comments that Sony is indicating that it will be possible to upgrade hard drives and perhaps even other components easily."

Vast DNA Bank Pits Policing Vs. Privacy 275

schwit1 writes "Today a Washington Post story discusses the vast U.S. bank of genetic material it has gathered over the last few years. Already home to the genetic information of almost 3 Million Americans, the database grows by 80,000 citizens a month." From the article: "'This is the single best way to catch bad guys and keep them off the street,' said Chris Asplen, a lawyer with the Washington firm Smith Alling Lane and former executive director of the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence. 'When it's applied to everybody, it is fair, and frankly you wouldn't even know it was going on.'"

The Secret Lives In Animal Crossing 18

1up has an entertaining article visiting some Animal Crossing player towns, and commenting on what life is like in some far away places and personalities. From the article: "Friend No. 3 is a writer, which means that her normal brain functions bombed a long time ago. Regardless, I visited her town to observe what Animal Crossing brings to her surface. Things were off to a great start when No. 3 met me at the town gate and began watering me. Apparently, I 'needed nutrients.' She then bestowed an owl clock on me, though whether through generosity or as a part of my newly prescribed diet, I'm still not sure. The town was clean and well maintained. The glittering constellation of Runner 2046 AD was particularly awesome, but entering No. 3's mansion was like falling into an ocean of junk. " Jeremy Parish comments in his blog about why he enjoys seeing the article on the site.

Gaming at the Geritol Age 37

An anonymous reader writes "There's an interesting opinion editorial over on about all the recent reports regarding the age of gamers, and what it all might mean - if anything - to the hobby." From the article: "When I tell someone that I write about video games, I typically get a pretty enthusiastic response. The few who have looked down on me for having such a job 'at my age' aren't so much numerically older than I am as they're older in mind and spirit. Take for instance my neighbor. I honestly think he considers me less of an adult for playing videogames 'at my age.' That's fine. I think he's odd in general, so we're even. I've been playing video games in one form or another since 1977. That's the majority of my life now. But I'm not alone though. Things are changing in the world of video games. I guess the best way to put it is: it's growing up. I'm not talking about the industry itself, but rather those who actually play the games."

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Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards. -- Aldous Huxley