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Submission + - Don't like a patent? Help kIll it.

Camael writes: When Joel Spolsky spotted an undeserving Microsoft patent application, he didn't just let it be granted — He killed a in just a few minutes. In short, he found prior art and submitted it, and the USPTO examiner rejected the patent because of it. From TFA :- "Micah showed me a document from the USPTO confirming that they had rejected the patent application, and the rejection relied very heavily on the document I found. This was, in fact, the first 'confirmed kill' of Ask Patents, and it was really surprisingly easy. I didn't have to do the hard work of studying everything in the patent application and carefully proving that it was all prior art: the examiner did that for me." This is all under the umbrella of Ask Patents'.

Submission + - Device Could Make Ships 'Invisible' to Waves (

An anonymous reader writes: The weird science of invisibility has entered uncharted waters. By altering the sea floor in just the right way, it should be possible to hide an object floating on the sea from passing waves, a fluid mechanician predicts. The technique might help to protect ships and floating structures from rough seas. And because the scheme works entirely differently from the "cloaks" developed to hide objects from light and other electromagnetic waves, it breaks new ground for research.

Submission + - Proceeds from Vita ad donated to Anonymous (

dotarray writes: German band Atari Teenage Riot was recently featured in the "Never Stop Playing" ad campaign for PlayStation Vita — today founding member Alec Empire has announced that all royalties and other money arising from the ad will be donated to a website supporting hacktivist group Anonymous.

Submission + - Blockbuster files for bankruptcy (

Entropy98 writes: It finally happened, Blockbuster video has filed for bankruptcy with nearly $1 Billion of debt.

Worn down by Netflix, Redbox, online downloads/streaming, and others Blockbuster has been forced to declare bankruptcy.

What once dominant business will be next to fail to adapt to the ever changing video delivery industry?

Submission + - Netflix hires actors to pose as its Canada fans (

An anonymous reader writes: Netflix Inc. tried to bring a touch of Hollywood to its Canada debut Wednesday only to wind up apologizing for a botched publicity stunt.

Submission + - Dimensions go "poof" in quantum gravity (

techbeat writes: Forget Flatland, writes New Scientist. Several different quantum gravity theories all predict the same strange behaviour at small scales: fields and particles start to behave as if space is one-dimensional. It's an observation that could bring together several disparate attempts to unite quantum mechanics and general relativity. To explain how dimensions could vanish, Steven Carlip at the University of California, Davis turns to the idea of "quantum foam", in which quantum fluctuations alter the geometry of space-time, rendering it choppy and inhomogeneous at small scales.

Submission + - France Could Be Months From Going Dark on the Web ( 2

mykos writes: According to a report from PCINpact one of the major ISPs confirmed that the first batch of IP-addresses was submitted just a few days ago. This is the final step before alleged file-sharers receive warning letters. The scope of the operation is mind boggling. The copyright holders will start relatively ‘slowly’ with 10,000 IP-addresses a day, but within weeks this number is expected to go up to 150,000 IP-addresses per day according to official reports. The Internet providers will be tasked with identifying the alleged infringers’ names, addresses, emails and phone numbers. If they fail to do so within 8 days they risk a fine of 1,500 euros per day for every unidentified IP-address. To put this into perspective, a United States judge ruled recently that the ISP Time Warner only has to give up 28 IP-addresses a month ( 1 per day) to copyright holders because of the immense workload the identifications would cause.

Submission + - VC Calls Out Ballmer, Bezos on WA State Income Tax

theodp writes: Venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, one of's earliest backers, is a staunch supporter of the proposed WA state income tax that's opposed by Steve Ballmer and Jeff Bezos (to the tune of $200,000). In addition to a little name-calling ('Bezos has been a libertarian since I met him and Ballmer is a typical Republican'), Hanauerhad had some other choice words on the matter: 'None of the people who are investing money to oppose I-1098 would have the courage to actually move themselves to a place with limited government, no taxation and no regulation,' he said. 'Should Mr. Ballmer or Mr. Bezos need to move their families to another country, they would absolutely choose a country like Canada or New Zealand or Germany or France with higher rates of taxation, more regulation and more activist government than we have in the U.S. Mr. Ballmer and Mr. Bezos would not move their children to the Congo or Afghanistan, countries with low rates of taxation, no regulation and limited government.' Perhaps Hanauerhad will cut the pair some slack after reading that Ballmer is down to his last $13.1 billion, and Bezos is trying to make ends meet on $12.6 billion. BTW, Bill Gates — still the wealthiest American according to Forbes — reportedly supports the income tax like his old man, although a Microsoft spokeswoman indicated that the Gates' view isn't shared by a number of senior Microsoft execs who 'are concerned about the impact I-1098 will have on the state's ability to attract top tech talent in the future.'

Submission + - Theora ahead of h.264 in objective PSNR quality ( 1

bigmammoth writes: "Xiph hackers have been hard at work improving the theora codec over the past year with the latest versions gaining on and passing h.264 in objective PSNR quality measurements. From the update:

Amusingly, it also shows test versions of Thusnelda pulling *ahead* of h264 in terms of objective quality as bitrate increases. It's important to note that PSNR is an objective measure that does not exactly represent perceived quality, and PSNR measurements have always been especially kind to Theora. This is also data from a single clip. That said, it's clear that the gap in the fundamental infrastructure has closed substantially before the task of detailed subjective tuning has begun in earnest.

Momentum is building with a major Open Video Conference in June, the impeding launch of Firefox 3.5 and excitement about wider adoption in a top 4 web site. It's looking like free video codecs may posed a seriously threat to h.264 bait and switch plan to start charging millions for internet streaming of h.264 in 2010."

The Courts

Submission + - Opera files antitrust complaint against Microsoft (

citizenkeller writes: "Opera has filed an antitrust complaint against Microsoft in the EU. From their press release: "The complaint describes how Microsoft is abusing its dominant position by tying its browser, Internet Explorer, to the Windows operating system and by hindering interoperability by not following accepted Web standards. Opera has requested the Commission to take the necessary actions to compel Microsoft to give consumers a real choice and to support open Web standards in Internet Explorer.""

Submission + - Bright poor children 'slip back' (

robb1981 writes: The BBC Reports "Clever children from poor families face being overtaken by less bright children from affluent homes, research suggests." The report said: "Children in the poorest fifth of households but in the brightest group drop from the 88th percentile on cognitive tests at age three to the 65th percentile at age five. Meanwhile those from the richest households who are least able at age three move up from the 15th percentile to the 45th percentile by age five. "

Submission + - Terry Pratchett diagnosed with Alzheimers. (

LoFi writes: The Times is reporting on a statement by Terry Pratchett on Paul Kidby's (his illustrator) website, in which he reveals that he is suffering from a rare form of Alzheimer's Disease. In his typically laconic style, he says this news should be interpreted as "Not Dead Yet", and states "I know it's a very human thing to say "Is there anything I can do", but in this case I would only entertain offers from very high-end experts in brain chemistry.". Buggrit.

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