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Submission + - DRM? DRM!? We don't need no stinkin' DRM! (

zarmanto writes: Ars Technica reports that one particular game studio might finally get it, when it comes to DRMed game content. They're publishing their latest game, Shadow Warrior 2 with no DRM protection at all. From the article:

"We don't support piracy, but currently there isn't a good way to stop it without hurting our customers," Flying Wild Hog developer Krzysztof “KriS” Narkowicz wrote...

... "We hope that our fans, who were always very supportive, will support us this time as well," Zielinski told Kotaku. "...In our imperfect world, the best anti-pirate protection is when the games are good, highly polished, easily accessible and inexpensive," Maksara added.

Submission + - The feature phone is dead... long live the "basic smartphone"!

zarmanto writes: The numbers have been telling us for awhile now that (formerly expensive) feature phones have been slowly displaced by ironically more "feature rich" high-end smartphones, so it should come as no surprise to hear that the other end of the market is also receiving active encroachment by low-end smartphones. Now, ARM is suggesting that it's actually quite conceivable for OEMs to produce a "smartphone" for as little as $20 — as long as you compromise a bit on those things which actually make it a smartphone in the first place.

So, is this just more graying of the line between smartphones and feature phones? Or is this an indication that the feature phone (as we used to know it) is finally well-and-truly dead?

Submission + - Netflix ponies up to Verizon too

zarmanto writes: With the FCC essentially failing at its job and a Comcast agreement as precedent, we all knew that it was just a matter of time before Netflix inked an agreement with the other gorillas in the room, and now they've accomplished that with Verizon in basically the same fashion as with Comcast.

From the article:

The Netflix/Verizon deal is similar to the one in which Netflix paid for a direct connection to Comcast's network. These "paid peering" deals don't provide Netflix preferential treatment from the ISP's network to consumers' homes, but they do let Netflix bypass congestion at the interconnection points between ISPs and transit providers like Cogent and Level 3.

(Next up: AT&T.)

Submission + - Flashback click fraud campaign was a bust (

zarmanto writes: It seems that the Flashback botnet has netted their creators nothing but frustration. Flashback was tagged early on by anti-virus vendors, who promptly sink-holed many of the command & control addresses, and essentially crippled the hacker's ability to control the vast majority of the Flashback botnet... but that's not the best part. The Flashback spawned click fraud campaign resulted in... nada! It seems that their pay-per-click affiliate may be on to their scheme, as they refused to pay out. Score one for the good guys, for once.

Submission + - US carriers finally doing something about cellphone theft (

zarmanto writes: In a move that is so long overdue that it boggles the mind, the FCC and the four largest cellular providers in the US state that they will be joining forces to combat cell phone theft. From TFA:

"Over the next six months, each of the four operators is expected to put in place a program to disable phones reported as stolen and within 18 months the FCC plans to help merge them into a central database in order to prevent a phone from being used on another carrier’s network."


Submission + - Making it harder to hack for cash (

zarmanto writes: As many of you already know, Pwn2Own is fast approaching, and the contestants are all gearing up — on both sides of the field. While hackers will soon be confidently strutting into CanSecWest with their exploits in hand, their soon-to-be victims have been doing everything they can to make it harder to walk away with those multi-thousand dollar cash prizes: On Wednesday Google patched up Chrome, on Thursday Mozilla patched up Firefox, and on Friday Apple announced that it will be following suit by patching up Safari very shortly. So everyone is bringing their "A" game — except for Microsoft. It seems that Microsoft cares more about their schedules then they do about Pwn2Own, as there will be no IE patches from Microsoft this month.

Submission + - Sprint data rate hikes for (cough!) iPhone users? (

zarmanto writes: It appears that Sprint has decided that it's not charging it's customers enough; it just decided to increase the prices for their unlimited smartphone data plans by $10 per month for all new smartphone activations after January 30th. (Of course, Sprint is quick to point out that they're still besting the plans available from other cellular companies.)

So with Sprint making an announcement on February 7th, could the timing of this particular rate change portend a forthcoming Sprint iPhone?

Submission + - Telecommuting "Bruce Willis" style

zarmanto writes: Remember that guy who had a remote controlled robot built for him by his co-worker a few years back, to enhance his telecommuting job with pseudo-personal interaction? Well, it looks like the high-level geeks over at Willow Garage are experimenting with mass deployments of robots built around the same premise. From the article:

"Hacked together from spare parts for Willow's PR2 platform, Texas Robots basically consist of a screen, computer, cameras, and speakers mounted on a remote-controlled, wheeled platform. They can run a whole day on a single battery charge, and then autonomously park themselves at a docking station for recharging."

No word yet on commercialization of the Texas Robot... but if someone were to hack all of this together into one of Ishiguro's Androids, it could start to look an awful lot like Bruce's "surrogate" based future. And you all know that someone is going to say it, so I'll just say it now and get it over with: I, for one, welcome our new robotic overlords.

Submission + - Cellular competition: Do I stay or do I go?

zarmanto writes: Many of you will no doubt have already heard that T-Mobile is dropping the prices on their "unlimited" plans, below those of the other three big cellular providers in the United States. I'm presently a Sprint customer, and yesterday I posted a query about competitive price changes in Sprint's "Buzz About Wireless" community forum, to try and stoke the flames of competition just a bit. (No responses there yet — but then, it hasn't even been up for a full twenty-four hours, as of this post.)

I haven't bothered to call Sprint's billing department with my question, because I'm guessing that they haven't yet had a chance to formulate their "official" response to this new development... but at the same time, I'd really like to get some indication of how long it's likely to take for the slashed prices at one major cellular provider to start hurting the other providers enough that they follow suit with their own price cuts. If it's going to take longer than my "break even" window after eating the termination and activation fees (in my case, only about six months) for Sprint to respond, then I could potentially be saving money by switching over to T-Mobile as soon as possible. On the other hand, if Sprint has a knee-jerk reaction and comes out with new prices next month, then I'd most likely be losing money by switching. It's a gamble either way, and I haven't yet decided which road to take.

So what does the Slashdot community think? Are there other Sprint/AT&T/Verizon customers among you mulling over the notion of eating your termination fee in order to jump over to a new, less expensive, T-Mobile plan? How long do you plan on waiting for your own provider to step up to the plate, before deciding one way or the other?

"Should I stay or should I go, now?
Should I stay or should I go, now? ..."
- The Clash

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