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Pedro Matias Sets New Texting Record At Mobile World Cup
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '10 at 01:30 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's text-invalid-if-bff-appears-anywhere-in-it deptartment:
Pedro Matias showed off his mad txtin sklz at this year's Mobile World Cup and managed to set a new record for "fastest, most accurate" texts as determined by the event's corporate owners. "history was made when Portugal's Pedro Matias set the new World's Record for texting by typing a 264-character text in just 1 minute 59 seconds (besting the previous record by 23 seconds). Of course, each Mobile World Cup must have its share of controversy -- in this case, Engadget Mobile's very own Chris Ziegler led a silent protest during the awards ceremony. The group was reportedly upset over the use of QWERTY phones (the LG enV3 in this case) to break the record."

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Digital Fundraising Booms For Haiti Relief
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '10 at 01:15 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's hitting-large-markets deptartment:
It seems that a recent digital fundraising drive for Haiti relief has stunned organizers at the Red Cross and White House. As of the last tally on Friday the campaign was at well over $8 million. "Earlier Thursday, when the Red Cross topped $3 million in text and social media donations — it hit nearly $40 million from all sources by late Thursday — spokesman Jonathan Aiken described it as 'a phenomenal number that's never been achieved before. People text up to three times at 10 bucks a pop,' Aiken said. 'You're talking about roughly 300,000 people actually spontaneously deciding, "I can spare $10 for this." And that's remarkable.' As of late Thursday, more than half of all donations to the Red Cross's Haiti relief effort had been received online, according to a news release.

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"Doomsday Clock" Moves Away From Midnight
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '10 at 12:45 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's of-course-now-some-horrible-despot-will-come-to-power deptartment:
Arvisp writes to tell us that the symbolic "Doomsday Clock," designed to represent how close civilization is to catastrophic destruction, has been moved away from midnight. "First set at seven minutes to midnight, the clock has been moved only 18 times since its creation in 1947. The group, which includes more than a dozen Nobel laureates, last moved the hands of the clock in 2007, from seven to five minutes before midnight to reflect the threat of a "second nuclear age" and the challenges presented by global warming. Today, at a press conference in New York, the Bulletin announced that despite the looming threats of nuclear weapons and climate change, it would move the hands of the clock from five to six minutes before midnight."

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In UK, Oink Admin Cleared of Fraud
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '10 at 11:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's bpi-not-best-pleased deptartment:
krou writes "The BBC is reporting that Alan Ellis, who ran music file sharing site Oink from his flat in the UK, has been found not guilty of conspiracy to defraud. Between 2004 and 2007, the site 'facilitated the download of 21 million music files' by allowing its some 200,000 'members to find other people on the web who were prepared to share files.' Ellis was making £18,000 a month ($34,600) from donations from users, and claimed that he had no intention of defrauding copyright holders, and said 'All I do is really like Google, to really provide a connection between people. None of the music is on my website.'" Reader Andorin recommends Torrentfreak's coverage, which includes summaries of the closing arguments.

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Tower Switch-Off Embarrasses Electrosensitives
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '10 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's radiation-placebo deptartment:
Sockatume writes "Residents in Craigavon, South Africa complained of '[h]eadaches, nausea, tinnitus, dry burning itchy skins, gastric imbalances and totally disrupted sleep patterns' after an iBurst communications tower was put up in a local park. Symptoms subsided when the residents left the area, often to stay with family and thus evade their suffering. At a public meeting with the afflicted locals, the tower's owners pledged to switch off the mast immediately to assess whether it was responsible for their ailments. One problem: the mast had already been switched off for six weeks. Lawyers representing the locals say their case against iBurst will continue on other grounds."

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US Preps Cyber Outfit To Protect Electric Grid
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '10 at 11:15 AM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's call-bruce-willis deptartment:
coondoggie writes to mention that the US Department of Energy is planning to set up a new "National Energy Sector Cyber Organization" in order to protect the national bulk power electric grid. For the low, low cost of $8.5 million they will help integrate smart grid technology with the electric grid, speed research, and establish new policy and protocols. "It is paramount that smart grid devices and interoperability standards include protections against cyber intrusions and have systems that are designed from the start (not patches added on) that prevent unauthorized persons from gaining entry through the millions of new access points created by the deployment of smart grid technologies, Hoffman stated."

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Intel Fires Back At FTC In Antitrust Suit
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '10 at 10:45 AM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's digging-in-for-the-long-haul deptartment:
adeelarshad82 writes "Intel has responded to the Federal Trade Commission's antitrust investigation, unsurprisingly challenging the FTC's allegations as well as criticizing the agency for what the company calls an attempt 'to turn Intel into a public utility.' The motion is a response to the FTC's December announcement of a lawsuit brought by the FTC, accusing Intel of anti-competitive practices. Intel also goes on to provide a paragraph-by-paragraph rebuttal of the FTC's complaint and proposed remedy, although most of the company's response seems designed to promote the impression that those that failed, failed on their own."

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Bing Gaining Market Share Faster
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '10 at 09:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's maybe-it's-the-chinese-sounding-name deptartment:
sopssa sends along a TechCrunch report on comScore qSearch numbers indicating that Bing is currently gaining market share faster than ever before. "In December, Microsoft's search engine gained another 0.4 percent to capture 10.7 percent of US search queries. That makes five straight months of steady share gains for Bing since it launched — Bing's share is up 2.7 percent in total since May, 2009. Google gained only 0.2 percent to end the month with 65.7 percent market share. What is even more interesting is if you look at year-over-year query growth rates for each search engine. Bing's growth is actually accelerating. Its growth rate in query volume was 49.4 percent in December."

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Firefox 3.7 Dropped In Favor of Feature Updates
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '10 at 09:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's lessons-from-the-trenches deptartment:
Barence sends in a report from pcpro.co.uk that says "Under its original plans, Mozilla would roll out Firefox 3.6 and 3.7 over the course of 2009, each bringing minor improvements to the browser. However, a steady stream of delays to Firefox 3.6 has rendered that goal unobtainable, forcing Mozilla to rethink its release. As a result, Firefox 3.7 has been dropped and will be replaced with feature updates for Firefox 3.6 that will be rolled out with security updates. This should free up the team to work on the next major release, Firefox 4, slated for the last quarter of 2010, which is expected to follow the same development process."

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$4,400/Yr. Coders May Work On Dept. of Labor Project
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '10 at 08:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's living-wage deptartment:
theodp writes "To power the Tools for America's Job Seekers Challenge, the US Department of Labor tapped IdeaScale, a subsidiary of Survey Analytics, which is headquartered in Seattle with satellite offices in Nasik, India and Auckland, NZ (PDF). According to the Federal Register (PDF), an Emergency OMB Review was requested to launch the joint initiative of the DOL, White House, and IdeaScale to help out unemployed US workers. A cached Monster.com ad seeks candidates to work on the development and maintenance of ideascale.com, but in India at an annual salary of Rs. 200,000 to 300,000 ($4,4000 to $6,600 US). BTW, an earlier White House-sponsored, IdeaScale-powered Open Government Brainstorm identified legalizing marijuana as one of the best ways to 'strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness.'" There's no guarantee that Indian workers recruited by that Monster.com ad would work on US Department of Labor projects.

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Tech NGOs Working In Haiti
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '10 at 07:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's from-the-ground-up deptartment:
d5w writes "There are a thousand and one NGOs responding in some way to the disaster in Haiti, but the necessary infrastructure is usually overlooked when people give charity donations. In fact, some popular donation sites actively downgrade charities for spending on infrastructure. Here are two organizations responding in Haiti, though, that have a purely tech infrastructure focus: Télécoms Sans Frontières brings mobile telecom rigs and satellite phones to disaster sites, making sure that responders on the ground can communicate with each other and that individuals can contact families abroad; here's an eWeek story about TSF. MapAction sends experienced GIS people and GPS equipment to provide up-to-date mapping, which is important when the landscape has just changed drastically. Any others?"

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Amazon EC2 May Be Experiencing Growing Pains
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '10 at 06:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's hey-you-get-offa-my-cloud deptartment:
1sockchuck writes "Some developers using Amazon EC2 are wondering aloud whether the popularity of the cloud computing service is beginning to affect its performance. Amazon this week denied speculation that it was experiencing capacity problems after a veteran developer reported performance issues and suggested that EC2 might be oversubscribed. Meanwhile, a cloud monitoring service published charts showing increased latency on EC2 in recent weeks. The reports follow an incident over the holidays in which a DDoS on a DNS provider slowed Amazon's retail and cloud operations."

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Antitrust Case Against RIAA Reinstated
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '10 at 06:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's collusion-and-restraint deptartment:
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "After Starr v. SONY BMG Music Entertainment was dismissed at the District Court level, the antitrust class action against the RIAA has been reinstated by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In its 25-page opinion (PDF), the Appeals court held the following allegations sufficiently allege antitrust violations: 'First, defendants agreed to launch MusicNet and pressplay, both of which charged unreasonably high prices and contained similar DRMs. Second, none of the defendants dramatically reduced their prices for Internet Music (as compared to CDs), despite the fact that all defendants experienced dramatic cost reductions in producing Internet Music. Third, when defendants began to sell Internet Music through entities they did not own or control, they maintained the same unreasonably high prices and DRMs as MusicNet itself. Fourth, defendants used MFNs [most favored nation clauses] in their licenses that had the effect of guaranteeing that the licensor who signed the MFN received terms no less favorable than terms offered to other licensors. For example, both EMI and UMG used MFN clauses in their licensing agreements with MusicNet. Fifth, defendants used the MFNs to enforce a wholesale price floor of about 70 cents per song. Sixth, all defendants refuse to do business with eMusic, the #2 Internet Music retailer. Seventh, in or about May 2005, all defendants raised wholesale prices from about $0.65 per song to $0.70 per song. This price increase was enforced by MFNs.'"

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App Store Piracy Losses Estimated At $459 Million
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '10 at 05:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's arrr-me-hearties deptartment:
An anonymous reader passes along this quote from a report at 24/7 Wall St.: "There have been over 3 billion downloads since the inception of the App Store. Assuming the proportion of those that are paid apps falls in the middle of the Bernstein estimate, 17% or 510 million of these were paid applications. Based on our review of current information, paid applications have a piracy rate of around 75%. That supports the figure that for every paid download, there have been 3 pirated downloads. That puts the number of pirate downloads at 1.53 billion. If the average price of a paid application is $3, that is $4.59 billion dollars in losses split between Apple and the application developers. That is, of course, assuming that all of those pirates would have made purchases had the application not been available to them for free. This is almost certainly not the case. A fair estimate of the proportion of people who would have used the App Store if they did not use pirated applications is about 10%. This estimate yields about $459 million in lost revenue for Apple and application developers." A response posted at Mashable takes issue with some of the figures, particularly the 75% piracy rate. While such rates have been seen with game apps, it's unclear whether non-game apps suffer the same fate.

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Dragging Telephone Numbers Into the Internet Age
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '10 at 05:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's imagine-that deptartment:
azoblue writes with this teaser from Ars Technica, presenting a tempting suggestion for online consolidation: "E-mail, IM, Facebook, phones—what if all of these ways to reach you over a network could be condensed into a single, unique number? The ENUM proposal aims to do just that, by giving everyone a single phone number that maps to all of their identifiers. Here's how it works, and why it isn't already widely used."

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Former Exec Says Electronic Arts "Is In the Wrong Business"
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '10 at 03:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's inspiring-internet-outrage-is-a-bad-business-model deptartment:
Mitch Lasky was the executive vice president of Mobile and Online at Electronic Arts until leaving the publisher to work at an investment firm. He now has some harsh things to say about how EA has been run over the past several years, in particular criticizing the decisions of CEO John Riccitiello. Quoting: "EA is in the wrong business, with the wrong cost structure and the wrong team, but somehow they seem to think that it is going to be a smooth, two-year transition from packaged goods to digital. Think again. ... by far the greatest failure of Riccitiello's strategy has been the EA Games division. JR bet his tenure on EA's ability to 'grow their way through the transition' to digital/online with hit packaged goods titles. They honestly believed that they had a decade to make this transition (I think it's more like 2-3 years). Since the recurring-revenue sports titles were already 'booked' (i.e., fully accounted for in the Wall Street estimates) it fell to EA Games to make hits that could move the needle. It's been a very ugly scene, indeed. From Spore, to Dead Space, to Mirror's Edge, to Need for Speed: Undercover, it's been one expensive commercial disappointment for EA Games after another. Not to mention the shut-down of Pandemic, half of the justification for EA's $850MM acquisition of Bioware-Pandemic. And don't think that Dante's Inferno, or Knights of the Old Republic, is going to make it all better. It's a bankrupt strategy."

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Airport Access IDs Hacked In Germany
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '10 at 02:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's wilkommen-sie-herr-aktentasche deptartment:
teqo writes "Hackers belonging to the Chaos Computer Club have allegedly cloned digital security ID cards for some German airports successfully which then allowed them access to all airport areas. According to the Spiegel Online article (transgoogleation here), they used a 200 Euro RFID reader to scan a valid security ID card, and since the scanner was able to pretend to be that card, used it to forge that valid ID. Even the airport authorities say that the involved system from 1992 might be outdated, but I guess it might be deployed elsewhere anyways."

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Wii Hardware Upgrade Won't Happen Soon
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '10 at 12:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can't-show-ugly-mario-in-hd deptartment:
As high-definition graphics become more and more entrenched in this generation of game consoles, Nintendo has had to deal with constant speculation about a new version of the Wii that would increase its capabilities. Today, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime bluntly denied that a hardware revision was imminent, saying, "We are confident the Wii home entertainment console has a very long life in front of it." He added, "In terms of what the future holds, we've gone on record to say that the next step for Nintendo in home consoles will not be to simply make it HD, but to add more and more capability, and we'll do that when we've totally tapped out all of the experiences for the existing Wii. And we're nowhere near doing that yet."

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WHO To Investigate Handling of Swine Flu Information, Vaccine Orders
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '10 at 11:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's here-little-piggy deptartment:
krou writes "With swine flu fading in the UK (projected winter deaths of 65,000 have been downgraded to 1,000, and new cases are decreasing) the UK government has been left with millions of unused vaccines, and (unlike its contract with Baxter) no clear break-clause to get out of its contract with GlaxoSmithKlein. Although the amount paid for vaccines has not been disclosed, it likely cost the UK government several hundred million pounds. Other governments are also in a similar position: the US ordered 251 million doses of the vaccine, and France and Germany are aiming to cut back on their orders considerably. To say that the case for the pandemic has been over-estimated appears to be an understatement. Now, the WHO has announced that it is to investigate whether or not it bowed to pressure from drugs companies to overplay the threat." (Continues, below.)

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Robotics Prof Fears Rise of Military Robots
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '10 at 08:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's oh-you-worry-too-much deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Interesting video interview on silicon.com with Sheffield University's Noel Sharkey, professor of AI & robotics. The white-haired prof talks state-of-the-robot-nation — discussing the most impressive robots currently clanking about on two-legs (hello Asimo) and who's doing the most interesting things in UK robotics research (something involving crickets apparently). He also voices concerns about military use of robots — suggesting it won't be long before armies are sending out fully autonomous killing machines."

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