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Archive for March, 2012

After Megaupload, MPAA Targets Other File Sharing Services

March 31st, 2012 03:18 admin View Comments

The Courts

An anonymous reader writes “It is no secret that the MPAA was a main facilitator of the criminal investigation against Megaupload. While the movie studios have praised the actions of the U.S. Government, they are not satisfied yet. Paramount Pictures’ vice president for worldwide content protection identified Fileserve, MediaFire, Wupload, Putlocker and Depositfiles as prime targets that should be shuttered next.”

Source: After Megaupload, MPAA Targets Other File Sharing Services

Why Onagawa Nuclear Power Station Survived the Tsunami

March 31st, 2012 03:20 admin View Comments

Japan

Kyusaku Natsume writes “While the town of Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture, was hit hard by the March 2011 tsunami, the nuclear plant it shares with the equally devastated city of Ishinomaki survived. The reason it did so is mostly down to the personal strength and tenacity of one Yanosuke Hirai, who passed away in 1986 and insisted that the plant should have been protected by a 14.8 m tall seawall. A great quote from the article: ‘Corporate ethics and compliance may be similar, but their cores are different, from the perspective of corporate social responsibility, we cannot say that there is no need to question a company’s actions just because they are not a crime under the law.’”

Source: Why Onagawa Nuclear Power Station Survived the Tsunami

DHS Will Now Vet UK Air Passengers To Mexico, Canada, Cuba

March 31st, 2012 03:23 admin View Comments

Canada

First time accepted submitter illtud writes “From April, UK passengers flying to Mexico, Eastern Canada or Cuba will have to submit their details at least 72 hours before boarding to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for pre-flight vetting (as all passengers to the U.S. itself have had to do for a while). If they find against you, you’re not getting on the plane, even though you’re not going to the U.S. The Independent (UK quality newspaper) has the story.”

Source: DHS Will Now Vet UK Air Passengers To Mexico, Canada, Cuba

NY District Judge Dismisses Blogger Suit Against Huffington Post

March 31st, 2012 03:16 admin View Comments

America Online

The Chicago Tribute reports on a ruling announced Friday that the Huffington Post violated no law in profiting enormously from the unpaid contributions of bloggers who wrote much of the content that has spurred the site’s success. Says the article: “John E. Koeltel, a district court judge in New York, dismissed a class action sought brought against the Huffington Post by unpaid bloggers seeking $105 million from AOL and Arianna Huffington’s media empire. The bloggers argued that though they initially agreed to do the work for free, the Huffington Post was ‘unjustly enriched as a result of this practice,’ violating New York state law. Koeltel disagreed. ‘There is no question that the plaintiffs submitted their materials to The Huffington Post with no expectation of monetary compensation and that they got what they paid for — exposure in The Huffington Post,’ Koeltel wrote.”

Source: NY District Judge Dismisses Blogger Suit Against Huffington Post

Minecraft Creator Announces Space Sandbox Game Mars Effect

March 31st, 2012 03:14 admin View Comments

Space

An anonymous reader writes Notch posted the official page of Mars Effect today, saying through Twitter, ‘it’s a completely different game! Our takes place in space, and focuses on characters, and lets you land on planets!!’ He gives more detailed on the new website, noting the game will be based around hard science fiction (think Star Trek sci-fi) and puts characters in control of a character rather than just a ship. Similar to Minecraft, it will be a free-roaming game, but with a full economic system, different planets, customizable ships, space battles against AI, and other features. There will also be an in-game, 16-bit computer. Notch also took the chance to poke fun at Mass Effect, noting it will have ‘A game ending that makes sense.’”

Source: Minecraft Creator Announces Space Sandbox Game Mars Effect

Samsung Says Their TVs Aren’t Really Spying On You

March 31st, 2012 03:12 admin View Comments

Input Devices

lightbox32 writes “Samsung has finally responded to an article recently published by HD Guru titled ‘Is your TV watching you?‘ [See this related Slashdot post] which discussed the fact that new features in Samsung’s top 2012 models — including built-in microphones, HDTV camera, wireless and wired Internet connection, built-in browser with voice to text conversion, face recognition and more — could be used to collect unprecedented personal information and invade our privacy. Samsung has now provided their privacy policy, which may or may not lay the issue to rest.” I vote for “not” — conspiracy theories about mandatory (or just secret) surveillance equipment in consumer electronics is just too persistent, even when the technical capabilities turn out to be a hoax; when the equipment is actually all in place and the user is protected only by a corporate honor policy, it’s hard to be sanguine. (I recall there was a much rumored secret capability for law enforcement agencies to secretly and remotely turn on the internal microphones in PCs meeting the PC 97 spec, and this was an integral part of the plan. Since the government insists that telecom equipment have built-in backdoors, why should that sound all that crazy?)

Source: Samsung Says Their TVs Aren’t Really Spying On You

Nano-SIM Decision Delayed

March 31st, 2012 03:11 admin View Comments

Data Storage

judgecorp writes “The decision on the next generation of even-smaller SIM cards for phones and other devices has been delayed by standards body ETSI, and the issue (which should have been settled this week) is nowhere near resolution. Apple wants to trim the existing micro-SIM further, Nokia wants to move to something like a micro-SD card which may involve patents. Meanwhile RIM has complained about Apple’s approach.”

Source: Nano-SIM Decision Delayed

Software-Defined Radio For $11

March 31st, 2012 03:13 admin View Comments

Communications

Malvineous writes “Don’t have $1500 to drop on a USRP? A Linux kernel developer has discovered that a Realtek digital TV tuner chip has an undocumented mode that turns it into a software-defined radio, with a frequency range of 64-1700MHz. The going rate for one of these USB devices can be as low as US$11. If you’re unfamiliar with software-defined radio and have 20 minutes to spare, Balint Seeber has a great video introduction.”

Source: Software-Defined Radio For $11

New Engine Raises Possibility of Cheap Travel To the Moon

March 31st, 2012 03:09 admin View Comments

Space

shreshtha writes with this intriguing bit from The Daily Mail: “A tiny satellite thruster which can journey to the Moon on just a tenth of a litre of fuel could usher in a new low-cost space age, its creators hope. The mini-motor weights just a few hundred grams and runs on an ionic chemical compound, using electricity to expel ions and generate thrust. The tiny motor isn’t built to blast satellites into orbit — instead, it’s to help spacecraft manouevre once they’re in space, which previously required bulky, expensive engines.”

Source: New Engine Raises Possibility of Cheap Travel To the Moon

The Phantoms of Google+

March 31st, 2012 03:58 admin View Comments

Google

theodp writes “Engadget reports that Google wants a patent on its System and Method for Generating a Ghost Profile for a Social Network. The brainchild of five Googlers, the invention is designed to convert anti-social-networking types to the joys of Google+ and its ilk. From the patent: ‘A problem arises when users of social networks are friends with people that are opposed to social networks. The second group misses out on an important social component. For example, many users only share their photos on a social networking site. As a result, users that do not want to join the social network are forced to either join with reservations or miss out on the social component, such as viewing pictures.’ By generating an unsearchable ‘ghost profile’ when a member of the social network invites a Google+ adverse friend to join, Google explains, non-believers get to participate in social networking activities without providing user information.”

Source: The Phantoms of Google+