MrSeb, zachareye, and others wrote in with several reviews of the Nokia Lumia 900. Starting things off, Extreme Tech asks if the Lumia redefines the smartphone; BGR chimes in declaring the phone "terrific". Ars Technica, on the other hand, isn't quite so enthusiastic, especially about the camera optics. Anandtech joins Ars in not being particularly enthused. It looks like most reviewers are happy with the UI, but not so enthused about the hardware (low display resolution for one). Signs point to an OK handset, but nothing spectacular.
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
Fluffeh writes "In the ongoing Megaupload saga, Carpathia, the company that hosted Megaupload, is in a tough pickle. The EFF wants the data to remain on the servers so that users can get legitimate data back, the MPAA doesn't want the servers back, because it will lead to piracy. Megaupload wants to buy the servers to get all the data, but isn't allowed to as that would have the servers leaving the court's jurisdiction. The U.S .Government won't pay Carpathia for the time that the servers are sitting idle and has a new song in its repertoire by announcing yesterday that the servers 'may contain child pornography,' which would render them 'contraband' and limit Carpathia's options for dealing with them."
Fluffeh writes "Motorola Mobility has found itself on the receiving end of an antitrust investigation by the European Commission due to its alleged abuse of standards-essential patents related to WiFi, H.264, and 3G wireless networking. The EC investigation comes shortly after it launched a similar investigation of Samsung, which has been attempting to leverage its 3G-related patents against Apple. The investigation could be especially worrisome for Google, which was recently granted approval of its planned merger with Motorola."
MrSeb writes "A team at Manchester Royal Infirmary hospital, England, claim to be the first surgeons to perform keyhole surgery using 3D cameras and monitors — and embarrassingly clunky spectacles. Furthermore, if that wasn't high-tech enough, the lead surgeon also used a hand-held robotic claw. 3D vision during surgery makes perfect sense: After all, your anatomy is three-dimensional, and when you're making minute incisions with a foot-long instrument, through an entry hole that's just an inch long, depth perception is obviously a huge boon. According to spokeswoman from the hospital, the 3D approach provides much better accuracy, 'therefore reducing the risks of muscle and nerve damage.' The same spokesperson also said that the 3D projection would reduce surgeon fatigue, presumably because trying to make sense of a 2D image for hours on end is incredibly strenuous."
Fluffeh writes "Recently, a Judge ordered Oracle and Google to have yet another sit down and chat, but these talks have come to an impasse: 'Despite their diligent efforts and those of their able counsel, the parties have reached an irreconcilable impasse in their settlement discussions,' Judge Paul Grewal of US District Court for the Northern California wrote Monday. 'No further conferences shall be convened. The parties should instead direct their entire attention to the preparation of their trial presentations. Good luck.'"
New submitter Hentes writes "France has one of the strictest anti-piracy laws. After 17 months of operation, Hadopi has released a report, claiming that illegal P2P downloads have been reduced significantly in the country: the studies they cite measured 43% and 66% decrease in copyright infringement. But that huge amount of 'lost revenue' doesn't seem to show up in the French recording industry, as the overall recorded music market has decreased by 3.9% in 2011. Even more interesting is that digital music sales have skyrocketed in France. Could it be that it's not piracy killing the traditional recording industry but digital distribution?"
Fluffeh writes "Judge Holderman ruled against copyright holders who were trying to paint a rather distorted picture. They sue just one Internet user, but use that lawsuit as a pretext to subpoena other defendants who had participated in the same BitTorrent swarm. The plaintiffs in these lawsuits claim that the other users had participated in a "conspiracy" to assist one another in distributing particular copyrighted works. Because the copyright holder's threat is based on the cost of litigation (and risk of public embarrassment — as this is a tactic used increasingly by the pron industry) more so than the damages a defendant would face in the event of a loss, innocent defendants have virtually as much incentive to settle as guilty ones do. That's not how things are supposed to work, and more and more judges are refusing to play along. Coupled with recent rulings in Florida, the copyright holders seem to be finding less and less favor with judges."
Fluffeh writes "The EFF has filed a brief in Federal Court on behalf of Kyle Goodwin (and potentially millions of other users) so that he can access his legally sound backup files. 'Goodwin is a local high school sports reporter and the sole proprietor of the company OhioSportsNet, who stored his video footage on Megaupload.com as a backup to his video library on his hard drive. He had paid €79.99 (about $107) for a two-year premium membership. Just days before the government seized the site, Goodwin's hard drive crashed. The brief states that his lost videos include footage to make highlight reels for parents to send to their children's prospective colleges, and an unfinished full-length documentary about the Strongsville girls soccer team's season.' According to the EFF, authorities told Carpathia (the hosting company that MegaUpload was using to host their content to the tune of $9,000 a day) that after it was done examining the servers and had copied portions of the data, the hosting company could delete the files and re-purpose its servers. Carpathia noted in a statement last week that it would like to allow Megaupload users to recover their data, but has struggled to find a way to do so."
First time accepted submitter phaedrus9779 writes "I'm a recently married man about to take on the next big adventure: home ownership! I came across a great house in a great community but I need a little bit extra: a high tech house. The problem: money, I'm on a budget. I'd love to have home theaters, super high tech weather stations and iPads seamlessly installed in all the walls — but this just isn't possible. So my question to the Slashdot community is: how can I build a high tech house that will be the envy of my friends, provide lots of useful gadgets, and not break the bank? Also, as always, the cooler the better!"
jfruh writes "When tech geeks debate the state of the smartphone world, they usually focus on the iPhone and its high-end Android rivals from the major carriers. But Android is rapidly entering the lower-end world of contractless prepaid phones that you can buy at 7-11 or Wal-Mart. 63 percent of prepaid phones sold in 2011 were smartphones, and while they might not offer cutting-edge hardware or easy customization, they do provide a smartphone experience without an onerous contract."
silentbrad writes "Kotaku reports some 'details' about Sony's next console given to them by a 'reliable source.' They say that the console's codename is Orbis, and it is planned for release by the 2013 holiday season. Developers are reportedly being told to plan for an AMD x64 CPU and AMD Southern Islands GPU. Further on, they mention that there will be no PS3 backwards compatibility and, like rumors about the next Xbox, will have anti-used game DRM. Specifically, 'new games for the system will be available one of two ways, either on a Blu-Ray disc or as a PSN download (yes, even full retail titles). If you buy the disc, it must be locked to a single PSN account. ... If you then decide to trade that disc in, the pre-owned customer picking it up will be limited in what they can do. ... it's believed used games will be limited to a trial mode or some other form of content restriction, with consumers having to pay a fee to unlock/register the full game.'"
Fluffeh writes "David Maurice House, an MIT researcher and Bradley Manning supporter, was granted the right to pursue a case against the government on Wednesday after a federal judge denied the government's motion to dismiss. 'This ruling affirms that the Constitution is still alive at the US border,' ACLU Staff Attorney Catherine Crump said in a statement. 'Despite the government's broad assertions that it can take and search any laptop, diary or smartphone without any reasonable suspicion, the court said the government cannot use that power to target political speech.' The agents confiscated a laptop computer, a thumb drive, and a digital camera from House and reportedly demanded, but did not receive, his encryption keys. DHS held onto House's equipment for 49 days and returned it only after the ACLU sent a strongly worded letter."
First time accepted submitter wynterwynd writes "In a move that seems to be in line with Gawker Media founder Nick Denton's opinion of his sites' commenters, some Gawker Media sites are now instructing their commenters that they will have to link their Gawker commenter ID with their Facebook, Twitter, or Google accounts in order to log in. Is this really a good idea, considering the security issues Gawker has had in the past? Per the article, for 'security purposes' Gawker is 'putting our account security layer in the hands of some of the best in the business — major sites with more security expertise and resources than anyone else on the web.' To my mind, it's hard to see this as anything but a grab to milk Gawker commenters' social networking accounts for targeted ad revenue — which really shouldn't be a surpirse considering Denton's contempt for most of the Gawker community. Is this a step too far for an online community? Is it a cash grab or a genuine effort to encourage secure and responsible posting?"
Fluffeh writes with a piece of good news on the privacy front: "Two rulings in related cases this week have dealt a serious blow to the plaintiffs and their dodgy legal strategy. Ordinarily, copyright law is handled by the federal courts, but Florida plaintiffs have begun using an obscure provision of state law called a 'pure bill of discovery' to attempt to force ISPs to reveal the identity of suspected file-sharers. The rulings, one on Monday and one on Wednesday, saw two different judges siding with the objecting ISPs. 'These back-to-back rulings against the plaintiffs suggest that they're likely to lose any time ISPs raise objections to fishing expeditions against their customers.'"