redletterdave writes "It seemed like a step in the right direction for Yahoo back in November, when the company announced a family of new mobile products that would enrich the way users experience and understand their news and entertainment content. But just shy of seven months after that outburst of mobile and social apps and tools, Yahoo has decided to call it quits on arguably the biggest piece of that mobile package: the personalized magazine app for iPad, Livestand. This was the first major business decision made by Ross Levinsohn, the interim CEO who took over for Scott Thompson on May 13 after the SEC discovered Thompson lied on his resume."
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An anonymous reader writes "CNN takes a look at Apple's response to the Department of Justice's investigation into eBook price fixing. The filing 'cuts the government's case to shreds' while at the same time not bothering to defend the five publishers also under investigation. Apple said, 'The Government starts from the false premise (PDF) that an eBooks "market" was characterized by "robust price competition" prior to Apple's entry. This ignores a simple and incontrovertible fact: before 2010, there was no real competition, there was only Amazon. At the time Apple entered the market, Amazon sold nearly nine out of every ten eBooks, and its power over price and product selection was nearly absolute.'"
Barence writes "Is it even possible to buy technology with a clean conscience? With the vast majority of gadgets and components manufactured using low-paid labor in Asia, manufacturers unable to accurately plot their supply chains, and very few ethical codes of conduct, the article highlights the difficulty of trying to buy ethically-sound gadgets. It concludes, 'The answer would appear to be no. Too little information is available, and nobody we spoke to believed an entirely ethical technology company exists – at least, not among the household names.'"
New submitter wirelessduck writes "After some recent complaints from a Labor MP about price markups on software and technology devices in Australia, Federal Government agencies decided to look in to the matter and an official parliamentary inquiry into the issue was started. 'The Federal Parliament's inquiry into local price markups on technology goods and services has gotten under way, with the committee overseeing the initiative issuing its terms of reference and calling for submissions from the general public on the issue.'"
redletterdave writes "On Thursday, former Boston Red Sox pitcher and tech entrepreneur Curt Schilling fired his entire staff at 38 Studios, his Rhode Island-based video game company, leaving more than 300 employees without jobs because the company couldn't repay its debt to the state. 38 Studios failed to pay Rhode Island's economic development agency $1.1 million, which was due last week, and also failed to meet payroll for its staff in both its Providence office and its Maryland subsidiary, Big Huge Games." The company's recent action RPG, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, sold 1.2 million copies — which would have been great if they hadn't needed to sell 3 million to break even. An article at Massively goes through some of the lessons the video game industry needs to learn from this situation.
silentbrad writes "An editorial published at CNN is titled 'The Demise of Guys: How Videogames and Porn are Ruining a Generation.' It makes the sensationalized case that not only do game addiction and porn addiction share similar characteristics, but they're also both damaging to young men, destroying their ability to connect with women, and therefore threatening the future of our entire species. A response by IGN dissects the idea that pornography and videogames are pretty much the same thing. 'The article, by psychologist Philip G. Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan argues that young men are "hooked on arousal, sacrificing their schoolwork and relationships in the pursuit of getting a tech-based buzz."' Zimbardo, has danced this jig before. At the Long Beach TED conference last year he told a delighted audience that "guys are wiping out socially with girls and sexually with women." He added that young men have been so zombiefied by games and porn that they are unable to function in basic human interactions. "It's a social awkwardness like a stranger in a foreign land", he said. "They don't know what to say. They don't know what to do."'"
An anonymous reader writes "With entrants to this year's Loebner Prize, the annual Turing Test designed to identify a thinking machine, demonstrating that chatbots are still a long way from passing as convincing humans, this article asks: what happened to the quest to develop a strong AI? 'The problem Loebner has is that computer scientists in universities and large tech firms, the people with the skills and resources best-suited to building a machine capable of acting like a human, are generally not focused on passing the Turing Test. ... And while passing the Turing Test would be a landmark achievement in the field of AI, the test’s focus on having the computer have to fool a human is a distraction. Prominent AI researchers, like Google’s head of R&D Peter Norvig, have compared the Turing Test’s requirement that a machine fools a judge into thinking they are talking to a human as akin to demanding an aircraft maker constructs a plane that is indistinguishable from a bird."
ancientribe writes "Phony AV scammers posing as Microsoft dialed the wrong number when they inadvertently phoned a security researcher at home. He lured them into a honeypot to study their actions, and posted the video online here. His main takeaway: they were 'Stone Age' when it came to their tech know-how."
Fluffeh writes "It seems that the U.S. Supreme Court has an itch it just can't scratch. A patent granted to the Ultramercial company covers the concept of allowing users to watch a pre-roll advertisement as an alternative to paying for premium content and the company is demanding fees from the likes of Hulu and YouTube. Another company called WildTangent, however, is challenging Ultramercial's 'invention' as merely an abstract idea not eligible for patent protection. Add to this a recent ruling by the Supreme Court restricting patents — albeit on medical diagnostic techniques — and you get into a bit of a pickle. The Supreme Court is now sending the Ultramercial case back to the lower courts for another round, which doesn't mean that the court disagrees with the original ruling, but rather that it thinks it is a patent case that is relevant to the situation and they want to re-examine it under this new light."
pigrabbitbear writes "Who's driving a lot of neuro research? The military. Much of it is health related, like figuring out how to make prosthetics work more seamlessly and helping diagnose brain injuries. But the military's involvement highlights the basic ethical quandary of neurological development: When our brains pretty much define who we are, what happens when you start adding tech in there? And what happens when you take it away? Jonathan Moreno is quite possibly the top bioethicist in the country, and along with Michael Tennison, recently penned a fascinating essay on the role and ethics of using neuroscience for national security. He also recently updated his book Mind Wars, a seminal look into the military's work with the brain. In this interview he discusses brain implants, drones, and what will happen when military tech hits the civilian world."
Fluffeh writes "Apple and Samsung just can't come to an agreement, even when the two CEOs have been ordered by a court to hash it out over a two-day period. U.S. Judge Judy Koh had ordered the sit down prior to court proceedings between the two giants, but the talks resulted in nothing more than each side confirming its position. Although Apple CEO Tim Cook said, 'I've always hated litigation and I continue to hate it,' he also said, 'if we could get to some kind of arrangement where we'd be assured [they are inventing their own products] and get a fair settlement on the stuff that's occurred.' Perhaps Tim is worried that Samsung is still the primary component supplier for mobile products, including the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, or perhaps Apple has bitten off more than it really wants to chew, with the litigation between the two getting to truly epic and global proportions."
mikejuk writes "A team from Microsoft Research has taken the lead in the MinuteSort data sorting test using a specially-devised technology: Flat DataCenter Storage. The figures are impressive — 1401 gigabytes in 60 seconds, using 1033 disks across 250 machines. Not only is this three times as much as the previous record, but also, it uses only one sixth of the hardware resources, according to a blog post about the test from Microsoft. One thing that's interesting about the success is the technology used. While solutions such as Hadoop and MapReduce are traditionally used for working with large data sets, Microsoft Research created its own technology called the 'Flat Datacenter Storage,' or FDS for short. This isn't just academic research, of course. The team from Microsoft Research has already been working with the Bing team to help Bing accelerate its search results, and there are plans to use it in other Microsoft technologies."
squiggleslash writes "CNN reports that IBM CEO Jeanette Horan has banned Siri, the iPhone voice recognition system. Why? According to Horan '(IBM) worries that the spoken queries might be stored somewhere.' Siri's backend is a set of Apple-owned servers in North Carolina, and all spoken queries are sent to those servers to be converted to text, parsed, and interpreted. While Siri wouldn't work unless that processing was done, the centralization and cloud based nature of Siri makes it an obvious security hole."
derekmead writes "Last week at Camp David, President Obama met up with fellow NATO leaders to discuss the road ahead in Afghanistan. Although no one there used the language of defeat, the implicit message was clear: the war has gone nowhere in the past few years and it's time to start packing up. Meanwhile, what raked in $25.5 million at the box office? Battleship. And who provided director Peter Berg with the war technology that beats the aliens? The U.S. military. He's not the only one: the past few years have seen an explosion of high-profile cooperation between the armed forces and the movie industry. If the most powerful armed force in history isn't winning in reality, it certainly is on the big screen. And like so many problematic aspects of late capitalism, the military-Hollywood complex has a grimly understandable logic."
Fluffeh writes "The EU has accused Google of abusing its dominant position in advertising to benefit its own advertising services at the expense of competitors. In a twist however, rather than initiating formal proceedings, the EU has given Google a chance to settle the whole matter without much fuss. They outlined four changes that Google can make that will put it firmly back in the good graces of the EU. Google has been given 'a matter of weeks' to propose remedies to the four issues — which all tie in with how search results are displayed, their format and their portability to other platforms. This matter has come before the EU based on complaints by a few small companies and Microsoft." The four issues: Displaying results to their own services specially, use of user reviews from other sites in search results, Advertising "...agreements result in de facto exclusivity requiring them to obtain all or most of their requirements of search advertisements from Google," and concerns that Google is imposing "...contractual restrictions on software developers which prevent them from offering tools that allow the seamless transfer of search advertising campaigns across AdWords and other platforms..."