New submitter rhsanborn writes "One year ago the District of Columbia Court of Appeals ordered the TSA to hold public comment on the use body scanners in EPIC vs. DHS. The order has been ignored prompting a WhiteHouse.gov petition asking for the Obama Administration's response. One year later, Wired reports, the court has ordered the TSA to explain why it hasn't responded to its original order (PDF). The TSA has until August 30th to respond."
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djl4570 writes "Samsung released to the press documents that had been excluded by Judge Lucy Koh. According to Samsung 'The judge's exclusion of evidence on independent creation meant that even though Apple was allowed to inaccurately argue to the jury that the F700 was an iPhone copy, Samsung was not allowed to tell the full story...The excluded evidence would have established beyond doubt that Samsung did not copy the iPhone design,' An article at another site described judge Lucy Koh as 'Livid.' The defendant released exculpatory evidence that had been suppressed by the judge. This after many stories in the tech press portray the case as Samsung versus Lucy Koh instead of Samsung versus Apple." An anonymous reader sent in Groklaw's detailed take on the spat. Related to the trial, colinneagle sent in more info revealed about iPhone prototypes. One early design would have featured shaped glass, but materials weren't up to spec at the time.
hypnosec tipped us to reports that Demonoid is still down after a suffering a massive DDoS last week, and that the domain is now redirecting to a malware-ridden spam site. Notable for surviving a CRIA mandated shutdown, this may be lights out for the torrent tracker: "To begin, while Demonoid’s admin told us that he would eventually bring the site back online, he clearly has other things on his mind. A really important family event puts a torrent site nowhere near the top of his priorities. ... Demonoid has been experiencing staffing issues this year. As we mentioned in an earlier article, there were rumors that one or maybe more Demonoid staffers had been questioned by authorities about their involvement in the site."
First time accepted submitter TrueSatan writes "With support from the EFF's Defend Freedom Project two Republican congressmen seek to introduce a bill called the 'Shield Act' which, if passed, would enable judges to award costs to defendants if they are found to be the victims of frivolous patent litigation. From the article: 'A new bill introduced in the House of Representatives attempts to deter frivolous patent litigation by forcing unsuccessful patent plaintiffs to cover defendants' legal costs. Introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and co-sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes (SHIELD) Act is limited to patents related to computer hardware and software.'"
derekmead writes "A new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory finds that solar holds more potential to generate more power (PDF) than any other clean energy source. The NREL broke things down into four groups: urban and rural utility-scale photovoltaics (giant solar plants, basically) as well as rooftop solar and concentrated mirror arrays. Between those technologies, which are all already on the market, the NREL reckons there's a proven potential for solar to hit a capacity of 200,000 gigawatts in the United States alone. For some perspective, 1 gigawatt is what a single nuclear power plant might generate, and it's more than most coal plants. A gigawatt of capacity is enough to power approximately 700,000 homes."
DavidGilbert99 writes "NBC is the sole broadcaster of the London 2012 Olympics in the U.S., having paid $1.1bn for the privilege. While NBC is providing live streaming through its website, you need to have a valid cable subscription in order to view the events. This has seen many tech savvy U.S. viewers turning to proxy servers to view the BBC's Olympic coverage, which doesn't need any sign-in to view — once your IP address looks like it is coming from the UK. One provider of VPN services has seen a ten-fold increase in new customers signing up for their services since last Friday."
SpicyBrownMustard writes "There's no secret to a rising level of 'Silicon Valley fatigue' lately, and the new reality show certainly isn't helping. And with hacker hostels packing in twenty somethings fueling the 'it's okay to fail' incubator culture that now is actually hurting startups, it's no wonder weariness with the culture is setting in. Forbes.com asks the question: Is Phoenix The Next Silicon Valley? The article covers a startup with a couple names you might know, who picked Phoenix due to its much lower cost of living and different quality of life. The startup's CTO, 'explains that having so much more financial freedom lowers the stress associated with working for a startup, as he can enjoy work/live balance.' Their location certainly didn't hurt fundraising, as they managed $2 million in seed capital. Are we indeed moving on from Silicon Valley for tech startups?"
New submitter Hanike writes "According to The Verge, Japanese hi-tech company Suidobashi Heavy Industry is developing a 13-foot, diesel-powered, real Mecha robot called Kuratas! 'The two-man team — artist Kogoro Kurata and robotics researcher Wataru Yoshizaki — isn't stopping there, either. Suidobashi wants to mass produce, starting at the low price of $1.35 million. So, what do you get for the money? Kuratas has over 30 hydraulic joints that allow it to freely move its arms, legs, and torso. It can fire water bottle rockets and fireworks, and its 6,000 round-per-minute BB Gatling guns are controlled with the pilot's smile; part of Yoshizaki's V-Shido (read like bushido, as in "way of the samurai") control system. In order to get around, the four-legged mech uses ordinary wheels, but the Suidobashi team wants to get it walking in order to navigate uneven terrain.'"
angry tapir writes "The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has backflipped again on the process for evaluating applications for new generic top-level domains such as .bank and .lol. The proposal to evaluate applications in batches of 500 had been subject to criticism from registrars, particularly the 'digital archery' component, which would be used to determine which batch an application would be part of. Last month, ICANN scrapped digital archery altogether, and now ICANN has announced that it will seek simultaneous processing of all applications. The reason people were annoyed at the batching process was it meant that even if an application for a new domain was complete and correct, and even if a domain application was not contested by anyone else, it could end up going live years after other new TLDs did. Given it will cost over a couple of hundred grand to run a new TLD, people were upset. The whole gTLD process has been fraught with delays and security breaches."
cweditor writes "Grupo Posadas has five data centers supporting more than 100 hotels and other lines of business, but it's moving almost all of those operations to a service provider in Texas. Could cloud service providers help the U.S. become a destination for tech outsourcing instead of an exporter of tech jobs? One stumbling block: The U.S. finds itself on the receiving end of protectionist legislation in other countries that discourages use of non-domestic IT service providers, says the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation."
An anonymous reader writes "Project Glass made a big splash not too long ago at Google's annual developer conference when they showed several users falling on to the Moscone West in San Francisco. Google's pretty bent on showing us the sharing possibilities with Project Glass, but it feels like in time that technology could become a ubiquitous part of our lives. Fortunately for those of us who lack a hyperactive imagination, a short film popped up recently that can help fill in the blanks. The world created in the film was made possible by wearable tech. Games, cooking challenges, information in real-time about the person you are talking to, all made possible by the contact lenses being worn. And of course there's a darkside to the equation, the potential to hack and therefore influence the actions of others. Ultimately, it's a realistic idea of the future we all face."
Kurt Eichenwald has written a lengthy article about Microsoft's slow decline over the past 10 years, cataloging their missteps and showing how consistent, poor decision-making from management crippled the tech titan in several important industries. "By the dawn of the millennium, the hallways at Microsoft were no longer home to barefoot programmers in Hawaiian shirts working through nights and weekends toward a common goal of excellence; instead, life behind the thick corporate walls had become staid and brutish. Fiefdoms had taken root, and a mastery of internal politics emerged as key to career success. In those years Microsoft had stepped up its efforts to cripple competitors, but—because of a series of astonishingly foolish management decisions—the competitors being crippled were often co-workers at Microsoft, instead of other companies. Staffers were rewarded not just for doing well but for making sure that their colleagues failed. As a result, the company was consumed by an endless series of internal knife fights. Potential market-busting businesses—such as e-book and smartphone technology—were killed, derailed, or delayed amid bickering and power plays. That is the portrait of Microsoft depicted in interviews with dozens of current and former executives, as well as in thousands of pages of internal documents and legal records." We discussed a teaser for this piece earlier in the month — the full article has all the unpleasant details.
The Megaupload case continues, and on Friday attorneys for the U.S. government made some interesting claims. They were in court to argue against a request to dismiss the indictment against Megaupload that was raised on the grounds that Megaupload has no U.S. address. After a debate about jurisdiction and precedent, this happened: "The government also argued that it could keep Megaupload in legal limbo indefinitely. 'None of the cases impose a time limit on service,' the government's attorney told the judge. Therefore, the government believes it can leave the indictment hanging over the company's head, and keep its assets frozen, indefinitely. Not only that, but the government believes it can continue to freeze Megaupload's assets and paralyze its operations even if the judge grants the motion to dismiss. That's because in the government's view, the assets are the proceeds of criminal activity and the prosecution against founder Kim Dotcom will still be pending. The fact that the assets are in the name of Megaupload rather than its founder is of no consequence, the government claimed."
In a follow-up to a story earlier this week, derekmead writes "Skype has gone under a number of updates and upgrades since it was bought by Microsoft last year, mostly in a bid to improve reliability. But according to a report by the Washington Post, Skype has also changed its system to make chat transcripts, as well as users' addresses and credit card numbers, more easily shared with authorities. As we've already seen with Facebook and Twitter, big Internet firms aren't digging their heels in against government requests, which shouldn't come as a shock; angering the authorities is bad business. The lesson then is that, while the Internet will always retain a vestige of its Wild West days, as companies get bigger and bigger, they're either going to play ball with governments or go the way of Kim Dotcom."
the_newsbeagle writes "The annual computer poker competition has just wrapped up, in which artificial intelligences battled each other over the (virtual) Texas Hold 'Em table. A researcher who worked on one of the top programs, the University of Alberta's "Hyperborean" program, has blogged about this year's competition and entrants for IEEE Spectrum. His first post explains the rules of the game and why it's tougher for a computer to win at poker than at chess; his second post describes Hyperborean's strategies, and the third gives the results and takes stock of Hyperborean's performance."