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Technology

The L.A. Times Names Its Favorite Flops of the Year 145

Posted by timothy
from the always-too-many-to-choose-from dept.
SternisheFan writes "Salvador Rodriguez and Deborah Netburn of The Los Angeles Times have a rundown of the top 10 tech gaffes of 2012. From their article: 'As 2012 comes to a close we take a look back at the biggest "oops" moments of the last year. Whether it was an advertising misstep (Facebook's "Chair" commercial), or a product released before it was ready (Apple Maps), or just an idea that was ill-received (homeless men as Wi-Fi hotspots), we tried to compose a list of the times when the major players lost control of the narrative. It's also a reminder that everyone makes mistakes--even exacting tech companies.'"
Crime

Judge Grants Defendant's Motion To Explore Alleged Fraud By Prenda Law 81

Posted by timothy
from the it's-always-the-gardener dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Prenda Law — one of the most notorious copyright trolls — has sued hundreds of thousands of John Doe defendants, often receiving settlements of thousands of dollars from each. Prenda Law principal John Steele has reportedly made a few million dollars suing BitTorrent file-sharers. Prenda Law has been accused in federal court of creating sham offshore corporations using the identity of his gardener. In other words, it is alleged that the law firm and their client are the same entity, and that Prenda law has committed identity theft and fraud. Now, a judge in California has granted a John Doe defendant's motion to further explore the connection between the offshore entity and the law firm."
Patents

LG Seeks Sales Ban of Samsung Galaxy Tablet In Korea 91

Posted by timothy
from the battle-royale dept.
Dupple writes "According to the Dow Jones News Wires, LG has filed an injunction in its home territory of South Korea, seeking to ban the sale of the Galaxy Note 10.1, alleging the panels inside the tablet infringe LG patents. The injunction follows a lawsuit filed by Samsung on 7 December, which alleged that LG infringed seven of Samsung's liquid crystal display patents. LG, which filed the injunction with the Seoul District Court on Wednesday, is aiming to block the sales of the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet computer."
PC Games (Games)

How To Make PC Gaming Better 337

Posted by Soulskill
from the extreme-fanboy-deathmatch dept.
New submitter RMingin writes "Bruno Ferreira at Tech Report has a number of suggestions that he feels could improve PC gaming. Some are quite thought-provoking. For example: 'When technology advanced [in the '90s], the industry came up with a certification specification to ensure punters didn't miss out—and consequently spent more on better PCs. That spec was called MPC, short for Multimedia Personal Computer. The first version of the MPC spec said, in simple terms: Thy computer shalt be blessed with a sound card and speakers. Thou shalt be provided a CD-ROM drive in which to receive silver discs. Thy processor shalt not be completely crap. At the time, this spec meant a lot—and, to be honest, I think it worked marvelously. We need something like that again. People wanted MPC, everyone sold the better hardware, and everyone was happy. Let the powers that be come up with a new baseline specification. Call it MPC-HD or whatever acronym the marketing Nazgûl want to give it. I'm fine with whatever, as long as it gets the job done.' He also calls for an end to the unintuitive model numbers for GPUs and CPUs, and more consistent driver support."
Facebook

Instagram User Drop Claims Overblown 49

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-let-facts-get-in-the-way-of-a-good-dogpile dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "When AppData first posted a graph showing a 25 percent drop in Instagram's daily active users, it sparked a flurry of discussion online—much of it focused on the recent controversy over the photo-sharing service's Terms of Use. The New York Post, for example, blamed the dip on a 'revolt' among Instagram users incensed over changes in the Terms of Use, including new legalese that some interpreted as blanket permission for the service to start selling user photos to advertisers. But a new statement from AppData, which tracks app traffic, suggests there's another cause behind the dip in daily active users: the season. 'The decline in Facebook-connected daily active users began closer to Christmas, not immediately after the proposed policy changes,' read a statement the firm sent to The Wall Street Journal. 'The drop between Dec. 24 and 25 seems likely to be related to the holiday, during which time people are traveling and otherwise have different routines than usual.'" It's also possible (likely, even) that there's no loss of users at all. AppData only checks a subset of Instagram users, and the photo-sharing site itself has said the data represented there is not accurate. Another article points out that several other Facebook-related services showed significant drops, according to AppData, which could suggests a problem with the entire platform or with the data gathering methods.
Google

Want a Job At Google? Better Know Microsoft Office! 243

Posted by timothy
from the isn't-more-knowledge-always-attractive-in-hiring? dept.
theodp writes "After recent Slashdot discussions on Google's quest to unseat Microsoft Office in business and whether Google Docs and MS-Word are an even matchup, let's complete the trilogy by bringing up the inconvenient truth that numerous Google job postings state that candidates with Microsoft Office expertise are 'preferred' to those lacking these skills. 'For example,' notes GeekWire, 'when hiring an executive compensation analyst to support Google's board, the company will give preference to candidates who are 'proficient with Microsoft Excel."' Parents and kids at schools that have gone or are going Google are reassured that, 'it is more important to teach technology skills than specific programs' and that 'Google itself uses Google Apps to run its multi-billion dollar company.' Which, for the most part, is true. Just don't count on getting certain Google jobs with that attitude, kids!"
Google

Jury Hits Marvell With $1 Billion+ Fine Over CMU Patents 167

Posted by timothy
from the billion-with-a-b dept.
Dupple writes with news carried by the BBC of a gigantic tech-patent case that (seemingly for once) doesn't involve Samsung, Apple, Microsoft, or Google: "'U.S. chipmaker Marvell Technology faces having to pay one of the biggest ever patent damage awards. A jury in Pittsburgh found the firm guilty of infringing two hard disk innovations owned by local university Carnegie Mellon.' Though the company claims that the CMU patents weren't valid because the university hadn't invented anything new, saying a Seagate patent of 14 months earlier described everything that the CMU patents do, the jury found that Marvell's chips infringed claim 4 of Patent No. 6,201,839 and claim 2 of Patent No. 6,438,180. "method and apparatus for correlation-sensitive adaptive sequence detection" and "soft and hard sequence detection in ISI memory channels.' 'It said Marvell should pay $1.17bn (£723m) in compensation — however that sum could be multiplied up to three times by the judge because the jury had also said the act had been "wilful." Marvell's shares fell more than 10%.'"
Robotics

Krugman: Is the Computer Revolution Coming To a Close? 540

Posted by samzenpus
from the end-of-an-era dept.
ninguna writes "According to Paul Krugman: 'Gordon argues, rightly in my view, that we've really had three industrial revolutions so far, each based on a different cluster of technologies. The analysis in Gordon's paper links periods of slow and rapid growth to the timing of the three industrial revolutions:
IR #1 (steam, railroads) from 1750 to 1830.
IR #2 (electricity, internal combustion engine, running water, indoor toilets, communications, entertainment, chemicals, petroleum) from 1870 to 1900.
IR #3 (computers, the web, mobile phones) from 1960 to present.
What Gordon then does is suggest that IR #3 has already mostly run its course, that all our mobile devices and all that are new and fun but not that fundamental. It's good to have someone questioning the tech euphoria; but I've been looking into technology issues a lot lately, and I'm pretty sure he's wrong, that the IT revolution has only begun to have its impact.' Is Krugman right, will robots put laborers and even the educated out of work?"
China

World's Longest High-Speed Rail Line Opens In China 322

Posted by Soulskill
from the flatten-all-the-pennies dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Today China continued rolling out the future of high speed rail by officially unveiling the world's longest high-speed rail line — a 2,298-kilometer (1,428-mile) stretch of railway that connects Beijing in the north to Guangzhou in the south. The first trains on the new route hit 300 kph (186 mph), cutting travel time between the two cities by more than half."
Facebook

Class-Action Lawsuit Goes After Instagram Terms of Service Changes 59

Posted by timothy
from the for-users-read-lawyers dept.
New submitter Alex Belits writes "Users of the Instagram image sharing service owned by Facebook filed a class action against Facebook for the recent change in Terms of Service." The changes that were supposed to take effect on January 16, 2013 declared for Facebook an unlimited right to use and license users' photos, added an arbitration requirement for legal disputes, and more. Guess the lawyers involved here weren't impressed enough by Facebook's hasty back-pedaling on this front; the company did explicitly disclaim ownership interest in the uploaded photos after a wave of complaints, but left in place certain other clauses in the new terms.
China

Acer Rethinks the "Tablet Bubble," Launching $99 Tablet 243

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the 3-2-1-*pop* dept.
retroworks writes "In August 2011, Acer Chairman JT Wang declared that the consumer affection for tablets had already begun to cool, basically labeling it a fad. What a difference a year (and a half) makes. Acer now plans to introduce a 'category killer' $99 tablet. 'In the past few months, we've made project roadmap changes in response to big changes in the tablet market,' according to a source at the Wall Street Journal. 'The launch of the Nexus 10 has changed the outlook for what makes competitive pricing.' Acer is aiming the new tablet at emerging markets, competing with Chinese 'white box' tablets (already available in Shenzhen at $45 each)."
Google

UK Court Invalidates Motorola Message Syncing Patents 31

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the patently-obvious dept.
Dupple writes with news of another tech patent thrown out for obviousness. From the article: "On Friday, the High Court of London issued a ruling that said that one of Motorola's patents covering technology to synchronize messages across several devices should be invalidated. Originally, the patent covered the synching of messages across multiple pagers, but recently Motorola has used the patent in lawsuits against Apple and Microsoft for using similar message-syncing services in iCloud and on the Xbox, respectively. The presiding Judge Richard Arnold declared Motorola's patent invalid and said it should be revoked because the patent (which has a priority date from 1995, but was issued in 2002) contained technology that 'was obvious to experts in the field at the time.'"
Toys

The Twelve Days of Christmas Gadgets 28

Posted by samzenpus
from the last-chance dept.
Hugh Pickens writes writes "If you still have some last minute Christmas shopping to do and are looking for cool gifts for the tech nuts in your life David Pogue has put together a list of twelve cheap tech gifts and gadgets that real-world people can give to real-world friends, bosses, employees and family members — nothing over $100. How about a Zapped edition of Monopoly for $25 where there is no paper money in the game. You put your iPhone or iPad in the middle of the Monopoly board — and each player gets a fake credit card. You pay or collect money from the bank electronically, just by placing your card briefly on the touch screen. Or how about a Sound Oasis Sound Therapy Pillow for $38? The speakers are in the pillow, you don't feel them, and you can drift to sleep with music playing without disturbing whoever is trying to sleep next to you. Then there's the Tagg Pet Tracker ($100, plus $8 a month after three months) that snaps onto your dog or cat's existing collar. You can use the pettracker.com Web site to find your pet on a map, using your phone or computer. Our favorite is the Cirago iAlert Tag for $50. If you walk away from your smartphone (iPhone, Android phone or BlackBerry), your key chain beeps to alert you and it works the other way, too. If you leave your keys somewhere, the phone beeps to alert you as you walk away! But the weirdest and most memorable of the suggestions are the Necomimi Brain-Powered Cat Ears for $100. It's a headband with fluffy white cat ears attached that perk up, flop down and otherwise turn, cutely and catlike, in sync with your brainwaves. There's a good deal of debate online about just how much the ears' motion is, in fact, governed by your brainwaves but one thing the Necomimis do extremely well is get attention, start conversations and make your holiday gift memorable. Now go start wrapping."
The Almighty Buck

Steve Jobs' Yacht Impounded In Amsterdam 221

Posted by timothy
from the that-sounds-spicy dept.
SchrodingerZ writes "The Venus, Steve Jobs' custom-made mega yacht, (valued at 137.5 million dollars), has been impounded in Amsterdam. Philippe Starck, the boat's main designer, had The Venus impounded by debt collectors, after supposedly Starck and his company, Ubik, were paid only 6 million of the 9-million-euro commission. Roelant Klaassen, a lawyer for Ubik, released in a statement that 'These guys [Jobs and Starck] trusted each other, so there wasn't a very detailed contract.' 'The Venus is a floating ode to both Jobs and Starck's minimalist aesthetic. Made entirely out of aluminum, with 40-foot-long floor-to-ceiling windows lining the passenger compartment and seven 27-inch iMacs making up the command center.' The ship was unofficially unveiled in late October, a year after Jobs' death. It now sits dormant in the Port of Amsterdam, until the payment dispute is resolved."
Media

VLC For Windows 8 Reaches $65,000 Funding Goal On Kickstarter 210

Posted by timothy
from the consume-your-delicious-media dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A Metro version of VLC, the popular free and open-source media player, is coming to Windows 8. On Sunday, the VideoLAN organization reached its funding goal on Kickstarter for its Windows 8-specific app. There are also plans to port it afterwards to Windows Phone 8. The project has now been funded by over 2,500 backers, who have pledged more than the £40,000 ($65,000) goal."

How many QA engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? 3: 1 to screw it in and 2 to say "I told you so" when it doesn't work.

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