Hugh Pickens writes "With 3 million sold over the last week what's not to like about the new iPad? Michelle Maltais at the LA Times does a good job of putting together a compendium of gripes about the new device, justified or otherwise. Most people thought that Siri on the new iPad was a gimme; instead it has a scaled back version — dictation. 'If you want Siri, buy an iPhone. Plain and simple.' The new iPad is a little heavier than the iPad 2, thanks to the better graphics processor and more powerful battery. At one-tenth of a pound heavier that really doesn't sound like much, but it can start to matter if you hold your iPad in one hand for long periods or have any kind of repetitive stress injury. Apps designed for Retina display can be up to five times bigger and it's not just a problem for owners of the new iPad. Legacy owners of the original and iPad 2 who have these apps get to feel the pain too, since updates aren't device specific." The list continues, below.
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techfun89 writes "Mars has returned to our evening skies as it does every two years. This time it is getting even more attention and buzz than it normally would. Amateur astronomer Wayne Jaeschke of West Chester Pennsylvania noticed an unusual protrusion in the planet's southern hemisphere, preceding the sunrise terminator. Several things may have contributed to this strange 'cloud formation.' One possibility is a meteoric impact event, where dust was spewed up into the atmosphere. Another could be a major dust storm, which are typical on Mars. Of course, it could be something more mundane; that these observations were caused by a mere optical illusion via a type of glint that occurred due to having just the right combination of lighting and atmospheric conditions. Some suggest volcanic activity, though this is unlikely given it has been 20 to 200 million years since lava has flowed on Mars."
According to a story from CNN, "A piece of a debris from a Russian Cosmos satellite passed close enough to the International Space Station on Saturday that its crew was ordered into escape capsules as a precaution, NASA said. The six crew members were told to take shelter late Friday in their Soyuz capsules after it was determined there was a small possibility the debris could hit the station, the U.S. space agency said in a statement." This isn't the first time it's happened, either. The escape capsules (actually, they're Soyuz spacecraft) must be nice to have on hand, but I'd hate to have to test their efficacy.
jbrodkin writes "Facebook is trying to expand its trademark rights over the word 'book' by adding the claim to a newly revised version of its 'Statement of Rights and Responsibilities,' the agreement all users implicitly consent to by using or accessing Facebook. The company has registered trademarks over its name and many variations of it, but not on the word 'book.' By inserting the trademark claim into the Facebook user agreement, the company hopes to bolster its standing in lawsuits against sites that incorporate the word 'book.'"
howardd21 writes "French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is only a month away from an election, argued that it is time to treat those who browse extremist websites the same way as those who consume child pornography. 'Anyone who regularly consults Internet sites which promote terror or hatred or violence will be sentenced to prison,' he told a campaign rally in Strasbourg, in eastern France. 'Don't tell me it's not possible. What is possible for pedophiles should be possible for trainee terrorists and their supporters, too.' Is this a good move for security, or just another step towards a totalitarian society that prohibits free expression?"
crookedvulture writes Nvidia has lifted the curtain on reviews of its latest GPU architecture, which will be available first in the high-end GeForce GTX 680 graphics card. The underlying GK104 processor is much smaller than the equivalent AMD GPU, with fewer transistors, a narrower path to memory, and greatly simplified control logic that relies more heavily on Nvidia's compiler software. Despite the modest chip, Nvidia's new architecture is efficient enough that The Tech Report, PC Perspective, and AnandTech all found the GeForce GTX 680's gaming performance to be largely comparable to AMD's fastest Radeon, which costs $50 more. The GTX 680 also offers other notable perks, like a PCI Express 3.0 interface, dynamic clock scaling, new video encoding tech, and a smarter vsync mechanism. It's rather power-efficient, too, but the decision to focus on graphics workloads means the chip won't be as good a fit for Nvidia's compute-centric Tesla products. A bigger GPU based on the Kepler architecture is expected to serve that market." Read on below for good news (at least if you prefer Free software) from an anonymous reader. Update: 03/22 19:35 GMT by T : Mea culpa -- that headline should say "Kepler," rather than Fermi; HT to Dave from Hot Hardware (here's HH's take on the new GPU).
alphadogg writes "Hactivists — not cybercriminals — were responsible for the majority of personal data stolen from corporate and government networks during 2011, according to a new report from Verizon. The Verizon 2012 Data Breach Investigation Report found that 58% of data stolen in 2011 was the result of hactivism, which involves computer break-ins for political rather than commercial gain. In previous years, most hacking was carried out by criminals, Verizon said. Altogether, Verizon examined 855 cybersecurity incidents worldwide that involved 174 million compromised records. This is the largest data set that Verizon has ever examined, thanks to its cooperation with law enforcement groups including the U.S. Secret Service, the Dutch National High Tech Crime Unit and police forces from Australia, Ireland and London."
itwbennett writes "If you're of a certain generation, the screech of a modem, the stuttering song of the dot matrix printer, and the wet slap of a mimeograph machine can transport you to simpler (or at least slower) times. JR Raphael has rounded up 20 tech sounds on the brink of extinction for your listening torture. We're only sorry we don't have smell-o-vision to bring you that sweet mimeograph scent."
MrSeb writes "There's been a lot of noise about Sweden becoming a cashless economy, and the potential repercussions that it might cause, most notably the (apparent) annihilation of privacy. Really, though, I think this is a load of hot air. Physical money might be on the way out, but that doesn't mean the end of anonymous, untraceable cash — it'll just become digital. If Bitcoin has taught us anything, it's possible to create an irreversible, cryptographic currency — but so far it has failed because it doesn't have sovereign backing. What if the US or UK (or any other country for that matter) issued digital cash? We would suddenly have an anonymous currency that can be kept on credit chips (or smartphones) and traded, just like paper money. No longer would handling money require expensive cash registers, safes, and secure collections; your smartphone could be your point of sale. It won't be easy to get governments to pass digital cash into law, though, not with big banks and megacorps lobbying for centralized, electronic, traceable currency. Here's hoping Sweden makes the right choice when the referendum to retire physical money finally rolls around."
techfun89 writes "Viruses can make us all sick, but one day could be engineered to defeat cancer. Cancer cells have one trait that may leave them open to attack. They aren't good at killing off viral infections, hence, at least in theory, you could use a virus to kill cancer cells without affecting the patient. Dr. Ian Mohr, a virologist at New York University, altered the herpes virus so that it isn't attacked by the immune system and kills cancer cells more efficiently. Another virus that is proving effective for liver cancer is Vaccinia. Vaccinia is used to protect against smallpox and so far the results have been promising. Several groups of patients have had an increase in survival times. Meanwhile other viruses are being used for things like melanoma, bladder cancer, and head and neck cancer."
pigrabbitbear writes with an excerpt from an article at Motherboard: "Earlier last week we heard about the strange blob-bot, an amoeba-mimicking, pulsating, little horror of a robot. But that's nothing in the face of news that engineers at Virginia Tech have built a robotic jellyfish. As if the threat of the oceans being taken over by deadly stinging jelly cyborgs isn't scary enough, there's this: the researchers claim that, because their Robojelly is powered by a hydrogen-based catalytic reaction, rather than electricity, it could 'theoretically' power itself indefinitely. When you consider our best options for powering underwater craft are currently batteries, nuclear reactors, or tethers to the surface, a chemically-powered propulsion system is groundbreaking (and, well, a bit nerve-wracking)." The full paper is available for free (at least for 30 days; registration required).
An anonymous reader writes "The New York Times has announced that, starting in April, visitors to NYTimes.com will only be able to access 10 free articles a month, down from 20 articles currently. The NYTimes paywall was put into effect last year, and seems to have been a success, with nearly half a million digital subscriptions to all of Times Co.'s websites; this despite the fact that the paywall is trivial to circumvent (for example, by deleting all cookies from nytimes.com)." The submitter included a link to the WSJ article on the change, which appears to also be paywalled.
Fluffeh writes "As recently covered here, EU countries are starting to drop ACTA support. Now, long-time opponent of the secretly negotiated Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, Sen. Ron Wyden introduced an amendment to a Senate 'jobs bill' that would force ACTA to come before Congress for approval. His second amendment tries to force a change (PDF) in how the whole process around such treaties is handled. Right now, the U.S. attempts to keep its negotiating positions a secret. What vital national security interests could be at stake if the public knew USTR was promoting 'graduated response' laws or proposing changes in ISP liability? Wyden doesn't believe there are any."
Fluffeh writes "Word from Ars Technica is that OnLive, a service provider that seems to totally flout Microsoft licensing and offers iPad users a Microsoft Desktop for free (or a beefier one for $5) isn't being sued by Microsoft, as this blog quotes: 'We are actively engaged with OnLive with the hope of bringing them into a properly licensed scenario.' The people who are angry include Guise Bule, CEO of tuCloud. He accuses Microsoft of playing favorites with OnLive — whose CEO is a former Microsoft executive — while regularly auditing license compliance for companies like tuCloud that provide legitimate virtual desktop services. Bule is so mad that he says he is forming an entirely new company called DesktopsOnDemand to provide a service identical to OnLive's, complete with licensing violations, and dare Microsoft to take him to court. Bule hopes to force Microsoft into lifting restrictions on virtual desktop licensing that he says inhibit growth in the virtual desktop industry, and seem to apply to everyone except OnLive." One of the restrictions applied to licensed remote desktop providers is that each user must have his own dedicated machine (pretty onerous in the days of 16+ core servers costing a mere grand or two).
suraj.sun sends this quote from an op-ed at Ars Technica: "Eight months ago, content owners and Internet service providers agreed to the Copyright Alert System, a 'six-strike' plan to reduce copyright infringement by Internet users. Under the system, ISPs will soon send educational alerts, hijack browsers, and perhaps even slow/temporarily block the Internet service of users accused of online infringement (as identified by content owners). At the time it was announced, some speculated that the proposed system might not be legal under the antitrust laws. ... If I had to explain antitrust in a single word, it would not be 'competition' — it would be 'power.' The power to raise prices above a competitive level; the power to punish people who break your rules. Such power is something society usually vests in government. Antitrust law is in part concerned with private industry attempting to assert government-like power. ... The Copyright Alert System represents a raw exercise of concerted private power. Content owners as a group have control over their product. They have leveraged this control to forge this agreement with ISPs, who need to work with content owners in order to offer content to their own users. ISPs, in turn, have power over us as users."
Marken Communications, who has been working in technology public relations long enough to know what's what -- and then some. We had a pleasant conversation via Skype, and afterwords he sent along some excellent additional advice about how to handle do-it-yourself tech industry PR.
itwbennett writes "Microsoft dropped a bomb yesterday: they won't be showing new hardware this year or 'anytime soon.' Microsoft told Kotaku that '2012 is all about Xbox 360.' Meanwhile, Bloomberg's mysterious sources are saying that Microsoft 'may show the successor to its Xbox 360 in June 2013 at the E3 conference and put it on sale that same year.' This would 'be a fast journey from announcement to launch,' says Peter Smith, 'but it'd mean we'd still get a new Xbox for holiday 2013, which is about the earliest anyone has expected it to arrive anyway.'"
mask.of.sanity writes "A working proof of concept has been developed for a dangerous vulnerability in Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). The hole stands out because many organizations use RDP to work from home or access cloud computing services. Only days after a patch was released, a bounty was offered for devising an exploit, and later a working proof of concept emerged. Chinese researchers were the first to reveal it, and security professionals have found it causes a blue screen of death in Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 machines. Many organizations won't apply the patch and many suspect researchers are only days away from weaponizing the code."
Mr_Blank writes "Cameras at UK petrol stations will automatically stop uninsured or untaxed vehicles from being filled with fuel, under new government plans. Downing Street officials hope the hi-tech system will crack down on the 1.4 million motorists who drive without insurance. Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras are already fitted in thousands of petrol station forecourts. Drivers can only fill their cars with fuel once the camera has captured and logged the vehicle's number plate. Currently the system is designed to deter motorists from driving off without paying for petrol. But under the new plans, the cameras will automatically cross-refererence with the DVLA's huge database."