First time accepted submitter srs5694 writes "In light of the recent flood of stories about abysmal labor practices at Foxconn and other Chinese factories that produce most of the tech products we consume, the question arises: Who makes motherboards, plug-in cards, cell phones, and other devices WITHOUT relying on labor practices that are just one rung above slave labor? If I want to buy a new tech gadget, from whom can I buy it without ethical qualms?"
First time accepted submitter M.Nunez writes "Just 30 minutes after Whitney Houston died, Sony Music raised the price of Houston's greatest hits album, 'Ultimate Collection,' on iTunes and Amazon. Many technologists, including chairman of the NY Tech Meetup Andrew Rasiej, suggests that Sony should be boycotted for the move. In a tweet, Rasiej wrote, 'Geez Sony raised price on Whitney Houston's music 30 min after death was announced. #FAIL...We should boycott Sony.'"
jfruh writes "HP reversed its decision to spin off its PC business, but it's still left with the question of how to make money in a commodity business selling standard-issue machines manufactured overseas. One idea they're contemplating: improved customer service. If you buy an HP 'Elite' PC and have problems, you won't have to phone into a tech support call center where an entry-level drone reads off a script and tells you to reboot the machine; you'll have access to a specific support tech who will work with you as long as you own the computer."
First time accepted submitter Sabbetus writes "On Monday the CEO of prominent Bitcoin exchange Tradehill announced that they are shutting down. Ars Technica ran a story on this stating that 'After Monday's news, the currency's value fell from $5.50 to $4.40, a decline of 20 percent.' Tradehill is returning all funds and meanwhile their competitors are fighting over who gets Tradehill's customers."
New submitter mc6809e writes with news that Lightsquared might have just been killed. From the article: "A proposed wireless broadband network that would provide voice and Internet service using airwaves once reserved for satellite-telephone transmissions should be shelved because it interferes with GPS technology, the Federal Communications Commission said Tuesday. The news appears to squash the near-term hopes for the network pushed by LightSquared, a Virginia company that is majority-owned by Philip Falcone, a New York hedge fund manager." LightSquared, naturally, continues to deny that the interference is real.
jfruh writes "Dan Tynan is a privacy blogger and longtime proponent of the use of browser plug-ins and other technologies that block advertisers from tracking your web browsing habits. He's also a professional tech writer who makes his living writing articles for free, ad-supported sites. But he doesn't feel those two facts are in conflict, and points out that users pay good money to ISPs for those 'free' sites."
Frequent Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton writes "Tunisia's high court will decide on Wednesday whether to allow censoring of websites containing pornography or 'calls to violence.' It's disappointing that censorship continues in post-revolutionary Tunisia, but it's enough of an improvement over the old regime, that anti-censorship cyber-activism efforts would probably best be spent on helping other countries." Read on for Bennett's analysis.
theodp writes "Fortune contributor Dan Mitchell argues that GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum's 'Google problem' isn't Google's problem at all. 'The fact that searching for 'santorum' puts the profane, anti-Rick Santorum site SpreadingSantorum.com (NSFW) at the top of Google's search results,' insists Mitchell, 'is not an example of a "Google bomb," despite the widespread use of that term to describe the result.' In the same camp is Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan, who also says that Santorum has a search engine problem, not a Google problem. 'It's just that everyone fixates on Google,' Sullivan adds. Which is perhaps to be expected, since Google is the King of Search and also has ties to SpreadingSantorum creator Dan Savage, having featured the sex-advice columnist in Google's The-web-is-what-you-make-of-it Chrome ad campaign (for Savage's admirable It Gets Better Project, not SpreadingSantorum). So, considering Google's vaunted search quality guidelines, is some kind of change in order? Sullivan, while making it clear he opposes Santorum's views, nonetheless suggests Google is long overdue to implement a disclaimer for the 'Santorum' search results. 'They are going to confuse some people,' he explains, 'who will assume Google's trying to advance a political agenda with its search results.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Michael Wesch has been on the lecture circuit for years touting new models of active teaching with technology. The associate professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University has given TED talks. Wired magazine gave him a Rave Award. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching once named him a national professor of the year. But now Mr. Wesch finds himself rethinking the fundamentals of teaching after hearing that other professors can't get his experiments with Twitter and YouTube to work in their classes. Is the lecture best after all?"
retroworks writes "Today's Science Daily reports on 5 new UN studies of used computer and electronics management in Africa. The studies find that about 85% of surplus electronics imports are reused, not discarded. Most of the goods pictured in 'primitive e-waste' articles were domestically generated and have been in use, or reused, for years. Africa's technology lifecycle for displays is 2-3 times the productive use cycle in OECD nations. Still, EU bans the trade of used technology to Africa, Interpol has describes 'most' African computer importers as 'criminals,' and U.S. bill HR2284 would do the same. Can Africa 'leapfrog' to newer and better tech? Or are geeks and fixers the appropriate technology for 83% of the world (non-OECD's population)? "
theodp writes "'We were all foolish enough to go on this adventure,' Google co-founder Sergey Brin told the assembled Brainiacs at Google's Solve for X event last week, recalling the time he and Google co-founder Larry Page took their Gulfstream on a $100K journey to watch a 2008 Soyuz launch in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. 'If the rocket blows up, we're all dead,' Sergey overheard a Russian guard say. 'It was incredibly close,' Sergey continued. 'We drove in toward this rocket and there were hundreds of people all going the other way. It was really an astonishing sight. If you ever have the opportunity, I highly recommend it. It's really not at all comparable to the American launches that I've seen...because those are like five miles away behind a mountain, and the Russians are not as concerned with safety.' Sergey received film credit for the recently-opened Man on a Mission, a documentary on the Russian Soyuz mission that wound up putting Ultima creator Richard Garriott into orbit (for $30 million) instead of changing the course of Google history."
Hugh Pickens writes "Alan Jacobs writes in the Atlantic about Every Tribe Every Nation, an organization whose mission is to produce and disseminate Bibles in readable mobile-ready texts for hundreds of languages including Norsk, Potawatomie, Bahasa Indonesia, and Hawai'i Pidgin as the old missionary impulse is being turned towards some extremely difficult technical challenges. The Bible is a large, complicated text containing three quarters of a million words and the typesetting is quite complex because of the wide range of literature types found in scripture and the need for several types of note. 'For all the issues that are still to be solved, ETEN is trying to do things that the world's biggest tech companies haven't cracked yet, such as rendering minority languages correctly on mobile devices,' says Mark Howe. 'There's a unity among Bible translators and publishers that stands in stark contrast to the fractured, fratricidal smartphone industry.' But once these technical challenges are met, it won't be only Bibles only that people can get on their mobile devices, but whole new textual worlds."
ackthpt writes "Sir Tim Berners-Lee traveled to a courtroom in East Texas to give his testimony on how, if upheld, the Eolas Technologies & University of California patent on Web Interactivity could prove to be a major threat to the Internet as it's known today. The Jury deliberated only a few hours before invalidating the patent in question. In a victory Tweet Berners-Lee said, 'Texas jury agreed Eolas 906 patent invalid. Good thing too!' Google, Amazon, Apple, Adobe and a host of other companies, with representatives present, must have given a Texas-size sigh of relief."
Cutting_Crew writes "As we all know brick and mortar stores have been closing left and right recently. We had CompUSA, Borders and Circuit City all close their doors within the last 4 years. According to an article on Forbes.com, it is spelled out pretty clearly why Best Buy is next in line to shut its doors for good. Some of the reasons highlighted include a 40% drop is Best Buy stock in 2011, lack of vision regarding their online services, management too concerned with store sales instead of margins and blatant disregard for quality customer service."