Archive for March 30th, 2006
Straight from Slashdot: "As movie studios such as Walt Disney Co. have pushed for more rapid DVD releases of movies to combat piracy on the Internet, executives of movie theater chains such as Regal Entertainment Group and National Amusements Inc. have countered, saying that seeing a movie in the theater is a 'fuller, more entertaining experience' and that the time window between movie and DVD releases should even be extended. Their views run counter to Disney's Chief Executive Rober Iger view that DVDs ought to come out simultaneously with the theater releases of movies. Both sides say their plans would benefit consumers. Is either correct, or are both approaching the situation from the wrong angle?"
Straight from Ars Technica: "Allofmp3.com, the apparently-legal-under-Russian-law-yet-not-quite-legitimate-anywhere music download site, has moved a tiny step closer to becoming a full-featured competitor for iTMS with the development of its allTunes software. Although still in beta form, allTunes (the name of which, I'm sure, bears only a coincidental resemblance to iTunes) allows users to scan the Allofmp3.com database, download and purchase songs, and play them. Sound familiar?"
ORLANDO, Fla. — Chad Johnson, Steve Smith and Terrell Owens lost a good portion of their end zone celebrations. Carson Palmer, Brian Griese and Ben Roethlisberger gained some protection for their knees. And NFL coaches gained the ability to make replay challenges on down-by-contact plays.
Straight from Gizmodo: "Cray, that maker of supercomputers from days of yore, has decided to jump into the biggest computer contest, creating a machine it has given the prosaic name of "Baker." The company expects it to be the first computer to break the petaflop barrier. That is, unless IBM beats Cray to the punch with its newest honking monster, Blue Gene. Baker will be up to the challenge, with 24,000 quad-core 2.6GHz AMD Opteron processors. It'll be no slouch with memory, either, where its makers are considering using between 187TB or 400TB of RAM, and have settled for just 11 petabytes of disk space. All this hardware squeezes into a mere 187 cabinets. But can it play Doom?"
Straight from Slashdot: "Movie studios want to punish legitimate customers for legally purchasing content, while the real pirates go right on stealing. ZDNet's George Ou writes: "There seems to be a persistent myth floating around the board rooms of the movie companies and Congress that analog content is the boogie man of music and video piracy. In fact, they're so paranoid about it that they're considering a mechanism called ICT (Image Constraint Token) that punishes law-abiding customers for content that they legally purchased. But ironically, the real content pirates who make millions of bootleg movies have no intention of ever taking advantage of the so called "analog hole" because that is the slowest and lowest quality method of stealing content.""
Straight from Slashdot: "The DailyTech has a report indicating that Lenovo, the giant Chinese PC manufacturer, is under a probe by the U.S.-China Economic Security Review Commission (USCC) for possible bugging. Apparently, the government has ordered 16,000 PCs from Lenovo but is now requesting that Lenovo be investigated by intelligence agencies. The fear is of foreign intelligence applying pressure to Lenovo to equip its PCs so that the U.S. can be spied on." From the article: "Despite the probe, Lenovo says that its international business, especially those that deal with the US, follow strictly laid out government regulations and rules. Lenovo also claims that even after purchasing IBM's PC division, its international business has not been affected negatively. Interestingly, in an interview with the BBC, Lenovo mentioned that an open investigation or probe may negatively affect the way that the company deals with future government contracts or bids."
Straight from Engadget: "You think we're done with the OMNIZERO.2 at the Tokyo Robo-One competition? Well, we could put it away and wait until next year, but when we got the video of O.2 taking on and taking out some other robots in the battle competition, you know we had to share it. From what we can tell it's kind of like mech-sumo — they're more trying to skillfully fall on one another than anything else, but it's still a sight to behold, especially O.2's victory gloat."
Straight from Guardian Unlimited: "The Pentagon stalled efforts to clean water supplies contaminated by a carcinogenic chemical despite evidence that it posed a significant health risk to millions of people, it was reported yesterday.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) investigated the solvent, trichloroethylene, extensively used on military bases, after significant quantities were found in water supplies. In its report, published in 2001, the EPA found it to be 40 times more likely to cause cancer than had been previously thought, and recommended tough safety standards to limit public exposure. There was also evidence the chemical played a role in birth defects."
Straight from Ars Technica: "Is electromagnetic field sensitivity a genuine problem? A lengthy article in The Globe and Mail looks at the issue of "dirty" electricity and its possible effects on our health. At issue is the amount of power our PCs, gadgets, and other electrical devices consume and how they can "dirty up" the electrical current running through our homes and offices.
The rise of fluorescent lights, dimmer switches, PCs, and many other modern conveniences has led to a degradation in the quality of the power supply. It's a known issue to utilities, which have seen a "more complicated" use pattern develop over the past couple of decades. While most people think that electrical problems begin and end with electronics, others believe that they're far more serious."
Straight from Gizmodo: "You can stop squinting now, your eyes aren't deceiving you—we really did post a photo of a dog wearing a thong. But not just any dog thong! No, the Dogone thong is the "comfortable and least intrusive means for deodorizing gassy discharges", and you know you can trust it because it comes from the #1 name in flatulence odor control products."
Straight from Ars Technica: "TiVo is battling EchoStar in the Federal District Court, Eastern District of Texas. They charge EchoStar— the company behind Dish Network—with stealing proprietary company technology related to DVRs, including technology for which TiVo has been granted a patent (a "multimedia time warping system"). Testimony today from former TiVo CEO Michael Ramsey alleged that EchoStar engaged in negotiations with TiVo to use their services, but ended up using information acquired from those negotiations to build their own DVRs in house. EchoStar denies the allegations."