Friday, September 14, 2012

Tech News from the World

CNET News - Apple

9/14/2012 4:12:10 PM
Albeit small, one of the defining accessories to go with Apple's new iPhone and iPods will require a wait for new buyers.
9/14/2012 3:41:31 PM
Early buyers of Apple's latest iPhone once again some slammed online stores, and the first batch of iPhone 5 models sold within an hour were sold, pushing delivery times back for later customers.
9/14/2012 2:42:07 PM
Apple has taken its sweet time with LTE on the iPhone. Apple says it has good reasons.
9/14/2012 12:55:58 PM
The new device isn't capable of supporting simultaneous voice and data on 4G LTE in Sprint and Verizon's networks, but it would be if it had another antenna.
9/14/2012 12:04:37 PM
Apple's online store is offline as it apparently retools the site for its much-anticipated next-generation smartphone.
9/14/2012 11:28:35 AM
For the first time, the world's largest retailer is taking preorders on Apple's newest smartphone; it's also giving a $10 discount.
9/14/2012 10:55:45 AM
However, consumers after a carrier-unencumbered configuration will likely have to wait a few weeks for their new smartphone.
9/14/2012 10:06:08 AM
New cloud services Web portal open to all users and features revamped Find My Phone and Mail We apps.
9/14/2012 9:11:42 AM
If you're eyeing the Apple iPhone 5, which now has 4G LTE capabilities, check out CNET's breakdown on the offerings of each of its three carriers.

Originally posted at iPhone Atlas

9/14/2012 8:05:00 AM
Apple's A6 chip is big step up from the A5, according to analysts. Qualcomm's newest 4G LTE silicon is a major improvement too.

T3 News

9/14/2012 5:55:00 PM

The iPhone 5's RRP price was announced at launch, but what tarrifs and deals are the UK networks offering? We round 'em up

9/14/2012 5:30:00 PM

The iPhone 5 was launched this week and Apple has made sure you can get hold of one in a matter of days with a September 21 release date

9/14/2012 12:30:00 AM

Apple has confirmed social network service Ping will be omitted from iTunes following the update next month

9/13/2012 11:07:00 PM

T3 Magazine is launching a new access-all-areas subscription, giving you the latest and greatest gadget news, reviews and features each month

9/13/2012 10:45:00 PM

Nintendo's next-gen Wii U console will arrive in Europe on November 30th

9/13/2012 9:55:00 PM

Pricing details for Sony's new flagship handset have started to arrive as online retailers have begun taking pre-orders for the new phone

9/13/2012 7:25:00 PM

Intel has kicked off its Developer's Forum in San Francisco with a wide-ranging keynote detailing the company's plans for our computing future

9/13/2012 6:15:00 PM

Nintendo has revealed pricing for its next-gen Wii U console in Japan will start at 26,250 yen, pricing it higher than the PS3 and Xbox 360

9/13/2012 6:05:00 PM

The Nikon D600 is the world's smallest and lightest full frame DSLR, says its maker, and will offer an affordable alternative to the D800

9/13/2012 2:55:00 AM

Apple has announced brand new versions of its iPod Touch, Nano and Shuffle music players alongside the iPhone 5 handset

9/13/2012 2:45:00 AM

Apple's iOS 6 is smarter, faster and more simple to navigate

9/13/2012 1:14:00 AM

Apple has officially announced the iPhone 5 handset

9/12/2012 11:00:00 PM

iPhone 5 logic board pictures show A6 and LTW Qualcomm modem

9/12/2012 11:00:00 PM

iPhone 5 launch live blog: discover everything about Apple’s new handset here in this very post, updated reguarly throughout the day

9/12/2012 10:25:00 PM

The rumoured 19 pin dock connector that may debut on the iPhone 5 tonight has apparently been dubbed "Lightning", a name that could become the official title

9/12/2012 8:09:00 PM

Search string on links to press release for iPhone 5, iPod Touch and Nano

9/12/2012 7:35:00 PM

Google has announced its Android operating system has hit 500 million golbal device activations with 1.3 new handsets added every day

9/12/2012 6:43:00 PM

Specifications for Nintendo's Wii U that have been leaked online show that the next-gen console will only boast 8GB of internal storage

9/12/2012 5:34:00 PM

Vodafone UK has confirmed a stockpile of 500,000 nano-SIMs ready for the iPhone 5 launch in a blog post that has aleady been pulled down

9/12/2012 12:15:00 AM

Google has announced a new YouTube iPhone app to pre-empt the omission of YouTube from Apple's iOS6 devices

9/11/2012 10:25:00 PM

Sony has announced a Japanese price tag of 70,000 yen for its HMZ-T2 personal 3D headset

9/11/2012 9:45:00 PM

Rihanna shines in Hitman: Absolution-inspired gear in London

9/11/2012 8:48:00 PM

Web publisher Blue Toad has debunked claims by the hacker group Antisec that it stole millions of Apple user IDs from an FBI laptop

9/11/2012 7:55:00 PM

Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE, took to the stage this morning to announce the UK's first 4G network, then dropped an intriguing hint about the iPhone 5

9/11/2012 7:55:00 PM

Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE, took to the stage this morning to announce the UK's first 4G network, then dropped an intriguing hint about the iPhone 5


9/14/2012 6:03:00 PM

As Techdirt has reported, open access (OA) is scoring more and more major wins currently. But the battle to gain free access to academic research has been a long one. One of the key moments was the launch of the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) ten years ago, which saw the term "open access" being defined for the first time:

By "open access" to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.
To mark that first decade, the BOAI site has published a series of further recommendations for the next ten years, with the aim of making "open" the default for peer-reviewed research literature.

The first is that:

Every institution of higher education should have a policy assuring that peer-reviewed versions of all future scholarly articles by faculty members are deposited in the institution’s designated repository.
This is to ensure that copies of research, including theses and dissertations, are always available from some independent online collection or database of articles, and not just from publishers, for example. The first guideline also comes out against
the use of journal impact factors as surrogates for the quality of journals, articles, or authors. We encourage the development of alternative metrics for impact and quality which are less simplistic, more reliable, and entirely open for use and reuse.
The question of whether to pay attention to impact factors -- an attempt to gauge influence in the academic world -- is a vexed one: most people agree it's a dreadful way to measure someone's achievements, but institutions keep on using them anyway when handing out jobs and money. It would be a real achievement if the new BOAI guidelines helped bring in better ways of measuring academic quality.

The second recommendation is that "the optimal license for the publication, distribution, use, and reuse of scholarly work" is CC-BY – that is, attribution. It's a bold move, since CC-BY gives users a lot of freedom that authors are sometimes reluctant to grant. Here's a good explanation of why that's a sensible position to take; it's from a blog post about the new recommendations by Peter Suber, one of the key figures in the open access movement:

The purpose of OA is to remove barriers to the scholarly uses of scholarly literature, without harming scholars. There’s no legitimate scholarly need to suppress attribution to the texts we use. And in any case, suppressing attribution would hurt authors. If they don’t get paid for their articles, at least they should get credit. Their impact and careers depend on that.
The third recommendation picks up on the first, and goes into some detail about how institutional repositories should work. That's a reflection of the fact that such repositories are widely accepted now, so the issue is more a question of optimizing their use.

Finally, there is a recommendation on advocacy and coordination that includes the following:

The worldwide campaign for OA to research articles should work more closely with the worldwide campaigns for OA to books, theses and dissertations, research data, government data, educational resources, and source code.

We should coordinate with kindred efforts less directly concerned with access to research, such as copyright reform, orphan works, digital preservation, digitizing print literature, evidence-based policy-making, the freedom of speech, and the evolution of libraries, publishing, peer review, and social media.
That clearly touches on many of the key issues covered here on Techdirt, and represents a radical and welcome extension of ambitions by proponents of open access. That they feel in a position to make this move is a measure of just how much they have already achieved in the ten years since the Budapest Open Access Initiative was announced.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or, and on Google+

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9/14/2012 2:57:00 PM
The idea of holding service providers responsible for the actions of their users is pretty absurd. Mostly because a website owner or ISP has very little control over what their users do, and to hold the providers responsible for potentially harmful or illegal actions of users would be akin to holding a hammer manufacturer or hardware store responsible when someone kills someone else with a hammer.

Of course this hasn't stopped people from attempting to drag service providers into legal complaints. For instance, we have the occasions when Twitter is sued for the actions of its users because it is mistakenly thought to be the publisher of the tweets. Or when the entertainment industry wants to hold Google responsible for Android apps that may allow for file sharing. There are many many more stories like these. Luckily, courts and most law makers understand that service providers cannot or should not be held liable for the actions of their users. Most, anyway.

Jeffrey Nonken Has alerted us to a recent law passed in Malaysia that would hold everyone from the website to the ISP to the coffee house with open wifi to the owner of a borrowed computer responsible for the online postings of a single person.
Section 114A of the bill seeks “to provide for the presumption of fact in publication in order to facilitate the identification and proving of the identity of an anonymous person involved in publication through the internet.” In other words, the section makes it easier for law enforcement authorities to trace the person who has uploaded or published material posted online.

According to the amended law, however, the originators of the content are those who own, administer, and/or edit websites, blogs, and online forums. Also included in the amendment are persons who offer webhosting services or internet access. And lastly, the owner of the computer or mobile device used to publish content online is also covered under section 114A.
This language had the internet-using public in Malaysia in an uproar, and they protested this law in much the same fashion as the protests over SOPA and ACTA. When these protests were finally heard, the Prime minister had the law reviewed, but to no avail.
When the petition was ignored by the government, netizens and media groups organized an online blackout on August 14, which succeeded in mobilizing thousands of internet users. The global attention which the action generated was likely what convinced the Prime Minister to agree to have the cabinet review the controversial amendments. Although this announcement was initially welcomed by opponents of the amendments, the Cabinet ultimately upheld the amended law.
As we know, these kinds of laws have a strong potential for abuse -- one of the primary reasons US citizens opposed SOPA and CISPA. Giving a government the ability to prosecute a whole string of people only tenuously connected to a potential crime is a recipe for disaster. It will open up the ability for the government to stifle free speech even if it doesn't have to lift a finger. What will happen is that sites will now over-filter comments to avoid liability. Businesses that offered free wifi will potentially cut the service in an effort to avoid prosecution. This law will cause damage to the ability of Malaysian citizens to communicate freely over the internet.

This move to apply such harsh secondary liability is nothing surprising from a nation that supports internet filters which it promises will not be used to punish political dissent. Or the country whose courts, as part of a sentence for defamation, ordered a man to post his apology 100 times on Twitter. With the record that Malaysia has on internet freedom, it is no surprise that the outcome was what it was. However, we hope that the citizens of Malaysia continue their protests, and that those who support and passed this law will repeal it. 

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9/14/2012 10:58:00 AM
Unless you have been living under a rock the past few days, you're likely aware of the violent protests in Egypt and Libya on American missions which have resulted in several deaths, including that of US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. The apparent flashpoint for these protests was a movie trailer on YouTube for what is by all accounts a horribly offensive and insensitve film about Islam and the Prophet Mohammed. We've seen similar stories in the past over website content, but this incident takes things to a whole new level.

Today we learned that YouTube has taken the step of restricting access to the video in question in both Egypt and Libya. When asked about it, YouTube responded with the following statement.

"We work hard to create a community everyone can enjoy and which also enables people to express different opinions," YouTube said by e-mail. "This can be a challenge because what's OK in one country can be offensive elsewhere.

This video -- which is widely available on the Web -- is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube. However, given the very difficult situation in Libya and Egypt we have temporarily restricted access in both countries."

While I understand why YouTube is doing this, I think it's misguided for two reasons. First, stupid and hateful as the video in question reportedly is, blocking access (potentially seen as taking it down in Egypt and Libya) can be interpreted to mean that the fault for what's happening is in part with the video itself. It isn't. The guilt for this violence is not in some stupid video. It isn't even in the massive protests in the Muslim world against the video (though I'd probably suggest they learn about the Streisand Effect). The guilt for the violence and death belongs on the thugs and murderers who committed it. End of story. This is especially true when the company has acknowledged itself that the video does not violate YouTube's terms of service.

The EFF agrees.

It is easy to understand why YouTube might feel compelled to act in response to the rioting over this video, especially after three U.S. embassy employees were killed in the Libyan city of Benghazi, but the blame for the violence lies not with the video, but with the perpetrators. Once YouTube has made the decision to pro-actively censor its content, they start down a slippery slope that ends in YouTube Knows Best moral policing of every video on their site. It is disappointing to see YouTube turn its back on policies that have allowed it to become a such a strong platform for freedom of expression. We hope that this new-found enthusiasm for pro-active censorship is a temporary aberration rather than a sign of things to come.
The second reason is that YouTube's move is almost certainly equal parts too late and ineffectual. As the company's statement itself noted, this video is and already was all over the internet. Censoring the video now is a bit like covering your ears and eyes as your house burns around you. The problem of religious intolerance and violent reactions to it is going to exist whether you acknowledge it's there or not. Nobody is served by trying to pretend the hateful attitudes in the video don't exist. And it isn't like the protests have ceased now that YouTube has restricted access in those countries. The cat is already out of the bag. All you've done now is open the door to blocking videos based on people deciding to be offended with little to no effect on the violence at hand. So what was the point?

I'll be clear again: every description of the video in question suggests that it is cartoonishly crafted and inflammatory bigotry. But it doesn't violate YouTube's TOS, it is speech, and taking it down was a poor decision made in fear. That isn't the way I expect a company like YouTube to behave.

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9/14/2012 8:00:00 AM
Just like any other business-people, farmers face the global economy, armed with technological advances and innovative strategies to target customers. If farmers don't invest in new tools and learning skills like genetics and marketing, they risk falling behind their competition. Robots are already a pretty significant part of modern farming nowadays, and here are just a few interesting links on robots doing our agricultural bidding. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post.

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9/14/2012 6:54:00 AM

Earlier this week, I complained that the Department of Justice seemed to be stonewalling a Freedom of Information Act request I’d filed seeking copies of mandatory semi-annual reports to Congress on the National Security Agency’s compliance with the procedures and civil liberties safeguards of the FISA Amendments Act--which the House voted yesterday to reauthorize for another five years. After sitting on the request for two months (the statutory deadline is 20 business days), DOJ had finally replied with a letter claiming they could "neither confirm or deny the existence" of reports that were required by federal law. I thought this was a little ridiculous. Fortunately, there were officials at the Justice Department who thought so too.

Having appealed the denial of my request, I got an impressively prompt reply on Tuesday evening from the director of the Office of Information Policy at DOJ, assuring me that she recognized the agency's initial response had been "incorrect," and that a new one would be forthcoming immediately. By Wednesday morning, their stance had changed entirely: They had found the reports I sought, and were forwarding them to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) for review to determine what would need to be redacted before release--with a request that ODNI seek to expedite its analysis to compensate for their own delay.

Now, to be sure, I'd rather have had this response a month ago, and the documents before the House vote, but at this point DOJ appears to be doing exactly what they're supposed to and making a good faith effort to facilitate the redaction and release of these important assessments. So it seemed appropriate to follow up on my initial blog post to acknowledge that--and in particular Office of Information Policy director Melanie Pustay, who straightforwardly acknowledged the error and acted quickly to correct it. We'll see soon enough whether a similar spirit of transparency reigns at ODNI.

Cross-posted from Cato-at-Liberty.

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9/14/2012 5:34:00 AM
We've been writing about the patent troll Eolas for about a decade at this point. It's a trolling operation connected to the University of California, and used to take some ridiculously broad patents and try to shake down companies who actually innovated and did incredibly obvious things on the internet. Eolas' various lawsuits had gone back and forth over the years, and finally, earlier this year, a jury in East Texas (surprisingly) invalidated some of the key patents.

This summer, the judge in the case agreed that the key patents were invalid. Eolas had ridiculously tried to argue that the fact that some other companies had previously licensed the patents should have been shared with the jury to prove the "validity" of the patents. Of course, that's ridiculous on its face as trolls often convince companies to license bogus patents because it's cheaper to settle and license than to fight a bad patent lawsuit (even if you win). Of course, the judge blasted Eolas over this desire... because earlier in the case, Eolas had specifically argued that the jury shouldn't be allowed to know of Eolas' previous "business success or failure." Basically, Eolas didn't want the jury to know it was a troll without any real business. However, as the judge realized, Eolas can't hide that bit of info and then want the jury to have this other bit of info from its past.

Thus, for all intents and purposes it seemed that those two key patents -- 5,838,906 and 7,599,985 -- were effectively dead.

So it was a bit of a surprise to find out that Eolas/University of California has now sued Facebook, Disney and Wal-mart over those same patents (and a couple others). Apparently, Cal and Eolas figure that if they just keep suing, maybe one of these times they'll win.

What's really amazing is that this scorched earth, anti-innovation effort hasn't created more backlash for the University of California, and Berkeley in particular, given its proximity to Silicon Valley. You'd think that alums of the University who work at the various innovative tech companies that keep getting sued would speak out against their alma mater. It's pretty sad to see the University of California trying to set up a tollbooth on innovation by using such ridiculous patents.

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9/14/2012 4:34:00 AM
A few years back, we wrote about the brouhaha concerning Facebook banning photos of women breast feeding their babies, under a strict "no female boobs" rule. Rather than learn from that mess, and realize that not all images of breasts are created equal, Facebook seems to have become even more ridiculous over time. Witness the hilarity of the situation that The New Yorker's cartoonists were put in -- when Facebook blocked one of their cartoons by Mick Stevens:
As a joke (though some people took it seriously), they had Stevens "redraw" the cartoon with clothing. I won't post it here and ruin the joke (or, non-joke, which makes it a joke) but go check it out. In trying to figure out why the original got blocked, they were eventually directed to some "rules" concerning images, noting that on the forbidden (fruit) list where:
Naked 'private parts' including female nipple bulges and naked butt cracks; male nipples are ok.
Yeah. So, as the folks at The New Yorker pointed out, it appears that this (zoomed in) part of their image (according to Facebook, NSFW, but according to pretty much everyone else, probably fine) is "the problem":
Meanwhile, this other part meets Facebook's okay-o-meter:
The good folks at The New Yorker argue that they really don't think the first pair of dots above legitimately fit the criteria for being banned, but they've chosen not to fight it:
Now, we could have fought the ruling on technical grounds, because, let’s face it, these female nips, by any stretch of the imagination, no matter how prurient, are just not bulging...

But rather than fight the battle of the bulge, let’s point out, that while female nipple bulging, or F.N.B. for short, is a potentially serious problem, with as yet no known cure, it also has no known victims. That is, unless you count freedom of expression, common sense, and humor.
Now, this is all just a bit of a humorous reaction* to silly overblocking by Facebook, but it does actually raise some legitimate concerns, considering how central Facebook has become in our lives. For many people it is a key platform for expression, and as such, it takes on greater meaning and importance. Yes, as a private company, they have every right to set the rules that they want to set, no matter how arbitrary or asinine. But, you begin to worry about so many people relying on Facebook as the most important way in which they communicate, when they can run afoul of such obviously ridiculous "rules."

* Random aside: a few months back I got to see three New Yorker cartoonists host a discussion/speed drawing contest, in which they talked about what life was like as a New Yorker cartoonist, and it may have been one of the funniest things I've ever seen -- by far beating most, if not all, of the stand up comedy acts I've seen over the years. If you ever have a chance to see these guys speak, do not miss it.

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9/14/2012 3:36:00 AM
Amazon's recently-announced tablets are interesting for a variety of reasons, including that Jeff Bezos made it quite clear that he's taking a very different approach to the market than the one Apple has taken. Lots of attention was (quite reasonably) paid to Bezos' key line:
"We want to make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices."
It's a great line in so many ways, because it highlights the different philosophies of Amazon and Apple. John Gruber's summary of those differences is a really worthwhile read (you should read the whole thing). His take on that particular line is dead-on:
Bezos's we want to make money only when you use it framing works two ways. First, it explains the Kindle Fires' noticeably lower retail prices in a way that doesn't make them seem cheaper, only less expensive. It frames Apple's prices -- and profit margins -- as greedy. Second, it works as a sort of guarantee -- if you don't actually use it, we won't even make any money on it.
Later Gruber made a second point that got me thinking (and rethinking...)
Apple's goal is to sell as many iPads as it can. Amazon's goal is to sell as many Kindle Fires as it can to a specific audience: active customers.
I've talked in the past about how Apple's digital goods sales have really been about being the "low margin" leader (if not the loss leader) to drive more sales of the hardware. The digital goods -- content and apps -- make the hardware much more valuable and help drive up the amount people are willing to pay. And that tends to fit with the basic economics I believe in: focus on using the "abundant" (digital) to make the "scarce" more valuable, for which people will pay a premium, especially since that "scarce" can't be "pirated." Apple has, in many ways, put that particular economic concept at the center of how it does business, even if I'm uncomfortable with the closed nature of its overall setup around that.

Amazon, however, has flipped the equation. Their "low margin leader" is the hardware, and they basically appear to want to make their money up on the digital goods purchases. Just as Apple doesn't lose money on selling digital goods (it just makes a very little amount), it appears that Amazon will be making only a little bit on the hardware, but hopes to make the big money on selling the abundant: digital goods via the Kindle store.

I will admit that I struggle with this a bit. I find it hard to bet against Bezos, because on an awful lot of things I think he makes the right bet. Plus, frankly, I'm a lot more comfortable with Amazon as a platform than with Apple. Finally, from a consumer standpoint, I think Apple's hardware seems really overpriced, but Amazon's new prices are really compelling. But economically speaking, there's a voice in the back of my head that says that Apple has this right and Amazon has this wrong. Apple is betting on using the abundant to increase the value of the scarce and then selling that. Amazon is betting on using the scarce to increase the ability to sell the abundant. Perhaps it works because of Amazon's closed Kindle platform and its dominance in the market allows it to make this counter-economical bet. Artificial limitations allow for such things, and Amazon's got the power to control a large segment of the ebook market, which really helps the company out.

In the long run, though, if a competitive market is truly created, it seems more likely that there will be more pricing pressure on Amazon's bet than on Apple's. But, in the short term, Amazon's flip-flopped market certainly could make a lot of sense.

Of course, if you really want to make this fun, just add Google to the equation. It, like Amazon, seems to be focusing on cheap, barely profitable hardware, a la the Nexus 7. It's also put a big effort (recently) into selling digital goods via the Android "Play" store. But Google's business has always been about ads, so it actually adds a third factor to how it views the world, and which part of the business subsidizes which other parts of the business.

In the end, you're left with three big bets on tablets, with very different underlying business models*:
  • Apple: High margin hardware (scarce); make just a little on digital goods (abundant).
  • Amazon: Low margin hardware (scarce); make the real margins on digital goods sales (abundant)
  • Google: Low margin hardware (scarce); make some margins on digital goods (abundant), but cross subsidize both with the ad business.
* Yes, there's also Microsoft Surface tablets. For the life of me, I can't figure out where they place in this particular chart. Which may say something all by itself.

Which strategy works in the end may say a lot about how you view the world economically.

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9/14/2012 2:37:00 AM
Apple is very protective of its Apple name and logo trademarks. We have noted in the past that it seems to think that no company can use a logo that even remotely resembles an apple. So it really should be no surprise to learn that Apple is going on the offensive, double time, in order to stop a Polish online grocery store from receiving a trademark for
"Apple brand is widely recognised and the company says that, by using the name that sounds similar, is using Apple's reputation," patent office spokesman Adam Taukert said.
There also seems to be a dispute over a logo trademark sought by for its site You can see the logo in question below.
Or how about this side by side comparison:
Last time I checked, Apple had no business endeavors in online grocery sales, so it would seem to be a stretch to think that consumers would be confused and think that was an offering by the electronics company. Additionally, and seem to be regional and limited to Poland at this time. So there would be limited harm if any to Apple's global brand. In the end, this just ends up looking like a bunch of trademark lawyers on Apple's payroll looking to keep busy and gain billable hours.

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9/14/2012 1:35:00 AM
Maybe you're like me and you thought that trademark stories didn't get much crazier than apparent confusion between products like ice cream and hardcore pornography. Or maybe you thought that dead half-chef, half-spy zombies crying foul over facts would win the nutso championship. Well, my sweet little innocent lambs, I give you the following story about a comic book author suing threatening to sue book review websites for reviewing a book by another author that had the same title.

Jazan Wild, comic book creator, is suing both Harper Collins for publishing Carnival Of Souls by Melissa Marr as well as a bunch of websites that reviewed her book. Not for copyright, mind you, but trademark, because Wild released a comic book called Carnival of Souls in 2006. Wild is claiming that the publisher is intentionally trying to cause confusion between a new fantasy novel and a comic book released six years ago. If you think this sounds crazy, The Digital Reader agrees.
Any sane person would have put a few minutes thought into the matter and realized that such an obvious phrase as Carnival of Souls would likely have been used as a title many times before. In fact, Bookfinder turned up at least a couple dozen different books, movies, TV episodes, and more – some of which dates back to 1962. And if you look inside books, Google says that it found the phrase no less than 5600 times (with some duplication, obviously).
Now, if that were the end of the story and Wild was only bringing suit against Harper Collins, we could all sit back, take a sip of our coffee and have a nice guffaw at the silly guy waving his arms around needlessly. Unfortunately, Wild is on a mission here to break the record for most wrong thoughts over a single issue. That's the only explanation I have for why he would then send cease and desist letters to websites that reviewed Marr's novel, claiming they were infringing on his trademark as well. Just to be clear, these sites are only posting reviews, no mention of Wild's works (why would they?), no exerpts from the novel or the comic book. Just a review of a novel with an apparently common title.
To whom it may concern,

This is a cease and desist. “Carnival Of Souls” is a trademark owned by Jazan Wild and Wild alone has the exclusive right on the United States of America to use the mark in classes 16 and 41 of which a novel is included. Posting a chapter from a novel using this mark is a willful and malicious infringement of Wild’s mark. Please remove.

The Trademark Infringement:
Hypothetical time. Let's say I broke into your house, tied you up to a chair, put a gun to your head, and told you that you had to come up with the perfect way to derail an argument about customer confusion of the title of a fictional work in the next thirty seconds or I was going to kill you. Could you come up with a better way than including in your C&D letter the URL of the supposed trademark infringement when that URL mentioned that the damned book was by a different author? I don't think you could.

More to the point, pissing off sites that review creative works when that's the business you're in is treachorous ground. But, at least it's entertaining. So here's to you Jazan Wild. May your crazy never cease to entertain us all.

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9/14/2012 12:31:00 AM
The Daily Dot's Kevin Collier has a detailed article about his experience as a journalist at the latest TPP negotiating round. He talks mainly about the various "stakeholder" presentations, which are the only access concerned groups have to the negotiators. As we've already noted, the USTR made sure to limit access to the stakeholder presentations, giving them 8 to 10 minutes (reduced from a promised 15) and then scheduling a bunch to run concurrently -- and during a time when many negotiators would likely be out to lunch. From Collier's report, we also learn that the rooms where these presentations were held only had about 20 seats in them -- and there are more than 400 negotiators. He attended the EFF's presentation, but also noted that "Attendees from a nearby presentation exited their conference room and loudly spoke outside the open door to [the EFF's Carolina] Rossini’s room, drowning out her message."

But, perhaps more interesting was Collier's encounter with Michael Schlesinger, a lobbyist for the IIPA (the International Intellectual Property Alliance -- a sort of "super group" of lobbying organizations, including both the RIAA and the MPAA, among others). The IIPA presentation immediately followed the EFF presentation, and involved Schlesinger promising to debunk the "myths" being spread by folks like the EFF. Key among them? That TPP would mandate disconnecting people from the internet. Myth, myth and more myth, Schlesigner declared: there are "no mandates to kick legitimate users off the Internet." Note the weasel word "legitimate."

However, Collier wasn't born yesterday. So he went and found the leaked draft of the IP section that was revealed back in February of 2011. And he noted that it does seem to include mandates for kicking people offline, such as saying that "effective action against any act of copyright infringement" would include things like "removing or disabling access... [and] terminating specified accounts." So, Collier went and found Schlesigner to bring this up, and Schlesinger made a remarkable admission: he claims he hasn't seen the text:
I asked him whether he stood by his presentation's claim that "TPP will result in 'kicking people off the Internet'" was a myth.

"It is," he said.

I showed him a printed-out copy of the section of the TPP leak that referred to "terminating specified accounts" of copyright infringers.

He visibly stiffened. "I'm not commenting on a leaked draft," he told me. "From what I know, the TPP framework would not force anyone off the Internet. I don't know anything about the TPP draft."

Had Schlesinger actually read the TPP, either the leaked chapter or the current draft? I can't say for sure. Legally, he can't have read the latter, because he's a federally registered lobbyist, which would bar him from seeing the text.
Got that? (1) He's not allowed to see the text. (2) He gets upset when someone points him to the leaked text. (3) He... also insists he knows, absolutely, what will not be in the text. How is that even remotely credible?

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9/13/2012 11:16:00 PM

Well, here's a nice contrast: just when a judge in the US has ruled that users there have no obligation to lock down their wifi connections, a court in France decides the exact opposite. What makes the story even more significant is that the individual concerned is the first person to be convicted under France's 3-strikes law, generally known as HADOPI.

Not all of the facts of the case have been released, but we do know that he received and apparently ignored the statutory three warnings from HADOPI, and then was summoned to court, where things started to get interesting. As TorrentFreak reports:

the man told the court today that he is incapable of downloading and did not commit the infringements. Supporting his claims he brought into court the person actually responsible for the file-sharing.
That person turned out to be his wife (actually, soon to be ex-wife), who admitted that she had downloaded some Rihanna songs. But as Guillaume Champeau of Numerama pointed out to TorrentFreak, ironically this did not get him off the hook -- on the contrary:
"By saying he knew she was downloading infringing content, but didn’t prevent her from doing so, he self-incriminated."
That's because under the HADOPI law, it is the owner of the Internet connection who is held responsible for any infringement committed with it, so it's the husband, not the (ex-)wife who has ended up being fined 150 euros (about $200) for negligence. That's admittedly less than the 300 euros ($400), with 150 euros suspended, that the French prosecution wanted, and far less than the maximum possible 1,500 euros ($2000) fine. But it's still a stiff price to pay for something he didn't do.

Indeed, he seems to have taken the judgment hard: Guillaume Champeau points out that HADOPI's first victim has now said that he intends to cancel his Internet subscription completely (original story in French). It's hard to see how this kind of result is going to help the growth of digital music in France, and the whole episode is a neat encapsulation of all that is wrong with HADOPI's approach.

Moreover, this case must reinforce the view that HADOPI is a colossal waste of money. In two years of existence, HADOPI has sent out 1.15 million first warnings, 102,854 second notices, and 340 "third strikes". And yet all French government has to show for the 12 million euros it costs to run HADOPI each year is the conviction of one innocent man.

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9/13/2012 10:04:34 PM
Swedish developer Frictional Games is celebrating two years of success with its sleeper hit "Amnesia: Dark Descent." In a lengthy blog post (via Rock, Paper, Shotgun), the developers run down the continued success of their very niche horror game, along with praising the communities that have grown around the game.

[If you're not familiar with the sphincter-clenching scariness that is Amnesia, take a look at the following video, which will allow you to hilariously enjoy someone else's complete hysteria. NSFW.]

Frictional Games attempts to run down the sales figures on Amnesia, a problem somewhat complicated by its inclusion with a Humble Indie Bundle. Long story short, though: sales were unexpectedly good.
The biggest reasons for the uncertainty is that Amnesia was part of the Humble Indie Bundle (HIB) earlier this year and Potato Bundle last year. Both of these account for quite a lot of sales. Without counting the units bought there our total lands at 710 000 units. Adding all HIB and Potato Sack sales gets us to 1 360 000 units in total, which can be called the optimistic figure. This means that, optimistically speaking, Amnesia has sold almost 1.4 million units!
Frictional adjusts for the Humble Effect by providing a "pessimistic" estimate based on the assumption that ⅔ of all bundle purchasers already owned a copy of the game:
This gives us about 920 000 units in total, pessimistically speaking. So saying that we have sold a million units seems fair. Wait... a million units! Oh shit!!
Not a bad total at all, especially for a non-AAA studio whose game featured combatless horror and whose advertising was mostly word-of-mouth. Even more surprising, the two-year-old game continues to sell at a brisk pace, even at full price:
Not counting any discounts, the monthly full price sales lie at over 10 000 units. This means that less then every 5th minute someone in the world is buying a copy of Amnesia.
Why are sales still so strong? Frictionless credits two very active communities:
This success is due to many factors, some of which are the uniqueness of the game (horror games without combat do not really exist on PC), the large modding community (more on this later) and the steady flood of YouTube clips (which is in turn is fueled by the modding community output).
Opening up your game and letting your fans build on your foundation is one of the best ways to rack up sales months (or years) after the release date. Just ask the developers of Arma, whose Arma 2 (another 2-year-old niche game) continues to sell very well, thanks to a strong modding community, including one of its own employees who developed the amazing "Day Z" zombie survival mod.
The output of modding community has been quite big as well. Amnesia is as of writing the 2nd most popular game at ModDB and sports 176 finished mods. Not only do this amount of user content lengthen the life of the game, it has also increased the amount of YouTube movies made with an Amnesia theme. There are lots of popular Let's Play channels that have devoted quite a bit of time with just playing various user-made custom stories. As mentioned earlier this have probably played a large role in keeping our monthly sales up.
It is quite clear that allowing users to create content is a feature worth putting time into. I also think that we managed to have a pretty good balance between having simple tools and still allowing a lot of possibilities.
When you give your fans a toolbox and invite them to not only create, but share the results openly, they become your advertisers. Without spending a cent on promotion, a developer can turn hundreds of individuals into a street team that shamelessly plugs your product because they love it. Respecting them enough to allow them to build on your original creates the sort of loyalty that locked-down software never will.

Oh, and as for piracy, the supposed bane of PC developers' existences? Here, in total, is all the developers have to say on that subject:
It has been over a year since we even thought about piracy. With sales as good as above we cannot really see this as an issue worth more than two lines in this post, so screw it.
Make great games. Extend the life of your software by opening it up to modders. Support your community. These simple steps (well, the last two are much simpler than the first) have allowed a small developer (11 employees) to command the attention of PC gamers and critics, resulting in Amnesia earning back over 10 times its cost. Who needs to worry about "lost sales" when so many people are clearly willing to pay?

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9/13/2012 8:01:34 PM
Some of the folks filing mass copyright infringement lawsuits have tried to claim that merely having an open WiFi connection on which someone else infringes on copyright-covered works is a form of negligence. Basically, they're suing based solely on limited information -- an IP address -- and when those pursued point out that they have an open WiFi, the lawyers insist that this, alone, is a form of negligence. However, the courts aren't buying it. In July, we wrote about a district court in New York rejecting this argument quickly, noting that the position was "untenable."

And now a California district court has ruled similarly, completely rejecting the negligence theory on three different points. First up, there is no negligence because negligence requires a relationship and a duty to protect, but no such relationship exists between the copyright holder, AF Holdings, and the defendant in the case:
AF Holdings has not articulated any basis for imposing on Hatfield a legal duty to prevent the infringement of AF Holdings’ copyrighted works, and the court is aware of none. Hatfield is not alleged to have any special relationship with AF Holdings that would give rise to a duty to protect AF Holdings’ copyrights, and is also not alleged to have engaged in any misfeasance by which he created a risk of peril.

The allegations in the complaint are general assertions that in failing to take action to “secure” access to his Internet connection, Hatfield failed to protect AF Holdings from harm. Thus, the complaint plainly alleges that Hatfield’s supposed liability is based on his failure to take particular actions, and not on the taking of any affirmative actions. This allegation of non-feasance cannot support a claim of negligence in the absence of facts showing the existence of a special relationship.
Even ignoring that, the court is skeptical. Noting that even if there was a negligence claim it would be unavailable in this case, because of copyright "pre-emption" (basically, federal copyright law wipes out any state statutes that seek to do the same work).
AF Holdings is seeking to protect its “exclusive rights” from “copying and sharing.” Simply recharacterizing the claim as one of “negligence” does not add a legally cognizable additional element.... Thus, because AF Holdings alleges that Hatfield’s action or inaction constituted interference with its “exclusive rights in the copyrighted work,” the negligence claim is preempted by § 301 of the Copyright Act.
And then the court goes even further, and says that even if the first two theories don't kill the negligence claim, there's also Section 230 of the CDA, which we've discussed for years. While the Section 230 safe harbors (protecting a service provider from liability concerning the actions of their users) technically does not apply to intellectual property issues, the negligence claim is not an IP law issue, and thus gets wiped out thanks to Section 230 immunity.

Basically, the idea that you're negligent if you leave your WiFi open and someone else uses it to infringe seems dead in the water.

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9/13/2012 6:04:34 PM
Justin Levine points us to the news that a revival of Ira Levin's famous play Deathtrap has been canceled because Levin's estate doesn't approve of very slight modifications in the play -- including one character disrobing and showing his naked rear for about 30 seconds, as well as this version of the play making it clear that a relationship between two males was a gay relationship (something not explicitly stated in the original, though many other interpretations have assumed the same thing). Either way, after the estate demanded changes to the staging, the LA Gay & Lesbian Center who was putting it on decided to cancel the show altogether, rather than having the estate give them creative notes.

Now, this may be entirely legal, but does that make it reasonable? One of the great things about plays is seeing how different companies interpret them -- sometimes in very different and creative ways. It seems overly controlling and silly to seek to block certain showings because they don't conform to the way the estate wants the play performed.

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9/13/2012 3:19:00 PM

The negotiations behind closed doors of major treaties like ACTA and TPP, and the refusal of participants to release official drafts or to engage in any kind of substantive dialog, has meant that activists and observers have been obliged to seize upon even the smallest signs and hints emerging from those talks in an attempt to guess what is going on. In a way, we are witnessing the birth of a new form of Kremlinology, which Wikipedia explains as follows:

During the Cold War, lack of reliable information about the country forced Western analysts to "read between the lines" and to use the tiniest tidbits, such as the removal of portraits, the rearranging of chairs, positions at the reviewing stand for parades in Red Square, the choice of capital or small initial letters in phrases such as "First Secretary", the arrangement of articles on the pages of the party newspaper "Pravda" and other indirect signs to try to understand what was happening in internal Soviet politics.
Via Guillaume Champeau, we learn that PCInpact (original in French) has spotted a treasure trove of such subtle hints about what's happening within the EU on the copyright enforcement front. It's a document entitled "Report on the online distribution of audiovisual works in the European Union", drafted by the Committee on Culture and Education, and submitted to the European Commission.

It's couched in an apparently interminable sequence of deadly dull clauses beginning "having regard to..." and "whereas...", before launching into a long list of mostly reasonable ideas for making more cross-border digital content available in the EU. But hidden away amongst these are some breathtaking suggestions.

Here, for instance, is Section 39:

Calls on the Commission to afford internet users legal certainty when they are using streamed services and to consider, in particular, ways to prevent the use of payment systems and the funding of such services through advertising on pay platforms offering unauthorised downloading and streaming services;
That may sound familiar, since it's identical to one of the core ideas of SOPA: cutting off all funding to sites accused of permitting unauthorized downloads.

Here's Section 42:

Recognises that, where legal alternatives do exist, online copyright infringement remains an issue and therefore the legal online availability of copyrighted cultural material needs to be supplemented with smarter online enforcement of copyright while fully respecting fundamental rights, notably freedom of information and of speech, protection of personal data and the right to privacy, along with the 'mere conduit' principle;
This, by contrast, is straight out of ACTA, where Section 27 says:
Each Party shall endeavour to promote cooperative efforts within the business community to effectively address trademark and copyright or related rights infringement while preserving legitimate competition and, consistent with that Party’s law, preserving fundamental principles such as freedom of expression, fair process, and privacy.
Note the same empty promise to respect various rights that is completely undermined by the other part requiring copyright enforcement that ignores them. The only real change is that "effective" has been upgraded to "smarter".

This trick of mixing contradictory demands is repeated in Section 59 of the EU report:

Calls on the Commission to consider ways to encourage network operators to standardise their technical tools and reverse the current trend of removing responsibility from these operators regarding consumer protection, implementation of intellectual property rights and ensuring Internet privacy;
So, on the one hand, network operators are supposed to protect consumers and maintain their privacy, while on the other, they will be forced to become responsible for enforcing intellectual monopolies -- losing that "mere conduit" status that was invoked in Section 42 above -- and turn in accused customers to the authorities.

All-in-all, this is an extraordinary document, in part because of its repeated call for contradictory actions, but mostly for the way it asks the European Commission to bring back some of the worst ideas in SOPA and ACTA. New Kremlinologists will obviously need to keep a close eye on missing portraits or the re-arrangement chairs in order to glean further information about the secretive plans that are being discussed deep within the bowels of the EU machine.

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9/13/2012 11:16:00 AM
For years now, I've talked about the importance of some sort of startup visa for immigrants starting companies in the US. Lots of people in the government agree with this idea, but they haven't passed it because it's about "immigration." And no politician wants to take on immigration as a whole, because then it turns into nationalism about how those crazy foreigners are taking our jobs -- even when that's empirically not true. Canada, however, has now put in place a new startup visa that is somewhat similar to the various proposals floated down here in the US: entrepreneurs can get a visa if they have funding from a venture capitalist.

While I think that such a law would be a step forward in the US, in Canada it seems like it might actually be a step backwards. That's because Canada already had very open borders to job-creating immigrants. Its old rules allowed an immigrant a visa if they opened a business that would hire one person for one year. But those visas are no longer being offered. And that seems like a problem. My big complaint over plans for a startup visa that require venture capitalist investment is that it assumes that entrepreneurs require venture capital. But that's not true. Yes, for certain types of business, including capital-intensive, high-growth businesses, it often (though not always) makes sense to raise venture capital, but for many other successful types of businesses there are alternative sources of funding -- including (these days) things like crowdfunding and (*gasp*) revenue funding.

Imagine a couple of entrepreneurs want to build some new gadget, so they put it up on Kickstarter and it raises $1 million. Does it then make sense to also require them to get a VC to "bless" them by giving them money... and taking a ton of equity and control? Or does it make sense to just say "hey, these guys are likely to have a legitimate business that will create jobs, let them in." My other fear with linking a startup visa to VC funding is that it gives that much more control and power to VCs in negotiations. They now know that their money and investment isn't just a ticket to funding the company, it's a ticket into the country where they want to live. They can extract much more favorable terms under those conditions. While I'm not in the camp that thinks VCs are "bad," there are some who clearly take advantage of entrepreneurs, and a startup visa linked to venture money only makes that more possible.

So, yes, we need a startup visa, and Canada should have one too. But it seems like Canada is going backwards with its efforts, taking away from a visa plan that works for all kinds of companies, and instead giving venture capitalists the ability to choose who gets into the country.

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9/13/2012 8:00:00 AM
Wearing glasses can be annoying at times -- especially when wearing them in inclement weather as they fog up or get wet. But it's also nice to see clearly. Sure, contact lenses and LASIK (and other eye surgeries) can correct a lot of vision deficiencies, but for some people, wearing glasses is the best solution. Here are just a few other kinds of glasses that could be worth wearing -- even for people with 20/20 vision. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post.

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9/13/2012 7:28:56 AM
A few years back, we noted an ethics opinion in Florida that stated that judges cannot be Facebook friends with lawyers who may appear before them in court. As we noted at the time, this seemed to go pretty far, as Facebook friends didn't mean "personal" friends, and there are lots of people who use Facebook just to connect with anyone they know. Furthermore, there are plenty of reasons why judges and lawyers might know each other through other paths as well. Either way, because of that opinion, a judge in Florida has been disqualified from a case for being Facebook friends with the prosecutor. The other party in the case sought to disqualify the judge claiming that on his Facebook, his "friends" were "only [his] closest friends and associates, persons whom [he] could not perceive with anything but favor, loyalty and partiality."

Oddly, as Venkat Balasubramani notes in the link above, the ruling to disqualify the judge did not focus on the facts around friendship, but around the claim that it's sort of announced publicly. As Venkat notes:
I'm still struggling to see how this is different from other forms of social interaction between lawyers and judges. Social interaction between judges and lawyers happens all the time and is not a basis for disqualification. I think there may be a bit of Facebook exceptionalism going on here.
Related to this, and at the same link, Eric Goldman points out that if we're weighing two different issues: (1) having a judge that understands Facebook and how social interaction commonly works today and (2) the "small possibility of apparent impropriety" it seems that having judges who understand social networking is a more important goal in today's society.

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9/13/2012 6:35:36 AM
As was expected, despite not knowing the details of how the feds interpret the FISA Amendmens Act, which grants massive spying and surveillance power to the feds -- in fact, while proactively stopping any efforts to find out more about the interpretation, the House of Representatives today approved Lamar Smith's FISA Amendment's Act by a vote of 301-118. You can see which representatives voted which way at that link. The bill would extend the current rules (and the secret interpretation) for another five years. Republicans, who are supposedly against bigger government, only had 7 members vote no, while the remaining 111 no votes came from Democrats.

There had been an attempt to introduce amendments, but that was shot down procedurally. And an hour debate did little to get to the heart of the matter. Rep. Zoe Lofgren fought the good fight, pointing out that "I think the government needs to comply with the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution all the time... We can be safe while still complying with the Constitution of the United States." However, Rep. Dan Lungren -- who previously had insisted that there was no evidence that the NSA was abusing its powers, while refusing to even ask the NSA for basic info on how it was using the powers -- insisted based on absolutely nothing that "this is critical to the protection of the American people."

Even worse, Rep. Terry Gowdy made a ridiculously ignorant statement in response to Lofgren's highlighting of the 4th Amendment:
”Intelligence is the lifeblood of our ability to defend ourselves,” he said. Moments later, he added: “Are we to believe that the Fourth Amendment applies to the entire world?”
But, uh, the concern isn't with the rest of the world. Even without the FISA Amendments Act, the NSA already had the right to seek info on foreign communications. They have no 4th Amendment rights, so that's not even an issue. The issue is that the FISA Amendments Act appears to include some weasel words that have been twisted by the government to suggest that it can spy on Americans too. But Gowdy misleads the public by pretending, falsely, that this is about foreigners? It's not. Has he asked the NSA how many Americans it's spied on? Even the NSA has admitted that it's violated the 4th Amendment under the act in spying on Americans... but Gowdy pretends this is just about foreigners? How do you stand up and call yourself a "Representative" when you can't even get the very basics right?

Of course, House approval is just one step. The Senate version remains on hold thanks to Senator Wyden, who is one of the only elected officials who is actually asking the NSA and the Obama administration to (a) reveal the secret interpretation and (b) disclose how many Americans are being spied on under the rule.

As Julian Sanchez explained recently a former DOJ official has basically revealed part of the secret interpretation, which more or less says that if the target is al Qaeda, then anything goes:
For example, an authorization targeting “al Qaeda”—which is a non-U.S. person located abroad—could allow the government to wiretap any telephone that it believes will yield information from or about al Qaeda, either because the telephone is registered to a person whom the government believes is affiliated with al Qaeda, or because the government believes that the person communicates with others who are affiliated with al Qaeda, regardless of the location of the telephone.
Take that and expand it, and you've basically given the feds and the NSA a blank slate to spy on Americans by claiming that if it believes the spying will yield information about a threat, then it's fine. And our "Representatives" are standing up and -- either through ignorance or straight-up dishonesty -- are pretending that this is about spying on foreigners only. Shameful.

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9/14/2012 3:39:41 PM

Any talk of space exploration in the future will always reference Curiosity’s mission to Mars and that awesome descent known as the seven minutes of terror. The fact that NASA recorded video of that descent and landing was just the icing on the cake, even though it was only four frames per second. Ever since [...]
9/14/2012 6:15:04 AM

Apple stores, with all those expensive electronic gizmos just feet from the large glass doors, are seemingly the perfect targets for thieves. Well, 22 year-old Equonne R. Howard allegedly thought the Temecula, CA Apple Store looked like a great place to pick up some free goods. Howard drove his 2003 BMW X-5 through the massive [...]
9/14/2012 5:40:03 AM

It’s not that we’ve been on a storage kick lately, it’s just that the storage deals keep rolling in! Today we found a great deal on Seagate’s FreeAgent GoFlex 2TB USB 3.0 external hard drive. We’re all bad about backing up our data like we should. It’s okay to admit it, we’re all friends here. [...]
9/14/2012 5:01:33 AM

Ubisoft’s hyped Wii U game ZombiU was of course featured during today’s Nintendo preview event, with a new trailer highlighting the specific use of the touchscreen GamePad controller. The title was not confirmed as available on launch day, but it was confirmed as one of the launch window games we covered earlier today. That means [...]
9/14/2012 4:25:30 AM

You have to love stores like Brookstone. It is the champion of selling products you never heard about before and now suddenly can’t see yourself living without. Enter the pocket-sized “Virtual Keyboard,” the latest addition to the retailer’s already expansive line of Bluetooth keyboards. The problem the Virtual Keyboard tries to solve is giving you [...]
9/14/2012 3:32:58 AM

Even though its parent company is a major cable service provider directly competing with Netflix and its rivals, Warner Bros. is working on new programming specifically tailored to video streaming services on the web. At a confernece in Beverly Hills, California this week, Warner announced that it is actively developing content that will be made [...]
9/14/2012 2:29:03 AM

So what games will you be able to get after you wait several hours in line to pick up your Wii U on November 18? Within the first few months, the selection is set to grow to around 50 titles. Nintendo provided a list of games during the preview event today that will be available [...]
9/14/2012 1:33:37 AM

This is the future, and exercise is for chumps. A new Kickstarter seeks to get funding for an electric vehicle so light, that it can go with you wherever you go. Boosted Boards has designed an efficient motor that makes a standard 12 pound longboard into the world's lightest electric vehicle. The Boosted Board is [...]
9/14/2012 12:46:42 AM

Microsoft’s digital crimes unit has put the clamps on yet another massive botnet. This time, the company has taken over the command and control domain for the emerging Nitol, It wasn’t alone on the domain, either: in total, there were more than 500 different malware strains found linked to some 70,000 subdomains. With a [...]
9/14/2012 12:02:50 AM

The next time you download a pirate copy of the latest Hollywood flick, chances are you won’t get arrested, but you might receive a nice warning from your Internet service provider. It’s part of a new initiative spearheaded by the US government and ISPs throughout the country. Last year, a new entity called the Center [...]
9/13/2012 11:05:56 PM

As part of the Wii U preview event Nintendo has unveiled a surprising new service and feature for the Wii U. It’s called Nintendo TVii, and it can be summed up as TV made social. What Nintendo has done is allowed you to use the Wii U as your gateway device to all your TV [...]
9/13/2012 10:23:37 PM

Nintendo has already revealed the details of the Wii U price and release date for Japan early this morning. It will be available to buy from December 8 and cost $300 and $400 depending on whether you select the standard (white) or premium (black) edition. But now the details of the US launch have been [...]
9/13/2012 9:45:20 PM

Own a Medfield-based smartphone? Probably not, but in other corners of the world there are surely a few people who picked up a Xolo X900. If you count yourself among that select group, there’s some good news from Intel today: the company has completed its Android 4.1 Jelly Bean port for the x86 smartphones. That’s [...]
9/13/2012 9:00:48 PM

The browser war is far from over, and Mozilla’s ready for the next round. The foundation’s developers have just finished bolting on the new IonMonkey JavaScript engine to Firefox 18, and it’s going to ensure that Mozilla’s browser keeps pace with the likes of Chrome and Internet Explorer 10. The big change IonMonkey brings to [...]
9/13/2012 8:14:16 PM

Every closed beta I have ever participated in has asked the same thing of me: that I wait until they feel like the game is ready to share opinions and screenshots. In many cases, I sign agreements that say I will keep quiet until I am told. That’s the price you pay for getting to [...]
9/13/2012 7:30:18 PM

In February next year Metal Gear Solid fans can expect to get a new, albeit different game to play in the series. Platinum Games is currently working on Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance with production being overseen by Kojima Productions and publishing rights inevitably falling to Konami. The game was originally called Metal Gear Solid: Rising [...]
9/13/2012 6:35:37 PM

Of the many leaks that came before Apple’s iPhone 5 launch yesterday, the power adapter was a constant. Every leak suggested a new adapter was on the way, and now it is here. The Lightning power adapter is undeniably more useful than most phone connectors out there today, but with all the existing iPhone owners [...]
9/13/2012 5:21:30 PM

Nintendo has just announced the release date and price for the Wii U in its home territory of Japan. The Wii U will launch on December 8 with two versions of the console being available. The budget model will be white and ships with 8GB of internal storage and a Wii U GamePad tablet controller. [...]
9/13/2012 4:57:35 PM

Alongside the iPhone 5 and iPod touch announcements yesterday, Apple unveiled a brand new iPod nano that was a radical departure from the previous generation nano. It incorporates a widescreen display and is the thinnest nano yet at just 5.4mm. It’s only been a few weeks since Apple’s victory over Samsung for copying its designs, [...]
9/13/2012 6:04:08 AM

Solid State Drives are easily one of the hottest PC components of 2012. While we’ve known about their performance benefits since they hit mainstream PCs in 2008, the cost has been prohibitive for most people until this year. When the Apple MacBook Air and Lenovo ThinkPad X300 first came out, SSDs were a $1,000 option [...] - Latest articles

9/14/2012 5:30:44 PM

Just as promised at the iPhone 5 announcement event, Apple made the smartphone available for pre-order from its website today. If you live in the US, you'll also be able to book your Apple iPhone 5 directly from Verizon and AT&T. Initially, only users from US, UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, France, and Germany will be able to make a pre-order, with many more to follow...
9/14/2012 3:31:23 PM

It has been discovered that the iPhone 5 won't be able to do simultaneous voice and LTE data on CDMA networks. This has been independently confirmed by both Verizon as well as Sprint in the US. Now it's not that you cannot do voice and LTE data together on CDMA; there are phones out there that can do this. But if you remember, Apple chose to go with a single chip and singe radio for voice...
9/14/2012 2:37:36 PM

Samsung has announced the new Galaxy Victory 4G LTE for Sprint, continuing their tradition of releasing phones that have ridiculously long name for no good reason. Other than that enormous name, the Galaxy Victory 4G LTE for Sprint also has a 4-inch, 800 x 480 resolution display, 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, 4GB internal memory with microSD card slot, 5 megapixel rear camera...
9/13/2012 11:47:43 PM

The Apple iPhone 5 is barely out the door and pre-orders haven't even started yet, but analysts have already come up with the first forecasts for its market performance. RBC Capital Markets is expecting the new iOS flagship smartphone to ship 8 to 10 million units this month alone. The iPhone 5 will only launch on September 21, but it will already be available in 31 countries before the...
9/13/2012 7:07:23 PM

Owners of the Atrix HD, rejoice, as Motorla has launched a new software update bringing lots of improvements and bug fixes. The new enhancements list begins with improved Wi-Fi connectivity allowing for stronger connections. The power consumption has also been optimized, which Motorola says will definitely result in longer battery life. The camera is improved as well and now performs...
9/13/2012 6:46:31 PM

The UK prices for the iPhone 5 will start from £529 (around €660) for the 16GB variety. The German and French SIM-free prices start from €679. Since the German and French pricing is the same, I guess those would be the starting prices for the Apple iPhone 5 lineup throughout most of Europe. As it's evident, the iPhone 5 prices are slightly higher than what the iPhone 4S used to cost...
9/13/2012 6:07:52 PM

One of the key features that Apple chose to talk about during the iPhone 5 keynote yesterday was the camera. The camera on the iPhone 4S was already impressive and if Apple is to be believed, the one on the iPhone 5 is even better. Now on paper, the camera on the iPhone 5 is identical to that on the 4S. It still has the same 8 megapixel backside illuminated sensor with a hybrid IR filter,...
9/13/2012 5:09:24 PM

It may look like Samsung is dipping a toe in unknown waters but its long-time partnership with Microsoft is a wet suit of sorts. The Ativ Tab may be the company's first Windows 8 RT tablet but not its first Windows slate. You may be familiar with the Samsung...
9/13/2012 4:16:50 AM

While our friends across the Atlantic have been basking in the full shine of fast LTE wireless network connectivity, here in Europe the adoption rate has been... well, let's just say, less than stellar. But fast or not, LTE adoption in Europe is happening. It's the 4G we've all been waiting and now that the mobile hardware has matured enough, Apple is finally confident enough to hop on the...
9/13/2012 1:29:17 AM

The iPhone 5 is now official. Apple has just unveiled its most latest iPhone to date. As it turned out all the previous leaks of images and specs were on the spot. The Apple iPhone 5 features a 4-inch Retina display with a resolution of 1136x640 pixels (that's 326ppi), 100Mb LTE connectivity, dual-band Wi-Fi. The new iPhone is thinner - 7.6mm and lighter - 112 grams than its 4S...
9/13/2012 12:54:51 AM

The Apple event is underway and the star of the show will be the new iPhone, though we expect to see a couple of new iPods as well. Here's the place where we'll be uploading the new info as soon as it becomes available, so make sure to keep an eye on this space. Apple doesn't do live streaming, unfortunately, so we can't just embed a live video stream from the event as we usually do. Those...
9/13/2012 12:54:42 AM

Samsung Sweden, Norway and Denmark posted update schedules for all recent Galaxy models on their Facebook pages. All lists are identical and give information for the firmware updates on Galaxy S III, S II, S II LTE; all available slates, Omnia W and a few bada phones. Apparently the Galaxy S III Jelly Bean update will roll out in October or November, while the Galaxy S II one will come...
9/12/2012 10:35:17 PM

Some events are closely associated with certain imagery. There are a lot of pumpkins around Halloween, a decorated tree on Christmas, lots of fireworks on New Year's Eve and, of course, the Apple Store goes down every time there's a new Apple product coming. The Apple Store is down! Unless you've lived in a cave for the last month, you'll know that today Apple will be launching the next...
9/12/2012 9:38:58 PM

Today may be the iPhone 5 day, but the head of Samsung Mobile - JK Shin - is trying to steal some spotlight too. He spoke about company's expectation and plans about the the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II. According to Shin, the Galaxy S III should top 30 million sales before the end of the year. The smartphone reached the 20 million milestone six days ago, so the prediction isn't that hard...
9/12/2012 7:44:19 PM

The Xperia SL has been quietly released by Sony, and can be found across various retailers in the US and Europe. Perhaps the reason why there's not much fanfare around the new device is that Sony does not want to interfere with sales of its just-announced Xperia T,V and J at IFA. The Sony Xperia SL features a dual-core Scropion CPU clocked at 1.7GHz, 12 MP camera capable of 1080p...
9/12/2012 6:16:26 PM

Yesterday, EE (formerly Everything Everywhere) announced that it'll be launching the first 4G LTE network in the UK with the Samsung Galaxy S III LTE and four other phones as the first handsets to support it. Now it seems there will be a small surprise for the EE users who go for the Galaxy S III LTE - it will run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box. The news comes from a memo that...
9/12/2012 12:24:42 AM

Last month, some info on the Galaxy S II Plus leaked, including pictures and most of its specs. We now hear that the smartphone has taken a trip to the GLBenchmark testing fields, revealing a bit more about its internals. The benchmark's website confirms the qHD (960×540 pixels) display, it also suggests the Galaxy S II Plus (model number I9105) will sport a 1.4GHz CPU, presumably a dual-core...
9/11/2012 11:59:50 PM

We've got some great news for those owning the NovaThor U8500-powered Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 and Galaxy S Advance. Apparently the two mid-range smartphones will be getting the official Android 4.1 Jelly Bean treatment without any Ice Cream Sandwich jump in-between. One of our readers from Bulgaria contacted the local Samsung branch, asking if the two smartphones will be getting Android 4.0 ICS....
9/11/2012 6:32:42 PM

It's Nielsen's turn to post its report on the US smartphone market in the second quarter of this year. The numbers show that Android continues to dominate while iOS is a very solid second. The two platforms combine for a total of 86.2% of all smartphones in the States. In the second quarter of the year, Android powered 51.9% of US smartphones, while 34.3% ran on Apple's proprietary iOS. RIM's...
9/11/2012 6:14:27 PM

Carriers over at the US are tripping over themselves to brag about their 4G LTE networks, but adoption across the pond has been limited. Things are changing though - Everything Everywhere is rebranding itself as EE and will be rolling out the first 4G LTE in the UK. The service, called "4GEE", will cover a third of the population by the end of this year. As you would expect, that means...

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