An anonymous reader writes "Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says that Apple and other tech companies' patent hoarding could prevent entrepreneurs doing the same thing that he and Steve Jobs did in starting a computer company in a garage. Woz also says the jury is still out on Tim Cook as the right CEO to lead Apple forward after Steve Jobs." He still gives Apple a bit of a break: "'Apple is the good guy on the block of all of them,' he says. 'It is creating so much and is so successful and it is not just following the formulas of other companies – [Apple is] totally establishing new markets that didn't exist.'"
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slew writes "Looking at liquids with a transmission electron microscope to observe things like crystal growth has been difficult to do. This is because liquids need to be confined to a capsule to view them in a TEM (because the electrons are flying at the sample in a chamber near vaccuum pressures where liquids would evaporate or sublimate). Traditional capsules of Silicon Oxide or Silicon Nitride have been fairly opaque. A paper describes a new technique with a 'pocket' created between two graphene layers which can hold liquids for observation by a TEM and the graphene is apparently much more transparent than previous materials allowing a better view of the processes (like crystalization), taking place in the liquid. The BBC has a non-paywalled summary article."
New submitter caboosesw writes "A customer of mine recently was hit by a quick and massive DDoS attack. As we were in the middle of things, we learned that there are proxy services of varying maturity to deal with these kinds of outbreaks from the small and mysterious (DOSArrest, ServerOrigin, BlackLotus, DDOSProtection, CloudFlare, etc.) to the large and mature (Prolexic, Verisign, etc.) Have you guys used any of these services? Especially on the lower price point that a small e-commerce (not pr0n or gambling) company could afford? Is a DDoS service really mandatory as Gartner now puts this type of service in the same tier as SEIM, firewalls, IPS, etc?"
Cazekiel writes "Observing the primordial sound waves created 30,000 years after the Big Bang, physicists on the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey have determined our universe's most precise measurements: 13.5 billion years old. The article detailing the study reports: '"We've made precision measurements of the large-scale structure of the universe five to seven billion years ago — the best measure yet of the size of anything outside the Milky Way," says David Schlegel of the Physics Division at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, BOSS's principal investigator. "We're pushing out to the distances when dark energy turned on, where we can start to do experiments to find out what's causing accelerating expansion."'"
An anonymous reader writes "A new study has found that people who purchased a hybrid car in the past are not likely to buy a hybrid for their next car purchase. 'Only 35% of hybrid vehicle owners chose to purchase a hybrid again when they returned to the market in 2011, according to auto information company R.L. Polk & Co. If you factor out the super-loyal Toyota Prius buyers, the repurchase rate drops to under 25%.' The study also found Florida drivers to be a bit more loyal to the hybrid segment than elsewhere in the country. 'It's hard to know what's causing the low repurchase rate. One reason is that about 17,000 people purchased electric cars last year, and other data shows that many of those were trading in a hybrid vehicle. Honda has been hounded by high-profile class-action and small claims court lawsuits over fuel economy issues with older models of its Civic hybrid. ... Hybrid vehicles represent just 2.4% of the overall new vehicle market in the U.S., according to Polk, down from a high of 2.9% in 2008.'"
Harperdog writes "In 1999, Senate Republicans rejected the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty on the grounds that it wasn't verifiable. The National Academy of Sciences feels this is no longer true, due to new technology. Quoting: 'Technologies for detecting clandestine testing in four environments — underground, underwater, in the atmosphere, and in space — have improved significantly in the past decade. In particular, seismology, the most effective approach for monitoring underground nuclear explosion testing, can now detect underground explosions well below 1 kiloton in most regions. A kiloton is equivalent to 1,000 tons of chemical high explosive. The nuclear weapons that were used in Japan in World War II had yields in the range of 10 to 20 kilotons.'"
LoTonah writes "Jack Tramiel, founder of Commodore Business Machines and later, the owner of Atari, died Easter Sunday. He was 83. He undoubtedly changed the computing landscape by bringing low cost computers to millions of people, and he started a price war that saw dozens of large companies leave the market. He also took a bankrupt Atari and managed to wring almost another decade out of it. The 6502 microprocessor would have withered on the vine if it weren't for Tramiel's support. Could anyone else have done all of that?"
astroengine writes "The search for 'Earth-like' worlds just became even more Earth-like. Researchers from the University of Turku, Finland, have begun the search for the Sun's siblings in the hope that they may play host to exoplanets. Since these stars 'grew up' in close proximity to our Sun inside a stellar nursery some 4.5 billion years ago, they may have shared more than just star-building materials. Through the biology-spreading hypothesis 'panspermia,' they may have also shared the basic building blocks for life. Two sibling candidates have now been found and the researchers hope to survey the two stars — which contain similar metals and are of a similar age to our Sun — for bona fide Earth-like worlds. Could these worlds have life? If they do, extraterrestrial life may have more in common with us than we ever imagined."
An anonymous reader writes "An IBM patent issued in March describes multitouch floors that detect who is in the home and what they're doing – perfect for detecting intruders and falls, notes MSNBC. CEPro.com suggests the technology also could be used to replace cameras and sensor arrays typically required for gesture control, and could detect staggering teens and 'unregistered' boyfriends. The floors could have 'tremendous implications for home health technology.'"
In the wake of the Trayvon Martin tragedy in February, many publications posted articles about "the talk" — a phrase denoting the conversation many black parents have at some point with their children to explain the realities of racism. Last Thursday, writer John Derbyshire penned an article titled "The Talk: Nonblack Version," which codified a similar set of lessons he had given to his children over the years. Unfortunately, those lessons turned out to be horribly racist themselves. "The remarkably long list of how to teach children to stay safe by avoiding black people goes on for two pages and Derbyshire contends is a true lifesaver. There is no irony or clarification that, perhaps, this is a joke, no matter how much you may want to find a disclaimer after you’re done reading." Reader concealment writes to point out that the internet and the media vocalized their disgust quickly and at length, and now Derbyshire has been fired from his position at the conservative National Review magazine (the offending article appeared in a different publication called Taki's Magazine).
SolKeshNaranek tips a story at TorrentFreak about an ongoing copyright case that revolves around how much effort websites need to expend to block repeat infringers after responding to DMCA requests. In 2011, a judge ruled that a website embedding videos from third parties had correctly removed links to infringing videos after receiving a DMCA request, but failed to do anything to police users who had created these links multiple times. For this, the judge said, the website would be required to adopt a number of measures to prevent repeat infringement. Google and Facebook wrote an amicus brief opposing the ruling, as did Public Knowledge and the EFF. Now the MPAA has, unsurprisingly, come out in favor. They wrote, "Contrary to the assertions of myVidster and amici Google and Facebook, search engines and social networking sites are not the only businesses that desire certainty in a challenging online marketplace. MPAA member companies and other producers of creative works also need a predictable legal landscape in which to operate. ... Given the massive and often anonymous infringement on the internet, the ability of copyright holders to hold gateways like myVidster liable for secondary infringement is crucial in preventing piracy."
An anonymous reader writes "New York City is planning an upgrade to its aging pay-phone infrastructure. A pilot program will next month install 32-inch touchscreens in 250 phone booths throughout the city. The screens will display "local neighborhood information, including lists of nearby restaurants, store sales in the area, traffic updates, landmark information and safety alerts — in multiple languages.' They will facilitate the 311 service, and also allow people to file complaints or request city information. The good news is that these screens won't cost the taxpayers anything. The bad news is that they will be supported by advertising. The plan is to eventually support Skype calls and email, and to integrate Wi-Fi hotspots."
tsu doh nimh writes "A series of hacks perpetrated against so-called 'smart meter' installations over the past several years may have cost a single U.S. electric utility hundreds of millions of dollars annually, the FBI said in cyber intelligence bulletin first revealed today. The law enforcement agency said this is the first known report of criminals compromising the hi-tech meters, and that it expects this type of fraud to spread across the country as more utilities deploy smart grid technology."
Dorduan writes with news that Facebook is buying Instagram, the company who makes the popular mobile photo-sharing app of the same name, for approximately $1 billion. Mark Zuckerberg wrote, "... in order to do this well, we need to be mindful about keeping and building on Instagram's strengths and features rather than just trying to integrate everything into Facebook. That's why we're committed to building and growing Instagram independently. Millions of people around the world love the Instagram app and the brand associated with it, and our goal is to help spread this app and brand to even more people. We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience. We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook."
redletterdave writes "Sony will cut about 10,000 jobs, which equates to about six percent of its global workforce, by the end of the year. The move comes after the Tokyo-based electronics firm more than doubled its loss forecast on April 5 to $2.9 billion, and the recent hiring of a new CEO, Kazuo Hirai, on April 1. Hirai looks to downsize Sony and pivot the company in a new direction to get out of the red for the first time in four years. The company will reportedly sell off its chemical products division, cutting about 3,000 workers in the process, and also make cuts within its small and midsize LCD operations. Sony did not say if it would cut these jobs in Japan, abroad, or both."