Girls Have a Ball Making Music With Magic Belles

Wired: Gadgets - Wed, 2011/07/06 - 09:00
My two-year-old daughter clearly loves music. She dances to everything, and she sings with abandon. Although I'm married to a musician and live nearby to one of the top music schools in the world, I have been blessed with only an average aptitude for making the stuff. I'm a poor guide for my daughter as ...

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MIT Project Uses Smart Phones to Detect Cataracts

Wired: Gadgets - Wed, 2011/07/06 - 06:01
CATRA is an invention of MIT's Media Lab which uses a cellphone and a cheap plastic eyepiece to detect cataracts. Not only is it cheaper and easier to use than existing solutions, it actually provides much better results. Cataracts cause blindness by fogging the lens of the eye, scattering light before it reaches the retina. Normally, ...

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Are climate change models too conservative?

ArsTechnica - Tue, 2011/07/05 - 19:30

As we've reported recently, climate scientists are continuing to develop and refine climate change models in order to predict the effects of greenhouse gas emissions. One aspect of these models that hasn't been explicitly tested is their ability to capture rapid, irreversible changes to the climate system. The author of a commentary in this week's edition of Nature Geoscience argues that current climate models (such as those used in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] reports) fail to simulate abrupt changes we've seen in the past, and therefore may be unable to predict similar events in the future.

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Police raid Spanish copyright society in embezzlement case

ArsTechnica - Tue, 2011/07/05 - 17:30

Senior officials in Spain's Society of Authors and Publishers (SGAE), the country's leading collection society for songwriters and composers, face embezzlement charges in the wake of a Friday raid on the organization's offices. (A collecting society collects licensing fees for public performances of music and distributes them to artists and record companies.) 

According to Spanish newspaper El País, the investigation is focused on José Luis Rodríguez Neri, the head of an SGAE subsidiary called the Digital Society of Spanish Authors (SDAE). Neri faces charges of "fraud, misappropriation of funds and disloyal administration." On Monday, a High Court judge grilled him for more than four hours over the charges.

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<em>Portal 2</em>'s "Want You Gone" - A Great Fan-Made Music Video

Wired: Gadgets - Tue, 2011/07/05 - 17:02
If you've played Portal 2 solo mode all the way to the end, you've heard the excellent end-credits song "Want You Gone," Jonathan Coulton's follow-up to "Still Alive," his justly famous song from the first Portal. Well, a fan named Pedro Calvo has made a music video based on the song and the ending of the ...

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"Massive infringement" case against CNET dropped

ArsTechnica - Tue, 2011/07/05 - 16:25

Plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit accusing CNET of facilitating “massive copyright infringement” by distributing peer-to-peer software dropped their case Monday.

The May lawsuit was lodged in Los Angeles by a handful of musicians and filmmaker Alkiviades David. They accused CBS Interactive—CNET’s publisher—of illicitly profiting from piracy by distributing 220 million copies of LimeWire over CNET’s site since 2008—accounting for 95 percent off all LimeWire downloads.

The case appeared to be nearing its demise last month when the plaintiffs submitted just six copyrights as being infringed. On the July 4 holiday, David quietly dropped the suit.

What remains to be seen are threats by David’s attorney, Adam Wolfson, who wrote in a filing that the case would be re-filed to represent more plaintiffs and “many thousands of songs and other copyrighted works” (PDF).

The now-defunct LimeWire service agreed in May to pay $105 million to settle accusations from the recording industry that LimeWire users committed a “substantial amount of copyright infringement.” In that lawsuit, the Recording Industry Association of America sought damages on 9,715 copyrighted recordings, and forced LimeWire of New York to shutter.

CBS has maintained it would “prevail” in the David case.

The Copyright Act allows for damages of up to $150,000 per infringement.

David claimed that CNET maintained a “business model to profit directly from the demand for infringing P2P clients.”

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Confessions Of A Female Power Digger: An Interview With Amy Vernon

Digg: Tech - Tue, 2011/07/05 - 15:51
Formerly an editor working for years in the newsroom of a dying paper, Amy Vernon has moved beyond print to become the top female contributor of Digg of all time, the VP of strategy at Hasai, and of course, The Bacon Queen. How did Vernon’s rise to an internationally-known social media [...]

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Texas Supreme Court: no e-voting paper trail required

ArsTechnica - Tue, 2011/07/05 - 15:35

A group of Texas voters seeking to stop the use of paperless electronic voting machines reached a dead end on Friday; the Texas Supreme Court ruled that their suits could not proceed without evidence that they have been personally harmed.

Texas has been using direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting machines for more than a decade. In 2006, a coalition of voters led by the Austin NAACP sued to stop Travis County from using the eSlate, a DRE machine made by Austin-based Hart InterCivic. (Hart does offer a printer as an optional component of its system.) The voters claimed the machines were insecure and did not allow meaningful recounts.

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Netflix Confirms Streaming Issues for Some Apple TV Customers

Wired: Gadgets - Tue, 2011/07/05 - 15:19
A number of Apple TV customers are unable to stream Netflix movies to their devices, according to several user reports posted over the weekend. A Netflix spokesman confirmed to that a small number of Apple TV devices were experiencing technical issues with the service, and the company claims the issue has been fixed. "Now I have ...

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Google+ Hangouts Will Be Hard For Facebook To Top (GOOG, MSFT)

Digg: Tech - Tue, 2011/07/05 - 15:09
So far, the most useful feature in Google+ is Hangouts, browser-based video chat with up to 10 people. It works right in the browser (although you might have to download a plug-in first), there's almost no latency, it's...

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Report: Android Market Share Jumps; Smartphones Now Owned by 1 in 3 Americans

Digg: Tech - Tue, 2011/07/05 - 14:57
According to a new report from comScore, 1 in 3 Americans now own a smartphone. Google’s Android OS is ahead of the pack with a 38.1% share of the market during the 3-month period ending in May, while RIM’s BlackBerry OS fell 4.3% to a 24.7% share of the market.

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How to prep your Mac for Lion

Digg: Tech - Tue, 2011/07/05 - 14:45
It may be just days before Apple releases Mac OS X 10.7, known as Lion, but you can prep your Mac now to make the upgrade go and faster and more smoothly.

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Physical GIF Brings Internet's Greatest Treasures into the Real World

Digg: Tech - Tue, 2011/07/05 - 13:48
Animated GIFs are literally the best thing about the internet. And the internet is literally the best thing western civilization has ever spawned. But mankind's greatest triumphs are locked online, right?

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Astroturf hurts: leadership resigns after GLAAD supports T-Mobile sale

ArsTechnica - Tue, 2011/07/05 - 13:45

May 31, 2011 was a perfectly nice day in Los Angeles, California—a few patchy clouds on the horizon, but nothing to worry about. It's unlikely that the staff of the Wilshire Boulevard-based Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) saw the thunderstorm approaching as they submitted commentary to Julius Genachowski, Chair of the Federal Communications Commission, in support of AT&T's plan to buy T-Mobile USA for $39 billion.

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Google Should Open Google+ to Everyone, Today

Digg: Tech - Tue, 2011/07/05 - 13:30
Hundreds, if not thousands, of people are enjoying Google+ right now. What's stopping Google from letting millions more join in the fun?

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Xbox Live Indie Games: no way to make a living

ArsTechnica - Tue, 2011/07/05 - 11:50

If you want to publish a console video game, there's no easier route than the Xbox Live Indie Games program. But while it's relatively easy to get your game on the service, it's hard to get it noticed. There's a lot of junk on XBLIG, so much so that a group of developers banded together at the end of last year to promote quality indie titles. There have been success stories—like the recently released FortressCraft, which managed to sell 16,000 units on the day of release—but they're not exactly common.

So with virtually no promotion, and with average earnings of just $3,800 per title, why do developers continue to create games for the platform?

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New hacking allegation piles pressure on Murdoch

Digg: Tech - Tue, 2011/07/05 - 11:46
Prime Minister David Cameron led a chorus of condemnation on Tuesday over allegations a top-selling British newspaper from Rupert Murdoch's global media empire hacked the voicemail of a missing schoolgirl who was later found murdered.

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Microsoft collects royalties from at least 5 Android vendors

Digg: Tech - Tue, 2011/07/05 - 11:09
One of Microsoft's hottest new profit centers is a smartphone platform you've definitely heard of: Android. Wistron is the latest company to agree to pay Microsoft royalties on Android ... bringing the tally up to at least five.

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EXCLUSIVE: Google to Retire Blogger & Picasa Brands in Google+ Push

Digg: Tech - Tue, 2011/07/05 - 11:07
Google intends to retire the Blogger and Picasa brands and rename them as Google products.

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Report: Apple orders 15 million iPhone 5s

ArsTechnica - Tue, 2011/07/05 - 11:05

Apple has placed an order for 15 million next-gen iPhones with Taiwan-based manufacturer Pegatron, DigiTimes reported today. The order is based on a September ship date for the new iPhone, which DigiTimes' sources say is not a major revision from the iPhone 4.

These numbers cast our memories back to when Apple was pushing the first iPhone toward a million sales within months of its launch. These days, Apple is shipping multiple millions per quarter: the first quarter of 2011 saw 16.24 million iPhone sales, topped by the second quarter's 18.65 million.

The increased sales are not entirely thanks to the new CDMA version of the iPhone, either. Pegatron overhauled its entire factory setup to satisfy a 10-million-iPhone CDMA iPhone 4 order, but less than four million of those have shipped. Since September's model is entirely new, we doubt this will be a repeat problem for the company.

The iPhone 5's body reportedly resembles the iPhone 4, but may receive several internal revisions, including a dual-core A5 processor, 8-megapixel camera, and an edge-to-edge 3.7- or 3.8-inch screen with a resolution a third higher than the iPad 2's 1024x768 screen. Verizon also slipped up recently and said the new iPhone may be dual-mode CDMA and GSM, though whether it will be able to take advantage of 4G LTE has not yet been publicly discussed.

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