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Zynga's IPO filing shows utter dependence on Facebook

ArsTechnica - Fri, 2011/07/01 - 14:50

Zynga, creator of games like Farmville, Mafia Wars, and Words with Friends, has filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission in order to take the company public. The casual games giant hopes to raise $1 billion by selling stock. That may seem ambitious, but the filings note that the company enjoyed profits of over $392 million in 2010. The company shows no signs of slowing down, but the filing also reminds us just how much of Zynga's business is directly dependent on Facebook.

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Big bidding: Apple, Microsoft, RIM nab Nortel patents for $4.5 billion

ArsTechnica - Fri, 2011/07/01 - 14:41

The bidding war over the patent portfolio from bankrupt Canadian telecom Nortel's has ended. Google began the bidding on the collection of 6,000+ patents at $900 million, but Nortel announced today that the wining bid came from a consortium of companies including Apple, Microsoft, and RIM, which pooled $4.5 billion.

Nortel's portfolio includes numerous patents on mobile technology, including 3G and 4G wireless networking, optics, voice processing, semiconductors, and more. "The extensive patent portfolio touches nearly every aspect of telecommunications and additional markets as well, including Internet search and social networking," Nortel said in a statement.

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Alaska judge strikes down yet another online censorship bill

ArsTechnica - Fri, 2011/07/01 - 13:40

A federal judge has added Alaska to the steadily growing list of states who have been smacked down for trying to censor the Internet. Legislation signed by Alaska Governor Sean Parnell last year would have held adults criminally liable for distributing sexually explicit material to minors over the 'Net.

A coalition of plaintiffs filed suit last August, alleging that the statute violates the First Amendment. Yesterday, Judge Ralph Beistline agreed and struck down the law.

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Categories: Tech

Sendoff: Jon "Hannibal" Stokes marches his elephant army out of Ars

ArsTechnica - Fri, 2011/07/01 - 13:20

This is a weighty day for Ars: our own Jon Stokes is stepping away from his day-to-day role with Ars to pursue a host of new opportunities. And we're sending him off with gratitude for his great service to our community and best wishes for the future.

Thirteen years is an eternity online, but that’s how long Ars Technica has been kicking around the streets, rustling up its own style of tech coverage and community. And in that thirteen years, one of my best decisions I made as the founder and editor-in-chief of Ars was reaching out to Jon Stokes, a colleague of mine in IT at Harvard, to join this beast of a site at its birth. It was the summer of 1998, we were in our early 20s, and fate had brought us both to a crappy basement in Rockefeller Hall in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I had just been appointed as Systems Architect, and Jon was working on an Access database project. For some strange reason, in between the IT work, the study of classical Greek, and ruminations about the divine, we always had steam left for Ars Technica.

Jon once told me that part of his interest in Ars was rooted to a desire to hone his writing skills, which were always better than he admitted. It was a shared motivation, actually: Jon and I were both graduate students at Harvard studying ancient Christianity, and at the time, we both thought our careers lay in academe, not a .com. For many years, both of us saw Ars as this “other thing we did"; neither of us realized that it was, in fact, the thing we did best, and the thing to which we paid the most attention.

In those early days, whether at our remote office at Sullie’s in Somerville or at one of the many Indian buffets we wrecked, Jon and I watched bubbles rise and pop, fads come and go, and an Ars audience grow in a way that was amazingly rewarding. We even took out personal loans (not VC money) to float the site when things got tough after the .com bubble broke. No matter how bad things got, and no matter what personal challenges confronted us, we served Ars Technica as best we could. I consider myself fortunate to have Jon Stokes as a co-founder of Ars Technica, and any fan of Ars should feel the same way.

We’re not saying goodbye to Jon; he will continue to do freelance work for Ars, as well as work for Wired.com and undoubtedly others. But he's leaving Ars in its strongest ever position: our staff is top notch, revenues and traffic are at all time highs, and we're excited about the future. Join me in wishing Jon bonam fortunam!

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Categories: Tech

4 million strong Alureon P2P botnet "practically indestructible"

ArsTechnica - Fri, 2011/07/01 - 12:55

Researchers at Kaspersky Labs analyzing the 4.5 million-strong Alureon botnet (also known as TDL and TDSS) have branded it "practically indestructible." Law enforcement agencies have had some success recently at disrupting and bringing down botnets, with Coreflood, Rustock, and Waledac all successfully disrupted. The design of TDL's underlying rootkit is going to make similar retaliatory action much harder to pull of.

TDL-4 has been specifically designed to avoid destruction—whether by law-enforcement, anti-virus software, or competing botnets. On installation, TDL-4 will remove other rootkits, an act which both deprives competing operators of income and reduces the chance that the user will notice that their system is behaving strangely and attempt to repair it. The goal of a rootkit is to remain undetected, and that includes noticing that a computer simply isn't behaving correctly.

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London's iTunes Festival Will Stream Live Music to iPads Everywhere

Wired: Gadgets - Fri, 2011/07/01 - 12:36
Apple hosts a month of live music gigs as part of the each year. The 2011 series starts Friday and anyone not attending the 60-plus London concerts in person will be able to stream them live to a free iPad and iPhone app in HD.


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Gadget Lab Podcast: HP TouchPad, Windows Phone 'Mango,' iPhone Rumors

Wired: Gadgets - Fri, 2011/07/01 - 12:32
In this week's Gadget Lab podcast, the crew shines the spotlight on the TouchPad tablet, HP's response to the iPad. We also peek at Windows Phone Mango and pass on the latest iPhone rumor.


Categories: Tech

Hands-on: Google+ mobile app for Android

ArsTechnica - Fri, 2011/07/01 - 11:36

Google's new social network, Google+, launched this week with much fanfare. The service has a Facebook-like news feed, a group video chat feature, and a compelling contact management system that gives users granular control over the visibility of the content they publish. But how well does it work on smartphones?

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Categories: Tech

Infinite Loop Flexible Ribbon Supports Tablets, Phones

Wired: Gadgets - Fri, 2011/07/01 - 08:39
Tim Gushue's Infinite Loop is a tablet stand that is flexible both literally and metaphorically. If you ever used a "flexible curve" for drawing or woodworking, you'll be familiar with the design. The Infinite Loop is a four-foot strip of bendy plastic with a pair of metal cores running through. The combination lets you bend ...


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How It Works: Backside Vs. Frontside Illuminated Camera Sensors

Wired: Gadgets - Fri, 2011/07/01 - 08:11
Friday seems like a great time to stop working, kick back with a beverage and read up on something that you have been wondering about since, like forever. So today we bring you one of the most pressing issues of the day: backside vs. frontside illuminated camera sensors. What's the difference? In construction, not much. But ...


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Interview: Weird Al Talks Music, Kids' Books, Being a Dad

Wired: Gadgets - Fri, 2011/07/01 - 08:00
GeekDad sits down with one of its favorite musicians to talk about his new book and stuff.


Categories: Tech

Fixtation: Bike Repair Stations with Vending Machines

Wired: Gadgets - Fri, 2011/07/01 - 07:32
We've covered self-service bike stations before, but the Fixtation at the Uptown Transit Station in Minneapolis is worth a special mention as probably the best example yet -- and not just because of its cool name. The Fixtation combines a repair stand equipped with most of the tools you'll need for basic repairs, including tire levers, ...


Categories: Tech

The <em>Numbers League</em> App Improves on a Masterpiece

Wired: Gadgets - Fri, 2011/07/01 - 07:30
App versions of tabletop games are everywhere these days. Usually they are lacking when compared to the original. But there are a few game publishing companies that have taken the time to do it right, to faithfully recreate their game in digital form, and to add in extra functionality (Carcassonne comes to mind). One excellent example ...


Categories: Tech

Smartphones Dominate U.S. Mobile Purchases

Wired: Gadgets - Thu, 2011/06/30 - 14:48
If your last cellphone purchase wasn't a smartphone and you're living stateside, consider yourself in the minority.


Categories: Tech

The Tech Inside Apple's $50 Thunderbolt Cable

Wired: Gadgets - Thu, 2011/06/30 - 12:14
The first Thunderbolt-compatible peripherals -- Promise's Pegasus RAIDs -- shipped Tuesday. Using the RAIDs with a Thunderbolt-equipped Mac, though, requires an expensive $50 cable from Apple. How does Apple justify charging $50 for a plastic-wrapped copper wire? Will Thunderbolt suffer a fate similar to Apple's FireWire?


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