Saturday needs some tech news too

This week the first software patent was granted 28 years ago. Sounds like a good reason to bring about some more news stories, right?

The RIAA has someone tearing into their blanket of lawsuits: Harvard Law School. If you want a great example of what a load of crap copy protection and copyright is, look at all these countries thatdon’t have access to the iTunes Store. Oh and the MPAA says fair use only exists if they don’t put any protection on their content.

Apple is getting a tax break from North Carolina for a server farm. Is the tobacco industry really doing that badly right now? “The New Yorker’s” cover was made on an iPhone. Check out the video with the story. Oh and if you have nothing better to do this weekend, try out The Sims 3 at an Apple Store near you (closest one is Arden Fair Mall).

The Metroid Prime trilogy is coming on one disc to the Wii in August. There goes my spending money. Speaking of me going broke, the Canon 5D Mark II has manual video controls. Of course all my money will disappear with a Value Added Tax thats been proposed.

A new online game from the California Nurses Association has a game explaininghow a single-payer health care system works. Video games and health care. I know, I’m just as excited to play it as you.

Remember when I talked about the FAA being hacked? There’s a lot of data to deal with in the skies. How can it be managed? Find out here.

Digg is pushing the Governator on pot. Speaking of robots, Android 1.5 is out for T-Mobile phones.

A Chinese blogger won a censorship suit against his ISP. There’s a sentence you may only see once a decade

Since everyone has a qualm with Obama’s Supreme Court pick Sonia Sotomayor, why not add in the video game industry.

Color coded fire can help relay messages.

Wiretapping is back in the news as the Obama Administration had until yesterday to convince a judge not to levy sanctions.

Oh and Silverlight 3 is out soon. Another piece of software to clog up your Web browser…

Almost got the bookmarks cleaned out. Hooray!

Circuit City is back with some zombie magic

Electronics retailer Circuit City is back — sort of. Don’t run down to Roseville or up to Chico looking for the doors to open because they’re still locked and if you do happen to get inside, the cops will probably bust you for trespassing.

The only part of Circuit City that’s back is its Web site. That now falls under a new lord and mastermind Systemax. Well that sounds a little cynical. I’m sure they’ll actually do just fine.

The site has the same look and basic stylesheet of Circuit City down to the logo with a few revisions. I’m pretty much wait and see on how this will turn out for the moment, but it’s nice to see the brand resurrected somehow — even if it does have a sort of zombie feel.

By the way, I’m throwing in the e-mail I got this morning to give a few more details. Be warned, the links don’t actually work since it was a complicated mashup of images instead of text.

The absolutely sweetest shirt ever made

Here’s the No. 1 item on Amazon’s apparel list right now:

“This item has wolves on it which makes it intrinsically sweet and worth 5 stars by itself, but once I tried it on, that’s when the magic happened. After checking to ensure that the shirt would properly cover my girth, I walked from my trailer to Wal-mart with the shirt on and was immediately approached by women. The women knew from the wolves on my shirt that I, like a wolf, am a mysterious loner who knows how to ‘howl at the moon’ from time to time (if you catch my drift!). The women that approached me wanted to know if I would be their boyfriend and/or give them money for something they called mehth. I told them no, because they didn’t have enough teeth, and frankly a man with a wolf-shirt shouldn’t settle for the first thing that comes to him.”

The beauty of this shirt is in the eyes of the mocking beholders who originally berated the shirt in Amazon’s comments, but then began buying it as what looks to be another case of Internet irony. There are about 500 reviews on it so far.

Want a little more news?

Yep it’s another day of news stories. It’s spring cleaning in May

Pirating is so wrong, but if you’re going to do it and you work in a government office, please make sure you aren’t sharing things to the Internet. Better yet, if you can’t explain how Lime Wire works, don’t use it.

My life suddenly makes sense after seeing that the Game Boy and I share birthdays. It’s sort of like my mom, Mickey Mouse and her Disney collection. Well, having four boys might play into that too.

Is YouTube wading out of safe harbor by dealing with a DMCA issue on its own?

Real DVD rips (chuckle chuckle) the studios over their abuse of fair use. It’s nice to see a company with the guts to stand up to the recording industry like this.

Speaking of massive loads of garbage, the House Judiciary Committee passed a bill that would put a fee on radio stations for the music they play. 50 percent of this would be pushed toward the RIAA. District 4’s own Tom McClintock is supporting what would likely lead to the death of non-talk radio. I’m not a fan of not only quashing an industry, but the government shuffling funds to support a corporate behemoth.

If you’re having trouble with your WiFi connection, maybe you should look at nearby baby monitors. I’m actually this close to ditching WiFi in my house period with the varying signals the computers pick up. No baby monitors nearby though.

Here we go again with some more stories

I’m shedding more and more weight this weekend. No, it’s not sweat from the heat, it’s lightening my bookmark load.

Second Life is slapping a price tag on freaky times in the online world. While businesses and furries have been obsessed with this magical land of alternate reality, I still haven’t been tempted to join. Ditching the free porn isn’t helping things either.

AT&T wants to make its 3G networks twice as fast in the near future. Of course this still won’t be enough allegedly to support Slingplayer on the iPhone.

More DRM horror stories, this one for Kindle owners.

Yesterday I brought you the oncoming apocalypse, today I bring you Apocalypse Then.

More griping about cybersecurity in Washington. Make sure your firewalls are up to date and working since our government probably won’t be able to do much in the face of a technological threat.

Plagiarism and copyright squared off in a high school debate, guess who won?

People out of shape are getting active and injured using the Wii. Stretch people!

Wolfram Alpha is not preying on Google

Before we go through the next batch of interesting news stories, I want to clear up a common misconception:

Wolfram Alpha is not Google

The new search engine is not another Cuil (yeah remember them? They still don’t think I exist). Instead it’s a great learning tool that provides some interesting information for research.

Not every query you put in will get results, but the ones that do will get you some very intriguing information.

Sports fans, math geeks, this is for you. I was absolutely enthralled looking at the SF Giants history of wins, homeruns, etc.

The best way to understand Wolfram Alpha is to use your curiosity.

Now onto the news and such. I’m digging through the annals of my never-before-posted links tonight.

RealNetworks’ CEO called out Hollywood studios for being frightened of technology. To that I say good on you sir.

For the same reason I’m worried about banks having open Internet terminals in their buildings, I’m also concerned about hospitals doing the same. Good to know my fears were justified at the RSA security conference last month when Conficker was found on heart monitors and MRI machines.

How much would you pay for Wall-E? $15? $20? $62,000? An uncle who wanted to download the movie on his computer while in Mexico racked up a huge bill in roaming costs.

Deep packet inspection should scare the living daylights out of you, especially since Comcast thinks it’s a wonderful idea. Targeted ads sounds great from an ISP perspective, but there’s a massive privacy risk and worries about how the companies will keep track of that data.

The Final Fantasy franchise has moved 85 million copies worldwide. One game I’m happy I rented instead of buying it and realizing what a load of crap it was: Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings. Still waiting for my original Final Fantasy on my Wii’s Virtual Console.

Turn off the lights when you read this horror story about the oncoming downfall of civilization at the hands of a devastating solar storm from Wired.

On that frightening note, I’ll bid adieu for the day.

Want more tech news? How about this?

Like I said, my bookmarks folder hates me because I fill it so full. Time to release some pressure.

As mentioned on C3 of Friday’s Appeal-Democrat, the video game industry is down for the second straight month. Of course this is the second straight month where there was a major release last year and not one this year. Last March it was Super Smash Bros., last April it was Grand Theft Auto IV.

Elbow grease helped save the last repair mission on the Hubble Telescope. Torque limiters be damned.

An idea that could help save schools a few dollars in California by providing “open source” textbooks could run into some problems in terms of standards.

SHAZAM! It’s a lawsuit for phone companies and Apple.

Psystar and Apple are continuing their legal dance over the wondrous legislation known as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Excited about Office 2010? I mean REALLY excited? You could get in on a preview.

I’m not done with you yet Amazon Kindle!

File this one as reason No. 123 why the Kindle isn’t going to save newspapers:

Dallas Morning News CEO James Moroney testified before the U.S. Senate the day the Kindle DX was announced that Amazon wanted a pretty penny for content:

70 percent.

That’s right, Amazon plops the content on its device, does none of the writing, editing, fact checking, reporting or anything and expects to get 70 percent of the revenue.

Rather than launching into what will probably be a profanity-laced tirade about how ludicrous this idea is, I’m going to leave it to you the reader to leave your disgust in the comments section of this post.

The MPAA and RIAA can kiss my A

It’s official: The war over copyright has officially branched into crazy land.

There were many times this could have been declared in the past, but an article I ran across on Ars Technica sealed the deal today.

The Motion Picture Association of America has a video circulating recommending teachers not rip DVDs to show clips for students in class. Instead, they should do the following:

1) Hook up their TV and DVD player at home

2) Purchase a camcorder if they don’t have one already and record the video from the TV.

3) Run a cable from their TV’s audio out jacks to the camcorder to capture the audio.

All of this, the MPAA says, will provide a copy of the clip for the teacher to use while not breaking the copy protection on the DVD.

Somebody deserves a solid thump on the head right now.

At the same time this is taking place, the MPAA is taking Real Networks to court over DVD copying software that it claims can only be used for pirating movies. Yes, it’s the same Real Networks who makes the Real media player nobody uses anymore but finds its way onto every PC it can. But this time I’m actually behind them.

The public has a right to make a backup copy and to frankly do whatever they please with said backup copy.

Rather than have this case heard in an open court, the MPAA has made sure to throw the public out of the courtroom not once but twice. Why? It’s copy protection software is so important and protected by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act that they dare not reveal its secret.

Of course that’s not the only example of copyright causing the legal system to run amuck. Running through the globe, the various international incarnations of the MPAA and Recording Industry Artists of America are pitching variations on a copyright law that have the same common thread: If you’re accused of violating copyright three times, kiss your Internet access goodbye.

I’ve got no problem with Mickey Mouse randomly being granted another couple of years of exclusivity for Disney or the Beatles trying to protect their work. But when you’re trying to strip people of access to the Internet or throw them in jail after just a few piddly proofless accusations, that doesn’t fly with me.

Plus what could be so bad about public domain? It’s currently breathing new life into the undead. Dracula’s being revealed in a blog retelling the story and Jane Austen’s work has an added kick in “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”

Sometimes Twitter gives good ideas with ninjas

I put a post on my Twitter feed looking for requests and by golly I’m going to hold to it. From our own A-D Interactive Department, Robert LaHue was looking for something about Ninjas and here it is.

The 25th anniversary edition of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is coming to a store near you in August.

Yes, you can own the magic of the original three movies along with the 2007 TMNT for the low, low price of $39.92 (a very Wal-Mart sounding price), or if you want the full, magical, overpriced fury of Blu-Ray, there’s the more-than-twice-as-expensive edition just for you.

If I’m going to pay $85 for four movies, I better have the right to order it without Vanilla Ice.