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Friday, October 22, 2010

Paul Watson points us to yet another example of how engaging with fans of your work (even if, technically, they infringed on your copyrights) can lead to pretty happy outcomes for everyone. The basic details are that comic book artist Steve Lieber discovered that folks at 4chan had scanned in and uploaded every page of his graphic novel Underground. Now, the typical reaction is to freak out, scream "piracy," whine about "losses" and demand that "something must be done." But, in a world where obscurity is really a much bigger issue than "piracy," another option is to actually engage with those fans who liked his work so much that they put in the effort to share it with the world. And that's exactly what Lieber did. He went to the site and actually started talking about the work with the folks on 4chan (image from Paul):

Day after posting on 4chan

Friday, October 15, 2010

Two German radar satellites are now flying in tight formation as they prepare to make the most detailed ever 3D map of the Earth's entire surface.

TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X have moved to within 350m of each other as they sweep around the planet at 7km/s.

The pair will soon begin an intense observation campaign that will pin down the variation in height across the globe to an accuracy of better than two metres.

Artist's impression of TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X (DLR)

The satellites trace a helix across the sky as they move just a few hundred metres apart

Graphic of TanDEM-X (Infoterra)

Details on the 4chan website, where they discussed the supposed attack, were sketchy, but they claimed the site was vulnerable to a SQL injection exploit.


Kiss bassist Gene Simmons saw two of his official websites forced offline recently by online group Anonymous.

The long-tongued musician had made comments about how companies in the music industry should act tougher against individuals who illegally download music, seemingly inspiring the wrath of the group, which is linked to the forum.

Anonymous managed to crash Simmons' sites and for a period before they returned to the worldwide web, reports the Guardian.

It went like this

"We want you to abort the baby."

"No. Every life is precious and sacred, I refuse."

"Ok, no problem. According to the contract you'll have to take care of the kid."

"Eh, what? Err... on second thought - I'll abort it."

Canadian couple who discovered that their fetus was likely to have Down's Syndrome decided that they wanted to have an abortion. The problems was the fetus was being carried by a surrogate, who wanted to carry the pregnancy to term.

During a recent investor's call, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata made a fairly surprising observation regarding the piracy that's run somewhat rampant on its two gaming platforms. "I do not think we should attribute bad software sales solely to piracy," Iwata explained. "Even with piracy, as long as we can create products which can attract attention from many consumers and which can greatly entertain them, that software can make it to the number one position of the hit software sales chart."
Iwata later added, "it is true there is always the influence of piracy, but it is important for us to increase the number of our consumers who are willing to shell out their money to purchase our products." As far as we've seen, Nintendo doesn't have much of a problem accomplishing that lofty goal.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Pioneer is developing a head-up display for cars that links in with the navigation function available on many modern smartphones. A prototype of the device is on show this week at Japan's Ceatec electronics show, and the company said it hopes to have a commercial model available in 2012.

The prototype uses a laser to display bright, high-contrast, full-color images on a screen that would be mounted above the dashboard, between the driver and the windscreen. To the driver the projected images would appear in the lower part of the windscreen.

He made the one-off trip after nine-year-old pupil Beatrice Delap wrote to the star asking for help staging a 'mutiny' against the teachers, as he was filming at the nearby 18th century Old Naval College.

Johnny Depp and Meridian Primary School pupil Beatrice Delap

Ahoy there: Johnny Depp meets nine-year-old Meridian Primary School pupil Beatrice Delap and shows the letter she wrote asking him to help 'budding pirates' with their 'mutiny' against teachers

Beatrice Delap

Budding pirate: Beatrice Delap

The school was told just ten minutes before that Depp would be arriving and two blacked-out cars swept through the school gates.

An onlooker said she heard the most 'incredible screams of joy' as the actor, in full make-up, then entered the school.

In an interview on London Tonight after the visit, Beatrice revealed what she had written in the letter to the star - or rather his salty seadog alter ego.

She said: 'Captain Jack Sparrow, At Meridian Primary School, we are a bunch of budding young pirates and we were having a bit of trouble mutiny-ing against the teachers, and we'd love if you could come and help.

'Beatrice Delap, aged nine, a budding pirate.'

She said that she was then asked by the star to make herself known from the assembled pupils once he arrived, and gave her a cuddle.

Beatrice marvelled: 'He gave me a hug and he said, "Maybe we shouldn't mutiny today 'cos there are police outside monitoring me."'

Police have been a constant presence as filming has progressed at the old college, parts of which have been transformed to look like Georgian London.

Depp has been seen filming scenes in which he jumped from a third-floor window and later balanced on a chariot pulled by galloping horses.

Johnny Depp

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"Ballmer had a meeting with the CEO of Adobe, and among other things: 'The meeting, which lasted over an hour, covered a number of topics, but one of the main thrusts of the discussion was Apple and its control of the mobile phone market and how the two companies could partner in the battle against Apple. A possible acquisition of Adobe by Microsoft were among the options.' Apparently MS has courted Adobe previously, but feared anti-trust regulations. With Google and Apple gaining, Microdobe might be possible."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The University of North Carolina has finally found a network server that, although missing for four years, hasn't missed a packet in all that time.

Try as they might, university administrators couldn't find the server. Working with Novell, IT workers tracked it down by meticulously following cable until they literally ran into a wall. The server had been mistakenly sealed behind drywall by maintenance workers.

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