Roundup: July 18

Howdy! Welcome to the Roundup! Don’t forget to check out the Steam Summer Sale, and vote on the next Community Choice! In the meantime, here’s a little ditty by the Ink Spots.

That was relaxing, right? Onward!

A UK judge dishes out embarrassing justice.

Bloomberg is reporting that a judge in the UK is ordering Apple to publicly admit that Samsung didn’t copy Apple’s design. After being dubbed “not cool enough” to be confused with Apple’s iPad, Samsung was judged the winner of the battle.  Now, Apple has to post a notice on its website and in “several” British newspapers and magazines notifying the public that they lost the suit, and that Samsung didn’t copy them. They’re also required to leave the notice up on their website for six months. To quote a guy named Nitesh: “Embarrassing justice is BEST justice.”

Windows 8 release date set.

Microsoft has set the release date for Windows 8 as October 26, which is just in time for short-term reviews to come in before the big holiday sales start. Smart, Microsoft. The RTM date is set around late August, if you’re curious. If you currently have a Vista or Windows 7 machine, don’t forget that your upgrade will cost a whopping $39.99.

Australians are getting boned on download prices.

A recent report by Choice, a consumer watchdog group, states that Australians pay an average 50% more for downloads than Americans. Many of you will shout “America: F**k Yeah!” but remember, the Aussies are cool, and this isn’t fair. The report, part of a submission requesting a parliamentary inquiry, says that Australians are on the losing end of international price discrimination. It’s not only on downloads, but a lot of software, like games. On the topic of an $8500 Microsoft development suite, one man said “It would be cheaper to pay someone’s wage and fly them to the US and back twice, getting them to buy the software while they’re there.” Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Small town overturns state law, fights Comcast.

Longmont, Colorado is a small town with a lot of fight. Despite a $500,000 campaign from Comcast, the town of just over 82,000 has had a state law overturned, allowing municipalities to own broadband utilities. They already own an 18 mile fiber loop, which sits near 1280 businesses and at least 1100 homes, and now look for the city to approve a roll-out plan in August. Many of the residents are excited, with over 50% wanting it “now now now” and 20% wanting it as soon as the city can get around to it. I’d be excited if I could get fiber to my door without having to deal with Comcast too.

Giant monster robot feeds on refuse!

Okay, not so much. However, the above pictured drone does scoot around the ocean picking up garbage, like the kind that is forming pseudo-continents in the Pacific and other oceans. As they travel underwater, the trash is caught in their net, and once full, they find the nearest mothership and dock. They’re powered by waterproof batteries, and emit annoying noises to keep sea life out of the nets. I imagine if they were dragging solar panels, it’d be pretty useful as well.

NASA wants to play games with Microsoft. 

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has partnered with Microsoft to create it’s first video game. No, not Kerbal Space Program. In a not-so-surprising move (considering their affinity for modern technology and social media) they’ve decided to release a game for the Xbox 360. It’s free, as you’d expect, and it’s called Mars Rover Landing. Players use the Kinect sensor to adjust angles, release heat shields, etc. Although the “seven minutes of terror” (as it’s called) is automated, the landing crafts are unable to communicate with NASA. This game should give you an idea of just how much has to go right in order for us to see the surface of mars.

First attack on a cyborg happens in France.

Oh, it was in a McDonalds, too. What is it about that place that makes people such jerks? Anyway, Dr Steve Mann, widely accepted as the world’s first cyborg, was assaulted for wearing his EyeTap (crappy website warning) glasses, resulting in damage to the glasses. Which happen to be surgically attached to his skull. Funny thing however, by damaging the “glass eye”, the alleged assailants insured that their images would stored in the memory of the device. Check out the full report by Dr Mann here.

YouTube now allows for facial blurrage.

I enjoy making up words, don’t you? Even if you don’t, you can clearly see that the same facial recognition (and subsequent blurring) technology that Google employs on it’s Street View maps has made it’s way to YouTube. Uploaders are given the opportunity to blur all faces, according to a blog post by YouTube staffer Amanda Conway. All you need to do is head over to the “Enhancements” tab for your video and select “Blur all faces.” As of right now, it’s all or nothing, as there’s no selective blur feature. That means if you’re a protester who wants to tape the evil overbearing police that represent “The man” but not reveal your fellow protesters’ faces, you’re better off doing it before uploading.

AT&T jumps on shared data plan.

Taking a clue from Verizon, AT&T has unveiled a new shared data plan. You get unlimited minutes and texting, but a shared pool of data. Different types of devices will cost you differing monthly fees – feature phones($30) , smartphones ($30-45 depending on quantity), tablets ($10) and hotspots ($20). I am not sure why tablets are cheaper than smartphones, aside from their lack of texting and calling, but there you have it. If you want to compare prices, head over to this handy page, and enter the appropriate number of devices to see what it’ll cost on each network.

That’s all for today! Thanks for joining me!

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