Roundup: Garbage Man

Hey, it’s a roundup! Big deal, move along.

 Samsung/Apple Jurors to fill out pre-made forms to clarify judgement.

This is a novel idea, but still very strange. Samsung and Apple are supposed to agree on a single form (agree? Yeah, ok, that’s worked well so far) to give to jurors at the end of the trial. The form, in essence, asks what patents have been infringed upon and in how many cases, as well as asking for a monetary settlement amount. Apple’s version of the form [seen here] is nine pages, and contains 32 questions, whereas Samsung’s version [seen here] is 33 questions over seventeen pages.

OnLive: What – exactly – happened?

When the story first broke, we really didn’t know what was up. Now, it appears as if some mild douchebaggery has taken place, costing quite a few people their jobs, as well as their company shares. Instead of traditional bankruptcy, OnLive passed their assets to an assignee, who sold them to a new company, which will take the same name. In the process, all employees were dumped, and could not keep their company shares, but the new owners do wish to hire at least some of them back. Per their statement almost half of OnLive employees were given job offers with the new company at their current salaries. Those not hired by OnLive will be “given offers to do consulting in return for options.” As I mentioned on the podcast, I bet everyone’s looking for new jobs anyway.

The RIAA may not be dying, but their income is slowing.

In a news story that isn’t sad for anyone, the RIAA’s Tax records show that their income has been slowing at a rate of 44% over the past two years. That’s no good for those greedy lawyers, who don’t work for ideals.  I’m sure we’re not far off from hearing about how piracy has crippled the music industry so much that they can’t afford both their yachts and watchdog groups that waste time by targeting defenseless grannies.

Ukraine group creates Sign Language-to-Speech machine.

By combining hardware and software, Ukrainian students created a very fancy system for communicating with deaf people – even if you don’t know sign language. Their prototype, which won first place in the software design category of Microsoft’s Imagine Cup, has eleven flex sensors, eight touch sensors and accelerometer/gyro/compass built into a glove, which can translate the movements of the signer’s hand into text (or speech via a smartphone’s Text-To-Speech software) so that a deaf person can communicate with someone who doesn’t sign. The unit cost an estimated $75 to build, and would retail at $250, which is a solid investment for those who would otherwise have trouble going about town.

Here’s a list of 11 famous software bugs.

It’s not technically news, but it’s a good read nonetheless. From unit conversions that weren’t to the literal first bug in computing, you can read about famous catastrophes that were the result of nothing more than a typo or two, or three thousand. It’s a nice, if geeky, read.

Curiosity fires laser for the first time.

Mars Rover Curiosity got to fire the ChemCam for the first time. In other words, it fired a frikkin’ laser beam at a rock, who was none too happy about it. The rover, which happens to be powered by Soviet plutonium, fired its laser at a rock that was selected due to its flat face, Rock N165. The result wasn’t expected to be anything spectacular, just a test of the system, which would allow scientists here on earth to check the units calibration, but it’s still pretty cool that it worked.

Chinese social network is huge and all-encompassing., the largest social media network in the world, has it all: chat, games, posts, coupons and even the opportunities to make real money. Essentially, someone who has a talent, like Photoshop or singing, creates a page. When they’ve gotten a decent following, they announce a live concert to be streamed to the site. Followers buy into the concert via virtual roses, the currency of the site, which the talented performer later exchanges for real money. The oddest thing is that it seems like a perfect blend of Second Life and real life.

Apple is currently the most valuable company of all time.

Apple’s good news is big news: As of today, their value is $623 billion, beating out the 1999 record previously held by Microsoft. What’s really amazing is that as of 2004, the company was valued at $10 billion, and only hit $100 billion three years ago. Stock prices are sitting around $665.15 right now, which makes me severely regret selling my shares back in 2007.

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