An anonymous reader writes "About 10 days after Viacom pulled 26 channels from DirecTV over a contract dispute, the two companies have finally come to an agreement that should have DirecTV fans in need of their MTV rejoicing. While precise details of the newly agreed upon contract weren't made public, Bloomberg is reporting that the new contract is for 7 years with Viacom set to receive more than $600 million a year from DirecTV. That represents a 20% payment increase from the previous contract and is slightly below the 30% increase, or $1 billion, Viacom was initially pushing for." The disturbing part of this dispute, to me, was how Viacom pulled its shows from the internet in addition to DirecTV. Advertising your side of the story is one thing, but going out of your way to directly frustrate viewers who are interested in your shows seems like bad business.
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wasimkadak sends this quote from Ars: "Developer Phil Fish knows there's a problem preventing some people from enjoying his Xbox 360 puzzle platformer Fez as intended. But he's not going to fix it, thanks to what he says is an exorbitant fee of 'tens of thousands of dollars' that Microsoft would charge to re-certify the game after a needed patch. The issue started on June 22, when Fish released a patch intended to fix some outstanding gameplay and performance issues with Fez. That patch gave rise to new problems for some players, though, by causing their save files to appear as corrupted, in effect erasing their progress through the game. Microsoft pulled the initial patch for the game mere hours after it first went up, to prevent the bug it contained from spreading too far." Another article covering the story suggests this situation is simply a mis-match between an indie-dev's expectations and the realities of a curated gaming platform.
New submitter Steve Max writes "Editor Paul Ockenden wonders, 'Has anyone else noticed what's been happening to top-end smartphones recently? They've started to get big – really big. But do people really want that at the expense of carrying around such a huge, heavy lump of tech in their pocket?' The trend for bigger and bigger screens is clear, but is it what consumers want? Is it what you want?"
ananyo writes "A previously unknown type of powerful chemical bond should be induced by the ferocious magnetic fields of white dwarfs and neutron stars, according to computer simulations. If the effect can be harnessed in the lab, 'magnetized matter' could be exploited for quantum computing. Chemists identify two classes of strong molecular bonds: ionic bonds, in which electrons from one atom hop over to another, and covalent bonds, in which electrons are shared between atoms. But researchers at the University of Oslo accidentally discovered a third bonding mechanism when they simulated how atoms should behave under magnetic fields of about 105 tesla — 10,000 times the biggest fields that can be generated on Earth (abstract)."
sunbird writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court in San Francisco on behalf of an anonymous petitioner seeking to challenge a National Security Letter (NSL) the petitioner had received. NSLs are issued by law enforcement with neither judicial oversight nor probable cause, and have been discussed on Slashdot before. In response to the lawsuit, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a separate lawsuit against the individual who had received the NSL, requesting that the court order the recipient to comply with the NSL and asking the court to find that the 'failure to comply with a lawfully issued National Security Letter interferes with the United States' vindication of its sovereign interests in law enforcement, counterintelligence, and protecting national security.' Both cases are filed under seal, but heavily-redacted filings are available. The cases remain pending."
Jeremiah Cornelius writes "Wal-Mart — the retail king of Big Data analytics — will be meeting Mark Zuckerberg for two days in Bentonville, to 'deepen' their relationship with Facebook. The CEO-level strategy summit is intended to bolster the relationship between the world's No. 1 social network and the world's largest retailer. Wal-Mart has been left in the dust online by the behemoth Amazon. An alliance may be poised to challenge this dominance, particularly in light of Amazon's planned foray into same-day delivery nationwide. The companies share James Breyer, who sits on the boards of both Facebook and Wal-Mart. Adding another angle to this, Yahoo's new CEO, Marissa Mayer, was elected to Wal-Mart's board in early June, while she was still at Google. Earlier this month, Facebook and Yahoo settled a patent dispute and announced plans to form another 'strategic alliance' involving advertising and distribution. The implications for online privacy in this series of relationships are uncertain."
An anonymous reader writes "With threats to network neutrality, such as Verizon's recent lawsuit, I've been thinking of creating a map plotting all the locations where telecommunications companies currently use public lands via right-of-way laws. It seems that this would convey just how much telecommunications depends on public infrastructure. However, it's been difficult identifying where these locations are. Short of crowdsourcing, does anyone know of resources that could be used to create such a map?"
beaverdownunder sends the sad news that a gunman opened fire on an audience watching the new Batman movie early this morning, killing 12 and wounding 50 others. The shooting took place in Aurora, Colorado, and the suspect was arrested by police. "Witnesses told KUSA that the gunman kicked in an emergency exit door and threw a smoke bomb into the darkened theater before opening fire. One movie-goer, who was not identified, told KUSA the gunman was wearing a gas mask. Some people in the audience thought the thick smoke and gunfire was a special effect accompanying the movie, police and witnesses said."
MrSeb writes "A cross-disciplinary team of US neuroscientists and cryptographers have developed a password/passkey system that removes the weakest link in any security system: the human user. It's ingenious: The system still requires that you enter a password, but at no point do you actually remember the password, meaning it can't be written down and it can't be obtained via coercion or torture — i.e. rubber-hose cryptanalysis. The system, devised by Hristo Bojinov of Stanford University and friends from Northwestern and SRI, relies on implicit learning, a process by which you absorb new information — but you're completely unaware that you've actually learned anything; a bit like learning to ride a bike. The process of learning the password (or cryptographic key) involves the use of a specially crafted computer game that, funnily enough, resembles Guitar Hero. Their experimental results suggest that, after a 45 minute learning session, the 30-letter password is firmly implanted in your subconscious brain. Authentication requires that you play a round of the game — but this time, your 30-letter sequence is interspersed with other random 30-letter sequences. To pass authentication, you must reliably perform better on your sequence. Even after two weeks, it seems you are still able to recall this sequence."
angry tapir writes "Twitter plans to appeal a ruling to turn over the once-public tweets of an Occupy Wall Street protester charged with disorderly conduct, a case the company says threatens the First Amendment rights of its users. A New York Criminal Court judge ruled last month that Twitter should turn over the tweets of Malcolm Harris, since his messages were public and are not the same as an email or a private chat, which would require a search warrant."
fangmcgee writes "Archaeologists have unearthed several 500-year-old bras that some experts say could rewrite fashion history. While they'll hardly send pulses racing by today's standards, the lace-and-linen underpinnings predate the invention of the modern brassiere by hundreds of years. Found hidden under the floorboards of Lengberg Castle in Austria's East Tyrol, along with some 2,700 textile fragments and one completely preserved pair of (presumably male) linen underpants, the four intact bras and two fragmented specimens are thought to date to the 15th century, a hypothesis scientists later confirmed through carbon-dating."
ananyo writes "In the search for methods of geoengineering to limit global warming, it seems that stimulating the growth of algae in the oceans might be an efficient way of removing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere after all. Despite attracting controversy and a UN moratorium, as well as previous studies suggesting that this approach was ineffective, a recent analysis of an ocean-fertilization experiment eight years ago in the Southern Ocean indicates that encouraging algal blooms to grow can soak up carbon that is then deposited in the deep ocean as the algae die. Each atom of added iron pulled at least 13,000 atoms of carbon out of the atmosphere by encouraging algal growth which, through photosynthesis, captures carbon. The team reports that much of the captured carbon was transported to the deep ocean, where it will remain sequestered for centuries — a 'carbon sink' (abstract)."
colinneagle writes "People are not going to, nor should they have to, start walking around outside with a bag over their head to avoid security cameras capturing images of them. Yet 'face recognition allows for covert, remote and mass capture and identification of images — and the photos that may end up in a database include not just a person's face but also how she is dressed and possibly whom she is with. This creates threats to free association and free expression not evident in other biometrics,' testified EFF Staff Attorney Jennifer Lynch. There are 32 states that use some form of facial recognition for DMV photos. Every day, Facebook happily slurps up and automatically scans with facial recognition software about 300 million photos that users upload to the social networking giant. 'Face recognition is here to stay, and, though many Americans may not realize it, they are already in a face recognition database,' Lynch said. In fact, when you stop to consider Facebook "at least 54% of the United States population already has a face print." Now it purchased Face.com which had 31 billion face images profiled."
phyr writes "The European Space Agency is looking for student coders to join the Summer of Code in Space. ESA will pay 4000 Euros to each student for contributing to a space related open source project for the summer. Accepted student applicants are paired with a mentor from the participating projects, thus gaining exposure to real-world software development scenarios. Mentor organizations have been selected. Students now have until July 27 to submit their applications. Check out the ideas pages of each project such as for the NEST SAR Toolbox"