How Steve Jobs Outsmarted Carly Fiorina 299 writes: Carly Fiorina likes to boast about her friendship with Apple founder Steve Jobs but Fortune Magazine reports that it turns out Carly may have outfoxed of by Apple's late leader. In January 2004, Steve Jobs and Carly Fiorina cut a deal where HP could slap its name on Apple's wildly successful iPod and sell it through HP retail channels but HP still managed to botch things up. The MP3 player worked just like a regular iPod, but it had HP's logo on the back and in return HP agreed to continue pre-loading iTunes onto its PCs. According to Steven Levy soon after the deal with HP was inked, Apple upgraded the iPod, making HP's version outdated and because of Fiorina's deal HP was banned from selling its own music player until August 2006. "This was a highly strategic move to block HP/Compaq from installing Windows Media Store on their PCs," says one Apple source. "We wanted iTunes Music store to be a definitive winner. Steve only did this deal because of that."

In short, Fiorina's "good friend" Steve Jobs blithely mugged her and HP's shareholders. By getting Fiorina to adopt the iPod as HP's music player, Jobs had effectively gotten his software installed on millions of computers for free, stifled his main competitor, and gotten a company that prided itself on invention to declare that Apple was a superior inventor.

Reports: Telstra Customers Suffering Crippling Speeds To Any Apple Service 50

An anonymous reader writes: It appears a large number of customers of Telstra (one of Australia's largest telcos) have been suffering crippling speeds while attempting to connect to any Apple Service for the better part of four days. Reports indicate this is affecting Apple Music, Apple App Stores (on both iOS and OSX) and are stopping many Telstra customers from getting access to app updates and the much anticipated El Capitan release of OS X. Mobile phone customers as well as home broadband customers seem to be affected at this stage with a large number of posts both on Twitter and the Whirlpool Broadband Forum. It appears one Twitter user has also fully summarised all the issues in a single post including many of the Twitter posts as well.
The Courts

"Happy Birthday To You" Now Public Domain 102

New submitter Duckman5 writes: As mentioned on multiple occasions, the popular song "Happy Birthday To You" has recently been the subject of a lawsuit between a couple of documentary filmmakers and Warner/Chappell Music. The judge in the case, George H. King, has finally issued his ruling and according to NPR and the LA Times, that song is finally in the public domain. Warner is still apparently "considering our options," so this may not be the end of it, but it seems to be a turn in the right direction. Also at the Washington Post, among many others.

One Day After iOS 9's Launch, Ad Blockers Top Apple's App Store 241 writes: Sarah Perez reports at TechCrunch that only one day after the release of Apple's newly released version of Apple's mobile operating system, iOS 9, ad blockers are topping the charts in the App Store and it seems that new iOS 9 users are thrilled to have access to this added functionality. The Top Paid iOS app is the new ad-blocker Peace, a $2.99 download from Instapaper founder Marco Arment. Peace currently supports a number of exclusive features that aren't found in other blockers yet. Most notably, it uses Ghostery's more robust blocklist, which Arment licensed from the larger company by offering them a percentage of the app's revenue. "I can't believe how many trackers are on popular sites," says Arment. "I can't believe how fast the web is without them." Other ad blockers are also topping the paid app chart as of today, including the Purify Blocker (#3), Crystal (#6), Blockr (#12). (Ranks as of the time of writing.) With the arrival of these apps, publishers and advertisers are fretting about the immediate impact to their bottom lines and business, which means they'll likely soon try to find ways to sneak around the blockers. In that case, it should be interesting to see which of the apps will be able to maintain their high degree of ad blocking over time.

It's no surprise that advertisers and publishers who make their money from advertising aren't exactly fans of blockers. What is surprising is that no one seemed to disagree with the argument that online ads have gotten out of control. "I think if we don't acknowledge that, we'd be fools," says Scott Cunningham, "So does that mean ad blockers are good or right? Absolutely not. Do we have an accountability and responsibility to address these things? Absolutely — and there's a lot that we're doing now." Harry Kargman agrees that in many cases, online ads have created "a bad consumer experience — from an annoyance perspective, a privacy perspective, a usability perspective." At the same time, Kargman says that as the industry works to solve these problems, it also needs to convince people that when you use an ad blocker, "That's stealing. It's no different than ripping music. It's no different than pirating movies."

Sharebeast, the Largest US-based Filesharing Service, Has Its Domain Seized 122

An anonymous reader writes: The RIAA says that the FBI has seized the domain of file-sharing service ShareBeast, shutting down what it said was responsible for the leaks of thousands of songs. The site now only displays a notice saying the FBI acted "pursuant to a seizure warrant related to suspect criminal copyright infringement." In a statement, RIAA CEO Cary Sherman called the seizure "a huge win for the music community and legitimate music services. ShareBeast operated with flagrant disregard for the rights of artists and labels while undermining the legal marketplace."

Can We Trust Apple To Make a Good Games Console? 174

An anonymous reader writes: The Apple TV took center stage at the company's recent press event. It's getting its own operating system, better support for watching movies and listening to music, and full integration with Siri. All to be expected. But Apple is also pushing for the device to become a hub connecting mobile gaming with your TV. This article questions whether Apple has the chops to become a serious contender in living room gaming. Quoting: "[T]he subtext was clear: Apple thinks it can take on Nintendo for third place in the console market. The problem is, even while it's parading game developers on stage, it's still not clear if Apple actually wants to take on the console market. The inconsistency within the company when it comes to games is painful to see, and shows no sign of abating any time soon. ... The iPhone is the largest games store on the planet, and it's managed by a company whose attitude to the medium is 'go write a book.' That hasn't stopped magnificent art being made for Apple's platforms, but it has stopped some, such as Sweatshop HD, which was pulled from the app store in 2013."

PayPal, Visa, MasterCard Prepare To Block Payments To Pirate Sites In France 82

An anonymous reader writes: The French government is deciding whether to allow PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, and other payments processors the right to refrain from executing transactions to pirate sites if copyright holders (MPAA, RIAA, PSR for Music) file a complaint. All pirate sites will be added to a blacklist, controlled by copyright holders, and not by a French court. A similar unofficial agreement between copyright holders and payment processors is actively being enforced in countries like the U.S. and the U.K.

Apple TV To Be Revamped 132

An anonymous reader writes: This Wednesday, Apple is hosting an event in San Francisco to announce updated versions of some of its products. One device getting a lot of the attention will be the Apple TV, which has languished for several years without significant changes. Apple is making a renewed push for the living room. The company has expanded its partnerships with TV studios over the past few years, launched its own streaming music service, and also made inroads on gaming. The new Apple TV will try to do all these things, including support for apps. It will also reportedly feature universal search: "Essentially, you'll be able to search for a show or movie once, and see results from all sorts of different sources." A side effect of this ambitious goal is that the device will more than double in cost, going from $70 to $150.

Sultan of Sound, Dr. James Flanagan, Passed Away Aged 89 13

An anonymous reader writes: A pioneer in the field of acoustics, Dr. James L. Flanagan provided "the technical foundation for speech recognition, teleconferencing, MP3 music files, and the more efficient digital transmission of human conversation." The NYTimes covered his recent passing: "His innovations included preserving the sound of a human voice while crunching it digitally, as well as teaching computers to articulate — converting sound waves into digital pulses. He also helped devise a 'force-feedback' tactile glove, similar to today’s video game accessories, that enabled medical students to simulate hands-on examinations when a live patient or cadaver was not available (or to mimic a game of handball). Dr. Flanagan also played a minor role in the drama surrounding the downfall of President Richard M. Nixon." An older (2005) article from IEEE Spectrum titled "Sultan of Sound" provides background on his work and impact. An interview (1997) discussing his WWII service, research at AT&T Bell Labs & Rutgers University is part of the IEEE oral history series.

Canadian Music Industry Faces Competition Complaint Over Public Domain Records 38

An anonymous reader writes: A Canadian record label specializing in public domain releases has filed a complaint with the Competition Tribunal over alleged anti-competitive conduct by Universal, Sony, and host of other music industry leaders. The complaint tells a fascinating behind-the-scenes tale, with the recording industry doing everything in its powers — including posting false reviews, pressuring distributors, and lobbying for changes to the law — to stop the sale of competing public domain records.

Ashley Madison CEO Steps Down, Reporter Finds Clues To Hacker's Identity 215

Dave Knott writes: Following the recent hacks on the infidelity website Ashley Madison, Noel Biderman has stepped down as CEO of both and its parent company. Avid Life Media Inc., the company that owns the site and many others, announced Biderman's move in a short press release on Friday: "Noel Biderman, in mutual agreement with the company, is stepping down as chief executive officer of Avid Life Media Inc. (ALM) and is no longer with the company. Until the appointment of a new CEO, the company will be led by the existing senior management team." Before the data hack, the company was planning an IPO in London that would have taken in as much as $200 million from investors. According to regulatory filings, the company had $115 million in revenue last year, more than four times the amount it obtained in 2009.

Meanwhile, in related news, Brian Krebs (the reporter who first uncovered the hack) says he has uncovered clues to the possible identity of the hacker. Krebs says he noticed the Twitter account operated by a known hacker recently posted a link to Ashley Madison's stolen proprietary source code before it was made public. Intrigued by the poster's apparent access, he examined the account's posting history and noticed a predilection for the music of Australian hard rock band AC/DC. This jibes with the behavior of the hacker(s), who had displayed threatening messages on the computers of Ashley Madison employees, accompanied by AC/DC song Thunderstruck. In a series of tweets, the owner of the account, one Thadeus Zu, appears to deny that he was behind the hack, and indeed makes several suggestions that the account itself isn't even run by one person, but is instead an amalgam of like-minded digital vigilantes.
The NY Times also reports that people whose details were contained in the leak are beginning to face threats of blackmail.

Judge Rules That Inglewood, California Cannot Copyright Public Videos 67

UnknowingFool writes: Recently a judge ruled in California that the city of Inglewood cannot hold copyrights of videos of public city council meetings which they published on their YouTube account and thus cannot sue individuals for copyright infringement for using them. In several YouTube videos, Joseph Teixeira, a resident of Inglewood, California, criticized the mayor, James Butts. Under the account name Dehol Truth, Teixeira took city council meetings posted on their YouTube account and edited them to make pointed criticisms about the mayor.

The city responded by registering the videos with copyrights and then suing Teixeira for copyright infringement. Many would say it was a thinly veiled attempt to silence a critic. Teixeira filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that (1) the city cannot claim copyright over public records (videos of public city council meetings) and (2) even if they could, his videos fell under Fair Use.

Unsurprisingly, a judge dismissed the city's case, citing California law which bars the city from holding copyrights on most public records. (This case may not be over as Teixeira's pro bono lawyer has not filed for attorney's fees. The ruling can be found here.) What is notable is that the judge dismissed the case with prejudice, so the city cannot refile. Normally judges do not do this unless they feel that the plaintiff's case was so weak that he feels no judge should hear the case ever again. Since the judge agreed with the defendant on the first point, he would not normally need to address Teixeira's Fair Use defense, but he did anyway. Anticipating that the city may appeal his decision, judge ruled that Teixeira's videos substantially met all four factors for Fair Use:
  1. There is no evidence Teixeira used the videos for commercial gain and was transformative
  2. His work was creative by adding music and commentary to the normally boring council videos
  3. Despite the city's claim he used their "entire work", it clear that he only used portions of meetings that lasted as long as four hours editing them down to a max of 15 minutes.
  4. Teixeira did not harm the city's market for the videos because the city is barred by state law from recouping more than direct costs of duplication. Even if the city could sell the videos (which they published themselves for free on YouTube), his short videos are not a substitute.

Bozza Wants To Be Africa's Answer To iTunes, Spotify and Netflix 42

Mickeycaskill writes: South African startup Bozza has grand ambitions of becoming a trusted platform for pan-African music, video and poetry, with artists keeping 70 percent of revenues. Whereas Netflix and Spotify can deliver high quality streams to users in North America and Europe with superfast fixed and 4G connections, 50 percent of Bozza's traffic comes from feature phones. Data compression technology and transcoding techniques try and keep costs down, while Africa's mobile market is much less app-centric. Bozza founder Emma Kaye explains how she plans to help turn Bozza into a major medium platform.

Video HooperFly is an Open Source, Modular Drone (Video) 24

Tricopters, quadcopters, hexicopters. A HooperFly can be any of these, or an octocopter or possibly even a larger number than that. The HooperFly is a modular creation, and spokesman Rich Burton says the design is open source (and was showing off the HooperFly at OSCON), so the flier's configuration is limited only by your imagination. The main construction material is plastic tubing available from most building supply and hardware stores. The electronics? We didn't see schematics or code, but presumably they're out there. One thing for sure is that the HooperFly is good for making music videos like M.I.A. & The Partysquad's Double Bubble Trouble (NSFP; i.e. NotSafeForPrudes; has images of 3-D printed guns, flying copters, etc.) and the lyrical Peace Drone at Twilight. It looks like HooperFly lives at the intersection of technology and art, which is a good place to be -- not that there aren't plenty of HooperFly skateboard videos, too, because one of the first things it seems most skateboarders do when they get a camera-equipped drone is shoot a skateboard video and post it to YouTube. But beyond that, intrepid drone pilots can work with the HooperFly's autopilot features to do many beautiful (and hopefully legal) things.

The Agonizingly Slow Decline of Adobe's Flash Player 220

harrymcc writes: Security and performance issues with Adobe's Flash Player have led to countless calls for its abandonment. But a significant percentage of major sites still use it--and many of those companies aren't eager to explain why. Over at Fast Company, Jared Newman investigates why Flash won't disappear from the web anytime soon. From the article: Despite the pressure from tech circles, the sites I spoke with said they simply weren’t able to start moving away from Flash until recently, when better technology become available. And even now, it’s going to take time for them to finish building the necessary tools. "Originally, Flash was necessary to solve a couple problems," says Adam Denenberg, chief technical officer for streaming music service iHeartRadio. "Streaming was difficult, especially for live stations, and there were no real http-supported streaming protocols that offered the flexibility of what was required a few years back."

Scientists Develop Electronic Skin Sensors For Controlling Mobile Devices 12

MojoKid writes: Wearables seem to be the "Next big thing" when it comes to consumer electronics devices. But while most current devices put a new tech-infused spin on an old idea like a wristwatch, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Saarland University and Carnegie Mellon University are developing a different type of wearable that actually sticks to your skin. Dubbed iSkin, the silicone rubber-based product is loaded with pressure-sensitive sensors, can made into limitless sizes/shapes and safely adheres to your body. For example, iSkin can be stuck to your forearm, wrapped around your finger, or even attached to your ear. What makes iSkin interesting is that it can be used for "fast and direct control of mobile devices using touch input even when the hands are busy." The researchers see iSkin being used to control smartphone and smartwatch functions like a stopwatch during sports activities, adjusting music playback and volume, and answering phone calls.

Google: Poor Kids Might Grasp Macbeth If They Code Like Kids At $43K/Yr School 144

theodp writes: While the CollegeBoard warned against drawing a causal link between learning computer science and improved learning in other subjects, Google has no such qualms. "CS is much more than computer programming and coding," writes the Google for Education blog in a post announcing a new gateway for Google's CS education opportunities. "It's a gateway to creativity and innovation not just in technology but in fields as diverse as music, sports, the arts, and health." Among the technology showcased at the gateway is Pencil Code, a programming tool for beginning coders that Google boasts is already helping kids attending the $43K-a-year Beaver Country Day School to brush up their Shakespeare by having students create interactive chatbots that play the part of characters like Lady Macbeth. "After completing this code I knew more and understood more of the play," begins one student's featured testimonial. "It allowed me to interpret Macbeth in a new way that I had never thought of before. I really enjoyed using Pencil Code because it made coding simpler for me and helped me try something new." Elsewhere on its CS gateway, Google laments that a new Google-Gallup Research Study shows that 'Blacks and low-income are less likely to have access' to such computer science opportunities.

KFC South Africa Lets Customers Listen To Music Using Bone Conduction 50

An anonymous reader writes: The end of annoying restaurant muzak may be nigh: A KFC branch in South Africa has put together a playlist of local artists for diners to enjoy — so long as they do so in silence. The in-shop broadcasts can only be heard using bone conduction as a speaker — diners put their elbows on the table and cup their ears if they want to hear the tunes.