As Microsoft prepares for the launch of Windows Phone 8 devices, its most important push into the smartphone industry to date, speculation is rampant about whether or not consumers will continue to ignore Windows-based phones. There are many obvious ways Microsoft could misstep and lose its chance to participate in another generation of phones, but what would it take for Windows Phone 8 to succeed? To start, they can take advantage of manufacturers who are worried about being pursued over patent claims. They could also work to establish the permanence of Windows Phone 8, after the upgrade inflexibility involved with Windows Phone 7 and Windows Mobile 6.5. Finally, they could take a page out of Amazon's book and make WP8 devices more about services.
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
pacopico writes "Elon Musk has just come off a pretty amazing run. SpaceX docked with the ISS. Tesla has started selling its all-electric luxury sedan, and SolarCity just filed to go public. Bloomberg Businessweek spent a few days with Musk and got a look inside his insane factories in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles. It's like Willy Wonka time for geeks. Among the other proclamations in the story is Musk saying that he intends to die on Mars. 'Just not on impact.' Musk then goes on to describe a fifth mode of transportation he's calling the Hyperloop."
gbrumfiel writes "The Astronomical Unit (AU) is known to most as the distance between the Earth and the Sun. In fact, the official definition was a much more complex mathematical calculation involving angular measurements, hypothetical bodies, and the Sun's mass. That old definition created problems: due to general relativity, the length of the AU changed depending on an observer's position in the solar system. And the mass of the Sun changes over time, so the AU was changing as well. At the International Astronomical Union's latest meeting, astronomers unanimously voted on a new simplified definition: exactly 149,597,870,700 meters. Nobody need panic, the earth's distance from the sun remains just as it was, regardless of whether it's in AUs, meters, or smoots."
puddingebola sends word of a German court decision yesterday which found that Google's Motorola Mobility must recall all of its Android tablets and phones that infringe on Apple's patent for "rubber-band" scrolling. From the Guardian: "The dramatic decision, the latest in an escalating war between Apple and the smartphone and set-top box company MMI, follows earlier cases in which Apple had to disable automatic "push" delivery of email to its iPhone and iPads after MMI won a separate patent fight in Germany. The recall will not take effect immediately because Apple will have to request a ban on specific products and provide a €25m (£20m) bond, while MMI can appeal. However, the court indicated that it was unlikely that an appeal against the validity of the patent would succeed. MMI, with Google's backing, is expected to continue the appeal. The court also ruled that MMI owed Apple damages for past infringement."
ProbablyJoe writes "The long awaited Source engine remake of the Valve's original Half Life has finally been released. The initial release only includes the story up until Xen, but the developers say they'll be adding the rest of the story, along with an online multiplayer Deathmatch mode, soon. The game is available to download for free, and only requires players to install the Source SDK (included with all Source games, or a free download). The highly anticipated release has also caused a huge amount of traffic for any servers hosting the files, with GameFront, GameUpdates, and Black Mesa's own CDN brought down within minutes of the release. The project has also been approved by Steam's Greenlight program, and will hopefully be available through Steam soon, though no timeframe has been given."
CowboyNeal writes: "It seems like the news on everyone's favorite most resilient BitTorrent site never ends, as we approach its ninth birthday in just a couple days. Google has even recently wiped TPB results from auto-complete searches. Last month Nick Bilton wrote a rather insightful piece in the NYT (also covered on Slashdot), about 'Why Internet Pirates Always Win.' Read on, as I examine not only why he's right, but how piracy could be further curbed already."
Cornwallis writes in with a story reminding cameras everywhere that just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't watching you. "Many people find speed cameras frustrating, and some in the region are taking their rage out on the cameras themselves. But now there's a new solution: cameras to watch the cameras. One is already in place, and Prince George's County Police Maj. Robert V. Liberati hopes to have up to a dozen more before the end of the year. 'It's not worth going to jail over a $40 ticket or an arson or destruction of property charge,' says Liberati."
New submitter 8-Track writes "The RIPE NCC, the Regional Internet Registry for Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia, distributed the last blocks of IPv4 address space from the available pool. This means they are now distributing IPv4 address space to Local Internet Registries (LIRs) from the last /8. An ISP may receive one /22 allocation (1,024 IPv4 addresses), even if they can justify a larger allocation. This /22 allocation will only be made to LIRs if they have already received an IPv6 allocation from an upstream LIR or the RIPE NCC. Time to move to IPv6!"
WebMink writes "What if there was an easy, inexpensive way to bring software patents under control, that did not involve Congress, which applied retrospectively to all patents and which was already part of the U.S. Patent Act? Stanford law professor Mark Lemley thinks he's found it. He asserts that the current runaway destruction being caused by software patents is just like previous problems with U.S. patent law, and that Congress included language in the Patent Act of 1952 that can be invoked over software patents just like it fixed the earlier problems. All it will take is a future defendant in a patent trial using his read of a crucial section of the Patent Act in their defense to establish case law. Can it really be that easy?"
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "Wired has published an excerpt of the new WikiLeaks-related book This Machine Kills Secrets, which delves into the launch of the WikiLeaks spinoff OpenLeaks at the Chaos Communication Camp in Berlin last year. The detailed account of the site's debut, with German ex-WikiLeaker Daniel Domscheit-Berg at the helm, reveals that even before the dispute between WikiLeaks and OpenLeaks led to the controversial destruction of the decryption keys for 3,000 of WikiLeaks' encrypted leaks taken by Domscheit-Berg, OpenLeaks was already facing significant problems: Rumors that the group had been infiltrated by the German government, a lack of code open for public auditing and even a failure to get the site online in time for the penetration test it had invited the CCC hackers to perform. The book passage gives a peek into the infighting, bad luck, disorganization and personality problems that has left the world without a real sequel to WikiLeaks despite the dozens of leak-focused sites that have launched in the last two years."
mdsolar writes "Reuters reports that the Japanese government said it 'intends to stop using nuclear power by the 2030s, marking a major shift from policy goals set before last year's Fukushima disaster that sought to increase the share of atomic energy to more than half of electricity supply. Japan joins countries such as Germany and Switzerland in turning away from nuclear power ... Japan was the third-biggest user of atomic energy before the disaster. In abandoning atomic power, Japan aims to triple the share of renewable power to 30 percent of its energy mix, but will remain a top importer of oil, coal and gas for the foreseeable future. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's unpopular government, which could face an election this year, had faced intense lobbying from industries to maintain atomic energy and also concerns from its major ally, the United States, which supplied it with nuclear technology in the 1950s.' Meanwhile, the U.S. nuclear renaissance appears to be unraveling."
girlmad tips this news from the Inquirer: "Intel's Clover Trail Atom processor can be seen in various non-descript laptops around IDF and the firm provided a lot of architectural details on the chip, confirming details such as dual-core and a number of power states. However Intel said Clover Trail 'is a Windows 8 chip' and that 'the chip cannot run Linux.' While Intel's claim that Clover Trail won't run Linux is not quite true — after all, it is an x86 instruction set, so there is no major reason why the Linux kernel and userland will not run — given that the firm will not support it, device makers are unlikely to produce Linux Clover Trail devices for their own support reasons."
New submitter notscientific writes "Renewable sources of energy are obviously a hit but they have as yet failed to live up to the hype. A new study in Nature Climate Change shows however that there is more than enough power to be harnessed from the wind to sustain Earth's entire population... x200! To generate energy from the wind, we may however need to set up wind farms at altitudes of 200-20,000 metres. To be fair, the study is purely theoretical and does not look at the feasibility of such potential wind farms. Regardless, the paper does provide a major boost to backers of wind-generated energy. Science has confirmed that the sky's the limit."
Ubi_NL writes "In yesterday's ruling of Playboy (via publisher Sanoma) vs Dutch blog Geenstijl, the court ruled that hyperlinking to copyrighted material was itself infringement of copyright. The court ordered the blog to remove all links to the infringing links (court ruling in Dutch). How this ruling fits into the supreme court ruling that hyperlinks cannot by themselves infringe copyright is still to be discussed, possibly in an appeal."
Curiosity has spent most of the past 5 weeks running instrument and system checks, but on Friday that is all scheduled to change. The plan is to "drive, drive, drive" until a suitable rock for the rover's first robotic "hands-on" analysis is found, says mission manager Jennifer Trosper. The rover will head to a location about 1,300 feet away labeled "Glenelg," where three different types of rock intersect.