Imprisoned former dictator Manuel Noriega, 80, is suing Activision Blizzard for using his name and likeness in "Call of Duty: Black Ops II." The game was released in 2012 and features a character named Manuel Noriega assisting the CIA, and then the character betrays the U.S. later in the game.
Noriega, the former leader of Panama, is serving a 20-year sentence in Panama, after already serving prison sentences in the United States and France. He is seeking damages and lost profits, claiming his character helped boost game sales. There have been a few high-profile lawsuits regarding video game character likeness, but this one will prove to be especially tricky to prove:
"In the U.S., individuals have what's called the right to publicity, which gives them control over how their person is depicted in commerce including video games," said Jas Purewal, interactive entertainment lawyer, in a statement to BBC. "But Noriega isn't a U.S. citizen or even a resident. This means that his legal claim becomes questionable, because it's unclear on what legal basis he can actually bring a case against Activision."
Google publicly announced its Project Zero, a new effort aimed at tracking software bugs, with a public vulnerability database also in the works. The company also recruited George Hotz, responsible for hacking the Sony PlayStation 3 and Apple iPhone, among other claims to fame, as an intern to help with the bug hunt.
The Project Zero team will focus solely on tracking down bugs - not just for Google software - to help try to keep the Internet more secure. In addition, Google wants to better understand the techniques, targets and motivations of cybercriminals, as state-sponsored hacking becomes extremely prevalent.
"Once the bug report becomes public (typically once a patch is available), you'll be able to monitor vendor time-to-fix performance, see any discussion about exploitability, and view historical exploits and crash traces," said Chris Evans, responsible for leading Project Zero.
It's easy to forget that Netflix has DVDs at all. I've never had DVDs, but I watch the heck out of Netflix streaming in my house. If you are one of the hoards of user still getting physical DVDs from Netflix, you may not have noticed that the company stopped working on Saturdays.
Netflix no longer ships DVDs on Saturdays and is now working a five-day week. The company has been transitioning away from the old six day per week schedule for the last year and ended Saturday processing in early June.
Netflix says that part of the reason it stopped processing on Saturdays is that more people are streaming reducing the pressure to get discs out quickly. If you are a Netflix subscriber, have you noticed any shipment differences since June?
Oculus is having a hard time keeping its new VR headset limited to the developers that it wants to get these early units. Some of the people who have pre-ordered the headset have been putting those pre-ordered units up for sell on eBay and other places.
People who pre-ordered the second version of the Rift are expected to begin receiving their headsets this week. Oculus has been checking out eBay and cancelling the pre-orders for people who have put them on eBay.
One of those eBay auctions was trying to sell a pre-ordered headset for $5000, keep in mind that the headset originally cost $350. The company recently found out who the guy was selling the pre-order and cancelled his order. The moral of the story here is if you are going to sell one of these on eBay, wait until it get to you to list it.
One of the most studied and definitely, the most visited planets in our solar system, other than Earth, is Mars. Humans have been studying Mars for centuries and only in the last several decades have we really begun to understand the red planet and what its surface looks like.
An awesome new geological map has been published that shows what the surface of Mars looks like and the map contains 30 years of data collected about the red planet. The map, pictured here, comes from the US Geological Survey. All the colors you see on the map represent parts of the crust of the planet formed at different times.
The green areas are believed to be lowland plains that are covered in sediment leftover for lakes and rivers that scientist believe covered the planet billions of years ago. All of the bright yellow dots are impact craters.
The European Space Agency (ESA) launched a probe to study the surface of a comet and the comet that probe is targeting is known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. An unexpected discovery was made recently that could affect the mission that Rosetta is on, its target comet isn't a single body as previously believed.
67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has been discovered recently to be what scientists call a contact binary. This means that the nucleus of the comet is made up of not one, but two bodies. The team believes that the comet came to be configured like this in one of two ways. The first is that a single large nucleus might have fractured at some time in the past creating the contact binary configuration.
The second way the comet could have come to this configuration is by the collision of two comets to form one. Rosetta is supposed to actually land on the surface of the comet and with this discovery, the discussion has now turned to which part of the comet would be the best to land on. The sequence of images of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko seen here were taken last Friday. Rosetta is set to rendezvous with the comet August 6.
Sling has been making set top boxes for a long time now that are able to shoot your favorite content at home to a portable device outside the home for viewing on the go. The company has announced a new set top box that will launch later this month that is its smallest and cheapest unit to date. The new set top box is called the M1 and it will sell for $149.99 when it launches July 20.
That makes it about $30 cheaper than the old Slingbox 350 it replaces and the new M1 is considerably smaller. The smaller footprint of the new device makes it easier to find space for the M1 in your crowded entertainment center.
The M1 is designed to work with the Sling apps for iOS, Android, and desktop apps for Mac and Windows computers. Despite being smaller and cheaper than its predecessor, the M1 still has the component and composite connectivity that the larger and older box offered. Sling also fits the M1 with Wi-Fi connectivity and ditches the Ethernet cable needed for the older set top box.
One of the things that irritated many people who wanted to try out the Google social network Google+ since the service launched was that you had to use your real name. For many of people using their real names wasn't such a big deal, but for those who aren't known by their real name is was a problem.
That requirement to use your real name became even more annoying when Google started to use Google+ credentials to leave comments on YouTube videos. The reason for this was the idea that people would be less likely to troll if they had to use their real name.
Google has now made an about face three years after the launch of Google+ and issued an apology to users and is now letting people sign up with whatever name they want to use. You can now register an account with most any name you want; presumably, Google will still block names with naughty words in them.
We mentioned yesterday that a rumor was going around that claims Microsoft is set to shed a significant number of workers in one of the largest rounds of layoffs in years. A new rumor suggests that a large percentage of the workers cut in this round of layoffs by Microsoft will be at the Finnish headquarters of Nokia. Microsoft acquired the Nokia HQ and all the workers Nokia had when the deal closed.
In that acquisition, Microsoft ended up with about 25,000 Nokia employees. The rumor suggest that as many as 1000 of those 4700 workers at Nokia HQ are going to be let go when Microsoft starts layoffs.
The layoff rumors suggest that overall Microsoft could be shedding more than the 5,000 workers that were terminated in 2009, the last major round of layoffs for Microsoft. Microsoft is also expected to close the Oulu R&D labs in Finland, which is responsible for developing software for feature phones.
Japan is known as the place to go if you want odd gadgets and other quirky items and Yahoo has a service that sounds like something you would find in Japan called Yahoo Ending. Yahoo Ending is a portal that has a place to go to get all your final affairs in order with the ability to deal with your worldly remains and delete your online data as well.
The new portal launched this week and a video that is making the rounds shows a family getting messages on mobile phones from a dad who just died. When Yahoo receives an official notification that someone has died, it deletes all the Yahoo Japan data, cancels all charges to the Yahoo digital wallet, deletes files from the Yahoo Box online storage, and sends out farewell messages to loved ones automatically.
Some of the services on Yahoo Ending are premium and require payment. Among the services is the ability to set up a memorial space with invitations to the funeral and the ability to send messages to family and friends, show personal movies, and share information on the deceased's favorite films and music. The service also offers full funeral packages costing up to $18,000.