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In another move that threatens the open and free internet, Dutch courts have ruled that the countries ISPs must block access to The Pirate Bay or face fines of 10,000 euros per day. That massive of a fine will likely prevent any dissenters of the ruling, however, there are always ways around the blockade as shown in the UK.
Court rulings demanding ISPs block access to The Pirate Bay are stacking up in countries and one has to ask themselves what are the effects of the blocks? In this case these blocks aren't really going to do anything as they can be bypassed pretty easily. However, the idea that the government can order censorship is the scarier prospect.
These rulings are the first attacks on the site. The Pirate Bay is no stranger to trouble with the law as many companies have sued them for copyright infringement along with governments seizing the servers. It has persevered, but it will probably get tougher to do so as more court rulings come in. I know one thing, if the US government tries to make this ruling, I will be in the masses that protest.
In my opinion, this censorship goes against the heart of the first amendment. The Pirate Bay hosts no infringing material. Instead, they provide a roadmap on where to get it. It's akin to the US block on travel to Cuba. US citizens are prevented from going to Cuba, yet people still sell maps on how to get there and they are blocked.
It's a tough economy out there still, and it's hitting some companies harder than others. Nintendo, for the first time ever, posted a loss. Now Sony has reported its fiscal year 2012 results and the picture is bleak. Sony lost a record $5.55 billion as revenue fell 9.6% to $79.2 billion. This earns fiscal year 2012 the title of being Sony's worst year ever.
Sony is doing its best to remain strong through these tough times saying that the losses are mostly due to unforeseen circumstances. These unforeseen events would include a strong yen, an earthquake in Japan, and floods in Thailand. Not every sector of Sony lost money, but a few were hit extremely hard.
The company's Consumer Products & Services division is one of those that was hit hard. In 2011, they division posted a small profit, but this year sales were down 18.5% to $38.3 billion. This created a massive $2.8 billion loss for the company. None of this surprises shareholders, however, as Sony has posted difficult quarters during the year.
Sony is doing what it can to return to profitability. Sony has announced plans last month to lay off 10,000 employees to help its bottom line. Sony has also decided to focus on "One Sony" which will have Sony focusing on digital imaging, gaming, and the mobile market.
BlackBerry maker, Research in Motion (RIM) yesterday hired two new senior executives, with one of them taking the post of marketing chief as RIM hopes to regain market share that they lost to Apple's iPhone, and the various handsets that rock Google's Android OS.
RIM only recently announces losses mounting $125 million, as they battle declining smartphone sales. Compared to Q4 2011 where the company made a hefty $934 million profit, a drop to $125 million in losses is a stark change. At that time, RIM had just announced a management shakeup where we saw 20-year veteran Jim Baisillie step down from the board, as well as the CTO and COO for global operations leaving.
Who's the new chief marketing officer? Frank Boulben, who CEO Thorsten Heins describes as a critically important decision. Boulben leaves his previous position at LightSquared, where he was the executive vice president for strategy and marketing, with that company also struggling since Sprint left their partnership with the company after US regulators killed off plans it had for a nationwide broadband network.
One can see the similarities between HP's metal unibody-based Envy Spectre XT ultrathin, to Apple's MacBook Air. Firstly, HP's Spectre XT is the new flagship model of HP's just-announced Envy ultrathin lineup, which was born from VoodooPC's Envy laptops, which launched in June of 2008.
The VoodooPC Envy was one of the first non-Apple ultrathins to arrive on the market mere months after the launch of the MacBook Air from Apple. While the Voodoo Envy didn't look that much like the MacBook Air, HP's line-up of ultrathin's have slowly been sliding into the MacBook Air's skin since release.
The latest release was enough for HP's vice president of industrial design, Stacy Wolff, to go on the defensive. He told Engadget:
[The Spectre XT's looks are] not due to Apple but due to the way technologies developed. It is not because those guys did it first. It's just that's where the form factor is leading it.
He specifically points to his design's rubber imbued bottom, slightly different keyboard, and a brushed metal body as key differentiators. We all know Apple is trigger-happy when it comes to suing companies, but Wolff has stated that the design was approved by his lawyers, so we shouldn't see any problems.
Want a GEFORCE GTX 680? Well, line up behind the eleventy million other people who want one, but things are set to change. The relationship between NVIDIA and its principal foundry partner, TSMC, has been rocky for quite sometime now. Team Green were also not happy with TSMC's 28nm manufacturing capacity, but then give them praise in other areas.
NVIDIA have threatened to
break up with TSMC find another foundry partner for bulk manufacturing, with reports pointing to Samsung preparing qualification samples for it, TSMC had a change of heart and have promised NVIDIA a priority over their other clients such as Qualcomm and AMD for the manufacturing of their 28nm chips.
NVIDIA were not quiet on being unhappy with TSMC's output, and its new policy of charging for wafers rather than working chips yielded, NVIDIA refuted rumors of it seeking other foundry partners such as Global Foundaries and Samsung. Now NVIDIA are on high-priority, TSMC will make sure to see a speedy launch of new NVIDIA GEFORCE SKUs toward the end of Q2, 2012. TSMC in the past have given other companies priority, such as when Qualcomm threatened to switch allocations to other foundries.
I will work off the assumption that all of my readers are on the up and up and don't pirate music and videos. Yes, I have high standards for my readers, but it's for the best. Since none of us pirate music or movies, it always annoys me to see the anti-piracy fear campaign before the start of a movie. Apparently it wasn't enough, though, because two new propaganda slides are being added.
The one above is the traditional fear-based warning. It offers the standard "you could be fined or go to jail if you download this movie illegally" routine. Of course, a $250,000 fine and 5 years in jail is a bit excessive and scary, but at the same time, I don't pirate, so I don't want to see the warning! This one has been brought to you courtesy of the FBI and the HSI.
It reads "The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement is investigated by federal law enforcement agencies and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000."
This propaganda showing is a less standard, yet still traditional, showing. It claims that pirating hurts the economy and that it is not a victimless crime. It encourages viewers to set aside their movie and go to http://www.iprcenter.gov to learn more. "Piracy is not a victimless crime. For more information on how digital theft harms the economy, please visit http://www.iprcenter.gov."
StumbleUpon co-founder and CEO, Garrett Camp, has stepped down from his position and will become chairman of the company. Camp, who after 10 years of leading StumbleUpon, wants change. He explained that it's "time for a change" in a post on StumbleUpon's blog:
After 10 years leading StumbleUpon, it's time for a change. From Geoff and I working part-time in Canada in 2002 to over 120 talented employees today, I've guided StumbleUpon through an unconventional journey. We moved to San Francisco in 2006 (photo above), were acquired by eBay just a year later, spun ourselves out of eBay in 2009, and have since grown the company from 5 million to more than 25 million registered users. The last 3 years have been incredible - completely rebuilding the company and expanding from a simple Firefox add-on to one of the largest discovery platforms on the Web.
StumbleUpon is now seeking a new CEO, immediately. The rest of its executive staff will continue as is. The next thing to see is who StumbleUpon, well, stumble upon for their next CEO, as well as what Camp has up his sleeve as to his next move.
After the successful conclusion of a pilot program which studied the effect of tablet computers in government, all 650 members of the British parliament (MP) will soon receive Apple's tablet masterpiece, the iPad.
The roll out of iPads to MPs will cost anywhere between $420,300 and $693,500. Nearly 70 MPs have already bought an iPad and have listed them as an expense, putting the cost onto the tax payer. But there are benefits, they say: such as saving money on printing, and other business/workflow-related reasons.
Each MP and his or her staff are entitled to three desktop computers, and two laptops in the service of the government. A trade-in of one of the allotted devices is expected from 300 of the 650 members not assigned to a select committee. The returned equipment helps for the cost of the iPad purchases by updating obsolete equipment in use by non-elected staffers, which then reduces the need for purchases of new equipment, which would cost a little over $80,000.
EA believes consoles still have potential, promises $80 million in investment for next-gen console game development
In EA's earning call, it was made clear that the company intends to compete in the next-gen console market and is planning to invest $80 million in next-gen game consoles. This $80 million is only over the fiscal year 2013, so likely most of this money will go towards WiiU games as the WiiU is rumored to release around Christmas this year.
"We intend to invest $80 million in gen-4 console development in fiscal 2013," said EA CEO John Riccitiello in his prepared remarks. "We are strong believers that console will return to strong growth, representing great opportunity, one that is in lockstep with our digital plan."
This commitment comes at a time when EA saw, and is predicting, a decline in packaged good sales. At the same time, however, they are expecting to see an increase of 40% in digital revenue for the year. Of course, $80 million wouldn't even cover the development costs of one top AAA title, so it's unclear exactly how many titles will be coming from this investment.
In what I can only call a hilarious turn of events, two of Romania's most renowned fortune-tellers have been accused of using Google, rather than the spirits, to con clients into doing some outlandish things and forking over cash for the services. One client was encouraged to throw her money into a lake to rid herself of her troubles.
With the internet around, it's so much easier for people to collect information on other people. As such, it was just a matter of time before a fortune-teller put it to use. The fortune-tellers are accused of using their Wi-Fi connections to Google clients and their loved ones. I guess that sort of counts, since after all, Wi-Fi is kind of magical.
But, their misdeeds didn't stop there. According to the allegations, the fortune-tellers trawled their clients' social networks and even used electronic surveillance equipment on those who would pay large sums of money. In a bit of irony, these fortune-tellers couldn't foresee their future in that the prosecutor they tried to bribe was also under electronic surveillance.