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Although WWDC is technically over, discussion about the information that came out of it is far from it. You guys have yet to see even half of the videos that we have queued up for you—trust me, they get better in both quality and content. One of the videos we're prepping up is a spliced-together version of all the developers we talked to, answering the same few questions. One of those questions was "What do you think the real reason was for Apple to avoid opening up the iPhone to developers?" HangZhou Night Net

And I've gotta say, Mac developers are an optimistic bunch. So very, very optimistic. By far, the most common answers to the question were either that Apple "wasn't ready" and that they had decided to give devs something to work with too late before launch, or that Apple simply wanted to release a super-solid product with no possibility for anything to go wrong upon launch. In all cases, everyone said that they believed in their hearts that the "true" SDK was "coming."

It's endearing. Many of these devs are friends of mine, for whom I hold a lot of respect. Who wouldn't want to develop something for the iPhone? I'd like to remain optimistic alongside this collection of extremely bright folks, but some discussions with close friends of mine inside Apple make me think twice about that optimism.

An old friend of mine from college (who, as you would expect, has requested to remain anonymous) is an Apple engineer who is not on the iPhone team himself but has regular interaction with folks from the team. "It's not that it's not ready," he told us when asked about the non-SDK announcement at the keynote. "The issue here is security, right? Everything on the iPhone interacts directly with the kernel, and so there's a major concern about letting unsigned apps from developers just go in there and start interacting with the kernel along with everything else. Sure, Google's apps (such as Google Maps) are technically third-party, but they hand over signed code that we know we can trust. Not everyone can do that.

"Then, what happens when customers start installing these apps and they don't all get along? Suddenly now you have a phone—one of the most important devices some people own—that might be crashing and preventing calls from being made and received. Not only is that annoying to the customer, that's a lot for the companies' customer service to deal with. And to have to tell people 'well, it's not our fault, it's actually this third-party app that you installed' doesn't always go over so well with the general populace," he added.

Then came the million-dollar question and the slightly-less-than-million-dollar answer. Will there ever be an iPhone SDK that resides outside of Safari?

"This is just my opinion, and I could very well be proven wrong in the future," he warned. "But based on what I know, I don't personally believe that there will ever be an open iPhone SDK. Not like the one everyone seems to want, anyway."

Don't shoot the messenger, folks.

Immersion has been in the news in recent years largely on account of their legal beatdown of Sony. The haptics feedback company took both Microsoft and Sony to court over the presence of haptic feedback technology in their controllers back in 2002, and Microsoft settled for $26 million and a few surprises (more on that in a minute). Sony, on the other hand, defended their PlayStation 2 DualShock controller, but once the smoke and appeals cleared, Sony was on the hook for more than $90 million. HangZhou Night Net

When Sony claimed that the lack of haptic feedback in the PS3 controller was due to "rumble" being "last-gen," we pointed to the lawsuit as evidence that bad blood was ultimately fueling the decision. Curiously, once the settlement was in place, Sony said that they "look forward to exploring with Immersion exciting new ways to bring the largest and best range of gameplay experiences to our customers." As it turns out, some gamers like rumble, and it looks like rumble may be returning to the PS3.

The bad blood may have been cleared up between Sony and Immersion, but there's a new fight brewing between Microsoft and Immersion. The company is suing Immersion for breach of contract, having failed to pay proper consideration to Microsoft for a very interesting agreement between the two parties.

"We entered into a binding licensing agreement with Immersion and are seeking to have that agreement honored," said Microsoft associate general counsel Steve Aeschbacher in a statement. "Our request to the court is that all companies and industry partners should play by the same rules and that the binding agreement we signed with Immersion be honored."

Just what hasn't been honored? The complaint details the Sublicense Agreement (SLA) that Microsoft and Immersion entered into in 2003, following the settlement between the two parties. According to the complaint, the SLA entitles Microsoft to a minimum $15 million payment as a result of Immersion's settlement with Sony. Microsoft and Immersion apparently agreed to share the bounty that would stem from a court battle with Sony, and Microsoft says they have yet to be paid. In fact, Microsoft had a stepped arrangement which provided that additional compensation should be paid to the company if the total settlement amount surpassed $100 million, which Microsoft believes it has. How can that be true if the Sony settlement was for just $90 million?

Microsoft accuses Immersion of having failed to promptly disclose the full terms of their settlement with Sony, and they also accuses the company of "actively attempting to characterize its agreements with Sony as something other that [sic] what they are—a settlement." The accusation is that Immersion categorized part of the settlement as "licensing" of new technology. Microsoft sees any licensing stemming from the suit as being part of the settlement proper, and they want their cut.

Thus Microsoft says that in addition to the original $15 million "base obligation" owed as a result of the SLA, the agreement also entitles Microsoft to compensation for an additional amount to be determined at trial.

Several hours after publication, Immersion responded to our requests for comment. You can read Immersion's side of the story over at Opposable Thumbs.

I made a bit of a pledge to myself a little over a month ago: I would get back into shape. I recently moved into my late twenties and wanted to feel better about my fitness level and less winded after somewhat routine athletic activity. At one point in my life, I was in good shape. I was competing in athletics. I just lacked the motivation that working with a team once offered. HangZhou Night Net

So like any good geek, I spent money as a means for motivation. I went out and bought myself an Nike+iPod Sport Kit. It's not a terribly large amount of money at $29.95, but the combination of technology and a small investment was enough to get me out and running. I have now completed my first month of training and thought I would take some time over the next week and talk about some of the things that have made my running experiences more "enjoyable" (or as enjoyable as running can possibly be). Sure the kit has been out for a while, but if this inspires even one person to start running again, then score.

I ran into a problem almost immediately with my Nike+iPod Sport Kit: like so many, I don't fit into Nike's shoes. If you don't know already, most Nike running shoes have a divot taken out of the insole so you can place the sensor portion of the kit inside the shoe. I had a few different options: I could cut a hole into the insole of my shoes, I could "tie" the sensor into the laces, or I could buy a pouch for the sensor. Being what some may consider frugal, I decided to lace the device into my shoes: it took only a few days before I gave up on this tactic. The sensor would slip around no matter how tightly it was tied in, and there was always that uneasy feeling that it would squirt out of my shoe completely. Add this to the inconsistency of the distances I was running, and I was ready to pony up a nominal amount of money for a pouch.

The pouch that I bought was made by Grantwood Technology and cost me around $7.00 shipped from Amazon. It is simply a pouch with a black with a white logo on the front. When laced into your sneakers, the opening faces your laces, so there is nowhere for the sensor to go which equates to peace of mind.

I had an initial concern when I received the unit: at the time I wore my running shoes for more then just running and had to take the sensor out of my shoe after each run to save battery life. I was worried that with the way the pouch laced into the shoe, I wouldn't be able to get the sensor out without unlacing my entire shoe. It turned out that my fear was unfounded, and the sensor was easily enough removed. Since then I've gone to running-only shoes, Saucony Hurricane 8s, and I am glad I did. I'm also glad that I don't have to squeeze my feet into the sausage casings that are Nike's shoe line.

AT&T has quietly begun offering DSL service for $10 per month for new customers. Offered as part of the concessions the telecom made to the Federal Communications Commission in order to gain approval for its merger with BellSouth, the speed is nothing to get excited about: 768Kbps down and 128Kbps up. HangZhou Night Net

AT&T is also doing little to publicize the new offering. In fact, I was only able to discover any reference to the low-price service by clicking on the Terms and Conditions link at he bottom of AT&T's residential high-speed Internet product page. A note on AT&T Yahoo! High-Speed Internet buried six paragraphs down says that the "basic speed ($10.00)" tier is available to new customers only, those who have not subscribed to AT&T or BellSouth DSL during the past 12 months, and the service requires a one-year contract.

Customers must also order phone service to get the budget-priced DSL service; those looking for cheap, naked DSL should look elsewhere. Those living in BellSouth's former territory can get naked DSL for the next two-and-a-half years, however.

Along with the budget high-speed Internet and naked DSL, AT&T also promised to maintain a "neutral network and neutral routing in its wireline broadband Internet access service" while also giving up its rights to the 2.5GHz spectrum. (WiMAX provider Clearwire recently completed the purchase of AT&T's unused 2.5GHz holdings.) In addition, AT&T must offer broadband to 100 percent of all residential living units in its territory, with 85 percent of that delivered by wire.

As is the case with the naked DSL offering, AT&T is only required to offer the $10 per month tier for the next two-and-a-half years. After that, the company is free to make whatever changes it wants to the service.

It's only $5 cheaper than AT&T's current lowest-priced service, but at $10 per month, the service could appeal to budget-minded consumers—especially those who are paying about that amount for dial-up service. More importantly for AT&T, it gives the company another platform from which to pitch its U-Verse broadband and IPTV service. After two and a half years of 768Kbps service, U-Verse may look very attractive to lower-tier customers.

A different flavor of BSD

PC-BSD is not a Linux distribution, but rather it could be considered among the first major FreeBSD-based distributions to live outside of the official FreeBSD. Like most distributions, it has implemented certain features in a way that attempts to distinguish it from the competition, and I will focus mostly on these differences. This test drive is intended to give an overview of what PC-BSD is and why one would consider using it. HangZhou Night Net

First and foremost, PC-BSD is an attempt to make a user-friendly Unix. Many Linux distributions have a similar focus and attempt to achieve it in different ways, and PC-BSD should be considered alongside these distributions. Additionally, PC-BSD's developers went to great efforts to make users who are transitioning from Windows more comfortable—more on that later.

The version I tested was PC-BSD 1.3, which is based on FreeBSD 6.1, X.org 6.9, and KDE 3.5.5—none of which are the latest release. The use of older releases fits nicely with PC-BSD's focus on releasing an OS that is stable, secure and friendly. There is a testbed release available for those willing to live on the edge (and bleed a little) that includes more recent software… and the problems associated with it. PC-BSD appears to be available only in the 32-bit x86 flavor.

Hardware test bed:AMD Athlon 64 3200+MSI RS-480-M2 motherboard1GB RAM250GB SATA hard drivePCIe NVIDIA GeForce 7600The installation process

The install program is fast and simple, with limited options for installation. Upon first boot, you are dropped into a ncurses menu that lets you launch the graphical installer, drop into an emergency shell, and so forth. The installer can optionally be run in VESA mode if your video card is not properly detected and initialized (such as the case with my PCIe NIVIDIA GeForce 7600). The fallback mode can be selected from the installation menu.

Once in the graphical installer, you are given a very easy-to-use installation procedure that happens to be a single program running inside Fluxbox. This is only noticeable to the trained eye, as the only clue that you even have a window manager is a one-pixel line running along the bottom of the screen that turns into a taskbar when your mouse gets too close. The installer allows you to choose a "Desktop/Laptop" installation versus a "Server" installation, and it includes things such as automatically setting up the OpenBSD PF (Packet Filter) firewall, which it refers to as the Personal Firewall. Same letters in the acronym… very clever.

There is no package selection, and as a result, installation is very fast, as it's simply a matter of watching the installer extract some tarballs. No configuration is really performed at the time of installation, except for those questions the installer asks. The total time to install was around 20 minutes.

Installation went smoothly until the reboot for me, due once again to my X driver problem. If I was not a *nix professional, I would have panicked at this point. Since I am, I was able to boot into safe mode, log in as root, remount the filesystem as read-write, and try to edit my xorg.conf file. In safe mode, I found that something was wrong with the line terminations when using vi, so I had to use less to view the files and then construct a sed substitution to change the video driver from "nv" to "vesa." Upon reboot, everything worked swimmingly. I should note that the bootloader PC-BSD installs is the FreeBSD default bootloader, which detected my existing SATA drive and always allowed me to boot into my preexisting operating systems if I ran into trouble.

I had selected the option during install to automatically log me into my main user account on boot, and it did just as I requested. I must note that KDE seemed to load much faster on PC-BSD than I'm used to; probably around three times faster than my Kubuntu installation on my other drive (which either says something bad about kubuntu or something great about PC-BSD). In fact, the whole system felt very snappy.

Two law school students filed a lawsuit against the administrator of a web site and 28 of the site's users last week for psychological and economic injury. The two plaintiffs, anonymously listed as Doe I and Doe II, are female students at Yale Law School and claim that the users of a third-party law school message board have consistently and regularly made such disparaging remarks about their characters that it has cost them not only their emotional wellbeing, but internships and jobs. And despite repeated requests to remove the offensive posts, the site's administrators continually refused to do so. HangZhou Night Net

The posts occurred on AutoAdmit, a site that describes itself as the world's "most prestigious" college discussion board and claims to help students with law school information, hiring practices at law firms, and more. The comments against Doe I and II started as far back as 2005 when a poster from Doe I's undergrad university, Stanford, started a thread warning everyone at Yale Law School to "watch out" for her in a thread titled "Stupid Bitch to Attend Yale Law." Thus begun the string of public character assassinations, rumors, and (repeated) rape threats. Various users on the site also posted what she claims to be false information about her LSAT score, accused her of participating in a lesbian relationship with a Yale Law School administrator in order to gain admission, and encouraged others to warn law firms about her alleged illegitimacy.

Similarly in 2007, Doe II became the topic of several threads on AutoAdmit, focusing mostly on certain body parts (complete with pictures of her ripped from sites like Facebook) and also with repeated rape threats. Some posters encouraged others to stalk her and take more photographs, while continuing to encourage various lewd acts.

The complaint

In the complaint as seen by Ars Technica, Doe I and II claim to have lost sleep, fallen behind on schoolwork, suffered strained personal relationships with their families, and were forced to attend therapy as a result of the postings on AutoAdmit. Additionally, Doe I claims to have lost job prospects. She says that at some point, she applied for 16 different on-campus interviews at Yale, which resulted in a mere four callbacks and zero offers. "On information and belief, it is unprecedented for a second-year law student from Yale to participate in so many interviews without obtaining a single summer associate offer," the complaint reads. Her academic qualifications were similar to that of other classmates who had received offers, the complaint says.

The suit names the online pseudonyms of 28 anonymous posters on AutoAdmit in hopes of using subpoenas to identify them in real life. The two women are also suing site administrator Anthony Ciolli, who they say knowingly allowed and profited from these posts staying on the site despite AutoAdmit's "no outing" policy—a policy that states that posts that contain real-life information about other users will be deleted immediately. The women are also concerned that the posts on AutoAdmit are showing up in Google results when users perform queries on their names. The complaint itself mentions that several posters on AutoAdmit have attempted to "googlebomb" the women's names with defamatory comments, and that the first several Google hits for one of the women's names do in fact point to threads from AutoAdmit about them.

Fallout? What fallout?

Targeting Ciolli may prove difficult, however, partly because he did not author the posts himself. Ciolli may also be protected by laws stating that a site's administrators aren't responsible for the posts made by its users, such as the DMCA's Safe Harbor for copyrighted content. In March, Ciolli also told the Washington Post that his co-administrator, Jarret Cohen, was solely responsible for approving or deleting comments and that he had no authority to do so. As an interesting tidbit of side trivia, Ciolli—a law graduate himself—recently had an offer from a Boston law firm rescinded over his involvement with and the content on AutoAdmit, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Discovering the identities of the 28 posters could be difficult as well, since AutoAdmit apparently does not retain IP addresses for its users and does not require them to register with real names, according to the Washington Post—just valid e-mail addresses. However, those e-mail addresses could still eventually give away the identities of the posters involved, as it's probable that the e-mail service providers have more personal information stored about their users than AutoAdmit does and could be forced to give it up through subpoenas.

Ciolli and the AutoAdmit gang may not exactly have precedent on their side either. A student blogger from UC Berkeley recently lost a defamation case brought against him by journalist Lee Kaplan last week. The student, Yaman Salahi, had set up a blog called Lee Kaplan Watch in which Salahi cited articles written by Kaplan and publicly disputed various claims. Kaplan sued Salahi for business interference and libel, which Salahi lost in small claims court not once, but twice. On his blog, Salahi argues that because he was sued in small claims court and not a "real" court, he was unable to take advantage of California's anti-SLAPP—Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation—protections. "I have absolutely no doubt that had this lawsuit been filed in a real court, I would have won," Salahi wrote.

Doe I and II are asking for punitive damages in the amount of $245,000 as well as unspecified actual and special damages. The complaint also requests that the threads be permanently removed from AutoAdmit and that the administrators authorize Google to permanently remove cached versions of the threads.

Some experts believe that this case will go a long way towards testing the legal limits of anonymous Internet postings. University of Texas law professor Brian Leiter told Reuters that "the most vile posters on that board are two subpoenas away from being outed," which he says led to "much amusement" by AutoAdmit posters. "But they are about to find out that this is how it works," he added ominously.

A new study says that on average, more than half of the ink from inkjet cartridges is wasted when users toss them in the garbage. Why is that interesting? According to the study, users are tossing the cartridges when their printers are telling them they're out of ink, not when they necessarily are out of ink. HangZhou Night Net

The study by TÜV Rheinland looked at inkjet efficiency across multiple brands, including Epson (who commissioned the study), Lexmark, Canon, HP, Kodak, and Brother. They studied the efficiency of both single and multi-ink cartridges. Espon's printers were among the highest rated, at more than 80 percent efficiency using single-ink cartridges. Kodak's EasyShare 5300 was panned as the worst printer tested, wasting 64 percent of its ink in tests. TÜV Rheinland measured cartridge weights before and after use, stopping use when printers reported that they were out of ink.

That's the first problem. Printers routinely report that they are low on ink even when they aren't, and in some cases there are still hundreds of pages worth of ink left.

The second issue is a familiar one: multi-ink cartridges can be rendered "empty" when only one color runs low. Multi-ink cartridges store three to five colors in a single cartridge. Printing too many photos from the air show will kill your cartridge faster than you can say "blue skies," as dominant colors (say, "blue") are used faster than the others. Therein lies the reason Epson backed the study: the company is singing the praises of its single-ink cartridge approach, an approach which is necessarily more efficient in terms of wasted ink because there's only one color per cartridge, and thus only one cartridge to replace when that color runs out.

Single ink cartridges aren't exactly perfect, however. Such cartridges still were reported as empty with an average of 20 percent of their ink left, which means that an entire cartridge worth of ink is wasted for every five which are used. Given the sky-high prices of ink, this is an alarming find. Epson's own R360 posted the best numbers, with only 9 percent wasted. Yet again, Epson commissioned the tests, so we must ask what's missing.

The study did not measure how much ink is lost due to lack of use, or through cleaning processes. Inkjet cartridges are known to suffer from quality problems if they are not used for long periods of time, sometimes "drying up." This problem has been addressed in recent years, but it has not been eliminated.

The study also did not calculate the total cost per page, which arguably is more important than efficiency. If Epson's multicartridge approach is more efficient, it could nonetheless still be more expensive per page than multi-ink cartridge systems. In its defense, Epson and TÜV Rheinland said that their study focused on the ecological impact of inkjet printing. This is a familiar argument: hybrid cars have also been criticized for their supposed efficiency, with debates raging as to whether or not your average driver will ever see cost savings from better miles-per-gallon given the relative expensive of hybrid engines.

As such, anyone in the market for an inkjet printer still needs to compare specific models to one another to get a feel for efficiency, and Epson's efficiency claims needs to be weighed next to the comparative cost of competing inkjet solutions.

Still, the unintended result of this study is that regardless of the battle between single- and multi-ink cartridges, inkjet printers themselves are significantly off the mark when it comes to reporting the fullness of their cartridges. As the Eagles would say, you're best off when you "take it, to the limit." (Or with a laser printer, one can always do the toner cartridge cha-cha.)

Further reading:

inkjets doomed to failure, says EpsonEpson
pushes single-ink cartridges

On Monday, Microsoft launched a new version of its MSN Mobile web site. Besides fitting nicely inside a mobile browser, the site offers most, if not all of the content that comes with MSN. That content includes access to Windows Live products like Windows Live Hotmail, Windows Live Local, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Spaces, and Live Search. HangZhou Night Net

One of the major aspects of the new MSN Mobile site is that it has been developed with just about every mobile browser in mind. Specifically, Microsoft claims that the site will render appropriately for all browsers that utilize Wireless Application Protocols 1.2 and higher. Besides optimal rendering, Microsoft has also included quick links to frequently requested content such as e-mail, messaging, and maps.

One of the main user groups that Microsoft is focusing on with this new release is sports fans. Thanks to an exclusive deal with FOXSports.com, fans can use MSN Mobile to access statistics, schedules, scores, and player information. Because MSN Mobile also offers streaming content, there's a good chance that you'll also be able to access plenty of JB, Terry, Howie, and Jimmy's insightful commentary during football season. If that's not a deal-breaker, I don't know what is.

Consumers aside, Microsoft is also positioning the new MSN Mobile to operators. Using Microsoft adCenter and ScreenTonic, the company hopes to generate advertising revenue from both local and national businesses. The acquisition of ScreenTonic will certainly be of use here as its STAMP technology considers factors like screen size, geolocation, and formats when creating targeted advertisements.

Currently, MSN Mobile is only available in the United States, but Microsoft plans to expand the site to a global market throughout the remainder of 2007.

While there's currently no real SDK for the iPhone (and little chance of one to boot), it's important to remember that developers at least have some ability to write applications for the iPhone. The use of web applications for the iPhone has been debated and criticized any number of times, but some developers have been busy writing sample iPhone applications with some excellent results. HangZhou Night Net

There was a lot of discussion about iPhone development at WWDC this year and even a session about creating iPhone-friendly sites. But there are lots of aspiring developers out there who didn't attend WWDC, as well as those who did attend and are craving more knowledge. For everyone interested in iPhone development, the iPhoneDevCamp is shaping up to be the cool place to go. It's more of an intensive boot camp than a conference, since the primary goal seems to be to get as many people as possible together to talk about, learn about, and write applications for the iPhone. There will be a few presentations in the beginning as well, but most of the time will be dedicated to actual development. And developers, if you don't have a shiny new iPhone by July, don't worry: it's recommended but not required.

The good news is that the DevCamp is free, and will be held from July 6 to 8 in the Bay Area. No venue has been picked yet, but the organizers are trying to nail that down quickly. The organizers are also actively seeking sponsors and a few presenters, so if you can help out in either of those capacities, you might want to let them know.

It seems like a great idea, but everything is a bit tentative for now, and there are only a few weeks left until July 6. There are 27 attendees so far, but I'm really hoping that everything will come together and the iPhoneDevCamp will be a big success and a big step for iPhone development. If you're interested in dropping by, the iPhoneDevCamp wiki has all the details, but you can follow the status on Twitter and a few other sites, as well.

In the Internet traffic race, P2P used to be way out in front. For years, P2P traffic eclipsed HTTP traffic as broadband users slurped down music and movies, some of which were actually legal. But P2P fell behind this year; for the first time in four years, HTTP traffic is out in front. HangZhou Night Net

Ellacoya Networks, makers of deep packet inspection gear for carriers, has pulled together some statistics on one million broadband users in North America, and its findings show that HTTP traffic accounts for 46 percent of all broadband traffic. P2P applications now account for only 37 percent.

Data source: Ellacoya Networks

Chalk it up to YouTube and other Internet video sharing sites. The surge in HTTP traffic is largely a surge in the use of streaming media, mostly video.

Breaking down the HTTP traffic, Ellacoya says that only 45 percent is used to pull down traditional web pages with text and images. The rest is mostly made up of streaming video (36 percent) and streaming audio (five percent). YouTube alone has grown so big that it now accounts for 20 percent of all HTTP traffic, or more than half of all HTTP streaming video.

Looking over all the numbers, one of the most surprising result is the continued success of NNTP (newsgroups) traffic, which still accounts for nine percent of the total. Clearly, newsgroup discussions (and, ahem, binaries) are still big business.

The data may provide some ammunition for companies that favor traffic shaping on their networks. Between P2P, newsgroups, and streaming HTTP video traffic, the vast majority of Internet traffic is non-critical (i.e., no one's going to die or lose $20 million if they don't download a YouTube clip or a new song in under a minute). Networks that want to ensure priority transmission of VoIP calls, traditional HTTP web browsing, medical imaging, etc., have a strong incentive to throttle back that flood of non-critical traffic when the network is experiencing heavy loads. That could bring them into conflict with proponents of strict network neutrality, though, who don't want to see any sort of packet prioritization.