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AOL Considering Selling Patent Portfolio

posted Sunday Mar 25, 2012 by Scott Ertz

AOL Considering Selling Patent Portfolio

Here's a story to put into the "I can't believe it" file: AOL is in financial trouble. Now, I'm not saying I cant believe it because I'm surprised AOL is having financial trouble, but because I'm surprised they are still around. Since their spin-off from the doom that was AOL Time Warner in 2009, they have seen a 29 percent drop in revenue, probably because Time Warner isn't propping them up anymore.

One way they believe they can fix this is to sell off their patent portfolio, which has over 800 active patents in it. One major AOL shareholder, Starboard Value LP, believes the portfolio could be worth over $1 billion in licensing revenue. That is probably a lot more than their 29 percent drop if you ask me.

So, who would be interested in technology that AOL has? Hit the break to find out.

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Kinectable Linux on Its Way

posted Sunday Mar 25, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Kinectable Linux on Its Way

If you have had an ache to build a motion-controlled application for Linux, have I got some great news for you. Igalia, the people who brought you WebKit, the browser engine that powers iPhone, Android and webOS, comes the next generation of Kinect playground.

Skeltrack is an open source library for interacting with Kinect without using the already pre-made library provided by Microsoft, which would be important if you were using it on Linux. While the purpose is a little unclear, what is clear is the talent this team has. They have managed to replicate the pre-E3 2009 state of Project Natal, tracking a single skeleton and 7 joints.

Personally I cannot see where or how this will have any real-world implementation as Linux's reach outside of the web server realm, where it is also losing ground, and mobile devices, which do not have USB to run Kinect, is one really lonely guy at ZDNet. I suppose the 4 remaining people who are writing Windows apps in Java might also be able to benefit from it, but the vast majority of software these days is written in Visual Studio, where you can use the full-featured, official Microsoft SDK for Kinect.

So, what do you think? Really cool tool or a lot of time spent duplicating something Microsoft gives out for free? Let us know in the comments section.

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LightSquared Takes it Right to the FCC, Claiming Violated Rights

posted Sunday Mar 25, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

LightSquared Takes it Right to the FCC, Claiming Violated Rights

Just when you thought you might have heard the last of the whole LightSquared saga, think again. It seems like those guys just won't go down without a fight, although I can't really blame them considering they were shut down by the same regulation committee who told them to build-out in the first place. After the stop-work injunction was sent to LightSquared by the FCC, the company responded, saying they would fight this shortly before Sprint decided to cancel its relationship with them. That must have been the one thing to send LightSquared over the edge.

The privately-funded company has said this week that the FCC rejection is a violation of LightSquared's rights as a company and that it is now subjected to multi-billion dollar losses and useless spectrum. They also cite the negated T-Mobile acquisition by AT&T and have said that if permanently shut down, it would violate "public interest by eliminating a potential mobile competitor that would sell network capacity" potentially to anybody who would want it.

What will happen now? We have the details after the break.

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T-Mobile Closing 7 Call Centers, Cutting 1,900 Jobs

posted Sunday Mar 25, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

T-Mobile Closing 7 Call Centers, Cutting 1,900 Jobs

Commence the downward spiral of T-Mobile! If you haven't been keeping up with the whole T-Mobile FauxG (4G) network debacle, you have you been missing out. At the end of the day, through T-Mobile saying first that 4G is a niche market, then saying that they have released a fake 4G network (3G+), last month the company said it would be taking the money earned from the failed AT&T acquisition to build their own 4G LTE network. I can't make this stuff up!

You could understand the confusion that customers would have when they hear of all these different things going on with their wireless carrier, and you could imagine that all of this bad and mixed up publicity couldn't be too great for T-Mobile itself. Well, two quarters ago they lost 50,000 customers and this week, T-Mobile will be cutting 1,900 jobs to go with it, which is roughly 5% of its workforce.

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Zynga Buys OMGPOP for $200 Million

posted Saturday Mar 24, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Zynga Buys OMGPOP for $200 Million

For a little over a year now, Zynga has been making a name for itself on its own. When investors started looking at the company as not just connected to Facebook and FarmVille, Zynga went and told the social media giant that they'd probably be better off as just friends, and decided to branch out and do something on its own. At the beginning of this year, we saw Zynga gain more investor popularity and the company has even started its own gaming platform, giving 240 million of its customers direct access to not only its own games, but games of partners it's been scooping up in the process.

This week, Zynga made another big purchase and bought the developer studio OMGPOP. Up until this point, the New York-based company was just another game studio that most people probably never heard of until the Draw Something craze hit shortly before Zynga picked them up to the tune of around $200 million.

Why the purchase and what happens now to your newest version of Pictionary? We discuss that more after the break.

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Pirates Take to the Skies

posted Saturday Mar 24, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Pirates Take to the Skies

After a brief outage this week, The Pirate Bay, a popular torrent search site, confirmed that their outage was due to scheduled network maintenance and not some sort of government shut down. So, what kind of upgrades are they preparing for? Airships.

That's right - The Pirate Bay is working on developing servers that will float in the air. They will be powering their servers with Raspberry Pi machines - the $35 USB-powered computers. In a blog post, a TPB staff member said,

With the development of GPS controlled drones, far-reaching cheap radio equipment and tiny new computers like the Raspberry Pi, we're going to experiment with sending out some small drones that will float some kilometers up in the air. This way our machines will have to be shut down with aeroplanes in order to shut down the system. A real act of war.

I'm not sure it's so much an act of war as it is a defense mechanism to prevent what happened to Megaupload in January. The international copyright law is on their tail and they really have only 2 options - the air and the water, and it seems that the air is the easier and cheaper way to go.

It all makes you wonder, is there enough money in stealing other people's stuff to justify the expense of GPS-controlled aerial drone servers? Only time will tell.

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