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Earth

5.8 Earthquake Hits East Coast of the US 614

At 1:51 p.m. EDT a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit Virginia (map of reported tremors). Reports indicate it was felt along most of the east coast (my monitor and floor definitely wobbled a bit down here in Raleigh NC) with reported evacuations of government buildings at least in DC. QuantumPion noted that the North Anna Nuclear Generating Station is located only a few miles from the epicenter, and the NRC has confirmed the plant automatically shut down with no apparent damage. For folks who like that sort of thing, there is a hashtag on Twitter, and the WSJ has a page with live updates on the situation.
Android

Using Tablets Becoming Popular Bathroom Activity 348

alphadogg says "With the market flush with hot-selling tablet computers, it shouldn't bowl anyone over to learn that many users are taking the plunge and bringing their devices to the bathroom. According to a new survey published by Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples Inc., 35% of tablet users copped to using their iPad or other tablets while in the bathroom, while a whopping 78% of tablet users said they used their tablets while lying in bed. And in a data point sure to further damage techies' reputation for social skills, Staples Advantage also reported that 30% of tablet users said they used their tablets while at restaurants."
Microsoft

Zombie Cookies Just Won't Die 189

GMGruman wrote in to say "Microsoft embarrassed itself last week when it got caught using 'zombie cookies' — a form of tracking cookies that users can't delete, as they come back to life after you've 'killed' them. Microsoft says it'll stop the 'aberrant' practice. But Woody Leonhard says you ain't seen nothing yet. It turns out HTML5 offers a technical mechanism to give zombie cookies a new lease on life — and the Web browsers' private-browsing features can't stop them."
Patents

Motorola's Most Important 18 Patents 137

quarterbuck writes "Bloomberg has a story on Google's acquisition of Motorola and quotes IP lawyers who claim that 18 patents dating to 1994 are probably what Google is after. These patents cover technology essential to the mobile-device industry, including location services, antenna designs, e-mail transmission, touchscreen motions, software-application management and third-generation wireless."
Games

Coming Soon, Shorter Video Games 637

Hugh Pickens writes "Blake Snow writes that according to one expert, 90% of players who start a game will never see the end of it and it's not just dull games that go unfinished. Only 10% of avid gamers completed last year's critically acclaimed Red Dead Redemption, according to Raptr, which tracks more than 23 million gaming sessions. 'What I've been told as a blanket expectation is that 90% of players who start your game will never see the end of it unless they watch a clip on YouTube,' says Keith Fuller, a longtime production contractor for Activision. The bottom line is people have less time to play games than they did before, they have more options than ever, and they're more inclined to play quick-hit multiplayer modes, even at the expense of 100-hour epics. 'They're lucky to find the time to beat a 10-hour game once or twice a month,' says Fuller of the average-age gamer. 'They don't feel cheated about shorter games and will just play a longer game for as many hours as their schedule allows before moving on to another title.' Even avid gamers are already warming to the idea of shorter games. 'Make a game worth my time and money, and I'll be happy,' says Casey Willis. 'After all, 10 hours of awesome is better than 20 hours of boring.'"
Google

Can Google Fix the Cable Box? 223

theodp writes "In purchasing Motorola Mobility, Slate's Farhad Manjoo reports that Google will also come into possession of one the nation's biggest suppliers of set-top boxes. So, can Google work some of its do-no-evil magic on the loathsome cable box? Don't bet on it, says Manjoo. For one thing, there's no evidence that Google would be very good at remaking the set-top box (Google TV, anyone?). But even if Google managed to dramatically improve set-top boxes, it's doubtful that cable and satellite companies would buy in. First, they'd lose all those ridiculously lucrative cable-box rental fees. More importantly, they'd have to give up control of the main entertainment device in most homes, and with it the opportunity to slow or stymie competing sources for entertainment. After the merger, notes Manjoo, Google could get several billion dollars by selling off Motorola Mobility's set-top-box division — a much surer payday than taking on Big Cable."
Facebook

Facebook Says That Google+ Has No Users 360

dkd903 noticed another amusing shot in the battle between G+ and Facebook. CNN is running a story where Facebook's director of game partnership Sean Ryan basically says Google+ has no users. The article is mostly about casual gaming on social platforms, which I am really sick of individually blocking.
Earth

NASA Shoots Down Comet Elenin Doomsday Predictions 144

coondoggie writes "The comet Elenin, which will pass by Earth October 16, has generated such an inordinate amount of doomsday reports from a number of different sources that NASA today issued a release meant to address a variety of them. To address the myriad concerns, NASA said its scientists compiled a list of the most popular questions it has received about Elenin."
Security

How To Steal ATM PINs With a Thermal Camera 157

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers from UCSD have demonstrated how thermal imagery cameras can be used to steal customers' PINs (PDF) when you withdraw cash from ATMs. Their paper, entitled 'Heat of the Moment: Characterizing the Efficacy of Thermal Camera-Based Attacks', (PDF) discovered that plastic PIN pads were the best for retaining heat signatures showing which numbers (and in which order) were used by bank customers. Fortunately the methodology does not appear to have been used by criminals yet, but a third of people surveyed admit that they do not check ATMs for tampering before withdrawing cash."
Facebook

Paul Ceglia: Facebook Is Doing the Forgery, Not Me 135

An anonymous reader writes "Last week, Facebook said it found the original 'authentic contract' between Mark Zuckerberg and Paul Ceglia, a man who claims he owns half of the company according to a 2003 contract. Now, Ceglia says the original 'authentic contract' Facebook claims to have found is really just a Photoshopped image the company planted on his computer."
Patents

USPTO Issues 8,000,000th Patent 108

toybuilder writes "It took nearly 80 years for the first 1 million patents to issue in the U.S. On Tuesday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued its eight-millionth patent. This most recent 1 million patents took only about 5 years."
Bitcoin

GPGPU Bitcoin Mining Trojan 258

An anonymous reader writes "Security researchers have unearthed a piece of malware that mints a digital currency known as Bitcoins by harnessing the immense power of an infected machine's graphical processing units. According to new research from antivirus provider Symantec, Trojan.Badminer uses GPUs to generate virtual coins through a practice known as minting. That's the term for solving difficult cryptographic proof-of-work problems and being rewarded with 50 Bitcoins for each per correct block."

Submission + - USPTO issues patent #8,000,000. (uspto.gov)

toybuilder writes: It took nearly 80 years for the first 1 million patents to issue in the U.S.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued its eighth-million patent. This most recent 1 million patents took only about 5 years.

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