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Posted by on in Tech Deals
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End Date: Friday Jul-31-2015 23:22:30 PDT
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You just can't have a little clever fun anymore. With all the hoops cover bands have to jump through just to ply their craft, I had never really considered that one cover band might get into a trademark scuffle over the band's name. Yet, that's exactly what has happened to the Doobie Decimal System, a cover band now being sued by The Doobie Brothers, who claim that the band's name is confusingly similar to their own.

The Doobie Brothers trademarked their band name — as well as the use of “Doobies” for musical performances — in 1982, and their suit argues that the Doobie Decimal System’s moniker is “highly phonetically and visually similar” to their own, a similarity further compounded by the larger font used for the word “Doobie” in the Decimal System’s website and concert posters.
Ah, yes, an enormously popular classic rock band with the kind of name recognition most bands only dream about is going to be confused with the Doobie Decimal System, a cover band whose name is a play on an organizational system for libraries. Congratulations, trademark pushers, this is where you've brought us. I contend that no amount of doobies could actually result in this doobie-confusion, but some of the supporters of this lawsuit are really stretching themselves to argue that there would indeed be such confusion.
Although the story is being spun in some quarters as though the Doobie Brothers are claiming to own the word “doobie,” they’re really just defending the trademark they own — and as Billboard‘s report points out, since the Doobie Decimal System performs hits from the same decade that produced most of the Doobie Brothers’ bestselling albums, they’re not entirely out of line in viewing one another as indirect competitors.
Yeah, actually, they kind of are out of line of direct competition. Nobody is confused here and the cover band is competing with The Doobie Brothers about as much as a little league game competes with Major League Baseball. Sure, they're both baseball, but nobody is trying to figure out how to spend their baseball dollar and deciding between the two. In the meantime, even if The Doobie Brothers felt some kind of fearful obligation to protect their trademark, they could certainly be going about it more amicably than this suit.
They’re seeking “an accounting, an injunction and punitive damages for trademark infringement, false designation of origin and unfair competition.”
Our only hope here is that the folks that own the IP on the Dewey Decimal system (yes, seriously, someone owns it) can be brought into the mix, causing the sitting judge's head to explode in frustration so everyone can just go home.
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Enlarge / If your Windows Update looks like this, you can install Windows 10 right now.

The free upgrade from Windows 7 and 8 to Windows 10 is available now on Windows update. Those of you who've reserved your copy may find that your Windows Update is already offering to install the new operating system, though the release is staggered so you may not get it just yet.

Much to my surprise, upgrading my own system from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 was more or less flawless, and the upgrade is a great deal more convenient than a fresh install. If you want to do a fresh install, or want to upgrade but don't want to wait for Windows Update, ISO images are now available too. The final Windows 10 release is also now available on MSDN for subscribers.

While you're waiting for the download, why not read our review?

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When Microsoft set out to build Windows 10, the company had a challenge to face: the operating system needed to appeal to the wide swath of people already using Windows.

“We joke on our team that we’re ordering pizza for one-and-a-half billion people,” Mohammed Samji, a principal group program manager at Microsoft, said in an interview.

In order to serve all of those users, Microsoft wanted Windows 10 to work well for people no matter what interface they chose. Windows 8 was criticized by people who thought that Microsoft had moved too much functionality around in order to accommodate and appeal to users of tablets. The company walked back some of the changes with its release of Windows 8.1, but this new update is designed to appeal further to traditional keyboard and mouse users alongside owners of touch devices.

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An anonymous reader writes: A NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV modified to run Ubuntu Linux is providing interesting data on how NVIDIA's latest "Tegra X1" 64-bit ARM big.LITTLE SoC compares to various Intel/AMD/MIPS systems of varying form factors. Tegra X1 benchmarks on Ubuntu show strong performance with the X1 SoC in this $200 Android TV device, beating out low-power Intel Atom/Celeron Bay Trail SoCs, AMD AM1 APUs, and in some workloads is even getting close to an Intel Core i3 "Broadwell" NUC. The Tegra X1 features Maxwell "GM20B" graphics and the total power consumption is less than 10 Watts.
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Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system debuts today, enabling Xbox One game streaming to PCs. While that's a neat feature for Xbox One owners, Microsoft is working on streaming PC games to Xbox One consoles too. In an interview with The Verge, Microsoft's head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, reveals the company is working on the feature. "We understand if you're going to go PC to Xbox, we need to get keyboard and mouse working completely so you could play those games," explains Spencer. "In terms of where we want to go with our platform, those are absolutely in scope of things that we want to do."

"Challenge is good."

The real challenge of getting PC to Xbox game streaming working is encoding games and having the right amount of bandwidth to stream them to the Xbox One. Streaming from Xbox One to Windows 10 PCs is a lot more predictable "because we know exactly what you have," says Spencer. "It's actually a little more challenging doing the encoding on the PC side to the Xbox, but challenge is good." There's no timeline on when this might arrive, but it's clearly a challenge Microsoft is willing to tackle.

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Here’s that once-secret virtual reality product from Nokia that Re/code’s Ina Fried reported on last week: It’s a high-end camera for filming in 360 degrees. The Ozo camera will be commercially available, but Nokia warns it won’t be cheap when it ships in Q4. Like the not-commercially-available Jaunt Neo, the Ozo is targeting deep-pocketed filmmaking professionals. Jaunt says its VR film production studios will also use the camera, and it will be compatible with the startup’s post-production software.

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A baby giraffe, that was born while the world watched via live stream, has suddenly died at its home in the Dallas Zoo.

Kipenzi the giraffe calf was born on April 10 and her birth was broadcast online by the Animal Planet. Her mother Katie proudly watched on, with millions of humans, as her baby learned to take her first steps.

Sadly, on Wednesday, the Dallas Zoo announced Kipenzi had died after running into the edge of the habitat and breaking three vertebra in her neck.

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Posted by on in Gizmodo

Windows 10, Day Five

The nice thing about reviewing Windows 10 on my own computers is that there’s nowhere to hide. When something goes wrong, I have to troubleshoot on the fly. I can’t say “Oh, I’ll just go back to my personal computer until I figure this out.” You know what’s not so nice? When you shoot the trouble, and yet—somehow—it survives.http://reviews.gizmodo.com/windows-10-day...

Though my Windows 10 experience has mostly been positive, the cracks are definitely beginning to show. Add up enough issues, and I’ve gotta wonder if it’s really a good idea for people to start blindly upgrading tomorrow.

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We're checking in a bit late with this week's selections of what to watch -- luckily the highlights are yet to come. For anyone who writes or reads reviews, Comedy Central's Review with Forest Macneil is ready to scratch your scoring itch in a funny, out of control way each week. Last season Forest reviewed addiction, theft, racism, orgies and many other topics -- we can't wait to see what season two brings. Netflix is ready this week with Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, a prequel to the movie. ESPN also has its final 30 for 30 of this round of documentaries, as Angry Sky focuses on Felix Baumgartner predecessor Nick Piantanida's three attempts at setting a highest jump record. Finally, this weekend a collection of Reading Rainbow episodes is coming to Netflix.Look after the break to check out each day's highlights, including trailers and let us know what you think (or what we missed).

Blu-ray & Games & Streaming

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Can you imagine a YouTube without legal music from major record labels? Unless the world’s number one content distributor loosens its grip on content, major label execs may remove their tunes from the site according to a NY Post report. Unnamed execs from the big three — Universal, Sony, and Warner — told the NY Post that YouTube is one of the music industry’s worst distribution partners as it pays creators very little revenue, and lacks transparency, which could force a major lock down of the content.

Related: Tidal’s debut of Lil Wayne’s The Free Weezy Album could cost the streamer $50 M

“They are not serious about monetizing music on behalf of the creators and, as a result, music companies are realizing they have to reset the current relationship,” said an industry source to the Post.

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Posted by on in Wired

Today you may have noticed your delightful and carefully chosen Twitter wallpaper is missing. Right now, it’s unclear whether this is a choice on Twitter’s part or just an annoying bug. If it is a choice, it would appear that wallpaper will no longer be visible from your own timeline, or the general feed; you’ll only see it when you click an individual tweet.

Now if you go to Settings and choose Design, you can reupload your background image and see if that reinstates it; this worked for a few of us, and the wallpaper returned. But while I was able to override the change, when I logged out and back into Twitter, my background was gone again. Also, Twitter has changed the language in its support page for customizing your profile’s design. Here’s the important addition:

You can customize your design theme so that users who click to view your Tweet detail pages will see it. Other than your theme color, your design theme will not be visible on your profile or Home timeline.” 

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The Black and Gold Butcher Block Workspace

Many of the most striking workspaces are centered around a custom-made, unique desk, like the one above for today’s featured workspace.

The desk above belongs to Ryan Ray, who recently renovated his Texas home with his wife Cary (who got her own unique workspace out of the renovation). The contrast between the black base and the giant piece of butcher-block wood is striking, and the gold drawer handles and framed photos add to this workspace’s overall elegant look. That stool, admittedly, doesn’t look that comfy, but at least there’s a lot of desk surface area for spreading out. Take a tour of this well-decorated home at Design*Sponge.

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We're kicking off today's show with a story that sounds like the start of a science-fiction movie, but is very real to the people involved. Prominent scientists, tech experts, and researchers are signing a petition calling for a ban on autonomous weapons. Military drones and other devices are already used in strikes around the globe, and the petition's signees feel we're already on a slippery slope toward giving robots with humanlike AI full control of choosing who to eliminate. It's a hot-button topic, and one with some very heated debate on both sides, but we try to talk a bit about it and why the scientific community isn't thrilled about a future with AI weapons.

We're also briefly checking out a video showing Half-Life 2 running on an Android Wear smartwatch. Apparently the guy responsible for the port is a fan of bringing PC games to mobile devices, and even though the game is obviously buggy and crashes quite a bit, we're impressed with his ambition.

Last, we're taking a look inside Stanford University's Artificial Intelligence Lab. You don't have to worry about these AI robots, though, because they're more interested in playing games like ping-pong and Japanese cup-and-ball than harming any living things. Plus, that lab just looks like a fun place to hang out.

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The latest episode of IT Life radio features the real-life inventor of Iron Man's Jarvis, who happens to bring similar innovations to the way we work.
Windows 10: 10 Things To Know At Launch

Windows 10: 10 Things To Know At Launch

(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Oculus Rift and other virtual reality helmets are seen by many as potential game changers in gaming, retail, entertainment, and other industries. But VR has significant weaknesses. You're stuck inside the helmet. It locks your experience and makes it difficult to share with co-workers or friends. Join us Wednesday, July 29 at 2:00 pm ET for the latest episode of IT Life radio, in which we'll discuss those weaknesses in detail, and see if there is a better way to bring VR into the mainstream.

John Underkoffler thinks there is. And he would know. He's been called "the real-life Tony Stark." Underkoffler the computer scientist and award-winning user-interface designer behind the films Minority Report and Iron Man, believes the future isn't locked in these headsets. Rather, it's in shareable experiences and workspaces. Collaboration is not about creating virtual walls, but working with one another on actual walls. People need space for their ideas and content to spread and adapt as they flow in real time. VR users need a whole new UI to interact with it properly.

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On Monday, Apple's Beats by Dre began publishing product instruction videos directly to its customer support Twitter account, inserting brand awareness and outreach options directly into users' chosen social media streams.

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As noted by Fortune, the new Twitter video campaign is unique among consumer electronics brands in that most companies endeavor to dictate when and where they interact with customers, rather than proactively seeking them out. The strategy is true even for firms well established in the social media space, like Beats. As for Beats' first video, the support content was initially published as a GIF dealing with the pairing process for a pair of Powerbeats2 Wireless headphones. A longer, higher quality native video covering the same subject appeared a few hours later and has since been pinned. While not directly advertising its ownership of Beats, Apple took the opportunity to squeeze in a few product placements by illustrating the pairing process with both an iPad and Apple Watch. MacBook Pro also makes a guest appearance in the short 30-second video, while iPhone is shown in a photo link leading to a corresponding Support Pages document. Apple appears to be testing the social media waters with its Beats brand, which already enjoyed a strong following prior to its $3 billion acquisition last year. Aside from Beats by Dre Support, Apple Music's Beats 1 Radio Twitter account dabbles with native video content from time to time. If the strategy gains traction, Apple could conceivably roll out native multimedia content to its other Twitter assets or introduce a flagship page with secondary customer support accounts, a theme common among tech and Internet services companies.
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metal captcha

CAPTCHAs scattered around the web help to lessen the influence of bots, but they also serve to enrage many of the humans who are forced to use them. Now there’s an extremely metal alternative, the aptly named Metal Captcha from Heavy Gifts. Instead of indecipherable random text, the Metal CAPTCHA shows you nearly indecipherable heavy metal band logos. Brutal.

As with most captchas, you have a text field and an image in each Metal Captcha. The image is a simple black-and-white silhouette of the logos of famous and not so famous metal bands. Why does this make an effective CAPTCHA? There’s a strange theme among metal bands where they use heavily stylized designs for the name. They’re probably supposed to look creepy or demonic, but they often end up barely legible.

So if you recognize the band from the logo like a true metalhead, you’ll be able to enter the name immediately. If not, you can still probably work out what it says in the same way you would a conventional CAPTCHA (the example above is a Finnish folk metal band called “Finntroll”). Although, some of the logos are completely impossible. Luckily, there’s a refresh button when that happens.

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HBO today announced its second deal with a pay TV provider, in this case Verizon*, to make its over-the-top streaming service HBO NOW available to broadband customers who don’t have a cable TV subscription. In addition, the terms of the deal also reference making HBO NOW available to Verizon’s other “digital platforms,” including its upcoming mobile video platform, which will be called Go90, according to recently leaked details. 

That means HBO NOW will be available to Verizon DSL customers, FiOS broadband customers, and soon, the company’s 100 million Verizon Wireless customers, too.

Starting today, HBO NOW is immediately available to Verizon FiOS Internet and high-speed internet customers at its usual rate of $14.99 per month. Customers can also opt for a 30-day free trial which will allow them to use the HBO NOW app on their Android phone, Amazon Fire tablet, iPad, iPhone and/or Apple TV by selecting “Verizon” from the list of providers upon sign up. They can also watch from a PC via hbonow.com.

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One of the first Windows 10 features we learned about was the return of the Start menu, which is sort of funny, since the concept of the Start menu is over two decades old. Microsoft tried to replace it with the Start screen in Windows 8, and you only have to look at the adoption numbers to see how most consumers and businesses felt about it.

The Start menu has changed a lot over the years, but there are a handful of common elements that have made it all the way from Windows 95 to Windows 10. We fired up some virtual machines and traveled back in time to before there was a Start menu to track its evolution from the mid '90s to now.

Chicago

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A few weeks ago, we wrote about the absolute ridiculousness of Donald Trump's "lawsuit" against Univision, which made some bizarre claims about the First Amendment and defamation that clearly did not apply. While there may be a legitimate contractual dispute hidden somewhere in all that mess, there was so much fluff that it made you wonder who is actually advising the entertainer (pretending to be a politician) on legal issues. Apparently, it's some guy named Michael Cohen, who isn't just out of his depth on stuff, but he appears to be actively making things worse. In an astounding article over at The Daily Beast, which was initially over claims of "rape" by Donald Trump's ex-wife Ivana during their divorce proceedings, Cohen not only claimed that you can't rape a spouse, but also threatened to ruin The Daily Beast if they published an article. Lawyering by bullshit threats, apparently.
Michael Cohen, special counsel at The Trump Organization, defended his boss, saying, “You’re talking about the frontrunner for the GOP, presidential candidate, as well as a private individual who never raped anybody. And, of course, understand that by the very definition, you can’t rape your spouse.”

“It is true,” Cohen added. “You cannot rape your spouse. And there’s very clear case law.”

This is, of course, wrong -- both legally and morally. In NY State, the law got rid of the "marital exemption" to rape laws in 1984 and federal law made it clear that spousal rape is a real crime not long after that. Even if that wasn't the case, is that really a defense? "Oh it's not rape because they're married?" Who thinks that's an okay excuse: "Well, technically, it's not rape." Yikes.

Cohen has now sort of, but not really, "apologized" for what he claims was an "inarticulate comment."

"As an attorney, husband and father there are many injustices that offend me but nothing more than charges of rape or racism. They hit me at my core. Rarely am I surprised by the press, but the gall of this particular reporter to make such a reprehensible and false allegation against Mr. Trump truly stunned me. In my moment of shock and anger, I made an inarticulate comment - which I do not believe -- and which I apologize for entirely," Cohen said in a statement to CNN.
Except that it wasn't inarticulate. It was wrong and, many would argue, morally reprehensible.

And notice that he's still blaming the reporter for asking the question. And that brings us to the second crazy bit here: the threats against the reporters. The reporters -- Tim Mak and Brandy Zadrozny -- didn't back down. In fact, they not only published the story but included the rather unhinged threats from Cohen:

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