Episode 37 News: Exploring the Galaxies

If you’re a fan of using peer-to-peer networks over your home broadband connection to get your entertainment, be aware that your Internet Service Provider is probably watching you. The “Copyright Alert System” went into effect this week after four years of planning. After six strikes, your service could be terminated and the Copyright Act also allows the user to be sued for damages of up to $150,000 per infringement.

Remember the webOS? LG Electronics did not forget and has not acquired the system from Hewlett Packard. LG plans to use the system to power a new line of Smart TVs. LG was also making news at this week’s Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, showing off what it claims is the world’s smallest wireless charger.

Also in operating systems news… Mozilla’s Firefox OS platform has some takers also plan to develop hardware to run the open-standard HTML 5-heavy Firefox OS that makes the Web the platform — not the software on the phone. Twitter is another company with an eye on the Firefox OS. A blog post on the company’s site outlines plans for an HTML 5 version of its mobile app that will be ready when the hardware starts showing up. Twitter also updated its app for the Windows Phone platform this week.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 phone will be introduced on March 14th at a press conference here in New York, the rumors are circulating of production problems. Power-management issues and overheating have been mentioned on tech blogs, so maybe the phone needs its own internal diagnostic app, much like the a built-in app to monitor aspects of your personal heath. But while the new Galaxy phone is still under wraps, Samsung did announce its new Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet. (It’s also a very large smartphone.)

As part of a legal settlement, Apple has agreed to pay $5 in cash or iTunes credit to parents who sued the company because their kids could easily make hundreds of dollars worth of in-app purchases for supposedly free games. In other Apple news, security researchers have found another passcode bypass hole in the iOS 6.1 software.

Google may be developing its own subscription music service, according to reports from Bloomberg news and other sources. And Microsoft has officially released Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7, for those who were waiting around for it.

marsMeanwhile, up on Mars, the Curiosity Rover has eaten part of the first rock-powder sample from its February big drilling adventure. Once ingested, the rover’s internal labratories can begin to analyze the sample to see just what Mars is made of.

Curiosity has 10 science instruments on board. As part of the rover’s two-year prime mission, these tools will be used in tests to see whether that particular area of Mars ever has offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life — so in goes the drilled powder sample. But what wine do you even pair with fine Martian rock dust? I’m gonna go with maybe a nice Cabernet Franc

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