Weekend tech reading: Portugal considers a 'Terabyte Tax'

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Portugal considers 'Terabyte Tax' In what legislators are calling an attempt to "bring old legislation into the 21st century," the Portuguese parliament is considering taxation on storage devices, in an attempt to protect copyright holders. According to one local media outlet, Exame Informatica, the 'minor' legislative update proposed by the Portuguese Socialist Party (currently in the opposition) in Portugal, would have consumers forking out for a new tax on storage devices, all in the name of copyright protection -- yet all but killing off HDD sales in the country. TechEye

Death to Word Nearly two decades and several text-handling paradigms ago, I was an editorial assistant at a weekly newspaper, where a few freelancers still submitted their work on typewritten pages. Stories would come in over the fax machine. If the printout was clear enough, and if our giant flatbed scanner was in the mood, someone would scan the pages in, a text-recognition program would decipher the letters, and we would comb the resulting electronic file for nonsense and typos. If the scanner wasn't in the mood, we would prop up the hard copy beside a computer and retype the whole thing. Technology was changing fast, and some people were a few steps slow. You couldn't blame them, really, but for those of us who were fully in the computer age, those dead-tree sheets meant tedious extra work. Nowadays, I get the same feeling of dread when I open an email to see a Microsoft Word document attached. Slate

Valve reveals mystery hardware project: wearable computing This morning, Valve set the world of gaming news abuzz by attempting to hire hardware engineers. Now, Valve developer Michael Abrash has revealed what kind of hardware the company is prototyping: computer technology you can wear. It's certainly an important time to admit such a thing, considering how Google's Project Glass heads-up display generated so much interest last week, but Abrash cautions that you shouldn't expect a product out of Valve anytime soon, if at all... The Verge

How a geek grills a burger Since cashing out of Microsoft, software genius Nathan Myhrvold has lived a nerd fantasy -- digging up T. rexes, dabbling in Formula One, and creating a cooking bible only a mad scientist could love. As usual, Nathan Myhrvold has to get the dinosaur question out of the way first: Is it true, asks a saucer-eyed brunette with cleavage bursting through her zip-front denim jumpsuit, that he has a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton in a glass solarium in his massive Bellevue, Washington, home? "Hahahahaha!" Myhrvold guffaws. Sigh. "Yeah." Men's Journal

Comments are bad business for online media I’m in an interesting position. I’m currently in the process of overhauling this whole ANIMAL thing, from the basics of our site content, to building out plans to expand in the future, how to make money, etc. We’re taking a real stab at turning this little blog into a big ol’ thing. (Blessedly, I am surrounded by ultra-competent people who excel at disciplines I do not.) One of the sort of generic checkboxes I’ve been asked to tick as the new Managing Editor -- or at least think about moving forward -- is "building community." Animal

Windows 3.1: Twenty years later Imagine a world without the Start button. No, I'm not talking about Windows 8. Dig deep into your memory, and you may recall a time when Windows 3.1 ruled the Earth. Twenty years ago this month, Microsoft released version 3.1 of its MS-DOS graphical-shell-turned-operating-system. Windows 3.1 became the first version of Windows to be widely distributed with new PCs, cementing the dominance of Microsoft's OS on the IBM PC platform and signaling the dawn of the Golden Age of Windows. PCWorld

Shades of 1984 emerge in broadcast TV copyright flap In 1984, Hollywood was arguing that the VCR and home taping would kill its business and wanted the Supreme Court to outlaw the devices from Americans’ living rooms. Luckily for Americans and Hollywood, the Supreme Court recognized the power of innovation and the limits of copyright in a 5-4 decision that helped unleash a revolution in home entertainment that included a multi-billion-dollar market in videotape and DVD sales and rentals. Wired

Digital differences When the Pew Internet Project first began writing about the role of the internet in American life in 2000, there were stark differences between those who were using the internet and those who were not.1 Today, differences in internet access still exist among different demographic groups, especially when it comes to access to high-speed broadband at home. Among the main findings about the state of digital access... Pew Internet

Apple under fire for backing off IPv6 support Apple Computer came under fire for back-pedaling on its support for IPv6, the next-generation Internet Protocol, at a gathering of experts held in Denver this week. Presenters at the North American IPv6 Summit expressed annoyance that the latest version of Apple's AirPort Utility, Version 6.0, is no longer compatible with IPv6. The previous Version, 5.6, offered IPv6 service by default. Network World

Is Facebook making us lonelySocial media -- from Facebook to Twitter -- have made us more densely networked than ever. Yet for all this connectivity, new research suggests that we have never been lonelier (or more narcissistic) -- and that this loneliness is making us mentally and physically ill. A report on what the epidemic of loneliness is doing to our souls and our society. The Atlantic

What Amazon's ebook strategy means It seems to me that a lot of folks in the previous discussion don't really understand quite what makes Amazon so interesting -- and threatening, for that matter -- to the publishing industry. So I'm going to take a stab at explaining. Amazon was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos. And today it's the world's largest online retailer. Charlie Stross' blog

New targeted Mac OS X Trojan requires no user interaction Another Mac OS X Trojan has been spotted in the wild; this one exploits Java vulnerabilities just like the Flashback Trojan. Also just like Flashback, this new Trojan requires no user interaction to infect your Apple Mac. Kaspersky refers to it as "Backdoor.OSX.SabPub.a" while Sophos calls it at "SX/Sabpab-A." ZDNet

FCC proposes $25,000 fine on Google The Federal Communications Commission proposed a $25,000 fine on Google Inc., accusing the search giant of deliberately obstructing an investigation into whether the company violated federal rules when its street-mapping service collected and stored data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks in 2010. The WSJ

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