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Ballmer, Jobs dolls and Nuclear Annihilation

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QotW Gadgets were launched, people said stupid things and journalists trudged up and down writing stories about ultrabooks, this week was CES and it sent the tech press into a LED-dazzled headspin.

There was less media attention, from US TV anyway, on the threat to web freedoms of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), under consideration in the US Congress. Journalists and news editors were looking out for their employment prospects, the media analysis company Lexis Nexis speculated, having conducted a survey into coverage of the proposed law and found a curious silence in "mainstream" outlets.

In other news, a New Zealand entrepreneur has taken on Apple, defending the branding of his waterproof phone cases against the corporate machine:

My product is driPhone, not iPhone™, and they are trying to oppose it. They are just trying to scare me

Though Apple may have a lot of protected trademarks, Steve Jobs' face is not one of them, as they found when they tried to block a Chinese manufacturer from making dolls in the form of The Great Leader. As a paidcontent.org legal expert commented:

Apple's legal claim is largely bogus

It's the final year that Steve Ballmer's pattering feet will grace the stage at CES, as Microsoft and the ageing electronics fair went public with their break-up but kept the door open.

As much as our human inclination is to preserve the status quo, Microsoft and CES have "agreed to a pause".

Ultrabooks may start to get touch screens, said Mooly Eden, general manager of Intel's PC Client Group at CES:

Touch skipped the notebook, skipped the Ultrabook. It was dedicated to phones, it was dedicated to tablets. It's not going to skip the Ultrabook any more.

But, we would like to refer them to the wisdom of Steve Jobs, who tried the vertical touch screen thing out and decided against it.

We've done tons of user testing on this, and it turns out it doesn't work.Touch surfaces want to be horizontal.

Google and Twitter had a spat about search results as they altered to prioritise posts flagged up on Google+. Twitter kicked up a fuss:

We're concerned that as a result of Google's changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone. We think that's bad for people, publishers, news organizations and Twitter users.

Google were apologising to no-one:

We are a bit surprised by Twitter's comments about Search plus Your World, because they chose not to renew their agreement with us last summer (http://goo.gl/chKwi), and since then we have observed their rel=nofollow instructions."

Onto bigger matters, Scientists mapped dark matter:

It is fascinating to be able to 'see' the dark matter using space-time distortion. It gives us privileged access to this mysterious mass in the Universe which cannot be observed otherwise,” said Professor Ludovic Van Waerbeke, from the University of British Columbia. “Knowing how dark matter is distributed is the very first step towards understanding its nature and how it fits within our current knowledge of physics."

ICANN president Rod Beckstrom turned Confucian while outlining the domain registry's plans for the future:

Whenever you open up any new technologies and you create standards there tends to be innovation. What does that innovation look like? Where's it going to go? We don't know. That's why it's called innovation.

At least he's honest.

Xbox and iPad makers Foxconn brushed off an attempt by 150 employees to commit mass suicide:

We can confirm that early in the morning on 4 January, approximately 150 employees at our Wuhan campus staged a workplace incident

But even those of us with no desire to leap off the factory roof aren't safe from sticky endings, because we're all in danger of nuclear annihilation say some nuke boffins who this week told us that doomsday is closer than we think:

Faced with clear and present dangers of nuclear proliferation and climate change, and the need to find sustainable and safe sources of energy, world leaders are failing to change business as usual. Inaction on key issues including climate change, and rising international tensions motivate the movement of the clock.

Happy weekend everybody. ®

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