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Pinterest sued over allegations it 'stole the ideas, concepts and technology'
Dec 30th 2012, 13:20

Pinterest sued over allegations it 'stole the ideas, concepts and technology'

Popular social network Pinterest has been hit with a lawsuit by a man who claims he came up with the ideas that underpin the site.

Theodore F. Schroeder has filed suit claiming that ideas, such as the 'boards' and 'infinite scrolling', which eventually comprised Pinterest were stolen by a former business partner Barry Cohen.

He alleges the aforementioned ideas, plus the female-friendly design and colour scheme, were 'linchpin' concepts for a start-up social network called Rendezvoo

Cohen and Shroeder had worked together on the site in 2007/2008. The plaintiff claims that Cohen took those ideas and concepts to Pinterest when he became an early investor in the project.


Attourney Richard Scheff, representing Schroeder's told AllThingsD: "The bottom line is that it's illegal to steal an idea for your own benefit without regard to the originator of that idea.

"Here, Mr. Cohen joined an existing enterprise in which Mr Schroeder had a majority interest, and then took without permission or right Mr. Schroeder's ideas, concepts, web application and technology."

A spokesperson for Pinterest called the lawsuit "baseless" and vowed to fight the allegations.

Infamy, Infamy!

This isn't the first (and probably won't be the last) time we've heard such a case.

The infamous Winklevoss twins ended up rich men over their long campaign to assert that Mark Zuckerberg stole their ideas for Facebook.

As AllThingsD's Liz Gannes points out, you're not anyone in the world of social networking until someone has accused you of pinching the idea, so perhaps Pinterest should be flattered?

Foursquare alters privacy policy, will show users' full name site-wide
Dec 30th 2012, 12:48

Foursquare alters privacy policy, will show users' full name site-wide

Foursquare has announced that the full names of users will soon be appearing publicly across the site.

The location-based social network has informed members of a new privacy policy that, from next month, will see the full surname of every user displayed, rather than their initial.

This means not only will the full name appear on the user's profile page, but in any comments and check-ins they make on business pages, exposing their full names to strangers.

The company said it has made the move to reduce confusion caused by full-names currently appearing in search results, but not on profile pages and in comments and check-ins.

Going public

In an email to users, Foursquare wrote: "In the original versions of Foursquare, these distinctions made sense. But we get emails every day saying that it's now confusing. So, with this change, full names are going to be public."

If wishing to maintain a semblance of anonymity on the site, users can alter their full name in the settings section of the app.

It remains to be seen whether this latest privacy change will cause a similar backlash as the recent proposed changes to Instagram's terms of service.

Foursquare also announced that it is allowing businesses to see more check-in data than just the current last three months, although didn't specify just how much.

In Depth: Microsoft in 2013: what to expect
Dec 30th 2012, 12:00

In Depth: Microsoft in 2013: what to expect

It's been almost impossible to keep up with Microsoft in 2012.

Even after the Windows and Surface and Windows Phone 8 and Xbox Music and launches, the announcements have kept on coming: SkyDrive for Xbox, Halo 4, updates to Skype, the autumn Xbox dashboard update, ramping up Surface production and a quick attack on Google for turning its shipping section into a set of paid ads rather than an actual search.

Microsoft isn't slowing down for the holidays, but what's left for 2013? Quite a lot, including the perennial rumours about a new Xbox - or two or maybe three…

1. Windows Phone 7.8 and 8.5

Despite the on-again, off-again rumours throughout December, the Windows Phone 7.8 update won't come out until early 2013. Windows Phone 7 users get the new Start screen with three sizes of tiles, a version of the Kids Corner child lock, 20 new accent colours and dynamic lock screen wallpaper (with at least the Bing image of the day); Nokia phones also get a ringtone maker, Bluetooth sharing and lenses for the camera that let you remove unwanted objects and make partly animated GIFs.

But what about Windows Phone 8 users? US users are already getting the minor Portico update that fixes some bugs, prioritises Wi-Fi and lets you easily send a text message to explain why you didn't pick up the phone.

That comes to European users early in 2013, but the big update will be Apollo Plus; we're expecting that to be Windows Phone 8.5, to be announced at Mobile World Congress in February – but unless we're also getting Windows Phone 9 next year, we don't expect to see it until the autumn.

2. Office 2013

We know Office 2013 (which is already finished and available for businesses, as well as on Surface RT) will go on sale in 2013, in January or February. Will we see Office for the iPad in 2013 as well? This is another persistent rumour that doesn't necessarily add up; Office isn't the only advantage of Windows RT but it's a key feature.

If we do see Office for iPad it might only be the OneNote and Lync tools - after all, the Word, Excel and PowerPoint Web Apps were rewritten this year to run on iPad and Android tablets, which could be what Microsoft means when it keeps saying "Office will work across Windows Phone, iOS and Android". And whatever Microsoft has planned might be delayed or cancelled over arguments with Apple over whether they get a cut of Office 365 subscriptions for Exchange and Office licences for Windows and Mac sold through iOS apps.

3. No more Messenger

As expected, Microsoft will retire its Messenger IM service in favour of Skype in the spring (except in China, probably because of concerns that the government often discusses blocking the service). You can already merge your Microsoft and Skype accounts by logging into Skype with your Microsoft account (and you can still send messages to friends on Messenger and Facebook) but at some point that will become the only option.

Given the Facebook and Messenger integration in Windows Phone 7.5 and 8, we expect that will coincide with the full release of Skype for Windows Phone (and possibly even an update to Windows Phone to make it all work together). The good news; there will be special offers to make the move more palatable - maybe free Skype minutes like those on offer with some Office 365 accounts.

4. Xbox 720 and Xbox Loop

Another year, another set of rumours about the new Xbox. After seven years, we definitely expect Microsoft to launch a new Xbox late in 2013 and we really hope it includes the Forteleza Kinect Glasses project we've heard about, which seems to combine Google Glasses-style augmented reality with 3D screens.

The $299 price that's been suggested probably isn't for what we're still calling the Xbox 720 for convenience (although it might be the Xbox8 and the internal codename is Durango) which might be based on ARM or x86 chips, possibly with PowerPC chips to run existing Xbox games.

The cheaper model is rumoured to be a set-top box based on Windows 8 for playing casual games and running the kind of entertainment services (like Netflix and BBC iPlayer) that are already on Xbox 360, in something that doesn't look so out of place in the living room if you're not a Halo fan. Think midway between Xbox and Windows Media Center…

5. Surface 2 and more

The other Xbox rumour is a 7-inch Xbox Surface gaming tablet running a custom version of Windows RT with SmartGlass.

Like the rumoured Surface Book touch Ultrabook, AMD-based Surface Pro 2 and smaller Qualcomm-powered Surface RT 2, this was suggested by tipster and "social experimenter" @MSnerd. CEO Steve Ballmer has said that Microsoft will "obviously" make more hardware "where we see important opportunities to set a new standard" and thanks to the job adverts TechRadar discovered back in August, we know Microsoft is working on a second generation of Surface tablets so we'll see new models. Other rumours say Microsoft is ramping up its own manufacturing and distribution facilities, which you need when you're a "devices and services" company rather than a software developer.

What we're not sure about is the specific hardware Microsoft will use or the exact products we'll see (we're similarly a little sceptical about the often-rumoured Surface Phone).

Microsoft bought giant touchscreen maker Perceptive Pixel this year and CEO Jeff Han is hard at work in Redmond, probably on cheaper versions of the 80" touchscreen system that businesses can use with Windows 8 and Kinect for video conferencing or visualising data – or it could be an all-in-one PC for the home. We expect new Surfaces will come later rather than sooner in the year and run Windows Blue.

6. Windows Blue

If you have a new Surface every year (to compete with the new iPad every year), you need an update to Windows RT to go on it. Full updates to Windows 8 will probably still come every 2-3 years but we expect to see annual updates of Windows RT (and WinRT on Windows 8) that are cheap or even free.

The project codename is Windows Blue, according to rumours, and we expect to see the first release in the autumn with the next Surface models.

7. Something we know nothing about

Given how much better the company has got at keeping secrets, we're expecting at least one big surprise from Microsoft that we haven't heard about yet.

Perhaps the "ground-breaking hardware, software and experiences across computer vision, machine learning, human-computer interaction, image and video processing, networking and graphics" that the team behind Kinect is building to "revolutionize consumer electronic devices" according to a recent job advert. That might be Kinect 2 and Kinect Glasses, or it might be something completely different.

BlackBerry N-Series BB10 handset leaked again?
Dec 30th 2012, 11:46

BlackBerry N-Series BB10 handset leaked again?

It won't be officially revealed the end of January, but it looks like RIM's new Bold-alike smartphone has made another unsanctioned appearance.

The N4BB site has come across some new, clearer photos of the QWERTY-toting N-Series device, offering a vest improvement on the blurry images which surfaced a couple of weeks back.

The leaked snaps give a much better look at the physical keyboard and showcases how the rows of BB10 app icons fit with the screen proportions.

The N-Series (or the X10 as it may eventually be known) will be running the long-delayed BlackBerry 10 operating system when it is finally revealed at a launch event on January 30.

BB10 lift off

At the event, RIM is scheduled to offer an in-depth look at the completed BB10 OS, which was first announced well over a year ago.

At the event, the company is likely to unveil two handsets; the N-Series device mentioned above and a heavily-leaked all-touchscreen L-Series device.

Will RIM have any surprises in store come January 30? TechRadar will be covering the event as it happens so stay tuned.

Check out the source link for additional pictures of the N-Series.

Tutorial: Power retro gaming with a Raspberry Pi
Dec 30th 2012, 10:00

Tutorial: Power retro gaming with a Raspberry Pi

There are many fine national institutions this sceptred isle has to offer: fish and chips, the perfect pint and Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach to name but a few.

There is one institution, however, that stands proud, shoulder to shoulder with the iconic monuments that make Britain great. One that has bred a generation of imaginative free thinkers. One that symbolises everything that was good back in 'the day'. That one is none other than the mighty 8-bit home computing revolution.

These revolutionary creations were the heavyweight champions of 80s gaming, and some of the most cherished items of computing memorabilia to grace the pages of eBay. To relive those bygone days often requires us to install any number of emulators onto our hulking behemoth PCs, which takes away some of the spirit that embodies the golden age of the home computer.

There's another option, of course; we could purchase one of our beloved machines from eBay and hook it up to the old 52-inch plasma TV. However, these computers are getting a bit long in the tooth, and unless they've been cherished and looked after there's the possibility they could go zap and pop once plugged in to the wall.

There is an alternative, though - one that combines the modern with the not-so-modern.

The Raspberry Pi - arguably one of the best innovations since the home computer, and one that is heralding a new golden era of computing.

This credit-card-sized computer is seeing its fair share of imaginative doings from the public; being sent to the edges of space, turned into a 40s wireless set, home automation controllers and many other projects that have gone to prove just how versatile and elastic the users, and the RPI, can be.

Therefore, we're going to take a leaf from their books, and see what we can do with a few items from eBay, a Raspberry Pi, sticky-backed plastic and help from the growing population of RPi owners, in order to help us re-create a classic 80s retro home computer.

The legal bit The legality of emulation is something of a grey area at the best of times, but in essence: if you own the console, and game, then you are allowed to obtain a copy of the corresponding roms to emulate them. At least that's what we think. If you're not sure, it's always best to look it up, just in case.


ZX Spectrum

Our first port of call is that lovable rubber-keyboarded gem, popularly known as the Speccy. Indeed, the ZX Spectrum 48k was a powerhouse of innovation back in its day, turning bedroom programmers into commercial software giants overnight, where teenagers could come home from school and tap away until dinner time to create some of the best-loved games in computing history.

Anyway, enough nostalgia as it's bringing a tear to the eye. After a brief browse through the pages of eBay, we found a dead ZX Spectrum that came in at the paltry sum of £2.99 - after all it would be sacrilegious to mutilate a living Speccy. It looked a little worse for wear, but then most of us who can recall playing on one of these don't look overly healthy these days either.

Our first task was to make sure the RPi was up to spec; we'd been playing around with it since its arrival in the post, and as things move fast in the world of Pi we felt it was time to do an upgrade to Wheezy.

The system download can be found on the Raspberry Pi pages, along with full instructions on how to transfer it to an SD card, and get up and running. After that we did the necessary sudo apt-get update/upgrade, and within minutes our RPi was up to date and running like a charm.


Next came the dismantling of the ZX Spectrum, easy enough once the five screws on the bottom of the machine had been removed and the keyboard ribbons detached. The motherboard had a single central screw, which after being removed left only the bare plastic casing. The RPi is considerably smaller than the original Spectrum motherboard, so some careful placement was needed to make sure the RPi was situated conveniently and securely within its new housing.

To that end, we found that the RPi's RCA Video and Audio ports lined up nicely with the Spectrum's original Mic and Ear ports, but the RPi's SD card ran into the side of the plastic casing. A quick snip from the pliers made a slot that would allow us to swap SD cards, even when the case was screwed back together, and extending the homemade slot also gave us access to the power via an HTC charger.

Next, we hooked up the HDMI and Ethernet, and with the help of some ever-faithful black electrician's tape, we secured the RPi to the base of the Spectrum case, and taped the cables to the chassis to stop them from ripping the RPi out of its allotted place should they ever be moved.

Now we had the problem of the keyboard. Although there was a project previous to us trying this out, whereby a chap called Brian rebuilt a ZX Spectrum using a BeagleBoard, and successfully managed to get the keyboard working, our attempts fell somewhat short.

In other words, we failed miserably, making a bit of a mess of the keyboard ribbons and the USB interface we shanghaied from a USB keyboard for just the purpose. Still, never mind, we simply caved in and ran a traditional keyboard and mouse through the Spectrum's large IO port.

Complete ZXRPi

Once the case was back on, the ZXRPi didn't look too bad, albeit something that would send Heath Robinson spinning gaily in his grave. However, when hooked up to the TV and stylishly, yet discretely, placed in the TV cabinet, things didn't look too bad.

The only thing left now was to install a decent Spectrum emulator and get hold of some old games. The Spectrum emulator itself was easy enough to install and get running; for this project we're using Fuse Emulator, and to get it working do the following:

Drop in to a terminal and type: sudo apt-get install fuse-emulator-common and press Enter. Type, 'y' to confirm the download and install.

Once Fuse has been installed, and you are returned to the prompt, type: sudo apt-get install spectrum-roms fuse-emulator-utils and press Enter. When, once again, you return to the prompt, type in: sudo amixer cset numid=3 2 and press Enter.

This will allow the sound through HDMI, although it's rather flaky, so replacing the '2' with a '1' will force the sound through the audio port on the RPi.

Manic Miner

When you're ready, come out of the terminal, and click the Start LXDE button, and navigate to Games > Fuse Spectrum Emulator (GTK+ Version). Click on this and expand the window by dragging one of the corners.

Next, download a Spectrum game, from somewhere such as World of Spectrum; once it's downloaded, from the Fuse top menu select Media > Tape > Open, then in the Spectrum window type, 'J' for Load, followed by 'Ctrl+PP' for "".

Your game should now load up, with sound coming from the audio port, which can be hooked up to a stereo or headphones. All that's left now is to try to complete Manic Miner, which you failed at nearly 30 years ago.


Mega Pi

The thought of having a retro-styled case for our Raspberry Pi appealed to us greatly, despite the lack of hardware hacking to get 100% functionality, so we started to look around for other retro machines that tickled our fancy.

Our attention was drawn to an old friend, the Sega Mega Drive; a discrete, sleek-looking unit, even by today's standard, that like the Spectrum would make an ideal retro case for our RPi.

First, though, we need to prepare the RPi for its new life inside one of the best consoles ever made; and we want it to be able to play not only Sega Mega Drive games, but a plethora of other games from the hardware of the era.

To do this, we installed the excellent RetroPie project from petRockBlog; all you need to do is follow the instructions as they are given here.

In this instance, we decided to compile the most recent sources of programs, scripts and cores by selecting the second option from the main menu, the Source-based (custom) installation method. As is mentioned on the site, though, it takes several hours to compile everything, and the RPi is pretty much maxed out for the entire time, so don't expect it to do any work during the three hours of the installation; but bear with it, it's certainly worth the wait.

Once the installation had finished, the RPi got a well-deserved break in the form of a reboot. After that, it was a simple case of locating a game (we're assuming you're following the copyright guideline, as mentioned in this article) and running it, via a terminal, in this format: retroarch -L /home/pi/RetroPie/emulatorcores/Genesis-Plus- GX/ /home/pi/RetroPie/roms/megadrive/

In the example above, we had a Sonic the Hedgehog rom, which was located in the roms folder under 'megadrive'. Obviously, you will have to alter the command to represent your machine emulation, and the game you want to launch.

Picking up a dead Mega Drive was easy enough, and it cost less than a few quid to get it to the doorstep; but rather than rip out the insides straightaway, we had another cunning plan: would it be possible to house the Raspberry Pi inside the cartridge of a Sega Mega Drive game?

Mega Pi innards

The Mega Drive we received was a little worse for wear; since its birth in 1992 it has seen its fair share of action, so although it was rough we thought this just added to its retro charm somewhat. Obviously, the game would have to be Sonic, and once we got an old Sonic the Hedgehog cartridge it looked as though it may be possible to squeeze the RPi into its innards.

Indeed, the RPi does fit in to a Mega Drive games cartridge, but it leaves very little room for cable management, even with sections of the cartridge plastic snipped away to accommodate the SD card. So, rather than having a savagely hashed cartridge atop the Mega Drive, with a tangle of cables, we decided to install the RPi within the body of the Mega Drive, and use what items we had lying around to try to keep some functionality from the original console.

Complete Mega Pi

We planted the RPi onto the Mega Drive base, with the SD card within easy reach through the side expansion port, which can be sealed with the plastic cover, and ran two USB extension cables from the RPi, and fitted them into the front gamepad controller ports.

The HDMI and Ethernet cables were pushed through the power and TV ports at the rear of the unit, and the power came via the side expansion. After making sure everything was battened down, and that the Raspberry Pi wasn't in any danger of sliding out of the side of the case, we started to feed the necessary cables through the correct holes. We carefully attached the lid of the Mega Drive, making sure the screws didn't catch any of the cables or the RPi itself, slid it into its new home under the TV and fed the now reconditioned MegaPi some power.

Sonic on Raspberry Pi

Obviously, the power and volume controls at the front of the console didn't work, but they added to the retro appeal of having a 90s console, with a modern spin. Our MegaPi functioned perfectly and we settled in for an evening of Mega Drive classics, via the Genesis emulator in RetroPie.



Our next software project bordered on the perverse, from the point of view of a Linux magazine. We managed to get DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.1 running under QEMU on the RPi.

Rather than building the image directly from within QEMU, we used a pre-built VirtualBox image, which we converted to a raw IMG file by issuing the following command: vboxmanage clonehd "image.vdi" "image.img" --format RAW

Replace image.vdi and image.img with the name of your images, then convert the raw image to a QEMU qcow image by typing in: qemu-img convert -f raw image.img -O qcow2 image.qcow

The result was extraordinary, and oddly satisfying to see Windows 3.1 start up and hear those 'ta-da' chimes. Needless to say, it ran like a pig in treacle, but the RPi hasn't got a whole lot of RAM, and after several minutes of running Microsoft's retro OS the screen froze and QEMU refused to boot the image until we deleted and re-converted it. Perhaps Ebon team coded in some kind of Microsoft failsafe kill switch?

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