TechMan Texts: Throwing the book at Apple

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U.S. Department of Justice and 33 states and territories have proposed sanctions on Apple Inc. after a federal judge in New York found in a civil antitrust case last month that the company conspired with five major publishers to undercut Amazon.com's e-book dominance, causing some prices to rise to $12.99 or $14.99 from the $9.99 that Amazon was charging.

The sanctions include banning Apple from entering anti-competitive e-book distribution contracts for five years, forcing Apple to end its business ties with the five publishers and requiring Apple to let retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble provide links to make it easier for consumers to compare prices.

The plaintiffs also want Apple to use an outside monitor to ensure that its internal antitrust compliance policies are strong enough to catch illegal conduct before consumers are harmed. The proposed changes require the approval of Judge Denise Cote.

Apple, in a statement, said the proposed remedy was a "draconian and punitive intrusion into Apple's business, wildly out of proportion to any adjudicated wrongdoing or potential harm."

What's love got to do with it? Spiegel reports that an enterprising freelance photographer launched a remote-controlled drone at Tina Turner's Swiss estate to get a picture of the 73-year-old singer's recent wedding to a German music producer. The plan was foiled when police made him land the drone and took his memory card. "The drones could have collided with the helicopters that dropped rose petals over the bride and groom, thereby representing 'a threat to air safety,' " police said.

Print all your Christmas gifts: A study from Michigan Technological University says that a home 3-D printer could save the average home $300 to $2,000 a year "making the extremely conservative assumption that the household would only use the printer to make [a] selected 20 products a year."

Is that an iPhone in your pocket or are you glad to see me? Former employees at Apple stores in New York and Los Angeles have filed a class-action suit, claiming they are required to stand in line for up to 30 minutes every shift to wait for a manager to search their bags. According to a complaint filed in San Francisco federal court, the searches result in Apple workers being deprived of around $1,500 a year in unpaid wages.

Hackers could flush out the weakness: The Atlantic reported that information security company Trustwave Holdings' SpiderLabs has found that the Japanese-made Satis smart toilet controlled with an Android app could be hacked using Bluetooth. A hacker could cause the toilet to repeatedly flush, unexpectedly open/close the lid and activate bidet or air-dry functions.

Website of the week: Billing itself as a cooking site for those with analytical minds, cookingforengineers.com provides detailed recipes with plenty of pictures of cooking techniques.

Quote of the week: "Computers are incredibly fast, accurate and stupid; humans are incredibly slow, inaccurate and brilliant; together they are powerful beyond imagination." -- Albert Einstein

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Send comments, contributions, corrections and condemnations to pgtechtexts@gmail.com.


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