Apparently Netflix's pre-addressed mailers are costing the USPS big money in additional labor costs, to the tune of $41.9 million over the past two years, and another $61.5 million over the next couple. It's not that USPS workers have suddenly become incredibly feeble, but the mailers "sustain damage, jam equipment, and cause mis-sorts during automated processing," which could ultimately result in a $0.17 surcharge per DVD if Netflix refuses to redesign their mailers. Estimates have the surcharge cutting into 67% of Netflix's margin.
House Passes Online SAFE Act
In an overwhelmingly majority vote (409-2), the House of Representatives passed the SAFE act (Securing Adolescents From Exploitation), which requires anyone offering an open public Wi-Fi connection to report illegal images, including "obscene" cartoons and drawings, or be hit with a $300,000 fine. The Act isn't intended to target consumers with Wi-Fi access points at home, but some feel the bill was rushed too quickly to the floor and as a result left too much up to interpretation.
AMD RV635 Sports DisplayPort
AMD's had a rough time in the news as of late, but it's not all bad coming out of Santa Clara, as evidenced by HotHardware's look at the RV635.. The new card comes equipped with dual DisplayPorts, which looks to beat nVidia to market with the new port. DisplayPort was designed specifically for computers, and is expected to co-exist with HDMI, which targets living room consumer electronics.
University Incorporates Video Games into Classrooms
Doug Thomas, associate professor at the University of California's Annenberg School for Communication, is busy developing a game for students aged 10-12 with the goal of teaching ideas and skills not easily taught through textbooks. His game 'Modern Prometheus' attempts to teach ethical decision making by casting students into the role of Dr. Frankenstein's assistant, which at one point makes students decide whether or not to steal body parts from a cemetery to cure the town's plague. The challenge for Thomas will be convincing teachers to incorporate video games into the curriculum, like we got to do as youngster with Oregon Trail.
Identity Thieves Seek Plea
Jocelyn Kirsch, 22, and her boyfriend Edward Anderton, 25, are accused of stealing the identities of neighbors in their upscale building, making away with $100,000 this year alone. The money was used to fund overseas vacations to locales that included Paris and London, and a jaunt to Hawaii. Police seized from their $3,000/month apartment a laptop with travel photos, fake driver's licenses, credit cards, and an industrial machine used to make ID cards. The couple will seek to make a plea bargain as charges continue to pile up.
Symantec Slips Up
Customers running both Solid Oak Software's CyberSitter filtering program and Norton AntiVirus saw their internet connection turned off when the latter identified the former as a virus. The erroneous tag affected schools, libraries, and personal accounts, possibly accounting for tens of thousands of individuals. The issue is now fixed, but according to Brian Milburn, president of Solid Oak Software, this is the third time this year Norton has adversely affected CyberSitter customers, prompting him to proclaim "Norton products are worse than any virus [he] can think of."