FCC Delays Cable TV Apps Vote, Needs Time To Work Out Licensing

The FCC has delayed a vote on a plan that would require pay-TV operators to make free TV applications, so cable subscribers will have to wait longer for an alternative to renting set-top boxes from cable companies. ArsTechnica reports:The FCC was scheduled to vote on final rules at its monthly meeting today, but the item was removed from the agenda just before the meeting began. The commission’s Democratic majority still seems determined to issue new rules, but there have been objections from the cable industry and disagreements among Democratic commissioners over some of the details. “We have made tremendous progress — and we share the goal of creating a more innovative and inexpensive market for these consumer devices,” Chairman Tom Wheeler and fellow Democrats Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel said today in a joint statement. “We are still working to resolve the remaining technical and legal issues and we are committed to unlocking the set-top box for consumers across this country.” The vote could happen at next month’s meeting, but the commissioners did not promise any specific timeline.

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AT&T, Apple, Google To Work On ‘Robocall’ Crackdown

Last month the FCC had pressed major U.S. phone companies to take immediate steps to develop technology that blocks unwanted automated calls available to consumers at no charge. It had demanded the concerned companies to come up with a “concrete, actionable” plan within 30 days. Well, the companies have complied. On Friday, 30 major technology companies announced they are joining the U.S. government to crack down on automated, pre-recorded telephone calls that regulators have labeled as “scourge.” Reuters adds: AT&T, Alphabet, Apple, Verizon Communications and Comcast are among the members of the “Robocall Strike Force,” which will work with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. The strike force will report to the commission by Oct. 19 on “concrete plans to accelerate the development and adoption of new tools and solutions,” said AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson, who is chairing the group. The group hopes to put in place Caller ID verification standards that would help block calls from spoofed phone numbers and to consider a “Do Not Originate” list that would block spoofers from impersonating specific phone numbers from governments, banks or others.

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John Conway: All Play and No Work For a Genius

An anonymous reader points out Quanta’s spotlight piece on mathematician John Conway, whose best known mathematical contribution is probably his “Game of Life,” which has inspired many a screensaver and more than a few computer science careers. From the article: Based at Princeton University, though he found fame at Cambridge (as a student and professor from 1957 to 1987), John Horton Conway, 77, claims never to have worked a day in his life. Instead, he purports to have frittered away reams and reams of time playing. Yet he is Princeton’s John von Neumann Professor in Applied and Computational Mathematics (now emeritus). He’s a fellow of the Royal Society. And he is roundly praised as a genius. “The word ‘genius’ gets misused an awful lot,” said Persi Diaconis, a mathematician at Stanford University. “John Conway is a genius. And the thing about John is he’ll think about anything. He has a real sense of whimsy. You can’t put him in a mathematical box.”

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Google’s Project Sunroof Tells You How Well Solar Would Work On Your Roof

An anonymous reader writes: Google’s Project Sunroof aims to make the task of installing solar panels easier by providing financial advice and stats on what solar energy could do for you. The project is only available in San Francisco, Boston, and Fresno for now. Techcrunch reports: “To get started, you simply plug in your address and some data about your monthly electricity bill, and the tool will tell you what the recommended solar installation size is and how much it would cost to buy or lease the hardware. In case you want to go ahead with a solar install, the tool also lets you reach out to local solar providers. Google says these listings are sponsored, so chances are it’ll get a bit of a kickback when it generates a sales lead for these companies.”

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Ask Slashdot: How To “Prove” a Work Is Public Domain?

New submitter eporue writes: YouTube claims that I haven’t been able to prove that I have commercial rights to this video of Superman. They are asking me to submit documentation saying “We need to verify that you are authorized to commercially use all of the visual and audio elements in your video. Please confirm your material is in the public domain.” I submitted a link to the Wikipedia page of the Superman cartoons from the 40s where it explains that the copyright expired, and to the Archive page from where I got it. And still is not enough to “prove” that I have the commercial rights. So, how do you “prove” public domain status ?

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Tilting 4WD ‘Spider Car’ Makes Light Work of Bizarre Terrain

Zothecula writes: The Swincar Spider is a remarkable tilting 4-wheeler concept that boasts absolutely ridiculous rough terrain capabilities. Each wheel has its own electric hub motor and is independently suspended on a spider-like limb. The result is a vehicle that leans into fast turns like a motorcycle, but can also happily go up or down a 70-percent gradient, ride across a 50-percent gradient that puts the left wheels a couple of feet higher than the right ones, or ride diagonally through ditches that send the wheels going up and down all over the place like a spider doing leg stretches.

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