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It’s President’s Day here in the U.S., which means most of us are working at half-mast since the banks and post office are closed for business. But the news business never slows down, and in the tech world, a Monday holiday is usually reserved for a few curveballs, such as the curious case of Whitney Houston’s The Bodyguard going missing from Netflix streaming in the wake of her death (which turns out to be a case of mistaken license term, apparently). With that in mind, here’s the rest of the news for this slow Monday, February 20, 2012.
After teasing its release last week, VideoLAN has pulled the trigger on VLC 2.0, which brings an entirely new user interface to the Mac OS X version. The new version, code-named “Twoflower,” promises “faster decoding on multi-core, GPU, and mobile hardware and the ability to open more formats, notably professional, HD and 10bits codecs” as well as “a new rendering pipeline for video, with higher quality subtitles, and new video filters to enhance your videos.” Experimental support for Blu-ray discs is also rolled into VLC 2.0, which also squashes “several hundreds of bugs” thanks to the work of 160 volunteers. While the open source software is free as always, users are encouraged to donate at the top of the download page, which keeps the non-profit organization pumping out such cool updates down the road.
Following up our report this morning regarding the iPad trademark battle in China between Apple and Proview, AllThingsD is now reporting that Cupertino is preparing a counter-attack to stop the Chinese LCD display maker from talking smack. In a letter to Proview founder Yang Rongshan, Apple’s attorney writes: “It is inappropriate to release information contrary to the facts to the media, especially when such disclosures have the effect of wrongfully causing damage to Apple’s reputation. Making misrepresentations in the press to inflame the situation is adversely affecting the interests of the parties in seeking any resolution of the matter. On behalf of Apple, we formally reserve all rights to take further legal action against any individuals and entities for any damages that may result from defamatory statements and unlawful actions intended to wrongfully interfere with Apple’s business and business relationships.” In other words: “Proview, if you hope to bleed us for any money, you’d best shut your mouths, toot sweet” -- or something like that...
We often hate to even republish rumors like this, mainly because they seem so obvious that they’re rarely worth the virtual ink they’re written with. Be that as it may, MacRumors is reporting that a “reliable” source has confirmed that Apple is again targeting the September or October timeframe for the 2012 iPhone model -- which we hesitate to call the iPhone 5, even though it seems more likely that’s what it will be called now. Japanese blog Macotakara broke the dubious news earlier today, citing an “Asian reliable source” who claims the “next iPhone will be released in September or October, and this cycle seems to be kept for years” -- in other words, Apple plans to stick to this release schedule moving forward. Might as well make your vacation plans for June this year, folks...
“Here comes the sun” -- that’s the message Apple seems to be singing with an updated report today on its environmental footprint, according to Cnet. “Our new data center in Maiden, North Carolina, demonstrates our commitment to reducing the environmental impact of our facilities through energy-efficient, green building design,” Apple’s report reveals. “The facility has earned the coveted LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. We know of no other data center of comparable size that has achieved this level of LEED certification. Our goal is to run the Maiden facility with high percentage renewable energy mix, and we have major projects under way to achieve this -- including building the nation’s largest end user-owned solar array and building the largest nonutility fuel cell installation in the United States.” The brief mention is Apple’s first comment on the subject to the public, which has been widely rumored since winning approval to reshape 171 acres of vacant land adjacent to the data center.
Mondays are traditionally one of the slower days of the week for tech news, which makes this bizarre little nugget all the more fascinating. According to Gawker, Whitney Houston fans are being mistreated yet again. After Sony recently jacked up the price of the deceased diva’s music on iTunes, Warner Bros. is now being accused of trying to prop up its sagging DVD fortunes by yanking Houston’s debut feature film The Bodyguard from Netflix streaming. After reading some of the venomous comments about the move on the Netflix website, Google Plus Week host Dan McDermott took it upon himself to contact Netflix directly and was told “the production company pulled the streaming rights from us because all the publicity after Whitney Houston's passing there was an opportunity to make really a very large amount of money on the DVD sales of her movies." Unfortunately, that story appears to be “totally untrue,” according to an update from AllThingsD. Netflix PR rep Steve Swasey claims The Bodyguard streaming rights expired at the end of last year and weren’t renewed. No need to call in Scooby-Doo to solve this mystery, folks.
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