November 30, 2006

LinkNews Digest [11/30/2006]

The Old "Pasta Sauce-for-a-Camcorder" Switcheroo

ST. LOUIS -- The Rittenbergs planned to shoot family movies with a new camcorder. They may have to settle for a family pasta dinner, instead.

The couple paid about $1,600 for a camcorder at a Best Buy store in the St. Louis suburb of Ellisville last week. They said when they opened the box, they found something they hadn't pictured: a jar of Classico pasta sauce where the camera should have been. Also inside the box was a telephone cord and an electric outlet cover, all positioned in the box where the camera equipment should have been. So far, they're stuck with the spicy red pepper sauce, though a Best Buy manager said the company is working to resolve the matter.

When the couple tried to return it, they were told by Best Buy that the box had been sealed, so the swap couldn't have happened at the store.

The Best Buy general manager in Ellisville, Wade Trapp, said a decision on how to resolve the problem has not been determined. San Diego-based Sony Electronics Inc. said it had a record of the incident. The company said it had not fielded any other complaints about pasta sauce being discovered in place of cameras. (LINK )

Judge Rules Paper Money Unfair to Blind

NEW YORK ( -- A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Treasury Department is violating the law by failing to design and issue currency that is readily distinguishable to blind and visually impaired people.

Judge James Robertson, in a ruling on a suit by the American Council of the Blind, ordered the Treasury to devise a method to tell bills apart. The judge wrote that the current configuration of paper money violates the Rehabilitation Act's guarantee of "meaningful access."

"It can no longer be successfully argued that a blind person has 'meaningful access' to currency if she cannot accurately identify paper money without assistance," Robertson wrote in his ruling. He further ruled that finding a solution to the problem would not be an "undue burden" on the government and ordered the Treasury Department to begin working on a solution within 30 days.

The American Council for the Blind has submitted several alternatives, including embossing, holes punched in the paper or using different-sized bills for different denominations. The Treasury Department had no comment on the ruling. (LINK )

Bad Korea, No Nintendo Wii!

Kim Jong Il, the world's favorite insane little man, is going to have a tough time finding some fun. North Korea is going to have some trouble finding consumer electronics; most of the population probably won't even notice.

The US government is planning to block the shipments of popular consumer electronic goods to North Korea, ranging from iPods to HDTVs. The embargo is specifically targeted at Kim Jong Il himself, who enjoys partaking in enjoyments his subjects cannot. We can assume that this ban will also include the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii.

While this embargo won't do anything to Jong Il (he can just smuggle units in the same way he got his uranium and plutonium), we're sure he's going to be ronery when the N. Korean Xbox Live service has a population of one. However, this could hamper any plans N. Korea may have integrating the Cell processor into missile systems and using the Wiimote to control tanks. (LINK via Joystiq)

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