A Microsoft Corp. researcher won the $250,000 Turing Award, one of technology’s most coveted prizes, on Tuesday for his work helping to design and build what is widely considered the first modern personal computer. While at Xerox Corp.’s famed Palo Alto Research Center, or PARC, in the 1970s, Charles Thacker led the hardware development for the Alto, which featured innovative display and other technologies that helped inspire future generations of computers. Thacker, 67, was also co-inventor of the Ethernet networking technology used to connect computers, which is still widely used. Thacker said he would probably donate the money to his alma mater, the University of California, Berkeley. “I was flabbergasted,” he said in an interview Tuesday. “I frankly never expected to get the award, because it wasn’t given to people like me. Most of the people who have gotten the Turing award in the past few years are software people or theoreticians. There are scant few people who have actually built some hardware.”
Toyota faces scores of owner lawsuits
Toyota owners claiming that massive safety recalls are causing the value of their vehicles to plummet have filed at least 89 class-action lawsuits that could cost the Japanese auto giant $3 billion or more, according to an Associated Press review of cases, legal precedent and interviews with experts. Those estimates do not include potential payouts for wrongful death and injury lawsuits, which could reach in the tens of millions each. Still, the sheer volume of cases involving U.S. Toyota owners claiming lost value — 6 million or more — could prove far more costly, adding up to losses in the billions for the automaker. Such class-action lawsuits “are more scary for Toyota than the cases where people actually got injured,” said Tom Baker, a Pennsylvania law professor.
LifeLock to pay losses, ease off on its claims
In a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission and attorneys general from Washington and 34 other states, LifeLock agreed Tuesday to tone down claims about the effectiveness of its service and to pay $11 million to customers and $1 million for the costs of the investigation. The governments alleged the Tempe, Ariz., company misled customers by claiming to offer absolute protection against identity theft, when in reality there was no sure-fire way to keep thieves from assuming an identity.
Cisco offers router for higher Web traffic
Cisco Systems Inc. announced Tuesday that it is upgrading one of its biggest pieces of networking hardware, a router that’s used to power the most trafficked parts of the Internet backbone. Routers play an important role as the Internet’s traffic cops, shunting packets of data to their destinations. Those placed at the Internet’s backbone — the main arteries for traffic — need the most capacity given the amount of data passing through.
From Herald news services