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[#] Fri Mar 06 2009 01:04:00 EST from rss

Subject: Australian Gov't May Employ a Homegrown Quantum Key System

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mask.of.sanity writes "The Australian government is trialling a new Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) system built by Aussie scientists. QKD is considered the world's toughest security because the slightest attempt to intercept the one time keys, coded into lasers at the quantum level, will disrupt the beam. The technology differs from current cryptography tech primarily because it's cheap. Well, less than the $US100k price tag of rival systems. It uses off-the-shelf networking gear instead of proprietary technology, and is built on open standards, so it's easier to install. The random key is encoded at the quantum level in the sidebeam in the phase and amplitude, or brightness and colour, of a highly tuned laser beam. The creators, who built the system in part for their Ph.Ds, said it can be used to transport the most sensitive data like critical infrastructure and secret commercial IP. The days of hand-delivered security keys are numbered."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/x6WWbY52YE0/article.pl

[#] Fri Mar 06 2009 03:57:00 EST from rss

Subject: 9 Browsers Compared For Speed and Features

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notthatwillsmith writes "Counting public betas and release candidates, there are a whopping nine different web browsers out today with enough market share to be considered mainstream. Maximum PC explains the differences between the browsers, future and present, so that you can make a more informed decision about the primary tool you use to browse the web. From the rendering engines used to the features that set the different browsers apart, this is a comprehensive, blow-by-blow battle between Safari 3, Internet Explorer 7, Firefox 3, Opera 9.6, Google Chrome, Firefox 3.1, IE 8, Safari 4, and Opera 10."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/tl76Q-Dc_gI/article.pl

[#] Fri Mar 06 2009 07:02:00 EST from rss

Subject: Timetable App Developer Gets Nastygram From Transit Sydney

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mikesd81 writes "ZDNet Australia writes that NSW state corporation RailCorp has threatened a Sydney software developer with legal action if he fails to withdraw a train timetable application that is currently the second-most-popular application in its category in Apple's App Store. Alvin Singh created Transit Sydney after he began teaching himself how to program in Cocoa Mobile. Within days of its Feb 18 release, Singh received a cease and desist notice from Rail Corporation NSW, the government body that administers Sydney's CityRail network. The email states: 'I advise that copyright in all CityRail timetables is owned by RailCorp. ... Any use of these timetables in a manner which breaches copyright by a third party can only occur through the grant of a suitable licence by RailCorp.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/YfuOFDENRpo/article.pl

[#] Fri Mar 06 2009 10:10:00 EST from rss

Subject: UK School Introduces Facial Recognition

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Penguin_me writes "A UK school has quietly introduced new facial recognition systems for registering students in and out of school: 'HIGH-TECH facial recognition technology has swept aside the old-fashioned signing of the register at a school.Sixth-formers will now have their faces scanned as they arrive in the morning at the City of Ely Community College. It is one of the first schools in the UK to trial the new technology with its students. Face Register uses the latest high-tech gadgets to register students in and out of school in just 1.5 seconds.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/kvTH6RrXJwg/article.pl

[#] Fri Mar 06 2009 12:44:00 EST from rss

Subject: Illinois Declares Pluto a Planet

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The Bad Astronomer writes "The legislators in Illinois, always on the lookout for more places to find voters, have passed a resolution declaring Pluto is a planet. I'm not sure what else can be said here, except that — besides overstepping their jurisdiction just a wee bit — they make a couple of scientific howlers in the resolution itself."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/SfS0_7LTxsY/article.pl

[#] Fri Mar 06 2009 13:29:00 EST from rss

Subject: UK Company Sold Workers' Secret Data

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krou writes "The BBC is reporting that the Information Commissioner's Office has shut down a company in the UK for a serious breach of the Data Protection Act. It claims that the company, The Consulting Association in Droitwich, Worcs, ran a secret system that it repeatedly denied existed for 15 years, selling workers' confidential data, including union activities, to building firms, allowing potential employers to unlawfully vet job applicants. About 3,213 workers were in the database, and other information included data on personal relationships, political affiliations, and employment histories. More than 40 firms are believed to have used the service, paying a £3,000 annual fee, and each of them will be investigated, too." The article says that The Consulting Association faces a £5,000 fine — after pulling in £1.8 million over 15 years with its illegal blacklist.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/8xao2U3-XzQ/article.pl

[#] Fri Mar 06 2009 14:17:00 EST from rss

Subject: America's New CIO Loves Google

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theodp writes "On Thursday, Barack Obama tapped Vivek Kundra for the post of Federal CIO, giving him responsibility for establishing and overseeing enterprise architecture across the federal government. So what might that look like? Well, little more than a month ago Kundra was slated to sing the praises of Google Apps to government officials in a webcast. A Kundra quote from the presentation slides: 'Why should I spend millions on enterprise apps when I can do it [with Google] at one-tenth cost and ten times the speed? It's a win-win for me.' You can follow Kundra's love affair with Google on YouTube, from his announcement of the Google-Washington DC partnership he brokered through a co-starring role with a Google attorney on a video pitching Google-enabled technology for the Obama Administration. Not surprisingly, some say Obama's choice of a Google-party-goer who worships Google could cause big headaches for Microsoft."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/D7YvgX4JTiI/article.pl

[#] Fri Mar 06 2009 15:03:00 EST from rss

Subject: Scale Models Can "Compute" Casimir Forces

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KentuckyFC writes "Place two conducting parallel plates a few nanometres apart and the well-known but difficult-to-measure Casimir force will push them together. The force depends crucially on the shape of the plates but nobody is exactly sure how. That's because calculations with anything other than flat plates are fiendishly difficult and measurements are even harder. Now a group at MIT has come up with an ingenious new way to investigate Casimir forces. What the team has noticed is a mathematical analogy between the Casimir force acting on microscopic bodies in a vacuum and the electromagnetic behavior of macroscopic bodies floating in a conducting fluid. Their idea is to build a centimeter-scale metal model of the system they want to investigate, place it in salt water, and bombard it with microwaves and see what happens. The team says the experiment does not measure the force on the scale model but instead a quantity that is mathematically related to the force. So the experiment is not a simulator but actually an analog computer that calculates the force (abstract). What's exciting is that the method should for the first time give researchers a way of testing nano-machines designed to exploit the Casimir force."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/sLYlZrXmuSA/article.pl

[#] Fri Mar 06 2009 15:47:00 EST from rss

Subject: Congress Mulls API For Congressional Data

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Amerika sends in a Wired blog post on the desire in Congress to make data on lawmaking more easily available to the public. The senator who introduced the language into an omnibus appropriations bill wants feedback on the best way to make (e.g.) the Library of Congress's Thomas data more available — an API or bulk downloads, or both. Some comments on the blog posting call for an authenticated versioning system so we can know unequivocally how any particular language made its way into a bill. "Congress has apparently listened to the public's complaints about lack of convenient access to government data. The new Omnibus Appropriations Bill includes a section, introduced by Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), that would mark the first tangible move toward making federal legislative data available to the public in bulk, so third parties can mash it up and redistribute it in innovative and accessible ways. This would include all the data currently distributed through the Library of Congress's Thomas web site — bill status and summary information, lists of sponsors, tracking timelines, voting records, etc."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/lytbe2VyuSs/article.pl

[#] Fri Mar 06 2009 16:35:00 EST from rss

Subject: ISS's Node 3 Might Be Named "Colbert"

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Panzor writes "NASA is running a contest to name the new addition to the space station, Node 3. The polls are open until March 20. The selection that is getting the most votes is 'Suggest your own,' and the leading name besides the official four (Earthrise, Legacy, Serenity, and Venture) is 'Colbert.' Comedian Stephen Colbert suggested on the air that fans write in his name. On March 5th, his vote count passed that of Xenu and Colbert pronounced himself Scientology's 'Galactic Overlord.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/SZZHTlTPex8/article.pl

[#] Fri Mar 06 2009 17:20:00 EST from rss

Subject: GM Cornered Into Defending the Volt

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Al notes a story in Technology Review reporting on a CMU study (now over a month old) claiming that the Volt doesn't make economic sense, and GM's response. The study (PDF) suggests that hybrids with large batteries offering up to 40 miles of range before an on-board generator kicks in simply cost too much for the gas savings to work out. Al writes: "Unsurprisingly, GM disputes the claims, saying 'Our battery team is already starting work on new concepts that will further decrease the cost of the Volt battery pack quite substantially in a second-generation Volt pack.' Interestingly, however, GM admits that the tax credits for plug-in hybrids will be crucial to making the volt successful. Without those credits, would an electric vehicle like the Volt be viable?"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/k31Hd0fqC_c/article.pl

[#] Fri Mar 06 2009 18:04:00 EST from rss

Subject: Oklahoma, Vatican Take Opposite Tacks On Evolution

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nizcolas writes "Notable evolutionary biologist, author, and speaker Richard Dawkins was recently invited to speak on the campus of the University of Oklahoma as part of the school's celebration of Charles Darwin. However, Oklahoma lawmakers are working to silence Dawkins with the passage of House Bill 1015 (RTF), which reads in part: '... the University of Oklahoma ... has invited as a public speaker on campus, Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, whose published opinions, as represented in his 2006 book "The God Delusion," and public statements on the theory of evolution demonstrate an intolerance for cultural diversity and diversity of thinking and are views that are not shared and are not representative of the thinking of a majority of the citizens of Oklahoma ...'" Pending legal action, Dawkins is set to speak tonight at 7 pm. (Luckily, we no longer live in the era of Bertrand Russell's court-ordered dismissal on moral grounds from the College of the City of New York.) And reader thms sends word of the Vatican's Darwin conference (program): "The conference, marking the 150th anniversary of the publication of "The Origin of Species," has been criticized by advocates of Creationism or Intelligent Design for not inviting them. The Muslim creationist Harun Yahya, most famous for his Atlas of Creation, also complained about not being invited."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/BH5I5xIN-n8/article.pl

[#] Fri Mar 06 2009 18:47:00 EST from rss

Subject: Boxee Hack Restores Hulu Support (Sort Of)

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DeviceGuru writes "Boxee has restored a support for Hulu, along with several other enhancements, to its free media center platform for PCs and Macs. The support, a hack to Boxee's RSS feed functionality, involves having Boxee users enable the support themselves by cutting/pasting URLs from Hulu's RSS feed page into their account on Boxee's website. It works, but one can't help wondering how it's really different from Boxee's original — superior — Hulu support. Oh, the games media companies play!"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/9xQWN1hLbIg/article.pl

[#] Fri Mar 06 2009 19:33:00 EST from rss

Subject: Watchmen Watched

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In a blatant attempt to make my movie-going a valid business expense, I'm putting together some notes on Watchmen, and providing a place for you all to discuss it. The first thing I want to say is that I had high hopes: If you ask any serious comic book nerd what the most important book is, they will probably give you one of two answers, and "Watchmen" is the right one. So really Snyder, the director of 300, could only do wrong. Fortunately for me, he was very true to the book: just like 300, many sequences are shot-for-shot from the comics. Some stuff didn't make it, and the new ending has a different meaning to me (one that really isn't as satisfying, but is certainly cleaner). But what I can't say is if it was a good movie or not. I sorta wish I could get an impartial opinion of someone who isn't a nutty fan of the book to tell me how it stands as a movie. I imagine a bit slow, wordy and maybe a bit confusing in parts. I'll leave full reviews to others, but I enjoyed the picture and suspect you will too.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/NHf2_uuU9WE/article.pl

[#] Fri Mar 06 2009 20:20:00 EST from rss

Subject: Can SSDs Be Used For Software Development?

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hackingbear writes "I'm considering buying a current-generation SSD to replace my external hard disk drive for use in my day-to-day software development, especially to boost the IDE's performance. Size is not a great concern: 120GB is enough for me. Price is not much a concern either, as my boss will pay. I do have concerns on the limitations of write cycles as well as write speeds. As I understand, the current SSDs overcome it by heuristically placing the writes randomly. That would be good enough for regular users, but in software development, one may have to update 10-30% of the source files from Subversion and recompile the whole project, several times a day. I wonder how SSDs will do in this usage pattern. What's your experience developing on SSDs?"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/R9IdsPEzQ3E/article.pl

[#] Fri Mar 06 2009 21:03:00 EST from rss

Subject: Windows 7 Kill Switch For IE Confirmed --- For More Apps, Too

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CWmike writes "Microsoft has confirmed that users will be able to remove its IE8 browser, as well as several other integrated applications, from Windows 7. Jack Mayo, a group program manager on the Windows team, listed in a blog post the applications that can be switched off. They include Internet Explorer 8, Fax and Scan, handwriting recognition, Windows DVD Maker, Windows Gadget Platform, Windows Media Player, Windows Media Center, Windows Search, and XPS Viewer and Services. He explained that the files associated with those applications and features are not actually deleted from the hard drive. The public beta of Windows 7 does not include the ability to 'kill' said apps. But a pirated copy of Windows 7 Build 7048 includes the new removal options, and has been leaked on the Internet." (We mentioned the reported ability to turn off IE8 yesterday as well.)

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/HJwWydNRxmY/article.pl

[#] Fri Mar 06 2009 21:46:00 EST from rss

Subject: Is Salacious Content Driving E-Book Sales?

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narramissic writes "Having already abandoned ebooks once, Barnes & Noble is jumping back into ebooks with the purchase this week of ebook seller Fictionwise. Why is the format suddenly hot? Look no further than the top 10 Fictionwise bestsellers, says blogger Peter Smith. Once again it seems like 'porn is blazing a path to a new media format. Of the top 10 bestsellers under the 'Multiformat' category, nine are tagged 'erotica' and the last is 'dark fantasy'.' Need more proof that folks (let's take a leap and call them women) who read 'bodice rippers' like the privacy of ebooks? Author Samantha Lucas (who writes for publishers like Cobblestone Press and Siren Publishing) tells Smith that she sells almost all of her novels in ebook format."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/yJZUvI_YxSM/article.pl

[#] Fri Mar 06 2009 21:46:00 EST from rss

Subject: Is Salacious Content Driving E-Book Sales?

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

narramissic writes "Having already abandoned ebooks once, Barnes & Noble is jumping back into ebooks with the purchase this week of ebook seller Fictionwise. Why is the format suddenly hot? Look no further than the top 10 Fictionwise bestsellers, says blogger Peter Smith. Once again it seems like 'porn is blazing a path to a new media format. Of the top 10 bestsellers under the 'Multiformat' category, nine are tagged 'erotica' and the last is 'dark fantasy'.' Need more proof that folks (let's take a leap and call them women) who read 'bodice rippers' like the privacy of ebooks? Author Samantha Lucas (who writes for publishers like Cobblestone Press and Siren Publishing) tells Smith that she sells almost all of her novels in ebook format."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/yJZUvI_YxSM/article.pl

[#] Fri Mar 06 2009 21:03:00 EST from rss

Subject: Windows 7 Kill Switch For IE Confirmed --- For More Apps, Too

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

CWmike writes "Microsoft has confirmed that users will be able to remove its IE8 browser, as well as several other integrated applications, from Windows 7. Jack Mayo, a group program manager on the Windows team, listed in a blog post the applications that can be switched off. They include Internet Explorer 8, Fax and Scan, handwriting recognition, Windows DVD Maker, Windows Gadget Platform, Windows Media Player, Windows Media Center, Windows Search, and XPS Viewer and Services. He explained that the files associated with those applications and features are not actually deleted from the hard drive. The public beta of Windows 7 does not include the ability to 'kill' said apps. But a pirated copy of Windows 7 Build 7048 includes the new removal options, and has been leaked on the Internet." (We mentioned the reported ability to turn off IE8 yesterday as well.)

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/HJwWydNRxmY/article.pl

[#] Fri Mar 06 2009 20:20:00 EST from rss

Subject: Can SSDs Be Used For Software Development?

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

hackingbear writes "I'm considering buying a current-generation SSD to replace my external hard disk drive for use in my day-to-day software development, especially to boost the IDE's performance. Size is not a great concern: 120GB is enough for me. Price is not much a concern either, as my boss will pay. I do have concerns on the limitations of write cycles as well as write speeds. As I understand, the current SSDs overcome it by heuristically placing the writes randomly. That would be good enough for regular users, but in software development, one may have to update 10-30% of the source files from Subversion and recompile the whole project, several times a day. I wonder how SSDs will do in this usage pattern. What's your experience developing on SSDs?"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/R9IdsPEzQ3E/article.pl

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