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[#] Sat Mar 14 2009 13:18:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Utah's Third Attempt To Regulate Keywords Fails

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Eric Goldman writes "Earlier this month, we discussed HB 450, the Utah Legislature's third attempt to regulate keyword advertising after the past two efforts failed miserably. The latest attempt barely passed the Utah House, aided in part by a 'yes' vote from Representative Jennifer Seelig, who also happens to be a lobbyist-employee of 1-800 Contacts, the principal advocate of HB 450. Nevertheless, HB 450 died in the Utah Senate without a vote when the Utah Legislature adjourned last night. Despite the seeming good news, it would be surprising if the Utah Legislature didn't try a fourth attempt to regulate keyword advertising in a future session."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/NHr17OADDmI/article.pl

[#] Sat Mar 14 2009 14:21:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Symbian Introduces Open Source Release Plan

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volume4 brings news that David Wood of the Symbian Foundation has made a post detailing their plans for a release schedule, with new versions due out every six months. We discussed Nokia's acquisition of Symbian for the purpose of open sourcing the popular mobile OS last year. Quoting: "There's a lot of activity underway, throughout the software development teams for all the different packages that make up the Symbian Platform. These packages are finding their way into platform releases. The plan is that there will be two platform releases each year. ... Symbian^2, which is based on S60 5.1, reaches a functionally complete state at the middle of this year, and should be hardened by the end of the year. This means that the first devices based on Symbian^2 could be reaching the market any time around the end of this year — depending on the integration plans, the level of customisation, and the design choices made by manufacturers. Symbian^3 follows on six months later — reaching a functionally complete state at the end of this year, and should be hardened by the middle of 2010."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/gC7LZGXoXyU/article.pl

[#] Sat Mar 14 2009 15:23:00 EDT from rss

Subject: March 14th Officially Becomes National Pi Day

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whitefox writes "The scoop from CNet is that 'The US House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a resolution introduced two days earlier that designates March 14, 2009 (3/14, get it?) as National Pi Day. It urges schools to take the opportunity to teach their students about Pi and "engage them about the study of mathematics."' The resolution is available online. I doubt it'll ever become a national holiday, but the Pi string in the article is pretty cool in a nerdy sort of way."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/AC0zPw595eI/article.pl

[#] Sat Mar 14 2009 16:25:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Site Compatibility and IE8

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Kelson writes "As the release of Internet Explorer 8 approaches, Microsoft's IE Team has published a list of differences between IE7 and IE8, and how to fix code so that it will work on both. Most of the page focuses on IE8 Standards mode, but it also turns out that IE7 compatibility mode isn't quite the same as IE7 itself."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/Tlp47Qbol6Q/article.pl

[#] Sat Mar 14 2009 17:26:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Feds Demand Prison For Guns N' Roses Uploader

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Defeat Globalism writes with this excerpt from Wired: "Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles are pursuing a 6-month prison term for a Los Angeles man who pleaded guilty in December to one misdemeanor count of uploading pre-release Guns N' Roses tracks, according to court documents. Kevin Cogill was arrested last summer at gunpoint and charged with uploading nine tracks of the Chinese Democracy album to his music site — antiquiet.com. The album, which cost millions and took 17 years to complete, was released November 23 and reached No. 3 in the charts. The sentence being sought — including the calculation of damages based on the illegal activity of as many as 1,310 websites that disseminated the music after Cogill released it — underscores how serious the government is about punishing those for uploading pre-release material."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/q8YPT3A8ats/article.pl

[#] Sat Mar 14 2009 18:29:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Public Bug Tracking and Open-Source Policy

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Observer writes "Bugs in software are nothing new, but when they're discussed in the open, how do open source projects adapt policy? A major regression in the Gnome project's session manager has seen some major distributions choose to refuse to follow the update rather than drop a major feature. Between Gnome's public bug tracker and similar trackers from distributions which released (and still distribute) the buggy version, months of debate provide an interesting case-study in the way front-line users and developers interact for better or for worse. What lessons can be learned here for release planning, bug triage, and marketing for a major open source project?"

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/9V0PGQ6kvQ0/article.pl

[#] Sat Mar 14 2009 19:29:00 EDT from rss

Subject: 3-D Light System May Revolutionize Fingerprinting

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coondoggie writes "The US Department of Homeland Security's Science & Technology Directorate recently awarded almost $420,000 to a Kentucky company to further develop a contactless finger print/biometric system. The goal is a machine that can snap 10 fingerprints in high resolution in less than 10 seconds, without human intervention. This goal is beginning to lok feasible. FlashScan3D is working with the University of Kentucky's Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments, and has developed a technique called 'structured light illumination' (WIPO patent description), where a pattern of dots or stripes is projected onto a curved or irregular surface."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/EuagHICMgI8/article.pl

[#] Sat Mar 14 2009 20:58:00 EDT from rss

Subject: US Pentagon Plans For a Spy Blimp

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nloop writes "The Pentagon is intending to develop a new spy ship — a dirigible. At 65,000 feet it would provide a 10 year, solar power based, unblinkingly intricate and continuous view of the surface via radar surveillance. Because of its altitude it would be safe from surface-to-air missiles and most aircraft. A 1/3-scale prototype, now being designed, is 'known as ISIS, for Integrated Sensor Is the Structure, because the radar system will be built into the structure of the ship. ... 'If successful, the dirigible... could pave the way for a fleet of spy airships, military officials said.'"

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/gWqKni5Y2yI/article.pl

[#] Sat Mar 14 2009 22:12:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Hope For FOSS In Electronic Health Records

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Fred Trotter writes "CCHIT is the dominant Electronic Health Record certification body in the US. It is also decidedly anti-FOSS and has been for years. Certification of one kind or another will be required for EHR systems to qualify for funding under the Stimulus Act. If CCHIT is chosen as the certification body, and the current certification strategies continue, it will not be possible to have a funded EHR that is both certified and truly FOSS. Now, however, CCHIT has agreed to meet the FOSS Health IT community at HIMSS 09 to address this issue." We discussed the shortcomings in the stimulus bill as it relates to FOSS a few days back.

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/qBJ7Ss7Rqd0/article.pl

[#] Sat Mar 14 2009 23:26:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Blockbuster Total Access Unannounced Policy Change

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NuclearCodeMonkey writes "Blockbuster Total Access has changed the terms of its user agreement without notice to users. Previously, users could return online (mailed) rentals in-store for free rentals. The next set of online rentals was immediately mailed out. Now, without notice, they have changed their policy so that the in-store free exchanges count against you, and no more online rentals are mailed out until the in-store rentals are returned. No wonder they are closing stores and losing to Netflix! Needless to say I am canceling my account in protest."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/5DQEXUrLRFI/article.pl

[#] Sun Mar 15 2009 01:48:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Scientists Use fMRI To (Sort of) Read Minds

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NigelTheFrog writes "Researchers in England have used fMRI to map the activity in volunteers' hippocampuses. From these scans, they could pinpoint exactly where they were in a virtual reality landscape. 'Specific parts of each participant's hippocampus were active after that person had navigated to particular places in the room. A few practice rounds provided fodder for creating algorithms for each participant that correlated different brain activity patterns with different virtual locations. The algorithms, the team found, could in turn "predict" new virtual locations, not those used during practice rounds, based on each person's pattern of brain activity.'"

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/-Pbd8K2Fdio/article.pl

[#] Sun Mar 15 2009 03:17:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Court Demands Private Facebook Data

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Defeat Globalism writes in with a Canadian court decision that has ordered a man suing over injuries from a car accident to answer questions about content on his private "friends only" Facebook page. "Lawyers for Janice Roman, the defendant in the lawsuit, believe information posted on John Leduc's private Facebook site — normally accessible only to his approved 'friends' — may be relevant to his claim an accident in Lindsay in 2004 lessened his enjoyment of life. As a result of the ruling by Justice David Brown of Ontario's Superior Court of Justice, Leduc must now submit to cross-examination by Roman's lawyers about what his Facebook page contains. Brown's Feb. 20 ruling also makes clear that lawyers must now explain to their clients 'in appropriate cases' that postings on Facebook or other networking sites — such as MySpace, LinkedIn and even blogs — may be relevant to allegations in a lawsuit, said Tariq Remtulla, a Toronto lawyer who has been following the issue."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/iEhot6zTIqg/article.pl

[#] Sun Mar 15 2009 05:10:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Original Shakespeare Portrait Discovered, Disputed

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Reader Hugh Pickens sends in news from the NYTimes a few days back of what is believed to be a 500-year-old portrait of William Shakespeare, painted 6 years before his death. No existing portrait, that most experts consider to be genuine, was captured during Shakespeare's lifetime. "It shows Shakespeare as a far more alluring figure than the solemn-faced, balding image that has been conveyed by previous engravings, busts and portraits. 'His face is open and alive, with a rosy, rather sweet expression, perhaps suggestive of modesty,' said a brochure for an exhibition opening in Stratford. The portrait came to light when Alec Cobbe visited the National Portrait Gallery in London in 2006 to see an exhibition, 'Searching for Shakespeare,' and realized that the Folger portrait, whose authenticity had been doubted for decades, was a copy of the one that had been in his family's art collection since the mid-18th century, with the family unaware that the man depicted might be Shakespeare. Scientific studies at Cambridge showed that the oak panel on which the Cobbe portrait was mounted came from trees felled in the last 20 years of the 16th century, pointing to a date for the painting in the early 1600s." For balance, the New Yorker disputes some of the claims in the NYTimes account, and for good measure tosses in another purported Shakespeare portrait from life, this one discovered 3 years ago in Canada.

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/5oyaf-2AUlQ/article.pl

[#] Sun Mar 15 2009 07:53:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Netflix Throttling Instant Video Streaming

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rsk writes "For the last few weeks I've been experiencing terrible streaming video performance from Netflix on both my Xbox 360 and PC. While my Xbox 360 would at least stream at a lower resolution, my PC cannot seem to avoid 2-hr. buffering times before playback even started. I smelled shenanigans and started digging. With some help finding the debug menu for the streaming video player, I set out to figure out why playback was so slow. It seems that Netflix is significantly throttling Watch Instantly users (on the PC) down to an unusable cap — in my case, 48 kbps — on a per-connection basis."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/9e5F6ae5RKI/article.pl

[#] Sun Mar 15 2009 10:35:00 EDT from rss

Subject: iPhone App Causes Google To Shut Down SMS Service

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An anonymous reader writes "A few days ago, Inner Fence released a paid iPhone app called Infinite SMS, which let iPhone users employ Google's free SMS gateway to send SMS messages without paying their service providers. The resulting surge in traffic on Google's SMS gateway forced Google to block all third-party applications from using the free SMS feature — including Google's own GTalk client."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/ugvvNn1A92U/article.pl

[#] Sun Mar 15 2009 13:14:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Women Skip Math/Science Careers To Have Families

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hessian notes a Cornell survey, published in the Psychological Bulletin, of 35 years of sociological studies that concludes that women tend to choose non-math-intensive fields for their careers not because they lack mathematical ability, but because they want flexibility to raise children or prefer less math-intensive fields of science. "'A major reason explaining why women are underrepresented not only in math-intensive fields but also in senior leadership positions in most fields is that many women choose to have children, and the timing of child rearing coincides with the most demanding periods of their career, such as trying to get tenure or working exorbitant hours to get promoted,' said lead author Stephen J. Ceci... The authors concluded that hormonal, brain, and other biological sex differences were not primary factors in explaining why women were underrepresented in science careers, and that studies on social and cultural effects were inconsistent and inconclusive. They also reported that although 'institutional barriers and discrimination exist, these influences still cannot explain why women are not entering or staying in STEM careers,' said Ceci."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/4DQ6txRM3FM/article.pl

[#] Sun Mar 15 2009 14:28:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Data Mining Moves To Human Resources

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theodp writes "Just when you thought annual reviews couldn't get worse, BusinessWeek reports that HR departments at companies like Microsoft and IBM are starting to use mathematical analysis to determine the value of each employee. At an undisclosed Internet company, analysis of (non-verbal) communications was used to produce a circle to represent each employee — those determined to generate or pass along valuable info were portrayed as large and dark-colored circles ('thought leaders' and 'networked curators'), while those with small and pale circles were written off as not adding a hell of a lot. 'You have to bring the same rigor you bring to operations and finance to the analysis of people,' explains Microsoft's Rupert Bader. Hey, who could argue with what Quants did for finance?"

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/jVN63wuUTQ4/article.pl

[#] Sun Mar 15 2009 15:43:00 EDT from rss

Subject: JaikuEngine Gets Open Sourced

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volume4 writes "The switch has been flipped and Jaiku has been moved to App Engine. Google will no longer be developing Jaiku, so the code and the future of Jaiku is in the hands of the open source community. From the Jaiku blog: 'Today, we are open sourcing the Jaiku code base under the Apache License 2.0. The code is available as JaikuEngine on Google Code Project Hosting as of now. Anyone can set up and run their own JaikuEngine instance on Google App Engine.'" We discussed Google's purchase of Jaiku in 2007, and their subsequent decision to halt development a few months ago.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/7ErLj-V2WY0/article.pl

[#] Sun Mar 15 2009 16:58:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Red Hat Patenting Around Open Standards

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I Believe in Unicorns writes "Red Hat's patent policy says 'In an attempt to protect and promote the open source community, Red Hat has elected to... develop a corresponding portfolio of software patents for defensive purposes. We do so reluctantly...' Meanwhile, USPTO Application #: 20090063418, 'Method and an apparatus to deliver messages between applications,' claims a patent on routing messages using an XQuery match, which is an extension of the 'unencumbered' AMQP protocol that Red Hat is helping to make. Is this a defensive patent, or is Red Hat cynically staking out a software patent claim to an obvious extension of AMQP? Is Red Hat's promise to 'refrain from enforcing the infringed patent' against open source a reliable contract, or a trap for the unwary? Given the Microsoft-Red Hat deal in February, are we seeing Red Hat's 'Novell Moment?'" Reader Defeat_Globalism contributes a related story about an international research team who conducted experiments to "quantify the ways patent systems and market forces might influence someone to invent and solve intellectual problems." Their conclusion was that a system which doesn't restrict prizes to the winner provides more motivation for innovation.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/Y6-qwvJeDyc/article.pl

[#] Sun Mar 15 2009 18:13:00 EDT from rss

Subject: UK ISPs Could Be Forced To Block Or Restrict P2P

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MJackson writes "The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has published a draft set of proposals for tackling illegal broadband file sharing (P2P) downloads by persistent infringers, among other things. The proposals form part of a discussion piece concerning the role that a UK Digital Rights Agency (DRA) could play. UK Internet Providers will already be required to warn those suspected of such activity and collect anonymised information on serious repeat infringers, though they could soon be asked to go even further. The new discussion paper, while not going into much detail, has proposed two potential example solutions to the problem. UK ISPs could employ protocol blocking or bandwidth restrictions in relation to persistent infringers. In other words, P2P services could be blocked, or suspected users might find their service speeds seriously restricted."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/6frc1tUgCDg/article.pl

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