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[#] Tue Mar 24 2009 05:01:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Dealing With a Copyright Takedown Request?

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George Maschke writes "I recently received a takedown notice from a corporate lawyer demanding that I remove a post on my Web site's message board. It purportedly lists the first 75 of 567 questions on the MMPI-2 paper-and-pencil psychological test. It seems to me that such posting of a limited amount copyrighted material for discussion purposes on a public-interest, non-profit Web site falls within the scope of the fair use exemption of US copyright law. I have thus declined to remove the post. I believe that the corporation in question is seeking to chill public discussion of its test, which applicants for employment with many governmental agencies are required to complete. I would be interested in this community's thoughts on the matter."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/zTimxu5xyuY/article.pl

[#] Tue Mar 24 2009 07:48:00 EDT from rss

Subject: NASA Tests Heaviest Chute Drop Ever

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Iddo Genuth writes "NASA and the US Air Force have successfully tested a new super-chute system aimed at reclaiming reusable Ares booster rockets. On February 28, 2009 a 50,000-pound dummy rocket booster was dropped in the Arizona desert and slowed by a system of five parachutes before it crashed to the ground. The booster landed softly without any damage. This was possibly the heaviest parachute drop ever, and NASA is planning to perform even heavier drops of up to 90,000 pounds in the next few months."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



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

[#] Tue Mar 24 2009 10:33:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Reflected Gravitational Waves

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WSOGMM sends in an arXiv blog post about reflecting gravity waves. The speculation is that reflected gravity could go some ways toward explaining the odd readings being returned by Gravity Probe B. "In the couple of weeks since he introduced the idea that superconducting sheets can reflect gravity waves, Raymond Chiao from the University of California, Merced, has been busy with a couple of buddies working out how big this effect is... Chiao and co. ask how big the effect of a gravitational wave on a thin superconducting sheet is compared to the effect on an ordinary conducting sheet. The answer? 42 orders of magnitude bigger."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/97bsVJVeKj8/article.pl

[#] Tue Mar 24 2009 13:16:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Court Says USPTO Can Change Patent Rules

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bizwriter writes "Many large companies have been closely monitoring the Tafas v. Doll lawsuit over whether the US Patent and Trademark Office has the power to change the patent application process in significant ways, so as to restrict the scope of patents and the chances of getting one. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has finally spoken, with a split court ruling that the USPTO does have the necessary authority. The case stems from a court challenge to four new rules the USPTO put in place in 2007. A number of tech companies including Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Apple, and Intel have supported the rule changes, which would strengthen their positions and make it more difficult for small companies to create, protect, and bring to market disruptive technology. These companies didn't have it all their way, as the appeals court said that one of the four rules conflicts with existing patent law and sent the other three back to a lower court for further review. If the decision is sustained by a full review of all 12 Federal Circuit appeals judges, it could be a blow to biotech and pharmaceutical companies, which depend on being able to obtain large numbers of patents. Expect further appeals on this one, and for the only beneficiaries in the short run to be the lawyers."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/c8e9vgPH98U/article.pl

[#] Tue Mar 24 2009 14:05:00 EDT from rss

Subject: New Service Aims To Replace Consoles With Cloud Gaming

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ThinSkin writes "Imagine playing bleeding-edge games, yet never again upgrading your hardware. That's the ambitious goal of OnLive's Internet delivered gaming service. Using cloud computing, OnLive's goal is to 'make all modern games playable on any system,' thanks in large part to OnLive's remote servers that do all the heavy lifting. With a fast enough Internet connection, gamers can effectively stream and play games using a PC, Mac, or a 'MicroConsole,' 'a dedicated gaming client provided by OnLive that includes a game controller.' Without ever having to worry about costly hardware upgrades or the cost of a next-gen console, gamers can expect to fork over about $50 yearly just for the service. If this thing takes off, this can spell trouble for gaming consoles down the road, especially if already-established services like Steam and Impulse join the fray."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/zpus1wbBd2U/article.pl

[#] Tue Mar 24 2009 15:07:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Rights Groups Speak Out Against Phorm, UK Comm. Database

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MJackson writes "The Open Rights Group (ORG) has issued a public letter to the Chief Privacy Officers (or the nearest equivalent) for seven of the world's largest website giants (including Microsoft and Google), asking them to boycott Phorm. The controversial Phorm system works with broadband ISPs to monitor what websites you visit for use in targeted advertising campaigns. Meanwhile, the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust has issued a new report slamming the UK government's plans for a Communications Database. This would be designed to intercept and log every UK ISP user's e-mail headers, website accesses and telephone history. The report warns that the public are often, 'neither served nor protected by the increasingly complex and intrusive holdings of personal information invading every aspect of our lives.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/CInXUNp29Ho/article.pl

[#] Tue Mar 24 2009 15:50:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Mississippi Passes Law To Ban Traffic Light Cameras

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DaGoatSpanka writes with news that Mississippi Governer Haley Barbour signed a bill into law on Friday which instituted a ban on automated cameras that would snap pictures of motorists when they ran red lights. "The new law says the two cities that already have the cameras, Jackson and Columbus, must take them down by Oct. 1. Other cities and counties are banned from starting to use them." We've discussed situations in the past where cities looked at such cameras as "profit centers," and even tampered with their traffic light timing to catch more motorists. Now, in Mississippi, the contractors who installed the cameras are unhappy, since they received a cut of the ticket revenue generated by the cameras. However, lawmakers overwhelming voted to get rid of them (117-3 in the House, 42-9 in the Senate), because "the cameras were an invasion of privacy and their constituents thought they had been unfairly ticketed."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/J1UEzUseE80/article.pl

[#] Tue Mar 24 2009 16:32:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Sun's CEO On FOSS and the Cloud

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ruphus13 writes "Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz continues to promote the use of Open Source, and says the downturn in the economy will only boost the momentum behind FOSS. From his post, 'Free and open source software is sweeping across the vast majority of the Fortune 500. When you see the world's most conservative companies starting to deploy open source, you know momentum is on your side. That's creating massive opportunity for those of us who have pioneered the market, to drive commercial opportunities... We announced just last week that we're building the Sun Cloud, atop open source platforms — from ZFS and Crossbow, to MySQL and Glassfish. By building on open source, we're able to avoid proprietary storage and networking products, alongside proprietary software.'" In related news, the Sun-IBM deal proposed last week has been called "anti-competitive" by a tech industry group, while others are speculating on how it could affect Linux and Java.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/mbJ15-R5kmM/article.pl

[#] Tue Mar 24 2009 17:13:00 EDT from rss

Subject: How Do You Deal With Pirated Programs At Work?

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LoneAdminOK writes "I started working for a small company in the middle of January as their IT Manager. I am the first actual 'IT Guy' that they have had; before me it was someone that performed another job within the company and just handled the IT on the side. The problem that I am running into is that most of the software I am finding on the network and on people's computers isn't owned by the company. The person before me would just get it from 'somewhere' and install it on the computers as needed. This is putting me in a bad position when I have to reinstall the program or find it to install on someone else's computer. Often, I am telling people that we don't have it or we have to buy another license, and they get mad at me because the other guy said that we had it. I can't even tell where the versions of Windows Server that they are running came from. The only one I know is legit is the one that is installed on an HP server with the OEM sticker on it. How have any of you handled a situation like this? I don't install 'borrowed programs' in a production environment because I know that if the BSA got wind of this, it would all fall on me when they stormed in."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/8Y41RAr8ZSI/article.pl

[#] Tue Mar 24 2009 17:57:00 EDT from rss

Subject: UI Features That Didn't Make It Into Windows 7

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TRNick writes "TechRadar talks to Windows 7's Senior User Experience Designer and discovers the interface ideas the Windows 7 team almost, but didn't put into Windows 7, and the stages various UI features went through to their final form. Quoting: '... The next prototype, in February 2007, was called the Bat Signal; when you moved your mouse over an icon in the taskbar, the full window would pop up on screen, highlighted by beams of light (a little like the Batman signal projected over Gotham City). Bat Signal made it easy to find the right window but it caused other problems: 'sometimes people toss the mouse down to the bottom of the screen when they're typing because they don't care where the mouse is and the Bat Signal pops up and that's really intrusive in their flow.' Bat Signal evolved into Aero Peek in Windows 7; you can hover over an icon to get thumbnails and hover over a thumbnail to get a preview of the window."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/1VwDb4GBh1A/article.pl

[#] Tue Mar 24 2009 18:38:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Towards the Open Company

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Arto Stimms writes "The author of the e text editor is using the principles of open source to transform his company into an Open Company. Not only is he releasing the source, the company itself becomes totally open: no concept of bosses or employees. Anyone can join in at any time, doing whatever task they find interesting, for whatever time they find appropriate. This is in service of the idea of 'the real freedom zero': the freedom to decide for yourself what you want to work on."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/Im04hl6_6lU/article.pl

[#] Tue Mar 24 2009 19:25:00 EDT from rss

Subject: "Slacker DBs" Vs. Old-Guard DBs

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snydeq writes "Non-relational upstarts — tools that tack the letters 'db' onto a 'pile of code that breaks with the traditional relational model' — have grabbed attention in large part because they willfully ignore many of the rules that codify the hard lessons learned by the old database masters. Doing away with JOINs and introducing phrases like 'eventual consistency,' these 'slacker DBs' offer greater simplicity and improved means of storing data for Web apps, yet remain toys in the eyes of old guard DB admins. 'This distinction between immediate and eventual consistency is deeply philosophical and depends on how important the data happens to be,' writes InfoWorld's Peter Wayner, who let down his old-guard leanings and tested slacker DBs — Amazon SimpleDB, Apache CouchDB, Google App Engine, and Persevere — to see how they are affecting the evolution of modern IT."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



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

[#] Tue Mar 24 2009 20:10:00 EDT from rss

Subject: HP's Free Adobe Flash Vulnerability Scanner

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Catalyst writes "SWFScan is a free Flash security tool (download here), released by HP Software, which decompiles all versions of Flash and scans them for over 60 security vulnerabilities. The scan detects things like XSS, SQL inside of the Flash app, hard-coded authentication credentials, weak encryption, insecure function calls, cross-domain privilege escalation, and violations of Adobe's security recommendations. There is also this video explaining a real, and amusing, attack against a Flash app. These issues are fairly widespread with over 35% of SWF applications violating Adobe security advice."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/4jr3Aej84PE/article.pl

[#] Tue Mar 24 2009 20:54:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Texas Vote May Challenge Teaching of Evolution

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tboulay writes "The Texas Board of Education will vote this week on a new science curriculum designed to challenge the guiding principle of evolution, a step that could influence what is taught in biology classes across the nation. The proposed curriculum change would prompt teachers to raise doubts that all life on Earth is descended from common ancestry. Texas is such a large textbook market that many publishers write to the state's standards, then market those books nationwide. 'This is the most specific assault I've seen against evolution and modern science,' said Steven Newton, a project director at the National Center for Science Education, which promotes teaching of evolution." Both sides are saying the issue it too close to call. Three Republicans on the school board who favor the teaching of evolution have come under enormous pressure to reform their ways.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/YIyAnqb1_fE/article.pl

[#] Tue Mar 24 2009 18:38:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Toward the Open Company

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Arto Stimms writes "The author of the e text editor is using the principles of open source to transform his company into an Open Company. Not only is he releasing the source, the company itself becomes totally open: no concept of bosses or employees. Anyone can join in at any time, doing whatever task they find interesting, for whatever time they find appropriate. This is in service of the idea of 'the real freedom zero': the freedom to decide for yourself what you want to work on."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/Im04hl6_6lU/article.pl

[#] Tue Mar 24 2009 21:38:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Valve Claims New Steamworks Update "Makes DRM Obsolete"

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Lulfas writes "Steam is implementing a new anti-piracy solution that, according to them, removes all DRM. Called Computer Executable Generation (CEG), this system creates a unique copy of the game when it is purchased through Steam, essentially using a 100% unique keygen system. It will be installable on any system, but only playable by one person at a time (hooked into the correct Steam account, of course). Will this be enough to satisfy anti-DRM players while at the same time giving the publishing companies what they require?"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/3kszOH96khg/article.pl

[#] Tue Mar 24 2009 22:22:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Chimps Have a Built-In GPS

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destinyland writes "European researchers have discovered that chimpanzees have a built-in mental GPS, keeping 'a geometric mental map of their home range, moving from point to point in nearly straight lines.' Using GPS, two primatologists followed 15 chimpanzees for 217 days, and determined that the apes were 'using a mental map built around geometric coordinates.' They're not just identifying landmarks in their surroundings, and in fact, even when swinging through trees, the chimps planned out their route several trees in advance. Here's the paper in the journal Animal Behavior ."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/Q4LH1IaFPH0/article.pl

[#] Tue Mar 24 2009 23:08:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Strip-Search Case Tests Limits of 4th Amendment

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langelgjm writes "The US Supreme Court has agreed to review a case involving the strip-searching of a 13 year-old girl who was accused of possessing prescription-strength ibuprofen on school grounds, in violation of the school's zero-tolerance drug policy. The case has gained national attention because of the defining role it will play in determining which, if any, parts of the Constitution apply on school grounds. In Morse v. Frederick, the Supreme Court has already upheld the right of school administrators to restrict students' free speech at school-sponsored events that take place off school property. The school described the strip-search as 'not excessively intrusive in light of [the student's] age and sex and the nature of her suspected infraction.' The Supreme Court's last decision about searches on school property dealt only with searching a student's purse. Incidentally, the girl was found not to be in possession of any drugs, illegal or otherwise."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/QCM65bo6C1M/article.pl

[#] Tue Mar 24 2009 19:25:00 EDT from rss

Subject: "Slacker DBs" vs. Old-Guard DBs

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

snydeq writes "Non-relational upstarts — tools that tack the letters 'db' onto a 'pile of code that breaks with the traditional relational model' — have grabbed attention in large part because they willfully ignore many of the rules that codify the hard lessons learned by the old database masters. Doing away with JOINs and introducing phrases like 'eventual consistency,' these 'slacker DBs' offer greater simplicity and improved means of storing data for Web apps, yet remain toys in the eyes of old guard DB admins. 'This distinction between immediate and eventual consistency is deeply philosophical and depends on how important the data happens to be,' writes InfoWorld's Peter Wayner, who let down his old-guard leanings and tested slacker DBs — Amazon SimpleDB, Apache CouchDB, Google App Engine, and Persevere — to see how they are affecting the evolution of modern IT."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



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

[#] Tue Mar 24 2009 23:50:00 EDT from rss

Subject: New Lossless MP3 Format Explained

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CNETNate writes "Thomson, the company that licenses the MP3 patent, has released a new lossless MP3 format called mp3HD. It utilises both lossless and lossy audio contained inside a single .mp3 file, and the files will play on all existing MP3 players. The idea is simple: lossless files on your desktop that can be transferred without conversion to iPods and MP3 players. The issue, it transpires, is that although the full lossless/lossy hybrid MP3 file is transferred to players, only the lossy element can be played back. A command line encoder can be found on Thomson's Web site."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/jkebwXzwA5U/article.pl

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