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Comment: Car dealerships have a legal monopoly (Score 1) 160

by Aaron England (#45083555) Attached to: Car Dealers vs the Web: GM Shifts Toward Online Purchasing
Has anyone ever wondered why we buy cars the way we do? If you wanted to buy a banana, you wouldn't go to a banana store. You would go to a grocery store and pick from a multitude of different fruits. Yet with (new) cars, there is no grocery store equivalent. Why is that? Well the reason is that in all 50 states dealerships have established a legal monopoly which basically prohibits this.

Planet Money did a podcast on this very issue.
Games

EVE Online Battle Breaks Records (And Servers) 308

Posted by Soulskill
from the blame-it-on-the-torrents dept.
captainktainer writes "In one of the largest tests of EVE Online's new player sovereignty system in the Dominion expansion pack, a fleet of ships attempting to retake a lost star system was effectively annihilated amidst controversy. Defenders IT Alliance, a coalition succeeding the infamous Band of Brothers alliance (whose disbanding was covered in a previous story), effectively annihilated the enemy fleet, destroying thousands of dollars' worth of in-game assets. A representative of the alliance claimed to have destroyed a minimum of four, possibly five or more of the game's most expensive and powerful ship class, known as Titans. Both official and unofficial forums are filled with debate about whether the one-sided battle was due to difference in player skill or the well-known network failures after the release of the expansion. One of the attackers, a member of the GoonSwarm alliance, claims that because of bad coding, 'Only 5% of [the attackers] loaded,' meaning that lag prevented the attackers from using their ships, even as the defenders were able to destroy those ships unopposed. Even members of the victorious IT Alliance expressed disappointment at the outcome of the battle. CCP, EVE Online's publisher, has recently acknowledged poor network performance, especially in the advertised 'large fleet battles' that Dominion was supposed to encourage, and has asked players to help them stress test their code on Tuesday. Despite the admitted network failure, leaders of the attacking force do not expect CCP to replace lost ships, claiming that it was their own fault for not accounting for server failures. The incident raises questions about CCP's ability to cope with the increased network use associated with their rapid growth in subscriptions."

Comment: Re:The devil is in the details (Score 1) 775

by Aaron England (#24666381) Attached to: Judge Rules Man Cannot Be Forced To Decrypt HD
Uh no, congress did not do that. Even if congress did do that you don't overturn a supreme court decision by writing another law. What congress did was more narrowly define what kind of child pornography is banned. It is now "such visual depiction is a computer image or computer-generated image that is, or appears virtually indistinguishable from that of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct." So if someone developed a image metrics child pornography, that might meet the standard of "virtually indistinguishable" and therefore be banned. A simple animation would not be.
Wireless (Apple)

Apple Patents 'Buy Stuff Wirelessly, Skip Lines' Tech 254

Posted by Zonk
from the be-nice-if-we-ever-see-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Apple is looking to patent a process that will save customers the hassle of waiting to order a cup of coffee at a local Starbucks. Even better: The technology would let you jump the line of those ordering in person. 'Customers might tap a button to order their favorite drink, say a double-shot mocha, as they stroll up to the nearest coffee shop. When the drink is ready go to, the device--such as an iPhone--would chime or blink to let the thirsty one know it's time to scoop up the order at the counter. The patent puts Apple's partnership with Starbucks in a new light. The technology promises to morph Apple from the business of simply selling gadgets and music and movies that can be played on those devices into an intermediary in all kinds of exchanges.'"

Tools To Squash the Botnets 135

Posted by Zonk
from the squish-squish-little-bugs dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "This is the intention of Paul Barford, a computer scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He wants to build a new line of defense against malicious traffic which has become today a billion-dollar 'shadow industry.' As one of 'the most menacing aspects of botnets is that they can go largely undetected' by a PC owner, he developed a new computer security technique for detecting network intrusions. His system has a 99.9% detection rate of malicious signatures, roughly equivalent to some of the best commercial systems. But it has zero false positives when commercial systems have high numbers. This new system could soon be available commercially."
Privacy

Latest Revelations on the FBI's Data Mining of America 446

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-forward-your-mail-to-homeland-security dept.
An anonymous reader writes "You probably already knew that the FBI was data mining Americans in the "search" for potential terrorists, but did you know that they're also supposed to be looking for people in the U.S. engaged in criminal activity that is not really supposed to be the province of the federal government? Now the feds are alleged to be data mining for insurance fraudsters, identity thieves, and questionable online pharmacists. That's what they're telling us now. What else could they be looking for that they are not telling us about?"

The Man Behind MySpace 186

Posted by Zonk
from the hungry-like-dewolfe dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Guardian has an article looking at the life of Chris DeWolfe, a co-founder of the popular MySpace community site. The article details some of his previous work history, and the thought process that went into creating the site." From the article: "They pinched the best bits of everybody else's sites (Craigslist, Evite, MP3.com) and put them together in a manner that made sense. Unconcerned with technological bells and whistles and geeky one-upmanship, they instead set out to appeal to the people they knew and, beyond them, the youth tribes of middle America."

Nintendo's 'Wii' Just A Marketing Gimmick? 356

Posted by Zonk
from the doesn't-seem-their-style dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Tom's Hardware has an editorial up on the Nintendo Wii in which the author postulates that the new name may be a bigger PR stunt than it looks. From the article: 'Saying Wii is controversial mainly in the English-speaking world (the Japanese can't even pronounce it); in France, for instance, it's a homonym for oui. But the upcoming E3 Expo plays mostly to an English-speaking crowd, even though it's an international event. It's just over a week to E3, where Sony fans will be all giddy and running around like they have a Blu-ray chasing their tails. Amid all this, Nintendo announces a name change which is not only interesting, but controversial. You can't not notice it. Essentially, Nintendo steals more than a wee bit of Sony's thunder.'"

MIT Hackers Appropriate Caltech Cannon 329

Posted by Zonk
from the those-wacky-nerds dept.
Bob Hearn writes "Some Slashdotters might remember the story Caltech Pranks MIT's Prefrosh Weekend from a year ago. MIT Hackers have gotten even. Sometime in the middle of the night, Caltech's famous cannon appeared at the base of MIT's Green building. A plaque in front of it reads: 'CALTECH CANNON April 6, 2006 MIT hackers posing as the Howe & Ser Moving Company Appropriated this cannon on March 28, 2006. It later appeared on MIT's campus with the addition of a large brass rat made of gold-plated aluminum. In honor of its previous owners, the cannon points towards Padadena, CA.' The brass rat (MIT ring) is really a rather impressive bit of aluminum machining. Harvey Mudd College previously stole the cannon, in 1986, but later had to give it back."

You've been Berkeley'ed!

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