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News

Nerds Still More Likely To Get Bullied 480

trashbird1240 writes "Reports on a recent meta-analysis of bullies and victims found that bullies and victims have similar personality traits, but that bullies tend to do poorly in school, as opposed to those who get bullied. Both bullies and victims are poor social problem solvers, but they resort to different tactics to handle their social ineptitude. To me this represents a huge leap forward in understanding nerd psychology."
Iphone

Consumer Reports Can't Recommend iPhone 4 507

jbezorg was one among many readers to send word that Consumer Reports has concluded that they cannot recommend the iPhone 4. (They still enthusiastically recommend the 3G S.) "It's official. Consumer Reports' engineers have just completed testing the iPhone 4, and have confirmed that there is a problem with its reception. When your finger or hand touches a spot on the phone's lower left side — an easy thing, especially for lefties — the signal can significantly degrade enough to cause you to lose your connection altogether if you're in an area with a weak signal. Due to this problem, we can't recommend the iPhone 4. ... Our findings call into question the recent claim by Apple that the iPhone 4's signal-strength issues were largely an optical illusion caused by faulty software that 'mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength.'" The comments on the article don't display any of the vitriol the Apple faithful have been known to unleash upon anyone daring to question the Cupertino way. Perhaps they are moderated.
Google

New Google Research On Social Networks 95

mantis2009 writes "Paul Adams, a senior user experience researcher at Google, has posted a slideshow from a recent presentation that shows insightful research into how people use social networking technologies. The presentation describes several shortcomings of existing technology, and it highlights specific modalities that current technology (ahem, Facebook) gets wrong. Adams concludes that social networking applications are a 'crude approximation' of real-life social networks. 'People don't have one group of friends,' Adams research in several different countries shows that in reality, most people have between four to six groups of friends. He argues that social networking applications need to be built with that reality in mind."
Politics

Sequoia Voting Systems Source Code Released 406

Mokurai sends a heads-up about Sequoia Voting Systems, which seems to have inadvertently released the SQL code for its voting databases. The existence of such code appears to violate Federal voting law: "Sequoia blew it on a public records response. ... They appear... to have just vandalized the data as valid databases by stripping the MS-SQL header data off, assuming that would stop us cold. They were wrong. The Linux 'strings' command was able to peel it apart. Nedit was able to digest 800-MB text files. What was revealed was thousands of lines of MS-SQL source code that appears to control or at least influence the logical flow of the election, in violation of a bunch of clauses in the FEC voting system rulebook banning interpreted code, machine modified code and mandating hash checks of voting system code." The code is all available for study or download, "the first time the innards of a US voting system can be downloaded and discussed publicly with no NDAs or court-ordered secrecy," notes Jim March of the Election Defense Alliance. Dig in and analyze.

Comment Re:Bilski (Score 1) 175

In reality, though, the categories of "things you can do with a PC and software" and "things you can do with a peripheral" are not mutually exclusive.

Take VoIP, for example. We have VoIP software for use with a computer, webcam, and mic. Yet we also have standalone VoIP devices that perform substantially the same functions. These devices are basically stripped down computers.

So what of that? VoIP on the computer does not deserve patent protection, but the same technology on a stripped down device does?

Comment Re:Bilski (Score 1) 175

I certainly appreciate your interpretation, but I would counter with this point:

Without getting into too much detail, the physical transformation inquiry only arises (at least in this context) when an invention is an "abstract idea." Method claims often fit this bill.

However, computer hardware is physical, tangible, and concrete--it is not merely an abstract idea. Thus the physical transformation inquiry is not apposite.

Comment Re:Bilski (Score 4, Insightful) 175

People seldom consider the implications of abolishing software patents.

Sure, there are a lot of good arguments against granting artificial monopolies on computer software--and many of them ARE good arguments. However, categorically denying patent protection to software creates some logical difficulties.

Most computer aficionados are familiar with the idea that software and hardware are logically equivalent. We CAN build specialized hardware to do what we would have our software do.

It would seem a bit anomalous, therefore, to allow a patent on specialized hardware that embodies precisely the same inventive character as its patent ineligible software counterpart.

So, in my opinion, the real issue we are seeking to resolve here is more subtle and obscure than we are admitting. Certainly, affording computer software a unique status as patent ineligible subject matter is not the most complete solution.

I think that's what the court was getting at in Bilski. They were searching for some kind of logical test rather than an unexplainable, static, and inflexible prohibition on a certain class of invention.

I'm not saying the court was right--I'm trying to shed a little more light on the playing field.
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft attack Google over 'fair use'

Theendisnigh writes: Quoted from the Guardian online: "Microsoft will today launch a blistering attack on Google, accusing the Silicon Valley giant of a "cavalier" attitude to copyright.
In a prepared speech to the American Association of Publishers, senior Microsoft lawyer Tom Rubin is expected to hit out at Google for profiting from other people's work.
"Companies that create no content of their own, and make money solely on the backs of other people's content, are raking in billions through advertising revenue and IPOs," he says."

Complete Guardian story available here.
Google

Submission + - Google rumoured to be making a cell phone

An anonymous reader writes: According to Cnet, rumours of a Google cell phone are starting to spread like wildfire. It questions, however, whether or not this is just "a case of mobile phone fanboys having a copy of Photoshop CS2 and too much time on their hands? Or worse still, is this a case of tech writers being so keen to see new and exciting products that any blurry image will get us hyping it up as if it were real?" I personally think it's definitely a case of tech writers getting over excited, it's extremely unlikely that Google will ever make a cell phone but as the article points out, you never know.
Businesses

Submission + - T-Mobile Hacker Penetrates Secret Service

eieken writes: "According to this article, "The US Secret Service, which played the dual role of investigator and victim in the drama, said Tuesday it couldn't comment on Jacobsen because the agency doesn't discuss ongoing cases". For a secret intelligence agency, makes me wonder what else they don't know about."

Software production is assumed to be a line function, but it is run like a staff function. -- Paul Licker

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