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The Media

Why Paywalls Are Good, But NYT's Is Flawed 256

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-like-sex-and-money dept.
GMGruman writes "The New York Times has taken a lot of heat for daring to start charging for its product. (What nerve! Imagine if grocery stores, phone companies, or even employees began charging for their wares!) But the problem, InfoWorld columnist Galen Gruman argues, is that its paywall is poorly designed. It encourages unpaid usage in massive quantities via Twitter and other feeds, undermining its very purpose, and it makes multiple-device mobile users — the growing population — pay more than anyone else. Both should be fixed. But the more troubling underlying issue is that the Internet has devalued content nearly to the point where the business reason to create it is disappearing. In mobile, there's a chance to fix that, but in the way is not just the Web's free-loader mentality but the pricing of carriers for data transport that take a larger chunk out of people's budgets than they should, making it that much harder for people to pony up for the value of the content they get through those carriers' pipes."
Government

CA City Mulls Evading the Law On Red-Light Cameras 366

Posted by kdawson
from the wrong-on-so-many-levels dept.
TechDirt is running a piece on Corona, CA, where officials are considering ignoring a California law that authorizes red-light cameras — cutting the state and the county out of their portion of the take — in order to increase the city's revenue. The story was first reported a week ago. The majority of tickets are being (automatically) issued for "California stops" before a right turn on red, which studies have shown rarely contribute to an accident. TechDirt notes the apparent unconstitutionality of what Corona proposes to do: "The problem here is that Corona is shredding the Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution, the right to a trial by jury. By reclassifying a moving violation... to an administrative violation... Corona is doing something really nefarious. In order to appeal an administrative citation you have to admit guilt, pay the full fine, and then apply for a hearing in front of an administrative official, not a judge in a court. The city could simply deny all hearings for administrative violations or schedule them far out in advance knowing full well that they have your money, which you had to pay before you could appeal."
Software

Machines Almost Pass Mass Turing Test 580

Posted by CmdrTaco
dewilso4 writes "Of the five computer finalists at this year's Loebner prize Turing Test, at least three managed to fool humans into thinking they were human conversationalists. Ready to speak about subjects ranging from Eminem to Slaughterhouse Five and everything in between, these machines are showing they we're merely a clock cycle away from true AI. '... I was fooled. I mistook Eugene for a real human being. In fact, and perhaps this is worse, he was so convincing that I assumed that the human being with whom I was simultaneously conversing was a computer.' Another of the entrants, Jabberwacky, can apparently even woo the ladies: 'Some of its conversational partners confide in it every day; one conversation, with a teenaged girl, lasted 11 hours.' The winning submission this year, Elbot, fooled 25% of judges into thinking he was human. The threshold for the $100K prize is 30%. Maybe next year ..."
Windows

Windows 7 To Dial Down UAC 390

Posted by kdawson
from the cancel-or-allow dept.
Barence writes "Engineers working on Windows 7 have admitted Vista's User Account Control was too intrusive, and are promising to tone it down in the forthcoming Windows 7. 'We've heard loud and clear that you are frustrated,' says Microsoft engineer Ben Fathi. 'You find the prompts too frequent, annoying, and confusing. We still want to provide you control over what changes can happen to your system, but we want to provide you a better overall experience.' According to Fathi, when Vista first launched, 775,312 unique applications were producing prompts — so some may be annoyed that it won't be scrapped entirely, but at least Microsoft is listening. The comments echo those of Steve Ballmer, who admitted at a conference in London that 'the biggest trade-off we made was sacrificing security for compatibility. I'm not sure the end-users really appreciated that trade-off.'"
Microsoft

Microsoft Treating "Windows-Only" As Open Source 383

Posted by Soulskill
from the a-rose-v0.092-BETA-by-any-other-name dept.
mjasay writes "The Register is reporting that Microsoft is hosting Windows-only projects on its 'open source project hosting site,' CodePlex. Miguel de Icaza caught and criticized Microsoft for doing this with its Microsoft Extensibility Framework (MEF), licensing it under the Microsoft Limited Permissive License (Ms-LPL), which restricts use of the code to Windows. Microsoft has changed the license for MEF to an OSI-approved license, the Microsoft Public License, but it continues to host a range of other projects under the Ms-LPL. If CodePlex wasn't an 'open source project hosting site,' this wouldn't be a problem. But when Microsoft invokes the 'open source' label, it has a duty to live up to associated expectations and ensure that the code it releases on CodePlex is actually open source. If it doesn't want to do this — if it doesn't want to abide by this most basic principle of open source — then call CodePlex something else and we'll all move on."
Space

Do We Live In a Giant Cosmic Bubble? 344

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-live-in-my-own-universe dept.
Khemisty writes "Earth may be trapped in an abnormal bubble of space-time that is particularly void of matter. Scientists say this condition could account for the apparent acceleration of the universe's expansion, for which dark energy currently is the leading explanation. Until now, there has been no good way to choose between dark energy or the void explanation, but a new study outlines a potential test of the bubble scenario. If we were in an unusually sparse area of the universe, then things could look farther away than they really are and there would be no need to rely on dark energy as an explanation for certain astronomical observations. 'If we lived in a very large under-density, then the space-time itself wouldn't be accelerating,' said researcher Timothy Clifton of Oxford University in England. 'It would just be that the observations, if interpreted in the usual way, would look like they were.'"
Software

Stallman Says Cloud Computing Is a Trap 621

Posted by kdawson
from the head-out-of-the-clouds dept.
stevedcc writes in to tell us about an interview with RMS in The Guardian, in which he gives his views on cloud computing, with a particular focus on user access to data and the sacrifices made for convenience. "'It's stupidity. It's worse than stupidity: it's a marketing hype campaign,' he told The Guardian. 'Somebody is saying this is inevitable — and whenever you hear somebody saying that, it's very likely to be a set of businesses campaigning to make it true.'" Computerworld has a summary of some of the blogosphere's reaction to RMS's position.
Businesses

Nvidia Rumored To Be Readying X86 Chip Release 307

Posted by timothy
from the probably-not-for-wristwatch-computers dept.
jdb2 writes with the (honestly labeled) rumor from the Inquirer "that Nvidia is preparing to release an x86 microprocessor with its guns targeted directly at its two major rivals — Intel and AMD/ATI," and excerpts from the just-linked Inquirer article: "THE HOT RUMOR going around IDF ... [is] that the company will do an x86 part. The background whispers say that the part will be announced next week at Nvision ... Nvidia's men in white coats certainly have the brainpower to do it, but they also most certainly don't have a license to sell such a part. NV is basically locked out unless Intel and AMD both decide to be magnanimous, and we would not recommend holding your breath waiting for this to happen ... That leaves the lawsuit option open ... Any attempt to enter the market without a license would bring down Intel legal on them like flying monkeys blackening the sky. It would get ugly. Really ugly. Expensive too.""
Communications

Navajo Nation Losing Internet Access 360

Posted by Soulskill
from the maybe-because-DPI-can't-break-their-encryption dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Due to contracts that are allegedly FUBAR, and associated wrangling, the Navajo Nation is being cut off by its satellite ISP. This is the final stage of the process, which already deprived chapter houses of access last April. While the business mechanisms play themselves into the expected ludicrous snarl, the real question may be: Is there a place for an inexpensive ham/technogeek/FOSS solution that could bypass the antics of the for-pay providers?"
Security

Kaminsky's DNS Attack Disclosed, Then Pulled 281

Posted by Soulskill
from the can-of-worms dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Reverse engineering expert Halver Flake has recently mused on Dan Kaminsky's DNS vulnerability. Apparently his musings were close enough to the mark to cause one of the Matasano team, who apparently already knew of the attack, to publish the details on the Matasano blog in a post entitled 'Reliable DNS Forgery in 2008.' The blog post has since been pulled, but evidence of it exists on Google and elsewhere. It appears only a matter of time now before the full details leak." Reader Time out contributes a link to coverage on ZDNet as well.
Power

Liquid Metal CPU Heatsink Beats Water Cooling 218

Posted by timothy
from the but-as-a-beverage-it-sucks dept.
unassimilatible writes "Bios Magazine is reporting that the world's first commercially available liquid-metal based CPU cooler is about to ship. Danamics, a Danish company, claims that its LM-10 outperforms standard air-cooled heatsinks and most watercooled systems with a mere 1W power draw. 'The liquid metal is a key component in Danamics cooling systems. Liquid metal has two major advantages when cooling high power density heat sources: Firstly it has superior thermo physical properties that decrease temperature — and temperature non-uniformity — on die and across chips. Secondly, the electrical properties of the liquid metal enables efficient, reliable and ultra compact electromagnetic pumping without the use of moving parts, shafts, seals, etc.' Awesome technology, if it actually works and is affordable. The submitter requests that the moderators terminate all T-1000 jokes."
The Media

Wikipedia's Content Ripped Off More Egregiously Than Usual 284

Posted by timothy
from the hope-it-saves-wikipedia-some-hosting-fees dept.
Ultraexactzz writes "Wikipedia's content is licensed under the GFDL, which permits such content to be copied with attribution — and Wikipedia is used to its content being copied and mirrored. However, a new website at e-wikipedia.net appears to have taken this a step further by mirroring the entire English Wikipedia — articles, logos, disclaimers, userpages, and all. Compare Wikipedia's About page with e-wikipedia.net's. The site even adds to Wikipedia's normally ad-free interface by including text ads." Just try logging in or actually editing an article, though, and you'll get the message "The requested URL /w/index.php was not found on this server. Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request." If there's credit here, I don't see it — sure looks like it's intentionally misleading readers.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (8) I'm on the committee and I *still* don't know what the hell #pragma is for.

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