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Submission + - Any competent hosting companies for e-mail? 2

cpm99352 writes: I've had my domain for 10 years, and the hosting company was doing a pretty good job — all we needed was POP3 e-mail for five accounts. However, as of the past six months, they've gone rapidly downhill. I tried looking at older slashdot submissions, but I see a ton of articles from 2003 and before, which doesn't do me a lot of good.

What I'm looking for is POP3 e-mail, ideally with a secure method of transmitting the userID/password.

Does such a thing exist in the United States? Googling hasn't proved useful, either, since it appears a ton of dubious outfits have gamed the Google search results.

I'm not looking for any discount fly-by-night outfit. I want secure reliable e-mail for a small business. Are there any out there?

For that matter, is there a website to get reasonably unbiased reviews of domain hosting companies?

Submission + - DDOS-in-a-box: VM swarm in a dozen lines of shell (gridcentriclabs.com)

Laxitive writes: We (GridCentric) just posted a couple of interesting videos demoing a load-testing use-case on top of our freely available Xen-based virtualization platform called Copper. In both videos, we use live-cloning of VMs to instantly create a swarm of worker VMs that act as clients to a webapp. The ability to clone is exposed as an API call to the VM that wants to clone itself, meaning that in a dozen lines of shell, we can script the automatic creation and control of dozens of VMs across multiple physical computers.

Creating a clone VM in Copper is similar in function and complexity to forking a process in Unix, and carries all the same assurances: your new VMs are near exact copies of the original VM, start running within seconds of the clone command being invoked, and are "live" — meaning that all programs running on the original VM remain running on the clone VM.

The more we play with it, the more it feels like live-cloning is one of those core capabilities which is at once powerful as well as easy to leverage in designing distributed applications and services. And it seems that today, when cloud is on the top of everyone's mind, is when we should really be having a discussion on what the APIs, architecture, and features of this new class of distributed operating systems should be.

We hope this demo spurs some of that discussion...

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: DoHS Warnings on calls? 2

IcyNeko writes: So I was calling an acquaintance of mine the other day to invite him to hang out with my friends, and after the phone started ringing and right before the person picked up, I got a message saying that the number I'm calling has been marked for observation by the DoHS's watchlist, and that by calling, I may have added myself to the watchlist. Also, that it is illegal for me to notify them that they're on the watchlist. Any chance this is a real warning? If so, why would they let people know who is on the watchlist?
Open Source

Submission + - CBC Bans Use of Creative Commons Music on Podcasts (michaelgeist.ca) 3

An anonymous reader writes: The producers of the popular CBC radio show Spark have revealed (see the comments) that the public broadcaster has banned programs from using Creative Commons licenced music on podcasts. The decision is apparently the result of restrictions in collective agreements the CBC has with some talent agencies. In other words, groups are actively working to block the use of Creative Commons licenced alternatives in their contractual language. It is enormously problematic to learn that our public broadcaster is blocked from using music alternatives that the creators want to make readily available. The CBC obviously isn't required to use Creative Commons licenced music, but this highlights an instance where at least one of its programs wants to use it and groups that purport to support artists' right to choose the rights associated with their work is trying to stop them from doing so.

Submission + - Neural responses indicate our willingness to help

An anonymous reader writes: Witnessing a person from our own group or an outsider suffer pain causes neural responses in two very different regions of the brain. And, the specific region activated reveals whether or not we will help the person in need. Researchers at the University of Zurich studied the brain responses of soccer fans and now have neurobiological evidence for why we are most willing to help members of our own group.

Submission + - NYC to Ban Use of Food Stamps for Buying Sodas

Hugh Pickens writes: "The NY Times reports that New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, as part of an aggressive anti-obesity push that has also included advertisements, stricter rules on food sold in schools and an unsuccessful attempt to have the state impose a tax on sugared drinks, is now seeking federal permission to bar New York City’s 1.7 million recipients of food stamps from using them to buy soda or other sugared drinks. The ban would affect beverages with more than 10 calories per 8 ounces, and would exclude fruit juices without added sugar, milk products and milk substitutes. “In spite of the great gains we’ve made over the past eight years in making our communities healthier, there are still two areas where we’re losing ground — obesity and diabetes,” says Bloomberg. “This initiative will give New York families more money to spend on foods and drinks that provide real nourishment.” But some public health experts are greeting Bloomberg’s proposal cautiously. “The world would be better, I think, if people limited their purchases of sugared beverages,” says George Hacker, a senior policy adviser for the health promotion project of the Center for Science in the Public Interest,. “However, there are a great many ethical reasons to consider why one would not want to stigmatize people on food stamps.” Earlier this summer, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order to combat obesity banning the sale of Coke, Pepsi and Fanta Orange in vending machines on city property."

Submission + - Folklore Confirmed: The Moon Influences Rainfall (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Looks like the Zuni Indians and 17th century English farmers were onto something. A new analysis of meterological data suggests that the moon can indeed influence rainfall. Specifically, precipitation tends to rise a few days before the quarter moon. The researchers aren't sure how the moon exerts this effect, but some suspect that the moon's orbit could distort the magnetosphere, allowing more particles from space to hit clouds and trigger rain. Others speculate that the moon's orbit could increase the amount of meteoric dust reaching Earth, which could also trigger rain when it hit clouds, or that the moon could create a pressure bulge that would affect storm systems.

Submission + - 60%of female gamers don't see themselves as gamers (flipflapwax.com)

An anonymous reader writes: 60% of women who play games would not call themselves gamers, according to a new survey from Frank N. Magid Associates commissioned by PlayFirst. Also in the study, 16% of women would not call themselves women.

Submission + - Legalities of trying to remain Anonymous? 2

An anonymous reader writes: I am wondering if the Slashdot community has any suggestions about remaining anonymous when a website starts requesting documents to "prove proof of id" that are really none of their business. The website in question is a well known social networking site that requires real names and real birthdays, etc., for use of their site. I use the site rarely and only to keep in touch with a few people who don't use email. I signed up with a pseudonym and they have just requested proof that this is indeed my name. I would be happy to forge a scan of a document (let's say it's a passport) to regain access to said website. But I'm wondering if this is itself illegal or if I'm somehow breaking the law by showing a document that's been altered as "proof" of my identity. Of course the upload link that is the only way to provide the document is not encrypted, so who knows where this info will be.

I'm not using this social networking site for any illegal purposes and wouldn't use this modified scan for anything other than giving this website, a civil entity which has no legal authority to request a real document and which I wouldn't give it anyway, reason to reinstate my account. There's a few friends there I want to keep in touch with, but I could alternatively make a new account and just invite them there — losing the history and the messages we've sent.

Have others followed this dark, downward path? Will this land me in the slammer? Or am I right that thinking this site has as much right to request a genuine ID as they do a colonoscopy.

Submission + - Selling incandescent light bulbs as heating device (heatball.de) 1

Csiko writes: The European union has banned by law trading of incandescent light bulbs due to their bad efficiency/ecology reasons (most of the energy is transformed into heat). A company is now trying to bypass this by offering their incandescent light bulb products as a heating device instead of a light device. Still, their "heat balls" give light as well as heating. So — every law can be bypassed if you have some creativity!

Submission + - First video of "A Digital Video Primer For Geeks" (xiph.org)

Ignorant Aardvark writes: "Xiph.org just released the first installment in its video series "A Digital Video Primer For Geeks", whichcovers digital audio and video fundamentals. The first video covers basic concepts of how digital audio and video are encoded, and does so in an understandable fashion. The video is hosted by Monty, the founder of Xiph.org (the people who brought you Ogg), and explains a lot of concepts (FourCC codes, YUV color space, gamma, etc.) that many watchers of digital video have long been exposed to, but don't quite understand themselves. The intent of the video series (in addition to general education) is to spur interest in digital encoding and get more free software hackers involved in digital audio/video. As Monty explains, the basic concepts aren't nearly as complicated as most people seem to assume. Give it a watch and see if you agree."

Submission + - It's Official: Our Children Are Potty Mouths. (montrealgazette.com) 4

tetrahedrassface writes: When the Sociolinguistics Symposium met earlier this month swearing scholar Timothy Jay revealed that an increase in child swearing is directly related to an increase in adult swearing. It seems that vulgarity is increasing as pop culture continues to popularize vulgarities. The blame lies with media, public figures, politicians, but mostly ourselves. From the article: 'Children as young as two are now dropping f-bombs, with researchers reporting that more kids are using profanity — and at earlier ages — than has been recorded in at least three decades.'

Submission + - Patent Office Admits Truth: Things Are a Disaster (bnet.com)

An anonymous reader writes: For years the US Patent and Trademark Office has published data to show how well it and the patent system were running. Under new leadership, the USPTO has begun to publish a dashboard of information, including a new look at questions like how long does it really take to get a final answer on whether you will receive a patent or not? The pat answer was, on the average, about 3 years. But with the new figures, it's obvious that the real number, when you don't play games with how you define a patent application, is six years. The backlog of patents is almost 730K. And the Commerce Department under the Obama Administration wants the average down at 20 months. How does this happen? Only if everyone closes their eyes and pretends. It's time to take drastic action, like ending software patents. As it is, by the time companies get a software patent, there's little value to them because, after six years, the industry has already moved on.

Leveraging always beats prototyping.