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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 121 declined, 109 accepted (230 total, 47.39% accepted)

+ - U.S. ISBN monopoly denies threat from digital publishing->

Submitted by
Ian Lamont
Ian Lamont writes "The Economist writes that self-publishing threatens the existence of the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) regimen, which is used to track and distribute printed books. Self-publishing of e-books has experienced triple-digit growth in recent years, and the most popular self-publishing platforms such as Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing don't require ISBNs (Amazon assigns its own reference number to these titles). But Bowker, the sole distributor of ISBNs in the United States, sees an opportunity in self-publishing. The packages for independent authors are very expensive — Bowker charges $125 for a single ISBN, and $250 for ten. It also upsells other expensive services to new and naive authors, including $25 barcodes and a social widget that costs $120 for the first year. Laura Dawson, the product manager for identifiers at Bowker, insists that ISBNs are relevant and won't be replaced anytime soon: "Given how hard it is to migrate database platforms and change standards, I wouldn’t expect to replace the ISBN, simply because it is also an EAN, which is an ISO standard that forms the backbone of global trade of both physical and digital items. There are a lot of middlemen, even in self-publishing. They require standards in order to communicate with one another.""
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China

+ - Infamous Chinese Hacker Heading Antivirus Firm?->

Submitted by
Ian Lamont
Ian Lamont writes "Brian Krebs has uncovered evidence that Anvisoft, a Chinese antivirus startup, may be operated by Tan Dailin, a notorious Chinese hacker known as "Wicked Rose" or "Withered Rose". In 2006, Tan was allegedly the leader of a Chinese government-sponsored team called NCPH (short for Network Crack Program Hacker) that took advantage of a zero-day vulnerability in Microsoft Word to conduct attacks against an unnamed U.S. military organization. Krebs used DNS records, Google Translate, and other tools to make the connection, but acknowledges that it could be a coincidence or hoax. He concludes:

"Anvisoft may in fact be a legitimate company, with a legitimate product; and for all I know, it is. But until it starts to answer some basic questions about who’s running the company, this firm is going to have a tough time gaining any kind of credibility or market share."

"

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Your Rights Online

+ - Lendink story submission -- please withdraw, DMCA complaint may be bogus->

Submitted by
Ian Lamont
Ian Lamont writes "Earlier this evening I submitted a story based on LendInk's owner receiving a new DMCA complaint:

LendInk ebook lending service returns, quickly draws DMCA notice

On closer examination, the alleged DMCA notice looks extremely fishy (the notice was sent via gmail, and the lawyer is not registered in the state he allegedly sent it from). For this reason, can you cancel the submission? Even though Lendink's owner thinks the notice is real, I would rather err on the side of caution.

Thanks,

Ian"

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Your Rights Online

+ - LendInk ebook lending service returns, quickly draws DMCA notice-> 1

Submitted by
Ian Lamont
Ian Lamont writes "Remember LendInk, the legitimate ebook lending community that got knocked offline at the beginning of August by a mob of misguided authors? The site's owner, Dale Porter, received a lot of support after the story went viral and last week was able to reactivate the site and his affiliate accounts with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Unfortunately, he also drew a DMCA complaint — even though the front page of the relaunched site clearly states "No books or artwork is maintained, sold or lent by Lendink.com" and the book artwork is supplied by the affiliate programs. Porter posted the text of the DMCA complaint on LendInk's Facebook page. The lawyer who sent the complaint apparently specializes in book piracy, and in 2010 claimed a 98% success rate of getting links removed within three days."
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Your Rights Online

+ - Legitimate ebook lending community closed after copyright complaints-> 5

Submitted by
Ian Lamont
Ian Lamont writes "LendInk, a community for people interesting in using the lending features of the Kindle and Nook, has been shut down after some authors mistakenly thought the site was hosting pirated ebooks. The site brought together people who wanted to loan or borrow specific titles that are eligible for lending, and then sent them to Amazon or BarnesAndNoble.com to make the loans. Authors and publishers who were unaware of this feature of the Kindle and Nook, and/or mistakenly assumed the site was handing out pirated copies, were infuriated. LendInk's hosting company received hundreds of complaints and shut the site down. LendInk's owner says, "The hosting company has offered to reinstate Lendink.com on the condition that I personally respond to all of the complaints individually. I have to say, I really do not know if it is worth the effort at this point. I have read the comments many of these people have posted and I don't think any form of communication will resolve the issues in their eyes. Most are only interested in getting money from me and others are only in in for the kill. They have no intentions of talking to me or working this out. So much for trying to start a business and live the American Dream.""
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Google

+ - Miami Heat owner sues Google, blogger over 'unflattering' photo->

Submitted by
Ian Lamont
Ian Lamont writes "Ranaan Katz, a minority owner of the Miami Heat, has filed a copyright suit against Google and a blogger using Google's Blogspot service after the blogger posted an unflattering picture of Katz. The photo was taken at a basketball game, but the blog post that contains the picture alleges a "fraudulent scheme" involving Katz's commercial real estate operations. According to PaidContent, "This is the second time that Katz has sued the blogger. Last summer, Miami news outlets reported that Katz filed a defamation lawsuit against “John Doe” over critical blog posts. That lawsuit appears to have failed, likely on the grounds that Katz is a public figure and that US law is reluctant to chill free speech. The copyright lawsuit, therefore, appears to be a backdoor for Katz to go after the blogger all the same.""
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The Internet

+ - "Inventor of email" gets support of Noam Chomsky->

Submitted by
Ian Lamont
Ian Lamont writes "Shiva Ayyadurai, who famously claims to have invented email as a teenager in the 1970s, is back. A statement attributed to Noam Chomsky offers support for Ayyadurai's claim while attacking "industry insiders" for stating otherwise. The statement reads:

Given the term email was not used prior to 1978, and there was no intention to emulate "...a full-scale, inter-organizational mail system," as late as December 1977, there is no controversy here, except the one created by industry insiders, who have a vested interest to protect a false branding that BBN is the "inventor of email", which the facts obliterate.

"

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+ - City of Boston pays $170,000 to settle landmark case involving man arrested for -> 1

Submitted by
Ian Lamont
Ian Lamont writes "The City of Boston has reached a $170,000 settlement with Simon Glik who was arrested by Boston Police in 2007 after using his mobile phone to record police arresting another man on Boston Common. Police claimed that Glik had violated state wiretapping laws, but later dropped the charges and admitted the officers were wrong to arrest him. Glik had brought a lawsuit against the city (aided by the ACLU) because he claimed his civil rights were violated. According to today's ACLU statement:

As part of the settlement, Glik agreed to withdraw his appeal to the Community Ombudsman Oversight Panel. He had complained about the Internal Affairs Division's investigation of his complaint and the way they treated him. IAD officers made fun of Glik for filing the complaint, telling him his only remedy was filing a civil lawsuit. After the City spent years in court defending the officers' arrest of Glik as constitutional and reasonable, IAD reversed course after the First Circuit ruling and disciplined two of the officers for using "unreasonable judgment" in arresting Glik.

"

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Programming

+ - Don't Call Yourself A Programmer, And Other Career->

Submitted by
Ian Lamont
Ian Lamont writes "Patrick McKenzie has written about the do's and don't's of working as a software engineer, and some solid (and often amusing) advice on how to get ahead. One of the first pieces of advice:

Don't call yourself a programmer: "Programmer" sounds like "anomalously high-cost peon who types some mumbo-jumbo into some other mumbo-jumbo." If you call yourself a programmer, someone is already working on a way to get you fired.

Although he runs his own company, he is a cold realist about the possibilities for new college grads in the startup world: "The high-percentage outcome is you work really hard for the next couple of years, fail ingloriously, and then be jobless and looking to get into another startup""
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AI

+ - MIT-designed game used to train an AI system->

Submitted by
Ian Lamont
Ian Lamont writes "MIT Media Lab and the Singapore-MIT Gambit Game Lab have just released Improviso, an online game that is part of a research project to create a more realistic game AI. Improviso requires two players, a Lead Actor and Director, who pretend to shoot a low-budget science fiction movie about a government cover-up of aliens at Area 51. The goal of the project is to gather recorded improv from thousands of games, which can be used to train an AI system that will be able to play the role of NPCs. Jeff Orkin, the MIT researcher who led game development, says that the best time to play Improviso is between 7 pm and 10 pm. Orkin is also the creator of a game AI called goal oriented action programming, first used in F.E.A.R. in 2005 and later employed in F.E.A.R. 2 and Fallout 3."
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Apple

+ - EFF dubs Apple a 'jealous feudal lord' over iPhone->

Submitted by Ian Lamont
Ian Lamont (1116549) writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation has attacked the agreement Apple has with iPhone developers after obtaining a copy of the agreement the company has with NASA through a FOIA request. In a message on the EFF website, it called Apple Inc. a "jealous and arbitrary feudal lord" and singled out several clauses in the agreement as "troubling," including the requirement for secrecy and the arbitrary ability of Apple to reject or remove apps from the App Store. It's not the first time the EFF has attacked Apple's iPhone ecosystem. Last year, it tangled with Apple in court over the company's claim that jailbreaking constitutes a copyright violation. Later in the year, EFF again filed suit against Apple over its lawyers' assertions that discussions on Bluewiki about using software other than iTunes with iPods and iPhones constituted copyright infringement."
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Government

+ - Microsoft VP suggests 'Net tax to clean computers->

Submitted by Ian Lamont
Ian Lamont (1116549) writes "Microsoft's Vice President for Trustworthy Computing Scott Charney, speaking at the RSA conference in San Francisco, has floated an interesting proposal to deal with infected computers: Approach the problem of dealing with malware infections like the healthcare industry, and consider using "general taxation" to pay for inspection and quarantine. Using taxes to deal with online criminal activity is not a new idea, as demonstrated by last year's Louisiana House vote to levy a monthly surcharge on Internet access to deal with online baddies."
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Security

+ - Microsoft: Don't press F1 key in Windows XP-> 2

Submitted by Ian Lamont
Ian Lamont (1116549) writes "Microsoft has issued a security advisory that warns users not to press the F1 key in Windows XP owing to an unpatched bug in VBScript discovered by Polish researcher Maurycy Prodeus. The security advisory says that the vulnerability relates to the way VBScript interacts with Windows Help files when using Internet Explorer, and could be triggered by a user pressing the F1 key after visiting a malicious Web site using a specially crafted dialog box."
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Programming

+ - "Logan's Run" syndrome in programming ->

Submitted by Ian Lamont
Ian Lamont (1116549) writes "InfoWorld has an interesting analysis of the reasons behind the relative dearth of programmers over the age of 40. While some people may assume that the recession has provided a handy cover for age discrimination, a closer look suggests that it's the nature of IT itself to push its elderly workers out, in what the article describes as a "Logan's Run"-like marketplace. A bunch of factors are listed as reasons, including management's misunderstanding of the ways in which developers work:

Any developer can tell you that not all C or PHP or Java programmers are created equal; some are vastly more productive or creative. However, unless or until there is a way to explicitly demonstrate the productivity differential between a good programmer and a mediocre one, inexperienced or nontechnical hiring managers tend to look at resumes with an eye for youth, under the "more bang for the buck" theory. Cheaper young 'uns will work longer hours and produce more code. The very concept of viewing experience as an asset for raising productivity is a nonfactor — much to the detriment of the developer workplace.

"

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+ - Superbowl tech ads, 1976 - present->

Submitted by Ian Lamont
Ian Lamont (1116549) writes "Computerworld has put together a collection of interesting, funny, and just plain weird Superbowl television advertisements from tech companies — exluding Internet retailers. Everyone has seen the Macintosh ad that played during the 1984 Superbowl, but there are a bunch of other gems, starting with a long-winded ad for the Xerox 9200 from 1976. The funniest is probably EDS' "herding cats" ad from 2000, but there are some oddities, too, including a bizarre ad for Network Associates depicting a Russian nuclear missile launch, and a very dated ad for Sharp from the mid-1980s. Intel has one ad in the collection from 1997, and it turns out that it is returning with two ads this year that it says feature "geek humor"."
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The world is not octal despite DEC.

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