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+ - Kogan Intentionally Violating the GPL->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I would like to bring to the attention of the community, and seek your help with respect to, Australian online reseller Kogan, who I recently discovered are knowingly and intentionally infringing on the copyrights of many by copying and commercially distributing GPL'd software on a variety of Android devices and refusing to comply with their licenses, by not providing the source-code to product owners. The software in question includes both the Linux kernel and U-Boot, but most likely other software too.

I have of course contacted Kogan support and was responded to by a staff member; who I believe is their job to illegally dismiss and mislead customers who make legitimate legal requests for GPL'd source-code and the such. I have thus far endured a lengthy exchange from August 24th, 2013, up until my most recent message to Kogan support member Arun, on October 21st, 2013. I suspect it is Arun's job to dismiss GPL requests and the such because during this two month period, a friend of mine also purchased a different Kogan branded Android product and subsequently requested the source code; only to receive near identical responses from none other than Arun."

Link to Original Source

+ - Exoplanet Count Blasts Through the 1,000 Barrier->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "The first 1,000 exoplanets to be confirmed have been added to the Europe-based Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia. For the last few weeks, astronomers (and the science media) have been waiting with bated breath as the confirmed exoplanet count tallied closer and closer to the 1,000 mark. Then, with the help of the Super Wide Angle Search for Planets (SuperWASP) collaboration, the number jumped from 999 to 1,010 overnight. All of the 11 worlds are classified as "hot-Jupiters" with orbital periods from less than 2 days to 8 days."
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Comment: Large SSD-caching HDD for a laptop? (Score 1) 331

by KernyKat (#40915121) Attached to: Are SSD Accelerators Any Good?
Can anyone point me to a good SSD-caching hard disk for a laptop, with a total SSD+HDD size of 500 Gb or more?

I want the benefit of rapid OS and application start-up, but also need the large disk space, so a simple SSD is still too expensive at these sizes. Other solutions for Laptops don't quite cut it... I'd rather not lug around an external HDD everywhere, and Laptops generally only have one drive bay, so I can't have one small SSD + one large HDD... Microsoft ReadyBoost is an alternative but requires a USB key or SD Card and probably isn't as effective as a firmware-based SSD-caching HDD.
Firefox

+ - Microsoft bans Firefox on Windows ARM-> 1

Submitted by Kjella
Kjella (173770) writes "In another case of "if you can't beat them, exclude them" Microsoft has decided to not allow third party browsers on Windows ARM. The reasons cited by Microsoft's Deputy General Counsel David Heiner are: "
  • ARM processors, which power virtually all iOS, Android, and Windows Phone smartphones and tablets today, are different from the x86 chips that power PCs. The chips have new requirements for security and power management, and Microsoft is the only one who can meet those needs.
  • Windows RT — the version of Windows 8 geared for ARM devices — "isn't Windows anymore."
"

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Book Reviews

+ - Fitness for Geeks

Submitted by
jsuda
jsuda writes "You would think that geeks would be as interested in fitness as dogs are of TV. After all, geeks already put in hours of finger dancing on keyboards, assembling hefty code fragments, and juggling PHP programming functions.

        Although intended, in part, as a guide to real physical fitness the book, "Fitness for Geeks," entices geeks with what they are really interested in–the science of fitness, nutrition, and exercise. In 11 chapters over 311 pages (including notes and an index) author, Bruce W Perry, describes in great detail the science of fitness and all of its components–food selections, timings, and fastings; exercising of all types; sleep, rest, and meditation; the benefits of hormesis (shocking the body with stresses); and the benefits of natural sunlight.

        One of the major themes is respect for ancestral behaviors relating to fitness, as he sees the human body as having built-in “software” (biological and physiological “pathways”) regulating its needs for certain foods and nutrients, its affinities for sprinting and intermittent fasting, and a preference for sunlight. These behaviors were evolutionary-based adaptations to their environment which in some ways was much more physically stressful than ours is now.

        He argues that modern humans have gotten way too far away from their ancestral roots at the expense of their health and fitness. They would be better served by committing to behaviors which are modeled after those of our distant predecessors. That means large doses of natural sunlight, exercise programs emphasizing high demand tasks like sprinting, food selections high in quality fats and proteins and low in processed foods and sugars, and intermittent fastings.

        In other words, channel your inner caveman.

        He supports his thesis with reference to hundreds of scientific studies. However, he doesn't sufficiently explain why modern human lifespans are so much longer than that of the ancients despite diets high in Twinkies, exercise defined as walking down the hall to the Coke machine, and light exposure limited to LCD illumination.

        While the major interest of the book for geeks is in the science, Mr. Perry is also advocating real improvement in personal health and fitness. The author is a software engineer and computer-topic writer and also a serious runner, biker, and outdoor enthusiast. He seems to be a very intense proponent of maximum personal fitness both as an instructor and personally where he tracks and measures nearly every physical thing he does during the day. He monitors and measures macro nutritional ratios (carbohydrates, fats, proteins); micro nutritional consumption levels (vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals); exercise metrics like energy use (Metabolic Equivalents of Tasks--MET's); the times, rhythms, and patterns of exercise program elements; and more.

        Like a serious geek, he uses all the latest and greatest hardware and software tools to monitor and measure including GPS devices, motion detectors, smart phone apps of all kinds, and web-based trackers and analyzers. He describes many of the features of apps like FitBit, Endomondo, Fitocracy, and Garmin Connect, including screenshots of configurations, data charts, result pages, and comparison charts. He highlights use of web-based databases especially the nutritional information available at the USDA National Nutrient Database.

        Mr. Perry also throws in a bit of food and food marketing politics as he emphasizes buying from local food suppliers, or even better, growing your own food and hunting your evening's meal. He shuns supermarket products, for the most part, even providing strategies on how best to navigate the typical mega markets to avoid being psychologically and emotionally manipulated by marketing techniques which attempt to get the consumer to buy more than they need, pricier items, and the latest junk foods they happen to be promoting that week.

        Mr. Perry is one serious guy!

        I don't think that he is a typical health-concerned person or even a typical geek, although he is an independent spirit with great curiosity about things he's interested in. He seems to be serious about fitness to an idiosyncratic degree. In addition to all of the monitoring and measuring, he experiments with up to four different fasting strategies, goes for cold water swims, and does a variety of push-ups while waiting for boarding at the airport.

        His book, I think, would appeal primarily to serious health freaks or competitive athletes who have the time and need to micromanage their eating, sleeping, and physical activities, and later analyzing all of the accumulated data.

        The author writes knowledgeably and comprehensively about his topics and provides a lot of detail, especially on the tracking and measuring apps. He includes a handful of sidebar interviews with nutritional and fitness experts, some photos and graphics, and tosses in a few code references like anti-patterns and the random function, among others. What isn't in the book is referenced to websites containing more specific information, data, and videos.

        Although he sprinkles some personal anecdotes and humor into the writing, overall, the book, while well organized, is a slow, often mind jumbling read. There is almost too much information, too many options to try out for some activities, and not enough focus. It will not win any literary awards. To some readers, it may be sort of like reading lab reports.

        A lot of geeks like reading lab reports and there is a sufficient number of competitive athletes and health fanatics who'll find this book quite valuable and interesting."
Windows

+ - Did Microsoft Simply Run Out of Time on Windows RT?->

Submitted by
CWmike
CWmike writes "Microsoft may have simply run out of time with Windows RT, Directions on Microsoft analyst Michael Cherry said on Friday. Windows RT, the name Microsoft slapped on the OS earlier this week after calling it "Windows on ARM," or WOA, for months, is the forked version of Windows 8 designed to run on devices powered by ARM SoCs, or system-on-a-chip. Cherry was referring to gaps in Windows RT's feature set, particularly the lack of 'domain joining,' the ability to connect to a corporate Windows network and the lack of support for Group Policies, one of the ways IT administrators use to manage Windows devices. 'This is pure speculation on my part, but it seems like they had to make a trade-off with Windows RT,' Cherry said. 'What we're hearing now about Windows RT is a function of time and how they wanted the thing to behave. It seems to me that the a key goal was to get battery life decent and keep the weight [of devices] down.' His analysis on RT's chance of success: 'I think you can take Windows RT off the table for enterprises,' he said."
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Books

Do Spoilers Ruin a Good Story? No, Say Researchers 238

Posted by Soulskill
from the maybe-researchers-are-just-jerks dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "According to a recent study at the University of California San Diego, knowing how a book ends does not ruin its story and can actually enhance enjoyment. It suggests people may enjoy a good story as much as a good twist at the end, and even if they know the outcome, will enjoy the journey as much as the destination. 'It could be that once you know how it turns out, you're more comfortable processing the information and can focus on a deeper understanding of the story,' says co-author Jonathan Leavitt. Researchers gave 12 short stories to 30 participants where two versions were spoiled and a third was not. In all but one story, readers said they preferred versions which had spoiling paragraphs written into it. Even when the stories contained a plot twist or mystery, subjects preferred the spoiled versions. 'Plots are just excuses for great writing,' says social psychologist Nicholas Christenfeld. 'As a film director, your job isn't really to come to the conclusion that the butler did it. A single line would do that.'"

Comment: Re:Android? Good question (Score 1) 238

by KernyKat (#36919470) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do You Protect Data On Android?

- Any attempt to enter device password wrong 3 x wipes device - erases all content.

Let's say you're having the extended family over for dinner... then your cousin's kid finds your phone. He decides it's fun to press buttons and watch the screen light up. Oops... all content erased! I do technical support for a large company that uses this sort of policy on (some) mobile devices... People call up saying they're usually very careful, but it can still happen if you're unlucky. And no, we don't have any back doors to retrieve the data after a wipe like that. Bad luck.

+ - Can we do something about phishing websites?

Submitted by
gQuigs
gQuigs writes "A friend's email was recently "hacked" into and it sent a phishing message to me. I reported the email to Google, and then went on to try to report the sites to different places. It actually involves three different sites,
  * Redirect from About.com to
  * Malicious news site (pretending to be CNBC7) describing how the final site is totally legit. [Aside: I am working on firefox extension WebCott for boycotting news agencies among other things, hence I have a relatively complete list of legit news sites]
  * Actual site asking for personal information so you can work from home and make thousands a month

I reported all the sites to About.com, NBC, Google, and likely more, but AFAIK no action has been taken by anyone. The About.com redirect (the easiest to take down is still up) and no browser warnings in Chrome or Firefox. I reported this on May 25th.

Where do you report malicious sites? How effective have you found doing so?"
Networking

+ - How Windows 7 knows about your internet connection-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In Windows 7, any time you connect to a network, Windows tells you if you have full internet access or just a local network connection. It also knows if a WiFi access point requires in-browser authentication. How? It turns out, a service automatically requests a file from a Microsoft website every time you connect to any network, and the result of this attempt tells it whether the connection is successful. This feature is useful, but some may have privacy concerns with sending their IP address to Microsoft (which the site logs, according to documentation) every single time they connect to the internet. As it turns out, not only can you disable the service, you can even tell it to check your own server instead."
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The Internet

+ - Most IPv6-certified home network gear buggy->

Submitted by
Julie188
Julie188 writes "The University of New Hampshire InterOperability Lab held an IPv6 consumer electronics Plugfest on Feb. 14 and CableLabs has scheduled two more for this year. UNH is tight-lipped about the results, but the sad fact is that most home routers and DSL/cable modems certified as IPv6-compliant by the IPv6 Forum are so full of implementation bugs that they can't be used by ISPs for IPv6 field trials. And that's not helping the Internet have a smooth, fast transition to IPv6. Though OpenWRT and DD-WRT solve the problem, ISPs point out that requiring the average consumer to upgrade their own firmware, because the manufacturer can't do IPv6 right, isn't a practical solution."
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Advertising

+ - ISP Employees Fail at Basic Network Literacy

Submitted by
fieldstone
fieldstone writes "I'm a freelance tech support guy, so I talk to Verizon and Comcast frequently on my client's behalf, normally for password resets or speed changes. Today I also spoke with someone at Clear for the first time. Here's what disturbed me:

  At all three companies, the employees quoted me speeds in "megabytes". When I tried to explain that it should really be "megabits", and that a megabyte is 8 times larger than a megabit, a few of these reps even tried to convince me I was misinformed. These employees are engaging in false advertising, and most if not all are completely unaware of it.

  How should I, as a computer-literate and informed citizen, try to address this grievous failure of employee education? A letter to the head of customer service for each company? An FCC or FTC complaint on false advertising grounds? Both? Neither? I know I need to do something, but I'm honestly not sure what it should be."

Air pollution is really making us pay through the nose.

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