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Whitehouse Emails Were Lost Due to "Upgrade" 482

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "We now know how the Whitehouse managed to lose about five million emails. It seems that they 'upgraded' their Lotus Notes system, which had an automatic retention and backup system, for Microsoft Exchange, which did not support the automatic system. So they changed it to a manual process, where aides would manually sort emails one by one into individual PST files, which they call a 'journaling' archive system. They're still building a replacement for the retention system. Right when they had one finished, the White House CIO complained that it made Microsoft Exchange too slow, so they hired yet another contractor to build another one, causing a senior IT official to quit in protest. So they still haven't completed the project after almost eight years, and rely on humans to sort millions of emails."
The Internet

Comcast Makes Nice with BitTorrent 161

An anonymous reader writes "In a dramatic turn-around of relations, cable provider Comcast and BitTorrent are now working together. The deal comes as BitTorrent tries to put its reputation for illegal filesharing behind it. The companies are in talks to collaborate on ways to run BitTorrent's technology more smoothly on Comcast's broadband network. Comcast is actually entertaining the idea of using BitTorrent to transport video files more effectively over its own network in the future, said Tony Warner, Comcast's chief technology officer. '"We are thrilled with this," Ashwin Navin, cofounder and president of BitTorrent, said of the agreement. BitTorrent traffic will be treated the same as that from YouTube Inc., Google Inc. or other Internet companies, he said. It was important that Comcast agreed to expand Internet capacity, because broadband in the United States is falling behind other areas of the world, Navin said. Referring to the clashes with Comcast, he said: "We are not happy about the companies' being in the limelight."'"
Internet Explorer

IE8 Will Be Standards-Compliant By Default 383

A number of readers wrote in to make sure we know about Microsoft's change of heart regarding IE8. The new version of the dominant browser will render in full standards mode by default. Developers wishing to use quirks mode for IE6- and IE7-compatible rendering will have to opt in explicitly. We've previously discussed IE8's render mode a few times. Perhaps Opera's complaint to the EU or the EU's record antitrust fine had something to do with Redmond's about-face.

Antidepressants Work No Better Than a Placebo 674

Matthew Whalley writes "Researchers got hold of published and unpublished data from drug companies regarding the effectiveness of the most common antidepressant drugs. Previously, when meta-analyses have been conducted on only the published data, the drugs were shown to have a clinically significant effect. However, when the unpublished data is taken into account the difference between the effects of drug and placebo becomes clinically meaningless — just a 1 or 2 point difference on a 30-point depression rating scale — except for the most severely depressed patients. Doctors do not recommend that patients come off antidepressant drugs without support, but this study is likely to lead to a rethink regarding how the drugs are licensed and prescribed."

Microsoft is the Industry's Most Innovative Company? 421

mjasay writes "According to a recent analysis by IEEE, Microsoft's patent portfolio tops the industry in terms of overall quality of its patents. And while Microsoft came in second to IBM in The Patent Board's 2006 survey, its upcoming 2007 report has Microsoft besting IBM (and even its 2006 report had Microsoft #1 in terms of the "scientific strength" of its patent portfolio). All of which begs the question: Just where is all this innovation going? To Clippy? Consumers and business users don't buy patents. They buy products that make their lives easier or more productive, yet Microsoft doesn't seem to be able to turn its patent portfolio into much more than life support for its existing Office and Windows monopolies. In sum, if Microsoft is so innovative, why can't we get something better than the Zune?"

Calif. Initiative To Regulate Search Engines? 56

Lauren Weinstein writes to tell us about CIFIP, the California Initiative For Internet Privacy — his attempt to get search engines off the dime on questions such as how long they retain search data. The initiative aims to explore "cooperative and/or legislative approaches to dealing with search engine and other Internet privacy issues, including a possible California initiative for the 2008 ballot." There is a public discussion list.

P2P Defendant Destroys Evidence, Case Defaults 813

neoflexycurrent writes "A court in Texas has thrown the book at a defendant accused by the RIAA of file sharing. The court determined that she had intentionally wiped her hard drive clean, so it entered the most severe sanction possible — default judgment against her. The record companies now just have to ask the court how much they want in damages."

Irish Company Claims Free Energy 1125

raghus writes "An Irish company has thrown down the gauntlet to the worldwide scientific community to test a technology it has developed that it claims produces free energy. The company, Steorn, says its discovery is based on the interaction of magnetic fields and allows the production of clean, free and constant energy — a concept that challenges one of the basic rules of physics." I can't wait until I can use this free energy to power my flying car and heat my aquarium of mermaids.

Indian Scientists Develop Vaccine for Bird Flu 145

William Robinson writes "Indian Scientists have succeeded in developing a vaccine against the bird flu disease that has affected poultry business in many parts of the world. This was formally announced, and ICAR Director-General Mangala Rai described this as a big step forward in tackling the highly pathogenic avian influenza, commonly called the bird flu. Indonesia, who has recently reported their 42nd victim of bird flu, will now have one less thing to worry about."

Internet to Blame for Lack of Close Friends 361

Anonymous Coward writes "Duke and University of Arizona researchers are citing the Internet as one of the main contributing factors to a shrinking of social networks among Americans. People say they have fewer people they can talk to about important stuff, even if they are talking to lots more people from all over the place about unimportant stuff online."

Man Arrested for Wireless Piggybacking 925

Sommelier writes "As reported by KATU in Portland, Oregon, a man was arrested for parking outside a coffee shop in nearby Vancouver, Washington, and using their open wireless AP — for three straight months. '"He doesn't buy anything," Manager Emily Pranger says about the man she ended up calling 911 about. "It's not right for him to come and use it."' Turns out the guy was a registered sex-offender as well." A different computer expert might have pointed out some ways to see if anyone is piggybacking on a wireless signal (many APs have a Web-interface client list), or even suggested something like NoCatAuth.

The End of Native Code? 1173

psycln asks: "An average PC nowadays holds enough power to run complex software programmed in an interpreted language which is handled by runtime virtual machines, or just-in-time compiled. Particular to Windows programmers, the announcement of MS-Windows Vista's system requirements means that future Windows boxes will laugh at the memory/processor requirements of current interpreted/JIT compiled languages (e.g. .NET, Java , Python, and others). Regardless of the negligible performance hit compared to native code, major software houses, as well as a lot of open-source developers, prefer native code for major projects even though interpreted languages are easier to port cross-platform, often have a shorter development time, and are just as powerful as languages that generate native code. What does the Slashdot community think of the current state of interpreted/JIT compiled languages? Is it time to jump in the boat of interpreted/JIT compiled languages? Do programmers feel that they are losing - an arguably needed low-level - control when they do interpreted languages? What would we be losing besides more gray hair?"

Jack Thompson's Game Bill Moves Forward 272

Gamespot reports that the Jack Thompson-penned anti-games bill currently being considered by the Louisiana Senate Judiciary Committee has been approved, and will now go to the full Senate for debate. From the article: "According to the text of the bill, it would be illegal to sell, rent, or lease a game to a minor if it met the following three conditions: (1) The average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the video or computer game, taken as a whole, appeals to the minor's morbid interest in violence. (2) The game depicts violence in a manner patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community with respect to what is suitable for minors. (3) The game, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors."

Drug Found to Aid Vegetative Patients 353

Oxygen99 writes "BBC News is reporting on some amazing effects of a drug called Zolpidem on patients suffering from persistent vegetative state. Apparently the drug, usually used to treat insomnia, activates dormant areas of the brain that can make patients aware of their surroundings and even hold conversations. This raises several interesting points including the diagnosis of PVS and the attendant ethics of the associated life support, as well as the way the brain responds to injury and damage."

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.