Silent Stephus writes "I work for a smallish hosting provider, and this morning we experienced a networking event with one of our upstreams. What is interesting about this, is it's being caused by a mis-configured router in Europe — and it appears to be affecting a significant portion of the transit providers across the Internet. In other words, a single mis-configured router is apparently able to cause a DOS for a huge chunk of the Net. And people don't believe me when I tell them all this new-fangled technology is held together by duct-tape and baling wire!"
twitter writes "Bruce Perens has pulled the plug on Technocrat.net. 'The technocrat.net public discussion site is shut down. This has happened because the site never achieved the ability to financially sustain its editorial staff and system expenses with its revenues. When it became evident that Technocrat was un-viable as a business, I found that I did not wish to keep supporting the site as a hobby. Certain elements of the community that developed here, unfortunately, creep me out. At the end I faced the decision of asking for donations to keep the site running, or letting it die, and it became clear to me that I'd feel better if it would just die. I am very busy building a new software business, with some great new (and yet unannounced) Open Source software in development. I must focus on that for now. Best holiday wishes to you all.'"
jvillain writes "Contentagenda notes that the Copyright Office is taking submissions for exemptions to the DMCA. They do this every three years. There's a description of the six exemptions made last time to give you some ideas. So fire up the keyboard and let the Copyright Office know what needs to be changed. If you don't get in now, it'll be another three years before you can try again."
Net Neutrality helps Google and other upstart companies that threaten Microsoft. It looks like they are pretending to be in favor of it for PR reasons while secretly funding "grassroots" efforts against it. Of course, Microsoft is an old hand at these phony grassroots efforts by now, ever since the days of the antitrust trial.
A large number of readers are submitting the news that Microsoft has made a major announcement about interoperating with others including specifically the FOSS world. The impetus is the ongoing EU antitrust case against Microsoft. The announcement comes in the context of the release of 30,000 pages of API documentation for Microsoft Vista, Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Office 2007, Exchange Server 2007 and Office SharePoint Server 2007 — and a listing of patents that apply to these technologies, and a pledge not to sue open source developers who use the APIs. InfoWorld summarizes by saying that Microsoft "promised greater transparency in its development and business practices." Fortune is blunter, saying "Microsoft declares truce in open source war." Here's Microsoft's FAQ on the open source interop initiative.
A New York Times story at News.com notes the efforts of American security organizations to help the Chinese government prepare for the coming Olympic games. Critics argue this assistance violates the spirit of Congressional sanctions, and that the technology left behind after the games are over could be used to track dissident elements. "'I don't know of an intelligence-gathering operation in the world that, when given a new toy, doesn't use it,' said Steve Vickers, a former head of criminal intelligence for the Hong Kong police who now leads a consulting firm. Indeed, the autumn issue of the magazine of China's public security ministry prominently listed places of religious worship and Internet cafes as locations to install new cameras. "
An anonymous reader writes "British iPhone users, who bought the Apple phones when they went on sale in England on Nov. 9, are reporting persistent problems with signal strength on O2, the UK's only iPhone service provider. The complaints started only 2 days later. InfoWeek blogger Alex Wolfe says there's a debate as to whether O2 or the iPhone is at fault; it appears to be the handset, which is unusual since US users haven't reported similar problems. Some 02 customers report that getting a replacement phone fixes things; others have had to do a software restore back to version 1.1.2 of the iPhone software."
In an era where games are increasingly complex, sometimes it's important get back to your roots. For the Wii and the PlayStation 3, just closing out their first year of launch life, this holiday season is a time to set down standards and 'classic' titles for the system. This week sees the release of Mario Galaxy for the Wii, and a few weeks back Sony's own platforming mascot made his next-gen debut in Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction. For better or worse, the PS3 launched without a Ratchet and Clank title last year. It was well worth the wait. Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction is pure, uncomplicated fun. It's easily the best game I've played yet on the PlayStation 3 and is essentially a new classic for anyone with Sony's next-gen console. Read on for my impressions of a back-to-basics title that looks better than every other platformer you've ever played.
stemceller passed us a link to the official site for Johns Hopkins, which is reporting on some research into cognition. Generally, doctors have understood our best learning to be done at a young age, when the brain has a 'robust flexibility'. As we get older, our brain cells become 'hard-wired' along certain paths and don't move much - if at all. Or, at least, that was the understanding. Research headed by the hospital's Dr. Linden has taken advantage of 'two-photon microscopy', a new technique, to get a new picture inside a mouse's head. "They examined neurons that extend fibers (called axons) to send signals to a brain region called the cerebellum, which helps coordinate movements and sensory information. Like a growing tree, these axons have a primary trunk that runs upward and several smaller branches that sprout out to the sides. But while the main trunk was firmly connected to other target neurons in the cerebellum, stationary as adult axons are generally thought to be, 'the side branches swayed like kite tails in the wind,' says Linden. Over the course of a few hours, individual side branches would elongate, retract and morph in a highly dynamic fashion. These side branches also failed to make conventional connections, or synapses, with adjacent neurons. Furthermore, when a drug was given that produced strong electrical currents in the axons, the motion of the side branches stalled.'"
narramissic writes "In his keynote speech at the Communist Party Congress in October China's president Hu Jintao was specific in his references to one area of IT: defense. 'We must build strong armed forces through science and technology. To attain the strategic objective of building computerized armed forces and winning IT-based warfare, we will accelerate composite development of mechanization and computerization, carry out military training under IT-based conditions, modernize every aspect of logistics, intensify our efforts to train a new type of high-caliber military personnel in large numbers and change the mode of generating combat capabilities.'"
ari wins writes "IGN.com has up a post discussing the new EA/Flagship game Hellgate: London, and the in-game advertisements it includes to facilitate targeted marketing. Though ads in games aren't exactly new, some Beta testers are objecting to their apparently off-putting presence. Users have also noted that accepting the game's EULA means you submit to the collection of 'technical and related information that identifies your computer, including without limitation your Internet Protocol address, operating system, application software and peripheral hardware'."
Several readers pointed us to Torrentfreak's coverage of the RIAA's latest move: the major record labels have launched a copyright infringement lawsuit against Usenet.com. The complaint, filed in the federal District Court in New York, accuses Usenet.com of providing access to millions of copyright-infringing files and slams it for touting its service as a "haven for those seeking pirated content." Usenet.com has been refusing the labels' requests to block access to alleged "copyright infringing groups."
Maximum Prophet writes "David Pogue, technology reviewer at the New York Times, has taken a first-hand look at the XO laptop, also known as the 'One Laptop Per Child' project, or the '$100 Laptop'. His reaction is very favorable, having tested it out via several criteria. And ultimately, he writes, the laptop is about more than just technology for the people. 'The biggest obstacle to the XO's success is not technology -- it's already a wonder -- but fear. Overseas ministers of education fear that changing the status quo might risk their jobs. Big-name computer makers fear that the XO will steal away an overlooked two-billion-person market. Critics fear that the poorest countries need food, malaria protection and clean water far more than computers. But the XO deserves to overcome those fears. Despite all the obstacles and doubters, O.L.P.C. has come up with a laptop that's tough and simple enough for hot, humid, dusty locales; cool enough to keep young minds engaged, both at school and at home; and open, flexible and collaborative enough to support a million different teaching and learning styles.'"
sciurus0 writes "Mainstream technology journalist Walt Mossberg recently reviewed an Inspiron 1420N with Ubuntu installed by Dell. Citing problems such as an oversensitive touchpad and poor multimedia support, he suggests that 'from the point of view of an average user, someone who wouldn't want to enter text commands, hunt the Web for drivers and enabling software, or learn a whole new user interface' Ubuntu isn't a good choice compared to Windows or OS X."