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Submission + - Facebook told to allow the use of fake names (

Mark Wilson writes: Facebook comes in for a lot of criticism, but one things that managed to rub a lot of people up the wrong way is its real names policy. For some time the social network has required its users to reveal their real name rather than allowing for the adoption of pseudonyms. This has upset many, including musicians and the drag community.

Now a German watchdog has told Facebook that its ban on fake names is not permitted. The Hamburg Data Protection Authority said that the social network could not force users to replace pseudonyms with real names, nor could it ask to see official identification.

The watchdog's order follows a complaint from a German woman who had her Facebook account closed because she used a fake name. She had opted to use a pseudonym to avoided unwanted contact from business associates, but Facebook demanded to see ID and changed her username accordingly. Hamburg Data Protection Authority said this and similar cases were privacy violations.

Submission + - Apple legend Steve Wozniak takes up university post (

An anonymous reader writes: Apple founder Steve Wozniak has joined the University of Technology, Sydney as adjunct professor, to work in the school's “magic lab”, more formally known at the Innovation and Enterprise Research Lab.

Submission + - Supercomputer Repossessed by State, May Be Sold in Pieces (

1sockchuck writes: A supercomputer that was the third-fastest machine in the world in 2008 has been repossessed by the state of New Mexico and will likely be sold in pieces to three universities in the state. The state has been unable to find a buyer for the Encanto supercomputer, which was built and maintained with $20 million in state funding. The supercomputer had the enthusiastic backing of Gov. Bill Richardson, who saw the project as an economic development tool for New Mexico. But the commercial projects did not materialize, and Richardson's successor, Susana Martinez, says the supercomputer is a "symbol of excess."

Submission + - Speculative Article Prompts Precautionary Giles County School Closure (

An anonymous reader writes: On New Year's Day, an article on the website titled "The Next School Massacre Target?" prompted law enforcement to shut down schools in Giles County, VA. The article cites a map of "strike zones" illustrated in a The Dark Knight Rises scene. One of the "strike zones" was named Sandy Hook. Since the website has since been suspended and media coverage hasn't specified details, it is difficult to determine what elements the author connected to the Aurora, CO event; however, it is apparent that law enforcement was unwilling to take any chances; the Giles County sheriff's office made reverse 911 calls to parents and notified school administrations of the precautions — students would be taking the following day off and increased security would be implemented near schools. The article and website, which has been repeatedly stated to have not made any threats, is currently down, but allegedly not under investigation. Such a situation may be difficult to evaluate, but it doesn't seem too unreasonable to consider possible copycat scenarios, and the response-time was, presumably, respectably quick.

Submission + - Juggling by the Numbers

theodp writes: The BBC News' Laura Gray reports on a juggling notation system developed in the 80's called Siteswap (aka Quantum Juggling and Cambridge Notation) and how it has helped jugglers discover and share thousands of new tricks. Frustrated that there was no way to write down juggling moves, mathematician Colin Wright and others helped devised Siteswap, which uses sequences of numbers to encode the number of beats of each throw, which is related to their height and the hand to which the throw is made. 'Siteswap has allowed jugglers to share tricks with each other without having to meet in person or film themselves,' says James Grime, juggling enthusiast and math instructor for Cambridge University. Still unclear on the concept? Spend some time playing around with Paul Klimek's most-excellent Quantum Juggling simulator, and you too can be a Flying Karamazov Brother!

Submission + - Piracy informants motivated by 'morality' (

An anonymous reader writes: A major motivation among a number of people who reported businesses for using unlicensed software was 'morality', according to the Business Software Association (BSA) of Australia. Almost half of all people who reported businesses the BSA indicated 'morality' was their main driver for making the reports. While the BSA settled 14 cases with businesses that were using unlicensed software in 2012, the settlements totaled more than $440,000, including $100,000 from a single business. Informants were either former employees, IT suppliers or consultants, or anonymous.

Submission + - Using Technology To Make Guns Safer

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Farhad Manjoo writes that there are a number of technologies that gunmakers could add to their products that might prevent hundreds or thousands of deaths per year. One area of active research is known as the “smart gun”—a trigger-identification system that prevents a gun from being fired by anyone other than its authorized user with researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology creating a working prototype of a gun that determines whether or not to fire based on a user’s “grip pattern." Gunmakers been slow to add other safety technologies as well, including indicators that show whether a gun is loaded and “magazine safeties” that prevent weapons from being fired when their ammunition magazine is removed (PDF) that could save 400 lives a year. So why aren’t gunmakers making safer guns? Because guns are exempt from most of the consumer safety laws that have improved the rest of American life because the Consumer Product Safety Commission, charged with looking over thousands of different kinds of products, is explicitly prohibited from regulating firearms. In 2005, Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which immunizes gun makers against lawsuits resulting from “misuse” of the products. If they can’t be sued and can’t be regulated, gunmakers have no incentive to make smarter guns. A week before the Newtown massacre, Joseph Loughrey went to a gun store to sell some of his weapons. Loughrey had unloaded the magazine on his handgun, but he didn’t know there was a still a round in the chamber. When he set the gun down on the center console of his truck, it went off, killing his 7-year-old son. " A magazine safety would have prevented Loughrey’s gun from going off after he’d removed the magazine. A smart trigger would have prevented the gun from firing without Loughrey’s hand being on the grip," writes Manjoo. "But Loughrey’s gun lacked both those safety devices, because nobody has ever forced gun makers to live up to the same basic safety requirements as other American companies.""

Submission + - MIT research shows new magnetic state that could aid quantum computing (

alphadogg writes: Researchers at MIT and other institutions have demonstrated a new type of magnetism, only the third kind ever found, and it may find its way into future communications, computing and data storage technologies. Working with a tiny crystal of a rare mineral that took 10 months to make, the researchers for the first time have demonstrated a magnetic state called a QSL (quantum spin liquid), according to MIT physics professor Young Lee. He is the lead author of a paper on their findings, which is set to be published in the journal Nature this week. Theorists had said QSLs might exist, but one had never been demonstrated before. "We think it's pretty important," Lee said, adding that he would let his peers be the ultimate judges.

Submission + - European data retention rule could violate fundamental E.U. law (

An anonymous reader writes: The European Union's data retention law could breach fundamental E.U. law because its requirements result in an invasion of citizens' privacy, according to the Constitutional Court of Austria, which has asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to determine the directive's validity.

The primary problem with the data retention law is that it almost exclusively affects people in whom government or law enforcement have no prior interest. But authorities use the data for investigations and are informed about people's personal lives, the court said, and there is a risk that the data can be abused.

"We doubt that the E.U. Data Retention Directive is really compatible with the rights that are guaranteed by the E.U. Charter of Fundamental Rights," Gerhart Holzinger, president of the Constitutional Court of Austria said in a statement.


Submission + - Linux Revolution 2013 1

An anonymous reader writes: Linux Revolution 2013

Will this be the year of GNU/Linux? If you ask a ZDNet journalist you would probably get a yes, just like every year since 2009. If you take a look at Linux news, it seems that 2013 is shaping up for Linux to finally get more then it’s 1% market share. Ubuntu’s latest release is easier then ever to install and has added some great features.

There are a number of portable devices scheduled for be released in 2013.
  PengPod is wrapping up what looks to be a successful crowdfunding effort on indiegogo. They have a line of dual booting portable devices running GNU/Linux and Android/Linux. Vivaldi is another GNU/Linux tablet that has closed its pre-orders quoted from their site: “After an overwhelming response and thousands of pre-orders, the first shipments of Vivaldis have been spoken for.” Then you have Rasberry PI making a mini computer. Ubuntu is developing Ubuntu for Android.

So is 2013 the Year of Linux? Only time will, but it seems to have a good chance this time.

Submission + - Nokia Asks Court To Block Sale of Some RIM Products (

itwbennett writes: "The ITworld article reads: 'Nokia has asked a California court to enforce an arbitration award that would prevent Research In Motion from selling products with wireless LAN capabilities until the companies can agree on patent royalty rates. Nokia and RIM both declined to comment on Nokia's request, a copy of which was obtained by IDG News Service, but such a filing is typically made after two parties settle a dispute through arbitration but one party does not follow through on the agreement.'"

Submission + - Bluetooth used to track Traffic Times (

ChanukahZombie writes: The City of Calgary, AB has introduced a new traffic congestion/timing information platform for drivers. "The system collects the publicly available data from Bluetooths to estimate the travel time and congestion between points along those roads and displays the information on overhead message boards to motorists." Currently only available on the Deerfoot Trail (the city's main highway artery) but will be "expanded in the future to include sections of Crowchild Trail and Glenmore Trail in the southwest." As for privacy concerns the city says it cannot connect the MAC address collected to the device owner.

Submission + - IPv6 deployment picking up speed (

An anonymous reader writes: The Internet's addressing authority (IANA) ran out of IPv4 Internet addresses in early 2011. The IPv6 protocol (now 15 years old) was designed exactly for this scenario, as it provides many more addresses than our foreseeable addressing needs. However, IPv6 deployment has so far been dismal, accounting for 1% of total traffic (the high-end of estimates). A recent paper by researchers at the Cooperative Association for Internet Data analysis (CAIDA) indicates that IPv6 deployment may be picking up at last. The paper, published at the Internet Measurement Conference (IMC) shows that the IPv6 network shows signs of maturing, with its properties starting to resemble the deployed IPv4 network. Deployment appears to be non-uniform, however; while the "core" of the network appears to be ready, networks at the "edges" are lacking. There are geographical differences too — Europe and the Asia Pacific region are ahead of North America.

Submission + - The Straight Poop on Microsoft's New Data Center (

CowboyRobot writes: "Microsoft is planning a zero-carbon data center in Wyoming that will use biogas from an adjacent wastewater treatment plant as its power supply.

Once the R&D project is complete, Microsoft will donate the Data Plant to the City of Cheyenne and the University of Wyoming for future research.

The ultimate goal of the Data Plant program is to free data centers from having to rely on expensive and potentially unstable power grids."

Submission + - European Parliament Votes to Stop Shark Finning

An anonymous reader writes: The European Parliament voted Thursday to close loopholes in European Union (EU) policy over shark finning. In 2003, the EU banned removal of shark fins but exempted those fishermen having special permits to cut off fins from sharks legally. The issuing of Special Fishing Permits (SFPs) to fishing vessels prevented the 2003 EU ban to be implemented fully and effectively.

Everybody needs a little love sometime; stop hacking and fall in love!