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Submission + - An HTTP Status Code for Censorship? (

Tryfen writes: UK ISPs are being forced to block The Pirate Bay. One is using "HTTP 403 Forbidden" to tell users that they cannot access the site. So, should there be a specific HTTP status code to tell a user that they are being censored?

Submission + - Worst Design Ever? Plastic Clamshell Packaging 1

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Rebecca Rosen writes that iIf you've recently opened up — or, more specifically, tried to open up — an CFL light bulb, you can sympathize with the question posted on Quora last year, "What is the worst piece of design ever done?" to which the site's users have given resounding support to one answer: plastic clamshell packaging. "Design should help solve problems" — clamshells are supposed to make it harder to steal small products and easier for employees to arrange on display — but this packaging, says Anita Schillhorn, makes new ones, such as time wasted, frustration, and the little nicks and scrapes people incur as they just try to get their damn lightbulb out. The problem is so pervasive there is even a Wikipedia page devoted to "wrap rage," "the common name for heightened levels of anger and frustration resulting from the inability to open hard-to-remove packaging." Amazon and Wal-Mart are prodding more manufacturers to change their packaging to cut waste. “We’ve gotten e-mails from customers who’ve purchased scissors in a clamshell, which would require another pair of scissors to open the package,” says Nadia Shouraboura, Amazon’s vice president of global fulfillment. Other worthy answers to the Quora question include the interfaces on most microwaves, TV remotes, New York City's parking signs, and pull-handles on push-only doors, but none gained even close to the level of popular repudiation that clamshells received."

Submission + - House Appropriators want to limit public availability of pending bills (

Attila Dimedici writes: The House Appropriations Committee is considering a draft report that would forbid the Library of Congress to allow bulk downloads of bills pending before Congress. The Library of Congress currently has an online database called THOMAS (for Thomas Jefferson) that allows people to look up bills pending before Congress. The problem is that THOMAS is somewhat clunky and it is difficult to extract data from it. This draft report would forbid the Library of Congress from modernizing THOMAS until a task force reports back. I am sorry that I cannot write a better summary of these articles, but I think this is an important issue about improving the ability of people to understand what Congress is doing. I am pretty sure that the majority of people on slashdot agree that being able to better understand how the various bills being considered by Congress interact would be good for this country.

Submission + - Startup Saves $100,000 by NOT supporting Internet Explorer ( 2

darthcamaro writes: Guess what — you don't have to support Microsoft's IE web browser any more to build a successful website. In fact, you might just be able to save yourself a pile of cash if you avoid IE altogether. That's the story in Canada's National Post today and to make this even sweeter — no one complained about the lack of IE support either.

Submission + - RIAA Claims Losses In Excess Of World's Wealth ( 6

bonch writes: Prior to setting with Limewire earlier this month, the RIAA had pressed for a $72 trillion verdict, greater than the $60 trillion of combined wealth on Earth. The RIAA arrived at the figure by multiplying $150,000 for each download of 11,000 songs, a figure federal Judge Kimba Wood called "absurd". No word on how much of the money would have gone back to the artists.

Submission + - SAP's VP Arrested In False Barcode Scheme (

redletterdave writes: "With barcode scanning being so commonplace, nothing seemed out of the ordinary when Thomas Langenbach, the vice president of SAP, was found scanning boxes upon boxes of Lego toys before purchasing them. Little did anyone know, the 47-year-old Silicon Valley executive was actually engaged in a giant scam. Langenbach would visit several Target stores and cover the store's barcodes with his own, so when he would bring the boxes up to the register, Langenbach would pay a heavily-discounted price. For example, this tag swapping allowed him to buy a Millennium Falcon box of Legos worth $279 for just $49. Once he bought the discounted Lego boxes, the SAP executive would take to eBay (under the name "tomsbrickyard") and sell the items. Langenbach reportedly sold more than 2,000 items on eBay, raking in about $30,000. He was finally caught by Target security on May 8, and he was arraigned on Tuesday on four counts of burglary."

Submission + - Fresh voice against DRM (

Vo1t writes: The makers of The Witcher series explain why they've chosen not to use DRM's with their own releases. Interesting fact that the DRM'd version (by Atari) was cracked before the non-DRM one (by CD Projekt on GOG).

Submission + - General Motors: "Facebook Ads aren't Worth it" (

Fluffeh writes: "General Motors spends around $40 million per year on maintaining a Facebook profile and around a quarter of that goes into paid advertising. However, in a statement, they just announced that "it's simply not working". That's a bit of bad news just prior to the Facebook IPO — and while Daniel Knapp tries to sweeten the news, he probably makes it even more bitter by commenting "Advertising on Facebook has long been funded by marketing budgets reserved for trying new things. But as online advertising investments in general are surging and starting to cannibalize spend on legacy media, advertisers are rightfully asking whether the money spend is justified because it has reached significant sums now.""

Submission + - 'Big brother' lamp posts can hear, see and bark 'Obey!' at you (

An anonymous reader writes: America welcomes a new brand of smart street lightning systems: energy-efficient, long-lasting, complete with LED screens to show ads. They can also spy on citizens in a way George Orwell would not have imagined in his worst nightmare.

Submission + - Computer game designed to treat depression as effective as traditional treatment (

sirlark writes: Researchers at the University of Auckland tested an interactive 3D fantasy game called Sparx on a 94 youngsters diagnosed with depression whose average age was 15 and a half. Sparx invites a user to take on a series of seven challenges over four to seven weeks in which an avatar has to learn to deal with anger and hurt feelings and swap negative thoughts for helpful ones. Used for three months, Sparx was at least as effective as face-to-face conventional counselling, according to several depression rating scales. In addition, 44% of the Sparx group who carried out at least four of the seven challenges recovered completely. In the conventional treatment group, only 26% recovered fully.

One has to wonder if it Sparx specifically, or gaming in general that provides the most benefit. Given that most of the symptoms of depression relate to a feeling of being unable to influence one's environment (powerlessness, helplessness, ennui, etc) and games are specifically designed to make one feel powerful but challenged (if they hit the sweet spot).

Open Source

Submission + - Counterfeit Open Source Hardware — Knockoffs 101 (

ptorrone writes: "“Clone” in many of the the hardware circles I’m usually in means a knockoff, including the logo, etc. It’s made to fool people; however I think I will say “counterfeit” in addition to clone since there were a couple people on Slashdot that were confused about clone versus counterfeit. This might make it easier to explain exactly what I’m talking about. So this week I’m going to outline some counterfeits to look out for when you’re looking for a deal on an Arduino or any other types of open source hardware."

Submission + - Asian Call Center Workers Trained With U.S. Tax Dollars (

gManZboy writes: "Despite President Obama's recent call for companies to "insource" jobs sent overseas, it turns out that the federal government itself is spending millions of dollars to train foreign students for employment in some booming career fields--including working in offshore call centers that serve U.S. businesses.

The program is called JEEP, which stands for Job Enabling English Proficiency. It's available to college students in the Philippines through USAID. That's the same agency that until a couple of years ago was spending millions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer money to train offshore IT workers in Sri Lanka.

Congressman Tim Bishop (D-New York), told about the program on Tuesday, called it "surprising and distressing." Bishop recently introduced a bill that would make companies that outsource call centers ineligible for government contracts."

2 pints = 1 Cavort