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Submission + - U.S. lawmaker introduces bill to legalize cellphone unlocking (

alphadogg writes: A U.S. senator has proposed a bill that will allow consumers to unlock cellphones for use in other networks, after the Obama backed over 114,000 petitioners who asked the government to legalize the unlocking of smartphones. "You bought it, you should be able to use it. My Wireless Device Independence Act ensures you can unlock your device," said Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, in a Twitter message on Tuesday.
Your Rights Online

Submission + - Do Unlicensed Modifications to A Copyrighted Work enjoy copyright protection?

An anonymous reader writes: Hey armchair lawyers! If someone makes a modification to an existing copyrighted work(without being licensed to do so) what effect does this have on the work which has been created? Does the original author actually infringe copyright by making the mod in the first place? What about distribution of said file by the world at large? In case anyone is wondering, the game is Minecraft. There has been a lot of buzz in the Minecraft community as of late and the two sides seem equally justified in their arguments. Who is right?

Submission + - How Your Ears Do Math Better Than Mathematicians (

pigrabbitbear writes: "The assumption was that ears use something akin to a Fourier transformation. A Fourier transform, named after the French mathematician who also identified the Greenhouse Effect, is essentially when a sound wave is stretched way out until its details are revealed. In more mathy terms, you take a signal, which is a mathematical function of time--a mechanical thing of air molecules traveling through space--and turn it into an array, or series of different frequencies. The Fourier transform is found all over science, and not just sound.

The transformation is done through what's called an "integration" of the original, mechanical function of time. (If you've taken calculus, you should remember integration.) Basically, this is taking that function and recovering information from it by mathematically slicing it up into tiny bits. It's pretty neat. This, it turns out, is how we get meaning (words, music, whatever) from sound (that big wave in the ocean). Or so scientists have thought.

Turns out this might not be quite the case. Researchers at Rockefeller University devised an experiment to test the limit of this kind of analysis via Fourier transformation.

Rockefeller researchers, Jacob Oppenheim and Marcelo Magnasco, took a group of 12 composers and musicians and tested them to see if they could analyze a sound beyond the uncertainty limit of Fourier analysis. And guess what? They busted it down. "Our subjects often exceeded the uncertainty limit, sometimes by more than tenfold, mostly through remarkable timing acuity," the authors write in Physical Review Letters."


Submission + - Microsoft Looking At Office For Linux In 2014 according to Phoronix 2

Foldo writes: Michael Larabel, a journalist at Phoronix, reported: "From a source in Brussels, Belgium during the Free Open-Source Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM) this past weekend, I was informed that Microsoft is having a "meaningful look" at a full Linux port of Office thanks to Linux showing signs of commercial viability on the desktop. Right now some versions of Microsoft Office will work under Linux via the use of Wine or CodeWeavers' CrossOver to varying extents, but this port being evaluated internally at Microsoft is a fully native implementation. Evidently there's already some port to unknown completion that has been done internally at the company. " This rumor sounds plausible since Microsoft is very likely to release Office for Android, along with iPhone and iPad the platform gaining popularity thanks to recent commercial gaming initiatives (e.g. Steam for Linux). But with Linux users already using LibreOffice and other office suites, would Microsoft really have a chance to make money with?

Submission + - Besy Buy lays off 400, closing 50 stores (

An anonymous reader writes: The U.S.-based electronics chain said it would close 50 big-box stores this year, test new store formats in San Antonio and Minneapolis, and lay off 400 corporate and support workers as part of a plan to trim $800 million in costs and restructure its ailing business.

Submission + - Two-thirds of Lost USB Drives Carry Malware ( 1

itwbennett writes: "Antivirus firm Sophos acquired a passel of USB sticks lost by commuters on trains in the Greater Sydney metro area at an auction organized by the Rail Corporation New South Wales. The company analyzed 50 USB sticks and found that not a single one was encrypted and 33 of them were infected with at least one type of malware."

Submission + - Library of Congress to receive entire Twitter arch (

An anonymous reader writes: "The Library of Congress and Twitter have signed an agreement that will see an archive of every public Tweet ever sent handed over to the library's repository of historical documents.

"We have an agreement with Twitter where they have a bunch of servers with their historic archive of tweets, everything that was sent out and declared to be public," said Bill Lefurgy, the digital initiatives program manager at the library's national digital information infrastructure and preservation program. The archives don't contain tweets that users have protected, but everything else â" billions and billions of tweets â" are there. " ...
"Researchers will be able to look at the Twitter archive as a complete set of data, which they could then data-mine for interesting information."


Submission + - White House Cuts Half of G-Sites (

Endoflow2010 writes: Today it was announced that the White House plans on cutting back on the number of federal government's websites within the next year.
The White House said that having nearly 2,000 websites confuses people.

“With so many separate sites, Americans often do not know where to turn for information,” the office of Vice President Joseph Biden Jr. said in a statement. “The administration will immediately put a halt to the creation of new websites. The administration will also shut down or consolidate 25% of the 2,000 sites over the next few months and set a goal of cutting the number of separate, standalone sites in half over the next year.”

Submission + - SPAM: Rules of Engagement in Libya

An anonymous reader writes: If you don’t know what military rules of engagement are let me run it down for you. Rules of Engagement (ROE) are the guidelines that commanders give to troops who use weapons during combat. Rules of engagement are designed to prevent unecessary killing of civilians, friendly troops, and enemy troops. Rules of Engagement have to be established for each conflict and may change from battle to battle depending on the situation.

The established rules of engagement in Libya are designed to protect the civilian population from the weapons being used by fighters and bombers on the battlefield.

Coalition forces are avoiding dropping bombs on heavily populated areas which is the most basic step which they can take to prevent innocent casualties. They are also being very selective about the type of targets that they are attacking. They are making sure that any target that they hit is strictly military. They have attacked military bases, equipment, troops, and formations. They would be able to do a more thorough job if they loosened up their attack criteria but the emphasis must be on not killing innocent civilians.

This is a very touchy situation and it can get real bad in a hurry if there is an accident which causes the deaths of many civilians. We need to be extremely careful about what and how we are conducting it and we also need to pull all of our custom military ring troops out as quickly as we can.

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The Courts

Submission + - German bloke trademarks "STFU", sues geek-shop (

An anonymous reader writes: E-Bay seller Thorsten Hermes (link), from Germany, successfully trademarked the well-known abbreviation "STFU" and has now--without prior warning--sent a cease-and-desist letter to the German geek-store (i.e. the German equivalent of, forbidding them to sell STFU-T-shirts. Being a small business the store has removed the T-shirts from their assortment. However they are now looking for "moral and financial" support to get the trademark deleted. They also posted the original cease-and-desist letter on their website (in German). RFC

Do not underestimate the value of print statements for debugging.