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Patents

Touchpad Patent Holder Tsera Sues Just About Everyone 168

Posted by timothy
from the how-about-a-first-known-infringement-filing-deadline-link dept.
eldavojohn writes "Okay, well, maybe not everyone but more than twenty companies (including Apple, Qualcomm, Motorola and Microsoft) are being sued for a generic patent that reads: 'Apparatus and methods for controlling a portable electronic device, such as an MP3 player; portable radio, voice recorder, or portable CD player are disclosed. A touchpad is mounted on the housing of the device, and a user enters commands by tracing patterns with his finger on a surface of the touchpad. No immediate visual feedback is provided as a command pattern is traced, and the user does not need to view the device to enter commands.' Sounds like their may be a few companies using that technology. The suit was filed on July 15th in the favoritest place ever to file patent claim lawsuits: Texas Eastern District Court. It's a pretty classic patent troll; they've been holding this patent since 2003 and they just noticed now that everyone and his dog are using touchpads to control portable electronic devices."
Privacy

Administration Wants To Scale Back Real ID Law 317

Posted by kdawson
from the square-root-of-minus-identity dept.
The Washington Post is running a story on the Obama Administration's attempt to get a scaled-back version of Bush's Real ID program passed and implemented. We've been discussing the Real ID program from its earliest days up through the states' resistance to its "unfunded mandate." "Yielding to a rebellion by states that refused to pay for it, the Obama administration is moving to scale back a federal law passed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that was designed to tighten security requirements for driver's licenses... Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano wants to repeal and replace the controversial, $4 billion domestic security initiative known as Real ID... The new proposal, called Pass ID, would be cheaper, less rigorous, and partly funded by federal grants, according to draft legislation that Napolitano's Senate allies plan to introduce as early as tomorrow. ...the Bush administration struggled to implement the 2005 [Real ID] law, delaying the program repeatedly as states called it an unfunded mandate and privacy advocates warned it would create a de facto national ID."
Security

Collateral Damage From Cyber Warfare? 134

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the something-to-think-about dept.
theodp writes "If you're thinking about applying for that open US cyber warfare czar position, Robert X. Cringely points out that you will have to effectively function as a world cyber warfare czar, a fact that neither Republican nor Democratic Administrations have yet been willing to embrace, at least in public. The international nature of today's outsourced-and-offshored IT business has big implications for US security. Try to do a security audit of your company's technical resources in Argentina or Bangladesh, suggests Bob, and see what nightmare is unveiled. Toss some random Code Gods into the mix, says Cringely, and it's really too tough to predict who might win in a game of US vs. Albania."
Earth

Periodic Table Gets a New, Unnamed Element 461

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the so-many-ideas dept.
koavf writes "More than a decade after experiments first produced a single atom of 'super-heavy' element 112, a team of German scientists has been credited with its discovery, but it has yet to be named. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry has temporarily named the element ununbium, as 'ununbi' means 'one one two' in Latin; but the team now has the task of proposing its official name." Slashdotium? Taconium? Man, I shoulda gone into science so I could have named something sweet that kids have to memorize in classes.
Transportation

For Airplane Safety, Trying To Keep Birds From Planes 368

Posted by timothy
from the they-hit-very-few-passenger-pigeons dept.
The Narrative Fallacy writes "Every year pilots in the US report more than 5,000 bird strikes, which cause at least $400 million in damage to commercial and military aircraft. Now safety hearings are beginning on the crash of US Airways Flight 1549, where a flock of eight-pound geese apparently brought down a plane, plunging it and 155 people into the frigid waters of the Hudson River. Despite having experimented with everything from electromagnetics to ultrasonic devices to scarecrows, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has yet to endorse a single solution that will keep birds out of the path of an oncoming aircraft." (More below.)
Television

How Comic Fans & Shops Are Stereotyped 387

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-represent-that-comment dept.
brumgrunt writes "Why do TV shows, such as 30 Rock, The Simpsons, Heroes, and Everybody Loves Raymond, persist in so ferevently stereotyping comic book fans and stores? Den of Geek has pulled together eight examples, with video evidence to back them up ..." Minus one point for doubling up on Malcolm in the Middle. Plus 10 points for referencing Spaced, which I hope you all have seen.

Comment: Re:Your choice (Score 1) 958

by SpicyLemon (#27313367) Attached to: How Do You Deal With Pirated Programs At Work?

I agree completely.

Step 1: CYA

From there, educate yourself and others on free alternatives if cost is a factor. If it's a small enough company, you should have no problem going to the owner or manager or whoever the head person is and explaining the repricussions of getting caught pirating software. It often leads to loosing the company. However, make sure not to be threatening. You don't want to imply blackmail here.

I ran into a similar situation at my old job. The company had about 50 people and I was the head IT guy. I was sometimes even instructed (usually by sales-folk) to install software that I knew was illegal. I refused every time and stated my reasons. It didn't make me the most popular IT guy, and I know that there was at least one other that would install the illegal software, but it at least kept my conscience clear and my ass covered.

I think the biggest thing is to find free alternatives if possible. If not, make your displeasure well known. If instructed to break the law.... well, that's up to you but I'd probably start looking for another job if my current employer knowingly told me to break the law.

Censorship

Names of Advisors Cleared To Access ACTA Documents 186

Posted by kdawson
from the who-sees-what-you-can't dept.
1 a bee writes "With the White House claiming national security grounds for failing to release ACTA related information, including negotiating documents and even the list of participants, the spotlight is now on just who does have access. Turns out, according to James Love, hundreds of advisers, many of them corporate lobbyists, are considered 'cleared advisers.' The list looks a who's who of captains of industry."
Math

Miscalculation Invalidates LHC Safety Assurances 684

Posted by timothy
from the philosophy-of-science dept.
KentuckyFC writes "In a truly frightening study, physicists at the University of Oxford have identified a massive miscalculation that makes the LHC safety assurances more or less invalid (abstract). The focus of their work is not the safety of particle accelerators per se but the chances of any particular scientific argument being wrong. 'If the probability estimate given by an argument is dwarfed by the chance that the argument itself is flawed, then the estimate is suspect,' say the team. That has serious implications for the LHC, which some people worry could generate black holes that will swallow the planet. Nobody at CERN has put a figure on the chances of the LHC destroying the planet. One study simply said: 'there is no risk of any significance whatsoever from such black holes.' The danger is that this thinking could be entirely flawed, but what are the chances of this? The Oxford team say that roughly one in a thousand scientific papers have to be withdrawn because of errors but generously suppose that in particle physics, the rate is one in 10,000."
The Courts

17,000 Downloads Does Not Equal 17,000 Lost Sales 398

Posted by timothy
from the channeling-captain-obvious dept.
Andrew_Rens writes "Ars Technica has a story on a ruling by a US District Judge who rejects claims by the RIAA that the number of infringing downloads amounts to proof of the same number of lost sales. The judge ruled that 'although it is true that someone who copies a digital version of a sound recording has little incentive to purchase the recording through legitimate means, it does not necessarily follow that the downloader would have made a legitimate purchase if the recording had not been available for free.' The ruling concerns the use of the criminal courts to recover alleged losses for downloading through a process known as restitution. The judgement does not directly change how damages are calculated in civil cases."
Security

FBI Issues Code Cracking Challenge 222

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the test-your-skillz dept.
coondoggie writes to tell us that the FBI has issued another cracking challenge for a new cipher on their site. Tens of thousands responded to a similar challenge last year. In addition to the challenge, the FBI is also offering a few primers on the subject. There are a number of sites offering cipher challenges, but it's funny to see the FBI encouraging such behavior.

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