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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 21 declined, 12 accepted (33 total, 36.36% accepted)

+ - DIY Web Search

Submitted by Tiger4
Tiger4 (840741) writes "Dear Slashdot,
With all the talk about NSA spying and manipulated search results and malware steering, I thought that maybe a roll-my-own approach would be best.. So want to know: Is there any good search engine / web crawler software out there for me to run on my own home server? It might not be the best, but it would be mine, and with only me to do the tampering (until NSA finds the back door, anyway)"
Lord of the Rings

+ - Finally, The Hobbit starts shooting->

Submitted by Tiger4
Tiger4 (840741) writes "Real pictures, not photoshopped (much), of Peter Jackson on the set of The Hobbit acting like a director are now available at EOnline.com. This despite the strikes, bankruptcies, contract disputes, and legal actions that have swarmed Jackson and the project since his Lord of the Rings days. Yes, this is News for Nerds and it is Stuff that Matters. Admit it, secretly you've been dying to see this happen."
Link to Original Source

+ - How to implement a Deadman? 1

Submitted by Tiger4
Tiger4 (840741) writes "Julian Assange of Wikileaks fame has been rumored to have many more documents than have already been released. Further, some of these are rumored to be held back from release by a deadman's switch, a device that activates when the person controlling it has apparently died, disappeared, or stopped providing input. The question then is, how to implement a deadman? What would be the best way to reliably ensure distribution of information after you are gone?"
Censorship

+ - Wikileaks Rehosted->

Submitted by Tiger4
Tiger4 (840741) writes "It was widely reported, (Associated Press, Washington Post, The Guardian, etc) that Amazon.com has kicked Wikileaks off its cloud of servers. Apparently members of the US Congress brought pressure to bear on Amazon and they succumbed. The US Constitution's First Amendment, which governs official actions of the government but not private actions, was mentioned as a protection for Wikileak's recent publication of embarrassing documents."
Link to Original Source
Google

+ - More than faces captured on Goolge Street View->

Submitted by Tiger4
Tiger4 (840741) writes "Google admitted today that it sniffed up information from unguarded WiFi networks as it s Street View vans prowled America.

"Google Inc. has been vacuuming up fragments of people's online activities broadcast over public Wi-Fi networks for the past four years, a breach of Web etiquette likely to raise more privacy worries about the Internet search leader."

Leadership at Google says it has ceased the practice and is notifying regulators,

"Nevertheless, Google's decision to hold on to the Wi-Fi data until it hears back from regulators shows the company realizes it could face legal repercussions. At the very least, company officials concede that snooping on Wi-Fi networks, however inadvertent, crossed an ethical line. "We are acutely aware that we failed badly here," Eustace wrote.

Antoerh good reason to secure your local WiFi. Google might be looking over your shoulder."
Link to Original Source

+ - Font foundries opening up to the Web->

Submitted by Tiger4
Tiger4 (840741) writes "A huge number of fonts are migrating from the print only world to the Web. As the browser manufacturers get on board, the WWW will be a much more interesting place (see the article illustration).

"Beginning Tuesday, Monotype Imaging, a Massachusetts company that owns one of the largest collections of typefaces in the world, is making 2,000 of its fonts available to web designers. The move follows the San Francisco-based FontShop, which put several hundred of its fonts online in February. In just a few weeks, Font Bureau, a Boston designer of fonts, will make some of its typefaces available online as well."

With any luck, the transition period to Font-richness will be more brief and less painful than the waving flag — jumping smiley — flashing text era HTML explosion"
Link to Original Source

+ - Broadband, who says its broadband?->

Submitted by Tiger4
Tiger4 (840741) writes "Columnist David Lazarus reports that the FCC is finally getting serious about measuring what you really get with a "broadband" service.

"The plan includes requiring Internet service providers to disclose average access speeds, rather than the current practice of promising speeds "up to" a certain rate. What many consumers now get "is often much less than the advertised peak speed," the FCC says.

The column goes on to say that the US currently ranks 18th among nations with broadband services. And apparently who does the measuring makes a big difference in what "they" say you have. He went to two sites recommended by the government and got 18mbit and 6mbit results. Other commercial sites varied even more, from 4mbit to 20mbit. The FCC is embarking on a 10 year plan to fix all this, but at the rate the internet changes, in 10 years it may not matter."
Link to Original Source

+ - iPhone app aids Haitiain survivor->

Submitted by Tiger4
Tiger4 (840741) writes "CNN reports that a survivor of the Haitian earthquake, Dan Woolley, used a iPhone app for First Aide to help save his own life. Wooley was in trapped and injured in his hotel after the earthquake. The app on the iPhone helped him with patching his injuries, and then helped with fighting shock and tracking the passing time. He was rescued after 60 hours."
Link to Original Source

+ - Will Comcast Deal kill Hulu ?->

Submitted by Tiger4
Tiger4 (840741) writes "Comcast, a major US cable TV provider, may soon be in a position to kill free access to Hulu, the online TV streaming service.

"The nation's leading cable company has made no secret of its disdain for Hulu's approach of giving away the shows that Comcast and other pay-TV distributors spend billions for — and rely on to retain subscribers. Comcast is in talks with NBC Universal about pooling their entertainment assets into a new company that would own 30% of Hulu in addition to the NBC network and cable channels such as Bravo, E! and Syfy. Comcast would control the new entity and possibly have the clout to push Hulu to begin charging for access to some of its most popular shows, including "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" or "Psych." "

However, regulatory concerns do exist

There is no guarantee that Comcast and NBC Universal will come together. The deal hinges on whether a French company, Vivendi, decides to unload its 20% stake in NBC Universal. Vivendi must decide in the next two months, and then federal regulators — already concerned about media consolidation — would have to sign off on the venture of Comcast and NBC Universal.

If the deal is completed, Comcast would own 51% and GE would have 49%. This would give the Philadelphia-based cable operator a stake in Hulu, which has experienced explosive growth during the last year. The service's online audience swelled to 38.5 million viewers in August, up from 10.2 million a year earlier, according to ComScore Video Metrix, which tracks online audiences.

"

Link to Original Source
Databases

+ - Netflix prize winners to be announced

Submitted by Tiger4
Tiger4 (840741) writes "Netflix wanted a 10% improvement in recommendation accuracy, and two teams appear to have hit the mark

"And not much separates the two top teams. Teams Bellkor (AT&T Research), Big Chaos and Pragmatic Theory combined to form Bellkor's Pragmatic Chaos, the first team to qualify for the prize on June 26 with a 10.05 percent improvement over Netflix's existing algorithm.

This triggered a 30-day window in which other teams were allowed to try to catch up — and indeed, a team called The Ensemble, made up of lower-ranked contestants, submitted a higher score of 10.10 percent as time ran out — a hair better than Bellkor's Pragmatic Chaos' final score of 10.09 percent."

Netflix is offering a $1 million prize. And apparently the developers, winning and losing, are not tied to licensing the tech only to Netflix."
Biotech

+ - Cancer Breathalyzer

Submitted by Tiger4
Tiger4 (840741) writes "Cancer researchers in the UK have come up with a way to sniff for lung cancer on the breath.

"From the results, the researchers identified 42 "volatile organic compounds" (VOCs) present in the breath of 83% of cancer patients but fewer than 83% of healthy volunteers.

Four of the most reliable were used to develop a nine-sensor array made from tiny gold particles coated with reactive chemicals sensitive to the compounds.

Other sources have picked up the story as well. Obviously, this would be a big breakthrough for rapid screening, and early detection significantly improves outcomes."

Upgrades

+ - Wireless Power Transmission!

Submitted by Tiger4
Tiger4 (840741) writes "A short blurb from the TED conference in Oxford, England about transmitting serious amounts of power wirelessly, in the home.

"The company showed how a transmitting unit, which could be placed in a wall, could power a television set several feet away. The chief executive of the company, Eric Giler, also showed how the system could wirelessly charge a G1 cellphone equipped with an antenna unit so small it could fit inside the phone case."

The company announcement is here

I really wonder about the safety of this at high power levels. Can power tranmission be done? Yes. Can it be done without cooking the person/pet/plant in the way? Remains to be seen."

Social Networks

+ - Online Forum - Hostile Workplace

Submitted by Tiger4
Tiger4 (840741) writes "A group of black Philadelphia police officers have filed a lawsuit against the police department and the city, alleging a hostile work environment due to a private website popular with police. It has received wide coverage.

From the CNN.com story,

" The suit alleges white officers post on and moderate the privately operated site, Domelights.com, both on and off the job.

Domelights' users "often joke about the racially offensive commentary on the site ... or will mention them in front of black police officers," thus creating "a racially hostile work environment," according to lawyers for the all-black Guardian Civic League, the lead plaintiff in the suit."

The site appears to be owned and operated by a member of the police force. But it is not city funded or operated. Management clearly knows it exists, it is possible police force members access it on the job, and the suite says members reference it on the job. Individual police force members have a right to their own opinions, but management has a responsibility to enforce the law fairly and equitably across the city and among their own workforce. What is the solution here?"

Privacy

+ - Eye in the sky for city crime fighting

Submitted by Tiger4
Tiger4 (840741) writes "The mayor of the City of Lancaster in the Antelope Valley of southern California is considering a high definition video flying platform to aid in crime fighting. The aircraft would circle the city constantly, able to zoom in on activity spots instantly.

"You never know when you are being watched or followed. It would be stupid to commit a crime. You see it with such detail," said Mayor R. Rex Parris, who took a ride last week in a camera-equipped airplane with pilot Dick Rutan.

"I have every hope that Lancaster will be the first city to deploy it. I've never been so excited about anything."

Dick Rutan is same pilot that flew around the world non-stop in the Voyager, custom built by his brother Burt Rutan at Scaled Composites in Mojave."

Announcements

+ - Layoffs at Google 1

Submitted by Tiger4
Tiger4 (840741) writes "the Los Angeles Times reports, "Google, the company that always seems to be hiring, has finally started firing. And it's starting with the people responsible for the hiring. The search giant said today that it planned to let go about 100 recruiters. The cuts were first reported by Valleywag and quickly confirmed on the Official Google Blog by Laszlo Bock, the company's vice president of people operations."

More positions in the engineering division will be released as well. The article states Google is a 25,000 person operation, so these aren't a relatively large number. But still, Google has the rep of being invincible, so a downturn that touches them is definitely significant."

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

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