Harrington writes "In another stunning blow to the security and integrity of Diebold's electronic voting machines, someone has made a copy of the key which opens ALL Diebold e-voting machines from a picture on the company's own website. " Update: 02/06 17:40 GMT by Z : We previously discussed this story, early last year.
You may have noticed a number of stories recently about undersea cables getting cut around the world. Apparently the total is now up to 5, but the scariest part of this is that Iran is now offline. You can also read Schneier's comments on this coincidence. Update: 02/06 17:42 GMT by Z : As a commenter notes, though the country of Iran is obviously experiencing some networking difficulties, it is not offline.
A funny little man writes "The popular open source privacy tool, TrueCrypt, has just received a major update. The most exciting new feature provides the ability to encrypt an entire drive, prompting the user for a password during boot up; this makes TrueCrypt the perfect tool for non-technical laptop users (the kind who are likely to lose all of that sensitive customer data). The Linux version receives a GUI and independence from the kernel internals, and a Mac version is at last available too."
The Register noticed that a senior US Department of Homeland Security official has floated the idea of requiring citizens to produce federally compliant identification before purchasing some over-the-counter medicines — specifically, pseudophedrine. The federal ID standard spelled out by the REAL ID act has been sold as applying only to air travel and entry to federal buildings and nuclear facilities. A blogger on the Center for Democracy and Technology site said, "[The] suggested mission creep pushes the REAL ID program farther down the slippery slope toward a true national ID card." Speaking of federal buildings, CNet has a state-by-state enumeration of what will happen on May 11, when REAL ID comes into effect, to citizens who attempt to enter, say, the Washington DC visitors bureau.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "On February 5, 1897, 111 years ago today, the Indiana legislature very nearly passed a bill 'introducing a new mathematical truth,' that would have erroneously established pi as the ratio 'five-fourths to four' or 3.2. The story explaining the rationale behind the bill and how they were prevented from legislating it when a real mathematician intervened is quite interesting, because the man who discovered the 'new mathematical truth' wanted to charge royalties, which could have made pi the first form of irrational property."
An anonymous reader writes "I have code that I've written for my current company that I'd like to open-source. The only problem is that my company has the usual clause that says that anything I write belongs to them. Now that they've decided to abandon my code for another product that replaces its function, I'd like to continue working on my project as well as open it up to the world. The easy part is cleaning it up and posting it on SourceForge and Freshmeat. The hard part is making sure that I am free of any legal complications in the future. I've looked online to try to find a legal document I could present to my employer to get them to sign off on it, but I'm not having any luck. Has anyone else been in this boat or can refer me to some legal documentation that may help out?"
An anonymous reader writes in with news from the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco of a new energy-efficient chip designed by researchers at MIT. It's said to be able to run on 1/10 the power of current chips. Texas Instruments worked with MIT on the design, which is maybe five years from production. "The key to the chip's improved energy efficiency lies in making it work at a reduced voltage level, according to... a member of the chip design project team. Most of the mobile processors today operate at about 1 volt. The requirement for MIT's new design, however, drops to 0.3 volts."
Lucas123 writes "According to a Reuters' story, Dutch inventors today took the wraps off a $110,000 car-fueling robot they say is the first of its kind. (It was inspired by a cow milking robot.) After registering the car as it pulls up to the pump, the machine matches your fuel cap design with those in a database and your car's fuel type, and then a robotic arm fitted with multiple sensors extends from a regular gas pump, 'opens the car's flap, unscrews the cap, picks up the fuel nozzle and directs it towards the tank opening, much as a human arm would, and as efficiently.' Wait till Hollywood gets hold of this scenario."
u-bend writes "With little publicity Apple has released new, higher-capacity models of the iPhone and iPod Touch. The new iPhone boasts 16 GB of storage and is priced at $499 (the 8 GB model remains at $399), and the new iPod Touch has 32 GB, also priced at $499. Although the price is still pretty hefty, it indicates that the capacity/price ratio on these wireless flash-based players is starting to move in the right direction."
gbjbaanb writes "IPv6 came a step closer yesterday as ICANN added IPv6 host records to the root DNS servers, reports the BBC. 'Paul Twomey, president of Icann which oversees the addressing system, told the BBC News website there was a need to start moving to IPv6. "There's pressure for people to make the conversion to IPv6," he said. "We're pushing this as a major issue." The reason for the urgency, he said, was because the unallocated addresses from the total of 4,294,967,296 possible with IPv4 was rapidly running out. "We're down to 14% of the unallocated addresses out of the whole pool for version 4," he said. Projections suggest that this unallocated pool will run out by 2011 at the latest.'"
Ponca City, We Love You writes "When government officials announced last month that a top-secret spy satellite would come falling out of the sky they said little about the satellite itself. They didn't need to. Spotters equipped with little more than a pair of binoculars, a stop watch and star charts, had already uncovered some of the deepest of the government's expensive secrets and shared them on the Internet. Thousands of people form the spotter community. Many look for historical relics of the early space age, working from publicly available orbital information. Still others are drawn to the secretive world of spy satellites, with about a dozen hobbyists doing most of the observing. When a new spy satellite is launched the hobbyists will collaborate on sightings around the world to determine its orbit, and even guess at its function. They often share their information on their web site, satobs.org."
KrispySausage writes "One of the big features discussed in early speculation of Windows Vista SP1 was the kernel upgrade, which was supposed to bring the operating system into line with the Longhorn kernel used in Windows Server 2008. With Vista SP1 going RTM, there hasn't been so much as a peep from Microsoft about the mooted kernel update. Has it happened? Well the answer is yes it has. Presumably the main reason for Microsoft's silence on the subject is that as they're keen to promote the improvements and enhancements to Vista, rather than placing emphasis on a kernel upgrade, which some people might see as a risk of newly-introduced instability."
destinyland writes "Time-Warner is now mulling a plan to charge a per-gigabyte fee for internet service. A leaked memo reveals they're now watching how many gigabytes customers use in a 'consumption-based' pricing experiment in Texas, which we discussed early last month. The announced plan was that they were considering a tier-based approach, as opposed to per-gigabyte fees. 'As few as 5 percent of our customers use 50 percent of the network,' Time-Warner complains, with plans to cap usage at 5-gigabytes, and more expensive pricing plans granting 10-, 20-, and 40-gigabyte quotas. Steven Levy at the Washington post suggests Time-Warner's real aim is to hobble iTunes, raising the cost of a movie download by $10 (or $30 for a high-definition movie). Eyeing Time-Warner's experiment, Comcast cable also says they're evaluating a pay-per-gigabyte model."
dacarr writes "SCO has filed their 10K with the SEC — and according to this, their own assessment of the company's outlook is pretty grim. As usual, PJ of Groklaw has a good synopsis of the filing highlights. In short, it boils down to one thing: unless there's a miracle, even SCO doesn't think they're going to come out of this. 'As a result of the Chapter 11 filings, realization of assets and liquidation of liabilities are subject to uncertainty. While operating as debtors-in-possession under the protection of Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, the Debtors may sell or otherwise dispose of assets and liquidate or settle liabilities for amounts other than those reflected in the consolidated financial statements, in the ordinary course of business, or, if outside the ordinary course of business, subject to Bankruptcy Court approval. In addition, under the priority scheme established by the Bankruptcy Code, unless creditors agree otherwise, post-petition liabilities and prepetition liabilities must be satisfied in full before stockholders are entitled to receive any distribution or retain any property under a plan of reorganization.'"
cristarol sends word that Microsoft's accusation, that IBM has sabotaged Redmond's attempts to have the Office OpenXML format approved by the ISO, has drawn a heated response from IBM. Ars Technica has the story. "'IBM believes that there is a revolution occurring in the IT industry, and that smart people around the world are demanding truly open standards developed in a collaborative, democratic way for the betterment of all,' IBM VP of standards and OSS Bob Sutor told Ars. 'If "business as usual" means trying to foist a rushed, technically inferior and product-specific piece of work like OOXML on the IT industry, we're proud to stand with the tens of countries and thousands of individuals who are willing to fight against such bad behavior.'"