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+ - Samsung: Android's Multitouch Not as Good as Apple's->

Submitted by
itwbennett
itwbennett writes "Hoping to avoid a sales ban in the Netherlands, Samsung has said that Android's multitouch software doesn't work as well as Apple's. Samsung lawyer Bas Berghuis van Woortman said that while Apple's technology is a 'very nice invention,' the Android system is harder for developers to use. Arguing the bizarre counterpoint, Apple's lawyer Theo Blomme told judge Peter Blok, that the Android multitouch isn't inferior and does so infringe on Apple's patent: 'They suggest that they have a lesser solution, but that is simply not true,' said Blomme."
Link to Original Source
Idle

+ - British funeral director puts QR codes on grave stones->

Submitted by sweetpea86
sweetpea86 (2546266) writes "Visitors to graveyards in the UK may soon be able to learn much more about the people buried there, with the introduction of quick response (QR) codes on headstones. Chester Pearce in Poole is the first funeral director to offer families the option of interactive gravestones with embedded QR codes. The £300 QR codes are etched on to small granite or metal squares before being embedded or glued on to the gravestones. When scanned using a smartphone or tablet, the code launches a personalised web page dedicated to the deceased, complete with pictures, videos and contributions from family and friends."
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Security

+ - In search of Mitt Romney's stance on cybersecurity->

Submitted by colinneagle
colinneagle (2544914) writes "After poking around the web for several days, I’m still unclear what Mitt Romney's position is on cybersecurity, so allow me to speculate based upon what I did discover.

It’s likely that candidate Romney would default to the Republican platform created at the recent convention. There isn’t much substance in this platform but there is a fair amount of condemnation. For example, the Republicans call Mr. Obama’s cybersecurity strategy, “costly and heavy handed,” and say that it will “increase the cost and size of the federal bureaucracy and harm innovation in cybersecurity.” It also claims that the President’s approach has been “overly reliant on developing defensive capabilities,” and that there is no “active deterrence protocol.”

Okay, so I get the politics here – criticize the other guy in a way that fits your agenda. Thus it’s not surprising that the Republicans play the costly big government card when reviewing the President’s cybersecurity approach. Aside from this point, the Republican platforms seems like it was crafted by people who really don’t understand the issues here. “Harm innovation in cybersecurity?” How? By cooperating on best practices? By funding NSF grants and increasing investment in information assurance education programs?

And what about the statement that the President’s position is “overly reliant of developing defensive capabilities,” and that there is “no deterrence protocol.” What the heck does that mean? Have these guys looked at their own NIST-800 best practices on risk management which are heavily weighted to defensive capabilities? Have they seen what the regulatory-averse credit card industry demands for defensive capabilities with PCI DSS? And what should we do in terms of deterrence? Bomb data centers if we discover an attack coming from a hosted server?"

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Piracy

+ - Cloud Firm MediaFire Flags Malware Samples For DMCA Violation, Bans Researcher->

Submitted by
chicksdaddy
chicksdaddy writes "A malicious software researcher finds herself in company with First Lady Michelle Obama and science fiction author Neil Gaiman: booted from the Web by hard-headed copyright protection algorithms, according to the Naked Security blog.

Mila Parkour, a researcher who operates the Contagio malware blog, said on Thursday that she was kicked off the cloud based hosting service Mediafire, after three files she hosted there were flagged for copyright violations and ordered removed under the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The files included two compressed and encrypted malicious PDF files linked to Contagio blog posts from 2010.

The firm responsible for filing the DMCA take down notice was Paris-based LeakID, which describes itself as a "digital agency ...founded by experts from the world of radio, television and Internet." LeakID markets "Leaksearch," an "ownership tool that will alert you within seconds if your content...is being pirated."

According to Parkour, Mediafire received a notice from LeakID claiming that it was "acting on behalf of the copyright owners," though the owners and presumed copyrighted content weren't named. Mediafire demurred, noting that under the DMCA, organizations that receive notices of copyright infringement must prevent the file from being shared, regardless of the legitimacy of the complaint.

In a conversation with Naked Security, Parkour said that she doubts the malicious PDF contain any copyright violations. LeakID seems to have a business model to "scout the web for all they find and then offer it for sale to copyright owners... there is no explanation of WHY and HOW they decided it was copyrighted," she wrote."

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Google

+ - Legal fight over access to cell phone passwords->

Submitted by dstates
dstates (629350) writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is in a legal fight with the FBI over access to passwords that will unlock the data on a cell phone. Earlier this year Google refused to unlock an alleged pimp's Android cellphone even after the Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained a search warrant. The problem is that the FBI may have a warrant for a very specific piece of information, but once they have unrestricted access to a person's smartphone, they have access to information about vast swaths of the individual's life. Apple has taken a different strategy burning a unique encryption key into the silicon of each iPhone which neither Apple nor its suppliers retain. As a result, once someone makes 10 unsuccessful unlock attempts on an iPhone, the data is irretrievably gone."
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+ - The Motivated Rejection of Science->

Submitted by Layzej
Layzej (1976930) writes "New research to be published in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science has found that that those who subscribed to one or more conspiracy theories or who strongly supported a free market economy were more likely to reject the findings from climate science as well as other sciences. The researchers, led by UWA School of Psychology Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, found that free-market ideology was an overwhelmingly strong determinant of the rejection of climate science. It also predicted the rejection of the link between tobacco and lung cancer and between HIV and AIDS. Conspiratorial thinking was a lesser but still significant determinant of the rejection of all scientific propositions examined, from climate to lung cancer. Curiously, public response to the paper has provided a perfect real-life illustration of the very cognitive processes at the center of the research."
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Programming

+ - How Would You Fix the Linux Desktop?-> 2

Submitted by
itwbennett
itwbennett writes "Slashdot readers are familiar with the Torvalds/de Icaza slugfest over 'the lack of development in Linux desktop initiatives.' The problem with the Linux desktop boils down to this: We need more apps, and that means making it easier for developers to build them, says Brian Proffitt. 'It's easy to point at solutions like the Linux Standard Base, but that dog won't hunt, possibly because it's not in the commercial vendors' interests to create true cross-distro compatibility. United Linux or a similar consortium probably won't work, for the same reasons,' says Proffitt. So, we put it to the Slashdot community: How would you fix the Linux desktop?"
Link to Original Source
Privacy

+ - Sir Tim Berners-Lee accuses UK government of "Draconian Internet Snooping"->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "According to British daily The Telegraph, Sir Tim Berners-Lee has warned that plans to monitor individuals' use of the internet would result in Britain losing its reputation as an upholder of web freedom. The plans, by Home Secretary Theresa May, would force British ISPs and other service providers to keep records of every phone call, email and website visit in Britain. Sir Tim has told the Times: "In Britain, like in the US, there has been a series of Bills that would give government very strong powers to, for example, collect data. I am worried about that." Sir Tim has also warned that the UK may wind up slipping down the list of countries with the most Internet freedom, if the proposed data-snooping laws pass parliament. The draft bill extends the type of data that internet service providers must store for at least 12 months. Providers would also be required to keep details of a much wider set of data, including use of social network sites, webmail and voice calls over the internet."
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Comment: STB per TV may be your best option (Score 4, Informative) 539

by Zarniwoop (#32829732) Attached to: Sidestepping A-to-D Convertors For Town Government's Cable TV?

I actually work for a TV company... might be able to give a little insight.

Most headends for hotels, hospitals and the like are comprised of a rack of STBs, each tuned to a specific channel. The output is modulated as an RF signal and combined with all the others, so the incoming digital signal is effectively converted to analog for redistribution on the local coax network.

So, if you're wanting to display more than 32 services, you'll need at least that many STBs at your analog headend. You'll also need to manage the infrastructure to distribute it to the six buildings, which would probably mean running underground cables underground, and if there is any sort of distance you'd need some RF amplifiers. You might be able to get around some of that using something like a slingbox over IP, but again, added cost.

Finally, there's the management aspect. What happens if a channel moves to another channel number? You'll have to retune the box. If a box goes down for any reason, you'll have to replace it as the channel will be knocked out. And one of the less fun aspects of managing a TV system is that people treat it as a utility... if it's down, expect to get a call, even at 3AM.

If I were you, I'd push your cable company to donate STBs in order to keep your relationship rosy. That way, no $3/month fee (which does seem wrong based on your agreement), and none of the buildout/management headaches.

Best of luck.

Businesses

Why Apple Is So Sticky 595

Posted by kdawson
from the it's-the-candy-dip dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "'Sticky,' in the social sciences and particularly economics, describes a situation in which a variable is resistant to change. For websites or products it usually means that visitors or customers keep coming back for more. Now Fortune Magazine reports on an analysis by Deutsche Bank's Chris Whitmore on what makes the (iTunes-based) iPhone-iPod-iPad platform so sticky and why it's going to get harder, not easier, for Apple users to switch, no matter what Google and the rest of Apple's competitors have up their sleeves. Whitmore says the investment Apple's customers have made in content for those devices in terms of apps, videos, and music purchased at the iTunes Store creates Apple's 'stickiness.' Apple has an installed base today of about 150 million iTunes-dependent devices that could grow to more than 200 million by the end of 2011. Whitmore comes up with a cumulative investment in those devices of about $15 billion today, growing to $25 billion by the end of next year. 'This averages to ~$100 of content for each installed device,' Whitmore writes, 'suggesting switching costs are relatively high (not to mention the time required to port). When Apple's best-in-class user experience is combined with these growing switching costs, the resulting customer loyalty is unparalleled.'"
Java

The Struggle To Keep Java Relevant 667

Posted by timothy
from the onions-on-your-belt dept.
snydeq writes "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister questions Oracle's ability to revive interest in Java in the wake of Oracle VP Jeet Kaul's announcement at EclipseCon that he would 'like to see people with piercings doing Java programming.' 'If Kaul is hoping Java will once again attract youthful, cutting-edge developers, as it did when it debuted in 1995, [Kaul] may be in for a long wait,' McAllister writes. 'Java has evolved from a groundbreaking, revolutionary language platform to something closer to a modern-day version of Cobol.' And, as McAllister sees it, 'Nothing screams "get off my lawn" like a language controlled by Oracle, the world's largest enterprise software vendor. The chances that Java can attract the mohawks-and-tattoos set today seem slimmer than ever.'"
Science

DARPA Aims for Synthetic Life With a Kill Switch 295

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the things-not-to-backport dept.
jkinney3 writes to mention that DARPA's mad scientists have undertaken a new program designed to create synthetic organisms, complete with a "kill switch." The project, dubbed BioDesign, is dumping $6 million into "removing the randomness of evolutionary advancement" by creating genetically engineered masterpieces. "Of course, Darpa's got to prevent the super-species from being swayed to do enemy work — so they'll encode loyalty right into DNA, by developing genetically programmed locks to create 'tamper proof' cells. Plus, the synthetic organism will be traceable, using some kind of DNA manipulation, 'similar to a serial number on a handgun.' And if that doesn't work, don't worry. In case Darpa's plan somehow goes horribly awry, they're also tossing in a last-resort, genetically-coded kill switch."
The Almighty Buck

Should You Be Paid For Being On Call? 735

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the then-i-want-hazard-pay dept.
theodp writes "Fortune's Dear Annie takes on the case of poor Dazed and Confused, an independent webmaster who's expected to be on call for his client at all hours of the day and night, but doesn't get paid for being on call, only for the 40 hours a week that he's in the office. Surprisingly, Annie throws cold water on the contractor's dreams of paid OT, citing these pearls of wisdom from an attorney who's apparently never had the 'privilege' of being a techie on call: 'Many companies see the on-call issue as analogous to a fire fighter's job. Most of the time, a fire fighter is off-duty but on call, hanging around the firehouse, cooking, sleeping, or whatever. What that person really gets paid for is the relatively small, but crucial, amount of time he spends walking into a burning building with an ax. A webmaster, likewise, has slow times and busy times.'" What on call policies are you used to working with and how should it work in an ideal world?

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