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Government

FEMA and DHS Fund Disaster Hero Game 68

Posted by Soulskill
from the fifty-bonus-points-for-each-liquor-store-you-loot dept.
eldavojohn writes "The United States government has decided that children need a video game to learn about what to do before, during, and after an emergency or hazardous event. Collect an emergency kit! Create an emergency plan! Be informed of what to do! Suffer from heat exhaustion inside the Superdome! ... Wait, what? Oh, I guess FEMA omitted that last one. Disaster Hero is coming in 2011 — plenty of time before 2012."
Image

US Grants Home Schooling German Family Political Asylum 1324

Posted by samzenpus
from the come-get-you-some-learnin dept.
A US judge has granted political asylum to a family who said they fled Germany to avoid persecution for home schooling their children. Uwe Romeike and his wife, Hannelore, moved to Tennessee after German authorities fined them for keeping their children out of school and sent police to escort them to classes. Mike Connelly, attorney for the Home School Legal Defence Association, argued the case. He says, "Home schoolers in Germany are a particular social group, which is one of the protected grounds under the asylum law. This judge looked at the evidence, he heard their testimony, and he felt that the way Germany is treating home schoolers is wrong. The rights being violated here are basic human rights."

Comment: Whew, hostile crowd! (Score 1) 987

by acousticiris (#27958037) Attached to: What Can I Do About Book Pirates?

So here's what I'd do if I was in your shoes. I've never written a book, but I've read a few so lets try.

1) Are you sure it's piracy that's killing sales?
I just looked over at my bookshelf and the last book I have purchased on any topic related to computing is circa 2006.
I write software. I do *not* pirate books. I can simply find the information I need on the web for free from other sources (blogs, forums, communities, the manufacturer of the software).

2) Remember that not every downloaded copy of a book is a lost sale.
I can understand someone wanting to take a look at the content of the book before deciding to spend $50. Maybe they did and they didn't like it. I'm not saying they acted morally, that's not the point. The world is what it is and this is how a lot of people behave.
You mentioned in a comment that this is print on demand which I'm going to guess means I can't walk into a Borders or Barnes&Noble down the street and take a look at your book to see if I'm going to benefit from it.
I might consider finding a way to peek inside before plucking down the $50 bucks.

3) Some of those downloads are lost sales.
Do you offer an electronic version (preferably one that's not tied only to the Kindle)?
Again, back to my first point, if I'm reading about something related to computing I'm usually doing so in front of my computer on a web site that I do not pay to access.
I haven't read your book, but I have read a lot about data compression and there are so many free resources that spending $50 on a book covering this topic is something I wouldn't ever consider doing.
I might spend $10 (PDF, electronic, not physical) if that's a topic I'm interested in and I know I can get an unrestricted electronic version legitimately.

I don't know how the publishing industry works, so maybe the last option isn't available to you. If it isn't and you really want to continue writing on technical topics, you may want to find a better publisher.

Music

iTunes DRM-Free Files Contain Personal Info 693

Posted by kdawson
from the musical-steganography dept.
r2k writes "Apple's iTunes Plus files are DRM-free, but sharing the files on P2P networks may be an extremely bad idea. A report published by CNet highlights the fact that the account information and email address of the iTunes account holder is hidden inside each and every DRM-free download. I checked, and I found I couldn't access the information using an ID3 tag editor, but using Notepad I found my email address stored inside the audio file itself."
Image

Hippies Say WiFi Network Is Harming Their Chakras 432

Posted by samzenpus
from the what's-with-all-the-negative-waves dept.
Anti-Globalism writes "A group of hippies is complaining that a recently installed WiFi mesh network in the UK village of Glastonbury is causing health problems. To combat the signals from the Wi-Fi hotspots, the hippies have placed orgone generators around the antennae." Although there have been many studies that show no correlation between WiFi and health issues the hippies say, "Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man."
Idle

A Walk in the Sex Park 2

Posted by samzenpus
Dog owners in Amsterdam are upset that the city has promised to clampdown on people who let their pets walk in one of the cities most famous parks without a leash. They wouldn't be as outraged if the city hadn't also legalized public sex in the same park. A spokesman for the council said, "When the dogs are not kept on a leash they pee on whatever they see and they cause a lot of nuisance for other visitors." Alderman Paul Van Grieken added, "Why should we oppose a rule on something you can't oppose a rule on. Moreover it isn't a nuisance for the other visitors and gives a lot of pleasure to a certain group of people. There still are rules, They must take their garbage with them afterwards and never have intercourse near the playground. The sex must be limited to the evening hours and night."
Wine

+ - SPAM: Wine 1.0 Release Criteria updated

Submitted by
twickline
twickline writes "On March 15th Dan Kegel sent a email to the wine-devel mailing list with a outline of the new release schedule for Wine 1.0

Alexandre Julliard replied with his thoughts on the first draft with some suggestions.

We need a code freeze and stabilization period before the release. My thinking is that we should have a 1.0rc1 release, probably sometime in May, and from that point on only accept small obvious fixes. Then we'd have rc2, rc3, etc. as needed until the bug list gets small enough. And by rc1 (or even earlier) any bug that requires more than a small simple patch would be deferred to 1.1.0."

Link to Original Source
Music

+ - Multiformat Listening Test at 64kbps

Submitted by Anonymous
Anonymous (666) writes "The Hydrogenaudio community is conducting a "Public, Multiformat Listening Test" (http://www.listening-tests.info/mf-64-1/) to see which codecs (AAC, WMA Pro and Vorbis) provide the best sound quality when compressing samples at 64kbps.

This test is open until the 5th of August and seems to be much, much harder than what one would expect, even for experienced developers of sound codecs, at bitrates that the public would find "too little", as the comments on the thread at the discussion forums (see: http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?show topic=56397).

Do you think that you have good ears? That 64kbps is "too little"? Then try it for yourself and participate. Your participation will help us improve the codecs so that they are even closer to being "transparent" at such "low" bitrates."
Media (Apple)

+ - Apple May Track IPod Thieves & You->

Submitted by
Ryan N. Kamfolt - ClickAway
Ryan N. Kamfolt - ClickAway writes "Apple may begin implementing software in its I-Tunes suite to track serial numbers of I-Pods and compare them to a stolen I-Pod database. Due to the worlds most successful and popular product being on the #1 most stolen items list. This may alert the local police to come knocking on your door, if "Your" I-Pod is in question. Weather it be stolen or legit, people are not taking this to heart kindly at all. With the right to privacy walls closing in on us ever so fast, this seems to be another push to take our privacy rights away even more, or is it? Those who have had their I-Pods stolen love the idea. Others are not so happy about the idea. Some privacy right advocates have suggested implementing I-Pods or I-Phones with owner ID verification, such as a password or other forms of verification that must be entered into the devices before they will take a charge or allow you to place songs on the device. Or offer a service that is apart of Apple iCare, which allows users who feel they may become a victim of theft, to join this database, to further protect them in the even their I-Pod is stolen."
Link to Original Source
It's funny.  Laugh.

+ - RIAA to Sue Car Owners For Sharing Music

Submitted by
VintagePC
VintagePC writes "Cory Deitz on About.Com's Radio subsection writes to tell us that the RIAA plans to sue car owners for illegally sharing the music from their radios with other passengers in the car. The RIAA claims that the music played by these radios is not meant to be used by anyone other than the original purchaser of the car, and as such, it is considered copyright infringement. Does this bode ill for the owners of restaurants that play relaxing music at mealtimes?"
Software

+ - OxygenOffice Professional 2.2.0 - downloadable

Submitted by kami911
kami911 (997871) writes "OxygenOffice Professional is a free and open source enhancement of official OpenOffice.org.
Here are just a few of the extras you get with OxygenOffice Professional:
* Enhanced VBA support (developer Noel Power @ Novell)
* Import filter for Word, Excel, PowerPoint 2007 native fileformats
* You are able to switch to Office 2007 like User Interface (Under heavy development, thanks to Miquel)
* SVG import export filter (Beta state)
* Hungarian thesaurs
* Dictionary module with web search capability
* On-line templates, fonts and gallery marketplace
* New Hungarian, English and German templates

You can download OxygenOffice Professional 2.2 from here:
http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group _id=170021&package_id=193899&release_id=497989"
Announcements

+ - Microsoft will soon announce a bid for FSF

Submitted by A. C.
A. C. (856453) writes "The CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, has announced (in a soon to be published interview) that Microsoft will in the near future place a bid for Free Software Foundation and propably OSTG too. Mr. Ballmer is quoted for calmly saying "Since we obviously can't kill them, we simply will buy them and then either shut them down or assimilate them." He was especially cheerfull with the perspective of closing the vipers nest (Slashdot) down. Mr. Torvalds will propably be given the possibility of continuing as the chief engineer on the new Microsoft United Linux project. Mr. Ballmer couldn't however say if there would be place for mr. Stallmann at Microsoft.

I've got some bad mushrooms... what's your excuse ?"
Slashdot.org

+ - Slashdot Announces Early End To April Fools

Submitted by
forkazoo
forkazoo writes "A number of you have posted expressing concern about Slashdot's enthusiasm for April Fools jokes. Since Slashdot has always striven to be perceived as a legitimate news source, we have had an internal discussion, and decided to immediately end all our articles which are not fully verified for today. This site was never about just personal amusement. The point has always been to provide absolutely articulate, well edited articles to inform the IT community about new events which could effect their jobs. Because the April Fools jokes make this site look like some sort of personal blog for CmdrTaco, I am happy to announce that we declare that we will never violate the trust that you have in us ever again. For the rest of the day, you will be able to enjoy the carfully edited, duplicate-pruned, always relevant articles which you have come to know and explectr."
It's funny.  Laugh.

+ - Pig and the Box: Special Edition

Submitted by MasterThief
MasterThief (456547) writes "The anti-DRM kid's book The Pig and the Box is getting a special edition! The rights have apparently been sold to Random House, and a film's in the works too. With the distribution deal came some content changes, however... for example, the original ending, where the Pig realizes that DRM causes everyone pain has been replaced with:

Pig was so upset he sat down and started to cry: "This magic box is nothing but trouble!"
"Oh, Pig!" said Duck, "don't feel bad! It's not your fault! It's OUR fault for not using the buckets according to the terms and conditions set forth in the End User License Agreements we signed upon receipt of the merchandise!"
It's a keeper!"
Microsoft

+ - Hotmail to start charging for use

Submitted by
KindredHyperion
KindredHyperion writes "The BBC has an article on Microsoft's apparent intent to start charging it's users for the use of the service. From the article: " Microsoft's UK managing director told the Independent on Sunday that fees could be introduced within 12 months. Any move by MSN to start fee-charging would pave the way for its competitors yahoo.com and aol.com to follow suit.""

"When the going gets tough, the tough get empirical." -- Jon Carroll

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