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Operating Systems

+ - Dell Polls PC Users on Favorite Linux Varieties

Submitted by
narramissic
narramissic writes "In response to overwhelming user demand for Linux, Dell has posted a survey on its company blog that asks 'PC users to choose between Linux flavors such as Fedora and Ubuntu, and to pick more general choices such as notebooks versus desktops, high-end models versus value models and telephone-based support versus community-based support.' Votes will be collected through March 23, and Dell plans to use the feedback to begin selling Linux-based consumer PCs. How's that for getting what you asked for?"
Patents

+ - American Express attempts to track people w/ RFID

Submitted by
JeremyDuffy
JeremyDuffy writes "(originally posted here) Thanks to the good work of the people over at Spychips.com, a plot by American Express to patent technology that would "identify people, track their movements, and observe their behavior" has been exposed. According to their article:

That patent application, titled "Method and System for Facilitating a Shopping Experience," describes a Minority Report style blueprint for monitoring consumers through RFID-enabled objects, like the American Express Blue Card
The funny part is that when American Express top brass learned that they'd been discovered, they scrambled into damage control mode and met with the leaders of Caspian promising to "ensure that any people-tracking plans be accompanied by language requiring consumer notice and consent". They also promised to make a spychip-free version of the card if a customer, but only if the customer asks for it. Sounds to me like they're making token gestures to appease the privacy experts while merrily continue to do everything they planned to in the first place."
Announcements

+ - Wanna be great surgeon? Start playing video games

Submitted by
Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward writes "Surgeons with video game skill appear to perform better than non-gamers, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. "Training curricula that include video games may help thin the technical interface between surgeons and screen-mediated applications, such as laparoscopic surgery," the authors conclude. "Video games may be a practical teaching tool to help train surgeons.""
Software

+ - Hollywood training swedish police in Anti-Piracy

Submitted by
Oxygen
Oxygen writes "IDG.se reports on it's online newssite that representatives from the MPAA, FBI and the Swedish lobbyorganisation Antipiratbyrån have held seminars for swedish police officers (Swedish only) that are being trained in fighting piracy and copyright violations. From the article: "According to Bertil Ramsell, responsible for the course, the purpose of the visit was to give the invited speakers a chance to explain to the students what their organsation's purpose was. But in a report from the IIPA, the pupose was to educate students in anti-piracy." Educating is one thing, but the acronym MPAA doesn't really spell "objective" or "no hidden agenda" to me."
Businesses

XM And SIRIUS Radio Merging 301

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the monopoly-is-such-a-fun-game dept.
lenny6998 writes to tell us Yahoo! News is reporting that XM and Sirius Radio, the only two major players in the relatively new market of subscription satellite radio have announced a merger. "The two companies said in a statement that Mel Karmazin, the CEO of Sirius, would become chief executive of the new company while Gary Parsons, the chairman of XM, would remain in that role."
Microsoft

+ - Ballmer hints at Xbox 360 price cuts

Submitted by thefickler
thefickler (1030556) writes "Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has strongly hinted that the company will look at cutting the price of its Xbox 360 in a recent financial analyst briefing in New York. Ballmer said that the company would review the price of the Xbox 360 to ensure that it remains competitive as well as profitable:"
Media

+ - Anti-DRM Petition Response From Downing Street

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Downing Street have released a statement in response to a petition on their website.
It states that all products with DRM should be labelled on how the product can be used or not used.

It is clear though that the needs and rights of consumers must also be carefully safeguarded. It is reasonable for consumers to be informed what is actually being offered for sale, for example, and how and where the purchaser will be able to use the product, and any restrictions applied.

It also references the Gowers Report [PDF warning] published December 2006 and the recommendations proposed in the report.

Recommendations include introducing a limited private copying exception by 2008 for format shifting for works published after the date that the law comes into effect. There should be no accompanying levies for consumers. Also making it easier for users to file notice of complaints procedures relating to Digital Rights Management tools by providing an accessible web interface on the Patent Office website by 2008 and that DTI should investigate the possibility of providing consumer guidance on DRM systems through a labelling convention without imposing unnecessary regulatory burdens
"
Biotech

+ - Study Indicates Autism is Mostly Genetic

Submitted by Old Man Kensey
Old Man Kensey (5209) writes "A study funded by the National Institutes of Health and the nonprofit foundation Autism Speaks has found multiple verifiable genetic links to the development of autism, including a gene involved in glutamate metabolism, a process implicated in other childhood neurological disorders like epilepsy. One researcher went so far as to say the findings indicate that autism may be as much as 90% genetic."
Google

+ - Google developing AI

Submitted by
chonny69
chonny69 writes "Developers at search engine giant Google "are really trying to build artificial intelligence and to do it on a large scale," Google co-founder Larry Page said at the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science conference Saturday. "It's not as far off as people think," he said. Page also said that in the programming language of humans the brain's algorithms weren't all that complicated and could be approximated, eventually, with a lot of computational power."

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.

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