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Submission + - Ma Bell Is Calling Big Brother 2

GeekAlert writes: Well, the Fairpoint purchase of Verizon assets is nearly complete in NH. It's at the laughable NH PUC for final review/approval. PREDICTION: Verizon keeps fiber backbone assets and cellular and merges them with AT&T creating Ma Bell all over again (no surprises here I'm sure). Expect to rent phones and share party lines in the near future. BONUS PREDICTION: The reason AT&T/Verizon will give for merger and to allow AT&T to have a monopoly in the states .. "to compete with other global Telecoms/Telcos in the New World Economy". Note too that AT&T will be a willing (and immune) participant in NSA spying. Note also that it will be in the interest of "National Security" that all these remaining infrastructure resources (read countries building their own fiber to escape our "big brother" mentality) fall under one large house to make coordination with the DHS all the easier. A big thank you also goes out to West Virginia. I'm sure the DHS has recorded this post. Hey NSA .. while you have my info on hand .. can you extradite me to the EU?

Submission + - Bank of America Online Banking offline (

An anonymous reader writes: Users have been unable to login to Bank of America's Online Banking for most of the day. By my count, we are on the 5th or 6th hour. Earlier in the day, was not responding at all (and login attempts just hung forever), and now attempts to login are presented with "We are currently experiencing an Online Banking service interruption. We apologize for this inconvenience and are working to restore your service as quickly as possible." I was told by BofA Online Banking Customer Support that BofA is in the middle of an "emergency upgrade" that they expected to last two hours — that was much more than two hours ago. If BofA has been owned in some way, do you think customers will be told the truth?

Feed Techdirt: Orbitz IPO Greeted With A Yawn (

Throughout its relatively short history, online travel site Orbitz has undergone quite a number of ownership changes. Last year, Orbitz' parent company was bought out by private equity firm Blackstone, which promptly decided to flip it back to the public markets. When it first filed to go public, there were many who argued that the company looked like a terrible investment for both operational and structural reasons. It looks like the market agrees with that assessment, as the IPO ended up pricing below its expected range. Private equity firms aren't infallible, and sometimes they're bound to buy companies that they can't turn into very much. But as more of these unimpressive offerings come to market, there's going to be increased skepticism over whether these firms can apply their magic touch to the tech industry.
United States

Journal Journal: Cheap(er) quick and easy solution to terrorist groups. 9

  1. Offer a ONE BILLION DOLLAR REWARD for bin Laden
  2. Pull out of Iraq.
  3. Wait a week.

Imagine if this approach had been used with Saddam. For a billion dollar reward, his inner circle would have been sharpening the knives to serve his head up on a platter. The Mafia would have been sending hit men to Iraq. All sorts of free-lancers would be trying to collect. Heck, for a billion, the Vatican would have sent a few people. A billion is a billion, even today.

The Internet

Japan Bans Use of Web Sites in Elections 190

couch_warrior writes with a BBC article about Japan's choice to restrain political speech in the 21st century. The nation of Japan bans the use of internet sites to solicit voters in its upper house elections. Based on election laws drawn up in the 50s, candidates are restricted in the ways they can reach their constituents. Candidates are even restrained from distributing leaflets that will reach more than 3% of the voters. What's more, people who are trying to change the laws are failing. Despite heavy internet usage and a strong installed base of high-speed connectivity, young people just don't feel involved in politics. "In Japan, 95% of people in their 20s surf the web, but only a third of them bother to vote. Some, though, do not seem keen on politicians using the web to try to win their support. 'I believe that internet resources are not very official,' says Kentaro Shimano, a student at Temple University in Tokyo. 'YouTube is more casual; you watch music videos or funny videos on it, but if the government or any politicians are on the web it doesn't feel right.' Haruka Konishi agrees. 'Japanese politics is something really serious,' she says. 'Young people shouldn't be involved, I guess because they're not serious enough or they don't have the education.' There cannot be many places in the world where students feel their views should not count. Perhaps it is really a reflection of the reality — that they do not."
Operating Systems

Submission + - BBC trust to listen to OSC about iPlayer (

Virgil Tibbs writes: "With the Launch of the BBC's iPlayer imminent, the BBC trust has agreed to hear the Open Source Consortium concerns regarding the BBC iPlayer's tie in with Microsoft's software. The move by the BBC to use Windows Media DRM & their apparent lack of commitment towards other platforms has caused outrage in many circles and prompted several online petitions."

Submission + - British Conservative 'Gets it' on OSS

Anonymous Coward writes: "George Osborne, the Conservative Shadow Chancellor, seems to "Get it" in surprising depth on the potential of OSS in government IT and in general. He gave a speech in which he correctly identifies not only what OSS and community-driven resources are about, but also seems to understand that open standards are _really_ the key to unlocking some of the benefits. Perhaps he is treading carefully, but he's not yet mentioned the corruption and bribery that seems to determine quite a lot of public sector IT spending (Research Machines IT monopoly in UK education, for example) but that may come in time. If this really translates into future Govt policy, we might be seeing the start of a real change in the IT landscape, with some of our favourite software getting the exposure and appreciation it deserves. Why not let Mr. Osborne know that we appreciate his approach, and tell him that he's on the right track. A bit of voter approval of something like this is just what it needs to confirm his position. might appreciate a few messages of support!"

Microsoft Too Busy To Name Linux Patents? 236

bob_dinosaur writes "According to The Register, Microsoft's Patent Attorney Jim Markwith told the Open Source Business Conference that the reason they hadn't named the supposedly infringing patents was that it would be 'administratively impossible to keep up' with the list. 'According to Ramji, the executive tasked with the difficult job of straddling Microsoft's growing support for open source in server and tools, and aggressive and unpredictable statements from management on patents, made a jaw dropping attempt to explain away the Forbes article. "The reason we disclosed that, is because there was a request for transparency following the Novell deal Iast November. This was a response to that transparency," Ramji said. It was at that point the OSBC audience erupted.'" That transparency apparently extends to multiple levels. ZDNet is reporting that Novell will share the details of its agreement with Microsoft sometime in the near future.

The World's Most Powerful Diesel Engine 273

trex279 writes "The Wartsila-Sulzer RTA96-C turbocharged two-stroke diesel engine is the world's most powerful diesel engine built to date. Each cylinder displaces a whopping 111,143 cubic inches (1,820 liters, equivalent to a cube 4 feet on a side) and produces 7,780 horsepower. The engine is about the size of a small building." The engine is intended for use in container ships.
User Journal

Journal Journal: I replaced my 667 Gigabit TiBook LCD. OW!

The problem:
I am a very demanding user, and titanium is brittle. I have had my TiBook since they released the first DVI TiBook. I blew about $3K altogether with the Airport, tax, and shipping. I take it with me almost everywhere. About the only time I leave it home are for short errands and entertainment. Stupid airport security guards at the x-ray machines manhandled it and put dents in the bottom tray just below the lid release. My backpack, slung with one strap acro

User Journal

Journal Journal: Aphor on the WWW

Google is picking up my trail, so this journal entry is meant to be a crumb that helps unify my web presence.

Science is what happens when preconception meets verification.