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Submission + - Windows 10's automatic updates for NVidia drivers could break your computer->

Mark Wilson writes: One of the features that has been removed from Windows 10 — at least for home users — is the ability to pick and choose when updates are installed. Microsoft has taken Windows Update out of the hands of users so the process is, for the most part, completely automated.

In theory, this sounds great — no more worrying about having the latest patches installed, no more concerns that a machine that hasn’t been updated will cause problems for others — but an issue with NVidia drivers shows that there is potential for things to go wrong. Irate owners of NVidia graphics cards have taken to support forums to complain that automatically-installed drivers installed have broken their computers.

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Submission + - Universal Pictures wants to remove localhost and IMDB pages from Google results

Artem Tashkinov writes: We've all known for a very long time that DCMA takedown requests are often dubious and even more often outright wrong but in a new turn of events a Universal Pictures contractor which does web censorship has requested a takedown of an IMDB page and the address. I myself has seen numerous times that pages which barely include the title of an infringing work of art get removed from search engines.

Submission + - Giving Doctors Grades Has Backfired writes: Beginning in the early 1990s a quality-improvement program began in New York State and has since spread to many other states where report cards were issued to improve cardiac surgery by tracking surgical outcomes, sharing the results with hospitals and the public, and when necessary, placing surgeons or surgical programs on probation. But Sandeep Jauhar writes in the NYT that the report cards have backfired. "They often penalized surgeons, like the senior surgeon at my hospital, who were aggressive about treating very sick patients and thus incurred higher mortality rates," says Jauhar. "When the statistics were publicized, some talented surgeons with higher-than-expected mortality statistics lost their operating privileges, while others, whose risk aversion had earned them lower-than-predicted rates, used the report cards to promote their services in advertisements."

Surveys of cardiac surgeons in The New England Journal of Medicine have confirmed that reports like the Consumer Guide to Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery have limited credibility among cardiovascular specialists, little influence on referral recommendations and may introduce a barrier to care for severely ill patients. According to Jauhar, there is little evidence that the public — as opposed to state agencies and hospitals — pays much attention to surgical report cards anyway. A recent survey found that only 6 percent of patients used such information in making medical decisions. "Surgical report cards are a classic example of how a well-meaning program in medicine can have unintended consequences," concludes Jauhar. "It would appear that doctors, not patients, are the ones focused on doctors’ grades — and their focus is distorted and blurry at best."

Submission + - Commodore returns as an Android phone->

sproketboy writes: Commodore is a company that has been around since 1954, a company that built its reputation among customers with the legendary Commodore 64 and Amiga computers that users mainly used them for playing games in the 80’s and 90’s years of the last century.

Unfortunately, this company went bankrupt in 1994, after which the brand ownership was changed several times in the last 20 years. This week at the market will be presented a new Android phone that will carry the Commodore brand name PET. PET was a small personal computer introduced in 1977.

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Submission + - Techies hire witch to protect computers from viruses and offices from spirits->

schwit1 writes: Many people have had their computer or smartphone possessed by an evil demon — or at least that's what it can feel like when some mysterious bug keeps causing an app to crash, or your phone keeps shutting off for no reason.

But if you truly think your electronics have been invaded by an evil spirit, there's someone who will take your call — Reverend Joey Talley — a Wiccan witch from the San Francisco Bay Area who claims to solve supernatural issues for techies.

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Submission + - 'Happy Birthday' Hits Sour Notes When It Comes To Song's Free Use->

vivaoporto writes: NPR reports that "Happy Birthday to You", the song the Guinness Book of World Records calls the most recognized in the English language, is the subject of a class action complaint regarding the validity of its copyright.

Despite being so popular you'll rarely ever hear it on TV or in a movie. Instead, you usually hear something that sounds sort of like the song, but not quite.

It turns out the publisher Warner/Chappell Music owns the copyright to the "Happy Birthday" song. That means that every time anyone wants to use the song, they must pay a licensing fee, sometimes as high as six figures. But how did Warner/Chappell get the rights?

"This is where it gets complicated," says filmmaker Jennifer Nelson, laughing.

Nelson is working on a documentary about the song. She paid for the rights to use it, and she's suing Warner/Chappell to get her money back, arguing it's part of the public domain — free for anyone to use.

If the company wins the suit, it can keep collecting licensing fees until the copyright expires. If Nelson and her lawyers win, the song will be in the public domain.

"I think it's going to set a precedent for this song and other songs that may be claimed to be under copyright, which aren't," says Newman.

The Courthouse News Service have more information about the pending suit.

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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Are other developers dealing with trademark trolls?

An anonymous reader writes: I'll start off by admitting that trademark infringement wasn't something that was on my mind when I released my first application. Like many other developers I was concentrating on functionality, errors, and getting the thing published. I did a cursory Google search and search of the app stores to make sure no other apps were using the same name, but that's about the extent of my efforts to avoid trademark infringement. After all, I'm spending hundreds of hours of my own time to make an app that I'm giving away with the hopes to make some ad money or sell paid versions down the road. Hiring a lawyer for advice and help didn't seem like a reasonable expenditure since I'm pretty sure my income per hour of coding was under $1 for the first year or two. Besides, it's something I do on the side because I enjoy coding, not for my main source of income.

My first app was published in early 2010. I followed up with a paid version, then a couple other small apps that perform functions I wanted on my phone. I continue to maintain my apps and offer bug fixes, user support, and the occasional feature request. My income isn't tremendous, but it's steady. Nothing to brag about, but also not something I'd willingly give up.

Earlier this year I got a notice from Google that someone had submitted a takedown request for one of my applications based on a trademark infringement claim. Google basically told me to "work it out" with the complainant and cautioned that my app could be removed from the store. I reviewed the trademark, did some research, and basically determined that the trademark holder really didn't have a valid claim as far as I could tell. My app's description was using a common word, found in the dictionary, to describe it's functionality. Somehow the trademark holder had managed to secure a trademark for it, but as best I could tell, couldn't legitimately claim infringement when I used that word in a descriptive fashion. Google had no facility for me to rebut the claim, so I ended up trading emails with the trademark holder a few times. From what I could gather, he was trying to bully other developers into not using the term in question in an effort to do some lame attempt at search engine optimization to keep/force his app to the top. I personally found that concept to be ridiculous since Google is still going to add related apps to the search suggestion, even if the term only matches his application name and isn't mentioned in the description of any other app on the market. The fact that he has his picture plastered all over the internet and reminds me of Erlich from Silicon Valley didn't help me respect his claim any more than his refusal to discuss trademark law in favor of repeated demands for me to change the wording of my app's description. I eventually just stopped responding to him and haven't heard anything more since. I suppose I could be served with a lawsuit at any point, but I honestly believe it to be frivolous and I doubt a company of his size would waste the resources or chance a counter-suit.

I figured that was behind me until I got a notice this afternoon that two of my other applications (free & paid version of the same app) had been removed from the Google store due to a different trademark infringement claim. This time around the trademark holder has a trademark for the name of my application, and I admit that at face value it seems more legit. Again, I've been doing some research and I'm not sure that one can legitimately claim infringement over a trademarked word being used as the name of a product that isn't in the same class. For example, Ford may have a trademark for the name "Raptor" that they use on a pickup truck, but I wouldn't expect them to be able to force me to stop using the name "Raptor" for a fishing lure that I'm selling. This time around I'm in the position of having my applications completely removed from the store and being asked to "work it out" with the trademark holder. I haven't heard back from this one yet, but I'm fully expecting a shakedown of some sort where I'll be asked to pay license fees. The trademark owner in this case is a pretty famous "personality" that is very well known in his market segment (which is not even close to my market segment).

I'm a developer, not a trademark attorney. From what I can gather, the two claims I'm dealing with are not real examples of trademark infringement and are based on the invalid concept that a trademark of a word means that the owner controls that word in all possible contexts. It seems to me that Google is agreeing with that stance and finding in favor of the trademark holder by default, and in this latest case, without any notice to the developer or venue for the developer to respond prior to applications being removed from the store.

I honestly feel like trademark trolls have found a way to game Google's system to screw over developers in hopes of stealing their hard work.

Is anyone else dealing with this or am I just unlucky enough to have 3 out of 4 of my apps pinged for alleged trademark infringement within two months after 5 years of existence on the market? Any advice for the "little guy" here? I can probably afford some advice from a lawyer, and may very well go that route, but I sincerely doubt I could afford defend myself against an actual lawsuit. Frivolous or not. It just doesn't make a lot of sense to throw a lot of money into legal defense when a couple good meetings with a lawyer would could very well wipe out the monthly income for the apps in question.

Submission + - Apple users angered over 'staingate' screen damage->

An anonymous reader writes: Thousands of Apple Macbook owners are campaigning for action over reported issues with the laptop's retina screen.
They are reporting "horrific stains" spreading across screens, in the forms of spots and patches.
Phi Chong, a software engineer, told the BBC he has had to replace his screen twice in the last two years. He said he had been told Apple would not carry out further screen repairs.

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Submission + - Did Anonymous Warn About The NYSE Outage?->

MTalisman writes: A Twitter account tied to the online hacktivist group Anonymous may have foretold Wednesday’s sudden outage of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in a tweet Tuesday. The curious tweet was made by the account @YourAnonNews, the largest Twitter account tied to the group, with over 1.4 million followers: Wonder if tomorrow is going to be bad for Wall Street.... we can only hope. The tweet, made at 11:45 p.m. Tuesday night, came less than 12 hours before the NYSE announced technical glitches were forcing it to suspend trading. The timing, if nothing else, is exceptional.
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Submission + - The IRS and Obama administration planned to criminally prosecute its opponents

An anonymous reader writes: New Justice Department documents released today show that in 2010 the Obama administration and the IRS were conspiring to criminally prosecute opponents of the Obama administration.

Judicial Watch today released new Department of Justice (DOJ) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) documents that include an official "DOJ Recap" report detailing an October 2010 meeting between Lois Lerner, DOJ officials and the FBI to plan for the possible criminal prosecution of targeted nonprofit organizations for alleged illegal political activity.

The newly obtained records also reveal that the Obama DOJ wanted IRS employees who were going to testify to Congress to turn over documents to the DOJ before giving them to Congress. Records also detail how the Obama IRS gave the FBI 21 computer disks, containing 1.25 million pages of confidential IRS returns from 113,000 nonprofit social 501(c)(4) welfare groups — or nearly every 501(c)(4) in the United States — as part of its prosecution effort. According to a letter from then-House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, "This revelation likely means that the IRS — including possibly Lois Lerner — violated federal tax law by transmitting this information to the Justice Department."

This bears repeating: It is illegal for the IRS to give the confidential tax returns of citizens to anyone, including the Justice Department. Worse, having done so the IRS has given the very partisan Obama administration a giant treasure-trove of data it can use to smear and destroy its opponents.

Submission + - Pilot error caused Air Algerie crash ..->

An anonymous reader writes: 'Two judges .. found the "failure to activate the anti-icing system" of the plane's motors was the main cause of the crash .. the McDonnell Douglas 83 jet ran into trouble after the crew did not activate the system, causing the failure of certain sensors.'

"As of February 2013, the MD-80 series has been involved in 61 incidents, including 31 hull-loss accidents, with 1,330 fatalities of occupants." ref

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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: What Is Your Most Odd Hardware Hack?

An anonymous reader writes: Another Slashdotter once asked what kind of things someone can power with an external USB battery. I have a followup along those lines: what kind of modifications have you made to your gadgets to do things that they were never meant to do? Consider old routers, cell phones, monitors, etc. that have absolutely no use or value anymore in their intended form. What can you do with them? Have you ever done something stupid and damaged your electronics?

Submission + - Test Pilot Admits the F-35 Can't Dogfight->

schwit1 writes: A test pilot has some very, very bad news about the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The pricey new stealth jet can't turn or climb fast enough to hit an enemy plane during a dogfight or to dodge the enemy's own gunfire, the pilot reported following a day of mock air battles back in January.

And to add insult to injury, the JSF flier discovered he couldn't even comfortably move his head inside the radar-evading jet's cramped cockpit. "The helmet was too large for the space inside the canopy to adequately see behind the aircraft." That allowed the F-16 to sneak up on him.

The test pilot's report is the latest evidence of fundamental problems with the design of the F-35 — which, at a total program cost of more than a trillion dollars, is history's most expensive weapon.

Your tax dollars at work.

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Submission + - Taiwan water park powder explosion injures hundreds->

bswarm writes: More than 500 people were injured when fire ripped through crowds at a party at an amusement park outside Taiwan's capital Taipei.
Saturday's incident at the Formosa Water Park is believed to have happened when a coloured powder ignited after being discharged onto the crowd.
Apparently they forgot about the fire hazards of fine powder or dust.

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Real programmers don't bring brown-bag lunches. If the vending machine doesn't sell it, they don't eat it. Vending machines don't sell quiche.