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Submission + - Pirate needs 200,000 video views to avoid being sued (

An anonymous reader writes: A convicted software pirate has been handed an unusual punishment.
The man, named only as Jakub F, will be spared having to pay hefty damages — as long as a film denouncing piracy he was made to produce gets 200,000 views.
He came to the out-of-court settlement with a host of firms whose software he pirated after being convicted by a Czech court. In return, they agreed not to sue him.
The 30-year-old was also given a three-year suspended sentence.
The criminal court decided that any financial penalty would have to be decided either in civil proceedings or out of court.
The firms, which included Microsoft, HBO Europe, Sony Music and Twentieth Century Fox, estimated that the financial damage amounted to 5.7m Czech Crowns (£148,000). But the Business Software Alliance (BSA), which represented Microsoft, acknowledged that Jakub could not pay that sum.
Instead, the companies said they would be happy to receive only a small payment and his co-operation in the production of the video.
In order for the firms' promise not to sue to be valid, they said, the video would have to be viewed at least 200,000 times within two months of its publication this week. A spokesman for the BSA told the BBC that the stipulation was to ensure that Jakub would help share it as widely as possible.
But, if the video did not reach the target, the spokesman said that — "in theory" — the firms would have grounds to bring a civil case for damages.
The YouTube film, currently at 145k views...

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Which is better... Xbox or PlayStation 4? 4

An anonymous reader writes: I'm looking at getting a new gaming console for the kids Christmas this year. I'm stuck between getting an Xbox or a PlayStation 4. I'm really wary on the PlayStation because of the 5 PS2s with broken optical drives sitting in my garage, none lasted more than 2 years. On the other hand I'm also wary of buying a Microsoft product, I'm a Linux user for life after getting tired of their crappy operating system. I've also considered getting a gaming PC, whether Linux or Windows, but it's more expensive and game reviews show most are not as good as a dedicated game console. The kids want Fallout 4, I want Star Wars Battlefront and any version of Gran Turismo. We currently have a Nintendo WII and a crappy gaming PC with some Steam games. So, which gaming console should I get that will last a long time?

Submission + - National Security Experts Say Paris Could Not Happen in US 1 writes: National Security experts Steven Simon and Daniel Benjamin write in the NYT that in the aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris, most Americans probably feel despair, and a presentiment that it is only a matter of time before something similar happens here. "But such anxiety is unwarranted. In fact, it’s a mistake to assume that America’s security from terrorism at home is comparable to Europe’s. For many reasons, the United States is a significantly safer place. While vigilance remains essential, no one should panic." According to Simon and Benjamin the slaughter in France depended on four things: easy access to Paris, European citizens happy to massacre their compatriots, a Euro-jihadist infrastructure to supply weapons and security agencies that lacked resources to monitor the individuals involved — problems the United States does not have — at least not nearly to the degree that Europe does, undermining its ability to defend itself.

For example, Europe’s external border controls allow for free border-crossing inside most of the European Union, making it life simple for criminals. But the United States doesn’t have this problem. Pretty much anyone coming to the United States from Middle Eastern war zones or the radical underground of Europe would need to come by plane, and, since 9/11, we have made it tough for such people to fly to the United States. Also America’s two immediate neighbors, Mexico and Canada, have extremely cooperative security authorities, which prevents would-be terrorists from slipping across our land borders.

The United States has another advantage: an intelligence, law enforcement and border-control apparatus that has been vastly improved since the cataclysm of 9/11. Post-9/11 visa requirements and no-fly lists weed out most bad actors, and both the Bush and Obama administrations demanded that countries in our visa waiver program provide data on extremists through information-sharing pacts called HSPD-6 agreements. "None of this should lead American authorities, or the American people, to settle into a false sense of security," conclude Simon and Benjamin adding that "what the Paris attacks show is that the world needs America’s intelligence and security resources even more than its military might."

Submission + - Spaghetti Strainer Helmet Driver's License Photo Approved On Religious Grounds (

PolygamousRanchKid writes: Just over the border from New Hampshire in the Massachusetts city of Lowell, a woman identifying herself as a follower of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), otherwise known as Pastafarianism, has been approved by the state’s Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) to wear a spaghetti strainer on top of her head in her state issued driver’s ID.

The approval to wear the helmet was initially denied. However, citing religious grounds, Lowell resident Lindsay Miller filed an appeal. Following intervention by the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center, the RMV reversed their decision and allowed her to put on her colander and get her driver’s license picture taken.

According to the church’s website, while there are those who perceive the religion to be satirical in nature, it “doesn’t change the fact that by any standard one can come up with” the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is “as legitimate as any other” religion.

. . . now what about my tinfoil hat . . . ?

Submission + - Pastafarian wins fight to wear colander in driver's license photo (

schwit1 writes: Some states ban smiling in driver’s license photos, but wearing a colander on one’s head is apparently allowed.

A Massachusetts woman this week won the right to wear a colander on her head in her driver’s license photo after citing religious reasons. Lindsay Miller identifies as a “Pastafarian” and member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which some critics call a parody religion.

She tried to wear the kitchen utensil in her driver’s license photo this year but the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles denied her request. However, after intervention by the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center the RMV recently reversed its stance.

Submission + - Windows 3.1 Is Still Alive, And It Just Killed a French Airport

merbs writes: A computer glitch that brought the Paris airport of Orly to a standstill Saturday has been traced back to the airport's "prehistoric" operating system. The computer failure had affected a system known as DECOR, which is used by air traffic controllers to communicate weather information to pilots. Pilots rely on the system when weather conditions are poor. DECOR, which is used in takeoff and landings, runs on Windows 3.1, an operating system that came onto the market in 1992.

Submission + - The European Commission is preparing a frontal attack on the hyperlink (

An anonymous reader writes: Julia Reda, a member of the European parliament, is sounding the alarm on new copyright legislation under development. She says the European Commission is considering copyright protection for hyperlinking. Reda says, "This idea flies in the face of both existing interpretation and spirit of the law as well as common sense. Each weblink would become a legal landmine and would allow press publishers to hold every single actor on the Internet liable." Under this scheme, simply linking to copyrighted material would be legally considered "providing access," and thus require explicit permission of the rightsholder. Reda warns that it could lead to legal expenses for anyone who shares links (read: everybody), and ultimately the fragmentation of the internet.

Submission + - Hands-On With the Nintendo PlayStation (

An anonymous reader writes: Several months ago, we got a look at a weird bit of technology: a Nintendo PlayStation prototype made in the late '80s during an unusual partnership between Sony and Nintendo. Despite cries of "hoax" and "fake," the console turns out to be real. Engadget got to try it out, X-ray it, and even open the device up to try repairing the CD drive. They brought in Daniel Cheung, a retro console technician from Restart Workshop, and he said, "I got to see the real deal so I can't discredit it. And there's even an OS. You can't question it. It can't be fake. Going back to the chips we saw earlier on the logic board: NEC used to make gaming consoles, and Sony also participated here. And with Nintendo as part of this team, you just can't discredit this."

Submission + - TSA screeners can't detect weapons (and they never could) (

JustAnotherOldGuy writes: TSA screeners' ability to detect weapons in luggage is "pitiful," according to classified reports on the security administration's ongoing story of failure and fear. "In looking at the number of times people got through with guns or bombs in these covert testing exercises it really was pathetic. When I say that I mean pitiful," said Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), speaking Tuesday during a House Oversight hearing concerning classified reports from federal watchdogs. "Just thinking about the breaches there, it's horrific," he added. A leaked classified report this summer found that as much as 95 percent of contraband, like weapons and explosives, got through during clandestine testings. Lynch's comments were in response to the classified report's findings.

Submission + - Hate Windows 10? You still have a year to buy a Windows 7 PC (

Mark Wilson writes: The adoption of Windows 10 is slowing, and that trend is set to continue — largely thanks to Microsoft. In an unusual move, the company has extended the availability of Windows 7 so it will be possible to buy computers with the operating system pre-installed until the end of October next year.

What's particularly interesting about this is that it means that Windows 7 will be available to buy for longer than Windows 8. Many would take this as an admission of the widespread dislike for Windows 8, but it also offers a lifeline to anyone who wants a new computer without Windows 10.

Submission + - The problem with "Ask Ubuntu" ( 4

An anonymous reader writes: "Ask Ubuntu" is a community driven question and answer site for both new and experienced Ubuntu users. It's a great resource for finding solutions to problems with one of the most popular Linux flavors. But... there are problems using it if you are a noob. Users are given reputation points for answers, which then give you more privileges such as voting or commenting. New users are only allowed to ask or answer questions, but are not allowed to comment or vote on questions or answers. There is no way to communicate "this affects me too" for new users which would help escalate solutions to problems with the operating system. If you try to vote a question "up" or comment that you have the same problem, you are greeted with a "You don't have enough reputation points", and if you answer the question, trying to let others know you are in the same boat, you get voted down and the answer is marked as "deleted" making it even harder to get help. I feel sorry for new Ubuntu users wanting to get away from that other operating system, getting treated like crap when trying to solve a problem on "Ask Ubuntu". I had a very high reputation score on the site, but stopped using it and deleted my account because of the political trolls downvoting or commenting off-topic on a lot of the posts. My hope is that they add a voting system for all users that says "This affects me too" on questions that is not limited to users with low reputation points. I created a new account and went to the "Ask Ubuntu" meta board to suggest this new feature, but guess what happened? "You must have at least 5 reputation on Ask Ubuntu to ask a question on meta."

"Summit meetings tend to be like panda matings. The expectations are always high, and the results usually disappointing." -- Robert Orben