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Submission + - Police called over 11-year-old's science project ( 2

garg0yle writes: Police in San Diego were called to investigate an 11-year-old's science project, consisting of "a motion detector made out of an empty Gatorade bottle and some electronics", after the vice-principal came to the conclusion that it was a bomb. Charges aren't being laid against the youth, but it's being recommended that he and his family "get counseling". Apparently, the student violated school policies — I'm assuming these are policies against having any kind of independent thought?
Social Networks

Submission + - Google researchers warn of "merging social gra

holy_calamity writes: Researchers from Google have written a paper about how social networks can undermine privacy. The most interesting scenario they discuss is "merging social graphs" — when correlating multiple social networks makes it possible to reveal connections that a person has intentionally kept secret. For example, it may be possible to work out that a certain LinkedIn user is the same person as a MySpace user, despite their attempting to keep their profiles separate. The Google solution is to develop software that screens new data added to a social network, attempting to find out if it could be fodder to such data mining. Full paper pdf.

Submission + - Tivo wins appeal on patents for pause, ffwd, rwd (

Lorien_the_first_one writes: "Well, here it is. After years of wrangling, Tivo has won it's day in court against EchoStar, now known as the Dish Network, "when the Supreme Court declined to take up Dish Network's appeal, forcing the satellite television company to pay $104 million in damages." According to the article, "TiVo originally won a patent infringement case in 2004 against Dish, which was then named EchoStar Communications. It charged that Dish illegally copied its technology, which allows people to pause, rewind and record live television on digital video recorders." Despite an injunction, Dish continued distribution of the set-top boxes in the belief that their software avoided infringing the patents owned by Tivo. Now the case goes back to the lower court for review to see if indeed they did avoid those patents. Say, isn't Tivo using Linux underneath? Doesn't that open them up to claims from people like the Free Software Foundation?"

Submission + - A Star That Bursts, Blinks and Disappears (

Matt_dk writes: "Astronomers are reporting on a strange case where one of the littlest of stars "twinkled" with gamma rays, X-rays, and light — and then vanished.

The story began on June 6, 2007. That's when a spike of gamma-rays lasting less than five seconds washed over NASA's Swift satellite. But this high-energy flash wasn't a gamma-ray burst — the birth cry of a black hole far across the universe. It was something much closer to home."

Classic Games (Games)

Submission + - Colleges Ban Nerf Guns: Are Campuses Now No Fun? (

An anonymous reader writes: A game called Humans v. Zombies, played on college campuses with Nerf guns, is facing bans on some campuses in the wake of VA Tech shootings — at Bowling Green University, players now throw marshmallows instead of firing foam darts.
The Internet

Submission + - TimeWarner sends 12 techs to house (

ThomasDR writes: "We have internet with Time Warner's RoadRunner service.
They have a feature they call 'Extreme' supposed to deliver 10mbps to your home. It is advertised, and billed as such. A talk with some of their tech people revealed that the server in my area can deliver only up to 8mbps, so advertising is stretching their capability by 20%.

We have an average of 2.5mbps in practice. TimeWarner has dispatched 12 technicians to rectify the problem; While failing they have delivered the following gems:
  • Can you sign up my work sheet? My friend is waiting for me to go to lunch
  • to have high speed, you need a fixed IP
  • 3mbps is fast enough!
  • why don't you sign up for a slower service? That way you will pay for what you have right now
  • I removed the old cable, but I dont have the right drill to put the new one so I cannot finish today
  • this is a free world, there are other internet providers. If we havent managed to fix it so far, it will continue
  • I see the problem, it is the splitter! (a new splitter later) I have no idea why it doesn't work
  • Do you know a website to check the speed?
  • it's the router causing the problem! (I show the router is not plugged in) I have to call my supervisor to see if he knows
  • It doesnt rain anymore, so your internet will be fine!
  • Why do you have a router if you dont use wireless?
  • the wireless signal is slower, thats why its slow (no its not slower and I dont even use it)

The whole story is available at:"

The Media

Submission + - Ziff-Davis Declares Bankruptcy (

PizzaFace writes: Ziff-Davis Media Inc., publisher of PC Magazine and Electronic Gaming Monthly, has filed to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. Valued at $3 billion in 1995, the company now lists assets of $313 million and liabilities of $500 million. ZD is optimistic about its online future, but wants to shed the debt that its print business has accumulated.
Media (Apple)

Submission + - Jobs slams Flash, Adobe responds 5

Stony Stevenson writes: Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said Adobe Flash is not yet good enough for the iPhone, prompting Adobe to respond that the smartphone isn't ready for the Web without its video-playing technology. The tit-for-tat started on Tuesday when Jobs was quoted as saying at Apple's shareholder meeting that the version of Flash for desktops and notebooks "performs too slow to be useful" on the iPhone, and the mobile version of Flash "is not capable of being used with the Web." Jobs' remarks were not well received by Adobe. Indeed, Ryan Stewart, the chief spokesman for Adobe's Internet applications, questioned whether the iPhone was ready for the Web without Flash. "I'd even go as far as to say that the Web experience isn't complete on the iPhone until some kind of Flash support is added," Stewart said.

Submission + - Web Browsers Under Siege From Organised Crime (

An anonymous reader writes: IBM released the findings of the 2007 X-Force Security report, detailing a disturbing rise in the sophistication of attacks by criminals on Web browsers worldwide. According to IBM, by attacking the browsers of computer users, cybercriminals are now stealing the identities and controlling the computers of consumers at a rate never before seen on the Internet. Underground brokers are delivering tools to aid in obfuscation, or camouflaging attacks on browsers, so cybercriminals can avoid detection by security software.

Submission + - New botnet beats Storm, accounts for 32% of spam 4

Stony Stevenson writes: A new botnet that distributes male sexual enhancement pills spam has overtaken the notorious Storm worm botnet as the largest single source of the world's spam according to security vendor Marshal. Dubbed Mega-D, the botnet currently accounts for 32 percent of all spam, 11 percent more than the Storm botnet which peaked at 21 percent in September 2007. The botnet started about 4 months ago but has been steadily increasing since then. It is also using news headlines to trick victims into opening the spam, a technique synonymous with the Storm worm.
The Internet

Submission + - MLB Fans Who Bought DRM Videos Get Hosed

Billosaur writes: "Found via BoingBoing, Major League Baseball has just strengthened the case against DRM. If you downloaded videos of baseball games from before 2006, apparently they no longer work and you are out of luck., sometime during 2006, changed their DRM system. Result: game videos purchased before that time will now no longer work, as the previous DRM system is no longer supported. When the video is played, apparently the servers are contacted and a license obtained to verify the authenticity of the video; this is done by a web link. That link no longer exists, and so now the videos will no longer play, even though the MLB FAQ says that a license is only obtained once and will not need to be re-obtained. The blogger who is reporting this contacted MLB technical support, only to be told there are no refunds due to this problem."
The Internet

Submission + - What content delivery network would you suggest? 2

cfelde writes: "I'm running a site that serves a lot of flash content (games). After a total redesign its traffic have increased (about 12 GB in August, 22 GB in September, 55 GB in October and we're currently serving 2,2 GB pr day this month.) At this rate I don't feel like trusting my hosting provider (which have served me very well so far) who have no limits on the amount of traffic I can use. So I'm currently looking into using Amazon S3 for all the flash content, but I'm wondering if the Slashdot community knows of any other CDN providers they would recommend? I need at least 99.9% uptime, and the pricing should be somewhat like that of the Amazon S3 service."

Submission + - File-Sharing Students Fight Copyright Constraints (

iandoh writes: "College students across the country are forming Free Culture student groups to raise awareness about copyright issues. Although their activism is most frequently about music copyrights and file-sharing, the student groups are also interested in issues like "enhancing Internet access in impoverished countries, loosening patent regulations for pharmaceutical drugs", and "the Federal Research Public Access Act, a bill that would make it mandatory for government-financed research to be published in online journals, free to the public.""

A failure will not appear until a unit has passed final inspection.