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+ - Italian Supreme Court Bans the 'Microsoft Tax'->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In a post at the Free Software Foundation, lawyer Marco Ciurcina reports that the Italian Supreme Court has ruled that the practice of forcing users to pay for a Windows license when they buy a new PC is illegal. Manufacturers in Italy are now legally obligated to refund that money if a buyer wants to put GNU/Linux or another free OS on the computer. Ciurcina says, "The focus of the Court's reasoning is that the sale of a PC with software preinstalled is not like the sale of a car with its components (the 4 wheels, the engine, etc.) that therefore are sold jointly. Buying a computer with preinstalled software, the user is required to conclude two different contracts: the first, when he buys the computer; the second, when he turns on the computer for the first time and he is required to accept or not the license terms of the preinstalled software.9 Therefore, if the user does not accept the software license, he has the right to keep the computer and install free software without having to pay the 'Microsoft tax.'""
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+ - CHP officers steal, forward nude pictures from arrestee smartphones

Submitted by sabri
sabri (584428) writes "Following the initial suspension of a CHP officer earlier this week, the news has come out that apparently, the CHP has an entire ring of officers who steal and subsequently share nude pictures. The nudies are stolen from females who are arrested or stopped. Officer Sean Harrington of Martinez reportedly confessed to stealing explicit photos from the suspect’s phone, and said he forwarded those images to at least two other CHP officers..

Where is the ACLU when you need them the most?"

+ - Apple 1 Computer Sold At Auction For $905,000

Submitted by Dave Knott
Dave Knott (2917251) writes "One of the few remaining examples of Apple Inc’s first pre-assembled computer, the Apple 1, sold for $905,000 at an auction in New York on Wednesday. The final price outstrips expectations, as auction house Bonhams had said it expected to sell the machine, which was working as of September, for between $300,000 and $500,000. The buyer was The Henry Ford organization, which plans to display the computer in its museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Only 63 surviving authentic Apple 1’s were listed in an Apple 1 Registry as of January out of the 200 that were built. The auctioned computer is thought to be one of the first batch of 50 Apple-1 machines assembled by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in Steve Job’s family garage in Los Altos, California in the summer of 1976. It is also believed to be one of only 15 that still have functioning motherboards."

Comment: Re:OT: ":Fine money should be burned (Score 1) 398

by darenw (#48201695) Attached to: Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

I like negative feedback loops to stabilize systems. I like having such systems fine-tuned for optimum performance, but often just a loosely thrown-together system will help, compared to nothing.

Many /.ers reading this understand feedback loops. even if it's not directly in their main expertise.

What % of politicians understand feedback loops? Just to know anything at all, never mind engineering level concepts.

It is a small number, somewhere between the population density of unicorns in Albuquerque and the decay rate of protons.

+ - High-altitude drones are the future of Internet broadband->

Submitted by mwagner
mwagner (413143) writes "Skynet is coming. But not like in the movie: The future of communications is high-altitude solar-powered drones, flying 13 miles above the ground, running microwave wireless equipment, delivering broadband to the whole planet. This technology will replace satellites, fiber, and copper, and fundamentally change the broadband industry. Call it Skynet, after the antagonist in the Terminator movies. It's coming in about 20 years — the same amount of time between Arthur C. Clarke's predicting the geosynchronous satellite and their reality as a commercial business. "Several important technology milestones need to be reached along the way. The drones that will make up Skynet have a lot more in common with satellites than the flippy-flappy helicopter drone thingies that the popular press is fixated on right now. They’re really effing BIG, for one thing. And, like satellites, they go up, and stay up, pretty much indefinitely. For that to happen, we need two things: lighter, higher-capacity wireless gear; and reliable, hyper-efficient solar tech.""
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+ - Steve Ballmer Goes to College ->

Submitted by pacopico
pacopico (802691) writes "A few years ago, Steve Ballmer was describing Linux as a "cancer." Now, in an interview with Businessweek, he's admitting for the first time that Microsoft's nasty FUD campaign against Linux and open-source software was misplaced. "Linux didn’t end up being the broadside we expected," Ballmer says. The statement discounts the effect Linux had on Microsoft's server business but is at least part of a series of mea culpas Ballmer is making as he tries to figure out what to do next. Ballmer has been discussing his takes on other topics like Apple and Microsoft's marketing campaigns while teaching an MBA course at Stanford."
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+ - The One App You Need on Your Resume if You Want a Job at Google

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Jim Edwards writes at Business Insider that Google is so large and has such a massive need for talent that if you have the right skills, Google is really enthusiastic to hear from you — especially if you know how to use MatLab, a fourth-generation programming language that allows matrix manipulations, plotting of functions and data, implementation of algorithms, creation of user interfaces, and interfacing with programs written in other languages, including C, C++, Java, Fortran and Python. The key is that data is produced visually or graphically, rather than in a spreadsheet. According to Jonathan Rosenberg , Google's former senior vice president for product management, being a master of statistics is probably your best way into Google right now and if you want to work at Google, make sure you can use MatLab. Big data — how to create it, manipulate it, and put it to good use — is one of those areas in which Google is really enthusiastic about. The sexy job in the next ten years will be statisticians. When every business has free and ubiquitous data, the ability to understand it and extract value from it becomes the complimentary scarce factor. It leads to intelligence, and the intelligent business is the successful business, regardless of its size. Rosenberg says that "my quote about statistics that I didn't use but often do is, 'Data is the sword of the 21st century, those who wield it the samurai.'""

+ - How Nigeria Stopped Ebola

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Pamela Engel writes that Americans need only look to Nigeria to calm their fears about an Ebola outbreak in the US. Nigeria is much closer to the West Africa outbreak than the US is, yet even after Ebola entered the country in the most terrifying way possible — via a visibly sick passenger on a commercial flight — officials successfully shut down the disease and prevented widespread transmission. If there are still no new cases on October 20, the World Health Organization will officially declare the country "Ebola-free." Here's how Nigeria did it.

The first person to bring Ebola to Nigeria was Patrick Sawyer, who left a hospital in Liberia against the wishes of the medical staff and flew to Nigeria. Once Sawyer arrived, it became obvious that he was ill when he passed out in the Lagos airport, and he was taken to a hospital in the densely packed city of 20 million. Once the country's first Ebola case was confirmed, Port Health Services in Nigeria started a process called contact tracing to limit the spread of the disease and created an emergency operations center to coordinate and oversee the national response. Health officials used a variety of resources, including phone records and flight manifests, to track down nearly 900 people who might have been exposed to the virus via Sawyer or the people he infected. As soon as people developed symptoms suggestive of Ebola, they were isolated in Ebola treatment facilities. Without waiting to see whether a "suspected" case tested positive, Nigeria's contact tracing team tracked down everyone who had had contact with that patient since the onset of symptoms making a staggering 18,500 face-to-face visits. The US has many of these same procedures in place for containing Ebola, making the risk of an outbreak here very low. Contact tracing is exactly what is happening in Dallas right now; if any one of Thomas Eric Duncan's contacts shows symptoms, that person will be immediately isolated and tested. “That experience shows us that even in the case in Nigeria, when we found out later in the timeline that this patient had Ebola, that Nigeria was able to identify contacts, institute strict infection control procedures and basically bring their outbreak to a close,” says Dr. Tom Inglesby. “They did a good job in and of themselves. They worked closely with the U.S. CDC. If we can succeed in Nigeria I do believe we will stop it here.”"

+ - NASA found a Delaware-sized methane 'hot spot' in the Southwest

Submitted by merbs
merbs (2708203) writes "According to new satellite research from scientists at NASA and the University of Michiganthis "hot spot" is "responsible for producing the largest concentration of the greenhouse gas methane seen over the United States—more than triple the standard ground-based estimate." It is 2,500 square miles wide, about the size of Delaware."

+ - Maps Suggest Marco Polo May Have "Discovered" America 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "For a guy who claimed to spend 17 years in China as a confidant of Kublai Khan, Marco Polo left a surprisingly skimpy paper trail. No Asian sources mention the footloose Italian. The only record of his 13th-century odyssey through the Far East is the hot air of his own Travels, which was actually an “as told to” penned by a writer of romances. But a set of 14 parchments, now collected and exhaustively studied for the first time, give us a raft of new stories about Polo’s journeys and something notably missing from his own account: maps. If genuine, the maps would show that Polo recorded the shape of the Alaskan coast—and the strait separating it from Asia—four centuries before Vitus Bering, the Danish explorer long considered the first European to do so. Perhaps more important, they suggest Polo was aware of the New World two centuries before Columbus."

+ - Could we abort a manned mission to Mars?

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "The next great leap in human spaceflight is a manned mission to a world within our Solar System: most likely Mars. But if something went wrong along the journey — at launch, close to Earth, or en route — whether biological or mechanical, would there be any way to return to Earth? A fun (and sobering) look at what the limits of physics and technology allow at present."

+ - Astrophysicists Use Apollo Seismic Array To Hunt for Gravitational Waves

Submitted by KentuckyFC
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "Back in the 1970s, the astronauts from Apollos 12. 14. 15 and 16 set up an array of seismometers on the lunar surface to listen for moonquakes. This array sent back data until 1977 when NASA switched it off. Now astrophysicists are using this lunar seismic data in the hunt for gravitational waves. The idea is that gravitational waves must squeeze and stretch the Moon as they pass by and that at certain resonant frequencies, this could trigger the kind of seismic groans that the array ought to have picked up. However, the data shows no evidence of activity at the relevant frequencies. That's important because it has allowed astronomers to put the strongest limits yet on the strength of gravitational waves in this part of the universe. Earlier this year, the same team used a similar approach with terrestrial seismic data to strengthen the existing limits by 9 orders of magnitude. The lunar data betters this by yet another order of magnitude because there is no noise from sources such as oceans, the atmosphere and plate tectonics. The work shows that good science on gravitational waves can be done without spending the hundreds of millions of dollars for bespoke gravitational wave detectors, such as LIGO, which have yet to find any evidence of the waves either."

+ - Consumer Reports: New iPhones Not As Bendy As Believed->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Over the past several days, we've been hearing reports about some amount of users noticing that their brand new iPhone 6 Plus is bending in their pockets. The pictures and videos shown so far have kicked off an investigation, and Consumer Reports has done one of the more scientific tests so far. They found that the iPhone 6 Plus takes 90 pounds of pressure before it permanently deforms. The normal iPhone 6 took even less: 70 lbs. They tested other phones as well: HTC One (M8): 70 lbs, LG G3: 130 lbs, iPhone 5: 130 lbs, Samsung Galaxy Note 3: 150 lbs. The Verge also did a report on how Apple torture-tests its devices before shipping them. Apple's standard is about 55 lbs of pressure, though it does so thousands of times before looking for bends. One analysis suggests that Apple's testing procedure only puts pressure on the middle of the phone, which doesn't sufficiently evaluate the weakened area where holes have been created for volume buttons. Consumer Reports' test presses on the middle of the device as well."
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You can do this in a number of ways. IBM chose to do all of them. Why do you find that funny? -- D. Taylor, Computer Science 350

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