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Burning Man Goes Open Source For Cell Phones 152

coondoggie passes along this excerpt from Network World: "Today I bring you a story that has it all: a solar-powered, low-cost, open source cellular network that's revolutionizing coverage in underprivileged and off-grid spots. It uses VoIP yet works with existing cell phones. It has pedigreed founders. Best of all, it is part of the sex, drugs and art collectively known as Burning Man. ... The technology starts with the 'they-said-it-couldn't-be-done' open source software, OpenBTS. OpenBTS is built on Linux and distributed via the AGPLv3 license. When used with a software-defined radio such as the Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP), it presents a GSM air interface ("Um") to any standard GSM cell phone, with no modification whatsoever required of the phone. It uses open source Asterisk VoIP software as the PBX to connect calls, though it can be used with other soft switches, too. ... This is the third year its founders have decided to trial-by-fire the system by offering free cell phone service to the 50,000-ish attendees at Burning Man, which begins today in Black Rock City, Nevada. "

FreeType Project Cheers TrueType Patent Expiration 203

FlorianMueller writes "The FreeType project celebrates the expiration of Apple's TrueType bytecode patents. The open source font rendering engine now has the bytecode technology enabled by default. The relevant code existed for some time, but the project felt forced to disable it and advise everyone not to use it due to patent encumbrance. The 20-year maximum of validity of software patents is long, but sometimes the stuff that becomes available is still useful. The Unisys GIF patent was an example. And anything open-sourced 20 years ago would also be patent-free by now (except for the code that has since been added)."
PC Games (Games)

EA Editor Criticizes Command & Conquer 4 DRM 266

Command & Conquer 4's DRM hasn't garnered Electronic Arts as much bad press and fan outrage as Ubisoft's scheme, despite being very similar. Nevertheless, it's been causing problems and frustrations for some users, including's own editor-in-chief, Jeff Green. An anonymous reader points this out: "Green wrote on his Twitter account late last week: 'Booted twice — and progress lost — on my single-player C&C4 game because my DSL connection blinked. DRM fail. We need new solutions.' He continued later, 'Well. I've tried to be open-minded. But my 'net connection is finicky — and the constant disruption of my C&C4 SP game makes this unplayable. The story is fun, the gameplay is interesting and different at least — but if you suffer from shaky/unreliable DSL — you've been warned.'"
Social Networks

Facebook Goes After Greasemonkey Script Developer 375

palmerj3 writes "The popular Facebook Purity greasemonkey script (now renamed Fluff Buster Purity) has been used by thousands to rid their Facebook feeds from the likes of Mafia Wars, Farmville, and other annoying things. Now, Facebook is threatening the developer of this script. Does Facebook have the right to govern their website's design and functionality once it's in the browser?"
Real Time Strategy (Games)

StarCraft II Closed Beta Begins 268

Blizzard announced today that the multiplayer beta test for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is now underway. The client downloader is available through for people who have received invites, and the system requirements have been posted as well. A list of known issues is up on the official forums. StarCraft II and the revamped are planned for release "in the first half of 2010."

Operation Titstorm Hits the Streets 458

schliz writes "Hacker group 'Anonymous' is organising international, real-life protests of the Australian mandatory internet filter this coming Saturday. Protests will take place in major Australian cities as well as at Australian embassies around the world. The protests are said to be the second stage of 'Operation Titstorm,' which unleashed a prolonged DDoS attack on Australian government websites last week. Organisers of the so-called Project Freeweb said: 'If passed, this legislation will set a disturbing precedent at an international level. The public, not the Government, should have the right to decide what is deemed appropriate for you or your family to be exposed to.'"

Facebook Rewrites PHP Runtime For Speed 295

VonGuard writes "Facebook has gotten fed up with the speed of PHP. The company has been working on a skunkworks project to rewrite the PHP runtime, and on Tuesday of this week, they will be announcing the availability of their new PHP runtime as an open source project. The rumor around this began last week when the Facebook team invited some of the core PHP contributors to their campus to discuss some new open source project. I've written up everything I know about this story on the SD Times Blog."

Boot Camp Finally Supports Windows 7 On Macs 216

Dave Knott writes "After some delay Apple has updated Boot Camp to support Windows 7 on Macintosh computers. They have also provided an upgrade utility that facilitates transition to Windows 7 for Mac owners who have existing Vista installations. The new version of Boot Camp requires OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard)."

Chrome Apes IE8, Adds Clickjacking, XSS Defenses 90

CWmike writes "Google has announced that it added several new security features to Chrome 4, including two security measures first popularized (some later shot down as having 'zero impact') by rival Microsoft's IE8 last year. The newest 'stable' build of Chrome includes five security additions that target Web developers who want to build more secure sites, said Adam Barth, a software engineer on the Chrome team. The two aped from IE include 'X-Frame-Options'" a security feature that helps sites defend against 'clickjacking' attacks, and cross-site scripting protection.'"In Google Chrome 4, we've added an experimental feature to help mitigate one form of XSS [cross-site scripting], reflective XSS,' Barth said. 'The XSS filter checks whether a script that's about to run on a Web page is also present in the request that fetched that Web page. If the script is present in the request, that's a strong indication that the Web server might have been tricked into reflecting the script.'"

With New SDK, VoIP Over 3G Apps Now Working On iPhone 171

silverpig writes "Yesterday marked the announcement of the Apple iPad device, and with it came a new version of the SDK. In this new version, Apple has lifted the VoIP over 3G restrictions that limited VoIP traffic to wifi only. This morning, Fring announced that its iPhone app is 3G-capable starting immediately. No update is needed as apparently the app had 3G capability all along, but a server-side block prevented its use. Furthermore, apparently a 3G-capable version of Skype has been ready for some time now, and has been waiting for this restriction to be lifted."

Submission + - The Japanese bullet train hopes to come to America (

JoshuaInNippon writes: Central Japan Rail, the company the controls a vast majority of Japanese train tracks, announced on Jan. 25th that they want to bring their bullet train, known as the Shinkansen, to America. The company is hoping to take advantage of President Obama's call for high-speed rail and the potential for billions of dollars in funding from the federal stimulus package. While JR is looking at over 100 possibilities for tracks around the States, their top first pick so far would be a line in Florida, connecting Tampa, Orlando, and Miami. Other options include a track connect LA and Las Vegas, or a track in Texas. The company is also hoping to sell their MAGLEV technology, which has created some of the fastest test trains in the world (at over 300+ mph/ 500+ kmh). JR mentioned track options for the MAGLEV include a line between Baltimore and Washington D.C, a line between Chattanooga and Atlanta, or a line in Pennsylvania. While there is already steep competition coming from American and European companies with similar ideas, JR is pitching their complete train systems as extremely safe and environmentally efficient.
PlayStation (Games)

PS3 Hacked? 296

Several readers have sent word that George Hotz (a.k.a. geohot), the hacker best known for unlocking Apple's iPhone, says he has now hacked the PlayStation 3. From his blog post: "I have read/write access to the entire system memory, and HV level access to the processor. In other words, I have hacked the PS3. The rest is just software. And reversing. I have a lot of reversing ahead of me, as I now have dumps of LV0 and LV1. I've also dumped the NAND without removing it or a modchip. 3 years, 2 months, 11 days...that's a pretty secure system. ... As far as the exploit goes, I'm not revealing it yet. The theory isn't really patchable, but they can make implementations much harder. Also, for obvious reasons I can't post dumps. I'm hoping to find the decryption keys and post them, but they may be embedded in hardware. Hopefully keys are setup like the iPhone's KBAG."

Submission + - A new tax on storing devices hits Italy ( 1

musuruan writes: A new tax is striking Italy. The government has approved a new law that tax every storing device including mobile phones to compensate for piracy. And it isn't very cheap. For example, an external hard disk bigger that 250Gb will cost you an additional 28.98 euro.The income will go to the Italian Publishers' and Editors' Society (SIAE). A tax on recordable CDs and DVDs was introduces some years ago. The only result was that the market for these recordable media collapsed because consumers shopped abroad, especially in Luxembourg, to buy them at much lower prices. I expect the same thing will happen this time. Original article is in Italian.

Wii Balance Board Gives $18,000 Medical Device a Run For Its Money 422

Gizmodo highlights a very cool repurposing effort for the Wii's Balance Board accessory. Rather than the specialized force platforms used to quantify patients' ability to balance after a trauma like stroke, doctors at the University of Melbourne thought that a Balance Board might serve as well. Says the article: "When doctors disassembled the board, they found the accelerometers and strain gauges to be of 'excellent' quality. 'I was shocked given the price: it was an extremely impressive strain gauge set-up.'" Games controllers you'd expect to be durable and at least fairly accurate; what's surprising is just how much comparable, purpose-built devices cost. In this case, the Balance Board (just under $100) was compared favorably with a test platform that costs just a shade less than $18,000.

CMU Web-Scraping Learns English, One Word At a Time 148

blee37 writes "Researchers at Carnegie Mellon have developed a web-scraping AI program that never dies. It runs continuously, extracting information from the web and using that information to learn more about the English language. The idea is for a never ending learner like this to one day be able to become conversant in the English language." It's not that the program couldn't stop running; the idea is that there's no fixed end-point. Rather, its progress in categorizing complex word relationships is the object of the research. See also CMU's "Read the Web" research project site.

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