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Transportation

Feds To Offer Cash For Your Clunker 740

Posted by kdawson
from the distressed-assets dept.
coondoggie sends along a NetworkWorld piece that begins, "The government... wants to motivate you to get rid of your clunker of a car for the good of the country (and the moribund car industry). A 'Cash for Clunkers' measure introduced this week by three US Senators, two Democrats and a Republican, would set up a national voucher program to encourage drivers to voluntarily trade in their older, less fuel-efficient car, truck, or SUV for a car that gets better gas mileage. Should the bill pass, the program would pay out a credit of $2,500 to $4,500 for drivers who turn in fuel-inefficient vehicles to be scrapped and purchase a more fuel-efficient vehicle."
Classic Games (Games)

Hasbro Finally Drops Scrabulous Lawsuit 51

Posted by Soulskill
from the triple-word-score dept.
The Associated Press reports that Hasbro Inc. has now dropped the lawsuit it launched earlier this year against Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla, the creators of Scrabulous, a Scrabble clone that found a sizable following on Facebook. We previously discussed Scrabulous' return to Facebook under a different name, as well as the "official" Scrabble client, which was not exactly well received. Hasbro's IP rights to the game are limited to North America, and the AP story adds: "Mattel, which owns the rights to Scrabble outside of North America, filed a lawsuit against the brothers in India claiming violations of intellectual property. It was not immediately clear what the status of that lawsuit is."
Google

Google Chrome Is Out of Beta 444

Posted by timothy
from the could-be-a-contender dept.
BitZtream writes "This morning Google announced that Chrome is out of Beta, and showing improvements for plugin support, most notably video speed improvements. It also contains an updated javascript engine, claiming that it operates 1.4 times faster than the beta version, and work has begun on an extensions platform to allow easier integration with the browser by third parties."
Networking

+ - Are there any reputable public DNS servers left?

Submitted by Smelly Jeffrey
Smelly Jeffrey (583520) writes "My current DNS server of choice is a Level 3 Communications DNS server, 4.2.2.2, because its IP is just so easy to remember. I recently started noticing that when I mistype a domain name in my web browser, I no longer receive the usual "Domain not found" message. Requests to both real TLDs like .com and .edu and nonexistent TLDs like .fake are hijacked. For example, when I type http://example.fake into Firefox, I am redirected to http://wwwwe.sitefindservice.info/search?qo=example.fake&rn=aOcZgGqN06wOSmA&rg= instead. The page has a few sponsored results and displays the Yahoo! logo on it. This response seems specific to the "Mozilla" user agent, common to Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, and others. Running wget -U Mozilla http://www.fake/ results in a "302 Document has Moved" message, while wget -U Opera http://www.fake/ results in a "404 Not Found" message instead. Further research shows that pings are also hijacked: ping www.fake results in replies from 8.15.7.102, which resolves to wwwe.sitefindservice.info. I imagine that somebody is getting quite rich off of this. My question to the Slashdot crowd is simple: are there any reputable public DNS servers left?"
Robotics

Robots Debut In Japanese Theater Production 75

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the first-the-auto-industry-now-our-actors dept.
An anonymous reader writes "BBC News and CNET Cutting Edge are reporting on a new play starring at Osaka University, in which two Mitsubishi Wakamaru robots interact with human actors and move around the stage. Named 'Hataraku Watashi' ('I, Worker'), the play is authored by Oriza Hirata, a renowned playwright. It focuses on a robot who complains about his boring and demeaning jobs."
Patents

Startup Seeks To Preempt Patent Trolls 117

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the wonder-how-long-that'll-last dept.
anaesthetica writes "The WSJ reports that a San Francisco startup is buying up patents with the promise never to assert them in order to help large corporations hedge against patent trolling firms. The company, RPX Corp, receives an annual fee in exchange for licensing the patents it has purchased. Cisco and IBM have already signed up for this service of 'defense patent aggregation.'"
Google

Google Turns On User-Tweakable Search Wiki 161

Posted by timothy
from the enhance-enhance dept.
Barence writes "Google has launched a new service that allows users to tailor to their own search results. Called SearchWiki, the service allows Google account holders to move results up or off the rankings, or even add their own choice of site to the top of the search results. Google claims that any changes a user makes will only affect their results, and not those of fellow surfers, although it's difficult to believe that some of the feedback generated from the SearchWiki won't be used to fine tune the Google search algorithm. Is this a cunning way to encourage people to sign in while they search, thus providing Google with a richer set of data that can be mapped to specific user accounts?"
NASA

NASA Draws On Open Source For Shuttle Bug-Tracking 83

Posted by Soulskill
from the hard-to-argue-with-cheaper-and-faster dept.
thefickler writes "NASA has built a new software package to track problems with the Space Shuttle using open source tools from Mozilla. '[Alonso Vera, the lead of the Ames Human-Computer Interaction Group] wouldn't say exactly how much the new systems cost to build, but he said they were an order of magnitude cheaper than what was being used before, closer to $100,000 than the $1 million it would have cost in the past.' The Space Shuttle Endeavor launched successfully on Friday, so the new system is being used to track any problems which may crop up in the current mission. As one commentator pointed out, 'A system like this could save more than money; it could save lives.'"
Intel

Larrabee Based On a Bundle of Old Pentium Chips 286

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the making-old-new-again dept.
arcticstoat writes "Intel's Pat Gelsinger recently revealed that Larrabee's 32 IA cores will in fact be based on Intel's ancient P54C architecture, which was last seen in the original Pentium chips, such as the Pentium 75, in the early 1990s. The chip will feature 32 of these cores, which will each feature a 512-bit wide SIMD (single input, multiple data) vector processing unit."
Security

WarGames and the Great Hacking Scare of 1983 331

Posted by timothy
from the next-up-dead-code dept.
James W writes "Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the release of WarGames and Christopher Knight has written a retrospective about the film and its impact on popular culture. In addition to discussing how the movie has held up over time, WarGames was responsible for what Knight calls the Great Hacking Scare of 1983. Some examples mentioned are 'one CBS Evening News report at the time that seriously questioned whether parents should allow their children to access the outside world via their personal computers at home. A magazine article suggested that computer modems be 'locked up' just like firearms, to keep them out of the reach of teenagers. I even heard one pundit proclaim that there was no need for regular people to be able to log in to a remote system: that if you need to access your bank account, a friendly teller was just a short drive away. And Bill Gates once declared that the average person would never have a need for more than 640 kilobytes of memory in a personal computer, too.'" 2008 is also 25 years after the real-life prevention of a WarGames-style nuclear incident.
The Military

Search For RMS Titanic Was a Cover Story 277

Posted by timothy
from the just-like-in-the-spy-who-loved-me dept.
wiredog writes "According to National Geographic, Robert Ballard's search for the RMS Titanic in 1985 was a cover operation for the real search: They were looking for the USS Thresher and USS Scorpion, two US nuclear submarines that sank during the Cold War." ABC News also has a story on this two-fer undersea search.
Networking

Bell Canada Official Speaks Out On Throttling 207

Posted by Soulskill
from the bellcastic-doesn't-have-quite-the-same-ring-to-it dept.
westcoaster004 brings to our attention an interview with Mirko Bibic, head of regulatory affairs for Bell Canada, discussing the ISP's traffic-shaping practices. This follows news we discussed recently that a class action lawsuit was filed against Bell for their involvement in traffic shaping. Bibic reiterates that internet congestion is a real problem and claims that the throttling had nothing to do with Bell's new video service. CBC News quotes him saying: "If no measures were taken, then 700,000 customers would have been affected by congestions during peak periods. We want to obviously take steps to make sure that doesn't happen. So this network management is, as we've stated, one of the ways to address the issue of congestion during peak periods. At the end of the day, the wholesale ISPs are our customers and we generate revenue [from them], so we want to make sure we're serving them to the best of our ability as well."

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