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Submission + - SimCity to finally get offline update (

slashdotpaul writes: SimCity 2013, after a rocky launch and months of anticipation and stories, is finally going to receive Update 10, which will bring with it a single player, offline mode. Engadget wrote:

This is a pretty major change considering all the noise made about SimCity depending on cloud computing to run, and creative director Lucy Bradshaw saying "significant engineering" would be required to take the game offline. It's not completely clear how the offline mode will work, though we do know it'll add a single player mode and offer local saves.

Although we lack other details about Update 10, it's fantastic to see EA finally come to their senses and actually listen to the player base.

Submission + - 60 Minutes interviews the NSA ( 7

An anonymous reader writes: The following is a script from "Inside the NSA" which aired on Dec. 15, 2013. John Miller is the correspondent. Ira Rosen and Gabrielle Schonder, producers.

No U.S. intelligence agency has ever been under the kind of pressure being faced by the National Security Agency after details of some of its most secret programs were leaked by contractor Edward Snowden. Perhaps because of that pressure the agency gave 60 Minutes unprecedented access to NSA headquarters where we were able to speak to employees who have never spoken publicly before. (click link for transcript)

Submission + - DOJ says Lavabit cannot prevent search warrants by 'locking its front gate' (

SonicSpike writes: Even after obtaining the encryption keys from secure email provider Lavabit through a court, the government was prevented by the court order and various laws from accessing other Lavabit users' accounts, the U.S. Department of Justice said Tuesday in a filing in an appeal by Lavabit.

The government said in the filing in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that the information it wanted from a single unnamed account was user log-in information and the date, time, and duration of the email transmissions, and dismissed Lavabit's "parade of hypotheticals" regarding unlawful actions the government could take. "Were a government officer to do as Lavabit fears and 'rummage' through other users' communications without authorization, that would be a crime," DOJ wrote.

Lavabit shut down in August citing an ongoing legal battle it was not allowed to discuss at the point. Founder Ladar Levison said he was shutting down the secure email service rather than become "complicit in crimes against the American people." The government is said to have been looking for email information of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who since June disclosed through newspapers certain documents about surveillance programs by the U.S. National Security Agency. The target user name has been redacted in the Lavabit records.

Submission + - Canonical Sends legal notice to EFF staffer who criticizes Privacy of Ubuntu

Submission + - AOL: Screw our Creative Commons Licensing, we will sue for using our data! ( 1

realized writes: AOL has licensed its CrunchBase data under a free Creative Commons license. But once a startup decided to use the CrunchBase AOL threatened to sue them. Startup "Pro Populi" launched apps for apps for Google Glass and the iPhone that uses the CrunchBase database in its entirety. CrunchBase database has been published continuously under the Creative Commons CC-BY attribution license, which permits any use.

However, AOL seems to be upset that people are using their data. Quoted letter from AOL lawyers to the startup:

On the chance that you may have misinterpreted Matt’s willingness to discuss the matter with you last week, and our reference to this as a ‘request,’ let me make clear, in more formal language, that we demand that People+ immediately cease and desist from its current violation and infringement of AOL’s/TechCrunch’s proprietary rights and other rights to CrunchBase, by removing the CrunchBase content from your People+ product and by ceasing any other use of CrunchBase-provided content

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is representing the startup, sent AOL a letter Monday saying “People+ has the right to continue using the material that People+ has gathered to date.

Submission + - Google Is Testing A Program That Tracks You Everywhere You Go (

cold fjord writes: Business Insider reports, "Google is beta-testing a program that tracks users’ purchasing habits by registering brick-and-mortar store visits via smartphones, according to a report from Digiday. Google can access user data via Android apps or their Apple iOS apps, like Google search, Gmail, Chrome, or Google Maps. If a customer is using these apps while he shops or has them still running in the background, Google’s new program pinpoints the origin of the user data and determines if the customer is in a place of business. Google gets permission to do this kind of tracking when ... users opt in to the “location services” ... The program was hinted at in an AdWords blog post from Oct. 1 regarding Google’s new “estimated total conversions” initiative. A “conversion” in this sense is a purchase, and Google is developing ways to track users across desktops, tablets, and smartphones. Google also mentioned that tracking conversions via phone calls is in the works ..."

Submission + - Facebook can keep real name policy, German court rules (

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook can stick with its real name policy in Germany, and doesn't have to allow nicknames on its platform for now. The regulator that ordered Facebook to change it policy based its orders on inapplicable German law, a German court ruled.

Submission + - Sir Maurice Wilkes, early programming pioneer dies ( 1

EricTheRed writes: Sir Maurice Wilkes — one of the early programming pioneers of the 1940's has died.

The National Museum Of Computing based at Bletchley Park announced on their twitter feed earlier:!/tnmoc/status/9283716039843841

Sad news that today Sir Maurice Wilkes passed away, aged 97. Here he was on a visit last year to #TNMOC

from the article covering his visit to TNMON last year:

Born in 1913, Sir Maurice has been at the forefront of many post-1945 computing developments and even today, at the age of 96, maintains a keen interest and is an avid user of email and the Internet. Sir Maurice’s contributions to computing history have included the development of EDSAC, the first practical stored program computer begun in 1946, and co-authoring the first book on computer programming in 1951. His proposals for micro-programming have been widely adopted in the industry and in 1965 he published the first paper on cache memories. A co-designer, in the late 1970s, of the Cambridge Ring, a pioneering client-server system, Sir Maurice went on to work in industry on both sides of the Atlantic and in 2002 returned to the Computer Laboratory in Cambridge where he is an emeritus professor.


Submission + - Brian Cantrill leaves Oracle ( 1

dzr0001 writes: Distinguished Developer Brian Cantrill leaves Sun Microsystems after 14 years. He was responsible for contributing to technology such as DTrace, Sun Unified Storage, and for epic lulz After losing such talent as Brian and James Gosling this year, who will be left for Oracle to use to contribute to their product lines?

Submission + - Warner Bro. Accused of Pirating Anti-Pirating Tech ( 1

psycho12345 writes: German firm Medien Patent Verwaltung claims that in 2003, it revealed a new kind of anti-piracy technology to Warner Bros. that marks films with specific codes so pirated copies can be traced back to their theaters of origin. But like a great, hilariously-ironic DRM Ouroborus, the company claims that Warner began using the system throughout Europe in 2004 but hasn't actually paid a dime for it.

Herschel Spectroscopy of Future Supernova 21

davecl writes "ESA's Herschel Space Telescope has released its first spectroscopic results. These include observations of VYCMa, a star 50 times as massive as the sun and soon to become a supernova, as well as a nearby galaxy, more distant colliding starburst galaxies and a comet in our own solar system. The spectra show more lines than have ever been seen in these objects in the far-infrared and will allow astronomers to work out the detailed chemistry and physics behind star and planet formation as well as the last stages of stellar evolution before VYCMa's eventual collapse into a supernova. More coverage is available at the Herschel Mission Blog, which I run."

Submission + - U.S. Judge halts sales of MS Office

goombah99 writes: "On Tuesday, a U.S. district court in Texas issued a permanent injunction that bars Microsoft from selling recent versions of its Word software." reports many news outlets. Sales must cease in 60 days. MS will appeal to a higher court, however in addition to the judge's ruling, previously a jury as well upheld the patent infringement and awarded 200 million dollars. The ruling also bars not just Office 2008 but also any translation of documents between docx to word 2003 and later. The patent itself is for a specific way of serializing an XML document. Instead of putting markup tags amidst the text, you simply write the text out raw with out any inline tags. Then in a separate storage area you list each xml tag followed by a pointer to the character position it should be inserted into that bulk text. Since the tags and raw content can be stored separately, the claim is this encoding has the desired feature that changes to format tags won't require re-writing the whole document body, and you could associate many different format tags sets with the same raw text for different "views". The regenerated document inverts this to produce XML which can then be handled normally.
The Courts

Submission + - Rapidshare Fined $34 Million and Ordered to Filter 1

A Cow writes: TorrentFreak reports that the Regional Court in Hamburg, Germany, has ruled that file-hosting service Rapidshare must proactively filter certain content. Music industry outfit GEMA asked the court to ban Rapidshare from making 5,000 tracks from its catalogue available on the Internet. The court obliged and fined Rapidshare $34 million.

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.