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+ - Steve "CyanogenMod" Kondik contemplates "The Death of Root" on Android

Submitted by c0d3g33k
c0d3g33k (102699) writes "Prompted by the addition of new security features in Android 4.3 that limit the effectiveness of elevated privileges, Kondik wonders which uses really require full root. Most common activities that prompt owners to root their devices (backup/restore tools, firewall/DNS resolver management, kernel tuning), could be accomplished without exposing root, argues Kondik, by providing additional APIs and extensions to the user. This would improve security by limiting the exposure of the system to exploits.
Reasonable enough, on the face of it. The title of the post, however, suggests that Kondik believes that eventually all useful activities can be designed into the system so the "dangerous and insecure" abilities provided by root/administrator privileges aren't needed. This kind of top-down thinking seems a bit troubling because it leads to greater control of the system by the developer at the expense of the owner of the device. It's been said that the best tools are those that lend themselves to uses not anticipated by the creator. Reducing or eliminating the ability of the owner to use a device in ways that are unanticipated ultimately reduces its potential power and usefulness. Perhaps that's what is wanted to prevent an owner from using the device in ways that are inconvenient or contrary to an established business model."

+ - Microsoft's Math-Challenged STEM Education Contest

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "As noted earlier, Microsoft is tackling the CS education crisis with a popularity contest that will award $100K in donations to five technology education nonprofits that help make kids technically literate. Hopefully, the nonprofits will teach kids that the contest's voting Leader Board is a particularly good example of what-not-to-do technically. In addition to cherry-picking the less-pathetic vote totals to make its Leader Board, Microsoft also uses some dubious rounding code that transforms the original voting data into misleading percentages. Indeed, developer tools reveal that the top five leaders in the Microsoft STEM education contest miraculously account for 130% of the vote. Let's hope the quality control is better for those Microsoft Surface voting machines!"

+ - UPDATED EDIT: A Circular New York City Subway Map to Straighten Things Out->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "The U.K.'s Max Roberts, a mapmaker and critic, has created a map that sees this problem and then solves it by adopting a similar distortion strategy to the MTA map, but to a far greater degree. The map heads in the direction of a diagram and away from a map representing features. It may be the most lucid reinterpretation of the New York City subway map I've seen yet."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Academics (Score 1) 186

by geemon (#31401818) Attached to: Edward Tufte Appointed To Help Track and Explain Stimulus Funds

Oh, the humor of this comment - yes, lets appoint Elizabeth Warren - you know, the Harvard law professor and noted academic. While Liz Warren has some great ideas, most professors (and particularly law professors) will tell you that it is not a good policy to appoint fellow academics to policy-making roles.

Comment: Lesson learned by the Dallas Morning News (Score 1) 217

by geemon (#31201036) Attached to: Who Will Control the Cost of the NYT On Digital Readers?

The NY Times print folks need to learn from the same lessons the leadership of the Dallas Morning News learned a year or two back - namely that news consumers do not consider the print and electronic versions of the paper equal or interchangeable substitutes. That is, there is far less crossover in each of the customer bases than the newspaper execs or the conventional wisdom might suggest. Unfortunately, if the print folks win out, they will learn this lesson the hard way.

+ - A sneak preview of new OpenOffice 3.2->

Submitted by omlx
omlx (1657543) writes "The last developer milestone ( DEV300m60) of OpenOffice.org has been released. The next version of OpenOffice.org 3.2 has more than 42 features and 167 enhancements . The final version is expected to be available at the end of November 2009.
Many companies have contributed to this version like RedHat , RedFlag and IBM, making OpenOffice more stable and useful. I couldn't stop myself from seeing new features and enjoying them. So I downloaded DEV300m60 version. After playing with it for many days I could say that OpenOffice developers have done very good work in it. Well done !
  A sneak preview of new OpenOffice 3.2 : more secure , faster , easier and more international."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Seems natural... (Score 1) 140

by geemon (#26235161) Attached to: Print News Fading, Still Source of Much News

Not surprising really. The old media print newspapers have the staff and research people to go out and do real reporting/news gathering in the real world. Online sources pick up this basis of real news reporting and become a distribution and commentary outlet for the work done by the traditional reporters.

Comment: Re:Yeah... (Score 3, Informative) 77

by geemon (#25570931) Attached to: iPhone Free WiFi Is Back

AT&T needs to specifically provision the visual voicemail on your plan. I don't know, but I don't think it is tied specifically to the iPhone data plan.

When I switched to the iPhone, the initial rep failed to provision the visual voicemail service to my plan. It took a separate call for them to provision it properly.

Government

+ - Big Brother Wants Radio-control of your thermostat-> 3

Submitted by
Malachi Constant
Malachi Constant writes "Californian bureaucrats appear likely to approve a proposal to allow utility companies to control your thermostat's temperature via radio during those nasty rolling blackout periods. The FM radio transmissions used to control temperature are described as "encrypted and encoded." I, for one, am hoping that the algorithm that protects them is another A5/1 or CSS."
Link to Original Source
Software

+ - Web Services Without Pain: gSOAP Writes Your XML->

Submitted by
Bruce Perens
Bruce Perens writes "The downside to web services is that they look as if they were designed by Bertrand Russell and Donald Knuth, from first principles as if they were a theorem in Principia Mathematica. Their rampant anal-retentiveness enables machine analysis and machine generation, at the cost of making any human who writes them work like a machine. But now we are freed from this toil: there's Open Source software that will write them for us."
Link to Original Source
Programming

+ - Don't invent; evolve-> 1

Submitted by mlimber
mlimber (1149251) writes "The Economist is running a story on evolutionary programming, which takes its starting point from evolutionary biology in trying random mutations on a design to generate a better version of that design. It takes a lot of computing power to use these techniques effectively because the mutations cause so many bad mutations that have to be weeded out, but as the price of supercomputing has come down, the usefulness of this technique has risen. The article describes several innovations brought about by evolutionary means, such as changing the pattern of air holes in an optical fibre: "Normally, these holes are arranged in a hexagonal pattern, but the algorithm generated a bizarre flower-like pattern of holes that no human would have thought of trying. It doubled the fibre's bandwidth.""
Link to Original Source
Microsoft

Microsoft Agrees to Release Work Group Protocols 143

Posted by Zonk
from the kind-of-a-big-deal(tm) dept.
UnknowingFool writes "Groklaw is reporting that the Protocol Freedom Information Foundation (PFIF) has signed an agreement with Microsoft to release their protocols relating to Windows Work Group Server. The Foundation agrees to pay MS $10,000, and the agreement does not cover patents. This agreement apparently was made to somewhat satisfy the EU Commission complaints. With PFIF's objective to aid open source, this agreement means that the Samba Team may finally get the information they need to fully interoperate with Windows AD servers."
Google

+ - Google returns bad results in top 10->

Submitted by
Aravind Ranganathan
Aravind Ranganathan writes "Google consistently returns bad results in the top 10 if the search keywords happen to be in the text of a blog post even though the blog (or that post) is on a totally irrelevant topic. I found this first hand when someone Googled "flight from cincinnati to mumbai" and was directed to one of my blog posts on the problems I once had during my travel from Mumbai to Cincinnati. Google returned my post as the 2nd in its search results!! The question is, is this a flaw in the page ranking algorithm? Or is Google just giving more importance to Blogger pages than necessary?"
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