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Google Open Sources Its Data Interchange Format 332

A number of readers have noted Google's open sourcing of their internal data interchange format, called Protocol Buffers (here's the code and the doc). Google elevator statement for Protocol Buffers is "a language-neutral, platform-neutral, extensible way of serializing structured data for use in communications protocols, data storage, and more." It's the way data is formatted to move around inside of Google. Betanews spotlights some of Protocol Buffers' contrasts with XML and IDL, with which it is most comparable. Google's blogger claims, "And, yes, it is very fast — at least an order of magnitude faster than XML."

Last "Hackers On Planet Earth" Conference In July 102

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The Last H.O.P.E. ('Hackers on Planet Earth') Conference is set for July 18-20, 2008, at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City. The organizers have announced their supplemental speaker list, adding on to the initial list. Topics will include 'Crafting a Security-Enhanced Wikipedia,' 'VoIP (in)security: Italians Do It Better,' 'AntiSocial Networking: Vulnerabilities in Social Nets,' 'SWF and the Malware Tragedy,' 'Simulating the Universe on Supercomputers,' and my personal favorite, 'RIAA Litigations: How the Tech Community Can Help.'"

Hushmail Passing PGP Keys to the US Government 303

teknopurge writes "Apparently Hushmail has been providing information to law enforcement behind the backs of their clients. Billed as secure email because of their use of PGP, Hushmail has been turning over private keys of users to the authorities on request. 'DEA agents received three CDs which contained decrypted emails for the targets of the investigation that had been decrypted as part of a mutual legal assistance treaty between the United States and Canada. The news will be embarrassing to the company, which has made much of its ability to ensure that emails are not read by the authorities, including the FBI's Carnivore email monitoring software.'"

Greenpeace Admits Targeting Apple Grabs Headlines 394

An anonymous reader writes "Gizmodo published this morning allegations by the bromine industry claiming that Greenpeace's report on the iPhone was inaccurate and alarmist. They got an official rebuttal to the bromine industry by Greenpeace, but the most interesting part is their acknowledgment that their targeting of Apple, even while they have similar reports on every manufacturer, is a deliberate attempt to grab headlines. While it's logical and not surprising, I find it quite shocking to see them be so cavalier, and even hypocritical, about it."
The Almighty Buck

Canadian Dollar Reaches Parity with US$ 702

boxlight writes in to mark the occasion when the Canadian dollar hit parity with the US dollar for the first time in 31 years. The article notes that Canada has run a budget surplus in each of the last 10 years. "This is actually bad for the profits of Canadian corporations that sell their products to the US for US dollars (Canada sells far more to the US that the US sells to Canada); but it means us Canucks will get cheaper Macs as the Canadian prices get closer to US prices with every new release."

Viacom Says User Infringed His Own Copyright 404

Chris Knight writes "I ran for school board where I live this past fall and created some TV commercials including this one with a 'Star Wars' theme. A few months ago VH1 grabbed the commercial from YouTube and featured it in a segment of its show 'Web Junk 2.0.' Neither VH1 or its parent company Viacom told me they were doing this or asked my permission to use it, but I didn't mind it if they did. I thought that Aries Spears's commentary about it was pretty hilarious, so I posted a clip of VH1's segment on YouTube so that I could put it on my blog. I just got an e-mail from YouTube saying that the video has been pulled because Viacom is claiming that I'm violating its copyright. Viacom used my video without permission on their commercial television show, and now says that I am infringing on their copyright for showing the clip of the work that Viacom made in violation of my own copyright!"

158 Million Records Exposed (And Counting) 106

Lucas123 writes "According to the The Privacy Rights Clearing House 158 million records have been exposed over the past two years as a result of inadequate security. Data's less secure today because as fast as banks, merchants and consumers add new layers of security to their storage systems and networks, new technologies — or simply careless users — create new security holes, according to Bob Scheier at Computerworld."
The Internet

The Next Big Thing — Why Web 2.0 Isn't Enough 286

An anonymous reader writes "TechConsumer has an interesting discussion about what it will take for the next big thing, and why Web 2.0 is only just the beginning. 'Realtors have been giving us the answer for years, although they didn't know it. The next big thing is..."location, location, location". Think of how we access all the information of the Internet. We do it at a desk, where wires keep us attached to a specific location. Laptops help us branch out a bit, but even then we are tied to a wireless connection. Go to far and you no longer have access to information.'"

Why Microsoft Will Never Make .NET Truly Portable 293

Michelle Meyers writes "Just days before Microsoft claimed to be making parts of the .NET CLR "available" to other platforms, NeoSmart Technologies had published an article bemoaning and blasting Microsoft's abuse of it's developers by pretending .NET was a true cross-platform framework when they're doing everything in their power to stop it from being just that. Of interest is NeoSmart's analysis of how Microsoft has no problem making certain portions of .NET available to Mac users — just so long as its distributed under an "open source" license that forbids any and all use of the code except for educational purposes — yet are terrified of the very thought of .NET being available to *nix users, even if that's to the benefit of .NET developers everywhere. Even more interesting is one of the comments on that article linking to legal documents in which Microsoft employees discuss the (im)possibility of creating a cross-platform code and UI framework, years before the .NET project even started!"

EMI — Ditching DRM is Going To Cost You 220

33rpm writes "EMI has told online music stores that selling its catalog without DRM is going to cost them a lot of money. 'EMI is the only major record label to seriously consider abandoning the disaster that is DRM, but earlier reports that focused on the company's reformist attitude apparently missed the mark: EMI is willing to lose the DRM, but they demand a considerable advance payment to make it happen. EMI has backed out of talks for now because no one will pay what they're asking.'"

Fuel Tanks Made of Corncob Waste 176

Roland Piquepaille writes "The National Science Foundation is running a story on how corncob waste can be used to created carbon briquettes with complex nanopores capable of storing natural gas. These methane storage systems may encourage mass-market natural gas cars. In fact, these 'briquettes are the first technology to meet the 180 to 1 storage to volume target set by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2000.' They can lead to flat and compact tanks and have already been installed in a pickup truck used regularly by the Kansas City Office of Environmental Quality. And as the whole natural gas infrastructure exists already, this new technology could be soon adopted by car manufacturers."

C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Informatique. -- Bosquet [on seeing the IBM 4341]