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Smokescreen, a JavaScript-Based Flash Player 356

Tumbleweed writes "How to make Steve Jobs your mortal enemy: Smokescreen, a 175KB, 8,000-line JavaScript-based Flash player written by Chris Smoak at RevShock, a mobile ad startup, and to be open-sourced 'in the near future.' From Simon's blog: 'It runs entirely in the browser, reads in SWF binaries, unzips them (in native JS), extracts images and embedded audio, and turns them into base64 encoded data: URIs, then stitches the vector graphics back together as animated SVG. ... Smokescreen even implements its own ActionScript bytecode interpreter.' Badass!"

10,000 Cows Can Power 1,000 Servers 221

CWmike writes "Reducing energy consumption in data centers, particularly with the prospect of a federal carbon tax, is pushing vendors to explore an ever-growing range of ideas. HP engineers say that biogas may offer a fresh alternative energy approach for IT managers. Researchers at HP Labs presented a paper (download PDF) on using cow manure from dairy farms and cattle feedlots and other 'digested farm waste' to generate electricity to an American Society of Mechanical Engineers conference, held this week. In it, the research team calculates that 'a hypothetical farm of 10,000 dairy cows' could power a 1 MW data center — or on the order of 1,000 servers. One trend that makes the idea of turning organic waste into usable power for data centers is the moves by several firms to build facilities in rural locations, where high-speed networks allow them to take advantage of the cost advantages of such areas. But there are some practical problems, not the least of which is connecting a data center to the cows. If it does happen, the move could call for a new take on plug and play: plug and poo."

76% of Web Users Affected By Browser History Stealing 130

An anonymous reader writes "Web browser history detection with the CSS:visited trick has been known for the last ten years, but recently published research suggests that the problem is bigger than previously thought. A study of 243,068 users found that 76% of them were vulnerable to history detection by malicious websites. Newer browsers such as Safari and Chrome were even more affected, with 82% and 94% of users vulnerable. An average of 63 visited locations were detected per user, and for the top 10% of users the tests found over 150 visited sites. The website has a summary of the findings; the full paper (PDF) is available as well."

Submission + - Sony Axes "UMD-to-PSP Go" Goodwill program.

Lookin4Trouble writes: "At the cost of what little consumer good will remains, Sony Computer Entertainment America has decided to axe the "UMD-to-PSP Go" Goodwill Program "...due to legal and technical reasons...". To add insult to injury, Sony Europe is making good on the Go Rewards program, offering 3 free games to European UMD owners, not available to customers outside of the European region. Engadget reports that 225 of the initial "at least 300" digital games will be offered at launch to the US market, at full retail price, even for those who currently own their legacy UMD copies, contrary to SCEA Spokesman John Koller's interview covered 4 months ago."
The Courts

Internet-Caused Mistrials Are On the Rise 414

The NYTimes is running a tip-of-the-iceberg story about how the age of Google is resulting in more mistrials as the traditional rules of evidence, honed over many centuries, collide with the always-on Internet. Especially when jurors carry the always-on Internet in their pockets. (We discussed one such case recently.) "The use of BlackBerrys and iPhones by jurors gathering and sending out information about cases is wreaking havoc on trials around the country, upending deliberations and infuriating judges. ... Jurors are not supposed to seek information outside of the courtroom. They are required to reach a verdict based on only the facts the judge has decided are admissible, and they are not supposed to see evidence that has been excluded as prejudicial. But now, using their cellphones, they can look up the name of a defendant on the Web or examine an intersection using Google Maps, violating the legal system's complex rules of evidence."
PC Games (Games)

How Steam Revived a Dead Game 234

Ask Stenum writes "Rock Paper Shotgun has an interesting write-up about how Unreal Tournament 3 has risen from the dead after Epic Games patched it, made a deal with Valve to put it on Steam and making it available for free for a weekend. It's interesting to see how a multiplayer game that's almost one and a half years old suddenly has become what it never could be; a game with multiple players. What other (maybe older?) online multiplayer games would you like to see make a comeback?" UT3's resurgence was mentioned here briefly last week as part of our discussion on the future of game pricing.

Feed The Register: NASA's curious climate capers (

Computer says: It's getting warmer

There have been a few red faces at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in recent days, to match the predominant color of its October global temperature map. Based at Columbia University in New York, GISS is the division of NASA that is responsible for global climate data and is used by the media in assessing global warming. After analyzing the data, GISS reported that October 2008 was the warmest October since reliable record-keeping began in 1880. But there was something very wrong with the numbers.


Adobe Releases Preview of 64-bit Flash For Linux 329

Rinisari writes "Finally, the day has come. Adobe has released a pre-release version of the 64-bit Flash player. It is available at the Adobe Labs Flash Player 10 download site immediately. Where are the Windows and Mac versions? 'Release of this alpha version of 64-bit Flash Player on Linux is the first step in delivering upon Adobe's commitment to make Flash Player native 64-bit across platforms. We chose Linux as our initial platform in response to numerous requests in our public Flash Player bug and issue management system and the fact that Linux distributions do not ship with a 32-bit browser or a comprehensive 32-bit emulation layer by default. Until this pre-release, use of 32-bit Flash Player on Linux has required the use of a plugin wrapper, which prevents full compatibility with 64-bit browsers. With this pre-release, Flash Player 10 is now a full native participant on 64-bit Linux distributions.' Windows and Mac OS X 64-bit versions will follow, and the final versions all will be released simultaneously. Tamarin, the JIT compiler in Flash, is now capable of producing 64-bit code and nspluginwrapper is no longer required. There are, however, no plans to release a debugger version of the 64-bit plugin."

LittleBigPlanet Creations Raising Copyright Questions 66

Joystiq's Law of the Game column uses the recently released LittleBigPlanet to address the question of intellectual property rights for user-created content within and for games. At this point, Sony's ToS claims a great deal of control over users' work, unlike Second Life's, which is much more permissive. GiantBomb has a related story pointing out creations within LittleBigPlanet that are copies of other games, and how they could lead to legal troubles for Sony if they aren't quick about taking them down.
The Internet

AT&T Begins a Trial To Cap, Meter Internet Usage 421

An anonymous reader writes "On the heels of Comcast's decision to implement a 250-GB monthly cap, and Time Warner Cable's exploration of caps and overage fees, DSL Reports notes that AT&T is launching a metered billing trial of their own in Reno, Nevada. According to a filing with the FCC (PDF), AT&T's existing tiers, which range from 768 kbps to 6 Mbps, would see caps ranging from 20 GB to 150 GB per month. Users who exceed those caps would pay an additional $1 per gigabyte, per month."

Privacy Concerns Over Google On the Rise In Germany 63

An anonymous reader writes "After protests from several sources, major German news site Spiegel Online has dropped Google Analytics. 'Google gathers so much detailed information about its users that one critic says some state intelligence bureaus look "like child protection services" in comparison,' they say. Spiegel Online no longer uses Google Analytics. 'We want to ensure that data on our users' browsing patterns don't leave our site,' says Wolfgang Büchner, one of Spiegel Online's two chief editors." The article covers a wide swath of German concern over Google's data-collecting and -handling policies, including a local rebellion against Google's Street View survey vehicles that threatens to go national.

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