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Star Wars Prequels

Jobcentre Apologizes For Anti-Jedi Discrimination 615

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the these-are-not-the-benefits-you-are-looking-for dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Chris Jarvis, 31, is described as a Star Wars fan and member of the International Church of Jediism. Said church's intergalactic hoodie uniform is at odds with the strict doctrine of the Department for Work and Pensions, which may require Jobcentre 'customers' to remove crash helmets or hoods for 'security reasons.' Following his ejection, Jarvis filled out a complaint form and within three days got a written apology from branch boss Wendy Flewers. She said: 'We are committed to provide a customer service which embraces diversity and respects customers' religion.'"
Input Devices

Digitizing and Geocoding Old Maps? 235

Posted by timothy
from the walking-directions-rivendell-to-el-dorado dept.
alobar72 writes "I have quite a few old maps (several hundreds; 100+ years old, some are already damaged – so time is not on my side). What I want to do is to digitize them and to apply geo-coordinates to them so I can use them as overlays for openstreetmap data or such. Obviously I cannot put those maps onto my €80 scanner and go. Some of them are really large (1.5m x 1.5m roughly, I believe) and they need to be treated with great care because the paper is partly damaged. So firstly I need a method or service provider that can do the digitizing without damaging them. Secondly I need a hint what the best method is to apply geo coordinates to those maps then. The maps are old and landscape and places have changed, it maybe difficult to identify exact spots. So: are there any experiences or tips I could use?"
Patents

Sony Patents Game Demos With Feature Erosion 200

Posted by timothy
from the annoyance-codified dept.
MojoKid writes "When a game developer releases a demo, it's typically intended to entice players into first trying and then purchasing the full version. This is the stuff of Game Design 101 for most of us, but a crack team of cutting-edge gaming researchers at Sony have applied for a patent based on a novel concept: game demos that become progressively less fun the more you play. Sony refers to this as 'feature erosion.' The idea behind this dubious concept is that gamers will become hooked on a game while it's still in demo, then squawk unhappily as features and abilities they've unlocked begin to disappear. In order to prevent this, the player ponies up for the full version. A demo or program that provides limited functionality or play time is one thing; a game that's purposefully designed to take your progress away, in an admitted attempt to get you to buy once you've been hooked, is something altogether different."
The Almighty Buck

BBC To Make Deep Cuts In Internet Services 246

Posted by kdawson
from the inconvenient-for-the-commercial-sector dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that the BBC has yielded to critics of its aggressive expansion, and is planning to make sweeping cuts in spending on its Web site and other digital operations. Members of the Conservative Party, which is expected to make electoral gains at the expense of the governing Labor Party, have called for the BBC to be reined in and last year James Murdoch criticized the BBC for providing 'free news' on the internet, making it 'incredibly hard for private news organizations to ask people to pay for their news.' Mark Thompson, director-general of the BBC, said 'After years of expansion of our services in the UK, we are proposing some reductions.' The BBC is proposing a 25 percent reduction in its spending on the Web, as well as the closure of several digital radio stations and a reduction in outlays on US television shows. The Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union, which represents thousands of workers at the BBC, says that instead of appeasing critics, the proposed cuts could backfire. 'The BBC will not secure the politicians' favor with these proposals and nor will the corporation appease the commercial sector, which will see what the BBC is prepared to sacrifice and will pile on the pressure for more cuts,' says Gerry Morrissey, general secretary of the union."
PHP

Facebook Rewrites PHP Runtime For Speed 295

Posted by timothy
from the if-not-this-then-something-else dept.
VonGuard writes "Facebook has gotten fed up with the speed of PHP. The company has been working on a skunkworks project to rewrite the PHP runtime, and on Tuesday of this week, they will be announcing the availability of their new PHP runtime as an open source project. The rumor around this began last week when the Facebook team invited some of the core PHP contributors to their campus to discuss some new open source project. I've written up everything I know about this story on the SD Times Blog."
Earth

Claims of Himalayan Glacier Disaster Melt Away 561

Posted by kdawson
from the embarrassment-on-embarrassment dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "VOA News reports that leaders of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have apologized for making a 'poorly substantiated' claim that Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035. Scientists who identified the mistake say the IPCC report relied on news accounts that appear to have misquoted a scientific paper — which estimated that the glaciers could disappear by 2350, not 2035. Jeffrey Kargel, an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona who helped expose the IPCC's errors, said the botched projections were extremely embarrassing and damaging. 'The damage was that IPCC had, or I think still has, such a stellar reputation that people view it as an authority — as indeed they should — and so they see a bullet that says Himalayan glaciers will disappear by 2035 and they take that as a fact.' Experts who follow climate science and policy say they believe the IPCC should re-examine how it vets information when compiling its reports. 'These errors could have been avoided had the norms of scientific publication including peer review and concentration upon peer-reviewed work, been respected,' write the researchers."
Spam

By Latest Count, 95% of Email Is Spam 198

Posted by timothy
from the much-of-the-rest-might-as-well-be dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The European Network and Information Security Agency released its new spam report, which looks at spam budgets, the impact of spam and spam management. Less than 5% of all email traffic is delivered to mailboxes. This means the main bulk of mails, 95%, is spam. This is a very minor change, from 6%, in earlier ENISA reports. Over 25% of respondents had spam accounting for more than 10% of help desk calls. The survey targeted email service providers of different types and sizes, and received replies from 100 respondents from 30 different countries."
United States

Supreme Court Rolls Back Corporate Campaign Spending Limits 1070

Posted by timothy
from the hearken-to-the-nelson-laugh dept.
lorenlal writes "The Supreme Court of the United States must have figured that restrictions on corporate support of candidates was a violation of free speech, or something like that." From the AP story linked above: "By a 5-4 vote, the court on Thursday overturned a 20-year-old ruling that said corporations can be prohibited from using money from their general treasuries to pay for campaign ads. The decision, which almost certainly will also allow labor unions to participate more freely in campaigns, threatens similar limits imposed by 24 states."
Microsoft

Jeremy Allison Calls Microsoft Dangerous Elephant 306

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the tell-us-how-you-really-feel dept.
oranghutan writes "At the annual Linux.conf.au event being held in Wellington, NZ, one of the lead developers for the Samba Team (and Google employee) Jeremy Allison described Microsoft as 'an elephant that needs to be turned to stop it trampling the open source community.' Allison has been an outspoken critic of the vendor since he quit Novell over a deal it did with Microsoft that he saw as dangerous to open source intentions. And now he has evolved his argument to incorporate new case studies to explain why Microsoft's use of patents and its general tactics on free software are harmful.
Encryption

What's Holding Back Encryption? 660

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the cypher-sex-is-a-different-thing dept.
nine-times writes "After many years in IT, I've been surprised to notice how much of my traffic is still unencrypted. A lot of businesses that I interact with (both business and personal) are still using unencrypted FTP, and very few people use any kind of encryption for email. Most websites are still using unencrypted HTTP. DNSSEC seems to be picking up some steam, but still doesn't seem to be widely used. I would have thought there would be a concerted effort to move toward encryption for the sake of security, but it doesn't seem to be happening. I wanted to ask the Slashdot community, what do you think the hold up is? Are the existing protocols somehow not good enough? Are the protocols fine, but not supported well enough in software? Is it too complicated to manage the various encryption protocols and keys? Is it ignorance or apathy on the part of the IT community, and that we've failed to demand it from our vendors?"

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