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DOE Shines $21M on Advanced Lighting Research 238

coondoggie writes to mention that the US Department of Energy is planning to fork over close to $21 million for 13 projects promising to advance solid-state lighting research and development. "SSL lighting is an advanced technology that creates light with considerably less heat than incandescent and fluorescent lamps, allowing for increased energy efficiency. Unlike incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, SSL uses a semi-conducting material to convert electricity directly into light, which maximizes the light's energy efficiency, the DOE said in a release. Solid-state lighting encompasses a variety of light-producing semi-conductor devices, including light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). "

Submission + - Can i be dismissed from work for blogging

Technomouse writes: "I live and work in the UK in a call centre enviroment, recently my place of work introduced a "blog" set of rules to the company handbook, i was unaware of this as they did not make it obvious to anyone. I write a livejournal and recently i posted about my work not doing something i thought should happen and i paraphrased a conversation I am now on suspension while they investigate this can i be dismissed for this considering that A) i was completely unaware of the new rules as all they did was a produce a new company handbook and NOT hand it out to everyone B) the new rules are there to prevent "bad press" for the company and my blog was and is very small and i was not portraying the company in an unfairly bad light C) as soon as i was made aware of the rules i deleted those entries"

Submission + - New copyright law in Israel - mostly good news

Sun writes: "Last Monday the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) passed the new copyright law, scheduled to go into effect in half a year. The previous law was passed in England in 1911, and was enacted in (then Palestine) in 1922.

The bad news:
  • Copyright period was lengthened for photographs was extended to match all other rights. All copyright now lasts life+70 years, except actual recordings which last 50 years.
  • "Making available" was explicitly listed as a protected right. On the flip side, the fact that another country found it necessary to list this right explicitly may aid people defending themselves in the US.
  • Work created for the government is copyrighted, albeit with a shortened copyright period of 50 years.

The good news:
  • No anti-circumvention clauses, and not for lack of trying. The Israeli record federation tried to pass such a law, with a lot of backing from the proprietary software industry. The opponents included the Israeli ISOC chapter, as well as Hamakor (represented, among others, by myself). The most important opponent, however, was the ministry of justice! It is too optimistic to assume we heard the last word on this, but for the moment, Israel is DMCA free.
  • Explicit exclusion from copyright of control over reverse engineering for interoperability and for research purposes. Again, this one had a lot of fighting from the software industry (mostly Microsoft and Retalix), but again common sense prevailed. This time a lot of help was received from the academic community, with several professors stepping forward to state that without ability to reverse engineer, research would come to a halt.
  • Fair use was expanded. The 1911 law had a limited "close" list of what would be considered "fair use". The new law allows the court to expand the list based on economical and other considerations. The list of considerations is, itself, also subject to court discretion and expansion.
  • Transient copies — the specifically excludes transient copies made for the purpose of a legitimate activity from being controlled by the copyright holder. The fact that, in order to run a program, the bits are copied from the hard disk to the RAM can no longer be used in order to control what can be done with a program.

All in all, this is a huge improvement even over the existing law. As someone who was present during some of the deliberations, and actively participated, I can say that I think that the most important law in the Israeli codex is the law that governs how much money a party can receive in campaign contributions. Despite at least three of the last four prime ministers got into hot water over violating this law, the end result is that the Israeli legislator is, for the most part, open to hear what is best for EVERYONE, and does care to do the right thing. Interest groups can still try to present their case in a convincing manner, but the fact that such humble resources, such as a bunch of volunteers from Hamakor and from the academic world, could make a difference is a very encouraging sign."

Submission + - Denmark to Hold Referendum on Euro (

Tech.Luver writes: "The Danish government has said it would like to hold a fresh referendum on whether to adopt the Euro. Back in 2000, the Danish people voted by 53% to 47% not to join the single currency and instead keep the krone, but recent opinion polls show a narrow majority were now in favour of switching to the Euro. Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, whose centre-right government was re-elected last week, said that the opt-outs harmed Danish interests and should be reconsidered once the country has ratified the new EU treaty. The current arrangement was secured fourteen years ago, a year after Denmark shocked the rest of Europe by rejecting the Maastricht treaty, and allow Denmark to stay outside the development of the EU in four specific areas: the euro, defence, justice and home affairs. ( )"

Submission + - Hackers exploit DRM bug in Windows (

Mike writes: "Microsoft acknowledged that hackers are exploiting a bug in the driver 'secdrv.sys' shipped on versions of Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, and Windows Vista. Symantec researcher Elia Florio first revealed the vulnerability in fully-patched XP and Server 2003 machines and noted that it was being exploited in the wild. "At the moment, it's still not clear how the driver is used by Windows because this file does not have the typical Microsoft file properties present in other Windows system files," Florio wrote in a posting to the Symantec security blog."

Submission + - Microsoft fires CIO ( 5

An anonymous reader writes: SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Microsoft's chief information officer has been fired for violating company policies, the company said Tuesday.

Submission + - Darwin 9.0 Code Released (

mr100percent writes: MacNN reports that Apple has released the source code to Darwin 9.0, the backbone of OS X 10.5 Leopard. x86 and PPC versions are available. According to Apple's developer mailing list, some key drivers are missing however.
Data Storage

Submission + - Macbook users at risk from Chinese-made drives (

Lucas123 writes: "A U.K. data recovery firm says that a flaw in the read-write head of some Seagate drives commonly found in MacBook or MacBook Pro laptops is causing data loss. The firm also said Apple desktops using laptop-type components, like the Mac Mini, are also potentially at risk. The problem apparently revolves around the read-write head detaching from the actuator arm and gouging deep troughs into the disk platters. While most of the damage seems to be happening on the inner part of the platter, in some instances it is scratching the outer track, ruining the disk drive."

Submission + - iPhone/iPod Touch jailbreak exploit code released (

NixLuver writes: "Niacin released the source code for his now-famous iPhone/iPod tiff exploit that allows us to use the iPhone and the iPod Touch as the full-blown unix computing platform they want to be — five months before Apple is willing to (maybe) do the same thing. For a look inside the coding style and vision of the guys (Niacin and dre) that made it all possible, check out this post ."
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Steam disables legitmate Orange Box keys from Asia

SLAM-ER writes: Experienced first hand and posted here: Swiped from Digg: The gist for those that don't want to register at CAG: 1. People buy Orange Box keys from a Thai site for $18. 2. Keys validate in Steam and allow people to play Orange Box. 3. Valve drops the hammer and disables Orange Boxes with these keys; doesn't (yet) allow a way to reregister with a USA key and continue playing with same Steam account. 4. Some games not registered with those keys are taken out as collateral damage. 5. Gamers wonder what is going on, since either the keys are legit and Valve is retroactively enforcing region protection, or the keys are fake and Steam is a bastard for accepting them in the first place.

Submission + - Time to encrypt all P2P traffic? 3

VORNAN-20 writes: Yesterday's item here about Comcast screwing around with P2P traffic brings up an idea. Is it time to change the P2P standard to encrypt all traffic? I think that almost any current PC would have no problem handling the extra load, and really, Comcast or any ISP has no business knowing what you are sending in the first place. I am not a network guy but I think that this is doable. If azureus, ktorrent, etc were all to come out with an "encrypt all packets using " option maybe this could be managed quickly and cleanly. It would be best to move quickly before all of the ISPs catch on to this. Come on developers, liberate us from the network meanies!!

Submission + - Was Qwest Punished For Not Spying?

Avantare writes: QWest did the right thing and rejected the governments request for telephone records. But at what cost? An interesting article from CBS News bringing to light court papers that suggest convicted Exec's rejection of classified project led to loss of goverment business. Makes you wonder what kind of 'rewards' AT&T, Bellsouth and Verizon got from the government.

Submission + - Google Bans Ads

Whip-hero writes: "Citing copyright infringement, Google has removed a Republican candidate's ads attacking "Internet giant Google has banned advertisements critical of, the far-left advocacy group that caused a national uproar last month when it received preferential treatment from The New York Times for its 'General Betray Us' message." The article goes on to state that "Google routinely permits the unauthorized use of company names such as Exxon, Wal-Mart, Cargill and Microsoft in advocacy ads. An anti-war ad currently running on Google asks 'Keep Blackwater in Iraq?' and links to an article titled 'Bastards at Blackwater — Should Blackwater Security be held accountable for the deaths of its employees?'""

Submission + - Grad student suspended after pro-gun-rights e-mail

fredklein writes: A Minnesota university has suspended one of its graduate students who sent two e-mail messages to school officials supporting gun rights.
"Hamline University also said that master's student Troy Scheffler, who owns a firearm, would be barred from campus and must receive a mandatory "mental health evaluation" after he sent an e-mail message arguing that law-abiding students should be able to carry firearms on campus for self-defense."
When informed that suspending him violated the school's freedom of expression policy, the University changed their tune: Now they claim he's being suspended because of "anonymous allegations" they received, and they can't tell him (or the press) what those allegations are, or who his accusers are. With all the talk of 'Big Brother' throwing people into detention centers without knowing the charges, are we overlooking 'Little Brothers' closer to home?
Technology (Apple)

Submission + - Class-Action Lawsuit Over iPhone Locking?

An anonymous reader writes: InfoWeek blogger Alex Wolfe reports that some iPhone users are mad as heck at Apple for bricking up their device in response to non-Apple-authorized software downloaded., and they're talking about filing a class action lawsuit. In a discussion thread on Apple's own iPhone forum, one user posts that he's "Seeking respondents for possible class action lawsuit against Apple Inc. relating to refusal to service iPhones and related accessories under warranty." He's talking about users who've had their phones bricked up by Apple after they've unlocked them or installed third-party apps. Some who've replied to the post agree that Apple is being unbelievably arrogant and is ripe for legal action. But others say Cupertino is well within its rights to control its own device. What do you think? Does this mean if you don't like what Apple does you're forced to buy a Treo?

Machines take me by surprise with great frequency. - Alan Turing