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Government

Obama Administration Withholds FoIA Requests More Often Than Bush's 601

Posted by timothy
from the no-conspiracy-necessary-note dept.
bonch writes "Agencies under the Obama administration cite security provisions to withhold information more often than they did under the Bush administration. For example, the 'deliberative process' exemption of the Freedom of Information Act was used 70,779 times in 2009, up from the 47,395 of 2008. Amusingly, the Associated Press has been waiting three months for the government to deliver records on its own Open Government Directive."
Input Devices

Droid Touchscreen Less Accurate Than iPhone's 198

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the click-on-this dept.
gyrogeerloose writes "A test published by MOTO labs comparing the accuracy and sensitivity of smartphone touchscreens among various makers gave the iPhone top marks ahead of HTC's Droid Eris, the Google-branded Nexus One and the Motorola Droid. The test was conducted within a drawing program using a finger to trace straight diagonal lines across the screens and then comparing the results. While it's not likely that a smart phone user is going to draw a lot of lines, the test does give some indication of which phones are most likely to properly respond to clicking on a link in a Web browser."
Privacy

Net Users In Belarus May Soon Have To Register 89

Posted by timothy
from the not-just-register-their-displeasure dept.
Cwix writes "A new law proposed in Belarus would require all net users and online publications to register with the state: 'Belarus' authoritarian leader is promising to toughen regulation of the Internet and its users in an apparent effort to exert control over the last fully free medium in the former Soviet state. He told journalists that a new Internet bill, proposed Tuesday, would require the registration and identification of all online publications and of each Web user, including visitors to Internet cafes. Web service providers would have to report this information to police, courts, and special services.'"
Apple

iPhone 4 Rumors Rumble 119

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i'd-rather-a-tablet dept.
padraic_93 writes "Information has become available which reveals development is underway for the new iPhone 4, as well as suggestions of features and Apple's plans for the phone. A report on PinchMedia, which made repeated use of the term 'iPhone 4,' was cited on the website MacRumors, though the website admitted that such reports can often be forged. The report also made allusions to a 'Corporate Event' planned for June 28th — July 2nd 2010, which have been taken as referring to the next WWDC." A related rumor holds that Apple has ordered 40-45 million 5-megapixel cameras, which might hint at new functionality.
Cellphones

AT&T Wins Gizmodo 3G Bandwidth Test 156

Posted by timothy
from the avoid-the-mountains dept.
ink writes "Gizmodo has completed a 12-city test of 3G cellular bandwidth speed. Verizon won four of the twelve, however AT&T scored higher with six: 'Let's get this straight right away: We didn't test dropped voice calls, we didn't test customer service, and we didn't test map coverage by wandering around in the boonies. We tested the ability of the networks to deliver 3G data in and around cities, including both concrete canyons and picket-fenced 'burbs. And while every 3G network gave us troubles on occasion, AT&T's wasn't measurably more or less reliable than Verizon's.'"
Businesses

Why Coder Pay Isn't Proportional To Productivity 597

Posted by timothy
from the productivity-is-a-blunt-edged-word dept.
theodp writes "John D. Cook takes a stab at explaining why programmers are not paid in proportion to their productivity. The basic problem, Cook explains, is that extreme programmer productivity may not be obvious. A salesman who sells 10x as much as his peers will be noticed, and compensated accordingly. And if a bricklayer were 10x more productive than his peers, this would be obvious too (it doesn't happen). But the best programmers do not write 10x as many lines of code; nor do they work 10x as many hours. Programmers are most effective when they avoid writing code. An über-programmer, Cook explains, is likely to be someone who stares quietly into space and then says 'Hmm. I think I've seen something like this before.'"
Security

Cybersecurity Czar Job Is Useless, Says Spafford 104

Posted by Soulskill
from the federal-whipping-czar dept.
Trailrunner7 writes "It's been about seven months since Obama announced his plan to hire a cybersecurity coordinator, and the job is still vacant. Several prominent security experts have turned the position down, and in an interview on Threatpost, Purdue professor Gene Spafford says that the position is pointless. 'It won't have any statutory authority. It won't have any budgetary authority. That does not give it much authority of any kind. So when I hear that there are supposedly people who have been interviewed for this cyber coordinator job and didn't take it, I'm not surprised. It's not a winning position. I'm not at all surprised by the fact that it's empty. That position is a blame-taking position,' Spafford said."
Idle

Hand Written Clock 86

Posted by samzenpus
from the up-to-the-minute dept.
a3buster writes "This clock does not actually have a man inside, but a flatscreen that plays a 24-hour loop of this video by the artist watching his own clock somewhere and painstakingly erasing and re-writing each minute. This video was taken at Design Miami during Art Basel Miami Beach 2009."
Microsoft

Bing To Use Wolfram Alpha Results 179

Posted by samzenpus
from the taking-a-look dept.
angry tapir writes "Microsoft is rolling out some enhancements to its Bing search engine, including some that rely on computational information delivered by Wolfram Alpha. That means that people will be able to search for some complicated information, and the search engine will be able to compute the answers. In a blog post, Tracey Yao, program manager, and Pedro Silva, product manager at Microsoft, give some examples."
Mozilla

Firefox Most Vulnerable Browser, Safari Close 369

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the say-what-now dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Cenzic released its report revealing the most prominent types of Web application vulnerabilities for the first half of 2009. The report identified over 3,100 total vulnerabilities, which is a 10 percent increase in Web application vulnerabilities compared to the second half of 2008. Among Web browsers, Mozilla Firefox had the largest percentage of Web vulnerabilities, followed by Apple Safari, whose browser showed a vast increase in exploits, due to vulnerabilities reported in the Safari iPhone browser." It seems a bit surprising to me that this study shows that only 15% of vulnerabilities are in IE.
Security

Bug In Most Linuxes Can Give Untrusted Users Root 281

Posted by kdawson
from the patchin'-place dept.
Red Midnight and other readers brought to our attention a bug in most deployed versions of Linux that could result in untrusted users getting root access. The bug was found by Brad Spengler last month. "The null pointer dereference flaw was only fixed in the upcoming 2.6.32 release candidate of the Linux kernel, making virtually all production versions in use at the moment vulnerable. While attacks can be prevented by implementing a common feature known as mmap_min_addr, the RHEL distribution... doesn't properly implement that protection... The... bug is mitigated by default on most Linux distributions, thanks to their correct implementation of the mmap_min_addr feature. ... [Spengler] said many other Linux users are also vulnerable because they run older versions or are forced to turn off [mmap_min_addr] to run certain types of applications." The register reprints a dialog from the OpenBSD-misc mailing list in which Theo De Raadt says, "For the record, this particular problem was resolved in OpenBSD a while back, in 2008. We are not super proud of the solution, but it is what seems best faced with a stupid Intel architectural choice. However, it seems that everyone else is slowly coming around to the same solution."
Cellphones

Nokia Sues Apple For Patent Infringement In iPhone 367

Posted by samzenpus
from the we-did-it-first dept.
AVee writes "Engadget (amongst many others) reports that Nokia is suing Apple because the iPhone infringes on 10 Nokia patents related to GSM, UTMS and WiFi. While the press release doesn't contain much detail, it does state that Apple didn't agree to 'appropriate terms for Nokia's intellectual property,' which sounds like there have been negotiations about those patents."
Microsoft

$338M Patent Ruling Against Microsoft Overturned 238

Posted by Soulskill
from the courts-just-like-making-work-for-themselves dept.
some_guy_88 writes "The $338 million verdict against Microsoft for violating a patent held by Uniloc has now been overturned. 'Ric Richardson ... is the founder of Uniloc, which sued Microsoft in 2003 for violating its patent relating to technology designed to deter software piracy. The company alleged Microsoft earned billions of dollars by using the technology in its Windows XP and Office programs. In April, a Rhode Island jury found Microsoft had violated the patent and told Microsoft to pay the company $388 million, one of the largest patent jury awards in US history. But on Tuesday ... US District Judge William Smith "vacated" the jury's verdict and ruled in favor of Microsoft.' In his ruling, Smith said the jury 'lacked a grasp of the issues before it and reached a finding without a legally sufficient basis (PDF).'"
GUI

Firefox To Replace Menus With Office Ribbon 1124

Posted by timothy
from the what-about-in-gnome? dept.
Barence writes "Mozilla has announced that its plans to bring Office 2007's Ribbon interface to Firefox, as it looks to tidy up its 'dated' browser. 'Starting with Vista, and continuing with Windows 7, the menu bar is going away,' notes Mozilla in its plans for revamping the Firefox user interface. '[It will] be replaced with things like the Windows Explorer contextual strip, or the Office Ribbon, [which is] now in Paint and WordPad, too.' The change will also bring Windows' Aero Glass effects to the browser." Update: 09/24 05:01 GMT by T : It's not quite so simple, says Alexander Limi, who works on the Firefox user experience. "We are not putting the Ribbon UI on Firefox. The article PCpro quotes talks about Windows applications in general, not Firefox." So while the currently proposed direction for Firefox 3.7 involves some substantial visual updates for Windows users (including a menu bar hidden by default, and integration of Aero-styled visual elements), it's not actually a ribbon interface. Limi notes, too, that Linux and Mac versions are unaffected by the change.
Microsoft

Early Details On Courier, Microsoft's Take On a Tablet 175

Posted by Soulskill
from the page-turners dept.
rbanffy points out an article on Gizmodo about Courier, a tablet (or more accurately, a booklet) in development at Microsoft. "The dual 7-inch (or so) screens are multitouch, and designed for writing, flicking and drawing with a stylus, in addition to fingers. They're connected by a hinge that holds a single iPhone-esque home button. Statuses, like wireless signal and battery life, are displayed along the rim of one of the screens. On the back cover is a camera, and it might charge through an inductive pad, like the Palm Touchstone charging dock for Pre." A concept video shows off the ability to use the two different screens for separate purposes, like browsing the web or a photo album on the left and using the right as a notepad or workspace.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27

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