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Businesses

+ - Unlawful Restraint by Retail Security Guard 1

Submitted by neomage86
neomage86 (690331) writes "Yesterday I was falsely imprisoned by a security officer at a retail store near Chicago (Tigerdirect). As customers are leaving, a guard asks them to produce a receipt for items they are leaving with. I politely refused and continued to walk by, at which point the guard then physically prevented me from leaving. He also called me a thief, and threatened to have me arrested. Obviously the 4th Amendment doesn't apply to private security guards, but these guards are not allowed to physically detain you unless they have reasonable grounds to believe you committed theft. (Not showing the receipt doesn't constitute reasonable grounds, google "Shopkeeper's Privilege" or "receipt check".

After being detained, I called the police on my cell. When an Officer arrived, and the situation was explained, she ordered the guard to let me go. The manager then verbally banned me from returning to the store (which was fine, I understand it's their private property, and I'm happy to take my business elsewhere). However, the Officer refused to arrest the guard, even after acknowledging he unlawfully restrained me.

The store's official policy, according to the manager and security guard, is to physically (and illegally) detain customers who opt not to show a receipt. I would have been happy if they agreed to change that policy, but they would not. I then tried to press criminal charges, but the State's Attorney refused to prosecute (even though there is ample evidence, including dozens of witnesses and store security tapes). I then attempted to press civil charges, but no attorney I contacted would take the case (and refused to provide explanation).

Just because they're a big business (fortune 100), does not give them the right to unlawfully restrain a person. If I, as an individual, physically detained a person for an hour with no reason, I would be in jail right now. Why do these rules not seem to apply to them?"
Media

+ - High Quality Real Time Streaming Video

Submitted by neomage86
neomage86 (690331) writes "I work for a relatively small company that has a head office, and about half a dozen small branches dispersed throughout the country. Our CEO wishes to make make a real-time video broadcast to all our remote locations once a month, while having people ask him questions in real time via a POTS conference call.

We are relatively fortunate that our corporate headquarters (where the CEO is) has a very fat pipe (~100 mbps with approx 50ms round trip to each remote office) while each remote office has at least a T1 (so figure free bandwidth of ~900 kbps). Unfortunately, we do not have any way of multicasting out to the remote offices, so we will be stuck using multiple plain old Point-to-Point connections.

My research has lead me to believe that h.264 or mpeg4 seem like the way to go. After playing with a few things (Quick Time Broadcaster, VLC, etc), nothing really struck us as being extraordinary. Right now I'm looking into a firewire camcorder and some sort of hardware encoding, but google hasn't turned up any mpeg4/h.264 hardware encoders that have known compatibility with streaming software (I'm hoping that elgato's turbo.264 works, but no evidence yet). So, any suggestions as to what's the best way to actually encode and send out the streams in realtime (so there isn't too much lag between the conference call and video broadcast)? What's the highest quality video that I can reasonably hope to squeeze into 800kbps?

We're hoping to spend just a few hundred dollars on this, but would be willing to go up to a few thousand if that's what it takes. I'm just hoping to avoid the $10K+ that the enterprise products (like vBrick) are asking for."
Power

+ - Tennessee Valley Authority to build 2 New Reactors

Submitted by
TheDawgLives
TheDawgLives writes "The Washington Post is running an article about the Tennessee Valley Authority's plans to bring three nuclear reactors online. They will submit applications to build two new nuclear reactors under the government's streamlined licensing process and restart its oldest reactor after a 22-year shutdown. The total cost could exceed $7 billion for design and construction, but if completed, they could be the first new nuclear reactors in almost 30 years."
Programming

+ - O'Reilly Launches HacksZine

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "With the tagline 'Hack the way you think', O'Reilly officially launched HacksZine today, the new online counterpart to their Hacks book series:

We've developed this site to promote the philosophy of Hacks as a way to gain control of the devices and systems in our lives. To hack something is to make it work the way it should — for you. This site will bring you the best hacks we uncover in the wilds of the Internet, while at the same time delivering fresh, original content developed by our pool of Hacks authors and contributors.
So, like Lifehacker but hackier."
Windows

+ - Repair computer, be forced to repurchase OS

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes "Recently, I have been bit by a computer repair on an emachines computer that involved a system board replacement. Though this was strictly a repair, not an upgrade, neither MS or emachines will provide for activation of the system. Why should a user have to purchase another copy of XP after repairing a computer? The systemboard is listed on the emachines website, but costs 4x what an off-the-shelf board with the same chipset/capabilities costs, and furthermore is not actually available. The emachines rep even said repurchasing XP was my only option. This seems to me patently unfair and of questionable legality. Is it possible that there are enough disgruntled consumers bit by this problem to generate a class-action lawsuit?"
Operating Systems

+ - What should go in a Linux box?

Submitted by alexwcovington
alexwcovington (855979) writes "Now that the dreaded Vista is here, I've had it with Microsoft once and for all. My next computer will run on Linux, and the time is now. I'm browsing online catalog sites for parts right now. My budget is about US$1200, so I won't be buying anything bleeding edge. What I will need are components that have good Linux support, so I can set it all up without extensive research.

I know you're wondering why I'm starting in so late. I tried to switch last year using Slackware on my vintage 2003 box, but even my best Linux-hacker friends had trouble figuring out how to get ATi's Radeon 9500 driver package to work; thus my concern about compatibility issues. I need parts that will go with Linux like butter on bread. Warm butter, not cold, mind you!

So what's the best side of the Intel/AMD, nVidia/ATi equations for a Linux box, or are they suddenly equal in '07? Do I need to worry about motherboard chipsets at all? What vendors are particularly bad and good as far as Linux support goes?"
Privacy

Journal: NJ Schools testing for weekend drinking. 1

Journal by vettenyy
So I came across this article on FoxNews.com. Apparently, in a New Jersey school district, they are testing student's urine for weekend drinking. From the article: "Under the program, students who test positive will not be kicked off teams or barred from extracurricular activities, Reynolds said. Instead, they will receive counseling -- and their parents will be notified." This to me is clearly a privacy issue, since the test is
Announcements

+ - String Theory Test Proposed

Submitted by Alchemist253
Alchemist253 (992849) writes "Theoreticians at a trio of American universities have recently proposed a (non-trivial) experimental test of string theory, often called the "theory of everything." Importantly, it is possible that this test could be carried out in the not-too-distant future when CERN's latest powerful tool, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) comes online. From the article, "If the test does not find what the theory predicts about W boson scattering, it would be evidence that one of string theory's key mathematical assumptions is violated. In other words, string theory — as articulated in its current form — would be proven impossible.""
Media

+ - Donations revive isoHunt

Submitted by
Benjamin Vander Jagt
Benjamin Vander Jagt writes "From the isoHunt.com forum: "Indexing running, stats are updating. Be patient with the few days missing." ... "We accepted about $6700 (NET after Paypal fees) in donations since we went down on Jan. 16. That's over $1300 averaged, with about $2000 for the last day alone. Indeed, people like you is the power of the internet, and for sure we'll need your help more in the future." Success stories like these sure warm the heart, and I'm sure the donors love showing just how caring "pirates" are."
User Journal

Journal: Solution to Music DRM

Journal by Secwind
Forget MP3 DRM, what they need is to import high frequency sound that's invisible to human ears to identify the owner of the file in each song they sell. The goal is not to disturb the way you use the song you purchased, and able to track down where it is spread easily.
Security

+ - World Safecracking Champion Takes Down Bank Vault

Submitted by
Bob Slidell
Bob Slidell writes "http://technofart.com/index.php/2007/01/20/world-s afecracking-champion-takes-down-bank-vault-in-5-mi nutes-19-seconds-video/ Keep in mind that he's doing this entirely BY TOUCH-no drilling, no x-ray machines, no thermic lance, just his fingers. Jeff Sitar is, essentially, the world's greatest living safecracker. He has won the Lockmaster's International Safecracking Competition SEVEN times. In this video from the Discovery Channel show 'More Than Human', they have Jeff set up with 3 safe dials, each of which has a certain object attached to the ends of them (their spindles) which barely touches a post at a specific number on the dial: one dial, the easiest one, has a toothpick attached to it, another dial has a post-it note attached to it, and the third, and most difficult one, has a feather attached to it. The next thing they do is have him try cracking a locked gun safe, which he does in 4 minutes and 57 seconds, and lastly they set him up at a real bank in New Jersey (they won't say which one) to see if he can crack their vault: 5 minutes and 19 seconds. Cool"
Google

+ - Google developing new 'iBook'

Submitted by nettamere
nettamere (672641) writes "According to ITWire.com Google is plotting to do for books what the iPod has done for music: make them purchasable by download to a portable access device. Could civilisation as we know it be under threat?

The UK's Times newspaper reported that "Google is working on a system that would allow readers to download entire books to their computers in a format that they could read on screen or on mobile devices such as a Blackberry."

It quoted Jens Redmer, director of Google Book Search in Europe, speaking at 'Unbound', an invitation-only conference at the New York Public Library, saying: "We are working on a platform that will let publishers give readers full access to a book online." Redmer said that the project was likely to come to fruition "sooner rather than later".

The Times said the initiative would be part of Google's Book Search service and its partnership with publishers, which makes books searchable online. Readers are then linked to sites such as Amazon where they can buy a physical copy of the book.

The news immediately lead Sunday Times commentator, Bryan Appleyard to bemoan the fact that: "We are, it seems, about to lose physical contact with books, the primary experience and foundation of civilisation for the last 500 years." [Full Story] "

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