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+ - Notorious "Patent Troll" to be the Commencement Speaker at UCLA

Submitted by onproton
onproton writes: This week Nathan Myhrvold, widely criticized for his industry role as a “patent troll,” was announced as the commencement speaker at UCLA’s graduation ceremony. The UCLA student newspaper quickly responded with a piece protesting the selection, describing Myhrvold’s company, Intellectual Ventures, as “the most hated company in tech.” Intellectual Ventures has purchased more than 70,000 patents, many of which are either sold to other identified patent trolls, or used by its shell corporations in litigation to extort companies actually involved in product development. These kinds of predatory organizations have resulted in a major decline in venture capital investment in startups, and as the “Daily Bruin” points out, make a mockery out of the legal processes involving intellectual property.

Comment: Re:file transfer (Score 5, Informative) 466

by onproton (#49143755) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Old PC File Transfer Problem
Regarding this idea: a couple of years back I bought this universal hard drive adaptor, since then it has gotten me out of quite a number of jams. After removing the drive, you can attach it to one of the adapter's IDE/PATA/SATA ports and directly access the files via a USB connection from the adapter - I'd say this is probably the least frustrating way to handle this situation.

Comment: Knowledge Networks (Score 1) 210

by onproton (#49078915) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Stephen Wolfram a Question
How close are we to being able to have the kind of system you discuss in your TED talk on computing a theory of all knowledge, and how do you think we could use this kind of approach in practice to improve the reliability of information that people are reading on the web? How would you suggest it might be integrated within the current framework to provide possible utility outside of the Wolfram Alpha site itself, if at all?

+ - In Breakthrough, US and Cuba to Resume Diplomatic Relations

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com writes: Peter Baker reports at the NYT that in a deal negotiated during 18 months of secret talks hosted largely by Canada and encouraged by Pope Francis, the United States will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba and open an embassy in Havana for the first time in more than a half-century. In addition, the United States will ease restrictions on remittances, travel and banking relations, and Cuba will release 53 Cuban prisoners identified as political prisoners by the United States government. Although the decades-old American embargo on Cuba will remain in place for now, the administration signaled that it would welcome a move by Congress to ease or lift it should lawmakers choose to. “We cannot keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. It does not serve America’s interests, or the Cuban people, to try to push Cuba toward collapse. We know from hard-learned experience that it is better to encourage and support reform than to impose policies that will render a country a failed state,” said the White House in a written statement. "The United States is taking historic steps to chart a new course in our relations with Cuba and to further engage and empower the Cuban people."

+ - Is Public Debate of Trade Agreements Against the Public Interest? 1

Submitted by onproton
onproton writes: The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), currently being negotiated in secret, has been subject to numerous draft leaks that indicate these talks are potentially harmful to everything from public health to internet freedom. So why isn’t the public involved, and why are the terms of the agreement being debated bend closed doors? According to New Zealand's current Trade Minister, Tim Groser, full disclosure of what is being discussed would likely lead to “public debate on an ill-informed basis before the deal has been done.” Leaving one to question how revealing the full context and scope of the agreement talks would lead to an increase in misinformation rather than clarity.

+ - Facebook Wants You to Vote Tuesday

Submitted by theodp
theodp writes: Six years in the making, Facebook's get-out-the-vote tool — a high-profile button that proclaims "I'm Voting" or "I'm a Voter" — will on Tuesday give many of the social network's more than 150 million American users a gentle but effective nudge to vote. "If past research is any guide," writes Micah L. Sifry in Mother Jones, "up to a few million more people will head to the polls partly because their Facebook friends encouraged them. Yet the process by which Facebook has developed this tool — what the firm calls the 'voter megaphone' — has not been very transparent, raising questions about its use and Facebook's ability to influence elections. Moreover, while Facebook has been developing and promoting this tool, it has also been quietly conducting experiments on how the company's actions can affect the voting behavior of its users." Sifry adds, "There may be another reason for Facebook's lack of transparency regarding its voting promotion experiments: politics. Facebook officials likely do not want Republicans on Capitol Hill to realize that their voter megaphone isn't a neutral get-out-the-vote mechanism. It's not that Facebook uses this tool to remind only users who identify themselves as Democrats to vote — though the company certainly has the technical means to do so. But the Facebook user base tilts Democratic." So, it's probably worth mentioning again that Facebook caught flack last summer for deliberately experimenting on users' emotions without their consent. And just last June, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us PAC put out a call for "pissed off Data Scientists" to data mine critical legislative districts and "growth hack" ways to motivate "registered voters who are registered Republicans who we think are likely to support immigration reform."

+ - It's Time to Revive Hypercard

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com writes: HyperCard, an application program and programming tool released for the Apple Macintosh in 1987, represented the ‘computing for the people’ philosophy that enabled users to go past the pre-built software that came on their machines, and to program and build software of their own. "Mac users could use Hypercard to build their own mini-programs to balance their taxes, manage sports statistics, make music – all kinds of individualized software that would be useful (or fun) for individual users." Now Jer Thorp writes that the end of HyperCard left a huge gap that desperately needs to be filled – a space for an easy to use, intuitive tool that will once again let average computer users make their own tools. According to Throp, this type of plain-language programming makes sense, particularly in an application that was designed specifically for non-programmers. "I find the largest concern for learners to be not with the conceptual hurdles involved in writing a program, but with obscure and confusing syntax requirements. I would love to be able to teach HyperTalk to my students, as a smooth on-road to more complex languages like JavaScript, Java or C++." By putting the tools of creation into the hands of the broader userbase, we would allow for the creation of ultra-specific personalized apps that, aside from a few exceptions, don’t exist today."

HyperTalk wasn’t just easy, it was also fairly powerful. Complex object structures could be built to handle complicated tasks, and the base language could be expanded by a variety of available external commands and functions (XCMDs and XFCNs, respectively), which were precursors to the modern plug-in. But ultimately, HyperCard would disappear from Mac computers by the mid-nineties, eclipsed by web browsers and other applications which it had itself inspired. The last copy of HyperCard was sold by Apple in 2004. "One thing that's changed in the intervening decades is that the hobbyist has largely gone by the wayside. Now you're either a user or a full-fledged developer, and the gulf is wider than ever," writes Peter Cohen. "There's really nothing like it today, and I think the Mac is lesser for it."

+ - Google's Doubleclick ad servers exposed millions of computers to malware->

Submitted by wabrandsma
wabrandsma writes: from The Verge:
Last night, researchers at Malwarebytes noticed strange behavior on sites like Last.fm, The Times of Israel and The Jerusalem Post. Ads on the sites were being unusually aggressive, setting off anti-virus warnings and raising flags in a number of Malwarebytes systems. After some digging, researcher Jerome Segura realized the problem was coming from Google's DoubleClick ad servers and the popular Zedo ad agency. Together, they were serving up malicious ads designed to spread the recently identified Zemot malware. A Google representative has confirmed the breach, saying "our team is aware of this and has taken steps to shut this down."

Link to Original Source

+ - Amazon Purchases .buy Domain for $4.6 Million

Submitted by onproton
onproton writes: Amazon outbid Google at the ICANN auction this week for the top-level domain .buy, to which it now has exclusive rights, paying around 4.6 million for the privilege. Google was also reportedly outbid for the .tech domain, which went for around $6.7 million. No word yet on Amazon's plans for the new domain suffix, but it's probably safe to say amazonsucks.buy will be added to Amazon's collection of reserved anti-Amazon URLs.

Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition. - Isaac Asimov

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