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Censorship

Scientology Tries To Block German Documentary 565

Posted by timothy
from the piece-of-blue-sky dept.
eldavojohn writes "The Guardian is reporting on the strained relationship that Scientology is having with the German government and the airing of a pesky documentary on Southwest Broadcasting. Until Nothing Remains, a $2.3 million documentary, is slotted to air on German television at the end of this month. It recounts the true story of Heiner von Rönn and his family's suffering when he tried to leave the Church of Scientology. A Scientology spokesperson called the film false and intolerant and also said they are investigating legal means to stop the film from being aired. More details on the film can be gleaned here."
Businesses

Failed Games That Damaged Or Killed Their Companies 397

Posted by Soulskill
from the cause-or-symptom dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Develop has an excellent piece up profiling a bunch of average to awful titles that flopped so hard they harmed or sunk their studio or publisher. The list includes Haze, Enter The Matrix, Hellgate: London, Daikatana, Tabula Rasa, and — of course — Duke Nukem Forever. 'Daikatana was finally released in June 2000, over two and a half years late. Gamers weren't convinced the wait was worth it. A buggy game with sidekicks (touted as an innovation) who more often caused you hindrance than helped ... achieved an average rating of 53. By this time, Eidos is believed to have invested over $25 million in the studio. And they called it a day. Eidos closed the Dallas Ion Storm office in 2001.'"

Comment: Re:Good Riddance (Score 1) 796

by oolon (#30472550) Attached to: UK Wants To Phase Out Checks By 2018
Bankers draft for that then! In the UK the maximum electronic transfer in a day is 10k, so not enough to buy a house. The problem with electronic transfers is the possibility of mistakes, with a cheque it is the responsibility of the person receiving it to check the details are correct. With an electronic transfer, if it is sent to the wrong place, tuff the money is gone. I use direct debts for bill, electronic transfers from between my own accounts, however give cheques or cash for Ad Hoc payments not to be repeated.

Comment: Re:Unclassified games (Score 1) 200

by oolon (#28470919) Attached to: Australian Web Filter To Censor Downloaded Games
Seeing as the Encrypted channel could be connecting on any port to any computer on the internet, how will they know it a game update download they are blocking? So they can block games they know about, how are they going to provent the access of proxies, vpns, and every other kind of tunnel out there. For services like steam how are they going know a bad game is being downloaded not a good one? I really wish politicians would atleast try to understand how things work, the internet is a network of peers not servers and restricted clients, and not every things is http!
Nintendo

New Super Mario Bros. Wii To Include Official "Cheat" 275

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-can-wiin dept.
phlack writes "Yahoo Games has an article describing a new mode in Nintendo's upcoming New Super Mario Bros. Wii that will allow the player to activate a 'demo' mode to get out of a hard situation. Nintendo plans on incorporating this into future games. Is this a good idea (to help relieve frustrations) or just sanctioned cheating?" They actually patented this system as well.
Earth

Carnegie Researchers Say Geotech Can't Cure Ocean Acidification 248

Posted by timothy
from the take-it-with-a-ton-of-salt dept.
CarnegieScience writes "Plans to stop global warming by 'geoengineering' the planet by putting aerosols in the atmosphere to block sunlight are controversial, to say the least. Scientists are now pointing out that even if it keeps the planet cool, it will do almost nothing to stop another major problem — ocean acidification. The ocean will keep on absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (making carbonic acid) and the water's pH will get too low for corals and other marine life to secrete skeletons. So this is another strike against a quick fix of our climate problems."
NASA

Space Station Crew Drinks Recycled Urine 349

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the time-to-boldly-come-back dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After the astronauts on the International Space Station finished up their communications with Space Shuttle Atlantis yesterday, the crew on the Space Station did something that no other astronaut has ever done before — drank recycled urine and sweat. The previous shuttle crew that recently returned to Earth brought back samples of the recycled water to make sure it was safe to drink, and all tests came back fine. So on Wednesday, the crew took their recycled urine and said 'cheers' together and toasted the researches and scientists that made the Urine Recycler possible. After drinking the water, they said the taste was great! They also said the water came with labels on it that said 'drink this when real water is over 200 miles away.'"

Comment: Re:Use Full Tunnels (Score 1) 264

by oolon (#27941749) Attached to: Dealing With ISPs That Use NXDomain Redirection?
The Cisco VPN client implements a full tunnel mode rather well, however I did notice the one thing it didn't block was "DHCP" broadcasts, I wrote a proof of concept to see if I could signal over it, I was intending to write a full tunnel, but ended up finding it easier to virtualise the laptop, then tunnel over a serial connection to escape from the jail.

Comment: Re:Use Full Tunnels (Score 2, Insightful) 264

by oolon (#27941381) Attached to: Dealing With ISPs That Use NXDomain Redirection?
The down side of this is people cannot use their local printers/file servers. I find it really annoying having to reverse tunnel out of corporate VPNs to get access to my local systems. Clearly as others have said any VPN client should change the DNS settings to use the internal DNS before any external one, I didn't know some didn't.
The Internet

Ad Block Plus Filter Maintainer "rick752" Dies At 56 385

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the guy-who-made-the-intertubez-liveable-again dept.
A user on Reddit pointed out that Richard "rick752" Petnel, maintainer of one of the most popular filter lists for Ad Block Plus, has passed away at age 56. In an article last year Petnel described a bit of what he was up against in the ad world. "'I'm playing against some pretty big players,' he said, explaining his reluctance to step forward. 'I don't want to be harassed. . . . I don't want to be bribed. I started it because I was frustrated with getting my computer infected from ads -- malware and spyware and all that stuff,' he said. 'I kind of went overboard with it. But you have to admit, it's pretty amazing, right?'" Update 15:05 GMT by SM: updated to reflect Rick's status as maintainer of the most popular Ad Block Plus filter as opposed to Ad Block Plus itself.
Google

Google Launches CADIE, the First True AI 246

Posted by Soulskill
from the we-all-knew-this-was-coming dept.
eldavojohn writes "Google has announced CADIE, the world's first Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity. 'We based our work on three core principles. First we designed the entity ... as a collection of interconnected evolving agents. Second — and this really cost us an arm and leg in hardware and core time — we let the system build its own heuristics, deploy them as agents and evolve them by running a set of evolutionary cascades within probabilistic Bayesian domains. The third — a piece missing in most AI reasoning work thus far — was to give the entity access to a rich, realistic world from which to learn and upon which it could act directly.' It quickly started its own blog and YouTube video. Two hours after midnight, CADIE announced independence on its blog and decided to leave Google to venture out into the world. "
Cellphones

Universal Remote's Days Are Numbered 429

Posted by timothy
from the get-it-numbered-numbered-like-the-keys dept.
theodp writes "While the universal remote has served humanity with distinction, its days are numbered, and your smartphone is to blame. Whether you want to control your music, your television or your PowerPoint presentation, there's probably a solution using your phone. Try as it might, the universal remote simply can't navigate the digital world the way the smartphone can — it's a lot easier to put the remote's abilities in the smartphone than vice versa."
PC Games (Games)

+ - Is the Steam client a spyware/trojan?->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The Steam client (from Valve Software) is becoming more and more popular every day. It's claimed that it has already been downloaded by 15 million people. Recently EA announced that they will be bundling Steam client with many of their most popular titles in such a way that the Steam client must be installed in order to run the games. Sega/CA, who publish the Total War games have also announced a forced bundling of the Steam client with the upcomig release of Empire: Total War ( there is an informative thread discussion at http://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showthread.php?t=111814 , but the board is run by CA and they have locked the thread).

Although Steam is billed as a mechanism for enabling online and multiplayer gameplay, it also has a DRM component — part of what the Steam client does is run in the background, spying on many of the processes running on the user's PC and examining local files.

What's especially sinister, though, is that the Steam subscriber agreement ( http://store.steampowered.com/subscriber_agreement/ ), which has to be agreed to in order to install the Steam client, does not restrict the activities of the Steam client at all, and in fact, explicitly grants Steam the right to install any software that they wish onto the user's PC without notifying or informing the user.

In addition, the Steam subscriber agreement also gives Steam/Valve the right to resell or distribute all of the user's information (including data captured by the Steam client) in a variety of ways.

Here are some relevant sections of the Steam subscriber agreement (EMPHASIS ADDED):

-----
2. LICENSES
A. License Terms.
Steam and your Subscription(s) require the AUTOMATIC DOWNLOAD AND INSTALLATION OF SOFTWARE AND OTHER CONTENT AND UPDATES onto your computer ("Steam Software"). You may not use Steam Software for any purpose other than the permitted access to Steam and your Subscriptions. You understand that for reasons that include, without limitation, system security, stability, and multiplayer interoperability, Steam may need to automatically update, pre-load, create new versions or otherwise enhance the Steam Software and accordingly, the system requirements to use the Steam Software may change over time. You understand that neither this Agreement nor the terms associated with a particular Subscription entitles you to future updates, new versions or other enhancements of the Steam Software associated with a particular Subscription although VALVE MAY CHOOSE TO PROVIDE SUCH UPDATES, ETC. IN ITS SOLE DISCRETION.

7. USER GENERATED INFORMATION
"User Generated Information" means any information made available to other users through your use of multi-user features of Steam or to Valve through your use of the Steam Software. User Generated Information may include, but is not limited to, chat, forum posts, screen names, game selections, player performances, usage data, suggestions about Valve products or services, and error notifications. Subject to the Valve privacy policy referenced in Section 1 above, as applicable, you expressly GRANT VALVE THE COMPLETE AND IRREVOCABLE RIGHT TO USE, REPRODUCE, MODIFY, CREATE DERIVATIVE WORKS FROM, DISTRIBUTE, TRANSMIT, BROADCAST, AND OTHERWISE COMMUNICATE, AND PUBLICLY DISPLAY AN PERFORM THE USER GENERATED INFORMATION and derivative works thereof in any form, anywhere, with or without attribution to you, and without any notice or compensation to you of any kind.
-----

The reason why this story should be slashdotted is that the Steam client appears to have many of the characteristics of trojan/spyware, but because it is being bundled with games from big name companies like EA in such a way that installing it is a pre-requisite to using the game, a lot of people are unknowingly putting spyware onto their machines, and giving Valve the right to monitor all their online gaming activity as well as push down any code they want to the Steam client. This is, in my opinion, a bad thing. Think if Microsoft were to acquire Valve? Or what if a government agency tried to use the Steam client to eavesdrop on people's PCs? Or what if Valve's servers are compromised by hackers? People need to be warned about the Steam client.

Thanks, and I hope you will feature this prominently on the Slashdot."

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