A state senator in Georgia, Cecil Staton, has introduced a bill that would require parents' permission before kids could sign up at a social networking site such as MySpace and Facebook, and mandate that the sites let parents see all material their kids generate there. Quoting: "[Senate Bill 59] would make it illegal for the owner or operator of a social networking Web site to allow minors to create or maintain a Web page without parental permission [and require] parents or guardians to have access to their children's Web pages at all times. If owners or operators of a company failed to comply with the proposed law, they would be guilty of a misdemeanor on the first offense. A second offense would be a felony and could lead to imprisonment for between one and five years and a fine up to $50,000 or both." The recently offered MySpace parental tools fall short of the bill's requirements. This coverage from the Athens Banner-Herald quotes Facebook's CPO saying that federal law forbids the company to allow anyone but the account creator to access it..
Does this look like an iPhone killer to you?
][nTrUdEr writes: The Economist has posted an excellent editorial on how DRM has gone wrong. From the article: "Most people think it ludicrous that they can't do the same with the DVDs they own. Now it seems, despite squeals from the movie industry, the law is finally moving in the video fan's favour." Also: "After likewise shooting itself in the foot for ages, the record industry is now falling over itself to abandon DRM (digital rights management) on CDs. A number of online music stores such as eMusic, Audio Lunchbox and Anthology have given up using DRM altogether. In a recent survey by Jupiter Research, two out of three music industry executives in Europe reckoned that dropping DRM would improve sales."
CoolVibe writes "Two Subversion developers talk at Google about how to keep pests and malcontents out of your open source projects. From the abstract: 'Every open source project runs into people who are selfish, uncooperative, and disrespectful. These people can silently poison the atmosphere of a happy developer community. Come learn how to identify these people and peacefully de-fuse them before they derail your project. Told through a series of (often amusing) real-life anecdotes and experiences.'"
Behind the link are my first impressions of the Internet presences of the top US presidential candidates for each party. Any website design pros care to chime in?
Mr_Foo writes "According to a Nature article, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's HiRISE imager is suffering from a loss of peripheral vision. The problem surfaced less than a month after the orbiter reached Mars. One the camera's four color detectors has completely stopped working, and it is feared that the problems are spreading. Currently seven of the fourteen HiRISE's detectors are sending back corrupted data and although the issue is only creating a 2% loss of signal at this time it is expected to worsen. The lead investigator for the mission is quoted as saying the problem is systemic: 'In the broken detectors, extra peaks and troughs are somehow being introduced, causing... a "ringing" in the signal. "We don't know where the ringing is coming from," [the investigator] says.' Warming the electronics before taking images seems to help the problem. This effect might be one reason why the detectors on the cold periphery of the array were the first to pack up."
destinyland writes "Friday police arrested 64-year-old Keith Henson. In 2000 after picketing a Scientology complex, he was arrested as a threat because of a joke Usenet post about "Tom Cruise Missiles." He fled to Canada after being found guilty of "interfering" with a religion, and spent the next 6 years living as a fugitive. Besides being a digital encryption and free speech advocate, he's one of the original Burr-Brown/Texas Instruments researchers and a co-founder of the Space Colony movement."
nickull writes "Adobe announced it will release the entire PDF specification (current version 1.7 ) to the International Standards Organization (ISO) via AIIM. PDF has reached a point in its maturity cycle where maintaining it in an open standards manner is the next logical step in evolution. Not only does this reinforce Adobe's commitment to open standards (see also my earlier blog on the release of flash runtime code to the Tamarin open source project at Sourceforge), but it demonstrates that open standards and open source strategies are really becoming a mainstream concept in the software industry. So what does this really mean? Most people know that PDF is already a standard so why do this now? This event is very subtle yet very significant. PDF will go from being an open standard/specification and de facto standard to a full blown de jure standard. The difference will not affect implementers much given PDF has been a published open standard for years. There are some important distinctions however. First — others will have a clearly documented process for contributing to the future of the PDF specification. That process also clearly documents the path for others to contribute their own Intellectual property for consideration in future versions of the standard. Perhaps Adobe could have set up some open standards process within the company but this would be merely duplicating the open standards process, which we felt was the proper home for PDF. Second, it helps cement the full PDF specification as the umbrella specification for all the other PDF standards under the ISO umbrella such as PDF/A, PDF/X and PDF/E. The move also helps realize the dreams of a fully open web as the web evolves (what some are calling Web 2.0), built upon truly open standards, technologies and protocols."
URSpider writes "CNN and the BBC are reporting on a US military test of a new antipersonnel heat ray. The weapon focuses non-lethal millimeter-wave radiation onto humans, raising their skin surface temperature to an uncomfortable 130 F. The goal is to make the targets drop any weapons and flee the scene. The device was apparently tested on two soldiers and a group of ten reporters, which makes me wonder how thoroughly this thing has been safety tested. The government is also appealing to the scientific community for help in creating another innovative military technology: artificial 'black ice'. They hope to deploy the 'ice' in chase scenarios to slow fleeing vehicles." We discussed the military's certification to use the device last month.
An anonymous reader writes "The rumors that the next Star Trek movie would revolve around the earliest missions of Kirk and Spock have been confirmed by William Shatner in a Sci Fi Wire interview. J.J. Abrahms (creator of 'Lost') will direct, and has confirmed that a draft script is completed. So, the question is, will Shatner appear as a reminiscing older Kirk in the beginning, setting up the rest of the movie as a flash-back, or will geriatric-Kirk and young-Kirk meet?"
48 hours have passed since Steve Jobs's MacWorld keynote and the reality distortion field is beginning to wear off. Lists of the drawbacks of the announced iPhone are sprouting all over the Net (and there is the occasional defense by true believers). Now narramissic writes, "The iPhone may be poised to take over the high-end cell phone market, but is it a market worth taking? Not if an InStat survey from July is any indication: Of 1,800 consumers surveyed, just 21 had spent more than $400 for a cell phone. Prices for the iPhone, admittedly more of a handheld computer than a cell phone, start at $499 for the 4G-byte version with a required two-year contract with Cingular. So, is Apple pricing it right? Analysts quoted in this article seem to think Apple's going to have a hard time getting the 1% of market share that Jobs called for."
Ground Glass writes: Next Generation has taken a look at the recent history of the games industry (naturally including the fallout of the newly-birthed console war) and has come up with seven major challenges that must be solved in 2007. This includes some obvious things (avoiding major marketing mistakes like alliwantforchristmasisapsp.com) to hairy problems (how to encourage new intellectual property growth).
Ralph_19 writes "Wired visited Seagate's R&D labs and learned we can expect 3.5-inch 300-terabit hard drives within a matter of years. Currently Seagate is using perpendicular recording but in the next decade we can expect heat-assisted magnetic recording (HARM), which will boost storage densities to as much as 50 terabits per square inch. The technology allows a smaller number of grains to be used for each bit of data, taking advantage of high-stability magnetic compounds such as iron platinum." In the meantime, Hitachi is shipping a 1 TB HDD sometime this year. It is expected to retail for $399.
don_combatant writes to note that President Bush claimed new powers to search US mail without a warrant. He made this claim in a "signing statement" at the time he signed a postal overhaul bill into law on December 20. The signing statement directly contradicts part of the bill he signed, which explicitly reinforces protections of first-class mail from searches without a court's approval. According to the article, "A top Senate Intelligence Committee aide promised a review of Bush's move."
richi writes "Two of Computerworld's top operating systems editors, a Mac expert and a Windows expert, compare notes on what Apple should reconsider as it develops Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. Mac OS X 10.4, or Tiger, is (in their opinion) a noticeably better operating system than XP or Vista. But it is not perfect. OS X has its own quirks and flaws, and they set out to nail down some of the 'proud nails' for the next release." From the article: "7. Inconsistent User Interface. Open iTunes, Safari and Mail. All three of these programs are Apple's own, and they're among the ones most likely to be used by Mac OS X users. So why do all three of them look different? Safari, like several other Apple-made apps such as the Finder and Address Book, uses a brushed-metal look. iTunes sports a flat gun-metal gray scheme and flat non-shiny scroll bars. Mail is somewhere in between: no brushed metal, lots of gun-metal gray, and the traditional shiny blue scroll bars. Apple is supposed to be the king of good UI, and in many areas, it is. But three widely used apps from the same company with a different look? Sometimes consistency isn't the hobgoblin of little minds."