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Data Storage

ZFS Hits an Important Milestone, Version 0.6.1 Released 99

Posted by samzenpus
from the brand-new dept.
sfcrazy writes "ZFS on Linux has reached what Brian Behlendorf calls an important milestone with the official 0.6.1 release. Version 0.6.1 not only brings the usual bug fixes but also introduces a new property called 'snapdev.' Brian explains, 'The snapdev property was introduced to control the visibility of zvol snapshot devices and may be set to either visible or hidden. When set to hidden, which is the default, zvol snapshot devices will not be created under /dev/. To gain access to these devices the property must be set to visible. This behavior is analogous to the existing snapdir property.'"
Google

Google Pledges Not To Sue Any Open Source Projects Using Their Patents 153

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the now-and-forever dept.
sfcrazy writes "Google has announced the Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge. In the pledge Google says that they will not sue any user, distributor, or developer of Open Source software on specified patents, unless first attacked. Under this pledge, Google is starting off with 10 patents relating to MapReduce, a computing model for processing large data sets first developed at Google. Google says that over time they intend to expand the set of Google's patents covered by the pledge to other technologies." This is in addition to the Open Invention Network, and their general work toward reforming the patent system. The patents covered in the OPN will be free to use in Free/Open Source software for the life of the patent, even if Google should transfer ownership to another party. Read the text of the pledge. It appears that interaction with non-copyleft licenses (MIT/BSD/Apache) is a bit weird: if you create a non-free fork it appears you are no longer covered under the pledge.
Science

Interviews: James Randi Answers Your Questions 217

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-can't-handle-the-truth dept.
A while ago you had the chance to ask James Randi, the founder of The James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF), about exposing hucksters, frauds, and fakers. Below you'll find his answers to your questions. In addition to his writings below, Randi was nice enough to sit down and talk to us about his life and his foundation. Keep an eye out for those videos coming soon.
Patents

Uniloc Patent Case Against Rackspace Tossed for Bogus Patents 76

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the don't-mess-with-red-hat dept.
netbuzz writes "A federal judge in Texas, presiding over a district notorious for favoring patent trolls, has summarily dismissed all claims relating to a case brought by Uniloc USA against Rackspace for [Linux] allegedly infringing upon [Uniloc's] patents. Red Hat defended Rackspace in the matter and issued a press release saying: 'In dismissing the case, Chief Judge Leonard Davis found that Uniloc's claim was unpatentable under Supreme Court case law that prohibits the patenting of mathematical algorithms. This is the first reported instance in which the Eastern District of Texas has granted an early motion to dismiss finding a patent invalid because it claimed unpatentable subject matter.'" You can't patent floating point math after all.
Patents

+ - X-Plane Inventor Discusses Patent Trolls->

Submitted by ShoulderOfOrion
ShoulderOfOrion (646118) writes "Austin Meyer, creator of the X-Plane PC flight simulator, holds a podcast discussion with an editor of the online aviation website Avweb. The latter half of the podcast discusses Meyer's battles with a patent troll, his views on the patent system in general, and his intent to fight the troll and change the system. It also discusses the impact the patent battle is having on the X-Plane flight simulator, particularly on Android. The patent conversation starts at 11:50 on the podcast."
Link to Original Source
United States

+ - The US Redrawn As 50 Equally Populated States-> 3

Submitted by
Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Bam! For anyone that's paid a speck of attention to the tedium of political redistricting, which happens while a state grows unevenly, (and must dynamically respond to density, electorate disparity, natural resources and ridgelines, etc.), this is straight out of some psychedelic dream. For Democrats, it could be straight out of a nightmare. That's because Freeman's map necessitates 50 equally populous United States. His methods for creating the map are explained thusly:

"The algorithm was seeded with the fifty largest cities. After that, manual changes took into account compact shapes, equal populations, metro areas divided by state lines, and drainage basins. In certain areas, divisions are based on census tract lines... The suggested names of the new states are taken mainly from geographical features."

The new 50 states would be equally potent in terms of voting, but how many would be red? I made this layered GIF of Romney vs. Obama by county to try and figure things out."

Link to Original Source
Facebook

+ - Facebook paid no taxes despite record profits-> 2

Submitted by Frosty Piss
Frosty Piss (770223) writes "Despite earning more than $1 billion in profits last year, social media juggernaut Facebook paid zilch when it came to federal and state taxes in 2012. In fact, the website will actually be getting a refund totaling $429 million thanks to a tax reduction for executive stock options. In the coming years, Facebook will continue to get monster tax breaks, totaling about $3 billion. 'The employees cash in stock options, and at that point there is tax deduction for the company,' Robert McIntyre, of watchdog group Citizens for Tax Justice, said. 'Because even though it doesn't cost Facebook a nickel, the government treats it as wages and they get a deduction for it. And usually it doesn't wipe out companies whole tax bill, although many companies get big breaks from it.'"
Link to Original Source
Hardware

+ - Microsoft's 9-axis sensor fusion system for tablet->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "What the Windows engineering team have discovered is the typical 6-axis motion sensing offered through the inclusion of a 3D accelerometer and 3D magnetometer has some major flaws. More specifically, they are limited in how accurate and responsive feedback can be in the hands of a user.

With that being the case, Microsoft added a third sensor in the form of a 3D gyro for sensing rotational speed and then started experimenting. By combining the three sensors, what Microsoft refer to as a 9-axis sensor fusion system, it was possible to overcome the shortcomings of each sensor type to provide a much better system."

Link to Original Source
Idle

+ - Divorce destroys Star Trek dream home guy took 10 -> 1

Submitted by
xtekpartners
xtekpartners writes ""A man who took 10 years to create his own personal man-cave—in this instance, an awesome Star Trek starship interior replica that would make every Trek geek weep—has to tear it all down because his wife is divorcing him."

"When his wife left him in 1994, he undertook the massive task of transforming his Leicester, U.K., apartment into the interior of a Starfleet starship (that's what every Trek fan on the planet would do, right?)—in his case, the USS Voyager was his inspiration."

As an avid Star Trek fan (but not a die hard Trekkie), my heart weeps."

Link to Original Source
EU

+ - Proposed EU Rules Include Right To Be Forgotten->

Submitted by
itwbennett
itwbennett writes "A proposed European Union data protection law includes a sliding scale fine up to 2% of a company's global turnover for breaking the rules, appointment of a data-protection officer in companies with over 250 employees, and the 'right to be forgotten', which allows people to have data about them deleted if there are no legitimate grounds for retaining it."
Link to Original Source
Facebook

+ - Facebook's Timeline Apps Are Beacon 2.0->

Submitted by
jfruhlinger
jfruhlinger writes "Remember Beacon, the Facebook advertising initiative that went down in a hail of privacy protests in late 2009? Well, as privacy blogger Dan Tynan points out, the array of Facebook Timeline apps announced today look an awful lot like Beacon 2.0. There have been some genuine privacy improvements over the original — and there's probably also been a definite shift in attitudes about sharing in the last 2+ years."
Link to Original Source
The Military

+ - Pentagon to crowdsource weapons software testing->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The Pentagon plans to fork over $32 million to develop "fun to play" computer games that can refine the way weapons systems are tested to ensure they are free from software errors and security bugs, according to a Defense Department solicitation. The goal is to create puzzles that are "intuitively understandable by ordinary people" and could be solved on laptops, smartphones, tablets and consoles. The games' solutions will be collected into a database and used to improve methods for analyzing software, according to the draft request for proposals put out by the military's venture capital and research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency."
Link to Original Source
Education

+ - U.S. losing R&D dominance to Asia? ->

Submitted by
bednarz
bednarz writes "U.S. companies are locating more of their R&D operations overseas, and Asian countries are rapidly increasing investments in their own science and technology economies, the National Science Board said in a report http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind12/ released this week. The number of overseas researchers employed by U.S. multinationals nearly doubled from 138,000 in 2004 to 267,000 in 2009, for example. On the education front, the U.S. accounts for just 4% of undergraduate engineering degrees awarded globally, compared to China (34%), Japan (5%), and India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand (17% collectively). "The low U.S. share of global engineering degrees in recent years is striking; well above half of all such degrees are awarded in Asia," NSB said in its report."
Link to Original Source

+ - US Supreme Court upholds removal of works from Pub-> 2

Submitted by langelgjm
langelgjm (860756) writes "While much of the web is focused on the SOPA and PIPA blackout, supporters of the public domain today quietly lost a protracted struggle that began back in 2001.The Supreme Court, in a 6-2 decision, rejected the argument that Congress did not have the power to convey copyright upon works that were already in the public domain. The suit was originally filed to challenge provisions that the U.S. adopted when signing the TRIPs agreement. Justices Breyer and Alito dissented, arguing that conveyed copyright on already existing works defied the logic of copyright law. Justice Kagan recused herself. The text of the opinions is available here (PDF)."
Link to Original Source

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