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Cell Phone Cost Calculator Killed In Canada 214 214

inject_hotmail.com writes "Internet and law genius Michael Geist writes about some shenanigans by the cell phone carriers and the Canadian government in his column in The Star. Canadian taxpayers funded a 'Cell Phone Cost Calculator' so that the average person could theoretically wade through the disjointed and incongruent package offerings. The calculator wound up being yanked a couple weeks before launch. Geist suggests that the major cell carriers lobbied the appropriate public officials to have the program nixed because it would bite into their profit if the general public could make sense out of pricing and fees. Geist continues, 'Sensing that [Tony] Clement (Industry Minister) was facing pressure to block the calculator, Canadian consumer groups wrote to the minister, urging him to stick with it.' Moving forward, Michael makes a novel suggestion, one that would show an immense level of understanding by the government: 'With public dollars having funded the mothballed project, the government should now consider releasing the calculator's source code and enable other groups to pick up where the OCA (Office of Consumer Affairs) left off.'"

Data Mining Moves To Human Resources 262 262

theodp writes "Just when you thought annual reviews couldn't get worse, BusinessWeek reports that HR departments at companies like Microsoft and IBM are starting to use mathematical analysis to determine the value of each employee. At an undisclosed Internet company, analysis of (non-verbal) communications was used to produce a circle to represent each employee — those determined to generate or pass along valuable info were portrayed as large and dark-colored circles ('thought leaders' and 'networked curators'), while those with small and pale circles were written off as not adding a hell of a lot. 'You have to bring the same rigor you bring to operations and finance to the analysis of people,' explains Microsoft's Rupert Bader. Hey, who could argue with what Quants did for finance?"

Repairing / Establishing Online Reputation? 564 564

illini1022 writes "I'm currently a senior nearing graduation from college. With studies focusing on power and energy I believe I have set myself up extremely well for post-graduation employment. I have one concern. The top search result on Google for my full name is a blog posting regarding an article about a pedophile that happens to bear the same name as myself. The blog also originates from a city I lived in during one summer (specified on my resume). Upon closer inspection, it would become quickly apparent that the subject in question is not me. The person of interest was in the military, and I have never been. However, I fear this unfortunate coincidence might cost me chances at employment with companies I'm now applying to. I have absolutely no issue with any employer finding anything I've put on the Internet; I have been careful to protect my reputation. My concern is with an employer mistaking me for someone else, and disqualifying me from recruitment. I've attempted to contact the blog owner to no avail. What are my options? Am I overreacting? Should I attempt to set up my own site that would steal the top Google search from this blog posting? I appreciate any insight/advice."

Do We Need a New Internet? 690 690

Richard.Tao and a number of other readers sent in a NYTimes piece by John Markoff asking whether the Internet is so broken it needs to be replaced. "...[T]here is a growing belief among engineers and security experts that Internet security and privacy have become so maddeningly elusive that the only way to fix the problem is to start over. What a new Internet might look like is still widely debated, but one alternative would, in effect, create a 'gated community' where users would give up their anonymity and certain freedoms in return for safety. Today that is already the case for many corporate and government Internet users. As a new and more secure network becomes widely adopted, the current Internet might end up as the bad neighborhood of cyberspace. You would enter at your own risk and keep an eye over your shoulder while you were there." A less alarmist reaction to the question was blogged by David Akin: "If you build a new Internet and you want me to get a license to drive on it, sorry. I'm hanging out here in v.1."

Visualizing Complex Data Sets? 180 180

markmcb writes "A year ago my company began using SAP as its ERP system, and there is still a great deal of focus on cleaning up the 'master data' that ultimately drives everything the system does. The issue we face is that the master data set is gigantic and not easy to wrap one's mind around. As powerful as SAP is, I find it does little to aid with useful visualization of data. I recently employed a custom solution using Ruby and Graphviz to help build graphs of master data flow from manual extracts, but I'm wondering what other people are doing to get similar results. Have you found good out-of-the-box solutions in things like data warehouses, or is this just one of those situations where customization has to fill a gap?"

Waste Coffee Grounds Offer New Source of Biodiesel 276 276

Julie188 writes "Researchers in Nevada are reporting that waste coffee grounds can provide a cheap, abundant, and environmentally friendly source of biodiesel fuel for powering cars and trucks. Their study has been published online in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Growers produce more than 16 billion pounds of coffee around the world each year. Scientists estimate that spent coffee grounds can potentially add 340 million gallons of biodiesel to the world's fuel supply."
The Internet

IPv6 Adoption Up 300 Percent Over 2 Years 425 425

Mark.J - ISPreview writes "The Number Resource Organization, which is made up of the five Regional Internet Registries, has revealed that the rate of new entrants into the IPv6 routing system has increased by 300% over the past two years. The news is important because IPv4 addresses (e.g., which are assigned to your computer periodically, are running out. IPv6 addressing (e.g. 2ffe:1800:3525:3:200:f8ff:fe21:67cf) was invented as a longer and more secure replacement." IPv6 is still gaining ground slowly, particularly in the US.

Extended Gmail Outage Frustrates Admins 430 430

CWmike writes "A prolonged, ongoing Gmail outage has some Google Apps administrators pulling their hair out as their end users, including high-ranking executives, complain loudly while they wait for service to be restored. At about 5 p.m. US Eastern on Wednesday, Google announced that the company was aware of the problem preventing Gmail users from logging into their accounts and that it expected to fix it by 9 p.m. on Thursday. Google offered no explanation of the problem or why it would take it so long to solve the problem, a '502' error when trying to access Gmail. Google said the bug is affecting 'a small number of users,' but that is little comfort for Google Apps administrators. Admin Bill W. posted a desperate message on the forum Thursday morning, saying his company's CEO is steaming about being locked out of his e-mail account since around 4 p.m. on Wednesday. It's not the first Gmail outage. So, will this one prompt calls for a service-level agreement for paying customers? And a more immediate question: Why no Gears for offline Gmail access at very least, Google?"

Microsoft To Release Cloud-Oriented Windows OS 209 209

CWmike writes "Within a month, Microsoft will unveil what CEO Steve Ballmer called 'Windows Cloud.' The operating system, which will likely have a different name, is intended for developers writing cloud-computing applications, said Ballmer, who spoke to an auditorium of IT managers at a Microsoft-sponsored conference in London. Ballmer was short on details, saying more information would spoil the announcement. Windows Cloud is a separate project from Windows 7, the operating system that Microsoft is developing to succeed Windows Vista."

IOC Trademarks Part of Canadian National Anthem 412 412

gravis777 sends us to BoingBoing for news that the International Olympic Committee has trademarked a line from the Canadian National Anthem and is threatening to sue anyone who uses it. The line in question is "with glowing hearts." "The committee is so serious about protecting the Olympic brand it managed to get a landmark piece of legislation passed in the House of Commons last year that made using certain phrases related to the Games a violation of law. The list includes the number 2010 and the word 'winter,' phrases that normally couldn't be trademarked because they are so general."

Hubble Survey Finds Half of the Missing Matter 189 189

esocid sends along the news that scientists believe they have found about half the missing matter in the universe. The matter we can see is only about 1/8 of the total baryonic matter believed to exist (and only 1/200 the mass-energy of the visible universe). This missing matter is not to be confused with "dark matter," which is thought to be non-baryonic. The missing stuff has been found in the intergalactic medium that extends essentially throughout all of space, from just outside our galaxy to the most distant regions of space. "'We think we are seeing the strands of a web-like structure that forms the backbone of the universe,' Mike Shull of the University of Colorado explained. 'What we are confirming in detail is that intergalactic space, which intuitively might seem to be empty, is in fact the reservoir for most of the normal, baryonic matter in the universe.'"

Whitehouse Emails Were Lost Due to "Upgrade" 482 482

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "We now know how the Whitehouse managed to lose about five million emails. It seems that they 'upgraded' their Lotus Notes system, which had an automatic retention and backup system, for Microsoft Exchange, which did not support the automatic system. So they changed it to a manual process, where aides would manually sort emails one by one into individual PST files, which they call a 'journaling' archive system. They're still building a replacement for the retention system. Right when they had one finished, the White House CIO complained that it made Microsoft Exchange too slow, so they hired yet another contractor to build another one, causing a senior IT official to quit in protest. So they still haven't completed the project after almost eight years, and rely on humans to sort millions of emails."

Seagate May Sue if Solid State Disks Get Popular 242 242

tero writes "Even though Seagate has announced it will be offering SSD disks of its own in 2008, their CEO Bill Watkins seems to be sending out mixed signals in a recent Fortune interview 'He's convinced, he confides, that SSD makers like Samsung and Intel (INTC) are violating Seagate's patents. (An Intel spokeswoman says the company doesn't comment on speculation.) Seagate and Western Digital (WDC), two of the major hard drive makers, have patents that deal with many of the ways a storage device communicates with a computer, Watkins says. It stands to reason that sooner or later, Seagate will sue — particularly if it looks like SSDs could become a real threat.'"

Much of the excitement we get out of our work is that we don't really know what we are doing. -- E. Dijkstra