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Comment Re:Two Things (Score 1) 757

Given all the people available to produce FLOSS it's frustrating that after several decades achieving "mainstream" traction has eluded the community. Perhaps something is missing which might help FLOSS jump the gap. That something else might not be yet another programming language, library, kernel version, desktop rewrite or new OS but rather something that addresses the human side of things. A great entrepeneurial hope might be just what the situation calls for. Don't dump on someone for realizing the fundamental problem and giving it the old college try.

Comment Think about it (Score 1) 319

b) The woman for opening it and infecting the computer?

Yes, for abject stupidity.

That depends on how well the executable was disguised.

It depends on whether it launched when she opened the e-mail. It depends on the content and header of the e-mail itself.

It depends on the security of her home computer. Her own e-mail program or browser. The protection provided by her ISP.

Think it through.

Imagine yourself as the specific target of a malicious attachment. Crafted by someone who knew you well. Who "thinks geek."

I received an e-mail once from a respected open source project that linked directly to the Windows executable. Something I'd never seen from Microsoft.

Comment Re:We prefer to be called "Chromatically Challenge (Score 1) 197

Very cool story, I have heard about similar things happening before. Have you ever tested to see just how much better you can "see through" camouflage etc? I feel a little silly asking, but do you think its something you could describe to someone who is "not colour blind"? Funny huh, a "blind" person can see the truth :)

Comment Re:Ron Paul (Score 2, Insightful) 478

That would work... But we don't have a free market. Lets see here, oh you mean that we as the taxpayers have -paid- with our tax dollars to bail out various failing auto companies? I don't call that the free market. I call that wealth redistribution. Would you pay with your taxes for a new bridge and then accept not being able to drive across it for no reason? Taxpayers paid for these companies, it is not feasible with the current technology to hand out free cars because the raw materials cost money. However, source code and repair documentation costs nothing. It is the very least they could do after we were forced to give up our hard earned money to support an industry without the financial sense to balance its finances.

Comment Re:Ummmm (Score 1) 792

In theory the GPS could be more fair in pricing. IE of my 20 mile commute 7 miles are on privately owned and maintained roads(30%), and another 5-10% is out of state. If we ignore all other issues with GPS, states should jump the gas taxes higher, and give tax rebates to everyone with a GPS gathering data for them (maybe a $1000+ yearly registration fee for alternative fuel vehicles, again with a "rebate" for GPS tracking data.) So only out of state electric cars get a free ride (at least until it's nationwide shared toll.) throw in some in road weight sensors, to slap those heavy/overloaded vehicles with a premium... Use the public GIS data to figure out the actual public use... Heck even figure out different rates, ie gravel roads cost $X, bridges cost $Y, paved $Z. Then they can get people to car pool/bus... through the $10/mile sections.

Comment Re:That Analogy Falls Apart (Score 1) 917

Hear, hear. It's entirely possible that it'd be cheaper and more technologically feasible to send a two-way expedition than to send the amount of people and equipment needed to found a viable colony. It's quite a bit greater challenge of engineering to colonize a planet with an unbreathable atmosphere than to colonize a new continent.

The intriguing thing about this is that if I'm wrong and it's cheaper to establish a long-term colony, it would most likely be populated by people with above average IQ's. Unless the terrestrial laws of genetics don't apply on Mars for some hinky reason, we could end up with a race of ubermensch whose only weakness is inability to function in terrestrial gravity in a few generations. It would be seriously bad if they got bitter about the original world being left to a bunch of idiots, and decided to do something about it. Que "I for one" jokes.

People Prefer Angry-Faced Cars 473

fatalfury writes "Researchers from the University of Vienna asked 20 males and 20 females to rank vehicles based on their appearance. The list of traits included arrogant, afraid, agreeable, disgusted, extroverted, sad, and others. Cars with 'meaner' traits (such as BMW) ranked higher, whereas cars with 'nicer' traits (such as Toyota's Prius) ranked lower. With billions spent on developing new products in the automobile industry, this could spur a trend in meaner-looking cars and perhaps explain why sales of the Prius and other green cars are slow to take off with average consumers."
Social Networks

Submission + - MySpace Friend Request Violates Protection Order ( 3

longacre writes: "In what is believed to be the first ruling of its kind in the U.S., a 16-year old girl faces a year behind bars after submitting a MySpace friend request to a woman and her two daughters who had an order of protection against the girl. Staten Island (NY) Criminal Court Judge Matthew A. Sciarrino Jr. ruled that even though MySpace users can ignore, deny or block friend requests, "that request was still a contact, and no contact was allowed" by the temporary order of protection."

Submission + - Digital Picture Frames carry Malware

joeflies writes: The San Francisco Chronicle reports that some digital picture frames manufactured in China carry an advanced trojan. Currently it is being used to capture credentials from online games, but researches suspect that it may be used for other purposes in the future.

States Claim There is No Match for Microsoft 533

Bergkamp10 writes "State antitrust regulators have dismissed companies such as Google and Mozilla Corp, and software technologies such as AJAX and SaaS as "piddling players that pose no threat to Microsoft's monopoly in the operating system and browser markets". According to the report ten US states, including California, New York and the District of Columbia have called for an extension of monitoring of Microsoft's business practices until November 2012. They claim that little has changed in the OS and browser spaces since the 2002 antitrust case ruled against Microsoft. In their most recent brief, the states countered Microsoft's contention that Web-based companies — Google,, Yahoo, eBay and others — and new Web-centric technologies constitute what Microsoft dubbed a "competitive alternative to Windows." Not even close, said the states, claiming that while these companies' products provide functionality for users they still rely on Operating Systems and browsers — the two spaces where Microsoft dominates. Experts were apparently even more damning, claiming competition in the market has not been restored since 2002 and that the collective powers of Google, Firefox and Web 2.0 are about as effective as a one legged man in a butt-kicking contest when it comes to unsettling Microsoft's monopoly of the market."

Feed Techdirt: The Fourth Amendment Two-Step (

Tom Lee has already weighed in with an excellent post on the news that law enforcement officials are often able to turn cell phones into real-time tracking devices without having to make the traditional showing of probable cause required for a search warrant. But it may be worth lingering a bit over the tortuous legal history that is being used to justify a form of snooping that is, intuitively, almost as intrusive as a conventional physical search.

The problem is a series of precedents that, as legal scholar Richard Posner has observed, enable the government to do a two-step end run around the Fourth Amendment. In the 1974 case California Bankers Association v. Schulz , the Supreme Court ruled that the Bank Secrecy Act, which required financial institutions to collect certain kinds of information from customers, did not run afoul of the Fourth Amendment's privacy protections. (Similarly, Enhanced 911 rules implemented in 1998 required telecom providers to make their networks capable of pinpointing the locations of cell users for the convenience of 911 operators.) The Court reasoned that "the mere maintenance by the bank of records without any requirement that they be disclosed to the Government" did not constitute an "illegal search and seizure." But two years later, in U.S. v. Miller , the Court determined that individuals lost their "expectation of privacy" in such information once it had been turned over to a third party, such as a bank. And businesses such as banks, unlike individuals, could not claim Fourth Amendment privacy interests in their records.

That brings us to 1979's Smith v. Maryland , in which the Court determined that no "search" was conducted, for Fourth Amendment purposes, when police sought to obtain from telephone companies a list of the numbers dialed from a particular telephone. The Court's reasoning was two pronged: In part, the justices relied upon the "third party" rationale of Miller. But they also noted the ways that such information gathering was distinct from, and less intrusive than, eavesdropping on the calls themselves: "Neither the purport of any communication between the caller and the recipient of the call, their identities, nor whether the call was even completed is disclosed by pen registers."

Different jurisdictions have differed on how this logic applies in the case of cell tracking, where there's the added hurdle of language in the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act that would appear to forbid using a mobile phone as a GPS device without a full-fledged search warrant. It seems likely that, at least in the near term, judges will rely on such statutory constraints to check such tracking. But it also looks like a good reason for the courts to revisit this whole line of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, and reconsider whether, when so much data about us is stored in a variety of "third party" databases, it makes sense to presume citizens have no reasonable expectation of privacy in such information, even when the "third party" has pledged not to share it.

Julian Sanchez is an expert at the Techdirt Insight Community. To get insight and analysis from Julian Sanchez and other experts on challenges your company faces, click here.

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Submission + - Upgrade your N800 to OS2008 Early

An anonymous reader writes: Nokia's N800 is one of the most usable and affordable mobile devices to ever come out. This is due, in no small part, to it's use of a Linux OS based on Maemo. With the upcoming release of the N810 a new OS, called OS2008, will be released as well. This works with the N800, so if you want to breath some life into the device, and do it before the crowd, it's possible and worthwhile.

Submission + - Take Baby-Steps when Porting C/C++ sources

An anonymous reader writes: Porting across two completely different platforms, such as Windows and UNIX, calls for knowledge in several areas, including understanding compilers and their options, platform-specific features such as DLLs, and implementation-specific features such as threads. This article serves as a very good introduction to the numerous facets of porting C/C++ sources and examines some common problems you might encounter while porting from a 32-bit Windows environment to a 64-bit UNIX environment.

The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all your time.