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Media

+ - Dan Lyons now a "tech" columnist at Newswe->

Submitted by
walterbyrd
walterbyrd writes "Dan Lyons is the guy who, on the one hand, is a very vocal hater of those who dare to post on blogs, on message boards anonymously; and on the other hand is semi-famous for anonymously posting as the fake Steve Jobs. I would invite you to read some of Danny's articles in Forbes such as "Revenge Of The Nerds" or "Fighting Back" or "Who is Pamela Jones" or "Attack of the Blogs." According to Danny "Web logs are the prized platform of an on-line lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies, libel and invective". Danny also lavished praise on "intrepid reporter, Maureen O'Gara." Danny just loved the way Maureen relentlessly stalked, and harassed, PJ and PJ's elderly mother. Especially the way Maureen bragged about obtaining, and researching PJ's private cell-phone records, and looking inside PJ's residence, and bashing PJ's religious beliefs. Maureen's action were so vile, that the entire editorial staff of linuxworld resigned in disgust."
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Math

+ - Method of Finding All 4th Order Diophantine Eqs->

Submitted by
eldavojohn
eldavojohn writes "It's an old problem first studied by Diophantus, the father of algebra — what are all the solutions for a^4 + b^4 + c^4 + d^4 = (a + b + c + d)^4? A paper published by a retired physicist and a mathematician shows a way to find them all by using elliptic curves and seeding your search with prior results. While your typical solution contains four variables of 200 digits long, it proves something thought impossible by Euler and shows how little we really know about massive numbers. These equations are commonly used in computations related to string theory."
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Patents

German Police Raid 51 CeBIT Stands Over Patent Claims 191

Posted by kdawson
LeCaddie writes "Last week German investigators raided 51 exhibitor stands at CeBIT, the German information technology fair in Hanover, looking for goods suspected of infringing patents. Some 183 police, customs officers, and prosecutors raided the fair on Wednesday and carried off 68 boxes of electronic goods and documents including cellphones, navigation devices, digital picture frames, and flat-screen monitors. Of the 51 companies raided, 24 were Chinese. Most of the patents concerned were related to devices with MP3, MP4, and DVB standard functions for digital audio and video, blank CDs, and DVD copiers, police said." In the US there are no criminal penalties associated with patents, and such a raid could not be conducted, especially in the absence of a court ruling of infringement.
The Internet

The Knol Hypothesis 80

Posted by kdawson
from the forking-wikipedia-in-all-but-name dept.
Frequent Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton sends in his latest, which begins like this and continues behind the link. "When Google's VP of Engineering announced their proposed Knol project, where users can submit articles on different subjects and share in the AdSense revenue from the article pages, he didn't mention "Wikipedia," but practically everyone else did who blogged about it. Here's what I think will happen, if Knol is implemented according to the plan: Even though it won't technically be a "Wikipedia fork," it will quickly become equivalent to one, with a "gold rush" of users copying content from Wikipedia to Knol articles hoping for a piece of the AdSense dollars. But I submit this will be a good thing, especially if bona fide experts in different fields join the gold rush as well and start signing their names to articles that they've vetted."
Power

Nanotech Anode Promises 10X Battery Life 193

Posted by kdawson
from the all-day-laptop dept.
UNIMurph sends word out of Stanford University that researchers have discovered a way to increase battery life tenfold by using silicon nanowires. Quoting News.com: 'It's not a small improvement,' [lead researcher Yi] Cui said. 'It's a revolutionary development.' Citing a research paper they wrote, published in Nature Nanotechnology, Cui said the increased battery capacity was made possible though a new type of anode that utilizes silicon nanowires. Traditional lithium ion batteries use graphite as the anode. This limits the amount of lithium — which holds the charge — that can be held in the anode, and it therefore limits battery life... 'We are working on scaling up and evaluating the cost of our technology,' Cui said. 'There are no roadblocks for either of these.'"
Enlightenment

+ - Pseudoscience winning weblog award-> 1

Submitted by OneMHz
OneMHz (1097105) writes "A pseudoscience climate change denialist blog is currently winning the science weblog award. Why? Because conservative websites are encouraging people to go vote for it, whether they read it or not. Their strongest competitor, Bad Astronomy, needs help. I encourage people to go read it, then vote for it. They've embedded the science poll in the page, so you can vote there, or here. It's a sad day when pseudoscience wins over real sience..."
Link to Original Source
Communications

+ - Why Everyone Should Hate Cellphone Carriers-> 2

Submitted by
The Byelorrusian Spamtrap
The Byelorrusian Spamtrap writes "Wired Magazine's made its position clear on the state of play in America's cellular industry, delivering a long, satisfying screed on why all of us should stop complaining and do something about it. Legislation is under consideration in congress to heavily regulate carriers, and it wants you to support it: contact your critter today!"
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Media

+ - NBC Chief, "Apple 'destroyed' music pricing-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "With the most colorful description yet, NBC Universal chief executive Jeff Zucker on Sunday urged colleagues to take a stand against Apple's iTunes, charging that the digital download service was undermining the ability of traditional media companies to set profitable rates for their content online.

"We know that Apple has destroyed the music business — in terms of pricing — and if we don't take control, they'll do the same thing on the video side,""

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Security

+ - All browsers vulnerable to DNS Rebinding 1

Submitted by
getOpera
getOpera writes "DNS rebinding was discovered in 1996 and affected the Java Virtual Machine. Recently a group of researchers at Stanford found out that this vulnerability is still present in browsers and that the common solution, known as DNS pinning, is not effective anymore. Securityfocus tracked down one of the authors of the study, Adam Barth, to learn about the impact of the problem, which workarounds can be deployed right now, and how to protect browsers from DNS rebinding attacks in the long run. You can use the online test to check your software."
Math

+ - Wolfram awards $25,000 for flawed proof

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes "Slashdot readers will have seen an announcement by Stephen Wolfram offering a $25,000 prize for a proof or a disproof that a certain 2-state, 3-color Turing machine is universal. The prize was awarded on October 24th, 2007 to Alex Smith of Birmingham, UK.

However, according to discussion in the Foundation of Mathematics e-mail list, archives of which are available here, the members of the prize committee were "informed but not polled" as to the validity of the proof. The prize committee members were Lenore Blum, Greg Chaitin, Martin Davis, Ron Graham, Yuri Matiyasevich, Marvin Minsky, Dana Scott and Stephen Wolfram. On October 26, Martin Davis wrote to the FOM list that "The determination that Smith's proof is correct seems to have been made entirely by the Wolfram organization. My understanding is that the I/O involves complex encodings."

On October 29th, Stanford computer scientist Vaughan Pratt wrote to the Foundations of Mathematics list that the universality proof of the (2,3) Turing machine was flawed, asking "How did an argument containing such an elementary fallacy get through the filter?" Pratt points out that the fallacy of the proof could be used to "prove" the erroneous statement that a linear bounded automaton is universal. The text of Pratt's email is available here."
Intel

+ - Intel's 45nm patch machinery exposed->

Submitted by
Roboticles
Roboticles writes "Tweakers.net has paid a visit to Intel's laboratories in the Californian town of Folsom, the birthplace of the 45nm CPU. We spoke to lead architect Stephen Fisher about the development of the Penryn chip and the day the first A0 version arrived. We were shown the machinery used to test and patch the 45nm processor, which is currently being manufactured in Arizona for release next month."
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Software

+ - SCO gets bankruptcy court approval to sell Unix->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "This seems just a little bit odd. SCO yesterday filed its Motion to Fix a Hearing Date and Shorten Time on its Emergency Motion for an Order (A) Approving Asset Purchase Agreement, (B) Establishing Sale and Bidding Procedures, and (C) Approving the Form and Manner of Notice of Sale. The Certificate of Service shows that it was served yesterday by "Overnight Delivery."

The judge already signed the Order today. So he signed it before anyone could carefully read it, let alone oppose it. Now, I freely confess that I'm not a specialist in this area, but perhaps any bankruptcy folks out there can tell us if that is normal. It certainly isn't in other civil courts. I guess Delaware got its friendly-to-corporations reputation for a reason."

Link to Original Source
The Internet

+ - Lawsuit in open-source tuning land-> 1

Submitted by
David Blundell
David Blundell writes "I owned and operated the largest online site dedicated to tuning and open-source solutions for engine management — chipping and tuning engine computers, basically. From May 2002 till the beginning of this year. Last year, I received a Cease and Desist notice (which was forwarded to the EFF, who were very helpful) for a matter involving a posting on the forum that was removed within 48 hours of telephonic notification. The company involved was pursuing the matter rather aggressively initially, but I thought the matter had been dropped earlier this year after I sold the site until I was surprised by a lawsuit last week.

If anyone is curious about the details of this mess and how it has been handled up to this point, go check out http://forum.pgmfi.org/viewtopic.php?p=95637 (don't worry — no registration required) — it's probably an hour read, but there is a timeline of events and all legal correspondence exchanged over this mess is available for your viewing pleasure.

I'm trying to spread awareness of this matter because I think it is important for forum operators everywhere to understand the risks involved with companies willing to aggressively protect their IP. Also, I think there are some rather novel (well, at least interesting?) issues here:

-The "software" in question here was a backdoor. An existing product's protocols were used in a manner that the original authors had not intended. A software license agreement forbidding reverse engineering may have been violated in the course of creating the "software." Who should be the target? Hosting provider or author? Limitations? At what point does a product that makes use of reverse-engineered protocols (something like Samba, for instance) become a violation of intellectual property?

-The company suing me presumably are laying claim to the code that the downloader can access as their intellectual property. This code was originally written by Honda, reverse engineered and presumably modified by Hondata, who are suing me. Honda could care less about the matter. Without any patents or copyrights, do Hondata have an intellectual property claim to code that they didn't exclusively write (merely modified) running on hardware they did not design, build or sell?

-What are the limits on the duty of care of a forum hosting provider? Moderator? Mere domain owner?

-Is this a case of a large, established commercial provider using strong-armed legal tactics to manipulate and push around an open-source project (and/or take over it, see demands in link), or were there more legitimate claims?

I'm hoping to receive some answers to these questions from an IP attorney, and I'll be sure to share as things progress.

Thanks for listening."

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