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Google Bans Online Anonymity While Patenting It 188

theodp writes "'It's important to use your common name,' Google explains in its Google+ ground rules, 'so that the people you want to connect with can find you.' Using a 'secondary online identity,' the search giant adds, is a big Google+ no-no. 'There are lots of places where you can be anonymous online,' Betanews' Joe Wilcox notes. 'Google+ isn't one of them.' Got it. But if online anonymity is so evil, then what's the deal with Google's newly-awarded patent for Social Computing Personas for Protecting Identity in Online Social Interactions? 'When users reveal their identities on the internet,' Google explained to the USPTO in its patent application, 'it leaves them more vulnerable to stalking, identity theft and harassment.' So what's Google's solution? Providing anonymity to social networking users via an 'alter ego' and/or 'anonymous identity.' So does Google now believe that there's a genuine 'risk of disclosing a user's real identity'? Or is this just a case of Google's left hand not knowing what its right hand is patenting?"

Comment Re:Thanks for all the Fish Wrapper (Score 1) 1521

I remember when they added user accounts I signed up pretty much right away but no one else I knew was registerting so still stayed mostly anonymous. By the time I went back to start posting under an account I couldn't remember for the life of me what I had used. I would be willing to bet there are a lot of old unused low uid accounts like that.


Fear of Porn URL Exposure Discourages Firefox 3 Upgrade 673

Barence writes "Mozilla's Security team has disclosed a very interesting piece of research which suggests people refused to upgrade to Firefox 3 because they were afraid the browser would expose their porn collection. Mozilla's research found that the number one reason for not upgrading was the new location bar, and the fact that it delved into people's bookmark collections to suggest sites as they typed. 'When we expanded the capabilities of the location bar to search against all history and bookmarks in Firefox 3, a lot of people contacted us to say that they had certain bookmarks they didn't really want to have displayed,' Firefox's principal designer, Alex Faaborg, tactfully explains. 'In some cases users had intentionally hidden these bookmarks in deep hierarchies of folders, somewhat similar to how one might hide a physical object.'"

Comment Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 782

The GPL does not requite that you redistribute the source for free, it requires that you don't charge more for the source than the binary however.

Comment Re:Simple (Score 4, Insightful) 782

He's not obligated to provide the SDK license, nor is he obligated to provide access to the AppStore. He's obligated to redistribute the GPL'd source code which he is. Hell, he could charge another $2.99 for the ability to download the source code if he wanted and that's all perfectly fine. Also, you are seriously confusing the concept of the why GPL'd source code is free. It's not free as in there is no cost. It's free in that you will always have access to the source and the ability to modify it as you see fit, so long as you also extend that freedom on to others.

Just because it's GPL does not mean it's also $0.00.

The submitter has done absolutely nothing wrong, and the original dev shouldn't have released the source under the GPL if he felt that the app should never be charged for. He should have released it under a non commercial license that explicitly restricted the sale of the software.


Creating a New Yorker Cover On the iPhone 226

Jaime Leifer writes "The cover of the June 1, 2009, issue of The New Yorker, entitled 'Finger Painting,' was drawn by Jorge Colombo entirely on his iPhone — a first for the magazine. Colombo, a New York-based artist and illustrator, uses the iPhone's Brushes application to vibrantly depict New York street scenes." There's a video recapitulating the creation of the piece, omitting all of the undos.

Internal Instant Messaging Client / Server Combo? 360

strongmantim writes "I manage an internal help desk (25-30 people) for a medium-large company in the healthcare industry. We're looking for an internal, secure, FOSS (if possible) instant messaging / presence awareness client and server combo. Transmission of Protected Health Information is a sensitive issue, so the server has to be able to log any conversations that occur. It is preferred that the client not support outside protocols such as AIM, MSN, Yahoo, etc.; if it does, I will have to promulgate and enforce yet one more policy that my techs not connect to them. All of the computers that will connect run Windows XP. The system should be scalable up to ~100 people (in case we decide to include our entire office in the roll-out). Hardware and OS for the server are not an issue. Oh, and one more thing: It has to be free. Suggestions?"

Nine Words From Science Which Originated In Science Fiction 433

An anonymous reader writes "Oxford University Press has a blog post listing nine words used in science and technology which were actually dreamed up by fiction writers. Included on the list are terms like robotics, genetic engineering, deep space, and zero-g. What other terms are sure to follow in the future?"

Scientist Forced To Remove Earthquake Prediction 485

Hugh Pickens writes to mention that Italian scientist Giampaolo Giuliani, a researcher at the National Physical Laboratory of Gran Sasso, recently gave warning about an earthquake that was to happen on March 29th of this year near L'Aquilla. Based on radon gas emissions and a series of observed tremors he tried to convince residents to evacuate, drawing much criticism from the city's mayor and others. Giuliani was forced to take down warnings he had posted on the internet. The researcher had said that a 'disastrous' earthquake would strike on March 29, but when it didn't, Guido Bertolaso, head of Italy's Civil Protection Agency, last week officially denounced Giuliani in court for false alarm. 'These imbeciles enjoy spreading false news,' Bertalaso was quoted as saying. 'Everyone knows that you can't predict earthquakes.' Giuliani, it turns out, was partially right. A much smaller seismic shift struck on the day he said it would, with the truly disastrous one arriving just one week later. 'Someone owes me an apology,' said Giuliani, who is also a resident of L'Aquila. 'The situation here is dramatic. I am devastated, but also angry.'"

T-Mobile To Launch Android Tablet 101

nandemoari writes "T-Mobile is planning to use Google's open source operating system 'Android' on devices that blur the line between cellphone and home PC. In addition, Samsung says they will also produce Android phones, but need to work out the kinks first. Both announcements come shortly after HP revealed that it is investigating the idea of using Android to power some of its low-cost netbook computers in place of Windows."

Comment Re:Republican? (Score 1) 574

In general I would agree with you that the less competent should go, but that's not what the H1-B program is about. The H1-B program was designed to bring in foreign workers to fill openings where there were shortages of native workers with the appropriate skills. This is the argument used by companies like Microsoft and Intel to get the caps increased. They simply couldn't find people to fill these slots.

Keep in mind we are talking about the situation where a company is down sizing. Not dealing with promotions, firings, etc. If you have two employees that are up for a promotion and there's only one slot then absolutely performance is the only thing that matters. If you are being evaluated for competence or performance and need to be let go due to incompetence, again that's the only thing that matters. However, when the company is downsizing there is no valid argument that they can't find the skilled workers. There are more skilled workers than can be employed at that point, and the justification for the H1-B is now gone.

Comment Re:Republican? (Score 4, Interesting) 574

Microsoft just let 1400 workers go from their Licensing division in Reno, NV. Those are almost entirely non technical staff and would fall into the "financial services" folks they said they would lay off. It's also extremely unlikely there were any workers in that portion of the layoffs that had an H1-B.

Now, I would agree with the senator that if two people are being considered for a layoff and one has an H1-B and the other is a citizen, the H1-B should be let go. The reason being that Microsoft and the other tech companies argued that they desperately needed the cap on H1-B's to be increased as they couldn't find skilled workers in the US to fill the positions. At a time of layoffs, in the situation I described, that would obviously not be true any more.

Comment Re:Foresight? (Score 1) 154

Not sure, the article that I read said the temperatures would be around -128C. At that temperature and in that location it would be encased in a tomb of carbon dioxide ice, and the cold would be enough to crack the solar arrays and break the circuit boards. So you'd have to either be able to move enough to get out of the danger area, or perhaps generate enough heat to not be frozen solid. I'm guessing neither would be very easy to combat due to payload weight issues (getting off earth) and the energy needed to offse those extreme conditions.

Comment Re:Foresight? (Score 5, Interesting) 154

It was named Phoenix as the mission was originally scrapped after the polar lander crash. When they revived the project they renamed it Phoenix. It's also unlikely that it will be revived in the next martian summer. The reason being that where the rover is, it will be cold enough for the solar cells and other components to be destroyed.


Best DNS Service With API Access? 221

netaustin writes "My company runs quite a few media websites, mostly on Drupal, and about half on ec2. We have a good server setup with ec2 which allows us to route requests through Pound, a cluster of Varnish servers, then a cluster of Apache servers. We manage 50 domains (one per state) like this. Problem is, anytime things change, we have to manually adjust DNS for all 50 states, which is very boring and usually causes negative side effects too as we can't ever adjust all 50 DNS entries at once. We'd like to just change DNS providers and be done with it, but there are a lot of options, and I don't often shop for DNS services. I use EveryDNS for my personal domains, but I don't think they provide an API and it'd feel a little dishonest to reverse engineer the forms on their site since they're an esteemed donations-based service. I wouldn't feel bad about doing that to DNSPark, but they have a CAPTCHA image accompanying their login form, so goodbye DNSPark. I found a couple services that seem to do what I'm looking for, but they both feel a bit Microsoft-y and since I only want to change once, I want to get this right. Advice?"

The life of a repo man is always intense.