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Comment: What about the legal part? (Score 1) 483

by tnnn (#33319226) Attached to: Building a Traffic Radar System To Catch Reckless Drivers?
If I understand correctly, you are trying to build some kind of a static radar gun. I'm afraid that legal part of this venture is much more tricky than the technical stuff. In most countries I've visited, such a device must be officially approved and regularly calibrated. Have you checked if your device has to pass any tests to be allowed to produce evidence? What you must also consider is the way it will record offenders - it's likely this is also subject to some legal requirements. And then comes the support part - someone has to support it (which can be a pain under working conditions you mentioned) and someone has to take the evidence from it and issue a speeding ticket - in Poland, where I currently live, police was forced to hire new workers just to be able to send tickets to some offenders (plus keep in mind that there must be a way to identify them in a reasonable time frame). A lot of things to consider (and check) before you even start planning the tech part of this idea :)

Comment: Re:Awesome game now free (Score 2, Informative) 151

by tnnn (#32082608) Attached to: <em>MechWarrior 4</em> Free Release Now Available
Solaris VII rules were supposed to be used during "arena" games, not normal multi mech engagements. Mechwarrior series was based on the CBT (Classical BattleTech) board game which allows customizing as well as building new mechs from scratch. While it may lead to creation of some... well... monsters, it's fun and adds to gameplay. Besides, if you simply want to customize a bit, nothing holds you back - you don't have to build a multi PPC behemoth and you can stick to "canon flavors". So what is the point of taking this possibility away (if I recall correctly devs were explaining this as "it's weird to see lasers shooting from LRM racks")?

Ah, and as for small laser firing as often as gauss - keep in mind that in CBT board game 1 turn = 10 seconds. Don't try to imagine 1 turn of small laser fire as a single shot (as a matter of fact, multiple war games use "1 turn of shooting != 1 shot" principle) - it simply means that during one turn small laser will do that much damage and produce some heat, regardless of how many times it really did shoot. The same applies to ammo - 1 ammo round means that a weapon can fire during 1 turn - be it one gauss shell or designers-know-how-many machine gun rounds.
Now that I think about it, I wonder if the fast firing weapons in MW aren't more powerful than in a board game - they fire more often and probably deal the "1 turn damage" during a single shot...
Government

Innocent Until Predicted Guilty 430

Posted by kdawson
from the no-telepaths-yet dept.
theodp writes "Gizmodo has an angry piece on IBM helping Florida to predict how delinquent your child's going to be. The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice has decided to start using IBM predictive analytics software to help them determine which of the 85,000 kids who enter their system each year poses the biggest future threat. From IBM's sales pitch: 'Predictive analytics gives government organizations worldwide a highly-sophisticated and intelligent source to create safer communities by identifying, predicting, responding to and preventing criminal activities. It gives the criminal justice system the ability to draw upon the wealth of data available to detect patterns, make reliable projections and then take the appropriate action in real time to combat crime and protect citizens.'"
Software

Providing a Closed Source License Upon Request? 245

Posted by timothy
from the just-don't-close-others'-open-source dept.
goruka writes "As a citizen of the open source community, I have written several applications and libraries and released under the BSD license. Because of my license choice, I often run into the situation where a company wants to write software for a closed platform using my code or libraries. Even though there should be no restrictions on usage, companies very often request a different license, citing as a valid reason that the creator of such platform has special terms forbidding 'open source software' in the contracts forced upon the developer. So my question is, has anyone else run into this situation, and are there examples of such licenses that I can provide? (Please keep in mind that I'm not a US resident and I don't have access or resources to afford a lawyer there.)"
Image

USPTO Awards LOL Patent To IBM 274 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the wtf-industries dept.
theodp writes "Among the last batch of patents granted in 2009 was one for IBM's Resolution of Abbreviated Text in an Electronic Communications System. The invention of four IBMers addresses the hitherto unsolvable problem of translating abbreviations to their full meaning — e.g., 'IMHO' means 'In My Humble Opinion' — and vice versa. From the patent: 'One particularly useful application of the invention is to interpret the meaning of shorthand terms ... For example, one database may define the shorthand term "LOL" to mean "laughing out loud."' USPTO records indicate the patent filing was made more than a year after Big Blue called on the industry to stop what it called 'bad behavior' by companies who seek patents for unoriginal work. Yet another example of what USPTO Chief David Kappos called IBM's apparent schizophrenia on patent policy back when he managed Big Blue's IP portfolio."
Music

MySpace-Imeem Deal Leaves Indie Artists Unpaid 124

Posted by kdawson
from the gladly-pay-you-tuesday dept.
azoblue writes with news that following MySpace's acquisition and shutdown of imeem, independent artists who sold their music through imeem's Snocap music storefronts (on MySpace and other sites) won't be paid what's owed them. More than 110,000 artists are believed to be affected. The crux of the problem is that MySpace acquired only a certain portion of the assets that were imeem — "the domain name and certain technology and trademarks" — and not imeem’s outstanding debts, including the money imeem owed to artists under the Snocap relationship. According to the article, some artists have been owed money for more than a year. "Napster creator Shawn Fanning co-founded Snocap in 2002 to let artists sell their music through an embeddable storefront widget. At one point, the service was marketed as the exclusive way for artists to sell music on MySpace. Imeem bought Snocap last summer. But because MySpace left most aspects of Snocap out of its acquisition of imeem’s assets, all 110,000 or so of those storefronts are gone. The server that hosts them is offline and so is the Snocap website."
Biotech

Engineered Bacteria Glows To Reveal Land Mines 248

Posted by kdawson
from the lamp-unto-your-feet dept.
MikeChino writes "Sifting through minefields to remove hidden threats is a dangerous, tedious, and expensive process. Scientists at the University of Edinburgh recently announced that they have engineered a strain of bacteria that glows green in the presence of explosives, making mine detection a snap. The new strain of bacteria can be sprayed onto local affected areas or air-dropped over entire fields of mines. Within a few hours the bacteria strain begins to glow wherever traces of explosive chemicals are present."
Censorship

Microsoft Tries To Censor Bing Vulnerability 275

Posted by kdawson
from the don't-shout-and-wave-it-about dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft's Bing search engine has a vulnerability with its cash-back promotion, which impacts both merchants and customers. In traditional Microsoft fashion, the company has responded to the author of the breaking Bing cash-back exploit with a cease & desist letter, rather than by fixing the underlying security problem. It is possible for a malicious user to create fake Bing cash-back requests, resulting in not only fake cash-back costs for the merchant, but also blocking legitimate customers from receiving their cash-back from Bing. The original post is currently available in Bing's cache, although perhaps not for long. But no worries, the author makes it clear that the exploit should be painfully obvious to anyone who reads the Bing cash-back SDK."
Communications

Attorney General Says Wiretap Lawsuit Must Be Thrown Out 493

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-trust-us dept.
Mr Pink Eyes writes with news about comments from US Attorney General Eric Holder, who said a San Francisco lawsuit over warrantless wiretapping should be thrown out, since going forward would compromise "ongoing intelligence activities." From the AP report: "In making the argument, the Obama administration agreed with the Bush administration's position on the case but insists it came to the decision differently. A civil liberties group criticized the move Friday as a retreat from promises President Barack Obama made as a candidate. Holder's effort to stop the lawsuit marks the first time the administration has tried to invoke the state secrets privilege under a new policy it launched last month designed to make such a legal argument more difficult. ... Holder said US District Judge Vaughn Walker, who is handling the case, was given a classified description of why the case must be dismissed so that the court can 'conduct its own independent assessment of our claim.'"
News

LHC Successfully Cools To 1.9K In Lead-Up To Restart 177

Posted by Soulskill
from the say-your-goodbyes-folks,-the-end-is-nigh dept.
Smelly Jeffrey writes "The BBC is reporting that the LHC has had all eight of its sectors cooled to 1.9 Kelvin. Their tagline is that it is now 'colder than deep space,' referring to the CMB. LHC engineers have spent nearly $40,000,000 USD on a new system to prevent the 'quench' condition that caused the LHC to be down for warming, repairs, and re-cooling over the last year. The LHC is now cold enough to begin colliding particles in search of the Higgs Boson. High power collisions won't be started until late December, or perhaps early January. However, a low-power beam through parts of the collider could be tested as early as next week!"

Comment: Re:captain obvious (Score 1) 366

by tnnn (#29710531) Attached to: Warez Moving From BitTorrent to Conventional Hosting Services
Just keep in mind that while downloading from such a site you are not making any content "available" (which, to my understanding, is the main issue with all those copyright trials). Whether this is enough to protect yourself from any legal problems depends on laws in your country. For example, here (Poland) it is not illegal to download (and posses) copyrighted music/movies/etc. (software excluded!) so it's most likely safer to download from such a site than from p2p.

Stinginess with privileges is kindness in disguise. -- Guide to VAX/VMS Security, Sep. 1984

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