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Social Networks

Submission + - Video to Grandmother

uid7306m writes: "We have elderly parents who live a long way off. However, my technological radar tells me that it's possible to set up a 24/7 video link between our kitchen and theirs. It'd be good for our kids and good for the parents, and we can now get pretty cheap nearly unlimited broadband connections at this end (UK).

What's the best way to do it? Has anyone tried it? On the far end, it ought to have, in Dilbert's(TM) immortal words "One big button on it, and we push it for you in the factory.""
PC Games (Games)

Submission + - Game developer asks to hear from pirates ( 1

cliffski writes: "Indie game developer Cliff Harris has long waged war against games piracy, but has issued a call to pirates to tell him why he is wrong. Assuming that developers are missing out on potential sales from disgruntled pirates, Cliff wants to hear specifically from people who have pirated his games. Not to criticize or lecture them, but to answer a simple question. Why? The reasons people give for copyright infringement/piracy are many and varied, but much of the debate has centred around music and movies, with big 'Triple-A' games an occasional consideration. With specific application to the world of small budget 'indie' games like those cliff makes, he wants to know the thought processes behind people pirating the games. What puts people off buying? is it quality, cost, DRM, ease of access? Is there anything that can be done to convert those people to buyers? Why many pirates often make good general points about the reasons for the widespread pirating of PC games, it's unusual to get a chance to address specific developers with specific reasons. If you knew 100% that the developer would read your email explaining why you pirated their game, what would you say?"

Submission + - Flat Earth True Believers: Real or Hoax? (

TFGeditor writes: In the 21st Century, the term "flat-earther" is used to describe someone who is spectacularly — and seemingly wilfully — ignorant. But there is a group of people who claim they believe the planet really is flat. Are they really out there or is it all an elaborate prank? Nasa is celebrating its 50th birthday with much fanfare and pictures of past glories. But in half a century of extraordinary images of space, one stands out. On 24 December 1968, the crew of the Apollo 8 mission took a photo now known as Earthrise. To many, this beautiful blue sphere viewed from the moon's orbit is a perfect visual summary of why it is right to strive to go into space. Not to everybody though. There are people who say they think this image is fake — part of a worldwide conspiracy by space agencies, governments and scientists. Welcome to the world of the flat-earther.
The Internet

Submission + - Wikileaks has a posse! (

souls writes: "Seems like the forces to protect freedom-of-speech in the groundsetting case have spoken: Henry Weinstein at LA Times reports that a coalition of media and public interest organizations today urged judge Jeffrey White to rescind the shutdown of, which presents "restraint on free speech that violated the First Amendment", and is generally considered to become a representative case for free online speech.
The dirty dozen organizations fighting for your voice and mine include the EFF, the ACLU, The Times, AP, Gannett, Hearst, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. Lets hope that is enough muscle strength to stop a judge running wild in favor of a bunch of offshore bankers!

Meanwhile wikileaks is still going strong via all available other domains, and is currently organizing support and donations."


Submission + - Hotmail down ( 2

An anonymous reader writes: It seems that the hotmail servers are down world wide. Some people are also claiming MSN is down as well as major slowdowns on all the Microsoft websites. One person is even saying msn messenger is down including on his mobile service.
Linux Business

Submission + - Torvalds on where Linux is headed in 2008

Stony Stevenson writes: In this new interview, Linus Torvalds is excited about solid-state drives, expects progress in graphics and wireless networking, and says the operating system is strong in virtualisation despite his personal lack of interest in the area.

From the article: "To get some perspective on what lies ahead in 2008, we caught up with Linus Torvalds via email. His responses touched on the Linux development process, upcoming features, and whether he's concerned about potential patent litigation."

Torvalds on Linux biggest strength: "When you buy an OS from Microsoft, not only you can't fix it, but it has had years of being skewed by one single entity's sense of the market. It doesn't matter how competent Microsoft — or any individual company — is, it's going to reflect that fact. In contrast, look at where Linux is used. Everything from cellphones and other small embedded computers that people wouldn't even think of as computers, to the bulk of the biggest machines on the supercomputer Top-500 list. That is flexibility. And it stems directly from the fact that anybody who is interested can participate in the development, and no single entity ends up being in control of where it all goes.
First Person Shooters (Games)

Submission + - COD 4 price doubles on Steam for Australian gamers (

ginji writes: Activision has made Valve increase the price of Call of Duty 4 on Steam for Australian customers from USD49.95 (The same price US customers get it for) to USD88.50 saying that the original price was a mistake and it was supposed to be this the entire time.

For exactly the same content, delivered by exactly the same servers, at exactly the same cost to Activision, this price rise seems to be purely to make more money off the game through increased sales in brick and mortar stores, and those that are now stupid enough to buy it on Steam. The new price when converted into AUD, is above the recommended retail price of the physical media, and you don't get the manual or an actual DVD.


Submission + - Comcast targets unlicensed anime torrents ( 3

SailorSpork writes: "According to the linked thread on the forums of AnimeSuki, a popular anime bittorent index site, Comcast has begun sending DCMA letters to customers downloading unlicensed (meaning that no english language company has the rights to) fan-subtitled anime shows via bittorrent. The letters are claiming that the copyright holder or an authorized agent are making the infringement claims, though usually these requests are also sent to the site itself rather that individual downloaders.

My question is have they really been in contact with Japanese anime companies, or is this another scare tactic by Comcast to try and reduce the bandwidth use of their heavier customers now that their previous tactics have come under legal fire?"


Submission + - GIMP 2.4 Released 3

Enselic writes: After almost three years since the release of GIMP 2.2, the GIMP developers have just announced the release of GIMP 2.4.

The release notes speaks of scalable bitmap brushes, redesigned rectangle/ellipse selection tools, redesigned crop tool, a new foreground selection tool, a new align tool, reorganized menu layouts, improved zoomed in/zoomed out image display quality, improved priting and color management support and a new perspective clone tool.
Operating Systems

Submission + - 2.6.24-rc1 Adds Up to Be Biggest Ever (

eldavojohn writes: "The latest release candidate of the Linux kernel is massive. One reader pointed out it is 1,565,010 lines of code & Linus Torvalds noted, "In short, we just had an unusually large amount of not just x86 merges, but also tons of new drivers (wireless networking stands out, but is by no means the only thing — we've got dvb, regular wired network, mmc etc all joining in), and a fair amount or architecture stuff, filesystems, networking etc too." Well, hopefully all these improvements — especially the wireless improvements — bring the Linux kernel one step closer to the general public."

Submission + - Italian government draft law for Web-censorship ( 1

feanor981 writes: Italian government, led by a leftist coalition, proposed a draft law (complete text here, in italian) that would virtually enable complete censorship of every web site and blog, also non-commercial one, by means of heavy bureaucratic requirements on every content published to the Web.

The law proposal suspiciously comes after harsh criticism received by italian political establishment in a mass-protest laid out in Italy in September, 8 called "V-Day", entirely organized through the web by cyber-activists.

Mass media, mainly controlled or influenced by italian political leaders (RAI, the state television controlled by the government, has about 50% share, while about the other half is held by Mediaset, property of past-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, leaving just breadcrumbs to third-party tvs), are silently ignoring the law draft without reporting anything about it.

Read the whole story here (in english).

Media (Apple)

Submission + - Apple iPhone contains hazardous chemicals

Stony Stevenson writes: The environmental advocacy group Greenpeace says Apple's new iPhone contains a number of hazardous chemicals that could become significant pollutants.

"Apple is not making early progress toward its 2008 commitment to phase out all uses of these materials, even in entirely new product lines," Greenpeace said in a report published Monday. The group said the iPhone, which Apple introduced earlier this year amid considerable hype, contains chlorinated plastic polyvinyl chloride and "brominated flame retardants" that can be harmful to the environment.

Submission + - Schools Placing at 99th Percentile for Cheating 3

theodp writes: "Time reports that sometimes No-Child-Left-Behind really means No-Test-Scores-Left-Behind, creating opportunities for data forensics firms like Caveon (check out their Ten Most Wanted Cheaters poster). Take Houston's Forest Brook H.S., which was a shining example of school reform. In 2005, after years of rock-bottom test scores, 95% of its 11th graders passed the state science test. Teachers were praised and the school was awarded a $165,000 grant by the governor. But an investigation found a host of irregularities and last year's testing was monitored by an outside agency. Test scores plunged and only 39% passed science."

Submission + - In Microsoft Patent Application, Lion Tames You! 1

theodp writes: "Remember how the press gushed over Bill Gates' plans for a spam-less future? Well, some of the details are on display in Microsoft's recently published patent application for Order-Based Human Interactive Proofs (HIPS), and the annoying little puzzles that are the CAPTCHAs of the future may leave you less than wowed. For example, take Microsoft's exemplary maze (please!), which you may be asked to navigate while avoiding things that are dangerous — such as a lion and a canon — to prove you're Human and worthy of e-mail access (path D-A-F-O-B-H-K should be your final answer!)."

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.