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Databases

Copyright Status of Thermodynamic Properties? 154

Posted by kdawson
from the consider-crown-copyright dept.
orzetto writes "I work at a research institute, and programming models of physical systems is what I do most of the time. One significant problem when modeling physical processes is finding thermodynamic data. There are some commercial solutions, but these can be quite expensive, and to the best of my knowledge there are no open source efforts in this direction. In my previous job, my company used NIST's Supertrapp, which is not really that expensive, but is written in Fortran, and an old-fashioned dialect at that. As a result, it is a bit difficult to integrate into other projects (praised be f2c), and the programming interface is simply horrible; worse, there are some Fortran-induced limitations such as a maximum of 20 species in a mixture. I was wondering whether it would be legal to buy a copy of such a database (they usually sell with source code, no one can read Fortran anyway); take the data, possibly reformatting it as XML; implement a new programming interface from scratch; and publish the package as free software. Thermodynamic data is not an intellectual creation but a mere measurement, which was most likely done not by the programmers but by scientists funded with our tax money. What are your experiences and opinions on the matter? For the record, I am based in Germany, so the EU database directive applies."
Linux Business

Linux Notebooks Selling Well On Amazon Germany 207

Posted by kdawson
from the next-stop-world-domination dept.
christian.einfeldt writes "The LinuxTech.net blog points out that Linux notebooks are currently selling quite well on Amazon's list in Germany. The blog includes screenshots showing the Linux Asus and Aspire notebooks in positions 2 and 4, respectively, on that list. These machines are not netbooks, but full notebooks, albeit on the moderate to low side regarding price and performance. That LinuxTech.net blog was dated 23 July 2009, and the Asus machine is still holding second place more than one day later, while the Acer machine slipped to fifth position, despite the volatile nature of Amazon bestseller lists. While these two data points are just snapshots in time, they are consistent with other data showing that Microsoft itself attributes some of its recent weak earnings to surging sales of low-end notebooks, as well as data showing that the Linux-powered and Unix-powered computers topped Amazon's sales charts in all categories for 2007. If there is to ever be a 'year of desktop (or laptop) Linux', it won't happen all at once, but will creep up in ways similar to what we are seeing now."
The Courts

How Not to Write a Cease-and-Desist Letter 235

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the love-seeing-bullies-get-bullied dept.
In our overly litigious society it seems that many companies are all too happy to fire off a cease-and-desist letter if they see something they don't like. Many times these letters end up online just causing further embarrassment for the company. One such company has decided to try scaring their targets out of this response by including a copyright notice for their cease-and-desist letter. Public Citizen has fielded one of these dumb letters and has invited them to try to assert their cease-and-desist copyright (which isn't even registered).

Comment: Also have one (Score 4, Interesting) 127

by wilburdg (#18782631) Attached to: Linux Based Nokia N800 Internet Tablet Reviewed
I gotta chime in here... I also purchased an N800 and am overall very satisfied with it. The thing is amazingly capable, especially when paired with a bluetooth keyboard. I use the Think Outside XTBTUE keyboard. The keyboard folds up to a size not much larger than the N800. I can walk around with an 802.11b/g capable, fully functional Debian based machine in my pocket, with ssh, vnc, and a keyboard that I can type on at full speed.

To be honest though, I think what really was the catalyst for my purchase was the desire to show my support for companies willing to empower and work with the opensource community, rather than against it (which is also why I purchased a SqueezeBox, another company willing to work with their opensource customers.) Check out maemo.org for a glimpse of the N800 development community.

Nokia even had a program where they allowed 500 active opensource contributors to purchase an N800 for only $99.

PS. Hear that companies? I vote with my wallet and will gladly give my money to companies that embrace opensource software.
Science

White Dolphin Functionally Extict 868

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the gone-the-way-of-the-dodo dept.
An anonymous reader writes "For the first time in nearly fifty years another mammal, specifically an aquatic mammal, has gone extinct. In this case, it was the white dolphin, also known as the Baiji, which used to live in the Yangtze River in China. The dolphin had been known to exist for the last 20 million years."
Novell

Novell CEO Gives Behind the Scenes Account of Microsoft Deal 215

Posted by samzenpus
from the and-then-what-did-he-say dept.
raffe writes "Here is a Q&A with Ron Hovsepian CEO of Novell. He describes 'a love-hate thing' between the two companies." From the article: "This past May, I picked up the phone and called Kevin Turner, the COO at Microsoft. I knew Kevin when he was the CIO at Wal-Mart. I said, "Kevin, I'd like to have a conversation about what the customer needs. If you could put back on your old hat as a customer, if I came in and started talking to you about virtualization on Linux, and this Microsoft guy showed up and started talking to you about virtualization on Windows, what would you say to us?""

10 Reasons To Buy a DSLR 657

Posted by kdawson
from the through-the-lens dept.
Kurtis writes, "If you're planning on getting a digital camera for yourself this holiday season, here's 10 reasons why you should choose a Digital Single Lens Reflex camera instead of a point-'n'-shoot. DSLR cameras are obviously not perfect for everyone. This article also has a couple of small blurbs about who shouldn't buy a DSLR, and a few things that could be deemed negative aspects of DSLR cameras."

Space Telescope Catches Monster Flare 158

Posted by kdawson
from the big-boom dept.
gollum123 writes, "NASA's Swift satellite has seen a giant flare explode from a nearby star. Our sun also flares when twisted magnetic field lines in the solar atmosphere suddenly snap — but this was on a far larger scale, perhaps 100 million times as strong. The energy released by the explosion on II Pegasi was equivalent to about 50 quintillion atomic bombs. If the Sun were ever to produce such an outburst, it would almost certainly cause a mass extinction on Earth. II Pegasi is a binary system 135 light-years from Earth in the constellation Pegasus. Its two stars are close, only a few stellar radii apart; as a result, tidal forces cause both stars to spin quickly, rotating in lockstep once in seven days compared to the Sun's 28-day rotation period. Fast rotation is thought to be conducive to strong stellar flares."

IT Worker Shortages Everywhere 480

Posted by kdawson
from the when-i-grow-up-i-wanna-write-programs dept.
Vicissidude writes with news from the IT front in India: "The software industry body Nasscom has warned that India faces a shortfall of half a million skilled workers by 2010. The country will need 350,000 engineers a year, but no more than 150,000 of the most highly skilled engineers will be available each year." This shortfall is fueling a new development, the exporting of Indian tech jobs to the US. But will there be workers in the US to do those jobs? Reader Jadeite2 writes with a word from Bill Gates, speaking to a business forum in Moscow, who said: "There is a shortage of IT skills on a worldwide basis. Anybody who can get those skills here now will have a lot of opportunity."

Aggressive Botnet Activities Behind Spam Increase 194

Posted by kdawson
from the spam-i-am dept.
An anonymous reader writes, "A spam-sending Trojan dubbed 'SpamThru' is responsible for a vast amount of the recent botnet activity which has significantly increased spam levels to almost three out of every four emails. The developers of SpamThru employed numerous tactics to thwart detection and enhance outreach, such as releasing new strains of the Trojan at regular intervals in order to confuse traditional anti-virus signatures detection." According to MessageLabs (PDF), another contributor to the recent spam increase is a trojan dropper called "Warezov."

Voting Machine Glitches Already Being Reported 742

Posted by Zonk
from the go-vote dept.
Neovanglist writes "CNN, FOX, and MSNBC are reporting that voting machines in three states (Ohio, Indiana, and Florida) have already been showing issues, both in the machines themselves and in the training of poll attendants, causing many districts to switch to paper ballots." From the article: "Voters put the Republican congressional majority and a multitude of new voting equipment to the test Tuesday in an election that defined the balance of power for the rest of George W. Bush's presidency. Both parties hustled to get their supporters out in high-stakes contests across the country, Democrats appealing one more time for change, and appearing confident the mood was on their side. Republicans conceded nothing as their vaunted get-out-the-vote machine swung into motion." If you're in the U.S., and you haven't voted already, go do it!

Automatic Image Tagging 123

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the on-the-horizon dept.
bignickel writes "Researchers at Penn State have applied for a patent on software that automatically recognizes objects in photos and tags them accordingly. The 'Automatic Linguistic Indexing of Pictures Real-Time' software (catchy name) trained a database using tens of thousands of images, and new images have 15 tags suggested based on comparisons with objects or concepts in the database. Not sure how you identify a 'concept,' and they're only talking about having one correct tag in the top 15, but still cool."

If Machiavelli were a hacker, he'd have worked for the CSSG. -- Phil Lapsley

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