Nerval's Lobster writes "The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) plans on replacing its existing stock of BlackBerry devices with Apple's iPhone 5. Research In Motion's BlackBerry smartphones, the government entity wrote in a Nov. 13 notice of intent, 'have been failing both at inopportune times and at an unacceptable rate.' The NTSB's use of iPads means it has the operational support for iOS; consequently, the decision was made to go with Apple. 'The iPhone 5 has been determined to be the only device that meets the dual requirement of availability from the existing wireless vendor and is currently supportable by existing staff resources,' the notice added. RIM is fighting to retain the government and enterprise contracts that originally made it such a mobile powerhouse. If agencies and boards such as the NTSB begin to embrace alternative platforms, however, that could critically weaken RIM's business model just as the company attempts a comeback behind the upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform."
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An anonymous reader writes "Back in September, a U.S. judge ruled that a school district violated the First Amendment (freedom of speech) and Fourth Amendment (unreasonable search and seizure) rights of a 12-year-old student by forcing her to hand over her Facebook password to school officials who in turn used it to search for messages they deemed inappropriate. This month, another U.S. judge has ordered that women suing their employer for sexual harassment must hand over cell phones, passwords to their email accounts, blogs, as well as to Facebook and other social networks."
judgecorp writes "Amazon.com could lose the .amazon domain, as Brazil and Peru have disputed the retailer's application to ICANN, backed by other South American governments, who want to protect use of that domain for 'purposes of public interest related to the protection, promotion, and awareness raising on issues related to the Amazon biome.'"
An anonymous reader writes with news that hardware vendors aren't too happy about expanded levies on media. From the article: "Hewlett-Packard, Acer, Dell, and Imation are suing the Dutch government over new levies on hard disks, smartphones, tablets, and MP3 players that are meant to compensate the music and movie industries for losses caused by home copying. The entertainment industry estimates lost income of €40 million, which is much too high, according to the hardware companies. 'That amount is excessive and completely unfounded,' they said. The €40 million also incorporates damages for illegally downloaded music and movies which, according to the companies, legally cannot be recovered by a levy on devices. Furthermore the Dutch government established a levy on all devices including devices for professional use that are not used for private copying, they said."
SternisheFan writes with news of a creepy mannequin that watches you as you shop. From the article: "Benetton Group SpA is among fashion brands deploying mannequins equipped with technology used to identify criminals at airports to watch over shoppers in their stores. Retailers are introducing the EyeSee ... The 4,000-euro ($5,072) device has spurred shops to adjust window displays, store layouts and promotions to keep consumers walking in the door and spending. The EyeSee looks ordinary enough on the outside ... Inside, it's no dummy. A camera embedded in one eye feeds data into facial-recognition software like that used by police. It logs the age, gender, and race of passers-by. Demand for the device shows how retailers are turning to technology to help personalize their offers as growth slows in the $245 billion luxury goods industry. Bain & Co. predicts the luxury market will expand 5 percent in 2012, less than half last year's rate. 'It's a changing landscape but we're always going to be sensitive about respecting the customer's boundaries,' said spokesman Colin Johnson. ... Since the EyeSee doesn't store any images, retailers can use it as long as they have a closed-circuit television license."
MrSeb writes "In an amusing twist that undoubtedly spells the end of some hapless manager's career, Microsoft has accidentally gifted pirates with a free, fully-functioning Windows 8 license key. As you have probably surmised, this isn't intentional — Microsoft hasn't suddenly decided to give pirates an early Christmas present (though the $40 upgrade deal from Windows 8 Release Preview is something of a pirate amnesty). ... The bug involves the Key Management Service, which is part of Microsoft's Volume Licensing system. Pirates have already hacked the KMS to activate Windows 8 for 180 days — but this is just a partial activation. Now it turns out that the free Media Center Pack license keys that Microsoft is giving out until January 31 2013 can be used on a KMS-activated copy of Windows 8 to turn it into a fully licensed copy of Windows 8 Pro. "
Dupple writes "Following on from a world bank report of 4 degree C warmer world comes this story from the BBC. 'The effects of climate change are already evident in Europe and the situation is set to get worse, the European Environment Agency has warned. "Every indicator we have in terms of giving us an early warning of climate change and increasing vulnerability is giving us a very strong signal," observed EEA executive director Jacqueline McGlade.'" Here's the report in question. There also comes news we've hit record levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
New submitter zzats writes "The Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Jolla, started by ex-Nokia Meego engineers, is showing it's Linux-based Sailfish OS for the public for the first time today. The first keynote speech aired at 9:15 GMT, with an UI-focused presentation starting later, 15:00 GMT. In addition to using the OS on their own devices, Jolla is planning to license it to third party manufacturers. The company has previously stated their initial focus for creating an ecosystem is in the Chinese market." sfcrazy adds: "Jolla has signed a deal with Finland's 3rd largest mobile operator DNA to market the MeeGo based smartphones in the Finnish market."
An anonymous reader writes "3D Systems, one of the big fish in 3D printer manufacturing, filed a suit against Formlabs's hugely popular Form1 printer put forth on Kickstarter. The crowdfunding effort has amassed close to 3M US Dollars, of an initial 100K requested. 3D Systems accuses Formlabs and Kickstarter of knowingly infringing one of its still valid blanket patents on stereolithography and cross-sectional printing of 3D objects. The company is probably going to go for the kill, as one can deduce from the demands on their complaint." In "The State of Community Fabrication" presentation at HOPE9, Far McKon noted that no one had yet filed a patent lawsuit against a 3D printing company, but it looks like his fears have come true.
Hugh Pickens writes "A recent assessment by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, based on random roadside checks, found that 16.3% of all drivers nationwide at night were on various legal and illegal impairing drugs, half them high on marijuana. Now AP reports that with marijuana soon legal under state laws in Washington and Colorado, setting a standard comparable to blood-alcohol limits has sparked intense disagreement. Unlike portable breath tests for alcohol, there's no easily available way to determine whether someone is impaired from recent pot use. If scientists can't tell someone how much marijuana it will take for him or her to test over the threshold, how is the average pot user supposed to know? 'We've had decades of studies and experience with alcohol,' says Washington State Patrol spokesman Dan Coon. 'Marijuana is new, so it's going to take some time to figure out how the courts and prosecutors are going to handle it.' Driving within three hours of smoking pot is associated with a near doubling of the risk of fatal crashes. However, THC can remain in blood and saliva for highly variable times after the last use of the drug. Although the marijuana 'high' only lasts three to five hours, studies of heavy users in a locked hospital ward showed THC can be detected in the blood up to a week after they are abstinent, and the outer limit of detection time in saliva tests is not known. 'A lot of effort has gone into the study of drugged driving and marijuana, because that is the most prevalent drug, but we are not nearly to the point where we are with alcohol,' says Jeffrey P. Michael, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's impaired-driving director. 'We don't know what level of marijuana impairs a driver.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Last week, Nate Silver ranked Google Consumer Surveys as one of the most accurate polling firms of the 2012 US election. This week, Google has released the raw data that went into its election-day prediction, and is running a contest for interesting visualizations of that data. They provide a few examples of their own, including a WebGL globe view."
hypnosec writes "The Linux Foundation's plans for releasing a signed pre-bootloader that will enable users to install Linux alongside Windows 8 systems with UEFI have been reportedly delayed. The Foundation proposed a signed pre-bootloader that will chain-load a bootloader which, in turn, will boot the desired operating system, thus keeping Linux installations for novice users as simple as it was before. Further, this particular component is meant for small-time Linux distros which otherwise wouldn't have the required expertise or resources to develop their own system to tackle the secure boot issue. This was going as per plans up until Linux kernel maintainer James Bottomley disclosed that he has been having rather bizarre experiences with Microsoft sysdev centre. Bottomley said, 'The first time I sent the loader through, it got stuck (it still is, actually). So I sent another one through after a week or so. That actually produced a download, which I've verified is signed (by the MS UEFI key) and works, but now the Microsoft sysdev people claim it was "improperly" signed and we have to wait for them to sort it out. I've pulled the binary apart, and I think the problem is that it's not signed with a LF [Linux Foundation] specific key, it's signed by a generic one rooted in the UEFI key. I'm not sure how long it will take MS to get their act together but I'm hoping its only a few days." Update: 11/21 14:22 GMT by U L : See the Original weblog post, and one interesting tidbit: Microsoft banned bootloaders licensed under the GPLv3 and "similar open source licenses."
BeatTheChip writes "Lawyers representing Andrea Hernandez, a science and engineering student at John Jay High School, are fighting an expulsion notice issued a week ago for refusing to wear a Smart ID badge. To represent her, lawyers filed a preliminary court injunction, seeking legal restraints on the school. She maintains stance of refusal to wear any badge containing an RFID tag for reasons of basic privacy and conflicts with her belief system. The controversial decision for her school to adopt the NFC badges is part of the Student Locator Project, tracking attendance. Local schools started issuing the lanyard badges this fall despite parental outcry at NISD school board meetings."
New submitter medge_42 sends words that Linux Mint 14 has been released. Check out their list of features and release notes to see what's new. One version uses MATE 1.4, which includes some long-needed bug fixes as well as functional bluetooth and mate-keyring, its own character map, fast alt-tabbing, and improvements to Caja. The other version uses Cinnamon 1.6, which contains a huge number of fixes and new features including its own file browser, persistent workspaces and a window quicklist to go with them, a notifications applet, an improved sound applet, and alt-tab graphical improvements. MDM now supports legacy GDM 2 themes and userlists, and has improved user switching. Gedit 2.30 has replaced Gedit 3, and MintStick replaces USB-ImageWriter.