dotancohen writes: "Today there was yet another policy update on Paypal. There is no diff file, and the policies are all in lawyerese. My bank had a similar policy update recently, as has my domain registrar. Is there any corpus, legal or otherwise, who regulates or at least elaborates on these? Is there a legal forum to discuss these changes? How does the little citizen keep up?"
dotancohen writes: "fter nearly a year of trying to reestablish communications with the Spirit Mars rover, NASA has decided to suspend efforts. Communications channels used to contact the vehicle (redesignated from "rover" to "spot" when it got stuck in a sand trap) will be used to develop a communications base wit hthe next Mars rover: the ambitious Mars Science Laboratory."
dotancohen writes: "Sharing users between Fedora and Debian-based distros just got a little easier. Beginning with Fedora 16, the Red-Hat based distro will number it's human user UIDs starting from 1000, as opposed to the old 500. Though this change is intended to facilitate interoperability with other distros, it risks breaking backward compatibility with older Fedora releases including the newly released Fedora 15."
dotancohen writes: In the wake of a 12-year battle to keep Monsanto's GE crops from contaminating 25,000 organic farms and ranches, America's organic consumers and producers are facing betrayal. A self-appointed cabal of the Organic Elite, spearheaded by Whole Foods Market, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farm, has decided it's time to surrender to Monsanto. "The policy set for GE alfalfa will most likely guide policies for other GE crops as well. True coexistence is a must."
dotancohen writes: It seems that everything that I used to do with Paypal is gone, and nobody has found a good alternative yet. This month I tried donating to Anki (but Paypal is no longer serving Japan for donations) and Virtual Identity (which stopped accepting Paypal due to the Wikileaks incident). The authors of both software are looking for alternatives. What can we recommend to them? What reliable and inexpensive money-transfer services exist today? What do you use?
dotancohen writes: Oracle today announced the release of VirtualBox 4.0, only two weeks after the first 4.0 beta. It seems snappy, and has lots of features, despite controversy over which components are open source and which aren't. Oracle seems to be doing all right with their Sun acquisitions!
dotancohen writes: This morning all Lifehacker and other Gawker Media posters got an email: We've been hacked! Read the official "we store passwords in plaintext" excuse here and use this tool to check if your own username and password were compromised.
Oh nos, I use the same username/password combo here at./! Maybe this is a hacker posting as me?
dotancohen writes: As my hands wear I find that I need an ergonomic (split) keyboard. It seems that 98% of the available ergonomics are either crippled with dome-switches or have unusual designs which place many critical keys under the thumbs (I cannot use my right thumb). The one normal-appearing contender, the Northgate Ergonomic Evolution, seems to be noisier than even the Model M, in fact it echoes! Programmers and hobbyists geeky enough to be here today, what do you type on?
dotancohen writes: The Cryogenic Underground Observatory for Rare Events is looking for neutrinoless double-beta decay. However, even the minute amount of radioactivity in the lead used to shield the experiment is enough to introduce error into the experiments. That's why a 2000 year old shipwreck's lead cargo is so valuable to CUORE that they financed the vessel's salvage. With all the radioactive isotope lead-210 depleted, the ancient lead may provide both adequate shielding from external radiation and not introduce it's own.
dotancohen writes: Now that Oracle is reigning in Sun's business potential, the once-free-as-in-beer ODF Plug-in for Microsoft Office is now $90. Oh, and it upsells a support contract and a Media Pack!
dotancohen writes: Should open source projects have any responsibility or commitment towards their users? Although FOSS projects certainly have no financial or legal responsibility to their users, is there a moral responsibility when users build their businesses and lifestyles around the software? What if the user invests his time filing and triaging bugs? What if the user contributes art, documentation, or helps other users in community forums and mailing lists?
What weight or arguments does a business have that, for instance, may have standardized on a project such as KDE-PIM and must suffer through releases with reduced functionality as the KDE4 growing pains affect that project? Must businesses that demand stable, mature software rely only on proprietary software and support contracts?
dotancohen writes: It appears that an Iranian nuclear power plant will be operational in about two month's time. Just in time for the Iranian New Year. As an Israeli, I am both happy for Iran that they are achieving energy independence (they can hardly refine their own oil), yet frightened by the threat of a nuclear-armed country who has repeatedly stated that we will be "wiped from the pages of time". Does the tinfoil hat go under or over the ABN mask?
dotancohen writes: I am performing research on email address harvesting patterns, especially from illegitimate websites. My biggest challenge was a surprising lack of places to sign up for spam! Assuming one _wants_ to receive illegal spam, how would one do it? To which websites must I provide an email address to be sent to the harvesters? I am using purpose-registered accounts at major webmail providers for the purpose.