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Music

RIAA Denies Hypocrisy in Royalties Dustup 85

Hairless ape writes "The RIAA is reacting to a story pointing out the group's hypocrisy in its attempts to have songwriter royalties lowered. The issue stems from attempts to get webcasters to pay fixed royalty rates. 'In short, the contention was that the RIAA wanted to pay a percentage of its revenue to songwriters as its profits have fallen, but pushed for a fixed per-stream when it came to earning money from webcasters.' The RIAA says that's not so, and that SoundExchange offered a similar model to webcasters. Either way, the rates sought by the two groups would have bankrupted many webcasters. 'Now you know; it wasn't about hypocrisy, but one of the seven deadly sins may still have been involved.'"

Endeavour Crew to Assemble Giant Robot, in Space 147

Frizzled writes "Part of the space shuttle crew's scheduled mission for this week is to assemble a massive robot which will 'rise like Frankenstein' from the shuttle's cargo bay. The robot, named Dextre, has 11-foot arms, a shoulder span of nearly 8 feet, a height of 12 feet, and was built by the Canadian Space Agency. 'Dextre can pivot at the waist, and has seven joints per arm. Its hands, or grippers, have built-in socket wrenches, cameras and lights. Only one arm is designed to move at a time to keep the robot stable and avoid a two-arm collision. The robot has no face or legs, and with its long arms certainly doesn't look human.'"
Google

Google Pulls Map Images At Pentagon's Request 217

Stony Stevenson alerts us to a little mixup in which a Google Street View crew requested and was granted access to a US military base. Images from inside the base (which was not identified in press reports) showed up online, and the Pentagon requested that they be pulled. Google complied within 24 hours. The military has now issued a blanket order to deny such photography requests in the future; for its part Google says the filming crew should never have asked.
Role Playing (Games)

D&D Co-Creator Gary Gygax Has Passed Away 512

Mearlus writes "In the recent past co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons Gary Gygax has worked with Troll Lord Games, a small tabletop RPG publisher. Their forums have up a post noting that Mr. Gygax has apparently passed away. Gygax was known, along with Dave Arneson, as the Father of Roleplaying." Saddened reactions from well-known designers have already begun to appear online. Consider this is an in-memoriam Ask Slashdot question: How has D&D (and tabletop roleplaying) touched/improved your life? Update: 03/04 23:16 GMT by Z : With more time, official announcements have had time to appear. Many sites are featuring posts on Gygax's impact on gaming, including touching entries on Salon and CNet.

Reznor Follows Radiohead, Offers Free Album 327

An anonymous reader writes "Convinced the current music business infrastructure (requiring artists to rely on labels) is broken, Nine Inch Nails front man, Trent Reznor, released his band's new album, Ghosts I — IV (Ghosts Volumes One though Four), on Sunday at 6 PM via his official site, marking yet another business experiment for this artist in the changing music market."
Communications

Teen Phone Phreak Targeted by the FBI 431

Wired has an interesting editorial on the latest resurgence of the old days of phone phreaking and the latest phreak that is rising into the FBI crosshairs. The most recent hoax, "swatting", involves malicious pranksters calling police with reports of fake murders, hostage crises, or the like and spoofing the call to appear as though it was from another location. "Now the FBI thinks it has identified the culprit in the Colorado swatting as a 17-year-old East Boston phone phreak known as "Li'l Hacker." Because he's underage, Wired.com is not reporting Li'l Hacker's last name. His first name is Matthew, and he poses a unique challenge to the federal justice system, because he is blind from birth. If he's guilty, the attack is at once the least sophisticated and most malicious of a string of capers linked to Matt, who stumbled into the lingering remains of the decades-old subculture of phone phreaking when he was 14, and quickly rose to become one of the most skilled active phreakers alive."
The Internet

Proposed Bill in Tennessee Penalizes Schools for Allowing Piracy 129

An anonymous reader brings us an Ars Technica report about a proposed bill in Tennessee which would require state-funded universities to enforce anti-piracy standards. The universities would be forced to "track down and stop infringing activity" or risk losing their funding. The U.S. Congress requested last year that certain universities do this voluntarily. Quoting: "Efforts taken by universities thus far to deter and prevent piracy have had mixed results. The University of Utah, for instance, claims that it has reduced MPAA and RIAA complaints by 90 percent and saved $1.2 million in bandwidth costs by instituting anti-piracy filtering mechanisms. However, the school revealed that their filtering system hasn't been able to stop encrypted P2P traffic and noted that students will find ways to circumvent any system. The end result, some say, will be a costly arms race as students perpetually work to circumvent anti-piracy systems put in place by universities."
Censorship

EU Views Net Censorship As a "Trade Barrier" 245

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "The European Parliament just passed a proposal to treat internet censorship as a trade barrier, in particular the 'Great Firewall of China.' If passed by the European Council, the issue would be raised in trade negotiations and could lead to economic sanctions and trade restrictions for those countries unwilling to remove oppressive Net censorship." We have discussed some of the ways in which the EU, and its member countries, engage in their own brand of censorship.
Security

Researchers Expose New Credit Card Fraud Risk 219

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers from the University of Cambridge have discovered flaws in the card payment systems used by millions of customers worldwide. Ross Anderson, Saar Drimer, and Steven Murdoch demonstrated how a simple paper clip can be used to capture account numbers and PINs from so-called 'tamper-proof' equipment. In their paper (PDF), they warn how with a little technical skill and off-the-shelf electronics, fraudsters could empty customers' accounts. British television featured a demonstration of the attack on BBC Newsnight."
Software

FreeBSD 7.0 Release Now Available 229

cperciva writes "The first release from the new 7-STABLE branch of FreeBSD development, has been released. FreeBSD 7.0 brings with it many new features including support for ZFS, journaled filesystems, and SCTP, as well as dramatic improvements in performance and SMP scalability. In addition to being available from many FTP sites, ISO images can be downloaded via the BitTorrent tracker, or for users of earlier FreeBSD releases, FreeBSD Update can be used to perform a binary upgrade."

Microsoft Trying To Appeal to the Unix Crowd? 468

DigDuality writes "With the news that Windows 2008 (recently discussed on Slashdot) will have GUI-less installs and be fully scriptable, that they've opened up their communication protocols for non-commercial usage and are providing a patent covenant (Redhat Responds), and now finally an interesting rumor floating around that Microsoft will be taking on GNU directly. Has Microsoft totally switched gears in how it is approaching the Unix and FOSS sector for direct competition? According to an anonymous email leaked from a Microsoft employee, it seems Microsoft will be developing a framework that will be completely GNU compatible. Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, said on Friday (23 February) that they are aiming to restore a Unix-like environment to its former proprietary glory, at the same time proving that Microsoft is committed to interoperability. Ballmer emphasized that Microsoft's new strategy is to provide users with a complete package, and this includes users who like Unix environments. According to the supposedly leaked email, UNG, which stands for UNG's not GNU, is set to be released late 2009."
Earth

Encyclopedia of Life Launches First 30,000 Pages 87

An anonymous reader writes to let us know that the Encyclopedia of Life opened up to the public today with its first 30,000 pages in place — and, according to the AP, promptly crumbled even before being Slashdotted. (The site seems fine now.) We discussed this project last year when it was announced. The Telegraph has an overview of the launch, and reports that only 25 "exemplar" pages on the site are fully fleshed out to the extent scientists hope eventually to attain for all species; the other few tens of thousands are expanded placeholders. The project hopes to begin taking input from citizen-scientists late this year.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Gaffes That Keep IT Geeks From the Boardroom 652

buzzardsbay writes "Yes, it's all in good fun to point out the mismatched belt and shoes and the atrocious hairstyles, but honestly, I'm committing three of these errors right now! Is that why I can't get a key to the executive washroom? Or is it my rebellious attitude and pungent man-scent that's keeping me down? The shocker in here was pigtails on women... I love pigtails on women!"
Software

What's New In FreeBSD 7.0 103

blackbearnh writes "FreeBSD is about to release the much-anticipated version 7, and as usual there's a comprehensive interview with over two dozen of the major contributors over at O'Reilly's ONLamp site. Federico Biancuzzi interviewed the developers to discuss all the details of FreeBSD 7.0: networking and SMP performance, SCTP support, the new IPSEC stack, virtualization, monitoring frameworks, ports, storage limits and a new journaling facility, what changed in the accounting file format, jemalloc(), ULE, and more."
The Courts

RIAA Expert Witness Called "Borderline Incompetent" 170

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Prof. Johan Pouwelse of Delft University — one of the world's foremost experts on the science of P2P file sharing and the very same Prof. Pouwelse who stopped the RIAA's Netherlands counterpart in its tracks back in 2005 — has submitted an expert witness report characterizing the work of the RIAA's expert, Dr. Doug Jacobson, as 'borderline incompetence.' The report (PDF), filed in UMG v. Lindor, pointed out, among other things, that the steps needed to be taken in a copyright infringement investigation were not taken, that Jacobson's work lacked 'in-depth analysis' and 'proper scientific scrutiny,' that Jacobson's reports were 'factually erroneous,' and that they were contradicted by his own deposition testimony. This is the first expert witness report of which we are aware since the Free Software Foundation announced that it would be coming to the aid of RIAA defendants."

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