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Communications

Tens of Thousands Protest In Cairo, Twitter Blocked 167

Haffner writes "Protests in Cairo, Egypt have now reached the tens of thousands. Police have deployed water cannons and tear gas. I am writing this live from Cairo, where I witnessed a throng of 1000-3000 march towards Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo. I also witnessed 300-500 protesting on one of the bridges heading downtown. Most importantly, twitter has been blocked by many national carriers." Why Twitter? As reader pinkushun writes "Using Twitter and Facebook, the people instigated a series of fast-moving, rapidly shifting demos across half a dozen or more Egyptian cities. The police could not keep up – and predictably, resorted to violence. Sadly this has led to three known deaths thus far." Update: 01/26 02:05 GMT by T : Jake Appelbaum is tweeting up a storm about the state of the active filters.
Advertising

Your Face Will Soon Be In Facebook Ads 344

jfruhlinger writes "If you're planning on checking into Starbucks using Facebook Places, your friends may soon see your profile picture in a Facebook ad for Starbucks — and, it goes without saying, you won't be paid a dime. You can't opt out, unless, as Dan Tynan puts it, "studiously avoid clicking "Like" or checking into any place that has a six- or seven-figure ad budget." The ad will also include whatever text you use in your checkin, so Tynan suggests some judicious pranksterism ("Just checked into the Starbucks around the corner and this doppio mocha latte tastes like goat urine")."
The Internet

Two-Thirds of US Internet Users Lack Fast Broadband 402

jbrodkin writes "Two-thirds of US Internet connections are slower than 5 Mbps, putting the United States well behind speed leaders like South Korea, where penetration of so-called 'high broadband connectivity' is double the rate experienced in the United States. The United States places ninth in the world in access to high broadband connectivity, at 34% of users, including 27% of connections reaching 5 Mbps to 10 Mbps and 7% reaching above 10 Mbps, Akamai says in its latest State of the Internet Report. That's an improvement since a year ago, when the United States was in 12th place with only 24% of users accessing fast connections. But the United States is still dwarfed by South Korea, where 72% of Internet connections are greater than 5 Mbps, and Japan, which is at 60%. The numbers illustrate the gap between expectation and reality for US broadband users, which has fueled the creation of a government initiative to improve access. The US government broadband initiative says 100 million Americans lack any broadband access, and that faster Internet access is needed in the medical industry, schools, energy grid and public safety networks."
Television

Japanese Supreme Court Rules TV Forwarding Illegal 177

eldavojohn writes "If you use anything like a Slingbox in Japan, you may be dismayed to find out that a Japanese maker of a similar service has been successfully sued by Japan Broadcasting Corp. and five Tokyo-based local TV broadcasting firms under copyright violations for empowering users to do similar things. TV forwarding or place shifting is recording and/or moving your normal TV signal from its intended living room box to your home computer or anywhere on the internet. Turns out that Japan's Supreme Court overruled lower court decisions confirming fears that to even facilitate this functionality is a copyright infringement on the work that is being transferred."
Australia

Laser Incidents With Aircraft On the Rise 546

EqualSlash writes "High-power laser pointers available for cheap are increasingly finding abuse as the ultimate long-distance weapons of pranksters and vandals. The Federal Aviation Administration says laser events aimed on planes have nearly doubled in the last year, leaping from 1,527 in 2009 to 2,836 in 2010. The highest number of incidents was reported at Los Angeles International Airport, which recorded 102 in 2010. Lasers pointed at cockpits can temporarily blind pilots, forcing them to give up control of an aircraft to their co-pilot or abort a take-off/landing. In March of 2008, unidentified individuals wielding four green laser pointers launched a coordinated attack on six incoming planes at Sydney Airport, which resulted in a ban on all laser pointers in the state of New South Wales."
Censorship

Comics Code Dead 316

tverbeek writes "After more than half a century of stifling the comic book industry, the Comics Code Authority is effectively dead. Created in response to Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent, one of the early think-of-the-children censorship campaigns, and Congressional hearings, the Code laid out a checklist of requirements and restrictions for comics to be distributed to newsstand vendors, effectively ensuring that in North America, only simplistic stories for children would be told using the medium of sequential art. It gradually lost many of its teeth, and an increasing number of publishers gave up on newsstand distribution and ignored the Code, but at the turn of the century the US's largest comics publishers still participated. Marvel quit it in 2001, in favor of self-applied ratings styled after the MPAA's and ESRB's. Last year Bongo (publishers of the Simpsons comics) quietly dropped out. Now DC and Archie, the last publishers willingly subjecting their books to approval, have announced that they're discontinuing their use of the CCA, with DC following Marvel's example, and Archie (which recently introduced an openly gay supporting character, something flatly forbidden by the original Code) carrying on under their own standards. The Code's cousins — the MPAA and ESRB ratings, the RIAA parental advisory, and the mishmash of warnings on TV shows — still live on, but at least North American comic publishers are no longer subject to external censorship."
Music

RIAA Threatens ICANN Over Music-Themed gTLD Standards 174

think_nix writes "A letter to ICANN (PDF) from Victoria Sheckler, Deputy General Counsel for the RIAA, demands modifications to the future implementation of the .music gTLD, threatening to 'escalate the issue' if certain concerns about 'wide scale copyright and trademark infringement' are not addressed by ICANN in compliance with the RIAA. 'Under the current proposed standard, we fear that we will have no realistic ability to object if a pirate chooses to hijack a music themed gTLD to enable wide scale copyright infringement of our works,' Sheckler said."
Piracy

Sony Planning Serial Keys For PS3 Games? 283

Stoobalou writes "Rumor has it that Sony is looking to the PC games market to help solve its growing piracy problem on the PlayStation 3 — with the introduction of serial keys to its games. According to 'a very reliable source' quoted by PS3-Sense, Sony is attempting to address the recent revelation that it failed to properly secure the private signing key for its flagship console — leading to clever tinkerers producing third-party firmware that allows unofficial software and illegitimately downloaded games to run on unmodified hardware — by looking to the PC retail market for solutions. Unlike the PS3, the PC doesn't have a hardware DRM system built in to it — despite attempts by groups like the Trusted Computing Group, formerly the Trusted Computer Platform Alliance, to introduce such a thing — relying instead on software-based DRM and a surprisingly old-fashioned guarantee of a game's uniqueness: a serial key."
Hardware Hacking

The Case of Apple's Mystery Screw 845

Pickens writes "Network World reports that in the past if you wanted to remove the outer case on your iPhone 4 to replace the battery or a broken screen, you could use a Phillips screwdriver to remove two tiny screws at the base of the phone and then simply slide off the back cover. But now Apple is replacing the outer screw with a mysterious tamper-resistant 'pentalobular' screw across its most popular product lines, making it harder for do-it-yourselfers to make repairs. What about existing products in the field? Pentalobular screws might find their way into them, too. 'Apple's latest policy will make your blood boil,' says Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit. 'If you take your iPhone 4 into Apple for any kind of service, they will sabotage it by replacing your Phillips screws with the new, tamper-resistant screws. We've spoken with the Apple Store geniuses tasked with carrying out this policy, and they are ashamed of the practice.' Of course, only Apple-authorized service technicians have Pentalobular screwdrivers and they're not allowed to resell them. 'Apple sees a huge profit potential,' says Wiens. 'A hundred dollars per year in incremental revenue on their installed base is a tremendous opportunity.'"
PC Games (Games)

PC Gaming Alliance's New President Talks DRM, System Requirements 163

arcticstoat writes "It's been nearly three years since the PC Gaming Alliance announced its formation at GDC 2008, promising to 'advance the PC as a worldwide gaming platform.' Since then, Activision-Blizzard has publicly left the alliance, Sony DADC – developer of the controversial SecuROM DRM software – has signed up and some people are wondering if the PCGA is really acting in the best interests of PC gamers. However, in December 2010 the alliance appointed a new president — Intel's Matt Ployhar — who's promising to make some changes. In this in-depth interview, Ployhar reveals that he wants to tempt Activision Blizzard back to the alliance, saying that 'Activision's Kotick and Blizzard's Morhaime may be more aligned with our future objectives than they may realize.' He also discusses Sony DADC's role in the alliance, and the group's stance on DRM, explaining that its research can 'really help to influence Sony DADC's and other members' awareness of key trends taking place in the PC gaming ecosystem. Given the trend of retail's diminishing presence, free-to-play, games moving towards authentication, game streaming and so on, it's really hard to divine where DRM solutions fit into this equation in the future.'"
Real Time Strategy (Games)

Blizzard Won't Stop World of StarCraft Mod 129

On Wednesday we discussed news of an impressive-looking mod for StarCraft II that transformed the game into a WoW lookalike, which quickly drew a copyright infringement warning from Activision Blizzard. The company has now released an official statement green-lighting the mod for continued development. "'It was never our intention to stop development on the mod or discourage the community from expressing their creativity through the StarCraft II editor,' Blizzard said in a statement. 'As always, we actively encourage development of custom maps and mods for StarCraft II, as we've done with our strategy games in the past.' Blizzard went on the say that it's looking forward to seeing development of the mod continue, and that it has invited Winzen to the company's campus to meet the game's development team."
Image

"Farming" Amoebas Discovered 49

Researchers from Rice University have found a type of amoeba that practices a sort of "primitive farming behavior." When their bacteria food become scarce, the Dictyostelium discoideum will group together and form a "fruiting body" that will disperse bacteria spores to a new area. From the article: "The behavior falls short of the kind of 'farming' that more advanced animals do; ants, for example, nurture a single fungus species that no longer exists in the wild. But the idea that an amoeba that spends much of its life as a single-celled organism could hold short of consuming a food supply before decamping is an astonishing one. More than just a snack for the journey of dispersal, the idea is that the bacteria that travel with the spores can 'seed' a new bacterial colony, and thus a food source in case the new locale should be lacking in bacteria." It's good to know that even a single celled creature is not immune to the pull of Farmville.
Government

Catholic Bishops Support Net Neutrality 304

An anonymous reader writes "This week, in their annual 'State of the Union' address, the President of the US Catholic Bishops Conference spoke on a number of issues, in particular a surprisingly strong statement in favor on Net Neutrality. 'As the Internet continues to grow in its influence and prominence in Americans' lives, we support legislation and federal regulations that ensure equal access to the Internet for all, including religious and non-profit agencies, as well as those in more sparsely populated or economically distressed areas. True net neutrality is necessary for people to flourish in a democratic society,' said Archbishop Timothy Dolan. It's always interesting to see the Catholic Church joining in a crusade that means so much to so many Slashdotters!"
Censorship

The Companies Who Support Censoring the Internet 299

RichiH writes "From Techdirt: 'A group of companies sent a letter to to Attorney General Eric Holder and ICE boss John Morton (with cc's to VP Joe Biden, Homeland Security boss Janet Napolitano, IP Czar Victoria Espinel, Rep. Lamar Smith, Rep. John Conyers, Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator Charles Grassley), supporting the continued seizure of domain names they don't like, as well as the new COICA censorship bill, despite the serious Constitutional questions raised about how such seizures violate due process and free speech principles.' A full list of companies who you might want to avoid buying from is included, as well."
Android

Motorola Sticks To Guns On Locking Down Android 600

jeffmeden writes "'These aren't the droids you're looking for' proclaims Motorola, maker of the popular Android smartphones such as the Droid 2 and Droid X. At least, not if you have any intention of loading a customized operating system. According to Motorola's own YouTube channel, 'If you want to do custom roms, then buy elsewhere, we'll continue with our strategy that is working thanks.' The strategy they are referring to is a feature Motorola pioneered called 'e-fuse', the ability for the phone's CPU to stop working if it detects unauthorized software running."

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