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Censorship

Pirate Party Banned From Social Networking Site 354

An anonymous reader writes to tell us that as the European Parliament elections loom, StudiVZ, Germany's largest social networking site, has opened up to political parties for election campaigning. That is, if you aren't the Pirate Party. "The other political parties were allowed to have a special account to show they are an organization and not an individual. The Pirate Party, however, was not allowed to have one and instead operated on a standard user account registered by an individual. StudiVZ noticed that the Pirate Party account was not a "real person" and despite it having a thriving network with hundreds of followers, it was summarily deleted. This means that it is impossible for the Pirate Party to have a presence at all on the largest social networking site in Germany." Update: 05/02 19:17 GMT by T : Reader riot notes: "FYI: I just translated the press release to English."
Sun Microsystems

Employee (Almost) Chronicles Sun's Top Ten Failures 194

Business and Open Source pundit Matt Asay picked up on a recent attempt by Sun's Dan Baigent to chronicle the ten largest failures that took the tech giant from a $200 billion peak valuation to the recent buyout by Oracle for a mere $7.4 billion. Unfortunately, Dan only made it to number three on his list before Sun pulled the plug. How long will it take corporate overlords until they finally realize that broad level censorship and trying to control the message are far more harmful than just becoming part of the discourse? "I find that I tend to learn much more from my failures than from my successes. I'd be grateful for the chance to learn from Sun's, too. Sun, please let Baigent continue his countdown. It allows Sun to constructively chronicle its own failings, rather than allowing others to do so in less generous terms."
Linux Business

Linux Reaches 1% Usage Share 414

je ne sais quoi writes "The April data is out for the Net Applications 'market share' survey of operating systems (more accurately referred to as a usage share). For the first time, Linux has reached 1%. This past month the Linux share increased by 0.12% which is well above the average monthly increase of 0.02%. Historically, the Net Applications estimate of market share has been lower than that of other organizations who measure this, but the abnormally large increase reported this month brings it closer to the median estimate of 1.11%. For other operating systems, Windows XP continued its slow decline by 0.64% to 62.21%, whereas Vista use is still increasing to 23.90%, but its rate of adoption is slowing. That is, this month's increase of 0.48% is well below the 12-month average increase of 0.78% and down from the peak rate of increase of 1.00% per month on average in January-February 2008. The total Windows share dropped to 87.90%. Mac OS use decreased slightly to 9.73% from 9.77%, but usage share of the iPhone and iPod Touch combined increased by 0.1%."
Censorship

Iranians Outwit Censors With Falun Gong Software 171

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that since last year more than 400,000 Iranians began surfing the uncensored Web using software created for the Falun Gong, a spiritual movement that has been suppressed by the Chinese government since 1999. More than 20 countries now use increasingly sophisticated blocking and filtering systems for Internet content, according to Reporters Without Borders, including Iran, China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Syria. The creators of the software seized upon by Iranians are members of the Global Internet Freedom Consortium, based largely in the United States and closely affiliated with Falun Gong. Interestingly enough, the United States government and the Voice of America have financed some of the circumvention technology efforts, and a coalition is organizing to push for more Congressional financing of anti-filtering efforts, bringing together dissidents of Vietnam, Iran, the Uighur minority of China, Tibet, Myanmar, Cuba, Cambodia, Laos, as well as the Falun Gong, to lobby Congress for the financing. 'What is our leverage toward a country like Iran? Very little,' said Michael Horowitz, a fellow at the Hudson Institute. 'Suppose we have the capacity to make it possible for the president of the United States at will to communicate with hundreds of thousands of Iranians at no risk or limited risk? It just changes the world.'"
It's funny.  Laugh.

Let's Rename Swine Flu As "Colbert Flu" 607

Bruce Perens writes "The World Health Organization will no longer refer to Virus A(H1N1) as 'Swine Flu,' citing ethnic reactions to 'swine,' for example among middle-eastern cultures who feel that swine are unclean. Or, is it because meat packers are concerned that people might stop eating pork in fear of the virus? WHO suggests that the public select a new name for the virus. I suggest that we all start calling it The Colbert Flu, after the comedian and fake pundit who asked his audience to stuff a NASA poll so that a Space Station module would be named after him. What can we do to make the name stick?"

Comment Re:Kill the GIL! (Score 1) 234

Psyco is such a nice tool; add just a couple of lines of code, and suddenly 90% of Python programs become multiple times faster on Intel processors... assuming it's single-threaded, of course.

Psyco's been lagging a bit behind lately though, and little progress has been made on shortening that list of features it doesn't support. The main reason for this has been the developer going on to work on PyPy, a subset of Python in which a Python interpreter itself can be written. The ultimate goal appears to be another massive-speedup JIT compiler, although I'm not sure how it gets there from here.

Windows

Submission + - Windows 386 Promo Video

jordanlund writes: "Back in the late 80s I found myself selling hardware and software. Microsoft sent out a promotional video explaining the benefits of Windows 386.

A buddy of mine spared the tape from destruction and digitized it, I down sampled it to a form that could be posted online and the rest, as they say, is history.

Be warned, once you watch it you can't un-watch it. Around the 7 minute mark the production goes from stale corporate Mission Impossible knock off to something... else entirely.

Link to full video:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4915875929 930836239

Link to the 7 minute mark for the impatient:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4915875929 930836239#0h7m"
Education

Submission + - Julie Amero Convicted by Malware

krasicki writes: "Julie Amero, a substitute teacher in Norwich, CT has been convicted of a morals charge when the computer in her classroom began a cascade of porn pop-ups. This woman needs your help. Make your voices heard.

My blog is http://region19.blogspot.com./ Sunbelt Software's Alex Eckelberry is speaking out here http://www.boingboing.net/2007/01/13/teacher_faces _40_yea.html

Alternet has the most lucid piece; http://www.alternet.org/rights/46925/

This is a truly unbelievable story."
Wii

Submission + - Wii Opera Vulnerability

An anonymous reader writes: The Wii seems to be susceptible to the same Opera SVG vulnerability as Windows and Linux as shown here. Right now it just crashes the system but hopefully this will yield a route for code execution and maybe eventually home brew software.
Media

Submission + - Reading a DVD with VLC is illegal in France

An anonymous reader writes: Starting December 31st 2006, reading a DVD protected with CSS (as most DVD are) is illegal in France when it is done with software allowing to circumvent the protection, such as VLC or mplayer which can both use the libdvdcss library. This Journal Officiel (where laws and executive orders are published) says that you may be fined 135 (around $180) for doing so. This includes watching any DVD that you have legally purchased.
Space

How a Pulsar Gets Its Spin 63

brian0918 writes "Until now, the assumption has been that the rapid spin of a pulsar comes from the spin of the original star. The problem was that this only explained the fastest observed pulsars. Now, researchers at Oak Ridge have shown that the spin of a pulsar is determined by the shock wave created when the star's massive iron core collapses. From the article: 'That shock wave is inherently unstable, and eventually becomes cigar-shaped instead of spherical. The instability creates two rotating flows — one in one direction directly below the shock wave and another, inner flow, that travels in the opposite direction and spins up the core. The asymmetrical flows establish a 'sloshing' motion that accounts for the pulsars' observed spin velocities from once every 15 to 300 milliseconds.'"
Unix

Submission + - The birth of vi

lanc writes: "Bill Joy, co-founder of Sun, contributor to BSD Unix, the UltraSparc technology, NFS and even Java, tells the story in an article at TheRegister about how he wrote vi and what the motives were. In the interview he says:

"It was really hard to do because you've got to remember that I was trying to make it usable over a 300 baud modem. That's also the reason you have all these funny commands. It just barely worked to use a screen editor over a modem. It was just barely fast enough. A 1200 baud modem was an upgrade. 1200 baud now is pretty slow."

...and so my son begun The Holy Editor War."

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