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Wireless Networking

Submission + - Xbox messing with WLANs? (networkworld.com)

netbuzz writes: That's the suspicion of the IT staff at Morrisville State College in New York, who report that the Xbox 360 emits a strong signal that's doing strange things to other equipment. What's not clear is whether the signal disrupts the college's WLAN access points or students' wireless notebooks. There is some anecdotal evidence, however, that it at least affects other radios in the same 2.4GHz band. Tests are being conducted. Microsoft mum, so far.

http://www.networkworld.com/news/2007/121307-microsoft-xbox-jams-wireless-lans.html

Sony

Submission + - Sony Makes Battery-Free Camera (fastsilicon.com)

mrneutron2003 writes: "Sony , purveyor of rootkits and exploding batteries, has just released a battery-less digital camera apparently for those times when your in the middle of the Australian Outback or the frozen wastelands of the Antarctic, and can't find a battery store or a charger outlet. The device, shaped somewhat like a pizza-cutter, has an external wheel that you "roll" for approximately 15 seconds to generate the amount of electricity needed to operate the camera. For one photo. It is no suprise too, that this is currently a Japanese market item only. Good proof-of-concept perhaps, but a fundamentally stupid idea.
http://www.fastsilicon.com/off-the-wall/sony-makes-battery-free-camera.html"

Space

Submission + - Catch the Meteor Show Tonight

Reservoir Hill writes: "Many meteor showers tend to disappoint, but the annual Geminid shower which peaks tonight, is expected to be a great one with forecasters predicting one or two shooting stars per minute during the peak hours. The moon is near its new phase, so skies will be dark. Meteors could start showing up anytime after dark this evening, low on the eastern horizon but a better display should begin after 10 pm local time, when the constellation Gemini, from which the meteors emanate, rises higher into the Eastern sky. By 2 am local time Gemini is directly overhead, and meteors will streak outward in all directions like spokes on a wheel. Here's some tips: Turn off all lights, indoors and out, dress warmer than you think necessary, give your eyes 15 minutes to adjust to the darkness, lie back on a lounge chair or blanket and scan as much of the sky as possible, and don't use binoculars or telescopes — meteors move too fast. If you live in the city, get out of town — city lights will overpower most of the meteors. "At first you might not see very many meteors — but be patient," said NASA astronomer Bill Cooke. "The show really heats up after midnight and by dawn on Friday.""
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Time Warner 'traffic shapes' ircdig.com. (ircdig.com)

jomammy writes: "It seems that Time Warner has decided to implement 'Packet Shaping' for it's Road Runner broadband service, which has essentially blocked most server ports used by IRCDIG.COM for daily operation. Main one being of course HTTP port 80. They do this in an attempt to force people to pay more for certain packages that will unblock these ports. These packages have the same speed capabilities and same crappy service as the normal ones, they are just not 'shaped'."

Looks like Time Warner's questionable tactics have hit an ever increasingly popular irc search engine. I am surprised to learn that this site was hosted on a residential cable line. Will net neutrality ever be a reality in the states?

The Courts

Submission + - "Open Sourcing" the Law (resource.org)

slcdb writes: "Most of the codified laws of the land, such as the Unites States Code, have been freely available online for some time. But case law, a significant body of the law, has mostly only been available to law firms and others who can afford to pay for expensive subscriptions to services like Westlaw and LexisNexis. One Carl Malamud has begun to open the source of "the operating system of our society". With the help of the EFF, Carl has recently secured access to a "huge chunk" of case law, much of it going back to the 1950s and some going back as far as 1754. His non-profit company, Public.Resource.Org, is using open source tools to massage the data and put it online."
Biotech

Submission + - Conversations between bacteria

Roland Piquepaille writes: "Did you know that bacteria 'talked' with each other by using small molecules to coordinate their behavior and decide when it's a good time to infect you? A recent American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac briefly describes how UK researchers are working toward a Rosetta stone for microbes' secret language (scroll to article #3 in the PressPac). Their method, known as 'quorum sensing,' decodes 'the structure and function of compounds involved in this signaling process.' The researchers think they can now develop artificial signals to interfere with this signal process and that this could lead to new treatments for antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Read more for additional details and a picture showing how the researchers learned the language of bacteria."
Privacy

Submission + - Japan to Fingerprint, Photograph all Foreigners (theage.com.au)

MochaMan writes: "As of this Tuesday, November 20th, Japan will be requiring mandatory fingerprinting and mug shots of all foreigners entering the country, making it one of only two countries in the world to do so. The program goes further than the US program in that it also applies to visa-holders and permanent residents. The prints will be stored and shared with other governments. The Japanese government has produced an explanatory video, and even a promotional PDF poster. Japanese and international civil rights groups have raised concerns that the practice is both an invasion of privacy and discriminatory. An online petition to abolish the program is available. Is the age of privacy over?"
Education

Submission + - 10 tips for recruiting entry-level technical talen (networkworld.com)

BobB writes: Progressive companies understand that paying close attention to how talent is developed and grown is itself a rewarding experience, one that mutually benefits both institutions of higher learning and corporate America. This is particularly true for entry-level positions.Across companies and industries, there is a frequent cry about the shortage of entry-level technical talent. Here are 10 simple ways to nurture, develop and recruit entry-level technical talent.
The Media

Submission + - Demonoid - Down For Good?

NewbieV writes: "This is what the front page of Demonoid looks like this morning:

The CRIA threatened the company renting the servers to us, and because of this it is not possible to keep the site online. Sorry for the inconvenience and thanks for your understanding.

We have brought online a forum in order to help the community stay together. This forum is not file sharing related in any way, it's just a mean to help the community stay together — please read the forum rules before posting. You can use your Demonoid account info to log in.
A history of the site is available in its Wikipedia entry."
Google

Submission + - Google adwords bait and switch?!

Missionary Man writes: ""Greetings from Google,
Congratulations on your continuing success with Google AdSense.
To thank you for your custom and help you to maximise the earning potential of your site, we invite you to try advertising with Google AdWords with a £30 free voucher."


Hmmm. Sounds great, doesn't it? This is a snippit of a wonderful email I received a while back. Last week I thought I'd try it out — after all, what did I have to lose? Just to re-assure me that all was above-board, the email concluded:

"Your campaign can be set up in as little as 15 minutes. There's no additional spend commitment, so this offer is risk free. Start advertising today!"

Well, what was I waiting for? I wandered over to the adwords site (adwords.google.co.uk), created my account and jumped through the hoops (including providing funding information!). I created my advert, entered my promotional code — no additional spend commitment, remember — and got ready to experience the might of Google advertising on my teeny weeny website (url not provided! This is not guerrilla marketing!).

Hmmm, there's a problem, says Google:

"Your AdWords prepaid funds have been exhausted. We have stopped running your ads until you transfer additional funds into your AdWords account."

That's funny, they didn't even start running them! My account shows a balance of £25 (believe it or not, they charge a £5 "administration fee" to set up the account! I don't remember paying anything for adsense ...) but the adverts are on hold.

I email Google to highlight a technical problem with their adwords site. After all, they gave me a £30 promotional voucher to sample their advertising for free, remember?

"There's no additional spend commitment, so this offer is risk free!"

Not according to the reply I received:

" ...the sign up coupon that you have received will be applied towards your advertising charges after you have paid your account activation fee ... I understand that the coupon that you have received does not specify that it is valid only for advertising charged. We are aware of this and have taken steps to correct it. We apologise for any confusion."

So — the bottom line:
  • Send out voucher offering free adwords advertising
  • Use comprehensive sign-up procedure to gain billing information
  • Take customer through the entire process, with just a slight hiccup at the end
  • Ask for payment before adverts can be run
  • PROFIT!
Before you ask, the answer is "no". I didn't pay, and am currently not an active adwords customer. I wrote back and told them that the whole thing sucked, it was classic "bait and switch" and that I'd be unleashing the awsome power of Slashdot on their dubious practices. Now watch them beg forgiveness ... or maybe not!"
Social Networks

Submission + - Facebook: Worse than useless for unions (ericlee.info)

Eric Lee writes: "The editor of LabourStart, the news and campaigning website of the international trade union movement and author of The Labour Movement and the Internet: The New Internationalism, challenges the growing use of Facebook by unions and other campaigning organizations. Using the examples of PointCast, ICQ and MySpace, and little-known examples of censorship by Facebook and other social networks, he urges social change activists to use do-it-yourself tools to conduct online campaigns rather than to become over-reliant on Facebook."
Technology (Apple)

Submission + - Apple answers Back to My Mac security concerns (christopherprice.net)

An anonymous reader writes: As you may have heard, there are many concerns about Screen Sharing and Back to My Mac. Apple has addressed them today, and here's the link both explains the situation, and what you can do.
Education

Submission + - Virtual IT admin could be very real job (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: "VMware and Cisco are increasingly pitching the idea of virtualizing the entire data center, which would enable the dynamic management of servers, storage and network devices through a single "fabric." That virtualization platform may spawn a new IT position for a person who would supervise the management of the virtual layer of the data center. The discussion gained momentum when Cisco and VMware announced an integration initiative between Cisco's VFrame Data Center and VMware Infrastructure 3, which is an appliance upgrade that fits into the Cisco's Data Center 3.0 vision. The combination would automate IT orchestration in the areas of server, network and storage provisioning for shops invested in Cisco hardware."

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