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Submission + - Is Amazon EC2 Oversubscribed? (infoq.com)

snitch writes: "There have been various reports from the community of Amazon EC2 users, that their instances are suffering poor performance, as the result of high internal network latency. This has led to speculations that Amazon's Cloud might be getting oversubscribed.

Alan Williamson from aw2.0 Ltd, has written a report about his experiences with Amazon EC2, where he claims that Amazon, as every Cloud provider his company has tried out, seems to scale well at the beggining but there is a tipping point .

Similarly cloudkick has reported high network latency for its instances."

Google

Submission + - China Emphasizes Laws as Google Defies Censorship (pcworld.com)

Lomegor writes: Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said on Thursday that all companies are welcome to operate in China but that they must do so under local laws. Although not explicitly, this is in some way a response to Google threat to leave the country. China also stated that they strict cyber laws and that the it forbids any kind of "hacking attack"; when asked if those laws apply to the government as well it was quickly avoided.
"It is still hard to say whether Google will quit China or not. Nobody knows," the official in the State Council Information Office was quoted as saying.

Submission + - NY court OKs Internet music sales lawsuit (yahoo.com)

An anonymous reader writes: According to this AP story: "A federal appeals court revived an antitrust lawsuit Wednesday that accuses major record labels controlling 80 percent of U.S. digital music sales of scheming together to charge high prices."

Looks like interesting times ahead for the RIAA and friends... :)

Hardware

Submission + - Inexpensive 12 VDC programmable timer??? 4

Dmritard96 writes: After looking for a few hours on the Internet I have come to the conclusion that it is pretty hard to find a reasonably priced programmable 12 VDC timer. The timer is for an isolated irrigation installation that uses a 12 volt battery, solar trickle charger, small pump and a float switch (inside a rain barrel). In order to put out the correct amount of water I would like to use a timer that could run off of the battery and operate a relay to turn on the motor for say a 10 minute intervals a few times a day. It is quite simple to find 110 Vac programmable timers (10-20 dollars) that do this and battery powered ones that operate inline with a water line (and run off of a couple AAs) but I can't find a simple one under $60 that meets my specs. I have seen some simple hacks on thermostats but this doesn't seem as clean or intuitive for the user to program. Building one from scratch with a 555 timer or even an arduino wouldn't be too hard (but again not as easy to program most likely for the end user [my parents]) it seems like these types of products should be cheap and easy to find considering their AC cousins are widely available. Does anyone on slashdot have ideas or suggestions on how to solve this problem elegantly and inexpensively?
The Military

Submission + - Software fraudster 'fooled CIA' into terror alert (theregister.co.uk)

timothy writes: The Register, citing this Playboy article, reports that a Nevada man named Dennis Montgomery was able in 2003 to connive his way into a position of respectabilty at the CIA on the basis of his company's claimed ability, using software, to "detect and decrypt 'barcodes' in broadcasts by Al Jazeera, the Qatari news station." Montgomery was CTO of Reno-based eTreppid Technologies, which produced bucketloads of data purported to represent "geographic coordinates and flight numbers." All of which, it seems, were hokum, finally debunked in cooperation with a branch of the French intelligence service — but not, says the article, before the fabricated information, chalked up to "credible sources," was used as justification to ground some international flights, and even evacuate New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Image

Scientists Say a Dirty Child Is a Healthy Child 331

Researchers from the School of Medicine at the University of California have shown that the more germs a child is exposed to, the better their immune system in later life. Their study found that keeping a child's skin too clean impaired the skin's ability to heal itself. From the article: "'These germs are actually good for us,' said Professor Richard Gallo, who led the research. Common bacterial species, known as staphylococci, which can cause inflammation when under the skin, are 'good bacteria' when on the surface, where they can reduce inflammation."

Comment Buy an Oyster Card (Score 1) 1095

If you are being cost aware, or just prefer to use public transportation, get an Oyster Card. An Oyster card is a prepaid fair card for the Underground and buses. It costs a £3 deposit, plus any fair you choose to put on it. The system automatically calculates the cheapest ticket combination for whatever travel you do. Therefore if you only use it for a single trip in day, it debits for that trip, however if you use it several times, it debits up to the cost of a day pass which is much cheaper than single tickets. When you leave you can return the card and get refunded the deposit and any fair on the card. If you are fly in and out of Heathrow Airport, there are kiosks in the airport for the cards. If you are flying into Gatwick, you can take the train from the airport to Victoria Station which will also have kiosks for the Oyster card.

Also don't bother using currency exchanges. No one ever seems to change enough, and if you change too much you can get burnt converting the extra back. You can use your bank's ATM card in the cash machines here. Don't take out too much cash, just a little pocket money for the occasional taxi or ice cream cone. For all other purchases I recommend using a credit card for purchases for the fraud protection (usual warnings about knowing your financial limits apply.) Some ATM, Debit, and Credit card providers block foreign transactions by default. You can usually contact them and explain you will be traveling to specific countries on specific days and will remove the block for you. This usually isn't a problem in the UK, but its worth checking anyway. Definitely check with your banks if you plan on making a side trip to France; everybody seems to block French transactions.

Comment Where is the missing 24.1%? (Score 4, Interesting) 282

If you sum up the figures given in the article, it only accounts for 75.9% of the contributions. I am going to speculate that this missing quarter is contributed by many who contribute infrequently. IE, IT staff in companies that use Linux and find the occasional bug and submit a patch to correct it. If this speculation is correct, the largest group that contributes is 'Everyone Else'.

Comment A possible cause for decling bee populations (Score 1) 200

One of the best theories I've heard about declining bee populations is that humans have been selecting our crops for traits that we desire such as larger fruit, and may have inadvertently selected out traits that bees desire such as flower nectar. In this scenario pollinating our crops becomes a bigger job with ever smaller return on the work for the bees. I think a piece of information that might support this theory is to examine how wild bees near undeveloped areas have been affected. Presumably an undeveloped area would still contain wild flowering plants that would still have normal nectar levels making it easier for bees to survive in that area than near say a great big old corn field.

Enlightenment

Submission + - realtime ASCII Goggles (englishrussia.com)

jabjoe writes: Russian artists from Moscow have created goggles with image filtering, interestingly ascii. This allows you to view the world in real time as ascii. Pointless but cool. Link
Education

Submission + - OLPC Kids Surf Pr0n Just Like Us (reuters.com)

joe_n_bloe writes: Here comes solid evidence that those OLPC laptops have all the essential functionality of conventional laptops. According to Reuters, 'Nigerian schoolchildren who received laptops from a U.S. aid organization [OLPC] have used them to explore pornographic sites on the Internet.' Apparently OLPC is responding to this by outfitting the computers with filters.
Wireless Networking

Submission + - BBC Panorama Questions Long-Term Health of Wi-Fi

vtechpilot writes: "From the article:

Britain is in the grip of a Wi-Fi revolution with offices, homes and classrooms going wireless — but there is concern the technology could carry health risks. The Government insists Wi-Fi is safe, but a Panorama investigation shows that radio frequency radiation levels in some schools are up to three times the level found in the main beam of intensity from mobile phone masts.
"
Movies

Submission + - 9 Laws of Physics That Don't Apply in Hollywood

Ant writes: "Neatorama lists nine laws of physics that don't apply in Hollywood (movies and television/TV shows). In general, Hollywood filmmakers follow the laws of physics because they have no other choice. It's just when they cheat with special effects that people seem to forget how the world really works..."
Google

Submission + - Google Adsense may be penalizing popular sites

Bryan writes: This first paragraph from the article pretty much sums it up:
'Data on several sites maintained by the operators of Texxors.com suggests that Google may be manipulating the profits webmasters receive from Google's Adsense program. Our analysis shows statistical evidence that as a website becomes more popular, it receives less earnings per click (EPC) from Google Adsense. Since the EPC is determined by Google's algorithms prior to the ad being served to a page, this suggests that Google may be intentionally or unintentionally manipulating EPC to increase their profit and/or Adsense participation. The method appears to be similar to the "throttling" practices that landed online movie retailer Netflix in legal hot water last year.'
Full article
United States

Submission + - US copying laptop hard disks+password upon entry

Flo writes: "According to Fefe, a German blogger, U.S. officials copy hard disks of laptops upon entry. They even insist on the disclosure of passwords so they can decrypt files. Allegedly they even take people into coercive detention to retrieve the passwords. Fefe's sources are one member of the (German) Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) and one employee of SAP. He also claims to have received confirmation for this from "two other large companies"."

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