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Intel

Submission + - Quake Wars meets a Ray Tracer

An anonymous reader writes: Intel released the article "Quake Wars Gets Ray Traced" which details the development efforts of the research team that applied a real-time ray tracer to Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. It describes the benefits and challenges of transparency textures with this rendering technology. Further insight is given into what special effects are most costly. Examples of glass and a 3D water implementation are shown. The outlook hints into the area of freely programmable many core processors like Intel's upcoming Larrabee that might be able to handle such a workload.
Censorship

Submission + - Indymedia Server Seized by UK Police (again!) (indymedia.org.uk)

timbrown writes: "On 22 January 2009, Kent Police seized an Indymedia server hosted by Manchester-based colocation facility UK Grid and run by the alternative news platform Indymedia UK. The server was taken in relation to comments on an article regarding the convictions in the recent Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) trial. Seven activists were sentenced to a total of 50 years in prison.

In the morning, Kent Police had emailed Indymedia UK, an independent online news platform, requesting that personal information about Justice Neil Butterfield, the trial judge, be removed from the Indymedia website and that details of the poster be retained.

Indymedia UK volunteers had already removed the information in line with the projects own privacy policy. Indymedia UK was unable to comply with Kent Police's request to retain data relating to poster. As an open publishing project, Indymedia UK has set up Apache to not log IP addresses. Furthermore, the Police had been informed that the server in question was a mirror server and therefore not the machine that the comments were posted to. Nevertheless, Police seized the machine which was handed over by the management of UK Grid. No warrant was shown.

Dr. Lee Salter, a senior lecturer in journalism at the University of the West of England, told Indymedia "Journalistic material is protected by law, and the police should not gather more information than is relevant for their investigation — by seizing this server they are not only getting information on Indymedia but also on wholly unrelated groups. The police should know that Indymedia does not hold personal information on its participants, so it is a concern is that the police are collecting random information on participants".

The loss of a server represents serious damage to the Indymedia infrastructure in the UK. Several websites including the global Indymedia documentation project, the new website of Indymedia London, la Soja Mata (an anti-GM soya campaign focusing on South American development), Transition Sheffield and a Canadian campaign against the 2010 Olympics were affected. Most of these websites could be restored.

The present case is not the first time that Indymedia servers were seized in the UK. Shortly before the opening of the European Social Forum in 2004 in London, a main Indymedia server was seized from the hosting company Rackspace in an operation which involved an Italian Judge, an American District Court and the FBI.

In 2005, the server of Indymedia Bristol was seized under a search warrant. One Indymedia Bristol volunteer was arrested on suspicion of incitement to criminal damage, but was never charged.

As with previous cases, Indymedia UK stayed online this time. This was possible due to a system of "mirrors", which was set up to protect the technical infrastructure of the alternative media project. Despite the resource intensive interruptions caused by server seizures, the DIY-media activists continue to provide a platform for "news straight from the streets".

Info Sheet 24.01.2009 by: imc-uk press group

Notes to the editor, for further information, contact Imc-uk-contact at lists.indymedia.org.

---

I'm posting this as a concerned UK administrator who hosts a number of sites. The message appears to be clear, the UK establishment does not want political content, legitimate or otherwise hosted from these shores. The message has been noted, however free speech must be supported even where it may not be agreeable."

Security

Submission + - Monster.com Reports Theft of User Data (pcworld.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Friday, January 23, 2009 6:00 PM PST Monster.com is advising its users to change their passwords after data including e-mail addresses, names and phone numbers were stolen from its database. The break-in comes just as the swelling ranks of the unemployed are turning to sites like Monster.com to look for work.
The Internet

Submission + - Cox Blocked (videotechnology.com) 1

John Sokol writes: "I downloaded a movie using Bit Torrent off of Isohunt. But this movie was really a trojan of a new flavor. Turns out the wmv video file was set up to have the video codec to call back home for DRM activation over the net. Cox Cable used this to shut down my Internet connection. For a few hours there was no way to get back on. It seemed completely dead. Fortunately there was an easy fix. Eventually you will get a page about DMCA violations with a link to restore the connection. That link is http://anydomain.com/?action=reactivate The second time this happened, I already knew this and was able to reactivate instantly."
Education

Submission + - Why LEDs don't beat CFLs, though they should (scientificblogging.com)

TaeKwonDood writes: "LEDs don't beat CFLs in the home yet but it's not simply because PG&E is getting rich making people feel like they are helping the environment buying CFLs made in China that are shipped to the US using a lot more fossil fuels than they save. It's a problem of indication versus illumination. But some new discoveries are going to change all that."
Books

Submission + - Terry Pratchett Knighted

ackthpt writes: Headlines have been popping up on Google News, again abruptly yanked from news servers, such as Times Online and International Herald Tribune. A Google News snippet for The Times Online states, "Terry Pratchett declared himself "flabbergasted" to receive a knighthood as he led a group of writers, actors and performers honoured today." The Discworld author and stalwart adversary of Alzheimers Disease has been a member of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for Services to Literature since 1998. He will be entering the new year as Knight Commander. Well done and Oook, Sir Terry.
Privacy

Submission + - Sex offenders must hand over online passwords (msn.com)

mytrip writes: ATLANTA — Privacy advocates are questioning an aggressive Georgia law set to take effect Thursday that would require sex offenders to hand over Internet passwords, screen names and e-mail addresses.

Georgia joins a small band of states complying with guidelines in a 2006 federal law requiring authorities to track Internet addresses of sex offenders, but it is among the first to take the extra step of forcing its 16,000 offenders to turn in their passwords as well.

Portables

Submission + - T9 Next Generation - Swype It, Don't Type It (thefutureofthings.com)

Iddo Genuth writes: "Cliff Kushler, the inventor of the T9 keyboard technology for numeric keypads, has developed a new alphanumeric entry technology for touch-screen laptops and Smartphone devices. This latest technology, named Swype, works with an on-screen QWERTY keyboard similar to ones found on Windows Mobile and the iPhone. The difference from the usual method of typing in the letters is that a finger or stylus is used to slide in the first letter, then without lifting the finger, the user continues writing the entire word. Only once the word is completed can the finger be lifted off. According to the developers this leads to a much faster way of "typing" or as we might call it soon swiping."
Printer

Submission + - HP accused of illegal exportation to Iran (boston.com)

AdamWeeden writes: According to research done by the Boston Globe, HP has been secretly using a third-party company to sell printers to Iran. This is illegal under a ban instituted in 1995 by then U.S. President Bill Clinton. The third-party company, Redington Gulf, operates out of Dubai and previously stated on their web site that the company began in 1997 with "a team of five people and the HP supplies as our first product, we started operations as the distributor for Iran." though now the site has been changed to remove the mention of Iran. Has HP unknowingly been supplying Iran with technology or have they been trying to secretly get by the U.S. governement's export restrictions?
Privacy

Submission + - Oregon Governor Proposing Vehicle Mileage Tax

tiedyejeremy writes: "As covered by the Crosscut Blog, the Governor of Oregon, Ted Kulongoski, is proposing a change in the funding of the Oregonian transportation system that drops gasoline taxes and, by way of GPS tracking, taxes the number of miles driven, to the tune of 1.2 cents per mile.. The reason for the proposed change is lower fuel consumption via fuel efficiency will leave the system underfunded. The concerns involve government tracking of the movements of vehicles within the state, though this has been denied by ODOT official, James Whitty. I'm wondering how this affects people using the Interstate System and private roads, and if the outputs can or will be used by law enforcement to check alibis."
Patents

Submission + - IBM's I'm-Sorry-Dave Patent

theodp writes: "Astronaut Dave Bowman may have found the HAL 9000 more believable had the heuristically programmed algorithmic computer been equipped with the technology described in IBM's new patent for Generating paralinguistic phenomena via markup in text-to-speech synthesis. In the patent, IBM describes how you can dupe others into believing they're dealing with a real, live human being by using markup language to feign sadness, anger, laughter, filled pauses (uh, um), breaths, coughs and hesitations (mmm). For example: <prosody style="bad news">I'm \cough sorry Dave \sigh, I'm afraid I can't do that.<\prosody>"
Medicine

Submission + - SPAM: Sexy objects stimulate our brain

Roland Piquepaille writes: "According to researchers at the University of California at San Diego, visual areas of our brain respond more to valuable objects than other ones. In other words, our brain has stronger reactions when we see a diamond ring than we look at junk. Similarly, our brain vision areas are more excited by a Ferrari than, say, a Tata new Nano car. In this holiday season, I'm sure you've received gifts that excited your brain — and others that you already want to resell on an auction site. Read more for additional details, references and a picture of hot spots showing our brain's neural activity when we're excited."
Christmas Cheer

Submission + - Networked RGB Christmas lights sync'ed to music (vimeo.com)

Miamicanes writes: "Ever want a string of Christmas lights made with RGB LEDs so all the lights can change colors? Or with their own microcontrollers, so each can act autonomously? Hell, why not go all the way, and network them while you're at it?

I did.

For the past 4 years, I've burned most of my Decembers, Novembers, and increasing chunks of October working on this project. This year, for the first time, they look like "normal" LED Christmas lights (I bought a few sets of clear LED lights on sale at Lowe's & removed the plastic diffusers from them to use on my own lights), and the controller I built last year finally works properly & reliably communicates with the lights.

Each light module has its own Atmel ATtiny25 microcontroller, linear power supply, RGB LED, and passive components. The whole thing is wired in parallel with just 3 wires... +12v, ground, and communication. One of my specific design goals was to keep the wires thin (AWG22 or smaller), which required higher supply voltage and individual power supplies for each module (not really a big deal... the regulator chip and 2 capacitors added about 50c to the cost of each light, and completely eliminated my original power problems).

The result? My favorite version of "Feliz Navidad" (recorded by Home Grown, an awesome SoCal punk band), accompanied by what's arguably one of the most sophisticated (and expensive) strings of Christmas lights in the world. Their own video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCLogsA2vMQ) is incredibly well made and hysterically funny, too! If Blink182 sang the song and made a video for it, it would ALMOST be as good as the one Home Grown made :-)

How expensive were the lights? I don't know. I've lost count. I've spent at least a kilobuck or two. If you assume my time is valueless, and you ignore the cost of the tools I've bought, the parts I've destroyed, and the crate of non-working light modules (roughly 3 or 4 for every working one that you see on the tree here), each light module has about $4-5 worth of parts (bought in hundred quantities from DigiKey and Futurlec). There are 36 on the tree today. Do the math. Then forget it, because it's too cool to care how expensive it was. Grossly over-engineered perhaps, but cool nonetheless."

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