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The Courts

17,000 Downloads Does Not Equal 17,000 Lost Sales 398

Andrew_Rens writes "Ars Technica has a story on a ruling by a US District Judge who rejects claims by the RIAA that the number of infringing downloads amounts to proof of the same number of lost sales. The judge ruled that 'although it is true that someone who copies a digital version of a sound recording has little incentive to purchase the recording through legitimate means, it does not necessarily follow that the downloader would have made a legitimate purchase if the recording had not been available for free.' The ruling concerns the use of the criminal courts to recover alleged losses for downloading through a process known as restitution. The judgement does not directly change how damages are calculated in civil cases."
Security

FBI Issues Code Cracking Challenge 222

coondoggie writes to tell us that the FBI has issued another cracking challenge for a new cipher on their site. Tens of thousands responded to a similar challenge last year. In addition to the challenge, the FBI is also offering a few primers on the subject. There are a number of sites offering cipher challenges, but it's funny to see the FBI encouraging such behavior.

Comment Re:ask a 12 year old (Score 2, Insightful) 381

Mega Man 9 is awesome. I'm glad they stuck with the 8 bit graphics (and stayed 2D). I hate it when 2D games go 3D. It almost never works out well.

The castlevania games have stayed 2D (for the most part) and are pretty fun too. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is in my shortlist for best game ever.

I think too many games focus on the graphics these days and forget that better graphics does not equal more fun. Pac-man, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, Missile Command, Joust etc weren't fun because we could tell what the blobs were. They were fun because the game's mechanics were solid and simple enough for just about anyone to understand. They take 5 minutes to learn and lifetime to master.

Comment Re:Quantum Key Exchange not Quantum Computing (Score 1) 233

Since I was asked a couple times, here are my references.

Brown, Julian - "Minds, Machines, and the Multivers: The Quest for the Quantum Computer"

Williams, Colin P. and Clearwater Scott H. - "Explorations in Quantum Computing"

Simon Singh, - "The Code Book"

I also have a computational physics degree and would reference the text books if I currently had access to them (so yes, I'm also referencing my ass that sat through 4 years of physics classes).

There's also the obligatory wiki references.
Quantum Cryptography
Quantum Computer

Quantum cryptography does not use cubits. The photon used to exchange keys are specifically polarized. They are not in a superposition of polarizations. The "quantum" part comes in because, when a polarized photon hits a polarization screen that is at a 45 degree angle to the photon's polarization, there is exactly a 50% chance that the photon will go through due to quantum mechanics.

It is possible to use a photon as a qubit but it is very limiting. You have to have qubits that will interact with eachother. That is difficult with photons. You also have to have some way of storing them. A photon is very difficult to trap.

Some other methods of qubits are Heteropolymer (plastic), Ion Trap, Cavity QED and NMR.

Heteropolymer uses a laser pulse at specific energies to excite the outer electrons in plastic atoms to either an excited state or superposition of excited and ground states. We have these. The problem again is getting them to interact as needed.

Ion Traps use electromagnetic fields to trap a single ionized atom. The ions can in a grounded state or excited state. Ion trap qubits provide a method for interaction but they can only interact with their neighboring qubit. This method has been used to create an 8 qubit quantum computer.

Cavity QED (Quantum Electrodynamics) uses the polarization of photons for the qubits. We've got an XOR gate for this, but, as stated before, it's hard to store a photon.

NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) uses a sample of some liquid. Each atom in the liquid ends up being a qubit by using the spin of nucleus of one of the atoms in the molecules. It uses current technology (similar to MRI) and just about any liquid can be used. However, it's not an isolated system so it decoheres extremely fast (it naturally exits it's state of superposition).

According to D-wave systems (a company that sells quantum computers), superconductors can also be used for qubits. Using supercooled aluminum and niobium to cause the electrons to form Cooper pairs (bosons) which can be used as qubits. I don't know a lot about that method but you can read about it at D-wave QC hardware and Wiki: Superconducting QC

Heisenberg was driving down the road and got pulled over. The cop asks him, "Do you have any idea how fast you were going?" Heisenberg replies, "No, but I know exactly where I am!"

Privacy

Tool To Allow ISPs To Scan Every File You Transmit 370

timdogg writes "Brilliant Digital Entertainment, an Australian software company, has grabbed the attention of the NY attorney general's office with a tool they have designed that can scan every file that passes between an ISP and its customers. The tool can 'check every file passing through an Internet provider's network — every image, every movie, every document attached to an e-mail or found in a Web search — to see if it matches a list of illegal images.' As with the removal of the alt.binary newgroups, this is being promoted under the guise of preventing child porn. The privacy implications of this tool are staggering."
The Courts

Palin E-mail Hacker Indicted 846

doomsdaywire writes "A University of Tennessee student who is the son of a Memphis legislator has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of hacking Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's personal e-mail. [...] If convicted, [David C.] Kernell faces a maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a three-year term of supervised release. A trial date has not been set."
The Courts

Buffalo Tech Gets New Trial On Wi-Fi Patent 78

MrLint writes "It's been a long, nearly two years of silence since CSIRO won a patent battle against Buffalo Tech, causing an injunction preventing the Austin company from selling wireless routers. On September 19, 2008, a Federal Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that CSIRO patent claims are invalid and Buffalo is getting a new trial. With any luck, we will be able to get our grubby hands on low-cost Wi-Fi routers again!"
Games

Ask Blizzard Employees About Things That Matter 504

In just a few days, some of us will be making the trek to this year's Blizzcon event in Anaheim, CA. In addition to the interesting announcements, sneak peeks, and other distractions, we will be sitting down with several Blizzard employees to answer any questions you might have. So far we have scheduled some time with Chris Sigaty, lead producer on StarCraft II; Jeffrey Kaplan (aka Tigole), game director for World of Warcraft; Leonard Boyarsky, lead world designer on Diablo III; and Paul Sams, Blizzard COO. Please address your questions to one (or several) of these candidates and try to keep them civil and on topic. Questions about Diablo III's art style will most likely be omitted since we have limited time and that dead horse has already been beaten into submission. The usual Slashdot interview rules apply, but beyond that, the sky is the limit.
Government

Commerce Department Pushing For New "Copyright Czar" 294

TechDirt is reporting that those all-too-familiar "stats" surrounding the cost of piracy are being trotted out in an attempt to push through a new "Copyright Czar" position. "In urging President Bush to sign into law the ProIP bill, which would give him a copyright czar (something the Justice Department had said it doesn't want), the US Chamber of Commerce is claiming that 750,000 American jobs have been lost to piracy. Yet, it doesn't cite where that number comes from."
Censorship

Senate Votes To Empower Parents As Censors 418

unlametheweak recommends an Ars Technica report that the US Senate has unanimously passed a bill requiring the FCC to explore what "advanced blocking technologies" are available to parents to help filter out "indecent or objectionable programming." "...the law does focus on empowering parents to take control of new media technologies to deal with undesired content, rather than handing the job over to the government. It asks the FCC to focus the inquiry on blocking systems for a 'wide variety of distribution platforms,' including wireless and Internet, and an array of devices, including DVD players, set top boxes, and wireless applications."
Transportation

Plug-In Hybrids Aren't Coming, They're Here 495

Wired is running a story about the small but vocal, and growing, number of people who aren't waiting for automakers to deliver plug-in hybrids. They're shelling out big money to have already thrifty cars converted into full-on plug-in hybrids capable of triple-digit fuel economy. "The conversions aren't cheap, and top-of-the-line kits with lithium-ion batteries can set you back as much as $35,000. Even a kit with lead-acid batteries — the type under the hood of the car you drive now — starts at five grand. That explains why most converted plug-ins are in the motor pools of places like Southern California Edison... No more than 150 or so belong to people like [extreme skiing champion Alison] Gannett, who had her $30,000 Ford Escape converted in December. Yes, that's right. The conversion cost more than the truck."
Image

KFC Beefs Up Secret Recipe Security 10

For more than 20 years, the secret KFC recipe has been in a filing cabinet equipped with two combination locks in company headquarters. To reach the cabinet, you have to open up a vault and unlock three locks on a door. Only two executives at any time have access to it and the company refuses to release their name or title. The company uses multiple suppliers who produce and blend the ingredients but know only a part of the entire contents. All this was not enough for KFC, so Colonel Harland Sanders' handwritten recipe of 11 herbs and spices will be removed Tuesday from safekeeping at KFC's corporate offices and security improvements for the recipe will be made at headquarters. KFC hired off-duty police officers and private security guards to bring the document to an undisclosed location in an armored car. The recipe will be slid into a briefcase and handcuffed to security expert and former New York City police detective, Bo Dietl. Isn't the secret ingredient love?

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