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Submission + - Internet Tools Monitor Household Electric Bills

Reservoir Hill writes: "In a demonstration project in Washington State, 112 homes equipped with digital thermostats and computer controllers attached to water heaters and clothes dryers were connected to the Internet so homeowners could monitor energy consumption constantly. The homeowners could go to a Web site to set their ideal home temperature and how many degrees they were willing to have that temperature move above or below the target allowing them to decide the trade-off they wanted to make between cost savings and comfort. The households in the demonstration project on average saved 10 percent on their monthly utility bills. "I was astounded at times at the response we got from customers," said Robert Pratt, the program director for the project. "It shows that if you give people simple tools and an incentive, they will do this.""
Input Devices

Python + Motion detection = Fweemote 30

jedie writes "After reading about different Wiimote hacks on Slashdot I decided to make a video with some demos of my motion-detection library. You can watch the video here. There's a link to the sourcecode (GPL) as well, but the demo is win32 only. It's basically a webcam and some software in python to track LEDs (preferrably IRs). In the demo video, you see the software (albeit badly because of the webcam's IR filter being removed) tracking two differently colored LEDs, so multiplayer is possible. The software can track multiple points easily, and when combined with IR-LEDs, it's easy to simulate one Wiimote (i.e. calculating the distance and angle between two IR-LEDs to determine where the remote is relative to the webcam). I want the code to get some publicity, because I don't have time to work on it (dissertation, blabla) but I don't want the code (however messy it is) to go to waste."

Submission + - Microsoft Complains About Google's Monopoly Abuse (

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes: "Frustrated at the FTC's blessing of the Google/Doubleclick merger, Microsoft is complaining to the EU. Its latest filings detail how the merger would give Google a stranglehold on the advertising industry. While these complaints aren't new, the diagram [PDF] Microsoft created gives you an interesting look at the sort of competition Microsoft fears from Google."

Submission + - Google selling search terms to spammers? (

An anonymous reader writes: A few months ago I searched for a very unique string (with letters,
numbers and shift-number characters) on No search terms
were returned. The other day I searched again, and there were three spam
results — one was spam added as hidden comments on a seemingly innocent
tech site, the other were spams (i.e.

A couple of other people I know have reported the same thing. Their
"I think google sells the search strings to companies. I typed in a
search maybe 3 years ago, and I did a partial search using some of the
same keywords a few months ago. I was surprised to see my exact phrase
that I used years ago, but on a spam site."

"I had an idea of an adult dating site name for a story I was writing,
googled it, and nothing existed. Now it's a couple months later and I
regularly get that search term in the subject line of spam to me.
There's a break in the chain somewhere I guess. "

Does Google sell the terms that people search for?

Notes: I might have used either directly or maybe Firefox's
in-built Google search box. I always use Firefox with RefControl to hide
the referer, NoScript and AdblockPlus turned on with Google adverts
hidden, Google History is disabled, I use OpenDNS but have Google's IPs
hardcoded into my hosts file in case I'm ever DNS-poisoned (and also
because OpenDNS reroutes Google via their own server), I have never had
mal/spyware, I use NOD32, and regularly check for odd TCP connections
and run Rootkit Revealer, etc.

Here are google searches to some of the sites full of search terms. Most
of these need the google cache, as the blogspot sites seem to have been
removed (numbers are easiest to search for because the search strings
are all concatenated):

Note that because I use NoScript and AdBlock Plus, I have no idea if any
of these pages are laden with malware. Be careful.

Sometimes Google returns different results for different countries, so
here are some Cache links. You can find other blogspot domains and
hidden comment spam sites by searching for some of the unique keywords
found on these pages:

The only things I can think of is that either someone is sniffing search
queries destined to Google, Google reveals search words to anyone who
wants to buy adverts (as opposed to advertisers saying "I want to buy a
million searches of the keywords "suntan lotion"), or someone working at
Google sells search terms to SEO companies, or an enterprising SEO
person has found a backdoor to see Google search terms.


Submission + - Finding an OSS project that needs help?

KlaymenDK writes: My father has been thinking about retiring from the (lumbering behemoth of a) company he's been working at, and I've teased him by saying that he can always find an open source project that needs his kind of skills.
A few days ago he actually did retire (well, was retired) but he's got plenty of energy left in him, and also more than 35 years of IT experience. So how, specifically, would one go about determining the best project to dedicate one's effort to?

He's a civil engineer, has done a ton of wizardy mainframe programming "back in the day", and has spent the last 15-20 years doing product presentations and educating the sales force about the technical side of the product lines. He's an avid promoter of "green" technology (that is, energy-efficiency and recyclability), and has never been afraid to go against management if he had a better plan. However, he's not entirely up to speed on the open source movement and free operating systems, though I do my best to educate him.

I'm sure he would make an excellent spokesperson for the OpenMoko, except they don't have any openings. So where else could you suggest, where would you start looking?

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