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The Internet

Submission + - How 136 people became "7m illegal file-sharers (pcpro.co.uk) 5

Barence writes: "The British Government's official figures on the level of illegal file sharing in the UK come from questionable research commissioned by the music industry. The Radio 4 show More or Less examined the Government's claim that 7m people in Britain are engaged in illegal file sharing. The 7m figure actually came from a report written about music industry losses for Forrester subsidiary Jupiter Research — that report was privately commissioned by none other than the music trade body, the BPI. The 7m figure had been rounded up from an actual figure of 6.7m, gleaned from a 2008 survey of 1,176 net-connected households, 11.6% of which admitted to having used file-sharing software — in other words, only 136 people. That 11.6% was adjusted upwards to 16.3% "to reflect the assumption that fewer people admit to file sharing than actually do it." The 6.7m figure was then calculated based on an estimated number of internet users that disagreed with the Government's own estimate. The wholly unsubstantiated 7m figure was then released as an official statistic."
Databases

Submission + - How a Team of Geeks Cracked the Spy Trade (wsj.com)

drunken_boxer777 writes: The Wall Street Journal has a fairly lengthy and interesting article on a small tech company that is making the CIA, Pentagon, and FBI take notice:

One of the latest entrants into the government spy-services marketplace, Palantir Technologies has designed what many intelligence analysts say is the most effective tool to date to investigate terrorist networks. The software's main advance is a user-friendly search tool that can scan multiple data sources at once, something previous search tools couldn't do. That means an analyst who is following a tip about a planned terror attack, for example, can more quickly and easily unearth connections among suspects, money transfers, phone calls and previous attacks around the globe.

And yes, their company name is a reference to what you think it is.

Announcements

Submission + - Comcast makes you subject to Non-US laws (comcast.net) 4

boyfoot_bear writes: I just received an email from Comcast that tells me "we're introducing an updated Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, effective October 6, 2009." Included in the terms of service (which can be found here http://www.comcast.net/terms/web/2009-10/) is the following:
You specifically agree not to:
* use the Comcast Web Services to undertake or accomplish any unlawful purpose, including but not limited to, posting, storing, transmitting or disseminating information, data or material which is libelous, obscene, unlawful, threatening or defamatory, or which infringes the intellectual property rights of any person or entity, or which in any way constitutes or encourages conduct that would constitute a criminal offense, or otherwise violate any local, state, federal, or non-U.S. law, order, or regulation;

It sounds to me like Comcast is making me subject to the laws of, say, China. I don't know about you but I sure don't know all of the non-US laws, orders or regulations that even this post runs afoul of but I am sure that Comcast is overstepping its authority.

Security

Submission + - Code-breaking quantum algorithm on a silicon chip

Urchin writes: "Shor's quantum algorithm, which offers a way to crack the commonly used RSA encryption algorithm, has been demonstrated on a silicon chip for the first time. The algorithm was first demonstrated on large tabletop arrays 3 years ago, but the photonic quantum circuit can now be printed relatively easily onto a silicon chip just 25 mm long. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17736-codebreaking-quantum-algorithm-run-on-a-silicon-chip.html"
GNU is Not Unix

Leaving the GPL Behind 543

olddotter points out a story up at Yahoo Tech on companies' decisions to distance themselves from the GPL. "Before deciding to pull away from GPL, Haynie says Appcelerator surveyed some two dozen software vendors working within the same general market space. To his surprise, Haynie saw that only one was using a GPL variant. 'Everybody else, hands down, was MIT, Apache, or New BSD,' he says. 'The proponents of GPL like to tell people that the world only needs one open source license, and I think that's actually, frankly, just a flat-out dumb position,' says Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, one of the many organizations now offering an open source license with more generous commercial terms than GPL."
Patents

Supreme Court Review of Bilski Heats Up 121

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "The Supreme Court's review of In Re Bilski (discussed here numerous times) is heating up, having attracted no less than 44 friend-of-the-court briefs from almost everyone with a stake in the patent system. Patently-O provides a nice summary of who is arguing against Bilski. The two questions before the Supreme Court are whether or not a process must satisfy the particular machine or transformation test, and whether this test improperly excludes many business methods in spite of the wording of 35 U.S.C. 273, which specifically allows business-method patents. So far, the case has attracted legal filings from nearly every large company or group whose patents might be threatened. You can read briefs from Yahoo, IBM, Borland, Dolby Labs, the BSA, and many others, even one from some guy claiming to speak on behalf of the State of Oregon."

Comment Re:Not a lot of difficulty? My ass. (Score 2) 190

I've seen some mindblowing graphics produced with photoshop.... I have yet to see anything comprable with the GIMP.

You know what? I have seen some mindblowing graphics done in image editor coming with Windows 3.11. Moreover, I have seen some mindblowing graphics produced without any help of Photoshop or computer at all. Actually, some of it is hanging on my walls right now.

Saying "tool X sucks because I have seen better graphics made with tool Y" is basically saying "guitar sucks because my brother plays good on violin". That's plain stupid argument.

When the GIMP (or comprable app) can use the photshop 5 keyboard shortcuts

Well, here is another stupid argument coming. Judging professional application by keyboard shortcut compatibility with other application. Is it trained monkey who is going to use it? So that once imprinted with some basic keyboard accords it cannot do anything else effectively? Oh my...

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