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United States

German Report: Obama Aware of Merkel Spying Since 2010 280

First time accepted submitter pupsocket writes "Yesterday the German newspaper of record, Frankfurter Allgemeine, reported that the President told German Chancellor Merkel that he would have stopped the tap on her phone had he known about it. Today, another German paper, Bild am Sonntag, quoted U.S. Intelligence sources that the President had been briefed in 2010. 'Obama did not halt the operation but rather let it continue,' the newspaper quoted a high-ranking NSA official as saying."
United Kingdom

UK Telcos Went Above and Beyond To Cooperate With GCHQ 88

An anonymous reader writes with this news from the Guardian: "GCHQ lobbied furiously to keep secret the fact that telecoms firms had gone 'well beyond' what they were legally required to do to help intelligence agencies' mass interception of communications, both in the UK and overseas. GCHQ feared a legal challenge under the right to privacy in the Human Rights Act if evidence of its surveillance methods became admissable in court. GCHQ assisted the Home Office in lining up sympathetic people to help with "press handling", including the Liberal Democrat peer and former intelligence services commissioner Lord Carlile, who this week criticised the Guardian for its coverage of mass surveillance by GCHQ and the US National Security Agency."
Advertising

Google Testing Banner Ads On Select Search Results 185

cagraham writes "Google promised in 2005 to never "ever" put banner ads on their search results, but that appears to be changing. The company confirmed to SearchEngineLand that it is running a "small experiment" involving large-scale banners on searches for Southwest Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and Crate&Barrel, among others. The ads are being shown in less than 5% of searches, and only in the US, for now. Interestingly enough, the Google exec who wrote the no banner ads promise was Marissa Mayer, now CEO of Yahoo."
Bug

IE 11 Breaks Rendering For Google Products, and Outlook Too 231

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from The Register: "The Windows 8.1 rollout has hit more hurdles: the new version 11 of Internet Explorer that ships with the operating system does not render Google products well and is also making life difficult for users of Microsoft's own Outlook Web Access webmail product. The latter issue is well known: Microsoft popped out some advice about the fact that only the most basic interface to the webmail tool will work back in July. It seems not every sysadmin got the memo and implemented Redmond's preferred workarounds, but there are only scattered complaints out there, likely because few organisations have bothered implementing Windows 8.1 yet." Also from the article: "Numerous reports suggest that IE 11 users can once again enjoy access to all things Google if they un-tick the IE 11 option to 'Use Microsoft Compatibility lists.'" And here's Microsoft KB work around.
Businesses

Forrester Research Shows Steep Decline in Free Office Suite Stats 337

An anonymous reader writes that although many Linux users (and others) are at home with OpenOffice and LibreOffice, typical organizations are as addicted as ever to MS office formats. In 2011 13% of organizations had OpenOffice variants installed on some computers. Today that number has dipped to 5% according to Forrester Research. ... The poll included [shows totals] over 100% as many organizations have multiple versions of offices installed. Also surprising, Office 2003 is alive kicking and screaming as almost 1/3 of companies and governments still use it even though EOL for Office 2003 ends with XP on the same date! The good news is online cloud-based platforms are gaining traction with Google Docs and Office 365 which are not so tied to Windows on the client."
United States

NSA Hacked Email Account of Mexican President 242

rtoz writes "The National Security Agency (NSA ) of United States hacked into the Mexican president's public email account and gained deep insight into policymaking and the political system. The news is likely to hurt ties between the US and Mexico. This operation, dubbed 'Flatliquid,' is described in a document leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Meanwhile U.S. President Barack Obama's administration is urging the Supreme Court not to take up the first case it has received on controversial National Security Agency cybersnooping."
Windows

Windows 8.1 Rolls Out Today 398

The newest iteration of Windows has begun rolling out, and is winning positive reviews. (Here's an in-depth review from Ars, and a more concise one from Wired — both give 8.1 a thumbs-up). Kelerei wrote with the above-linked TechDirt article on the release, noting that it is a staged rollout rather than global. Starting this morning, though, 8.1 is available to some customers. Kelerei writes: "The upgrade is optional (and free) for existing Windows 8 users, though if one looks at the changes, it's hard to imagine why those already on it wouldn't upgrade." Also at Slash BI.

Comment Re:They copied the behaviour of old software (Score 1) 82

Really? and there was me thinking it was precisely so they could win a case brought against them by Oracle which they did.

You're not informed about that case, which was precisely about Oracle thinking that Google didn't have permission to make their own implementation of the Java APIs without giving them money.

The reason they went their own way has nothing to do with the GPL (only OpenJDK is GPL'd and at risk of patent suits because Oracle refuse to grant it protection) and everything to do with ensure their project couldn't have terms dictated by Oracle.

A GPL project enjoys patent protection and can have no field of use restrictions by virtue of the GPL itself. As for the fact that Google dislike the GPL, hear it from themselves.

Android doesn't use the JVM, it uses the Java language however. They've also never said they don't care about Java compatibility. You just made that bit up, because you're trolling, or stupid.

It's not them who said that. Google have always said clearly that Android development is based on the Java language. When the Oracle vs Google case was going on, it was a lot of people here on Slashdot who were saying that Android makes no use of Java the language, and that Google didn't need to copy the Sun APIs because they didn't care about compatibility with a language that they did not use, and whose ecosystem they did not take any advantage from. Not that I support Oracle's crazy stance that APIs can be copyrighted, it's just that I can't stand knee-jerk reactions to defend a company.

Comment They copied the behaviour of old software (Score 1) 82

Oracle provide a state-of-the-art, GPL-licensed, 3 years old Java implementation that works and is secure. Google prefer to roll their own (inferior) virtual machine because they do not like GPL, and while doing so they copied in 2010 the behaviour of a 2006 implementation to be included into a 2011 product — and the fault is Oracle's?

(By the way, so much for “Android does not use Java and does not care about Java compatibility”.)

Comment Re:Oh, I totally agree... (Score 1) 791

A future-proof data signal (e.g. Thunderbolt, which can carry a signal fast enough that it won't be obsolete within a couple of years of release), that doesn't need to be supported by endpoints but can be detected and used if it is.

Micro-USB has the USB 3 signals. If you plug a Micro-USB 2 cable into a Micro-USB 3 receptacle, it will work at USB 2 speeds.

A widely-supported legacy signal (e.g. USB) so that it works everywhere

A Micro-USB cable will work literally on every cell phone not made by Apple nowadays. On other kinds of hardware, like tablets and cameras, custom connectors are still found, but even there Micro-USB is still the most common connector.

A lightweight mechanism for negotiating power demands and capabilities between supply and device.

There's the USB 2.0 battery charging standard: http://www.usb.org/developers/devclass_docs/batt_charging_1_1.zip

A physically sturdy connector, with a reference design of a socket that will stand at least 1,000 insertions and ideally 10,000 in normal use.

Compliant MicroUSB connectors are required to withstand 10,000 insertion/extraction cycles.

A connector that either has an orientation so obvious that no one could possibly plug it in the wrong way, or one that works in either orientation.

Here Micro-USB fails. It's even harder to figure out the correct orientation than it was for Mini-USB connectors. And that's a feat.

Any patents that cover the design must be licensed royalty free, so third parties can interface with it cheaply and easily.

That would be great, but seeing how cheap USB peripherals are nowadays, I doubt that USB royalties are the biggest concern of anybody entering the market of hardware manufacturing.

Advertising

Google ToS Change Means Your Photo Could Go In Ads 136

An anonymous reader writes "Google [on Friday] announced an upcoming change to its terms of service that will let the company add users' names and photos to certain parts of its advertising as of November 11. Make no mistake: this is a direct attack against Facebook. One of the few advantages of Google+ is that it features no ads. To be perfectly clear, Google isn't changing that. Google+ will still have a clean interface, at least for the foreseeable future. Instead, Google is tying Google+ into yet another one of its properties, and arguably its most important one: Google Ads."
Robotics

3D Printing a 'Terminator' Arm ... Or a Whole Body 29

Nerval's Lobster writes "One of the 600 3D-printed objects on display at a new London Science Museum exhibit is a Terminator-lookalike prosthetic arm designed by a 3D printing research group at the University of Nottingham, to demonstrate how printers can create both strong structural pieces, multi-directional joints and electronics to power touch sensors as part of a single process. "It's a mock-up but it shows circuits that sense temperature, feel objects and control the arm's movement," according to Richard Hague, director of the university's Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Research Group. The design is a step up in complexity from Robohand, an open-source engineering project launched in 2011 to design printable prostheses for those who have lost fingers or hands. The project posted many of its designs, including a full set of anatomically driven mechanical fingers, online for free download. Other manufacturers are exploring how robotics can best intersect with the human body and its need for replacement parts: pieces from 17 manufacturers went into "The Incredible Bionic Man," a full-body robotic prostheses assembled from artificial organs, limbs and other parts to demonstrate the current state-of-the-art for a Smithsonian Channel documentary due to air Oct. 20. The robot is 6'7, and able to stand and take a step with assistance; it contains a functioning heart, kidney, arms, legs, eyes and other parts. It also has a prosthetic, mobile face designed as a replacement for people who have lost noses or other features to accidents or disease."
The Courts

EU Court Holds News Website Liable For Readers' Comments 246

angry tapir writes "Seven top European Union judges have ruled that a leading Internet news website is legally responsible for offensive views posted by readers in the site's comments section. The European Court of Human Rights found that Estonian courts were within their rights to fine Delfi, one of the country's largest news websites, for comments made anonymously about a news article, according to a judgment."
DRM

The W3C Sells Out Users Without Seeming To Get Anything In Return 348

An anonymous reader writes "Questioning the W3C's stance on DRM, Simon St. Laurent asks 'What do we get for that DRM?' and has a thing or two to say about TBL's cop-out: 'I had a hard time finding anything to like in Tim Berners-Lee's meager excuse for the W3C's new focus on digital rights management (DRM). However, the piece that keeps me shaking my head and wondering is a question he asks but doesn't answer: If we, the programmers who design and build Web systems, are going to consider something which could be very onerous in many ways, what can we ask in return? Yes. What should we ask in return? And what should we expect to get? The W3C appears to have surrendered (or given?) its imprimatur to this work without asking for, well, anything in return. "Considerations to be discussed later" is rarely a powerful diplomatic pose.'"
Businesses

Microsoft Makes Another "Nearly Sold Out" Claim For the Surface Line 262

Microsoft made some confident sounding claims about sales of its first-generation Surface tablets before it became clear that the tablets weren't actually selling very well. So make what you will of the company's claim that the second version is "close to selling out." As the linked article points out, the company has "fallen short of offering any real explanation as to just how “close” to selling out the Surface 2 and Pro 2 really are – nor have they indicated how many were on hand to order in the first place."

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