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Government

China Bans Games That "Glorify Gangsters' Lives" 172

As we discussed in June, China has been working on plans to impose further restrictions on the games that can be sold or publicized within its borders. The Chinese government has now begun implementing those plans, starting with games that involve gangs, saying, "These games encourage people to deceive, loot and kill, and glorify gangsters' lives. It has a bad influence on youngsters." According to a Xinhua news agency, "The ministry ordered its law enforcement bodies to step up oversight and harshly punish those sites that continue to run such games."
The Almighty Buck

Apple Dominates "Premium PC" Market 475

itwbennett writes "Macs made up a whopping 91 percent of the $1,000-and-up computer market in June. Not so long ago, $1,000 got you an entry-level machine. Today the average computer sells for $701, while the average Windows machine sells for only $515. Still, Macs only make up 8.7% of PC sales. But is that really such a bad position to be in? Consider an Apples to Apples, that is, Macs to iPhones comparison: the iPhone takes only a sliver of the phone market but a much larger share of the profits."
The Internet

Submission + - Beta Culture Is Destroying the Industry

An anonymous reader writes: For Web 2.0 start-ups, it's become common to release products in beta, before they're quite ready for the consumer market. But Andrew Keen, author and entrepreneur, says it's time to abandon the "beta cult", which replaced "the adult ideal of perfection." Keen laments today's start-ups and the entrepreneurs who run them ("even the sloppily untucked clothing of the unshaven entrepreneurs seemed to exist in a puerile, petulant beta," he says). Instead, he champions companies like Microsoft which, in being "immune to the adolescent beta cult," don't release unfinished products. Google, on the other hand, announced the Chrome Browser OS before it exists. This will change in the future: "The simple fact is that unfinished products are unsuccessful," says Keen. "Thus the cult of beta will, like the Web 2.0 euphoria and other fashionable ephemera, eventually pass."
Privacy

Submission + - "How to Read a Privacy Policy" (myplaceinthecrowd.org)

Grace Meng writes: "The Common Data Project, a new nonprofit, has just published a paper called, "How to Read a Privacy Policy," which is available here: http://commondataproject.org/paper-policies-intro. Unlike other privacy reports we've read, it's meant to be a user's guide to the kind of issues and questions we think are crucial for understanding online data collection and how those methods implicate a user's sense of privacy. We're taking some pretty strong positions about what users should and shouldn't worry about in online privacy policies. (e.g., We don't think data retention is a big issue. We think a clear story about what users get out having their data collected is.) We also know the privacy community is far from reaching consensus on these topics (Know Privacy, http://knowprivacy.org/index.html, EFF's Best Practices for Online Service Providers, http://www.eff.org/wp/osp). Our goal is to provoke some discussion around these issue. We'd greatly appreciate any feedback, questions, or comments you might have. The announcement for the paper is on our blog here: http://blog.myplaceinthecrowd.org/2009/07/21/welcome-to-our-guided-tour-of-online-privacy-policies/. The full press release can be found here: http://commondataproject.org/images/How_To_Read_A_Privacy_Policy_PR.pdf. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me."
Cellphones

Submission + - Lost iPhone prototype causes employee suicide (macrumors.com)

tlhIngan writes: "Physical intimidation of a Foxconn employee and a possibly-illegal search of his house may have led to suicide after an iPhone prototype in his possession was lost. Entrusted with 16 iPhone prototypes, he discovered one was missing, and searched the factory for it. Failing that, he reported the incident to his boss, who ordered his apartment searched (potentially illegally), and there are reports of physical intimidation by Foxconn security personnel. This ended tragically on Thursday at 3AM, when he jumped from his apartment building to his dead."
Social Networks

Submission + - This Article Will Self-Destruct In 5 ... 4 ... 3 . (scientificblogging.com)

TaeKwonDood writes: "Worried that your impish college antics could come back to haunt you in a job interview? A new University of Washington plug-in for Firefox says it can cause your online content to "self-destruct", keeping your errant emails and/or web cam videos from falling into the wrong hands. The hook? Encryption needs a key and, for security purposes, even the user does not have it. So they use the miracle of worldwide P2P, though how well it works will soon be found out."
Censorship

Submission + - Amazon Censors Orwell's 1984 From Kindles (nytimes.com)

isBandGeek() writes: In an ironic twist, Kindle customers that had purchased copies of works by George Orwell, including 1984, found that these e-books had been erased from their Kindles. Amazon had remotely deleted purchased e-books from Kindles while claiming that the books were actually copies sold by a company that did not have rights to these books. Apparently, this isn't an isolated incident. Other customers report that books by Ayn Rand had also been deleted.

Comment Re:Draconian Laws (Score 1) 179

If you're not a Facebook member and someone "tags" you in a photo, the result is an unsearchable tag. Besides, on what website do you have the privilege of pre-emptively removing photos of yourself? This is not a problem with Facebook: it is a problem with the Internet. Tough luck.
Social Networks

Analyst, 15, Creates Storm After Trashing Twitter 381

Barence writes "A 15-year-old schoolboy has become an overnight sensation after writing a report on teenagers' media habits for analysts Morgan Stanley. Intern Matthew Robson was asked to write a report about his friends' use of technology during his work experience stint with the firm's media analysts. The report was so good the firm decided to publish it, and it generated 'five or six' times more interest than Morgan Stanley's regular reports. The schoolboy poured scorn on Twitter, claiming that teenagers 'realize that no one is viewing their profile, so their tweets are pointless.' He also claimed games consoles are replacing mobile phones as the way to chat with friends."
Biotech

Human Sperm Produced In the Laboratory 368

duh P3rf3ss3r writes "The BBC is carrying a report from a team of researchers at Newcastle University who claim to have developed a the first 'artificial' human sperm from stem cells. The research, reported in the journal Stem Cells and Development, involved selecting meristematic germ cells from a human embryonic stem cell culture and inducing meiosis, thus producing a haploid gamete. The authors claim that the resulting sperm are fully formed, mature, human sperm cells but the announcement has been greeted with mixed reaction from colleagues who claim the procedure is ethically questionable and that the gametes produced are of inferior levels of maturation."
Mozilla

Firefox To Get Multi-Process Browsing 383

An anonymous reader writes with news that multi-process browsing will be coming to Firefox. The project is called Electrolysis, and the developers "have already assembled a prototype that renders a page in a separate process from the interface shell in which it is displayed." Mozilla's Benjamin Smedberg says they're currently "[sprinting] as fast as possible to get basic code working, running simple testcase plugins and content tabs in a separate process," after which they'll fix everything that breaks in the process. Further details of their plan are available on the Mozilla wiki, and a summary is up at TechFragments.
Privacy

BT Drops Phorm, Citing More Pressing Priorities 94

Tom DBA notes a story up at The Register that begins "BT has abandoned plans to roll out Phorm's controversial web monitoring and profiling system across its broadband network, claiming it needs to concentrate resources on network upgrades... BT's announcement comes a day before MPs and peers of the All Party Parliamentary Communications Group are due to begin an investigation of Internet privacy. Their intervention follows the EU's move to sue the UK government over its alleged failure... properly [to] implement European privacy laws with respect to the trials, drawing further bad publicity to the venture." We've discussed Phorm many times in the past.
Image

Railway Workers Get Daily Smile Scans Screenshot-sm 385

More than 500 workers at Japan's, Keihin Electric Express Railway, must have their faces scanned each morning to determine their optimum smile. The "smile scan" analyzes a smile based on facial characteristics, from lip curves and eye movements to wrinkles. After the program scans you, it produces a smile rating that ranges from zero to 100 depending on the estimated potential of your biggest smile. If your number is sufficient, you can go about your day grinning like a maniac. If your smile number is too low the computer will give you a message such as, "lift up your mouth corners" or "you still look too serious." Every morning employees receive a printout of their daily smile which they are expected to keep with them throughout the day.

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