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Google

Sony HDTVs To Come With Google TV Interface 124

adeelarshad82 writes "Even though Google recently announced its own Google TV, seems like their partnership with Sony is going to make it obsolete. Google has partnered up with Sony to launch four HDTVs loaded with the Google TV interface, as well as a Google TV Blu-ray player. The company's Google TV products will be called Sony Internet TV. With the Google TV, Sony aims to provide a clean and easy way to browse the Web, watch TV, and run applications all on your HDTV. Google TV uses the true Chrome Web browser with Flash 10.1. Unfortunately though, at the moment it only has a handful of apps available but Sony said the OS will be updated in early 2011 to include the Android Market app with more options."
The Military

At Last, Flying Cars? 194

ColdWetDog writes, "OK, we've all whined about the fact that we are now firmly entrenched in the 21st Century and no flying cars. So it is gratifying to see that our good friends at DARPA are finally going to do something about it." The project is called Transformer TX. "The Government's envisioned concept consists of a robust ground vehicle that is capable of configuring into a VTOL air vehicle with a maximum payload capability of approximately 1,000 lbs. ... Technologies of interest may include: hybrid electric drive, advanced batteries, adaptive wing structures, ducted fan propulsion systems, advanced lightweight heavy fuel engines, lightweight materials, advanced sensors, and flight controls for stable transition from vertical to horizontal flight. ... Like all DARPA projects Transformer TX is unlikely to succeed at all. Even if US Marine rifle companies one day do ride to war in handy four-man sky jeeps rather than cumbersome choppers or Humvees, that doesn't necessarily mean flying cars for all any more than Harriers or Ospreys did."
Businesses

We're Staying In China, Says Microsoft 249

ericb tips an article at the Guardian which begins: "Hopes that Google's forthright stand on censorship in China would inspire other companies to follow suit appeared unfounded today, with the move instead threatening to widen the rift between some of the world's most powerful internet companies. Microsoft, which has considerable interests in the country, including its Bing search engine, responded directly to criticism by Google's co-founder Sergey Brin, who this week accused the company of speaking against human rights and free speech. Brin, who pressed for the closing down of Google's self-censored Chinese search engine, said yesterday: 'I'm very disappointed for them in particular. I would hope that larger companies would not put profit ahead of all else. Generally, companies should pay attention to how and where their products are used.' Microsoft rejected Brin's critique, saying it would continue to obey local laws on censorship in China."

Comment Re:What I want to know is... (Score 1) 368

But now that there's an obvious business reason *not* to operate in China (the threat of being hacked by individuals whose actions may or may not have been sanctioned by the government), Larry and Sergei find themselves in the position to steer Google, the organization, in a different direction.

This is one argument I've never understood - it's not like Chinese government could only hack into companies with physical presence in China. If it's about hacking - pulling out of China won't help Google in any way. If it's about censorship - yeah, really, it wasn't a problem for more than five years, but now it suddenly is ?!? If it's about finding a nice excuse to leave Chinese market after getting beaten by Baidu - well, that at least is plausible.

Government

US Eases Internet Export Rules To Iran, Sudan, Cuba 98

coondoggie writes "Looking to facilitate what it calls free speech rights in countries that don't look favorably at such liberties, the US government today said it would ease the regulations around exporting Internet-based applications to Iran, Sudan and Cuba. Specifically, the Treasury Department said it would add general licenses (PDF) authorizing the exportation of free, personal, Internet-based communications services – such as instant messaging, chat and email, and social networking – to those three countries. The amendments also allow the exportation of related software to Iran and Sudan, the department said in a release (the US Commerce Department controls software exports with Cuba). Until now all such exports would have broken federal laws."

Submission + - Largest Russian Online Library silently blocked 2

An anonymous reader writes: Largest Russian Online Library silently blocked by US ISPs.

Let's admit it — some of it is a "pirated" content. But, this has never been challenged in court. Library registered in the Ecuador, country that doesn't have any bad law like DMCA. So, there is no way to sue that library without bombing the whole country. But ISPs in US found the way — they just block IP addresses without even telling you. To this moment there are at least 2 ISPs that block your access — Surewest and Bell. Try yourself to check if your provider is a bad guy: http://lib.rus.ec/.

Hail the censorship! Ditch the free speech! US people, welcome to North Korea!

Genetic Mutation Enables Less Sleep 272

reporter writes to tell us that researchers are claiming to have discovered a genetic mutation that allows people to manage with much less sleep. One of the researchers hopes that this could lead to artificially reducing the amount of sleep required in your average human. "Although the mutation has been identified in only two people, the power of the research stems from the fact that the shortened sleep effect was replicated in mouse and fruit-fly studies. As a result, the research now gives scientists a clearer sense of where to look for genetic traits linked to sleep patterns."
Censorship

US Tests System To Evade Foreign Web Censorship 219

D1gital_Prob3 excerpts from a Reuters story that says "The US government is covertly testing technology in China and Iran that lets residents break through screens set up by their governments to limit access to news on the Internet. The 'feed over email' (FOE) system delivers news, podcasts and data via technology that evades web-screening protocols of restrictive regimes, said Ken Berman, head of IT at the US government's Broadcasting Board of Governors, which is testing the system. The news feeds are sent through email accounts including those operated by Google, Microsoft's Hotmail, and Yahoo. 'We have people testing it in China and Iran,' said Berman, whose agency runs Voice of America. He provided few details on the new system, which is in the early stages of testing. He said some secrecy was important to avoid detection by the two governments."
GUI

Preview the Office 2007 Ribbon-Like UI Floated For OpenOffice.Org 617

recoiledsnake writes "OpenOffice.org has prototyped a new UI that radically changes the current OO.o interface into something very similar to the new ribbon style menus that Office 2007 introduced and which have been extensively used throughout Windows 7. The blog shows a screenshot of the prototype in Impress (the equivalent of PowerPoint), but this UI is proposed to be used across all OO.o applications. Some commenters on the Sun blog are not happy about OO.o blindly aping Office 2007, and feel that the ribbon UI may be out of place in non-Windows operating systems."
Software

Emacs Hits Version 23 367

djcb writes "After only 2 years since the previous version, now emacs 23 (.1) is available. It brings many new features, of which the support for anti-aliased fonts on X may be the most visible. Also, there is support for starting emacs in the background, so you can pop up new emacs windows in the blink of an eye. There are many other bigger and smaller improvements, including support for D-Bus, Xembed, and viewing PDFs inside emacs. And not to forget, M-x butterfly. You can get emacs 23 from ftp.gnu.org/gnu/emacs/ or one of its mirrors; alternatively, there are binary packages available, for example from Ubuntu PPA."
Medicine

FDA Considers Banning Acetaminophen-Based Pain Killers 631

Greg George writes "The FDA has determined that Tylenol enhancing pain killers are dangerous enough to potentially be pulled from the market. Drugs including Vicodin, Hydrocodone, Lortab, Maxidone, Norco, Zydone, Tylenol with codeine, Percocet, Endocet, and Darvocet may be permanently banned from the US market, even if the patient has a prescription from a doctor. The problem is the key ingredient — acetaminophen — can easily damage or destroy a patient's liver if more than 2000 mg are used per day. In many cases that means if you take a pain killer and then take two extra strength Tylenol, you may have gone over the maximum dosage per day."
Government

Submission + - The lowdown on the Iranian "uprising"

Runaway1956 writes: "By George Friedman Speaking of the situation in Iran, U.S. President Barack Obama said June 26, "We don't yet know how any potential dialogue will have been affected until we see what has happened inside of Iran." On the surface that is a strange statement, since we know that with minor exceptions, the demonstrations in Tehran lost steam after Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for them to end and security forces asserted themselves. By the conventional wisdom, events in Iran represent an oppressive regime crushing a popular rising. If so, it is odd that the U.S. president would raise the question of what has happened in Iran. In reality, Obama's point is well taken. This is because the real struggle in Iran has not yet been settled, nor was it ever about the liberalization of the regime. Rather, it has been about the role of the clergy — particularly the old-guard clergy — in Iranian life, and the future of particular personalities among this clergy. Ahmadinejad Against the Clerical Elite Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ran his re-election campaign against the old clerical elite, charging them with corruption, luxurious living and running the state for their own benefit rather than that of the people. He particularly targeted Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, an extremely senior leader, and his family. Indeed, during the demonstrations, Rafsanjani's daughter and four other relatives were arrested, held and then released a day later. Rafsanjani represents the class of clergy that came to power in 1979. He served as president from 1989-1997, but Ahmadinejad defeated him in 2005. Rafsanjani carries enormous clout within the system as head of the regime's two most powerful institutions — the Expediency Council, which arbitrates between the Guardian Council and parliament, and the Assembly of Experts, whose powers include oversight of the supreme leader. Forbes has called him one of the wealthiest men in the world. Rafsanjani, in other words, remains at the heart of the post-1979 Iranian establishment. Ahmadinejad expressly ran his recent presidential campaign against Rafsanjani, using the latter's family's vast wealth to discredit Rafsanjani along with many of the senior clerics who dominate the Iranian political scene. It was not the regime as such that he opposed, but the individuals who currently dominate it. Ahmadinejad wants to retain the regime, but he wants to repopulate the leadership councils with clerics who share his populist values and want to revive the ascetic foundations of the regime. The Iranian president constantly contrasts his own modest lifestyle with the opulence of the current religious leadership. Recognizing the threat Ahmadinejad represented to him personally and to the clerical class he belongs to, Rafsanjani fired back at Ahmadinejad, accusing him of having wrecked the economy. At his side were other powerful members of the regime, including Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, who has made no secret of his antipathy toward Ahmadinejad and whose family links to the Shiite holy city of Qom give him substantial leverage. The underlying issue was about the kind of people who ought to be leading the clerical establishment. The battlefield was economic: Ahmadinejad's charges of financial corruption versus charges of economic mismanagement leveled by Rafsanjani and others. When Ahmadinejad defeated Mir Hossein Mousavi on the night of the election, the clerical elite saw themselves in serious danger. The margin of victory Ahmadinejad claimed might have given him the political clout to challenge their position. Mousavi immediately claimed fraud, and Rafsanjani backed him up. Whatever the motives of those in the streets, the real action was a knife fight between Ahmadinejad and Rafsanjani. By the end of the week, Khamenei decided to end the situation. In essence, he tried to hold things together by ordering the demonstrations to halt while throwing a bone to Rafsanjani and Mousavi by extending a probe into the election irregularities and postponing a partial recount by five days. The Struggle Within the Regime The key to understanding the situation in Iran is realizing that the past weeks have seen not an uprising against the regime, but a struggle within the regime. Ahmadinejad is not part of the establishment, but rather has been struggling against it, accusing it of having betrayed the principles of the Islamic Revolution. The post-election unrest in Iran therefore was not a matter of a repressive regime suppressing liberals (as in Prague in 1989), but a struggle between two Islamist factions that are each committed to the regime, but opposed to each other. The demonstrators certainly included Western-style liberalizing elements, but they also included adherents of senior clerics who wanted to block Ahmadinejad's re-election. And while Ahmadinejad undoubtedly committed electoral fraud to bulk up his numbers, his ability to commit unlimited fraud was blocked, because very powerful people looking for a chance to bring him down were arrayed against him. The situation is even more complex because it is not simply a fight between Ahmadinejad and the clerics, but also a fight among the clerical elite regarding perks and privileges — and Ahmadinejad is himself being used within this infighting. The Iranian president's populism suits the interests of clerics who oppose Rafsanjani; Ahmadinejad is their battering ram. But as Ahmadinejad increases his power, he could turn on his patrons very quickly. In short, the political situation in Iran is extremely volatile, just not for the reason that the media portrayed. Rafsanjani is an extraordinarily powerful figure in the establishment who clearly sees Ahmadinejad and his faction as a mortal threat. Ahmadinejad's ability to survive the unified opposition of the clergy, election or not, is not at all certain. But the problem is that there is no unified clergy. The supreme leader is clearly trying to find a new political balance while making it clear that public unrest will not be tolerated. Removing "public unrest" (i.e., demonstrations) from the tool kits of both sides may take away one of Rafsanjani's more effective tools. But ultimately, it actually could benefit him. Should the internal politics move against the Iranian president, it would be Ahmadinejad — who has a substantial public following — who would not be able to have his supporters take to the streets. The View From the West The question for the rest of the world is simple: Does it matter who wins this fight? We would argue that the policy differences between Ahmadinejad and Rafsanjani are minimal and probably would not affect Iran's foreign relations. This fight simply isn't about foreign policy. Rafsanjani has frequently been held up in the West as a pragmatist who opposes Ahmadinejad's radicalism. Rafsanjani certainly opposes Ahmadinejad and is happy to portray the Iranian president as harmful to Iran, but it is hard to imagine significant shifts in foreign policy if Rafsanjani's faction came out on top. Khamenei has approved Iran's foreign policy under Ahmadinejad, and Khamenei works to maintain broad consensus on policies. Ahmadinejad's policies were vetted by Khamenei and the system that Rafsanjani is part of. It is possible that Rafsanjani secretly harbors different views, but if he does, anyone predicting what these might be is guessing. Rafsanjani is a pragmatist in the sense that he systematically has accumulated power and wealth. He seems concerned about the Iranian economy, which is reasonable because he owns a lot of it. Ahmadinejad's entire charge against him is that Rafsanjani is only interested in his own economic well-being. These political charges notwithstanding, Rafsanjani was part of the 1979 revolution, as were Ahmadinejad and the rest of the political and clerical elite. It would be a massive mistake to think that any leadership elements have abandoned those principles. When the West looks at Iran, two concerns are expressed. The first relates to the Iranian nuclear program, and the second relates to Iran's support for terrorists, particularly Hezbollah. Neither Iranian faction is liable to abandon either, because both make geopolitical sense for Iran and give it regional leverage. Tehran's primary concern is regime survival, and this has two elements. The first is deterring an attack on Iran, while the second is extending Iran's reach so that such an attack could be countered. There are U.S. troops on both sides of the Islamic Republic, and the United States has expressed hostility to the regime. The Iranians are envisioning a worst-case scenario, assuming the worst possible U.S. intentions, and this will remain true no matter who runs the government. We do not believe that Iran is close to obtaining a nuclear weapon, a point we have made frequently. Iran understands that the actual acquisition of a nuclear weapon would lead to immediate U.S. or Israeli attacks. Accordingly, Iran's ideal position is to be seen as developing nuclear weapons, but not close to having them. This gives Tehran a platform for bargaining without triggering Iran's destruction, a task at which it has proved sure-footed. In addition, Iran has maintained capabilities in Iraq and Lebanon. Should the United States or Israel attack, Iran would thus be able to counter by doing everything possible destabilize Iraq — bogging down U.S. forces there — while simultaneously using Hezbollah's global reach to carry out terror attacks. After all, Hezbollah is today's al Qaeda on steroids. The radical Shiite group's ability, coupled with that of Iranian intelligence, is substantial. We see no likelihood that any Iranian government would abandon this two-pronged strategy without substantial guarantees and concessions from the West. Those would have to include guarantees of noninterference in Iranian affairs. Obama, of course, has been aware of this bedrock condition, which is why he went out of his way before the election to assure Khamenei in a letter that the United States had no intention of interfering. Though Iran did not hesitate to lash out at CNN's coverage of the protests, the Iranians know that the U.S. government doesn't control CNN's coverage. But Tehran takes a slightly different view of the BBC. The Iranians saw the depiction of the demonstrations as a democratic uprising against a repressive regime as a deliberate attempt by British state-run media to inflame the situation. This allowed the Iranians to vigorously blame some foreigner for the unrest without making the United States the primary villain. But these minor atmospherics aside, we would make three points. First, there was no democratic uprising of any significance in Iran. Second, there is a major political crisis within the Iranian political elite, the outcome of which probably tilts toward Ahmadinejad but remains uncertain. Third, there will be no change in the substance of Iran's foreign policy, regardless of the outcome of this fight. The fantasy of a democratic revolution overthrowing the Islamic Republic — and thus solving everyone's foreign policy problems a la the 1991 Soviet collapse — has passed. That means that Obama, as the primary player in Iranian foreign affairs, must now define an Iran policy — particularly given Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak's meeting in Washington with U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell this Monday. Obama has said that nothing that has happened in Iran makes dialogue impossible, but opening dialogue is easier said than done. The Republicans consistently have opposed an opening to Iran; now they are joined by Democrats, who oppose dialogue with nations they regard as human rights violators. Obama still has room for maneuver, but it is not clear where he thinks he is maneuvering. The Iranians have consistently rejected dialogue if it involves any preconditions. But given the events of the past weeks, and the perceptions about them that have now been locked into the public mind, Obama isn't going to be able to make many concessions. It would appear to us that in this, as in many other things, Obama will be following the Bush strategy — namely, criticizing Iran without actually doing anything about it. And so he goes to Moscow more aware than ever that Russia could cause the United States a great deal of pain if it proceeded with weapons transfers to Iran, a country locked in a political crisis and unlikely to emerge from it in a pleasant state of mind. Tell STRATFOR What You Think This report may be forwarded or republished on your website with attribution to www.stratfor.com"
Cellphones

Standard Cellphone Chargers For Europeans 257

k33l0r writes "The European Commission is confident that all major cellphone companies have reached an agreement on a standard cellphone charger for consumers within the EU. 'People will not have to throw away their charger whenever they buy a new phone,' said EU Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen. Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, Apple, LG, NEC, Qualcomm, Research in Motion, Samsung and Texas Instruments have all signed the agreement."
The Almighty Buck

Copyfraud Is Stealing the Public Domain 263

malkavian writes "This community has complained long and loudly about the very one-sided approach to copyright, and the not-so-slow erosion of the public domain. On top of the corporate lobbying to remove increasingly larger parts of the public domain, there is now an growing pattern whereby works are directly taken from the public domain and effectively stolen by a single company leveraging protections provided under copyright law. The Register's article is based on a paper by Jason Mazzone at the Brooklyn Law School, which starkly details the problems that are now becoming evident as entities grab control over public domain works. The paper proposes some possible solutions, such as amending the Copyright Act. From the abstract: 'Copyright law itself creates strong incentives for copyfraud. The Copyright Act provides for no civil penalty for falsely claiming ownership of public domain materials. There is also no remedy under the Act for individuals who wrongly refrain from legal copying or who make payment for permission to copy something they are in fact entitled to use for free. While falsely claiming copyright is technically a criminal offense under the Act, prosecutions are extremely rare. These circumstances have produced fraud on an untold scale, with millions of works in the public domain deemed copyrighted, and countless dollars paid out every year in licensing fees to make copies that could be made for free.'"
The Courts

Thomas' Testimony and the RIAA's Near-Fatal Error 283

eldavojohn writes "The long and torrid trial of Jammie Thomas is in its second stage and in full swing. Yesterday, two major events took place: Thomas gave her surprising testimony and the RIAA was threatened for not disclosing new information to the opposing counsel. Thomas claimed she didn't know what KaZaA was before the trial started. She also admitted that the hard drive handed over to investigators was different than the one that was in her computer during the time of infringement. Her testimony from the first trial was that 'the hard drive replacement had taken place in 2004 and that the drive had not been swapped again since.' This is problematic because the new hard drive had a manufacturing date of 2005. The RIAA had its own troubles, almost losing all evidence from a particular witness when they added an additional log file to evidence without the defense being notified of it. The judge mercifully only removed that new evidence from the trial. It was related to whether or not an external hard drive was ever connected to the computer."

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