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The Internet

Fairpoint Pledges To Violate Net Neutrality 249

wytcld writes "Fairpoint Communications, which has taken over Verizon's landline business in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, has announced that on February 6, 'AOL, Yahoo! and MSN subscribers will continue to have access to content but will no longer be able to access their e-mail through the third-party Web site. Instead, Yahoo! and other third-party e-mail will be accessed directly at the MyFairPoint.net portal.' Since Verizon spun off its lines to Fairpoint in a maneuver that got debt off of Verizon's balance sheets by saddling Fairpoint with it, there was concern by the public service boards of the three states about how Fairpoint would deal with that debt. Fairpoint's profit plan: force all Webmail users through Fairpoint's portal, by blocking all direct access to Webmail portals other than its own. Will Fairpoint's own search engine portal be next? What can stop them?"
Google

As Christmas Bonus, Google Hands Out "Dogfood" 366

theodp writes "You know times are tough when the best place to work in America replaces holiday bonuses with a request for unpaid labor. Blaming the economic crisis, Google management has canceled the traditional cash holiday bonus — reportedly as much as $20K-$30K per Googler — and substituted an unlocked Google Android cell phone, retail price $400. An accompanying email calls for employees to celebrate the 'chance for us to once again dogfood a product and make it even better!'" Update: 12/23 01:09 GMT by KD : A reader pointed out that comments to the article note a couple of inaccuracies: the Android phone being offered is an unlocked dev model, which goes for $400; and the reporter may have confused holiday bonuses with performance bonuses. The former have traditionally been in the range of $1,000, according to two comments.
Earth

Acorns Disappear Across the Country 474

Hugh Pickens writes "Botanist Rod Simmons thought he was going crazy when couldn't find any acorns near his home in Arlington County, Virginia. 'I'm used to seeing so many acorns around and out in the field, it's something I just didn't believe,' said Simmons. Then calls started coming in about crazy squirrels. Starving, skinny squirrels eating garbage, inhaling bird feed, greedily demolishing pumpkins. Squirrels boldly scampering into the road. And a lot more calls about squirrel roadkill. Simmons and Naturalist Greg Zell began to do some research and found Internet discussion groups, including one on Topix called 'No acorns this year,' reporting the same thing from as far away as the Midwest up through New England and Nova Scotia. 'We live in Glenwood Landing, N.Y., and don't have any acorns this year. Really weird,' wrote one. 'None in Kansas either! Curiouser and curiouser.' The absence of acorns could have something to do with the weather and Simmons has a theory about the wet and dry cycles. But many skeptics say oaks in other regions are producing plenty of acorns, and the acorn bust is nothing more than the extreme of a natural boom-and-bust cycle. But the bottom line is that no one really knows. 'It's sort of a mystery,' Zell said."
It's funny.  Laugh.

The Greatest Scientific Hoaxes? 496

Ponca City, We love you writes "The New Scientist has an amusing story about the seven greatest scientific hoaxes of all time. Of course, there have been serious cases of scientific fraud, such as the stem cell researchers recently found guilty of falsifying data, and the South Korean cloning fraud, but the hoaxes selected point more to human gullibility than malevolence and include the Piltdown Man (constructed from a medieval human cranium); a ten-foot "petrified man" dug up on a small farm in Cardiff; fossils 'found' in Wurzburg, Germany depicting comets, moons and suns, Alan Sokal's paper loaded with nonsensical jargon that was accepted by the journal Social Text; the claim of the Upas tree on the island of Java so poisonous that it killed everything within a 15-mile radius; and Johann Heinrich Cohausen's claim of an elixir produced by collecting the breath of young women in bottles that produced immortality. Our favorite: BBC's broadcast in 1957 about the spaghetti tree in Switzerland that showed a family harvesting pasta that hung from the branches of the tree. After watching the program, hundreds of people phoned in asking how they could grow their own tree but, alas, the program turned out to be an April Fools' Day joke." What massive scientific hoaxes/jokes have other people witnessed?
Politics

Canada Election Result Bad News For DMCA Opponents 311

An anonymous reader writes "For those with a stake in the opposition of Jim Prentice's C-61, the Canadian DMCA, this previous week's election results will be displeasing. The Conservative Party, which promised to reintroduce the DMCA if elected, gained 19 seats this election, mostly at the expense of the flagging liberal party, a mere 12 short of a majority government. The increase in Conservative representation, as well as the relatively low profile of this issue amidst other, more pressing concerns, increases the likelihood that the son of C-61 will come to fruition. On a positive note, the number of MPs supporting Geist's copyright pledge has increased to 34. Given the Conservative Party's historic disregard of public opinion, however, the efforts of the copyright-pledge MPs will have to rally the full opposition across three major parties in order to defeat the bill. A mere 12 MPs now stand between the Canadian public and the MAFIAA's hungry maw."
Cellphones

Why the Kill Switch Makes Sense For Android 384

Technologizer writes "It came out this week that Google's Android phone OS, like the iPhone, has a kill switch that lets Android Market applications be disabled remotely. But it's a mistake to lump Google's implementation and Apple's together — the Google version is a smart, pro-consumer move that avoids all the things that make Apple's version a bad idea."
It's funny.  Laugh.

XKCD Invited To New Yorker "Cartoon-Off" 231

UnknowingFool writes "Farley Katz, who draws for New Yorker magazine, ran into xkcd.com's Randall Munroe in a grocery store. He challenged Munroe to a cartoon-off — each cartoonist to produce drawings about the Internet as envisioned by the elderly, String Theory, 1999, and one's favorite animal eating one's favorite food. In the ensuing short interview, Munroe describes XKCD as 'a webcomic about stick figures who do math, play with staple guns, mess around on the Internet, and have lots of sex. It's about three-fourths autobiographical.'"
Security

FBI Says Dark Market Sting Netted 56 Arrests 130

narramissic writes "A two-year undercover FBI sting operation targeting online 'carder' forums hosted on the DarkMarket.ws Web site has netted 56 arrests and prevented about $70 million in fraud losses, the FBI said Thursday. DarkMarket.ws was widely used by online scammers to buy and sell stolen credit card numbers, other financial information, and even the devices used to make fake banking cards. Before it was shut down earlier this month, the Web site had registered more than 2,500 members. Although Dark Market was thought to have been administered by a criminal going by the name Master Splyntr, German Public Radio reported on Monday that the FBI had been running a sting operation on the site since late 2006, and that Master Splyntr was actually an FBI agent named J. Keith Mularski." Of course, they say it in German; non-German speakers may want to consult the Babelfish.
Privacy

Homeland Security's Space-Based Spying Goes Live 289

BountyX writes "While America's attention has shifted to the economic meltdown and the presidential race between corporate favorites John McCain and Barack Obama, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) National Applications Office (NAO) 'will proceed with the first phase of a controversial satellite-surveillance program, even though an independent review found the department hasn't yet ensured the program will comply with privacy laws.' NAO will coordinate how domestic law enforcement and 'disaster relief' agencies such as FEMA use satellite imagery intelligence (IMINT) generated by US spy satellites. Based on available evidence, hard to come by since these programs are classified 'above top secret,' the technological power of these military assets are truly terrifying."
Technology (Apple)

Submission + - AppleTV + Interest Lagging, Apple Offers Vaporware

Webster Phreaky writes: "Apple will add new features and capabilities to its iPhone and Apple TV products through a series of future software updates, the company confirmed last night." http://www.macworld.co.uk/news/index.cfm?RSS With reports from CREDIBLE Columnists or Analysts (not the usual Apple Media Whores) that the iPhone lacking " Analysts say the iPhone isn't smart enough" http://www.macworld.co.uk/news/index.cfm?RSS&newsI D=17058 and the sales of the much hyped "copycat" AppleTV STAGNENT http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/07/04/20/targ et_stores_to_pick_up_apple_tv.html, it's time for Apple to make the Traditional Marketing fallback ... offer VAPORWARE. Ask anyone in marketing and sales, especially if they've been stuck with a slacker of a product, and they'll tel you that the number one resource to pull out of the closet of Bad Sales Tactics is promise "future undisclosed updates" and them pretend that you can't be specific right now for various reasons. Folks and Apple Kool Aid Drinkers, this is just the USUAL Apple and Stevie Gods, err Jobs, marketing B.S. that has been going on since 1984. You watch, you've been warned.
Java

Submission + - Trolltech is opensourcing Qt for Java

Anonymous Coward writes: "Trolltech released their second beta of their upcoming product, Qt Jambi, today. With this release they are dual licensing the product under a commercial and a GPL license. Being founded on a very solid framework, Qt, and now with an opensource license, they should be prepared to take on the other established toolkits, like Swing and SWT. For full details, see the press release: http://www.trolltech.com/developer/downloads/qt/qt jambi-beta"

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