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Google

Submission + - Microsoft and Google push for FCC's public Wi-Fi for free networks (networkworld.com)

colinneagle writes: How sweet would it be to dump that monthly cellphone bill in favor of making calls over free Wi-Fi networks, so powerful it would be like "Wi-Fi on steroids"? Microsoft and Google are working together to support the FCC's powerful Wi-Fi for free proposal.

Now, the Washington Post reports that Google, Microsoft and other tech giants "say a free-for-all WiFi service would spark an explosion of innovations and devices that would benefit most Americans, especially the poor."

Meanwhile, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and chip makers Intel and Qualcomm are lobbying hard against the FCC's proposal. These wireless carrier companies are opposed to using the spectrum for free Wi-Fi to the public and insist that the airwaves should instead be sold to businesses.

But FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has designed the free Wi-Fi plan. If you are interested, you can read Genachowski's Presentation on White Spaces for Wireless Broadband and Genachowski's remarks to the President's Council of Advisors on Science & Technology.

Linux

Submission + - Will Ubuntu's 'rolling release' mean more bugs? (networkworld.com)

colinneagle writes: According to Canonical’s Kernel Team Manager, Leann Ogasawara, it is possible that Ubuntu will get rid of the current "new release every six months" model and move to a rolling release. This sort of system allows the developers to get feedback from the community much earlier in the process, which can save a great deal of time "re-thinking the wheel" in the long-run. "Release early. Release often,” as the saying goes (a saying the Ubuntu Unity team is living by lately).

But there are definitely some dangers to having a system that delivers the latest and greatest versions of every package on an ongoing basis. Because these packages are being released to the public at a more rapid rate, that means less time for testing.

Even with larger, less frequent releases, major bugs can creep in at the last second before a launch. If you’ve been around the Linux world for a few years, you’ve seen this first-hand. Just do a quick Google search for "ubuntu update breaks X11," and you’ll see what I mean. This isn’t, in any way, a knock against the Ubuntu team (who do an absolutely stellar job). It’s just the reality of the software world. Bugs happen.

But the more often you release, the more chances there are for bugs to be released.

Apple

Submission + - Gabe Newell: Steam Box's biggest threat isn't consoles, it's Apple (polygon.com)

silentbrad writes: The biggest danger facing the success of Steam Box or any other PC ecosystem hoping to find space in the living room is Apple, according to a lecture given by Valve co-founder Gabe Newell to a class at the University of Texas' LBJ School of Public Affairs. "The threat right now is that Apple has gained a huge amount of market share, and has a relatively obvious pathway towards entering the living room with their platform," Newell said. "I think that there's a scenario where we see sort of a dumbed down living room platform emerging — I think Apple rolls the console guys really easily. The question is can we make enough progress in the PC space to establish ourselves there, and also figure out better ways of addressing mobile before Apple takes over the living room? ... We're happy to do it if nobody else will do it, mainly because everybody else will pile on, and people will have a lot of choices, but they'll have those characteristics. They'll say, 'Well, I could buy a console, which assumes I'll re-buy all my content, have a completely different video system, and, oh, I have a completely different group of friends, apparently. Or I can just extend everything I love about the PC and the internet into the living room.' ... I think the biggest challenge is that Apple moves on the living room before the PC industry sort of gets its act together."
Iphone

Submission + - Sex and NSFW clips flood new Vine app from Twitter. Will Apple respond? (networkworld.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Just a few days ago, Twitter unveiled a new app called Vine for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The app enables users to record 6 second videos and embed them within tweets.

The Vine app, much like Twitter, lets users explore and discover content via hashtags. However, it didn't take long at all for hashtags for words like #sex and #porn to take center stage. Indeed, any NSFW term one can think of likely has a listing on Vine already. And while Vine enables users to flag videos as inappropriate, this only serves to provide a warning to users before a video begins playing.

So why is this a problem? After all, the web is chock full of pornography. Well, it may be a problem for Apple given that it has taken a staunch anti-porn stance regarding the iTunes App Store since it first launched back in 2008. Indeed, Steve Jobs used to tout the iTunes App Store over competing Android app stores, effectively calling the latter a repository for porn.

Recently, Apple removed a popular photo sharing app called 500px because it was rather easy for users to browse around and find nude photos.

Will Apple take similar action with Vine? If not, is Vine receiving preferential treatment because it's an app from a big name developer? As always, Apple's consistency with respect to app store removals is being called into question.

Open Source

Submission + - Why a Linux user is using Windows 3.1 (networkworld.com) 1

colinneagle writes: About two weeks back, I was using my Android tablet and looking for a good graphics editor. I wanted something with layers and good text drawing tools. That’s when it hit me. We already have that.

Photoshop used to run on Windows 3.1. And Windows 3.1 runs great under both DOSBox and QEMU, both of which are Open Source emulators available for Android and every other platform under the sun.

So I promptly set to work digging up an old copy of Photoshop. The last version released for Windows 3.1 was back in 1996. And finding a working copy proved to be...challenging. Luckily, the good folks at Adobe dug around in their vaults and managed to get me up and running.

And, after a bit of tweaking, I ended up with an astoundingly functional copy of Photoshop that I can now run on absolutely every device I own. And the entire environment (fonts, working files and all) are automatically backed up to the cloud and synced between systems.

But what other applications (and, potentially, games) does this give me access to? How far can I take this?

Science

Submission + - Poor Sleep Prevents Brain From Storing Memories (techzwn.com) 2

jjp9999 writes: Recent findigns published on Jan. 27 in the journal Nature Neuroscience may inspire you to get some proper sleep. Researchers at UC Berkley found that REM sleep plays a key role in moving short term memories from the hippocampus (where short-term memories are stored) to the prefrontal cortex (where long-term memories are stored), and that degeneration of the frontal lobe as we grow older may play a key role in forgetfulness. "What we have discovered is a dysfunctional pathway that helps explain the relationship between brain deterioration, sleep disruption and memory loss as we get older – and with that, a potentially new treatment avenue," said UC Berkeley sleep researcher Matthew Walker.
Crime

Submission + - Aaron Swartz Case: Deja Vu All Over Again for MIT

theodp writes: On Saturday, questions for MIT's Aaron Swartz investigation were posted on Slashdot with the hope that MIT'ers might repost some to the MIT Swartz Review site. So it's good to see that MIT's Hal Abelson, who is leading the analysis of MIT's involvement in the matter, is apparently open to this workaround to the ban on questions from outsiders. In fact, on Sunday Abelson himself reposted an interesting question posed by Boston College Law School Prof. Sharon Beckman: 'What, if anything, did MIT learn from its involvement in the federal prosecution of its student David LaMacchia back in 1994?' Not much, it would appear. LaMacchia, an apparent student of Abelson's whose defense team included Beckman, was indicted in 1994 and charged with the 'piracy of an estimated million dollars' in business and entertainment computer software after MIT gave LaMacchia up to the FBI. LaMacchia eventually walked from the charges, thanks to what became known as the LaMacchia Loophole, which lawmakers took pains to close. 'MIT collaborated with the FBI to wreck LaMacchia's life,' defense attorney Harvey Silverglate charged in 1995 after a judge dismissed the case. 'I hope that this case causes a lot of introspection on the part of MIT's administration. Unfortunately, I doubt it will.'
Iphone

Submission + - Press, bloggers fall for iPhone cup holder 'joke' (networkworld.com)

netbuzz writes: "An iPhone case with a built-in cup holder? The designers were looking for $25,000 to make it on the crowdsourcing site Indiegogo. One look at the contraption should have been enough to convince anyone that the thing was a joke, or a publicity stunt, but a number of mainstream press outlets (LA Times, UPI) and bloggers took the bait with little or no realization that that they might be on the wrong end of the hook. Today the Dutch marketing firm behind the effort acknowledged that it was “a joke.”"
Programming

Submission + - What Early Software was Influential? 1

theodp writes: That his 28-year-old whip-smart, well-educated CS grad friend could be unaware of MacWrite and MacPaint took Dave Winer by surprise. 'They don't, for some reason,' notes Winer, 'study these [types of seminal] products in computer science. They fall between the cracks of "serious" study of algorithms and data structures, and user interface and user experience (which still is not much-studied, but at least is starting). This is more the history of software. Much like the history of film, or the history of rock and roll.' So, Dave asks, what early software was influential and worthy of a Software Hall of Fame?
Apple

Submission + - Wozniak: Jobs film clip 'totally wrong' (networkworld.com)

colinneagle writes: Yesterday saw the first clip from the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic starring Ashton Kutcher as Jobs and Josh Gad as Steve Wozniak. In the clip, Jobs (played by Ashton Kutcher) is raving about the operating system that Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (played by Josh Gad) created. While Jobs is certain that this will become a ubiquitous product for mass consumption, Wozniak needs convincing.

Following the release of the above clip, Wozniak sent an email to Gizmodo telling them that the clip is way off base, to the extent that it never even occurred!

"Totally wrong. Personalities and where the ideas of computers affecting society did not come from Jobs. They inspired me and were widely spoken at the Homebrew Computer Club. Steve came back from Oregon and came to a club meeting and didn't start talking about this great social impact. His idea was to make a $20 PC board and sell it for $40 to help people at the club build the computer I'd given away. Steve came from selling surplus parts at HalTed he always saw a way to make a quick buck off my designs (this was the 5th time).

The lofty talk came much further down the line."

Microsoft

Submission + - Does Microsoft have the best app store for open source developers? (infoworld.com) 2

WebMink writes: "Microsoft seems to have been in combat against the GNU GPL throughout the history of free and open source software. But that may be changing. They have recently updated the terms of use for software developers in their Windows Phone app store to allow any OSI-approved open source license — even the GPL. They include extraordinarily broad language that gives the open source license priority over their own license terms, saying:

if your Application or In-App Product includes FOSS, your license terms may conflict with the limitations set forth in Section 3 of the Standard Application License Terms, but only to the extent required by the FOSS that you use

Could it be that the most open source friendly app stores will be the ones run my Microsoft?"

Science

Submission + - Dung Beetles Navigate by the Milky Way (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: A day in the life of a male dung beetle goes something like this: Fly to a heap of dung, sculpt a clump of it into a large ball, then roll the ball away from the pile as fast as possible. However, it turns out that the beetles, who work at night, need some sort of compass to prevent them from rolling around in circles. New research suggests that the insects use starlight to guide their way. Birds, seals, and humans also use starlight to navigate, but this is the first time it's been shown in an insect.
Iphone

Submission + - Tim Cook addresses rumor of lowered iPhone 5 demand, kind of (networkworld.com)

colinneagle writes: Last week, the Apple blogosphere was aflutter with a somewhat sketchily sourced rumor in the Wall Street Journal claiming that Apple was scaling back its orders for iPhone 5 displays by 50%. Naturally, shares of Apple took a nosedive as a result, and the usual parade of pundits were out in full force proclaiming that iPhone 5 demand was waning.

Tim Cook during Apple's earnings conference call took the opportunity to address, kind of, the aforementioned rumor regarding flat iPhone demand.

"Months of rumors about order cuts and so forth, so let me take a moment to comment on these. No comment on any particular rumor as I'd spend my life doing that. I suggest its good to question the accuracy of any kind of rumor about build plans. Even if a particular data point were factual, it would be impossible to interpret that data point as to what it meant to our business. The supply chain is very complex and we have multiple sources for things. Yields can vary, supplier performance can vary. There is an inordinate long list of things that can make any single data point not a great proxy for what is going on."

Facebook

Submission + - Facebook Graph Search Embarrassing Side-Effects (halls-of-valhalla.org)

halls-of-valhalla writes: "Tom Scott, a web comedian, has recently created a website called "Actual Facebook Graph Searches" (http://actualfacebookgraphsearches.tumblr.com) which demonstrates some embarrassing side-effects of the new Facebook Graph Search. It is apparently possible, and quite easy, to find amusing and embarrassing personal information about your friends by using Facebook Graph Search.

Some example searches are things like "Married people who like Prostitutes" and "Mothers of Jews who like Bacon". Tom Scott shows some screen shots and explanations for numerous amusing searches such as these on his blog.

This just goes to show that people share way too much personal info on their profiles, and they don't know how to properly use their privacy settings."

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