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Comment I cancelled Netflix BluRay (Score 1) 1162

All of the copy protection nonsense the industry was doing with blu-ray really sours the customer experience. When a movie comes in from netflix I want it to just play. I don't want to perform a firmware or software update, I don't want to have to rip it to break the encryption (which most consumers aren't tech savvy enough to do anyway). Meanwhile I have a cheap multiregion DVD player and on my computer I have about 10 different programs that play DVDs pretty reliably.

A well mastered DVD looks pretty spectacular on my 27" 720P device, and while some BluRays do look even better, you need a larger 1080 device to really see a benefit from the higher resolutions.

I have 6 computers, and a dvd player that can play DVDs, but only 1 computer than can play BluRay, so there is a big convenience factor,

When I first bought my BluRay player I signed up for Netflix BluRay. Over time I realized that most of my titles were DVD only, and I was watching a lot on streaming, so I cancelled the BluRay option.

Education

What's Wrong With the American University System 828

ideonexus writes "The Atlantic has an excellent interview with Andrew Hacker — co-author with Claudia Dreifus of a book titled Higher Education? — covering everything that's wrong with the American university system. The discussion ranges from entrenched tenured professors more concerned with publishing and parking spaces than quality teaching; to 22-year-old students with unrealistic expectations that some company will put them in a management position after graduating with six-figures of debt; to football teams siphoning money away from academic programs so that student tuitions must increase to compensate. It really lays out the farce of university culture and reminds me of everything I absolutely despised about my college life. Dreifus is active in the comments section of the article as well, lending to a fantastic discussion on the subject."
Image

Southwest Adds 'Mechanical Difficulties' To Act Of God List 223

War, earthquakes, and broken washers are all unavoidable events for which a carrier should not be liable if travel is delayed according to Southwest Airlines. Southwest quietly updated their act of God list a few weeks ago to include mechanical problems with the other horrors of an angry travel god. From the article: "Robert Mann, an airline industry analyst based in Port Washington, NY, called it 'surprising' that Southwest, which has a reputation for stellar customer service, would make a change that puts passengers at a legal disadvantage if an aircraft breakdown delays their travel. Keeping a fleet mechanically sound 'is certainly within the control of any airline,' Mann said. 'Putting mechanical issues in the same category as an act of God — I don't think that's what God intended.'"

Comment USB sticks this is an old vulnerability! (Score 1) 214

Several of the USB sticks I've purchased came with pre-installed malware which Windows dutifully executes when the stick is inserted. A few months ago I made a presentation and stuck one of these in someone else's machine, and their anti-virus actually detected the stick as containing a trojan, about effing time. Given that MS continues to support vendors including viruses (claiming them to be drivers or other necessary software) and executing them, I'm really surprised that a lot more malware hasn't spread this way. I'm also a little surprised that more malware authors have not broken MS Code Signing. As for the target systems it looks like they are living with their heads in the sand, it was just a matter of time for them to be targeted.

Canada

Alberta Scientists Discover Largest-Ever Cache of Dinosaur Bones 154

Cryolithic writes "The largest cache of dinosaur bones ever found has been unearthed in Alberta. From the article: '... officials at the Royal Tyrrell Museum say the Hilda site provides the first solid evidence that some horned dinosaur herds were much larger than previously thought, with numbers comfortably in the high hundreds to low thousands. ... Rather than picturing the animals as drowning while crossing a river, a classic scenario that has been used to explain bonebed occurrences at many sites in Alberta, the research team interpreted the vast coastal landscape as being submerged during tropical storms or hurricanes. With no high ground to escape to, most of the members of the herd drowned in the rising coastal waters. Carcasses were deposited in clumps across kilometers of ancient landscape as floodwaters receded.'"
Open Source

Linux Kernel 2.6.32 Released 195

diegocg writes "Linus Torvalds has officially released the version 2.6.32 of the Linux kernel. New features include virtualization memory de-duplication, a rewrite of the writeback code faster and more scalable, many important Btrfs improvements and speedups, ATI R600/R700 3D and KMS support and other graphic improvements, a CFQ low latency mode, tracing improvements including a 'perf timechart' tool that tries to be a better bootchart, soft limits in the memory controller, support for the S+Core architecture, support for Intel Moorestown and its new firmware interface, run-time power management support, and many other improvements and new drivers. See the full changelog for more details."
Input Devices

Brain-Control Gaming Headset Launching Dec. 21 112

An anonymous reader writes "Controlling computers with our minds may sound like science fiction, but one Australian company claims to be able to let you do just that. The Emotiv device has been garnering attention at trade shows and conferences for several years, and now the company says it is set to launch the Emotiv EPOC headset on December 21. PC Authority spoke to co-founder Nam Do about the Emotiv technology and its potential as a mainstream gaming interface." One wonders what kind of adoption they expect with a $299 price tag.

Comment Re:Bide your time (Score 1) 1006

If you have another job lined up and haven't been at this job long, resign your position and drop a dime to the BSA for the reward. Even if you don't have a job lined up, you can resign a job because you've been asked to perform illegal activities and still be eligible for unemployment, but you'll need to document it, so you'll need to tactfully put your concerns in writing and maintain a file before dropping the dime. Leaving a job on bad terms can have repercussions for your career, so if not having this job on your resume leaves a big hole, you need to figure out how you'll compensate, one tactic is maintaining ties to other employees you can use as a reference -- most HR departments will only confirm employment and as soon as your gone you can have a friend at another company send a reference check to see what HR says. Even if you can leave this job off your resume, be prepared to answer questions about the job if you are subject to a background investigation for a future job.

Comment I vote for the WordStar Interface (Score 1) 617

As someone marginally capable of touch typing (and old enough to remember), WordStar had the best interface of a Word Processing Program. I find Word 2007's Ribbon bar absolutely perplexing. Wordstar had home row key-bindings. OpenOffice is a GPL project, so hopefully as a backlash some outraged developers will build a version that supports WordStar keybindings.

Security

'Vanish' Makes Sensitive Data Self-Destruct 171

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports on new software called 'Vanish,' developed by computer scientists at the University of Washington, which makes sensitive electronic messages 'self destruct' after a certain period of time. The researchers say they have struck upon a unique approach that relies on 'shattering' an encryption key that is held by neither party in an e-mail exchange, but is widely scattered across a peer-to-peer file sharing system. 'Our goal was really to come up with a system where, through a property of nature, the message, or the data, disappears,' says Amit Levy, who helped create Vanish. It has been released as a free, open-source tool that works with Firefox. To use Vanish, both the sender and the recipient must have installed the tool. The sender then highlights any sensitive text entered into the browser and presses the 'Vanish' button. The tool encrypts the information with a key unknown even to the sender. That text can be read, for a limited time only, when the recipient highlights the text and presses the 'Vanish' button to unscramble it. After eight hours, the message will be impossible to unscramble and will remain gibberish forever. Tadayoshi Kohno says Vanish makes it possible to control the 'lifetime' of any type of data stored in the cloud, including information on Facebook, Google documents or blogs."
Wireless Networking

802.11n Should Be Finalized By September 104

adeelarshad82 writes "It's probable that the 802.11n standard will finally be approved at a scheduled IEEE meeting this September, ending a contentious round of infighting that has delayed the standard for years. For the 802.11n standard, progress has been agonizingly slow, dating back almost five years to 2004, when 802.11g held sway. It struggled throughout 2005 and 2006, when members supposedly settled on the TGnSync standard, then formed the Enhanced Wireless Consortium in 2006 to speed the process along. A draft version of 802.11n was approved in January 2006, prompting the first wave of routers based on the so-called draft-n standard shortly thereafter."
Image

Powering Restaurants WIth Deep Fried Fuel 148

Mike writes "Here's a brilliant idea for biofuels: rather than filtering used fry oil for use in vehicles, why not simplify matters and use it to heat and power the restaurant itself? The VegaWatt turns used vegetable oil into clean heat and energy for restaurants, eliminating the dirty and costly mess of oil disposal while producing 10-25% of the electricity needed to run a small restaurant. It also produces fuel free of chemicals or fossil fuels, unlike standard biodiesel."

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