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Security

Submission + - Sears Web "Community" is a Spyware Install (ca.com)

Panaqqa writes: "After several weeks of security alerts from CA and denials by Sears, spyware security researcher Ben Edelman has joined the chorus accusing Sears of surreptitiously installing Comscore tracking software on the PCs of people who join the Sears "community". Kmart (owned by Sears) is apparently involved also. After installation, the software sends details of all online activities — including secure sites such as banking — directly to Comscore, despite the Sears website's assertion that it does not share collected data with anyone. Various technology blogs are likening this breach of online privacy to the recent Facebook Beacon fiasco."
Spam

Submission + - Effective spam filtering packages?

AndrewSchaefer writes: "Every few years I rebuild my Linux server and one of the things that I've never been happy with is spam filtering. Three years ago I used a combination of Amavis and SpamAssassin but found that a lot of spam continued to trickle through. One of the key features I'd like to take advantage of would be some of the online blacklist and confirmed spam databases. While spam is a problem I don't want to have to dedicate a lot of time to tweaking rules or downloading new rulesets to defeat new techniques. The other thing I'd like to try to get right is the user interface for administering mail filtering. I host several friends' email inboxes as well and don't want to have to deal with sorting through false positives for them. My ideal setup would include a way for individual users to flag messages as spam, view the messages tagged as spam, and whitelist senders without having to SSH in and run a script."
Editorial

Submission + - Fixing the U.S. Patent System

An anonymous reader writes: For most of us, a billion dollars is a lot of money. I use the phrase "for most of us" because, according to Alpha magazine (April 2007), last year three hedge fund managers each took home well in excess of $1 billion (yes, Billion with a "B"). Here's another number for you: in total, the top 25 earners on Alpha's list pulled in more than $14 billion in 2006, equivalent, the magazine reported, "to the GDP of Jordan or Uruguay." In case you were wondering, the mega-earners were James Simons of Renaissance Technologies ($1.7 billion), Kenneth Griffin of Citadel Investment Group ($1.4 billion), and Edward Lampert of Sears Holdings ($1.3 billion). For the rest of us, whose W-2 forms do not have a 10-digit number in the box labeled "income," the dollar amounts involved in two patent infringement cases over the past year seem astonishingly high. In February, a California jury ruled that Microsoft must pay Alcatel-Lucent $1.52 billion for infringing two MP3 audio compression patents in software added to Microsoft's Windows Media Player. (Microsoft plans to appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington state). This action follows last year's $612.5 million settlement between Research in Motion (RIM) and NTP. To avert a possible court-ordered shutdown of its BlackBerry system, RIM paid the equivalent of a year's worth of revenue to the small Virginia-based patentholding firm, which had sued RIM claiming the BlackBerry infringed on several of its patents. Stung by the scope of these awards, the high tech community has gone on the offensive in calling for reform of the U.S. patent process, which has long been criticized as stifling rather than promoting innovation while serving to elicit lawsuits that extort large settlements. At the heart of the matter is the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), an agency commonly described as overwhelmed and unable to keep pace with new and developing technology. As of mid-2005, the average length of time it would take to reach a first action on the merits of a new application in the area of control circuits was 44 months, for computer security it was 39 months, and for medical instruments 46 to 54 months. In all, there is an estimated backlog at USPTO of over 675,000 patent applications, a number that is expected to rise to nearly 800,000 by year's end. While funding for the USPTO has increased in recent years allowing the agency to hire 1,200 new people per year to its patent examiner corps, legislative changes are also needed. Congress to the rescue? http://www.electronicproducts.com/ShowPage.asp?Fil eName=FAMSUsPatent.July2007.html
Censorship

Submission + - Slashdot is filtered in Iran !

Anonymous Coward writes: "It is a while that slashdot is filtered in Iran and other interesting and scientific sites are becoming banned one after another .People in Iran are used to see their favorite sites banned without any logical reason . It seems that a robot which is sensitive to specific words is used to control the passing traffic without any human supervision and there are no places to complain about or no one is going to be responsible about it. The main purpose of censorship was said to be stopping people's access to pornographic and political sites , The number of dedicated hosts in European countries are increased which are just used for VPN connections. In Iran, people simply know how to tunnel using softwares like VTUND and OpenVPN and where to buy VPN accounts . What they are doing is hiding their head under snow and claiming nothing's going on."
Patents

Submission + - Alan Cox on Patent Law and GPLv3 (abclinuxu.cz)

tykev writes: "Linux kernel guru Alan Cox talks about kernel features, cooperation with hardware vendors, and software patents. From the interview: "I don't think [Microsoft's patent threats] are the biggest danger. As Microsoft has been finding out recently it is the patent trolls, and organisations with buried patents in interesting areas that are the biggest threat in the USA. The real answer to that problem, however, is to pull the USA back into line with the majority of the world which simply does not recognize patents on software but respects them as literary works subject to copyright law. Also therefore we have to make sure the continuing US attempts to spread bogus patent law into the EU are defeated.""
Power

Submission + - Solar Panels to get Real Cheap Real Fast (ecogeek.org)

hankmt writes: "A worldwide shortage of silicon has kept prices of solar panels high. But as new technology comes to market and new silicon manufacturing plants go online all over the world, the market will have surplus of silicon and the price of solar panels will likely drop by over 40% in the next three years!"
Programming

Submission + - ECMAScript 4 Reference Implementation Released (ecmascript-lang.org)

mad.frog writes: "Dave Herman has posted a note on lambda-the-ultimate.org announcing that the first pre-release of the reference implementation of ECMAScript Edition 4 (a.k.a. JavaScript 2) is now available. Language geeks will be interested to find that the reference implementation of ECMAScript is being written in Standard ML, rather than pseudocode."
Censorship

Submission + - Reporter Arrested for Asking a Question (lawbean.com)

Spamicles writes: "Manchester, NH — Freelance reporter Matt Lepacek, reporting for Infowars.com, was arrested for asking a question to one of Giuliani's staff members in a press conference. The press secretary identified the New York based reporter as having previously asked Giuliani about his prior knowledge of WTC building collapses and ordered his arrest."
GNU is Not Unix

Submission + - FSF GNU Emacs version 22.1 released

forkalsrud writes: Looks like a milestone was reached yesterday with the release of Emacs version 22.1. As far as I can tell version 21 has been around since 2001, so this has been some time in the making.
Handhelds

Submission + - Why Your BlackBerry Causes Nearby Speakers to Buzz

AZA43 writes: "Ever wondered why your BlackBerry — or other mobile device — causes nearbly speakers and electronics to buzz like a swarm of disgruntled honey bees? Ever wondered what handset makers and cell phone carriers think about the buzzing and whether or not they're doing anything about it? Or why some phones seem to cause more buzzing than others? I did, and I asked Research In Motion (RIM) for information on the subject. Duncan Bradly, RIM's global intelligence director, let me in on where RIM stands on the issue, what they're doing about it and even offered up a few ways you can muffle the sound — though he cautions against them since they'll void warranties. Check it out."
Communications

Submission + - First Nations want cellphone revenue

Peacenik45 writes: The CBC is reporting that First Nations in Manitoba want compensation for every cell phone signal that passes through their land because it violates their airspace. The Assembly of Maintoba Chiefs recently resolved to negotiate revenue sharing with Manitoba Telecom Services. Ovide Mercredi of the Grand Rapids First Nations says "When it comes to using airspace, it's like using our water and simply because there's no precedent doesn't mean that it's not the right thing to do." This move may inspire First Nations in other provinces to follow suit.
Intel

Submission + - IAMT, a Centrino backdoor?

An anonymous reader writes: Intel is heavily promoting what it calls "active management technology" (AMT) in the new chips as a major plus for system administrators and enterprise IT.
Understood to be a sub-operating system residing in the chip's firmware, AMT will allow administrators to both monitor or control individual machines independent of an operating system.

Additionally, AMT also features what Intel calls "IDE redirection" which will allow administrators to remotely enable, disable or format or configure individual drives and reload operating systems and software from remote locations, again independent of operating systems.
Both AMT and IDE control are enabled by a new network interface controller.
"We all know our [operating system] friends don't crash that often, but it does happen," Tucker said.
here's the link to the story
Portables

Submission + - Acer Abandons Notebook Customers

kadar.zsolt writes: "Several months after the Microsoft Windows Vista release computer manufacturer Acer still lacks driver support for many, otherwise Vista capable notebook families. The missing ATI and Synaptics touchpad drivers on the manufacturer's website are just the tip of the iceberg: several Travelmate (2300, 3200, 4000, and 4500) and Aspire (1680) models do not appear to be battery enabled due to the absence of drivers for key ACPI subsystems. Users have reported that Windows Mobility Center will not start (presents "Windows Mobility Center is available only on mobile PCs error message.") and remaining battery life information is not available on these systems. The problem persists since Vista RC1 was made available and was reported to Acer Customer Support (Germany, Hungary, and Australia) and Microsoft TechNet as well. Acer Customer Service has made a promise to provide Vista drivers by the end of April but did not deliver in this timeframe. Microsoft has not identified the source of the compatibility issue yet. On the TechNet forums other Toshiba and Benq models appear as having identical issues."
Software

Submission + - A Better Open Source Webmail?

CandyMan writes: "Recently I have been forced to go back to a certain open source webmail (name withheld to protect the touchy), and I can't say I would recommend it to anyone. For emergencies maybe, but not for daily use. Lightning-quick full-text indexing and Javascript UI tricks in Gmail and Yahoo! mail have spoilt me forever, and I guess that most webmail users out there would feel the same. Old-style html-only webmail applications just don't cut it anymore. Which is your favourite webmail client? Is it a bare-bones html-only application, or does it have a fancier interface?"
Linux Business

Submission + - dell installs ubuntu, sells windows

An anonymous reader writes: the fact: dell said they will install ubuntu on their desktops, to give a coiche to the costumers.
real fact: dell still sells you windows, but they just delete it and install ubuntu, or just delete everything. thats right, you still give money to microsoft: dell is basically saying "since we don't know if you will install a pirated copy of windows, we still sell you windows (xp), but we don't give you the licence, since you don't want it" ... O_o

just try asking them what price difference is there between a notebook with windows and the very same notebook without anything.

-sorry, the article i linked below is in italian, and i couldn't find the translation...
http://gizmo2.dyndns.org/?p=29#comment-27

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