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Power

Submission + - European mobile phones will get universal charger (guardian.co.uk)

wwwillem writes: "Ten companies including Apple, LG, Motorola, Nokia and Sony Ericsson have signed up to offer the charger, which will be based on a Micro-USB connector. Currently, when consumers buy a mobile phone they are provided with a new charger even if the old one still works.

The European commission had asked companies to work on harmonising chargers in the EU in a bid to cut down on waste. It said unused chargers amounted to thousands of tonnes of electronic waste a year and was threatening legislation unless a voluntary deal was reached.

Talks between the phone firms and commission officials produced a "Memorandum of Understanding" indicating that the first generation of "inter-chargeable" mobile phones will reach the EU market from 2010."

PHP

PHP 5.3 Released 120

Sudheer writes "The PHP development team is proud to announce the immediate release of PHP 5.3.0. This release is a major improvement in the 5.X series, which includes a large number of new features and bug fixes. Some of the key new features include: namespaces, late static binding, closures, optional garbage collection for cyclic references, new extensions (like ext/phar, ext/intl and ext/fileinfo), over 140 bug fixes and much more."
Mozilla

Firefox 3.5 Reviewed; Draws Praise For HTML5, Speed 436

johndmartiniii writes "Farhad Manjoo has a review of Firefox 3.5 at Slate.com this week. From the article: 'Lately I've been worried about Firefox. Ever since its debut in 2004, the open-source Web browser has won acclaim for its speed, stability, and customizability. It eventually captured nearly a quarter of the market, an astonishing achievement for a project run by a nonprofit foundation. But recently Firefox seemed to go soft.' The worried tone in the beginning of the review gives way to excitement over the HTML5 features being implemented, saying that thus far Firefox 3.5 'offers the best implementation of the standard — and because it's the second-most-popular Web browser in the world, the new release is sure to prompt Web designers to create pages tailored to the Web's new language.'" The final version could be here at any time; Firefox 3.5 is still shown as a release candidate at Mozilla's home page. Update: 06/30 15:31 GMT by T : No longer marked as RC; the Firefox upgrade page now says 3.5 has arrived.
The Almighty Buck

Pirate Bay Announces Sale to Swedish Company For $7.8 Million 406

paulraps writes "The Pirate Bay is to be bought for $7.8 million by Global Gaming Factory X, a Swedish company specializing in internet café management software, the company has announced. As well as taking over the controversial brand, GGF has also bought Peerialism, a small IT company with roots at Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology, which has developed a new file sharing technology. The acquisitions mean that GGF will be at the heart of 'the international digital distribution market,' allowing it to introduce a new pay model for file sharing." Reader pyzondar adds "However, the press statement also states that the deal will only go through 'if GGF and its Board of Directors can use the asset in a legal and appropriate way.'"
Television

High Court Allows Remote-Storage DVR System 112

Immutate and several other readers noted that Cablevision will be allowed to go ahead with deploying a remote-storage DVR system, when the US Supreme Court declined (without comment) to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling that went against movie studios and TV networks. (We discussed this case a few months back.) "Cable TV operators won a key legal battle against Hollywood studios and television networks on Monday as the Supreme Court declined to block a new digital video recording system that could make it even easier for viewers to bypass commercials. The justices declined to hear arguments on whether Cablevision Systems Corp.'s remote-storage DVR system would violate copyright laws. That allows the... company to proceed with plans to start deploying the technology this summer."
Education

Submission + - Spreading Open Source in Schools: Sugar on a Stick (olpcnews.com)

griffjon writes: "Sugar on a Stick is the OLPC interface, updated by SugarLabs, to a bootable Fedora 11 that maintains changes on a USB stick. It can run on any computer (after rebooting) or in qemu. Kids got to test-drive Sugar on OLPCs and other networks at a school fair, which is an interesting way for OSS to get a foot in the door in schools where teachers send home MS Word assignments: "[My daughter] brought [her teacher] a USB stick with OOo and an offer on my part to assist in setting up the lab with free software; I didn't hear back, but I didn't hear about Word any more, either.""
Announcements

Submission + - Pirate Party of Canada

Conrad Mazian writes: ""With the success of Sweden's Pirate Party echoing loudly, and the likes of George W. Harper running the country, with look-alike Libs in the background, it's long gone time Canada joined the Pirate Party Club."

So it was said on P2PNET. The response was the forming of The Pirate Party of Canada and the launching of the new party's website, forums, Facebook Group, etc. There's now a rumour that Tim Hortons, the Canadian national supplier of hot caffeine is going to introduce a Pirate branded Donut in support."
Communications

Desktop As a Cellphone Extension? 199

spaceman375 writes "Like many slashdotters, I've given up on landlines and have only a cell account. The problem: when I am home I don't want to carry my phone on my person, AND I don't want to have to run (possibly up or down stairs) to answer a call. Landlines solved this with extensions. I could go buy an xlink or other Bluetooth-to-POTS solution, but that takes money for equipment. My desktop has Bluetooth, as do my laptop and cell. All I want is a program that can use my cell's Bluetooth to make and receive calls from my Linux PC. I can do this with asterisk or related programs, but that is like buying UPS when I just need a taxi ride. Yet all I can find are programs that either use 'presence' to shift other-sourced calls to my cell, or ways to use a Bluetooth headset when receiving a call on a PC. Has anyone found a way to use their desktop to make and receive calls through their cell via Bluetooth?"
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft to offer Windows 7 on USB thumb drives? (pcpro.co.uk)

Barence writes: "Microsoft is reportedly considering offering Windows 7 on USB thumb drives to allow netbook owners to upgrade their machines. Windows has, until now, only been distributed on DVDs or via download. However, netbooks don't have optical drives and the Windows 7 ISO weighs in at 2.3GB, which would take several hours to download on an average broadband connection and potentially do serious damage to a customer's broadband data cap."
Social Networks

Submission + - Digg, Dug, Buried: How Linux news disappears (closingiris.com)

dan of the north writes: Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols reports: Like it or lump it, the major reason that determines whether any given online story will get read or not is how much play it gets on news link sharing sites and social networks like Digg, reddit, and StumbleUpon. Unlike earlier news sharing sites like Slashdot, these sites have no central editorial control. Instead, the stories that get prominent play on these sites is determined entirely by readers. That sounds like democracy in its most basic form, but in practice what it really means that stories can be buried from sight by abusive users with an ax to grind.
Privacy

Lenovo Software Update Stealthily Installs Adware 186

An anonymous reader writes "A recent Lenovo automatic software update has the great feature of displaying annoying pop-up ads for Lenovo products. What's worse, it appears that many users are unable to turn the advertisement 'feature' off, subjecting them to pop-ups every couple of hours. Gee guys, a note about your 20% off sale in my e-mail wouldn't have bothered me that much, but you really had to pop up over top of my PowerPoint slides? I'm sure that all of my office colleagues will be running to order ThinkPads ..."
Windows

Submission + - Windows Sneaks in "Surprise" Updates (windowssecrets.com)

eldavojohn writes: If you set your Windows machines to update only when you want them to, you may be in for a surprise. There's been no official confirmation on this but the article says that users have noticed changes to machines without their confirmation. The article also notes that 'Numerous conflicts have caused users to take a cautious approach to updates. For example, WS contributing editor Susan Bradley reported in her July 10, 2008, column (paid content) that Microsoft patch MS08-037 completely disabled the Internet connection of machines that use the ZoneAlarm firewall. Many users can't afford this kind of interruption of service and prefer to study each update before approving its installation.' Have you noticed strange behavior of your Windows updates?
Power

Submission + - Beamed space solar powerplant to open in 2016?

Eric_S writes: Anybody who managed to get a decent city going in Cim city 2000 remembers the microwave powerplant, now it seems like a real world equivalent might be comming up on the horizon. The Pacific Gas And Electricity Company, per this "interview" with the CEO of Solaren on their affiliated site anounced PG&E's plans to buy 200MW of baseload power from a Solaren beamed space solar powerplant by 2016. So what says Slashdot? The basic engineering seems like it's well understood, or is it unfeasable in the light of some overlooked technical or economic factor?
Enlightenment

Submission + - The Big Problem With Online Sheet Music (pianostreet.com)

JasonLKS writes: Let's say you're someone who plays an instrument. A pianist, even. Like most citizens of the world, you probably go online. Sure, it's fantastic for checking e-mails, streaming silly videos, and downloading music.

But what about getting onto the internet in a better fashion? Doctors get medical updates. Researchers have the world at their fingertips. Scientists stay abreast in every development in their field. So why should you, a musician, not be given a chance to download the same quality stuff that everyone else gets?

A Smaller Market

Because the world of piano transcriptions is a small market, and only important to a minority of people, its representation online has lagged significantly behind.
It's out-dated. Just as we're downloading music to our iPods, why should piano transcriptions be left out? Shouldn't there at least be a good destination online for piano transcriptions we can trust?

You Thought DRM Was Bad?

If you thought music DRM was out-of-date, you should see some of the pages pushing piano transcriptions.
Some ask you to have a functioning printer, because you will only have one chance to actually print your purchase. If something screws up, tough bones.
Other sites pushing classical music have insanely altering standards when looking at their files. Sometimes you'll buy a PDF, other days a set of JPEGs that don't print cleanly, and at other moments you'll be left with a proprietary file that's of no use to anyone.

Users and Reviews Are Fundamental

The only real way to guarantee the piano transcriptions you're paying for is proper is through the testimony of others. If other budding stars are using the site's transcriptions, and claiming that they are quality, you can download with confidence.
One of the most reliable sheet music portals, PianoStreet.com, has also established a burgeoning online forum community around its digital sheet music sales. In reality, the site was born out of an earlier forum, called pianoforum.net, so the sale of sheet music was something that came naturally, instead of a way to just make some cash from the beginning.

Why Mp3s Are Important For Sheet Music

Who cares about sheet music if you can't figure out what they should be like when played? Yeah, we admit, your piano teacher may play it for you, but if you're self-taught, you'll need to seek out a true recording to hear how it should sound.
A useful sheet music vendor should give you tons of mp3 files of their music, adding reams of value to the actual transcriptions. Sites like PianoStreet.com have loads of their more famous easy/intermediate transcriptions online in mp3 format, the exact ones that every pianist is happy to learn.

Pay Once, Download Forever

While content producers are stalling as much as possible, many acknowledge that the market future is related to subscription models, where you will pay a flat rate and get everything you want.
Portals like PianoStreet.com have taken on this for their business approach, providing monthly memberships that allow you unlimited access to consistently excellent sheet music.

The Best Online Source for Sheet Music

So it's not all terrible. A select few sites, led by PianoStreet.com's contributions, are modifying the way sheet music is being purchased. Forget about the rest and patronize the best

Censorship

Submission + - Australian web filter to censor downloaded games (theage.com.au)

Xiroth writes: The Australian Federal Communcations Ministry has confirmed that they intend to use the planned filter to block the download of games that have been refused classification by Australian classification authority, the OFLC. As a Electronic Frontiers Australia spokesman noted, 'This is confirmation that the scope of the mandatory censorship scheme will keep on creeping.'

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