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Privacy

Submission + - MPAA University 'Toolkit' Raises Privacy Concerns

NewbieV writes: "On the heels of the MPAA's efforts to eliminate peer-to-peer file sharing in colleges and universities, The Washington Post is reporting on a new development:

The Motion Picture of Association of America is urging some of the nation's largest universities to deploy custom software designed to pinpoint students who may be using the schools' networks to illegally download pirated movies. A closer look at the MPAA's software, however, raises some serious privacy and security concerns for both the entertainment industry and the schools that choose to deploy the technology.
The University Toolkit (website), also known as peerwatch, uses xubuntu, Snort, ntop and Apache to gather data and phone home. More from the article:

Steve Worona, director of policy and networking programs at EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association that promotes the use of information technology in higher learning, said he'd like to think that "no university network administrator in their right mind would install this toolkit on their networks." But he said some campus IT personnel may fail to dig too deeply into what the device actually does before installing it.
"
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Dollar hits new depths (reuters.com)

Thanshin writes: The dollar's ongoing decline, however, was in full focus. It fell to an all time low against a basket of six major currencies (.DXY: Quote, Profile, Research), essentially its weakest position globally since the modern currency regime began in the early 1970s.
The Media

Submission + - Demonoid - Down For Good?

NewbieV writes: "This is what the front page of Demonoid looks like this morning:

The CRIA threatened the company renting the servers to us, and because of this it is not possible to keep the site online. Sorry for the inconvenience and thanks for your understanding.

We have brought online a forum in order to help the community stay together. This forum is not file sharing related in any way, it's just a mean to help the community stay together — please read the forum rules before posting. You can use your Demonoid account info to log in.
A history of the site is available in its Wikipedia entry."
Spam

Submission + - Court tosses $11 million judgment against Spamhaus

NewbieV writes: "From the NewsBlog on news.com.com.com:

At least for now, Spamhaus, the popular British spam-blacklisting organization, won't have to cough up $11.7 million as part of a spat with an Illinois e-mail marketing company.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on Thursday vacated a lower court's decision last fall to award the damages and to impose an injunction, which required the organization to cease causing any e-mail sent by e360insight or Linhardt to be "blocked, delayed, altered, or interrupted in any way" and to publish an apology.
"
Mozilla

Submission + - 386 Million Firefox Downloads. 96 Million Users. (zdnet.com)

NewbieV writes: "Three out of every four people who download Firefox don't use it actively. According to the Spreadfirefox website, Firefox has been downloaded over 386 million times. According to an article in the Ziff Davis blog roll, Firefox has about a 25% retention rate: half the people who download it, try it. Half of those people end up actively using it.

How to improve that retention rate? The Mozilla Foundation has a plan (which is also discussed here). What would Slashdotters recommend?"

Space

Submission + - Stephen Hawking Goes ZeroG in NASA's Vomit Comet

NewsCloud writes: "The trip Slashdot described last month is complete. MSNBC reports that Cosmologist Stephen Hawking has experienced zero gravity: "Zero Gravity co-founder and chief executive officer Peter Diamandis, signaled with his fingers that the world-famous physicist went weightless eight times." Before the flight, Hawking said, "I have been wheelchair-bound for almost four decades, and the chance to float free in zero-G will be wonderful,". The article describes special precautions were taken to ensure his well-being. I thought it might kill him but I'm inspired by his accomplishment."
GUI

Submission + - Multi-touch: the future of GUIs?

malbrech writes: "Multi-touch, the wonder piece of Apple's iPhone may have a much larger future. An article in fatscompany.com describes how the genious behind Multi-touch, Jeff Han, developed the technology for large screens and gives a glimpse into the amazing potential born by the touch paradigm. There is also a fantastic video showing the use of multi-touch in various applications. Yes, reminiscences of AI become alive."
Nintendo

Submission + - Wii Modchip Announced

deadmantyping writes: The first modchip for the Wii, dubbed "WiiNinja", allowing the playing of backups has been announced. This comes shortly after the announcement of a method to backup Wii games. Photos of the modchip and videos of it in action were also made available by the developers. Installation requires dismantling the Wii (of course) and soldering 5 wires to the Wii's motherboard. The WiiNinja modchip will be available soon for purchase according to the developers.
NASA

Submission + - NASA Commemorates Space Shuttle Tragedies

eldavojohn writes: "Space.com is covering NASA's commemoration of the Apollo 1 crew & the last shuttle crews of both the Challenger and Columbia orbiters. The Apollo 1 crew was lost forty years ago today to a fire while testing their spacecraft on a launch pad. From the article, "While the nearly two decades separating NASA's three space disasters allowed room for the agency to grow complacent, the relatively short time between the 2003 loss of Columbia and the end of the shuttle program could avoid a repeat of such behavior.""
Communications

Submission + - Inside the Lucasfilm datacenter

passthecrackpipe writes: "Where can you find a (rhetorical) 11.38 petabits per second bandwidth? It appears to be inside the Lucasfilm Datacenter. At least, that is the headline figure mentioned in this report on a tour of the datacenter. The story is a bit light on the down-and-dirty details, but mentions a 10 gig ethernet backbone (adding up the bandwidth of a load of network connections seems to be how they derived the 11.38 petabits p/s figure. In that case, I have a 45 gig network at home.) Power utilisation is a key differentiator when buying hardware, a "legacy" cycle of a couple of months, and 300TB of storage in a 10.000 square foot datacenter. To me, the story comes across as somewhat hyped up — "look at us, we have a large datacenter" kind of thing, "look how cool we are". Over the last couple of years, I have been in many datacenters, for banks, pharma and large enterprise to name a few, that have somewhat larger and more complex setups.

It used to be so that the the SFX industry had the largest, coolest, hottest technology around. Is this still the case?"
Businesses

Submission + - The Amazon Uncertainty Principle

elstaqub writes: Amazon.com apparently has books that are both in-stock and out-of-stock at the same time, and ships them in a way that ships in both the past and future. Apparently they have some very clever quantum mechanics working in their order processing department.

In early January I ordered a book called "Groovy In Action" from them, which they claim is "In Stock". But after I ordered, I noted that the delivery estimate slipped to March 21-23, 2007.

I figured that it just really wasn't in stock — it was a small glitch of some kind in their huge system. But when I tried to cancel the order on the web, its status was "Shipping Soon — We are preparing these items for shipment and this portion of your order cannot be canceled or changed."

Well, I've heard of slow shipping, but I figured that NOBODY could be that slow. So I sent them a note asking what was going on.

Here's what I got back:

Unfortunately, I can't cancel your order for the item "Groovy in Action" because it's already in the shipping process.

I have researched your order and see that it has entered the shipping process . We were able to ship your package in advance of the date estimated on our web site. Your actual ship date is March 18, 2007. We have prepared in advance to ship your order, so we expect your order will arrive within March 21, 2007 — March 23, 2007 or you will get before.

I have researched your order and note that it has been shipped via USPS. There is no tracking number available for this service.
So, they aren't shipping for two months, but they won't let me cancel the order. Aren't there laws against this kind of thing?

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