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Comment Pretty awesome (Score 4, Insightful) 126

Happy to see a Google acquisition which has not entirely abandoned their existing userbase, as they are assimilated. The company i work for has picked up using etherpads here and there, and was intending on doing so further, until the acquisition. I guess we'll probably give the code base a run, and try installing an internal copy :) Rock on Etherpad & Google guys.

Comment Re:Patent if it's practical, publish if it's risky (Score 2, Insightful) 266

Oh, naïveté.

Nothing will stop them from filing their patent unless you are aware of their filing, and object.

Then, if you were to do something w/ your idea, they may very well sue you, regardless of their patent's invalidity, making the gamble that you'd rather settle than deal with the legal proceedings required to invalidate their patent.

These guys aren't doing it cause they're smart. They're doing it because they think there's easy money to be made, and it's a pain in the ass to defend yourself in court.

This behavor is called patent trolling. I figure any careful reader of Slashdot would recognize this modus operandi, given it's frequency in News for Nerds.

So what can i say?
You must be new here.

Bugatti's Latest Veyron, Most Ridiculous Car on the Planet? 790

Wired has an amusing writeup that accurately captures the most recent ridiculous addition to Bugatti's automobile catalog. The $2.1 million Veyron sports over 1,000 horsepower, a 16-cylinder engine, and a top speed of 245 mph. The guilty conscience comes for free. "That same cash-filled briefcase could buy seven Ferrari 599s or every single 2009 model Mercedes. You could snap up a top-shelf Maybach and employ a chauffeur until well past the apocalypse. Hell, in this economy, $2.1 million is probably enough to make you a one-man special-interest group with some serious Washington clout."

The "Hidden" Cost Of Privacy 217

Schneier points out an article from a while back in Forbes about the "hidden" cost of privacy and how expensive it can be to comply with all the various overlapping privacy laws that don't necessarily improve anyone's privacy. "What this all means is that protecting individual privacy remains an externality for many companies, and that basic market dynamics won't work to solve the problem. Because the efficient market solution won't work, we're left with inefficient regulatory solutions. So now the question becomes: how do we make regulation as efficient as possible?"

Wolfram|Alpha's Surprising Terms of Service 303

eldavojohn notes that Groklaw is highlighting the unexpected Wolfram|Alpha ToS — unexpected, that is, for those of us accustomed to Google's "just don't use it to break the law, please" terms. Nothing wrong with Wolfram setting any terms they like, of course. Just be aware. "We've seen people comparing Wolfram's Alpha to Google's Search from a technical standpoint but Groklaw outlined the legal differences in a post yesterday. Wolfram|Alpha's terms of use are completely different in that it is not a search engine; it's a computational service. The legalese says that they claim copyright on the each results page and require attribution. So for you academics out there, be careful. Groklaw notes this is interesting considering some of its results quote 2001: A Space Odyssey or Douglas Adams. Claiming copyright on that material may be a bold move. There's more: if you build a service that uses their service or deep-links to it, you may be facilitating your users to break their terms of use, and you may be held liable."

Were Neanderthals Devoured By Humans? 502

Hugh Pickens writes "The Guardian reports that a Neanderthal jawbone covered in cut marks similar to those left behind when flesh is stripped from deer provides crucial evidence that humans attacked Neanderthals, and sometimes killed them, bringing back their bodies to caves to eat or to use their skulls or teeth as trophies. 'For years, people have tried to hide away from the evidence of cannibalism, but I think we have to accept it took place,' says Fernando Rozzi, of Paris's Centre National de la Récherche Scientifique. According to Rozzi, a discovery at Les Rois in south-west France provides compelling support for that argument. Previous excavations revealed bones that were thought to be exclusively human. But Rozzi's team re-examined them and found one they concluded was Neanderthal." (Continued, below.)

Al-Qaeda Used Basic Codes, Calling Cards, Hotmail 285

jd writes "In startling revelations, convicted terrorist Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri admitted that Al Qaeda used public telephones, pre-paid calling cards, search engines and Hotmail. Al-Marri 'used a '10-code' to protect the [phone] numbers — subtracting the actual digits in the phone numbers from 10 to arrive at a coded number.' The real story behind all this is that the terrorists weren't using sophisticated methods to avoid detection or monitoring — which tells us just how crappy SIGINT really is right now. If the NSA needs to wiretap the whole of the US because they can't break into a Hotmail account, you know they've got problems. FindLaw has a copy of al-Marri's plea agreement (the tech-related information begins on page 12), and the LA Times has further details on his case."

Google Planning To Serve "High Quality News" Passively 72

krou writes "The Wrap has an interesting interview with Eric Schmidt on Google's new plan for news. Google is apparently planning on rolling out 'high-quality news' to users who are not actively searching for news. It's expected to launch in approximately six months' time, and the first two news organizations to be involved will be The New York Times and The Washington Post. 'Under this latest iteration of advanced search, users will be automatically served the kind of news that interests them just by calling up Google's page. The latest algorithms apply ever more sophisticated filtering — based on search words, user choices, purchases, a whole host of cues — to determine what the reader is looking for without knowing they're looking for it. And on this basis, Google believes it will be able to sell premium ads against premium content.' Although Schmidt said that companies like the New York Times won't get any of this ad revenue, he commented that it will push stories to users who want them, drive up traffic to those stories, and in turn bring higher advertising rates for those stories." As VentureBeat points out, Google hasn't officially confirmed any of this, and with no ad revenue going to the other companies, it only partially addresses complaints that Google is profiting unfairly from the work of news publications.
The Internet

Researchers Critique Today's Cloud Computing 63

Red Leader. writes "MAYA Design just released an excerpt from one of their forthcoming books as a white paper. The paper offers a different perspective on cloud computing. Their view is that cloud computing, as currently described, is not that far off from the sort of thinking that drove the economic downturn. In effect, both situations allowed radical experiments to be performed by gigantic, non-redundant entities (PDF). This is dangerous, and the paper argues that we should insist on decentralized, massively-parallel venues until we understand a domain very, very well. In the information economy, this means net equality, information liquidity, and radically distributed services (and that's pretty much the opposite of 'cloud computing' as described today). While there is still hope for computing in the cloud, it's hard not to wonder if short-term profits, a lack of architectural thinking about security and resilience, and long-term myopia aren't leading us in the wrong direction."
The Military

Mariners Develop High Tech Pirate Repellents 830

Hugh Pickens writes "NPR reports that owners of ships that ply the dangerous waters near Somalia are looking at options to repel pirates including slippery foam, lasers, electric fences, water cannons and high-intensity sound — almost anything except guns. One defense is the Force 80 squirt gun with a 3-inch nozzle that can send 1,400 gallons a minute 100 yards in any direction. 'It is a tremendous force of water that will knock over anything in its path and will also flood a pirate's ship very quickly,' says Roger Barrett James of the the Swedish company Unifire. Next is the Mobility Denial System, a slippery nontoxic foam that can be sprayed on just about any surface making it impossible to walk or climb even with the aid of a harness. The idea would be to spray the pirate's vessel as it approached, or to coat ropes, ladders, steps and the hull of the ship that's under attack. The Long Range Acoustic Device, or LRAD, a high-powered directional loudspeaker allows a ship to hail an approaching vessel more than a mile away. 'Knowing that they've lost the element of surprise is half the battle,' says Robert Putnam of American Technology Corp. The LRAD has another feature — a piercing "deterrent tone" that sounds a bit like a smoke detector alarm with enough intensity to cause extreme pain and even permanent hearing loss for anyone directly in the beam that comes from the device. But Capt. John Konrad, who blogs for the Web site, says no anti-pirate device is perfect. 'The best case scenario is that you find these vessels early enough that you can get a Navy ship detached to your location and let them handle the situation.'"

Head First Rails Screenshot-sm 57

Anita Kuno writes "I suggested Head First Rails to a friend before I even finished it. He was asking me questions that I didn't have time to answer, and I knew the book could explain better than I. My friend is impatient, and I was uncertain what his experience would be. At first he was frustrated, but I assured him the answers were in the book. The incremental style of Head First Rails includes some exercises that are designed to fail to reinforce the learning process. I was confident that his answer would be found in the pages and he trusted me enough to go back and continue the exercises. He later told me he is very happy with the book and grateful that I suggested it." Read on for the rest of Anita's review.

Comment Re:Flawed premise (Score 5, Insightful) 458

The original post AND all these comments miss the point.

File sharing is a means of distribution , NOT marketing .

If you are trying to get popular by being the top download on The Pirate Bay, then you're doing it wrong. In my experience, there is very little horizontal movement between pieces of content on torrent trackers. You go to the torrent tracker with something mind, you find it, you download it, you're done. Other media like SoulSeek are much better as an exploratory sharing system.

Nor are popular bands popular just because they're signed to major labels (otherwise Poe one of my favorite artists would be considerably better known than she is). They are popular because major labels and other soul crushing pieces of media machinery market them heavily through all the things that people are connected to. Television shows, movies, radio, the blogosphere, etc.

If you want to be popular, make yourself notable AND easy to get. Torrent trackers take care of the second bit. You've gotta take care of the first bit.

Twitter Gets Slammed By the StalkDaily XSS Worm 145

CurtMonash writes "Twitter was hit Saturday by a worm that caused victims' accounts to tweet favorably about the StalkDaily website. Infection occurred when one went to the profile page of a compromised account, and was largely spread by the kind of follower spam more commonly used by multi-level marketers. Apparently the worm was an XSS attack, exploiting a vulnerability created in a recent Twitter update that introduced support for OAuth, and it was created by the 17-year-old owner of the StalkDaily website. More information can be found in the comment thread to a Network World post I put up detailing the attack, or in the post itself. By evening, Twitter claimed to have closed the security hole."

Comment Re:Ruby? (Score 4, Insightful) 191

Er, way to troll? If you'd like to do your ridiculous hello world you can stick to:

puts "i like beans"

And it's really unclear what "it" you're referring to. Because Ruby, for me, is a good blend of the things i wanted from Perl and Lisp with a side of Object Orientation. I get all the laziness and conveniences of Perl, and i can do all the crazy stuff i'd want to do with Lisp. So imo, you're way off base.

Comment Re:Why MacRuby Matters? (Score 4, Insightful) 191

MacRuby matters for a lot of reasons. Early benchmarks aren't one of them.

MacRuby's potential for Cocoa integration is fantastic and great, and something i very very much want to see.

It's not clear however what relationship benchmarks at this stage (with an incomplete implementation) will actually correspond to in the future. They are a total red herring for discussion.

Look at MacRuby on the merits! not the benchmarks!

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