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Amazon Fights Piracy Tool, Creators Call It a Parody 268

jamie points out an interesting story which started a few days ago, when a pair of students from the Netherlands released a Firefox add-on which integrated links to the Pirate Bay on Amazon product pages. Customers who had the add-on would see a large "Download 4 Free" button next to items which were also available on the Pirate Bay. The add-on quickly drew notice, and the creators were hit with a take-down notice and threats of litigation from Amazon. Now, the students have removed the add-on, and they are claiming an unusual defense: "'Pirates of the Amazon' was an artistic parody, part of our media research and education at the Media Design M.A. course at the Piet Zwart Institute of the Willem de Kooning Academy Hogeschool Rotterdam, the Netherlands. It was a practical experiment on interface design, information access and currently debated issues in media culture. We were surprised by the attentions and the strong reactions this project received. Ultimately, the value of the project lies in these reactions. It is a ready-made and social sculpture of contemporary internet user culture."

A Quantum Linear Equation Solver 171

joe writes "Aram Harrow and colleagues have just published on the arXiv a quantum algorithm for solving systems of linear equations (paper, PDF). Until now, the only quantum algorithms of practical consequence have been Shor's algorithm for prime factoring, and Feynman-inspired quantum simulation algorithms. All other algorithms either solve problems with no known practical applications, or produce only a polynomial speedup versus classical algorithms. Harrow et. al.'s algorithm provides an exponential speedup over the best-known classical algorithms. Since solving linear equations is such a common task in computational science and engineering, this algorithm makes many more important problems that currently use thousands of hours of CPU time on supercomputers amenable to significant quantum speedup. Now we just need a large-scale quantum computer. Hurry up, guys!"
The Internet

IPv6 Adoption Up 300 Percent Over 2 Years 425

Mark.J - ISPreview writes "The Number Resource Organization, which is made up of the five Regional Internet Registries, has revealed that the rate of new entrants into the IPv6 routing system has increased by 300% over the past two years. The news is important because IPv4 addresses (e.g., which are assigned to your computer periodically, are running out. IPv6 addressing (e.g. 2ffe:1800:3525:3:200:f8ff:fe21:67cf) was invented as a longer and more secure replacement." IPv6 is still gaining ground slowly, particularly in the US.

Submission + - Project Launch (

SF:sasayaki writes: All, The first release of the Bower E-mail Sorter has been posted on our Sourceforge account. Built as part of an undergraduate project at the Australian National University, Bower has implemented three e-mail sorting algorithms; a simple sorter, a clustering algorithm and a Bayesian-based tournament algorithm. An XPI package is available for public installation and review. Beware that this project is still in beta and may contain bugs. Sorting is still slow, due to use of Javascript, but provision is made for further implementation in C or C++. Enjoy!
Data Storage

Disk Failure Rates More Myth Than Metric 283

Lucas123 writes "Using mean time between failure rates suggest that disks can last from 1 million to 1.5 million hours, or 114 to 170 years, but study after study shows that those metrics are inaccurate for determining hard drive life. One study found that some disk drive replacement rates were greater than one in 10. This is nearly 15 times what vendors claim, and all of these studies show failure rates grow steadily with the age of the hardware. One former EMC employee turned consultant said, 'I don't think [disk array manufacturers are] going to be forthright with giving people that data because it would reduce the opportunity for them to add value by 'interpreting' the numbers.'"

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