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Sun Microsystems

Sun Joins the Free Software Foundation 116

RLiegh writes "Ars Technica reports that Sun has joined the FSF Corporate Patron program. The article explains that the FSF corporate program allows companies to provide financial assistance to the FSF in return for license consulting services. The article goes on to observe that this move is doubtlessly motivated by Sun's interest in GPL3's direction. Now that Sun has opened up Java and become an FSF corporate sponsor...could the move to dual license OpenSolaris under the GPL3 be far behind?"
Power

Sanyo Blamed in Lenovo Battery Recall 66

ukhackster writes "Those overheating laptop batteries are back. Lenovo is recalling 205,000 'extended' batteries which shipped with its ThinkPad machines, or were bought as replacements. Slashdot readers will doubtless remember the flak which Sony attracted last year, after it was blamed for exploding Dell notebooks and several massive recalls. This time, the batteries were made by Sanyo. Their engineers determined that the failure was repeatable by dropping machines using the batteries from a certain height and at a certain angle. As soon as the repeatable nature of the flaw was determined, a recall was issued."
Hardware

First Graphene Transistor 83

An anonymous reader writes "UK researchers are announcing the first ever workable transistor made of graphene — that's one layer of carbon atoms. It's thinner and smaller than a silicon transistor can ever be, and it works at room temperature. When silicon electronics are dead, this is what many speculate is going to take over. There's slight controversy as they decided to announce their results via a review article, rather than wait for their (submitted) peer review paper to come out."

Audio Watermark Web Spider Starts Crawling 173

DippityDo writes "A new web tool is scanning the net for signs of copyright infringement. Digimarc's patented system searches video and audio files for special watermarks that would indicate they are not to be shared, then reports back to HQ with the results. It sounds kind of creepy, but has a long way to go before it makes a practical difference. 'For the system to work, players at multiple levels would need to get involved. Broadcasters would need to add identifying watermarks to their broadcast, in cooperation with copyright holders, and both parties would need to register their watermarks with the system. Then, in the event that a user capped a broadcast and uploaded it online, the scanner system would eventually find it and report its location online. Yet the system is not designed to hop on P2P networks or private file sharing hubs, but instead crawls public web sites in search of watermarked material.'"
Patents

Patent Office Head Lays Out Reform Strategy 253

jeevesbond writes to tell us that Jon Dudas, the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the US Patent and Trademark Office has laid out a plan for patent reform. "Speaking at the Tech Policy Summit in San Jose, Dudas said that characterizing the patent system as hurting innovation is a 'fundamentally wrong' way to frame the debate. 'I have traveled around the world, and every nation is thinking how it can model [intellectual property governance] after the U.S,' Dudas said. 'It's a proven system, over 200 years old. The Supreme Court, Congress and policy makers are involved [in cases and legal reforms] not because the system is broken. It's not perfect, and we should be having the debate on how to improve.'"

Canada Rejects Anti-Terror Laws 507

Coryoth writes "The Canadian parliament has voted against renewing anti-terror laws that had been introduced after September 11, 2001. The rejected laws included provisions to hold terror suspects indefinitely, and to compel witnesses to testify, and were in some sense Canada's version fo the Patriot Act. The laws were voted down in the face of claims from the minority Conservative government that the Liberal Party was soft on terror, and despite the fact that Canada has faced active terrorist cells in their own country. The anti-terror laws have never been used, and it was viewed that they are neither relevant, nor needed, in dealing with terrorist plots. Hopefully more countries will come to the same conclusion."
Movies

BitTorrent Video Download Store Falls Flat 195

seriously writes "We've all heard about BitTorrent going legit this week with legal movie and TV show downloads. Ars Technica took a look at the service to see how usable it was and ran into a few snags, including not being able to download or even open the video files on some computers. However, the ones that they did manage to open varied a lot in quality. Overall, they blame DRM: 'Without knowing whether browser compatibility and dysfunctional video files are a rare occurrence or not, it's hard to say whether BitTorrent's service is a good one overall. Our initial experiences have been disappointing and frustrating, and guess what the culprit is once again? DRM. Why the DRM failed to work on 50% of our purchases is not clear, but whatever the cause, it's simply unacceptable.'"
Software

How Open is Open Source Really? 151

jg21 writes to tell us that several industry leaders have chimed in with a response to Nat Torkington's recent piece "Is 'Open Source' Now Completely Meaningless". In the original piece Torkington raised the question of whether the term "open source" had lost any meaning because of companies that use the label yet largly restrict user interaction. Sun's Simon Phpps chimed in by stating: "I see open source as a term relevant to the way communities function and I'd support the reunification of the terms 'Free' and 'open source' around the concept of Free software being developed in open source communities. On that basis it's not dead."

DRM Free Music is Everywhere 369

guisar writes "I continue to endure stories on Slashdot and elsewhere complaining about EMI, itunes and other organizations maybe (or maybe not) releasing material in DRM free format. Well- here's some news there's LOTS of material out there. So instead of complaining, download what you like. There are plenty of artists releasing their material in FLAC and other DRM free format. Just look around. Most artists are doing their part by releasing their music in the hopes they can gain enough exposure to earn a living at what they love. If you're complaining about major labels not releasing material, it's probably too late and you are part of the problem." I think this point is often unfairly ignored: the existence of DRM is a fantastic chance for new distribution to reveal new bands. Unfortunately this music is difficult to find because there is simply so much of it.

Online Storage 2.0: Six Sites Reviewed 142

mikemuch writes "Services like box.net, openomy, and eSnips are more than just places to access your files from the web. Some include media organization tools, Windows shell integration, drag-and-drop uploading, tagging, and social content sharing. ExtremeTech has a review up of six online storage services with Web 2.0 twists."
Security

A Myspace Lockdown - Is It Possible? 180

Raxxon asks: "We (my business partner and I) were asked by a local company to help 'tighten up' their security. After looking at a few things we ran some options by the owner and he asked that we attempt to block access to MySpace. He cited reasons of wasted work time as well as some of the nightmare stories about spyware/viruses/etc. Work began and the more I dig into the subject the worse things look. You can block the 19 or 20 Class C Address Blocks that MySpace has, but then you get into problems of sites like "MySpace Bypass" and other such sites that allow you to bypass most of the filtering that's done. Other than becoming rather invasive (like installing Squid with customized screening setups) is there a way to effectively block MySpace from being accessed at a business? What about at home for those who would like to keep their kids off of it? If a dedicated web cache/proxy system is needed how do you prevent things like SSL enabled Proxy sites (denying MySpace but allowing any potentially 'legal' aspects)? In the end is it worth it compared to just adopting an Acceptable Use Policy that states that going to MySpace can lead to eventual dismissal from your job?"
The Almighty Buck

Dow Jones Plunge Fueled by Overwhelmed Computers 215

cloudscout writes "The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped over 400 points today. While there were various valid financial reasons for such a decline, some of the blame is being placed on computer systems that couldn't keep up with the abnormally high volume at the New York Stock Exchange and the resulting tremor as they switched over to a backup system."
AMD

AMD A Ripe Target For Buyout? 108

SpiceMonkey writes "AMD stock was up 6.74% on Monday on rumors that AMD is a prime buyout target. After their purchase of ATI, they've been pressed to maintain their aggressive policy of chip production increases. As a result, the AMD message board on Yahoo! is full of speculation on who has their eyes on the company. Many folks there think that IBM is the right buyer for the company. There's no firm word that AMD is even being considered for purchase, but it's certainly and interesting prospect."
Communications

Newton's Ghost Haunts Apple's iPhone 381

PetManimal writes "David Haskin has looked back at why the Newton failed in the early PDA market, and warns that Apple may be setting itself up for a similar failure with the iPhone. The iPhone shares with the Newton a hefty starting price, and Joe Public may not be so keen on the cost, as recent survey data suggests. Moreover, the iPhone will have to deal with two additional factors that were not issues for the Newton: Competition, and wireless service providers: 'Besides overcharging for iPhone, Apple faces significant competition, something it didn't face in 1993 when it launched Newton. And you can bet that competition from the likes of Samsung and LG will both be good (although probably not as good as iPhone) and most assuredly cheaper... I'm more convinced than ever that, after an initial frenzy of publicity and sales to early adopters, iPhone sales will be unspectacular. If Apple doesn't respond quickly by lowering the price and making nice to AT&T..., iPhone may well become Apple's next Newton.'"
Biotech

Avoiding the Word "Evolution" 895

jakosc tips us to a disturbing article in PloS Biology on the avoidance of the word "Evolution" in scientific papers and grants. From the paper: "In spite of the importance of antimicrobial resistance, we show that the actual word 'evolution' is rarely used in the papers describing this research. Instead, antimicrobial resistance is said to 'emerge,' 'arise,' or 'spread' rather than 'evolve.' Moreover, we show that the failure to use the word 'evolution' by the scientific community may have a direct impact on the public perception of the importance of evolutionary biology in our everyday lives... It has been repeatedly rumored (and reiterated by one of the reviewers of this article) that both the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation have in the past actively discouraged the use of the word 'evolution' in titles or abstracts of proposals so as to avoid controversy."

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