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Submission + - Computer Virus Hits US Drone Fleet ( 3

Golgafrinchan writes: Quoting from the story:

"A computer virus has infected the cockpits of America’s Predator and Reaper drones, logging pilots’ every keystroke as they remotely fly missions over Afghanistan and other warzones. The virus, first detected nearly two weeks ago by the military’s Host-Based Security System, has not prevented pilots at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada from flying their missions overseas. Nor have there been any confirmed incidents of classified information being lost or sent to an outside source. But the virus has resisted multiple efforts to remove it from Creech’s computers, network security specialists say. And the infection underscores the ongoing security risks in what has become the U.S. military’s most important weapons system."

Comment Re:Texting is free on all carrieres (Score 1) 348

S. Keshav, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Tetherless Computing at the University of Waterloo, calculates that the marginal cost of an SMS message is about 0.3 cents (testimony before the US Congress, June 2009). His calculation includes channel costs and billing costs, but assumes negligible additional paging costs because "once a mobile has been located, either for a call or an SMS, it no longer needs to be paged." But as someone pointed out, this is the same industry that gives us $3 MP3s.

Submission + - HP could sell off PC unit; buy Autonomy for $10B ( 3

coondoggie writes: "Hewlett-Packard could be close to spinning off its PC unit and spending $10 billion to buy software-maker Autonomy, according to a Bloomberg News report today. Reuters says Hewlett-Packard may announce the plans as early as today as the company is set to report quarterly earnings after markets close."

Submission + - More evidence Apple is building a killer Maps app (

An anonymous reader writes: If you know anything about Apple, you know that they hate relying on third party technology if they can come up with their own solution. To that end, Apple has made a number of interesting map-based acquisitions over the past year or two and recently discovered language in a new legal section in iOS 5 titled “Map Data” suggests that Apple’s own mapping solution may be very close to becoming a reality.

Submission + - the Longhorn dream reborn (

gbjbaanb writes: Early this month, Microsoft dropped something of a bombshell on Windows developers: the new Windows 8 touch-friendly immersive style would use a developer platform not based on .NET. Cue howls of outrage from .NET developers everywhere, but here Ars Technica descibes what's more likely to have been going on and why Microsoft is finally getting its act together for developers.

Comment Re:Not all failures (Score 2) 160

Not all prototypes: most of the items I see in the collection are production models. Not all failures: quite a few of the items dominated a market niche during their time, even if they didn't take over the world and find a home on every desktop, and are still available for purchase.

Comment Re:Honest Question: Why? (Score 1) 371

I don't keep medical bills or documents

Almost every contact my family has had with a emergency room has resulted in overbilling. In several cases, when I've complained "insurance already paid for that" or "the patient did NOT receive that treatment" both insurance and hospital have disclaimed any knowledge, and my paper records were my sole defense against paying hundreds or thousands of dollars. Sometimes those bills arrived years after I thought everything had been settled. I guess if you have a couple hundred grand you're willing to spend on such waste over your lifetime, then yeah, it's not worth caring about. Or maybe you live in a place (certainly not the US) where you really can trust medical billing.

Comment Redistribution (Score 1) 208

For most purchase decisions, economics (to some degree) accounts for the amount of energy used in production. An exception is when some group tries to bias the market in favor of buying the "new, efficient" thing, even when it means that the "old, inefficient" things go to a landfill before their natural end of life.

An important, but often neglected, point to make is that energy used at the factory CAN come from more efficient, cleaner sources. Or at the very least, the energy-related pollution may be dumped a little farther from the neighborhoods you care about the most.

Submission + - Rebels Hijack Gadhafi's Phone Network (

An anonymous reader writes: A team led by a Libyan-American telecom executive has helped rebels hijack Col. Moammar Gadhafi's cellphone network and re-establish their own communications.

The new network, first plotted on an airplane napkin and assembled with the help of oil-rich Arab nations, is giving more than two million Libyans their first connections to each other and the outside world after Col. Gadhafi cut off their telephone and Internet service about a month ago.

Data Storage

Submission + - Self-Wiping Hard Drives From Toshiba (

Orome1 writes: Toshiba announces a family of self-encrypting hard disk drives engineered to automatically invalidate protected data when connected to an unknown host. Data invalidation attributes can be set for multiple data ranges, enabling targeted data in the drive to be rendered indecipherable by command, on power cycle, or on host authentication error.

Comment Re:unobtainable books. (Score 1) 234

"We saved those books for you. That's what we do." Unfortunately, that perspective on librarianship is becoming as hard to find as books on vacuum tubes. The more common approach is, "We facilitate access to information. So that our library can be more modern and spacious, we got rid of OUR copy, but you can rely on databases or interlibrary loan to get that item." Meanwhile, every other library has made the same decision to "weed" that item. In my own research, I'm increasingly encountering items which were commonly available a just a year or two ago, but are now not available from any library (and yes, I've looked on WorldCat and its brethren).

What items get weeded from a library? When I've personally observed the weeding practices of my local libraries (public and academic), actual circulation is rarely considered, and utility or rarity or ILL availability is never considered. The official weeding policy of the library notwithstanding, weeding is all too often a 1-to-3-second judgment based on the age and condition of the item, a judgment made by one specialist librarian who is being graded on weeding productivity.

Sad weeding decisions I've witnessed recently: Classic childrens books weeded because "the book is older than the child." Brand-new (copyright 2011) books weeded because they are part of a collection that is being discontinued. Reference books weeded because other libraries do NOT have the same book (standardization, y'know). Short-run local history books weeded because the cover was dirty or because the book was old. Electronics books weeded because "no one needs that stuff." Paper journals weeded when I know that the digitized version is missing some of the content.


Submission + - Undersea Cables Damaged by Earthquake (

ColoradoAuthor writes: "The horrific earthquake and the ensuing tsunami in Japan have caused widespread damage to undersea communications, according to data collected by telecom industry sources. Initially, it was thought that the damage to the cables that connect Japan and Asia to each other and other parts of the world was limited, but new data shows the extent of the problems."

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