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Government

City Laws Only Available Via $200 License 411

MrLint writes "The City of Schenectady has decided that their laws are copyrighted, and that you cannot know them without paying for an 'exclusive license' for $200. This is not a first — Oregon has claimed publishing of laws online is a copyright violation." This case is nuanced. The city has contracted with a private company to convert and encode its laws so they can be made available on the Web for free. While the company works on this project, it considers the electronic versions of the laws its property and offers a CD version, bundled with its software, for $200. The man who requested a copy of the laws plans to appeal.

Comment Re:Sometimes just user error (Score 1) 454

A shipping product shouldn't suck right out of the box with a problem that needs a firmware or driver update to fix. Sure, its easy for those who know how to fix these things to fix them, but for one who doesn't, the product is bad.

If the person spends hours and hours and never tries to contact the seller or manufacturer for assistance then proclaims the item junk, I shake my head. The vendor should get an opportunity to make it right before they are condemned, especially since it may very well be pilot error on the part of the buyer.

Robotics

Submission + - Tweenbots Test NYC Pedestrian-Robot Relations (tweenbots.com)

MBCook writes: "Kacie Kinzer seems to have come up with the idea to see if people in New York City would help a cute little robot get where it's going, and thus created tweenbots.

Tweenbots are human-dependent robots that navigate the city with the help of pedestrians they encounter. Rolling at a constant speed, in a straight line, Tweenbots have a destination displayed on a flag, and rely on people they meet to read this flag and to aim them in the right direction to reach their goal.

"

Movies

Submission + - Fraudulent Netflix Ratings

Nom du Keyboard writes: For not the first time I notice a new film that hasn't yet even reached the theaters with hundreds of positive votes and/or reviews recorded on Netflix. This time the move is Inkheart. For a movie that doesn't even hit the theaters until January 23 it already has 428 votes and a rating of 4.3 (out of five) on Netflix. Seems more than a bit fraudulent to me. Also it has a review that doesn't even review the movie, but instead says the books are great therefore the movie should be too. Does the word "shills" come to mind? With millions spent just to promote a movie are a few hundred of that going to phony voters, or have that many people actually seen the film and just can't wait to rush home and log onto Netflix to vote? Just what is the responsibility here to provide honest ratings?
Security

Solution Against Cold Boot Attack In the Making 260

Bubba writes "I just discovered this blog: Frozen Cache. It describes a concept for preventing cold boot attacks by saving the encryption key in the CPU cache. It is claimed that by disabling the CPU cache the key will remain in cache and won't be written to memory. The blog says they're working on a proof-of-concept implementation for Linux. Could this really turn out to be a working solution?" Update: 01/19 20:26 GMT by KD : Jacob Appelbaum, one of the authors of the cold boot attack paper, wrote in with this comment: "It's not a solution. It simply seeks to make it more obscure but an attacker would certainly still be able to pull off the attack. From what is on that blog, there's still a full keyschedule in memory at this time. This is how we reconstruct the key, the redundant information in memory; it's not just the 128/256 bit key itself. For older methods, they needed the actual specific key bits but we don't need them because we recreate them. Basically, the CPU is acting as a ghetto crypto co-processer. Emphasis on ghetto. It's a nice suggestion but the devil is in the details and sadly the details in this case aren't really up to snuff. It's a bogus solution."
United States

Submission + - Top 10 IT priorities for Obama (pcauthority.com.au)

Slatterz writes: Tuesday's swearing-in will be a landmark not only for its cultural and social implications, but also for its impact on technology. Obama has promised to be more in touch with the cutting edge of the internet and tech world than any previous President. He's already said that the nation will get its first chief technology officer and has started making appointments that put people with technological knowledge in the driving seat rather than politically reliable hacks. As the nation gets ready for the end of the Bush era and the beginning of the Obama one we thought it right to suggest a few IT priorities that the new president might like to address. From webcasting to the DMCA to net neutrality — a list of top ten IT priorities for the new president.
Slashdot.org

Submission + - What should I ask Slashdot?

TodMinuit writes: "Dearest Slashdot: Recently, I've wanted to ask Slashdot something. Unable to come up with a question myself, I thought who better to ask what I should ask Slashdot than Slashdot itself? Surely the very people answering the question are quite capable of coming up with one. So, Slashdot, what should I ask Slashdot?"
Mozilla

Submission + - Firefox No Longer Alternative Enough

Kelson writes: "The Alternative Browser Alliance, which promotes the use of alternative browsers over Internet Explorer, has stopped promoting Firefox after nearly two years. According to the announcement, Firefox has sold out, gone mainstream, and "is no longer an alternative web browser."

Reportedly the site will throw its weight behind iCab, as it is guaranteed to remain alternative since it will never run on Windows Vista.""
Slashdot.org

Submission + - Slashdot Announces Early End To April Fools

forkazoo writes: "A number of you have posted expressing concern about Slashdot's enthusiasm for April Fools jokes. Since Slashdot has always striven to be perceived as a legitimate news source, we have had an internal discussion, and decided to immediately end all our articles which are not fully verified for today. This site was never about just personal amusement. The point has always been to provide absolutely articulate, well edited articles to inform the IT community about new events which could effect their jobs. Because the April Fools jokes make this site look like some sort of personal blog for CmdrTaco, I am happy to announce that we declare that we will never violate the trust that you have in us ever again. For the rest of the day, you will be able to enjoy the carfully edited, duplicate-pruned, always relevant articles which you have come to know and explectr."

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