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The Courts

Four Google Officials Facing Charges In Italy For Errant Video 153

mikesd81 writes to tell us that four Google employees may be facing charges of defamation and failure to control personal data simply because they didn't remove a video of a boy with Down's Syndrome being harassed and eventually hit over the head with a box of tissue, from Google Video. The video was posted in September of 2006 and was removed by Google within a day of receiving the initial complaints, but apparently that isn't fast enough. "Google maintains charges against the employees are unwarranted, Pancini said. Europe's E-commerce Directive exempts service providers from prescreening content before it is publicly posted, he said. Also, the video was technically uploaded to a Google server in the US, not in Italy, Pancini said. 'It was a terrible video,' Pancini said, adding that Google is concerned about the case's impact on censorship on the Internet. The defendants include David C. Drummond, a Google senior vice president, corporate development and chief legal officer. Pancini said Drummond did paperwork to create Google Italy, but has never lived in the country."

Comment Re:Virtual Machines (Score 1) 831

In theory one could emulate TPM inside a virtual machine, but from what I understand there is a key in the TPM that is machine specific. This is how the remote attestation feature works, by checking to make sure the device is "safe" and the software (e.g. music player that only lets you play it for 30 days) running on it has not been modified. This is actually pretty secure, and no logical trickery will get around it, but it's not perfect. The fundamental flaw of all DRM/TPM systems is that you have the keys. They might make them hard to get by putting them on a separate chip instead of the RAM but a sufficiently skilled attacker with, say, an electron microscope, might be able to extract them. At that point everything is completely broken. In the traditional "Alice, Bob, and Eve" story, Alice is sending a message to Bob and doesn't want Eve to be able to decrypt it, but Bob and Eve are effectively the same person. This is why no DRM scheme can be perfect, just a major nuisance to law-abiding folk.
Databases

F/OSS Flat-File Database? 702

Leemeng writes "I'm looking for a simple, free, and F/OSS flat-file database program. I'm storing info about Wi-Fi access points that I come across, maybe 8-9 fields per entry. I've outgrown Notepad. This info is for my own reference only; it is not going on a Web server. Googling was unhelpful, with results skewed towards SQL, Access (MS), and Oracle, all of which would be overkill for my purposes. My criteria are: it must be simple, F/OSS, must work in Windows Vista, preferably use a portable format, must not be an online app, and must not require Java. Does such a beast exist?"
Programming

Do Static Source Code Analysis Tools Really Work? 345

jlunavtgrad writes "I recently attended an embedded engineering conference and was surprised at how many vendors were selling tools to analyze source code and scan for bugs, without ever running the code. These static software analysis tools claim they can catch NULL pointer dereferences, buffer overflow vulnerabilities, race conditions and memory leaks. Ive heard of Lint and its limitations, but it seems that this newer generation of tools could change the face of software development. Or, could this be just another trend? Has anyone in the Slashdot community used similar tools on their code? What kind of changes did the tools bring about in your testing cycle? And most importantly, did the results justify the expense?"
Data Storage

A Walk Through the Hard Drive Recovery Process 238

Fields writes "It's well known that failed hard drives can be recovered, but few people actually use a recovery service because they're expensive and not always successful. Even fewer people ever get any insights into the process, as recovery companies are secretive about their methods and rarely reveal any more information that is necessary for billing. Geek.com has an article walking through a drive recovery handled by DriveSavers. The recovery team did not give away many secrets, but they did reveal a number of insights into the process. From the article, "'[M]y drive failed in about every way you can imagine. It had electro-mechanical failure resulting in severe media damage. Seagate considered it dead, but I didn't give up. It's actually pretty amazing that they were able to recover nearly all of the data. Of course, they had to do some rebuilding, but that's what you expect when you send it to the ER for hard drives.'" Be sure to visit the Museum of Disk-asters, too.
Software

The Future of Subversion 173

sciurus0 writes "As the open source version control system Subversion nears its 1.5 release, one of its developers asks, what is the project's future? On the one hand, the number of public Subversion DAV servers is still growing quadratically. On the other hand, open source developers are increasingly switching to distributed version control systems like Git and Mercurial. Is there still a need for centralized version control in some environments, or is Linus Torvalds right that all who use it are 'ugly and stupid'?" The comments on the blog post have high S/N.
Businesses

How Do You Find Programming Superstars? 763

Joe Ganley writes "You are a programming superstar, and you are looking for work. I recognize this happens relatively rarely, which is part of my problem. But stipulating that it happens, how do I, as a company looking to hire such people, connect with them? Put another way, how do you the programming superstar go about looking for a company that seems like one you'd like to work for? The company I work for is a great place to work; we only hire really great people, we work on hard, interesting problems, and we treat our employees well. We aren't worried about retention or even about how to entice people to work here once we've found them. The problem is simply finding them. The signal-to-noise ratio of the big places like Monster and Dice is terrible. We've had much better luck with (for example) the Joel on Software job boards, but that still doesn't generate enough volume." What methods have other people used to find the truly elite?
Communications

Comcast Charges $1000 Per Wiretap 178

It seems trashing the Fourth Amendment is very profitable: For one company, FISA wiretaps carry a $1K pricetag

Comcast, which is among the nation's largest telecommunication companies, charges $1,000 to install a FISA wiretap and $750 for each additional month authorities want to keep an eye on suspects, according to the company's Handbook for Law Enforcement. Secrecy News obtained the document and published it Monday.
IBM

IBM Seeking 'Patent-Protection-Racket' Patent 169

theodp writes "Wikipedia defines a protection racket as an extortion scheme whereby a powerful non-governmental organization coerces businesses to pay protection money which allegedly serves to purchase the organization's 'protection' services against various external threats. Compare this to IBM's just-published patent application for 'Extracting Value from a Portfolio of Assets', which describes a process by which 'very large corporations' impress upon smaller businesses that paying for 'the protection of a large defensive patent portfolio' would be 'a prudent business decision' for them to make, 'just like purchasing a fire insurance policy.' Sounds like Fat Tony's been to Law School, eh? Time for IBM to put-their-money-where-their-patent-reform-mouth-is and deep-six this business method patent claim!"
Microsoft

Microsoft Looks To Refuel Talks With Yahoo 188

froggero1 writes "The New York Post is reporting that Microsoft wants to rekindle the takeover talks with Yahoo. According to the article, Yahoo! has repeatability turned away their offers, but Microsoft hopes that a lucrative 50 billion dollar offer will bring them back to the table. This move would increase Microsoft's web search market share to roughly 38%."
Communications

Microsoft set to Announce Zune 360 and 180 66

SlashRating©
5318008
slashdottit! tm
Blueberry Bob writes "Just in time for the iPhone June launch, Microsoft is planning to launch the Zune 360 and 180. The 360 will be a widescreen video and music player available in 40 and 80 GB models, whereas the 180 will be a smaller device similar in size to the iPod nano. Oddly enough, only the 180 model will feature a cellphone — Microsoft believes that the combined cellphone/music player market is better served in compact players. 'Although the default behavior will be to connect the Zune 360 and 180 to a Windows machine and use the default Zune software (which is also undergoing a revamp) it will be possible to put the Zune 360 in to disk mode and the device will be treated like any ordinary USB storage device and will therefore be accessible from Mac and Linux machines too. The built in indexing in the 360 will allow you to easily search for songs, however out of the box it's not possible to create playlists on the 360 itself, they still need to be managed by the Zune software.'"
Programming

Getting Accurate Specifications for Software? 147

spiffcow asks: "I design internal software for users that are largely computer-illiterate, and obtaining accurate specs for these programs has become a huge challenge. In the most recent instance, I asked for detailed specs on what an accounting program should do (i.e. accounting rules, calculation methods, and so forth), and received a Word document mock-up of an input screen, complete with useless stickers. This seems to be the norm around here. When I asked my boss (the head Sales manager) for specs, he responded saying that it was my responsibility to determine what was needed. How do I convey to the users that, in order to develop the software they want, I need detailed, accurate specs?"
Hardware

Dell Laptop Burns House Down 405

Nuclear Elephant writes "The Consumerist is running a story about a house burned down by a Dell laptop. 'My 130-year-old former farm house was engulfed in flames, with thick dark smoke pouring out of the windows and roof... Hours later, after investigation the fire marshal investigator took me aside asked me if I had a laptop computer. Yes — I told him I had a Dell Inspiron 1200.' It was determined that the laptop, battery, or cord malfunctioned after its owner left for work, leaving the fire to spread through the entire house. All attempts to contact Dell have failed. 'I have tried to call Dell to at least notify them of my problems, but each time I have called I get transferred into an endless loop of "Joe" or "Alan" all speaking a delectable version of English I presume emanates from Bangalore. I have been outright hung up on each time I get someone who speaks a reasonable version of English, or sounds like they might be in charge of something. Promises of call backs have gone, of course, unreturned.'"
Patents

MS Seeks Patent For Repossessing School Computers 299

theodp writes "Microsoft has applied for a patent for 'securely providing advertising subsidized computer usage.' The application describes how face-recognition webcams and CAPTCHAs can be used in schools to ensure that computer users are paying attention to ads, and the recourse of 'disabling or even repossessing the computer' if they are not."

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