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User Journal

Journal Journal: What A Year 1

This year has come and is almost gone. I was unable to complete any of my goals for the year. Something unexpected came up, and yes, it was significant enough to throw me off course. I started this year with about 50k in the bank. I am effectively broke now.

Censorship

Submission + - China: Twitter, Flickr, Hotmail, Others Blocked (danwei.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Two days ahead of the Tiananmen Square 'incident' several high profile Internet sites have been blocked in mainland China, these include Twitter.com, Flickr.com, Live.com, and Bing.com. While Internet blocks in mainland China, blocking such high profile sites is unusual. In addition, blog reports suggest even state-owned television broadcasts are suffering multiple instances of muting lasting several seconds (again, not unusual for some foreign stations broadcast over cable, but unusual for local state-owned media) suggesting state security, online or through other technology, has tightened significantly, perhaps in anticipation or discovery of protest plans.
Windows

Submission + - Malware found on brand new Windows netbook (itbusiness.ca)

An anonymous reader writes: After discovering attack code on a brand new Windows XP netbook, antivirus vendor Kaspersky Labs warned users yesterday that they should scan virgin systems for malware before connecting them to the Internet.
Robotics

Submission + - Nanomaker's Toolkit (sciencenews.org)

gabrlknght writes: "Because nanoparticles are small, a large proportion of their atoms are near the particle's surface. Having fewer neighbors, those relatively unconfined atoms can link in unusual ways, giving materials made of nanoparticles novel properties. But the same characteristic that makes nanostructures useful--size--also makes working with them no small task. Engineering on the nanoscale is like building a ship in a bottle while wearing mittens. It would be far cheaper and easier, researchers agree, if nanoparticles could just arrange themselves into nanomaterials --like dropping the pieces of the ship into the bottle and then sitting back to watch the ship build itself. What scientists are working on now is finding the right chemistry — creating just the right conditions so that natural properties such as charge or magnetism direct the pieces of the ship to come together just so, with the mast above the deck and never below or to the side. This idea, called self-assembly, isn't exactly new. Examples range from the simple separation of oil and vinegar in a bottle of salad dressing to the complex movements of proteins and enzymes — themselves nanosized — reacting in living cells. Scientists have long been inspired by these naturally self-assembling systems. But designing self-assembling systems in the lab, with nanoparticles, presents its own scale of difficulty. And making self-assembled nanomaterials grow large enough to actually be useful is even more challenging."
Robotics

Submission + - iRobot Announces Paperback Sized Military Robot (wired.com)

knothead99 writes: Introducing the iRobot Ember.

"iRobot has built over 2,000 machines for the military. Most of 'em are 50 pounds plus, and more than three feet long. But, lately, the company has been working on an itty-bitty version of its Packbot reconnaissance machine — one that weighs less than a pound, and is about the size of a paperback book."

Video included of the robot in action.

Security

Submission + - Virus Hits FBI and US Marshals (therunningtally.com)

Drivintin writes: "Looks like CNET has a story of the FBI, and US Marshals Service being hit with an unknown virus. The FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service were forced to shut down parts of their computer networks after a mystery virus struck the law-enforcement agencies Thursday, according to an Associated Press report. A spokesperson for the U.S. Marshals Service confirmed that it had disconnected from Justice Department computers as a precaution after being hit with the virus, while an FBI spokesperson would only say that it was experiencing similar issues."
Privacy

Submission + - FCC's Warrantless Household Searches Alarm Experts

mikesd81 writes: "Wired.com reports that you may not know it, but if you have a wireless router, a cordless phone, remote car-door opener, baby monitor or cellphone in your house, the FCC claims the right to enter your home without a warrant at any time of the day or night in order to inspect it. FCC spokesman David Fiske says "Anything using RF energy — we have the right to inspect it to make sure it is not causing interference." The FCC claims it derives its warrantless search power from the Communications Act of 1934, though the constitutionality of the claim has gone untested in the courts. "It is a major stretch beyond case law to assert that authority with respect to a private home, which is at the heart of the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable search and seizure," says Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyer Lee Tien. "When it is a private home and when you are talking about an over-powered Wi-Fi antenna — the idea they could just go in is honestly quite bizarre.""
Idle

Submission + - Smile! Urine candid camera!

Anon E. Muss writes: Just because you can put a camera somewhere, doesn't mean you should. Apparently, the Department of Homeland Security Theater doesn't grasp this concept. They've installed video cameras in urinals at Houston's Hobby Airport. At least they weren't sneaky about it — they posted a notice saying "Automatic infrared flush sensors also provide video monitoring for security purposes." (Insert bad joke about bashful bladder syndrome here)
The Internet

Submission + - SPAM: Malware knocks out U.S. Marshals Service network

coondoggie writes: "Malware Wednesday crippled Windows-based computer systems at the U.S. Marshals Service, which hunts federal fugitives and operates the country's witness protection program, knocking the agency's network offline. The agency's press office confirmed it was having network problems and that its e-mail system was down this morning, but it was unclear if the outage extended across the entire network. The press office said a statement would be issued today, but has yet to be released. [spam URL stripped]"
Link to Original Source
Government

Submission + - White House Calls for Ideas on Transparency (fas.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Quoting the source: "The White House today solicited public recommendations for greater openness in government.

"Members of the public are invited to participate in the process of developing recommendations [by] offering comments, ideas, and proposals about possible initiatives and about how to increase openness and transparency in government," according to a notice published in the Federal Register today."

Government

Submission + - Sunlight Labs offers $25,000 for Data.gov apps (avelinomaestas.com)

Andurin writes: "With the launch of Data.gov, Sunlight Labs is offering $25,000 in prize money for developers who create apps that use newly-released federal government data. Data.gov is paving the way for citizens to become more engaged with their government, by providing for the first-time a clearinghouse of federal data in developer-friendly formats. The Apps for America 2 contest aims to find the best applications that rely on Data.gov, whether it be a client application, an iPhone app, or data visualization. Also, the first, second and third prize winners will receive airfare and hotel placement for a trip to Washington DC. While in Washington, DC, they'll attend an awards ceremony at the Gov2.0 Summit by O'Reilly Media and TechWeb."
Communications

Submission + - U.S Federal Government Launches Data.gov (elasticvapor.com)

Elastic Vapor writes: "I'm happy to announce that the U.S. Federal Government earlier today launched the new Data.Gov website. The primary goal of Data.Gov is to improve access to Federal data and expand creative use of those data beyond the walls of government by encouraging innovative ideas (e.g., web applications). Data.gov strives to make government more transparent and is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. The openness derived from Data.gov will strengthen the Nation's democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government."
Mozilla

Submission + - Mozilla Jetpack: API for standards-based add-ons

revealingheart writes: Mozilla Labs have released a prototype extension called Jetpack: An API for allowing you to write Firefox add-ons using existing web technologies technologies to enhance the browser (e.g. HTML, CSS and Javascript), with the goal of allowing anyone who can build a Web site to participate in making the Web a better place to work, communicate and play. Example add-ons are included on the Jetpack website.

While currently only a prototype, this could lead to a simpler and easier to develop add-on system, which all browsers could potentially implement.

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