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Comment No Problem (Score 1) 183

They'll have no trouble with it at all. I'm yet to encounter a screen reader that reads the name element of an input field. Perhaps it would if the field was otherwise devoid of any descriptive text, but you'd have to be a real jackass to provide an unlabeled input field and expect anybody to know what to do with it. :)

Comment Nope (Score 1) 183

Im afraid you misunderstand me. Again, only the field name is affected, not the label for the field. I've used text-only browsers regularly since 1994 (Mosaic over a 14.4k modem, Lynx, and now Links), and I'm yet to encounter one that displays the name element of an input field to the user.

Comment Hidden Input Box (Score 5, Informative) 183

Third, do they fill out a hidden inputbox? This is sort of the reverse captcha.

This is really a very good test. As others have mentioned in this thread, it's the sort of thing that spammers will circumvent if it becomes widespread, but for now it's great.

There's something else I've found to be really quite effective: deliberately misnaming my form fields. For instance, give the input field that's labelled "First Name" an input name of "phone number." Humans don't use input names to determine what text to enter, but spambots do. Then check that inputâ"if the first name field contains a phone number, you know you've got yourself spammer.

I've used solely the combination of these two things to run one of my websites for two years now, and I get a vanishingly small amount of spam.

Comment GPL's Purpose (Score 1) 606

I didn't say that the GPL wouldn't be necessary, just that it wouldn't be possible.

But I'd argue that it would still be necessary. After all, anybody can release their software into the public domain. But we don'tâ"we give it away under a license, like the GPL. Why? I'd posit that it's because we like the restrictions that it places on those who use it, and it ensures the existence of a vibrant open source software bazaar. But, no matter the reason, the point is that we have the option to release our work without restrictions now, and yet vanishingly few people do so. I think that demonstrates the necessity of the GPL, even in a world without copyright for software.

Comment Not True (Score 3, Informative) 606

You write that Apple "granted permission" to the maker of Franklin and then yanked it. That's simply not true. Not even close.

In Apple Computer, Inc. v. Franklin Computer Corp., the 3rd Circuit found that Franklin did so without any permission from Apple, but Franklin's logic was that you can't copyright something software isn't written down on paper. They copied ROMs that had no equivalent for sale on paper, ergo they didn't need to ask permission and Apple couldn't stop them. The circuit court ruled in favor of Franklin, because there was no legal precedent allowing software to be copyrighted, which is how it got bumped up to the circuit court, who ruled for Apple.

Obviously, Apple was right here. Without copyright for software, we'd have no GPL and the open source movement would still be stuck at the "freeware" stage.


The Internet

The Internet Is 'Built Wrong' 452

An anonymous reader writes "API Lead at Twitter, Alex Payne, writes today that the Internet was 'built wrong,' and continues to be accepted as an inferior system, due to a software engineering philosophy called Worse Is Better. 'We now know, for example, that IPv4 won't scale to the projected size of the future Internet. We know too that near-universal deployment of technologies with inadequate security and trust models, like SMTP, can mean millions if not billions lost to electronic crime, defensive measures, and reduced productivity,' says Payne, who calls for a 'content-centric approach to networking.' Payne doesn't mention, however, that his own system, Twitter, was built wrong and is consistently down."

Submission + - Year's Top Censors Receive Muzzle Awards (tjcenter.org)

Waldo Jaquith writes: "We've all heard the stories of outlandish censorship over the past year. The student who was expelled from Valdosta State University for criticizing the school on Facebook. New York state refusing to let somebody have a 'GETOSAMA' license plate. The judge who barred a rape victim from using the word "rape" in her testimony. The FCC. Period. Well, they and ten others are all getting their comeuppance, in the form of the Thomas Jefferson Center's 17th annual Jefferson Muzzle Awards. The dubious distinction goes to those organizations who have done the most to stifle free expression in the past year. The FCC, appropriately enough, got a lifetime achievement award."

A Brief History of Slashdot Part 2, Explosions 216

When last we left off, Slashdot had grown beyond my ability to maintain it as a hobby, as well as beyond the simple DEC Alpha Multia 166 that had served it so well for the first week or two, and then immediately buckled under the traffic. Here in Part 2, we ride the wave of Slashdot's growth from early '98 until whenever my wrists get tired enough that I stop yakking until next week.

Most Science Studies Tainted by Sloppy Analysis 252

mlimber writes "The Wall Street Journal has a sobering piece describing the research of medical scholar John Ioannidis, who showed that in many peer-reviewed research papers 'most published research findings are wrong.' The article continues: 'These flawed findings, for the most part, stem not from fraud or formal misconduct, but from more mundane misbehavior: miscalculation, poor study design or self-serving data analysis. [...] To root out mistakes, scientists rely on each other to be vigilant. Even so, findings too rarely are checked by others or independently replicated. Retractions, while more common, are still relatively infrequent. Findings that have been refuted can linger in the scientific literature for years to be cited unwittingly by other researchers, compounding the errors.'"

Submission + - Wild bird blinding Laser beacon announced

snot.dotted writes: "Southampton, UK. City council announced the construction of a Laser Beacon that will cost £249,000 or $487,590. To be constructed with four high powered lasers (5 watts, class 4) that will be visible for 20 miles and the lasers will be constantly running from dusk until midnight. Local astronomers pissed at the light pollution link to local news paper article, City council leaders unaware of diffraction and beam divergence! You can read their proposal here as a pdf Pidgeons and other wild birds likely to be blinded. Apparently a world first. Next, council to attach frickin' lasers to sharks. Dr Evil running for re-election again! more Beacon of the South Stories"

Submission + - What's hidden under Greenland ice?

Roland Piquepaille writes: "Ice has covered Greenland for millions of years. So what's hidden under this ice cap? Mountains and valleys? Rivers and lakes? Of course, we might know it sooner than we would have liked if the ice covering Greenland continues to melt. But researchers from Ohio State University have decided that they wanted to know it next year and have developed a radar to reveal views of land beneath polar ice. Their first tests of this new radar, which helps them to catch 3-D images of the ground under the ice, took place in May 2006. The next images will be shot in April 2007. Here are some images of the new GISMO device and what it can do."
User Journal

Submission + - Apple Developing iPhone and "Smart" Phone

anaesthetica writes: According to AppleInsider, Apple is not only working on a cellphone + mp3 player iPhone, but is working on a second model designed to be a smart phone, highly integrated with Mac OS and .Mac. The smart phone has gone through several iterations, as the notoriously demanding Mr. Jobs ordered the elite team working on the phone to redesign and re-engineer their prototypes. Capabilities are reported to include Front Row interface, syncing contacts and iCal with .Mac, "call ahead", iChat video conferencing integration, WiFi, and a slide-out keyboard. Too good to be true?

Submission + - CAPTCHA harder to break using animations

mlemos writes: "CAPTCHA validation is often used to prevent robots from abusing Web site resources. Usually CAPTCHA methods employ text written on fuzzy graphical images that the users must recognize.

However, there are already anti-CAPTCHA capable robots that employ artificial intelligence to reckon the text automatically.

László Zsidi is a PHP Web developer that has written an harder to break CAPTCHA solution. It consists in generating animated GIF images that exhibit the validation text.

Since the text never appears all at once in each of the animated frames, this solution certainly raises the bar in terms of difficulty for the robots to guess the validation text, making it very hard to defeat, if possible at all. There is an example screenshot that shows that this PHP component can be used to render an animated CAPTCHA with a 3D light effect running over the validation text.

The solution can run on most PHP installations as it only requires the GD library to render the animated graphic frames. László also provides another pure PHP class that is necessary to assemble the generated animated CAPTCHA frames into a single animated GIF image.

László just won the latest edition of the PHP Programming Innovation award for this achievement."

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