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IBM

Submission + - The Mainframe: Dead Or Alive? (blogspot.com)

FlorianMueller writes: When the EU Commission launched its antitrust investigation against IBM last week, some were wondering whether there would still be mainframes around when the case is settled. But not so fast: eWEEK Europe just conducted a poll on mainframe spendings, and 30% of the respondents even plan to increase their mainframe capacities. At a recent presentation of the new mainframe generation, an IBM executive boldly said: "Western civilization runs on this system." So does IBM, owing 25% of its revenues and more than 40% of its total profits to the mainframe business. Mainframe software is a $24.5 billion market, twice as big as the Linux market. 200-300 billion lines of legacy code (much of it in COBOL) are still in use. So it's not just Microsoft and patent activists who take an interest in this.
Idle

Submission + - 2009 Darwin Award Winners announced (darwinawards.com)

Greg Lindahl writes: From the woman who jumped in a swollen creek to rescue her drowning ... moped, to the man who hopped over the divider at the edge of the highway to take a leak, and plunged 65 feet to his death, 2009 was a year both exceptional and unexceptional for Darwin Award-worthy behavior!
Intel

Submission + - Intel Launches Next-Gen Atom N450 Processor (hothardware.com) 1

MojoKid writes: "Intel has unveiled its next-generation Atom N450 processor and a review of the new Asus Eee PC 1005PE netbook that houses it, shows decent gains in performance and lower power consumption. The Atom N450 has been re-architected similar to Intel's other notebook processors in that it now has an integrated memory controller and graphics core on the CPU itself. In addition, Intel's serial DMI (Direct Media Interface) now replaces the system bus to the Southbridge IO controller. From a performance standpoint, the Atom N450 single core chip offers a nice performance gain versus previous generation Atom CPUs and it appears Intel has dual core variants of the chip on the horizon as well."
Censorship

Submission + - Warner Music Forces Lessig Presentation Offline

An anonymous reader writes: Larry Lessig, known (hopefully) to everyone around here as a defender of all things having to do with consumer rights and fair use rights when it comes to copyright, is now on the receiving end of a DMCA takedown notice from Warner Music, who apparently claimed that one of Lessig's famous presentations violated on their copyright. Lessig has said that he's absolutely planning on fighting this, and has asked someone to send Warner Music a copy of US copyright law that deals with "fair use."
Graphics

Submission + - Caustic Ray Tracing Accelerator Detailed (pcper.com)

Vigile writes: Caustic Graphics is a start-up founded by three former Apple employees promising real-time ray tracing with the help of add-in accelerator cards and OpenGL-based software stacks. The first iteration of this design is the CausticOne using two FPGAs tuned to vector-based calculations and is responsible solely for the ray tracing portion of the rendering engine. Caustic's design leaves the shading computations to a standard GPU but presents the work in a way that is much more efficient than other GPU-based ray tracing algorithms. PC Perspective has an article that looks at the technology behind the hardware and software of the ray tracing accelerator and the means by which Caustic Graphics intends to stay in business while competing with companies like NVIDIA and Intel.
Microsoft

Submission + - Bill Gates Unleashes Mosquito Swarm at TED

theodp writes: "Ending malaria is a particular passion of Bill Gates, who has spent hundreds of millions fighting the disease. So to drive home the point in his talk at TED, the annual gathering of the cool-and-rich from the fields of Technology, Entertainment, and Design, Gates released a swarm of mosquitoes into the crowd. 'Not only poor people should experience this,' Gates reportedly quipped as he turned the bugs loose on his audience."
Television

Submission + - Roku STB Adds HD, Grows Beyond Netflix (deviceguru.com)

DeviceGuru writes: Roku has announced two free updates to its Internet-enabled Netflix movie-streaming set-top box. The initial update adds advanced compression capable of streaming HD video over average consumer broadband connections, while the second (expected during the first quarter of 2009) will add A/V streaming from sources other than Netflix (e.g. YouTube, Hulu, Comedy Central, MSNBC, etc.). Roku faces growing competition from other providers of Internet-based video-on-demand (VOD) STBs, such as Blockbuster's STB, Syabas's Popcorn Hour (aka NMT), AppleTV, and others. Roku hasn't said anything specific, but perhaps it'll partner with Boxee, which already provides a popular AppleTV hack.
The Courts

Submission + - Type host -l, pay $50,000+ and perhaps go to jail (spamsuite.com) 1

Joe Wagner writes: "In a written judgment that has only become public today, anti-spammer David Ritz has lost the SLAPP lawsuit filed by Jerry Reynolds filed for running "unauthorized" DNS lookups on their servers. Knowing "commands are not commonly known to the average computer user" can get you into serious peril in some judges' court rooms.

I kid you not. The Judge ruled that "In all intended uses of a zone transfer, the secondary server is operated by the same party that operates the primary server." The original complaint is here.

Ritz was a thorn in Reynolds' side during the years when Ritz was trying to get the Netzilla/Sexzilla porn spam operation to stop spamming. Reynolds has been quite aggressive in trying to get his past erased from the net (including forged cancel posts). The North Dakota Judge also awarded attorneys fee which could theoretically make the total bill over $500k for doing a domain zone transfer. Reynolds also filed a criminal complaint against Ritz which was on hold pending resolution of this trial.

Here is a literal worst-case scenario of what can happen when a court fails miserably to understand technology. The judge ruled:

Ritz has engaged in a variety of activities without authorization on the Internet. Those activities include port scanning, hijacking computers, and the compilation and publication of Whois lookups without authorization from Network Solutions.
The port scanning/hijacking computers is posting a test message through one of Verizon's machines to prove to Verizon they had an open relay — i.e. posting to 0.verizon.security via the relay a note to Verizon's security saying "What's it going to take to get you to secure this gaping hole in what you call your network," or words to that effect. Verizon apparently had no problem with the demo post and closed the relay.

Take note, for those anti-spammers out there, this Judge is ruling that if you post the whois record for a spammer's domain your are doing a malicious, tortious act.

There is a legal defense fund that was set up for his case. I believe he does not have the resources to appeal and this would be a very bad precedent to stand."

Government

Submission + - Net tax proposed in France (bbc.co.uk) 1

charles.fox writes: "The BBC is reporting that 'French President Nicolas Sarkozy has proposed new taxes on internet access and mobile phone use. The new taxes would help fund France's two public television channels, which would be free of advertising.' Could this be the thin end of a worrying wedge?"
Privacy

Submission + - Scary New Book on Privacy (gwu.edu)

pasquafa writes: "Dan Solove earlier showed us why "I've Got Nothing to Hide" is a foolish reason to brush off privacy concerns. Now his book The Future of Reputation shows us that we've all got a lot to fear from new surveillance technologies. In past articles, Solove's done a great job advocating for individual rights against big data aggregators like Choicepoint, banks, and the government. His latest book breaks new ground because it focuses on a harder issue: how to deal with Web 2.0's swarm of privacy-invading individuals. When it comes to privacy, we may well be our own worst enemies. Against the tide of knee-jerk libertarianism, Solove demonstrates that there are some baseline norms that should govern the spread of personally identifiable information, gossip, and rumors. He even offers hope that the blogosphere can become a more fair, decent, and perhaps even public-minded place."

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