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Books

Submission + - Scribd Becomes DRM-Optional E-Bookstore

Miracle Jones writes: "In an effort to compete with Amazon and Google, the document-hosting website Scribd will now be letting writers and publishers sell documents that they upload. They will be offering an 80/20 profit-sharing deal in favor of writers, and will let writers charge whatever they want. Additionally, Scribd will not force any content control (although they will have a piracy database and bounce copyrighted scans) and will let writers choose to encrypt their books with DRM or not. This is big news for people in publishing, who have been seeking an alternative to Amazon for fear that Amazon is amassing too much power too quickly in this brand new marketplace, especially after Amazon's announcement last week that they will now be publishing books in addition to selling them."
Transportation

Submission + - US to Require New Cars Get 42 mpg 1

Hugh Pickens writes: "New cars and trucks will have to get 30 percent better mileage starting in 2016 under an Obama administration move to curb emissions tied to smog and global warming. While the 30 percent increase would be an average for both cars and light trucks, the percentage increase in cars would be much greater rising from the current 27.5 mpg standard to 42 mpg. Environmentalists praised the move. Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, called it "one of the most significant efforts undertaken by any president, ever, to end our addiction to oil and seriously slash our global warming emissions." Obama's plan also would effectively end litigation between states and automakers who had opposed state-specific rules, arguing that having to meet several state standards would be much more expensive for them than just one federal rule. The Detroit News reported that automakers were on board with the new rule and had worked with the administration on creating a timeline for the transition. Daniel Weiss, director of climate strategy at the Center for American Progress, described the new rule as "a triple play: It will help move America off foreign oil, save families money and spur American businesses to take the lead in developing the job-creating, clean-energy technologies of the future.""
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Ten Dying IT Skills (globalknowledge.com) 1

Julie188 writes: "If you are looking for a job, here's 10 IT skills that you should not be bragging about on your resume, according to a scan of current job listings done by Global Knowledge. ATM, NetWare, Visual J++, WAP, ColdFusion, RAD/Extreme Programming, Siebel, SNA, HTML and COBOL. While there are no real surprises on this list some of the explanations of why these skills are dead are interesting. For instance, why not brag about HTML skills? "With the proliferation of easy to use WYSIWYG HTML editors enabling non-techies to set up blogs and Web pages, Web site development is no longer a black art. Sure, there's still a need for professional Web developers (see the ColdFusion entry above for a discussion about Java and PHP skills) but a good grasp of HTML isn't the only skill required of a Web developer. Professional developers often have expertise in Java, AJAX, C++ and .Net, among other programming languages. HTML as a skill lost more than 40% of its value between 2001 and 2003, according to Foote Partners.""
Security

Submission + - Are Your "Secret Questions" Too Easily Ans (technologyreview.com)

wjousts writes: We've all seen the "secret" questions that are used to reset your password on various sites and several high-profile break-ins have resulted from hackers guessing the answers to secret question. This week, research from Microsoft and Carnegie Mellon University, presented at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy will show how woefully insecure these functions are.

As reported in Technology Review:



In a study involving 130 people, the researchers found that 28 percent of the people who knew and were trusted by the study's participants could guess the correct answers to the participant's secret questions. Even people not trusted by the participant still had a 17 percent chance of guessing the correct answer to a secret question.

The least-secure questions are simple ones whose answers can be guessed with no existing knowledge of the subject, the researchers say. For example, the answers to the questions "What is your favorite town?" and "What is your favorite sports team?" were relatively easy for participants to guess. All told, 30 percent and 57 percent of the correct answers, respectively, appeared in the top-five list of guesses.


Programming

Submission + - What Web Authentication Protocol Should I Support? (andrewrondeau.com) 2

GWBasic writes: "The recent article OpenID Fan Club Is Shrinking implies that OpenID is failing in the marketplace. Are there any alternatives that are gaining support? I'm currently building a web development tool and I'd like to build in support for a distributed authentication system like OpenID. My requirement is that the protocol has to be so simple that a technical person can fully understand how the protocol works by reading a single web page. An additional requirement is that the protocol needs to be simple enough that an average programmer can write a client or server in an afternoon without resorting to an API.

Furthermore; as I believe that part of HTTP's success has to do with the fact that any programmer who can access a socket can make a program web-accessible; I would prefer a protocol that's so simple that a programmer who only has access to a socket can still work with the system.

For example, about a year ago, over the course of a few evenings, I put together a simple distributed authentication system that could be implemented in either PHP or ASP. The total amount of code written in either platform was only slightly more complicated then stereotypical username / password code. Is there an existing standard that is as simple as mine?"

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