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Submission + - Muon1 does 20 quadrillion! (

ktetch-pirate writes: The Muon1 DPAD, has hit 20 Quadrillion particle-timesteps (pts). Thats a 2, with 16 zeros (20,000,000,000,000,000), or two million-billion. It's a part of the UK's Neutrino Factory project, but it differs in that unlike traditional distributed computing projects, it uses an evolutionary or genetic method instead of brute force, to assign the work, allowing the massive design simulations (10^900 possible different designs in some cases) to be done in a matter of months.

Submission + - RIAA Accounting: How Labels Avoid Paying Musicians ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: Last week, Slashdot posted Techdirt's story about "Hollywood Accounting" which showed how movies like Harry Potter still officially "lose" money with some simple accounting tricks. This week, Techdirt is taking on RIAA accounting, and showing why most musicians (even multi-platinum recording stars) may never see a dime from their album sales. The major labels basically give you a loan, but then demand the first 63% of any dollar you make, get to automatically increase the size of the "loan" by simply adding in all sorts of crazy expenses (did the exec bring in pizza at the recording session? that gets added on), and then tries to get the loan repaid out of what meager pittance they've left for you. Oh, and after all of that, the record label still owns the copyrights. The average musician on a major record deal "gets" about $23 per $1,000 made... and that $23 still never gets paid because it has to go to "recouping" the loan... even though the label is taking $630 out of that $1,000, and not counting it towards the advance. Remember all this the next time a record label says they're trying to protect musicians' revenue.

Has Any Creative Work Failed Because of Piracy? 1115

Andorin writes "Anyone familiar with the piracy debate knows about the claims from organizations like the RIAA that piracy causes billions of dollars in damages and costs thousands of jobs. Other studies have concluded differently, ranging from finding practically no damages to a newer study that cites 'up to 20%' as a more accurate number (PDF). I figure there's got to be an easier way to do this, so here's my question: Does anyone know of any creative works that were provably a financial failure due to piracy? The emphasis on 'provably' is important, as some form of evidence is necessary. Accurately and precisely quantifying damages from p2p is impossibly hard, of course, but answering questions like this may lead us to a clearer picture of just how harmful file sharing really is. I would think that if piracy does cause some amount of substantial harm, we would see that fact reflected in our creative works, but I've never heard of a work that tanked because people shared it online."

Submission + - Where is the universal power brick for laptops? (

An anonymous reader writes: One of the most frustrating things about laptops is the myriad power supplies used. On a PC, an ATX power supply for example will screw into certain mounting holes, have a maximum size and shape, and will take a standard 3-pin 'kettle cord' for incoming power. If it complies with these standards the PSU will be able to bolt into any manufacturer's ATX case. Laptop design, on the other hand, involves cramming a PC into a tiny chassis, which usually has its own thermal design and power distribution requirements. This has led to the somewhat bizarre situation where every manufacturer has its own laptop power supply design. It now appears that some of the major players in laptops are getting together to work on a standardized laptop power supply design. Not only are big players involved, but the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) has created a team to work on the Power Supply standard.

Submission + - Is your camera only for personal content? (

AtomicJake writes: If you buy a new camera, you are bound by its MPEG LA license to only use it for "personal use and non-commercial" purposes. So, if you put your own movie with ads on your server, you may actually be liable to pay royalties. Even, if the distribution format is not under the MPEG LA license. This view is explained by Eugenia Loli-Queru, who thinks that our civilization's video art and culture is threatened by the MPEG LA.

Submission + - New Encryption Standard may Contain Backdoor 1

Hugh Pickens writes: "Bruce Schneier has a story on Wired about the new official standard for random-number generators the NIST released this year that will likely be followed by software and hardware developers around the world. There are four different approved techniques (pdf), called DRBGs, or "Deterministic Random Bit Generators" based on existing cryptographic primitives. One is based on hash functions, one on HMAC, one on block ciphers and one on elliptic curves. The generator based on elliptic curves called Dual_EC_DRBG has been has been championed by the NSA and contains a weakness that can only be described a backdoor. In a presentation at the CRYPTO 2007 conference (pdf) in August, Dan Shumow and Niels Ferguson showed that there are constants in the standard used to define the algorithm's elliptic curve that have a relationship with a second, secret set of numbers that can act as a kind of skeleton key. If you know the secret numbers, you can completely break any instantiation of Dual_EC_DRBG. "We don't know where the constants came from in the first place. We only know that whoever came up with them could have the key to this backdoor. And we know there's no way for NIST — or anyone else — to prove otherwise," says Schneier."

Submission + - Unexpectedly bright comet appears in night sky

swordgeek writes: Comet 17P/Holmes, a relatively obscure and dim object has suddenly flared to be literally a million times brighter than it was two days ago, going from below magnitude 14 to 2.8 in less than 24 hours. It is just outside of the constellation Perseus, which puts it high in the sky and ideal for viewing at this time of year. The comet is now readily visible with the naked eye, and remarkable in binoculars or a telescope. This is a completely unexpected once-in-a-lifetime event, so get out your finest optics (even if it's just your eyes) and go comet watching! No one knows how long this will last, so grab the chance while it's there.

Submission + - The truth about image stabilization

An anonymous reader writes: Image stabilization is the biggest feature in digital cameras right now, but is it the cure all that camera manufacturers would like us to believe? This feature looks at the different types of image stabilization, how they work and what side effects they can cause.

Submission + - Amiga in an FPGA released under GPL ( 2

exolon42 writes: This is a mandatory read for every (former or current) Amiga hacker. You have to give it to the Dutch: tulips, cheese, and now a guy named Dennis has recreated the original Amiga chipset in a Xilinx Spartan-3 FPGA, and recently released all sources under the GPL to boot! This includes the design of a PCB containing the FPGA, the required MC68000 and normal PC-style hardware connectors so you can build your own. A thought-provoking fact is that the Verilog-sources for the recreated chips (Denise, Paula, Agnus etc.) are only around 500-1000 lines each... chips in the eighties didn't contain 1 billion transistors!

Submission + - Firefox and IE still not getting along (

juct writes: "A new demo shows how Firefox running under Windows XP SP2 can be abused to start applications. For this to work, however, Internet Explorer 7 needs to be installed. This severe security problem promises another round in the "who-is-to-blame-war" between Mozilla and Microsoft. Mozilla currently is leading the race for a patch, as they have one ready in their bugzilla database."

Submission + - New Ethernet standard:not 40Gbps,not 100, but both (

Artemis writes: "When Ethernet was originally created in 1974 it was a 3Mbps technology from Bob Metcalfe at Xerox PARC that few thought would beat out technologies such as Token Ring from the big boys like IBM. But Metcalfe left Xerox to found 3com and promote Ethernet, while also boosting the speed from 3Mbps to 10Mbps, compared to Token Rings 6Mbps. Now a days 1Gbps networks are becoming standard and 10Gbps networks are creeping in to specialized situations. But the Higher Speed Study Group (HSSG) is not satisfied. They have approved a Project Authorization Request (PAR) for a new standard, IEEE 802.3ba, which will give Ethernet speeds of up to 100Gbps.

When IEEE 802.3ba was originally proposed their were multiple possible speeds that were being discussed, including 40, 80, 100, and 120Gbps. While there options were eventually narrowed down to just two, 40 and 100Gbps, the HSSG had difficulties decided on the one specific speed they wanted to become the new standard. HSSG chair John D'Ambrosia told PC World that although he "wouldn't say there was a fight, I would say their was an education going on, and it got heated at times." During the discussions two different groups formed, one which wanted faster server-to-switch connections at 40Gbps and one which wanted a more robust network backbone at 100Gbps. The higher speed required more expensive and power-hungry equipment, you can find out more about it from this presentation [PDF].

Unable to come up with a consensus the HSSG decided to standardize both 40Gbps and 100Gbps speeds as the IEEE 803.23ba standard. Each speed will use different connection equipment. 40Gbps can be 1 meter long on the backplane, 10 meters for copper cable and 100 meters for fiber-optics. The 100Gbps standard includes specifications for 10 kilometer and 40 kilometer connections over single-mode fiber.

According to D'Ambrosia this is the first time the specification group has approved two different speeds in the same specification. If IEEE approves the specification it could be completed by 2010 with devices that support is soon thereafter."

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