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Cloud

Submission + - Apple Wants To Store Your History in the Cloud (bnet.com)

bizwriter writes: Most online backup is about keeping the latest and greatest version of what resides on a device, whether a PC, tablet, or smartphone. Three recent patent filings suggest that Apple has a super version of backup on its mind. Someone would be able to go into an application (like iTunes or the App Store), find what material was available at a previous time, and recover any or all of what once was there without having to use a separate recovery program.
Microsoft

Submission + - Teacher fired after objecting proprietary software

usrbinsh writes: Teacher, also vice principle, of Moscow high school #572 objected the mandatory order of Moscow City Department of Education. The order instructs each school to use particular software to assist students in cramming mandatory Unified State Exam (it's somewhat similar to GED).The hosting software is Windows based and requires IE on a client to run properly. Apparently the school's computer environment is Linux based. The teacher found that Firefox unable to talk to training host system, and voiced the concern to the Department of Education appealing to the law signed by President Medvedev that encourages using Open Source Software in education. The Department of Education ignored the concern. The teacher filed complaint addressing it directly to the Russian President. Apparently the complaint went down the chain of command, back to the Department of Education, which retaliated by firing concerned teacher. The cheese part: wife of the head of the software vendor that created training ware is noted as proponent of and lobby for Microsoft in education of City of Moscow. Also, per her input, the Department adopted such technical requirements as using Apple MacBook and MacMini with preinstalled Windows XP. The source in Russian, more detailed; in English

Submission + - Major Battle Brewing Between French Gov't and ISPs (zeropaid.com) 1

Dangerous_Minds writes: Drew Wilson has been following HADOPI, Frances three strikes law a lot lately and the latest developments are that the French ISPs and the French government are edging closer to a full on war over compensation. The French government apparently requested that ISPs send an invoice of the bills after a certain period of time, but the French ISPs don't feel that this is good enough — probably because of worries that the compensation the government will ultimately give won't be enough. The ISPs are demanding adequate compensation and if the government doesn't give it to them, that they will simply not hand over evidence required to enforce HADOPI law. While HADOPI demands that ISPs cooperate, speculation suggests that if the government takes ISPs to court, that the ISPs will simply rely on constitutional jurisprudence to shield them from liability (French translation).

Submission + - Are Nigerian Scams Really From Nigeria? (securityweek.com)

wiredmikey writes: Nigerian scams (also known as advance fee fraud and 419 scams — 419 is a section under the Nigerian Criminal Code Act that prohibits obtaining goods by false pretences). This makes it harder to defend against this increasingly common type of fraud, and almost impossible to predict the extent to which it may become worse onwards.

We designed and performed an experiment that allows us to take the pulse on Nigerian scammers. We used the technique of offering too expensive merchandise to find fraudsters without bothering honest people. In fact, we used it to make the fraudsters find us, while avoiding everybody else. Then we acted as would-be victims, and paid attention to what happened...

Submission + - Paper questions whether gravity is a force (nytimes.com)

couch_warrior writes: An article in the NYTimes describes a paper by physicist Erik Verlinde, in which he questions whether gravity is a fundamental force at all. Instead he appears to propose that the effects of gravity are simply the accumulated effects of increases in entropy.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/13/science/13gravity.html

While it is not stated in the article, an analogy might be made to the former belief that "fire" was an element. It was easy to observe that when you let the fire out of wood, you were left with ashes (earth). Therefore fire+earth=wood. However, "fire" is simply the aggregate release of energy as the carbon and hydrogen in the wood combine with oxygen and are reduced to a lower entropic state. Gravity, like fire, may not be a "thing" all by itself, but rather a cumulative effect of a net reduction in entropic states.

Privacy

Submission + - EU gives USA access to SWIFT banking data (reuters.com)

An anonymous reader writes: In a vote of the European Parliament, USA once again gets access to private bank transfer data for internal European bank transfers. The data, some 15 million transactions a day, less than 10GB a day, will be sent to the USA where officials promise to restrict their searches to terrorism queries only.

Ideally, the Parliament would want to replace bulk data with targeted searches carried out by an EU-based authority to prevent Treasury officials from poring over swathes of citizens' private data. " We cannot reduce the problem of bulk data for the moment as we do not have the technical capability," Birgit Sippel, a German S&D MEP, told EurActi.

So what do you think? Is 10GB a day too beyond the computing power of Europe to search? Or has Europe been sold down the river by some technically naive MEPs in violation of their privacy rights?

Submission + - The Proton Just got smaller (nature.com) 1

inflame writes: A new paper published in Nature has said that the proton may be smaller than we previously thought. The article states 'The difference is so infinitesimal that it might defy belief that anyone, even physicists, would care. But the new measurements could mean that there is a gap in existing theories of quantum mechanics. "It's a very serious discrepancy," says Ingo Sick, a physicist at the University of Basel in Switzerland, who has tried to reconcile the finding with four decades of previous measurements. "There is really something seriously wrong someplace."'

Would this indicate new physics if proven?

Submission + - Serial Killer caught via family member's DNA (cnn.com)

darpified writes: Serial Killer caught by the use of 'familial DNA search' in California. The search was done on the felony offenders DNA database for possible family members of the individual that left DNA evidence in the 'Grim Sleeper' killings. Not that I'm defending serial murders, but this seems to be a very slippery slope when you use the felony DNA database in this manner. "California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. said California's familial DNA search program led to the identification and arrest of Franklin.

The program — which was enacted in 2008 against opposition from civil rights groups — uses the DNA of family members to find suspects in cases of great risk to the public, Brown's office said in a press release."

Who gets to define 'great risk'?

Music

Submission + - Men At Work ordered to pay song royalties (bbc.co.uk)

chichilalescu writes: Common sense comatose.
Excerpts from the BBC article:
"A judge has ordered Men At Work to hand over royalties from the 1983 hit single Down Under after earlier ruling they had plagiarized a children's song.
Sinclair, an Australian teacher, wrote Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree more than 70 years ago. It has since been sung by generations of Australian school children.
Larrikin Music, which is owned by London's Music Sales Group, bought the rights to the classic folk song in 1990, following Sinclair's death in 1988."

I can hardly wait for the wonders that software patents have in store for us.

Submission + - Merry merry copyright king of the bush is he... (abc.net.au) 2

neonsignal writes: Iconic Australian band Men at Work have been ordered to pay royalties for an instrumental riff in their song "Down Under". The notes were sampled from a well-known children's song "Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree", written in 1934 for a Girl Guide's Jamboree. The Justice found the claims of the copyright owner Larrikin to be excessive, but ordered the payment of royalties and a percentage of future profits. Let's hope the primary schools are up to date with their ARIA license fees!

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Finding a Research Mentor?

bsomerville writes: As an aspiring social scientist preparing to apply to Ph.D. programs, I'm keen to find a faculty mentor somewhere in North America who shares my research interests. This is more difficult than I thought it would be. While links to program websites are readily available, I'm surprised to find no comprehensive collection of faculty research interests in my field (clinical psychology). Instead this information is buried several levels down in each university website. Is this a common problem across all fields, and is there some inherent reason why no wiki-type web resource exists to meet this need? It seems like a text-searchable database could be built fairly quickly and maintained by users,saving thousands of clicks through university websites.

Submission + - Font foundries opening up to the Web (latimes.com)

Tiger4 writes: A huge number of fonts are migrating from the print only world to the Web. As the browser manufacturers get on board, the WWW will be a much more interesting place (see the article illustration).

"Beginning Tuesday, Monotype Imaging, a Massachusetts company that owns one of the largest collections of typefaces in the world, is making 2,000 of its fonts available to web designers. The move follows the San Francisco-based FontShop, which put several hundred of its fonts online in February. In just a few weeks, Font Bureau, a Boston designer of fonts, will make some of its typefaces available online as well."

With any luck, the transition period to Font-richness will be more brief and less painful than the waving flag — jumping smiley — flashing text era HTML explosion

Security

Submission + - "Security concerns" stop Chinese bid for 3 (thestandard.com)

Ian Lamont writes: "The Treasury Department's U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has apparently nixed a proposed bid by Bain Capital Partners and Huawei to buy 3Com. 3Com makes intrusion detection products that are used by the U.S. Department of Defense and other organizations, and a U.S. congressman has protested, claiming that 'Chinese hackers have targeted the agency,' according to the article. China, Russia, and the United States are frequently accused of sponsoring 'cyber attacks' against other nations, but there has been 50% more press coverage of 'Chinese hackers,' compared to 'Russian hackers,' judging by the results in the U.S. version of Google News."
Censorship

Submission + - CNN Fires Producer Over Personal Blog (huffingtonpost.com)

dangerz writes: "CNN has fired one of its producers because of his personal blog. Chez Paziena, the ex-producer, has stated that he started the blog "mostly to pass the time, hone my writing skills, resurrect my voice a little, and keep my mind sharp following the [brain tumor] surgery." After a few months, CNN found out about it and ended up letting him go because his "name was "attached to some, uh, 'opinionated' blog posts" circulating around the internet." Read more at his website or at The Huffington Post."
Google

Submission + - Google Talk: more chat bots? (blogspot.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Google worker Moishe Lettvin writes in his blog about a cool chat bot called rcc. It lets you register yourself as an "expert" on various topics and routes questions about topics to the "experts" on them. He also tells us that the Google Talk team is small, and they'd love to see third parties write more stuff like that, since the developer community at large has many more ideas about cool stuff than they do!

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