Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Submission + - Craigslist sent Cease and Desist to PadMapper (

Autumnmist writes: Craigslist has sent a Cease and Desist to PadMapper, a site that does a mashup of Craigslist (as well as, apartment listings and Google Maps. Craigslist is great, but apartment hunting through Craigslist has always been a needle in a haystack proposition, because all apartments for an entire city area are shown in a giant list. PadMapper made Craigslist better by locating each listing on a Google Map of the area.

From PadMapper:
I recently received a Cease and Desist letter from Craigslist, and wasn’t able to get a meeting or convince Craigslist’s lawyer that PadMapper was beneficial to Craigslist and apartment hunters in general. They allow mobile apps to display their listings if you buy a license from them, but not websites.

Comment Re:A sad day (Score 1) 294

You missed the context of that quotation. Myriad's patent gives it the "exclusive right to perform diagnostic tests on the genes" because the patent covers, among other things, the "normal" sequence of the genes! The patent also covers the fact that mutations in the gene greatly increase the risk of developing cancer.

No one else can offer an alternative test because... well, how can you test someone for a disease-causing mutation without comparing their sequence to the "normal" sequence? (Hint: You can't!) How can you test someone for a disease-causing mutation in a gene when the fact that mutations in the gene cause disease is patented? You can't!

Comment Re:I don't understand it. (Score 2, Informative) 294

Nope you are both wrong. This *IS* about the gene itself. The patent is extremely broad and covers such things as:

1) the "normal" sequence of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes
2) the fact that various mutations in those genes are associated with breast cancer

Researchers/doctors are unable to offer alternative tests because offering a test requires being able to compare a patient's sequence with the (patented) "normal" sequence. But Myriad refuses to allow this, so even scientists doing basic research can't sequence their subject's BRCA1/2 genes!!!

Since Myriad Genetics even owns a patent on the "fact" that certain mutations are associated with disease, researchers/doctors aren't even allowed to interpret the results for their patients because doing so would utilized the patented fact that the patient's mutation is associated with breast cancer.

Read the article and/or complaint filed. This lawsuit has been a LONG time coming.

YEs it IS that ridiculous. The patent office was dumb/ignorant when they awarded the patents and it's about time this mistake was challenged.

Comment Re:Procedures (Score 1) 294

You're wrong. If you read the article or the complaint or the ACLU writeup or any of the scientific commentary, you'd see that the patent is in fact on the actual SEQUENCE of the gene(s)! This makes it impossible for anyone to do something like, for example, develop an alternative test because it's impossible to offer an alternative test when the "normal" sequence is patented.

In this particular case, Myriad Genetics even owns a patent on the "fact" that certain mutations are associated with disease, such that researchers/doctors aren't even allowed to interpret the results for their patients because doing so would utilized the patented fact that the patient's mutation is associated with breast cancer.

That's why this lawsuit has been a long time coming. Good luck to ACLU/PUBPAT/etc.

Comment DevonThink on a Mac (Score 2, Insightful) 211

If your professor uses a Mac, consider Devonthink by DevonTechnologies.

For searching, the software has an artificial intelligence system, keywords, meta data. It can store PDFs, word docs, emails, notes. It can be integrated with a scanner so you can scan and store documents in the database. It's got OCR built in...

I have DevonThink (personal edition, not Pro/Office) and I don't even use 1/10 of the power built into this system. You should check out some of the reviews online and videos of people using DevonThink.


Submission + - Apple cracks down on the Hymn Project ( 2

An anonymous reader writes: Ever since the initial launch of the iTunes Music Store, an intrepid group of programmers over at the Hymn Project have engaged in a marvelous cat-and-mouse game with Apple. Now they're finally being hobbled by Apple's lawyers.

The purpose of the project has always been to provide software that can be used to losslessly remove Digital Rights Management (DRM) protection from music purchased through iTunes, so that the buyer may exercise their right of fair use and play the music on non-Apple devices (Hear Your Music aNywhere).

The software has gone through many incarnations. The original hymn has been succeeded by JHymn, QTFairUse6, MyFairTunes, and others. Regardless of the program, the emphasis has always been squarely on fair use — not piracy. Any discussions of piracy have been strongly and actively discouraged on the site's forums.

For years now, Apple has been content to mostly ignore the Hymn Project. At worst, they would introduce subtle changes to new versions of iTunes that would break the Hymn software. Nobody really knows if this was done intentionally, but it was usually just a matter of time before a new solution was found. This seemed like a reasonable approach for Apple to take. After all, why should they care? The DRM was only in place to placate the record companies. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has even expressed his opinion that all music should be free of DRM.

Well, now things have changed. Recently, a new program called Requiem was announced that appears to be a complete crack of the iTunes DRM scheme. Previous programs had relied on various forms of trickery or memory hooks to access the unencrypted audio data — none had ever completely cracked the encryption algorithms.

Requiem seems to have been the last straw. Earlier this week, the ISP hosting the site received a Cease and Desist order from Apple Legal, demanding that all downloads be removed from the site, and that the site post no links to any programs that could remove DRM from Apple music or video. Reportedly, similar C & D orders were also sent to at least one of the project's developers, and to another ISP where Reqiuem had been hosted. Ironically, Requiem was never actually hosted on the Hymn site — merely mentioned and linked to in one of the forums. Nevertheless, the Hymn Project has now come into the crosshairs of Apple's lawyers and, lacking legal resources, has seen no choice but to comply with the order.

PC Games (Games)

Submission + - 2006 Independent Game of the Year

cyrus_zuo writes: "Creating off-beat, original, and carefully crafted games is the heritage of Independent Game developers, and the Top 10 Independent Games of 2006 does its ancestry proud. Each of the 10 games selected this year is a winner in its own right, an undiscovered gem just waiting to be found. So dim the lights and warm up your modem, as Game Tunnel presents The Top 10 Independent Games of 2006."

Submission + - Printers that don't use toner level chips?

xymog writes: "I'm increasingly seeing people with printers that stop working and provide a "toner out" message, even though the end user swears they are using a new cartridge. Though they are not using Lexmark printers, I am pretty sure they are using a printer and cartridge combination that uses so-called toner level chips. These are discussed in'l_v._Stat ic_Control_Components. The chips allow manufacturers to lock users into using their cartridges, rather than using OEM or toner refill programs. Good for the manufacturer, bad for consumers and consumer choice. In my bumbling way I've tried locating more information, or even a list, of personal or small workgroup printers that use these manufacturer lock-in techniques, but wasn't able to find such a list. Any Slashdot readers have anecdotal suggestions or even a pretty-darn-sure list I could refer to?"

Submission + - A new software license: The Butterfly Clause

An anonymous reader writes: I've read about the Butterfly Clause in this Spanish newspaper. This new license can be used in addition to any existing one and simply prevents the use of our software for genocides or other kinds of aggressions against humanity. I know that GPL grants full freedom to any user for any kind of use, but.. should that freedom include the extermination of the actual programmer ? What do you all think about that ?

Submission + - What's up with BSG on iTunes?

fiannaFailMan writes: Why is it taking so long for Battlestar Galactica episodes to appear available for download on iTunes? And whenever they do, why won't it play properly on my Mac in full-screen mode? It's so choppy it's unwatchable. I see that the iTMS is being flooded with complaints of this nature, so I know I'm not the only one affected. Are you?

Battlestar Galactica DVD Movie In the Works? 202

Philias writes "Although Battlestar Galactica has been going down in ratings and has yet to get picked up for another season, the sales of its DVDs has got Universal thinking of a Direct-To-Video Movie. is reporting that plans are afoot for a film that will bridge the gap between Galactica and the new spinoff 'Caprica.' The film would be shot in March during the usual hiatus between seasons. The big difference between this and the mini-series and other seasons would be that this would be sold on DVD before being aired on the SciFi channel."

Slashdot Top Deals

Whom the gods would destroy, they first teach BASIC.