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Social Networks

Eben Moglen Calls To Free the Cloud 173

paxcoder writes "You have been informed about Diaspora, a (to-be) distributed free social network. What you may not have known is that it was inspired by an excellent talk by Eben Moglen called 'Freedom in the Cloud.' But it doesn't stop there. At Debconf 10 this month, Moglen went further, and shared his vision of a free, private, and secure Net architecture relying on ('for lack of a better term') freedom boxes — low-price, ultra-small, plug it into the wall personal servers. He believes they will catch on since they will eventually cost less than a router, provide more functionality and freedom to the user, and even help your friends bypass any censorship by encrypting and routing their traffic. Since hardware is being taken care of, we are called to assemble the software stack. The title of this sequel talk is How We Can Be the Silver Lining of the Cloud."

POWER7 To Ship In First Half of 2010 73

BBCWatcher writes "In CPU news, IBM says that its POWER7 servers will start shipping in the first half of 2010, on schedule or perhaps even a few months early if you believe Wikipedia. Moreover, upgrades from a wide variety of POWER6 models will be mere CPU swaps, with the upgraded servers keeping their same serial numbers. (Bean counters like that.) POWER7 sports up to 8 cores per die, 4 threads per core, a clock speed a Hertz or two above 4 GHz, 45 nm process manufacturing, on-chip DDR3, and up to 1,000 micropartitions per machine. IBM claims that POWER7 will offer about 256 Gflops per die and two to three times the performance per watt as POWER6. IBM wants to keep taking orders now for its POWER6 gear (duh), so its sales reps are allegedly ready and eager to deal on 6-cum-7 packages. And it looks like that cunning plan could work rather well given Sun's Rock CPU cancellation and HP's delay of Tukwila Itanium to 2010. (Is anybody still in the server CPU race except IBM, Intel, and maybe AMD?) In 2006, POWER7 won the contest for a DARPA supercomputing R&D grant of $244 million, so you could say that each US citizen is in for about a dollar already."

Hospital Confirms Steve Jobs's Liver Transplant 402

CNet is reporting that the hospital where Apple's CEO reportedly got a liver transplant two months ago has now confirmed the truth of these reports. "Steve Jobs underwent his liver transplant about two months ago at Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, the hospital confirmed Tuesday. Jobs, who returned to work Apple's campus in Cupertino, Calif., on Monday after a six-month medical leave, 'is now recovering well and has an excellent prognosis,' according to a statement by Dr. James D. Eason, the program director of the Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute. ... While Eason said the confirmation was being provided with Jobs's approval, he cited patient confidentially in saying that he could not reveal any further information on the specifics of Jobs's surgery."

Boingo Awarded a Patent For Hotspot Access 105

Boingo has scored a patent for accessing a Wi-Fi hotspot by a mobile device. The patent, no. 7,483,984, was issued in January, but Boingo only started talking about it recently. The patent application was filed in December 2002. According to the company, the methods covered by the patent include: "...accessing wireless carrier networks by mobile computing devices, where a client software application hosted by the device accesses carrier networks using wireless access points. For example, when a computer — or netbook, smartphone or any other Wi-Fi-enabled device — is in a location where there are multiple signals, the patented technology looks at each signal and alerts the user which signal will work, showing the signal as an understandable name and ID for the user.The patent covers all wireless technologies and spectrums, as well as any mobile device that access wireless hotspots." The company is not saying anything about whether or how they will attempt to wield this patent.
Hardware Hacking

GPL Firmware For Canon 5D Mk II Adds Features For Filmmakers 117

tramm writes "I've released an extension for the Canon 5D Mark II DSLR's video mode to enable functions that are useful for independent film makers. While the camera produces a great movie out of the box, the audio is a severely limited. My code adds features that should have been in the software, like on-screen stereo audio meters, live audio monitoring, reduced audio noise and crop marks for different formats. An introductory video shows the new features in use and an audio evaluation compares it to the stock firmware with very good results. It's similar to the incredibly flexible CHDK software for Canon's point-and-shoot cameras, but targeted at the film makers using the 5D. The Magic Lantern firmware is GPLed and new features will be written to make the camera even more useful on set. There is a wiki for documentation and development."

An Experiment In BlackBerry Development 207

ballwall writes "We've all read the stories about how lucrative selling apps on the iPhone can be (or not), but what about other platforms? BlackBerry accounts for twice as many handsets shipped as Apple, according to Gartner, so I decided to find out. I wrote about my experiences developing my first BlackBerry application including sales, platform issues, and a bunch of other things I thought new mobile developers might want to know about."

Wind Could Provide 100% of World Energy Needs 867

Damien1972 sends in a report on a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, which finds that wind power could provide for the entire world's current and future energy needs. "To estimate the earth's capacity for wind power, the researchers first sectioned the globe into areas of approximately 3,300 square kilometers (2,050 square miles) and surveyed local wind speeds every six hours. They imagined 2.5 megawatt turbines crisscrossing the terrestrial globe, excluding 'areas classified as forested, areas occupied by permanent snow or ice, areas covered by water, and areas identified as either developed or urban,' according to the paper. They also included the possibility of 3.6 megawatt offshore wind turbines, but restricted them to 50 nautical miles off the coast and to oceans depths less than 200 meters. Using [these] criteria the researchers found that wind energy could not only supply all of the world's energy requirements, but it could provide over forty times the world's current electrical consumption and over five times the global use of total energy needs."

AMD's Hybrid Graphics Unveiled, Tested 90

ThinSkin writes "The combination of AMD's ATI graphics division and AMD's CPU division means that AMD often fights a two-front war, directly competing against Intel in the CPU business as well as Nvidia in graphics. AMD's Hybrid Graphics technology allows them to fight against both companies at the same time. Inserting an additional card works the same as CrossFire, which, like Nvidia's SLI, was only capable by having two discrete graphics cards installed on a motherboard. ExtremeTech has put the 780G chipset through a series of gaming and synthetic benchmarks to see just how beneficial this technology is. HotHardware has a similar rundown on the technology. The results indicate that Hybrid Graphics aren't yet ideal for the power-hungry gamer, as driver revisions need to be ironed out at this early stage, but performance looks promising."

Don't Double Dip That Chip 2

A study by some Clemson University undergrads has shown that putting a food item in your mouth and then putting that item into a bowl of dip, causes that dip to have more bacteria than normal. Transfering 50-100 bacteria between mouths with every dip to be precise. Amazing. The results of their, "running downstairs with scissors in your mouth" study have been inconclusive.

Submission + - Micro Channel Architecture runs NetBSD (

Intron writes: According to the mailing list NetBSD has succeeded in porting to an IBM RS/6000 Micro Channel PowerPC system. This is the holy grail of hobbyists with an old G30 in their garage. Other porting attempts have been defeated by the lack of documentation on booting and the system internals, but BSD prevailed. Only a limited number of different models are supported, but there are enough people with old hardware who might like to try it out.

Submission + - MS bundles broken random number tool in Vista SP1 (

DeeQ writes: Microsoft plans to bundle a cryptographically flawed pseudo random number generator in its upcoming service pack for Windows Vista.

The cryptographically weak Dual_EC_DRBG approach, which is based on the mathematics of elliptic curves, was one of four "deterministic random bit generators", approved by the NIST in March.

Flaws in the approach (Dual_EC_DRBG) first emerged in August at the Crypto 2007 conference when cryptographers Dan Shumow and Niels Ferguson demonstrated that two constants in the standard used to define the algorithm's elliptic curve have a relationship with a second, secret set of numbers.

Anyone who had access to the second set of numbers would have a kind of skeleton key able to unlock any instance of Dual_EC_DRBG. Suspicions that this weakness might be used as a backdoor have been fueled by the NSA's support of Dual_EC_DRBG in the standards-setting process.

Random number generators are important because the correct operation of SSL and other protocols relies on their randomness.Crypto guru Bruce Schneier, who previously described the weakness as a backdoor, notes that the Dual_EC_DRBG approach will be implemented in Windows Vista SP1.


Submission + - Tech giants form chip group (

BosstonesOwn writes: Seven of the world's leading chip makers are collaborating on chips which contain transistors with features just 32 billionths of a metre wide.

IBM, Toshiba, AMD, Samsung, Chartered, Infineon and Freescale have formed the alliance to cut development costs.

Looks Like AMD found a way to retool to get back into the processor race with Intel.


Submission + - The Next Solar Cycle May Have Begun (

Josh Fink writes: "As many of us know, the sun usually works on an 11 year cycle for extreme solar storms and flares. The last time that this cycle peaked was in 2001 and 2002. However, on December 11th, scientists began to observe a "modest knot of magnetism," and are saying this might be the signal for increased activity from our local star. From the article: 'This patch of magnetism could be a sign of the next solar cycle," said solar physicist David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center. 'Solar minimum is upon us.'....Though forecasts vary wildly, some scientists predict Solar Cycle 24 will be intense. If so, 'it could have significant impacts on telecommunications, air traffic, power grids and GPS systems,' according to the NASA statement."

Submission + - 3.2 Billion Lost To Phishing in 2007 (

mrneutron2003 writes: "Gartner's latest survey into the realm of phishing attacks paints a rather bleak picture for 2007, with a record estimated loss of $3.2 Billion (that's Billion, with a B) U.S. Dollars. Overall loss per incident fell (to $886 from $1,244 lost on average in 2006) but the numbers of individuals who fell victim rose quite sharply from 2.3 Million in 2006 to a staggering 3.6 Million. Though online portals Paypal and eBay remained the most spoofed brands, it appears phishers are getting more creative utilizing fake electronic greetings cards, foreign businesses, and charitable organizations in their attacks on consumers. Furthermore these criminals are increasingly targeting debit card and banking credentials rather than credit cards, because the fraud protection mechanisms there are far weaker, according to a study done at The University of California at Berkeley."

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