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Music

Submission + - Canada's labels slam proposed digital 'tax' 2

canuck57 writes: Why do I not get a good feeling about this Reuters story?

A revolutionary plan that would effectively legitimize file-sharing here has been slammed as "a pipe dream" by Canadian labels.

The Songwriters Assn. of Canada proposes to allow domestic consumers access to all recorded music available online in return for adding a $5 Canadian ($4.96) monthly fee to every wireless and Internet account in the country.

The SAC claims that the proposal, which has been presented to labels' bodies the Canadian Record Industry Assn. (CRIA) and Canadian Independent Record Production Assn. as well as publishers' groups, would raise approximately $1 billion Canadian ($993 million) annually. Although the SAC does not detail how revenue would be collected and distributed, it says it would go to artists, labels and publishers.
iMac

Submission + - Is the Dell XPS One Better than the Apple iMac? (gizmodo.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: The Apple iMac is probably the standard all-in-one desktop computer. Great operating system, built-in software and design around solid, but pretty normal, hardware guts. According to Walter Mossberg, there's a new kid in town that not only matches it but is 'sightly ahead': the Dell XPS One. His latest review is already causing the usual suspects to weigh in. Mossberg says it is a better machine, but Vista and its built-in software make it inferior than Apple iMac's Leopard and iLife suite. Would you choose the better hardware of the Dell XPS One -which is more expensive- or the elegant design and software of the Apple iMac?
Linux Business

Submission + - Dell release Ubuntu 7.10-powered PCs (desktoplinux.com) 1

sjvn writes: "The official word will be out any minute now, but in the meantime DesktopLinux has learned that Dell will be releasing Ubuntu 7.10 (http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS7924076658.html) on a laptop and desktop with immediate availability. And, as an extra added bonus, they're tossing in legal DVD-playback capability. In a word: "Neat!""
Democrats

Submission + - Clinton campaigners busted for astroturfing (computerworld.com)

Ian Lamont writes: "The liberal blog Blue Hampshire has banned six users after determining that the users failed to disclose their affiliations with Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign. The scheme came to light after Blue Hampshire noticed that the users all registered from an IP address used by the Clinton campaign in order to recommend the post Winning the Policy Debate — Clinton over Obama. Blue Hampshire has banned the accounts in question and has threatened to do the same to 'undisclosed paid staffers of any campaign' who are 'gaming the system.' Clinton's campaign office told the blog that the astroturfing was the product of 'overeager staffers and volunteers.'"
Education

Submission + - OLPC XO Review (bioslevel.com) 1

BIOS_LEVEL writes: "The XO is the laptop produced by the One Laptop Per Child program (OLPC) headed by Mr. Nicholas Negroponte. The goal of OLPC is to provide every child a laptop which they can use to experience technology and the Internet. Through the Give One Get One program (G1G1), residents of North America are able donate $400 to the OLPC foundation, $200 of which finances a laptop for a child, and $200 of which pays for the cost of delivering one to the donor. Colin Dean was one of the first to participate in G1G1, and this is his review of it."
Social Networks

Submission + - Wikipedia COO was a Convicted Felon (theregister.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: The Register writes:

"For more than six months, beginning in January of this year, Wikipedia's million-dollar check book was balanced by a convicted felon. When Carolyn Bothwell Doran was hired as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Florida-based Wikimedia Foundation, she had a criminal record in three other states — Virginia, Maryland, and Texas — and she was still on parole for a DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol) hit and run that resulted in a fatality. Her record also included convictions for passing bad checks, theft, petty larceny, additional DUIs, and unlawfully wounding her boyfriend with a gun shot to the chest."

Cellphones

Submission + - An $85,000 cellphone bill (www.cbc.ca)

Joe Rayment writes: A Canadian man received an $85,000 cellphone bill, CBC.ca reports.

Piotr Staniaszek was using his phone to connect his computer to the Internet. He says he received a $65,000 bill for November and when he called Bell Mobility, his carrier, he was informed it had risen another $20,000 from downloads he made in December.

Bell has since lowered the bill to $5000 as "a measure of goodwill." Staniaszek is disputing the amount on the grounds that the company let him rack up such high fees without informing him.

While this is an extreme case, it draws attention to Canada's mobile carriers outrageous data rates — which remain the biggest hurdle to a Canadian rollout of the iPhone. Currently, to operate an iPhone in Canada could cost more than $300/month.

The rates are kept artificially high by Canada's three major wireless providers, who face little competition and hence have little incentive to lower their prices.

Sci-Fi

Submission + - Moore's Law, Deep Thought and 42 3

Stephen Gwyn writes: "So in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" it took the supercomputer "Deep Thought" 7.5 million years to come up with the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything right? The answer was 42 as we now know. But supposing the computational philosophers had been just a bit more clever. Suppose they actually wanted a run-time of 1 year instead of 7.5e6 years. Since, according to Moore's law, computational speed doubles every 18 months they should have just waited until computers were 7.5e6 times faster. 7.5e6 is roughly 2**23 (or 2^23,depending on your notation) so we have 23 times 18 months which is about 35 years. Add one year for the actual run time, and you have 36 years in all, which is much less than 7.5 million. Wait a little bit longer, and you can run it on your laptop as "iLife, the iUniverse and iEverything" application. Probably as a screen saver.

There is a paper written by some astronomers ("The Effects of Moore's Law and Slacking on Large Computations") which tells you exactly how long to wait to buy your computer when faced with a long runtime."
The Internet

Submission + - Are tiny url services defeating Web architecture?

Indus Khaitan writes: "Thanks to twitter, SMS, and mobile web, a lot of people are using the url minimizers like tinyurl.com, urltea.com. However, now I see a lot of people using it on their regular webpages. This could be a big problem if billions of different links are unreachable at a given time. What if a service starts sending a pop-up ad along with the redirect. What if the masked target links to a page with an exploit instead of linking to the new photos of Jessica Alba. Are services like tinyurl, urltea etc. taking the WWW towards a single point of failure? Is it a huge step backward? Or I'm just crying wolf here?"
Privacy

Submission + - Mixed news on Wiretapping from 9th Circuit USCoA

abb3w writes: The bad news: the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that the Al-Haramain lawyers may not submit into evidence their recollections of the top secret document handed to them detailing the warrantless electronic scrutiny they received. "Once properly invoked and judicially blessed, the state secrets privilege is not a half-way proposition." The good news: they have declined to answer and directed the lower court to consider whether "FISA preempts the common law state secrets privilege" with respect to the underlying nature of the program itself... which also keeps alive hopes for the EFF and ACLU to make those responsible answer for their actions.

Coverage at CNET, the NYTimes, and elsewhere; PDF of ruling here.
Music

Submission + - World's Biggest Pirate Music Site Shutdown (breitbart.com)

Mike writes: "The world's largest pre-release pirate site "OiNK" was shutdown in a raid on Tuesday according to British and Dutch police. Interpol-coordinated raids followed a two-year investigation by the British Phonographic Industry and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry bodies. "This was not a case of friends sharing music for pleasure. This was a worldwide network that got hold of music they did not own the rights to and posted it online", said Jeremy Banks, head of the IFPI's Internet anti-piracy unit."
Announcements

Submission + - Nobel Prize for Physics for hard-drive technology (bbc.co.uk)

Ckwop writes: "The Nobel Prize for Physics this year has gone to German and French physicists, Peter Grunberg and Albert Fert, who discovered giant magnetoresistance.

The research lead to applications in various devices but most notably hard-disks. From the article:

A computer hard-disk reader that uses a GMR sensor is equivalent to a jet flying at a speed of 30,000 kmph, at a height of just one metre above the ground, and yet being able to see and catalogue every single blade of grass it passes over.
"

Software

Submission + - OpenOffice.org 3.0 Wants to Compete with Outlook

jason writes: At the OpenOffice.org 2007 conference about a month ago there was a presentation on what to expect in the next major milestone for their Microsoft Office competitor. "The presentation mentions bundling Thunderbird with their Office Suite, and refers to it as an 'Outlook replacement.' This is all assuming that Thunderbird recently losing two of it's main developers doesn't affect the decision, because I'm sure OpenOffice wants to ensure that Thunderbird will continue to progress before including it." This probably won't sway large corporations away from using Microsoft Office, but it could make it more intriguing for the smaller businesses that are looking to cut some costs.
Education

Submission + - Schools Placing at 99th Percentile for Cheating 3

theodp writes: "Time reports that sometimes No-Child-Left-Behind really means No-Test-Scores-Left-Behind, creating opportunities for data forensics firms like Caveon (check out their Ten Most Wanted Cheaters poster). Take Houston's Forest Brook H.S., which was a shining example of school reform. In 2005, after years of rock-bottom test scores, 95% of its 11th graders passed the state science test. Teachers were praised and the school was awarded a $165,000 grant by the governor. But an investigation found a host of irregularities and last year's testing was monitored by an outside agency. Test scores plunged and only 39% passed science."

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