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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 23 declined, 3 accepted (26 total, 11.54% accepted)

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Submission + - HTML5 storage bug exploitable in Chromium, Safari, Opera, and MSIE. (

Dystopian Rebel writes: A Stanford U comp-sci student has found a serious bug in Chromium, Safari, Opera, and MSIE. Feross Aboukhadijeh has demonstrated (safe link: that these browsers allow unbounded local storage. Aboukhadijeh has logged the bug with Chromium ( and Apple but couldn't do so for MSIE because "the page is broken" (see Oops.

Firefox's implementation of HTML5 local storage is not vulnerable to this exploit.


Submission + - Software developer says OS X in a state of "rot" ( 1

Dystopian Rebel writes: MPG author and software developer Lloyd Chambers has published his frustrations about Apple OS X, which he says is in a state of "rot" because of serious file-management bugs and Apple's focus on superficial features. He isn't alone in his frustration, to judge from comments that his post has received.

The iPhone and iPad are where the money is for Apple now, but is Apple ignoring quality in the OS that saved the company?


Submission + - Intel to use soldered CPUs; end of PC building? (

Dystopian Rebel writes: ZDNET reported that Intel will sell the next-generation Broadwell CPUs as a ball grid array (BGA) rather than an land grid array (LGA) package. In short, Broadwell CPUs will be soldered onto the circuit board. The article mentions that Apple now has RAM soldered onto the mainboard of some PC products. Is this the end of hobbyist PC building and upgrading? Will AMD find new support from hobbyists and OEM builders?

Submission + - Gates Foundation buys $23m of Monsanto shares

Dystopian Rebel writes: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has purchased 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock worth more than $23m US, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission from August 2010.

As reported by the Real Food blog, the significant investment by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in agribusiness giant Monsanto has been criticized by experts and activists who are concerned in particular about the impact of Monsanto's technology and the company's treatment of small-scale farmers in Africa.

Dr. Phil Bereano, University of Washington Professor Emeritus and recognized expert on genetic engineering, condemned the investment as an "enormous conflict of interest". "Monsanto has a history of blatant disregard for the interests and well-being of small farmers around the world, as well as an appalling environmental track record," he said in a press release. The investment, says Bereano, casts serious doubt "on the Foundation's heavy funding of agricultural development in Africa and purported goal of alleviating poverty and hunger among small-scale farmers."

As an example of Monsanto's destructive behaviour, the press release mentions that Monsanto gave free maize seeds to small-scale farmers. When the seeds failed to produce and the rate of crop failure reached 80%, Monsanto compensated large farming operations that purchased the seeds, but did nothing for the small-scale farmers.

"When the economic power of Gates is coupled with the irresponsibility of Monsanto, the outlook for African smallholders is not very promising," said Mariam Mayet, environmental attorney and director of the Africa Centre for Biosafety in Johannesburg. "Monsanto's aggressive patenting practices have also monopolized control over seed in ways that deny farmers control over their own harvest, going so far as to sue and bankrupt farmers for patent infringement."

Submission + - MPAA admits overstating downloading on campuses (

Dystopian Rebel writes: The NY Times news blog reports that the MPAA has admitted that it overstated ("overblamed") the losses that the US movie industry has suffered because of downloading by students on campus.

The MPAA said a "human error" (oh, those pesky humans) exaggerated the losses incurred by the movie industry by a factor of three. The previous estimate was that students accounted for 44% of the US movie industry's losses. The new estimate is that piracy on campus accounts for 15% of the industry's losses.

Of course, the loss in profit from popcorn sales is still quite large.


Submission + - Oprah's Web offer causes Food-Swarm in Meatspace

Dystopian Rebel writes: Talk-show personality Oprah Winfrey promoted a free-meal gimmick for KFC (warning: moronic advertising) last week: download a coupon from Oprah's site and get a free (as in chicken) meal from the beloved Colonel himself (or logo thereof).

Trouble ensued when a large number of hungry Oprah acolytes began downloading the coupon. A time limit for the availability of the download was not enough to prevent a food-swarming in meatspace. As noted by the Sunday Herald (Scotland), Web developers responsible for the Oprah-KFC snackfest had done nothing to uniquely identify the coupons and track the identification numbers. Some people who had obtained the coupon were photocopying it so they could plan their meals for the rest of the week. Beseiged KFC locations soon ran out of food amid cries from hungry, angry, coupon-waving crowds.

If only the poor and hungry had private jets of their own, they could fly to another fast-food joint.

Submission + - Yahoo announces the closure of Briefcase service (

Dystopian Rebel writes: Just when people are talking about storing their data in "the cloud", Yahoo has announced the closure of its "Briefcase" online storage service as of March 30, 2009.

The explanation offered by Yahoo: "(...) in a Web 2.0 world where Yahoo! Mail has unlimited storage and Flickr offers media sharing, users and services have outgrown what the Yahoo! Briefcase service can provide."

Yahoo Briefcase has been around for many years but only offered 30 MB of storage, which once upon a time was an adequate amount but is much too small for storing pictures, music, or MS Excel spreadsheets bloated with pivot tables. Could Briefcase have become a contender if the service had provided more space to its users? What reliable alternatives are available?


Submission + - RMS: 'Microsoft Windows is like tobacco addiction'

Dystopian Rebel writes: In explaining the many reasons why he withdrew his support from the OLPC project, Richard M Stallman writes in the Boston Review that "teaching children to use Windows is like teaching them to smoke tobacco."

A free program "develops democratically", says RMS, "whereas a non-free program subjects users to the developer's power." In RMS's opinion, developers tend to "abuse their power, even to the point of installing malicious features."

"What makes OLPC's retreat from free software so unfortunate is that the 'free' refers to freedom of knowledge and action, not to price," writes the founder of the Free Software Foundation .

Submission + - Apple Did Not Disclose Knowledge Of Job's Cancer

Dystopian Rebel writes: According to CNN Money, Apple's Directors knew that Steve Jobs had pancreatic cancer 9 months before he had surgery but chose not to disclose the information.

Jobs "explored alternative treatments" and for some time considered not having the surgery at all. The surgery was eventually performed in July 2004.

Given the crucial role that Jobs plays at Apple, the question of fiduciary responsibility is discussed. Apple's Board does now have a "back-up plan" for succession, says the article.

Multi-page format, unfortunately.

Submission + - Microsoft Begins War To Conquer Yahoo

Dystopian Rebel writes: As previously reported, Yahoo rejected Microsoft's $31/share buy-out offer. In the offer, Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer had warned Yahoo that "Microsoft reserves the right to pursue all necessary steps to ensure that Yahoo!'s shareholders are provided with the opportunity to realize the value inherent in our proposal."

According to this report, the war has begun. Two pension funds are suing Yahoo and its board for rejecting the hostile takeover. Microsoft has hired a proxy solicitation group to help ensure that all 10 members of Yahoo's board are not re-elected this year.

The plaintiffs in the suit are arguing that Yahoo's board has placed "personal distaste for Microsoft" before the best interests of shareholders. "Yahoo's directors cannot 'just say no' indefinitely to legitimate acquisition offers," says the suit. "Yahoo's directors cannot pursue transactions that do not require shareholder approval for the primary purpose of making Yahoo unattractive to Microsoft."
Operating Systems

Submission + - OS X filesystem "utter crap", says Torvald

Dystopian Rebel writes: It's been reported that Linus Torvalds, speaking to Linuxdom in Australia at the conference (neat logo!), was asked to offer his opinion on MS Windows and Apple OS X.

Torvalds criticized the architecture of MS Windows and said that OS X is the better OS but that its filesystem is "complete and utter crap, which is scary."

"An OS should never have been something that people (in general) really care about," said Torvalds. "It should be completely invisible and nobody should give a [airborne expletive deleted] about it except the technical people."

(In this alternate world, there are no marketing departments and Steve Jobs took the stage at MacWorld to announce a better Finder. The crowd went wild.)

Here's an abridged transcript of the interview. (Single-page version.)

Submission + - IBM, U of Florida Healthcare Project Helps FOSS

Dystopian Rebel writes: It's been reported here ( iversity-of-florida-team.html) and here ( html?articleID=201200769) that IBM has been working on an interesting health-care project with the U of Florida.

Networked "smart" devices in the project can report a patient's readings from home to a doctor or other "healthcare professional", sparing the patient the need to make an appointment and read old magazines while waiting. Configuring the devices is supposed to be simple — and Grandpa says it had better be!

Big Blue has given some of the components from the project to the Open Health Care Framework of the Eclipse Foundation. (

There's a video about the project:

Most Whimsical Citation goes to Bob Sutor, VP of standards and open source at IBM, who said: "What's the ultimate legacy system for us? The human body."

Yikes! Watch where you put that USB connector!

Submission + - Researchers Validate The Wiggle.

Dystopian Rebel writes: A very convenient truth. The Beeb (don't say venerable) reports that a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences represents the strongest support yet from the scientific community for the hitherto scientifically-unsubstantiated observation that Wiggling Chicks Are Hot and Swaggering Guys Are Cool.

Or, in Researchese, "the compatibility of these basic precepts [e.g. she's in shape and she struts] predicts perceived attractiveness."

It is unknown at this time if the researchers will follow this paper with a study of the arousing effect of bikinis, cosmetics, and Slow Motion.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - What's the biggest turn-off for you, the geek?

Dystopian Rebel writes: new person smokes new person watches TeeVee new person is biased against Flying Spaghetti Monster new person will not bring Cheetos while I am gaming new person says "LOL" in conversation new person says my binary clock is "weird" new person has dated Cowboy Neal I take what I can get, but the Cheetos thing gives pause

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