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Journal Journal: Steve Jobs confirms iPhone "kill switch" security feature

Will from Into Mobile recently reported that the iPhone essentially has a built in "kill switch" that allows Apple to uninstall any application installed on the the iPhone. The Wall Street Journal reported today that Steve Jobs himself has confirmed the "kill switch" built into the iPhone.

Apple raised hackles in computer-privacy and security circles when an independent engineer discovered code inside the iPhone that suggested iPhones routinely check an Apple Web site that could, in theory trigger the removal of the undesirable software from the devices. Mr. Jobs confirmed such a capability exists, but argued that Apple needs it in case it inadvertently allows a malicious program -- one that stole users' personal data, for example -- to be distributed to iPhones through the App Store. "Hopefully we never have to pull that lever, but we would be irresponsible not to have a lever like that to pull," he says.

Is this a necessary security feature, or just Jobs' way of keeping even more control over the iPhone?


Journal Journal: Free Vista

It appears that instructions have been posted on the Desi-Tek forums for how to get a copy of Windows Vista, free of charge.
United States

Journal Journal: Military plans to aquire fossil bed for training purposes

The Denver Post is reporting that the Picket Wire Canyonlands of Southeast Colorado are being targeted by nearby Fort Carson as a possible place for military training grounds. Picket Wire is well known for it's abundance of fossils, links to the past that could be lost forever if not properly handled after being found. The chances of thousands of years of history being lost are too great to give the military control over this region. In John S. Wilkins' commentary on the article he provides information on what has happened before when the military has been given control of a region rich with fossils, as he quotes Adrienne Mayor of the Dino-L list.

Badlands National Monument was established in 1939, outside of the reservation boundary. During World War II, the US Air Force took over more than 300,000 acres of land from the reservation, land that contains abundant remains of Titanotherium and other large vertebrate fossils. Beginning in 1942 and continuing until 1968, the Stronghold area was used as a huge aerial bombing range by the Air Force. Old wrecked cars were collected and painted bright yellow, then scattered throughout this badlands area as targets for the bombers. The Air Force also used plows to create gigantic bulls-eye targets, 250 feet across, carved into the prairie mesas.

Mr. Wilkin's also provides a number for the Ft. Carson Colorado Commanding General's Hotline for anyone wishing to complain, which is: (719) 526-2677.

Data Storage

Journal Journal: 50 terabyte flash drive made of bug protein

A prototype USB drive using bug protein to store data in the neighborhood of around 50 terabytes worth of data could be here in less then 18 months. This idea first started out by coating DVDs with a layer of protein so that one day solid state memory could hold so much information that storing data on your computer hard drive will be obsolete, says Professor V Renugopalakrishnan of the Harvard Medical School in Boston while reporting on his findings at the International Conference on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in Brisbane this week.

The whole story is available here. This brings up an interesting question. With USB ports getting faster and faster, and the storage space of small portable storage devices getting bigger and bigger, will the hard drive ever be phased out for personal use?

It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal Journal: for sale

That's right, the original home of that infamous hello.jpg that almost every slashdot user by this time has had the misfortune of seeing is currently up for auction. At the time of this writing the minimum bid is only $460, so step up and get yourself a piece of internet history. Is the original site for anyone who doesn't know, and the site to bid at is

Journal Journal: Help Find Jim Gray

As was reported on slashdot January 30th, computer scientist Jim Gray went missing at sea. As of February 1st the coast guard has given up on looking for him. However Amazon has stepped in to try to help.

Through a major effort by many people we were able to have the Digital Globe satellite make a run over the area on Thursday morning and have the data made available publicly. We have split these images into smaller tiles that can be easily scanned visually and stored into the Amazon S3 storage service. We then created tasks for reviewing these images and loaded then into the Amazon Mechanical Turk Service.

If you would like to help in finding Mr. Gray then please visit this site and go through a few images.


Journal Journal: First pirated HD DVD movie hits BitTorrent 537

Ars Technica reports that the first HD DVD movie has made it's way onto BitTorrent, showing that current DRM efforts to prevent illegal sharing of copyrighted content are still futile and fighting an uphill battle. From the article:

The pirates of the world have fired another salvo in their ongoing war with copy protection schemes with the first release of the first full-resolution rip of an HD DVD movie on BitTorrent. The movie, Serenity, was made available as a .EVO file and is playable on most DVD playback software packages such as PowerDVD. The file was encoded in MPEG-4 VC-1 and the resulting file size was a hefty 19.6 GB.

The Almighty Buck

Journal Journal: Net Neutrality is just "Mumbo Jumbo" 362

It seems the National Cable & Telecommunications Association is spreading a blatant lie in the form of a commercial claiming that the net neutrality act will cost the consumer more and that it is "bad" for the consumer. This of course ignoring how much the cable companies will profit from the act not passing. For some truthful information on the net neutrality act check out
Operating Systems

Journal Journal: Best Linux?

Recently my old Dell inspirion 1100 just got too old and and decrepit to be of any real use, so I got a new computer. I'm interested in installing Linux on it, I have two separate 20Gb hard drives so I have one to experiment with as I'd like to keep the other as a backup. So I ask you, the slashdot community, this: What is the best distribution of Linux to "start out" with, and why?
The Almighty Buck

Journal Journal: Free VoIP, in and out.

With skype's recent change to allow free out-bound calls within the US and Canada, and gizmo allowing for the sign-up and use of a free (albeit with a credit card, but that doesn't need to be billed) service that creates a number for you for free in-bound calling, with the two tag-teamed it should allow completely free VoIP calling, in and out. Until the end of the year, of course.

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