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Submission + - First quantum computer demoed, plays sudoku

prostoalex writes: "Canadian company D-Wave Systems is getting some technology press buzz after successfully demonstrating their quantum computer that the company plans to rent out. Scientific American has more of technical description of how the quantum computer works as well as possible areas of application: "The quantum computer was given three problems to solve: searching for molecular structures that match a target molecule, creating a complicated seating plan, and filling in Sudoku puzzles." There are also some videos from the demo."

Submission + - Substitute teacher gets 40 years for porn popups

alphamugwump writes: Substitute teacher Julie Amero faces up to 40 years in prison for exposing kids to porn using a classroom computer.
From the Arstechnica article:

Amero was substituting for a middle-school English class and asked the regular teacher permission to use the computer to e-mail her husband. The teacher granted her permission, and asked her not to log him out of the computer. Amero, the self-professed techno-noob, then left the room to use the restroom, and upon her return says that she found several students gathered around the machine looking at a web site. A series of unfortunate events occurred from this point on, resulting in a slew of pornographic pop-ups appearing on the screen. The onslaught continued despite Amero's attempts to close the windows.

According to The Register

When the students told their parents what had happened, they told the administration, who vowed that Julie would never work in the classroom again. But they went further. The 40-year-old substitute teacher was arrested, indicted, tried and here is the kicker on January 5, 2007, she was convicted of four counts of risk of injury to a minor, or impairing the morals of a child (Conn. Gen. Stat. 53-21). Indeed, she was originally charged with exposing 10 children in the seventh grade class to the materials on the internet, but six of the charges were dropped.

I guess "Ambush Porn" really is dangerous.

Submission + - Microsoft Bans Mobile Device Hackers

An anonymous reader writes: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2 94142
For years and years, xda-developers has offered access to a collection of ROM images for 'our' phones. These images, often released by mobile carriers or device resellers, contained a version of the Microsoft Windows Mobile OS (or one of its predecessors) as well as customization added by one or more OEMs in the chain.
Offering these ROMs has been an invaluable resource to many developers and enthousiasts. Every once in a while someone uploaded an image that was not supposed to be released yet, but when Microsoft or someone else complained we immediately took it down. Recently Microsoft has begun to complain on a different level, asking us to remove _all_ the ROM images.
We've argued with them that although these ROM images contain Microsoft software, having them online in no way hurts Microsoft's interests because Microsoft gets its money whenever anyone buys a device with their OS on it, and they do not stand to make any more money until the next device is bought.
Quote:Originally Posted by xda-developers I read your last mail. From reading it seems like Microsoft would like us to remove _any and all_ ROM images that have MS software inside of them, even if they are operator ROM images for any of the phones that our community has ever been interested in. If this is indeed the case then I would like to plead with you and your firm to please reconsider this. Our unique collection of ROM images is an extremely valuable resource for developers and enthousiasts trying to make the most out of their HTC phones. As you may be aware the product development cycle in this field is such that by the time a phone hits the market the OEM is already spending 99.9% of its resources on other phones. At present, both HTC and the MS developer programs for handheld devices sadly seem to ignore key needs of third-party developers. This is much unlike a desktop OS which might find development well supported for as much as a decade, and where the OEM doesn't add much custom stuff to the OS. Our community has played a key role in supporting the development of much software and many tools for these devices, thus in turn helping to sell many phones and thus many Windows Mobile licenses. IMHO the practical value of these ROM images for any meaningful infringement is virtually nil, since only a technically adept minority of users can use these images on hardware that has already had its Windows Mobile license fee paid. I fear that us taking these images offline would lead to sadness amongst the developer community, less development/enthousiasm for these devices and really not much else. As a side note we have in the past taken offline all images that contained 'test-versions' and/or unreleased copies of the OS or anything else that was a particular bother to MS, and we will continue to do so. I am a technical person and as such I do not have any legal training. But I suspect that from a legal standpoint you are probably fully within your right to demand that we remove _all_ the images. Nevertheless I hope the above will give you cause to reconsider. I am purposely not informing the community or making a public point out of this at this time because I know any public situation would probably force MS to take a legalistic stand just to avoid setting unfavorable precedent. I guess what it boils down to is this: I'm hoping that we can silently agree that the current situation, although admitably somewhat dodgy, fills an important niche and actually serves Microsoft's interests quite well for the time being.
They have responded to say that the availability of these ROM images is in fact causing problems and restating their request to take them all down.
Quote:Originally Posted by Microsoft Microsoft has limited redistribution policies in place for a number of products, from desktop applications like Office, to downloads such as Windows Media Player and Windows Live Messenger, to Windows Mobile products. The licensing terms for Windows Mobile products also varies between versions and is different for each device depending on the features included by the OEM. As you may know, Microsoft is dedicated to protecting its copyright and other intellectual property rights. I do know XDA-developers.com is home to many device enthusiasts; however I'm not in a position to debate the legitimacy of any specific piece of software hosted by this site. We have received feedback from several sources on the software hosted by XDA-developers, including mobile operators with customers requesting support on "unofficial ROM images" and media agencies reporting on unreleased ROM versions to name a few. From this feedback, legal review of the sites content, and misconceptions; we concluded we should inform you of the actual Microsoft policies through my original email. These policies are consistent for all non-licensed channels. We do appreciate the feedback you have given us in the past. I can assure you we have teams focused on improving Windows Mobile developer's experiences and if you have additional feedback I encourage you to use the Microsoft developer newsgroups or I would be more than happy to forward this on. I regret that I'm the bearer of bad news, however we do appreciate your understanding of this matter and trust you will remove our content, including "ROM images" containing our content, as originally requested. Ofcourse one can disagree over the severity of the problems caused by the availability of the images versus the impact to our community of simply removing everything. But at this point, we have no other option then to take down any and all ROM images that contain a Microsoft OS, although we still feel strongly this is a disservice not just to our own users but also to the larger community of mobile device developers and enthousiasts. But at the end of the day this is Microsoft's software and legally speaking, they are within their right to ask us to remove it. And even if there were legal ways to challenge this, we certainly do not feel like a protracted legal fight with Microsoft. They can probably afford more lawyers than we can.

Over the course of the next week, and with much pain in our hearts, we will be going over all the directories on the ftp server as well as all attachments to public messages to remove all the ROM images. We may or may not end up writing automated tools to remove the images. A great resource dies this coming week. The vendor giveth, and the vendor taketh away.

Submission + - Google logo error!

Bobshush writes: As you should know by now, Google has the wonderful practice of creating custom logos for holidays and other random events throughout the year. However, it seems that they've screwed up for Valentines day by misspelling their name. Check it out at google.com. Googe?

Submission + - Microsoft Outlaws 3rd Party IM Clients

An anonymous reader writes: With the latest update to the MSN Instant Messenger client, now called Windows Live Messenger, Microsoft has required all users to sign a new contract which among other things forbids the use of 3rd party instant messenger clients to connect to the MSN messenger service, such as the AJAX Meebo client, Gaim, and Trillian among others. Worth noting, they do provide a list of authorized 3rd party clients, such as Yahoo Messenger, that are allowed access to the service.

Excerpt: "In using the service, you may not use any unauthorized third party software or service to access the Microsoft instant messaging network currently known as the .NET Messenger service."
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Open Source Wii Modchip To Come in Two Weeks

MBrichacek writes: "Wiip is a hardware mod for the Wii system that will allow the user to boot backup discs. This mod works by utilizing a cheap and simple micro controller that communicates with the serial port of the Wii's hybrid DVD drive and overrides certain parts of the media's data stream. The most important part of this project, is that it is open source! This chip will be much cheaper than other chips costing only $20. For the extra geeky among us, the instructions will be posted so that you can make one yourself for under $10 in parts."

Submission + - 14 HP Company Secrets from a former employee

rob101 writes: A former Hewlett-Packard worker could barely wait for their non-disclosure-agreement to end so they could spill 14 company secrets to The Consumerist. Full article at the Consumerist. This article details secrets about HP printers, how to get past the voice prompt system, HP cartridges and warranty information.

Submission + - Kansas abandons "intelligent design" in s

joe90 writes: Kansas has repealed public school science guidelines questioning the theory of evolution that brought the state international ridicule, but educators aren't sure how long it will be before the decision is overturned. The State Board of Education approved new, evolution-friendly science standards with a 6-4 vote Tuesday, replacing ones that questioned the theory and had the support of "intelligent design" advocates.

Submission + - The Top 12 Movies that Were Ahead of Their Time

Alex Billington writes: "What makes a movie years down the road be referred to as ahead of its time? It's the visual effects and technical achievements that the filmmakers implemented, from the miniatures in Star Wars to the time-freezing camera system in The Matrix, these movies were vastly ahead of their time. FirstShowing.net has comprised a comprehensive list of the top 12 movies in history that were ahead of their time, ranging from Psycho and 2001 to The Matrix."

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In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle