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Comment Re:No offense... (Score 1) 1117

Do you honestly think the school is giving away laptops out of the good of their heart? Sorry, the students are getting these because they will be required to do work on them. That may seem like it's no big deal to you but as an 11th grader with a really stupid/crazy IT admin, we can't even get to Google Images here (or any search engine other than google for that matter). In google, the safesearch is turned all the way up, and still I'de say a good 90% of what we can even see on the search list is blocked by a company called lightspeed. This renders all of the school computers basically useless and nobody wants to even attempt doing their schoolwork on them anymore. I don't have a problem with this so I just don't use the computers because I'm lucky enough to have a high-speed connection at my home. We live in an area with no broadband and pretty much the only fast connection most people can access is at that school. It's really shameful that they let a Christian extremist set up our filter. She has even stated in an email she sent to every teacher in the school that her #1 priority wasn't the students, it was keeping the network safe she was threatening to take away teacher computer privileges for letting kids use flash drives to move their work between computers. To add insult to injury, we have several networked hard drives that the students are no longer able to use because she says it's a "security risk". The teachers have no way around the filters and we can't even use the run command on these things (I use run to open word, paint, etc,. so I don't have to click around). In case I haven't got the point across these computers are WORTHLESS. If they were to give us laptops with the same ridiculous policies, not only would I remove them, I would teach everyone I know how to do the same and tell them to teach everyone they know.

Comment Re:Affecting other ISPs (Score 1) 413

I've also noticed my latency TRIPLE based on pinging Google (from 30ms average to 100ms average). I've been checking my equipment for malfunctions for days and have been unable to find any. I use a small ISP that is not involved with Sprint or Cognet, I hope the FCC gets involved in this.

Submission + - Is Microsoft Office Adware? (oooninja.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft Office links to third-party commercial add-ons, includes up-spelling promos, requires cookies for certain functions, and collects technical information. While this is a normal day on the web, should the commercial office suite be judged to a different standard and possibly be considered adware?

Slashdot previously covered Microsoft trying Works as adware.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Comcast now shuts off people's connections 1

Comcast now shuts off people's connections as soon as they start up bittorrent. Even if the connection is fully encrypted.

Of course Azarus-Vuze isn't exactly subtle, since it gets all of that other stuff. The first time I tried bittorent tonight, they waited 15 minutes before shutting my connection off. The second time they did it in maybe 5 seconds. And didn't turn it on again for 15 minutes.

95 Of Every 100 Windows PCs Miss Security Updates 126

An anonymous reader writes "From Computerworld today: 'Nearly all Windows computers are likely running at least one unpatched application and about four out of every ten contain 11 or more vulnerable-to-attack programs, a vulnerability tracking company said today.' The new data comes from Secunia's free security-patch scanner the Secunia's PSI. The complete data run-down is available here."
Desktops (Apple)

Submission + - Apple screws Mac Pro owners on graphics upgrade (hardmac.com)

stoppard writes: With the release of upgraded graphics cards for the Mac Pro, users rejoiced and many ordered the upgrade for their current Mac Pros but have been dissapointed to receive a call from apple claming they are incompatible with older Mac Pros. It is obvious that the reason for this is to convince users to purchase a new computer as their is no reason not allow them to be compatible because PCIE 2.0 is fully backward compatible. Apple has changed the firmware on the card to specifically dissallow backward compatability.

More information in this thread at the macosrumors forums and this thread at the Apple support discussion forums.

Feed Techdirt: RealNetworks Sues Burst, Seeking Judgment Saying It Doesn't Infringe (techdirt.com)

We've covered the history of Burst.com and its questionable patents before. While the company was recently able to squeeze $10 million out of Apple, following the $60 million it got from Microsoft, speculation had begun on who the next target would be. In fact, apparently a Burst investor had started posting videos to YouTube trying to show how a variety of companies all infringed on Burst's patents. Of course, if we had a sane patent system, most people would look at this to suggest that the concepts in Burst's patents were fairly obvious and never should have received patent protection in the first place -- but that's not how things work these days. Among the companies listed in the videos were Google, AOL, Adobe and RealNetworks. Apparently, that was enough to worry RealNetworks, who has filed for a declaratory judgment in Northern California claiming that it does not infringe on Burst's patents. This was, by the way, the same strategy that Apple took (suing first) almost exactly two years ago. With so much fear of cases getting forced into Marshall, Texas, it's no surprise that those threatened would try to file for declaratory judgments on friendlier grounds. It will be interesting to see if Google, AOL or Adobe follow suit.

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Feed Engadget: Sony's $400 digital noise canceling headphones (engadget.com)

Filed under: CES, Portable Audio

The age-old battle between the forces of digital and analog wages on, with Sony's new MDR-NC500D noise canceling headphones claiming to out noise cancel your totally old-fashioned analog pair. We don't really understand the audio alchemy explained in the press release ("the analog audio input signal is converted to a digital signal and sent through a digital equalizer to enhance the mid-range vocals and alleviate the excess bass"?) but if it means we can tune into whatever crappy movie they're playing on the plane while blocking out the roar of the jet engine and maybe even a crying infant or two, then consider our attention gotten when these things start canceling noise in February. For $400, we're expecting nothing less than a miracle.

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The Internet

Submission + - SortFix Another New Search Engine? Think Again (sortfix.com)

Amir Lavi writes: "About SortFix the company and its product.

SortFix was founded by Yohay Barsky and Amir Lavi, following our own experience as search engine users. We tried to find better techniques and ways to retrieve information from Google or yahoo. We soon realize that during a search we encounter three main problems.

We usually don't know where to start i.e. which keywords to use, because the search topic is often new to us and we are not familiar with the specific terms we should use, sometimes because of mental fixation or lack of imagination and mainly because we can't always guess how site-owner describe their content.

We are lazy, (i.e we want maximum impact with minimal effort, which is basically a good thing), and we want to be able to find information quickly and efficiently. We get tired very quickly if we are not on the right track. We don't want to learn the complex search engine syntax (boring) and we don't want to scan unrelated results until we might reach a related one (tedious).

Typing and editing a search query can be cumbersome and time consuming especially if you type a longer and detailed query.

Guess what? We were not alone according to researches most user type 2-3 words in their search query which is equivalent to the way little children communicates, and it is absolutely not sufficient to describe a concept or even a question.
Moreover most users don't try nor succeed to upgrade their search query, and simply move to the next search engine and try their luck again.

SortFix helps to overcome exactly those problems. How?

SortFix's algorithm mimics a professional searcher (by propriety language processing methods) and identifies the most optimal words or terms correlated to the user initial query (these optimal words are called "Power Words"). Why optimal? Because we want that every user's action will be as efficient as possible and will reduce the overall number of the returned results, along with significant increase in relevancy. These actions are according to a specific need of every user.

Then come the fun part, SortFix offers an intuitive user interface to support the algorithm. The user simply drags "Power words" that are related to his search to the "Add to Search" box (green area) and the unrelated ones to the "Remove" box (red area). This tells the search engine: "yes these terms interests me and are related to my search, these ones defiantly not, now you know better what I'm looking for, so please give me the relevant results"

The best part is that you don't need to use the entire "Power Words" at once, just drag a few each step according to your needs. In every step the result relevancy increases, and so does the "Power Words" quality.

SortFix also has an English dictionary that helps the user to understand the different meanings of a search terms (simply drag a word to the dictionary box). If you are an advanced user you should use SortFix's advanced interface, it enables a graphical representation of OR and Synonyms, has a "Standby" box and a "Deep Search" function.

SortFix Team is currently consisting 9 professional in the fields of language processing, software and algorithms development, UI design and research.

Business model

SortFix Business model is quite strait forward (using the search engine market standard revenue models) and based on proven "sponsored links" model with an addition that we deliver enhanced customization to the advertisers based on superior user input and analysis. (Better match equals efficient advertising).

SortFix's perspective

Search engine user interface didn't evolve much in the past decade, however every other aspect of the net becomes more and more interactive and user friendly. The resent prospective development in the search industries is in the direction of Semitic web and NLP. However Google and Yahoo still have a superior database and resources and considered to be the best search engines. SortFix is somewhere in between: it enables today better interaction with the leading search engine offering enhanced understanding of users needs and will be the bridge towards Natural language querying.

The Algorithm

SortFix algorithm relies on statistical NLP and incorporates more than 300 parameters to provide the optimal keywords and terms called "Power Words". The algorithm scans the search results to identify the "Power Words" correlated to the current search query. By saying correlated it does not necessary mean related to the user search,, the user alone can decides which "Power Words" are relate to his search and which ones not (users still have the best CPU around). However because the "Power Words" are optimized to each and every query, the user actions progresses the search in the most efficient way.

try it. use it. find it.


Submission + - Censorship: Canadian-style

Knave75 writes: The Canadian Islamic Congress has launched a human rights complaint against Maclean's, a fairly old and established news magazine similar to "Time" published in Canada. The allegation: An article that was published did not say nice things about muslims. From the mouth of the CIC's lawyer:

Faisal Joseph is the CIC's legal counsel on the matter. "In Canada, we have 750,000 law-abiding Muslims," he says. "When you read that article, it sounds to some people [like] there's an attack from the 'Muslim' world against the 'non-Muslim' world. We take real issue with that type of characterization and the implications of it."
In other words, when letters to the editor don't work, try a human rights complaint instead.

Submission + - National Swedish Newspaper Hacked

ckret writes: Almost no swedish newspapers or sites have announced anything regarding the incident where VFH (Mature (Grownup) Pissed-Off Hackers) hacked the prominent swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. Some correspondance from VFH can be read at Flashback (swedish only). As it seems Aftonbladet still have no clue what happened or that they still are compromised. Aftonbladet tried to open up (swedish) a dialog with the hackers. What hacker would answer the "call for coffee" that Aftonbladet propose?

Feed Engadget: PSP internal USB mass storage mod ain't pretty, but all the gigabytes are (engadget.com)

Filed under: Gaming, Storage

PSP modder extraordinaire PvP_LostKnight's latest creation freed his PSP from the shackles of pricey Memory Sticks, at the cost of aesthetics. The internal USB mass storage mod packs a flash drive inside the PSP, and includes a PCB board that allows the drive to act as the USB host, since the PSP only works in USB slave mode. PvP is otherwise short on details, but we're sure PSP-mutilating instructions will be popping up soon enough.

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Feed Engadget: New Line confirms it'll follow in Warner's Blu footsteps (engadget.com)

Filed under: HDTV, Home Entertainment

As if anyone expected anything different, New Line confirmed with Variety Magazine that it'll follow Warner to the Blu-ray promise land. While this is a no brainer considering the relationship between Warner and New Line, (also owned by Time Warner, just like Engadget) other studios remain up in the air. When, and if, Universal makes the switch as well is any ones guess, but at this point we doubt many would expect otherwise. But, as we've learned in the last few days, anything's possible, but the idea of having one HD format to adopt is something even most members of the red camp can get behind.

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The Courts

Submission + - Wired: RIAA's 'misspeaking' affected verdict

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: David Kravetz of Wired.com, who covered the Capitol v. Thomas trial gavel-to-gavel and in person, writes that the RIAA's recent statement — that SONY BMG's top litigation lawyer "misspoke" during the trial when she said that making a copy from one's own cd is "stealing" — may have caused a major "miscarriage of justice". Wired points out that later on in the trial, during the RIAA's examination of Ms. Thomas, "On the hard drive she [turned] over were thousands of songs Thomas said she ripped from her CDs. The RIAA's Gabriel suggested to jurors that copying one's purchased music was a violation of the Copyright Act. Gabriel, for example, asked Thomas whether she had ever burned CDs, either for herself, or to give away to friends. "Did you get permission from the copyright owners to do that?" Gabriel asked. "No," Thomas responded." Gabriel, the RIAA's lead attorney, apparently misspoke too — prejudicing jurors along the way.

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