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The Courts

Judge Berates Prosecutors In Xbox Modding Trial 285

mrbongo writes with this excerpt from Wired: "Opening statements in the first-of-its-kind Xbox 360 criminal hacking trial were delayed here Wednesday after a federal judge unleashed a 30-minute tirade at prosecutors in open court, saying he had 'serious concerns about the government's case.' ... Gutierrez slammed the prosecution over everything from alleged unlawful behavior by government witnesses, to proposed jury instructions harmful to the defense. When the verbal assault finally subsided, federal prosecutors asked for a recess to determine whether they would offer the defendant a deal, dismiss or move forward with the case that was slated to become the first jury trial of its type. A jury was seated Tuesday."

Comic Sales Soar After Artist Engages 4chan Pirates 305

An anonymous reader writes "Steve Lieber, the artist behind the graphic novel Underground, discovered that someone on 4chan had scanned and posted the entire comic. Rather than complaining, he joined the conversation, chatting with the 4channers about the comic... and the next day he saw his sales jump to unheard-of levels, much higher than he'd seen even when the comic book was reviewed on popular sites like Boing Boing."

HDCP Master Key Revealed 747

solafide writes "The HDCP Master Key has allegedly been revealed. If true, this information will allow anyone to create their own source or sink keys, essentially making HDCP useless for content protection permanently. No word yet on how it was obtained, but if true, this is a great day for content freedom around the world!"

Democrats Pan Google-Verizon Net Neutrality Proposal 156

GovTechGuy writes "Four House Democrats wrote to the Federal Communications Commission, urging them to write strict net neutrality rules and reject the framework put forward by Google and Verizon. The lawmakers, including Rep. Anna Eshoo, who represents the district containing Google HQ, said the Google-Verizon proposal increases the pressure on the FCC to come up with actual net neutrality rules, and characterize the deal as harmful to consumers and beneficial for the corporations. In particular, the letter took issue with two pieces of the Verizon-Google proposal: exemptions for managed services and wireless services from strict net-neutrality rules."

The Android Gets Its HyperCard 256

theodp writes "Steve Jobs & Co. put the kibosh on easier cellphone development, but Google is giving it a shot. The NY Times reports that Google is bringing Android software development to the masses, offering a software tool starting Monday that's intended to make it easy for people to write applications for its Android phones. The free software, called Google App Inventor for Android, has been under development for a year. User testing has been done mainly in schools with groups that included sixth graders, high school girls, nursing students and university undergraduates who are not CS majors. The thinking behind the initiative, Google said, is that as cellphones increasingly become the computers that people rely on most, users should be able to make applications themselves. It's something Apple should be taking very seriously, advises TechCrunch."

Anti-Speed Camera Activist Buys Police Department's Web Domain Screenshot-sm 680

Brian McCrary just bought a website to complain about a $90 speeding ticket he received from the Bluff City PD — the Bluff City Police Department site. The department let its domain expire and McCrary was quick to pick it up. From the article: "Brian McCrary found the perfect venue to gripe about a $90 speeding ticket when he went to the Bluff City Police Department's website, saw that its domain name was about to expire, and bought it right out from under the city's nose. Now that McCrary is the proud owner of the site,, the Gray, Tenn., computer network designer has been using it to post links about speed cameras — like the one on US Highway 11E that caught him — and how people don't like them."

German Publishers Want Censorship Talks With Apple 197

An anonymous reader writes "The association of German magazine publishers has sent a letter to Steve Jobs (Google translation; German original here) demanding talks about censorship by Apple. The move draws attention to growing concerns about freedom of the press when a single unelected commercial entity has worldwide control over what gets published for the iPhone and, especially, the iPad." While the magazine publishers may rightly be concerned about private control of a platform that many of them are counting on for their long-term salvation, the German state is at the very least ambivalent about the subject of censorship. This is the country that has banned Wikileaks, sought a ban on violent games, and voted to censor child porn (only to have the president kill the ban as unconstituitonal).

Comment Re:Really good design takes talent (Score 2, Insightful) 73

(Software) engineering is an art. You don't design science.

Engineering is creative. It's a highly personal skill that must be honed through years of study and practice. Engineers have different personal styles, but stay "on-model" during collaborative work for consistency's sake. An engineer's best work is their "masterpiece". etc.

Engineering is the art of applying science to make technology. The different fields of engineering are like the different fields of art in that they use different mediums but are unified by the common principles of design.

My mother is a professional artist and it's amazing how similar our work really is.

Comment Re:1984 (Score 1) 1238

>>I don't believe there can EVER be a case where the INVADERS get to claim 'just war'

>Were you for or against our involvement in the Balkans during the Clinton administration? That's >the closest modern day analogy.
Since the US was there on REQUEST of the U.N. and had no desire to take over anything or stay behind- merely to end an atrocity and restore peace to the region, I wouldn't call that an invasion at all. It was an involvement in a civil war - on REQUEST of the international community.
But I didn't have any say in the matter, I'm not an American.

>And... trick question: Were the Muslims the invaders or the defenders of the Levant?
I'd say in the vast majority of the crusades, they were the defenders.

>>In what whacked out place did you go to school that taught any different ?

>Oddly enough, I tend to read lots of primary and secondary sources and determine for myself if what the history being taught in school is accurate or not.

Well, I can't speak for the history books in your country but my country had just about as fundamentalist a government as you can GET when I went to school. Hell ALL school children were legally required to wear uniforms, private schools and homeschooling were banned -just to make sure nobody could skip the indoctrination. We had military training as part of the curiculim to prepare us to be good little soldiers... and WE were taught the crusades was a mistake by misguided leaders of the Christian faith. So were my parents, and THEIR parents. Seems that in most of the rest of the world, that's been at least the protestant consensus for a long time now.

>Believe it or not: America didn't win WWII all by itself, that Christopher Columbus really was a dick, and that the Communist Part of USA back in the McCarthy days really was an appendage of the Soviet Union.

Like I said, I'm not American - but I actually agree with a lot of what you said there. On the other hand, the witchhunt that McCarthy instituted against communism was still very wrong in my book. Sorry, communism is an opinion which your constitution is supposed to protect your right to hold - even if you don't like it.

Comment Re:Ok, but (Score 1) 1138

Source? ... [Citation Needed]

What's the a) time spent in "primary school" compared to the US K-12 program, and b) technical competency compared to an American degree?

For instance, as I understand it the Hauptschule concept of Germany* focus more on having a technical job and the student is out of school by the age of 15 or 16. If you were in the US, you would not be allowed to leave HS at 15-16 even if all you wanted to do was be a skilled tradesman. If you did leave school that early, people would look down on you for a number of years. They also don't focus on the academic subjects, but rather on what it takes to be a good citizen.

Do you know many kids from your HS that would've been happy to stop at 10th and go get a job working on cars or something similar? I sure did (probably 20-30% of the kids in my graduating class would've been happy to be done sooner and go get a technical job).

Of the students I know who went towards Gymnaisum and Uni, they tended to come out after that 6+ with a Master's level competency.

I would say their systems are a lot better than ours.

* to pick on Germany, since I know some Germans well enough as any ignorant Amerikaner can.

Comment I Beg to Differ (Score 1) 663

I'll deny it it just to show it can be done.

There are tens of millions of lines of code in a variety languages that help run the world that were written and are maintained by hard working programmers who have never used C. There is also a lot of code that is written in C. It depends on where and what you are talking about.

The reality of the situation is that in industry there are a large number of camps. Some have huge repositories of code that is probably older than the OP that is mission critical and is still chugging along very well thank you very much. There are other places where the latest and greatest objected oriented, web based language invented at a University is the vogue. You have everything in between.

Saying one particular language is that basis of computing displays a very limited knowledge of the wide breadth and depth of computing both in industry and academia.

Now back to the original topic. What language(s) to use to teach beginning computing.

There are two basic methods. One is to teach the nitty gritty machine level first and then move up to higher and higher levels of abstraction. I.E. Bits, Nibbles, Bytes et al. The second is to start at a higher level of abstraction, teach the higher level concepts, such as iterative loops, without getting bogged down with the minutiae of what's under the hood. With the second method you can get more specific if you need to.

I would argue that most people will get bored with method 1 and have no real need for it. Method two does require selecting the level of abstraction you want to start at, you tailor the selection to the group you are trying to teach. People who argue C are simply picking a lower level of abstraction than people who argue for Java, either can be "right" or "wrong" depending on the people in the class and the objectives of the class.

I also think that a good grounding in computational theory and the study of algorithms is a good idea. If you know why a bubble sort on a 1 million entry list is a bad idea then it doesn't really matter what language you decide to not implement it in :-)

Comment Re:Bad summary, and intentionally misleading cover (Score 1) 804

It is. The punishment is still extreme to the point of being silly. And I'm still not sure I buy the reasoning behind the ban.

Hell, as others have pointed out, this came out after the letter from the state food folks clarifying that candy is not covered by the ban, so this could possibly just be the school rotating in a new excuse when the old one is discredited.

I don't know the school or its policies, and of course trying to search for any "gum and hard candy ban" that might have been in place before the story broke is now pretty much impossible.

If such a ban existed, then the school's story has a lot more credibility - they were (possibly overzealously) in enforcing a (possibly misguided) ban that existed as a reaction to a real problem.

It's also possible that the ban exists, and was enforced as written, and the only real sin is that some administrator didn't take the time to understand what was going on before he/she made something up to get a reporter to stop hounding him/her.

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