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Comment This is a relevant comic (Score 2) 268

I think I need to just continually post this, and send it (or more "respectable" transcripts, to all my congressional representatives. We don't need new laws for the internet! Our current ones work just fine, thank you. (Sorry for the double-post, I forgot to log in)

Submission + - AT&T Caps Netflix Streaming Costs at $68K/Yr 1

theodp writes: What would you say if you went to join a gym and were told that it could cost you anywhere from $360 a year to $68,000 a year for the exact same usage? Don't be ridiculous, right? Well, that's really not so different from what the potential costs of streaming video on an AT&T smartphone are. According to AT&T's Data Usage Calculator, 1,440 minutes worth of streaming video consumes 2.81GB, which — if you manage to keep Netflix fired up all day and night — would result in a $360 annual bill under the grandfathered $30-monthly-unlimited-data plan, or $68,376 under the new $20-monthly-300MB plan. Still, that didn't stop a spokesman from characterizing the new AT&T data plans as 'a great value' for customers. So, what exactly does the Bureau of Consumer Protection consider unfair?

Submission + - White House Petition to Investigate Dodd for Bribe (

Walkingshark writes: "Chris Dodd's recent statements complaining that the congressmen the RIAA and MPAA bribed aren't staying bribed has spawned a firestorm of anger on the internet. Among the bits of fallout: a petition on the White Houses "We the People" site to investigate him, the RIAA, and the MPAA for bribery! This petition gained more than 5000 signatures in 24 hours and is still growing.

When the petition reaches 25,000 signatures the White House is obligated to respond to it in an official capacity. At that point, one way or another they will have to go on record either supporting the RIAA and MPAA or pushing them under the bus. Either way, it should be quite enlightening to see what their response is."


How Gaming Can Save the World 85

An anonymous reader writes "Game designer and all-around interesting person Jane McGonigal just published a book arguing that playing games will help solve the urgent problems of the real world. To mark the publication, Discover Magazine has a Q&A with McGonigal on several topics, such as: exactly how much gaming is too much? 'There was a really significant study that tracked 1,100 soldiers for a year, and looked at how they were spending their free time with things they considered coping mechanisms—using Facebook, listening to music, reading, working out, or playing video games. They correlated this with incidences of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, suicide attempts, and domestic violence. The found that by a very wide margin, the most psychologically protected individuals—who had the lowest rates of any of these negative experiences—were people who were playing video games 3 to 4 hours a day. ... That was fascinating—it was more beneficial than anything but working out 7 hours a day.' She also talks about how relationships forged in games can change the world, and which world problems exactly is she trying to solve via games. (Hint: think big.)"

Comment Google Reader (Score 1) 2254

That's great, and it looks nice and (thankfully) loads faster... but this is the first time I've actually *visited* Slashdot in almost a year. It's a key part of my Google Reader feeds, though! It also looks nice when read via FlipBoard on my iPad.

Submission + - The Untold Story of induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (

ParadoxDruid writes: "Induced pluripotent stem cells are a hot new stem cell type that is able to become any kind of tissue, offering great potential for treating diseases and injuries. Although they look and act just like human embryonic stem cells, these induced stem cells can be made from adult cells that are reprogrammed to an earlier state and consequently can be patient-specific. What is interesting is that while induced stem cells were created from human tissue only in 2007, they have a decades' old history of theories and experiments that is not often reported."

Comment Re:Still a long way to go... (Score 4, Informative) 126

I recently met Pete Coffey, the lead scientist on this effort (he collaborates with scientists in a research group across the hall from mine), and attended his technical talk on this procedure. You are correct, they're transplanting retinal pigment epithelium. However, they've done experiments with both wet AMD and some preliminary work with reviving dry AMD. Very promising work; but yes, very involved surgery with a success rate of 75% even for ideal patients.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Data flows faster downhill (

CaptainTact writes: "Found this on InfoWorld's page, under the Tales From the Trenches section:

"It was the peak of the dotcom boom and I worked for a travel agency that was buying out Mom-and-Pop travel shops from Seattle to Miami — mid-1999, if I remember correctly. I was part of the traveling network team that was responsible for acquisition network and server reviews and employee evaluations of said acquisitions.

I was sent off to our recently acquired sister site in Seattle, a mega travel company that had about 10 smaller sites and a supposedly superior sys admin — or so I was informed. Eric was the only IT guy for this company, and he had just gotten his CCNA AND MCSE. It was my job to review Eric and the site to determine whether he should stay or go and what other changes might be necessary.

Eric walked me through the impressive datacenter (or server room at the time), which was a pristine room reflective of a man who took pride in his work. Cables were run in cable trays, zip ties kept them bunched neatly, and each rack was arranged in the same fashion, hinting at consistency and forethought. The site was not typical of a Mom-and-Pop shop with Kmart network gear everywhere — this was a true IT operation. He took time to give me specifics on the networking setups, spanning tree-enabled or not, and their redundant setups (rare in that day). He also described each server and its function (file, mail, and so on). This guy seemed to know his stuff, and I like to think I'm not easily impressed.

After that impressive tour, we sat down in a conference room to discuss the future of the server room and the remote sites. Our first enterprise initiative was to move the sites onto MS Exchange, so I asked him which server was least utilized and running NT4 SP6 to which he proudly replied, "Oh, sorry, we only run the stable version of Windows 95 on our servers here. NT4 is the worst thing ever from Microsoft."

Wait. What? I sat in disbelief as I listened to Eric describe these servers, all the while his manager nodding her head in agreement. He failed to mention this to me in the walk-through, and I just couldn't believe this guy with the enviable server room had just said such a thing. I chuckled and said, "Funny guy. You had me going there." I proceeded to ask again which server was ready. Eric looked at me, contempt now plainer on his face, and told me matter-o-factly: "I would never joke about something so serious. Windows 95a, NOT THE B CRAP or 98," he said at a higher volume, "is the best OS for a server environment. Windows NT will soon go away and those idiots who installed it will run back to 95. You'll see."

"OK, we'll cover that topic at a later date," I said, thinking it best to move on. "We can build out a spare server and rack it with the company-required NT4 install and put it in the open section at the bottom of the last rack."

It was Eric's turn to laugh next as he told me, "Well that's fine, if you want the e-mail to be really slow."

Confused, I ask him to explain, expecting to hear that one of the switches was an older model 10MB Ethernet or 4MB token ring or something. Those weren't all that much slower, but some people didn't know that.

"See," he said in a voice rich with condescension, "data flows faster downhill. You should always put servers at the top of a rack with switches below. That way the data from the server is faster to the user."

Wow, did I miss that physics lesson when I was taking my networking class all those years ago? Did the instructor reveal this important tidbit while I was out on a bathroom break? This time I laughed hard. Really hard. "Eric," I said, "you are either pulling my leg or you genuinely believe that crock of bull." His manager then piped up to inform me that Eric's skills were not in question and my review of his knowledge would not determine whether he kept his job and would I please stop insulting him.

So for value-added entertainment and lack of anything else constructive to do under the circumstances, I called my boss and team lead for a conference call. I started out happily, telling them about the server room and its layout, seamless design, and work of art, blah blah. I watched as Cathy, Eric's manager, smiled that I-told-you-off-and-you-had-to-listen smile. Then I hit on the Windows 95A servers and location of said servers with data-flow technical details. There was silence on the line. My boss was furious that I'd bothered him with such idiocy, and nobody seemed to think it was funny.

"If you know better, then you run it!" threatened Eric. Challenge accepted: My boss told him to pack up his things. During the next few months, we unearthed thousands of problems (virus, file corruption, and so on) and a nice stash of porn on those Windows 95 servers as we converted them. Seems Eric's pretty server room was much more impressive than his grasp of gravity.""


Submission + - Flexible optic fiber for "last mile" conne

bn0p writes: According to an article on Ars Technica, a Korean company has developed a low-cost, flexible, plastic optical fiber that could help solve the "last mile" problem and bring 2.5 Gbps (bits per second) connections to homes and apartments. While not as fast as glass fiber, it is significantly faster than the copper connections in use today.

In related news, Corning recently announced a flexible glass fiber that can be bent repeatedly without losing signal strength. The Corning fiber incorporates nanostructures in the cladding of the fiber that act as "light guardrails" that keep the light in the fiber. The glass fiber could be as much as four times faster than plastic fiber.

Neither fiber is available commercially yet, but both should help improve data rates to the home when they are deployed.
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Defense Asks Judge to Overrule RIAA Payout

Damocles the Elder writes: Well, the RIAA won, but now a Minnesota woman is appealing the judge's decision on the basis that $222,000 is unconstitutionally expensive for 24 songs. FTA:

The petition to U.S. District Judge Michael Davis, among other things, challenges the constitutionality of the 1976 Copyright Act, the law under which the RIAA sued Jammie Thomas of Minnesota, as well as over 20,000 other defendants. The $750 to $150,000 fines the act authorizes for each download is unconstitutionally excessive and against U.S. Supreme Court precedent, wrote Brian Toder, Thomas' attorney.
Naturally, the RIAA is claiming the argument is "baseless", but if this gets set as a precedent, it won't matter if the RIAA wins the lawsuits if they're only getting a couple dollars a song. Needless to say, many people will be following this with interest.

Submission + - GMail Adding Space Like Crazy (

n715dp writes: "My gmail account has gone up by nearly a gig in the last 12 hours, it's jumped by several hundred MB at least twice since I first checked it this morning. Currently at 3379MB."
Linux Business

Submission + - Four months of Ubuntu on Dell (

mrcgran writes: "LXer has an interview with John Hull, a manager of the Linux Engineering team at Dell, where he reports on how the Ubuntu machines have been working out for them so far. "Embracing Ubuntu Linux on our desktops and laptops seems to have really raised Dell's visibility within the Linux community. We have been supporting, testing, developing for, and selling Linux for 8+ years here at Dell, but before the Ubuntu announcement, a lot of people didn't know that we did any of that. (...) Previous to our Ubuntu product announcement, it was much more difficult to extend this model to consumer desktop and laptop technologies. We would have a conversations with vendors about pushing Linux support for their hardware, but without a Linux product offering from Dell for that hardware, it was very difficult to convince them to release Linux drivers. That has certainly changed now that we offer Ubuntu Linux, and we are making much more progress in our vendor discussions. (...) The original sales estimates for Ubuntu computers was around 1% of the total sales, or about 20,000 systems annually. The program so far is meeting expectations. Customers are certainly showing their interest and buying systems preloaded with Ubuntu, but it certainly won't overtake Microsoft Windows anytime soon.""

Submission + - Thomas files appeal, cites "excessive" dam (

Peerless writes: Capitol v. Thomas defendant Jammie Thomas has officially appealed the RIAA's $222,000 copyright infringement award. She is seeking a retrial to determine the RIAA's actual damages, arguing that the jury's award was 'unconstitutionally excessive': 'Thomas would like to see the record companies forced to prove their actual damages due to downloading, a figure that Sony-BMG litigation head Jennifer Pariser testified that her company "had not stopped to calculate." In her motion, Thomas argues that the labels are contending that their actual damages are in the neighborhood of $20. Barring a new trial over the issue of damages, Thomas would like to see the reward knocked down three significant digits — from $222,000 to $151.20.'

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