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Education

What Filters Are Right For Kids? 678

WaywardGeek writes "My daughter is using phrases like 'hot guys,' and soon will have a chat about the birds and the bees. I believe in letting kids discover the world as it is, and have no Internet controls on any of our systems, which are mostly Linux based. However, it's not fair for aggressive porn advertisers to splash sex in her face without her permission. My question is: What Linux-based Internet filtering solution do Slashdot dads favor, and do they hinder a child's efforts to learn about the world?"
Privacy

CA Senator Pushing For Tightened Data Breach Notification 29

California State Senator Joe Simitian has introduced new legislation designed to tighten data breach notification requirements, forcing businesses to provide more information about any data that has been leaked in addition to notifying state authorities. What was not included in the legislation was imposed compensation requirements for data breach victims, and according to Simitian are not likely to be for quite some time. "Instead, the next focus of legislation, he said, would likely be on who should bear the cost of sending out notifications to consumers. For example, should a credit card processing company that experiences a breach be responsible for the cost of notifying bank customers? When retailer TJX discovered in 2006 that hackers had accessed credit and debit card numbers passing through its network, banks were left notifying the customers, then had to sue TJX to get compensation for those costs. Heartland Payment Systems, which experienced a breach of credit and debit card numbers in January, has recently been sued by banks to recover their breach notification costs."
Image

Robot Love Goes Bad Screenshot-sm 101

hundredrabh writes "Ever had a super needy girlfriend that demanded all your love and attention and would freak whenever you would leave her alone? Irritating, right? Now imagine the same situation, only with an asexual third-generation humanoid robot with 100kg arms. Such was the torture subjected upon Japanese researchers recently when their most advanced robot, capable of simulating human emotions, ditched its puppy love programming and switched over into stalker mode. Eventually the researchers had to decommission the robot, with a hope of bringing it back to life again."
Books

Is Salacious Content Driving E-Book Sales? 215

narramissic writes "Having already abandoned ebooks once, Barnes & Noble is jumping back into ebooks with the purchase this week of ebook seller Fictionwise. Why is the format suddenly hot? Look no further than the top 10 Fictionwise bestsellers, says blogger Peter Smith. Once again it seems like 'porn is blazing a path to a new media format. Of the top 10 bestsellers under the 'Multiformat' category, nine are tagged 'erotica' and the last is 'dark fantasy.' Need more proof that folks (let's take a leap and call them women) who read 'bodice rippers' like the privacy of ebooks? Author Samantha Lucas (who writes for publishers like Cobblestone Press and Siren Publishing) tells Smith that she sells almost all of her novels in ebook format."
The Military

Obama Helicopter Security Breached By File Sharing 408

Hugh Pickens writes "A company that monitors peer-to-peer file-sharing networks has discovered a potentially serious security breach involving President Barack Obama's helicopter. 'We found a file containing entire blueprints and avionics package for Marine One, which is the president's helicopter,' says Bob Boback, CEO of Tiversa, a security company that specializes in peer-to-peer technology. Tiversa was able to track the file, discovered at an IP address in Tehran, Iran, back to its original source. 'What appears to be a defense contractor in Bethesda, Md., had a file-sharing program on one of their systems that also contained highly sensitive blueprints for Marine One,' says Boback, adding that someone from the company most likely downloaded a file-sharing program, typically used to exchange music, without realizing the potential problems. 'I'm sure that person is embarrassed and may even lose their job, but we know where it came from and we know where it went.' Iran is not the only country that appears to be accessing this type of information through file-sharing programs. 'We've noticed it out of Pakistan, Yemen, Qatar and China. They are actively searching for information that is disclosed in this fashion because it is a great source of intelligence.'"
Microsoft

Microsoft Phasing Out ESP Simulation Platform? 101

Ian Lamont writes "Overlooked in last month's news about Microsoft laying off the entire Flight Simulator dev team is the news that Microsoft's ESP development team has been gutted as well, and the future of the platform is in doubt. ESP is oriented toward industrial use, and lets companies build 3D simulations for flight and other applications. Late last year Microsoft announced big plans to expand ESP to other verticals, such as real estate, city planning, and law enforcement. That looks increasingly unlikely. Even though Microsoft declined to comment on ESP's future, companies which invested in the product are angry, judging by some of the comments on an MSDN thread. As noted by one user, 'my company used it for a solution and invested time and money into getting it approved and purchased. Microsoft sure handed us a raw deal for taking a gamble on their platform.'"
Books

Author's Guild Says Kindle's Text-To-Speech Software Illegal 683

Mike writes "The Author's Guild claims that the new Kindle's text-to-speech software is illegal, stating that 'They don't have the right to read a book out loud,' said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. 'That's an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law.' Forget for a moment that text-to-speech doesn't copy an existing work. And forget the odd notion that the artificial enunciation of plain text is equivalent to a person's nuanced and emotive reading. The Guild's claim is that even to read out loud is a production akin to an illegal copy, or a public performance."
Image

Woman Claims Ubuntu Kept Her From Online Classes Screenshot-sm 1654

stonedcat writes "A Wisconsin woman has claimed that Dell computers and Ubuntu have kept her from going back to school via online classes. She says she has called Dell to request Windows instead however was talked out of it. Her current claim is that she was unaware that she couldn't install her Verizon online disk to access the Internet, nor could she use Microsoft Word to type up her papers."
Portables

How Do You Manage Your SD Card Library? 485

txmadman writes "Like a lot of my colleagues and all of my three children, I have several SD , mini-SD, and micro-SD cards for various purposes: cameras, cell phones, my laptop, etc. These things are handy to have around, offer easy and significant storage, but are very easily lost. We have also have run into some instances where it wasn't clear whose SD card was whose, and have also started to see a need for a storage mechanism. I have seen SD card 'wallets' and such, but have never seen anyone actually use one. So: How do you manage and keep track of your SD cards?"
Patents

Oprah Sued For Infringing "Touch and Feel" Patent 249

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Oprah Winfrey, or to be more precise, Oprah's Book Club, is being sued by the inventor/patent attorney Scott C. Harris for infringing upon his patent for 'Enhancing Touch and Feel on the Internet.' So Oprah's Book Club is now one of many people and entities being sued over this patent because they allow people to view part, but not all, of a book online before purchasing it. Mr. Harris also sued Google Books for infringing upon this patent. He actually was fired from his position as partner at Fish & Richardson for that, because Google is a client of that law firm and they had conflict of interest rules to uphold." It would be entertaining to see Oprah give very wide and mainstream publicity to the abuses enabled by our current patent system.

Update: 01/07 22:03 GMT by KD : The blog author Joe Mullin wrote to point out that the lawsuit was not filed by the inventor, Scott C. Harris, but rather by the shell company Illinois Computer Research, which seems to exist for the purpose of filing lawsuits based on this particular patent.
Space

Black Holes Lead Galaxy Growth 50

The AAS meeting in San Diego is producing lots of news on the astronomy front. Studying galaxies that were forming in the universe's first billion years, astronomers have solved a longstanding cosmic chicken-and-egg problem: which forms first, galaxies or the black holes at their cores? "'We finally have been able to measure black-hole and bulge masses in several galaxies seen as they were in the first billion years after the Big Bang, and the evidence suggests that the constant ratio seen nearby may not hold in the early Universe. The black holes in these young galaxies are much more massive compared to the bulges than those seen in the nearby Universe,"' said Fabian Walter of the Max-Planck Institute for Radioastronomy in Germany. 'The implication is that the black holes started growing first.'"
HP

HP Accused of Illegal Exportation To Iran 287

AdamWeeden writes "According to research done by the Boston Globe, HP has been secretly using a third-party company to sell printers to Iran. This is illegal under a ban instituted in 1995 by then US President Bill Clinton. The third-party company, Redington Gulf, operates out of Dubai and previously stated on their web site that the company began in 1997 with 'a team of five people and the HP supplies as our first product, we started operations as the distributor for Iran,' though now the site has been changed to remove the mention of Iran. Has HP unknowingly been supplying Iran with technology or have they been trying to secretly get by the US government's export restrictions?"
Privacy

Oregon Governor Proposes Vehicle Mileage Tax 713

tiedyejeremy writes "As covered by the Crosscut Blog, the Governor of Oregon, Ted Kulongoski, is proposing a change in the funding of the Oregonian transportation system that drops gasoline taxes and, by way of GPS tracking, taxes the number of miles driven, to the tune of 1.2 cents per mile. The reason for the proposed change is that lower fuel consumption via fuel efficiency will leave the system underfunded. The concerns involve government tracking of the movements of vehicles within the state, though this has been denied by ODOT official, James Whitty. I'm wondering how this affects people using the Interstate System and private roads, and if the outputs can or will be used by law enforcement to check alibis."
Networking

SoHo NAS With Good Network Throughput? 517

An anonymous reader writes "I work at a small business where we need to move around large datasets regularly (move onto test machine, test, move onto NAS for storage, move back to test machine, lather-rinse-repeat). The network is mostly OS X and Linux with one Windows machine (for compatibility testing). The size of our datasets is typically in the multiple GB, so network speed is as important as storage size. I'm looking for a preferably off-the shelf solution that can handle a significant portion of a GigE; maxing out at 6MB is useless. I've been looking at SoHo NAS's that support RAID such as Drobo, NetGear (formerly Infrant), and BuffaloTech (who unfortunately doesn't even list whether they support OS X). They all claim they come with a GigE interface, but what sort of network throughput can they really sustain? Most of the numbers I can find on the websites only talk about drive throughput, not network, so I'm hoping some of you with real-world experience can shed some light here."
The Almighty Buck

Computer Models and the Global Economic Crash 361

Anti-Globalism passes along a review in Ars of some recent speculation on the role of interconnected computer models in the global economic crash. "If Ritholtz, Taleb, Mandelbrot, and the rest of the computer modeling and financial engineering naysayers are correct about the big picture, then we really are arguably in the midst a bona fide computer crash. Not an individual computer crash, of course, but a computer crash in the sense of Sun Microsystems' erstwhile marketing slogan, 'the network is the computer.' That is, we have all of these machines in different sectors of the economy, and we've networked all of them together either directly (via an actual network) or indirectly (by using the collective 'output' of machines in one sector as input for the machines in another sector), and like any other computer system the whole thing hums along nicely... up until the point when it doesn't."

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