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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 43 declined, 9 accepted (52 total, 17.31% accepted)

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The Courts

Submission + - Piracy Lawsuits for Dummies (

Skapare writes: "TorrentFreak is reporting that John WIley & Sons is demanding a jury trial in a case of alleged copying of several "... for Dummies" book titles involving 4 named defendants. Mainstream coverage is at BBC.

This is a case to watch because the main evidence is IP addresses, which in an RIAA case expert testimony had desrcibed as "erroneous, unprofessional, and borderline incompetent". I wonder if the printer did it."


Submission + - Your software choice affects battery drain (

Skapare writes: We do know that the busier the CPU is, the more it drains power (and gets hot). Same for the GPU. For netbooks, this might need to influence your software choice, such as Jolicloud vs. Damn Small Linux. And for servers, this might also be important as part of large scale power reductions. Should we run a lean OS and lean server code?

Submission + - Michael Jackson Slammed Record Companies ( 2

Skapare writes: In a recorded interview Michael Jackson did with his friend Brett Ratner, he reveals his lesson learned about the record companies:

BR: What is your greatest lesson learned?
MJ: Not to trust everybody ... not to trust everybody in the industry; there's a lot of sharks. And the record companies steal; they cheat. You have to audit them. And it's time for artists to take a stand against them, because they totally take advantage of them ... totally. They forget that it's the artists who make the company. Not the company make the artist. Without the talent, the company would be nothing but just ... hardware, and just ... you know ... and uh ... it takes a real good talent that the ... that the public wants to see.

The video is in black and white and it may have been secretly recorded. It begins with audio only and video comes on at 2:17 into the recording. At 3:06 the big question is asked.

The Internet

Submission + - Norwegian lawyers must stop chasing file sharers (

Skapare writes: TorrentFreak is reporting that Norway's Simonsen law firm has lost their license to chase after file sharers.

Just days after Norway's data protection department told ISPs they must delete all personal IP address-related data three weeks after collection, it's now become safer than ever to be a file-sharer in Norway. The only law firm with a license to track pirates has just seen it expire and it won't be renewed.

Sounds like Norway's government treats privacy seriously. Maybe they've been watching the abuses in the USA. More info on Norwegian perspective at


Submission + - Autism Linked To Areas Of Higher Precipitation

Skapare writes: "Children living in areas of high precipitation may be more likely to have autism, according to a new study" reports WebMD in a recent article. "I strongly believe it's not the precipitation itself" says the study's lead author about the cause mechanism for autism and autism spectrum disorders. "My sense is, if truly there is an environmental trigger, my guess is it is one of the factors related to indoor activity." That could include reduced vitamin D due to less sunlight, exposure to chemicals in the home, extended TV viewing, or more use of computers. I'm curious why this study comes from a management school rather than a medical school. What is the business perspective on this? An earlier paper by the same authors suggests TV viewing as a possible cause.

Submission + - IRS still wants you to e-file (

Skapare writes: This weekend, millions of people in the USA will be preparing (or having someone else prepare) their income tax returns at the last minute. Or they will be filing form 4868 so they can procrastinate for another six months. When I did mine, I was reading about the e-file program. It seems nothing has changed at the IRS except maybe the list of e-file partners. They still want people to e-file, but they still only accept e-filing through some business that does the e-filing for you. My state has the same requirements for e-filing.

So I printed my tax returns on paper and mailed them like I have for years. It cost me a couple stamps and I am reasonably confident that my tax return information is being kept confidential by this means. My communications is directly between me and the government, sealed in an envelope. My tiny refund will eventually come back in a sealed envelope as a paper check I can deposit in my bank.

So to the big question. OK, a few questions. What will it take for the IRS to be able to accept communications directly from citizens, in electronic form, without the possibility of some business spying on it? Why can't I just send a copy of my tax return electronically directly?

I can understand there are certain issues the IRS faces with people doing direct e-filing. One is the onslaught of internet connections in the first half of April every year. So they have these companies process the e-filing for them and aggregate them in bulk to ease the crunch. So why can't we encrypt the tax returns using an IRS public key so that only the IRS can decrypt them and these e-filing businesses can't snoop? Or is it the case that certain policitians are actually trying to let business get information about us. If the IRS were to ever start accepting tax filings directly electronically, I'd bet a lot of these e-filing business would complain to our elected politicians that their business model is being destroyed.


Submission + - Google puts the e-flux capacitor to work (

Skapare writes: I've been wondering what all the secrecy is about at their new data centers. It seems Google has finally found a way to put the e-flux capacitor to work. Their new feature Gmail Custom Time now allows users to specify when in the past their email will be delivered (restricted to no further back than April 1, 2004). Now we can send yesterday's prank message, tomorrow, and have it arrive today.

Submission + - Granny's got 40 Gbps (not Mbps) (

Skapare writes: Sigbritt Löthberg, 75, of Karlstad, Sweden, has the world's fastest home internet connection at 40 Gbps (that's a G, not an M), according to The Local. At this speed, she could download an HD DVD in 2 seconds, or watch 1500 HD TV shows at the same time. "The most difficult part of the whole project was installing Windows on Sigbritt's PC". I just hope it doesn't get infected by a botnet virus.
The Media

Submission + - Congress considering more low power FM stations (

Skapare writes: According to a ReclaimTheMedia article The Local Community Radio Act of 2007 [PDF] would remove the artificial restrictions imposed on LPFM by a 2000 law passed at the urging of corporate radio giants and NPR, claiming that small community stations would interfere with the signals of larger stations. If passed, this bill will pave the way for educational groups, nonprofits, unions, schools and local governments to launch new local radio stations across the country. More coverage is at Prometheous Radio Project, Free Press, and Expand Low-Power FM. More info via Google.

Submission + - Red Cross criminal background check wants more

Skapare writes: American Radio Relay Leauge President Joel Harrison has issued a statement [PDF] to ARES and other amateur radio volunteers to be cautious when submitting information for a criminal background check the American Red Cross now requires. Harrison (W5ZN) said the League recommends that anyone submitting personal information for a background check very carefully read what they are giving the ARC permission to collect. The Red Cross requires this background check to be conducted online through According to the statement, this third party service requires authorization to obtain additional information such as a credit check and mode-of-living check, which is above and beyond the Red Cross' statement [PDF]of only needing a criminal background check. Using Firefox, I tested the MBC's Red Cross page by clicking on the "request a background check" link and was given a page that says the only acceptable browser is Microsoft's Internet Explorer. If they are that bad at programming a web site, how can I possibly trust they are keeping my private confidential data safe?

The ARRL news article goes on to say: In the course of the application process, prospective volunteers must agree to let MBC obtain a wide range of personal information bearing not just on criminal background and creditworthiness but, MBC says, "character, general reputation [and] personal characteristics." MBC advises, "The nature and scope of this disclosure and authorization is all-encompassing ..."

ARRL Public Service Team Leader Steve Ewald, WV1X, says ARES leaders can assign volunteers who don't want to submit to the ARC criminal background check to ARES duties "away from the action" that don't involve direct interaction with the ARC. "We certainly understand the risks that are involved in having background checks done — such as potential identity theft," Ewald told one worried SEC. "Those volunteers who do go through the background check will, indeed, enter at their own risk in this regard."

The Red Cross says it's gone to great lengths to ensure prospective volunteers are not giving out their Social Security numbers to anyone other than the contractor, and then only through a secure, encrypted Web site. "No additional information is needed," the Red Cross said, nor are the overall results of the background check shared with the ARC.

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