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Submission + - Robbery Suspects Caught Via GPS (

TechnologyResource writes: Apparently GPS isn't just for the geographically challenged anymore. Just last week, the FBI and local police were able to track down suspects in a suburban Chicago bank robbery thanks to two credit-card-sized Global Positioning System devices that had been stuffed in with the stolen cash. Debbie Jemison, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Bankers Association in Springfield, said she first started hearing about use of the GPS devices about two years ago, but this was the first time in Illinois "we are aware of" in which they were used to solve a bank robbery. Last week's robbery, according to the FBI affidavit, took place around 10:40 a.m. Dec. 30 at the TCF Bank on Torrence Avenue in Calumet City, Ill., in Cook County. One robber, about 6 feet tall, clad in a black hooded jacket, dark skull cap and scarf over his face, walked up to the teller with a small pistol and said, "Don't push any buttons," according to the eight-page affidavit. Moments later, a second robber, about 5-foot-9 and wearing a tight-fitting mask, jumped over the counter and gathered the money, which included two GPS devices, according to the affidavit. A third man was involved in the planning of the robbery, according to court papers. By 11 a.m., the FBI had "identified the approximate location of the tracking devices," the affidavit said. Police went to a home on Wabash Avenue in Dolton and spotted a dark-colored ski mask and dark clothing inside a car. The FBI then pinpointed a home with tracking devices and found one of the suspects inside. Another one had been picked up on the street a short time before, and a third was caught not long after, the affidavit said. Brad Borst, president of Rocky Mountain Tracking in Fort Collins, Colo., which sells the devices to banks for about $500 each, says he sees a promising future for sales. "I think there's a growing demand," he said.

Submission + - Radar Beats GPS in Court - Or Does It? (

TechnologyResource writes: More than two years ago, a police officer wrote Shaun Malone a ticket for going 62mph in a 45-mph zone. Malone was ordered to pay a $190 fine, but his parents appealed the decision, saying data from a GPS tracking system they installed in his car to monitor his driving proved he was not speeding. What ensued was the longest court battle over a speeding ticket in county history. The case also represented the first time anyone locally has tried to beat a ticket using GPS.
The teen's GPS pegged the car at 45 mph in virtually the same location. At issue was the distance from the stoplight — site of the first GPS “ping” that showed Malone stopped — to the second ping 30 seconds later, when he was going 45 mph.

Last week, Commissioner Carla Bonilla ruled the GPS data confirmed the prosecution's contention that Malone had to have exceeded the speed limit and would have to pay the $190 fine.
“This case ensures that other law enforcement agencies throughout the state aren't going to have to fight a case like this where GPS is used to cast doubt on radar,” said Sgt. Ken Savano, who oversees the traffic division. However, Commissioner Bonilla noted the accuracy of the GPS system was not challenged by either side in the dispute, but rather they had different interpretations of the data. Bonilla ruled the GPS data confirmed the prosecution's contention that Malone had to have exceeded the speed limit.

Original Slahdot story:


Submission + - Does Microsoft Complicate Licensing on Purpose? (

snydeq writes: "Recent remarks by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer suggest that Microsoft keeps its licensing complicated for a reason, and that it has no plans to make it any simpler in the foreseeable future. As Ballmer sees it, complicated licensing is a boon for some customers, allowing them 'to use the fine print to save themselves money.' IT, however, sees the matter differently — especially when it comes to Client Access Licenses (CALs), which some consider 'the most evil thing Microsoft has ever done.' Microsoft's licensing is unique in that it requires companies to purchase CALs for each employee who uses Microsoft's business software, in addition to whatever per-CPU pricing they pay for a piece of software. And for IT, knowing whether enough CALs have been purchased to keep from violating their Microsoft licensing agreement is daunting, analysts contend. The result? 'Customers end up buying more than they need, thus paying for licenses they aren't using.' The issue is certain to be further complicated by Microsoft's movement toward offering a mix of traditional software and hosted services."

Submission + - Time Warner being blocked by

An anonymous reader writes: Just reported in KC; Time Warner has a ticket open stating that Godaddy is blocking all Time Warner customers. I wonder what's going on there. For me, I cannot access On top of that, all of the sites I host on are not accessable from my Time Warner cable. If I hook up my phone as a data connection, it works fine, and it works fine from other users in the area who are not Time Warner customers.

Submission + - Amazon admits international premium for Kindle (

pasm writes: The Guardian is reporting that yet again there is a tax being exacted from a retailer for not living in the right country. It seems that Amazon will levy a 40% premium for users in some countries to get content onto the Kindle. Is it just me or is the attraction of a good old fashioned book with no battery requirements and no recall-without-my-agreement function still there.

Submission + - Video games: threat to the great outdoors ( 1

bfwebster writes: Randall Parker, over at the always informative FuturePundit, calls attention to a study that claims that video games are a threat to support for the conservation of nature. The argument goes like this: people who play video games are less likely to be involved in outdoor activities, such as camping, hiking, and so forth; most support for conservation comes from people who are heavily involved in said outdoor activities; therefore, the more people who play video games, the fewer people who will support conservation. QED. Logical fallacies are left as an exercise to the Slashdot reader.

Submission + - Harvard's robotic bees generate high-tech buzz (

coondoggie writes: Harvard researchers recently got a $10 million grant to create a colony of flying robotic bees, or RoboBees to among other things, spur innovation in ultra-low-power computing and electronic "smart" sensors; and refine coordination algorithms to manage multiple, independent machines. The 5-year, National Science Foundation-funded RoboBee project could lead to a better understanding of how to artificially mimic the unique collective behavior and intelligence of a bee colony; foster novel methods for designing and building an electronic surrogate nervous system able to deftly sense and adapt to changing environments; and advance work on the construction of small-scale flying mechanical devices, according to the Harvard RoboBee Web site.

Wireless Networking

Submission + - Verizon, Google Team For Android Devices (

TechnologyResource writes: Verizon Wireless and Google announced Tuesday that together they will bring to market a variety of Android-powered devices to the largest U.S. wireless operator. "The Android platform allows Verizon Wireless customers to experience faster and easier access to the Web from any location," said Google CEO Eric Schmidt, in a statement. "Through this partnership, we hope to deliver greater innovation in the mobile space to consumers across the United States." The move will likely focus on the consumer market initially, as most current Android devices are aimed at mainstream users. Google said it plans to make future version of the Linux-based operating system more enterprise-friendly, and this could potentially eventually lead to features such Microsoft Exchange being baked into the source code. Verizon said its Android devices will come with the Android Market preloaded, and the wireless operator will support Google Voice. Verizon will be preloading some of its apps onto the devices, as well as tailoring the OS to provide a distinctive user experience.

Submission + - G-20 Tweeters arrested reporting police movements (

krou writes: Two men, Michael Wallschlaeger and Elliot Madison, were arrested during the G-20 protests for reporting police movements to protesters. Pennsylvania State Police raided the motel room they were staying in at the time, and discovered them listening to police and EMS scanners, and alerting protesters via Twitter and cellphone about the movements of law enforcement. They are accused of 'hindering apprehension, criminal use of communication facility and possessing instruments of crime', but there is also speculation that the prosecution may also try to show that the information they provided assisted in helping people commit crimes. Witold Walczak from the ACLU noted that, 'Investigating the government and broadcasting information about it would seem to be constitutionally protected communication. If the police want to communicate privately, there are certainly ways to do that, and police radios are not one of those. How can it be a crime? It's not a secure communication. ... We tend to applaud the use of Twitter when it's in Iran and protests we like. But we're much more nervous about it when it's protests we don't like.' The FBI have also since raided Madison's residence in Queens, New York, to investigate possible infractions of "federal rioting laws", and confiscated a wide range of material, including 'gas masks, computers, corked glass vials, beakers and test tubes'.

Submission + - Facebook Wants to Kill It's Development Community ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: In attempting to defy history and prove that a platform can be successfully adopted without a supportive developer ecosystem, Facebook has once again taken to shutting down third party applications without warning or any recourse of action for the developer.

You'll carefully note that they are shutting down applications for displaying ads that they themselves display through their own network.

I'm quite certain that minority shareholder, Microsoft, wouldn't be too happy about this. Mind you, if Zuckerberg's goal is to streamline the interface to compete better with Twitter, scaring away third party developers is certainly a way to go.

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