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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 7 declined, 1 accepted (8 total, 12.50% accepted)

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Submission + - Duke University leaves Usenet for good (duke.edu)

Torodung writes:

On May 20, Duke will shut down its Usenet server, which provides access to a worldwide electronic discussion network of newsgroups started in 1979 by two Duke graduate students, Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis.

Given the size and scope of Usenet, this is more of a footnote, but the article at Duke Today online has all sorts of interesting trivia, pictures, and an homage to this vibrant but ailing medium, including a brief trivia quiz about the Usenet.


Submission + - 'EULA-like' Issues Extended To Medical Forms

Torodung writes: In his InfoWorld 'Gripelog,' Ed Foster tells an interesting story about medical privacy. A colonoscopy patient is given a form with fine print that implies a contractual agreement, which Foster compares to click-agreement EULA's. 'The [patient] decided not to submit the form.'

'The more the reader thought about the form (along with all the worries and stresses of prepping for a colonosocpy) (sic), the less he liked it. "Why would they need my Social Security number?" he wondered. "Is this a genuine request for medical information or some kind of marketing thing or even an identity theft scam? To have my SSN, date of birth and all this other information on a form that will be passed from hand to hand around a hospital and who knows what other organizations is VERY questionable."

To summarize: The only reason the patient knew there was a privacy concern at all was because the HIPAA act required boilerplate text stating that he was entering an agreement, but the terms of his agreement, and indeed that it was not mandatory, was left ambiguous.

Submission + - Comcast takes high road - proposes self regulation

Torodung writes: In a recent move, Comcast has proposed a 'P2P Bill of Rights,' joining the ranks of every great monopoly when threatened by government regulation for alleged misbehavior. They have instead proposed comprehensive industry self-regulation and cooperation with major P2P software vendors as a lesser evil:

Comcast is looking to further position itself as proactively — and responsibly — addressing the issue of managing peer-to-peer traffic that traverses its network, announcing Tuesday it will lead an industry-wide effort to create a "P2P Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" for users and Internet service providers.
It will be interesting to see how this story develops.

Submission + - Warning: Vista gadgets a potential malware vector

Torodung writes: This in, from the Microsoft Technet Flash newsletter:

A final security note: If you are running Windows Vista Sidebar Gadgets, they are subject to cross-site scripting style bugs. These bugs are extremely serious because script in the Sidebar is capable of running arbitrary code in the context of the locally logged-on user. This article outlines some of the secure programming best practices that should be considered when building Windows Vista Sidebar Gadgets. Check out Inspect Your Gadget for some of the secure programming best practices that should be considered when building Windows Vista Sidebar Gadgets.
In summary, badly coded Gadgets are a potential spyware/malware vector in the Windows operating system, as ActiveX and BHO's were previously, and Gadget input needs to be scrubbed for the same URI problems that Firefox recently fixed in v2.0.0.6, amongst other pitfalls. If you use Vista, you need to keep a careful eye on your Gadgets, and if you code a Gadget, the linked article gives some "best practices" to avoid becoming part of the problem.

Submission + - Crewmen 3 Sheets To the Wind Before Entering Orbit

Torodung writes: The BBC (and many others) reports that, on at least two separate occasions, astronauts were cleared for shuttle launch while "so intoxicated... that flight surgeons and-or fellow astronauts raised concerns... regarding flight safety." Not good.

In other news, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton's applications to NASA were flatly rebuffed. Sorry, it's a cheap joke, but NASA coverage is starting to look less like the science page and more like the entertainment page these days.

Submission + - Microsoft Fixes "iPod Bug" In Vista

Torodung writes: "Well, some more grist for the mill in the Apple iPod/Vista story. ComputerWorld reports that Microsoft just released a patch to keep Windows Vista from scrambling users' iPods and addressed some similar issues with Cannon cameras as well. From the article:

Earlier this month, Apple updated iTunes to Version 7.1.1 to patch several Vista-related problems, but left others — including the Safely Remove Hardware bug — unfixed. At the time, Apple said it was "actively working with Microsoft to resolve a few remaining known issues." It had also recommended that users select the Eject iPod option on the iTunes Controls menu to remove an iPod from a Vista PC's USB port.
(Be the first to tag this "defectivebydesign" and win a free lollipop!)"

Submission + - IE Tab suddenly slow

Torodung writes: "*NOT FOR PUBLICATION* 6:26GMT 11/08/06 IE Tab extension is suddenly running very slowly on my computer for no apparent reason on every site. I downloaded an update as a result (v1.20.20061106). Same issue. When I use the function to launch IE in its own browser from Firefox, it is quick as ever. It only happens when I launch it in embedded in Firefox Embedded IE works *fine* elsewhere, in my Weatherbug window, for instance. I suspect Microsoft is at the heart of this (in fact, I was wondering when they'd get around to it) and am wondering if anyone else has reported this issue, or if someone has a link to an article about it. Didn't know how to get in touch with you guys otherwise, but it's definitely a scoop if my suspicions are correct. I'm sorry I don't have a link or anything substantive to add. Consider this a "tip" instead of an article. If there's a good email addy I can use to get in touch with the community to report such things, rather than the story submission channel, please accept my apologies for being a moron and direct my tired eyes to the appropriate place. Thanks. — Toro"

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