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Submission + - FCC broadband tool collects private data (

vesuvana writes: In its public push to seem competent about eventually controlling US broadband access, FCC announced tool to test home Internet speed. It uses the tool but adds overlay of requiring private data be entered and then a java download to see results. So is this for our benefit or the government's?

Submission + - The Future of Publishing (

this_boat_is_real writes: CEO Mike Serbinis of e-book startup Kobo, Inc. shared in February his top 10 insights into the world of publishing. Among his thoughts were the implications of many of the major publishing houses moving from the reseller model to the Agency model — a model in which the publisher fixes the price of an e-book and prevents the use of discounts, coupons, and the like. What this means is higher prices for e-books and equivalent prices across the various resellers. Serbinis also predicted the emergence of the $99 e-reader.

Submission + - SPAM: Ford developing anti-hacking technology 3

microford writes: "Ford is developing anti-hacking technology in a bid to make upcoming in-car WiFi systems resistant against drive-by downloads and other forms of computer security attacks

How, tell me more ...

"The next generation of Ford SYNC, a built-in vehicle comms and entertainment system developed by Ford and Microsoft, will come with secure WiFi access and a built-in browser running on top of a Windows CE operating system"

I don't think so .. :)

Submission + - Linux Distro for an Old Lappy ( 2

BJ_Covert_Action writes: So I just zero filled an old Dell Inspiron 4100 laptop and am looking to revive it into a decent machine. It is running a Pentium-III M processor, 128 MB of RAM, and has a 30 GB hard drive slotted into it. I would like to slap a Linux distribution on the old girl as I figure that is the best way to make use of its hardware. Currently, I only have experience with Ubuntu on a couple of desktop computers. I have been fiddling with Ubuntu for about a year and a half now. I am comfortable on the command line, with the Gnome desktop, and with the file structure (i.e. /etc, /usr, and so on). I don't really know how to rank myself as a user other than that I tend to be able to get things done and, as long as I can get to Google, I am pretty decent at learning new Linux tricks on Ubuntu.

However, for this old clunker of a laptop, Ubuntu is a bit heavy. So I am looking for a newer (possibly better) and smaller distribution. I would like to use the laptop, primarily, for internet access, office applications, some music (in mp3 format), and, of course, perl hacking. That said, responsiveness is more important to me than having access to scores of programs. I would also like to get some new lessons out of this distribution and maybe learn a bit more about Linux (I hear both Arch Linux and Slackware are good for that). Some ease of use would be nice as jumping feet first into a full inferno of bewilderment would likely frustrate me. Furthermore, I might use this little laptop as a platform to let some friends try out Linux and see what they think.

So, with all that said, I have looked at Puppy Linux, Damn Small Linux, Xubuntu, Debian, PCLinuxOS, Slackware, Arch Linux, and Linux Mint. I am leaning towards Puppy Linux or DSL as the rest seem to be a little hardware hungry for my particular system. Puppy Linux appears to focus on user friendliness, but I don't know how much I could learn from it. DSL seems like it could be one hell of a ride, but from what I have read, there is no package management system (though I guess there is some kind of apt enable option you can check now?) which seems like it could make using DSL a pain. When it comes down to it. I am looking to clear up some of these rumors I have heard and get a few dotters' thoughts and ideas on which distributions might meet my requirements best.

Also, as one last note, I tend to use the internet to figure out solutions to most of my problems, so any distributions with a vibrant online community earn a ++ in my book.


For September, Book-Related Apps Overtook Games On iPhone 96

ruphus13 writes "In a sign that ebooks are rising in popularity, a recent survey by mobile analytics company Flurry revealed that users may be using the iPhone for more intellectual pursuits, and not just the visual sizzle. The 'book-related' apps on the iPhone overtook games in terms of new apps released. According to the post, 'Book-related apps saw an upsurge in launches in September ... So much so that book-related applications overtook games in the App Store as a percentage of all released apps. The trend isn't an aberration. In October, one out of every five new applications launching on the iPhone was a book ... from August 2008 to the same month in 2009, more apps were released in the 'games' category than any other and, as a result, the iPhone (and iPod touch) became a new handheld gaming platform, one that impacted the Nintendo DS. '"

Toyota Develops New Flower Species To Reduce Pollution 211

teko_teko writes "Toyota has created two flower species that absorb nitrogen oxides and take heat out of the atmosphere. The flowers, derivatives of the cherry sage plant and the gardenia, were specially developed for the grounds of Toyota's Prius plant in Toyota City, Japan. The sage derivative's leaves have unique characteristics that absorb harmful gases, while the gardenia's leaves create water vapour in the air, reducing the surface temperature of the factory surrounds and, therefore, reducing the energy needed for cooling, in turn producing less carbon dioxide."

Apple Says Booting OS X Makes an Unauthorized Copy 865

recoiledsnake writes "Groklaw has an extensive look at the latest developments in the Psystar vs. Apple story. There's a nice picture illustrating the accusation by Apple that Psystar makes three unauthorized copies of OS X. The most interesting, however, is the last copy. From Apple's brief: 'Finally, every time Psystar turns on any of the Psystar computers running Mac OS X, which it does before shipping each computer, Psystar necessarily makes a separate modified copy of Mac OS X in Random Access Memory, or RAM. This is the third unlawful copy.' Psystar's response: 'Copying a computer program into RAM as a result of installing and running that program is precisely the copying that Section 117 provides does not constitute copyright infringement for an owner of a computer program. As the Ninth Circuit explained, permitting copies like this was Section 117's purpose.' Is Apple seriously arguing that installing a third party program and booting OS X results in copyright infringement due to making a derivative work and an unauthorized copy?"

The Most Influential People In Open Source 189

mmaney writes "As part of its 2009 open source best practices research, MindTouch asked C and VP level open source executives who they thought are the most influential people in the industry today. The list is ranked by the effect these individuals have had on the open source industry. Over 50 votes from executives in Europe and North America were cast. There were a few surprises from outside of the open source industry. Steve Ballmer got a mention because of his negative remarks on the open source industry and its subsequent positive impact. Vivek Kundra was mentioned because of his contributions to the industry inside the US Federal Government. Notably absent, however, are any influential women." Relatedly, Matt Asay (who is also on the list) writes about the decreased need for open-source evangelism, noting that several people on the list are there "not because they're open-source cheerleaders, but because they have helped vendors and customers alike understand how to get the most from open-source investments."
The Internet

Blogger Humiliates Town Councillors Into Resigning 227

Dr_Barnowl writes "In an occurrence first postulated in sci-fi and later lampooned by stick figures, it seems that a blogger has actually been responsible for the mass resignation of elected officials — a British town council — largely by calling them 'jack***es' and Nazis. What's next? The deposition of a president with 'your mom' smacktalk?"

Moon-Excavation Robots Face Off 61

avishere writes "Student teams designed and built robotic power-lifters to excavate simulated lunar soil (a.k.a. 'regolith') earlier this month, with $750,000 in prizes up for grabs. Excavating regolith, according to NASA, will be an important part of any construction projects or processing of natural resources on the Moon. Interestingly, regolith is especially difficult to dig because its dust particles want to stick together. The whole robotic system has to be sturdy enough to scoop moon dirt and powerful enough to move through the dust while still meeting the weight requirements. The winning excavator, from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, lifted 1,103 pounds within the allotted time, and got its creators a sweet $500,000 for their troubles."

Adobe Pushing For Flash and PDF In Open Government Initiative 172

angryrice tips news that Adobe seems to be campaigning for the inclusion of Flash and PDF in the Obama administration's efforts at increasing government transparency and openness. A post from the Sunlight Labs blog is critical of Adobe's undertaking, in part since PDF is often "non-parsable by software, unfindable by search engines, and unreliable if text is extracted." They also say government's priority should be to publish datasets and the APIs to interact with them, rather than choosing how they're displayed in fancy graphs and charts.

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