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Submission + - Lazy clause algorithm makes decisions faster (itnews.com.au) 1

schliz writes: Australian researchers have developed a 'combinatorial optimisation' algorithm called the lazy clause generator, which combines low- and high- level programming techniques to solve problems like rostering, resource allocation and Sudoku. The algorithm is part of Government-funded NICTA's G12 constraint programming project, and could speed industrial decision making processes by "orders of magnitude" — however, its developer does not expect it to replace human managers "because in the end, people want to feel like they're in control of the process".

Submission + - Throwing Out Software That Works

theodp writes: Just as the iPhone rendered circa-2007 smartphones obsolete, points out Marco Arment, the iPad is on the verge of doing the same to circa-2010 netbooks. Should this succeed, cautions Dave Winer, we may be entering an era of deliberate degradation of the user experience and throwing overboard of software that works, for corporate reasons. Already, Winer finds himself having to go to a desktop machine if he wants to view web content that's inaccessible with his iPhone and iPad. 'There was no bottleneck for software in the pre-iPad netbooks,' notes Dave. 'It matters. What I want is the convenient form factor without the corporate filter. It's way too simplistic to believe that we'll get that, but we had it. That's what I don't like — deliberate devolution.'

Submission + - Deadly Premonition too scary for Australia? (gamepron.com)

dotarray writes: It's been a while, but Deadly Premonition is officially the first game of 2010 to be Refused Classification in Australia. The controversial horror-adventure game has been effectively banned Down Under, thanks largely to the lack of an adult rating for video games in that country.

Submission + - It's official: Software will be unpatentable in NZ (nzcs.org.nz)

An anonymous reader writes: Despite what appears to be a big-budget lobbying effort by the pro-patent fraternity, Hon Simon Power announced today that he wouldn't be modifying the proposed Patents Bill hence software will be unpatentable once the Bill passes into law.

This is significant. As we've previously pointed out software patents aren't black and white, and there are certainly pros and cons. However on balance, we believe they represent a far greater risk to smaller NZ-based software providers than opportunity, and there are many cases where they have significantly stifled innovation.

We believe it's near impossible for software to be developed without breaching some of the hundreds of thousands of software patents awarded around the world, hence many software companies in New Zealand, creating outstanding and innovative software, live a constant risk that their entire business will be wound up overnight due to litigious action by a patent holder.

This has led to many a "patent troll" company, primarily in the US. These are non-software companies who exist only to buy up old patents with the sole intention of suing innovative software companies for apparent breach of these patents. The effects of this have been chilling.


Submission + - Given truth, the Misinformed Believe Lies More (firedoglake.com) 2

SharpFang writes: In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.

Submission + - Adam Smith and password creation rules (microsoft.com)

isoloisti writes: A study published this week at the ACM Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security compares password creation rules at 75 different sites and concludes that at many websites they are needlessly complex. The need for greater security shows no correlation with the complexity of password requirements. In fact some of the largest and most attacked sites, and those with trillions in assets allow relatively weak policies. Instead websites that must compete for traffic and revenue have less restrictive policies than those where the user has no choice. Retailers and .coms have the weakest policies, banks are next, while .gov and .edus have by far the most stringent.

“Our analysis suggests that strong-policy sites do not have greater security needs. Rather, it appears that they are better insulated from the consequences of imposing poor usability decisions on their users. For commercial retailers like Amazon, and advertising supported sites like Facebook, every login event is a revenue opportunity. At government sites and universities every login event is, at best, neutral, or, at worst, a cost. That simple difference in incentives turns out to be a better predictor of password policy than any security requirement. This in turn suggests that some of stronger policies are needlessly complex: they cause considerable inconvenience for negligible security improvement.”


Submission + - Google SSL Blocked by Schools Across the World (blogspot.com) 2

An anonymous reader writes: Over the past several weeks, the rolling out of Google SSL search has been getting attention here at slashdot, but also some not-so-pleasant obstacles have been in the making much to the frustration of school students and teachers alike. All of this is due to the fact that many content filter vendors have decided to block all google ssl traffic.

While this is being worked on by google to appease these vendors, my question to slashdot is this, "Is it the right of a company to restrict SSL traffic so they can snoop your data, or is it the right of an individual to be entitled to encrypted internet facilities? Also, is the search data you create your data, or your company's?" IANAL but this all seems at odds with the Data Protection Act as some local governments here and here possibly use the very same filtering service for their government employees (as well as the one I work for), and it would also seem to go against the spirit of FIPS (though I appreciate Federal standards are separate from schools in the states).


Submission + - Apple sells apps that don't actually *do* anything

apraetor writes: This app, like many others in the Apple App Store, claims to do things which are patently untrue. In addition, the claims are things which the iPhone OS SDK outright bans developers from doing. For example, the app claims to repair battery capacity issues. Meanwhile, the SDK allows only polling the battery's current charge % and state (i.e. charging, full, discharging). An email I sent to Apple's App Store support last week has gone unanswered.

This app is such bs. It doesn’t actually *do* anything. The “features” it claims are all built-in to iPhone OS anyway. It relies on the naivety of users for sales; it is unfortunate that Apple, which purports to “approve” apps for customer protection, lets dishonest developers openly deceive those same customers for profit. The developer claims that the app “performs maintenance” to restore lost battery life, but the iPhone SDK documentation makes it clear that 3rd party apps can do nothing other than display the current charge of the battery, and the charge status.
“Magical battery-fixing junk”
This app claims to increase your iPhone volume.. yet another piece of Apple-approved deceptive advertising.

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