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Media (Apple)

Apple is DRM's Biggest Backer 400

parvenu74 writes "Arstechnica is running an article pointing out that while some pockets of the entertainment industry are experimenting with DRM-free distribution, Apple Inc, which announced that they have now sold over 2,000,000,000 songs on iTunes, is now the strongest pro-DRM force in digial media. From the article: 'DRM is dying. It's a statement being echoed with increasing frequency around the Web over the last few weeks, and is perhaps best articulated in this Billboard article. But there's a powerful force standing in the way of this DRM-free panacea, and it might not be the one you expect: Apple, Inc.'"

Submission + - Wikipedia's flaws and bludgeons

Parker Peters writes: "In a long past history at Wikipedia, I was at one point an administrator for what I thought was a grand and noble project. I blocked "trolls", I "reverted vandalism", I wrote articles and corrected flaws, I did all the things a good editor and admin are supposed to do. Unfortunately, like all administrators, eventually the power got to me — I did things I'm not proud of, using my powers to help friends and attack people who wrote things I disagreed with.

When I came to my senses, I left wikipedia, leaving behind my goodbye message, which has since been mirrored on Wikitruth and multiple blogs.

I stayed out for some time, and still haven't reclaimed my dormant account. I see as long as the same systemic abuses I complained about are there, it won't be a good encyclopedia.

But I'd like to open this up for a new crop of people to discuss, because it needs discussing. There are three main problems I see:

1) A culture of "admins are always right." In the old days, Jimbo Wales proclaimed that adminship was "no big deal" and admins were "just a user with a few extra buttons." Those days are long gone. Today, the group of 1000 or so admins is an incestuous and self-aggrandizing lot, and any criticism of administrator behavior that doesn't come from another administrator is met with cries of "omg a rouge admin lol" and bannings of the complaining user. I've seen users banned indefinitely based on nothing more than certain agenda guilds who have administrator members taking a dislike to them, or for trying to appeal a block placed on their account in bad faith by these same groups.

2) A culture where games are played, and where the focus is the game. Wikipedia's got a famous set of directives such as AGF (Assume Good Faith) and NPOV (Neutral Point of View), as well as RS (Reliable Sources). Unfortunately, instead of working as intended, these are used as bludgeons. A user who catches another user lying is not to report it, because reporting someone for lying is a violation of "Assume Good Faith." NPOV and RS are used as bludgeons by groups who have agendas to push, making damn sure that only their accepted sources — no matter how good the other side's are — are allowed, and twisting "NPOV" to mean "Our Point of View" by force of numbers.

Worse yet is the prohibition on "wikilawyering", which is inevitably used just to attack new users; if they bring up that an administrator or editor did something against the rules as posted, they'll be banned and harassed for "wikilawyering", even while other users slap "warnings" on their message pages telling them that they're in danger of... breaking the rules.

3) "Consensus" at the expense of accuracy. If one group with an agenda insists that something they don't like — even if it's 100% true — not be in the encyclopedia, it won't ever be in, no matter how valid the source can be provided for it, because including it is "against consensus." At its extremes, this has driven off many good contributors from the project, including research scientists and doctoral experts in their field.

Every day, this goes on. Wikipedia, once a noble goal of providing a free and accurate encyclopedia, has turned into a travesty where little admin-lords control articles along with their editor-group fiefdoms.

My question to the Slashdot readers is: Can it be fixed? Is it possible? Or is it inevitable that it will fall, maybe not today or tomorrow, but after more ongoing scandals and the revelations that it is not a "sum of human knowledge" as the clueless Jimbo Wales claims, but rather a compendium of biased and inaccurate fluff crafted by one too many people with an agenda to push?"

Submission + - Path from interpreted to compiled programming?

Lexible writes: What recommendations do /.ers have for those of us who want to transition from interpreted to compiled programming?

I'm a geeky scientist, but not a CS type at all. Over the years I have rolled my own CGI scripts in Perl, published analytical programs in R/S and other less savory interpreted languages, and lately built stand-alone programs using python/TkInter. More recently still, I have realized the need for much faster programs, and am leaning towards learning C or C++ (or possibly Fortran) to meet these needs.

Should I bypass C and opt for C++ or not? (does C++ make oop easier?)
Are there good books for these languages for folks with far more than a novice level of programming experience?
Are there resources specifically aimed at people in my position?
Are there specific pitfalls should I beware of?

Thanks much!
The Internet

Wikipedia Founder to Give Away Web Hosting 108

eldavojohn writes "Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is going to be giving away free web hosting from his company's site Wikia. The company announced this 'free culture' movement at the current Le Web 3 conference in Paris. They somehow received a $4 million dollar investment package from Bessemer Venture Partners, Omidyar Network and individual investors with no business model. Is this a dotcom bubble style mistake or just proof of Jimmy Wales' golden touch?" From the article: "Openserving will go further than Wikia's current services, by giving away hosting services and bandwidth, in addition to allowing site creators to keep the advertising revenue generated by the site. 'If we give away the bandwidth and the storage, and we get none of the advertising revenue, what's the business model? Well, I don't know yet,' Penchina said. The software acquired with ArmchairGM will let Openserving customers create collaborative publishing sites, combining elements of blogs and wikis."

Journal Journal: AMD Describes Road to 45-nm Processors

AMD described their road to 45-nm processors this week in academic papers. The strategy is based on three fundamental techniques: "the use of immersion lithography, which uses a lens of purified water to help manufacture the components; an "ultra" low-k dielectric, which lowers the capacitance of the chip, allowing lower power consumption; and an improved version of "strained silicon," which has applied four different

Submission + - Google Web Toolkit now 100% Open Source

chrisd writes: "When we first released the Google Web Toolkit (GWT) we were focused on building a great tool for people to build AJAX apps with. Now, we're happy to announce that all of the GWT source code is available, including the Java to JavaScript compiler and the debugging browser, under the Apache 2.0 license. If you'd like to see how we pulled off letting you avoid dealing with nasty browser quirks, you should take a look. More importantly, we're running this like a true open source project now: we'll be developing GWT completely in the open, as per our project charter. More info on the GWT blog"
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Reuters Make Human Traders Obselete

MattSparkes writes: "Reuters are making a tagged RSS feed of all their ~8000 daily stories available, for use in online trading systems. These systems digest news, and use that information to guess what will happen to the financial markets. From the article; "Today about 60 per cent of trading in the United States is conducted by computer; in London the proportion is estimated to be 40 per cent.""
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - IT Pro and the Job for Family/Friend

beerdini writes: "I know that many IT Pros are often asked by family, friends, co-workers, etc... to fix their computers or other tech toys, or especially around the holidays, set up the new toys that people buy. How do most people determine how to be compensated for these services, are there standard price ranges that are fixed for everyone or price cuts for different groups.

I have a BS in Computer Info. Systems, A+ and Net+ certifications, and I usually vary my pricing for family, friends, and everyone else. Family I usually let get away with a dinner & movie or free will donation, which usually goes for about $40-100 depending on the job. Friends I usually go with $20-40/hr. min. 1hr or they cover the bill for a night at the bar, depending on the job. And everyone else I usually go with a $40-80/hr. min. 1hr, depending on the job.

Is what I'm doing similar to what other IT Pros do? How do other IT Pros determine how much to charge for the personal jobs that we all get asked to do?"

Submission + - New service to detect disposable email addresses

mawhin writes: appears to be peddling a collaborative service to detect and block the use of disposable email addresses. Are we about to see an arms race here? From TFA...
This is a collaborative protection system against disposable email addressing (DEA). More explicitly, * Protects site owners' biggest assets; userbase and emails * Prevents userbase contamination by fake accounts * As critical as email validity check * Stops people registering your services with disposable email accounts like, pookmail * Detects public accounts (spread from sites like and bans them * Working principle is similar to spam blacklists like; power of masses * Totally free, your donations are welcome Technically speaking, this is a web service that provides you API to check email credibility against disposable hosts and fake accounts. We currently support only REST, XML-RPC protocols and PHP serialization but SOAP and JSON are on the way as well.

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