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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 63 declined, 22 accepted (85 total, 25.88% accepted)

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Submission + - Official: AdBlock is legal. (bbc.co.uk)

gbjbaanb writes: The creator of software that stops adverts from appearing on websites has defeated two news publishers that want to prevent its tech being used on their pages.

The owners of Germany's Die Zeit and Handelsblatt had claimed that AdBlock Plus's product was anti-competitive and threatened their ability to make money.

But a court in Hamburg ruled that users do have the right to use the plug-in.

Submission + - Starter kit for IoT development (bbc.co.uk)

gbjbaanb writes: A "starter kit" designed to spur on the invention of internet-connected gadgets has been announced as part of a tie-up between chip designer ARM and IBM.

They say it can take just five minutes to unbox the equipment and start sending readings to online apps, including software tools from IBM. The box is made by Freescale and pricing will be between $50 and $200.

Submission + - BBC drops WMA for Mpeg-dash (bbc.co.uk)

gbjbaanb writes: The BBC has converted its legacy WMA (Windows Media Audio) streams to the "industry-wide and open source" Mpeg Dash format. whilst this has left some users of old devices unable to receive the broadcasts, the BBC has claimed the use of WMA was 'prohibitively expensive to operate' when existing licence agreements ran out.

The BBC says that they are working with "radio industry and manufacturers towards using just one standard".

Submission + - Official - Big Brother really is listening (bbc.co.uk)

gbjbaanb writes: When even the manufacturer of your TV tells you not to discuss personal information in listening distance of your TV, you know our technology has gone crazy, but that's exactly what Samsung is telling its customers of its own smart TVs.

[Samsung's] policy explains that the TV set will be listening to people in the same room to try to spot when commands are issued. It goes on to warn: "If your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party."

Submission + - Dear Apple, pay tax or we'll sue you (bbc.co.uk)

gbjbaanb writes: The EU is to decry Apple's tax arrangements with Ireland, Luxembourg and Holland tomorrow, stating that their tax deals amount to "illegal state aid". Penalties if found guilty are massive fines (probably still less than if Apple had paid the 'expected' amount of tax). It suggests an interesting way of making companies pay tax, and I imagine Google, Microsoft et al will be next if this case succeeds.

Submission + - Why Banana skins are slippery wins IgNobel (improbable.com)

gbjbaanb writes: This year's Ig Nobel prize was won by Japanese researchers investigating why banana skins produced a frictionless surface compared to apple and orange peels.
(apparently "The polysaccharide follicular gels that give banana skins their slippery properties are also found in the membranes where our bones meet." so its not all fun and jollity)

Other prizes were awarded for noting that dogs only defecate when aligned with north-south magnetic fields, and that 'night owl' people are more likely to be psychopaths than early risers. Yes, that probably includes you.

Submission + - So black you can't see it. (dailymail.co.uk)

gbjbaanb writes: A British company is developing a new material that’s so black it absorbs all but 0.035 percent of the visual light, making it the darkest material ever created.

Of course, apart from making album covers, it conducts heat 7 times better than copper and is 10 times stronger than steel.

the pictures are the best, it looks like its sitting on some foil, but its grown on the foil which is all crinkled and bent — only people who have seen it say that it looks smooth because so little light is being reflected.

Submission + - AMD's new gfx API Mantle offers 40% framerate improvement over OpenGL and Dx (arstechnica.com)

gbjbaanb writes: AMD has a new low-level graphics API to take on OpenGL and DirectX. It works by reducing the amount of overhead involved in most graphics operations and getting closer to the metal which results in some substantial frame rate improvements, especially on CPU bound systems.

AMD have been talking about the possibility to hand over control to Khronos Group in the future and that they have a SDK scheduled later this year which will make it possible for Intel and Nvidia to start working on support for Mantel if they want to.

Submission + - Fight ash dieback disease.. on facebook (bbc.co.uk)

gbjbaanb writes: Remember folding@home and similar massively distributed programs that tried to get enough computing power to help fightr diseases, the latest one is a little different. In the UK, Ash Dieback disease is has been imported from the continent and is killing all the native ash trees, so researchers have created a crowd-sourced game to match genetic sequences of resistant trees.

Computer systems to match thousands of sequences are difficult to do, but humans are very good at pattern matching, which is why the game was created.

And released on Facebook to reach a wide community, who can play an entertaining puzzle game without having to pay for a single f*** sheep (or leaf). About time.


Submission + - Interplanetary Internet tested on the ISS (bbc.co.uk)

gbjbaanb writes: At last — we have a new Internet protocol (eat your heart out IPv6) — called DTN (for disruption tolerant networking).

This "interplanetary internet" has been used by an astronaut at the International Space Station (ISS) to send commands to a robot on Earth and will be used primarily for communication with distant nodes.


Submission + - Windows 7 finally overtakes XP (zdnet.com)

gbjbaanb writes: Microsoft Windows 7 has finally overtaken the 11-year-old Windows XP operating system on web-based market share figures from Netmarketshare

So what does this mean for Windows 8? Another 5 years before it has as many installations as Windows 7, does that mean that writing Metrp-only apps on a OS that doesn't have critical mass will be as successful as Silverlight?


Submission + - Nokia sells Qt to Digia (arstechnica.com)

gbjbaanb writes: Finnish software company Digia announced today that it is acquiring the Qt software business from Nokia. Digia plans to pick up where Nokia left off, continuing Qt development but renewing the toolkit’s focus on cross-platform support.

Submission + - Apple assisting the trade in stolen iPhones (channel4.com)

gbjbaanb writes: Need a new iDevice? Simple — first steal one, then 'accidentally' break it and take it to your nearest Apple store and present it for warranty repair, and an Apple 'genius' will hand you a brand new one, no questions asked.

So Apple could help make stolen iPhones useless to the thief by locking them, or they could be encouraging thieves who know they'll get a brand new one to sell on. More worryingly, this will invalidate your insurance:

Charlie Durrant was a victim of iPhone theft. After her handset was stolen last year she reported the theft to Apple and her insurer. However, when she requested a replacement phone, her insurer told her that one had already been issued in her name. The thief had taken advantage of Apple's lack of checks. ... "someone had just gone in and got a brand new one, making my insurance invalid."


Submission + - European eID announced (zdnet.co.uk)

gbjbaanb writes: On Wednesday, the European Commission published a strategy document aimed at setting up systems to protect children online. In the document — but not in the accompanying press release nor the citizens' summary — the Commission mentioned that it will soon propose a "pan-European framework for electronic authentication", full details will be announced on 30th May.

The launch of the strategy follows a push to strengthen internet security in the EU. It also outlined legal measures to make it easier for people to use a single e-ID for online services across borders, which would underpin a move toward a pan-European framework for electronic identification, authentication and signature (Pefias) framework.

Submission + - Amazon accused of bullying small firms, and inflat (dailymail.co.uk) 1

gbjbaanb writes: Online shopping giant Amazon has been accused of artificially inflating prices by banning firms that trade on its website from selling goods more cheaply elsewhere on the internet.

Amazon has ordered them to ‘maintain parity between the terms on which you offer or sell each item through Amazon’ and the amount they charge for the same product on other sites.

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C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Informatique. -- Bosquet [on seeing the IBM 4341]