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How Do You Deal With Pirated Programs At Work? 958

LoneAdminOK writes "I started working for a small company in the middle of January as their IT Manager. I am the first actual 'IT Guy' that they have had; before me it was someone that performed another job within the company and just handled the IT on the side. The problem that I am running into is that most of the software I am finding on the network and on people's computers isn't owned by the company. The person before me would just get it from 'somewhere' and install it on the computers as needed. This is putting me in a bad position when I have to reinstall the program or find it to install on someone else's computer. Often, I am telling people that we don't have it or we have to buy another license, and they get mad at me because the other guy said that we had it. I can't even tell where the versions of Windows Server that they are running came from. The only one I know is legit is the one that is installed on an HP server with the OEM sticker on it. How have any of you handled a situation like this? I don't install 'borrowed programs' in a production environment because I know that if the BSA got wind of this, it would all fall on me when they stormed in."

Colliding Galaxies Reveal Colossal Black Holes 134

Matt_dk writes "New observations made with the Submillimeter Array of telescopes in Hawaii suggest that black holes — thought to exist in many, if not all, galaxies — were common even in the early Universe, when galaxies were just beginning to form. Astronomers have found two very different galaxies in the distant Universe, both with colossal black holes at their hearts, involved in a spectacular collision."

Comment Ubuntu 8.10 and transparent encryption (Score 1) 940

When dealing with the Almighty Government, encryption is not the solution. Stop believing in this myth, they can find their way into your crypt vault, one way or another, if they really want to. And no, cracking the encryption is not their only tool.

With that being said, I am going to install Ubuntu 8.10 on my laptop and all my workstations as soon as it's released at the end of October. It has a very neat feature - it allows you to create a Private folder which is encrypted. You can then move things such as your Firefox files into that folder, and symlink them to the original location. Anything you move into Private gets encrypted. Very nice.

Again, this is not to "protect" my data against Three Letter Agencies, but to prevent snooping from nosy sysadmins at work, to prevent data theft if my laptop gets stolen, etc. It's not perfect, there are ways around it, but it's better than nothing.

As far as the Three Letter Agencies are concerned, I have nothing to hide. That's probably the best policy.


Alternative Uses For an Old Satellite Dish? 552

ya really writes "My family has one of those BUDs (Big Ugly Dishes) sitting in their back yard still. The other day they asked me if I would take it apart for them. Aside from simply recycling it, I was wondering if there are any alternatives for its use. It was one of the last made before DirectTV and Dish took over satellite broadcasting, and even has a digital receiver. I'd say it was made around 1996."

Wikipedia To Host Human Gene Repository 73

schliz writes "US scientists are developing a 'Gene Wiki' with the aim of fostering a flexible, organic archive of human genetic information. The project exists within Wikipedia, and is expected to speed up the process of deciphering genome sequences."

Japan Imposes "Fine On Fat" 1271

An anonymous reader writes "A recently-introduced law in Japan requires all businesses to have mandatory obesity checks (video link) for all their employees and employees' family members over the age of 40, CNN reports. If the employee or family member is deemed obese, and does not lose the extra fat soon, their employer faces large fines. The legislated upper limit for the waistline is 33.5" for men, and 35.5" for women. Should America adopt universal health insurance, could we live to see the same kind of individual health regulations imposed on us by the government? By comparison, the average waistline in America in 2005 was 39 inches for men, 37 inches for women."
The Courts

Legal Trouble For Multiple ISPs 303

Ars Technica reports that Comcast has been hit with three new class-action lawsuits due to the company's traffic-shaping practices. "The lawsuits ... ask that Comcast be barred from continuing to violate various state laws, in addition to unspecified damages." Meanwhile, members of the US House Telecommunications Subcommittee have asked Charter Communications' president to stop testing a program which uses Deep Packet Inspection to track the habits of its customers. A number of privacy groups have voiced their support (PDF). As if that weren't enough, it seems the City of Los Angeles is suing Time Warner for fraud and deceptive business practices. The Daily News notes, "... the City Attorney is seeking $2,500 in civil penalties for each violation of the Unfair Competition law as well as an additional $2,500 civil penalty for each violation described in the complaint perpetrated against one or more senior citizens or disabled persons."

Building a Miniature Magnetic Earth 150

Doofus writes "There was an interesting story on NPR this morning about a geophysicist who has constructed a miniature earth to model the earth's dynamo effects. Dan Lathrop, a geophysicist at the University of Maryland, has constructed a 10-foot diameter stainless steel sphere. He intends to fill the sphere with molten sodium and spin the sphere to examine the propensity for the system to generate its own magnetic field. The article includes both video, in which Lathrop spins up the sphere, and audio, including the conversion of magnetic wave functions in prior experiments into audible sound: literally the music of the spheres."

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