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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 21 declined, 4 accepted (25 total, 16.00% accepted)

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Submission + - Most Citizens of the Star Wars Galaxy are Functionally Illiterate (tor.com)

iluvcapra writes: Ryan Britt at Tor.com makes a bit of analysis that I think we'd have some fun with, in agreement or otherwise:

Not once in any Star Wars movie does someone pick up a book or newspaper, magazine, literary journal, or chapbook handmade by an aspiring Jawa poet. [...]As early as the 1990s-era expanded Star Wars books and comic books, we’re introduced to ancient Jedi “texts” called holocrons, which are basically talking holographic video recordings. Just how long has the Star Wars universe been reliant on fancy technology to transfer information as opposed to the written word? Is it possible that a good number of people in Star Wars are completely illiterate?

Read the whole thing,


Submission + - Google, Handset Vendors at Odds over Openness (businessweek.com)

iluvcapra writes: It would appear that now that Android has achieved a commanding share of the smartphone market, openness for the sake of openness is no longer a driving priority. Ashley Vance and Peter Burroughs report for Bloomberg on the latest phase of Google's consolidation of the Android platform:

Over the last couple of months Google has reached out to the major carriers and device makers backing its mobile operating system with a message: There will be no more willy-nilly tweaks to the software. No more partnerships formed outside of Google's purview. From now on, companies hoping to receive early access to Google's most up-to-date software will need approval of their plans. And they will seek that approval from Andy Rubin, the head of Google's Android group.


Submission + - Google Delaying Release of Honeycomb Source (businessweek.com)

iluvcapra writes: BusinessWeek reports that Google will not be releasing the source code for Android Honeycomb "for the forseeable future." Android lead Andy Rubin is quoted, stating that if Google were to release the source for Honeycomb, Google would be unable to prevent it from being installed on mobile phones and "and creating a really bad user experience."

Submission + - Apple/Verizon in Talks for iPhone-Like Devices (businessweek.com)

iluvcapra writes: For those of you waiting vainly to get an iPhone that works with Verizon's service in the US (you know who you are, we won't make you admit it here), there comes this interesting story in BusinessWeek

Verizon Wireless is warming to the idea of an Apple (AAPL) partnership. Verizon Wireless is in talks with Apple to distribute two new iPhone-like devices, BusinessWeek has learned. Apple has created prototypes of the devices, and discussions reaching back a half-year have involved Apple CEO Steve Jobs, according to two people familiar with the matter.

One device is a smaller, less expensive calling device described by a person who has seen it as an "iPhone lite." The other is a media pad that would let users listen to music, view photos, and watch high-definition videos, the person says. It would place calls over a Wi-Fi connection.


Submission + - Audit the Stimulus at Home with RSS (aaronsw.com)

iluvcapra writes: In a remarkable provision of Peter Orzag's instructions for implementing the American Recovery and Re-Investment Act, the Office of Management and Budget has instructed all government units responsible for disbursing stimulus money to provide its weekly reports, communications and block grant information on an RSS feed. From the memo(PDF):

For each of the near term reporting requirements (major communications, formula block grant allocations, weekly reports) agencies are required to provide a feed (preferred: Atom 1.0, acceptable: RSS) of the information so that content can be delivered via subscription. Note that the required information can be supplied in the feed or the feed can point to a file at the agency using the convention noted below. If an agency is immediately unable to publish feeds, the agency should post each near term information flow (major communications, formula block grant allocations, weekly reports) to a URL directory convention suggested below: ...


Submission + - Apple Open-Sources Leopard Garbage Collector

iluvcapra writes: Apple has open-sourced AutoZone, the garbage collector used in Mac OS X Leopard's Objective-C runtime, under the Apache v2 License. Despite its current use case in Objective-C, the engine itself is implemented in C and C++ and is described as "a fairly generic scanning, conservative, generational, multi-threaded, language agnostic, collector."

Submission + - iPhone SDK Announced, Exchange, OpenGL Supported (arstechnica.com)

iluvcapra writes: "Apple has just wrapped up their iPhone development roadmap and here are the features to be presented with version 2.0, due in June: Push email and contacts, ActiveSync supporting Exchange, remote wipe. Several video games were demoed using the iPhone accelerometer and OpenGL on the iPhone, such as Spore and Super Monkeyball. SDK with development in Xcode was announced, performance suite and remote debugging of iPhone apps over the sync cable. Apple will sell apps through an iTunes-style store, that will work OTA from the iPhone or with the host computer. They will exercise control over which apps are vended over the system, and will split the sales on the system 70/30 with the developer (dev gets 70%)."
Christmas Cheer

Submission + - NORAD's Santa Tracking Goes Web 2.0 (noradsanta.org)

iluvcapra writes: NORAD Tracks Santa 2007, NORAD's perennial mission of tracking the progress of Santa's sleigh as he makes his yearly sortie, has gone Web 2.0 this year, including a Google Maps mashup showing Santa's current position on Earth (at time of submission, Keetmanshoop, Namibia), a KML link to let you track Santa on Google Earth, and plots and keyhole imagery on youtube.

My only question: When Santa crosses into the ADIZ, what does he set his squawk to?


Submission + - US Democrats Accidently Publish Whistleblowers (tpmmuckraker.com)

iluvcapra writes: "The US House Judiciary Committee recently emailed all of its potential whistleblowers information about how it was restructuring its whistleblower program. Unfortunately for its sources, it emailed them this information with their addresses in the "To:" field (and not the Bcc: field). It also cc:'d this email to the Vice President.

I'd like to think think this is some sort of ingenious subterfuge, but I'm doubtful."


Submission + - 9th Circuit Very Skeptical of NSA Surveillance (mercurynews.com)

iluvcapra writes: Yesterday before a three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, the US government argued that two class action lawsuits against the government and AT&T should be dismissed, because to litigate them in open court would cause the revelation of state secrets. The lawsuits allege that the government has installed a vast system of electronic surveillance gear at internet gateways along the US west coast to monitor all internet traffic, and that this information is monitored without a warrant, even when both endpoints are domestic. The panel was extremely skeptical of the governments argument:

"Is it the government's position that when the country is engaged in a war, that the power of the executive when it comes to wiretapping is unchecked?" asked 83-year-old Judge Harry Pregerson, one of the court's staunchest liberals, of a Bush administration lawyer. "The king can do no wrong, is that what it comes down to?"

The government was unwilling to even provide a sworn affadavit that the eavesdropping was only of foreign correspondence. If the 9th Circuit allows the lawsuits to proceed, the government will appeal to the US Supreme Court.

Data Storage

Submission + - Short-Run Data Entry?

iluvcapra writes: "I recently came into the possession of about a hundred paper handwritten pages with tabular data, which I'd like to get into some kind of computer format (tab-delimited or XML would be fantastic, but any open database format would be good too. OCR wouldn't work, the handwriting is a little too fiddly, and I don't think I could hack a program that would properly interpret.

I'd rather not type the data in myself, I'd be happy to pay someone to do it. Is anyone aware of services on the web or in general that would take my stuff as a PDF and send me back a text file? I know there are services out there, but they seem to be oriented toward bulk and repeat business, and I'm really just looking for a one-time deal, and particularly I was looking for a reference and a story about how it all worked out."

Submission + - 18 Months Free Service with an iPhone

iluvcapra writes: "TheStreet.com is reporting some interesting news from an AT&T Conference call:
Cramer said AT&T is one of the most interesting stories coming out of the tech period. In its call, the company made it very clear that it's going to use Apple's iPhone to get customers from Verizon Wireless by giving away its service for a year and a half to those customers who buy the phone.

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