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HP

An Open Letter To PC Makers: Ditch Bloatware, Now! 609

MojoKid writes "This is the final straw, the last stand. This is the year that companies have to wise up and realize that they're destroying the experience of the very machines they are marketing so vigorously against their competitors. We're talking about bloatware, and it's an issue that we simply cannot remain silent on any longer. The term 'bloatware' generally refers to any additional software installed on a machine that is not a native part of the operating system. 'Bloatware' is usually provided by third-party software companies, and can range from security suites to unwanted Web browser toolbars. It's most problematic, as these programs generally attempt to boot up first thing, right as the OS is booting up, before the end-user ever has a chance to launch the program on their own accord. It's time for manufacturers to take note: consumers do not want bloatware. It's a royal pain from top to bottom, and moreover, it ruins your brand. When people think of HP and Dell, they immediately think of just how infuriating it is that their last 'new' PC took over one minute to boot up and become usable. To these companies: why are you saddling your machines with software that makes it less enjoyable to use? The solution seems pretty simple. If you still wish to include loads upon loads of third-party software, stick it all on a thumb drive and include it with every new machine. Problem solved."
Canada

Canadian Firm Plans 78-Satellite Net Service 143

matty619 writes "A CNET article is reporting on another try at low earth orbit satellites for internet access, reminiscent of Teledesic, an ill fated $9 billion Bill Gates/Paul Allen et al venture originally consisting of 840 low earth orbit satellites (LEO-SAT). From the article: 'MSCI, which stands for Microsat Systems Canada Inc., is trying to be a bit of a maverick with its project, called CommStellation. The company said today that its approach of using small, inexpensive satellites in low orbit — about 620 miles above the Earth — means better coverage of the world's population, quicker launch, and better network capacity.' Each MSCI satellite has a data-transfer capacity of 12 gigabits per second. The expected lifespan of each is 10 years, and they can be sent back into the atmosphere at the end of their lives to avoid more orbital clutter."
Image

Scientists Advocate Replacing Cattle With Insects Screenshot-sm 760

rhettb writes "Scientists in the Netherlands have discovered that insects produce significantly less greenhouse gas per kilogram of meat than cattle or pigs. Their study, published in the online journal PLoS, suggests that a move towards insect farming could result in a more sustainable — and affordable — form of meat production."
Transportation

EPIC Files Lawsuit To Suspend Airport Body Scanner Use 559

nacturation writes "The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a petition for review and motion for an emergency stay, urging the District of Columbia Court of Appeals to suspend the Transportation Security Administration's full body scanner program. EPIC said that the program is 'unlawful, invasive, and ineffective' (PDF). EPIC argued that the federal agency has violated the Administrative Procedures Act, the Privacy Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Fourth Amendment. EPIC cited the invasive nature of the devices, the TSA's disregard of public opinion, and the impact on religious freedom."
The Internet

Europe Proposes International Internet Treaty 116

Stoobalou writes "Europe has proposed an Internet Treaty to protect the Internet from the political interference which threatens to break it up. The draft international law has been compared to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which sought to prevent space exploration being pursued for anything less than the benefit of all human kind. The Internet Treaty would similarly seek to preserve the Internet as a global system of free communication that transcends national borders."
Privacy

Inside England and Wales' DNA Regime 141

Sockatume writes "The UK's Human Genetics Commission has published its report on the collection of DNA by the Police forces in England and Wales. Currently, Police collect DNA from every suspect in a case which could lead to a criminal record, and retain that material, which the European Court of Human Rights has ruled illegal. The government plans to keep all DNA samples for suspects from England, Wales and Northern Ireland for up to six years, except for DNA from individuals arrested during terrorism-related investigations, which will be retained forever. The report states that the police frequently performed arrests solely to collect DNA, that certain demographics (such as young, black men) were 'very highly over-represented,' that there was 'very little concrete evidence' that the DNA database had any actual use in investigating crime, and that the database contained material from individuals arrested in Scotland and Northern Ireland, outside its remit. Of the 4.5m individuals in the database, a fifth have never received any convictions or cautions from the Police. The report recommends that an independent advisory body oversee the database, and that laws be passed to limit the uses of the database, while tracking those with access to it, and making misuse of the information a criminal offence."
Communications

Home Phone System That Syncs To Computer? 405

An anonymous reader writes 'In comparison to the advanced technology in today's smart phones, the standard home phone is painfully backwards. My current setup is a Panasonic system that has 4 cordless phones over one base station. Setting the time on one phone changes the time on all the phones; however, this is not the case for the phone book. Each entry must be manually copied (pushed) to each handset. Is this as far as home phone technology has come? What I would like is a phone system that I could sync to my computer so I could update the phone book over all the units (if not sync with Address Book or Outlook), keep a log of caller IDs, or even forward me new voicemail notifications. Does anyone know if such a system exists?'
Image

South Carolina Seeking To Outlaw Profanity Screenshot-sm 849

MBGMorden writes "It looks like in an act that defies common sense, a bill has been introduced in the South Carolina State Senate that seeks to outlaw the use of profanity. According to the bill it would become a felony (punishable by a fine up to $5000 or up to 5 years in prison) to 'publish orally or in writing, exhibit, or otherwise make available material containing words, language, or actions of a profane, vulgar, lewd, lascivious, or indecent nature.' I'm not sure if 'in writing' could be applied to the internet, but in any event this is scary stuff."
Image

Class Teaches Nerds Social Skills Screenshot-sm 639

PeterAitch writes "According to Reuters, Potsdam University in Germany is now teaching social skills as part of their IT courses. This is intended to 'ease entry into the world of work'. The 440 students enrolled in the master's degree course will learn how to write flirtatious text messages and emails, impress people at parties and cope with rejection(s)." The class is taught by a superficial model, who will fall in love with the nerdiest student at the end of the semester after realizing that he is beautiful on the inside.
Transportation

Volvo Introduces a Collision-Proof Car 743

carazoo.com sends along a story on Volvo's upcoming crash-proof car. The company will introduce a concept car based on the S60 this month at the Detroit Auto Show, looking ahead a few years to the goal that by 2020 "no one should be killed or injured in a Volvo car." The concept car will have forward-looking radar as a proximity sensor, and the ability to brake if a collision is imminent. When the car senses a collision, a light flashes on the windscreen display along with an audible warning. If the driver doesn't act, the car will brake automatically.
Privacy

Sex Offenders Must Hand Over Online Passwords 630

mytrip writes "Privacy advocates are questioning an aggressive Georgia law set to take effect Thursday that would require sex offenders to hand over Internet passwords, screen names and e-mail addresses. Georgia joins a small band of states complying with guidelines in a 2006 federal law requiring authorities to track Internet addresses of sex offenders, but it is among the first to take the extra step of forcing its 16,000 offenders to turn in their passwords as well."
Censorship

Vietnam Imposes New Blogging Restrictions 206

GMAW is one of many to mention that the Vietnam government has approved a new set of regulations aimed at bloggers. The new restrictions ban bloggers from discussing certain subjects that the government deems sensitive or inappropriate. Not only are the topics limited, but bloggers are being directed to only write about issues that directly impact their personal lives. "The rules, which were approved Dec. 18, attempt to rein in Vietnam's booming blogosphere. It has become an alternative source of news for many in the communist country, where the media is state-controlled. The new rules require Internet companies that provide blogging platforms to report to the government every six months and provide information about bloggers on request."
Privacy

Replacing Metal Detectors With Brain Scans 327

Zordak writes "CNN has up a story about several Israeli firms that want to replace metal detectors at airports with biometric readings. For example, with funding from TSA and DHS, 'WeCU ([creepily] pronounced "We See You") Technologies, employs a combination of infra-red technology, remote sensors and imagers, and flashing of subliminal images, such as a photo of Osama bin Laden. Developers say the combination of these technologies can detect a person's reaction to certain stimuli by reading body temperature, heart rate and respiration — signals a terrorist unwittingly emits before he plans to commit an attack.' Sensors may be embedded in the carpet, seats, and check-in screens. The stated goal is to read a passenger's 'intention' in a manner that is 'more fair, more effective and less expensive' than traditional profiling. But not to worry! WeCU's CEO says, 'We don't want you to feel that you are being interrogated.' And you may get through security in 20 to 30 seconds."
Transportation

London's Oystercard Gets New Contract, But Same Suppliers 143

nk497 writes "Over the summer, the London travelcard ticketing system — called Oyster — fell over twice, forcing the transport authority to offer free travel to the six million Londoners using the system. After that, it cut its contract with the supplier of the system, a consortium called TranSys. But now, Transport for London has signed a new contract to replace the TranSys one — with the same two companies that made up the TranSys consortium. Sure, that should fix everything."
Government

FTC Wants To Straighten Out IP Law 97

coondoggie writes with this excerpt from NetworkWorld: "What do you get when you mix the government, the court system, company lawyers and Joe Consumer? A serious mess that would send most people screaming into the night. But the Federal Trade Commission is no such entity. It wants to straighten Intellectual Property (IP) out and today said it will hold a series of hearings — the first in Washington, DC on Dec. 5 — it will use to examine IP law and the myriad issues surrounding it. Interested bigwigs from the tech industry, including Cisco, Yahoo and the Computer & Communications Industry Association are expected to testify along with professors, lawyers and other industry players. The patent system has experienced significant change and more changes are under consideration, the FTC said." The FTC held some different, but related hearings this week which addressed topics such as copyright law and DRM interoperability. Transcripts, podcasts, and summaries of the talks are available on the FTC-hosted "Protecting Consumers in the Next Tech-ade" site.

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