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Comment IE6? Really? (Score 1) 422

I'm finding it hard to believe that IE6 is stilling around at all... The only situation where I would use that junk is if I had a software lock-down at work....

and even then I'd re-consider working there for being too archaic.

Congratulations Firefox: It was just a matter of time before quality gets reflected in market shares!

Hardware Hacking

Submission + - 14-Year-Old Hacks Tram System Into Train Set

F-3582 writes: "By modifying a TV remote a 14-year-old boy from Lodz, Poland, managed to gain control over the junctions of the tracks. According to The Register the boy had 'trespassed in tram depots to gather information needed to build the device. [...] Transport command and control systems are commonly designed by engineers with little exposure or knowledge about security using commodity electronics and a little native wit.' Four trams derailed in the process injuring a number of passengers. The boy now 'charges at a special juvenile court of endangering public safety.'"
Technology (Apple)

Submission + - Seagate's MacBook hard drive destroying data

Stony Stevenson writes: A Seagate Technology hard drive sold with Apple MacBooks has a critical manufacturing flaw that often results in the permanent loss of data, a data recovery firm reported Monday. Retrodata said the problem is confined to Seagate 2.5-inch drives manufactured in China with a firmware revision of 7.01. The drives use a serial advanced technology attachment (SATA) interface. Retrodata found that the head in the drive becomes detached from the read/write arms, causing the latter to "gouge deep scratches" in the disk. Unless the user shuts off the computer immediately, then the damage can be so severe that data recovery is impossible.
Data Storage

Submission + - Software download that fixes VMware performance

gtr.plyr writes: "http://www.vmware.com/appliances/directory/1084 This is a cool application I found that can help fix problems with VMware performance. The product is one of a number of apps that are available on VMware's site from VMware partners. Has some unique capabilities to map all the underlying hardware that is used in a VMware data center and identfy where the performance bottlenecks are. Definitely worth a look if you are relying on VMware technology in your data center."

Submission + - Microsoft loses bid to overturn $142 M judgement

Stony Stevenson writes: A federal court has rejected Microsoft's appeal of a jury decision last year to slap the software maker with a $142 million judgment for patent infringement. In a ruling handed down last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said it saw no reason to overturn the jury's finding that Microsoft's Windows XP and Office products breached patents held by Michigan-based z4 Technologies. The patents govern the use of product activation codes for preventing software piracy. In its ruling, the court said "substantial evidence supports the jury's verdict." The court rejected Microsoft's claim that one of its older products, Brazilian Publisher '98, contained so-called prior art that should have invalidated z4 Technology's patents. Microsoft failed to meet "the burden of demonstrating by clear and convincing evidence" that BP '98 constituted prior art, the court said.
Social Networks

Submission + - REVEALED: Facebook intentionally blocked privacy (news.com)

Adam Green writes: "REVEALED: Facebook Intentionally Removed Privacy Protection for Users

Last week, MoveOn.org started a Facebook group and petition protesting Facebook's new feature that makes private purchases on other websites public on Facebook. (Group and petition are linked to at www.MoveOn.org)

Big news today, reported at CNET: Leaked screenshots of Facebook's original Beacon feature for corporate advertisers — made public at TechCrunch.com earlier this month — reveal that Facebook originally planned to give its users the ability to permanently opt out of having their private purchases made public on Facebook. Facebook evidently removed that option just before launching the new privacy-invading feature. Facebook users who are aware that their private purchases on other websites are being made public on Facebook must now opt out site by site, week by week, month by month. There is no permanent opt-out option — let alone an opt-in policy.

"Facebook should explain why they chose at the last minute to put the wish lists of corporate advertisers ahead of the privacy interests of their users," said Adam Green, a spokesperson for MoveOn.org Civic Action. "Facebook has the potential to revolutionize how we communicate with each other and organize around issues together in a 21st century democracy. But to succeed, they need the trust of their users. The fact that Facebook pro-actively chose to make it harder for their users to keep private information from being made public will rub a lot of Facebook users the wrong way. The ultimate act of good faith would be to switch to an opt-in policy."

Read CNET story here:

Read MoveOn statement here:

Facebook Group here:

Petition to Facebook here:

The Internet

Submission + - Wikipedia, Relevance and Zealotry (an article) 2

gmezero writes: "It's been over two years now since I finally became so fed up with Wikipedia that I finally had to start editing, and from then on I have become embroiled in an ongoing love hate relationship with the site. Actually, in hind-sight, it's probably less of a hate the site issue, and more of a hate the clueless and opinionated, so called WikiCops, that more often than not detract from content quality.

One of my chief complaints is the abuse of the issue of relevance. This one ranks up there at the same levels of disgust as people who have received a college degree and actually think they are now an authority on a subject when they've never even worked in the field.

What has brought me to this article though is first hand experience with Wikipedia amnesia. The notion that if a dozen people who are zealots on a given subject matter decide that since they have not heard of something, then it must not be relevant to the world.

This is fast becoming a problem for Internet only history from the early 1990's for one as nearly all of the websites that might be used to reference events, have in many cases long disappeared from existence before 1996, when Archive.org initially started it's woefully incomplete collection of websites online at the time. So unless it managed to transfer over to the print world, or rise to a high level of visibility in the UseNet, a sole voice trying to preserve an important element of history becomes irrelevant in the eyes of the WikiCop.

I have also noticed that as Internet users age, they're usage patterns change as well. When people are younger they tend to be more active in Social Media projects. As they get older, they gravitate back to a few communities that have persisted with them, or drop back into a more passive, consumption mode due to the burdens of everyday life. This has resulted in a large number of Internet users who; A) have no familiarity with the early web because they either weren't an early adopter or aren't old enough to know; or B) have moved on in their life and are not aware that their personal experiences and knowledge have value to the collective of society as a whole.

My fights within the video game related pages of Wikipedia if nothing else have given me strong cause to question the quality and validity of all of the material on the site.

One personal case in point is the very page that brought me in to the wiki, and as I write this, continues to be a battle ground: "Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar". In April of 2005 I added to items to this page. I significant piece of historical trivia, and links to unofficial textfile based maps of the game that were distributed when the game was officially released.

I eventually gave up the fight over the trivia as it wore me down, and someone eventually promised to make a trivia specific page to hold the data. Of course since most WikiCops are about 12 years old from best I can tell, none of them understand the relevancy of trivia, and I finally caved. It disgusts me, but there it is.

The second item, and more contentious in my mind though is the t-files links.

Unfortunately I have a personal relationship with the content in the files, which weakens my case and brings me back to the "relevance" issue.

In the early to mid 1980's I was an Apple // software pirate, and I had reached a level of distribution access where I was frequently second in line in the food chain of distribution (the first being the cracker or their friend that made the first upload to the team's home transfer site). It was during this time that I collected a final version of Ultima IV before its commercial release. I had been a long fan of the Ultima series having purchased II and III and I had IV on pre-order at the time because I just couldn't resist the cloth maps.

Anyways, as I had already authored quite a few game maps by that point for many of the early Infocom titles, I took it upon myself to make a complete map of the overworld of Ultima IV so I could release it in time for the game's commercial release. I mapped while awake, and distributed U4 while I was asleep, and somehow squeezed high-school in between the hours. And then, at the allotted hour I bundled up the maps and began uploading them at the top of the distribution chains... By the sixth site I called, the maps had already started cross-propagating, and my work was done. Not but a year later I myself dropped out of the scene, but from then on I enjoyed meeting people across the country (other Apple gamers, as well as IBM and C64 players) who not only had downloaded my maps, but also, by design, had printed them out and hung them on their wall. Even I was surprised at how many people in the oddest of places seemed to have seen the files.

So here we are going into the later half of the 2007, and how many of you, my dear reader were involved in the Apple gaming community in the 80's? Let's be honest... statistically? Not that many of you. How many of you were more than casually involved in software piracy in the 80's? Probably even less that the previous number. And how many of you kept the text files you downloaded and not only saved them, but actively format/platform shifted it over the years so as not to loose them? Let's guess, about 10 of you right?... or wait, that's 11 if you count me.

Currently Jason Scott's TextFiles archive has grown to become the definitive source for files like this though, so am I to think that since he doesn't have a copy of my maps on his site that somehow they weren't relevant? Hardly, my personal collection of textiles from those days totals over 1500 at my best estimate, and I know from a cursory scan that I have many files that Jason doesn't. I'm going to bet that someone else out there also has a large collection that varies from both of ours as well, but Jason's is the only one collated an online, so does that make it the only valid source? Why haven't I sent mine to Jason? Well, I would like to clean up the file naming, and purge any duplicates first... and I'm to busy fighting with WikiCops on Wikipedia to actually get that done.

So my dilemma. The Ultima IV world maps I created were highly relevant to a specific demographic of gamers in the late 1980's and they are still useful to this very day to players of the game, so since it was highly unlikely anyone else was going to do it, I took it upon myself to host the files and link them into the article where they persisted for two years, unchallenged through over 100 edits until an anonymous IP user decided to clip them from the page. After which the WikiCop Xihr decided that it could not be re-added to the page as he decided it was linkspam.

There is no other host for this 20 year old text file.
The wiki links go directly to the original un-edited files.
There are no links on the pages.
There are no ads on the pages.
There is not even links to the other files available from each file.
The site the files are hosted on is not a commercial site.

So, how does one resolve this situation. Do I sit back and concede to this WikiCop? Do I do the more distasteful thing in my mind of contriving another host for the files and ask a friend to reinstate the links to the new host (as is a very frequent activity in Wikipedia).

What would you do? The sad part is that I have many times found myself at the reading pages pages that I would love to contribute to as an authority or expert on the subject matter but due to the behavior of clueless high-school and college kids, or worse yet the guy who bitches about girls with sharp knees needing a sandwich... and my contribution ends up becoming a daily fight of education for those that care to listen that just wears me down. If I go away for a couple of months, I have to start back over because the burnout rate of people with a clue that care is so high they've eventually quit the site in disgust themselves.

I'm becoming of the mind as many others around me have already stated that Wikipedia is itself the most destructive and least relevant utilities for knowledge accumulation, and that truly makes me sad, because it really could be an invaluable resource in all matters.

Should I bother, or just brush my hands and walk away?"
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - The Taxman Barely Cometh

theodp writes: "While Congress is considering lowering the 35% federal tax rate, a lot of companies don't need help from Washington. They've been finding legal ways to shrink their tax bill for years, with 'cross-border tax arbitrage' — getting profits out of the U.S. if taxes are lower offshore — emerging as one of the hottest tax-avoidance strategies. A list compiled by BusinessWeek of the S&P 500 companies sending in the smallest checks sports a number of high-tech household names, including Amazon and Yahoo, who respectively sent Uncle Sam 2.8% and 2.9% of their earnings before income taxes over the past five years, and Apple, which paid a whopping $0 in cash taxes last year."

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UNIX enhancements aren't.