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Submission + - Monty Montgomery: Next-Next Generation Video: Introducing Daala (livejournal.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Xiph.Org has been working on Daala, a new video codec for some time now, though Opus work had overshadowed it until just recently. With Opus finalized and much of the mop-up work well in hand, Daala development has taken center stage.

I've started work on 'demo' pages for Daala, just like I've done demos of other Xiph development projects. Daala aims to be rather different from other video codecs (and it's the first from-scratch design attempt in a while), so the first few demo pages are going to be mostly concerned with what's new and different in Daala.

I've finished the first 'demo' page (about Daala's lapped transforms), so if you're interested in video coding technology, go have a look!

Submission + - QANTAS wants to Monitor Frequent Flyers's home internet (theage.com.au)

An anonymous reader writes: Australian Airline QANTAS wants to monitor recording Frequent Flyer's home internet searching and surfing. QANTAS will pass the data to US marketing partner FreeCause who are not subject to Australian privacy laws. Meanwhile the Australian Attorney-General's Department has been secretly drafting new data retention laws to log Australians' web surfing. The government claims it needs these to fight crime, yet is ignoring corruption by its own public service.

Submission + - Aaron's Law would revamp computer fraud penalties (networkworld.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Two U.S. lawmakers have introduced a bill that would prevent the Department of Justice from prosecuting people for violating terms of service for Web-based products, website notices or employment agreements under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). On Thursday, Representative Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, and Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, introduced Aaron's Law, a bill aimed at removing some types of prosecutions under the CFAA. The bill is named after Internet activist Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide in January while facing federal prosecution for allegedly hacking into a Massachusetts Institute of Technology network and downloading millions of scholarly articles from the JSTOR subscription service.

Submission + - Lawmakers Try To Block Black Box Technology in Cars, DVR Tracking (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: Lawmakers this week filed bipartisan legislation that would give car owners control over data collected in black box-style recorders that may be required in all models as soon as next year. The move follows a separate proposal made earlier this month that would limit telecommunications companies in tracking viewer activity with new digital video recorders (DVR) technology. The "Black Box Privacy Protection Act" would give vehicle owners more control over the information collected through a car or motorcycle event data recorders, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed be required in all new cars as of 2014. "For me, this is a basic issue of privacy," said Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA). "Many consumers aren't even aware that this technology is already in most vehicles." The second, more colorfully titled piece of legislation, is the "We Are Watching You Act". The bill was filed in response to reports that national telecommunications companies are exploring technology for DVRs that would record the personal activities of people as they watch television at home in order to target them for marketing and advertising. If implemented, among other things, when the recording device is in use, the words "WE ARE WATCHING YOU" would appear on the television screen. "This may sound preposterous, but it is neither a joke nor an exaggeration," Capuano said. "These DVRs would essentially observe consumers as they watch television as a way to super-target ads. It is an incredible invasion of privacy."

Submission + - Self-Hosted Gmail Alternatives for the PRISM Age (jeffreifman.com)

reifman writes: Revisiting this post on Gmail alternatives for the post-Snowden-NSA era, I've written up a detailed tutorial for migrating from gmail to open source iRedMail in the cloud. One key takeaway is that securing the bulk of your email from government snooping beyond the per-message level is a task whose complexity far exceeds the capacity of the average person. Conversely, it remains quite easy for really bad people to encrypt their most private communications.

Submission + - WiFi Light Bulbs Connect to the Internet (computerworld.com.au)

An anonymous reader writes: Computerworld has an interview with an Australian startup called LIFX, producing WiFi-connected LED light bulbs. Each light bulb is a small computer running the Thingsquare distribution of the open source Contiki operating system that creates a low-power wireless mesh network between the light bulbs and connects them to the WiFi network. The wireless mesh network lets the light bulbs be controlled with a smartphone app. Through a Kickstarter project, the company has already raised a significant amount of money: over one million USD. The company recently opened up a second batch of pre-orders.

Submission + - Transgendered Folks Encounter Document/Database ID Hassles

An anonymous reader writes: Most of us hear the equivalent of 'let me bring up your record' several times a week or month when dealing with businesses and government agencies; sometimes there's a problem, but clerks are accustomed to dealing with changes in street address, phone numbers, company affiliation, and even personal names (after marriage). But what about gender? Transgendered folks are encountering embarrassing moments when they have to explain that their gender has changed from 'M' to 'F' or vice versa. While there are many issues involved in discrimination against transgendered individuals, I have to confess that the first thing that came to my mind was the impact on database design and maintenance.

Submission + - Photographer Builds an Amazing DIY Digital Camera Stabilizer (lensvid.com)

Iddo Genuth writes: Videographer Tom Antos developed an advanced DIY camera stabilizer which can hold almost any DSLR or mirrorless camera steady for video photography. Although this surly isn’t as sophisticated (and super expensive) as the professional MVI M10 handheld 3-axis digital stabilized camera gimbal, its still quite impressive especially when you consider it only cost a few hundred dollars rather then tens of thousands — that is if you feel like building it yourself.

Submission + - Legislators Introduce Bill To Stop Set Top Boxes From Watching You (thehill.com)

An anonymous reader writes: For a few years now, we've been hearing about TV-related devices that have built-in cameras and microphones. Their stated purpose is to monitor consumers and ;gather data; — often to target advertising. (We'll set aside any unstated purposes — the uses they tell us about are bad enough.) Now, two members of the U.S. House of Representatives have submitted legislation to regulate this sort of technology. '[They] said they want to get out ahead of the release of this new technology and pass legislation that ensures it would include beefed up privacy protections for consumers. They added that this legislation is particularly relevant given the recent revelations about the National Security Agency's Internet surveillance programs. ... Additionally, the bill requires a cable box or set-top device to notify consumers when the monitoring technology is activated and in use by posting the phrase "We are watching you" across their TV screens. '

Submission + - Google floats balloons for free Wi-Fi

BrokenHalo writes: Google has revealed that it has 30 balloons floating over New Zealand in a project to bring free wi-fi to earthquake-stricken, rural or poor areas. Eventually, as the balloons move across the stratosphere, consumers in participating countries along the 40th parallel in the Southern Hemisphere could tap into the service. The technology will be trialled in Australia next year, possibly in Tasmania. If the latter happens to be true, then you'll probably hear the telcos' screams in New York.

Submission + - Ancient Roman Concrete Is About to Revolutionize Modern Architecture (businessweek.com) 1

schwit1 writes: After 2,000 years, a long-lost secret behind the creation of one of the world’s most durable man-made creations ever—Roman concrete—has finally been discovered by an international team of scientists, and it may have a significant impact on how we build cities of the future.

Researchers have analyzed 11 harbors in the Mediterranean basin where, in many cases, 2,000-year-old (and sometimes older) headwaters constructed out of Roman concrete stand perfectly intact despite constant pounding by the sea. The most common blend of modern concrete, known as Portland cement, a formulation in use for nearly 200 years, can’t come close to matching that track record. In seawater, it has a service life of less than 50 years. After that, it begins to erode.

The secret to Roman concrete lies in its unique mineral formulation and production technique. As the researchers explain in a press release outlining their findings, “The Romans made concrete by mixing lime and volcanic rock. For underwater structures, lime and volcanic ash were mixed to form mortar, and this mortar and volcanic tuff were packed into wooden forms. The seawater instantly triggered a hot chemical reaction. The lime was hydrated—incorporating water molecules into its structure—and reacted with the ash to cement the whole mixture together.”

Submission + - Don't Panic, But We've Passed Peak Apple. And Google. And Facebook. (xconomy.com)

waderoush writes: Over the last decade, just three companies — Google, Apple, and Facebook — have generated most of the new ideas and most of the business momentum in the world of computing. (Add in Amazon, if you're feeling generous.) But it's been a long time since any of these companies introduced anything indisputably new — and there are good reasons to think they never will again. This Xconomy essay argues that the innovation engines at Google, Apple, and Facebook are out of gas (the most surprising thing about OS X Mavericks is that it's not named after a cat) and that other players will have to come up with the underpinnings for the next big cycle of advances in computing. Granted, it's not as if any of these companies will disappear. But the idea that they'll go on generating ideas as groundbreaking as the ones that landed them in the spotlight defies common sense, statistics, and the lessons of history, which show that real innovation almost always comes from small companies. Apple, Google, and Facebook aren't too big to fail — but they may be too big to keep succeeding.

Submission + - Google Unable To Keep Paying App Developers In Argentina (theverge.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Google has sent letters to app developers registered in Argentina saying they won't be able to accept payments on developers' behalf after June 27th. 'The change applies to both paid apps and apps that use in-app purchases. The move appears to be related to new, restrictive regulations the Argentine government has imposed on currency exchanges.' According to the Telegraph, 'The new regulations required anyone wanting to change Argentine pesos into another currency to submit an online request for permission to AFIP, the Argentine equivalent of HM Revenue & Customs. To submit the request, however, you first needed to get a PIN number from AFIP, either online or in person. Having finally obtained your number, submitted your online request and printed out your permission slip, you could then present it at the bank or official cambio and buy your dollars. Well, that was the theory. In practice, the result was chaos. ... damming the flood has come at a huge cost to the economy, especially since the currency restrictions were coupled with another set of regulations that effectively imposed a near-total ban on any imported goods.'

Submission + - World's biggest "agile" software project close to failure (wordpress.com)

00_NOP writes: "Universal Credit" — the plan to consolidate all Britain's welfare payments into one — is the world's biggest "agile" software development project but it is now close to collapse the British government admitted yesterday. The failure, if and when it comes, could cost billions and have dire social consequences.

Submission + - The Canadian Government's War on Science (scienceblogs.com)

FuzzNugget writes: A contributor at ScienceBlogs.com has compiled and published a shockingly long list of systematic attacks on scientific research committed by the Canadian government since the conservatives came to power in 2006.

This antiscientific scourge includes muzzling scientists, shutting down research centres, industry deregulation and repurposing the National Research Council to align with business interests instead of doing real science. It will be another two years before Canadians have the chance to go to the polls, but how much more damage will be done in the mean time?

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