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Networking

Submission + - Time Warner Cable Wins State-Wide Cable Franchise (state.oh.us) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Time Warner Cable has received the second state-wide franchise agreement, covering 260 communities, in 60 of Ohio's 88 counties, for 10 years. AT&T was the first to earn a state-wide franchise contract, after a law was passed in September that allowed operators to negotiate a single state-wide agreement. Normally operators negotiate franchise agreements at the local level.
Businesses

Submission + - The Epic Battle between Microsoft and Google 1

Hugh Pickens writes: "There is a long article in the NYTimes well worth reading called "Google Gets Ready to Rumble With Microsoft" about the business strategies both companies are pursuing and about the future of applications and where they will reside — on the web or on the desktop. Google President Eric Schmidt thinks that 90 percent of computing will eventually reside in the Web-based cloud and about 2,000 companies are signing up every day for Google Apps, simpler versions of the pricey programs that make up Microsoft's lucrative Office business. Microsoft faces a business quandary as they to try to link the Web to its desktop business — "software plus Internet services," in its formulation. Microsoft will embrace the Web, while striving to maintain the revenue and profits from its desktop software businesses, the corporate gold mine, a smart strategy for now that may not be sustainable. Google faces competition from Microsoft and from other Web-based productivity software being offered by start-ups but it is "unclear at this point whether Google will be able to capitalize on the trends that it's accelerating." David B. Yoffie, a professor at the Harvard Business School, says the Google model is to try to change all the rules. If Google succeeds, "a lot of the value that Microsoft provides today is potentially obsolete.""
Math

Submission + - Should Wikipedia Allow Mathematical Proofs? (wikipedia.org) 4

Beetle B. writes: "An argument has arisen over whether Wikipedia should allow pages that provide proofs for mathematical theorems (such as this one).

On the one hand, Wikipedia is a useful source of information and people can benefit from these proofs. On the other hand, how does one choose which proofs to include and which not to? Should Wikipedia just become a textbook that teaches mathematics? Should it just state the bare results of theorems and not provide proofs (except as external links)? Or should they take an intermediate approach and formulate a criterion for which proofs to include and which to exclude?"

Announcements

Submission + - World of Warcraft Expansion info leaked (mmo-champion.com)

reddcell writes: *The dark, necromatic Death Knight — the first new character class added to World of Warcraft since its launch.

*Northrend, the harsh, icy continent where the Lich King holds rule, complete with new zones, quests, items and monsters.

*New level cap of 80 providing access to mighty new powers and talents

*New battlegrounds featuring siege engine warfare and destructable buildings

*Expanding character customisation options including new hairstyles & dances, the ability to change the hairstyles of existing characters, and new skin color variants.

Power

Submission + - EPA issues data center power report to Congress (techtarget.com)

BDPrime writes: "The EPA has issued its final report on server and data center efficiency to Congress. The report includes details about how much energy data centers are consuming, how data center operators can fix the problem themselves, and what the EPA and the industry are doing to create benchmarks (like Energy Star) to compare the energy efficiencies of servers and data centers."
Google

Submission + - Search Engine Spamming By Academic Publishers (blogsci.com)

ObsessiveMathsFreak writes: "Pierre Far at BlogSci reports on how Academic Publishers are engaging search engine spamming, specifically cloaking. Search engines bots crawling the sites of Springer and Reed Elsevier are shown the entire academic articles, and excerpts are displayed to users. But when users click on the suggested link, they are shown a different page demanding payment for the opportunity to read the same article(~$40 per paper). Academics are beginning to gripe about this, and the theoretical physics community is debating the issue the N-Category Cafe Blog, where not a few academics are expressing their ire at the practice. With services like Live Search Academic and Google Scholar dependant on their cooperation, it seems unlikely that Academic Publishers will suffer the fate of BMW."
Space

Submission + - Newfound Planet Has Earth-Like Orbit (space.com)

Raver32 writes: "The new planet, spotted using the Hobby-Eberly Telescope at the McDonald Observatory in West Texas, circles its bloated parent star every 360 days and is located about 300 light-years away, in the constellation Perseus. The red giant star is twice as massive and about 10 times larger than the sun. Its planet is about the size of Jupiter or larger and was discovered using the so-called wobble technique, in which astronomers look for slight wiggles in a star's motion created by the gravitational tug of orbiting planets. The discovery could help astronomers understand what will happen to our sun's brood of planets when it exhausts its store of hydrogen fuel and its outer envelope begins to swell. When that happens in an estimated 5 billion years, our sun will be so big that it will engulf the inner planets and most likely Earth. But long before that happens, life on our planet will have perished and its seas will have boiled away."
Security

Submission + - Diebold Source Code Reviewed, Found Vunerable (pcworld.com)

Shteven writes: The state of California has managed to independently review Diebold's source code for vulnerabilities. From the article:

"The software contains serious design flaws that have led directly to specific vulnerabilities that attackers could exploit to affect election outcomes," read the University of California at Berkeley report, commissioned by the California Secretary of State as part of a two-month "top-to-bottom" review of electronic voting systems certified for use in California. The assessment of Diebold's source code revealed an attacker needs only limited access to compromise an election.

X

Submission + - New Study: Marijuana Does Not Cause Psychosis, Lun (evonet.ro)

goguaremere writes: "I've performed a meta-analysis of various scare stories about marijuana appearing in major papers this week. The results of my research are as follows:

Hypothesis:

Alarmist reports about marijuana will turn out to be wildly exaggerated and in some cases completely fictitious. Obvious inconsistencies will be overlooked by the press and widely available contrary evidence will be ignored."

Security

Submission + - Hardware-secured USB-HDs secure? Well... no. (spritesmods.com)

Sprite_tm writes: "In this review, two hard disk enclosures with integrated encryption, which is said to securely store your data away from prying eyes, are reviewed: one which uses password-based authentication, the other using fingerprint recognition. Are they as secure as the manufacturers want us to believe, or are they as much snake-oil as some other products? Let's just say it might not be a good idea to uninstall TrueCrypt yet..."

Feed Techdirt: Why Do Elections Officials Always Seem To Side With E-Voting Companies Over Vote (techdirt.com)

For years, every time yet another report would come out about e-voting vulnerabilities, we'd quickly see responses from elections officials defending the e-voting systems. It wasn't a surprise to hear the e-voting manufacturers defend their machines, but why would elections officials almost always take the side of the e-voting manufacturers over various computer security experts and the very voters whose votes they're supposed to be protecting? There are some obvious possibilities, such as embarrassment over buying faulty machines or (more likely) fear at the cost of replacing those machines. However, Tim Lee points to a potentially more troublesome reason: many elections officials move in and out of jobs for the e-voting companies before and after their state jobs. Conflict of interest? Apparently it's just politics as usual.
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Would you put a DRMed card in your computer for $?

The Master Control Program writes: "No, wait, before you kill me please just listen...

Yesterday, I was reaching an article by Charles Stross at Guildcafe about the future of games, ubiquitous computing, and all that other incredibly awesome futurist stuff. Under the "10-15 years out" section, he mentions the idea of a developer creating a p2p computing platform to solve the hosting issues of MMO games and then giving it to users, predicated on the requirement that users sell some fraction of their CPU cycles to run the platform.

The fundamental problem with that is the inherently untrustable nature of a remote turing-complete system; As the worms and botnets terrorizing the Internet prove, they are easily subverted. In theory, some sort of DRM/"Trusted computing" would help to resolve this. The problem with that is that the cost to digital freedom of having some corporate suit tell me what I can't run is unconscionable. This put me towards thinking about solving the problem by separation. What we're after is distributed computing and network serving power, why must it be my computer's CPU doing it? Twenty years ago, the British company INMOS worked to commercialize the transputer. It was practically a single-chip computer, which was meant to be networked with other transputer chips to take tasks off the CPU's hands. Getting more computing power would have been as easy as plugging a few more transputers into the system. What I propose resembles this in that it would take the "dirty" task of DRM-managed computing off the hands of your main CPU. So here's the pitch:

Suppose that there is a special card you can plug into that 1x pci-e slot no one ever uses. In short, it's a single-board computer. It has it's own CPU (low-wattage of course), memory, microhdd, and DRM to enable remote control over it's operation. You install an open-source component on your OS, which gives the device access to your network connection. You can then sell a certificate to give others a monopoly over it's resources for some period of time. Sell it to Linden Labs to host a small SL island on, whatever. Of course, this is managed through the seller's convenient "Ebay for cpu time" service which also provides buyer/seller quality control. Would you buy this DRMed card and rent it's resources out?"
Software

Submission + - BitTorrent 6.0 beta closed source, Windows only

makomk writes: The BitTorrent (Mainline) 6.0 beta has been released, and it's a rebranded version of uTorrent. Unfortunately, it's also closed source and Windows-only. (Apparently, BitTorrent Inc always planned that the next version of Mainline would be closed-source, even before they decided to base it on uTorrent.) It also comes with a mysterious content delivery system called BitTorrent DNA, which appears to consist of a single invisible background task, dna.exe.

Does the original, open source BitTorrent client have a future, or is it time for its users to switch to one of the many other BitTorrent clients?

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