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Comment Is copyright so clear there? (Score 1) 123

One poster here says that it's clear you cannot sell personal replicas for profit. Is it? I thought the "right of publicity" rules were somewhat less powerful, and that there were public figures exceptions of some sort. Do Bill, George and Barack get a few cents of royalties from each of the little President Bobbleheads on sale at DC tourist traps and airports? IAAL, but haven't looked into this law recently.
If the little Zuckerberg was holding a cardboard "Will Sell Sekrets for $$$" sign, would that make it First-Amendment-protected parody in the US?
Or, as a US law thing, does that explain the use of Chinese law to issue the cease-&-desist?

Comment Is last-4-digits use just tacky, or illegal? (Score 2) 391

Lots of US laws already prohibit or limit SSN use:
If it's illegal to collect and use in whole, is it illegal to cadge in part, and then reassemble and use?
Or does the law have holes?
As rwa2 points out above, deriving the whole SSN ID number from a partial one might be within the reach of a lot of people, not just huge datafarms.

Comment Some possible "start-up" project paths (Score 1) 162

Great question. I went over the wall, from big law firms to open standards work, a decade ago and have loved every minute of it. (I'm the general counsel of a standards org; my definition of virtuous projects probably is broader than some.)
Lots of great project suggestions already in the comments, here. Might also want to consider the "start-up" side, hooking up with a newer or smaller project, and helping to grow it.
-- Shop around. Look for something that ignites your passion. Be aware that the threshold for declaring an organization or "project" is pretty low. Not every SourceForge page is going to be the next Apache. Invest your volunteer time in something which might have legs. The more active a community of contributors, the more likely you'd be useful.
-- Open, collaborative projects generally have accessible archives. You can read up on the issues and personalities, assess possible gigs with somee advance insight. Many also have face-to-face gatherings, in this sector, sometimes on multiple continents. They tend to be friendly and accessible. Go see the tribe live.
-- FYI, some people do make a living at it. There are a bunch of orgs where the lawyer help followed this path: started as a volunteer thing, but then evolved into full-time, self-invented, cool careers.
-- Yes, these projects often need fairly simple, non-patent-prosecutor, lawyer help. Like basic contracts, organizational (company/entity) formation, work-for-hire arrangements, basic licensing, website hosting contract review, etc.
-- There are boobytraps, though. If you act as someone's lawyer, obviously you're likely liable for them and yourself within the defined scope of your work, pay or no pay. So get the scope limits, expectations and any conflicts issues written down and crystal clear, in a few short pithy sentences, up front.
-- A word about being "general counsel": that title often is taken as a broad duty to represent the org. Be careful what you promise. Still, there are some great people having a spectacular, intellectually rewarding time being the volunteer or part-time general counsel for worthy dot.orgs like ID Commons (@DanielPerry), Linux Foundation, OpenID, FSF, IETF and other groups.
Good luck!

Comment Re:hmm... (procurement) (Score 1) 490

"State procurement laws don't prescribe the degree of openness or standardization within the government." Well, yeah, some do, in the US and elsewhere. Netherlands is a strong example. And at the US federal level, look at OMB's Circular A-119. Hmm. If you changed the vendor name here ... a hospital CTO who says "we will use only RedHat (or) only Dell (or) only Novell Linux (whatever), and I don't want to see anything else" ... would you have the same problem? Is it generically a bad idea for CTOs to pick sole platforms for an enterprise? You'd have to oppose virtualization, too, then, right?

Submission + - IBM's Blue Gene/P runs continuously at 1 petaflop

An anonymous reader writes: ZDNet is reporting IBM claims that the Blue Gene/P will continuously operate at more than 1 petaflop — It is actually capable of 3 quadrillion operations a second, or 3 petaflops. IBM claims that at 1 petaflop, Blue Gene/P is performing more operations than a 1.5-mile-high stack of laptops!
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Recovering computers after house fire? (

Nathan Neulinger writes: "Today, my family and I experienced (after the fact — we were not home) a house fire that completely destroyed our kitchen, and caused significant smoke and heat damage throughout the rest of the house. I believe that the two more important computer systems in the house shut themselves down automatically when the power was cut, but I don't know how much smoke and soot was pulled into them.

I'm not terribly concerned about the machines themselves, but I'd like to pull the data off onto new media. I'm a long time unix admin, so recovery tools themselves are not an issue, but I am concerned about the hardware itself. Are there any things to watch out for in terms of powering the drives back up on another machine, or is this a "don't touch it, leave it to the pros" type of thing? I have not been able to look at the drives up close yet — waiting on insurance adjuster to approve messing with house's contents first."

Sun Microsystems

Submission + - Sun eyes supercomputing glory (

xk0der writes: "Sun Microsystems on Monday revealed the Constellation System, a high-performance computing platform that company executives claim will vault the company back into the top ranks of supercomputer manufacturers.
Sun says it can get 6 teraflops, or 6 trillion operations, a second out of a single rack because each rack holds 768 cores. At right, it's the monster of all switches. This hardware has 3,456 ports on it.

xk0der: With this development in place, will the glory days of Sun shining bright be back? That is yet to be seen!"


Submission + - Save Net Radio (

Peter writes: "Many internet radio stations may have to shut down for good if something is not done soon. In light of this threat, many internet radio stations are airing a day of silence today. Participaing sites include Yahoo!, Pandora, MTV, Rhapsody,and Live 365 among many many others. If you enjoy internet radio Contact your Senators and Representatives!!!"
Operating Systems

Submission + - Nepal and Vietnam release new Linux distros (

christian.einfeldt writes: "Distrowatch notes that the countries of Nepal and Vietnam just last week new stable versions of their countries' native-language Linux distros, dubbed NepaLinux and Hacao Linux, respectively. Recently released interviews from 2004 with one of the Vietnamese governmental officials driving the effort explains why Free Open Source Software is important for smaller countries such as Vietnam: to control illegal software copying of commercial software, which is a precondition for entry into global trade organizations; to develop domestic IT industries; and to develop the local skill to deploy and improve those technologies. Two five-minute videos interviews with Dr. Hoang Le Minh, who serves as the Deputy General Director of the Department of Science and Technology for Ho Chi Minh City, can be found here and here. [Contributor christian.einfeldt is the producer of the project that shot those videos]"

Submission + - ESRB Demands Removal of Videos (

MaJeStu writes: The ESRB has decided that even with an age gate, the trailers for D3's new game, Dark Sector, are too "offensive," and has required the publisher to have them taken down. What authority they have to force D3 to do this is still unknown, as are the possible consequences if D3 refused. Chris Remo at has more on the story.

Submission + - Social news site ranks stories on reads, not votes

Stony Stevenson writes: Spotplex on Monday announced a new content-aggregation site that it said will provide rankings of Internet content — with a twist. Instead of requiring users to rank content, Spotplex will automatically rank it based on the number of people reading it.

Unlike Digg, content is not submitted to Spotplex by the community, rather is automatically indexed by inserting Spotplex's proprietary code within your site. The stories that get to the front-page of Spotplex aren't the ones that readers vote for, rather are the ones that the code tells the service got the most page views on your site. So much for community-powered news aggregation and promotion.

Spotplex provides internet users with real-time ranking of blog articles based on actual impression count. In other words, you can find what is the hot news today, this week, or this month in real time at Spotplex. This is not a list of articles people recommended or voted for, but a list of articles read most in a given timeframe.

Submission + - Microsoft eyes Apple with virtualization stance (

Pisces writes: Over the past several days, Microsoft flip-flopped on virtualization in Vista, with one ascribing the change in policy to concerns over DRM. A piece at Ars Technica raises another, more likely possiblity: fear of Apple. Apple is technically an OEM, and could offer copies of Vista at a discounted price. 'All of this paints a picture in which Apple could use OEM pricing to offer Windows for its Macs at greatly reduced prices and running in a VM. The latter is absolutely crucial; telling users that they need to reboot into their Windows OS isn't nearly as sexy as, say, Coherence in Parallels. If you've never seen Coherence, it's quite amazing. You don't need to run Windows apps in a VM window of Vista. Instead, the apps appear to run in OS X itself, and the environment is (mostly) hidden away. VMWare also has similar technology, dubbed Unity.' Is Microsoft terrified of a world where Windows can be virtualized and forced to take a back seat to Mac OS X or Linux?

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