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The Courts

Apple Wins iTunes DRM Case 191

An anonymous reader sends word that Apple's iTunes DRM case has already been decided. The 8-person jury took only a few hours to decide that the features introduced in iTunes 7.0 were good for consumers and did not violate antitrust laws. Following the decision, the plaintiff's head attorney Patrick Coughlin said an appeal is already planned. He also expressed frustrations over getting two of the security features — one that checks the iTunes database, and another that checks each song on the iPod itself — lumped together with the other user-facing features in the iTunes 7.0 update, like support for movies and games. "At least we got a chance to get it in front of the jury," he told reporters. ... All along, Apple's made the case that its music store, jukebox software, and hardware was simply an integrated system similar to video game consoles from Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. It built all those pieces to work together, and thus it would be unusual to expect any one piece from another company to work without issues, Apple's attorneys said. But more importantly, Apple offered, any the evolution of its DRM that ended up locking out competitors was absolutely necessary given deals it had with the major record companies to patch security holes.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: How Can a Liberal Arts Major Get into STEM?

An anonymous reader writes: I graduated with a degree in the liberal arts (English) in 2010 after having transferred from a Microbiology program (not for lack of ability, but for an enlightening class wherein we read "Portrait of the Artist"). Now, a couple years on, I'm 25, and though I very much appreciate my education for having taught me a great deal about abstraction, critical thinking, research, communication, and cheesily enough, humanity, I realize that I should have stuck in the STEM field. I've found that the jobs available to me are not exactly up my alley, and that I can better impact the world, and make myself happier, doing something STEM related (preferably within the space industry--so not really something that's easy to just jump into). With a decent amount of student debt already amassed, how can I best break into the STEM world? I'm already taking online courses where I can, and enjoy doing entry-level programming, maths, etc.

Should I continue picking things up where and when I can? Would it be wiser for me to go deeper into debt and get a second undergrad degree? Or should I try to go into grad school after doing some of my own studying up? Would the military be a better choice? Would it behoove me to just start trying to find STEM jobs and learn on the go (I know many times experience speaks louder to employers than a college degree might)? Or perhaps I should find a non-STEM job with a company that would allow me to transfer into that company's STEM work? I'd be particularly interested in hearing from people who have been in my position and from employers who have experience with employees who were in my position, but any insight would be welcome.

Submission + - Opinion: Thanks for nothing, jerkface (zdnet.com)

mcguirez writes: I've known that Google+ has had problems but never really paid a lot of attention — I do have a growing sense of paranoia regarding their identity drive (not just for myself but for the vulnerable). Violet Blue offers further alarming details in this look at Google+ and the personalities behind it.

Comment Re:No story here, move along (Score 2) 208

One might gain an artistic appreciation of his drawings but it is difficult to view this as Mathematics.

The real story here is that he convinced someone at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, to publish a book about him.

I don't doubt that he experiences visual phenomena, perhaps indistinguishable from hallucinations. Although such a unique perspective might conceivably give him an opportunity to understand math in a new way I'm skeptical this occurred. I'm afraid he has no more insight than a nautilus has into the fibonacci sequence.


Submission + - The New iPhones: Everything Is Amazing and Nobody Is Happy (xconomy.com)

waderoush writes: Legions of reviewers, including many here on Slashdot, have expressed disappointment over what Apple didn’t announce this week. The new iPhones should be cheaper, many critics said. They should have a larger screen, or more memory, or longer battery life. The 64-bit processor in the iPhone 5S is marketing fluff. There’s no NFC, no notification LED, no always-on clock. The fingerprint scanner is either too hackable or too secure (will there now be a market in dismembered fingers?). Most absurdly: Apple should have skipped straight to the iPhone 6. At some point, clearly, consumers decided that incremental advances won’t cut it, and that we deserve to be bowled over by every Apple product refresh. But that’s unrealistic, bordering on delusional. A column in Xconomy this week offers a look at the real substance of Apple’s improvements to the iPhone, a defense of incrementalism, and a reminder that today’s smartphones already surpass the wildest visions of 20th-century sci-fi creators.

Comment Re:Smart move (Score 1) 457

IThe definition of "electrocution" is "death or injury from electric shock"

Really? In English? I don't know where you getting your dictionary, but the several I referenced stated:

Definition of ELECTROCUTE

1: to execute (a criminal) by electricity
2: to kill by electric shock

Here's an example: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/electrocute

Prefer a UK reference? http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/electrocute?q=electrocute

Much as I hate to side with an AC, so far no one has recovered from an electrocution.

Electronic Frontier Foundation

DOJ Often Used Cell Tower Impersonating Devices Without Explicit Warrants 146

Via the EFF comes news that, during a case involving the use of a Stingray device, the DOJ revealed that it was standard practice to use the devices without explicitly requesting permission in warrants. "When Rigmaiden filed a motion to suppress the Stingray evidence as a warrantless search in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the government responded that this order was a search warrant that authorized the government to use the Stingray. Together with the ACLU of Northern California and the ACLU, we filed an amicus brief in support of Rigmaiden, noting that this 'order' wasn't a search warrant because it was directed towards Verizon, made no mention of an IMSI catcher or Stingray and didn't authorize the government — rather than Verizon — to do anything. Plus to the extent it captured loads of information from other people not suspected of criminal activity it was a 'general warrant,' the precise evil the Fourth Amendment was designed to prevent. ... The emails make clear that U.S. Attorneys in the Northern California were using Stingrays but not informing magistrates of what exactly they were doing. And once the judges got wind of what was actually going on, they were none too pleased:"

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In English, every word can be verbed. Would that it were so in our programming languages.