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Submission + - Internet users are powerless to protect their privacy, and they know it (betanews.com)

Mark Wilson writes: A paper produced by a team at the University of Pennsylvania confirms something many people have probably thought true for some time: the notion that internet users are unhappy with the way their privacy is undermined by advertisers and online companies, yet feel there is nothing they can do about it.

While marketing companies like to present an image of customers who are happy to hand over personal information in return for certain benefits, the truth is rather different. Rather than dedicating time and energy to trying to stop personal data from being exploited, people are instead taking it on the chin and accepting it as part and parcel of modern, online life. It's just the way things are.

Crime

Online Impersonations Now Illegal In California 217

theodp writes "TechCrunch's Michael Arrington reports that a California bill criminalizing online impersonations went into effect on January 1st. 'There has to be intent to harm, intimidate, threaten, or defraud another person — not necessarily the person you are impersonating,' explains Arrington. 'Free speech issues, including satire and parody, aren't addressed in the text of the bill. The courts will likely sort it out.' So, Fake Steve Jobs, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?'"
PC Games (Games)

Blizzard Boss Says Restrictive DRM Is a Waste of Time 563

Stoobalou writes "Blizzard co-founder Frank Pearce reckons that fighting piracy with DRM is a losing battle. His company — which is responsible for one of the biggest video games of all time, the addictive online fantasy role player World of Warcraft — is to release StarCraft 2 on July 27, and Pearce has told Videogamer that the title won't be hobbled with the kind of crazy copy protection schemes that have made Ubisoft very unpopular in gaming circles of late. StarCraft 2 will require a single online activation using the company's Battle.net servers, after which players will be allowed to play the single-player game to their hearts' content, without being forced to have a persistent Internet connection."
Biotech

Patents On Synthetic Life "Extremely Damaging" 171

An anonymous reader writes "Pioneer and veteran of genomics Professor John Sulston is extremely concerned about the patent applications on the first synthetic life-form. The patents were filed by the Venter Institute following the announcement of the first life-form to have a synthetic genome. Sulston claims the patent is excessively broad and would stifle research and development in the field by creating an effective monopoly on synthetic life and related molecular techniques. Prof. Sulston had previously locked horns ten years ago with Dr. Craig Venter over intellectual property issues surrounding the human genome project. Fortunately, Sulston won the last round and the HGP is freely accessible — Venter had wanted to charge for access, just as he now wishes to make 'synthetic life' proprietary."
Privacy

Emergency Dispatcher Fired For Facebook Drug Joke 631

kaptink writes "Dana Kuchler, a 21-year veteran of the West Allis Dispatch Department, was fired from her job for making jokes on her Facebook page about taking drugs. She appealed to an arbitrator, claiming the Facebook post was a joke, pointing out she had written 'ha' in it, and noting that urine and hair samples tested negative for drugs. The arbitrator said she should be entitled to go back to work after a 30-day suspension, but the City of West Allis complained that was not appropriate. Is posting bad jokes on Facebook a justifiable reason to give someone the boot?"
Earth

Random Hacks of Kindness 69

Elizabeth Sabet writes "Google, Microsoft, NASA, The World Bank, and Yahoo! are unlikely partners, but they are bringing together the best and brightest in disaster relief management and the ever-growing hacker community in a progressive initiative called Random Hacks of Kindness. Its mission is to mobilize a world-wide community of technologists to solve real-world problems through technology. RHoK is gearing up for its first world-wide 'hackathon for humanity' on June 4-6, 2010. Following last year's inaugural event in Mountain View, California, which produced software solutions that were used on the ground during the devastating earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, the partners have decided to take the effort global. RHoK engages volunteer software engineers, independent hackers, and students from around the world in a marathon weekend of hacking events and coding competitions to develop software solutions for problems posed by subject-matter experts. This first global Hackathon will feature sponsored events in Washington, DC, Sydney, Nairobi, Jakarta, and Sao Paulo." Here's where to go for more details or to register for the DC event.
HP

HP Explains Why Printer Ink Is So Expensive 651

CWmike writes "'There's a perception that [printer] ink is one of the most expensive substances in the world,' says Thom Brown, marketing manager at HP. Well, yeah. One might get that feeling walking out of a store having spent $35 for a single ink cartridge that appears to contain fewer fluid ounces of product than a Heinz ketchup packet. Brown was ready to explain. He presented a series of PowerPoint slides aptly titled 'Why is printer ink so expensive?' I was ready for answers. The key point in a nutshell: Ink technology is expensive, and you pay for reliability and image quality. 'These liquids are completely different from a technology standpoint,' Brown says, adding that users concerned about cost per page can buy 'XL' ink cartridges from HP that last two to three times longer. (Competitors do the same.) The message: You get value for the money. No getting around it though — ink is still expensive, particularly if you have to use that inkjet printer for black-and-white text pages."
NASA

NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander Killed By Ice 113

coondoggie writes "NASA officially ended its Phoenix Mars Lander operation today after a new image of the machine showed severe ice damage to its solar panels, and repeated attempts to contact the spacecraft had failed. 'Apparent changes in the shadows cast by the lander are consistent with predictions of how Phoenix could be damaged by harsh winter conditions. It was anticipated that the weight of a carbon-dioxide ice buildup could bend or break the lander's solar panels. [Michael Mellon of the University of Colorado] calculated hundreds of pounds of ice probably coated the lander in mid-winter.'"
PlayStation (Games)

Valve's Newell Thinks PS3 Needs To Be "Open Like a Mac" 348

Eraesr writes "Apparently Valve boss Gabe Newell thinks the PS3 needs to be more of an open platform, drawing a comparison to Apple's Mac platform. In an interview with 5BY5.TV, he said he would like to see the PS3 be 'open like a Mac' instead of being 'more closed like a Gamecube.' 'Platform investments, like the Mac, are difficult because you have to be aware of what direction that platform is moving,' Newell said, referring to the firm's recent move onto Macs with its titles and distribution service Steam. 'We need to target platforms that do a better job of looking like where we want to be in a few years.'"

Submission + - SPAM: Fifa Worldcup 2010 Match Schedule

hindijin writes: The 2010 FIFA World Cup will be the 19th FIFA World Cup, the premier international football tournament. It is scheduled to take place between 11 June and 11 July 2010 in South Africa. The 2010 FIFA World Cup will be the culmination of a qualification process that began in August 2007 and involved 204 of the 208 FIFA national teams. As such, it matches the 2008 Summer Olymp
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Submission + - U.S. Rejects Demands For ACTA Transparency (michaelgeist.ca)

An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. Trade Representative issued a release just prior to the launch of the New Zealand round of Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement negotiations that has left no doubt that the U.S. is the biggest barrier to official release of the ACTA text. Unlike most other ACTA countries that have called for transparency without condition, the U.S. has set conditions that effectively seeks to trade its willingness to release the text for gains on the substance of the text.
Portables

iPad Jailbroken 624

A day after the release of Apple's tablet computer, a hacker claims to have gained root access to the iPad. "A well-known hacker of the iPhone, who previously defeated Apple's restrictions on developers, has claimed in a video to have hacked the iPad. Just a day after release, the hacker, who goes by 'MuscleNerd' online, said that he has gained root access to the iPad..."
Google

Talk of an Apple Search Engine To Thwart Google 276

Hugh Pickens writes "eWeek reports that the data Apple collects about users from its iPhone is so valuable that the company may build its own iPhone-centric search engine just to keep Google from gleaning insight from that data. 'The data generated on the iPhone OS platform must become an increasing priority for Apple and we believe the company has the resources to develop its own products in both maps and search in the next five years,' writes analyst Gene Munster. Google is currently the default search engine on the iPhone, but Google has increasingly encroached on Apple's mobile turf, offering the Android operating system and several mobile applications. As the search provider for the iPhone, Google sees what iPhone users are searching for, which can help it tailor software and services for its own mobile smartphones — a competitive advantage that has not gone unnoticed by Apple. Apple lacks the experience and engineering wherewithal to build a large, scalable search engine, but Munster says Apple could buy a search startup with a Web index, such as Cuil or Taptu, and use its index as the seed for its own search engine. 'Apple is in an inside position to tap into the current pent-up demand for better mobile search, and add a new competitive differentiation from other search providers and device makers,' adds IDC analyst Hadley Reynolds."
Handhelds

iPad Launches, FCC Teardown Leaked 617

Apple's much-awaited iPad officially launched today, and iFixit has gotten their hands on photos from the FCC teardown. They've done an analysis of the internals and provided directions on doing it yourself, if you're so inclined. Predictably, it's a hot topic in the media. Cory Doctorow wrote about why he won't be getting an iPad, complaining about the closed, hacker-unfriendly design and what he calls the "Wal-martization of the software channel." Daring Fireball's John Gruber disagrees, pointing out that enthusiasts — even kids exercising their curiosity — are still quite capable of playing around with the iPad through app creation, and with much more of a chance to compete with big companies than in the Apple ][ days. Similarly, others are referring to it as the "bedtime computer" — technology that has a reasonable shot at expanding into completely new areas of use, like bedtime reading for kids. Such a device was predicted in 1972 by Alan Kay, the PARC scientist credited with the epigram "The best way to predict the future is to invent it." His hypothetical DynaBook bears striking similarity to what Apple finally came up with. So, those of you who have picked up or received an iPad already: how do you like it?

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