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Submission + - SPAM: SEC alleges insider trading ahead of Heinz deal

gracemark2 writes: The SEC is alleging that the traders must have known in advance about the pending transaction based on inside information. The traders bought call options to make a huge profit of roughly 1,700 percent after the acquisition was announced.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Google Uses AI to Find Where You Live (i-programmer.info)

mikejuk writes: A recent Google research paper outlines how it might use AI to read digits in natural images — specifically Street View photos. The idea is to automatically extract the number of each house as captured by Street View and then use this to improve the geocoding data returned by Google.
When you next ask for directions to a particular address the new data could be used to show you a street view looking directly at the house you specifed.

Comment Re:This is a random comment. (Score 1) 395

> it can be a small problem, I think, when "non-random" sequences are removed from possible random number generations. [...] it may take a fair slice out of the available keyspace

This is true, and could be a problem if everyone's PIN were randomly generated. Since most PINs are selected by users and conform to a known, decidedly non-uniform distribution, this actually makes sense. If it's known that e.g. 1234 is over-represented in the pool of PINs, that would be one of the first ones an attacker would try. Therefore, it makes sense to filter that out. But note that it's the over-representation of the PIN and the fact that attackers are aware of this skew that makes it worth avoiding, and not anything inherently insecure about "runs" or "pairs".


Linux Boxee Users Get Hulu Relief 78

DeviceGuru writes "The Linux version of Boxee's eponymously-named multimedia platform has finally been updated to include several new features introduced into the OS X and Windows versions over the past few months. Key additions include an App Box and restored support for Hulu, which disappeared several months ago. Still lacking in the latest Linux release, however, is the long-awaited addition of Netflix movie and TV show streaming for subscribers to Netflix's monthly service."

Unpaid Contributors Provide Corporate Tech Support 221

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times writes about Justin McMurry of Keller, TX, who spends up to 20 unpaid hours per week helping Verizon customers with high-speed fiber optic Internet, television and telephone service. McMurry is part of an emerging corps of Web-savvy helpers that large corporations, start-up companies, and venture capitalists are betting will transform the field of customer service. Such enthusiasts are known as lead users, or super-users, and their role in contributing innovations to product development and improvement — often selflessly — has been closely researched in recent years. These unpaid contributors, it seems, are motivated mainly by a payoff in enjoyment and respect among their peers. 'You have to make an environment that attracts the Justin McMurrys of the world, because that's where the magic happens,' says Mark Studness, director of e-commerce at Verizon. The mentality of super-users in online customer-service communities is similar to that of devout gamers, according to Lyle Fong, co-founder of Lithium Technologies whose web site advertises that a vibrant community can easily save a company millions of dollars per year in deflected support calls' and whose current roster of 125 clients includes AT&T, BT, iRobot, Linksys, Best Buy, and Nintendo. Lithium's customer service sites for companies offer elaborate rating systems for contributors, with ranks, badges and kudos counts. 'That alone is addictive,' says Fong. 'They are revered by their peers.' Meanwhile McMurry, who is 68 and a retired software engineer, continues supplying answers by the bushel, all at no pay. 'People seem to like most of what I say online, and I like doing it.'"
Operating Systems

Cross-Distro Remote Package Administration? 209

tobiasly writes "I administer several Ubuntu desktops and numerous CentOS servers. One of the biggest headaches is keeping them up-to-date with each distro's latest bugfix and security patches. I currently have to log in to each system, run the appropriate apt-get or yum command to list available updates, determine which ones I need, then run the appropriate install commands. I'd love to have a distro-independent equivalent of the Red Hat Network where I could do all of this remotely using a web-based interface. PackageKit seems to have solved some of the issues regarding cross-distro package maintenance, but their FAQ explicitly states that remote administration is not a goal of their project. Has anyone put together such a system?"

Comment Types of volcano (Score 1) 293

Volcanoes 101.

There are three basic types of volcano, based on the composition of the magma.

Basaltic. Heaviest magma. Eruptions produce thick, slow, lava flows. Most beautiful, least dangerous. examples: Hawaii (Mauna Loa).

Andesitic. Lighter magma of mixed composition. Eruptions are explosive; much more dangerous. West coast of North America (Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Redoubt)

Rhyolitic. Lightest magma. Eruptions can be cataclysmic. Most dangerous; if you live within 1000 miles of a big eruption, you can kiss your ass goodbye. (Yellowstone, most volcanoes in New Zealand.)

One thing we learned while on an Earthwatch volcano-monitoring expedition some years ago is that there are no "dead" volcanoes. We are merely talking in those cases about extremely long between-eruption periods, which can be millions of years.

Comment How to get to the heart of this. (Score 2, Insightful) 379

I'm sure it's no picnic to have to deal with Time Warner. My cable company is Charter, and there is no joy there either. But let's cut straight to the quick:

After the year we have had, with deflation raging and with the consequent loss of jobs and other economic suffering all around, for anyone to demand a fee increase from anyone over anything is an OUTRAGE.

Comment Why should they be secret? (Score 1) 174

I have another complaint along similar lines. Why should there be any secret agreements between these companies, or any two corporations for that matter? Whatever the reasons why they might want to keep the agreements secret, the secrecy would seem to make public oversight difficult or impossible.

Granted, the entities involved are free to make some informal agreements among themselves. (They aren't free to make agreements to fix prices, hidden or otherwise!) But if they want to be able to use the legally constituted court system to enforce such agreements, then the contracts should be completely open and available to public inspection. (And not just after a lawsuit is filed: from the moment of signing.)

Aside: why should there be public oversight in this and similar cases? Imagine if your power were out for two days because of some secret spat between power companies!


University Tries "One iPhone Per Student" 281

alphadogg writes to tell us that one freshman class has a little more than usual to be excited about. When students at Abilene Christian University showed up for their first days of class they were greeted with the choice of either a new iPhone 3g or an iPod Touch plus a package of custom web apps to use on them. "The hardware is part of the Texas university's pilot mobile learning project, which has been gestating for over a year. About 650 first-year students chose the iPhone, and about 300 the iPod Touch, which is a very similar device but without the 3G radio (both devices incorporate an 802.11g Wi-Fi adapter). ACU pays for the hardware, student (or their parents) select and pay for their monthly AT&T service plan."

The Uncertain Future of Global Population Numbers 279

An anonymous reader writes "The question of global population is a pretty crucial one; how many people will there be in ten years? In forty? The New York Times notes research done by a group called the Worldwatch Institute, research that concludes world population figures are too fluid to make any sort of educated guesses. Childbearing populations combined with severe resource shortages in some parts of the world make pinning down a global headcount unfeasible for ten years from now, let alone out to 2050. The article continues beyond its original borders, as well, with commenters in the field of population studies noting we don't even have a good grasp on how many people were alive in 2007."

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