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Submission + - Is a EULA binding?

snester writes: "Having done a small amount of University Law (enough to be dangerous) there is a component of law (at least in Australian Law) that indicates that any legally enforceable, duty binding or penalty enforced requirements must not only be visible but understood by the person using the service or undertaking an agreement. A classic example is that a sign in a car park that states "Cars parked after a certain will incur a fine for services rendered in unlocking the car park to allow the person to exit" IF the person firstly does not see the sign then an argument can be made the sign was not visible however the more interesting part is that if the person does not understand any part of the terms or warning or it is ambiguous of illegible in any way impinges on other granted civil liberties or privacy expectations then enforcement can be overturned. The proposal I would like to put forward is that EULAs are essentially worthless and unenforceable for the simple fact that most reasonable people would simply be unable to decipher the terms of the EULA."

Submission + - Apple Screws Australians (apple.com) 1

snester writes: "Iphone 5 — fantastic piece of kit. $799, $899 or $999 to purchase one with 16, 32 or 64 gb of memory here in Australia from Apple. Visit the Apple US site and those same iPhone 5's are $199, $299 & $399. I suggest to everyone ordering one here through Telstra or Apple to purchase one overseas. Why do companies like Apple take Australians for a ride? On the current exchange rate those US prices should be $189, $285 & $380 in Australia. This is profiteering at the extreme."

Sticky Rice Is the Key To Super Strong Mortar 194

lilbridge writes "For over 1,500 years the Chinese have been using sticky rice as an ingredient in mortar, which has resulted in super strong buildings, many of which are still standing after hundreds of years. Scientists have been studying the sticky rice and lime mortar to unlock the secrets of its strength, and have just determined the secret ingredient that makes the mortar more stable and stronger. The scientists have also concluded that this mixture is the most appropriate for restoration of ancient and historic buildings, which means it is probably also appropriate for new construction as well."

Submission + - Best solutions when your server is overwhelmed? (themercury.com.au) 2

snester writes: "I recently had an article in the local newspaper where I promoted my software as a free download. I thought i might get a hundred or so visitors but as I sit here now i'm receiving thousands of visitors and hundreds of downloads. I recently added a DropIO link to my download page I had a look at QDRIVE and FILES4FREE to take some of the load off my server. Those services all had limitations. QDRIVE wont allow exe's. Files4Free requires the downloader to sign up before downloading and DROP IO has time limitations. What do slashdotter's recommend that can be added quickly to a page as a simple link that users click and the file automatically downloads? The file is a 47mb .exe"

Submission + - Is Google Stealing My Secrets? (smh.com.au) 2

snester writes: "In the recent documented privacy breaches of Google in Australia and other parts of the world, Google has been accused of unlawfully recording router information whilst performing Street View drive-bys. I am a small software developer who produces a competing product to their Sketchup product and I am wondering. How can I be sure Google are not using my IP information to block my attempts to maximize my Google searches and secondly how do I know they are not actually stealing my sensitive data? After all the only assurance is that they say I should "Trust Us"."

Submission + - ViewBuild Virtual Reality now Actual Reality (viewbuild.com)

snester writes: "Due to the changing landscape of desktop software applications ViewBuild 3D has now provided a free download of its popular software. Moving from a trial version/pay model to a free, pay for use of services model.
ViewBuild has been called Sketchup on Steroids but is this the future of large scale desktop applications? Will we see Adobe release Photoshop for free and the publishing of output is charged?
ViewBuild hopes to stave off the effects of the GFC by reducing the barriers to entry and encouraging sharing and free use — however encouraging those who use it for commercial outcomes pay for their use.
I would love to hear from other Slashdotters if this is a realistic commercial model, and in particular from those who are still creating desktop applications what the future holds for them or are we doomed to be saturated with phone/ipad style device apps and desktop apps are relegated to a more specialised market sector?"


Submission + - Dell says new Streak is not a phone, not a tablet (pcauthority.com.au)

An anonymous reader writes: News of iPad rivals has begun to flow, with Dell announcing that it will be launching its 5in tablet, the Dell Streak, next week. Not that Dell wants people calling it a tablet. According to the launch post on Dell's company blog "The Dell Streak is a hybrid device that lives in the space between a smartphone and other larger tablets or netbooks that you might be using right now." Look at the pictures and you can see what Dell is getting at. The Streak looks like an oversized smartphone (as opposed the the iPad, which looks like a giant novelty-sized smartphone). It uses the same 1GHz Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm as the current batch of high end smartphones and runs Android. It also has a very smartphone-like featureset, with WiFi, 3G and Bluetooth 2.1. With the launch confined to the UK for now it will be fascinating to watch whether this form factor can find a market or not.

Submission + - Sudden Demand for Logicians on Wall Street (wordpress.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: In an unexpected development for the depressed market for mathematical logicians, Wall Street has begun quietly and aggressively recruiting proof theorists and recursion theorists for their expertise in applying ordinal notations and ordinal collapsing functions to high-frequency algorithmic trading. Ordinal notations, which specify sequences of ordinal numbers of ever increasing complexity, are being used by elite trading operations to parameterize families of trading strategies of breathtaking sophistication. Ordinal notation high-frequency trading algorithms pit their strategies against similar algorithmic opponents on electronic exchanges for a few fleeting seconds, during which thousands of trades are executed, including exploratory trades that test the strategies of opposing human and machine traders.

The monetary advantage of the current strategy is rapidly exhausted after a lifetime of approximately four seconds–an eternity for a machine, but barely enough time for a human to begin to comprehend what happened. The algorithm then switches to another trading strategy of higher ordinal rank, and uses this for a few seconds on one or more electronic exchanges, and so on, while opponent algorithms attempt the same maneuvers, risking billions of dollars in the process.


Submission + - When mistakes improve performance (bbc.co.uk)

jd writes: "Professor Rakesh Kumar at the University of Illinois has produced research showing that allowing communication errors between microprocessor components and then making the software more robust will actually result in chips that are faster and yet require less power. His argument is that at the current scale errors in transmission occur anyway and that the efforts of chip manufacturers to hide these to create the illusion of perfect reliability simply introduces a lot of unnecessary expense, demands excessive power and deoptimises the design. He favors a new architecture, which he calls the "stochastic processor" which is designed to gracefully handle data corruption and error recovery. He believes he has shown such a design would work and that it will permit Moore's Law to continue to operate into the foreseeable future. However, this is not the first time someone has tried to fundamentally revolutionize the CPU. The Transputer, the AMULET, the FM8501, the iWARP and the Crusoe were all supposed to be game-changers but died a cold, lonely death instead — and those were far closer to design philosophies programmers are currently familiar with. Modern software simply isn't written with the level of reliability the Stochastic Processor requires in mind (and many software packages are too big and too complex to port), and the volume of available software frequently makes or breaks new designs. Will this be "interesting but dead-end" research, or will the Professor pull off a CPU architectural revolution really not seen since the microprocessor was designed?"

Submission + - Tenth Suicide At iPhone Factory (reuters.com)

carre4 writes: Another employee has jumped to his death at Taiwanese iPhone and iPad manufacturer Foxconn. Police are not saying yet whether this was a suicide attempt, a suspicious death or an accident. It happened just one day after Foxconn started playing music to workers on the assembly line to try to ease the pressure on them; the company's founder had denied he works his staff too hard.

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The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing and to watch someone else doing it wrong, without commenting. -- T.H. White