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Submission + - Amazon.com down

anshubansal2000 writes: www.amazon.com website is down. It is returning Http 1.1/ Service unavailable blank page. It is also a story on www.marketwatch.com. Check the story

Feed Techdirt: West Virginia Tax Official Tries To Stop Website From Posting Public Tax Maps (techdirt.com)

Paul Alan Levy writes "The county tax assessor in Charleston, West Virginia, has sued a local tech company that had the audacity to post public tax maps from the entire state of West Virginia on its web site. The company obtained the maps under the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for a total charge of $20 for 28000 maps (the actual cost of copying electronic files to CDs). The tax assessor complains that she stands to lose the profit she makes by selling paper tax maps at $8 per sheet. Why should you care? If the county tax assesor wins her case, it could affect other Web sites and bloggers that make public government records available on the Internet." Apparently, what some people have a different idea of what "public" information means than others... especially when the government stands to profit from that information. While government documents cannot be covered by copyright, apparently some gov't officials feel that preventing their ability to profit off of that public data is illegal.

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United States

Submission + - A chemical-infused shopping experience (blogspot.com)

marnyeelee writes: "Recently all the news about lead in toys made in China has made me more conscious about other unsafe chemicals in products all around us, especially so-called cheap goods. I have started noticing that when I walk into the big box retail stores selling household items or crafts, the smell of plastic or chemicals are real strong. In the past, I had associated the "new item smell" on clothings and gadgets fresh out of their boxes with "something good, something new". However, I am starting to re-evaluate my automatic reaction based on two recent experiences, not to mention the news. More at http://busythinking.blogspot.com/2008/01/chemical-infused-shopping-experiences.html"
Government

Submission + - Tech Companies and Universities Spar Over Patents (insidehighered.com)

An anonymous reader writes: When an association of technology companies distributed a memo on Capitol Hill suggesting that colleges' concerns about the Patent Reform Act had been resolved, higher education groups begged to differ: "We believe that the proper spokespersons for the positions of the university community are universities and our associations, not independent advocacy groups."
Media

Submission + - Toshiba slashes HD DVD prices (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: "Toshiba announced today that it will slash the prices on HD DVD players from 40% to 50% to boost market adoption of its hi-def DVD format by mainstream consumers after it said it had a successful fourth quarter in unit sales. "While price is one of the consideration elements for the early adopter, it is a deal-breaker for the mainstream consumer," said Toshiba executive Yoshi Uchiyama in a statement."
Government

Submission + - California to control Thermostats

arctuniol writes: "Add thermostats to the list of private property the government would like to regulate as the state of California looks to require that residents install remotely monitored temperature controls in their homes next year. The government is seeking to limit rolling blackouts and free up electric and natural gas resources by mandating that every new heating and cooling system include a "non-removable" FM receiver. The thermostat is also capable of controlling other appliances in the house, such as electric water heaters, refrigerators, pool pumps, computers and lights in response to signals from utility companies. If contractors and residents refuse to comply with the mandate, their building permits will be denied"
Censorship

Submission + - Ford Claims Ownership Of Your Pictures (bmcforums.com)

Mike Rogers writes: "In a move that can only be described as "Copyright Insanity", Form Motor Company now claims that they hold the rights to ANY image of a Ford vehicle, even if it's a picture you took of your own car. The Black Mustang Club wanted to put together a calendar featuring member's cars and print it through CafePress, but an attorney from Ford nixed the project, stating that the calendar pics and "anything with one of (member's) cars in it infringes on Ford's trademarks which include the use of images of THEIR vehicles." Does Ford have the right to prevent you from printing images of a car you own?"
KDE

Submission + - KDE 4.0 Released

JShadow21 writes: KDE 4.0 as officially been released. Packages are available for most major distros.
Announcements

Submission + - Hauppauge To Release Hi-def Hardware Encoder Card (newsticker.welt.de)

Nathan F writes: "Today brings great news for those of us with home built HTPC systems such as those running MythTV. Hauppauge will be releasing a high definition hardware based encoding card, capable of converting component video at 1080i to H.264 video with digital audio passthrough. Previously, MythTV users and the like have had to rely on the benevolence of cable companies' encryption schemes in order to record non-downscaled HD content. This card, in combination with a set top box from the cable company, will allow the reliable recording of HD content with negligible quality loss. The card is expected to sell for $250 USD."
United States

Submission + - Ron Paul Survival Reports Released 2

Veinor writes: "The New Republic has released several scans of Ron Paul's old Survival Reports, as well as other miscellaneous documents, dating from 1978 to 1995. Many of the quotes, such as in the November 1990 article where Martin Luther King is called "a world-class adulterer" who "seduced underage girls and boys" and "replaced the evil of forced segregation with the evil of forced integration," and the January 1994 edition, where he claims gay men with AIDS "enjoy the attention and pity that comes with being sick," could potentially damage the Republican presidential hopeful's bid."
Cellphones

Submission + - What happened to OpenMoko?

overshoot writes: Does anyone know what happened to OpenMoko? First they were going to have development hardware last December, then it slipped to February, with commercial availability in June, then the development units showed up in the summer but the consumer devices were going to be available in October. Well, my calendar says October was two months ago, the website hasn't been updated since July, and I'm still lusting after that phool fone.
Privacy

Submission + - Do Police Read Your Myspace? (indybay.org)

An anonymous reader writes: According to Indybay, Police are using myspace in a hip new way, to send off to your employers after you have been arrested. The Article states

"They had tracked down the website for my band, followed a link to our myspace page, and from there tracked down my personal myspace page. In my profile I had some pretty cheeky anti-authoritarian hyperbole and that was quoted in the report. "Subject says in his myspace profile that he is 'looking for someone to turn over and burn police cars with,'" a dumb comment that had been part of my online profile for many years. There was a print out of my entire myspace profile, band website, etc. All of this info had been passed on to my employer."

I have heard of employers checking up on employees through myspace and facebook, but could we be going into a new era where cops not only charge you with a crime but taddle on you to your employer?

I'm not sure the legality of all of this.

Media

Submission + - Fox News refuses to run pro-Constitution ad

An anonymous reader writes: I am a bit confused here aren't News agencies supposed to be impartial on what they report and what commercials they air? Fox News has refused to air an ad produced by the Center for Constitutional Rights that criticizes the Bush administration for "destroying the Constitution" by the use of renditions, torture, and other tactics. The ad, "Rescue the Constitution," which is narrated by actor Danny Glover... Full article here. http://mediamatters.org/items/200712030002
Censorship

Submission + - Comcast blocking Ron Paul fund raising site 1

noiseordinance writes: "I realize I just asked a question last night and am grateful it was published. However, I'm noticing that many Comcast subscribers are reporting that they cannot access the website, www.teaparty07.com, a fund-raising website for presidential candidate, Ron Paul. Is Comcast up to it's filtering tricks once again?

Thanks guys, and sorry if I'm being a nuisance."

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