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Submission + - Towel Day 2007

Render_Man writes: "May 25th is Towel Day. In honor of the late Douglas Adams, carry your towel with you through the day. Do you know where your towel is?

A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have. Partly it has great practical value — you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you — daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have "lost". What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

Submission + - Richard Stallman fields questions on Free Software

An anonymous reader writes: Newsforge has an article on a talk Richard Stallman recently gave titled "The Free Software Movement and GNU/Linux Operating System". Of particular interest is the open Q&A session where RMS is asked such questions as "Do you support the Creative Commons license?", and other ethical as well as practical questions.

In keeping with RMS' wishes the talk is only available in Ogg Theora and can be downloaded by http or bittorrent.

Submission + - Reactor that chews up old nuke waste to be built?

zentropa writes: "A nuclear reactor that chews up old radioactive waste, can never melt down and cannot be used to make weapons? Sounds too good to be true, but that's apparently the promise of a new type of thorium reactor, according to a feature in Cosmos Magazine. It's theorectically possible to build such a reactor, but no-one's done it yet. But now the Norwegians have decided to seriously investigate the construction of such an accelerator-driven thorium-fuelled plant. Why isn't everyone looking into this?"

Submission + - British Conservative 'Gets it' on OSS

Anonymous Coward writes: "George Osborne, the Conservative Shadow Chancellor, seems to "Get it" in surprising depth on the potential of OSS in government IT and in general. He gave a speech in which he correctly identifies not only what OSS and community-driven resources are about, but also seems to understand that open standards are _really_ the key to unlocking some of the benefits. Perhaps he is treading carefully, but he's not yet mentioned the corruption and bribery that seems to determine quite a lot of public sector IT spending (Research Machines IT monopoly in UK education, for example) but that may come in time. If this really translates into future Govt policy, we might be seeing the start of a real change in the IT landscape, with some of our favourite software getting the exposure and appreciation it deserves. Why not let Mr. Osborne know that we appreciate his approach, and tell him that he's on the right track. A bit of voter approval of something like this is just what it needs to confirm his position. might appreciate a few messages of support!"

Submission + - HP Skates Away From SEC Charges

theodp writes: "In return for the SEC dropping charges that HP improperly deprived investors of important information and violated the public reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act by failing to disclose the circumstances surrounding a Board member's resignation over an out-of-control press leak investigation, the computer maker simply agreed to cease and desist from doing so in the future, without admitting or denying having done so in the past. 'HP acted in what it believed to be a proper manner,' said the company in a press release."

Submission + - Novell and EFF together against patents

mrcgran writes: "ArsTechnica is reporting that Novell and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are joining forces. From the article: "In a surprise announcement earlier today at the Open Source Business Conference, Novell and the Electronic Frontier Foundation said that Novell would be contributing to the EFF's Patent Busting project. In addition, the two entities will work for legislation and policies that will "promote innovation," specifically targeting the World Intellectual Property Organization.""

Submission + - Novell, EFF Announce Patent Reform Partnership

stewart_maximus writes: EFF is partnering with Novell to try to get rid of software patents that are hurting innovation all over the world," stated Shari Steele, Executive Director of the EFF in an interview prior to the panel session. Novell will assist the EFF with it's "Patent Busting Project" and by lobbying the US (and other) governments about patent reform. "The news is notable because it's the first time, Steele confirmed, that a corporate entity has publicly thrown in this level of support for the EFF on the patent issue."

Submission + - Lessons From a Honeynet Attacked 700,000 Times

JMoon writes: The attacks have been thick and steady, and the relentless attackers appear hell bent on taking control of as many vulnerable systems as possible. This article will focus on providing some basic guidelines that will serve to assist you in conducting your own vulnerability management and performing scans against your own systems and networks, in the hope that you will identify and remedy any serious vulnerabilities and bugs in advance of the unyielding hackers, ultimately resulting in computer systems that are secure and protected.

Submission + - Novell To Reveal Patent Deal With Microsoft

ramboando writes: Watch out for Novell's SEC filing at the end of this month, says ZDNet Australia. Novell execs says their patent agreement with Microsoft will be detailed in there. At the ongoing Open Source Business Conference, Novell spokesman Bruce Lowry said the information would have been released earlier but the investigation into the company's stock option compensation practices has delayed things.

Jonathan Corbet, Linux kernel programmer and executive editor of, thinks it all stinks. During a panel discussion, he said Novell effectively has legitimized accusations of open-source code impurity. "We are proud about the quality of our code. If Novell comes along and says my code is not mine and cannot be distributed without paying a tax to Microsoft, I feel I have been called a thief," Corbet said. "It is divisive to the community."

Submission + - Boring Old Corporate Printers Get Colorful

decaf_joe writes: "Yes, I know it's hard to get excited about big, honking network printers, but take a look at what Panasonic is doing with them: Panasonic's new C3 multifunction printers will eschew the usual beige case in favor of color bodies. The new printers will be available in red, yellow, or blue. For old sticks in the mud, black is available. Note that these aren't printers designed for a teenager's bedroom. They're big office printers, designed for multiple users and all-day activity. It's the first time I've heard of this kind of design shift in the stodgy corporate printer market. Why color? Panasonic says color in the office improves worker morale and productivity. While the effect of a single piece of hardware being red instead of white might not be enormous, it is at least a start. Here's what various colors are said to do to you on a subconscious, psychological level. I was amused to find that the dark green walls of my office are "masculine, conservative, and imply wealth." What do you think? Would you put a yellow (enhances concentration and speeds metabolism) or red (the color of love) printer in your office?"

Submission + - MPAA Trumpets Spiderman 3 Camcording Crackdown

ZDRuX writes: (From Michael Geist's website) Jon Healey of the LA Times points to a joint rellease [pdf] from the MPAA and the National Association of Theatre Owners trumpeting their success in stopping the camcording of Spiderman 3. The release notes that the industry stopped 31 camcording attempts worldwide, which it credits with helping lead to the movie's record opening. Healey focuses on the economic side of the story — he rightly says camcording is wrong, but also wonders about the actual box office impact of camcording.

Canadians will find the release interesting since it lists the various countries where Spiderman 3 camcording was stopped. Given the recent hysteria about Canadian camcording, one would expect a sizable percentage of the 31 incidents would be traced back to Canada. In actual fact, the industry says there were nine incidents in the U.S. (including theatres in California, Florida, Indiana, NY, and Texas) along with 22 other incidents in Argentina, Germany, Malaysia, Russia, South Africa, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. Not one Canadian incident is mentioned in the release.

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"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.