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Earthlink Announces It Must Honor Comcast Cap
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '10 at 04:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's sorry-but-we're-honor-and-duty-bound deptartment:
LostCluster writes "For those in Comcast territory, a popular way to get around Comcast's 250 GB monthly cap was to sign up for EarthLink Powered by Comcast Service, where there was no cap. Forget about that... Earthlink just posted an FAQ explaining that Comcast will enforce the cap against Earthlink customers starting July 1."

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STIX Project Releases v1.0 of Its Scientific Fonts Set
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '10 at 03:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's now-that's-conservative-versioning deptartment:
starseeker writes "The Scientific and Technical Information Exchange (STIX) font creation project has released version 1.0 of its font set. This release is the product of almost 15 years of work, with the goal of creating a comprehensive set of fonts for scientific and engineering manuscript creation. The fonts have been released under the SIL Open Font License, and can be downloaded here. Among the many potential applications is proper universal support for MathML in web browsers." If you want a peek, here's "a page for viewing the thousands of glyphs (as a first approximation, think of a glyph as an individual character)."

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The Hurt Locker Producers Sue First 5,000 File-Sharers
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '10 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's tilting-at-windmills deptartment:
Voltage Pictures, the production company behind 2008's Oscar-winning Iraq war film The Hurt Locker, today sued 5,000 people who illegally downloaded the movie over BitTorrent. Quoting CNET: "Attorneys for Voltage wrote in the complaint that unless the court stops the people who pirate The Hurt Locker then Voltage will suffer 'great and irreparable injury that cannot fully be compensated or measured in money.' Voltage has asked the court to prevent those who downloaded the movie without paying for it from downloading its movies ever again, and order them to destroy all copies of The Hurt Locker from their computers and any other electronic devices they may have transferred the film to. As for monetary damages, the movie's producers want those found to have pilfered the movie to pay actual or statutory damages and cover the costs that went into filing the suits." According to the complaint (PDF), the 5,000 infringers are known only by their IP addresses at this time.

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US Navy Considering Wii Fit and DDR For Boot Camp
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '10 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's path-to-international-respect deptartment:
almehdaaol writes "New military recruits are coming in physically heavier and out of shape, so the US Navy has decided to take an interesting course of action by creating a new training regimen inspired by the fitness-centric Wii Fit and Dance Dance Revolution." This comes alongside a report confirming some of the BS we told our parents when we were growing up: "Bavelier said playing the kill-or-be-killed games can improve peripheral vision and the ability to see objects at dusk, and the games can even be used to treat amblyopia, or lazy eye, a disorder characterized by indistinct vision in one eye. She said she believes the games can improve math performance and other brain tasks."

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Gulf of Mexico Gets Wave-Powered Desalination Plant
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '10 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hope-it-comes-with-an-oil-filter deptartment:
blair1q writes "The US Army Corps of Engineers has issued the first permit for a wave-powered desalination plant in American territory to a company called Independent Natural Resources. Waves will operate 'Seadog' pumps, which will lift water into the plant and onto a water wheel connected to a generator, which will create electricity to operate a reverse-osmosis desalination system. The permit runs for four years. Let's hope they don't harm the environment, permanently impact drilling operations, or give Rube Goldberg any crazy ideas..."

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The Hobbit On Hold
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '10 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's had-such-a-nice-ring-to-it deptartment:
Flea of Pain writes "Director Guillermo Del Toro has confirmed upcoming Lord of the Rings prequel The Hobbit has been put on hold indefinitely because the movie has been caught in a 'tangled negotiation' over the future of the MGM movie studio. The film, based on J.R.R. Tolkien's first book in the fantasy series, was reportedly due to begin shooting this summer, but has been mired in delays. Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, who will act as producer on the new film, recently dismissed rumors of trouble with the picture, insisting: 'It's not really been delayed, because we've never announced the date.'"

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Google WebM Calls "Open Source" Into Question
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '10 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's branding-is-everything deptartment:
snydeq writes "As open source becomes mainstream, vendors are under pressure to market their offerings using the 'open source' brand to the highest degree possible — a trend that may eventually degrade the meaning of 'open source' as we know it, Savio Rodrigues writes. Witness WebM, which Google has positioned as an open alternative to H.264. After examining the software license, some in the open source community have questioned whether WebM should be classified as open source software. Google did not use an OSI-approved license for WebM, meaning that, at least in theory, WebM cannot be considered open source under the OSD — the 'gold standard' by which many government and business open source policies are defined. Moreover, when prodded for OSI review, Google required that the OSI agree to 'changes to how OSI does licenses' as a precursor to submitting a license for OSI review and approval. 'When Google, one of the largest supporters of open source, goes out and purposefully circumvents the OSI, what signal does this send to other vendors? How important is using an OSI-approved license likely to be in the future if other vendors follow Google's lead?'" An anonymous reader adds: "It turns out that libvpx, Google's VP8 library, isn't compatible with the GPLv2. Google is apparently aware of the problem and working on a solution.

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How To Get a Game-Obsessed Teenager Into Coding?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '10 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's apps-and-addons deptartment:
looseBits writes "I have a friend whose 14-year-old son spends all his time gaming, like any normal teenager. However, my friend would like to find a more productive interest for him and asked me how to get him into coding. When I started coding, it was on the Apple II, and one could quickly write code that was almost as interesting as commercially available software. Now, times have changed and it would probably take years of study if starting from scratch to write something anyone would find mildly interesting. Does anyone have experience in getting their children into programming? How did you keep them interested if the only thing they can do after a week is make the computer count to 10 and dump it on the screen?"

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High-Tech Burglars May Get Longer Sentences In Louisiana
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '10 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's mapquest-probation deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "Burglars and terrorists should be careful not to use Google Maps if they plan on committing crimes in the state of Louisiana. Nola reports that a bill approved 89-0 by the Louisiana House will require that judges impose an additional minimum sentence of at least 10 years on terrorist acts if the crime is committed with the aid of an Internet-generated 'virtual map.' The bill, already approved by the Louisiana Senate, defines a 'virtual street-level map' as one that is available on the Internet and can generate the location or picture of a home or building by entering the address of the structure or an individual's name on a website. If the map is used in the commission of a crime like burglary, the bill calls for the addition of at least one year in jail (PDF) to be added to the burglary sentence. The House measure is now being sent back to the Senate for approval of clarifying amendments made by a House committee."

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The "Scientific Impotence" Excuse
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '10 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's happens-more-often-as-you-get-older deptartment:
chichilalescu writes "I've had the feeling for a long time that people refuse to listen to scientists. The following is from an article on Ars Technica: 'It's hardly a secret that large segments of the population choose not to accept scientific data because it conflicts with their predefined beliefs: economic, political, religious, or otherwise. But many studies have indicated that these same people aren't happy with viewing themselves as anti-science, which can create a state of cognitive dissonance. That has left psychologists pondering the methods that these people use to rationalize the conflict. A study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology [abstract here] takes a look at one of these methods, which the authors term "scientific impotence" — the decision that science can't actually address the issue at hand properly.' The study found that 'regardless of whether the information presented confirmed or contradicted [the subjects'] existing beliefs, all of them came away from the reading with their beliefs strengthened."

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When the US Government Built Ultra-Safe Cars
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '10 at 10:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's pacer-meets-battlestar-galactica deptartment:
Jalopnik has a piece on a mostly forgotten piece of automotive history: the US government built a fleet of ultra-safe cars in the 1970s. The "RSV" cars were designed to keep four passengers safe in a front or side collision at 50 mph (80 kph) — without seat belts — and they got 32 miles to the gallon. They had front and side airbags, anti-lock brakes, and gull-wing doors. Lorne Greene was hired to flack for the program. All this was quickly dismantled in the Reagan years, and in 1990 the mothballed cars were all destroyed, though two prototypes survived in private hands. "Then-NHTSA chief Jerry Curry [in 1990] contended the vehicles were obsolete, and that anyone who could have learned something from them had done so by then. Claybrook, the NHTSA chief who'd overseen the RSV cars through 1980, told Congress the destruction compared to the Nazis burning books. ... 'I thought they were intentionally destroying the evidence that you could do much better,' said [the manager of one of the vehicles' manufacturers]."

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The Rise of Nanofoods
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '10 at 09:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's just-a-little-tweak deptartment:
separsons writes "Researchers are altering foods at the nanoscale level, changing their tiny molecular structures to enhance certain properties. (New Scientist has a more detailed look.) For example, one group of scientists found a way to hide water within individual droplets of oil, making low-fat mayonnaise taste like the real thing. The process can make spices spicier, potato chips healthier, and make diet food taste just like full-calorie snacks. Nanotech can even help combat global malnutrition. But the process is certainly controversial, and food manufacturers are being tight-lipped about exactly what nanofoods they're working on. So can nanotech create a healthier world, or is it just frightening Franken-food?"

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Three Indicted In Scareware Scam That Netted $100M
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '10 at 08:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's call-center-to-deflect-complaints deptartment:
alphadogg writes "Three men are facing federal fraud charges for allegedly raking in more than $100 million while running an illegal 'scareware' business called Innovative Marketing that tricked victims into installing bogus software. The company's products generated so many consumer complaints that in 2008 the FTC brought a civil action against Innovative Marketing and call center partner Byte Hosting, effectively putting them out of business. On Wednesday, a grand jury in Chicago handed down criminal charges, meaning the three men now face jail time if convicted." One of the men indicted is in Ohio and the others are believed to be in Ukraine and Sweden. Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit helped out with the case.

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Chinese Networking Vendor Huawei's Murky Ownership
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '10 at 07:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's worthy-of-neal-stephenson deptartment:
A month ago we mentioned India's suspicions that telecomm equipment from China might contain backdoors. There hasn't been any smoking gun on such speculation. Now reader littlekorea sends in some background on the ties one important Chinese telecomm vender might or might not have to the government there. "Conspiracy theories abound as to whether networking kit vendor Huawei is owned or controlled by the Chinese government and/or the military-industrial complex. But who really owns Huawei? Kiwi journalist Juha Saarinen headed to Shanghai to find out."

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Iron Baby
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '10 at 07:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's energizer-bunnies-beware deptartment:
When Iron Baby wants O's, Iron Baby gets O's.

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Intel Targets AMD With Affordable Unlocked CPUs
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '10 at 06:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's overclock-at-will deptartment:
EconolineCrush writes "For years, AMD has catered to gamers and enthusiasts with mid-range Black Edition processors whose unlocked multipliers make overclocking easy. Intel has traditionally reserved unlocked multipliers for its ultra-expensive Extreme CPUs, but it has now brought the feature to affordable models that compete directly with AMD's most popular processors. The Core i5-655K and Core i7-875K have two and four cores, respectively, and they're priced at just $216 and $342. It appears that both will easily hit speeds in excess of 4GHz with air cooling. Surprisingly, even at stock speeds, the i7-875K offers better performance and power efficiency per dollar than just about any other desktop CPU out there."

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What Microsoft Must Do To Save Its Mobile Business
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '10 at 05:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's take-two-cyanide-pills-and-call-me-in-the-morning deptartment:
GMGruman writes "Microsoft has tossed out its mobile management team (without admitting to doing so), but is that enough to make Microsoft matter in mobile? InfoWorld's Galen Gruman argues that a lot more is needed than a management change if Microsoft hopes to have a future in the emerging mobile world. In his blog, he lays out a tough five-point prescription for Microsoft to get back in the game. For starters, Microsoft has to get out of its well-established cultural mindset that it's OK to ship crap that it might fix later on."

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Telcos Waking Up To the Value of Your Location
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '10 at 05:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's cdrs-from-your-cars deptartment:
holy_calamity writes "Cell phone networks represent probably the most effective data collectors of all time: almost everyone's movements and communications are logged in some way by these firms thanks to the ubiquity of cell phones. Now they're beginning to wake up to the value of that data, as researchers mine call records to study travel and social patterns at previously unimaginable scales. Not surprisingly, some are thinking about how to monetize that data, too."

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XBMC Discontinues Xbox Support
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '10 at 04:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's technical-difficulties-stand-by-forever deptartment:
Xistic writes with news that the XB in XBMC won't mean Xbox any more. Quoting the project's own web site: "The last official release for the XBOX by the XBMC team was Atlantis, over 18 months ago. Since then, one brave soul (Arnova) has been merging code from the main codebase into the XBOX branch in our repository. Because there were many users out there that took advantage of these updates, we had no problem with this. But times have changed. The XBOX has hard limits for what it can handle. Some users are satisfied with these limits, and we encourage them to use XBMC there if they are happy. But it is a popular misconception that official XBOX development is still taking place by the team, so we have decided to set it free. We have enough on our plates already, and worrying about a deprecated platform just increases our workload. A few days ago the XBOX branch was finally removed from our subversion repository."

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Tetris Clones Pulled From Android Market
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '10 at 03:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's bad-news-bears deptartment:
sbrubblesman writes "The Tetris Company, LLC has notified Google to remove all Tetris clones from Android Market. I am one of the developers of FallingBlocks, a game with the same gameplay concepts as Tetris. I have received an email warning that my game was suspended from Android Market due to a violation of the Developer Content Policy. When I received the email, I already imagined that it had something to do with it being a Tetris clone, but besides having the same gameplay as Tetris, which I believe cannot be copyrighted, the game uses its own name, graphics and sounds. There's no reference to 'Tetris' in our game. I have emailed Google asking what is the reason for the application removal. Google promptly answered that The Tetris Company, LLC notified them under the DMCA (PDF) to remove various Tetris clones from Android Market. My app was removed together with 35 other Tetris clones. I checked online at various sources, and all of them say that there's no copyright on gameplay. There could be some sort of patent. But even if they had one, it would last 20 years, so it would have been over in 2005. It's a shame that The Tetris Company, LLC uses its power to stop developers from creating good and free games for Android users. Without resources for a legal fight, our application and many others will cease to exist, even knowing that they are legit. Users will be forced to buy the paid, official version, which is worse than many of the ones available for free on the market. Users from other countries, such as Brazil in my case, won't even be able to play the official Tetris, since Google Checkout doesn't exist in Brazil; you can't buy paid applications from Android Market in these countries."

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