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IBM Breaks Open Source Patent Pledge
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '10 at 07:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's who-saw-that-coming deptartment:
Jay Maynard writes "IBM has broken the pledge it made in 2005 not to assert 500 patents against open source software. In a letter sent to Roger Bowler, president of TurboHercules SA, IBM's Mark Anzani, head of their mainframe business, claimed that the Hercules open-source emulator (disclaimer: I manage the open source project) infringes on at least 106 issued patents and 67 more applied for. Included in that list is two that it pledged not to assert in 2005. In a blog entry, the NoSoftwarePatents campaign's Florian Mueller said that "IBM is using patent warfare in order to protect its highly lucrative mainframe monopoly against Free and Open Source Software." I have to agree: from where I sit, IBM likes Open Source only as long as they don't have to compete with it."

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Scrabble To Allow Proper Nouns
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '10 at 06:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's you-gotta-be-kidding-me deptartment:
Hogwash McFly writes "The rules of the popular word game Scrabble are soon to allow proper nouns. Mattel, the makers of the game, hope the changes made for a new edition, released this July, will "add a new dimension" to Scrabble and "introduce an element of popular culture into the game". With this rule change, the company hopes to target younger fans and families, although they will continue to sell the traditional version where 'Beyonce' and 'Facebook' are not permitted words." Nobody is listening to my suggestion penalize any player who has memorized every 2 letter english word by 1 tile.

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Facebook Crawler Speaks Back
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '10 at 06:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's everybody-litigate-now deptartment:
Last week we ran a story about Facebook suing to get a crawled dataset offline. This week we have a bit of a response written by Pete Warden, the guy who actually did the crawling. He followed robots.txt, and then Facebook's lawyers went after him. It's actually a quite interesting little tale and worth your time.

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Stallman On the UK Digital Economy Bill
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '10 at 05:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's no-bits-for-you deptartment:
superapecommando submitted a blog entry written by Stallman about the UKs bandwidth initiatives. RMS says "When I read about Gordon Brown's plan to give the UK more broadband, I couldn't restrain my laughter. Isn't this the same clown now busy circumventing democracy to take away broadband from Britons who already have it? And what good would broadband do them if they're punished for using it (or even being suspected of using it)? Laying cables would be a waste of resources if people are not allowed to use them. Brown did suggest another possible use for broadband. He said that it would enable MPs to better communicate with their constituents and keep track of what they want."

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Making Closed Software Act Like It's Open
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '10 at 04:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's latter-day-screen-scrape deptartment:
The Installer writes "Researchers from the University of Washington have managed to add customization and accessibility options to proprietary software without ever touching the source code. Rather than alter program code, Prefab looks for the pixels associated with the blocks of code used to paint applications to a screen, grabs hold of them, and alters them according to whatever enhancements the user has chosen to apply. Any user input is then fed back to the original software, still running behind the enhanced interface."

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Game Devs on the Future of PC Gaming
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '10 at 02:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's all-ubisoft-all-the-time deptartment:
Shacknews wraps up a developer panel at PAX East discussing the future of gaming on the PC. They cover topics including DRM, digital download platforms and cloud-based gaming services. "Joe Kreiner of Terminal Reality: 'If you look at it from a giant publisher perspective, then the numbers on the PC just really don't make financial sense for you to bother with it. But if you start out with the mindset — you know, you're targeting that group, you make a niched product that's going do well, if you look at a lot of the titles on Steam, Torchlight's a really good example — as long as you know that's your audience to begin with, and you make something inside of a budget that you know you're going to be selling those kinds of numbers, you can be very successful. I think it just takes a targeted developer. ... There is no [PC] platform, really. It's just a mish-mosh of hardware, an operating system that kind of supports games. The problem with that platform is, there's no standards and piracy is rampant, so why would we want to make a video game for that platform unless you had some sort of draconian DRM thing to keep it from being stolen?"

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Another Contender For the Land Speed Record
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '10 at 01:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's however-temporary deptartment:
We've been following developments with the British-led Bloodhound-SSC, a jet car aiming to hit 1,000 mph in 2011 and shatter the land speed record. Now reaer Thea Chard writes in about a rival project from Washington state, one aiming at 800 mph before the end of 2010 — still plenty fast enough to break the record. "For the past 12 years Ed Shadle, 68, Keith Zanghi, 55, and their 44-man team have been racing to break the world land speed record with the North American Eagle, a converted 1957 F-104 Starfighter 'turbojet car.' Although the team is rushing to beat out their biggest contender, Bloodhound SSC from Great Britain, whose team leader holds the previous land speed record and has secured much more financial support for the project, Shadle and Zanghi hope to run the Eagle at around 800 mph later this year, breaking the sound barrier and setting a new world record for fastest land vehicle."

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OpenTTD 1.0.0 Released
Posted by News Fetcher on April 05 '10 at 11:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's and-so-soon deptartment:
Gmer writes "Eming.com reports that OpenTTD, the open source clone of the Microprose game Transport Tycoon Deluxe, has reached a milestone. OpenTTD 1.0.0 has been released 6 years after work started on the first version, with the help of hundreds of contributors and thousands of testers/players. Over 30 language translations are considered complete, and OpenTTD is available for *BSD, Linux, Solaris and Windows. OpenTTD is a business simulation game in which the player is in control of a transport company and can compete against rival companies to make as much profit as possible by transporting passengers and various goods by road, rail, sea or air."

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Grounded Russian Nuclear Sub Photographed With Sonar
Posted by News Fetcher on April 05 '10 at 09:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's running-very-silent deptartment:
Lanxon sends in an intriguing piece from Wired: "This eerie wreck image is not computer generated. It's the sonar image of Russian nuclear submarine B-159 (called K-159 before decommissioning), which has been lying 248m down in the Barents Sea, between Norway and Russia, since 2003. The Russian Federation hired Adus, a Scottish company that specializes in high-resolution sonar surveying, to evaluate if it would be possible to recover the wreck. 'The operation was complicated as the submarine was very deep, so we had to use the sonar equipment mounted on a remotely operated vehicle' [also pictured in the article], says Martin Dean, the managing director of Adus and a forensic-wreck archaeologist. 'We also had a problem with the surveying due to the density of north Atlantic cod attracted to the sound of the sonar and the light of the cameras.'"

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After's Discovery's Launch, What's Left For the Shuttle?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 05 '10 at 06:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's short-timer deptartment:
coondoggie writes "NASA space shuttle Discovery rocketed into orbit this morning and, despite some communications problems, is slated to dock with the International Space Station in the wee hours of Wednesday, April 7. After this mission NASA has only three shuttles scheduled to launch, though speculation persists that the program may be extended. NetworkWorld has a roundup of what the last Shuttle missions consist of and what happens next."

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Memory Management Technique Speeds Apps By 20%
Posted by News Fetcher on April 05 '10 at 04:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's rememberance-of-data-past deptartment:
Dotnaught writes "A paper (PDF) to be presented later this month at the IEEE International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium in Atlanta describes a new approach to memory management that allows software applications to run up to 20% faster on multicore processors. Yan Solihin, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at NCSU and co-author of the paper, says that using the technique is just a matter of linking to a library in a program that makes heavy use of memory allocation. The technique could be especially valuable for programs that are difficult to parallelize, such as word processors and Web browsers." Informationweek has a few more details from an interview with Solihin.

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Ubuntu One Gets iPhone App For Contact Sync
Posted by News Fetcher on April 05 '10 at 03:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's plays-nicely-with-others deptartment:
oneone writes "Canonical is bringing its Ubuntu One cloud service (which we discussed last month) to handheld devices with a new mobile contact synchronization feature that is powered by Funambol. Canonical's Ubuntu One application for the iPhone is now available from the iTunes Music Store. Android and other mobile operating systems will be supported with Funambol's standard client application. The mobile sync feature is currently in the beta testing stage but will be generally available to Ubuntu One subscribers when Ubuntu 10.04 is released later this month. Canonical says that it is boosting its Ubuntu One server infrastructure in order to support what it anticipates will be record loads."

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Game CEO Sees "Gamification" of Work and Military
Posted by News Fetcher on April 05 '10 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's browsing-slashdot-gives-you-rested-xp deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "The CEO of Unity discusses 'gamification' — applying game design and technology to real-world applications beyond 'gamespace.' The military is using game design theory for some training programs — not just 'the 3-D, realistic, virtual world experiences, but also the built-in use of frustration and reward.' (And similar training packages were adopted by Unilever, the giant corporation which owns Ben & Jerry's ice cream.) Medical professionals have licensed a 'Google Earth for the human body,' and game design is also being used to build tax software. ('It has to be the most boring field, but I mean that's the point. You can make it slightly challenging and give people little reasons to play these tax tools — beyond, you know, not going to prison!') While some companies conduct team-building exercises using Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, others use game technology to standardize their in-house employee training programs. The interviewer adds, 'I know I'd feel better about job training if it felt more like killing zombies.'"

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Microsoft Announces End of the Line For Itanium Support
Posted by News Fetcher on April 05 '10 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's development-dollars-well-spent deptartment:
WrongSizeGlass writes "Ars Technica is reporting that Microsoft has announced on its Windows Server blog the end of its support for Itanium. 'Windows Server 2008 R2, SQL Server 2008 R2, and Visual Studio 2010 will represent the last versions to support Intel's Itanium architecture.' Does this mean the end of Itanium? Will it be missed, or was it destined to be another DEC Alpha waiting for its last sunset?"

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Blu-ray Proposes Incompatible BD-XL and IH-BD Formats
Posted by News Fetcher on April 05 '10 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it's-that-time-again deptartment:
adeelarshad82 writes "The Blu-ray Disc Association announced upcoming specifications for high-capacity write-once and rewritable discs. The BDA proposed two new formats, BDXL, the name given to new 100GB and 128GB discs; and IH-BD, a so-called 'Intra-Hybrid' disc that will incorporate both read-only and rewritable layers. Specifications for both disc types will be published during the upcoming months. Both formats will be incompatible with existing hardware; however, new players designed to take advantage of the new formats will be able to play back existing Blu-ray discs, which are available in both 25 and 50GB capacity points."

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Compliance Is Wasted Money, Study Finds
Posted by News Fetcher on April 05 '10 at 12:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's missing-the-point deptartment:
Trailrunner7 writes "Enterprises are spending huge amounts of money on compliance programs related to PCI-DSS, HIPAA and other regulations, but those funds may be misdirected in light of the priorities of most information security programs, a new study has found. A paper by Forrester Research, commissioned by Microsoft and RSA, the security division of EMC, found that even though corporate intellectual property comprises 62 percent of a given company's data assets, most of the focus of their security programs is on compliance with various regulations. The study found that enterprise security managers know what their companies' true data assets are, but find that their security programs are driven mainly by compliance, rather than protection (PDF)."

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"Midori" Concepts Materialize In<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.NET
Posted by News Fetcher on April 05 '10 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's creeping-in deptartment:
dp619 writes "Concepts outlined in Microsoft's internal 'Midori' OS documents are materializing in .NET, according to an SD Times report. Midori is a new operating system project that is designed for distributed concurrency. Microsoft has assigned some of its all-star programmers to the project, while recruiting others. It is also working on other projects to replace Windows that make the OS act more like a hypervisor."

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Geomagnetic Storm In Progress
Posted by News Fetcher on April 05 '10 at 11:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sky-is-falling deptartment:
shogun writes "The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports a strong geomagnetic storm is in progress. The shuttle, ISS and GPS systems may be affected." They think this storm was caused by a weak solar flare on April 3rd. As you may expect, this has caused some unusually impressive northern lights since it started. What you may not expect is a photograph from Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi aboard the International Space Station showing the aurora from orbit. He apparently tweets a lot of pictures from space. He and his crewmates have taken over 100,000 pictures since coming aboard the ISS.

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Naming and Shaming Toxic Web Apps
Posted by News Fetcher on April 05 '10 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's running-this-requires-access-to-your-neural-patterns deptartment:
itwbennett writes "Stanford Law School has released a wiki called WhatApp?, where users can rate all manner of web apps, browsers, mobile platforms, mobile apps, and social network apps on their security, privacy, and openness. Currently, the wiki 'lists some 200+ apps, but most of them have not been reviewed yet. So they need a lot of help,' writes blogger Dan Tynan. 'To review an app you select it from the list, then fill out a 9-question form rating its privacy, security, and openness, ranging from 5 (very private, secure, and open) to 1 (a steaming pile of vulnerabilities and violations).'"

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2010 Salary Survey Highlights IT Woes
Posted by News Fetcher on April 05 '10 at 10:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's and-what-happened-to-my-toy-budget deptartment:
CWmike writes "Trapped between flat salaries and ever-increasing workloads, IT professionals are about to explode. That's the top takeaway from Computerworld's 2010 survey of nearly 5,000 IT workers. 'Bonuses and benefits are way down, and workloads and work hours have increased. Meanwhile, salaries are stagnant (rising just a microscopic 0.7% on average), and — not surprisingly — satisfaction is on the wane.' Another finding of note is the shrinking female IT workforce. Have a look-see at how IT fared in your neck of the woods with this smart look-up tool."

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