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Facebook Campaign Decides UK Christmas Music Charts
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '09 at 02:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's rage-against-the-commercialization deptartment:
uglyduckling writes "A grassroots Facebook campaign has pushed the 1990s Rage Against the Machine song 'Killing in the Name Of' to the top of the British music charts for Christmas. The campaign was planned to prevent the X-Factor winner from charting Christmas number one, as has been the case for the past four years. It was supposedly a kick against the commercialism of Christmas and commercial dominance in the music scene, although Rage and the X-Factor winner Joe McElderry were actually signed to the same label. Despite this minor detail, it's interesting to note that this is the first song to reach the number one spot through downloads alone in the UK, and is a testiment to the organisational power of social networking sites like Facebook. The Facebook group also asked for donations to charity, and has raised £70,000 for the homeless charity Shelter."

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AU Authority Moves To Censor Net Filtering Protest Site
Posted by News Fetcher on December 20 '09 at 10:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's shortcutting-the-udrp deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "On Friday the Sydney Morning Herald reported that an Internet censorship protest site had been set up under the banner 'Stephen Conroy: Minister for Fascism' and was ironically registered under the very name of the Australian Communications Minister responsible for trying to mandate the compulsory filtering scheme in federal law, stephenconroy.com.au. Within hours of the story being published, auDA, the Australian Domain Name Authority, had shut down the site, giving the owners only 3 hours to respond to a request to justify their eligibility for the domain. Normally auDA would allow several days to weeks for this process. An appeal to request an extension was denied, with no reason given. The site was quickly moved to a US domain, stephen-conroy.com in order to stay active while the dispute with auDA is resolved."

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Holy See Declares a "Unique Copyright" On the Pope
Posted by News Fetcher on December 20 '09 at 08:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's vatican-rag deptartment:
An anonymous reader sends in news of what must be some kind of record in overreaching intellectual property claims: the Vatican has declared that the name, image, and any symbols of the Pope are for exclusive use of the Holy See. They may have a point if, as the declaration hints, some have used "ecclesiastical or pontifical symbols and logos to attribute credibility and authority to initiatives" unrelated to the Vatican. But how much room will they allow for fair use? Will high school newspapers have to remove the Papal Coat of Arms from their Vatican news columns? The royalty schedule was not released, so it's not clear how much Slashdot will have to pay to run this story (or if there will be a penalty for the accompanying pagan idol).

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Firefox 3.5 Now the Most Popular Browser Worldwide
Posted by News Fetcher on December 20 '09 at 05:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's press-the-advantage deptartment:
gQuigs notes a graph up at StatCounter Global Statistics, which shows that in the last few days Firefox 3.5 became the most used browser version worldwide, edging ahead of IE7. IE8 is rising fast (along with Windows 7), but over the last few months the slope of Firefox's worldwide curve has been steeper. (In the US, IE8 has always been ahead of Firefox 3.5; in Europe Firefox has led since late summer.) The submitter suggests using the time when Firefox rules the roost, globally speaking, to put the final nail in the coffin of IE6, which still has a 14% global share (5%-7% in the US and EU; China and Korea are holding up IE6's numbers).

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Grigory Perelman and the Poincare Conjecture
Posted by News Fetcher on December 20 '09 at 03:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's another-tortured-genius deptartment:
EagleHasLanded writes "Russian mathematician Grigory Perelman doesn't talk to journalists. Actually, he doesn't talk to anyone anymore. So we'll have to settle for insights via his biographer, Masha Gessen, who, strangely enough, has never talked to him either. But she has spoken with just about everyone who has ever had any significant interaction with Perelman, and the result is the book Perfect Rigor, which more than adequately explains why Perelman has gone into self-imposed exile, and why he probably won't collect the million dollars he won by solving the Poincare Conjecture."

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The First Robot To Cross the Atlantic Ocean
Posted by News Fetcher on December 20 '09 at 02:00 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's six-days-short-of-pi deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "She was at sea for 221 days, alone, often in dangerous places, and usually out of touch. Most of the time she was out of contact underwater, moving slowly up and down to depths of 600 feet, safe from ships, nets, and storms. Her predecessor had disappeared on a similar trip, probably killed by a shark. 'She was a hero,' says Rutgers University oceanographer Scott Glenn after retrieving Scarlet Knight, the 7-foot-9-inch submersible robot from the stormy Atlantic off western Spain. An engineer working for the company that made the submersible said, 'We think this will just be a precursor, like Lindbergh's trip across the Atlantic. In a decade we think it will be commonplace to have roving fleets of these gliders making transoceanic trips.' The people responsible for building, funding, and flying Scarlet hope the end of the robot's successful voyage will mark a new beginning in ocean and climate research. From its position at each surfacing — when the glider surfaced and called home via an Iridium telephone parked in its tail — researchers could calculate the net effect of currents deep and shallow. After surface currents were measured, the scientists could then make inferences about what was happening deeper in the water column. Scarlet called home to upload data to researchers three times a day. 'When we have hundreds of them, or thousands of them, it will revolutionize how we can observe the oceans,' says Jerry L. Miller, a senior policy analyst at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, who accompanied the research team to Spain."

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DMCA Takedown Scandal, Part Two
Posted by News Fetcher on December 20 '09 at 12:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's trying-harder deptartment:
pmdubs writes "Following up on our earlier discussion, Michael Freedman updates us on experience with dubious DMCA takedown notices. As a result of the publicity his initial post received, the Video Protection Alliance has dropped Nexicon, the company to which they had outsourced infringement detection. In this case, while there may be little legal recourse to issuing invalid DMCA notices, the threat of bad press seems to have reigned in highly questionable practices."

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When Developers Work Late, Should the Manager Stay?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 20 '09 at 11:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's stop-watching-me-think deptartment:
jammag writes "A veteran developer looks back — in irritation — at those times he had to work late and his unskilled manager stayed too, just to look over his shoulder and add worry and fret to the process. Now, that same developer is a manager himself — and recently stayed late to ride herd over late-working developers. 'And guess what? Yep, I hadn't coded in years and never in the language he had to work with.' Yet now he understood: his own butt was on the line, so he was staying put. Still, does it really help developers to have management hovering on a late evening, even if the boss handles pizza delivery?"

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Palm Pre Development In the Browser
Posted by News Fetcher on December 20 '09 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's pre-existing-condition deptartment:
introspekt.i writes "Palm is building upon the Mozilla Bespin project to deliver an IDE for the Palm Pre entirely in the web browser. Apps can be developed on the server and then downloaded and deployed locally. It is an interesting tool, especially given that WebOS is so web-centric. This tool comes as a supplement to the existing development tools for Eclipse and the command line released by Palm earlier this year. The project is open to anyone who registers as a Palm developer, which is free to do."

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The Environmental Impact of PHP Compared To C++ On Facebook
Posted by News Fetcher on December 20 '09 at 08:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's efficiency-is-overrated deptartment:
Kensai7 writes "Recently, Facebook provided us with some information on their server park. They use about 30,000 servers, and not surprisingly, most of them are running PHP code to generate pages full of social info for their users. As they only say that 'the bulk' is running PHP, let's assume this to be 25,000 of the 30,000. If C++ would have been used instead of PHP, then 22,500 servers could be powered down (assuming a conservative ratio of 10 for the efficiency of C++ versus PHP code), or a reduction of 49,000 tons of CO2 per year. Of course, it is a bit unfair to isolate Facebook here. Their servers are only a tiny fraction of computers deployed world-wide that are interpreting PHP code."

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Call To "Open Source" AIG Investigation
Posted by News Fetcher on December 20 '09 at 07:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's still-looking-for-somebody-to-crucify deptartment:
VValdo writes "As you may recall, the citizens of the US shelled out about $85 billion to bail out AIG and its creditors (Goldman Sachs in particular) last year. But as 80% owners of AIG, we still don't know what happened, exactly. That may change. In a new op-ed piece, former prosecutors (including former NY governor Eliot Spitzer) are calling for the US Treasury to force AIG to release its treasure-trove of emails to the public before allowing AIG to 'break free' of our control. As the prosecutors put it, 'By putting the evidence online, the government could establish a new form of "open source" investigation. Once the documents are available for everyone to inspect, a thousand journalistic flowers can bloom, as reporters, victims and angry citizens have a chance to piece together the story.' Good idea?"

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A Requiem For Saab
Posted by News Fetcher on December 20 '09 at 05:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's just-call-me-baab deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that auto enthusiasts across the country are dismayed by the news that General Motors is planning to shut down Saab, the Swedish carmaker it bought two decades ago, after a deal to sell it fell apart. Even with its modest and steadily declining sales, Saab, an acronym for Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget, or Swedish Airplane Company, long stood out as a powerful brand in spite of itself. 'It wasn't designed to be a fashion statement,' says Ron Pinelli, president of Autodata, which tracks industry statistics. 'It was designed to provide transportation under miserable weather conditions.' Many Saab owners consider the brand's glory days to be the 1980s, when Americans began buying cars again after a recession and energy crisis. 'The cars were communicative,' says Pinelli. 'They didn't try to numb the experience like cars do today.' The cars had odd touches and appealed to those who appreciate the unconventional. Swedish engineers assumed drivers would be wearing gloves, so they designed big buttons for the dashboard. Though the cars were compact, with long hoods and short rear ends, there was plenty of headroom inside. Now Saab, a brand that once had one of the clearest identities in the industry, seems headed for extinction just as automakers are searching for more distinctive designs to help set them apart. 'It's a shame that Saab is a victim,' adds Pinelli."

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Where Are the Cheap Thin Clients?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 20 '09 at 02:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's can't-be-too-rich-either deptartment:
Darren Ginter writes "I find many aspects of desktop virtualization compelling, with one exception: the cost of the thin clients, which typically exceeds that of a traditional box. I understand all of the benefits of desktop virtualization (and the downsides, thanks) but I'm very hung up on spending more for less. While there are some sub-$200 products out there, they all seem to cut corners (give me non-vaporware that will drive a 22" LCD at full resolution). I can PXE boot a homebrew Atom-based thin client for $130, but I'd prefer to be able to buy something assembled. Am I missing something here?"

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Making Sense of the Cellphone Landscape
Posted by News Fetcher on December 19 '09 at 11:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's handbags-at-dawn deptartment:
Charlie Stross has a blog post up that tries to make sense of the mobile phone market and where it's going: where Apple, Google, and the cellcos fit in, and what the point of Google's Nexus One may be. "Becoming a pure bandwidth provider is every cellco's nightmare: it levels the playing field and puts them in direct competition with their peers, a competition that can only be won by throwing huge amounts of capital infrastructure at their backbone network. So for the past five years or more, they've been doing their best not to get dragged into a game of beggar-my-neighbor, by expedients such as exclusive handset deals... [Google intends] to turn 3G data service (and subsequently, LTE) into a commodity, like Wi-Fi hotspot service only more widespread and cheaper to get at. They want to get consumers to buy unlocked SIM-free handsets and pick cheap data SIMs. They'd love to move everyone to cheap data SIMs rather than the hideously convoluted legacy voice stacks maintained by the telcos; then they could piggyback Google Voice on it, and ultimately do the Google thing to all your voice messages as well as your email and web access. (This is, needless to say, going to bring them into conflict with Apple. ... Apple are an implicit threat to Google because Google can't slap their ads all over [the App and iTunes stores]. So it's going to end in handbags at dawn... eventually.)"

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Nvidia Waiting In the Wings In FTC-Intel Dispute
Posted by News Fetcher on December 19 '09 at 08:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's let-the-chips-fall deptartment:
The NY Times has a Bits Blog piece speculating on some of the fallout if the FTC prevails in its anti-competition lawsuit against Intel. The Times picks out two among the 26 remedies proposed by the regulator, and concludes that they add up to Nvidia being able to license x86 technology. This could open up 3-way competition in the market for combined CPU-graphics chips. There is a good deal of circumstantial evidence pointing to the possibility that Nvidia has been working on x86 technology since 2007, including the presence on its employment rolls of more than 70 former Transmeta workers.

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Library Groups Ask DOJ To Oversee Google Books
Posted by News Fetcher on December 19 '09 at 06:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's monopoly-remedy deptartment:
adeelarshad82 writes "Three library associations have asked the Justice Department to oversee Google's plans to create a massive digital library, so as to prevent excessively high pricing for institutional subscriptions. They said that there was unlikely to be an effective competitor to Google's massive project in the near term. They also asked for academic author representation on the Registry board. Google's plan to digitize millions of books has been criticized by a variety of sources and has recently been shut down in France."

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Proposed NASA Mission Would Sail the Seas of Titan
Posted by News Fetcher on December 19 '09 at 03:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's can-the-sirens-be-far-behind deptartment:
The BBC has a report on a proposal that will be submitted to NASA for funding — a mission to Saturn's moon Titan that would deposit a lander of its hydrocarbon sea. (We recently discussed the widely circulated photo of sunlight glinting off one of Titan's seas.) "The scientific team behind the idea is targeting Ligeia Mare, a vast body of liquid methane sited in the high north of Saturn's largest moon. ... 'It is something that would really capture the imagination,' said Dr Ellen Stofan, from Proxemy Research, who leads the study team. 'The story of human exploration on Earth has been one of navigation and seafaring, and the idea that we could explore for the first time an extraterrestrial sea I think would be mind-blowing for most people,' she told BBC News. ... The Titan Mare Explorer (TiME) has already been under study for about two years. It is envisaged as a relatively low-cost endeavor — in the low $400m range. It could launch in January 2016, and make some flybys of Earth and Jupiter to pick up the gravitational energy it would need to head straight at the Saturnian moon for a splash down in June 2023."

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Carriers, Manufacturers Are Strangling Android
Posted by News Fetcher on December 19 '09 at 02:00 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's fate-of-cuckoo-chicks deptartment:
loconet writes "This article in Gizmodo claims that Android's fragmented model is harming it, but Google has the power to save it. The rumored Google Phone could be a ploy to upset the wireless industry, or it could be an expensive niche device. Either way, it would be a bid to take Android back from the companies that seem hell-bent on destroying it. '...once handset manufacturers (and carriers, through handset manufacturers) have built their own version of Android, they've effectively taken it out of the development stream. Updating it is their responsibility, which they have to choose to uphold. Or not! Who cares? The phones are already sold."

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Vimeo Sued For Audio Infringement
Posted by News Fetcher on December 19 '09 at 12:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's no-more-lip-dub-for-you deptartment:
USS_Natas writes "Capitol Records and other labels have sued Vimeo in federal court, charging that the site's emphasis on 'original works' only extends to videos, and that songs are widely used on Vimeo without a license. The plaintiffs hope to prove that Vimeo staffers know about the infringement, since they've been doing it themselves." NewTeeVee has a PDF of the court filing in a Scribd frame.

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Colliding Auroras Produce Explosions of Light
Posted by News Fetcher on December 19 '09 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's pretty-pictures deptartment:
elyons writes "Another neat discovery has come from the lab of Larry Lyons at UCLA. As reported earlier on Slashdot, Lyons' group studies the dynamics of auroras. Their most recent discovery reveals for the first time the sequence of events leading to dramatic space-weather disturbances. Using a network of cameras deployed around the Arctic in support of NASA's THEMIS mission, they recorded over 200 instances of auroras colliding, causing brilliant displays of northern lights (see time 8:22 for such an example)."

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