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Courts Move To Ban Juror Use of Net, Social Sites
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 11:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's tell-no-one deptartment:
coondoggie passes along a NetworkWorld report on the pronouncement of a judicial conference committee recommending that trial judges specifically instruct jurors not to use any electronic communications devices or sites during trial and deliberations. Here's the committee report (PDF). "If you think you're going to use your spanking new iPhone to entertain yourself next time you're on jury duty, think again. Judges are going to take an even dimmer view of jury member use of Blackberry, iPhone, or other electronic devices as a judicial policy-setting group has told district judges they should restrict jurors from using electronic technologies to research or communicate. ... The instructions state jurors must not use cell phones, e-mail, Blackberry, iPhone, text messaging, or on Twitter, or communicate through any blog or website, through any internet chat room, or by way of any other social networking websites, including Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and YouTube."

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OpenOffice Tops 21% Market Share In Germany
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 08:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's camel's-head-and-neck deptartment:
hweimer writes "A novel study analyzes the installed base of various office packages among German users. (Here is the original study report in German and a Google translation.) While Microsoft Office comes out top (72%), open source rival OpenOffice is already installed on 21.5% of all PCs and growing. The authors use a clever method to determine the installed office suites of millions of web users: they look for the availability of characteristic fonts being shipped with the various suites. What surprised me the most is that they found hardly any difference in the numbers for home and business users."

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Why Time Flies By As You Get Older
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 07:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's like-a-banana deptartment:
Ant notes a piece up on WBUR Boston addressing theories to explain the universal human experience that time seems to pass faster as you get older. Here's the 9-minute audio (MP3). Several explanations are tried out: that brains lay down more information for novel experiences; that the "clock" for nerve impulses in aging brains runs slower; and that each interval of time represents a diminishing fraction of life as we age.

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Studies Reveal Why Kids Get Bullied and Rejected
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 06:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's see-my-finger-see-my-thumb deptartment:
Thelasko writes "I'm sure many here have been the victim of bullying at some point in their lives. A new study suggests why. '...now researchers have found at least three factors in a child's behavior that can lead to social rejection. The factors involve a child's inability to pick up on and respond to nonverbal cues from their pals.' The article sketches out some ways teachers and councilors are working with bullied kids to help them develop the missing social skills."

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Facebook's HipHop Also a PHP Webserver
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 04:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's carbon-footprint-reducer deptartment:
darthcamaro writes "As expected, Facebook today announced a new runtime for PHP, called HipHop. What wasn't expected were a few key revelations disclosed today by Facebook developer David Recordan. As it turns out Facebook has been running HipHop for months and it now power 90 percent of their servers — it's not a skunkworks project it's a Live production technology. It's also not just a runtime, it's also a new webserver. 'In general, Apache is a great Web server, but when we were looking at how we get the next half percent or percent of performance, we didn't need all the features that Apache offers," Recordon said. He added, however, that he hopes an open source project will one day emerge around making HipHop work with Apache Web servers.'"

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The Lancet Recants Study Linking Autism To Vaccine
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 03:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's reel-in-the-wingnuts deptartment:
JamJam writes "The Lancet, a major British medical journal, has retracted a flawed study linking the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine to autism and bowel disease. British surgeon and medical researcher Andrew Wakefield and his colleagues originally released their study in 1998. Since then 10 of Wakefield's 13 co-authors have renounced the study's conclusions and The Lancet has said it should never have published the research. Wakefield now faces being stripped of his right to practice medicine in Britain. The vaccine-autism debate should now end."

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Mozilla Accepts Chinese CNNIC Root CA Certificate
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 03:00 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's who-do-you-trust deptartment:
Josh Triplett writes "Last October, Mozilla accepted the China Internet Network Information Center as a trusted CA root (Bugzilla entry). This affects Firefox, Thunderbird, and other products built on Mozilla technologies. The standard period for discussion passed without comment, and Mozilla accepted CNNIC based on the results of a formal audit. Commenters in the bug report and the associated discussion have presented evidence that the Chinese government controls CNNIC, and surfaced claims of malware production and distribution and previous man-in-the-middle attacks in China via their secondary CA root from Entrust. As usual, please refrain from blindly chiming into the discussion without supporting evidence. Since Mozilla has already accepted CNNIC as a trusted root CA, the burden rests with those who argue for its removal."

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Spray-On Liquid Glass
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 02:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's smooth-move deptartment:
bLanark writes with news of a new substance that can be sprayed on for a durable, easy-to-clean film on almost any substance, hard or soft. The liquid glass is essentially pure silicon dioxide, and it goes on in a layer 15 to 30 atoms thick. It is breathable and flexible, but waterproof and resistant to bacterial growth. The patent is held by a German company, Nanopool, which is in discussion with many parties about a wide range of uses: keeping public spaces sanitary, keeping restaurants clean, and keeping cars or trains clean. "The spray forms a water-resistant layer, meaning it can be cleaned using only water. Trials by food-processing companies showed that sterile surfaces covered with a film of liquid glass were equally clean after a rinse with hot water as after their usual treatment with strong bleach."

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New iPhone Attack Kills Apps, Reroutes Web Traffic
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 01:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's dead-cert deptartment:
Trailrunner7 sends in a threatpost.com article on exploiting flaws in the way the iPhone handles digital certificates. "[Several flaws] could lead to an attacker being able to create his own trusted certificate and entice users into downloading malicious files onto their iPhones. The result of the attack is that a remote hacker is able to change some settings on the iPhone and force all of the user's Web traffic to run through any server he chooses, and also to change the root certificate on the phone, enabling him to man-in-the-middle SSL traffic from that phone. ... Charlie Miller, an Apple security researcher at Independent Security Evaluators, said that the attack works, although it would not lead to remote code execution on the iPhone. 'It definitely works. I downloaded the file and ran it and it worked,' Miller said. 'The only thing is that it warns you that the file will change your phone, but it also says that the certificate is from Apple and it's been verified.'"

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UMG v. Lindor Ends, No Fees, No Sanctions
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 12:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's attempting-graceful-extrication deptartment:
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The 5-year-old case of UMG Recordings v. Lindor (which we've discussed all those years) has come to a close in Brooklyn, without ever reaching the deposition and document production of MediaSentry. The District Judge denied the RIAA's motions for discovery sanctions but granted the RIAA's motion for voluntary dismissal without prejudice and without attorneys fees, adopting the report and recommendation of the Magistrate Judge."

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And Now, the Animated News
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 12:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's portions-of-this-report-have-been-re-enacted deptartment:
theodp writes "'You have a lot of missing images, in the TV, in the news reporting,' explains billionaire Jimmy Lai. It's a gap that Lai's Next Media intends to fill with its animated news service. Artists lift details from news photos while actors in motion sensor suits re-create action sequences of stories making headlines. Animators graft cartoon avatars to the live-motion action, and the stories hit the Web. When news agencies didn't have footage of scenes from the Tiger Woods car crash, Lai's team raced to put together animation dramatizing the incident that became a YouTube sensation. Thus far, Lai has been denied a television license, but with or without his own station, he thinks his animations are headed for televisions worldwide. His company is currently in talks with media organizations to churn out news animations on demand using Next Media's graphic artists and software tools."

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A Look Into the Chinese Hacker Underworld
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 11:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's fun-and-profit deptartment:
beachels416 writes "The NY Times gained access to a Chinese hacker-for-profit, referred to as 'Majia,' and observed him during one of his nightly 'sessions.' From the article: 'Oddly, Majia said his parents did not know that he was hacking at night [hacking is illegal in China]. But at one point, he explained the intricacies of computer hacking and stealing data while his mother stood nearby, listening silently, while offering a guest oranges and candy.' At another point Majia spoke about the recent Google attacks, and claimed to have particular knowledge of the exact vector used. Nothing too new, but an interesting read nevertheless."

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The Upside of the NASA Budget
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's new-astronaut-ice-cream-flavors deptartment:
teeks99 writes "There are a lot of articles circulating about the new changes to the NASA budget, but this one goes into some of the details. From what I'm seeing, it looks great — cutting off the big, expensive, over-budget stuff and allowing a whole bunch of important and revolutionary programs to get going: commercial space transportation; keeping the ISS going (now that we've finally got it up and running); working on orbital propellant storage (so someday we can go off to the far flung places); automated rendezvous and docking (allowing multiple, smaller launches, which then form into one large spacecraft in orbit). Quoting: 'NASA is out of the business of putting people into low-earth orbit, and doesn't see getting back in to it. The Agency now sees its role as doing interesting things with people once they get there, hence its emphasis on in-orbit construction, heavy lift capabilities, and resource harvesting hardware. Given budgetary constraints and the real issues with the Constellation program, none of that is necessarily unreasonable. '"

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Gaining Root Access On Linux-Based Femtocells
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's feel-free-to-listen-in deptartment:
viralMeme writes "According to the Register, 'Security researchers have turned their attention to femtocells, and have discovered that gaining root on the tiny mobile base stations isn't as hard as one might hope.' One of the researchers said, 'After hours of sniffing traffic, changing IP address ranges, guessing passwords and investigating hardware pinouts, we had obtained root access on these Linux-based cellular-based devices, which piqued our curiosity [about] the security implications.' Whoever designed these devices should be sent back to computer school. An authentication device that can be bypassed is a contradiction in terms. Or, as some pen-pusher would put it in a report: an unantipicated security excursion.

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Google Releases Chrome OS Tablet Concept Demo
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's keeping-up-with-the-jobses deptartment:
MojoKid writes "With all of the iPad buzz stirring up the tech world over the past couple of weeks, Chrome OS has almost been forgotten. Though Google has yet to officially release the netbook-centric operating system to the public, the company continues to keep details flowing about their forthcoming lightweight operating system. In their own response to all the recent tablet fanfare, Google decided to release some teaser shots and a demo video of the Chrome OS running on a concept tablet device. The Chromium team suggests that a screen of 5" to 10" is optimal for enjoying Chrome OS and of course tablets, netbooks and MIDs all fit that size class rather well. Couple a streamlined Google-based OS with NVIDIA's Tegra 2 processor in a design like this and the iPad could have serious competition."

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Dying Man Shares Unseen Challenger Video
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's new-perspective-on-an-old-tragedy deptartment:
longacre writes "An amateur video of the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger explosion has been made public for the first time. The Florida man who filmed it from his front yard on his new Betamax camcorder turned the tape over to an educational organization a week before he died this past December. The Space Exploration Archive has since published the video into the public domain in time for the 24th anniversary of the catastrophe. Despite being shot from about 70 miles from Cape Canaveral, the shuttle and the explosion can be seen quite clearly. It is unclear why he never shared the footage with NASA or the media. NASA officials say they were not aware of the video, but are interested in examining it now that it has been made available."

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How Many SUSE Subscriptions Can You Get For $240M?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 08:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-got-the-stuff-you-got-the-money? deptartment:
itwbennett writes "According to an SD Times article, Microsoft is almost through passing out the infamous subscription certificates for SUSE Enterprise Linux that it purchased for $240 million as part of its investment in Novell. According to the article, Microsoft says that 'a total of 475 customers have used an unspecified number of coupons.' Blogger Brian Proffitt calculates that 'if indeed just 475 customers have received these coupons, then Microsoft has essentially subsidized SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) deployments to an average tune of US$505,263.16 per customer.'"

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Woz Cites "Scary" Prius Acceleration Software Problem
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 08:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's bad-news-for-half-of-california deptartment:
theodp writes "Speaking at Discovery Forum 2010, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak went off topic and spoke about a 'very scary' problem with his 2010 Toyota Prius. 'I don't get upset and teed off at things in life, except computers that don't work right,' said Woz, who went on to explain he'd been trying to get through to Toyota and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration for three months, but could not get anyone to explore an alleged software-related acceleration problem. 'I have a new model that didn't get recalled,' Steve said. 'This new model has an accelerator that goes wild but only under certain conditions of cruise control. And I can repeat it over and over and over again — safely.' Toyota said it investigates all complaints. 'We're in the business of investigating complaints, assessing problems and finding remedies,' said Toyota's John Hanson. 'After man-years of exhaustive testing we have not found any evidence of an electronic [software] problem that would have led to unwanted acceleration.'"We recently discussed other problems Toyota has had with electronic acceleration systems.

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Amazon Surrenders To Macmillan On eBook Pricing
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 07:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's methinks-the-kindle-doth-protest-too-much deptartment:
CuteSteveJobs writes with a followup to news we discussed on Saturday of a disagreement between Amazon and Macmillan Publishers over ebook pricing: "Amazon has thrown in the towel and announced it will now sell books at Macmillan's increased prices; up to $14.99 from $9.99. Said Amazon in a statement: 'We will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan's terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books.' Macmillan has sensed Apple's iBooks opens the way for higher prices. Perhaps the question should be: do we even need publishers like Macmillian? Publishers have long managed to keep their old business model chugging along nicely despite the Internet; Academics are still forced to give up copyright (PDF) of their work in exchange for publication. Textbook publishers have a history of unethical practices like frequent edition changes, unjustifiable price increases and bribing teachers. For that matter, why do the RIAA's members still control the music business? Why do these dinosaur publishing businesses still manage to thrive despite the Internet?"

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South Australia Outlaws Anonymous Political Speech
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 06:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's best-of-luck-enforcing-that deptartment:
Sabriel writes "If you're online in South Australia and want to comment about the upcoming state election, be prepared to hand over your real name and postcode first — because this month it becomes illegal to do so anonymously (even under a pseudonym). Media organizations must keep your details on file for six months and face 'fines of $5000 if they do not hand over this information to the Electoral Commissioner.' This abomination was passed with the support of both major parties (Labour and Liberal), and to quote its sponsor, Attorney-General Michael Atkinson, 'There is no impinging on freedom of speech, people are free to say what they wish as themselves, not as somebody else.' Apparently incapable of targeting a few impostors without resorting to 'nuke it from orbit' legislative tactics, Atkinson has forgotten that protecting anonymity is important to the democratic process; hopefully both major parties will get a reminder come the polls on March 20."

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