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Comcast Expands $10 Low-Income Internet Plan
Posted by News Fetcher on July 15 '16 at 11:01 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's cheap-internet department:
Jon Brodkin, reporting for Ars Technica: Comcast's Internet Essentials program that provides $10-per-month Internet service to low-income families has been expanded to make about 1.3 million additional households eligible. Comcast created Internet Essentials in order to secure approval of its acquisition of NBCUniversal in 2011 and has decided to continue it indefinitely even though the requirement expired in 2014. Comcast says the 10Mbps plan has connected more than 600,000 low-income families since 2011, for a total of 2.4 million adults and children, and provided 47,000 subsidized computers for less than $150 each. Advocates for the poor have complained that the Internet Essentials service is too hard to sign up for, in part because of problems with the application process but also because it's usually only available to families with kids in school. That latter issue is what Comcast addressed today, announcing that "adults without a child eligible for the National School Lunch Program will be eligible to apply for Internet Essentials." Previously, pilot programs gave access to some low-income seniors and low-income community college students, but this is the first time that Internet Essentials will be available to adults without children nationwide.

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Microsoft: Windows 10 Won't Hit 1 Billion Devices By Mid-2018
Posted by News Fetcher on July 15 '16 at 09:41 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's broken-hearts department:
Despite Microsoft's aggressive efforts to get everyone to upgrade to Windows 10 by mid-2018, the company says it is unlikely to meet its self-imposed deadline. In a statement to ZDNet, the company said: Windows 10 is off to the hottest start in history with over 350M monthly active devices, with record customer satisfaction and engagement. We're pleased with our progress to date, but due to the focusing of our phone hardware business, it will take longer than FY18 for us to reach our goal of 1 billion monthly active devices. In the year ahead, we are excited about usage growth coming from commercial deployments and new devices -- and increasing customer delight with Windows. ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley writes: Microsoft Windows and Devices chief Terry Myerson made the original claim at Build 2015, noting that the 1 billion figure would encompass all kinds of devices that would run Windows 10 in some variant, including desktops, PCs, laptops, tablets, Windows Phones, Xbox One gaming consoles, Surface Hub conferencing systems, HoloLens augmented reality glasses and various Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Officials said at that time that the majority of those 1 billion devices would be PCs and tablets. But Windows Phones running Windows 10 Mobile also were expected to help Microsoft reach that total by mid-2018.Since April 2015, the bottom has fallen out of the Windows Phone market, with Microsoft officials conceding that Windows Phone isn't much of a focus for Microsoft in calendar 2016.

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In China, Fears That Pokemon Go May Aid Locating Military Bases
Posted by News Fetcher on July 15 '16 at 09:41 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's diary-of-conspiracy-theorist department:
The sleeper hit success title Pokemon Go is preventing many people in China from sleeping properly. Although the game isn't officially available in the world's largest smartphone market, some people fear it could become a Trojan horse for "offensive action by the United States and Japan," according to a report by Reuters. "Don't play Pokemon GO!!!" said user Pitaorenzhe on Chinese microblogging site Weibo. "It's so the U.S. and Japan can explore China's secret bases!" From the article: The conspiracy theory is that Japan's Nintendo, which part owns the Pokemon franchise, and America's Google can work out where Chinese military bases are by seeing where users can't go to capture Pokemon characters. The game relies on Google services such as Maps. The theory is that if Nintendo places rare Pokemon in areas where they see players aren't going, and nobody attempts to capture the creature, it can be deduced that the location has restricted access and could be a military zone. "Then, when war breaks out, Japan and the U.S. can easily target their guided missiles, and China will have been destroyed by the invasion of a Japanese-American game," said a social media post circulated on Weibo. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he was unaware of reports that the game could be a security risk and that he didn't have time to play with such things. He gave no further details.

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Ubuntu Linux Forums Hacked -- IP Address, Username, Email of 2M Accounts Compromised
Posted by News Fetcher on July 15 '16 at 08:21 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's security-woes department:
Canonical announced on Friday that Ubuntu forums have been hacked. The company adds that data such as IP address, username, and email address of over two million users have been compromised. BetaNews reports: Keep in mind, this does not mean that the operating system has experienced a vulnerability or weakness. The only thing affected are the online forums that people use to discuss the OS. Still, such a hack is embarrassing as it happened due to Canonical's failure to install a patch.In a blog post, Jane Silber, Chief Executive Officer, Canonical said, "after some initial investigation, we were able to confirm there had been an exposure of data and shut down the Forums as a precautionary measure. Deeper investigation revealed that there was a known SQL injection vulnerability in the Forumrunner add-on in the Forums which had not yet been patched."

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Sir Tim Berners-Lee Makes a Last-Minute Plea To Save Net Neutrality in Europe
Posted by News Fetcher on July 15 '16 at 08:21 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's save-the-world-2 department:
An anonymous reader shares a report on The Verge: Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man who created the world wide web, is calling on regulators in Europe to protect net neutrality and "save the open internet." In a letter released this week, Berners-Lee, Stanford law professor Barbara van Schewick, and Harvard law professor Larry Lessig urged European regulators to implement guidelines that would close loopholes in net neutrality legislation that the European Parliament approved in October 2015. They also called on internet users to voice their opposition online, before the public consultation period on the guidelines ends on July 18th. "Network neutrality for hundreds of millions of Europeans is within our grasp," the letter reads. "Securing this is essential to preserve the open Internet as a driver for economic growth and social progress. But the public needs to tell regulators now to strengthen safeguards, and not cave in to telecommunications carriers' manipulative tactics."

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UK Gov Says New Home Sec Will Have Powers To Ban End-to-end Encryption
Posted by News Fetcher on July 15 '16 at 07:01 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's embrace-the-future department:
An anonymous reader writes: During a committee stage debate in the UK's House of Lords yesterday, the government revealed that the Investigatory Powers Bill will provide any Secretary of State with the ability to force communication service providers (CSPs) to remove or disable end-to-end encryption. Earl Howe, a Minister of State for Defence and the British government's Deputy Leader in the House of Lords, gave the first explicit admission that the new legislation would provide the government with the ability to force CSPs to "develop and maintain a technical capability to remove encryption that has been applied to communications or data". This power, if applied, would be imposed upon domestic CSPs by the new Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, who was formerly the secretary of state for Energy and Climate Change. Rudd is now only the fifth woman to hold one of the great offices of state in the UK. As she was only appointed on Wednesday evening, she has yet to offer her thoughts on the matter.

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It Took Nearly Three Hours For France's Terror Alert App To Respond To Nice Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on July 15 '16 at 07:01 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's app-falls-silent department:
Amar Toor, reporting for The Verge: A terror alert app released by the French government last month has come under criticism after taking hours to notify users of Thursday night's attack in Nice. The app, called SAIP was released by the French Interior Ministry on iOS and Android in June, ahead of the Euro 2016 soccer tournament. According to the ministry, the app would provide users with alerts and information within 15 minutes of a terrorist attack being confirmed. But it apparently took much longer to send out alerts following last night's attack in Nice, where a man drove a truck into a crowded seaside promenade during Bastille Day celebrations, killing at least 84 people and leaving 18 others in critical condition. Users who had downloaded the app posted phone screenshots to Twitter last night showing that SAIP sent out its first alert just after 1:30AM local time -- nearly three hours after the attack began. Facebook, by contrast, activated its Safety Check feature shortly after the attack was carried out, and French politicians urged those in the area to check in using that feature, as SAIP remained silent.

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Null Island: The Land of Lousy Directional Data
Posted by News Fetcher on July 15 '16 at 05:41 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's bad-requests department:
An anonymous reader writes: Null Island is one of the world's most visited places for directional data that doesn't exist in real life. The Wall Street Journal reports (Warning: source may be paywalled): "In the world of geographic information systems, the island is an apparition that serves a practical purpose. It lies at 'zero-zero,' a mapper's shorthand for zero degrees latitude and zero degrees longitude. By a programming quirk introduced by developers, those are the default coordinates where Google maps and other digital Global Positioning System applications are directed to send the millions of users who make mistakes in their searches. [About seven years ago, Mr. Kelso, who had heard the phrase used by other cartographers, encoded Null Island as the default destination for mistakes into a widely used public-domain digital-mapping data set called Natural Earth, which has been downloaded several million times. On a whim, he made the location at zero-zero appear as a tiny outcrop one-meter square. In no time at all, other mappers gave the 'island' its own natural geography, created a website, and designed T-shirts and a national flag.]" If you're feeling cognitively lazy, you can watch the short animated YouTube video explaining Null Island.

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Alzheimer's Gene Already Shrinking Brain By Age of Three
Posted by News Fetcher on July 15 '16 at 02:51 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's sooner-than-later department:
schwit1 quotes a report from The Telegraph: The Alzheimer's gene, which dramatically raises the risk of developing dementia, is already affecting carriers by the age of three, shrinking their brains and lowering cognition, a new study suggests. Children who carry the APOEe4 gene mutation, which raises the chance of dementia by 15 fold, were found to do less well in memory, attention and function tests. Areas of the brain affected by Alzheimer's disease, such as the hippocampus and parietal gyri, were also found to be up to 22 percent smaller in volume. [Around 14 percent of people carry the APOEe4 mutation. The research is the first to show that genetic changes which can lead to Alzheimerâ(TM)s are already affecting the brain extremely early in life. Scientists from the University of Hawaii, Yale and Harvard say screening for the gene could help doctors identify which children could benefit from early interventions, such as educational help, preventative treatments, health monitoring and increased exercise. The study involved 1,187 youngsters between the age of three and 20 who took part in genetic tests and brain scans as well as undertaking a series of tests to measure their thinking and memory skills.] According to research from Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), infrequent use of a computer in later life could be an early sign of reduced cognitive ability.

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How President Jimmy Carter Saved The Space Shuttle
Posted by News Fetcher on July 15 '16 at 12:01 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's mystery-solved department:
MarkWhittington writes: Eric Berger has published an account in Ars Technica about how President Jimmy Carter saved the space shuttle program. The article is well worth reading for its detail. In essence, around 1978 the space shuttle program had undergone a crisis with technical challenges surrounding its heat-resistant tiles and its reusable rocket engines and cost overruns. President Carter was not all that enthused about human space flight to begin with, adhering to the since discredited notion that robotic space probes were adequate for exploring the universe. His vice president, Walter Mondale, was a vehement foe of human space flight programs, maintaining that money spent on them were better used for social programs.

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A Smaller Version of Raspberry Pi 3 Is Coming Soon
Posted by News Fetcher on July 14 '16 at 08:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's coming-soon department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from PCWorld: A smaller version of the popular Raspberry Pi 3 will go on sale in a few months. Raspberry Pi is developing a new version of its Compute Module, a single-board computer that plugs into specific on-board memory slots. The new Pi will be more like a mini-computer inside a computer, and it won't come with a power supply. The Compute Module will have similar circuitry to that of Raspberry Pi 3, a wildly successful computer that can be a PC replacement. But it will be smaller, with the memory, CPU, and storage embedded tightly on a board. While the Compute Module will have a 64-bit ARM processor like the Pi 3, it won't have Wi-Fi, Eben Upton, founder of Raspberry Pi, said in an interview with IDG News Service. The Compute Module could ship as soon as this quarter, Upton said. It will be priced similar to its predecessor, the 2-year-old Compute Module, available from reseller RS Components for about $24. The older Compute Module is based on the original Raspberry Pi. Like Raspberry Pi 3, the new Compute Module will work with Linux and Microsoft's Windows 10 IoT Core, Upton said. A Compute Module Development Kit, in which the Compute Module can be slotted for testing, may also be sold. The Development Kit could have multiple connectivity and port options, much like the Raspberry Pi 3. Last month, the biggest manufacturer of the Raspberry Pi, Premier Farnell, was acquired by Swiss industrial component supplier Daetwyler Holding AG for roughly $871 million.

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Theresa May Reshuffles Cabinet, Warns Amazon and Google of Power Shift
Posted by News Fetcher on July 14 '16 at 06:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-government department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Ars Technica: British Prime Minister Theresa May has given a stern warning to big business, telling the public to "think not of the powerful, but you." Specifically, she singled out Google and Amazon for dodging taxes and creating a lot of parliamentary scrutiny. Ars Technica reports: "May has been quick to stamp her brand of conservatism on her party by letting go of key members of Cameron's cabinet. She has so far sacked big hitters such as chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne, justice secretary Michael Gove, and culture secretary John Whittingdale. Philip Hammond now has the keys to Number 11, but we're still waiting to hear who will replace Whittingdale, whose remit included the rollout of super fast broadband in the UK. He's also the man behind the White Paper on the future of the BBC, which sought radical changes at the public service broadcaster. So far, 10 cabinet positions have been announced by May. They include Justine Greening as secretary of state for education, and Liz Truss becomes justice secretary, while former London mayor and key Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson -- to the surprise of many -- now heads up the foreign office. May has handed her home secretary job to Amber Rudd -- who will now be responsible for the government's push for greater online surveillance laws. Rudd was previously the minister for energy and climate change." David Davis is now in charge of withdrawing the UK from the European Union. David has for many years "opposed the government's attempts to bring in a so-called Snoopers' Charter." Ars Technica writes, "He's also currently suing the UK government over DRIPA -- legislation that was rushed through by the Tories after the European Court of Justice had ruled that the Data Retention Directive was invalid for failing to have adequate privacy safeguards in place."

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Emirati Man Gets 3-Month Prison Sentence Over Instagram Insult
Posted by News Fetcher on July 14 '16 at 05:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's add-insult-to-injury department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ABC News: A state-owned newspaper in the United Arab Emirates is reporting that an Emirati man has received a three-month prison sentence and a fine after being convicted of insulting his brother on Instagram. The Arabic-language newspaper Al Etihad reported on Thursday that the man's brother became upset after finding his photo on his brother's Instagram account with an expletive as the caption. The newspaper says the unidentified defendant also must pay a 250,000-dirham ($68,000) fine under the sentence from the Khor Fakkan Court of Misdemeanors. The newspaper says the defendant planned to appeal. In other insult-related stories, we asked Slashdotters back in April, "What are some insults no developer wants to hear?" Some of the standout responses include: "Wow this is microsoft quality!" and "It compiled cleanly, so he shipped it."

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NVIDIA's Releases Its First VR Game, Along With An Interactive Screenshot Tool 'Ansel'
Posted by News Fetcher on July 14 '16 at 05:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's interactive-gaming department:
Deathspawner writes: NVIDIA has today released a Game Ready GeForce driver that introduces its interactive screenshot tool 'Ansel.' Named after famed photographer Ansel Adams, this new tool requires a developer to integrate up to a couple hundred lines of code to give players the ability to pause their game, move around the environment, and then capture a more "artistic" image. To further that artistic value, users will have the ability to apply filters as well as capture an image in high-res 360 mode so that they can be viewed properly with a virtual-reality (VR) headset. Currently, Ansel supports only a single game -- Mirror's Edge Catalyst -- but NVIDIA promises that many more supported titles are on the way. In addition, NVIDIA has released its first ever video game via Steam that just so happens to be a VR game. The game is called VR Funhouse and is available for free via Steam but is only playable on the HTC Vive. The game consists of a virtual-reality carnival and employs many NVIDIA graphics technologies, like collision-based haptic feedback and advanced physics simulation.

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Obesity Is Three Times As Deadly For Men Than Women, Says Study
Posted by News Fetcher on July 14 '16 at 03:52 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's dollar-menu department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Telegraph: Researchers at Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard universities found in the biggest ever study into weight and death that obesity is three times more deadly for men than women, and that being slightly overweight raises the risk of dying early. Telegraph reports: "Obese people can expect to lose three years of life while the average overweight person will die 12 months sooner than they would have if they were a healthy size. Usually fewer than one in five men will die before the age of 70, but that jumps to nearly one in three for the moderately obese, and eight in 10 for the morbidly obese. In contrast around one in 10 women can expect to die early, with obesity raising the risk to one in seven. While obesity raises the risk of early death by just three per cent for women, it is 10 per cent for men, more than three times as much. Around 61 per cent of adults are currently overweight or obese and the average weight of Britons has been steadily increasingly since the 1970s. In 1975 the average Briton had a BMI of 23, which is considered a healthy weight. But today that has risen to 27, with the average person now overweight. It means that since the 1970s, every person in Briton has roughly gained more than three pounds (1.5kg) per decade. Ten types of cancer are linked to excess weight which can also lead to Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and a range of other health problems. Researchers compiled data from 10.6 million people who took part in 239 studies between 1970 and 2015, in 32 different countries. The study found an increased risk of premature death for people who were underweight, as well as for people classed as overweight." According to a study published in the Lancet in April, obese people now outnumber the underweight population for perhaps the first time in history.

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CleanSpace CO Sensor Runs On Freevolt RF Harvesting
Posted by News Fetcher on July 14 '16 at 03:52 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's nothing-is-free department:
mspohr writes: A few years ago, a Kickstarter was set up to develop a locator tag powered by free radio frequency (RF) energy harvested from the environment. This was called a scam here on Slashdot and was shut down before it was funded on Kickstarter. However, it now appears that the concept is not as far-fetched as some predicted. A UK company CleanSpace has developed a carbon monoxide (CO) sensor which is powered by free RF. A review of the product has been posted on YouTube. It uses Freevolt technology to keep a battery charged and the CO sensor running. Since they have several thousand of these devices collecting data, they do appear to work and it seems to be in the 'not a scam' department.

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Google's New Emoji Aimed At Promoting Gender Equality Are Coming
Posted by News Fetcher on July 14 '16 at 02:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's gender-neutral department:
An anonymous reader writes: Based largely on a proposal from Unicode Consortium member Google, Unicode Consortium has announced plans to support new emoji aimed at promoting gender equality. There will be "11 new 'professional' emoji [that] will depict both men and women performing different jobs, and there will be both male and female versions of 33 existing emoji that currently depict either a man or a women but not both," writes Ars Technica. "The new professions include, in the Unicode Consortium's words: a farmer, welder, mechanic, health worker, scientist, coder, business worker, chef, student, teacher, and rockstar." What's unusual about the new emoji is that they're created using combinations of existing emoji to avoid waiting for Unicode version 10.0 to be finalized in June of 2017. By using a special "zero-width joiner" (ZWJ) character between two or more emoji, operating systems that support it know to put out a different composite emoji rather than a series of separate emoji. "The new emoji for professions start with either a man or woman emoji, then a ZWJ character, then another character related to the job," reports Ars. "Emoji that were previously one specific gender (the dancing woman or the man running) can be joined to a male or female symbol with a ZWJ character to create emoji of either gender. And all of these emoji can be combined with the existing skin tone modifiers to produce diverse versions of either gender." We may see these combined emoji before the end of the year as software companies begin to integrate them into their operating systems.

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T-Mobile Gives Customers Free Pokemon Go Data
Posted by News Fetcher on July 14 '16 at 02:32 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's slow,-sweet-death-to-net-neutrality department:
An anonymous reader shares a report from The Verge: T-Mobile has been a pioneer in giving special treatment to various apps and types of content used on its mobile network, and the carrier announced today that Pokemon Go will be joining its enclave of free data. Starting on July 19th, T-Mobile customers will have Pokemon Go data exempted from their high-speed data caps for a year. The company is also throwing in some other perks, like $15 in Lyft rides ("to get to a new pokestop or gym"), and a free Wendy's Frosty, making the slow death of net neutrality literally sweet.

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145 Tech Leaders Say 'Trump Would Be A Disaster For Innovation'
Posted by News Fetcher on July 14 '16 at 02:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's agree-to-disagree department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via CNN: "We have listened to Donald Trump over the past year and we have concluded: Trump would be a disaster for innovation," wrote 145 technology leaders in an open letter Medium post published Thursday. Some of the leaders are from tech giants like Google, Facebook and Apple, others from small startups, venture capital firms, nonprofits and universities. "We believe in an inclusive country that fosters opportunity, creativity and a level playing field. Donald Trump does not," reads the letter, which was signed by well-known names like Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield, IAC's Barry Diller, Reddit's Alexis Ohanian and Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales. "His reckless disregard for our legal and political institutions threatens to upend what attracts companies to start and scale in America. He risks distorting markets, reducing exports, and slowing job creation," reads the letter, published by chief marketing officer at Color Genomics and former VP at Twitter Katie Jacobs Stanton. Moreover, Trump has shown "poor judgment and ignorance about how technology works," they wrote, citing his proposal to "shut down" parts of the Internet and the fact that he has revoked reporters' press credentials. "We stand against Donald Trump's divisive candidacy," the letter concludes. "We embrace an optimistic vision for a more inclusive country, where American innovation continues to fuel opportunity, prosperity and leadership." Meanwhile, Jon Swartz writes from USA Today that "If there was any lingering doubt as to tech's favored presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton put an end to that Tuesday with a tech plan that reads like a Silicon Valley wish list."

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Google Deletes Artist's Blog and a Decade Of His Work Along With It
Posted by News Fetcher on July 14 '16 at 01:11 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's what's-happening department:
Ethan Chiel, writing for Fusion: Artist Dennis Cooper has a big problem on his hands: Most of his artwork from the past 14 years just disappeared. It's gone because it was kept entirely on his blog, which the experimental author and artist has maintained on the Google-owned platform Blogger since 2002 (Google bought the service in 2003). At the end of June, Cooper says he discovered he could no longer access his Blogger account and that his blog had been taken offline. Along with his blog, Google disabled Cooper's email address, through which most of his correspondence was conducted, he told me via Facebook message. He got no communication from Google about why it decided to kill his email address and blog. Cooper used the blog to post his fiction, research, and visual art, and as Artforum explains, it was also "a platform through which he engaged almost daily with a community of followers and fellow artists." His latest GIF novel (as the term suggests, a novel constructed with animated GIFs) was also mostly saved to the blog.WayBackMachine has some of the pages from his blog, but they are only screenshots. Google Cache is also of not much help. Slashdot readers, just out of curiosity, is there anything -- any service -- Mr. Cooper could use to get his artwork back?

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