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Slashdot Update Slashdot  
RSS 6 |  Slashdot

Verizon Defends Doubling of Early Termination Fee
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Verizon is defending its decision to double its Early Termination Fee from $175 to $350 after being called to account by the FCC. They claim it's because the higher fees allow them to offer more expensive phones with a lower up-front cost (PDF), and they also say that because they pro-rate the fee depending on how much of your contract is left, they still lose money. Apparently doing something about the Verizon customer service horror stories isn't as good a way to retain customers as telling them that they have to pay several hundred dollars to leave."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


:: Read More
(Published: Sat, 19 Dec 2009 08:11:00 -0800)

Insurgent Attacks Follow Mathematical Pattern
Hugh Pickens writes "Nature reports that data collected on the timing of attacks and number of casualties from more than 54,000 events across nine insurgent wars, including those fought in Iraq between 2003 and 2008 and in Sierra Leone between 1994 and 2003, suggest that insurgencies have a common underlying pattern that may allow the timing of attacks and the number of casualties to be predicted. By plotting the distribution of the frequency and size of events, the team found that insurgent wars follow an approximate power law, in which the frequency of attacks decreases with increasing attack size to the power of 2.5. This means that for any insurgent war, an attack with 10 casualties is 316 times more likely to occur than one with 100 casualties (316 is 10 to the power of 2.5). 'We found that the way in which humans do insurgent wars — that is, the number of casualties and the timing of events — is universal,' says team leader Neil Johnson, a physicist at the University of Miami in Florida. 'This changes the way we think insurgency works.' To explain what was driving this common pattern, the researchers created a mathematical model which assumes that insurgent groups form and fragment when they sense danger, and strike in well-timed bursts to maximize their media exposure. Johnson is now working to predict how the insurgency in Afghanistan might respond to the influx of foreign troops recently announced by US President Barack Obama. 'We do observe a complicated pattern that has to do with the way humans do violence in some collective way,' adds Johnson."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


:: Read More
(Published: Sat, 19 Dec 2009 06:45:00 -0800)

Charities Upset Over Chase Facebook Contest
ssv03 writes "The New York Times is reporting that Chase Community Giving of Chase Bank recently held a contest on Facebook in which users were encouraged to vote for their favorite charities. At the end of the contest, the 100 charities with the most votes would win $25,000 and advance to the next round to have a chance to win $1 million. Initially, the vote counts for each organization were made public, but two days before voting ended they were hidden, and the final totals have still not been released. While Chase had no official leader board during the voting, several organizations were keeping track of projected winners. Those projections were almost identical to the final results, yet several organizations including Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), Marijuana Policy Project and several anti-abortion groups were not finalists. They had been performing very well (some within the top 20) until the vote counters were removed. Chase Bank has so far refused to discuss the issue with the organizations. SSDP has spoken out in a press release (PDF) and is calling for a boycott."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


:: Read More
(Published: Sat, 19 Dec 2009 05:29:00 -0800)

Alien Screenwriter Dan O'Bannon, Dead At 63
Dave Knott writes "The notable science fiction screenwriter and director Dan O'Bannon has died at the age of 63. O'Bannon's career began with a writing credit for John Carpenter's Dark Star and he went on the write many enduring science fiction and horror films such as Blue Thunder, Lifeforce, Screamers and Total Recall. He was also an occasional director, whose credits include The Return Of The Living Dead, the campy horror film that made popular the zombie chant of 'braaiiiinnnsss.' However, he will be best remembered as the writer of Alien, one of the all-time classics of both the science fiction and horror genres. O'Bannon died after a 30 year battle with Crohn's disease and is survived by his wife, Diane, and son, Adam."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


:: Read More
(Published: Sat, 19 Dec 2009 02:34:00 -0800)

Google Open Sources Etherpad, Piratepad Launches
Thomas Nybergh writes "The Etherpad code was released by Google under the Apache license a few hours ago. Google's initial plan, after acquiring the service, was to use Etherpad's tech with its new Wave collaboration platform and to shut down the original service entirely. Soon after the Etherpad code was released, the Swedish Pirate Party launched their instance of the service at piratepad.net. An announcement, which also mentions a new Tor node, is published on the party website (Google translation). The original Etherpad service had in a short time become a killer application for collaborative work within at least the Swedish, and according to my personal experience, in the Finnish Pirate Party as well. The Etherpad open source project is available at Google Code."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


:: Read More
(Published: Fri, 18 Dec 2009 23:30:00 -0800)

Caltech Scientists Film Photons With Electrons
al0ha writes "Techniques recently invented by researchers at the California Institute of Technology which allow the real-time, real-space visualization of fleeting changes in the structure of nanoscale matter have been used to image the evanescent electrical fields produced by the interaction of electrons and photons, and to track changes in atomic-scale structures."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


:: Read More
(Published: Fri, 18 Dec 2009 20:33:00 -0800)

Psystar Not Closing Up Shop
Despite several sources reporting that post-indefinite-injunction Psystar was closing their doors for good, the company's lawyer is claiming Psystar plans on going forward with PC sales — they just won't be pre-loaded with Apple's OS X. Psystar plans on selling systems pre-loaded with "other operating systems," including Windows, as well as selling their "Rebel EFI software" that allows consumers to load OS X on generic PCs.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


:: Read More
(Published: Fri, 18 Dec 2009 17:24:00 -0800)

Mandatory Use of Open Standards In Hungary
qpeter writes "Hungarian Parliament has made the use of open standards mandatory by law in the intercommunication between public administration offices, public utility companies, citizens and voluntarily joining private companies, conducted via the central governmental system. The Open Standards Alliance initiating the amendment aims to promote the spread of monopoly-free markets that foster the development of interchangeable and interoperable products generated by open standards, and, consequently, broad competition markets, regardless of whether the IT systems of interconnecting organizations and individuals use open or closed source software. In the near future, in spite of EU tendencies the Alliance seeks to make its approach – interoperability based on publicly defined open standards – the EU norm under the Hungarian presidency of the European Union in 2011. To that end, it will promote public collaboration – possibly between every interested party, civil and political organization in the European Union. What do you think: what would be the best way to cooperate?"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


:: Read More
(Published: Fri, 18 Dec 2009 15:20:00 -0800)

First Look At Latest Ion-Infused Asus Eee PC
MojoKid writes "Atom-based netbooks have come a long way since they were first introduced. 7 and 8-inch netbooks are no longer the norm, and availability of 12-inch netbooks is on the rise. The newest member of the Asus Eee PC lineup is the Eee PC 1201N, and it really stands out in the crowd of netbook in terms of specifications. The machine features a 12.1" HD display, new dual-core Atom 330 CPU, 2GB of DDR2 RAM, Windows 7 Home Premium, an HDMI output and NVIDIA's Ion chipset with integrated GPU. HotHardware was able to demo the system's ability to handle more advanced benchmarks, thanks in part to the Ion GPU. It's also the first netbook they tested that could actually play older 3D titles respectably. You won't get Crysis running but lighter duty titles can be played back nicely if you tone the details down and lower the resolution. The 1201N also played back 720p and 1080p content without stuttering, and the dual-core CPU allowed enough headroom to multitask while videos were playing."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


:: Read More
(Published: Fri, 18 Dec 2009 14:31:00 -0800)

Google In Talks To Buy Yelp
There have been many rumors floating around concerning a possible buyout of Yelp by Google, but it appears that at least a few details have escaped, painting this as a much more serious possibility. Pointing the needle to something north of $500 million, the acquisition would mean a substantial step into localized business for Google. "Google has been showing greater interest in the local business market in the United States. It has expanded its profile pages for local businesses, which include location and hours, maps and reviews from other Web sites. In June, Google gave local businesses the ability to manage what people see on their profile pages, similar to what Yelp does. Google has been reaching out to local businesses with simpler ways to advertise on the search engine. It is also distributing stickers that businesses post in their windows and passers-by can scan with cellphones to get coupons or information about the business. The deal between Google and Yelp could still unravel, one person said, particularly if another acquirer comes forward now that details have leaked."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


:: Read More
(Published: Fri, 18 Dec 2009 13:48:00 -0800)

Four Missed Opportunities for Privacy
The NY Times has a blog posting on the occasion of the Internet advertising industry's release (PDF) of what it describes as tough new standards governing the collection and use of data about users' behavior. The Time's Saul Hansell describes these "new" standards as more of the same old status quo, and outlines four privacy-enhancing ideas, being discussed by Google, Yahoo, the FTC, and Congress, that the IAB has completely ignored. These principles are: every ad should explain itself, users should be able to see data collected about them, browsers should help enforce user choices about tracking, and some information (medical and financial) is simply too sensitive to track.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


:: Read More
(Published: Tue, 07 Jul 2009 11:44:00 -0700)

British Library Puts Oldest Surviving Bible Online
Peace Corps Library writes "BBC reports that about 800 pages of the earliest surviving Christian Bible, the 1,600-year-old Codex Sinaiticus manuscript, have been recovered and put on the Internet. 'The Codex Sinaiticus is one of the world's greatest written treasures,' says Dr. Scot McKendrick, head of Western manuscripts at the British Library. 'This 1,600-year-old manuscript offers a window into the development of early Christianity and first-hand evidence of how the text of the Bible was transmitted from generation to generation.' The New Testament of the Codex Sinaiticus appears in Koine Greek, the original vernacular language, and the Old Testament in the version, known as the Septuagint, that was adopted by early Greek-speaking Christians. For 1,500 years, the Codex Sinaiticus lay undisturbed in a Sinai monastery until it was found in 1844 and split between Egypt, Russia, Germany, and Britain. It is thought to have survived because the desert air was ideal for preservation and because the monastery, on a Christian island in a Muslim sea, remained untouched, its walls unconquered. The British Library is marking the online launch of the manuscript with an exhibition which includes a range of historic items and artifacts linked to the document. 'The availability of the virtual manuscript for study by scholars around the world creates opportunities for collaborative research that would not have been possible just a few years ago.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


:: Read More
(Published: Tue, 07 Jul 2009 10:57:00 -0700)

The Dilemma of Level vs. Skill In MMOs
Karen Hertzberg writes "Since MMORPGs became a mainstream medium, players have debated the two primary methods of advancement. Which is better? Is it the level-based system that is so dominant in today's MMORPGs, or the lesser-used skill-based system? This has been a strong subject of debate on many forums, blogs, and gaming sites for as long as the genre has existed. Ten Ton Hammer's Cody 'Micajah' Bye investigates the two concepts and gathers input from some of the brightest minds in the gaming industry about their thoughts on the two systems of advancement." Relatedly, I've seen a growing trend of players saying that such games don't really take much skill at all. The standard argument is that it just boils down to "knowing how to move" or "knowing when to hit your buttons." In the MMO community, people often make references to FPS or RTS games, saying they have a higher skill cap. However, the same complaints also come from within those communities, with comments like "you just need to know the map," or "it's all about a good build order." At what point does intimate knowledge of a game's mechanics make a player skilled?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


:: Read More
(Published: Tue, 07 Jul 2009 10:10:00 -0700)

Google Apps Leave Beta
Today Google announced that they're removing the "beta" label from Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Talk. They said, "We've come to appreciate that the beta tag just doesn't fit for large enterprises that aren't keen to run their business on software that sounds like it's still in the trial phase." Quoting the NYTimes: "'Obviously we haven't had a consistent set of policies or definitions around beta,' said Matt Glotzbach, a director of product management at Google. Mr. Glotzbach said that different teams at Google had different criteria for what beta meant, and that Google felt a need to standardize those.
:: Read More
(Published: Tue, 07 Jul 2009 09:27:00 -0700)

Volunteer Programming For Dummies?
Tios writes "I've been studying programming languages (C++, Java, C, Visual Basic) on my own with the self-guided, basic textbooks and tutorials, and I'm starting to get tired of working with examples that are not put into real use. I'm motivated to utilize my programming potential, but I've not had any experience programming in a team environment with lead developers, mentors, or collaborators. If finding a programming job isn't an option, I wonder if I could volunteer for programming in an open-source community. If this is a good idea, how do I start? What resources are out there that could get me oriented in volunteering? What kind of basic projects are out there, with a supportive team/mentor for me to develop, practice, learn, and contribute?"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


:: Read More
(Published: Tue, 07 Jul 2009 08:44:00 -0700)

Optical Transistor Made From Single Molecule
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers from ETH Zurich have recently managed to create an optical transistor from a single molecule in what is yet another important achievement on the road to quantum computing. The molecule itself is about 2 nanometers in size, much smaller than standard transistors, which means that a lot more could be integrated in a single chip. Dr. Hwang, lead author of the academic paper, said, 'Our single-molecule optical transistor generates almost negligible amount of heat. When a single molecule absorbs one photon, there is some probability (quantum yield) that the molecule emits a photon out. The rest of the energy absorbed turns into heat in the matrix. For the case of the specific hydrocarbon molecule that we use, the quantum yield is near 100%. So almost no heat is generated.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


:: Read More
(Published: Tue, 07 Jul 2009 07:59:00 -0700)

VLC 1.0.0 Released
rift321 writes "VLC media player, which we all know for simplifying the playback of pretty much any codec out there, has finally released version 1.0.0. Here's a quick list of improvements: live recording, instant pausing and frame-by-frame support, finer speed controls, new HD codecs (AES3, Dolby Digital Plus, TrueHD, Blu-Ray Linear PCM, Real Video 3.0 and 4.0), new formats (Raw Dirac, M2TS) and major improvements in many formats, new Dirac encoder and MP3 fixed-point encoder, video scaling in fullscreen, RTSP Trickplay support, zipped file playback, customizable toolbars, easier encoding GUI in Qt interface, better integration in Gtk environments, MTP devices on Linux, and AirTunes streaming."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


:: Read More
(Published: Tue, 07 Jul 2009 07:16:00 -0700)

Microsoft Warns of New Video ActiveX Vulnerability
ucanlookitup writes "Microsoft has warned of a 'privately reported' vulnerability affecting IE users on XP or Windows Server 2003. The vulnerability allows remote users to execute arbitrary code with the same privileges as the users. The vulnerability is triggered when users visit a web site with malicious code. 'Security experts say criminals have been attacking the vulnerability for nearly a week. Thousands of sites have been hacked to serve up malicious software that exploits the vulnerability.' The advisory can be found at TechNet. Until Microsoft develops a patch, a workaround is available."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


:: Read More
(Published: Tue, 07 Jul 2009 06:34:00 -0700)

US, Russia Reach Nuclear Arsenal Agreement
Peace Corps Library writes "The United States and Russia, seeking to move forward on one of the most significant arms control treaties since the end of the cold war, announced that they had reached a preliminary agreement on cutting each country's stockpiles of strategic nuclear weapons, effectively setting the stage for a successor to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start), a cold war-era pact that expires in December. Under the framework, negotiators are to be instructed to craft a treaty that would cut strategic warheads for each side to between 1,500 and 1,675, down from the limit of 2,200 slated to take effect in 2012 under the Treaty of Moscow (PDF) signed by President George W. Bush. The limit on delivery vehicles would be cut to between 500 and 1,100 from the 1,600 currently allowed under Start. Perhaps more important than the specific limits would be a revised and extended verification system that otherwise would expire with Start in December. The United States currently has 1,198 land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-based missiles and bombers, which together are capable of delivering 5,576 warheads, according to its most recent Start report in January, while Russia reported that it has 816 delivery vehicles capable of delivering 3,909 warheads. 'We have a mutual interest in protecting both of our populations from the kinds of danger that weapons proliferation is presenting today,' said President Obama."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


:: Read More
(Published: Tue, 07 Jul 2009 05:49:00 -0700)

Microsoft Puts C# and the CLI Under "Community Promise"
FishWithAHammer writes "Peter Galli of Microsoft posted a blog entry on Port25 today, regarding the explicit placement of C# and the Common Language Infrastructure (the ECMA standard that underpins .NET) under their Community Promise: 'It is important to note that, under the Community Promise, anyone can freely implement these specifications with their technology, code, and solutions. You do not need to sign a license agreement, or otherwise communicate to Microsoft how you will implement the specifications.
:: Read More
(Published: Tue, 07 Jul 2009 05:06:00 -0700)

Incandescent Bulbs Return To the Cutting Edge
lee1 writes "A law in the US that is due to take effect in 2012 mandates such tough efficiency standards for lightbulbs that it has been assumed, until recently, that it would kill off the incandescent bulb. Instead, the law has become a case study of the way government regulation can inspire technical innovation. For example, new incandescent technology from Philips that seals the traditional filament inside a small capsule (which itself is contained within the familiar bulb). The capsule has a coating that reflects heat back to the filament, where it is partially converted to light. The sophisticated ($5.00) bulbs are about 30% more efficient than the old-fashioned ($0.25) kind, and should last about three times as long. So they are less economical than compact fluorescents, but should emit a more pleasing spectrum, not contain mercury, and, one supposes, present the utility company with a more desirable power factor."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


:: Read More
(Published: Tue, 07 Jul 2009 02:09:00 -0700)

Jammie Thomas Moves To Strike RIAA $1.92M Verdict
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Jammie Thomas-Rasset has made a motion for a new trial, seeking to vacate the $1.92 million judgment entered against her for infringement of 24 MP3 files, in Capitol Records v. Thomas-Rasset. Her attorneys' brief (PDF) argues, among other things, that the 'monstrous' sized verdict violates the Due Process Clause, consistent with 100 years of SCOTUS jurisprudence, since it is grossly disproportionate to any actual damages sustained. It further argues that, since the RIAA elected to offer no evidence of actual damages, either as an alternative to statutory damages, or to buttress the fairness of a statutory damages award, the verdict, if it is to be reduced, must be reduced to zero."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


:: Read More
(Published: Mon, 06 Jul 2009 22:56:00 -0700)

Don't Copy That Floppy! Gets a Sequel
theodp writes "Back in 1992, the SIIA released Don't Copy That Floppy!, a goofy video in which anti-piracy rapper MC Double Def DP convinces a young lad not to copy a game by appealing to his sense of right and wrong. Now, to address what it calls 'new generations and new temptations,' the SIIA has uploaded a trailer for a new anti-piracy rap video — Don't Copy That 2 — that will be released this summer. To underscore the video's it's-not-just-a-copy-it's-a-crime message, the new film is a tad darker than the original. A smug teen who's downloading files from 'Pirates Palace' and 'Tune Weasel' finds his world turned upside down when automatic weapons-toting government agents break down the door and take his Mom away in handcuffs. The teen finds himself in a prison jumpsuit forced to tattoo shirtless adult inmates who eventually turn on him, physically attack him, and make him run for his life back to his jail cell (image summarizing his plight)."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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(Published: Mon, 06 Jul 2009 19:40:00 -0700)

Data Center Power Failures Mount
1sockchuck writes "It was a bad week to be a piece of electrical equipment inside a major data center. There have been five major incidents in the past week in which generator or UPS failures have caused data center power outages that left customers offline. Generators were apparently the culprit in a Rackspace outage in Dallas and a fire at Fisher Plaza in Seattle (which disrupted e-commerce Friday), while UPS units were cited in brief outages at Equinix data centers in Sydney and Paris on Thursday and a fire at 151 Front Street in Toronto early Sunday. Google App Engine also had a lengthy outage Thursday, but it was attributed to a data store failure."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


:: Read More
(Published: Mon, 06 Jul 2009 16:58:00 -0700)

Social Security Numbers Can Be Guessed
BotScout writes "The nation's Social Security numbering scheme has left millions of citizens vulnerable to privacy breaches, according to researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, who for the first time have used statistical techniques to predict Social Security numbers solely from an individual's date and location of birth. The researchers used the information they gleaned to predict, in one try, the first five digits of a person's Social Security number 44 percent of the time for 160,000 people born between 1989 and 2003. A Social Security Administration spokesman said the government has long cautioned the private sector against using a social security number as a personal identifier, even as it insists 'there is no fool-proof method for predicting a person's Social Security Number.'" Update: 07/07 00:01 GMT by T : Reader angrytuna links to Wired's coverage of the SSN deduction system, and links to the researchers' FAQ at Carnegie Mellon, which says that the research paper will be presented at BlackHat Las Vegas later this month.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


:: Read More
(Published: Mon, 06 Jul 2009 16:14:00 -0700)

Is Linux's "Overall Market Share" Statistic Meaningful?
ruphus13 writes "Linux recently achieved 1% market share of the overall operating system market. But, does that statistic really mean anything useful? This article makes the case that it doesn't. It states, 'Framed in the "overall market share" terminology, the information (or how it was gathered and calculated) isn't necessarily questionable, it's more that it's meaningless. It's nebulous, even when one looks at several months worth of data. [How] Linux is used in various business settings answers an actual question — and the answer can be used to ask further questions, form opinions — and maybe one day even explain to some degree what 1% of the market share really means.
:: Read More
(Published: Fri, 22 May 2009 21:08:00 -0700)

How To Help a Friend With an MMO Addiction?
sammydee writes "I have a friend who is addicted to an MMO (Pirates of the Burning Sea). On a typical day, he will wake up around 9am, browse the forums for a bit, then go online and stay online all day, playing until about 3am the following morning, taking only toilet breaks and stopping to eat ready-meals. While the rest of the house works hard revising for exams, this friend will be playing his MMO instead. Now, I am pretty confident that this comprises an unhealthy addiction; unfortunately, I have no idea what to do about it. Any attempt to physically prevent him from playing the game would most likely result in an outburst of anger and possibly physical violence. Attempts at telling him he has a problem have been met with derision and angry retorts. Slashdotters, what would you do to help out a friend in this situation? Perhaps you are a reformed addict yourself — if so, how did you break out of the habit? Or maybe I should just leave well enough alone and allow him to continue? Any thoughts are gratefully received."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


:: Read More
(Published: Fri, 22 May 2009 19:12:00 -0700)

US Army Will Upgrade To Windows Vista
MojoKid writes "While many organizations are preparing for an upgrade to Windows 7, the US Army is upgrading to Windows Vista. The upgrade will include getting rid of all the Office 2003 programs and installing Office 2007 in its place, and is scheduled for a Dec. 31 completion date. Half the Army's computers (they have 744,000 desktop units) have Office 2007 so far, and 13 percent are on Vista, which was released in January 2007. Windows 7 is supposed to launch before year's end, so the Army will be fully on Vista sometime after Microsoft's next generation OS is already launched."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


:: Read More
(Published: Fri, 22 May 2009 17:14:00 -0700)

Verizon Tells Cops "Your Money Or Your Life"
Mike writes "A 62-year-old man had a mental breakdown and ran off after grabbing several bottles of pills from his house. The cops asked Verizon to help trace the man using his cellphone, but Verizon refused, saying that they couldn't turn on his phone because he had an unpaid bill for $20. After an 11-hour search (during which time the sheriff's department was trying to figure out how to pay the bill), the man was found, unconscious. 'I was more concerned for the person's life,' Sheriff Dale Williams said. 'It would have been nice if Verizon would have turned on his phone for five or 10 minutes, just long enough to try and find the guy. But they would only turn it on if we agreed to pay $20 of the unpaid bill.' Score another win for the Verizon Customer Service team."

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(Published: Fri, 22 May 2009 16:23:00 -0700)

Sci-Fi Writers Dream Up Ideas For US Government
cheezitmike writes "This week in Washington, DC, a group of Sci-Fi writers is helping the US Department of Homeland Security envision the future at the 2009 Homeland Security Science & Technology Stakeholders Conference. The agency is hoping the interaction between writers and bureaucrats helps the government 'break old habits of thought' and 'help managers think more broadly about projects and their potential reactions and unintended consequences.' And, it's at minimal expense to taxpayers, since the writers are consulting pro bono."

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(Published: Fri, 22 May 2009 15:40:00 -0700)

Nesson & Camara Increase Attack Against RIAA
eldavojohn writes "We talked about Charlie Nesson of Harvard Law School before, and it may not have been known to you, but he is backing former student and Jammie Thomas' new lawyer, K.A.D. Camara. Ars is reporting that Nesson is upping the charges against the RIAA. Not only is file-sharing fair use, but the $100,000,000 the RIAA has collected through fear is due back to those wrongly accused. He's also increasing the number of fronts he's fighting. On Camara's website, he indicates that in another case, Brittany English (pro bono), they 'are asking the courts to declare that statutory damages like these — 150,000:1 — are unconstitutional and that the RIAA's campaign to extract settlements from individuals by the threat of such unconstitutional damages is itself unlawful, enjoin the RIAA's unlawful campaign, and order the RIAA to return the $100M+ that it obtained as a result of its unlawful campaign.'"

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(Published: Fri, 22 May 2009 15:01:00 -0700)

First Look At VMware's vSphere "Cloud OS"
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Paul Venezia takes VMware's purported 'cloud OS,' vSphere 4, for a test drive. The bottom line: 'VMware vSphere 4.0 touches on almost every aspect of managing a virtual infrastructure, from ESX host provisioning to virtual network management to backup and recovery of virtual machines. Time will tell whether these features are as solid as they need to be in this release, but their presence is a substantial step forward for virtual environments.' Among the features Venezia finds particularly worthwhile is vSphere's Fault Tolerance: 'In a nutshell, this allows you to run the same VM in tandem across two hardware nodes, but with only one instance actually visible to the network. You can think of it as OS-agnostic clustering. Should a hardware failure take out the primary instance, the secondary instance will assume normal operations instantly, without requiring a VMotion.'"

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(Published: Fri, 22 May 2009 14:13:00 -0700)

Sunlight Labs Offers $25,000 For Data.gov Apps
Andurin writes "With the launch of Data.gov, Sunlight Labs is offering $25,000 in prize money for developers who create apps that use newly-released federal government data. Data.gov is paving the way for citizens to become more engaged with their government, by providing for the first-time a clearinghouse of federal data in developer-friendly formats. The Apps for America 2 contest aims to find the best applications that rely on Data.gov, whether it be a client application, an iPhone app, or data visualization. Also, the first, second and third prize winners will receive airfare and hotel placement for a trip to Washington DC. While in Washington, DC, they'll attend an awards ceremony at the Gov2.0 Summit by O'Reilly Media and TechWeb."

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(Published: Fri, 22 May 2009 13:28:00 -0700)

HTML 5 As a Viable Alternative To Flash?
superglaze writes "Jon von Tetzchner, Opera's CEO, has claimed that the open standards in HTML 5 will make it unnecessary to deliver rich media content using the proprietary Flash. '"You can do most things with web standards today," von Tetzchner said. "In some ways, you may say you don't need Flash." Von Tetzchner added that his comments were not about "killing" Flash. "I like Adobe — they're a nice company," he said. "I think Flash will be around for a very, very long time, but I think it's natural that web standards also evolve to be richer. You can then choose whether you'd like [to deliver rich media content] through web standards or whether you'd like to use Flash."'"

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(Published: Fri, 22 May 2009 12:33:00 -0700)

Pentagon Seeks a New Generation of Hackers
Hugh Pickens writes "Forbes reports on a new military-funded program aimed at leveraging an untapped resource: the population of geeky high school and college students in the US. The Cyber Challenge will create three new national competitions for high school and college students intended to foster a young generation of cybersecurity researchers. 'The contests will test skills applicable to both government and private industry: attacking and defending digital targets, stealing data, and tracing how others have stolen it.
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(Published: Fri, 22 May 2009 11:49:00 -0700)

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