walterbyrd writes "Apple yesterday was granted Patent no. 8,223,134 for 'Portable electronic device, method, and graphical user interface for displaying electronic lists and documents.' According to the patent's description, the technology relies upon a touch-screen display and includes both the function for displaying lists and documents, and how they look on a mobile product."
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An anonymous reader writes "Despite weaknesses in the Linux-hostile 'secure boot' mechanism, both Fedora and Ubuntu decided to facilitate it, by essentially adopting two different approaches. Richard Stallman has finally spoken out on this subject. He notes that 'if the user doesn't control the keys, then it's a kind of shackle, and that would be true no matter what system it is.' He says, 'Microsoft demands that ARM computers sold for Windows 8 be set up so that the user cannot change the keys; in other words, turn it into restricted boot.' Stallman adds that 'this is not a security feature. This is abuse of the users. I think it ought to be illegal.'"
The Open Compute Project was launched by Facebook early last year to facilitate collaborative development of highly-efficient computing infrastructure. They wanted to make datacenters cheaper and less energy-intensive to operate. Since then, many industry heavyweights have joined up, and the effects of the project are becoming evident in how companies buy hardware. "Instead of the traditional scenario in which the company’s buying decisions are determined by what the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) such as Dell, HP, and IBM are offering, open sourcing hardware give companies the ability to buy the exact hardware they want. Businesses are increasingly more curious about open source, and many of them are already deploying open source tools and the cloud, [Dell's Joseph George said]. They are increasingly looking at open source software as viable alternatives to commercial options. This level of exploration is moving to the infrastructure layer. 'Driving standards is what open source is about,' George added. With specifications at hand, it is possible to manufacture server and storage components that deliver consistent results regardless of who’s in charge of production.
northernboy writes "Today's LA Times has an article describing how a Wikileaks data dump from Afghanistan plus some advanced algorithms are allowing accurate predictions about the behavior of large groups of people. From the article: 'The programmers used simple code to extract dates and locations from about 77,000 incident reports that detailed everything from simple stop-and-search operations to full-fledged battles. The resulting map revealed the outlines of the country's ongoing violence: hot spots near the Pakistani border but not near the Iranian border, and extensive bloodshed along the country's main highway. They did it all in just one night. Now one member of that group has teamed up with mathematicians and computer scientists and taken the project one major step further: They have used the WikiLeaks data to predict the future.' Considering they did not discriminate between types of skirmish, but only when and where there was violence, this seems like an amazing result. It looks like our robotic overlords will have even less trouble controlling us than I previously thought."
Several readers sent word that Google has announced its intention to start fighting drug cartels and other 'illicit networks.' According to a post on the official blog, the company thinks modern technology plays a key role in helping to 'expose and dismantle global criminal networks, which depend on secrecy and discretion in order to function.' They're holding a summit in Los Angeles this week, which aims to 'bring together a full-range of stakeholders, from survivors of organ trafficking, sex trafficking and forced labor to government officials, dozens of engineers, tech leaders and product managers from Google and beyond. Through the summit, which lasts until Wednesday, we hope to discover ways that technology can be used to expose and disrupt these networks as a whole—and to put some of these ideas into practice.'
An anonymous reader writes "Last week, a Canadian Supreme Court decision attracted attention for reduced copyright fees for music and video. Michael Geist has a detailed analysis that concludes there are two bigger, long term effects. First, Canada has effectively now adopted fair use. Second, the Supreme Court has made technological neutrality a foundational principle of Canadian copyright. The technological neutrality principle could have an enormous long-term impact on Canadian copyright, posing a threat to some copyright collective tariff proposals and to the newly enacted digital lock rules."
MrSeb writes with a bit from Extreme Tech: "After a lot of theorizing, posturing, and non-human trials, it looks like bionic eye implants are finally hitting the market — first in Europe, and hopefully soon in the U.S. These implants can restore sight to completely blind patients — though only if the blindness is caused by a faulty retina, as in macular degeneration (which millions of old people suffer from), diabetic retinopathy, or other degenerative eye diseases. ... The Bio-Retina, developed by Nano Retina, is a whole lot more exciting. The Bio-Retina costs ... around the $60,000 [and] the 576-pixel vision-restoring sensor is actually placed inside the eye, on top of the retina. The operation only takes 30 minutes and can be performed under local anesthetic. Once installed, 576 electrodes on the back of the sensor implant themselves into your optic nerve. The best bit, though, is how the the sensor is powered: The Bio-Retina system comes with a standard pair of corrective lenses that are modified so that they can fire a near-infrared laser beam through your iris to the sensor at the back of your eye. On the sensor there is a photovoltaic cell that produces up to three milliwatts — not a lot, but more than enough."
judgecorp writes "Mozilla's mobile operating system Firefox OS will win overwhelming support from developers because it dropped XUL in favour of HTML5, says the head of Mozilla Europe in an interview. Firefox OS is more open than iOS and Android, and 75 percent of apps are already written in HTML5."
zacharye writes "Oh, the irony. A musicians' rights group in the Netherlands was fined this week for stealing music from a client, using it without his permission and failing to pay royalties. Music royalty collection agency Buma/Stemra approached Dutch musician Melchior Rietveldt in 2006 and asked him to create a composition that would be used in an anti-piracy advertisement, which the group said would be shown exclusively at a local film festival. One year later, Rietveldt purchased a Harry Potter DVD only to find that his piece was being used on DVDs around the world without his permission..."
vu1986 writes, quoting GigaOm: "Microsoft has confessed to violating its browser choice agreement with European antitrust regulators, after they opened up a fresh investigation into the company's behavior. This is a big deal, not least because it means the company could now face a fine of up to 10 percent of its annual turnover — $7 billion at last count." Microsoft agreed in 2009 to inform users they could install other browsers. They did, mostly, but Windows 7SP1 users didn't get the software update. Microsoft is claiming it was just a software bug, and have taken actions to fix it.
TheNextCorner writes with news on where CmdrTaco has been hiding. Quoting Malda's IamA blurb over at that Reddit thing: "In 1997 I started Slashdot.org. For several years, we pioneered news aggregation and on-line communities while exploring our niche of the 'net under the slogan, 'News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters.' Our work was later expanded upon at countless other more successful sites including Reddit and the Huffington Post. I left Slashdot last year, took a long time off, and then started work at the Washington Post Co's WaPo Labs their digital media R&D skunkworks group. I work as their Chief Strategist and Editor-at-Large, contributing what I can to a variety of projects ranging from their Social Reader, to some projects under development. From here I am able to continue to explore my interests in news, journalism, technology, and communities. ... I'll hopefully be answering from 2pm-5pm ET"
The idea behind the United States Space Camp is to give kids (and some adults) a chance to do astronaut training-type things that will get them jazzed on science and technology, in addition to getting away from home for a while. Security Camp is sort of like that that, says instigator Marc Tobias, but is about security stuff rather than space, and somehow interviewer Timothy Lord didn't ask Tobias about plans to teach security, computer or otherwise, for space travelers, when he talked with Tobias at HOPE (Hackers on Planet Earth) in New York. Since Tobias is an expert in physical security (locks), and locksmithing is going to be taught at Security Camp along with electronic/hacking-type security skills, it's a good thing all participants will be checked for criminal records and tendencies before they're allowed to participate. If there are plans to make a movie about Security Camp, which Tobias didn't mention one way or the other during this interview, we hope it's better than the 1986 movie, Space Camp.
New submitter wrekkuh writes "The Daily News is reporting that if aides of New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo cannot speak in person or by telephone with the Governor, they are told to use BlackBerry's PIN-to-PIN messaging system — a function that leaves no lasting trail because it bypasses data-saving email servers. Consequently, a Freedom of Information request for all e-mails to and from Governor Cuomo's office resulted in an empty reply from the Records Access Officer: 'Please be advised that the New York State Executive Chamber has conducted a diligent search, but does not possess records responsive to your request.'"
DavidGilbert99 writes "Following the discovery of the highly-complex Flame virus in May, two security companies (Seculert and Kaspersky Lab) have uncovered a new cyber-espionage threat against the Middle East. Madi, or Madhi, is an information-stealing trojan which is technically a lot simpler than Flame or Stuxnet but is specifically targeting people in critical infrastructure companies, financial services and government embassies, which are mainly located in Iran, Israel and Afghanistan. The Madi creators use social engineering techniques to spread, embedding the malware in various documents including text files and PowerPoint presentations. It is unclear if the malware is state-sponsored or not, but it has already stolen several gigabytes of information and is still active."
kierny writes "Hackers/crackers who get arrested are typically male and young adults — if not minors. Why is that? According to research by online psychology expert Grainne Kirwan, it's because the typical hacker 'ages out' once they get a girlfriend, job, kids, and other responsibilities that make it difficult to maintain their hacking/cracking/hacktivist lifecycle. Could that finding offer a way to help keep more young hacking enthusiasts out of jail?"