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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


DRM: How Book Publishers Failed To Learn From the Music Industry 212

Posted by Soulskill
from the give-the-people-what-they-want dept.
Presto Vivace writes "In a blog post, danps explains how the music industry initially thought that the Internet meant that people wanted their music for free. In 2003 Apple persuaded the industry to use an online music store with DRM. But DRM just does not work for consumers, so by 2011 online music stores were DRM-free. Sadly, the book industry has not learned these lessons. And there are larger lessons for the gadget industry: 'The tech industry right now is churning out lots of different devices, operating systems and form factors in an attempt to get the One True Gadget — the thing you'll take with you everywhere and use for everything. That's a lovely aspiration, but I don't see it happening. What I see instead is people wanting to only carry around one thing at a time, and rotating through several: Smart phone for everyday use, tablet for the beach, laptop for the road, etc. If you can't get the book you paid for on each of those devices, it's a pain. As a reader I want to be able to put a book on everything as soon as I buy it so I always have a local (non-Internet dependent) copy — no matter which thing I run out of the house with.'"
The Courts

Judge Orders Google To Comply With FBI's Warrantless NSL Requests 167

Posted by Soulskill
from the completely-unwarranted dept.
An anonymous reader writes "CNet reports that a U.S. District Court Judge has rejected Google's attempt to fight 19 National Security Letters, which are used by the FBI to gather information on users without a warrant. Quoting: 'The litigation taking place behind closed doors in Illston's courtroom — a closed-to-the-public hearing was held on May 10 — could set new ground rules curbing the FBI's warrantless access to information that Internet and other companies hold on behalf of their users. The FBI issued 192,499 of the demands from 2003 to 2006, and 97 percent of NSLs include a mandatory gag order. It wasn't a complete win for the Justice Department, however: Illston all but invited Google to try again, stressing that the company has only raised broad arguments, not ones "specific to the 19 NSLs at issue." She also reserved judgment on two of the 19 NSLs, saying she wanted the government to "provide further information" prior to making a decision.' This does not affect the Electronic Frontier Foundation's challenge to the constitutionality of the letters in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals."
United States

U.S. Authorizes Sales of American Communication Tech To Iran 108

Posted by Soulskill
from the applying-a-sepia-filter-to-your-breakfast-is-a-fundamental-human-right dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A report at SF Gate notes that 'The United States has lifted portions of two-decades-old sanctions against Iran in an effort to bolster communication between the country's citizens — and potentially aid organization against a repressive Iranian government. Thursday afternoon the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control authorized the sale of hardware and software that pertain to the Internet, instant messaging, chat, e-mail, social networking, sharing of media, and blogging — basically, all things digital. The Treasury Department wrote, 'As the Iranian government attempts to silence its people by cutting off their communication with each other and the rest of the world, the United States will continue to take action to help the Iranian people exercise their universal human rights, including the right to freedom of expression.'"

Could Bitcoin Go Legit? 300

Posted by samzenpus
from the turning-over-a-new-leaf dept.
Velcroman1 writes "On May 15, the Department of Homeland Security seized a digital bank account used by 'MtGox,' the world's largest exchange, where people buy and sell bitcoins. DHS alleged, and a judge agreed, that there is 'probable cause' that MtGox is an 'unlicensed money service business.' If proven, the penalty for operating such a business is a fine and up to 5 years in jail. caught up with several bitcoin exchanges, including CampBX, MtGox, CoinLab and more, to ask them how they've navigated the regulatory waters — and how to go legit." In other shady bitcoin news, it appears the demise of Liberty Reserve has caused hackers to find a new alternative. twoheadedboy writes "Despite suggestions Bitcoin might be the ideal currency for dealers on the dark web, it appears Perfect Money, a Panama-based operation, is proving the most popular alternative to the now-defunct Liberty Reserve. A source working the underground forums told TechWeekEurope that, for now, fraudsters are rapidly migrating to Perfect Money. Many vendors have started accepting it, having previously primarily used Liberty Reserve, which was shut down following the arrest of its founder and four other members this past week. Internet fraudsters might be interested in Perfect Money as it has distanced itself from the U.S., cutting off all new American registrations. However, one forum user said he was turned down by Perfect Money as their 'type of activity is not welcome.' Other currencies may yet win out."

Slashdot Killed My Kickstarter Campaign 163

Posted by timothy
from the resharpen-your-knives dept.
New submitter agizis writes "Alex from Connectify here. I wanted to say thanks to all of you who commented on the Slashdot story about our Kickstarter campaign It was super-educational discussing Switchboard with all of you: you wanted your own servers, and we weren't doing enough to communicate what was so special about Switchboard. Based in a large part on your feedback, we blew up our Kickstarter campaign, and changed almost everything. Thanks, Slashdot. This isn't reddit, but ask me anything."

Space Diving: Iron Man Meets Star Trek Suit In Development 133

Posted by samzenpus
from the someday-soon dept.
cylonlover writes "Science fiction may well become reality with the development of a real life Iron Man suit that would allow astronauts or extreme thrill seekers to space dive from up to 62 miles (100 km) above the Earth's surface at the very edge of space, and safely land using thruster boots instead of a parachute. Hi-tech inventors over at Solar System Express (Sol-X) and biotech designers Juxtopia LLC (JLLC) are collaborating on this project with a goal of releasing a production model of such a suit by 2016. The project will use a commercial space suit to which will be added augmented reality (AR) goggles, jet packs, power gloves and movement gyros."

Why Everyone Gets It Wrong About BYOD 377

Posted by Soulskill
from the bring-your-own-device dept.
snydeq writes "Brian Katz offers a simple take on the buzz around BYOD in business organizations these days: 'BYOD is only an issue because people refuse to realize that it's just about ownership — nothing more and nothing less.' A 'hidden issue' hiding in plain view, BYOD's ownership issue boils down to money and control. 'BYOD is pretty clear: It's bringing your own device. It isn't the company's device or your best friend's device. It's your device, and you own it. Because you own the device, you have certain rights to what is on the device and what you can do with the device. This is the crux of every issue that comes with BYOD programs.'"

Judge Orders Child Porn Suspect To Decrypt His Hard Drives 802

Posted by Soulskill
from the ruining-it-for-everyone dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After having first decided against forcing a suspect to decrypt a number of hard drives that were believed to be his and to contain child pornography, a U.S. judge has changed his mind and has now ordered the suspect to provide law enforcement agents heading the investigation with a decrypted version of the contents of his encrypted data storage system, or the passwords needed to decrypt forensic copies of those storage devices. Jeffrey Feldman, a software developer at Rockwell Automation, has still not been charged with any crime, and the prosecution initially couldn't prove conclusively that the encrypted hard drives contained child pornography or were actually Feldman's, which led U.S. Magistrate Judge William Callahan to decide that forcing him to decrypt them would violate his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. But new evidence has made the judge reverse his first decision (PDF): the FBI has continued to try to crack the encryption on the discs, and has recently managed to decrypt and access one of the suspect's hard drives... The storage device was found to contain 'an intricate electronic folder structure comprised of approximately 6,712 folders and subfolders,' approximately 707,307 files (among them numerous files which constitute child pornography), detailed personal financial records and documents belonging to the suspect, as well as dozens of his personal photographs."
The Media

Apple Leaves Journalists Jonesing 277

Posted by Soulskill
from the irony-noted dept.
Hodejo1 writes "Apple traditionally has big product announcements in the early spring, so around February both the mainstream press and the tech blogs began to circulate their favorite rumors (the iWatch, iTV). They also announced the date of the next Apple event, which this year was in March — except it didn't happen. 'Reliable sources' then confirmed it would be in April, then May and then — nothing. In withdrawal and with a notoriously secretive Apple offering no relief the tech journalists started to get cranky. The end result is a rash of petulant stories that insist Apple is desperate for new products, in trouble (with $150 billion dollars in the bank, I should be in such trouble) and in decline. The only ones desperate seem to be editors addicted to traffic-generating Apple announcements. Good news is on the horizon, though, as the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference starts June 10th." This was in evidence last night, as Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke to the press at the All Things D conference. Cook's statements were mostly the sort of vague, grandiose talk that gets fed to investors on an earnings call, but it's generating article after article because, hey, it's Tim Cook.
Hardware Hacking

Canon DSLR Hack Allows It To Shoot RAW Video 171

Posted by Soulskill
from the features-added-by-users dept.
When the Canon 50D DSLR camera was released back in 2008, it could take nice pictures, but it had no support for video recording. Now, through an enterprising hack by members of the Magic Lantern forums, the 50D can capture RAW video. From the article: "The tech inside the 50D looks like it borrows a lot more from its higher-end siblings, like the 5D Mark II, and it’s possible we may actually get better RAW video quality out of the 50D than we do out of any of the non-CF Canon cameras. ... The camera doesn’t have playback or audio recording as it was never designed to shoot video, but this isn’t too different from the RAW recording on the other Canon DSLRs at the moment."

Texas Poised To Pass Unprecedented Email Privacy Bill 262

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-mess-with-texas-emails dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A bill has reached the desk of Texas Governor Rick Perry that would give stronger privacy protections to email accounts than exist in any other state. If Perry signs it (or simply declines to veto it before June 16th), the legislation would force law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant before reading somebody's email, even if the email has been sitting on the server for a long time. 'As we've noted many times before, there are no such provisions in federal law once the e-mail has been opened or if it has been sitting in an inbox, unopened, for 180 days. In March 2013, the Department of Justice acknowledged in a Congressional hearing that this distinction no longer makes sense and the DOJ would support revisions to ECPA.' This bill passed the state legislature unanimously. The article points out that the legislation won't protect from federal investigations, but it will set a precedent that the U.S. Congress will surely notice. An attorney with the EFF said, 'It's significant as proof that privacy reform is not only needed, but also politically-feasible with broad bipartisan support. And hopefully that will impact federal ECPA reform efforts by getting people on both of sides of the political aisle to work together to make meaningful electronic privacy reform a reality. The more states that pass similar legislation, the more pressure it will put on Congress to keep up with the changing legal landscape.'"

Vastly Improved Raspberry Pi Performance With Wayland 259

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the fast-and-fancy dept.
New submitter nekohayo writes "While Wayland/Weston 1.1 brought support to the Raspberry Pi merely a month ago, work has recently been done to bring true hardware-accelerated compositing capabilities to the RPi's graphics stack using Weston. The Raspberry Pi foundation has made an announcement about the work that has been done with Collabora to make this happen. developer Daniel Stone has written a blog post about this, including a video demonstrating the improved reactivity and performance. Developer Pekka Paalanen also provided additional technical details about the implementation." Rather than using the OpenGL ES hardware, the new compositor implementation uses the SoC's 2D scaler/compositing hardware which offers "a scaling throughput of 500 megapixels per second and blending throughput of 1 gigapixel per second. It runs independently of the OpenGL ES hardware, so we can continue to render 3D graphics at the full, very fast rate, even while compositing."

Google Glass: What's With All the Hate? 775

Posted by samzenpus
from the half-empty-glasses dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Techcrunch takes a look at why so many people seem to make fun of Google Glass. From the article: 'Google Glass isn't even on sale yet and there is already a noticeable backlash against Google's first experiment in wearable computing. It's odd to see a product that was greeted with so much hype a year ago endure the love-hate cycle so quickly – even though there are only a few thousand units in the wild. Sure, we've done our share to popularize "glasshole" as a way to describe its users, but the backlash seems to go beyond the usual insidery tech circles.'"

Yahoo Joins Growing List of Bidders For Hulu 69

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-will-be-assimilated dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It's reported that Yahoo has formally put in a bid to buy Hulu only a week after adding Tumblr to the family. From the article: 'Yahoo just spent $1.1 billion of its cash hoard to acquire Tumblr, a blogging site with 300 million mostly young-ish visitors and 24 billion minutes of usage per month. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's team can slap a lot of tasteful, personalized native ads into the Tumblr content streams to monetize the fast growing site. It's the same way that Facebook and Twitter hope to get into the tens of billions in revenue league, but it's a long and winding road. Now Yahoo is taking a run at Hulu, with its 4 million subscribers paying $7.99 per month, original programming , and more than 70,000 full TV episodes. Hulu could immediately put Yahoo's video efforts and revenue in a different league.'"

Entrepreneur On Yahoo/Tumblr: It's the Content Readers, Stupid 92

Posted by samzenpus
from the cost-of-doing-business dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Weighing in on Yahoo's recent acquisition of Tumblr for $1.1 billion, social networking entrepreneur Adam Rifkin argues that Tumblr is extremely valuable business property because it has successfully organized itself around the 'Interest Graph' (people interested in the same hobbies or things), rather than the 'Social Graph' (family, friends, and coworkers/colleagues, as is typical for Facebook). He opines that, for a social networking site, readers are far more important than writers; writers, after all, 'have time but no money. Certain groups are going to be overrepresented: Students, stay-at-home moms, the underemployed, retirees.' While readers are just the opposite: they 'have money but no time.... They want to see a picture of a watch they like, and buy it now.' In other words, it's the readers of the content that businesses are trying to reach. And interest graphs can be specifically targeted by businesses, much more so than social graphs."

AMD Launches New Mobile APU Lineup, Kabini Gets Tested 102

Posted by timothy
from the failure-to-overwhelm dept.
An anonymous reader writes "While everyone was glued to the Xbox One announcement, Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 launch, and Intel's pre-Haswell frenzy, it seems that AMD's launch was overlooked. On Wednesday, AMD launched its latest line of mobile APUs, codenamed Temash, Kabini, and Richland. Temash is targeted towards smaller touchscreen-based devices such as tablets and the various Windows 8 hybrid devices, and comes in dual-core A4 and A6 flavors. Kabini chips are intended for the low-end notebook market, and come in quad-core A4 and A6 models along with a dual-core E2. Richland includes quad-core A8 and A10 models, and is meant for higher-end notebooks — MSI is already on-board for the A10-5750M in their GX series of gaming notebooks. All three new APUs feature AMD HD 8000-series graphics. Tom's Hardware got a prototype notebook featuring the new quad-core A4-5000 with Radeon HD 8300 graphics, and benchmarked it versus a Pentium B960-based Acer Aspire V3 and a Core-i3-based HP Pavillion Sleekbook 15. While Kabini proves more efficient, and features more powerful graphics than the Pentium, it comes up short in CPU-heavy tasks. What's more, the Core-i3 matches the A4-5000 in power efficiency while its HD 4000 graphics completely outpace the APU."

UC Berkeley Group Working On Creating Inexpensive 3-D Printer Materials 66

Posted by Soulskill
from the make-it-good-then-make-it-cheap dept.
phrackthat writes "A UC Berkeley group, in a bid to drive down the costs of 3-D printing, has been focusing on more natural materials such as salt, wood, ceramics and concrete (the last two, while not naturally occurring, are made of naturally occurring components). The use of these materials create new avenues for architecture, such as printing buildings. Professor Ronald Rael, the head of the project, stated that these materials and the designs they enable will require new IP protections — 'This is going to require some IP protection for designs, so if you design architecture in the computer, you're protected, just as music and movies are.' I wonder if he's ever heard of design patents?"

Google Takes Street View To the Galapagos Islands 40

Posted by samzenpus
from the 1414-tortoise-way dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "In the early days, Street View must have been a relatively easy project for Google to execute, considering the financial resources and employees at its disposal: strap a set of high-tech cameras to a fleet of vehicles and drive the latter around urban areas all over the world, recording every inch for viewers' clicking-and-dragging pleasure. But there's only so much of the world accessible via well-paved roads (or close to gas stations, for that matter), which meant Google had to regress a bit: instead of cars, it began strapping all that fancy camera equipment to human beings, who are a little bit maneuverable over rough terrain and narrow dirt paths than a four-door sedan. Google sent its Street View cyborgs into the Grand Canyon, where they recorded the craggy pathways and steep cliffs. Then it sent them to some of the world's highest peaks. Now comes the next exotic locale: the Galapagos Islands, land of giant tortoises and other unique species, where Charles Darwin researched his famous theory of evolution. 'It's critical that we share images with the world of this place in order to continue to study and preserve the islands' unique biodiversity,' read a May 23 note on the Google Lat Long blog. 'Today we're honored to announce, in partnership with Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) and the Galapagos National Parks Directorate (GNPD), that we've collected panoramic imagery of the islands with the Street View Trekker.' That imagery will appear on Google Maps later in 2013. Nobody's asked the tortoises how they feel about it."

A Cold Look at Cold Fusion Claims: Why E-Cat Looks Like a Hoax 426

Posted by timothy
from the judas-gets-too-little-credit dept.
In the past few days, several readers have submitted word of a paper published on Arxiv allegedly confirming the efficacy of Andrea Rossi's "E-Cat," a device Rossi says transmutes nickel into copper, producing cheap energy in the process. (Mentioned before on Slashdot.) Ethan Siegel of ScienceBlogs takes a skeptical look at the buzz surrounding this paper, and asks some seemingly obvious questions, pointing out various ways in which the cold-fusion / cheap-energy claims could be either confirmed or debunked. First time accepted submitter CdXiminez writes with a capsule of Siegel's points: "What would it take to convince a reasonable observer that you've got a controlled nuclear reaction going on here? Things not shown in the earlier report: Show that nuclear transmutation has in fact taken place; Start the device operating by whatever means you want, then disconnect all external power to it, and allow it to run; Place a gamma-ray detector around the device; Accurately monitor the power drawn from all sources to the device at all times, while also monitoring the energy output from the device at all times."
The Courts

First Government Lawsuit Against a Patent Troll 96

Posted by samzenpus
from the when-the-man-comes-around dept.
walterbyrd writes "Late last year, a vigorous and secretive patent troll began sending out thousands of letters to small businesses all around the country, insisting that they owed between $900 and $1,200 per worker just for using scanners. The brazen patent-trolling scheme, carried out by a company called MPHJ technologies and dozens of shell companies with six-letter names, has caught the attention of politicians. MPHJ and its principals may have gone too far. They're now the subject of a government lawsuit targeting patent trolling—the first ever such case. Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell has filed suit in his home state, saying that MPHJ is violating Vermont consumer-protection laws."

To be a kind of moral Unix, he touched the hem of Nature's shift. -- Shelley