Tiger4 writes "Dear Slashdot, With all the talk about NSA spying and manipulated search results and malware steering, I thought that maybe a roll-my-own approach would be best.. So want to know: Is there any good search engine / web crawler software out there for me to run on my own home server? It might not be the best, but it would be mine, and with only me to do the tampering (until NSA finds the back door, anyway)" top
Tiger4 writes "Real pictures, not photoshopped (much), of Peter Jackson on the set of The Hobbit acting like a director are now available at EOnline.com. This despite the strikes, bankruptcies, contract disputes, and legal actions that have swarmed Jackson and the project since his Lord of the Rings days. Yes, this is News for Nerds and it is Stuff that Matters. Admit it, secretly you've been dying to see this happen." Link to Original Source top
Tiger4 writes "Julian Assange of Wikileaks fame has been rumored to have many more documents than have already been released. Further, some of these are rumored to be held back from release by a deadman's switch, a device that activates when the person controlling it has apparently died, disappeared, or stopped providing input. The question then is, how to implement a deadman? What would be the best way to reliably ensure distribution of information after you are gone?" top
Tiger4 writes "It was widely reported, (Associated Press, Washington Post, The Guardian, etc) that Amazon.com has kicked Wikileaks off its cloud of servers. Apparently members of the US Congress brought pressure to bear on Amazon and they succumbed. The US Constitution's First Amendment, which governs official actions of the government but not private actions, was mentioned as a protection for Wikileak's recent publication of embarrassing documents." Link to Original Source top
Tiger4 writes "Google admitted today that it sniffed up information from unguarded WiFi networks as it s Street View vans prowled America.
"Google Inc. has been vacuuming up fragments of people's online activities broadcast over public Wi-Fi networks for the past four years, a breach of Web etiquette likely to raise more privacy worries about the Internet search leader."
Leadership at Google says it has ceased the practice and is notifying regulators,
"Nevertheless, Google's decision to hold on to the Wi-Fi data until it hears back from regulators shows the company realizes it could face legal repercussions. At the very least, company officials concede that snooping on Wi-Fi networks, however inadvertent, crossed an ethical line.
"We are acutely aware that we failed badly here," Eustace wrote.
Antoerh good reason to secure your local WiFi. Google might be looking over your shoulder." Link to Original Source
Tiger4 writes "A huge number of fonts are migrating from the print only world to the Web. As the browser manufacturers get on board, the WWW will be a much more interesting place (see the article illustration).
"Beginning Tuesday, Monotype Imaging, a Massachusetts company that owns one of the largest collections of typefaces in the world, is making 2,000 of its fonts available to web designers. The move follows the San Francisco-based FontShop, which put several hundred of its fonts online in February. In just a few weeks, Font Bureau, a Boston designer of fonts, will make some of its typefaces available online as well."
With any luck, the transition period to Font-richness will be more brief and less painful than the waving flag — jumping smiley — flashing text era HTML explosion" Link to Original Source
Tiger4 writes "Columnist David Lazarus reports that the FCC is finally getting serious about measuring what you really get with a "broadband" service.
"The plan includes requiring Internet service providers to disclose average access speeds, rather than the current practice of promising speeds "up to" a certain rate.
What many consumers now get "is often much less than the advertised peak speed," the FCC says.
The column goes on to say that the US currently ranks 18th among nations with broadband services. And apparently who does the measuring makes a big difference in what "they" say you have. He went to two sites recommended by the government and got 18mbit and 6mbit results. Other commercial sites varied even more, from 4mbit to 20mbit.
The FCC is embarking on a 10 year plan to fix all this, but at the rate the internet changes, in 10 years it may not matter." Link to Original Source
Tiger4 writes "CNN reports that a survivor of the Haitian earthquake, Dan Woolley, used a iPhone app for First Aide to help save his own life. Wooley was in trapped and injured in his hotel after the earthquake. The app on the iPhone helped him with patching his injuries, and then helped with fighting shock and tracking the passing time. He was rescued after 60 hours." Link to Original Source top
Tiger4 writes "Comcast, a major US cable TV provider, may soon be in a position to kill free access to Hulu, the online TV streaming service.
"The nation's leading cable company has made no secret of its disdain for Hulu's approach of giving away the shows that Comcast and other pay-TV distributors spend billions for — and rely on to retain subscribers. Comcast is in talks with NBC Universal about pooling their entertainment assets into a new company that would own 30% of Hulu in addition to the NBC network and cable channels such as Bravo, E! and Syfy. Comcast would control the new entity and possibly have the clout to push Hulu to begin charging for access to some of its most popular shows, including "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" or "Psych." "
However, regulatory concerns do exist
There is no guarantee that Comcast and NBC Universal will come together. The deal hinges on whether a French company, Vivendi, decides to unload its 20% stake in NBC Universal. Vivendi must decide in the next two months, and then federal regulators — already concerned about media consolidation — would have to sign off on the venture of Comcast and NBC Universal.
If the deal is completed, Comcast would own 51% and GE would have 49%. This would give the Philadelphia-based cable operator a stake in Hulu, which has experienced explosive growth during the last year. The service's online audience swelled to 38.5 million viewers in August, up from 10.2 million a year earlier, according to ComScore Video Metrix, which tracks online audiences.
Tiger4 writes "Netflix wanted a 10% improvement in recommendation accuracy, and two teams appear to have hit the mark
"And not much separates the two top teams. Teams Bellkor (AT&T Research), Big Chaos and Pragmatic Theory combined to form Bellkor's Pragmatic Chaos, the first team to qualify for the prize on June 26 with a 10.05 percent improvement over Netflix's existing algorithm.
This triggered a 30-day window in which other teams were allowed to try to catch up — and indeed, a team called The Ensemble, made up of lower-ranked contestants, submitted a higher score of 10.10 percent as time ran out — a hair better than Bellkor's Pragmatic Chaos' final score of 10.09 percent."
Netflix is offering a $1 million prize. And apparently the developers, winning and losing, are not tied to licensing the tech only to Netflix." top
Tiger4 writes "A short blurb from the TED conference in Oxford, England about transmitting serious amounts of power wirelessly, in the home.
"The company showed how a transmitting unit, which could be placed in a wall, could power a television set several feet away. The chief executive of the company, Eric Giler, also showed how the system could wirelessly charge a G1 cellphone equipped with an antenna unit so small it could fit inside the phone case."
Tiger4 writes "A group of black Philadelphia police officers have filed a lawsuit against the police department and the city, alleging a hostile work environment due to a private website popular with police. It has received wide coverage.
From the CNN.com story,
" The suit alleges white officers post on and moderate the privately operated site, Domelights.com, both on and off the job.
Domelights' users "often joke about the racially offensive commentary on the site... or will mention them in front of black police officers," thus creating "a racially hostile work environment," according to lawyers for the all-black Guardian Civic League, the lead plaintiff in the suit."
The site appears to be owned and operated by a member of the police force. But it is not city funded or operated. Management clearly knows it exists, it is possible police force members access it on the job, and the suite says members reference it on the job. Individual police force members have a right to their own opinions, but management has a responsibility to enforce the law fairly and equitably across the city and among their own workforce. What is the solution here?"
"You never know when you are being watched or followed. It would be stupid to commit a crime. You see it with such detail," said Mayor R. Rex Parris, who took a ride last week in a camera-equipped airplane with pilot Dick Rutan.
"I have every hope that Lancaster will be the first city to deploy it. I've never been so excited about anything."
Dick Rutan is same pilot that flew around the world non-stop in the Voyager, custom built by his brother Burt Rutan at Scaled Composites in Mojave."
Tiger4 writes "the Los Angeles Times reports, "Google, the company that always seems to be hiring, has finally started firing. And it's starting with the people responsible for the hiring.
The search giant said today that it planned to let go about 100 recruiters. The cuts were first reported by Valleywag and quickly confirmed on the Official Google Blog by Laszlo Bock, the company's vice president of people operations."
More positions in the engineering division will be released as well. The article states Google is a 25,000 person operation, so these aren't a relatively large number. But still, Google has the rep of being invincible, so a downturn that touches them is definitely significant." top
Tiger4 writes "CNN.com reports a simple test to determine the presence of genes linked to Prostate Cancer. These five genes, if present, can increase the risk of prostate cancer up to nine times. "More than 25,000 American men will die from prostate cancer this year. But prostate cancer can be treated successfully if the disease is caught early. A blood test that can detect whether a man is at high risk for developing prostate cancer is on the horizon. The study was published in the February 28, 2008, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine." It turns out the company actually wants to test saliva, making the test significantly easier and more convenient.
Compare this to the tests available for BRCA, the so called Breast Cancer genes. Finding you have the gene can be devastating, but knowing well in advance of developing cancer allows many more options to be considered." top
Tiger4 writes "I know it will invite the inevitable flamebait, but I will ask anyway: Which is faster, Windows or Linux? Serious question. At the application and processing level, and at the humans-performing-a-task level, are there any good apples to Apples comparisons of throughput or time to completion of a task. Desktop, server room, network infrastructure, shop floor, custom specialty, whatever. This would be especially nice if people could point to equivalent software running in both environments to take that variable out of the equation." top
Tiger4 writes "CNN, Reuters, and the AP all report that Verizon has confirmed some of its employees have accessed and perhaps shared calling records of President Elect Barack Obama. Verizon says the people involved have all been put on leave with pay as the investigation proceeds. Some of the employees may have accessed the information for legitimate purposes, but others may have been curiosity seekers and may have even shared the information around. The account was "only" a phone, not a Blackberry or similar device, and Verizon believes it was just calling records, not voicemail or email that was compromised.
The articles do not dip into the similarity to the warrantless wiretapping or hospital records compromise situations of recent months. But thaty immeditately sprang to mind for me." top
Tiger4 writes "According to numerous sources, CNN reports that the DDOS attacks preceding the Russian Georgian war are just the beginning.
"Nobody's come up with a way to prevent this from happening, even here in the U.S.," said Tom Burling, acting chief executive of Tulip Systems, an Atlanta, Georgia, Web-hosting firm that volunteered its Internet servers to protect the nation of Georgia's Web sites from malicious traffic.
Major utilities, such as the Tennessee Valley Authority, may be wide open.
"This is such a crucial issue. At every level, our security now is dependent on computers," said Scott Borg, director of the United States Cyber Consequences Unit, a nonprofit research institute. "It's a whole new era. Political and military conflicts now will almost always have a cyber component. The chief targets will be critical infrastructure, and the attacks will emerge from within our own computer systems."
Botnets are of course being blamed in this one case. But we can assume a well resourced opponent would not just hire out such a potentially devastating pre-emptive attack." Link to Original Source
Tiger4 writes "Toshiba has Surrendered in the Format War. Sony and others will now be cranking out discs in Blu-Ray format. Players will doubtless fall in price now, for those who don't already have Playstation 3. HD TVs have been out for a while. So we will soon have all the elements of an industry standard, DRM reinforced, consumer cash cow system in place. What about the rest of us? Those who want High Def video, played by machines we control, on machines we control? What are the hardware and software solutions available for minimal DRM, Do-It-Yourself storage, distribution, players, and displays? Open and Free would be nice too, but I don't want to start another war;-)"