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Unequivocal (155957) writes "I've been following the bitcoin saga from a distance for some time. I'm technical and I think I understand how it works, but I'm definitely no expert on the subject. I've got a couple of questions for Slashdot. I've noticed that baked into the system is a fundamental limit on the total number of bitcoins. I haven't seen any articles addressing the two main questions that arise for me relating to this fundamental limit on total circulating bitcoins:
Question 1: Fiat currency like US dollars don't limit the amount in circulation so as to manage inflation of the currency. Currencies in the past that don't do this are usually subject to runaway inflation or deflation at some point. Why won't bitcoin be subject to this economic condition? I understand that bitcoins are infinitely divisible so perhaps that is the way bitcoin inflation/deflation is handled?
Question 2: I believe the bitcoin network processes it's transactions by incentivizing miners with new currency in exchange for processing the transactions (I think that's how it works). What happens when there are no more bitcoins for miners to mine? How will all the transactions be processed? What are the incentives to support the transaction network without new bitcoins as incentives?
I definitely appreciate any insights into the economic mechanics of the network along these lines!" Link to Original Source
Unequivocal (155957) writes ""Hiybbprqag. It sounds like a rare cuisine or a complex chemical. But according to Google, Hiybbprqag is the nonsense word that proves that the team behind the Microsoft Bing search engine is cheating. In a statement released this week, Google's Amit Singhal alleged that Google engineers had long been suspicious that Microsoft was copying queries from Google results pages – including 'rare or unusual queries and misspelled queries.'"" Link to Original Source top
Unequivocal (155957) writes "Spammers hiding behind a WHOIS privacy service have been found in violation of CAN-SPAM. It probably won't stop other spammers from hiding (what can?) but at least it adds another arrow in the legal quiver for skewering the bottom feeders:
'A recent decision by the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has determined that using WHOIS privacy on domains may be considered "material falsification" under federal law... Although the ruling does not make use of WHOIS privacy illegal, it does serve as a clear message from the court that coupling the use of privacy services with intentional spamming will likely result in a violation of the CAN-SPAM act. This is an important decision that members of the domain community should refer to prior to utilizing a privacy shield.'" Link to Original Source top
Many engineers have toyed with the [space cannon] concept, but nobody has came up with an actual project that may work. Hunter's idea is simple: Build a cannon near the equator, submerged in the ocean, hooked to a floating rig...A system like this will cut launch costs from $5,000 per pound to only $250 per pound. It won't launch people into space because of the excessive acceleration, but those guys at the ISS can use it to order pizza and real ice cream.
Unequivocal writes "FCC's Chairman Genachowski told Congress today that the "Federal Communications Commission plans to keep the Internet free of increased user fees based on heavy Web traffic and slow downloads. Julius Genachowski, the FCC chairman, told The Hill that his agency will support "net neutrality" and go after anyone who violates its tenets. "One thing I would say so that there is no confusion out there is that this FCC will support net neutrality and will enforce any violation of net neutrality principles," Genachowski said when asked what he could do in his position to keep the Internet fair, free and open to all Americans. The statement by Genachowski comes as the commission remains locked in litigation with Comcast. The cable provider is appealing a court decision by challenging the FCC's authority to penalize the company for limiting Web traffic to its consumers."
It looks like the good guys win, unless the appeals court rules against the FCC.." top
Unequivocal writes "Recently California's Governor announced a free digital textbook competition. The results of that competition were announced today. Many traditional publishers submitted textbooks in this digital textbook competition in CA as well as open publishers. An upstart nonprofit organization named CK-12 contributed a number of textbook (all free and open source material).
"Of the 16 free digital textbooks for high school math and science reviewed, ten meet at least 90 percent of California's standards. Four meet 100 percent of standards." Three of those recognized as 100% aligned to California standards were from CK-12 and one from H. Jerome Keisler. None of the publisher's submissions were so recognized. CK-12 has a very small staff, so this is a great proof of the power of open textbooks and open educational resources." Link to Original Source top
What's emerged from the White House isn't a final product. Instead, it's a process. Over the course of the next month, the White House website — under the direction of OMB, GSA, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy — will house an on-going discussion aimed at the creation of an open government directive with buy-in from inside and outside government. Stage one, titled "Brainstorming," launches today, and is meant to establish the framework for the whole public discussion to follow... Ideas from the public will be solicited and sifted using IdeaScale, a third-party platform that enable anyone to post an idea, add comments, and vote them up or down. That process will run through May 28. The National Academy of Public Administration, which guided the discussion process on Recovery.gov, will handle the management of this effort.
From the White House site:
The Administration is committed to developing those recommendations in an open fashion. Consistent with the President’s mandate, we want to be fully transparent in our work, participatory in soliciting your ideas and expertise, and collaborative in how we experiment together to use new tools and techniques for developing open government policy.
Does this solicitation for involvement mark a real change in the way the US Federal government relates to the citizens?"
If you spend time hanging out in Twitter land, then you no doubt know that Data.gov has entered the world. We hear both programmers and site are resting comfortably. Seriously, we'll have more information on the site, insight from CIO Vivek Kundra, and bigger news about the White House's effort to become more participatory, collaborative, and transparent at 1pm ET today. Stay tuned. For now, check out Data.gov's 47 data feeds in multiple formats — XML, CSV, and the geo-spatial standards KML/KMZ and ESRI — and its built-in tool for extracting raw data.
Is the government finally "getting with it?" Will we finally start seeing real government mash-ups like those we've seen in the private sector using Google, Yahoo and other web services for the last 5 years?"
Unequivocal writes "FCW has scooped the news that Aneesh Chopra has been confirmed as the first Federal CTO during an executive session on May 20. Reading from prepared remarks Chopra is quoted by WSJ blogs as saying:
We will apply the most innovative technologies to our most important challenges — bending the health care cost curve, optimizing the energy grid to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, delivering an educational system focused on student excellence with special emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, protecting our nation's critical infrastructure, and building the high-wage, high-growth jobs in all corners of our country
Some information on what the CTO didn't say during his confirmation hearing can found at Read Write Web. Summary: He didn't speak about his plans for openness in government because no one asked him about it."
Unequivocal writes "The Laboratorium has noticed that Change.gov is licensing its content under the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution license. "Talk about doing the right thing. Now the collaborative power of Change.gov isn't limited by what the transition team itself is able to enable. Anyone can take the policy points and discussions from the site and create their own remix or branch of it. This is a very good sign of the transition team's attitude towards their task. It's also a good license choice. Attribution 3.0 is the Barack Obama of CC licenses: modern, dignified, generous, and tolerant."" Link to Original Source top
"There have been a series of new [patent] applications... some of which are pretty broad and outrageous. For example, check out this one from Yahoo! claiming to have patented "smart" drag-and-drop technology. Here's claim one:
A computer-implemented method for manipulating objects in a user interface, comprising:
providing the user interface including a first interface object operable to be selected and moved within the user interface; and
in response to selection and movement of the first interface object in the user interface, presenting at least one additional interface object in the user interface in proximity of the first interface object, each additional interface object representing a drop target with which the first interface object may be associated."
How do these patent claims differ from normal drag and drop? In pretty trivial ways if at all. From the EFF article "You drag, you drop, you infringe!" But it may be hard for a patent examiner to understand that trivial changes in drag and drop user interface are not in fact novel enough to warrant a patent. If Yahoo gets this patent, they'll have a mighty big stick to shake at competitors. Which is of course the whole purpose of the current, broken patent system." top
Unequivocal writes "They're at it again. Yahoo has recently submitted an application to the USPTO describing "enhanced drag and drop" functionality. Patents are supposed to be non-obvious, useful and novel. You think this doesn't qualify? You may be in for a surprise. Andy Oram notes that "this application seems to be a tough one to crack, despite its simplicity. Only two comments are posted, and no actual instances of prior art (although one comment tentatively suggests on instance). If no prior art is found in 35 days, the comment period closes on Peer to Patent and little stands in the way of granting the patent." Law Profs Jason Schultz and James Grimmelman discuss this issue in greater detail.
Bottom line: Unless the public submits some useful prior art soon, the patent examiner who gets this application will likely approve it. So show some holiday spirit and dig into your TurboPascal source files from 1987 and find some clever drag and drop tools that show this idea has been around for a long, long time." top
Unequivocal writes "The Inquirer is reporting that "Ed Colligan said on his blog that the firm won't be releasing its Foleo 'mobile companion' device, to focus on a 'single software platform' — Linux — for the company's upcoming phones.
The Foleo was 'close to shipping' according to Colligan, and that means that a lot of wonga went down a hole: 'This decision will require us to take a limited charge of less than $10 million dollars to our earnings. This is a lot of money, but it is a small price relative to the costs that would be required to support two platforms going forward.'"
Is this a mark of Linux finally being accepted by corporate IT/development for high profile end-user projects? Would this mean the days of standards-creep and OS lockout are finally waning?" Link to Original Source top
'Microsoft and Apple are thinking along the same lines when it comes to enabling users to copy music between their wireless devices.
Certain cellphones already allow you to [transfer music] via Bluetooth file transfer, but Microsoft's patented idea would take the concept further, by allowing users to trade MP3s that may have come from file sharing networks to one another, expiring the song on the recipient's device after three plays, unless the user pays Microsoft a fee in order to continue to listen to the track, with a percentage going to the person who provided the song. As the abstract puts it, "even [the] resale of pirated media content [can] benefit... the copyright holder."'