concealment (2447304) writes "Sparkler Filters up north in Conroe still uses an IBM 402 in conjunction with a Model 129 key punch – with the punch cards and all – to do company accounting work and inventory.
The company makes industrial filters for chemical plants and grease traps.
Lutricia Wood is the head accountant at Sparkler and the data processing manager. She went to business school over 40 years ago in Houston, and started at Sparkler in 1973. Back then punch cards were still somewhat state of the art." Link to Original Source top
concealment (2447304) writes "Recently, Google announced their decision to shut down Google Reader. This latest step in opposition to an open Internet in favour of Google+ has led me to a decision of my own. It's time to expunge Google from my life, to the fullest extent practical.
It's not because Google chose to shut down a free service they were offering, or because of privacy concerns. It's because I think that Google is now working against the potential of the open Internet, and because I think that one gets a better product when one is the customer as well as the user." Link to Original Source top
concealment (2447304) writes "The technology, on display at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center, or PARC, is part of a new system for making electronics, one that takes advantage of a Xerox invention from the 1970s: the laser printer.
If perfected, it could lead to desktop manufacturing plants that “print” the circuitry for a wide array of electronic devices — flexible smartphones that won’t break when you sit on them; a supple, pressure-sensitive skin for a new breed of robot hands; smart-sensing medical bandages that could capture health data and then be thrown away." Link to Original Source top
Secrets of FBI Smartphone Surveillance Tool Revealed in Court Fight
concealment (2447304) writes "The actions described by Rigmaiden are much more intrusive than previously known information about how the government uses stingrays, which are generally employed for tracking cell phones and are widely used in drug and other criminal investigations.
The government has long asserted that it doesn’t need to obtain a probable-cause warrant to use the devices because they don’t collect the content of phone calls and text messages and operate like pen-registers and trap-and-traces, collecting the equivalent of header information.
The government has conceded, however, that it needed a warrant in his case alone — because the stingray reached into his apartment remotely to locate the air card — and that the activities performed by Verizon and the FBI to locate Rigmaiden were all authorized by a court order signed by a magistrate." Link to Original Source top
U.S. plans to let spy agencies scour Americans' finances
concealment writes "The Obama administration is drawing up plans to give all U.S. spy agencies full access to a massive database that contains financial data on American citizens and others who bank in the country, according to a Treasury Department document seen by Reuters.
The proposed plan represents a major step by U.S. intelligence agencies to spot and track down terrorist networks and crime syndicates by bringing together financial databanks, criminal records and military intelligence. The plan, which legal experts say is permissible under U.S. law, is nonetheless likely to trigger intense criticism from privacy advocates." Link to Original Source top
Cubans evade censorship by exchanging computer memory sticks
concealment writes "But Sanchez said underground blogs, digital portals and illicit e-magazines proliferate, passed around on removable computer drives known as memory sticks.. The small computer memories, also known as flash drives or thumb drives, are dropped into friendly hands on buses and along street corners, offering a surprising number of Cubans access to information.
“Information circulates hand to hand through this wonderful gadget known as the memory stick,” Sanchez said, “and it is difficult for the government to intercept them. I can’t imagine that they can put a police officer on every corner to see who has a flash drive and who doesn’t.”
concealment writes "After watching my mother-in-law happily troll Facebook and sling emails on her nearly ten-year-old Pentium 4 computer, however, an even more insidious possibility slipped into my head.
Did CPU performance reach a "good enough" level for mainstream users some years back? Are older computers still potent enough to complete an average Joe's everyday tasks, reducing the incentive to upgrade?
"It used to be you had to replace your PC every few years or you were way behind. If you didn't, you couldn't even run the latest software," says Linley Gwennap, the principal analyst at the Linley Group, a research firm that focuses on semiconductors and processors. "Now you can hold onto your PC five, six, seven years with no problem. Yeah, it might be a little slow, but not enough to really show up [in everyday use]."" Link to Original Source top
How 'Indie' Capitalism Will Replace Our Stagnant Economic System
concealment writes "We’re beginning to see evidence of what I call Indie Capitalism. My use of the word “indie” is deliberate. “Indie” reflects an economy that is independent of the prevailing orthodoxies of economic theory and big business. It shares many of the distributive and social structures of the independent music scene, which shuns big promoters and labels. And as happens with many bands, so many of today’s successful creative endeavors began as local phenomena before branching out to new locations and networks.
Indie Capitalism is bolstered by a single, simple fact: New companies (those less than five years old) have been responsible for all the net new jobs in the United States for the past three decades. We celebrate the entrepreneur (including those within corporations who behave like entrepreneurs) because we value the entrepreneur’s creativity. It is that creativity that we need to make central to our economy and to our economic thinking." Link to Original Source top
Amazon's Merchandising of Its Search Results Doesn't Violate Trademark Law
concealment writes "Many of us have had the experience of going to Amazon to buy one thing but checking out with a huge shopping cart of items that we didn’t initially seek—or even know were available. Amazon’s merchandising often benefits Amazon’s customers, but trademark owners who lose sales to their competition due to it aren’t as thrilled. Fortunately for Amazon, a California federal court recently upheld Amazon’s merchandising practices in its internal search results." Link to Original Source top
DRM Lawsuit Filed By Independent Bookstores Against Amazon, 'Big Six' Publishers
concealment writes "Three independent bookstores are taking Amazon and the so-called Big Six publishers (Random House, Penguin, Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan) to court in an attempt to level the playing field for book retailers. If successful, the lawsuit could completely change how ebooks are sold.
The class-action complaint, filed in New York on Feb 15., claims that by entering into confidential agreements with the Big Six publishers, who control approximately 60 percent of print book revenue in the U.S., Amazon has created a monopoly in the marketplace that is designed to control prices and destroy independent booksellers." Link to Original Source top
concealment writes "The bill, called the Internet Posting Removal Act, is sponsored by Illinois state Sen. Ira Silverstein. It states that a “web site administrator upon request shall remove any comments posted on his or her web site by an anonymous poster unless the anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post and confirms that his or her IP address, legal name, and home address are accurate.”
The bill, which does not ask for or clarify requirements from entities requesting the comment removal, would take effect 90 days after becoming law." Link to Original Source top
FBI Files Unlock History Behind Clandestine Cellphone Tracking Tool
concealment writes "Stingrays, as I’ve reported here before, are portable surveillance gadgets that can trick phones within a specific area into hopping onto a fake network. The feds call them “cell-site simulators” or “digital analyzers,” and they are sometimes also described as “IMSI catchers.” The FBI says it uses them to target criminals and help track the movements of suspects in real time, not to intercept communications. But because Stingrays by design collaterally gather data from innocent bystanders’ phones and can interrupt phone users’ service, critics say they may violate a federal communications law.
A fresh trove of FBI files on cell tracking, some marked “secret,” was published this week by the Electronic Privacy Information Center. They shed light on how, far from being a “new” tool used by the authorities to track down targets, Stingray-style technology has been in the hands of the feds since about 1995 (at least). During that time, local and state law enforcement agencies have also been able to borrow the spy equipment in “exceptional circumstances,” thanks to an order approved by former FBI Director Louis Freeh." Link to Original Source top
The world's first taste-able magazine add -- just tear off a piece and consume
concealment writes "The new campaign from Fanta boasts the world's first tastable print ad, meaning you can tear a piece of the advert off and place it in your mouth. Sure, you can strictly do that with any ad but this one tastes of oranges." Link to Original Source top
concealment writes "In contrast, two separate bipartisan groups in the U.S. Senate are working on broader immigration issues, including tech-specific reforms. One of their proposals would increase the H-1B visa cap to as high as 300,000 a year. Goodlatte said it was "instructive to note" that only about 12% of legal immigrants to the U.S. are picked on the basis of education and skills, while some other countries, including Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada, "select over 60% of their immigrants on this basis." The hearing was well attended by lawmakers." Link to Original Source top
As Music Streaming Grows, Royalties Slow to a Trickle
concealment writes "From 78 r.p.m. records to the age of iTunes, artists’ record royalties have been counted as a percentage of a sale price. On a 99-cent download, a typical artist may earn 7 to 10 cents after deductions for the retailer, the record company and the songwriter, music executives say. One industry joke calls the flow of these royalties a “river of nickels.”
In the new economics of streaming music, however, the river of nickels looks more like a torrent of micropennies." Link to Original Source top
Dangerous: European Courts Considering Requiring Search Engine Filters Over Emba
concealment writes "That did not stop Mosley, however, who first used the recent "Leveson Inquiry" (a response to the later story of News of the World hacking into phone lines) to push for new rules requiring search engines to delete the photos from ever being found online. And thus began phase two of Mosley's response to the article: he went on a campaign against search engines, believing that if he could somehow force search engines to ignore the photos from that original story, the world might forget about it. Even though, in the Leveson hearing, Mosley admits that he was warned that by taking this issue to trial in the first place, it would renew interest in the issue, including putting such private information into official public court documents:" Link to Original Source top
Canadian Game Developer Fired After Spoofing Call-Center Workplace
concealment writes "An independent game developer recently got fired from his day job at the Canadian Revenue Agency after releasing a satirical depiction of his apparently aggravating and unfulfilling call-center job.
Entitled "I get this call every day," David Gallant's point-and-click "adventure" game highlights the dubious satisfaction of dealing with thoughtless, abrasive people on the phone every day.
Gallant has not confirmed that the game is the reason for his dismissal due to legal concerns. However, the site also notes that he has realized a not-inconsiderable silver lining from the loss of his job: Sales of "I get this call every day" have skyrocketed." Link to Original Source top
The Often Overlooked but Invaluable Benefits of Mentorship
concealment (2447304) writes "The value of a mentor can be doubly undervalued by many people – especially younger professionals and junior executives. We learn a great deal about management principles and practices in school. Leadership, though more popularly discussed in school now, is still more often learned outside of school. The value of a mentor who can help cultivate leadership skills one-on-one in real-time, reduce the anxiety in taking big steps, and focus leaders on achieving their goals – is huge. Many times it’s the first few years out of school that can shape the career path of an MBA, and that is determined by whether they create or are given an opportunity to demonstrate their leadership skill." Link to Original Source top
Is The Line Between 'Hacker' And 'Criminal' Really That Fuzzy?
concealment (2447304) writes "don't think there's a "line" — fuzzy, shifting or not — between "hacker" and "criminal." The two things are different. Can you be a criminal hacker? Sure. But the problem is that many non-techie folks seem to assume that any kind of hacking must be criminal. And that's the problem. It's not that some imaginary line is moving around, but that some people don't seem to understand that hacking itself is not criminal, and that there are plenty of good reasons to hack — including to expose security holes." Link to Original Source top
Your Own Private Google: The Quest for an Open Source Search Engine
concealment writes "The company guards its search platform like the crown jewels. It’s not about to release a paper describing how it all works, so producing an open source clone is more difficult. But there are options, and the push toward open source versions of the Google search engine has gathered some steam in recent months, with the arrival of a new company called ElasticSearch.
These projects aren’t trying to compete with Google’s public search engine — the one you use every day. They’re trying to compete with Google’s search appliance and other products that help enterprises — i.e., big businesses — find stuff inside their own private networks." Link to Original Source
A friend in need asked me how I would set up and secure a network for a small private middle school/high school.
At first, I did the good geek thing and started closing every hole, making the "perfect" system to keep the kids from doing anything unauthorized.
Then I had a second thought. Half of us got started because we wanted to work around something and feel the mental reward of getting it to work anyway. This attempt-reward feedback is necessary in programming because it's what pulls us through the tedium of rote work.
Thus it seemed to me the only "perfect" system might be an "imperfect" one, that is, one that can be circumvented, but only by those who've made an effort above and beyond average knowledge and used some creativity.
So, Slashdot, I ask you: how would you design a "jungle gym" of a school network, such that most kids won't get off the path but those who make an effort can discover new worlds?
Despite having other demands on my time, I've begun spending a half-hour or so every day making submissions to Slashdot and trying to write quality comments.
I am doing this because I think Slashdot is an important part of the internet, which like other forms of media, for good or ill is a part of our "culture."
There is simply no other internet site like Slashdot. "Social networks" like Facebook, MySpace, Reddit, Digg and Fark don't really compare because they are not designed with a topic in mind. They are for people to blow off steam and waste time at work.
Slashdot on the other hand is a community. People come here out of a common interest, and learn from each other. This is one of the purest forms of culture I've experienced. Slashdot is the epicenter of people thinking about how to think about technology.
For that reason, it's not as popular as Facebook, but it's also much more interesting. Facebook is a good place for randomness. Slashdot is a good place for focused thinking.
It's not perfect. You can fill in the blanks here. I've been modded -1, Flamebait for a post I thought was insightful too. Nothing is perfect.
However, it is the right idea and the right direction. Slashdot is part of what made the early internet great, and now that the Dot-Com bust 2.0 is about to flop, it's time to bring back that spirit.
Support Slashdot. With your energy, time, money, whatever. It's worth it.