Operating Systems

The webOS Features Other OSes Should Steal 142

New submitter egparedes points out a post dissecting webOS and highlighting the things it did right, in the hopes that developers for other mobile operating systems will use them as inspiration. Quoting: "webOS isn't quite dead yet. It's just being open-sourced, which, when it happens to commercial software, often turns out to be the digital equivalent of being reanimated as a walking corpse in a George Romero movie. ... Of course, it's not assured that this is the end of webOS. Maybe open-sourcing it will be the best thing that ever happened to webOS. But maybe it just means that HP doesn't care anymore, and that webOS won't receive much attention anymore. This would be unfortunate, because webOS is one of the few current mobile operating systems that are actually a joy to use. It's been hurt by HP's incompetent management, rather than any egregious faults of its own. The least we can do now is to keep its best ideas alive, even if webOS itself won't make it."
The Almighty Buck

Unconstitutional Video Game Law Costs California $2 Million 180

An anonymous reader writes "In hopes of protecting the children of California from the ravages of violent video games, then governor Arnold Schwarzenegger attempted to push through a law that would fine retailers $1000 for each infraction of selling a violent game to an underage child. However, in the wake of appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, which struck down the law, California is now forced to pay the legal fees of all parties to the tune of two million dollars."
Security

DHS Budget Includes No New Airport Body Scanners 70

OverTheGeicoE writes "The Electronic Privacy Information Center has been examining the White House's proposed budget for Department of Homeland Security for 2013, and they point out that it doesn't include any money for additional airport body scanners for TSA. Did the recent scandal involving TSA workers targeting women for scans make the White House realize that TSA is a national embarrassment? Does the executive branch finally understand the questionable safety and effectiveness of these devices? Or does DHS just think it has enough scanners once TSA installs the 250 new scanners in this year's budget?"
Government

Damaged US Passport Chip Strands Travelers 624

caseih writes "Damaging the embedded chip in your passport is now grounds for denying you the ability to travel in at least one airport in the U.S. Though the airport can slide the passport through the little number reader as easily as they can wave it in front of an RFID reader, they chose to deny a young child access to the flight, in essence denying the whole family. The child had accidentally sat on his passport, creasing the cover, and the passport appeared worn. The claim has been made that breaking the chip in the passport shows that you disrespect the privilege of owning a passport, and that the airport was justified in denying this child from using the passport."
News

Heartland Institute Document Leaker Comes Forward, Maintains Documents Are Real 442

The Bad Astronomer writes "Last week, an anonymous source leaked several internal documents from the Heartland Institute, a non-profit think tank known for anti-global-warming rhetoric. The leaker has come forward: Peter Gleick, scientist and journalist. In his admission, he cites his own breach of ethics, but also maintains that all the documents are real. This includes the potentially embarrassing '2012 Climate Strategy' document stating that Heartland wants to 'dissuade teachers from teaching science.' Heartland still claims this document is a forgery, but there is no solid evidence either way."
Open Source

Canonical Puts Ubuntu On Android Smartphones 155

nk497 writes "Canonical has revealed Ubuntu running on a smartphone — but the open source developer hasn't squashed the full desktop onto a tiny screen. Instead, the Ubuntu for Android system runs both OSes side by side, picking which to surface depending on the form factor. When a device — in the demo, it was a Motorola Atrix — is being used as a smartphone, it uses Android. When it's docked into a laptop or desktop setup, the full version of Ubuntu is used. Files, apps and other functionality such as voice calls and texting are shared between the two — for example, if a text message is sent to the phone when it's docked, the SMS pops up in Ubuntu, while calls can be received or made from the desktop." ZDnet has pictures; ExtremeTech has a story, too, including some words from Canonical CEO Jane Silber.
Education

Tech Billionaire-Backed Charter School Under Fire In Chicago 326

theodp writes "'As a nonprofit venture philanthropy firm,' boasts the billionaire-backed NewSchools Venture Fund, 'we raise philanthropic capital from both individual and institutional investors, and then use those funds to support education entrepreneurs who are transforming public education.' One recipient of the NewSchools' largesse is The Noble Network of Charter Schools, which received a $5,300,000 NewSchools 'investment', as well as a $1,425,000 grant from NewSchools donor Bill Gates. One way that Noble Street College Prep has been transforming education, reports the Chicago Tribune, is by making students pay the price — literally — for breaking the smallest of rules (sample infractions). Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel defended Noble after a FOIA filing revealed the charter collected almost $190,000 in discipline 'fees' — not 'fines' — last year from its mostly low-income students, saying the ironically exempt-from-most-district-rules charter school gets 'incredible' results and parents don't have to send their children there. Beyond the Noble case, some are asking a bigger question: Should billionaires rule our schools?"
Open Source

Hackers In Space: Designing A Ground Station 95

An anonymous reader writes with some new information on the happenings of the Hacker Space Program. From the article: "At the Chaos Communication Camp 2011 Jens Ohlig, Lars Weiler, and Nick Farr proposed a daunting task: to land a hacker on the Moon by 2034. The plan calls for three separate phases: Establishing an open, free, and globally accessible satellite communication network, put a human into orbit, and land on the Moon. Interestingly enough, there is already considerable work being done on the second phase of this plan by the Copenhagen Suborbitals, and Google's own Lunar X Prize is trying to spur development of robotic missions to the Moon. But what about the first phase? Answering the call is the 'Shackspace,' a hackerspace from Stuttgart, Germany, who've begun work on an ambitious project they're calling the 'Hackerspace Global Grid.'"
Crime

The Pirate Bay On Track To Be Banned In the UK? 309

redletterdave writes with this excerpt from the International Business Times about the fate of the Pirate Bay in the UK: "Swedish filesharing website The Pirate Bay may soon be blocked in the UK after a London judge ruled that the site breaches copyright laws on a large scale, and that both the platform and its users illegally share copyrighted material like movies and music. In addition to finding legal fault with The Pirate Bay and its users, the British Phonographic Industry also wants all British ISPs to block access to The Pirate Bay in the UK."
NASA

LIDAR Map Shows Height of Earth's Forests 47

Hkibtimes writes about a recently released map of the Earth's forests. From the article: "A group of scientists from NASA and the University of Maryland have created a unique map that shows the heights of the Earth's forests. The map ... has been created using 2.5 million carefully screened and globally distributed laser pulse measurements sent from space."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Eternal Copyright: a Modest Proposal 184

New submitter SpockLogic writes "The Telegraphs has a tongue in cheek essay in praise of eternal copyright by the founder of an online games company. Quoting: 'Imagine you're a new parent at 30 years old and you've just published a bestselling new novel. Under the current system, if you lived to 70 years old and your descendants all had children at the age of 30, the copyright in your book – and thus the proceeds – would provide for your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. But what, I ask, about your great-great-great-grandchildren? What do they get? How can our laws be so heartless as to deny them the benefit of your hard work in the name of some do-gooding concept as the "public good," simply because they were born a mere century and a half after the book was written? After all, when you wrote your book, it sprung from your mind fully-formed, without requiring any inspiration from other creative works – you owe nothing at all to the public. And what would the public do with your book, even if they had it? Most likely, they'd just make it worse.'"
Displays

Samsung Spins Off Its Display Business 60

redletterdave writes "Samsung Electronics announced Monday that it will spin off its LCD business division to launch a new entity, provisionally called Samsung Display Co., set to go live on April 1, 2012. The new business will launch with about $668 million in capital, but Samsung plans to invest about $5.8 billion in 2012 to develop better displays. The move, which now awaits shareholder approval, has been rumored for months since Samsung's LCD business announced operating losses of $666 million in 2011, citing sluggish TV sales. The company's spin-off display business may eventually merge with Samsung Mobile Display, which makes the company's organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels that are currently in high demand."
Government

UK Government To Demand Data On Every Call, Email, and Tweet 199

judgecorp writes "The UK government is proposing a law that would require phone and Internet companies to store information on all communications, and hand it to the security services when required. The Communications Capabilities Development Programme (CCDP) abandoned by the last government is back on the table, proposed as a means to increase security, and likely to be pushed through before the Olympics in London, according to reports."
Canada

Canada's Online Surveillance Bill: Section 34 "Opens Door To Big Brother" 178

Saint Aardvark writes "Canada's proposed online surveillance bill looked bad enough when it was introduced, but it gets worse: Section 34 allows access to any telco place or equipment, and to any information contained there — with no restrictions, no warrants, and no review. From the article: 'Note that such all-encompassing searches require no warrant, and don't even have to be in the context of a criminal investigation. Ostensibly, the purpose is to ensure that the ISP is complying with the requirements of the act — but nothing in the section restricts the inspector to examining or seizing only information bearing upon that issue. It's still "any" information whatsoever.'"
Open Source

Security Tool HijackThis Goes Open Source 101

wiredmikey writes "The popular free security tool HijackThis has been open sourced by its owner, Trend Micro. The tool scans systems to find settings that may have been modified by spyware, malware or other programs that have wiggled their way onto a system and caused problems. Downloaded over 10 million times, HijackThis generates reports to help users analyze and fix an infected or problem computer. But the tool is not designed for novices – and doesn't actually determine what's good or bad. That's up to you, but it is a good way to keep an eye on things and possibly locate anomalies that may have been missed by other security products. Trend Micro warns that if you don't know what you're doing, it's probably not a good idea to make any changes to your computer settings and system files. Trend Micro acquired the tool from creator Merijn Bellekom in 2007, and has offered it for free ever since, but now is making the code available to the public. The code, originally written in Visual Basic, is now officially available at Sourceforge here."

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