New submitter dgharmon writes "The month of February is a month to remember for the LibreOffice project. They formally incorporated the foundation in Berlin, released 3.5 with major changes and now Intel is joining the foundation as a member. Intel will also make available the LibreOffice for Windows from SUSE in Intel AppUp center. Intel AppUp Center is an online repository designed for Intel processor-based devices."
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New submitter eeplox writes "I make nature videos for my YouTube channel, generally in remote wilderness away from any possible source of music. And I purposely avoid using a soundtrack in my videos because of all the horror stories I hear about Rumblefish filing claims against public domain music. But when uploading my latest video, YouTube informed me that I was using Rumblefish's copyrighted content, and so ads would be placed on my video, with the proceeds going to said company. This baffled me. I disputed their claim with YouTube's system — and Rumblefish refuted my dispute, and asserted that: 'All content owners have reviewed your video and confirmed their claims to some or all of its content: Entity: rumblefish; Content Type: Musical Composition.' So I asked some questions, and it appears that the birds singing in the background of my video are Rumblefish's exclusive intellectual property."
pigrabbitbear writes "The collapse of the Mayan empire has already caused plenty of consternation for scientists and average Joes alike, and we haven't even made it a quarter of the way through 2012 yet. But here's something to add a little more fuel to the fire: A new study suggests that climate change killed off the Mayans."
New submitter spadadot writes "I am setting up a new event in France (Open du Web), where between 15 and 30 laptops running Ubuntu Linux will be available. They came with Windows preinstalled and it must stay for other purposes. I'd like to take care of only one of them (resize the hard drive, install Ubuntu, add additional software and apply custom settings) and effortlessly replicate everything to the others including hard drive resizing (unattended installation). After replicating, what should I do if I need to install new software or change some settings without manually repeating the same task on each one of them? Should I look into FAI, iPXE, Clonezilla, OCS Inventory NG? Other configuration management software? I would also like to reset the laptops to the original environment after the event."
suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from the Wall Street Journal: "The Supreme Court's recent ruling overturning the warrantless use of GPS tracking devices has caused a 'sea change' inside the U.S. Justice Department, according to FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann. Mr. Weissmann, speaking at a University of San Francisco conference called 'Big Brother in the 21st Century' on Friday, said that the court ruling prompted the FBI to turn off about 3,000 GPS tracking devices that were in use. These devices were often stuck underneath cars to track the movements of the car owners. In U.S. v. Jones, the Supreme Court ruled that using a device to track a car owner without a search warrant violated the law. After the ruling, the FBI had a problem collecting the devices that it had turned off, Mr. Weissmann said. In some cases, he said, the FBI sought court orders to obtain permission to turn the devices on briefly – only in order to locate and retrieve them."
Hugh Pickens writes "AP reports that last week during a question-and-answer session at the company's annual shareholders' meeting CEO Tim Cook said he believes Apple has more money than it needs and his next challenge is to figure out whether Apple should break from the cash-hoarding ways of his predecessor, the late Steve Jobs, and dip into its $98 billion bank account to pay shareholders a dividend this year. 'Frankly speaking, it's more than we need to run the company.' The question of how to handle Apple's cash stockpile is a touchy one, partly because company co-founder Jobs had steadfastly brushed aside suggestions that the company restore its quarterly dividend which Jobs suspended in 1995 when it was in such deep trouble that it needed to hold on to every cent to keep from going bankrupt. Marketwatch analyst Mark Hulbert writes that a compelling case can be made that a huge cash hoard actually represents grave danger for Apple. That's because too much cash often burns a hole in managers' pockets, and they end up doing a poor job of investing that cash—engaging instead in foolish pursuits like empire building. Hulbert adds that a good strategy for ensuring that Apple remains a hungry, growth-oriented entrepreneurial company might be for it to distribute much of its cash to shareholders."
First time accepted submitter Trapezium Artist writes "Four friends apprehended exploring the disused Aldwych station in London's Underground are faced with an 'anti-social behaviour order' (ASBO) which would forbid them from talking to each other for a full 10 years. The so-called 'Aldwych four,' experienced urban explorers, were discovered in the tunnels under the UK's capital city a few days before last year's royal wedding and the greatly increased security measures in place led to their being interviewed by senior members of the British Transport Police. Nevertheless, once their benign intentions had been established, they were let off with a caution. However, following an accident caused by another, unrelated group of urban explorers in the tunnels a few months later, Transport for London applied to have ASBOs issued to the Aldwych four. These would forbid them from any further expeditions, from blogging or otherwise publicly discussing any exploits, and even from talking with each other for the 10 year duration of the order. One could argue about the ethics of urban exploration, but this nevertheless seems like an astonishingly heavy-handed over-reaction by TfL."
wiredmikey writes with this extract from Security Week: "On Friday, researchers from security firm Intego reported that a new variant of Flashback is targeting passwords and as a byproduct of infection, Flashback is crashing several notable applications. Flashback was first discovered by Intego in September of 2011. It targets Java vulnerabilities on OS X, two of them to be exact, in order to infect the system. Should Flashback find that Java is fully updated, it will attempt to social engineer the malware's installation, by presenting an applet with a self-signed certificate. The certificate claims to be signed by Apple, but is clearly marked as invalid. However, users are known to skip such warnings, thus allowing the malware to be installed. ... The newest variant will render programs such as Safari and Skype unstable, causing them to crash. Interestingly enough, normally these are stable programs, so if they start suddenly crashing might be a sign of larger issues."
An anonymous reader writes "Communications of the ACM is carrying two articles promoting the Capsicum security model developed by Robert Watson (FreeBSD — Cambridge) and Ben Laurie (Apache/OpenSSL, ChromeOS — Google) for thin-client operating systems such as ChromeOS. They demonstrate how Chrome web browser sandboxing using Capsicum is not only stronger, but also requires only 100 lines of code, vs 22,000 lines of code on Windows! FreeBSD 9.0 shipped with experimental Capsicum support, OpenBSD has patches, and Google has developed a Linux prototype." While the ACM's stories are both paywalled, the Capsicum project itself has quite a bit of information online in the form of various papers and a video, as well as links to (BSD-licensed) code and to various subprojects.
judgecorp writes "The Chinese company Proview is taking its trademark case against Apple's iPad to the Californian Courts. The company acknowledges it sold the IPAD name to Apple, but denies Apple has rights in China, and has accused Apple of underhand tactics." Says the article: "Any kind of ban in China would obviously be a major headache for Apple, since that is where most of the iPads are manufactured. If Proview is successful, it would effectively stop worldwide distribution of the tablet, and delay the launch of the iPad 3."
choongiri writes "Elections Canada has just traced thousands of illegal phone calls made during the 2011 federal election to a company that worked for the Conservative Party across the country. The automated VOIP 'robocalls' appeared to be designed to stop non-Conservative voters from casting ballots in key ridings by falsely telling voters that the location of their polling stations had changed, causing them to go to the wrong location on election day. This news casts serious doubt on the legitimacy of Canada's Government. The Conservatives narrowly won their 'majority' by 6,201 votes in 14 ridings, with only 39% of the popular vote." For those as unfamiliar with the term "riding" in this context as I was, here's Wikipedia's explanation.
waderoush writes "You can forget all the talk about 'smart' and 'connected' TVs: nobody, not even Apple, has come up with an interface that's easy to use from 10 feet away. And you can drastically curtail your hopes that Roku, Boxee, Netflix, and other providers of free or cheap 'over the top' Internet TV service will take over the world: the cable and satellite companies and the content owners have mounted savvy and effective counterstrikes. But there's another technology that really will disrupt the TV industry: tablet computing. The iPad, in particular, is the first 'second screen' device that's good enough to be the first screen. This Xconomy column argues that in the near future, the big-screen TV will turn into a dumb terminal, and your tablet — with its easy-to-use touch interface and its 'appified' approach to organizing content — will literally be running the show in your living room." Using a tablet as a giant remote seems like a good idea, and a natural extension of iPhone and Android apps that already provide media-center control. Maybe I'm too easily satisfied, but the 10-foot interface doesn't seem as hopeless as presented here; TiVo, Apple, and others been doing a pretty good job of that for the past decade.
First time accepted submitter dylan_k writes "In the 1990s and early 2000s, there was a lot of buzz about ideas like 'hypertext literature' and 'electronic literature.' Nowadays, it's easier to create those things than ever before, and there are plenty of digital texts but it just doesn't seem like authors are writing any new 'hypertext' literature these days. Why?"
An anonymous reader writes "Foxconn is insisting that it has done no wrong. But it has hired Burson-Marsteller to deal with the press failout from recent child labour allegations. Burson-Masteller is a PR heavy hitter called in when outfits have big image problems. It handled Tylenol poisonings, and, according to Corporate Watch, the Bhopal disaster, and Three Mile Island. It represented the private military group Blackwater after Baghdad allegations. Its clients have included the Argentinian military junta led by General Jorge Videla and Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu and Saudi Arabia after it was pointed out that most of the September 11 attackers were from that country."
First time accepted submitter LilaG writes "Gasoline-burning engines put out twice as much black carbon as was previously measured, according to new field methods tested in Toronto. The tiny particles known as black carbon pack a heavy punch when it comes to climate change, by trapping heat in the atmosphere and by alighting atop, and melting, Arctic ice. With an eye toward controlling these emissions, researchers have tracked black carbon production from fossil fuel combustion in gasoline-burning cars and diesel-burning trucks. Until this study was published [abstract of paywalled article], gas-burning vehicles had been thought to be relatively minor players."
ananyo writes "Cultural Observatory at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts is to index the whole of the ArXiv pre-print database of papers from the physical sciences, breaking down the full text of the articles into component phrases to see how often a particular word or phrase appears relative to others — a measure of how 'meme-like' a term is. The team has already applied a similar approach to 5 million books in the Google Books database to produce their n-gram viewer. But the Google Books database carries with it a major limitation: because many of the works are under copyright, users cannot be pointed to the actual source material. Applying the tool to ArXiv means it could be used to chart trends in high-energy physics, for example: a quickening pulse of papers citing the Higgs boson, for example, or a peak in papers about supersymmetry, a theory which may soon be waning."
nonprofiteer writes "A profile of Facebook's CSO reveals that his 70-person security team includes 25 people dedicated solely to handling information requests from law enforcement. They get thousands of calls and e-mails from authorities each week, though Facebook requires police to get a warrant for anything beyond a subscriber's name, email and IP address. CSO Joe Sullivan says that some government agency tried to push Facebook to start collecting more information about their users for the benefit of authorities: 'Recently a government agency wanted us to start logging information we don't log. We told them we wouldn't start logging that piece of data because we don't need it to provide a good product. We talked to our general counsel. The law is not black-and-white. That agency thinks they can compel us to. We told them to go to court. They haven't done that yet.'"
ESRB writes "North Korea is apparently able to produce high-quality counterfeits of U.S. dollars — specifically $100 and $50 bills. It's suspected that they possess similar printing technologies as the U.S. and buy ink from the same Swedish firm. 'Since the superdollars were first detected about a decade ago, the regime has been pocketing an estimated $15 to $25 million a year from them. (Other estimates are much higher — up to several hundred million dollars' worth.)' The article also advocates a move to all-digital payment/transfers by pointing out both forms are only representations of value and noting it would cripple criminal operations such as drug cartels, human traffickers, and so forth."
An anonymous reader writes "Game journalist Stuart Campbell has written an incisive piece on how the digital distribution model users have grown to know and love over the past several years still has some major problems that go beyond even the DRM dilemma. He provides an example of an app developer using very shady update techniques to screw over people who have legitimately purchased their app. Touch Racing Nitro, a retro racing game, launched to moderate success. After tinkering with price points to get the game to show up on the top download charts, the developers finally made it free for a period of four months. 'Then the sting came along. About a week ago (at time of writing), the game received an "update," which came with just four words of description – "Now Touch Racing Free!" As the game was already free, users could have been forgiven for thinking this wasn't much of a change. But in fact, the app thousands of them had paid up to £5 for had effectively just been stolen. Two of the game's three racing modes were now locked away behind IAP paywalls, and the entire game was disfigured with ruinous in-game advertising, which required yet another payment to remove.'"
langelgjm writes "Bringing a lengthy legal battle to a close, New York City's Department of Education will today release detailed evaluation reports on individual English and math teachers as a result of a request under public information laws. The city's teachers union has responded with full page ads (PDF) decrying the methodology used in the evaluations. The court's decision attempts to balance the public interest in this data against the rights of individual teachers. Across the country, a large number of states are moving to evaluate teachers based on student performance in an attempt to raise student achievement in the U.S."