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SSN Required To Buy Palm Pre

UltraOne writes "Sprint requires your Social Security number in order to run a credit check before they will allow you to open an account, according to a store manager in Silver Spring, MD. Since Sprint is the exclusive carrier for the Palm Pre, if you are not willing to provide an SSN, you can't buy this product. I believe a full credit check for this level of consumer purchase is a clear example of overkill. I have supplied an SSN when buying a house and renting an apartment, but never for any other consumer purchase. I have purchased my cars with cash so far, so I don't have first-hand experience, but a car loan also seems to be an appropriate place to require an SSN for a credit check. At the very least, Sprint should have an alternative for people who don't want to give out their SSN. I also found the entire experience a powerful argument against exclusive license agreements." Read below for details of this reader's experience.

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Indian CEO Says Most US Tech Grads "Unemployable"

theodp writes "When questioned about his firm's US hiring, Information Week reports that Vineet Nayar, the CEO of the Indian outsourcing giant HCL Technologies, showed he can stereotype with the best of them, telling an audience in NYC that most American tech grads are 'unemployable'. Explaining that Americans are far less willing than students from developing economies like India, China, and Brazil to master the 'boring' details of tech process and methodology, the HCL chief added that most Americans are just too expensive to train. HCL, which was reportedly awarded a secretive $170 million outsourcing contract by Microsoft last April, gets a personal thumbs-up from Steve Ballmer for 'walking the extra mile.' Ballmer was busy last week pitching more H-1B visas as the cure for America's job ills at The National Summit."

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Where Does a Geek Find a Social Life?

JustShootMe writes "I have a question for my fellow Slashdotters, and yes, I realize I am entering the lion's den covered in tasty meat-flavored sauce. I have never been a very social person, preferring to throw myself into technology; therefore, I've been spectacularly unsuccessful in developing any meaningful interpersonal relationships. Lately I have begun to feel that this situation is not tenable, and I would like to fix it. But I really don't know how and haven't the faintest idea where to start. I know that I am in the minority and that there are many different kinds of Slashdot readers, most of whom have more experience in this realm than I do. So please tell me: how, and more importantly, where do you meet fellow geeks — preferably including some of the opposite gender — in meatspace?"

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How the Obama Copyright Policies Might Unfold

An anonymous reader points out a column by James Boyle, who knows a thing or two about copyright, analyzing the Obama Administration's policy choices about intellectual property and high tech. "Traditionally, Democratic administrations take their copyright policy direct from Hollywood and the recording industry. Unfortunately, so do Republican administrations. The capture of regulators by the industry they regulate is nothing new, of course, but in intellectual property there is the added benefit that incumbents can frequently squelch competing technologies and business methods before they ever come into existence. ... The Obama administration's warm embrace of Silicon Valley, and Silicon Valley's checkbook, had given some hope that this pattern would change — and I think it will. Now, instead of taking copyright policy direct from the media conglomerates (who, after all, have a very legitimate point of view — even if not the only point of view) it is quite likely that the administration will construct it as a contract between content companies and high-technology companies such as Google. In some places, citizens and consumers will probably benefit, simply because optimizing for the interests of two economic blocs rather than one is likely to give us a slightly more balanced, and less technology-phobic, set of rules. And perhaps the administration will go further. But recent actions make me doubt that this is the case."

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Does the Linux Desktop Innovate Too Much?

jammag writes "The Linux desktop has seen major innovation of late, with KDE 4 launching new features, GNOME announcing a new desktop, and Ubuntu embarking on a redesign campaign. But Linux pundit Bruce Byfield asks, do average users really want any of these things? He points to instances of user backlash, and concludes 'Free software is still driven by developers working on what interests or concerns them. The problem is, the days when users of free software were also its developers are long gone, but the habits of those days remain. The result is that developers function far too much in isolation from their user base.' Byfield suggests that the answer could be more user testing."

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Sortie de Songbird 1.2

Da Linux French Page - dim, 21/06/2009 - 23:34
Les développeurs de Songbird ont annoncé la disponibilité de la version 1.2 du lecteur multimédia éponyme, basé sur Mozilla.
Cette mise à jour apporte sont lot de corrections de bugs ainsi que des améliorations en terme de performance et de nouvelles fonctionnalités.

Songbird est disponible pour Windows XP, Vista, Mac OS X et bien entendu pour Linux, sous licence GPL v2 pour la plus grande partie du code.

L'une des nouveautés les plus attendues est la possibilité d'organiser automatiquement la bibliothèque multimédia à partir de plusieurs répertoires en se basant sur les méta données de ce fichier (comme le titre, l'artiste, l'album ou le genre).

Les performances de la fonction de recherche ont été revues à la hausse. Songbird 1.2 supporte à présent la synchronisation bidirectionnelle avec iTunes, ce qui sera particulièrement utile pour les utilisateurs du iTunes Music Store. Les morceaux sont ajoutés à Songbird et peuvent ensuite être chargé dans les baladeurs de la firme à la pomme.

Le support de a été amélioré de manière à ce que les utilisateurs puissent accéder à plus de pistes, plus d'artistes et d'albums.
Enfin un égaliseur 10 bandes fait son apparition : les audiophiles seront donc heureux de pouvoir adapter la réponse fréquentielle de leur lecteur multimédia à leur préférence.

NdM: Signalons que la licence de Songbird nourrit régulièrement les polémiques : en effet si le lecteur est effectivement libre, certaines extensions sont propriétaires.

lien 1 : Songbird
lien 2 : Annonce de Songbird 1.2
lien 3 : Release notes

<em>Google Suggest</em> Disabled In China Due To Porn

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "The Chinese government has asked Google to disable Google Suggest because it has been suggesting that people search for pornography based on its analysis of the most popular search terms in China. This comes on the heels of a fake CCTV interview being used to support the government requirement that all new computers ship with the 'Green Damn' Internet censoring program, which is still in force, despite reports to the contrary." The story on the chinaSMACK site demonstrates that Chinese search engine Baidu features a comparable search-suggestion function, which similarly recommends adult-themed sites, but that the government has not attacked Baidu over the issue of porn.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Kindle, Zune DRM Restrictions Coming Into Focus

It's not news that the media you buy for both Kindle and Zune are protected by DRM. Readers are sending in stories of some of the ramifications of that fact. First, Absentminded-Artist notes an account at Gear Diary recounting what an Amazon rep told one user about download limits on Kindle books. "One facet of the Kindle's DRM has reared an ugly head: download limitations. Upgraded your iPhone recently? Bought a new Kindle? You may not be able to reload your entire library. There's an unadvertised flag: 'You mean when you go to buy the book it doesn't say "this book can be downloaded this number of times" even though that limitation is there?' To which [the rep] replied, 'No, I'm very sorry it doesn't.'" Next, reader Rjak writes "DRM is a bad idea, poorly implemented. One of the many many valid reasons to drop Zune and it's marketplace is the DRM validation error you see below. The vast majority of the music I had purchased last year is completely gone. There's no refund, the music doesn't exist on the service anymore, the files are just garbage now. Here's the error (screen capture): 'This item is no longer available at Zune Marketplace. Because of this, you can no longer play it or sync it with your Zune. There might be another iteration of it available in Zune Marketplace.'"

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Le code source de Palm webOS disponible

Da Linux French Page - dim, 21/06/2009 - 21:41
Afin d'être en conformité avec la licence GPL, Palm a mis à disposition du public le code source des packages utilisé dans son webOS basé sur Linux. Le système webOS est notamment utilisé sur les Palm Pre, commercialisés aux USA depuis le mois de Juin.

L'OS de Palm s'appuie sur un noyau Linux 2.6.24 modifié par environ 1.000 patches, dont la majorité sont spécifiques à l'architecture ARM du Pre et aux pilotes matériel (le pilote de l'accéléromètre par exemple).

La plupart des packages seront déjà connus de ceux qui ont eut affaire à un Linux embarqué : BusyBox, un outil de configuration du framebuffer pour l'affichage (pas de X11 évidemment) et GStreamer couplé à ALSA pour la lecture multimédia.

Palm a bien entendu inclus ses propres développements, comme par exemple un greffon GStreamer pour décoder le format audio ADPCM ou des bibliothèques qui permettent l'accès à certaines fonctions système depuis les applications.

lien 1 : Palm opensource
lien 2 : Packages webOS

Sothink Violated the FlashGot GPL and Stole Code

ShineTheLight sends in news of two Firefox plug-ins: FlashGot, the original, and Sothink, the GPL-violating come-lately. "People at Sothink decided to violate the GPL by stealing a piece of core code from FlashGot and using it without even the decency of covering their tracks. It is an exact copy of a previous version of FlashGot. This deception came to light when users reported to the FlashGot support forum that their software was not working right. Some digging led to the discovery that the older module that Sothink stole and used verbatim was overriding the more recent engine on the machines of those who had both installed and it was causing the issue. It has been reported to AMO and the FlashGot developer is aware of it. The Sothink people have completely ignored and been silent on the subject. This is why most good programmers will stop contributing to the global community because there are those who will steal their work, pass it off as their own, never acknowledge or give credit, and then shamefully stick their head in the sand and ignore the consequences." The three most recent reviews of Sothink point out this plug-in's dishonest nature. A number of earlier, one-line, 5-star reviews — expressed in a similar style — sound suspiciously like astroturfing.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

How RIAA Case Should Have Played Out

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "If a regular 'country lawyer' like myself had taken a case like the RIAA's in Capitol Records v. Thomas-Rasset to court, he or she would have been laughed out of the courthouse. But when it's the RIAA suing, the plaintiffs are awarded a $1.92 million verdict for the infringement of $23.76 worth of song files. That's because RIAA litigation proceeds in a parallel universe, which on its face looks like litigation, but isn't. On my blog I fantasize as to how the trial would have ended had it taken place not in the 'parallel universe,' but in the real world of litigation. In that world, the case would have been dismissed. And if the Judge had submitted it to the jury instead of dismissing, and the jury had ruled in favor of the RIAA, the 'statutory damages' awarded would have been less than $18,000."

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Questioning Mozilla's Plans For HTML5 Video

AberBeta writes with this excerpt from OSNews: "We're on the verge of a serious evolution on the web. Right now, the common way to include video on the web is by use of Flash, a closed-source technology. The answer to this is the HTML5 video tag, which allows you to embed video into HTML pages without the use of Flash or any other non-HTML technology; combined with open video codecs, this could provide the perfect opportunity to further open up and standardize the web. Sadly, not even Mozilla itself really seems to understand what it is supposed to do with the video tag, and actually advocates the use of JavaScript to implement it. Kroc Camen, OSNews editor, is very involved in making/keeping the web open, and has written an open letter to Mozilla in which he urges them not to use JavaScript for HTML video."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Mayo Clinic Reports Dramatic Outcomes In Prostate Cancer Treatment

Zorglub writes "Two prostate cancer patients who had been told their condition was inoperable are now cancer-free as the result of an experimental therapy, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester announced Friday. 'Cancer has a propensity for turning off T cells. Dr. Allison hypothesized that if you block the off-switch, T cells will stay turned on and create a prolonged immune response. Dr. Kwon, then at NIH, demonstrated that CTLA-4 blockage could be used to treat aggressive forms of prostate cancer in mice. There was one limitation to that concept — the worry that by simply leaving all the T cells on there may not be enough response aimed at the tumor. Dr. Kwon called Dr. Allison and designed the trial together. The idea: use androgen ablation or hormone therapy to ignite an immune approach — a pilot light — and then, after a short interval of hormone therapy, introduce an anti-CTLA-4 antibody that acts like gasoline to this pilot light and overwhelms the cancer cells.' After the treatment, the patients' tumors shrunk to such a degree that they could be successfully removed."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The Newspaper Isn't Dead Yet

theodp writes "Slate's Farhad Manjoo had high hopes for using the Kindle DX — Amazon's new large-screen e-reader — to read newspapers. A good first effort, says Manjoo, who concludes that for now newsprint still beats the $489 Kindle. While he has issues with latency, what he really misses relates to graphic design. The Kindle presents news as a list, leaving a reader to guess which pieces are most important to read. Newspapers, by contrast, opine on the importance of the day's news using easy-to-understand design conventions — important stories appear on front pages, with the most important ones going higher on the page and getting more space and bigger headlines. Also, because of its overnight delivery model, Manjoo gripes that the Kindle suffers from a lack of timeliness, making it not even as good as a smartphone."

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Art of Illusion 2.7.2 - dim, 21/06/2009 - 15:47

Sweet Home 3D, version 2.0 - dim, 21/06/2009 - 15:47

HeeksCAD - dim, 21/06/2009 - 15:47

neXtgen Povray Editor - dim, 21/06/2009 - 15:47

Sortie de MyPaint 0.7.0 - dim, 21/06/2009 - 15:47
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