Shared posts

03 Oct 01:24

Over 8,400 NASA Apollo moon mission photos just landed online, in high-resolution

by Xeni Jardin

Great! :D


Space fans, rejoice: today, just about every image captured by Apollo astronauts on lunar missions is now on the Project Apollo Archive Flickr account. There are some 8,400 photographs in all at a resolution of 1800 dpi, and they're sorted by the roll of film they were on. (more…)

02 Oct 18:24

Wyoming's Ag-Gag law makes it a crime to gather evidence of crime

by Cory Doctorow


With this year's "ag-gag" law, Wyoming has made it a crime to gather evidence of agricultural wrongdoing, from illegal pollution to animal cruelty, even from public land -- and also prohibits regulators from acting on information gathered in violation of the law. (more…)

30 Sep 16:17

Pope met with Kim Davis, urged homophobic Kentucky clerk to “stay strong”

by Xeni Jardin

Who in their right mind calls *any* pope a good one? Yes, this one may have some better ideas than some others but he's still the head of that cult. And good people don't climb up high in cults.


Where is your Cool Pope now, America? His PR game is undoubtedly on fleek, but he's still beholden to the same homophobic crap we know and love from the Catholic Church, the world's most powerful supporter of impunity for priestly pedophiles.


30 Sep 10:51

Democracy 3 Updated after over a year!

by cliffski


So… As I’ve talked about in the past, I came to the conclusion that I should release a new patch to beef-up the quality of Democracy 3, fix some long standing issues, improve and re-balance some features, and so on. (Right now this is for Windows…other formats coming in a few days…). Here is a run-down of everything thats changed in video form:

And here it is in non-video form for people who prefer screenshots :D

First big change is new achievements. We added 12. We also put an achievements link button on the main menu for a change, so you can now get to it from there as well as the in-game button:


We then revamped that page that tells you about security threats to your government. Rather than leaving you to ‘guess’ about how that ‘security effectiveness:poor’ value is calculated, we now show icons that link to all the contributing policies, and show how strongly they are implemented:


The voter group screen got some reformatting, so it extends vertically if needed, plus it also now has an extra window, when needed showing which pressure groups and terrorist groups are being fed into by anger among the selected voter group. This should make the link between angry voters and security threats a lot more obvious and clear.


The finance screen now shows information at the bottom that illustrates how effectively your government money is being raised and spent, which is directly tied to the minister in charge of each department. This was always the case, but we make it clearer how much of an effect this has now…


…And we also have added a bunch of new events… not going to tell you what they are…but here are the images :D


The screen that shows the popularity of policies is now totally re-coded to the calculations make a ton more sense…


And we have also done a fair bit of tweaking the GUI here and there, and made a small number of minor balance changes. Hopefully this has made the game better in small but noticeable ways./ I hope you like the patch :D If for some CRAZY reason you don’t already own a copy of the game, you can grab it from BmtMicro, GoG, the humble store or steam:

bmtmicro gog humblestore steam
30 Sep 02:54

Scully and Mulder are back to work in new X-Files trailer

by Tiffany Kelly

The trailer for the X-Files miniseries is here. What can believers expect? Aliens, government conspiracies, Mulder calling Scully for help. (So, the usual.)

Fox released the two-minute-long trailer on Tuesday for the six-episode series that kicks off on Jan. 24, with Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny reprising their roles as Scully and Mulder.

Right from the first few seconds, you can tell we’re far away from the campy, sometimes low-budget feel (aka the ‘90s) of the original series. There’s dramatic music, a shot of a spy satellite, and missiles being launched. It kind of looks like the trailer to a forgettable summer blockbuster. And then we see Mulder, looking comfortably disheveled and giving off “I’m annoyed with the world” vibes. He gets in a helicopter and he’s off on a mission. But he can’t do it alone (literally, he says this line in the trailer.)

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28 Sep 15:00

Water flows on present-day Mars

by John Timmer

Enlarge / 3D perspective showing some of the seasonal features that appear in the Hale Crater on Mars. (credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)

About five years ago, scientists noticed something unusual on Mars. Images taken at different times of the Martian year by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's HiRISE camera showed dark areas developing on steep slopes in the summer and then vanishing during the Martian winter. The pattern of these dark areas looked like what you'd expect from a liquid flowing downhill.

At the time, water seemed like an obvious explanation for the dark areas, which would make this the first evidence of liquid water in the present of Mars. But to confirm this theory, scientists needed to get a reading on the chemical composition of the dark streaks. Now, researchers have overcome some major technical hurdles to get these readings, and the results indicate that the streaks contain water-rich salts.

The dark features have picked up the name "recurring slope lineae," or RSL. They appear on steep slopes, such as crater walls, and form braided patterns that look like water flows. RSL are absent in the winter and spring and only appear near the Martian equator during the summer, at which point the temperatures in the area can often climb above the freezing point of water. Any liquid water should evaporate into the sparse Martian atmosphere quickly, but dissolved salts will inhibit evaporation and can lower the freezing point of water by as much as 80K.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

23 Sep 02:56

Documentarian wipes out Warner’s $2M “Happy Birthday” copyright

by Joe Mullin

Some sense may be coming to the world? Dare I hope?

(credit: From court records in Good Morning to You v. Warner/Chappell)

More than two years after a documentary filmmaker challenged the copyright to the simple lyrics of the song "Happy Birthday," a federal judge ruled Tuesday that the copyright is invalid.

The result could undo Warner/Chappell's lucrative licensing business around the song, once estimated to be $2 million per year. The company is likely to appeal the ruling to the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

US District Judge George King held that the two sisters who authored the song, Patty and Mildred Hill, gave the melody and piano arrangements to Summy Co., which was eventually acquired by Warner/Chappell. But King wrote that there's no evidence they ever transferred a copyright on the words.

Read 19 remaining paragraphs | Comments

15 Sep 14:15

DARPA antoi helikopterille sudenkorennon jalat

by Erkki Kirjalainen

Isn't that how sci-fi helos and vtols have been tradidionally landing for ages? :p Real life imitates art again :)

darpa helikopteri

Helikopterin lentäminen ja maahan laskeutuminen on haastavaa puuhaa. Vaikka laskeutumisalue olisi suuri ja alusta tasainen, niin riittävän kovassa tuulessa turvallinen laskeutuminen jäykille jalaksille on käytännössä mahdotonta. Tämän ongelman ratkaiseminen mielessä Yhdysvaltojen puolustusministeriön tutkimuslaitos DARPA on keksinyt laskeutumisjalustan joka tuo enemmän mieleen Hexabug robottilelut, kuin toimivan helikopterin.

Sudenkorennon jaloista muotiluinspiraatiota ammentanut laskeutumisjalusta muistuttaa  enemmän robotin jalkoja kuin helikopterin laskeutumisjalustaa. Näiden huomiota herättävien jalastenavulla helikopterin luvataan kykenevän laskeutumiseen noin 20-asteen kulmassa esimerkiksi rinteeseen, tai vaikkapa keikkuvan merialuksen kannelle kovalla tuulella.

Uudenmallisen laskeutumisjalustan esittely hypyn jälkeen.


11 Sep 13:20

Microsoft is downloading Windows 10 to PCs, even if you don’t “reserve” a copy

by Ars Staff

How nice of them, eating gigabytes of people's hd space just in case they'd maybe want to downgrade their OS. Luckily I have uninstalled KB3035583 weeks ago because I got fed up with adware :|

You might be in the process of acquiring Windows 10—whether you want the free upgrade or not. Microsoft has confirmed that it is “helping upgradable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they need” in the event that owners decide to migrate to the new OS, even if they have heretofore passed up on "reserving" their free upgrade from Windows 7 or 8.

The issue seems to revolve around the Microsoft update KB3035583, and as such it appears to only afflict individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates. As far as we can tell, if you have automatic updates turned off, Windows 10 won't be pre-loaded onto your PC.

According to The Inquirer, the situation was first reported by an anonymous reader who claimed to have discovered a hidden directory called $Windows.~BT on his computer, despite not opting in for a free upgrade to Windows 10. The directory weighed in at "3.5GB to 6GB," according to the reader.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

07 Sep 19:13

Windows Telemetry Rolls Out

by samzenpus

Luckily one doesn't have to install said KB downgrade packages.

ihtoit writes: Last week came the warning, now comes the roll out. One of the most most controversial aspects of Windows 10 is coming to Windows 7 and 8. Microsoft has released upgrades which enable the company to track what a user is doing. The updates – KB3075249, KB3080149 and KB3068708 – all add "customer experience and diagnostic telemetry" to the older versions. gHacks points out that the updates will ignore any previous user preferences reporting: "These four updates ignore existing user preferences stored in Windows 7 and Windows 8 (including any edits made to the Hosts file) and immediately starts exchanging user data with and"

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Read more of this story at Slashdot.

08 Sep 16:28

US claim on the world’s servers at a crossroads

by David Kravets

I see why they do it (because they want to and can), but I don't see why it'd be acceptable for any country to try to push their laws / authority outside their borders. Soon North Korea would sue everyone else for laughing at the current Kim in charge.

The Obama administration on Wednesday will argue to a US appeals court that companies operating in the US must comply with valid warrants for data—even if that data is stored on overseas servers.

Much of the tech sector, from Amazon and Microsoft to Verizon, oppose the US government's position in the closely watched case. These companies and a slew of others maintain that the enforcement of US law stops at the border. They say the global community is already skittish about trusting US-based tech companies in the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks. So a ruling siding with the Obama administration would fuel that mistrust, conflict with foreign data protection laws, and place the tech sector at risk of foreign government sanctions, the companies said.

The two-year-old dispute before the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York concerns e-mail stored on Microsoft's servers in Dublin, Ireland. As part of a drug investigation, US authorities served Microsoft with a warrant demanding access to e-mail on an overseas Microsoft account. Microsoft balked, writing in a court brief that "The government cannot seek and a court cannot issue a warrant allowing federal agents to break down the doors of Microsoft’s Dublin facility."

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

06 Sep 17:33

UCS-style Venator-class Star Destroyer from Revenge of the Sith

by Andrew

I quite liked the Venators in RotS and am glad to see this build 8)

The upcoming Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens LEGO sets may be getting all the attention these days, but the original trilogy and even prequel trilogy continue to provide inspiration for many LEGO builders. AdNorrel has posted a Venator-class Star Destroyer from Episode III: Revenge of the Sith in the style of the large UCS LEGO sets. Built from about 2,000 LEGO elements, the Star Destroyer took about 20 days to create.

UCS-style MOC Venator-class Star Destroyer

02 Sep 07:00

Happy Birthday Monkey Island

I guess Monkey Island turns 25 this month. It’s hard to tell.

Unlike today, you didn’t push a button and unleash your game to billions of people. It was a slow process of sending “gold master” floppies off to manufacturing, which was often overseas, then waiting for them to be shipped to stores and the first of the teaming masses to buy the game.

Of course, when that happened, you rarely heard about it. There was no Internet for players to jump onto and talk about the game.

There was CompuServe and Prodigy, but those catered to a very small group of very highly technical people.

Lucasfilm’s process for finalizing and shipping a game consisted of madly testing for several months while we fixed bugs, then 2 weeks before we were to send off the gold masters, the game would go into “lockdown testing”.  If any bug was found, there was a discussion with the team and management about if it was worth fixing.  “Worth Fixing” consisted of a lot of factors, including how difficult it was to fix and if the fix would likely introduce more bugs.

Also keep in mind that when I made a new build, I didn't just copy it to the network and let the testers at it, it had to be copied to four or five sets of floppy disk so it could be installed on each tester’s machine.  It was a time consuming and dangerous process. It was not uncommon for problems to creep up when I made the masters and have to start the whole process again. It could take several hours to make a new set of five testing disks.

It’s why we didn’t take getting bumped from test lightly.

During the 2nd week of “lockdown testing”, if a bug was found we had to bump the release date. We required that each game had one full week of testing on the build that was going to be released. Bugs found during this last week had to be crazy bad to fix.

When the release candidate passed testing, it would be sent off to manufacturing. Sometimes this was a crazy process. The builds destined for Europe were going to be duplicated in Europe and we needed to get the gold master over there, and if anything slipped there wasn’t enough time to mail them. So, we’d drive down to the airport and find a flight headed to London, go to the gate and ask a passenger if they would mind carry the floppy disks for us and someone would meet them at the gate.

Can you imagine doing that these days? You can’t even get to the gate, let alone find a person that would take a strange package on a flight for you. Different world.

After the gold masters were made, I’d archive all the source code. There was no version control back then, or even network storage, so archiving the source meant copying it to a set of floppy disks.

I made these disk on Sept 2nd, 1990 so the gold masters were sent off within a few days of that.  They have a 1.1 version due to Monkey Island being bumped from testing. I don’t remember if it was in the 1st or 2nd week of “lockdown”.

Twenty Five years. That’s a long time.

It amazes me that people still play and love Monkey Island. I never would have believed it back then.

It’s hard for me to understand what Monkey Island means to people. I am always asked why I think it’s been such an enduring and important game. My answer is always “I have no idea.”

I really don’t.

I was very fortunate to have an incredible team. From Dave and Tim to Steve Purcell, Mark Ferrari, an amazing testing department and everyone else who touched the game's creation. And also a company management structure that knew to leave creative people alone and let them build great things.

Monkey Island was never a big hit. It sold well, but not nearly as well and anything Sierra released. I started working on Monkey Island II about a month after Monkey Island I went to manufacturing with no idea if the first game was going to do well or completely bomb. I think that was part of my strategy: start working on it before anyone could say “it’s not worth it, let's go make Star Wars games”.

There are two things in my career that I’m most proud of. Monkey Island is one of them and Humongous Entertainment is the other. They have both touched and influenced a lot of people. People will tell me that they learned english or how to read from playing Monkey Island. People have had Monkey Island weddings. Two people have asked me if it was OK to name their new child Guybrush. One person told me that he and his father fought and never got along, except for when they played Monkey Island together.

It makes me extremely proud and is very humbling.

I don’t know if I will ever get to make another Monkey Island. I always envisioned the game as a trilogy and I really hope I do, but I don’t know if it will ever happen. Monkey Island is now owned by Disney and they haven't shown any desire to sell me the IP. I don’t know if I could make Monkey Island 3a without complete control over what I was making and the only way to do that is to own it. Disney: Call me.

Maybe someday. Please don’t suggest I do a Kickstarter to get the money, that’s not possible without Disney first agreeing to sell it and they haven’t done that.


Happy Birthday to Monkey Island and a huge thanks to everyone who helped make it great and to everyone who kept it alive for Twenty Five years.

I thought I'd celebrate the occasion by making another point & click adventure, with verbs.

02 Sep 17:07

Naming Drugs Honestly In Big Pharma

by Pentadact

I’ve been playing Big Pharma, a game where you design production lines to manufacture cures to sell for maximum profit, or to genuinely help people, as your fancy may dictate. It’s excellent and I have become hopelessly addicted to it, but my favourite part is having to come up with names for the often double-edged drugs your imperfect process has produced:

Less Angina

It turns out this one doesn’t even treat angina – darkened effects are deactivated ones.

no pain no gain

Honestly A Cock Up

Fallen Over

Soon a company name presented itself:

Distressingly Honest

Take A Nap

Angina Naps

Stroke Naps

Eventually we fixed the sleepiness side effect:

No Knockout

Is Infection

Sickeningly Good

Slightly miscalculated this one:


Worry Constip

And lastly, what turned out to be the most profitable drug of the decade:


My lab was a mess.

Complicated Layout

But I was super proud of myself for figuring out a neat way to fit two Cryogenic Condensers in parallel in this small space – they take twice as long to process things, but they’re big and awkward to run dual conveyor belts around:

Parallel Cryogenic Condensers

This was the final layout of my factory. Blue is anxiety meds, brown is bronchitis, red is bipolar, green is strokes. Some of the same coloured lines are different methods of making the same drug, faster or to a better standard depending on how much floor space I had to work with.

Final Layout

The goal was to make $1,000,000, which I did pretty quick, but the ‘Master’ level goal is to make $10,000,000 before the deadline. After the ten years were up, the pink bar here shows how close I was to that:

How Close I Was To Master

God damn it.

01 Sep 00:00

xkcd Survey

The xkcd Survey: Big Data for a Big Planet
02 Sep 06:09


by Ryan Pagelow


31 Aug 14:09

Which airport do you hate the most?

by Rob Beschizza

How in the Empire is Helsinki-Vantaa (EFHK or HEL) in each of the top lists? Colour me surprised. No, shocked.


Of the American contenders, Newark is the most-hated, though Turkey's Dalamar airport takes the international honors. Read the rest

27 Aug 16:15

Germany's spy agency gave the NSA the private data of German citizens in exchange for Xkeyscore access

by Cory Doctorow

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV -- Germany's domestic spy agency) coveted access to Xkeyscore, the NSA's flagship tool for searching and analyzing mass-surveillance data, so they secretly, illegally traded access to Germans' data with the NSA for it. Read the rest

27 Aug 23:18

* Windows: it's always the next version *

by (Thom Holwerda)

It would be extremely funny if it wasn't so awful :D

This hit the news yesterday. Microsoft released Windows 10 four weeks ago today, and now the company is providing a fresh update on its upgrade figures. 14 million machines had been upgraded to Windows 10 within 24 hours of the operating system release last month, and that figure has now risen to more than 75 million in just four weeks. As somebody who uses Windows every day, and who upgraded to Windows 10 a few weeks before it was released, let me make a statement about all the positive Windows 10 reviews that not everyone is going to like. There are only two reasons Windows 10 is getting positive reviews. First, because it's free. This one's a given. Second, and more importantly: Windows 10 is getting positive reviews because none of the reviewers have forced themselves to use nothing but Metro applications. Here's the cold and harsh truth as I see it: despite all the promises, Metro applications are still complete and utter garbage. Let me explain why. Read more on this exclusive OSNews article...
27 Aug 13:05

Big Pharma Released!

by cliffski

I've been interested in this one but I've lacked the time to get it. Maybe now :)

So its that day! The lab management/strategy game Big Pharma, developed by Twice Circled and published by Positech Games is officially released. woohoo! Its now playable in English, German and French on Windows/OSX and Linux. Plus you can now grab it from Steam as well as the Humble Store as well as GoG or direct from us. Hurrah!

Games take a long time to make, and a lot of work, blood, sweat, tears, and debugging. The first time the phrase ‘Big Pharma’ was used between us was on 21st February 2014, and we were going back on forth on ideas and names before then, so its at least eighteen months in development. That may not sound long by the standards of Duke Nukem et al, but it is a long time to stay focused on one game as an indie. Hopefully its going to pay off :D


I’ve released a lot of games, I’ve been doing this for ages, and am in a lucky position that if a game doesn’t do well, I can shake it off, at least theoretically. However, emotionally, you always get wrapped up in anything you work on. Although this is Tims design & code, I also feel like I’ve nailed my name to it quite brightly and obviously. Publishing a game is a bit like getting up on stage in front of 10,000 or 100,000 people and shouting ‘I think this is awesome! whose with me?’, and then waiting to see who cheers. Kinda scary.

Its even more scary these days because most games sales figures are ‘more-or-less’ public on steamspy, and you can see how well a game is doing. Other stores are available, and there is a margin for error…but even so…


One of the scariest things about shipping a game as a publisher is that you have basically placed a bet of somewhere north of a hundred thousand dollars on someone you met 18 months ago…and then on release day, with no guarantee that it was a good bet, you have to double-down on that bet and spend MORE money letting people know about the game, with ads etc. The REALLY scary thing about being an independently owned publisher is that this isn’t shareholders money, its MINE. If I fuck up, I could not only look stupid, but have just lost a bucketful of money as well. This is something that I think British people take to heart more than Americans. In the USA failure is ‘a step on the ladder to success’. in the UK its just failure.

Thankfully Big Pharma is a fucking excellent game that I am myself totally addicted to. I suspect it will do just fine :D.


25 Aug 17:44

Refusing to bow to airport liquids ban, woman drinks bottle of cognac

by Jason Weisberger

Let's see when someone tells the security theater folks at IATA that ~65% of a human's body is water... confiscate that in the name of freedom and war against terrorism.

Even in freedom's cradle, China, airport security hates a good time. They don't tell us how large the bottle was, but the story is good.

Read the rest
25 Aug 04:55

3M's delightful Rube Goldberg machine

by Mark Frauenfelder

3M showcased its products in a clever way by creating a chain reaction machine. The Post-It Note cascade at the end is wonderful.


25 Aug 18:02

How Linux was born, as told by Linus Torvalds himself

by Glyn Moody

One of the most famous messages in all computing was posted exactly 24 years ago today, on 25 August, 1991:

Hello everybody out there using minix -

I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and
professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones. This has been brewing
since april, and is starting to get ready.

Many people have read that post by Linus Torvalds in the comp.os.minix newsgroup on Usenet, or at least heard about it. Many more are aware of how that (free) operating system ended up taking over vast swathes of the computing world, and becoming both "big" and "professional." But what about before that famous moment? What were the key events that led to Linus creating that first public release of Linux?

To find out, in December 1996, I went to Finland to interview Linus in his flat in Helsinki. I used some of his replies in a feature that appeared in Wired magazine in August 1997; more of them appeared in my book, Rebel Code: Inside Linux and the open source revolution, published in 2001. What follows is a more detailed explanation of how Linux came into being, as told in Linus' own words.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

22 Aug 21:14

Torrent Trackers Ban Windows 10 Over Privacy Concerns

by Ernesto

I've never heard of iTS before but I like their approach to wIn10 :p

win10Since the release of Windows 10 last month many media reports have focused on various privacy intrusions.

The WiFi password sharing feature, for example, or the extensive sharing of personal data and information back to Microsoft’s servers. The list goes on and on.

While we’re the last ones to defend these policies, it is worth pointing out that many other large tech companies have similar privacy violating policies. Reading rants about Windows 10 privacy on Facebook is particularly ironic.

This week things took a turn for the worse. Slowly but steadily reports started pouring in that Windows 10 has a built-in piracy kill switch. If we were to believe some of the reports, Microsoft would nuke all torrents downloaded from The Pirate Bay.

The truth is nowhere near as dystopian though. The controversy originates from a single line in Microsoft’s Service Agreement which allows the company to download software updates and configuration changes that may prevent people from “playing counterfeit games.”

This change isn’t limited to Windows 10 but covers many services. Also, there is no indication that this will ever be used to target third-party games, which is highly unlikely.

Still, the recent privacy concerns have some torrent tracker staffers worried. During the week TF received reports informing us that several private trackers have banned Windows 10, or are considering doing so.

The staffers at iTS explain that Windows 10 is off-limits now because of the extensive amount of data it shares. This includes connections to MarkMonitor, the brand protection company which is also involved in the U.S. Copyright Alert System.

“Unfortunately Microsoft decided to revoke any kind of data protection and submit whatever they can gather to not only themselves but also others. One of those is one of the largest anti-piracy company called MarkMonitor,” iTS staff note.

“Amongst other things Windows 10 sends the contents of your local disks directly to one of their servers. Obviously this goes way too far and is a serious threat to sites like ours which is why we had to take measures,” they add.

While this may sound scary, Microsoft has been working with MarkMonitor for years already. Among other things, the company helps to keep scammers at bay.

There is no evidence that any piracy related info is being shared. Still, the connection is raising red flags with other tracker operators as well. More trackers reportedly ban Windows 10 and others including BB and FSC are consider to follow suit.

“We have also found [Windows 10] will be gathering information on users’ P2P use to be shared with anti piracy group,” BB staff writes to its users.

“What’s particularly nasty is that apparently it sends the results of local(!!) searches to a well known anti piracy company directly so as soon as you have one known p2p or scene release on your local disk … BAM!”

The same sentiment is shared at FSC where staff also informed users about the threat.

“As we all know, Microsoft recently released Windows 10. You as a member should know, that we as a site are thinking about banning the OS from FSC. That would mean you cannot use the site with the OS installed,” FSC staff writes.

While a paranoid mindset is definitely not a bad thing for people in the business of managing a torrent community, banning an operating system over privacy concerns is a bit much for most. Especially since many of the same issues also affect earlier versions of Windows.

Luckily, the most invasive privacy concerns can be dealt with by configuring Windows properly. Or any other operating system, application or social network for that matter.

Instead of banning something outright, it may be a good idea to inform the public on specific dangers and educate them how they can be alleviated.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

21 Aug 12:46

Spotify's new privacy policy lets it collect everything on your phone

by Rob Beschizza

I almost felt like subscribing so I could terminate my subscription with some very angry feedback. But I guess I'll survive.

spotify Madness, reports Wired. “we may collect information stored on your mobile device, such as contacts, photos, or media files … we may also collect information about your location based on, for example, your phone’s GPS location."
20 Aug 05:25

Father builds glowing life-sized Minecraft block for son's birthday

by David Pescovitz

Nathan Pryor (HaHaBird) made this fantastic life-sized illuminated Minecraft block for his son's birthday. It's lit with RGB LEDs so the color can be changed via remote control. Read the rest

19 Aug 13:34

Jeb Bush: the NSA isn't spying on us enough

by Cory Doctorow

Another Bush wants to spy on his own people even more? Surprised? I'm not.

Because "evildoers." Read the rest

19 Aug 04:17

Fantastic video of Pluto fly-by made from still images

by David Pescovitz

Astronomical artist Björn Jónsson stitched together still images captured by the New Horizons spacecraft as it flew past the dwarf planet Pluto last month. Read the rest

18 Aug 16:15

New pornoscanners are also useless, cost $160 million

by Cory Doctorow

Colour me surprised.

The new generation of millimeter-wave body scanners from the convicted war-criminals at L-3 were supposed to replace the useless, expensive backscatter radiation machines from Rapiscan with a more robust, less privacy invasive alternative. Read the rest

18 Aug 13:42

Windows 10 won’t run games with SecuROM DRM, says Microsoft

by Mark Walton

This "we don't allow this DRM shit to run" may be the first positive thing I've ever read about W10.

While Windows 10 is largely good news for gamers, it turns out that those with a collection of older games laden with DRM copy protection software are going to have a hard time getting them up and running on the new OS. In an interview with Rocket Beans TV (as translated by Rock, Paper, Shotgun) at this year's Gamescom, Microsoft's Boris Schneider-Johne explained that that Windows 10 won't be able to run games that use SafeDisc and SecuROM technology.

"Everything that ran in Windows 7 should also run in Windows 10," said Johne, "There are just two silly exceptions: antivirus software, and stuff that’s deeply embedded into the system needs updating—but the developers are on it already—and then there are old games on CD-ROM that have DRM. This DRM stuff is also deeply embedded in your system, and that’s where Windows 10 says, 'Sorry, we cannot allow that, because that would be a possible loophole for computer viruses.' That’s why there are a couple of games from 2003-2008 with SecuROM, etc. that simply don’t run without a no-CD patch or some such."

This isn’t a bad thing for most people, though. While SafeDisc has hit the headlines before thanks to security issues in Windows—introducing access vulnerabilities into the OS, for example—it's SecuROM that is the most famous, and the most hated of all DRM software. Developed by Sony DADC, SecuROM took a heavy-handed approach to DRM, limiting the number of installs and activations end-users had access to, as well as requiring users to check in online to keep the game running. SecuROM even counted certain hardware changes as a change of computer, forcing another activation.

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