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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

Education

Why One Person Thinks Raspberry Pi Is Unsuitable For Education 133

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the hep-cats-all-using-mips dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Raspberry Pi was designed for education. As any popular product is bound to, Raspberry Pi has been criticized a lot for things like lack of a box, absence of supplied charger or even WiFi. Raspberry Pi has a much more fundamental flaw, which directly conflicts with its original goal: it is a black box tightly sealed with patents and protected by corporations. It isn't even remotely an open platform." The author thinks that patents on ARM are a serious threat to the openness of the platform (among other things like the proprietary GPU blob needed to boot). But even the FSF doesn't go that far. Wired had an editorial with the foundation justifying "selling out a little to sell a lot" that has a lot of info on the choices they had to make to hit their cost target.
Android

Nabi Tablet-Maker, Fuhu Inc., Suing Toys R Us 38

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the at-least-there-aren't-patents-involved dept.
Penurious Penguin writes "Fuhu Inc., maker of the $199 children-tailored Nabi tablet, is suing Toys R Us. The lawsuit arises after a legal agreement (ended in January) between Fuhu and Toys R Us went awry and Toys R Us released a similar product of their own, the $150 Tabeo. The dispute alleges that Toys R Us may have intended from inception to eventually abandon the Nabi for their own future variation, the Tabeo, presumably after gathering sufficient understanding of Fuhu's design concepts and business strategies. The ZDNet article quite thoroughly covering the story notes some of the formidable investors behind Fuhu, including Acer Inc., Kingston Digital, and Foxconn Digital Inc. Fuhu also sells through retail stores such as WalMart, Target, Best Buy, GameStop and Amazon.com.Another more-recent ZDNet article further analyzes the story."
Censorship

Ask Slashdot: Ideas and Tools To Get Around the Great Firewall? 218

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the fire-extinguisher-of-course dept.
New submitter J0n45 writes "I will soon be traveling to mainland China. While I'm only a tourist, I will still be working freelance for a company back home. I know for a fact that a large amount of the websites I need to have access to on a daily basis for business reasons are censored by the Great Firewall of China. I have been using the Tor Browser for a while now for personal purposes. However Tor has been blocked by China. I was wondering if a personal proxy (connected to a computer back home) would do the trick. Would I be too easily traceable? Basically, I'm wondering if I need to try random public proxies until I find one that works or if there are any other options. What does Slashdot think?"
Crime

Man Arrested In Greece For "Blasphemous" Facebook Page 412

Posted by timothy
from the where-you-can-be-crucified-but-not-cremated dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A 27-year old man was arrested yesterday in Greece (Greek-language original) by the electronic crime police, for creating a Facebook page "Geron Pastitsios" which made fun of an extremely respected Orthodox Christian monk who lived in Mount Athos, as well as the Greek Church. The arrest came promptly after the Greek far-right party — which holds 7% of the parliament seats — submitted an official petition asking the government to take down the page. The charges that the young man faces are 'blasphemy' and 'disrespect to the religious beliefs of others.'" What would the UN say?
Government

Light Bulb Ban Produces Hoarding In EU, FUD In U.S. 1080

Posted by timothy
from the top-down-is-the-current-paradigm dept.
Lucas123 writes "The very thought of losing that pear-shaped giver of warm, yellow light drove Europeans to hoard Edison's invention [Note: Or possibly Joseph Swan's invention; HT to eldavojohn.] as the EU's Sept. 1 ban on incandescent light bulbs approached. China's ban on incandescent lamps starts Oct. 1. And, in the U.S., the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 effectively began banning the 100W bulb this year and will ban the most popular bulbs — the 75W, 60W and 40W screw-in incandescent bulbs --over the next two years. The end standard requires bulbs to use 65% less energy by 2020. But Republicans in Congress continue to fight the ban by hamstringing the energy efficiency standards through appropriations legislation, cutting off funds for the enforcement of the light bulb ban."
Canada

Canadian Minister Mined Data To Target Email To Gay Voters 145

Posted by timothy
from the state-is-not-your-friend dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Has Immigration Minister Jason Kenney been emailing you? Maybe it's because you're gay. The minister sent out an email on Sept 24 lauding the government's efforts to protect and promote queer rights abroad. It highlights the 'emphasis . . . on gay and lesbian refugee protection, which is without precedent in Canada's immigration history.' The Ottawa Citizen's Glen McGregor broke the story, complete with reaction over the 'creepy' letter. For many who received an email from Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney about gay refugees on Friday, the message raised one important question: How did he know I'm gay? The Conservatives have targeted written messages at minority communities in the past, most notably using direct mail lists to send out greetings to Jewish voters on religious holidays. Some recipients were alarmed by the prospect of the government assembling lists based on ethnicity or religious beliefs. Surely creating such a list will become easier when you are forced to use your real identities on social sites."
Encryption

Schneier: We Don't Need SHA-3 143

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the just-what-nobody-wanted dept.
Trailrunner7 writes with this excerpt from Threatpost: "For the last five years, NIST, the government body charged with developing new standards for computer security, among other things, has been searching for a new hash function to replace the aging SHA-2 function. Five years is a long time, but this is the federal government and things move at their own pace in Washington, but NIST soon will be announcing the winner from the five finalists that were chosen last year. Despite the problems that have cropped up with some versions of SHA-2 in the past and the long wait for the new function, there doesn't seem to be much in the way of breathless anticipation for this announcement. So much so, in fact, that Bruce Schneier, a co-author of one of the finalists not only isn't hoping that his entry wins, he's hoping that none of them wins. ... It's not because Schneier doesn't think the finalists are worthy of winning. In fact, he says, they're all good and fast and perfectly capable. The problem is, he doesn't think that the world needs a new hash function standard at all. SHA-512, the stronger version of the SHA-2 function that's been in use for more than a decade, is still holding up fine, Schneier said, which was not what cryptographers anticipated would be the case when the SHA-3 competition was conceived. 'I expect SHA-2 to be still acceptable for the foreseeable future. That's the problem. It's not like AES. Everyone knew that DES was dead — and triple-DES was too slow and clunky — and we needed something new. So when AES appeared, people switched as soon as they could. This will be different,' Schneier said via email."
Patents

Intellectual Ventures Settles Lawsuits With Asian Memory Companies 30

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-them-to-court dept.
curtwoodward writes "Intellectual Ventures, the controversial patent middleman company headed by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold, has settled one of the first lawsuits it ever filed. This legal spat was with two Asian firms: South Korea-based Hynix and Japan-based Elpida. It also involved a complaint to the International Trade Commission, which roped in downstream customers including Dell and H-P because they used components from the two manufacturers. The terms weren't disclosed, but it seems quite likely that Intellectual Ventures was able to get the licensing fees it always wanted: The company's head lawyer is quoted praising the two former adversaries, and explaining once again that the company wants to license its patents instead of heading to court."
Censorship

Iran Blocks Google, Moves Forward With Domestic Network Plans 134

Posted by samzenpus
from the keeping-it-clean dept.
hlovy writes "Iran moved forward with their previously discussed plans for a domestic version of the Internet over the weekend, as government officials announced that Google would be one of the first websites to be filtered through their state-controlled information network. According to Reuters, officials are claiming that the country's self-contained version of the World Wide Web, which was first announced last week, is part of an initiative to improve cyber security. However, it will reportedly also give the country the ability to better control the type of information that users can access online."
Privacy

Shuttleworth: Trust Us, We're Trying to Make Shopping Better 255

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-go-with-this dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In a blog post responding to the latest controversy over Ubuntu, Mark Shuttleworth says 'integrating online scope results' are 'not putting ads in Ubuntu' because the shopping results 'are not paid placement', but 'straightforward search results'. He goes on to explain his plans to make the Home Lens of the Dash a place to find 'anything anywhere'. Like a cross between Chrome OS's new app launcher, Siri and Google Now 'it will get smarter and smarter' so you can 'ask for whatever you want' it 'just works'."
Censorship

Pakistan's PM Demands International Blasphemy Laws From UN 957

Posted by samzenpus
from the sticks-and-stones dept.
eldavojohn writes "An article published in Pakistan's Daily Times contains several quotes from Pakistan's Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf indicating his intent to push for international blasphemy laws in both the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Co-operation (57 countries). These comments came shortly after Pakistan's 'Day of Love for the Prophet' turned into riots that left 19 people dead and, of course, this all follows the extended trailers of 'Innocence of Muslims' being translated. Questionable circumstances surround who is prosecuted under these 'blasphemy laws' and what kind of fear they instill in Pakistan's minorities. The UN's Human Rights Charter mentions protection from 'religious intolerance' but also in the same sentence 'freedom of opinion and expression.'"
Patents

US Patent Office Seeks Aid To Spot Bogus Patent Claims 167

Posted by samzenpus
from the more-eyes dept.
First time accepted submitter startling writes "Members of the public are being asked by the US Patent Office to help weed out bogus patent applications. It wants the public to contribute to a website that will spot applications for patents on technologies that have already been invented. The website, called Ask Patents, will be run by US firm Stack Exchange that has a track record of operating Q&A websites."
Patents

Apple Wants Another $707 Million From Samsung 316

Posted by timothy
from the as-do-we-all dept.
angry tapir writes "A California jury may have awarded Apple more than US$1 billion in damages in late August when it triumphed over Samsung in a hard-fought case over smartphone and tablet patents, but the iPhone maker is coming back for more: late last week it asked for additional damages of $707 million. The request includes an enhanced award of $535 million for willful violation of Apple's designs and patents, as well as about $172 million in supplemental damages based on the fact that the original damages were calculated on Samsung's sales through June 30."
Piracy

NZ To Investigate Illegally Intercepted Data In Dotcom Case 53

Posted by timothy
from the awkward-in-auckland dept.
First time accepted submitter karit writes with this excerpt from Scoop News: "Prime Minister John Key today announced he has requested an inquiry by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security into the circumstances of unlawful interception of communications of certain individuals by the Government Communications Security Bureau. Mr Key says the Crown has filed a memorandum in the High Court in the Megaupload case advising the Court and affected parties that the GCSB had acted unlawfully while assisting the Police to locate certain individuals subject to arrest warrants issued in the case. The Bureau had acquired communications in some instances without statutory authority."

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