New submitter BLT2112 writes "Inspired by the Oracle of Bacon, the Oracle of Wikipedia finds the shortest path between two Wikipedia articles, as in Wikipedia Golf. As explained in the site, 'One selects one article as the tee and another article as the hole and then completes the course between them clicking as few links as possible. No typing is allowed. . . . The Oracle also allows you to search for the most challenging potential Wikipedia Golf courses. Can you find a longer course and merit a place in the "records" section?'"
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MoldySpore writes "If anyone has tried to get to The Pirate Bay in the last 24 hours, they have most likely been met with a timeout. As an article on TorrentFreak notes, only a week ago The Pirate Bay scolded Anonymous for its attack on ISP Virgin Media, and now the site is currently the victim of a DDoS attack that is effectively keeping people from viewing the site. There is a lot of speculation as to whether this is retaliation from Anonymous, the work of an agency such as the RIAA and their associates, or an anti-pirate company such as PiratePay." Cyberwarfare? Pimple-faced teenagers? Someone screwed up the routing tables?
mikejuk writes with an update on the Oracle vs Google Trial. From the article: "One month into the Oracle v Google trial, Judge William Alsup has revealed that he has, and still does, write code. Will this affect the outcome? I think so! After trying to establish that the nine lines in rangeCheck that were copied saved Google time in getting Android to market the lawyer making the case is interrupted by the judge which indicates he at least does understand how straightforward it would be to program rangeCheck from scratch: 'rangeCheck! All it does is make sure the numbers you're inputting are within a range, and gives them some sort of exceptional treatment. That witness, when he said a high school student could do it — ' And the lawyer reveals he doesn't: 'I'm not an expert on Java — this is my second case on Java, but I'm not an expert, and I probably couldn't program that in six months.' Perhaps every judge should be a coding judge — it must make the law seem a lot simpler..." From yesterday; the Oracle lawyer was attempting to argue that Google profited by stealing rangeCheck since it allowed them to get to market faster than they would have had they wrote it from scratch. Groklaw, continuing its detailed coverage as always, has the motions filed today.
CowboyRobot writes "Ward Cunningham developed the first wiki, wrote the Fit test framework, is the co-inventor of CRC cards, and is now promoting the concept of technical debt. He recently won the Dr. Dobb's Excellence in Programming Award and was interviewed by that publication. 'The creator of the Wiki dishes on the Wiki, Wikipedia's policies, OO design, technical debt, CoffeeScript and Perl, how to survive as a veteran programmer, and doing the simplest thing that could possibly work.' Cunningham is given the chance to explain his philosophy of coding: 'I like the picture and I like the look of the code. It's only 40 lines, but every line carried some careful thought. There was a learning curve there that surprised me because the programs looked short. The most rewarding work I've done this year is digging through that code and understanding what it does and understanding what it didn't do, and how to approach the problem.'"
zacharye writes, quoting BGR: "The launch of Sprint's flagship EVO 4G LTE has been delayed indefinitely and supply of AT&T's flagship HTC One X will be constrained as a result of ongoing patent disputes between HTC and Apple. HTC confirmed in a statement emailed to BGR on Tuesday evening that shipments of its new EVO 4G LTE and One X smartphones have been held up by United States Customs as part of an International Trade Commission investigation. Before the phones can clear Customs, the ITC will need to determine that HTC's new handsets are in compliance with an earlier ruling..."
New submitter slashbill writes "MIT's working on a way to measure network capacity. Seems no one really knows how much data their network can handle. Makes you wonder about how then do you calculate expense when building out capacity? From the article: 'Recently, one of the most intriguing developments in information theory has been a different kind of coding, called network coding, in which the question is how to encode information in order to maximize the capacity of a network as a whole. For information theorists, it was natural to ask how these two types of coding might be combined: If you want to both minimize error and maximize capacity, which kind of coding do you apply where, and when do you do the decoding?'" This is a synopsis of the first of two papers on the topic.
Fluffeh writes "General Motors spends around $40 million per year on maintaining a Facebook profile and around a quarter of that goes into paid advertising. However, in a statement, they just announced that 'it's simply not working.' That's a bit of bad news just prior to the Facebook IPO — and while Daniel Knapp tries to sweeten the news, he probably makes it even more bitter by commenting 'Advertising on Facebook has long been funded by marketing budgets reserved for trying new things. But as online advertising investments in general are surging and starting to cannibalize spend on legacy media, advertisers are rightfully asking whether the money spend is justified because it has reached significant sums now.'"
itwbennett writes "Sauce Labs had outgrown CouchDB and too much unplanned downtime made them switch to MySQL. With 20-20 hindsight they wrote about their CouchDB experience. But Sauce certainly isn't the first organization to switch databases. Back in 2009, Till Klampaeckel wrote a series of blog posts about moving in the opposite direction — from MySQL to CouchDB. Klampaeckel said the decision was about 'using the right tool for the job.' But the real story may be that programmers are never satisfied with the tool they have." Of course, then they say things like: "We have a TEXT column on all our tables that holds JSON, which our model layer silently treats the same as real columns for most purposes. The idea is the same as Rails' ActiveRecord::Store. It’s not super well integrated with MySQL's feature set — MySQL can’t really operate on those JSON fields at all — but it’s still a great idea that gets us close to the joy of schemaless DBs."
jd writes "2012 promises to be a fun year for hardware geeks, with three new 'Aptiv-class' MIPS64 cores being circulated in soft form, a quad-core ARM A15, a Samsung ARM A9 variant, a seriously beefed-up 8-core Intel Itanium and AMD's mobile processors. There's a mix here of chips actually out, ready to be put on silicon, and in last stages of development. Obviously these are for different users (mobile CPUs don't generally fight for marketshare with Itanium dragsters) but it is still fascinating to see the differences in approach and the different visions of what is important in a modern CPU. Combine this with the news reported earlier on DDR4, and this promises to be a fun year with many new machines likely to appear that are radically different from the last generation. Which leaves just one question — which Linux architecture will be fully updated first?"
CWmike writes with news of a significant change in Google's strategy for Android. According to a Wall Street Journal report, "Google plans to give multiple mobile-device makers early access to new releases of Android and to sell those devices directly to consumers, said people familiar with the matter. That is a shift from Google's previous practice, when it joined with only one hardware maker at a time to produce 'lead devices,' before releasing the software to other device makers. Those lead devices were then sold to consumers through wireless carriers or retailers." JR Raphael adds, "Signs of something big have been brewing in AndroidLand for some time now: First, we've had the increasingly loud buzz about Google's top-secret mission to build an inexpensive Nexus-like tablet. Then, last month, Google opened the door to selling unlocked Nexus devices directly to consumers, eliminating the need for carrier meddling and contract commitments. Now, at long last, we're getting a glimpse at what's likely the final piece of the puzzle."
New submitter ancientt writes "As a thought experiment, what if the constitution of the U.S. was amended so that no idea (with exceptions only for government use, like currency) could be protected from copy or use beyond January 1, 2035 for more than a five-year period. After a five-year span, any patent, software license, copyright, software NDA or other intellectual property agreement would expire. (This is not an entirely new idea, but would have had significant recent ramifications if it had been enacted in the past.) Specific terms are up for debate, but in this experiment businesses must have time to try to adjust to sell services and make the services good enough to compete with other businesses offering the same basic products. Microsoft can sell a five-year-old variant of OSX, Apple can sell Windows 2030. Cars, computers and phones would, or at least could, still be made, but manufacturers would be free to use any technology more than five years old or license new technology for a five-year competitive edge. Movie, TV and book budgets would have to adjust to the potential five-year profit span, although staggered episode or chapter releases would be legal. Play 'What if' with me. What would be the downsides? What would be the upsides?"
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that Carson C. Chow, an MIT-trained mathematician and physicist, has taken a new look at America's obesity epidemic and found that a food glut is behind America's weight problem, with the national obesity rate jumping from 20 percent to over 30 percent since 1970. 'Beginning in the 1970s, there was a change in national agricultural policy. Instead of the government paying farmers not to engage in full production, as was the practice, they were encouraged to grow as much food as they could,' says Chow. 'With such a huge food supply, food marketing got better and restaurants got cheaper. The low cost of food fueled the growth of the fast-food industry. If food were expensive, you couldn't have fast food.' Chow and mathematical physiologist Kevin Hall created a mathematical model of a human with hundreds of equations, boiled it down to one simple equation, and then plugged in all the variables — height, weight, food intake, exercise. The slimmed-down equation proved to be a useful platform for answering a host of questions. For example, huge variations in your daily food intake will not cause variations in weight, as long as your average food intake over a year is about the same. Unfortunately, another finding is that weight change, up or down, takes a very, very long time. Chow has posted an interactive version of the model on the web where people can plug in their information and learn how much they'll need to reduce their intake and increase their activity to lose."
New submitter MathIsTasty writes "Recently, it was announced on the Octave-maintainers list that a Kickstarter campaign has been launched to bring Matlab style numerical computations and graphing to Android via a 'more than' port of Octave and gnuplot. While I doubt it will be as successful as some recent games on Kickstarter, is this a reasonable way to fund free software development? Now, we just have to worry about people working on simulating solar irradiation while driving. Here is a good blog post about the project."
Fluffeh writes "In Australia, we have the right to record TV and play it back at a later date; we also have the right to transcode from one format to another, so anyone with a media server can legally back up their entire DVD collection and watch it without all those annoying warnings and unskippable content — as long as we don't break encryption (please stop laughing!). Optus, Australia's second largest Telco, has been raising ire though with the new TV Now service they are offering and Big Media is having a hissy fit. The service does the recording on behalf of the customer. Seems like a no-brainer right? Let the customer do what they are allowed to legally do at home, but charge them for it. Everybody wins! Not according to Sports Broadcasters, who made this statement when Optus said they would appeal their recent loss in an Australian Court to the highest court in the land: 'They are a disgusting organization who is acting reprehensibly again and now putting more uncertainty into sports and broadcast rights going forward I'm really disappointed and disgusted in the comments of their CEO overnight.' Is this yet another case of Big Media clutching at an outdated business model, or should consumers be content with just doing their own work?"
An anonymous reader writes "A 71-year-old man who became paralyzed from the waist down and lost all use of both hands in a 2008 car accident has regained motor function in his fingers after doctors rewired his nerves to bypass the damaged ones in a pioneering surgical procedure, according to a case study published on Tuesday."