An anonymous reader writes with this bit of trademark absurdity from geek.com: "Ravensburger is a German gaming company that specializes in jigsaw puzzles, but has also expanded into other areas such as children's books and games. The company owns the trademark to a board game called 'Memory' and has demanded Apple stop offering apps that have the word 'memory' in their title or as a keyword associated with an app. It may seem ludicrous such a common word can be trademarked, but apparently this is a valid claim as Apple is now serving notices to app developers. The choice an infringing app developer has is to either rename their app or remove it from the App Store."
benrothke writes "Advanced persistent threat (APT) is one of the most common information security terms used today and it is an undeniably real and dangerous menace. Wikipedia notes that APT's usually refer to a group, such as a foreign government, with both the capability and the intent to persistently and effectively target a specific entity. The term is commonly used to refer to cyber threats, in particular that of Internet-enabled espionage using a variety of intelligence gathering techniques to access sensitive information, but applies equally to other threats such as that of traditional espionage or attack. Every organization of size and scope is a target, and many of the world's largest firms and governments have been victims. In Reverse Deception: Organized Cyber Threat Counter-Exploitation, Dr. Max Kilger and his co-authors provide an effective counterintelligence approach in which to deal with APT. The good news is that the authors provide an effective framework. The bad news is that creating an effective defense is not an easy undertaking." Keep reading below for the rest of Ben's review.
MassDosage writes "In a remarkable show of good timing Presentation Patterns turned up on my desk for review within days of me having been asked to give a presentation at a large tech conference. So I decided to read the book as I worked on my presentation and apply any lessons learned as I worked my way through it. The word "patterns" in the book's title will be known to most software developers as a reference to the seminal 'Gang of four' software design patterns book which codified common solutions to software problems. The concept of patterns originated in building architecture with the idea being that by categorizing and naming solutions to problems, a common vocabulary could be built up that allowed practitioners in a certain field to communicate more effectively. This was hugely successful and has spawned the idea of looking for patterns in many other areas which is where this book comes in." Read on for the rest of Mass Dosage's review.
jfruh writes "Among the winners of last night's election: marijuana users. Voters in both Washington and Colorado approved referenda that legalized marijuana for recreational use, though the drug remains illegal under federal law. There's been a long-standing debate among programmers as to whether recreational drugs, including pot and hallucinagens like LSD, can actually help programmers code. Don't forget, there was a substantial overlap between the wave of computer professionals who came of age in the '60s and that era's counterculture." (There's even a good book on that topic.)
CowboyRobot writes "A pair of reports by Juniper and Bit9 confirm the suspicion that many apps are spying on users. '26 percent of Android apps in Google Play can access personal data, such as contacts and email, and 42 percent, GPS location data... 31 percent of the apps access phone calls or phone numbers, and 9 percent employ permissions that could cost the user money, such as incurring premium SMS text message charges... nearly 7 percent of free apps can access address books, 2.6 percent, can send text messages without the user knowing, 6.4 percent can make calls, and 5.5 percent have access to the device's camera.' The main issue seems to be with poor development practices. Only in a minority of cases is there malicious intent. The Juniper report and the Bit9 report are both available online."
Hugh Pickens writes "iTunes has been criticized in the past for being slow and growing increasingly unwieldy as more and more media types have been added to what used to be simply a music player. Apple announced iTunes 11, the latest version of the program, at its iPhone 5 event in September and said the update would be released by the end of October, but Apple's deadline for the upgrade has slipped. 'The new iTunes is taking longer than expected and we wanted to take a little extra time to get it right,' Apple told technology site AllThingsD. 'We look forward to releasing this new version of iTunes with its dramatically simpler and cleaner interface and seamless integration with iCloud before the end of November.' The update is said to be the most significant upgrade to iTunes in the 11-year life of the program, which has grown from a simple music player to the most powerful retailer in the music business — and a force in the movie, television and e-books businesses — and, on Apple's PCs, the portal to its app store."
Presto Vivace writes "Murdoch's Pirates is a business book that reads like a thriller. The chapter excerpted in the Sydney Morning Herald explains how Operation Duck, an effort to discover the identify Canadian pay TV pirates, went horribly wrong. 'By October 25 Oliver had been in Toronto four days and had programmed a swag of pirate cards, using a program he had ripped off another pirate hack. And he had been paid a lot of money. That evening, he met with two piracy dealers in a car and programmed a few cards for them with his portable programmer box, to demonstrate that it worked. The following night Oliver received a call from a friend in London, a partner in his old piracy ring, who was sleeping with a woman who worked for Federal Express. 'He told me, these guys [from the previous night] sent a parcel to Larry Rissler,' Oliver recalls. Rissler was a former FBI agent who headed the Office of Signal Integrity—the operational security division—of DirecTV, and he had been hunting Oliver for some time. One of the dealers Oliver had met was a Rissler informant and he had despatched a re-programmed smartcard by FedEx to his boss. The parcel would be with Rissler early the next morning—if it wasn't already there.' The story reads like some perverse blend of James Bond and the Pink Panther. It is just amazing."
danspalding writes "I'm an adult education teacher in SF who wrote an e-book about how to teach adults. It will be available to download for free in January 2013. I Kickstarted enough money for editing, design and publicity, but not enough to pay me anything up front. I'm considering making a $1, $10 and $25 version available from Amazon as a way for folks to donate money to me, as well as a straight up PayPal link on my site. Is it possible to produce quality material for teachers to download for free in a way that's economically sustainable? Might readers accidentally pay for a copy without realizing there's a free download and get angry? And where should I host the free-to-download version?"
bshell writes "Canada's CRTC (like the FCC) has finally asked telecoms to provide information about how much their services actually cost. Quoting a Montreal Gazette story: 'In a report I wrote last year, I estimated the markup for Internet services was 6,452 per cent for Bell's Essential Plus plan, which provides a two-megabits-per-second speed for $28.95 (prices may have changed since last year).' The markup is likely similar in the U.S. It's about time that we consumers found out what it really costs to provide Internet service, and for that matter telephone and wireless services, so we can get a fair shake."
As tablets and computer-phones flood the market, the headlines read: "The Personal Computer is Dying." But they are only half true: an artifact of the PC is dying, but the essence of the PC revolution is closer to realization than ever before, while also being closer to loss than ever before.
menno_h writes "In January 1665, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary that he stayed up till two in the morning reading a best-selling page-turner, a work that he called 'the most ingenious book I read in my life.' It was not a rousing history of English battles or a proto-bodice ripper. It was filled with images: of fleas, of bark, of the edges of razors. The book was called Micrographia. It provided the reading public with its first look at the world beyond the naked eye. Its author, Robert Hooke, belonged to a brilliant circle of natural philosophers who — among many other things — were the first in England to make serious use of microscopes as scientific instruments. They were great believers in looking at the natural world for themselves rather than relying on what ancient Greek scholars had claimed. Looking under a microscope at the thousands of facets on an insect's compound eye, they saw things at the nanoscale that Aristotle could not have dreamed of. A razor's edge became a mountain range. In the chambers of a piece of bark, Hooke saw the first evidence of cells. Micrographia is is available on Google Books now."
00_NOP writes "Amazon is taking fire in the UK for insisting that publishers pay them for 20% VAT (sales tax) when in fact the online retailer is only paying 3% VAT. 'The firm is able to wield such power over publishers because it has a near monopoly of the UK digital book publishing market. According to reliable estimates, it sells nine out of 10 ebooks in the UK, while using its Luxembourg tax status to wring more profitable terms from publishers. ... In private, British authors and publishers express fears that Amazon's dominance will send the industry into further decline.' Given that the Kindle is rubbish at displaying maths and science and that Amazon is as dangerous a monopoly as Microsoft ever was, is it not time that regulators and consumers stood up to them?" Amazon is also facing criticism right now for allegedly shutting down a woman's account and remotely wiping her Kindle, then refusing to provide information about why it did so.
Richard Dawkins is an author and an evolutionary biologist. For 13 years, he held the Simonyi Professorship at the University of Oxford. His 1976 book The Selfish Gene helped popularize the gene-centric view of evolution and coined the word "meme." Several other of his books, including Climbing Mount Improbable, River Out of Eden, and The Greatest Show on Earth have helped to explain aspects of evolution in a way non-scientists can more easily understand. Dawkins is a frequent opponent of creationism and intelligent design, and he generated widespread controversy and debate in 2006 with The God Delusion, a book that subjected common religious beliefs to unyielding scientific scrutiny. He wrote, "One of the truly bad effects of religion is that it teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding." Most recently, Dawkins wrote The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True, a graphic book that aims to introduce kids to science. He's also recently begun a video series titled "Sex, Death, and the Meaning of Life" about how our world would look without religion. Mr. Dawkins has graciously agreed to answer some questions for us. Post your suggestions in the comments below, but please limit yourself to one question per post. We'll post his responses sometime next week.
benrothke writes "When Bruce Schneier first published Applied Cryptography in 1994, it was a watershed event, given that is was one of the first comprehensive texts on the topic that existed outside of the military. In the nearly 20 years since the book came out, a lot has changed in the world of encryption and cryptography. A number of books have been written to fill that gap and Everyday Cryptography: Fundamental Principles and Applications is one of them. While the title may give the impression that this is an introductory text; that is not the case. Author Keith Martin is the director of the information security group at Royal Holloway, a division of the University of London, and the book is meant for information security professionals in addition to being used as a main reference for a principles of cryptography course. The book is also a great reference for those studying for the CISSP exam." Read below for the rest of Ben's review.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Seattle Times reports that exactly 65 years to the minute after becoming the first human to fly faster than the speed of sound, retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager flew in the back seat of an F-15 Eagle as it broke the sound barrier at more than 30,000 feet above California's Mojave Desert — the same area where he first achieved the feat in 1947 while flying an experimental rocket plane. Asked by a young girl if he was scared during Sunday's flight, Yeager joked, 'Yeah, I was scared to death.' Yeager made the first supersonic flight in a rocket-powered, Bell X-1, known as the XS-1 for 'experimental, supersonic,' attached to the belly of a B-29 aircraft. Hiding the pain of broken ribs from a midnight horse race after a night of drinking at Pancho Barnes' Happy Bottom Riding Club, Yeager squeezed into the aircraft with no safe way to bail out. Soon after the rocket plane was released, Yeager powered it upward to about 42,000 feet altitude, then leveled off and sped to 650 mph, or Mach 1.07. Some aviation historians contend that American pilot George Welch broke the sound barrier before Yeager, while diving an XP-86 Sabre on October 1, 1947 and there is also a disputed claim by German pilot Hans Guido Mutke that he was the first person to break the sound barrier, on April 9, 1945, in a Messerschmitt Me 262. Yeager's flight was portrayed in the opening scenes of The Right Stuff, the 1983 movie, based on the book by Tom Wolfe that chronicles America's space race. For his part Yeager said nothing special was going through his mind at the time of the re-enactment. 'Flying is flying. You can't add a lot to it.'"
hypnosec writes "Amazon, in an email to Kindle owners, has a revealed that following the settlement in the eBook price fixing lawsuit customers will be entitled to refunds between 30 cents and $1.32 on each book purchased. If the $69 million settlement is approved, the funds will be provided as credits to customers directly in their accounts. Users may request checks for the amount of credit that has been applied to their accounts. 'If the Court approves the settlements, the account credit will appear automatically and can be used to purchase Kindle books or print books,' wrote Amazon in the email."
gspec writes "A little background about me: 36-year-old computer engineer working in the Bay Area. While I bring in a comfortable salary, I consider myself an underachiever, and my career is stagnant (I have only been promoted four times in my 12-year career). I have led a couple projects, but I am not in any sort of leadership/management position. I realize I need to do something to enhance my career, and unfortunately, going back to school is not an option. One thing I can do is to read more quality books. My question: which books, of any type or genre, have had a significant impact on your life?"
concealment writes "A judge has ruled that the libraries who have provided Google with their books to scan are protected by copyright's fair use doctrine. While the decision doesn't guarantee that Google will win—that's still to be decided in a separate lawsuit—the reasoning of this week's decision bodes well for Google's case. Most of the books Google scans for its book program come from libraries. After Google scans each book, it provides a digital image and a text version of the book to the library that owns the original. The libraries then contribute the digital files to a repository called the Hathitrust Digital Library, which uses them for three purposes: preservation, a full-text search engine, and electronic access for disabled patrons who cannot read the print copies of the books."
Michael Ross writes "With the advent of graphical user interfaces (GUIs) decades ago, most of the commercially-available software transitioned from command-line usage to point-and-click interfaces, with the majority of these applications completely phasing out all command-line capabilities, or never implementing them in the first place. But for programmers — most of whom are comfortable working on the command line — performing administrative actions within a GUI can become tedious and time-consuming, and there is a growing movement toward adding command-line support back to software development applications. An example of this is Drush, which is a command-line interface for the Drupal content management system. Drush, whose name is derived from "Drupal shell," was originally developed six years ago, and is seeing a resurgence within the Drupal community. However, what appears to be the primary information resource for Drush, the community documentation, currently has a status of "incomplete." Fortunately, there is now a book available that provides more extensive coverage, Drush User's Guide, authored by Requena Juan Pablo Novillo ("juampy"). The book was released by Packt Publishing on 10 April 2012, under the ISBN 978-1849517980. The publisher's page offers descriptions of the book, its table of contents, a brief author biography, the known errata, the example code used in the book, and a free sample chapter (the third one, "Customizing Drush"). This review is based upon a print copy kindly furnished by the publisher; an e-book version is also available." Read below for the rest of Michael's review.
Monday you had a chance to ask Linus Torvalds any question you wanted. We sent him a dozen of the highest rated and below you'll see what he has to say about computers, programming, books, and copyrights. He also talks about what he would have done differently with Linux if he had to do it all over again. Hint: it rhymes with nothing.