John Lister

Thu
22
May
Dennis Faas's picture

Supreme Court Makes Even Offering Explicit Images of Children Illegal

The Supreme Court has ruled that merely offering to give someone else explicit images of children is illegal, even if the pictures or videos don't actually exist. The ruling applies to all means of communication, but obviously most cases today ... involve the Internet. The specific case in question involved the crime of "pandering" images of children, defined as promoting material (real or 'purported') in a way designed to convince people that it is explicit. In this case, a Florida man named Michael Williams had been arrested after using an Internet chat room and offering to trade nude pictures ... (view more)

Fri
16
May
Dennis Faas's picture

Schools Agency Plans To Teach Microsoft A Lesson

Microsoft could be in even more trouble with European Union competition regulators after a complaint by a British government agency. The British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA), which oversees computer purchasing in schools ... and colleges, says Microsoft Office doesn't work smoothly enough with other programmes. They argue that Microsoft should use the independent OpenDocument format which makes it easy to transfer files such as spreadsheets or word documents between rival software packages. Microsoft has its own 'open' format, Office Open XML, but critics say it's too ... (view more)

Thu
15
May
Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft-Google Battle Goes Galactic

Microsoft is launching an online service giving users access to images from space telescopes. It could mean yet another battle with Google, which has its own service, Google Sky. Bill Gates says the WorldWide Telescope project should be online by ... the end of the month. The free service is based on Microsoft's Visual Experience Engine, the same technology which runs the Microsoft Virtual Earth mapping software. By combining this software with thousands of images taken from space cameras, the service effectively acts as an interactive telescope. Where appropriate there will also be links to ... (view more)

Thu
15
May
Dennis Faas's picture

Outside Company Offers Smarter Wikipedia Searches

If you're a Wikipedia fan, you've probably noticed that the site's biggest drawback is its search facility. That's because the internal search tool appears to be largely based on early search engines, which simply measure how often and how ... prominently a particular phrase appears on any given page. While it's still a useful technique, such systems can feel quite ineffective now that we're used to more sophisticated searches such as Google, which takes into account how prestigious and respected each site is in the Internet community. And the Wikipedia system has a big drawback in that it doesn' ... (view more)

Wed
14
May
Dennis Faas's picture

Irony Strikes At Tech Conference

Java's long-standing record of avoiding virus problems came to an ironic and messy end at a recent conference dedicated to the computer programming technology. Around 70 people at the JavaOne trade show in San Francisco were victims of a ... particularly nasty virus which caused their back-end systems to spew out unwanted material uncontrollably. However, it was stomachs rather than servers which felt the effects of the 'norovirus', a human rather than computer complaint. Symptoms disappear quickly, but are highly contagious. And given how many handshakes take place at such an event, the results ... (view more)

Wed
14
May
Dennis Faas's picture

Stephen Colbert Among 'Webby' Winners

Comedian Stephen Colbert's claim to be the Greatest Living American has earned him the honour of Internet "Person Of The Year". The award is all part of the 'Webbys', an annual celebration run by the International Academy of Digital Arts and ... Sciences. Now in their 12th year, the awards cover dozens of categories from best home page to best real estate site. Colbert took the lead prize for running a successful 'Googlebombing' campaign. This involved asking viewers to create pages or post blogs describing him as the 'greatest living American'. Eventually, so many people did this that his ... (view more)

Tue
13
May
Dennis Faas's picture

Congressman Calls For Second Life Ban In Schools

A member of Congress who campaigns for tighter controls on how children access the Internet says it should be illegal for schools and libraries to provide access to the online game Second Life. Described as a 'virtual world', Second Life allows ... players to create their own characters and interact with others in a surprisingly wide range of activities. Some comedians and singers have given performances 'inside' the game, while one computing firm held Second Life job interviews for a real-world post. But it's more adult activities such as (entirely fictional) drug dealing and prostitution which ... (view more)

Mon
12
May
Dennis Faas's picture

Video Gaming Trade Group Struggling

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the video game industry's trade body, suffered a significant blow recently when two leading companies quit the group. They also pulled out of a major gaming showcase. Activision, producers of Guitar Hero ... and Call of Duty, and Vivendi, which owns the World of Warcraft series, both decided not to renew their membership with the ESA. They'll also be no-showing July's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), which the ESA organises each year. The two firms (which are merging later this year) are the first major players to quit the group. It appears the ... (view more)

Fri
09
May
Dennis Faas's picture

Texas Refuses Facebook Friend Request

Facebook has made a deal with state attorney governors to better protect child members from online predators. The site is developing a system to ensure new members are telling the truth about their age, and they'll also add in an automatic warning ... to under-18s whenever they are about to give personal information to an adult. In addition, they'll crack down on members who change the date of birth listed on their profile. As with a similar agreement made earlier this year by rivals MySpace, only Texas decided against signing-up. It's not yet clear why they've opted out this time, but in the ... (view more)

Thu
08
May
Dennis Faas's picture

Adobe Hopes To Make Flash Master Of The (Mobile) Universe

Adobe, Inc. is dropping most restrictions on the use of its Flash technology on mobile devices. The firm hopes the move will help boost the technology's appeal on cellphones, handheld PCs and set-top television boxes. Flash, which allows developers ... to produce interactive content and animations that appear the same way on all computers, is already widely popular on the web: around 98% of desktop computers with an Internet connection have the software installed. There's already a cut-down edition called Flash Lite for mobile devices, but licensing restrictions mean the full-scale Flash software ... (view more)

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