Our New Pearl Harbor 1402

Weehauken, N.J. -- It's almost impossible to reconcile the cool, clear, cloudless day with the scene across the water. There are no World Trade Centers, and up above the giant white clouds steaming from the spot where they used to be, pairs of F-15's circle over Manhattan, around and around the encircled island. Along the closed entrances and highways into the city, ambulances, fire engines and police cars line up for miles waiting to take the thousands of casualties out of New York City and all over the Northeast. At the blood bank in Paramus where I tried to give blood, there were five-hour lines, and the police turned us away.Reporters break down on the air and sob. At the closed-down bridges and tunnels, people stand alongside their cars by the score, staring and crying. I keep calling the cell of one of my closest friends, who went to work inside the Towers at 8:30, and kept getting his voice-mail, until 11:00 a.m., when a recording said his phone was no longer in service. All around New York City, psychologists are showing up at school bus stops to deal with kids whose parents aren't coming home. It's impossible to stare at the TV and not think of the horrific convergence between technology, politics, and information.
Upgrades

Migration from PDF, MS Word and Frontpage? 10

l337hx0r asks: "I've just began work at a government department who, with 24 branches and five years at their disposal, has managed to create 85,000 proprietary documents. The current IT manager doesn't see a problem with this, and the government recommendations of open formats came as quite a surprise. I want to move this intranet away from WYSIWYG to a logical document structure (Docbook, Tex, XHTML), though the migration tools have been quite disappointing. Can it be done?"

Continuing Twists In Microsoft, Intel Cases 315

An Anonymous Coward writes: "New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer and California Attorney General Bill Lockyer have threatened to pursue their own sanctions against Microsoft if they conclude that the Justice department isn't being tough enough. Amongst other things, they demand that Windows XP "receive close scrutiny in arriving at a judicially ordered remedy. Go NY!"" NaughtyusMaximus points us to this message at Anandtech about Via reacting to Intel's patent-infringement suit by turning around and suing Intel -- for patent infringement -- in Taiwan and the U.S.. Via is also countersuing Intel in England.
News

How Secure is SELinux? 7

cryptonix asks: "After reading this story on the latest release of SELinux, I wonder how secure it really is? Not that I question the NSA's knowhow in security related matters, but has there been any serious testing on it? What features would you like to see added and what aspects need improving?" The only way to really determine how secure something is, will be to put it out in the wild and see how well it stands up to the greatest test of all: time. SELinux probably hasn't had that much time out there yet, since isn't quite a year old yet, so it might be interesting to revisit this question in a couple of years. Until then, how has SELinux stood up to the personal testing of those of you out there who have used it?
The Internet

Mission Critical Applications and Web Based UIs? 10

Jonny Quest asks: "I work for a company with an excellent Client-Server based product. Unfortunately it's not 'Web-Based' (whatever that means). Ours is a 'Line-of-Business' app, i.e. it means that those people who use it absolutely depend on it for making money - if the app is down, they can't process their orders, service their clients & employees, etc. at all - mission critical in other words, and they spend ALL day in the app. What's the best UI that any Slashdotter has seen for a 'Web Based' app? Something with a rich user interface and some decent multiscreen handling (the current app has about 200 screens...)?" 'Web-Based', that's such a loaded buzzword, and like most buzzwords no one is really quite clear on what it means. Does it mean HTML+CGI? Does that allow for Java? Cold-Fusion? Internet operation or just Intranet (if it's mission critical, it better be the latter, and even then...)? Would any of you recommend deploying a mission-critical application over the web? If so, how would you do it? What technologies would you use and what is to be avoided at all costs?
Games

Creative Games sans Violence? 604

jolyon_jnr asks: "I'm looking for games to use in an unusual educational setting: a school within a Juvenile Detention Centre. I don't set policy, so the 'no violence' is a fixed criteria. I want to engage students' creativity and problem solving skills, without using 'boring educational software'. I've thought of Lemmings and The Incredible Machine. What other suggestions can you offer? Please bear in mind that most students have very low literacy levels, but will learn if motivated sufficiently."
Linux

Is OpenAFS Robust Enough to Replace NFS? 9

eskimoe asks: "Has anyone been playing with (OpenAFS) lately? It looks very promising and claims to be kinda stable now. Unfortunately Google didn't find any reviews when I last searched. This surprised me, considering what I would suspect to be a not-so-small percentage of sysadmins who would absolutely love a secure, not-as-broken-as-nfs, not-depending-on-braindead-RPC-stuff, not-relying-on-client-for-authentication network file system. The other available alternatives such as CODA, various nfs-patches/branches (generally addressing one NFS design-bug at a time while causing more problems) or SMB-only environments have never reached the state of functionality and usability necessary to actually become a serious NFS-killer. So, would you deploy AFS in a production environment, yet? Has anyone tried?"
Programming

On Getting Management Interested in Improving Quality? 270

npoole asks: "Like many of the Slashdot readers, I am a programmer and have been pushing out repetitive database content for about a year. The work simply doesn't stop and the more we get it seems the less we ensure quality work. I have been debating telling my boss that either we take less clients, less money, more quality work or I am leaving. Is this a smart thing to do? I'm making very good money doing quick hacks to push out websites, but it's not very project oriented as much as it's become 'throw in pre-written, pre-used functions'. Any advice on how to ensure quality in our work without telling my boss it's either my way or the highway?" Of course, improved quality in any product affects the bottom line, and it's the bottom line that managers are paid to keep up. How can a developer communicate to managers (both open and closed) the value of better quality in development, and how long should one try before giving up?
News

Better Cages for IDE Drives? 8

Bamfarooni asks: "No one uses 5.25" drives any more, but cases still come with a bazillion 5.25" bays. When you're trying to cram a couple of terabytes into a desktop server, cages like this and this let you reclaim some of that space. Unfortunately, all the really high density cages, like this one only come with SCA backplanes. Has anyone discovered a similar "5 drives in 3 bays" cage for IDE drives? Suppose there is a missed market opportunity here?"
Hardware

Using A Laptop as KVM Head? 10

Dune asks: "I tote around a nice laptop all day and then have to sit down in front of a lot of different boxes. I'd love to be able to use my laptop as a KVM head. Has anyone every seen something that would allow this? Maybe a USB device which has keyboard, video and mouse cables to plug into a box (or KVM switch)? With a corresponding app/driver of course..." My first knee-jerk answer to this question was "maybe VNC would work", and while that will let you log in and get you a desktop with which you could use the machine, it's only a hack and not a true KVM head, which would show you exactly the same thing that's on the console. Could VNC possibly be hacked to serve this purpose? Of course, and I'm sure that many people would be interested in such if someone knows how to do it. However I'm wondering if someone out there has already developed (or is working on) a better solution?
Linux

Administration on Systems w/ Lots of Users? 15

kidlinux asks: "Since I started using Linux I've relied mostly on documentation to learn how to use any given aspect of the system. Up until now, I've been used to setting up systems for myself and a few of my friends. I have recently been hired to setup a system which will have 100+ users. Some will have shell access, some email only, some web access, etc.. When setting up a system for vast amounts of users, are things done differently? What kind of things do I need to consider when configuring the system? Is there any documentation available for setting up large scale systems?"
Hardware

Wireless Reflector for 802.11b? 4

Throgmorton's Nosehair asks: "My access-point and clients don't like talking to each other through multiple walls, even inside our single floor apartment. I already have a couple of the diddy 'range extender' antennas plugged into the client PCMCIA cards, but this is messy for laptops which are moved from place to place. The access-point has an omni-directional antenna. Is there any cheap-and-cheerful way to build a simple *reflector* (I'm already aware of the do-it-yourself directional antenna pages out there) to restrict the output to, say a 120-degree arc? I'm thinking along the lines of a sheet of cardboard covered with aluminum foil here (something that Blue Peter viewers could make with a cornflake packet, some sticky tape and a pair of scissors)." What are other ways that one can cheaply improve 802.11 performance in the home or home-office? Also, be aware that if you are improving the the reception on your signal that others may be listening in as well, so please take whatever steps you deem appropriate in securing your wireless LAN.
The Internet

Why Can't ADSL Be Reversed? 23

John Macdonald asks: "An ADSL connection uses the asymmetric (that's the A in ADSL) bandwidth to provide much larger download than upload capacity. That's great for many situations, where people browse and collect, importing data far more than they export to the world at large. But there are some sites that could use the asymmetry more effectively the other way - with a large upload capacity and small download. This would work well for ftp and web servers, for example. So, why don't telcos provide this inverse capability? Is the hardware more expensive to run the other way? Is there just too little demand? Has nobody thought of it before? I'd guess that there is small enough demand that they prefer to only offer a symmetric, higher-speed, but also higher-priced, connection for such sites."
Hardware

Building a DIY Home Office? 247

Rednerd asks: "I just moved into a new apartment and I'm almost done painting and running the cat 5. I have been looking at office furniture for a new desk to become the new home for all of my misc. computer gadgetry, but I haven't been able to find anything that really fits. (No one seems to sell a desk with room for two 19" monitors, seven computers, a beer fridge, coffee maker, and a small compartment to serve as a shrine for my little plush penguin - Potelé) I'm leaning toward building a custom desk for my computers. With all the talk on Slashdot about creating an ultra-efficient cubicle, I was wondering what other slashdotters have created in the way of DIY home offices?"
Sun Microsystems

Buying Sun Sparcs for Personal Use? 29

sid crimson asks: "I'm looking to add a Sun Sparc to my home setup so I can cut my teeth on Solaris/Sparc. Maybe there are slashdotters who would offer some insight as to which workstations might be best suited to a budget-minded someone wanting to learn SunOS 2.6 all the way through Solaris 7 & 8? Maybe some specifics as to the need for a 'framebuffer' and other options available for Sun hardware." If one is looking for a Sparc or Sparc Hardware, you might try looking at this earlier article which discussed online vendors that sell Sparc hardware. That article is a couple of years old, however, so I imagine the seller landscape has changed slightly. If anyone knows of other sites or shops that specialized in Sparc hardware that may not have been mentioned in the previous article, please share them here.

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