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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Ask Slashdot: Command Line Interfaces -- What Is Out There? 383

Posted by Soulskill
from the anything-but-the-truth dept.
Mars729 writes "GUIs are walled gardens in that features available in one piece of software is not available to other pieces of software. However, there is software out there with command-line options that can make software features accessible to power users and programmers. Some important ones I have uncovered are:
  • Exiftool: A command-line application that can read/write almost any kind of metadata contained in almost any filetype
  • Imagemagick: This and similar software like GraphicsMagick is a full-feature toolkit for displaying, converting and editing image files.
  • Irfanview: Like Imagemagick but faster, although it has much fewer features.
    FFMpeg: For video files
  • VLC: For audio and video files
  • Aspell: A command line spell checker
  • Google Static Maps API: A URL with coordinates, markers, zoom levels and other options to show a custom map from Google Maps. (I just uncovered this: no need to learn KML!)

Less useful but still useful are command shells. These provide file management mostly. I believe some of them may allow for sending and retrieving email messages. Also useful but less accessible and with a steeper learning curve are software with APIs and scripting. Examples would be Visual Basic for Applications in office software and groovy scripting for Freeplane. What else is out there?"

Comment: Second hand? (Score 1) 381

by ACorvus (#45211717) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best SOHO Printer Choices?

I picked up an HP Laserjet 5550DTN for £400 recently off ebay. Only had 14000 pages on the clock.

It's huuuuge but it's A3 colour, duplex, built like a tank and really fast. 3rd party toners are dead cheap and I have no issues with them.

Worth looking at used models if they are from a good seller and low mileage.


Staff Emails Are Not Owned By Firms, UK Judge Rules 111

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-about-their-thoughts dept.
Qedward writes "A high court judge has ruled that companies do not have a general claim of ownership of the content contained in staff emails. The decision creates a potential legal minefield for the terms of staff contracts and an administrative nightmare for IT teams running email servers, back up and storage. The judge ruled businesses do not have an 'enforceable proprietary claim' to staff email content unless that content can be considered to be confidential information belonging to a business, unless business copyright applies to the content, or unless the business has a contractual right of ownership over the content. Justice Edwards-Stuart added it was 'quite impractical and unrealistic' to determine that ownership of the content of emails either belongs exclusively to the creator or the recipient of an email."

Tasmanian Cops Decline To "Censor Internet" 116

Posted by samzenpus
from the don't-feed-the-trolls dept.
aesoteric writes "Tasmania's police force has taken the unusual step of asking the public to stop alerting it to every 'abusive or harassing' comment posted to Facebook or other social media sites. The force said it was 'increasingly receiving complaints' about material posted to the sites, but sought to clarify that 'the use of technology to undertake some conduct does not in itself create an offense.'"

Comment: Pixar killed BMRT (Score 1) 85

by ACorvus (#34233606) Attached to: Interview With Head of Pixar Animation Ed Catmull

The article explains most of it. BMRT was a freely available Renderman-compatible renderer. It was available for years until Larry Gritz decided to produce an upgraded commercial version.

It was quite a fun toy to play with, and also probably stopped quite a few aspiring 3D artists from learning RM.


Revived Microbe May Hold Clues For ET Lifeforms 126

Posted by kdawson
from the calling-agent-smilla dept.
krou writes "Science Daily is reporting that a microbe, Herminiimonas glaciei, buried some 3 km under glacial ice in Greenland, and believed to have been frozen for some 120,000 years, has been brought back to life (abstract). The microbe, some ten to fifty times smaller than E. coli, was brought back over several months by slowly incubating it at gradually increasing temperatures. After 11.5 months, the microbe began to replicate. Scientists believe that it could help us understand how life may exist on other planets. Dr. Jennifer Loveland-Curtze, who headed up the team of scientists from Pennsylvania State University, said: 'These extremely cold environments are the best analogues of possible extraterrestrial habitats. ... [S]tudying these bacteria can provide insights into how cells can survive and even grow under extremely harsh conditions, such as temperatures down to -56C, little oxygen, low nutrients, high pressure and limited space.' She also added that it 'isn't a pathogen and is not harmful to humans, but it can pass through a 0.2 micron filter, which is the filter pore size commonly used in sterilization of fluids in laboratories and hospitals. If there are other ultra-small bacteria that are pathogens, then they could be present in solutions presumed to be sterile. In a clear solution very tiny cells might grow but not create the density sufficient to make the solution cloudy.'"
Hardware Hacking

DIY Microprocessor Sound Level Meter Demoed At MIT 81

Posted by timothy
from the you-only-listen-to-me-to-check-levels dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A Piezoelectric Sound Level Meter was demoed at MIT's Battle of the Bands last month, borrowing its display from the do-it-yourself USB LED marquee that was the subject of a previous Slashdot story. This video tutorial describes in detail both the analog electronics plus the C code that runs the system. If this is your first experience at the intersection of digital and analog systems, don't be scared!"

Comment: Re:How much is your time worth (Score 5, Informative) 837

by ACorvus (#27729885) Attached to: Handmade vs. Commercially Produced Ethernet Cables

I can't agree with this - if the termination of a transmission line is correct at each end, then the length has no matter at all for any frequency (in theory, not accounting for increasing losses with frequency, but then there's a reason for length restrictions in the CatX/Ethernet standards).

If you're talking about a *tuned* line (eg a stub or a tuned antenna feeder), then length is important. But we're not. If you've got problems with harmonics or matching and reflections then your ethernet cards are probably bottom-shelf knock-offs.

The problem with premade-lenght cables is you're going to run into tangles if many changes are made, and are going to end up coiling. Make that coil too tight and you're going to cause crosstalk. A custom job with all cables neatly following defined routes with no coils, twists or kinks is going to make life easier in the long term.


Handmade vs. Commercially Produced Ethernet Cables 837

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the now-wait-a-minute dept.
An anonymous reader writes "We have a T1 line coming into our satellite office and we rely fairly heavily on it to transfer large amounts of data over a VPN to the head office across the country. Recently, we decided to upgrade to a 20 Mbit line. Being the lone IT guy here, it fell on me to run cable from the ISP's box to our server room so I went out and bought a spool of Cat6. I mentioned the purchase and the plan to run the cable myself to my boss in head office and in an emailed response he stated that it's next to impossible to create quality cable (ie: cable that will pass a Time Domain Reflectometer test) by hand without expensive dies, special Ethernet jacks and special cable. He even went so far as to say that handmade cable couldn't compare to even the cheapest Belkin cables. I've never once ran into a problem with handmade patch cables. Do you create your own cable or do you bite the bullet and buy it from some place?"

UK Government To Back Off Plans To Share Private Data 54

Posted by Soulskill
from the oh-that-bothers-you-sorry dept.
Richard Rothwell writes with news that Jack Straw, Britain's Justice Secretary, has made public plans to drop provisions from the Coroners and Justice Bill which would have allowed the government to take information gathered for one purpose and use it for any other purpose. "A spokesman for Mr Straw said the 'strength of feeling' against the plans had persuaded him to rethink. The proposals will be dropped entirely from the Coroners and Justice Bill, and a new attempt will be made to reach a consensus on introducing a scaled-back version at an unspecified stage in the future." After defending the government's intentions, Straw bowed to pressure from a variety of groups and individuals who presented objections to the bill.

Shaming Russia Into Action On Cyber Crime 140

Posted by Soulskill
from the stand-in-the-corner-until-you're-sorry dept.
krebsatwpost writes "The Washington Post ran a piece earlier this week that confronts the myth that cyber criminal gangs in Russia and Eastern Europe avoid attacking their own, pointing to numerous examples of late that counter this common misconception. The story draws on data from Team Cyrmu about distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS) that target Russian and E. European organizations, intel from McAfee about Russian banks and federal agencies that appear to be under control over cyber gangs there, and tens of gigabytes of data stolen via keyloggers that disproportionately impact Russian systems, including that of a top Gazprom official. The piece begins: 'If you ask security experts why more cyber criminals aren't brought to justice, the answer you will probably hear is that US authorities simply aren't getting the cooperation they need from law enforcement officials in Russia and other Eastern European nations, where some of the world's most active cyber criminal gangs are thought to operate with impunity. But I wonder whether authorities in those countries would be any more willing to pursue cyber crooks in their own countries if they were forced to confront just how deeply those groups have penetrated key government and private computer networks in those regions?'"

To communicate is the beginning of understanding. -- AT&T