coondoggie passes along this excerpt from Network World: "Today I bring you a story that has it all: a solar-powered, low-cost, open source cellular network that's revolutionizing coverage in underprivileged and off-grid spots. It uses VoIP yet works with existing cell phones. It has pedigreed founders. Best of all, it is part of the sex, drugs and art collectively known as Burning Man. ... The technology starts with the 'they-said-it-couldn't-be-done' open source software, OpenBTS. OpenBTS is built on Linux and distributed via the AGPLv3 license. When used with a software-defined radio such as the Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP), it presents a GSM air interface ("Um") to any standard GSM cell phone, with no modification whatsoever required of the phone. It uses open source Asterisk VoIP software as the PBX to connect calls, though it can be used with other soft switches, too. ... This is the third year its founders have decided to trial-by-fire the system by offering free cell phone service to the 50,000-ish attendees at Burning Man, which begins today in Black Rock City, Nevada. "
An anonymous reader writes "Massively.com has reported that an EVE Online player recently lost over $1,200 worth of in-game items during a pirate attack. The player in question was carrying 74 PLEX in their ship's cargo hold — in-game 'Pilot's License Extensions' that award 30 days of EVE Online time when used on your account. When the ship was blown up by another player, all 74 PLEX were destroyed in the resulting blast, costing $1,200 worth of damage, or over 6 years of EVE subscription time, however you prefer to count it. Ow."
peterkern writes "Samsung has a new hard drive and says it can now store 667 GB on one disk, which comes out to be about 739 Gb/sq. in. That is more than five times the density when perpendicular recording was introduced back in 2006, and it is getting close to the generally expected soft limit of 1 Tb/sq. in. It's great that we can now store 2 TB on one hard drive and that 3-TB hard drives are already feasible. But how far can it go? It appears that the hard drive industry may start talking about heat-assisted magnetic recording again, soon."
levell writes "Alex Brown, Convenor of the Ballot Resolution Meeting on OOXML, has written a blog post saying that Microsoft is failing the standards test. Mr. Brown notes: 'In its pre-release form Office 2010 supports not the approved Strict variant of OOXML, but the very format the global community rejected in September 2007, and subsequently marked as not for use in new documents — the Transitional variant. Microsoft are behaving as if the JTC 1 standardisation process never happened, and using technologies (like VML) in a new product which even the text of the Standard itself describes as "deprecated" and "included... for legacy reasons only"...' He also says that defects are being fixed very slowly and that 'Looking at the text, I reckon it is more like 95% that remains to be done, as it is still lousy with defects.' It's an insightful look at what has happened with OOXML since ISO approved it from someone who was not opposed to its becoming a standard."
An anonymous reader writes "Wondering where all that bloat comes from, causing even the classic 'Hello world' to weigh in at 11 KB? An MIT programmer decided to make a Linux C program so simple, she could explain every byte of the assembly. She found that gcc was including libc even when you don't ask for it. The blog shows how to compile a much simpler 'Hello world,' using no libraries at all. This takes me back to the days of programming bare-metal on DOS!"
sglines writes "Over the last couple of years I've been slowly getting deaf. Too much loud rock and roll I suppose. After flubbing a couple of job interviews because I couldn't understand my inquisitors, I had a hearing test which confirmed what I already knew: I'm deaf. So I tried on a set of behind-the-ear hearing aids. Wow, my keyboard makes clacks as I type and my wife doesn't mumble to herself. Then I asked how much: $3,700 for the pair. Hey, I'm unemployed. The cheapest digital hearing aids they had were $1,200 each. If you look at the specs they are not very impressive. A digital hearing aid has a low-power A-to-D converter. Output consists of D-to-A conversion with volume passing through an equalizer that inversely matches your hearing loss. Most hearing loss, mine included, is frequency dependent, so an equalizer does wonders. The 'cheap' hearing aids had only four channels while the high-end one had twelve. My 1970 amplifier had more than that. I suppose they have some kind of noise reduction circuitry, too, but that's pretty much it. So my question is this: when I can get a very good netbook computer for under $400 why do I need to pay $1,200 per ear for a hearing aid? Alternatives would be welcome."
sproketboy writes "Project Darkstar, an open source software platform from Sun labs that simplifies the development of horizontally scalable servers for online games, is being discontinued as of the Oracle acquisition. This project, mentioned a couple of years back on Slashdot, was a unique concept for building an application server specific to on-line gaming. Sadly they were so close at version 0.9.11 (which is still very stable). Hopefully the open source community can get involved and help continue work on this project."
rubycodez writes "The anti-trust body of the EU, the European Commission, has approved Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems, believing competition would be preserved. It saw PostgreSQL as a viable independent alternative to MySQL and that market access to Java would not be restricted. Uncertainty about Sun's future has cost over a billion dollars in lost sales in the past year."
An anonymous reader writes "During several months of 2009, Moscow police looked at fake pictures displayed on their monitors instead of what was supposed to be video from the city surveillance cams. The subcontractor providing the cams was paid on the basis of 'the number of working cams,' so he delivered pre-cooked pictures stored on his servers. The camera company CEO has been arrested."
stickyboot writes "The independent games developer Wolfire describes why they decided to use OpenGL instead of DirectX. The article mainly discusses the marketing strategies behind DirectX and how the API became so popular. It also goes over why a developer would choose OpenGL over DirectX and what this decision means for the gamer. 'Back in 1997, the situation was similar to how it is now. Microsoft was running a massive marketing campaign for Direct3D, and soon everyone "just knew" that it was faster and better than OpenGL. This started to change when Chris Hecker published his open letter denouncing DirectX. Soon after that, John Carmack posted his famous OpenGL rant, and put his money where his mouth was by implementing all of Id Software's games in OpenGL, proving once and for all that DirectX was unnecessary for high-end 3D gaming. This lesson appears to have been forgotten over the last few years. Most game developers have fallen under the spell of DirectX marketing, or into the whirlpool of vicious cycles and network advantages.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Former Washington Post Security Fix blogger Brian Krebs has launched a new blog at krebsonsecurity.com, and his first story highlights a pair of underground antivirus scanning services that cater to virus writers. Scanning services like virustotal.com scan submitted files against dozens of antivirus products, and share the results with each of the vendors so that all benefit from learning about threats they don't yet detect. But there are number of budding online services that allow customers to pay per scan, and promise that the results will never get reported back to the antivirus companies. One service even tests how well web site 'exploit packs' are detected, while others promise additional layers of protection. 'The service claims that it will soon be rolling out advanced features, such as testing malware against anti-spyware and firewall programs, as well as a test to see whether the malware functions in a virtual machine.'"
An anonymous reader points to this explanation of a brain-machine interface for real-time synthetic speech production, which has been successfully tested in a 26-year-old patient. From the article: "Signals collected from an electrode in the speech motor cortex are amplified and sent wirelessly across the scalp as FM radio signals. The Neuralynx System amplifies, converts, and sorts the signals. The neural decoder then translates the signals into speech commands for the speech synthesizer."
Luminous Coward writes "As previously discussed on Slashdot, according to AnandTech and The Tech Report, hard disk drive manufacturers are now ready to bump the size of the disk sector from 512 to 4096 bytes, in order to minimize storage lost to ECC and sync. This may not be a smooth transition, because some OSes do not align partitions on 4K boundaries."
Barence writes "Microsoft has unveiled the first details of Internet Explorer 9, promising that it will close the performance gap on rival browsers. The major newcomer is a revamped rendering engine that will tap the power of the PC's graphics card to accelerate text and graphics performance. 'We're changing IE to use the DirectX family of Windows APIs to enable many advances for web developers,' explains Internet Explorer's general manager, Dean Hachamovitch. As well as improving performance, Microsoft claims the hardware acceleration will enhance the appearance and readability of fonts on the web, with sub-pixel positioning that eradicates the jagged edges on large typefaces."
Several readers including alphadogg tipped the news that ICANN has approved non-Latin ccTLDs at its meeting in Seoul. "Starting in mid-November, countries and territories will be able to apply to show domain names in their native language, a major technical tweak to the Internet designed to increase language accessibility. On Friday, the Internet's addressing authority approved a Fast-Track Process for applying for an IDN (Internationalized Domain Name) and will begin accepting applications on Nov. 16. The move comes after years of technical testing and policy development... Currently, domain names can only be displayed using the Latin alphabet letters A-Z, the digits 0-9 and the hyphen, but in future countries will be able to display country-code Top Level Domains (cc TLDs) in their native language. ... 'The usability of IDNs may be limited, as not all application software is capable of working with IDNs,' ICANN said in a 59-page proposal (PDF) dated Sept. 30 that describes the [application] process." Reader dhermann adds, "Great, now even less chance I can identify NSFW links before they are blocked by my work's big brother app and my boss is notified... again."