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The Matrix

Submission + - Australia to get new data cable, and price drop (

brindafella writes: "APC Magazine reports that an Australian independent data carrier, PIPE networks, has announced a new internet link to the USA, aa A$200 million (US$179m) cable to be built between Australia and Guam that is a significant Pacific data hub.

PIPE Pacific 1 (PPC-1) will have two 6,900km fibre optic strands, initially at 10 gigabits per second though 40 gigabits is expected to be available by commissioning in 2009. It will eventually run at a maximum rate of 1.92 terabits per second.

PIPE Networks is an Australian company with no commercial connection to Australia's "big two" telcos, Telstra or Optus. PIPE has recently been rolling out connectivity to exchanges and, with this cable, will give Australia an important new level of competition in national and international data backhaul that is expected to create new price tensions that benefit customers. Currently, most Australian customers have "metred" data plans, but the competition may lead to US-styled "un-metred" plans."


Submission + - Office 2003SP3: Old file formats, now unavailable! 3

time961 writes: "In Service Pack 3 for Office 2003, Microsoft has disabled support for many older file formats, so if you have old Word, Excel, 1-2-3, Quattro, or Corel Draw documents, watch out! They did this because the old formats are "less secure", which actually makes some sense, but only if you got the files from some untrustworthy source.

Naturally, they did this by default, and then documented a mind-bogglingly complex workaround (KB 938810) rather than providing a user interface for adjusting it, or even a set of awkward "Do you really want to do this?" dialog boxes to click through. And, of course, because these are, after all, old file formats, many users will encounter the problem only months or years after the software change, while groping around in dusty and now-inaccessible archives.

One of the better aspects of Office is its extensive compatibility mechanisms for old file formats. At least the support isn't completely gone—it's just really hard to use. Security is important, but there are better ways to fulfill this goal.

This was also covered by the Windows Secrets newsletter, although I can't find a story URL for it."

Submission + - Nintendo Wii Fully Hacked at 24C3, runs Homebrew (

cHALiTO writes: "From the site:
The guys over at 24C3 just demoed a Wii hack that is set to provide native Wii homebrew in the near future (not running in GC mode, and with full access to all the Wii hardware!)
They were able to find encryption and decryption keys by doing full memory dumps at runtime over a custom serial interface. Using these keys, they were able to create a Wii 'game' that ran their own code (their demo happened to show live sensor/Wiimote information, amongst a few other things).
Read here and watch video here."


Submission + - Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" to return (

Epeeist writes: "In 1980, the landmark series COSMOS premiered on public television. Since then, it is estimated that more than a billion people around the planet have seen the series. Now the Science Channel brings the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning COSMOS back, digitally remastered and with enhanced computer graphics."

Submission + - creationists violate copyright (

The_Rook writes: the discovery institute copied Harvard University's BioVisions video, "The Inner Life of the Cell", stripped out Harvard's copyright notice, credits, and narration, and inserted their own creationist friendly narration and renamed the video "The Cell as an automated city". pretty insidious, as suggesting that a cell is like a city is to suggest that it was designed rather than evolved. it should also be of interest because the discovery institute, really more of a lawyer mill than a scientific institution, engaged in a particularly egregious example of copyright infringement.

Submission + - What every programmer should know about memory (

mrcgran writes: "LWN.NET has just finished publishing an excellent series about memory, by Ulrich Drepper:"What every programmer should know about memory". Wonder the difference between PC100 and PC1600? Challeges of NUMA systems, access optimizations for L1 and L2 caches? Want to write code which performs well in several memory contexts? Then this series is probably what you should read first. There is also a PDF version available from Ulrich's home page. While at it, why not do a combo grabbing a copy of Goldberg's classical paper "What Every Computer Scientist Should Know About Floating Point Arithmetic"?."

Submission + - Kevin Rudd wins Australian Election (

gunny01 writes: "Kevin Rudd, the head of the Australian Labor Party, has defeated the Liberal Party incumbent John Howard in Saturday's federal election, with a 5.8% swing. This ends Howard's eleven year term in office, and it also appears at this stage that he has lost his seat. If this turns out to be correct, Peter Costello will be the Opposition leader in the new government.

Rudd, among other things, has promised to scrap the current governments unpopular industrial relations reforms and give Australians access to access to 100Mbs broadband and free laptops to every senior school student."


Submission + - Dislike a Relative? Turn Them in as a Terrorist! 9

Stanislav_J writes: A Swedish man who had less than fond feelings for his daughter's hubby, took advantage of the son-in-law's trip to America by reporting him to the FBI as a terrorist. The e-mail, which the father-in-law admits to sending, earned him a libel charge after his poor son-in-law was arrested on his arrival in Florida, handcuffed, interrogated, and placed in a cell for 11 hours before being released.

It's a brief article, but dovetails nicely with the recent Slashdot story about "The War on the Unexpected." That article touched on many examples of well-meaning, but misguided and paranoid citizens reporting innocent activities to the authorities. In the current climate, the potential also exists for maliciously false and far from well-meaning reports made to the Feds about people one simply doesn't care for, or those made merely as a sick prank.

While the man admitted to sending the e-mail to the FBI, he claims he thought no harm would come from it because "he did not think the US authorities would be stupid enough to believe him." To quote the great philosopher Bugs Bunny, 'Nyahh....he don't know us very well, do he?'

Submission + - Madeleine L'Engle, 1918 - 2007

mosel-saar-ruwer writes: Madeleine L'Engle Camp Franklin passed away, on Sept. 6, aged 88, at Rose Haven nursing home, in Litchfield, Connecticut. Even before we discovered Tolkien, CS Lewis, or Robert Heinlein, many /.-ers' first exposure to Science Fiction and Fantasy was surely L'Engle's 1962 novel, A Wrinkle in Time. The Washington Post has an obituary, and the New York Post's John Podhoretz relates his childhood memories of life at 924 West End Avenue with Mr. & Mrs. Franklin.

Submission + - Alex The Grey Parrot, Colleague of Irene Pepperber (

grrlscientist writes: "Yesterday, I received the devastating news that Alex the African Grey parrot, who was both a study subject and colleague to Irene Pepperberg, died unexpectedly at 31 years of age.

From the Story: Even though Alex was a research animal, he was much more than that. This species of parrot generally lives to be 50-60 years old, so Alex was only middle-aged when he died. According to some reports I have read, it is possible that Alex might have succumbed to Aspergillosis, a fungal infection of the lungs that he has battled in the past. However, the cause of death will not be known until after a necropsy has been completed tomorrow. A necropsy is an autopsy that is performed on an animal. Alex's veterinarian is returning from vacation to personally conduct this necrospy."


Submission + - Robotech slated for the big screen (

dominique_cimafranca writes: "Classic animé cult favorite "Robotech" may be next for the big screen live action treatment, if recent news from's SCI FI Wire is to be believed. Tobey Maguire will produce and may star in the film. From the story:

Warner Brothers Pictures picked up the rights to Robotech, which features giant robots known as mechas. Maguire is producing through his Maguire Entertainment banner and is eyeing the lead role in what the studio plans as an SF franchise a la Paramount's hit Transformers.


Submission + - Apple Surface Coffee Table Launches (

junger writes: "An Apple-based Surface Coffee Table has emerged as a competitor to Microsoft's Surface table. The ROSIE Coffee Table Touchpanel Controller supports integration and interaction with iTunes multimedia content, digital cameras, IP network cameras, business card readers, and many additional high-tech devices. "It can seamlessly download photos from digital cameras, play music, movies, and TV shows as well as accomplish complete home control all from within one elegant forty-inch interface.""

Submission + - iPod Touch + iPhone Earbuds = VOIP iPhone (

Steve writes: "Apple Gazette makes an interesting point...The iPod Touch should be able to make VOIP phone calls.

Since it runs the same browser as the iPhone, that means it will work with Unless Apple has somehow preemptively disabled the mic from iPhone headphones, there's no reason that they shouldn't work when you plug them into your iPod Touch.

After you log into your Skype service via the Safari browser, you should be good to go."


Submission + - BBC iPlayer to be cross platform (

ddrichardson writes: "The BBC iPlayer service is no longer to be tied to Windows only. Following a scucessful online government petition, the BBC trust in conjunction with Ofcom have decided to make the system cross-platform. From the Government response:

The BBC Trust made it a condition of approval for the BBC's on-demand services that the iPlayer is available to users of a range of operating systems, and has given a commitment that it will ensure that the BBC meets this demand as soon as possible."


Submission + - UK students must submit fingerprints for lunch (

wikinerd writes: "A school in the UK decided to start requesting fingerprint scans from its 1100 students before being allowed to get their lunch. From next term, the same school expects to use the biometric system for controlling entry into the school, as well as for dictating who is allowed to use the school's printers. According to a concerned citizen, the school did not consult the parents before implementing the new policy. Currently students carry ID cards that are used for getting their lunches, and the school claims that the biometric system is a means to limit expenses from lost cards, and since the fingerprint scans are not stored there is no breach of civil rights and no need for asking the parents first. However, a group named Leave The Kids Alone says that this is an infringement of liberty since fingerprint templates are stored and can be accessed by the police."

Programmers used to batch environments may find it hard to live without giant listings; we would find it hard to use them. -- D.M. Ritchie