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Why Microsoft Surface Took So Long To Deploy 187

An anonymous reader writes "Nearly a year after all the fanfare unveiling a new touchscreen tabletop interface, Microsoft's Surface computer will finally appear in select AT&T stores later this month. Popular Mechanics tech editor Glenn Derene, who first introduced us to Surface in May, seems to have done a complete 180 in this rant, blasting Microsoft for being more obsessed with Surface's novelty as a magnet for image-conscious partners while messing up a rare hardware device — and, surprisingly, the simple software he was told came with it. From Microsoft's official excuse in the article: 'It's actually been a good thing for us,' Pete Thompson, Microsoft's general manager for Surface, told me. 'We were anticipating that the initial deployments were going to be showcase pilots using our own software applications on units to drive traffic. What our partners have decided is that they want to skip that stage and go to an integrated experience where they build their own applications. That's pulled the timeline until this spring.'"

Submission + - Home Surveillence How To

vb writes: "So, I'm in the process of buying a house. I'll close on 7 January and have my very own first house. I'm interested in installing some sort of home security/surveillance system, but don't know a whole lot about what's out there. I'm interested in a few things: 1. Perimeter detection — motion, that sort of thing. 2. Video surveillance with day&night cameras and DVR capability 3. Glass breakage detection 4. Ability to see at least the video from work or some other external location. So, all you fellow geeks and do-it-yourselfers, lend me your knowledge"

Submission + - Security camera system suggestions

jakecdouglas writes: I've been asked to research, purchase and install a security camera system for my company. I said sure, and hopped online to get the rundown. I can't seem to find much in the way of DIY or any unbiased literature — nearly everything is non-technical and from vendors with cheap-o looking websites.

I need 8-12 cameras, all with IR. 2-3 of them will be outdoors. I think color is overkill for me but I want decent resolution. Framerate of 5-10fps is good. No audio. Lots of my spaces are decently lit but at night there are some really dark ones as well. I would like a standalone DVR unit although I could be convinced to go the PC route. It needs to be able to record on motion sense, transfer recorded video over network (FTP etc.) and also be able to stream over some standard (and hopefully open source) protocol. I don't need CD/DVD backup. A bonus that now seems more like a necessity is SMS/MMS/E-mail alert for various events. The easier it is for the control unit to integrate with other stuff the better.

I already have CAT-5 throughout a lot of the building but it would not be a whole lot harder for me to run more cable. My longest run would be about 200-250ft. Wireless is a possibility but seems prohibitively expensive.

Does anyone have a similar experience? What equipment did you buy/build? What software does it run? What are its cool features and shortcomings? What problems did you run into? Any equipment or vendors to avoid? What did your whole package cost you? How much time do you spend maintaining it? Does it serve its purpose well?

Submission + - Microcontroller for the hobbyist? 5

TomTheGeek writes: "I'm a programmer that's done some assembly language before and would like to start programming microcontrollers. I've heard about the BASIC Stamps from Parallax, the PIC series from Microchip, the MAKE Controller Kit, and the AVR series from Atmel but they seem to be focused on a development board that is too expensive to dedicate to a single project. Having an expensive development board is fine but I want the microcontroller to be cheap (<$10) enough that I don't have to disassemble my previous project in order to start a new one. I'll be doing the programming in Ubuntu so compatible development tools and drivers are required."

Submission + - Surveillance Cameras With Linux Support?

saintlupus writes: I'd like to install some motion-detecting cameras in my house to keep an eye on things while I'm at work. Ideally, I would like to use a few standalone networked cameras (either wired or wireless) and have them send their captures to a Linux machine that I use as a home server, rather than fussing about with webcams and the excellent "Motion" software. Unfortunately, all of the manufacturer pages for the models that I've looked at trumpet the features of the Windows-only software that they ship with and don't mention anything about Linux compatibility. Has anyone done anything like this? What hardware and software did you use?

Submission + - 12 V Linux computer for ham radio

Geber writes: I want a low power computer that will run from the 12 volts found in a car. The application is ham radio. I want a computer that achieves low power by using a low clock speed, rather than by hybernating, because I want it to respond quickly to incoming data from the radio. It should run some version of Linux. Suggestions?
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Old Spill Voided Spill-Resistant Laptop Warranty

makisig writes: "For most laptop users, spills are common and a lot of notebooks come with spill-proof or apill resistant features. I bought one of them, an HP Pavilion dv2220tx notebook computer back in April. About three months ago I spilled some chocolate milk on it. I instantly shut it down, pulled the battery out, and let it sit for two days to dry it out. After that, it worked just fine, except for some sticky keys. A couple of weeks ago, that same laptop would not boot and it seems to fail on POST with one long beep followed by two short beeps. Since the warranty is still on, I brought the unit to the nearest HP Service Center. After opening the unit, the guys there insisted that the old spill shorted/corroded the contacts of the motherboard components. They dismissed it as misuse, voided the warranty, and quoted me over 40% the amount I bought that thing with to get it fixed. I doubted that the solidified gunk anything else I would have run into problems earlier. The metal contacts weren't even tarnished to say that the stuff was corrosive. It pisses me that they pin the blame on the spill to get it over with. A word with their supervisor (who turns out to be the dumber than everyone else) didn't get me anywyere neither. How do I deal with this? I really feel that these so-called technicians are slacking off at my expense. To what extent do you think "spill-proof" or "spill-resistant" features provide warranty to actual spillage?"

Submission + - High-Tech Hobbies For Geeks 3

MotorMachineMercenar writes: I'm a thirty-something geek who works in finance, plays computer games and wastes time on the internet — ie. I spend pretty much all my time in front of a screen. Lately I've started looking for a hobby, something outside the slouching-in-front-of-the-computer realm, and hopefully something to do with my hands with concrete stuff. I'm not talking about the gym, martial arts, photography or books (do that already), but something novel, high-tech and creative. The potential to actually make new discoveries applicable in the real world would be a huge benefit. The most appealing choice I've found thus far is BEAM robotics, although I'm quite skeptical of the potential for new discoveries. So perhaps a robosoccer challenge would be a better option. Amateur rocketry sounds like fun, but I'd like to keep traveling without being subjected to a "routine" cavity search.

Submission + - Why don't more people use S/MIME? 1

Puchku writes: "The question is: Why don't more people use digital certificates or S/MIME for email? Given that email spam is a huge problem, and getting a certificate is often trivially easy and free, why does this not get more play on tech sites and in the media? Can all of you who work for big tech companies tell me if you use digital certificates for identity verification and encryption, and if not, then why not?

Cost? Ease of use? Any other issues? How about for a home user? Should I get a digital certificate from Verisgn, and use that for all correspondence?

I understand that using something like PGP may be difficult to set up, depending on the skill level of the users, but since 90% of email clients support S/MIME, surely this would be easier to implement? Verisign's and Thawte's and Comodo's of the world, please answer."

Submission + - Tracking zombies and botnets?

mveloso writes: Like many people here, I run a couple of servers that do various things. The machines run firewalls as a matter of course, and have large numbers of log entries showing machines that, for one reason or another, are poking and prodding them.

But — besides proactively shutting off access to the machines by blocking their IPs (which may or may not be useful), I was wondering: is there a repository somewhere for tracking infected machines or botnets? Some of the signatures match known vectors used by infected machines, and some don't...but it all may be useful informtion for somebody.

Does anyone know of a blacklist-type service that can use this information?
The Courts

Submission + - How should I have responded to RIAA lawyer? 10

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "The RIAA's lawyers are a bit jumpy these days since their standard "making available" boilerplate was rejected by the Court in Interscope v. Rodriguez. But I still never expected, when I initiated a dismissal motion in Elektra v. Schwartz, that they would be reaching out to me , of all people, for help. But so they did, asking me "in the interest of efficiency... what precisely Defendant contends is lacking from Plaintiffs' Complaint for Defendant to consider it sufficient. Perhaps Plaintiffs may be able to satisfy these alleged deficiencies and spare both parties additional and unnecessary motions practice." Unfortunately my response was not very helpful; I couldn't think of anything better than to say, more or less, that "Plaintiffs have no case whatsoever against Ms. Schwartz, and their case against her was frivolous in its inception. Accordingly, there are no facts they can allege that will satisfy the plausibility standard." On reflection, I'm feeling kind of guilty that I didn't give them a more creative, and helpful answer, and I thought to turn to my friends at Slashdot, who are (a) almost always helpful, and (b) always creative. What would you have said?"
Linux Business

Submission + - Incident Management System

rgwalch writes: I'm in the process of looking for an Open Source Web Based Incident Management System that will allow me to track trouble tickets from inception to final resolution. The functionality I'm looking for includes the ability to define the type of problem, automatically assign independent technicians to the ticket based on location (zip code)and skill type, track the ordering and shipping of repair parts to the technician, track critical events such as assigning technician, parts ordered, parts shipped, appointment date, completion date. Multiple systems will be fine as long as I cna build interfaces between them.

Submission + - New scam or just a really bad work policy? 4

greymond writes: I recently received an email from a recruiting company for a Graphic Design / Desktop Publishing position. While I have my resume available online as well as pieces of my portfolio I didn't find it at all strange to receive this initial email. I hadn't responded by the afternoon when I received a call from a lady named Pyra who asked me to send her my latest resume because they were very interested in hiring me. I asked about the positions pay since the job title and position seemed like it would be a lot lower pay grade than my current Art Director position I now hold. She said she would inquire about it, but to please send my resume.

Now here is where it gets strange...I sent my resume off (note: my resume has only my name, number and email listed in it — no address) I then received this email asking for my Social Security Number. I found this to be VERY odd as no one ever has asked me for that, save the human resource manager of a company who has already hired me. When I told her I would wait until the interview to give it to them, I was then sent this email which had this letter attached to it. I responded with the same response and needless to say I haven't heard back from them.

Oh and in case my bandwidth gets blown up, the recruiting company was Agneto and the company they were hiring for was supposedly AT&T. So, is this really just a new elaborate scam or just a really bad new business policy?

Submission + - Build Your Own Bot

An anonymous reader writes: It seems nearly every week Slashdot posts an article about the latest robotics. While it is always interesting to see the result of other's hard work, there is no substitute for experience. So my question to the Slashdot community is; how might someone start out in hobby robotics? I'm sure most of us are aware of Lego Mindstorms, but I'm looking for something a bit more professional. I'm sure I'm not the only Slashdotter that has dreamed of building their own robot from the ground up, gears to software. So how would you do it? Share your ideas — from sensors and actuators to computers and programming languages. It would be best to avoid proprietary components that would become irreplaceable orphans after a small company folds. After all, we will need replacement parts for our soon-to-be girlfriends.

Submission + - Workplace Shell replacement for Mac OS X?

Qbertino writes: I'm proud owner of an older 12" G4 iBook (1,0 Ghz) from a few years ago, the one many geeks have and liked to use because of it's price/performance ratio for a subnotebook. Many people I met use it to run Debian Linux PPC or some other OSS operating system and do their programming on it. However I mostly do web developement where the OS hardly matter and I've come to like the benefits of running the native OS and the neat and frictionless hardware integration that comes with it. I do quite a lot of Flash developement aswell and need to be able to use the official Flash IDE from Adobe. The downside is that the desktop bogs down the systems performance which I'd like to use for other things by running a replacement of the Aqua Workplace Shell & desktop enviroment. There are quite a few wps replacements for windows — I've use Litestep with Windows 2000 — but I'm looking for one for OS X. What lightweigth WPS replacements are there for OS X and what other strategies are there to take some weight off an OS X desktop?

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.