mightysquirrel writes "It's been a year since Bill Gates left Microsoft in his official capacity. At the time many speculated his departure would spark a significant shift in Redmond. But how much has really changed during Microsoft's first year without Gates?"
Marc Nathoni writes with a ZDet article about a critically dangerous hole in the Java Runtime Environment. Due to the ubiquitousness of Java, this could prove a serious security problem. "Australia's Computer Emergency Response Team (AusCERT) analyst, Robert Lowe, warned that anyone using the Java Runtime Environment or Java Development Kit is at risk. 'Delivery of exploits in this manner is attractive to attackers because even though the browser may be fully patched, some people neglect to also patch programs invoked by browsers to render specific types of content,' said Lowe."
SteakNShake writes "Once again professional astronomers are struggling to understand observations of the sun. ScienceDaily reports that a team from Saint Andrew's University announced that the sun's magnetic fields dominate the behavior of the corona via a mechanism dubbed the 'solar skeleton.' Computer models continue to be built to mimic the observed behavior of the sun in terms of magnetic fields but apparently the ball is still being dropped; no mention in the announcement is made of the electric fields that must be the cause of the observed magnetic fields. Also conspicuously absent from the press releases is the conclusion that the sun's corona is so-dominated by electric and magnetic fields because it is a plasma. In light of past and present research revealing the electrical nature of the universe, this kind of crippling ignorance among professional astrophysicists is astonishing."
Dominare writes "The BBC is reporting that Adobe is releasing new player software which will allow websites that use their Flash video player (such as YouTube) to force viewers to watch ads before the video they selected will play. 'But the big seller for Adobe is the ability to include in Flash movies so-called digital rights management (DRM) — allowing copyright holders to require the viewing of adverts, or restrict copying. "Adobe has created the first way for media companies to release video content, secure in the knowledge that advertising goes with it," James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research said.' This seems to have been timed to coincide with Microsoft's release of their own competitor, Silverlight, to Adobe's dominance of online video."
iron-kurton wrote with a link to an AP story about a national initiative to scrap the internet and start over. You may remember our discussion last month about Stanford's Clean Slate Design project; this article details similar projects across the country, all with the federal government's blessing and all with the end goal of revamping our current networking system. From the article: "No longer constrained by slow connections and computer processors and high costs for storage, researchers say the time has come to rethink the Internet's underlying architecture, a move that could mean replacing networking equipment and rewriting software on computers to better channel future traffic over the existing pipes. Even Vinton Cerf, one of the Internet's founding fathers as co-developer of the key communications techniques, said the exercise was 'generally healthy' because the current technology 'does not satisfy all needs.'"
jcatcw writes "First there were the 20 must-have Firefox Extension and ensuing Slashdot discussion. Now Computerworld has the top 10 to avoid. For example, NoScript, which does make Firefox safer, but isn't worth the hassle, Or, VideoDownloader for slow downloads, when it works at all. Then there's Greasemonkey — on both lists."
grimwell writes "The BBC is carrying the story that the ANI flaw is being used to target World of Warcraft players, as hackers search for account details. 'Analysis of that malicious software showed that it lay dormant on a victims machine until they ran World of Warcraft (WoW) at which point it captured login data and sent it to the hacking group ... Research by security firm Symantec suggests that the raw value of a WoW account is now higher than a credit card and its associated verification data.'" Doubtless, any compromised accounts would quickly see their equipment sold, and the resulting gold transferred to another account. This gold would then be sold for US currency to Real Money Traders like the company IGE.
An anonymous reader writes "A Brazilian court has already issued a writ of habeas corpus in the name of a chimp. And now an Austrian court may well decide that a chimpanzee is a 'person' with what up until now have been called human rights." From the story in the Guardian/Observer: "He recognizes himself in the mirror, plays hide-and-seek and breaks into fits of giggles when tickled. He is also our closest evolutionary cousin. A group of world leading primatologists argue that this is proof enough that Hiasl, a 26-year-old chimpanzee, deserves to be treated like a human. In a test case in Austria, campaigners are seeking to ditch the 'species barrier' and have taken Hiasl's case to court. If Hiasl is granted human status — and the rights that go with it — it will signal a victory for other primate species and unleash a wave of similar cases."
An anonymous reader writes "With KDE 4.0 being expected some time this year, expectation runs high in the linux/unix users camp and the media read a lot between the lines of what the KDE developers say and do. In some ways KDE will provide a standard as to how a desktop should look and behave. This interesting article wonders whether KDE 4.0 will become the complete desktop which will meet the needs of a wide cross section of computer users. One of the common complaints that some Linux users have over KDE is that it is too cluttered. And by addressing this need without putting off the power users, the KDE developers could make it an all in one Desktop. Keep in mind that KDE 4.0 is based on Qt 4.0 and so can be easily ported to Windows and other OSes too which makes this thought doubly relevant."
Gamaustra's Soapbox this week touches on the lessons learned from Slamgate and the Super Columbine Massacre RPG!. Author Patrick Dugan explores the ways in which SCMRPG challenged the media and gamers alike to think about what the medium of games is all about. Covered by everyone from Newsweek to Game Informer, it opened the eyes of non-gamers to the possibilities of the format and forced gamers to rethink their assumptions. "Game Informer's benchmark of game-specialized print journalism may very well inspire other major publications to follow suit with their own coverage, and in the capacity of Game Informer's readership, paints a symbol of solidarity. The twelve year old kid who thinks Gears of War is the best thing going can take a look at these graphics, popular before his birth, and get a sense that his beloved past-time is part of something greater, something he can defend to non-gamers as being inherently valuable." This issue is also explored in the final part of N'Gai Croal's interview with Jamil Moledina, which we talked about last week.
Internet Providers, we are dropping Service from ISP since customer service these days is generally abysmal.
Michael writes "2006 is coming to a close, and all anyone can think about (in regards to Apple, at least) is the upcoming Apple phone, but what happens next? What are we going to be salivating over and speculating about after Macworld? What changes are in store for Apple in 2007? No one knows for sure, but it sure is fun to take a guess."
MrSplog asks: "I'm doing a short project on Microsoft and its impact on society. A considerable part of this project has been looking into people's perceptions of Microsoft and the heavily negative bias of that perception. Since Slashdot is one of the world's forefront leaders on Microsoft hatred, I wanted to know: just why do you hate Microsoft? Please be as descriptive and as thorough as you like. Counter arguments and positive comments are also appreciated."
skelator2821 writes to tell us about the debut of the OpenMoko, a Linux phone with GPS that is open from top to bottom. The device is set to debut to developers this month for $350, according to the article, but there is no detail on how to get your hands on one, and no link to the manufacturer (FIC). From the article: "This is the first phone in a long time to get us really interested in what it is, what it isn't, and the philosophy behind it. The philosophy is the thing that makes Linux great... it is really open. It runs the latest kernel, 2.6.18 as of a few weeks ago, and you can get software from a repository with apt-get."
If you look at the graphs over at MMOGChart.com, most of the lines that aren't WoW seem to be heading downwards. The little engine that could, though, is personified by the Icelandic dynamo EVE Online. FiringSquad has an interview with CCP Senior Producer Nathan Richardsson. He discusses the popularity of EVE right now, and goes into some of the company's plans for making sure the game stays that way in the future. From the article: "This iterative process is based largely on our crazy future views of how EVE should be and a lot on player feedback. We then want to do some revolutionary stuff to the EVE universe and then evolution comes and bites us in the ass, reminding us that it's not cool to always throw new stuff in, the current game needs to be constantly maintained and evolved. In the end, we're never happy and I guess this is part of what is fuelling our continued passion for EVE."