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The Internet

Could Open Source Lead to a Meritocratic Search Engine? 148

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the sure-if-you-donate-a-thousand-data-centers dept.
Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton writes "When Jimmy Wales recently announced the Search Wikia project, an attempt to build an open-source search engine around the user-driven model that gave birth to Wikipedia, he said his goal was to create "the search engine that changes everything", as he underscored in a February 5 talk at New York University. I think it could, although not for the same main reasons that Wales has put forth -- I think that for a search engine to be truly meritocratic would be more of a revolution than for a search engine to be open-source, although both would be large steps forward. Indeed, if a search engine could be built that really returned results in order of average desirability to users, and resisted efforts by companies to "game" the system (even if everyone knew precisely how the ranking algorithm worked), it's hard to overstate how much that would change things both for businesses and consumers. The key question is whether such an algorithm could be created that wouldn't be vulnerable to non-merit-based manipulation. Regardless of what algorithms may be currently under consideration by thinkers within the Wikia company, I want to argue logically for some necessary properties that such an algorithm should have in order to be effective. Because if their search engine becomes popular, they will face such huge efforts from companies trying to manipulate the search results, that it will make Wikipedia vandalism look like a cakewalk." The rest of his essay follows.
Math

How Can We Convert the US to the Metric System? 1487

Posted by Cliff
from the worthwhile-but-pigs-are-likely-to-fly-first dept.
thesolo asks: "Despite past efforts of the 1970s and 1980s, the United States remains one of only three countries (others are Liberia and Myanmar) that does not use the metric system. Staying with imperial measurements has only served to handicap American industry and economy. Attempts to get Americans using the Celsius scale, or putting up speed limits in kilometers per hour have been squashed dead. Not only that, but some Americans actually see metrication efforts as an assault on 'our way' of measuring. I personally deal with European scientists on a daily basis, and find our lack of common measurement to be extremely frustrating. Are we so entrenched with imperial units that we cannot get our fellow citizens to simply learn something new? What are those of us who wish to finally see America catch up to the rest of the world supposed to do? Are there any organizations that we may back, or any pro-metric legislators who we can support?"
Media

Is DRM Intrinsically Distasteful? 631

Posted by Zonk
from the tastes-like-chicken dept.
jelton writes "If digital media was available for sale at a reasonable price, but subject to a DRM scheme that allowed full legitimate usage (format shifting, time shifting, playback on different devices, etc.) and only blocked illicit usage (illegal copying), would you support the usage of such a DRM scheme? Especially if it meant a wealth of readily available compatible devices? In other words, if you object to DRM schemes, is your objection based on principled or practical concerns?"
Security

AJAX May Be Considered Harmful 308

Posted by Zonk
from the web-20-needs-vitamins dept.
87C751 writes "Security lists are abuzz about a presentation from the 23C3 conference, which details a fundamental design flaw in Javascript. The technique, called Prototype Hijacking, allows an attacker to redefine any feature of Javascript. The paper is called 'Subverting AJAX' (pdf), and outlines a possible Web Worm that lives in the very fabric of Web 2.0 and could kill the Web as we know it."
Hardware Hacking

What Bizarre IT Setups Have You Seen? 874

Posted by Cliff
from the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction dept.
MicklePickle wonders: "I was talking to a co-worker the other day about the history of our company, (which shall remain nameless), and he started reminiscing about some of the IT hacks that our company did. Like running 10BaseT down a storm water drain to connect two buildings, using a dripping tap to keep the sewerage U-bend full of water in a computer room, (huh?). And some not so strange ones like running SCSI out to 100m, and running a major financial system on a long forgotten computer in a cupboard. I know that there must be a plethora of IT hacks around. What are some you've seen?"
Movies

Lucas, Ford to Start Filming New Indiana Jones Film 477

Posted by Zonk
from the junior? dept.
Alchemist253 writes "George Lucas has announced that the script for the long-rumored fourth Indiana Jones film has been finalized and is to begin filming this year, with Harrison Ford once again in front of the camera. From the article: 'In a statement, the 64-year-old Ford said he was ready for another turn as the globe-trotting archaeologist. "I'm delighted to be back in business with my old friends," he said. "I don't know if the pants still fit, but I know the hat will."' All three of the earlier movies were shot in the 80s. How well do you think this character is going to translate into a movie made today?
Google

Is Google Too Smart For Its Own Good? 194

Posted by kdawson
from the sowing-seeds dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with a piece in Fortune speculating on what's next for Google. The writer believes that a supersaturated solution of very smart people, plus stock that may have run out of upside, will yield what he calls Son of Google — a large wave of innovative companies created by Google graduates. And a Google less intent on hiring, and less able to hire, the very smartest people around. Could happen.

Tim Bray Says RELAX 180

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the holy-war-schema-2.7 dept.
twofish writes to tell us that Sun's Tim Bray (co-editor of XML and the XML namespace specifications) has posted a blog entry suggesting RELAX NG be used instead of the W3C XML Schema. From the blog: "W3C XML Schemas (XSD) suck. They are hard to read, hard to write, hard to understand, have interoperability problems, and are unable to describe lots of things you want to do all the time in XML. Schemas based on Relax NG, also known as ISO Standard 19757, are easy to write, easy to read, are backed by a rigorous formalism for interoperability, and can describe immensely more different XML constructs."
The Courts

Judge To SCO — Quit Whining 156

Posted by kdawson
from the and-wipe-your-nose dept.
chiark writes, "Back in June, the magistrate judge presiding over SCO vs IBM gutted SCO's claims, as discussed on Slashdot. SCO cried 'foul,' appealed to the District Judge, and today that judge has ruled against SCO, succinctly and concisely affirming every point of the original damning judgement. Also included in this ruling is the news that the Novell vs. SCO trial will go first: 'After deciding the pending dispositive motions in this case, and after deciding the dispositive motions in Novell, which should be fully briefed in May 2007, the court will set a trial date for any remaining claims in this action.' It's notable that the judge conducted the review using a more exhaustive standard than required out of an 'abundance of caution,' and still found against SCO." As Groklaw asks and answers: "What does it mean? It means SCO is toast."

Voting Machine Glitches Already Being Reported 742

Posted by Zonk
from the go-vote dept.
Neovanglist writes "CNN, FOX, and MSNBC are reporting that voting machines in three states (Ohio, Indiana, and Florida) have already been showing issues, both in the machines themselves and in the training of poll attendants, causing many districts to switch to paper ballots." From the article: "Voters put the Republican congressional majority and a multitude of new voting equipment to the test Tuesday in an election that defined the balance of power for the rest of George W. Bush's presidency. Both parties hustled to get their supporters out in high-stakes contests across the country, Democrats appealing one more time for change, and appearing confident the mood was on their side. Republicans conceded nothing as their vaunted get-out-the-vote machine swung into motion." If you're in the U.S., and you haven't voted already, go do it!

Can Wikipedia Ever Make the Grade? 286

Posted by Zonk
from the i-give-it-a-b dept.
swestcott writes to mention an article at the Chronicle of Higher Education site, wondering if Wikipedia will ever 'make the grade'? Academics are split, and feuding, about how to handle the popular collaborative project. Due to the ease of editing correct information into nonsense, many professors are ignoring it. Others want to start contributing. From the article: "As the encyclopedia's popularity continues to grow, some professors are calling on scholars to contribute articles to Wikipedia, or at least to hone less-than-inspiring entries in the site's vast and growing collection. Those scholars' take is simple: If you can't beat the Wikipedians, join 'em. Proponents of that strategy showed up in force at Wikimania, the annual meeting for Wikipedia contributors, a three-day event held in August at Harvard University. Leaders of Wikipedia said there that they had turned their attention to increasing the accuracy of information on the Web site, announcing several policies intended to prevent editorial vandalism and to improve or erase Wikipedia's least-trusted entries."

The 20 Worst Games Ever 218

Posted by Zonk
from the for-real dept.
EGM's Seanbaby has a 'director's cut' of a list of the top 20 worst videogames, a list published in the 150th issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly earlier this year. While some top lists may claim authority, this one is the real deal: these games are utter crap. From the article: "#10: Revolution X (SNES) This game is biblically horrific. You're overthrowing an oppressive world order. With Aerosmith. And music is your weapon. That scream of terror you just heard was probably you. Using your weapon, music, you'll fight a massive army of soldiers sent by the government to keep you from rocking. And since the artists were lazy, the army is made up entirely of a man in a yellow jacket and his several thousand identical twins."

Deprecating the Datacenter? 367

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the only-a-matter-of-time dept.
m0smithslash writes "The blogging CEO asserts that that datacenters are doomed. Computers are showing up in everything from drill bits, to cargo ships to tracking devices in stuffed animals at Disneyland. With computers becoming so small and easy to distribute over a wireless network, do we really need data centers to house computers or are the computers going to be placed where they are really needed?"

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