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Announcements

+ - Apple WorldWide Developer Conference 2007 Dates

Submitted by pasamio
pasamio (737659) writes "The Apple Developer Connection now has dates for the 2007 Worldwide Developers Conference. From June 11 to 15 the "WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) is Apple's most important annual event for hardware and software developers, including in-house developers, computational scientists, IT managers, and system administrators. Thousands of developers from around the world come to California each year to receive in-depth information and instruction from Apple's technical architects and engineers."
With Job's previous announcement of 10.5 to be in this period, perhaps this years key note will be the launch of the latest version of Mac OS X."
Space

+ - NASA's Mars life-detector

Submitted by
Roland Piquepaille
Roland Piquepaille writes "With the financial help of NASA, American and European researchers have developed a new sensor to check for life on Mars. It also should be able to determine if traces of life's molecular building blocks have been produced by anything alive. The device has already been tested in the Atacama Desert in Chile. And it should be part of the science payload for the ExoMars rover planned for launch in 2013. Read more for additional details and a picture of the new NASA's Mars life-detector."
Programming

+ - Are Web Templates More a Problem Than a Solution?

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes "First a few admissions, (first) I do not consider myself to be a top tier coder (second) This is my first stint as a web master/coder and (third) This is one of my first few times having root rights on a remote server. Hence, my questions may be naively based.

It is becoming my sense after trying to use two different blogging systems that one may be buying into a lock-in or extra inertia by adopting one system developer's templates to run your site. My guess is the template systems are unique to each brand. Indeed, in one case just viewing the code and documentation warning the closing tabs were absent induced migraine like head throbs. Nonetheless, I have been shown examples where site templates were used to create a customized, attractive and seemingly effective sites. So some have found template systems to be effective labor saving devices. Yet the code and calls for these sites were very difficult for me to understand.

That leads to another issue: I am finding the viewed code for sites becoming ever more difficult to understand. My suspicion here is that this is caused by web site painting tools and the templating systems. It seemed to me that less than a year ago the code was more transparent. Am I mistaken?

Recently I was asked if I would take over the maintenance of a site, because it had become too onerous a task for the person performing those duties. To that person's defense it was a site with a high percentage of image data and the pages were pleasing to view. Looking at the code, I tried to see how I could add missing content with minimal disturbance. It became obvious that route would not work. I viewed the code directly as text and then visually seeing an overly embedded html table structures. What made it even worse was there was no css file only in-line style directives that added to the difficulty of interpreting the code. While I cannot state with absolute certainty, I believe this person thought that any changes required a complete repainting of the pages with the desired changes. Only afterward could the new pages be generated. This could be a case of an individual knew little more than how to run a single application. That is precisely the reason I do not wish to rely too much on templates. If they have a gap or a flaw I too could be left without an alternative.

It might be that I have the need to understand precisely what I am creating, that fuels my distrust of tools. I find it easier to hand write my site's pages where the layout is placed in logical order (for me) to generate the display I am seeking. In the last year I have noticed that viewing the code (as mentioned above) has become harder to understand how the actual page was generated. Is this part of a trend to reveal less to others seeking to learn from the experiences of others or is this simply the complex code generated by both web site painters and templates?

I worry that in some sense when the site is further along I will be re-inventing the wheel, figuratively, by having to write scripts to store older articles in an archive database. To some that would be scary per se, but databases were my specialty it's the damn scripts I don't look forward to writing. This might be a failing of free source code where too little is reused by interested parties. Hence, if that is my error, where would I find the scripts?

Thanks in advance to any constructive, knowledgeable responses."
Security

+ - Making your home more burglar resident

Submitted by
M.D. Creekmore
M.D. Creekmore writes "Making your home more burglar resident Windows Many burglars enter homes by simply breaking glass windows. A good deterrent is to have better quality glass installed at vulnerable points around the perimeter of your residence. Most burglars avoid attempting to break the following types of glass due to the fear of attracting attention: LAMINATED GLASS is made by a vinyl or plastic interlayer sandwiched between two layers of glass. This type of glass adds additional strength to your windows. To gain entry, a burglar would have to strike the glass repeatedly in the same spot in order to make a small opening. Most burglars are reluctant to create this type of noise for fear of being detected. TEMPERED GLASS is made by placing a piece of regular glass in an oven, bringing it almost to the melting point, and then chilling it rapidly. This causes a skin to form around the glass. Fully tempered glass is four to five times stronger than regular glass. WIRED GLASS adds the benefit of a visible deterrent. Extra effort will be needed to break the glass and then cut through the wire located within the glass, in order to gain entry. PLASTICS: Plastic material is divided into two types : acrylic or polycarbonate. The acrylics are more than ten times stronger than glass of the same thickness and are commonly called plexiglass. Polycarbonate sheets are superior to acrylics and are advertised as 250 times more impact resistant than safety glass, and 20 more times than other transparent plastic. With SLIDING WINDOWS the primary objective is to keep the window from sliding or being lifted up and out of the track. There are many manufactured products available for securing windows. Here are some of the suggestions: PINNED WINDOW ANTI-SLIDE BLOCK SLIDEBOLT: It is not recommended that you lock a window in a ventilated position. This is an invitation to a prying action which can result in entry. Key locking devices offer no real security, and they can be a fire exit hazard. CASEMENT WINDOWS are the simplest to secure. Make sure the latch works properly and that the "operator" has no excess play. If so, replace the worn hardware. DOUBLE HUNG WINDOW latches may be jimmied open. If a window is not used, screw it shut (except bedrooms). For windows in use, drill a sloping hole into the top of the bottom window, through and into the bottom of the top window, and insert an easily removable pin or nail. LOUVRE WINDOWS are bad security risks. Remove and replace with solid glass or other type of ventilating window. Or protect with a grate or grille (except bedrooms). WARNING: One window in every bedroom on the ground and second floor must be left available as a fire exit, particularly for children and guests in your home. At night, the bedroom window may often be the quickest and safest means of getting out. Because of the danger of fire, decorative grilles are not recommended on bedroom windows. Doors Begin with a home "security" check. Start with the front door and work clockwise around the entire inside of your home, finishing with the back yard, fence and shrubs, gates and garage. Shrubbery should never block the view of your front door. This allows an intruder the opportunity of privacy to gain entrance. A wide angle viewer in the door lets you know your visitor in advance. This item is recommended over a chain lock. LOCKS, BOLTS AND HINGES A DEAD-LATCH is an inexpensive lock set which keeps the burglar from simply slipping your door open with a plastic credit card. This method of entry is common in many areas, but very easy to prevent. AUXILIARY DEADBOLT: 1" deadbolt, single cylinder with hardened cylinder guard, and thumb turn. For extra security, a single cylinder dead bolt lock, with one inch throw and case-hardened insert, is recommended for all exterior doors. If you have easily breakable glass within 40 inches of a deadbolt lock, it should be augmented with a stronger type of glass or plastic to provide adequate security. Most police departments do not recommend deadbolt locks for residential use. You may be adding additional security at the expense of personal safety with a double cylinder dead bolt. For example, you could lock yourself in and not be able to escape in case of fire or other emergency. THE RIM LOCK is a 1" dead bolt lock which is installed on the inside surface of the door. It is less expensive than other types of locks, but equally effective for security. THE "JIMMY-PROOF" RIM LOCK is another lock which is installed on the inside surface of the door. But this lock has vertical dead bolts, which is an approved locking device. CANE BOLTS: 1/2" in diameter by 12" high installed at the top & bottom of the inactive door offers minimum security. Many homes with pairs of doors, use half-barrel slide bolts on the inactive door. These are weak and totally inadequate. FLUSH BOLTS: Installed at the top and bottom of the inactive door or a pair of doors, flush bolts offer additional security, since the intruder cannot get at these devices to tamper with them if the doors are locked. HINGE PROTECTION: Some exterior doors are improperly installed so that the hinges are installed from outside. To protect such a door from being lifted from its hinges by pulling the hinge pin, follow these simple steps: (1) Remove two screws, opposite each other, from both leaves of the hinge. (2) Insert screw or concrete nail into jamb leaf, protruding 1/2". (3) Drill out the opposing screw hole in the door. Do this in the top and bottom hinge of the door. When closed, the hinge pins may be removed, but the door will remain firmly in place. Burglar Alarm Burglars dislike noise — it attracts attention. A barking dog is the best deterrent in preventing burglaries. However, a watch dog cannot always be depended upon. Some professional burglars have been known to carry delectable "dog snacks" in their pockets — and with a full stomach, some watch dogs make friends easily and forget their purpose of guarding the premises. The most reliable safe-guard to protect your home and possessions is a reliable alarm. Many types of burglar alarms can be obtained for residential use. It is advisable, however, that basic hardware security measures be followed first. If additional security is desired, the following recommendations could be helpful. 1. Obtain estimates from three alarm companies, notifying each of this procedure. 2. An audible alarm is recommended over silent alarms for residential use in order to first protect persons and secondly, property. Don't depend entirely upon an alarm system to protect you — be sure to use proper locking devices. Any alarm system should include: A. A battery-powered fail-safe back-up. B. Fire-sensing capability. C. Read-out ability to check working of system, D. Horn sounding device installed in attic through vent. If you don't have the money to invest in an alarm system, you can use the products sold HERE. to rig up an effective alarm system. I like the magnetic door / window alarms and the motion detector alarm with remote for a low cost set up. You can also rig up an old car horn to a 12 volt battery and a trip wire rigged to you main entrance. SECONDARY BARRIER If the value of small personal items warrants protection, a secondary barrier is an additional safeguard. On a hinging closet door, install a 1" dead bolt lock. Store your jewels, furs, cameras, guns, silverware and other valuables behind this barrier. Be sure to "pin" the hinges (as outlined in section on doors above. A good safe is a good investment, a large fireproof gun safe would more then pay for itself in the event of a break in, even one of the cheaper non fireproof safes sold in the spotting goods section at Wal-Mart for around $100, would beat having nothing. Put the safe in the closet as an extra deterrent. Extra Precautions A residence which presents a "lived-in" appearance is a deterrent to burglars. Never leave notes that can inform a burglar that your house is unoccupied. Make certain all windows and doors are secured before departing. An empty garage advertises your absence, so close the doors. When going out at night, leave one or more interior lights on and perhaps have a radio playing (TV sets should not be left unattended). Timers may be purchased that will turn lights on and off during your absence. Do not leave door keys under flower pots or doormats, inside an unlocked mailbox, over the doorway, or in other obvious places. WHEN PLANNING VACATIONS OR PROLONGED ABSENCES — Discontinue milk, newspaper, and other deliveries by phone or in person ahead of time. Do not leave notes. Arrange for lawn care and have someone remove advertising circulars and other debris regularly. On the other hand, several toys scattered about will create an impression of occupancy. Notify the post office to forward your mail or have a trustworthy person pick it up daily. Apartment house tenants should also heed this hint since stuffed mail receptacles are a give-away when no one is home. Inform a neighbor of family member that you trust, of your absence so they can be extra alert for suspicious persons. Leave a key with them so your place may be periodically inspected. Ask them to vary the positions of your shades and blinds. When you leave, do not publicize your plans. Some burglars specialize in reading newspaper accounts of other people's vacation activities. If you find a door or window has been forced or broken while you were away, DO NOT ENTER. The criminal may still be inside. Use a neighbor's phone immediately to summon police. Do not touch anything or clean up if a crime has occurred. Preserve the scene until police inspect for evidence."
The Internet

+ - Now, create your OWN instant messenger service.

Submitted by Jack
Jack (666) writes "'msgr' is a webservice that helps you create your own instant messenger service for your group of friends, community or website, without any programming knowledge. This is ideal for community websites where a quick and easy way to chat is needed among its members. You can customize the messenger with your chosen messenger name, tagline, logo, and links, along with a 'Whats New' page that can be loaded when users login to your messenger. Besides instant messaging, msgr also supports file transfers between members. The messenger service does not require separate hosting."
Media

+ - Hurricane Chasers Sample 80-90mph Winds

Submitted by
Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward writes "A group of Hurricane Chasers testing their limits, standing in hurricane force winds in this video article . A good perspective of how standing in strong category 1 hurricane winds can be like. "Standing in direct hurricane winds is very dangerous, and there are many things I and anyone that I'm chasing with look out for before attempting to do this. We always first try and find a location were there is no possible debris up wind that can fly in our direction, also looking out for any power lines, tree's, and rocks, because you don't want anything coming at you at 80mph." http://www.stormvideographer.com/blog/2007/03/08/h urricane-chasing-why-stand-in-the-winds/"

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