Me too. I feel so deceived.
Hot on the heels of the Gtk+ 3.8 release comes GNOME 3.8. There are a few general UI improvements, but the highlight for many is the new Classic mode that replaces fallback. Instead of using code based on the old GNOME panel, Classic emulates the feel of GNOME 2 through Shell extensions (just like Linux Mint's Cinnamon interface). From the release notes: "Classic mode is a new feature for those people who prefer a more traditional desktop experience. Built entirely from GNOME 3 technologies, it adds a number of features such as an application menu, a places menu and a window switcher along the bottom of the screen. Each of these features can be used individually or in combination with other GNOME extensions."
Hugh Pickens writes writes "CNN reports that a one-year study by the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee shows about $2 billion a year in "mystery fees" show up on the landline phone bills of Americans, a problem known as cramming and include charges for long distance service, subscriptions for Internet-related services, access to restricted websites, entertainment services with a 900 area code, collect calls, club memberships. The Commerce Committee's report says phone companies receive a small fee — often just a dollar or two — for allowing charges from third-party vendors to appear on their bills but due to the large number of customers the charges eventually add up. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan told the panel people are unaware their phone numbers can be charged almost like a credit card and her investigations indicate customers are not even getting services in return. "My office has yet to see a legitimate third-party charge on a bill," says Madigan, who added most customers don't detect the charges on their bills. Senator Jay Rockefeller says Congress needs to pass legislation to protect customers from unauthorized third-party charges on their phone bills because the telephone industry has failed to prevent the practice. “It’s pretty obvious at this point that voluntary guidelines aren’t solving this problem,” says Rockefeller. “It’s time for us to take a new look at this problem and find a way to solve it once and for all.”"
VitaminB52 writes "A-level computer science students will no longer be taught C, C#, or PHP from next year following a decision to withdraw the languages by the largest UK exam board. Schools teaching the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance's (AQA) COMP1 syllabus have been asked to use one of its other approved languages — Java, Pascal/Delphi, Python 2.6, Python 3.1, Visual Basic 6, and VB.Net 2008. Pascal/Delphi is 'highly recommended' by the exam board because it is stable and was designed to teach programming and problem-solving."
theodp writes "It's the not-too-distant future. They've turned off the Internet. After the riots have settled down and the withdrawal symptoms have faded, how would you cope? Cracked.com asked readers to Photoshop what life would be like in an Internet-addicted society learning to cope without it. Better hope it never happens, or be prepared for dry-erase message boards, carrier pigeon-powered Twitter, block-long lines to get into adult video shops, door-to-door Rickrolling, Lolcats on Broadway, and $199.99 CDs."
snydeq writes "Programmers are finding themselves increasingly drawn to the Mac as a development platform, in large part due to Apple's decision to move to Intel chips and to embrace virtualization of other OSes, which has turned Mac OS X into a flexible tool for development, InfoWorld reports. The explosion of interest in smartphone development is helping the trend, with iPhone development lock-in to the Mac environment the chief motivating factor for Apple as a platform of choice for mobile development. Yet for many, the Mac remains sluggish and poorly tuned for development, with developers citing its virtual memory system's poor performance in paging data in and out of memory and likening use of the default-network file system, AFS, to engaging oneself with 'some kind of passive-aggressive torture.' What remains unclear is whether Apple will lend an ear to this new wave of Mac-based development or continue to develop products that lock out uses programmers expect."
The much-anticipated first person non-shooter Mirror's Edge is being released today for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Reviews for the game, while not without complaints, are generally positive. 1Up praises the controls, saying, "It gets things very right very early, distilling its first-person platformer ambitions into a very manageable control scheme. ... Once you're familiar with Faith's abilities and their limitations — imparted through a much-needed tutorial — it's easy to see potential routes through the world." Ars Technica is more critical, noting that the main story's gameplay only clocks in at about six hours, and that the artistic style doesn't vary much between levels. Nick Channon, a producer for Mirror's Edge, sat down with Gamasutra and discussed the reasoning for some of their design choices. The PC version of Mirror's Edge and some additional downloadable content will be available in January.
secmartin writes "The popular virus scanner AVG released an update yesterday that caused their software to mark user32.dll as a virus. Since this is a rather critical file, AVG's suggestion to remove it caused problems for users around the world who are now advised to restore the file through the Windows Recovery Console. AVG just posted an update about this (FAQ item 1574) in the support section of their site. Their forums are full of complaints."
Anthony_Cargile writes "Microsoft announced Friday their new 'M' language, designed especially for building textual domain-specific languages and software models with XAML. Microsoft will also announce Quadrant, for building and viewing models visually, and a repository for storing and combining models using a SQL Server database. While some say the language is simply their 'D' language renamed to a further letter down the alphabet, the language is criticized for lack of a promised cross-platform function because of its ties to MS SQL server, which only runs on Windows."
An anonymous reader alerts us to a two-week-old story that hasn't gotten much traction in the press to date. A Japanese newspaper and the AP report that China plans to demand source code from hardware manufacturers, and ban the sale of products from companies that don't comply. China is calling this an "obligatory accreditation system for IT security products." The plan is to go into effect next May, according to sources. "Products expected to be subject to the system are those equipped with secret coding, such as [a] contactless smart card system developed by Sony Corp., digital copiers, and computer servers. The Chinese government said it needs the source code to prevent computer viruses taking advantage of software vulnerabilities and to shut out hackers. However, this explanation is unlikely to satisfy concerns that disclosed information might be handed from the Chinese government to Chinese companies. There also are fears that Chinese intelligence services could exploit such confidential information by making it easier to break codes used in... digital devices."
User AttheCoalFac pointed us to an interesting tech support story from Canada. Halifax actress and playwright Carol Sinclair was arrested and is now facing criminal charges after a repairman says she threatened to hold him hostage until he fixed her Internet connection. Mrs. Sinclair denies the allegations and says that she merely stated, 'I don't want to hold you hostage, but would you mind hanging around until the other technician arrives so that the two of you can sort it out.' She was arraigned in Halifax Provincial Court Friday and is now free on conditions including that she have no contact with the repairman or any employee from her ISP. Having a lot of experience on both sides of this issue, I'm not sure who I'm cheering for.
melios writes "In a move that could help boost the scalability of Linux for grids and other advanced 64-bit multiprocessor applications, HP has released its Tru64 Unix Advanced File System (AdvFS) source code to the open source community. Source code, design documentation, and test suites for AdvFS are available on SourceForge."
An anonymous reader writes "The Pirate Bay, in response to Sweden's new wiretapping law, will start offering SSL encryption to its user base this week. Although copyright issues really have little to do with national security, The Pirate Bay knows its population is uneasy with the recent legal change. The encryption will mostly benefit Swedish users living under the current law. Since The Pirate Bay and its servers are not hosted in Sweden, the additional security offered to outside users could be comparatively minimal."
An anonymous reader notes that Hotmail's full version doesn't work with Firefox 3. Users get the following message when they try to log in: You are temporarily on the classic version of Windows Live Hotmail due to an error encountered during login. Before trying again, please clear your cache and cookies. (Clearing cache and cookies doesn't fix it.) At least 8 other bug reports have been duped to this one. The fault apparently lies with the Hotmail site, not Mozilla — maintainer Dave Garrett assigned the bug to Tech Evangelism, explaining: "I'll... move this over to TE, as my guess is this [is] the site's fault (just bad user agent sniffing?)."
seattlle foodie sends along a New Scientist article outlining two recent studies that confirm what many have long suspected: bad boys get the most girls. "The finding may help explain why a nasty suite of antisocial personality traits known as the 'dark triad' persists in the human population, despite their potentially grave cultural costs. The traits are: the self-obsession of narcissism; the impulsive, thrill-seeking, and callous behavior of psychopaths; and the deceitful and exploitative nature of Machiavellianism. At their extreme, these traits would be highly detrimental for life in traditional human societies. People with these personalities risk being shunned by others and shut out of relationships, leaving them without a mate, hungry and vulnerable to predators."