Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Back for a limited time - Get 15% off sitewide on Slashdot Deals with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" (some exclusions apply)". ×
Wireless Networking

Submission + - The Price of Staying Connected at Hotels 1

theodp writes: "Wireless Internet access is hardly a rarefied luxury — it's free in cafes, parks, fast-food chains, campgrounds, and even gas stations. But you can still pay dearly for Wi-Fi access in upscale hotel rooms, where daily access can run between $9.95 and $19.95. 'Not all guests use it [Wi-Fi],' explained a publicist for Thompson Hotels, 'so to include it complimentary in the rate no longer makes sense with the consumer wanting the most attractive rates.' The fees are 'exorbitant,' counters attorney Randall Stempler. 'It should just be built into the rate, like electricity.' BTW, Thompson made HotelChatter's 2009 'perp-walk' of Wi-Fi offenders. Got any additions?"

Submission + - Schwarzenegger Supports Debate on Legalizing Pot

The Narrative Fallacy writes: "California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says it's time for a debate on whether to legalize and tax marijuana — though he says he's not supporting the idea. The Republican governor, whose term in office expires at the end of next year, was asked about the idea of treating pot like alcohol at an appearance in northern California on Tuesday. "No, I don't think it's time for that, but I think it's time for a debate," said Schwarzenegger. "And I think we ought to study very carefully what other countries are doing that have legalized marijuana and other drugs, what effect it had on those countries, and are they happy with that decision." Schwarzenegger's comments come days after a statewide poll found that 56 percent of California voters support the idea of legalizing cannabis for recreational use and taxing its proceeds. A bill introduced in the state Legislature by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano would permit taxed sales of marijuana to adults while barring sales to or possession by anyone under age 21. Ammiano would tax marijuana at $50 an ounce generating up to $1.3 billion in revenue for the state, which faces another multibillion-dollar budget shortfall just weeks after a landmark deal closing a $42 billion deficit. Voters in California became the first to approve the use of marijuana for medical purposes in 1996, putting the state at odds with federal law."

Submission + - History of Microsoft's AntiCompetitive Behavior (groklaw.net)

jabjoe writes: Groklaw is highlighting a new document from the ECIS about the history of Microsoft's antiCompetitive behavior.

It contains such gems as:

"[W]e should just quietly grow j++ share and assume that people will take more advantage of our classes without ever realizing they are building win32-only java apps." --Microsoft's Thomas Reardon

As well as the Gates 1998 Deposition


Submission + - Using Conficker's tricks to root out infections (seclists.org)

iago-vL writes: "The folks at Nmap have done it again: despite having their domain blacklisted by Conficker, they released Nmap 4.85BETA8, which promises better detection of the Conficker worm. How? By talking to it on its own peer to peer network! By sending encrypted messages to a suspect host, Conficker.C and higher will reveal itself. This curious case of using Conficker's own tricks to find it is similar to the last trick that Slashdot reported. More info from the author can be found here, and you can download Nmap here (or, if you're a Conficker refugee, try this link instead)."

Submission + - Wiretap denied, Malware Approved (phenotyne.com)

Drivintin writes: The Running Tally has an article talking about the negative perception of wiretaps, while the FBI spreading malware seems to get nothing but praise. The FBIs usage of malware seems to go back to at least August 2005, when a request saying a hacker deleted a company's database and "is extorting the victim company for payment to restore it." The legality issue goes back to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled such surveillance can be conducted without a wiretap warrant, because internet users have no "reasonable expectation of privacy"

2008 Is the Coldest Year of the 21st Century 1039

dtjohnson writes "Data from the United Kingdom Meteorological Office suggests that 2008 will be an unusually cold year due to the La Nina effect in the western Pacific ocean. Not to worry, though, as the La Nina effect has faded recently so its effect on next year's temperatures will be reduced. However, another natural cycle, the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, is predicted to hold global temperatures steady for the next decade before global warming takes our planet into new warmth. If these predictions are correct, there must be a lot of planetary heat being stored away somewhere ... unless the heat output from the sun is decreasing rather than increasing or the heat being absorbed by the earth is decreasing due to changes in the earth's albedo."

The Mainframe World Is Alive, Even For Those Under 40 361

willdavid writes with a link to a report by Jeff Gould at Interop Systems, about the definitely-still-around world of mainframe computing, from which he extracts: "Last week I had the occasion to visit SHARE, the premier mainframe conference, which was held in San Jose just down the road from where I live. Based on what I saw, there is one thing I can tell you for sure, and that is that Cobol is not dead. And neither is the mainframe. When I mentioned to one of my friends that I had been to SHARE, he joked that it must have looked like an AARP convention. But this turned out not to be so. While there were certainly a few 60-somethings strolling around the halls, the under 40 generation was also well represented. What struck me the most was not the advanced age of the people but the relative youth of a lot of the software being discussed." However, it's not all fountain of youth there, either. (Thanks, BDPrime.)

Reform Could Kill EFF "Patent Busting Project" 110

netbuzz alerts us to a letter the EFF sent today to Senators Leahy and Specter pointing out a deleterious clause in the current draft of the Patent Reform Act of 2007 — which EFF generally supports. As written, the proposal would kill the EFF's Patent Busting Project. Fine print in the bill would limit the time in which a patent could be challenged, by anyone other than those suffering direct financial harm, to one year after the patent's grant. Since the EFF is non-profit it would have a hard time showing financial harm.

Feed Techdirt: Before Filing Patent Infringement Lawsuit, Please Make Sure The Patent In Questi (techdirt.com)

Apparently some patent holders simply can't wait to get their lawsuits going. A shell company that appears to not do anything went and sued Cisco on Tuesday of this week for violating its patent. There was just one little problem. The patent wasn't granted until Wednesday, so the case was quickly dismissed. Of course, the company refiled with a new date, but it's still pretty amusing that the patent holder was so anxious to get the lawsuit going (and shows that the company isn't particularly interested in trying to license the technology -- suing is apparently much more lucrative). Perhaps they want to make sure the lawsuit gets in before the Supreme Court (or Congress) crack down on ridiculous patent abuse.
The Military

Submission + - Indian Stealth fighter to take on the F22 Raptor

Gary writes: "After developing the supersonic cruise missile Brahmos, India and Russia have come together once again to develop a fifth-generation stealth fighter aircraft (FGFA). The Indian Air Force wants the FGFA which is being called T-50 by the Sukhoi Design Bureau, to exceed the capabilities of the American F/A-22 'Raptor' and somewhat match the F-35 'Lightning-II' fighter. The distinguishing features of the FGFA will be stealth technology, composite materials, thrust-vectoring, advanced radars and sensors, and the ability to supercruise (achieve supersonic speeds without the use of the afterburner)."

Machines take me by surprise with great frequency. - Alan Turing