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XKCD Improving the Internet ... Yet Again 204

netbuzz writes "Comic creator Randall Monroe suggested in a recent xkcd strip that YouTube comments would be better — or, more precisely, less idiotic — if only those posting them were forced to hear their words read aloud first. Well, YouTube has gone and made this "audio preview" a reality, albeit an optional one. And, it's not the first time that xkcd has contributed to the betterment of the Internet, as those who are familiar with last year's "Internet census" and its use of a Hilbert curve may remember."
Microsoft

Maine To Skip Vista, Go Directly To Windows 7 242

Preedit writes "The State of Maine is the latest organization to skip Windows Vista, which has been a near-disaster for Microsoft. An internal state document (dated September 15) uncovered by Infoweek reveals that Maine will not be upgrading its more than 11,000 personal computing devices from XP to Vista — ever. Instead, it's going to wait until Windows 7 ships in 2010 and hope for the best. The news is in line with a survey that shows only 4% of businesses in the UK have upgraded to Vista, the story notes. So much for that $300 million Seinfeld campaign." A commenter on the article makes the point that Maine's signing an enterprise software license with Microsoft means that Redmond doesn't really lose out on this deal; it simply allows the state to upgrade its equipment and software on its own time.
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Irrelevant Scientific Research Honored Screenshot-sm 93

More than 1,000 people attended this year's Ig Nobel awards, a light-hearted alternative to the Nobel Prizes. Scientists who unlocked the inner secrets of dog fleas, crisps and tangled string swept the show. Handing out awards was William Lipscomb, the 1976 Nobel laureate for chemistry, also doubling Thursday, at the age of 89, as the hero in the "Win-a-Date-With-a-Nobel-Laureate Contest." The prize itself is a plaque that reads, "This Ig Nobel Prize is awarded in the year 2008 to an Ig Nobel Prize Winner, in recognition of the Ig Nobel Prize Winners' Ig Nobel Prize winning achievement." At last I can submit my paper, "Everything is Really Wet, Even Dry Stuff." for peer review.
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Slashdot's Disagree Mail Screenshot-sm 206

Being in a relationship is not easy, more than half of all first marriages fail in this country. That statistic doesn't improve if you spend most of your time reading your favorite website and not tending to the needs of your family. Instead of asking me to help fix your relationship maybe you should try playing with your kids, talking to your wife, and not staring at a computer screen all day. You should realize that the help link doesn't provide help with your life. It's mostly for getting passwords and stuff. Below you'll find a collection of people that should have reached out to Dr. Phil and not Dr. Sam.
Software

An Open Source Legal Breakthrough 292

jammag writes "Open source advocate Bruce Perens writes in Datamation about a major court victory for open source: 'An appeals court has erased most of the doubt around Open Source licensing, permanently, in a decision that was extremely favorable toward projects like GNU, Creative Commons, Wikipedia, and Linux.' The case, Jacobsen v. Katzer, revolved around free software coded by Bob Jacobsen that Katzer used in a proprietary application and then patented. When Katzer started sending invoices to Jacobsen (for what was essentially Jacobsen's own work), Jacobsen took the case to court and scored a victory that — for the first time — lays down a legal foundation for the protection of open source developers. The case hasn't generated as many headlines as it should."
Space

No Space Porn (For Now) 260

With the entry to sub-orbital flight, and even orbital flight, becoming ever so slightly easier, the obvious thought of space porn kicks in. Who wouldn't want to see two or more people going at it like rabbits in a weightless environment (or at least trying to go at it like rabbits in a weightless environment)? Sadly, Virgin Galactic has turned down a $1 million offer to do just that. The offer was made by an unidentified party who was willing to put the money up front to do a space porn movie. Considering that a flight aboard VG costs $200,000 for a two-hour flight, $1 million doesn't seem too bad. Though how much you could actually do and perform in two hours is debatable. And what if one or more of the actors gets sick?
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Ultrasound Machine Ages Wine Screenshot-sm 448

Inventor Casey Jones says his creation uses ultrasound technology to recreate the effects of decades of aging by colliding alcohol molecules inside the bottle. Mr. Jones said, "This machine can take your run-of-the-mill £3.99 bottle of plonk and turn it into a finest bottle of vintage tasting like it costs hundreds. It works on any alcohol that tastes better aged, even a bottle of paintstripper whisky can taste like an 8-year-aged single malt." The Ultrasonic Wine Ager, which looks like a Dr. Who ice bucket, takes 30 minutes to work and has already been given the thumbs up by an English winemaker. I know a certain special lady who is about to have the best bottle of Boone's Farm in the world.
Security

Hackers Clone Elvis' Passport 164

Barence writes "Hackers have released source code that allows the 'backup' of RFID-protected passports, although the tool can potentially be used to create fake or cloned documents. The Hacker's Choice, a non-commercial group of computer security experts, has released a video showing a cloned passport being approved by a security scanner at a Dutch airport. When the reader scans the passport, it is revealed to belong to one Elvis Aaron Presley, complete with picture. Reports of the hackers serenading security staff with 'Are You Clonesome Tonight' are unconfirmed."
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Man Uses Remote Logon To Help Find Laptop Thief Screenshot-sm 251

After his computer was stolen, Jose Caceres used a remote access program to log on every day and watch it being used. The laptop was stolen on Sept. 4, when he left it on top of his car while carrying other things into his home. "It was kind of frustrating because he was mostly using it to watch porn," Caceres said. "I couldn't get any information about him." Last week the thief messed up and registered on a web site with his name and address. Jose alerted the police, who arrested a suspect a few hours later. The moral of the story: never go to a porn site where you have to register.

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