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SPAM: Suprise! 3

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

Motorists may be in for a surprise if they spot flashing red lights in their rearview mirrors in this Sacramento suburb during the holiday season.
Police are stopping law-abiding motorists and rewarding their good driving with $5 Starbucks gift cards.

A traffic officer came up with the idea to "promote the holiday spirit and enhance goodwill between the traffic unit and the motoring public," police Sgt. Tim Curran said.

Christmas Cheer

+ - NOT another silly "blink my xmas lights" w->

Submitted by
Clark Griswald
Clark Griswald writes "Ok, so we've got our Christmas Lights hooked up to the 'net from a website for public control. Been done before so it's cool but no big deal, right? There's something different about this one. Our system operates as a NETWORK and has been designed to allow anyone (ie. you, friends and family) to join their home into our pattern and sequences, in synch and in real time anywhere around the world. How is this possible?

Because our system (hardware/software) is designed from the ground up to be networked, it's possible to add any home, hopefully even YOUR home to our network, and you can be in real-time synch with our lights anywhere in the world. We have a small Java program that runs with an Internet Network Time synch protocol that keeps everything running to the nearest 10 to 30 milliseconds.

The switching speeds are very fast, approaching 10 MS with relatively complex patterns. Space aliens will be alerted to our synchronized flashing lights from a variety of places from around the world! Perhaps it's best to just try and draw the attention of Santa for the kids until we get all the kinks worked out of the system. Here's the system working in synch on the first node of 4 combined homes in our network. Take a look and judge for yourself....WebSite Video FAQ"

Link to Original Source
Intel

+ - Intel Answers Phenom with Unsupported CPU->

Submitted by
Vigile
Vigile writes "Sure the AMD Phenom is getting a lot of attention today but Intel wasn't going to let AMD's parade run without raining on it. In a response that seems more than a little strange, Intel brought in the release of performance data on the Core 2 Extreme QX9770 processor which runs at 3.20 GHz on a 1600 MHz front-side bus. What makes this release odd is that AMD's parts don't even come close to competing with the existing Intel high-end CPUs and that there is no chipset from Intel or elsewhere that actually supports a 1600 MHz FSB! Using current motherboards that were overclocked to run the QX9770, the performance of the new processor is simply the fastest desktop processor we have seen."
Link to Original Source
Businesses

Retailer Refuses Hardware Repair Due To Linux 1018

Posted by kdawson
from the bad-hinge-driver dept.
Tikka writes "Today I visited PC World (London, UK) because my 5-month-old laptop has developed a manufacturing fault: the hinge to the display has started to crack the plastic casing. Anyone in the know will know that this is due to the joint inside, and it means that in time the screen will separate from the keyboard. Repair was refused, because I have Gentoo Linux on my laptop, replacing the Windows Vista that was pre-installed. PC World said that installing Linux had voided my warranty and there is nothing they will do for me. I spoke to a manager, who said that he has been told to refuse any repairs if the operating system has been changed. I feel this has really gone against my statutory rights and I will do everything I can to fight it. I will review comments for your advice."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Canadian Bureaucrats Don't "Think Different" 427

Posted by kdawson
from the sense-of-design dept.
owlgorithm writes "Apple's new store in Montreal has three parking meters on the street in front of it. The city is in the middle of a campaign to reduce downtown parking. In Apple's ever-conscientious attempt to improve design, they offered to reimburse the city for the parking meters and their revenue if the city would remove them. Answer: Non — because 'We've never done it before, so we can't.'"
Mars

+ - EU abandons plans to convert UK to metric

Submitted by SeeSchloss
SeeSchloss (886510) writes "After years of trying to get Britain to switch to the metric system the EU has finally decided to give up the fight. Conversion was initially a precondition for UK's membership of the European Union, in 1973, and the deadline had been regularly extended since then. Should we add back the UK to the list of the three countries in the world which do not use the metric system (Myanmar, Liberia and the United States)? It looks like the more a country waits before switching to the metric system, the more difficult it is, most countries did it while their litteracy rate was low and avoided most of the problems the UK or the US would be facing now. Do you think it is realistic to expect the UK or the US to switch to the metric system now? Do you think such a conversion is even useful outside of technical fields (I hope we all agree that it is needed in space research, for example)?"
Software

+ - Software Assistance for the Blind

Submitted by Yort
Yort (555166) writes "This last weekend, I met a woman who was blind. She had just moved to the area, and wanted to get a job, but her computer (Win95/98) and assistance software (JAWS 3.x) were too old to be used nowadays with the sort of out-of-home work she would be looking for. The new version of JAWS is over $1000, and would require a new computer. Are there any alternatives, open source or otherwise, that would allow her to get up and running for several hundred dollars instead of several thousand?"
Education

+ - Is english ambiguous? 1

Submitted by
rabidphage
rabidphage writes "In general English, I often come across a lot of phrases such as "worded incorrectly", "choice of words", "what I mean", "it means" etc. In my native language, I don't recollect coming across such phrases with as a high degree. Is English relatively more ambiguous than other languages? Is there a measure of such characteristics of languages?

When I was younger and had to learn English as part of my curriculum, I found that it was a relatively simple language to learn; not that my English is any good. But these days, when I try to formulate a sentence, form an Idea or read a complex article, I tend not to enjoy English much as I feel that it has some frictional characteristics to it that impedes the true function of language. It is almost as if a lot of neural processing is being unnecessarily spent on something that could have been much more fluid. I see that in online forums and such, native English speakers struggle with it as well-both in vocabulary as well as grammar. In my native tongue, I feel that grammar is pervasive but vocabulary is what one should look to improve, grammar being inseparable form the language as a unit. Maybe its just me. Or is it?
Hope I made some sense :-)"
Security

+ - Web hosting problems for small companies

Submitted by
ttsiod
ttsiod writes "My (small) company is selling some of its products and services online. Until now, we had opted for a hosting solution on a USA based provider, since our products are targeting the global market. Unfortunately, we found out (through http://www.myipneighbors.com/) that at least 200 others are hosted on the same IP address — and at least one of them has been hijacked by spammers (or IS a spammer!), resulting in our address being permanently lodged in Spamhaus. Is this a common phenomenon for the Slashdot crowd? We are currently in the process of upgrading to a Virtual Server by the same provider (the IP address will be ours and ours alone); however, we have also experienced DDoS on our server in the past (one of the 200 might have been a target of the Russian bot e-mafia). Can we hope to escape this by using a VS? How often do hosting providers get attacked by the armies of zombie Microsoft-infested PCs? What is the best hosting solution for a small company?"
Google

+ - Steve Fossett update - 1m res color sat images

Submitted by Fullerene
Fullerene (1151313) writes "(Editors please consider for article update. These new images are some real sweet close-ups that are worth having people look at.)

Slashdotters searching for Steve Fossett on Google Earth can update to a high resolution color satellite image to replace the B&W images that were used for the first few hours of the Amazon Mechanical Turk search.

http://s3.amazonaws.com/fossett/geoeye-color.kml"

Take your work seriously but never take yourself seriously; and do not take what happens either to yourself or your work seriously. -- Booth Tarkington

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