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Journal: in which i am a noob all over again 17

Journal by CleverNickName

I haven't posted a journal here in almost three years, because I couldn't find the button to start a new entry. ...yeah, it turns out that it's at the bottom of the page.

So... hi, Slashdot. I used to be really active here, but now I mostly lurk and read. I've missed you.

Education

Quantum Physics For Everybody 145

Posted by kdawson
from the this-time-without-the-math dept.
fiziko writes in with a self-described "blatant self-promotion" of a worthwhile service for those wishing to go beyond Khan Academy physics: namely Bureau 42's Summer School. "As those who subscribe to the 'Sci-Fi News' slashbox may know, Bureau 42 has launched its first Summer School. This year we're doing a nine-part series (every Monday in July and August) taking readers from high school physics to graduate level physics, with no particular mathematical background required. Follow the link for part 1."
Mozilla

French Military Contributes To Thunderbird 3 379

Posted by kdawson
from the mais-oui-l'oiseau dept.
fredboboss sends news about Mozilla's email client Thunderbird 3, whose release we noted last week. "Thunderbird 3 contains code from the French military, which decided the open source product was more secure than Microsoft's rival Outlook. The French government is beginning to move to other open source software, including Linux instead of Windows and OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Office. Thunderbird 3 used some of the code from TrustedBird, a generalized and co-branded version of Thunderbird with security extensions built by the French military."
Privacy

FBI Bringing Biometric Photo Scanning To North Carolina, Via DMV 221

Posted by timothy
from the if-you-have-nussink-to-hide dept.
AHuxley writes "The FBI is getting fast new systems to look at local North Carolina license photos via the DMV. As the FBI is not authorized to collect and store the photos, they use the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles. The system takes seconds to look at chin widths and nose sizes. The expanded technology used on millions of motorist could be rolled out across the USA. The FBI's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System is also getting an upgrade to DNA records, 3-D facial imaging, palm prints and voice scans."
Books

What Belongs In a High School Sci-Fi/Fantasy Lit Class? 1021

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the fantasy-is-thinking-this-class-wont-get-axed dept.
flogger writes "I have been asked to help develop a literature course for Science Fiction and Fantasy literature. What do you consider to be appropriate selections of short stories and novels in these genres for high school students of all ability levels? I'd also like to know why you choose certain selections. This class will be 'regular' class and not a class for 'flunkies' to earn a credit by sitting docile and listening to lectures. The following is a course description that I have been given as a guideline. This description can change. Any ideas? 'In this Junior/Senior level course, students will focus on the genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Students will survey the histories of these genres and recognize how world events have been reflected onto other worlds. From the early formation of the genre, with Verne, and the classics of Clarke, Tolkien, Bradbury, and LeGuin, to the contemporary works of Card, Jordan, and Vinge, the genres have been about portraying humanity in possible scenarios. These works have mirrored events throughout the troubled situations of our history and provided optimistic outcomes and horrifying predictions. Through this course, students will utilize analytical skills and reading strategies to evaluate our current situation and project into the literature of different worlds while sharing and learning of an author's insight. Possible areas of interest will be topics of the environment, energy conservation, war, social issues, and others. '"
GUI

Firefox To Replace Menus With Office Ribbon 1124

Posted by timothy
from the what-about-in-gnome? dept.
Barence writes "Mozilla has announced that its plans to bring Office 2007's Ribbon interface to Firefox, as it looks to tidy up its 'dated' browser. 'Starting with Vista, and continuing with Windows 7, the menu bar is going away,' notes Mozilla in its plans for revamping the Firefox user interface. '[It will] be replaced with things like the Windows Explorer contextual strip, or the Office Ribbon, [which is] now in Paint and WordPad, too.' The change will also bring Windows' Aero Glass effects to the browser." Update: 09/24 05:01 GMT by T : It's not quite so simple, says Alexander Limi, who works on the Firefox user experience. "We are not putting the Ribbon UI on Firefox. The article PCpro quotes talks about Windows applications in general, not Firefox." So while the currently proposed direction for Firefox 3.7 involves some substantial visual updates for Windows users (including a menu bar hidden by default, and integration of Aero-styled visual elements), it's not actually a ribbon interface. Limi notes, too, that Linux and Mac versions are unaffected by the change.
Bug

Microsoft Says No TCP/IP Patches For XP 759

Posted by timothy
from the to-improve-your-customer-experience dept.
CWmike writes "Microsoft says it won't patch Windows XP for a pair of bugs it quashed Sept. 8 in Vista, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008. The news adds Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) and SP3 to the no-patch list that previously included only Windows 2000 Server SP4. 'We're talking about code that is 12 to 15 years old in its origin, so backporting that level of code is essentially not feasible,' said security program manager Adrian Stone during Microsoft's monthly post-patch Webcast, referring to Windows 2000 and XP. 'An update for Windows XP will not be made available,' Stone and fellow program manager Jerry Bryant said during the Q&A portion of the Webcast (transcript here). Last Tuesday, Microsoft said that it wouldn't be patching Windows 2000 because creating a fix was 'infeasible.'"

Comment: Re:Wash your hands! (Score 1) 374

by CleverNickName (#29392669) Attached to: Swine Flu Outbreak At PAX

This is good advice, and gives me an opportunity to speak to the community at large: some of us who go to cons and are in a position to shake tons of hands politely decline. It's not because we're being dicks, it's because we know it's a good way to substantially decrease our chances of catching and spreading any germs.

Comment: Oh, cruel irony (Score 2, Interesting) 374

by CleverNickName (#29392641) Attached to: Swine Flu Outbreak At PAX

I played the PAX Pandemic game, where the Enforcers handed out stickers to attendees that read [Carrier] [Infected] or [Immune] (There was also a [Patient Zero].

I got the [Immune] sticker, and by the time I got home on Monday, it was clear that I had the flu. I've had a fever between 100 and 104 all week that finally broke last night, but I'm going to the doctor today because I think whatever I had settled into my lungs. I'll tell him about the H1N1 outbreak and get tested if he wants to run the test, but at this point I think it's safe to assume that I was [Immune] to the Pig Plague, but definitely [Infected] with the damn PAX pox.

Even though it's been a week of misery, it was entirely worth it, and I don't regret going to PAX for a single second.

Image

School Uniform To Block Cell Phone Emissions 153

Posted by samzenpus
from the luddite-high dept.
Foehg writes "ForeignPolicy.com reports, 'A Belarusian textile company has developed a special school uniform that protects kids from electromagnetic radiation emanating from their cellphones. The uniform features a dedicated pocket that can store the phone and make it safe for those who wear it.'" Now someone has to create an oven mitt that can protect you from the harmful radiation given off by your microwave oven.
Games

Ubisoft Working On a New Anti-Piracy Tool 377

Posted by Soulskill
from the surely-to-be-welcomed-with-open-arms dept.
Ubisoft recently revealed that their game sales have seen a 50% drop over the past quarter, blaming the overall market slowdown and piracy (particularly on the DS) for the low numbers. They also announced that four of their games, including Splinter Cell: Conviction and Red Steel 2, would be delayed until 2010. The company's CEO, Yves Guillemot, now says they are working on a new anti-piracy tool that should be ready by the end of 2009. He didn't offer any details about how it would be implemented.

Comment: Re:Queue "Piracy" reasoning (Score 1) 310

by XenoPhage (#28730617) Attached to: US Videogame Sales Have Biggest Drop In 9 Years

I completely agree, thus my post.. Typically these types of reports turn into blamefests about piracy and those damn kids and whatnot.. In reality, the economy sucks and there just aren't that many truly decent games coming out.

I miss the days of shareware when you could try a game before buying it. Nowadays, you spend $40-$60 on a new game for your shiny console and if you hate it, you're pretty much screwed. Most places have a no exchange policy, so the only real alternative is to sell it used. GameStop will be happy to give you $10 for that $60 game you bought 5 minutes ago...

In the end, I find myself having a problem justifying buying any game I haven't directly played. So, I end up not buying any. This is probably a very good thing for my wallet, but not such a great thing for game developers. :)

Business is a good game -- lots of competition and minimum of rules. You keep score with money. -- Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari

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