Penguinisto writes "According to a somewhat jaw-dropping story in The Register, it appears that Microsoft has performed a trifecta of geek-scaring feats: They have joined the Apache Software Foundation as a Platinum member(at $100K USD a year), submitted LGPL-licensed patches for ADOdb, and have pledged to expand their Open Specifications Promise by adding to the list more than 100 protocols for interoperability between its Windows Server and the Windows client. While I sincerely doubt they'll release Vista under a GPL license anytime soon, this is certainly an unexpected series of moves on their part, and could possibly lead to more OSS (as opposed to 'Shared Source') interactivity between what is arguably Linux' greatest adversary and the Open Source community." (We mentioned the announced support for the Apache Foundation earlier today, as well.)
sciencehabit writes "For anyone who still believes that boys are better at math than girls, a massive new study published today in Science shows there's no difference. 'Among students with the highest test scores, the team did find that white boys outnumbered white girls by about two to one. Among Asians, however, that result was nearly reversed. Hyde says that suggests that cultural and social factors, not gender alone, influence how well students perform on tests.' But the researchers do note a disturbing trend towards omitting harder kinds of math questions from standardized tests."
passionfingers writes "My business users regularly have to tweak large (>32MB text) data files manually. Overlords charged with verifying the aforementioned changes have requested that the little people be provided with a new file editor that will track changes made to a file (as a word processor does). I have scouted around online for such an animal, but to no avail — even commercial offerings like UltraEdit32 don't offer such a feature. Likewise on the OSS side of the fence, where I expected a Notepad++ plugin or the like, it appears that the requirements to a) open a file containing a large volume of text data and b) track changes to the data, are mutually exclusive. Does anyone in the Slashdot community already have such a beast in their menagerie? Perhaps there is there a commercial offering I've missed, or could someone possibly point me to their favorite (stable) OSS project that might measure up?"
I'd either give it to a school, my grandparents who are far away or to some other senoir citizen. Installed with Linux of course.
Todd Spangler writes "Comcast, like every video distributor, compresses its digital video signals. But to fit in more HDTV channels, Comcast is squeezing some signals more than others. The cable operator claims it is using improved compression techniques, so that most subscribers won't see any drop-off in picture quality. But A/V buff Ken Fowler claims the differences between some of Comcast's more highly compressed channels and Verizon's FiOS TV are indeed noticeable. He's posted his comparative test results on AVSForum.com — and the results are not pretty."
An anonymous reader sends us to ZeroPaid, which seems to be the only site in English to have picked up a story out of France involving Sony and piracy. Except this time the shoe is on the other foot. The small software company PointDev learned that Sony BMG was using a pirated license for one of its system administration tools. PointDev got bailiffs to raid a Sony property and they found pirated software on four servers. The source article (link is to a Google translation of French original) quotes PointDev's spokesman claiming that the BSA believes 47% of software used in corporations to be illegal — whether he is referring to Sony in particular is not clear in the translation.
alphadogg points out a story about 11-year-old Jon Penn, who took over control of a 60-computer school network in Alabama after the old administrator suddenly left. Penn provides technical support, selects software, and teaches his classmates about computers. From NetworkWorld: "The first thing Jon found as he leapt into the role of network manager was that he had to map out the network to find out what was on it. He bought some tools for this at CompUSA and realized there was an ungodly amount of computer viruses and spam, so he pressed the school to invest in filtering and antivirus protection. 'These computers are so old they don't support all antivirus programs,' Penn says. The school took advantage of a Microsoft effort called Fresh Start that offers free software upgrades for schools with donated computers, switching from Windows 98 to Windows 2000."