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Should Schools Block Sites Like Wikipedia? 545

Londovir asks: "Recently, our school board made the decision to block Wikipedia from our school district's WAN system. This was a complete block — there aren't even provisions in place for teachers or administrators to input a password to bypass the restriction. The reason given was that Wikipedia (being user created and edited) did not represent a credible or reliable source of information for schools. Should we block sites such as Wikipedia because students may be exposed to misinformation, or should we encourage sites such as Wikipedia as an outlet for students to investigate and determine the validity of the information?"
Hardware Hacking

Apple TV Already Being Hacked 260

TunesBoy writes "Only a couple of days after being shipped, the Apple TV is already being modified in a variety of ways. A thread at Something Awful discusses installing VLC, and a dedicated site,, has appeared and is cataloging hacks including a hard-drive upgrade tutorial. Did Apple intend for the Apple TV to be so easy to upgrade and hack?"

Can Apple Penetrate the Corporation? 500

coondoggie sends us a NetworkWorld story on the prospects for Apple gaining market share in the corporation. A number of factors are helping to catch the eye of those responsible for upgrading desktops and servers, the article claims: "Apple's shift to the Intel architecture; the inclusion of infrastructure and interoperability hooks, such as directory services, in the Mac OS X Server; dual-boot capabilities; clustering and storage technology; third-party virtualization software; and comparison shopping, which is being fostered by migration costs and hardware overhauls associated with Microsoft's Vista." On this last point, one network admin is quoted: "The changes in Vista are significant enough that we think we can absorb the change going to Macs just as easily as going to Vista."

Has the Desktop Linux Bubble Burst? 677

El Lobo writes "For the Linux desktop, 2002 was an important year. Since then, we have continuously been fed point releases which added bits of functionality and speed improvements, but no major revision has yet seen the light of day. What's going on? A big problem with GNOME is that it lacks any form of a vision, a goal, for the next big revision. GNOME 3.0 is just that- a name. All GNOME 3.0 has are some random ideas by random people in random places. KDE developers are indeed planning big things for KDE4 — but that is what they are stuck at. Show me where the results are.KDE's biggest problem is a lack of manpower and financial backing by big companies. In the meantime, the competition has not exactly been standing still. Apple has continuously been improving its Mac OS X operating system. Microsoft has not been resting on its laurels either. Windows Vista is already available. Many anti-MS fanboys complain that Vista is nothing more than XP with a new coat, but anyone with an open mind realizes this is absolutely not the case."

Is the Universe a Hall of Mirrors? 395

PhysicsWeb is running an article by one of the researchers who has developed the theory that the universe may be finite, rather small, and soccer-ball shaped. The question is still open; it's one theory that fits cosmic microwave data from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP). Apparently testing the theory by looking in the indicated way through the WMAP data would so far be computationally prohibitive. From the article: "The Poincaré dodecahedral space can be described as the interior of a 'sphere' made from 12 slightly curved pentagons. However, there is one big difference between this shape and a football [soccer ball] because when one goes out from a pentagonal face, one immediately comes back inside the ball from the opposite face after a 36 degree rotation. Such a multiply connected space can therefore generate multiple images of the same object, such as a planet or a photon. Other such well-proportioned, spherical spaces that fit the WMAP data are the tetrahedron and the octahedron."
The Internet

Is Internet Addiction a Medical Condition? 227

PreacherTom writes "Arising from such cases as a recent lawsuit with IBM over employee termination due to online sex chatting at work, recent debate over whether Internet abuse is a legitimate addiction, akin to alcoholism, is heating up. From the article: 'Attorneys say recognition by a court — whether in this or some future litigation — that Internet abuse is an uncontrollable addiction, and not just a bad habit, could redefine the condition as a psychological impairment worthy of protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act.' The condition could even make it into the next edition of the American Psychiatric Association's DSM, making it a full-blown neurosis. It wouldn't be a huge surprise, with a recent Stanford study showing that 14% of people state it would be 'hard to stay away from the Net for even a few days in a row."

Would You Trust RFID-Enabled ATM Cards? 214

race_k2 asks: "As a regular Slashdot reader I've followed the development and implementation of RFID devices in many ubiquitous areas such as clothing, passports and even people. Given that our environment is becoming increasingly tagged, often without our knowledge or consent, and can be monitored or hacked by anyone with the proper hardware, skills and motivation, I viewed the recent arrival of two new ATM cards containing RFID chips with skepticism. While this feature may bring the increased convenience of speedy checkouts, it is not something I am completely comfortable using and decided that the safety of my personal data was more important than the ability to buy things quickly. The vulnerable nature of RFID security coupled with recent, though unrelated, reports of a Possible Security Flaw In ATMs make me seriously question whether the marriage of wireless data transfer with personal finance is a wise application of technology." So race's question basically boils down to: How safe and secure are the RFID chips that are being embedded in debit and credit cards? To add another issue on to the fire: Would you trust RFID technology on your cards?

Are New DRM Technologies Setting Vista Up For Failure? 407

PetManimal writes "Computerworld has picked apart the way Vista handles DRM in terms of hardware and software restrictions. Trusted Platform Module, Output Protection Management, Protected Video Path and various Windows Media software components are designed to 'protect' copyrighted content against security breaches and unauthorized use. The article notes that many of the DRM technologies were forced upon Vista by the entertainment industry, but that may not garner Microsoft or Hollywood any sympathy with consumers: 'Matt Rosoff, lead analyst at research firm Directions On Microsoft, asserts that this process does not bode well for new content formats such as Blu-ray and HD-DVD, neither of which are likely to survive their association with DRM technology. "I could not be more skeptical about the viability of the DRM included with Vista, from either a technical or a business standpoint," Rosoff stated. "It's so consumer-unfriendly that I think it's bound to fail — and when it fails, it will sink whatever new formats content owners are trying to impose."'"

Can Wikipedia Ever Make the Grade? 286

swestcott writes to mention an article at the Chronicle of Higher Education site, wondering if Wikipedia will ever 'make the grade'? Academics are split, and feuding, about how to handle the popular collaborative project. Due to the ease of editing correct information into nonsense, many professors are ignoring it. Others want to start contributing. From the article: "As the encyclopedia's popularity continues to grow, some professors are calling on scholars to contribute articles to Wikipedia, or at least to hone less-than-inspiring entries in the site's vast and growing collection. Those scholars' take is simple: If you can't beat the Wikipedians, join 'em. Proponents of that strategy showed up in force at Wikimania, the annual meeting for Wikipedia contributors, a three-day event held in August at Harvard University. Leaders of Wikipedia said there that they had turned their attention to increasing the accuracy of information on the Web site, announcing several policies intended to prevent editorial vandalism and to improve or erase Wikipedia's least-trusted entries."

Will Stallman Kill the "Linux Revolution?" 741

frdmfghtr writes "The October 30 issue of Forbes Magazine has an article speculating that Richard Stallman's efforts to rewrite the GPL could threaten to 'tear it apart.' The article describes how the GPLv3 is expected to be incompatible with the GPLv2, causing trouble for Linux vendors such as Novell and Red Hat. The article wraps it up: 'And a big loser, eventually, could be Stallman himself. If he relents now, he likely would be branded a sellout by his hard-core followers, who might abandon him. If he stands his ground, customers and tech firms may suffer for a few years but ultimately could find a way to work around him. Either way, Stallman risks becoming irrelevant, a strange footnote in the history of computing: a radical hacker who went on a kamikaze mission against his own program and went down in flames, albeit after causing great turmoil for the people around him.'"

Internet Addicts As Ill As Alcoholics? 260

suntac writes to mention an article on New Scientist, reporting on a Stanford study of internet addiction. The study finds that the U.S. is 'rife' with internet addicts, who may be as addicted as alcoholics to their sweet sweet net connection. From the article: "Nearly 14% of respondents said they found it difficult to stay away from the internet for several days and 12% admitted that they often remain online longer than expected. More than 8% of those surveyed said they hid internet use from family, friends and employers, and the same percentage confessed to going online to flee from real-world problems. Approximately 6% also said their personal relationships had suffered as a result of excessive internet usage. 'Potential markers of problematic internet use are present in a sizeable portion of the population,' the researchers note." While obviously allowing relationships to suffer so you can surf eBay is a problem, where is the line between relying on the internet for news and information and addiction?

Web Censorship on the University Campus? 503

Censored Prof asks: "I teach at a private university in San Antonio, TX. Besides some horrendous bandwidth issues, we have lately been subjected to Lightspeed and/or Websense blocking. This means that suddenly, university students are unable to see content that the rest of the (free) world sees; and more importantly are often blocked from very legitimate information crucial to their area of study. Papers like Village Voice are blocked. Anatomy sites are blocked. Electronic Art sites are blocked. Anything with ".mp3" is blocked. Our CIO has assured us that this is not uncommon and that there are good reasons to do this on a university campus. It strikes me as odd that students must leave campus to learn, and smacks of censorship in horrible ways. So my question: Is this unique to our university? Who else at what other universities are subject to similar web-content blocking? Are we alone, or part of a disturbing trend?"

Do Big Screens Make Employees More Productive? 472

prostoalex writes "If your company uses 17" or 19" monitors, 30" monitors will make the employees more productive, Apple-sponsored research says. MacWorld reports: "Pfeiffer's testing showed time savings of 13.63 seconds when moving files between folders using the larger screen — 15.7 seconds compared to 29.3 seconds on the 17-in. monitor — for a productivity gain of 46.45 percent. The testing showed a 65.09 percent productivity gain when dragging and dropping between images — a task that took 6.4 seconds on the larger monitor compared to 18.3 seconds using the smaller screen. And cutting and pasting cells from Excel spreadsheets resulted in a 51.31 percent productivity gain — a task that took 20.7 seconds on the larger monitor versus 42.6 seconds on the smaller screen."" Calling such task-specific speed jolts "productivity gains" seems optimistic unless some measure of overall producivity backs up that claim, but don't mention that on the purchase order request.

Copper Wire As Fast As Fiber? 239

Krishna Dagli writes to tell us that a new consortium of hardware vendors and phone companies have banded together in order to try for fiber optic speeds over copper wiring. From the article: "To avoid interference, current DSL implementations use static spectrum management that is built for a 'worst-case' scenario. Most actual phone lines would allow for far better performance, and DSM technology will allow each DSL connection to be regulated in real time by the hardware based on measured crosstalk and on current data needs of each customer. The end result could be DSL connections that top out at 100Mbps or more."

Deprecating the Datacenter? 367

m0smithslash writes "The blogging CEO asserts that that datacenters are doomed. Computers are showing up in everything from drill bits, to cargo ships to tracking devices in stuffed animals at Disneyland. With computers becoming so small and easy to distribute over a wireless network, do we really need data centers to house computers or are the computers going to be placed where they are really needed?"

Chemist who falls in acid will be tripping for weeks.