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Hardware Hacking

LinuxBIOS Gets GUI 171

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-isn't-that-pretty dept.
LWATCDR writes "Has a great write up on combining LinuxBios a Linux kernel, busybox, X, a window manager, and rxvt into a two meg flash chip. So what does get you? A six second boot time for one. All sorts of uses come to mind. Terminals to use with the Linux Terminal server. A very fast booting embedded system like a Car computer. With every one pushing for multi-core cpus, mega gigabyte drives and many gigabytes of ram it is interesting to see how small you can go."

New Microsoft Dirty Tricks Revealed 207

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the sleights-of-hand dept.
Conrad Mazian writes "Robert X. Cringely has an article on the Technology Evangelist web site where he claims that Microsoft destroyed evidence in the Burst vs Microsoft case. Specifically Burst's lawyers had asked for certain emails, Microsoft claimed that they couldn't find the backup tapes the emails would be on, and while this was happening the tapes were in a vault at Microsoft — until they mysteriously disappeared. It's a fascinating story, and even names one person at Microsoft."

Macrovision Responds to Steve Jobs on DRM 221

Posted by Zonk
from the thinking-out-loud dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Macrovision Corporation, best known for its long history of DRM implementations, (everything from VCRs to software copy protection), has responded to Steve Jobs open letter regarding DRM. With ample experience and despite the obvious vested interests, it's great to hear their point of view. In the letter they acknowledge the 'difficult challenges' of implementing DRM that is truly 'interoperable and open'. At the same time they also feel that DRM 'will increase electronic distribution', if implemented properly, because 'DRM increases not decreases consumer value', such as by enabling people to rent content at a lower price than ownership, and lowering risks for content producers. While I'm impressed they responded, I can't say I'm impressed by lofty goals that might not be reached for years. The reality is, current DRM implementations often leave users with the bad end of the deal. What do you think? Should people give DRM manufacturers more time to overcome the challenges and get it right?"
GNOME

Godwin's Law Invoked in Linus/Gnome Spat 828

Posted by Zonk
from the can't-the-nazis-stay-out-of-just-one-internet-argument dept.
lisah writes "The flame wars between Linus Torvalds and the GNOME community continue to burn. Responding to Torvalds' recent claim that GNOME 'seems to be developed by interface Nazis' and that its developers believe their 'users are idiots,' a member of the Linux Foundation's Desktop Architects mailing list suggested that Torvalds use GNOME for a month before making such pronouncements. Torvalds, never one to back down from a challenge, simply turned around and submitted patches to GNOME and then told the list, '...let's see what happens to my patches. I guarantee you that they actually improve the code.' After lobbing that over the fence, Torvalds concluded his comments by saying, 'Now the question is, will people take the patches, or will they keep their heads up their arses and claim that configurability is bad, even when it makes things more logical, and code more readable.'" Linux.com and Slashdot are both owned by OSTG.
Businesses

+ - are unfinished products becoming the norm?

Submitted by Paul
Paul (678524) writes "Long ago when digital synthesizers first became commonly available, I recall a reviewer lamenting how he was getting more and more products to test whose software was unfinished and buggy and would require updates and fixes (this, before the internet allowed easy downloads, would have meant a journey to a specialist repair centre). The review also commented how this common problem with computer software (he wrote even before windows 95 was out) was spreading, and asked if it was going to become the norm.

These days it seems ubiquitous, with PDAs, digital cameras, PVRs and all manner of complex goods needing after-market firmware fixes often simply to make them have the features promised in the adverts, let alone add enhancements.

Are we seeing this spread beyond computers and computer-based products; jokes apart, will we be booting our cars up and installing flash updates every week to prevent comoputer viruses getting into the control systems?

Can slashdot readers comment on any recent purchases where they've been badly let down by missing features, or are still waiting for promised updates even whilst a new model is now on the shelves? How can we make the manufacturers take better responsibility?

Apart from reading every review possible before making a purchase, what strategy do slashdot readers have, or propose, for not being caught out? With software, people say "never buy v1.0", but this is not possible with say a digicam."
Media

+ - Canadian copyright group wants iPod taxes

Submitted by
Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward writes "Unable to define memory as a "recording medium," Canada's Private Copyright Collective goes directly after portable music player devices, memory cards, and anything else that can be used to make private copies. The Private Copyright Collective submitted a proposal to the country's Copyright Board that suggests levies of $5 on devices with up to 1GB of memory, $25 for 1 to 10 GB, $50 for between 10 GB and 30 GB and $75 for over 30 GB are in order to compensate artists and labels for the losses they suffer when people "illegally" copy or transfer music. They are also seeking a new $2 to $10 tax on memory cards. That's right, MEMORY CARDS! The backbone of digital photography has become tangled up in the fight for making sure music artists get every nickel and dime they feel that they deserve."
Patents

Microsoft Getting Paid for Patents in Linux? 377

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the now-wait-a-minute dept.
kripkenstein noted an Interview with Jeremy Allison where the interviewer asks 'One of the persistent rumors that's going around is that certain large IT customers have already been paying Microsoft for patent licensing to cover their use of Linux, Samba and other free software projects.' and Jeremy responds "Yes, that's true, actually. I mean I have had people come up to me and essentially off the record admit that they had been threatened by Microsoft and had got patent cross license and had essentially taken out a license for Microsoft patents on the free software that they were using [...] But they're not telling anyone about it. They're completely doing it off the record."
The Internet

Walmart Rejects Firefox and Safari 555

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the also-dalmations-have-spots dept.
babooo404 writes "Last week, Walmart launched their online video download service. Immediately there were posts that the service did not work with the Firefox or Safari browsers. There was a collective, "WTF" when this happened as this is 2007, not 1997. Now it appears that reports are out that Walmart has completely turned off the ability to get into the application at all by Firefox, Safari or any other browser it does not like."
Hardware

Dell Laptop Burns House Down 405

Posted by kdawson
from the dude dept.
Nuclear Elephant writes "The Consumerist is running a story about a house burned down by a Dell laptop. 'My 130-year-old former farm house was engulfed in flames, with thick dark smoke pouring out of the windows and roof... Hours later, after investigation the fire marshal investigator took me aside asked me if I had a laptop computer. Yes — I told him I had a Dell Inspiron 1200.' It was determined that the laptop, battery, or cord malfunctioned after its owner left for work, leaving the fire to spread through the entire house. All attempts to contact Dell have failed. 'I have tried to call Dell to at least notify them of my problems, but each time I have called I get transferred into an endless loop of "Joe" or "Alan" all speaking a delectable version of English I presume emanates from Bangalore. I have been outright hung up on each time I get someone who speaks a reasonable version of English, or sounds like they might be in charge of something. Promises of call backs have gone, of course, unreturned.'"

The number of computer scientists in a room is inversely proportional to the number of bugs in their code.

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