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Operating Systems

Ubuntu 9.04 For the Windows Power User 727

crazipper writes "Know a Windows power user who is (honestly) good with technology, but hasn't yet warmed to Linux? Tom's Hardware just posted a guide to installing and using Ubuntu 9.04, written specifically for the MS crowd (in other words, it talks about file systems, mount points, app installation, etc). Hopefully, by the end, your 'friend' will realize just how easy Ubuntu can be to use and start down a long path of exploration with a new operating system."

Vatican To Build 100 Megawatt Solar Power Plant 447

Karim Y. writes "The Vatican is going solar in a big way. The tiny state recently announced that it intends to spend 660 million dollars to create what will effectively be Europe's largest solar power plant. This massive 100 megawatt photovoltaic installation will provide enough energy to make the Vatican the first solar powered nation state in the world! 'The 100 megawatts unleashed by the station will supply about 40,000 households. That will far outstrip demand by Pope Benedict XVI and the 900 inhabitants of the 0.2 square-mile country nestled across Rome's Tiber River. The plant will cover nine times the needs of Vatican Radio, whose transmission tower is strong enough to reach 35 countries including Asia.'"

How Microsoft Beats GNU/Linux In Schools 476

twitter writes "Ever wonder why schools still use Windows? Boycott Novell has extracted the details from 2002 Microsoft email presented in the Comes vrs Microsoft case and other leaks. What emerges is Microsoft's desperate battle to 'never lose to Linux.' At stake for Microsoft is more than a billion dollars of annual revenue, vital user conditioning and governmental lock in that excludes competition, and software freedom for the rest of us. Education and Government Incentives [EDGI] and "Microsoft Unlimited Potential" are programs that allows vendors to sell Windows at zero cost. Microsoft's nightmare scenario has already been realized in Indiana and other places. Windows is not really competitive and schools that switch save tens of millions of dollars. Because software is about as expensive as the hardware in these deals, the world could save up to $500 million each year by dumping Microsoft. Now that the cat is out of the bag, it's hard to see what Microsoft can do other than what they did to Peter Quinn."

Implant Raises Cellular Army To Attack Cancer 193

holy_calamity writes "New Scientist reports on a sneaky new approach to getting the immune system to fight cancer. An implant releases a 'molecular perfume' irresistible to messenger immune cells, which enter the implant where they are given a sample of the cancer's 'scent' and a disperse signal that sends them scurrying to the nearest lymph node. There they convince other immune cells to start attacking anything that matches the sample they picked up."

Companies Using MS Word "Out of Habit," Says Forrester 367

An anonymous reader writes "A Forrester Research report has found that companies use Microsoft Word for word processing out of habit rather than necessity and are beginning to consider other alternatives as the Web has changed the way people create and share documents. The report, "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do: The Microsoft Word Love Story," by analyst Sheri McLeish, suggests that businesses may still be using Word because it is familiar to users or because they have a legacy investment in the application, not because it is the best option." Microsoft surely knows that some other options are creeping slowly into the view of even the most Word-centric users, though. User I dream about smoking writes "Microsoft is testing new capabilities for Office Live Workspace, its online adjunct to Microsoft Office, that will make it a closer rival to online application suites such as Google Docs. Microsoft will start beta testing an updated version of Live Workspace later this year that allows users to create and edit new documents online."
PC Games (Games)

Will DRM Exterminate Spore? 881

AC Dude writes "Will an anti-DRM flash mob that's determined to give EA's latest sim game Spore a rock bottom rating on Amazon.com sink the game, or will Spore evolve and shed the DRM? Is this the beginning of the end for DRM-laden games? 'Over the past few years we've focused a lot on the music industry and how it has attempted to use DRM to control distribution. While DRM in this market segment has been unpopular, anti-DRM campaigns have largely fallen flat when it comes to attracting widespread public attention because of the fragmented nature of music. Games are a much easier target given the monolithic nature of their release — campaigners only need to spread the word on a handful of specific online outlets to reach a wide audience. A quick read through the Amazon reviews of Spore seems to suggest that the negative comments are already putting people off from buying the game.'"

Apple Admits iPod Is From 1970s UK 358

MattSparkes writes "Apple has all but admitted that a British man invented the iPod over three decades ago in the 1970s. Unfortunately, he let the patent run out. When another company tried to grab a portion of its iPod profits, though, Apple went running to him to defend them in court. In return, it looks like he's in for a share of the cash generated from the sale of 163 million iPods."

Submission + - What is the job path to CTO?

Mavenj writes: "I have been working in IT for over 10 years, and have worked most everything where you have to be technical and work with the customer, from support to implementation. Recently I finally finished my Master in Information Systems, and would like to put that oh so expensive degree to work for me. The job I am looking for would be something that requires technical ability, but is also focused on the business end, and managing the technology in the business (think CTO) What kind of jobs do people start out in to end up as CTO? Does Business Analyst set a good framework of skills and experience or should I be looking at other job titles? How have other people gotten there?"

Submission + - ATT + iPhone int'l. roaming data horror: $3k bill 1

DrDiesel writes: via Boing Boing
This guy needs our help to get exposure to his story and to get AT$T to open their eyes to a pretty major problem.

http://www.boingboing.net/2007/07/31/att_iphone_in tl_roam.html
"I have a caveat emptor to top them all. I purchased an iPhone on opening day to use in lieu of a cumbersome laptop while traveling in Ireland and England for two weeks in early July. AT&T promises "easy, affordable, and convenient plans" in their advertising... turns out I got two out of three.

http://www.boingboing.net/2007/07/31/att_iphone_in tl_roam.html
On the way to the airport, I activated the per-use international roaming data plan — the only one offered to me. The rep quoted me $.005 per KB but did not disclose what that would translate to in layman's language (i.e., X amount per e-mail, X amount per web page, etc.). I'm a web developer as part of my career and I couldn't even tell you how many KB the average web page is, no less a text message to my son, an e-mail with a photo to my mother, or a quick check of Google Maps. That's part one of the trap. However, I now pay $40 per month for unlimited data usage on the iPhone, so really — how much could it be? $100 at the most, right?

Keep reading.

http://www.boingboing.net/2007/07/31/att_iphone_in tl_roam.html
As we know, the iPhone can't be unlocked to use a European provider's SIM card for more reasonable rates while traveling. There's part two of the trap.

http://www.boingboing.net/2007/07/31/att_iphone_in tl_roam.html
To be safe, I went online to My Account at AT&T a couple days into the trip and again a week later and was told "usage data is currently unavailable"... and that's part three. I had no way of knowing specific usage data until I received my bill over the last weekend.

http://www.boingboing.net/2007/07/31/att_iphone_in tl_roam.html
A bill for $3000."

http://www.boingboing.net/2007/07/31/att_iphone_in tl_roam.html
http://www.boingboing.net/2007/07/31/att_iphone_in tl_roam.html

Submission + - Discovering hidden information on your PC 2

KermitJunior writes: I was recently approached by a colleague at work who seems to think that his wife might be cheating on him or engaging in otherwise "not quite right" behavior. He has asked me to investigate his computer and find any "pictures, movies, emails, browser history, bank accounts, etc." that might clue him in to a "second identity." Aside from the standard file searches and poking around settings, does anyone in the slashdot crowd know of any free forensic software out there that might help in the search? (Like recovering deleted cache, etc?) The computer is running Win98, I think. I can slave to linux, too, if that will assist.
Operating Systems

Submission + - How many files does a modern OS really need? 2

mopomi writes: I'm setting up a home-office for my SO. Part of the company's requirement for the home-office is that the computer have an anti-virus package installed (because it will be connected directly to their network via a VPN). Since we don't like to use Windows for day-to-day work, we're running the VPN and remote display software under Suse 10.1. To be technically compliant with the AV requirement, I found and installed software from a big-name AV vendor (company is irrelevant). Last night I ran the AV scan on the entire system (bar /proc and /dev). This includes the Windows XP partition that is used for gaming.

The software scanned nearly three million files (with no positives!). My (somewhat rhetorical) question: Why are there so many files on modern operating systems? is every file necessary? is every tenth? how much of this is cruft?

Submission + - Linux Handheld Recommendations 1

David Greene writes: "There's been a lot of upheaval in the Linux Handheld world lately. My trusty iPaq 3955 recently went to the big cradle in the sky so I'm looking for a new one. The landscape, however is challenging, to say the least. handhelds.org is in the doghouse due to trademark issues and looks like it's been replaced by linuxtogo.org, Familiar development seems to have slowed to a crawl, the Opie project is dead (though Opie II is hinted at), GPE seems to be humming along and Angstrom is the new kid on the block.

Given all of this change and future (unknown?) directions of handheld Linux, what are Slashdot users' recommendations for a new Linux handheld that is reasonably well supported now yet will still be actively developed for some time? WiFi support is a requirement, GPS would be nice but not absolutely necessary."

Submission + - The Ageing Demographics Effect

Vacardo writes: "I have a theory.

It seems that when I was a kid, adverts for video games were, well, directed at kids (for those who don't want to click, it's that fantastic 80's Zelda rap). More recently I saw an advert for Mario Party 8 for the Wii — the demographic this intended this time around is your typical young adult, aged anywhere between 20-30.

I don't have a problem with this — hey, these commercials are still roughly reaching me with their more mature take on casual gaming. But I always have the need to stop and wonder — why are the demographics growing up with us?

Could anyone imagine the Mario Party 8 commercial being advertised like the first trailer? I know I wouldn't pay it any attention whatsoever.

This doesn't just apply to video games, of course. Look at comic books — they once started off clean and fresh, but most today are dark, mature and have a lot more depth.

But why the shift in demographics?

My theory is that when a genre, new idea or lifestyle reaches 'pop-culture' status, the age group that hooks into it and stays with it (through thick and thin) will always grow up with it.

I never imagined I'd see people like Kieren Perkins or Nicole Kidman selling video games. Honestly, I find that kind of lame — what kind of kid ever enjoyed their parents getting in on their game scene?

Displease your demographic, reap chaos

Some things really try their best to go against the grain and try to 'reset' the demographic. Often, this is a really poor (and even greedy) move and can cause many of the demographic to jump ship.

Star Wars, when it was first released in 1977, enamored and captivated the youth and their imaginations. Twenty odd years later, we're up to the prequels. The youth have grown up, have children and are ready to enjoy the magic all over again.

Instead they're faced with a defamation of what they once enjoyed so much. Why is this? The film is aimed at children. It lacks the mature gritty sci-fi and goes for a more politically correct 'fantasy' universe for kids where death is downplayed and fart jokes made into a more acceptable form of humor.

In other words, the demographic didn't age with its audience.

No matter how some may try, once something has earned its demographic, it sticks. Trying to capture an entirely new audience is like trying to get an adult to enjoy the wonder of processed baby-food all over again."

The first version always gets thrown away.