Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Cyber Monday Sale! Courses ranging from coding to project management - all eLearning deals 25% off with coupon code "CYBERMONDAY25". ×

Submission + - IT Pros Get Rowdiest At Company Holiday Parties? (

ericatcw writes: According to ChannelWeb UK, IT guys (and gals) are the most likely "to embarrass themselves" at Christmas and holiday parties this season. Nearly 40% of the 2,000 workers surveyed by Avaya — admittedly, in the UK — admitted to drinking too much while 27% said they "snogged" (kissed) their boss during holiday gatherings.

Submission + - UI thread or not, I'm optimistic Ice Cream Sandwic (

ericatcw writes: Android's laggy UI is one of users' biggest complaints. In a Google+ post, ex-Google intern Andrew Munn claimed the problem was due to Android's lack of real-time rendering thread, which iOS and Windows Phone 7 have. Google Android engineer Dianne Hackborn rebutted, saying Android does prioritize the UI thread, though it doesn't give its own real-time one.

While the debate rages on among developers, those of us more in the consumptive mode want to know: will future versions of Android reduce screen herky-jerkiness so that it becomes a moot point? Real-world evidence in the form of contrasting reviews of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus running Ice Cream Sandwich, vs. the ostensibly even-more-powerful Asus Transformer Prime running Honeycomb, offer a strong clue.


Submission + - Is SD Card bricking your Android smartphone? (

ericatcw writes: "ZDNet reports: for the past 2.5 years, numerous Android users have reported malfunctioning SD cards that have caused their smartphone to crash, freeze and/or lose data. See threads like this. Vendors have not publicly admitted to the problem or provided a fix, leaving users frustrated and unsure whether it's the phone slot, SD card firmware, or Android itself, that is to blame."

Submission + - Furry Cartoon Critters Debate: Tablet or Laptop? (

ericatcw writes: Despite the strong inroads that mobile devices are making (see this online list of mass iPad rollouts), many skeptics remain unconvinced of their usefulness. That's true even when confronted with news of Microsoft's fear, reasoned arguments, or even old-timey anti-laptop rants that, hilariously, echo all of the same criticism today against tablets. Will this Xtranormal cartoon video depicting two furry woodland creatures on opposite sides of the 'Tablet or PC?' debate sway your mind?

Submission + - Catholic Church Blesses iPhone Confession App

Hugh Pickens writes writes: Reuters reports that the Catholic Church has sanctioned an iPhone app aimed at helping Catholics through confession and encouraging lapsed followers back to the faith. 'Confession,' thought to be the first to be approved by a church authority, walks Catholics through the sacrament and contains what the company behind the program describes as a "personalized examination of conscience for each user." The app is not designed to replace going to confession but to help Catholics through the act, which generally involves admitting sins to a priest in a confessional booth. Catholics still must go to a priest for absolution. "Our desire is to invite Catholics to engage in their faith through digital technology," says developer Patrick Leinen.

Submission + - Microsoft shrinks Surface, one-ups iPhone (

ericatcw writes: Microsoft Corp. researchers have shrunk down its Surface tabletop computer into a pocket-sized package that, with the aid of a few accessories, one-ups conventional touchscreen devices like Apple Inc.'s iPhone. Hooked up to a small webcam and digital projector, the Mobile Surface computer demonstrated by Microsoft Research scientists can create touch interfaces on any nearby flat surface — or even in thin air. Think the XBox's coming Project Natal, but in a tiny, non-gaming device.

Submission + - Apple dissing Adobe's (buggy?) e-book DRM for iPad ( 1

ericatcw writes: Adobe confirms that Apple isn't using its e-book DRM technology for the coming iPad, lending support to reports that Apple will use its own FairPlay DRM, which it uses to copy protect movies sold through iTunes. Adobe says Apple is trying to lock in customers to its iPad the same way Amazon is with its non-open-standard Kindle text formats and DRM. (It also says it can still deliver Flash to the iPad and iPhone, ban or no ban, through clever backdoors). But others say Adobe's DRM is neither as interoperable between e-reader devices nor as secure as promised. So where do you stand on the great Adobe-Apple battle?

Submission + - FAA data: exploding batteries are rare, small risk (

ericatcw writes: While the U.S. government is intent on adding new rules around the shipment and carrying of Lithium-Ion batteries on passenger and cargo planes, data from its own Federal Aviation Agency show that the risk of being on an airplane where someone — not necessarily you — suffers a minor injury due to a battery is only one in 28 million, reports Computerworld, which analyzed the data (skip to the chart here) using the free Tableau Public data visualization service. Getting killed in a car accident, by contrast, is 4,300 times more likely. Opponents say the rules could raise the cost of shopping online and add hassles for fliers.

Submission + - U.S. rules may raise cost of buying gadgets online (

ericatcw writes: Buying your next laptop or smartphone online could suddenly get a lot more expensive if a little-known U.S. Department of Transportation proposal to tighten rules around the shipment of small, Lithium-Ion battery-powered devices by air goes through, says an industry group opposing the move. The changes, designed primarily to reduce the risk from Lithium-Ion batteries, would also forbid air travelers from carrying spare alkaline or NiMH batteries in their checked-in luggage, according to the head of the Portable Rechargeable Battery Association. The proposal is under review until March 12. It can be viewed and commented upon by members of the public here.

Mozilla Rolls Out Firefox 3.6 RC, Nears Final 145

CWmike writes "Mozilla has shipped a release candidate build of Firefox 3.6 that, barring problems, will become the final, finished version of the upgrade. Firefox 3.6 RC1, which followed a run of betas that started in early November, features nearly 100 bug fixes from the fifth beta that Mozilla issued Dec. 17. The fixes resolved numerous crash bugs, including one that brought down the browser when it was steered to Yahoo's front page. Another fix removed a small amount of code owned by Microsoft from Firefox. The code was pointed out by a Mozilla contributor, and after digging, another developer found the original Microsoft license agreement. 'Amusingly enough, it's actually really permissive. Really the only part that's problematic is the agreement to "include the copyright notice ... on your product label and as a part of the sign-on message for your software product,"' wrote Kyle Huey on Mozilla's Bugzilla. Even so, others working on the bug said the code needed to be replaced with Mozilla's own."

Submission + - 5 reasons why netbooks still rule over tablets (

ericatcw writes: Tablet computing fans are revving the hype engine again, this time declaring that on-the-upswing netbooks — 50 million sold in the past two years — are already on the way out. Mind you, this annual rite is is nearing two decades old, reports Computerworld, without fulfilling its prophecy. The article notes other reasons — economics and ergonomics — why netbooks will still trump over tablets next year.

Submission + - 3 database kings disagree on how to face Hadoop (

ericatcw writes: Relational database startups and even established vendors are jumping onto the MapReduce/Hadoop bandwagon, with Sybase and Teradata being the latest. But what about the big three of the database market: Oracle, IBM and Microsoft? Turns out, one is embracing Hadoop, another is dismissing it, while another says it's been offering it for almost a decade.

Submission + - Microsoft exec who rose despite THAT BSOD video (

ericatcw writes: Most /.ers know that old Bill Gates demo where Windows 98 crashes catastrophically after the hapless assistant plugs in a scanner (it's only been watched on YouTube 1.5 million times). Ever wonder what happened to that young guy? Rather than being fired or exiled to the mailroom, Chris Capossela kept rising. Today, he's back in the spotlight, as Microsoft's marketing veep for Office, Exchange, SharePoint and their new hosted equivalents. Capossela explains what Office's ace in the hole is in its fight for big business against Google Apps, how Microsoft is starting to co-opt Twitter, and how the Redmond culture really is a bit like the Borg.

Submission + - Adobe takes on Microsoft role in eBook market (

ericatcw writes: Barnes & Noble, Sony and other e-book vendors may have the manufacturing muscle, but the brains directing the challenge against's Kindle eBook Reader is Adobe Systems. Like Microsoft, Adobe has built a formidable ecosystem of partners to whom it supplies software such as its encryption/DRM-creating Adobe Content Server. Adobe paints Amazon as being like Apple: secretive and playing badly with others. Amazon argues it just ain't so, and takes a jab, along with other critics, at Adobe's alleged open-ness.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten