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Portables

Why Everyone Has High Hopes For Apple Tablet 596

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the because-the-others-all-suck dept.
waderoush writes "The deafening roar of anticipation around Apple's expected 'iSlate' announcement on January 27 is strange, to say the least, given the public's utter apathy about tablet computers to date. What's going on? Xconomy's analysis makes three points. 1) Previous tablet makers have shown little imagination around UIs and how a touchscreen changes things. 2) With the iPhone, Apple has shown what's possible in this regard. 3) There's latent demand for a mobile computing device that's smaller and lighter than a laptop but has more screen real estate than a smartphone — something reminiscent of a Star Trek tricorder or PADD. Hence the hopes for the iSlate — which are so high that it may be difficult for even Apple to meet them."
Apple

Apple Fails To Deliver On Windows 7 Boot Camp Promise 279

Posted by Soulskill
from the see-you-next-year dept.
SkydiverFL writes "For those fans of Apple's Boot Camp package, it looks like you might be waiting on the next 'end of year' to use Windows 7 on your shiny silver boxes. Back in October of this year, Apple published a rather short, but affirmative promise stating quite simply that, 'Apple will support Microsoft Windows 7 (Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate) with Boot Camp in Mac OS X Snow Leopard before the end of the year. This support will require a software update to Boot Camp.' The support page has no updates regarding the new version. Maybe they're waiting for iSlate?"
Programming

Myths About Code Comments 580

Posted by timothy
from the myth-conceptions dept.
theodp writes "Jason Baker gives his take on the biggest misconceptions about code comments: 1) Comments are free ('When you update the code that the comment references, you usually have to update the comment as well'). 2) Comments make code more readable ('by far the most pervasive myth that I've encountered'). 3) You should comment every function, method, class, and module ('documenting something that needs no documentation is universally a bad idea'). 4) Code must always be 'self documenting' ('would you rather use a one-liner that requires a 3-line comment, or a 10-liner that requires no comments?')."
Security

GSM Decryption Published 299

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the spend-the-money-on-tech-instead-of-lawyers dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that German encryption expert Karsten Nohl says that he has deciphered and published the 21-year-old GSM algorithm, the secret code used to encrypt most of the world's digital mobile phone calls, in what he called an attempt to expose weaknesses in the security system used by about 3.5 billion of the 4.3 billion wireless connections across the globe. Others have cracked the A5/1 encryption technology used in GSM before, but their results have remained secret. 'This shows that existing GSM security is inadequate,' Nohl told about 600 people attending the Chaos Communication Congress. 'We are trying to push operators to adopt better security measures for mobile phone calls.' The GSM Association, the industry group based in London that devised the algorithm and represents wireless operators, called Mr. Nohl's efforts illegal and said they overstated the security threat to wireless calls. 'This is theoretically possible but practically unlikely,' says Claire Cranton, a GSM spokeswoman, noting that no one else had broken the code since its adoption. 'What he is doing would be illegal in Britain and the United States. To do this while supposedly being concerned about privacy is beyond me.' Simon Bransfield-Garth, the chief executive of Cellcrypt, says Nohl's efforts could put sophisticated mobile interception technology — limited to governments and intelligence agencies — within the reach of any reasonable well-funded criminal organization. 'This will reduce the time to break a GSM call from weeks to hours,' Bransfield-Garth says. 'We expect as this further develops it will be reduced to minutes.'"
Education

How To Teach a 12-Year-Old To Program? 799

Posted by timothy
from the hypnotherapy-might-work dept.
thelordx writes "I've got a much younger brother who I'd like to teach how to program. When I was younger, you'd often start off with something like BASIC or Apple BASIC, maybe move on to Pascal, and eventually get to C and Java. Is something like Pascal still a dominant teaching language? I'd love to get low-level with him, and I firmly believe that C is the best language to eventually learn, but I'm not sure how to get him there. Can anyone recommend a language I can start to teach him that is simple enough to learn quickly, but powerful enough to do interesting things and lead him down a path towards C/C++?"
Security

Security In the Ether 93

Posted by Soulskill
from the less-likely-than-ether-in-the-security dept.
theodp writes "Technology Review's David Talbot says IT's next grand challenge will be to secure the cloud — and prove we can trust it. 'The focus of IT innovation has shifted from hardware to software applications,' says Harvard economist Dale Jorgenson. 'Many of these applications are going on at a blistering pace, and cloud computing is going to be a great facilitative technology for a lot of these people.' But there's one little catch. 'None of this can happen unless cloud services are kept secure,' notes Talbot. 'And they are not.' Fully ensuring the security of cloud computing, says Talbot, will inevitably fall to emerging encryption technologies."
Security

Preventing My Hosting Provider From Rooting My Server? 539

Posted by Soulskill
from the booby-traps dept.
hacker writes "I have a heavily-hit public server (web, mail, cvs/svn/git, dns, etc.) that runs a few dozen OSS project websites, as well as my own personal sites (gallery, blog, etc.). From time to time, the server has 'unexpected' outages, which I've determined to be the result of hardware, network and other issues on behalf of the provider. I run a lot of monitoring and logging on the server-side, so I see and graph every single bit and byte in and out of the server and applications, so I know it's not the OS itself. When I file 'WTF?'-style support tickets to the provider through their web-based ticketing system, I often get the response of: 'Please provide us with the root password to your server so we can analyze your logs for the cause of the outage.' Moments ago, there were three simultaneous outages while I was logged into the server working on some projects. Server-side, everything was fine. They asked me for the root password, which I flatly denied (as I always do), and then they rooted the server anyway, bringing it down and poking around through my logs. This is at least the third time they've done this without my approval or consent. Is it possible to create a minimal Linux boot that will allow me to reboot the server remotely, come back up with basic networking and ssh, and then from there, allow me to log in and mount the other application and data partitions under dm-crypt/loop-aes and friends?" Read on for a few more details of hacker's situation.
GNU is Not Unix

How Can I Contribute To Open Source? 332

Posted by kdawson
from the in-kind dept.
rtobyr writes "I work for a state government agency. That means we can't donate money, because it's a 'gift of public funds.' I had the idea to put up a Web page stating that we 'use the following free software to save tax dollars,' as a way to help spread the word about open source software, but management calls this an 'endorsement.' A mirror server is a no-go as well. I'm certainly not a talented enough programmer to help with development. I've donated $10 here and there out of my own pocket, but I'm hoping you Slashdotters have some creative ideas about how my organization could give something back to the teams that create free software we benefit so much from."
It's funny.  Laugh.

The 87 Lamest Moments In Tech, 2000-2009 328

Posted by kdawson
from the where-to-begin dept.
harrymcc writes "The last ten years have been an amazing era for tech — and full of amazingly dumb moments. I rounded up scads of them. I suspect you'll be able to figure out which company is most frequently represented, but Apple, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Sony, and many others are all present and accounted for, too."
Censorship

The Chinese Route To a Web Free of Porn 420

Posted by kdawson
from the regarding-babies-and-bathwater dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Despite repeated 'for the children' campaigns, the Western Web as a whole has provided little or no isolation of pornography. This is why the Chinese are now attempting to march to a place where no country has been before: a Web without porn. Recent regulations have included closing down 'vulgar' mobile sites, disconnecting 'obscene' servers, and restricting domain registrations. Yet the breaking news for Monday is that China is planning to enforce a whitelist on foreign domains: in particular, any e-commerce will have to register locally and obey Chinese law before they get whitelisted. Domains will otherwise be 'irresolvable' to Chinese Internet users. Meanwhile, the government is promoting this campaign heavily, calling it a 'fresh start.' It seems the Chinese may have to do without the Internet, before they can rid it of porn."
Science

New Antifreeze Molecule Isolated In Alaskan Beetle 108

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the cold-hard-science dept.
Arvisp writes with the news of a recently discovered antifreeze molecule in an Alaskan beetle that departs from most commonly identified natural antifreeze. "'The most exciting part of this discovery is that this molecule is a whole new kind of antifreeze that may work in a different location of the cell and in a different way,' said zoophysiologist Brian Barnes, director of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Arctic Biology and one of five scientists who participated in the Alaska Upis ceramboides beetle project. Just as ice crystals form over ice cream left too long in a freezer, ice crystals in an insect or other organism can draw so much water out of the organism's cells that those cells die. Antifreeze molecules function to keep small ice crystals small or to prevent ice crystals from forming at all. They may help freeze-tolerant organisms survive by preventing freezing from penetrating into cells, a lethal condition. Other insects use these molecules to resist freezing by supercooling when they lower their body temperature below the freezing point without becoming solid."
Businesses

Best Open Source Business Tools? 164

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the getting-the-details-right dept.
An anonymous reader writes "My wife and I started an S Corp in 2009 mainly to provide small scale consulting services for friends with small businesses of their own (we build them websites and do odd technical jobs). Now that the year is closing I'm giving thought to our corporate tax filings which will be due March 15th. I've scoured the web for free/open source legal templates for hiring contractors, issuing W-2s, keeping shareholder minute meetings, etc, but haven't been able to find any decent sources. It seems like this should be a priority of the open source community since reducing the cost of entry into small business could drive open source development. What are the best sources of open source legal templates, tax filing software, corporate compliance templates, etc?" What experiences have others had with open sources businesses and the best way to consolidate the necessary corporate mojo into a workable model?
IT

Where Are the Cheap Thin Clients? 349

Posted by kdawson
from the can't-be-too-rich-either dept.
Darren Ginter writes "I find many aspects of desktop virtualization compelling, with one exception: the cost of the thin clients, which typically exceeds that of a traditional box. I understand all of the benefits of desktop virtualization (and the downsides, thanks) but I'm very hung up on spending more for less. While there are some sub-$200 products out there, they all seem to cut corners (give me non-vaporware that will drive a 22" LCD at full resolution). I can PXE boot a homebrew Atom-based thin client for $130, but I'd prefer to be able to buy something assembled. Am I missing something here?"

You see but you do not observe. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes"

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