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Operating Systems

Which Linux For Non-Techie Windows Users? 766

Posted by Soulskill
from the first-one's-free dept.
obarthelemy writes "Having at last gotten Linux to run satisfactorily on my own PCs, I'd now like to start transitioning friends and family from XP to Linux instead of Windows 7. The catch is that these guys don't understand or care much about computers, so the transition has to be as seamless and painless as possible. Actually, they won't care for new things; even the upcoming upgrade to Windows 7 would be a pain and a bother, which is a great opportunity for Linux. I'm not too concerned about software (most of them only need browser, IM, VLC, mail and a Powerpoint viewer for all those fascinating attachments). What I'm concerned about is OS look-and-feel and interface — system bar on the bottom with clock, trash, info on the right, menu on the left, menu items similar to those of Windows. Is it better to shoot for a very targeted distro? Which would you recommend? Are there themes/skins for mainstream distributions instead? I've been looking around the web, and it's hard to gauge which distros are well-done and reasonably active."
United States

Supreme Court Rolls Back Corporate Campaign Spending Limits 1070

Posted by timothy
from the hearken-to-the-nelson-laugh dept.
lorenlal writes "The Supreme Court of the United States must have figured that restrictions on corporate support of candidates was a violation of free speech, or something like that." From the AP story linked above: "By a 5-4 vote, the court on Thursday overturned a 20-year-old ruling that said corporations can be prohibited from using money from their general treasuries to pay for campaign ads. The decision, which almost certainly will also allow labor unions to participate more freely in campaigns, threatens similar limits imposed by 24 states."
PC Games (Games)

EA Shutting Down Video Game Servers Prematurely 341

Posted by Soulskill
from the sixty-dollar-yearly-fee dept.
Spacezilla writes "EA is dropping the bomb on a number of their video game servers, shutting down the online fun for many of their Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3 games. Not only is the inclusion of PS3 and Xbox 360 titles odd, the date the games were released is even more surprising. Yes, Madden 07 and 08 are included in the shutdown... but Madden 09 on all consoles as well?"
Games

Whatever Happened To Second Life? 209

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-blame-ralph dept.
Barence writes "It's desolate, dirty, and sex is outcast to a separate island. In this article, PC Pro's Barry Collins returns to Second Life to find out what went wrong, and why it's raking in more cash than ever before. It's a follow-up to a feature written three years ago, in which Collins spent a week living inside Second Life to see what the huge fuss at the time was all about. The difference three years can make is eye-opening."
Transportation

What Happened To the Bay Bridge? 407

Posted by kdawson
from the span-in-the-works dept.
farnsworth writes "Tony Alfrey has put together a fascinating page with some history, analysis, and possible explanations for what ultimately went wrong with the recent emergency repair of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The bridge has been closed for days and is not scheduled to open for days to come, hugely inconveniencing more than 250,000 people a day. His analysis touches on possibly poor welding, a possibly flawed temporary fix, and the absence of a long-term fix or adequate follow-up by Caltrans, the agency responsible for the bridge. Slashdot is a great engineering community; what other insights do you have on the bridge situation?"
Data Storage

No Cheap Replacement For Hard Disks Before 2020 346

Posted by timothy
from the we'll-see-in-10-years-about-that dept.
siddesu writes with disappointing news to anyone who'd like to see solid-state storage dominate in the near-term future. "A new study of storage technology by the former CTO of Seagate predicts that hard disks will remain the cheapest storage technology in the next decade and probably beyond."
Windows

A Tale of Two Windows 7s 770

Posted by Soulskill
from the dickens'-ghost-just-sighed dept.
theodp writes "It was the best of operating systems, it was the worst of operating systems. When it comes to the merits of Windows 7, it looks like Slate's Farhad Manjoo and PC Magazine's John Dvorak are going to have to agree to disagree. Manjoo gives Windows 7 a big thumbs-up (a sincere one, unlike Linus!), calling it a 'crowning achievement,' while Dvorak is less than impressed, saying, 'Win 7 is really just a Vista martini. The operating system may have two olives instead of one this time out, but it's still made with the same cheap Microsoft vodka.' So, for those of you who've had a chance to check things out, are things really different this time?" Multiple readers have also pointed out that there have been problems with the download and installation of Windows 7 upgrades obtained through the student discount offer, which Microsoft has confirmed.
Robotics

iRobot Introduces Morphing Blob Robot 177

Posted by kdawson
from the compare-to-doctor-johnson's-dog dept.
Aristos Mazer sends word of research out of iRobot on a "chembot," or morphing blob robot, that looks like dough and moves by shifting its sides from solid-like to liquid-like states. This will allow it, in theory and after lots of refinement, to pass through cracks by squeezing. iRobot calls the new technique "jamming." The research project was funded by DARPA. The video clearly shows the early stage the work is in, but when you think about it the possibilities are a little unsettling.
Cellphones

Verizon's Challenge To the iPhone Confirmed 423

Posted by Soulskill
from the is-this-the-droid-you're-looking-for dept.
misnohmer writes "Verizon has just launched a new set of ads confirming the rumors of its upcoming iPhone competitor: 'Unlike previous Android phones, the Droid is rumored to be powered by the TI OMAP3430, the same core that the iPhone and Palm Pre use, and which significantly outperforms Qualcomm 528MHz ARM11-based Android phones that exist today. Droid will also be running v.2.0 of Android, with a significantly upgraded user interface. The Droid poses a different and more significant challenge to the iPhone than any other phone to date. The Palm Pre could have been that challenger, but it lacked the Verizon network, and users were unimpressed with the hardware. According to people who've handled the device, the Droid is the most sophisticated mobile device to hit the market to date from a hardware standpoint. When you combine that with the Verizon network, you've got something that is most definitely a challenger to the Jesus phone.'"
Software

Apple's Grand Central Dispatch Ported To FreeBSD 205

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the new-toys-to-play-with dept.
bonch writes "Apple's Grand Central Dispatch, which was recently open sourced, has been ported to FreeBSD and is planned to be included by default in FreeBSD 8.1. Also known as libdispatch, the API allows the use of function-based callbacks but will also support blocks if built using FreeBSD's clang compiler package. There's already discussion of modifying BSD's system tools to use the new technology." The port was originally unveiled last month at the 2009 Developer Summit in Cambridge. Slides from that presentation are available via the Dev Summit wiki.

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