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How to Convert Your HD-DVD Discs to Blu-Ray 275

eldavojohn writes "Are you one of the few who boarded the HD-DVD Titanic ship headed to the bottom of ocean to join BetaMax? Fret no longer, friend, simply convert those and pretend like you never invested in the wrong technology! All you need is a Windows machine with a fast processor, an HD-DVD drive, a Blu-Ray burner, 30GB of free disk space, at least, though 40GB or more is recommended and an internet connection to download the software! Or you can sit and be the crazy guy who continues to argue that HD-DVD is the superior technology whether it's true or not."

Google Funds Work for Photoshop on Linux 678

S point 2 writes "Google has announced that they have hired Codeweavers, maker of the popular Wine software to make Photoshop run better on Linux. 'Photoshop is one of those applications that desktop Linux users are constantly clamoring for, and we're happy to say they work pretty well now...We look forward to further improvements in this area.' It is unknown whether or not the entire Creative Suite will be funded for support, but for the time being it seems Photoshop-on-Linux development is getting a new priority under Google."
Book Reviews

Hacking: The Art of Exploitation 59

David Martinjak writes "Hacking: The Art of Exploitation is authored by Jon Erickson and published by No Starch Press. It is the anticipated second edition of Erickson's earlier publication of the same title. I can't think of a way to summarize it without being over-dramatic, so it will just be said: I really liked it. The book, which will be referred to as simply Hacking, starts by introducing the author's description of hacking. Erickson takes a great approach by admitting that the common perception of hacking is rather negative, and unfortunately accurate in some cases. However, he smoothly counters this antagonistic misunderstanding by presenting a simple arithmetic problem. A bit of creativity is needed to arrive at the correct solution, but creativity and problem-solving are two integral aspects of hacking, at least to Erickson. The introduction chapter sets an acceptable tone and proper frame of mind for proceeding with the technical material." Below you'll find the rest of David's review.

New Science Standards Approved in Florida 891

anonymous_echidna writes "Florida has voted to accept the new K-12 science curriculum standards amidst a storm of controversy around the teaching of evolution, which had up until now been the scientific concept that dare not speak its name. There was a compromise made at the last minute, which was to call evolution a 'scientific theory', rather than a fact. While some lament that the change displays the woeful ignorance of science and scientific terminology, the good news is that the new curriculum emphasizes teaching the meaning of scientific terms and the scientific method in earlier grades."

Richard Feynman, the Challenger, and Engineering 217

An anonymous reader writes "When Richard Feynman investigated the Challenger disaster as a member of the Rogers Commission, he issued a scathing report containing brilliant, insightful commentary on the nature of engineering. This short essay relates Feynman's commentary to modern software development."

Lessig Campaign and the Change Congress Movement 409

GoldenShale wrote a follow up to last week's discussion about Lessig running for congress. He writes "Larry Lessig has created a Lessig08 website, and it looks like he is getting serious about running for congress. In his introduction video he proposes the creation of a national "Change Congress" movement which would try to limit the influence of money in the electoral and legislative processes. Having a technologically savvy representative and a clear intellectual leader to head this kind of movement is exactly what we need to counter the last 8 years of corporate dominance in government."
The Internet

Semantic Web Getting Real 135

BlueSalamander writes "Tim O'Reilly just did an interview with Devin Wenig, the CEO-designate of Reuters. With no great enthusiasm I started to read yet another interview on how the semantic web was going to make everything great for everybody. Wenig made some good points about the end of the latency wars in news and the beginning of the battle for automatically detecting linkages and connections in the news. Smart news, not just fast news. Great stuff — but just more words? Nope — a little searching revealed that Reuters just opened access to their corporate semantic technology crown jewels. For free. For anyone. Their Calais API lets you turn unstructured text into a formal RDF graph in about one second. I ran about 5,000 documents through it and played with a subset of them in RDF-Gravity. The results were impressive overall. Is this the start of the semantic web getting real? When big names and big money start to act, not just talk, it may be time to pay attention. Semantic applications anyone? The foundation appears to be here."
Hardware Hacking

Best Open Source License For Hardware? 125

An anonymous reader writes "MIT recently open-sourced some really cool hardware designs, including an H.264 video decoder and an OFDM transceiver, under MIT's open source license (a.k.a. the X11 license). Now, the OpenCores FAQ recommends that people use either the GPL, LGPL, or modified BSD license; they do not mention the MIT license at all. And, according to the Free Software Foundation the GPL license can be used for hardware, but they do not list the LPGL, modified BSD, or MIT licenses as suitable for non-software. Would you or your company use hardware source-released under the MIT license? What's the best license to use for releasing hardware?"

Web Graphic Design for Small Businesses 377

An anonymous reader writes "I'm a competent geek running a one-man-show for a small business. I do everything IT in this company; servers, email, desktop support, managing Ethernet switches, cash registers, inventory database, and the company website. My boss has asked me to 'punch up' the website to make it more appealing. Although I can hold my own with HTML, PHP and a couple SQL products, graphic design isn't one of my strengths. I'm looking for some advice on how to improve the site without making it overstimulating for the webophobic. It's also important that it conform to ADA accessibility guidelines. In particular, I'm looking for books or tutorial websites that teach the basics of good graphic design — how to make it more appealing without losing the ability to communicate effectively. Also, I would appreciate suggestions for tools to use to make this more efficient (Windows and Linux are both OK)."
The Almighty Buck

Amazon Erases Orders To Cover Up Pricing Mistake 338

The Knife writes "Amazon secretly canceled orders for a large jazz CD set after realizing that it had mis-priced the item at $31 instead of its MSRP of $499. At first, inventory shortages caused the online merchant to string customers along for over a month after they placed their orders. But when Amazon realized that the box set was under-priced by $470, it simply erased all records of customers' order in their account history. No emails were sent to customers informing them of the price change or of the order cancellation. Probably because it violates Amazon's highly publicized price guarantee policy. A customer who called to complain and request the CD set at the $31 price was given a $20 discount off of his next Amazon order." A caveat: there is no external confirmation that Amazon did what is claimed here.
Operating Systems

Should IBM's SOM/DSOM Be Open Sourced? 157

Esther Schindler sends a note about two journalists for very different publications (herself one of them) urging IBM to open-source, not all of OS/2 — they've consistently refused to do that — but instead one of its most powerful features: SOM, the System Object Model. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writes at desktoplinux.com, "IBM, I'm told by developers who should know, still has all of SOM's source code and it all belongs to IBM. It's because IBM doesn't have all the code for OS/2 and some of it belongs to Microsoft that IBM open-sourcing OS/2 has proven to be a futile hope." And Esther Schindler takes the developer angle in a blog post at CIO.com: "Could the open-source community use a library packaging technology that enables languages to share class libraries regardless of the language an application was written in? I dare say it could, especially since the code to accomplish that goal was written (and shelved) more than ten years ago. All it takes to make that code available is to ask IBM to release SOM and DSOM as open-source." What are the business issues that would convince IBM to assent?

Biofuels Make Greenhouse Gases Worse 506

vortex2.71 sends us to the Seattle Times for an account of two studies published in the prestigious journal Science pointing to the conclusion that almost all biofuels used today cause more greenhouse-gas emissions than conventional fuels if the full emissions costs of producing these "green" fuels are taken into account. "The benefits of biofuels have come under increasing attack in recent months, as scientists took a closer look at the global environmental cost of their production. These plant-based fuels were originally billed as better than fossil fuels because the carbon released when they were burned was balanced by the carbon absorbed when the plants grew. But that equation proved overly simplistic because the process of turning plants into fuels causes its own emissions — for refining and transport, for example. These studies... for the first time take a detailed, comprehensive look at the emissions effects of the huge amount of natural land that is being converted to cropland globally to support biofuels development."

Yahoo To Reject Microsoft Bid 302

Many outlets are echoing a subscribers-only report in the Wall Street Journal that Yahoo's board has decided to reject Microsoft's takeover offer. The NYTimes offers the only other independent reporting so far confirming this claim. The report says that Yahoo will formally reject the offer in a letter on Monday, since they believe it "massively undervalues" the company. Microsoft offered $31 per share, a 62% premium on the stock price at the time, for Yahoo; but the latter believes that no offer below $40 per share is tenable. The AP has some background on Yahoo's options in responding to the bid.

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken