Norsefire writes "I am in quite a predicament. I decided a while back to branch out and use a new operating system (currently running Debian). After a bit of searching (trying Gentoo, Gobo and Arch along the way), I decided to use something that isn't Linux. Long story short: I narrowed the choices down to OpenSolaris and FreeBSD, but now I'm stuck. OpenSolaris is commercially backed by Sun, has nice enterprise-y tools in the default install, and best of all, a mature implementation of ZFS. FreeBSD is backed by a foundation, has a minimal default install and a rather new (but recently improved in the 8.0 release) implementation of ZFS, however it offers the Ports Collection (I quite like the performance boost due to compiling from source, no matter how small it might be) and a bigger community than OpenSolaris. That is just a minimal mention of the differences. I would be interested to see what the Slashdot community thinks of these two operating systems."
IndianaKim writes "I have been asked if I can host or assist in hosting a highly inflammatory document that reflects poorly on a Police Department. I want to help, but I also do not want the headache and possible subjection to search warrants and/or illegal searches. The document is so inflammatory that it could interest the FBI and DoJ and cause them to investigate the government officials involved. I live in the same county, but not the same city, and therefore could be subject to a search (legal or not) by some of these government agencies. I have been asked to host it on a server outside of the US. At this time, I do not have the ability to do that, but I could set it up if I needed to. My question is: would you host it if you were asked? How would you go about protecting the document and yourself?"
WaywardGeek writes "My daughter is using phrases like 'hot guys,' and soon will have a chat about the birds and the bees. I believe in letting kids discover the world as it is, and have no Internet controls on any of our systems, which are mostly Linux based. However, it's not fair for aggressive porn advertisers to splash sex in her face without her permission. My question is: What Linux-based Internet filtering solution do Slashdot dads favor, and do they hinder a child's efforts to learn about the world?"
An anonymous reader writes "BoingBoing Gadgets has updated their story from yesterday on DRM contained in the new iPod Shuffle. (We also discussed this rumor last week.) It's a false alarm. There is a chip in the headphone controls but it is just an encoder chip. There is no DRM and no reason to believe that third party headphones wouldn't work with the new Shuffle. (Apple would still prefer you to license the encoder under the Made for iPod program, but with no DRM, there is no DMCA risk to a manufacturer reverse engineering it.) The money quote: 'For the record, we do not believe that the new iPod headphones with in-line remote use DRM that affects audio playback in any way.'"
overheardinpdx writes "I'm sad to report that longtime HPC technology pundit Roland Piquepaille (rpiquepa) died this past Tuesday. Many of you may know of him through his blog, his submissions to Slashdot, and his many years of software visualization work at SGI and Cray Research. I worked with Roland 20 years ago at Cray, where we both wrote tech stories for the company newsletter. With his focus on how new technologies modify our way of life, Roland was really doing Slashdot-type reporting before there was a World Wide Web. Rest in peace, Roland. You will be missed." The notice of Roland's passing was posted on the Cray Research alumni group on Linked-In by Matthias Fouquet-Lapar. There will be a ceremony on Monday Jan. 12, at 10:30 am Paris time, at Père Lachaise.
Eurogamer spoke with Bethesda's Jeff Gardiner about the upcoming downloadable content for Fallout 3. The new gameplay will be bundled into three different segments, the first of which is due this month. The last segment will raise the game's level cap to 30. Gardiner had this to say about how the Strike Teams would work: "The player will be able to choose, from a limited resource pool, what type of team members will accompany him or her on several missions within the simulations. These choices include different troop types like snipers or heavy weapons troops. They'll also be able to make tactical decisions on how to deploy these troops in certain situations. The Chinese Stealth Suit was what I was hinting at last week — it works similar to stealth boy every time you crouch!"
Frosty Piss writes "Police in Finland have made an arrest for car theft based on a DNA sample taken from the blood found inside a mosquito. 'A police patrol carried out an inspection of the car and they noticed a mosquito that had sucked blood. It was sent to the laboratory for testing, which showed the blood belonged to a man who was in the police registers,' a police officer told reporters. The suspect, who has been interrogated, has insisted he did not steal the car, saying he had hitchhiked and was given a lift by a man driving the car. I'm wondering if the suspect should have denied any association with the car at all. After all, who knows where that mosquito had been?"
Ian Lamont writes "DefectiveByDesign.org is waging a battle against DRM with a 35-day campaign targeting various hardware and software products from Microsoft, Nintendo, and others. On day 11 it blasted iTunes for continuing to use DRM-encumbered music, games, TV shows, movies, audiobooks, and apps with DRM, while competitors are selling music without restrictions. DefectiveByDesign calls on readers to include 'iTunes gift cards and purchases in your boycott of all Apple products' to 'help drive change.' However, there's a big problem with this call to arms: most people simply don't care about iTunes DRM. Quoting: 'The average user is more than willing to pay more money for hobbled music because of user interface, ease of use, and marketing. ... Apple regularly features exclusive live sets from popular artists, while Amazon treats its digital media sales as one more commodity being sold.' What's your take on the DRM schemes used by Apple and other companies? Is a boycott called for, and can it be effective?"
mjasay writes "Craigslist's Jeremy Zawodny reviews the progress of MySQL as a project, and discovers that through third-party forks and enhancements like Drizzle and OurDelta 'you can get a "better" MySQL than the one Sun/MySQL gives you today. For free.' Is this a good thing? On one hand it demonstrates the strong community around MySQL, but on the other, it could make it harder for Sun to fund core development on MySQL by diverting potential revenue from the core database project. Is this the fate of successful open-source companies? To become so successful as a community that they can't eke out a return as a company? If so, could anyone blame MySQL/Sun for creating its own proprietary fork in order to afford further core development?"
firthisaword writes "I will be teaching an enrichment programming course to 11-14 year old gifted children in the Spring. It is meant as an introduction to very basic programming paradigms (conditions, variables, loops, etc.), but the kids will invariably have a mix of experience in dealing with computers and programming. The question: Which programming language would be best for starting these kids off on? I am tempted by QBasic which I remember from my early days — it is straightforward and fast, if antiquated and barely supported under XP. Others have suggested Pascal which was conceived as an instructional pseudocode language. Does anyone have experience in that age range? Anything you would recommend? And as a P.S: Out of the innumerable little puzzles/programs/tasks that novice programmers get introduced to such as Fibonacci numbers, primes or binary calculators, which was the most fun and which one taught you the most?" A few years ago, a reader asked a similar but more general question, and several questions have focused on how to introduce kids to programming. Would you do anything different in teaching kids identified as academically advanced?
Bethesda has announced that an editor for the Windows version of Fallout 3 will be coming in December. They also said the first additional downloadable content for the Windows and XBox 360 versions will follow in January. MTV's Multiplayer blog got a few more details from Bethesda's Pete Hines, who said additions to Fallout 3 will resemble the Oblivion expansion pack Knights of the Nine in size and scope. MTV then brought up the question of how early publishers should provide DLC, pointing to Fallout 3 and Fable II as examples of games for which the expansions were planned to go live only a few months after launch.
smee2 writes "In the past, when a family member died, you could look through their files and address books to find all the people and businesses that should be notified that the person is deceased. Now the hard-copy address book is becoming a thing of the past. I keep some contact information in a spreadsheet, but I have many online friends that I only have contact with through web sites such as Flickr. My email accounts have many more people listed than my address book spreadsheet. I have no interest in collecting real world info from all my online contacts. The sites where I have social contact with people from around the world (obviously) require user names and passwords. Two questions: 1. How do you intend to let the executors of your estate or family members know which online sites/people you'd like them to notify of your demise? 2. How are you going to give access to the passwords, etc. needed to access those sites in a way that doesn't cause a security concern while you're still alive?"
A Spanish city has found an unusual place to generate renewable energy — solar panels in the cemetery. Santa Coloma de Gramanet has installed 462 solar panels over its multi-story mausoleums. The plan was met with some derision at first, but thanks to a successful marketing campaign, the solar cemetery has public support. It has been such a success that there are already plans to install more panels in an effort to triple the amount of power generated. The installation cost 720,000 euros (£608,000) but will keep about 62 tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere every year, said Esteve Serret, a director of Conste-Live Energy, the company that runs the cemetery and also works in renewable energy. I'm sure a solar powered zombie movie is already in the works.