Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

OpenOffice.org 3.0 Is Officially Here 284

SNate writes "After a grinding three-year development cycle, the OpenOffice.org team has finally squeezed out a new release. New features include support for the controversial Microsoft OOXML file format, multi-page views in Writer, and PDF import via an extension. Linux Format has an overview of the new release, asking the question: is it really worth the 3.0 label?"

Comment Re:I don't understand (Score 1) 343

The problem with this is the judge is taking it upon himself to decide there is no proper basis for such a penalty, when it is clearly intended as a penalty - a disincentive to terminate the contract.

Honestly, you could probably argue these fees violate anti-trust law in the US if you get the right US District Court to agree with you that these fees are less about subsidized phones and more about preventing customers from switching services. The cell phone companies have always resisted anything that made leaving them easier (phone number portability comes to mind). There are plenty of ways to make these fees more legitimate, as in the prorated fees used by the other major providers. This is less likely to draw legal complaints.

What is next? A court reviewing a software license agreement that has a large penalty clause in it? It seems that a "penalty" that is not identified as a penalty but stated to the customer as a cost recovery, a pro-rated subsidy or something else would be a problem. But every cell phone agreement I have seen says it is basically a penalty.

Yes, but the penalty has to still conform to law. Just because you put something into a contract does not make it legal. The legality of contract clauses from cell companies and software makers (since you brought them up) have been contested and in some cases defeated in court as being unfair or out right illegal.

This said, the contract is silent on the purpose of the fee; however, the cell service providers have states repeatedly it is a means to protect their subsidies of the phones. As I stated above, the court is seeing this for what it is, total bullshit. So to recap, a contract does not make that which is illegal legal and a non-prorated termination fee does not stand up well when your main argument is cell phone subsidies cost money.


Inside the Lego Factory 260

An anonymous reader writes "Gizmodo has a fascinating report and video tour inside the Lego factory, which is full of robots and controlled by a mainframe. 'This video shows something that very few people have had the opportunity to witness: the inside of the Lego factory, with no barriers or secrets. I filmed every step in the creation of the brick. From the raw granulate stored in massive silos to the molding machines to the gigantic storage cathedrals to the decoration and packaging warehouses, you will be able to see absolutely everything, including the most guarded secret of the company: the brick molds themselves.'"

Submission Tiny clique removes 45k Wikipedia spoiler warnings 1

njyoder writes: A small clique consisting mostly of former and current admins, some with "top level clique connections," has collectively removed all (about 45,000) spoiler warnings on Wikpedia articles. Spoiler warnings are normally used to warn the reader where spoiler(s) contained in an article about fiction exist.

The justification used by the anti-spoiler group is that because most of the articles don't have the removals reverted and that this is a de facto consensus that they're not wanted. Others counter-argue that many may not have seen them yet or may be afraid to revert because of them being afraid to get into a revert war with the anti-spoiler group who has invested much more energy in this.

In some cases, reverts were performed restoring the spoiler warnings, but they were quickly reverted back. There are also allegations of users being threatened by admins when reverting.

For more information, read the mediation page and talk page on spoiler warnings.

Submission Cancer Researcher turns salt water into fuel.-> 1

OmniBeing writes: "American John Kansas, was working away in his lab searching for a cure for cancer (and he thinks he might have one) but in the process stumbled upon a method of igniting saltwater! While he acknowledges it's 70% energy efficient, he does have an idea how to boost it as mentioned on CHQR770's radio program located here (Note, the interview starts 35 minutes in to the stream) So hows that for an alternative fuel?"
Link to Original Source

Windows Loses Ground With Developers 431

An anonymous reader notes that InfoWorld is covering a survey of North American developers that claims that Linux is gaining share as the number of developers targeting Windows fell 11 percent over the last year. Evans Data has been conducting these surveys of client, server, and Web developers since 1998. Evans Data says that the arrival of Windows Vista likely only kept the numbers from being even worse. The big gainer wasn't developing for a Web platform, but rather for Linux and "nontraditional client devices." Windows is still dominant, with 65% of developers writing code for this platform. Linux stands at almost 12%, up from 8% a year earlier. The article says that Evans Data collected information on Mac and Unix development but did not include them in this year's report.

Credit Industry Opposes Anti-ID Theft Method 434

athloi alerts us to an opinion piece running in USA Today on the backlash against an effective tool to fight identity theft. The big three credit bureaus don't like the numerous state laws that have been passed requiring them to give consumers a simple way to freeze their credit. Watch for a push at the federal level to get a watered-down statute that pre-empts state laws. "Lawmakers across the country — pushed by consumer advocacy groups — ... have passed laws that allow consumers to freeze their credit, a surefire way to prevent thieves from opening new accounts or obtaining a mortgage in a consumer's name. Under a freeze, a consumer cuts off all access to his credit report and score, even his own. All lenders require that information, so no one can borrow money in the consumer's name until he or she lifts the freeze. It's simple, and it works. So, of course, it's under threat from the Consumer Data Industry Association, which represents the Big Three credit bureaus. They make millions gathering and selling consumer data. Freezes cut into that business."
The Courts

Thompson Says Florida Bar Requested Psych Test 83

MBCook wrote with a link to a GamePolitics story about another chapter of the Jack Thompson saga. Sheila M. Tuma, a person associated with Thompson's Florida Bar evaluation, has requested that the colorful lawyer 'seek psychological testing and accept a 91-day suspension of his law license.'. Though they attempted to confirm this with the Bar, no one was inclined to give the site a comment. "The e-mail explaining the situation was sent to GamePolitics by Thompson himself. The recommendation comes following issues stemming from Thompson's Bully case last year where there were issues regarding his professional conduct."

iPhone Root Password Hacked in Three Days 311

unPlugged-2.0 writes "An Australian developer blog writes that the iPhone root password has already been cracked. The story outlines the procedure but doesn't give the actual password. According to the story: 'The information came from an an official Apple iPhone restore image. The archive contains two .dmg disk images: a password encrypted system image and an unencrypted user image. By delving into the unencrypted image inquisitive hackers were able to discover that all iPhones ship with predefined passwords to the accounts 'mobile' and 'root', the last of which being the name of the privileged administration account on UNIX based systems.' Though interesting, it doesn't seem as though the password is good for anything. The article theorizes it may be left over from development work, or could have been included to create a 'false trail' for hackers."

SAP Admits to 'Inappropriate' Downloading of Oracle Code 149

netbuzz writes "SAP's CEO Henning Kagermann uses the undoubtedly lawyered term 'inappropriate download' to describe the company's questionable actions. Henning blames a rogue business unit, but there can be no mistaking the fact that Oracle caught SAP with its hand in the IP jar on this one. The legal proceedings that will follow should prove interesting. 'The admission hurts SAP's reputation in the battle with Larry Ellison's Oracle in the $56 billion market for software that manages tasks such as payroll. The rivalry between SAP and Oracle escalated when Oracle filed its March 22 lawsuit claiming SAP workers hacked into a Web site and stole software codes on a grand scale.'"

The Current State of the Malware/AntiVirus Arms Race 139

An anonymous reader writes "An article at Net Security explores how malware has developed self-defense techniques. This evolution is the result of the double-edged sword of the malware arms race. Anti-virus technology is ever more advanced, but as a result surviving viruses are increasingly sophisticated. What Net Security offers is a lengthy look at the current state of that arms race. 'There are many different kinds of malware self-defense techniques and these can be classified in a variety of ways. Some of these technologies are meant to bypass antivirus signature databases, while others are meant to hinder analysis of the malicious code. One malicious program may attempt to conceal itself in the system, while another will not waste valuable processor resources on this, choosing instead to search for and counter specific types of antivirus protection. These different tactics can be classified in different ways and put into various categories.'"

Submission Credit industry opposes anti-ID theft method->

athloi writes: "Lawmakers across the country — pushed by consumer advocacy groups — are mounting a counterattack. They have passed laws that allow consumers to freeze their credit, a surefire way to prevent thieves from opening new accounts or obtaining a mortgage in a consumer's name. Under a freeze, a consumer cuts off all access to his credit report and score, even his own. All lenders require that information, so no one can borrow money in the consumer's name until he or she lifts the freeze. It's simple, and it works. So, of course, it's under threat from the Consumer Data Industry Association, which represents the Big Three credit bureaus. They make millions gathering and selling consumer data. Freezes cut into that business.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/usatoday/20070703/cm_usato day/aweaponagainstidentitytheft"

Link to Original Source

Blu-ray, HD DVD Target of EU Antitrust Probe 173

rfunches writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that EU antitrust regulators are turning up the heat on the Blu-ray and HD-DVD format consortiums. The European Commission has demanded evidence of Hollywood studios' communications and agreements on the new generation of DVD formats. From the article: 'The European Commission, the European Union's executive body, appears to be particularly interested in the activities of the Blu-ray group because of its dominance in Hollywood, according to people familiar with the situation. The commission is investigating whether improper tactics were used to suppress competition and persuade the studios to back their format.' The article points out that all of the major Hollywood studios except Universal are backing Blu-ray; Universal is backing HD-DVD. It also notes that while one industry watcher believes the first format to have an installed base of two million homes will come out on top, there were millions of Betamax units already sold when VHS won out in the format wars of the 80's."

Google Purchases GrandCentral Web Phone Service 78

Nrbelex writes "Bloomberg News via the New York Times is reporting that Google has purchased GrandCentral. 'Google said yesterday that it had bought GrandCentral Communications, acquiring a service that lets people use a single number for all their phones ... GrandCentral users can create a single mailbox, accessible over the Internet, for all their phone messages, Google said on its Web site ... GrandCentral, based in Fremont, Calif., was founded in 2005 by Craig Walker and Vincent Paquet, two executives who worked for Dialpad Communications, a Web phone company that was acquired by Yahoo in 2005.'"

Download Services Have Missiles, Dolphins 44

This week both Nintendo and Microsoft's downloadable game services have some great titles to offer. The Wii will soon be playing host to Super Mario Bros. 2, Ecco: Tides of Time, and Dragon Spirit . Xbox Live Arcade, meanwhile, has up an update of Missile Command . This latest follows on the heels of Pac-Man: CE , a worthy and well-received updating of the arcade classic. Ars' comment about Ecco is dead on: "I used to love this game, just swimming around and doing those flips out of the water as Ecco was pretty calming. Then you tried to actually play the game and found out just how excruciatingly difficult it could be. While the Dreamcast update lost some of the magic, the original Ecco is still a neat twist on 2D games. Who knew that taking a platformer and setting it underwater would be so much fun?"

It's not hard to admit errors that are [only] cosmetically wrong. -- J.K. Galbraith