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Submission + - RIP: Paul Baran, father of packet switching (networkworld.com) 1

alphadogg writes: Paul Baran, whose Cold War era invention of packet switching technology helped to lay the foundation for the Internet, has died at the age of 84. Baran, a native of Poland whose family moved to Philadelphia when he was a youngster, developed his concept of a survivable store-and-forward communications network while at RAND Corp.in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis. That concept of packet switching, a digital communications method involving the movement of data divvied up into what Baran called "message blocks" over shared and distributed networks, later found its way into the ARPANET, which evolved into the Internet.

Submission + - Ryzom releases native Linux client (ryzom.com) 1

biking42 writes: The MMORPG Ryzom, in addition to Open Sourcing the core server code last spring, has released a native Linux client. No more messing with Wine and settling with no sound or 3fps. You can also download the client source and compile it yourself. A dev Wiki and Forums can be found at: http://dev.ryzom.com/ for both the client AND core server source code.

In addition, for new game accounts they just went F2P. No store or micropayment items yet — just some restrictions on the free accounts. Read about it at the main site: http://www.ryzom.com/


The Murky Origins of Zork's Name 70

mjn writes "Computational media researcher Nick Montfort traces the murky origins of Zork's name. It's well known that the word was used in MIT hacker jargon around that time, but how did it get there? Candidates are the term 'zorch' from late 1950s DIY electronics slang, the use of the term as a placeholder in some early 1970s textbooks, the typo a QWERTY user would get if he typed 'work' on an AZERTY keyboard, and several uses in obscure sci-fi. No solid answers so far, though, as there are problems with many of the possible explanations that would have made MIT hackers unlikely to have run across them at the right time."
Data Storage

Submission + - Which OS Performs Best With SSDs? (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: Linux, Vista and Mac OS perform differently with solid state disk. While all of them work well with SSDs as they write data more efficiently or run fewer applications in the background than XP, surprisingly Windows 2000 appears to be the winner when it comes to performance with SSD. However, no OS has as yet been optimized to work with SSDs, a lost opportunity that Microsoft plans to address with Windows 7 and that Apple is likely to soon upgrade its platform for as well.
Data Storage

Submission + - David Pogue Bitten by DVD Rot (nytimes.com)

lee1 writes: "The famous technology columnist for the New York Times recounts his horror at finding that his merely four-year-old, carefully stored, DVD backups of his iMovie projects were unreadable on his Mac. However, he was lucky:

Tried them on another machine. About half of them were readable.
Tried them on a MacBook that I'd been sent to review. Incredibly, mercifully, they all came through fine. I was able to rescue all those original iMovie projects and copy them onto new, bigger, cheaper hard drives.

My question is, given these new, cheaper, hard drives, and the problems with recordable CDs and DVDs, are these optical media of any use at all, or are they finally obsolete? It seems as if magnetic and flash storage have supplanted them for music, increasingly for movies, and certainly for portable data. Do they have any remaining use outside of a cheap way to distribute electronic resumes, and other niche applications?"


Submission + - BT, BBC and ITV to offer HD Freeview on demand (custompc.co.uk)

arcticstoat writes: "Today, BT has teamed up with the BBC and ITV in the UK to form a collaborative project that ITV says will 'bring broadband and television together in one box.' This, says ITV, 'is the next natural evolution for Freeview.' In a joint statement, the three companies said that they will 'promote a common industry approach.' This, they say, will 'see the development of a standards based open environment for broadband connected digital television receivers.' The three companies also stressed that 'the initiative is open for all public service broadcasters, device developers and other ISPs.' New Freeview boxes based will offer the standard free to air digital channels, but will now also offer the 'potential for films, shows and interactive content from a range of other providers.' Interestingly, the statement says that the new services could also be offered in 'high definition.'"

Submission + - Mac Book Pros Might Suffer NVIDIA Failures (theinquirer.net)

An anonymous reader writes: The Inquirer has taken an electron microscope to a 15" Macbook Pro bought off-the-shelf from a California retailer to test whether the bump material that joins the chips to the circuit board is similar to that which is alleged to be the cause of many failing NVIDIA parts this summer for which they have already taken a $200M charge.

NVIDIA is currently stating that the bumps are not bad, while The Inquirer points out that there is evidence disputing some of NVIDIA's past statements on the topic. In September a lawsuit seeking class-action status was filed against NVIDIA claiming that its executives concealed the original problems for at least 8 months.


Submission + - Chandler PIM reaches 1.0, loses financial support (chandlerproject.org)

TuringTest writes: I was surprised to learn that Chandler, the open-source Personal Information Manager (covered on Slashdot after releasing some stable versions), has silently reached its 1.0 milestone this summer only to (or maybe because of) having its financial support removed at the end of 2008. Chandler inherits organization concepts from Lotus Agenda and is a brainchild of Mitch Kapor (of Firefox, EFF and Lotus fame). It shares an approach to unified information representation with recent PIMs like MIT's Haystack and KDE's Nepomuk. What happened to the persistent universal data storage that object-oriented desktops and metadata filesystems were never able to provide? Did it finally arrive as a userland application, and nobody cared?
The Internet

Submission + - Diamond Giant Tries To Force Spoof Ad Offline (computerworld.com)

CWmike writes: "A provision in the Communications Decency Act protects domain name registrars and hosting providers from being held legally liable in most cases for the content clients post on their sites. But that hasn't stopped some companies from trying to pressure Internet intermediaries into disabling sites that contain what they consider to be objectionable material. The most recent example involves diamond conglomerate De Beers, which is trying to get registrar Joker.com to take down a spoof New York Times site that includes a satirical De Beers ad saying that diamond purchases would enable De Beers 'to donate a prosthetic for an African whose hand was lost in diamond conflicts.'"
It's funny.  Laugh.

PETA Using Games To Spread Its Message 477

Cooking Mama is a series of games for the Wii and the DS in which players go through a number of steps to prepare meals using a variety of recipes. Last week, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) created their own Flash-based parody of the game, highlighting the use of meat products by having a more bloody-minded Mama do things like pull the internal organs from a Thanksgiving turkey. Cooking Mama's maker, Majesco, issued a light-hearted response, pointing out the vegetarian meals in the game. PETA then said they plan to continue making parody games as a way of "engaging the public."
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Pico-ITX goes "stackable" (linuxdevices.com)

nerdyH writes: Via's Pico-ITX motherboard form factor is looking more and more like the heir apparent to PC/104, a stackable motherboard form factor widely used in industrial computing. That's because pico-ITX has been adopted by the Small Form Factor SIG (special interest group), an industry standards group planning to add a stackable high-density expansion interface called "SUMIT" to it. The result: a board that's smaller than PC/104 but with modern expansion options that include low-speed USB as well as "ExpressCards" — PCMCIA cards that connect via PCI Express.

Submission + - Google's Research on Malware Distribution (blogspot.com)

GSGKT writes: Google's Anti-Malware Team has made available some of their research data on malware distribution mechanism while the research paper is under peer review. The lead author, Niels Provos, wrote, "It has been over a year and a half since we started to identify web pages that infect vulnerable hosts via drive-by downloads, i.e. web pages that attempt to exploit their visitors by installing and running malware automatically. During that time (Jan 07 to Oct. 07) we have investigated billions of URLs and found more than three million unique URLs on over 180,000 web sites automatically installing malware. During the course of our research, we have investigated not only the prevalence of drive-by downloads but also how users are being exposed to malware and how it is being distributed." The technical report [PDF] is available. Salient points in this report are: (1) 4% of chance a URL might direct you to one of the 180 thousand malicious sites, with an average about 1.3% actually getting hit with a malicious result. (2) The distribution sites are concentrated to a few nations: China (67.0%), US (15.0%), Russia (4.0%) and Malaysia and (South) Korea (~2%). (3) The likelihood of a web page harboring malwares has no strong correlation to its contents. Visiting adult web pages is no more dangerous than visiting website about games, finance, online communities, etc. (4) Malware delivery is like by mis-directing ads on web pages during ads synchronization to malware distribution sites.

Submission + - Molecule 'triggers allergy attack'. (bbc.co.uk)

Ant writes: "BBC News reports that the discovery of a molecule which appears to play a key role in allergies may lead to new therapies, experts say. The researchers from Barts and the London School of Medicine managed to stop allergic attacks in mice by targeting the molecule, P110delta. They say it may offer the chance to prevent allergies, not just relieve symptoms. The Journal of Immunology reported that the method did not interfere with the rest of the body's immune defences... Seen on Blue's News."

Submission + - Toshiba to give up on HD DVD, end format war

techniscope writes: Reuters is reporting that Toshiba indicate they will soon exit the HD-DVD buisness.

"We have entered the final stage of planning to make our exit from the next generation DVD business," said the source, who asked not to be identified. He added that an official announcement could come as early as next week.

"You need tender loving care once a week - so that I can slap you into shape." - Ellyn Mustard