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The Courts

Submission + - Dell guilty of fraud and false advertising (pcauthority.com.au)

An anonymous reader writes: A court in New York has found Dell guilty of false advertising and fraud. The company engaged in abusive debt collection practices, misled consumers about the financing terms and failed to provide consumers with promised rebates, according to court papers. Dell customers are being urged to register their complaints here, if they have been "left on hold for hours, promised 'onsite' repair services only to be pressured to take apart their computers themselves, and subjected to numerous other negligent and abusive practices". The most recent customer satisfaction survey rated Dell at 74 out of 100. Apple leads the industry at 79.
Government

Submission + - UK researchers arrested for researching al-Qaida (guardian.co.uk)

D Afifi writes: Two UK political researchers at the University of Nottingham have been arrested under the Terrorism Act for downloading Al-Qaida material from a US .gov website. The material was to be used for research in "Terrorist tactics". There has been a huge public outcry with university staff planning a march to demonstrate against the attack on Academic freedom. Yet, one of the students, an Algerian, is still held in custody under immigration charges and is being speed tracked for deportation.
The Internet

Submission + - Web applications for choosing a Linux distribution

voodoosws writes: "There is a web application, answering some simple questions, we suggest that we can use Linux distribution. At this site, press the button Take the test, we select the language and answering questions until we reach the final where we suggested that Linux distribution is adequate to our needs. I hope they will be useful. The Url: http://fabianperez.blogspot.com/2008/05/web-applications-for-choosing-linux.html"
Operating Systems

Submission + - Who do I donate to? 1

jasonmanley writes: "I use an OS called DesktopBSD. The other day I gave some thought to donating some money to the project, but then I got to thinking — who would I donate to? DesktopBSD benefit from FreeBSD and KDE among others. Should I donate to FreeBSD, or what about openSSH if they use that? In fact there are heaps of other project's software embedded in FOSS packages and I would like to know who the community thinks should get the donations."
Google

Submission + - Google Public Transport (google.com)

hiltron writes: "Hey Guys, I was searching Google Maps for directions to my office in Perth when i stumbled upon a public transit search. I guess Google are doing a pilot in a smaller city before rolling it out nationally. See it here Pretty Cool Cheers"
Supercomputing

Submission + - Folding@Home GPU Client Confirmed (pcper.com) 1

Vigile writes: NVIDIA and Stanford are finally showing an NVIDIA GPU Folding@Home client bringing users of NVIDIA graphics cards highly improved computing performance. Benchmark numbers were apparently being held quiet since the release of this new GPU client will be paired with a "next-generation GPU" that NVIDIA hasn't officially announced but this quick preview of the client showed a rating of "500 ns / day" on the screen which should impress any Folding@Home user.
The Internet

Submission + - Data Centers Wary of Sharing Energy Info with Feds (datacenterknowledge.com)

1sockchuck writes: "The EPA has been seeking at least 100 data center operators willing to share data about their energy usage to help the government develop an Energy Star program for data centers. Thus far, only 54 data centers have signed up, which suggests that few data center operators are eager to tell the government exactly how much energy they are using. The EPA issued a report to Congress last year on data center power usage, and is already developing an Energy Star program to rate servers. Can a program designed to rank the energy efficiency of appliances and computer monitors be a useful tool in addressing the enormous energy consumption of data centers?"
Operating Systems

Submission + - Firefox and fsync abuse.

AndersAA writes: There's been a lot of focus lately on firefox3's fsync abuse (see end of post), which I think is odd considering the amount of software misusing fsync these days. Since the vast majority of linux systems today use ext3, and most distributions use ext3 by default, this causes quite massive latency issues for people, as ext3 sync's the whole buffer memory, and not just the specific file.

Right now I have pidgin, liferea, firefox, thunderbird and amarok running. Out of those firefox, liferea and pidgin fsync's far more than they should.

Pidgin when saving files goes through a fflush, fsync, fclose, then renames the file to prevent data corruption. And this is not the first time I've seen such behavior to ensure data safety. I know some are to prevent corruption on XFS (which I believe has been fixed for some time), and because of cygwin/cross compiling to win32.

When is it the software's job to ensure filesystem safety? It seems to be up to the individual applications how important you feel your data is, and how often you end up using fsync accordingly, it should be come with a big fat warning, or maybe a 2 second sleep() just to prove a point. I know KDE3 atleast used to do it to fsync temporary files.

firefox fsync bug : https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=421482
ubuntu bug describing extra fsync's being needed on xfs systems : https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+bug/37435
pidgin fsync bug : http://developer.pidgin.im/ticket/5597
Software

Submission + - Opera released open widgets SDK with emulator (opera.com)

Kristian writes: "Opera just released the Widget SDK today, documentation and download links here. This includes documentation on how to make widgets that follow open standards, and a emulator that can be used to test how widgets will appear on different devices."
Idle

Scientists Get $2m to See if Robot Can Stir Soup 3

A British lab has won a $2m grant to study whether or not a robot could be safely employed in a kitchen to stir soup. A lab spokeswoman said, "It will specifically look at the problems of a human and a robot working together in the same space, for example in a kitchen where the service robot is performing a task such as stirring soup, while you add cream." If there had only been an industrial revolution during the 1800s where people started working closely with machines we might have already had an answer to this daunting question.
The Courts

Submission + - Jack Thompson Guilty of Misconduct Charges

Naznarreb writes: From Gamepolitics.com "The judge who presided over Jack Thompson's Florida Bar trial late last year has recommended that the controversial attorney be found guilty on 27 of 31 professional misconduct charges. The Florida Supreme Court must now rule on those recommendations." Stories at GP http://www.gamepolitics.com/2008/05/20/jack-thompson-guilty-27-31-misconduct-charges-says-bar-trial-judge-fl-supreme-court-must- and Kotaku http://kotaku.com/5010087/judge-says-jack-thompson-guilty-of-misconduct-during-gta-bully-trials
Microsoft

Submission + - Steve Ballmer Pelted with Eggs

massivefoot writes: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was heckled and had eggs thrown at him during a lecture to university students at the Corvinus University in Budapest.

The student stands up accuses Microsoft of stealing a large amount of money (the audio is unclear on the actual amount, it could be 25 million Forint) from Hungary, before being led away, wearing a shirt with "Microsoft = Corruption" written on the back.

None of the eggs actually hit Ballmer, as he took cover behind a desk. Asked by another student whether this was the first time that he'd had an egg thrown at him, Ballmer replied "Yes, it's the first time I've had an egg thrown at me, ah, since 1966."
Microsoft

Submission + - Ballmer egged in Hungary (radaronline.com)

xirusmom writes: "Radar online has a video of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer getting egged in Hungary. AP has also an article on it. Ballmer was delivering a speech entitled "You can change the world" when a young men demanded that Microsoft return money it had stolen from the Hungarian people, then threw three eggs at Ballmer. The video can also be found on you tube, of course."
Security

Microsoft Patents 'Proactive' Virus Protection 169

An anonymous reader writes "InfoWeek blogger Alex Wolfe wonders whether Microsoft will go after McAfee, Symantec, Trend Micro, and Kaspersky for software royalties for proactive virus protection software. The technique enables security software to protect a PC against malware which isn't yet in the antivirus definition file, by comparing whether the new malware is similar to an old virus. Wolfe reports that Microsoft has been awarded U.S. patent 7,376,970 for "System and method for proactive computer virus protection," but that McAfee, Symantec, Trend Micro, and Kaspersky have all been selling products implementing proactive virus protection for years before Microsoft even filed for the patent. Writes Wolfe: "One often wonders about software patents. I sure wonder about this one. I also wonder whether McAfee, Symantec, Trend Micro, and Kaspersky are also going to be hearing from their friends in Redmond real soon"."

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