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Desktops (Apple)

Submission + - Mac OS X and Font Smoothing

Piroca writes: Font smoothing in OS X is one of the worst aspects of the system, yet few users dare to complain about it. The rationale behind Quartz font rendering is that anything in the screen should be rendered as they would while printing. Apple decided to turn off font hinting and perform anti-aliasing indiscriminately, thus adding artifacts to horizontal and vertical lines. It happens the end result is that fonts at small sizes are blurry and not very easy to read (which is exactly the opposite result expected from the anti-aliasing strategy, and renders the crispness of LCDs useless). Apple has been heavy-handed about this issue since OS X 10.1 by not acknowledging it and not providing configuration options to turn off anti-aliasing in small fonts while providing font hinting and choices for system fonts (the ubiquitous Lucida Grande is not hinted therefore it looks wrong when anti-aliased) as the old System 9 and Windows do. This situation is unlikely to change anytime soon (Leopard won't do anything about it, at least). For me, this is a problem because I have to develop on OS X and keep starring at blurry fonts the whole day gives me headaches. I'm pretty sure other developers out there have the same problem, therefore here goes my question: what do you do to cope with the troublesome font smoothing in OS X?

Submission + - Fingerprinting the World's Mail Servers

ttul writes: "This O'Reilly SysAdmin Article describes some work done by mod_perl author Stas Bekman and his colleagues at anti-spam software company MailChannels to fingerprint the world's publicly visible email servers. Interesting results from the survey? Open source options like Sendmail and Postfix are still firmly in the lead after all these years, but commercial services like Postini are catching up fast. The article goes into some detail on how email servers can be fingerprinted despite attempts by sysadmins to cloak their identity."

Submission + - Google + = Internet Gestapo?

An anonymous reader writes: Google's recent alliance with seems to have taken a draconian turn. While many may have read about tagging AOL software as "badware" recently, they now seem to be smacking down web sites based solely on anonymous and unconfirmed complaints. Google in turn blacklists the site and blocks it from search results with a very harsh advisory. Read one site owner's first-hand experience with the Google overlord.

Submission + - Easier graphing with FooPlot

An anonymous reader writes: If you hate clunky graphing calculator interfaces or having to code in order to create a simple plot, here's a new web-based plotter. Based entirely on JavaScript using vector graphics, FooPlot supports scrolling like Google Maps and even does basic 3-D plots too. From the website, plans include developing it into "a fully-featured graphing calculator with analytic tools, charting with Google spreadsheets, curve-fitting, and saving into portable formats".

Submission + - NFL cheerleader is also NASA engineer

A Smitten Rocket Scientist writes: As reported in Sports Illustrated, Summer Williams is a full time aerospace engineer who works on the International Space Station. But she's got a side gig as a cheerleader for the Houston Texans! The fantasy woman of Slashdot readers everywhere actually exists....

Submission + - Should Music Be a Product or Service Industry?

JimCricket writes: The fact that the traditional music industry is in decline becomes clearer every year. There have been many attempts to revive the industry online, but every attempt I've seen treats music as a product rather than as a service. Maybe that's the problem. Prior to the 20th century, music was always a services-only business. If you made money as a musician, it was through being paid to write symphonies, or to play in a king's court, etc. Work-for-hire services. Fast forward to the 21st century, and a new music company,, is trying to create a services model for recorded music. Essentially they sell custom-order recorded music. Now that the existing industry is in a decline, is services something that should be taken more seriously? There are some interesting parallels with OSS here; the primary way most people make money with OSS is through offering services rather than selling shrink-wrapped product.

Submission + - The birth of vi

lanc writes: "Bill Joy, co-founder of Sun, contributor to BSD Unix, the UltraSparc technology, NFS and even Java, tells the story in an article at TheRegister about how he wrote vi and what the motives were. In the interview he says:

"It was really hard to do because you've got to remember that I was trying to make it usable over a 300 baud modem. That's also the reason you have all these funny commands. It just barely worked to use a screen editor over a modem. It was just barely fast enough. A 1200 baud modem was an upgrade. 1200 baud now is pretty slow."

...and so my son begun The Holy Editor War."
The Internet

Submission + - 'Web 2.0' Most Popular Wikipedia Entry

theodp writes: "It came as no surprise to Tim O'Reilly that Nielsen BuzzMetrics found 'Web 2.0' the most cited Wikipedia article of the year (as measured by blog mentions). After all, says Tim, 'the Wikipedia article on Web 2.0 is indeed pretty darn good.' IIRC, the Web 2.0 Trademark Scandal was also good for a citation or two. BTW, the material in the article crediting O'Reilly & Co. with originating the term 'Web 2.0' was first contributed by '', which is coincidentally an O'Reilly IP address."
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - How ExxonMobil Funded Global Warming Skeptics

Erik Moeller writes: "According to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, oil company ExxonMobil 'has funneled nearly $16 million between 1998 and 2005 to a network of 43 advocacy organizations that seek to confuse the public on global warming science.' The report compares the tactics employed by the oil giant to those used by the tobacco industry in previous decades, and identifies key individuals who have worked on both campaigns. Would a "global warming controversy" exist without the millions of dollars spent by fossil fuel companies to discredit scientific conclusions?"

Submission + - New research could lead to 'invisible' electronics

An anonymous reader writes: Northwestern University researchers report that by combining organic and inorganic materials they have produced transparent, high-performance transistors that can be assembled inexpensively on both glass and plastics. The possible upshot: Car windshields that display a map to your destination, military goggles with targets and instructions displayed before a soldier's eyes, or a billboard that doubles as a window.

Google Reaches Second-Most Visited Site Status 191

Another anonymous reader has written to mention a story carried by Bloomberg, which has the news that Google is the second-most visited site on the internet. This puts it out in front of Yahoo!, which previously held the position. Google is now just behind Microsoft which, as the submitter pointed out, is the site that IE defaults to. From the article: "Visitors to Google's sites rose 9.1 percent to 475.7 million in November from a year earlier, while those to Yahoo sites rose 5.2 percent to 475.3 million, ComScore Networks Inc. said today. Both sites trail Microsoft, which had 501.7 million visitors, ComScore said. It is the first time that Mountain View, California-based Google attracted more visitors than Yahoo, reflecting Google's growing popularity outside the U.S."

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