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Space

Cassini Probes the Hexagon On Saturn 280

Riding with Robots sends us to a NASA page with photos of a little-understood hexagonal shape surrounding Saturn's north pole. "This is a very strange feature, lying in a precise geometric fashion with six nearly equally straight sides," said Kevin Baines, member of Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer team. "We've never seen anything like this on any other planet." This structure was discovered by the Voyager probes over 20 years ago (here's an 18-year-old note on the mystery). The fact that it's still in place means it is stable and long-lived. Scientists have no idea what causes the hexagon. It's nearly big enough to fit four earths inside — comfortably larger than Jupiter's Great Red Spot. The article has an animation of clouds moving within the hexagon captured in infrared light.
Games

GameStop Theorizes Wii Shortage Deliberate 163

In GameStop's quarterly public conference call, company COO Dan DeMatteo called out Nintendo on what he sees as intentional supply shortages. Along with the news that the company hit $5.3 Billion in 2006, Next Gen reports that the call contained several remarks on the next gen systems. The Wii, Dematteo thinks, has been short supplied because 'they made their numbers for the year ... [Nintendo's] new year starts April 1st, and I think we're going to see supply flowing.' They also commented on the Euro launch of the PS3, with CEO R. Richard Fontaine saying, 'I think the summary of that was that it was a very good launch falling somewhat short of what [GameStop's Euro managing directors] would call a great launch.'
Space

Submission + - Spaceport America Takes Off

SeaDour writes: "Spaceport America, being built north of Las Cruces, New Mexico, is finally becoming a reality and is set to become the world's first commercial spaceport. Governor Bill Richardson recently secured 33 million dollars from the state legislature for the final design, and a proposed 0.25% sales tax increase in Dona Ana County, where the facility is to be constructed, is expected to bring an additional 6.5 million dollars per year (if approved by voters next week). Richard Branson, the head of upstart Virgin Galactic, on Monday agreed to lease the facility for 27.5 million dollars over twenty years. If all continues to go as planned, SpaceShipTwo will make its first suborbital joy ride in two to three years."
GNU is Not Unix

Introducing GNU/Linux Via Applications 223

An anonymous reader writes "A common problem with GNU/Linux for new users is not the operating system, but the switch in applications they must undertake to use it. Many who try to make the switch have little experience with the common open source applications available under GNU/Linux. The Kutztown GNU/Linux User Group, in Pennsylvania, is helping to change that on a large scale by distributing open source applications to faculty on Microsoft Windows machines first. Instead of selling GNU/Linux, the group is selling open source. Faculty at the school have been provided discs containing a number of popular open source applications compatible with Windows as part of a larger program to get more users to consider switching operating systems."
Space

Submission + - Hexagonal Vortex Spotted on Saturn

SeaDour writes: "NASA's Cassini space probe made headlines last fall when it spotted a massive hurricane-like storm at the planet's south pole. Now, through a series of thermal images, scientists have confirmed the continued presence of a bizzare hexagon-shaped vortex around the north pole which was first glimpsed by the Voyager probes. "This is a very strange feature, lying in a precise geometric fashion with six nearly equally straight sides," said Kevin Baines, member of Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer team. "We've never seen anything like this on any other planet." The feature is big enough to hold nearly four Earths, making it significantly larger than Jupiter's famous Great Red Spot."
Data Storage

Submission + - Open Source Highly Available Storage Solutions?

Gunfighter writes: I run a small datacenter for one of my customers, but they're constantly filling up different hard drives on different servers and then shuffling the data back and forth. At their current level of business, they can't afford to invest in a Storage Area Network of any sort, so they want to spread the load of their data storage needs across their existing servers like Google does. The only software packages I've found that do this seamlessly are Lustre and NFS. The problem with Lustre is that it has a single metadata server unless you configure failover, and NFS isn't redundant at all and can be a nightmare to manage. The only thing I've found that even comes close is Starfish. While it looks promising, I'm wondering if anyone else has found a reliable solution that is as easy to set up and manage? Eventually, they would like to be able to scale from their current storage usage levels (~2TB) to several hundred terabytes once the operation goes into full production.
Programming

Submission + - No more repeats

ninjapiratemonkey writes: Too much time is wasted re-implementing code that someone else has allready done, for the sole reason its faster than finding the other code. Previous source code search engine, such as google codesearch and koders, only considered individual files on there own, leading to poor quality results; makeing them only useful when the amount of time to re-implement was extremely high.According to a recent newsforge article a fledgling source-code search engine All The Code is aiming to change all of this. The refreshingly clean interface is reminiscent of Google in its heyday — as are the mind-reading, mind-blowing search algorithms employed. By looking at code, not just on its own, but also how it is used, it is able to return more relevant results. This seems like just what we need to unify the open-source community, leading to an actual common repository of unique code, and ending the cycle of unecessary reimplementing.
The Internet

Submission + - Netvibes on your mobile phone

Lassagne writes: Does Netvibes seem to work (in secrecy?) on a mobile version of their site. Discover of exclusiveness the first information and images!

Ah magic of Internet! While surfant on one of my daily sites, I discovered a very interesting address of site, that of the mobile version of Netvibes! In your Netvibes Web, it is necessary to create a new mitre entitled "mobile", then one adds flows which interest us. On the mobile, one types the address according to http://m.netvibes.com/ and one informs the fields login/password. And hop, here is Netvibes on your mobile! The service is currently in beta, as indicated, and will appelerai itself Netvibes2Go. Well on ergonomics is worse on the mobile than behind a screen with keyboard and mouse, but the service is excellent to remain always informed of mobility! I am in a hurry to see the final version

http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F %2Fwww.giiks.com%2F%3F2007%2F01%2F31%2F388-netvibe s-version-mobile-en-exclusivite&langpair=fr%7Cen&h l=fr&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&prev=%2Flanguage_tools
Operating Systems

Submission + - Why desktop apps start so slow on Linux?

zaikxtox writes: "Hello Slashdotters. I have been using Linux several yearse from now. Installed Debian on 1999 and never booted again on Windows at home. From 3 years to now i have removed Windows from work so i'm a "Pure Linux User (TM)". I'm really happy with this setup, and my wife, a music teacher uses Debian Etch without any problem, and today prefers Linux to Windows. But there is some issue with desktop applications startup times. I have an amd64 machine with dual channel memory and good hardware so there should not be performance problems on my setup. Tried also Gentoo, but it's almost the same startup time. GTK2.0 and QT (kde) apps tend to delay a second... two... three... sometimes then before opening! Firefox and OpenOffice are the more spectacular.
I tried prelinking, noatimes on my fstab, and several tricks for optimizing startup times but probably the problem is that the dynamic linker has a lot of work with apps with lots of library's that have them self another bunch of library's linked, like the ones that conform a modern desktop on Linux today. Also tuned and recompiled my kernel, used realtime and preemtion patches... but on a PII 350 with 128 mb ram a fresh installed Windows XP loads Firefox almost instantly, and on my amd64 3000+ with dual channel 512mb it takes 5 secconds!!
And it's not an X Window issue... SDL apps seem to be the quicker to load. Also Enlightenment DR17 svn builds really fly.
I have been asking other users near to me and this issue is a common complain, so... is there someone working on it apart from the prelink author? maybe it's a problem with the ELF format, that has true dynamic linking instead of binary linking like win32?

Thanks
Ivan (aka zaikxtox)"

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