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Feed High Security for $100 Laptop (

The security guru for the One Laptop Per Child program unveils his plan to make the rugged machines uniquely resistant to spyware and hack attacks. Ryan Singel reports from the RSA Conference.


Submission + - Is Microsoft getting paid for patents in Linux?

kripkenstein writes: "In an interview, Jeremy Allison (of the Samba project) implies that Microsoft is secretly getting paid for patent licenses on Linux-related products:

[Interviewer:] One of the persistent rumors that's going around is that certain large IT customers have already been paying Microsoft for patent licensing to cover their use of Linux, Samba and other free software projects.[...]

Allison: Yes, that's true, actually. I mean I have had people come up to me and essentially off the record admit that they had been threatened by Microsoft and had got patent cross license and had essentially taken out a license for Microsoft patents on the free software that they were using [...] But they're not telling anyone about it. They're completely doing it off the record.
If true, is this slowing down Linux adoption? Or are these just rumors — which may accomplish much the same effect?"

Submission + - Brazilian site contains great anti-DRM guides

drmbreaker writes: "In Brazil, far from the claws of the DMCA, a webpage has been written in English with straightforward instructions on how to break the DRM in iTunes, DVDs, and other sources, as well as on how to use BitTorrent, and how to download videos from YouTube and other video sites. The instructions are simple and step-by-step, down to each click of the mouse. Anyone can follow them, not just techies. Most people do not realize that DVDs can be ripped, copied, and mixed almost as easily as CDs. Everyone deserves to know how this can be done, especially given how many tools today make this very easy indeed. The site stresses that it does not support piracy, and that these techniques should be used only to back-up or transcode media that is already legitimately owned. Remember, making back-up copies and transcoding media content to enjoy it on different platforms is a legal right we all should protect and practice. Please spread this site's address around to as to weaken the grip of DRM even further."

Submission + - DirectX10 drops Hardware Acceleration for Audio.

shrewd writes: ""Imagine your surprise when you fire up one of your favourite games in Vista — say World of Warcraft or Prey — only to find your fancy EAX-endowed soundcard and 5.1 surround speakers are dribbling out flat, unenhanced stereo sound. Then, in a vain attempt to spruce up the audio by enabling EAX, you get a nice taut error message saying EAX is not detected on your hardware. What's going on? Welcome to the world of Vista audio. And a brave new world it is.""
User Journal

Journal SPAM: 'NYT' Reporter Who Got Iraqi WMDs Wrong Now Highlights Iran 3

Saturday's New York Times features an article, posted at the top of its Web site late Friday, that suggests very strongly that Iran is supplying the "deadliest weapon aimed at American troops" in Iraq. The author notes, "Any assertion of an Iranian contribution to attacks on Americans in Iraq is both politically and diplomatically volatile."

What is the source of this volatile information? Nothing less than "civilian and military officials from a broad range of government agencies."


Submission + - Cartoon Network "Bombs" Sell for $1000

An anonymous reader writes: Shortly after the bomb scare in Boston, the "bombs" themselves are being put up on ebay. While many were confiscated, or put in locations unreachable without a ladder, a select few got into the hands of the public. After the media frenzy over the alleged "bombs," the items began to appear on Ebay for prices upward of $1,000.
A link to the auction can be found here: re-Aqua-Teen-Hunger-Force_W0QQitemZ300079642847QQi hZ020QQcategoryZ201QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal Journal: The Onion on Vista

Highlights from the article:

  • Microsoft Word's helpful paper-clip icon now blinks at rate of normal humans
  • Five new card-back designs for Solitaire
  • Something that Apple would never, ever dream up in a billion years

Submission + - Is Mandriva Near Financial Demise?

An anonymous reader writes: A Distrowatch editorial poses the question, "Is Mandriva near financial demise?" From the editorial: "However, due to extraordinary items, the net loss for the 4th quarter 2006 at Mandriva has more than doubled from 400 thousand to 840 thousand, and the full year net result has gone from essentially break-even to a 2.84 million loss." It is fairly clear that Mandriva is in trouble. Can they manage to save themselves again from the financial hemorrhaging?

Submission + - flaw in way firefox updates extensions

Rishabh Singla writes: "mozilla firefox has a flaw in the way it tries to update extensions when there is no active internet connection. instead of simply telling the user that there is no internet connection available, firefox throws up an incorrect error message as well as removes all the available updates from the list. this could be irksome and maybe harmful to some.
check out the details here firefoxs-way-of-updating.html"

Submission + - Have You Heard The Good News

fishdan writes: "This Sunday, many Christians of varying denominations will be doing something that will surprise many /. readers. They will hold special services celebrating Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Their purpose? Refuting creationism, which claims the biblical account of creation is literally true, and which is increasingly being promoted under the guise of "intelligent design".

"For far too long, strident voices, in the name of Christianity, have been claiming that people must choose between religion and modern science," says Michael Zimmerman, founder of Evolution Sunday and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Butler University in Indianapolis. In the Clergy Letters, Zimmerman goes on to state: "Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth. Its purpose is not to convey scientific information but to transform hearts."

I'm not Christian, but I think I might attend one of the services (listed on the first link) near my house to show my support for rational religion."

Submission + - Beginning Lua Programming

Simon P. Chappell writes: "These days, Portugal is no longer just on the map for it's fine flannel cloth. They have a few other reasons and one of them is called Lua. Lua is an open-source scripting language that was originally designed for small size and excellent portability to support it's use in embedded systems. Like anything good, it didn't take long for it to be discovered by others looking for a small and efficient scripting language.

This is definitely a book targeted at those new to Lua. But, while it begins gently, it picks up speed quite quickly and takes it's reader through a full range of Lua usage. This book is unusual, for the more mass-market beginner books, in that it does not treat the reader like an idiot. I found the tone to be very respectful of the reader's intelligence. This aspect alone, makes the book stand out in a crowded beginners market.

This book is also a very good introduction to Lua for programmers experienced with one or more other programming languages. I found it very easy to pick up the concepts with my previous programming experience.

The first chapter of most books like this, will typically cover getting setup with the language. This book delivers well, with not only explaining how to install the binary version, but also covers compilation under Unix-styled operating systems and a number of development environments for Microsoft Windows. Guidelines are given for building Lua on Windows using Visual C++, Tiny C and MinGW.

Chapter two is called "First Steps" and is a walkthrough of all of the core language. This is well done and there are plenty of examples where a Lua command is typed and the resulting display from the Lua environment is shown. Chapter three is dedicated to the art of the Lua function. Functions are first class values and have enough power and complexity that they deserve their own chapter. Did you know that Lua automatically recognises tail recursion and handles it appropriately? It does. So if your looking to experiment with some of the trendy functional techniques that tend to swamp Reddit these days, Lua would be a good place to try it.

Chapter four explores Lua's only data structure, the table. What's a table, you ask? My best description, as far as I've managed to get my head around it, would be that it's a Swiss-Army Knife style Hash Table with multiple personalities, alternatively thinking that it's an array, a list, an Erlang-style tuple or a tree structure. However you decide to use it, this chapter explains it and provides lots of examples. Chapter five brings us that ultimate datatype, the string. As with tables, Lua can do many things with the humble string and this chapter will make sure that you can work with substrings, handle user input, read and write files and use the built-in pattern matching available in the language.

Chapter six covers "Handling and Avoiding Errors". I know, I know, we don't have errors anymore, now that we've all discovered the benefits of agile development using scripting languages. Except that we do and circumstances external to our programs can still bring pain to our code. Users type the wrong things, network connections die, power can go out suddenly and, of course, sometimes there are parts of our programs that aren't as imperfect as we'd like to think they are. Chapter seven is about "Using Modules" and explains Lua's interfaces and implementations together with guidelines on modularising scripts and calling those modules.

Any agile language worth it's electrons is going to have meta-programming facilities within it. Lua has them and chapter eight is where we learn about "Extending Lua's Behaviour with Metamethods". Chapter nine examines Lua's ability to handle events using coroutines. This is a powerful feature and enables Lua applications to manage concurrent tasks with ease.

Chapter ten explores the fascinating world of Lua internals. While Lua is a scripting language, it does use a virtual machine, this chapter shows how scripts can be pre-compiled to the appropriate bytecode. It also covers memory management and implementation details for tables and strings. Chapter eleven is somewhat reference-like, covering the standard libraries supplied with Lua. Chapter twelve is a good compliment, describing some of the available libraries from the Lua community.

Chapter thirteen addresses the matter of interfacing Lua with other languages. If your language can handle C-style calling conventions, then it can be used by your Lua programs. Chapter fourteen is for everyone that wishes to store information in a database now and then. Lua has bindings for connecting to a number of popular database systems and this chapter will help you use them.

My favourite chapter is number fifteen, where using Lua for web applications is explained. There are several alternatives for the budding Lua web application programmer, ranging from that humble and faithful technique, the CGI script, to the Kepler web server environment with the convenience of LuaPages. In this highly-connected world, it is important to be able to communicate over a network and if chapter fifteen didn't tip you off, then chapter sixteen will make you absolutely certain that Lua is ready for networks. Chapter sixteen explores networking from LuaSockets to email and webpages.

Lua is very popular among video games designers. While not generally used to write the frameworks, it is often used for in-game scripting. Chapter seventeen recounts many of the ways that Lua can be used within video games. Chapter eighteen will appeal to the Palm carrying geeks in the house. If you've been looking for a programming language for your Palm PDA, then Plua may be just what you were looking for. Plua (actually Plua2, but they call it Plua) is an implementation of Lua 5.0 for the Palm OS. It gives full access to both data and graphics and is programmable on the Palm; no need to be tethered. Finally, chapter nineteen addresses the subject of "Fitting into the Lua Community".

That's a long list of chapters. Phew! After all of that, let's see what was worth noting along the way.

The writing style is good. Light without being flippant and respectful of the readers intelligence. I like that. I liked the fact that the topics were broken down into appropriately sized chapters. It meant that this book has more chapters than usual, but each one is nicely partitioned, so it doesn't feel over-whelming. I also like the fact that this book seems like it will continue to be useful in the medium term as well. Some beginners books stop being useful quite quickly after you've learned the basics from them, but this one covers quite a number of topics that will useful at the mid-level of Lua skills.

I have very little negative to say about the book. While I normally don't care for books much larger than 300 pages, this one doesn't feel like it has any gratuitous stuffing in it. There is an appendix with answers to the programming questions asked here and there in the chapters, but other than that, everything feels like it should be there.

As a typography and layout nut, I did feel that the layout was a little cramped and the primary type size was a little small. The program listings were generally well done, although I'm not sure that every single one needed a gray background to help separate it from the body text.

The title of chapter nineteen, "Fitting into the Lua Community" seemed a little patronizing to me. I understand the need for maintaining community values, but most communities do that fairly well without the aid of authors playing the heavy. Apparently the community lasted this long without the book. Let's hope they make it a little longer, now that the masses know about it.

All in all, this is a great introduction to Lua. It has solid writing and explanations of the concepts, with plenty of examples. Recommended."

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