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Leopard Vs. Vista 420

Rockgod writes to point us to an ongoing series of articles, "Leopard vs. Vista," by Daniel Eran. The latest is part 4, Naked Sales, and it's a meditation on hardware without Windows, Apple's strategy of hardware-software integration, and the dissatisfactions that arise from the creative tension between Microsoft and hardware manufacturers. (The earlier articles in the series are linked form this one.) From the article: "The vast majority of PCs come with Windows pre-installed, and actually can't be sold without it. Leading PC hardware makers can't freely advertise PCs sold without Windows, or with an alternative OS such as Linux, without having to pay Microsoft significantly more for every other OEM license they ship. That's why all name brand PCs prominently repeat their own version of the cult-like phrase 'Dell recommends Windows XP Professional,' as if there were a choice in the matter and they thought it would be helpful to provide some guidance... Apple's current Get a Mac advertising campaign doesn't compare Mac OS X to Windows, it compares the complete experience of a Mac with that of a PC. After all, Windows is only half of what's wrong with the PC as a product."

Voting Machine Glitches Already Being Reported 742

Neovanglist writes "CNN, FOX, and MSNBC are reporting that voting machines in three states (Ohio, Indiana, and Florida) have already been showing issues, both in the machines themselves and in the training of poll attendants, causing many districts to switch to paper ballots." From the article: "Voters put the Republican congressional majority and a multitude of new voting equipment to the test Tuesday in an election that defined the balance of power for the rest of George W. Bush's presidency. Both parties hustled to get their supporters out in high-stakes contests across the country, Democrats appealing one more time for change, and appearing confident the mood was on their side. Republicans conceded nothing as their vaunted get-out-the-vote machine swung into motion." If you're in the U.S., and you haven't voted already, go do it!

Republican Robocall Pretexting Campaign 674

WCityMike writes, "In 53 Congressional campaigns across the country, including the Pennsylvania 6th, the Connecticut 4th, the North Carolina 11th, the New Hampshire 2nd, and the Illinois 6th and 8th (and possibly all races), the National Republican Congressional Committee is conducting a $2.1 million campaign to make it appear as if Democrats are spamming callers with telemarketing calls. The NRCC hired Conquest Communications Group to conduct a massive nationwide robocalling campaign with calls specifically scripted to appear as if they're coming from the Democratic candidate — in violation of FCC regulations on such 'robocalls,' which requires the identity of the caller to be stated at the beginning of the message [47 CFR 64.1200(b)(1)]. The call begins with 'Hello. I'm calling with information about,' and then says the name of the Democratic candidate. There is then a pause; if the recipient hangs up here, they will receive repeated calls back with the same message, potentially up to 18 times or more (according to one callee). If the callee doesn't hang up, they hear a smear message from the machine about the Democratic candidate. The NRCC thinks the legality of the calls is, conveniently, a 'complicated legal question that's not going to get adjudicated this weekend.'" Update 20:47 GMT by SM: Thankfully we all learned how to deal with these folks last week.
User Journal

Journal Journal: In case you're wondering what that rejected submission is: 3

I posted a journal entry asking anyone to help me figure out what it takes to get moderation ability. Silly me checked the Submit checkbox, thinking it would post to my journal only if I checked that. I should have read the sidebar *below* that more carefully. ;-)

Anyway, I figure I post too much or refresh the front page too many times to be selected as moderator or something. :-(

Let me know if there is a trick I'm not aware of.

MySpace Predator Caught By Code 374

An anonymous reader writes, "Wired News editor and former hacker Kevin Poulsen wrote a 1,000-line Perl script that checked MySpace for registered sex offenders. Sifting through the results, he manually confirmed over 700 offenders, including a serial child molester in New York actively trying to hook up with underage boys on the site, and who has now been arrested as a result. MySpace told Congress last June that it didn't have this capability." Wired News says they will publish Poulsen's code under an open-source license later this week.

MySpace Organizes Sudan Fundraiser 164

tanman writes to tell us CNN is reporting that MySpace is sponsoring a series of 20 concerts as an effort to raise awareness about the humanitarian relief efforts in Sudan. From the article: "The concerts will take place October 21. Artists include TV on the Radio in Philadelphia, Alice in Chains in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Ziggy Marley in Medford, Oregon, Citizen Cope in Seattle, Gov't Mule in Spokane, Washington, and Insane Clown Posse in St. Petersburg, Florida."

A Gaming War Between Islam and the West? 321

The Washington Post has up an article looking at a burgeoning venue for political expression: gaming. Between 'The Quest for Bush', Counter-Strike mods, and more serious titles with a political slant, the political arena is quickly claiming gamers for their own. It's not just politics either; there are some excellent titles being released that attempt some truly insightful social commentary. From the article: "'UnderAsh,' released by Afkar Media in 2002, views the first intifada from the eyes of Ahmad, a Palestinian teenager resisting the Israeli occupation. Last year a sequel was released. A teaser to 'UnderSiege,' which tells the stories of five Palestinian families during the second intifada, shows a Palestinian teenager being shot on the street; an Israeli soldier appears to pound him with a concrete block seconds later. 'Our games are not propaganda,' Kasmiya says. 'Our games are a reflection of our history -- past or present. The fact is, most movies, most TV shows, most video games put Muslims in a bad light, so we have to try to tell our side of the story.'" Commentary from GamePolitics is also available.

Administration Ignored Bin Laden Intel 800

gettin-bored noted a nice article running in very high priority on the Washington Post, right up there on page 17 of the print edition, where it's revealed that the CIA Director warned Rice about Bin Laden two months before 9/11. And strangely, the meeting was never mentioned during all the 9/11 commission reports making you really question what exactly they were actually hearing that was more important than the CIA director telling the National Security Advisor that Bin Laden was going to attack Americans.

UnBox Calls Home, A Lot 252

SachiCALaw writes "It turns out that to use UnBox, the user has to download software from Amazon that contains a Windows service (ADVWindowsClientService.exe). Tom Merritt over at C|Net reports that the service tries to connect to the internet quite frequently. Even tweaking msconfig could not prevent it." From the article: "So, in summary, to be allowed the privilege of purchasing a video that I can't burn to DVD and can't watch on my iPod, I have to allow a program to hijack my start-up and force me to login to uninstall it? No way. Sorry, Amazon. I love a lot of what you do, but I will absolutely not recommend this service. Try again."

Chip Promises AI Performance in Games 252

Heartless Gamer writes to mention an Ars Technica article about a dedicated processor for AI performance in games. The product, from a company called AIseek, seeks to do for NPC performance what the PhysX processor does for in-game physics. From the article: "AIseek will offer an SDK for developers that will enable their titles to take advantage of the Intia AI accelerator. According to the company, Intia works by accelerating low-level AI tasks up to 200 times compared to a CPU doing the work on its own. With the acceleration, NPCs will be better at tasks like terrain analysis, line-of-sight sensory simulation, path finding, and even simple movement. In fact, AIseek guarantees that with its coprocessor NPCs will always be able to find the optimal path in any title using the processor." Is this the 'way of the future' for PC titles? Will games powered by specific pieces of hardware become the norm?

Are Liquid Explosives on a Plane Feasible? 875

permaculture writes "The Register describes the difficulty of mixing up a batch of liquid explosives on a plane. Further, it opines that such a plot might work in a Hollywood film, but not in the real world. Liquid explosives were used for the 7/7 London bombings in 2005, according to the official account — or not, as now seems more likely." This story selected and edited by LinuxWorld editor for the day Saied Pinto.

Lead PHP Developer Quits 809

Jasper Bryant-Greene writes "Jani Taskinen, one of the lead developers of the Zend Engine (the engine that powers PHP), as well as a lead developer for the thread safety system and other core components of the PHP project, has quit in a relatively cryptic message to the php-internals mailing list. Jani has been involved with PHP for about 6 years and his loss will undoubtedly be a big blow for the PHP project."

Industrial Labs that Still Do Fundamental Research 303

An anonymous reader asks: "I am a graduate student of Mechanical Engineering at a reputed University in the United States. I have had a lot of fun working towards my PhD. I have published papers and done exciting research. I should be finishing up in the next few months or so, but I would like to continue doing the same kind of work that I am doing now. One option would be to take up a post-doctoral research appointment and find myself a faculty position. I am somehow not attracted to this option because of the tenure and grant pressure. My ideal job would be in something like the Bell Labs of yester-years. Do you know of labs that have that kind of environment? National labs are supposed to have such an atmosphere, but my stint in one of them makes me think otherwise. Google does seem to have such an environment but I am not a CS person. Does Slashdot know of labs where basic research in applied engineering is still done in the US, without the pressure of money and immediate results?"

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