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User Journal

Journal Journal: in which i am a noob all over again 17

I haven't posted a journal here in almost three years, because I couldn't find the button to start a new entry. ...yeah, it turns out that it's at the bottom of the page.

So... hi, Slashdot. I used to be really active here, but now I mostly lurk and read. I've missed you.

Education

Quantum Physics For Everybody 145

fiziko writes in with a self-described "blatant self-promotion" of a worthwhile service for those wishing to go beyond Khan Academy physics: namely Bureau 42's Summer School. "As those who subscribe to the 'Sci-Fi News' slashbox may know, Bureau 42 has launched its first Summer School. This year we're doing a nine-part series (every Monday in July and August) taking readers from high school physics to graduate level physics, with no particular mathematical background required. Follow the link for part 1."
Graphics

How To Build a Winscape 161

hoagaboom writes "You take your plasma TVs, mix them with a healthy dose of OpenGL and a dash of Wii Remote. Bake for a year and enjoy something called a Winscape." Although I'm not sure I'm quite willing to wear a special necklace to make the effect work, it's a super sweet little project, although they want $10 for the software and then $10 for many of the actual video loops.

Comment Re:Wash your hands! (Score 1) 374

This is good advice, and gives me an opportunity to speak to the community at large: some of us who go to cons and are in a position to shake tons of hands politely decline. It's not because we're being dicks, it's because we know it's a good way to substantially decrease our chances of catching and spreading any germs.

Comment Oh, cruel irony (Score 2, Interesting) 374

I played the PAX Pandemic game, where the Enforcers handed out stickers to attendees that read [Carrier] [Infected] or [Immune] (There was also a [Patient Zero].

I got the [Immune] sticker, and by the time I got home on Monday, it was clear that I had the flu. I've had a fever between 100 and 104 all week that finally broke last night, but I'm going to the doctor today because I think whatever I had settled into my lungs. I'll tell him about the H1N1 outbreak and get tested if he wants to run the test, but at this point I think it's safe to assume that I was [Immune] to the Pig Plague, but definitely [Infected] with the damn PAX pox.

Even though it's been a week of misery, it was entirely worth it, and I don't regret going to PAX for a single second.

Comment John Scalzi on why it won't work (Score 1) 370

John Scalzi wrote a hilarious exchange on his blog the sums up perfectly why this idea is made of fail:

Sony BMG spokesperson: We're pleased to announce we are the final major music corporation to release electronic tracks without that pesky DRM! All you have to do is leave your house, go to a selected retail outlet, buy a special card there, go back to your house, scratch off the back of the card to find a code, go to our special MusicPass Web site, enter said code, and download one the 37 titles we have available, from Celine Dion to the Backstreet Boys!

Kid #1: Or, in the time it takes me to jump through all those hoops, I could just download all 37 of those albums off of Pirate Bay.

Kid #2: Or, I could just scratch off the back at the store, record the pin number, go home and download the album through a Tor connection, so you can't trace my IP number.

Kid #1: Also, what's with this first slate of artists? Celine Dion? Backstreet Boys? Kenny Chesney? Barry Manilow? Are you high?
There's much more, but I didn't want to jack his entire post.
Google

Submission + - The Google Phone is a Reality.

MrCrassic writes: "It appears that Google is initiating talks with well-known PDA/smartphone manufacturer HTC to make the Google phone a reality. With impressive tech specs and an already impressive concept underway , could Google be the next company to make a mark in the wireless device industry? From the main article:

However, a recent report by CrunchGear states that its own sources at mobile handset provider HTC have tipped the site off to multiple gPhone handsets being prepped for launch in the first quarter of 2008 and that the handsets will be coming out of Taiwan. There will supposedly be over 20 different handsets to choose from — some with GPS — and they will carry special versions of Google Maps, Google Calendar, Gmail, and VoIP-enabled Google Talk. Speaking of software, Google is rumored to be developing its own operating system for the gPhone. According to reports by Engadget, the OS has been in development since 2005 after Google's acquisition of a mobile software company called Android. The Android team has since developed a Linux-based mobile OS while at Google — a detail that is corroborated by the CrunchGear report — which of course comes with tight Google integration. Both sites appear to agree that their sources indicate Google isn't currently looking to develop the hardware... for now.
"
Sci-Fi

Simon Pegg to Play Scotty 233

In response to yesterday's casting news about Chris Pine possibly taking the captain's chair for the new Star Trek movie, apparently Simon Pegg will be playing the role of Scotty. Simon Pegg is known for his role as Shaun in Shaun of the Dead and more recently for his leading role in Hot Fuzz. "Pegg joins Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Anton Yelchin as Chekov, John Cho as Sulu and Zachary Quinto as Spock in the film which reportedly, and logically, 'chronicles the early days of the Enterprise crew.' Leonard Nimoy will also put in an appearance, while Eric Bana signed up this week as the movie's villain, Nero."
User Journal

Journal Journal: Confronting pseudoscience in advertising

The Scientist reports that UK group Sense About Science is confronting advertisers about pseudoscientific claims in health products such as "Aerobic Oxygen," "Salt Lamps," and "Activ8." They called the advertisers' customer service numbers and grilled the unfortunates on the other end of the phone about their misuse of scientific language to sell products. The project,

Security

Submission + - Serious XSS vulnerability discovered in Facebook (virginia.edu)

An anonymous reader writes: A new XSS vulnerability was found in Facebook, allowing executable code to be injected in a user's profile; this compromises the security of both the profile owner and all profile viewers. The article includes a sketch of the attack, a white paper that gives a detailed explanation of how such an attack can be used, and a video demo. Facebook is set up so that once a single hidden value has been obtained, any form can be submitted with that user's credentials. One would think that XSS vulnerabilities are common and serious enough that Facebook would have set up their site so that the entire site is not laid open by a single attack. (The article does not disclose the location of the XSS hole since it has not yet been patched.)

Comment Other factors... (Score 5, Informative) 428

I troubleshoot home theater electronics all day, every day. I have to wonder if something else is at work here. At least one person asked, what do these eleven units all have in common? The same working environment. There are plenty of Xbox 360s out there, and they certainly all aren't failures, and the chance that this one person has received every part from the 1-2% of doomed 360s out there that are failures would be nearly statistically impossible.

More likely is that some other factor is causing this, perhaps the powerstrip he's plugged it into has a badly grounded outlet, or perhaps the main outlet itself - or possibly any of another hundred or so electrical issues there could be - such issues tend to plague complex electronics in very odd ways, and not the same way every time.

If I were at Microsoft, I'd replace his unit, but advise this guy he needs to get some help looking for what other factors could be causing these malfunctions.
Google

Jon Stewart, Lorne Michaels Come Out In Favour of YouTube 114

techdirt writes "Viacom employee Jon Stewart recently announced that he believes his bosses are making a mistake in taking Viacom content off of YouTube. Today, NBC employee and Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels has stated he can't understand NBC's position on YouTube. The interview with Michaels is especially interesting, because it was a Saturday Night Live clip of the infamous 'Lazy Sunday' music video that is often credited with putting YouTube on the map. At the same time, however, almost everyone admitted that it did wonders in revitalizing SNL's reputation (as well as boosting Andy Samberg's reputation to new heights). Yet, NBC's lawyers shot it down, limiting the benefit to SNL. It appears that Michaels understands that, and says he wishes they could put more of the show on YouTube."

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