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Linux

Submission + - Is Ubuntu's new direction wrong? (dedoimedo.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: An alternate future that features Windows-like looks for Ubuntu has the owner of a tech-website worried: where is Ubuntu heading? He argues that while competing with Windows and Mac is a noble goal, Ubuntu must first make itself more stable (by looking into the recent kernel crashes), keep applications like GIMP included, stop unnecessary experimenting with package management, support older hardware, and review the 6-month release cycle. He concludes,

I have no doubt Mark Shuttleworth is a man of great vision. I see his vision. [...] Competing against Windows and Mac is a very noble goal. I really applaud it. [...] But you can't beat Windows by offering a Windows-looking clone. [...] How do you beat perfect looks and perfect stability [of Mac]? The way things are, stability has not been Ubuntu's prime goal in the last few releases, and it's getting worse. The ultra-short release cycle does not help. [...] My message is, stability first, gimmicks later. I want my stuff to work, all the time, every time, forever. Once we get past that bridge, we can discuss eye candy and killing my programs.


Submission + - Court Orders Shutdown of H-1B Critics' Websites 1

theodp writes: Computerworld reports that a NJ Superior Court Judge ordered hosting firms to shut down three Web sites that oppose the H-1B visa program and seeks information about the identity of anonymous posters. GoDaddy, Network Solutions, Comcast and DiscountASP.Net were ordered to disable ITgrunt.com, Endh1b.com, and Guestworkerfraud.com. Facebook Inc. was also ordered to disable ITgrunt's Facebook page. The judge's order was made in response to a libel lawsuit filed by Apex Technology Group Inc., which is citing its copyright ownership as it seeks the identity of the poster of a since-removed Apex employment agreement on Docstoc.com, which drew critical comments on U.S. and India websites.
Idle

Submission + - Man Saves Wet Palm Pre Using Rice

An anonymous reader writes: Apparently an avid Lifehacker reader, called Dietrich, managed to drop his Palm Pre in a puddle and didn't realise for half an hour. You would think that after a thirty minute soak the Pre would be dead but Dietrich remembered a tip on Lifehacker involving uncooked rice to dry out wet gadgets. “I remembered articles on Lifehacker about what to do so I immediately popped the battery out and dried the phone. When I got home I put my Palm Pre in a bag of rice for ten hours. Adding insult to injury, I forgot to take the phone battery out of my pocket and put it through the washing machine. Ten hours later I'm typing this on my Pre. Good job Palm on making an excellent phone.”

Submission + - Ebook Reader for Technical Library 5

dbuttric writes: "As I've moved from job to job, and technology to technology, I've accumulated a library of books that is very cumbersome to carry around, and just as bad to refer to when i need them.

When the Kindle happened, I decided that I'd buy one and move my library to it. As I've learned more about ebook reader technology, I have a few requirements that are hard requirements, that will make or break my purchase.

1) I want all the material to be DRM free, so that I can move it from device to device without having to think about whether I have register it on a new device. (This rules out the Kindle)

2) I Need really great search on the contents of the books that I put on the reader. Ultimately, I'd like to be able to search the indices of each book for whatever term(s) I type in, but perhaps that would be even too limiting. What I want is to have great search of the corpus, and allow me to easily distinguish which book the reference comes from, what page it is on, etc.

I went looking at the Nook, and it has almost no facility for searching the body of the books that you put on it, it does have great search of the online store, but that doesn't help me.

Has anyone got experience using an ebook reader in this way? If so, what are your thoughts?

Thank you."
Censorship

Submission + - Italy may censor torrent sites (torrentfreak.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Following a PirateBay block more than a year ago, Italy continues its attempts to censor torrent sites. The Italian Supreme Court has ruled that copyright holders can now force ISPs to block BitTorrent sites, even if they are hosted outside Italy. The torrent sites which "hold" copyrighted materials are accused of taking part in criminal activity. It seems, someone should enlighten Italian jurists about technology.

Submission + - Ascent of Dinosaurs Linked to Asteroid Impact, Too (sciencemag.org)

thomst writes: The latest results of a study led by Paul E. Olsen of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University of elevated iridium levels at the 200-million-year-old Triassic-Jurassic boundary will be published in the May 17, 2010 issue of Science. (An earlier, more preliminary study of elevated iridium levels, tetrapod dinosaur footprints and skeletal fossils, and elevated fern spore levels — which Olsen, et al, characterize as a marker for recovery from mass extinction — was published in Science in May 2002. The abstract is free, and does not require registration to view. The full text requires a free registration on the Science website.) The forthcoming study will focus on the slight elevation of iridium levels in sedimentary deposits from the Triassic-Jurassic boundary (the increase in iridium density is only 2-3 times normal background levels, and it required the development of iridium coincidence nuclear spectroscopy to properly quantify). Predictably enough in a field where the theory that a meteor impact killed the dinosaurs, first proposed by Luis W. Alvarez in 1980 has yet to convince the intrinsic gradualist camp of its validity, the proposal is bound to have its detractors.

Space.com has a story explaining the major points of the forthcoming study in layman's terms.

Censorship

Submission + - New China Report Further Attacks MMOs (yahoo.com)

eldavojohn writes: According to a Yahoo News (PCWorld) article, China is continuing its war on online games with a new news program. The feature report entitled "Confession of a Murderer — Focus on Pornography and Violence in Online Games (Part Two)" cited a statistic that up to 80 percent of the violent criminals in the prison turned to crime because of online games (note the verbage 'up to'). Prepare to be amazed as China lengthens the list of social problems that the pox of online gaming has brought them: crime, drugs, murder and teen pregnancy. Yes, teen pregnancy. It would seem the government has found its scapegoat to protect the people from at all costs.

Submission + - FCC inquires about Verizon fees (wired.com)

olsmeister writes: As previously discussed here on Slashdot, the FCC has sent Verizon Wireless a letter asking them why they are increasing the early termination fees, as well as why they are charging non-data customers who accidentally press the wrong button and go online. The pdf of the letter can be viewed here. Maybe someone at the FCC does read /.

Submission + - SPAM: A.I. researcher asks: could bots feel joy? 9

destinyland writes: A.I. researcher Ben Goertzel asks whether machines will ever really feel, in the same sense that humans do? "This is a separate question from whether machines can be intelligent, or whether they can act like they feel. The question is whether machines — if suitably constructed and programmed — can have awareness, passion, subjective experience ... consciousness?" Goertzel led a machine
consciousness workshop in Hong Kong, and summarizes current theories about artificial intelligence, and notes that Tufts professor Daniel Dennett believes it's absolutely possible — if the machines are programmed correctly. (This article also appears in the latest issue of H+ magazine.)

Link to Original Source
Supercomputing

Submission + - Are Supercomputers getting less 'super'? (gigaom.com)

ruphus13 writes: There was a time when Supercomputers reigned supreme in the land of CPU x-flops. Their computing dominance was unquestioned, and only the serious organization could afford them and really needed them. That, however, is rapidly changing, as supercomputers are now very similar to their 'non-super' counterparts. With the rapid increase in compute power now being made available to the enterprise datacenter, supercomputers are barely ahead of their x86, Moore's-Law fueled competitors. From the article, "Increasingly, many of the parts that make up a supercomputer — from the types of processors used to the networking cables — are the same as those used in everyday corporate computing...[The] number of different processors used to build supercomputers has been shrinking. This is partly due to Moore’s Law, which enables the x86 architecture (the same type of chips inside your computer) to make steady performance gains, but is also a function of how cheap mass-produced chips are. And because most supercomputers are built for the government, getting as many flops for the dollar is essential. Even on the networking side, Ethernet is making strides when compared to more expensive, proprietary networking technologies such as Infiniband...as supercomputers and high-performance computers use more mainstream and commodity parts, it makes it that much harder to distinguish the specialty high-performance computing vendors from those offering corporate computing products".
AMD

Submission + - New AMD HD 5970 GPU peaks power and performance (pcper.com)

Vigile writes: The AMD GPU team has definitely been dominating NVIDIA lately with both the release of the Radeon HD 4000-series and the Radeon HD 5000-series that was the first to include DX11 support and new Eyefinity multi-monitor gaming technology. AMD's latest addition is a dual-GPU variant called the HD 5970 that basically runs a pair of 5800 cards in permanent CrossFire mode on a single PCB. The gaming performance is incredible but might be overshadowed by the significant amount of overclocking headroom AMD left on the card for users that want to get 15-20% more out of their rig at the cost of 33% additional power consumption. If 400 watt GPUs and $599 price tags are something you can deal with, this card will impress just about any gamer.
AMD

Submission + - AMD Releases Heavy-Duty Double-GPU Graphics Card (extremetech.com)

WesternActor writes: AMD has released its new top-end graphics card, the ATI Radeon HD 5970, which is loaded with two GPUs and almost 5 teraflops of power. It has full support for DirectX 11 and AMD's Eyefinity multimonitor technology. ExtremeTech has a hands-on look at the card and Eyefinity, both of which it looks like could play significant roles in making 2010 a very interesting year for high-end gaming.
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Fine-Grained Power Measurement on motherboards

Duckling Loop writes: Power consumption of modern computers is fast becoming a primary design concern. Accurate measurement of the contributors to this power (e.g. separating CPU power from GPU power) would be crucial for making smart design decisions about integrating/synthesizing the system. There has been recent work in academia on statistical correlation of CPU performance counters and GPU workload variables with system power. These techniques rely on using Kill-a-Watt readings and estimating actual component power. The power measurement of PCI-Express GPU cards seem to require some intrusive power measurements and extra fancy hardware. Are there commerical motherboards available that already contain such fine-grained power monitoring hardware that can separate the power consumed by constituent components? What are other common techniques used for isolating the power consumptions of different components?

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