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Power

Brand Names Take On Generics In PSU Showdown 223

The Raindog writes "The power supply is perhaps the most overlooked element of a modern PC, and yet it's the one component that can irreparably damage the rest of a system. The market is littered with generic PSUs that are often much cheaper than name-brand alternatives, but can you trust them? The Tech Report aims to find out in its latest power supply round-up, which compares the performance, efficiency, and noise levels of a collection of reputable PSUs with some budget, no-name competition. As it turns out, any money you save on a generic PSU purchase will likely cost you more in the long run."
The Internet

100 Years Ago, No Free Broadband Pneumatic Tubes 293

TheSync writes "The Division of Labour blog spotlights a report written 100 years ago by a commission appointed by the Postmaster General, that came to the conclusion: 'That it is not feasible and desirable at the present time for the Government to purchase, to install, or to operate pneumatic tubes.' Here is a scan of the original NYTimes article. If only we had gotten the free government Intertubes in 1908!"
Bug

Left 4 Dead Bug Patched Quickly, EVE Exploit Takes 4 Years 157

Earlier this week, news surfaced that some savvy modders of Valve's Left 4 Dead were able to find a way to enable console commands (meant for the PC version) in the Xbox 360 version of the game. This allowed players to increase the size of their character models to ridiculous proportions, spawn unlimited weapons for themselves (or unlimited enemies for other, unsuspecting players), and go around the map deleting objects as they saw fit. A video posted on YouTube showed how to enable the commands. Valve reacted swiftly to the issues, releasing a patch to disable access to the commands a few days later. Several readers have pointed out another exploit-related story which broke recently; in EVE Online, a bug that was reported and went un-patched for four years has recently come to light, apparently responsible for the fraudulent creation of trillions of ISK, the game's currency. An anonymous reader says that (illegitimate) sales of ISK between players and farmers run on the order of $35 per 450 million ISK.
Education

When Teachers Are Obstacles To Linux In Education 1589

jamie found this blog post up on the HeliOS Project, which brings Linux to school kids in Austin, TX. It makes very clear some of the obstacles that free software faces in the classroom. It seems a teacher came upon a student demonstrating Linux to other kids and handing out LiveCDs. The teacher confiscated the CDs and wrote an angry email to HeliOS's founder, Ken Starks: "Mr. Starks, I am sure you strongly believe in what you are doing but I cannot either support your efforts or allow them to happen in my classroom. At this point, I am not sure what you are doing is legal. No software is free and spreading that misconception is harmful. ... This is a world where Windows runs on virtually every computer and putting on a carnival show for an operating system is not helping these children at all. I am sure if you contacted Microsoft, they would be more than happy to supply you with copies of an older version of Windows and that way, your computers would actually be of service to those receiving them..." Starks pens an eloquent reply, which contains a factoid I have not seen mentioned before: "The fact that you seem to believe that Microsoft is the end all and be-all is actually funny in a sad sort of way. Then again, being a good NEA member, you would spout the Union line. Microsoft has pumped tens of millions of dollars into your union. Of course you are going to 'recommend' Microsoft Windows."
Censorship

Submission + - UK now censoring Wikipedia 1

badfish99 writes: As the register is reporting, ISPs in the UK are now censoring access to Wikipedia, because of the image on this page.
I've just tried to access it myself, and I get a 404 error, with no indication that the page really exists but has been censored. How many other 404 errors in the last few years have been things that the government didn't want me to read? It's a good job I've installed Tor.
Media (Apple)

BluWiki Seeks iPodHash Author, Hopes for Help From EFF 77

Sam Odio, who runs the BluWiki mentioned the other day as host of the iPodHash project, has posted a followup on the legal tussle in which Apple has engaged the iPodHash project for attempting to reverse-engineer the hash used to encrypt the iTunesDB in recent iPods. He writes in that post: "I've received a flood of emails from interested individuals who want to help. Most importantly, I was contacted by Fred von Lohmann from the EFF. They're currently evaluating whether they will represent us against any potential Apple litigation. This would be great, because it will enable BluWiki to continue to host the project while working with EFF to address Apple's concerns. However, before the EFF commits to representing us against Apple, they want to speak to the author of the [iPodHash] project. I'm posting this public plea hoping that the author, or someone who knows the author, might read it." Update: 11/23 04:25 GMT by T : Due to a shortage of brain cells, I flipped the actors here as this post was originally rendered: To be clear, Sam Odio of BluWiki is seeking the person behind the iPodHash project, not the other way around. Mea culpa.
Media (Apple)

Apple DMCAs iPodHash Project 453

TRS-80 writes "Apple has sent a DMCA takedown notice to the IpodHash project, claiming it circumvents their FairPlay DRM scheme. Some background: Apple first added a hash to the iTunesDB file in 6th-gen iPods, but it was quickly reverse-engineered. They changed it with the release of iPhone 2.0 and a project was started to reverse the new hash, but wasn't successful yet. My guess is Apple used the same algorithm as FairPlay for the new hash, so Apple could use the DMCA to prevent competing apps like Songbird and Banshee from talking to iPods/iPhones. BTW, don't tell Apple, but the project uses a wiki, so the old page versions from before the takedown are still there."
Networking

Submission + - Major french ISP enables native IPv6

varcher75 writes: French "low-cost" ISP Free threw a challenge in 2005: "If there's 10,000 subscribers ready to pay 1 euro for this IPV6 'gadget', I'll do it". Before long, there were far more than 10 thousand geeks ready to throw their money down the pot, but no more was heard on the subject for a while. However, earlier last month, registration of an IPv6 prefix appeared for Proxad, the holding controlling the ISP operation.

Today, Free launched officially its native IPv6 support in a press announce. While professional-oriented ISP Nerim offered native IPv6 in France much earlier, this is one of the first large consumer-oriented ISP to start the switchover process to the next generation of Internet Protocol.

The announce appear to be a bit premature, as the mentioned IPv6 switch doesn't appear yet on the management console, but it shouldn't be long before french geeks can start typing their favorite IPv6 blog address 2001:6f8:37a:1::1 by hand...
Security

Submission + - WiFi worms: the next generation of virus (arxivblog.com)

KentuckyFC writes: "The density of WiFi routers within our cities has reached a critical value that allows malware to spread from machine to machine without having to travel over the internet. Researchers have simulated how this spread would occur in several major US cities and say that 37 per cent of routers would be affected within two weeks (abstract published on the physics arxiv). They say that poor password hygiene, known problems with WEP encryption and the absence of antiviral software for routers all contribute to make the threat critical."
Media

Submission + - Theora vs h.264

Provataki writes: With the recent controversy over OGG Theora/Vorbis and their subsequent removal of the HTML5 draft, there was a lot of talk about it online. Some actually decided to investigate if h.264 is better than Theora (as Apple/Nokia claim), or not. Apparently, h.264 (using ffmpeg and the x264 open source encoder) repeatedly yielded better visual quality than Theora. According to the benchmarking aritcle, video encoding was faster for h.264 too, although the decoding speed was somewhat equal or at best, not clear.
Novell

Submission + - Sun refuses LGPL code for Openoffice; Novell forks (gnome.org) 1

TRS-80 writes: Kohei Yoshida wrote a long post on the history of Calc Solver, an optimization solver module for the Calc component of OpenOffice.org. After three years of jumping through Sun's hoops on his own time, Sun says it will duplicate the work because Kohei doesn't want to sign over ownership of the code. Adding insult to injury, Sun then invites him join this duplication. Because of Sun's refusal to accept LPGL extensions in the upstream code, Michael Meeks (who recently talked about Sun's OO.o community failings, and ODF and OOXML) has announced ooo-build (previously just for build fixes) is now a formal fork of OpenOffice to be located at http://go-oo.org/. Will Sun admit it's being a control freak or continue with pointless duplication?
Programming

Submission + - Metaclass Programming in Python

IdaAshley writes: In part 3 of the Metaclass programming in Python series, Michele and David help programmer eschew cleverness that makes design more complicated, code more fragile, and the learning curves steeper in programming. In Part 1 learn how metaclasses can enhance classes with features like tracing capabilities to push object-oriented programming to the next level, then in Part 2 understand the arcana of inheritance and instance creation to solve and explain metaclass conflicts.
Data Storage

Submission + - SAS vs. SATA? 1

DJ_Double_D writes: "I was recently assigned to do some research on SAS and SATA hard drives and do a cost/benefit analysis to see what we should upgrade our servers to. I've been around SATA for a couple of years now and find the benefits of it very enjoyable as SATA hard drives are relatively fast, inexpensive, and storage capacity keeps on expanding. What about SAS though? I've never heard of it until I was assigned this project. Is SAS similar to SATA? Are we looking at 10k or above RPM's, similar storage capacities, data transfer speeds , and expandability to add more drives on in the future? For a small business would SAS even be possible?"
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - French Protesters Say 'Non' To 2007

SLi writes: According to this story in the BBC News, hundreds of protesters in the French city of Nantes were saying 'non' to 2007 in the New Year. They waved banners saying "No to 2007" and "Now is better!". The arrival of 2007 did nothing to dampen their enthusiasm: The protesters began to chant: "No to 2008!". The marchers called on governments and the UN to stop time's "mad race" and declare a moratorium on the future.

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