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Space

Submission + - Enceladus "sea" mystery deepens

Smivs writes: "The BBC reports that an ocean may not be the source of the jets emanating from Saturn's moon Enceladus . Research questions the moon's promise as a target in the search for life beyond Earth and has stirred controversy.
A chemical analysis of Enceladus, led by University of Colorado planetary scientist Nick Schneider, failed to detect sodium, an element scientists say should be in a body of water that has had billions of years of contact with rock. Spectral analysis with the Keck Telescope found no sodium in the plumes or in the vapour that's in orbit around the moon.
At stake is whether Saturn's moon could support alien life and is a worthy target for a US space agency (Nasa) exploratory mission to detect it. Such a mission to Enceladus is one of four currently under review for further development."
The Internet

Submission + - Xiph.Org Releases Statement Regarding Ogg in HTML5 (xiph.org)

xiphmont writes: "We at Xiph.Org have carefully crafted a response to the current brouhaha over Ogg being temporarily removed from the baseline of the HTML5 standard. We felt the need to respond, we just didn't see the need overreact on 'Internet Time'. This is a battle that has a long way to go and we all need to show our support for the W3C and their struggle to keep the standard unified and free of encumbered technology.

In case you didn't see the little link above, the statement is here."

Microsoft

Submission + - The setup behind Microsoft.com (technet.com) 1

Toreo asesino writes: Jeff Alexander gives an insight into how some of the main websites in Microsoft are run (www.microsoft.com and update.microsoft.com). Interesting details include having no firewall, having to manage 650Gb of IIS logs every day, and the use of their yet unreleased Windows Server 2008 in a production environment. http://blogs.technet.com/jeffa36/archive/2007/12/13/microsoft-com-what-s-the-story.aspx
Programming

Submission + - Server-side vs client-side RIA programming?

jole writes: "Currently Flex is the king of declarative RIA frameworks, GWT is the best client-side Ajax framework for Java-programmers and JSF is the most dominant declarative server-side framework. In addition to these classes of frameworks, we find that server-side Java-based (not XML-based) UI frameworks still have their place for two reasons: 1) security gained from not exposing UI logic to client, 2) easiness gained for direct access to all Java API:s, full unrestricted execution environment and lack of communication layer design.

What is your opinion — which approach (client- or server-side; Java, XML or JavaScript) is the best and why? What is your favorite RIA toolkit for Java programmers?"
Government

Submission + - New Zealand Justice Ministry prefers Open Source (nzoss.org.nz)

christian.einfeldt writes: "In a paper dated 11 Dec. 2007, the New Zealand Justice Ministry has taken a position favoring Free Open Source Software if all other aspects of the proprietary competitor are comparable. The policy does not rule out proprietary software; but it does state a clear preference for FOSS where all other things are equal. The nine-page paper (PDF warning) does not purport to express any sort of legal or commercial commitment by the Ministry, but instead 'is believed to be consistent with existing MoJ policies.' The most salient reasons given for the preference are summarized in one sentence: 'Given two equivalent packages, one open and one proprietary, the OSS one would be the preferable choice for reasons of better supportability and lower lifecycle cost.'"
PlayStation (Games)

Submission + - Toshiba: 45nm Chips in 2008, 65nm RSX Chips Next M (xuecast.com) 2

XueCast writes: "Toshiba, one of the world's largest semiconductor corporation has just announced that they will mass produce 45nm Cell and RSX chips for Sony Playstation 3 in the year 2008. The giant corporation also said that they will start mass producing 65nm RSX chips for the Playstation 3 as soon as next month. Playstation 3's Cell CPU made a jump to 65nm fabrication process about a month ago, but the RSX GPU is currently still in 90nm process."
Government

Submission + - New Government, New Network?

renegadesx writes: "Australia has a new government lead by Kevin Rudd and the center-left Labor party in a landslide victory Saturday night. For months Mr Rudd has promised if elected he intends on bringing Australia up-to-date broadband capacity in establishing a Fiber to the Node (FTTN) infastructure nation wide.

What challenges await the new PM in establishing this? Telstra, who of course want to retain their monopoly over Australia's infastructure. Can Rudd and Telstra play nice in the interests of bringing Australia out of the stone age of DSL capabilities?

Time will tell, the Howard Government and Telstra did not get along at all. http://www.itwire.com.au/content/view/15505/1086/"
Linux Business

Submission + - Torvalds on where Linux is headed in 2008

Stony Stevenson writes: In this new interview, Linus Torvalds is excited about solid-state drives, expects progress in graphics and wireless networking, and says the operating system is strong in virtualisation despite his personal lack of interest in the area.

From the article: "To get some perspective on what lies ahead in 2008, we caught up with Linus Torvalds via email. His responses touched on the Linux development process, upcoming features, and whether he's concerned about potential patent litigation."

Torvalds on Linux biggest strength: "When you buy an OS from Microsoft, not only you can't fix it, but it has had years of being skewed by one single entity's sense of the market. It doesn't matter how competent Microsoft — or any individual company — is, it's going to reflect that fact. In contrast, look at where Linux is used. Everything from cellphones and other small embedded computers that people wouldn't even think of as computers, to the bulk of the biggest machines on the supercomputer Top-500 list. That is flexibility. And it stems directly from the fact that anybody who is interested can participate in the development, and no single entity ends up being in control of where it all goes.
Quickies

Submission + - The birthplace of Romulus and Remus found

jd writes: "A cave known to the Romans as the Lupercal has been found. The Lupercal (a 26' high cave) was believed by the Romans to have been the place that Romulus and Remus (the founders of Rome) were rescued and suckled by a she-wolf. Now, whether these two people ever existed is another matter entirely, but even the place itself had descended into myths and legends, with no serious archaeologist believing it existed. Due to the extreme instability of Palatine Hill, where the cave exists, the archaeologists have not been inside. Instead, exploration has been by robots with cameras, endoscopes and laser scanners. These have mapped some amazing mosaics, marble artwork and an amazing white eagle."
Bug

Submission + - Giant bug found - and it's not in Windows!

jd writes: "A giant 8' bug — actually a sea scorpion — has been found in London. The claws are the same size as a man's head. It has been dead for the past few million years, but it's the thought that counts. Being a fossil, it will be hard to clone, though it would make a superb monster in the next Jurassic Park movie."
Announcements

Submission + - Fossilized sea scorpion was larger than a person (www.cbc.ca)

hereisnowhy writes: A giant fossilized claw discovered in Germany belonged to an ancient sea scorpion that was much bigger than the average man, an international team of geologists and archaeologists reported Tuesday. In a report in the Royal Society's journal Biology Letters, the team said the claw indicates that sea scorpion Jaekelopterus rhenania was almost 2.5 metres long, making it the largest arthropod — an animal with a segmented body, jointed limbs and a hard exoskelton — ever found. In the report, the authors said the scorpion exceeds previous size records for arthropods by almost half a metre.
PC Games (Games)

Submission + - Why do games still have levels? (blogspot.com) 1

a.d.venturer writes: "Elite, the Metroid series, Dungeon Siege, God of War I and II, Half-Life (but not Half-Life 2), Shadow of the Colossus, the Grand Theft Auto series; some of the best games ever (and Dungeon Siege) have done away with the level mechanic and created uninterrupted game spaces devoid of loading screens and artificial breaks between periods of play. Much like cut scenes, level loads are anathema to enjoyment of game play, and a throwback to the era of the Vic-20 and Commodore 64 when games were stored on cassette tapes, and memory was measured in kilobytes. So in this era of multi-megabyte and gigabyte memory and fast access storage devices why do we continue to have games that are dominated by the level structure, be they commercial (Portal, Team Fortress 2), independent (Darwinia) and amateur (Nethack, Angband)? Why do games still have levels?"
Security

Submission + - dealing with online merchants who don't use SSL?

Unprotected Coward writes: I was just about to make an online purchase for a hardware product when I discovered the vendor (a self-titled "leading" seller for the US university market) does not even use SSL to encrypt the credit card form data (yes, I checked the HTML source, the form POST is to a non https URL). I am angry and frustrated that in 2007 this still happens with big stores (and I don't even want to imagine what application-level vulnerabilities they may have).

Besides writing them, should I call Visa or Mastercard? I thought it was mandatory for online merchants to use SSL and other basic security measures. Is it all hopeless?

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