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Security

Submission + - The Times on Botnets

ThinkComp writes: "The New York Times has a story on the proliferation of botnets which describes the problem as getting worse. The article cites a number of security researchers who paint a depressing picture of the state of internet security, and concludes with the suggestion that for home users, buying a new "updated" PC may be the only real solution. Unfortunately, as most of us know, given the number of outstanding flaws in software and the ingenuity of malicious software authors, that might not even help. The story fits perfectly with our own ongoing research into spam coming from malicious HTTP POST requests to corporate "Contact Us" pages routed through open proxy servers. Look out for those newline characters!"
Handhelds

Submission + - Nokia's New N800 Linux Tablet Arrives

An anonymous reader writes: Nokia has quietly begun delivering an upgrade to its Linux-based 770 Internet Tablet. Nokia N800 Internet Tablet is available now from at least two retail stores in the U.S., priced at $399.99, CompUSA's Chicago "superstore" has confirmed. Key changes reportedly include: microphone moved to more phone-friendly position; two miniSD slots, instead of a single RS-MMC slot; scroll rocker for web page scrolling; redesigned top-mounted buttons and 5-way cursor pad; built-in stand; and a few mechanical tweaks. CompUSA part number is 344047.
Power

Submission + - Inventor of Instant Noodles Dies

Jack Action writes: Momofuku Ando, the inventor of "Chicken Ramen" — the original instant noodle — has died at age 96. Mr. Ando introduced his "Ramen" series of noodles in 1958 to help ease post-WWII food shortages in Japan, and they became an "instant" success. Mr Ando's noodles went into outer space in 2005 on the Space Shuttle ("Space Ram"), and a museum dedicated to his invention was opened in Japan in 1999. They also changed the lives of countless college students and geeks everywhere, and for many are the symbol of non-Western fast food. On this day of the inventor's passing, what are your thoughts on his legacy to the world?
NASA

Submission + - Satellites unveil 2,000-year-old trails

Roland Piquepaille writes: "Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU-Boulder) and at NASA have used satellites to track the movements of people living in the Arenal region of Costa Rica more than 2,000 years ago. They've also used video-game software to virtually 'fly' above the footpaths taken by Central Americans between small villages and cemeteries. It's a fascinating story because Arenal Volcano is still very active and that the people who lived there didn't disappear as highly structured societies like the Maya and Aztec. And people living today in the Arenal region are certainly friendlier than your neighbors. Read more for additional references about this project and several pictures of beautiful Arenal Volcano, when it's quiet and when it erupts."
Biotech

Submission + - What's That, Lassie? Can't Fit Into Your Jeans?

theodp writes: "The obesity epidemic has spread to man's best friend, prompting the FDA to step in and approve the first prescription doggie diet drug. Pfizer's Slentrol suppresses Fido's appetite while also blocking the absorption of fat from his treats. Anticipating future Darwin Award winners, Slentrol's label warns that humans who dip into their pooch's stash to lose a pound or two are in for some abdominal distention and pain, diarrhea, flatulence, headache, nausea and vomiting. Pfizer's efforts (PDF) also earned the drug giant US Patent No. 6,720,351. What's next? A Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit for Dogs?"
Desktops (Apple)

Submission + - Mac OS X and Font Smoothing

Piroca writes: Font smoothing in OS X is one of the worst aspects of the system, yet few users dare to complain about it. The rationale behind Quartz font rendering is that anything in the screen should be rendered as they would while printing. Apple decided to turn off font hinting and perform anti-aliasing indiscriminately, thus adding artifacts to horizontal and vertical lines. It happens the end result is that fonts at small sizes are blurry and not very easy to read (which is exactly the opposite result expected from the anti-aliasing strategy, and renders the crispness of LCDs useless). Apple has been heavy-handed about this issue since OS X 10.1 by not acknowledging it and not providing configuration options to turn off anti-aliasing in small fonts while providing font hinting and choices for system fonts (the ubiquitous Lucida Grande is not hinted therefore it looks wrong when anti-aliased) as the old System 9 and Windows do. This situation is unlikely to change anytime soon (Leopard won't do anything about it, at least). For me, this is a problem because I have to develop on OS X and keep starring at blurry fonts the whole day gives me headaches. I'm pretty sure other developers out there have the same problem, therefore here goes my question: what do you do to cope with the troublesome font smoothing in OS X?
Security

Submission + - Fingerprinting the World's Mail Servers

ttul writes: "This O'Reilly SysAdmin Article describes some work done by mod_perl author Stas Bekman and his colleagues at anti-spam software company MailChannels to fingerprint the world's publicly visible email servers. Interesting results from the survey? Open source options like Sendmail and Postfix are still firmly in the lead after all these years, but commercial services like Postini are catching up fast. The article goes into some detail on how email servers can be fingerprinted despite attempts by sysadmins to cloak their identity."
Google

Submission + - Google + StopBadware.org = Internet Gestapo?

An anonymous reader writes: Google's recent alliance with StopBadware.org seems to have taken a draconian turn. While many may have read about StopBadware.org tagging AOL software as "badware" recently, they now seem to be smacking down web sites based solely on anonymous and unconfirmed complaints. Google in turn blacklists the site and blocks it from search results with a very harsh advisory. Read one site owner's first-hand experience with the Google overlord.
Math

Submission + - Easier graphing with FooPlot

An anonymous reader writes: If you hate clunky graphing calculator interfaces or having to code in order to create a simple plot, here's a new web-based plotter. Based entirely on JavaScript using vector graphics, FooPlot supports scrolling like Google Maps and even does basic 3-D plots too. From the website, plans include developing it into "a fully-featured graphing calculator with analytic tools, charting with Google spreadsheets, curve-fitting, and saving into portable formats".
NASA

Submission + - NFL cheerleader is also NASA engineer

A Smitten Rocket Scientist writes: As reported in Sports Illustrated, Summer Williams is a full time aerospace engineer who works on the International Space Station. But she's got a side gig as a cheerleader for the Houston Texans! The fantasy woman of Slashdot readers everywhere actually exists....
Music

Submission + - Should Music Be a Product or Service Industry?

JimCricket writes: The fact that the traditional music industry is in decline becomes clearer every year. There have been many attempts to revive the industry online, but every attempt I've seen treats music as a product rather than as a service. Maybe that's the problem. Prior to the 20th century, music was always a services-only business. If you made money as a musician, it was through being paid to write symphonies, or to play in a king's court, etc. Work-for-hire services. Fast forward to the 21st century, and a new music company, TailoredMusic.com, is trying to create a services model for recorded music. Essentially they sell custom-order recorded music. Now that the existing industry is in a decline, is services something that should be taken more seriously? There are some interesting parallels with OSS here; the primary way most people make money with OSS is through offering services rather than selling shrink-wrapped product.
Unix

Submission + - The birth of vi

lanc writes: "Bill Joy, co-founder of Sun, contributor to BSD Unix, the UltraSparc technology, NFS and even Java, tells the story in an article at TheRegister about how he wrote vi and what the motives were. In the interview he says:

"It was really hard to do because you've got to remember that I was trying to make it usable over a 300 baud modem. That's also the reason you have all these funny commands. It just barely worked to use a screen editor over a modem. It was just barely fast enough. A 1200 baud modem was an upgrade. 1200 baud now is pretty slow."

...and so my son begun The Holy Editor War."

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