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Microsoft

Submission + - Huge corporate Vista deployment

daria42 writes: Most corporations are shunning Windows Vista so far until service pack 1 is released, but the Australian Customs Service will shortly rollout the new operating system to more than five thousand desktops all around Australia.
OS X

Submission + - MacResearch Introduces OpenMacGrid

Drew McCormack writes: "MacResearch.org has just introduced OpenMacGrid. It is a distributed computing grid similar to SETI@home, but unlike other networks, it is built up entirely of Macs utilizing Xgrid, and access is unrestricted — anyone with Mac OS X 10.4 can donate cycles, and any scientist with a reasonable project can burn cycles."
Space

Submission + - Geo-engineering to fend off climate change

moon_monkey writes: While cutting greenhouse gases might be the best way to halt climate change, it's reassuring to know some scientists are already thinking about ways to combat fend off runaway warming if this doesn't work. NewScientistSpace has an interesting blog post about some pretty crazy-sounding ways for combating climate change. These include pumping sulfur into the atmosphere, sending thousands of tiny mirrors into orbit and even painting all our roads white to reflect the Sun's rays. Could this be the next X-prize?
Mars

Mars Camera's Worsening Eye Problems 93

Mr_Foo writes "According to a Nature article, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's HiRISE imager is suffering from a loss of peripheral vision. The problem surfaced less than a month after the orbiter reached Mars. One the camera's four color detectors has completely stopped working, and it is feared that the problems are spreading. Currently seven of the fourteen HiRISE's detectors are sending back corrupted data and although the issue is only creating a 2% loss of signal at this time it is expected to worsen. The lead investigator for the mission is quoted as saying the problem is systemic: 'In the broken detectors, extra peaks and troughs are somehow being introduced, causing... a "ringing" in the signal. "We don't know where the ringing is coming from," [the investigator] says.' Warming the electronics before taking images seems to help the problem. This effect might be one reason why the detectors on the cold periphery of the array were the first to pack up."
Intel

Submission + - Intel tests 80 Core chip

Zeinfeld writes: Intel has announced a test chip with 80 cores. The chip has a nominal processing capacity of over a teraflop. Whether the chip actually delivers that performance over a sustained interval on real processing problems is another question. Also unmentioned is how the issue of heat dissipation is dealt with. It is probably going to be a while before such chips are production.

This marks a major departure from tactics such as introducing more parallelism into the processor core and adding more cache memory that have been the norm since 64 mainstream processors reached 64 bits.
Patents

Submission + - Apple taking steps toward a Multitouch OS X?

SnowDog74 writes: "MacNN reports that on Feb. 8th, Apple, Inc., filed a US Patent Application titled Method and apparatus for organizing information in a computer system. This patent appears to be based on the Piles project developed by Gitta Salomon in 1992. Of particular note are descriptors such as "The appearance of the graphical representation of the pile (e.g. dynamic or static icon of the pile) provides further information to the user, including the texture, thickness, and color of the various documents within the pile." The summary, as a whole, surreptitiously suggests a dynamic user interface optimized for a touchscreen interface. This may be the first evidence to corroborate the hypothesis that iPhone is simply a tactical step in a larger strategic direction for Apple. Given Apple's typical product development cycle from patent to prototype to release, might we see the first multitouch Mac within two to three years?"
Space

Submission + - All Hot and Bothered about Cosmic Radiation . . .

Dausha writes: "As if not enough has been said about global warming, yet another scientist (tm)suggests cosmic radiation is a greater contributer to global warming that human production of CO2. The news article is of interest because it reminds us of how science is rarely 100%, and anything less is subject to a better theory. A related article underscores solar output is at its highest in 1000 years, seemingly supporting those who believe that the Sun is a greater contributer."
Businesses

Submission + - are unfinished products becoming the norm?

Paul writes: Long ago when digital synthesizers first became commonly available, I recall a reviewer lamenting how he was getting more and more products to test whose software was unfinished and buggy and would require updates and fixes (this, before the internet allowed easy downloads, would have meant a journey to a specialist repair centre). The review also commented how this common problem with computer software (he wrote even before windows 95 was out) was spreading, and asked if it was going to become the norm.

These days it seems ubiquitous, with PDAs, digital cameras, PVRs and all manner of complex goods needing after-market firmware fixes often simply to make them have the features promised in the adverts, let alone add enhancements.

Are we seeing this spread beyond computers and computer-based products; jokes apart, will we be booting our cars up and installing flash updates every week to prevent comoputer viruses getting into the control systems?

Can slashdot readers comment on any recent purchases where they've been badly let down by missing features, or are still waiting for promised updates even whilst a new model is now on the shelves? How can we make the manufacturers take better responsibility?

Apart from reading every review possible before making a purchase, what strategy do slashdot readers have, or propose, for not being caught out? With software, people say "never buy v1.0", but this is not possible with say a digicam.
Businesses

Submission + - Ten Years of Steve Jobs

Gammu writes: Apple is nearing its tenth anniversary of Steve Jobs-leadership. On December 20, 1996, Apple's acquisition of NeXT went public and a mere seven months later, on July 9, 1997, Steve Jobs had ousted Amelio and most of the board of directors. What followed was an aggressive reorganization that cut thousands of jobs and most of the projects in R&D. The product matrix and Apple's strategy for targeting two markets (consumer and pro) emerged and Apple began its road to recovery.
Security

US Planning Response To a Cyber Attack 359

We've all heard of Google bombing; the US Government may be taking the expression rather literally. Planning is now underway across the government for the proper way to respond to a cyber attack, and options on the table include launching a cyber counterattack or even bombing the attack's source. The article makes clear that no settled plan is in place, and quotes one spokesman as saying "the preferred route would be warning the source to shut down the attack before a military response." That's assuming the source could be found. From the article: "If the United States found itself under a major cyberattack aimed at undermining the nations critical information infrastructure, the Department of Defense is prepared, based on the authority of the president, to launch a cyber counterattack or an actual bombing of an attack source."
Biotech

Blood Vessel Shunt May Save Limbs In War 157

The FDA has just approved for military use a shunt that allows partially-severed limbs to continue to get circulation. The FDA approved the device in a fast-track process lasting only a week. The article notes: "For most, it won't be a matter of saving a limb outright but rather salvaging the quality of a wounded leg or arm... The shunt may save injured limbs from amputation, since it can be implanted on the battlefield to maintain blood flow until a wounded soldier undergoes surgery, FDA officials said. Since the start of the Iraq war, more than 500 soldiers have lost limbs, many to injuries suffered in roadside bombings."
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Choosing a USB Hard Drive

PunkOfLinux writes: "I'm looking at getting an external hard drive (USB) for use with my laptop. When I look online, I see so many options that I have no idea where to start. Does anyone here on slashdot have experience with any particular models, or any recommendations?"
Supercomputing

Submission + - World's first Quantum Computer to be demoed

Leemeng writes: "EE Times reports that D-Wave will demonstrate the world's first commercial quantum computer on Tuesday (Feb 13) at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. If it works, that means it can solve some of the most difficult problems, called NP-complete problems, thousands of times faster than current supercomputers. Initially, D-Wave (Vancouver, B.C.) will lease time on its quantum computer, which will be accessed over a secure Internet connection. Eventually, the company plans to sell quantum computer systems.

Being able to quickly solve NP-complete problems has enormous consequences. A fairly well-known NP-complete problem is the travelling salesman problem, which has real-world implications for logistics. NP-complete problems are present in such diverse fields as medicine, biology, computing, mathematics, and finance. Of immediate concern is quantum computers' potential for cryptanalysis (codebreaking). Specifically, a quantum computer could factor very large numbers in a fraction of the time needed by current computers. That BTW, is just what you need for cracking the RSA cipher and other widely-used ciphers that depend on one-way mathematical functions. Perhaps this will light a fire under quantum cryptography efforts."
Math

Journal Journal: The math behind "beer goggles" 2

Researchers at Manchester University, among others, have discovered a mathematical formula for calculating the "beer goggles effect" (where people look more attractive after a few beers).

The factors are: how drunk you are, how dark the room is, your eye-sight, the amount of smoke in the air, and how far you are from your "target" (which also explains all those "good from far but far from good" sightings).

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