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Submission + - ITC Rules For Apple in HTC Patent Case (macrumors.com)

RdeCourtney writes: A judge with the US International Trade Commission ruled today that HTC violated two of Apple's patents in a year-long case filed last March. Apple had accused HTC of violating 20 of its patents, and filed a second complaint this week, claiming infringement of five more patents. HTC has said it will appeal the decision.

- U.S. Patent No. 5,946,647 on a "system and method causes a computer to detect and perform actions on structures identified in computer data."

- U.S. Patent No. 6,343,263 on a "data transmission system having a real-time data engine for processing isochronous streams of data includes an interface device that provides a physical and logical connection of a computer to any one or more of a variety of different types of data networks."

Both of these patents are at issue in the lawsuits between Apple and Motorola as well.

Google

Submission + - Belgian newspapers delisted on Google (google.com)

D H NG writes: After being ordered by the Belgian courts to "remove from its Google.be and Google.com sites, and in particular, cached links visible on Google Web and the Google News service, all articles, photographs and graphics of daily newspapers published in French and German by Belgian publishers", Google had removed all traces of the newspapers in question from all its search services. The newspapers, however, are crying foul, and alleged that it was done in retaliation for being sued for copyright violations.
The Internet

Submission + - Hack Cable Modem & Get Free Internet (makeahistory.com)

An anonymous reader writes: If cable modem hacking hasn't become a huge problem for service providers, it's probably because the process remains intimidating for non-technical users. But that's all about to change, with the pending release of "OneStep," a user-friendly all-in-one tool that promises to make cable modem uncapping a point-and-click sport...
Security

Submission + - Inside a Brazilian Banker Trojan (threatpost.com)

Trailrunner7 writes: The attackers behind the raft of banker Trojans emanating from Brazil these days are continuing to refine their craft and learn new tricks . Their latest efforts have seen them going to greater lengths than ever to obfuscate their creations and hide their true functionality in order to evade detection and analysis by security software. In addition to complex, hidden download routines and advanced functionality that steals all manner of sensitive data, attackers are now adding advanced encryption algorithms that make detection and analysis all but impossible.
Image

Surgeon Makes Tutorial DVD For Conscious Open-Heart Surgery Screenshot-sm 170

Lanxon writes "Swaroup Anand, 23, from Bangalore, was fully conscious as he underwent open-heart surgery. An epidural to the neck, administered at the city’s Wockhardt Hospital, numbed his body during the procedure. Dr Vivek Jawali pioneered the technique ten years ago and has recently released a tutorial on DVD, which gives a step-by-step guide to the procedure for other surgeons to watch and learn from."
Games

Revisiting the "Holy Trinity" of MMORPG Classes 362

A feature at Gamasutra examines one of the foundations of many MMORPGs — the idea that class roles within such a game fall into three basic categories: tank, healer, and damage dealer. The article evaluates the pros and cons of such an arrangement and takes a look at some alternatives. "Eliminating specialized roles means that we do away with boxing a class into a single role. Without Tanks, each class would have features that would help them participate in and survive many different encounters like heavy armor, strong avoidance, or some class or magical abilities that allow them to disengage from direct combat. Without specialized DPS, all classes should be able to do damage in order to defeat enemies. Some classes might specialize in damage type, like area of effect (AoE) damage; others might be able to exploit enemy weaknesses, and some might just be good at swinging a sharpened bit of metal in the right direction at a rapid rate. This design isn't just about having each class able to fill any trinity role. MMO combat would feel more dynamic in this system. Every player would have to react to combat events and defend against attacks."

Comment Re:Does it save me from commercials? (Score 1) 329

It's done this for a while now - at least if you're in the US. The Brit and Oz commercials don't conform to the 'merikan sorts and I hear it's only about 20% effective. It doesn't help that the developers who work on the commercial stripping are all in the US... :(

But yes - You just set your recording up, click the little button saying 'flag commercials' and another little button somewhere in a playback screen that says 'Skip commercials' and Bob's your uncle...

Comment Re:Heat & A/C (Score 1) 1006

>They shut off the air to conserve power and reduce petrol consumption.

Bollocks.

I've been driving a Prius for 4 years (2007 and 2009) models. And neither do this.

You can sit in the car park with the AC on and drain your batteries. They actually don't last a heapload of time - perhaps a couple of hours at most. Which is why the 2010 model comes with a solar wotsit on the roof to charge the battery. So you can sit in the car park with the AC on and (as long as it's sunny) not drain your batteries.

Networking

Australia To Build Fiber-To-the-Premises Network 300

candiman writes "The Australian PM, Kevin Rudd, has just announced that none of the private sector submissions to build a National Broadband Network was up to the standard, so instead the government is going to form a private company to build a fiber to the premises network. The network will connect to 90% of premises delivering 100Mb/s. The remaining 10% will be reached with wireless and satellite delivering up to 12Mb/s. The network cost has been estimated at 43 billion AU dollars over 8 years of construction — and is expected to employ 47,000 people at peak. It will be wholesale only and completely open access. As an Australian who voted for the other guys, all I can say is, wow."
Earth

Scientist Forced To Remove Earthquake Prediction 485

Hugh Pickens writes to mention that Italian scientist Giampaolo Giuliani, a researcher at the National Physical Laboratory of Gran Sasso, recently gave warning about an earthquake that was to happen on March 29th of this year near L'Aquilla. Based on radon gas emissions and a series of observed tremors he tried to convince residents to evacuate, drawing much criticism from the city's mayor and others. Giuliani was forced to take down warnings he had posted on the internet. The researcher had said that a 'disastrous' earthquake would strike on March 29, but when it didn't, Guido Bertolaso, head of Italy's Civil Protection Agency, last week officially denounced Giuliani in court for false alarm. 'These imbeciles enjoy spreading false news,' Bertalaso was quoted as saying. 'Everyone knows that you can't predict earthquakes.' Giuliani, it turns out, was partially right. A much smaller seismic shift struck on the day he said it would, with the truly disastrous one arriving just one week later. 'Someone owes me an apology,' said Giuliani, who is also a resident of L'Aquila. 'The situation here is dramatic. I am devastated, but also angry.'"
It's funny.  Laugh.

April Fools Sees Fake Extra Millions For Users of Brokerage Site 280

Upstart online brokerage site Zecco had an unfortunate April Fool's day snafu that they are claiming was an honest mistake. Users logged on to find larger balances than they should have, sometimes millions of dollars extra, and many of those users started trading with the nonexistent money. Happy April Fool's Day. "... when Zecco realized it, the company apparently started to force sell, even at a loss, charging the losses to the customers along with a '$19.99 broker-assisted trading fee.' Oops."

Comment Re:$400 a month? (Score 1) 591

>BTW, most any home in the USA built in the last few decades has been heavily insulated and tightly sealed.

Whatever. Most houses in the UK are built of BRICK.

The 'standard' of American houses - made of wood, frankly appalls me. I thought we had learnt from the three little piggies that Straw > wood > brick.

S.

Comment Re:dumb (Score 1) 897

I suppose you could just add an exception for the >site you want to access. And what happens when the 'site that you want to access' is on your local network, accessible only by you and... there are hundreds of them. Take, for example, ILO's (remote consoles to blade machines using a web page). I have to add a fscking exception for *every single one* when I first go to it. When the number of machines you have is in the 100's - that's an awful lot of clicking for something I shouldn't *need* to do. Slick.
Databases

Submission + - MySQL Cookbook

Michael J. Ross writes: "Of all the technical challenges faced by the typical experienced computer programmer, questions about syntax form a relatively small portion. This is especially true now that current coding editors and IDEs offer statement expansion and syntax checking. Rather, the most common type of technical challenge is understanding how to solve a specific data access or manipulation problem. Hence the growing popularity of programming "cookbooks," which are filled with "recipes," each comprising a concise statement of a focused problem, followed by a solution, with plenty of sample code to show how to implement it. For developers using the MySQL database system, the gold standard of such books is MySQL Cookbook, by Paul DuBois.

Published by O'Reilly Media, the second edition appeared in November 2006, under the ISBN-10 of 059652708X and the ISBN-13 of 978-0596527082. This new edition has been updated for MySQL version 5.0. The publishers have a Web page devoted to the book, where the visitor can find both brief and full descriptions of the book, an online table of contents and index, a sample chapter (number 5, "Working with Strings") in PDF format, errata (none reported as of this writing), and a way to post your own review on the O'Reilly Web site. There are also links for purchasing the book, or reading an online version, in the Safari Bookshelf program.

The bulk of the book's material is divided among 20 chapters, covering a wide range of topics: Using the mysql Client Program; Writing MySQL-Based Programs; Selecting Data from Tables; Table Management; Working with Strings; Working with Dates and Times; Sorting Query Results; Generating Summaries; Obtaining and Using Metadata; Importing and Exporting Data; Generating and Using Sequences; Using Multiple Tables; Statistical Techniques; Handling Duplicates; Performing Transactions; Using Stored Procedures, Triggers, and Events; Introduction to MySQL on the Web; Incorporating Query Results into Web Pages; Processing Web Input with MySQL; Using MySQL-Based Web Session Management.

Most of these chapters contain a generous number of sections, each serving as a recipe for a specific problem within MySQL. Two of the chapters have only four such recipes, but most have a dozen or more, with a few of them boasting more than three dozen recipes. Each recipe begins with a brief problem statement, and usually an equally brief solution statement, followed by a much more lengthy discussion, which contains the actual explanation of the solution, the sample code, and the expected output of that code. Some of the sections conclude with a mention of related recipes that could also be consulted.

This book, like so many other programming cookbooks, is weakened by the practice of offering a "Solution" subsection that consists of only one or two sentences — so terse and high-level that it provides, for all practical purposes, no solution to the reader. The actual solution is found in the "Discussion" subsection, which follows. This practice makes no sense. Because both subsections address the problem solution, they should be combined into a single subsection, naturally labeled "Solution." It appears that the purpose of the current Solution statements is to provide a terse summary. If so, then it should be labeled as such, yet still included within the new Solution subsection.

Despite this illogical division of each solution into two subsections, the content of the problem solutions found in MySQL Cookbook should be quite valuable, for several reasons: Firstly, the author has chosen the sorts of problems, within each category, that the MySQL programmer would typically encounter. No doubt this is a consequence of Paul DuBois being the author of a number of MySQL books, as well as one of the earliest contributors to the online MySQL Reference Manual. Secondly, the solutions work, and have been demonstrated to do so. Thirdly, the writing style is straightforward, which is characteristic of O'Reilly's titles. Fourthly, all of the problem solutions contain sample code and its output, which not only demonstrate the validity of each solution (as noted in my second point), but also allows the reader to see how the solution works simply by reading the material, and not having to type in the sample code to get the output within their own development environment — assuming one is even at hand, when reading the book.

The bulk of MySQL-related code in use today, was created not just to be accessed within a database client program, such as mysql, but instead from interpreted programming languages — especially those used heavily on Web sites. This is one area where MySQL Cookbook really shines, because it contains a large amount of sample code in Perl, PHP, Python, Java, and even Ruby. That is not to say that every code sample in one language has corresponding samples for all of the other languages; that would undoubtedly make the book much longer than it currently is, and probably unwieldy. But in cases where all of the languages are capable of expressing brief solutions, then they are included.

Regardless of whether the reader chooses the print or online versions, there are roughly two ways to make use of this book. If a programmer wishes to significantly increase their knowledge of what MySQL can do for them, and also increase their comfort level with utilizing those capabilities, then they might elect to read the book from stem to stern. Given that this would involve reading over 900 pages, it would certainly take some time for the average developer, but arguably could be time well spent. At the other end of the spectrum, the reader might elect to peruse individual sections that look interesting — particularly if they are relevant to a current project. This approach is certainly doable, because each of the recipes is self-contained, without the cross-referencing seen in many non-recipe style books. Admittedly, there are some "See Also" sections, but they are relatively few in number, with largely optional information, and tend to simply enrich the book's presentation, rather than frustrating the reader by pointing to other areas of the book.

This new edition of MySQL Cookbook concludes with four appendices, and an index. The first appendix explains where to obtain the software for MySQL, the five API programming languages used in the book, and the Apache Web server. The second appendix shows how to execute programs written in those five interface languages, on the command line. The third appendix is a fairly substantial primer on Java Server Pages (JSP) and Tomcat, providing an overview of servlets and JSP, as well as how to install and set up a Tomcat server, the Tomcat directory structure, the basics of JSP pages, and more. The last appendix lists resources outside the book for MySQL and the five aforementioned languages.

Unlike far too many programming books on the market now, this book's index is generally quite thorough, which is essential for a work of this size (975 pages). The recipe titles in the table of contents, are detailed enough to make it possible for the reader to locate the appropriate recipe in the book for their particular problem — assuming the book addresses that problem — and are grouped by subject, making it easier to find related recipes, which oftentimes can provide insight into other problems that they do not address directly.

Despite the obvious effort that has gone into both editions of this book, there are still some areas for improvement, and most of them are related to the readability of the sample code. Admittedly, there are different schools of thought as to optimal coding style, including use of whitespace, the placement of braces, and other matters. This assessment can only be my own opinion, based upon years of reading other people's code. The sample code in MySQL Cookbook would be more readable if more whitespace were utilized to separate function and variable names from open and close parentheses. This is especially true for the SQL code and MySQL extensions, for which all of the keywords are in all uppercase. The code fragments and full programs written in the API languages — such as Perl and PHP — are more readable, though they sometimes suffer from nondescriptive variable names. One might argue that the aforesaid choices are needed to cut down on the space consumed by the code on the book's pages. But if that were true, then the author likely would not have wasted an entire line for each open brace. Last, and certainly not least for the programmer who would like to try out the author's sample code in their own environment, it is unfortunate and inexplicable as to why the sample code is not offered on the O'Reilly Web site for downloading.

All in all, MySQL Cookbook is a well-organized and neatly written work, which should be of tremendous value to any software developer trying to find proven solutions to common database programming problems.

Michael J. Ross is a Web consultant, freelance writer, and the editor of PristinePlanet.com's free newsletter. He can be reached at www.ross.ws, hosted by SiteGround."

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