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Operating Systems

Submission + - The $2,500 Question - A New Computer 2

mdrebelx writes: For the first time in almost 30 years of computer use I am completely stymied about my next computer purchase. This will be a personal home computer and I am prepared to spend around $2,500 for my rig. Right now I am currently using a dual-boot computer with Windows XP and Kubuntu Linux. I use the computer to Web surf, listen to music, photo-editing, create music, some light word processing and spreadsheets, finances, taxes, and playing World of Warcraft or Half-Life 2 mods. Were it not for the games my decision would be so much easier. So my choices as I see it are: Kubuntu only, using Wine for the games. I got the games to run on my current system but the load times were excessive (2-3 minutes) and my framerates were pitiful. I am hoping this is only a limitation of my current computer but I have to say the games run well when I boot XP. Kubuntu/XP dual booting. I already have that and it gets bothersome to switch back and forth. Microsoft XP only. Yes it works and has the fewest hassles but I was hoping for an experience that says this is 2007. Also this OS has been marked for elimination and that just doesn't seem like a good place to start. Microsoft Vita. Everything tells me this would be a bad choice. Mac OS X. This is the system I know the least about but I am the most intrigued by. Mac has a positive spin. It is sleek and sexy and the recent Unix certification gives it a good pedigree. But will I be satisfied, because this choice has the largest degree of lock-in or commitment as it costs the most and it seems silly to wipe the drive for another OS if I'm unsatisfied. If someone would just make a virtual machine that could be allowed full access to the video card this would be a no-brainer. Opinions? Suggestions? Alternatives I might have missed?
KDE

Submission + - KDE 4.0 Beta 1 Released 1

mernil writes: "The KDE Community is happy to announce the immediate availability of the first Beta release for KDE 4.0. This release marks the beginning of the integration process which will bring the powerful new technologies included in the now frozen KDE 4 libraries to the applications."
Editorial

Submission + - But Mom! The other 61-year-olds get an allowance! (reuters.com)

deweycheetham writes: "ROME (Reuters) — A Sicilian mother took away her 61-year-old son's house keys, cut off his allowance and hauled him to the police station because he stayed out late. http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idU SL0288587220070802 The article goes on to say "Most Italian men still live at home late into their 30s, enjoying their "mamma's" cooking, washing and ironing.". Well Pack my bags, I am moving to Italy."
Education

Journal Journal: Teaching Programming to Kids? 2

I'm an undergrad Math/CS student. One of my cousins, an exceptionally bright 11-year-old, is interested in learning to program. I'd like to give him some kind of direction; at least, more than I got: to teach him to avoid bad habits, use design patterns (OO vs procedural, especially) properly, and make sure that he stays interested. I'd like to see what Slashdot thinks: what are appropriate resources to use? Which language should I try to teach him? Are there any good books out there?
Windows

Submission + - Windows Vista fixes leaked to net

warpwhistle writes: Microsoft's upcoming Performance and Compatibility packs for Windows Vista have been leaked to the Internet two weeks before their expected release. While it isn't the Service Pack 1 release that Vista users were hoping for, it does take some steps to correct some of the mass-reported performance issues, and adds some extra functionality as well. According to AeroXperience, the service packs fix the serious file transfer slowdowns that occurred in previous revisions of Vista. The site claims that the new fixes improve transfer times by 120%.
Security

Submission + - Fingerprints at School 2

Inda writes: "My daughter, 7, is about to start at a new school that likes to think they excel in technology. They use an interesting system for checking out library books using a single thumb print. When I first heard this, alarm bells rang. The way I understand it, once a fingerprint is compromised, it is compromised forever.

I'm told the children enjoy using the fingerprint system and I would not want to single my daughter out as being different. The alternative to fingerprints are library cards, with barcodes, that are scanned manually.

I am not confident that the school's security is up to scratch. Their website is poorly written in FrontPage by the headmaster, all the staff use the Comic Sans MS font; I'm sure you get the picture. At the end of the day, they're teachers, not security experts. Security is not my field of expertise either.

Should I be concerned? Have I been reading Slashdot too long? Should I put the tinfoil hat down?"
Programming

Submission + - Open-Source Projects that need Dads to Code?

Dave Potts writes: "As a Dad of two and one more on the way I don't have a lot of spare-time to spend coding. I'd like to contribute code to an open-source project in the spare moments I do have (ideally python, but I'm not proud). It's not easy to justify something esoteric as a project, no matter how interesting. Do any readers have suggestions for an open-source project I could get involved with that could be used by my children? I'm thinking games, educational material, interactive stories etc."
Power

Submission + - Diamonds are fuel cells' best friends

Roland Piquepaille writes: "Researchers at UC Davis have used nanocrystals made of diamond-like cubic zirconia to develop cooler fuel cells. Even if hydrogen fuel cells have been touted as clean energy sources, current fuel cells have to run at high temperatures of up to 1,000 C. This new technology will allow fuel cells to run at much lower temperatures, between 50 and 100 C. Obviously, this could lead to a widespread use of fuel cells, which could become a realistic alternative power source for vehicles. The researchers have applied for a patent for their technology, but don't tell when fuel cells based on their work are about to appear. Read more for additional details and references."
Wireless Networking

Submission + - Open Wifi Hardware Project

rnmartinez writes: "I have been a Linux "newbie" for close to 10 years now. Sounds like a long time to be a novice user, but I find that one application or piece of hardware brings me back to Microsoft applications. I am trying to finally get away from MS completely, but my current dilemma seems to be with wireless. I am trying to encourage my employer to move away from MS solutions, but several factors, like the ones I encounter personally seem to get in the way.

My most recent headache was when my wireless adapter, that worked out of box with Ubuntu 7.04 physically broke. Trying to find a replacement has not been easy, and while I have compiled drivers before, it is such a struggle and this time I was not able to get it to work.

I would like to see a permanent solution to this, so does the slashdot group think that it would be worthwhile to try and either purchase:

A) an 802.11 a/b/g/n design — have someone make one from the ground up for a group or company x, and completely open it up

or
B) purchase a small or struggling semi conductor manufacturer (as part of a group effort — it could be run as a profit or non profit)

And try and come up with an open solution? I know that manufacturers like Intel have excellent driver support, but they do not have PCMCIA, USB or PCI solutions (unless if you use some type of adapter, which I am going to do for now). Ideally I would like to see an open USB wifi dongle, that would have completely open driver support and eventually be submitted into the kernel. If this were to be successful, then of course other types of hardware, i.e. webcams, RAID, etc... could also be considered.

Is this too ambitious a project? Has it already been done? Any comments and criticisms are welcome. While my knowledge of Linux and open projects in general is a bit limited, I think that something like this makes business sense. I feel that outside of Canada and the U.S. there is an enormous market for Linux and other open source projects, and by removing the hindrance of hardware many other things could fall into place.

I only need to look at my frustration as a consumer trying to completely replace a mainstream o/s with Linux, and feel that there must be many more in the same situation. (if anyone replies to this, I'd also be glad to tell you about my RAID woes, but that might be best for another project/post).

Thank you.

P.S. I haven't invested in a domain or a site of any type for this yet, but if there is some interest, I would definitely move forward. If this makes it to Slashdot and the feedback is good, then I will come up with a url somewhere."
Announcements

Submission + - Top 5 Really Alternative Home Energy Sources (inhabitat.com)

Inhabitat.com writes: "As solar panels and wind turbines become more and more commonplace in homes, it appears that green energy is finally moving into mainstream. But lest you fear that solar power is becoming too played out, there are still plenty of TRULY ALTERNATIVE energy sources to out there to sink your trendspotting teeth into. From kinetic energy to sound-power and even natural waste (yes, poo), there are more and more creative, weird, and super-promising ways to deliver all the power you need from renewable energy sources all around us. Here are our top 5 Really Alternative Energy Sources... (Cow Poop, Sound, Human Motion, Wind/Kinetics, Spinach)... see article for full descriptions. http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/07/16/top-5-weirdest -ways-to-power-your-home/"
Businesses

Submission + - Career change into programming or IT?

An anonymous reader writes: How viable is a career change into software engineering or IT later in life? I've been something of a hobbyist most of my life and have started to wonder if I should jump in as a new career. I'm getting close to 40 and have a bachelors degree in physics. I only make about $50K a year, and in my industry now I will cap out at $55K to $60K.

What would be the best approach to making the switch? I only have a couple of CS classes as most of the stuff I have learned was on my own, so should I take some more classes? How about programming certs, do they help at all? What's the best way to get my foot in the door.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - iPhone shunned by London

TobyToadstool writes: There's an extremely strange video on CNET showing a giant, depressed iPhone wandering the streets of London. It eats fried chicken, fights its way through the London Tube, does its laundry, and gets stuck in a phone box. Then the video shows it going to the cinema and narrowly avoiding a mugging. Stranger still, no one in London seems to be paying it any attention at all. By far the weirdest and funniest take on the iPhone I've seen so far.
Power

Submission + - free energy demo melts

boldra writes: Steorn's perpetual motion engine (reported here yesterday) has apparently melted beyond repair. According to CEO Sean McCarthy:

Technical problems arose during the installation of the demonstration unit in the display case on Wednesday evening. These problems were primarily due to excessive heat from the lighting in the main display area. Attempts to replace those parts affected by the heat led to further failures and as a result we have to postpone the public demonstration until a future date.
They may have cheated thermodynamics, but they're still victims of Murphy!

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