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How Do I Get Open Source Programs Written For Me? 285

An anonymous reader writes "I am a biomedical researcher interested in having general-purpose, scientific programs developed and released as open source. Interface design and reusability of the code are of primary importance to me. For my purpose, Cocoa applications relying on Core Data seem to be the best way to get the job done quickly. While I have some programming experience, I have few connections to the industrial world. So my question to Slashdot readers is: how do I find someone (individual or business) to write high-quality programs? Are there reputable contractors experienced in Cocoa? What sort of rates should I expect, to use as a starting point in negotiations? Would a requirement that programs are released as open source make it more or less difficult to find someone to do the job?"

Ubuntu 8.10 vs. Mac OS X 10.5.5 Benchmarks 328

An anonymous reader writes "As a sequel to their Is Ubuntu Getting Slower? Phoronix now has out an article that compares the performance of Ubuntu 8.10 to Apple's Mac OS X 10.5.5. They tested both the x86 and x86_64 spins of Ubuntu and threw at both operating systems a number of graphics, disk, computational, and Java benchmarks, among others. With the Mac Mini used in some of the comparisons, 'Leopard' was faster, while in others it was a tight battle."
NES (Games)

Nintendo DSi Sells Out Quickly, Reviews Coming In 72

The Nintendo DSi was released in Japan on Saturday, and the initial production run of 200,000 units has already sold out. 1Up has done some comparisons to the DS, and they have a video feature tour of the new hardware (which, predictably, has already been hacked). The image editing software is reported to be rather bare-bones, and the browsing is slow, but both features could likely be used with games in interesting ways. Nintendo will be launching a series of WarioWare games to demonstrate the DSi's capabilities. The DSi will likely reach North America next summer.

The 700mhz Spectrum Auction In Perspective 88

YIAAL writes "Writing in Popular Mechanics, Robert X. Cringely looks at the upcoming auction of the 700mbz spectrum, which is currently used for soon-to-be-defunct analog TV. 'Why are all these companies so excited? Because the 60 MHz of spectrum that's about to be auctioned is the last prime real estate for mobile communications that will be available in the U.S. for decades to come ... Some pundits (that would be me) think Google will bid to win its spectrum block, then will trade that block to Sprint/Nextel for some of that company's 2.5-GHz WiMAX licenses that are far better suited for data.' Plus, the prospect of offering unlicensed data service in the 'white space' between existing broadcast channels."

Industrial Robot Arm Becomes Giant Catapult 149

wintersynth brings us a story about a group of enthusiasts who made a catapult out of a 2,800lb industrial robot arm. They used it to launch bowling balls, fireballs, and cans of beer toward a stationary target, and they controlled the catapult's aim with a graphical UI on a laptop. "I wanted to be able to control the rotation of the robot so we could aim the robot from the laptop, but I quickly realized that since the desert is so flat, we could do some basic ranging on the target too. I also wanted the targeting to be overlaid in 3d over a photograph of the target area. The software needed to control the robot like an MMO or RTS game. I suspect that video games, in general, have some of the most optimal control interfaces. I wanted to try a control scheme similar to the area effect spell targeting in World of Warcraft."

Mozilla Inks Deal With Chinese Search Giant 131

nm writes "The Mozilla Corporation's subsidiary in China has signed a deal with Chinese search engine giant Baidu. Baidu is already included as an option in Firefox's Chinese localization, but this deal formalizes the relationship between Mozilla and and the search company. Mozilla has established several other initiatives in China to help increase Firefox adoption, particularly in universities. The article notes that Firefox has seen limited uptake in China; the browser Maxthon is the second most popular after Internet Explorer. Maxthon is thought to have as much as 30 percent of the Chinese browser market."

Adult Brains More Flexible Than Previously Thought 123

stemceller passed us a link to the official site for Johns Hopkins, which is reporting on some research into cognition. Generally, doctors have understood our best learning to be done at a young age, when the brain has a 'robust flexibility'. As we get older, our brain cells become 'hard-wired' along certain paths and don't move much - if at all. Or, at least, that was the understanding. Research headed by the hospital's Dr. Linden has taken advantage of 'two-photon microscopy', a new technique, to get a new picture inside a mouse's head. "They examined neurons that extend fibers (called axons) to send signals to a brain region called the cerebellum, which helps coordinate movements and sensory information. Like a growing tree, these axons have a primary trunk that runs upward and several smaller branches that sprout out to the sides. But while the main trunk was firmly connected to other target neurons in the cerebellum, stationary as adult axons are generally thought to be, 'the side branches swayed like kite tails in the wind,' says Linden. Over the course of a few hours, individual side branches would elongate, retract and morph in a highly dynamic fashion. These side branches also failed to make conventional connections, or synapses, with adjacent neurons. Furthermore, when a drug was given that produced strong electrical currents in the axons, the motion of the side branches stalled.'"
Data Storage

Nanotech To Replace Disk Drives Within Ten Years? 127

Ian Lamont writes "An Arizona State University researcher named Michael Kozicki claims that nanotechnology will replace disk drives in ten years. The article mentions three approaches: Nanowires (which replace electrons/capacitors), multiple memory layers on silicon (instead of a single layer), and a method that stores multiple pieces of information in the same space: 'Traditionally, each cell holds one bit of information. However, instead of storing simply a 0 or a 1, that cell could hold a 00 or a 01. Kozicki said the ability to double capacity that way — without increasing the number of cells — has already been proven. Now researchers are working to see how many pieces of data can be held by a single cell.'"

Famous Criminal Opines that Technology Breeds Crime 243

jcatcw writes "In an interview with Computerworld's editor in chief, Don Tennant, Frank Abagnale spoke about his life of crime and crime prevention. Abagnale is a notorious criminal, whose exploits were portrayed in the movie 'Catch Me If You Can.' Abagnale claims: 'It would be 4,000 times easier to do today, what I did 40 years ago, and I probably wouldn't go to prison for it. Technology breeds crime — it always has, it always will ... I really think the more technology there is in the world, the more you have to instill character and ethics. You can build all the security systems in the world; you can build the most sophisticated technology, and all it takes is one weak link — someone who operates that technology — to bring it all down." This would seem to echo commentary in a New York Times article about the rise of Russian hackers in recent years.

MMO Bans Men Playing As Women 616

jkcity writes "In a bizarre move Aurora Technology the owners of the King of the World MMORPG has taken the unusual step of banning men who play women characters but the ban itself does not stretch to women playing men. If you want to play as a woman now in game you have to prove you are a women via web cam. This is something that people ask for in many mmorpgs I myself have seen people say people who play women in EVE online as being some kind of degenerate but how long can a policy of verification by web cam last since its so easy to get around it doesn't seem to solve much and is an insult to many."
The Almighty Buck

Internet Service Tax Moritorium Set To Expire 163

nelsonjs writes "On November 1, the ban on taxing Internet service is set to expire. The ban was originally implemented in 1998 in order to encourage the proliferation of Net access. The Senate is considering two competing bills to extend the ban: one would extend it for four years and the other would make the ban permanent. Verizon and Google, usually to be found on opposite sides of any question of Net access, are united in lobbying for the permanent tax ban. If neither passes by November 1, prices for Internet service nationwide could jump by as much as 17 percent, according to ISPs."
The Courts

Germany Says Copying of DVDs, CDs Is Verboten 230

Billosaur writes "In what can only be seen as the opening salvo in an attempt to control what users can do with content, the German parliament has approved a controversial copyright law which will make it illegal to make copies of CDs and DVDs, even for personal use. The Bundesrat, the upper part of the German parliament, approved the legislation over the objections of consumer protection groups. The law is set to take effect in 2008, and covers CDs, DVDs, recordings from IPTV, and TV recordings." A few folks have noted that this story is incorrect. The original link seems to be down now anyway. Sorry.

Intel Purchases Havok 123

Dr. Eggman writes "Gamasutra has the recent announcement; Intel has purchased Havok. 'As the firm noted, Havok 5 features enhancements to its core products, Havok Physics and Havok Animation, and introduces new features for Havok Behavior, a system for developing event-driven character behaviors in a game. Some of the games using Havok technology, particularly its Havok Physics solution, include BioShock, Stranglehold, Halo 2, Half Life 2, Oblivion, Crackdown, and MotorStorm - the company is also rapidly developing and marketing further tool products.' No word on what (if anything) Intel plans to do with its new acquisition."
PlayStation (Games)

Sony Dismisses Critics of Lair 55

Despite some very public, very negative criticism of Factor 5's dragon/shooter Lair, Next Generation notes that Sony remains unfazed. "Outgoing SCEA PR boss Dave Karraker told Next-Gen in a phone interview that despite poor critical reception, the flying lizard game isn't necessarily grounded. 'At the end of the day, I'll be interested in the consumers' response, because the consumer awareness for this title was so huge.'" Meanwhile, MTV's Stephen Totilo notes, with more than a touch of seriousness, that Lairs production may have been a touch cursed.

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