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Submission + - Mozilla Delivers A Faster Firefox 3.5 Beta 4 (

CWmike writes: "Mozilla late yesterday fired the latest shot in the browser wars by releasing Firefox 3.5 Beta 4, the newest development preview of the company's next-gen browser, which has been delayed several times and now is tentatively slated to ship before the end of June. Computerworld's tests showed that Firefox 3.5 Beta 4 is about 19% faster than Beta 4 in the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark; both betas were considerably faster than the production browser, Firefox 3.0.10, which was also released yesterday."

Submission + - Microsoft released IE8 as Critical Update for XP (

Binestar writes: If you've checked windows update today you'll have noticed that IE8 is now listed as a critical update. For those not interested in upgrading to IE8 at this time, the MSDN released information back in January on how to keep IE8 off your machine.
Input Devices

Submission + - Bluetooth versus Wireless Mice 2

Meneguzzi writes: "Having stuck with wired mice for years, I have recently been impressed by a couple of cordless mice I've used on other people's computers so much that I now want to buy one to use with my Mac Book Pro. However, while shopping around for the perfect cordless laptop mouse I was stuck with the question of whether to go for a bluetooth mouse or one of the many proprietary cordless mice with tiny USB receivers. To my surprise, there seems to be little literature systematically comparing these two options for attributes like precision, battery life (both for the mouse and the laptop), RF interference, and whatnot. As a Mac user, bluetooth has the advantage that it won't take up a USB port, and (in theory), would consume less battery than a USB port, but I wonder if this is actually true in practice.
On top of that, I noticed that there are far fewer (and less fancy) options for Bluetooth mice than there are for proprietary cordless ones. Logitech, for instance, has a very basic Bluetooth Mouse, while its proprietary options are much fancier. So I was wondering what are the experiences from Slashdotters on this particular type of hardware, and any recommendations."
Data Storage

Submission + - Apple AES-256 Encrypted Sparse Images for backups

FictionPimp writes: "I can't find this answer anywhere, so I thought I'd ask it here.

Recently I have moved my wife from windows to OSX. She received my 'old' macbook pro and I received a new macbook pro. Because of this my wife and I have decided we wanted to improve our important documents backup process. Originally this process was that all important documents (tax and bank information, scanned documents such as titles, deeds, receipts, and insurance pictures) was copied on to a USB stick and placed in our fireproof safe, a second TrueCrypt encrypted disk was kept in my wife's purse. A 3rd copy was placed on my storage server. Mind you this is just for our most critical data. Other unimportant data such as movie backups, or music is simply stored on my file server using raid 5 and backed up to USB disk. We backup our family pictures the same way and also keep them on picasa.

Now that she is no longer using windows, we changed the method to as follows, a copy is placed on a USB stick in our fireproof safe. A copy is backed up by time machine. Another copy is automatically sent via ssh to my notebook and placed on my time machine (separate usb drives).

What we wanted to improve was the usb key in my wife's purse. This is to help us if say the fireproof safe was not fireproof and the house burned down. The idea was hopefully she will have her purse with her (and not be home). This is the weak link.

Because these files are way way less then 2 gig, my solution was to use DropBox. I know that DropBox uses 256 bit encryption, but I have no reason to trust they would never look at my data or have some exploit that lets people steal my data. The obvious solution is to make a sparse image (DMG file) that is encrypted. So I created a sparse image and set it's max size to 1.9g (to insure we never break the 2 gig free limit) and for security purposes I use AES-256 encryption on the image.

All has been well with this process, until my wife asked me what would happen if we did not have a mac and needed to get to the files. Say our house burned down with both macs inside and no one we know has a mac (which is true). How do we get the data from the dmg file.

A quick google shows there is a program called DMGExtractor that can read AES-128 encrypted dmg files, but it does not say it supports AES-256. So my question is does anyone know a program that can read AES-256 encrypted DMG sparse images on Linux or even Windows?

If such a program does not exist, do you think it would be wise to instead use a TrueCrypt container for this purpose? Do you have any better suggestions for this backup scheme? We are trying to keep the cost as close to free as possible."

Submission + - Snuffs Itself Out

Xeleema writes: "As of August 6th, has effectively snuffed-out their services for the time being. For several years this donation-supported project has been one of the better sites to obtain pre-built packages of Free- and Open-Source applications for Solaris & OpenSolaris. Touting features such as 'pkg-get' (for all you apt-get junkies) over counterparts such as Steven M. Christensen's The self-inflicted take-down appears to be just a facet of the legal plan to protect themselves from certain underhanded companies who have been redistributing packages contributed to Only one North American mirror remains at the moment, hosting only OpenSolaris packages. Is it just me, or are we starting to see a trend of private companies abusing licenses such as the GNU GPL, MPL, and all the others?"

Submission + - Blastwave Shutdown

An anonymous reader writes: This morning I found out that Blastwave has shutdown all operations until further notice. When viewing the site there is a legal notice that includes: "Blastwave is a registered trademark of Inc. in the United States and Canada. All assets of Inc. are frozen until further notice. All Solaris(tm) related open source software work and services are cancelled." There is a phone number on the notice for more information. When dialing the number I was greeted by a representative that did not know what was going on. After being transfered to someone who did they told me they were unable to give any details at the moment. Is Blastwave in a battle over the trademark of "Blastwave"?

Journal Journal: Did Microsoft miss their big chance to improve Windows? 1

As I sat on an early-morning flight this morning, I started thinking about the difficulties Microsoft is facing in encouraging adoption of Vista. I thought about all the big complaints I have read, and then it hit me:

Why don't Microsoft follow Apple's lead and build the next version of Windows on a BSD foundation?

AMD Launches New ATI Linux Driver 262

Michael Larabel writes "AMD has issued a press release announcing 'significant graphics performance and compatibility enhancements' on Linux. AMD will be delivering new ATI Linux drivers this year that offer ATI Radeon HD 2000 series support, AIGLX support (Beryl and Compiz), and major performance improvements. At Phoronix we have been testing these new drivers internally for the past few weeks and have a number of articles looking at this new driver. The ATI 8.41 Linux driver delivers Linux gaming improvements from the R300/400 series and the R500 series. The inaugural Radeon HD 2900XT series support also can be found in the new ATI Linux driver with 'the best price/performance ratio of any high-end graphics card under Linux.' While this new driver cannot be downloaded yet, in their press release AMD also alludes to accelerating efforts with the open-source community."

Submission + - Microsoft flashes Silverlight for Linux (

willdavid writes: "By Robert Jaques ( Microsoft is to make its recently unveiled Silverlight 'Flash killer' plug-in available on Linux. The commercial release of Silverlight 1.0 is a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering richer user experiences on the web. Microsoft confirmed that it will work with Novell to deliver Silverlight support for Linux, called Moonlight, based on the project started on t-shines-silverlight"

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