Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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Submission + - Woz: Apple almost sold out to Commodore (

hoagiecat writes: At a panel where early computer innovators reminisced, Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak outlined an interesting scenario: he says that he and Steve Jobs tried to sell the prototype Apple II to Commodore. "Steve [Jobs] started saying all we want to do was offer [Apple II] for a few hundred thousand dollars, and we will get jobs at Commodore, we'll get some stock and we'll be in charge of running the program," Woz said. Instead, Commodore went out on its own with the C64, Jobs and Woz sold the Apple II themselves — and the rest is history...

Submission + - Bank Card Company violates their own rules

FnH writes: "Bank Card Company, the Belgian branch of Atos Worldline, the European leader in the processing of high-volume electronic transactions violates basic security guidelines.
They are advertising for a contest where, in order to sign up, you have to input your personal information and credit card number into a flash application on an unsecured web page. This might be excused if the flash application sent the data back over a secure channel, but this isn't the case. A quick capture using wireshark reveals that the data is sent back using a soap call over an unsecured http connection.
One would hope that the flashy registration wizard ends with a load wav berating the user for inputting such confidential data into a website without checking for the padlock or colored address bar, but alas.
How do they expect mom and dad to learn to shop safely on the internet when they are setting such a bad example themselves?"
Media (Apple)

Submission + - GameTap Expands Experience on Mac (

GamePimp writes: In an update benefiting users across the board, GameTap announced an update for their game player. For Mac users, they will now have access to various Sega Saturn and Dreamcast games.

Submission + - Antivirus: A waste of 50% of your HD throughput? (

dwalsh writes: Are we wasting our (Windows) computers performance on a placebo? Jeff Atwood seems to think so:

"The performance cost of virus scanning (lose 50% of disk performance, plus some percent of CPU speed) does not justify the benefit of a 33% detection rate and marginal protection."

"Ask yourself this: why don't Mac users run anti-virus software? Why don't UNIX users run anti-virus software? Because they don't need to. They don't run as administrators."

The article is a criticism of AV as a blacklist approach, that mostly protects against last months viruses. How many Slashdot Windows users rely solely on a firewall, a decent web browser, and good common sense (like Momma used to make it) when it comes to attachments?

PlayStation (Games)

Submission + - Harmonix: Activision Is Preventing Rock Band Patch ( 1

XueCast writes: "Many gamers have asked for guitar controller compatibility between Guitar Hero and Rock Band, because of that, Harmonix had developed a patch that can make that happen. The compatibility patch has allegedly been approved by Sony Computer Entertainment, and is ready to be released. But Activision, the publisher of the Guitar Hero series is not very happy with the patch at all, and the patch's release is currently being blocked by the Santa Monica based video game publisher company."

Submission + - New way to build unhackable quantum encryptor (

Bergkamp10 writes: Researchers at the Australian National University have built an unhackable, completely secret Quantum cryptographic system (QKD) out of common telecommunications electronics and optics, marking a dramatic decrease in the cost of quantum encryption devices. The researchers also claim their system is much more robust than the two main commercial companies developing Quantum encryption devices; MagiQ in the US, and idQuantique in Switzerland. Both of these companies use specialised single photon sources and detectors in their QKD's, which can cost upwards of US$100,000 and are extremely delicate. The ANU researchers have not only developed a completely unhackable quantum encryption device using off-the-shelf components that is much cheaper, but also much more durable than the current market offerings. Quantum cryptography works by using laser beams that are encoded in a way that makes interception physically impossible. The article includes a step by step guide from ANU physicist and Stanford Sloan Fellow Vikram Sharma, who details exactly how Quantum encryption works, as well as suggestions for its future implementation in areas such as personal banking.

Submission + - PBS tells the story of the Ron Paul Revolution (

clamothe writes: "Despite lacking major media coverage, the Ron Paul presidential campaign has gained attention of many Americans. It's supporters have attracted more supporters for it, primarily using various new-media on the internet. This friday PBS will be the first major old-media network to feature a comprehensive, fair & balanced account of the Ron Paul "Revolution"."

Comment Shirow Masamune / robotic control software (Score 1) 203

Perhaps as in the "Ghost in the Shell" fiction series each function of a robot or cyborg's abilities will be linked to specialized software tailor made for that application. The power users will combine and tweak their control software, hackers could inject viruses, or feedback in cybernetic systems could drive users mad.

It's all been predicted... now we just need to show that the alternative (AI) is possible and test if it is more desirable.

Submission + - Java Artificial Intelligence Sample Code Liberated

F452 writes: "An objection I've had to many programming books and web sites is that they don't make sample code available under a free software license. This is within the rights of the author, of course, but it seems counter to the spirit of teaching and sharing knowledge to restrict the use of example code.

I was happy to exchange words recently with an author who was open and responsive to making the sample artificial intelligence code from his book available under a free license. With Saturday being Software Freedom Day, it seemed like a good time to write about our email conversation and point you to the freed code. Topics include: Control Systems, Scripted Behavior, Discrete Searching, Searching State Space, Genetic Algorithms, Thinking Logically, and Supervised and Unsupervised Neural Networks."

Submission + - Microsoft Office for $60

Descalzo writes: For a limited time ('till April) Microsoft is offering Office 2007 Ultimate Edition for students for the low, low price of $60. From the release:

As part of Microsoft Corp.'s commitment to education, the company is introducing a promotion inviting students who are actively enrolled at educational institutions and have a valid e-mail address from the institution to purchase Microsoft® Office Ultimate 2007 at a student price of $59.95 (U.S.). "The Ultimate Steal" promotion will run in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States starting today and in France, Italy and Spain starting Sept. 20, 2007. The promotion will end April 30, 2008.
Of course, if you can't prove you're really a student, they'll charge you the full price: $680.
Portables (Apple)

Submission + - iPod Touch found in the wild at Apple Stores.

An anonymous reader writes: The new Apple iPod Touch was originally scheduled for a September 28th release, however it has been released early in limited supply. I was able to purchase two of the 8-GB models today at a local Apple store in Houston, TX. From a scan of the official Apply forums it appears they have shown up at various retail outlets around the US, not limited to only Apple Stores. Also, not all stores have them yet.

Pre-orders from on-line retailers, including Apple's on-line store have yet to ship :(

Submission + - ".docx"... or is that "jock itch"? (

brindafella writes: "This week I had my first 'attack' by ".docx": I received a file in Microsoft's 2007 Office Open XML format that I could not see inside and make sense of. It was maddening.

I have an up-to-date and legal XP/Office 2000 and it had not a clue about this young pup yapping at its heels.

I now know what's in the file, but someone else might like the challenge of turning the gobbledegook into straight text. Here is the blog entry with the munched-up .docx file contents listed. Please forgive me for likening ".docx" to a case of "jock itch". (Say the two out aloud!)"

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