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Submission + - Young developers to Microsoft: You're not hip (nytimes.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft's failures with the KIN phone (only two months on the market, less than 10,000 phones sold) are well-known to slashdot readers, but the New York Times has more. Apparently Microsoft has all but admitted that they have lost young developers to the lures of free software. “We did not get access to kids as they were going through college,” acknowledged Bob Muglia, the president of Microsoft’s business software group, in an interview last year. “And then, when people, particularly younger people, wanted to build a start-up, and they were generally under-capitalized, the idea of buying Microsoft software was a really problematic idea for them.” Others, however, laugh at the idea that Microsoft requires the start-ups to meet certain guidelines and jump through hoops to receive software, when its free software competitors simply allow anyone to download products off a Web site with the click of a button. Is this another sign of the old dinosaur not being nimble enough to keep up with free software?
Portables

Submission + - Where is the universal power brick for laptops? (pcauthority.com.au)

An anonymous reader writes: One of the most frustrating things about laptops is the myriad power supplies used. On a PC, an ATX power supply for example will screw into certain mounting holes, have a maximum size and shape, and will take a standard 3-pin 'kettle cord' for incoming power. If it complies with these standards the PSU will be able to bolt into any manufacturer's ATX case. Laptop design, on the other hand, involves cramming a PC into a tiny chassis, which usually has its own thermal design and power distribution requirements. This has led to the somewhat bizarre situation where every manufacturer has its own laptop power supply design. It now appears that some of the major players in laptops are getting together to work on a standardized laptop power supply design. Not only are big players involved, but the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) has created a team to work on the Power Supply standard.
Security

Submission + - Do cyber vigilantes make computing world safer? (infoworld.com) 1

tsamsoniw writes: Fed up with companies failing to address security holes fast enough, white hats are turning up the pressure by quickly making the vulnerabilities public. First Goatse Security made public thousands of email addresses of iPad users that it swiped from AT&T's Web site — after AT&T failed to disclose the data theft fast enough. Next a Google security engineer publicized an exploit for Windows XP — which is now being used widely — after deciding Microsoft was moving to slowly to fix the problem. In both cases, the Goatse and the security engineer are claiming they did what they did for the greater good: Though their actions put users at risk, it forces the offending companies to worker faster to fix the problem. Do the ends justify the means?
Hardware

Submission + - Is EFI just a DRM BIOS? (thesilentnumber.me)

shadowmage13 writes: "This recent post estimates that uEFI will replace BIOS in the next three years. This isn't breaking news, but should we be concerned? EFI could be considered a "DRM BIOS" because its control system may give it power over your OS and fully-free BIOS projects would be useless since they would require proprietary binary-only code to run on EFI. Linus Torvals has said it would add more complexity without any real advantages, and he refers to it as "this other Intel brain-damage (the first one being ACPI)"."
Linux

Submission + - 1 Second Linux Boot! (embedded-bits.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: Less than one second Linux boot! This post/video shows an OMAP3530 capturing video data from a camera and rendering it to an LCD display — the video appears on the LCD display in less than a second from reset.
Television

Submission + - Does 1080p Truly Matter?

adeelarshad82 writes: If you ever wondered whether most people can really tell the difference between a 1080p and 720p, you won't be shocked to find out that they can. However, according to a test consisting of 64 participants and two very similar 42-inch LCD TVs, a LG 42LH20 with 720p display and a LG 42LH30 with a 1080p display, I was surprised to find out that 25% of the people actually preferred 720p. Moreover a considerable percentage of people weren't even able to tell the difference. The real question that rises from this test is that if it is really worth spending the extra money on 1080p HDTV when a large number of people can't even tell the difference or actually prefer 720p.

Submission + - How to find Free Software savvy lawyers? 2

dhilvert writes: I've been maintainer of a fairly small Free Software project for the past several years, and have recently been receiving — uh — hints, some of which suggest my time might be better spent on something else. These are occasionally accompanied by subwoofer-equipped cars, flashing lights, or similar, outside whatever place I happen to be sleeping on a night. Needless to say, I find this a bit alarming. Hence, I've decided to follow Slashdot's standard advice and look for a lawyer, and I would prefer one with a strong understanding of Free Software. Unfortunately, I've found that sending a naive query to SFLC or EFF seems to result in rather naive, generic replies. Unfortunately, my understanding of what lawyers do seems to be insufficient for describing the problem effectively. Are there better resources than these that I should be looking at?

Submission + - What FLOSS developers need?

An anonymous reader writes: I am a free software developer, I maintain one relatively simple project written in C, targeted at end users, but I feel that I could contribute something more to FLOSS community than my project. Instead of focusing on another project targeted at end users, I thought that I could spend my time working on something that FLOSS developers need ("Developers, developers, developers, developers!"). The question is: what more do FLOSS developers need from existing development tools? What would attract new developers to existing FLOSS development tools? Which existing development tools need more attention? I can contribute code in C, Python, bash, but I can also write documentation, do testing and translate to my native language. Any hints?
Debian

Submission + - Benchmarks of Debian GNU/kFreeBSD vs. GNU/Linux (phoronix.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The Debian Squeeze release is going to be accompanied by a first-rate kFreeBSD port and now early benchmarks of this port have started coming out using daily install images. The Debian GNU/kFreeBSD project is marrying the FreeBSD kernel with a GNU userland and glibc while making most of the Debian repository packages available for kfreebsd-i386 and kfreebsd-amd64. The first Debian GNU/kFreeBSD benchmarks compare the performance of it to Debian GNU/Linux with the 2.6.30 kernel while the rest of the packages are the same. Results are shown for both i386 and x86_64 flavors. Debian GNU/kFreeBSD may be running well, but it has a lot of catching up to do in terms of speed against Linux.

Submission + - What's holding back encryption?

nine-times writes: "After many years in IT, I've been surprised to notice how much of my traffic is still unencrypted. A lot of businesses that I interact with (both business and personal) are still using unencrypted FTP, and very few people use any kind of encryption for email. Most websites are still using unencrypted HTTP. DNSSEC seems to be picking up some steam, but still doesn't seem to be widely used. I would have thought there would be a concerted effort to move toward encryption for the sake of security, but it doesn't seem to be happening.

I wanted to ask the Slashdot community, what do you think the hold up is? Are the existing protocols somehow not good enough? Are the protocols fine, but not supported well enough in software? Is it too complicated to manage the various encryption protocols and keys? Is it ignorance or apathy on the part of the IT community, and that we've failed to demand it from our vendors?

What challenges have you faced in trying to increase your use of encryption, and what do you think we can do about it?"
Games

Submission + - Punished by Steam for buying legal software

Luke O'Sullivan writes: "Recently I went on holiday to Hong Kong (I live in Singapore) and picked up a copy of Left4Dead 2 for the PC. I got it back to Singapore only to find I couldn't install it because apparently it's region coded. So I contacted Steam with proof of purchase (a photo of the receipt and another of the installation key) to ask if I could exchange it for a key for my region and they refused, without explanation.

The game is cheaper in HK than Singapore, but only a little. And in any case, I didn't buy it because it was cheaper, I bought it because in Singapore it comes in a stupid non-standard A3 cardboard envelope rather than a standard DVD case. This was something else Steam just ignored when I raised it with them. I'm not a game retailer looking to buy hundred of copies in HK and profit on the price difference by re-selling them in Singapore, I'm an individual consumer who wanted to buy the product in a *standard* format which should have been available in his own territory but wasn't, hence the resulting mess. Which piece of market research suggested to these people that PC gamers in Singapore like their games to come in giant cardboard envelopes, for heaven's sakes? The x360 version is just a normal DVD case. Why oh why?

Now, furthermore, last year I ended up buying the original Left4Dead on holiday in Australia, again because I didn't want the same non-standard packaging the Singapore version of the original L4D for PC came in, and it worked fine. So was I really supposed to expect that wouldn't be the case this time? Historically, if you buy consumer PC software such as a video game, there has never been any reason to suspect it won't work so long as you meet the system spec. I bought L4D in Australia in 2008, and it worked fine in Singapore; so what reason did I have to think if I bought L4D2 in HK in 2009 it wouldn't work fine in Singapore as well?

Oh yes, the copy of L4D2 that I bought did say on the box that its for Hong Kong and Macau only, as Steam support pointed out to me. It said so *in tiny print on the back at the bottom*, which wouldn't be visible unless you read every word on the entire box before you bought it. I'm not questioning, ultimately, that as a business Valve/Steam have the right to introduce region coding if they so choose, whether to protect their pricing structure or because of censorship issues or both. Then, the choice lies with the consumer. Fine.

What I do question is how they have gone about doing it. Valve/Steam made the T&Cs about as unnoticeable as it was possible to make them while still actually having them on the box. Moreover, there was no reason for me to expect them to be there in the first place as these kinds of T&Cs have never been part of the PC gaming scene. Given the way piracy has eaten into the profits of PC gaming, anyone prepared to shell out hard cash should be treated with a lot more respect.

I'm not going to rant about how I'll never buy another game from Valve again, as they make some great titles. Nor am I going to rant about how 'Steam sucks', because actually in many ways its a great service. But I do think that in cases like this they could treat their legitimate paying customers an awful lot better, and its sad that the only recourse I have against them is to hope that I can shame them into doing the right thing by getting them some negative publicity on Slashdot."

Submission + - Geek-Friendly Video Cameras for Young Children

Alaren writes: My daughter, almost 7 years old, is fascinated by YouTube and has declared that she wants a video camera. This strikes me as an opportunity to teach about videography and video technology and to show her that computers do more than just play games. Unfortunately, most tech review sites don't deal in technology aimed at children, and most sites that do are uninformative SEO sewage bobbing through the intertubes. I was intrigued by the announced Lego camcorder but it does not appear to have reached production. The Discovery Kids line of video cameras looked promising, but reviews (especially of the software) are in short supply. Most of the other brands I've found are clearly aimed at helping kids feel like they're using a video camera without providing the functionality I want: reasonable quality (VGA or better), expandable storage (like an SD card), easy YouTube uploading, and some straightforward software for trimming and merging video files (and, maybe, audio tracks). Part of me thinks what I'm really looking for is a Flip, but of course with children durability is an added concern, and I'd like to minimize adult interference where possible. So, Slashdot, help me finish my Christmas shopping early: what experience do you have with child-friendly video equipment and software? What brands do you recommend? Or should I just buy the grown-up version and a pack of stickers?

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