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Comment Get things done - or get software done? (Score 1) 573

I volunteer at a club that runs a technical museum, providing an open laboratory for school children. It offers them the chance to repeat some fundamental physics experiments that are crucial to our world view. We're using mostly Free Software, but there are some niches where we have to rely on non-free stuff. I have noticed that using some proprietary commercial tools, we are able to work far better and easier than when using their free counterparts.

What would you suggest to do in such a case? Do you think it's better to compromise on freedom and work more efficiently, thus providing a more interesting experience to our visitors, or to divert our (very, very limited) funds and manpower to improving the Free Software tools out there, thus neglecting our core mission but ultimately benefiting a different community?

Comment Link tip: Helga Velroyen (Score 4, Informative) 183

At the last Chaos Communication Congress, Helga Velroyen discussed this and other topics around hearing aid evolution. You can find her talk at and a corresponding blog project at . While I do not have to rely on hearing aids and thus have not looked very deeply into her activities, I get the impression that she is one of the most knowledgeable persons regarding this topic in the European hacker scene.

Comment Local technical museums, hackerspaces or similar (Score 3, Informative) 263

As a volunteer for the club that restored Germany's first radio telescope (see ), I am certainly quite biased, but I think that technical, hands-on museums would also be a good target. Check your area for volunteer-run astronomical observatories, open electronics labs, private physics labs... essentially places that are open to everyone interested in science, give people a hands-on experience with old (or current) technology and where everyone can repeat important experiments that shape our world-view. For example, we offer everyone the chance to repeat the measurements by Oort et al. from 1958 that show that the Milky Way has a spiral structure, and hope to support and promote an evidence-based world view by doing so. (And, besides, it's just great fun to operate your own radio telescope!)

Submission + - Merry merry copyright king of the bush is he... ( 2

neonsignal writes: Iconic Australian band Men at Work have been ordered to pay royalties for an instrumental riff in their song "Down Under". The notes were sampled from a well-known children's song "Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree", written in 1934 for a Girl Guide's Jamboree. The Justice found the claims of the copyright owner Larrikin to be excessive, but ordered the payment of royalties and a percentage of future profits. Let's hope the primary schools are up to date with their ARIA license fees!

Submission + - UK to repeal Laws of Thermodynamics? (

mostxlnt writes: The new Tory UK government has launched a website asking its subjects which laws they'd most like repealed. There are three discussion threads up for repeal of the Second, Third and even all Laws of Dynamics. "Without the Third Law of Thermodynamics, it would be possible to build machines that would last forever and provide an endless source of cheap eneregy. thus solving both potential crises in energy supply as well as solving the greenhouse gas problem in one stepp.." says one commenter.

Submission + - Managing editor of linuxtoday: Copying is Stealing ( 2

Lord Juan writes: My eyes could not believe when I read the same old tired argument of "Copying is Stealing" we are all used to hear coming from the entertainment industry, coming from the Managing Editor of the Linux Today website. Linux and the entire Free Software ecosystem is based on the idea of Copy and Share. I wouldn't have expected that a Linux related website would take a position regarding the legality or illegality of the entertainment content, but to plainly say that "Copying is Stealing" and use the argument that "Linux and Free/Open Source software are entirely dependent on copyrights, and some FOSS fans get pretty righteous on the subject, especially for GPL violations. And yet when it comes to music, movies, and books some think the same respect for copyrights doesn't apply, and it's OK to collect copies of works without paying for them. We can hardly criticize the RIAA, MPAA, ASCAP, Sony BMG, and all the other hostile, clueless over-reaching forces of darkness without having clean hands ourselves." thus missing the point that the GPL is intended to allow the copying and sharing of the source code by using copyright law against itself, it just something that is beyond my comprehension.

Submission + - Nmap cripples a whole corporate network (

rfelsburg writes: An nmap scan with certain parameters is apparently sufficient to temporarily cripple a whole corporate network. On the Full Disclosure mailing list, a network admin reported that he used the following command to establish the SNMP versions of his routers and servers:

nmap -sU -sV -p 161-162 -iL target_file.txt

where target_file.txt contained his systems' IP addresses. However, the scan caused most of his network devices to crash and reboot, including several Cisco routers. There were very varied responses to his question on the list whether this problem was caused by a DoS vulnerability within the devices or by a flawed configuration.

Feed Engadget: 1&1's 7-inch SmartPad is the most unlikely Android tablet you'll ever see (

We knew at Computex that tablets were on track to completely take over the world, but now it's official: a German internet provider has just revealed that it'll soon be offering a branded tablet PC of its own. You heard right -- a German ISP is making a tablet. The delightfully named SmartPad is a 7-inch, touchscreen-based slate that'll eventually support Android 2.2 (v1.6 will be pre-installed), and there's also inbuilt WiFi and an optional 3G module for those looking to "stay connected." It seems as if the company is still hammering out the final specifications, but we are told to expect an SD card reader (2GB will be included), a USB socket, a 500MHz ARM11 processor, 256MB of RAM and a proprietary app store that'll undoubtedly enrage you. According to the promotional video hosted just past the break, it should ship later this month for precisely nothing so long as you pick up a data plan to go alongside of it. 'Course, getting one outside of Deutschland is another challenge entirely...

Continue reading 1&1's 7-inch SmartPad is the most unlikely Android tablet you'll ever see

1&1's 7-inch SmartPad is the most unlikely Android tablet you'll ever see originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 02 Jul 2010 13:44:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Submission + - Pogoplug Becomes Printer Server (

DeviceGuru writes: Cloud Engines, maker of the Pogoplug, will soon add a new feature to users’ devices free of charge. Once the firmware update is rolled out later this summer, the low cost gadgets will be usable as low-power printer servers, accessible from anywhere via the Internet. Among other options, you'll be able to email files to the web service for printing on a designated Pogoplug-attached printer for which you have password-protected access. Initially 'all HP and Epson printers released in 2005 or later' will be supported. Incidentally, the Pogoplug is a tiny, low-power, relatively inexpensive ($129) device that runs a customized Linux-based operating system, and was previously positioned as a device used for remote access of content stored in attached USB media. The device can also be outfitted with a community-supported alternative OS, known as PlugBox Linux and based on Arch Linux.

Submission + - Mobile zoo for Q/A?

macguys writes: I work for an organization that supplies automation to a large group of libraries. While we have a robust Q/A process for our sites, it's all done on desktop machines using Firefox, IE, Safari, Chrome, etc. As more and more of our end users are accessing our assets via mobile devices, it seems to me that we should have a formal process for doing Q/A on those devices. I'm working on a proposal that includes buying (and regularly refreshing) a "petting zoo" of mobile devices for developer testing and q/a of our web assets. While my management agrees that this is a good idea, there is concern that we will end up having lots of cell phone contracts for devices that are only used a few times a year.

I'd appreciate knowing how other organizations handle mobile device q/a. How do you decide which devices to test on, and how do you handle having to buy a 1 or 2 year service contract for each device purchased for testing?

Submission + - KDE3 Fork In The Works

nicodoggie writes: A little over two years after Linux desktop users all over the world wailed in disappointment over the sub par KDE 4.0 release, a KDE3 fork, Trinity KDE is coming into being.

Apparently, there is a Live CD of Trinity KDE working on Ubuntu 10.04, but as of today, the Trinity KDE website is still recovering from hardware failure.

Will this project take off? Will KDE3 be back in the mainstream? Or have people moved on?

Submission + - Paris to Install Hydroturbines on the River Seine (

An anonymous reader writes: Paris recently announced plans to infuse its grid with renewable energy by installing eight hydroelectric turbines in the waters of the River Seine. An urban ecology study of the French waterways has already been conducted and has identified four potential sites along the river’s path, and the city is currently seeking proposals from companies to provide possible solutions and technologies. The city hopes to have the hydro turbines installed early next year.

Submission + - Car? Plane? It's Both and Legal ( 1

SixFactor writes: At long last, a street-legal plane (or airworthy car), has been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. Because of its size, weight, and lack of usual auto safety features, it's got decent gas mileage on the road. Only requires 20 hours of flying time to get a license, and a third of a mile to get airborne. At just under $200k, it's a bit expensive, but there are definitely some early adopters.

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