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Submission + - Large Auto Warehouser Switches to OS X

good soldier svejk writes: Computerworld reports that, "Over the next 60 days, AWC (Auto Warehousing Co.) will begin systematically pulling the plug on all Windows-based PCs in its cavernous auto processing shop and power up Macs to execute virtually all of its revenue-generating operations. The move comes on the heels of a quiet wholesale replacement of Windows-based servers for data storage and Web operations, which are now running on Apple Inc.'s Xserve RAID machines."

Apparently, the company tested OS X and was impressed with the feature set and long term return on investment.

Submission + - Mac Attack! Enterprise PC shop switches to Apple (computerworld.com)

jcatcw writes: "The largest full-service auto processing company in North America, Auto Warehousing Co, is switching from Microsoft to Apple. Over the next 60 days, AWC will begin systematically pulling the plug on all Windows-based PCs. They'll power up Macs for virtually all revenue-generating operations. The move comes on the heels of a quiet replacement of Windows-based servers for data storage and Web operations, which are now running on Apple Inc.'s Xserve RAID machines. The CIO, Dale Frantz, says "This stuff just works." Some might claim that this move is vengence for a spat with MS over licensing some years ago, but Computerworld's Don Tennant calls Frantz a hero and defends the decision as purely business based. Frantz is in good company. Michael Gartenberg has been there and has the Lessons Learned."

Submission + - Two Music Industry Cowboys

An anonymous reader writes: There are two new sites that seem to be polar opposites, but both offer a little something worth mentioning. Textango offers bands a chance to sell their wares through text messaging. What makes this unique is that no credit card is involved in the purchase and everything is billed to the carrier. They aren't just selling no names either, Victory Records has some of their artists featured on there as well. On the flip side, SkreemR, the new audio search beta is picking up where Singingfish left off. Crawling blogs and giving you mp3s at your fingertips. SkreemR's results were quite impressive considering they've only been around for a month or so. The interface is simple but has a lot to offer adding links to YouTube and Facebook.

Submission + - Plug-In Hybrid Cars to hit Toronto by 2008

Adambomb writes: A recent story on CTV has brought to light a municipal partnership between the City of Toronto and Hymotion (an Ontario based company recently acquired by A123 Systems Inc. of Watertown, MA) to help ease fuel usage in the metropolis. The pilot project is expected to hit the roads with as many as 200 vehicles with a new Plug-In conversion to allow hybrid cars to be charged directly instead of relying primarily on engine power. CTV quotes Hymotion President Ricardo Bazzarella stating that the cars will be able to travel 100km of city driving with just 2.4 litres of gasoline (about 2/3rds of a gallon).

Submission + - Skype Worm leaps onto MSN, ICQ

An anonymous reader writes: From The Register: Malware miscreants have created the first worm targeting Skype that's also capable over other instant messaging networks, such as MSN and ICQ. The worm poses as a chat message linking to a website, as with other example of Skype-spreading malware before it. Although the main vector for infection is Skype, the malware also attempts to spread by punting messages across MSN and ICQ, according to an analysis of the malware by researchers at IM security firm FaceTime Communications.
Star Wars Prequels

Star Wars is 30 Years Old 223

javipas writes "On May 25th, 1977 the first film of the Star Wars Saga was released to theaters. Thirty years later, and celebrations are being held all around the globe. Wired has a series of articles entitled The Empire at 30, and many fans are posting about this particular birthday. For example, you can see the best 30 clips made by fans to celebrate this anniversary. The BBC is chronicling the journey of one man who had never seen Star Wars before. IGN has a rundown on some of the highlights of the Celebration convention, running this weekend."

Submission + - Copying DVDs ruled legal in Finland

Anonymous Coward writes: "Finnish court ruled today that breaking CSS copy protection scheme found on virtually all commercial DVD-Video discs is legal, despite country's EUCD-compliant copyright legislation. Court decided that since there are tons of freely available tools on Net to break the encryption, it cannot be deemed "effective"."

Submission + - Using RFID and wi-fi to track students

An anonymous reader writes: The BBC reports on a proposal to use RFID and wi-fi to track students wherever they go on campus: "Battery-powered RFID tags are placed on an asset and they communicate with at least three wireless access points inside the network to triangulate a location." At The Wireless Event in London, "Marcus Birkl, head of wireless at Siemens, said location tracking of assets or people was one of the biggest incentives for companies, hospitals and education institutions to roll out wi-fi networks." The article points out that integration of RFID and wi-fi raises the possibility that RFID can be used for remote surveillance.

Submission + - Microsoft plays monopoly again with Vista!

mike95 writes: "I just started playing around with voice recognition on Windows Vista and I was very happy with the results — at last, accurate dictation ...UNTIL. I tried with OpenOffice Writer. Complete failure. I was stumped. Is this an OS feature or a Word feature? It's promoted as an OS feature. I pulled out the trusty notepad and the accuracy and results were the same as in Word 2007! What the heck?

I double checked, I triple checked and quite frankly it cannot be so obvious they are wielding their monopolistic practices by being biased when making this operating system feature available.

How many people would cry foul loudly if the network connectivity OS feature was crippled for Firefox? I just cannot see a valid argument here so I created a video of my experience and just posted it on youtube.

I used the same microphone to record the video as dictation, so what you hear in the video is same sound offered to both the video recording software and voice recognition and any claims to background noise, etc. are without merit.


Michael Olivero"

Submission + - Trent Reznor rails against music price gouging.

Delusion_ writes: "Zeropaid has an interesting article which reports that Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails has been speaking out on his blog against price gouging practices of record labels, including his own, while on tour in Australia, where some retailers are selling his new album, Year Zero, for $29 USD.

...to the question of illegally downloading music, to which he answered "...I steal music too, I'm not gonna say I don't."...

...He goes on to say that sure he resents people getting his stuff for free but, unlike most other artists it seems he knows who's actually to blame for the whole file-sharing mess — record labels. He says that "... you got record labels that are doing everything they can to piss people off and rip them off."

The climbing price of CDs has already cost many music retailers to throw in the towel, especially stores catering to specific styles of music. Music piracy is usually blamed for the shift, but the fact that the RIAA has been fighting used CD sales tooth and nail, and that the average CD price has increased significantly despite the fact that media production costs have decreased since the early 1990s isn't usually credited when music retailers go out of business."

Submission + - Building a new breed of techno-journalists

Rich Gordon writes: "The Medill School of Journalism just won a grant that will allow Medill to offer master's degree scholarships in journalism to computer programmers. It's among $12 million in grants awarded via the Knight News Challenge. The general idea is to lure talented coders, immerse them in the practice of journalism, and then turn them loose to figure out interesting ways of putting journalism and technology together. Our role model is Adrian Holovaty of the Washington Post (who also won a Knight News Challenge grant and, consequently, will be leaving the Post to launch a tech/journalism startup). We want to enroll the first scholarship recipients this September, so we're looking to get the word out through the tech community as quickly as possible. What do Slashdotters think? Love the idea, hate the idea, can't understand what a coder would learn in j-school anyway? The page that describes the Medill program, including how to apply, is here. I've blogged about the initiative here."

Submission + - Email snafu sends Bush DOJ emails to Greg Palast

destinyland writes: 500 of Karl Rove's email messages were mistakenly sent to WhiteHouse.org, who forwarded them to investigative reporter Greg Palast. The DOJ emails were reviewed by a law professor who confirmed they discussed "an illegal way of getting rid of black votes." Palast has just come forward with the information, which affects 4.5 million voters, and in a new interview explains how it sheds a new perspective on the Department of Justice scandal.

Submission + - Govt. report slams FBI's internal network security

An anonymous reader writes: The Government Accountability Office, the federal government's watchdog agency, Thursday released a report critical of the FBI's internal network, asserting it lacks security controls adequate to thwart an insider attack. Among its other findings, the GAO said the FBI did not adequately "identify and authenticate users to prevent unauthorized access." The GAO report also criticized FBI network security in other regards, saying that there was a lack of encryption to protect sensitive data and patch management wasn't being done in a timely manner. http://www.networkworld.com/news/2007/052407-gao-s lams-fbi-network-security.html
The Internet

Submission + - Nominet shuts down deleting.co.uk

Anonymous reader writes: "Nominet the .uk internet registry on Tuesday shut down http://www.deleting.co.uk/ the only UK drop list service. A statement on the website reads "the site was found to be in breach of the Domain Availability Checker (DAC) contract". However the decision has caused an outcry in the secondary domain name market community. A 16 page thread on Acorndomains http://www.acorndomains.co.uk/drop-catching-domain -names/18389-deleting-co-uk-rip.html suggests Nominet is being "bombarded" with complaints from members who believe the decision is harming their businesses. One upset member wrote on his blog http://www.internetentrepreneurs.co.uk/node/33/ "I'm surprised and saddened by the action taken by Nominet to close down the service". It is believed the initial complaint about the website which has been online since August 2003 is linked to Andrew Bennett the website owner being elected to Nominet's Policy Advisory Body (PAB) in March 2007 http://www.nominet.org.uk/policy/pab/election/."

Submission + - Book Review: Dreaming in Code

Greg Corbin writes: "Many times, in my career as a programmer, I've found myself lying awake at night thinking about the code. My thoughts would slowly fade away as I began to fall asleep. That's when it would happen. That's when I realized that I've been thinking so much about the code that I started to dream about it. I would be "Dreaming in Code". After reading this book, I'm sure that I'm not the only programmer that dreams in code. The author of this book, Scott Rosenberg, begins this documentary by discussing his experiences as a programmer. He describes the excitement and frustrations of one of his first programs, a game called Sumer, which he wrote some extensions for. He raises the same questions that all programmers have been asking since the dawn of time. Why is creating good software so hard? He then moves on from chapter 0, to begin following a company named OSAF. He chronicles the process that they go through as they attempt to create a new product called Chandler. This product is to be the next 'killer app". A P.I.M (Personal Information Manager) that does not limit the type of data or how that data is organized. The main goal of Chandler is to remove the limitations of what, where and how our personal data is managed. "To tear down the silos", as the author puts it. This story revolves around a software pioneer named Mitch Kapor. His big contribution to software engineering came in the form of the company he founded called Lotus and a great application he created called Lotus 123. His passion for software engineering shows in chapter 2 as we follow his early days at Lotus all the way through to his departure in the late 80's due to his uneasy feelings about creating such a large corporate environment. Even with the great fortune and success that he had at Lotus, he could not find happiness within his role there without the unrestricted freedom he had when the company was a startup.

The author then takes us back in time for a bit to explore some of the greatest failure in software history. We explore the failures of the FBI and FAA software projects and move on to look at some of the largest software crashes of all time.

In chapters 3 through 5, we begin exploring the design decisions that the managers, designers and engineers at OSAF make to start work on Chandler. The author follows their story as they decide which language and tools to use. We see the OSAF team force the first 0.1 release of Chandler due to a purely time-based schedule. We move on from here to reflect on several past interview with software greats such as Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux, and James Gosling, creator of Java. We explore their opinions on the difficulties in software engineering and personal feelings on the open source movement. By the end of chapter 5, we find that the OSAF crew is flip flopping on many of the design choices they started out with and ultimately, it will cause them to fall further and further behind schedule.

In chapters 6 we get an inside look at the trials and rewards that programmers face as they attempt to implement their projects design and craft it into work of art. One of the common follies that we explore is the decision to "Build" or "Buy". Since most programmers see the building of a new application as a form of art, it's difficult for them to accept foreign piece of code and integrate it into their own. Most often, if given the choice and time, many programmers will give a whole pile of excuses as to why it would be better to "Build" rather than "Buy". Not to say that "Buying" doesn't have its own problems, but in most cases this can be a big time saver.

In chapter 7, we find our OSAF team choosing to "Build" a framework for generating their User Interface. One can only wonder how much time might have been saved if they had only utilized what already existed.

In chapter 8, the OSAF team had decided it was time for reorganization. Kapor removes himself as CEO / Project manager and they hire some new people. The surprise here is that when these new people come into OSAF, Kapor allows them to radically change the design of Chandler, which is now 2 years underway. I suppose this shouldn't be a shock, as new people always bring new ideas, but to find that the project's CEO / venture capitalist would allow this was quite a surprise. The chapter comes to a close with the OSAF crew on a new feature/time driven schedule, already deeply behind it, and learning that Google has launched a new product called GMail, which includes many features that Chandler is driving to deliver.

Chapters 9 and 10 the author diverges away from following OSAF and begins to review project management and it evolution within software history. We spend some time discussing the foundation of the Software Engineer Institute and how the CMM standards evolved into what they are today.

In the final chapter, we revisit the OSAF team to find out what type of progress they had made, have they caught back up with their schedule? Or have they slipped away into the archives of software irrelevancy? I don't want to ruin the ending for anyone, so you'll just have to read the book to find out.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It comforts me to know that I'm not the only programmer that experiences all the joys and pains of my profession. There are many great references to classic books and essays on software engineering that all programmers should be required to read. I felt that I was able to enjoy the journey of the OSAF team as they struggled to wield there skills to sculpt a beautifully thought out and designed work of art. I also felt that there were many lessons that I learnt and new ideas that I will be able take with me to apply in my own endeavors. If your interested in thi book, you can find more info about here."

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PL/I -- "the fatal disease" -- belongs more to the problem set than to the solution set. -- Edsger W. Dijkstra, SIGPLAN Notices, Volume 17, Number 5