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


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Submission + - A Christmas headache for Nintendo?

aalobode writes: "The R4 chip is only small — but it looks like a giant pirate to Nintendo" is the headline in a Times of London article. They are talking of a chip manufactured in China and made available over the Internet and in retail shops in eastern countries which allow users to bypass restrictions that prevent Nintendo DS owners from running pirated games. The chip sells for about 40USD. As an experiment, The Times obtained such a chip and downloaded 10 new video games that had become available less than 24 hours previously. The games are reported to have run flawlessly, the process took less than a half-hour. There was the little matter of nearly 400 USD in lost revenue to Nintendo. Here is the URL:

Submission + - A new, simple unifying theory of the universe (

aalobode writes: In an article titled "Surfer dude stuns physicists with theory of everything" the Times of London evaluates an article from New Scientist and reports that one Garret Lisi, a 39 year old physicist with a doctorate but no affiliation has come up with a testable theory that shows great promise. The theory's simplicity is also highlighted: needing 1 dimension of time and 3 of space as opposed to eight or more for competing theories. The theory is still being developed, and the crucial tests will be to make predictions that can be tested. String theory, one of the competing ideas, has failed to produce viable predictions. Fortunately, the Large Hadron Collider is due to come on line in Geneva in the near future and he can test his predictions there. It's always possible that beauty hides in simplicity — but the long shadow of cold fusion reminds us to take every new theory with a generous pinch of salt.

Submission + - Top Ten Strangest or Cruellest Science Experiments 1

aalobode writes: "The Times of London has a current story based on the review of a book by Alex Boase, Elephants on Acid and Other Bizarre Experiments. There they list the top science experiments — including the one from which the book gets its name — that were conducted by otherwise sane humans who tragically or otherwise ignored the effect of their research on the subjects themselves. Nowadays, most institutions have a review board for research on human subjects which would flag most proposals that could lead to harm for the subjects, but not so in the past. See for yourself at the url"
Wireless (Apple)

Submission + - Verizon to debut an iPhone Competitor? (

aalobode writes: The Associated Press as reported by yahoo finance, states that Verizon is to put out a competitor to the iPhone. The model, called Voyager, features a touch screen, camera, etc. plus a QWERTY keyboard (unlike the iPhone). Like the iPhone, it will connect to a music downloading service — in this case Verizon's — but unlike it, the screen is smaller. Well, all of this comes on the heels of MS announcing a new and improved Zune. So, is Apple being besieged by its rivals or is it the same old story of a new and improved team of challengers about to leap to their doom?

Submission + - Is Apple doing all it can to beat Vista?

aalobode writes: The NYTimes is running an article on the narrowing window that Apple has for beating Microsoft's Vista. According the NYT, not enough has been done to capitalize on the Mac user experience versus the "world of hurt that is Vista" and it also points out that that restructuring of Apple leaves ambiguities about Apple's exact commitment to the computer end of its business. The article calls MS Vista's certified vendors, developers and driver writers a flywheel that takes a while to come up to speed and then becomes unstoppable. Check it at
Technology (Apple)

Submission + - Can Apple+ATT shut down iPhone Unlockers? (

aalobode writes: Do Apple and AT&T have the legal right to stop hackers from selling unlocked iPhones? Under their terms, only AT&T may sell iPhones, and Apple gets a commission. When unlocked iPhones are used on other providers' networks, AT&T and hence Apple get nothing beyond what they earned on the initial sale of the hardware. Can they prohibit unlocking? Reselling? The article in Businessweek gives the for and against arguments, but appears to indicate that the hackers have the law on their side for once.

Submission + - Computers circumventing corrupt officials in India

aalobode writes: If you have ever lived under India's bureaucracy, you will know that any interaction with a government entity — to pay taxes, get married, get a license etc., pass through customs — will cost you in time and money. Even the smallest of public services requires a bribe or other inducement. Frequently, the officials are unavailable for business until the amount is paid. The keepers of the keys to these kingdoms of privilege are the "babus", those clerks and officers trained in officiousness and inefficiency since the days of the British East India Company. Today, on the eve of the 60th anniversary of independence, the London Times has an article rticle2237920.ece on efforts in the southern state of Karnataka to computerize such services. Using the internet, a farmer gets a driving license in 5 minutes without paying a quarter of his income in bribes. Such attempts to stamp out corruption are spreading through India but, the question arises, can they succeed in a country where so few are connected to the power grid and the internet?

Submission + - First WiiWare developer says process began in 2006 (

OSS_ilation writes: Nintendo only just announced that WiiWare games would go live sometime in 2008, but an interview over at reveals that talks between the Big N and the first "indie developer" Bplus started taking place back in 2006. Bplus formally announced the first WiiWare title earlier this month: a puzzle/painting game called Plattchen. The Infendo interview reveals that it was actually Nintendo that found Plattchen and sought out the developer to promote its game on WiiWare. Bplus's Jennifer Fellnhofer says the fact that Nintendo sets the pricing for games and leaves everything else up to the developer is "win win." "We think that Nintendo made exactly the right decision on this issue. They are forcing some kind of win-win-situation for both Nintendo and the developers by keeping the prices for original game titles affordable while ensuring that the profit a developer raises fits exactly the depth of the game and the investments that were made during development," she said.
PlayStation (Games)

Submission + - BBC Reports Sony is Cutting PS3 Price Tags (

cromar writes: "From the Article:

"While Sony is faring well in Japan, sales are lagging in the US Sony is slashing the price of its PlayStation 3 games console by 17% or $100 in the US to boost sales.

"As a result the PS3 will now cost $500 (£249), between $100 and $200 more than versions of the Microsoft Xbox 360 and twice as much as the Nintendo Wii.""

The Internet

Submission + - Tim Berners-Lee discusses the future of the Web

maximus1 writes: In this exclusive interview, Tim Berners-Lee explains his vision of the Semantic Web. He says: "The Semantic Web is going to take off particularly when we see people using it for data processing, when we see people using it in more and more things, adding personal data, adding files to government data." His position on net neutrality. "We've seen cable companies trying to prevent using the Internet for Internet phones. I am concerned about this, and am working, with many other committed people, to keep it from happening. I think it's very important to keep an open Internet for whoever you are. This is called Net neutrality. It's very important to preserve Net neutrality for the future." And a fun tidbit — He mentions his 1989 memo to his boss at CERN that described his vision for the Web.

First "Real" Benchmark for PostgreSQL 275

anticlimate writes "A new benchmark published on SPEC shows PostgreSQL's performance approaching that of Oracle's and surpassing or on par with MySQL (however the test-hardwares of the other DB systems are somewhat different). The test was put together by PostgreSQL's core developers working at Sun. They certainly are not unbiased, but this is the first 'real' benchmark with PostgreSQL — according to Josh Berkus's blog. The main difference compared to earlier benchmarks (and anecdotes) seems to be the tuning of PostgreSQL."

Submission + - FTD drops Oracle for EnterpriseDB

curlynoodle writes: "Score a victory for open source software

From the article:

"International florist FTD is calling on fellow Oracle users to switch database vendors. It dumped the company in favor of EnterpriseDB in its latest project, after meeting with "indifference" from the enterprise giant."

"We are not a high visibility client so we are treated like anyone else. I didn't get any special customer service — they are indifferent to my account," Weiss said. "When someone comes in at a sixth the cost and 500 times the customer service that makes it very easy.""

Submission + - CEO of RIM can't decide if iPhone is "dangerou

noewun writes: Looks like Jim Balsille, co-CEO of RIM, can't get on message. According TFA, "[t]he co-CEO of Research In Motion Ltd., which makes the popular line of BlackBerry email devices, said in an interview at RIM's Waterloo headquarters that he's not losing sleep over Apple's efforts to upend the wireless market in much the same way as its wildly popular iPod music devices changed the way people acquire and listen to music."

Then, a few paragraphs later, he "is also intensely critical of what appears to be an effort by Apple to wrest control of the customer experience in the consumer market. For example, the iPhone is being sold through Apple's own stores, instead of strictly through AT&T Inc., which signed an exclusive U.S. deal with the computer maker. The phone is free of AT&T's logo and software and is tied closely to Apple's iTunes music store, which is where subscribers will need to go to activate their phones and browse rate plans.

"It's a dangerous strategy," says Balsillie. "It's a tremendous amount of control. And the more control of the platform that goes out of the carrier, the more they shift into a commodity pipe."

So, it's not a threat, but it's dangerous? Maybe this is CEO Speak for 'Competition? Waaaaahh!'

Slashdot Top Deals

Prototype designs always work. -- Don Vonada