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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 11 declined, 0 accepted (11 total, 0.00% accepted)

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Submission + - MITx, offering an open source online electronics course from MIT (

beachdog writes: From the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: "MITx will offer a portfolio of MIT courses for free to a virtual community of learners around the world. It will also enhance the educational experience of its on-campus students, offering them online tools that supplement and enrich their classroom and laboratory experiences.

The first MITx course, 6.002x (Circuits and Electronics), will be launched in an experimental prototype form. Watch this space for further upcoming courses, which will become available in Fall 2012."

For the past few years, MIT has been putting materials from it's college courses on the Internet and copyable with few limits. It looks like MIT is now taking a further step of enabling students to earn a certificate of course completion.

Submission + - Homebrew Your Own Supercomputer? 2

beachdog writes: "The ham radio magazine QST (membership or library) carries a short article about a 144 core microcontroller being offered by To quote the wee bit overenthuiastic article first sentence: "Whoever says that "old guys" can't keep up with technology has never heard of GreenArrays." The Chairman and CTO of GreenArrays is the co founder of Forth, Inc., 1973. That is, 39 years ago."

Submission + - How secure is a typical home Linux desktop? 2

beachdog writes: "How secure is a typical home Linux desktop system against intrusion, data theft and hacking? Have the intrusion artists yet developed a really good hack against the Linux desktop?

          I would like to set up some friends with a Linux desktop like
Ubuntu. I know that if the password is reasonable and I block the raw Internet with a home router then some parts of the system are fairly secure.

          But what about the rest of the desktop system? I can warn the users to ignore phony bank email password trolls, but what about the remaining intrusion pathways? Are there intrusion paths through the Internet interface, web browser or email applications that still penetrate a Linux based desktop computer?

        I see Javascript running on the web browser as an obvious and easy attack pathway. I know Javascript can lock up the browser. Have the hackers developed Javascript
into a genuine intrusion? Can other files like pdfs and Jpeg
images launch an attack when opened on a Linux computer?"

Submission + - What applications will help Middle East freedom?

beachdog writes: What Internet and computer applications would help the millions of Middle East citizens seeking social justice and honest government?

I mean which free and open Internet apps can help countries and people move to better governments without warfare and fratricide?

  I mean serious applications that can facilitate voting, constructive partisan organization, democratic government and economic re-balancing?

Submission + - Slashdot Poll submission

beachdog writes: Poll questions:
Have you ever spotted a friend or colleague on a Slashdot discussion?
I have identified at least one acquaintance from High School.
I have identified a professor or teacher I knew in College.
I have identified someone by his distinctive politics or philosophy.
I frequently see my identical twin posting on Slashdot
I can tell when the poster is from my country.
I can tell when the poster speaks my native language.
I can tell when a post is by a famous or rich nerd.
It is all monkeys pounding on typewriters to me.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot DNA sample and disclosure

beachdog writes: My health insurance provder wants me to provide a saliva swab DNA sample and possibly a blood sample for a medical research study.

The problem I have is, how do I consent to the research and also require the knowledge found to be disclosed in a free manner?

I need a simple sentence I can insert into the consent document that will ensure that important findings are published to ensure this area of study is not tied up with patents or proprietary medical solutions.

The research side of the study looks like just the kind of science a big, busy, non-profit medical care provider might do. Their consent form is very detailed about the care they will take to keep my medical data private. But there is not a word about how they will use the resulting study data. Are they going to publish, patent or sell the data? They say nothing.


Submission + - What if DARPA vehicle challenge went open source?

beachdog writes: "I note that every vehicle entered in the DARPA autonomous vehicle challenge uses a different setup of sensors, computers and software. None of the vehicles use the same data structure, none of the vehicles can share data, none of the vehicles can help each other.

So I ask Slashdot readers: What would happen if the DARPA challenge competitors collaborated and created open source software instead of the present many isolated efforts? What if the competitors worked together and created an open data structure to describe the vehicle path segments, if they had an open test data suite, if they had a vehicle-to-vehicle data exchange protocol, if they had a Google maps-for-autonomous-vehicles data service, and if there were open source vehicle control programs?"
User Journal

Submission + - Ubuntu 6.06 LTS, many small failures

beachdog writes: I am puzzled at how my experience upgrading my Ubuntu distribution is not being reflected in reviews or news.

My experience as a long time Linux user is: Ubuntu 6.06 LTS has enough configuration errors that it shouldn't be offered as an end user distribution yet.

I upgraded from the 5.05 "Breezy Badger" Ubuntu to the 6.06 "LTS" about 6 weeks after LTS was released. After a news report mentioning a bug with the X windows driver I waited 3 weeks. Nope X was still broken.

The xserver package was still broken. It immediately broke my X display. From the ubuntu forums I got instructions to push the xserver package version back. Four hours later I got my X display back.

What has happened since then is one little application after another is coming up broken. Mostly minor changes are breaking applicatons. I have not found a single major improvement in 6.06 that compensates for the 16 hours wasted. I haven't messed with ticky tacky stuff like this since the RedHat C-compiler version problem of 5 years ago.

The agony is I am a bloody desktop user doing Craigslist job search and Rails. I actually need Google Earth to "just work".

I really am the wrong guy to back up and futz with problems like "the openGL graphics functions for the mga driver seem to be broken." For a long time now, I have depended on the Debian package system to set things up right.

The upgrade water torture ticky tack list for LTS:

- Local printing broken - required delete and reinstall printers.
- Adobe acrobat no longer being called as a firefox plugin (still broken despite messing with Preferences)
- Google earth now showing OpenGL error message (still broken)
- Matrox mga video driver, can't tell if the opengl functions needed by Google earth are working.
- mplayer stopped, requires an obscure edit to /etc/mplayer.config
- sound for YouTube videos now requires opening a new alsa package and futzing with mute settings. Desktop sounds are gone. (configuration for alsa-mixer changed).
- Firefox closes all windows (or crashes) when certain web pages are closed by the server.

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