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! ×

Comment Re:I've finally sorted out my backup worries. (Score 1) 172

I think the first point you raised could largely be addressed by modifying my backup scripts to incorporate some sort of checksum comparison.

The second point doesn't really concern me too much. If I drop my bag with the case in it, then I know that the possibility exists that the disk has been damaged and I can act accordingly. It's several years since I last came off my bike and its only happened 4 times in 16 years of cycling. It's not too frequent an occurrence and it would have to happen at the same time as I am carrying the disk. If I start finding the frequency with which I fall of my bike increasing I can always go to work by public transport when carrying the backup drive.

In my case "long periods between backups", 30 days, is an improvement. Prior to this Christmas I have not had anything approaching a decent backup strategy for a long time. I have had data on DVDs, CDs, NAS, old hard disks and more recently for smaller stuff the cloud. The "small stuff" category tends to encompass the data that gets changed most regularly and since that gets replicated to the cloud straight from the directory there are no "long periods between backups" for it.

Comment I've finally sorted out my backup worries. (Score 1) 172

2.1TB of stuff that I would not want to lose.

Quite a bit of that is captured 8mm and miniDV videotape. The 8mm is degrading quite badly and if I had to recapture it the quality would probably be significantly poorer than what I have a the moment.

I have spent at least 8 years with nagging concerns about what would happen in case of equipment failure, malware, disaster or theft. 5 years ago I started using RAID storage but still had concerns about malware, disaster, theft and to a lesser extent equipment failure.

Finally this Christmas I have been able to assuage my fears: Santa brought me a 3TB hard disk, an eSATA cradle and a padded disk case. Everything important is now backed up onto that disk and stored in a desk drawer at work. The disk will be brought home once a month and an incremental backup performed.

This arrangement still leaves the possibility of discovering that the disk ceased functioning sometime in the last month or an accident befalling me as I bring the disk home from work to restore the data should some disaster have wiped out my home system. However, when funds allow, I intend to purchase a second 3TB hard disk and will alternate between them for the monthly backups and at that point I think all my concerns will have been addressed.

Comment Why can't they use coconut oil for the cars? (Score 1) 252

I think the most significant aspect of this is the fact that it frees Tokelau of a dependence on an external resource.

There is no airport or airstrip in Tokelau, nor are there any docks. 2 or 3 boats a month visit the islands, usually departing from Apia in Samoa. Upon arrival in the islands, passengers and cargo are offloaded on to smaller vessels before being taken ashore. As the article mentions tropical storms are a real concern in this part of the Pacific (not to mention tsunami) and shipping can be disrupted because of these natural disasters and for other reasons (mechanical failure, search and rescue obligations, medical evacuations). The difficulty, expense and reliability of supply are no longer matters that need to be considered.

What I don't understand (and this could be due to my complete ignorance regarding the workings of diesel engines) is why they still need to ship in fuel for the cars. The tropical islands of the Pacific do not want for coconut trees and the extraction of coconut oil is a straightforward process with not too much capital investment required. Surely it should be possible to use it as a replacement for diesel or at least convert it into biodiesel, unless of course the cars have petrol engines.


Submission + - Neutrinos: Yup, they're faster than light. (

mrthoughtful writes: The CERN team who announced neutrinos may travel faster than light has carried out an improved version of their experiment — and found the same result.

Acknowledged critics of the first report had said that the long bunches of neutrinos used could introduce an error into the test.

The new work, posted to, used much shorter bunches.

It has been submitted to the Journal of High Energy Physics, but has not yet been reviewed by the scientific community.

The Internet

Submission + - Internet Explorer IQ bashing was a hoax (

twoheadedboy writes: "Earlier this week, a report claimed Internet Explorer users received lower IQ tests than those running other browsers. We now know it was a hoax. The biggest giveaway was the fact that AptiQuant – the 'company' responsible for the purported research – had information on its website copied from another company called Central Test. After further investigations, it emerged AptiQuant does not appear to be a real company. Central Test is now planning action against those responsible for taking info from its site. This leaves us with the question of why such an elaborate rouse was carried out, fooling hundreds of writers from trade journalists to nationals like the BBC? Was it just a big joke? Or was it a PR smear campaign against IE?"

Submission + - London Stock Exchange tackles closing auction syst (

DMandPenfold writes: The London Stock Exchange has taken steps to resolve a system problem that occurred at 4.30pm yesterday (Tuesday), which saw a delay to the start of the closing auction and knocked out automatic trades during a 42 second period.

The problem occurred a day after the high profile launch of its new matching engine on the main equities market, based on the SUSE Linux system from Novell.

Sources close to the exchange today told Computerworld UK that the problem yesterday involved a system linked to the matching engine....

Open Source

Submission + - London Stock Exchange Completes Move to Linux (

An anonymous reader writes: The London Stock Exchange has successfully completed the 'go live' weekend for its new Millennium Exchange, a next-generation trading platform powered by the open source Linux operating system. Developed and named by MillenniumIT, the Millennium Exchange's inaugural weekend comes after the LSE trialled Linux as a real-time trading platform on its Turquoise trading pool back in October — finding that the switch from its outdated Microsoft .Net platform brought a massive decrease in trading latency.

Comment I'm almost positive that's not a real Buran (Score 1) 226

I was in Moscow in May last year. I went on a boat trip along the Moskva River and passed a Buran in Gorky Park. I immediately altered my plans for the following day so as to include a visit.

The next day, May 28th 2009, as I walked towards the Buran I was mortified to see guys with hammers, shovels and brushes starting to demolish it.

I wasn't able to get right up to it to take photos because some uniformed guard insisted that taking photographs was forbidden, but you can see one of the surreptitious snaps I took here -

If you look carefully, in the image linked to above, at the nose section where the tiles have been stripped away, you will see that the tiles were actually mounted on wooden lathes.

A somewhat better photo of the nose section can be found here -

A little bit of Googling and it turns out that the Buran in Gorky Park was actually a simulator.

The OP was correct, it was a carnival ride.


The Frontier of the MMO Genre 92

Eurogamer is running a feature about what they call "frontier" MMOs, games that are on the fringe of a market flooded with attempts to replicate the success of Everquest and World of Warcraft. Many publishers already have more MMO projects than they know what to do with, and often leave the more unusual and unique games out in the cold, preferring to stick with familiar IP or a tried-and-true approach. "Like any gold-rush, the MMO market also attracts a different kind of adventurer: the fearless, inexperienced, determined and solitary dreamer, making a go of it on nothing but their own resources and pluck. The online distribution and direct revenue streams — be they subscriptions or micro-transactions — make it theoretically possible to make a mint in MMOs without any help from the gaming establishment at all." They take a brief look at several such games currently in development, including Earthrise, Gatheryn, and Global Agenda.

Submission + - Big Brother Disapproves of Weekend Boozing

MattSparkes writes: "Staff at Pequannock Township High School in New Jersey are going to start using a sneaky new test that can detect if students have been drinking in the last week. The test measures urine concentrations of an ethanol breakdown product called ethyl glucuronide (EtG). I find it bizarre that in the US you can't drink until 21; at 21 I had spent already three years completing my undergraduate degree and drinking copious amounts of Guinness."

Slashdot Top Deals

"You stay here, Audrey -- this is between me and the vegetable!" -- Seymour, from _Little Shop Of Horrors_