Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Charles Stross has written a very clever article where he describes the religious metaphor he uses with non-technical folks to explain the relationship between Mac OS X and UNIX. There is one true religion in operating systems says Stross and it is UNIX although there's also an earlier, older, more arcane religion with far fewer followers, MULTICS, from which UNIX sprang as a stripped-down rules-deficient heresy. If MULTICS is Judaism then UNIX is Christianity. By the mid-1970s there were two main sects: AT&T UNIX, which we may liken unto the Roman Catholic Church, and BSD UNIX, which we may approximate to the Orthodox Churches. In an attempt to control the schisms, the faithful defined a common interoperating subset of the one true religion that all could agree on—the Nicene Creed of UNIX which is probably POSIX. Stross says that today the biggest church in the whole of UNIX is Mac OS X, which rests on the bedrock of Orthodox BSD but "has added an incredible, towering superstructure of fiercely guarded APIs and proprietary user interface stuff that renders it all but unrecognizable to followers of the Catholic AT&T path." But lo, in the late 1980s, UNIX succumbed to the sins of venality, demanding too much money from the faithful and so, in 1991 Linus Torvalds nailed his famous source code release to the cathedral door and kicked off the Reformation. "The Linux wars were brutal and unforgiving and Linux itself splintered into a myriad of fractious Protestant churches, from the Red Hat wearing Lutherans to the Ubuntu Baptists." More recently, a deviant faith has sprung from Linux. "Android is the Church of Latter Day Saints of UNIX: hard-working, sober, evangelizing the public, and growing at a ferocious rate. There are some strange fundamentalist Mormon Android churches living in walled communities under the banners of Samsung and Amazon, but for the most part the prosperous worship at the Church of Google." Stross notes that as with all religion, those sects with most in common are the ones who hold the most vicious grudges against one another. "Is that clear?"
AlistairCharlton writes: "Bump in the app before you bump in the bed" an Android app warns Icelandic users worried about incestuous relationships.
With a population totalling just 320,000 and descending from only a handful of ancestors, the Icelandic people are more closely related than most, making the accidental chatting-up of your cousin a much more distinct possibility.
onyxruby writes: EA shutdown another round of less profitable games today, including a variation of Sim City. These games could only be accessed by playing online and no offline mode will be made available to players. Real world money that was spent by players on the game for adds on will be lost with only two months left to spend it or lose it.
EA continues to be oblivious as to why online only requirements to play games like Sim City are a significant issue and refuses to change their policy. Perhaps it takes people who are not traditional gamers getting screwed over by the publishers to change an otherwise apathetic public's mind over the issue?
quarterbuck writes: Many politicians, especially in Europe, have used the idea that economic growth is impeded by debt levels above 90% of GDP to justify austerity measures. The academic justification came from a paper and a book by Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart. Now researchers at U Mass at Amherst have refuted the study — they find that not only was the data tainted by bad statistics, it also had an Excel error . Apparently when averaging a few GDP numbers in an excel sheet, they did not drag down the cell ranges down properly, excluding Belgium.
The supporting website for the book "This time it is different" has lots of financial information if a reader might want to replicate some of the results.
TekTek writes: SECTOR 001 – After countless false starts, it would seem as though the Borg Collective has finally come up with a winning technology acquisition strategy for the Earth market. Working with industry heavyweight Marc Andreessen, Google Ventures’ partner, Bill Maris, and Kleiner Perkins’ partner, John Doerr, the Borg have created a new $5,618,000 investment fund with a distinct twist. Their recently announced Glass Collective is solely dedicated to creating apps for Google Glass. “Glass represents the vanguard of cybernetic technology. Harnessing that energy will serve The Borg and our other investors well”, said Doerr. The new fund will initially be focused on the US market, according to Andreessen, because “A surprising number of Americans have proven themselves willing to sell out the whole of humanity for a healthy liquidity event”.
kkleiner writes: Bitcoin has had a tumultuous ride this week. First, the digital currency showed signs that it was in a bubble when valued at $266, then experiencing a crash and a late rally that brought the closing value to $165. The biggest bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, suspended the trading at a value of $123. A similar event happened in 2011 when 90% of bitcoin's value was lost.
netbuzz writes: "Educause members and 7,000 university websites are being forced to change account passwords after a security breach involving the organization’s.edu domain server. However, some initially hesitated to comply because the Educause notification email bore tell-tale markings of a phishing attempt. “Given what is known about phishing and user behavior, this was bad form,” says Gene Spafford, a Purdue University computer science professor and security expert. “For an education-oriented organization to do this is particularly troubling.”"
g01d4 writes: "California's computer problems, which have already cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, have mounted as state officials cut short work on a $208-million DMV technology overhaul that is only half done. Last week, the controller's office fired the contractor responsible for a $371-million upgrade to the state's payroll system, citing a trial run filled with mishaps. More than $254 million has already been spent." It's hard not to feel like the Tokyo man in the street watching the latest round of Godzilla the state vs. Rodan the big contractor.
"At a time when Apple, Mozilla and other tech giants are taking steps to prevent users from browsing the Web with outdated versions ofJava,Yahoo!is pushing many of its users in the other direction: The free tool that it offers users to help build Web sites installs a dangerously insecYahoo! has offered SiteBuilder to its millions of users for years, but unfortunately the tool introduces a myriad of security vulnerabilities on host PCs.SiteBuilder requires Java, but the version of Java that Yahoo! bundles with it isJava 6 Update 7. It’s not clear if this is just a gross oversight or if their tool really doesn’t work with more recent versions of Java. The company has yet to respond to requests for comment.
JG0LD writes: Students at a tiny Appalachian public school can't use Wi-Fi because any such network can throw the radio equivalent of a monkey wrench into a gigantic super-sensitive radio telescope just up the road.
another random user writes: Antigua is seeking permission to run a website that sells music, movies and software — but ignores copyright law. The Caribbean island is due to appear before the World Trade Organization (WTO) on 28 January seeking permission to run the site.
The decision to set up the site is the end point of a long-running dispute with the US over gambling. The US has objected to Antigua's plan saying it amounted to official "piracy" of intellectual property.
Antigua went to the WTO after the US moved to stop American citizens using gambling services, including web-based betting shops and casinos, run from the Caribbean country. Antigua claims that action deprived it of billions of dollars in revenue.
The WTO agreed with Antigua and dismissed a US appeal against its ruling. However, because the US took no action to lift the controls on cross-border gambling Antigua filed an application to recoup its lost cash by other means.
It sought permission to sell movies, music, games and software via a store that would be able to ignore global agreements on copyright and trademark controls, reports filesharing news site TorrentFreak. It wanted to be able to sell up to $3.4bn of those goods before having to make copyright payments.
The WTO rejected that figure, but said Antigua could sell $21m annually via the store before it had to consider paying copyright fees. The US is believed to have offered to pay Antigua $500,000 annually as compensation for the lost revenue.
Lasrick writes: As White House officials were busy pondering new gun violence prevention measures, preparing for the coming debt-ceiling showdown with Republicans, and meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the Obama administration on January 11 also issued an official decision: the US government would not construct the DS-1 Orbital Battle Station, commonly known as the Death Star from Star Wars Episode IV.
BenJeremy writes: This morning, lots of bargain hunters awoke to great news: Adobe was offering their Creative Suite 2 for free, just for registering an Adobe account! Download links and serial numbers on Adobe's web site seemed to confirm the news, as "hot deal" sites and even Forbes published the news. The plug was pulled a few hours later as horrified Adobe employees discovered they had inadvertently exposed a web page intended to help Adobe customers (who were already licensed) deal with activation servers that Adobe shut down on December 15.
One would hope Adobe would simply say "we meant to do that, here you go, have fun with the old version of Creative Suite and consider purchasing a newer version" but it doesn't look like they will do that.