Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Submission + - Airplane Window Seats Heighten Risk for Fatal Blood Clots

An anonymous reader writes: Travelers should opt for the aisle seat when on a long distant flight. While researchers have dispelled the myth of the “Economy Class Syndrome,” that sitting in the coach section of the plane during a long-haul flight increases the risk of developing a blood clot, health experts discovered that sitting in a window seat is indeed a risk factor for deep vein thrombosis.

New evidence showed that regardless of whether the passenger is in economy or first class, window seats elevates the risk for DVT, according to the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP).
The Military

Submission + - DARPA's AlphaDog begins real world testing (

MrSeb writes: "DARPA has released the first video of its robot Legged Squad Support System (LS3) walking untethered and in the wild. Watch in awe as a robotic quadruped scales a rocky, forested hill while carrying a heavy load on its back. The last time we saw LS3 (aka AlphaDog), back in September, it was tethered to external hydraulics. This made it impressively quiet, but obviously it couldn’t go outside. In the last few months, those hydraulics have been squeezed onto AlphaDog’s chassis, and an on-board petrol-driven motor powers the whole thing. What now follows is an 18-month testing period where AlphaDog's performance will be verified, culminating in an actual field exercise with some US Marines."

Submission + - Guitar Hero Instrument Photo Repair Guides (

Josh Straub writes: "I just published a high quality Photo Repair Guide site with fixes for all the common problems with the Guitar Hero instruments (guitar/drums) — Loose Whammy bar, Bad Strumbar, insensitive red drum pads.

A significant amount of time and effort has gone into including full disassembly instructions, photos, and diagrams. Anyone who plays these games knows how unreliable the controllers can be; so these guides can save you money by helping you fix it yourself."


Submission + - Mariners Develop High Tech Pirate Repellents 1

Hugh Pickens writes: "NPR reports that owners of ships that ply the dangerous waters near Somalia are looking at options to repel pirates including slippery foam, lasers, electric fences, water cannons and high-intensity sound — almost anything except guns. One defense is the Force 80 squirt gun with a 3-inch nozzle that can send 1,400 gallons a minute 100 yards in any direction. "It is a tremendous force of water that will knock over anything in its path and will also flood a pirate's ship very quickly," says Roger Barrett James of the the Swedish company Unifire. Next is the Mobility Denial System, a slippery nontoxic foam that can be sprayed on just about any surface making it impossible to walk or climb even with the aid of a harness. The idea would be to spray the pirate's vessel as it approached, or to coat ropes, ladders, steps and the hull of the ship that's under attack. The Long Range Acoustic Device, or LRAD, a high-powered directional loudspeaker allows a ship to hail an approaching vessel more than a mile away. "Knowing that they've lost the element of surprise is half the battle," says Robert Putnam of American Technology Corp. The LRAD has another feature — a piercing "deterrent tone" that sounds a bit like a smoke detector alarm with enough intensity to cause extreme pain and even permanent hearing loss for anyone directly in the beam of sound that comes from the device. But Capt. John Konrad, who blogs for the Web site, says no anti-pirate device is perfect. "The best case scenario is that you find these vessels early enough that you can get a Navy ship detached to your location and let them handle the situation.""
The Internet

Submission + - Time Warner wants to kill city-owned ISPs in NC (

suraj.sun writes: Time Warner and Embarq wants to kill city-owned ISPs in North Carolina :

Time Warner has teamed up with Embarq to persuade the North Carolina state government into banning community-owned broadband services. Why? Well, turns out the 47,000 residents of Wilson, NC got tired of paying for slow broadband, so the city government launched its own fiber ISP called Greenlight that offers some pretty solid packages ranging from $99 for 81 cable channels, unlimited phone service, and 10Mbs (down and up) internet to to $170 for every single channel including premiums and 20Mbps up/down internet.

Of course, these prices blow TWC and Embarq out of the water — the comparable basic Time Warner plan has fewer channels and less bandwidth for an "introductory rate" of $137 — and rather than compete, the two giants decided to lobby the North Carolina legislature into proposing bills that outlaw community services like Greenlight.

DailyTech :

Save NC Broadband blog :


Submission + - Creating 3D environments without polygons! (

Igor Hardy writes: "I've conducted a very interesting interview concerning a new episodic indie adventure game series called Casebook. What's quite uncommon, especially for these kind of independently developed and published productions, they include professionally created FMV — the entire footage filmed in real locations. Yet what is even more interesting, the games use an innovative photographic technology that recreates a fully, explorable, 3D environment through the use of millions of photos instead of building from polygons. How it works exactly is explained by Sam Clarkson the creative director of the series."

Submission + - Prof peer to peer to access medical files (

Gov IT writes: Just days after President Obama signed a law giving billions of dollars to develop electronic health records, a university technology professor submitted a paper showing that he was able to uncover tens of thousands of medical files containing names, addresses and Social Security numbers for patients seeking treatment for conditions ranging from AIDS to mental health problems.

Submission + - UUNet Founder owns Declaration of Independence (

Tyketto writes: "In an opinion handed down today, The Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that a Virginia-based technology entrepreneur owns a rare 1776 copy of the Declaration of Independence, not the state of Maine. Richard Adams Jr. purchased the document in 2001 from a book dealer in London, while the state of Maine claimed that it belonged to the town of Wiscasset, where the town clerk kept it in 1776. Adams, founder of UUNet Technologies, the first commercial ISP, sued to establish title to the document, stating that there was no official record kept by Wiscasset. The Court agreed."

Submission + - Beginning Portable Shell Scripting (

Joe MacDonald writes: "The earliest UNIX shell I encountered was the Bourne shell on a SPARCStation 2 at my university. As with many students of my generation, prior to that nearly all of my exposure to command line interfaces was some variant of DOS. I was quite proficient with the primitive scripting language that was available on such platforms but I immediately felt far out of my depth in this new environment. The commands seemed arcane, possibly dangerous, and almost immediately I regretted stepping into this unfamiliar wilderness without some sort of guide.

It was probably a few weeks after that first, rough introduction that I returned for another round with this strange but somehow seductive tool, armed with a book I'd found and a determination to learn it's secrets. I had no idea then that seventeen years later I'd still be learning new tricks, discovering new features and taking so much pleasure from sharing what I've learnt with others. In fact, in those early forays into the realm of shells and scripting, I didn't even really have a strong concept of the separation between the shell and the operating system, so at the time I couldn't have conceived of how much fun I would have in later years discussing and debating the relative strengths and weakness of shells with friends and colleagues, but it is probably my favourite touchstone of computer geek conversation. Discussion of shell features, scripting tricks and semantics almost always result in my learning something new and interesting and having a new tool to add to my collection.

Peter's book, Beginning Portable Shell Scripting, therefore may sound like something intended as a gentle introduction, aimed at the initiate — the sort of text I'd been seeking to carry with me when I first attempted to write what I thought of as "batch files" on that now-ancient UNIX machine — but there's more truth in the subtitle, From Novice to Professional, than one might expect. He writes in an accessible, at times conversational, style and presents detailed technical information alongside a mixture of anecdotes and historical detail that does more than simply serve as a technical reference, it helps the reader understand a great deal about why things are the way they are. It was such an entertaining read that I frequently found myself skipping ahead, reading a section I knew was coming up, then resisting the urge to just keep going from that point. The first of these I encountered on page 18 in which he discusses the relative portability of printf in shell scripts. I knew what he knew, it's clearly non-portable and should be avoided, and thoroughly enjoyed the explanation of how he determined his (and by extension my) assumption was in error. Another on page 108 is the sort of good advice all UNIX users, not just those aiming to write good scripts, should take to heart. Many times, though, I've related precisely the same advice to colleagues to be met with confused stares, so it certainly bears repeating.

This book is a desktop reference in the truest sense of the term for me, it is an interesting, at times laugh-out-loud amusing, discussion of how to write shell scripts that will work on the widest possible range of Bourne-derived and POSIXly correct shells and why this is a desirable goal. In true UNIX tradition, the author doesn't provide simply a set of rules, but guidelines that will help you find your own way through the task of creating portable, maintainable shell scripts.

The real meat of the book begins in Chapter 3 (more on Chapter 2 in a moment) with a discussion of control structures and redirection, the latter being perhaps the defining characteristic of UNIX command line interfaces. I struggled somewhat with trying to decide if redirection would be better discussed after the material on how the shell parses tokens, presented in the first part of Chapter 4, but it does seem that the correct logical grouping is the one presented. It would be easy to get lost, for example, in the semantics of why the same streams of redirection tokens behave differently on different shells, but the key concept in the early chapters is that of many tools, each doing a specific task, working in concert. That objective is achieved quite effectively.

Chapters 5 and 6 go into detail (possibly too much for some, just right in my opinion) on how UNIX executes shells and how shells can spawn other shells, the costs and the benefits and the available alternatives for one to make an informed decision. Frequently there isn't one right answer whether some activity is better done in a script, in a shell function or in a subshell, but the material here will certainly aid in making those determinations. My personal bias being almost always toward writing a shell function — perhaps an indication I've had too much exposure to C programming, perhaps more due to a frugal upbringing and my own sense that spawning a whole new shell to do something is overkill — had me wishing for a larger section on the value of such constructs, but there should be enough there for me to win some converts to my cause.

By far the sections I learnt the most from, however, would be Chapter 7: Shell Language Portability and Chapter 8: Utility Portability since I actively avoid exposure to other shells. I have my two preferred options and a third that I will use when presented with no alternative. While this does mean I know "my own" shells very well, it also means that I often bump into the furniture, so to speak, when I find myself using a new shell. These chapters haven't been immediately useful to me, but I know they're the ones that I'll be turning to in the future, I've needed something like them in the not-too-distant past, after all.

The final three chapters assemble the information presented in the earlier sections and suggest a sort of "best practices" approach to writing scripts. Concepts like "degrade gracefully" seem like pretty fundamental ideas when you hear them but I frequently find myself writing functions or scripts that don't do that at all when intended for a limited, usually singular, audience. It may seem like an okay idea when you're doing something for your own use, but when you write a complex function that works then discover a bug in it two or three years late and you have to return to fix it, it can be just as helpful for it to simply fail in an informative way as it would be to have detailed comments explaining the intent and the mechanics.

Truly, there's something here for everyone. In my office I'm considered something of an expert when it comes to complex regular expressions and the subtleties of using them in different editors and tools, but Chapter 2 and Appendix C both had enough new material in them that I found myself frequently making notes in the margins.

I have many, many books in my bookshelf in my office but nearly none on my desk. Beginning Portable Shell Scripting is going to be one of the very few that will be spending a great deal of time lying flat on my desk, in easy arm-reach."

Wireless Networking

Submission + - Dell to offer White Spaces connectivity in Laptops (

JagsLive writes: On the hills of FCC approval of unlicensed use of White Spaces, Dell said it will be adding a new option for wireless connectivity in future laptops. The company plans to install radio chips that will be capable of connecting to the unused U.S. television spectrum referred to as White Spaces.

FCC regulators voted to open up the unused portion of spectrum from 512 MHz to 698 MHZ that is currently assigned to broadcast television, opening the door to a new opportunity for technology companies.

"We intend to integrate white-space radios into future Dell products," said Neeraj Srivastava, director of technology policy at Dell. Among the products he is speaking of could be laptops, notebooks, netbooks, and any other devices that are capable of accessing the internet wirelessly, he did not give any indication as to when the technology would be available.


The Internet

Air Force To Rewrite the Rules of the Internet 547

meridiangod writes "The Air Force is fed up with a seemingly endless barrage of attacks on its computer networks from stealthy adversaries whose motives and even locations are unclear. So now the service is looking to restore its advantage on the virtual battlefield by doing nothing less than the rewriting the 'laws of cyberspace.'" I'm sure that'll work out really well for them.

Asus To Phase Out Sub-10" Eee PCs 497

jeevesbond writes "The Register reports that Asus president Jerry Shen has revealed his company will be phasing out all sub-10" Eee PCs. According to Shen, the 'standard' netbook next year will be a 10" model with a hard drive running XP. Shen also said XP is outselling GNU/Linux on netbooks by a ratio of 7:3. This is somewhat contrary to news from the UK earlier in the year that GNU/Linux units were out of stock while XP machines sat unsold. Are Brits more open-minded than the rest of the world when it comes to choosing an OS?"

Cisco Demos Public Rooms For Telepresence 65

CWmike writes "Matt Hamblen reports that Cisco Systems Inc. has announced the first telepresence videoconferencing rooms available for public use. It demonstrated the technology simultaneously in four locations in India, the US and the UK Three of the four demonstration sites were retrofitted rooms in Taj Hotels in London, Bangalore, India and Boston. The luxury hotel chain will build the videoconferencing rooms for business and guest use at rates starting at $400 an hour in the Boston location. Cisco said prices will vary from $299 to $899 an hour at various locations globally, depending on the number of users. The rooms can accommodate from one to 18 people."

Submission + - Palin claims dinosaurs and people co-existed (

bigplrbear writes: ""Soon after Sarah Palin was elected mayor of the foothill town of Wasilla, Alaska, she startled a local music teacher by insisting in casual conversation that men and dinosaurs coexisted on an Earth created 6,000 years ago — about 65 million years after scientists say most dinosaurs became extinct — the teacher said." Why am I not surprised?"

Slashdot Top Deals

MSDOS is not dead, it just smells that way. -- Henry Spencer