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Comment Re:A word processor? (Score 1) 221

Setting aside the fact that LaTeX will perform typesetting, those word processing tools utterly fail for creation of documents with lots of (or complex) equations.

They are also very cumbersome for generating cross-references, bibliographic formatting, and management of figures/tables.

One killer feature MS Word *does* have over TeX-based solutions for now is excellent commenting, change tracking and shared collaboration features.

I know both worlds well, having used MS Word for collaborative proposal writing, and TeX for scientific publishing. I strongly prefer LaTeX.


Submission + - Actively exploited vulnerability in Adobe Flash (

An anonymous reader writes: There is a critical vulnerability in the latest version of Adobe Flash that is actively being exploited on Windows. A patch isn't expected until the week of the 27th.
Open Source

Submission + - How PayPal screws open source projects 2

An anonymous reader writes: PayPal is getting nastier and nastier. while reading about a tortoiseSVN update I stumble upon this gem :

It's astonishing to me how a company is allowed to do business that way. Imagine your car shop decides not to do business with you anymore. No problem there, you just go to another shop. But then the shop owner tells you that they keep your car for half a year first because that's their policy. Basically, that's what PayPal does now with my money.



Chrome EULA Reserves the Right To Filter Your Web 171

An anonymous reader writes "Recently, I decided to try out Google Chrome. With my usual mistrust of Google, I decided to carefully read the EULA before installing the software. I paused when I stumbled upon this section: '7.3 Google reserves the right (but shall have no obligation) to pre-screen, review, flag, filter, modify, refuse or remove any or all Content from any Service. For some of the Services, Google may provide tools to filter out explicit sexual content. These tools include the SafeSearch preference settings (see In addition, there are commercially available services and software to limit access to material that you may find objectionable.' Does this mean that Google reserves the right to filter my web browsing experience in Chrome (without my consent to boot)? Is this a carry-over from the EULAs of Google's other services (gmail, blogger etc), or is this something more significant? One would think that after the previous EULA affair with Chrome, Google would try to sound a little less draconian." Update: 04/05 21:14 GMT by T : Google's Gabriel Stricker alerted me to an informative followup: "We saw your Slashdot post and published the following clarification on the Google Chrome blog."

Comment Re:He means I think experimental control (Score 1) 250

As a scientist you don't want to get bogged down building a custom daq. SO the real bottom line is what commercial DAQs are open in design.

The only system I know that might possibly be in the open is the OASIS daq's developed for flow cytometry. these are mass produced and were developed at the National Labs. But I don't know how it is lic.

As a plasma physicist myself, that's exactly the sentiment.

In the plasma physics community, DTACQ digitizers have been becoming increasingly popular, not only because the hardware is top-notch, but they all run embedded Linux and all drivers are GPL.

Comment Exult and Pentagram (Score 1) 381

I think one of the best examples of this topic has to be the Exile project, which has successfully created a cross-platform, open source, modern-day engine to play Origin Software's classic Ultima VII and Ultima VII:Serpent Isle games.

In a similar vein is the Pentagram project, which aims to make a similar engine (and repeat the same daunting reverse-engineering task) for Ultima VIII. If you are an Ultima fan, and *haven't* heard of these projects, go and download them right now. :)


Submission + - HD-DVD or Blu-Ray: which is more F/OSS friendly?

filbranden writes: I'm no expert on the formats for hi-def DVDs, and I have no opinion on which is better. But I wonder which of them is more open and friendlier to F/OSS. That means, which of them has less DRM, which is less patent-encumbered, are there open source software players for any of them? HD-DVD? Blu-Ray? Both? None of them?

Submission + - Beijing Police Launching Animated Web Patrols (

geoffrobinson writes: "And by "animated" they mean cartoons. From the Associated Press:

Police in China's capital said Tuesday they will start patrolling the Web using animated beat officers that pop up on a user's browser and walk, bike or drive across the screen warning them to stay away from illegal Internet content. Starting Sept. 1, the cartoon alerts will appear every half hour on 13 of China's top portals, including Sohu and Sina, and by the end of the year will appear on all Web sites registered with Beijing servers, the Beijing Public Security Ministry said in a statement. China stringently polices the Internet for material and content that the ruling Communist Party finds politically or morally threatening. Despite the controls, nudity, profanity, illegal gambling and pirated music, books and film have proliferated on Chinese Internet servers.


Submission + - Another Sony rootkit ( and its not Bioshock )

An anonymous reader writes: F-Secure is reporting that the drivers for Sony Microvault USB sticks uses rootkit techniques to hide a directory from the Windows API

This USB stick with rootkit-like behavior is closely related to the Sony BMG case. First of all, it is another case where rootkit-like cloaking is ill advisedly used in commercial software. Also, the USB sticks we ordered are products of the same company — Sony Corporation. The Sony MicroVault USM-F fingerprint reader software that comes with the USB stick installs a driver that is hiding a directory under "c:\windows\". So, when enumerating files and subdirectories in the Windows directory, the directory and files inside it are not visible through Windows API. If you know the name of the directory, it is e.g. possible to enter the hidden directory using Command Prompt and it is possible to create new hidden files. There are also ways to run files from this directory. Files in this directory are also hidden from some antivirus scanners (as with the Sony BMG DRM case) — depending on the techniques employed by the antivirus software. It is therefore technically possible for malware to use the hidden directory as a hiding place.

Submission + - Deceased Malayan hit with $218 trillion cell bill (

Suraci writes: Published Sunday 12th August 2007 03:56 GMT

What otherworldly ectoplasms lurk in the oblivion of such an unholy place as accounts receivable?

A Malaysian man who paid off a $23 wireless bill and disconnected his late father's cell phone back in January has been stiffed for subsequent charges on the closed account, MSNBC has reported. Telekom Malaysia sent Yahaya Wahab a bill for 806,400,000,000,000.01 ringgit, or about $218 trillion, for charges to the account, along with a demand from the company's debt collection agency that he settle the alleged debt within 10 days, or get a lawyer.

Bring it on, bean counters. Funereal topcoats, ghostly visages and all.

"If the company wants to seek legal action as mentioned in the letter, I'm ready to face it," Yahaya claimed. "In fact, I can't wait to face it."

No one apparently at Telekom Malaysia is quite sure whether the bill was a mistake, or, cryptically, if Yahaya's father's phone line was used illegally after his death. This correspondent not long ago got his sh*t pushed in by Verizon for $117 in roaming charges during a week-long conference in Montreal, but even at Verizon's ultimate 'screw you' rate of $4.99 per roaming minute, yours truly would have to clock 43.7 trillion pure, hardcore roaming minutes to ring up $218 trillion in charges, or roughly 727 billion Verizon-hours of internet surfing and chit-chat. The $218 trillion total is roughly 17 times the GDP of the United States.

Yahaya, from northern Kedah state, said he nearly fainted when he saw the new bill, and here at El Reg we're curious what supernatural force allowed the grim reapers inhabiting the nether regions of collections and legal to avoid a similar state of semi-conscious disbelief.

The recent discovery of previously unknown life forms in the hinterlands of deepest Africa lends hope that science may yet elucidate the inscrutable nature of the number-crunchers. Of course, Montreal is not exactly on the banks of the river Styx, but if a math-challenged gringo can extrapolate from that mobile billing clusterf*ck, the bean counters at Telekom Malaysia surely can do better.


Submission + - Converting from XP to Ubuntu ( 1

madgreek writes: "Here is a short story about my switch to Ubuntu from XP at work. I have been Microsoft free for 3 months now at a Microsoft heavy shop. Few people know I am using Open Office and Linux. I create countless documents that people open using Word, Excel, PPT and nobody can tell that they were created using Open Office. pen-source-and-microsoft-free-17339"
United States

Submission + - Highway 35W Collapses into Mississippi (

dcapel writes: "In what has been called the worst engineering disaster in decades, a bridge of highway 35W, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has collapsed into the Mississippi. The collapse took place during late rush-hour traffic, so an estimated 50 cars were on the bridge at the time. There is no evidence for terrorist involvement, but an engineering or safety flaw of immense proportions must have been involved. As someone who was working only blocks away at the time, this happened entirely too close to home."
The Internet

Submission + - Classified US military info available over P-to-P

StonyandCher writes: Millions of documents, both government and private, containing sensitive and sometimes classified information are floating about freely on file sharing networks after being inadvertently exposed by individuals downloading P2P software on systems that held the data, members of a U.S. House committee were told Tuesday.

Among the documents exposed: The Pentagon's entire secret backbone network infrastructure diagram, complete with IP addresses and password change scripts; contractor data on radio frequency manipulation to beat Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) in Iraq; physical terrorism threat assessments for three major U.S cities; information on five separate Department of Defense information security system audits.

Submission + - Renewable energy wrecks environment? (

voidstarstar writes: Renewable does not mean green. That is the claim of Jesse Ausubel of the Rockefeller University in New York. Ausubel argues that the land use incurred by wind farms, dams and biomass fields are going to wreck the environment. On the other hand, "Nuclear energy is green," he claims, "Considered in Watts per square meter, nuclear has astronomical advantages over its competitors." So should we start building lots of nuclear power plants?

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