Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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Solar Powered Wi-Fi 119

inkslinger77 writes "A small US startup has announced it has created a system for running Wi-Fi routers in remote places using only the power of the sun. Among the first round of products from Solis Energy is the Solar Power Plant, touted as being capable of supplying 12, 24 and 48 Volts DC for use in stand-alone applications such as surveillance cameras and outdoor Wi-Fi."
The Almighty Buck

How SBC (AT&T) Pillaged South Africa's Economy 270

Kifoth writes "For 8 years, SBC and Telekom Malaysia controlled South Africa's only telecommunications company, Telkom. Telkom had a government granted monopoly in order for it to connect the large parts of South Africa that had been neglected under apartheid. Instead of helping, SBC abused their position and raised Telkom's prices to be among the highest in the world. The billions they made here ultimately went to fund their AT&T merger. From the article: 'SBC, described as "congenitally litigious", is said to have played a major role in the failure of South Africa's telecoms policy to develop a competitive telephone service. Under SBC's control Telkom not only failed to meet its roll-out obligations but behaved "as a tax on industry and a drag on economic growth."'"

MS Responds To Vista's Network / Audio Problems 528

quirdan writes "With the discovery last week of the connection between Vista's poor networking performance and audio activities, word quickly spread around the Net. No doubt this got Microsoft's attention, and they have responded to the issue. Microsoft states that 'some of what we are seeing is expected behavior, and some of it is not'; and that they are working on technical documentation, as well as applying a slight sugar coating to the symptoms. Apparently they believe an almost 90% drop in networking performance is 'slight,' only affects reception of data, and that this performance trade-off is necessary to simply play an MP3."

Skype Linux Reads Password and Firefox Profile 335

mrcgran writes "Users of Skype for Linux have just found out that it reads the files /etc/passwd, firefox profile, plugins, addons, etc, and many other unnecessary files in /etc. This fact was originally discovered by using AppArmor, but others have confirmed this fact using strace on versions and What is going on? This probably shows how important it is to use AppArmor in any closed-source application in Linux to restrict any undue access to your files."

Stephane Rodriguez Dismantles Open XML 188

Elektroschock writes "Stephane Rodriguez, a reengineering specialist who became popular for his article on MS Office 2007 binary data, now comprehensively debunks Microsoft's new Open XML format. With small case studies he demonstrates the impossible challenges third-party developers will face. His conclusion: it is 'defective by design.' Next week members of the International Standard Organization are likely to approve the format as a second official ISO standard for office documents, even though most nations have submitted comments. Rodriguez claims he is 'not affiliated to any pro-MS or anti-MS party/org[anization]/ass[ociation].'"

Microsoft Pledges Conditional Support for ODF 241

Macthorpe writes "BetaNews is reporting that Microsoft has announced in a letter that they will support ODF as a format option, if it doesn't 'restrict choice among formats'. Citing their lack of opposition to the ratification of ODF as a standard, they go on to say: 'ODF's design may make it attractive to those users that are interested in a particular level of functionality in their productivity suite or developers who want to work that format. Open XML may be more attractive to those who want richer functionality [...] This is not to say that one is better than the other — just that they meet different needs in the marketplace.'"
The Media

Blogs Are Eating Tech Media Alive 247

Heinz writes with an article in Forbes on how advertising in tech media is drying up and going — where else? — into specialist blogs and Google. "Silicon Valley is booming again. But if you work in tech media, there's blood on the floor. Take Red Herring. It hung onto its offices after getting the eviction notice earlier this month. But gossip site Valleywag is breaking story after story not just on its beat — but about its woes. Meanwhile, bigger publications are hurting too: Time Warner's Business 2.0 saw ad pages drop 21.8% through March from the same period a year ago; PC Magazine's editor in chief walked out the door after ad pages fell 38.8% over the same period; and one-time online powerhouse CNET is reporting growing losses even as the companies it covers flourish. It may be happening in tech first, but there's no reason the same thing won't happen, eventually, in every media niche."
Wireless Networking

IPhones Flooding Wireless LAN At Duke 441

coondoggie sends us to a Network World story, as is his wont, about network problems at Duke University in Durham, N.C. that seem to be related to the iPhone. "The Wi-Fi connection on Apple's recently released iPhone seems to be the source of a big headache for network administrators at Duke. The built-in 802.11b/g adapters on several iPhones periodically flood sections of the school's wireless LAN with MAC address requests, temporarily knocking out anywhere from a dozen to 30 wireless access points at a time. Campus network staff are talking with Cisco, the main WLAN provider, and have opened a help-desk ticket with Apple. But so far, the precise cause of the problem remains unknown. 'Because of the time of year for us, it's not a severe problem,' says Kevin Miller, assistant director, communications infrastructure, with Duke's Office of Information Technology. 'But from late August through May, our wireless net is critical. My concern is how many students will be coming back in August with iPhones? It's a pretty big annoyance, right now, with 20-30 access points signaling they're down, and then coming back up a few minutes later. But in late August, this would be devastating.'" So far, the communication with Apple has been "one-way."

Open Library Project Takes Flight 126

Aaron Swartz today announced the launch of the new Open Library project. The goal of the project is to produce the world's greatest library on the Internet free for anyone to use. Starting with the Internet Archive's book scanning project and organizing the insertion of new content via a wiki-type model the project seems to be off to a great start. The demo, source code, and mailing lists were all opened up today in hopes of drawing interest from the public at large.

World's Largest Telescope Up and Running 120

apdyck writes "ITWire is reporting that the world's largest telescope is now up and running, conducting one-year series of tests. The Great Canary Telescope, located in the Canary Islands, is the largest telescope in the world at 10.4 m (34') in diameter. Not for your average stargazer! 'The reflective telescope, sometimes also called GranTeCan, uses technology called adaptive optics, in which the mirror changes its shape in order to correct distortions of light caused by the Earth's atmosphere. The telescope is part of the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos, located on the island of La Palma, Spain, within the Atlantic Ocean.'"

Diamonds Are a Fuel Cell's Best Friend 210

Roland Piquepaille writes "Researchers at UC Davis have used nanocrystals made of diamond-like cubic zirconia to develop cooler fuel cells. Even if hydrogen fuel cells have been touted as clean energy sources, current fuel cells have to run at high temperatures of up to 1,000 C. This new technology will allow fuel cells to run at much lower temperatures, between 50 and 100 C. Obviously, this could lead to a widespread use of fuel cells, which could become a realistic alternative power source for vehicles. The researchers have applied for a patent for their technology, but don't tell when fuel cells based on their work are about to appear."

Adobe Flash Exploit Could Log Keystrokes 156

Kenyon Lessi writes "Adobe has issued three critical security updates, one of which is designed to stop a problem in the way the Flash player interacts with browsers, which could result in users' keystrokes being transmitted to attackers. The problem affect Adobe Flash Player version, and, as well as their earlier versions running on all platforms."

1935 Meccano "Dam Busters" Computer Restored 175

rob1959 writes "A 1935 analog computer, built at Cambridge University and used to help plan the Dam Busters attacks on the Ruhr hydro dams in World War II, has been restored and put on display at Auckland's Museum of Transport and Technology. The computer came to NZ around 1950 and was used, ironically, to build hydro dams there — and to calculate rabbit population numbers."

Attacking Sandboxes 110

SkiifGeek writes "Many anti-malware applications use a sandbox as a tool to help identify potentially malicious software. Now knowledge is spreading about techniques and methods that can allow sandboxed software to target the sandbox itself (and by extension the application that applied it). While attacks that specifically target sandboxing applications are probably a little way off, this technology can be considered the logical extension of techniques and procedures to identify the presence of hosted systems (VMWare, Virtual PC, etc.)."

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