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


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Submission + - Priest checks fingerprints for mass attendance (

mytrip writes: A Polish priest has installed an electronic reader in his church for schoolchildren to leave their fingerprints in order to monitor their attendance at mass, the Gazeta Wyborcza daily said on Friday.

The pupils in the southern town of Gryfow Slaski told the daily they liked the idea and also the priest, Grzegorz Sowa, who invented it.

"This is comfortable. We don't have to stand in a line to get the priest's signature (confirming our presence at the mass) in our confirmation notebooks," said one pupil, who gave her name as Karolina.


Submission + - Google paying for bugs reported (

mytrip writes: Remember how Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) promised a $1 million prize to anyone who could improve the company's movie suggestions system by even a modest amount?

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is trying its hand at the same concept. The Chromium project, which is the basis for the Google Chrome Web browser and thus the upcoming Google Chrome operating system as well, now offers payments ranging from $500 to $1,337 per security bug reported.

Submission + - Rocket man fails to fly from Morocco to Spain (

mytrip writes: A Swiss adventurer went down in the Atlantic on Wednesday while trying to fly from Morocco to Spain with jet-powered wings strapped to his back. A rescue helicopter pulled him from the water and he appeared unhurt.

Yves Rossy took off from Tangiers but five minutes into an expected 15-minute flight he was obliged to ditch into the wind-swept waters.


Submission + - Google gifts US airports with free holiday Wi-Fi (

mytrip writes: Google is giving the gift of free wireless Internet to travelers at a host of US airports this holiday season.

The California-based Internet powerhouse said Tuesday that it is working with Boingo Wireless, Advanced Wireless Group, and Airport Marketing Income to turn airports into free Internet hot spots through January 15 of next year.

"We're very happy to extend our Holiday Wi-Fi gift to the millions of people who will spend time in airports over the next few months," said Google vice president of search products Marissa Mayer.

Comment sprint mifi! (Score 1) 438

I have a Sprint MiFi and like it but you should know Sprint and Verizon do not have data everywhere they have voice. AT&T does but I dont think they have a MiFi right now. The mifi is from novatel and gives you a wireless hotspot that provides data for up to 5 devices. Way cool and no software to install. I just love mine.

Submission + - Bush's Search Policy For Travelers Is Kept (

mytrip writes: The Obama administration will largely preserve Bush-era procedures allowing the government to search — without suspicion of wrongdoing — the contents of a traveler's laptop computer, cellphone or other electronic device, although officials said new policies would expand oversight of such inspections.

Submission + - Palm's webOS root image leaks out (

mytrip writes: It's only been a few days since the Palm Pre was released, but one of the biggest breakthroughs for the outside-the-system developer community may have just been made. As noted in our forums, the "webOS Reset Doctor" has leaked out — including the 195 MB webOS root.
The Courts

Submission + - Psystar Files for Bankruptcy (

mytrip writes: Mac clone maker Psystar has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Florida, temporarily slowing down Apple's legal case against it. The filing may be an indication that the company's financial backers have pulled out, signaling they see Apple as the clear winner in court.

Apple hit Psystar with a lawsuit claiming the company was violating the Mac OS X licensing agreement with end users, and that it was violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act with the steps it used to install the Mac operating system on PCs.

Despite Apple's claims that the company doesn't have permission to sell PCs with Mac OS X, and now its bankruptcy filing, Psystar is still offering Mac clones for sale on its Web site.

Even if Psystar has plans of continuing its battle against Apple to sell PCs with Mac OS X installed, it isn't in a strong position to move forward once the Judge overseeing its bankruptcy lifts the automatic stay since it doesn't likely have money to pay for its legal defense. Without the cash to pay its legal team, Psystar probably won't have anyone to represent it in court, and won't be in a position to defend itself against Apple.


Submission + - Cyberspies Infiltrated US Electrical Grid (

mytrip writes: A U.S. newspaper is reporting that spies using the Internet have infiltrated control systems of the U.S. electrical supply network and planted computer programs that could be used to disrupt electricity service.

The report in The Wall Street Journal cites current and former national security officials as saying the spies are from China, Russia and other countries.

The report says a senior intelligence official says the computer software tools left behind could be used to destroy infrastructure components, and officials are concerned the programs would be used in times of war or crisis. The report says officials say water, sewage and other infrastructure systems were also at risk.


Submission + - Microsoft closing the book on Encarta (

mytrip writes: Microsoft has quietly confirmed that it is getting out of the encyclopedia business, ending its long-standing Encarta product.

As noted by Ars Technica, the software maker says it will discontinue all its online Encarta products by October, with the exception of Encarta Japan, which will run through the end of the year. It will also stop selling Microsoft Student and Encarta Premium, paid software products that included the online encyclopedia.

In a posting on its Web site, Microsoft said that the move reflected the change in the way people use reference material. It didn't mention Wikipedia by name, but I think we all know the biggest change to encyclopedias to come around in recent memory.


Submission + - OnLive console could threaten Xbox, PS3 and Wii (

mytrip writes: OnLive, which was started by WebTV founder Steve Perlman and former Eidos CEO Mike McGarvey, is aiming to launch a system — seven years in the works — that will digitally distribute first-run, AAA games from publishers like Electronic Arts, Take-Two, Ubisoft, Atari, and others, all at the same time as those titles are released into retail channels.

The system is designed to allow players to stream on-demand games at the highest quality onto any Intel-based Mac or PC running XP or Vista, regardless of how powerful the computer.

The system will also stream games directly to a TV via a small plug-in device, and players can use a custom wireless controller as well as VoIP headsets in conjunction with it.

According to Perlman, OnLive's technology will make it possible to stream the games in such a manner--high quality, no matter what kind of system the user has--by virtue of a series of patented and patent-pending compression technologies. And instead of requiring users to download the games, OnLive will host them all and stream them from a series of the highest-end servers. Users will have only to download a 1MB plug-in to get the service up and running.

OnLive is hoping to capture a significant portion of the video game market share. In February, the industry posted one of its strongest months ever, with total sales of $1.47 billion, up 10 percent from a year ago. And in February, the Xbox, PS3 and Wii accounted for total sales of 1.42 million units.

Sun Microsystems

Submission + - IBM in talks to buy Sun Microsystems (

mytrip writes: NEW YORK — Shares of Sun Microsystems soared Wednesday after a published report said International Business Machines Corp. is in preliminary talks to buy Sun for at least $6.5 billion in cash. IBM, after an enormous restructuring in the 1990s, has proven one of the technology industry's most reliable earners. It has gobbled up dozens of companies in recent years. But a $6.5 billion deal would be its biggest to date. It also would represent a big premium for Sun, which closed trading Tuesday with a market capitalization of less than $4 billion.

Submission + - Obama:IP Treaty a 'National Security' Secret (

mytrip writes: President Barack Obama came into office in January promising a new era of openness.

But now, like Bush before him, Obama is playing the national security card to hide details of the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement being negotiated across the globe.

The White House this week declared the text of the proposed treaty a "properly classified" national security secret, in rejecting a Freedom of Information Act request by Knowledge Ecology International.

"Please be advised the documents you seek are being withheld in full," wrote Carmen Suro-Bredie, chief FOIA officer in the White House's Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.


Submission + - Microsoft pulls plug on Xbox support (

mytrip writes: In early 2006, several months after it launched the Xbox 360, Microsoft ceased manufacturing the original Xbox. Today, the company pulled the plug on its first console entirely. The company has officially ended out-of-warranty support for the original Xbox, some eight and a half years after Bill Gates handed out the first device.

"On March 2, 2009, service repairs for Original Xbox video game systems for which the Warranty has expired will no longer be available," reads Microsoft's official support site. "Any other technical support, documents, and content, however, will continue to be available to all our customers. Although Microsoft is ending repair services for the Original Xbox, an upgrade program and support will be maintained for Original Xbox consoles that are still under Warranty."

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