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


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How Comic Fans & Shops Are Stereotyped 387

brumgrunt writes "Why do TV shows, such as 30 Rock, The Simpsons, Heroes, and Everybody Loves Raymond, persist in so ferevently stereotyping comic book fans and stores? Den of Geek has pulled together eight examples, with video evidence to back them up ..." Minus one point for doubling up on Malcolm in the Middle. Plus 10 points for referencing Spaced, which I hope you all have seen.
Data Storage

Forensics Tool Finds Headerless Encrypted Files 374

gurps_npc writes "Forensics Innovations claims to have for sale a product that detects headerless encrypted files, such as TrueCrypt Dynamic files. It does not decrypt the file, just tells you that it is in fact an encrypted file. It works by detecting hidden patterns that don't exist in a random file. It does not mention steganography, but if their claim is true, it seems that it should be capable of detecting stenographic information as well."

Ubuntu Kung Fu Screenshot-sm 253

Lorin Ricker writes "Back in the dark ages of windows-based GUIs, corresponding to my own wandering VMS evangelical days, I became enamored of a series of books jauntily entitled Xxx Annoyances (from O'Reilly & Assocs.), where "Xxx" could be anything from "Windows 95", "Word", "Excel" or nearly piece of software which Microsoft produced. These were, if not the first, certainly among the most successful of the "tips & tricks" books that have become popular and useful to scads of hobbyists, ordinary users, hackers and, yes, even professionals in various IT pursuits. I was attracted, even a bit addicted, to these if only because they offered to try to make some useful sense out of the bewildering design choices, deficiencies and bugs that I'd find rampant in Windows and its application repertory. Then I found Keir Thomas, who has been writing about Linux for more than a decade. His new "tips" book entitled, Ubuntu Kung Fu — Tips & Tools for Exploring Using, and Tuning Linux, and published by Pragmatic Bookshelf, is wonderful. Having only recently wandered into the light of Linux, open source software, and Ubuntu in particular, this book comes as a welcome infusion to my addiction." Read below for the rest of Lorin's review.

Safe Stem Cells Produced From Adult Cells 207

hackingbear writes "Wired, citing a paper published in Science magazine, reports that Harvard scientists may have found a safer way of giving a flake of skin the biologically alchemical powers of embryonic stem cells by turning adult cells into versatile, embryonic-like cells without causing permanent damage. The technique involves 'adding cell-reprogramming genes to adenoviruses, a type of virus that infects cells without affecting their DNA.' Four-month trials on mice demonstrated that the resulting stem cells are free from unpredictable cancer-inducing mutations. This is definitely a breakthrough in stem cell research." Additional coverage is available at Yahoo, and Science hosts the research paper, although you'll need a subscription to see more than the abstract.

Spam King Escapes From Federal Prison 596

Bobfrankly1 writes "The FBI, IRS, and the Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force are helping the US Marshals search for escaped 'Spam King' Edward 'Eddie' Davidson. He apparently jumped in a car with his wife, changed clothes at home, and hasn't been seen since." Update: 07/24 22:20 GMT by T : It seems that Davidson has been found, victim of a murder-suicide which also left two others dead.

Police Director Sues AOL For Critical Blogger's Name 282

Pippin writes "Memphis Police Director, Larry Godwin, is suing AOL for the names of the authors of the Enforcer 2.0 blog. The blog is rumored to be authored by a Memphis police officer, and is critical of the department, Godwin, and some procedures. Godwin is actually using taxpayer dollars for this and, interestingly, the complaint is sealed".

Dell Colludes With RIAA, Disables Stereo Mix 377

RCTrucker7 writes with a link to a Maximum PC story, which begins: "Details of Dell's surreptitious collusion with RIAA (Record Industry Association of America) have emerged. Apparently, the computer manufacturer disabled the Stereo Mix/Mono Mix/Wave Out sound recording function on certain notebooks to assuage RIAA. The hardware functionality is being disabled without any prior notice and one blogger has even alleged that he was asked by Dell's customer support staff to [shell] out $99 if he desired the stereo mix option. Gateway and Pac Bell are the other two manufacturers to have bowed to RIAA at the expense of their customers' satisfaction and disabled stereo mix without warning." (There are some workarounds posted in the comments of the linked article.)
The Almighty Buck

EBay Abandons Plans For PayPal Monopoly 277

An anonymous reader writes "eBay's has lost its fight to ban all payment methods except PayPal. When Paypal originally announced the scheme it was to be global, but they began with a dry run in Australia to test the reaction of government and consumer authorities. In the public slanging match that followed between eBay and the regulatory ACCC, eBay spammed users claiming it was fighting for 'safety benefits for consumers.' Fortunately the consumers won. Conceded eBay vice president Simon Smith, 'While we disagree with the ACCC's draft notice, we have decided to withdraw the notification to stop any further confusion and disruption among the eBay community.' Nevertheless eBay insists PayPal is now always offered as a payment option. Have big corporations finally learned that they can go too far? More chillingly, if eBay had launched the scheme in America would they have gotten away with it?"
The Internet

Adobe Makes Flash Crawlable 232

nickull wrote in his journal that "Today Adobe systems made an announcement that it has provided technology and information to Google and Yahoo! to help the two search engine rivals index Shockwave Flash (SWF) file formats. According to the company, this will provide more relevant search rankings of the millions pieces of Flash content. Until now, developers had to implement workarounds for exposing text content used in Flash to search-engine spiders and other bots such as using XHTML data providers. While the Flash content is exposed, it is not yet clear how it will be utilized by the search engines, as they have not revealed their algorithms. The SWF specification is openly published."
The Courts

French Judge Orders Refund For Pre-Installed XP 663

Racketiciel writes "A French user asked for a refund after buying an ASUS computer that came with Windows XP and other software pre-installed. ASUS tried to apply a procedure which cost more money to the consumer than they will give back... The court ruled in favor of the user, who received back 130 Euro (~200 $) for the software. Here is the ruling (PDF, French). In France, this is the fourth victory for refund seekers during the last two years, and many people are now filing for refunds (in French). Two French associations (AFUL and April) published a press release on this victory the same day an important hearing happened." The English-language press release linked above gives a pretty good idea of what happened here, for those unsuited to wading through French.

Are These People Reshaping the Gaming Industry? 127

Mark Graham writes "An EU game development site has put up a list of the 25 people they think are 'reshaping the games business'. Although they admit the list is highly subjective, it's a debate-provoking piece, and some of the entries (Portal designer Kim Swift and's founder) are spot on, going for the people that have introduced innovations rather than those that dominate column inches. Miyamoto is absent from the list, for example — although his boss Satoru Iwata is in there. Including Japansese designers like Hironobo Sakaguchi (ranked for his successful prolific outsourced development process) instead of Hideo Kojima is sure to anger a few fanboys. Or at least raise a few eyebrows." Anyone they left off that should obviously be on there?

SpaceShipTwo Design and Pics Released 245

An anonymous reader writes "Designs and photos for Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic's new suborbital spacecraft, SpaceShipTwo, and its carrier aircraft, WhiteKnightTwo, have been released." Lots of specs and numbers if you're interested in that sort of thing although nothing hugely detailed.

Robots Learn To Lie 276

garlicnation writes "Gizmodo reports that robots that have the ability to learn and can communicate information to their peers have learned to lie. 'Three colonies of bots in the 50th generation learned to signal to other robots in the group when then found food or poison. But the fourth colony included lying cheats that signaled food when they found poison and then calmly rolled over to the real food while other robots went to their battery-death.'"

Bizarre Self-Destructing Palm Tree Found 190

Smivs writes "A giant self-destructing palm tree has been discovered in Madagascar. The palm is 20m (60ft) high with leaves 5m (16ft) long, the tallest tree of its type in the country, but for most of its life — around 100 years — it appears fairly unremarkable apart from its size. However, when it flowers, it puts so much energy into an impressive flower-spike, that it eventually collapses and dies. Dr John Dransfield, who announced the tree in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, is baffled as to how it came to be in the country. It bears a resemblance to a species of palm found in regions of Asia; 6,000km away. It is thought that the palm has gone through a remarkable evolution since Madagascar split with India some 80m years ago."

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