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Submission + - Google at the Gas Pump

sheepoo writes: CNN is reporting that Google has partnered with gas stsaions in the US to provide driving directions, starting early next month.

Submission + - Major Vista performance patches made official

Brentwood writes: It only took them 6 months, but Ars reports that Microsoft has officially released the long-awaited performance and compatability updates that have been quietly tested the last few weeks. According to Ars, the updates fix some major flaws with Vista, including the notorious slow copy bug. Hibernation fixes and big updates for nVidia cards are included, too. They won't hit Windows Update for another week, but you can grab them from Microsoft directly: the compatibility and reliability update, the performance and reliability update.

Submission + - Wikipedia unmasks top US spy -- 15 months ago

sgml4kids writes: Yahoo News is reporting that Jose Rodriguez, head of the CIA's National Clandestine Service has unmasked himself in the months preceding his upcoming retirement. From TFA:

Rodriguez is the most important man in the U.S. spy game whose name you probably never knew. When he was mentioned publicly before now, he was referred to only as "Jose."
You probably never knew "Jose"'s real identity, unless, of course you've looked up "Director of National Clandestine Service" on Wikipedia anytime in the last 10 months or Rodriguez's own Wikipedia entry as early as 15 months ago.

Submission + - Google Earth highlights Darfur

jc42 writes: NPR, PCworld, and some 400 other news sources (according to Google News) are reporting on a new Google feature: Google Earth, in cooperation with the US Holocaust Memorial Museum now presents details of the growing disaster in Darfur. They give a virtual tour of the area, with details of events in many villages in the words of local residents. So in addition to their "Do no evil" motto, they apparently now have a policy of exposing evil. Needless to say, the Sudan government didn't exactly cooperate with this project.

Feed Don't Sue DontDateHimGirl In The Wrong State (

There were already plenty of problems with the lawsuit filed by a guy upset about what some women wrote about him on a site called It has been widely discussed that the lawsuit against the site was poorly aimed, since the site was protected against libel charges under section 230 of the CDA. The site is just a service provider, which played no role in writing or verifying the content posted to the site, and therefore should have no liability for the content. However, it appears there was another problem with the suit: jurisdiction. The original lawsuit has been tossed out of a Pennsylvania court, with the judge noting that he has no jurisdiction over the site, which is based in Florida. With that, the liability issue wasn't even addressed -- but could certainly come back up if the suit is refiled in Florida.

Submission + - Theoretical Device Could Cloak Visible Light

brunascle writes: A new theoretical design using nanowires could provide a way to cloak visible light. Advancing on last year's microwave-cloaking breakthrough, the new design is theoretically able to work in the upper end of the visible spectrum, at a wavelength of 632.8 nanometers — visible red light. The researches behind it are calling it the first practical design of its kind to work in the visible spectrum. At around 400 to 700nm, visible light has a much shorter wavelength than microwave, 1mm to 30cm. Because of this, using this technology in the visible spectrum requires components just 40 nanometers in size. The group is now working on an actual device using the theoretical design.

Journal Journal: Georgia Tech Unveils Prototype Nanogenerator 208

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have created a working prototype nanogenerator capable of generating as much as 4 watts per cubic centimeter of continuous direct current. The generators are green (to use), drawing power from natural motion in the surrounding environment. They are based on non-toxic chemicals and should be safe for use in biomechanical implants, but that's not their only potential use. From the artic

Chinese Govt Limits Kids to 3hrs of Online Gaming 299

1MC writes "The Chinese govt is requiring game houses to modify MMOG's to restrict under 18 users to 3 hours "productive" gameplay per day. This "anti-addiction" software must be in place within 4 months, with games not compliant by July 15 liable to be shut down in China. Net9, Shanda and NetEase will be moving to comply with the government regulations. Users will have to register with their real names and Chinese identity card numbers to be allowed access to the games."

Submission + - Inside Wal-Mart's 'Threat Research' Operation

An anonymous reader writes: The Wal-Mart Stores Inc. worker fired last month for intercepting a reporter's phone calls says he was part of a larger, sophisticated surveillance operation that included snooping not only on employees, but also on critics, stockholders and the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. As part of the surveillance, the retailer last year had a long-haired employee infiltrate an anti-Wal-Mart group to determine if it planned protests at the company's annual meeting, according to Bruce Gabbard, the fired security worker, who worked in Wal-Mart's Threat Research and Analysis Group. The company also deployed cutting-edge monitoring systems made by a supplier to the Defense Department that allowed it to capture and record the actions of anyone connected to its global computer network. The systems' high-tech wizardry could detect the degree of flesh-tone on a viewed Internet image, and alerted monitors that a vendor sharing Wal-Mart networks was viewing pornography. Wal-Mart has since disconnected some systems amid an internal investigation of the group's activities earlier this year, according to an executive in the security-information industry. The revelations by Mr. Gabbard, many of which were confirmed by other former Wal-Mart employees and security-industry professionals, provide a rare window into the retail giant's internal operations and mindset. The company fired Mr. Gabbard, a 19-year employee, last month for unauthorized recording of calls to and from a New York Times reporter and for intercepting pager messages. Wal-Mart conducted an internal investigation of Mr. Gabbard and his group's activities, fired his supervisor and demoted a vice president over the group as well. Mr. Gabbard says he recorded the calls on his own because he felt pressured to stop embarrassing leaks. But he says most of his spying activities were sanctioned by superiors. "I used to joke that Wal-Mart paid me to be paranoid and they got their money's worth," Mr. Gabbard says. Wal-Mart says it permitted recording employee calls "only in compelling circumstances and with written permission from the legal department." But because pager messages were sent over a frequency that was not secure, Mr. Gabbard inadvertently intercepted pages from non-Wal-Mart employees as well. A U.S. attorney is investigating whether any laws were violated as a result of the phone and pager intercepts. Aside from that possible infraction, Wal-Mart's surveillance activity appears to be legal. U.S. courts have long held that companies can read employee emails, and Wal-Mart employees are informed they have "no expectation of privacy" when using company-supplied computers or phones. The surveillance of people in public places is also legal. 559297-lMyQjAxMDE3NzA1OTYwNTk0Wj.html

Submission + - Microsoft is Dead, says Paul Graham

gurps_npc writes: I know that so many Slashdotters will be very upset with Paul Graham for saying this (yeah, right), but he recently published an online essay that declared Microsoft Dead. He was not saying they are losing money (he said they had a ton of cash and were still raking it in), but instead that they are no longer to be feared by hot new programmers as competition. I think that Churchhill would have described it as "the end of the beginning" rather than death, but you get the idea.

Basically he was claiming that almost no serious computer professional that he knew bought an MS computer, we all buy Mac's or Linux machines. Thus, as the hot new stuff was coming otu on Mac/Linux, the future belongs to Mac/Linux. I assume he was not including corporate purchased equiptment.

So, do the rest of us agree? Do any of your friends use Windows for their own personal machines? Or are all the hot new programmers buying Apple instead?
XBox (Games)

Submission + - What Happened To Cheat Codes On Game Consoles?

RCTrucker7 writes: "NOTE: I only selected "XBox (Games)" as my Topic, because I couldn't find a Topic that entailed video games in general, or as a whole, and I currently own and play on an X-Box 360. My Video Game Background; I'm a 37 year old male, who now plays games on the X-Box 360 and PC, but started out with an "Intellivision" as my first video game system. My Question; Back when the PS1 came out and carried thru to the PS2 (I didn't have or play on the first X-Box or any of Nintendo's systems after the NES), it was quite common, especially in games that had "attributes" associated with your character ( say, Strength, Agility, and Speed for a Sports Game) or items that had fluctuating values associated with them (say, the number of bullets left in your clip, the number of health points left, or being invulnerable for a FPS game) to have codes put in place by the developers of a game, that either automatically changed the associated value, or allowed you to change it to your own desired level. For example, maybe you would push Up then Down on the Directional Pad, then hit Triangle, Square, Circle, X, X, Circle, Square, Triangle in a FPS game, and that would unlock all the weapons that were available in the game, with unlimited ammo for all of them too. Or you'd do some other sequence and that would allow you to fully jack up all the stats of your player in a football game. Then along came "outside" codes, via third-party hardware, such as the Game Shark and Code Breaker. These typically gave you all the developer codes and then some. But it seemed that even with these devices, games still had the tried-n-true developer codes in them. If you couldn't figure them out, then you could always buy "the book" or ask your video game playing God friend what the codes were. Then came along sites such as GameFaqs, where you could look up a game title, hit the "Cheats/Codes" link for it, and have the "keys to the kingdom" for your chosen game. It was great. But now, especially since I've been on the X-Box 360, I've noticed that when I hit that "Cheats/Codes" link for a game, all I get are "Unlockables" and what accomplishment/task/quest/etc needs to be done to unlock it. This is not including the "Achievements" for an X-Box 360 game. To me these are not Cheats or Codes. These are things already included in the game which "open" as part of the expected normal playing of the game. What happened to my "Up/Down/Up/Down/B/X/B/Y" developer code to give me unlimited ammo in "Rainbow Six: Vegas"? Or my "Left/Right/X/Y/X/Right/Left" developer code to give me "99" in all the stats of my SuperStar in Madden NFL '07? What happened to my beloved codes? I've only seen a couple of games in this "Next-Gen" of gaming that have them; "Saints Row" comes to mind as an excellent example. You pull out your in-game cell phone; enter a certain phone number and BAM! Unlimited Ammo. Call another number and BAM! Free cash in my pocket. So what happened? Where did all the codes go? Was there some secret developer summit that no one knows about, where they all decided that "From now on...there will be...NO...MORE...In-Game...CODES!!!"?"

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