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


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Submission + - WARNING: driver updates causing Vista deactivation (

KrispySausage writes: "After weeks of gruelling troubleshooting, I've finally had it confirmed by Microsoft Australia and USA — something as small as swapping the video card or updating a device driver can trigger a total Vista deactivation.

Put simply, your copy of Windows will stop working with very little notice (three days) and your PC will go into "reduced functionality" mode, where you can't do anything but use the web browser for half an hour.

How can this ridiculous situation occur, and what is Microsoft's response... read on."

Linux Business

Submission + - Free Software Foundation fights against M$-Novell

head_dunce writes: "Peter Brown, executive director of the Free Software Foundation, is fighting against the Microsoft-Novell deal, "to make sure such deals don't make a mockery of the goals of free software. Whenever a new method comes along to effectively turn free software into proprietary software, we will adjust the license." The foundation will seek public comments on the draft for 60 days before finalizing the new license agreement, which will go into effect from June 26."

Submission + - Now Is Not the Time for Vista

narramissic writes: With nearly a month of Vista availability behind us, businesses don't seem to be in any rush to take the leap. An article on ITworld cites two significant reasons for the foot-dragging. First, Microsoft's case-by-case approach to Vista patches, which is leaving some problems unpatched until after the consumer release in January. Second, application (in)compatibility. From the article:
Some of the applications that still aren't compatible with Vista include IBM Corp.'s Lotus Notes e-mail and collaboration suite; Cisco Systems Inc.'s and Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.'s VPN clients; Intuit Corp.'s accounting software QuickBooks 2006 and earlier versions; and anti-virus (AV) software from Trend Micro Inc.

Submission + - Microsoft adCenter overcharges new customers

Anonymous Coward writes: "Microsoft adCenter's billing system tries to overbill a customer who used a promotional code, and no employees are able to correctly read an invoice or correct the problem. Apparently, the incident is not isolated, judging by users' comments on this blog ( ).

Microsoft has finally admitted fault to this one user, but has not fixed his account. It's possible that Microsoft has overbilled everyone else who took advantage of their latest promotions ( and, yet it doesn't look like they can fix a single one of these fradulent charges — customer service can't actually touch the billing system."

Computer Characters Tortured for Science 306

Rob Carr writes "Considered unethical to ever perform again with humans, researcher Mel Slater recreated the Milgram experiment in a immersive virtual environment. Subjects (some of whom could see and hear the computerized woman, others who were only able to read text messages from her) were told that they were interacting with a computer character and told to give increasingly powerful electric shocks when wrong answers were given or the 'woman' took too long to respond. The computer program would correspondingly complain and beg as the 'shocks' were ramped up, falling apparently unconscious before the last shock. The skin conductance and electrocardiograms of the subjects were monitored. Even though the subjects knew they were only 'shocking' a computer program, their bodies reacted with increased stress responses. Several of the ones who could see and hear the woman stopped before reaching the 'lethal' voltage, and about half considered stopping the study. The full results of the experimental report can be read online at PLoS One. Already, some (like William Dutton of the Oxford Internet Institute) are asking whether even this sanitized experiment is ethical."

Submission + - Network Administration - Nagios

Joel Koglin writes: "This is a very simple step by step, copy and paste tutorial for how to install Nagios 2.6 (Nov 26-06). It describes the source install and configuration for Nagios and its plugins. I found this guide to be the most definitive guide out there. I have done 3 installs of Nagios for small businesses. When I am done I give them the link to the second page of this guide which tells them how to make their own plugins and how to use the check_by_ssh and well everything else they need to know."

Submission + - Daylight Savings Time will change in 2007

An anonymous reader writes: The Miami Herald writes in a Question and Answer column that there will be a change in daylight savings time, starting in 2007. The change is one of many being made as a result of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 in an attempt to conserve energy around the nation.

From the Wikipedia article: "The bill amends the Uniform Time Act of 1966 by changing the start and end dates of daylight saving time starting in 2007. Clocks will be set ahead one hour on the second Sunday of March instead of the current first Sunday of April. Clocks will be set back one hour on the first Sunday in November, rather than the last Sunday of October. This will make electronic clocks that had pre-programmed dates for adjusting to daylight saving time obsolete and will require updates to computer operating systems. The date for the end of daylight saving time has the effect of increasing evening light on Halloween (October 31)."

Microsoft has apparently already released an update for this daylight savings time change and will include the change in the up-and-coming OS, Windows Vista.
Media (Apple)

Submission + - iTunes Visits Skyrocket 413% On Christmas Day

An anonymous reader writes: Hitwise today announced that the market share of visits to the iTunes website was up 413 percent on Christmas Day 2006 (December 25, 2006) versus Christmas Day 2005 as new iPod owners flocked to the web to download iTunes. The market share of visits to showed an increase of 1,030 percent on December 25, 2006 versus the previous Monday (December 18, 2006). However, this strong initial performance was overshadowed by the iPod.

Submission + - Commentary: If Mario Office existed, would Wii ?

Lexor writes: "Say "Microsoft" and gaming will likely not be the first thing that comes to mind.

While Sony is certainly in the headlines with the PS3 lately, they have a wide and varied consumer and professional product line.

Nintendo... well, they make games.

They only market a few other products in order to support games like Pokémon (itself a massive phenomenon).

The pundits have spoken, and they've firmly planted Nintendo in the lead this holiday launch season. Nindendo has the best offerings because they never lose focus on the mission of making video games.

Sony wants the PS3 to take over your living room. They don't want you to know what they have in store for this console yet. Hell, they don't even know what they want it to do. A nine-processor matrix is a great idea, on paper. It will be a year before I start to consider a PS3 for my home.

Microsoft wants your gaming segmented, so they can sell you other set-top-boxes and HTPCs down the line. But there's one big problem with their games segment: Their offerings were based on PC gaming, which has (in cause or in spite) become quite a desolate scene since Microsoft's first game console launch.

They're running out of racetrack, it seems, on this plan.

Because Nintendo is a video game company, they did not consider that their remarkable new motion-sensitive controllers might leave some hands and fly through the air.

Imagine if they had worried about such relatively trivial incidents, made famous because of camcorders and YouTube.

There would be no Wii. It would have been stillborn.

Instead, game companies — not game divisions — change the face of gaming by showing us that games can continue to evolve. We may not have 3D immersive visuals yet, but there's nothing stopping us from getting more immersed in our games, one way or another.

While the barriers to enter the games industry are a great deal higher than during the origins of video gaming (where it was one great engineer with his breadboards), we can only hold out hope for the pure game companies, new and old, to once again revive this interactive entertainment medium.

After all, big kids like me could never imagine a world without video games.

I'm Lex Smythe

Lex Smythe commentary from
original URL"
Wireless Networking

Submission + - Mvix MX-760HD

Brandonski writes: "Mvix USA has recently released the MX-760HD. This portable-networked-wireless storage/Media PC is on the top of my "didn't get it for christmas" wish list.
From Mvix's site:
"The Mvix(TM) Hi-Def 802.11g Multimedia Center links to the home or office network and plugs all the digital media content directly to the TV or display device."
It is a niffty little box which runs ucLinux. I'm wondering if anyone has gotten into one of these and opened up ssh, NFS, or anything else which they don't have turned on. If you did, please share with the rest of the class. Happy hacking!"

Slashdot Top Deals

Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious animal on earth.