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Submission + - Tokyo Hackers Helping Quake Victims (

An anonymous reader writes: Tokyo hackerspace has mobilized to help the quake victims in northern Japan in the short, medium and long terms. A single hackerspace has a great deal of potential to make a real difference in a disaster situation. Please donate if you can.

Microsoft Interns Still Feel the Love 293

theodp writes "Despite layoffs and a blip in earnings, the Chicago Trib reports that Microsoft's summer interns still enjoy the VIP treatment. Although there were 20% fewer of them this year than last, still 85% of the interns are offered full-time jobs. In addition to being paid $4,600-$6,000 a month, a housing stipend, and relocation costs for the summer, the 600 or so Microsoft apprentices enjoyed other perks — such as a police escort to speed their way to a private museum party where they screened the most recent Harry Potter movie and were given a free Xbox 360. 'You feel like royalty to be escorted by police,' said Joriz De Guzman, an intern working toward his MBA at Wharton. BTW, before he got mixed up with those MBA-types, De Guzman earned some fame as the Doogie Howser of computer science."

Google's Gatekeepers 150

theodp writes "With control of 63% of the world's Internet searches, as well as ownership of YouTube, the NY Times reports that Google is the most powerful and protean of the Internet gatekeepers, exerting enormous influence over who can find an audience on the Web around the world. Deciding what controversial material does and doesn't appear on the local search engines Google maintains in many countries — as well as on, YouTube, Blogger, Picasa, and Orkut — falls on the shoulders of Nicole Wong and her colleagues, who have arguably been given more influence over online expression than anyone else on the planet. Some find Google's gatekeeper role worrisome: 'If your whole game is to increase market share,' says Lawrence Lessig, 'it's hard to do good, and to gather data in ways that don't raise privacy concerns or that might help repressive governments to block controversial content.'"

Web Browser Programming Blurring the Lines of MVC 303

lkcl tips his in-depth article up at Advogato on the difficulties for the MVC programming model that are introduced by Javascript and AJAX, and solutions for them. He writes: "This article outlines how the MVC concept is made incredibly awkward by the gradual but necessary introduction of Javascript and AJAX. A solution is found in the form of Javascript Compiler Technology such as GWT or Pyjamas (PyPy's JS backend or Rb2Js could be used, with some additional work). The article outlines how and why the traditional MVC patterns are fragmented by Javascript and AJAX, advocating that if a site is programmed purely in a high-level language that is then compiled to Javascript for the Web Browser sections, the same high-level source code can be executed either client-side on the browser, or server-side, or even both, depending on the requirements. The implications of this approach are discussed in depth."

Linux As a Model For a New Government? 509

An anonymous reader writes "The hedge fund investor who prided himself on achieving 1000% returns, Andrew Lahde, wrote a goodbye letter to mark his departure from the financial world. In it, he suggests people think about building a new government model, and his suggestion is to have someone like George Soros fund a new government that brings together the best and brightest minds in a manner where they're not tempted by bribery. In doing so, he refers to how Linux grows and competes with Microsoft. An open source government. How would such a system work, and could it succeed? How long before it became corrupt? Would it need a benevolent dictator (Linus vs. Soros)?"

Geneticist Claims Human Evolution Is Over 857

GogglesPisano writes "UK geneticist Steve Jones gave a presentation entitled Human Evolution Is Over. He asserts that human beings have stopped evolving because modern social customs have lowered the age at which human males have offspring, which results in fewer of the mutations necessary to drive evolutionary change. Apparently the fate of our species now depends upon older guys hooking up with younger woman. I, for one, welcome this development."
The Courts

University of Michigan Student Wants SafeNet Prosecuted 393

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "An anonymous University of Michigan student, targeted by the RIAA as a 'John Doe,' is asking for the RIAA's investigator, SafeNet (formerly MediaSentry), to be prosecuted criminally for a pattern of felonies in Michigan. Known to Michigan's Department of Labor and Economic Growth — the agency regulating private investigators in that state — only as 'Case Number 162983070,' the student has pointed out that the law has been clear in Michigan for years that computer forensics activities of the type practiced by Safenet require an investigator's license. This follows the submissions by other 'John Does' establishing that SafeNet's changing and inconsistent excuses fail to justify its conduct, and that Michigan's legislature and governor have backed the agency's position that an investigator's license was required." SafeNet/MediaSentry defended their actions by claiming their company simply "records public information available to millions of users. If private investigator licenses were required to do what MediaSentry does, every user on Limewire and other illegal p2p networks would be required to have a license. Indeed, every search engine and Internet user would be required to have a private investigator license if MediaSentry needs one."
Classic Games (Games)

Scrabulous Is Dead, Hasbro's Version Brain-Dead 395

eldavojohn writes "Sometime this morning, Facebook shut down Scrabulous to American and Canadian users. Scrabulous, we hardly knew ye." This is sadly unsurprising, now that Hasbro's finally taken legal action against the developers, after quite a few months of letting it go unmolested. Seems like they waited until there was an official Scrabble client available (also on Facebook), while the snappy and fuller-featured Scrabulous kept people interested in a 60-year-old board game. The official client, which is at least labeled a beta, is a disappointment. This is not a Google-style beta release, note: it's slow to load, confusing, and doesn't even offer the SOWPODS word list as an option, only the Tournament Word List and a list based on the Merriam-Webster dictionary. (Too bad that SOWPODS is the word list used in most of the world's English-speaking countries.) It also took several minutes to open a game, rather than the few seconds (at most) that Scrabulous took — it's pretty impressive, but not in a good way, that the programmers could extract that sort of performance from the combination of Facebook's servers and my dual-core, 2GHz+ laptop. The new Scrabble client has doodads like 3D flipping-tile animations, too, but no clear way to actually initiate the sample game that jamie and I have attempted to start. I hope that once we get past that obvious hurdle, we'll find there's a chat interface and game notebook as in Scrabulous, but my hopes are low.

Sneaking Past Heavy-Handed Audio Compression on YouTube 234

niceone writes "Recently YouTube seems to have started applying extreme compression to the audio of uploaded clips. This is the type of compressions used by radio stations to make everything louder, but in this case applied extremely badly. In quiet passages, breathing and shuffling become overpoweringly loud. A gently plucked guitar chord becomes a distorted thud. Listen to an example here. And here's what it could sound like — still not perfect, but a whole lot better. The fixed version is thanks to a workaround proposed by Sopranoguitar — the idea is to turn down the audio and mix in a high frequency sine wave (I used 19kHz). The sine wave fools YouTube's compressor into thinking that the file is at a uniform level (and does not need the volume changing at all) but is filtered out by the encoding process (so, no need to worry about deafening any dogs)."

Programmer's File Editor With Change Tracking? 286

passionfingers writes "My business users regularly have to tweak large (>32MB text) data files manually. Overlords charged with verifying the aforementioned changes have requested that the little people be provided with a new file editor that will track changes made to a file (as a word processor does). I have scouted around online for such an animal, but to no avail — even commercial offerings like UltraEdit32 don't offer such a feature. Likewise on the OSS side of the fence, where I expected a Notepad++ plugin or the like, it appears that the requirements to a) open a file containing a large volume of text data and b) track changes to the data, are mutually exclusive. Does anyone in the Slashdot community already have such a beast in their menagerie? Perhaps there is there a commercial offering I've missed, or could someone possibly point me to their favorite (stable) OSS project that might measure up?"
Operating Systems

MoBo Manufacturer Foxconn Refuses To Support Linux 696

Noodlenose notes a thread up on the Ubuntu forums, where a user is questioning the practices of hardware manufacturer Foxconn. The user describes how his new Foxconn motherboard caused his Linux install to freeze and fire off weird kernel errors. He disassembles the BIOS and concludes that a faulty DSDT table is responsible for the errors. Even though the user makes Foxconn aware of the problem, they refuse to correct it, as 'it doesn't support Linux' and is only 'Microsoft certified.' The user speculates darkly on Foxconn's motives. Read the forum, read the code, and come to your own conclusions. "I disassembled my BIOS to have a look around, and while I won't post the results here, I'll tell you what I did find. They have several different tables, a group for Windows XP and Vista, a group for 2000, a group for NT, Me, 95, 98, etc. that just errors out, and one for LINUX. The one for Linux points to a badly written table that does not correspond to the board's ACPI implementation.' The worst part is Foxconn's insistence that the product is ACPI compliant because their tables passed to Windows work, and that Microsoft gave the the magic WHQL certification."

Same Dev Tools/Language/Framework For Everyone? 519

AC writes "Upper management of the company I work at recently declared that all new development should be done with a single combination of development tools, language, and framework. The main rationale is that people can be relocated from one group / project to another faster, because they don't need to learn a new environment when they switch. Of course the chosen language / framework used by everybody does not need to be the best tool for the job, but it should be good enough to allow every project to get done. What does Slashdot think about this? Is it OK to use the same development tools and language for every project, instead of choosing what fits best? Will the time saved be sufficient to offset the time lost to the 'not the best tool for the job' environment developers will be forced to use?"

Learn a Foreign Language As an Engineer? 1021

Ben B writes "I'm working on an undergraduate degree in computer engineering in the US, and I'm a native English-speaking citizen. In fact, English is the only language that I know. Maybe it's not the same at other schools, but for the engineering program at mine, a foreign language is not required. If my plans are to one day be involved in research, is it worth my time to learn a foreign language? If so, which one?" Learning something new is almost never a waste of time, but how much energy have others found worthwhile to expend with all of the programming/math/tech type courses to be had at a large university?

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