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California's Santa Clara County Bans Happy Meal Toys 756

WrongSizeGlass writes "The L.A. Times is reporting that Santa Clara County officials have voted to ban toys and other promotions that restaurants offer with high-calorie children's meals. 'This ordinance prevents restaurants from preying on children's love of toys' to sell high-calorie, unhealthful food, said Supervisor Ken Yeager, who sponsored the measure. 'This ordinance breaks the link between unhealthy food and prizes.' Supervisor Donald Gage, who voted against the measure, said, 'If you can't control a 3-year-old child for a toy, God save you when they get to be teenagers.' The vote was 3 - 2 in favor of the ban."

Simpler "Hello World" Demonstrated In C 582

An anonymous reader writes "Wondering where all that bloat comes from, causing even the classic 'Hello world' to weigh in at 11 KB? An MIT programmer decided to make a Linux C program so simple, she could explain every byte of the assembly. She found that gcc was including libc even when you don't ask for it. The blog shows how to compile a much simpler 'Hello world,' using no libraries at all. This takes me back to the days of programming bare-metal on DOS!"

Comment This doesn't surprise me at all... (Score 5, Interesting) 362

I went to a presentation a few years ago by a pair of eBay's senior engineers where they were discussing their architecture and technology. They explained their Java-on-Windows two-tier architecture (web front-ends which are handling all of the business logic, database backends, little-to-no caching, etc). They explained how they have pools of servers for handling different page types (i.e. search vs. gateway vs. help, etc) and how they sometimes have brownouts in some pools because they mis-predicted the number of servers they needed in that pool.

During the Q&A, somebody asked them, "what's the biggest challenge that you guys face?"; the response was "fitting enough information in the browser's cookie... 4k really isn't enough information for us". A follow-up question was asked about why they didn't just use a session-id key and store as much data as they want in a database or cache, etc. They basically admitted that they didn't have the technical strength to build something like that at their scale.

I asked them why they allow users to post JavaScript in their posts as it basically turns all of eBay into a cross-site scripting bug. I know for a fact that sellers have been able to include JS in their posts which can record the max-bid of the buyer. Sure, it's against the TOS, but only if they catch it. Their response was that it's what their customers (read sellers) want.

The point I'm getting to is that eBay, despite having one of the most popular websites in the world employs some bass-ackward technical solutions and business policies. What's reported in this doesn't surprise me at all.

Comment Re:lego in the plural (Score 1) 210

It's due to trademark laws... the IP lawyers where I work remind us that trademarked brand terms should be used as adjectives and not nouns (despite the fact that they're generally referred to as nouns amongst "lay people"). For instance, Apple refers to the iPod(R) as the "iPod(R) mobile digital device" if you dig deeply into their docs.

It's the same thing for Lego... they're Lego(R) bricks, despite the common vernacular of Legos. :D

Comment Re:Sad to see it come to this (Score 1) 165

SGI played a part in that movie; namely the "famous" 3D file-system scene provided by the 'fsn' (file system navigator) demo app. Also featured were an array of Macintosh Quadra 700's and a group of Thinking Machine's Super Computer (which I'd bet is the only actual sale TM had, but that's my guess).

Quadra 700

Thinking Machine Supercomputer

SGI Indigo

SGI was responsible for all/most of the CGI graphics.


Submission + - You Can Help Search for Jim Gray

FreemanPatrickHenry writes: You can help search for Jim Gray using Amazon's Mechanical Turk service. You must create a (free) account to participate.

Instructions from the site:
"You will be presented with 5 images. The task is to indicate any satellite images which contain any foreign objects in the water that may resemble Jim's sailboat or parts of a boat. Jim's sailboat will show up as a regular object with sharp edges, white or nearly white, about 10 pixels long and 4 pixels wide in the image. ...
Marked images will be sent to a team of specialists who will determine if they contain information on the whereabouts of Jim Gray."

Let's help our comrade who may be in grave danger!
The Media

Submission + - High Tech Search for Jim Gray

necro81 writes: The NY Times has an article describing the high-tech involvement of Silicon Valley in the search for computer scientist Jim Gray, who went missing while sailing last week. High-resolution satellite images of the 132,000 sq. mi. search area were requisitioned from DigitalGlobe, and volunteers are pouring over them through Amazon's Mechanical Turk. Affluent dot-com'ers with small aircraft have searched the coastline. "'It wouldn't have surprised me to get a brush off [from the Coast Guard],' Professor [James] Frew said. 'They're professionals, and they know what they're doing, and here comes this army of nerds, bashing down the doors. But they've dealt with us very nicely.'"

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