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OLPC Fork Sugar On a Stick Goes 1.0

Marten writes “It was more than a year ago that Walter Bender left OLPC and started SugarLabs.org. Now, the first version of the new project has been released. Sugar on a Stick is a USB-drive that runs on Mac and PC-style hardware. ‘The open-source education software developed for the “0 laptop” can now be loaded onto a USB stick to give aging PCs and Macs a new interface and custom educational software.’ Bender said, ‘What we are doing is taking a bunch of old machines that barely run Windows 2000, and turning them into something interesting and useful for essentially zero cost. It becomes a whole new computer running off the USB key; we can breathe new life into millions of decrepit old machines.'”

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Wednesday, June 24th, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on OLPC Fork Sugar On a Stick Goes 1.0

Predicting SCO’s Actions Post Bankruptcy

eldavojohn writes “SCO lost last year and began the bankruptcy filings a long time ago but PJ has some speculative bad news on what they retain through the bankruptcy proceedings. SCO proposes to sell a number of assets to an outfit called UnXis, which PJ characterizes this way: ‘It starts to hint that this is more a renaming, taking in some new management who seem to have financial expertise, and SCO keeps skipping along as unXis, with the dangerous litigation spun off safely into a litigation troll.’ In their filings SCO says they retain ‘their litigation and related claims against International Business Machines Corporation, Novell, Inc., AutoZone Corporation, Red Hat and certain Linux users which are not material customers of UnXis (excluding certain large-scale users of Linux servers) that are claimed to have infringed against UNIX copyrights.’ So that’s still a possibility they could go after anyone who is a ‘certain Linux user.’ And what’s even worse is that they’ll retain a patent for running multiple Java applications on a single Java virtual machine. We may not be out of the SCO litigation woods yet.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on Predicting SCO’s Actions Post Bankruptcy

Apple’s Obsession With Secrecy Grows Stronger

Hugh Pickens writes “The NY Times has a story on the culture of secrecy at Apple (registration possibly required). Secrecy is not just the prevailing communications strategy; it is baked into the corporate culture that had its origin in the release of the first Macintosh. ‘It really started around trying to keep the surprise aspect to product launches, which can have a lot of power,’ says marketing veteran Regis McKenna who advised Apple in its early days. Today few companies are more secretive than Apple, or as punitive to those who dare violate the company’s rules on keeping tight control over information. Employees have been fired for leaking news tidbits to outsiders, and the company has been known to spread disinformation about product plans to its own workers and sue bloggers who cover the company. Apple’s decision to severely limit communication with the news media, shareholders, and the public is at odds with the approach taken by many other companies, and many experts agree that the secrecy that adds surprise and excitement to Apple product announcements is not serving the company well in corporate governance. Some say that recent reports that Steve Jobs may have had a liver transplant, still not confirmed by the company, now makes one of Apple’s assertions from January — that Jobs was suffering only from a hormonal imbalance — seem like a deliberate untruth.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on Apple’s Obsession With Secrecy Grows Stronger

How Do You Sync & Manage Your Home Directories?

digitalderbs writes “A problem plaguing most people with multiple computers is the arduous task of synchronizing files between them: documents, pictures, code, or data. Everyone seems to have their own strategies, whether they involve USB drives, emailed attachments, rsync, or a distributed management system, all of which have varying degrees of success in implementing fast synchronization, interoperability, redundancy and versioning, and encryption. Myself, I’ve used unison for file synchronization and rsnapshot for backups between two Linux servers and a Mac OS X laptop. I’ve recently considered adding some sophistication by implementing a version control system like subversion, git, or bazaar, but have found some shortcomings in automating commits and pushing updates to all systems. What system do you use to manage your home directories, and how have they worked for you for managing small files (e.g. dot configs) and large (gigabyte binaries of data) together?”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on How Do You Sync & Manage Your Home Directories?

Apple Fixes Drive Interface for MacBook Pros

In an apparent response to user complaints, Apple released a firmware upgrade that it said fixes an issue with the drive interface in new MacBook Pros.

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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on Apple Fixes Drive Interface for MacBook Pros

Living Safely with Robots, Beyond Asimov’s Laws

In 1981, a 37-year-old factory worker named Kenji Urada entered a restricted safety zone at a Kawasaki manufacturing plant to perform some maintenance on a robot. In his haste, he failed to completely turn it off. The robot’s powerful hydraulic arm pushed the engineer into some nearby machine, making Urada the first recorded victim killed by Robot

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Monday, June 22nd, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on Living Safely with Robots, Beyond Asimov’s Laws

Tracking Thieves with ‘Find my iPhone’

An anonymous reader wrote in to say “A friend of mine who just got an Iphone 3GS and has Mobile Me just used the “Find my iPhone” feature to track down his lost and subsequently stolen iPhone. This story involves three nerds wandering sketchy streets with a Macbook, and ends with a confrontation at a bus stop.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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Monday, June 22nd, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on Tracking Thieves with ‘Find my iPhone’

Google Suggest Disabled In China Due To Porn

I Don’t Believe in Imaginary Property writes “The Chinese government has asked Google to disable Google Suggest because it has been suggesting that people search for pornography based on its analysis of the most popular search terms in China. This comes on the heels of a fake CCTV interview being used to support the government requirement that all new computers ship with the ‘Green Damn’ Internet censoring program, which is still in force, despite reports to the contrary.” The story on the chinaSMACK site demonstrates that Chinese search engine Baidu features a comparable search-suggestion function, which similarly recommends adult-themed sites, but that the government has not attacked Baidu over the issue of porn.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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Sunday, June 21st, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on Google Suggest Disabled In China Due To Porn

Sothink Violated the FlashGot GPL and Stole Code

ShineTheLight sends in news of two Firefox plug-ins: FlashGot, the original, and Sothink, the GPL-violating come-lately. “People at Sothink decided to violate the GPL by stealing a piece of core code from FlashGot and using it without even the decency of covering their tracks. It is an exact copy of a previous version of FlashGot. This deception came to light when users reported to the FlashGot support forum that their software was not working right. Some digging led to the discovery that the older module that Sothink stole and used verbatim was overriding the more recent engine on the machines of those who had both installed and it was causing the issue. It has been reported to AMO and the FlashGot developer is aware of it. The Sothink people have completely ignored and been silent on the subject. This is why most good programmers will stop contributing to the global community because there are those who will steal their work, pass it off as their own, never acknowledge or give credit, and then shamefully stick their head in the sand and ignore the consequences.” The three most recent reviews of Sothink point out this plug-in’s dishonest nature. A number of earlier, one-line, 5-star reviews — expressed in a similar style — sound suspiciously like astroturfing.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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Sunday, June 21st, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on Sothink Violated the FlashGot GPL and Stole Code

The Origins of Video Game Names

Blogger Drew Mackie has posted a lengthy analysis of the etymology of dozens of names from popular video game characters. It examines the real-life and mythological roots of names from Final Fantasy, Zelda, Mario Bros., Street Fighter, and many other prominent franchises, complete with citations where appropriate. Quoting: “It’s speculated that Street Fighter’s Russian wrestler Zangief takes his name from a real-life Russian wrestler, Victor Zangiev. More interesting to me is that the working name for this character was Vodka Gobalsky. This is notable for two reasons — for one, that this name is amazing [and] deserves to enter into the public consciousness and, for another, that it bears a striking resemblance to the name of a Russian boxer in Nintendo’s Punch-Out!! series, Vodka Drunkenski. I’m sure this says something about Japanese perception of Russian people. The latter Vodka, by the way, goes by the name Soda Popinski in US translations of the game, presumably because Nintendo of America didn’t allow references to booze.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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Saturday, June 20th, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on The Origins of Video Game Names