Nerval's Lobster writes "Game developer David Bolton writes: 'For my development of Web games, I've hit a point where I need a Virtual Private Server. (For more on this see My Search for Game Hosting Begins.) I initially chose a Windows VPS because I know Windows best. A VPS is just an Internet-connected computer. "Virtual" means it may not be an actual physical computer, but a virtualized host, one of many, each running as if it were a real computer. Recently, though, I've run into a dead end, as it turns out that Couchbase doesn't support PHP on Windows. So I switched to a Linux VPS running Ubuntu server LTS 12-04. Since my main desktop PC runs Windows 7, the options to access the VPS are initially quite limited, and there's no remote desktop with a Linux server. My VPS is specified as 2 GB of ram, 2 CPUs and 80 GB of disk storage. The main problem with a VPS is that you have to self-manage it. It's maybe 90% set up for you, but you need the remaining 10%. You may have to install some software, edit a config file or two and occasionally bounce (stop then restart) daemons (Linux services), after editing their config files.'"
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
angry tapir writes "Scientists at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia have developed a prototype laser device capable of detecting tiny traces of explosive vapor, an invention that has the potential to put bomb sniffer dogs out of a job. The prototype – a pulsed, quantum laser-based, cavity ring-down spectrometer – is being tested at the US government's Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico."
Hugh Pickens writes writes "AP reports that if disaster strikes a US nuclear power plant, the utility industry wants the ability to fly in heavy-duty equipment from regional hubs to stricken reactors to avert a meltdown providing another layer of defense in case a Fukushima-style disaster destroys a nuclear plant's multiple backup systems. 'It became very clear in Japan that utilities became quickly overwhelmed,' says Joe Pollock, vice president for nuclear operations at the Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry lobbying group that is spearheading the effort. US nuclear plants already have backup safety systems and are supposed to withstand the worst possible disasters in their regions, including hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes. But planners can be wrong. The industry plan, called FLEX, is the nuclear industry's method for meeting new US Nuclear Regulatory Commission rules that will force 65 plants in the US to get extra emergency equipment on site and store it protectively. The FLEX program is supposed to help nuclear plants handle the biggest disasters. Under the plan, plant operators can summon help from the regional centers in Memphis and Phoenix. In addition to having several duplicate sets of plant emergency gear, industry officials say the centers will likely have heavier equipment that could include an emergency generator large enough to power a plant's emergency cooling systems, equipment to treat cooling water and extra radiation protection gear for workers. Federal regulators must still decide whether to approve the plans submitted by individual plants. 'They need to show us not just that they have the pump, but that they've done all the appropriate designing and engineering so that they have a hookup for that pump,' says NRC spokesman Scott Burnell said. 'They're not going to be trying to figure out, "Where are we going to plug this thing in?"'"
A couple of weeks ago you had a chance to ask Canonical Ltd. and the Ubuntu Foundation founder, Mark Shuttleworth, anything about software and vacationing in space. Below you'll find his answers to your questions. Make sure to look for our live discussion tomorrow with free software advocate and CTO of Rhombus Tech, Luke Leighton. The interview will start at 1:30 EST.
theodp writes "On September 13, 2010, President Obama called A123 Systems from the Oval Office to congratulate them on opening the nation's first manufacturing facility to mass-produce electric vehicle batteries, which the White House noted was made possible by a $249 million Recovery Act grant the company received the prior August. 'When folks lift up their hoods on the cars of the future,' the President said, 'I want them to see engines and batteries that are stamped: Made in America. And that's what you guys are helping to make happen.' But on Saturday, the assets of A123 Systems were auctioned off to the Wanxiang Group, a large Chinese auto parts maker. Wanxiang agreed to pay $256 million for A123's automotive and commercial operations, including its three factories in the United States. Forbes reports that A123's stock, which closed at 7 cents a share on Friday, is now worthless."
First time accepted submitter iggymanz writes "More precise modeling has changed some long term climate predictions: sea levels to rise almost a meter more than present over the next century, but past dire warnings of stronger storms or more frequent droughts won't pan out. Instead there will be less strong storms, but peak winds in the tropics might be slightly higher. Temperature rise of global average will be about 3 degree C total, including the 1 degree C rise over the 20th century. In places where precipitation is frequent, it will become even more frequent; in arid areas, the tendency will be to become even drier. Some new arid areas are expected to appear in the south of N. America, South Africa and Mediterranean countries. Overall, hardly a doomsday scenario."
paysonwelch writes "John McAfee, famed antivirus software pioneer and human rights advocate, today announced that he will host a news conference to ask the world for its protection against the Government of Belize. On his official blog, whoismcafee.com, Mr. McAfee has accused the Belize government of widespread corruption. Because of this, Mr. McAfee feels that he will be in grave danger if he were to be returned to there."
spacenet writes "As a response to RMS speaking out against Ubuntu about its privacy-violating integrated Amazon search results, which he considers to be spyware, Ubuntu Community Manager Jono Bacon has addressed RMS's statements. In his reply, Jono claims that Stallman's views on privacy do not align with Canonical's, that some of his statements are worded in order to 'generate fear, uncertainty, and doubt about Ubuntu' and that 'it just seems a bit childish to me.' The comments on the post itself are well worth a read."
Press2ToContinue writes "Dubbed the Python Challenge, the month-long contest will award $1,000 for the longest python and $1,500 for the most pythons caught between Jan. 12 and Feb. 10 in any of four hunting areas north of Everglades National Park and at the Big Cypress National Preserve. Pythons have been spreading through the Everglades for years, posing a threat to the sensitive ecosystem by preying on native species. Some estimates put their number in the tens of thousands. Last year, 272 pythons were removed from the wild, state figures show."
TrueSatan writes "Perhaps a sign of our troubled times or a sign that FreeBSD is becoming less relevant to modern computing needs: the FreeBSD project has sought $500,000 by year end to allow it to continue to offer to fund and manage projects, sponsor FreeBSD events, Developer Summits and provide travel grants to FreeBSD developers. But with the end of this year fast approaching, it has raised just over $280,000, far short of its target."
First time accepted submitter Shifuimam writes "I downloaded a DOSBox port for Android recently to get back into all the games of my childhood. Turns out that the only free distribution available hasn't been updated in nearly two years, so I looked for alternatives. There are two on Google Play — DOSBox Turbo and "DOSBot". Both charge a fee — DOSBox Turbo is $3.99; DOSBot is $0.99. The developer of DOSBot says on his Google Play entry that he will not release the source code of his application because it's not GPL, even though it's derived from source released under GPL v2 — this is definitely a violation of the license. The developer of DOSBox Turbo is refusing to release the source for his application unless you pay the $3.99 to "buy" a license of it. The same developer explicitly states that the "small" fee (although one might argue that $3.99 is pretty expensive for an OSS Android app) is to cover the cost of development. Unless I'm misreading the text of GPL v2, a fee can only be charged to cover the cost of the distribution of a program or derived work, not the cost of development. And, of course, it doesn't cost the developer anything for someone to log in to Google Play and download their app. In fact, from what I can tell, there's a one-time $25 fee to register for Google Checkout, after which releasing apps is free. Where do you draw the line on this? What do you do in this kind of situation?"
sfcrazy writes "Ubuntu is becoming a shopping center. Instead of addressing the queries raised by Stallman and the EFF, Canonical is now pushing for making Ubuntu a shopping cart. With Ubuntu 13.04 Canonical is going one step forward, and soon you will be able to purchase software and music right from the Dash without opening the software center or web browser.This is intended to make the whole experience even more interactive and useful for the end user."
First time accepted submitter Tastecicles writes "Patrick Moore, the monocled surveyor of the sky who awakened in millions of people an interest in galactic goings on, has died at 89. His love of astronomy began at the age of six, and that childhood curiosity developed into a lifelong passion. It was a passion he shared through his program, The Sky at Night, which he presented for more than 50 years, only ever missing one episode due to illness. Patrick Alfred Caldwell-Moore was born at Pinner, Middlesex on 4 Mar 1923. Heart problems meant he spent much of his childhood being educated at home and he became an avid reader. His mother gave him a copy of GF Chambers' book The Story of the Solar System, and this sparked his lifelong passion for astronomy. He was soon publishing papers about the moon's surface, based on observations made with his first three-inch telescope. His 1908 vintage typewriter enabled him to publish more than a thousand books on subjects ranging from astronomy, his first love, to cricket, golf, and music."
Hugh Pickens writes writes "BBC reports that UN climate talks in Doha have closed, with a historic shift in principle agreed to by nearly 200 nations, extending the Kyoto Protocol through 2020 and establishing for the first time that rich nations should move towards compensating poor nations for losses due to climate change. Until now rich nations have agreed to help developing countries to get clean energy and adapt to climate change, but they have stopped short of accepting responsibility for damage caused by climate change elsewhere. 'It is a breakthrough,' says Martin Khor of the South Center — an association of 52 developing nations. 'The term Loss and Damage is in the text — this is a huge step in principle. Next comes the fight for cash.' U.S. negotiators made certain that neither the word 'compensation,' nor any other term connoting legal liability, was used, to avoid opening the floodgates to litigation – instead, the money will be judged as aid. Ronny Jumea, from the Seychelles, told rich nations earlier that discussion of compensation would not have been needed if they had cut emissions earlier. 'We're past the mitigation [emissions cuts] and adaptation eras. We're now right into the era of loss and damage. What's next after that? Destruction?' While the United States has not adopted a comprehensive approach to climate change, the Obama administration has put in place a significant auto emissions reduction program and a plan to regulate carbon dioxide from new power plants. 'What this meeting reinforced is that while this is an important forum, it is not the only one in which progress can and must be made,' says Jennifer Haverkamp, director of the international climate programs at the Environmental Defense Fund. The disconnect between the level of ambition the parties are showing here and what needs to happen to avoid dangerous climate change is profound.'"
kodiaktau writes "A proposal put forth by Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates seeks greater international control and government of internet addressing. 'A leaked draft (PDF) of the Russia-led proposals would give countries "equal rights to manage the Internet including in regard to the allotment, assignment and reclamation of Internet numbering." This could allow governments to render websites within their borders inaccessible, even via proxy servers or other countries. It also could allow for multinational pacts in which countries could terminate access to websites at each others' request.' The move would basically undermine ICANN and decentralize control of internet addressing: 'The revision would give nations the explicit right to "implement policy" on net governance and "regulate the national Internet segment," the draft says.'"