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If ./config/MY_fuel.php contains
$config['dashboard_rss'] = '';
Then the dashboard throws an error complaining about the ./modules/fuel/helpers/simplepie_helper.php on line 93. This modification to line 93 fixes the problem:
if ((!empty($latest_fuel_version)) && (!is_null($latest_fuel_version)))
I've pushed a fix for this in the develop branch