|French Court Calls Free Google Maps Unfair Competition||visit|
jfruh writes "A French court has ruled that Google is unfairly subsidizing its free mapping products, making for unfair competition with paid services. This might seem ridiculous, but keep in mind that Google started charging for use of its mapping API once the free version had come to dominate the market." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Slovenian Ambassador Regrets Signing ACTA Agreement||visit|
metacell writes "Slovenia's ambassador to Japan, Helena Drnovek Zorko, writes: 'I signed ACTA out of civic carelessness, because I did not pay enough attention. Quite simply, I did not clearly connect the agreement I had been instructed to sign with the agreement that, according to my own civic conviction, limits and withholds the freedom of engagement on the largest and most significant network in human history, and thus limits particularly the future of our children.'" Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Verisign Admits Company Was Hacked In 2010, Not Sure What Was Stolen||visit|
mask.of.sanity writes "Verisign admitted it was hacked repeatedly last year and cannot pin down what data was stolen. It says it doesn't believe the Domain Name System servers were hacked but it cannot rule it out. Symantec, which bought its certificate business in 2010, says also that there was no evidence that system was affected. Verisign further admitted in an SEC filing that its security team failed to tell management about the attacks until 2011, despite moving to address the hacks." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|1st Video of Moon's Far Side||visit|
chill writes "A gravity-mapping spacecraft orbiting the moon has beamed home its first video of the lunar far side — a view people on Earth never see. Because the moon is tidally locked with Earth, it only presents one face to the planet's surface (the near side). The side of the moon that faces away from Earth is the far side. Only robotic spacecraft and Apollo astronauts who orbited the moon in the 1960s and 1970s have seen the far side of the moon directly." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|OpenStack Ditches Microsoft Hyper-V||visit|
judgecorp writes "The OpenStack open source cloud project has removed Hyper-V from its infrastructure as a service (IaaS) framework, saying Microsoft's support for its hypervisor technology is 'broken.' This will embarass Microsoft, as major partners such as Dell and HP support OpenStack, along with service providers such as Internap." Adds reader alphadogg, this "means the code will be removed when the next version of OpenStack, called Essex, is released in the second quarter." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Leaked Zynga Memo Justifies Copycat Strategy||visit|
bonch writes "After taking heat over allegations of copying hit indie game Tiny Tower, Zynga founder Mark Pincus wrote an internal memo justifying the company's strategy of cloning competing titles, citing the Google search engine and Apple iPod as successful products which weren't first in their markets. Pincus infamously told employees: 'I don't want f*cking innovation. You're not smarter than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers.'" Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|In Small WV Town, Monsanto Faces Class-Action Suit Over Agent Orange Chemical||visit|
eldavojohn writes "Agricultural biotechnology company Monsanto is now at the receiving end of a lawsuit from representatives of anyone who lived in the small town of Nitro, WV from 1949 on. This suit alleges that Monsanto spread chemical toxins all over town — most notably the carcinogenic dioxins. The plant in question produced herbicide 2,4,5-T, which was used in Vietnam as an ingredient for 'Agent Orange.' [Note: link contains some disturbing images; click cautiously.] From the article: 'Originally the suit called for Monsanto to both monitor people's health and clean up polluted property. The court rejected the property claims last year, leaving just the medical monitoring.' Strange that the suit is only allowed to address the symptom and not the root cause." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Estonian Tech University Bans Notebooks and Smartphones||visit|
J-Georg writes "In Estonia's Tallinn University of Technology, all electronic devices — like notebooks, tablets and smartphones — are now banned in lectures held by the Institute of Public Administration. The restriction, which according to the institute aims to reduce factors interfering with academic work, came as a surprise to most of the university-goers. Moreover, it came just a day before the country's Ministry of Education announced a plan that by 2020 all textbooks and other literature would be turned into e-books and in eight years students are expected to start using computers and tablets to access study materials." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|3,500 Year Old Florida Tree Dies of Natural Causes||visit|
hondo77 writes with an excerpt from The Daily "'Mother Nature claimed one of her oldest living specimens (Monday) in a freak fire that destroyed a 3,500-year-old bald cypress tree towering over central Florida. Known as "The Senator," or simply "The Big Tree," the hollowed-out majestic timber, standing at 118 feet tall, ignited before dawn. Firefighters watched helplessly as the oldest tree east of the Mississippi — and the fifth oldest in the world — blazed and then collapsed in a heap of flaming embers.' The fire likely started by 'either a weeks- old lightning strike that smoldered until combustion occured, or friction caused by buffeting winds that ignited a spark and erupted in flames.'" Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Google Asks Court Not To Enjoin ReDigi||visit|
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Google has sought leave to submit an amicus curiae brief against Capitol Records' preliminary injunction motion in Capitol Records v. ReDigi. In their letter seeking pre-motion conference or permission to file (PDF) Google argued that '[t]he continued vitality of the cloud computing industry—which constituted an estimated $41 billion dollar global market in 2010—depends in large part on a few key legal principles that the preliminary injunction motion implicates.' Among them, Google argued, is the fact that mp3 files either are not 'material objects' and therefore not subject to the distribution right articulated in 17 USC 106(3) for 'copies and phonorecords,' or they are material objects and therefore subject to the 'first sale' exception to the distribution right articulated in 17 USC 109, but they can't be — as Capitol Records contends — material objects under one and not the other." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|The Gang Behind the World's Largest Spam Botnet||visit|
tsu doh nimh writes "A Wikileaks-style war of attrition between two competing rogue Internet pharmacy gangs has exposed some of the biggest spammers on the planet. Brian Krebs uncovers fascinating information about a hacker named 'GeRa' who is supposedly behind the Grum botnet, which is currently sending about one out of every three spam emails worldwide. The story also points to several possible real-identities behind the Internet's largest spam machine." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Aussies Could Use Elephants To Fight Invasive Species||visit|
A type of invasive African grass is a major cause of wildfires in Australia. The giant gamba grass is too large for cattle and the native marsupial grazers to eat, but David Bowman, a professor of environmental change biology at the University of Tasmania has a plan. He says that elephants or rhinoceroses could eat the pest grass. "... the only other methods likely to control gamba grass involve using chemicals or physically clearing the land, which would destroy the habitat. Using mega-herbivores may ultimately be more practical and cost-effective, and it would help to conserve animals that are threatened by poaching in their native environments," he said. This plan makes you wonder just how big a Chinese needle snake can grow. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Berkeley Scientists Develop Self-Assembling Nanorods||visit|
First time accepted submitter techgeek0279 writes "Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a relatively fast, easy and inexpensive technique for inducing nanorods to self-assemble into one-, two- and even three-dimensional macroscopic structures." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|DARPA Works On Virtual Reality Contact Lenses||visit|
gManZboy writes "Binoculars and night-vision goggles have their limits. So DARPA is doing work at Washington-based Innovega iOptiks to create wearable eye lenses with tiny, full-color displays onto which digital images can be projected, to give soldiers better situational awareness. The lenses would allow users to focus simultaneously on images that are both close up (perhaps a display) and far away (perhaps a battlefield.) Using virtual reality technologies to improve how soldiers perform on the battlefield has been a particular interest of the U.S. military for some time." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|What Makes Spider Webs Tough As Steel||visit|
sciencehabit writes "A new analysis reveals the intricacies of spider web design, showing how the unique properties of its silk turn webs into flexible yet strong traps. Computer simulations reveal that heavy forces spread over the entire net rather than stay local. Real spider silk can be either stretchy or stiff at different times, which produces threads that flex and then snap in just the right way to avoid wrecking nearby spokes." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Pirate Apple TV Operation Nabbed In Australia||visit|
littlekorea writes "New South Wales Police have arrested a man selling USB keys bearing the Apple logo, which offered access to over a thousand Pay TV channels, another thousand movies on demand and several hundred adult films. A forensic analysis of the device revealed the content was hosted in China but streamed via US servers and domains." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Sensor Networks In San Francisco Finds Parking Spots||visit|
MrSeb writes "You've heard of smart cars, and now, rolling out in San Francisco, is a smart parking system that promises to eliminate the arduous process of finding a parking spot. SFpark is a network of magnetic sensors that have been installed under 8,200 street parking spaces, along with additional information from parking garages and parking meters. These sensors are all linked together in a mesh network, and ultimately link back to a central command center. Drivers can access this parking data via the SFpark website or smartphone app, and see in real-time where parking spaces are available. At any one time, a third of cars on the road in urban areas are looking for parking spots, consuming more fuel, creating more pollution, and causing more accidents. With SFpark, you can see at a glance where there's a parking spot — but in the future, you'll be able to hit a button and have your smartphone direct you to the nearest parking spot." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|The Hi-Tech Security at the Super Bowl||visit|
Hugh Pickens writes "As millions of fans sit glued to their sets next Sunday, one part of the game they will not see is the massive deployment of federal and local law enforcement resources to achieve what is being called the most technologically secure Super Bowl in history, an event that has been officially designated as a National Security Special Event (PDF). At the top of the list are gamma-ray cargo and vehicles scanners that can reportedly see through six inches of steel to reveal the contents of large vehicles. 'We can detect people, handguns and rifles,' says Customs and Border Protection Officer Brian Bell. 'You'd be a fool to bring something into that stadium that you shouldn't. We're going to catch it. Our goal is to look at every vehicle that makes a delivery inside the stadium and inside the secure perimeter.' Next is the 51-foot Featherlite mobile command center for disaster response that will support the newly constructed $18 million Regional Operations Center (ROC) for the Marion County Department of Homeland Security that will serve as a fusion center for coordinating the various federal agencies involved in providing security for the Super Bowl. One interesting security measure are the 'Swiveloc' explosion-proof manhole covers (video) that Indianapolis has spent $150,000 installing that are locked down during the Super Bowl. In case of an underground explosion, the covers lift a couple of inches off the ground — enough to vent gas out without feeding in oxygen to make an explosion bigger — before falling back into place. Finally the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI has installed a network of cameras that will be just a click away for government officials. 'If you had the right (Internet) address, you could set up a laptop anywhere and you could watch the camera from there,' says Brigadier General Stewart Goodwin." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Japan Plans To Merge Major Science Bodies||visit|
ananyo writes "In its battle against a sluggish economy, Japan's government is gearing up to make cost savings through a root-and-branch reform of the country's science system, merging some of its most prominent research organizations. Plans approved by the government's cabinet would consolidate the RIKEN network of basic-research laboratories with the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (NIED) and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) — the national funding body. But with few details about the timing, potential cost savings or full implications of the change, many researchers are concerned that it could be a recipe for harsh funding cuts and even greater bureaucracy." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Pirate Bay Founders Lose Final Appeal||visit|
therufus writes "Sweden's Supreme Court announced its decision not to grant leave to appeal in the long-running Pirate Bay criminal trial. This means that the previously determined jail sentences and fines handed out to Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm and Carl Lundström will stand." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Crab Robot Helps Remove Stomach Cancer||visit|
redletterdave writes "Singaporean researchers have created a miniature robot with a pincer and a hook that can remove early-stage stomach cancers without leaving any scars. Mounted on an endoscope, it enters the patient's gut through the mouth. It has a pincer to hold cancerous tissues, and a hook that slices them off and coagulates blood to stop bleeding. With the help of a tiny camera attached to the endoscope, the surgeon sees what's inside the gut and controls the robotic arms remotely while sitting in front of a monitor screen. The robot has already helped remove early-stage stomach cancers in five patients in Hong Kong and India, using a fraction of the time normally taken in open and keyhole surgeries that put patients at higher risk of infection and leave behind scars." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Google Begins Country-Specific Blog Censorship||visit|
bonch writes "Google will begin redirecting blogs to country-specific URLs. Blog visitors will be redirected to a URL specific to their location, with content subject to their country's censorship laws. A support post on Blogger explains the change: 'Over the coming weeks you might notice that the URL of a blog you're reading has been redirected to a country-code top level domain, or "ccTLD." For example, if you're in Australia and viewing [blogname].blogspot.com, you might be redirected to [blogname].blogspot.com.au. A ccTLD, when it appears, corresponds with the country of the reader's current location.'" Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|NASA Studying Solar Powered "Space Tugboat"||visit|
Zothecula writes "Last year, NASA announced it was seeking proposals for mission concept studies of a high-power solar electric propulsion (SEP) system that could be used in a 'space tugboat.' Such a ship would be used ferry payloads in low Earth orbit (LEO) into higher energy orbits, including geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) and Lagrange point one (L1) — saving on fuel and the use of expensive secondary boosters. NASA also anticipates an SEP system could be used to propel spacecraft into deep space for science missions and for the placement, service, resupply, repositioning and salvaging of space assets by commercial operators." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Firefox 10 Released||visit|
Taco Cowboy writes "It's time to upgrade again. Firefox 10 is out and here's a list of bugs fixed in the new version." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Microsoft Releases Kinect For Windows||visit|
nk497 writes "Microsoft has released Kinect for Windows, featuring a new "near mode" that lets the gesture control tech be used as close as 40cm. The Kinect for Windows hardware will retail at $249 — well above the price of the version for Xbox 360 consoles. Microsoft defended the price difference, saying sales of games and Xbox Live subscriptions help subsidize the console version. The new version will support Windows 7 and the Windows 8 developer preview, as well as Windows Embedded 7 devices." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Facebook Reportedly Filing $5 Billion IPO Today||visit|
hypnosec writes "Today is the day when Facebook may be submitting all required paperwork to regulators for its $5 billion initial public offering. According to the source close to the deal, Facebook has selected Morgan Stanley along with four others — Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Barclay's Capital to handle this IPO. Morgan Stanley will be taking "lead left" role in this supposedly biggest IPO from Silicon Valley. According to International Financing Review, the preliminary target of $5 billion will be increased by many folds in coming few months as a response to the demands of investors. Sources close to this matter disclosed that this might turn out to be defining moment for current web investments. The deal might rise to $10 billion which eventually will make Facebook a social networking empire valued between $75 billion to $100 billion. In fact, $75 billion is definitely an undervaluation compared to previous expectations." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|DC Comics Announces "Before Watchmen"||visit|
eldavojohn writes "Currently DC Comics' site has a banner announcing a new series called "Before Watchmen." Unfortunately the blog pages for this new series appear to be experiencing high traffic and are unreachable. But a number of sites are breaking down these new endeavors that will be giving backstories to the seven characters and who will be creating each of those series. There's also speculation ranging from how much this must upset Alan Moore (egg frying on his forehead seems to be the popular guess) to the theory that this is simply for more movie material. There's an abundance of information from interviews released today." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Early Plants May Have Caused Massive Glaciation||visit|
sciencehabit writes with this excerpt from Science: "The first plants to colonize land didn't merely supply a dash of green to a drab landscape. They dramatically accelerated the natural breakdown of exposed rocks, according to a new study, drawing so much planet-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere that they sent Earth's climate spiraling into a major ice age." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|New BBC Sports Website Makes Heavy Use of RDF||visit|
New submitter whyloginwhysubscribe writes "A technical blog post describes how the BBC has rolled out the latest changes to its sports website in anticipation of the Summer Olympics in London. The innovative content management system extends the already available dynamic semantic publishing, which enables their journalists 'to spend more time creating great content and less time managing that content.' The post covers some of the technical and lots of the HCI / UI design decisions and is accompanied by a non-technical overview of the re-design." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|EFF Seeking Information of Legal Users of Megaupload||visit|
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, with the assistance of Carpathia Hosting, has issued a a call for information on users who lost legitimate data as part of the Megaupload takedown. No promises are made at this point, but Carpathia at least notes: "We have no immediate plans to reprovision some or all of the Megaupload servers. This means that there is no imminent data loss for Megaupload customers. If this situation changes, we will post a notice at least 7 days in advance of reprovisioning any Megaupload servers." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Linux Game Publishing CEO Resigns||visit|
An anonymous reader writes "The CEO of the once fledging Linux Game Publishing, Michael Simms, has announced his resignation. Simms attributes his resignation from the Linux game porting company he founded more than a decade ago to being burned out and having little success as of late in his work." In his place, Clive Crouse will be taking the helm. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Cystic Fibrosis Gene Correction Drug Approved by the FDA||visit|
tguyton writes "The good news: the FDA just approved the distribution of the first drug to treat the underlying cause of Cystic Fibrosis, called Kalydeco by Vertex Pharmaceuticals. The bad news: this drug will only affect 4% of patients with the disease in the U.S. From the article: '[Affected patients] with the so-called G551D mutation have a defective protein that fails to balance the flow of chloride and water across the cell wall, leading to the buildup of internal mucus. The vast majority of cystic fibrosis patients have a different genetic defect, in which the protein does not reach the cell wall. Vertex is developing another drug to try and address that problem. Study data for that drug is expected later this year.' Hopefully the research involved will be applicable to finding treatments for other genetic diseases." Further bad news: "...executives said Kalydeco would cost $294,000 for a year's supply, placing it among the most expensive prescription drugs sold in the U.S." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Unicode 6.1 Released||visit|
An anonymous reader writes "The latest version of the Unicode standard (v. 6.1.0) was officially released January 31. The latest version includes 732 new characters, including seven brand new scripts. It also adds support for distinguishing emoji-style and text-style symbols and emoticons with variation selectors, updates to the line-breaking algorithm to more accurately reflect Japanese and Hebrew texts, and updates other algorithms and technical notes to reflect new characters and newly documented text behaviors." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|ITC Throws Out B&N Antitrust Claims Against MS||visit|
N!NJA writes with an excerpt from a post by Florian Mueller: "Barnes & Noble's primary line of defense against Microsoft's allegations of patent infringement by the bookseller's Android-based devices has collapsed in its entirety. An Administrative Law Judge at the ITC today granted a Microsoft motion to dismiss, even ahead of the evidentiary trial that will start next Monday (February 6), Barnes & Noble's 'patent misuse' defense against Microsoft. [...] Prior to the ALJ, the ITC staff — or more precisely, the Office of Unfair Import Investigations (OUII), which participates in many investigations as a third party representing the public interest — already supported Microsoft's motion all the way. The OUII basically concluded that even if all of what Barnes & Noble said about Microsoft's use of patents against Android was accurate, it would fall far short of the legal requirements for a patent misuse defense." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Wikipedia Chooses Lua As Its New Template Language||visit|
|Kazuo Hirai To Assume CEO Position At Sony||visit|
thomst writes "Cnet's Stephen Shankland breaks the news that Sony will replace the lamentable Howard Stringer with Kazuo Hirai, the (now former) head of its electronics division. Better yet, the changeover will take place on April Fool's Day. Stringer, who was appointed CEO of Sony in 2005, will become Chairman of its board, and Hirai will become a board member. Hirai has been the leader of Sony's consolidated electronics group only since last year. He was in charge of all Sony electronics products, including the Playstation Network, which famously suffered a massive security breach that compromised its unencrypted user data on his watch." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Greg KH Leaves SUSE For Linux Foundation||visit|
New submitter udas writes "Greg Kroah-Hartman, maintainer of the Linux kernel's stable branch, has left his job with SUSE Linux. He is now a fellow at the Linux Foundation. 'There were no direct conflicts working for SUSE, as the people there understand how important the individual developer, and their voice, is in the Linux community,' Kroah-Hartman told Ars this week in an e-mail interview. 'But, working in a vendor-neutral environment like the Linux Foundation allows me to spend a larger amount of time interacting with other companies and vendors, as well as helping Linux out in environments that were not necessarily the focus of my previous employer.'" Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Swedish Supreme Court Refuses Appeal In Pirate Bay Case||visit|
concertina226 writes with sad news for Swedish pirates. Quoting the article: "The Swedish Supreme Court will not hear an appeal from the founders of The Pirate Bay against prison sentences and fines imposed by the Swedish Court of Appeals, the court said on Wednesday. Over a year ago, the Court of Appeals sentenced Fredrik Neij, Peter Sunde, and Carl Lundström to 10 months, eight months, and four months of jail time, respectively. The court also said they must collectively pay a 46 million kronor (£4.3 million) fine." The Pirate Bay has issued a response: "With this said, we hear news from our old admins that they have received a verdict in Sweden. Our 3 friends and blood brothers have been sentenced to prison. This might sound worse than it is. Since no one of them no longer lives in Sweden, they won't go to jail. They are as free today as they were yesterday." Update: 02/01 15:15 GMT by U L :Reader think_nix helpfully copied the Pirate Bay response in a comment for those who cannot access the site. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Mitt Romney, Robotics, and the Uncanny Valley||visit|
Hugh Pickens writes "Brian Fung writes in the Atlantic that one of Romney's electoral problems is that he occupies a kind of uncanny valley for politicians, inexplicably turning voters off despite looking like the textbook image of an American president. Just as people who interact with lifelike robots often develop a strange feeling due to something they can't quite name, something about Romney leaves voters unsettled. As with the robotic version of the uncanny valley, the closer Romney gets to becoming real to a voter, the more his likeability declines. 'The effect is almost involuntary, considering the substantial advantages Romney enjoys from appearance alone,' writes Fung. 'But in person, his polished persona gives way to what appears a surprisingly forced and inauthentic character.' Political commentator Dana Milbanks adds that although Romney is confident and competent, in casual moments his weirdness comes through — equal parts 'Leave It to Beaver' corniness and social awkwardness. 'Romney's task now is to work his way out of the uncanny valley toward a more compelling style of humanity,' concludes Fung. 'But every day he lingers in it, the hill grows steeper.'" Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|NASA Finds Interstellar Matter From Beyond Our Solar System||visit|
An anonymous reader writes "For the very first time, a NASA spacecraft has detected matter from outside our solar system — material that came from elsewhere in the galaxy. This so-called interstellar material was spotted by NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX), a spacecraft that is studying the edge of the solar system from its orbit about 200,000 miles (322,000 kilometers) above Earth. 'This alien interstellar material is really the stuff that stars and planets and people are made of — it's really important to be measuring it,' said David McComas, IBEX principal investigator." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Science Panel Recommends Censoring Bird Flu Papers||visit|
Morty writes "The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) has recommended that details of two research papers involving Avian Flu not be published because of security concerns. At least one of the research groups says that their work should be logically reproducible. The NSABB's censorship recommendations do not (currently) have the force of law, but Science and Nature voluntarily delayed publication." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Angry Birds Boss Credits Piracy For Popularity Boost||visit|
An anonymous reader writes "Mikael Hed is the CEO of Rovio Mobile, the company behind popular mobile puzzle game Angry Birds. At the Midem conference Monday, Hed had some interesting things to say about how piracy has affected the gaming industry, and Rovio's games in particular: '"We could learn a lot from the music industry, and the rather terrible ways the music industry has tried to combat piracy." Hed explained that Rovio sees it as "futile" to pursue pirates through the courts, except in cases where it feels the products they are selling are harmful to the Angry Birds brand, or ripping off its fans. When that's not the case, Rovio sees it as a way to attract more fans, even if it is not making money from the products. "Piracy may not be a bad thing: it can get us more business at the end of the day." ... "We took something from the music industry, which was to stop treating the customers as users, and start treating them as fans. We do that today: we talk about how many fans we have," he said. "If we lose that fanbase, our business is done, but if we can grow that fanbase, our business will grow."'" Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Ask Slashdot: Transitioning From 'Hacker' To 'Engineer'?||visit|
antifoidulus writes "I'm about to get my masters in Computer Science and start out (again) in the 'real world.' I already have a job lined up, but there is one thing that is really nagging me. Since my academic work has focused almost solely on computer science and not software engineering per se, I'm really still a 'hacker,' meaning I take a problem, sketch together a rough solution using the appropriate CS algorithms, and then code something up (using a lot of prints to debug). I do some basic testing and then go with it. Obviously, something like that works quite well in the academic environment, but not in the 'real world.' Even at my previous job, which was sort of a jack-of-all-trades (sysadmin, security, support, and programming), the testing procedures were not particularly rigorous, and as a result I don't think I'm really mature as an 'engineer.' So my question to the community is: how do you make the transition from hacker (in the positive sense) to a real engineer. Obviously the 'Mythical Man Month' is on the reading list, but would you recommend anything else? How do you get out of the 'hacker' mindset?" Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|White House Refuses To Comment On Petition To Investigate Chris Dodd||visit|
malraid writes "The White House has issued a statement in which they refuse to comment on the petition to investigate Chris Dodd for bribery from the MPAA to pass legislation. The reason given: 'because it requests a specific law enforcement action.'" Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|AMD's New Radeon HD 7950 Tested||visit|
MojoKid writes "When AMD announced the high-end Radeon HD 7970, a lower cost Radeon HD 7950 based on the same GPU was planned to arrive a few weeks later. The GPU, which is based on AMD's new architecture dubbed Graphics Core Next, is manufactured using TSMC's 28nm process and features a whopping 4.31 billion transistors. In its full configuration, found on the Radeon HD 7970, the Tahiti GPU sports 2,048 stream processors with 128 texture units and 32 ROPs. On the Radeon HD 7950, however, a few segments of the GPU have been disabled, resulting in a total of 1,792 active stream processors, with 112 texture units and 32 ROPs. The Radeon HD 7950 is also clocked somewhat lower at 800MHz, although AMD has claimed the cards are highly overclockable. Performance-wise, though the card isn't AMD's fastest, pricing is more palatable and the new card actually beats NVIDIA's high-end GeForce GTX 580 by just a hair." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Computer Program Reconstructs Heard Words From Brain Scans||visit|
sciencehabit writes "In a new study, neuroscientists connected a network of electrodes to the hearing centers of 15 patients' brains and recorded the brain activity while they listened to words like 'jazz' or 'Waldo.' They saw that each word generated its own unique pattern in the brain. So they developed two different computer programs that could reconstruct the words a patient heard just by analyzing his or her brain activity. Reconstructions from the better of the two programs were good enough that the researchers could accurately decipher the mystery word 80% to 90% percent of the time. Because there's evidence that the words we hear and the words we recall or imagine trigger similar brain processes, the study suggests scientists may one day be able to tune in to the words you're thinking." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Apple Forcing IT Shops To 'Adapt Or Die'||visit|
alphadogg writes "Many IT departments are struggling with Apple's 'take it or leave it' attitude, based on discussions last week at MacIT, which is Macworld|iWorld's companion conference for IT professionals. Much of the questioning following technical presentations wasn't about Apple technology or products. It was about the complexities and confusions of trying to sort out for the enterprise Apple's practices. Those practices include the use of Apple IDs and iTunes accounts, which are designed for individual Mac or iPad or iPhone users, and programs like Apple's Volume Purchase Program, which, according to Apple 'makes it simple to find, buy, and distribute the apps your business needs' and to buy custom, third-party B2B apps." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Self-Guided Bullet Can Hit Targets a Mile Away||visit|
New submitter jpwilliams writes "Gizmag reports that researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have tested a 10-centimeter bullet that can be fired from a smooth-bore rifle to hit a laser-marked target one mile away. The bullet 'includes an optical sensor in the nose to detect a laser beam on a target. The sensor sends information to guidance and control electronics that use an algorithm in an eight-bit central processing unit to command electromagnetic actuators. These actuators steer tiny fins that guide the bullet to the target.' Interestingly, accuracy improves with targets that are further away, because 'the bullet's motions settle the longer it is in flight.'" Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Why Linux Vendors Need To Sell More Than Linux||visit|
jfruh writes "Mandriva, a venerable Linux distro, is on the verge of shutting down. One of its main problems is that it never grew into more than just an OS vendor. The big players in the commercial Linux space — Red Hat, SuSE, Canonical — all built Linux into their larger computing visions. Is there any room in the marketplace for just a straight-up Linux distro anymore?" Read more of this story at Slashdot.
|Trials and Errors: Why Science Is Failing Us||visit|
Lanxon writes "An in-depth feature in Wired explores the reason science may be failing us. Quoting: 'For too long, we've pretended that the old problem of causality can be cured by our shiny new knowledge. If only we devote more resources to research or dissect the system at a more fundamental level or search for ever more subtle correlations, we can discover how it all works. But a cause is not a fact, and it never will be; the things we can see will always be bracketed by what we cannot. And this is why, even when we know everything about everything, we'll still be telling stories about why it happened. It's mystery all the way down.'" Read more of this story at Slashdot.