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Do Free-To-Play Games Get a Fair Shake?

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the pay-seven-cents-to-agree-or-disagree dept.

Businesses 181

An anonymous reader writes "This article makes the case that most gamers treat 'free-to-play' games with derision and scorn when they really shouldn't. The author refers to it as 'snobbery.' We've all either encountered or heard about a game company using shady business practices to squeeze every cent from their users through in-app purchases (a.k.a. microtransations, a.k.a. cash shops), or a simple pay-to-win format. But these stories don't represent all games — by a long shot. It's something endemic to shady developers and publishers, not the business model. Think about traditionally-sold games, and how often you've seen a trailer that horribly misrepresents gameplay. Or a $60 game that was an unfinished, buggy mess. Or a Kickstarted project that didn't deliver on its promises. The author says, 'When something is new, when it isn't aimed at you, when it is created by strange people in strange places, when it breaks established norms and when it is becoming hugely popular... it's scary for the establishment. The ethical critique is an easy way to fight these changes, a call to protect the children or protect the irrational people who obviously can't like these games on their own merits. We begin to sound as reactionary as the ban on pinball or the fears over jazz music corrupting the minds of our youth.'"

In-Flight Wi-Fi Provider Going Above and Beyond To Help Feds Spy

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the come-fly-with-the-friendly-spies dept.

Privacy 78

An anonymous reader sends in a report from Wired that GoGo, a company the provides in-flight Wi-Fi access to airline passengers, seems to be making every effort to assist law enforcement agencies with wiretaps. From the article: "Gogo and others that provide Wi-Fi aboard aircraft must follow the same wiretap provisions that require telecoms and terrestrial ISPs to assist U.S. law enforcement and the NSA in tracking users when so ordered. But they may be doing more than the law requires. According to a letter (PDF) Gogo submitted to the Federal Communications Commission, the company voluntarily exceeded the requirements of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA, by adding capabilities to its service at the request of law enforcement. The revelation alarms civil liberties groups, which say companies should not be cutting deals with the government that may enhance the ability to monitor or track users."

Navy Debuts New Railgun That Launches Shells at Mach 7

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the playing-instagib-on-the-high-seas dept.

The Military 630

Jeremiah Cornelius writes: "The U.S. Navy's new railgun technology, developed by General Atomics, uses the Lorentz force in a type of linear, electric motor to hurl a 23-pound projectile at speeds exceeding Mach 7 — in excess of 5,000 mph. The weapon has a range of 100 miles and doesn't require explosive warheads. 'The electromagnetic railgun represents an incredible new offensive capability for the U.S. Navy,' says Rear Adm. Bryant Fuller, the Navy's chief engineer. 'This capability will allow us to effectively counter a wide range of threats at a relatively low cost, while keeping our ships and sailors safer by removing the need to carry as many high-explosive weapons.' Sea trials begin aboard an experimental Navy catamaran, the USNS Millinocket, in 2016."

Princeton Students Develop Open Source Voice Control Platform For Any Device

Unknown Lamer posted about 6 months ago | from the yell-at-your-computer-more-effectively dept.

Input Devices 34

rjmarvin (3001897) writes "Two Princeton computer science students have created an open source platform for developing voice-controlled applications that are always on. Created by Shubhro Saha and Charlie Marsh, Jasper runs on the Raspberry Pi under Raspbian, using a collection of open source libraries to make up a development platform for building voice-controlled applications. Marsh and Saha demonstrate Jasper's capability to perform Internet searches, update social media, and control music players such as Spotify. You need a few easily obtainable bits of hardware (a USB microphone, wifi dongle or ethernet, and speakers). The whole thing is powered by CMU Sphinx (which /. covered the open sourcing of back in 2000). Jasper provides Python modules (under the MIT license) for recognizing phrases and taking action, or speaking when events occur. There doesn't seem to be anything tying it to the Raspberry Pi either, so you could likely run it on an HTPC for always-on voice control of your media center.

Isolated Tribes Die Shortly After We Meet Them

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the keep-your-culture-to-yourself dept.

Science 351

Daniel_Stuckey writes: "It's a story we all know — Christopher Columbus discovers America, his European buddies follow him, they meet the indigenous people living there, they indigenous people die from smallpox and guns and other unknown diseases, and the Europeans get gold, land, and so on. It's still happening today in Brazil, where 238 indigenous tribes have been contacted in the last several decades, and where between 23 and 70 uncontacted tribes are still living. A just-published report that takes a look at what happens after the modern world comes into contact with indigenous peoples isn't pretty: Of those contacted, three quarters went extinct. Those that survived saw mortality rates up over 80 percent. This is grim stuff."

Snowden: NSA Spied On Human Rights Workers

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the also-on-non-human-rights-workers dept.

Encryption 230

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: "The Guardian reports that according to Edward Snowden, the NSA has spied on the staff of prominent human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. 'The NSA has specifically targeted either leaders or staff members in a number of civil and non-governmental organizations including domestically within the borders of the United States.' Snowden, addressing the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, said he did not believe the NSA was engaged in 'nightmare scenarios,' such as the active compilation of a list of homosexuals 'to round them up and send them into camps.' But he did say that the infrastructure allowing this to happen had been built.

Snowden made clear that he believed in legitimate intelligence operations but said the NSA should abandon its electronic surveillance of entire civilian populations. Instead, Snowden said, it should go back to the traditional model of eavesdropping against specific targets, such as 'North Korea, terrorists, cyber-actors, or anyone else.' Snowden also urged members of the Council of Europe to encrypt their personal communications and said that encryption, used properly, could still withstand 'brute force attacks' from powerful spy agencies and others. 'Properly implemented algorithms backed up by truly random keys of significant length all require more energy to decrypt than exists in the universe.'"

Comcast Takes 2014 Prize For Worst Company In America

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the it's-comcastic dept.

Businesses 195

halfEvilTech writes with news that Comcast has emerged victorious from Consumerist's annual Worst Company In America contest. Comcast narrowly edged out Monsanto in the finals with 51.5% of the vote. The reigning champion for the past two years, Electronic Arts, lost in the first round to Time Warner Cable. TWC made the quarterfinals, which is notable because Comcast has proposed a merger with TWC. In fact, Comcast submitted an FCC filing today explaining why they think the deal should be allowed. They say, 'the companies don’t overlap or compete against each other.' Other strong contenders for the Worst Company in America included Chase, SeaWorld, Wal-Mart, Bank of America, and Verizon.

A Conversation with Ubuntu's Jono Bacon (Video)

Roblimo posted about 6 months ago | from the the-world's-leading-death-metal-free-software-advocate dept.

Ubuntu 53

You've probably heard Jono Bacon speak at a Linux or Open Source conference. Or maybe you've heard one of his podcasts or read something he's written in his job as Ubuntu's community manager or even, perhaps, read The Art of Community, which is Jono's well-regarded book about building online communities. Jono also wrote and performed the heavy metal version of Richard M. Stallman's infamous composition, The Free Software Song. An excerpt from the Jono version kicks off our interview, and the complete piece (about two minutes long) closes the video. Please note that this video is a casual talk with Jono Bacon, the person, rather than a talk with the "official" Ubuntu Jono Bacon. So please, pull up a chair, lean back, and join us. (Alternate Video Link)

Stem-Cell Research Funding Institute Is Shuttered

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the politics-is-political dept.

Government 86

An anonymous reader writes "The National Institutes of Health, the top funder of biomedical research in the U.S., has closed a program designed to bring induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) from the lab to the clinic. It has made no public mention of the closure, but the website has been deleted and Nature News reports that the center director, Mahendra Rao, resigned his post in frustration after the program allocated funds to only one clinical trial in its last round of funding."

Smart Car Tipping Trending In San Francisco

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the siphoning-next-the-gas-from-this-tesla dept.

Crime 371

First time accepted submitter hackajar1 (1700328) writes "Is it a crime of opportunity or another page in the current chapter of Anti-Tech movement in San Francisco? Either way, the new crime trending in San Francisco invloves tipping Smart Cars on their side. While they only take 3 — 4 people to tip, this could just be kids simply having "fun" at the very expensive cost of car owners. Alternatively it could be part of a larger movement in San Francisco against anyone associated with HiTech, which is largely being blamed for neighborhood gentrification and rent spikes in recent years." This sounds like a story that would catch the ears of veteran reporter Roland Hedley.

German Wikipedia Has Problems With Paid Editing — and Threats of Violence

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the next-time-we-leave-the-rest-of-the-horse dept.

Wikipedia 55

metasonix (650947) writes "As German journalist Marvin Oppong learned recently, there are a number of people who work to make articles about certain corporations and trade groups on German Wikipedia 'look better.' And when Oppong published his discoveries, one reaction was an openly violent threat, aimed at him, posted on de-WP's 'Kurier' noticeboard. Just as with English Wikipedia, it is apparently a 'terrible crime' to criticize German Wikipedia, even when Jimbo Wales's 'bright line' rule on paid editing is being violated. Unlike English WP, the Germans will threaten to 'curbstone' people for saying it."

Online Skim Reading Is Taking Over the Human Brain

Unknown Lamer posted about 6 months ago | from the slashdot-ruined-your-brain dept.

Books 224

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Michael S. Rosenwald reports in the Washington Post that, according to cognitive neuroscientists, humans seem to be developing digital brains with new circuits for skimming through the torrent of information online at the expense of traditional deep reading circuitry... Maryanne Wolf, one of the world's foremost experts on the study of reading, was startled last year to discover her brain was apparently adapting, too. After a day of scrolling through the Web and hundreds of e-mails, she sat down one evening to read Hermann Hesse's challenging novel The Glass Bead Game. 'I'm not kidding: I couldn't do it,' says Wolf. 'It was torture getting through the first page. I couldn't force myself to slow down so that I wasn't skimming, picking out key words, organizing my eye movements to generate the most information at the highest speed. I was so disgusted with myself.'

The brain was not designed for reading and there are no genes for reading like there are for language or vision. ... Before the Internet, the brain read mostly in linear ways — one page led to the next page, and so on. The Internet is different. With so much information, hyperlinked text, videos alongside words and interactivity everywhere, our brains form shortcuts to deal with it all — scanning, searching for key words, scrolling up and down quickly. This is nonlinear reading, and it has been documented in academic studies. ... Some researchers believe that for many people, this style of reading is beginning to invade our ability to deal with other mediums. 'We're spending so much time touching, pushing, linking, scrolling and jumping through text that when we sit down with a novel, your daily habits of jumping, clicking, linking is just ingrained in you,' says Andrew Dillon."

A New Robo-Soldier Will Test Chemical Warfare Suits

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the beginning-of-the-end dept.

United Kingdom 29

Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "When it comes to military tech, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) usually makes the headlines with its gadgets, gizmos, and kickass robots. It's a prolific supporter of robo-defence projects, from Boston Dynamics' Cheetah and its cousin Big Dog to autonomous hands and unsteady humanoids. But the latest piece of military robot news comes from across the Atlantic at the UK's Ministry of Defence, which has unveiled an animatronic man to test suits and equipment for the British armed forces. 'Porton Man' looks pretty impressively modern and human-like until you realise he's stuck to a clunky external frame that moves his limbs like a puppet. But hey, at least he's not stumbling through steps at a snail's pace before inevitably crashing to the ground, like DARPA's cyborg hopefuls. The frame lets Porton Man run, walk (sorry, 'march'), sit, and kneel in mid-air, to mimic the common movements of a human soldier. He can also hold his arms up as if sighting a weapon."

SF Evictions Surging From Crackdown On Airbnb Rentals

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the and-stay-out dept.

The Almighty Buck 319

JoeyRox (2711699) writes "The city of San Francisco is aggressively enforcing its ban on short-term rentals. SF resident Jeffrey Katz recently came home to an eviction notice posted on his door that read 'You are illegally using the premises as a tourist or transient unit.' According to Edward Singer, an attorney with Zacks & Freedman who filed the notice against Katz, 'Using an apartment for short-term rentals is a crime in San Francisco.' Apparently Airbnb isn't being very helpful to residents facing eviction. 'Unfortunately, we can't provide individual legal assistance or review lease agreements for our 500,000 hosts, but we do try to help inform people about these issues,' according to David Hantman, Airbnb head of global public policy. SF and Airbnb are working on a framework which might make Airbnb rentals legal, an effort helped by Airbnb's decision last week to start collecting the city's 14% hotel tax by summer."

Interview: John McAfee Answers Your Questions

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the mouth-of-McAfee dept.

News 124

A while ago you had a chance to ask John McAfee about his past, politics, and what he has planned for the future. As usual, John answered with extreme frankness, with some interesting advice for anyone stuck at a checkpoint in the third world. Below you can read all his answers to your questions.

Judge (Tech) Advice By Results

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the listen-up dept.

News 162

Bennett Haselton writes "What advice would you give someone who just bought a new laptop? What would you tell someone about how to secure their webserver against attacks? For that matter, how would you tell someone to prepare for their first year at Burning Man? I submit that the metric by which we usually judge tech advice, and advice in general, is fundamentally flawed, and has bred much of the unhelpful tech advice out there." Read below to see what Bennett has to say.

Should Microsoft Give Kids Programmable Versions of Office?

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the won't-somebody-please-think-of-the-children? dept.

Microsoft 226

theodp (442580) writes "Over at Microsoft on the Issues, Microsoft continues to lament the computer programming skills gap of American kids, while simultaneously lobbying for more H-1B visas to fill that gap. Saying that states must do more to 'help students gain critical 21st century skills,' Microsoft credits itself and partner Code.org for getting 30,606,732 students to experience coding through the Hour of Code, claiming that K-12 kids have 'written 1,332,784,839 lines of code' (i.e., dragged-and-dropped puzzle pieces), So, if it's concerned about helping students gain programming skills, shouldn't Microsoft be donating fully-functional desktop versions of MS-Office to schools, which would allow kids to use Visual Basic for Applications (VBA)? While Microsoft's pledge to give 12 million copies of its Office software to schools was heralded by the White House and the press, a review of the 'fine print' at Microsoft suggests it's actually the online VBA-free version of Office 365 Education that the kids will be getting, unless their schools qualify for the Student Advantage program by purchasing Office for the faculty and staff. Since Microsoft supported President Obama's call for kids to 'Don't Just Play on Your Phone, Program It', shouldn't it give kids the chance to program MS-Office, too?"

Australia May 'Pause' Trades To Tackle High-Frequency Trading

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the slow-it-down dept.

Australia 342

angry tapir (1463043) writes "The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), a government financial watchdog, is reportedly contemplating the idea of implementing a 500 millisecond delay on trades in an effort to put the brakes on high-frequency trading. ASIC last year knocked back the idea and stated that fears about HFT were overblown. However, in a government inquiry today representatives of the organization said the idea of a 'pause' is still on the table."

"Nearly Unbreakable" Encryption Scheme Inspired By Human Biology

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the just-ask-the-creator dept.

Encryption 179

rjmarvin (3001897) writes "Researchers at the U.K.'s Lancaster University have reimagined the fundamental logic behind encryption, stumbling across a radically new way to encrypt data while creating software models to simulate how the human heart and lungs coordinate rhythms. The encryption method published in the American Physical Society journal and filed as a patent entitled 'Encoding Data Using Dynamic System Coupling,' transmits and receive multiple encrypted signals simultaneously, creating an unlimited number of possibilities for the shared encryption key and making it virtually impossible to decrypt using traditional methods. One of the researchers, Peter McClintock, called the encryption scheme 'nearly unbreakable.'

Not Just Apple: GnuTLS Bug Means Security Flaw For Major Linux Distros

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the holes-to-plug dept.

Debian 144

According to an article at Ars Technica, a major security bug faces Linux users, akin to the one recently found in Apple's iOS (and which Apple has since fixed). Says the article:"The bug is the result of commands in a section of the GnuTLS code that verify the authenticity of TLS certificates, which are often known simply as X509 certificates. The coding error, which may have been present in the code since 2005, causes critical verification checks to be terminated, drawing ironic parallels to the extremely critical 'goto fail' flaw that for months put users of Apple's iOS and OS X operating systems at risk of surreptitious eavesdropping attacks. Apple developers have since patched the bug." And while Apple can readily fix a bug in its own software, at least for users who keep up on patches, "Linux" refers to a broad range of systems and vendors, rather than a single company, and the affected systems include some of the biggest names in the Linux world, like Red Hat, Debian, and Ubuntu.

Facebook and Google's Race To Zero

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the just-don't-go-dividing-by-it dept.

The Almighty Buck 53

theodp (442580) writes "As Facebook and Google battle to bring the Internet to remote locations, Alicia Levine takes an interesting look at the dual strategy of Zero Rating and Consolidated Use employed by Google's FreeZone and Facebook's 0.facebook.com, websites which offer free access to certain Google and Facebook services via partnerships with mobile operators around the world. By reducing the cost to the user to zero, Levine explains, the tech giants not only get the chance to capture billions of new eyeballs to view ads in emerging markets, they also get the chance to effectively become "The Internet" in those markets. "If I told you that Facebook's strategy was to become the next Prodigy or AOL, you'd take me for crazy," writes Levine. "But, to a certain degree, that's exactly what they're trying to do. In places where zero-rating for Facebook or Google is the key to accessing the Internet, they are the Internet. And people have started to do every normal activity we would do on the Internet through those two portals because it costs them zero. This is consolidated use. If Facebook is my free pass to the Internet, I'm going to try to do every activity possible via Facebook so that it's free." The race to zero presents more than just a business opportunity, adds Levine — it also presents a chance for tech companies to improve lives. And if Google and Facebook fall short on that count, well, at least there's still Wikipedia Zero."

Blender Foundation Video Taken Down On YouTube For Copyright Violation

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the now-it's-ours dept.

Sony 306

An anonymous reader writes "As if the automated take downs on Youtube weren't already bad enough, today fans of the popular open source 3D software Blender were greeted by a copyright take down notice for their third open movie, Sintel, despite it being released under a Creative Commons license: 'This video contains content from Sony Pictures Movies & Shows, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.' It is believed that the takedown was a result of Sony Electronics adding Sintel to their official 4k demo pool."

Intel Releases $99 'MinnowBoard Max,' an Open-Source Single-Board Computer

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the embed-and-deploy dept.

Intel 97

A few months back, we posted a video interview with some of the folks behind the Linux-friendly, x86-based MinnowBoard. TechCrunch reports the release of a more powerful version of the same all-in-one computer, now with a 1.91GHz Atom E3845 processor. According to the linked article, "The board's schematics are also available for download and the Intel graphics chipset has open-source drivers so hackers can have their way with the board. While it doesn’t compete directly with the Raspberry Pi – the Pi is more an educational tool and already has a robust ecosystem – it is a way for DIYers to mess around in x86 architected systems as well as save a bit of cash. The system uses break-out boards called Lures to expand functionality."

More On the "Cuban Twitter" Scam

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the disrupting-the-moral-purity-of-the-cuban-autocracy dept.

Government 90

We mentioned a few days ago the USAID-funded SMS social network that was connecting Cubans against the wishes of the Cuban government. Now Glen Greenwald's The Intercept has more on this kind of back-channel government intervention via what he characterizes as "the Internet propaganda bucket." Advocatus Diaboli (1627651) writes with an excerpt: "These ideas–discussions of how to exploit the internet, specifically social media, to surreptitiously disseminate viewpoints friendly to western interests and spread false or damaging information about targets–appear repeatedly throughout the archive of materials provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Documents prepared by NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ–and previously published by The Intercept as well as some by NBC News–detailed several of those programs, including a unit devoted in part to "discrediting" the agency's enemies with false information spread online.

The documents in the archive show that the British are particularly aggressive and eager in this regard, and formally shared their methods with their U.S. counterparts. One previously undisclosed top-secret document–prepared by GCHQ for the 2010 annual "SIGDEV" gathering of the "Five Eyes" surveillance alliance comprising the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the U.S.–explicitly discusses ways to exploit Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media as secret platforms for propaganda."

Why No One Trusts Facebook To Power the Future

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the que-sera-sera dept.

Advertising 218

redletterdave (2493036) writes "Facebook owns virtually all the aspects of the social experience—photos (Instagram), status updates (Facebook), location services (Places)—but now, Facebook is transitioning from a simple social network to a full-fledged technology company that rivals Google, moonshot for moonshot. Yet, it's Facebook's corporate control of traffic that leads many to distrust the company. In a sense, people are stuck. When the time comes for someone to abandon Facebook, whether over privacy concerns or frustration with the company, Facebook intentionally makes it hard to leave. Even if you delete your account, your ghost remains—even when you die, Facebook can still make money off you. And that's not behavior fit for a company that's poised to take over the future."

Ask Slashdot: User-Friendly Firewall For a Brand-New Linux User?

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the perfect-security-on-the-way dept.

Security 187

An anonymous reader writes "I am a new Linux user; I'm on 2nd day now. Currently I am trying out Ubuntu, but that could change. I am looking for a user friendly firewall that I can set up that lets me do these things:1) set up a default deny rule 2) carve out exceptions for these programs: browser, email client, chat client, yum and/or apt. 3) carve out exceptions to the exceptions in requirement 2 — i.e. I want to be able to then block off IPs and IP ranges known to be used by malware, marketers, etc., and all protocols which aren't needed for requirement 2. It also needs to have good enough documentation that a beginner like me can figure it out. Previously, I had done all of the above in AVG Firewall on Windows, and it was very easy to do. So far, I have tried these things:1) IPTABLES — it looked really easy to screw it up and then not notice that it's screwed up and/or not be able to fix it even if I did notice, so I tried other things at that point... 2) searched the internet and found various free firewalls such as Firestarter, GUFW, etc., which I weren't able to make meet my requirements. Can someone either point me to a firewall that meets my needs or else give me some hints on how to make firestarter or GUFW do what I need?"

British Domain Registrar Offers 'No Transfer Fees,' Charges Transfer Fee

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the oh-we-were-just-lying-in-wait dept.

United Kingdom 77

First time accepted submitter RealSurreal (620564) writes "British web host 123-reg, which previously advertised 'no hidden transfer fees' has angered customers by introducing a £12 fee per domain for transfers out. Best of all, they didn't bother to tell anyone they were doing it relying instead on terms and conditions which say : '123-reg reserves the right to change, add, subtract or in way alter these Conditions without the prior consent of the Client.'"

Was Eich a Threat To Mozilla's $1B Google "Trust Fund"?

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the are-you-now-or-have-you-ever-been dept.

Mozilla 564

theodp (442580) writes "Over the years, Mozilla's reliance on Google has continued to grow. Indeed, in its report on Brendan Eich's promotion to CEO of Mozilla, the WSJ noted that "Google accounted for nearly 90% of Mozilla's $311 million in revenue." So, with its Sugar Daddy having also gone on record as being virulently opposed to Proposition 8, to think that that Google's support didn't enter into discussions of whether Prop 8 backer Eich should stay or go seems, well, pretty much unthinkable. "It is the chilling and discriminatory effect of the proposition on many of our employees that brings Google to publicly oppose Proposition 8," explained Google co-founder Sergey Brin in 2008. "We should not eliminate anyone's fundamental rights, whatever their sexuality, to marry the person they love." Interestingly, breaking the news of Eich's resignation was journalist Kara Swisher, whose right to marry a top Google exec in 2008 was nearly eliminated by Prop 8. "In an interview this morning," wrote Swisher, "Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker said that Eich's ability to lead the company that makes the Firefox Web browser had been badly damaged by the continued scrutiny over the hot-button issue, which had actually been known since 2012 inside the Mozilla community." Swisher, whose article was cited by the NY Times in The Campaign Against Mozilla's Brendan Eich, added that "it was not hard to get the sense that Eich really wanted to stick strongly by his views about gay marriage, which run counter to much of the tech industry and, increasingly, the general population in the U.S. For example, he repeatedly declined to answer when asked if he would donate to a similar initiative today." So, was keeping Eich aboard viewed by Mozilla — perhaps even by Eich himself — as a possible threat to the reported $1 billion minimum revenue guarantee the organization enjoys for delivering search queries for Google?"

Japan Orders Military To Strike Any New North Korea Missiles

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the aw-c'mon-you-spoilsports dept.

Japan 107

jones_supa (887896) writes "Japan has ordered a destroyer in the Sea of Japan to strike any ballistic missiles that may be launched by North Korea in the coming weeks after Pyongyang fired a Rodong medium-range missile over the sea. Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera issued the order on Thursday, but did not make it public in order to avoid putting a chill on renewed talks between Tokyo and Pyongyang. The Rodong missile fell into the sea after flying 650 km, short of a maximum range thought to be some 1,300 km, which means it could reach Japan. Japanese Aegis destroyers in the Sea of Japan are equipped with advanced radar equipment able to track multiple targets and carry missiles designed to take out targets at the edge of space."

It's Time To Bring Pseudoscience Into the Science Classroom

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the for-a-few-object-lessons dept.

Education 470

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "'Roughly one in three American adults believes in telepathy, ghosts, and extrasensory perception,' wrote a trio of scientists in a 2012 issue of the Astronomy Education Review. 'Roughly one in five believes in witches, astrology, clairvoyance, and communication with the dead (PDF). Three quarters hold at least one of these beliefs, and a third has four distinct pseudoscientific beliefs.' Now Steven Ross Pomeroy writes in Forbes Magazine that it's time to bring pseudoscience into public schools and universities. 'By incorporating examples of pseudoscience into lectures, instructors can provide students with the tools needed to understand the difference between scientific and pseudoscientific or paranormal claims,' say Rodney Schmaltz and Scott Lilienfeld." (Read more, below.)

UK Government Pays Microsoft £5.5M For Extended Support of Windows XP

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the ok-but-only-if-you-pay-nicely dept.

United Kingdom 341

whoever57 (658626) writes "The UK Government has signed a contract worth £5.5M (almost $9M) for extended support and security updates for Windows XP for 12 months after April 8. The deal covers XP, Exchange 2003 and Office 2003 for users in central and local government, schools and the National Health Service. The NHS is in need of this deal because it was estimated last September that 85% of the NHS's 800,000 computers were running XP."

Most Expensive Aviation Search: $53 Million To Find Flight MH370

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the what's-the-right-amount-to-spend? dept.

The Almighty Buck 233

mdsolar (1045926) writes "The search and investigation into missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is already the most expensive in aviation history, figures released to Fairfax Media suggest. The snippets of costings provide only a small snapshot but the $US50 million ($54 million) spent on the two-year probe into Air France Flight 447 — the previous record — appears to have been easily surpassed after just four weeks.... The biggest expense in the search has involved ships, satellites, planes and submarines deployed first in the South China Sea and the Malacca Straits, and then in the remote reaches of the southern Indian Ocean."

Illustrating the Socioeconomic Divide With iOS and Android

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the your-phone-is-your-class-marker dept.

Android 161

An anonymous reader writes: "Android has a huge market share advantage over iOS these days, but it hasn't had as much success at following the money. iOS continues to win over many app developers and businesses who want to maximize their earnings. Now, an article at Slate goes over some of the statistics demonstrating this trend. A map of geo-located Tweets show that in Manhattan, a generally affluent area, most of the Tweets come from iPhones. Meanwhile, in nearby Newark, which is a poorer area, most Tweets come from Android devices. In other tests, traffic data shows 87% of visits to e-commerce websites from tablets come from iPads, and the average value of an order from an iPad is $155, compared to $110 from Android tablets. (Android fairs a bit better on phones). Android shows a huge market share advantage in poorer countries, as well. Not all devs and business are just chasing the money, though. Twitter developer Cennydd Bowles said, 'I do hope, given tech's rhetoric about changing the world and disrupting outdated hierarchies, that we don't really think only those with revenue potential are worth our attention. A designer has a duty to be empathetic; to understand and embrace people not like him/herself. A group owning different devices to the design elite is not a valid reason to neglect their needs.'"

Ask Slashdot: the State of Open CS, IT, and DBA Courseware in 2014?

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the education-is-cheap,-it's-that-one-piece-of-paper-that's-expensive dept.

Education 84

xyourfacekillerx writes "Not long ago, Slashdot readers answered a question for someone seeking to finish a BS in CS online. I am in a similar situation with a different question. I have spent five years frivolously studying philosophy at a very expensive university, and now I want to start towards an Associate's in CS, and then perhaps a Bachelor's (I want to program for a living; I write code daily anyways). After four hours of combing through Google results, I still don't have much useful information. Problem 1: I am out of money and I have an 8 to 5 job, so on-campus enrollment is not an option. Problem 2: and I have very little to transfer due to the specificity of my prior studies: I don't even have my core English/Language or even math cores to transfer. My questions are: 1) Just where are the open CS courses? Who offers it in a way that's more than just lecture notes posts online? 2) Can any of it help or hinder me getting a degree (i.e. does any of it transfer, potentially? Is it a waste of time? Additionally, any tips about accredited online universities (preferably self-paced) where I can start to get my associates and/or bachelor's in CS at low cost would be useful. I intend to be enrolled online somewhere by Fall, and I am starting my own search among local (Colorado) junior colleges who don't demand on-campus presence like most four-years schools do."

Microsoft To Allow Code Contributions To F#

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the also-debating-renaming-it-to-hashtag-F dept.

Microsoft 100

An anonymous reader writes "The F# programming language team has been providing source code releases for years, but all contributions to the core implementation were internal. Microsoft is now changing that. They've announced that they'll be accepting code contributions from the community for the core F# language, the compiler, library, and Visual F# tools. They praised the quality of work currently being done by the F# community: 'The F# community is already doing high-quality, cross-platform open engineering using modern tools, testing methodology and build processes. Some particularly active projects include the Visual F# Power Tools, FSharp.Data, F# Editing Support for Open Editors, the Deedle DataFrame library and a host of testing tools, web tools, templates, type providers and other tools.' Microsoft is actively solicited bug fixes, optimizations, and library improvements."

Linus Torvalds Suspends Key Linux Developer

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the arguing-about-penguins dept.

Open Source 641

alphadogg writes: "An argument between developers of some of the most basic parts of Linux turned heated this week, resulting in a prominent Red Hat employee and code contributor being banned from working on the Linux kernel. Kay Sievers, a well-known open-source software engineer, is a key developer of systemd, a system management framework for Linux-based operating systems. Systemd is currently used by several prominent Linux distributions, including two of the most prominent enterprise distros, Red Hat and SUSE. It was recently announced that Ubuntu would adopt systemd in future versions as well. Sievers was banned by kernel maintainer Linus Torvalds on Wednesday for failing to address an issue that caused systemd to interact with the Linux kernel in negative ways."

Algorithm Challenge: Burning Man Vehicle Exodus

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the in-the-name-of-efficiency dept.

Editorial 273

Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton writes: "A year ago, getting ready for Burning Man, I read that the cars in the exit line sometimes have to wait in the sun for hours to get out. I came up with an algorithm that I thought would alleviate the problem. Do you think it would work? If not, why not? Or can you think of a better one?" Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.

NASA To Catalog and Release Source Code For Over 1,000 Projects

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the go-big-or-go-home dept.

NASA 46

An anonymous reader writes "By the end of next week, NASA will release a master catalog of over 1,000 software projects it has conducted over the years and will provide instructions on how the public can obtain copies of the source code. NASA's goal is to eventually 'host the actual software code in its own online repository, a kind of GitHub for astronauts.' This follows NASA's release of the code running the Apollo 11 Guidance Computer a few years back. Scientists not affiliated with NASA have already adapted some of NASA's software. 'In 2005, marine biologists adapted the Hubble Space Telescope's star-mapping algorithm to track and identify endangered whale sharks. That software has now been adapted to track polar bears in the arctic and sunfish in the Galapagos Islands.' The Hubble Space Telescope's scheduling software has reportedly also been used to schedule MRIs at hospitals and as control algorithms for online dating services. The possibilities could be endless."

Oxford Internet Institute Creates Internet "Tube" Map

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the follow-the-lines dept.

The Internet 56

First time accepted submitter Jahta (1141213) writes "The Oxford Internet Institute has created a schematic of the world's international fiber-optic links in the style of the famous London Tube map. The schematic also highlights nodes where censorship and surveillance are known to be in operation. The map uses data sourced from cablemap.info. Each node has been assigned to a country, and all nodes located in the same country have been collapsed into a single node. The resulting network has been then abstracted."

The Problem With Congress's Scientific Illiterates

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the I-don't-get-it dept.

Education 509

Lasrick (2629253) writes "Brian Merchant at Motherboard examines the March 26th House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology's 2015 budget request hearing. White House adviser Dr. John Holdren addressed the committee to defend funding for science programs. Video clips show comments that are difficult to believe, when you hear them. From the article: '"So, when you guys do your research, you start with a scientific—what do they call it—postulate or theory, and you work from that direction forward, is that right?" Representative Randy Weber (R-TX) said. "So, I'm just wondering how that related, for example, to global warming and eventual global cooling." He paused to make a joke about getting the scientists' cell phone number so he could call to ask when to buy a coat, before concluding that science just isn't up to the task.'"

China Cracks Down On Bitcoin, Cuts Off Exchanges' Bank Access

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the state-is-still-not-your-friend dept.

Bitcoin 100

jfruh (300774) writes "Bitcoin has made many governments and regulators uncomfortable, and the Chinese government is responding to the challenge it poses with its usual lack of subtlety. Two Chinese bitcoin exchanges have found themselves cut off from the money economy, as Chinese banks, under pressure from the government, refuse to do business with them."

Details You're Not Supposed To See From Boston U's Patent Settlements

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the those-lights-can-be-infuriating-at-night dept.

The Courts 130

curtwoodward (2147628) writes "In January, Boston University settled lawsuits against two dozen big technology companies for allegedly using its patented blue LED technology without permission. But apparently, the school's lawyers were a little too forthcoming for everyone's tastes — they recently asked a federal judge to delete a court filing that spelled out all of the companies who settled. Luckily, we still had the unredacted version, which shows that Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Motorola and many more are on the list, even if they don't want you to know it."

Interview: Ask Bruce Perens What You Will

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the go-ahead-and-ask dept.

Debian 129

Bruce Perens is a computer programmer and one of the most important advocates for the open source community. He co-founded the Open Source Initiative with ESR and has worked towards reforms of national and international technology policies. He is an amateur radio enthusiast, and has pushed for open radio communication standards. He is also our interview guest today. As usual, ask as many questions as you'd like, but please, one per post.

60 Minutes Dubbed Engines Noise Over Tesla Model S

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the at-least-they-didn't-detonate-it dept.

The Media 544

cartechboy (2660665) writes "Did you watch the Tesla 60 Minutes segment the other night? If you did, you might have ended up on the floor rolling around laughing like I did. Since when does the Tesla Model S electric car make audible engine noises? Or downshift? Turns out, 60 Minutes dubbed engine noises and a downshift over the Model S running footage. The show claims it was an editing error. Call it what you want, it was absolutely hilarious. A little note to TV producers assigned to cover Tesla Motors in the future: Electric cars don't upshift or downshift." At least they didn't fraudulently blow it up!

ZunZuneo: USAID Funded 'Cuban Twitter' To Undermine Communist Regime

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the fine-idea-to-me dept.

Censorship 173

barlevg (2111272) writes "In a country where the government severely limits access to the world wide web, ZunZeneo, an anonymous SMS-based social network, drew more than 40,000 Cuban users at its peak, the Associated Press reports. On it, people shared news and opinions about music and culture. But what none of its subscribers knew was that the project was secretly funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), though a series of shell corporations and foreign bank accounts, and that its stated goal was 'renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society' in the Communist stronghold, hopefully leading to a 'Cuban Spring.'"

Vint Cerf: CS Programs Must Change To Adapt To Internet of Things

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the get-to-learning dept.

Education 163

chicksdaddy (814965) writes "The Internet of Things has tremendous potential but also poses a tremendous risk if the underlying security of Internet of Things devices is not taken into account, according to Vint Cerf, Google's Internet Evangelist. Cerf, speaking in a public Google Hangout (video) on Wednesday, said that he's tremendously excited about the possibilities of an Internet of billions of connected objects. But Cerf warned that it necessitates big changes in the way that software is written. Securing the data stored on those devices and exchanged between them represents a challenge to the field of computer science – one that the nation's universities need to start addressing. Internet of Things products need to do a better job managing access control and use strong authentication to secure communications between devices."

London Council Dumping Windows For Chromebooks To Save £400,000

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the year-of-something-on-the-somethingtop dept.

Chrome 193

girlmad writes: "Google has scored a major win on the back of Microsoft's Windows XP support cut-off. The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham has begun moving all its employees over to Samsung Chromebooks and Chromeboxes ahead of the 8 April deadline. The council was previously running 3,500 Windows XP desktops and 800 XP laptops, and is currently in the process of retiring these in favour of around 2,000 Chromebooks and 300 Chromeboxes. It estimates the savings at around £400,000 compared to upgrading to newer Windows machines — no small change."

NASA Halts Non-ISS Work With Russia Over Ukraine Crisis

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the can't-we-all-just-get-along dept.

NASA 291

An anonymous reader writes "The Verge reports on an internal memo from NASA indicating that they've suspended all contracts and activities with Russia that aren't involved with operating the International Space Station. Quoting: 'Given Russia's ongoing violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, until further notice, the U.S. Government has determined that all NASA contacts with Russian Government representatives are suspended, unless the activity has been specifically excepted. This suspension includes NASA travel to Russia and visits by Russian Government representatives to NASA facilities, bilateral meetings, email, and teleconferences or videoconferences. At the present time, only operational International Space Station activities have been excepted.' NASA Administrator Charles Bolden argued recently that our dependence on Russia for putting astronauts into space needs to end."

Amazon Launches Android-Powered 'Fire TV' For Streaming and Gaming

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the bookstores-sure-sell-a-lot-of-stuff-these-days dept.

Android 180

Today Amazon launched 'Fire TV,' a new video streaming box designed to compete with devices like the Roku and Apple TV. The Fire TV runs Android on a quad-core Qualcomm 1.7 GHz processor with 8GB of internal storage and 2GB of RAM. It supports 1080p video output at 60fps and measures 4.5" x 4.5" x 0.7". The Fire TV is also explicitly designed to support gaming, and Amazon has concurrently launched their own game controller. The Fire TV's remote control includes a microphone and a button that lets you search TV show and movies by voice.

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