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Satya Nadella At Six Months: Grading Microsoft's New CEO
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '14 at 09:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's making-the-grade department:
snydeq writes The future emerging for Microsoft under Nadella is a mixed bag of hope and turmoil, writes Woody Leonhard in his review of Nadella's first fix months at the helm of Microsoft. "When Nadella took over, Microsoft was mired in the aftermath of a lengthy and ultimately unpopular reign by longtime CEO — and Microsoft majority shareholder — Steve Ballmer. Given the constraint of that checkered past, some might argue that Nadella hasn't had enough time to make his imprint on every aspect of Microsoft. Yet there have been many changes already under Nadella's watch, and patterns are certainly emerging as to the kind of company Microsoft will be in the years ahead." Leadership, product lines, financials — Nadella's scorecard shows strong strategic leadership, particularly around the cloud, but Windows and devices are murky at best, with Microsoft employees "taking it in the shorts, and not only in Finland."

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Japan To Launch a Military Space Force In 2019
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '14 at 09:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's wave-motion-gun department:
Taco Cowboy writes Japan is planning to launch a military space force by 2019. The Mainichi Shimbun is reporting that Japan plans to create a "space force" within its existing Self Defence Force, hoping to have it operational by 2019. Japan would provide the US military with information obtained by the force as part of the joint bid to strengthen ties in space, the so-called "fourth battlefield", Kyodo news agency said, citing unnamed sources. Note that this plan, which involves simply looking into space using old civilian astronomy equipment and radar, is just the beginning. The transforming space fighters and combat mechs will presumably come later.

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Spain's Link Tax Taxes Journalist's Patience
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '14 at 09:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's seeing-read department:
rsmiller510 writes Spain's new tax on linking to Spanish newspaper articles is ill defined and short sighted and ends up protecting a dying industry, while undermining a vibrant one. In another case of disrupted industries turning to lawmakers to solve their problems, this one makes no sense at all, especially given the state of the Spanish economy and the fact that it comes 15 years too late to even matter. From the article: "While newspapers are at least partly correct to blame the Internet for their troubles, they should recognize that their own mismanagement also played a key role. Newspapers everywhere waited much too long to take the Internet seriously, and while virtually every surviving newspaper has a website now, they almost invariably treat those sites as a necessary evil, as something separate from the news collection and delivery that they do with print."

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Interviews: Ask James Cameron About The Deepsea Challenge 3D Movie
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '14 at 08:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's go-ahead-and-ask department:
Starting at 5:15 am local time on March 26, 2012, James Cameron piloted the Deepsea Challenger to the east depression of the Challenger Deep, the deepest part of the Mariana Trench. He spent three hours exploring the sea floor. Later analysis of the specimens Cameron collected during this and other dives in the submersible revealed many life forms, with at least 100 of them identified as new species. One shrimp-like amphipod was found to produce a compound that was already in clinical trials to treat Alzheimer’s disease. The Deepsea Challenger submersible and science platform was donated to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on March 26, 2013, the one-year anniversary of the historic dive. A new National Geographic film chronicling the project from the beginning called, Deepsea Challenge 3D, is coming out August 8th in select theaters. Here's your chance to ask James Cameron and director John Bruno about the film, the dive, and the submersible. As usual, ask as many questions as you'd like, but please, one per post.

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Ask Slashdot: What To Do About the Sorry State of FOSS Documentation?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '14 at 07:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's keeping-up-with-the-times department:
First time accepted submitter TWX writes I've been out of computers as a serious home-hobby for many years and in returning I'm aghast at the state of documentation for Open Source projects. The software itself has changed significantly in the last decade, but the documentation has failed to keep pace; most of what I'm finding applies to versions long since passed or were the exact same documents from when I dropped-out of hobbyist computing years ago. Take Lightdm on Ubuntu 14.04 for example- its entire configuration file structure has been revamped, but none of the documentation for more specialized or advanced uses of Lightdm in previous versions of Ubuntu has been updated for this latest release. It's actually harder now to configure some features than it was a decade ago. TLDP is close to a decade out-of-date, fragmentation between distributions has grown to the point that answers from one distro won't readily apply to another, and web forums for even specific projects are full of questions without answers, or those that head off into completely unrelated discussion, or with snarky, "it's in the documentation, stupid!" responses. Where do you go for your FOSS documentation and self-help?

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Japan To Launch a Military Space Force In 2019
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '14 at 06:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's wave-motion-gun department:
Taco Cowboy writes Japan is planning to launch a military space force by 2019. The Mainichi Shimbun is reporting that Japan plans to create a "space force" within its existing Self Defence Force, hoping to have it operational by 2019. Japan would provide the US military with information obtained by the force as part of the joint bid to strengthen ties in space, the so-called "fourth battlefield", Kyodo news agency said, citing unnamed sources. Note that this plan, which involves simply looking into space using old civilian astronomy equipment and radar, is just the beginning. The transforming space fighters and combat mechs will presumably come later.

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Extracting Audio From Visual Information
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '14 at 06:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what-the-bag-says department:
rtoz writes Researchers at MIT, Microsoft, and Adobe have developed an algorithm that can reconstruct an audio signal by analyzing minute vibrations of objects depicted in video. In one set of experiments, they were able to recover intelligible speech from the vibrations of a potato-chip bag (video) photographed from 15 feet away through soundproof glass.

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Animal Behaviour Specialists Map Out the Social Networks of Cows
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '14 at 05:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's udderly-fascinating department:
KentuckyFC writes In a classic The Far Side cartoon by Gary Larson, a group of cows stand on two legs chatting by the side of a road when a lookout shouts "car". The cows immediately drop to a four-legged stance as the car passes by and return to their usual position and continue chatting when it has gone. Now a team of animal behavior specialists have discovered that the social lives of cattle are more complex than biologists had ever imagined (although not quite into Larson territory). These guys attached RFID tags to 70 Holstein-Fresian calves kept in three pens. They then monitored the position of each cow for a week to see which other animals they tended to have contact with. This allowed them to construct the social network for the cows with unprecedented detail. It turns out these social networks have many of the properties of human social networks. Cows have preferred partners who they tend to spend more time with and 60 per cent of their contacts occur during feeding which amounts to only 6 per cent of their time. The work has important applications. It should help biologists more accurately model how disease spreads through herds of cattle and therefore better understand how to tackle epidemics.

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How Facebook Sold You Krill Oil
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '14 at 04:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's buy-this department:
An anonymous reader writes with this look at how Facebook tries to make and sell "thumbstopper" ads compelling enough to get people to stop scrolling through their news feeds. With its trove of knowledge about the likes, histories and social connections of its 1.3 billion users worldwide, Facebook executives argue, it can help advertisers reach exactly the right audience and measure the impact of their ads — while also, like TV, conveying a broad brand message. Facebook, which made $1.5 billion in profit on $7.9 billion in revenue last year, sees particular value in promoting its TV-like qualities, given that advertisers spend $200 billion a year on that medium. "We want to hold ourselves accountable for delivering results," said Carolyn Everson, Facebook's vice president for global marketing solutions, in a recent interview. "Not smoke and mirrors, maybe it works, maybe it doesn't."

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NFL Players To Use Tablet Computers During Games
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '14 at 01:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's angry-birds-penalty department:
An anonymous reader writes A $400 million partnership between the NFL and Microsoft that replaces the old method of studying opponents from the sidelines using printed black-and-white photos with tablet computers is just one of the hi-tech upgrades to the NFL this year. From the article: "The referees are also going wireless so they can talk with each other without huddling, and coaches will sport new Bose headsets. But the appearance of Microsoft Surface tablets marks the first time players and coaches can legally use such electronic devices on the field during the game. The tablets will come into play for the first time Sunday night, when the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills play in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio."

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Putin Government Moves To Take Control of Russia's largest space company Energia
Posted by News Fetcher on August 03 '14 at 10:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's mine-now-I-take-it department:
schwit1 writes Vitaly Lopota, the president of Russia's largest space company Energia, was suspended Friday by the company's board of directors. From the article: "The move appears to be part of an effort by Russia's government to obtain majority control over Energia, of which it owns a 38-percent share. The directors elected Igor Komarov as its new chairman of the board. Komarov is chief of the Russian United Rocket and Space Corporation (URSC), the government-owned company tasked with consolidating Russia's sprawling space sector." The government is also conducting a criminal investigation of Lopota, which might be justified but appears to be a power play designed to both eliminate him from the game as well as make sure everyone else tows the line so that URSC can take complete control.

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Google Spots Explicit Images of a Child In Man's Email, Tips Off Police
Posted by News Fetcher on August 03 '14 at 07:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's do-not-pass-go department:
mrspoonsi writes with this story about a tip sent to police by Google after scanning a users email. A Houston man has been arrested after Google sent a tip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children saying the man had explicit images of a child in his email, according to Houston police. The man was a registered sex offender, convicted of sexually assaulting a child in 1994, reports Tim Wetzel at KHOU Channel 11 News in Houston. "He was keeping it inside of his email. I can't see that information, I can't see that photo, but Google can," Detective David Nettles of the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce told Channel 11. After Google reportedly tipped off the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Center alerted police, which used the information to get a warrant.

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San Francisco Airport Testing Beacon System For Blind Travelers
Posted by News Fetcher on August 03 '14 at 05:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's making-it-easier department:
An anonymous reader points out this pilot program in San Francisco to help blind passengers better navigate the airport. San Francisco Airport is testing out location-aware beacons to help visually-impaired people navigate around one of its newest terminals, a program it could roll out to the rest of the airport if successful. An early version of the system was shown off to press today for use on Apple iOS devices, though SFO also plans to make it available for Android users and eventually expand the system to serve up information for those who can see. The beacons are coming from an indoor positioning company Indoo.rs and have been installed throughout the terminal. Each beacon will connect to a smartphone app to pop up with information when a user gets within range. For the visually impaired, the system uses Apple's Voiceover technology to read out points of interest as they come on screen, though an early version of the app also gives people visual cues for how to navigate to locations from a directory that can be sorted. That means you could tell it to help you find the nearest power outlet to juice your gear, or the nearest coffee shops to recharge your body.

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Apple $450 Million e-Book Settlement Wins Court Approval
Posted by News Fetcher on August 03 '14 at 03:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's red-light-green-light department:
An anonymous reader writes A week after Judge Denise Cote put forward concerns over a proposed settlement with consumers over e-book price-fixing in the iBookstore, she has given Apple preliminary approval for its $450 million settlement. "The proposed settlement agreement is within the range of those that may be approved as fair and reasonable, such that notice to the class is appropriate," Cote said. "Preliminary approval is granted." Cote set a final fairness hearing for Nov. 21.

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Mozilla Dumps Info of 76,000 Developers To Public Web Server
Posted by News Fetcher on August 03 '14 at 02:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's for-everyone's-eyes department:
wiredmikey writes Mozilla warned on Friday that it had mistakenly exposed information on almost 80,000 members of its Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) as a result of a botched data sanitization process. The discovery was made around June 22 by one of Mozilla's Web developers, Stormy Peters, Director of Developer Relations at Mozilla, said in a security advisory posted to the Mozilla Security Blog on Friday. "Starting on about June 23, for a period of 30 days, a data sanitization process of the Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) site database had been failing, resulting in the accidental disclosure of MDN email addresses of about 76,000 users and encrypted passwords of about 4,000 users on a publicly accessible server," Peters wrote. According to Peter, the encrypted passwords were salted hashes and they by themselves cannot currently be used to authenticate with the MDN. However, Peters warned that MDN users may be at risk if they reused their original MDN passwords on other non-Mozilla websites or authentication systems.

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UK Spy Agency Certifies Master's Degrees In Cyber Security
Posted by News Fetcher on August 03 '14 at 01:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's learning-lessons department:
An anonymous reader writes Intelligence agency GCHQ has just accredited six UK universities to teach Master's degrees in online security that meet the intelligence agency's "stringent criteria." From the press release: "The certification of six Master's degrees in Cyber Security was announced by Rt.Hon Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he visited GCHQ today. This marks another significant step in the development of the UK's knowledge, skills and capability in all fields of Cyber Security as part of the National Cyber Security Programme. The National Cyber Security Strategy recognises education as key to the development of Cyber Security skills and, earlier in the year, UK universities were invited to submit their Cyber Security Master's degrees for certification against GCHQ's stringent criteria for a broad foundation in Cyber Security."

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Sprint/T-Mobile Plan To Buy Spectrum Together May Be Blocked By FCC
Posted by News Fetcher on August 03 '14 at 12:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's not-so-fast department:
An anonymous reader writes with a FCC proposal that is bad news for Sprint and T-Mobile. A proposal from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler would block an attempt by Sprint and T-Mobile US to buy spectrum together in the incentive auction that will transfer airwaves from broadcast TV stations to cellular carriers next year. Announced on Friday, Wheeler's proposal seeks to help the smallest wireless companies develop business partnerships with larger ones. But it would not allow partnerships between the biggest carriers, since more than 95 percent of US customers are served by either AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon Wireless. "Our goal is to promote the participation of as many parties as possible in the auction," FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Chief Roger Sherman wrote Friday. "If two of the largest companies are able to bid as one combined entity in the auction, their combined resources may have the effect of suppressing meaningful competition. Therefore, the item tentatively concludes that joint bidding arrangements between nationwide providers should not be allowed."

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Study: Dinosaurs "Shrank" Regularly To Become Birds
Posted by News Fetcher on August 03 '14 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's getting-small department:
An anonymous reader writes A new study suggests that large dinosaurs shrunk to small birds to survive over a period of around 50 million years. Aside from a few large species, most modern birds are predominantly tiny and look nothing at all like their prehistoric meat-eating ancestors. The evolutionary process that governed this transformation has not been well understood, but now researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia have put together a detailed family tree mapping the evolution of therapod dinosaurs to the agile flying birds we see today. Their results indicated that meat-eating dinosaurs underwent several distinct periods of miniaturization over the last 50 million years which took them down from an average weight of 163kg to just 0.8kg before finally becoming modern birds.

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Google Sells Maine Barge For Scrap
Posted by News Fetcher on August 03 '14 at 10:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's scrap-the-ship department:
An anonymous reader writes "Reports indicate that Google has sold one of its two mystery Google Barges. The barge in question is located in Portland, Maine. While Google's Maine barge is to be scrapped, the fate of its second barge – located in Stockton, California – remains unknown. From the article: "Now, instead of planning a future unveiling of the finished project, Google apparently dropped it. In an email response to eWEEK, a Google spokesperson would only confirm that the barge had been sold and declined to reveal any more about the now-defunct project or any such future endeavors. The scrapping of the barge in Portland Harbor was first reported July 31 by The Portland Press, which said it will be heading out to an undisclosed location after being purchased by an unnamed international barge company. The barge carried 63 shipping containers that were arranged to create a four-story building and was slated to be filled with technologies that were to be displayed to the public."

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Ancient Skulls Show Civilization Rose As Testosterone Fell
Posted by News Fetcher on August 03 '14 at 09:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's no-low-t-cream-please department:
An anonymous reader writes "Even though modern humans started appearing around 200,000 years ago, it was only about 50,000 years ago that artistry and tool making became popular. New research shows that society bloomed when testosterone levels in humans started dropping. A paper published in the journal Current Anthropology, suggests that a testosterone deficit facilitated the friendliness and cooperation between humans, which lead to modern society. "Whatever the cause, reduced testosterone levels enabled increasingly social people to better learn from and cooperate with each other, allowing the acceleration of cultural and technological innovation that is the hallmark of modern human success," says University of Utah biology graduate student Robert Cieri."

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