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In Praise of Micromanagement
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '13 at 04:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's keeping-an-eye-on-things department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Sydney Finkelstein writes at BBC that Steve Jobs, Mickey Drexler, and Jeff Bezos all have something in common. They are all builders of giant brands, very successful, and each is (or was) 'an unmitigated, unapologetic, micromanager!' The modern executive is taught — in business schools and in many jobs — that to manage people effectively is to delegate, and then get out of the way. But it's not delegate and forget says Finkelstein; it must be delegate and be intimately involved with what happens next. Micromanagers must be selective. You can't delve into the details of everything, and in fact superstar micromanagers don't. 'Steve Jobs was intimately involved with each product the company designed, and was even famously involved in designing the glass stairs at the Apple stores. But financial and operational issues were delegated to second-in-command and current Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook.' One key is that micromanagers must be experts. What could be worse than a manager immersed in the details who really doesn't know his stuff? Finally, it takes a strong, trusted team to be a micromanager. Could Steve Jobs have spent weeks with the iPhone design team if there was no one else to mind the store? If not for Tim Cook, perhaps the legend of Steve Jobs would not have turned out quite so well. 'The good news is that the best micromanagers are often the best talent developers,' writes Finkelstein. 'Their attention to detail, their intimate knowledge of the business and their deep involvement in what's going on actually enables more, not less, delegation.'"

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Facebook Building a Company Town
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '13 at 03:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's like-this-home department:
cold fjord writes "The Wall Street Journal reports, 'Facebook Inc.'s sprawling campus in Menlo Park, Calif., is so full of cushy perks that some employees may never want to go home. ... The social network said this week it is working with a local developer to build a $120 million, 394-unit housing community within walking distance of its offices. ... the 630,000 square-foot rental property will include everything from a sports bar to a doggy day care. Even in Silicon Valley, where tech companies compete to lure coveted engineers with over-the-top perks and offices that resemble adult playgrounds, Facebook's plan breaks new ground. A Facebook spokeswoman said employee retention wasn't a major factor in the real estate push. "We're certainly excited to have more housing options closer to campus, but we believe that people work at Facebook because what they do is rewarding and they believe in our mission," she said. Some employees had inquired about places to live near the corporate campus, she said ... The development conjures up memories of so-called "company towns" at the turn of the 20th century, where American factory workers lived in communities owned by their employer and were provided housing, health care, law enforcement, church and just about every other service necessary.'"

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Adobe Hacked: Almost 3 Million Accounts Compromised
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '13 at 02:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's breaking-in department:
sl4shd0rk writes "Adobe Systems Inc. is expected to announce today that hackers broke into its network and stole source code for an as-yet undetermined number of software titles, including its ColdFusion Web application platform, and possibly its Acrobat family of products. The company said hackers also accessed nearly three million customer credit card records, and stole login data for an undetermined number of Adobe user accounts."

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SSHDs Debut On the Desktop With Mixed Results
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '13 at 02:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's getcher-bits-in-a-row department:
crookedvulture writes "Seagate's solid-state hybrid drives have finally made it to the desktop. The latest generation of SSHDs debuted with a 2.5" notebook model that was ultimately hampered by its slow 5,400-RPM spindle speed. The Desktop SSHD has the same 8GB flash payload and Adaptive Memory caching scheme. However, it's equipped with 2TB of much faster 7,200-RPM mechanical storage. The onboard flash produces boot and load times only a little bit slower than those of full-blown SSDs. It also delivers quicker response times than traditional hard drives. That said, the relatively small cache is overwhelmed by some benchmarks, and its mechanical sidekick isn't as fast as the best traditional hard drives. The price premium is a little high, too: an extra $30 for the 1TB model and $40 for the 2TB variant, which is nearly enough to buy a separate 32GB SSD. Seagate's software-independent caching system works with any operating system and hardware platform, so it definitely has some appeal. But dual-drive setups are probably the better solution for most desktop users."

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Science Magazine "Sting Operation" Catches Predatory Journals In the Act
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '13 at 01:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's how-to-be-a-famous-person department:
sciencehabit writes "A sting operation orchestrated by Science's contributing news correspondent John Bohannon exposes the dark side of open-access publishing. Bohannon created a spoof scientific report, authored by made-up researchers from institutions that don't actually exist, and submitted it to 304 peer-reviewed, open-access journals around the world. His hoax paper claimed that a particular molecule slowed the growth of cancer cells, and it was riddled with obvious errors and contradictions. Unfortunately, despite the paper's flaws, more open-access journals accepted it for publication (157) than rejected it (98). In fact, only 36 of the journals solicited responded with substantive comments that recognized the report's scientific problems. The article reveals a 'Wild West' landscape that's emerging in academic publishing, where journals and their editorial staffs aren't necessarily who or what they claim to be."

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NASA Astronaut Talks "Gravity," Spacewalking, ISS
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '13 at 12:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's best-view-of-earth department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "The upcoming movie Gravity features a pair of astronauts (George Clooney and Sandra Bullock) stranded in orbit after their space shuttle is destroyed by floating debris. Faced with dwindling oxygen levels, they struggle to reach the nearby International Space Station (ISS). It's a movie, so some deviations from reality are expected, but it also opens up an opportunity to talk with a NASA astronaut about what it's like to live in space. Catherine 'Cady' Coleman, who has spent thousands of hours aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia and the International Space Station, who gave Bullock advice on the role, suggests that the real NASA has the whole orbital-debris issue well in hand, but that it takes a lot of training (and on-the-job experience) to get the hang of living in space. 'When we get up to space and the people up there run around and show us stuff — that's really, really effective and there was nothing like that compared to the classroom.' Despite the physical and mental demands, and the the time spent away from family, she sees the endeavor as supremely worth it. 'We're all very privileged to do this job,' Coleman says. 'They spend a lot of money making you ready, and you have a responsibility to do your job.'"

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Tour Houston's Texas-Sized Hackerspace (Video 1 of 2)
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '13 at 12:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's power-tools-make-me-quiver-with-joy department:
That things are bigger in Texas is sometimes more than just a cliche. A few weeks ago, on the way to LinuxCon, I stopped by what is certainly the biggest hackerspace that I've ever seen; is it the biggest in the world? Whatever the answer is to that, Houston's TX/RX Labs is not just big — it's busy, and booked. Unlike some spaces we've highlighted here before (like Seattle's Metrix:CreateSpace and Brooklyn's GenSpace), TX/RX Labs has room and year-round sunshine enough to contemplate putting a multi-kilowatt solar array in the backyard. Besides an array of CNC machines, 3-D printers, and both wood- and metal-working equipment, TX/RX has workbenches available for members to rent. (These are serious workspaces, made in-house of poured concrete and welded steel tubing.) Member Steve Cameron showed me around, but TX/RX Labs is so large that we broke the tour into two parts, with the other one set to display next week.

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Shots Fired At US Capitol
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '13 at 11:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's no-no-you're-supposed-to-call-it-a-shutdown department:
skade88 writes with a report that "The United States Capitol has been put on lockdown after shots were fired. Reports indicate a policeman was injured." From the story: "The FBI was responding to the unconfirmed reports of shots, and a helicopter landed in front of the Capitol. A message from the Capitol Police ordered anyone in a House office to 'shelter in place.'
'Close, lock and stay away from external doors and windows,' the message said." Doubtless more to come on this; watch this space for updates. Update: 10/03 19:08 GMT by T : ABC News reports that the shots followed an attempt to ram the White House gates; the police subsequently shot and killed the driver. Other than that the driver was a woman, the reports adds little detail.

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French Police To Switch 72,000 Desktop PCs To Linux
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '13 at 10:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's year-of-the-linux-desktop department:
jones_supa writes "France's National Gendarmerie — the national law enforcement agency — is now running 37,000 desktop PCs with a custom distribution of Linux, and by summer of 2014, the agency plans to switch over all 72,000 of its desktop machines. The agency claims that the TCO of open source software is about 40 percent less than proprietary software from Microsoft, referring to their article published by EU's Interoperability Solutions for Public Administrations. Initially Gendarmerie has moved to Windows versions of cross-platform OSS applications such as OpenOffice, Firefox, and Thunderbird. Now they are completing the process by changing the OS. This is one of the largest known government deployments of Linux on the desktop."

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Apple and Nokia Outraged That Samsung Lawyers Leaked Patent License Terms
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '13 at 10:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's at-least-make-him-stop-bragging department:
An anonymous reader writes "U.S. courts have strict rules in place governing the treatment of confidential business information. The most sensitive information is labeled 'highly confidential — attorneys' eyes only', meaning that only a company's outside lawyers are allowed to see it. The Apple-Nokia patent settlement contract and deals Apple struck with others (Ericsson, Sharp, Philips) were such highly confidential business information. But a Samsung executive allegedly boasted in a patent licensing negotiation with Nokia a few months ago about knowing all the terms of the Apple-Nokia deal because the Korean company's lawyers had provided it to their client, against the rules. The United States District Court for the Northern District of California now wants to find out more before deciding on sanctions against Samsung and its law firm, Quinn Emanuel."

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Tesla Model S Catches Fire: Is This Tesla's 'Toyota' Moment?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '13 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's electric-boogaloo department:
cartechboy writes "A Tesla Model S was involved in an accident in Washington state on Tuesday, and the car's battery pack caught fire (with some of it caught on video). The cause of the accident is pretty clear, and Tesla issued a statement that the vehicle hit "a large metallic object in the middle of the road". Whether that collision immediately set off a fire in the Model S' battery pack isn't known, but a report from the Regional Fire Authority of Kent, Washington went into detail on the battery pack fire saying the car's lithium-ion battery was on fire when firefighters arrived, and spraying water on it had little effect. Firefighters switched to a dry chemical extinguisher and had to puncture numerous holes into the battery pack to extinguish it completely. Aside from the details of how the battery fire happened and was handled, the big question is what effect it will have on how people view Teslas in the near and middle-term. Is this Tesla's version of 2010's high profile Prius recall issue where pundits and critics took the opportunity to stir fears of the cars new technology?"

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Personal Genomics Firm 23andMe Patents Designer Baby System
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '13 at 09:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's not-creepy-at-all department:
An anonymous reader writes "Consumer genomics company 23andMe has developed a system for helping prospective parents choose the traits of their offspring, from disease risk to hair color. The patent — number 8543339, "Gamete donor selection based on genetic calculations" — describes a technology that would take a customer's preferences for a child's traits, compute the likely genomic outcomes of combinations between a customer's sperm or egg and other people's sex cells, and describe which potential reproductive matches would most likely produce the desired baby."

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Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Approve Work On DRM For HTML 5.1
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '13 at 08:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's concentrated-benefit-diffuse-harm department:
An anonymous reader writes "Danny O'Brien from the EFF has a weblog post about how the Encrypted Media Extension (EME) proposal will continue to be part of HTML Work Group's bailiwick and may make it into a future HTML revision." From O'Brien's post: "A Web where you cannot cut and paste text; where your browser can't 'Save As...' an image; where the 'allowed' uses of saved files are monitored beyond the browser; where JavaScript is sealed away in opaque tombs; and maybe even where we can no longer effectively 'View Source' on some sites, is a very different Web from the one we have today. It's a Web where user agents—browsers—must navigate a nest of enforced duties every time they visit a page. It's a place where the next Tim Berners-Lee or Mozilla, if they were building a new browser from scratch, couldn't just look up the details of all the 'Web' technologies. They'd have to negotiate and sign compliance agreements with a raft of DRM providers just to be fully standards-compliant and interoperable."

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Finding a Tech Museum For Your Beloved Retired Computer(s)
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '13 at 08:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's do-you-need-a-receipt? department:
First time accepted submitter Daniel Dern writes "There may be a better home than your basement or recycling for those beloved computers you once built and/or used — like one of the many tech-collecting/displaying museums. My ComputerWorld article, '9 museums that want your legacy tech,' looks at nine institutions that might — be sure to ask, don't just drop on their doorsteps after hours — want some of them. (Probably not everything you've got, alack.)" Look soon for a Slashdot video visit to the Goodwill Computer Museum, one of the collections mentioned.

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Facebook and Cisco Offer Check-In Service For Free Wifi
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '13 at 08:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's if-the-trade-makes-sense department:
cagraham writes "According to TechCrunch, Facebook and Cisco are now expanding their joint "Facebook Wifi" program nationwide. The service directs customers who connect to a store's wifi to a landing page where they are encouraged to "check-in" to the business in order to be connected. While users can currently opt out of this and still be connected, the "skip this" button is noticeably difficult to find. The free software integrates with businesses existing routers and providers. Facebook provides reports to participating businesses as well, complete with anonymized aggregate data on the demographics of the customers who checked-in."

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Ex-Red Hat Employee Matthew Garrett Comments On the State of XMir
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '13 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's no-longer-a-mir-trifle department:
First time accepted submitter slack_justyb writes "Matthew Garrett, former employee of Red Hat, comments on the current state of XMir and Canonical's recent decision to not ship XMir as the default display server in Ubuntu 13.10. Noting the current issues outstanding in XMir, the features yet to be implemented, the security loopholes, and Intel's recent rejection to support Mir in general. All of this leading Garrett to the conclusion that 'It's clear that XMir has turned into a larger project than Canonical had originally anticipated, but that's hardly surprising.'"

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Asian Giant Hornets Kill 42 People In China, Injure Over 1,500
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '13 at 06:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's ok-you-have-my-interest department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Madison Park and Dayu Zhang report on CNN that swarms of aggressive hornets are inflicting a deadly toll in a central China killing 42 people and injuring 1,675 people in three cities in Shaanxi province since July. Government authorities say these attacks are from a particularly venomous species, the world's largest hornet, known as the Asian giant hornet or vespa mandarinia. The giant hornet extends about 3.5 to 3.9 centimeters in length, roughly the size of a human thumb and has an orange head with a black tooth used for burrowing. The Asian giant hornet is intensely predatory; it hunts medium- to large-sized insects, such as bees, other hornet species, and mantises. The pain of the Asian Giant Hornet is described as a hot nail piercing the skin and lasts about 4 hours with instant swelling. One victim told local media earlier this month that "the more you run, the more they want to chase you." Some victims described being chased about 200 meters (656 feet) by a swarm. Local authorities have deployed thousands of police officers and locals to destroy about 710 hives but ""It's very difficult to prevent the attacks because hornet nests are usually in hidden sites," says Shunichi Makino, director general of the Hokkaido Research Center for Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute. Makino, who specializes in entomology, warned that the sting from an Asian giant hornet was severe compared with those of other insects. "The venom of an Asian giant hornet is very special compared with other hornets or yellow jackets," says Makino. "The neurotoxin — especially to mammals including humans — it's a special brand of venom." Asian Giant Hornets have been spotted in the United States."

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Lavabit Case Unsealed: FBI Demands Companies Secretly Turn Over Crypto Keys
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '13 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's c'mon-fellas-it's-for-the-greater-good department:
jest3r writes "Lavabit won a victory in court and were able to get the secret court order [which led to the site's closure] unsealed. The ACLU's Chris Soghoian called it the nuclear option: The court order revealed the FBI demanded Lavabit turn over their root SSL certificate, something that would allow them to monitor the traffic of every user of the service. Lavabit offered an alternative method to tap into the single user in question but the FBI wasn't interested. Lavabit could either comply or shut down. As such, no U.S. company that relies on SSL encryption can be trusted with sensitive data. Everything from Google to Facebook to Skype to your bank account is only encrypted by SSL keys, and if the FBI can force Lavabit to hand over their SSL key or face shutdown, they can do it to anyone."

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Fukushima Leak Traced To Overflow Tank Built On a Slope
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '13 at 05:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's castle-built-on-sand department:
AmiMoJo writes "The ongoing leak of radioactive wastewater at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has been traced to an overflow tank that was built on a slope. Because one side of the tank is lower than the other, water slops over the side when it is nearly full. TEPCO estimates that 430 litres of wastewater seeped outside the barrier around the tank and say some of this water may have flowed into the sea, about 200 meters away. They detected 200,000 becquerels per liter of beta ray-emitting radioactive substances in water pooled inside the barrier around the tank. The safety limit is 30 becquerels per liter. Officials say that a miscommunication with contractors led to the blunder."

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Maryland Indictment Says Silk Road Founder Tried To Arrange Murder of Employee
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '13 at 05:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's dread-pirate-ok-he's-a-dread-pirate department:
Robotron23 writes "Further charges have been made against Silk Road founder Ross William Ulbricht, aka 'Dread Pirate Roberts'. Yesterday saw the shutdown of Silk Road, a website Ulbricht founded which specialized in the sale of illegal items such as recreational drugs. As well as paying for a hit on a forum member, Ulbricht later requested an undercover agent murder an arrested employee of Silk Road, terming it 'the right move.' Upon receiving staged photos of torture and eventually the corpse, Ulbricht paid in full."

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