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Ouya Developers Share Their Experiences
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '13 at 01:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what-do-you-think department:
RogueyWon writes "Four months after the launch of the Ouya micro-console, Gamasutra has pulled together a round up of the experiences of indie developers who have brought their games to the platform. There's both positive and negative news; developers seem to like the ease of porting to the platform, but have concerns regarding the approach that its marketplace takes. Perhaps most crucially, sales of games on the platform are far from stellar."

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"Squishy Joints" May Have Helped Dinosaurs Grow To Giant Sizes
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '13 at 12:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's bigger-they-are department:
benonemusic writes "A new study in the journal PLOS ONE suggests that dinosaurs reached gigantic proportions relative to mammals because of differences in their cartilage, making their joints squishier and able to sustain greater amounts of force. Other factors contributed to dinosaurs' larger sizes, including their lighter, air-sac-filled skeletons, and some researchers point out that the sizes of some dinosaurs and mammals were approximately equal, so anatomical differences between cartilage in dinosaurs and mammals may not directly explain why some dinosaurs grew to larger sizes."

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Facebook Faces PRISM Data Investigation In Ireland
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '13 at 11:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's like-this department:
judgecorp writes "Facebook's links to the NSA's PRISM program could be investigated in Ireland, thanks to the persistence of some Austrian law students. The group has challenged Facebook in Europe as it has its regional headquarters there for tax reasons. 'The DPC simply wanted to get this hot potato off his table instead of doing his job. But when it comes to the fundamental rights of millions of users and the biggest surveillance scandal in years, he will have to take responsibility and do something about it,' said the leader of the student group Max Schrems"

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Online Retailers Cruising Tor To Hunt For Fraudsters
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '13 at 09:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's behind-the-curtain department:
Daniel_Stuckey writes "This week, the verification company Service Objects announced a new tool to help websites detect 'suspicious' visitors using Tor and other anonymous proxies. Its updated DOTS IP Address Validation product identifies 'suspicious' discrepancies between the user's home location and the location of the IP address the order's coming from. It joins a handful of other tools on the market promising Tor-detection for retailers. It's a logical strategy: If you're trying to buy something with stolen credit card, you're obviously going to want to block your real identity and location while doing it. But it also raises the question of whether targeting anonymity services to hunt out fraudsters could have chilling effects for harmless Tor users trying to protect their privacy online—particularly this year in light of the NSA-spying scandal."

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The Neuroscience of Happiness
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '13 at 06:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's if-you're-happy-and-you-know-it department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Julie Beck has an interesting read in the Atlantic about how our brains are naturally wired to focus on the negative because evolution has optimized our brains for survival, but not necessarily happiness, which means that we feel stressed and unhappy even though there are a lot of positive things in our lives. 'The problem is that the brain is very good at building brain structure from negative experiences,' says neuropsychologist Dr. Rick Hanson. 'We learn immediately from pain—you know, "once burned, twice shy." As our ancestors evolved, they needed to pass on their genes. And day-to-day threats like predators or natural hazards had more urgency and impact for survival. On the other hand, positive experiences like food, shelter, or mating opportunities, those are good, but if you fail to have one of those good experiences today, as an animal, you would have a chance at one tomorrow. But the brain is relatively poor at turning positive experiences into emotional learning neural structure. 'Positive thinking by definition is conceptual and generally verbal and most conceptual or verbal material doesn't have a lot of impact on how we actually feel or function over the course of the day. A lot of people have this kind of positive, look on the bright side yappity yap, but deep down they're very frightened, angry, sad, disappointed, hurt, or lonely.' Dr. Hanson proposes several ideas for helping 're-wire' our brains for happiness. One of them is that we need to learn how to move positive experiences from short-term buffers to long-term storage. 'But to move from a short-term buffer to long-term storage, an experience needs to be held in that short-term buffer long enough for it to transfer to long-term storage,' says Hanson. 'When people are having positive thinking or even most positive experiences, the person is not taking the extra 10, 20 seconds to heighten the installation into neural structure. So it's not just positive thinking that's wasted on the brain; it's most positive experiences that are wasted on the brain.'"

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AMD's Radeon R9 290X Launched, Faster Than GeForce GTX 780 For Roughly $100 Less
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '13 at 04:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's greased-lightning department:
MojoKid writes "AMD has launched their new top-end Radeon R9 290X graphics card today. The new flagship wasn't ready in time for AMD's recent October 8th launch of midrange product, but their top of the line model, based on the GPU codenamed Hawaii, is ready now. The R9 290 series GPU (Hawaii) is comprised of up to 44 compute units with a total of 2,816 IEEE-2008 compliant shaders. The GPU has four geometry processors (2x the Radeon HD 7970) and can output 64 pixels per clock. The Radeon R9 290X features 2816 Stream Processors and an engine clock of up to 1GHz. The card's 4GB of GDDR5 memory is accessed by the GPU via a wide 512-bit interface and the R290X requires a pair of supplemental PCIe power connectors—one 6-pin and one 8-pin. Save for some minimum frame rate and frame latency issues, the new Radeon R9 290X's performance is impressive overall. AMD still has some obvious driver tuning and optimization to do, but frame rates across the board were very good. And though it wasn't a clean sweep for the Radeon R9 290X versus NVIDIA's flagship GeForce GTX 780 or GeForce GTX Titan cards, AMD's new GPU traded victories depending on the game or application being used, which is to say the cards performed similarly."

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Autonomous Cars Will Save Money and Lives
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '13 at 04:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's look-ma-no-hands department:
cartechboy writes "Autonomous cars are coming even if tech companies have to produce them. The biggest hurdles are the technology (very expensive and often still surprisingly rudimentary) and how vehicle to vehicle (V2V) communication happens (one car anticipates or sees an accident, it should tell nearby cars). So what are the benefits to self-driving cars? They may save us thousands of lives and not a small amount of cash. A new study from the Eno Center for Transportation (PDF) suggests that if just 10 percent of vehicles on the road were autonomous, the U.S. could see 1,000 fewer highway fatalities annually and save $38 billion in lost productivity (due to congestion and other traffic problems). Right off the bat you can imagine autonomous driving easily topping your average intoxicated drivers' ability behind the wheel. At a 90 percent adoption mark those same numbers in theory would become: 21,700 lives spared, and a whopping $447 billion saved."

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Fighting Paralysis With Electricity
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '13 at 03:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's jolt-to-the-system department:
the_newsbeagle writes "In spinal cord injuries, the brain's commands can't reach the lower body — so in a ground-breaking experiment at the University of Louisville, researchers are providing artificial commands via electrodes implanted in the spine. The first paralyzed people to try out the tech have already been able to stand on their own, and have regained some bowel and sexual function. A video that accompanies the article also shows paralyzed rats that were able to walk again with this kind of electrical stimulation."

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Patent Filing Reveals Samsung's Designs For Google Glass Competitor
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '13 at 02:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's they've-got-their-eyes-on-your-eyes department:
rjmarvin writes "A South Korean patent filing, complete with memos and device designs has let the cat out of the bag about Samsung's new head-mounted wearable device to compete with Google Glass, two days after Microsoft was found to be testing a similar prototype. The device isn't wireless; in fact it has an attached USB extension to plug into and serve as an extension of a smartphone. The device is categorized as 'sports glasses' to 'take phone calls and listen to music during workouts.' The filing gives an overhead, front, and side view of the proposed device, another entry into the rapidly expanding and increasingly competitive wearables marketplace."

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Microsoft Makes It Harder To Avoid Azure
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '13 at 02:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's psst-that-shade-of-blue-is-following-you department:
itwbennett writes "Earlier this week, Microsoft rolled out a handful of hybrid cloud services that make it easy for businesses to start using Azure in a small way. What struck blogger Nancy Gohring about the announcement was 'how deeply Microsoft is integrating Azure into other products,' with the intention of moving long-time customers onto Azure in ways that are hardly perceptible to them."

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IZON IP Cameras Riddled With Security Flaws
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '13 at 01:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's whose-izon-you? department:
An anonymous reader writes "With recent action by the FTC against TRENDnet, the 'Internet of Things' has taken a sharp turn in the eyes of the public and government with regard to security. This week, Duo Security employee Mark Stanislav presented security research he did on the IZON IP camera from Stem Innovation. Through his testing, Mark found hardcoded credentials for Linux accounts (accessible by Telnet; Yes, — really), an undocumented web interface allowing for viewing a camera's stream (also with hardcoded credentials, user/user), and a variety of other failings including a lack of cryptography in most of the camera's functionality, including when uploading videos to Amazon Web Services's S3 storage." According to the above-linked article, "Contacted by The Security Ledger, Stem Innovation CTO Matt McBeth said that the IZON firmware, server system and iOS applications tested by Stanislav have since been updated, and that the research contains “inaccurate and misleading information.” Stem did not provide specific information about any inaccuracies."

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How I Compiled TrueCrypt For Windows and Matched the Official Binaries
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '13 at 12:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's all-the-lurid-details department:
First time accepted submitter xavier2dc writes "TrueCrypt is a popular software enabling data protection by means of encryption for all categories of users. It is getting even more attention lately following the revelations of the NSA as the authors remain anonymous and no thorough security audit have yet been conducted to prove it is not backdoored in any way. This has led several concerns raised in different places, such as this blog post, this one, this security analysis [PDF], also related on that blog post from which IsTrueCryptAuditedYet? was born. One of the recurring questions is: What if the binaries provided on the website were different than the source code and they included hidden features? To address this issue, I built the software from the official sources in a careful way and was able to match the official binaries. According to my findings, all three recent major versions (v7.1a, v7.0a, v6.3a) exactly match the sources."

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PHP.net Compromised
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '13 at 12:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's stay-safe-out-there department:
An anonymous reader writes "The open source PHP project site was compromised earlier today. The site appears to have been compromised and had some of its javascript altered to exploit vulnerable systems visiting the website. Googles stop-badware system caught this as well and flagged php.net as distributing malware, warning users who's browsers support it not to visit the site. The comment by a Google employee over the hacker news thread (official google webmaster forum thread) seems to suggest that php.net wasn't incorrectly flagged."

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The Boss Is Remotely Monitoring Blue-Collar Workers
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '13 at 11:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's course-and-scope-of-employment department:
McGruber writes "The Wall Street Journal reports on the new level of surveillance available to bosses of blue collar workers. Thanks to mobile devices and inexpensive monitoring software, managers can now know where workers are, eavesdrop on their phone calls, tell if a truck driver is wearing his seat belt and intervene if he is tailgating. 'Twenty-five years ago this was pipe dream stuff,' said Paul Sangster, CEO of JouBeh Technologies, a Canadian company that develops tracking, or 'telematics,' technology for businesses. 'Now it is commonly accepted that you are being tracked.' In the U.S., workplace tracking technology is largely unregulated, and courts have found that employees have few rights to privacy on the job. No federal statutes restrict the use of GPS by employers, nor force them to disclose whether they are using it. Only two states, Delaware and Connecticut, require employers to tell workers that their electronic communications — anything from emails to instant messages to texts — are being monitored."

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What If the "Sharing Economy" Organized a Strike, and Nobody Came?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '13 at 10:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's arise-workers-and-throw-off-your-ah-what-the-hell department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "In Boston, a number of UberX drivers reportedly planned to strike yesterday afternoon in response to a rate cut. (UberX is a low-cost program from Uber, which is attempting to "disrupt" the traditional cab industry via a mobile app that connects ordinary drivers in need of cash with passengers who want to go somewhere.) Uber tried to preempt the strike with a blog posting explaining that the rate cut actually translated into more customers and thus more revenue to drivers, but it needn't have bothered: according to local media (the same media that reported a strike was in the making) a strike failed to materialize. Many of the biggest firms of the so-called 'sharing economy,' such as Uber and Airbnb, are locked in battle with some combination of deeply entrenched industries and government regulators. But if the 'labor' that drives the sharing economy becomes more agitated about its compensation, it could create yet another interesting wrinkle. The Boston strike may have fizzled, but that doesn't mean another one, in a different city, won't enjoy more success." Free (or freer) entry makes occupation-based roadblocks harder to enforce, though, so Uber and other crowd-sourcing matchmakers are tougher to pin down and disrupt in the way that more tightly controlled enterprises are. (Not that city councils and other bodies aren't trying to corral crowd-sourced undertakings into their regulatory purviews, putting a damper on some of that freewheeling disintermediation.)

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Google Testing Banner Ads On Select Search Results
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '13 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's you-must-have-enough-advertisees department:
cagraham writes "Google promised in 2005 to never "ever" put banner ads on their search results, but that appears to be changing. The company confirmed to SearchEngineLand that it is running a "small experiment" involving large-scale banners on searches for Southwest Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and Crate&Barrel, among others. The ads are being shown in less than 5% of searches, and only in the US, for now. Interestingly enough, the Google exec who wrote the no banner ads promise was Marissa Mayer, now CEO of Yahoo."

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The Fascinating Science Behind Beer Foam
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '13 at 09:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's ok-now-explain-my-flickering-lights department:
RenderSeven writes "Science has so far been at a loss to explain why tapping a beer bottle with another causes it to explosively foam over. Thanks to a grant from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, a research team at the University of Madrid studying fluid mechanics has found the answer with some fascinating slow-motion video. Their soon-to-be-published paper found that tapping the bottle (or shooting it with a laser) causes a series of compression and expansion waves, that generate unstable buoyant plumes, quickly turning most of the liquid into foam. PhysicsBuzz notes that the process is very rapid and nearly unstoppable once started."

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Blackberry BBM App and Suspicious Google Play Ratings
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '13 at 09:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's laughed-cried-better-than-cats department:
sl4shd0rk writes "In what could be an act of desparation of a company in it's death throes, Blackberry has submitted their BBM messaging application to Google Play for download. While this may seem like a logical path for a company on life-support, what wasn't expected is the sheer number of identical 5-star reviews the application has received since being posted. In what appears to be review 'ballot stuffing,' it poses the questions of just how Google is going to handle the subject of manufactured reviews as well as how many other entities have engaged in the same behavior. The same problems have plagued Amazon's review system as well bringing into question the validity of 'crowd based review' and whether it's possible to legitimize this type of system." The linked article points out that the suspicious posts may be the result of ballot stuffing intended to hype one of the unofficial Blackberry apps, rather than RIM's own.

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How Safe Is Cycling?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '13 at 08:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's endoskeleon-vs-exoskeleton department:
theodp writes "With new bike sharing programs all the rage, spending tens of millions of dollars to make city streets more bike friendly with hundreds of miles of bike lanes has become a priority for bike-loving mayors like NYC's Michael Bloomberg and Chicago's Rahm Emanuel. 'You cannot be for a startup, high-tech economy and not be pro-bike,' claimed Emanuel, who credited bike-sharing and bike lanes for attracting Google and Motorola Mobility to downtown Chicago. Now, with huge bike-sharing contracts awarded and programs underway, the NY Times asks the big question, How Safe Is Cycling? Because bike accidents rarely make front page news and are likely to be dramatically underreported, it's hard to say, concludes the NYT's Gina Kolata. UCSF trauma surgeon Dr. Rochelle Dicker, who studied hospital and police records for 2,504 bicyclists treated at San Francisco General Hospital, told Kolata,'Lots of my colleagues do not want to ride after seeing these [city biking] injuries.' On the other hand, Andy Pruitt, the founder of the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine and an avid lifelong cyclist, said the dangers were overstated, noting he's only broken his collarbone twice and hip once in four decades of long-distance cycling. So, is cycling safe, especially in the city? And is it OK to follow Mayor Emanuel's lead and lose the helmet?"

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Torvalds: Free OS X Is No Threat To Linux
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '13 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's craft-brewed-fair-trade-shade-grown-moka-beans-vs-airline-coffee department:
jfruh writes "Apple is now offering upgrades to the latest version of OS X for free. When Linux inventor Linus Torvalds was asked whether this threatened Linux (presumably by someone who had only a passing knowledge of all the things 'free' can mean when applied to software) it gave him an opportunity for a passionate defense of open source. Torvalds also says that he'll keep programming until it gets 'not interesting,' which hasn't happened yet." The newest version of OS X may be gratis for Apple hardware buyers, but it's notably far from the original, (literally) un-branded sense of "mavericks."

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