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Microsoft Rumored To Integrate Android Apps
Posted by News Fetcher on February 12 '14 at 11:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's admitting-defeat department:
phmadore writes "Windows Phone has been struggling for market share, largely due to a serious lack of developers willing to invest their time in what one might consider a niche market. Statistically speaking, Android has more than 1.1M apps to Windows Phone's 200,000+. Well, according to unnamed sources informing the Verge, Microsoft may soon integrate/allow Android applications into both Windows and Windows Phone."
This follows the recent debate over whether Microsoft should try to fork Android. Peter Bright made the point that doing so would be extremely difficult, and probably not worth Microsoft's time. Ben Thompson has an insightful post about how Microsoft's real decision is whether to focus on devices or services.

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Ohio Attempting To Stop Tesla From Selling Cars, Again
Posted by News Fetcher on February 12 '14 at 10:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's screams-of-dying-middlemen department:
cartechboy writes "Man the automotive dealer associations don't like Tesla. Remember that time the Ohio dealers attempted to block Tesla from selling its electric cars in in the Buckeye State. Now, it's happening again. The car dealers are once again pushing legislation that would keep Tesla from selling cars in Ohio. Senate Bill 260 would prohibit the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles from issuing car-dealer licenses to auto manufacturers. Since Tesla owns and operates its own network of 'dealerships' (aka galleries), this would make it so the automaker couldn't acquire a car-dealer license. Section 11 of the bill lists 'a manufacturer... applying for license to sell or lease new motor vehicles at retail' as one of the types of organization ineligible for a dealership license. On top of all this, the language isn't on the Senate floor as a standalone bill. No, it's inserted as an amendment to Senate Bill 137 which is an unrelated bill requiring Ohio drivers to move to the left while passing roadside maintenance vehicles. Is this yet another slimy tactic to try and undercut the new kid on the block?"

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Ask Slashdot: Local Sync Options For Android Mobile To PC?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 12 '14 at 10:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's rsync-of-course department:
Bucc5062 writes "A previous mobile phone of mine, a Motorola Razr, had a very nice program call Motocast. With it any pictures and videos would be automatically uploaded to a local/home PC running something akin to a 'cloud' service. This was great tool for I did not want to store files in the greater 'cloud'. the Razr moved on and I currently have two phones at home, neither of which have the same ability to push files to a local PC automatically. I did some research and did not find any good substitute for local cloud type backup so I am putting this out to one of the most diverse crowds I know, Slashdot readers. Zumocast did not look like it did the trick (I don't want streaming to my mobile device) and Delite studios had local cloud, but they make no reference to automatically pushing files to the server. I have people at home who are not tech savvy and would never remember to do it manually. Rolling my one is a long term option though it would require me learning the APIs for Android and I guess Windows. Is there something out that that works as good as Motocast?"

ownCloud seems like a reasonable contender (installation on Debian, at least in the case of a few users and sqlite, is pretty easy). Their Android app has an option to automatically sync videos and photos as they are taken. But are there other options that are easier to install for folks uncomfortable with the idea of running Apache and an SQL server?

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The First Open Ranking of the World Wide Web Is Available
Posted by News Fetcher on February 12 '14 at 09:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's brought-to-you-by-164 department:
First time accepted submitter vigna writes "The Laboratory for Web Algorithmics together with the Data and Web Science Group of the University of Mannheim have put together the first entirely open ranking of more than 100 million sites of the Web. The ranking is based on classic and easily explainable centrality measures applied to a host graph, and it is entirely open — all data and all software used is publicly available. Just in case you wonder, the number one site is YouTube, the second Wikipedia, and the third Twitter."

They are using the Common Crawl data (first released in November 2011). Pages are ranked using harmonic centrality with raw Indegree centrality, Katz's index, and PageRank provided for comparison. More information about the web graph is available in a pre-print paper that will be presented at the World Wide Web Conference in April.

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More Bitcoin Exchanges Forced Out of Sync After Massive DDoS Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on February 12 '14 at 09:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's just-a-small-bug department:
An anonymous reader tipped us to news that several Bitcoin exchanges have joined Mt Gox in suspending withdrawals after being forced out of sync with the Bitcoin network at large. After Mt Gox blamed transaction malleability for forcing them to suspend withdrawals, miscreants started flooding at least Bitpay and Btc-e with bogus transactions. Quoting the Bitcoin Foundation: "Somebody (or several somebodies) is taking advantage of the transaction malleability issue and relaying mutated versions of transactions. This is exposing bugs in both the reference implementation and some exchange’s software. We (core dev team, developers at the exchanges, and even big mining pools) are creating workarounds and fixes right now. This is a denial-of-service attack; whoever is doing this is not stealing coins, but is succeeding in preventing some transactions from confirming. It’s important to note that DoS attacks do not affect people’s bitcoin wallets or funds. "

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North Korean Business Park Getting Internet Access
Posted by News Fetcher on February 12 '14 at 08:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's and-then-the-revolution department:
Daniel_Stuckey writes "A business park in North Korea will soon have (limited) access to the Internet, according to news reports. The Register wrote that an industrial park in the Kaesong Industrial Region will house Internet-connected PCs by the first half of this year. The Daily NK explained that the first step to connectivity will be an Internet cafe with 20 computers but afterward company offices will also be connected. They quoted a spokesperson from the Ministry of Unification — a department of the South Korean government that works on unifying the two Koreas — as saying, 'We are planning to launch the basic level of Internet services at the Kaesong Industrial Complex starting in the first half of this year,' and adding, 'Officials and employees in the North's border city will be able to use most of the online services now available in South Korea.'"

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ICANN's Cozy Relationship With the US Must End, Says EU
Posted by News Fetcher on February 12 '14 at 07:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's feeling-left-out department:
alphadogg writes "The exclusive relationship of ICANN with the U.S. must end, said the European Union's digital agenda chief on Wednesday. California-based ICANN is responsible for the assignment of top-level domains and has a long-standing operating agreement with the U.S. However, following the revelations by Edward Snowden of widespread surveillance of the Internet by the National Security Agency, many countries have questioned the arrangement. The historical relationship, noted in ICANN's Affirmation of Commitments, is outdated and the governance of the Internet must become more global, said the E.U. Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes. Kroes was presenting the European Commission's new policy on Internet governance, which rejects any United Nations or governmental takeover of Internet governance and calls for a move to globalize ICANN."

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How I Lost My Google Glass (and Regained Some Faith In Humanity)
Posted by News Fetcher on February 12 '14 at 07:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's like-a-phone-for-your-face department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "The winter weather made my hands numb. I was distracted, rushed, running late to a meeting. Put those two things together, and it's a recipe for disaster,' Boonsri Dickinson writes in her account of how she lost her Google Glass unit. 'The cab had already gone two blocks before I realized my Google Glass was no longer in my hand. I asked the driver to swing back around to where he picked me up; I retraced my steps along the snowy street to my apartment, looking for my $1,500 device. No luck. Total panic.' The device featured photos, video, email, and other data that, in the wrong hands, could seriously upend her life. Fortunately, the person who found the Glass unit was a.) more interested in returning the device than wrecking her existence, and b.) engaged in quite a bit of digital detective work to track her down (with some help from Google). 'The device holds more than enough data to make me nervous about the possible voyeuristic invasion of my privacy, and the fear of the thought that the media connected to my Glass would possibly end up online, somewhere, cached forever in a Google search,' she concluded. But the saga also reset some of her faith in humanity."

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Iconic Predator-Prey Study In Peril
Posted by News Fetcher on February 12 '14 at 06:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's moose-vs-trees-vs-wolves department:
An anonymous reader writes "Scientists have charted the ebb and flow of moose and wolf populations on Isle Royale in Lake Superior for nearly 50 years. Ice bridges to Canada regularly supplied the genetic stocks for much of that time, but have been rare in recent years leading to inbreeding, dwindling populations and developmental deformity for the wolves that inhabit the island. Now, with the first solid freeze in six years, new wolves could join the mix ... or the remaining island dwellers could leave."

If new wolves to not appear, or all of the current wolves lead, the moose would end up destroying the native Fir population. The wildlife service is considering introducing new wolves as part of a genetic rescue, or reintroducing wolves should the population reach zero on its own.

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Majority of Young American Adults Think Astrology Is a Science
Posted by News Fetcher on February 12 '14 at 06:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's where's-carl-sagan-when-you-need-him? department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Americans have always had a strange fascination with astrology. First Lady Nancy Reagan famously employed the services of an astrologer after the assassination attempt on her husband. Now UPI reports that according to a new survey by the National Science Foundation, nearly half of all Americans say astrology is either 'very' or 'sort of' scientific. Younger respondents, in particular, were the least likely to regard astrology as unscientific, with 58% of 18 to 24 years olds saying that astrology is scientific (PDF). What's most alarming is that American attitudes about science are moving in the wrong direction. Skepticism of astrology hit an all-time high in 2004, when 66 percent of Americans said astrology was total nonsense. But each year, fewer and fewer respondents have dismissed the connections between star alignment and personality as bunk. Among respondents in the 25 — 44 age group 49% of respondents in the 2012 survey said astrology is either 'very scientific' or 'sort of scientific,' up from 36% in 2010. So what's behind this data? The lead author of the report chapter in question, public opinion specialist John Besley of Michigan State University, cautions that we should probably wait for further data 'to see if it's a real change' before speculating. But, he admits, the apparent increase in astrology belief 'popped out to me when I saw it.'"

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Open Source — the Last Patent Defense?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 12 '14 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's distributed-under-the-cover-your-backside-license-v2 department:
dp619 writes "A developer might fly under the patent troll radar until she makes it big, and then it's usually open season. Apple just shared that it has faced off 92 lawsuits over just 3 years. Even Google's ad business is at risk. FOSS attorney Heather Meeker has blogged at the Outercurve Foundation on what to consider and what to learn if you're ever sued for patent infringement. 'There have been at least two cases where defendants have successfully used open source license enforcement as a defensive tactic in a patent lawsuit. ... In both these cases, the patent plaintiff was using open source software of the defendant, and the patent defendant discovered a violation of the applicable open source license that it used to turn the tables on the plaintiff. In this way, open source license enforcement can be a substitute for a more traditional retaliatory patent claim.' Meeker also examines how provisions of open source licenses can deflate a patent troll's litigation and shift the balance in favor of the defense."

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Mozilla To Show Sponsored Links To First-Time Firefox Users
Posted by News Fetcher on February 12 '14 at 02:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's trying-not-to-say-the-word-'ad' department:
Mozilla has announced a new initiative to show sponsored content within the Firefox browser. Currently, opening a new tab in Firefox will display a set of nine tiles showing your most commonly visited websites. When a user installs Firefox and opens it for the first time, they see these tiles, but eight of them are blank (one links to a Firefox tutorial). As the user browses the web, those tiles gradually fill in with visited sites. But Mozilla is going to fill out those blank eight tiles for new users. They say, "Some of these tile placements will be from the Mozilla ecosystem, some will be popular websites in a given geographic location, and some will be sponsored content from hand-picked partners to help support Mozilla’s pursuit of our mission. The sponsored tiles will be clearly labeled as such, while still leading to content we think users will enjoy." Existing users shouldn't see any difference, and the tiles will be replaced with commonly-visited sites like they do now.

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Laser Headlights Promise More Intense, Controllable Beams
Posted by News Fetcher on February 11 '14 at 11:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's but-you-better-not-aim-your-car-at-planes department:
cartechboy writes "Soon, your new car's headlights will be powered by lasers. The 2015 BMW i8 is entering production, and it's the first vehicle to offer laser headlights. These new beams offer a handful of advantages over LED lighting, including greater lighting intensity and extending the beams' reach as far as 600 meters down the road (nearly double the range of LEDs). The beam pattern also can be controlled very precisely. Plus, laser lights consumer about 30 percent less energy than the already-efficient LED lights. Audi is among the short list of other auto manufacturers to promise laser lights in the near future. But the coolest part of all this? When you turn on a set of these new headlights, you'll be able to scream, 'fire the lasers!'"

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Enlightenment E19 Pre-Alpha Released
Posted by News Fetcher on February 11 '14 at 09:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's onward-and-upward department:
An anonymous reader writes "While it took over a decade for E17 to come out, Enlightenment E19 is being readied for release just two months after E18's debut. The Enlightenment DR 0.19 update has a rewritten compositor that can fully act as its own Wayland compositor (not dependent upon Weston). The update integrates OpenGL canvas filters support, contains many bug-fixes, and has other improvements for both X11 and Wayland users. The 1.9.0 alpha1 pre-release was issued today as the initial testing version of the new window manager."

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Bing Censoring Chinese Language Search Results For Users In the US
Posted by News Fetcher on February 11 '14 at 07:16 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's good-thing-americans-don't-know-foreign-languages department:
kc123 sends this report from The Guardian:
"Microsoft's search engine Bing appears to be censoring information for Chinese language users in the U.S. in the same way it filters results in mainland China. Searches first conducted by anti-censorship campaigners at FreeWeibo, a tool that allows uncensored search of Chinese blogs, found that Bing returns radically different results in the U.S. for English and Chinese language searches on a series of controversial terms. These include Dalai Lama, June 4 incident (how the Chinese refer to the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989), Falun Gong and FreeGate, a popular internet workaround for government censorship."

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Blogger Fined €3,000 for 'Publicizing' Files Found Through Google Search
Posted by News Fetcher on February 11 '14 at 05:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-crafty-hackers-and-your-keyword-searches department:
mpicpp points out an article detailing the case of French blogger Olivier Laurelli, who had the misfortune to click links from search results. Laurelli stumbled upon a public link leading to documents from the French National Agency for Food Safety, Environment, and Labor. He downloaded them — over 7 Gb worth — and looked through them, eventually publishing a few slides to his website. When one of France's intelligence agencies found out, they took Laurelli into custody and indicted him, referring to him as a 'hacker.' In their own investigation, they said, "we then found that it was sufficient to have the full URL to access to the resource on the extranet in order to bypass the authentication rules on this server." The first court acquitted Laurelli of the charges against him. An appeals court affirmed part of the decision, but convicted him of "theft of documents and fraudulent retention of information." He was fined €3,000 (about $4,000).

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Oldest Known Star In the Universe Discovered
Posted by News Fetcher on February 11 '14 at 04:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's thanks-geritol department:
Zothecula writes "A team of astronomers at The Australian National University working on a five-year project to produce the first comprehensive digital survey of the southern sky has discovered the oldest known star in the Universe. The star dates back 13.7 billion years, only shortly after the Big Bang itself. It's also nearby (at least, from a cosmological perspective) — about 6,000 light-years away. The star is notable for the very small amount of iron it contains (abstract). The lead researcher, Stefan Keller, said, 'To make a star like our Sun, you take the basic ingredients of hydrogen and helium from the Big Bang and add an enormous amount of iron – the equivalent of about 1,000 times the Earth's mass. To make this ancient star, you need no more than an Australia-sized asteroid of iron and lots of carbon. It's a very different recipe that tells us a lot about the nature of the first stars and how they died.'"

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Ask Slashdot: Should Developers Fix Bugs They Cause On Their Own Time?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 11 '14 at 04:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's 10-of-10-employed-developers-say-no department:
Bizzeh writes "Today my boss came to me with what he thought to be a valid point and analogy. A builder builds a wall. A week later, bricks begin to fall out of the bottom, but he continues to build the wall higher. In most cases, he would have to replace those lower bricks at his own expense and on his own time. Comparatively: A software developer writes a piece of software. When bugs are discovered, the developer is paid to fix them by the employer and on the employer's time. I didn't know how to refute the analogy at the time, but it did make me think: why are bugs in software treated differently in this way?"

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The Death Cap Mushroom Is Spreading Across the US
Posted by News Fetcher on February 11 '14 at 03:46 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-blame-the-schools department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Discovery News reports that the death cap mushroom is now an invasive species on every continent except Antarctica. It is spreading along the East and West Coasts of the U.S. and appears to be moving south into Mexico. 'When someone eats Amanita phalloides, she typically won't experience symptoms for at least six and sometimes as many as 24 hours,' says Cat Adams. 'Eventually she'll suffer from abdominal cramps, vomiting, and severely dehydrating diarrhea. This delay means her symptoms might not be associated with mushrooms, and she may be diagnosed with a more benign illness like stomach flu. To make matters worse, if the patient is somewhat hydrated, her symptoms may lessen and she will enter the so-called honeymoon phase.' Without proper, prompt treatment, the victim can experience rapid organ failure, coma, and death. But good news is on the way. S. Todd Mitchell of Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, California has treated more than 60 patients with a drug derived from milk thistle. The patients who have started the drug on time (within 96 hours of ingesting the mushroom) and who have still had kidney function intact have all survived. 'When administered intravenously, the compound sits on and blocks the receptors that bring amatoxin into the liver, thus corralling the amatoxins into the blood stream so the kidneys can expel them faster,' says Adams. Still, Mitchell cautions against the 'regular look"'of deadly mushrooms. 'They smell very good and when they're cooked, many patients have described them as the most delicious mushrooms they've ever eaten.'"

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Tiny Motors Controlled Inside Human Cells
Posted by News Fetcher on February 11 '14 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's much-easier-than-controlling-giant-motors-inside-human-cells department:
cold fjord tips a BBC report about the successful installation of microscopic motors into living, human cells. The motors were propelled inside the cell by pulses of ultrasound and steered with magnetism. "At low ultrasonic power, the nanomotors had little effect on these cells. But when the power was increased, the nanomotors surged into action, zooming around and bumping into organelles — structures within the cell that perform specific functions. The nanomotors could be used as 'egg beaters' to essentially homogenise the cell's contents, or act as battering rams to puncture the cell membrane." Once finer control is gained over the motors, they could be used to for extremely small scale surgery, or to deliver drugs to very precise locations. Professor Tom Mallouk of Penn State said multiple motors can move independently of one another, which is important if we try to use them as a cancer treatment. "You don't want a whole mass of them going in one direction."

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