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Boeing Turning Old F-16s Into Unmanned Drones
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '13 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i'll-order-a-dozen department:
dryriver sends this news from the BBC:
"Boeing has revealed that it has retrofitted retired fighter jets to turn them into drones. It said that one of the Lockheed Martin F-16s made a first flight with an empty cockpit last week. Two U.S. Air Force pilots controlled the plane from the ground as it flew from a Florida base to the Gulf of Mexico (video). Boeing suggested that the innovation could ultimately be used to help train pilots, providing an adversary they could practise firing on. The jet — which had previously sat mothballed at an Arizona site for 15 years — flew at an altitude of 40,000ft (12.2km) and a speed of Mach 1.47 (1,119mph/1,800km/h). It carried out a series of maneuvers including a barrel roll and a 'split S' — a move in which the aircraft turns upside down before making a half loop so that it flies the right-way-up in the opposite direction. This can be used in combat to evade missile lock-ons. Boeing said the unmanned F-16 was followed by two chase planes to ensure it stayed in sight, and also contained equipment that would have allowed it to self-destruct if necessary. The firm added that the flight attained 7Gs of acceleration but was capable of carrying out maneuvers at 9Gs — something that might cause physical problems for a pilot. 'It flew great, everything worked great, [it] made a beautiful landing — probably one of the best landings I've ever seen,' said Paul Cejas, the project's chief engineer."

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New York Turns Rest Stops Into 'Texting Zones'
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '13 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's good-luck-with-that department:
New York governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a new plan to cut down on texting while driving: 'texting zones' along state highways. Existing parking areas, rest stops, and Park-n-Ride facilities will be designated as places for drivers to pull off the road and send text messages. There will be 91 locations to start, along with a few hundred signs to notify drivers. Cuomo said, "With this new effort, we are sending a clear message to drivers that there is no excuse to take your hands off the wheel and eyes off the road because your text can wait until the next Texting Zone." This follows a 365% increase in tickets issued for distracted driving this summer, compared to last summer. The increase comes in part from New York state police using unmarked SUVs with "platforms higher than an average vehicle, allowing officers greater ability to see into other vehicles and detect individuals in the process of sending text messages."

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Google To Encrypt All Keyword Searches
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '13 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's did-you-mean-*8ahd2$-#-I3oEf7? department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Danny Sullivan reports that in the past month, Google has quietly made a change aimed at encrypting all search activity to provide 'extra protection' for searchers, and possibly to block NSA spying activity. In October 2011, Google began encrypting searches for anyone who was logged into Google. The reason given was privacy. Now, Google has flipped on encryption for people who aren't even signed-in. In June, Google was accused of cooperating with the NSA to give the agency instant and direct access to its search data through the PRISM spying program, something the company has strongly denied. 'I suspect the increased encryption is related to Google's NSA-pushback,' writes Sullivan. 'It may also help ease pressure Google's feeling from tiny players like Duck Duck Go making a "secure search" growth pitch to the media.'"

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FDA Will Regulate Some Apps As Medical Devices
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '13 at 12:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's software-is-hardware department:
chicksdaddy writes "In an important move, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has released final guidance to mobile application developers that are creating medical applications to run on mobile devices. Some applications, it said, will be treated with the same scrutiny as traditional medical devices. The agency said on Monday that, while it doesn't see the need to vet 'the majority of mobile apps,' because they pose 'minimal risk to consumers,' it will exercise oversight of mobile medical applications that are accessories to regulated medical devices, or that transform a mobile device into a regulated medical device. In those cases, the FDA said that mobile applications will be assessed 'using the same regulatory standards and risk-based approach that the agency applies to other medical device.' The line between a mere 'app' and a 'medical device' is fuzzy. The FDA said it will look to the 'intended use of a mobile app' when determining whether it meets the definition of a medical 'device.' The Agency may study the labeling or advertising claims used to market it, or statements by the device maker and its representatives. In general, 'when the intended use of a mobile app is for the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, or the cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, or it is intended to affect the structure of any function of the body of man, the mobile app is a device.'"

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The Internet Society is Unhappy with U.S. Govt's Internet Spying Tactics
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '13 at 11:45 AM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's spy-spy-everywhere-a-spy department:
On September 9, The Internet Society issued a position paper in which it said the group "...is alarmed by continuing reports alleging systematic United States government efforts to circumvent Internet security mechanisms," and went on to say, "The Internet Society President and CEO, Lynn St. Amour, said, 'If true, these reports describe government programmes that undermine the technical foundations of the Internet and are a fundamental threat to the Internet’s economic, innovative, and social potential. Any systematic, state-level attack on Internet security and privacy is a rejection of the global, collaborative fabric that has enabled the Internet's growth to extend beyond the interests of any one country.'" Those are tough words from an international organization that usually spends its time bringing the Internet to people in out-of-the-way villages and sponsoring the Internet Engineering Task Force. You can join the Internet Society for as little as $0 per year, and possibly help beat back some of the U.S. government eavesdropping and encryption circumvention efforts. And if you can make it to San Francisco on October 2, you can attend a (free) Internet Society discussion. Meanwhile, today's Slashdot interviewee is Paul Brigner, the Internet Society Regional Bureau Director for North America, who talks about the Internet Society in general, as well as the group's reaction to the U.S. government's online surveillance.

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NVIDIA Begins Releasing Documentation For Nouveau
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '13 at 11:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's baby-steps department:
sl4shd0rk writes "Nvidia, perhaps inspired by the infamous Torvalds Salute, has decided to do something about its crummy image with Open Source developers. The company has begun to release public documentation on certain aspects of its GPUs. Reactions from developers have been mixed; much of what's already been released wasn't a big mystery, but Nvidia says more is coming and they will also provide guidance in needed areas as well. Linus said, 'I'm cautiously optimistic that this is a real shift in how Nvidia perceives Linux. The actual docs released so far are fairly limited, and in themselves they wouldn't be a big thing, but if Nvidia really does follow up and start opening up more, that would certainly be great. They've already been much better in the ARM SoC space than they were on the more traditional GPU side, and I really hope that some day I can just apologize for ever giving them the finger.'"

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GTA V Proves a Lot of Parents Still Don't Know or Care About ESRB Ratings
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '13 at 10:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's rated-L-for-learn-how-to-be-a-parent department:
Deathspawner writes "Grand Theft Auto V has shown itself to be potential GOTY material, and has even managed to break a sales record already. But aside from that, the game has also become one of the most adult-oriented games ever released, with torture, drug use and sex prevalent not long after beginning the game. You'd expect this gameplay to deter most parents from picking the game up for their young children — but not so. An anonymous editorial at Kotaku written by a video game store employee says that out of the ~1,000 copies sold in the first week, at least 10% of them went to parents accompanied by a child. Clearly, this could be interpreted as a problem. Techgage adds that this is one of the biggest problems facing gaming today. With one breath, many parents criticize video games for being so violent, and with the next, they're saying 'thanks' at the counter after picking up these very games for their kids. While ESRB ratings and other warnings about violent games for kids have good reason to exist, many parents still ignore them, aren't aware to them, or simply don't care about their warnings."

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Ordnance Survey Creates Minecraft Model of Great Britain
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '13 at 09:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's wales-is-not-amused department:
First time accepted submitter jeremyp writes "Ordnance Survey intern Joseph Braybrook has created a Minecraft World based upon accurate terrain mapping data of Great Britain. The world accurately represents the whole of Great Britain and surrounding islands (but excludes Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands). It maps 224,000 square kilometres of Great Britain and contains 22 billion blocks. Graham Dunlop (Ordnance Survey Innovation Lab Manager) says: 'We think we may have created the largest Minecraft world ever built based on real-world data.' The map can be downloaded from the Ordnance Survey."

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China Lifts Bans On Social Media, Foreign ISPs In Free Trade Zone
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '13 at 09:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's how-magnanimous department:
hackingbear writes "Beijing has made the landmark decision to lift a ban on internet access within the Shanghai Free-trade Zone to foreign websites considered politically sensitive by the Chinese government, including Facebook, Twitter and newspaper website The New York Times. The new free trade zone would also welcome bids from foreign telecommunications companies for licenses to provide internet services within the new special economic zone to compete with the state-own China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom; the big three telcos didn't raise complaints as they knew it was a decision endorsed by top Chinese leaders including Premier Li Keqiang, who is keen to make the free-trade zone a key proving ground for significant financial and economic reforms, the sources added. The decision to lift of the bans, for now, only applies to the Zone and not else where in China. 'In order to welcome foreign companies to invest and to let foreigners live and work happily in the free-trade zone, we must think about how we can make them feel like at home. If they can't get onto Facebook or read The New York Times, they may naturally wonder how special the free-trade zone is compared with the rest of China,' said one of the government sources who declined to be named due to the highly political sensitive nature of the matter."

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Horse_ebooks Is Human After All
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '13 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's emperor's-new-clothes-are-very-postmodern department:
An anonymous reader writes with word that two of the more intriguing memes of recent times have been outed as elaborate performance art. Bizarre Twitter-centric entities @Horse_ebooks and Pronunciation Book aren't really inexplicable, it turns out: "[These feeds] have been running for the past several years, both have the hallmarks of automation, chugging along anonymously and churning out disjointed bits of text in a very spam-like fashion, but neither is as it appears."

The Escapist has a bit more, now that the horse is out of the bag.

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Why Is Microsoft Setting More Money On Fire With Surface 2?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '13 at 08:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's producers-was-a-prequel department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Never mind that sales of the original Surface totaled a pitiful $853 million in its first few months of release, or that the tablet failed to make Microsoft an up-and-coming player (or any kind of player, really) in the mobile-device wars: Microsoft's now rolling out Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, which feature upgraded specs and accessories but no radical adjustments to the first generation. Why would Microsoft pour good money after bad? The answer could be outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who late last year released a memo suggesting that Microsoft was evolving into a 'devices and services' company. 'There will be times when we build specific devices for specific purposes, as we have chosen to do with Xbox and the recently announced Microsoft Surface,' he wrote. 'In all our work with partners and on our own devices, we will focus relentlessly on delivering delightful, seamless experiences across hardware, software and services.' That meant Surface (then on the cusp of release) was clearly a harbinger of the company's future direction — and canceling the project after the first generation would have been a stinging refutation of Ballmer's strategy. By spending the money and resources on a second device generation, Microsoft manages to save a little bit of face, albeit at considerable cost. But imagine the hilarity that'll ensue if this second generation goes down in a huge ball of flames like the first."

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California Elementary Schools To Test Anti-Piracy Curriculum
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '13 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's if-I-can-control-the-textbooks department:
New submitter newbie_fantod writes "Ignoring the fact that the surest way to get a child to do something is to tell them not to, the RIAA and MPAA have developed an anti-piracy curriculum for kindergarten through grade 6. The pilot project is scheduled for testing in California schools later this year."

Mitch Stoltz, an EFF attorney, isn't impressed: “It suggests, falsely, that ideas are property and that building on others’ ideas always requires permission,” Stoltz says. “The overriding message of this curriculum is that students’ time should be consumed not in creating but in worrying about their impact on corporate profits.”

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Apple Offers Refund To Stiffed Breaking Bad Season Pass Customers
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '13 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's we're-sorry-you-caught-us department:
An anonymous reader writes "Two weeks ago, a man sued Apple after finding out that the $22.99 he paid for a season pass of Breaking Bad was only good for the final season's first 8 episodes. ... In light the mix-up, Apple late on Monday began informing folks who purchased a season pass for the 5th season of Breaking Bad that they are entitled to a refund in full in the form of a $22.99 iTunes credit." "Mix-up" seems an entirely charitable description.

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France Proposes Consideration of Tax On Data Taken Out of EU
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '13 at 06:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's arrogance-of-power department:
An anonymous reader writes "France has proposed the European Union study taxing companies for transferring personal data outside of the bloc ... The proposal is part of a series France has made ahead of an EU summit next month ... Both transfers of data inside companies, such as sending information on employees from a European subsidiary to a non-EU parent, and between companies are affected. Transfer of personal data often happens when companies outsource certain tasks such as customer sales and help lines to offshore call centres."

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Middle-Click Paste? Not For Long
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '13 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's sometimes-it's-hard-to-love-you-gnome department:
An anonymous reader writes "Select to copy and middle-click to paste. That's very convenient usability feature associated with UNIX graphical environments. But it is confusing for new users, so the ability to middle-click paste was briefly removed from GNOME 3.10. It was restored few days later, but with clear message: middle-click paste will be permanently removed from next GNOME version." I hope that "we'll defer this change until the next cycle" also means that it's getting re-thought, rather than just delayed.

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Georgia Cop Issues 800 Tickets To Drivers Texting At Red Lights
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '13 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's making-it-up-in-volume department:
McGruber writes "WSB-Television, Atlanta, tells us that Gwinnett County police officer Jessie Myers has issued more tickets for texting and driving than any other officer in the state. Officer Myers said he sees most people typing away on their phones while waiting at red lights. 'Most people think they're safe there,' Myers said. However, he said it's still illegal. 'At a red light, you're still driving. according to the law. You're on a roadway, behind (the wheel of) a car, in charge of it, with a vehicle in drive,' Myers said. Myers also tickets drivers using navigation apps. One driver said she was just using her phone's GPS. The law forbids that and Myers issued her a ticket. "That's right. You can't use your navigation while driving. Unless it is a GPS-only device, such as Garmin or Tom Tom, something that is not used as a communication device,' Myers said."

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Georgia Cop Issues 800 Tickets To Drivers Texting At Red Lights
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '13 at 05:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's making-it-up-in-volume department:
McGruber writes "WSB-Television, Atlanta, tells us that Gwinnett County police officer Jessie Myers has issued more tickets for texting and driving than any other officer in the state. Officer Myers said he sees most people typing away on their phones while waiting at red lights. 'Most people think they're safe there,' Myers said. However, he said it's still illegal. 'At a red light, you're still driving. according to the law. You're on a roadway, behind (the wheel of) a car, in charge of it, with a vehicle in drive,' Myers said. Myers also tickets drivers using navigation apps. One driver said she was just using her phone's GPS. The law forbids that and Myers issued her a ticket. "That's right. You can't use your navigation while driving. Unless it is a GPS-only device, such as Garmin or Tom Tom, something that is not used as a communication device,' Myers said."

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Brooklyn Yogurt Shop Sting Snares Fake Reviewers For NY Attorney General
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '13 at 04:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's believe-nothing department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Reuters reports that nineteen companies caught writing fake reviews on websites such as Yelp, Google Local and CitySearch have been snared in a year-long sting operation by the New York Attorney General and will pay $350,000 in penalties. The Attorney General's office set up a fake yogurt shop in Brooklyn, New York, and sought help from firms that specialize in boosting online search results to combat negative reviews. Search optimization companies offered to post fake reviews of the yogurt shop, created online profiles, and paid as little as $1 per review to freelance writers in the Philippines, Bangladesh and Eastern Europe. To avoid detection the companies used 'advanced IP spoofing techniques' to hide their true identities. 'This investigation into large-scale, intentional deceit across the Internet tells us that we should approach online reviews with caution,' said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. 'More than 100 million visitors come to Yelp each month, making it critical that Yelp protect the integrity of its content,' said Aaron Schur, Yelp's Senior Litigation Counsel."

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Boot To Zork
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '13 at 02:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's you-have-been-eaten-by-a-grue department:
Seemingly to inflict more suffering upon himself, Matt Garret (lord of getting things to boot using EFI) decided that booting directly into Zork would be cool. Quoting his weblog entry: "So, Frotz seemed like the natural choice when this happened. But despite having a set of functionality that makes it look much more like an OS than a boot environment, UEFI doesn't actually expose a standard C library. The EFI Application Development Kit solves this particular design decision. Porting Frotz ended up involving far more fixing up of Frotz bugs that tripped up <tt>-Werror</tt> than anything else. One note, though - make sure you include DevShell in the list of required packages at build time, otherwise file i/o will mysteriously fail."

Grab the code, assuming you have a copy of Zork (or any other Z-machine game, as long as you name it <tt>ZORK1.DAT</tt>, I think).

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Romanian Science Journal Punked By Serbian Academics
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '13 at 01:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's groundbreaking-research department:
schwit1 writes "A group of Serbian academics, disgusted with the poor state of their country's research output, have scammed a Romanian science journal by getting it to accept their completely fabricated hoax article. From the article: 'The paper is replete with transparent gimmicks — obvious, that is, had anyone at the publication been paying attention — including a reference to the scholarship of [singer Michael] Jackson, Weber, [porn star Ron] Jeremy and citations to new studies by Bernoulli and Laplace, both dead more than 180 years (Weber died in 1920). They also throw in references to the "Journal of Modern Illogical Studies," which to the best of our knowledge does not and never has existed (although perhaps it should), and to a researcher named, dubiously, "A.S. Hole." And, we hasten to add, the noted Kazakh polymath B. Sagdiyev, otherwise known as Borat.' Their paper is hilarious and completely ridiculous, and yet it was published in a so-called serious journal without question. The best part is that they list Alan Sokal's hoax paper from 1996 as one of their sources."

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