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Steam Music Now Accepting Beta Signups
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '14 at 01:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's listen-up department:
dotarray writes "Valve continues in its quest for world domination with the announcement of Steam Music, soon to be a part of SteamOS, Big Picture and — eventually — the desktop Steam client. Promising a way for you to 'Listen to your music collection while you play games', beta signups (of a kind) are open now."

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Anonymous Slovenia Claims To Have Hacked the FBI and Posted Emails To Pastebin
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '14 at 12:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's have-some-info department:
concertina226 writes "The information, posted by user Black-Shadow of the Slovenian branch of the hacktivist group, purportedly contains FBI domain email addresses and passwords for 68 agents, although the user claims in his post that the collected log-in details are 'not all ours'. The post also includes a short profile on FBI director James Brien Comey Jr, including sensitive information such as his date of birth, his wife's name, the date they got married, his educational history and even the geographical coordinates of his residence."

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Book Review: The Art of the Data Center
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '14 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it department:
benrothke writes "At first glance, The Art of the Data Center: A Look Inside the Worlds Most Innovative and Compelling Computing Environments appears like a standard coffee table book with some great visuals and photos of various data centers throughout the world. Once you get a few pages into the book, you see it is indeed not a light-read coffee table book, rather a insightful book where some of the brightest minds in the industry share their insights on data center design and construction." Read below for the rest of Ben's review. The Art of the Data Center: A Look Inside the Worlds Most Innovative and Compelling Computing Environments
author Douglas Alger
pages 368
publisher Prentice Hall
rating 9/10
reviewer Ben Rothke
ISBN 978-1587142963
summary Some of the smartest guys in the data center share their build and design advice

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Elsevier Opens Its Papers To Text-Mining
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '14 at 11:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's take-a-look department:
ananyo writes "Publishing giant Elsevier says that it has now made it easy for scientists to extract facts and data computationally from its more than 11 million online research papers. Other publishers are likely to follow suit this year, lowering barriers to the computer-based research technique. But some scientists object that even as publishers roll out improved technical infrastructure and allow greater access, they are exerting tight legal controls over the way text-mining is done. Under the arrangements, announced on 26 January at the American Library Association conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, researchers at academic institutions can use Elsevier's online interface (API) to batch-download documents in computer-readable XML format. Elsevier has chosen to provisionally limit researchers to 10,000 articles per week. These can be freely mined — so long as the researchers, or their institutions, sign a legal agreement. The deal includes conditions: for instance, that researchers may publish the products of their text-mining work only under a license that restricts use to non-commercial purposes, can include only snippets (of up to 200 characters) of the original text, and must include links to original content."

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South Koreans Using Kinect To Monitor DMZ
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '14 at 10:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's state-game department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "The South Korean government is reportedly using Microsoft's Kinect motion-based game controller to monitor the heavily guarded DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) that separates the country from North Korea. The brainchild of freelance South Korean developer Jae Kwan Ko, the system is reportedly capable of differentiating between people and animals. (Hat tip to Kotaku, which originally ferreted out the story from South Korean publication Hankooki .) That makes it superior to the infrared systems already in use along the DMZ, which have a harder time determining whether a moving object is human. The Kinect-based system can send alerts of suspicious activity to the nearest military outpost. While the South Korean government reportedly installed the hardware at select portions of the DMZ last year, news about it is only emerging now—and details are relatively scarce, considering how this is a military project. Despite that secrecy, the South Korean government is playing up Jae Kwan Ko's contributions, highlighting him in the local media as an example of innovation and creative drive. Largely self-taught, he makes money by building apps for various mobile platforms—most of which, presumably, have nothing to do with detecting military threats."

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Tesla Touts Cross-Country Trip, Aims For World Record
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '14 at 09:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's keep-charging department:
smaxp writes "A cross-country trip by two Model S sedans 'recorded the lowest charge time for an electric vehicle traveling across the country – a feat that is now being assessed for recognition as a Guinness World Records achievement,' according to a Tesla blog post. 'The 3464.5-mile jaunt is yet another attempt to ease range anxiety among many consumers who worry about being stranded in a car with a depleted battery pack and nowhere near a charging station. While Tesla’s Model S is too expensive for average consumers, the company plans to roll out cheaper models at some point and needs to address the fear that has stopped many people from buying electric cars, even cheaper ones such as the Nissan Leaf...'"

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Virtual Boss Keeps Workers On a Short Leash
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '14 at 09:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's keeping-an-eye-on-things department:
Gr8Apes writes "Hitachi has created a 'perfect virtual boss' The company is manufacturing and selling a device intended to increase efficiency in the workplace called the Hitachi Business Microscope (paywalled). 'The device looks like an employee ID badge that most companies issue. Workers are instructed to wear it in the office. Embedded inside each badge, according to Hitachi, are "infrared sensors, an accelerometer, a microphone sensor and a wireless communication device." Hitachi says that the badges record and transmit to management "who talks to whom, how often, where and how energetically." It tracks everything. If you get up to walk around the office a lot, the badge sends information to management about how often you do it, and where you go. If you stop to talk with people throughout the day, the badge transmits who you're talking to (by reading your co-workers' badges), and for how long. Do you contribute at meetings, or just sit there? Either way, the badge tells your bosses.'"

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First Evidence That Google's Quantum Computer May Not Be Quantum After All
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '14 at 08:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's emperor's-new-keyboard department:
KentuckyFC writes "In May last year, Google and NASA paid a reported $15 million for a quantum computer from the controversial Canadian start up D-Wave Systems. One question mark over the device is whether it really is quantum or just a conventional computer in disguise. That's harder to answer than it sounds, not least because any direct measurement of a quantum state destroys it. So physicists have to take an indirect approach. They assume the computer is a black box in which they can input data and receive an output. Given this input and output, the question is whether this computing behavior can be best reproduced by a classical or a quantum algorithm. Last summer, an international team of scientists compared a number of classical algorithms against an algorithm that relies on a process called quantum annealing. Their conclusion was that quantum annealing best reproduces the D-Wave computer's behavior, a result that was a huge boon for the company. Now a group from UC Berkeley and IBM's Watson Research Lab says it has a found a classical algorithm that explains the results just as well, or even better, than quantum annealing. In other words, the results from the D-Wave machine could just as easily be explained if it was entirely classical. That comes on the back of mounting evidence that the D-Wave computer may not cut the quantum mustard in other ways too. Could it be that Google and NASA have forked out millions for a classical calculator?"

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Pwn2own 2014 Set To Hunt Unicorns
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '14 at 07:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's crack-it-if-you-can department:
darthcamaro writes "The annual Pwn2own hacking competition has always made short work of all browser vendors' security, shredding perception of safety by hacking IE, Firefox, Safari and Chrome in minutes. This year the competition is adding a twist — for IE on Windows 8.1, hackers will also have to bypass Microsoft EMET, which is a seemingly bulletproof type of sandbox. The competition is calling this the 'Unicorn Exploit' and the first researcher to successful exploit it will pocket $150,000."

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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Do If You're Given a Broken Project?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '14 at 07:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's cleaning-up-the-mess department:
X10 writes "Suppose you're assigned to a project that someone else has created. It's an app, you'll work on it alone. You think 'how hard can it be,' you don't check out the source code before you accept the assignment. But then, it turns out the code is not robust. You create a small new feature, and the app breaks down in unexpected ways. You fix a bug, and new bugs pop up all over the place. The person who worked on the project before you is well respected in the company, and you are 'just a contractor,' hired a few months ago. The easy way out is to just quit, as there's plenty of jobs you can take. But that doesn't feel right. What else can you do?"

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James Dyson: We Should Pay Students To Study Engineering
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '14 at 07:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's change-your-major department:
DavidGilbert99 writes "The inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner believes there is an engineering crisis in the UK and that 61,000 vacancies in the area will go unfilled in 2014. To address this Dyson believes says he wants the UK government to offer monetary incentives to students with an interest and aptitude in science — as well as changing the current visa system to make it easier for foreign students to remain in the country and get work once they have completed their education in the UK."

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Crypto Legend Quisquater Targeted - But NSA May Not Be To Blame
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '14 at 06:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's it-wasn't-us-this-time department:
judgecorp writes "Reports that the NSA and/or Britain's GCHQ deliberately targeted Belgian cryptography professor Jea-Jacques Quisquater may be jumping to conclusions, the professor has said. Investigation of an apparent NSA/GCHQ hack of Belgian ISP Belgacom uncovered evidence that Quisquater's PC had been infected with malware and had data extracted. However the two incidents might be coincidence: similar malware is used by Asian attackers, he said"

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Researchers Try To "Close the Nutrient Cycle" Through Better Waste Recycling
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '14 at 05:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's using-everything department:
An anonymous reader writes "Converting human waste into usable fertilizer may become the next important development in sustainable living. 'Most conventional farms invest in synthetic fertilizer, which requires energy to produce and is associated with many environmental problems of its own. But by separating out human urine before it gets to the wastewater plant, Rich Earth cofounder Kim Nace says they can turn it into a robust fertilizer alternative: a "local, accessible, free, sanitary source of nitrogen and phosphorous."'"

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Apple Reportedly Testing Inductive, Solar and Motion Charging For Its Smartwatch
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '14 at 02:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's riddle-wrapped-in-a-mystery-inside-an-enigma department:
An anonymous reader writes in with the latest from the rumor mill about a possible Apple smartwatch. "We've heard that when Apple reveals its first smartwatch product, there's going to be a heavy focus on health and fitness, but There might also be a way to charge the wearable without plugging it in, according to a report from the New York Times. Inductive charging came in a wave of smartphones last year, including Google's Nexus 4 and Nokia's Lumia 920 range, although we don't often see it in anything smaller than a phone (or camera) form-factor. Apple, however, is looking into cramming the same technology into its iWatch, or whatever it eventually calls its debut wearable."

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Atlas of US Historical Geography Digitized
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '14 at 11:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's over-time department:
memnock writes "Charles O. Paullin and John K. Wright's Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States, first published in 1932, has been digitized by The Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond. From the website: 'Here you will find one of the greatest historical atlases: Charles O. Paullin and John K. Wright's Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States, first published in 1932. This digital edition reproduces all of the atlas's nearly 700 maps. Many of these beautiful maps are enhanced here in ways impossible in print, animated to show change over time or made clickable to view the underlying data—remarkable maps produced eight decades ago with the functionality of the twenty-first century.'"

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Australia OKs Dumping Dredge Waste In Barrier Reef
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '14 at 08:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's put-that-anywhere department:
An anonymous reader writes "Australia's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has approved the dumping of 3 million cubic meters of dredge waste in park waters. The decision has been blasted by environmentalists. 'This is a sad day for the reef and anyone who cares about its future,' said WWF Great Barrier Reef campaigner Richard Leck. 'The World Heritage Committee will take a dim view of this decision, which is in direct contravention of one of its recommendations.'"

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Through a Face Scanner Darkly
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '14 at 06:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's I-know-you department:
An anonymous reader writes in with a story that raises the issue of how public anonymity is quickly disappearing thanks to facial recognition technology. "NameTag, an app built for Google Glass by a company called FacialNetwork.com, offers a face scanner for encounters with strangers. You see somebody on the sidewalk and, slipping on your high-tech spectacles, select the app. Snap a photo of a passerby, then wait a minute as the image is sent up to the company's database and a match is hunted down. The results load in front of your left eye, a selection of personal details that might include someone's name, occupation, Facebook and/or Twitter profile, and, conveniently, whether there's a corresponding entry in the national sex-offender registry."

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Super Bowl Ads: Worth the Price Or Waste of Time?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '14 at 04:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's did-you-see-that? department:
samzenpus writes "Every year companies are willing to dish out big bucks to reach tens of millions of consumers with their Super Bowl ads. With an average price tag of $4 million for a 30-second commercial, this year is no exception. We've seen: beer obsessed frogs, field goal kicking horses, celebrities drinking various beverages, explosions of all sizes, homages to 1984, and day trading babies in the past. Since talking about the commercials has become almost as popular as the game itself, here's a place to do just that. What have you liked and what do you think would have been better left on the cutting room floor."

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Press Used To Print Millions of US Banknotes Seized In Quebec
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '14 at 03:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's close-to-perfect department:
An anonymous reader writes "The Canadian Royal Mounted Police report: An offset printing press used to manufacture counterfeit $20 banknotes was seized by the RCMP and US Secret Service. This significant seizure was made earlier today in the Trois-Rivières area. The authorities had been looking for this offset press for several years. A large quantity of paper was also seized by police, that could have been used by the counterfeiters to manufacture from $40-$200 million. The very high quality counterfeit notes were virtually undetectable to the naked eye. Some of the features they had were uncommon, including the type of paper used, which was especially made with a Jackson watermark and a dark vertical stripe imitating the security thread found in authentic notes."

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Windows 8.1 Passes Windows Vista In Market Share
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '14 at 02:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's growing-everyday department:
An anonymous reader writes "With the release of Windows 8.1 to the world in October, January was the third full month of availability for Microsoft's latest operating system version, which was just enough time for it to pass Windows Vista in market share. While Windows 8.1 is certainly growing steadily and eating into Windows 8s share, the duo only managed to end 2013 with 10 percent market share, barely impacting Windows 7."

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