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London Bans Recycling Bins That Track Phones
Posted by News Fetcher on August 12 '13 at 09:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's no-trash-talking department:
judgecorp writes "In a swift response to a media storm, the City of London has closed down a trial of recycling bins which track the phones of pedestrians. Renew provides recycling bins funded by digital advertising, and has been told to stop a trial where bins tracked phones. Although the CEO of Renew claims there was no intention to breach privacy, his own marketing material says otherwise."

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Unlocked Firefox OS ZTE Open Is Now Available On EBay For For $80
Posted by News Fetcher on August 12 '13 at 08:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's get-it-while-it's-hot department:
SmartAboutThings writes "We've been hearing quite a lot lately about the Firefox OS, but there are actually only a few Firefox OS phones launched on the market. ZTE Open is one of them and is actually the first Firefox OS phone for consumers. Even if Firefox OS has support from carriers all over the world, it's pretty hard to sell devices in more locations across the world. To remedy that, ZTE is going to sell the Firefox OS Open phone on eBay for eighty dollars, which is actually ten dollars less than the launch price. A real great thing is that the handset will be off-contract and unlocked which means you will be able to use it on all mobile networks. ZTE didn't mention when exactly the device will go on sale on eBay, the company just mentioning 'soon'."

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Looking Beyond Corn and Sugarcane For Cost-Effective Biofuels
Posted by News Fetcher on August 12 '13 at 08:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's get-it-growing department:
carmendrahl writes "The abundance of shale gas in the U.S. is expected to lower the cost of petrochemicals for fuel and other applications, making it harder for plant-based, renewable feedstocks to compete in terms of price. In the search for cost-competitive crops, companies are testing plants other than traditional biofuel sources such as corn and sugarcane. In this video, you can see how a company is test-growing a relative of sugarcane, which is expected to yield 5 times the ethanol per acre compared to corn."

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Could Humanity Really Build 'Elysium'?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 12 '13 at 07:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's plenty-of-space department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Miriam Kramer writes at Space.com that in the new movie Elysium, Earth is beyond repair, and the rich and powerful have decided to leave it behind to live in a large, rotating space station stocked with mansions, grass, trees, water and gravity. 'The premise is totally believable to me. I spent 28 years working on NASA's International Space Station and retired last summer as the director of ISS at NASA Headquarters. When I took a look at the Elysium space station, I thought to myself, that's certainly achievable in this millennium,' says Mark Uhran, former director of the International Space Station Division in NASA's Office of Human Exploration and Operations. 'It's clear that the number-one challenge is chemical propulsion.' Nuclear propulsion could be a viable possibility eventually, but the idea isn't ready for prime time yet. 'We learned an incredible amount with [the International Space Station] and we demonstrated that we have the technology to assemble large structures in space.' The bottom line: 'If you threw everything you had at it, could you reach a space station of the scale of Elysium in 150 years?' says Uhran. 'That's a pretty tall order.'"

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BlackBerry Officially Open To Sale
Posted by News Fetcher on August 12 '13 at 07:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's so-long-farewell department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "BlackBerry is considering whether to sell itself off to the highest bidder. The company's Board of Directors has announced the founding of a Special Committee to explore so-called 'strategic alternatives to enhance value and increase scale,' which apparently includes 'possible joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, a sale of the Company or other possible transactions.' BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins added that, while the committee did its work, the company would continue to its recent overhead-reduction strategy. Prem Watsa, chairman and CEO of Fairfax Financial—BlackBerry's largest shareholder—announced that he would resign from the company's board in order to avoid a potential conflict of interest. News that BlackBerry is considering a potential sale should surprise nobody. Faced with fierce competition from Google and Apple, the company's market-share has tumbled over the past several quarters. In a desperate bid to regain its former prominence in the mobile-device industry, BlackBerry developed and released BlackBerry 10, a next-generation operating system meant to compete toe-to-toe against Google Android and Apple iOS—despite a massive ad campaign, however, early sales of BlackBerry 10 devices have proven somewhat underwhelming."

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Elementary OS 0.2 "Luna" Released
Posted by News Fetcher on August 12 '13 at 06:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's welcome-to-the-world department:
First time accepted submitter kazade84 writes "Over the weekend the Elementary team released the stable version of Elementary OS, codenamed "Luna" which is based on Ubuntu 12.04. The new OS features an entirely custom desktop shell called Pantheon which has been developed from scratch using Vala and Gtk+ which allows for fast apps with a small memory footprint. Elementary OS has been years in the making, and the team have documented the process in their latest blog post."

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Twinkies: The Breakfast of Champion Programmers Still Hard To Get
Posted by News Fetcher on August 12 '13 at 06:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's tell-him-about-the-twinkie department:
An anonymous reader writes "When Hostess, baker of Twinkies, filed for bankruptcy and ceased operations in November, Twinkies were no more. Then, a private equity firm bought the business for $410 million and planned to resume production in 'The Sweetest Comeback in the History of Ever.' Now, an article in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette reports that they're still hard to get, since an unprecedented demand has caused orders to exceed production capacity 'by a significant amount.'"

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All Bitcoin Wallets On Android Vulnerable To Theft
Posted by News Fetcher on August 12 '13 at 05:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's protect-ya-neck department:
judgecorp writes "Bitcoin users have been warned that storing them in a wallet app on Android is insecure, A weakness in Android's random number generator means its random numbers may not be so random, giving attackers a chance of breaking into the wallet. those with Bitcoins have been advised to put them elsewhere, by bitcoin.org"

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Behind the Story of the iPhone's Default Text Tone
Posted by News Fetcher on August 12 '13 at 04:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's it's-the-little-things department:
An anonymous reader writes "In a fascinating post from Kelly Jacklin, the long time Apple software engineer details how he helped create the default text alert sound on the iPhone — a sound otherwise known as 'Tri-tone.' The history of the the pleasant text alert sound that we've all come to know and love stretches all the way back to 1998, nearly 10 years before the iPhone ever hit store shelves." Here's Jacklin's post.

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Dogs Trained To Sniff Out Ovarian Cancer
Posted by News Fetcher on August 12 '13 at 01:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's as-long-as-the-dogs-aren't-menacing department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Dogs have been trained to sniff out drugs, explosives, cadavers, mobile phones, firearms, and money but now AP reports that researchers have started training canines to sniff out the signature compound that indicates the presence of ovarian cancer. If the animals can isolate the chemical marker, scientists at the nearby Monell Chemical Senses Center will work to create an electronic sensor to identify the same odorant. "Because if the dogs can do it, then the question is, Can our analytical instrumentation do it? We think we can," says organic chemist George Preti. More than 20,000 Americans are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year. When it's caught early, women have a five-year survival rate of 90 percent. But because of its generic symptoms — weight gain, bloating or constipation — the disease is more often caught late."

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OmniCam360 Camera Cluster Lets You Choose the Viewing Angle
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '13 at 10:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's how-to-get-seasick-indoors department:
Zothecula writes "Armchair sports lovers are at the mercy of TV directors who chose what camera angle is shown when. Most sports fans will have been frustrated with their shot selection at one time or another, but a new panoramic camera would put such decisions in the viewer's hands. Comprising ten individual cameras, the OmniCam 360 provides a full 360-degree of the action." Just don't roll it down a hill and try to watch the results.

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AquaTop Immersive Display System: Get Your Hands Wet to Sink Some Files
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '13 at 07:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's not-for-use-below-freezing department:
mikejuk writes with an intriguing description of AquaTop, a (very) interactive display system developed at Tokyo's University of Electro-Communications Koike Laboratory, which uses a Kinect sensor, a projector, and a tub of cloudy water. Images are projected into the water, and as a user, "[Y]ou can move them around, resize them using the usual two-finger pinch, but you can also pick them up in cupped hands and transfer them somewhere else. The gesture I really liked was 'sink to delete' — yes, that's often how I feel about a file. Add some waterproof loudspeakers under the surface and allow the computer to run them at low frequency. The result is that you can now make the surface 'boil' in response to the sound. You can make fountains of water appear and project the right colors onto it to make it look like an explosion. In the demo game you throw energy bolts at squid that blow up if you hit them. You have to see the video to understand how putting your hands in cold water might be so much fun."

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Chain Reaction Shattered Antarctica's Larson B Ice Shelf
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '13 at 04:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's natural-phenomenon department:
New submitter Jim McNicholas writes "At the end of the summer of 2002, all 3000 lakes on the Larsen B ice shelf drained away in the space of a week. And then the 2,700-square-kilometre ice shelf, which was some 220 metres thick and might have existed for some 12,000 years, rapidly disintegrated into small icebergs. The draining of one lake on an ice shelf changes the stress field in nearby areas, causing a fracture circle to form around the lake."

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TrollingEffects.org To Help Potential Victims of Patent Trolls
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '13 at 03:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's method-for-helping department:
First time accepted submitter kdataman writes "The EFF has helped launch a new site to help the potential victims of patent trolling. It is called TrollingEffects.org and is designed to parallel the way ChillingEffects.org helps those getting DMCA letters. The idea is to educate the targets and help them work together for a more cost-effective defense."

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Inside the Decision To Shut Down Silent Mail
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '13 at 02:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's hush-now department:
Trailrunner7 writes with this snippet from ThreatPost:: "Silent Circle's decision to shut down its Silent Mail email service may have come quickly yesterday, and the timing of the announcement admittedly was prompted by Lavabit's decision to suspend operations hours before. But the seeds for this decision may have been sown long before Edward Snowden, who reportedly used Lavabit as a secure email provider, was a household name and NSA warrants for customer data were known costs of doing business. ... 'When we saw the Lavabit announcement, the thing we were worrying about had happened, and it had happened to somebody else. It was very difficult to not think I'm next,' Callas said. 'I had been discussing with Phil [founder and PGP developer Phil Zimmerman] over dinner the night before, should we be doing this and what the timing should be. I was looking at it from point that I want to be a responsible service provider and not leave users in a lurch. [The Lavabit announcement] told me I have to start moving on it now.'"

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Microsoft Is Working On a Cloud Operating System For the US Government
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '13 at 01:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's like-a-sticky-enveloping-fog-of-goo department:
SmartAboutThings writes "It seems that Microsoft is relying even more on the opportunities provided by the cloud technology. The Redmond behemoth is preparing to come up with a cloud operating system that is specially meant for government purposes. Government agencies already use two of Microsoft's basic cloud products: Windows Azure and Windows Server. But now it seems that Microsoft is working on a modified version of its somewhat new Cloud OS that could bear the name "Fairfax", Compared to Windows Azure, "Fairfax" cloud operating system would provide enhanced security, relying on physical servers on site at government locations. Given the fact that CEO Steve Ballmer is striving to make Microsoft much more than a powerful software giant, such a project makes sense, especially because it would help in their lobby activities."

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Examining the Expected Effects of Dark Matter On the Solar System
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '13 at 12:31 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's picks-up-loose-dirt-gets-out-tough-stains department:
First time accepted submitter LiavK writes "Ethan Siegel recently wrote a great post for ScienceBlogs discussing the expected total mass of dark matter in the solar system. As far as we can tell, dark matter only interacts weakly, via gravity, both with itself and normal matter. So, it can't collide with itself, meaning that it has no way of getting hotter and radiating away energy and momentum. This means that it remains a diffuse mess, with a density that is ridiculously low, to the point where detecting its local effects is likely to remain... challenging for the foreseeable future."

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Londoners Tracked By Advertising Firm's Trash Cans
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '13 at 11:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's time-for-spoofing department:
schwit1 asks "How can I automatically have my wi-fi turn off when I leave the house unless I specifically turn it back on?" and provides this excerpt from Wired to illustrate why that would be useful: "Hundreds of thousands of pedestrians walking past 12 locations unknowingly had the unique MAC address of their smartphones recorded by Renew London. Data including the "movement, type, direction, and speed of unique devices" was recorded from smartphones that had their Wi-Fi on. First reported by Quartz, the data gathering appears to be a Minority Report-esque proof-of-concept project, demonstrating the possibility for targeted personal advertising. 'It provides an unparalleled insight into the past behavior of unique devices — entry/exit points, dwell times, places of work, places of interest, and affinity to other devices — and should provide a compelling reach data base for predictive analytics (likely places to eat, drink, personal habits etc.),' reads a blog post on the company's site. In tests running between 21-24 May and 2-9 June, over 4 million events were captured, with over 530,000 unique devices captured. Further testing is taking place at sites including Liverpool Street Station." (The name sounds a bit like a government project, but Renew London is actually an advertising / marketing firm.)

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As AOL Prepares To Downsize Patch, CEO Fires Employee During Meeting
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '13 at 10:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's now-that's-offsides department:
An anonymous reader writes "AOL is closing or plans to sell nearly half of the 900 'hyperlocal' news websites operated by its money-losing Patch Media subsidiary (TechCrunch is also owned by AOL). Hundreds of staff layoffs are believed to be imminent. AOL acquired Patch in 2009, soon after ex-Googler Tim Armstrong took over as CEO; Armstrong was also a co-founder of Patch. During a tough conference call last Thursday Armstrong told Patch editors: 'Something at Patch has been missing for some time and that's leadership – leadership with a capital L'. Armstrong then demonstrated his grasp of Donald Trump's management style by firing an employee during the meeting for taking a picture. At 1:18 of the NY Post's sound clip from Jim Romensko: 'Leaking information Patch isn't going to bother me. I'm not changing direction'. At 2:00: 'Abel [Creative Director Lenz], put that camera down. Abel, you're fired. Out.' Armstrong later explained that 'The reason I fired Abel is I don't want anyone taking pictures of this meeting' and that, much like a sports team, AOL couldn't afford to have people 'giving the game plan away'."

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Ask Slashdot: Best/Newest Hardware Without "Trusted Computing"?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '13 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's in-light-of-recent-events department:
An anonymous reader writes "What is the best/newest hardware without trusted computing (TC) / Trusted Platform Module(TPM)? I am currently running ancient 32-bit hardware and thinking about an upgrade to something x64 with USB3, SATA3 and >1 core on the CPU ... but don't want TC/TPM. I have no need to run anything like Blu Ray movie disks or Microsoft Windows that requires TC/TPM or the UEFI boot process. Is anybody else still trying to avoid TC/TPM? What have your experiences been? Any pointers?" Worth reading on this front, too: Richard Stallman on so-called Trusted Computing,.

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