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Wikimedia Sends Cease and Desist Letter To Firm Providing Paid Editing Services
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '13 at 08:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's going-out-of-business-sale department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "For months, Wikipedia has been battling a company called 'Wiki-PR,' which purportedly sells paid editing services on Wikipedia and in October announced it had blocked or banned hundreds of Wiki-PR's sockpuppet accounts in response. Now Cyrus Farivar reports at Ars Technica that the Wikimedia Foundation (which runs Wikipedia) is escalating its game issuing a cease and desist letter to Wiki-PR, demanding that the company immediately halt editing Wikipedia 'unless and until [Wiki-PR has] fully complied with the terms and conditions outlined by the Wikimedia Community.' The attorney representing the Wikimedia Foundation, Patrick Gunn, wrote that 'you admitted that Wiki-PR has continued to actively market paid advocacy editing services despite the ban — consistent with evidence that we have discovered independently. ... Should you fail to comply with the terms of this cease and desist letter, Wikimedia Foundation is prepared to take any necessary legal action to protect its rights.'"

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Mir Won't Ship Even In Ubuntu 14.04
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '13 at 07:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's long-live-x11 department:
jones_supa writes "As can be recalled, Mir didn't make it to the Ubuntu 13.10 release to replace X.org as the display server. Back then it suffered of problems in multi-monitor support, along with other issues. Now it turns out that Canonical's product will not make it even into the next LTS version (14.04) of the Ubuntu desktop. Mir itself would be ready for showtime in the schedule, but there are problems with XMir, which is the X11 compatibility layer that ensures Mir can work with applications built for X. The comments came at the Ubuntu Developer Summit: in an online event Mark Shuttleworth stressed that the 14.04 desktop has to be rock-solid for customers with large-scale deployments, such as educational institutions. In the meantime, you can already try out Mir in your Ubuntu system."

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Cupertino Approves New Apple Spaceship HQ
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '13 at 06:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's you'll-never-want-to-leave department:
mrspoonsi writes with news that Apple's plan to raze the old HP headquarters and replace it with some kind of space ship is moving forward. From the article: "A little over two years since Steve Jobs presented his case for it and after the occasional setback, the Cupertino City Council has finally given Apple full approval to go ahead with its futuristic campus. In exchange, Apple has agreed to fork over more money to the city in the form of a reduced sales tax rebate — going forward, Cupertino will only give back 35 percent sales tax instead of the 50 percent it had previously. Indeed, as soon as Apple gets its final permits some time today, it can begin demolishing the former HP headquarters and start building its own."

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Mathematicians Team Up To Close the Prime Gap
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '13 at 06:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's there-can-be-only-4680 department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "On May 13, an obscure mathematician garnered worldwide attention and accolades from the mathematics community for settling a long-standing open question about prime numbers. Yitang Zhang showed that even though primes get increasingly rare as you go further out along the number line, you will never stop finding pairs of primes separated by at most 70 million. His finding was the first time anyone had managed to put a finite bound on the gaps between prime numbers, representing a major leap toward proving the centuries-old twin primes conjecture, which posits that there are infinitely many pairs of primes separated by only two (such as 11 and 13). Now Erica Klarreich reports at Quanta Magazine that other mathematicians quickly realized that it should be possible to push this separation bound quite a bit lower. By the end of May, mathematicians had uncovered simple tweaks to Zhang's argument that brought the bound below 60 million. Then Terence Tao, a winner of the Fields Medal, mathematics' highest honor, created a 'Polymath project,' an open, online collaboration to improve the bound that attracted dozens of participants. By July 27, the team had succeeded in reducing the proven bound on prime gaps from 70 million to 4,680. Now James Maynard has upped the ante by presenting an independent proof that pushes the gap down to 600. A new Polymath project is in the planning stages, to try to combine the collaboration's techniques with Maynard's approach to push this bound even lower. Zhang's work and, to a lesser degree, Maynard's fits the archetype of the solitary mathematical genius, working for years in the proverbial garret until he is ready to dazzle the world with a great discovery. The Polymath project couldn't be more different — fast and furious, massively collaborative, fueled by the instant gratification of setting a new world record. 'It's important to have people who are willing to work in isolation and buck the conventional wisdom,' says Tao. Polymath, by contrast, is 'entirely groupthink.' Not every math problem would lend itself to such collaboration, but this one did."

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Many UAVs Vulnerable To Directed-Energy Weapons
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '13 at 05:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's phasers-on-stun department:
mask.of.sanity writes "A New Zealand researcher has detailed ways that UAVs can be crashed using cheap tools like Herf guns and GPS jammers, and could even be downed by flying drones with more powerful radio. The attacks (podcast) interfere with the navigation systems used by flying drones and are possible because security was not designed into the architecture of some machines."

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Not All USB Power Is Created Equal
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '13 at 02:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it-should-consider-a-constitution department:
jfruh writes "We've reached a point in our electronic lives where most of our gadgets draw power from a USB cable, and we have lots of USB ports to choose from — some of which live on other gadgets, some of which live on adapters that plug into your wall or car. But those ports supply wildly varying amounts of power, which can result in hours of difference in how long it takes your phone to charge. The Practical Meter, the product of a successful Kickstarter campaign, can help you figure out which power sources are going to juice up your gadgets the fastest."

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Google Maps, Lasers Reveal Vatican Catacombs
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '13 at 11:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's lasers-will-reveal-a-lot-of-things-if-used-correctly department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "The Vatican, while notoriously secretive about things buried in its vaults and archives, is being as public as the digital age allows it to be about the nearly completed restoration of catacombs early Christians used as secret churches as well as burial sites. Contractors, archaeologists and art experts spent the past five years restoring the Priscilla catacombs under the Vatican using lasers, among other techniques, to restore frescoes painted on the walls of the burial chambers. The Vatican unveiled the work Nov. 19 with a press conference in the Basilica of San Silvestro outside the burial tunnels, accompanied by a virtual tour of the Priscilla catacombs provided by Google Maps. The basilica is divided into an area for religious services and another that acts as a deposit for sculptures and artifacts dug up during excavations of the catacombs and other areas underneath the Vatican."

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Texas Drivers Stopped At Roadblock, Asked For Saliva, Blood
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '13 at 09:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's also-need-an-eyeball-scraping-and-a-chunk-of-lung department:
schwit1 writes "Some drivers along a busy Fort Worth street on Friday were stopped at a police roadblock and directed into a parking lot, where they were asked by federal contractors for samples of their breath, saliva and even blood. It was part of a government research study aimed at determining the number of drunken or drug-impaired drivers.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is spending $7.9 million on the survey over three years, said participation was '100 percent voluntary' and anonymous. The 'participants' hardly agree."

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OpenSUSE 13.1 Released and Reviewed
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '13 at 07:46 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's onward-and-upward department:
sfcrazy writes "The openSUSE team just announced the release of openSUSE 13.1. There are some core points which set openSUSE apart from the popular Ubuntu distro. While Ubuntu has become a more or less Canonical-owned project, openSUSE is becoming more and more community-driven. Looking at the recent controversies around Ubuntu and their move toward mobile platforms, openSUSE seems to be a great option for desktop users."

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Ask Slashdot: Can You Trust Online Tax Software?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '13 at 05:46 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's how-to-win-the-audit-lottery department:
An anonymous reader writes "TurboTax from Intuit and H&R Block's own tax package have been perennial mainstays for U.S. citizens trying to use software to figure out just how much they owe the country, without reading the tens of thousands of pages of IRS forms guidance. With tax season just around the corner, the new online platforms from both providers raise an interesting question: can you trust your return information any more or less to an online platform than you do to the equivalent software on your computer?"

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Xbox One Controller Cost Over $100 Million To Develop
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '13 at 04:46 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's go-big-or-go-home department:
mrspoonsi writes "The Xbox One controller went through many radical designs, including a built-in pico projector and a cartridge designed to release smell. Apparently, 'the core base didn't appreciate them,' so these wacky features were dropped in favor of a standard controller. According to VentureBeat, over $100 million worth of research went into the design they ended up using. 'Microsoft’s first tweaks for a new controller focused on the overall size and how it’d fit into hands, golden or otherwise. Using the Xbox 360 controller as a starting point, the engineers would make plastic-molded or 3D-printed prototypes that were each 1 millimeter wider or narrower than the last, testing a full range of up to plus or minus 8 millimeters. “That gave us the ability to test, with actual users including women and children, which width feels best,” said Morris. “We tested with more than 500 people throughout the course of the project. All ages, all abilities.” ... Morris and his team then looked at different thicknesses and shapes of the grips (or “lobes,” as he calls them), plus the angle of the triggers, different styles of analog sticks, and more.'"

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Google Extends Its Patch Reward Program To Include Android
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '13 at 03:46 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-break-it-we-bought-it department:
An anonymous reader writes "Google has extended its proactive Patch Reward Program to include even more open-source software. Among them is the Android Open Source Project, which the company previously did not reveal was going to be added. Last month, Google started providing financial incentives (between $500 and $3,133.70) for proactive improvements to OSS that go beyond merely fixing a known security bug. Google said at the time it would be rolling out the program gradually, and hinted that more project types would be on the way."

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CubeSat Launch Visible Around U.S. East Coast Tonight
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '13 at 03:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sky-lights department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Brad Lendon reports at CNN that 29 satellites, the most ever launched at one time, will be aboard a single Minotaur I rocket scheduled to lift off from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia Tuesday night at 7:30 pm. The main payload will be the Air Force's Space Test Program Satellite-3, plus 28 tiny satellites called CubeSats about 4 inches on each side, weighing about 3 pounds and with a volume of about a quart. The cubesats will include Ho`oponopono-2 from the University of Hawaii to continue a long-existing radar calibration service for the 80 plus C-band radar tracking stations distributed around the world. It will also have CAPE-2 from the Cajun Advanced Picosatellite Experiment, to give students at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette the opportunity to research, design, develop, and maintain a low earth orbiting satellite, and SwampSat from the University of Florida to advance the TRL (Technology Readiness Level) of CMGs (Control Moment Gyroscopes) appropriate for smallsats. Among the CubeSats is the TJ3Sat, the first satellite made by high-schoolers to go into space, built by the students of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. It will give students and other amateur radio users the opportunity to send and receive data from the satellite. Approved text strings will be transmitted to the satellite, and the resulting voice interpretation will be relayed back to Earth over an amateur radio frequency using the onboard Stensat radio. Orbital says the 29 satellites should achieve orbit in a little less than 12½ minutes after the rocket ignites. NASA says the launch may be visible from northern Florida to southern Canada and as far west as Indiana. Live coverage of the launch is available via UStream beginning at 6:30 p.m. EST on launch day."

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Ubuntu Wants To Enable SSD TRIM By Default
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '13 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's getting-into-fighting-trim department:
jones_supa writes "During the first day of the latest virtual Ubuntu Developer Summit, Canonical developers finally plotted out the enabling of TRIM/DISCARD support by default for solid-state drives on Ubuntu 14.04. Ubuntu developers aren't looking to enable discard at the file-system level since it can slow down delete operations, so instead they're wanting to have their own cron job that routinely runs fstrim for TRIMing the system. In the past there has been talk about the TRIM implementation being unoptimized in the kernel. Around when Linux 3.0 was released, OpenSUSE noted that the kernel performs TRIM to a single range, instead of vectorized list of TRIM ranges, which is what the specification calls for. In some scenarios this results in lowered performance."

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2-D MMOG Glitch Released Completely Into the Public Domain
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '13 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's more-game-devs-should-do-this department:
c0d3g33k writes "Glitch, a collaborative, web-based, massively multiplayer game developed by Tiny Speck, Inc. (tinyspeck.com) has been released under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal License. I'm not at all familiar with this game, but it is rare that both source code and all game assets are released into the public domain, which makes this announcement noteworthy. An excerpt from the announcement: 'The entire library of art assets from the game has been made freely available, dedicated to the public domain. Code from the game client is included to help developers work with the assets. All of it can be downloaded and used by anyone, for any purpose. (But: use it for good.)'"

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Milverton Wallace Organizes Hackathons in Great Britain (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '13 at 01:46 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's hacka-hacka-wacka-wacka-all-the-live-long-day department:
Milverton Wallace (@milvy on Twitter) might seem an unlikely candidate to be setting up hackathons in the UK; his background is as a journalist, and he was born a few thousand miles away in Jamaica. Nonetheless, when I met up with him at last month’s AppsWorld in London, he was about to conduct another in a series of hackathons at Google’s London campus. He’s got some interesting things to say about the mechanics and reasons for putting a bunch of programmers (and/or kids who aren’t yet programmers per se) into a room, and giving them a good environment for creativity. He has some harsh words for the UK school system’s approach to computer education (which sounds an awful lot like the U.S. approach in far too many schools), and praise for efforts (like the Raspberry Pi Foundation) to bring programming to British classrooms, both earlier and with more depth. The same ideas should apply world-wide.

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Affordable Blood Work In Four Hours Coming To Pharmacies
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '13 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's for-when-you-need-to-know-if-you-have-ebola-before-dinner department:
kkleiner writes "With the cost of healthcare services increasing, it's welcome news that a recent deal between Walgreens and Theranos will bring rapid, accurate, low-cost blood testing to the local pharmacy. A pinprick of blood from a finger is enough to run any number of a la carte diagnostic tests with results in four hours or less. The automation of blood testing in one convenient machine may mean that the demand for clinical technicians may decline, but the benefits of making blood analysis more accessible to everyone is enormous."

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Warner Bros. Admits To Issuing Bogus Takedowns
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '13 at 12:46 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hold-up-a-cease-and-desist-notice-if-you're-surprised department:
An anonymous reader sends this quote from TechDirt:
"One of the bizarre side notes to Hollywood's big lawsuit against the cyberlocker Hotfile was a countersuit against Warner Bros. by Hotfile, for using the easy takedown tool that Hotfile had provided, to take down a variety of content that was (a) non-infringing and (b) had nothing to do with Warner Bros. at all (i.e., the company did not hold the copyright on those files). In that case, WB admitted that it filed a bunch of false takedowns, but said it was no big deal because it was all done by a computer. Of course, it then came out that at least one work was taken down by a WB employee, and that employee had done so on purpose, annoyed that JDownloader could help possible infringers download more quickly."

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AMD To Launch a Windows 8.1 Gaming Tablet
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '13 at 11:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's display-model department:
SmartAboutThings writes "Chip maker AMD has announced that it's won 2 CES Innovation Awards for a gaming tablet the company plans to show off at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. The device is called "Project Discovery" and will come with AMD's Mullins chip that is a 64-bit, x86-based chip, perfectly suitable for Windows 8.1. The low-power Mullins APU (accelerated processing unit) is AMD's answer to Intel, Nvidia and Qualcomm, aimed at fanless tablets, ultrathin notebooks, and 2-in-1 devices. The 28nm processor is expected to consume as little as 2 watts of energy while in use. The obtained images show that the upcoming AMD tablet is quite similar to Razer Edge."

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How Munich Abandoned Microsoft for Open Source
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '13 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's clippy-ist-verboten department:
An anonymous reader writes "TechRepublic has the story behind Munich City Council's decision to ditch Microsoft Windows and Office in favor of open source software. The project leader talks about why the shift was primarily about freedom, in this case freeing itself from being tied into Microsoft's infrastructure and having control over the software it uses. He talks about how the council managed to keep such a large project on track, despite affecting 15,000 people and spanning nine years. He also warns against organizations justifying the shift to open source software on the grounds that it will save money, arguing this approach is always likely to fail."

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