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Microscopic "Tuning Forks" Help Determine Effectiveness of Antibiotics
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '13 at 01:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's getting-in-tune-with-your-body department:
sciencehabit writes "A patient admitted to a hospital with a serious bacterial infection may have only a few hours to live. Figuring out which antibiotic to administer, however, can take days. Doctors must grow the microbes in the presence of the drugs and see whether they reproduce. Rush the process, and they risk prescribing ineffective antibiotics, exposing the patient to unnecessary side effects, and spreading antibiotic resistance. Now, researchers have developed a microscopic 'tuning fork' that detects tiny vibrations in bacteria. The device might one day allow physicians to tell the difference between live and dead microbes—and enable them to recognize effective and ineffective antibiotics within minutes."

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Ben Heck's Plan To Make Gaming Open To All
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '13 at 01:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's man-with-the-plan department:
An anonymous reader writes "Legendary DIY gaming guru Ben Heck has given a new interview in which he talks about the Access Controller, his modular controller for consoles that lets disabled gamers play with one hand, and how he plans to update it for the next generation of consoles: 'I'm sure I will. At the very least people are going to want the accessibility controllers I build...People have already asked about them for the next-gen consoles, and that was at E3. When I was there, the thing I looked at the most was the controllers. The Xbox One looks pretty similar to what we have at the moment, but they finally fixed the D-pad.'"

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Microsoft To Shut Down TechNet Subscription Service
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '13 at 01:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's so-long-farewell department:
otaku244 writes "Since 1998, Microsoft TechNet has been a the mainstay for all system developers attached to the Microsoft Platform given the ease of access to almost every product the company has produced. Unfortunately, the days of a cheap, unlimited Microsoft development stack are coming to an end."

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Ben Heck's Plan To Making Gaming Open To All
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '13 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's man-with-the-plan department:
An anonymous reader writes "Legendary DIY gaming guru Ben Heck has given a new interview in which he talks about the Access Controller, his modular controller for consoles that lets disabled gamers play with one hand, and how he plans to update it for the next generation of consoles: 'I'm sure I will. At the very least people are going to want the accessibility controllers I build...People have already asked about them for the next-gen consoles, and that was at E3. When I was there, the thing I looked at the most was the controllers. The Xbox One looks pretty similar to what we have at the moment, but they finally fixed the D-pad.'"

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Microsoft Reacts To Feedback But Did They Get Windows 8.1 Right?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '13 at 11:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's trry-it-now department:
MojoKid writes "Microsoft's Windows "Blue" 8.1 update has been long-awaited. Those who've been using the base OS since launch have no doubt been anticipating some of the enhancements that are coming. At the moment, Windows 8.1 is available only as a preview, and if you are looking to give it a try, there are a couple of things to be aware of. The most important is the fact that once you upgrade, you can't easily downgrade — so you may wish to try the update in a virtual machine or on a test machine if possible. In addition, your current product keys will not work, so you'll effectively be turning your activated OS into an evaluation (it's assumed that once 8.1 goes final, we'll be able to update using our original keys). That said, Microsoft's free update offers a slew of enhancements like a new Start Screen, the return of the Start Button, even quicker shutdown and restart, boot to desktop, quicker integrated search and Skydrive enhancements. All told, Microsoft's new OS release is a more than worthy successor for end users but now Microsoft really needs to work on getting developers on board."

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How Facial Analysis Software Could Help Struggling Students
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '13 at 10:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's turn-that-frown-upside-down department:
moon_unit2 writes "Tech Review has a story on research showing that facial recognition software can accurately spot signs that programming students are struggling. NC State researchers tracked students learning java and used an open source facial-expression recognition engine to identify emotions such as frustration or confusion. The technique could be especially useful for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)--where many thousands of students are working remotely--but it could also help teachers identify students who need help in an ordinary classroom, experts say. That is, as long as those students don't object to being watched constantly by a camera."

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Firefox 23 Makes JavaScript Obligatory
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '13 at 10:01 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's use-it-or-else department:
mikejuk writes "It seems that Firefox 23, currently in beta, has removed the option to disable JavaScript. Is this good for programmers and web apps? Why has Mozilla decided that this is the right thing to do? The simple answer is that there is a growing movement to reduce user options that can break applications. The idea is that if you provide lots of user options then users will click them in ways that aren't particularly logical. The result is that users break the browser and then complain that it is broken. For example, there are websites that not only don't work without JavaScript, but they fail in complex ways — ways that worry the end user. Hence, once you remove the disable JavaScript option Firefox suddenly works on a lot of websites. Today there are a lot of programmers of the opinion that if the user has JavaScript off then its their own fault and consuming the page without JavaScript is as silly as trying to consume it without HTML."

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Interviews: Jon "maddog" Hall Answers Your Questions
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '13 at 09:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's listen-up department:
Last week you had a chance to ask Jon "maddog" Hall about his work on Project Caua and FOSS in general. Below you'll find his answers to those questions.

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D.C. Awards Obamacare IT Work To Offshore Outsourcer
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '13 at 08:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's cheap-labor department:
dcblogs writes "Infosys, an India-based offshore IT outsourcing firm, recently announced that it had won a $49.5 million contract to develop a health benefit exchange for the District of Columbia. The contract was awarded to a U.S.-based Infosys subsidiary, Infosys Public Services. That's one of the larger government contracts won by an offshore outsourcing firm, but it's unclear whether any of the work will be done overseas. The District isn't disclosing any contract details. An FOIA request for the contract has been submitted. Infosys is one of the largest users of H-1B visa, and has been under a grand jury investigation for its use of B1, visitor visas."

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Firefox OS Smartphones Launching, But Will Anyone Buy One?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '13 at 07:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's making-the-call department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Mozilla and its hardware partners have begun launching the first Firefox OS smartphones, starting with Spain's Telefonica releasing the ZTE Open later this week. A lightweight mobile OS based on HTML5, Firefox OS (once known as 'Boot to Gecko') offers a user interface instantly familiar to anyone who's used Google Android or Apple iOS: in addition to home-screens of individual apps arranged on a grid, features include messaging, email, built-in social-networking, maps, and the Firefox Web browser. There's also Firefox Marketplace, an online storefront of HTML5 apps; early apps include Twitter, Facebook, AccuWeather, and a handful of games. But can Firefox OS make any headway in a mobile-device crowded with options? At this February's Mobile World Congress, Mozilla claimed that some 17 operators around the world have committed to the Firefox OS initiative, including China Unicom, Sprint, MegaFon, and the Telecom Italia Group. But many of those operators released rather ambiguous statements about whether they would launch an actual Firefox OS smartphone. Tony Cripps, principal device analyst at Ovum, wrote in a research note earlier this year that 'the real acid test for Firefox OS and its long-term prospects is the quality of the software itself and the user and developer experiences that it fosters.' In other words, Mozilla and its partners need to produce some quality devices, paired with a variety of spectacular apps. Some early reviews of the ZTE Open weren't good, to put it mildly, with The Verge citing: 'unremarkable hardware' and a 'laggy' OS. But that doesn't mean future phones can't go toe-to-toe against anything else on the market, provided Mozilla and its partners provide solid support and marketing."

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Telescopic Contact Lens With Switchable Magnification To Help AMD Patients
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '13 at 06:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's eye-enhancement department:
cylonlover writes "Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness among older adults in the western world. Unfortunately, conventional optical aids provide little help for a retina which has lost the acuity of its central area. Now a team of multinational researchers led by University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Professor Joseph Ford has created a telescopic contact lens that can switch between normal and magnified vision to offer AMD patients a relatively unobtrusive way to enhance their vision."

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Employers Switching From Payroll Checks To Prepaid Cards With Fees
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '13 at 06:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's I-owe-my-soul-to-the-company-store department:
An anonymous reader writes "The New York Times reports a growing number of American workers are being paid by prepaid payroll card. The cards often have fees attached to basic services like making a cash withdrawal or for inactivity. Some employees report that the employers pay by card by default, with paperwork barriers to opting out, and some report that their employers refuse to pay them by check or direct deposit. The issuing banks pitch the cards to employers as a cost-cutting payroll alternative, and sometimes even offer a financial reward for each employee they sign up."

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Apple Files Trademark For "iWatch" In Japan
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '13 at 05:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's its-i-time department:
An anonymous reader writes "Apple has filed a trademark application for 'iwatch' in Japan. 'The maker of iPhones is seeking protection for the name which is categorized as being for products including a handheld computer or watch device, according to a June 3 filing with the Japan Patent Office that was made public last week. Takashi Takebayashi, a Tokyo-based spokesman for Apple, didn’t respond to a message left at his office seeking comment on the application.' Rumors suggest that the new iWatch is expected to sport a 1.5-inch OLED screen."

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More Details Emerge On How the US Is Bugging Its European Allies
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '13 at 04:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's bugging-is-the-polite-word department:
dryriver writes with this excerpt from the Guardian: "US intelligence services are spying on the European Union mission in New York and its embassy in Washington, according to the latest top secret US National Security Agency documents leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden. One document lists 38 embassies and missions, describing them as "targets". It details an extraordinary range of spying methods used against each target, from bugs implanted in electronic communications gear to taps into cables to the collection of transmissions with specialised antennae. Along with traditional ideological adversaries and sensitive Middle Eastern countries, the list of targets includes the EU missions and the French, Italian and Greek embassies, as well as a number of other American allies, including Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey. ... One of the bugging methods mentioned is codenamed Dropmire, which, according to a 2007 document, is "implanted on the Cryptofax at the EU embassy, DC" – an apparent reference to a bug placed in a commercially available encrypted fax machine used at the mission. The NSA documents note the machine is used to send cables back to foreign affairs ministries in European capitals."

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Windows 8 Passes Vista, Hits 5.1% Market Share
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '13 at 01:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's we-can-finally-sleep-nights-again department:
An anonymous reader writes "With the first half of 2013 now over, Windows 8 continues to grow its share steadily but slowly, while Windows XP and Vista decline. In fact, Windows 8 has now passed the 5 percent mark, as well as surpassed the market share of its predecessor's predecessor, Windows Vista. The latest market share data from Net Applications shows that June 2013 was an impressive one for Windows 8, which gained 0.83 percentage points (from 4.27 percent to 5.10 percent) while Windows 7 fell 0.48 percentage points (from 44.85 percent to 44.37 percent)."

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FreeBSD Team Begins Work On Booting On UEFI-Enabled Systems
Posted by News Fetcher on June 30 '13 at 10:16 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's is-a-shim-a-shame? department:
An anonymous reader writes "The FreeBSD project has begun the process of making it possible for the operating system to run alongside Windows 8 on a computer which has secure boot enabled." Linux distros have taken to using a minimal loader, signed by Microsoft, to enable booting on UEFI systems with secure boot. "Indeed we will likely take the Linux shim loader, put our own key in it, and then ask Microsoft to sign it," says developer Marshall McKusick in the linked IT Wire article. "Since Microsoft will have already vetted the shim loader code, we hope that there will be little trouble getting them to sign our version for us."

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Linux 3.10 Officially Released
Posted by News Fetcher on June 30 '13 at 07:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's busy-weekend department:
hypnosec writes with word that "The Linux 3.10 kernel has been officially released on Sunday evening which makes the 3.10-rc7 the last release candidate of the latest kernel which yields the biggest changes in years. Linus Torvalds was thinking of releasing another rc but, went against the idea and went ahead with official Linux 3.10 commit as anticipated last week. Torvalds notes in the announcement that releases since Linux 3.9 haven't been prone to problems and 3.10 is no different."

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Backdoor Discovered In Atlassian Crowd
Posted by News Fetcher on June 30 '13 at 04:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's your-gate-is-up department:
An anonymous reader writes "Recently published on the Command Five website is a technically detailed threat advisory (PDF) in relation to a recurring vulnerability in Atlassian Crowd. Tucked away inconspicuously at the end of this document in a section entitled 'Unpatched Vulnerabilities' is the real security bombshell: Atlassian's turnkey solution for enterprise single sign-on and secure user authentication contains an unpatched backdoor. The backdoor allows anyone to remotely take full control of a Crowd server and, according to Command Five, successful exploitation 'invariably' results in compromise of all application and user credentials as well as accessible data storage, configured directories (for example Active Directory), and dependent systems."

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The Average Movie Theater Has Hundreds of Screens
Posted by News Fetcher on June 30 '13 at 03:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's this-is-why-there-are-tasers department:
theodp writes "The "average" movie theater reportedly has a capacity of 200-300 people. Which, thanks to the wonder of mobile devices, means that it also has hundreds of screens. And — thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and texting — hundreds of potential annoyances. Which prompts NY film critic David Edelstein to ask: How Should We Treat Texters and Talkers at Movie Theaters? 'Has our culture become so private that no one knows how to behave anymore in public?' Edelstein wonders. 'Is selfishness the rule rather than exception? Are people who say, "Shut up and turn off your phone" today's version of "You kids get off my lawn"?' Jason Bailey argues that the only way to solve movie theaters' talking and texting problem is to give in to it, perhaps with anything-goes phone-friendly talk-amongst-yourselves screenings in the seven and eight o'clock hours coupled with no-tolerance shows later in the evening. Any other ideas?" You could always throw it.

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Why Apple and Samsung Still Get Along, Behind the Courtroom Battles
Posted by News Fetcher on June 30 '13 at 02:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's commerce-keeps-people-friendly department:
After suing each other for the last few years in various courts around the world, you'd think that if Apple and Samsung were human beings they would have walked away from their rocky relationship a while back. The Wall Street Journal explains (beside the larger fact that they're both huge companies with complex links, rather than a squabbling couple) why it's so hard for Apple to take up with another supplier. Things are starting to look different, though: "Apple's deal this month to start buying chips from TSMC is a milestone. Apple long wanted to build its own processors, and it bought a chip company in 2008 to begin designing the chips itself. But it continued to rely on Samsung to make them. ... TSMC plans to start mass-producing the chips early next year using advanced '20-nanometer' technology, which makes the chips potentially smaller and more energy-efficient."

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