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20-Somethings Think It's OK To Text and Answer Calls In Business Meetings
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '13 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's why-can't-you-play-angry-birds-like-everyone-else department:
RichDiesal writes "In an upcoming article in Business Communication Quarterly, researchers found that more than half of 20-somethings believe it appropriate to read texts during formal business meetings, whereas only 16% of workers 40+ believe the same thing. 34% of 20-somethings believe it appropriate to answer the phone in the middle of a meeting (i.e., not excusing yourself to answer the phone — answering and talking mid-meeting!). It is unclear if this is happening because more younger workers grew up with mobile technology, or if it's because older workers have the experience to know that answering a call in the middle of a meeting is a terrible idea. So if you're a younger worker, consider leaving your phone alone in meetings to avoid annoying your coworkers. And if you're an older worker annoyed at what you believe to be rude behavior, just remember, it's not you – it's them!"

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Cornell Team Says It's Unified the Structure of Scientific Theories
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '13 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-think-therefore-something-something department:
An anonymous reader writes "Cornell physicists say they've codified why science works, or more specifically, why scientific theories work – a meta-theory. Publishing online in the journal Science (abstract), the team has developed a unified computational framework they say exposes the hidden hierarchy of scientific theories by quantifying the degree to which predictions – like how a particular cellular mechanism might work under certain conditions, or how sound travels through space – depend on the detailed variables of a model."

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A Protocol For Home Automation
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '13 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's yes-please-now-please department:
jfruh writes "Marshall Rose, one of the creators of the SNMP protocol, has a beef with current home automation gadgets: it's very, very difficult to get them to talk to each other, and you often end up needing a pile of remote controls to operate them. To fix these problems, he's proposed the Thing System, which will serve as an intermediary on your home automation network. The Thing System aims to help integrate gadgets already on the market, which may help it take off."

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Comcast Donates Heavily To Defeat Mayor Who Is Bringing Gigabit Fiber To Seattle
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '13 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you've-lost-the-torrenter-vote department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Andrea Peterson reports in the Washington Post that one of Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn's big policy initiatives has been expanding the quality and quantity of high-speed Internet access throughout the city. However incumbent providers, particularly Comcast, have invested heavily in defeating McGinn in the mayoral election. While Comcast denies there is any connection between McGinn's broadband policies and their donations, the company has given thousands of dollars to PACs that have, in turn, given heavily to anti-McGinn groups. One of McGinn's core promises in the 2009 campaign was to 'develop a city-wide broadband system.' The mayor considered creating a citywide broadband system as a public utility, like water or electricity. But aides say that would have been too expensive, so the mayor settled on public-private partnerships using city-owned dark fiber. This dark fiber was laid down starting in 1995, and the mayor's office now says there are some 535 miles of it, only a fraction of which is being used. In June, the partnership, called Gigabit Squared, announced pricing for its Seattle service: $45 dollars a month for 100 Mbps service or $80 a month for 1 Gbps service plus a one-time installation cost of $350 that will be waived for customers signing a one-year contract. For comparison, Comcast, one of the primary Internet providers in the area, offers 105 Mbps service in the area for $114.99 a month, according to their website. If Comcast is indeed attempting to sway the election, it would fall in line with a larger pattern of telecom interests lobbying against municipal efforts to create their own municipal broadband systems or leveraging city-owner fiber resources to create more competition for incumbent providers. Peterson writes, '...if Comcast's donations help Murray defeat McGinn, it will send a powerful message to mayors in other American cities considering initiatives to increase broadband competition.'"

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Scientists Using Supercomputers To Puzzle Out Dinosaur Movement
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '13 at 08:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's turns-out-they-sucked-at-ballet department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Scientists at the University of Manchester in England figured out how the largest animal ever to walk on Earth, the 80-ton Argentinosaurus, actually walked on earth. Researchers led by Bill Sellers, Rudolfo Coria and Lee Margetts at the N8 High Performance Computing facility in northern England used a 320 gigaflop/second SGI High Performance Computing Cluster supercomputer called Polaris to model the skeleton and movements of Argentinosaurus. The animal was able to reach a top speed of about 5 mph, with 'a slow, steady gait,' according to the team (PDF). Extrapolating from a few feet of bone, paleontologists were able to estimate the beast weighed between 80 and 100 tons and grew up to 115 feet in length. Polaris not only allowed the team to model the missing parts of the dinosaur and make them move, it did so quickly enough to beat the deadline for PLOS ONE Special Collection on Sauropods, a special edition of the site focusing on new research on sauropods that 'is likely to be the "de facto" international reference for Sauropods for decades to come,' according to a statement from the N8 HPC center. The really exciting thing, according to Coria, was how well Polaris was able to fill in the gaps left by the fossil records. 'It is frustrating there was so little of the original dinosaur fossilized, making any reconstruction difficult,' he said, despite previous research that established some rules of weight distribution, movement and the limits of dinosaurs' biological strength."

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Arizona Commissioner Probes Utility's Secret Funding of Anti-Solar Campaign
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '13 at 07:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's wrong-way-to-fight-the-power department:
mdsolar writes "An Arizona utility commissioner is asking for all the key players in a debate over a solar energy policy in the state to reveal any additional secret funding of nonprofits or public relations campaigns. The probe comes after Arizona Public Service, the state's largest utility, admitted last week that it had been secretly contributing to outside nonprofits running negative ads against solar power. As The Huffington Post reported Friday, APS recently admitted that it had lied for months about paying the 60 Plus Association, a national conservative organization backed by the Koch brothers, to run ads against current solar net-metering policy. APS is currently pushing the Arizona Corporation Commission to roll back the policy, which allows homeowners and businesses with rooftop solar energy systems to make money by selling excess energy back to the grid. Solar proponents say that the policy has facilitated a solar boom in the state, and that changing it could have a huge negative impact on future growth."

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TxK, Tempest 2000 Remake for PS Vita Demoed
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '13 at 07:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's test-of-free-software-faith department:
If you happen to be one of the other five people who own an Atari Jaguar, you've probably played the excellent Tempest 2000. As chance would have it, a few months ago Llamasoft announced they were approached by Sony to write TxK, based "...on the essence of the original T2K. ... . We're not going to overload you with ultra psychedelia, but we will make it fluid and colourful and awesome-looking ... We're going to give you a perfect treat for your eyes, ears and thumbs with a modern extrapolation of one of the best shooters ever made on hardware that's just perfectly suited for it, and in a way that retains the purity of the original design."

A couple of weeks ago, a working version of TxK was demoed at Play Expo. Read below to see the video. It really seems to retain the aesthetic of Tempest 2000 enhanced by modern hardware and a full color range, with a touch of Space Giraffe tactics (you can kill enemies at the rim somehow at least).

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Larry Page and Sergey Brin Are Lousy Coders
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '13 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's if-it-compiles-it's-probably-fine department:
theodp writes "Don't tell Business Insider's Nicholas Carlson about Santa and the Easter Bunny just yet. He's still reeling after learning that Larry Page and Sergy Brin are actually pretty lousy coders. That's according to I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59, a book about the company's startup days by Douglas Edwards. 'I didn't trust Larry and Sergey as coders,' Google engineering boss Craig Silverstein recalls in the book. 'I had to deal with their legacy code from the Stanford days and it had a lot of problems. They're research coders: more interested in writing code that works than code that's maintainable.' But don't cry for Larry and Sergey, Argentina — even if the pair won't be taking home any Top Coder prizes, they can at least take solace in their combined $50+ billion fortune. And, according to Woz, they certainly could have kicked Steve Jobs' butt in a coding contest!"

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Twitter Marks Clean Sites As Harmful, Breaks Links
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '13 at 06:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's 140-characters-of-rage department:
starglider29a writes "Yesterday, a website I maintain that has a Twitter presence encountered an 'unsafe' warning when clicking on the tweets. 'This link has been flagged as potentially harmful.' After scanning the site and its database, then checking with Google and third-party site scanners, I found no evidence of harm. At noon, The Atlantic posted an article which describes the same issue with the Philadelphia City Paper. 'Perhaps most frustrating of all is that Twitter has not been particularly responsive to the paper's plight.' If the warnings are incorrect, how does Twitter justify this libel?"

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Microsoft, Apple and Others Launch Huge Patent Strike at Android
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '13 at 05:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's go-big-or-go-home department:
New submitter GODISNOWHERE writes "Nortel went bankrupt in 2009. In 2011, it held an auction for its massive patent portfolio. The winners of the auction were Apple, Microsoft, Sony, RIM, and others, who bought the patents for $4.5 billion as a consortium named Rockstar Bidco. At the time, many people speculated those patents would be used against Google, who bid separately but lost. It turns out they were right. Rockstar has filed eight lawsuits in federal court targeting Google and Android device manufacturers. 'The complaint (PDF) against Google involves six patents, all from the same patent "family." They're all titled "associative search engine," and list Richard Skillen and Prescott Livermore as inventors. The patents describe "an advertisement machine which provides advertisements to a user searching for desired information within a data network. The oldest patent in the case is US Patent No. 6,098,065, with a filing date of 1997, one year before Google was founded. The newest patent in the suit was filed in 2007 and granted in 2011. The complaint tries to use the fact that Google bid for the patents as an extra point against the search giant.'"

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Syria Completes Destruction of Chemical Weapon Producing Equipment
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '13 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's all-done department:
rtoz writes "Chemical weapons watchdog OPCW has declared that Syria has rendered inoperable chemical weapons production facilities and mixing/filling plants. This operation has been completed just one day before the deadline (1 November 2013) set by the OPCW Executive Council.

The Joint OPCW-UN Mission has inspected 21 of the 23 sites declared by Syria, and 39 of the 41 facilities located at those sites. The two remaining sites were not visited due to safety and security concerns. But Syria declared those sites as abandoned and that the chemical weapons program items they contained were moved to other declared sites, which were inspected."


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Oracle Shareholders Vote Against Ellison's Compensation Package (Again)
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '13 at 02:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's no-bonus-for-you department:
angry tapir writes "A majority of Oracle shareholders have once again voted against the company's executive pay practices, including for CEO Larry Ellison. The vote at Oracle's annual shareholder meeting is nonbinding, and follows complaints from some large shareholders and their representatives who say Ellison is overpaid compared to his peers. Ellison is paid US$1 in salary, receiving the rest of his pay in stock options. In Oracle's past fiscal year, that totaled $76.9 million. Shareholders voted against Oracle's executive pay practices at last year's meeting as well."

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Smartphone Sales: Apple Squeezed, Blackberry Squashed, Android 81.3%
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '13 at 11:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's leader-of-the-pack department:
mrspoonsi writes "Engadget reports: Smartphone market share for the third quarter...as you'd imagine, the world is still Android's oyster. Strategy Analytics estimates that the OS has crossed the symbolic 80 percent mark, reaching 81.3 percent of smartphone shipments by the end of September. Not that Google was the only company doing well — Nokia's strong US sales helped Windows Phone grow to 4.1 percent of the market, or nearly double what it had a year ago."

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Airgap-Jumping Malware May Use Ultrasonic Networking To Communicate
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '13 at 09:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's protect-ya-neck department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Dan Goodwin writes at Ars Technica about a rootkit that seems straight out of a science-fiction thriller. According to security consultant Dragos Ruiu one day his MacBook Air, on which he had just installed a fresh copy of OS X, spontaneously updated the firmware that helps it boot. Stranger still, when Ruiu then tried to boot the machine off a CD ROM, it refused and he also found that the machine could delete data and undo configuration changes with no prompting. Next a computer running the Open BSD operating system also began to modify its settings and delete its data without explanation or prompting and further investigation showed that multiple variants of Windows and Linux were also affected. But the story gets stranger still. Ruiu began observing encrypted data packets being sent to and from an infected laptop that had no obvious network connection with—but was in close proximity to—another badBIOS-infected computer. The packets were transmitted even when the laptop had its Wi-Fi and Bluetooth cards removed. Ruiu also disconnected the machine's power cord so it ran only on battery to rule out the possibility it was receiving signals over the electrical connection. Even then, forensic tools showed the packets continued to flow over the airgapped machine. Then, when Ruiu removed internal speaker and microphone connected to the airgapped machine, the packets suddenly stopped. With the speakers and mic intact, Ruiu said, the isolated computer seemed to be using the high-frequency connection to maintain the integrity of the badBIOS infection as he worked to dismantle software components the malware relied on. It's too early to say with confidence that what Ruiu has been observing is a USB-transmitted rootkit that can burrow into a computer's lowest levels and use it as a jumping off point to infect a variety of operating systems with malware that can't be detected. It's even harder to know for sure that infected systems are using high-frequency sounds to communicate with isolated machines. But after almost two weeks of online discussion, no one has been able to rule out these troubling scenarios, either. 'It looks like the state of the art in intrusion stuff is a lot more advanced than we assumed it was,' says Ruiu. 'The take-away from this is a lot of our forensic procedures are weak when faced with challenges like this. A lot of companies have to take a lot more care when they use forensic data if they're faced with sophisticated attackers.'"

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Computing Inside a Living Cell
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '13 at 06:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's you're-going-to-need-a-smaller-chair department:
First time accepted submitter Rozanne writes "The new issue of Stanford Medicine magazine has a story on Stanford professor Drew Endy's creation of microscopic computers out of biological components for use inside living cells. His work is a mash-up of molecular biology and computer engineering: Instead of a computer made of silicon, metal and plastic, it's a computer made of DNA, RNA and enzymes. Endy says biologists are typically confounded at first when he explains how the computers work and how they could be used."

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Webcam-Equipped Remote-Controllable Halloween Haunt
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '13 at 04:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's with-a-push-of-a-button department:
Xmas2003 writes "Timothy asked yesterday what /.'ers are doing for Halloween and said "Maybe one year Alek Komarnitsky will switch to Hallowe'en instead of Christmas, and offer a webcam-equipped remote-controllable haunt." Turns out he actually has been doing that since 2005 ... and his Controllable Halloween Decorations allow you to turn 10,000 lights ON & OFF plus inflate/deflate the giant Frankenstein, Pumpkins, Grim Reaper, Skull, Headless Horseman, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Homer Simpson."

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Self-Published Zombie Titles Have Doubled Since 2012
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '13 at 04:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's all-we-want-to-do-is-eat-your-brains department:
An anonymous reader writes "For the second year in a row, the number of self-published ebooks with the word zombie in their title has doubled. The annual check is performed on Halloween in Amazon's Kindle Store, and this year discovers 8,052 ebooks (with titles like 'Jesus Camp Zombie Bloodbath' and 'Never Slow Dance with a Zombie...') — more than 12 times the number that appear in the Library of Congress. 71-year-old literary author Joyce Carol Oates — twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize — also named her 2009 novel about a serial killer 'Zombie (P.S.'", but most of the titles in the Kindle Store 'aren't as ambitious,' notes this article, which still applauds the self-published authors and their 'massive outpouring of new creativity, as people all around the globe start wondering what's going to happen in their own imaginary zombie scenarios...'"

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Tech Titans Oracle, Red Hat and Google To Help Fix Healthcare.gov
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '13 at 03:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's with-a-little-help-from-my-friends department:
wjcofkc writes "The United States Government has officially called in the calvary over the problems with Healthcare.gov. Tech titans Oracle, Red Hat and Google have been tapped to join the effort to fix the website that went live a month ago, only to quickly roll over and die. While a tech surge of engineers to fix such a complex problem is arguably not the greatest idea, if you're going to do so, you might as well bring in the big guns. The question is: can they make the end of November deadline?"

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Ask Slashdot: Package Redirection Service For Shipping to Australia?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '13 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's your-package-must-be-inverted-first department:
An anonymous reader writes "I've recently moved continents, and one of the things I've noticed is the lack of the latest technology, as well as high prices for books and other goods here in Australia. I'm looking at package redirection services from the US, and there's a bewildering array of offerings, at a wide range of prices. What should I look out for? I'm hoping to reduce overall shipping costs to, but obviously worried about costs to deliver mostly empty boxes (yes, I'm talking about you, Amazon), damage to electrical goods from rough handling, packages going missing (does everything have to be registered post or tracked?), import duties (I'm not buying anything that should attract import duty, but still...) and overall costs (I'm not going to be buying frequently, just occasionally). What have other slashdot readers used, and what would they recommend?"

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The Mile Markers of Moore's Law Are Meaningless
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '13 at 02:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's we-call-this-one-petite department:
szotz writes "Keeping up the pace of Moore's Law is hard, but you wouldn't know it from the way chipmakers name their technology. The semiconductor industry's names for chip generations (Intel's 22nm, TSMC's 28nm, etc) have very little to do with actual physical sizes, says IEEE Spectrum. And the disconnect is only getting bigger. For the first time, the "pay us to make your chip" foundries are offering a new process (with a smaller-sounding name) that will produce chips that are no denser than their forbears. The move is not a popular one."

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