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Interviews: McAfee Says House Fire Was No Accident
Posted by News Fetcher on May 20 '13 at 08:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's burning-down-the-house department:
According to reports a bush fire burned down John McAfee's home in Belize on Thursday. The local fire department was unable to to contain the blaze and the the two main buildings were completely destroyed. Property Manager Noel Codd (who was not there at the time) estimated the value of the buildings at $250,000 each. Despite the reported cause of the fire, McAfee says that the destruction of his compound was no accident. We caught up with him to talk about why he thinks the fire was set and what he plans to do now. Read below to see what he had to say.

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Yahoo Pinkie-Swears It Won't Ruin Tumblr
Posted by News Fetcher on May 20 '13 at 07:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's you-will-be-assimilated department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Yahoo has agreed to acquire Tumblr for $1.1 billion. As you know, Yahoo is a major corporation with a need to monetize its assets in a way that makes its shareholders happy, leaving open the question of whether it'll alter Tumblr's DNA in order to make the latter more of a significant cash generator. But at least for the moment, Yahoo seems content to leave its new property alone. 'Per the agreement and our promise not to screw it up, Tumblr will be independently operated as a separate business,' read the company's press release. 'The product, service and brand will continue to be defined and developed separately with the same Tumblr irreverence, wit, and commitment to empower creators.' Tumblr CEO David Karp, who has been known to make some very anti-advertising comments in the past, will remain in place. Even so, anyone who likes Tumblr may have some cause for concern, because Yahoo has a history of making high-profile acquisitions that subsequently implode. Back in 1999, for example, it paid over $3 billion for GeoCities, another blogging network that it eventually shut down after years of failing the update the property. In 2005, it acquired popular photo-sharing Website Flickr, which it likewise allowed to languish and die. That same year it bought Delicious, a popular Webpage-bookmarking site, and did exactly nothing with it. So when Yahoo starts off its Tumblr press release with a promise not to screw things up, it's a self-deprecating nod toward all that history. New Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has been on a bit of a buying spree of late, snatching up startups such as Summly in an attempt to make her company 'cool' and relevant."

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Uptick In Whooping Cough Linked To Subpar Vaccines
Posted by News Fetcher on May 20 '13 at 06:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's always-buy-name-brand department:
sciencehabit writes "Whooping cough, or pertussis, has exploded in the United States in recent years. A new study (abstract) confirms what scientists have suspected for some time: The return of the disease is caused by the introduction of new, safer vaccines 2 decades ago. Although they have far fewer side effects, the new shots don't offer long-lived protection the way older vaccines do."

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Dark Matter, WIMPS, and NASA's Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer Data
Posted by News Fetcher on May 20 '13 at 06:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's not-so-fast department:
cylonlover writes "Recently the media has been saturated with overly-hyped reports that NASA's Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer may have detected dark matter. These claims may have some justification if the word 'may' is shouted, but they rest on a number of really major assumptions and guesses, some of which are on weak and shifting soil. So just what was seen in the experiment, and what are the possible explanations?"

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Open Source Projects For Beginners
Posted by News Fetcher on May 20 '13 at 05:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's just-starting-out department:
itwbennett writes "Whoever said 'everyone has to start somewhere' has clearly never tried contributing to an open source project — the Linux Kernel development team in particular is known for its savagery. But if you're determined to donate your time and talents, there are some things you can do to get off on the right foot. Of course you should pick something you're interested in and that you use. Check, and double check. You should also research the project, learn about the process for contributing, and do your utmost to avoid asking questions that you can find the answers to. But beyond that there are some hallmarks of beginner-friendly open source projects like Drupal, Python, and LibreOffice — namely, a friendly and active community, training and mentorship programs, and a low barrier to entry."

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NWS Announces Big Computer Upgrade
Posted by News Fetcher on May 20 '13 at 04:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's in-these-troubled-economic-times department:
riverat1 writes "After being embarrassed when the Europeans did a better job forecasting Sandy than the National Weather Service Congress allocated $25 million ($23.7 after sequestration) in the Sandy relief bill for upgrades to forecasting and supercomputer resources. The NWS announced that their main forecasting computer will be upgraded from the current 213 TeraFlops to 2,600 TFlops by fiscal year 2015, over a twelve-fold increase. The upgrade is expected to increase the horizontal grid scale by a factor of 3 allowing more precise forecasting of local features of weather. The some of the allocated funds will also be used to hire some contract scientists to improve the forecast model physics and enhance the collection and assimilation of data."

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Mageia 3 Released
Posted by News Fetcher on May 20 '13 at 01:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's linux-mandrake-back-to-the-future department:
Freshly Exhumed writes "Forked from Mandriva Linux back in 2010, Mageia Linux has hit a new release milestone. Trish at the Mageia blog announces: 'All grown up and ready to go dancing: Mageia 3's out! We still can't believe how much fun it is to make Mageia together, and we've been doing it for two and a half years. For people who can't wait, get it here; release notes are here. To upgrade from Mageia 2, see here.'" Adds reader hduff: "It offers cutting edge and stable versions of your favorite applications and desktop environments as well as a version of the STEAM gaming software."

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Music and Movies Could Trigger Mobile Malware
Posted by News Fetcher on May 19 '13 at 10:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's seeds-of-your-own-destruction department:
mask.of.sanity writes "Lights, sounds and magnetic fields can be used to activate malware on phones, new research has found. The lab-style attacks defined in a paper (PDF) used pre-defined signals hidden in songs and TV programmes as a trigger to activate embedded malware. Malware once activated would carry out programmed attacks either by itself or as part of a wider botnet of mobile devices."

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Ask Slashdot: Wiring Home Furniture?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 19 '13 at 07:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's for-a-couch-that-seats-1 department:
b1tbkt writes "So it seems that furniture manufacturers have not yet acknowledged the realities of modern life. Kitchen tables could benefit greatly from built-in concealable receptacles. Even more obvious is the need for electrical wiring in couches and coffee tables. I realize that there are safety (fire) concerns but as it stands most families that I know already have power cords for laptops, tables and phones draped over, under and through their couches at any given point. If someone wanted to wire their furniture with AC or some type of standardized LV DC system, what are some dangers to watch for and what, if any, specialized hardware exists for the purpose?"

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Medical Firm Sues IRS For 4th Amendment Violation In Records Seizure
Posted by News Fetcher on May 19 '13 at 04:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's tell-me-again-why-you-hate-all-that-is-good department:
cold fjord writes "A healthcare provider has sued the Internal Revenue Service and 15 of its agents, charging they wrongfully seized 60 million medical records from 10 million Americans ... [The unnamed company alleges] the agency violated the Fourth Amendment in 2011, when agents executed a search warrant for financial data on one employee – and that led to the seizure of information on 10 million, including state judges. The search warrant did not specify that the IRS could take medical information, UPI said. And information technology officials warned the IRS about the potential to violate medical privacy laws before agents executed the warrant, the complaint said." Also at Nextgov.com.

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Military Dolphins Discover 1800s Torpedo
Posted by News Fetcher on May 19 '13 at 03:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's dolphins-what-can't-they-do? department:
First time accepted submitter The0retical writes "A couple of mine-sweeping dolphins dredged up what is known as a 'Howell torpedo' dating from 1870 to 1889. Only 50 were ever produced, this being the second example known to exist. The 11-foot-long brass torpedo had a maximum range and speed of 400 yards at 25 knots. The new example will be displayed at Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport, Wash. alongside the only other example."

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Apple Mobile Devices Cleared For Use On US Military Networks
Posted by News Fetcher on May 19 '13 at 02:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's siri-what's-the-best-way-to-launch-a-nuclear-missile? department:
puddingebola writes with this excerpt from a Bloomberg report: "The Pentagon cleared Apple Inc. (AAPL) devices for use on its networks, setting the stage for the maker of iPhones and iPads to compete with Samsung Electronics Co. and BlackBerry for military sales. The Defense Department said in a statement [Friday] that it has approved the use of Cupertino, California-based Apple's products running a version of the iOS 6 mobile platform. The decision eventually may spur a three-way fight for a market long dominated by Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry.'" Also, Apple devices are best for uploading viruses to alien craft.

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Mice, Newts Retrieved After a Month Orbiting Earth At 345 Miles Up
Posted by News Fetcher on May 19 '13 at 12:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's eye-of-space-newt-was-called-for department:
The Associated Press (as carried by the Washington Post) reports that a living payload of newts and mice has been retrieved after a month orbiting earth in a Russian space capsule at an altitude of 345 miles, far higher than the ISS's orbital distance of 205 miles.
Says the story: "Fewer than half of the 53 mice and other rodents who blasted off on April 19 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome survived the flight, Russian news agencies reported, quoting Vladimir Sychov, deputy director of the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems and the lead researcher. Sychov said this was to be expected and the surviving mice were sufficient to complete the study, which was designed to show the effects of weightlessness and other factors of space flight on cell structure. All 15 of the lizards survived, he said. The capsule also carried small crayfish and fish."

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IBM Takes System/z To the Cloud With COBOL Update
Posted by News Fetcher on May 19 '13 at 12:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's spirits-of-the-ancient-ones department:
hypnosec writes "IBM is taking its COBOL server platform to the next level by updating the mainframe platform in a bid to extend and enable its mainframes to host cloud based applications and services. The latest update is looking to add XMLS Server as well as Java 7 capabilities to the System/z COBOL platform and this update would extend the overall lifespan of COBOL by taking it up a notch and gearing it towards the cloud computing arena."

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Google's Nexus Q Successor Hits the FCC
Posted by News Fetcher on May 19 '13 at 11:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's h-2-g-2-is-a-good-name department:
With the kind of cagey phrasing found in many such electronics approval applications, Google describes a device that some are taking to be the successor to its discontinued Nexus Q thus: "The device functions as a media player."
From the article: "Some of the specs of the device includes a 2.4GHz WiFi b/g/n connectivity. The FCC report does not contain test photos so we do not know what the device looks like. It is likely that the H840 will support Google Play Music All Access and will have similar functionality as a Sonos media player that can be connected to external speakers."

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Yahoo Board Approves a $1.1B Pricetag For Tumblr
Posted by News Fetcher on May 19 '13 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's bedrock-or-pet-rock? department:
TechCrunch reports that Yahoo's string of acquisitions may soon include Tumblr: "The Wall Street Journal is now reporting via Twitter that the rumored $1.1 billion cash acquisition deal for social blogging site Tumblr has been approved by Yahoo’s board of directors. The Tumblr acquisition was rumored last week, with a price tag reportedly north of $1 billion, which appears to be accurate if the WSJ’s sources are correct." The article notes, too, that "Yahoo had only $1.2 billion cash on hand as of its most recent quarterly earnings, which makes an all-cash offer for Tumblr a lot more of a stretch than it would be for someone like Apple, or even Facebook, which acquired Instagram for $1 billion in a mix of both cash and stock."

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Trade Group: US Software Developer Wages Fell 2% Last Year
Posted by News Fetcher on May 19 '13 at 09:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's ban-farm-equipment department:
First time accepted submitter russotto points out the claim of industry group TechAmerican Foundation (reported by Computerworld) that "wages for the software industry are falling, not rising. Wages fell 2% to $99,000 in 2012." Averages are one thing; the article points out though that wages vary vastly within the industry, and that some jobs are harder to fill (thus, better paid) than others. An excerpt: "Victor Janulaitis, CEO of Janco Associates, a research firm that also analyzes IT wage and employment trends, cited a number of reason for the decline in wages for software professionals. First, technology is becoming easier to implement without having an IT professional, he said. Also, the option of turning to outsourcing creates less pressure to increase wages.

As the recession continues, companies continue 'to look at productivity and will often look to hire individuals who are lower cost employees,' said Janulaitis. That could include displaced baby boomer workers who have been out of work for some time and 'will take a lower paying job just to get back into the workforce.'"


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Wikileaks Releases Docs Before Trial of TPB Founder Warg
Posted by News Fetcher on May 19 '13 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's with-a-calculator-he-could-upload-a-virus-to-the-mothership department:
Pirate Bay Founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg is to be tried starting tomorrow in Sweden, after his indictment last month for computer hacking and fraud. Wikileaks has released several documents related to his detention and the associated charges.
From the summary of this material: "This material includes inter alia the interrogations with GSW and his co-accused, internal correspondence from the Swedish Foreign Minister and the Swedish embassy in Cambodia, damage assessment reports by the companies and the authorities concerned, and correspondence between GSW and Kristina Svartholm and the Swedish prison authorities. The material is formally public, but the Swedish prosecution authority has refused to provide the documents in digital format. Photocopying this volume of paper costs around £350."

Notable is the refusal of Warg's request to obtain a graphing calculator while in prison.

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John McAfee's Belize Home Burns To Ground
Posted by News Fetcher on May 19 '13 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's bet-he-gets-the-last-laugh department:
Velcroman1 writes "The former island home of anti-virus software pioneer John McAfee burned down Thursday afternoon under circumstance he told FoxNews.com were 'suspicious.' It's an odd choice of words from a man whom the Belize police found suspicious, following the November 2012 murder of American expatriate Gregory Faull, a well-liked builder from Florida who was shot at his home in San Pedro Town on the island of Ambergris Caye. 'I believe that there are a select few with great power in Belize that will go to great lengths to harm me,' McAfee said. 'This fire was not just a strange coincidence.'" Watch for more from McAfee soon.

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Amazon, Google and Apple Won't Need To Pay Tax, Despite Goverment Threats
Posted by News Fetcher on May 19 '13 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's rent-done-been-sought department:
girlmad writes "Despite moves by government to get Google, Amazon and Apple to admit they make sales in the UK and US, and therefore should pay tax on these earnings, this article argues these are empty threats and that any taxes paid will get returned to the tech giants in government grants and subsidies. Tough luck to the small firms out there."

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