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Fifth Circuit Upholds Warrantless Cellphone Location Tracking
Posted by News Fetcher on July 31 '13 at 06:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's cops-concerned-you-never-leave-home department:
First time accepted submitter mendax writes "The New York Times is reporting, 'In a significant victory for law enforcement, a federal appeals court on Tuesday said that government authorities could extract historical location data directly from telecommunications carriers without a search warrant. The closely watched case, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, is the first ruling (PDF) that squarely addresses the constitutionality of warrantless searches of historical location data stored by cellphone service providers. Ruling 2 to 1, the court said a warrantless search was 'not per se unconstitutional' because location data was 'clearly a business record' and therefore not protected by the Fourth Amendment.'' The article pointed out that this went squarely against a New Jersey Supreme Court opinion rendered earlier this month but noted that the state court's ruling was based upon the text of the state's constitution, not that of the federal constitution."

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Asus CEO On Windows RT: "We're Out."
Posted by News Fetcher on July 31 '13 at 05:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's some-companies-like-making-money department:
symbolset writes "AllThingsD's intrepid reporter Ina Fried has an interview up where Asus chairman and CEO Jonney Shih says they will not make any more Windows RT devices until Microsoft proves demand for the product. This leaves Dell as the only OEM who has not sworn off Windows RT. Dell is seeking to take itself private, relying on a $2 billion loan from Microsoft."

Turns out people want things that are the size of a laptop to work as well as a laptop.

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Obama Praises Amazon At One of Its Controversial Warehouses
Posted by News Fetcher on July 31 '13 at 05:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's should-have-been-born-a-robot department:
theodp writes "In his first term, President Obama was a big booster of indie bookstores. But on Tuesday, the President chose to deliver his speech on Jobs for the Middle Class at one of Amazon's controversial fulfillment centers in Chattanooga, TN. 'Amazon is a great example of what's possible,' said Obama, who also toured the 'amazing facility' where workers can make $10.50-$11.50 an hour as an employee of Integrity Staffing Group, 'may also be eligible for medical and dental benefits', and 'must be able to stand/walk for up to 10-12 hours' in temperatures that 'will occasionally exceed 90 degrees.' So, are '21st century migrant workers' the new middle class?"

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Samsung Caught Boosting Galaxy S4 Benchmarks
Posted by News Fetcher on July 31 '13 at 04:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-that-you-should-buy-a-phone-for-its-benchmarks department:
A recent forum post at Beyond3D made an interesting claim: that the Samsung Galaxy S4's GPU ran at 532 MHz for certain whitelisted benchmark applications, and at 480 MHz for everything else. The folks at AnandTech decided to investigate and found out that the phone does indeed let its GPU run at a higher frequency when particular benchmark software is running. They found a similar oddity with the CPU — it wasn't restricted for other apps, but it was forced to run at max speed during benchmarks. Then they decided to look for direct evidence that this was intentional.
"Poking around I came across the application changing the DVFS behavior to allow these frequency changes – TwDVFSApp.apk. Opening the file in a hex editor and looking at strings inside (or just running strings on the .odex file) pointed at what appeared to be hard coded profiles/exceptions for certain applications. The string 'BenchmarkBooster' is a particularly telling one. ... Quadrant standard, advanced, and professional, linpack (free, not paid), Benchmark Pi, and AnTuTu are all called out specifically. Nothing for GLBenchmark 2.5.1 though, despite its similar behavior.

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Ask Slashdot: Should More Math and Equations Be Used In the Popular Press?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 31 '13 at 01:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's readers-shouldn't-be-distracted-from-drooling-on-their-shoes department:
raque writes "The NY Times recently published two op-eds in their Philosophy section, The Stone, discussing how Heisenberg's Uncertainty principle is abused. The second is a followup to the first. The author struggled to make clear his point and left the impression he was creating a strawman argument. In his followup he said he was avoiding equations because he was writing for a general audience. I replied to both articles, asking whether showing some basic equations would have worked better, allowing math to illustrate where metaphors struggled. Now I'm asking the same question to everyone on Slashdot. Would Dr. Callendar have been better off just diving in and dealing with Heisenberg and quantum mechanics using the tools that were developed for it?"

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SF Airport Officials Make Citizen Arrests of Internet Rideshare Drivers
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '13 at 10:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sharing-is-caring-except-when-it's-apparently-illegal department:
transporter_ii writes "In the past month, San Francisco International Airport officials have been citing and arresting drivers from mobile-app enabled rideshare companies that pick up and drop off passengers, an airport spokesman said. Doug Yakel said there have been seven citizen arrests issued to 'various offenders' since July 10. The airport had issued cease and desist letters to several rideshare companies, including Lyft, Sidecar and Uber, in April. Taxi drivers are holding a noon rally at San Francisco City Hall Tuesday to 'keep taxis regulated and safe' and are calling for the end of ridesharing services."

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NASA Appoints New Chief Scientist
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '13 at 09:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's welcome-aboard department:
SchrodingerZ writes "Planetary Geologist Ellen Stofan, expert in the terrains of Venus, Mars, and Titan, has recently been appointed the Chief Scientist for the space agency. Stofan will act as the top adviser for Charles Bolden, NASA's current administrator. Beginning August 25th, Stofan will be Bolden's head adviser for NASA's project planning and investments. She will replace former chief scientist Dr. Waleed Abdalati, who left his position to be the director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado. Stofan has both a masters and doctoral degree of geological sciences from Brown University, and is known for her involvement in the Applied Science Laboratory's project to put a boat on Saturn's moon Titan, as well as a member of the radar team for the Cassini spacecraft. Though she'll be joining in a time of large budget cuts, Bolden explains that '[Stofan's] breadth of experience and familiarity with the agency will allow her to hit the ground running. We're fortunate to have her on our team.'"

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Ad Networks Lay Path To Million-Strong Browser Botnet
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '13 at 08:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's your-computer-is-broadcasting-an-ip-address department:
jfruh writes "Every day, millions of computers run unvetted, sketchy code in the form of the JavaScript that ad networks send to publishers. Usually, that code just puts an advertiser's banner ad on a web page. But since ad networks and publishers almost never check the code for malicious properties, it can become an attack vector as well. A recent presentation at the Black Hat conference showed how ad networks could be used as unwitting middlemen to create huge, cheap botnets."

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Remember the Computer Science Past Or Be Condemned To Repeat It?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '13 at 06:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's never-get-involved-in-a-land-war-in-COBOL department:
theodp writes "In the movie Groundhog Day, a weatherman finds himself living the same day over and over again. It's a tale to which software-designers-of-a-certain-age can relate. Like Philip Greenspun, who wrote in 1999, 'One of the most painful things in our culture is to watch other people repeat earlier mistakes. We're not fond of Bill Gates, but it still hurts to see Microsoft struggle with problems that IBM solved in the 1960s.' Or Dave Winer, who recently observed, 'We marvel that the runtime environment of the web browser can do things that we had working 25 years ago on the Mac.' And then there's Scott Locklin, who argues in a new essay that one of the problems with modern computer technology is that programmers don't learn from the great masters. 'There is such a thing as a Beethoven or Mozart of software design,' Locklin writes. 'Modern programmers seem more familiar with Lady Gaga. It's not just a matter of taste and an appreciation for genius. It's a matter of forgetting important things.' Hey, maybe it's hard to learn from computer history when people don't acknowledge the existence of someone old enough to have lived it, as panelists reportedly did at an event held by Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us last Friday!"

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Alcatel-Lucent Cuts Go Deeper — 7,500 Jobs Gone and Counting
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '13 at 05:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sorry-about-your-luck department:
Dawn Kawamoto writes "Alcatel-Lucent has cut 7,500 jobs since the start of the year — a couple thousand more than what employees of the embattled telecom equipment maker may have been expecting. Last summer, Alcatel-Lucent said it expected to cut over 5,000 jobs by the end of 2013. Well, cuts have gone deeper than that, and the company's newly minted CEO, Michel Combes, told Wall Street during the second quarter earnings call Tuesday to expect additional cuts and the related cost savings in the coming quarters."

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Google Argues Against Net Neutrality
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '13 at 04:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's here-is-your-internet-connection-but-don't-use-it-for-internet department:
An anonymous reader sends this quote from an article at Wired:
"In a dramatic about-face on a key internet issue yesterday, Google told the FCC (PDF) that the network neutrality rules Google once championed don't give citizens the right to run servers on their home broadband connections, and that the Google Fiber network is perfectly within its rights to prohibit customers from attaching the legal devices of their choice to its network."

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Sad Day In FarmVille: Facebook's New Game Developer Program Could Troub
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '13 at 03:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's too-bad-so-sad department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "If struggling online-games developer Zynga thought things were bad before, they could be turning a whole lot worse: Facebook is rolling out a pilot program for small- and medium-sized game developers. 'Through the program, we will work with select game developers and provide promotional support for their games in placements across our mobile apps,' reads a note on the Facebook Developers Website. Facebook is promising those developers access to the social network's '800 million monthly mobile users,' a variety of analytics tools for measuring their games' impact, and a 'unique targeting ability' for finding the right audiences — all for a cut of the games' revenue. 'We will be collaborating deeply with developers in our program by helping them cultivate high-quality, long-term players for their games,' the note added. Zynga benefited mightily from its relationship with Facebook, but other developers have subsequently realized they can utilize many of Zynga's tricks — and the social network's enormous audience — for their own ends. King is now Facebook's top app developer, largely on the strength of its Candy Crush Saga game. If Facebook encourages more small- and medium-sized developers to jump into the social gaming, it could fill the arena with even more competitors, which could prove bad news for the already-reeling Zynga. But for Facebook, the benefits are obvious: if any of those tiny-for-the-moment developers create a hit game, the revenues will come flooding in. That would supplement the social network's ad revenue, all while ensuring it doesn't need to overly depend on a single large developer with a set portfolio of games. Zynga has already been suffering from gaming-studio closings, games being shut down, and a declining user-base."

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Scientists Demonstrate Ultra-Fast Magnetite Electrical Switch
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '13 at 03:16 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's but-now-we're-vulnerable-to-magneto department:
adeelarshad82 writes "Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory recently demonstrated electrical switching thousands of times faster than in transistors now in use thanks to a naturally magnetic mineral called magnetite (abstract). The experiment is considered a major step forward in understanding electrical structures at the atomic level and working with recently identified electrical 'building blocks' called trimerons. The breakthrough could lead to innovations in the tiny transistors that control the flow of electricity across silicon chips, enabling faster, more powerful computing devices."

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Moscow Subway To Use Special Devices To Read Data On Passengers' Phones
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '13 at 03:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's they'll-know-how-much-time-you-waste-on-bejeweled department:
dryriver writes "'The head of police for Moscow's subway system has said stations will soon be equipped with devices that can read the data on the mobile telephones of passengers. In the July 29 edition of Izvestia, Moscow Metro police chief Andrei Mokhov said the device would be used to help locate stolen mobile phones. Mokhov said the devices have a range of about 5 meters and can read the SIM card. If the card is on the list of stolen phones, the system automatically sends information to the police. The time and place of the alert can be matched to closed-circuit TV in stations. Izvestia reported that 'according to experts, the devices can be used more widely to follow all passengers without exception.' Mokhov said it was illegal to track a person without permission from the authorities, but that there was no law against tracking the property of a company, such as a SIM card.' What is this all about? Is it really about detecting stolen phones/SIM cards, or is that a convenient 'cover story' for eavesdropping on people's private smartphone data while they wait to ride the subway? Also — if this scheme goes ahead, how long will it be before the U.S., Europe and other territories employ devices that do this, too?"

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Why the Internet Needs Cognitive Protocols
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '13 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's if-my-toaster-ever-tweets-i-will-throw-it-out-the-window department:
An anonymous reader writes "We keep hearing that the 'Internet of Things' is coming – that day when we'll all have not just smart phones but also smart refrigerators, smart alarm clocks, and smart roads and bridges. A new article in IEEE Spectrum magazine makes the argument that this won't happen unless engineers do some serious rethinking of how the Internet's basic routing architecture works. The author, Anthony Liotta, offers some interesting solutions based on two networks in the human body: the autonomic nervous system and the cognitive brain."

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Google Starts Upgrading Its SSL Certificates To 2048-bit Keys
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '13 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's go-big-or-go-home department:
An anonymous reader writes "Google today announced it has already started upgrading all of its SSL certificates to 2048-bit keys. The goal is to beef up the encryption on the connections made to its services. Google says the upgrade, which includes the root certificate that the company uses to sign all of its SSL certificates, will be completed 'in the next few months.' Previously, however, Google was more specific and said it was aiming to finish the process by the end of 2013."

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3D Printing In Gel Enables Freeform Design and an Undo Function
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '13 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's just-go-down-and-get-a-tub-of-gel-from-walmart department:
Zothecula writes "The additive layer process of conventional 3D printers means they are usually limited to bottom up fabrication on three axes. Now, the LA-based NSTRMNT team has created a 3D printing process called suspended disposition that gets around gravity by printing objects within a gel. Not only does this allow freeform additive fabrication on six axes, it also enables an 'undo' function."

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Pinch-To-Zoom Apple Patent Rejected By USPTO
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '13 at 12:46 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's somebody-pinch-me-and-patent-it department:
freddienumber13 writes "In another patent surprise, a patent application by Apple for pinch-to-zoom has been rejected by the USPTO on the grounds that its claims were either anticipated by previous patents or simply unpatentable. This will be welcome news for Samsung, who back in April asked for a stay of the trial. However, Apple has a short period of time in which they can appeal this finding."

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Secret Lab Develops Games and Teaches Others How to Develop Them as Well (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '13 at 12:01 PM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's no-man-is-an-island-but-these-guys-live-on-one department:
On the Island of Tasmania,
there is a Secret Lab.
More accurately, it is a business called Secret
Lab
, run by co-founders Paris Buttfield-Addison and Jon Manning.
On their website they say, “Secret Lab is an indie game
developer and mobile app training studio based in Hobart, Australia.
We're responsible for some of the world's most popular mobile apps --
recently, we've worked on Meebo for iPhone, ABC Play School Art Maker
for iPad, ABC Good Game for iPhone and ABC Foodi for iPad. Secret Lab
also offers intensive training
workshops on iOS and Android development.” They recently
presented at OSCON in
Portland, OR, where Timothy Lord and his camcorder caught up with
them there (as did Rachel
Roumeliotis of O'Reilly Media
with her camcorder). At just
over 30 minutes, this is the longest Slashdot video interview we've
ever run. It's worth the time, despite some rough sound patches, if
you are interested in mobile game development -- or even if you are just interested in seeing what kind of colorful
people do this sort of thing.

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MIT Releases Swartz Report: Instead of Leading, School Was 'Hands-Off'
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '13 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's inaction-is-not-good-enough department:
curtwoodward writes "MIT's long-awaited internal investigation into its handling of the Aaron Swartz prosecution has been released (PDF), and it's massive — about 180 pages, not counting the reams of supporting documents. And although the report's authors say they were told not to draw any conclusions about MIT's actions — really — they still gently criticized the university. Swartz, a well-known activist, killed himself earlier this year while being prosecuted for federal computer crimes after he improperly downloaded millions of academic research articles. MIT remained notably 'hands-off' throughout the case, the internal report notes, despite requests that it defend Swartz or oppose the prosecution, and ample opportunities to show leadership. The report quotes an MIT official: 'MIT didn't do anything wrong; but we didn't do ourselves proud.'"
Swartz's partner, Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, calls the report a whitewash.

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