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Happy Hardware Freedom Day
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '13 at 11:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's next-year-more-notice department:
Blug_fred writes "For the first year the Digital Freedom Foundation (ex-SFI) is organizing Hardware Freedom Day. With 66 events worldwide split over 36 countries, they are not yet covering the whole world but it is a good start. So if you have always been wondering about hacking your own stuff, be it a piece of wood or some more complex electronic gears then it is time to join an open door day type of event. Sixty-six events is definitely less that the total number of hackerspaces around the world and you can check for other events happening in a hackerspace near you if none are celebrating today. Hopefully they will join the movement next year."

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Ask Slashdot: Service-Heavy FOSS Hosting?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '13 at 10:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's for-work-and-play department:
An anonymous reader writes "For many of us our hosting providers are a way to hone our skills as well as run a business. Which provider out there gives the best bang for the buck for a FOSS developer? Virtually everybody provides Perl, PHP, Ruby, MySQL / MariaDB etc. but where can one get easy and cheap access to a stuff like NodeJS and Big Data? Companies such as Pair Networks are great but not quite on the mark with any of their service offerings for somebody looking to test out real world scenarios with these technologies from a hosted stance. Obviously hosting from home is always an option but that has the penalty of administration, backup, DR planning, bigger security footprint etc. and for those of us whose time is balanced between making money and friends / family time that's not very appealing."

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Bruce Schneier On the Marathon Bomber Manhunt
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '13 at 09:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's for-your-own-protection-forever-and-ever-amen department:
Should Boston have been put in a state of lockdown on Friday as police chased down Dzhokhar Tsarnaev? Pragmatic Bruce Schneier writes on his blog: "I generally give the police a lot of tactical leeway in times like this. The very armed and very dangerous suspects warranted extraordinary treatment. They were perfectly capable of killing again, taking hostages, planting more bombs -- and we didn't know the extent of the plot or the group. That's why I didn't object to the massive police dragnet, the city-wide lock down, and so on." Schneier links to some passionate counterarguments, though. It doesn't escape the originator of a recurring movie plot terrorism contest that the Boston events of yesterday were just "the sort of thing that pretty much only happens in the movies."

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Ars Reviewer is Happily Bored With Dell's Linux Ultrabook
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '13 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's best-way-to-be-bored department:
Ars Technica review Lee Hutchinson says that Dell's Ubuntu-loaded 13" Ultrabook (the product of "Project Sputnik") is "functional," "polished," and (for a Linux laptop) remarkably unremarkable. "It just works," he says. Hutchinson points out that this is a sadly low bar, but nonetheless gives Dell great credit for surpassing it. He finds the Ultrabook's keyboard to be spongy, but has praise for most elements of the hardware itself, right down to (not everyone's favorite) the glossy screen.

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LLVM Clang Compiler Now C++11 Feature Complete
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '13 at 06:32 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's ahead-of-the-curve department:
An anonymous reader writes "With the latest development work on Clang ahead of the release of LLVM version 3.3, Clang is now C++11 feature complete. The last remaining features of the ISO C++11 feature specification have been implemented. C++11 support for GCC is also more or less complete."

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Blackstone Drops Dell Bid, Cites Declining PC Market
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '13 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's we-didn't-want-that-anyway department:
An anonymous reader writes "The Blackstone Group has notified Dell's board that it has ended its bid for the company after performing 'due diligence' on Dell's books. The private equity firm gave two reasons for its withdrawal in a letter to the special committee of the board reviewing privatization offers: the 'unprecedented 14 percent market decline in PC volume in the first quarter of 2013' and 'the rapidly eroding financial profile of Dell.' IBM's recently announced intention of withdrawing from the x86 server market may have also spooked investors. Blackstone was one of two outside bidders that emerged after founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners announced a deal to take the company private for $24.4 billion. The remaining bidders did not comment on Blackstone's withdrawal; however, the Bloomberg piece notes that Dell's original deal with Silver Lake Partners contains language preventing the latter from backing out."

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Statistical Errors Keep 4700 K-3rd Students From NYC 'Gifted' Programs
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '13 at 04:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's more-than-a-little-oopsie department:
alostpacket writes "The New York times reports that statistical scoring by the standardized testing company Pearson incorrectly disqualified over 4700 students from a chance to enter gifted / advanced programs in New York City schools. Only students who score in the 90th percentile or above are eligible for these programs. Those in the 97th or above are eligible for 5 of the best programs. 'According to Pearson, three mistakes were made. Students' ages, which are used to calculate their percentile ranking against students of similar age, were recorded in years and months, but should also have counted days to be precise. Incorrect scoring tables were used. And the formula used to combine the two test parts into one percentile ranking contained an error.' No mention of enlisting the help of the gifted children was made in the Times article, but it also contained a now-corrected error. This submission likely also contains an erro"

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The FAA Will Let Boeing's 787 Dreamliner Fly Again
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '13 at 03:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-you-must-haul-chuck-yeager-around department:
derekmead writes "Having completed intense review of the aircraft's flight systems and functionality, component reliability, two weeks ago Boeing completed testing on the last item on its list, the plane's battery housing. The FAA on Friday approved the new system. That means the 787, which Boeing has continued to build while new battery solutions were developed, will now be able to resume regular flights as soon as workers are able to carry out an overhaul of the planes that need the upgrade. 'FAA approval clears the way for us and the airlines to begin the process of returning the 787 to flight with continued confidence in the safety and reliability of this game-changing new airplane,' Jim McNerney, CEO of Boeing, said in a news release announcing the approval."

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Localized (Visual) Programming Language For Kids?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '13 at 12:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's because-english-sometimes-sucks department:
First time accepted submitter jimshatt writes "I want my kids to play around with programming languages. To teach them basic concepts like loops and subroutines and the likes. My 8-year-old daughter in particular. I've tried Scratch and some other visual languages, but I think she might be turned off by the English language. Having to learn English as well as a programming language at the same time might be just a little too much.
I'd really like to have a programming language that is easy to learn, and localized or localizable. Preferably cross-platform, or browser-based, so she can show her work at school (Windows) as well as work on in at home (Debian Linux).
By the way, she speaks Dutch and Danish, so preferably one of those languages (but if it's localizable I can translate it myself).
Any suggestions?"


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Pavel Vinogradov, At 59, Sets New Record As Oldest Spacewalker
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '13 at 10:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's you-kids-get-off-my-lawn department:
Florida today reports that cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov on Friday became the oldest person to have completed a spacewalk. From the article: "Working outside the Russian side of the international outpost, Vinogradov and cosmonaut Roman Romanenko put in six hours and 38 minutes of high-flying maintenance work. They set up a plasma physics experiment and retrieved a package that exposed advanced spacecraft materials to the deleterious space environment. They also replaced a reflector that is part of an autonomous rendezvous and docking system that will guide a robotic European space freighter to the station in early June." NASASpaceFlight.com has more details on the spacewalk, as well as the note that Vinogradov edges out "Story Musgrave, who was 58 when he flew the Hubble SM-1 mission in 1993."

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Did B&N Pass On the 6.8" E-ink Screen That Kobo Snapped Up?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '13 at 07:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's branching-paths-of-could-have-been department:
Nate the greatest writes "Rumor has it that the new high resolution E-ink screen on the Kobo Aura HD was originally intended for another ereader maker. Inside sources have told me that B&N had first claim on the initial production run of 300,000 6.8' screens, only B&N decided to pass. If this rumor is true then this was the screen that B&N would have used on their new ereader this year. Can you imagine what a Nook Glow HD would have been like? I think it would be the next best thing to a 7" Android tablet with an E-ink screen. It's a shame we might never see it." While flying cars are still on my wishlist, daylight readable screens for more portable devices are even higher up the list.

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Police Capture Second Marathon Bombing Suspect in Watertown, Mass.
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '13 at 05:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's he-was-on-a-boat department:
Police have captured believed Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was "pinned down" in a boat stored behind a house in Watertown, Massachusetts. You can listen to the live police feed here.

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Android Users Get Scammed With In-App Antivirus Ads
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '13 at 04:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's like-robots-these-androids department:
An anonymous reader writes "A new malware scheme has been discovered that pushes fake antivirus software to Android users via in-app advertising. Once installed, the trojan informs the victims they need to pay up to remove threats on their device. The malware in question, detected as "Android.Fakealert.4.origin" by Russian security firm Doctor Web, has been around since at least October 2012 according to the company. While Android malware that masks itself as an antivirus for Google's platform is nothing new, and neither are ads in Android apps pushing malware, but putting the two together can certainly be effective. This is naturally a practice that Windows users are all too familiar with."

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Red Hat 'Fedora-izes' JBoss With New WildFly Java Application Server
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '13 at 03:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's estrangeder-and-estrangeder department:
darthcamaro writes "The JBoss Application Server is now more. Just like Red Hat killed Red Hat Linux in 2003 to make way for Fedora, the same is now happening with JBoss and the new WildFly project. 'There was of course the application server, there are a number of JBoss commercial products, there was the community site, etc., so when you asked someone "What is JBoss?" the answer was varied," Jason Andersen, director, product line management, at Red Hat, explained. "What we wanted to do was cement the idea that JBoss is a portfolio of middleware products and not just the application server.'"

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IBM In Talks To Sell x86 Server Business To Lenovo
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '13 at 03:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's biggish-blue department:
FrankPoole writes "According to CRN, IBM is in serious negotiations to sell its low-end x86 server business to Lenovo, which is looking to grow its server revenue. If the deal goes though, it will be the second time in eight years that Big Blue has exited a major hardware business and sold the operation to Lenovo. IBM sold its PC business to Chinese computer maker in 2005."

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Ubuntu Touch Beta Images Available For Testing
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '13 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's go-forth-and-touch department:
hypnosec writes "Canonical has announced the availability of Ubuntu Touch for anyone to download and test. The images, which are based on the 13.04 Raring Ringtail codebase, are available on isotracker. Four devices are currently supported, and there is an image for each of them: Nexus 7, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4 and Nexus 10. Instructions to install Ubuntu Touch have also been provided."

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Yahoo Is Going To Stop Email Service In China
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '13 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's call-it-a-new-approach department:
An anonymous reader writes with news that Yahoo will be ending their email service in China on August 13th. A support post on the Yahoo China site tells users how to migrate their account to a different email service called Aliyun. If they do so, their data can be migrated and they will continue to receive emails to their Yahoo address until the end of 2014. From the article:
"The US Internet giant Yahoo! has come under criticism in the past over its business in China, with executives apologising in 2007 for providing evidence that Chinese authorities used to convict government critics. The company said it was legally obliged to divulge information about its users to the Chinese government but that it was unaware it would be used to convict dissidents. The end of the service will affect millions of users, the paper quoted Alibaba public relations official Zhang Jianhua as saying, though he did not have a total figure."

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Siri Keeps Your Data For Two Years
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '13 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's but-i-didn't-give-her-my-data department:
New submitter LeadSongDog writes with news that Apple has provided information on how long it holds onto voice search data used by its digital assistant software Siri. Speaking to Wired, an Apple representative said the data is kept for two years after the initial query.
"Here’s what happens. Whenever you speak into Apple’s voice activated personal digital assistant, it ships it off to Apple’s data farm for analysis. Apple generates a random numbers to represent the user and it associates the voice files with that number. This number — not your Apple user ID or email address — represents you as far as Siri’s back-end voice analysis system is concerned. Once the voice recording is six months old, Apple “disassociates” your user number from the clip, deleting the number from the voice file. But it keeps these disassociated files for up to 18 more months for testing and product improvement purposes."
This information came in response to requests for clarification of Siri's privacy policy, which was not very clear as written. The director of privacy group Big Brother Watch said, "There needs to be a very high justification for retaining such intrusive data for longer than is absolutely necessary to provide the service."

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Coelacanth Genome Sequenced
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '13 at 12:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's elderly-base-pairs department:
damn_registrars writes "The lobe-finned fish described as a 'living fossil' due to its apparent lack of change for hundreds of millions of years (thought to be extinct until the 1930s) has been sequenced by an international team, including scientists from Sweden, Harvard, and MIT. The 3-billion-base-pair genome of the Coelacanth was described yesterday in the journal Nature. This paper is published in an open (non-paywalled) manner on Nature, making the full text available to all. 'We found that the genes overall are evolving significantly slower than in every other fish and land vertebrate that we looked at.'"

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Windows: Not Doomed Yet
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '13 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's cash-on-hand-is-a-wonderful-buoy department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Earlier this week, ZDNet columnist Steven Vaughan-Nichols wrote an article, 'Windows: It's over,' that sparked a lot of passionate online debate. His thesis was simple: Microsoft's dominance of the computing market is coming to an end, accelerated by the incipient failure of Windows 8. Make no mistake about it: there's no way to fudge the numbers in a way that suggests Windows 8 is proving a blockbuster. But maybe it's not doomsday for Windows or Microsoft. After all, the company still has a lot of really smart developers and engineers, a whole ton of cash, and the ability to let its projects play out over years. So here's the question, Slashdotters: Is Windows really doomed? And, if not, what can be done to turn things around? (No originality points awarded for a 'Fire Steve Ballmer' response.)"

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