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Flying Bicycle Is Real, Takes First Flight
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '13 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's yes,-you-were-definitely-the-first-one-to-think-of-an-ET-joke department:
colinneagle writes "Bringing us one step closer to the hover-boards and flying cars that mid-20th century pop culture had predicted we would have by the year 2000, three Czech companies have come together to develop a functional flying bicycle. Designed by Technodat, Evektor, and Duratec, the flying bicycle weighs a little more than 187 lbs and limits its takeoff weight to about 350 lbs, according to a report from Polish bicycle news site Biketrendy. The report claims the bicycle, which is still just a prototype, is capable of staying in the air for about six minutes, although the companies working on the project hope to extend that to 50 minutes and top speeds of about 30 miles per hour. Currently, the fans propelling the bicycle are powered by a 50Ah battery."

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A350XWB, the Plane Airbus Did Not Want To Build, Makes Maiden Flight
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '13 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's tell-me-about-the-wifi department:
McGruber writes "The BBC reports that the Airbus A350XWB (extra wide body) has made its first flight. Like the Boeing 787, the A350 offers airlines the chance to combine long-range services with improved fuel efficiency. The A350's fuselage is made of carbon fibre reinforced plastic, while many other parts of the aircraft use titanium and advanced alloys to save weight. It also has state-of-the-art aerodynamics, and engine manufacturer Rolls Royce has produced a new custom-designed power unit. Airbus claims that all of this means the A350 will use 25% less fuel than the current generation of equivalent aircraft. It also points out that noise and emissions will be well below current limits."

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Apogee Suing Gearbox Over Unpaid Royalties For Duke Nukem Forever
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '13 at 12:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it's-time-to-defraud-and-chew-bubble-gum department:
jones_supa writes "Apogee Software/3D Realms alleges that Gearbox has refused to pay more than $2 million owed to 3D Realms from royalties and advances Gearbox received from publishers for Duke Nukem Forever. In a lawsuit filed June 7 in Texas district court, 3D Realms insists that its agreement with Gearbox permits it to conduct an audit of Gearbox's royalty statements, which the studio has not allowed. 'Gearbox is simply stonewalling here in an improper attempt to conceal information from 3D Realms that it is absolutely entitled to receive,' the suit alleges. The company also alleges that Gearbox has refused to pay the agreed-upon portion of revenue Gearbox received after Duke Nukem Forever was released. 3D Realms has asked for a jury trial. This suit is apparently the end result of a friendly deal gone wrong."

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802.11ac: Better Coverage, But Won't Hit Advertised Speeds
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '13 at 12:16 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's are-you-implying-marketers-would-lie-to-us?!? department:
New submitter jcenters writes "Apple's new AirPort routers feature the new 802.11ac protocol, promising Wi-Fi speeds in excess of 1 Gbps, but Glenn Fleishman of TidBITS explains why we are unlikely to see such speeds any time soon. Quoting: 'When Apple says that its implementation of 802.11ac can achieve up to 1.3 Gbps — and other manufacturers with beefier radio systems already say up to 1.7 Gbps — the reality is that a lot of conditions have to be met to achieve that raw data rate. And, as you well know from decades of network-technology advertising, dear reader, a “raw” data rate (often incorrectly called “theoretical”) is the maximum number of bits that can pass over a network. That includes all the network overhead as well as actual data carried in packets and frames. The net throughput is often 30 to 60 percent lower.'"

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EA Takes Over Scrabble App, Wipes Player Histories and Switches Dictionary
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '13 at 11:17 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you're-welcome department:
New submitter DeathToBill writes "EA is in the midst of another user backlash, the BBC reports. After EA took over operation of the online Scrabble brand, it introduced a 'new and improved' version. Improvements include requiring manual refreshes to see other players' turns, irretrievably wiping players' game history and a switch to the Collins dictionary (rather than the traditional Chambers edition) that has proved deeply unpopular with Scrabble fanatics. "EA was unavailable for comment.""

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Prosecutors Push For Anti-Phone-Theft Kill Switches
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '13 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's who-doesn't-love-a-kill-switch? department:
New submitter EdPbllips writes "Law enforcement officials nationwide are demanding the creation of a 'kill switch' that would render smartphones inoperable after they are stolen, New York's top prosecutor said Thursday in a clear warning to the world's smartphone manufacturers. Citing statistics showing that 1 in 3 robberies nationwide involve the theft of a mobile phone, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the formation of a coalition of law enforcement agencies devoted to stamping out what he called an 'epidemic' of smartphone robberies. 'All too often, these robberies turn violent,' said Schneiderman, who was joined at a news conference by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon. 'There are assaults. There are murders.'"
Apple described a system like this in their presentation about iOS 7 at WWDC.

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Facebook's Complaint Process Is Arbitrary — But So Is Campaigning
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '13 at 10:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's please-don't-call-it-a-witch-hunt department:
Bennett Haselton writes
"After initial abuse reports failed to shut down some anti-women and pro-rape pages on Facebook, a wider lobbying campaign succeeded in prompting a Facebook policy change. This has been alternately hailed as a vindication of the campaigner's cause, or derided as proof that Facebook can be cowed by humorless feminists. In reality, the success of the campaign was most likely the outcome of a mostly arbitrary and random process that required a lot of luck, just as the initial abuse reports didn't succeed because they didn't have the necessary luck on their side. Neither result should be taken to reflect on the merits of the campaigner's actual points."
Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.

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Volvo's Electric Roads Concept Points To Battery-Free EV Future
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '13 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i'm-holding-out-for-mr.-fusion department:
Zothecula writes "While quick charging technology installed at strategic points along a planned route might be a good fit for inner city buses, it's not going to be of much use to electric vehicles that stop infrequently. Volvo sees our future long-haul trucks and buses drawing the juice they need from the road itself, making large onboard batteries a thing of the past. 'The two power rails/lines run along the road's entire length. One is a positive pole, and the other is used to return the current. The lines are sectioned so that live current is only delivered to a collector mounted at the rear of, or under, the truck if an appropriate signal is detected. As an additional safety measure, the current flows only when the vehicle is moving at speeds greater than 60 km/h (37 mph). "The vehicle is equipped with a radio emitter, which the road segments can sense," explains Volvo's Per-Martin Johnansson. "If an electric vehicle passes a road segment with a proper encrypted signal, then the road will energize the segments that sense the vehicle.'"

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A Database of Brains
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '13 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's quickly-DDOSed-by-zombie-botnet department:
aarondubrow writes "Researchers recently created OpenfMRI, a web-based, supercomputer-powered tool that makes it easier for researchers to process, share, compare and rapidly analyze fMRI brain scans from many different studies. Applying supercomputing to the fMRI analysis allows researchers to conduct larger studies, test more hypotheses, and accommodate the growing spatial and time resolution of brain scans. The ultimate goal is to collect enough brain data to develop a bottom-up understanding of brain function."

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Snowden Is Lying, Say House Intelligence Committee Leaders
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '13 at 08:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's somebody's-pants-are-on-fire department:
cold fjord writes "There are new developments in the ongoing controversy engulfing the NSA as a result of the Snowden leaks. From The Hill: 'Emerging from a hearing with NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander, Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and Dutch Ruppersberger (Md.), the senior Democrat on the panel, said Edward Snowden simply wasn't in the position to access the content of the communications gathered under National Security Agency programs, as he's claimed. "He was lying," Rogers said. "He clearly has over-inflated his position, he has over-inflated his access and he's even over-inflated what the actual technology of the programs would allow one to do. It's impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do." ... "He's done tremendous damage to the country where he was born and raised and educated," Ruppersberger said. ... "It was clear that he attempted to go places that he was not authorized to go, which should raise questions for everyone," Rogers added.'"
< article continued at Slashdot >

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Mozilla Launches Initiative To Adapt Scientific Practice To the Open Web
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '13 at 07:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's dead-trees-need-not-apply department:
An anonymous reader writes "Today Mozilla announced the Mozilla Science Lab, a project to help modernize scientific practices to make better use of the open web. "Scientists created the web — but the open web still hasn't transformed scientific practice to the same extent we've seen in other areas like media, education and business. For all of the incredible discoveries of the last century, science is still largely rooted in the "analog" age. Credit systems in science are still largely based around "papers," for example, and as a result researchers are often discouraged from sharing, learning, reusing, and adopting the type of open and collaborative learning that the web makes possible.' Hopefully this can be another step in moving away from traditional publishing practices, and encourage a new generation of scientists to make their data available in more useful ways."

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UK Government 'Muzzling' Scientists
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '13 at 07:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's information-wants-to-be-free-just-shut-up-for-a-couple-weeks-first department:
taikedz writes "Fiona Fox, chief executive of the Science Media Center, has claimed that leading scientists independently advising the UK government are being actively prevented from speaking to the public and media, especially in times of crisis when scientific evidence is necessary for a fully open and educated public debate, such as the current badger culling policy, and the past volcanic eruptions and ash fallout and their effects. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whom many of these scientists are advising, denies any such practices."

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Red Hat Ditches MySQL, Switches To MariaDB
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '13 at 06:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's market-share-sinking department:
An anonymous reader writes "Red Hat will switch the default database in its enterprise distribution, RHEL, from MySQL to MariaDB, when version 7 is released. MySQL's first employee in Australia, Arjen Lentz, said Fedora and OpenSuSE were community driven, whereas RHEL's switch to MariaDB was a corporate decision with far-reaching implications. 'I presume there is not much love lost between Red Hat and Oracle (particularly since the "Oracle Linux" stuff started) but I'm pretty sure this move won't make Oracle any happier,' said Lentz, who now runs his own consultancy, Open Query, from Queensland. 'Thus it's a serious move in political terms.' He said that in practical terms, MariaDB should now get much more of a public footprint with people (people knowing about MariaDB and it being a/the replacement for MySQL), and direct acceptance both by individual users and corporates."

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Birthday Song's Copyright Leads To a Lawsuit For the Ages
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '13 at 06:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's and-many-more department:
New submitter chriscappuccio sends this excerpt from the NY Times:
"The song 'Happy Birthday to You' is widely credited for being the most performed song in the world. But one of its latest venues may be the federal courthouse in Manhattan, where the only parties may be the litigants to a new legal battle. The dispute stems from a lawsuit filed on Thursday by a filmmaker in New York who is seeking to have the court declare the popular ditty to be in the public domain, and to block a music company from claiming it owns the copyright to the song and charging licensing fees for its use. The filmmaker, Jennifer Nelson, was producing a documentary movie, tentatively titled 'Happy Birthday,' about the song, the lawsuit said. In one proposed scene, the song was to be performed."

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Microsoft Office Finally Gets iOS App
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '13 at 05:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-exactly-peanut-butter-and-jelly department:
An anonymous reader writes "After years of rumors and months of bickering with Apple over revenue splits, Microsoft has finally released an official iOS app for Office 365 subscribers, allowing people to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint on their iPhones and iPads. According to a hands-on report with the software, the Office app has basic functionality, but is missing some key productivity features. 'These include: font options, text alignment, bulleted lists and, again, more color choices, all of which you can find in, say, the Google Drive app.' They say it's a fairly useful addition for current subscribers, but certainly not enough to make it worth the Office 365 subscription fee on its own. 'We can't tell if Microsoft deliberately handicapped Office Mobile for iPhone, or if it's simply saving some features for a later update. (A company rep declined to comment on what we can expect from future versions.) We're willing to believe Microsoft still has some unfinished items on its to-do list, but even so, it's a shame that iPhone users waited this long for an Office app, only to get something with such a minimal feature set. All told, Office Mobile represents a good enough start for Microsoft, and in some ways it's better than Google Drive, particularly where spreadsheets are concerned. Still, it's miles behind other office apps for iOS, including Apple iWork.'"

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Congress Proposes Strategy For Fighting Patent Trolls
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '13 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's use-fire-or-acid-to-stop-the-regeneration department:
phantomfive writes "Congressman Charles Schumer has written a piece decrying the evils of patent trolls. 'Because of the high cost of patent litigation—the average litigation defense costs a small or midsize company $1.75 million—it is often marginally cheaper for a defendant to pay up front to make the case go away. The average settlement for the same group of companies is $1.33 million....Patent trolls cost U.S. companies $29 billion in 2011 alone.' His solution? Make it easier for low quality patents to be re-examined and rejected by the patent office."

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Dotcom Alleges Megaupload Raid Was Part of Deal To Film The Hobbit
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '13 at 02:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's hobbit:-the-speculation-of-com department:
c0lo writes "Kim Dotcom alleges, in an 20 min interview with the Australian public television, that Megaupload was offered up by the New Zealand's PM 'on a silver platter' as part of negotiations with Warner Brothers executives for shooting the Hobbit in New Zealand. He promises that he'll substantiate the claims in court. He also says that the extradition case the US govt is weak and the reason behind the latest delay in extradition hearing (postponed from August this year to March next year) is an attempt to bleed Dotcom dry of his money. Also interesting, Dotcom says that the latest debacle of the massive scale online online surveillance by US spy agencies has triggered an "explosion" of interest in mega.co.nz, the "cloud storage" site with user generated encryption."

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NSA Surveillance May Have Dealt Major Blow To Global Internet Freedom Efforts
Posted by News Fetcher on June 13 '13 at 11:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's one-giant-bad-apple department:
An anonymous reader writes "Simply put, the US government has failed in its role as the 'caretaker' of the internet. Although this was never an official designation, America controls much of the infrastructure, and many of the most popular services online are provided by a handful of American companies. The world is starting to sober up to the fact that much of what they've done online in the last decade is now cataloged in a top-secret facility somewhere in the United States. The goal has been to promote internet freedom around the world, but we may have also potentially created a blueprint for how authoritarian governments can store, track, and mine their citizens' digital lives."

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Google Retiring Chrome Frame
Posted by News Fetcher on June 13 '13 at 09:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's dust-in-the-wind department:
An anonymous reader writes "Google today announced it is retiring Chrome Frame, a plug-in that brings Chrome's engine to old IE versions. The company wouldn't share an exact date, but did say it will end support and cease releasing updates sometime in January 2014. Google's reasoning appears to be based on the fact that Chrome Frame was released (initially in September 2009 and then as a stable build in September 2010) at a time when old versions of Internet Explorer, which don't support the latest Web technologies, were still in very high use."

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Debian Says Remove Unofficial Debian-Multimedia.org Repository From Your Sources
Posted by News Fetcher on June 13 '13 at 07:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's protect-ya-neck department:
Debian warns on its blog: "The unofficial third party repository Debian Multimedia stopped using the domain debian-multimedia.org some months ago. The domain expired and it is now registered again by someone unknown to Debian. (If we're wrong on this point, please sent us an email so we can take over the domain! This means that the repository is no longer safe to use, and you should remove the related entries from your source.list file."

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