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Ask Slashdot: Mathematical Fiction?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it-was-an-arbitrarily-lit-and-stormy-night department:
An anonymous reader writes "Neal Stephenson's 1999 Cryptonomicon was a great yarn. It was also a thoroughly enjoyable (and too short) romp through some mathematics. Where can I find more of that? I should say that I don't want SF — at least none of the classic SF I read voraciously in the 70s; it's just not the same thing, and far too often just a puppet-theatre for an author's philosophical rant. Has any author managed to hit the same vein as Stephenson did? (Good non-fiction math-reads are also gratefully accepted. What have you got?)"

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DoJ Investigating Samsung For Patent Abuse
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's might-as-well-investigate-somebody department:
sl4shd0rk writes "Good news for Apple, bad news for Samsung. Yesterday, Apple filed legal papers with the International Trade Commission citing a Department of Justice investigation into whether Samsung is misusing its 'Standards essential' patents in ways which violate antitrust law. Apple claims Samsung has violated commitments to license its essential patents to competitors on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. Or, more specifically, Samsung is 'using certain patents as a basis for improper legal actions that seek to block the sale of competitors' products.' The article says Google (because of its recent acquisition, Motorola Mobility) is under the same scrutiny."

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Google Street View Heads Into the Grand Canyon
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's there-seems-to-be-a-giant-cliff-here department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Google is taking Street View down — into the Grand Canyon, that is. 'On its first official outing, the Street View team is using the Trekker — a wearable backpack with a camera system on top — to traverse the Grand Canyon and capture 360-degree images of one of the most breathtaking natural landscapes on the planet,' read an Oct. 24 posting on Google's Official Blog. The Trekker automatically records high-quality images as the operator walks. Google's initial foray into the canyon will take place around the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, which includes some famous paths such as the Bright Angel Trail. Google promised to make the images live (at some point) on Google Maps. 'The narrow ridges and steep, exposed trails of the Grand Canyon provide the perfect terrain for our newest camera system,' the blog added."

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Michael E. Mann Sues For Defamation Over Comparison To Jerry Sandusky
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can't-we-just-talk-like-adults department:
eldavojohn writes "The global warming debate has left much to be desired in the realm of logic and rationale. One particular researcher, Michael E. Mann, has been repeatedly attacked for his now infamous (and peer reviewed/independently verified) hockey stick graph. It has come to the point where he is now suing for defamation over being compared to convicted serial child molester Jerry Sandusky. Articles hosted by defendants and written by defendant Rand Simberg and defendant Mark Steyn utilize questionable logic for implicating Michael E. Mann alongside Jerry Sandusky with the original piece, concluding, 'Michael Mann, like Joe Paterno, was a rock star in the context of Penn State University, bringing in millions in research funding. The same university president who resigned in the wake of the Sandusky scandal was also the president when Mann was being (whitewashed) investigated. We saw what the university administration was willing to do to cover up heinous crimes, and even let them continue, rather than expose them. Should we suppose, in light of what we now know, they would do any less to hide academic and scientific misconduct, with so much at stake?' Additionally, sentences were stylized to blend the two people together: 'He has molested and tortured data in the service of politicized science that could have dire economic consequences for the nation and planet.' One of the defendants admits to removing 'a sentence or two' of questionable wording. Still, as a public figure, Michael E. Mann has an uphill battle to prove defamation in court."

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EXT4 Data Corruption Bug Hits Linux Kernel
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 11:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's plenty-of-time-to-fix department:
An anonymous reader writes "An EXT4 file-system data corruption issue has reached the stable Linux kernel. The latest Linux 3.4, 3.5, 3.6 stable kernels have an EXT4 file-system bug described as an apparent serious progressive ext4 data corruption bug. Kernel developers have found and bisected the kernel issue but are still working on a proper fix for the stable Linux kernel. The EXT4 file-system can experience data loss if the file-system is remounted (or the system rebooted) too often."

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Would You Put a Tracking Device On Your Child?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's does-that-mean-i-don't-have-to-watch-them-anymore department:
Hugh Pickens writes "In 2007 businessman Russell Thornton lost his 3-year-old son at an amusement park. After a frantic 45-minute search, Thornton found the boy hiding in a play structure, but he was traumatized by the incident. It spurred him to build a device that would help other parents avoid that fate. Even though most statistics show that rates of violent crime against children have declined significantly over the last few decades, and that abductions are extremely rare, KJ Dell'Antonia writes that with the array of new gadgetry like Amber Alert and the Securus eZoom our children need never experience the fears that come with momentary separations, or the satisfaction of weathering them. 'You could argue that those of us who survived our childhoods of being occasionally lost, then found, are in the position of those who think car seats are overkill because they suffered no injury while bouncing around in the back of their uncle's pickup,' writes Dell'Antonia. 'Wouldn't a more powerful sense of security come from knowing your children were capable, and trusting in their ability to reach out for help at the moment when they realize they're not?'"

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A Look At Competitors to the Surface and iPad
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 10:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-necessarily-also-rans department:
"Asus and other Microsoft OEM partners have also launched their own versions of Windows RT tablets that will compete with Microsoft's Surface. It's interesting to see the different design approaches being taken, some of which are similar to Android devices currently on the market. The Asus Vivo Tab RT, for example, is based on a 1.3GHz Tegra 3 SoC with 2GB of DDR3 memory, 32GB or 64GB of on board Flash storage, and looks a lot like their Transformer Prime 10-inch slate. The internal electronics are similar to Surface, with NVIDIA's Tegra 3 claiming the lion's share of Windows RT designs at launch. Microsoft's new touch-centric OS handles smoothly on the tablet and performance looks to be impressive, especially with respect to multitasking and application switching."
There's also the newly-launched Samsung Galaxy Note II (Android-based, and a so called "phablet," rather than a tablet), the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga (an upcoming Windows RT tablet with a keyboard permanently attached), and the Archos 101 XS.

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One Screen, Multiple Views
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 09:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's digital-catan-expansion department:
First time accepted submitter e-sas writes "Researchers from the University of Bristol have built a new type of display which allows both a shared view and a personalised view to users at the same time. Through the two view-zones, PiVOT provides multiple personalized views where each personalized view is only visible to the user it belongs to while presenting an unaffected and unobstructed shared view to all users. They conceive PiVOT as a tabletop system aimed at supporting mixed-focus collaborative tasks where there is a main task requiring the focus of all individuals of the group but also concurrent smaller personal tasks needing access to information that is not usually shared e.g. a war-room setup. Imagine you and your friends playing multiplayer Starcraft on one big screen instead of individual computer screens!"

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How a Google Headhunter's E-Mail Revealed Massive Misuse of DKIM
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 09:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's insecurity-through-blatant-idiocy department:
concealment writes with a tale of how an email sent to a mathematician led to him discovering that dozens of high profile companies were using easily crackable keys to authenticate mail sent from their domains. From the article: "The problem lay with the DKIM key (DomainKeys Identified Mail) Google used for its google.com e-mails. DKIM involves a cryptographic key that domains use to sign e-mail originating from them – or passing through them – to validate to a recipient that the header information on an e-mail is correct and that the correspondence indeed came from the stated domain. When e-mail arrives at its destination, the receiving server can look up the public key through the sender's DNS records and verify the validity of the signature. Harris wasn't interested in the job at Google, but he decided to crack the key and send an e-mail to Google founders Brin and Page, as each other, just to show them that he was onto their game."

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NBC Erases SNL Sketch From Digital Archive For Fear of Copyright Lawsuit
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 09:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's nbc-plans-to-sue-nbc department:
M.Nunez writes with a tale of copyright woes. From the article: "The digital 'Saturday Night Live' archive does not feature a recent Bruno Mars sketch because it includes impersonations of pop singers and their chart-topping hits. Bruno Mars sings several songs that are not owned by NBC, so it can be presumed that the company refrained from uploading the sketch into its digital archive to avoid any legal issues. Convoluted music licensing laws have essentially erased the Bruno Mars sketch from the digital archives of SNL. In the short comedy sketch, Bruno Mars impersonates vocal performances by Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day), Steven Tyler (Aerosmith), Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Louis Armstrong, and Michael Jackson. The sketch cannot be found on NBC.com or Hulu, as a short clip or in either full editions of the episode."

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Windows 7 Not Getting A Second Service Pack
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 08:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's mark-shuttleworth-becomes-filthy-rich department:
An anonymous reader writes "Windows 7 was expected to have Service Pack 2 issued roughly 3 years from its introduction (late 2009). People, including myself, have been asking 'Where is it?' and the answer apparently is, 'It isn't, and will never be' which lends itself to the giant pain of installing Windows 7, then Service Pack 1, and hundreds of smaller hotfix patches. Why Microsoft? No go to Service Pack 2 for Windows 7!"

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The Greatest Battle of the Personal Computing Revolution Lies Ahead
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 08:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's google-vs-google department:
As tablets and computer-phones flood the market, the headlines read:
"The Personal Computer is Dying." But they are only half true: an
artifact of the PC is dying, but the essence of the PC revolution is
closer to realization than ever before, while also being closer to loss than ever before.

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Criminals Crack and Steal Customer Data From Barnes & Noble Keypads
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 07:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's cash-only department:
helix2301 writes with an excerpt from CNet "Hackers broke into keypads at more than 60 Barnes & Noble bookstores and made off with the credit card information for customers who shopped at the stores in the last month. At least one point-of-sale terminal in 63 different stores was compromised recording card details. Since discovering the breach, the company has uninstalled all 7,000 point-of-sale terminals from its hundreds of stores for examination."

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FSFE Interview With 'Terms of Service: Didn't Read' Founder
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 07:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's article-didn't-read department:
An anonymous reader writes with an interesting interview "Hugo's project Terms of Service: Didn't Read has recently won international attention in publications such as TIME, Le Monde, and ZEIT, in its campaign to simplify the legal terms of web services. He is FSFE's French Team coordinator, co-founder of the Digital Freedoms association, and in 2009 did extensive work on the impact of Europe's Interoperability Framework (EIF) on Free Software users."

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NASA Engineers Building Mockup of Deep Space Station
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 07:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's split-infinitive department:
MarkWhittington writes "NASA engineers at the Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville, Ala., are building a mockup of what appears to be a deep space habitat, though it could also be part of an interplanetary spacecraft. The purpose is to do human factors studies to find out how to sustain astronauts on lengthy deep space missions."

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Boeing's CHAMP Missile Uses Radio Waves To Remotely Disable PCs
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 06:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's computer-time-is-over-billy department:
Dupple writes "During last week's test, a CHAMP (Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project) missile successfully disabled its target by firing high power microwaves into a building filled with computers and other electronics. 'On Oct. 16th at 10:32 a.m. MST a Boeing Phantom Works team along with members from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Directed Energy Directorate team, and Raytheon Ktech, suppliers of the High Power Microwave source, huddled in a conference room at Hill Air Force Base and watched the history making test unfold on a television monitor. CHAMP approached its first target and fired a burst of High Power Microwaves at a two story building built on the test range. Inside rows of personal computers and electrical systems were turned on to gauge the effects of the powerful radio waves. Seconds later the PC monitors went dark and cheers erupted in the conference room. CHAMP had successfully knocked out the computer and electrical systems in the target building. Even the television cameras set up to record the test were knocked off line without collateral damage.'"

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EC Sends Statement of Objections To Microsoft For Violating Anti-Trust Agreement
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 05:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's go-to-court-like-it's-1998 department:
dkleinsc writes "Three years ago, Microsoft came to an agreement with EU regulators that required them to provide users with a choice of web browsers. Last July, they found Microsoft in breach of that agreement. Today, they announced that this will result in charges, potentially resulting in fines as large as $7 billion."

Microsoft gets one last chance to defend itself.

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OpenGL Becoming a Requirement For the Linux Desktop
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 05:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's economic-stimulus-plan department:
An anonymous reader writes "Modern Linux desktops like Ubuntu's Unity and the GNOME Shell have placed a requirement on OpenGL 2.0+ support for handling their compositing window managers and desktop effects. Wayland's Weston also needs OpenGL ES 2.0 support. Now with modern Linux distributions like Ubuntu 12.10, rather than falling back to a 2D unaccelerated desktop if you don't have a sufficient GPU or graphics driver, users are being forced to run LLVMpipe as a CPU-based software rasterizer. LLVMpipe works fine if you are on a new PC with a fast x86-64 CPU, but the OpenGL-based Linux desktops are causing growing pains for ARM hardware, virtual machines, servers, multi-seat computers, and of course all older hardware. LLVMpipe is a Mesa Gallium3D driver that uses LLVM for run-time code generation as an attempt at accelerating graphics faster on the CPU. So much for Linux being good for old computers?"

< article continued at Slashdot >

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ARM Code for Raspberry Pi Goes Open Source (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 05:15 AM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's more-open-than-ever-before department:
"The Raspberry Pi project relies heavily on Open Source and Free Software — heck, it's targeted by more than one Linux distro. But some of the hardware stack that makes up the Pi itself needs closed-source code to run; the code that runs all kinds of low-level hardware is often closed source and closed off. I got wind from project instigator and lead Eben Upton that the system-on-a-chip at the Raspberry Pi's heart is about to get a lot more open. Says Upton: "We're about to open source all of the remaining closed source ARM code for the Pi. This will make BCM2835 the first ARM multimedia SoC with a fully-open-source ARM user and kernel implementation." I spoke for a few minutes with Alex Bradbury, who runs the Linux software work for the project, about licensing and what the new code means not only for Raspberry Pi but for users and other OS projects." (Note: the sound quality on this translantic Skype call is poor. We suggest reading the transcript.) Get the code while it's hot.

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Microsoft Surface Review: a Tale of Two Tablets
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 04:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it-was-the-age-of-wisdom-it-was-the-age-of-foolishness department:
zacharye points out an early review of the Microsoft Surface tablet. Here are some relevant snippets:
< article continued at Slashdot >

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