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NSA-resistant Android App 'Burns' Sensitive Messages
Posted by News Fetcher on September 04 '13 at 07:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's many-have-tried department:
angry tapir writes "Phil Zimmermann's Silent Circle, which halted its secure mail service shortly after Lavabit, has released a messaging application for Android devices that encrypts and securely erases messages and files. The application, called Silent Text, lets users specify a time period for which the receiver can view a message before it is erased. It also keeps the keys used to encrypt and decrypt content on the user's device, which protects the company from law enforcement requests for the keys."

Seems similar to pieces of the Guardian Project.

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Xbox One Set To Launch On November 22
Posted by News Fetcher on September 04 '13 at 06:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's people-like-games department:
Dave Knott writes "Microsoft announced today that its upcoming Xbox One console will launch later this year on November 22 in 13 territories, including Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States. This is exactly one week after the announced street date for Sony's PlayStation 4, ending speculation about whether Microsoft would try to launch ahead of their closest rival's next-generation console. It is also the same day that the Xbox 360 launched in 2005."

The supply of pre-order consoles is mostly exhausted already.

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Ministry of Sound Suing Spotify Over User Playlists
Posted by News Fetcher on September 04 '13 at 05:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's you-may-not-listen-in-that-order department:
AmiMoJo writes "The Ministry of Sound, a UK dance music brand, is suing Spotify because it has not removed users' playlists that mirror their compilation albums. The case will hinge on whether compilation albums qualify for copyright protection due to the selection and arrangement involved in putting them together. Spotify has the rights to stream all the tracks on the playlists in question, but the issue here is whether the compilation structure — the order of the songs — can be copyrighted."

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HDMI 2.0 Officially Announced
Posted by News Fetcher on September 04 '13 at 05:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's no-love-for-displayport department:
jones_supa writes with news that HDMI 2.0 is out. From Engadget "The folks at HDMI Licensing are announcing HDMI 2.0 officially. Arriving just in time for the wide rollout of a new generation of Ultra HDTVs, it adds a few key capabilities to the standard. With a bandwidth capacity of up to 18Gbps, HDMI 2.0 has the ability to carry 3,840 x 2,160 resolution video at 60fps. It also has support for up to 32 audio channels, 'dynamic auto lipsync' and additional CEC extensions. The physical cables and connectors remain unchanged."

Just like HDMI 1.4, the specification is only available to HDMI Forum members.

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US and Israel Test Missile As Syria War Tensions Rise
Posted by News Fetcher on September 04 '13 at 04:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's nothing-to-see-here-just-randomly-firing-missiles department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Joshua Mitnick reports that Israel and the U.S. carried out a missile test over the Mediterranean Sea on Tuesday morning that was detected by Russian surveillance systems. Israel's defense ministry eventually said a Sparrow rocket had been fired to simulate a ballistic missile attack on the Jewish state to test the Arrow interceptor system. The Arrow – which wasn't fired Tuesday – has been developed to defend against long range rockets primarily from Iran, a main patron of the Syrian regime. Arieh Herzog, a former Israeli missile defense director, says that the Sparrow missile is developed to simulate 'the worst threats' in the region so Israel can hone the capabilities of the Arrow III missile interceptor. Herzog speculated that the launch Tuesday was done at a considerably long range. Another Israeli expert said the incident could be seen as muscle flexing by the U.S. and Israel. 'You could say perhaps its show of strength to Syria and its Iranian ally — that Israel has a range of options at its disposal. And to place pressure on Assad and Iran that Israel takes [retaliation threats] seriously,' says Meir Javedanfar, a lecturer on Iranian politics at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center. Pentagon press secretary George Little said the U.S. 'provided technical assistance and support to the Israeli Missile Defense Organization flight test of a Sparrow target missile over the Mediterranean Sea.' 'The United States and Israel cooperate on a number of long-term ballistic missile defense development projects to address common challenges in the region,' added Little. 'This test had nothing to do with United States consideration of military action to respond to Syria's chemical weapons attack.'"

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Schneier: We Need To Relearn How To Accept Risk
Posted by News Fetcher on September 04 '13 at 01:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's risk-is-our-business department:
An anonymous reader writes "Bruce Schneier has written an article about how our society is becoming increasingly averse to risk as we invent ways to reduce it. 'Risk tolerance is both cultural and dependent on the environment around us. As we have advanced technologically as a society, we have reduced many of the risks that have been with us for millennia. Fatal childhood diseases are things of the past, many adult diseases are curable, accidents are rarer and more survivable, buildings collapse less often, death by violence has declined considerably, and so on. All over the world — among the wealthier of us who live in peaceful Western countries — our lives have become safer.' This has led us to overestimate both the level of risk from unlikely events and also our ability to curtail it. Thus, trillions of dollars are spent and vital liberties are lost in misguided efforts to make us safer. 'We need to relearn how to recognize the trade-offs that come from risk management, especially risk from our fellow human beings. We need to relearn how to accept risk, and even embrace it, as essential to human progress and our free society. The more we expect technology to protect us from people in the same way it protects us from nature, the more we will sacrifice the very values of our society in futile attempts to achieve this security.'"

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Social Media's Role In Peer Pressure
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '13 at 11:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's if-everyone-else-tweeted-off-a-bridge,-would-you-do-it-too? department:
Daniel_Stuckey writes "The Fear of Missing Out phenomenon is part of why people tend to get addicted to social networking and then depressed. And if you're a young, impressionable teenager, it could pressure you into making sure you, too, are happily intoxicated the next time someone snaps a group shot. That's the gist of the latest study to find that social media photos of people drinking and smoking can influence teens into partaking in the same degenerate behavior. The University of Southern California study was published online today in the Journal of Adolescent Health."

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IBM Uses Internal Kickstarters To Pick Projects
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '13 at 10:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's let-the-grunts-make-the-decisions department:
alphadogg writes "IBM is readying its fourth internal Kickstarter-like crowdfunding effort over the past year or so to inspire employees to innovate and collaborate, often across departments and the globe. According to IBM Research member Michael Muller, IBM has embraced the crowdfunding model popularized in recent years by Kickstarter, Indiegogo and hundreds of other such platforms that match up creators and financial backers from among the masses. But IBM's 'behind-the-firewall' form of crowdfunding, for which Muller has coined the term 'enterprise crowdfunding,' is unique in that it isn't open to the public. In an experiment held in the third quarter of last year, 500 Watson Research Center employees were each given $100 to invest exclusively in colleagues' proposals, which ranged from procuring a 3D printer to setting up a disc golf course to recording and sharing seminars."

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How Africa Will 'Leapfrog' Wired Networks
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '13 at 08:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's go-ahead-and-leapfrog-social-media-too,-it's-not-worth-it department:
umarkalim writes "In an interview with Al Jazeera, Les Cottrell at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory explains how Africa will actually 'leapfrog' the need to install hard-wired cables. He says it's often overlooked that the continent is huge and that the countries are diverse. He says, 'the cost of the infrastructure is quite high, especially if you have to connect every home with copper cables and fiber-optic cables ... I think in many cases Africa will actually "leapfrog" the need to install hard-wired cables everywhere, and will be able to use different techniques such as the BRCK modem, the low-earth orbiting satellites or the 3G solutions to get connectivity to where they need.'"

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Team Oracle Penalized For America's Cup Rules Violations
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '13 at 07:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's boat-tried-to-install-Ask-Toolbar-to-the-ocean department:
whoever57 writes "On Saturday, Oracle Team USA and Team New Zealand will begin racing for the America's Cup in the amazing AC72 boats. However, the Oracle team starts with a significant handicap. It was recently discovered that members of Oracle Team USA made illegal changes to the boats used in the America's Cup Series (which is sailed in the smaller AC45 boats). After a hearing on Friday, the International Jury has decided on the penalty: Team Oracle will have to pay a fine and sail without some team members. More significantly, they lose two points before starting the America's Cup races against Team New Zealand. A tiny amount of weight had been added to the kingpost, in violation of the measurement rules for the class. This was reported to the measurement committee some weeks ago after its discovery by boatbuilders working for America's Cup Regatta Management (ACRM), not members of Oracle Team USA."

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SUSE's LibreOffice Core Team Moves To Collabora
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '13 at 06:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's meet-the-new-support-same-as-the-old-support department:
An anonymous reader writes "Michael Meeks has announced that the core of SUSE's LibreOffice team is moving over to Collabora, which will now be providing commercial LibreOffice support. 'It seems to me that the ability to say "no" to profitable but peripheral business in order to strategically focus the company is a really important management task. In the final analysis I'm convinced that this is the right business decision for SUSE. It will allow Collabora's Productivity division to focus exclusively on driving LibreOffice into Windows, Mac and Consulting markets that are peripheral to SUSE. It will also retain the core of the existing skill base for the benefit of SUSE's customers, and the wider LibreOffice community, of which openSUSE is an important part.'"

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Bringing Affordable Robotics To Big Agriculture
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '13 at 04:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's feed-all-humans-feed-all-humans department:
kkleiner writes "Boston-based Harvest Automation has made good on its mission to bring robots into the world of agriculture by introducing Harvey, a bot tasked with the rather modest job of moving plants around in nurseries and greenhouses because people aren't keen on doing the laborious work. At a price point of $30k each, two bots would cost the same as three unskilled human laborers who earn about $20k annually not to mention medical bills due to injury. Harvey's job may not be flashy, but considering the potted plant industry is valued at $50 billion, the bot's little impact could translate into significant money."

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Tiny $45 Cubic Mini-PC Supports Android and Linux
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '13 at 03:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's market-saturation-approaching department:
DeviceGuru writes "SolidRun refreshed its line of tiny 2 x 2 x 2-inch mini-PCs with four new community-backed models based on 1.2GHz multi-core Freescale i.MX6 SoCs. The CuBox-i devices support Android 4.2.2 and Linux, offer HDMI, S/PDIF, IR, eSATA, GbE, USB, WiFi, and Bluetooth interfaces (depending on model). All the models offer 1.2GHz clock speeds, OpenGL/ES 2.0 3D support, and video acceleration for 1080p video, while the two higher-end ones supply more robust GPUs that add OpenCL 1.1 support."

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Writing Documentation: Teach, Don't Tell
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '13 at 03:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's here-is-a-screen-full-of-words,-go-wild department:
Programmer Steve Losh has written a lengthy explanation of what separates good documentation from bad, and how to go about planning and writing documentation that will actually help people. His overarching point is that documentation should be used to teach, not to dump excessive amounts of unstructured information onto a user. Losh takes many of the common documentation tropes — "read the source," "look at the tests," "read the docstrings" — and makes analogies with learning everyday skills to show how silly they can be. "This is your driving teacher, Ms. Smith. ... If you have any questions about a part of the car while you’re driving, you can ask her and she’ll tell you all about that piece. Here are the keys, good luck!" He has a similar opinion of API strings: "API documentation is like the user’s manual of a car. When something goes wrong and you need to replace a tire it’s a godsend. But if you’re learning to drive it’s not going to help you because people don’t learn by reading alphabetized lists of disconnected information." Losh's advice for wikis is simple and straightforward: "They are bad and terrible. Do not use them."

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Sizing Up the Viral Threat
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '13 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's keep-that-facemelting-plague-away-from-me department:
sciencehabit writes "Ebola, HIV, influenza, MERS. Plenty of animal viruses cause devastating diseases in humans. But nature might have many more in store. In a new study, U.S. researchers estimate that there are more than 320,000 unknown viruses lurking in mammals alone (abstract). Identifying all the viruses in mammals would be a huge boon to scientists and epidemiologists, Daszak says. If an animal virus begins spreading to humans, they could use the new sequences to quickly pinpoint its source. In the lab, they could study the newfound viruses to see which are most likely to jump to humans and then prepare vaccines or drugs, he says. 'It would be the beginning of the end for pandemics.' A complete viral inventory would also carry a hefty price tag: about $6.3 billion, the authors estimate. 'But you have to put that into perspective,' says Daszak, pointing to the 2003 SARS outbreak. That pandemic alone is estimated to have cost between $15 billion and $50 billion in economic losses."

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Open-Source Python Code Shows Lowest Defect Density
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '13 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's errors-should-never-pass-silently department:
cold fjord sends news that a study by Coverity has found open-source Python code to contain a lower defect density than any other language. "The 2012 Scan Report found an average defect density of .69 for open source software projects that leverage the Coverity Scan service, as compared to the accepted industry standard defect density for good quality software of 1.0. Python's defect density of .005 significantly surpasses this standard, and introduces a new level of quality for open source software. To date, the Coverity Scan service has analyzed nearly 400,000 lines of Python code and identified 996 new defects — 860 of which have been fixed by the Python community."

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Can Closed Public Schools Become Makerspaces? (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '13 at 01:00 PM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's many-brains-make-light-work department:
In August Phil Shapiro wrote an article that asked the question, Can 50 Closed Chicago Schools Become 50 Makerspaces? Now, in September, we have a ruminative interview with him about schools, makerspaces, and how making places where kids (and adults) can make things and generally tinker with tools and get used to the idea of working with their hands to create new things and to repair old ones. For many of us in previous generations, our "makerspace" was our garage or basement, and our mentor was Dad. Today, this doesn't seem to be the case in a lot of homes. Besides, working with others is safer than working alone, and even if we bowl alone there is no good social or biological reason for us to create alone -- especially if we have a congenial makerspace nearby.

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Angry Customer Buys Promoted Tweets To Bash British Airways
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '13 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's why-make-the-money-if-you're-not-going-to-enjoy-spending-it department:
An anonymous reader writes "After the airline lost his father's luggage (and presumably was less than helpful in resolving the issue), one man decided to use Twitter's self-serve ad platform to issue a warning to fellow travelers in the New York and UK markets. The tweets have gotten the attention not only of media outlets, but also of fellow airlines. A JetBlue executive even retweeted it. While companies use the platform to target customers, it's interesting to see it being turned around."

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Software Brings Eye Contact To Video Chat, With a Little Help From Kinect
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '13 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's and-makes-you-look-really-funny-when-it-bugs-out department:
Zothecula writes "Skype has been around for ten years now. Once a science fiction dream, the video calling service has 300 million users making two billion minutes of video calls a day. One problem: most of them can't look each other in the eye. Claudia Kuster, a doctoral student at the Computer Graphics Laboratory ETH Zurich, and her team are developing a way to bring eye contact to Skype and similar video services with software that alters the caller's on-screen image to give the illusion that they're looking straight at the camera."

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Japanese Ice Wall To Stop Reactor Leaks
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '13 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's proposal-by-kim-stanley-robinson department:
minstrelmike writes "Japan is planning to install a two-mile, subterranean ice wall around the Fukushima nuclear plant. 'The ice wall would freeze the ground to a depth of up to 30 meters (100 feet) through a system of pipes carrying a coolant as cold as minus 40 degrees Celsius (minus 40 Fahrenheit). That would block contaminated water from escaping from the facility's immediate surroundings, as well as keep underground water from entering the reactor and turbine buildings, where much of the radioactive water has collected.' The technology they're using has not been used to that extent before, nor for more than a couple years. An underground water expert said, 'the frozen wall won't be ready for another two years, which means contaminated water would continue to leak out.' But at least they have a $470 million plan ready to present to the Olympic committee choosing between Madrid, Istanbul or Tokyo."

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