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OpenSUSE ARM Final Less Than a Week Away; RC2 Out Now
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 09:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's diversity-training department:
Andy Prough writes "Jos Poortvliet of the openSUSE team has announced that openSUSE ARM RC2 is available for download and needs testing. The final version is due out on November 6th, and support has been expanded to include the following SoCs: Calxeda Highbank, CuBox, IMX 53, and Samsung Origen. Although Raspberry Pi is not yet supported, the openSUSE team plans to roll out support in the future. User Etam has posted a picture of it working without trouble in chroot on an N900, although Firefox is working "terribly slow" but not crashing."

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Most US Drones Still Beam Video Unencrypted
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 06:46 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's hey-it-beats-satellite-piracy department:
An anonymous reader writes "Four years after discovering that militants were tapping into drone video feeds, the U.S. military still hasn't secured the transmissions of more than half of its fleet of Predator and Reaper drones, Danger Room has learned. The majority of the aircraft still broadcast their classified video streams 'in the clear' — without encryption. With a minimal amount of equipment and know-how, militants can see what America's drones see."

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Ask Slashdot: Finding Legacy UnixWare Installation Media?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 05:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's check-the-wine-cellar department:
First time accepted submitter lukpac writes "We have an old (ancient) Unisys server in production that hosts a legacy system and are attempting to virtualize it. Unfortunately we don't have a generic UnixWare (2.1.2) installation CD, just a Unisys-specific one, and given the recent unpleasantness (see Groklaw for details), SCO isn't much of an option. We're not looking at pirating it (as above, we do still have the Unisys-specific media), but do need a generic copy of UnixWare. What options, if any, are available?"

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Con Ed Says NYC Datacenters Should Get Power Saturday
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's long-weekend-for-sysadmins department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "The local utility serving most of the New York City area, Con Edison, reported that it should begin supplying utility power to midtown and lower Manhattan by Saturday evening, returning the island's data centers and citizens to some semblance of normalcy. In the past few days, data center managers have been forced to add fuel logistics to their list of responsibilities, as most Manhattan data centers have been subsisting on generator power. That should come to an end, for the most part, when utility power is restored. In a possibly worrying note, Verizon warned late on Nov. 1 that its services to business customers could be impacted due to lack of fuel."

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Why Does a Voting Machine Need Calibration?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's to-reset-the-defrobnosticator department:
New submitter Shotgun writes "I heard on the radio that there were some issues with voting machines in Greensboro, NC (my hometown), and the story said the machines just needed "recalibration". Which made me ask, "WTF? Why does a machine for choosing between one of a few choices need 'calibration'?" This story seems to explain the issue."

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Microsoft Reportedly Working On Its Own Smartphone
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's seeing-what-sticks department:
According to a (paywalled) report in the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is experimenting with its own smartphone design. "Officials at some of Microsoft's parts suppliers, who declined to be named, said the Redmond, Wash.-based company is testing a smartphone design but isn't sure if a product will go into mass production." The article continues:
"If Microsoft pushes ahead with its mobile phone, it would underscore how far Microsoft has moved away from its long-standing practice of making software and leaving decisions about design, features and marketing of the computing hardware to partners such as Hewlett-Packard or Samsung Electronics. ... As it does so, Microsoft pulls from a modified playbook of Apple—whose hardware-plus-software approach Microsoft officials long have scorned. ... Smartphones running Microsoft's two-year-old Windows Phone operating software for cellphones haven't sold well, and Microsoft may want to leave itself an option to test whether its own phone would spur sales."

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Nonpartisan Tax Report Removed After Republican Protest
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's information-wants-to-trickle-down department:
eldavojohn writes "On September 14th a report titled 'Taxes and the Economy: An Economic Analysis of the Top Tax Rates Since 1945' (PDF) penned by the Library of Congress' nonpartisan Congressional Research Service was released to little fanfare. However, the following conclusion of the report has since roiled the GOP enough to have the report removed from the Library of Congress: 'The results of the analysis suggest that changes over the past 65 years in the top marginal tax rate and the top capital gains tax rate do not appear correlated with economic growth. The reduction in the top tax rates appears to be uncorrelated with saving, investment, and productivity growth. The top tax rates appear to have little or no relation to the size of the economic pie. However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution. As measured by IRS data, the share of income accruing to the top 0.1% of U.S. families increased from 4.2% in 1945 to 12.3% by 2007 before falling to 9.2% due to the 2007-2009 recession. At the same time, the average tax rate paid by the top 0.1% fell from over 50% in 1945 to about 25% in 2009. Tax policy could have a relation to how the economic pie is sliced—lower top tax rates may be associated with greater income disparities.' From the New York Times article: 'The pressure applied to the research service comes amid a broader Republican effort to raise questions about research and statistics that were once trusted as nonpartisan and apolitical.' It appears to no longer be found on the Library of Congress' website."

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Thousands of Lab Mice Lost In Sandy Flooding
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's george-bush-doesn't-care-about-mouse-people department:
An anonymous reader writes "While New York University's Langone Medical Center in lower Manhattan was the site of heroism as 260 patients were evacuated from flooded floors and a nearly complete loss of power, similar floods at NYU's nearby Smilow Research Building killed thousands of laboratory mice, including genetically altered specimens in-bred over many generations as research subjects for melanoma and other diseases. Other laboratory animals, cells, and living tissue used in medical research were also lost; because of the gestation period involved, some projects were likely set back a number of years. Past experience with storms such as Allison in Houston and Katrina in New Orleans has shown that keeping laboratory animals in basements is not good practice, but research institutions keep doing it anyway."

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UK Takes Huge Step Forward On Open Standards
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's setting-the-example department:
jrepin sends this news from the FSF Europe site:
"The UK government is certainly taking a long and winding road towards Free Software and Open Standards. The UK's public sector doesn't use a lot of Free Software, and many smaller Free Software companies have found it comparatively hard to get public sector buyers for their products and services. The main reason is that government agencies at all levels are locked into proprietary, vendor-specific file formats. ... The UK government has released a new Open Standards policy. With this policy (PDF), and in particular with its strong definition of Open Standards, the UK government sets an example that governments elsewhere should aspire to,' says Karsten Gerloff, President of the Free Software Foundation Europe. Under the new policy, effective immediately, patents that are essential to implementing a standard must be licensed without royalties or restrictions that would prevent their implementation in Free Software."

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VR Tech Lets People Interact With Rats
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 12:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's why?-who-knows department:
cylonlover writes "The EU Commission's Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) is working on a 'beaming' telepresence system that is designed to allow users to virtually experience being in a remote location by seeing, hearing and even feeling that location through the sensory inputs of a robot located there. That robot, in turn, would relay the user's speech and movements to the people at that location. Now, two of the CORDIS partners have put an interesting slant on the technology – they've used it to let people interact with rats."

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Tesla Model S Named 'Car of the Year'
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's who-needs-combustion department:
SternisheFan writes with news that Automobile Magazine has named the all-electric Tesla Model S its Car of the Year. Quoting:
"We weren't expecting much from the Tesla other than some interesting dinner conversation as we considered 'real' candidates like the Subaru BRZ and the Porsche Boxster. In fact, the Tesla blew them, and us, away.
Actually, the Model S can blow away almost anything. 'It's the performance that won us over,' admits editor-in-chief Jean Jennings. 'The crazy speed builds silently and then pulls back the edges of your face. It had all of us endangering our licenses.' Our Model S was of Signature Performance spec, which means its AC induction motor puts out 416 hp and that it blasts to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. ... You'll note that we haven't even discussed Tesla's raison d'etre, which is, in Musk's words, 'To accelerate the advent of electric cars.' That's another credit to the Model S's overall execution and seductive powers. 'The electric motor does not define this car,' says Nelson. But it is, at the end of the day, what makes this very good sport sedan an absolute game changer. The Model S's range, rated by the EPA at 265 miles with the largest battery, finally fits the American conception of driving."


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ARM, Microsoft Collaborating On 64-bit Windows Version
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 11:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's champing-at-the-bit department:
angry tapir writes "ARM is working with Microsoft to tune the Windows OS to work on processors based on ARM's 64-bit architecture. Ian Forsyth, program manager at ARM, could not comment on a specific release date for the 64-bit version of Windows for ARM processors, but said ARM is continuously working with software partners to add 64-bit support."

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Massachusetts May Soon Change How the Nation Dies
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-bet-it-involves-the-red-sox department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Lewis M. Cohen reports that this Election Day, Massachusetts is poised to approve the Death With Dignity Act, a modernized, sanitized, politically palatable term that replaces the now-antiquated expression 'physician-assisted suicide.' Oregon's Death With Dignity Act has been in effect for the past 14 years, and the state of Washington followed suit with a similar law in 2008. But the Massachusetts ballot question has the potential to turn death with dignity from a legislative experiment into the new national norm, because the state is the home of America's leading medical publication (the New England Journal of Medicine), hospital (Massachusetts General), and four medical schools (Harvard, Boston University, University of Massachusetts, and Tufts). If the act passes in Massachusetts, other states that have previously had unsuccessful campaigns will certainly be emboldened to revisit this subject. The initiative would allow terminally ill patients with six months or less to live to request from their doctor a prescription for a lethal dose of a drug. Doctors do not have to offer the option at all, and patients must make three requests, two verbal and one written. They must self-administer the drug, which would be ingested. The patients must be deemed capable of making an informed decision. 'It's all about choice,' says George Eighmey, a key player in instituting the Oregon law, defending it against repeal and shepherding it into reality. 'You decide. No one else can decide for you. No can can force you into it, coerce you into it or even suggest it to you unless you make a statement: "I don't want to live like this any more" or "I'm interested in that law out there, doctor, can you give me something to alleviate this pain and suffering."'"

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Crushed Silicon Triples Life of Li-Ion Batteries In the Lab
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 10:31 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's get-me-a-hammer department:
derekmead writes "Batteries rule everything around us, which makes breakthroughs a big deal. A research team at Rice says they have produced a nice jump: by using a crushed silicon anode in a lithium-ion battery, they claim to have nearly tripled the energy density of current li-ion designs. Engineer Sibani Lisa Biswal and research scientist Madhuri Thakur reported in Nature's Scientific Reports (it has yet to be published online) that by taking porous silicon and crushing it, they were able to dramatically decrease the volume required for anode material. Silicon has long been looked at as an anode material because it holds up to ten times more lithium ions than graphite, which is most commonly used commercially. But it's previously been difficult to create a silicon anode with enough surface area to cycle reliably. Silicon also expands when it's lithiated, making it harder to produce a dense anode material. After previously testing a porous silicon 'sponge,' the duo decided to try crushing the sponges to make them more compact. The result is a new battery design that holds a charge of 1,000 milliamp hours per gram through 600 tested charge cycles of two hours charging, two hours discharging. According to the team, current graphite anodes can only handle 350 mAh/g."

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WW2 Carrier Pigeon and Undecoded Message Found In Chimney
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 10:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's flue-the-coop department:
BigBadBus writes "The BBC is reporting that the remains of a World War 2 carrier pigeon were found during renovation of a chimney in England. What is interesting is that the pigeon's remains still had its message attached to the leg ring; even more interesting, this is the first recorded instance of a code being used rather than plain text. The successor to WW2 code-breaking HQ Bletchley Park, the GCHQ, is trying to decipher this unique code. Maybe a Slashdot reader can beat them to it?"

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US Government: You Don't Own Your Cloud Data So We Can Access It At Any Time
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-can-trust-us department:
New submitter jest3r writes "On Tuesday the EFF filed a brief proposing a process for the Court in the Megaupload case to hold the government accountable for the actions it took (and failed to take) when it shut down Megaupload's service and denied third parties access to their property. Many businesses used Megaupload's cloud service to store and share files not related to piracy. The government is calling for a long, drawn-out process that would require individuals or small companies to travel to courts far away and engage in multiple hearings just to get their own property back. Additionally, the government's argument that you lose all your property rights by storing your data on the cloud could apply to Amazon's S3 or Google Apps or Apple iCloud services as well (see page 4 of their filing)."

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The Evolution of the Computer Keyboard
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's descent-by-natural-hunt-and-peck department:
Lucas123 writes "As anyone who's typed on a virtual keyboard — or yelled at a voice-control app like Siri — can attest, no current text input holds a candle to a traditional computer keyboard. From the reed switch keyboards of the early '70s to the buckling spring key mechanism that drove IBM's popular PC keyboards for years to ThinTouch technology that will have about half the travel of a MacBook Air's keys, the technology that drove data entry for decades isn't likely to go anywhere anytime soon. This article takes a look back on five decades of keyboard development and where it's likely to go in the future."

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Atlantic Hurricane Season 30 Percent Stronger Than Normal
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 08:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's act-now-while-supplies-last department:
MatthewVD writes "The National Hurricane Center reported today that the combined energy and duration of all the storms in the Atlantic basin hurricane season was 30 percent above the average from 1981 to 2010. At Weather Underground, Dr. Jeff Masters blogs that record low levels of arctic ice could have caused a 'blocking ridge' over Greenland that pushed Hurricane Sandy west. Meanwhile, Bloomberg BusinessWeek says, 'it's global warming, stupid.'"

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PayPal Security Holes Expose Customer Card Data, Personal Details
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's time-to-do-a-chargeback-on-their-security-contractors department:
mask.of.sanity writes "Dangerous website flaws have been discovered in PayPal that grant attackers access to customer credit card data, account balances and purchase histories. The holes still exist. One was publicly disclosed after a failed effort in July to responsibly disclose them under PayPal's bug bounty program. PayPal is working to close the holes."

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Hurricane Sandy Fails To Stop Line For iPad Mini Launch
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 07:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's neither-rain-nor-sleet-nor-$30-adapter department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Hurricane Sandy may have plunged part of New York City into darkness, drowned its basements and subway tunnels in saltwater, and even set part of a neighborhood on fire, but it couldn't stop New Yorkers from standing in line for hours to purchase the iPad Mini. Hundreds of people lined up in front of Apple's Fifth Avenue store for the chance to get their hands on the 7.9-inch device. According to CNET, which was on the scene and running a live-blog ahead of the store's 10 AM EST opening, 'many people in line are not fluent in English and are either Asian immigrants or visitors.' That opening was originally supposed to take place at 8 AM, and likely delayed because of the obvious citywide transportation issues. But for those in New York City who manage to get their sweaty hands on a new iPad Mini, there's an unusual wrinkle in the situation: power is still out below 39th Street in Manhattan, as well as portions of Brooklyn and Queens. (Apple's Fifth Avenue store is well above that power line.) While some private homes and businesses in electrified areas have set out power strips for strangers to charge their phones, it's hard to imagine a crowd of New Yorkers standing idly by while someone spends a significant amount of time charging a new tablet. Fortunately, many of those without power have found refuge with friends and family, if they haven't left the city altogether."

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