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Leak Shows What Could Be Nokia's New Windows Phone 8 Devices
Posted by News Fetcher on August 31 '12 at 07:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's solid-color-rectangles department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Did images of Nokia's upcoming Windows Phone 8 smartphones leak a few days early? That's the question after a Twitter feed, @evleaks, posted a set of images early on Aug. 31. The first, it claimed, was of the '4.3-inch Nokia Lumia 820,' while the second purported to show the '4.5-inch Nokia Lumia 920 with PureView.' Corporate-sanctioned leaks are a fairly regular thing in the tech world, but they tend to follow well-defined patterns: a public-relations executive — wait, sorry, 'unnamed source' — will email a journalist with an image of an upcoming device, for example, or a disgruntled former engineer will data-dump information onto their blog. Glossy publicity images originating from a new, relatively unknown Twitter feed is less common, although the Twitter feed in question has leaked other images in the past."

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FinSpy Commercial Spyware Abused By Governments
Posted by News Fetcher on August 31 '12 at 07:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-can-trust-us department:
plover writes "The NY Times has a story about FinSpy, a commercial spyware package sold 'only for law enforcement purposes,' being used by governments to spy on dissidents, journalists, and others. Two U.S. computer experts, Morgan Marquis-Boire from Google, and Bill Marczak, a PhD student in Computer Science, have been tracking it down around the world. 'The software proved to be the stuff of a spy film: it can grab images of computer screens, record Skype chats, turn on cameras and microphones and log keystrokes. The two men said they discovered mobile versions of the spyware customized for all major mobile phones. But what made the software especially sophisticated was how well it avoided detection. Its creators specifically engineered it to elude antivirus software made by Kaspersky Lab, Symantec, F-Secure and others.'"

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Bethesda: We Can't Make Dawnguard Work On the PS3
Posted by News Fetcher on August 31 '12 at 06:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's have-you-tried-turning-it-off-and-on-again department:
An anonymous reader sends this quote from Geek.com:
"PS3 gamers may now never get access to the content in Skyrim's Dawnguard DLC. That's the news coming out of Bethesda via their forums. Administrator and global community lead Gstaff posted an update on the state of PS3 DLC for the game, and it's not looking great. Gstaff explains that releasing sizeable DLC is a complex issue, and it seems like for the PS3 it might be just a bit too complex. No detail is given as to what the specific problem is, but Bethesda is preparing PS3 gamers for the reality that Dawnguard, and for that matter any other Skyrim DLC, may never reach the platform. I'd like to know what the exact problem is they can't overcome, but I'd also like to know if this is a failing on Bethesda's part or a shortcoming of the PS3 architecture. Maybe Sony should pay Bethesda a visit and see what's going on."
In other Skyrim news, a mod for the game that attempted to recreate J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth has received a Cease & Desist letter from Warner Bros, causing development to stop.

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Samsung Beats Apple In Tokyo, Itching To Sue Over LTE Patents
Posted by News Fetcher on August 31 '12 at 05:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's one-for-you-one-for-me-one-for-you-one-for-me department:
AmiMoJo writes "A court in Tokyo has ruled that Samsung Electronics did not infringe on a patent relating to transferring media content between devices. Tokyo District Judge Tamotsu Shoji dismissed the case filed by Apple in August, finding that Samsung was not in violation of Apple patents related to synchronizing music and video data between devices and servers."
This particular battle is just one front in a patent war that spans ten countries and dozens of cases. Samsung also confirmed it was ready and willing to sue Apple if an LTE iPhone ever hits the market. Meanwhile, Apple was granted a number of new patents on Tuesday, including one for changing settings on a wireless device depending on its location (#8,254,902). For example, sound and light from the device could be disabled when entering a movie theater, or communications with other devices could be disabled in a science laboratory.

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Promising New Drug May Cure Malaria
Posted by News Fetcher on August 31 '12 at 05:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's take-that-mosquitoes department:
Diggester writes "Researchers at the University of Cape Town in South Africa have developed a pill that can wipe out malaria with a single dose. It's a development that could save millions of lives in Africa alone, not to mention the rest of the world. But there's a teensy weensy little hurdle that must first be overcome: human testing. According to National Geographic, 'Clinical tests are scheduled for the end of 2013. If this tablet is approved in coming years, this achievement will surely usher in a new age for science in Africa. It will save millions upon millions of lives on the continent, helping avoid at least 24 percent of child deaths in sub-Saharan Africa.'"

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US Particle Colliders In Need of Funding
Posted by News Fetcher on August 31 '12 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's keeping-the-lights-on department:
DevotedSkeptic writes "When the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland seized the world record for the highest-energy collisions in 2010, it also sealed the fate of the leading US particle collider. The Tevatron, at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, was closed the following year to save money. Now, physicists at another US physics facility, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, are trying to avoid a similar end. On 13 August, researchers at the ALICE heavy-ion experiment at the LHC at CERN, Europe's particle-physics lab near Geneva, announced that they had created the hottest-ever man-made plasma of quarks and gluons. This eclipsed the record temperature achieved at RHIC two years earlier by 38%, and raised uncomfortable questions about RHIC's future. Tribble still hopes to avoid having to close any of the three facilities. In 2005, he notes, a similar crisis was averted after an advisory committee laid out the dire consequences of flat funding for the future of US nuclear science. In the end, Congress came through with the budgetary increases required. 'What we want to do here is to spell out what will be lost under different budgets,' he says. His committee is planning to hold a final meeting in November, in time to influence the budget requests from US funding agencies for the next fiscal year."

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The Truth About Hiring "Rock Star" Developers
Posted by News Fetcher on August 31 '12 at 01:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's bang-for-your-buck department:
snydeq writes "You want the best and the brightest money can buy. Or do you? Andrew Oliver offers six hard truths about 'rock-star' developers, arguing in favor of mixed skill levels with a focus on getting the job done: 'A big, important project has launched — and abruptly crashed to the ground. The horrible spaghetti code is beyond debugging. There are no unit tests, and every change requires a meeting with, like, 40 people. Oh, if only we'd had a team of 10 "rock star" developers working on this project instead! It would have been done in half the time with twice the features and five-nines availability. On the other hand, maybe not. A team of senior developers will often produce a complex design and no code, thanks to the reasons listed below.'"

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What The Apollo 11 Crew Did For Life Insurance
Posted by News Fetcher on August 31 '12 at 12:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's sign-your-life-away department:
Back in 1969 insurance companies weren't very optimistic about the odds of an astronaut making it back to earth after being launched in a rocket to the moon. The cost of life insurance for the Apollo 11 crew was astronomically high so they came up with a clever solution. A month before launch, the astronauts signed hundreds of autographs that were to be sold if they didn't make it back. From the article: "About a month before Apollo 11 was set to launch, the three astronauts entered quarantine. And, during free moments in the following weeks, each of the astronauts signed hundreds of covers.

They gave them to a friend. And on important days — the day of the launch, the day the astronauts landed on the moon — their friend got them to the post office and got them postmarked, and then distributed them to the astronauts' families.

It was life insurance in the form of autographs."

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If Extinct Species Can Be Brought Back... Should We?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 30 '12 at 11:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's gone-for-a-reason department:
retroworks writes "Rebecca J. Rosen interviews experts in this edition of The Atlantic, to ask about the ethics and wisdom of using cloning, backbreeding, or genome editing. Over 90% of species ever to exist on earth are no more. The article ponders the moral and environmental challenges of humans reintroducing species which humans made extinct."

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Biodiesel From Sewage Sludge
Posted by News Fetcher on August 30 '12 at 09:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's french-fries-smell-better department:
MTorrice writes "Scientists have developed a way to convert lipids from sewage sludge into biodiesel. The low cost and high yield of the sludge process may make it economically feasible as a source of biofuel, the researchers say. Today, biofuel producers use lipids in vegetable oils to derive biodiesel, a mixture of fatty-acid-like molecules. Biodiesel is compatible with existing diesel engines, burns with less pollution than petroleum-derived diesel does, and comes from renewable resources. But current biodiesel feedstocks are expensive, limiting the fuel's widespread use. The researchers from South Korea found that sewage sludge, the semisolid material left over from wastewater treatment, can yield 2,200 times more lipids than soybeans and costs 96% less to process. To turn the sludge lipids into biodiesel, the researchers heated them with methanol."

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Bionic Eye Lets Blind Woman Experience Vision
Posted by News Fetcher on August 30 '12 at 08:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's red-computer-eyes department:
An anonymous reader writes "Australian researchers implanted a bionic eye with 24 electrodes in Ms Dianne Ashworth, a 54-year-old who had limited vision due to a inherited condition called retinitis pigmentosa. The implant has allowed her to see flashes of light and shapes when researchers deliver electrical pulses to the device. From the article: 'This early prototype consists of a retinal implant with 24 electrodes. A small lead wire extends from the back of the eye to a connector behind the ear. An external system is connected to this unit in the laboratory, allowing researchers to stimulate the implant in a controlled manner in order to study the flashes of light.

Feedback from Ms Ashworth will allow researchers to develop a vision processor so that images can be built using flashes of light. This early prototype does not incorporate an external camera – yet. This is planned for the next stage of development and testing.'"


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Makerplane Aims To Create the First Open Source Aircraft
Posted by News Fetcher on August 30 '12 at 06:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's peoples-plane department:
cylonlover writes "MakerPlane plans to do for the aviation industry what Firefox and Linux did for computers. By adopting open source design and digital manufacturing, MakerPlane's founder John Nicol hopes to overcome the frustration and disappointment that most kit plane builders encounter. Over 60 percent of all kitplanes started end up collecting dust and those that are finished must overcome the challenges of complicated plans, the need for special tools and thousands of hours of labor with little or no manufacturer support. Nicol believes that a more community-oriented design approach will overcome many of these obstacles. Israel-based aeronautical engineer Jeffrey Meyer is leading the MakerPlane charge to develop a safe, inexpensive kitplane that can be built at home or at a 'makerspace' through the efforts of people volunteering their efforts and ideas. MakerPlane intends to make the plans and avionics software for the plane available for free, but will sell parts and support services to fund the project."

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Message In Bottle Found After 98 Years Near Shetland
Posted by News Fetcher on August 30 '12 at 04:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's message-in-a-bottle department:
An anonymous reader writes "A drift bottle released in June 1914 by Captain CH Brown of the Glasgow School of Navigation has been found. Part of a project to help map currents, 1,890 scientific research bottles were released around Scotland. Only 315 of them were ever recovered. From the article: 'Mr Leaper, 43, who found the bottle east of Shetland, explained: "As we hauled in the nets I spotted the bottle neck sticking out and I quickly grabbed it before it fell back in the sea. It was very exciting to find the bottle and I couldn't wait to open it."'"

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Pinch-to-Zoom and Rounded Rectangles: What the Jury Didn't Say
Posted by News Fetcher on August 30 '12 at 04:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's and-the-story-continues department:
CharlyFoxtrot writes "Steve Wildstrom at Tech.Pinions takes on some of the what he calls folklore surrounding Apple v Samsung, investigating what was and wasn't part of the case and how the media got it wrong : 'There's one serious problem with the first sentence, which was repeated dozens of times in stories in print and on the Web. Apple only has a limited patent on the pinch to shrink, stretch to zoom gesture that is a core element of touch interfaces. And the 826 patent wasn't in dispute in the Samsung case because Apple never asserted it. In fact, this particular patent does not seem to be in dispute in any litigation.'"

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Oracle Patches Java 7 Vulnerability
Posted by News Fetcher on August 30 '12 at 03:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's patch-it-up department:
First time accepted submitter JavaBear writes "Oracle have just released the u7 release of their Java 7. From the article: 'In response to the findings of a recent vulnerability in Java 7 that was being exploited by malware developers, Oracle has released an official patch that takes care of the problem.

In the past week, a new vulnerability was unveiled in Oracle's Java 7 runtime, which has been used by hackers in targeted attacks on Windows-based systems. Similar to the recent Flashback malware in OS X, this vulnerability allows criminals to create a drive-by hack where the only action needed to compromise a system is to visit a rogue Web page that hosts a malicious Java applet."


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2nd Largest Liquefied Natural Gas Producer Knocked Offline In Malware Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on August 30 '12 at 02:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's raise-shields department:
chicksdaddy writes "Securityledger reports that, days after Saudi Aramco said it had cleansed its network of a malware infection, Quatari firm RasGas, the world's second largest producer of liquefied natural gas, has been knocked offline in a similar attack. RasGas's corporate web site was offline late Thursday and a RasGas spokesman, speaking to the website arabianoilandgas.com acknowledged that 'an unknown virus has affected' the company's office systems since Monday, August 27. The company has notified its suppliers by fax that the company is 'experiencing technical issues with its office computer systems,' ArabianOilandGas.com reported. However, a company spokesperson said that the company's LNG production and distribution operations were unaffected."

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Apple Rejects Drone Strike App
Posted by News Fetcher on August 30 '12 at 01:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's you'll-have-a-different-think-comin' department:
eldavojohn writes "Developer Josh Begley, a student at Clay Shirky's NYU Media Lab, created an application called Drones+ that allows users to track U.S. drone strikes on a map of Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Far from innovative, the app in question merely relays and positions strikes as available from the U.K.'s Bureau of Investigative Journalism. First Apple rejected the application claiming it was 'not useful or entertaining enough,' then it was rejected for hiding a corporate logo. And the latest reason for objection is that Begley's content is 'objectionable and crude' and 'that many audiences would find [it] objectionable." Begley's at a loss for how to change information on a map. He's not showing images of the drone strikes nor even graphically describing the strikes. From the end of the article, 'The basic idea was to see if he could get App Store denizens a bit more interested in the U.S.' secretive, robotic wars, with information on those wars popping up on their phones the same way an Instagram comment or retweet might. Instead, Begley's thinking about whether he'd have a better shot making the same point in the Android Market.'"

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Ask Slashdot: What Should a Unix Fan Look For In a Windows Expert?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 30 '12 at 01:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's everyone-always-says-sense-of-humour department:
andy5555 writes "I am hardcore Unix (and recently storage) fan responsible for our server department. Most of the servers run (you guessed it) different types of Unix. For quite a long time, Windows servers played very little role, but sometimes we get applications from our business departments which run only under Windows. So it seems that we have to take it seriously and hire a few Windows fans who would be able to take care of the (still small but growing) number of Windows servers. Since I am Unix fan, I have very little knowledge of Windows (some of my teammates may have more, but we are not experts). If I have to hire such a person I would like to find someone who is passionate about Windows. It is easy for me to recognize a Windows fan, but I don't know how to test his/her knowledge. There are some sites with typical Windows interview questions, but everybody can read them and prepare. How would you recommend the hiring process to proceed? What should I ask?"

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Windows 8 Is 'a Work of Art.' But It's No Linux
Posted by News Fetcher on August 30 '12 at 12:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's design-team-denied-your-request department:
colinneagle writes "Earlier this week I installed the final version of Windows 8. And it is awesome. That's not a joke. Windows 8 is absolutely, unequivocally stellar. And yet, at the end of the day, I am right back to using Linux. Why is that? What is it about Linux that makes me so excited to use it — even while enjoying another operating system that I view as, in all seriousness, a work of art? Why do I not simply install Windows 8 on every machine I own and be happy with it? For me, it's the ability to slowly chip away and remove items from your user interface until you are left with only want you want, and nothing more. The option of looking at an item on the screen, right clicking on it, and declaring to said item 'Listen up, mister Thing-On-My-Screen. I don't want you anymore. Be gone!' Panels, bars, docks, launchers, widgets, gadgets – whatever is on your screen, there is probably a way to send it to whatever form of the afterlife is reserved for unwanted Desktop Crud. And, I'll tell you this right now – as great as it is, you don't find a whole lot of 'Right click, Remove Panel' in Windows 8."

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Microsoft's Sneak Attack On Apple: SkyDrive, Not Surface
Posted by News Fetcher on August 30 '12 at 11:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's as-long-as-it-works-on-my-windows-phone department:
New submitter curtwoodward writes "Microsoft won't become a hardware company — unless you count mice and keyboards, former Microsoftie Charlie Kindel argues — because that would mean competing with Apple on its terms. But Kindel says Microsoft may be embarking on a totally new business model by seeding its connected software services across all platforms. You saw more evidence this week with the release of SkyDrive for Android. 'For that to work, it can't just be Windows,' he says. 'As a matter of fact, to beat Apple, it has to work really well on Apple devices.'"

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