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The Worst Apple Store In America — An Employee Confession
Posted by News Fetcher on August 22 '12 at 05:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's what's-the-world-coming-to-when-you-can't-trust-cheap-labor-anymore department:
Cutting_Crew writes "Gizmodo has a piece that describes one of the worst and most corrupt Apple stores. Two employees recount management exchanging brand new computers for face-lifts (and other things), not just from customers, but also from businesses. Other common activities ranged from destroying devices repeatedly and ringing up new ones (for themselves and friends as fake customers) to outright stealing merchandise and cash. Customers may have also lost their data if they weren't polite when coming in for a repair, or the 'Genius' help may have been intoxicated."

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Video Purports To Show Successful Hover Bike Test Flights
Posted by News Fetcher on August 22 '12 at 05:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's bumpercars:-the-next-generation department:
Zothecula writes "Videos released by California-based tech research company Aerofex appear to show successful test flights of a prototype hover bike that gains lift from two large ducted rotors. Aeroflex claims its hover bike allows the pilot intuitive control over pitch, roll and yaw without need of artificial intelligence, flight software or electronics of any kind."

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Neal Stephenson On Fiction, Games, and Saving the World
Posted by News Fetcher on August 22 '12 at 05:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-necessarily-in-that-order department:
An anonymous reader points out an interview with Neal Stephenson at The Verge in which he talks a bit about his upcoming "research-heavy" novel, his Mongoliad project to reinvent the fiction novel as an app, what he thinks about saving the world with sci-fi. He says,
"It would be saying a lot to say that SF can save the world, but I do think that we've fallen into a habitual state of being depressed and pessimistic about the future. We are extremely conservative and fearful about how we deploy our resources. It contrasts pretty vividly with the way we worked in the first half of the 20th century. We are looking at a lot of challenges now that I do not think can be solved as long as we stay in that mindset. This is more of an 'if you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail' kind of thing. My hammer is that I can write science fiction, so that's the thing I'm going to try to do. If I had billions of dollars sitting around, I could try to put my money where my mouth is and invest it. If I did something else for a living, I would be using my skills – whatever they were – to solve this problem, but since I'm a science fiction writer, I'm going to try to address it through the medium of science fiction."

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Nintendo Power To Shut Down
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 07:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's thanks-for-the-dragon-warrior-3-maps department:
stillnotelf writes "Ars Technica is reporting that the official Nintendo magazine, Nintendo Power, is shutting down after 24 years. The gaming magazine has been run by independent publisher Future US since 2007, but Ars Technica's source and deleted Twitter posts say that Nintendo is uninterested in continuing the paper magazine in today's digital age, and also unwilling to convert it into a primarily digital experience. There's been no official confirmation of the cancellation or word of how many issues remain of this bit of childhood nostalgia for so many gamers."

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Mobile Operator Grabs 4G Lead In UK — But Will Anything Work On It?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 06:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's my-toaster-is-compatible department:
pbahra writes "Finally, the U.K. is going to get a 4G mobile-Internet service. For a country that was once at the cutting edge of mobile telephony, its lack of high-speed mobile broadband was becoming a severe embarrassment. Everything Everywhere, Britain's largest mobile network operator, has been granted permission by U.K. regulator Ofcom to provide next-generation LTE services as early as Sept. 11. Although Ofcom's ruling is a significant step for the U.K.'s telecoms future, the choice of frequency — 1,800 MHz — means that devices that can take advantage of the much faster data speeds that LTE offers — theoretically up to 100 megabits a second — are limited. Currently the only significant market using the frequency is South Korea. While 1,800 MHz is in use in a small number of European countries, and in Australia, numbers of users are small in comparison to the U.S. This means devices may be harder to get and cost more. So, anyone who thinks their new iPad is going to zip along at 4G speeds is going to be disappointed; the new iPad only supports U.S. LTE frequencies. For the same reason, those hanging on for the new iPhone, expected to be announced on Sept. 12, in the hope that it will be LTE-compliant are unlikely to have good news. Even if there is a new iPhone, and even if it is LTE-enabled, will it operate on Everything Everywhere's frequency?"

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Ask Slashdot: To AdBlock Or Not To AdBlock?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 04:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's ethics-of-free department:
conner_bw writes "Is there an acceptable compromise to behavioral targeting? On the one hand, I don't want to be profiled by unscrupulous advertisers. On the other hand, I feel that the advertiser is the middleman between the things I care about (content) and the dollars that support those things. My compromise is to take a page out of BF Skinner's book, Walden Two, and view the situation as a sort of absurd behaviorist experiment. Basically, I Adblock everything, but whitelist the sites I support. Is this too much? Not enough? What should individuals do protect themselves, if anything at all?"

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Cheap Four-fingered Robot Hand Edges Closer To Human Dexterity
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 03:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's talk-to-the-hand department:
ananyo writes "A robot that can reproduce the dexterity of the human hand remains a dream of the bioengineering profession. One new approach to achieving this goal avoids trying to replicate the intricacy of the bones, joints and ligaments that produce our most basic gestures. A Sandia National Laboratories research team has adopted just such a strategy by designing a modular, plastic proto-hand whose electronics system is largely made from parts found in cell phones. The Sandia Hand can still perform with a high level of finesse for a robot, and is even capable of replacing the batteries in a small flashlight. It is expected to cost about $10,000, a fraction of the $250,000 price tag for a state-of-the-art robot hand today. The Sandia Hand's fingers are modular and affixed to the hand frame via magnets. This gives the researchers the flexibility to design interchangeable appendages tipped with screwdrivers, flashlights, cameras and other tools. The fingers are also designed to detach automatically to avoid damage if the hand hits a wall or other solid object too hard. The researchers say the hand can even be manipulated to retrieve and reattach a fallen finger. The Hand's current incarnation has only four fingers, including the equivalent of an opposable thumb. In the video with the article, the Sandia Hand demonstrates a number of capabilities, including, perhaps most impressively, dropping a AA battery into a flashlight."

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And Now, the Cartoon News
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words-depending-on-bitrate department:
theodp writes "Would you read a cartoon version of Slashdot? Quality stuff, not half-baked MS-Paint posts like 'Introducing Microsoft Monocle and Self-Driving Bentley'. Erin Polgreen has big plans for illustrated journalism. In October, Polgreen will be launching Symbolia, a tablet-based magazine of illustrated journalism, through Apple's App Store. 'Illustrated journalism draws you in, Polgreen explains. 'It's accessible in a way 5,000 words of text isn't. Regardless of age, gender or anything, you grasp it faster than most journalism.' Polgreen follows in the footsteps of other cartoonist-journalists, including Joe Kubert (RIP), Joe Sacco, and Josh Neufeld."

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Inside the Grum Botnet
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's creamy-nougat-filling department:
tsu doh nimh writes "An examination of a control server seized in the recent takedown of the Grum spam botnet shows the crime machine was far bigger than most experts had assumed. A PHP panel used to control the botnet shows it had just shy of 200,000 systems sending spam when it was dismantled in mid-July. Researchers also found dozens of huge email lists, totaling more than 2.3 billion addresses, as well evidence it was used for phishing and malware attacks in addition to mailing pharmacy spam. Just prior to its takedown, Grum was responsible for sending about one in six spams worldwide."

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Astronomers Watch Star Devouring Planet
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's om-nom-nom department:
jamstar7 writes "According to Universe Today, 'Astronomers have witnessed the first evidence of a planet's destruction by its aging star as it expands into a red giant. "A similar fate may await the inner planets in our solar system, when the Sun becomes a red giant and expands all the way out to Earth's orbit some five-billion years from now," said Alex Wolszczan, from Penn State, University, who led a team which found evidence of a missing planet having been devoured by its parent star (abstract, pre-print). Wolszczan also is the discoverer of the first planet ever found outside our solar system. The planet-eating culprit, a red-giant star named BD+48 740, is older than the Sun and now has a radius about eleven times bigger than our Sun. The evidence the astronomers found was a massive planet in a surprising and highly elliptical orbit around the star — indicating a missing planet — plus the star's wacky chemical composition.' Five billion years or so is a long way off, so it's likely none of us has to worry about it. But still, watching a star eating its own planets is not only cool in its own right, but also provides food for thought as to how to keep the human species going long after the Sun starts going off the main sequence into red giant-hood. And, of course, putting more funding into astronomers' and physicists' hands now can give us a closer estimate of when it'll happen. It's all in the math..."

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The Worst Job At Google: a Year of Watching Terrible Things On the Internet
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's rather-flip-burgers department:
Cutting_Crew writes "Gizmodo has called attention to a story that describes the worst job you can get at Google: wading through and blocking objectionable content, which includes watching decapitations and beastiality. A ex-Google-employee who did just that tells his own story of a year-long stint of looking at the most horrible things on the internet. In the end, he needed therapy, and since he was a contractor, he was let go instead of being hired as a full time employee."

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US To Drive 3,000 Wi-Fi Linked Vehicles In Massive Crash Avoidance Trial
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's trying-to-break-fewer-things department:
coondoggie writes "The US Department of Transportation said it will run a massive road test of cars, trucks and buses linked together via WiFi equipment in what the agency says will be the largest test of automated crash avoidance technology to date. The test will be conducted by the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), and feature mostly volunteer participants whose vehicles have been outfitted with vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication devices."

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Should Medical Apps Be Regulated?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's what-could-possibly-go-wrong department:
maximus1 writes "There's a tidal wave of medical-related apps coming to smartphones and tablets that will be used by doctors and patients alike. But how should the medical establishment deal with them? Neurologist Steven Levine, currently working on an app for stroke victims, thinks they should be treated like new medicines: developed using scientific peer review and subject to regulation by the government or professional associations. Obstetrician Kurian Thott, developer of an app called iRounds that helps communication between doctors, thinks they should be released quickly and the market should decide which take off. What do you think?"

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10 Internet Connections At Same Time
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's for-when-nine-just-don't-cut-it department:
An anonymous reader writes "As a follow-up to the story about Verizon being forced to allow tethering, the engineers at Connectify climbed on the roof and made a video showing an 85Mbps download rate through a combination of a tethered Verizon mobile phone and all of the available open Wi-Fi networks. It's a darn shame that they cancelled the unlimited 3G on the Kindle; tether 20 of those bad boys and you could have had a real Internet connection."

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Kmscon Project Seeks To Replace Linux Virtual Terminal
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's that's-a-big-itch-you've-got department:
An anonymous reader writes "Phoronix reports on the progress of kmscon, David Herrmann's virtual console project that aims to supersede the Linux kernel's virtual terminal. kmscon takes advantage of modern Linux features such as kernel mode setting, direct rendering, and udev to provide hardware-accelerated rendering, full internationalization, monitor hot-plugging, and proper multi-seat support. A recent blog post by Herrmann addresses some of his frequently heard questions and criticisms about the kmscon project."

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The Mathematics of 'Legitimate Rape' and Pregnancy
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 09:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's you-said-rape-twice department:
Hugh Pickens writes "James Hamblin, MD writes in the Atlantic that it's unclear how common the misconception that women rarely become pregnant after rape may be, but remarks by Missouri Senatorial nominee Todd Akin that 'if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down' (video) may provide some benefit as a learning opportunity. 'From a holistic perspective, one might hypothesize that a woman's body could respond to the extreme stress and trauma of enduring rape in such a way that she would be physiologically more likely to miscarry (or not to conceive at all),' writes Hamblin. After all there is a multi-million dollar alternative reproductive health market aimed at optimizing an environment for conception so there could be something to a theory that the other, much darker end of that spectrum functions analogously. But that hypothesis doesn't hold, to any relevant degree. A widely-cited 1996 study from the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology sampled over 4,000 women and found that the rape-related pregnancy rate was 5.0 percent and studies from other countries have reported the percentage to be even greater."

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Ask Slashdot: Recording Business Meeting Audio On an Intranet?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's wait-til-the-parrot-union-finds-out-about-this department:
dousette writes "I have been tasked with modernizing our company's board room. Replacing the overhead projector with a more modern LCD projector is a no-brainer, speakers are easy enough to wire off of the HDMI projector, but one of the requirements that has me stumped is the recording of minutes. The existing system uses wired microphones connected to a cassette player, and what I would love to replace this with are some sort of Ethernet microphone that could stream directly to a Windows file share. Does such an animal exist? Do you have any other suggestions for the room that I might be missing?" So if you wanted to bypass a stand-alone system, how would you go about dumping audio straight to your network?

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"Knitted" Wi-Fi Routers Create Failover Network For First Responders
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 08:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's fire-department-do-you-read-me department:
wiredmikey writes "Wireless Internet routers used in homes and offices could be knitted together to provide a communications system for emergency responders if the mobile phone network fails, German scientists reported on Monday. In many countries, routers are so commonplace that they could be used by police and fire departments if cell towers and networks are down or overwhelmed by people caught up in an emergency, they say. This rich density means that an emergency network could piggyback on nearby routers, giving first responders access to the Internet and contact with their headquarters. The researchers suggest that routers incorporate an emergency 'switch' that responders can activate to set up a backup network, thus giving them a voice and data link through the Internet. This could be done quite easily without impeding users or intruding on their privacy, the study argues. Many routers already have a 'guest' mode, meaning a supplementary channel that allows visitors to use a home's Wi-Fi." This is a cool angle on mesh networking — reminds me of the emergency response capabilities of ham radio; if it sounds intriguing, remember that even sparse networks can make use of this kind of networking with the right antennas. Related: even without touching the hardware on your router, you can do some meshing around with Byzantium.

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BitCoin Card To Launch In 2 Months, Says BitInstant
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's cash-back-on-that-purchase? department:
hypnosec writes "Charlie Shrem, co-founder of BitInstant LLC, has confirmed that a BitCoin-funded international debit/credit card should be available very soon. Giving a time frame of 6-8 weeks, Shrem said over an IRC chat session that the card will function like any other credit or debit card, and that it can be used at places where MasterCard is being accepted. Shrem has also said that the initial 1000-odd cards will be given for free and subsequent cards will carry a charge of around $10. Any transaction that is carried out through the card [will incur a] 1% BitCoin transfer fee on top of the $1.50 ATM withdrawal fee."

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Amazon Wants To Replace Tape With Slow But Cheap Off-Site "Glacier" Storage
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's steady-as-she-goes department:
Nerval's Lobster writes with a piece at SlashCloud that says "Amazon is expanding its reach into the low-cost, high-durability archival storage market with the newly announced Glacier. While Glacier allows companies to transfer their data-archiving duties to the cloud — a potentially money-saving boon for many a budget-squeezed organization—the service comes with some caveats. Its cost structure and slow speed of data retrieval make it best suited for data that needs to be accessed infrequently, such as years-old legal records and research data. If that sounds quite a bit like Amazon Simple Storage Service, otherwise known as Amazon S3, you'd be correct. Both Amazon S3 and Glacier have been designed to store and retrieve data from anywhere with a Web connection. However, Amazon S3 — 'designed to make Web-scale computing easier for developers,' according to the company — is meant for rapid data retrieval; contrast that with a Glacier data-retrieval request (referred to as a 'job'), where it can take between 3 and 5 hours before it's ready for downloading."

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