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Aussie Government Proposes OpenDocument As the Standard Format
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '13 at 03:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's need-a-format-that-works-for-all-those-upside-down-computers department:
Bismillah writes "The Australian government chief technical officer wants some views on proposals for the official standard operating environment, which features OpenDocument as the proposed document format. Otherwise, the Aussie government is pretty much a Microsoft shop, with Windows 7 x64 and IE10 as the standard platform. 'Interoperability and support for several versions of Microsoft Office is cited by the AGCTO as reasons to go with ODF, along with flexibility and the fact that the format is continously updated and developed. Spreadsheet formulae are now included in the ODF 1.2 specification as well and the AGTO believes that this, along with Microsoft Office 2013 supporting the format, will help to reliably transfer formulae between applications.' According to the CTO's call for opinions, 'Standardizing on a format supported by a wide range of office suites provides for the greatest possible degree of interoperability without mandating the use of a specific product, as well as providing the best basis for reliable interchange of information between agencies deploying differing office productivity suites.'"

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A Commencement Speech For 2013 CS Majors
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '13 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's enjoy-all-of-your-debt department:
blackbearnh writes "Most commencement speeches are long on platitudes and short on practical advice. O'Reilly blogger James Turner has tailored a speech aimed specifically at the current batch of graduating CS majors. Among the advice that the 35-year industry veteran offers are to find a small company for your first job, but not one that is going to burn you out. Also, keep learning new things, but don't fall into the trap of learning the flavor of the day technology. Quoting: 'Being passionate about software is critical to being successful, because the field is a constantly moving target. What will net you $130K today will be done by junior programmers in five years, and unless you're constantly adding new tools to your belt, you’re going to find yourself priced out of the market. ... You are rarely going to get an opportunity to have your current employer pay for you to learn things, so learn them on your own and be in a position to leverage the skills when a new project comes along. But if you have a passion for technology, you'll already be doing it, and enjoying it without needing me to tell you to."

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Supercomputers At TACC Getting a Speed Boost
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '13 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's finally-found-the-turbo-button department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at The University of Texas at Austin is going to get a major speed boost this summer, and it won't come from new CPUs. Internet2, the research project that acts as a test bed for new Internet technologies, will take TACC's massive computing system from 10GB to 100GB of Ethernet throughput. TACC supercomputers are regularly found near the top of the Top 500 supercomputer list, which ranks the world's fastest supercomputers. But while the supercomputers were fast, the connectivity wasn't quite up to snuff. So TACC began the emigration to the Internet2 network. TACC is a key partner in the UT Research Cyberinfrastructure, which provides a combination of advanced computing, high-bandwidth network connectivity, and large data storage to all 15 of the UT system schools. So not only is TACC upgraded to Internet2s 100GB and 8.8 terabit-per-second optical network, platform, services and technologies, so is the entire UT system. 'This Internet2 bandwidth upgrade will enable researchers to achieve a tenfold increase in moving data to/from TACC's supercomputing, visualization and data storage systems, greatly increasing their productivity and their ability to make new discoveries,' TACC director Jay Boisseau wrote in a statement."

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Researchers Regenerate 400-Year-Old Frozen Plants
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '13 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's how-are-they-in-a-salad? department:
Several readers sent word of a group of University of Alberta researchers, who were exploring the edge of the Teardrop Glacier in northern Canada when they noticed a 'greenish tint' coming out from underneath the glacier. It turned out to be a collection of bryophytes, which likely flourished there the last time the land in that area was exposed to sunlight before the Little Ice Age. They collected samples of plants estimated to be 400 years old, and the researchers were able to get them to sprout new growths in the lab (abstract).
"The glaciers in the region have been receding at rates that have sharply accelerated since 2004, at about 3-4m per year. ... Bryophytes are different from the land plants that we know best, in that they do not have vascular tissue that helps pump fluids around different parts of the organism. They can survive being completely desiccated in long Arctic winters, returning to growth in warmer times, but Dr La Farge was surprised by an emergence of bryophytes that had been buried under ice for so long. 'When we looked at them in detail and brought them to the lab, I could see some of the stems actually had new growth of green lateral branches, and that said to me that these guys are regenerating in the field, and that blew my mind.'"

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Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Way To Work On Projects While Traveling?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '13 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's build-an-office-inside-a-rental-truck department:
An anonymous reader writes "I really want to go travel the world with the money I've saved up at my day job, but I also want to grow as a developer in the process. This is a long-term engagement: 2-3 years or more depending on whether my software is successful. I'll probably be hopping from hostel to hostel at first, with a few weeks at each. How do I find a good work environment in these conditions? Do hostels generally have quiet areas where work could be done? Is it OK to get out your laptop and spend the day in a cafe in Europe, assuming you keep buying drinks? What about hackerspaces — are those common on the other side of the globe? (Apartments are an option for later on, but I'm concerned about losing the social atmosphere that's built in with the hostel lifestyle.) I've never done anything like this before, but I'm really excited about the idea! Any advice would be greatly appreciated."

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Transform Any Unity Project Into a Relativistic Playground With OpenRelativity
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '13 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's aim,-calculate-lorentz-transform,-fire department:
schirra writes "The MIT Game Lab has just released the graphics/physics engine from its popular game A Slower Speed of Light as an open-source project, allowing anyone to play around with the effects of special relativity using Unity3D. While the hope is that game developers and educators will use OpenRelativity to develop new kinds of relativistic games and simulations, that shouldn't stop those with a casual interest from playing around with these wicked cool effects. For the physics inclined, these effects include Lorentz contraction, time dilation, Doppler shift, and the searchlight effect--though a PhD in theoretical physics isn't required to enjoy or use the project."

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Jeremy Hammond of LulzSec Pleads Guilty To Stratfor Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '13 at 11:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's overcharging-wins-another-court-case department:
eldavojohn writes "After facing 30 years to life imprisonment and pleading not guilty to charges last year, Jeremy Hammond has pleaded guilty to his alleged involvement in Anonymous' hacking of Stratfor. The self proclaimed hacktivist member of LulzSec, who has compared his situation to that of the late Aaron Swartz, explained his reasoning in his plea: 'Today I pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. This was a very difficult decision. I hope this statement will explain my reasoning. I believe in the power of the truth. In keeping with that, I do not want to hide what I did or to shy away from my actions. This non-cooperating plea agreement frees me to tell the world what I did and why, without exposing any tactics or information to the government and without jeopardizing the lives and well-being of other activists on and offline. During the past 15 months I have been relatively quiet about the specifics of my case as I worked with my lawyers to review the discovery and figure out the best legal strategy. There were numerous problems with the government's case, including the credibility of FBI informant Hector Monsegur. However, because prosecutors stacked the charges with inflated damages figures, I was looking at a sentencing guideline range of over 30 years if I lost at trial. I have wonderful lawyers and an amazing community of people on the outside who support me. None of that changes the fact that I was likely to lose at trial. But, even if I was found not guilty at trial, the government claimed that there were eight other outstanding indictments against me from jurisdictions scattered throughout the country. If I had won this trial I would likely have been shipped across the country to face new but similar charges in a different district. The process might have repeated indefinitely. ... I did what I believe is right.'"

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BSA Study Demonstrates Open Source's Economic Advantage
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '13 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's all-about-the-benjamins department:
jrepin writes "The fundamental premise of the latest Software Alliance study — that licensed, proprietary software is better in many ways than pirated copies — actually applies to open source software even more strongly, with the added virtues that the software is free to try, to use and to modify. That means the potential economic impact of free software is also even greater than that offered by both licensed and unlicensed proprietary software. It's yet another reason for governments around the world to promote the use of open source in their countries by everyone at every level."

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WeVideo Helps You Edit Your Videos Online (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '13 at 10:00 AM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's lights!-camera!-action!-edit! department:
This video is WeVideo CEO Jostein Svendsen talking about his company's service, not a demo of it, although we surely should do a demo/review of WeVideo before long. If you are involved in casual video production, this is something you need to check out. And if you want to try editing a video or two but have no idea if you're going to be good enough that it will be worth spending money on video editing software, plus the time to learn how to use it, <a>WeVideo's free version</a> (which puts a watermark on your finished video) might be a good way to try your hand at this necessary but unheralded part of the videomaking process.

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Iranian Hackers Probe US Infrastructure Targets
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '13 at 09:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's casing-the-joint department:
Taco Cowboy points out reports in The Register and The Jerusalem Post (along with a paywalled article at the WSJ) that say "[Iranian hackers are] responsible for a wave of computer attacks on U.S. corporations, with targets including oil, gas and electricity companies. Unlike the cyber incursions from China, the goal of the Iranian attacks is sabotage rather than espionage. The cyber attacks are seen as attempts to gain control of critical processing systems. The attacks on oil, gas and power firms have so far concentrated on accruing information on how their systems work – a likely first step in a co-ordinated campaign that would eventually result in attacks aimed at disrupting or destroying such infrastructure."

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Ask Slashdot: Safe Learning Environment For VMs?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '13 at 08:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's first-do-no-harm department:
First time accepted submitter rarkian writes "I am the teacher in this story. I teach Python and C++ to high school students: grades 9-12. I use CentOS 6 with DRBL to run my computer lab. Some of my students have become Linux experts. Next year I'm planning on allowing students to create and run their own VMs in a segregated LAN. Any advice on which virtualization technology to use and security concerns with allowing students to be root in a VM?"

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Opera Releases Its First Chromium-Based Browser
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '13 at 08:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's google-it department:
hypnosec writes "Opera has released its first Chromium-based, completely re-engineered browser as a preview for Windows and Mac systems (download). The new browser has been given quite a makeover and comes with a refresh of Opera's 'Speed Dial' bookmarking feature. Users can now not only organize their shortcuts into folders, but also group them into folders automatically by simply dragging one bookmark over another. Opera has also included a faster bookmarking tool dubbed 'Stash,' allowing users to return to the links quickly. The new version has combined its search and address bars, allowing users to make searches directly via Amazon, Bing, Google and Wikipedia."

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Iron From Antarctic Rocks Fuels Algae Growth
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '13 at 07:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's earth-rocks-it-totally-rocks department:
MTorrice writes "The Southern Ocean around Antarctica is a significant carbon dioxide sink. Phytoplankton in the ocean pull down a large amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Oceanographers have wondered where these photosynthetic microbes get enough iron to fuel this process. A new study (abstract) suggests that iron leached into the sea from rock weathering and bacterial activity on Antarctica may be part of the answer. Climate change could actually accelerate this iron release, leading to larger blooms of phytoplankton and more carbon dioxide uptake by the ocean, the researchers say."

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Fedora 19 Beta Released: Alive, Dead, or Neither?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '13 at 07:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's let's-not-make-a-fedoral-case-out-of-it department:
darthcamaro writes "Fedora 19, aka Schrödinger's Cat, is now out in Beta. There is a long list of new features in this release, including 3D modelling tools, improved security, federated VoIP, updated GNOME and KDE desktops and new improved virtual storage to name a few. '"Normally we have a good batch of features for everyone in a new release and this time around a lot of it is under the hood kinds of stuff," Fedora Project Leader, Robyn Bergeron, told ServerWatch.'"

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PayPal Denies Teen Reward For Finding Bug
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '13 at 06:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's alice-in-wonderland-rules department:
itwbennett writes "You have to be 18 to qualify for PayPal's bug bounty program, a minor detail that 17-year old Robert Kugler found out the hard way after being denied a reward for a website bug he reported. Curiously, the age guideline isn't in the terms and conditions posted on the PayPal website. Kugler was informed by email that he was disqualified because of his age."

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Star Wars Episode 4 To Be Dubbed In Navajo
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '13 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's that-is-one-complicated-language department:
New submitter Unixnoteunuchs writes "Coming to a theater in Window Rock in the Navajo Nation on July 4, 2013, Star Wars Episode 4 dubbed in the Navajo language. This is the first time a major motion picture has ever been dubbed in a native American language. This effort will help the Navajo nation preserve its cultural heritage in its language, a complex and beautiful Athabaskan tongue heavily reliant on adjectives and compound words. Listen to this article and how 'computer' and 'droid' would translate."

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Chinese Hackers Steal Top US Weapons Designs
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '13 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's looking-for-game-codes-is-all department:
n1ywb writes "Chinese hackers have gained access to the designs of many of the nation's most sensitive advanced weapons systems, according to a report prepared for the Defense Department and government and defense industry officials,The Washington Post reported Tuesday. The compromised weapons designs include, among others, the advanced Patriot missile system, the Navy's Aegis ballistic missile defense systems, the F/A-18 fighter jet, the V-22 Osprey, the Black Hawk helicopter and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter."

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Graphene Yields Another Trick: Ultrashort Laser Pulses
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '13 at 05:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's pew-pew-pew department:
ananyo writes with this excerpt from Nature News: "Experiments suggest that [graphene] can be used to create ultrashort laser pulses of any colour, owing to an ability to absorb light over a broad range of wavelengths. So far, the researchers have coaxed the material to produce pulses of radiation from a broad spectrum of infrared wavelengths, which are useful in applications such as fibre optic communications. Their results, together with the known properties of graphene, suggest that the material should be able to yield similar ultrashort pulses over the entire spectrum of visible light as well. The discovery could help researchers to build small, cheap and highly versatile ultrashort-pulse lasers, with potential applications ranging from micro-machinery to medicine."

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Mozilla Teams Up With Foxconn; Tablet On the Way?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '13 at 05:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's iceweasel-devices-will-be-gnu-licensed-instead department:
The Register is one of several outlets reporting (based on a Reuters report) that Mozilla is working with Foxconn on a mobile device that it "plans to unveil it at an event next week." Firefox OS is already running on other makers' phones; CNET speculates that this new device may be a tablet, which matches the Register's "insider" information.

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First Video Broadcast From Mt. Everest Peak Outrages Tourist Ministry of Nepal
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '13 at 04:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's misapplication-of-the-law department:
hutsell writes "On May 19th, Daniel Hughes spoke to BBC News live from the world's highest peak using his smartphone, making it the first live broadcast from Everest. (The actual video — showing the importance of oxygen along with his panoramic view — on the BBC page, is bookend with talking heads and a front-end advert.) However, since he and his team failed to get a commercial broadcast permit (costing about 2 grand) without the Nepali Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Aviation's knowledge, officials want to impose the penalty of having them banned from obtaining climbing permits for 10 years or from entering the country for 5 years. From the article, a quote from Dipendra Poudel, an official of the Ministry's mountain branch: 'The mountaineering rules say if you want to make a live telecast from the mountain, which is a restricted area, you have to get a permit first and inform us early about what you're going to do.' Those protesting against the decision feel the intent of the law is being misinterpreted; it's failing to keep up with the recent fundamental changes in technology. A permit that was meant to deal with ecological repercussions, doesn't seem to apply in this case. If it doesn't, is it really about disrespect, money, a tourism copyright angle, or all of the above? Then again, should the Nepal government ignore outsiders questioning their motives?"

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