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Supermarkets: High-Tech Hotbeds
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '13 at 08:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's lettuce-technology department:
Esther Schindler writes "You don't think of your supermarket as the source of geeky innovation, but you may be surprised. For example, in Steven Cherry's Supermarkets Are High-Tech Hotbeds, a Techwise Conversation with Kurt Kendall, a partner and director at Kurt Salmon, where he heads the analytics practice there, we learn: 'A lot of supermarket tech is at the checkout area. Bar-code scanning was already old hat when U.S. president George Bush the elder was allegedly amazed by them in 1992, and retailers continue to experiment with the next logical step: self-checkout systems. There's a lot of technologies out there right now that are being introduced into the retail space to understand what consumers are doing in the store, and heat-mapping is one of those technologies--using cameras in the ceiling to actually track where the consumer's going. What this information tells the retailer is where a consumer is, how they're moving around the store, whether they're dwelling in certain places, like checkout or in front of specific merchandise."

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Ask Slashdot: What To Do When Another Dev Steals Your Work and Adds Their Name?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '13 at 06:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's all-due-credit department:
An anonymous reader writes "I have had an interesting situation arise where I built some web apps for a client about 2 years ago. I have no longer been working with the client and a new developer has taken over purely for maintenance work. Currently I have been looking for new work and have used the said apps as part of my portfolio. During one interview I was informed that I not telling the truth about building the apps and I was then shown the source of a few JS files. It seems the new developer had put a copyright header on them, removed my name as the author and put his own. Now this is grey territory as it the client who owns the source, not the contracting developer. It put me on my back foot and I had to start explaining to interviewers that the developer stole the work and branded it. I feel it makes me look like a fool, having to defend my position in an interview with a possible client and I feel I had lost the chance of directing the outcome of the interview. I have cut the apps from my portfolio, however they are some of my best work and a real testament to my skills. I decided to cut my loss and move on, I am not looking for a fight or any unnecessary heartache. So what you do in my situation?"

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NASA's "Opportunity" Rover Finds New Evidence For Once-Habitable Mars
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '13 at 05:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's feeling-a-bit-damp department:
nedko.m writes "NASA's Mars rover 'Opportunity' found clay minerals in an ancient rock on the rim of the Endeavour Crater on Mars. The discovery suggests that neutral-pH water — slightly salty, and neither too acidic nor too alkaline for life — once flowed through the area, probably during the first billion years of Martian history. Opportunity's latest discovery fits well with one made recently on the other side of the planet by the rover's bigger, younger cousin Curiosity, which found strong evidence that its landing site could have supported microbial life in the ancient past. Such observations could help scientists map out Mars' transition from a relatively warm and wet world long ago to the cold and dry planet we know today"

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NSA Surveillance Heat Map: NSA Lied To Congress
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '13 at 04:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's hey-dad-what's-up-with-that? department:
anagama writes "NSA officials have repeatedly denied under oath to Congress that even producing an estimate of the number of Americans caught up in its surveillance is impossible. Leaked screenshots of an NSA application that does exactly that, prove that the NSA flat out lied (surprise). Glenn Greenwald continues his relentless attacks with another bombshell this time exposing Boundless Informant. Interestingly, the NSA spies more on America than China according to the heat map. Representative Wyden had sought amendments to FISA reauthorization bill that would have required the NSA to provide information like this (hence the NSA's lies), but Obama and Feinstein demanded a pure reauthorization of FISA, which they got at the end of 2012." And if you don't mind that you might have your name on yet another special list, you might enjoy this Twitter-based take on the ongoing news.

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Steubenville Hacker Faces Longer Prison Sentence Than the Rapists
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '13 at 02:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's well-that's-proportional department:
joeflies writes "In a previous Slashdot article, hackers worked to preserve content for the Steubenville rape case. The two football players charged received juvenile detention sentences of one and two years. One of the hackers, on the other hand, faces 10 years in prison."

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Asteroid Passes (Just) 65,000 Miles From Earth
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '13 at 12:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's thanks-a-lot-bruce-willis department:
An anonymous reader writes "Discovered a day before its closest approach to Earth, Asteroid 2013 LR6 came within roughly 65,000 miles of the planet as it flew over the Southern Ocean of Tasmania, Australia at 12:42 a.m. EDT on June 8. Despite being more than half the size of the one that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia in February, the 30-foot-wide asteroid posed no threat, according to NASA."

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Facebook Suffers Actual Cloud In Oregon Datacenter
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '13 at 09:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-the-cloud-is-the-computer department:
An anonymous reader writes "The Register carries the funniest, most topical IT story of the year: 'Facebook's first data center ran into problems of a distinctly ironic nature when a literal cloud formed in the IT room and started to rain on servers. Though Facebook has previously hinted at this via references to a 'humidity event' within its first data center in Prineville, Oregon, the social network's infrastructure king Jay Parikh told The Reg on Thursday that, for a few minutes in Summer, 2011, Facebook's data center contained two clouds: one powered the social network, the other poured water on it.'"

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Northern Hemisphere Pollution a Cause of '80s Africa Drought
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '13 at 07:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's ashes-to-ashes-to-africa department:
vinces99 writes "Decades of drought in central Africa reached their worst point in the 1980s, causing Lake Chad, a shallow lake used to water crops in neighboring countries, to almost dry out completely. The shrinking lake and prolonged drought were initially blamed on overgrazing and bad agricultural practices. More recently, Lake Chad became an example of global warming. But new University of Washington research shows the drought was caused at least in part by Northern Hemisphere air pollution. Particles from coal-burning factories in the United States and Europe during the 1960s, '70s and '80s cooled the entire Northern Hemisphere, shifting tropical rain bands south. That meant that rains no longer reached the Sahel region, a band that spans the African continent just below the Sahara desert."

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What Keeps You On (or Off) Windows in 2013?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '13 at 04:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's corporate-myopia-plays-a-part department:
Five years ago today, reader J.J. Ramsey asked what's keeping you off Windows (itself a followup to this question about the opposite situation). With five years of development time gone by for Windows as well as all the alternative OSes, where does Windows stand for you today? (Is it the year of Linux on the Desktop yet?)

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Pixel-Peeping Gaming's Close Cousins
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '13 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's your-chocolate-got-on-my-peanut-butter department:
First time accepted submitter richtaur writes "A passionate classic game collector took the time to document the shared lineage between over thirty of gaming's finest cousins. The article contains side-by-side screenshots and videos to show the similarities and shared assets between such classic relatives as Bomberman/Lode Runner, Gradius/Life Force, and Renegade/River City Ransom. Fascinating stuff for fans of games of yesteryear."

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MIT President Tells Grads To 'Hack the World'
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '13 at 02:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-gently department:
theodp writes "On Friday, MIT President L. Rafael Reif exhorted grads to 'hack the world until you make the world a little more like MIT'. A rather ironic choice of words, since 'hack the world' is precisely what others said Aaron Swartz was trying to do in his fateful run-in with MIT. President Reif presumably received an 'Incomplete' this semester for the promised time-is-of-the-essence review of MIT's involvement in the events that preceded Swartz's suicide last January. By the way, it wasn't so long ago that 2013 commencement speaker Drew Houston and Aaron Swartz were both welcome speakers at MIT."

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In Praise of the King: 1.7M Social Media Comments In Thailand
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '13 at 01:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's shaft-of-gold-when-all-around-is-dark department:
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Prachatai.com: "Thailand's Rangers Task Force 45, in response to Army policy, has put its troops to the task of promoting and protecting the monarchy in cyber space, claiming to have posted 1.69 million comments on webboards and social media during a 4-month period of last year ... According to the video clip, the Army Chief has approved the establishment of an army internet network to promote and protect the monarchy by monitoring websites and webboards which have content alluding to the monarchy and countering them by posting comments which worship the institution. ...The unit's military operations personnel provide the troops with information, or what to post, and set them targets for the number of posts they must complete."

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What Charles G. Koch Can Teach Us About Campaign Finance Data
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '13 at 12:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's follow-the-oh-well-never-mind department:
Lasrick writes "Lee Drutman is a political scientist with the Sunlight Foundation who does terrific work. In this article, he attempts to trace campaign donations made by one of the Koch Brothers and discovers just how difficult it is to do: 'The case of Charles G. Koch is a nice lesson in just how hard it is to determine who is breaking and who is abiding by campaign finance limits. It's hard to make accurate tallies of individual aggregate campaign contributions when the Federal Elections Commission doesn't require donors to have a unique ID, and when campaigns don't always reliably report donor names. Given this, it is unclear how the FEC would even enforce its own aggregate limit rules. The FEC's spokesperson told me that while the FEC welcomes complaints, it does not typically take enforcement initiative."'

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Dell's New X18: 5 Pounds, 18 Inches
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '13 at 11:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's that-sounds-like-a-weird-baby department:
MojoKid writes "Dell recently combined two trending PC design styles into a single system and called it the XPS 18 Portable All-In-One Desktop. The machine has all the power of an AIO desktop system and some of the portability of a tablet. To be clear, Dell isn't suggesting you'll want to tote this thing across town in ways that you might use an iPad. It's portable in that you can snatch up the 18.4-inch Full HD display from your home office and take it to the living room to switch gears from Google Docs to gaming with the kids, or take it upstairs for some late night surfing before bed. ... The main attraction, however, is that the PC itself is a portable display featuring an 18.4-inch IPS panel with a 1920x1080 resolution and full touch support. Performance-wise the XPS 18 holds its own versus mainstream all-in-one touch PCs, but with added ability to pick the 5 pound system up go virtually anywhere with it on a moment's notice."

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Gaming Roots: MUD and the Birth of MMOs
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '13 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's you-are-reading-a-page-of-twisty-passages-all-alike department:
angry tapir writes "I recently had a chance to interview Richard Bartle — the creator of MUD, considered the grandfather of modern massively multiplayer online games. MUD had a text-based interface, but despite that, its design was hugely influential on modern MMOs."

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Ask Slashdot: Best Software For Tracking Fiber Optic Networks?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '13 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's do-you-want-it-as-a-particle-or-as-a-wave? department:
An anonymous reader writes "We operate a wide area network that has a large amount of fiber optics, and provides service to our various departments in locations across the state. The network is reasonably complex, with splices, patches, and the general type of ad-hoc build that makes knowing where things go difficult. I'd like to implement some type of software to record where the fiber cables run, what pit number they are jointed in, which fiber is spliced to which, and what internal customer is using which fiber path through the system. Knowing what fibers are free for use is also a requirement, and I'd love to record details of what equipment was put in where, for asset and warranty tracking. Extra points if I can give Engineering access to help them design things better!"

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The Strange History of Apple and FlatWorld
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '13 at 07:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's surreal-world department:
Fnord666 writes "When a company called FlatWorld Interactives LLC filed suit against Apple just over a year ago, it looked like a typical 'patent troll' lawsuit against a tech company, brought by someone who no longer had much of a business beyond lawsuits. Court documents unsealed this week reveal who's behind FlatWorld, and it's anything but typical. FlatWorld is partly owned by the named inventor on the patents, a Philadelphia design professor named Slavko Milekic. But 35 percent of the company has been quietly controlled by an attorney at one of Apple's own go-to law firms, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. E-mail logs show that the attorney, John McAleese, worked together with his wife and began planning a wide-ranging patent attack against Apple's touch-screen products in January 2007—just days after the iPhone was revealed to the world."

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Canadians, Too, Should Demand Surveillance Answers
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '13 at 06:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's enjoy-the-government-run-fiber-network department:
An anonymous reader writes "Privacy and surveillance have taken centre stage this week with the
revelations
that U.S. agencies have been engaged in massive, secret surveillance
programs
that include years of capturing the meta-data from every
cellphone call on the Verizon network (the meta-data includes the
number called and the length of the call) as well as gathering
information from the largest Internet companies in the world
including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple in a program called
PRISM. Michael Geist explains
how many of the same powers exist under Canadian law and that it is
very likely that Canadians have been caught up by these surveillance
activities."


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Google Glass Banned At Google Shareholder Meeting
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '13 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's on-further-consideration department:
larry bagina writes "You can't make this stuff up — 'Cameras, recording devices, and other electronic devices, such as smart phones, will not be permitted at the [2013 annual shareholder] meeting.' Maybe it runs afoul of their rules on sexually explicit material?"

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Apple Files Patent For Digital Wallet and Virtual Currency
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '13 at 05:31 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's on-the-internet-with-an-apple department:
another random user writes "Apple has applied for a patent on a combined virtual currency and digital wallet technology that would allow you to store money in the cloud, make payments with your iPhone, and maybe communicate with point-of-sale terminals via NFC. The patent application, published [Thursday] by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Organization, details how iPhone users could walk into a store, pay for goods with their phone, and walk out with their merchandise. Though Apple is late to the virtual wallet game, that doesn't seem to stop them trying to patent the process. There does not appear to be anything in the patent application which describes something that can't already be done."

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