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BitCoin Gets a Futures Market
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '12 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's prices-are-information-units department:
fireballrus writes "There is one more way to use your BitCoins rather than buying weed or socks. Recently, a Bitcoin Exchange called ICBIT quietly introduced a futures market, obviously using Bitcoins as its main currency. Gold futures trade roughly at 137 BTC/tr.oz and Sweet Crude Oil at 7.3 BTC/bbl. This may play a positive role in the Bitcoin economy which needs more ways to actually use coins instead of mining them." While this sounds intriguing, I'd like to hear a good case for why BitCoin makes sense in this context.

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CyanogenMod Drops ROM Manager In Favor of OTA Updates
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '12 at 03:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's sure-beats-at&t-for-my-phone-then department:
sfcrazy writes "There's some great news for CyanogenMod fans. The CM team has decided to drop ROM manager, which was the de facto standard of getting CyanogenMod updates."

Instead, the CM team is building its own updating method, explained (with screenshots) at Android Police.

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WTFM: Write the Freaking Manual
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '12 at 01:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's so-to-speak department:
theodp writes "Blogger Floopsy complains that he would love to RTFM, but can't do so if no one will WTFM. 'You spend hours, days, months, perhaps years refining your masterpiece,' Floopsy laments to creators of otherwise excellent programming language, framework, and projects. 'It is an expression of your life's work, heart and soul. Why, then, would you shortchange yourself by providing poor or no documentation for the rest of us?' One problem with new program languages, a wise CS instructor of mine noted in the early look-Ma-no-documentation days of C++, is that their creators are not typically professional writers and shy away from the effort it takes to produce even less-than-satisfactory manuals. But without these early efforts, he explained, the language or technology may never gain enough traction for the Big Dogs like O'Reilly to come in and write the professional-caliber books that are necessary for truly widespread adoption. So, how important is quality documentation to you as a creator or potential user of new technologies? And how useful do you find the documentation that tech giants like Google (Go), Twitter (Bootstrap), Facebook (iOS 6 Facebook Integration), Microsoft (Windows Store apps), and Apple (Create Apps for IOS 6) produce to promote their nascent technologies? Is it useful on its own, or do you have to turn to other 'store-bought' documentation to really understand how to get things done?"

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LightSquared Wants To Share Weather-Balloon Frequencies for LTE
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '12 at 12:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's everything's-up-in-the-air department:
IDG News Service reports (as carried by PC World) that LightSquared, having lost some of the spectrum they'd hoped to use for a nationwide LTE network because of worries it would interfere with GPS service, has a new plan: to use some of the spectrum currently reserved by the federal government for uses like weather-balloon communications. From the article: "The new plan would give the carrier 30MHz of frequencies on which to operate the LTE network. That's 10MHz less than it had wanted but still comparable to the amount of spectrum Verizon Wireless and AT&T are using for their LTE systems, which in most areas use just 20MHz. Wireless network speeds are determined partly by how much spectrum the network uses, so LightSquared might be able to deliver a competitive service for its planned coverage area of 260 million U.S. residents."

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Ask Slashdot: Best Incentives For IT Workers?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '12 at 11:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's try-this-delicious-addictive-coffee department:
New submitter Guru Jim writes "Our company is currently looking at our incentives program and are wondering what is out there that helps motivate IT workers. We have engineers/sys admins as well as developers. With both teams, we have guns who are great and really engaged in looking after the customers, but some of the team struggle. Sometimes it is easy to say that there isn't too much work on and goof off and read Slashdot all day. This puts more pressure on some of the team. Management is being more proactive in making sure the work is shared equally, but we are wondering what can be out there that is more carrot than stick? We already have cake day, corporate massage day, bonuses for exams and profit share, but what is out there that is innovative and helps build a great workplace?" If you're reading this, the odds are good that you work in or around IT (or hope to); what would you most like to see your workplace implement?

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African Robotics Network Challenge Spurs Rash of $10 Robots
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '12 at 10:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's isn't-rash-a-good-plural-for-robot? department:
An anonymous reader writes with this story from Wired: "When the African Robotics Network announced their $10 robot design challenge this summer, co-founder Ken Goldberg was careful not to share too many expectations, lest he influence contestants' designs. But he never imagined one of the winning entries would prominently feature a pair of Spanish lollipops. The challenge, hosted by AFRON co-founders Goldberg and Ayorkor Korsah, emphasized inexpensive designs to help bring robotics education to African classrooms." Winners include "the lollipop-laden Suckerbot and traditional (roaming) category first prize winner Kilobot, a Harvard-spawned three-legged, vibrating, swarming robot."

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EU Privacy Watchdog To ICANN: Law Enforcement WHOIS Demands "Unlawful"
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '12 at 09:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's whois-you-to-make-these-demands? department:
First time accepted submitter benyacrick writes "WHOIS was invented as an address book for sysadmins. These days, it's more likely to be used by Law Enforcement to identify a perpetrator or victim of an online crime. With ICANN's own study showing that 29% of WHOIS data is junk, it's no surprise that Law Enforcement have been lobbying ICANN hard to improve WHOIS accuracy. The EU's privacy watchdog, the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party, has stepped into the fray with a letter claiming that two of Law Enforcement's twelve asks are "unlawful" (PDF). The problem proposals are data retention — where registrant details will be kept for up to two years after a domain has expired — and re-verification, where a registrant's phone number and e-mail will be checked annually and published in the WHOIS database. The community consultation takes place at ICANN 45 in Toronto on October 15th."

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Indian Minister Says Telecom Companies Should Only Charge For Data
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '12 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's remember-that-voice-is-data department:
bhagwad writes "In the US, telecom carriers are trying their best to hold on to depleting voice revenues. Over in India, the telecom minister urged carriers to stop charging for voice calls and derive all their revenues only from data plans. Is this kind of model sustainable, where voice becomes an outmoded and free technology, and carriers turn entirely into dumb pipes which have no control over what passes over them? This is a step forward and hopefully will make Internet service more like a utility."

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Think Tank's Website Rejects Browser Do-Not-Track Requests
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '12 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's at-least-the're-telling-you department:
alphadogg writes "The website for the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) now tells visitors it will not honor their browsers' do-not-track requests as a form of protest against the technology pushed by privacy groups and parts of the U.S. government. The tech-focused think tank on Friday implemented a new website feature that detects whether visitors have do-not-track features enabled in their browsers and tells them their request has been denied. 'Do Not Track is a detrimental policy that undermines the economic foundation of the Internet,' Daniel Castro, senior analyst at the ITIF wrote in a blog post. 'Advertising revenue supports most of the free content, services, and apps available on the Internet.'"

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UK Ministers' Private Communications Subject To Freedom of Information Act
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '12 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's acting-within-the-scope-of-office department:
Techmeology writes "Emails and texts sent from UK ministers' private accounts could be subject to the Freedom of Information Act, which means copies could be requested by members of the public. New guidelines to be released by the government say that the key factor is 'the nature of the information and not the format.' This development comes amid a two year dispute caused when a newspaper used the act to obtain and publish an email sent from the education minister's private email address."

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PlaceRaider Builds a Model of Your World With Smartphone Photos
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '12 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's persistent-virtual-worlds department:
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Neal Ungerleider writes about PlaceRaider, a trojan that can run in the background of any phone running Android 2.3 or above, and is hidden in a photography app that gives PlaceRaider the necessary permissions to access the camera and upload images. Once installed, PlaceRaider quietly takes pictures at random that are tagged with the time, location, and orientation of the phone while muting the phone's shutter sound. Once pictures are taken, PlaceRaider uploads them to a central server where they are knitted together into a 3D model of the indoor location where the pics were taken. A malicious user can then browse this space looking for objects worth stealing and sensitive data such as credit card details, identity data or calender details that reveal when the user might be away. If a user's credit card, bank information, or personal information happen to be out in the open — all the better. — the software can identify financial data, bar codes, and QR codes. End users will also be able to get the full layout of a victim's office or room. The good news? PlaceRaider isn't out in the wild yet. The malware was built as an academic exercise by a team at Indiana University as a proof of concept to show the invasive potential of visual malware beyond simple photo or video uploads and demonstrate how to turn an individual's mobile device against himself (PDF), creating an advanced surveillance platform capable of reconstructing the user's physical environment for exploration and exploitation. 'The message is clear — this kind of malware is a clear and present danger. It's only a matter of time before this game of cat and mouse becomes more serious.'" As malware, it's spooky. But merely as software, this kind of intelligent 3-D imaging is something I'd like to be able to do with my phone.

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Does Crowdfunding Work?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '12 at 04:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's everybody-donate-8-cents-to-find-out department:
Barence writes "Is it really practical to fund a business from hundreds of small donations harvested over the internet? With Kickstarter grabbing the headlines with some high-profile projects, it's all too easy to assume crowdfunding is great, the obvious solution for a business that needs investment. But just how feasible is it for most businesses? This article looks at several lower-profile examples and investigates the positives and negatives of this new way to raise money."

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Woman Successfully Grows Ear From Arm
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '12 at 01:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-heard-that department:
An anonymous reader writes "In 2008, Sherrie Walters, now 42 years old, discovered that she had rapidly spreading basal cell cancer in her ear. The disease is a type of skin cancer. The doctors pursued an aggressive treatment to combat the destructive disease, removing her ear, part of her skull, and her left ear canal. Though Walters was left without an ear, she was still able to hear with the help of a special hearing aid. A few months ago, doctors from the renowned Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore decided to try a new procedure on Walters. Using cartilage from her rib, the doctors stitched a new ear to match her right one. Then their creation was implanted under the skin of her forearm, where the ear grew for months. ...Doctors attached the ear and blood vessels surgically. Another surgery, conducted this week, gave the ear shape and detail. Dr. Patrick Byrne, a revered plastic and reconstructive surgeon, says that after the swelling goes down and the ear heals, Walters will have an ear that both looks and functions normally."

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The Day Leo Traynor Confronted His Troll
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '12 at 10:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's your-uppance-will-come department:
McGruber writes "Dublin-based writer Leo Traynor has written a piece about confronting the troll who drove him off Twitter, hacked his Facebook, and abused and terrified his family. Quoting: 'I blocked the account and reported it as spam. The following week it happened again in an identical manner. A new follower, I followed back, received a string of abusive DMs, blocked and reported for spam. Two or three times a week. Sometimes two or three times a day. An almost daily cycle of blocking and reporting and intense verbal abuse. ... Then one day something happened that truly frightened me. I don't scare easily but this was vile. I received a parcel at my home address. Nothing unusual there – I get lots of post. I ripped it open and there was a Tupperware lunchbox inside full of ashes. There was a note included, saying, "Say hello to your relatives from Auschwitz." I was physically sick. ... In July I was approached by a friend who's basically an IT genius, and he offered some help. He said that he could trace the hackers and trolls for me using perfectly legal technology, which would lead to their IP addresses. I said yes. Then I baited them – I was deliberately more provocative toward them than ever I'd been before.'"

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Another Call For Abolishing Patents, This One From the St. Louis Fed
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '12 at 07:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's system-and-method-for-creating-systems-and-methods department:
New submitter WOOFYGOOFY writes "The most recent call for curtailing patents comes not just from an unexpected source, the St. Louis Fed, but also in its most basic form: total abolition of all patents. Via the Atlantic Monthly: a new working paper (PDF) from two members of the St. Louis Federal Reserve, Michele Boldrin and David Levine, in which they argue that while a weak patent system may mildly increase innovation with limited side-effects, such a system can never be contained and will inevitably lead to a stifling patent system such as that presently found in the U.S. They argue: '...strong patent systems retard innovation with many negative side-effects. ... the political demand for stronger patent protection comes from old and stagnant industries and firms, not from new and innovative ones. Hence the best solution is to abolish patents entirely through strong constitutional measures and to find other legislative instruments, less open to lobbying and rent-seeking.' They acknowledge that some industries could suffer under a such a system. They single out pharma, and suggest other legislative measures be found to foster innovation whenever there is clear evidence that laissez-faire under-supplies it."

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Lingering Questions On the Extent of the Adobe Hack
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '12 at 04:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's known-unknowns-and-unknown-unknowns department:
chicksdaddy writes "In the wake of Adobe's warning on Thursday about a high profile compromise on its network, security experts say the incident raises troubling questions about the extent of the breach at a company that makes software running on hundreds of millions of computers. Writing on Thursday, Brad Arkin, Adobe's Senior Director of Product Security And Privacy, reassured customers that the company's source code wasn't stolen, nor did the hackers have access to code for any of Adobe's core products like Adobe Reader or Flash. However, those with expertise in breaking into networks and cleaning up after hacks said the nature of the attack – which Adobe has described as having the characteristics of an 'APT' – or advanced persistent threat – make it difficult to know what attackers did or did not have access to and whether or not the threat has been removed. 'If you put yourself in the hacker's position you realize how much they must have known about Adobe internals to perform the hack they performed,' said Dave Aitel of Immunity Inc. 'If they had that kind of access it's very hard to say that they were limited in their access and are completely removed from the network.'"

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Concept Aquatic Rover May Explore a Lake On Titan
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '12 at 03:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's also-may-not department:
cylonlover writes "Titan is Saturn's largest moon, and it's said to be one of the most Earth-like celestial bodies in the Solar System. It has a thick atmosphere, and is covered with a network of seas, lakes and rivers – albeit ones made up of liquid hydrocarbons instead of water. Now, a team of scientists are proposing sending a boat-like probe to Titan, that would travel across its largest lake. The probe, which is still in the concept stage, is known as TALISE – that stands for Titan Lake In-situ Sampling Propelled Explorer, although it's also an Iroquois word for 'beautiful water.' The plan calls for it to land in the middle of Ligeia Mare, which is near the moon's north pole. It would then set out on a six-month to one-year mission, taking scientific measurements and obtaining samples as it makes its way to the closest shore."

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New Content-Delivery Tech Should Be Presumed Illegal, Says Former Copyright Boss
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '12 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's opting-out-of-common-sense department:
TrueSatan writes "Reminiscent of buggy whip manufacturers taking legal action against auto makers, the former U.S. Register of Copyrights, Ralph Oman, has given an amicus brief in the Aereo case (PDF) stating that all new content-delivery technology should be presumed illegal unless and until it is approved by Congress. He adds that providers of new technology should be forced to apply to Congress to prove they don't upset existing business models."

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Teachers Write an Open Textbook In a Weekend Hackathon
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's get-it-right-the-first-time department:
linjaaho writes "A group of Finnish mathematics researchers, teachers and students write an upper secondary mathematics textbook in a three-day booksprint. The event started on Friday 28th September at 9:00 (GMT+3) and the book will be (hopefully) ready on Sunday evening. The book is written in Finnish. The result — LaTeX source code and the PDF — is published with open CC-BY-license. As far as the authors know, this is the first time a course textbook is written in three-day hackathon. The hackathon approach has been used earlier mainly for coding open source software and writing manuals for open source software. The progress can be followed by visiting the repository at GitHub or the project Facebook page."

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Blender Debuts Fourth Open Source Movie: Tears of Steel
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '12 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's heat-tear-ducts-to-1200C department:
An anonymous reader writes "On September 26th the Blender Foundation released their fourth open source short movie called Tears of Steel. This time around, Blender, the fantastic open source 3d modeling/animation/shading/rendering package, was used to mix 3D digital content with live action (PDF). The short was produced using only open source software and the team did an outstanding job."

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