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Ask Slashdot: Getting Apps To Use Phones' Full Power?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '13 at 07:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's never-satisfied department:
First time accepted submitter MurukeshM writes "I have a 16 GB Nexus 4. I rarely manage to push the RAM usage above 1 GB (not counting cached processes). Yet I find it increasingly annoying when apps do stuff to save on RAM usage, such as having a browser reload a tab if I havent used it for a long time, instead of keeping it in memory or have an ebook reader load from storage instead of keeping the entire eBook in RAM. I know there are plenty of phones with far less memory, but when most of the RAM is unutilized, with more and more phones and tablets having 1GB+ RAM, isn't it time that apps check on available RAM and use optimizations accordingly? And it isn't only about RAM. Android by default only downloads one thing at a time, whether it be an app from Play Store or a file from a site. When connected to WiFi or 3G/LTE, there's no reason why multiple simultaneous downloads shouldn't be used. How do Slashdot readers with high-end phones get the most out of their device? Are there custom ROMs which act more sensibly?"

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PlanetIQ's Plan: Swap US Weather Sats For Private Ones
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '13 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's why-not-just-use-google-earth department:
We've mentioned over the last few years several times the funding problems that mean the U.S. government's weather satellite stable is <a>thinner than we might prefer</a>. A story at the Weather Underground outlines the plan of a company called PlanetIQ to fill the needs met with the current constellation of weather sats with private ones instead. From the article, describing testimony last week before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce:

"PlanetIQ's solution includes launching a constellation of 12 small satellites in low-Earth orbit to collect weather data, which PlanetIQ says the federal government could access at less cost and risk than current government-funded efforts. ... [PlanetIQ Anne Hale] Miglarese added that within 28 to 34 months from the beginning of their manufacture, all 12 satellites could be in orbit. As for the cost, she says, "We estimate that for all U.S. civilian and defense needs globally for both terrestrial and space weather applications, the cost to government agencies in the U.S. will be less than $70 million per year. As the satellites collect data, PlanetIQ would sell the data to government weather services around the world as well as the U.S. Air Force. The most recently launched polar-orbiting satellite, sent into space by the U.S. in 2011, cost $1.5 billion."

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DOS Emulation Arrives For the Raspberry Pi
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '13 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's get-2-for-a-ddos-attack department:
An anonymous reader writes "Homebrew Coder Pate has released a DOS Emulator for the Raspberry Pi, originally released for the Nintendo DS and Android the emulator currently can emulate a CPU: 80486 processor, including the protected mode features (for running DOS4GW games) but without virtual memory support. The emulation runs at a speed around that of a 20MHz 80486 (which equals a 40MHz 80386) machine. It has support for Super VGA graphics, Soundblaster 2.0, Memory, USB Keyboard and Mouse. Perfect for playing old classics such as Doom, Duke Nukem 3d and Theme Park."

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Free Software Camps Wading Into VP8 Patent Fight
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '13 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's spearguns-would-be-good department:
An anonymous reader writes "As reported by Slashdot, Nokia recently notified the IETF that its RFC 6386 video codec (aka VP8, released by Google under a BSD license with a waiver of that company's patent rights) infringed several dozen of its patents; furthermore, Nokia was not inclined to license them under FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminating) terms. While the list provided by Nokia looks intimidating, Pamela Jones at Groklaw discovered that many appeared to be duplicates except for the country of filing; and even within a single country (e.g. the U.S.), some appeared to be overlapping. In other words, there may be far fewer distinct patented issues than what appears on Nokia's IETF form. Thom Holwerda at OSNews also weighed in, recalling another case where sweeping patent claims by Qualcomm and Huawei against the Opus open source audio codec proved to be groundless FUD. The familiar name Florian Mueller pops up again in Holwerda's article."

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James Cameron Gives Sub To Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '13 at 05:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's going-deep department:
A year ago James Cameron made history by traveling solo almost seven miles deep in an area of the Pacific Ocean known the Mariana Trench’s Challenger Deep. He made the trip in a submersible he helped design, the Deepsea Challenger submersible system and science platform. To celebrate the anniversary, Cameron is forming a partnership with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), and donating the Deep Sea Challenger. From the press release: "Cameron will transfer the Deepsea Challenger to Woods Hole, where WHOI scientists and engineers will work with Cameron and his team to incorporate the sub’s numerous engineering advancements into future research platforms and deep-sea expeditions. This partnership harnesses the power of public and private investment in supporting deep-ocean science. “The seven years we spent designing and building the Deepsea Challenger were dedicated to expanding the options available to deep-ocean researchers. Our sub is a scientific proof-of-concept, and our partnership with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a way to provide the technology we developed to the oceanographic community,” says Cameron. James even sent us a few early drawings of the Deepsea Challenger that he made during a conversation with oceanographer Don Walsh in November 2003. The sketches are proof that many great ideas start out on napkins or lined paper.

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The End Is Nigh For the Linux Game Tome
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '13 at 04:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's end-of-an-era department:
First time accepted submitter Sodki writes "The Linux Game Tome, one of the most important websites related to video gaming in GNU/Linux, will shut down on the 13th of April, according to a news post published on the website. The decision was made due to the 'lack both the time and the ambition to do what is necessary to keep the site afloat,' which has resulted in 'spam clogging the forums, lack of updates and increasing brokenness of the site.' This might not be the end, though. The maintainers of The Linux Game Tome will make available a dump of the games database, so that anyone interested can cook up a new and updated version of the website, and a worthwhile effort will be considered for a transfer of ownership of the domain. The current source code of the website, which is from 1999, will not be available because 'it is not fit for human consumption.'"

It certainly had a good run; I remember poking around the Linux Game Tome as a teenager in the misty past (and it's where I discovered Freeciv, Warzone 2100, and lbreakout2). Are there any alternatives already operating (unfortunately, Freecode doesn't seem popular with game authors)? Or: Which one of you is going to write the Linux Game Tome 3.0?

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Bezos Patenting 'Dumb' Tablets, Glasses, Windshields
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '13 at 04:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's insert-x-terminal-joke-here department:
theodp writes "GeekWire reports on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' pending patent on remote displays that communicate with base stations and operate on wireless power. Reducing devices to mere screens with minimal storage that receive pre-rendered content (e.g., bitmap images), the patent application explains, eliminates the need for bulky batteries or processors, and employing techniques like electromagnetic or electrostatic induction allows one to cut the cord completely. Such remote displays, Amazon suggests, could find a home on college campuses (tablets), in your car (windshield displays or DVD players), and even on your face (eyeglasses)."

There's already a (not wirelessly powered) device similar to the one described in the patent.

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ICANN's Trademark Clearinghouse Launching Today
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '13 at 01:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's no-domain-for-you department:
itwbennett writes "If you want to protect your brand before ICANN roles out the new gTLDs (generic top-level domains), here's your chance. The clearinghouse will allow trademark owners to register their marks for an annual fee of between $95 and $150. The clearinghouse 'doesn't necessarily prevent trademark infringement or cybersquatting, but it does help trademark owners and brand owners somewhat in mitigating the damage that might occur,' said Keith Kupferschmid, general counsel and vice president of IP policy and enforcement for the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA). 'We've been telling brand owners it's not that expensive to protect themselves and they ought to do it.'"

All of the new TLD registrars will be required to check the trademark clearinghouse before issuing domains, preemptively squashing trademark disputes.

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Apache CloudStack Becomes a Top-level Project
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '13 at 11:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's one-size-fits-all department:
ke4qqq writes with an excerpt from an ASF press release: "The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of nearly 150 Open Source projects and initiatives, today announced that Apache CloudStack has graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a Top-Level Project (TLP), signifying that the Project's community and products have been well-governed under the ASF's meritocratic process and principles."

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Drone Swarm Creates Star Trek Logo In London Sky
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '13 at 08:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's cooler-than-the-movie-itself department:
garymortimer writes "As a harbinger for the Paramount film 'Star Trek — Into Darkness', starting in May in Europe's cinemas, last night a swarm of 30 mini-helicopters equipped with the LED lights drew the Star Trek logo into the skies over London. The choreography for the show was developed by Ars Electronica Futurelab from Linz (Austria). Quadrocopter maker Ascending Technologies GmbH from Munich (Germany) provided the aircrafts."

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Wi-Fi Enabled Digital Cameras Easily Exploitable
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '13 at 06:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's say-cheese department:
An anonymous reader writes with some news that might make you think twice before getting a network-enabled camera. From the article: "Users' desire to share things online has influenced many markets, including the digital camera one. Newer cameras increasingly sport built-in Wi-Fi capabilities or allow users to add SD cards to achieve them in order to be able to upload and share photos and videos as soon as they take them. But, as proven by Daniel Mende and Pascal Turbing, security researchers with ERNW, these capabilities also have security flaws that can be easily exploited for turning these cameras into spying devices. The researchers chose to compromise Canon's EOS-1D X DSLR camera and exploit each of the four ways it can communicate with a network. Not only have they been able to hijack the information sent from the camera, but have also managed to gain complete control of it."

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The ATF Not Concerned About 3D Printed Guns... Yet
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '13 at 04:00 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's killing-is-my-business department:
derekmead writes "3D-printing gun parts has taken off, thanks to the likes of Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed. While the technology adds a rather interesting wrinkle to the gun control debate, the ATF currently is pretty hands-off, ... 'We are aware of all the 3D printing of firearms and have been tracking it for quite a while,' Earl Woodham, spokesperson for the ATF field office in Charlotte, said. 'Our firearms technology people have looked at it, and we have not yet seen a consistently reliable firearm made with 3D printing.' A reporter called the ATF's Washington headquarters to get a better idea of what it took to make a gun 'consistently reliable,' and program manager George Semonick said the guns should be 'made to last years or generations.' In other words, because 3D-printed guns aren't yet as durable as their metal counterparts, the ATF doesn't yet consider them as much of a concern."

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Draft Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Update Expands Powers and Penalties
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '13 at 03:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's did-you-really-expect-anything-else department:
Despite calls to limit the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, it looks like Congress is planning to drastically expand the law and penalties. walterbyrd writes with a few of the major changes listed in the draft bill (22 pages): "Adds computer crimes as a form of racketeering. Expands the ways in which you could be guilty of the CFAA — including making you just as guilty if you plan to 'violate' the CFAA than if you actually did so. Ratchets up many of the punishments. Makes a very, very minor adjustment to limit 'exceeding authorized access.' Expands the definition of 'exceeding authorized access' in a very dangerous way. Makes it easier for the federal government to seize and forfeit anything."

TechCrunch also reports rumors that the plan is to push the bill through quickly for approval with a number of other "cybersecurity" bills in mid-April.

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Ask Slashdot: Why Buy a Raspberry Pi When I Have a Perfectly Good Cellphone?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '13 at 02:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's expensive-knock-off department:
scorp1us writes "I've been looking into getting a Raspberry Pi, but I end up needing a case, a display, and some way to power it, and wanting some degree of portability. It seems to me that even the most outdated cellphone has far superior features (screen, touch screen, Wifi, 3g/4g camera(s), battery etc) in a much better form factor. The only thing that is missing are the digital/analog in/out pins. So why not flip it around and make a USB or bluetooth peripheral board with just the pins? I've been looking for this and can't find any, but does anyone know of any in the corners of the internet? I don't care what phone platform."

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Digg Hints Its Replacement For Google Reader Will Include Social Media Content
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '13 at 02:01 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's follow-my-likes department:
RougeFemme writes "To capitalize on Google Reader's shutdown, Digg is building an RSS reader from scratch. But this Reader replacement will go beyond RSS to include social media content, like Facebook, Tumblr, Hacker News, Reddit, LinkedIn, etc. From their blog post: 'Google did a lot of things right with its Reader, but based on what we’re hearing from users, there is room for meaningful improvement. We want to build a product that’s clean and flexible, that bends easily and intuitively to the needs of different users. We want to experiment with and add value to the sources of information that are increasingly important, but difficult to surface and organize in most reader applications — like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit, LinkedIn, or Hacker News. We likely won’t get everything we want into v1, but we believe it’s worth exploring."

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PayPal To Replace VMware With OpenStack
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '13 at 01:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's trying-a-different-flavor department:
Julie188 writes "This should make VMware nervous. PayPal and eBay are yanking VMware software from some 80,000 servers and replacing it with OpenStack. Initially, PayPal is replacing VMware on about 10,000 computer servers. Those servers will go live this summer."

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Yahoo Buys UK Teen's Smartphone News App
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '13 at 12:31 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's sounds-familiar department:
judgecorp writes "Seventeen year old Nick D'Aloisio has sold his smartphone app Summly to Yahoo for an undisclosed sum. The app — created when he was 15 — aggregates news stories by topic and condenses them for time-strapped readers. D'Aloisio and his team will go to work at Yahoo when the deal closes. From the article: 'Summly was founded by 17-year old Nick D’Aloisio when he was just 15 from his home in London. The service works by sorting news stories by topic and condensing them into bite-sized chunks for time-conscious readers.

The Summly application will be closed down and integrated with Yahoo’s existing range of mobile applications. D’Aloisio and the Summly team will be joining Yahoo as part of the transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2013.'"


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Direct-to-Vinyl Recording Makes a Comeback (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '13 at 11:45 AM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's round-and-round-the-little-stylus-goes department:
For many decades, gramophone records (the black vinyl discs in Grandma's attic) were made by cutting grooves directly into an acetate disc, then making a mold from that "master" and "pressing records." Nowadays, of course, we use digital recording software on our computers or even on our mobile phones. Vinyl? Strictly for fogies and maybe a few audiophiles who think analog recordings have a depth and warmth that CDs and MP3s lack. Naturally, SXSW is a haven for these folks, and among them Tim Lord found Wesley Wolfe and two German compatriots from vinylrecording.com, busily demonstrating their vinyl recording system, which is sort of the gramophone record equivalent of print on demand. Lots of background music in the video makes the voices a bit hard to hear; some might prefer the transcription -- although those who do will lose out on watching the vinyl recording machine in action. Either way. Or both. Up to you.

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Book Review: A Practical Guide To Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '13 at 11:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it department:
Rambo Tribble writes "This new, third edition of Sobell's book brings enhancements that add to the text's value as both a learning tool and a reference. This has always been a foundation book for those wanting a professional level of familiarity with Linux. The addition of chapters to introduce the Python language and MySQL database serves to offer the reader practical insights into additional Linux-related technologies." Read below for the rest of Rambo's review. A Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming (3rd Edition)
author Mark G. Sobell
pages 1200 pages
publisher Prentice Hall
rating 9/10
reviewer Rambo Tribble
ISBN 978-0-13-308504-4
summary A concise, definitive guide for learning to manage Linux through the command line

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Scientists Study Getting an Unwanted Tune Out of Your Head
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '13 at 10:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's co-stan-za department:
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Richard Gray reports that scientists have found a way to help anyone plagued by those annoying tunes that lodge themselves inside our heads and repeat on an endless loop — when snippets of a catchy song inexplicably play like a broken record in your brain. The solution can be to solve some tricky anagrams to force the intrusive music out of your working memory allowing the music to be replaced with other more amenable thoughts. 'The key is to find something that will give the right level of challenge,' says Dr Ira Hyman, a music psychologist at Western Washington University who conducted the research. 'If you are cognitively engaged, it limits the ability of intrusive songs to enter your head.' Hyman says that the problem, called involuntary memory retrieval, is that something we can do automatically like driving or walking means you are not using all of your cognitive resource, so there is plenty of space left for that internal jukebox to start playing. Dr Vicky Williamson, a music psychologist at Goldsmiths, University of London, says that the most likely songs to get stuck are those that are easy to hum along to or sing and found that that Lady Gaga was the most common artist to get stuck in people's heads, with four of her catchy pop songs being the most likely to become earworms – Alejandro, Bad Romance, Just Dance and Paparazzi. Other surveys have reported Abba songs such as Waterloo, Changes by David Bowie or the Beatles' Hey Jude."

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