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Australian Bureau of Statistics Doesn't Like Direct Downloads of Census Data
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '13 at 08:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's sort-of-open-data department:
Bismillah writes "The ABS has released the census data for the country under a Creative Commons license, but instead of making it easy to get, they've put in Javascript to obfuscate file paths and more. All commented in the source code of course."

At first glance, it's an attempt to get people to pay $250 for a DVD with the data instead.

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Yahoo First Quarter Results: Revenue Dips Slightly, Profits Increase
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '13 at 06:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's turning-around-very-slowly department:
New submitter dolilmao was the first with the news of Yahoo's first quarter results. From Techcrunch: "Yahoo just released its earnings report for the first quarter of 2013, with better-than-expected (non-GAAP) earnings of $420 million, or 38 cents per share. Revenue (excluding traffic acquisition costs) was flat compared to last year, at $1.07 billion. Analysts has predicted that the company would report revenue of $1.1 billion and 24 cents EPS. Wall Street normally evaluates Yahoo on an ex-TAC basis — including traffic acquisition costs, revenue was $1.14 billion, down 7 percent from last year."

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Harvard Grid Computing Project Discovers 20k Organic Photovoltaic Molecules
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '13 at 04:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's by-your-powers-combined department:
Lucas123 writes "In June, Harvard's Clean Energy Project plans to release to solar power developers a list of the top 20,000 organic compounds, any one of which could be used to make cheap, printable photovoltaic cells (PVCs). The CEP uses the computing resources of IBM's World Community Grid for the computational chemistry to find the best molecules for organic photovoltaics culled the list from about 7 million. About 6,000 computers are part of the project at any one time. If successful, the crowdsourcing-style project, which has been crunching data for the past two-plus years, could lead to PVCs that cost about as much as paint to cover a one-meter square wall."

The big thing here is that they've discovered a lot of organic molecules that have the potential for 10% or better conversion; roughly equivalent to the current best PV material, and twice as efficient as other available organic PV materials.

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Dell Signs Agreement To Cap Icahn's Share Ownership
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '13 at 03:45 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's dude-you-might-buy-a-dell department:
itwbennett writes "As previously reported on Slashdot, activist investor Carl Icahn made a proposal to buy Dell for $15 per share. Now, as part of the review process of potential offers to take Dell private, the company's board of directors has approved an agreement with Icahn that would cap the amount of shares owned by the activist investor. Under the agreement, Icahn and affiliated entities 'have agreed not to make purchases that would cause them to own more than 10 percent of Dell's shares,' Dell said in a statement. Also as part of the agreement, Icahn has agreed not to enter into agreements with other shareholders to jointly own more than 15 percent of Dell's shares."

From the press release: "The Special Committee believes that granting the limited waiver to Mr. Icahn while capping his share ownership will maximize the chances of eliciting a superior proposal from Mr. Icahn while at the same time protecting shareholders against potential accumulation of an unduly influential voting interest." Looks like Michael Dell has some serious competition for Dell.

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U.S. Senate's Big Immigration Bill Seeks Centralized Database For H-1B Jobs
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '13 at 03:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's because-centralized-databases-are-always-a-good-idea department:
dcblogs writes "The U.S. Senate comprehensive immigration bill, due Tuesday, will allow the H-1B cap to rise from 65,000 to as high as 180,000. The bill, overall, contains some interesting provisions. It will require the U.S. Labor Dept. to create a website of H-1B job openings that employers must post to. The jobs must be posted least 30 calendar days before hiring an H-1B applicant to fill that position. The bill also raises wages for H-1B workers to make them more competitive, although the amount wasn't specified. One provision that will affect India, in particular, limits H-1B visa use to 50% of a firm's U.S. workforce. The provision may prompt India firms to buy U.S. companies to expand their U.S. presence."

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Mozilla Is Considering Revoking TeliaSonera Trust For Sales To Dictators
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '13 at 03:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's trust-must-be-deserved department:
ndogg writes "Mozilla is considering pulling TeliaSonera from its list of root certificate SSL providers. They have asked for comments on this on their mailing list. They're concerned about the use of the certificates by those governments for spying on its citizens, particularly in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan — where TeliaSonera operates subsidiaries or is heavily invested. Mozilla's concern is that TeliaSonera has possibly issued certificates that allow hardline government servers to masquerade as legitimate websites — so-called man-in-the-middle attacks — and decrypt web traffic. This alleged activity would contradict Mozilla's policy against 'knowingly issuing certificates without the knowledge of the entities whose information is referenced in the certificates.'"

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Weirdest DLC Sponsorship Ever: SimCity, Brought To You By Crest
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '13 at 03:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's please-don't-make-this-a-thing department:
MojoKid writes "When it comes to creative advertising potential, it's hard to beat a game like SimCity. In most titles, the idea of in-game advertising makes little sense. Sarah Kerrigan doesn't shop at Victoria's Secret, Booker DeWitt is an unlikely fan of Coca-Cola, and the post-apocalyptic setting of Metro 2033 isn't exactly prime McDonald's turf. But SimCity? SimCity is a game where it makes perfect sense to integrate real-world brands. A city filled with familiar logos and advertising is a city that more closely resembles the real world. That's undoubtedly why EA decided to partner with Crest Toothpaste. Yes, toothpaste. And not for in-game advertising, either. The Nissan Leaf DLC that the company launched a few weeks back at least made sense in some context; EV charging stations are going to be an increasingly common site in cities in the future. But the five new SimCity Attractions that the company added in the Crest partnership boggle the mind."
The Escapist points out that this partnership also extends to The Sims Social, one of EA's Facebook games... which is getting shut down in a few months.

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Why Self-Driving Cars Are Still a Long Way Down the Road
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '13 at 03:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-see-what-you-did-there department:
moon_unit2 writes "Technology Review has a piece on the reality behind all the hype surrounding self-driving, or driverless, cars. From the article: 'Vehicle automation is being developed at a blistering pace, and it should make driving safer, more fuel-efficient, and less tiring. But despite such progress and the attention surrounding Google's "self-driving" cars, full autonomy remains a distant destination. A truly autonomous car, one capable of dealing with any real-world situation, would require much smarter artificial intelligence than Google or anyone else has developed. The problem is that until the moment our cars can completely take over, we will need automotive technologies to strike a tricky balance: they will have to extend our abilities without doing too much for the driver.'"

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Pirate Bay Co-Founder Indicted For Hacking, Fraud
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '13 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's tomorrow-will-probably-be-a-better-day-for-him department:
An anonymous reader writes "Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, a.k.a. 'anakata,' co-founder of The Pirate Bay, has been indicted by a Swedish court on charges of computer hacking and fraud. The prosecuting attorney said, 'A large amount of data from companies and agencies was taken during the hack, including a large amount of personal data, such as personal identity numbers of people with protected identities.' According to Ars, 'The first count of hacking involves allegedly unlawfully using another person's username and password to search Infotorg, a well-known massive privately held commercial database of "private individuals, companies, properties and vehicles." The second count, as previously reported, involves an alleged hack dating back to 2010 of Logica, a Swedish IT firm that contracts with the Swedish tax authority. In March 2012, Logica was hit by an online attack that resulted in around 9,000 Swedes (Google Translate) having their personal identity numbers and names released to the public. ... The third count of hacking, allegedly taking place between July and August 2012, accuses Svartholm Warg of unauthorized access of major Nordic region bank Nordea's computers. The fraud charges accuse Svartholm Warg of allegedly transferring and attempting to transfer money from Nordea to other unauthorized bank accounts.'"

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American Airlines Grounds Flights
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '13 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's flights-shouldn't-have-failed-that-math-test department:
Sez Zero writes "The Federal Aviation Administration said American Airlines requested a halt to hundreds of its U.S. flights on Tuesday as it works to resolve a reservation system problem. American Airlines explained on their Twitter feed they had a problem accessing their reservation system. Bad day to be on the AA ops team."

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Did Tech Websites Exploit the Boston Marathon Bombing?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '13 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's defining-news-coverage department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "These days, when something in the world goes very wrong, it seems as if everybody learns about it first on Twitter and Facebook. In the minutes after homemade bombs turned the finish line of the Boston Marathon into a crime scene, terms such as #BostonMarathon shot to the top of Twitter's Trends list; across the country, office workers first learned of the attack when someone posted a message on a Facebook page. Social networks have become this generation's radio, the default conduit for the freshest information. As first responders treated the wounded and the minutes ticked past, news organizations began vacuuming up Twitter and Facebook posts from around Boston and posting it on their Websites, along with 'regular' text updates. A Vine video-snippet of a bomb going off near the finish line, knocking a runner off his feet, ended up embedded into dozens of blog postings. When a disaster strikes, and many of those same news Websites post 'live updates' that incorporate tons of social-networking posts, they face accusations of exploiting the tragedy in the name of pageviews and revenue. That's not surprising—long before 'yellow journalism' became a term, people have charged news organizations with playing up humanity's worst for their own gain. In the immediate aftermath of the Boston bombings, online pundits lashed out against Mashable, The Verge, Wired, and other publications that had posted live updates, accusing them of stepping outside their usual coverage areas for cynical gain. In the following piece, a number of tech editors-in-chief, including The Verge's Joshua Topolsky and Mashable's Lance Ulanoff, talk about their approaches to covering the tragedy."

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Windows 8.1 May Restore Boot-To-Desktop, Start Button
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '13 at 11:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's back-by-popular-demand department:
New submitter geekoid writes "According to media reports about leaked Windows 8.1 code, the next incarnation of Microsoft's flagship operating system will have an option to boot directly to the desktop. People have discovered 'references to a "CanSuppressStartScreen" option in early builds of the Windows 8.1 registry.' There is also speculation that Microsoft will be re-implementing the Start button, though the claims come from nebulous 'sources,' rather than the leaked code. In light of recent reporting about the general distaste and design flaws of Windows 8's user interface, will Microsoft's updates be dynamic enough to stop the current Windows exodus?"

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Slashdot Goes to the FIRST Robotics Competition (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '13 at 10:45 AM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's machines-are-getting-smarter-and-stronger-every-day department:
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) has robot competitions all over the United States. FIRST was founded by inventor Dean Kamen. According to Wikipedia he has said that the FIRST competition is the invention he is most proud of, and he predicts that the 1 million students who have taken part in the contests so far will be responsible for some significant technological advances in years to come. In any case, Robert Rozeboom (samzenpus) was at the Michigan FIRST championship with camcorder in hand, and brought back some great shots of robots at work -- or maybe play. They fired off volleys of Frisbee-like discs, ran into each other, and climbed metal pyramids, either independently or under the control of their human masters. There was a pretty good crowd in the stands, too, to cheer on the robots. Or more likely, to cheer on the robots' human masters, since we're not yet at the point where robot masters invite their robot friends to competitions where they show off their humans.

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Moore's Law and the Origin of Life
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '13 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's does-this-mean-life-has-a-turbo-button department:
DoctorBit writes "MIT Technology Review is running a story about an arXiv paper in which geneticists Alexei A. Sharov and Richard Gordon propose that life as we know it originated 9.7 billion years ago. The researchers estimated the genetic complexity of phyla in the paleontological record by counting the number of non-redundant functional nucleotides in typical genomes of modern day descendants of each phylum. When plotting genetic complexity against time, the researchers found that genetic complexity increases exponentially, just as with Moore's law, but with a doubling rate of about once every 376 million years. Extrapolating backwards, the researchers estimate that life began about 4 billion years after the universe formed and evolved the first bacteria just before the Earth was formed. One might image that the supernova debris that formed the early solar system could have included bacteria-bearing chunks of rock from doomed planets circling supernova progenitor stars. If true, this retro-prediction has some interesting consequences in partly resolving the Fermi Paradox. Another interesting consequence for those attempting to recreate life's origins in a lab: bacteria may have evolved under conditions very different from those on earth."

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Samsung Accused of Paying For Negative HTC Reviews
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '13 at 09:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's now-that's-not-kosher department:
judgecorp writes "Samsung Taiwan has been accused of paying to have negative reviews of HTC products put online by students who recommended Samsung devices instead. The Taiwanese Fair Trade Commission is investigating Samsung's advertising agency in Taiwan, and Samsung Taiwan has responded by cancelling all Internet marketing."

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Trader Pleads Guilty To Illegal Purchase of Nearly $1B In Apple Stock
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '13 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's teacher's-pet-in-overdrive department:
An anonymous reader writes "A trader who last year made an unauthorized purchase of nearly US$1 billion worth of Apple stock has pled guilty to wire fraud, securities fraud and conspiracy. On October 25, 2012 — the same day Apple posted its Q3 2012 earnings — David Miller of Rochdale Securities made a number of unauthorized purchases of Apple shares which ultimately led to the demise of the financial services firm he worked for. The aim of Miller's action was to make a lot of money very quickly by purchasing large quantities of Apple shares and selling them in a post-earnings surge."

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OpenShot Close To Funding Final Stretch Goal: Video Editing Server
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '13 at 08:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's now-that-would-be-cool department:
The Kickstarter project we mentioned late last month to bring open source video editor OpenShot to Mac and Windows as well as its native base of Linux has surpassed its initial funding goal, and now is just shy (just under a thousand dollars shy, at this writing) of reaching all of the items on a revamped list of stretch goals. The only goal on that list not yet funded is a tantalizing one. JonOomph writes "The lead developer has proposed a revolutionary new feature, which would allow users to offload CPU, memory, and disk cache to a local server (or multiple local servers), dramatically increasing the speed of previewing and rendering. The more servers added to the pool, the faster the video editing engine becomes (with the primary limitation being network bandwidth). If the final goal of $40k is reached in the remaining hours, this feature will be added to the next version of OpenShot."

Like all Kickstarter projects, though, there's no actual guarantee that things will come to pass as hoped; ya pays yer money, and ya takes yer chances.

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Wayland 1.1 Released — Now With Raspberry Pi Support
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '13 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's delicious-support department:
An anonymous reader writes "Six months after the release of Wayland 1.0, versions 1.1 of Wayland and Weston have been released. Wayland/Weston 1.1 brings new back-end support for the Raspberry Pi, Pixman renderer, Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), and FBDEV frame-buffer device. Wayland/Weston 1.1 also introduces a modules SDK, supports the EGL buffer-age extension, touch-screen calibration support, and numerous optimizations and bug-fixes."

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Sony Launches Internet Service Offering Twice the Speed of Google Fiber
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '13 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's more-spurs-please department:
An anonymous reader writes "Sony Japan has announced that its own Internet service provider So-net Entertainment has launched what is thought to be the world's fastest Internet connection for home use in Japan with download speed of 2 Gbps on average. This sped is twice as fast as competing high-speed fiber connections in Japan. The ultra-fast connection, known as Nuro, will cost an inexpensive 4,980 yen ($51) per month- offering download speeds of 2 Gbps and uploads of up to 1 Gbps."

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Google Glass Specs Hit the Web
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '13 at 06:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's for-your-fashion-needs department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Google has issued the specifications for its spectacles. The search-engine giant's Google Glass, an augmented-reality headset that allows wearers to view information on a tiny screen embedded in one of the lenses, features a camera capable of snapping 5-megapixel photos and 720p video. That aforementioned screen, in the words of Google's just-released specs sheet, "is the equivalent of a 25-inch high definition screen from eight feet away." Google Glass is compatible with any Bluetooth-capable phone. Its MyGlass app, which enables SMS messaging and GPS, requires a companion device running Android 4.0.3 (the "Ice Cream Sandwich" build) or higher. Google claims the battery will provide a "full day of typical use," although the company warned in the specs sheet that certain functions—most notably video recording and Hangouts—could drain the battery faster. Despite those neat features, Google Glass also raises some thorny questions about surveillance culture, and whether people really want whole crowds recording every moment of our collective lives. But those are the sort of conundrums that will only become more clear when Google Glass is actually released sometime later this year."

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