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Google Now Searches JavaScript
Posted by News Fetcher on May 26 '12 at 12:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's watch-for-the-scriptview-vans department:
mikejuk writes "Google has been improving the way that its Googlebot searches dynamic web pages for some time — but it seems to be causing some added interest just at the moment. In the past Google has encouraged developers to avoid using JavaScript to deliver content or links to content because of the difficulty of indexing dynamic content. Over time, however, the Googlebot has incorporated ways of searching content that is provided via JavaScript. Now it seems that it has got so good at the task Google is asking us to allow the Googlebot to scan the JavaScript used by our sites. Working with JavaScript means that the Googlebot has to actually download and run the scripts and this is more complicated than you might think. This has led to speculation of whether or not it might be possible to include JavaScript on a site that could use the Google cloud to compute something. For example, imagine that you set up a JavaScript program to compute the n-digits of Pi, or a BitCoin miner, and had the result formed into a custom URL — which the Googlebot would then try to access as part of its crawl. By looking at, say, the query part of the URL in the log you might be able to get back a useful result."

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A Wrinkle For Biometric Systems: Irises Change Over Time
Posted by News Fetcher on May 25 '12 at 11:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's love-the-way-your-eyes-formerly-sparkled department:
scibri writes "The iris scanners that are used to police immigration in some countries, like the UK, are based on the premise that your irises don't change over your lifetime. But it seems that assumption is wrong. Researchers from the University of Notre Dame have found that irises do indeed change over time, enough so that the failure rate jumps by 153% over three years. While that means a rise from just 1 in 2 million to 2.5 in two million, imagine how that will affect a system like India's — which already has 200 million people enrolled — over 10 years."

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Australian IT Price Hike Inquiry Kicks Off: Submissions Wanted
Posted by News Fetcher on May 25 '12 at 09:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's show-us-what-part-of-your-wallet-they-touched department:
New submitter wirelessduck writes "After some recent complaints from a Labor MP about price markups on software and technology devices in Australia, Federal Government agencies decided to look in to the matter and an official parliamentary inquiry into the issue was started. 'The Federal Parliament's inquiry into local price markups on technology goods and services has gotten under way, with the committee overseeing the initiative issuing its terms of reference and calling for submissions from the general public on the issue.'"

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Sound Increases the Efficiency of Boiling
Posted by News Fetcher on May 25 '12 at 08:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's centerfold-for-the-journal-of-boiling-research department:
hessian writes "Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology achieved a 17-percent increase in boiling efficiency by using an acoustic field to enhance heat transfer. The acoustic field does this by efficiently removing vapor bubbles from the heated surface and suppressing the formation of an insulating vapor film."

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Free Desktop Software Development Dead In Windows 8
Posted by News Fetcher on May 25 '12 at 07:02 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's look-but-hardly-touch department:
benfrog writes "Microsoft has decided to restrict Visual Studio 11 Express, the free-to-use version of its integrated development environment, to producing only Metro-style applications. Those who would like to produce conventional desktop applications or command line -based applications are stuck with Visual Studio 2010 or buying the full version. Microsoft announced the Visual Studio 11 lineup last week."

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Ask Slashdot: Why Not Linux For Security?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 25 '12 at 04:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's you-just-haven't-earned-it-yet-baby department:
An anonymous reader writes "In Friday's story about IBM's ban on Cloud storage there was much agreement, such as: 'My company deals with financial services. We are not allowed to access Dropbox either.' So why isn't Linux the first choice for all financial services? I don't know any lawyers, financial advisers, banks, etc., that don't use Windows. I switched to Linux in 2005 — I'm well aware that it's not perfect. But the compromises have been so trivial compared to the complete relief from dealing with Windows security failings. Even if we set aside responsibility and liability, business already do spend a lot of money and time on trying to secure Windows, and cleaning up after it. Linux/Unix should already be a first choice for the business world, yet it's barely even known of. It doesn't make sense. Please discuss; this could use some real insight. And let's at least try to make the flames +5 funny."

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BitTorrent Traffic Falls In the U.S.
Posted by News Fetcher on May 25 '12 at 03:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's mulhulland-falls-too department:
First time accepted submitter CAKAS writes "After legal actions taken by several industry outfits, BitTorrent traffic has fallen in the United States to the all time low of 12.7 percent of internet traffic. However, this trend seems to be unique to the U.S. — In other parts of the world, like Europe and Asia, BitTorrent traffic continues to rise. 'According to Sandvine, the absence of legal alternatives is one of the reasons for these high P2P traffic shares.' In the U.S. legal content delivery has flourished and provided customers easy access to content. This seems to suggest that due to these alternatives, people are less willing to pirate and pay the publishers for entertainment." (Calling it an "all-time low" seems a stretch, when talking about something released in 2001.)

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Dark Days Ahead For Facebook and Google?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 25 '12 at 03:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's feel-free-to-send-me-your-discarded-shares department:
An anonymous reader writes "Dallas Mavericks owner and media entrepreneur Mark Cuban thinks he knows the reason for Facebook's disappointing IPO; smart money has realized that 'mobile is going to crush Facebook', as the world's population increasingly accesses the Internet mostly through smartphones and tablets. Cuban notes that the limited screen real estate hampers the branding and ad placement that Google and Facebook are accustomed to when serving to desktop browsers, while phone plans typically have strict data limits, so subscribers won't necessarily take kindly to YouTube or other video ads. Forbes' Eric Jackson likewise sees a generational shift to mobile that will produce a new set of winners at the expense of Facebook and Google."

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Battle Brewing Over Labeling of Genetically Modified Food
Posted by News Fetcher on May 25 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's foooooood-fiiiiiiight department:
gollum123 writes with this excerpt from the NY Times:
"For more than a decade, almost all processed foods in the United States — cereals, snack foods, salad dressings — have contained ingredients from plants whose DNA was manipulated in a laboratory. Regulators and many scientists say these pose no danger. But as Americans ask more pointed questions about what they are eating, popular suspicions about the health and environmental effects of biotechnology are fueling a movement to require that food from genetically modified crops be labeled, if not eliminated. The most closely watched labeling effort is a proposed ballot initiative in California that cleared a crucial hurdle this month, setting the stage for a probable November vote that could influence not just food packaging but the future of American agriculture. Tens of millions of dollars are expected to be spent on the election showdown. It pits consumer groups and the organic food industry, both of which support mandatory labeling, against more conventional farmers, agricultural biotechnology companies like Monsanto and many of the nation's best-known food brands like Kellogg's and Kraft."

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Texter Not Responsible For Textee's Car Accident, Rules Judge
Posted by News Fetcher on May 25 '12 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sdn-otbrk-of-cmn-sns department:
linuxwrangler writes "After mowing down a motorcycling couple while distracted by texting, Kyle Best received a slap on the wrist. The couple's attorney then sued Best's girlfriend, Shannon Colonna, for exchanging messages with him when he was driving. They argued that while she was not physically present, she was 'electronically present.' In good news for anyone who sends server-status, account-alerts or originates a call, text or email of any type that could be received by a mobile device, the judge dismissed the plantiff's claims against the woman."

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Free News Unsustainable, Says Warren Buffett
Posted by News Fetcher on May 25 '12 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's there-ain't-no-such-thing-as-a-free-article department:
Koreantoast writes "Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway recently purchased 63 newspapers and plans to purchase more over the next few years, noted during an interview that the current free content model is unsustainable and will likely continue pushing toward more electronic subscription models. This coincides with moves by other newspaper companies like Gannett and the New York Times, which are also erecting paywall systems. Buffett notes that newspapers focusing on local content will have a unique product, which would succeed even if they lose subscribers, because their services are irreplaceable. Is this the beginning of the end of 'free content' for local news?"

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Curt Schilling Fires Entire Staff At 38 Studios
Posted by News Fetcher on May 25 '12 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's remembered-the-c-this-time department:
redletterdave writes "On Thursday, former Boston Red Sox pitcher and tech entrepreneur Curt Schilling fired his entire staff at 38 Studios, his Rhode Island-based video game company, leaving more than 300 employees without jobs because the company couldn't repay its debt to the state. 38 Studios failed to pay Rhode Island's economic development agency $1.1 million, which was due last week, and also failed to meet payroll for its staff in both its Providence office and its Maryland subsidiary, Big Huge Games."
The company's recent action RPG, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, sold 1.2 million copies — which would have been great if they hadn't needed to sell 3 million to break even. An article at Massively goes through some of the lessons the video game industry needs to learn from this situation.

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Bessel Beam 'Tractor Beam' Concept Theoretically Demonstrated
Posted by News Fetcher on May 25 '12 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's finally-asked-wil-wheaton-for-help department:
cylonlover writes "Last year, NASA revealed it was evaluating three potential 'tractor beam' technologies to deliver planetary or atmospheric particles to a robotic rover or orbiting spacecraft. At the time, the third of these, which involved the use of a Bessel beam, only existed on paper. Researchers at Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) have now proven the theory behind the concept, demonstrating how a tractor beam can be realized in the real world – albeit on a very small scale (abstract)."

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Are Porn and Video Games Ruining a Generation?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 25 '12 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's won't-somebody-think-of-the-manchildren department:
silentbrad writes "An editorial published at CNN is titled 'The Demise of Guys: How Videogames and Porn are Ruining a Generation.' It makes the sensationalized case that not only do game addiction and porn addiction share similar characteristics, but they're also both damaging to young men, destroying their ability to connect with women, and therefore threatening the future of our entire species. A response by IGN dissects the idea that pornography and videogames are pretty much the same thing. 'The article, by psychologist Philip G. Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan argues that young men are "hooked on arousal, sacrificing their schoolwork and relationships in the pursuit of getting a tech-based buzz."' Zimbardo, has danced this jig before. At the Long Beach TED conference last year he told a delighted audience that "guys are wiping out socially with girls and sexually with women." He added that young men have been so zombiefied by games and porn that they are unable to function in basic human interactions. "It's a social awkwardness like a stranger in a foreign land", he said. "They don't know what to say. They don't know what to do."'"

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Court Ruling Shuts Down Australian Cloud TV Recorders
Posted by News Fetcher on May 25 '12 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's shut-down-down-under department:
joshgnosis writes "In the wake of an Australian Federal Court ruling last month that free-to-air TV recording app Optus TV Now was infringing on the copyright of some of the country's biggest sports broadcasts, two other services — Beem and MyTVR have also been forced to suspend their services. Beem lashed out at the ruling, telling customers that their rights had been 'diminished' by the judgment and rights owners were 'scared' of cloud-based TV recording services in the same way they once were of VCRs."

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Where's HAL 9000?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 25 '12 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i'm-sorry-dave,-i'm-dolphin-grill-antifreeze department:
An anonymous reader writes "With entrants to this year's Loebner Prize, the annual Turing Test designed to identify a thinking machine, demonstrating that chatbots are still a long way from passing as convincing humans, this article asks: what happened to the quest to develop a strong AI? 'The problem Loebner has is that computer scientists in universities and large tech firms, the people with the skills and resources best-suited to building a machine capable of acting like a human, are generally not focused on passing the Turing Test. ... And while passing the Turing Test would be a landmark achievement in the field of AI, the test’s focus on having the computer have to fool a human is a distraction. Prominent AI researchers, like Google’s head of R&D Peter Norvig, have compared the Turing Test’s requirement that a machine fools a judge into thinking they are talking to a human as akin to demanding an aircraft maker constructs a plane that is indistinguishable from a bird."

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Photographer Threatened With Legal Action After Asserting His Copyright
Posted by News Fetcher on May 25 '12 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's picture-of-surprise department:
New submitter JamieKitson writes "Photographer Jay Lee got more than he bargained for after sending some DMCA takedown notifications out to hosts of sites using one of his pictures. One Candice Shwagger accused him of everything from conspiracy over local sheriff elections to child abuse. Since Candice is now threatening legal action, Jay has said he'll take down the post, so here's a snap shot. After reading the story, I checked for use of my own pictures and found one of them being used on a review site without even a credit."

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Higher Hard Drive Prices Are the New Normal
Posted by News Fetcher on May 25 '12 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sorry-about-your-luck department:
An anonymous reader tips an article looking at the state of HDD pricing now that the market has had time to recover from the flooding in Thailand and a round of consolidation among manufacturers. Prices have certainly declined from the high they reached during the flooding, but they've stabilized a bit higher than they were beforehand. Quoting:
"Are things going to change any time soon? We doubt it. WD and Seagate both reported record profits this past quarter. In Q1 2011, Western Digital reported net profit of $146M against sales of $2.3B while Seagate recorded $2.7B in revenue and $93 million in net income. That’s a net profit margin of 6% and 3%, respectively. For this past quarter, Western Digital reported sales of $3B (thanks in part to its acquisition of Hitachi) and a net income of $483 million, while Seagate hit $4.4B in revenue and $1.1B in profits. Net margin was 16% and 37% respectively. With profit margins like this, the hard drive manufacturers are going to be loath to cut prices. After years of barely making profits, the Thailand floods are the best excuse ever to drive record income for a few quarters. All of this means that while we expect prices to gradually decline, holding off on a necessary purchase doesn’t make much sense."

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IBM's Ban on Dropbox and iCloud Highlights Cloud Security Issues
Posted by News Fetcher on May 25 '12 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's data-sovereignty department:
IBM has forbidden its employees from using cloud-based services such as Siri, Dropbox and iCloud, according to reports. These products (along with many others) are presenting a challenge to IT administrators who want to keep their organizations secure, as well as to consumer-software developers who suddenly need to build features with both consumers and businesses in mind.

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Fire May Leave US Nuclear Sub Damaged Beyond Repair
Posted by News Fetcher on May 25 '12 at 08:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's captain-won't-order-a-hot-sub-for-lunch-again department:
Hugh Pickens writes "AP reports that a fire that swept through a nuclear-powered submarine in dry dock at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard has caused such extensive damage to its forward compartments that the 22-year-old Los Angeles-class attack submarine might have to be scrapped. 'These submarines were designed decades ago. So they're no longer state of the art,' says analyst Loren Thompson. 'If this vessel returns to service, I will be amazed.' The fire broke out while the Miami was on a 20-month stay at the shipyard for an overhaul, and it took firefighters from more than a dozen agencies twelve hours to put out the fire, described as intense, smoky, and a 'hot scary mess.' 'It takes a lot of guts to go into a burning building. But the idea of going into a submarine full of hot toxic smoke — that's real courage,' said U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree after meeting with the shipyard commander. Firefighters isolated the flames so they would not spread to nuclear propulsion spaces at the rear of the submarine. There was nuclear fuel on board the sub, but the reactor has been shut down for two months and was unaffected. Rear Admiral Rick Breckenridge says an investigation has been launched into what caused the fire, but he expects that investigation to take a long time to complete and wouldn't say if human error has been ruled out as a cause of the fire, or if the focus is on mechanical issues."

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