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Verizon To Kill All Unlimited Data Plans
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '12 at 01:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's no-data-for-you department:
afabbro writes "Verizon mentioned in an investor conference that it will be eliminating unlimited data plans, even for those it grandfathered in. From the article: 'Speaking at the J.P Morgan Technology Media and Telecom conference today, Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo told investors that the company's 3G unlimited data plans that customers were allowed to hang onto last year when Verizon switched to a tiered offering will soon go away entirely. Instead, the company will migrate its existing and new 4G LTE customers to a new "data share plan."

The company has yet to announce the details of this new plan, but it has said previously that the data share plan will be introduced in midsummer. The plan will allow people on the same family plan to share buckets of data each month, much like they share voice minutes and text messaging. It will also allow individuals to share data across different 4G LTE devices. '"


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Book Review: The Logic of Chance
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '12 at 12:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it department:
eldavojohn writes "The Logic of Chance: The Nature and Origin of Biological Evolution is a comprehensive snapshot of the latest research of biological evolution. The text is written by Eugene V. Koonin, an editor for a journal and researcher at NCBI. The book, although lacking in foundational knowledge and often foregoing explanation of research, presents a comprehensive and well-referenced view of modern evolutionary research. It is heavily laden with acronyms and jargon specific to biology and evolution. As a result, reading it requires either prior knowledge or a high tolerance for looking up these advanced topics with the reward of it being an extremely eye opening and enjoyable read worthy of your time." Keep reading for the rest of eldavojohn's review. The Logic of Chance: The Nature and Origin of Biological Evolution
author Eugene V. Koonin
pages 516
publisher FT Press Science
rating 7/10
reviewer eldavojohn
ISBN 978-0132542494
summary An outline of a fundamentally new evolutionary synthesis reflecting key advances in genomics, systems biology and biological physics.

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Star City and the Baikonur Cosmodrome
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '12 at 12:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's cool-pictures department:
First time accepted submitter zyborg writes "Here's 44 photographs of the Baikonour Cosmodrome used by the ISS program. The pictures range from training, launch vehicle transport and assembly, launch, touchdown, pictures from space, etc. From the article 'Earlier today, a Soyuz-FG rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying an International Space Station (ISS) crew into orbit. Baikonur, Russia's primary space launch facility since the 1950s, is the largest in the world, and supports multiple launches of both manned and unmanned rockets every year. With the U.S. manned space program currently on hold, Baikonur is now the sole launching point for trips to the ISS. Gathered here is a look at the facility, some of the cosmonaut training programs in Star City outside of Moscow, and a few recent launches and landings — plus a bonus: 3 spectacular long-exposure images of Earth from the ISS.'"

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Facebook Adds 96 Million Shares, Will Privacy Get Worse After IPO?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '12 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's ramping-up-farmville-production department:
AlistairCharlton writes "Facebook has made yet another amendment to its S-1 filing, adding a further 96 million shares, pushing its initial public offering up to a potential maximum of $18.4bn (£11.5bn). In what is the eighth amendment to its S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Facebook has also increased the number of shares allowed for over allotment, up from 50.6 million to 63.2 million." Facebook will have a lot of pressure to increase revenue after it goes public. jfruh writes in with a story about how that will impact their privacy policies. "There's been a steady drumbeat of panics over the past few years involving how Facebook uses the personal information you give it; nevertheless, someday you'll look back at 2012 as the golden age of Facebook privacy. That's because, once Facebook has its IPO, it'll come under huge pressure from the markets to extract more revenue from its business. And with display advertising not generating game-changing amounts of money, Facebook has only one valuable resource: your data, which is going to be monetized as hard as possible."

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Japanese Researchers Transmit 3Gbps Using Terahertz Frequencies
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '12 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's greased-lightning department:
MrSeb writes "Researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology have developed a new wireless transmission system that works above all currently regulated spectrum frequencies. The new system works at the range of 300GHz to 3THz (terahertz), which is the Far Infrared (FIR) frequencies of the infrared spectrum. That spectrum is currently totally unregulated by any country or standards organization in the world, making it ripe for development of new technologies. So far the Japanese researchers have transmitted data at 3Gbps, but in theory speeds of up to 100Gbps should be possible."

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LinuxMint13 RC Is Available For Testing
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '12 at 11:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's check-it-out department:
donadony writes "LinuxMint13 RC is available for testing, this release comes with 2 versions in a separated dvd`s: Mate and Cinnamon. LinuxMint13 Cinnamon is very light and offers some customization, integration of new applets, extensions and themes that can be found on the official website."

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Apple Tells Siri To Stop Recommending Nokia
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '12 at 10:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's pick-the-other-guy department:
judgecorp writes "Apple has changed the answer Siri gives to the question 'what is the best smartphone ever?' to prevent the voice-driven assistant from promoting the Nokia Lumia 900. Originally Siri trawled online reviews on the web using the wolfram Alpha search engine, to come up with the Lumia, much to Apple's embarrassment. Now, apple has intervened, replacing that answer with a joke: 'Wait there are other phones?'"

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Kevin Bacon Meets Wikipedia With New Pathfinding Program
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '12 at 10:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's computers-are-ruining-everything department:
New submitter BLT2112 writes "Inspired by the Oracle of Bacon, the Oracle of Wikipedia finds the shortest path between two Wikipedia articles, as in Wikipedia Golf. As explained in the site, 'One selects one article as the tee and another article as the hole and then completes the course between them clicking as few links as possible. No typing is allowed. . . . The Oracle also allows you to search for the most challenging potential Wikipedia Golf courses. Can you find a longer course and merit a place in the "records" section?'"

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The Pirate Bay Suffering Global Outage From Massive DDoS Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '12 at 09:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's dvd-sales-up-500-percent department:
MoldySpore writes "If anyone has tried to get to The Pirate Bay in the last 24 hours, they have most likely been met with a timeout. As an article on TorrentFreak notes, only a week ago The Pirate Bay scolded Anonymous for it's attack on ISP Virgin Media, and now the site is currently the victim of a DDoS attack that is effectively keeping people from viewing the site. There is a lot of speculation as to whether this is retaliation from Anonymous, the work of an agency such as the RIAA and their associates, or an anti-pirate company such as PiratePay."

Cyberwarfare? Pimple-faced teenagers? Someone screwed up the routing tables?

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Judge to Oracle: A High Schooler Could Write rangeCheck
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '12 at 08:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's larry-ellison-sues-every-cs101-student department:
mikejuk writes with an update on the Oracle vs Google Trial. From the article: "One month into the Oracle v Google trial, Judge William Alsup has revealed that he has, and still does, write code. Will this affect the outcome? I think so! After trying to establish that the nine lines in rangeCheck that were copied saved Google time in getting Android to market the lawyer making the case is interrupted by the judge which indicates he at least does understand how straightforward it would be to program rangeCheck from scratch: 'rangeCheck! All it does is make sure the numbers you're inputting are within a range, and gives them some sort of exceptional treatment. That witness, when he said a high school student could do it — ' And the lawyer reveals he doesn't: 'I'm not an expert on Java — this is my second case on Java, but I'm not an expert, and I probably couldn't program that in six months.' Perhaps every judge should be a coding judge — it must make the law seem a lot simpler..."

From yesterday; the Oracle lawyer was attempting to argue that Google profited by stealing <tt>rangeCheck</tt> since it allowed them to get to market faster than they would have had they wrote it from scratch. Groklaw, continuing its detailed coverage as always, has the motions filed today.

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Interview With Ward Cunningham
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '12 at 08:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's life-without-wiki-is-no-life-at-all department:
CowboyRobot writes "Ward Cunningham developed the first wiki, wrote the Fit test framework, is the co-inventor of CRC cards, and is now promoting the concept of technical debt. He recently won the Dr. Dobb's Excellence in Programming Award and was interviewed by that publication. 'The creator of the Wiki dishes on the Wiki, Wikipedia's policies, OO design, technical debt, CoffeeScript and Perl, how to survive as a veteran programmer, and doing the simplest thing that could possibly work.' Cunningham is given the chance to explain his philosophy of coding: 'I like the picture and I like the look of the code. It's only 40 lines, but every line carried some careful thought. There was a learning curve there that surprised me because the programs looked short. The most rewarding work I've done this year is digging through that code and understanding what it does and understanding what it didn't do, and how to approach the problem.'"

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HTC One X Phone Held by Customs Due to ITC Ruling
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '12 at 07:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's just-get-an-iphone-instead department:
zacharye writes, quoting BGR: "The launch of Sprint's flagship EVO 4G LTE has been delayed indefinitely and supply of AT&T's flagship HTC One X will be constrained as a result of ongoing patent disputes between HTC and Apple. HTC confirmed in a statement emailed to BGR on Tuesday evening that shipments of its new EVO 4G LTE and One X smartphones have been held up by United States Customs as part of an International Trade Commission investigation. Before the phones can clear Customs, the ITC will need to determine that HTC's new handsets are in compliance with an earlier ruling..."

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Calculating Total Network Capacity
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '12 at 07:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's information-theory-at-work department:
New submitter slashbill writes "MIT's working on a way to measure network capacity. Seems no one really knows how much data their network can handle. Makes you wonder about how then do you calculate expense when building out capacity? From the article: 'Recently, one of the most intriguing developments in information theory has been a different kind of coding, called network coding, in which the question is how to encode information in order to maximize the capacity of a network as a whole. For information theorists, it was natural to ask how these two types of coding might be combined: If you want to both minimize error and maximize capacity, which kind of coding do you apply where, and when do you do the decoding?'"

This is a synopsis of the first of two papers on the topic.

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General Motors: "Facebook Ads Aren't Worth It"
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '12 at 06:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's could-be-no-one-wants-your-cars department:
Fluffeh writes "General Motors spends around $40 million per year on maintaining a Facebook profile and around a quarter of that goes into paid advertising. However, in a statement, they just announced that 'it's simply not working.' That's a bit of bad news just prior to the Facebook IPO — and while Daniel Knapp tries to sweeten the news, he probably makes it even more bitter by commenting 'Advertising on Facebook has long been funded by marketing budgets reserved for trying new things. But as online advertising investments in general are surging and starting to cannibalize spend on legacy media, advertisers are rightfully asking whether the money spend is justified because it has reached significant sums now.'"

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Moving From CouchDB To MySQL
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '12 at 05:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's hep-cats-just-use-postgres department:
itwbennett writes "Sauce Labs had outgrown CouchDB and too much unplanned downtime made them switch to MySQL. With 20-20 hindsight they wrote about their CouchDB experience. But Sauce certainly isn't the first organization to switch databases. Back in 2009, Till Klampaeckel wrote a series of blog posts about moving in the opposite direction — from MySQL to CouchDB. Klampaeckel said the decision was about 'using the right tool for the job.' But the real story may be that programmers are never satisfied with the tool they have."

Of course, then they say things like: "We have a TEXT column on all our tables that holds JSON, which our model layer silently treats the same as real columns for most purposes. The idea is the same as Rails' ActiveRecord::Store. It’s not super well integrated with MySQL's feature set — MySQL can’t really operate on those JSON fields at all — but it’s still a great idea that gets us close to the joy of schemaless DBs."

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CPU Competition Heating Up In 2012?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '12 at 05:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's lots-of-fancy-devices department:
jd writes "2012 promises to be a fun year for hardware geeks, with three new 'Aptiv-class' MIPS64 cores being circulated in soft form, a quad-core ARM A15, a Samsung ARM A9 variant, a seriously beefed-up 8-core Intel Itanium and AMD's mobile processors. There's a mix here of chips actually out, ready to be put on silicon, and in last stages of development. Obviously these are for different users (mobile CPUs don't generally fight for marketshare with Itanium dragsters) but it is still fascinating to see the differences in approach and the different visions of what is important in a modern CPU. Combine this with the news reported earlier on DDR4, and this promises to be a fun year with many new machines likely to appear that are radically different from the last generation. Which leaves just one question — which Linux architecture will be fully updated first?"

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Google's Grand Android Plan
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '12 at 04:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's are-you-pondering-what-i'm-pondering department:
CWmike writes with news of a significant change in Google's strategy for Android. According to a Wall Street Journal report, "Google plans to give multiple mobile-device makers early access to new releases of Android and to sell those devices directly to consumers, said people familiar with the matter. That is a shift from Google's previous practice, when it joined with only one hardware maker at a time to produce 'lead devices,' before releasing the software to other device makers. Those lead devices were then sold to consumers through wireless carriers or retailers." JR Raphael adds, "Signs of something big have been brewing in AndroidLand for some time now: First, we've had the increasingly loud buzz about Google's top-secret mission to build an inexpensive Nexus-like tablet. Then, last month, Google opened the door to selling unlocked Nexus devices directly to consumers, eliminating the need for carrier meddling and contract commitments. Now, at long last, we're getting a glimpse at what's likely the final piece of the puzzle."

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Ask Slashdot: What If Intellectual Property Expired After Five Years?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '12 at 02:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's many-tears-from-publishers department:
New submitter ancientt writes "As a thought experiment, what if the constitution of the U.S. was amended so that no idea (with exceptions only for government use, like currency) could be protected from copy or use beyond January 1, 2035 for more than a five-year period. After a five-year span, any patent, software license, copyright, software NDA or other intellectual property agreement would expire. (This is not an entirely new idea, but would have had significant recent ramifications if it had been enacted in the past.) Specific terms are up for debate, but in this experiment businesses must have time to try to adjust to sell services and make the services good enough to compete with other businesses offering the same basic products. Microsoft can sell a five-year-old variant of OSX, Apple can sell Windows 2030. Cars, computers and phones would, or at least could, still be made, but manufacturers would be free to use any technology more than five years old or license new technology for a five-year competitive edge. Movie, TV and book budgets would have to adjust to the potential five-year profit span, although staggered episode or chapter releases would be legal. Play 'What if' with me. What would be the downsides? What would be the upsides?"

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The Mathematics of Obesity
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '12 at 01:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's pi-is-tasty department:
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that Carson C. Chow, an MIT-trained mathematician and physicist, has taken a new look at America's obesity epidemic and found that a food glut is behind America's weight problem, with the national obesity rate jumping from 20 percent to over 30 percent since 1970. 'Beginning in the 1970s, there was a change in national agricultural policy. Instead of the government paying farmers not to engage in full production, as was the practice, they were encouraged to grow as much food as they could,' says Chow. 'With such a huge food supply, food marketing got better and restaurants got cheaper. The low cost of food fueled the growth of the fast-food industry. If food were expensive, you couldn't have fast food.' Chow and mathematical physiologist Kevin Hall created a mathematical model of a human with hundreds of equations, boiled it down to one simple equation, and then plugged in all the variables — height, weight, food intake, exercise. The slimmed-down equation proved to be a useful platform for answering a host of questions. For example, huge variations in your daily food intake will not cause variations in weight, as long as your average food intake over a year is about the same. Unfortunately, another finding is that weight change, up or down, takes a very, very long time. Chow has posted an interactive version of the model on the web where people can plug in their information and learn how much they'll need to reduce their intake and increase their activity to lose."

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Big Media and Big Telcos Getting Nasty In Landmark Australian Law Case
Posted by News Fetcher on May 15 '12 at 10:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's settle-this-with-a-cage-match department:
Fluffeh writes "In Australia, we have the right to record TV and play it back at a later date; we also have the right to transcode from one format to another, so anyone with a media server can legally back up their entire DVD collection and watch it without all those annoying warnings and unskippable content — as long as we don't break encryption (please stop laughing!). Optus, Australia's second largest Telco, has been raising ire though with the new TV Now service they are offering and Big Media is having a hissy fit. The service does the recording on behalf of the customer. Seems like a no-brainer right? Let the customer do what they are allowed to legally do at home, but charge them for it. Everybody wins! Not according to Sports Broadcasters, who made this statement when Optus said they would appeal their recent loss in an Australian Court to the highest court in the land: 'They are a disgusting organization who is acting reprehensibly again and now putting more uncertainty into sports and broadcast rights going forward I'm really disappointed and disgusted in the comments of their CEO overnight.' Is this yet another case of Big Media clutching at an outdated business model, or should consumers be content with just doing their own work?"

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