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Bruce Perens Answers Your Questions
Posted by News Fetcher on November 05 '12 at 08:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's listen-up department:
A while ago you had the chance to ask Bruce Perens about how open source has changed in the past 15 years, what's happening now, and what's to come. Bruce has been busy traveling, but he's found some free time and sent in his answers. Read below to see what he has to say.

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Nate Silver's Numbers Indicate Probable Obama Win, World Agrees
Posted by News Fetcher on November 05 '12 at 07:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's popularity-contest department:
An anonymous reader writes "The state-by-state election outcome probabilities today on Nate Silver's 538 imply a 97.7% probability for Obama to win 270 or more electoral college votes this coming Tuesday. A site that allows anyone but U.S. citizens vote seems to indicate that the rest of the world hopes these numbers are accurate. "

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Killer Asteroids Are Good For Life
Posted by News Fetcher on November 05 '12 at 07:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's life-from-above department:
Hugh Pickens writes writes "NASA reports that according to a study by Rebecca Martin and Mario Livio asteroid collisions may have provided a boost to the birth and evolution of complex life on earth delivering water and organic compounds to the early Earth and accelerating the rate of biological evolution with occasional impacts to disrupt a planet's environment to the point where species must try new adaptation strategies. 'Too many asteroids, and you've got an unrelenting cosmic shooting gallery, raining fiery death from above,' writes Fraser Cain. 'Too few asteroids, and complex life might not get the raw material it needs to get rolling. Life never gets that opportunity to really shake things up and evolve into more complex forms.' Martin and Livio suggest that the location of an asteroid belt relative to a Jupiter-like planet is not an accident. The asteroid belt in our solar system, located between Mars and Jupiter, is a region of millions of space rocks that sits near the 'snow line,' which marks the border of a cold region where volatile material such as water ice are far enough from the sun to remain intact. 'To have such ideal conditions you need a giant planet like Jupiter that is just outside the asteroid belt [and] that migrated a little bit, but not through the belt,' Livio explains. 'If a large planet like Jupiter migrates through the belt, it would scatter the material. If, on the other hand, a large planet did not migrate at all, that, too, is not good because the asteroid belt would be too massive. There would be so much bombardment from asteroids that life may never evolve.'"

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PayPal, Symantec Hacked In Anonymous November 5 Hacking Spree
Posted by News Fetcher on November 05 '12 at 06:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's history-repeating department:
First time accepted submitter Journe writes "Anonymous claims to have begun a hacking spree for the 5th of November. In their spree, they've laid waste to several Australian Government sites, and, for some reason, the site of Saturday Night Live. They also claim to have leaked VMWare source code, along with user and employee info from Paypal and Symnatec. There's some argument however that Anonymous is falsely taking claim for Symnatec."

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Will Microsoft Dis-Kinect Freeloading TV Viewers?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 05 '12 at 06:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's watching-the-watchers department:
theodp writes "Just when you think the cable TV viewing experience couldn't get any worse, GeekWire reports on the Microsoft Xbox Incubation team's patent-pending Consumer Detector, which uses cameras and sensors like those in the Xbox 360 Kinect controller to monitor, count and in some cases identify the people in a room watching television, movies and other content. Should the number of viewers detected exceed the limits of a particular content license, the system would halt playback unless additional viewing rights were purchased."

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Climbing 103 Floors On a 'Bionic' Leg
Posted by News Fetcher on November 05 '12 at 05:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's holy-moley! department:
An anonymous reader writes "4 years ago I read about experimental targeted muscle reinnervation (TMR) surgery on Slashdot. 3 years ago I crashed my motorcycle and had my leg amputated — at which time I had TMR done. Today I climbed 103 floors of the Willis Tower in Chicago with a experimental prosthetic using TMR. Thanks, Slashdot."

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AMD Launches Piledriver-Based 12 and 16-Core Opteron 6300 Family
Posted by News Fetcher on November 05 '12 at 04:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's launching-needs-less-wooing-than-unveiling department:
MojoKid writes "AMD's new Piledriver-based Opterons are launching today, completing a product refresh that the company began last spring with its Trinity APUs. The new 12 & 16-core Piledriver parts are debuting as the Opteron 6300 series. AMD predicts performance increases of about 8% in integer and floating-point operations. With this round of CPUs, AMD has split its clock speed Turbo range into 'Max' and 'Max All Cores.' The AMD Opteron 6380, for example, is a 2.5GHz CPU with a Max Turbo speed of 3.4GHz and a 2.8GHz Max All Cores Turbo speed."

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Publisher of Free Textbooks Says It Will Now Charge For Them, Instead
Posted by News Fetcher on November 05 '12 at 01:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's get-with-the-times department:
An anonymous reader writes "In a surprising blow to the movement to create free textbooks online, an upstart company called Flat World Knowledge is dumping its freemium model. The upstart publisher had made its textbooks free online and charged for print versions or related study guides, but company officials now say that isn't bringing in enough money to work long-term."

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Kim Dotcom's Next Venture: Free Broadband To New Zealand
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '12 at 10:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's take-a-left-at-hawaii department:
First time accepted submitter damagedbits writes "So it turns out that Me.ga is only part of Kim Dotcom's resolution for 2013. Even though he's still facing extradition to the U.S. for alleged piracy, Dotcom has plans to resurrect Pacific Fibre's failed project to construct a fiber optic cable across the Pacific to the U.S. The new line will bring free high-speed broadband to New Zealanders and double the nation's Internet bandwidth, setting Dotcom back about $400m."

Some of that funding is based on optimism: "Dotcom plans on getting the majority of his funds by suing Hollywood studios and the US government for their 'unlawful and political destruction of [Megaupload].'"

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Sharp Warns That It Might Collapse
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '12 at 07:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's so-business-is-soft department:
angry tapir writes "Japan's Sharp, a major supplier of LCD displays to Apple and other manufacturers, has warned that it may not survive if it can't turn around its business. The Osaka-based manufacture said there is "material doubt" about its ability to continue operating in its earnings report filed. Sharp added, however, that it still believes it can cut costs and secure enough credit to survive. Its IGZO technology for mobile displays is likely to be a key element of its business strategy."

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Ralph Nader Moderates One Last 3rd-Party Debate for 2012
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '12 at 04:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's love-'em-or-hate-'em department:
Late tomorrow, both the 2012 U.S. election (the popular vote at least) and the 2012 campaign season should be over. Tonight, though, whatever your ability or plans to vote are (see the current poll for a peek at what other readers claim about their intentions), you've got the chance to see one more presidential debate, to be moderated by Ralph Nader, and featuring third-party presidential contenders Gary Johnson (Libertarian), Jill Stein (Green), Virgil Goode (Constitution) and Rock Anderson (Justice). Yes, the same ones featured in another debate a few weeks back. (We promise, this is the last debate of this go-round.) If you're voting (or would, if you could) for other than the Democratic or Republican parties' candidates this year, what drives that decision?

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Amazon Charges Sales Tax On "Shipping and Handling"
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '12 at 03:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's not-just-shipping-mind-you department:
You may have noticed that retailers like Amazon are charging tax, in compliance with state laws, on not just the price of goods, but on the "shipping and handling" fees they charge. An anonymous reader writes "By coincidence I noticed this myself the other night, and ended up ordering something from a supplier in Arizona, rather than Amazon, to avoid the sales tax. Now here is an article about it in the Los Angeles Times."

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Apple Pays Only 2% Corporate Tax Outside US
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '12 at 02:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's villagers-with-pitchforks department:
New submitter dryriver writes with this snippet from the BBC: "Apple paid only $713m (£445m) Tax in the year to 29 September on foreign pre-tax profits of $36.8bn (£23.0bn), a remarkably low rate of 1.9%. Apple channels much of its business in Europe through a subsidiary in the Republic of Ireland, which has lower corporation tax than Britain. But even Ireland charges 12.5%, compared with Britain's 24%. Apple is the latest company to be identified as paying low rates of overseas tax, following Starbucks, Facebook and Google in recent weeks. It has not been suggested that any of their tax avoidance schemes are illegal. Many multinational companies manage to pay substantially below the official corporation tax rates by using tax havens such as the Caribbean islands."

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Facebook Joins Linaro Linux-on-ARM Effort
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '12 at 01:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's like-a-tattoo department:
dgharmon writes "It has been more than two years since Freescale Semiconductor, IBM, Samsung, ST-Ericsson, and Texas Instruments formed a non-profit software company called Linaro to help focus the disparate efforts to get Linux running well on ARM processors and system-on-chip designs. A slew of companies, some new to the ARM racket, have joined the Linaro effort – and as of Thursday afternoon, so has social media juggernaut Facebook."

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MIT Research Tweaks Smartphone Amplifier Voltage To Gain Battery Life
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '12 at 12:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's ok-there's-the-car-analogy department:
hypnosec writes "Two MIT electrical engineering professors, Joel Dawson and David Perreault, have claimed that they have cracked the age old efficiency problem related to the power amplifier in smartphones by designed a new amplifier that consumes just half the power as compared to their current counterparts. Current transistor based power amplifiers consume power in two modes – standby and output signal mode. The only way to reduce power consumption and increase battery life is to use the least possible power when in standby mode. The problem here is that if the power is kept very low when in standby mode, because of sudden jumps from low-power standby mode to high-power output mode, signals get distorted. This is why current technologies waste a lot of electricity as standby power levels are kept at a relatively higher level to avoid distortion. The new technology, dubbed asymmetric multilevel outphasing, is basically a blazingly fast electronic gearbox that would select the best possible voltage to send across to the transistors that would minimize power consumption."

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Ask Slashdot: Is Samba4 a Viable Alternative To Active Directory?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '12 at 11:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's they-weigh-the-same department:
First time accepted submitter BluPhenix316 writes "I'm currently in school for Network Administration. I was discussing Linux with my instructor and he said the problem he has with Linux is he doesn't know of a good alternative to Active Directory. I did some research and from what I've read Samba 4 seems very promising. What are your thoughts?"

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Will the Star Citizen Project Fund Linux and Mac Ports For CryENGINE 3?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '12 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's voting-with-your-wallet department:
Mr. Jaggers writes "Chris Roberts, game designer of Wing Commander fame, has had great success with his new crowd-funded Star Citizen project — so much that the $2m base goal has been smashed with weeks to go on the Kickstarter portion of the campaign. Now Chris is floating a list of stretch goals for fans to vote on, with Linux and Mac support both listed as stretch goal candidates. Since Star Citizen is based on the popular CryENGINE 3 game engine, these stretch goals are equivalent to funding Linux and Mac ports of CryENGINE. Chris couldn't make any absolute promises yet, since he doesn't own the engine, but CryENGINE 3 already supports Android, so at least there is existing OpenGL ES support to be leveraged towards adding Linux and Mac OpenGL support. If there is enough outpouring of cross-platform support from fans in this poll, Star Citizen could turn out to be the high-profile game that brings a AAA game engine to the growing Mac and Linux gaming communities — analogous to the role played by Wasteland 2 in bringing official Linux support to the Unity 4 engine popular among so many Indie developers."

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Google Wallet May End Up Inside Your Actual Wallet
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '12 at 08:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's one-neck-to-wring department:
Several outlets are reporting, based on screenshots posted by Android Police that Google is (or "may be" — CNet calls the report "loosely sourced") about to introduce a lower-tech variant on its smartphone-based Google Wallet payment system. Instead of transfering payment information from an NFC-equipped phone, this would mean a physical payment card (like a conventional plastic credit or debit card), but one linked via Google's databanks to the user's existing bank or credit accounts. Upsides: less to carry, a simple way to suspend or cancel service on them (should the card be lost or stolen), and doesn't require you to carry your phone to make a credit or debit transaction — handy, since NFC readers are still thin on the ground. Downside: while perhaps no worse than putting the same information on your phone, it's one more step toward giving a third party all of your personal information in one place. A card that fits in a wallet probably makes a lot of sense: I live in a city with at least three pay-by-phone options in trials or (CitiBank, Isis, and Google Wallet), but I can't buy ice cream or coffee with them yet. A there's on reason a card-shaped token could use mag-stripes and NFC, too.

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Boeing 787 Makes US Debut
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '12 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's up-in-the-air-senior-birdman department:
thomas.kane writes "After years of delays, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is set to take off from Bush Intercontinental Airport this morning bound for O'Hare. Designed to make the flying experience 'revolutionary,' it is constructed from composite materials, has larger windows than previous jetliners, and high efficiency engines. United Airlines became the first U.S. carrier to take delivery; they've ordered 50, but due to processing delays, they only have 2 right now. Start looking for more to take to the skies early next year."

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Hyundai Overstated MPG On Over 1 Million Cars
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '12 at 06:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's or-maybe-600-thousand-whatever department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Reuters reports that Hyundai and its affiliate Kia Motors conceded that they overstated the fuel economy on more than 1 million recently sold vehicles, and agreed to compensate owners for the additional fuel costs after the EPA found the errors in 13 Kia and Hyundai models from the 2011 to 2013 model years. The findings were a blow to the two carmakers, which have centered their marketing campaigns on superior fuel economy. The mileage on most labels will be reduced by 1 to 2 miles per gallon, with the largest adjustment being a 6-mpg highway reduction for one version of the Kia Soul, the EPA said. Hyundai previously touted the fact that many of its models get 40 miles per gallon on the highway. Now three Hyundai models, the Elantra, Accent and Veloster, as well as the Kia Rio fall short of that mark, as will the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima hybrids."

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