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Ask Slashdot: What Stands In the Way of a Truly Solar-Powered Airliner?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 30 '12 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-blame-gravity department:
centre21 writes "I've been reading about solar-powered aircraft all over the Internet, as well as solar power in general. But I'm wondering: is it more than just solar cell efficiency that's preventing the creation of a solar-powered airliner? Conspiracy views aside (which may be valid), it seems to me that if I were running an airline the size of United or American, eliminating the need for jet fuel as a cost would be highly appealing. So, I'm asking: what stands in the way of creating true solar-powered airliners?"

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New York Data Centers Battle Floods, Utility Outages
Posted by News Fetcher on October 30 '12 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's bunker-in-tight department:
miller60 writes "At least three data center buildings in lower Manhattan are struggling with power problems amid widespread flooding and utility outages caused by Hurricane Sandy. Flooded basements at two sites took out diesel fuel pumps, leaving them unable to refuel generators on higher levels. One of these was Datagram, which knocked out Buzzfeed and the Gawker network of sites. At 111 8th Avenue, some tenants lost power when Equinix briefly experienced generator problems."
The NY Times has a running list of Sandy-related problems, including 5,700 more flight cancellations, 6 million people without power, rising water levels at a nuclear plant, official disaster declarations from President Obama, and a death toll of 38.

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Windows Phone 8 Having Trouble Attracting Developers
Posted by News Fetcher on October 30 '12 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's have-you-tried-bacon department:
colinneagle writes "Microsoft has promised that cross-platform development across the 8s – from Windows 8 on a desktop to Windows Phone 8 – will be a simple matter, but that's still not enough to get some developers moving on Windows Phone 8 support. The Windows Phone platform has made a remarkable recovery since its reset with version 7. Since then, WP7 has grown to 100,000 apps. But that pales in comparison to the 675,000 in Google Play and 700,000 in the Apple App Store. Granted, there's a ton of redundancy – how many weather or newsfeed apps does one person need? – but it points to availability and developer support. A report from VentureBeat points out what should be obvious: that while developers like Windows 8, they aren't as excited about Windows Phone 8 software because they have already made huge investments in other platforms and don't want to support another platform. A survey by IDC and Appcelerator found 78% of Android developers were 'very interested' in programming for Android smartphones, a slight drop from the 83% in a prior survey. Interest in the iPhone and iPad remained undiminished, with 89% and 88% interest, respectively."

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Google's Nexus 4, 7, 10 Strategy: Openness At All Costs
Posted by News Fetcher on October 30 '12 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's is-openness-with-limits-openness-at-all? department:
MrSeb writes "There have been plenty of rumors about how the Nexus program was going to grow and change with this year's announcement. Now that we have all the details, it looks like almost none of them were right. There is no Nexus certification program, and the dream of multiple Nexus phones seems well and truly dead. What we do have is a range of device sizes with the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10. However, the Nexus program has been altered in one important way: we know what Nexus means now. There can no longer be any doubt: a Nexus device is about openness first and foremost. Last year the technology sphere was busily discussing whether or not the Verizon Galaxy Nexus was a 'true' Nexus device. This year we have an answer: a Nexus controlled by a carrier is no Nexus. Rather than get in bed with Verizon, Sprint, or AT&T to produce an LTE version of the Nexus 4, we have HSPA+ only. Even the new Nexus 7 with mobile data is limited to this enhanced 3G standard. And then there's the pricing: The super high-resolution (2560×1600) Nexus 10 tablet starts at just $399; The Nexus 7 is dropping in price to $199 for a 16GB tablet; The Nexus 4 with 16GB of storage is going to sell for $349, exactly the same as the old Galaxy Nexus was until yesterday. To put this into perspective, the LG Optimus G, which the Nexus 4 is based on, sells for $550 without subsidy. Google is pushing the idea of openness with the Nexus devices, but it's not an entirely altruistic endeavor. By giving us cheap and open devices, Google is making sure it's in control — not the carriers. That's better for the consumers, but it's also better for Google."

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Using Magnets To Interact With Your Tablet
Posted by News Fetcher on October 30 '12 at 09:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's I-mostly-use-gravity-instead department:
An anonymous reader writes with this snippet from MAKE's blog: "Tangible interface designer and inventor Andrea Bianchi, along with his colleague, Ian Oakley (University of Madeira / Carnegie Mellon Europe), have come with a novel approach to interacting with a mobile device. Using the magnetometer built into most modern smartphones, Bianchi and Oakley have created a series of tangible user interface demonstrations that go beyond what's achievable with capacitive touch displays."

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48-Core Chips Could Redefine Mobile Devices
Posted by News Fetcher on October 30 '12 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's absolute-power department:
CWmike writes "Intel researchers are working on a 48-core processor for smartphones and tablets, but it could be five to 10 years before it hits the market. Having a 48-core chip in a small mobile device would open up a whole new world of possibilities. 'If we're going to have this technology in five to 10 years, we could finally do things that take way too much processing power today,' said analyst Patrick Moorhead. 'This could really open up our concept of what is a computer... The phone would be smart enough to not just be a computer but it could be my computer.' Enric Herrero, a research scientist at Intel Labs in Barcelona, explained that with the prototype chip someone could, for instance, be encrypting an email while also working on other power-intensive apps at the same time — without hiccups. Same for HD video. Intel's Tanausu Ramirez said it could also boost battery life. 'The chip also can take the energy and split it up and distribute it between different applications,' he said. Justin Rattner, Intel's CTO, told Computerworld that a 48-core chip for small mobile devices could hit the market 'much sooner' than the researchers' 10-year prediction."

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ITER Fusion Project Struggles To Put the Pieces Together
Posted by News Fetcher on October 30 '12 at 08:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's failure-to-fuse department:
ananyo writes "The world's largest scientific project is threatened with further delays, as agencies struggle to complete the design and sign contracts worth hundred of millions of euros with industrial partners. Sources familiar with the project warn that the complex system for buying ITER's many pieces could put the fusion reactor project even further behind schedule. Rather than providing cash, ITER's partners have pledged 'in kind' contributions of pieces of the machine. Magnets, instruments and reactor sections will arrive from around the world to be cobbled together at the central site in St-Paul-lès-Durance in southern France. Because no one body holds the purse strings, designs for the machine's components face a tortuous back-and-forth between the central ITER Organization and national 'domestic agencies', which ensure that local companies secure contracts for ITER's components. Managers say the project remains on schedule. But it would hardly be the first time that ITER had been delayed or faced budgetary difficulties."

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France Applies Tax Pressure To Google For Republishing News Snippets
Posted by News Fetcher on October 30 '12 at 07:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's department-of-rent-seeking department:
Qedward writes "France may introduce a law to make Google pay to republish news snippets if it doesn't strike a deal with French news publishers before the end of the year, the office of French President François Hollande said. French publishers want to share in the revenue that Google earns from advertising displayed alongside their news snippets in search results. Readers are often satisfied by reading the headline and summary published by Google News, and don't feel the need to click through to the news site, the publishers say. In this way, Google profits and the content creators don't. The publishers want to be able to charge Google to compensate them for ad revenue losses."

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NewsCorp/NDS Sets Up Operation To Expose Canadian Pirates; What Could Go Wrong?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 30 '12 at 06:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's boarding-eh department:
Presto Vivace writes "Murdoch's Pirates is a business book that reads like a thriller. The chapter excerpted in the Sydney Morning Herald explains how Operation Duck, an effort to discover the identify Canadian pay TV pirates, went horribly wrong. 'By October 25 Oliver had been in Toronto four days and had programmed a swag of pirate cards, using a program he had ripped off another pirate hack. And he had been paid a lot of money. That evening, he met with two piracy dealers in a car and programmed a few cards for them with his portable programmer box, to demonstrate that it worked. The following night Oliver received a call from a friend in London, a partner in his old piracy ring, who was sleeping with a woman who worked for Federal Express. 'He told me, these guys [from the previous night] sent a parcel to Larry Rissler,' Oliver recalls. Rissler was a former FBI agent who headed the Office of Signal Integrity—the operational security division—of DirecTV, and he had been hunting Oliver for some time. One of the dealers Oliver had met was a Rissler informant and he had despatched a re-programmed smartcard by FedEx to his boss. The parcel would be with Rissler early the next morning—if it wasn't already there.'

The story reads like some perverse blend of James Bond and the Pink Panther. It is just amazing."


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Sandy Sinks HMS Bounty, Knocks Off Gawker Websites
Posted by News Fetcher on October 30 '12 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's stormy-weather department:
Black Parrot writes "Several news sites are reporting that the 1962 replica of the HMS bounty was lost at sea due to hurricane Sandy, about 90 miles off North Carolina. The latest news I find says 14 of 16 crew rescued, one drowned, and the Captain still missing." And on land, the combination of wind and water surges knocked off Gawker sites and the Huffington Post for a time, and forced the evacuation of NYU's Langone Medical Center. Did it affect you?

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Telling the Truth In Today's China
Posted by News Fetcher on October 30 '12 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's shame-about-the-government department:
eldavojohn writes "Inside the land of the Great Firewall censorship is rampant although rarely transparent. Foreign Policy has a lengthy but eyeopening recounting of what it's like being an editor for the only officially sanctioned English business publication inside the most populated country on Earth. Eveline Chao of the magazine 'China International Business' writes in her piece 'Me and My Censor' about her censor named Snow, the three taboo T's (Taiwan, Tibet, and Tiananmen), a bizarre government aversion to flags and how she was 'offered red envelopes stuffed with cash at press junkets, sometimes discovered footprints on the toilet seats at work, and had to explain to the Chinese assistants more than once that they could not turn in articles copied word for word from existing pieces they found online.' Anecdotes abound in this piece including the story of a photojournalist who 'once ran a picture he'd taken in Taiwan alongside an article, but had failed to notice a small Taiwanese flag in the background. As a result, the entire staff of his newspaper had been immediately fired and the office shut down.' " (Read more, below.)

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An Open Standard For Wireless Charging?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 30 '12 at 05:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's tall-skinny-latte-power-surcharge department:
Charging portable devices without needing to carry a power adapter sounds handy, and it's slowly getting closer to widespread use. IPAQ2000 writes that AT&T, Google and Starbucks announced yesterday "that they have joined the Power Matters Alliance (PMA). Founded by Powermat Technologies and Procter & Gamble, the PMA's Honorary Chairman is Google's Vint Cerf – one of the fathers of the Internet — and its board now also includes AT&T, Duracell, Google and Starbucks. The U.S. Government's Energy Star and Federal Communications Commission – both PMA members — are board observers." (How does Starbucks come into it? They're "testing PMA-compatible Wireless Charging Spots in select Boston stores.")

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Sweden Imports European Garbage To Power the Nation
Posted by News Fetcher on October 30 '12 at 04:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's quick-everybody-become-more-wasteful department:
Hugh Pickens writes "NPR reports that Sweden's program of generating energy from garbage is wildly successful, but recently its success has also generated a surprising issue: There is simply not enough trash. Sweden has recently begun to import about eight hundred thousand tons of trash from the rest of Europe per year to use in its power plants. Sweden already brings trash from Norway and hopes to get garbage from Italy, Romania, Bulgaria and the Baltic countries. Sweden creates energy for around 250,000 homes and powers one-fifth of the district heating system. Its incineration plants offer a look into the future where countries could potentially make money off of their trash instead of dumping. Landfilling of organic materials – a highly inefficient and environmentally degrading system (PDF) — has been forbidden in Sweden since 2005 and emissions of the greenhouse gas methane from landfills has fallen dramatically (PDF). 'I hope that we instead will get the waste from Italy or from Romania or Bulgaria or the Baltic countries because they landfill a lot in these countries,' says Catarina Ostlund, a senior advisor for the country's environmental protection agency. 'They don't have any incineration plants or recycling plants, so they need to find a solution for their waste.'"

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The IDE As a Bad Programming Language Enabler
Posted by News Fetcher on October 30 '12 at 01:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's real-coders-use-notepad-and-mt-dew department:
theodp writes "When it comes to monolithic IDEs, Wille Faler has lost that loving feeling. In IDEs Are a Language Smell, Faler blogs about a Eureka! moment he had after years of using Eclipse for Java development. 'If the language is good enough,' Faler argues, 'an IDE is strictly not needed as long as you have good support for syntax highlighting and parens matching in the case of Clojure, or indentation in the case of Haskell.' So why do Java coders turn to Eclipse? 'Because [of] a combination of shortcomings in the Java compiler and Java's OO nature,' explains Faler, 'we end up with lots and lots of small files for every interface and class in our system. On any less than trivial Java system, development quickly turns into a game of code- and file-system navigation rather than programming and code editing. This nature of Java development requires IDEs to become navigation tools above all.' Yes, only an IDE could love AbstractSingletonProxyFactoryBean!"

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CodeWeavers Announces Flock the Vote Software Giveaway
Posted by News Fetcher on October 29 '12 at 10:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's no-thanks-to-newman department:
ywlke writes "This election year, CodeWeavers is repeating its 'Great American Lame Duck Presidential Challenge' from 2008, and will be giving away free one-year subscriptions to Crossover Linux and Mac. 'On Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, beginning at 00:00 Central Time (+6 GMT), anyone visiting CodeWeavers’ Flock The Vote promotional web site (flock.codeweavers.com) will be able to download a free, fully functional copy of either CrossOver Mac or CrossOver Linux. Each copy comes complete with 12 months of support and product upgrades. The offer will continue for 24 hours, from 00:00 to 23:59, Oct. 31, 2012. ... The company had recently launched its 'Flock the Vote' challenge – a voter turnout initiative in which CodeWeavers promised free software for 24 hours if 100,000 people pledged to vote in the 2012 Presidential election.'"

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AMD Licenses 64-bit Processor Design From ARM
Posted by News Fetcher on October 29 '12 at 08:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's seeing-which-way-the-wind-is-blowing department:
angry tapir writes "AMD has announced it will sell ARM-based server processors in 2014, ending its exclusive commitment to the x86 architecture and adding a new dimension to its decades-old battle with Intel. AMD will license a 64-bit processor design from ARM and combine it with the Freedom Fabric interconnect technology it acquired when it bought SeaMicro earlier this year."

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Shake-up at Apple: Forstall Out; iOS Executive Fired For Maps Debacle?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 29 '12 at 06:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's should-have-called-it-artistic-license department:
New submitter noh8rz10 writes "Apple's Scott Forstall, who grew iOS from its inception, is departing the company. Rumors say it's because of the Maps debacle, and problems with Siri as well. Jony Ive is taking a larger human interface role, which means he may kill the skeuomorphic interfaces he hates. John Browett, head of retail, is out as well; he never won the trust of the community. What does such a major shakeup say about Tim Cook's leadership?"

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Is Silicon Valley Morally Bankrupt and Toxic?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 29 '12 at 04:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's only-in-the-nuclear-waste-district department:
concealment sends this quote from a post about how the goals of many tech companies are at odds with what's good of consumers:
"Since I've been out of the Silicon-Valley-centered tech industry, I've become increasingly convinced that it's morally bankrupt and essentially toxic to our society. Companies like Google and Facebook — in common with most public companies — have interests that are frequently in conflict with the wellbeing of — I was going to say their customers or their users, but I'll say 'people' in general, since it's wider than that. People who use their systems directly, people who don't — we're all affected by it, and although some of the outcomes are positive a disturbingly high number of them are negative: the erosion of privacy, of consumer rights, of the public domain and fair use, of meaningful connections between people and a sense of true community, of beauty and care taken in craftsmanship, of our very physical wellbeing. No amount of employee benefits or underfunded Google.org projects can counteract that. Over time, I've come to consider that this situation is irremediable, given our current capitalist system and all its inequalities. To fix it, we're going to need to work on social justice and rethinking how we live and work and relate to each other. Geek toys like self-driving cars and augmented reality sunglasses won't fix it. Social networks designed to identify you to corporations so they can sell you more stuff won't fix it. Better ad targeting or content matching algorithms definitely won't fix it."

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Intel 335 Series SSD Equipped With 20-nm NAND
Posted by News Fetcher on October 29 '12 at 03:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's that's-not-many-nanometers department:
crookedvulture writes "The next generation of NAND has arrived. Intel's latest 335 Series SSD sports 20-nm flash chips that are 29% smaller than the previous, 25-nm generation. The NAND features a new planar cell structure with a floating, high-k/metal gate stack, a first for the flash industry. This cell structure purported helps the 20-nm NAND overcome cell-to-cell interference, allowing it to offer the same performance and reliability characteristics of the 25-nm stuff. The performance numbers back up that assertion, with the 335 Series matching other drives based on the same SandForce controller silicon. The 335 Series may end up costing less than the competition, though; Intel has set the suggested retail price at an aggressive $184 for the 240GB drive, which works out to just 77 cents per gigabyte."

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Want a Security Pro? Get Politically Incorrect and Learn Geek Culture
Posted by News Fetcher on October 29 '12 at 02:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's fight-trolls-with-trolls department:
coondoggie writes "While complaints can be heard far and wide that it's hard to find the right IT security experts to defend the nation's cyberspace, the real problem in hiring security professionals is the roadblocks put up by lawyers and human resources personnel and a complete lack of understanding of geek culture, says security consultant Winn Schwartau. Take Janet Napolitano, U.S. secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, who has said the country can't find the right people for network defense. The real problem is a misunderstanding of computer geeks, their personalities, habits and their backgrounds, said Schwartau today during his talk at the Hacker Halted information security conference"

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