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Jobs' Burglary Manhunt Yields Kenny the Clown
Posted by News Fetcher on August 19 '12 at 04:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's mastermind-with-a-big-red-nose department:
theodp writes "Even in death, Steve Jobs managed to get specialists from the Apple-friendly Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT) to team up again with Apple investigators and local police to track down the whereabouts of a stolen Apple device. Unlike a 2010 stolen iPhone prototype incident, which ended with a raid on a Gizmodo editor's home, this new investigation into the $60K burglary of the late Apple CEO's under-renovation Palo Alto home ended with the recapture of an iPad from Kenny the Clown, who accepted the device as payment of a debt owed to him by burglary suspect Kariem McFarlin. PCWorld has the details of how Palo Alto Police, REACT, and Apple investigators connected the dots to track down Jobs' stolen iPads, which may trouble some privacy advocates."

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Birth Control For Men Edges Closer
Posted by News Fetcher on August 19 '12 at 01:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's having-trouble-getting-past-the-last-sentence department:
ananyo writes "Developing oral contraceptives for men has not gone as swiftly as researchers imagined in the early 1970s; they suggested at the time that a 'male pill' was not far off. But researchers now report a new way to make male mice temporarily infertile. Although the treatment is not ready for human use, the method avoids some of the pitfalls of earlier attempts. The technique appears to have a much more specific action than previous methods: it impairs sperm production by blocking a protein called BRDT. This protein was singled out as a potential therapeutic target five years ago because it only occurs in the testes, where it is required for the division of sperm cells. If the approach proves safe in humans, it would be an improvement over hormone-based methods of male contraception, which are not completely effective and cause side effects such as mood swings, acne and a loss of libido (abstract). On the downside, however, the compound 'shrank the mice's testes.'"

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The ThinkPad Goes Ultrabook — ThinkPad X1 Carbon Tested
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '12 at 10:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's made-from-charcoal department:
MojoKid writes "The venerable Lenovo ThinkPad, with its little red TrackPoint nub, has gone the way of the Ultrabook. If there's one small dig ThinkPads have taken with regularity over the years, it's that though there's a ton of quality and substance built into these machines, style was not a hallmark of the brand. The all new ThinkPad X1 Carbon could very well change the utilitarian stereotype of Lenovo's business-backed line-up, however. As the name suggests, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is built from carbon fiber material throughout its chassis and internal rollcage. Its 14-inch display drives a native resolution of 1600x900, and its keyboard, arguably one of the nicest features of the ThinkPad line, is backlit and even more refined with contoured key caps. Battery life hits a max of about six hours on a full charge, and the machine weighs in at 3lbs and .31-inches at it thinnest dimension."

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Apple Loses Bid To Exclude Evidence In Samsung Patent Trial
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '12 at 07:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's don't-cloud-this-issue-with-facts department:
New submitter Shavano writes with news that Apple's attempt to block Samsung from introducing evidence of a tablet prototype developed in 1994 has been denied by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh. Part of the reason Apple got a sales ban on Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 earlier this year was that an Appeals Court said Apple's tablet design was significantly different from earlier designs. Now, Judge Koh has decided that the issue needs to be decided by a jury.
"Samsung has argued the design was an obvious variation of tablets existing as early as 1994, including one made by Hewlett-Packard Co. The Korean company supported that argument at the trial with videotaped testimony by Roger Fidler, who heads the digital publishing program at the University of Missouri. Fidler said he started working on a tablet design in 1981. Apple sought to exclude the testimony based on the appeals court ruling. In a written declaration, Fidler said 'Apple personnel were exposed to my tablet ideas and prototypes' in the mid- 1990s when the company collaborated with Knight-Ridder Inc.’s information design laboratory in Colorado."

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Some Players Want Day-1 DLC, Says BioWare
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '12 at 04:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's just-not-the-ones-who-whine-on-the-internet department:
An anonymous reader writes "Speaking at GDC Europe this week, BioWare Montreal's Fernando Melo spoke about how the oft-disparaged first-day downloadable content for video games is actually something a significant amount of players want. 'Melo argued that on the occasions when BioWare hasn't provided DLC from day one, those players who complete the game quickly then complained that there was nothing more to play and asked for extra content. If DLC isn't provided for these players, they may well move on to a different game and never come back to play DLC later on. As proof that day one DLC also works in terms of sales, Melo said that 53 percent of all sales for the first Dragon Age: Origins DLC pack — which was released on the same day as the full game — were made on release day."

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GNOME: Possible Recovery Strategies
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '12 at 03:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's get-better-at-telling-people-to-shut-up department:
An anonymous reader tips an article from Datamation about several suggestions for the GNOME project to answer user complaints and boost developer morale. From the article:
"... with very few changes, GNOME 3 could be much more acceptable to most users. A moveable panel, panel applets, desktop launchers, user control of virtual desktops, menu alternatives that would remove the need for the overview -- all of these could be added easily as options. Together, they would reduce at least ninety percent of the complaints against GNOME 3. ... If GNOME is having trouble as a desktop environment, one obvious solution is to find new niches. Lopez and Sanchez suggested following KDE's lead and producing a tablet, while Lionel Dricot recently suggested a suite of cloud-based services. ... The one strategy that GNOME has never tried is asking users what they want. Instead, the project has preferred to rely on usability theory, treating it as an exact science instead of a collection of competing ideas supported by usually inconclusive studies that could be mustered to support almost any design. In GNOME 3, testing with actual users did not occur until near the end of the development cycle, when the chances of any major changes were remote."

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The Panic Over Fukushima
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '12 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's people-enjoy-being-scared-more-than-they-enjoy-math department:
An anonymous reader points out an article in the Wall Street Journal about how irrational fear of nuclear reactors made people worry much more about last year's incident at Fukushima than they should have. Quoting:
"Denver has particularly high natural radioactivity. It comes primarily from radioactive radon gas, emitted from tiny concentrations of uranium found in local granite. If you live there, you get, on average, an extra dose of .3 rem of radiation per year (on top of the .62 rem that the average American absorbs annually from various sources). A rem is the unit of measure used to gauge radiation damage to human tissue. ... Now consider the most famous victim of the March 2011 tsunami in Japan: the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Two workers at the reactor were killed by the tsunami, which is believed to have been 50 feet high at the site. But over the following weeks and months, the fear grew that the ultimate victims of this damaged nuke would number in the thousands or tens of thousands. The 'hot spots' in Japan that frightened many people showed radiation at the level of .1 rem, a number quite small compared with the average excess dose that people happily live with in Denver. What explains the disparity? Why this enormous difference in what is considered an acceptable level of exposure to radiation?"

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Ask Slashdot: I Want To Read More. Should I Get an eBook Reader Or a Tablet?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '12 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hire-james-earl-jones-to-read-to-you department:
gspec writes "I read less and less nowadays, but I realize I need to get back into my old reading habit. Would getting an ebook reader or a tablet help me to enjoy reading more? Would you recommend one over the other? A little relevant background about me: I probably can spare two hours a day to read. I do not travel a lot. I am not a fast reader; if I force myself, I could probably finish a standard length novel in a week. English is my second language, so a built-in dictionary would be nice. I enjoy Netflix, and I have bought many computer/technical eBooks from O'Reilly for reference. I have many technical reference PDFs. I have 300-400 bucks to spare for this. I'd like to hear opinions based on your knowledge and experience on reading using ebook readers/tablets."

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Why Amazon Is Google's Real Competition
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '12 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's because-humans-are-too-lazy-to-read-words department:
New submitter wreakyhavoc writes "Nicholas Carlson at Business Insider maintains that Amazon's reviews and One-Click ordering will undercut Google's shopping ad revenue, and that Google is 'terrified.' From the article: 'Google is a search company, but the searches that it actually makes money from are the searches people do before they are about to buy something online. These commercial searches make up about 20 percent of total Google searches. Those searches are where the ads are. What Googlers worry about in private is a growing trend among consumers to skip Google altogether, and to just go ahead and search for the product they would like to buy on Amazon.com, or, on mobile in an Amazon app. There's data to prove this trend is real. According to ComScore, Amazon search queries are up 73 percent in the last year. How could Google fight this possible threat? Perhaps they could expose the astroturfing of Amazon reviews. Of course, this could backfire, as it would also draw attention to the astroturfing, link farming, and SEO games in Google's search results."

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US Carbon Emissions Hit 20-Year Low
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '12 at 11:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's burn-some-tires-to-celebrate department:
Freddybear writes "A recent report from the U.S. Energy Information Agency says that U.S. carbon emissions are the lowest they have been in 20 years, and attributes the decline to the increasing use of cheap natural gas obtained from fracking wells. Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, said the shift away from coal is reason for 'cautious optimism' about potential ways to deal with climate change. He said it demonstrates that 'ultimately people follow their wallets' on global warming. 'There's a very clear lesson here. What it shows is that if you make a cleaner energy source cheaper, you will displace dirtier sources,' said Roger Pielke Jr., a climate expert at the University of Colorado."

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Electronic Arts Up For Sale?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '12 at 10:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's take-a-check? department:
John Wagger writes "One of the world's largest gaming publishers and developers Electronic Arts has quietly put itself up for sale. While there have already been talks with private equity companies, the talks have not resulted in anything concrete. One of the sources is saying that EA would do the deal for $20 per share (currently at $14.02). Over the past year, EA's stock price has fallen 37 percent. Like other major game publishers, EA has been struggling against growing trend of social and mobile gaming."

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How To Line a Thermonuclear Reactor
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '12 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's very-carefully department:
sciencehabit writes "One of the biggest question marks hanging over the ITER fusion reactor project — a giant international collaboration currently under construction in France — is over what material to use for coating its interior wall. After all, the reactor has to withstand temperatures of 100,000C and an intense particle bombardment. Researchers have now answered that question by refitting the current world's largest fusion device, the Joint European Torus (JET) near Oxford, U.K., with a lining akin to the one planned for ITER. JET's new 'ITER-like wall,' a combination of tungsten and beryllium, is eroding more slowly (PDF) and retaining less of the fuel than the lining used on earlier fusion reactors, the team reports."

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Nintendo Ranks Last In Conflict Minerals Report
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '12 at 08:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's no-blood-for-1up-mushrooms department:
derekmead writes "A new report by the Enough Project, an arm of the Center for American Progress, shows that companies like Intel, Apple and Microsoft have been successfully scaling back their use of conflict minerals in their products. Other companies have been less helpful. Out of the 24 companies surveyed and ranked based on their use of conflict minerals, Nintendo came in dead last, having made no effort to ensure that its products weren't funding guerrilla warfare in Africa. 'Nintendo is, I believe, the only company that has basically refused to acknowledge the issue or demonstrate they are making any sort of effort on it,' said Sasha Lezhnev from the Enough Project. 'And this is despite a good two years of trying to get in contact with them.'"

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Motorola Releases an Official Bootloader Unlocker
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '12 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's uncommonly-helpful department:
New submitter Nertskull writes "Motorola has released a tool to allow anyone to unlock the bootloader on their phone/tablet. The only supported device so far is the Photon Q 4G LTE, though three other devices are supported through their developer unlock program. Support for unlocking other devices is supposedly on its way."
Motorola leads into the unlocking process with this amusing tidbit: "WARNING: Motorola strongly recommends against unlocking the bootloader and/or modifying or altering a device's software or operating system. Doing so can have unintended, unforeseen, and dangerous consequences, such as rendering the device unusable, violating applicable laws, or causing property damage and/or bodily injury, including death." Careful, folks; unlocking that bootloader might kill you.

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Mars Curiosity Rover's First Road Trip Planned
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '12 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's off-to-kill-cats department:
littlesparkvt writes "NASA has announced the first destination for the Curiosity Rover. They're sending it to 'Glenelg,' a natural intersection of three kinds of terrain. 'The trek to Glenelg will send the rover 1,300 feet (400 meters) east-southeast of its landing site. One of the three types of terrain intersecting at Glenelg is layered bedrock, which is attractive as the first drilling target. "We're about ready to load our new destination into our GPS and head out onto the open road," Grotzinger said. "Our challenge is there is no GPS on Mars, so we have a roomful of rover-driver engineers providing our turn-by-turn navigation for us." Prior to the rover's trip to Glenelg, the team in charge of Curiosity's Chemistry and Camera instrument, or ChemCam, is planning to give their mast-mounted, rock-zapping laser and telescope combination a thorough checkout. On Saturday night, Aug. 18, ChemCam is expected to "zap" its first rock in the name of planetary science. It will be the first time such a powerful laser has been used on the surface of another world.'"

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Genetically Engineering Babies a Moral Obligation, Says Ethicist
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '12 at 04:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's perfect-babies-only department:
Hugh Pickens writes "The Telegraph reports that Oxford Professor Julian Savulescu, an expert in practical ethics, says that creating so-called designer babies could be considered a 'moral obligation' as it makes them grow up into 'ethically better children' and that we should actively give parents the choice to screen out personality flaws in their children such as potential alcoholism, psychopathy and disposition to violence as it means they will then be less likely to harm themselves and others. 'Surely trying to ensure that your children have the best, or a good enough, opportunity for a great life is responsible parenting?' writes Savulescu, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics. 'So where genetic selection aims to bring out a trait that clearly benefits an individual and society, we should allow parents the choice. To do otherwise is to consign those who come after us to the ball and chain of our squeamishness and irrationality.' Savulescu says that we already routinely screen embryos and fetuses for conditions such as cystic fibrosis and Down's syndrome and couples can test embryos for inherited bowel and breast cancer genes. 'Whether we like it or not, the future of humanity is in our hands now. Rather than fearing genetics, we should embrace it. We can do better than chance.'"

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Google Seeks US Ban On iPhones, iPads, Macs
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '12 at 03:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's ask-big-then-compromise department:
theodp writes "Following up on an announcement that it would rid itself of 4,000 employees world-wide and renege on a deal with the State of Illinois, Google's Motorola Mobility unit said it has filed a new patent-infringement case against Apple, which seeks a ban on U.S. imports of devices including the iPhone, iPad and Mac computers. 'Apple's unwillingness to work out a license leaves us little choice but to defend ourselves and our engineers' innovations,' Motorola Mobility said in an e-mailed statement."

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Indian Gov't Bans Bulk SMS, Investigating Social Media
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '12 at 12:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's man-vs-the-state department:
saiful76 writes "Following mass exodus of people belonging to north-east states India from southern states of India, specially Bangalore, allegedly due to the threatening messages, the government has asked relevant agencies to scan all social media platforms to check for inflammatory and offensive content, following which, the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DIT) has issued an advisory to all intermediaries in terms of provisions of IT Act and Rules to take action for disabling all such content on priority. Cellphone operators have been told to block all bulk SMSs and videos — so nobody can send a message to more than five people at a time."

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Is MySQL Slowly Turning Closed Source?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 09:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's seems-like-a-reasonable-suspicion department:
mpol writes "Sergei from MariaDB speculated on some changes within MySQL 5.5.27. It seems new testcases aren't included with MySQL any more, which leaves developers depending on it in the cold. 'Does this mean that test cases are no longer open source? Oracle did not reply to my question. But indeed, there is evidence that this guess is true. For example, this commit mail shows that new test cases, indeed, go in this "internal" directory, which is not included in the MySQL source distribution.' On a similar note, updates for the version history on Launchpad are not being updated anymore. What is Oracle's plan here? And is alienating the developer community just not seen as a problem at Oracle?"

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MplayerX Leaving Mac App Store
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 06:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's kicked-out-of-the-hothouse department:
New submitter technonono writes "MplayerX, a popular and free video player app on Mac OSX, is now leaving Mac App Store 'after arguing with Apple for three months.' The developer claims that Apple's sandboxing policies would strip the app into 'another lame Quicktime X,' which is unacceptable. The app is releasing updates on its own site, where users who bought it from the App Store would most likely never notice them. The situation was 'foretold' by Marco Arment, at least for one app."

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