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Ask Slashdot: Comparing the Value of Skilled Admins vs. Contributing Supervisors
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '12 at 04:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's class-warfare department:
HappyDude writes "I've been asked to manage a department in our IT group. It's comprised of UNIX, VMWare, Citrix, EMC and HP SAN Admins, Technicians and Help Desk personnel. The group covers the spectrum in years of experience. I am a 20-year Admin veteran of Engineering and Health Care IT systems including UNIX, Oracle DBA, Apache HTTP/Tomcat, WebSphere, software design plus other sundry jack-of-all-trades kinds of stuff. Although I consider myself a hack at most of those trades, I'm reasonably good at any one of them when I'm submerged. I also have 10 years of Project Management experience in Engineering and Health Care related IT organizations. I do have formal PM training, but haven't bothered to seek credentialing. I'm being told that I'll be worth less to the organization as a supervisor than what I'm making now, but the earning potential is greater if I accept the management position. Out of the kindness of their hearts, they're offering to start me in the new position at the same wage I'm currently making. Does this make any sense, Slashdot? "
Read on for further details.

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China Plans Manned Space Mission This Month
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '12 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's more-the-merrier department:
jamstar7 writes "From an Associated Press report: 'China will launch three astronauts this month to dock with an orbiting experimental module, and the crew might include its first female space traveler, a government news agency said Saturday. A rocket carrying the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft was moved to a launch pad in China's desert northwest on Saturday for the mid-June flight, the Xinhua News Agency said, citing an space program spokesman. The three-member crew will dock with and live in the Tiangong 1 orbital module launched last year, Xinhua said. The government has not said how long the mission will last.' China, who is not an ISS partner, plans to see if its Shenzhou 9/Long March 2F system can get the job done like the Dragon/Falcon9 system can. They plan on two missions this year to dock with their Tiangong 1 module, which was launched in September 2011. Their eventual plans include building a complete space station by 2020, though one of only about 60 tons, compared to the ISS's 450-ish tons."

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An HTTP Status Code For Censorship?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-can't-get-there-from-here department:
New submitter Tryfen writes "UK ISPs are being forced to block The Pirate Bay. One is using 'HTTP 403 Forbidden' to tell users that they cannot access the site. From the article: 'However, chief among my concerns is the technical way this censorship is implemented. At the moment, my ISP serves up an HTTP 403 error.' ... As far as I am concerned, this response is factually incorrect. According to the W3C Specifications: "The 4xx class of status code is intended for cases in which the client seems to have erred."' So, should there be a specific HTTP status code to tell a user they are being censored?"

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JEDEC Fiddles With DDR4 While LRDIMM Burns
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '12 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's patents-are-complicated department:
An anonymous reader writes "JEDEC hasn't finalized the upcoming DDR4 standard yet, but it seems they left out licensing some crucial IP for (the already finalized and shipping) LRDIMMs (for use on data center servers). As a result they are only produced by one source which is facing some hurdles justifying their copying of IP. This article discusses how DDR4 is based on LRDIMMs and the future of memory. Quoting: 'JEDEC finalized the LRDIMM standard without securing licensing on load reduction and rank multiplication. Inphi, currently the only maker of LRDIMM buffer chipsets – others have backed off – lost a challenge of Netlist IP at the USPTO. As a result the Netlist patents have become stronger and are going to come back and bite Inphi in Netlist vs. Inphi, which was stayed pending these patent reexaminations – patents which survive re-examination can never again be challenged in court. NLST patents ’537 and ’274 survived with all claims intact, which is a powerful statement on the strength of their IP – Inphi has appealed to the BPAI, but the USPTO decision is telling.'"

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Which Fading Smartphone Company Is More Valuable To Microsoft, RIM Or Nokia?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '12 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's is-there-an-option-c department:
colinneagle writes "Nokia and RIM, the two former leaders in the early smartphone market, are now basically at the end stage of their downward spirals. This is an opportunity for Microsoft, which wants to make some inroads in the smartphone market, assuming Microsoft it can play its cards right. The question is which firm is worth more. Both have their values, especially in the patent areas. In terms of just smartphones, Microsoft would probably gain more from RIM, because it could integrate BlackBerry Enterprise Server into its own server products. Nokia, though, is a much older player and probably has a lot more of a patent portfolio. The question then becomes which is an easier purchase. Nokia is a 150-year-old storied company. The Finns may not be too keen to let it go to an American firm. There is the distinct possibility Microsoft acquires both firms and keeps the best of both worlds for hardware. But where does that leave OEM partners like LG, HTC and ZTE?"

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After Modifications, Google Street View Approved For Switzerland
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '12 at 11:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's good-idea-to-do-what-the-swiss-ask department:
An anonymous reader writes "Since Google began collecting Street View data in Europe a few years ago, many countries have taken it the company to court in order to settle privacy concerns. The NY Times reports that the last challenge to Street View's basic legality has been resolved. Switzerland's top court accepted that Google could only guarantee they would blur out 99% of faces, license plates, and other identifying markers, but also imposed some additional restrictions. 'Those conditions would require Google to lower the height of its Street View cameras so they would not peer over garden walls and hedges, to completely blur out sensitive facilities like women's shelters, prisons, retirement homes and schools, and to advise communities in advance of scheduled tapings.'"

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The Venus Transit and Hunting For Alien Worlds
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '12 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's pretty-pictures-and-awesome-science department:
astroengine writes "Forget simply detecting a slight 'dip' in brightness as an exoplanet transits in front of its star; soon we'll be able to image the event. What's more, by doing this we'll see that exoplanetary transits look exactly like the historic Venus transit that wowed the world on Tuesday. This is according to astronomer Gerard van Belle, of Lowell Observatory near Flagstaff, Ariz., who hopes to use an interferometer to carry out the mind-blowing goal of capturing the silhouettes of exoplanets drifting in front of distant stars. But that's not all: this whole effort may help us track down the first bona fide Earth-like alien world."
In case you missed it, NASA posted a bunch of great footage and pictures of the Venus transit, as did Boston.com's The Big Picture. Phil Plait pointed out a cool shot from Thierry Legault of a transit during a transit.

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Drones, Computer Viruses and Blowback
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '12 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's fighting-never-gets-cleaner department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Michael Crowley writes that using drones rather than soldiers to kill bad guys is appealing for many reasons, including cost, relative precision and reduction of risk to American troops. But there's plenty of evidence that drones antagonize local populations and create more enemies over the long term than we kill in the short term. The failed 2010 Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, has said that about the U.S. drone campaign in Pakistan, and the Washington Post has described how drone strikes may be breeding sympathy for al-Qaeda in Yemen. 'It is the politically advantageous thing to do — low cost, no U.S. casualties, gives the appearance of toughness. It plays well domestically and it is unpopular only in other countries,' says Dennis Blair, director of national intelligence until May of 2010. 'Any damage it does to the national interest only shows up over the long term.' Now there's another component to the new warfare that threatens blowback: cyberwar. Like drones, cyberweapons are relatively cheap and do their work without putting American troops in harm's way. The blowback comes when those viruses get loose and inflict unintended damage or provide templates to terrorists or enemy nations that some experts think could lead to disaster and argue that cyberweapons are like bioweapons, demanding international treaties to govern their use. 'We may indeed be at a critical moment in history, when the planet's prospects could be markedly improved by an international treaty on cyberweapons, and the cultivation of an attendant norm against cyberwar,' writes Richard Wright. 'The ideal nation to lead the world toward this goal would be the most powerful nation on earth, especially if that nation had a pretty clean record on the cyberweapons front. A few years ago, America seemed to fit that description. But it doesn't now.'"

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Materials From Tough-as-Nails Crustacean Could Inspire Better Body Armor
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '12 at 07:46 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's don't-mess-with-the-little-guy department:
carmendrahl writes "The peacock mantis shrimp, a crustacean which is neither a mantis nor a shrimp, has hammer-like clubs for smashing the shells of its prey. They're so strong that regular glass aquariums can't hold them. But what's interested researchers for some time is how the clubs stand up to all that stress. Now, a team has figured out why: the mantis shrimp club's molecular structure is set up to resist fractures. That discovery could lead to stronger and lighter car frames or body armor."

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Netflix and Google Make Land Grab On Edge of Internet
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '12 at 06:46 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's thar-be-gold-in-them-thar-datacenters department:
An anonymous reader writes "In an end-run around slow Internet backbone providers, Netflix and Google (plus a dozen more large content giants) are in a bitter fight to deploy servers and dominate the consumer edge of the Internet. This Wired article provides some of the first graphics of this fight and how it is changing the underlying Internet infrastructure. The source of the article (DeepField blog post) also has some pretty interesting commentary."

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X-ray Generator Fits In the Palm of Your Hand
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '12 at 05:46 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's set-phasers-to-scan department:
ananyo writes "Scientists have reported the first tabletop source of ultra-short, laser-like pulses of low energy, or 'soft,' X-rays. The light, capable of probing the structure and dynamics of molecules (abstract), was previously available only at large, billion-dollar national facilities such as synchrotrons or free-electron lasers, where competition for use of the equipment is fierce. The new device, by husband-and-wife team Margaret Murnane and Henry Kapteyn based at JILA in Boulder, Colorado, might soon lie within the grasp of a university laboratory budget — perhaps allowing them to one day be as common in labs as electron microscopes are."

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Why Visual Basic 6 Still Thrives
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '12 at 04:46 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's nuke-nuke-who's-there? department:
theodp writes "Microsoft recently extended 'It Just Works' compatibility for Visual Basic 6 applications through the full lifetime of Windows 8, so VB6 apps will have at least 24 years of supported lifetime (VB6 shipped in '98). So why has VB6, 'the un-killable cockroach' in the Windows ecosystem, managed to thrive? 'Cockroaches are successful because they're simple,' explains David S. Platt. 'They do what they need to do for their ecological niche and no more. Visual Basic 6 did what its creators intended for its market niche: enable very rapid development of limited programs by programmers of lesser experience.' But when Microsoft proudly trotted out VB.NET, the 'full-fledged language' designed to turn VB6 'bus drivers' into 'fighter pilots,' they got a surprise. 'Almost all Visual Basic 6 programmers were content with what Visual Basic 6 did,' explains Platt. 'They were happy to be bus drivers: to leave the office at 5 p.m. (or 4:30 p.m. on a really nice day) instead of working until midnight; to play with their families on weekends instead of trudging back to the office; to sleep with their spouses instead of pulling another coding all-nighter and eating cold pizza for breakfast. They didn't lament the lack of operator overloading or polymorphism in Visual Basic 6, so they didn't say much.'"

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Subject To a "Stop and Frisk"? There's an App For That
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '12 at 04:16 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's get-insurance-on-the-phone department:
lightbox32 writes "The New York Civil Liberties Union released a free smartphone application on Wednesday that allows people to record videos of and report police 'stop and frisk' activity, a practice widely denounced by civil rights groups as mostly targeting minorities and almost never resulting in arrests. The app was thoroughly criticized by the New York Police Department, which said that the tool might prove useful for criminals."

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IPMI: Hack a Server That Is Turned Off
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '12 at 03:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's great-power-brings-great-vulnerability department:
UnderAttack writes "A common joke in infosec is that you can't hack a server that is turned off. You better make sure that the power cord is unplugged, too. Otherwise, you may be exposed via IPMI, a component present on many servers for remote management that can be used to flash firmware, get a remote console and power cycle the server even after the normal power button has been pressed to turn the server off."

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New Modeling Algorithms Bring More Detail to Google Earth's 3-D World
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '12 at 01:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's astounding-stuff department:
An anonymous reader writes "Google Earth has featured (some) textured 3D buildings and 3D terrain since 2006. New image-based modeling algorithms that process 45-degree Aerial Images automatically, however, will allow Google Earth to display entire 3D cities with fully texture-mapped, accurately modeled 3 dimensional buildings, roads, trees and landscaping/terrain. This YouTube video released by Google shows how effective the technique is at capturing urban areas in 3D. The resulting 3D cities look almost like a high-altitude view of a fully modeled 3D city in games like Grand Theft Auto."

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OpenRelief Project Launches Disaster Drone Project at LinuxCon Japan
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '12 at 10:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's making-anime-come-true department:
An anonymous reader writes "We'll never forget last year's LinuxCon Japan conference, which took place shortly after the devastating Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in March. As the country still reeled from the disaster, LinuxCon presenters discussed how open source software could contribute to disaster relief. One year later, a team of developers has returned to LinuxCon in Yokohama this week to announce OpenRelief, a new project aimed at building a low-cost, remote-controlled robotic plane to report damage in hard-to-reach, disaster stricken areas."

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Where Are All the High-Resolution Desktop Displays?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '12 at 07:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's doubtless-killed-by-big-oil department:
MrSeb writes "Ever since the release of the iPhone 4 with its 326 pixels-per-inch (PPI) Retina display, people have wondered about the lack of high-PPI desktop displays. The fact is, high-resolution desktop displays do exist, but they're incredibly expensive and usually only used for medical applications. Here, ExtremeTech dives into the world of desktop displays and tries to work out why consumer-oriented desktop displays seem to be stuck at 1920x1080, and whether future technologies like IGZO and OLED might finally spur manufacturers to make reasonably-priced models with a PPI over 100."

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Intel To Launch TV Service With Facial Recognition By End of the Year
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '12 at 05:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's nielsen-with-a-ray-gun department:
MojoKid writes "Despite television being a rather tough nut to crack, Intel is apparently hoping that its upcoming set-top box and subscription service will be its golden ticket to delivering more Intel processors to the living room. The service would be a sort of specialized virtual cable subscription that would combine a bundle of channels with on demand content. So what's Intel's killer feature that distinguishes it from the vast and powerful competition? Granular ratings that result in targeted ads. Intel is promising technology in a set-top box that can distinguish who is watching, potentially allowing Intel to target advertising. The technology could potentially identify if the viewer is an adult or a child, male or female, and so on, through interactive features and face recognition technology."

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In Australia, Apple Fined $2.5 Million For '4G' Advertising Claims
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '12 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's we-thought-this-island-was-for-crime department:
Whiney Mac Fanboy writes "Apple has agreed to pay a $2.25 million (AUD) fine (along with 300k legal costs) to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission for misleading advertising. Apple misrepresented their iPad product as being a '4G' device, when in fact they're only compatible with a very small percentage of 4G networks around the world. The Age online has the full story."

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NPR's "Car Talk" Glides To a Halt
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '12 at 03:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's not-actually-a-complete-stop-mind-you department:
stevegee58 writes "After 25 years on the air, Tom and Ray Magliozzi (aka Click and Clack, The Tappet Brothers) are calling it quits in September. With their nerdy humor, explosive laughter and geek cred (both MIT alums) Tom and Ray will be sorely missed by the average NPR-listening Slashdotter." How many garages have names as cool as "Hacker's Haven"? I've long thought that someone should compiled a compilation featuring nothing but hours of their laughter. (Which will be available for sampling, since they will continue to play archived material for a long time yet.)

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